Adventures of a teenage author...

This is Marta, author of the Darkwoods series and of Marta's Blog. I created this blog specifically for blogging about my 2015 study abroad adventures in Europe, but it's becoming the blog for all my travels. I hope you enjoy all the pictures and stories!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mytilene - Castle, Part I

I have no idea how many parts there will be. This was a big castle. Here goes!

This was from the walk up, looking back down.

This castle was either built by the Byzantines or mostly redone by the Byzantines - I do not remember which. I do vaguely remember someone saying the red stones were typical of the Byzantine era. 

The next two pictures are the symbols of people who ruled there. I think the eagle on the top is the symbol of the Gattilusio family, who lived in the castle. Beneath it are three more symbols; the middle one is the double-headed eagle of the Byzantine Empire. 

These are four "G's", and one of them stands for "Gattilusio", the family name. I have completely forgotten what the other ones stand for.

This was the foundation to the temple or shrine of pagan goddesses. Wikipedia says it's for Demeter, Kore, and Cybele, 
These next pictures were of a foundation of a building that was first a church and then a mosque.

This would have been at the entrance

More buildings:

I believe the guide said this was the powder magazine

These are from the Ottoman times

This next building was built by the Byzantines, but the Ottomans added the bricks to keep the moisture out:

More of the outside:

The next building, which was fenced off, was used as a madrassa, or a Muslim school. Wikipedia says that they can be any type of school, secular or religious, but I'm pretty sure the guide said this one was strictly religious.

And that's the end of the first part. More pictures of the castle next!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mytilene - Greece!

A short ferry ride from western Turkey is the Greek island of Lesbos, and on this island is the ancient city of Mytilene. We took a day trip to Mytilene to see some of the ancient sites here.

I have over 200 pictures from Mytilene, so I'm going to do this one in several posts again, and I'm going to save some of them for posts about general scenery, so look for those later.

First, coming into Mytilene from the ferry, we saw the castle we would be exploring:

Modern Mytilene from the sea:

First, we walked up to a museum that hosted items found in some of the ancient houses that have been excavated. Some of the first things we saw were floor mosaics:

After that, we saw some statues. I'm only going to post my favorite here. The nose is missing from time, not from the artist's decision, but I still think it's cool to see. It is a Roman statue of a child with Down Syndrome:

After that, we saw more floor mosaics. This next one, I originally thought was Medusa, but it turns out the things I thought were snakes were really crab legs. I cannot for the life of me remember this guy's name, so I just call him Crabhair:

(It might be Karkinos, but that guy was an actual crab, so I don't think that's right.)

The figures in the four corners are representations of the four seasons. I'm not completely sure which one is which, but my best guess is that it goes winter, spring, summer, fall:

Next, some beautiful Greek pottery:

If I remember correctly, these were for poorer people to cook food in. The lower basins held coals, and the deep bowls held the food.

And finally, outside the museum was an olive oil press. The olives would go between the two stones to flatten them, and then they would be dumped in a barrel of water. The olives would sink, and the oil would rise.

That's all for now - castle next!

Pergamum (Bergama) - Part II

So once we had visited the Trajaneum and then walked around the edge of the city, we came to where there used to be a temple for Athena and then to the Theater.

First, here's the Theater from the very top, above the entrance:

And here's the entrance!

Before we went down into the Theater, though, we spent some time looking around the temple of Athena:

It's a level below the Trajaneum

Those stones there form the beginning of the foundation

And of course, once we were done with the temple for Athena, I had to get a picture of the walls from the top of the Theater:

Anyway, after that we went exploring the theater. The acoustics weren't the same as in Ephesus, but they were still pretty good. This one also wasn't as big as in Ephesus, but it was very, very, very steep. The whole time I was there, I kept thinking of those stairs by Cirith Ungol that Frodo, Sam, and Gollum have to climb to get into Mordor.


Here;s how tall the seats were

Here's the temple I showed in the last post from the top

These were some cool stones by the temple
After we managed to climb back up, there was one last place to visit in the city. The actual item, the Pergamum Altar (dedicated to Zeus) is gone, in a museum in Germany, but the foundation is still there.

And finally, looking back at Pergamum:

Pergamum is the third church mentioned in Revelation, and it is described as the city "where Satan has his throne" (Revelation 2:13). That's harsh! One of the professors on the trip explained that "Satan's throne" is probably a reference to the Imperial Cult and the practice of worshiping human beings as gods. Standing in Pergamum today, it's pretty clear that anything built by human hands, no matter how majestic, is going to fall apart one day. The wonder of God and His word is that both will last forever, even when everything else is gone (1 Peter 1:24-25).