Saturday, 25. October 2008

Click the picture for a larger view

"The grandeur of Borobudur is something immense, sphinx-like, incomprehensible and yet so fascinating. It overpowers with a sense of our own incapacity to give a description. Its enigmas are too many and too great for us to solve, and yet it exercises such a powerful charm, lays such a hold on the mind that we are irresistibly compelled to use all our powers to discover something of its mysterious being." -- Nicholas J. Krom


In order to understand the reasons why the Javanese constructed Borobudur we must gain some knowledge about the Buddhist faith that provided their motivation.

Borobudur's foundation is far more than just the stone base upon which the monument rests. At its most fundamental level, this sacred Buddhist site rests upon a spiritual foundation that is based on the noble doctrine of one of the world's great spiritual teachers.

Modern scholars believe that the historical Buddha was born about 560 BCE into the royal Sakya clan of a small kingdom located near the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in what is today the country of Nepal. At the age of 29, Siddhartha renounced his royal lineage to become a wandering monk. Six years later, he attained enlightenment under the canopy of the bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, which is located in the modern Indian State of Bihar.

A cyber reconstruction of the world's largest Buddhist shrine

Category: Buildings & Places |

Saturday, 04. October 2008
Saint John the Divine Cathedral

In 2001 a big fire destructed part of the Saint John the Divine Cathedral in Manhatten and especially the smoke damaged the indoor walls and the pipe organ. Now all the cleaning, including the pipes of the organ, is nearing its end and on Sunday, November 30th a Service of Rededication is planned. The Great Organ will again be heard, the legendary Bernini and Mortlake tapestries will be in place and the Great Rose Window will sparkle from above. Enjoy this short feature on one of the most beautiful churches of New York. The soundtrack is by Parichayaka Hammerl.

Enjoy this video by Kedar.

Category: Buildings & Places |

Saturday, 20. September 2008
Helike - The Real Atlantis

On a winter night in 373 BC, the classical Greek city of Helike was destroyed by a massive earthquake and tidal wave. The entire city and all its inhabitants were lost beneath the sea. What has bewitched archaeologists about Helike is that it was engulfed just when ancient Greece was reaching its height; when the philosophy and art that inspired the western world for thousands of years were invented.

Inspiring the myth

Its destruction was one of the most appalling tragedies of the classical world and most probably the reality behind the myth of Atlantis. But now, unlike Atlantis, a team of archaeologists may have found Helike - a lost city from the heyday of Greek civilisation. If it is as well preserved as everyone hopes, Helike could be a time capsule from this crucial time in human development.

For centuries there had been just no sign of it. All archaeologists had to guide them were obscure and often contradictory ancient texts. So, despite numerous expeditions trawling the waters off the coast of Greece and vast amounts of money and technology thrown at the problem, no one could find anything except two small coins, unearthed over a hundred years ago.

Not drowned but buried

Then, in 1988 Dora Katsonopoulou and Steven Soter took up the challenge. Dora had grown up with the legend from childhood and was determined to find the archaeological treasure on her doorstep. Together they went back to basics and re-examined the ancient texts. These said that Helike had sunk into a poros, which everyone had taken to mean Gulf of Corinthe. But Dora thought that a poros could also be an inland lagoon. If she was right, the lost city which had inspired Atlantis might not be under the sea, as everyone thought, but somewhere inland.

A landscape on the move

Studying the geology of the region, earthquake expert Iain Stewart argues that a large earthquake could well cause an inland lagoon. Small recent earthquakes in the region have caused ground liquefaction - a terrifying phenomenon where the ground literally turns to water beneath your feet. If the same had happened on a much larger scale then the whole city could have been plunged downwards, taking much of the city below sea level. But the earthquake in 373 BC could also have had a second more devastating effect. As well as liquifaction recent earthquakes have caused chunks of coastline to fall into the sea. If this happened on a large scale underwater landslides could cause a large wave, or tsunami. This would race across the Gulf of Corinthe, ricochet off the opposite bank and come charging back again, to crash over the sunken plain and fill in the lagoon.

