Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pictures of Ottoman Style Iznik Tiles

Pictures, Images & Photos of Ottoman Style Iznik Tiles.

Pictures, images & photos of Iznik glazed ceramic Arabesque Ottoman tiles. Iznik was famous for its highly decorated ceramic pottery from the 15th century to the end of the 17th century. Suleyman the magnificent and his wife Hurrem (Roxelana) became big fans of Iznik ceramics and used Iznik tiles to decorate their palace, mosques and building that they built. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, better known as the Blue Mosque, contains over 20,000 Iznik tiles to adorn its interior. The famous Harem of the Topcapi Palace is lavishly decorated with Iznik Arabesque designs. The combination of panels of different tile designs in the same rooms make for a spectacular display. Iznik tile designs sum up the Ottoman styles and tastes in a vivid way.

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Pictures of Ancient Rome

Pictures, Images & Photos of Historic Rome

Pictures, images & photos of Rome, Italy. To many Rome is Italy but actually Rome is Rome and still feels different from the rest of Italy. 1600 years after its fall from grace the independence of what was the capital of the greatest Western Empire can still be felt. It is still very clear to Romans that they are Romans first and Italians maybe. Rome may have lost its great imperial Emperor but it is still home to the guiding spirit of over half the worlds Christians in the form of the Pope. Rome probably has more iconic buildings than any other city in Europe. It would be difficult and pointless to try and choose only one of Rome's landmarks as its icon for each has a different meaning to different people. The Trevi fountain is the focus of coin throwing romantics as is the Spanish Steps. The Vatican is the focus of pious Roman Catholics from all over the World and the Colosseum is an iconic symbols of Rome's excesses and cruelty and mystique. The great events that happened in the Forum of Rome are some of the great stories of European history and to follow in the footsteps of Julius Cesar and Augustus is a thrilling experience. To stand under the great dome of the Roman Basilica of the Pantheon is an awe inspiring marvel at ancient engineering that would defeat modern architects. Rome operates on so many cultural levels that it is impossible to make a single definition for the city.

One thing is for sure Rome has something for everyone, from the Great football teams of Roma and Lazio to the work of the greatest artists that ever lived. From chic Italian clothes boutiques to the greatest museums in the world. Is this review of Rome's attributes too gushing? Well actually it can never be gushing enough because to encompass what is Rome is really impossible. Fellini took a good shot and glorified Rome in some of the great icon films of European cinema like "La Dulce Vita" & "Roma" but even the great masters work only scratched the surface. There is no need to throw three coins into the Trevi fountain, which is meant to mean that the thrower will visit Rome again, because there is no doubt that the appetite from one visit to Rome will fuel the hunger to visit again.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pictures of Minoan Art & Frescoes

Pictures, Images & Photos of Minoan Frescoes & Art.

Pictures of Minoan Art with images of Minoan frescoes from Knossos, Akrotiri & the Ankara Archaeological Museum.

What the Minoans called themselves is unknown. The term "Minoan" was coined by Arthur Evans after the mythic "king" Minos.

The Minoan Bronze Age began in Crete around 2700 BC. The influence of the Minoan civilization outside Crete manifests itself in the presence of valuable Minoan handicraft items on the Greek mainland. It is likely that the ruling house of Mycenae was connected to the Minoan trade network. After around 1700 BC, the material culture on the Greek mainland achieved a new level due to Minoan influence. Connections between Egypt and Crete are prominent. Minoan ceramics are found in Egyptian cities and the Minoans imported several items from Egypt, especially papyrus, as well as architectural and artistic ideas.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pictures of Greek Sculptures

Pictures, Images & Photos of Ancient Greek Sculptures.

Pictures, images & photos of Greek Sculptures from the Archaic to the Hellenistic periods. What is known as Ancient Greece is today the Cyclades Islands, Greek mainland and the Aegean coast and its islands. It was common to use a small figure as a votive offering or in a grave burial. These go back as far as 2800 B.C on the Cyclades island and were simple figures in terracotta or stone.

