Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hallway at Palanok Castle

Seen at Palanok Castle, Mukachevo, Ukraine.

The Palanok Castle or Mukachevo Castle (Ukrainian: Замок "Паланок", translit. Zamok "Palanok"; Hungarian: Munkács vára, Munkácsi vár) is a historic castle in the city of Mukachevo in the western Ukrainian oblast (province) of Zakarpattia. The Palanok Castle is delicately preserved, and is located on a former 68 meter high volcanic hill. The castle complex consists of three parts: the high, middle, and low castle.

Palanok Castle

Monday, August 29, 2011

Order of Victory

A replica of the Soviet Order of Victory, seen in the Museum of the Great Patriotic War, Kiev.

The Order of Victory was the highest military decoration in the Soviet Armed Forces and one of the rarest in the world due to the small number of recipients. It was established on 8 November 1943 and awarded only to Generals and Marshals for "successful operation within the framework of one or several fronts resulting in a radical change of the situation in favour of the Red Army". Made of platinum, rubies and 150 diamonds, the intrinsic value of the order is considerable. The badge depicts the Spasskaya Tower of the Moscow Kremlin, with Lenin's Mausoleum in front.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beauty and the Beast

Well, Wednesday was Independence Day in Ukraine.  Twenty years since they broke away from the USSR.  So, yeah, it was a big day.  And, it wasn't.  While it wasn't the greatest weather Wednesday, it wasn't bad either.  Yet the crowds at events in Kiev, at least those events that have made TV so far, were small and subdued.

But you can't always believe what you see on TV.  So I guess it was time to hit the streets.  See it with my own eyes.  Hit the main street of Kiev and Ukraine, Khreshatyk.

In the past, Independence Day would often start with a parade of military hardware.  But why celebrate your independence with a military parade reminiscent of the country you gained your independence from?  They skipped that this year.  Good Move!  Instead it was an all day long street festival.  Much better.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

St. Sophia Square

•  Saturday Archive Series

St. Sophia Cathedral is to the left (but not in the picture). St Michael Golden Dome Monastery is to the right (but not in the picture).

This is a panorama created from two images, and an HDR created from three different exposures of those two images.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Columns and Horticulture

The Kiev Flower Show is held every year at the end of August.  This year will be no exception.  This photo is from the 2007 event.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Sport of Photographers

•  The Saturday Archive Series ~ Originally posted January 26th, 2011.

Hot where you are today?  Seriously hot?  Then think about swimming.  Think about swimming in January, when the air temperature is 36F/2C.  That ought to cool you down, and quick!

This is from Orthodox Epiphany, January 19th.  Yes, this is a ritual in many Eastern Orthodox religions.  Orthodox religious holidays often fall 13 days after the similar holiday in other religious denominations. This year was a bit of a disappointment. Partakers in this holiday prefer it to be much colder than 36F/2C when taking the plunge.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another Awesome Canyon, Another Awesome View

Exiting First Canyon, Nahanni National Park, Northwest Territories, Canada.

We are now approaching the end of our journey. Around the end of day 11, we have seen all the most spectacular sights along our route. The mountains, the sparkling lakes, the rapids, the waterfalls, the canyons, and the hot springs. On our trip so far, we have been blessed. Weather here can be unpredictable, yet we have had no major rain events or chilly spells. Sure, it's been chilly in the morning, but the daytime temperatures have always been pleasant. Yet, we are still two days away from civilization. We must journey on.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Vydubychi Monastery, Kiev

Vydubychi Monastery (Ukrainian: Видубицький монастир, Vydubyts'kyi monastyr) is an historic monastery in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

The monastery was established between 1070 and 1077 by Vsevolod, son of Yaroslav the Wise. It was a family cloister of Vsevolod's son Vladimir Monomakh and his descendants.

Vydubychi Monastery, Kiev

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Golden Gate of Kiev

Stitched Panorama, 2 photos.

Golden Gate, Kiev (A modern reconstruction)

The Golden Gate of Kiev (Ukrainian: Золоті ворота, Zoloti vorota, literally 'golden gate') is a historic gateway in the ancient city walls of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. The name Zoloti Vorota is also used for a nearby theatre and a station of the Kiev Metro. Currently is located on the Volodymyr Street in Kiev.

