Posts tagged luxury travel

Letters from Jordan: Petra, the Ancient City of Secrets…

My dear travellers and lovers of unique journeys, I hope you are doing great and ready to continue our Jordanian adventure! Today we continue our adventure and together we visit one of the most mysterious ancient cities in the world that still keeps its secrets in stone – Petra.

If by any chance you didn’t get to read the first travelogue from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or you want to remember some details from magical Amman and Jerash, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following link.

Today I will share with you my impressions of ancient Petra and I would like to thank the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan for the invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs better.

Petra, originally known to its inhabitants as Raqmu, is located near the mountains of Jabal Al-Madbah, in a basin surrounded by mountains that form the eastern part of the Arabah Valley that stretches from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Scientists have come to some knowledge that the area around today’s Petra has been inhabited since 7000 BC, and the Nabateans may have settled in what would become the capital of their kingdom as early as the 4th century BC. Archaeological work has revealed only evidence of the presence of the Nabateans dating back to the second century BC, when Petra became their capital.

Who were the Nabateans? The Nabateans were nomadic Arabs who contributed to the development of Peter through their investments. The convenient geographical location and proximity to the incense trade routes allowed Petra to become a major regional trade center.

The trading business provided the Nabataeans with an extraordinary income and Petra became the center of their wealth. The Nabateans were accustomed to living in barren deserts, unlike their enemies, and were able to repel attacks by taking advantage of the area’s mountainous terrain. They were especially skilled in rainwater harvesting, agriculture and stone-cutting. Petra saw its heyday in the 1st century AD, when its famous Al-Khazneh building – believed to be the mausoleum of the Nabataean king Areta IV – was built, a time when the population of Petra reached an incredible 20,000 inhabitants for that time.

Although the Nabatean Kingdom became a state under the administration of the Roman Empire in the first century BC, it did not lose its independence until 106 AD. Petra fell into the hands of the Romans, who annexed Nabatea and renamed it Arabia Petraea. The importance of Petra declined as sea trade routes appeared, and after an earthquake in 363 it destroyed many buildings. In the Byzantine era, several Christian churches were built, but the city continued to decline, and by the early Islamic era it was abandoned, but a small number of nomads were present. Petra was forgotten and unknown to the public until it was rediscovered by Johann Ludwig Burkhard in 1812.

To approach the Petra city, one must pass through a 1.2 kilometer long gorge called the Siq, which leads directly to Khazneh. Known for its stone-carved architecture and plumbing system, Petra is also called the “City of Roses” because of the color of the stone from which the entire city is carved. UNESCO described this world heritage in 1985 as “one of the most precious cultural assets of human cultural heritage”. At the beginning of the 21st century, more precisely in 2007, Al-Khazneh was declared one of the new 7 wonders of the world. Petra is a symbol of Jordan, as well as the most visited tourist attraction of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Statistics maintained by the Ministry of Tourism show that the number of tourists who visited Petra peaked in 2019, when there were over a million tourists. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the number of tourists dropped, but again in 2021, Petra had almost 300,000 visitors, which is an impressive figure if we consider the problems in tourism caused by the pandemic itself.

As you walk to Petra, stop by the souvenir shop where you will have the opportunity to learn more about Petra from the locals and get to know the history and culture of this ancient city. Souvenirs are very interesting, so take a few minutes of your time when visiting Petra and experience this city in a completely different way. There is only one souvenir shop, so you are sure to find this interesting place!

One of the interesting things Petra is known for is its Hellenistic architecture. The facades of the tombs at Petra show this type of architecture and also provide information on the different types of cultures with which the Nabataeans traded. Most of them contain information about the type of burials in niches carved into the stone.

Perhaps the most significant resemblance to the Hellenistic style comes with its treasury, which is 24 meters wide and 37 meters high and recalls the architecture of Alexandria. The facade of the Treasury has a broken pediment with a central tholos inside, and two obelisks appear to be forming in the rock at the top. Near the bottom of the Treasury are the twin Greek gods Castor and Pollux, who protect travelers on their journeys. Near the top of the Treasury, symbols of two victories can be seen in the form of a female figure on a tholos. This female figure is believed to be Isis-Tyche, Isis being an Egyptian goddess and Tyche the Greek goddess of fortune.

Al-Khazneh means “Treasury” in Arabic, the name derives from the legend of an ornamental stone urn high up on the second level, which is in reality solid sandstone.

There are several legends associated with the Treasury, but one legend says that an Egyptian pharaoh and part of his army escaped the closing of the Red Sea, magically created Al-Khazneh as a safe place for their treasury, and continued their search for Moses. This led to the name Khazneh el-Far’oun, “Treasury of the Pharaoh”.

Swiss researcher Johann Ludwig Burkhardt wrote about another local legend that “ancient pharaonic treasures” were hidden in the urn. The urn shows significant bullet damage, which the Jordanian government attributes to the Bedouins who believed in the legend.

Al-Khazneh was originally built as a mausoleum and crypt in the early 1st century AD during the reign of Areta IV Philopatris. Many of the building’s architectural details have eroded over the two thousand years since it was carved and sculpted from the cliff. The sculptures are believed to be of various mythological figures associated with the afterlife. At the top are the figures of four eagles that would take away souls. The figures on the upper level are dancing Amazons with double axes. The entrance is surrounded by statues of the twins Castor and Pollux who lived partly on Olympus and partly in the underworld.

Another excellent example of Hellenistic architecture presented in Petra is the monastery, which is the largest monument of Petra and another building carved into the rocks of Petra. The monastery shows more Nabataean touches while at the same time incorporating elements of Greek architecture. Its only source of light is the entrance, which is 8 meters high. Outside the monastery is a large area, which was specially leveled for religious purposes. Earlier, in the Byzantine period, this was a place for Christian worship, but now it is a holy place for pilgrims.

At the end of a narrow gorge, the Siq, is the most complex ruin of Petra, popularly known as Al-Khazneh (“the treasury”), carved into the sandstone cliff. Although it remains in a remarkably well-preserved state, the face of the structure is pockmarked with hundreds of bullet holes made by local Bedouin tribes who hoped to dislodge the riches rumored to have once been hidden within. Not far from the Treasury, at the foot of the mountain called En-Nair, is a huge theatre, placed so that the greatest number of tombs can be seen. At the point where the valley opens into the plain, the site of the city is revealed with striking effect.

During construction, the theater was cut into the hillside and into several tombs. The rectangular gaps in the seats are still visible. It is surrounded on almost three sides by pink mountain walls, divided into groups by deep cracks and covered with mounds cut into the rock in the form of towers. It is believed that the theater can host around 8,500 people. Performances that the audience could attend here were poetry and drama readings. Gladiator fights were also held here and are thought to have attracted the largest crowds, although no gladiator was able to gain momentum or fame due to the high death rate that came with it. The theater was one of many buildings in Petra that suffered significant damage in the Galilee earthquake of 363 AD.

The Petra swimming pool and garden complex is a series of buildings in the city center. It was originally said to be a market area, but detailed excavations at the site have allowed scientists to come to the conclusion that it was actually a complex Nabatean garden, which included a large pool, an island pavilion and a complex hydraulic system.

In front of the Petra pool and garden complex is a colonnaded street, which is among the few artifacts of Petra that are constructed rather than natural. This street once held a semicircular nymphaeum, now in ruins due to flash floods, and once held a single Petra tree. This was meant to be a symbol of the peaceful atmosphere that the Nabateans were able to build in Petra. When the Romans took control of the city, the colonnaded street was narrowed to make a side walk.

Petra is a place at the crossroads of natural and cultural heritage that forms a unique cultural landscape. Since the rediscovery of Petra by Johann Ludwig Burkhard aka Sheikh Ibrahim in 1812, the cultural heritage has attracted a large number of interested people who share an interest in the ancient history and culture of the Nabataeans, such as travelers, pilgrims, painters and scientists.

However, it was not until the end of the 19th century that archaeological researchers systematically approached the ruins. Since then, regular archaeological excavations and research into the Nabatean culture are part of today’s UNESCO world cultural heritage. Through excavations in the Archaeological Park of Petra, an increasing number of Nabataean cultural heritage is exposed to environmental impact. The large number of discoveries and the exposure of structures require numerous conservation measures respecting the interrelationship between the natural landscape and the cultural heritage, as this connection in particular is a central challenge at the UNECSO World Heritage Site.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of this second special travelogue about the ancient city of Petra, which would not have been possible without the help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Jordanian culture and traditions. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about an ancient Petra? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Petra,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Fratelli Rossetti: Italian Elegance in the Kingdom of Time…

My dear fashionistas and travellers, welcome to the first special fashion story I prepared for you during my magical adventure in Jordan. Fashion stories will not follow the topics of the travelogue, so there will be, as always, separate topics where I will try to show you the beauty of Jordan through some other “fashion side”.

In today’s fashion story we will enjoy the beauty of sunset in Wadi Rum together with our new Italian friend Fratelli Rossetti. Before starting today’s post, I would like to thank the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the culture and customs of Jordan better.

The topic of today’s fashion story will be a well-known Italian footwear brand that I’m sure is recognizable to everyone because of its comfortable shoes that are made of the highest quality materials. Fratelli Rossetti footwear is fantastic for the reason that this brand makes classic shoes that are elegant and simply iconic, shoes for all times!

What is the story of this brand? In the middle of the 20th century, more precisely in 1945, Mr. Renzo Rossetti started his story from scratch, where he worked alone to cut leather for several types of sports shoes. His shoes were sold at the famous Brigatti store in Milan, one of the few remaining stores of its kind in the city. After a few years, Fratelli Rossetti saw success, but, wanting to develop further, they transferred the brands and equipment for this special production to Atala Sport in Padua.

So they decided to start their story again from the beginning and decided to switch to the production of classic shoes. Those were the years between 1952 and 1957, which witnessed the orientation and acquisition of new skills in the creation of women’s ballet flats and elegant, simple men’s footwear characterized by extremely flexible and high-quality workmanship. All this led to the creation of a small collection of men’s shoes with contours that differed from the various styles sold at the time. Renzo Rossetti consequently engaged in work that demonstrated his aesthetic sense and artistic perfectionism.

The story of the Fratelli Rossetti company is an inspiring story of a successful Italian family business that opened its doors in 1953. This is not just an ordinary business story, but a family story: the founder, Renzo Rossetti, and his wife, Lisetta, were dedicated to their work all their lives.

The company Fratelli Rossetti is currently run by the second generation of the Rossetti family, the brothers Diego, Dario and Luca, who, due to their different roles and by developing their own different skills, have successfully brought their company to its 60th anniversary, always in search of quality and united by their passion with strict respect for tradition.

Diego joined the family business in 1978, dealing with the commercial aspects, especially the development of export markets and the expansion of the single brand retail network in Italy and abroad. Under his leadership, the Fratelli Rossetti company was the first Italian fashion brand to open a boutique on Madison Avenue in New York. Today he is the president of the company. In addition to a successful business career, Mr. Diego is intensely interested in photography and devotes a lot of time and attention to charitable activities.

Dario began working in the styling department in 1981, a natural progression from his art education and college courses in shoemaking. An art lover who collects antiques and a passionate collector of vintage cars, he enjoys visiting exhibitions and unusual markets, always looking for inspiration for new creations to enrich the new Fratelli Rossetti collections.

In the 1990s, even before graduating from Bocconi University in Milan, Luca was already involved in the management side of the business, constantly striving to make significant improvements to the company’s processes. Today, in the capacity of general director, he is particularly involved in marketing and collection development. He believes in constant training and innovation, necessary for the fashion sector if it wants to create new trends. Luca is a person who has a great love for travel and is also an avid marathoner: he travels around the world to participate in international marathons.

Diego, Dario and Luca are the new generation leading the Fratelli Rossetti company today, true to tradition but also embracing the new, inevitable changes that keep Fratelli Rossetti at the top of the fashion industry.

Fratelli Rossetti has a long tradition of “big little innovations”. In this company, tradition and quality have always gone hand in hand with insatiable curiosity and commitment to innovation. From the introduction of tassels and the invention of shoes designed to be worn without socks, to stylistic innovations and the launch of the “masculine” style, to the application of colors in unique chromatic shades. It was Renzo Rossetti who emphasized the importance of embracing new materials, styles and shapes: back in the 60s, he was already experimenting with different color combinations on leather. Today, the company continues its research and development activities thanks to the knowledge of its craftsmen and the creative spirit of the styling department.

Fratelli Rossetti in its collections for men has timeless classic iconic models that you can find all year in their offer, some of the models are: Brera, Brera Sport, Hobo Sport, Yacht and La Giusta.

