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.
Pictures, Images & Photos of Romantic Volcanic Island of Santorini, Greece.
Pictures, Images & Photos of Santorini Island and its dramatic volcanic crater & whitewashed villages & churches. High on any travel "must see" list of European destinations has to be the Greek Cyclades Island of Santorini and in particular the town of Oia. With good reason Oia is one of the most visited destinations in Greece. It has a captivating charm that combined with boutique hotels make it an obvious destination for the discerning traveler and those looking for a romantic destination to get married in.
Santorini Islands are located in the Aegean Sea about 200KM (120 miles) from the Greek mainland. They are the remnants of an old Volcanic island that exploded with such force about 3,600 years that the fall out probably caused the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the nearby island of Crete. Santorini is a crescent shaped archipelago of islands surrounding a central caldera. The largest island of Thira, next Therasia and the smallest Aspronisi. These surrounds a huge central lagoon about 12 x 7 km across with a small volcanic island, Nea Kameni, in the middle which has been dormant since 1950. The natural harbour of the caldera has high steep cliffs that rise out of the sea to create a natural defense for the island and a safe haven for shipping. High above the sea on the cliff tops are some of the most picturesque villages in Greece & Europe.
The Greeks have been clever with the development on Santorini and new buildings are made in the traditional Santorini style. This is so successful that often it is difficult to tell if a building is old or new.
The most famous town is of Santorini is Oia. It is at one end of the crescent shaped Thira Island at the point where there is a break in the archipelago between Thira and Therasia. The early inhabitants of Oia used the cliffs to good advantage to make cave dwellings in the soft volcanic rock. These stayed cool in the summer and warm in the winter and set high above the sea were hidden from the Saracen pirates that plundered the Mediterranean coast and islands for hundreds of years in the middle ages. In more peaceful times the buildings of Oia were extended outside the cliffs dwellings and a simple low square style of building developed with arched vaulted roofs. These are painted white to reflect the heat of the sun and hang precariously on the high cliffs shining out against dramatic black volcanic rock. Oia's buildings are linked by a maze of narrow lanes and steps just big enough for a donkey to carry goods up and down the village.
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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.
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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