Posts tagged Europe

Letters from Latvia: One Artistic Day in Riga

Dear travellers, welcome to the new post! Today we continue our story in the capital of Latvia. Many people call Riga the “Pearl of the Baltic” which this city really deserves. In today’s post, I’m going to take you to one that is considered to be one of the biggest artistic treasures in the Baltic. Sometimes beauty is really only in the eye of the beholder, and I am sure that with my post today I will convince you.

In the previous post – link, we started our adventure in Riga, so if you missed to read it or you want to remind yourself about some details you should do it before you continue with reading this post.

Another beautiful morning in Riga dawned, so my photographer and I had to get ready for a special day, because an exciting day was waiting for us. Everything was organised by our organizers of this unusual trip and without which this project would not be possible – Riga Tourist Organization – Live Riga and the national Latvian airline airBaltic. This trip really changed my image of the cold Baltic, and I realized that their culture and lifestyle was somewhat similar to ours in Serbia. Of course, this journey also convinced me that the distances still somehow connect us.

On the way to the Latvian National Gallery of Art, we had the opportunity to see the largest Orthodox shrine in Riga – the “Church of the Nativity of Christ” is the largest Orthodox church in Riga, which in the Soviet era played the role of a planetarium and restaurant, but again became a sacral building where they hold regular liturgies.

When we talk about sacral structures, we can say that they represent a mirror of the society in which they were created and a reflection of the whole culture of a nation. Thus, except for religious ceremonies, the church has always served for social gatherings and has been the center of cultural life.

You can visit this magnificent building in the Esplanade Park located in the heart of Riga! The Church of the Nativity of Christ is an architectural gem and a symbol of stability, which anyone to visit who needs comfort and refuge.

As I promised you, I will now tell you more about the Latvian National Museum of Art. The collection of the largest art museum in Latvia contains more than 50 thousand works of Baltic and Russian painters and sculptors.

In addition to the basic exhibits, this museum regularly offers various temporary exhibitions. Visitors can take advantage of special educational programs and guided tours. One of the continuing exhibitions is “19th – 20th Century of Latvian Art” offers the entire history of Latvian art in the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibition includes masterpieces by the founders of the Summer National Painting School – Wilhelms Purvitis, Janis Rozentals, Johans Valters. The new art showroom is located at -1 level, where you can always see a modern exhibition on current topics and works of modern art.

The museum is housed in a building in Riga that is of great historical importance. The building on Janis Rozentals Square 1 was designed by German architect Vilhelm Neumann and was built in 1905. It is one of the most impressive historic buildings on the boulevard and is adjacent to the Academy of Arts.

It was the first building in the Baltic to be built for museum purposes. The last reconstruction lasted almost 5 years and was completed in late 2015.

According to some historical records in 1869, it is thought that a museum was founded when the City Art Gallery was opened. In 1905 the museum was renamed the “Riga City Museum of Art”, 1940. The name was changed to “Soviet Art Museum of LSSR” in 1945 – State Latvian and Russian Art Museum of LSSR, 1964 – Museum of Art of LSSR.

In 1987, the museum was renamed as the “National Museum of Art”, and in 1995 it was given the name that we all know today – the “Latvian National Museum of Art“. Initially, the museum consisted mainly of works by foreign artists from several private collections. Wilhelms Purvitis, director of the museum from 1919 to 1940, made it possible to collect works by renowned Latvian authors.

The concept of the oldest art stage in Latvia was created by local German painters Johann Heinrich Baumann, Johann Leebereht Eggin, Alexander Heibel and others. The special collection of Latvian artists (late 18th – first half of the 20th century) includes more than 300 artists and 3,300 works of art. This permanent exhibition gives visitors an insight into the development of Latvian art, created by the work of Karl Hoon, Karl Petersone, Julius Feder, the first Latvian art group “Dwarf” and its creator Adam Alksna.

The museum owns the largest collection of works by academician J. Feder – about 300 drawings, paintings and sketches. The museum’s collection contains large collections of paintings of national classics of Latvian art – Janis Rozentals, Vilhelm Purvitis, Johann Valter.

Also prominent are Voldemars Matveys, Jacobs Caxax, Jazeps Groswalds, Conrads Ubans, Valdemars Tone, Janis Liepins, Leo Svemps, Nikolas Strunke, Ludolfs Liberts, Janis Tidemanis, Eduards Kalnins, Karlis Miesnieks and others.

The Contemporary Art Collection combines the collections of the former City Museum of the City of Riga and the National Museum of Latvia, or both major collections of Latvian war art, as well as items from earlier collections – Friedrich Vilhelm Brederlo, Riga Art Society (Kunstverein), Latvian Association for the Promotion of Art in Latvia.

In 2018, the museum received a cultural award for the great success of the Baltic Symbolism exhibition at the Paris Museum Orsay.

If you visit Riga I think you should visit this museum, the ticket price is around 3 – 4 euros and I think you would enjoy the beauty of classical and modern art. As I said at the very beginning of this post, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think you would surely find works of art you would enjoy.

After an few hours long visit to the museum, it was time for little Mark to go and buy some presents and little things for his friends. I decided to share with you a few interesting shops in Riga where you can buy interesting gifts for your loved ones and friends.

RIIJA is a Specialized Concept Store located in the heart of Riga in the main street of Terbatas Iela, offering an eclectic range of Latvian designers’ products, from housewares and freestyle clothes to original furniture, cutlery and lighting. All products are designed and crafted by local designers, representing the label’s blend of traditional Latvian craft with a contemporary worldview. I am sure you will find something interesting, I bought jewelry for my dear ladies and it was on a good discount. You can find the address of this store in Riga at the LINK.

The next interesting store I visited was MANILLA. This is the place where huge fans of paper and pretty things and creatives meet! The Manilla shop is the result of a great love for paper and a love for paper things that you hold in your hand and cannot simply let go. Manilla is little more than a small shop in downtown Riga – a small oasis for all paper and design lovers who need to touch the surface of the paper to feel life, who can truly appreciate the warm greetings printed in a modern greeting card, who really believes it is Gift packaging is as important as its contents or planner and a notebook for them is an accessory that makes everyday life more interesting and beautiful.

Having bought everything I needed for dear people, I decided to sit on a bench in one of Riga’s many parks and enjoy the beauty of nature. Of course, for me, the only thing left is to do after I spent all of the money! Of course it is a joke, I always try to attract myself to dear people and I buy interesting gifts and I have never regretted buying some interesting gifts for people who I respect and my family.

To be honest, it didn’t even take me an hour to sit on the bench to rest. Riga is a small town, but when you are actively walking there it is normal to get tired. I was also tired of the previous trips which I had this summer, so it kind of caught up with me!

Okay, in the end I had to find some strength to continue exploring Riga. Since we had a couple of bags we decided it was best to go back to the hotel and return to a new part of town and continue our research. The picture you can see below has one interesting story…

On my way back to the hotel with heavy bags in my hands, I wanted to take pictures of the old part of town with the people on the street as it was ideal natural lighting… Of course the photographer since had a heavy backpack with two laptops (he was mine there too since I was a little scattered on trips) ) and busy hands over bags of things we bought (you’ll understand if I say that the reductions were literally 70-80% off…) and a shoulder bag.

Now imagine the scene, the photographer I threatened to rub her shoulder with, still hold one bag in my teeth, hold the camera with one hand and try to find the focus…. it’s not going… again i put the camera back on the photographer’s shoulder to zoom in better with the same hand since my bags were in my other hand. I take the camera again and the impatient photographer moves because photographer will no longer want to stay in the same place otherwise all the bags would finish in garbage bin that was on the side street next to us… well, at the end I got at least some photo, it is not perfect, but if we take in considering the situation it’s perfect!

Afterwards I met in town with my mother who enthusiastically showed me this interesting shop in the heart of the old part of Riga. I was most attracted to the advertising slogan on the store window: “Life is too short for ugly shoes.” The store is otherwise held by a funny Italian who is trying to crack classic Italian music from the store. I love the Italian mentality and their lifestyle is always “Dolce far niente! – blissful idleness or what my mother would say “The sweetness in life when your money falls from the sky and you don’t have to work.”

P.S. Mom bought the moccasins in the right angle, that are a combination of beige, light blue, and navy colors for some really symbolic price. Yes… again we bought almost a number and a half smaller shoes, but who asks when it’s a good deal! Our magical shoemaker in Serbia managed to extend them!

In the picture above you can see the oldest and narrowest street in Riga. It is so interesting, isn’t it? My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our second and last blog post from Riga. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Tourism Board of Riga – Live Riga and airBaltic for this incredible adventure and Pullman Old Town Riga Hotel for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this story about Latvian National Gallery of Art? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Riga and to enjoy in the beauty of Latvia? I would like to share with me your experience! See you soon on some other interesting destination!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Riga Tourism Board – Live Riga and the national Latvian airline company airBaltic and Pullman Old Town Hotel Riga. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
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Letters from Latvia: Explore Riga with airBaltic!

My dear travellers, how are you doing today? 2nd of September is a special day for me because that day in my calendar is marked as the happiest day in year – my birthday. I have to admit when I was younger I was not a fan of that date because that was a time when was school going to start. I always thought I was biggest jinx in the world because I was born on that day! Obviously, It was destined because I was unplanned and I came into this world exactly two months before the expected date.

What is the life… On this day twenty-something years ago, one little mumbled baby called Marko came. It’s much easier nowadays, my generation was warlike when inflation reigned in hospitals they didn’t even know what an incubator was. The nurses and the doctor who took care of me gave me the nickname “Crumb” because I was a little heavier than a loaf of bread, today the weight has changed a little! 🙂

But let me get to the topic of today’s post. A few days ago I promised you a new story and that we will explore the pearl of the Baltic, the capital of Latvia – Riga. By the invitation of the Riga Tourism Board – Live Riga and the National Latvian Airline airBaltic, little Marko and his photographer visited the capital of Latvia.

Riga for sure has marked this summer in a special way for me because it was also my last collaboration to close the “summer season” on my blog. The largest metropolis in the Baltic, Riga perfectly blends a timeless tradition and a superb modern atmosphere. In its turbulent history of almost 800 years, everyone from the German knights to the Swedish kings and Soviet commissioners left their mark, and today the capital of Latvia is an exciting European metropolis at the crossroads of Eastern and Northern Europe.

