architecture, history, traveling

Ancient Agora of Kos.

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This is mostly picture-oriented photo post of the Ancient Agora (meaning forum) located in the centre of the Kos town.

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My best guess is that the pic above might represent one of the three main gates to the Agora.

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General view of what the archaeological site looks like nowadays.

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Above the general map of the Agora site and below a more in-depth official description of the historical background.

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Just take a look at the detailing that can still be admired in the (post-)modern days!

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As far as I’ve understood, the area has been frequently rebuild with different kind of materials after earthquakes that have struck the island repeatedly. Consequently the scholars can analyse from the differences in the building materials the time period of the layers.

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What has been left is a rich and multi-layered excavation site for archaeologists and scholars of all kind.

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Apparently the first ones to dig up the site was Italian Archaeological School after the massive 1933 earthquake. So basically the destruction made the excavations possible, and the Agora was kept as a monument during the reconstruction of the other parts of the town.

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Ending this post with a classic type of photo framing for this blog! Hope you haven’t already gotten bored of it…

Yours,

Miah

history, Russia, traveling

(Not-So-)Urban Exploring in Russia.

This is the story of a quick exploration into the forests somewhere in Russia in order to search for forgotten ruins of a farm that a friend’s family used to own back in the beginning of the 20th century.

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As the old story goes they used to own a farm located nearby where this road nowadays goes.

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This is where we stepped into the wild…

With the help of a map drawn by an elderly relative of my friend (and a couple of more maps in actual books) we were able to locate the exact place where we should stop and park the car in order to hop into the forest.

And indeed – we did found something!

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Could you believe that there used to be a proper cellar in the middle of where this picture was taken? Maybe I just don’t have the eye for archaeology but I probably couldn’t have spotted the place. Luckily my friends were more of an experts than me!

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The farm used to be a small-scale lemonade factory back in the days in the 1930’s. This is the old well where they (and apparently some of their neighbours too in the time of droughts) got their water from.

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No wonder this particular area of the forest was FILLED with mosquitoes which tend to like dark and moist places. In the picture above you may distantly see small ‘canals’ that were used to getting the water where they wanted. The terrain might look quite flat but in reality the bottom of the canals were all deep and muddy – clearly still regularly filled with natural water at a times.

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The last site that we were able to locate was the place where the main house used to be. The old grandpa had a memory of ‘blue flowers’ blossoming right next to where one side of the house was built. My friend was quick to notice the plants (Aconitum napellus) growing in a surprisingly straight line just next to the spruce trees.

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After this trip, I was left to wonder about all the forgotten historical places where people might have one day lived before having to flee because of war or move to a better place; perhaps a bigger city with better working possibilities. Sometimes the species of plants once gardened by humans may be the only remains marking the settlement after the man-made structures have collapsed, rotted and taken over by wild plants.

With the help of my friend, the harebell plant (Campanula rotundifolia) above, I wish you a mysterious and most inspiring day!

Yours,

Miah

architecture, Finland, history, traveling

The Old Town of Porvoo (part 1).

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Yep. This is me.

As I promised you guys yesterday, here’s some pictures I was able to capture for you of one of the six medieval towns in Finland. This time introducing – Porvoo.

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The town of Porvoo is located at the bank of Porvoonjoki (‘river Porvoo’). Since the town has a predominantly Swedish background, the Finnish name is naturally a translation of Borg√• (borg meaning a castle and √• meaning river). And originally the Swedes gave the town its name after a medieval fortress built nearby the same river.

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The area itself has been vacated since the Stone Age (which is pretty cool in the Finnish context) though the majority of the old wooden buildings are from the 18th and 19th century.

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And what usually tends to happen for anything made out of wood, is that at some point in time (due to an accident or an act of warfare, for example) it’s pretty much essentially going to be caught on fire.

Porvoo is no different from that and in 1760 approximately two thirds of the buildings were burnt to ashes. But what really made a difference was that the people kept the old medieval town plan by simply rebuilding on top of the old foundations.

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Also, the Old Town was almost demolished with an initiative for a new modern urban planning in the 19th century. Luckily, thanks to a very important dude named Count Louis Sparre and the popular public opinion of resistance, the whole scheme was cancelled.

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Nowadays Porvoo is even internationally acknowledged as an important tourist location with a great cultural historical value. The Old Town was also selected as one of the National landscapes of Finland by Ministry of the Environment back in 1992.

I must confess that I’m not much of a nationalistic patriot but Porvoo is a really cool place for even you young punks out there to visit and see. Just saying. They do sell beer there (as the following story proves).

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This is actually a partially renovated version of the medieval Porvoo Cathedral that, unfortunately due to a drunken person playing around with matches, lost its roof in an arson in 2006.

I was only a kid back then but I can clearly recall it being a major piece of news, being a nationwide cause of a moral panic amongst Finns. (Even the ones that hadn’t even been to Porvoo themselves.) Clearly the historic town has a central symbolic value as a some sort of living outdoors national museum – famous for its representation of old architecture that was greatly demolished in other parts of Finland in the 20th century.

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Although population wise Porvoo is currently only the 21st largest town in Finland, it used to be the second biggest ‘city’ in the 18th century. (Of course the area known as Finland was part of the Swedish Kingdom at that time, but you get the idea. Basically we were peasants – not that there would be anything wrong with living off the land.)

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I don’t know about you but the close proximity to the capital area (only a bit over a hour by bus) and unique historical atmosphere makes Porvoo a highly attractive place to consider possibly even moving into some day!

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Yep. Would totally hate living in a street that looks like this. Think about walking down in the winter time with decorative lightning hung around everywhere, snow falling slowly from the sky, someone cooking a warm dinner to one’s family…

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A close-up from the other side:

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The leafless trees form a much needed shadow even for an old wooden house. I mean, the temperatures are probably going to rise due to climate warming anyway…

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With these lovely hydrangeas I wish you a lovely, wonderful, sunny and warm Monday! I hope you enjoyed my first Porvoo post since there are two more coming up in the following days – so stay tuned, you rainbow souls out there…

Yours,

Miah