Granada was the last and most famous muslim kingdom in Spain.

Finally christian kings took Alhambra in 1492 and only buildings are left there on the high hill to remind us from muslim times of Spain.
DSC00079High on the hill stands palace and alcazaba – muslim fortress. Looking down to old town.

In Cordoba in Calahorra tower there is as great model of Alhambra. There you can see better the actual buildings of palace with one look.
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By the way – Alhambra means red castle. This is because it was built from local earth and rocks which look reddish.

City of Granada lies below Alhambra
DSC03452People down look like ants when watched from towers of Alcazaba. This fortress was invincible. And finally its surrendered for Christians after a long siege.

DSC00043There are still muslim houses left in old town – and narrow streets. Here is old muslim bathouse. In their roof there were always star-shape openings to give light. Very nice looking!

DSC00363Land is here very fertile and weather warm. Mountains give water and muslims were resourceful to great irrigating systems. And they brought with them lemon- and orange trees.

DSC00380Here also flowers are flourishing in many colored shades – here pink. And it is just the beginning of April.

DSC01048Here a picture of narrow streets of Albayzin – the muslim quarters from old town. One of the power centers of old Granada. And always high up Alhambra remembering where the power laid.

DSC01074In Albayzin there is also a nice terrace high up, where one can see over Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada backside. Everything in one place! Valleys, fertile lands, mountains, snow, water, warmth, sun – what more man could want?

DSC01094Picture from Synagoga courtyard in Albayzin. Here everything seem to be now in peace near each others – Christian churchs, synagogas and muslims buildings.

DSC01149 (2)Very nice Granada-type decorations in house of Madraza in city of Granada. Here Nasrid-amirs created a special kind of arhcitecture which can not be found anywhere else.

DSC01145 (2)Same decoration but now as a part of bigger entity of wall.

DSC01131Muslim type arch as a decoration in Madraza.

DSC01134More decorations inside house. How brilliant artictic style – I wish we could build something beautiful like this in these days…

Palace of Alhambra – heaven in earth?
Now the journey inside Alhambra walls have started. Alhambra hold it’s kingdom over 200 hundred years longer than any other muslim state in Spain. Partly because their ruling family had a cunning way of negotiate themselves over troubles. Partly because this realm was very difficult to conquer.

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As it was a habit in Spain at times of 900-1492 AD there were lot of wars, alliances and agreements between muslims and christians in Al Andalucia – and also with Nothern African berbers. All the time the alliances were changing and sometimes muslim fought together with christians against other muslim states! It was not simply christians against muslims.

DSC00100 Here in pathway to palace.

DSC00110Behind a flowering three there is an old muslim mosque – now a christian church.

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Finally the buildings of palace. They are beautiful in a sensitive and delicate way – they are not aiming to be colossal.

DSC00115And behind is the muslim alcazaba guarding everything.

DSC00134And here starts the story of Nasrids amirs – which originally where not that high nobles. But managed to keep their realm alive so long time.

DSC00136Tourist are visiting buildings in vast amounts and looking decorations with ashtonishment.

DSC00160Room that was changed little bit by Isabel – queen of new Spain (Castile, Leon and finally Aragon). Delicate decorations in window frames.

DSC00167Stucco-type decorations made with gypsum mortar? Very very carefully carved.

DSC00141Very beautiful column detail. The color blue was an important one for Nasrids.

DSC00153Light was important for giving the palace it’s splendeour. Look wooden roof – fine ornaments.

DSC00169Very nicely cut wood decorations in roof. Typical of moorish architecture.

DSC03478Very nice court in middle of the palace buildings. Look the beautiful details in facade.

DSC00181Corridor in the way to court of Myrtles. How nice decorations are all over the palace buldings in walls and columns. But their creation and maintaining must have cost vast sum of money…

Alhambra palace – court of Myrtles
Was this the paradise – at least for some! But now its lost forever and only memories and some building are left…
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DSC00195Same court but from other direction. Behind one can see the horrible palace building of Carlos V, which he wanted to build in the middle of the Alhambra – and never got it finished.

DSC00185Very nice decoration of arches in colonnades of court.

DSC00189This is the special decoration type of Nasrid amirs, which can not be found anywhere else.

DSC00201On the hall between court of myrtles and lions.