In today’s post I present you one of the Brera models. How did this model get its name? Brera is the “art district” of Milan, where in the 60s sculptors, painters and writers tried to leave their mark, with new languages ​​and new forms. Its liberal and open atmosphere inspired the creation of the “Brera”, the fringed moccasin, a style revolution just beginning to rediscover its love of life. Like an artistic composition, Brera combines different materials and colors. This special mix of materials and shapes makes the moccasin one of the most successful chapters in Fratelli Rossetti’s history.

This model of the Brera moccasin you can see on me in today’s post is made of soft, finely finished open weave leather with evenly spaced holes on the upper. Special high-quality workmanship. These shoes have a leather sole.

If you want to stay updated and find out which models of shoes and accessories the Fratelli Rossetti brand has in its offer, visit their official online store and follow them on social networks Facebook and Instagram.

This unusual adventure and unforgettable experience with the sunset in the magical Wadi Rum was completed by my friends from the Loro Piana brand who made this experience in Jordan more beautiful for me with their products.

You have seen the Loro Piana brand on the Mr.M blog so far, and I think there are no more words left to describe the quality and beauty of the creations of this famous fashion house that is part of the LVMH group.

The shirt is made of silk and baby cashmere, while the trousers are made entirely of the finest linen, which is the best friend you can have when the temperatures are high! For the end, I left a beautiful Loro Piana leather belt that went perfectly with the loafers and that fact made me happy because it’s usually harder to combine leather colors, when it comes to different brands.

OUTFIT

Polo T-Shirt: Loro Piana

Trousers: Loro Piana

Belt: Loro Piana

Watch: Armand Nicolet

Loafers: Fratelli Rossetti

Armand Nicolet is one of the few independent watch brands that is still active in the territory of Bern and in Tramelan itself, known for its traditional watchmaking. The company has adopted the latest methods of work, while respecting the oldest watchmaking tradition. The entire process of creating and manufacturing Armand Nicolet watches takes place within the company from creative vision, design and production process to quality control. This independent method of production provides an unrivaled guarantee of quality. The company guarantees a perfect product, a watch that every satisfied customer will proudly wear on their wrist.

In today’s post, I present you a watch from the M02 collection with a mechanically automatic mechanism with chronographic and date functions. Model A844AAA-AG-M9742 has caliber AN500 (based on VAL 7750 or SW-500 modified according to Armand Nicolet brand specifications). The case is made of the highest quality stainless steel. Guilloché decorated dial 42 mm diameter with applied indexes and Arabic numerals.

if you want to know more details about this unusual brand of watches, read one of my previous fashion stories on the blog by clicking on this link.

Techical Information

  • Case Size: 42mm without crown
  • Case Thickness15mm
  • Movement: Mechanical, automatic with a power reserve of 46 hours
  • Calibre: AN500
  • Dial: Guilloché decorated dial with applied Arabic figures and indexes
  • Case Material: Stainless steel 316L
  • Glasses: Sapphire crystal with antiglare treatment and sapphire crystal on see-through screwed back
  • Bracelet: Stainless steel 316L bracelet
  • Water Resistance: 10 ATM / 100 Meters

If you want to be updated and find out which models Armand Nicolet has to offer, visit their Official Online Store and follow them on the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

My dear fashionistas, we have come to the end of this first special fashion story from Jordan where we discovered together the beauty and splendor of true Italian elegance with the famous luxury brands Loro Piana and Fratelli Rossetti, the Swiss watch brand Armand Nicolet, partners with whom fashion stories are a real adventure. I sincerely hope you got some inspiration for your ideal summer outfit! See you soon and continue our fashion adventures on the Mr.M blog! How did you like my outfit today?

I really tried my best to prepare today’s post with lots of love and I hope you like it!

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 channels, which you can find on the CONTACT page. See you soon, stay tuned!

Best,
Mr.M

This post is sponsored by Loro PianaFratelli Rossetti and Armand Nicolet brands and represents my personal and honest review of their products.

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Letters from Jordan: Amman and Jerash, Jewels of the Middle East you will love!

My dear travellers and lovers of unique trips, welcome to another new adventure on the Mr.M blog. Today we officially start a new series of travelogues about an exotic oriental country that is not known much about and therefore represents an unexplored gem of Western Asia – Jordan.

In today’s post, we will enjoy the beauty of two cities together: Amman, the capital of Jordan, and Jerash, an ancient city. Before starting today’s post, I would like to thank the National Tourism Board of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan – Visit Jordan for the warm invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the Jordanian culture and customs.

The view from my hotel room

As you are used to, I will first introduce you to some basic information about the country we are visiting. Jordan, the official name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a country in Western Asia. It is located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe in the Levant region, on the east bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and east, Iraq to the northeast, Syria to the north and the Palestinian West Bank, Israel and the Dead Sea to the west. It has a coastline of less than 30 kilometers on the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea in the southwest. The Gulf of Aqaba separates Jordan from Egypt. Amman is the capital and largest city of Jordan, as well as its economic, political and cultural center.

Today’s Jordan has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic era. Three stable kingdoms appeared there at the end of the Bronze Age: Ammon, Moab and Edom. The later empires that arose were: the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Nabatean Kingdom, the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Rashidun, Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates and the Ottoman Empire.

After the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in 1916 during World War I, the Ottoman Empire was divided by Britain and France. The Emirate of Transjordan was founded in 1921 by Hashemite, then Emir Abdullah I, and the Emirate became a British protectorate. In the mid-20th century, Jordan became an independent state officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, but was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1949. Jordan is one of the founders of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The sovereign state is a constitutional monarchy, but the king has broad executive and legislative powers.

Jordan is a semi-arid country, covering an area of 89,342 km2, with a population of 10 million, making it the eleventh most populous Arab country. The dominant majority, or about 95% of the country’s population, are Sunni Muslims, with a predominantly Arab Christian minority. Jordan has been repeatedly referred to as an “oasis of stability” in the turbulent Middle East region. The country remained largely unscathed by the violence that gripped the region after the 2010 Arab Spring. Interesting information that Jordan has accepted refugees from several neighboring countries in conflict since the middle of the 20th century. An estimated 2.1 million Palestinian and 1.4 million Syrian refugees are present in Jordan. The kingdom is also a haven for thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution by the Islamic State.

The graffiti you can see on the left represents the equality of men and women, this is considered a modern piece of Street Art.

Jordan has a high human development index, ranking 102nd, and is considered an upper-middle-income economy. Jordan’s economy, one of the smallest in the region, is attractive to foreign investors based on its skilled workforce. The country is a major tourist destination, which also attracts medical tourism due to its well-developed health sector.

Amman is the capital and at the same time the largest economic, political and cultural city of Jordan with slightly more than 4 million inhabitants. , Amman is the largest city in the Levant region, the fifth largest city in the Arab world and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the Middle East.

Some of the first official evidence of settlement in the area of present-day Amman dates back to the 8th millennium BC, at the Neolithic site known as Ain Ghazal, where the world’s oldest human-shaped statues were discovered. During the Iron Age, the city was known as Rabath Ammon and served as the capital of the Ammon Kingdom. In the 3rd century BC, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, rebuilt the city and renamed it “Philadelphia”, making it a regional center of Hellenistic culture. Under Roman rule, Philadelphia was one of the ten Greco-Roman cities of the Decapolis before being ruled directly as part of the province of Arabia Petraea.

The Rashidun Caliphate conquered the city from the Byzantines in the 7th century AD, restored its ancient Semitic name and called it Amman. During the Middle Ages, the city alternated between periods of destruction and abandonment and periods of relative prosperity as the center of the Balka region. Amman was largely abandoned from the 15th century until the end of the 19th century, when the Ottoman authorities began to settle the Circassians.

The first municipal council of Amman was established at the beginning of the 20th century. Amman witnessed rapid growth after being declared the capital of Transjordan in 1921, receiving migrants from various Jordanian and Levantine cities, and after several successive waves of refugees: Palestinians in 1948 and 1967; Iraqis in 1990 and 2003 and Syrians in 2011. It was originally built on seven hills, but now extends over 19 hills combining 22 areas, administered by the Greater Amman Municipality. The areas of Amman are named after the hills (Jabal) or the valleys (Wadi) they occupy, such as Jabal Lwaybde and Wadi Abdun. Eastern Amman is predominantly filled with historical sites that often host cultural activities, while western Amman is more modern and serves as the economic center of the city.

Over a million tourists visited Amman in 2018, officially making it the 89th most visited city in the world and the 12th most visited Arab city. Amman has a relatively fast growing economy and is ranked as a Beta-Global City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Moreover, it has been declared one of the best cities in the Middle East and North Africa according to economic, labor, environmental and socio-cultural factors. The city is among the most popular locations in the Arab world for multinational corporations to open their regional offices, alongside Doha and Dubai.

Roman Forum and Theater

Amman is considered one of the most liberal cities in the Arab world. The city has become one of the most popular destinations for expats and students who want to live, study or work in the Middle East or the Arab world in general. The city’s culinary scene has changed from shawarma and falafel stands to include many popular international restaurants and fast food joints such as Asian restaurants, French bistros and Italian trattorias. The city has become famous for its fine dining scene among Western expats and tourists from the Persian Gulf.

The famous market located very close to the center of Amman

Souk Jara is one of the most famous outdoor markets managed by the Jabal Amman Residents Association (JARA). Large shopping malls were built during the 2000s in Amman, including Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, City Mall, Al-Baraka Mall, Taj Mall, Zara Mall, Avenue Mall and Abdali Mall in Al Abdali. Wakalat Street is the first pedestrian zone in Amman and famous fashion brands can be found here. The Sweifieh area is considered the main shopping district of Amman.

Nightclubs, music bars and shisha lounges are present all over Amman, changing the old image of the city as the conservative capital of the kingdom. This burgeoning new nightlife scene has been shaped by Jordan’s younger generations. In addition to a wide range of places to party, drink and dance in the company of the city’s rich entertainment, Amman hosts numerous cultural entertainment events, including the annual Amman Summer Festival. Souk Yara is Jordan’s weekly flea market event that takes place every Friday during the summer.

Local cuisine is considered a fusion of several cuisines in the region. It is known as the food of the Levant – an ancient word for the area bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Peninsula. But the food here is not just the sum of its calories. However, the real street food scene in the city makes Amman cuisine recognizable in the world.

Central streets of Amman

Many events take place in Amman, including events sponsored by Red Bull Soundclash and the Soapbox Race, the second part of the Jerash Festival, the Al-Balad Music Festival, the Amman Marathon, the Made in Jordan Festival, the Amman Book Festival and the New Think Festival. Venues for such cultural events often include the Roman Theater and Odeon Theater in the city center, Ras al Ain Hangar, King Hussein Business Park, Rainbow Theater and Shams Theatre, Royal Film Commission, Shoman Libraries and Darat al Funun, and the Royal Cultural Center in City Sports . In addition to major events and institutional planning, scholars highlight tactical urbanism as a key element of the city’s cultural fabric.

Downtown Amman

What is important to visit in Amman? When you came to the capital of Jordan, I think you should visit the Roman amphitheater that was built in the second century BC. Also, the Roman Theater is located in a place that is still the heart of the old part of Amman. A large part of the theater has been renovated, so many events are held there. In the immediate vicinity on the hill is the Citadel, from which you can enjoy the view of the city and the old part of the city.

Citadel

The Citadel was once the acropolis of the ancient city, of course even today visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the preserved ruins. One of the ruins is the Temple of Hercules, built in honor of Marcus Aurelius. The temple had four Corinthian columns, of which unfortunately only two survive today. Also on the Citadel you will find the remains of a Byzantine church from the 6th century, as well as numerous monuments that marked the beginning of Arab rule.

The Citadel has a long history of occupation by many great civilizations. Evidence of habitation has been found since the Neolithic, and the hill was fortified during the Bronze Age. The hill became the capital of the Kingdom of Amon sometime after 1200 BC. Later it came under the rule of empires such as the Neo-Assyrian Empire (8th century BC), the Neo-Babylonian Empire (6th century BC), the Ptolemies, the Seleucids (3rd century BC), the Romans (1st century BC), Byzantines (3rd century AD) and Umayyads (7th century AD). After the Umayyads, there was a period of decline and for most of the time until 1878, the former city became an abandoned pile of ruins used only sporadically by Bedouins and seasonal farmers. Despite this gap, the Amman Citadel is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world.

Most of the ruins still visible at the site date from the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods. The main remains on the site are the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine church and the Umayyad palace. The Archaeological Museum of Jordan was built on the hill in 1951. Although the fortification walls enclose the heart of the site, the ancient periods of occupation covered large areas.