Dora's theory makes sense, except for one thing. There is no lagoon in the region today. There is, though, a trail of clues that explains what could have happened. An ancient bridge that is strangely nowhere near water shows how river sediment coming down from the mountains changes the shape of the plain - over hundreds of years the lagoon would have silted up, hiding the lost city beneath solid ground. A host of boreholes drilled into the plain and a remote cave with the legend attached to it have helped pinpoint where the now underground city might lie.

Glimpses of Ancient Greece

Slowly Dora and Steven have pieced it all together, but there have been several false starts along the way. The first lot of ruins they found were Roman - a settlement built hundreds of years after Helike's disappearance to honour the famous lost city. Next they found ruins that turned out to be prehistoric - an early bronze age settlement built 2,500 years before Helike. It wasn't until 2001 that Dora and Steven at last got their breakthrough.

Whilst Horizon was filming, the team uncovered ruins from classical Greece. Securely dated by coins and pottery, the team are convinced they have at last found the city they've been looking for. It will take years to uncover Helike's riches, but for the first time in thousands of years, we have glimpses of the lost city that inspired Atlantis.

Source: BBC 2

'Helike - The Real Atlantis' by BBC Horizon, 2002

Duration: 48 minutes

You may also like to read The Transcript.

See also:
In Echoes of Atlantis, Dr Iain Stewart, who appears in the Horizon programme, explains more about Helike, Plato and the search for Atlantis.

And The Lost Cities of Helike by Helike Foundation.
Category: Buildings & Places | Movies & TV |

Friday, 25. July 2008
Code Of The Maya Kings

Great cities in ruins, lost in the jungles of Central America and Mexico. Who would have built these cities? It would take more than a century and two extraordinary people to uncover the secrets of ancient Maya.

The american John Lloyd Stephens, together with his english companion Frederick Catherwood, enbarked upon the first of two epic voyages to central america in 1839. Facing many dangers and illnesses, they returned from the mysterious land with extraordinary stories and breath taking images from a once great civilization of native americans. One hundread years later, Mayan archaeology had made enormous advances, although the inscriptions that adorn the Mayan ruins had not been completely decyphered. It would be the extraordinary studies of the russian Tatiana Proskouriakoff, a woman in a world of men, that would reveal the true lives of the Maya to the world.

Treasure Seekers: Code of the Maya Kings by National Geographic, 2001
Duration: 52 minutes

Category: Buildings & Places | Movies & TV |

Friday, 18. July 2008
Daibutsu - The Great Buddha of Kamakura

A beautiful clip made by Swiss videographer Kedar Misani:

The Great Buddha of Kamakura is a monumental outdoor bronze statue of Amida Buddha in the Kotoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. It is believed that the statue was originally cast in 1252, following an idea by the priest Joko, who also collected donations to build it. The sculptors were One-Goroemon and Tanji-Hisatomo. The statue is approximately 13.35m tall and weighs approximately 93 tons. I had the chance to visit the site several times and was always fascinated by its magnitude; many say it is the most perfect image of the original Buddha. Soundtrack by Parichayaka Hamerl.

Just to see is a mediation:

Category: Buildings & Places |

Saturday, 12. July 2008
Theology in Stone


Thinking about church architecture has come to an impasse. Reformers and traditionalists are talking past each other. Statements from both sides are often strident and dogmatic. In Theology in Stone, Richard Kieckhefer seeks to help both sides move beyond the standoff toward a fruitful conversation about houses of worship. Drawing on a wide range of historical examples with an eye to their contemporary relevance, he offers refreshing new ideas about the meanings and uses of church architecture.

Kieckhefer begins with four chapters on the basic elements of church architecture-the overall arrangement of space, the use of an altar or pulpit as a centering focus, the aesthetics of church design, and the functions of sacred symbols.

