April Tops, Day 16: Obelisks

Obelisks were built throughout ancient Egyptian history, but they became more common during the New Kingdom. The top of an obelisk is pyramid shaped and is called pyramidion, referring to the uppermost piece or capstone of an Egyptian obelisk.

For Becky’s April Squares with the subject top, here are some obelisk tops.

20181226_181428 (2) obelisk at Luxor Temple
One of the two Luxor obelisks, that originally stood on either side of the entrance to the temple.  Both are made from yellow granite and were erected by Pharaoh Ramesses II.
DSC00045 Luxor obelisk in Paris
The 2nd of the Luxor obelisks, now at the Place de la Concorde in Paris.  It was given to France from Mohammed Ali Pasha, ruler of Ottoman Egypt, in 1833. In 1836, it was placed in its current location. Its pyramidion was missing (believed stolen in 6th century BCE) so the French government added a gold leaf cap.
This obelisk is at the large temple complex Karnak, where there originally were six obelisks. Only two remain. This one was constructed by Pharaoh Thutmose I.
This is what remains of one of the obelisks of Pharaoh Hatshepsut – she had two constructed at Karnak. One still stands. This one is interesting because you can see the top in detail; its pyramidion is still at least partially intact.



Tops of Egyptian Columns

The tops of columns, called capitals, in ancient Egypt are spectacular in their variety and beauty. Sometimes, a column top could have the head of a god/goddess, such as this column depicting Hathor, at Hatshepsut’s palace, which contained a temple dedicated to this goddess. She was an important goddess, especially for women, being the goddess of fertility and motherhood. Note that her ears are shaped like a cow’s. Hathor was often depicted as a cow.
Most columns were lavishly carved and the capitals are of a few different types:

lotus bud (at Karnak, near Luxor)
20181226_152153 lotus bud
This capital is one example of a bell shape, depicting palms or possibly open lotus flowers. (Temple of Khnum, Edfu) Notice that the colors it was originally painted are still visible.
Many of the bell shapes were elaborately decorated.

The next two photos are of the open palm type, both at Temple of Khnum.
DSC_0231 palm
The Temple of Khnum, where I took most of these photos, have a beautiful variety of capital types.
Posted for Becky’s April Squares with the topic of tops.


Thursday Doors: Passau Walking Tour

The German city of Passau is located in Bavaria very close to the Austrian border, at the confluence of three rivers: The Danube, the Inn and the Itz. It was the last German city we stopped at during our cruise last June-July. We arrived at Passau on the U.S. Independence Day, July 4.  This post is my contribution to Norm’s Thursday Doors 12/12/19.
Passau has a population of about 50,000, of which 12,000 are students at the local university. A devastating fire in 1662 destroyed most of the city, which was rebuilt in Baroque style.

Passau is known for its cathedral, St. Stephan, which has five organs! One of the organs is in the attic and the five can all be played at the same time.  The organ(s) has 17,774 pipes and 233 registers, and it is the 2nd largest pipe organ in the world. We attended a concert showcasing this amazing sound after our walking tour. Concerts are held daily between May and September.

In this square behind St. Stephan Cathedral is a statue of Maximilian I, the first king after Napoleon.

A cathedral door and details20190704_09093920190704_091011

Same door from the inside

Baroque décor characterizes the interior of St. Stephan.

The main organ is in the traditional place in the back of the cathedral.
The priest used to say mass from this golden pulpit, but now stands behind a podium adorned with the eagle of St. John (photo below).



We went out into a courtyard beside the cathedral.
In the courtyard are some extra panels and artifacts from the church.

This angel head fell off during a fire in the church. It gives a perspective of the true size of the sculptures in the church.

We continued downhill from the church on the cobblestone streets of Old Town.
The city has been plagued by floods for centuries, due to its location at the junction of three rivers. On June 2, 2013, the old town suffered a severe flooding after it had rained for several days. The photo below shows how a street of Old Town looked on June 3.

Peak elevation of floods as far back as 1501 are displayed on the wall of the Old City Hall.DSC01738

This glass door is for 16 and 18 Hell Alley! The narrow street gets its name from its proximity to the river.
Looking down Hell Alley, also known as Artists’ Alley, which is lined with small shops and cafes. 