This visit would not have been possible without the help of the National Latvian Airline AirBaltic, which was one of the main partners of this project. The Latvian airline Air Baltic Corporation (airBaltic) was founded in 1995. AirBaltic is a hybrid airline that takes all the best practices from the business of traditional online airlines and low cost carriers in Europe and the world. In 2008, airBaltic changed its operating model from a carrier to a point – a network airline, making Riga a hub between east and west. AirBaltic’s main priorities are – safety, accuracy and quality of service.

Currently airBaltic operates direct flights from all capitals of the Baltic States – Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Tallinn (Estonia). AirBaltic offers convenient flights connecting North Hub Riga to its airline partner networks covering Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and the Middle East. It was a great pleasure for me to work with an airline such as airBaltic and to feel all the benefits of their business class.

As a business class traveler, you will receive outstanding service. Priority boarding, welcome drink, seating with additional free seating for more privacy, gourmet meal with three course menu, unlimited non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, the latest printed media, as well as a quick priority exit upon the end of the flight.

Riga Airport is easy to navigate, because of its size and simplicity, trust me you will get out fast and head for exploring Riga. There are several ways of transportation to the center of Riga: by public transport – by bus or taxi. Since we had the transportation provided in advance, I can tell you the prices.

One-way bus fares cost € 1.15 if you buy in advance or at the vending machine or € 2 if you pay directly with the bus driver. When we talk about taxi services you have a Baltic Taxi and a special 15 euro one way fare, so if travel in the group of 3 or 4 people go you can split the cost.

The first thing I could see through the car window was the fact that Riga was a “green” city, on all sides there were green areas, squares, parks that were unusually arranged. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but Riga at very first sight brought a smile to my face. I knew this trip was going to be another beautiful adventure.

We settled into a hotel, freshened up a bit and were ready to go. Our Pullman Old Town Riga hotel was located in the heart of the old part of town. One thing I learned from traveling is that you should always start every city tour with a tour of the old town to get to know the city better. The old part of the city always has some special energy and that is what makes each city special, just like Skadarlija, the bohemian quarter gives Belgrade some note of the beauty where the cultural “creme de la creme” of high society gathered. I would love to write some basic information about the destination itself as I always do.

Riga is the capital of Latvia with a population of just over 600,000 inhabitants which is one third of the Latvian population. Being significantly larger than other cities in Latvia, Riga is also the largest city in Latvia. It is also the largest city in the three Baltic States and home to one tenth of the combined population of all three Baltic States. The city lies on the Gulf of Rome at the mouth of the Daugava River where it meets the Baltic Sea. Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former member of the Hanseatic League.

The historical center of Riga is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, known for its Art Nouveau – Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture. Riga was the European Capital of Culture during 2014, along with Umea in Sweden. Riga hosted the NATO Summit in 2006, the Eurovision Song Contest in 2003, the 2006 Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship. An interesting fact is that almost one million tourists visit Riga every year!

There are more legends, theories about how the city got its name. One theory about the origin of the name Riga is that it is a corrupt borrowing that marks the Liv ring, and refers to an ancient natural harbor formed by the tributary of the Daugava River.

Another legend is that Riga owes its name to an already established role in trade between East and West. The English geographer Richard Hackluit in 1589 calls Rija a name, and the German historian Dionysius Fabricius confirmed the origin of Riga in 1610 from the word Rija. A third theory could be that Riga is named after Riege, the German name for the Riden River, a tributary of Daugava.

One theory is that the name Riga was introduced by Bishop Albert, the initiator of the baptism and conquest of the Livonian and Baltic peoples. He also presented an explanation of the name of the city as derived from the Latin word rigete (“irrigated”), which symbolizes “the irrigation of pagan souls by Christianity.”

The locals you see in the picture above in Riga are called the House of the Blackheads (Latvian: Melngalvju nams,) is a building located in the old part of town. The original building was built during the 14th century for the time of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, as a kind of association for the unmarried, shipowners and foreigners in Riga. The main works were made at the beginning of the 17th century, adding most of the mannerist decoration. The sculptures were made by August Volz’s workshop. The building was bombed by the Germans on June 28, 1941, and the remains were demolished by the Soviets in 1948. It was restored between 1996 and 1999 and what we have today to see is an identical replica of the original building.

Riga is an exceptional city and very organised. Besides being able to enjoy the beauty of the city and make beautiful pictures for your album, you can also do some nice shopping. In addition to the many interesting shops that have local and Baltic designers, there are plenty of outlet shops. In the heart of the city, there are at least 50 outlet shops that have different brands from street brands to some more luxurious, prestigious brands.

You should not hesitate, believe me I found such a beautiful turtleneck sweater and sweater from one brand I adore and I paid it only 35 euros, the full price would be much, much higher. That is my most sincere recommendation if you find yourself in this beautiful city.

The streets of the old town are paved with cobblestones, so it is very important to wear comfortable footwear. In the old part of Riga there are the most beautiful restaurants, museums and hotels. Most interesting to me were street musicians and artists who were entertaining the tourists. Riga is a city of culture and art, believe me in this city you have time for everything because the city is well organised and you can easily find everything that interests you.

You can see the church of St. Peter in the picture above. It is first mentioned in records from 1209. The church was built and went undamaged in a major city fire in Riga that year. The history of the church can be divided into three distinct periods: two related to the Gothic and Romanesque styles of construction, and the third to the early Baroque period. The middle part of the church was built in the 13th century, which covers the first period of construction. The only remnants of this period are found in the outer walls of the nave and on the inside of several columns in the winding, around which larger columns were later built.

During World War II, the church lost its status as an important cultural heritage – an impressive bronze candelabrum made in 1596 – which was taken by the Germans from Riga to the city of Vłocłavek and moved during the Heim ins Reich campaign to Poland. The candelabrum, called the standing lantern, was commissioned by Riga City Council from Riga Foundry Founder Hans Meyer. To give an idea of the order of size of this standing lantern it was about 3 m high and about 4 m wide.

After the war he was exhibited at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Assumption in the Vłocłavek Basilica. On March 1, 2012, this work of late Renaissance art returned to its home, as a result of an agreement on the repatriation of cultural property. An interesting fact is that the rooster statue that you can see at the top of the church weighs about 160 kg, and it’s made of gold.

Freedom Monument (Latvian: Brivibas piemineklis) is a monument honoring soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence (1918–1920). It is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence and sovereignty of Latvia. Built in 1935, 42 meters high in granite, travertine and copper, it often serves as a focal point for public gatherings and official ceremonies in Riga. The sculptures and reliefs of the monument, divided into thirteen groups, depict Latvian culture and history.

The core of the monument consists of rectangular shapes that are arranged one on top of one another, decreasing in size towards the top, complemented by a 19-meter (62-meter) high travertine pole bearing a copper figure of freedom that raises three gilded stars. The concept of the monument was first publicly announced in the early 1920s, when the Latvian prime minister ordered the conceptual designs to be drawn up and a competition for the design of a “memorial column” opened. After several public competitions, the monument was finally built in the early 1930s under the scheme “Mirdzi ka zvaigzne!” The construction work was funded by private donations.

There were already German-language theaters in Riga, which also had opera and ballet. The first attempt to create the Latvian National Opera was in 1893, when the “Spoku stunda” by Jekabs Ozols (“The Hour of the Spirits”) was performed. The Latvian Opera and Ballet (Latviešu Opera) was founded in 1912 by Pavuls Jurjans, although almost immediately during the First World War, the opera group was evacuated to Russia. In 1918, the opera was restarted (Latvia Opera) led by Jazeps Vitols, founder of the Latvian Academy of Music. The debut performance, January 23, 1919, was Wagner’s “Der fliegende Hollander”.

Since 1944, after the occupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union and its incorporation into the Soviet Union, the Latvian National Opera became the Latvian S.S.R. State Opera and Ballet Theater. In 1990, the theater was renamed the Latvian National Opera, but the building was closed almost immediately until 1995 for renovation. In honor of its reopening in 1995, the first opera was Uguns un nakts by Janis Medins (Fire and Night).

My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our post. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Tourism Board of Riga – Live Riga and airBaltic for this incredible adventure and Pullman Old Town Riga Hotel for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this story about this gem of the Baltic? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Riga and to enjoy in the beauty of Latvia? I would like to share with me your experience! In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Riga. I will show you one art treasury, the biggest one in Latvia, so be ready! I am sure you will like it as I do. 🙂

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Riga Tourism Board – Live Riga and the national Latvian airline company airBaltic and Pullman Old Town Hotel Riga. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
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Letters from Azerbaijan: Lahij, place where dreams are made of copper…

Hello my dear travellers, welcome to new post on the Mr.M blog. How are you doing today? Has something interesting happened to you today? Some people are back from vacation, while some lucky ones are just getting ready to start their journey. In the past few days, I read on the social networks comments from some people, like: “Why we call our vacation “annual leaving”, if it only lasts for 2,3 weeks… It is not fair!”. I agree with them, but what to do it looks like it’s another “wrong” name, such some terms like “final discounts”, and in the store you will find the maximum of 20% discount… Sweet “white” lies which we just love and want to believe.

In the previous two posts you had the opportunity to get to know Baku and see where the cradle of Azeri culture – Gobustan National Park. In today’s post you will meet an interesting village, which is located in the most beautiful part of Azerbaijan, at the heart of the Caucasus.

Of course, before I start today’s post I would like to thank the National Tourism Board of the Republic of Azerbaijan for its excellent organization, as well as other partners of this project who made our stay in Azerbaijan unforgettable!

Tural, our guide told us the opinion of the local people in Azerbaijan, which is that they consider that the road to Lahij village is one of the most beautiful in Azerbaijan. You can see how nature has adapted to climate and you have the great opportunity yo enjoy the view of mountains, plains and sea.

I must admit that usually when traveling somewhere by car, I try to rest and get some sleep because press trips can be extremely stressful at times and I use every free moment for rest and relaxation. However this time was different, the trip was different and I decided to show you these beauties of nature to people who may choose to visit Azerbaijan one day!

The people of Azerbaijan are simple, kind and frank. The language may be a small barrier, but because of its close proximity to Russia, many people know Russian. Maybe this fact helps from Balkan region like me because the Russians can understand some of Serbian words which makes it easier for some basic communication. Of course a lot of people speak English as well, but we are talking about older generations who lives in rural areas.

Tural explained to us the geographical location of Azerbaijan and some basic things about places where we are going, so this trip passed so fast for us quickly. Of course we took a couple of breaks, maybe the trip was a little longer, but we learned a lot about Azerbaijan.