The historic buildings, tombs, arches, walls and steps have no modern boundaries, and therefore there is significant archaeological potential at this site, as well as in the surrounding lands, as well as throughout Amman. Archaeologists have worked on the site since the 1920s, including Italian, British, French, Spanish and Jordanian projects, but much of the Citadel remains unexcavated.

The Jordan Archaeological Museum is located in the Amman Citadel. It was built in the middle of the 20th century and presents artifacts from archaeological sites in Jordan, dating from prehistoric times to the 15th century. The collections are arranged in chronological order and include objects from everyday life such as flint, glass, metal and pottery, as well as more artistic objects such as jewelry and statues. The museum also contains a collection of coins.

The museum previously housed some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the only copper scroll, which is now on display in the newly established Jordan Museum, along with the Ain Ghazal statues, which are among the oldest statues ever made by human civilization.

Jerash is a city in northern Jordan. The city is the administrative center of Jerash province and has a little more than 50,000 inhabitants. The first evidence of settlement in Jerash is found at the Neolithic site known as Tal Abu Sowan, where rare human remains dating back to 7500 BC have been discovered. Jerash flourished during the Greek and Roman periods until the middle of the eighth century. However, in 1120, Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin, the atabeg of Damascus, ordered a garrison of forty men to build a fort at an unknown site in the ruins of the ancient city, probably the highest point of the city walls in the north-eastern hills. It was captured in 1121 by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, and then completely destroyed. Then the crusaders immediately left Jerash and retreated to Saqib.

Jerash was then abandoned until the Ottomans reappeared until the beginning of Ottoman rule in the early 16th century. However, archaeologists have found some evidence – a small Mamluk hamlet in the northwest quarter that indicates that Jerash was resettled before the Ottoman era. The ancient city was gradually discovered through a series of excavations that began in 1925 and continue to this day.

Today, Jerash is home to one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman cities, earning it the nickname “Pompeii of the East.” Approximately 330,000 visitors The Jerash Festival is held here, one of the leading cultural events in the Middle East that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.

The Jerash archaeological site has two museums where archaeological materials and relevant information about the site and its rich history are displayed. The Jerash Archaeological Museum, which is the older of the two museums, is located on top of a hill known as “Camp Hill” east of Cardo and overlooks the Oval Plaza (circular square). The small museum contains a chronological display of artifacts found in and around Jerash from prehistory to Islamic times.

The museum displays a unique group of small statues of a group identified as Muses of the Olympic Pantheon that were discovered in Jerash in 2016. The statues, which are of Roman date, were found in a fragmentary state and have been partially restored. The museum also contains a well-preserved late 4th to 5th century lead sarcophagus featuring Christian and pagan symbolism. The museum also has numerous sculptures, altars and mosaics on display outside.

The Jerash Visitor Center serves as a recent archaeological museum and presents the site of Jerash in a thematic approach focusing on the evolution and development of the city of Jerash over time, as well as the economy, technology, religion and daily life. The center also displays further sculptures discovered in Jerash in 2016, including restored statues of Zeus and Aphrodite, as well as a marble head thought to represent the Roman empress Julia Domna.

I would like to share with you another interesting fact about this amazing place. The legendary Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed for the first time in Jordan at the Oval Forum, the archaeological site of Jerash. The concert was held on September 18, 2017 organized by Friends of Jordan Festivals.

Mr. Bocelli is an international classical crossover tenor and has attracted many music lovers with the beauty of classical music. His performances were attended by many eminent figures from the world of politics, art and religious leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. This was a magnificent event that the people of Jordan still remember today.

Jerash has developed dramatically with the growing importance of the tourism industry in the city. Jerash is now the second most popular tourist attraction in Jordan, after the ruins of Petra. On the western side of the city, which contained most of the representative buildings, the ruins have been carefully preserved and spared from encroachment, and the modern city stretches east of the river that once divided ancient Jerash in two.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of this first special post about the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Jordanian culture. and traditions. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about the Amman and Jerash? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Amman,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from the Kingdom of Sweden: Nationalmuseum, the greatest Art Treasure in the Heart of Scandinavia!

My dear travellers and lovers of extraordinary trips, I hope you are well and ready for a new adventure on the Mr.M blog. Today’s post will be the last post for the month of July (sorry for the confusion that I made with the previous post) and also the last letter in the series of posts from Sweden.

Before I start today’s post, I would like to remind you of some of the previous posts from the edition of letters from the Kingdom of Sweden, so if you haven’t had time to read the previous stories or maybe you want to remind yourself of some interesting details, spare a few minutes of your time and by clicking on the following links, visit some of the previous travelogues from Sweden:

1) Stockholm: A Modern Green City of Culture on the Water

2) Everything you need to know about the Royal Palace in Stockholm

3) Vasa, The Story of the sunken legendary luxurious warship…

Today I will share with you my impressions of the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and I would like to thank the Visit Stockholm for the invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the culture and customs in the heart of Scandinavia.

The Nationalmuseum (National Museum of Fine Arts) is the central Swedish state museum in Stockholm, and also the largest Swedish art museum. The collections of this extraordinary art treasure house consist of various works of painting, sculpture and art on paper from around the 16th century to the 20th century, as well as arts and crafts and design objects from the 16th century to the present day. The total number of exhibited works reaches an incredible figure of almost 700,000 objects. The National Museum is located on Blasieholmen in Stockholm in a building designed for this purpose by the German architect Friedrich August Stühler. The building was completed in 1866, but the museum’s history is older than that and goes back to June 28, 1792, when the Royal Museum was founded. The National Museum is therefore one of the oldest art museums in Europe.

The collections were moved to Blasieholmen after previously being partially housed in the Royal Museum, which opened in 1794 in the north wing of the Royal Palace in Stockholm. As with several other national art museums, the collections are largely based on generations of royal collectors, which for various reasons passed into state ownership. For example, works that belonged to Gustav Vasa can be seen today in the Nationalmuseum.

The museum’s activities also go outside the box, so you can see certain works outside the building on Blasieholmen. The National Museum also includes a collection of portraits of the Swedish state exhibited in Gripsholm Castle. In addition, objects from the museum’s collections are exhibited in a number of museum institutions throughout Sweden.

This museum has a long history and I will try my best to briefly explain some of the most important historical moments related to this institution. In the early history of the National Museum, as with several other European national galleries, the history of the National Museum is largely synonymous with the development of royal, state and more widely available collections. In Sweden, the foundation for today’s state art collections was laid in the 18th century. Several works included in the collection of the National Museum, for example a part of French paintings from the 18th century were once owned by Queen Louisa Ulrike. By 1777, the queen’s financial situation had become unsustainable, partly as a result of a large and expensive investment in art. The debts were settled by her son, the then Swedish king Gustav III, in exchange for her giving up her collections and Drottningholm Castle.

For today’s Nationalmuseum, it is important that the king did not use his own financial means, but the state’s, which prevented the collections from being dispersed during the succession. It is likely that state funds were also used when Gustav III, after the death of his father Adolf Frederick, acquired several works of art, including Chardin’s Tecnarin. At the same time, the king also made an important acquisition of the collection of drawings by Carl Gustav Tessin that Adolf Fredrik had bought from him in 1755. The collection of drawings was immediately donated to the Royal Library, but was then transferred to the Royal Museum when it opened in 1794.

How did that transformation from a royal art collection to a state museum take place? There are no official records that can explain to us what Gustav III intended with his museum arrangement. It was believed that he was targeting a publicly accessible institution, but recent research has shown that there is no reliable evidence for this. It should be remembered that the significance of making something available to the public was somewhat different then than it is today, which is why it is believed that the royal museum would have become a private matter, accessible to those who could be considered competent. Regardless of Gustav III’s intentions, the Royal Museum was founded on June 28, 1792, just three months after the king’s death.

At that time, they did not have prepared rooms for exhibitions, and the work on the building was not finished after the king’s death. The transfer of the artistic heritage was carried out in December 1792 and was of great importance for the future of the museum. During the work on the registry office, the significance of the financial resources (state or private) used by the king for the acquisition of art collections was highlighted. At that time, there were no firm laws governing what was considered the king’s private property and what was state property.

Through the transfer of inheritance, all the king’s art collections became state property. In this way, the king’s art collections became the property of the people, but only later would they become fully publicly available.

The first decades of the 19th century were an extremely difficult period for the museum. The lack of interest combined with very little resources bordering on non-existent meant that the work was kept alive by the energy of the museum’s dedicated staff. The lack of funds made new acquisitions largely impossible. At the same time, many of the great museum collections in Europe were created at this time thanks to an aggressive acquisition policy, supported by more concerned courts and the bourgeoisie. From 1817 the Royal Museum did receive an annual grant from the State, but this was insufficient for anything more than the maintenance necessary to save the collections from total decay. However, the donations saved the museum because they legitimized the museum as its own authority.

However, rather poor economic conditions made it difficult for the first part of the 19th century to pass completely uneventfully. The most significant thing that happened at that time was the large acquisition of sculptures by Johann Tobias Sergel in 1815. After Sergel’s death, the Royal Museum was able to acquire all the sketches of plaster and terracotta sculptures that were part of his work.

It can be said that the acquisition and installation of Sergel’s sculptures marked a turning point in the exhibition activities of the museum because it represents both classicism and indigenous art. Because, at the same time when the Sergel collection was presented to the public in artistic Sweden, voices were raised who wanted to shift the focus from classicism to domestic and nationally oriented art. In this context, it may be noted that in 1818, King Carl XIV Johan commissioned from Bengt Erland Fogelberg colossal sculptures representing the gods Asa Oden, Thor and Balder. They will later be placed in the Royal Museum.

Later in the 19th century, painting will have a more significant place in museum activities, as can be seen from the documentation on the drastic changes initiated by the museum director. The director took the museum into the 19th century in a completely different way with a new color scheme, associated above all with the Danish and German Biedermeier, and the exhibitions were arranged in a modern way for that time, from the classically oriented Enlightenment principle to the provoking imagination, romantically suggestive exhibition aesthetics.

The 20th century brought certain innovations, so the department of modern art was founded in 1952. The first exhibition was a tour of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in October 1956, when the renovation of the museum was completed, the facility was named “Moderna Muzeet”, which was officially opened on May 9, 1958. Until 1975, the Modern Museum was a subdivision of the National Museum.

Later, the Modern Museum became a unique separate institution, which together with the Nationalmuseum and the East Asian Museum was part of the joint body Statens konstmuseer. When the Modern Museum became an independent institution in 1999, the Statens konstmuseer changed its name to the Nationalmuseum from Valdemarsudde Prins Eugen. At the same time, the East Asian Museum was transferred to the newly formed State Museum of World Culture. A few years ago, in 2017 to be exact, Valdemarsudde became an independent foundation again, and the authority has since been called the Nationalmuseum.

A large number of works in the museum’s collections come from the royal collections of many generations. From the gallery of Gustav Vasa’s paintings that were in Gripsholm Castle, it is possible to identify with certainty several paintings that are now in the National Museum. Gustav Vasa’s collection consisted mainly of works of art by Northern European painters.

Of the works with a past in royal ownership, many were acquired on the background of various personal preferences, but also several examples of objects that came to royal collections in the 17th century as war booty.

A large part of the works that today are considered to form the core of the Nationalmuseum’s collection of paintings before 1800 mainly come from several collections: Karl Gustav Tessin, Queen Lovisa Ulrike, King Adolf Fredrik and Gustav III. However, several of the most important works in the royal collections were acquired through Tessin in various ways.

These collections were dominated by French, Dutch and Gustavian Swedish painting, which greatly influenced the composition of the National Museum’s collection as it looks today. Several of the museum’s Rembrandt works are owned by these people, as well as other important works from 17th-century Holland and some from Flanders from the same period.

One ff these four collectors, Carl Gustaf Tessin undoubtedly had the greatest importance, not least because a large part of the collections of Adolf Fredrik and Lovisa Ulrike ended up there under his care. At the age of nineteen, Tessin went on a grand tour during which he stayed in Paris between 1714 and 1716. He would later return several times, but during this first visit he acquired a large number of master drawings and 23 so-called contre-epreuves by Antoine Vato and met several artists of that time.

Later, Tessin returned to Paris, now in better financial conditions as he was appointed overseer responsible for the building of a castle in Stockholm, succeeded his father and married a wealthy heiress. He now acquired paintings by artists such as Francois Lemoine, Francois Desport, Nicolas Lancrat and Jean-Baptiste Pater.

However, he did not buy anything from Watteau, whom he held in high esteem. The explanation for this can be seen in the fact that the artist has now passed away and that Tessin has concentrated on living artists and that the prices of Watteau’s works have risen. Being in Paris also meant buying art in the name of building a castle. From Paris he traveled to Venice to try to negotiate a contract with Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, but without success.

