Secluded on Mt. Helicon in Greece, just south of Delphi, is the Monastery of Hosios Loukas (Holy Luke). A triumph of Byzantine art and architecture, it is no surprise that this church is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Decorated with a combination of mosaics and frescoes, I made certain to stop at this church. While its difficult to capture the feeling of being in such an amazing place, hopefully the images and music in this post will help transport you that beautiful place of marble and holy Byzantine faces.
Posts tagged ‘churches’
Sometimes on the quest for art, you end up learning a lot more about the history of a place. I didn’t expect to find Norman castles and churches in Sicily but it is hard to deny the thick bulky structures when you find them. I also didn’t expect to find detailed decorative elements reminiscent of the Middle East but there they were. What became Sicilian Norman art is a blend of cultures and adds an exotic flavor to an already interesting mix of Greco-Roman and Baroque architecture on the island. Once you factor in 19th century restorations with a mind of their own, you find can find some complex and beautiful churches. I found one such example of blended art in the little town of Erice and the Chiesa Matrice Church.
So after walking to and around Mont Saint Michel, you’re probably wondering what is inside this mystic fortress. While strategically important, the site was first settled as a religious community and so it contains an extensive and historic abbey. The Romanesque style Abbey Church, Cloisters and support rooms are incredible. After the French Revolution, the site was used as a prison but was reclaimed in the late 19th century as a historical landmark. The stone architecture underwent several waves of restoration to reveal the original medieval complex (with the exception of iconic steeple topped by a St. Michael statue).
Mont Saint-Michel has always seemed liked a mystic place. Totally isolated, the massive religious fortress seems to rise from the sea. Settled by a hermit saint in 8th century on a tidal rock, kings and commoners alike have sought out this place continually ever since. One of the most recognizable places in France and a UNESCO World Heritage site, you better believe I was going to spend some time exploring Mont Saint-Michel! So in the spirit of those medieval travelers who made the pilgrimage to the Romanesque Church of the Abbey crowning the mountain, here’s how I approached and climbed Mont Saint-Michel.
In recent years, my travels have focused on the Mediterranean with trips to Greece, Turkey and Italy. I love ancient Roman art and the Italian Renaissance, but I thought it was time to diversify a bit. With a trip to Amsterdam and Belgium, I thought I could now finally spend some time with Dutch Primitives, also known as the art of the Northern Renaissance. And then look what I find tucked away in the Low Countries: a real Michelangelo!