Posts Tagged ‘roman’

Graffiti Town – Part V

November 12th, 2010

This is the final (and long overdue) part in the five-part series on graffiti, wall art and tagging in Brussels, Belgium, and Barcelona, Spain. You can check out parts 1 through 4 here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Barcelona is so graffiti-mad that you can even find cool post cards of the wall art all over town.

Seen from Park Guell looking out over Barcelona.

I’d love to know how they got all the way up the wall…

Voom-voom!

On a different note, some very different and amazing stuff lined up:

More coming soon!

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Bab Sharqi

June 29th, 2010

I had the chance to travel by car from Beirut to Damascus, Syria to spend a half-day there.

Despite all I’d heard about the beauty of the city, I remained unprepared for how extraordinary it truly is, and more so for the friendliness and kindness of those of its inhabitants whom I had the chance to meet. I’ll be sharing here some of the pictures I took in the few short hours I spent there.

The city of Damascus has 7 ancient gates, the oldest of which dates back to time of the Romans. Due to the limited time I had, I unfortunately only managed to visit 3 of the gates (and -silly me – took pictures of just 2).

This is Bab Sharqi (or Eastern Gate), which apparently is the only one to retain it’s Roman plan.

During the era of the Rashidun Caliphate, the great Arab military commander Khalid ibn al-Walid, who was known as “Sayf’ Ullah al-Maslul” (The Drawn Sword of God), entered Damascus through this gate after his conquest of the city on 18 September 634, at the end of a 30-day siege.

More coming soon!

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Flight of the Pigeons

June 19th, 2010

I was wandering down a street at one point, when I noticed a large flock of pigeons flying overhead. They were circling and swooping in tight arcs, round and round. Someone was pigeon flying! Naturally, I paused to watch and snap a few pictures.

The art of pigeon flying remains quite popular in the Arab world. I’ve often see flocks of pigeons circling over the rooftops in Cairo, Beirut and Amman, for instance. But the shot above wasn’t taken anywhere in the Arab world. Can you guess where?

Brussels, Belgium. Yep.

Some say the use of pigeons to carry messages can be traced back to the ancient Persians (some 2800 years ago). The ancient Romans also used messenger pigeons in their military campaigns over 2000 years ago (for example, Julius Caesar was reputed to have used them in his conquest of Gaul). Use of pigeons to carry messages outside of a military setting – in a postal system – goes back to the late 10th Century at least in the Arab world, where it was developed under Fatimid rule.

The use of homing pigeons by the French during the siege of Paris in 1870-1871 gave new breath to their use in the military in Europe who used them extensively during World War I and again in World War II. You can find out more about war pigeons here.

There’s a memorial to those messenger pigeon trainers who fell in service to Belgium during World War I at one end of the garden at the far side of the Quai au Briques. Here’s a shot of it below.

All this may be interesting but it doesn’t explain why someone was flying pigeons in Brussels.

Turns out that the (modern) sport of pigeon racing was developed and gained immense popularity in Belgium in the middle of the 19th Century. The sport has since spread all over the world, though it seems to be suffering from a lack of interest by the general public. You can find out more about pigeon racing here.

More coming soon!

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