Later, in 1739 Tessin returned to Paris again, where the art scene behaved differently with the re-established salon from 1737. During this visit, he focused on François Boucher and Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, acquiring among others Boucher’s Triumph of Venus, which was shown at the Salon of 1740. Tessin also made several purchases of Dutch paintings on the Paris market, mostly through the art dealer Edme – François Gersen. Among those works, Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Young Woman in Profile and Constantin Verhout’s Sleeping Student are significant.

Until 2013, when the Nationalmuseum building on Blasieholmen in Stockholm was closed for renovations, several temporary large exhibitions were shown annually. Some examples were Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Design by Sigward Bernadotte, Terribly Beautiful, Deceit the Eye, Pre-Raphaelites, Caspar David Friedrich, Rubens and van Dyck, Concept Design, The Shape of Time, and Slow Art. In the gallery of engravers, smaller exhibitions with works mainly from their own collections are shown.

The museum borrows a large number of works for exhibitions in other museums in Sweden and abroad. In the Nationalmuseum, research is carried out on the basis of its own collections as a starting point, as well as its own publishing activities.

The Nationalmuseum also has a picture archive. The museum is also in charge of the Art Library, which is one of the largest art libraries in the Nordic countries and is a joint library of the Nationalmuseum and the Modern Museum.

The museum has a department for conservation, photography and art management with orientations according to the objects of each collection. The department works on the preservation of objects and cooperates with the Department of Collections and Research on technical research.

The Nationalmuseum manages, in whole or in part, the collections of objects in a large number of visitor destinations throughout the country. These include, for example, Drottningholm Castle, Gripsholm Castle, Ulriksdal Castle, Nines Castle, Lacko Castle, Lovstabruk Castle, Vadstena Castle and the Gustavsberg Porcelain Factory. The Orangery Museum in Ulriksdal Castle and the Museum de Vries in Drottningholmsmalmen preserve the central parts of the museum’s sculpture collection. Since 2018, the National Museum has a branch in Ostersund – the Jamtli National Museum.

Until July 1, 2017, Prins Eugens Valdemarsudde belonged to the competent National Museum with Prins Eugens Valdemarsudde. The authority (now called only the Nationalmuseum) falls under the Department of Culture. The association of friends of the Nationalmusei vanner museum was founded in 1911 by the then Crown Prince Gustaf (VI) Adolf and over the years has made a significant contribution to the museum’s collections.

The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm was closed on February 3, 2013 for renovations. The museum was in need of extensive restoration and renovation, as the building was badly worn from heavy use. Several technical systems in the museum have reached their useful life.

The Nationalmuseum reopened on October 13, 2018, and the opening ceremony was personally performed by King Carl XVI Gustaf in the presence of members of the royal family, Minister of Culture Alice Bach Kunke and thousands of visitors. The museum’s exhibition space has been expanded and can now accommodate twice as many visitors and display almost three times as many works of art. In addition to the technical update, previously blocked windows and skylights have been opened to create more daylight and views towards the city. The noisy restaurant got a better, quieter location and was replaced by an airy and quiet sculpture garden. The museum has restored a color scheme inspired by the original palette.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of the fourth and at the same time last special post from the Letters from the Kingdom of Sweden, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Visit Stockholm in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Swedish culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Sweden.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual city in Scandinavia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm? Have you had the chance to visit the heart of Scandinavia so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Stockholm,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Stockholm, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letter from Türkiye: Alanya, Place where is Fun in the Sun!

My dear travelers, I hope you are well and ready for a new adventure on the Mr.M blog! Today I decided to delight you with a real summer travelogue about Alanya, a Mediterranean Turkish city where it is sunny almost during all four seasons and where the fun never stops! I am sure that this post will refresh you, so that all of us will start this June with only good moments!

How did I get to Alanya? While writing a blog post in May, I decided to take a break, because you know how creative work can sometimes make a person tired. During the break, I always try to check if there are any new messages or emails and I noticed an email from the Alanya Tourism Promotion Foundation – ALTAV. A kind invitation to feel all the beauties and charms of the Mediterranean coastal city in Turkey. Without thinking, I accepted the invitation and already in my mind I was in sunny Alanya!

Today I will share with you my impressions of this unusual city and I would like to thank the Alanya Tourism Promotion Foundation – ALTAV for the invitation and incredible experience to get to know better the culture and customs in this part of Turkey.

People say that red evokes happiness and attracts positive energy, which is why I decided to take my FPM Milano Bank Spinner 53 red cabin suitcase on my Turkish adventure, which brought me luck on my travels this year. Not only is it practical, light, but it is also a photogenic suitcase that many people asked me about at the airport where I bought it. So my little red suitcase and I heroically prepared and embarked on our new adventure together! I will write something more about this brand later, and now let’s start with the story of Alanya!

For the beginning, it would be helpful to tell you a few basic information about Alanya that will surely benefit you! Alanya is a Mediterranean coastal city in Turkey located near Antalya. Scientists have found writings proving that Alanya as a city was first inhabited since the 4th century BC, due to this incredible historical fact, one of the most important things in Alanya – a fortress built as the main witness of history in the heart of the city. , surrounded by walls, built on a peninsula that stretches towards the Mediterranean Sea.

The Alanya we know today developed in the area between the Taurus Mountains and the coast over 100 kilometers long. Yes, you read that right, the length of the coast is over 100 kilometers and that is why the locals and tourists have the opportunity to enjoy the numerous clean and spacious beaches that are natural and decorated according to international standards. Alanya is a city that, in addition to its rich cultural heritage, also has incredible natural charms and beauties.

What is the climate like in Alanya? Alanya has a typical Mediterranean climate to be desired, with refreshing winters as well as warm and dry summers. The average winter temperature is around 15 degrees Celsius, while the summer temperatures are around 30 degrees Celsius, while the average water temperature in winter is around 20 degrees, while in summer it is between 25 and 27 degrees Celsius. If you plan to visit Alanya during the winter, be sure that winter is beautiful in Alanya and that snow is considered a scientific phenomenon.

If you want to enjoy the natural beauty of Alanya, you can visit the plateaus, which have a rich flora and fauna that are ideal for safaris and trekking. It is interesting that there are no industrial zones in Alanya and that is why all economic life depends on tourism and agriculture. If you have ever wondered what Alanya is best at, know that she is known for growing bananas and citrus fruits, which is why Alanya occupies an important place in Turkey.

Alanya is a city with extremely rich cultural and tourist content offer, so I am sure that even the most demanding tourists with refined taste will return with unforgettable impressions and recommend to their friends to spend their vacation in Alanya.

Holiday in Alanya can be relaxing, peaceful for body and soul, but it can also be active with numerous water sports and other kind of activities. In the previous pictures you can see the amazing landscapes from the Cable Car in Alanya which is located within the Alanya Fortress and provides an exit to the part known as Ehmedek. The cable car started operating in 2017 and in a short time it has become an unavoidable local attraction for all tourists who come to see the beauty of Alanya! Passing over the famous Damlataş Cave and Cleopatra Beach, the cable car takes you in a short period of time to the historic fortress of Alanya, a place where there is a spectacular and magnificent view with a special opportunity to see one history.

As I just mentioned, Alanya Fortress is a witness to the long and rich history of Alanya and it proudly occupies a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Also, the Alanya Fortress has been declared a state-protected area of ​​protected cultural property by the Turkish government. This medieval fortress is located on a peninsula about 250 meters above sea level. The interesting thing about this fortress are the layers within the walls that hide many secrets and traces of numerous cultures and customs that have lined up. There are certain historical writings that prove that the fortress of Alanya has been inhabited since the Hellenistic era, where people lived continuously.

Today’s appearance of the fortress can be attributed to the great reconstruction that was carried out during the 13th century by the Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Kejkubat. In addition to the great renovation of the Alanya Fortress, buildings of exceptional importance were built during this period, such as the Red Tower (Kizilkule) and the shipyard (Tersane). The walls that surround the peninsula are about 6 kilometers long, and on the walls there are numerous fortifications, towers, as well as 6 gates and there are two inner fortresses.

ALTAV (Alanya Tourism Promotion Foundation) really tried to get to know Alanya from different angles through this trip, and even today, while the impressions of this city are slowly fading in my head, I can’t describe the uniqueness and beauty of this Mediterranean Turkish city.

The Alanya Tourism Promotion Foundation made an effort to made me feel the cuisine of this area and come back with a few extra pounds, but as people in Alanya like to say: “When you are in Alanya, do not think about kilograms, just enjoy on your vacation, and when you return home, start exercising ”. In collaboration with Mutfak Mirasi Alanya, the ALTAV has organised gastronomy workshop for my colleagues and me.

I have to admit how many countries I have visited and met different world cuisines, Alanya can boast of amazing specialties and the most famous world cuisines. You can start your day in Alanya with a light breakfast with a slice of white cheese, fresh vegetables and whole grain bread, while for lunch you can eat fresh fish just brought by fishermen from the deep waters of the Mediterranean… Dinner can be light with exotic types of “Shish kebabs ” and other traditional dishes of Alanya.

In addition to the opportunity to enjoy the sumptuous dishes of Alanya, ALTAV made an effort to organize for my fellow influencers and me a gastronomy workshop, small cooking school where we had the opportunity to learn to cook some local specialties! Since you all know my great love for Turkish delights, I of course immediately focused on making the famous helva, but according to an old recipe in Alanya, which is significantly different from the classic helva we have the opportunity to see on store shelves.

I have to admit that I enjoyed it and that I had a unique opportunity to learn how to prepare some of the most famous Turkish savory and sweet dishes. I will remember this cooking school, as well as the smiling women who shared with us their precious cooking skills with great patience.

Another activity that was unusual on this trip was a special Jeep Safari experience tour of the Sapadera Canyon with Race Tour Alanya. This charming green paradise of the Mediterranean region, you can complete a visit to Sapadere village, which is located about 40 km from Alanya.

Sapadere is an area where you can see all shades of greenery and is one of the most pristine places with the richest flora and fauna in the region. The area of the Alanya Sapadera Canyon gives great pleasure to the human eye to constantly admire this exceptional green landscape, as well as the Taurus mountain range with snow on the tops that go like steps towards the sky.

Sapadere Canyon is 360 meters long and is located 3 km from the village of Sapadere. Sapadera Canyon was created by erosion of water, ice and wind. Layers of rock have formed for thousands of years. Wooden paths provide easy access to all visitors. Believe me, you will be amazed by the speed of water gushing over a series of rocks, numerous waterfalls, rare plants and different species of animals and birds as you walk through this natural habitat. Clean, fresh air and cascading turquoise water above the rocks are therapeutic and refreshing for the human spirit…

At the end of the trail, 300 meters inside the entrance to the Sapadere canyon, there is a main attraction: an amazing waterfall. This is a popular place for photographing visitors, there is also the possibility of swimming in a natural pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Here, one can really refresh oneself because the water temperature barely reaches 12 degrees Celsius during the hottest summer season.

Sapadere Canyon is a karst canyon located in the village of Sapadere in Alanya County. The length of the canyon that formed Sapadere, after which the village got its name, is 600 m, and its height is 400 m. Chemical wear of limestone blocks was efficient in the formation of this canyon. At the point where the Sapadere emerges from the canyon, the bottom of the canyon is covered by a stream. In order to move inland, a 600 m long wooden bridge with iron bars on the side walls was built.

The waterfall is located at the end of the canyon after crossing the water flowing at the bottom of the canyon. A giant cauldron (natural pool) with very cold water was formed at the place where the waterfall overflowed. During the summer, people can swim in the cold waters of this natural pool.

Until recently, the canyon, which was known only to the locals, began to attract tourists through promotional activities of local governments. At the entrance to the canyon there are places to eat and drink where you can refresh yourself.

During my stay in Alanya, I had the opportunity to stay in one of the best hotels in the city – SunPrime C-lounge Hotel. This modern five-star luxury hotel for adults is housed in a newly built building across the beach from the Mediterranean Sea, just 8 km from Alanya Fortress.

The spacious and modern rooms have a balcony, sofa, Wi-Fi and flat TVs new generation, as well as a minibar and tea/coffee maker, which I had to try. Many rooms have sea views. The deluxe suits have a separate living room.

Within the hotel there are two restaurants (one is self-service) and bars. Other facilities of this hotel include a gym, spa and two swimming pools (one indoor and one outdoor), a hammam, a hot tub and a pool bar. There is a private area on the beach where guests can sunbathe. During your stay you can enjoy live music. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hotel management for their hospitality and dedication during my visit to Alanya.