At the first break, I used the time to take a picture by the sea… Well, I went well all way to far away Azerbaijan, I guess I deserved to have at least one nice picture with my best friend, I’m most afraid of – water. Strange, but very interesting love!

Shortly after these breaks, we came to our first stop on this short car trip. My hosts wanted to show me their oldest and largest mosque in Azerbaijan – the Juma Mosque. According to legend, it was built in the 8th century when Shamakhi was chosen as the residence of the Arab Caliph. This is why Shamakhi Juma looked like one of the oldest mosques in the Caucasus region. The architecture of this large complex is as follows – the huge prayer hall is divided into three independent sections that are connected with wide open arches.

Each part has its own separate mikhrab and an entrance. After considerable destruction of the mosque during wars and earthquakes, it was repeatedly reconstructed and restored. The current appearance of the mosque was formed in the early 20th century. The mosque was practically rebuilt on an old basis without losing the basic principles of its structure. There are still three halls. In addition, the central hall is covered by a huge dome and the other two smaller domes.

Below the central dome is a window belt. The windows are decorated with bars. The whole facade is decorated with tracery lattices. Built more than 1,200 years ago, the Shamakhi Juma Mosque remains one of the largest cult structures in the Caucasus region.

Mikhrab in the main Hall.

It was a great honor for me to visit this holy place and learn more about the history of this part of Azerbaijan. I was particularly attracted to the harem of the mosque (this word has different meaning, but also it is the name of the enclosed courtyard of the mosque) at the entrance to the mosque, as it was arranged as a small green oasis of peace and happiness.

We had to continue our journey, because we had a long way to go to Lahij village, and we had a few more things to see. We got in the car and continued our trip. Of course I got my camera ready, the photographer fell asleep from the heat, so I had to do some of his work. Nobody knows my “blogging” troubles on the trip when I have different roles to play at the same time…

You are maybe wondering why we headed to Lahij village? Lahij is a remote village located in the Ismaiilli area of Azerbaijan, on the slopes of the Greater Caucasus. About 2,000 people live in this village, mostly belonging to a minority ethnic group that speaks Tat.

Lahij is one of the oldest permanently populated places in the world. Moreover, the sewerage system of the village dates back to 1000 years ago, which during this time you must admit was very unusual and commendable. For example, large European cities such as Paris and London did not have sewerage system until the 13th – 14th centuries. Incredible, isn’t it?

The facilities and master plan of the village are very unique. As a result of frequent earthquakes, locals have developed sophisticated and authentic construction techniques. Traditionally, people used the ground floor of houses as workshops and workrooms. The houses here are characterized by flat roofs. In addition, some houses have balconies overlooking the street.

The history and story of the village, are associated with many legends. According to one legend, many years ago there was a town of 36,000 inhabitants called La. One day a major earthquake happened and La was leveled to the ground. There was no town afterwards, but the place name changed to La-hec. “Hec” in Azerbaijani means nothing or zero. Over time, people came to live in this settlement again. At that time, La-hec changed to Lahi.

According to another legend, the Persian Shah Kai Khosrov killed a prominent ruler of a city, which caused great unrest in his country. Finally, after some power and throne struggles, the defeated chess decided to flee the country to save his life. He later found refuge in the mountains near modern Lahi. The Shah servants established the village of Lahij for their families. Eventually Kai Khosrov died there, but gradually the small village expanded and turned into a settlement.

This is the way how locals consider themselves to be descendants of Kay Khosrov’s original court. Moreover, they claim that the name of the village comes from a place called Lahian in Persia. A tomb with a tombstone belonging to Kai Khosrov was found at the Zavara cemetery in Lahij along with other tombstones dating back more than a thousand years.

In the medieval period the village became an important center of craftsmen in Azerbaijan. Lahij’s artisans have started to become very popular throughout Asia and Europe. In the 18th century, the city gained a reputation for producing cold steel weapons and copper. Many of them, such as copper pots and lamps and weapons, still adorn famous European museums, especially the Louvre and the Hermitage. Today, the village and its entire heritage are protected, but open to tourists. The spirit of medieval times and the path of ancient silk is still found in Lahij.

Also, there is one interesting museum in this picturesque place called the Museum of Local History of Lahij and you can find many interesting exhibits in it and learn more about the history of this unusual village.

The museum was opened in 1985 within the Lahij Historical and Cultural Reserve. Initially it was part of the historical and cultural nature reserve, but since 1992 it has the function of an independent cultural object of significance. The museum itself is housed in a building known in Lahi as the “Aghaoglu Mosque”, which was built in 1914.

The exhibit of the museum consists of more than 1000 exhibits in 10 different sections. The exhibits date from ancient examples of crafts, including ceramic specimens, specimens more than 2000 years old, bellows made in the 18th century for copper smelting and other livestock and trade related parts, as well as information on the city’s underground irrigation system operating since 15th Century!

The development of international tourism, together with some new knowledge about people and cultures, has resulted in a gradual interest in the cultural diversity of the region. Lahij has attracted the attention of many world tourists in recent years and as a result Lahij village is now included in the tours of several leading travel agencies.

The time for move came and we continued our journey, we had an amazing time in Lahij village, but Gabala is calling us! Gabala (Azerbaijani: Kəbələ, also known as Kabala, the capital of the Kabbalah district) The municipality consists of the city of Gabala and the town of Kusnat village. Previously, the city was known as Kutkashen, but after the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the city was renamed in honor of the much older city of Gabala.

The geographical location and mountainous relief of the city greatly influenced the formation of complex climatic conditions in the vertical arid region, as well as the density of the river network and the richness of land and vegetation cover.

The facilitated and humid climatic conditions of the Gabala region led to the formation of a dense river network in the area. The city is rich in chestnut and hazelnut trees. The flora and fauna of the district are very rich. Deer, wild boars, rabbits, bears, wolves, foxes and numerous birds can be found in the forest.

Gabala is an ideal tourist destination due to its combination of unusual spring climate, mountain scenery and diverse fauna. There are many world-class hotels and resorts, much of the Kafkaz hotel chain. The region’s natural climatic conditions create opportunities for summer and winter tourism development in the region. The northern side of Gabala belongs to the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, the central part of the Alazan-Haftaran Valley, the southern part of the Ainohur Mountains.

In addition, Azerbaijan has the highest mountain peak in Azerbaijan – Bazarduz Mountain (4466 meters). Also in Gabala is the Ieddi Gozel waterfall. In translation, it means ‘seven beauties’ because of its seven phases of decline, but it also depicts the classic story of Nizami Ganjavi. The city also contains the Gabaland Amusement Park, a skating rink and Greek-style theater built specifically for concerts and outdoor events. Gabala also has several malls. The city is home to the Tufandag Ski Resort, which is rated as the best ski resort in Azerbaijan and one of the main in the Caucasus.

My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our post. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from National Tourism Promotion Bureau of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan Airlines for this incredible adventure and Qafqaz Thermal & Spa Resort Hotel Yengija for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this post about National Park Gobustan? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Azerbaijan before? I would like to share with me your experience! In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Azerbaijan, and I will show you one interesting Lahij village which I visited during my visit. Stay tuned!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

P.S. If you want to know more about Azerbaijan you should read my other posts, I am sure you will find plenty of interesting tips and information about this incredible country:

This post was sponsored by National Tourism Promotion Bureau of Azerbaijan and the national airline company Azerbaijan Airlines and Qafqaz Thermal & Spa Resort Hotel Yengija. I also thank my friends from Loro PianaMakia Clothing and Picard Lederwaren for amazing outfits and my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
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Letters from Azerbaijan: Gobustan, the Cradle of Azeri Culture…

My dear travellers, how are you today? Before I begin with today’s post, I would like to thank you for the wonderful comments which you have sent to me for previous post about Azerbaijan. I am glad you liked Baku and I sincerely hope you will enjoy the post I have prepared for you today. For anyone who has not arrived yet to read my story from Baku or you would like to remind of some details, you can visit this LINK.

Have you ever wondered what the world looked like 20,000 years ago? What kind of people were then? What was their culture and religion customs? Has their consciousness been developed as it is today? Which language did they speak? We can find answers to all these questions from experts in archeology and history, but so far it all comes down to interpreting certain assumptions.

In today’s post, you’ll have the opportunity to see the cradle of Azeri culture, I’m taking you to Gobustan National Park. This trip was a whole new experience for me as I learned a lot of new information and had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of this lovely country.

Before I begin today’s post, I would like to thank the National Tourism Board of the Republic of Azerbaijan for this wonderful and exceptional experience. It has been a huge honour for me to get to know a completely different culture and I hope that I will be able to go there again and continue my adventure during my lifetime.

Gobustan National Nature Reserve, located just few kilometres west of the city of Gobustan, was founded in 1966, when the region was declared a National Historic Landmark of Azerbaijan in an effort to preserve ancient carvings, mud volcanoes and gas rocks. Gobustan National Park is very rich in archeological monuments, the reserve has more than 6,000 carved stone paintings depicting primitive people, animals, paintings of fights, ritual dances, boats with armed paddlers, warriors with spears in their hands, camels, images of the sun and star. These paintings are thought to be on average 5,000 to 20,000 years old.

Gobustan National Historical and Cultural Reserve gained national status in 2006. In July 2007, the Gobustan National Couple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The carvings and petroglyphs in this place depict fascinating images of prehistoric life in the Caucasus. Well-preserved paintings depict ancient boat-traveling populations, antelope men and wild bulls, while some depict women dancing. Well-known Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heierdahl returned to Azerbaijan several times between 1961 and his death in 2002 to investigate the site in his work “Search for Odin”.

The language of the ancient population of Gobustan is partly controversial, but the petroglyphs still provide information about the lives of prehistoric people who lived here. More than 4,000 pictures of animals, humans, certain life experiences, hunting and dancing have been carved over thousands of years. Most petroglyphs are found on large cliffs, and in some cases are carved on larger older rocks. The first carvings depicted natural figures of humans and animals, often irregularly, but over time they began to increasingly resemble the dimensions and proportions of their subjects, including such details as the muscles of the feet of humans in the hunting scene.

The heads of human figures are usually small and carved with no nose, mouth, eyes or ears. However, experts do not interpret this lack of facial features as an indication that Gobustan artists lack technical skill, as some carvings show a greater degree of complexity and detail. Many scenes from tribal life have been shown among the petroglyphs, and pictures from the “Seven Beauty Cave” indicate that women may have been involved in the hunt.