The first period that shows the craftsmanship and skill of Greek sculptures id the Archaic period which was inspired by Egyptian art and spanned from about 100 B.C to 500 B.C. One of the dominant styles of the Archaic is the Kouros, a nude standing youth and the Kore, a draped standing girl. The nude male was prized in Greek sculpture as the male body was seen as a thing of great beauty. The Greek Olympic athletes competed in the nude. Because the Gods had human forms statues of the Gods in the nude are also normal in Greek Sculpture.

After the Archaic came the Classical period fro about the 5th cent B.C to the 4th cent B.C. By this time the Greek sculptures skills had been perfected and they were able to produce realistic and idealised style that evolved following the conquests by Alexander the Great (336 B.C to 323 B.C) into the Hellenistic Period. The Hellenistic period saw what some saw as a drop in standards as the sculptures became less idealistic and more realistic depicting real emotions.

Once the Romans had conquered Greece from 146 B.C they created a demand for copies of classic Greek sculptures that were produced almost like factory items. This period of Roman copies of Greek classical sculptures is important to archaeology as it preserved some lost classical sculptures as replicas.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Museum Pictures of Roman Mosaics

Pictures, Images & Photos of Roman Mosaics of Italy, Greece & Turkey

Pictures & images of Ancient Roman sculpture & relief sculptures from Italy, Greece & Turkey. Ancient Greek sculpture is a complicated area of archaeology as it is linked very closely to Greek sculpture. One area of Roman sculpture copies earlier known Greek sculptures. One of the most significant Roman developments was that of portraiture. Wealthy Roman families developed a type of ancestor worship with rooms dedicated to the death masks. The cheapest masks were made of wax and the more wealthy could afford bronze, marble & terracotta. This led to public to a realistic style of sculpture of the great & the good of Rome where reality went as far as adding warts and wrinkles because they showed that the person had character.

Reality in statues stopped with the end of the Republic. The Emperor Augustus controlled his image once he had become essentially the first Emperor. The approved image of Augustus was spread around the Roman Empire and in them he never grew older. Subsequent Emperors followed this lead and a more formal idealised portrait developed that flattered. Although the Romans followed the style of classical Greece, they stopped short at nudity and few of the male Roman sculptures show men in the nude.

Sculptures & relief sculptures were an important part of Roman communication. Great triumphal arches & columns showed the great exploits of Emperors and Roman temples and sarcophagus were adorned with relief sculptures of mythical scenes, great exploits or hunting scenes. Sculptures of the gods filled niches in Roman buildings and were found in every home.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pictures of The Byzantine Mosaics of The Palatine Palace, Palermo

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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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pictures of The Medieval City of Rhodes, Greece

Pictures of the Medieval City of Rhodes, Greece.

Pictures, images and photos of Rhodes city on the Island of Rhodes (Rodos) , Greece. Rhodes is an ancient settlement of the Dodecanese islands and has been settled since pre history. Today the medieval city is dominated by the Palace of the Grand Master whose medieval battlements look more like a town in northern Europe than in Greece. This was built by the Knights Hospitallers who founded a hospital in Jerusalem in 1023 to care for sick and injured pilgrims to the Holy Land. After the First Crusade in 1099 the order became a religious military order and following the fall of the Holy Land to the Muslim forces in the 13th century the Knights Hospitalers set up their headquarters in Rhodes.

After the Knights Templar were dissolved in 1312 the Hospitallers were given their property and the holdings in Rhodes were organised into Priories of eight languages one each in Crown of Aragon, Auvergne, Castile, England, France, Germany, Italy, and Provence. Each of these was organised under a Grand Prior who inturn were under the Grand Master. As well as caring for the sick and as military knights The Hospitallers acted as a banking system for merchants from the west.

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 Sultan Mehmed II made the knights a priority target. It wasn't until 1522 though that a force of 200,00 men under Suleiman the Magnificent forced the 7,000 men at arms of the Hospitalers to abandon Rhodes and retreat to Sicily.

