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The City of Augsburg Pt. 2

For an introduction to the series please see Part 1. In this one the focus is on architecture. I took a special interest in the civic hall of the city (pictures 3 – 6), the Golden Hall is just marvelous. It was completely destroyed during World War II and rebuild entirely. If you get the chance to visit Augusburg pay a couple of euro and don’t miss it, it’s worth it.

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The City of Augsburg Pt.1

In February of this year I participated in a two-week scholarship program at the University of Augsburg. The weather was surprisingly good and it wasn’t as cold or snowy as I expected it to be, quite contrary first signs of early spring where already in the air by the end of February. As always I enjoyed being in Bavaria. You can’t beat the beer culture and the hearty cuisine there 😉 Not to forget about the delicious pretzels! They are everywhere. Anyway: Some impressions from the streets of Augsburg, the capital of the Swabian part of Bavaria (Western Bavaria).

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The Silk Road: At the Crossroads of Cultures

Samarkand is one of the oldest settlements of mankind. Situated at a central position on the trading route between Asia and Europe as well as in between the Orient civilization of the south and the Nomad tribes of the far north it developed into a place of prosperity and into a melting point of different cultures. They came as tradesman and conquerors, as refugees and preachers. Their traces can still be seen in the vivid faces of the inhabitants of this marvelous city. Also Samarkand is a deeply religious place with Islamic architecture dominating the central part of the town, mostly being impressive madrases (religious schools) and mosques with gorgeous blue cupolas. It is the mixture of people and graceful architecture, so different from Western Europe, that makes the city fascinating and alluring to the traveller. Truly another world worth visiting.

Previous entries in the series: Buxoro, The Enchanted City, The Desert City of Xiva

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The Silk Road: Buxoro, The Enchanted City

Further in the west there lies the other majestic city along the Silk Road: Buxoro or Bukhara. While Xiva is a beautiful but somewhat enclosed desert city, in Buxoro the connection to the world outside of Central Asia can be felt. In particular influences from Persia and India can be seen here (just look at the first picture).  The connecting element to other cities along the Silk Road are the blue cupolas, being the symbols or landmarks of Usbekistan. Oh, and of course the Soviet cars (picture three). I like how the color of many of them still resemble an older kind of (groaning) vehicles 😉 And in case you wonder, the title of an “Enchanted City” was given to Buxoro by the diplomat Fitzroy Maclean, who worked as a diplomat in the British Embassy in Moscow and visited Central Asia in 1938. Later he called the city “enchanted” and compared the architecture to the beauty of the Italian Renaissance. Indeed the mosaics and structures (mostly religious buildings) are a stunning sight. 

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The Silk Road: The Desert City of Xiva

Unlike the last photography series, which I displayed here a couple months after the initial trip, this time I’d like to have it more immediate. So I just came back from an amazing trip to the country of Usbekistan in Central Asia. It is the modern state where many sights of the ancient Silk Road, being the major trading route between China and Europe for more than a century, happen to be. As I was there for work purposes my time for photography was very limited to a couple of hours a day, so I didn’t have the time to wait for the perfect setup very often, but rather tried to capture the beauty and immediacy of the reality in front of me as I saw it in the moment. Our first destination was the city of Xiva (or Chiwa or Khiva) in the Western part of Usbekistan. It is situated close to the Amujaria river within the fertile oasis of Chorasm, itself laying inbetween the deserts of Kysylkum (Red Sand) and Karakum (Black Sand). As the photography displayed here show I think, walking through the city felt like being transported not only within space but also within time to a mysterious, oriental place of merchants, beggars and camels (or Soviet cars) like it already used to be for centuries. In case you wonder, the huge turquoise tower is the landmark of Xiva. It was supposed to be the largest minaret in the islamic world, but the construction was abandoned midway trough. So it was decided to garnish the unfinished structure with beautiful ornaments, hereby showing of the wealth of the oasis city.

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Greek Series: Santorini Sunsets

So finally, here comes the last part of my photographic journey through Greece in September 2013. It all started in Athens, where we found a lively metropole thorn between an ancient and heroic past and a troubled but somewhat forward looking present. Then the road trip through the Peloponnes began, which would lead us through places of myths and of nature. Later we left mainland Greece and continued our road trip on high sea, heading to the famous Cyclad islands. We experienced the young and open island of Mykonos, paid a short visit to the ancient Delos, but the highlight for me was Santorini without a doubt. It is such a photogenic island, it almost suspends any belief. And beyond being just photogenic, it is truly beautiful. And the most beautiful thing about it is something I didn’t show you yet. The sunsets here are out of this world, as kitschy it may sound. So I think that’s the way to end the series and say goodbye to Greece for now.. by showing you some of my favorite moments on Santorini at sunset.

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