Thursday, April 30, 2015

Izmir, Turkey

Globalization is powered by the private sector so a company in Izmir decided to use its name, and a cartographic silhouette, to tell the world that Turkish companies are global players too. Ak Deniz is the Turkish name for the Mediterranean Sea. It translates as White Sea. [2014]

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ifrane, Moroccco

To symbolize its ability to deliver a world-class education, every university ought to have a world globe as part of its landscape architecture. The campus here is Al Akhawayn University, high in the Middle Atlas Mountains. What's the globe missing? Hint: For an institution where productivity is measured in degrees, some are missing from their globe. [1999]

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

The methane storage tank at the Hamilton Sewage Treatment Plant was transformed into a world globe in 1972 much to the delight of residents and visitors. Now, the city says it must move the famous sphere and may repaint it sans continents. Use the space for advertisements say the elders. [1984]

Monday, April 27, 2015

Amsterdam, Netherlands

In the Netherlands, today is Konigsdag, or King's Day. The tradition of giving the Dutch people a holiday on a royal birthday began in 1885 when Princess Wilhelmina, seen here as Queen Wilhelmina, celebrated her 5th birthday (though not on April 27). Wilhelmina is especially remembered for her inspiration during World War II. [2015]

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chicago, Illinois, USA

George Washington's two companions in this landmark monument are Robert Morris and Haym Salomon. Despite what you learn in American history classes, George Washington did not win the Revolutionary War alone. Without the funds raised by Morris and Salomon, the fight for independence would have been a lost cause. [2015]

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Norfolk, Virginia, USA

"So the last shall be first, and the first last." Albania leads the pack of NATO nations, and the United States brings up the rear. The USA is an original NATO member and one of the richest countries in the alliance. Albania became a full member in 2009 and is one of the poorest countries in the Alliance. But, Albania is always first in the NATO parade of nations. [2014]

Friday, April 24, 2015

Yerevan, Armenia

In preparation for today, the emblem of the Armenian genocide's centennial began appearing all over Armenia. The flower is a forget-me-not. With five petals representing the five destination continents, it doubles as a map of the Armenian diaspora. The silhouette is the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, and the slogan reads "I remember and demand." [2015]

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Baths, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

The Baths at Virgin Gorda are created by granite boulders strewn upon the beach. Some occur as isolates, and some as composites. It gives the British Virgins a landscape worthy of national park status. [2014]

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

God to Noah:  "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." Apparently, God set his rainbow in the fountains, too. Happy Earth Day! [2008]

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bucharest, Romania

God to Noah:  "You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal, of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive." [2014]

Monday, April 20, 2015

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Cold beverages came late to the tropics: There was just no way of keeping them cold. After the refrigeration era began, however, companies from the rich world began meeting the demand for cool drinks in hot climes. Looks like the market remains dominated by transnational corporations. [2015]

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Alexandria, Minnesota, USA

Mystery stands in a roadside park on the way into Alexandria. It's the Kensington Runestone. The original is in the town's museum and is only the size of a doorstep. Its runic letters tell the story of a pre-Columbian Viking expedition to America (via the Hudson Bay). Is the runestone a forgery?  Do some research and judge for yourself. [2012]

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Newport, Rhode Island, USA

Mystery stands atop the hill overlooking Newport's harbor. We call it the Newport Tower, but what was it and why was it built? Is it 1000 years old or only 350? Was it a medieval Norse church built by the Vikings or a windmill built by Benedict Arnold? These are two leading theories, but a new explanation pops up about once a decade. [2008]

Friday, April 17, 2015

San Diego, California, USA

The T presupposes a little bit of geographic knowledge, with an emphasis on 'little' as in Rhode Island. How much bigger is Texas than Rhode Island? 268 times. "Little Rhody," which now wants to be called the Ocean State, is only a thousand square miles, the size of a Texas county. [2013]

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tel Aviv, Israel

Israel's original port was Jaffa, but there was no light tower there until the mid-1800s when Jaffa oranges established themselves as a major Ottoman export from Palestine. More ships equaled more need for navigational assistance, and a lighthouse was built. Today's it serves only as a day marker. [2010]