The medieval city of Rhodes is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site and under the Italian rule of Mussolini the Palace of the Grand Master was renovated as a retreat for himself and King Victor Emmanuel. The city has a Jewish quarter with a memorial to the Jews that lived there and died under fascist repression. There is also a Turkish quarter with mosques and the old shops of the Bazaar selling tourist trinkets.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Images of the Greek Temples of The Archaeological Site of Selinunte, Sicily

Pictures, Images & Photos of the Greek Temples of Selinunte, Sicily.

Pictures of the Greek Temples of Selinunte, Sicily. It is often forgotten that Greek city states stretched as far beyond Greece and that some of the biggest Greek Temples can be found on Sicily. Selinunte (Greek: Σελινοῦς; Latin: Selinus) is an ancient Greek archaeological site on the south coast of Sicily. The ancient city of Selinunte was one of the most westerly in Sicily and therefore came into constant conflict with the invading Carthaginians. Around 409 BC a massive Carthaginian army of around 100,000 men overwhelmed Selinunte killing 16,000 inhabitants and taking 5,000 as prisoners. The city was rebuilt but in the first Punic War in 250 BC was again destroyed by the Carthaginians and was never rebuilt.

The huge archaeological site of Selinunte is situated on a promontory that juts out into the sea. Its raised situation would have given it good defences with a natural harbour below. The archaeological site contains five temples centered on an acropolis. Of the five temples, only the Temple of Hera, also known as "Temple E", has been re-erected and is a splendid Doric order temple.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Pictures of the Archaeological Site of Pergamon, Turkey

Pictures of Pergamon Archaeological Site, Turkey.

Pictures, images and photos of Pergamon ( Bergama ), archaeological site, Turkey.

The Kingdom of Pergamon was ruled by Eumenes II in 197-159 B.C who expanded the Library of Pergamon. The copying of ancient manuscripts was a lucrative business in the ancient world and the Library Alexandria had the monopoly of the great books and the Egyptian papyrus that they were copied onto. When the Library of Pergamon to began to rival that in Alexandria and the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt banned the export of papyrus to Pergamon. Not to be defeated the Library at Pergamon invented a substitute, Parchment, which is made from animal skin and could be cut into squares and bound into the first books known as codex. In 133 B.C Attalus III of Pergamon died without an heir and left the Kingdom of Pergamon to the Roman Empire. Under the rule of Mark Anthony, Cleopatra took the opportunity to persuade him that the books of the Library of Pergamon would be better housed in the Library of Alexandria, so Pergamon lost is great library and slowly declined.

The archaeological site of Pergamon is one of the most dramatic sites of antiquity. The white Corinthian columns of the Temple of Trajan are visible from miles away. Started by Emperor Trajan the construction of the Temple was finished by Hadrian (117 AD).

From the Acropolis one of the steepest amphitheatres of the ancient world descends down the hillside. Capable of holding an audience of 10,000 the theatre was constructed in the 3rd cent. B.C. Under the rule of Emperor Caracalla (211-217 AD) the theatre was given a Roman makeover.

The Upper Acropolis Great Altar of Pergamon constructed by Eumenes II in the first half of the 2nd cent. B.C was excavated in 1878 by German engineer Carl Humann. The thousands of fragments of the freeze were reconstructed by Italian restorers in Berlin. The Pergamon Museum was built to house the great altar.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pictures of The Medieval Tuscan City of San Gimignano

Pictures, Images & Photos of San Gimignano, Tuscany. The Medieval Manhattan.

Pictures, photo & images of San Gimignano, Tuscany, Scilly. Ever wondered what Manhattan would have looked like if it was built 800 years ago. Well a look at the curious towers of San Gimignano will give some idea of what a medieval Manhattan would have looked like. On close inspection it can be seen that the simple square towers of San Gimignano have little or no practical purpose. It was certainly possible to stand at the top of the towers and shout abuse at the neighbouring feuding family, but the towers have little other purpose. The towers have no rooms, no architectural finesse and are simply bombastic expressions of power. The ruling Council of San Gimignano put a height barrier on the towers banning any taller than the tower of the town hall. Frustrated one family built 2 towers next to each other to show their prowess. Many of the towers of San Gimignano and other Tuscan towns were not structurally sound and tumbled to the ground. Other towers had to be taken down before they fell but there are still enough towers left to turn the skyline of San Gimignano into a very strange and unique sight.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pictures of the Historic Ottoman Architecture of Safronbolu, Turkey

Pictures, Images & Photos of the Ottoman Architecture of Safronbolu, Turkey.