I have to admit, it’s an amazing feeling when you see all those pictures in stone that who knows when done by people who lived there thousands of years ago. The pictures prove that they had an awareness of all the things that surrounded them, that they had a particular religious cult that they believed in and studied the stars.

The natural world of Gobustan is much more convenient than other regions of Azerbaijan. However, the natural conditions of these places were completely different 20-25 thousand years ago. From the drawings of animals and human figures on Gobustan, the rocks appear to have been under a warm climate of 10 to 12 thousand years. Men wore light clothing, men tightened their limbs, and women wore short leather dresses. Due to the constant warm weather, greenery and large amount of water, these places were the habitats of wild animals: bulls, horses, deer, goats and other animals that lived in Gobustan.

From stone drawings and archaeological writings, wolves, tigers, foxes, jackals and other wild animals were found in this place in ancient times. In 1968, when they cut a layer of stone about 3 feet in size near Atbulah, large bones of an unknown animal were accidentally cut off. The workers informed the Ministry of Culture of the Azerbaijan SSR, not knowing what those bones were. After examining the discovered bones, it was determined that these bones were the remains of a “Southern Elephant” that lived in what is now Gobustan.

Perhaps during my visit to this national treasure of Azerbaijan, weather was one of the aggravating factors, but I enjoyed the beautiful view that stretches along the region.

Due to the temperature and the landscape, I had the impression that I was going on a safari and that I would see a giraffe soon, but that was just my imagination!

It is estimated that 300 of the world’s 700 mud volcanoes on the planet are located in the Gobustan, Azerbaijan and Caspian Sea. Many local and world-renowned geologists have come to study this natural phenomenon called “Mud Volcanoes” such as Firuz, Gobustan, Salian Crater and have come to some discoveries where they have stated that mud from these volcanoes has healing purposes.

After we finished our tour of Gobustan National Park, our guide took us to see some more interesting sights, one of which is another natural phenomenon that attracts tourists who come to visit Azerbaijan, called Yanar Dag.

Yanar Dag (translated from the Azeri language, meaning “Burning Mountain”) is a natural gas fire that burns constantly on the slope of the Apsheron Mountains in the Caspian Sea near Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. You may remember when I mentioned in my previous post how Azerbaijan was known as the “Land of Fire”. Flames can reach up to 3 meters in the air from a thin, porous layer of sandstone.

Yanar Dag officially belongs administratively to the Absheron region. Unlike mud volcanoes, the Yanar Dag flame burns fairly steadily, as it uses a continuous outflow of gas from the underground.

It is claimed that the Yanar Dag flame was only noticed when it was accidentally ignited by a shepherd in the 1950s. No mud or liquid can be seen, which distinguishes it from the nearby volcanic muds of Lokbatan or Gobustan. In the territory of Yanar Dag, by the Presidential Decree of May 2, 2007, a State Historical, Cultural and Natural Reserve was established, which is under the control of the State Tourism Agency of Azerbaijan.

After a major renovation that lasted almost 2 years (2017-2019), the Yanar Dag Museum and the Yanar Dag Cromlech Stone Exhibition were launched in the area of this unusual reserve.

Our next stop – the Temple of Fire! I know this may not mean much to you at first sight, but remember the fact that Azerbaijan is a “Land of Fire”, so it is quite logical that they have a “fire” temple.

Baku Ateshgah (Azerbaijani: Atəsgah), often called the “Baku Fire Temple”, is a religious temple similar to a castle in Surakhani city. Based on the Persian inscriptions the temple was used as a Hindu, Sikh and Zoroastrian place of worship. “Atash” (ạtsẖ) is a Persian word for fire. The Pentagonal complex, which has a courtyard surrounded by cells for monks and a tetrapillary altar in the middle, was built during the 17th and 18th centuries. This temple was abandoned in the late 19th century, probably because of the diminishing Hindu population in the surrounding area. The natural eternal flame extinguished in 1969 after nearly a century of oil and gas exploitation in the area, but is now lit by gas from Baku.

Baku Ateshgah was the pilgrimage and philosophical center of the Zoroastrians from the northwestern Indian subcontinent, who were involved in trade with the Caspian region via the famous “Great Road”. The four sacred elements of their belief were: ateshi (fire), badi (air), abi (water), and heki (earth). The temple ceased to be a place of worship after 1883 with the erection of oil plants (industries) at Surakhani.

The complex was turned into a museum in 1975. The Ateshgah Fire Temple was nominated for a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, and on December 19, 2007, by the decree of the President of Azerbaijan, it was declared a National Historic and Architectural Reserve.

My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our post. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from National Tourism Promotion Bureau of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan Airlines for this incredible adventure and Boulevard Hotel Baku for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this post about National Park Gobustan? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Azerbaijan before? I would like to share with me your experience! In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Azerbaijan, and I will show you one interesting Lahij village which I visited during my visit. Stay tuned!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by National Tourism Promotion Bureau of Azerbaijan and the national airline company Azerbaijan Airlines and Hotel Boulevard Baku. I also thank my friends from Loro PianaMakia Clothing and Picard Lederwaren for amazing outfits and my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
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Letters from Azerbaijan: Baku, a modern city made of traditional dreams…

My dear travellers, welcome to my blog! The holiday mood is ON, so there is a plenty of time that we can spend on a nice trip. As I promised you a few days ago in the previous posts, August will be very interesting time as we will discover some new unusual destinations together.

When I received an e-mail from the National Tourist Board of Azerbaijan few months ago, I could not imagine that this summer I would have the opportunity to get to know a whole new culture of Azerbaijan. The first email I received from them was short, but it was straightforward with the question of whether I was free this year to meet the land of fire, which is located somewhere between Europe and Asia. I couldn’t even think about the trip, but my minds were already somewhere in the Caucasus region.

In collaboration with the Tourism Board of the Republic of Azerbaijan and their national airline Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL), I was able to visit this incredible country and I’ve got an amazing opportunity to #takeanotherlook. In July, my photographer and I just checked in our suitcases full of dreams and we started our adventure!

After less than 5 hours from cozy Berlin, my photographer and I jumped into summer outfits, because surely the temperature difference at that point was about 20 degrees. Azerbaijan Airlines definitely “bought” me for a little interesting little sign of attention! They had an ice cream on the flight, so far it was the first time that I experienced that on a flight I have dessert like this, so you could enjoy on their flights with this lovely summer sweet treat.

Journeys are a wonderful thing and anyone who is able to go around the world you should pick up magnets just to have some nice memories from the trips, until as they can normally open the door of the refrigerator! 😀

In my case it will be my aspirator in the kitchen where there is no room for new magnets anymore. My mom constantly criticizes me, but again somehow we clean the dust on the aspirator together, so I’m the one who even though I’m scared of heights, climbing on the ladders while mom is cleaning the magnets which I give to her… And so the same story repeats every 2 to 3 months. Sometimes is hard, but that is the price of having some priceless memories.

This is the first picture I made in the capital of Azerbaijan – Baku, a city that you will learn more about in today’s post. At first sight, Baku looks like one city from the future, you see all those skyscrapers that just don’t know which one is bigger. As you approach to the center, you realize that the city has some unusual warmth and architecture is totally different than in other countries.

Previous rulers and politicians have been great lovers of the arts and aesthetes who have strived to beautify their country in the best possible way. The inspiration for the architecture of Baku comes mostly from Europe, specifically from Italy and France, where architects have found unrivaled inspiration.

Baku represents the social, cultural and industrial center of Azerbaijan. In recent years, Baku has become an important place where many international cultural events take place. Azerbaijan hosted the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, European Games 2015. Baku, the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix of 2016, also hosted the 2018 UEFA League Finals and will be one of the UEFA Euro 2020 host cities. Impressive isn’t it?!

Since my photographer and I arrived in the evening, we wanted to rest and to prepare for the next day. We had a real adventure and a long tour which will help us to get know Baku! The next morning I woke up fresh and with smile on my face and we could start our first official day in Azerbaijan!

The nice weather, the sun, the full camera battery and the ready photographer was just enough for me to start a new adventure! Of course, my photographer immediately did his best to show me how good I could look in Azerbaijan. I think because of my beard, I was able to pass all out like an Azeri guy…

Shirt: Makia 
Backpack: Picard

Whoever has followed my stories on Instagram certainly remembers the intensity of the wind and then I fully understood those words of our old wise people: “The wind blows so heavily that it carries the trees!”, Now I had the opportunity to feel it on my skin. It was quite exciting!

In the picture above in the background you can see 3 buildings that are symbol of the city. Surely you’re wondering why they’re the symbol of the city? These are just three ordinary, beautiful modern buildings. You get the right answer to that question in the evening when these buildings, with the help of modern technology and ice screens, become the “Towers of Flame” that are a symbol of Baku.

After we had finished our photo shooting and we used the morning light, our guide Tural came to us, who was there to reveal to us all the secrets of this lovely land, which lies somewhere between East and West, somewhere between Europe and Asia. Tural told us that if we want to get to know Baku better, we must visit the old part of the city first, because that is the only way to understand the real value of this wonderful city.

About 100,000 years ago, the territory of modern Baku and Apheseron was savannah with rich flora and fauna. The first traces of human settlement date back to the Stone Age. Since the Bronze Age, rock carvings have been discovered near Bajil and a bronze figure of small fish has been discovered in the Old Town.

These findings led many to the existence of Bronze Age settlements in the city. Near Nardaran, at a place called Umid Gaia, a prehistoric observatory was discovered, on which rock images of the sun and various constellations were carved along with a primitive astronomical board.

Further archaeological excavations revealed various prehistoric settlements, temples, statues and other artifacts in and around the modern city. In the 1st century BC, the Romans organized two Caucasian actions and reached Baku. Near the city, in Gobustan, Roman inscriptions dating from 84-96 BC have been discovered. This is one of the earliest written evidence relating to Baku and Azerbaijan.

Maiden Tower (Azerbaijan: Kız kalası) is a 12th century monument located in the Old Town of Baku, Azerbaijan. Along with the Shirvanshah Palace, dating from the 15th century, it forms a group of historical monuments that were listed as a cultural property by the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001. It is one of the most prominent national symbols of Azerbaijan, so this tower can be found on Azerbaijani banknotes and coins.

There are various mysteries and legends related to the Maiden Tower. However, the main mystery is the design and purpose of the tower itself. In the meantime, there are 20 legends related to the Maiden Tower. A large number of them are related to the Islamic and medieval period of Baku history. Quite a few legends are deeply rooted in Azerbaijani Zoroastrian or pre-Islamic history, religion and culture.