He goes on to offer three extended historical studies, dealing with churches of medieval England, revival-style churches of America, and modern churches of twentieth-century Germany. Drawing on these case studies, he concludes with a vision of a new theology of church architecture--historically grounded, yet framed for our own time.

Theology in Stone by Richard Kieckhefer
Oxford University Press, 2004 | 390 pages | PDF | 3.4 MB

Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, interior. Engraving from Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Vedute di Roma.
Category: Books & Magazines | Buildings & Places |

Sunday, 29. June 2008
Secrets Of The Parthenon

How did they build this magnificent temple with such incredible precision in a mere eight or nine years? How did they manage to achieve apparent perfection in a building that contains almost no straight lines or right angles? And, most baffling of all, how did they accomplish all this apparently without using the tools that a modern architect would find essential—a building plan or a blueprint?

Watch as NOVA takes on these mysteries with the help of some of the foremost experts on ancient Greek architecture, including the chief architect of the Acropolis Restoration Project, Manolis Korres, and scholars Barbara Barletta of the University of Florida, Mark Wilson Jones of the University of Bath, and Lothar Haselberger of the University of Pennsylvania.

Secrets Of The Parthenon by NOVA, 2008
Runtime: 53 minutes

You may also like to read the Transcript.

See also at the NOVA Secrets Of The Parthenon:
  • Take a trip back to the fifth century B.C. with art historian Jeffrey Hurwit.
  • See how architects, historians, and skilled masons are painstakingly reassembling the Parthenon.
  • Detailed line drawings reveal the tools and techniques of ancient Greek craftsmen.
  • Trace the building's various incarnations as a temple, church, mosque, and even an army barracks.
Category: Buildings & Places | Movies & TV |

Saturday, 14. June 2008
Sell Your Home Faster with Feng Shui

This guide shows homeowners, real estate agents, and others how to use the ancient Chinese art of placement without undertaking an exhausting course of study or subscribing to a belief system.


This book is filled with practical advice from the world of real estate as well as the time-tested, environmental designed philosophy of Feng Shui. It blends both domains - modern savvy and ancient wisdom - the winning combination from marketing your home.
Learn how to:

  • Clear clutter to allow the buyer to focus on what is important
  • See with "Feng Shui eyes" - the way a buyer feels
  • Use Feng Shui tips in every room - from the front porch to the garage!
  • Use "Feng Shui curb appeal" for a dynamic first impression
  • Maximize EVERY showing

Sell Your Home Faster with Feng Shui:
Ancient Wisdom to Expedite the Sale of Real Estate by Holly Ziegler
Dragon Chi Publications, 2001 | 275 pages | PDF | 17.2 MB
Feng Shui or no Feng Shui, it works! Fresh ideas and new twists on ancient wisdom.

Category: Books & Magazines | Buildings & Places | Energy & Light |

Friday, 13. June 2008
Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil and Labn


1843. Dovecote. Looking southwest along north facade.

2003. Same view as in print.

The main purpose of this web site is to make available enough large, high quality images that viewers may begin to explore these world famous Maya cities, perhaps even to decide that this is one place on earth they absolutely must visit in person.

At Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labná, each major building is unique, many composed with exceptional refinement, the buildings and courts richly juxtaposed, creating distinctive urban spaces. Some buildings display a profusion of stone ornament, requiring hundreds of high quality photographs to see the complexity and beauty of these sites.


This web site includes 19th and early 20th century drawings, prints, and photographs, showing the appearance of these four cities before the extensive restoration campaigns of the twentieth century, and allowing us to see the variety of ways in which early explorers and scholars recorded these newly discovered wonders. In addition, there are over 1000 recent photographs, showing previously unpublished architectural and sculptural details, interior spaces, paint remains, current restoration, and approaches to the public presentation of these heavily visited sites.


Architecture, Restoration, and Imaging of the Maya Cities of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labná
by Reed College.
Category: Buildings & Places |

Wednesday, 11. June 2008
Standing with Stones

Repost, for those who didn't see:

"Standing with Stones" is a new film on DVD exploring the mysteries of Britain’s ancient stone circles. It is an exploration into the wealth of prehistoric sites in Britain and Ireland on a scale never before attempted on film. More than 100 sites visited in the entire 136-minute documentary and is written and presented by Rupert Soskin and produced and directed by Michael Bott.


