Photos of Diocletian's Palace, Split


Pictures, Images & Photos of the Romen Emperor Diocletian's Palace at Split, Croatia.

Pictures, Images & photos of Split and Roman Emperor Diocletian's palace founded by Emperor Diocletian between the late 3rd and the early 4th centuries AD.

Diocletian became emperor after long periods of civil war in the Roman Empire. He started a reform program that would eventually lead to a split in the Roman Empire. Diolcetian was a great organiser and brought in new tax legislation and reforms that were well over due but he is best known for 2 acts. Realising that the Roman Empire had become too big to rule by one Emperor, he divided the Empire in two creating an Eastern and Western Empire to be ruled by 2 co-emperors or Augusti. Diolcetian ruledthe Eastern Empire, he appointed the general Maximian as the emperor of the west. The Empire had been devastated by accession wars on the death of an Emperor so Diocletian decided in 285 to appoint successors to follow himself and Maximian and these were titled Caesars ( junior emperors). In 305 Diocletian abdicated and forcing Maximian to do the same, allowing Constantius and Galerius to be elevated in rank to Augusti and in turn appointed Caesars to follow them. Diocletian retired to his Palace in Split to famously "grew cabbages" and enjoyed his retirement. His master plan failed though and the new Augusti and Caesars were soon at war with each other and Diocletian was called out of retirement to sort the mess out. Diocletian did not live to see the eventual outcome of the dispute which ended in Constantine taking sole charge of the Empire and moving the capital of the Empire to Constantinople.

Diocletian is also remembered for his purges against the Christians. Diocletian was a conservative who looked back to the Pagan heyday of Rome believing that the Ancient Gods who would bring ill to those that did not sacrifice to them. It seems that Diocletian believed that the chaos that reigned in the Roman Empire was a sign of the displeasure of the Gods due to the Christians worship of just one God. Diocletian ruled that if Christians did not sacrifice to the Pagan Gods then they should die by "exposure to Animals". The numbers of Christian who did die during these purges has been over dramatised as most of the Empire could see no sense in killing Christians who were no sport in the arena as they knelt and accepted death gratefully as a gift of martyrdom and a passage straight to heaven. Diocletian and his Caesar Galerius did apply the rules harshly in the Eastern Empire until Diocletian's death. Diocletian was buried in a mausoleum in his Palace which still stands today as an octagonal building. When Constantine became Emperor he made Christianity a legal religion of the Empire and pagan temples, including Diocletian's Mausoleum were turned into churches. In Christians revenge for Diocletian's cruelty towards them removed distorted his remains.

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Photos of The Palatine Palace, Sicily


Pictures, Images & Photos of the Spectacular Byzantine Mosaics of The Palatine Chapel, Palermo.

Photos, pictures of the Palatine Chapel, Palermo. The chapel was commissioned buy Roger II of Sicily in 1132 and was dedicated to St. Peter. The new chapel was built over an older chapel, now the crypt, that was built in 1080. The design of the chapel follows traditional Byzantine rules. At one end it has 3 apses which are semicircular recesses covered with semicircular domes. The central Aspe is higher than the 2 side apses and all 3 house the chapels altars. At the end of the apses the transept runs the width of the chapel. above the centre of the transept is a high dome. From the transept run a central naive which has 6 arabic pointed arches, 3 on each side, supported by older classical columns. On each side of the central naive are 2 smaller aisles. At the end of the central naive is a raised platform which is where the Frankish Carolingian throne was placed for the king to sit on.

What makes the Palatine chapel one of Europe's great art treasures is its mosaic decorations. Every part of the interior of the chapel is covered with mosaics. The background color of the mosaics is gold which reflects the candles in such a way as to create a magic and mystical atmosphere that is almost overwhelming. Because the chapel is quite an intimate space the intricate flowing figures and patterns of the mosaic design crowd in on the senses and are almost overpowering. Each scene is surrounded by its own decorative border as can be seen in orthodox icon mosaics.

The oldest mosaics are probably in the transept and date from about 1140. These magnificently crafted mosaics depict the Acts of the Apostles. These mosaics almost certainly made by the finest Byzantine craftsmen probably from Constantinople. The style of the design is heavily influenced by orthodox iconography and the inscriptions are in Greek.

The other mosaics depict scenes for the old testament and scenes from the lives of apostles and probably date from the 1160's. They are not as fine as the transept mosaics and were probably made by local craftsmen as a lot of the inscriptions are in Latin rather than Greek.

The Palatine chapel is a political statement from the 11th and 12th century. It is designed to appeal to Roman & Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. Its mosaics depict biblical scenes as well as very rare secular mosaics and paintings on the ceiling depicting everyday life, animals and flowers. The Arabic style multifaceted ceiling, made from now rare Nebrodi pine, is influenced by Iraqi 'Abbasid art. Lions & eagles are depicted and these paintings in tempera, part of what is widely considered the largest single Fatimid work of art of its day, seems to reflect the relaxed norms of a tolerant society. The scenes would have been frowned upon by Muslims of the time yet they would have been painted by Muslim artists. In the Palatine Chapel the Normans are sending out a secular message of tolerance to dogmatic Muslims?

