The Karnak Temple

 

Photographer Unknown, (Inside the Karnak Temple in Luxor)

Consisting of more than one hundred hectares, Karnak is an ancient temple precinct in Egypt located on the east bank of the Nile River in modern-day Luxor, formerly Thebes. The largest sector is the central portion which is dedicated to Amun-Ra, considered to be the supreme creator, the god of fertility and life.

In the southern central sector is a precinct dedicated to the goddess Mut, wife of Amun-Ra, the primal mother goddess who is associated with the waters from which everything is born. She was a patron deity of Thebes along with her husband Amun-Ra and their son Khonsu, god of the moon.

North of the central area is a precinct dedicated to Montu, the falcon headed god of war and embodiment of the conquering vitality of the Pharaoh. A very ancient god, Montu was a manifestation of the scorching destructive effect of Ra, the sun, which caused him first to be considered a warrior and eventually revered as a war-god.

To the east of the central sector, there is an area, destroyed intentionally, that was dedicated to Aten, the solar disc. The deity Aten was the focus of the monotheistic religion established by Amenhotep IV to worship Aten as the creator, the giver of life, and the nurturing spirit of the world. Horemheb, the last Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, reestablished the priesthood of Amun and destroyed the temple area of Atan, the solar disc. A prolific builder, Horemheb constructed the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Pylons of the great Hypostyle Hall in the precinct of Amon-Ra at the Temple of Karnak.

The last major building program at Karnak was under the reign of Nectanebo I, a king of the Thirtieth and last Dynasty of Egypt. He built a large enclosure wall around the site along with another temple. He also started, but did not complete, a new pylon at the western entrance of Karnak. The rulers of foreign descent who took control of Egypt continued work at Karnak, creating a series of burial catacombs dedicated to Osiris, god of the underworld. When Rome seized control of Egypt, work at Karnak ceased, ending a span of two thousand years of construction.

Wat Samphran

Wat Samphran, a Buddhist temple in Amphoe Sam Phran, is located about forty kilometers west of Bangkok in Thailand. The seventeen story temple is known for its gigantic dragon which curls around the entire height of the building. The dragon contains a staircase, which, due to its poor condition, is no longer in use.

The founder of the temple, after a seven-day fasting meditation, realized the design of the structure. The 80 meters tall building honors the number of years that the Buddha manifested on the earth. A large figure of the Buddha resides on the third floor and a shrine to the Goddess of Mercy is located on the grounds of the temple.

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A Year: Day to Day Men: 26th of October, Solar Year 2018

Slow Moving Water

October 26, 1825 marks the opening of the Erie Canal.

From the days of the birchbark canoe, the early trade routes of the Northeast utilized New York’s waterways. The Lake Champlain-Hudson River Route and the Lake Ontario-Oswego River-Mohawk River Route were utilized by native Americans, fur traders, missionaries and colonizers. The birchbark canoes used earlier were supplemented by longer heavier boats rowed or pulled by several men, which by 1791 was able to haul a two ton load.

In March of 1792, the Western Inland Lock and Navigation Company came into being and improved navigation on the Mohawk River. Also in that year, this company built small canals 3 feet deep with locks of 12 feet by 74 feet around the falls and rapids of the river. By 1796, Durham boats with capacities of 15-20 tons were able to navigate the route. Although business was brisk, maintenance on the wooden locks and channels depleted revenue and the operation folded a few years later.

In 1817 the Erie Canal was established under the management of a New York State Commission. Federal funds were not legislated; so this canal and all subsequent canals in New York State were built and maintained exclusively with state funds. The canal was dug from Albany to Buffalo, 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide, with stone locks 15 feet by 90 feet. The locks were the limiting factor on boat size and their efficiency of operation dictated the allowable traffic flow.

Additional canals were dug from the Hudson River to Lake Champlain, from Montezuma to Cayuga and Seneca Lakes and from Syracuse to Oswego. This canal system proved to be so successful that almost every community in the state lobbied for a link to the system, resulting in a network of canals. These lateral canals proved to be of marginal value at best:

In 1836, an enlargement program commenced on the main Erie Canal system. The canal was straightened a bit, the channel was increased in size to 7 feet by 70 feet, and the locks were enlarged to 18 feet by 110 feet. This permitted boats of much greater size on the Erie, Champlain, Cayuga-Seneca and Oswego canals, and further diminished the importance of the smaller lateral canals. Most of the lateral canals were closed by 1878 with only the Black River Canal lasting until the eventual close of the entire system in 1917.

