Pictures of The Sacophagus of Alexander The Great.
Pictures, images & photos of the Sarcophagus of Alexander the Great from the Royal Necropolis of Sidon now in the Istanbul Archaeological museum. On March 2 1887 workers quarrying north east of Sidon in Lebanon discovered a tomb shaft fifty feet deep. Luckily for history they were so frightened they rushed to bring the Reverend William King Eddy, an American missionary born in Sidon, to the site. Eddy realised immediately that the workers had uncovered an archaeological site and suspected that it was the lost ancient Royal Necropolis of Sidon. He was lowered down the shaft and by the light of flickering candles was confronted with the Sarcophagus of the Lycian, the dazzling Sarcophagus of Alexander and the Sarcophagus of the weeping women.
News travelled of the great find to Istanbul and Osman Hamdi Bey who had been appointed the curator of the new Istanbul Archaeological museum left immediately for the Lebanon and took over the excavation and removal of the sarcophagi returning with them to Istanbul.
The finds at Sidon put the museum on the world map and the facade of the new museum was inspired by the Alexander Sarcophagus and Sarcophagus of the Mourning Women which the museum houses today. It is incredible how perfectly preserved the Sarcophagi are. The Sarcophagus of the Lycian is a pristine grey marble from Paros with hunting scenes and 2 sphinxes adorning its gothic stele pitched roof.
The Alexander Sarcophagus is a monumental work of art befitting one of the great leaders of antiquity. 11 feet long (4 Mts) it weighs fifty tons and is made of Pentelic marble. The freezes on each side show Alexander in the midst of battles and in hunting scenes, These relief sculptures were originally painted in bright colours and some of the paint is still visible today.
Finally but not least the Royal Necropolis held the "Sarcophagus of the Satrap".
Pictures of the Greek ghost village of Kayaköy (Kayakoy), nr Fethiye , Izmir, Turkey. For thousands of years Anatolia (Today Turkey) has been the venue of periodic wars and invasions. Every major ancient Mediterranean & Middle Eastern civilisations has fought over this area of the world. The last conflict was between the Greeks & the newly formed Turkish state which ended with the Armistice of Mudanya on October 11 1922, followed by the treaty of Lausanne on 24 July 1923, which agreed a population exchange of Greeks in Turkey with Turks in Greece. It is estimated during the autumn of 1922, around 900,000 Orthodox refugees had arrived in Greece around 2,000 of whom came from Kayaköy .
Kayaköy was resettled by Turks who found the land too hard to farm & abandoned the Village. Today Kayaköy has 500 ruined houses & several churches which stand in the picturesque hills of the western Anatolia coastal mountains. Walking around the ghost village is a strange experience. The people who lived here were obviously simple peasant farmers and the heartbreak of having to give everything up must have been intense. There was no conflict in Kayaköy between Greek & Turkish neighbours and few of the Anatolian Greeks that left for Greece believed that they would be leaving for ever, so they left belongings they could not carry with their Turkish neighbours for safe keeping. The Greeks did not return though and Kayaköy stands as a sobering reminder of the damage the Nationalism of the 20th century caused to peoples lives.
Kayaköy was adopted by the UNESCO as a World Friendship and Peace Village as a symbol of unity to help heal divisions of the past. Kayaköy is said to be the inspiration behind "Eskibahçe", the imaginary village chosen by Louis de Bernières as the setting of his 2004 novel Birds Without Wings, which chronicles the rise of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the 'Father of the Turkish Nation' and deals with the impact of religious intolerance, over-zealous nationalism, and the war that often results.
Pictures, Images & Photos of Hagia Sophia Istanbul.
Pictures & images of Hagia Sophia ( Aya Sophia ) Basilica Istanbul. Completed in 537 under Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia is a major Roman Byzantine work of architecture with a massive dome that would not be surpassed in size for 1000 years.
The present Hagia Sophia or church os the Holy Wisdom, is the third Basilica to stand on this site. The previous Basilica was burnt to the ground during the Nika Revolt of 13th Jan 532 when thousands of rampaging fans at the Hippodrome were slaughtered by Emperor Justinians's soldiers after they rioted & sacked the city.
The size of Hagia Sophia is awe inspiring even by modern standards and the mathematics used to create such a vast dome demonstrate how sophisticated ancient mathematicians & engineers were. Justinian chose physicist Isidore of Miletus and mathematician Anthemius of Tralles as architects to complete the task but the dome structure was too massive and the main dome collapsed completely during an earthquake on 7 May 558. It was rebuilt with lighter materials and 30 feet higher by Isidorus the Younger, nephew of Isidore of Miletus and today stands at 55.6 metres (182 ft). Hagia Sophia has withstood many earthquakes over time being repaired and buttressed to give it strength.
