All posts filed under: Travel

Venice at Dawn

“These thoughts belong to Venice at dawn, seen from the deck of the ship which is to carry me down through the islands to Cyprus; a Venice wobbling in a thousand fresh-water reflections cool as a jelly. It was as if some great master, stricken by dementia, had burst his whole color-box against the sky to deafen the inner eye of the world. Cloud and water mixed into each other, dripping with colors, merging, overlapping, liquefying, with steeples and balconies and roofs floating in space, like the fragments of some stained-glass window seen through a dozen veils of rice paper. Fragments of history touched with the colors of wine, tar, ochre, blood, fire-opal and ripening grain. The whole at the same time being rinsed softly back at the edges into a dawn sky as softly as circumspectly blue as a pigeon’s egg.” Excerpt From: Lawrence Durrell. “Bitter Lemons of Cyprus: Life on a Mediterranean Island.” Have you ever read a more beautiful description of the dawn? x M

Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof

About an hours drive from Bratislava, located in the Simmering district of Vienna, is a lovely cemetery called Zentralfriedhof – also known as Vienna’s Central Cemetery. Established in 1863, Zentralfriedhof is one of the largest cemeteries in Europe. It was assumed at the time that due to industrialization and the strength of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that the population would outgrow the capacity of the existing communal cemeteries. The cemetery was designed by Karl Jonas Mylius and Alfred Friedrich Bluntschli and it was opened on All Saints’ Day in 1874. Zentralfriedhof was quite controversial due to its interdenominational character. The Roman Catholic Church was opposed to the different faith groups being interred on the same ground but the city officials weren’t bothered. They didn’t want an official Catholic opening of the new cemetery and funded the construction of a segregated Jewish section. Zentralfriedhof also has sections dedicated to Muslim burials (according to Austrian law), Orthodox burials and contains a Buddhist cemetery centered around a Stupa. Initially, the cemetery’s distance from the city center made it very …

The Week that Was (Part Five)

This week included a walk through Cintorín pri Kozej Bráne, a cemetery located close to the old town in Bratislava’s Palisady neighborhood. Palisady is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Bratislava mainly due to its grand villas. The cemetery is open to the public but no longer in use. It was created as a response to Emperor Joseph II decree that burials where no longer allowed in inhabited parts of the city in order to protect the water wells.  Burials now had to take place outside the city walls.  A large part of the cemetery is unkept. It being overgrown adds to the atmosphere but at the same time, it made me sad to see it in such decay. On a few graves, I found these lovely stone carved embellishments (not sure what else to call them) and they touched me with their simplicity and symbolism. I especially love the one above of the two hands holding each other and of the ouroboros encircling the butterfly. Pálffy Palace is one of four historical buildings in …

Exploring St. Micheal’s Church in Vienna

Michaelskirche is one of the oldest churches in Vienna. It dates from the 13th century and has remained unchanged since 1792. Its high altar is breathtaking. Designed in 1782 by Jean Baptiste d’Averange, the altar is decorated with the monumental stucco alabaster Rococo sculpture called ‘Fall of the Angels’ by Georg Merville. Imagine a cloudburst of angels and cherubs falling from the ceiling to the ground suspended in motion. This was the last major baroque work completed in Vienna. Michaelskirche is also famous for another reason – its Michaelergruft, a large crypt located underneath the church. Due to the unusual climatic conditions of the crypt, bodies don’t decompose. Between 1631 to 1784 about 4000 people were buried here and today hundreds of mummified corpses are on display – some in glass coffins still wearing baroque frocks and wigs. Access is by tour only and no photographs are allowed. Above the entrance of the church is the gilded pipe organ created by Johann David Sieber in 1714. It is the largest baroque organ in Vienna, once …