Pictures & images of the Ottoman Turkish architecture of Safranbolu, Turkey. Safranbolu derives its name from the Saffron the city traded had 3 caravanserais, overnight stopping places for camel caravan trains. Conquered during the Turkish expansion into Anatolia in the 11th century, the town still has many Ottoman Turkish style buildings. The town is one of the most complete from this era possibly due to the continuing importance of the Saffron trade in the area. The half timbered Ottoman style houses sit high on windowless stables rooms. Each mansion had a male and female (harem) area and were well insulated. They are characterised by their overhanging eves and rooms that jut out from the building supported by wooden braces. The caravan trade of the Silk Route reached its peak in the 16th century before its eventual demise to shipping.

The importance of the architecture of Safranbolu has been recognised and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Images of The Roman Emperor Diocletian's Palace at Split, Croatia

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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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pictures of the Archaeological Site of Mount Nemrut, Turkey

Pictures, Images & Photos of The Mauseleum on Mount Nemrut, Turkey.

Pictures of the arhcelogical site of Nemrut Dagi, Unesco World Heritage Site, Turkey. Photos & images of the ancient tomb ruins of Antiochus 1. Also by as stock photos or photo art prints. Nemrut Dag comprises the Hellenistic mausoleum of Antiochus. In the first century BC, the Roman-Persian king Antiochus I of Commagene (a kingdom north of Syria and the Euphrates) ordered to build a grave and temples on this site. On two sides of the mountaintop terraces were set up for meters high statues of the gods and himself. The statues represent a.o. Apollo, Fortuna, Heracles and Zeus.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Images of The Norman Cathedral 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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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pictures of The Dervish Dwellings of the Melvana Museum, Konya, Turkey

Pictures, Images & Photos of Konya Turkey.

Pictures, images and photos of Konya, Turkey. Konya is a holy Islamic city where the Persian Sufi poet & ascetic Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī known as Mevlana or Rumi lived and is buried. Mevlana was "not a prophet — but surely, he has brought a scripture". He believed in the use of music, poetry and dance as a path for reaching God which allowed devotees to focus their whole being on the divine. Dervishes are Sufi Muslim ascetics and the Mevlevi order of Dervishes in Konya developed under Melvana's teachings. It was Mevlanas belief in dance and music that created the whirling Dervish as a form of devotion. Following his death, his followers and his son Sultan Walad founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for its Sufi dance known as the Sama ceremony.

In the 1920's when the modern Turkish state was formed under the rule of Ataturk, Dervish's were banned as part of the Ataturks move to make Turkey a secular country. The Mausaloeum of Mevlana was made into a museum where his sarcophagus and those of his family are a major shrine for Islamic pilgrims.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Photos of The Acropolis & Parthenon, Athens, Greece