The growth of steam power on the canal and steel boat construction eliminated the need for a waterway as protected as the old Erie Canal. A twentieth century canal of grand dimension with cast concrete structures and electronic controls was begun. This Barge Canal system, utilizing canalized rivers and lakes and enlarged sections of the original Erie Canal, opened in 1918. Several of the old routes are still utilized today.

Archea Associati

Archea Associati, Liling World Ceramic Art City, China

The Italian architectural firm Archea Associati designed a new architecture wonderland in Changsha, China, in collaboration with the Human Architectual Design Institute. Liling is a county-level city, known for its traditional porcelain and firework industries, in the Hunan province of China.

Liling Ceramic Art City is a new city section entirely devoted to ceramic art. It is a city, where the relationship between architecture, urban space, the material made by the company and industrial tradition merge into one.  The concept for the Liling design was inspired by the client, a leading producer of ceramic materials, who wanted to site a museum and a hotel in this industrial ceramics processing area. The designed buildings seek to spotlight its features and varied colors and production styles.

The entrance gate leads to the project’s core, an open square which is surrounded by a hotel, restaurants and three museums: two about calligraphy and one about ceramics. Residences and commercial services are located in the north-east area. All the buildings are connected via walkways below street level.

Odessa

Artist Unknown, “Odessa”, 1930s Vintage Poster

This vintage 1930s travel poster was designed to encourage tourism to the USSR before the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War, which essentially closed off the Soviet Union to westerners.. Advertising flights and train routes through the Soviet Union, they were published by Joseph Stalin’s Intourist Company, founded in 1929.

Shah Mosque, Isfahan, Iran

Interior of the Dome at Shah Mosque, Isfahan, Iran

After the introduction of domes into then Islamic architectural designs  by Arabs during the 7th century, domes appeared frequently in the architecture of mosques. The Persians had constructed such domes for centuries before, and some of the earliest known examples of large-scale domes in the World are found in Iran. So, the Safavid Muslims, who ruled from 1501 to 1722, borrowed heavily from pre-Islamic knowledge in dome-building, that is the use of squinches to create a transition from an octagonal structure, into a circular dome. To cover up these transition zones, the Persians built rich networks of stalactites. Thus, came also the introduction of this feature into Persian mosques.

Santiago Calatrave

Santiago Calatrave, “Auditorio de Tenerife”, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary islands, Spain

The auditorium was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava who publicly presented his design in 1991. After site location changes and bureaucratic delays, construction began in 1997. The auditorium complex was finally completed in 2002.

The main hall or Symphony, crowned by a dome, has 1,616 seats in an amphitheater. The chamber hall, with 422 seats, reproduces the symphony hall amphitheater on a smaller scale. Much of the exterior srufaces are covered with white trancadis, mosaics made from cemented tile shards and broken chinaware. Colored trancadis act as decorative elements in the retaining walls of the plaza.

The building is famous for its great arc, which marked a first in the history of architecture. It is the only large arch supported by only two points, whose tip appears to be suspended, defying gravity.

Reblogged with thanks to https://oznagni.tumblr.com

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A Year: Day to Day Men: 3rd of September, Solar Year 2018

Feet Off the Ground

September 3, 301 is the official founding date of the Republic of San Marino.

The Republic of San Marino is an enclave micro-state surrounded by Italy, situated on the northeastern side of Italy in the Apennine Mountains. Its size is just over 61 square kilometers or 24 square miles. San Marino has the smallest population, 33, 562 inhabitants, of all the Council of Europe’s forty-seven member states.

Saint Marius, a stonemason by trade who came from modern-day Croatia, fled persecution for his Christian beliefs during the Diocletianic Persecution, the last and most severe of the persecutions by the Roman Empire. He became a deacon and was ordained by Gaudentius, the Bishop of Rimini, a diocese in Italy. Saint Marius fled to Monte Titano and built a chapel and monastery there; its founding date was September 3rd in the year 301. After Marius’ canonization as a saint, the State of Marino grew from that monastery.

San Marino is governed by its constitution, the Leges Statutae Republicae Sanct Marini, a series of six books written in Latin in the late 16th century. These books dictate the country’s political system, among other matters. The country is considered to have the earliest written governing documents, still in effect. San Marino’s independence was recognized in 1631 by the Papacy.