Probably the most famous legend is that of a fiery-haired girl who rescued the Baku people from slavery. The epic shows the roots of the Azerbaijani Zoroastrian faith and culture and reaches to the modern day.

The view from the Maiden’s Tower is amazing and it is worth climbing to the very top where I was able to take the photo you can see above. The Maiden Tower houses a museum that tells the story of the historical development of the city of Baku. It also owns a souvenir shop. The view from the top crosses the streets and minarets of the Old City, Baku Boulevard, De Gaulle House and Baku Bay View.

The Old Town is the first ideal stop for every tourist who comes to meet Baku. It is a city with a long and rich history that will intrigue everyone, legends that leave people breathless.

Azerbaijan is different, their culture is unique and when you come in contact with it you should be open minded to understand its value and essence. This trip has completely changed my picture of countries in the East.

After tour of the Old City, it was time to visit unusual modern part of Baku. As we crossed the line from traditional part of Baku that led straight into the modern era of new Baku, our guide told us so many legends about the emergence of modern Baku that even 10 posts would not be enough for you to write down all the stories in detail.

On the other hand, somewhere in the streets of modern Baku you will see a bunch of cars and very wide boulevards that are mostly one-way streets. To be clear what I’m talking about since I was a kid growing up in Europe, one ordinary boulevard in downtown Baku is wider than some boulevard in Paris and all lines are one-way. Maybe now you can just figure out what I’m talking about.

T-Shirt and Trousers: Loro Piana 
Backpack: Picard

Little Marko didn’t miss the opportunity to take some photos on the streets of Baku, the photos turned out great at the end thanks to my photographer. Due to its unusual architecture, the city is extremely photogenic, so it was easy to make good pictures. Baku has some special energy, which perfectly matched my sensibility.

In the heart of the city is a monument to Nizami Ganjavi, a medieval Persian poet in Nizami Square. The opening ceremony of the monument was held in April 1949.

The position of the monument is set symbolically so that the famous poet will look in the arts – the National Museum of Literature Nizami Ganjavi. This museum represents the largest and best collection of rich Azerbaijani culture. Collecting, researching and storing scientific and other materials on Azerbaijani literature and culture presents these materials in the exhibition and is the main objective of this museum.

Sculptures of eminent Azerbaijani poets and writers were placed on the facade of the museum by this order: Muhammad Fuzuli, Molla Panah Vagif, Mirza Fatali Akhundov, Khurshidbanu Natavan, Jalil Mammadguluzadeh and Jafar Jabbarli. There are 120.000 exhibits in the museum’s rich collection.

In the picture above you can see what the Heydar Aliyev Foundation looks like. This institution is a charitable foundation headed by First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyev. The foundation is named in honor of the former leader of Azerbaijan – Mr. Heydar Aliyev, who was also the father of the current President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev. The people of Azerbaijan really appreciate and love Mr. Heydar and many establishments in Baku is named after by him. In this post I will show you what the Museum of Modern Art looks like, which also bears his name – Heydar Aliev Centre.

By the time, Baku became a metropolis with sophisticated architecture. Each corner is unique and original, the parks are beautiful (especially Philharmonia Garden which you can see in the photo above) and represent a real little paradise where you can rest your eyes and soul. Surely you may be wondering how Baku “became so green”? Tural told us an interesting legend that Baku has become so green.

Few decades ago, Baku was like a desert, they had oil, but they had no nature at all. The rulers implored their dear guests who plan to visit Azerbaijan to bring seeds of their plants and plant trees instead of expensive gifts and to contribute to the improvement of nature in Baku.

However, it did not help too much either! Then they thought of asking their customers to send a certain amount of soil for each gallon of oil sold, to allow them to create suitable conditions for the land to be able to plant some plants and plant trees. That’s how this “green” story began, and so Baku became a green oasis where you can find pomegranate trees. I have to admit that in Azerbaijan, for the first time in my life, I saw the trees of pomegranate.

After we are done with the city tour, it is time to fulfill my promise and present to you the collection of modern art – the Heydar Aliyev Center. The Heydar Aliiev Center is a 600,000-square-foot construction complex in Baku, Azerbaijan, designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, and she is recognizable for its distinctive architecture, curved style that emerges from sharp angles.

The center is named after Heydar Aliyev, the first secretary of Soviet Azerbaijan from 1969 to 1982, and the president of the Azerbaijan Republic from October 1993 to October 2003.

As a great piece of post-modern architecture, the shape of the building is an eternal cycle of life, which connects the past with the present. The building has a conference room, galleries, museums and more and the basic idea is to unite people of different backgrounds in the place of common ideas. The building won the prestigious London Museum of Design Award in 2014.

In this rich art treasure house you can always find masterpieces of contemporary art. In addition to modern art, one part of the center is dedicated to Mr. Heydar Aliyev, a man who was the father of democracy in Azerbaijan and the president for life of the Republic of Azerbaijan until his death in 2003. A museum dedicated to his life and work depicts the political development of Azerbaijan until modern times and when his son Mr. Ilham Aliyev became the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Also, you can learn some new and interesting information about Azerbaijan, see what the Scriptures and the Koran looked like, as well as some of their traditional musical instruments. This museum is unusual and has an interesting doll exhibition. The dolls are made to look natural, I also learned that the hair, eyelashes and eyebrows on the dolls are also natural.

Also, I was impressed by the exhibition of dolls depicting society in Azerbaijan. The museum is suitable for all ages, so I’m sure it will be enjoyed by both young and slightly older visitors. Believe me, fun is guaranteed here!

For the end of today’s post, I decided to show you the Bibi-Heybat Mosque. The Bibi Heybat Mosque (Azeri: Bibiheibət məscidi) is a shrine located six kilometers southwest of Baku, Azerbaijan. Fatima al-Sughra, daughter of Imam al-Kazim, was buried in this mosque.

This place is also called Pir Bibi-Heibat and is referred to by the locals as the Fatima al-Zahra Mosque. The mausoleum was built during the Safavid dynasty, but was destroyed when Stalin conquered the area. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of Azerbaijan, the President of the country ordered that this shrine be restored.

This mausoleum – the mosque hides a very sad love story, but of course it is part of history, there are many legends, but people always believe in the power of love. This mosque was decorated because its original purpose was to be the place where the daughter of the imam would rest in peace, but later it became a mosque.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of our post. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from National Tourism Promotion Bureau of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan Airlines for this incredible adventure and Boulevard Hotel Baku for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this post about Azerbaijan? Have you ever visited Baku? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Azerbaijan before? I would like to share with me your experience! In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Azerbaijan, and I will show you one interesting Lahij village which I visited during my visit. Stay tuned!


If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by National Tourism Promotion Bureau of Azerbaijan and the national airline company Azerbaijan Airlines and Hotel Boulevard Baku. I also thank my friends from Loro Piana, Makia Clothing and Picard Lederwaren for amazing outfits and my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
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Letters from Finland: One interesting day in Rovaniemi

My dear travellers, I think now is just a perfect time to read another letter from Finland. I sincerely hope that you are doing good to and you are on some vacation, whether if you have been able to travel somewhere or relax at home, vacation is a very important thing to people who works, they need to relax! First of all, I would like to thank you for the wonderful comments you sent me for the previous post, as well and the wonderful messages and questions that you send me to the Instagram about Azerbaijan.

Today on the blog we continue our adventure in Finland, but I promise you that within a few days we will officially “start” our adventure in Azerbaijan! In the previous post, you had the opportunity to meet my new furry friends – Huskies with whom I had the opportunity to hang out. If you are interested to remind a little or you have missed a chance to read my previous post from Lapland, please take time and click on this LINK.

Of course before I start today I would like to thank the team from the Rovaniemi Tourist Board – Visit Rovaniemi as well as the national Finnish airline company Finnair on this wonderful trip. This trip was an incredible experience, which I will for sure remember, for a lifetime.

Today I have set myself a special task, which is to prove that Rovaniemi and Lapland are not only the land of Santa Claus and the cute Reindeers, but that there is also something else that this area is known for. Also, some of you have sent me the questions: “Is it worth it to go to Finnish Lapland in the summer time? Is there anything special and interesting to be seen? ” In a way, for us from the Europe, Finland is one cold Northern European country and rather unexplored country, but that does not mean that it is a country where 365 days of snow and that it is only known by Santa Claus. My shortest possible answer to the previous questions would be: “Yes, there is a lot of interesting things to see!”.

To understand what I’m talking about, I think you should read this post till the end. Have you ever wondered how daily life in the Finnish part of Lapland looks like? How to live in the Arctic? What is the Arctic Circle?

To find out something new and by the way maybe to provide answers to all these questions, the first station in Rovaniemi would be the Arktikum – Science Center and Museum.

Arktikum is a science center and museum located in the center of the city and with its modern look, attract views of tourists. This is the perfect first “station” you need to visit because it will help you to get to know Rovaniemi and the Arctic area better.

The first interesting thing you will notice at the entrance to this museum is a beautiful glass dome over the main hall, and if you look better, you will see a finger-shaped dome that “shows” to the North Pole. At the Arktikum Museum, you always have interesting and educational exhibitions that are interactive, so that they have made every effort to enjoy, while discovering some new interesting facts about the Arctic.

The first exhibition which I visited was dedicated to the history of the city of Rovaniemi, as well as the regions themselves. In addition, you have the opportunity to learn about Saami people. Saami are indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic region of the Sapmi, which includes today’s space of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola peninsula in Russia. They are the only remaining autochthonous people of the European Union who lived in Lapland even before the national borders were established and their history was nearly 7,000 years old.

In addition, you can find out a lot of historical facts related to Rovaniemi, such as what happened to the city after the Second World War, as well as the remaining animal and plant species found in this region.

Rovaniemi, like the whole of Lapland, had an interesting history. The city developed until the Second World War when it was literally completely destroyed, and after that the city was completely rebuilt out of the ashes again. Only a few objects have “survived” the attack, and one of them is the building of today’s Korundi, a gallery of modern art. I promise that I will write about this art gallery about this extraordinary treasury of contemporary art.

It is believed that this region was a settlement 7,000 years ago, when the first representatives of the Saami people who came to these area. They developed some basics of the exchange of goods, which were just the roots of some trade systems that we know today.

In my head it goes like this: “Buyer: Hello, can I get these boots for 4 salmons? Seller: It’ ok! (or seller wants to bargain and raise the value of his goods).

This exhibition is really incredible because you have the opportunity to experience the cold Arctic in another way and just to see that life is happening there in a similar way as it was in other parts of Europe and the world.

