Photos of the spectacular Berber mud Kasbah Taourirt in Ouarzazate, Morroco. Known as the door to the desert Kasbah Taourirt is situated at the southern end of the Draa Valley an old camel train Atlas crossing routes from Marrakesh to Mali. The kasbah's was the home of T'hami El Glaoui who used a Krupps field gun to take control of the trading route and amass a fortune from tolls for using the Draa pass.
Photos of the sumptuous Romanesque Catalan Wood panel paintings from the medieval churches of Catalonia. This world famous collection is housed in the National Art Museum of Catalonia, Barcelona, and is truly a spectacular example of Romanesque art. Whole apse and aisle frescoes were saved in the early 20th century and reconstructed in the museum. The style of the art is endearing and the abstractions it uses must have influenced the great Catalan artists.
Photos of sumptuous Romanesque Catalan Wood Panel Paintings.
The MNAC’s ( Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) Eleventh and Twelfth century collection of Romanesque panel painting is one of the most important in the world, and is a beautiful testimony to the importance of the production of polychrome liturgical furniture in medieval Catalonia. The most significant works are the altar frontals, some complete with side panels, which show the extensive range of Romanesque iconography. Painted beams enrich the range of pieces in the collection.
In the eleventh century painted altar fronts and liturgical furniture offered an affordable alternative to expensive furniture decorated with precious metals for less the less wealthy churches of Northern Spai. The high quality of the Romanesque Catalan painters suggests that they may have been a trained in cathedral or monastic scriptoria. The wood panels and beams are painted with Tempera, also known as egg tempera, which is a permanent, fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium (usually a glutinous material such as egg yolk or some other size). The Romanesque altar fronts follow popular themes of the Middle ages. Christ Pantocrator or In Majesty is a popular icon based on the Byzantine Roman iconography. The image is known as a Theophany, in which Christ is revealed as God. He is surrounded by a vertical eye shaped aureola called a mandorla which also originated from Byzantium. The Theophany is usually surrounded by a Tetramorph with the four symbols of the Evangelists - Mathew depicted as a man, Mark as a lion, Luke as a Bull and John as an Eagle. On other Romanesque Catalan altar fronts the Virgin Mary and Child take centre stage.
The iconography also follows the Byzantine rules known as the Virgin Hodegetria, which is an iconographic depiction of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary) holding the Child Jesus at her side while pointing to Him as the source of salvation for mankind. In the Western Church this type of icon is sometimes called Our Lady of the Way. The Romanesque Panel paintings from the MNAC show a high level of skill that was influenced directly by Byzantine Roman art and it is possible that some of the workshops of Catalonia were run by Greek Icon painters. The paintings were made before the final schism between the Orthodox Eastern and Roman Catholic churches so influences imported from the East would have been quite acceptable at the time. Photos of the Romanesque pictures can be downloaded or bought as photo art prints on line from this photo gallery.
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If you are going to learn to drive in the sand then Erg Chebbi in southern Morocco is the place to do it. Erg Chebbi is a sand dune field of the northern Sahara and a tarmac road runs alongside it until it stops a few mile short of the Algerian border. Driving in sand really surprised me. I thought it would be like driving in snow, where high gear and low revs is the best policy. Driving in sand is the exact opposite and to keep to wheels turning you need to keep you foot hard down on the accelerator. Even the time it takes to change gear can stop the vehicle dead. Luckily our Landrover Defender loves the sand and made the experience of driving around Erg Chebbi amongst the 150 mt ( 450 ft) high dunes great fun.
Photos of Erg Chebbi Sahara Sand Dunes, Morocco
An erg is a broad, flat area of desert covered with wind-swept sand with little or no vegetation which contains more than 125 square km (48 sq. miles) of aeolian or wind-blown sand. Erg Chebbi is one of the two Saharan Ergs that can be found in Morocco. Located on the southern border with Algeria, Erg Chebbi has wind blown sand dunes that reach a heigh of 150m ( 450 ft) spreading across an area 22 km (18 miles) from north to south and 5-10 km (7 miles) wide. On its western edge of Erg Chebbi where its sand dunes start covering a large flat stony desert plain, the desert village of Merzouga with camp sites and hotels that allowing tourists to experience the magical landscape of the high Saharan sand dunes. Other villages are dotted along the edge of the shifting sands fed by water from under the sand dunes.
Ancient Berber and Arab underground tunnels tap the water that lies 4-5 meters (10 - 15ft) below the sand dunes and the water is piped to ancient Ksars, fortified villages, where Saharan camel trains would stop and rest during their journey north. It is hard to image that water can be found just below the sand dunes and even stranger to image that it is possible to die of thirst so close to underground water you that cannot be reached without great excavations. The sand dunes of Erg Chebbi are a magical place with the dunes being constantly remodeled by streams of sand that form high Crescent-shaped mounds that interlock to form a classic Saharan landscape. When the wind is high great plumes of sand spill off the sharp edges of the dunes summits in long plumes. Walking amongst the dunes or taking a camel ride through them is one of the many great experiences Morocco has to offer. Photos of Erg Chebbi can be downloaded on line and pictures and images of Erg Chebbi are available as photo art prints.
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Beautiful Art Photos of Hot Air Balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey
Art pictures, photos & images of Cappadocia ( Capadocia, Kapadokya, ) hot air balloons, Anatolia, Turkey. Selective colour pictures of Hot air balloons cruising slowly over Cappadocia amongst its spectacular rock formations. 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. 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. Buy selective colour photo art prints of Cappadocia Hot air balloons on line. See our other pictures of Capadocia at: http://bit.ly/I1F99W See our other pictures of Turkey at http://bit.ly/I1F99W