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Discovery


Exploring the unexplored

Aleppo

Having previously posted my memories of Palmyra, which has since been destroyed, I wish to do the same for Aleppo, a city I knew it all its glory, which is unfortunately succumbing to the same fate, progressively crumbling and collapsing before our eyes under the weight of civil war and bombs. The Souk of Aleppo…

France

In 1948 we left Spain, crossing the Bidassoa bridge on foot while dragging our luggage to catch the train to Paris. There were still, on certain streets, slabs of wood that had been installed at the turn of the century to damped the sounds of the large wheels of the horse drawn carriages. I remember…

Spain

In 1944, my grandmother, our host, informed us that she no longer had enough money to support us. In reality, the war had interrupted all international financial transfers. We now had to find another refuge. Everyone left in different directions. My mother took me to Malaga, in Spain. Franco was ruling. After his victory over…

A Greek Prince in Morocco

My parents were living in Rome when I was born in January of 1939. In January of the following year my father died, and my mother decided to move to Greece, owing to the wishes of my father that I be raised Greek. But she received word from Greece that the situation was much too…

Mystras

During the Middle Ages, the Crusaders, while on their way to liberate Jerusalem, repeatedly stopped and conquered small parts of the Byzantine Empire, establishing principalities and naming rulers. Consequently, many French, Spanish, and Italian colonies were to be found scattered throughout Greece, the legacy of which is seen today through the number of Catholics in certain areas. They built fortified…

Naples

Naples is my favorite city in Europe. She is home to countless treasures, many of which lie beyond the knowledge of guides and are known only to the city’s inhabitants. It is easy to lose yourself among the immense palaces, towering monasteries, and marble churches overflowing with gold. Every time I visit, I find something…

Akbar

India is the mother of all. For millennia, the Indians were vanguards of metaphysics, philosophy, and mysticism. Their epic poetry guided the mind of man to new heights. India has inspired all of Asia and influenced western antiquity, the extent to which we have yet to fully grasp. India is polytheistic at its core, yet Islam…

The Caste War of Yucatán

While traveling throughout the Yucatán I stopped at the former colonial city of Valladolid. Upon entering the cathedral I was shocked by its magnificence. “How beautiful,” I said aloud to myself. “Yes, but this church is punished,” said a voice. Punished? How strange. I had never heard this word used to describe a church before. Why punished? I…

Urfa

Abraham, contrary to what was commonly held until recently, did not come from the village of Ur in Mesopotamia, but rather the town of Urfa in southern Turkey. The confusion, as one might have guessed, was likely a consequence of phonetic confusion. Long ago, Abraham, the father of monotheism, had lashed out against Nimrod, the…

Zoe Porphyrogenita

My favorite empress is Zoe Porphyrogenita, from the Greek meaning “born into the purple,” signifying the child was born to the reigning emperor, for the prince or princess would see the purplish porphyry columns within the ornate palace. She was the daughter of Emperor Constantine IX, the perfect embodiment of frivolity and indifference during his long reign….