Of course, in addition to learn more about the progress of society, you also realize that nature is also the most important thing which need to think about and take care. This region has an extremely rich herbs world and Arctic animal breeds.

I personally saw one beautiful owl and some other animals in just one day, but that does not mean you will not meet a wolf or a polar squirrel. Who knows, everything is possible!

I must admit that the Arktikum was one of the most interesting museums that I had the opportunity to visit in my whole blogging career. It’s simply incredible how much a person can learn something new and useful through some interesting exhibitions in the museum.

Lapland is a place where you can find some reindeers and mooses more than people! (of course that is one local joke) I am sure that this land has more than one species of these deers than dogs, and this is a sign that nature is in the strong connection with the people in Lapland.

After the story of the history of this city, as well as of the entire Arctic region, you continue your journey to the second part of the Arktikum museum, where there is an exhibition that explains some of the natural phenomena.

In this part of the world, there are known natural phenomena that occur in various seasons. For example, in the winter, polar light appears. Today, this is just a beautiful colours on the pictures on Instagram, but in some past times people were afraid of this incredible phenomenon.

There are more legends, but one of the most interesting is the myth of Polar Fox. “When the winter comes, the fox can’t be calm, she jumps through the sky, and with the tip of her tail, she forms certain parts, and thus, those unreal rays of green color appear in the sky. It was not a good sign, ghosts are not happy! ”

The natural phenomenon I must admit most of all is the phenomenon known as “Midnight Sun” that occur in the summer months from the beginning of June to the middle of July, and during that period the Sun does not go down at all.

Imagine seeing the sun at midnight or at 1 o’clock in the morning… Oh yes, there is no sleeping at all! I think that this part of the world is ideal for us bloggers, because we can work literally 24 hours a day, just to take photos of our outfits and finally little Marko can finish all the work on time! 😀

In addition to these famous phenomena, you can find out more about the effect of “Greenhouse Effect” and the problem of the melting of ice on the poles. These are extremely huge problems and we have to treat them all as humanity if we want to survive.

Nature helps us, we can help her and continue the normal flow, and we all live in harmony with nature. So we need a little bit of happiness, why should we ruin it all?

Well, after we have a little thought about our current state as humanity and if we have awakened the consciousness, I think that it requires a cultural upbringing. If you remember, I mentioned to you that Rovaniemi during the Second World War had literally been destroyed and that a couple of buildings had survived the attack.

One of these buildings is today’s building, which is home of the Korundi Modern Art Gallery. Korundi is a real treasury, where you can find exclusively some master-pieces of modern art.

A few years ago, Rovaniemi city administration has decided to help young artists and encourage their work. For some time they thought how to help develop creativity and keep young hopes and Korundi opened its doors to all young artists.

As an ordinary observer, who really does not understand the true value of these works, I enjoyed conversation with my guide, who was trying hard to explain their way of working.

New art workshops were opened, young artists opened their art schools, and I had the opportunity to see how a young artist taught some seniors how to develop their talent for painting, completely free!

I thought that artist can not live normally, but it seems that it’s just about how much consciousness is developed about the need for art. Maybe I do not know the value of all these artworks, but I realised that I was staying in front, while I was sitting and watching some kind of modern art, I was calm down in some unusual way.

Maybe I do not understand art, but that does not mean that I can not understand how to enjoy their beauty. Still the beauty of the work itself is in the eye of the observer.

My day in Rovaniemi was fulfilled and I did not feel any special tiredness, I think this was a form of educational vacation where I learned a lot of new things that I was interested in, so maybe that’s why I’m excited as I write this post now.

Of course, this blogger must have something to eat, so I received a recommendation from the Rovaniemi Tourism Board to try some local cuisine in Rakas restaurant. My photographer only love this part of our trips when we are going to eat, so the team from the tourist board and the restaurant itself wanted to prove their culinary skills…

My photographer is more of a type of “meat” lover person, but I decided to eat some vegetables this time because this blogger got a little weight up, so there was something wrong with the jeans, so I had to go on the diet.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of our post. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Visit Rovaniemi for this incredible adventure and Arctic Light Hotel for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this post about Lapland? Have you ever visited Rovaniemi? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Finland before? I would like to share with me your experience!

In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Lapland, and I will introduce you with the most beloved man in the world – Santa Claus! I can’t wait to share all those beautiful photos with you. Stay tuned!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Visit Rovaniemi Tourist Board and the main partners of this project Finnair National Finnish airline company and Arctic Light Hotel. I also thank my friends from Arktikum Science Centre and Museum, Korundi Art Gallery, Rakas Restaurant and my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
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Letters from Malta: My Glamorous Escape to Valletta

Hello, my dear travellers, how are you today? Summer has officially come in Serbia and I have not yet managed to put off all the wardrobe yet, I still have clothes for the entire 4 seasons around the house. What’s your situation? I hope you are doing good on these tropical temperatures, but today I will try to refresh you with the waves from Malta.

Last week, I promised you a new letter from Malta and I will dedicate this post to the capital of this paradise island – Valletta. This post was made in cooperation with the National Tourist Organization of the Republic of Malta – Malta Tourism Authority and its partners, without this project just would not be possible. I hope you will enjoy and learn something new. Before I begin to want to give you a little friendly tip: take some refreshment and some snacks, you’ll need it! There is a lot a lot to be said about this city!

Valletta is the main capital of Malta. Located in the southeast part of the island, between the port of Marsamxett in the west and the Great Port in the east, Valletta is the southernmost capital of Europe. The city itself has about 6000 inhabitants, while the surrounding metropolitan area has a population of just over 400,000. Impressive numbers, right?

The city architecture is of baroque character, with elements of neoclassical and modern architecture, although the Second World War left great scars, especially because of the ruined Royal Opera House. The city was officially recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.

The cities fortifications, together with the beauty of Baroque palaces, gardens and churches, have led Europe’s ruling forces to give the city a special nickname “Superbissima” – the Italian word that signifies “The greatest pride.”

During the long and tumultuous history of Malta, it was under various influences. Periods:

  1. Malta under the leadership of the Order of St. John the Baptist: 1566 – 1798
  2. Malta as a colony of France: 1798 – 1800
  3. Protectorate Malta (Part of the Sicilian Kingdom, but under the protection of Great Britain): 1800 – 1813
  4. Malta as the British colony: 1813 – 1964
  5. State of Malta (the predecessor of the modern Republic of Malta): 1964-1974
  6. Republic of Malta since 1974, until today

A MONUMENT SIGNIFY AN INDEPENDENCE, WHEN MALTA IS AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY FROM 1964.

The city was founded by Jean de Vallette, the Grand Master of the Order of St. John, after a successful defense from the Turks in 1565. An interesting fact is that the streets all over the city are designed to channel the flow of pleasant wind from the main port. Valletta is a masterpiece of the baroque architecture of the 16th century. After the great siege, the knights of the Order decided to build the city. If you want to know more about history of this charming city, you can visit this link.

Pope Pius IV sent his best friend and best architect of that time, Francesco Laparelli, who worked with Michelangelo on construction of Church of St. Peter in Rome, in the great wish to build a city that will be a fortress for the defense of Christianity, but also a cultural masterpiece. Lapareli designed the city in just seven days, leaving the completion of his work to architect Girolamo Cesare.

Baroque Cathedral of St. John is a masterpiece of Girol Cesare. It is also a masterpiece by the Calabrian painter and knight Matia Preti, who decorated the interior of the Cathedral. The cathedral is the sanctuary of the knights of St. John. There is also Karavaggio’s masterpiece-the work of Capturing the head of St. John the Baptist. On the floor are mosaics, in fact tombs of knights. The interior of the cathedral is extremely rich, as opposed to a simple façade. Preti designed intricate carved stone walls and side altars with scenes from the life of John the Baptist.

Paintings on the ceiling look like for an average human eye as three-dimensional images, but when you look better, you can see that the artist wisely created the illusion of three-dimensionality with little help from the shadows. It should be noted that the carving was done directly in-place, instead of being self-engraved, and then subsequently attached to the walls as it used to be at that time. The Maltese limestone from which the cathedral was built is especially suitable for such kind of art carvings.

I have to tell you that the whole marble floor is an entire series of tombs, in which are about 400 knights and officers of the Order. There is also a crypt that contains the graves of great masters like Philippe Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, Claude de la Sengle, Jean Parisot de Valette and Alof de Wignacourt.

The famous Caravaggio masterpiece with a display of the splitting of the head of St. John the Baptist is also the most famous work of art in the church. It is considered one of the Caravagio’s masterpieces, the largest canvas ever painted with the only painting signed by the painter. The painting was restored in the late nineties in Florence, this painting is one of the most imposing applications of Chararoscuro style, which is best known with a circle of light that illuminates the scene of the cut of the head of St. John at the request of Salome.

The Cathedral contains nine rich chapels, one dedicated to Our Lady of Philermos and the rest dedicated to the patron saints of each of the Order’s eight langues. The following chapels are located on the south side of the church:

The Chapel of Our Lady of Philermos, also known as the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, originally contained an icon of Our Lady of Philermos, which was in possession of the Order since the Crusades. The icon was taken to Russia by Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch zu Bolheim when the Order was expelled from Malta in 1798, and now it is found in the National Museum of Montenegro.

Cathedral of St. John is located in the center of Valletta, a short walk from the bus station near the City Gate. The main entrance to the cathedral is located on square St. John, but the entrance for the visitors is from the Great Obsidian Square, which is located in the Republic Street near the main court. The cathedral can be visited every working day and on Saturdays, on Sundays and during the holidays is closed.

We are continue our walk tour through this charming town and soon we come across an unusual park. The Upper Barrakka Gardens was once a private garden of Italian knights. From there, there is a fantastic view of the Great Harbor, the largest and deepest natural harbor in the world, three cities – Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua), as well as in numerous bays and the town of Kalkara.

At the top of the first finger of the bay is Kalkara and the fortress Rikasoli. There was recorded a movie called “Troy”. Next is Vittoriosa. At its top is the Fortress of St. Angelo, the jewel of the Maltese military legacy. On the next finger, Senglea and the Fortress of St. Michael. And between them is the Cospicua. These three cities represent the cradle of Maltese history. In them was the first home of knights when they arrived in Malta.