Although traces of human presence from both prehistoric and Roman times exist in the territory, Mount Titano and its slopes are known to have been populated, with certainty, only after the arrival of St. Marinus and his followers. San Marino citizens, or Sammarinesi, make up more than four-fifths of the country’s population, with Italians composing most of the remainder. There is no official religion, although the majority are Roman Catholics, and the official language is Italian.

Because centuries-long quarrying has exhausted Mount Titano’s stone and ended the craft that depended upon it, the territory is now without mineral resources. All electrical power is transferred via electrical grid from Italy, San Marino’s main trading partner. The country’s principal resources are industry, tourism, commerce, agriculture, and crafts. Ceramic and wrought-iron articles, as well as modern and reproduction furniture, are among San Marino’s traditional craft products. Fine printing, particularly of collectible postage stamps, is a consistent source of revenues; and banking is a vital industry. San Marino adopted the euro as its national currency.

Ming Fay

Ming Fay, “Shad Crossing”, Detail, 2014, Glass Mosaic, Delancy Street Subway Station, New York City

On the Manhattan-bound platform of the F Line at Delancy Street Station, the mosaic mural depicts a cherry orchard that was originally part of the Delancy family farm, that was at today’s Orchard Street. On the Brooklyn-bound side of the platform, shad fish, which make runs through rivers every spring, represent the travel of immigrants across the ocean.

Ming Fay is a Shanghai-born and New York City-based sculptor and professor. His work focuses on the garden as a symbol of utopia and the relationship between man and nature. He is well known for his sculptures and installations. Ming Fay currently teaches sculpture at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

Spenser Means, “Balcony at Casa Calvet”

Spencer Means, “Balcony at Casa Calvet”, Barcelona, Spain

Casa Calvet is a building, built between 1898 and 1900, designed by Antoni Gaudi for a textile manufacturer which served as both a commercial property and a residence. It is located at Carrer de Casp 48, Eixample district of Barcelona.

Gaudí scholars agree that this building is the most conventional of his works, partly because it had to be squeezed in between older structures and partly because it was sited in one of the most elegant sections of Barcelona. Its symmetry, balance and orderly rhythm are unusual for Gaudí’s works.

However, the curves, the double gable at the top, and the projecting oriel at the entrance are almost baroque in its drama. Modernist elements are evident in the isolated witty details. Bulging balconies alternate with smaller, shallower balconies.

Jon Atkinson, “Casa Batlló”

Jon Atkinson, “Casa Batlló”

Jon Atkinson is a wildlife and travel photographer.

Casa Batlló was designed by Gaudí for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat, as an home. Gaudí used colours and shapes found in marine life as inspiration for his creativity in this building e.g. the colours chosen for the façade are those found in natural coral.

Claus Sluter

Claus Sluter, “Well of Moses”, 1395-1404, Cloister of the Chartreuse de Champmol, Dijon, France

Claus Sluter was an influential master of early Netherlandish sculpture, who moved beyond the dominant French taste of the time and into highly individual monumental, naturalistic forms. The works of Claus Sluter infuse realism with spirituality and monumental grandeur.Sluter’s influence was extensive among both painters and sculptors of 15th-century northern Europe.

The six-sided “Well of Moses”, now lacking its crowning Calvary group, which made the whole a symbol of the “fountain of life,” presents six life-sized prophets holding books, scrolls, or both. The figures, beginning with Moses, proceed counterclockwise to David, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Daniel, and Isaiah. Moses was placed directly below the face of Christ, and the location of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, was at Jesus’ back, as befits a precursor.

Zechariah looks down sadly as Daniel vigorously points to his prophecy. On the other side of Daniel, and serving to balance Daniel’s passionate temperament, is the calm reflective Isaiah. This juxtaposition reveals Sluter’s use of alternating naturalistic balances. The head and torso fragment of Christ from the Calvary reveal a power and intensity of restrained expression that conveys overwhelming grandeur. Suffering and resignation are mingled, a result of the way the brow is knitted, though the lower part of the face, narrow and emaciated, is calm and without muscular stress.

The “Well of Moses” was originally painted in several colours by Jean Malouel, painter to the duke, and gilded by Hermann of Cologne. The figures of the composition dominate the architectural framework but also reinforce the feeling of support that the structure provides through their largeness of movement.

The Funicular

Chas, “The Funicular”, Zagreb, Croatia

This is one of the shortest; but also one of the steepest funiculars in the world. The track length is only 217 feet; but the height is 100 feet with an inclination of 52 degrees. The funicular started operation in 1890 powered by a steam engine, which was replaced withan electric engine in 1934. The cars reach the top in 64 seconds.