This gateway was one of three constructed by Yaroslav the Wise, Prince of Kiev, in 1037. Originally named as simply the Southern the gates were among other three gates of the city fortification with other being called: Ładski and Żydowski. The stone fortifications stretched for only 3.5 km (~2.5 mi). The Żydowski gates were approximately located at the Lviv Square, and the Ładski gates - at Maydan Nezalezhnosti. Later the Southern gates began to be called as the Grand gates before the construction of the golden-dome Blahovist church which was established in the close proximity to the gates and easily seen from the outside of the city. Since that time the gates were known as the Golden Gates of Kiev. It was reputedly modelled on the Golden Gate of Constantinople, from which it took its name. In 1240 it was partially destroyed by Batu Khan's Golden Horde. It remained as a gate to the city (often used for ceremonies) through the eighteenth century, although it gradually fell into ruins.

In 1832 the ruins were excavated and an initial survey for their conservation was undertaken. Further works in the 1970s added an adjacent pavilion, housing a museum of the gate. In the museum one can learn about the history of construction of the Golden gate as well as ancient Kiev.

In 1982, the gate was completely reconstructed for the 1500th anniversary of Kiev, although there is no solid evidence as to what the original gates looked like. Some art historians called for this reconstruction to be demolished and for the ruins of the original gate to be exposed to public view.

The Golden Gate of Kiev

Friday, August 5, 2011

Beach Cabana, Long Caye, Belize

This is not the only Long Caye in Belize.  The more famous one, and much more developed, is at Lighthouse Reef.  The lesser known one is at Glover's Reef.  The following excerpt is from National Geographic Adventure.

Yet east of the (barrier) reef are three immense atolls, covering more than 400 square miles. An atoll, any atoll, is a magical place. It’s a reef encircling a now sunken island, often dotted with cays that are little more than specks of sand and shell, occupied by dreamers and seabirds. Thanks to atolls, you can find calm pieces of flat water in the middle of the world’s oceans. There are only four in the Western Hemisphere, and three lie off Belize: Glover Reef, Lighthouse, and Turneffe. (The fourth, Banco Chinchorro, is off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.)

Connoisseurs can sniff out the unique character of each atoll. Turneffe is famous among divers for Black Beauty’s ebony coral blankets and for the Elbow, where huge fish waft up and down a hundred-foot wall. It boasts a relatively luxurious cabana camp called the Blackbird Caye Resort and a fishing lodge. Lighthouse Reef, to the east, is home to the Blue Hole; 1,000 feet across and 400 feet deep, it was explored and made famous in the 1970’s by Jacques Cousteau. One guidebook calls the atoll’s swanky Lighthouse Reef Resort a “tropical illusion.”

But Glover Reef is the one nobody’s heard of, the atoll for casual adventurers- kayakers, windsurfers, hammock swingers, and snorkelers. Glover is the remotest atoll in Belize. It’s a hundred square miles of sea filled with patch reefs and wild-colored fish, strewn with just five small islands, all strung along its southeastern edge, smack against the Caribbean. Glover has been called the biologically richest site in the Caribbean; in 1994, it was declared a marine reserve by the Belizean government.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Sunken City of Kekova

• HDR Photo

Kekova, also named Caravola (Lycian: Dolichiste), is a small Turkish island near Kaş (ancient Antiphellos) district of Antalya province which faces the villages of Kaleköy (ancient Simena) and Üçağız (ancient Teimioussa). Kekova has an area of 4.5 km² and is uninhabited.

After the Italian occupation of Kastelorizo, Kekova — which at that time was temporarily inhabited during summer because of wood harvest — was disputed between Italy and Turkey. The 1932 Convention between Italy and Turkey assigned it to Turkey.

On its northern side there are the partly sunken ruins of Dolchiste/Dolikisthe, an ancient town which was destroyed by an earthquake during the 2nd century. Rebuilt and still flourishing during the Byzantine Empire period, it was finally abandoned because of Arab incursions. Tersane (meaning "dockyard", as its bay was the site of an ancient city Xera and dockyard, with the ruins of a Byzantine church) is at the northwest of the island.

The Sunken City of Kekova