Below the Upper Gardens of Barrakka is the military cabinet Laskaris. There are tunnels from the 17th century, which during the Second World War were rebuilt into a complex of military rooms. From there, allies planned a deployment to Sicily under the name “Husky”. From the garden you can see the Lower Barrakka Gardens, where is the monument to Alexander Bell, the first British governor in Malta. There is Fort Saint Elmo, nowadays a famous military museum, where faith, one of the three gladiator planes, as well as the baptism of St. George, give Malta for the courage in the Second World War.

In the park there are several monuments dedicated to many prominent figures, including Gerald Strickland, Thomas Maitland and Winston Churchill. In the garden there is a replica of the statue of Les Gavroches (Street Boys) of the Maltese sculptor Antonio Sciortin. The original is in the National Museum of Fine Arts.

The gardens are connected with the lower Valeta valley, where the Lower Gardens of Barrakka and the nearby Lascaris Wharf are located to the Barak lifts. The first elevator on the construction site was built in 1905, but was closed in 1973 and dismantled in 1983. The new elevator was officially opened on December 15, 2012.

What else can I say about this incredible city? Valletta has been declared the European Capital of Culture for 2018. This year was marked by a manifestation called Erba ‘Piazzas (Four Squares), with manifestations that were focused on events in the 4 main squares in the city – Triton Square, St. Gorge, Square St. John and Castille Square.

Valletta is a lovely and irresistible town that will remain for a long time in your heart. You will experience an adventure that you will not forget, and I am sure you will always have enough reasons to return to Valletta and continue your adventure. I am sure that I will return to this city again, there is still a lot things to see, but I have tried to present you my first impression about Valletta.

There is an interesting event – International Festival – Days of Baroque in Valeta is held every year in January. Jazz music in Malta was presented in the Valetta area by Allied sailors during both World War II. The first Maltese Jazz Festival was also held here. My reason for visiting Malta this year was the Malta Fashion Week, which is held every year in May/June. A fashion event that gathers some of the most famous names of the European fashion scene each year.

This year, it was the famous Spanish fashion designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, who this year, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of her first fashion show, opened her Foundation and showed her new Autumn-Winter 2019/20 collection at Malta Fashion Week.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Malta Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and for their huge efforts to make my stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this post about Valletta? Have you ever visited this lovely city? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Malta before? I would like to share with me your experience!

In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Malta, you will find out more about this island and I will show you my first fashion outfit post which I did in Valletta! It is one simple outfit with the great summer vibe, one of my outfits which I wore for the Malta Fashion Week. I can’t wait to share all those beautiful photos with you.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,

Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Malta Tourism Authority. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
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Letters from Malta: Mdina, Silence speaks more than Words…

Dear my travellers, welcome back to my blog! How are you today? I have to admit that this weather is too hard for me, the headache do not allow me to work properly. I am sure, this is because of this change of weather, but what to do, everything I know is that: “Show must go on!”. Today I will keep my promise and I will dedicate today’s post to an unusual town in Malta that delighted me with its architecture. Now, I will officially say – Welcome to Mdina!

This post is also the second post from a special series of posts from Malta in collaboration with the National Tourism Board of Malta. Without their unselfish help, this project wouldn’t be possible. I would like to thank the whole team, the wonderful guides that managed to introduce Malta in a completely different way. This was a wonderful experience, which I will remember for a long time.

Mdina is a fortified town in the northern part of Malta, which served as the capital city on the island from the Ancient Age to the Middle Ages. The city is still surrounded within the walls and in this lovely city lives a little less than 300 inhabitants, but with the neighboring city of Rabat, which was otherwise named after the Arabic word for the suburbs. According to the latest population census, these two cities together have slightly more than 10,000 inhabitants.

It is considered that Mdina has been formed in the 8th century BC (before Christ), and the original name of this city was “Maleth”. The city was founded by the ancient Phoenicians, and later the Romans renamed it to Melita. The ancient city – Melite, was larger than today’s Mdina and was reduced to the present size during the Byzantine or Arab occupation of Malta.

After, the city received its present name, originating from the Arabic word “medina”. The city remained the capital of Malta for almost the entire Middle Ages, until the arrival of the Order of St. John in 1530, when Birgu became the administrative center of the island. Mdina experienced a period of great fall – the dark ages of Mdina, but in the 18th century Mdina managed to regain it’s glory.

Mdina still remained the center of the Maltese nobility and religious institutions till today. The city has never managed to regain its former glory which Mdina had until 1530, which has also led to the nickname “The Silent City” by the inhabitants  and tourists. Mdina is on the “UNESCO World Heritage List”, and is currently one of the main tourist attractions in Malta.

According to law regulations, it is forbidden to use any type of transport vehicles that law does not apply to property owners, and this may be one of the reasons why this unusual small town in Malta got the nickname “Silent City”. I know you always love to find some interesting historical facts so I tried to find out as much as possible about Mdina this time.

Certain historical writings prove that the plateau on which the Mina was built has been inhabited since the prehistory period, and until the Bronze Age it was a “natural shelter” for its position and natural conditions. The Phoenicians colonized Malta in the 8th century before the new era. After the ancient Phoenicians, the Roman Empire took over Malta in 218 year BC and the city was named Melita. At the time of the reign of the Roman Empire, the city was about three times larger than today’s Mdina, including the area of today’s city of Rabat.

Today there are very few remains of Melite, a city from the period of the reign of the great Roman Empire. The most important are the ruins of Domvs Romana, where several well-preserved mosaics, sculptures and other remains were discovered. The remains that are considered to be the foundations of the Temple of Apollo, the remains of the city walls and many more are excavated.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, an additional fortification was built in the city, reducing it to the present size. This was done to make the city core easier to defend, and this phenomenon of “downsizing” of cities was common throughout the Mediterranean in the early Middle Ages. Although people believed that the Arabs built these additional walls, some historians believe that they were built during the Byzantine Empire around the 8th century, when the threat by Arabs increased.

In the year 870, the Byzantine Melite, ruled by Governor Amros, was surrounded by Aghlabid headed by Halaf al-Hadim. He was killed in the battles, and Sawada Ibn Muhammad was sent from Sicily to continue the siege after his death. The real duration of the siege is unknown, but it probably lasted for several weeks or a few months. After Melite fell down from the occupiers, the inhabitants were massacred, the city destroyed, the churches looted. Marble from the church in Melite was used to build a castle in the city of Sousse (Tunisia).

When the Order of Saint John took over Malta in 1530, the nobles handed over the keys of the city to Grand Master Philippe Villiers de L’Isle-Adam, but the members of the Order were placed in Birgu and Mdina lost the status of main capital city. During the 1540s, the walls began to be upgraded, and in 1551 the city successfully sustained the Ottomans attack.

During the Great Siege of Malta in 1565, Mdina was the base of the cavalry of the Order, which was successfully examined by Ottoman conquerors. The Ottomans attempted to carry out the siege of Mdina in September in order to stay there during winter time, but they gave up their plans when members of the Order of St. John attacked the cannons, claiming them to believe that they possessed heavy weapons. After the siege, Maltese military engineer Girolamo Cassar created a plan by which the size of the Mdine would be reduced by half and converted to the fortress, but this was never carried out due to protests by city nobles.

In June 1798, Mdina was occupied by the French forces without much resistance during the French occupation in Malta. The French garrison remained in the city, but on 2nd of September that year a large Maltese Rebellion broke out. The next day, rebels entered the city through the harbor and massacred a garrison of 65 people.

These events marked the beginning of a two-year uprising and a blockade, and the Maltese people formed the National Assembly. The rebels were successful, and in 1800, the French surrendered and Malta became a British protectorate. There is also an interesting fact that between 1883 and 1931, Mdina was connected with Valletta, it was a special railroad and during that period regular railway traffic was established.

Today Mdina is one of the main tourist attractions of Malta, which yearly hosts about a million tourists. You can see that the city has an interesting mixture of the Norman and Baroque architecture, including several palaces, most of which are in private possession. In the period from 2008 to 2016, a great restoration of the city walls was carried out.

As I wrote in the previous post: “Mdina is on the list of the most expensive cities in Europe at the price of a square of real estate, so if you want to have the “smallest palace” in this city you must be ready to pay at least 5 million euros, while for the magnificent palaces you have to pay more than 50 million euros. I promise you in the next post I will dedicate to this unusual town where you will be able to enjoy the architecture of this most expensive “village” in the world.” If you didn’t have time to read my previous post about this incredible island, take your time now and enjoy! I hope you will like it – link.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Malta Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and for their huge efforts to make my stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this post about Mdina? Have you ever visited this lovely city? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Malta before? I would like to share with me your experience!

In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Malta, you will find out more about this island and capital city Valletta! I can’t wait to share all those beautiful photos with you.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,

Mr.M

Main Square city of Rabat in Malta

This post was sponsored by Malta Tourism Authority. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
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Letters from Malta: The Mediterranean Love at First Sight…

My dear travellers, how are you today? Finally, these sun rays today proved that for us in Serbia finally begins June and summer is officially ON. I honestly do not remember when was the bad weather condition of the previous years, but this year is obviously full of surprises.

It’s still strange to me, and I can not get used to these changes in time, so I’m sorry that my adventure in Malta did not last for at least few more days… Okay, maybe this new series of posts from Malta will help me just to remember how nice it was there. I’m writing to you today my first post about Malta. This series of posts about Malta will be a little longer because there will be a little more travel posts, and of course, as you have been used to, and special fashion posts where I will tell you about my adventures. So let’s start!

The Republic of Malta is a small, but densely populated island country made up of an archipelago in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea in the south of Europe. Malta, otherwise geophysically, forms part of North Africa, but this country is geopolitically located in southern Europe. It has an important geographical position on an important road to the central part of Sicily and Italy as well. Malta is a Mediterranean pearl located somewhere between Europe and Africa.

The climate is Mediterranean with extremely mild winters, which is one of the main benefits for a pleasant holiday for most of the year. The culture of Malta is a blend of many cultures that have been in contact with the island for centuries, which makes my trip an interesting adventure.

This spring I received a kind invitation from the National Tourism Organization of the Republic of Malta to come to Malta and visit their biggest fashion event – Malta Fashion Week. Since I have been planning to come to Malta for a long time because I heard it was a land of knights and lost dreams, I thought this was an ideal opportunity to explore Malta and finally to check out all those legends about knights.

At the end of May this year, little Marko and his photographer headed to this Mediterranean paradise. I have to admit after the cold of Russia, Malta was the perfect next fashion station for Mr.M, but this adventure is a little bit warmer, because of the Mediterranean climate which I really love.