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Pictures of the Byzantine Mosaics of Monreale, Sicily


Pictures, Images & Photos of the Norman Monreale Cathedral, Sicily.

Pictures, images & photos of the Great Norman Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily. The world Norman and Sicily do not sit naturally together for many people, yet The Normans did not only conquer England they help principalities all the way to and including Jerusalem. The Norman's were descendants of The Vikings (North Men). Their barbarity is legendary but what is often forgotten is that after converting to Christianity the Normans became fanatical Christian patrons founding greta Abbeys like Mont St Michele, Cathedrals like Durham Cathedral and sponsoring great works of art like that in Monreale Cathedral, Sicily.

The building of the Cathedral of Monreale was begun in 1174 by William II, and in 1182 the church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Monreale is a political statement by William II who wanted to weaken the power of the Palermo cardinals by creating a great cathedral outside the city.

Like most Norman cathedrals this Norman Romanesque basilica was built on a massive scale in record breaking time. The inside is tiled with Byzantine style mosaics which cover a staggering 6,500 m² of its interior. The mosaics of Monreale depict scenes from the bible and over the altar is a huge Greek style Christ Pantocrator.

Next to the Cathedral are the cloisters of Monreale monastery. 126 white marble pillars support medieval craved capitals and arches of Monreale's spectacular cloisters. Every capital is carved with a different mythology of biblical scenes. Fantastic medieval animals entwine themselves around the pillar capitals and columns in an extraordinary demonstration of the exuberance of medieval art and proof, if one were needed, that the dark ages were not very dark at all.

To give real power to Monreale Cathedral, William II made it his and his families burial place, and there they lie in great medieval sarcophagi. The Normans are an underestimated cultural force of the medieval world. Their ruthless exploits have overshadowed the great building and works of art they bestowed.

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Pictures of the Ruins of Perge, Turkey


Pictures of Perge Archaeological Site, Turkey.

Pictures, images and photos of the archaeological site of Perge ( Perga ), Turkey. Perge dates back to the Bronze Age and during the Greek Hellenistic period was one of the richest and most beautiful cities of the ancient world. In the 1400's B.C the Ancient World civilisations of the Mediterranean apart from Egypt suddenly collapsed. Egyptian hieroglyphics talk of a sea people who destroyed all the ancient cities along the coast and as far inland as Hattusa the Hittite capital. By 1000 B.C the Hellenistic period of rebuilding was beginning and Perge, 20 km from the sea was seen to be in a defensive position that would keep it safe from sea people attacks and the nearby Aksu River was used to move goods to the sea. It became an important trading and cultural city and was the home of the great mathematician Apollonius.

Apart from the remains of two Hellenistic towers the archaeological site of Perga today is from the Roman period from 146 B.C. The city is an exemplary example of Hellenistic & Roman gridiron planning with defensive walls. By the the 3rd cent. BC when Alexander re-conquered Anatolia from the Persians, grid plans were the norm for Hellenistic cities. The Romans adopted the idea from the Greek settlements of southern Italy and carried on the design in Perga. From the Acropolis the Nymphaeum fountain fed running water into a canal which ran down the middle of a 300 mt. long colonnaded street that ran from the Acropolis to the Agora. The southern baths and gymnasium is a fine Roman brick building complex. In 46 A.D., according to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Barnabas journeyed to Perga, from there continued on to Antiocheia in Pisidia, then returned to Perga where he delivered a sermon.

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Photos of The Meteora Monasteries Greece


Pictures, Images & Photos of the Meteora Monasteries, Greece.

Meteora Monasteries Greece pictures, images fotos & photos of the Orthodox monasteries on top of their pillars of rock. Buy stock pictures, photoart prints & cards of Meteora Mountains famous Cliff top Monasteries.

In the sixteenth century there were 24 monasteries but today only 6 remain. Each monastery has a winch house with a rope net that is lowered to haul up provisions. Originally pilgrims had to climb up precarious rope ladders to make their devotions in the monastery churches. Today a visit is less hazardous as steps have been cut into the cliffs that snake up to the monasteries.

In 420 Simeon, a Syrian Christian Monk, decided to escape the world and become a Hermit. He built a 15.2m (50ft) high pillar and somehow lived on the top, exposed to the elements, until his death. This inspired Christians for centuries like the hermits that originally inhabited the caves in the lower pillars of the Pindos Mountains from the 10 century.

In the fourteenth century monastery building started in earnest when a monk from Mount Athos, Athanasios Koinovitis, climbed a pinnacle known as the Plathy Lithos because of its wide plateau on top. Here, with a group of followers, he built the first buildings of the Metéoron monastery. In 1388 Thessaly was ruled by a Serbian King and his son, Loasaf, became a pupil of Athanasios at the Metéoron. The King extended the monastery which became an important center of learning with many fine illuminated codecs and important Byzantine frescos in its church.

