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Ancient Empires and Holy Lands Tour

Ancient Empires and Holy Lands Tour



A photo-journalistic look at several important sites in the Eastern Mediterranean.

A photo-journalistic look at several important sites in the Eastern Mediterranean.



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    Ancient Empires and Holy Lands Tour Ancient Empires and Holy Lands Tour Presentation Transcript

    • EASTERN MEDITERRANEANAncient Empires and Holy Lands Tour
    • SITES
    • HAGIA SOPHIA – HOLY WISDOM OF GOD Built in the 5th Century A.D. byIstanbul, Turkey Emperor Justinian after the original basilica, built by Constantine was destroyed by fire, this church served as the center of the Orthodox Christian world for a millennium. In 1453 Mehmet the Conqueror had it converted into a mosque. Minarets were added to the exterior and the calligraphy for the name of god (Allah), Mohammed, and the Caliphates were added to the balcony level (visible here). Today it is a museum.
    • HAGIA SOPHIA – RESTORED MOSAICS When Ataturk, the founder of modern,Istanbul secular Turkey, converted the Haghia Sophia into a museum in 1935 he had the artisans remove the plaster that had covered the Byzantine era mosaics that were covered by the Ottoman Turks. This is detail from one of the most beautiful mosaics on the second level of the complex.
    • BLUE MOSQUE Built by Sultan Ahmet I in 1616Istanbul A.D., this mosque is known throughout the world for its beautiful blue tiles that cover the interior walls. Envisioned as a structure that could rival the nearby Haghia Sophia, Architect Mehmet Aga created a structure on a similarly grand scale.
    • BLUE MOSQUE - COURTYARD Every architectural feature of the BlueIstanbul Mosque was executed with great care and precision. This shows some detail from under the archways in the main courtyard. Practicing Muslims wash themselves before going inside to pray.
    • HIPPODROME – CHARIOT RACES In the center of the Old Town area ofIstanbul Istanbul sits the historically important Hippodrome. This was where the chariot races of the Roman era were held and political rallies toppled governments throughout the centuries. The most commanding structure is the Obelisk of Theodosius. It was carved in Egypt during the reign of Thutmose III (1549 – 1503 B.C.) and transported to Istanbul during the Byzantine era. It sits on a Byzantine era base.
    • GRAND BAZAAR A crazy cacophony of sound, chaosIstanbul and color, the covered Grand Bazaar contains over 4,000 shops, restaurants, mosques, banks, police stations and workshops. It contains several kilometers of lanes to tempt any tourist.
    • SPICE MARKET More popular with the locals, the spiceIstanbul market is a crowded, active and aromatic sensation. The colors will delight every one who dares to wander in. There are booths selling bulk spices, restaurants selling Turkish food and, of course, Turkish coffee shops.
    • TROY – HOMER’S ILIAD Leaving the the port at windyCanakkale, Turkey Canakkale, southeast of the Dardanelles and near Mt. Ida, we traveled to the remains of the city of Troy. Famous for Homer‟s epic poem, the Iliad, Troy is a UNESCO site that has been excavated in successive layers. It was first settled in about 3,000 B.C. – The era when the Trojan War was believed to have been was sometime between the 12th, 13th or 14th Century B.C. Pictured here is the area where sacrifices were made to the gods.
    • EPHESUS – CENTER OF ARTEMIS CULT A short drive from Kusadasi is theKusadasi, Turkey UNESCO site of Ephesus. Capital of the Romans‟ Asia Province, this city is one of the great treasures of Turkey‟s vast inventory of historical sites. At one time it was a prosperous port city; however, now, it lies miles from the nearest shore line due to deposition from the Meander River. Pictured here is the famous Library of Celsus building. The library was located directly across from the brothel, and connected by an underground passageway.
    • EPHESUS – ROMAN AMPHITHEATER A long Arcadian Way leads to thisKusadasi immense theatre complex that is estimated to have held 20,000 spectators. It sits directly across from a large agora or commercial complex that would have been bustling with hawkers and shop keepers for hundreds of years. Until recently modern music festivals were held at this location; however, this practice has been discontinued due to the deterioration of the complex.
    • CHURCH OF OUR LADY ON MT. FILERIMOS This medieval era church was built onRhodes, Greece the foundations of an ancient temple to Athena. In the 12th century A.D. it was restored by the Knights of St. John. After the fall of Rhodes to the Ottoman Turks it was used as a stable until its restoration about 30 years ago. The restored monastery is still occupied and used for traditional Greek Orthodox ceremonies. On the day of our visit the local clergy was preparing for a baptism ceremony.
    • MEDIEVAL RHODES TOWN – KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN A collection of medieval buildingsRhodes built by the Order of St. John, including a hospital to treat Crusaders traveling to and from the holy land, a series of compounds where the Knights resided, and the imposing Palace of the Grand Masters, is pictured here. The Knights moved here from Cyprus in 1309, long after being expelled from Jerusalem by the Muslims. The double-headed griffin was and important symbol of the Order.