In collaboration with the Tourist Organization of Malta, I visited the capital of Malta – Valletta, Sliema, Birgu, Mdina, Marsaxlokk and, of course, the sister’s island of Malta – Gozo. This incredible adventure lasted for 6 days and I think that for 7 to 10 days it is quite enough to explore this island without any rush.

According to the plan and program, the first stop was: Sliema. The city is located on the northern coast of the island and is not to far from the capital city, about ten kilometers away. Otherwise, Sliema is known as a major residential and commercial area and a centre for shopping, bars, dining, and café life. There is the largest shopping mall and retail complex – The Point Shopping Center. Since I was able to visit a couple of stores, I can tell you that as far as prices are concerned, almost as much as in other parts of Europe, such as Italy and France. It was time to find my car and to go to my next destination – Birgu.

P.S. For all lovers of Zara, the prices of products of this famous street style brand are the lowest in Greece and Malta, so now you will know where you can buy some of the fashion pieces of your favorite brand. I believe that some of you will say after this: “Thank you Marko!”, I will only say, “No worries!”.

Birgu or Vittoriosa is one of the official 11 cities in Malta. Have you heard the famous legend of the “Three Cities” in Malta? The three cities represent a collective description of the three fortified cities of Vittoriosa, Senglea and Cospicua in Malta. The oldest of these cities is Birgu, which exists since the Middle Ages. The other two cities, Senglea and Cospicua, were founded by the Knights of St. John in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Birgu is a very old locality with its origins reaching back to medieval times. Prior to the establishment of Vallettaas capital and main city of Malta, military powers that wanted to rule the Maltese islands would need to obtain control of Birgu due to its significant position in the Grand Harbour. In fact, it served as the base of the Order of Saint John and de facto capital city of Malta from 1530 to 1571.

When the Order of Saint John first settled in Malta in 1530, all of their administrative divisions were based in Birgu, so the Church of Saint Lawrence was used as the Order’s first conventual church in Malta. It served this purpose for 41 years from 1530 to 1571 until the Knights were transferred to the new capital city Valletta. The foundation stone of the present church was laid in May 1681 by Bishop Molina, it was completed in 1696. The church was inaugurated by Bishop Davide Cocco Palmieri on the feast of St Lawrence, August 10, 1697.

In January, 1941 the church was bombed. Both the sacristy and the chapter hall were destroyed. They were both re-built in 1949. In March of the same year the chapel of the blessed Sacrament was destroyed and in April, 1942 the dome of the church was destroyed. The chapel was re-built in 1951 and the dome was re-built in 1952.

The architecture of this church is incredible and I must be honest that I did not expect something like this in Malta. After this visit to this lovely island country, the picture of Malta in my head is totally different. Of course, due to the legend of the “Table of Knights” and the Knight orders of Malta I imagined completely different. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to visit this country.

Birgu is still rich “in heart” just because of beautiful facades, whose architecture shows historical heritage, despite the damage that it suffered during the bombing during World War II. His other name Vittoriosa was awarded as a result of its winning position in the Great Siege of 1565.

After this wonderful walk around the streets of Birgu, my photographer and I were headed to another important city in Malta – Mdina.

Mdina is a fortified city in the northern part of the island, which served as the island’s capital from antiquity to the medieval period. The city is still confined within its walls, and has a population of just under 300, but it is contiguous with the town of Rabat, which takes its name from the Arabic word for suburb, and has a population of over 10,000 people.

Its mixture of medieval and baroque architecture, the fortifications walls and its position make it one of the most beautiful cities on the Malta.

Today, Mdina is one of Malta’s major tourist attractions, hosting about a million tourists a year. There are no cars (other than a limited number of residents, emergency vehicles, wedding cars and horses) are allowed in Mdina, partly why it has earned the nickname “the Silent City”. The city displays an unusual mix of Norman and Baroque architecture, including several palaces, most of which serve as private homes.

Mdina is on the list of the most expensive cities in Europe at the price of a square of real estate, so if you want to have the “smallest palace” in this city you must be ready to pay at least 5 million euros, while for the magnificent palaces you have to pay more than 50 million euros. I promise you in the next post I will dedicate to this unusual town where you will be able to enjoy the architecture of this most expensive “village” in the world.

Bye, bye my dear Mdina, for now see you again next week! Now I just want to warn you to prepare on time for the most colourful village on the Malta. Welcome to Marsaxlokk! Marsaxlokk is a small, traditional fishing village in the southeastern part of the island. It has a harbor and tourist attraction famous for its incredible landscapes, fishing and history. In March 2014, the village had around 4,000 inhabitants. The village is also known for the famous Marsaxlokk market, which is mainly a large fish market, which is held almost every Sunday along the whole coast.

This colourful and lovely village is still inhabited and known since antiquity. Marsaxlokk had an important role even with the ancient Phoenicians and Cartagines making business with local harbour, and also has the remains of the harbour from the Roman era. It is known for its traditional and colorful ships “Luzzus”. The village is also popular among locals and tourists for walking around the coast and the harbor, restaurants, as well as because of its large areas which are reserved for swimming.

The Blue Grotto represents a number of sea caverns on the south east coast of Malta, a short distance off the fishermen’s harbour of Wied iz-Zurrieq. The location of the caves, combined with the rays of sunlight, lead to the seawater mirroring and showing numerous shades of blue on the cave walls and ceilings. Several caverns also mirror the brilliant colours of the underwater flora and fauna, whilst other caverns show a deep dark shade of blue.

Underwater, different colors of red, green, orange and yellow give an impressive and most beautiful photo to its visitors. The Blue Grotto is a popular destination for tourists with boat trips visiting the caves running almost all days of the year, depends on weather condition. Scuba diving and snorkeling on the coastline walls, together with rock climbing, are the most popular activities practiced in this area.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Malta Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and for their huge efforts to make my stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this post about Malta? Have you ever visited this island? Did you enjoy in the story of the interesting Mediterranean pearl of Europe? I would like to share with me your opinion!

In a couple of days we will continue our adventure in Malta, you will find out more about this island and amazing city Mdina! I can’t wait to share all those beautiful photos with you.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,

Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Malta Tourism Authority. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses…
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Moscow: Russia’s Marvellous Capital of Fashion and Love…

Good morning, my dear traveling fashionistas, how are you today? Today I will share with you my last story from Russia, a country that is very close to my heart. In previous posts, I wrote to you about the reasons why I am emotionally attached to Moscow and the reason for my visit to this amazing city… Before I start today, I would like to thank Red Wings airline company and the hotel chain Marriott for collaboration, without their help, this adventure it wouldn’t be possible. I hope we will work again in the future!

Moscow, which is home to more than 20 million people with its beauty and elegance, attracts thousands and thousands of new passengers every day and of course returnees who are always happy to visit again this lovely city when they have time.

Moscow is one of those “eternal” classic cities in which nothing changes, but is jealously kept so that it is always authentic and traditional, always consistent with itself and its citizens. Usually people say that the Russians are extremely reserved people and that they are not very keen to help tourists, but the truth is totally different.

For example my photographer and I decided to visit the periphery for the purchase of some gifts, imagine when we were driving over 20 metro stations and still used and the bus people around us were eager to help us and to chit chat. The younger generations wanted to answer my questions about the stations where we should get off, if by chance they do not know the right information they will ask some unknown person next to them. On the other hand, the elderly generation of people had a little more free time, so they even entered into a more detailed conversation, and they were glad when they heard that I was from Serbia.

Many of them had some association with Serbia; some of their first neighbors are from Serbia, some of them were even in Serbia, but even though we are significantly smaller than Russia, they heard about us and do not have any prejudice about our country, it is maybe because we may a bit and similar nations.

During this trip I had the opportunity to see in live the class differences that you can notice in public, in which the middle class almost extinct, so other people from the working class who are looking for the small coins for a metro ticket in front of the machine for the metro ticket just looking for the 2 or 3 missing Russian Rubles to buy a ticket for the ride and people who do not know what will with the money and they’re buying diamonds and other expensive luxury premium items.

So I decided to use one sunny morning in Moscow before all my duties which I had to do and to make some nice photos of this outfit. In the background you can see the beautiful building and also one of the oldest hotels which I mentioned to you in the previous post – Hotel National. There I made those beautiful photos with a mirror for which I got a lot of questions last few days.

I would like to answer some of the questions that you have sent to me, it is not possible first to take the photo with a mirror because it is located in one of the hotel rooms. You can visit the hotel, there is a beautiful Cafe, you do not have to be a guest of the hotel, you can just enjoy the beauty of the interior of this historic place and drink coffee and enjoy some cake, or just visit, everyone is welcome to see and enjoy in the beauty of this hotel.

I think that the picture above is legendary, you are sure to wonder why? I’m just going to say this is one of the few photos where you can see my whole figure and even my shadow. Excuse me on my hairstyle “A La Nest”, I did not manage to fix my hair during this photoshoot, it was little windy! ?

The St.Basil’s Cathedral will forever remain in my memory as a memorial of a two-year-old little Marko who believed that it was an ice cream factory. It was probably the last hope of a mother who was convinced that such a little lie would calm her child at least a few minutes so that a woman would rest a little her mind. Sometimes it’s very hard to be a parent! 😀

My dear ones once again we have come to the end of our travel adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of the post, I would like to thank my friends from Red Wings for this incredible adventure and the friendly staff from Marriott chain hotels: St.Regis Nikolskaya and Hotel National that made our stay pleasant and we felt like we were at home.

How do you like this post about Moscow? Have you ever visited Russia? Did you have chance to enjoy in the magic of the Russian culture and maybe to buy some interesting Matryoshka doll? I would like to share with me your experience!

OUTFIT

Shearling leather coat: Burberry

Trousers: Loro Piana

Backpack: Louis Vuitton

Sneakers: Loro Piana

In a couple of days we will continue our adventure across Europe, you will find out more about the Principality of Monaco and the cities I had the opportunity to visit on the French Riviera! I can’t wait to share all those beautiful landscapes with you.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,

Mr.M

P.S. If you want to remind a little or you have not been able to read any of the previous stories about Moscow on my blog, you can do it now. I hope you like it! Links:

  1. Postcard from Russia: From Moscow with Love
  2. It was one Fashionable Week in Moscow
  3. Hotel National Moscow: Revealing the Secrets in room 101

This post was sponsored by Red Wings  Russian Airline company and St. Regis Nikolskaya and Hotel National who is the member of the Marriott chain of hotels. I also thank my friends from Burberry and Loro Piana on amazing outfits and Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the camera Alpha 7r Mark II.

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