In today’s post we are meeting up again with my friends from the FPM Milano brand and I present you a backpack from the Bank on the Road collection, as well as Bank Spinner 53 cabin suitcase from the Bank collection, both collections are made entirely in Italy, ideal for business people world and so for those who want to enjoy their vacation and free time to maximum, made to meet every practical, functional or aesthetic need.

The convenient internal pocket allows you to charge your tablet and smartphone anytime, anywhere. Modern, elegant line of backpacks, made of high quality and waterproof nylon with special attention to leather and metal details. The aluminum personalization is reminiscent of the innovative creativity of the FPM Bank collection.

FPM Milano luggage and accessories offers travelers convenience and style, all in one suitcase and backpack. Designed by Marc Sadler, these lightweight, aluminum-reinforced suitcases are inspired by antique suitcases, specifically designed to give you the endurance you need when traveling. The combination of Avante-Garde materials and motifs of Italian design, give these FPM suitcases a robust and safe look.

If you want to be updated and find out which models of suitcases and travel accessories the FPM Milano brand has in its offer, visit their official online store and follow them on the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this special post about the Turkish jewel of the Mediterranean – Alanya, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Alanya Tourism Promotion Foundation – ALTAV in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Turkish culture and traditions. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual experience from Turkey.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this magical Mediterranean region of Turkey in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my experience in Alanya? Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit this part of Turkey before? Share with me your experiences, I would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story!

Warm greetings from Alanya,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the ALTAV, SunPrime C-lounge Hotel and other local partners. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Lithuania: Vilnius, the Pearl of the Baltic you will love!

My dear adventurers and lovers of unusual journeys, I sincerely hope you are well and ready for a new adventure on the Mr.M blog. Today we continue our adventure in the capital of Lithuania – Vilnius and discover some new details and beauties of this charming city.

If by any chance you missed the previous story about Vilnius or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit this link.

Before I start today’s post, I would like to thank the Vilnius Tourism Board for this amazing experience and for having the opportunity to visit the pearl of this unusual Baltic country in northern Europe!

In the previous post, I showed you a part of the Castle Complex in Vilnius and we saw what secrets the Grand Duke’s Palace hides. Today we continue our tour of the city and take you to another part of the complex. The Palace of the Grand Duke and the Cathedral in Vilnius formed a complex of castles and have been located next to each other for centuries, but the interesting thing is that these two buildings have completely different history.

Numerous scientists have found some evidence that in pre-Christian times on the site of today’s city of Vilnius, the pagan god Perkunas was worshiped. Numerous historical writings reveal that the King of Lithuania Mindaugas built the original cathedral in 1251 as the place of his baptism in the Christian rite. After Mindaugas’ death in 1263, the cathedral was restored to its original cult of worshiping pagan gods.

At the end of the 14th century, more precisely in 1387, when Lithuania formally accepted Christianity, another Gothic cathedral with five chapels was built. Unfortunately, in 1419, that cathedral was completely destroyed in a fire. In its place, Vytautas The Great built a larger Gothic cathedral. A century later, the cathedral was renovated, and written sources mention the bell tower for the first time. It is believed that the bell tower was built on the site of the defensive tower of the Lower Castle at the beginning of the 15th century. After the great fire in 1530, the cathedral was rebuilt, and from 1534 to 1557 more chapels and crypts were added.

During this period, the cathedral acquired architectural features associated with the Renaissance. After the fire of 1610, it was rebuilt and two front towers were added. It has been renovated and decorated several more times.

The Cathedral of Vilnius is a shorter formal name, while the original name of this sacral building is the Cathedral of St. Stanislaus and Ladislaus of Vilnius. This is also the main Roman Catholic cathedral in Lithuania. It is located in the Old Town of Vilnius, not far from the Cathedral Square. Dedicated to Saints Stanislaus and Ladislaus, this church is the heart of Catholic spiritual life in Lithuania.

The coronations of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania took place in this sacral building. Many famous people from Lithuanian and Polish history are buried in the crypts and catacombs, including Vytautas the Great, his wife Anna, his brother Sigismund, his cousin Švitrigaila, St. Casimir, Alexander Jagiellon and two wives of Sigismund II Augustus: Elizabeth of Habsburg and Barbara Radziwill. The buried heart of the Polish king and Grand Duke of Lithuania Wladislaw IV Vasa rests here, although the rest of his body is buried in the Wawel Cathedral in Krakow.

The interior of the cathedral is adorned with more than forty works of art dating from the 16th to 19th centuries, including frescoes and paintings of various sizes. During the restoration of the cathedral, the altars of the presumed pagan temple and the original floor, set during the reign of King Mindaugas, were discovered. In addition, there were the remains of the cathedral built in 1387. A fresco from the end of the 14th century, the oldest known fresco in Lithuania, was found on the wall of one of the underground chapels of the cathedral.

During the Soviet regime, the cathedral was initially turned into a warehouse. Masses have been celebrated again since 1988, although the cathedral at that time was still officially called the “The Gallery of Images”. In 1989, it was restored to the status of a sacred religious building.

Vilnius Cathedral – entrance to the Chapel of St. Casimir

A historical event that marked history is the coronation of the young heir to the throne and future king of Poland, Sigismund II Augustus, who was crowned Grand Duke of Lithuania in the cathedral in 1529. After another fire in 1610, the cathedral was rebuilt, and two front towers were added. The cathedral was damaged again in 1655, when Vilnius fell into the hands of Russian troops in the Russo-Polish war between 1654 and 1667. years. The cathedral has been renovated and redecorated several times.

Chapel of St. Casimir

Between 1623 and 1636, on the initiative of Sigismund III Vasa, and later completed by his son Wladislaw IV Vasa, a baroque chapel of St. Casimir was built from Swedish sandstone, the royal architect Konstantin Tenkal was in charge of its construction. Its interior was reconstructed in 1691–1692 and decorated with frescoes by Michelangelo Palonius, an altar and stucco by Pietro Perti. This chapel contains sculpted statutes of the kings of Jagiellonia and an epitaph with the heart of Wladislaw IV Vasa. More than anything else in the Cathedral, this chapel symbolizes the glory of the Polish-Lithuanian Union and common history.

Between 1786 and 1792, three sculptures of Kazimierz Jelski were placed on the roof of the Cathedral in Vilnius – Saint Casimir on the south side, Saint Stanislaus on the north and Saint Helena in the center. These sculptures were removed in 1950, and restored and returned in 1997. It is assumed that the sculpture of St. Casimir originally symbolized Lithuania, the sculpture of St. Stanislaus Poland, and the sculpture of St. Helena holding a 9 m cross represents the true cross of faith. Later, in 2002, work officially began on the renovation of the Palace of the Grand Duke, which is located behind the cathedral itself. The newly erected palace building significantly changed the appearance of the cathedral.

The Cathedral and Bell Tower were thoroughly renovated in the period from 2006 to 2008. The facades are covered with fresh multicolored paint, which greatly improved the appearance of this sacral building. It was the first renovation since Lithuania’s independence in 1990.

I did not miss the opportunity, regardless of the weather conditions, to capture the moment when I visited such an important building as the Vilnius Cathedral. Now we will see a little what the streets of the capital of Lithuania look like and what you can visit from the museum, if the road leads you to unusual Vilnius!

Pilies Street (literally “Castle Street”) is one of the main streets in the Old Town of Vilnius. It is a rather short street, which stretches from the Cathedral Square to the Town Hall Square. Of the several locations across Vilnius used by market vendors to sell goods by local artists, Pilies Street is the most popular.

It has a natural advantage over the Town Hall Square because the street is very busy and it is less likely to be disturbed by political or cultural events that are usually held in the Town Hall.

Pilies Street

A large number of tourists and locals visit this street to buy gifts for the holidays, such as Christmas or to visit friends before going abroad. The market is also popular among souvenir hunters. Souvenir shops offer amber dishes and jewelry, as well as unique clothes. The street is also known for the “Kaziukas” fair, when folk artists from all four parts of Lithuania gather to exhibit and sell their best products.

Vilnius City Hall

As the capital, Vilnius has been the art center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for centuries and has attracted artists from all over Europe. The oldest works of art that remain from the early Gothic period (14th century) are paintings dedicated to churches and liturgy (eg frescoes in the crypts of the cathedral in Vilnius, decorated books of hymns).

Wall paintings from the 16th century were also discovered in Vilnius (for example, painting the vaults of the Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard or in the Church of St. Nicholas). Gothic wooden, mostly polychrome sculptures were used to decorate the altars of churches in Vilnius. Some Gothic seals from 14-15. centuries have remained to this day (Kestutis, Vytautas the Great, Sigismund II Augustus).

The period of Baroque flourishing that began at the end of the 16th century was exceptional for Vilnius because wall painting flourished in the city. Most palaces and churches were decorated with frescoes that were characterized by bright colors, sophisticated corners and dramatic style. During this period, secular painting also spread – representative, imaginative, epitaph portraits, battle scenes, politically important events.

This type of painting is characterized by a detailed realistic style. Sacral architecture is dominated by sculptures of this period (tombstones with sculptural portraits, exterior and interior decorative sculptures), made of wood, marble and stucco.

The gate of the Basilian monastery where the poet Adam Mickiewicz was imprisoned for fighting against the Russian government

Italian sculptors were extremely important in the development of sculptures of the Grand Duchy in the 17th century and were invited there by the Lithuanian nobility. Their works are characterized by the features of mature baroque: expressiveness of form, sensuality, atectonic composition (eg sculptural decoration of the church of St. Peter and Paul). Domestic Lithuanian sculptors emphasized the decorative features of the Baroque, and the expressiveness and emotionality of the Baroque was less characteristic in their works.

There are many prominent art galleries in Vilnius. The largest art collection in Lithuania is housed in the Lithuanian Art Museum. In one of its branches, the Vilnius Gallery of Paintings in the Old Town of Vilnius, there is a collection of Lithuanian art from the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century. On the other side of Neris, the National Art Gallery has a permanent exhibition on 20th century Lithuanian art, as well as numerous exhibitions on modern art. The Center for Contemporary Art is the largest place for contemporary art in the Baltic States, with an exhibition space of 2400 square meters.

The Center is a non-collectible institution dedicated to developing a wide range of international and Lithuanian exhibition projects, as well as presenting a wide range of public programs including lectures, seminars, performances, film and video screenings and new live music events.

Užupis Republic near the Old Town, once one of the most neglected districts of Vilnius during the Soviet era, is home to a movement of bohemian artists, who run numerous art galleries and workshops. Užupis declared itself an independent republic on April 1, 1997. In the main square, a statue of an angel blowing a trumpet stands as a symbol of artistic freedom.

Užupis Republic is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Užupis means “behind the river” or “other side of the river” in Lithuanian and refers to the river Vilnia, the name Vilnius is derived from the name of the river Vilnia. The district has been popular with artists for some time and many cities compare it to Montmartre in Paris and Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen, precisely because of its bohemian and laissez-faire atmosphere. On April 1, 1997, this district declared itself an independent republic (Republic of Užupis), with its own constitution.

The most interesting thing is that in 2015, a project was realized – Vilnius Talking Statues. Eighteen statues across Vilnius communicate with visitors in multiple languages via a phone call to new smartphones.

If you want to learn something new about the incredible capital of Lithuania, the best address to start your journey is the Vilnius Museum. This is a new space for locals and tourists to learn more about the capital of this unusual Baltic country. Opening its doors for the first time in the spring of 2021, the Museum presents unique, and unknown, but still current, views of the city and the stories it tells.

This museum is dynamic in itself, with constantly changing exhibitions, like Vilnius itself, the Museum plans to set up two or three exhibitions each year, based on original studies of urban life. This museum is dedicated exclusively to Vilnius and invites visitors to take a closer look at the city and discover something unexpected in its premises.

Another museum you can visit is the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights. This museum includes the former office of the Deputy Chief of the KGB Internal Prison on the first floor of the museum includes an exhibition of documents, photographs, maps and other objects depicting the Sovietization of the region in 1940-1941. years, as well as prison cells.

Exhibition dedicated to the guerrilla war of 1944-1953. years where you can get to know the territorial structure and military organization of guerrilla units, the aspirations of freedom fighters, their daily activities and daily life. The fight of the NKVD-NKGB against the armed resistance was revealed at the exhibition Unfair Fights.

On the second floor of the museum, there is an exhibition dedicated to the imprisonment of Lithuanians in gulags from 1944 to 1956, deportations from 1944 to 1953 and KGB activities from 1954 to 1991.

My dear travelers and adventurers, we have come to the end of this special second post about Vilnius, today you saw the most famous symbol of Lithuania and Vilnius – Vilnius Cathedral, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Vilnius Tourism Board in cooperation with local partners. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual experience from Lithuania.