Court of lions in Alhambra
I guess these lions have seen so many people and happenings in years gone by.
DSC03531Maybe the most beautiful courtyard in Alhambra. Lions are made by several layers – one by one.

DSC00274This court is full of columns – nice columns – and fountains. Here one feels real peace.

DSC00287Again these special type decorations on the roof of amir’s hall.

DSC00317Nice houses – the Partal – when coming out of palace buildings. Once build by another amir.

DSC00343View from courtyard of Alhambra. In left Albayzin – muslim quarters, defence wall of city and area of gypsies in right.

DSC00389All the time we are surrounded by high walls and towers of Alhambra – invincible castle.

DSC00360In background house of ”Partal”. One of the nicest views in Alhambra. Nice building with pool on edge of the high hill.

DSC00368Once here used to be the palace of Yusuf III. Now only foundations left… and nice courtyard.
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Building behind is convent of San Francisco. At the time of Nasrids this was part of the palace, with its own mirhab or prayer room. When laying siege over Granada Queen Isabella promised that she would build a shrine inside Alhambra to her beloved Saint Francis. So the monastery was placed in Moorish palace and it became a rest place for Christian monarchs for two decades. One can still see – especially inside – some marks from muslim times.

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Here located once the great mosque of Alhambra. When Christian monarchs besieged Granada and took the palace, they turned the mosque into catholic churc – church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra. Not much left from original building…

DSC00869Landscape here is very fruitful and weather suitable. Monastery of San Francisco behind.

Gardens of Alhambra
Rulers of Granada were worshipping their God in their special way. Therefore sound of water in fountains and beautiful gardens were important. They wanted to purify their soul by meditating life in simple but lovely surroundings.
DSC03385Here rosegarden on May.

DSC00410In pathway to Generalife – Private summer palace of Nasrid rulers.

DSC00450Some people say that Generalife has got it’s name from the fact that it lies on the slopes of the hill – ”Hill of the Sun = Cerro del Sol”. Here one can see nicely Alhambra palace on left. In front of below lies city of Alhambra – but Generalife is high on the hill.

DSC00416Very nice esplanade – kind of colonnade – under trees and roses. Here we are in April – not yet time of roses.

DSC00446Here is Generalife – Private summer palace of Nasrid rulers. Here they relaxed from conspring athmosphere of palace.

DSC00437Spring flowers all over the courtyard.

DSC00485Here the Court of la Acequia. Generalife was built in the 13th century and it was redecorated by the king Abu I-Walid Isma’il (1313-1324).

DSC00906View from upper parts of palace buildins on the patio where people enter the villa. Orange-trees give nice impression.

DSC00908View from windows of ”Court of la Acequia” towards Alhambra. Earlier time there used to be a bridge over ravine which amir used when traveling from Alhambra to his summer palace. Behind is a fountain once again. The idea of fountains was too cool hot weather at summertime.

DSC00926Nice wooden decorated door which leads to terrace high up looking over hills of Albayzin.

DSC00490Very nice detail of column top from summer palace. How beautiful carvings…

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There is a three in patio of Cypress of Sultana with story behind it. This famous three – Cypress of the Sultana (Ciprés de la Sultana) – grows now for memory of one of amirs wifes – the guilty one. According to the legend, Boabdil’s wife used to meet a knight of the Abencerrajes family. This triggered the death of the people of this noble tribe whose throats were slit. Too bad for them…

DSC00508Patio of the Cypress of the Sultana – called so because of the old cypresses that are in the verandas. Very nice looking patio in second floor where pools and fountains are placed nicely once again.

DSC00374Nice pools with plants and fishes in it.

DSC00928Looking back to ”Cypress of the Sultana” from third floor.

DSC00516Here view from highest level of summer palace today towards Alhambra. Of cource many houses and buildings don’t exists anymore.

DSC00521North part of summer palace would need a little bit restoraation work – surface start to deteriorate. But one can imagine ho nice it must have been drink some cold drink sitting in the terrace up there – feeling warm summer breeze coming from sea … from Malaga.

DSC00935Here is nice view from high towards the route turists come to summer palace. Very nice looking building … reddish tiles and white (calcified) surfaces.

DSC00539Now it is time to leave Generalife and travel again to palace and see alcazaba – muslim fortress.

