cortili aperti a milano

once a year gardens and courtyards in milan are open for public. that special day happened to be last sunday – 25.5. since i had nothing planned anyway, i thought i could give them a look.

even though i live in milan for six years, i’ve never managed to catch that one day. i still remember reading about these courtyards, couple of years ago when i read a book “mrs dalloway”. one of the characters, lucrezia smith, was milanese.. and she used to say how much she longed for “gardens of milan”. and i made a promise to myself that i will see them one day.

most of the courtyards were in via borgonuovo and in via fiori oscuri (street of dark flowers). and that’s where i visited these two lovely gardens.

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casa valerio

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palazzo orsini

the courtyards were beautiful, but i have to say i’ve expected more. maybe because i was reading about them and planning to see them for a long while. a lot of gardens were only partially open, keeping some part closed for public. however, it was nice to see milan inside-out & to witness the presence of both light & dark flowers in this (so-called) industrial town.

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fiori chiari & fiori oscuri

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historic centre of avignon, no. 228

historic centre of avignon: papal palace, episcopal ensemble and avignon bridge have been on the unesco heritage sites’ list since 1995. as it is known to many, in the 14th century this city was the seat of the papacy.

the palais des papes, an austere-looking fortress, dominates the city and the remains of a 12th-century bridge over the rhône. beneath this marvelous example of gothic architecture, the petit palais and the romanesque cathedral of notre-dame-des-doms complete an exceptional group of monuments that testify to the leading role played by avignon in 14th-century christian europe.

in 1309 the frenchman bertrand de got, who had been elected and crowned supreme pontiff in 1305, refused to go to rome, choosing instead to install himself temporarily in the dominican convent at avignon. seven popes were to reign there until the election of martin v in 1417 and the return of the seat of the papacy to rome.

With 15,000 m2 of floor space, the palais is the biggest gothic palace in all of europe and, due to its many architectural merits, one of the most important in the world.

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saint bénézed bridge, most comonly known as the pont d’avignon, was originally built in the 12th century. it is spanned 900m over the river rhône but it suffered several collapses in the following centuries. a flood in 1668 swept much of it away, and since it was not rebuilt since, only four arches (out of the original twenty-two) remain.

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we have visited avignon two weeks ago. even if unable to appreciate deeper meaning of the papal palace, we were impressed by its architecture and position. the deep-green color of river rhône & surrounding trees was natural complement to yellowish shade of palace and buildings of avignon. when talking a walk around the town, we got to admire charming medieval town and its atmosphere.

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ancient thebes, no.87

ancient thebes with its necropolis has been on the unesco heritage list since 1979. thebes was the capital of egypt at the height of its greatest power and magnificence, the middle and new kingdoms that lasted over a thousand years (from 2130 to 1070 bc). it contains the finest examples of ancient egyptian history, art and religion.

it includes two temples, of karnak and luxor, as well as valley of kings and valley of queens. throughout the years hundreds of rulers glorified the city of thebes with architecture, obelisks and temples. thebes of the living took place on the right bank of nile, with temples of karnak and luxor as the finest example of egyptian culture. death took celebration on the left bank of the river nile.

i have visited ancient thebes in august last year. it was one of those places where i could feel the history. unfortunately, we did not get to visit the temple of luxor, but we did see the valley of the kings, the temple of the queen hatshepsut and temple of karnak.

our first stop was the valley of the kings, the necropolis of the pharaohs of the new kingdom. the valley stands on the west bank of the nile, opposite thebes (modern luxor), within the heart of the theban necropolis. from the 1500 bc the tombs of the pharaohs were carved deep into the hills in thebes; however that did not stop the thieves to steal the treasures kept in them. nevertheless, the structures remain, with spectacular corridors and rooms beautifully decorated with funeral symbols of the journey to the underworld, with images and rituals intended to assist the pharaohs in the afterlife. we have paid a visit to three tombs, and we weren’t deceived. the only flaw in the plan was that we couldn’t take pictures.

quite close to the valley of the kings is site mortuary temple of the queen hatshepsut, beneath the cliffs at deir el bahari on the west bank of the nile. it is widely considered to be one of the “incomparable monuments of ancient egypt”, as well as the only example of the classical architecture in egypt.

Hatshepsut

in the temple itself, one may find column of the divine birth of hatshepsut, as well as various sculptures of the queen, where she gets represented very masculine, even with the beard.

the last stop in our journey through ancient thebes was the temple of karnak, a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. unlike the valley of the kings and the temple of hatshepsut, it is site on the right bank of the river nile, so called “thebes of the living”. the karnak complex is composed of three temples: one consecrated to mut (mother goddess of egypt and wife of amon), one to warrior god montu and one to amon.

Karnak2

i have to say that among the 42 unesco heritage sites i have visited so far (yes, now there is 42 of them!), none impressed me as much as ancient thebes, not even the pyramids i visited a couple of days before. it is one of those places where you could let your mind wander through the past centuries, or even better, past millenniums. i hope i’ll have the honour to visit this heritage site one more time before i die.

of course, we couldn’t go to ancient thebes dressed in our everyday clothes. firstly, we had to wear a light & cotton dresses and preferably to cover our heads. so we decided to make the best out of it.

AdnaTarik

ps. all the pictures were taken by tarik&me in august 2012.

museum collection of bosnian yewelry

my homeland is told to be a point where east meets west and where these influences blend in the most beautiful way.

bosnia has been on the crossroads of empires ever since its foundation. roman empire was divided into western empire and eastern – byzantine empire with bosnia as it’s division point. later, bosnia was the westernmost point of ottoman empire, as well as the eastern region of the austro-hungarian empire.

however, the most prosperous period of bosnian history is the middle ages. bosnia was first mentioned as an independent state in 12th century, with its first ruler ban borić. ban was a title usred in that period, meaning “lord, master, ruler”. the second ban, ban kulin, is the most famous and controversial one, since its rule marked the start of a controversy with the bosnian church. bosnian church, or crkva bosanska, is indigenous branch of bogomils, considered as heretical by both roman catholic and eastern orthodox churches. from the 13th century bosnia was ruled by kotromanic dynasty.

middle ages is a birth time of most of the bosnian symbols: bosanski ljiljan – endemic lilies, stećci – tombstones, bosančica – medieval alphabet belonging to bosnian church. and with this i will open a new section in this blog – bosnian beauty – where i will try to present my homeland, its history, heritage, customs and natural beauty.

the first bosnian beauty i’m going to write about is the ancient and medieval bosnian jewelry. right now it is kept in the national museum in sarajevo. however, recently there was a campaign led by local jeweler sead sofić and the national museum to create replica of some of ancient and medieval jewelry. the result is this beautiful museum collection of jewelrey. all the items in the museum collection of jewelry are crafted very carefully, made of the same materials as the originals found in the various location all over bosnia. among the pieces there are rings and fibulae from the iron age, bracelets and earrings for the middle ages, as well as the pieces from the ottoman period.

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as of november 2nd last year i’m a proud owner of one of the pieces from this collection. this beautiful bronze fibula, replica of prehistoric one, is a birthday present from my in-laws.

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ps. for more info visit the yeweler’s website: http://www.zlatarsofic.com, as well as his facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sofi%C4%87-S/129969217059591