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Posts Tagged ‘ancient’

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This picture was taken inside one of the many Pagodas found in Bagan, Myanmar (formerly Burma). There are over a thousand Pagodas in the area, and each one has something interesting to offer. Some are more ornate on the inside, others have more to offer in terms of architectural design. Many have intricate paintings, some of which, have faded away, or have been lost over time. In this picture you can see, on the wall behind the Buddha statue, as well as in the hall, the remnants of some of these fantastic paintings. Personally, I like the combination of the bricks and the paintings, it really allows you to see multiple aspects of the Pagoda, in terms of it’s construction, and the way it has changed over time. Many of the pagodas are still in use, for religious purposes, as well as for visiting tourists. Often you will see buddhist monks, like this one, praying in front of these statues. If you see this, try not to be disruptive. Walk around rather than in front, and make sure that you do not take any pictures with your back facing the Buddha. Also when visiting these pagodas be respectful in the way you dress, many have signs posted outside to indicate what is/ is not appropriate dress, and make sure you take of your shoes, and socks. I can’t recommend visiting these sites highly enough, they are truly amazing, and pictures (even good ones) don’t really do them justice. If you are visiting Bagan it’s not likely that you will have time to see all of the Pagodas in the area, we were there for four days and we saw twenty-one, so do your research! Get a guide book, or a guide/ driver if you are more comfortable with that, and figure out which of the temples you want to see the most. No matter what you see when you are here, they all have something to offer, and each one is unique and beautiful. If you are in Myanmar try to find time to visit Bagan, it is absolutely worth the trip!

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This photograph was taken in Yangon, Myanmar (formerly Burma), at Shwedagon Pagoda. It is also known, quite appropriately, as the Golden Pagoda. It’s a fantastic site to see, and one of the more popular places to visit for both native and foreign tourists in Yangon. It’s really incredible to see  the Pagoda, towering up in the midst of the city, a shining bright gold point. The Pagoda is just as impressive from close up, the rooms are covered in mirrored mosaics with tons of Buddha statues and offerings of flowers. The temple is also, not surprisingly, an attraction for lots of visiting monks. When visiting remember (as always) to be respectful, this is a religious site, and a very important one at that. Make sure (both men and women) that shoulders are covered, legs are covered at least below the knee, and shoes and socks are removed before entering the Pagoda. (P.S. more pictures of the actual structure to come!)

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This is a picture of one of the many impressive pieces being displayed at the California Science Center’s temporary Cleopatra Exhibit. The exhibit is cool, not to big, but with a lot of very impressive, and very, very, well preserved. The exhibit has some really neat statues, I thought this one was particularly cool, but there are also a couple of really large statues here too. The exhibit starts with a video, to give you some background information on the material displayed, and both reading material and headsets are provided. And, when you are done  with this exhibit you can wander around the rest of the museum. It’s a great museum, with a lot of fun little exhibits, and it’s totally family friendly. The only thing i’d recommend is going earlier in the day rather than later, this is for two reasons; one is, it’s not located in the best neighborhood, it shouldn’t be a problem, but just to be on the safe side try to be gone before dark. The other is, there are a few other really cool museums around, check ’em out if you have time!

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These pictures show the Basilica Cistern (the Turkish name is Yerebatan Sarayı) in Istanbul, Turkey. This beautiful underground structure was built by Justinian in 532 C.E., and it’s a really interesting place to visit. Not only is it pretty, but it’s really an amazing architectural feat when you think about how long it’s been standing and how good it looks despite its age. This is a great place to escape the heat on a summer day, and it’s just a really neat place to hang out for a little bit. Not pictured here (but i’ll put it up soon) are some very cool pillars with statues of Medusa’s head supporting them. This is one of the main attractions in Istanbul, and it’s within walking distance of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. Just a heads up, it is a bit dark in here and it tends to be damp, so if you’re planning on visiting have appropriate footwear and be sure to watch your step.

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The Wrestler

This is a close up of a statue of an adolescent wrestler. The photo was take at the Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. Currently this museum is housing a shipwreck exhibit, which is VERY cool. The exhibit has a bunch of statues like this one; this statue was in the ocean for so long, but the parts of the statue that were buried in the sand remain virtually pristine. However, if you look at the face and the arm, you can see traces of erosion, places where the ocean had begun to eat away at the marble. The statue is absolutely beautiful, and the etching left by nature gives it a new kind of beauty; like a collaborative effort of both man and nature to create art. I found these statues to be particularly amazing, and, in a way, really moving. I’ve mentioned on here before that i’m into archaeology, and it never fails to impress me the way that people, even after death, live on through the things that they’ve left behind. I think that this exhibit does a particularly good job of displaying the memories that are left behind. I’d highly recommend it, it’s really an amazing exhibit to see.

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Protectors

I don’t know if this is the actual purpose they served, or if they even served one at all, but when I saw these as a kid I remember thinking that they looked like they were guarding the pathway that they lined up next to. As you can see from this, and the previous posts, Cambodia has so SERIOUSLY cool, very old, art and architecture. Again, i’m an archaeology dork, but I don’t think you have to be to appreciate the incredible nature of a site like this. You don’t even need to know anything about it, just looking at it should result in every bystander being in awe. But, I would recommend knowing some stuff about it; either bring your own book on Cambodian temples or buy one there. I was there when I was 15, so in like 2005, and I’m sure things have changed since then, but we were able to get a very helpful book about the temples while we were there. My family is super curious, so we always like to know what we are looking at, but like I said these temples are amazing either way 🙂

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Stones against the Sky

Ok, so just to re-establish this, i’m an archaeology dork. This is a photo of the Xunantunich ruins in Belize. This site is really, REALLY cool. It’s a little bit on the small side, but as you can see here there are some really interesting structures still standing. These ruins are pretty accessible, which is really nice too. If you are staying in San Ignacio you can take the bus over here. One thing to be aware of if you don’t have a car or aren’t taking a taxi up is that once you cross the tiny river to get to the road that leads you up to the ruins, you are going to have to walk. I’d say the walk is close to a mile long, and it’s pretty hilly, but it’s totally worth it. Also, the first time I went here with my family (I went back twice after that while I was in field school) we had a guide. you can see two triangular shaped window areas near the top of the structure (which kind of makes the area there look like an elephant, but it’s not) according to our guide when this site was still in use the people here would put fires in those openings. You could see it from pretty far away, it made the building look like a monster to people who were down in the jungle, so it was kind of a defense mechanism. Let me reiterate that i’m really dorky when it comes to archaeology stuff so when I heard that I thought it was super cool, which is why I decided to share it for anyone else who might be interested. Anyway, it’s a really cool site, like I said, i’ve been there three times, and i’d highly recommend going. Plus the view from the top of this building is awesome.

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