Daily life on a greek island through the eyes of a local-alien, still 'foreign' even after more than 40 years residence. This 'foreigner' is a local-KIWI-alien so there is a New Zealand flavour to my writing. Photo above is the tranquil view from Pukehina Beach, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
Agia Sofia - Constantinople ( Istanbul ) For some reason spelled with an 'H' in english . Hagia Sophia.
Orthodox church with four minarets added on the corners
Built in 537 AD as a christian cathedral, for 900 years the seat of the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox church.
Turned into a mosque in 1453 and remained so for 500 years.
In 1934 Turkish president, Kemal Ataturk turned it into a museum. It has both Christian mosaics on the wall and Islamic calligraphics (artistic handwriting). Hagia Sophia is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Turkish president Erdogan would like to turn the museum back into a mosque. The muezzin, who calls the faithful to prayer, chants the Islamic morning prayer inside the museum, broadcasting to the country over state radio. During Ramadan there were readings of the Koran from inside Hagia Sophia for the second year in a row.
The Greeks of course see it as a place sacred to Christianity and the Orthodox church.
Yet another reason why Greece and Turkey are at loggerheads.
German and Turkish relations are rather strained as well. Erdogan has told voters of Turkish origin not to vote for the main political parties in next month's German elections, calling the parties 'enemies of Turkey'.
Smallest School in the EU
The Greek island of Arkoi in the Dodecanese, close to the island of Patmos and the Turkish coast
Population 40. A dry rocky little island, its main vegetation being a few olive trees. No doctor, no shops, no bakery. The island has four tavernas and a one teacher/one pupil school. The tavernas fill up with day trippers from nearby islands over the summer months. The main occupation is fishing.
The school is just like any other school, except there is only one pupil. The teacher said she had great rapport with her only student. I bet. He must be the best educated little boy in the EU.
Perfect for a tranquil summer retreat too
Acropolis Restoration ..
The Acropolis restoration programme began in 1975 and is likely to continue till 2020. The aim is to repair and conserve the Parthenon and other buildings.
NB Acropolis is the name of the hill (a high fortified area)
on which is built
the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena
the Propylaia, the entrance to the Acropolis complex
a temple of Athena Nike
the Erechtheion, another temple
The ancient Greeks took only 9 years to build on the Acropolis. The temples have lasted 2,500 years, through vandalism, erosion from the weather, bombs and fire. Now it is all being slowly restored to its original glory, minus the Elgin marbles* so it will withstand earthquakes and severe weather conditions.
Now I know why everyone, from my mother 30 years ago to my brother 3 months ago, complained about the scaffolding spoiling their photographs. The work is never ending.
* The Elgin marbles are a collection of marble statues, 21 statues and 15 panels, plundered by Lord Elgin from various temples on the Acropolis in 1812, transported to England and given to the British museum. 'The British have stolen our history' says Greece and demands their return. The British Museum is not giving them up.
Pieces of the Elgin marbles and George who supports their return to Athens
And a bit of poetry describing the stolen Greek antiquities by friend-of-the-Greeks (grecophile)
Blind are the eyes that do not shed tears while seeing
O, Greece beloved, your sacred objects plundered
By profane English hands that have again wounded your aching bosom
I write. I create. I observe and record my life, after 40 years, in Greece. I love to create either with my handy craft, cooking or writing. Freeform always. Keep it simple, keep the interest, make it useful. I write about my garden sometimes, my grandchildren and the different culture and traditions. My New Zealand up bringing was so different from this way of life that I do truly feel like an alien at times. Greece is home but so is my kiwi 'homeland'. I am a citizen of both and an alien in both.