Tag Archives: travelstoke

Justinian’s Church, I mean Mosque, scratch that I mean Museum by mpumilia

Captured this photo of the Hagia Sophia while on a trip to Turkey with my friend Brent. Amazing place.

Wikipedia:
Hagia Sophia (from the Greek: Ἁγία Σοφία, “Holy Wisdom”; Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia; Turkish: Ayasofya) is a former Christian patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople,[1] except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935.[2]

The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Holy Trinity,[3] its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ.[3] Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (as though it were named after Saint Sophia), sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Ναός τῆς Ἁγίας τοῦ Θεοῦ Σοφίας, “Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God”.[4][5]

Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture[6] and is said to have “changed the history of architecture”.[7] It remained the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the previous two having both been destroyed by rioters. It was designed by the Greek scientists Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles.[8]

The church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre (49 ft) silver iconostasis. The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius on the part of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act which is commonly considered the start of the Great Schism.

In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. By that point, the church had fallen into a state of disrepair. Nevertheless, the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque.[9][10] The bells, altar, iconostasis, and sacrificial vessels and other relics were removed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints and angels were also removed or plastered over. Islamic features—such as the mihrab, minbar, and four minarets—were added. It remained a mosque until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia is currently (2014) the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually.[11]

From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby larger Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul) in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the Blue Mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque.

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The “New” Mosque on the Golden Horn by mpumilia

Istanbul is an amazing city with an incredible and layered history.

The Golden Horn: “The Golden Horn (Turkish: Altın Boynuz; Ancient Greek: Χρυσόκερας, Khrysókeras; Latin: Chrysoceras), also known by its modern Turkish name as Haliç, is a major urban waterway and the primary inlet of the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey.

This falcate, anfractuous waterbody is a horn-shaped estuary that joins Bosphorus Strait at the immediate point where said strait meets the Sea of Marmara, thus forming a narrow, isolated peninsula, the tip of which is “Old Istanbul” (ancient Byzantion and Constantinople), and the promontory of Sarayburnu, or Seraglio Point. The Golden Horn geographically separates the historic center of Istanbul from the rest of the city, and forms a natural, sheltered harbor that has historically protected Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other maritime trade ships for thousands[1] of years.

While the reference to a “horn” is understood to refer to the inlet’s general shape, the significance of the designation “golden” is more obscure, with historians believing it to refer to either the riches brought into the city through the bustling historic harbor located along its shores, or to romantic artistic interpretations of the rich yellow light blazing upon the estuary’s waters as the sun sets over the city. Its Greek and English names mean the same, while its Turkish name, Haliç, simply means “estuary”, and is derived from the Arabic word khaleej, meaning “gulf”.

Throughout its storied past, the Golden Horn has witnessed many tumultuous historical incidents, and its dramatic vistas have been the subject of countless works of art.”

The New Mosque: “The Yeni Cami, meaning New Mosque; originally named the Valide Sultan Mosque (Turkish: Valide Sultan Camii) and later New Valide Sultan Mosque (Turkish: Yeni Valide Sultan Camii) after its partial reconstruction and completion between 1660 and 1665; is an Ottoman imperial mosque located in the Eminönü quarter of Istanbul, Turkey. It is situated on the Golden Horn, at the southern end of the Galata Bridge, and is one of the famous architectural landmarks of Istanbul.”

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The Homage of the Iron Lady by mpumilia

“On the Eiffel Tower, seventy-two names of French scientists, engineers, and mathematicians are engraved in recognition of their contributions.[1] Gustave Eiffel chose this “invocation of science” because of his concern over the protests against the tower.[2] The engravings are found on the sides of the tower under the first balcony. The engraving was painted over at the beginning of the twentieth century and restored in 1986–1987 by Société Nouvelle d’exploitation de la Tour Eiffel, a company contracted to operate business related to the Tower. The Tower is owned by the city of Paris. The letters were originally painted in gold and are about 60 cm high. The repainting of 2010/2011 restored the letters to their original gold colour.”

