In America we call them “Roadside Attractions” – the enticing wonders that dot country highways. Advertising sensational things like 20 foot long alligator mummies or the world’s biggest dollhouse, these sights are usually good for a laugh, a rest stop, and an ice cream before heading back on the road. Mostly they are quirky, kitschy tourist stops, but occasionally you find a gem. I’ve come to realize that these places are not limited to the US. Here’s the story of one such incredible find in Israel, a figuratively and literally miraculous place.
Posts tagged ‘Greece’
In the heart of ancient Corinth, between the extensive market and the main road to the sea, there was an Imperial Roman monument that was designed to be unforgettable. The Prisoner’s Facade was constructed by Septimius Severus (145-211 CE) to celebrate his victory over the Parthians. The elaborate two-story tapestry in marble depicted vanquished, captured soldiers and the victorious Roman army. Perhaps the boldest element of the prisoner facade were four sculptural columns that each included a statue of a docile, captured youth in oriental costumes.
This exotic sculpture and fantastic architecture was typical of Corinth – the Roman capital of the Greek province. Lively, international, and wealthy, ancient Corinth figures into Greek, Roman, and early Christian history. While today there are only neglected embers of its former glory, you can still picture the excitement of ancient Corinth in the expansive but slumbering ruins and in the unique museum pieces like this beautiful column of a captured man.
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.
Touring the Peloponnese is a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong, the towns and countryside are gorgeous. Its just that you just have to cover a lot of ground and move from hotel to hotel. That’s why I’m glad I tweaked my planning a little bit to spent a few days in Nafplio. Its close to several major archaeological sites for day-tripping and is a fantastic, relaxing sea-side escape in its own right. Nafplio is the kind of place you look for when traveling!
It always amazes me to see historic jewelry in museums. I’ve just assumed items so valuable and fragile would not have survived the centuries, but then there they are, neatly lined up in the display cases. Once again proving that everything old is new again, there’s a lot of ancient jewelry that I’d wear today. Here are some of personal favorites!