Pictures of The Acropolis of Athens.
Pictures of the Acropolis and its Parthenon temple & the icon statues of the Erechtheion. The Acropolis was the ancient citadel of Athens sitting on a rock with steep cliffs 150m above the city of Athens, Greece. The Acropolis was inhabited from Neolithic times and in Archaic times around the mid 6th cent BC a temple was built there.
During the Golden Age of Athens under Pericles, 460-430 BC, many major Greek Temples were built. During this period the Acropolis became the fortified treasury of the Delian League and its funds were used to build the Parthenon which was intended a symbol of the might of Athens. The Parthenon is considered to be the pinnacle of development of the Doric order. Greek architects used optical illusions to make the Parthenon look symmetrical. The columns bulge as they rise and lean slightly inwards. The west front is built slightly higher than the east front to increase perspective and counter the visual effect of curvature between two parallel lines of columns. The architects of the Parthenon used endless devices to bring the building close to the mathematical Golden Ratio, an algebraic equation used for geometric relationships by artists and architects, so creating and aesthetically pleasing proportion to the building and its art.
The sculpted friezes and statues of the Parthenon are also thought to be the pinnacle of Greek classical art. The sculptures from the Pediment of the Parthenon depicted scenes from the birth and life of the goddess Athena. The Metope panels depicted scenes of a battle between the Lapiths & Centaurs ( see these in our Elgin Marble picture gallery : ). The friezes depict the annual procession to the Parthenon to make sacrifice to Athena.
The other great icon of the Acropolis is the "Porch of the Maidens" on the Erechtheion temple. Built between 421 and 405 BC the temple was dedicated to the Greek hero Erichthonius. The sculptor and mason of the structure was Phidias, who was employed by Pericles to build both the Erechtheum and the Parthenon. The "Porch of the Maidens" uses caryatids which are female figures used as supports instead of columns.
Today attempts are being made to restore the Parthenon but it has been so abused over the centuries that little remains. When the Roman Empire converted to Christianity the Parthenon became a church. Its pagan artworks were damaged and cult images of Athena were taken to Constantinople. In 1456 Athens fell to the Ottomans are became part of the Ottoman Empire. The Parthenon then became a mosque with a minaret. In 1687 the Venetians attacked Athens. The Acropolis was fortified by the Ottomans and the Parthenon was used as an arsenal. A Venetian mortar made a direct hit on the Parthenon and the arsenal exploded destroying the internal building, the columns of the south side and damaging its sculptures. In 1801 the British Ambassador at Constantinople, Lord Elgin, obtained permission to make casts of what was left of the sculptures on the Acropolis and remove them. Controversy still runs high about this act today.
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Photos of The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Pictures of The Blue Mosque Istanbul, Turkey.

Pictures, images & photos of the iconic Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii ) or Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey. Built from 1609 to 1616 commissioned by Sultan Ahmed I when he was 19. the Blue Mosque draws the inspiration for its design from Hagia Sophia that stands opposite it. The design of the Blue Mosque is a high point of the classical period being a fusion of Ottoman & Byzantine elements. It was designed by Mehmet Aga, its second architect as the first was executed because his skills were found wanting.

Normally mosques have a maximum of 4 minarets, the exception being the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the focal point of the Islamic world. It shows grand designs of Sultan Ahmet that the Blue Mosque was controversially designed with 6 minarets also. The sixth minaret of the Blue Mosque though was built when Sultan Ahmet built a seventh minaret on the mosque in Mecca. The high central dome of the Mosque is surrounded by 8 smaller domes creating cascading tiers running down to a central courtyard, the biggest of any Ottoman mosque.

The interior of the mosque is lined with 20,000 Iznik tiles with more than 50 tulip designs as well as fruit, flowers & cypresses. Over 250 stained glass windows with intricate designs light the interior.

Sultan Ahmet lived long enough to see the splendour of the Blue Mosque and his Mausoleum is just outside the walls.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Photos of The Byzantine Rock City of Monemvasia, Greece

Pictures, Images & Photos of The Monemvasia, Greece.

Pictures, images & photos of Monemvasia (Μονεμβασία) nicknamed the Gibraltar of the East or The Rock. The island of Monemvasia is linked to the east coast of the Peloponnese by a bridge built in 1971. It is 300 m wide and 1 km long with steep cliffs rising to a plateau 100 meters above the sea. Ancient walls ring the plateau making a powerful medieval fortification.

In 583 when the Slavs & Avars invaded northern Greece refugees founded a settlement at Monemvasia. Its natural defences and harbour meant that by by the 10th century Monemvasia was an important trading town for the Peloponnese. Its defences held against the Arab and Norman invasions until 12 48 when it fell after a 3 year siege to William II of Villehardouin. When William was captured at the Battle of Pelegonia by the Byzantines in 1259, Monemvasia retroceded to Michael VIII Palaiologos as part of William's ransom.