Hotel Wilder Mann

This pharmacy is one of the oldest in Passau. It is painted green, which was the “code” color for pharmacies in times when many people were illiterate.
The Dom Museum entrance – this museum displays artifacts, relics and history of St. Stephan Cathedral.

This door at the former bishop’s palace was deliberately built above the ground. It now belongs to the Dom Museum.

Baroque architectural details adorn the ceiling of the palace.
Passau has a Daschsund Museum! These sculptures are outside the entrance.

“Coffee and love are best hot!”
20190704_103351I found interesting that this shop door has a nativity scene above it.
The sign on this Baroque decorated door advertises a one-bedroom apartment within.

Religious statues high up on exterior walls of Old Town are seen commonly in towns throughout Bavaria.

Prominent above the city is Veste Oberhaus, a fortress founded in 1219.

Information for this post obtained from:
author’s notes
Wikipedia article Passau
TripAdvisor The Höllgasse




CFFC: White Is…

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge continues with her color series and this week is WHITE.

Snow white
Flowery white
Bridal white (two weddings)
20190126_11295420190126_13031620190914_102317 (2)20190914_122656
Swan white
Architectural white (two styles in Amsterdam)
Somber white (American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, Normandy, France)
DSC00451Leisure white
Lawn ornament white
Prickly white
20190301_142523 (2)
Styrofoam white

OHC: Religious Traditions in Chicago; Part 1: ISKCON and Moody Church

During Open House Chicago, one has the opportunity to see many architecturally and historically interesting places, but some of the places I choose to attend during that weekend are churches and temples. Chicagoans represent all faiths and worship in a variety of ways (if they worship at all, which many of them don’t and that also is OK with me). I intend to feature two faiths in each post on this subject.

Although I posted about the Krishna tradition last year, I am including it as part of this post’s topic of diverse faiths. The International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is the official name of the religion and place of worship.
Krishna is a major deity in the Hindu religion, one of its principal gods. Krishna can be portrayed as male or female and is not especially identified with either gender, I was told when we visited ISKCON last year.
According to Religious Tolerance: Hare Krishna and ISKCON web site, “ISKCON and Hinduism both trace their beginnings to the Vedas and to the Bhagavad-Gita text. Whereas mainstream Hinduism regards Krishna to be the 8th incarnation of Vishnu (the Preserver and one of the Hindu trinity of deities), ISKCON regards Krishna to be the supreme Lord over all deities, including Vishnu. They are therefore a monotheistic faith group, one that stresses bhakti, the way of devotion.”
The spiritual leader of ISKCON is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who introduced Westerners to the faith by publishing 60 books in only 12 years and over 60 million published in 30 different languages. He initiated over 4,000 disciples of Lord Krishna, established ISKCON which has more than 100 temples, and he travelled around the world 14 times preaching the message of Krishna consciousness.
Musical instruments such as drums, keyboards, and sitars are used in Krishna worship.

The roots of the faith can be traced to the advent of Krishna, 5000 years ago in an Indian village, and was revived in the 16th century by Guru Caitanya Mahaprabu who is considered to be the reincarnation of Lord Krishna himself. He taught that Krishna was the one true deity and that anyone can gain a personal relationship with the god through sankirtana, congregational chanting of God’s names, specifically the Hare Krishna Mantra, also known as the Maha Mantra.

Worship takes place in this large hall.



As Krishna worship is an offshoot of Hinduism, I now turn to one offshoot of the Protestant Christian tradition. This year we visited the Moody Church. This non-denominational evangelical faith was named after Dwight L. Moody, an evangelist of the mid to late 19th century. The present church building, completed in 1925, combines Byzantine and Romanesque architecture, meant to bridge the gap between the Roman Catholic cathedral and the typical Protestant church buildings of the 19th-20th centuries.

In this vast sanctuary which seats 3,700, people of all faiths are welcome. The Moody Church is fundamentalist and evangelical in its beliefs, including the belief in the Second Coming of Jesus, published on their web site.  