If you are planning a visit to the capital of Lithuania, try to get a Vilnius Pass, with which you can explore this magical city for less money. Even if you decide to visit Vilnius for only a day, two or three days, Vilnius Pass will help you make the most of your trip.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Baltic country in North Europe in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my experience in Vilnius? Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit Lithuania before? Share with me your experiences, I would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story!

Warm greetings from Lithuania,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Vilnius Tourism Board. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Lithuania: Vilnius, a City of Rich History and Fairy-tale Architecture…

My dear travelers, welcome to the new adventure on the Mr.M blog. Today we start a series of new posts about the largest Baltic state in northern Europe – the Republic of Lithuania. I must admit that I felt great pleasure and happiness when I published the first Instagram story from the airport when I asked you to guess where I was going with one small hint that I would complete my adventure in that region with this trip.

Many of you have listed Latvia and Estonia with the assumption that I went to Lithuania this time. I am glad to have such a wonderful community that has been building an online travel diary with me, such as Mr.M.

Before I start with a travelogue about the capital of Lithuania, I would like to introduce you to an interesting brand of luggage and travel accessories with which you will feel the comfort and beauty of travel! I believe that you remember this navy backpack from one of the previous fashion stories and I believe that the FPM Milano brand is not unknown to you, but let’s remind ourselves of some details for people who did not manage to read my one of my previous fashion stories.

This exclusive Italian brand of leather goods and luggage was founded in 1946. This brand is an artistic expression of the best Italian talent and aesthetics, as well as excellent expertise. Traditional handmade with the use of top materials, today is combined with innovations of avant-garde metals and modern design.

FPM Milano luggage and accessories offers travelers convenience and style, all in one suitcase and backpack. Designed by Marc Sadler, these lightweight, aluminum-reinforced suitcases are inspired by antique suitcases, specifically designed to give you the endurance you need when traveling. The combination of Avante-Garde materials and motifs of Italian design, give these FPM suitcases a robust and safe look.

In today’s post I present you a backpack from the Bank on the Road collection, as well as Bank Spinner 53 cabin suitcase from the Bank collection, both collections are made entirely in Italy, ideal for people from the business world and for those who want to enjoy maximum in their leisure and leisure time, designed to satisfy every practical, functional or aesthetic need. The convenient internal pocket allows you to charge your tablet and smartphone anytime, anywhere. Modern, elegant line of ranches, made of high quality and waterproof nylon with special attention to leather and metal details. The aluminum personalization is reminiscent of the innovative creativity of the FPM Bank collection.

If you want to be updated and find out which models of suitcases and travel accessories the FPM Milano brand has in its offer, visit their official online store and follow them on the social networks Facebook and Instagram.

It is time to start this first travelogue about the capital of Lithuania, so let’s see what is hidden in the heart of this unusual northern European country. Lithuania is a country in the Baltic region of Europe, which consists of 3 countries: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. This country lies on the east coast of the Baltic Sea, geographically Lithuania borders Latvia in the north, Belarus in the east and south, Poland in the south and the Kaliningrad region of Russia in the southwest.

Also, this country has a maritime border with Sweden in the west on the Baltic Sea. Lithuania covers an area of about 65,000 km2, with a current population of almost 3 million. The main and largest city is Vilnius, while the other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipeda. Lithuanians belong to the Baltic ethno-linguistic group and speak Lithuanian, one of only a few living Baltic languages.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Vilnius Tourism Board for the wonderful welcome, as well as the content program that helped me get to know this exceptional city in a completely different way.

How will “Letters from Lithuania” be organized? Due to a better understanding of Lithuanian culture and history, I decided to dedicate the first post to the first part of the Castle Complex in Vilnius – the Palace of the Grand Duke. This complex is extremely important for the history of this largest Baltic state, which was created with a rich history, and that is why I thought it best to introduce you to the Palace of the Grand Duke first.

The castle complex in Vilnius is a group of cultural and historical buildings on the left bank of the Neris River, near its confluence with the Vilnius River. The buildings, which were built and constantly modernized between the 10th and 18th centuries, were one of the main defense structures of Lithuania.

The complex consisted of three castles: Upper, Lower and Crooked Castle. The crooked castle was burned by the Teutonic Knights in 1390 and was never rebuilt. The castles of Vilnius were attacked several times by the Teutonic Order after 1390, but they failed to occupy the entire complex. His complete capture took place for the first time during the Battle of Vilnius in 1655. Soon after, heavily damaged castles lost their significance, and many buildings were abandoned. During the Imperial Annexation, several historic buildings were demolished; many more were damaged during the construction of the fortress in the 19th century.

Today, the remaining Gediminas (Crooked Tower) is the main symbol of the city of Vilnius and the nation itself. Every year, on January 1, the Lithuanian tricolor is raised on Gediminas’ Crooked Tower in memory of Flag Day. The complex is part of the National Museum of Lithuania, one of the largest museums in the country.

The Palace of the Grand Duke in the Lower Castle has evolved over the years and architecturally advanced during the 16th and mid-17th centuries. The palace has been the political, administrative and cultural center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for more than four centuries. In the 13th and 14th centuries, there were stone constructions inside the palace, and a large number of archaeologists believe that there was also a wooden palace. The stone Royal Palace was built in the 15th century, apparently after the great fire of 1419.

The existing stone buildings and defensive structures of the Lower Castle that blocked the construction were demolished. The royal palace was built in the Gothic style. The flag of the Upper Castle, as well as the Royal Palace, was to host the coronation of Vytautas the Great. The Gothic palace had three wings, some archaeological research suggests that it was a two-story building with a basement.

The Grand Duke of Lithuania, Alexander, who later became King of Poland, moved his residence to the Royal Palace, where he met with the ambassadors. He ordered the restoration of the palace. After his marriage to the daughter of Moscow’s Grand Duke Ivan III, the royal couple lived and died in the palace.

Sigismund I the Old, after his ascension to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, conducted his affairs in the Royal Court as well as in the Vilnius Cathedral. During the reign of Sigismund, the palace was significantly expanded in order to meet the new needs of the Grand Duke – another wing was added, as well as the third floor, and new gardens were added. The plan for the reconstruction of the palace was probably made by the Italian architect Bartolomeo Berrecci da Pontassieve, who also designed several other projects in the Kingdom of Poland. In this palace, Sigismund the Old welcomed the envoy of the Holy Roman Empire, who in 1517 introduced Sigismund to his second wife, Bona Sforza.

Sigismund’s son Sigismund II Augustus was crowned Grand Duke of Lithuania at the Royal Court. Augustus continued to develop the palace and lived there with his first wife Elizabeth of Austria, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, who now rests in Vilnius Cathedral. Sigismund II’s second wife, Barbara Radziwill, also lived in the palace. According to modern reports from the Holy See’s envoys, the Royal Court at the time contained more treasures than the Vatican. Sigismund II also compiled one of the largest collections of books in Europe.

The palace was remodeled in the Renaissance style in the 16th century. The plan was prepared by several Italian architects, including Giovanni Cini da Siena, Bernardino de Gianotis Zanobi and others. The palace was visited by Ipolito Aldobrandini, who later became Pope Clement VIII. Another great development took place during the reign of the Vasa family. The royal court was renovated in the early Baroque style during the reign of Sigismund III Vasa. Mateo Castello, Jacopo Tencala and other artists took part in the 17th century renovation.

During the reign of the Vasa family, several important ceremonies were held in the palace, including the wedding of Duke John, who later became King John III of Sweden, as well as the sister of Sigismund Augustus – Catherine. The first opera in Lithuania was set up in the palace in 1634. Marco Sccachi and Virgilio Puciteli were an opera impresario.

After the Russian invasion in 1655, the state began to weaken, which negatively affected the Royal Court. The palace was badly damaged by the war, and its treasure was looted. After the recapture of the city of Vilnius in 1660-1661, the palace was no longer a suitable state residence and was abandoned for almost 150 years.

At the end of the 18th century, after the fall of the Polish-Lithuanian community, several families lived in parts of the ruined palace. Shortly after the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was incorporated into the Russian Empire, tsarist officials ordered the demolition of the remaining parts of the Royal Court. The palace was almost completely demolished at the beginning of the 19th century. The bricks of the former palace were sold in 1799 to a merchant from Kremenchug.

In 2000, the Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) passed a law deciding to renovate the Royal Palace for the Millennium Ceremony since the first mention of the name of the Republic of Lithuania in 2009.

During my visit to the Palace of the Grand Duke, there was a special exhibition that is of great importance for Lithuania – the Children’s Armor of Sigismund Augustus.

The coronation was performed “vivente rege”, during the life of the reigning King Sigismund the Old, with the aim of ensuring a possible unhindered takeover of power, but the young prince did not have to immediately assume all the obligations of governing and governing the country. The ceremonial armor for the 13-year-old, preserved to this day, has been used in tournaments and testifies to the skill of the gunsmiths and proof of how tall Sigismund Augustus was as a teenager.

He met the taste of true power and all the troubles closely connected with it after the death of his father, Sigismund I the Elder, in 1548. Another thing is that a few years before the death of the aged king, most decisions were made by his wife or young Sigismund Augustus, who tried to expand his autonomy, especially in the hereditary Grand Duchy, where he initially sought an agreement with magnate families. He also tried to reform the management of the estates that were in the royal domain of the so-called There, the king married for the second time, and the conflict between affection and duty was, fortunately, Shakespearean, not Harlequin.

The view from the safety tower that is part of the Palace of the Grand Duke is amazing, you just have the opportunity to see Vilnius in the palm of your hand. Unfortunately, during my visit to this city, the weather forecast was not quite favorable, but it did not spoil my overall impression of this charming and unusual city.

The Palace of the Grand Duke as a museum is divided into 3 parts where you can see how the Palace has modernized over time and what it looked like during its golden age. In addition to the amazing furniture, you can also see exceptional examples of royal jewelry and take a peek at a piece of valuables that they owned in these noble families. You are probably wondering how long it takes to visit this museum, I think it takes between 2 to 4 hours, depending on your interests, physical condition and speed, to visit this Palace.

My dear travelers and adventurers, we have come to the end of this special post about the most famous symbol of Lithuania and Vilnius – the Palace of the Grand Duke, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Vilnius Tourism Board in cooperation with local partners. traditions. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual experience from Lithuania.

If you are planning a visit to the capital of Lithuania, try to get a Vilnius Pass, with which you can explore this magical city for less money. Even if you decide to visit Vilnius for only a day, two or three days, Vilnius Pass will help you make the most of your trip.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual Baltic country in North Europe in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my experience in Vilnius? Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit Lithuania before? Share with me your experiences, I would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story!

Warm greetings from Lithuania,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Vilnius Tourism Board. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Sri Lanka: Mirissa and Bentota, Real Diamonds of the Indian Ocean…

Dear my travelers and lovers of unusual journeys, welcome to the new adventure on the Mr.M blog! Thank you for the many letters and messages you have sent me and I must admit that it is a great honor and pleasure that my travelogues from Sri Lanka have fulfilled your time during winter and spring season. I am glad that you enjoyed my exotic adventure together with me and I believe that this year will be exciting for all my readers because I am preparing unusual travelogues from Europe and the world, so we will all truly enjoy it!

To my great regret, we have reached the end of this unusual and exotic adventure, so this letter will be the last in a series of posts related to Sri Lanka, but who knows, maybe I will return to this unusual island and continue our unusual adventure! Before I start today’s post I would like to thank the Sri Lankan Tourism Board for this amazing experience and for having the opportunity to continue my adventure on my favorite dream island!

If by any chance you missed any of my previous posts, take the opportunity to visit some of the previous stories at the following links:

  1. The Story about Colombo (Travelogue): LINK
  2. Unforgettable Fashion Safari in Sri Lanka: LINK
  3. My Safari Experience in Sri Lanka (Travelogue): LINK
  4. Sigiriya: The Magic of the Lost Kingdom (Travelogue): LINK
  5. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Travelogue): LINK
  6. Kandyan Dance, a Unique Example of Sinhalese Culture: LINK

I will start today’s post with one exciting early morning cruise – a whale and dolphin watching expedition. Mirissa is an ideal place for whale and dolphin watching, the season suitable for this type of activity lasts from November to April, the period when this part of Sri Lanka becomes one “big playground” for countless species of whales and dolphins.

Some of the most commonly seen whale species in the area include: Sperm whales, killer whales, Bryde whales, short finned Whales, of course next to them you will be able to see playful flocks of dolphins and striped dolphins having fun around your boat! However, the main type of whale that needs special attention is the Blue Whale – which is considered to be the largest animal in the world! Whale and dolphin watching in the Mirissa is ideal for all true nature lovers as they set sail into the ocean.