Apart from its natural fortifications the strength of Monemvasia lay in field that grew corn on the plateau making it very hard to take by siege. Monemvasia also made Malmsey wine. It remained part of the Byzantine empire until 1460, becoming the seat of an Imperial governor, a landing place for Imperial operations against the Franks and the main port of shipment for Malmsey wine.

Monemvasia held out against the Ottomans becoming the only domain of the Despot of Morea, Thomas Palaiologos and one of the last towns of the Eastern Byzantine Empire. Thomas Palaiologos had no forces to defend Monemvasia and finally sold it to the Pope who in turn was unable to defend the island so allowed it to be garrisoned by the Venetians.

Although Monemvasia was a prosperous town for a while as the Ottomans took the Peloponnese it lost its source of wine and food and in 1540 when a treaty between the Ottomans and the Venetians saw Monemvasia come under Ottoman rule. The Venetians recovered Monemvasia in 1690, then again from 1715 to 1821. On July 23, 1821 the town was liberated from Ottoman rule by Tzannetakis Grigorakis during the Greek War of Independence.

The commercial importance of Monemvasia had declined and the buildings on the plateau fell into ruins leaving a medieval fishing village at the foot of the cliffs. Its picturesque medieval houses and Byzantine churches became its saviour and today it is an important and thriving tourist destination with boutique hotels and tiny squares with cafes.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Photos of the Assyrian Sculpture Panels of The British Museum

Pictures of Assyrian Sculptures.

Pictures, images & photos of ancient Assyrian relief sculptures. The Assyrians existed as an independent state fro 2400 B.C to the end of the 7th cent. B.C in Mesopotamia, present day Iraq The Assyrians became a power rich empire that showed its great conquests in exquisitely intricate relief sculptures on its palace walls. Assyrian art was designed to overwhelm the viewer. Huge mythical beasts stood either side of its palace and city gates pronouncing the wealth and prestige of the Assyrian rulers.

The detail in the relief sculptures is sumptuous and gives a very clear understanding of the intricately woven cloth that made up the nobilities clothes. Scenes of hunting are popular with the rulers killing lions with bow & arrow and spears from their chariots. These hunting scene are not for the faint hearted with lions shown graphically dying or dead. The relief sculptures of the rulers great victories are equally revealing. The victorious Assyrians humble the defeated and scenes of refugees and executions show the fate of many from the ancient world.

The scale and craftsmanship of Assyrian sculpture is compelling and the narrative content is still quite understandable to the modern eye giving a clear view of the ancient world of the Assyrian rulers.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pictures of the Byzantine 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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Pictures of the Wooden Churches of Maramures, Translyvanis

Pictures, Images & Photos of The Wooden Churches of Maramures, Romania.

Pictures, images & photos of Maramures, Northern Transylvania, Romania. Maramureș is a region in north eastern Romania hemmed in by the Ukraine border to the north and mountains to the south, west & east that are inaccessible in the winter. Many of the valleys within Maramures have small villages with wooden houses & churches that are linked together by dirt roads as they have been for millennia.

The Maramures is a remote and atmospheric area with villages that modernity still has not reached, The horse & cart is still the main form of transport and families go daily to their fields with scythes to cut hay to keep their animal alive through extremely cold winters.

The remoteness of Maramures has created a community that sits between the Orthodox Christianity of the East & The Roman Church of the West. Add to this the underlying pagan traditions that have survived in such a remote area and you are left with a rich folk and religious art that has a place for all the beliefs. Wooden churches are a political statement of independent beliefs as the Austro Hungarian rulers allowed only Roman Catholic Churches to be built out of stone. As the people of Maramures are predominately Orthodox, Greco Catholics or Uniate, this meant that they could only build what were seen as temporary churches out of wood. Today over 150 survive in various states of repair and the best 8 are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pictures of the Elgin Marbles of The Parthenon in The British Museum

Pictures, Images & Photos of The Elgin Marbles.

