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Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

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The Hill of Crosses is a sacred place in Northern Lithuania close to the city of Silauliai. Basically it consists of two small artificial hills (maybe 5 to 6 meters high) Β in the midst of vast farming land. The origins of the crosses are largely unknown though there are many legends speaking of soldiers finding their last rest in the ground beneath. In the 19th century the place became regarded as mystical and holy. First crosses were erected in honor of fallen soldiers and in remembrance of deceased family members, later also to celebrate happy occasions like weddings and baptisms. The Soviets saw the hill as a place of fanatic cultism and closed it down. Despite the repressions they were not able to stop the tradition and after 1990 the Hill of Crosses grew even more becoming a national symbol of religion and endurance. Today crosses can be seen from around the world and not only catholic crosses but also orthodox and evangelical ones. If religious or not the place definitely doesn’t leave the visitor cold.

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Modern Tallinn, Estonia

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Tallinn is known for its medieval old town, an UNESCO world culture heritage sight very much worth visiting. In this gallery though I would like to give you a glimpse of the modern Tallinn inspired by the clear and sober architecture of Skandinavia. Beginning with shots taken in the Rottermann District, a brand new part of Tallinn in the East of the Old Town close to the port.

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These two shots were taken in the architecture museum of Tallinn, showcasing a miniature model of the city.

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Italy September 2012 Part I

In September 2012 I went for a trip to Sicily and Southern Italy with friends. On the way there I had also a chance to visit Milano. I already posted some of these impressions on this blog but thought it would be nice to cramp them all into one entry. Also as I mentioned there are some new pictures as well πŸ™‚

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Sunset over Vulcano

A view over the Bay of Naples.

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The world famous cathedral of Milano. A beautiful piece of Gothic architecture in black and white.

Catania

Catania is an amazing city. Build on the foot of a massive volcano (Etna) it was destroyed and rebuild a couple of times. A fitting alternative name for the city would be Phoenix, as it has risen from the ashes like the legendary bird. In Catania the streets and many buildings are made out of lavastone (basalt) and it may happen very well, that you end in the cellar of a bar in which there are still traces of old lava flows under your table (Agora Hostel Bar). If you are on the main square (Piazza del Duomo) be sure to visit the Cathedral and enjoy this magnificent view from the rooftop.

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Actually this shot is not from 2012. But it fit’s quite well so here it be πŸ™‚ Personally I adore Vespas. And a beautiful turquoise Vespa in Rome must be a win, no?

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The train station was build by the Fascists under Mussolini. It is colossal in size and displays various sceneries of Italian life and culture. Today large commercial ads dominate. It is still a fascinating piece of 20th century architecture and a prominent showcase for totalitarian gigantism.

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It was the beginning of a warm day in late summer, sailing on board of a ferry into the natural Bay of Naples. As we came on deck we had the privilege to witness this beautiful sunrise over the Vesuvio volcano. The view was stunning and we watched with a humbled AAW. Although we didn’t sleep much on the ferry this night and we had a long program ahead of us in Naples, this sunrise was enough to carry us through the day.

Istanbul April 2013

Less then a week ago I returned from a short trip to the magnificent Istanbul. It was the first time I visited an Islamic country and the first time I experienced a megalopolis with staggering 16 million people! So it was a very insightful and interesting trip. We enjoyed the beginning of spring in the Gardens of the Saray, drunk tea served in the traditional way above the city skyline and paved our way through the busy streets of the Old Bazar. We saw the last station of the Orient Express (sadly not existing anymore), found a feline friend on the Prince Islands (should be rather called cat islands) and explored the nightlife of Galata. In short the city on the Bospurus was beautiful and amazing!

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View of the Bospurus from the Galata TowerPrince IslandsBetween the MosquesHagia SophiaCat in Mosque