Alcazaba of Granada
Name alcazaba means castle and in muslim times these were built nearly every city.
DSC00746View from palace to Castle.

DSC00964View from castle towards palace from observation post – a high tower.

DSC00951Middle of the picture can be seen wide observation post – a tower.

DSC00961View from observation post to Albayzin. Down below can be seen square where many restaurants exist.

DSC00977View inside the castle – a courtyard where soldiers had their small dwellings.

DSC00979On the way to highest tower of alcazaba.

DSC00987Flags are vawing on the top of tower.

DSC00994Finally here – top of the highest tower of Alhambra and Alcazaba.

DSC01005The outpost down below looks small. Here used to be the gate that ordinary citizens of Granada where using when visiting Alhambra. Now forgotten…

DSC01004Granada down below looks so small when observed from highest tower of alcazaba. People look like ants…

DSC01012View towards west over the city.

DSC01007And there South-East lie snow covered mountains of Sierra Nevada but weather is misty…

DSC01017Middle of this picture can be seen the catholic church.

DSC00991From highest tower it easy to supervise also whole castle area.

DSC00988It’s time to leave alcazaba.

DSC01030Pathway outside inner wall of castle.

DSC01038What a nice pink colour covering whole tree … I wonder what tree this is?

Alhambra by night
Maybe you did not know but there is also a possibility to see Alhambra by night. There are tours both for palace and garden.

DSC00704Alhambra at night in moonlight.

DSC00703Alcazaba bathing in moonlight.

DSC00569”Patio de Machuca” waiting for visitors under moonlight.

DSC00578Lights inside Comares Palace create a kind of miracle like athmosphere.

DSC00581 (2)Facade of Comares palace in nigth light.
DSC00674Nice details of decoration seems even more beautiful when lights create shadows.

DSC00645 (2)Especially here lights makes the decoration – stucco carvings – shine even more brightly.

DSC00695 (2)Patio de Arrayes – court of Myrtles – lighted under dark sky – moon rising slowly over patio. Nice reflections from pool…

DSC00619 (2)Even after dark nice stucco decorations give special beauty to palace life. Must have been the same with oil lamps and torches…

DSC00671Patio de los Leones – jungle of nicely decorated columns in twilight.

DSC00636Arches and corridors inside palace buildings… and fountains with canals for water… constant sound of purpling water.

DSC00640Sala de Abencerrajes – and beautiful Alhmabra style stucco carvings in roof.

DSC00629View from Windows of palace to Albayzin.

DSC00605 (2)Patio de Arrayanes again – but now against Carlos V palace.

DSC00597View of facade in patio de Arrayanes.

DSC00664Masterpiece in evening dusk – porch with columns in court of Lions.

DSC00662 (2)Lions under moonlight…

DSC00665On the way from court of Lions to Court of Myrtles.

DSC00688 (2)View from another part of cour of Lions. Water flows from fountains through columns and canals… and purifies soul…

DSC00694 (2)And tourists keep flowing every day and night. Great that we can see this beauty. And how nice we saw court of Myrtles under the moon. Will not forget that!

DSC00699Still visiting palace of Carlos V. The one never were fisnished. It also baths under moonlight in warm night.

DSC00715Now it’s time to leave Alhambra. We go through gate of Justice.

Sierra Nevada in South-East
After laying under siege nearly one year city of Granada surrendered for united Christian army. Last sultan – called Bombadil – gave the keys of Alhambra to Christian envoys and later on the day met new rulers of Alhambra – Isabel and Ferdinand. Then he had to leave.

Then last sultan of Granada left his palace and started troublesome march over Sierra Nevada. And when he was climbing slopes of Sierra Nevada to south, he took last glimpse over his beloved valley of Granada. And he looked his palace – Alhambra – on the hill. And he cried!
DSC03419On the next day we still give some glimpses to Sierra Nevada which looks very majestic.

Harbin

Here we are – in the Northeast corner of China in city of Harbin. City used to be part of Russia, but it was given as a present to Mao from Sovjet Union as a congratulation present from succesfull revolution. Northern border of North Korea and border of Russia is not that far away.