23 more monasteries were built over the next 2 centuries and precious relics and icons found safety in the impregnable monasteries such as the finger of St John and the shoulder blade of St Andrew in the monastery of Varlaám. It is a marvel that 600 years ago men could build such wonderful buildings at the top of high isolated rock pillars without cranes or mechanical aides.

Since the building of a paved road into the mountains in the 1960s, tourists have been able to visit the Meteora Monasteries and marvel at beauty and serenity of the captivating Byzantine buildings set against the dramatic backdrop of the Pindos Mountains. UNESCO added the Meteora to its world heritage list and from 1972 the 6 remaining monasteries have been under renovation repairing damage from neglect and earthquakes. The Meteora Monasteries are one of the most extraordinary sights in the world and are a reminder of how religious devotion can drive men to great feats of architecture and art in search of salvation.

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Photos of Dalyan, Turkey


Pictures, Images & Photos of Dalyan Turkey.

Pictures & images of Dalyan, its river & delta on the Aegean Sea, Turkey. Dalyan is situated inland from the Aegean Sea on a river that runs through reed marshes from the inland lake & sanctuary of Köyceğiz (Koycegiz).

The Dalyan Delta has a spit of sand running across it known as Iztuzu Beach which is a famous breeding ground of the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. In 1988 the beach was designated a Special Environment Protection area after plans were announced to build luxury Hotel on the beach.

Behind the beach is a Delta lagoon where the young Loggerhead Turtles first go for protection waiting for a high tide to escape to the open sea. Reed beds make up a classic Delta which leads via the River Dalyan past the tourist town of Dalyan & the Archaeological site of Kaunos to the inland Köyceğiz (Koycegiz) lake. The lake is a mixture of Sea & fresh water at different depths giving it an unusual diversity of wild life. Bass, Mullet and Sea Bream come to the lake to spawn and are caught in nets known as "Dalyan's". A fish lunch can be eat by tourists & locals in the restaurants that line the reed banks, many only accessible by boat.

The symbol of Dalyan are the Lycian style rock tombs carved out of the cliffs opposite the town. These 4th -2nd cent. B.C tombs have the front of Hellenistic Ionic order temples. They are on the edge of a large ruined city known as Kaunos. The extensive ruins have a big amphitheatre that would have sat 5000 people and temple ruins that sit on the side of a picturesque silted up harbour.



 

Photos of the Gulag at Sighet Prison, Romania


Pictures of the Gulag Prison of Sighet, Romania.

Pictures & Images of the Gulag prison of Sighet ( Sighetu Marmatiei ) is one of the most known centres were the political prisoners were imprisoned, remarkable persons of the pre-communist Romania. Many of them lived their last days between the cold walls of this prison. The Memorial Sighet was established as a reminder of the atrocities committed by the communist regime - for years the populace had been brain-washed to create the so-called "New Man" through the rewriting of history and poisoning the memories of generations. Sighet prison was chosen as one of many political prisons set up in Stalinist times and because it was where the country's political, spiritual and cultural elite of the pre-war democracy was exterminated. Due to its remoteness Sighet being right on the Ukraine boarder to the north and surrounded by mountain ranges to the south, west & east, it was chosen to house high ranking political, Religious & aristocratic prisoners. Even if a prisoner managed to escape from Sighet there was mower to run.

The prison is a museum and a memorial for those that died and suffered in the Romanian Gulags of which Sighet held the most famous Romanian prisoners.

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Photos of the Mosaics & Frescoes of Jesus Christ


Pictures, Images & Photos of Jesus Christ.

Pictures & Images of the Religious Depictions of Jesus Christ. One of the great world iconic symbols is Christ Pantocrator, "The Almighty" or "All-powerful". Christianity if the only one of the 3 faiths of "The Book", the others being Islam & Judaism, that allows the depiction of religious figures to be venerated. Even within Christianity the practice of allowing Icons ( Greek for "image") differs between the Christian Sects. Jews forbid Iconography under the commandment "Thou shalt not worship false idols". Eastern Orthodoxy after much debate and schisms allow Icons but do not allow three diminutional representations of religious figure. This can be seen in the flat painted crosses of the Orthodox Church and the rigid rules in Orthodox Icons that create more symbolic images that the humanist Christian Images of the Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholicism allows statues & images of religious figures but this is not allowed by more puritan christians.

The depiction of Jesus Christ is not therefore to be found in all churches but one of the most powerful is Christ Pantocrator which has come to suggest Christ as a mild but stern, all-powerful judge of humanity. The icon of Christ Pantokrator is one of the most widely used religious images of Orthodox Christianity. Generally speaking, in Byzantine church art and architecture, an iconic mosaic or fresco of Christ Pantokrator occupies the space in the central dome of the church, in the half-dome of the apse or on the nave vault. Christ is always making the Orthodox blessing with his right hand with his thumb touching his second finger making the symbolic shape of I C & X C which in Greek spell "Jesus Christ".

Roman Catholic representations depict Christ as man. This is due to another Schism between the Churches that argue about whether Christ is of the same substance as God or if he was created by God and is human as well as divine.

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