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Identity Crisis along the Tiber by mpumilia

The layers of Castel Sant’Angelo provide a fascinating glimpse at the history of Rome. Originally known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Castel has served many purposes throughout its existence – from a tomb and a charnel house to a papal fortress and prison. The Castel’s bloody history

Wikipedia: The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant’Angelo (English: Castle of the Holy Angel), is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castel was once the tallest building in Rome.

The tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian, also called Hadrian’s mole,[1] was erected on the right bank of the Tiber, between 134 and 139 AD.[2] Originally the mausoleum was a decorated cylinder, with a garden top and golden quadriga. Hadrian’s ashes were placed here a year after his death in Baiae in 138, together with those of his wife Sabina, and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in 138. Following this, the remains of succeeding emperors were also placed here, the last recorded deposition being Caracalla in 217. The urns containing these ashes were probably placed in what is now known as the Treasury room deep within the building. Hadrian also built the Pons Aelius facing straight onto the mausoleum – it still provides a scenic approach from the center of Rome and the right bank of the Tiber, and is renowned for the Baroque additions of statues of angels holding aloft elements of the Passion of Christ.

Much of the tomb contents and decorations have been lost since the building’s conversion to a military fortress in 401 and its subsequent inclusion in the Aurelian Walls by Flavius Augustus Honorius. The urns and ashes were scattered by Visigoth looters during Alaric’s sacking of Rome in 410, and the original decorative bronze and stone statuary were thrown down upon the attacking Goths when they besieged Rome in 537, as recounted by Procopius. An unusual survivor, however, is the capstone of a funerary urn (probably that of Hadrian), which made its way to Saint Peter’s Basilica, covered the tomb of Otto II and later was incorporated into a massive Renaissance baptistery.[3] The use of spolia from the tomb in the post-Roman period was noted in the 16th century — Giorgio Vasari writes:

“…in order to build churches for the use of the Christians, not only were the most honoured temples of the idols [pagan Roman gods] destroyed, but in order to ennoble and decorate Saint Peter’s with more ornaments than it then possessed, they took away the stone columns from the tomb of Hadrian, now the castle of Sant’Angelo, as well as many other things which we now see in ruins.”[4]

Legend holds that the Archangel Michael appeared atop the mausoleum, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590, thus lending the castle its present name. A less charitable yet more apt elaboration of the legend, given the militant disposition of this archangel, was heard by the 15th-century traveler who saw an angel statue on the castle roof. He recounts that during a prolonged season of the plague, Pope Gregory I heard that the populace, even Christians, had begun revering a pagan idol at the church of Santa Agata in Suburra. A vision urged the pope to lead a procession to the church. Upon arriving, the idol miraculously fell apart with a clap of thunder. Returning to St Peter’s by the Aelian Bridge, the pope had another vision of an angel atop the castle, wiping the blood from his sword on his mantle, and then sheathing it. While the pope interpreted this as a sign that God was appeased, this did not prevent Gregory from destroying more sites of pagan worship in Rome.[5]

The popes converted the structure into a castle, beginning in the 14th century; Pope Nicholas III connected the castle to St Peter’s Basilica by a covered fortified corridor called the Passetto di Borgo. The fortress was the refuge of Pope Clement VII from the siege of Charles V’s Landsknechte during the Sack of Rome (1527), in which Benvenuto Cellini describes strolling the ramparts and shooting enemy soldiers.

Leo X built a chapel with a Madonna by Raffaello da Montelupo. In 1536 Montelupo also created a marble statue of Saint Michael holding his sword after the 590 plague (as described above) to surmount the Castel.[6] Later Paul III built a rich apartment, to ensure that in any future siege the pope had an appropriate place to stay.

Montelupo’s statue was replaced by a bronze statue of the same subject, executed by the Flemish sculptor Peter Anton von Verschaffelt, in 1753. Verschaffelt’s is still in place and Montelupo’s can be seen in an open court in the interior of the Castle.