Harbin has a one speciality – every year they organize an ice festival. It is called ”Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival”. Then they build a small village of ice buildings with lights of many color.
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At wintertime it can be rather cold here – over -30 oC – so buildings will last easily through the opening time. This is a very famous happening and people come here from several countries each year to watch it.
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I have no idea how they build the ice village but probably block by block from river water nearby. And then they add electrical lights into the joints of blocks. Or neon lights. And probably they use cold water at site to attach blocks together. Houses are so big that they are used also for some activities in exhibition.
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What can one say about overal view but how great it looks at dark night! Still the size of building astonish me…At the time of my visit – end of January – it was cold about -17 oC, so it was not bad. But also new techniques can work in these conditions like big schreen!
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And of course there need to be small cabins or kiosk where you can buy coffee and tea to get yourself warm.
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And here also temperature meter was a big one. Yes maybe it was even more than -17 oC in the late evening…
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Nice picture of colored columns and arches. There were also slides for people to have fun and some were pretty long…By the way look right down corner…do you se anything familiar? Yes – there is a sign of CFC – Centucky Fry Chicken. And there were also all the rest fast food chains in this exhibition area. So you did not need to walk hungry.
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And this of course presents typical Chinese palace. Not bad! Not bad at all…
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And little bit from different corner. And there are tens of different buildings or smaller constructions or statues in the festival area…
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And background a muslim palace or temple. See the crescent moons at the top of towers. And how pretty colored lights everywhere in the middle of darkness of Northern Harbin.
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And here is the temple of Buddha. And master himself is sitting on the background leaning to hill.
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And how nice looking columns here. Deep green and blue! I wonder how they do it. And at background more imaginary statues and constructions…
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And this small shrine is full of light – in many colors! How nice indeed…
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Here is the castle of ice bears. And its big!
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And more very big and colourful buildings. It is looking like an asian palace also. I suppose many of the builders of the structures create here their own ideas and visions. In the end the best will be rewarded.
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Here is something I just had to take some photos. Smurfs standing in the cold night at Harbin surrounded by their nice cottages!
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And here from somewhat different angle…
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This building at background was a very huge one. If I remember right there were some happenings inside the buiding – shows etc. At the top of the building there were a huge slide that you could try to get down with high speed…
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At the ice world exhibition there is a competition of ice statues. So many artist compete here who can create the most imposing statue. Was this the winner?
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And finally everything ends. Its time to go…
I wonder ho many meters of electrical cables will be left around from melting ice world structures…I guess its better to turn power off at that time!
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Cordoba

The city of Cordoba – or Cordova – has experienced many phases during it’s existence. It is located in valley of Quadalquivir-river, where climate is warm and land fruitful. As many cities in Spain also Cordoba was first founded by Carthagians. When Hamilcar Barca was conquering Hispania for Carthage, he renamed old settlements beside Quadalquivir to ”Kartuba” honoring with the name the Numidian commander – Juba – whi had died nearby in battle. Then in the second Punic war Kartuba was taken by Romans.

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Old foundation of Roman bridge nearby old town.

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Tower of Calahorra in the end of Roman bridge builded by Almohad muslims.

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In Roman times there were not lemon trees in Spain. Now city is full of orange- and lemon trees.

Roman times
BC 169 a new Roman colony was based beside old Iberian settlement by the Roman consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus. It is known that there were a Roman forum in the city as also many other Roman buildings like temples.

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Ruins of Roman temple in old town.

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Model of temple in arhceological museum in Cordoba.

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Ruins of foundation of Roman building in archeological museum.

In 100 BC somebody buried a treasure – the famous Cordoba Treasure – in Cordoba outskirts where it was found in beginning of 1900. It consisted Celtic artefacts and Roman coins around 100 BC. After some bargains treasure is now to see in the British Museum.

At the time of Roman Rebublic Cordoba was the capital city of Hispania Ulterior. Then later on during Roman Empire city was capital of Hispania Baetica. Very famous Romans were philosopher Seneca the Younger and orator Seneca the Elder. Also a poet Lucan came from Roman Cordoba.

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Nice Roman statue from archeological museum.

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Roman writing in stone in archeological museum.

After Roman times
Rome hold Hispania nearly seven hundred years and after their empire collapsed, it left a huge empty space which was to be filled with something. First Byzantine hold the region short time and then little over hundred years it was hold by Visigoth. But their time ended very soon when Arabic conquerers – mainly Berbers – came from north Africa and conquered whole Spain in couple years at beginning of 700 AD.