I had this unforgettable experience in Mirissa with Certina DS Jubilee.

For all the adventurers who are headed to Mirissa, here is some basic information. Mirissa is a small town on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, located in Matara County, in the Southern Province. It is located approximately 150 kilometers south of Colombo and is located at an altitude of 4 meters above sea level. Beach and nightlife of Mirissa make this coastal city a popular tourist destination in Sri Lanka. This city is also a fishing port and one of the main locations on the island for whale and dolphin watching.

After Mirissa, I headed to Bentota, a coastal town in Sri Lanka, located in Galle County in the Southern Province. Bentota is located on the southern bank of the mouth of the river Bentota, at an altitude of 3 meters above sea level. The name of the city comes from a mythical story which claims that a demon named “Ben” ruled the “tota” – the river bank.

Bentota is a tourist attraction, with a local airport and many hotels of different categories for each budget, from affordable hotels range up to the most luxurious hotel resorts. This is a destination for all water sports fans. Bentota also provides an ancient art of healing called Ayurveda.

Ayurveda is a science that describes all the favorable and unfavorable, including happy and unhappy states of life, together with what is good and bad for life, measures for achieving them as well as life itself. The written texts of this complete system of natural health are about 5,000 years old. For centuries, sages and physicians have discovered this ancient wisdom. Ayurveda is the oldest, most comprehensive health care system in use today.

Bentota is known for the production of Toddy, an alcoholic beverage made from coconut nectar. There is also a turtle hatchery here, located on Induruwa Beach. Bentota is a historical site described in ancient messengers’ songs (Sandeśa-Kāvya). Galapatha Rajamaha Viharaya is one of the five ancient temples in the region.

In the 17th century, the Portuguese built a small fortress at the mouth of the Bentota River (Benata Ganga), which in Sinhala was called Parangi Kotuva, which means fortress of the Portuguese. The river marked the southern end of Portuguese territory in Sri Lanka. The Dutch later allowed the fortress to collapse, turning one of the large buildings inside the fortress into a colonial resting place for Dutch officers traveling between Colombo and Galle.

The British then turned the holiday home into a seaside sanatorium. Sir James Emerson Tennent, the colonial secretary of Ceylon in his book, said the Bentota holiday home, set in a small park, deep in the shade of lofty tamarind trees on the part of the beach where the river meets the sea, is one of the coldest and most pleasant Ceylon. The British introduced railways in the early 19th century, mainly to transport coconut products from the deep south to the capital, building a permanent bridge – Bentota Palam to cross the river.

What can you visit in Bentota? Local sights you should visit:

  • Bentota Beach
  • Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery – a community turtle hatchery and turtle watching project established by the Turtle Conservation Project in cooperation with the Sri Lankan Wildlife Department.
  • Brief Garden – home and garden of renowned Sri Lankan landscape architect Bevis Bava, older brother of architect Jeffrey Bava. Located on the territory of a former rubber plantation, Bava continued to develop the estate until his death in 1992.
  • The Buddhist temple of Galapatha Rajamaha Viharaya, located in Bentota, contains stone inscriptions, stone carvings, pillars, ponds and troughs from the medieval period.
  • Helipad Richi Skilark. This heliport operates a helicopter ride in Bentota near the mouth operated by Skilark Aviation Helicopters.
  • River Boat Safari through the Mangrove Lagoon.

One activity I would advise you to embark on is a River Boat Safari through the Mangrove Lagoon. You can combine a river cruise with a visit to the Mangrove Lagoon, where you can see crocodiles that are now rare, but there are plenty of water monitors and river birds. This is a wonderful and relaxing experience where you can enjoy the majesty and beauty of the river landscape.

This safari is unusual because you have the opportunity to enjoy the exotic beauty of the flora and fauna that inhabit this part of Sri Lanka. In addition to the amazing scenery, you have the opportunity to get to know the locals and briefly get an impression of what life in Bentota looks like. During this one-day excursion, I visited a family that makes natural cinnamon products.

An unforgettable experience for me was to see the jellyfish live, when our guide suddenly dipped his hands in the water, I was expecting something preparing the engine, but suddenly he pulled the jellyfish out of the water, I was honestly amazed, but also delighted with the sight! I think this cruise is something you have to experience if you are coming to Bentota.

A few moments ago, I mentioned a visit to a family that produces natural cinnamon products, which was educational and unusual. I even had the opportunity to try cinnamon tea, which is effective and relaxes a person. Cinnamon can be used to make various creams, teas, cakes and products, even from the leaves of the plant, locals in Sri Lanka make roofs for their houses.

Another interesting thing that impressed me was that there are shops and fast food restaurants on the water, which I have not had the opportunity to see so far. There are also sacred places – temples on the water and on the shores that you can see during the cruise.

My stay in Bentota was unforgettable thanks to the team of the Sri Lankan Tourism Board and the friendly staff of the Taj Bentota Resort & Spa hotel who made my stay in this coastal city make me feel at home.

This luxury hotel complex, formerly known as Taj Exotica, this 160-room resort was built by Maga Engineering in 1997. Located in an exotic and beautiful town on Bentota Beach, the resort features distinctive colonial architecture marked by beautiful red tiled roofs.

This 5-star hotel resort offers an extremely rich range of services, including fine restaurants, modern rooms, a spa, a terraced infinity pool and a beautiful lobby with a high solid wood ceiling. The resort opened in 1997. Enjoy the view of the incredible beauty of the Indian Ocean.

Accept the modest greetings ‘Aiubovan’ with a smile, followed by sips of ‘Nelli’ (fruit wine), passion fruit or Ceylon iced tea. This is just a small part of everything that Taj Bentota Resort & Spa has to offer! Immerse yourself in a space that reflects the spirit of Sri Lanka.

Dear travelers, we have come to the end of this last post about the Sri Lankan adventure. It was my greates pleasure to present you all the beauties of Mirissa and Bentota, which would not be possible without the selfless help of the Sri Lankan Tourism Board in cooperation with local partners like Taj Bentota Resort & Spa. to feel the spirit and beauty of the Indian Ocean and Sri Lankan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual experience in Sri Lanka.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual island country in South Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my experience in Mirissa and Bentota? Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka before? Share with me your experiences, I would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story!

Warm greetings from Sri Lanka,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Sri Lankan Tourism Board and Taj Bentota Resort & Spa. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Sri Lanka: Kandyan Dance, a Unique Example of Sinhalese Culture…

My dear travelers and lovers of unusual journeys, welcome to another new adventure on the Mr.M blog. Today we continue our story about Sri Lanka and today we will learn more about Sinhalese culture together. Before I start today’s post I would like to thank the Sri Lankan Tourism Board for this amazing experience and for having the opportunity to continue my adventure on my favorite dream island!

If by any chance you missed any of my previous posts, take the opportunity to visit some of the previous stories at the following links:

  1. The Story about Colombo (Travelogue): LINK
  2. Unforgettable Fashion Safari in Sri Lanka: LINK
  3. My Safari Experience in Sri Lanka (Travelogue): LINK
  4. Sigiriya: The Magic of the Lost Kingdom (Travelogue): LINK
  5. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Travelogue): LINK

Who are the Sinhalese people?

The Sinhalese are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group of Sri Lankan descent. In history, they were known as Hela people. They make up about 75% of Sri Lanka’s population and have more than 15 million members community. Sinhalese ethnic identity is based on language, cultural heritage and nationality. Sinhalese speak Sinhala, an isolated Indo-Aryan language, and are predominantly Theravada Buddhists, although a minority of Sinhalese follow branches of Christianity and other religions.

Since 1815, they have been largely divided into two groups of peoples: the “Sinhalese of the Upper Lands” who inhabit the central mountain regions and the “Sinhalese of the Lower Lands” in the coastal regions, although both groups speak the same language. customs.

Sinhalese culture is unique, dating back more than 2,600 years and nurtured by Theravada Buddhism. The main features of Sinhalese culture are sculptures, fine arts, literature, dance, poetry and a wide range of traditional folk beliefs and numerous rituals. Ancient Sinhalese stone sculpture and inscriptions are known around the world and are a major attraction in modern tourism.

Sigiriya is known for its frescoes, which we wrote about in one of the previous posts. Interesting information from historical writings is that the workers sang their lives in folk songs to accompany their work and tell the story of their lives. Ideally, these songs consisted of four lines and in the composition of these songs, special attention was paid to the rhyming patterns. Buddhist festivals are interspersed with unique music that uses traditional Sinhalese instruments. Older rituals such as tovils (exorcism) continue to delight audiences today and have often praised and invoked the good powers of the Buddha and the gods to cast out demons.

The performing arts (dance) of Sinhalese can be categorized into several groups:

  1. Kandyan dance consists of 18 Vannam (dance routines) that depict the behaviors of various animals such as elephant, eagle, cobra, peacock, monkey and rabbit. These dance routines can be seen at the annual Perahara competition in Sri Dalada Malagawa Kandy.
  2. Pahatharata dance has a different significant style of dance that is used to cure diseases and spiritualize (spiritual enlightenment). The main feature of these dances is that the players wear masks that represent different gods and demons. Elements like fire and water are used to show people and bless their hopes.
  3. Sabaragamuwa dances also have a unique and significant dance style that is there to entertain the masses.

Folk music and dances differ significantly depending on the cast of Sinhalese. These dances are extremely popular among boys and girls who are brought up from an early age to nurture and preserve their culture. These types of art are performed during special events such as the Sinhalese New Year.

Kandyan dance encompasses various dance forms and routines that are popular and original in an area called Kandy, located in the Central Hills region, known as Udarata in Sri Lanka, which have also spread to other parts of the country today. This is an example of Sinhalese culture in Sri Lanka.

Let’s find out together which are some of the dances in Kandian dance, some of the many dances are: Ves dance, Naiyandi dance, Udarata dance, Pahatharata dance, Weeramunda Kankariya dance and Vannam.

Ves Dance

According to one well-known legend, the origin of Ves dance lies in a dance ritual known as Kohomba kankariya (named after the deity Kohomba), which is also known as Kohomba yak kankariya or simply kankariya. Masters of traditional dance believe that originally the king of a place called “Malaya Rata” and his two brothers performed the first Kohomba Kankariya. Some believe that this “Malaya Rata” was located in India.

According to legend, three shamans came to the island as a result of a trick of the god Shakra to cure King Panduwasdev, who was suffering from a mysterious unusual disease. It is said that the king suffers from a recurring dream in which the leopard directed its tongue towards the king, which is believed to be like the black magic of Kuweni, the first wife of King Vijaya. After performing Kohomba Kankariya, the disease disappeared, and many natives adopted the dance.

It was originally performed by dancers who were identified as a special caste under the feudal system of Kandyan. They were associated with the Temple of the Tooth and played a significant role in the Dalada Perahera (procession) held by the temple each year. The popularity of the dance weakened as support for dancers from the Kandyan Kings ceased during the British period. It is now revived and adapted for the stage and is the primary cultural export of Sri Lanka.

Ves dance, the most popular, originated from an ancient purification ritual, Kohomba iakuma or Kohomba kankariya. The dance was conciliatory, never secular, and was performed only by men. The intricate costume of Vesa, especially the head covering, is considered sacred and is believed to belong to the deity Kohombi. Only before the end of the 19th century, Vesa dancers were invited for the first time to perform in front of the Kankari Temple at the annual Kandy Peraher Festival. Today, the richly costumed Wes dancers represent the embodiment of Candian dance, which emphasizes the true and true culture of Sri Lanka.

Naiyandi Dance

Dancers in Naiyandi costume perform during the initial preparations for the Kohomba Kankari festival, during the lighting of lamps and the preparation of food for demons. The dancer wears a white cloth and a white turban, pearl ornaments on his chest, a belt, rows of pearls around his neck, silver chains, brass straps, ankle boots and jingles; just like the costume of Ves dancers except for the forehead. This is a graceful dance, which is also performed in the temples of Maha Visnu (Vishnu) and Kataragama Devales on festive occasions.

Udarata Dance

The percussive dance is a very prestigious and unusual show. The name of this dance comes from the word “udarata” – a small lacquered hand drum in the shape of an hourglass, about 18-20 cm high, which is believed to have been given to humans by the gods.

It is believed that the two skins of the drum were given by the god Iswara, and the sound by Visnu; The instrument is said to have been constructed according to the instructions of the Sacra and to have been played in the heavenly palace of the gods. It is a very difficult instrument to play. The dancer sings as he plays, tightening the strings to get variations in pitch.