Hagia Sophia was the Church of the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople and was decorated inside with Roman Byzantine mosaics with gold backgrounds that would have made for a spectacular interior. The Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) took and sacked Constantinople and most of the treasures and relics from Hagia Sophia were looted by the Venetians who used took them back to Venice to adorn the Basilica of Saint Marks.
In 1453 Sultan Mehmed took Constantinople and the treasures of Hagia Sophia were again pillaged. The Basilica became a mosque and its design was the benchmark for all the great mosques that were subsequently built. Over time the Christian mosaics, that were seen to idolatrous by Muslims who do not allow depictions of Saints or God, were replaced with Islamic designs. Aya Sophia became first imperial mosque of Istanbul and has the mausoleum's ( Türbe ) of the early sultan rulers of Istanbul.
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of an independent Turkish state, in 1935, the first Turkish President and founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, transformed the building into a museum and any religious worship in the building was forbidden. It was repaired and plaster removed to reveal some of the Roman Byzantine mosaics that survived underneath. Today it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that incorporated Ancient Istanbul.
pictures, images & photos of Plitvice Lakes National Park ( Nacionalni park Plitvička jezera ), Croatia. Situated in the Dinaric mountain range of Croatia near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Plitvice lakes are a series of 16 lakes that descend from 2078 to 1650ft down a deep mountain valley and a canyon, which continues as river Korana.. The highly mineralised water contains calcium carbonate which has formed by a process of rapid precipitation semi circular travertine dams behind which lakes and ponds have formed.
The colour of the water changes from blue through to turquoise depending upon the mineral content at different times of the year. The upper lakes are surrounded by forest with walk ways for visitors. The paths weave their way around the travertine lakes and eventually reveal high waterfalls and cascades. From the Upper lakes and electric ferry teas visitors to the lower gorge where lakes decent through a narrow canyon to high waterfalls at the end.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
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Pictures & images of ancient Lycian cities in western Anatolia, Turkey. Ancient Egyptian records describe the Lycians as allies of the Hittites but it is also thought that the Lycians were one of the 'Sea Peoples' who invaded the Hittite Empire around 1200 BC .By 1300 B.C, Lycia emerged as a confederation of fiercely independent city states along the high mountains of Agean coast between Fethiye and Antalya. Homer mentions Lycia as being an ally of Troy, its northern neighbour, and Heroditus says that Lycia is named after Lycus, son of Pandion II of Athens and the Lycians came from Crete to fight in the Trojan Wars. Lycia maintained its language & culture until its fall to Arab invaders of the 8th century.
Wealthy Lycian families would built Pillar and rock tombs which were cut into cliffs and fronted with temple fronts. These would have been family tombs and one still has a relief sculpture of its owner, a gladiator in full Roman armour, cut into the rock above the tomb entrance. Lycians also built tombs onto of pillars often with a characteristic pointed curved roof or in the shape of small Greek Temples. The largest known Lycian tomb is the Neireid Monument of Xanthos, one of the first Temple Tombs now in the British Museum.
In 43AD Lycia was annexed by emperor Claudius as a province into the Roman Empire. The two adopted sons and heirs to Emperor Augustus, Lucius & Gaius Caesar died in Lycia in AD 2 & AD 4 respectively forcing Augustus to adopt Tiberius as his heir.
Linking the Lycian towns is the Lycian Way which runs through the spectacular coastal mountains along the Aegean Sea. The ancient road is today a popular walkers footpath 500km long stretching from Olu Deniz near Fethiye to Hisarcandir, 20km from Antalya. The route has been listed as one of the world top ten walks and at its highest point is 1811 meters above the sea.
Pictures, Images & Photos of The Merry Cemetery of Maramures, Romania.
Pictures & Images of the Maramares Merry Cemetery ( Cimitirul Vesel ) which is in the village of Săpânţa, 16 KM north west of Sighet on the Ukranian border.
The Merry Cemetery is a testament to the vision of woodcarver Stan Ioan Pătraş (1909 - 1977) who created in his lifetime over 700 colourfully painted wooden tombstones with small relief portrait carvings of the deceased or with scenes depicting them at work or play or surprisingly showing the violent accident that killed them. Each tombstone has an inscription about the person, sometimes a light hearted limerick in Romanian but sometimes a poignant warning like "Who sought money to amass, could not Death escape alas". Other tomb stones in the cemetery celebrate peoples lives in a comedic way such as "Now I will tell you a good one. I kind of liked the plum ţuica with my friends at the pub and I used to forget what I came for", the plum in this case was used to make the strong local Palinka indicating that the deceased was a famous drinker of the village. Another inscription from a mother to her son reads " Griga, may you pardoned be, even though you did stab me". A tragic story that like all the other pictures and inscriptions in the Merry Cemetery gives a unique picture of events and the lives in the little Maramures village of Săpânţa over the last century.