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Moorish type arches in palace of Medinat Azharat near Cordoba.

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Arabic writing from Muslim times – now inside mosque of Cordoba.

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Very very nice artwork from famous mosque of Cordoba. One can say that Muslims created own type of building architecture in different cities of Al Andalus.

When Spain was conquered by muslims, is was ruled from Cordoba for 300 hundred years. At that time Cordoba was probably most populated city in Europe and richies flowed from all ”Al Andalus” into the city. Therefore they were able to build great buildings – like mosque of Cordoba – and palace cities like Medina Azhara.

Medina Azhara
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Once Caliphate of Cordoba was ruled from here. This City palace is looking over Quadalquivir-valley only couple kilometers from Cordoba.

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The layout of Medinat Azhara. It was build by Abd-ar-Rahman III al-Nasir – Umayyad Caliph of Córdoba. At his time nearly whole Spain was ruled by strong muslim reign and their army was superior.

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Toilet inside palace witness from developed society.

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As well the pipelines inside building. Probably they had many comfortable solutions inside palace.

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Arches from Medina Azhara.

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Artwork of smithery of Medina Azhara. A very expensive one!

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Arches and arches again – but I like them.

Mezquita
Originally this building was a Visigoth church but when Abd ar-Rahman I escaped from palace revolution of Damaskos and took reign of Al-Andalus, he started to build a mosque from half of the church. Then later on other muslim rulers expanded it at least four times.

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Famous arches of mosque of Cordoba – unique style in the world! Probably in some extent mosque of Damaskos was used as paragon.

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Here under mosque roof is the forest of columns – robbed from Roman and Visigoth houses around Cordoba. Luckily mosque was left for afterworld to see.

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One can only wonder the huge area of mosque and the forest of columns. Red-white-arches – in two layers – look marvellous. One can only wonder the beautiful lines and corridors under arches inside the mosque – Mezquita in local language. Mastermind designing!

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The edifice also has a richly gilded prayer niche or mihrab. One of the most beautiful artworks inside mosque. Brilliant!

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Here different kind of arches inside mosque – also very very beautiful and unique.

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Also nice arches – white this time – inside mosque.

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Facade of mosque – little bit weared but still one can see masterpieces of art.

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Here nice courty-yard inside great mosque of Cordoba. There are small channels between trees to irrigate their roots. Muslims builded very intelligent irrigation systems all over Al Andalus.

Muslim bathouse
In every muslim city there was an alcazaba – a muslim fortress and palace. And there were always as well bathhouse with open star-like openings in roof. By the way – there still is arabic bathouse in Cordoba. But in different building.
DSC01491 There are still some remnants of old muslim bathhouse.

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Old walls of bathouse.

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Columns of bathouse – cold and warm pools.

DSC01493Once bathhouse was part of muslim alcazaba.

Christian reconquista
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In year 1236 muslim city of Cordoba fell to Ferdinand III – king of Castile and Leon. Of course they changed many things and builded new houses – and teared apart many muslim structures.

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Fortress of Christian kings – partly made over muslim alcazaba – muslim castle.

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Nice view over defence tower.

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Scenery high above from defence tower over gardens and pools.

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Here – in times of reconquista – there was always pools, fountains and gardens beside castles.

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Nice trees and long pool inside gardens of alcazar.

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Iron lady of Castile and Leon – Isabella. Main figures with Ferdinand securing reconquista.

Today’s Cordoba
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Narrow streets of Cordoba.

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Still newer houses have very nice muslim type decorations.

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Maimonides – a judish scolar from Cordoba who found himself even physician of Saladdin. Still sitting on the streets of Cordoba – after so many hundred years.

Constantinoble – Istanbul

Originally city was founded by name of Byzantium around 670 BC by Greeks. Later on Roman emperor Constantine I transferred the imperial capital from its historic base – Rome – to Byzantium in 330 AD. He named the city as Constantinople and it started to develop fast forward because it’s magnificient location. Magnificient Place near sea routes and crossroad of East and West made Constantinople a success story.

When Western Rome finally collapsed in fourth century BC, Eastern Rome continued to live as new Roman empire with Contantinople as it’s center. Emeperos Justinianus and his warlord Belisarius made Rome in fifth century nearly as big as old Rome.