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Douglas, Isle of Man

The big mystery here is why the Douglas Head Light is not up on the head. The elevational lift would make it visible farther out on the Irish Sea. Rather, the head light's location is more akin to a harbor light such as the one on Battery Pier in the foreground. [2011]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Istanbul, Turkey

A beacon has stood on this point for going on 400 years. Ahirkapi Lighthouse stands sentry at the entrance to the Bosporus, the main passage between Northern Europe and the Mediterranean realm. [2014]

Monday, April 13, 2015

Granby, Quebec, Canada

So many gardens and city parks have been transformed by exotic shrubs from Asia these days. As place-makers from the flower world, though, no two species do better than these traditionals: hydrangeas and spirea anthony waterer. Let the shrubs connect with the past and the sculpture suggest the future. [2009]

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Girona, Catalonia, Spain

Welcome to the first day of National Library Week. Can you envision the time when a five-year-old looks up at these book piles and asks: What's that grandpa? Yet, libraries have never been busier! [2005]

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Aleppo, Syria

In 1993, Easter fell on April 11, and the Armenian Protestants of Aleppo gathered to celebrate Christ's resurrection. The only difference between their service and an American service was the language. The bulletin itself (see it?) looks like it rolled off an American press. How have the Armenians fared in Syria? Anyone know? [1993]

Friday, April 10, 2015

Ruse, Bulgaria

Every European city, whether east or west, finds a place for (1) flower gardens, (2) open space, (3) sidewalk cafes, (4) corner spires, and (5) Sunday mornings. [2014]

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bath, England, UK

Winter's upside: A busker can have the whole stage to himself. Winter's downside: Few people are in the audience even on a Sunday afternoon. Winter's sideshows: Couples communicating while they wait for springtime warmth (physical and emotional). [2015]

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Akhtala, Armenia

High above the Debed River, Akhtala Monastery has existed for over a thousand years. This is its entry gate. The caverns may have been places of copper smelting, since copper ores formed the basis of this once-prosperous region's economy for centuries. [2015]

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Alaverdi, Armenia

The Debed River has cut down into the plateau of northern Armenia, exposing the region's rich copper resources. The Communist era brought industrial-strength development to the area, and with it, environment desecration. The post-Communist era has brought economic decline and population loss. [2015]

Monday, April 6, 2015

Yerevan, Armenia

Khachkars, or stone crosses, are used to mark Armenian territory and friendship all over the world. They are still cut by hand, but this craftsman's shop will soon succumb to development if the building cranes overhead are any indication of the future. See the cross and the orb? [2015]

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Yerevan, Armenia

With St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in the background, the Armenian faithful ready themselves for a Tsarzardar service by purchasing flowers and greens to adorn themselves and the altar. The same procession will be going on today (sans biota), as Armenian Christians celebrate Easter. [2015]

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Yerevan, Armenia

The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Palm Sunday (the week before Easter) by wearing wreaths woven of weeping willow branches. By mid-morning, churches are full of wafting incense and the faithful, who come and go all day long. 'Tsarzardar' is thought of as the beginning of spring. [2015]

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tbilisi, Georgia

Holy Trinity (Sameba) Cathedral:  Anchor church of Tbilisi, seat of the Georgian Orthodox patriarch, birthday present for Jesus on his 2000th,  nation-building tool of the post-Communist era, closest thing the Republic of Georgia has to a crown, [2015]

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tbilisi, Georgia

The building on the bluff is the Presidential Palace. The game on the flood plain is chess. You have probably noticed neither yet because of the tubular structure in between. It's Tbilisi's new theater. It's been controversial, but its design seems to suggest that Tbilisi is ready for new ideas and, perhaps, a new identity. [2015]

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tbilisi, Georgia

Late March brings early spring to the South Caucasus. Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, comes alive with colors that match church architecture, in this case high above the city in the Narikala Fortress, restored after the collapse of Communism. [2015]