Here are some excerpts of their Doctrinal Statement:

Article I
God is triune, one Being eternally existing in three co-equal Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; these divine Persons…work inseparably and harmoniously in creating, sustaining, and redeeming the world. …

Article II
The Bible, including both the Old and the New Testaments, is a divine revelation, the original autographs of which were verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit. …

Article III
Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God…He is Himself very God; He took upon Him our nature, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary; He died upon the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sin of the world; … He will come again personally and visibly to set up His kingdom and to judge the quick and the dead. …

Article IV
Man was created in the image of God but fell into sin, and, in that sense, is lost;…[unless a person is] born again he cannot see the kingdom of God; …the retribution of the wicked and unbelieving and the reward of the righteous are everlasting, and as the reward is conscious, so is the retribution. …

Article V
The Church is an elect company of believers baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body; its mission is to witness concerning its Head, Jesus Christ, preaching the gospel among all nations; it will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air ere He appears to set up His kingdom. …






Thursday Doors: Belmont Ave. & More

I had Norm’s Thursday Doors in mind when, two weekends ago, we went into the city for Open House Chicago. I took some random pictures of doors as we drove down the street. Most of these were on Belmont Avenue.

This is not a door, but a gate is a portal, an entryway, so I consider it worthy of inclusion. I like the way it connects two buildings.
20191019_144610I also include some interesting non-door architectural features on Chicago buildings, and a couple of other random things.

The decoration on top of this building is typical of the art deco style of the 1920s.
This house looks as though it might have been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or one of his disciples.

The door isn’t visible but what you see is above the door.
Partial doors visible here – I don’t know what church it is.
Modern sculpture
Inside Wintrust Bank, Old Town
DSC02531Chicago architecture is amazingly diverse – I recommend a visit to the city for any architecture buffs. Take an architectural tour on the river, but also take time to wander the streets of the older parts of the city. There are many hidden gems!



Thursday Doors: Open House Chicago

Last Saturday, we participated in the annual Open House Chicago event, in which over 300 buildings are open to the public. People can tour these buildings and most have volunteers that can answer questions about the building or organization housed there.

For Norm’s Thursday Doors this week, I feature some of the doors we saw on our tour of Lincoln Park and other nearby neighborhoods.

St. Edward Catholic Church, Irving Park neighborhood: We were interested in seeing this church for its painted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry in Bayeux, France. We saw the original stitched tapestry last June when we were in Normandy.
St. Edward has a particular interest in the tapestry because part of it tells the story of Edward the Confessor, King of England. In Bayeux, it is celebrated as the story of William the Conquerer’s invasion of England in 1066, and his son’s coronation as king of England and Normandy.20191019_120434
Dank Haus, German American Cultural Center, Lincoln Square/Ravenswood:
It was Oktoberfest at Dank Haus, so the public was invited to hear a German oompah band in the 5th floor ballroom, and while there, buy a German snack and beer. We had a pretzel, but we don’t drink beer! There is also an impressive full wall sized (including the elaborate frame) portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm I and a beer stein museum.

The building was originally the home of the Three Link Association, also known as the Oddfellows. Door knobs contained the symbol of that fraternal order.
The Belmont by Reside (formerly the Belmont Hotel) in Lakeview is an enormous u-shaped building that has always amazed me, so I made sure we took time to see it. Designed in elegant Georgian style, its elegant ballroom is now a parking garage, while retaining the original ceiling and ornamentation.
The New Elephant Resale Shop on N. Clark in Lincoln Park used to be Sphinx Storage, so its exterior décor has an ancient Egyptian theme. We did not go inside but I took these photos showing the ancient Egyptian symbols displayed outside.

The Elks War Memorial in Lincoln Park honors the more than 1,000 Elks members who fought in the wars since WWI. Its magnificent rotunda is the grandest domed rotunda in Chicago.

Moody Church in Old Town: This massive Romanesque Revival church has Byzantine elements. Its sanctuary seats 3,700 people, making it the largest column-free auditorium in Chicago. It is named after famous evangelist, Dwight L. Moody.
Under each seat is a rack that men used to use to store their hats.
These were not the only sites we visited, just the ones with interesting doors! 😉
More doors from OHC next week!