The Papal state also used Sant’Angelo as a prison; Giordano Bruno, for example, was imprisoned there for six years. Another prisoner was the sculptor and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini. Executions were performed in the small inner courtyard. As a prison, it was also the setting for the third act of Giacomo Puccini’s 1900 opera Tosca; the eponymous heroine leaps to her death from the Castel’s ramparts.

Decommissioned in 1901, the castle is now a museum, the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo.

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The “Absurd” Bridge of the Thames by mpumilia

Many things have been said about the Tower Bridge, which is frequently mistaken for London Bridge. Frank Brangwyn once said that “A more absurd structure than the Tower Bridge was never thrown across a strategic river.” H.H. Statham wrote that the Tower Bridge “represents the vice of tawdriness and pretentiousness, and of falsification of the actual facts of the structure.”

Wikipedia: Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England which crosses the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London and has become an iconic symbol of London.

The bridge consists of two bridge towers tied together at the upper level by two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal tensional forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical components of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge’s present colour scheme dates from 1977, when it was painted red, white and blue for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee. Originally it was painted a mid greenish-blue colour.[1]

The nearest London Underground tube stations are Tower Hill on the Circle and District lines, London Bridge and Bermondsey, and the nearest Docklands Light Railway station is Tower Gateway.[2]

Tower Bridge is often mistaken for London Bridge,[17] the next bridge upstream. A popular urban legend is that in 1968, Robert P. McCulloch, the purchaser of the old London Bridge that was later shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, believed that he was in fact buying Tower Bridge. This was denied by McCulloch himself and has been debunked by Ivan Luckin, the vendor of the bridge.[18]

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Old and New – Pyramid through the Arc by mpumilia

Wikipedia: Louvre Pyramid

The Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre) is a large glass and metal pyramid, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard (Cour Napoléon) of the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989,[1] it has become a landmark of the city of Paris.

Commissioned by the President of France François Mitterrand in 1984, it was designed by the architect I. M. Pei, who is responsible for the design of the Miho Museum in Japan, the MasterCard Corporate Office Building in Purchase, New York, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, Place Ville Marie in Montreal, and the National Gallery of Art (East Building) in Washington, D.C. among others. The structure, which was constructed entirely with glass segments, reaches a height of 21.6 metres (about 71 feet); its square base has sides of 35 metres (115 ft). It consists of 603 rhombus-shaped and 70 triangular glass segments.[2]

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Wikipedia: Arc du Triomphe du Carrousel

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel (pronounced: [aʁk də tʁijɔ̃f dy kaʁusɛl]) is a triumphal arch in Paris, located in the Place du Carrousel. It was built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon’s military victories of the previous year. The more famous Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, across from the Champs Élysées, was designed in the same year; it is about twice the size and was not completed until 1836.

Designed by Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine, the arch was built between 1806 and 1808 by the Emperor Napoleon I, on the model of the Arch of Constantine (312 AD) in Rome, as a gateway of the Tuileries Palace, the Imperial residence. The destruction of the Tuileries Palace during the Paris Commune in 1871, allowed an unobstructed view west towards the more famous Arc de Triomphe.

It was originally surmounted by the famous horses of Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, which had been captured in 1798 by Napoleon. In 1815, following the Battle of Waterloo and the Bourbon restoration, France ceded the quadriga to the Austrian empire which had annexed Venice under the terms of the Congress of Vienna. The Austrians immediately returned the statuary to Venice. The horses of Saint Mark were replaced in 1828 by a quadriga sculpted by Baron François Joseph Bosio, depicting Peace riding in a triumphal chariot led by gilded Victories on both sides. The composition commemorates the Restoration of the Bourbons following Napoleon’s downfall.

The Arc du Carrousel inspired the design of Marble Arch, constructed in London between 1826 and 1833.[2]

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