Pahatharata Dance

The Patharata is an instrument dedicated to the goddess Pattina. It resembles a tambourine (without skin) and has small cymbals attached at intervals around its circumference. The dance is said to have originated in the days of Prince Siddhartha, who became a Buddha. The gods were believed to use this instrument to celebrate victories in war, and Sinhalese kings used Patharata dancers to celebrate victories on the battlefield.

The costume is similar to the costume of Udarata dancer, but the Patharata dancer does not wear a jacket with pearls and she replaced the silk handkerchief at the waist for the complex folds of the Udarata dancer.

Weeramunda Kankariya Dance

Weeramunda Kankariya and Kande Deviyan Pidima (evening ritual for the god of the mountain) can be identified as ceremonial dances rooted in the folk beliefs of the Kandyan Dewa people.

Vannam (Dance styles)

Originally, Vannam was a form of recitation. Most Vannam describe the behavior of animals such as elephants, monkeys, rabbits, peacocks, roosters, snakes and others. Later, the dancers used vannam as a background for their performance. There are 18 vannam in the Kandyan dance form. Traditionally, a dancer would have to learn to perform all these vannames before getting a Ves costume. The most famous among them are hanuma vannama (monkey), taste vannama (eagle) and gajaga vannama (elephant).

The word vannam comes from the Sinhala word varnana (descriptive praise). Ancient Sinhalese texts refer to a significant number of baths that were only sung, later adapted to solo dances, each of which expressed a dominant idea. Historical writings reveal that the king of Kandiana, Sri Veeraparakrama Narendrasinghe, gave a significant impetus to dance and music.

It is believed that coffee (poetry sung with music) was composed for eighteen major baths by an old sage named Ganithalankara, with the selfless help of a Buddhist priest from a temple in Kandy. Vannam is inspired by nature, history, legend, folk religion, folk art and sacred tradition, and each is composed and interpreted in a certain mood (rasaia) or expression of feelings. Eighteen classic baths are:

Gajaga Wannama (elephant), Thuranga Wannama (horse), Mayura Wannama (peacock), Ukkussa Wannama (eagle), Vyrodi Wannama (precious stones) Hanuma Wannama (monkey), Savula Wannama (rooster), Sinharaja Wannama (lion, lion king) , Nayyadi Wannama (cobra), as well as many others.

Although originally only men were allowed to train as dancers, there are now several schools that also train women in Kandyan dances. However, there is no definite Wes costume for women, and many dancers have adapted the men’s costume in different ways. There are currently only a few performances of Kohomba Kankariya for many social, economic and political reasons. The dance in its traditional form is still performed every year at Dalada Perhahera in Kandy.

Kandyan dance was adapted for the stage by Citrasena Diaz in the 1970s. In several ballets he choreographed, he used the movements and characteristics of Kandyan dance. In a way, its popularity has also helped reduce the caste barriers that surround dance and made it more enjoyable for urban, contemporary audiences. Many contemporary modern dancers in Sri Lanka have borrowed the Kandyan form of dance in their work.

Dear travelers, we have come to the end of this special post about the Sinhalese culture and wonderful Kandyan dances which would not be possible without the selfless help of the Sri Lankan Tourism Board in cooperation with local partners to feel the spirit and beauty of the Sri Lankan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual experience in Sri Lanka.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual island country in South Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my experience with Kandyan dances? Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka before? Share with me your experiences, I am would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story from Sri Lanka!

Warm greetings from Sri Lanka,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Sri Lankan Tourism Board. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Sri Lanka: Sigiriya, the Magic of the Lost Kingdom…

My dear travelers and lovers of unusual adventures, welcome to the new adventure on the Mr.M blog! Today’s letter will be dedicated to one of the most famous landmarks of Sri Lanka – Sigiriya. Before I start today’s post I would like to thank the National Tourism Board of Sri Lanka for this amazing experience and for having the opportunity to continue my adventure on my favorite dream island!

The name Sigiriya itself means “Lion’s Rock” and is a symbol of this unusual island country. There is no tourist who came to Sri Lanka without visiting the famous rock that is on the UNESCO list of cultural sites of World Heritage in Asia and Oceania. What is the story that is passed down through the generations, from generation to generation?

Sigiriya used to be a kingdom at the “top of the world”, which was later turned into a Buddhist monastery. This historic landmark, a former fortification, is located in the northern part of the Matadalle District near the city of Dambulla in the Central Province. It is a place of exceptional historical and archeological significance, dominated by a massive pillar of rock about 180 meters high.

According to ancient Sri Lankan history, this area was a large forest, and after storms and landslides it became a hill and King Kashyapa chose it as the ideal place for his new capital. Legend has it that on top of this unusual scene, the king built his palace and decorated its walls with colorful frescoes. He made a gate in the shape of a huge lion on a small plateau of this rock. The name of this place comes from this word structure: “Sinhagiri” – Lion’s Rock (Lion’s City).

The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Today, Sigiriya is proudly on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning of the city.

As you are used to, today I will do my best to tell you some historical interesting facts and facts related to this unusual rock. According to some historical writings, it is believed that the area around Sigiriya has been inhabited since prehistoric times. There is ample concrete evidence that many shelters and caves nearby were inhabited by Buddhist monks and ascetics as early as the 3rd century BC. The earliest evidence of human settlement in Sigiriya is the shelter in the rocks of Aligala, which is located east of the Sigiriya rock, which indicates that this area was occupied almost five thousand years ago during the Mesolithic period.

Buddhist monastic settlements were founded during the 3rd century BC on the western and northern slopes of the hills sprinkled with boulders that surround the Sigiriya rock. During this period, several stone shelters – caves were created. These shelters are made under large boulders, with carved edges around the cave entrances. Inscriptions on the rocks are carved near the edges of many shelters, recording the donations of the shelter to the Buddhist monastic order as residences. They are believed to have originated between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD.

How did King Kashyapa come to Sigiriya? Kashyapa I, the king’s son from his non-royal wife in 477 AD, took the throne from King Dhatusena, after a coup with the help of Moggallana, the king’s nephew and army commander. The real heir, Moggallana, fearing for his life, fled to southern India.

Frightened by the attack of Moggallana, Kashyapa moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the safer Sigiriya. During the reign of King Kashyapa (from 477 to 495 AD), Sigiriya developed into a complex city and fortress. Most of the complex structures on and around the rock, including defensive structures, palaces and gardens, date from this period.

Cūḷavaṃsa describes King Kashyapa as the son of King Dhatusena. Cūḷavaṃsa or Chulavamsa (Pala: “Little Chronicle”) is a historical record, written in Pali, about the monarchs of Sri Lanka. Kashyapa killed his father by walling him up alive, and then usurped the throne that rightfully belonged to his half-brother Moggallani, Dhatusena’s son from the real queen. Moggallana fled to India to avoid being killed by Kashyapa, but swore revenge.

He raised an army in India with the intention of returning and re-occupying the throne of Sri Lanka, which he considered his right. Anticipating the inevitable return of Moggallana, Kashyapa reportedly built his palace on top of Sigiriya as a fortress and palace for enjoyment. Moggallana finally arrived, declared war and defeated Kashyapa in 495. During the battle, Kashyapa’s army abandoned him and he committed suicide with his sword.

Cūḷavaṃsa and a legend passed down for generations say that the fighting elephant on which Kashyapa was sitting changed course to take a strategic advantage, but the army misinterpreted the movement as if the king had decided to withdraw, leading the army to abandon it altogether. It is said that, because he was too proud to surrender, he took the sword off his belt, cut his throat, proudly raised his sword, put it in its scabbard and fell dead. Moggallana returned the capital to Anuradhapura, turning Sigiriya into a Buddhist monastery complex, which survived until the 13th or 14th century.

After this period, no records of Sigiriya were found until the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was briefly used as an outpost of the Kingdom of Kandy.

There are other legends where King Dhatusena has the main role of the builder of Sigiriya, and Kashyapa finished the work in honor of his father. Other stories describe Kashyapa as the playboy king, with Sigiriya as his palace of pleasure. Even Kashyapa’s final destiny is uncertain. In some versions, he is killed by the poison given to him by the concubine, while in the official “braver” version, he heroically cuts his own throat when he deserted in his last battle. There is some research that has come to some evidence that this place is the work of a Buddhist community, without a military function. This location may have been important in the competition between the Buddhist traditions of Mahayana and Theravada in ancient Sri Lanka.

Professor Senarath Paranavithana’s book “The Story of Sigiriya” says that King Dhatusena listened to the advice of the Persian Nestorian priest Mag Brahman on the construction of his palace in Sigiriya. According to Paranavithana, during this period over seventy-five ships carrying Murundi soldiers from Mangalore arrived in Sri Lanka and landed in Chilaw to protect King Dathusena.

In the middle of the 19th century, Major Jonathan Forbes of the 78th Highlanders of the British Army, while returning on his horse from a trip to Pollonnuruwa, came across “the forest-covered peak of Sigiriya”. Sigiriya was in the special center of attention of the antiquarian because of the unusual precious objects, and later also the archaeologists. The first archeological works in Sigiriya began at the end of the 19th century on a smaller scale. H.C.P. Bell was the first archaeologist to conduct extensive research on Sigiriya. The Cultural Triangle project, launched by the Sri Lankan government, focused on Sigiriya in 1982. As part of this project, archeological works on the entire city began for the first time. A lion’s head was sculpted above his feet and paws near the entrance, but unfortunately his head collapsed many years ago.

Sigiriya consists of an ancient citadel built by King Kashyapa during the 5th century. The Sigiriya site contains the ruins of the upper palace located on the flat top of the rock, the middle level terrace which includes the Lion’s Gate and the wall of mirrors with its frescoes, the lower palaces hold the slope below the rocks. The moats, walls and gardens of the palace stretched several hundred meters from the foot of the rock. The site was both a palace and a fortress. The upper palace at the top of the rock includes cisterns that are cut into the rock itself.

Sigiriya is considered to be one of the most important urban sites of the first millennium, and the plan of this impressive site is considered to be very elaborate and imaginative. The plan combined the concepts of symmetry and asymmetry to intentionally connect the geometric and natural forms of the man-made environment. On the west side of the rock is a park for royal families, set on a symmetrical plane. This park contains water retention structures, including sophisticated surface / underground hydraulic systems, some of which still operate today.

To the south of the rock is an artificial reservoir; these were largely used from the former capital of the dry zone of Sri Lanka. There are five gates at the entrances. It is believed that the more complex western gate was exclusively reserved for royal families.

There is one part of the rock that is painted with beautiful frescoes which unfortunately cannot be photographed, there are guards who keep the frescoes and making photos is not allowed, the frescoes are amazing and really worth visiting and enjoying the beauty of art made by man almost 5,000 years ago… Frescoes cover larger part of the western side of the rock, an area about 140 meters long and 40 meters high. However, a large part of the frescoes was lost forever and a small part remained, which can be seen today during a tour of Sigiriya during the descent from the rock.

After the great symbol of Sri Lanka, I would like to present you an amazing camp in nature where you can stay during your visit of this magical island. Situated among rolling hills, lush greenery and exceptional nature, the Wild Glamping Knuckles offers a completely different experience of atypical luxury camping in the central plateau of Sri Lanka.

With ten highly designed luxury tents ideally positioned amid the misty hills, the campsite allows guests to indulge in the beauties of nature while enjoying the modern comforts of camping. There is no internet or network telephone signal, so all you have to do is enjoy nature and the fantastic specialties prepared by the staff of this hotel from products that they grow or procure from local farms.

This unusual camp belongs to the group of hotels Theme Resorts & Spas, where you will always receive a special personalized exceptional service with a welcome smile. During my stay, I had a feeling of adrenaline because I had the opportunity to stay in tents, which I have not practiced for years.

In this luxury camp located in the Knuckles mountain range in Sri Lanka, there is an idyllic place where you can find refuge among the beautiful hills of the Central Province. The picturesque and secluded surroundings of Wild Glamping Knuckles offer its guests the opportunity to experience the adventure of the Knuckles mountain range and the surrounding wild flora and fauna, while enjoying the harsh and cold climate and the serenity of the rainforest and mountains.

Dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this special post about the most famous symbol of Sri Lanka – Sigiriya (Lion Rock) and an unusual camp, which would not be possible without the selfless help of the Sri Lankan Tourism Board in cooperation with local partners like Wild Glamping Knuckles. to feel the spirit and beauty of the Knuckles mountain range and Sri Lankan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual experience in Sri Lanka.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual island country in South Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my experience in Sigiriya and Wild Glamping Knuckles? Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka before? Share with me your experiences, I am would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story from Sri Lanka!

Warm greetings from Sri Lanka,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Sri Lankan Tourism Board and Wild Glamping Knuckles camp which is a member of Theme Resorts and Spas group. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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