Rupert, an explorer who has led three expeditions into the jungles of northern Colombia to visit the Kogi Indians, has also studied archaeology, anthropology and evolutionary psychology. He first met documentary filmmaker Michael Bott when Michael was working with Henry Lincoln (writer/broadcaster and author of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) on a film called Origins of the Da Vinci Code, and another called The Man Behind the Da Vinci Code, for Channel 5 and the History Channel.


Conceived eight years ago as a project for television by Michael & Rupert, it was only three years ago that they decided to take the leap of producing it entirely themselves. It has taken over two years to research, film and edit the film and between them, the two have travelled well over 10,000 miles around Britain and Ireland, filming a breathtaking array of stone circles and monuments, from the Ballowall Barrow at the southern tip of Cornwall to the Tomb of the Eagles on Orkney.

Although the film doesn't profess to have all the answers, it stimulates interest in why they were built, how they were built and why there is such diversity in the arrangement of the stones in so many locations.

Here is 'Merrivale' - a short clip from the DVD 'Standing with Stones':

More clips, pictures and informations you will find on their website:
Standing with Stones.

The authors also have put lots of previews on YouTube.
Category: Buildings & Places | Movies & TV |

Wednesday, 04. June 2008
Crop Circle Collection

These are the latest visible crop circles in Google Earth as of March 2008.
Each one has the name of the closest town. Typing them into the FlyTo box in Google Earth will get you there.

You can also download the entire collection as a KMZ file here to view in your GE.

Or view in Google Maps.

Category: Buildings & Places | Mysteries & Enigmas |

Friday, 16. May 2008
Jerusalem 3000

Eye Candy! Click the pictures for a larger view.

This colorful print depicts the traditional view of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, with Jesus weeping over the city. It was produced by an American Syro-Maronite church belonging to a Roman Catholic sect based in Lebanon, and was apparently designed as a souvenir for pilgrims. Christian, Islamic, and Jewish holy sites are shown.

West Roxbury, Mass., ca. 1900

This dramatic scene is taken from The Cyclorama, an enormous three-dimensional panorama of Jerusalem on the day of the Crucifixion. It was created in Munich between 1878 and 1882, and has been on view since 1895 in Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, near the city of Quebec in Canada. The tableau is of monumental size, measuring 46 feet in height and 361 feet in circumference. The lifelike character of the display creates the illusion of being a spectator at the historic event, a quality that is captured in the illustration.

Historical Pub[lishin]g. Co. Litho., Philadelphia, 1890

This curious map appeared in a late sixteenth-century rendition of the Bible in the form of an illustrated travel book. It reflects outmoded medieval theologic-geographic concepts, placing Jerusalem at the center of the world and at the intersection of three continents.

From: Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae - Magdeburg, Germany, 1581

Jerusalem's unique position among cities of the world derives from its crucial role in religious history as a holy city for three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For thousands of years Jerusalem has been the temporal and spiritual center of the Holy Land, for which more tears and blood have been shed and more prayers offered than for any other region of the world. Jerusalem's powerful emotional appeal has inspired a prodigious outpouring of prose and poetry, artistic renderings, and, of course, maps.

This exhibition presents a selection of maps and views to illustrate the history of Jerusalem as it celebrates the 3000th anniversary of its establishment as the capital of King David's unified Kingdom of Israel. Many of these documents are centuries old. Some of them are imaginary and idealized portrayals based on Scriptural interpretation, and reflect the ideologies and religious persuasions of their makers.

Jerusalem 3000: Three Millennia of History, Exhibition by Osher Map Library.
Category: Buildings & Places |

Monday, 05. May 2008
The Shire - Place of Enchantment




The Shire is not a place with emphasis on particular spiritual practices but is in our own way respectful and supportive of the Earth and all living beings on it; cultural and artistic enrichment and expression and spiritual diversity.
Cultural and spiritual vitality means:

• Shared creativity, artistic expression, cultural activities, rituals and celebrations.