    • PERGE – BEST PRESERVED ROMAN BATHS A short drive from our port at AntalyaAntalya, Turkey is the ancient city of Perge, first settled by the Hittites around 1500 B.C. St. Paul visited Perge in 46 A.D. and preached his first sermon here. Pictured here are the remains of an extensive Roman bath complex that included extensive clay pipes to bring in the hot water and steam for the city patrons.
    • PERGE –ARCHAEOLOGICAL One of the best collections ofAntalya Roman marble carvings outside of Istanbul is the Archeological Museum in Antalya. It houses finds from the Neolithic era up to and through the Ottoman empire. Remains of a major Roman aqueduct can be seen outside of the city. And, as in many MUSEUM places throughout Turkey, weavers are constantly working in their various showrooms and workshops, creating beautiful rugs for domestic use and foreign trade.
    • ASPENDOS – ROMAN STADIUM One of the best preserved of theAlanya, Turkey Roman stadiums at the ancient town of Aspendos is a short drive from Alanya, Turkey. Legend has it that Aspendos was founded shortly after the Trojan war. The city came under control of the Persians in 546 B.C. Alexander brought the city under his control in 333 B.C. and taxed its residents heavily.
    • GREEK CYPRIOT COASTLINE A beautiful drive along the coastlineLarnaca, Cyprus from Larnaca in Greek Cyprus reveals how charming and beautiful the Mediterranean countryside can be. A visit to the market proves to be fruitful. In the area, a medieval Castle in Limmasol is famous because it is where Richard the Lionhart, King of England, married Berengaria of Navarre and crowned her Queen of England in 1191.
    • MEDIEVAL CASTLE OF KOLOSSI Built in the 13th Century by theLarnaca High Command of the Knights of St. John, this castle sits among extended vineyards. A poorly preserved fresco of Jesus on the cross is visible in the main entry hall.
    • ACRE & THE CRUSADERS’ CASTLE The old city of Acre (spelled Akko in theHaifa, Israel Arab world) is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Hospitaller Fortress, with it‟s fortified Knights Hall, is one of the key structures at this large complex. The Order moved its headquarters to Akko in 1191 after being expelled from Jerusalem. The interior shot shows the construction of the archways so typical of the design of the Gothic period.
    • BAHAI GARDENS With over half aHaifa million visitors a year, the Bahá‟í Gardens in Haifa are among the most popular sites in the Middle East. Their unique design, combining geometrical shapes and exquisite detailing with loving conservation of natural and historic landscape features, leaves an indelible impression on visitors. These gardens were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008.
    • TEMPLE MOUNT WAILING WALL In the top center of the so-calledJerusalem, Israel „Temple Mount‟ of the Old City of Jerusalem is the famous Wailing Wall, the only remaining portion of the ancient Temple of Solomon. The Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. It sits between the gold-topped Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, pictured here. In the foreground of this photo is an archaeological dig site from the Roman era.
    • Along the passage ARTIST’S VISION OF ANCIENT JERUSALEM of the archaeological digJerusalem of the main street of ancient Jerusalem is an artist‟s rendering of what it must have been like 2,000 years ago. Notice the modern age schoolboy in the right foreground that is talking to the ancient girl in a white dress and blue shawl. The new meets the old in Jerusalem.
    • ISRAELIS AND ARABS COEXIST IN OLD CITY For centuries the Arabs and JewsJerusalem have been at odds over the control of the Temple Mount. There is, today, an uneasy truce as both groups co- exist in this busy section of the city of Jerusalem. There were hookah smokers and security officers on every corner.
    • CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER One of the main pilgrimage sites inJerusalem Jerusalem is the beautiful Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The interior dome is made up of a beautiful and intricate image of Jesus, pictured below. The church was built under the guidance of Constantine‟s Mother in the 3rd Century A.D.
    • PROLIFIC ARTS AND CRAFTS COMMUNITY Artisan crafts that target the tourists isJerusalem an important part of the local economy of Jerusalem. Tourism is one of Israels major sources of income, with 3.45 million tourist arrivals in 2010.
    • GIZA PLATEAU: PYRAMIDS AND SPHINX The sun bleached sand and rock ofCairo, Egypt the Giza Plateau is not very busy with tourists these days. The vendors are getting ever more desperate due to the drop in tourism after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. The beauty of the Sphinx and the geometric perfection of the pyramids lives on, regardless of the ups and downs of human political actions.
    • TOURISTS ON CAMELS Only the touristsCairo ride camels in Cairo these days. And, since the Egyptian Revolution, there are fewer and fewer tourists. Economic prospects for the country are very grim and the desperation is visible everywhere in the eyes of the vendors that rely on tourism for their daily income. Public services contractors from overseas have cancelled contracts since the Revolution and the quality of life has deteriorated in many cities.
    • CAIRO WHIRLING DANCER Egypt‟s economy grew steadily atCairo around 7% between 2005 and 2008 before dropping to below 5% after the Revolution. Egypt‟s tourism industry, which is $10 billion per year (approximately 6% of GDP), suffered a major blow as a result of the Arab Spring revolution in January and February 2011, and its slow recovery is highly vulnerable to perceptions about Egypt‟s internal political stability and security.
