Pictures of The Sarcophagus of Alexander The Great

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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Pictures of The Hot Air Balloons of Capadocia, Turkey

Pictures of Hot Air Balloons of Cappadocia, Turkey.
Pictures, photos & images of Cappadocia ( Capadocia, Kapadokya, ) hot air balloons, Anatolia, Turkey. Cruising slowly over Cappadocia amongst its spectacular rock formations is one of the top ten things to do in Turkey. The whole of Capadocia 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.
As the sun comes up over Goreme every morning the sky fills with huge hot air balloons. They glide gracefully into the sky above the fairy chimneys and then slowly descend into the valleys and float amongst them. The skill of the hot air balloon pilots is breathtaking as they manoeuvre between the fairy chimneys giving their passengers close up views of the strange rock formations and the rock houses they contain.
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.


Pictures of The Happy Cemetery, Maramures, Romania

Pictures, Images & Photos of The Merry Cemetery of Maramures, Romania.

Pictures & Images of the Maramares Merry Cemetery ( Cimitirul Vesel ) which is in the village of Săpânţa, 16 KM north west of Sighet on the Ukranian border.
The Merry Cemetery is a testament to the vision of woodcarver Stan Ioan Pătraş (1909 - 1977) who created in his lifetime over 700 colourfully painted wooden tombstones with small relief portrait carvings of the deceased or with scenes depicting them at work or play or surprisingly showing the violent accident that killed them. Each tombstone has an inscription about the person, sometimes a light hearted limerick in Romanian but sometimes a poignant warning like "Who sought money to amass, could not Death escape alas". Other tomb stones in the cemetery celebrate peoples lives in a comedic way such as "Now I will tell you a good one. I kind of liked the plum ţuica with my friends at the pub and I used to forget what I came for", the plum in this case was used to make the strong local Palinka indicating that the deceased was a famous drinker of the village. Another inscription from a mother to her son reads " Griga, may you pardoned be, even though you did stab me". A tragic story that like all the other pictures and inscriptions in the Merry Cemetery gives a unique picture of events and the lives in the little Maramures village of Săpânţa over the last century.

The naive folk art style of the tombstones creates a colourful light hearted effect that contradicts the overwhelming tradition of solemnity that is the norm in Christian cemeteries. This may be due to Maramures being at the cusp between the Western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church which has left many Uniate or Greco Catholic churches which use the Orthodox Liturgy but recognises the Pope as Supreme Pontiff. Such schisms along with the remoteness of Maramures would have kept the old pagan beliefs alive and it is thought that the old God Zalmoxis still played a part in the beliefs of the people of Maramures, not least of which was that of a happy death that led to heaven.
If this were so then this is not indicated in the inscription on Stan Ioan Pătraş own tombstone in the Merry Cemetery which reads " Since I was a little boy I was known as Stan Ioan Pătraş. Listen to me, fellows There are no lies in what I am going to say. All along my life I meant no harm to anyone But did good as much as I could To anyone who asked. Oh, my poor World Because It was hard living in it." This inscriptions seems to indicated that the Merry Cemetery is a testament to the endurance of man and the fact that humans tend to temper adversity and make the hardships of life more palatable with humour. Pitras was aware though of the symbolism of colour in his work. The main colour he used was a special blue named by experts Săpânţa blue. The other colours he used represented: Green - life, Yellow - fertility, Red - passion, Black - death which are used particularly in the geometric borders of the scenes on the tombstones.

In 1977 Patras died and left his house and workshop to painter & woodcarver Pop Dumitru TIincu who is continuing Patras' tradition of tombstones making that has created a truly unique and very Merry Cemetery which is a testament to the lives and people of Sapanta and is a surprisingly joyous place.

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