• Sense of community unity and mutual support.

• Respect and support for spirituality manifesting in many ways.

• Shared vision and agreements that express commitments, cultural heritage and the uniqueness of our community.

• Flexibility and successful responsiveness to difficulties that arise.

• Understanding of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all the elements of life on Earth and the community's place in relation to the whole.

• Creation of a peaceful, loving, sustainable world.

If you like hobbits for neighbours, then consider buying a house in the
Shire of Bend, Oregon. Nice!

A little piece of Middle Earth ... southeast Bend? Not exactly. But The Lord of the Rings did provide at least part of the inspiration – as well as the name for “The Shire,” a radically different small residential development now in the planning stages.
Locate on a bit over six acres on the west side of Benham Road near Tillicum Village; The Shire will include about 30 homes ranging in size from roughly 1,500 to 2,100 square feet.


Category: Buildings & Places |

Sunday, 04. May 2008
Jewels in the Jungle: Angkor Wat

Deep in the jungles of Cambodia, the ruins of Angkor consist of ancient temples and palaces that are shrouded in mystery. This second episode of the three-part Discovery Channel series "Mysteries of Asia" takes an in-depth look at the many mysteries.

Interviewed experts explain that back in 1860, when the first European explorer discovered the ruins in northwestern Cambodia, he was told by local residents that the huge structures had either been built by giants or had built themselves. Others would later come up with more practical theories, including those who believed that the temples were built by Jews who migrated to China or by Alexander the Great. In fact, these 100 or so temples were actually constructed during the reign of the Khmer Empire, between the ninth and 14th centuries.

Modern footage and maps provide viewers with additional information about these large temples.

'Mysteries of Asia - Jewels in the Jungle'
by Discovery Channel, 2006
Runtime: 52 minutes

Category: Buildings & Places | Movies & TV |

Friday, 11. April 2008
‘Breakthrough’ at Stonehenge Dig

Archaeologists carrying out an excavation at Stonehenge say they have broken through to a layer that may finally explain why the site was built.

The team has reached sockets that once held bluestones - smaller stones, most now missing or uprooted, which formed the site's original structure.

The researchers believe that the bluestones could reveal that Stonehenge was once a place of healing.

The dig is the first to take place at Stonehenge for more than 40 years.

The team now needs to extract organic material from these holes to date when the stones first arrived.

Professor Tim Darvill, of Bournemouth University, who is leading the work with Professor Geoff Wainwright, president of the Society of Antiquaries, said: "The first week has gone really well. We have broken through to these key features.

"It is a slow process but at the moment everything is going exactly to plan."

Professor Geoff Wainwright explains why the dig is taking place:

The two-week excavation is being funded by the BBC and filmed for a special Timewatch programme to be broadcast in the autumn.

Professors Darvill and Wainwright say that finding out more about the history of the bluestones could be key to solving the mystery of why the 4,500-year-old landmark was erected.

They believe that the bluestones, which were transported 250km (150 miles) from the Preseli Hills in Wales to the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, were brought to the site because the ancient people believed they had healing properties.

Professor Geoffrey Wainwright said the site could have been a "Neolithic Lourdes".

The giant sarsen "goal posts", which came from about 20km (12 miles) away, were thought to have arrived much later.

As well as reaching the bluestone sockets, the archaeologists have also unearthed a whole host of other finds as they have peeled back the layers of the 2.5m-by-3.5m (8.2ft-by-11.5ft) trench.

These include a beaker pottery fragment, Roman ceramics and ancient stone hammers.

Source: BBC

As I said in that earlier post:
BBC Timewatch will follow the progress of the Stonehenge dig. Catch daily text and video reports on the programme's website! Follow the dig with Timewatch!
Category: Buildings & Places | Movies & TV |

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