Pictures, images & photos of The Parthenon Marbles, known as The Elgin Marbles exhibited in the British Museum, London. Dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, the construction of the Parthenon Temple began in 447 BC with its decorations being completed in 432 BC. The Parthenon has become the great iconic symbol of Ancient Greece and the Athenian democracy being the high point in the development of the Doric Order. The friezes, Metopes and sculptures of the Parthenon are also considered to be one of the high points of Greek art.

Between 1801 and 1812 Lord Elgin, British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, paid for the removal and shipping to London of 75 m of the original frieze, 15 of the Metope panels and 17 of the pediment figures. These were bought by the British Government and a purpose built gallery was built in the British Museum.

The pediment is the triangular end of the Parthenon in which sculptures were set. Below the ledge of the pediment is a lintel that runs over the top of the Doric columns on which were placed sculpted marble panels known as Metopes. The Parthenon had a double row of columns and on the lintel above the inner row of columns was a sculpted frieze.

The Pediment sculptures in the British Museum show scenes from the life, including her birth, of the goddess Athena accompanied by her father Zeus and her brother Hephaistos. Athena was the goddess of goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilisation, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill.

The metope panels of the Parthenon in the British Museum show scenes of the Lapiths, a pre-Hellenic mythological people from Thessaly, battling with the Centaurs, a mythological creature half man half horse. The scene is probably from the wedding of the king of the Lapiths, Perithoos. The story tells that the Centaurs, who were guests at the wedding, became drunk and a fight broke out during which they tried to carry off the Lapith women. The Centaurs would have represented the Persians to the Athenian viewer of the time. Athens had a long and bitter struggle against the Persian Empire and the Parthenon was built on an earlier unfinished temple that had been destroyed when the Persian sacked Athens in 480 BC.

The Parthenon Ionic frieze sculptures show bas-relief carvings of the Panathenaic procession. This annual procession of Athenians and foreigners ended in the ritual sacrifice of cattle at the Parthenon to honour the goddess Athena. The north and south frieze both show a procession of sixty riders in ranks of 10 men. The south frieze also shows cattle being led to be sacrificed and the east frieze shows Athena watching the procession with her father Zeus. The West frieze shows the preparation of the riders for the procession and, apart from two blocks, these are moulds made for Lord Elgin in 1802 of the blocks that would remain in Athens.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Photos of 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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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pictures of The Sidon Necropolis Sarcophagus of The Istanbul Archaeological Museum

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".

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Photos of the Historic Orthodox Churches of Santorini, Greece

Selective Colour "Blue Domes" Gallery.

Blue Domes selective colour picture gallery with photos of The Blue Domed churches of Santorini to download on line or buy as prints


Monday, April 23, 2012

Photos of the Gothic Monastery of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

Pictures, Images & Photos of Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire.

Pictures & Images of Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Park Water Gardens. Founded in 1132, the abbey operated for over 400 years until it was closed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Abbey is part of It is one of the largest and best preserved ruined Cistercian monasteries in England and was the second Cistercian monastery to be built after Rievaulx Abbey just 20 (32km) or so miles away. After its closure like all monasteries in England it was abandoned and became a ruin.

In 1718 John Aislabie the owner of the Studley Estate & Chancellor of the Exchequer decided to build a water Garden in his park. The style of the day was for picturesque landscaping and the ruins of Fountains Abbey were incorporated into the design at the end of a sweeping curved lake that follows a narrow wooded valley. This has created the famous vista of Fountains Abbey making Studley Royal one of the best surviving examples of a Georgian water garden in England. Studley Royal Park including the ruins of Fountains Abbey owes its originality and striking beauty to the fact that a humanised landscape was created around the largest medieval ruins in the United Kingdom. The use of these features, combined with the planning of the water garden itself, is a true masterpiece of human creative genius that influenced the rest of Europe.

Studley Royal & Fountains Abbey are a UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Cappadocia the Home of Early Christian Rock Churches

Pictures of Cappadocia, Turkey.

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.