The naive folk art style of the tombstones creates a colourful light hearted effect that contradicts the overwhelming tradition of solemnity that is the norm in Christian cemeteries. This may be due to Maramures being at the cusp between the Western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church which has left many Uniate or Greco Catholic churches which use the Orthodox Liturgy but recognises the Pope as Supreme Pontiff. Such schisms along with the remoteness of Maramures would have kept the old pagan beliefs alive and it is thought that the old God Zalmoxis still played a part in the beliefs of the people of Maramures, not least of which was that of a happy death that led to heaven.
If this were so then this is not indicated in the inscription on Stan Ioan Pătraş own tombstone in the Merry Cemetery which reads " Since I was a little boy I was known as Stan Ioan Pătraş. Listen to me, fellows There are no lies in what I am going to say. All along my life I meant no harm to anyone But did good as much as I could To anyone who asked. Oh, my poor World Because It was hard living in it." This inscriptions seems to indicated that the Merry Cemetery is a testament to the endurance of man and the fact that humans tend to temper adversity and make the hardships of life more palatable with humour. Pitras was aware though of the symbolism of colour in his work. The main colour he used was a special blue named by experts Săpânţa blue. The other colours he used represented: Green - life, Yellow - fertility, Red - passion, Black - death which are used particularly in the geometric borders of the scenes on the tombstones.
In 1977 Patras died and left his house and workshop to painter & woodcarver Pop Dumitru TIincu who is continuing Patras' tradition of tombstones making that has created a truly unique and very Merry Cemetery which is a testament to the lives and people of Sapanta and is a surprisingly joyous place.
Pictures, Images & photos of Hydra Island Greece. Located in the Aegean sea between the Saronic and Argolic gulfs Hydra is a fascinating island with no roads or cars. Hydra, the main town nestles on steep hills that rise up from a natural harbour full of small fishing boats. Steep flights of steps lead up from the harbour through small alleys to beautiful Greek villas that would have been the homes of the wealthy ships captains that came from Hydra. Everything from the building materials to the new fridges that are delivered at the dock are moved by donkeys or pack horses that climb nimbly up the steep flights of steps.
Hidden high in the mountainous interior of Hydra are the Orthodox monasteries of Profitas LLias and Ayia Efpraxia. Small paths lead up from the harbour at Hydra through the wooded slopes of the island revealing breathtaking views of the tiny island. The remote monastery of Profitas LLias sits on top of the central mountain and you will be welcomed by one of the monks who will offer you water and Greek delight and a seat to rest on.
There is no beach in Hydra but a 30 minute walk along the coast, or a short boat ride leads to Vylcosh Village which has a lovely small beach with umbrellas.
The harbour of Hydra with its cafes & tavernas contrast with the serene uninhabited mountains and the beautiful little beaches of Hydra to make a fantastic and unique Greek stop over for a few days.
Pictures, Images & Photos of Great Palace Roman Mosaics.
Pictures & images of Great Palace Mosaics, Istanbul, Turkey. The Roman Byzantine mosaics used to decorate the pavement of a peristyle court, dating possibly to the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I ( 527-565 ). The area formed part of the south-western Great Palace, and the excavations discovered a large peristyle courtyard, with a surface of 1872 m², entirely decorated with mosaics.
Pictures, photos & images of Cappadocia ( Capadocia, Kapadokya, ) Anatolia, Turkey. Cappadocia is an area of spectacular rock formations that have been used as rock houses for thousands of years. The whole area has been covered with hundreds of meters of volcanic ash that has compressed into Tufa rock. Water has eroded into the landscape leaving valleys with steep cliffs and towers of rock known as fairy chimneys. Tufa is soft and since prehistoric times people have made cave dwellings which are linked from small doorways via internal stairs that run up inside the fairy chimneys or cliff faces. This created easy to defend rock castles that could house towns of several thousand people like that at Uchisar, where the rock houses run the full height of a towering rock face..
Cappadocia is on a high plateau in the centre of Anatolia and its remote position and hidden rock towns made it a perfect location for early Christians who had to hide from the persecuting Romans. Many rock churches are spread across Capadocia with religious frescos painted on their walls. Some valleys like Zelve have the remains of huge rock monasteries. At Goreme is a UNESCO World Heritage site with rock churches with spectacular frescoes.
Capadocia is a truly unique part of the world. Its rock formations and rock houses create an incredible place to explore which is why it is high on travellers to Turkey's list.