    • NILOMETER AT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE In the middle of an urbanAlexandria, Egypt neighborhood in Alexandria stands the Pompey‟s Pillar dig site. The most interesting feature of this site was the Nilometer from approximately the 1st Century A.D. It is pictured here as the box-like structure at the left of the photo. These structures were used to determine the tax burden that would be applied to the farmers after the annual inundation. Also pictured, four Muslim men enjoying their morning tea.
    • ALEXANDRIA LIBRARY The UN funded reconstruction ofAlexandria the library at Alexandria is one of the most modern structures in this otherwise traditional city. It is a rich resource for the students at the nearby Universities.
    • CITADEL OF QAITBEY: ON SITE OF LIGHTHOUSE This fortress is seated upon theAlexandria exact location of the Lighthouse of Alexandria which was completely destroyed by several earthquakes over the centuries, beginning in the 800s and continuing to the eleventh century. By the 14th century A.D. the entire site had been destroyed and the Sultan Qaitbay decided to use the location as a defensive fort. It is a local museum with beautifully maintained grounds today, used by locals for fun and play.
    • ISLAND OF CRETE: THE HARBOR Agios Nikolaos has a small harbor thatAgios Nikolaos, Greece has been important for sailors since it was first settled in the Late Bronze Age. Just beyond the harbor is a natural lake that, for centuries, provided the inhabitants with fresh water. The lake water is now brackish due to intrusion from the sea water.
    • CRETE: MINOAN CIVILIZATION AT KNOSSOS Riane Eisler in her book “The ChaliceAgios Nikolaos & the Blade” characterizes this ancient society as a matriarchical society that displayed significant agricultural wealth, peace and cultural refinement. Columns were made of wood as shown in this reconstruction from the site. They were heavily engaged in trade, especially of honey, which was harvested in great quantities and stored in the large, reconstructed jars pictured here.
    • KNOSSOS PALACE: THRONE ROOM OF THE MINOANS Absent from Minoan art was theAgios Nikolaos image of strong, powerful and dominant male figures. This was characteristic of all of the other societies of the time at which Minoan civilization thrived (2600 B.C. to 1000 B.C.). The throne room, pictured here was set up for the monarch to receive traveling guests and trading partners throughout the Aegean. The bowl was originally outside the room to allow for visitors to wash before entering.
    • MYKONOS HARBOR The streets in Mykonos wereMykonos, Greece deliberately laid out in a labyrinth to confuse and entrap marauding pirates from ancient times. The religious life is predominately Greek Orthodox, and the economy relies heavily on tourism. All of the structures in the town are covered with a white lime-based paint that gives it a clean look, even though the buildings are all from the medieval era. There are several pelicans that wander the town.
    • GREEK ORTHODOX CHAPEL Individual families still maintain theseMykonos medieval era chapels that were built for family worship and special ceremonies. Weddings, baptisms and funerals are regularly held in these unique and beautiful structures.
    • WINDMILLS OF MYKONOS Barley bread was the primary exportMykonos from Mykonos to the surrounding islands for centuries. These windmills are remnants of that past economy. The present day economy is based on tourism as this island, along with most of the Greek islands, has been heavily logged and eroded through the centuries of human habitation.
    • DELOS: ANCIENT CITY ON AN ISLAND One of the most important centersFerry from Mykonos of commerce and trade during the Hellenistic era was Delos, now a UNESCO site. The entire island is protected and there are active teams of French, German, Greek and U.S. archaeologists working on the site. Delos was where coins were first minted and it was the site of the first stock market and futures exchange. It also has a darker history; it was the center for the Greek slave trade.
    • ACROPOLIS – POLIS ON A HILL The entire Acropolis is a 10Piraeus (Athens), Greece acre site that was the focal point of Athenian life and culture for hundreds of years. The Acropolis is a UNESCO site that is currently undergoing extensive reconstruction and stabilization. It is made up of a series of structures that were constructed at different times in the history of the city, beginning in the Early Neolithic (6th millennium BC).
    • ATHENS - AGORA Directly below the Acropolis was theAthens heart and soul of the city – The market and the public spaces where democracy was forged. It is here where the first Senate building and the various supporting buildings were constructed. Pictured here, in the foreground are the ruins of one of the Senate‟s major buildings. In the background is a surviving temple to the Greek god for the industrial and metal working arts. A headless statue of Hadrian the Emperor graces the walkway.
    • ACROPOLIS – PARTHENON Pictured here is the Parthenon, or theAthens Temple of the Virgin, Athena. This structure was a tribute to this Greek goddess, whom the Greeks considered to be their defender. It is the most important surviving building of classical Greece‟s Golden Age (circa 460 to 430 BC). The columns are approximately 10 meters, or 34 feet, high. It is considered to be the culmination of the development of the Doric Order.