Photos of Lycian Archaeological Sites & Objects

Pictures, Images & Photos of Lycian Archaeology.

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.

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Images of The Incredible Hagia Sophia Basilica, Istanbul

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.

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Photos of The Byzantine Roman Mosaics of The Great Palace Istanbul

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.

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Pictures of the Roman Library of Celsus, Ephesus

Pictures of The Great Library of Celsus at Ephasus.
Ephesus pictures, photos of the library of Celsus & Images of the Roman ruins. See & buy Ephesus stock photos or Ephesus photo art prints & cards. Ephesus ( Ephesos; Turkish Efes) was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era. In the Roman period, it was for many years the second largest city of the Roman Empire; ranking behind Rome, the empire's capital.
One of the landmark buildings of Ephesus is the library of Celsus. Completed in 135 AD by Celsus, son of Gaius Julius Aquila, the library of Celsus stored over 12,000 scrolls and was one of the great libraries of the ancient world. The library also served as a mausoleum for Celsus whose sarcophagus was buried below the library floor. The library of Celsus has become one of the iconic examples of Roman architecture.
Ephesus is also linked with St Paul who lived in the city fro some time and wrote the Epistle to Ephesians while he was in prison in Rome (around 62 AD). Although St Paul was driven from Ephesus by its population who preferred their Pagan traditions to the new monotheistic Christian religion, Ephesus was probably an early strong hold of Christianity and St John may well have written his Gospel in Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the seven cities addressed in Revelation (Revelation 2:1–7), indicating that the church at Ephesus was strong.
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Photos of the Spectacular Byzantine Mosaics of The Chora Istanbul

Pictures, Images & Photos of The Chora or Kariye Museum.

Pictures images and photos of the late Roman Byzantine Chora Church, Holy Saviour, mosaics 1315-1321 ( now Kariye Museum ). Originally outside the original city walls built by Emperor Constantine The Chora Monastery derives its name from the Greek Kariye meaning country or suburban area. In 413 AD Emperor Theodosius built new land walls and the Chora monastery lies just inside these. Devastated by an earthquake on October 6 557 a new basilica was built for the monastery by Emperor Justinian. The occupation and sacking of Constantinople by the notorious Forth Crusade in 1204 lucky left the Chora untouched but due to neglect under the Latin occupiers it fell into poor repair.

Theodore Metochites ( 1270–1332 ) was a poet and humanist scholar during the reign of Andronicus II. Son of the archdeacon George Metochites who was condemned to exile for his fervent support of the union of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic church. Theodore Metochites was an academic being versed in literature & science, writing poetry in high Greek that is still difficult for academics to translate. Metochites' political career culminated in 1321, when he was invested as Grand Logothete. He was then at the summit of his power, and also one of the richest men of his age.

Metochites restored the Chora adding an outer Narthex and adorning the ceilings with sumptuous mosaics and frescos between 1315-1321. Being an early Humanist the style of the frescos introduces Human emotions and depictions of "real" people over the purely spiritual rules of depiction adhered to by the Orthodox Icon painters of the time. In 1332 in the west Giotto was still painting static unemotional frescos at the same time as the Anastasis ( resurrection) fresco of the Parecclesion chapel in the Chora was being painted. It depicts Christ saving Adam and Eve by resurrecting them from their sarcophagi. The fresco is full of movement with Christ all powerful in a pool of light at its centre. It has often been asked how western art went from the two dimensional lifeless paintings of Giotto to the full glory of Renaissance painting and sculpture in such a short time. The art of the Chora shows the conduit that saw Byzantine academics reveal Humanist ideas and the sciences of the old Greek Classical world to a Western Europe that had forgotten them after the fall of the Roman Empire and a period when academic pursuits stopped. The art of the Chora still has to conform to Orthodox beliefs of iconography of the time so could not go as far as later western Renaissance religious painting. How far the Byzantines would have gone will never be known because Constantinople fell and the Empire was extinguished in 1453. Under the rule of Andronicus III Metochites fell out of favour and spent the last years of his life as a monk in his beloved Chora Monastery.