UntitledA picture of Contantinople as it’s final days. Note the chain that blocks route to ”golden horn” – natural harbor. Under picture lies still some peace of that chain!

Then came difficult times as new religion from east started to conquere land and was heading on west. One by one Byzantium (former Eastern Rome) lost Spain, North Africa and middle East. In Manzikirt army of Byzantium suffered a heavy loss to Turkish invaders and lost whole Anatolia. Difficult times came but Byzantium managed to survive and grow again when Timur Lenk defeated muslims and Turkish army.DSC05954
As always in Greek cities there was a temple in Akropolis – on high hill.

There were civil strife and confusion inside Constantinople and finally even crusaders occupied and sacked the city. But once again the city raised itself and became a capital of Byzantium. But tides where turning and new enemy Ottomans conquered all lands in Anatolia and also on European side of the city. Finally ottomans were even reaching Hungary and Vienna.

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Maybe these scary soldiers where those one who conquered Constantinople – elite soldiers Janitsars.

Things were looking now really bad for Constantinople. They were standing alone as a separate city in middle of Ottomans empire. So Mehmed II build a fortress – Rumelian castle – in shores of Posboros near the city. He gathered a toll and prevented mercant ships to travel through into the city. Then he started a two months siege over Constantinople and finally city was conquered by the Ottoman Empire on Tuesday 29 May 1453. As they has promised Turks sacked the city throughly and burned and killed inhabitants. That was the end of that over 200o year old city, which probably had all the knowledge and scriptures from Greek-Roman civilations on Eastern Mediterranean.

DSC06197Haga-Sofia was the pearl of Contantinople – church that once was held as a unique because of it’s beauty – then mosque and now museum.

DSC05265Here we can see a view from balcony to altar. Here Emperor and Empress followed the ceremony. Last Christian mass was held Monday evening 28 May 1453. Next Morning city was seized and pillaged.

DSC05295There are still some paintings and mosaics left from those times.

DSC05311Nice view from upper floor over Haga Sophia interior.

DSC05234From down below those cupolas of Haga Sofia look still really magnificient! But I guess cupolas need maintenance.

DSC05244Nice piece of decoration in columns.

DSC05217Inside Church there is really beautiful and peaceful athmosphere.

DSC05237Is this from Christian era or from muslim times? Anyway very beautiful!

DSC05241Some scenery from halls inside church.

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But architecture of Haga Sophia is really unique!

Constantinople today
Only little is left from old Greek-Roman city in these days.
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An obelisk brought here by emperor Theodosius. Here used to be the most famous building of Contantinople – the hippodrome – the horse-chariot race arena.
DSC06085This small corksrew is a famous column than one used to stand in hippodrome. Behind can be seen the column of Constantine.

DSC06004Still there are some places remains of city walls of Contantinople.

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One famous palce is basilica Cistern which were ment to be as reservoir. This huge storage under ground can store hundred of thousands cubic meters of water.

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Famous Foundation of one of the columns – a head of Medusa.

Because of the old age of town it was full of Roman statues and grave Stones.

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Grave of centurion? Head of Octavian?

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A grave of gladiator fighter? A nice statue of woman figure…

Some of the Roman statues seem to look sad and they whisper: ”Don’t forget me! Once I used to life here. Once this was my city!”
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I met this fellow when visiting toilet – he was keepin quard in corridor. I wonder did he ever thought to be put in this place – surely not …

DSC05624In place of old Greek temple (in Akropolis) stands now Topkapi palace of sultans.

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Columns of Constantine…

20150605_171058 (2)Here Galata tower built by Byzantine on 13th century BC. Destructed by earthquake and build again By Ottomans.

20150605_163800Some atwork over elevator in Galata tower.

20150605_165000View from top of Galata tower – today’s Istanbul is a busy and noisy city of 17 million people! So it looks!

Yes – little is left from the jewel of Eastern Mediterranean. Constantinople is lost and vanished in to history … too bad!

Modern Istanbul

These modern Istanbul is a city with more than 15 000 000 people! It is one of the biggest cities in Europe. It is spreading on wide area with modern high buildings.

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Here one of the mosques near shore and Cruise boats. Nice scenery in dark night.

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In it’s European side Galata tower shines in many colors when sun has set…

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Because Istanbul is surrounded by sea one can see ships, ferries and boats everywhere.

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Very beautiful light shows are covering many buildings on shores of Phospore sea.

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There are not so many bridges from Europe to Asia in Istanbul – only three for the moment. Here nice building under vast bridge.

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Here again mosques scenery from north side of Phospore shore.

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This building looks really amazing and catches one’s eye.

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This mosque is photographed from cruise boat and is located on European side of Phospore shore.

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Here is Rumelian castle built by Mehmed II as lauching point to capture Constantinople.

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And here is Grand Bazaar. And it really was a grand bazaar – corridors after corridors for several kilometers.

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Here is view from street near Haga Sophia and basilica Cistern.

DSC06201Haga-Sofia last time!

Trip to Beijing

Beijing – I guess one of the oldest cities and also one of the most populated – about more than 21 milion people. Huh!
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Tiananmen Square is a large city square in the center of Beijing. By the way Tiananmen Square is the fourth largest city square in the world.
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Tiananmen Square has got it’s name from the Tiananmen gate (Gate of Heavenly Peace), which is located in the Northern side and separates square from the Forbidden City.
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The Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City was built in 1415 during the Ming Dynasty.
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Layout to Forbidden city. As you can see there are large squares even in the way to Forbidden city. Area is actually pretty big. When you are in the museum – city area – you don’t really understand that actually you are in a fortress. There is moath all over the place and walls and towers. Once it’s meaning was to secure life and reign of Chinese kings.
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Here is the U-shaped Meridian gate. Because chinese emperors believed that they were sons of Heaven and lived in the center of the universe, they believed that the meridian line went through the Forbidden City. That’s the origin of the name.
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The forbidden city. Once – in the 15th century – it was built as the palace of the Ming emperors of China. It’s fine history as a royal palace ended with the Qing Dynasty in 1912. After that it has been a museum since 1925.
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Nice bridges in first courtyard.
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Gate of Supreme Harmony. You can see very nice engravings on the stairways. Therefore its protected so nice figures will not wear out.
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And more exactly.
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At end of the yard you can see The Hall of Supreme Harmony. Looks very nice building. It was the ceremonial centre of imperial power, and the largest surviving wooden structure in China.
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How nice details and colorful art work. Must require a lot for carpenters! I wonder how much money it takes to keep all those buildings in good shape…
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The Hall of Complete Harmony is the smallest of the three main halls in the Outer Court and is square in shape rather than rectangular. It was preparation hall for emperor in ceremonies.
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Giving some sense of how large area is – and this is just a small part of museum area.
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Inside the Gate of Celestial Purity (QianQingMen), the first building is the Palace of Celestial Purity or Palace of Heavenly Purity.
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And the lions keep here guard!
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Picture from inside. From the time of Emperor YongZheng, the secretly chosen crown prince’s name would be written on duplicate documents and one copy would be hidden in a box behind the plaque. The other copy would be kept with the emperor. If the designated names on the two copies were the same, the designated prince could ascend to the throne. Difficult??
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The fist courtyard. Or the second? Or third? I lost my counting…
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The Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility was first built in 1420.
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There are not too many furnitures in palace – I wonder was it cold here at winter? Don’t seem too well insulated buildings.
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Imperial gardens
The way to imperial gardens. Also some more space for kids to play in garden area…
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The garden was built in 1417 during the Ming dynasty. It is about 12,000 square meters and was the private garden of the imperial family. This garden was used exclusively by the imperial family to sip tea, play chess, meditate and generally relax. Within the garden, there are about 20 structures in different styles.DSC01693

Pathways to imperial garden among the trees. Emperor amd empress wanted to feel here peace and harmony among nice trees.
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There are many old trees within the garden. Some more than 400 years old!
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The Hall of Imperial Peace (Qin’AnDian), is the main structure in the garden and the only one on the central axis – it stands in the center of the garden, encircled by a rectangular wall. It was first built in the 15th century.
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Small park of artificial rock and strange plants.
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There is also a little artificial mountain with a cave,which is piled up with delicate rocks and stones from Taihu Lake (this is part of it).
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Strange looking elephant sitting alone!
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That’s it! And I did not even see everything…too bad. But next time.
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By the way – in our way back there was nice view from moth and little bit stonewalls.
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