Shortlist of my favorite Sacred Architecture

Every once in a while I mentioned that I love looking at architecture. Precisely at sacred architecture aka old churches – and not only since I read Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earths”.

I am in awe of what mankind was capable of so many years ago when building techniques were less evolved. So much dedication, so much craftsmanship in masonry, carpentry and arts in general. Imagine you are a humble human being in the Middle Ages wandering for days to reach the big city and being greeted by a gigantic structure like that. Of course you can argue it was intimidating and forbidding but I believe it would have been amazing.

I have seen quite a few churches on my travels. Just recently I have discovered that I unconsciously created a shortlist in my mind. So for all my fellow architectural admirers here is my list of favorite sacred buildings.

St. Vitus Cathedral (metropolitní katedrála svatého Víta)

City/Country: Prague, Czech Republic
Built in: 1344-1929 taking 585 years
Measurements: 124 nave, 60 m transept, 33 inner heights,  tower heights
Architectural Style: triple-naved basilica, High Gothic
Historical importance: The church is part of the castle complex and sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. The master builder who started the construction – Matthias from Arras was a geometer and influenced the footprint of the building – a triple-naved basilica – and laid groundwork for the structure. After his passing the 23-year old master builder Peter Parler took over who was a trained sculptor and woodcarver. And this you can see in the entire church. He saw architecture as sculpture. He invented the so called Parler-vaults – double groined vaults which enabled wider ceiling width and at the same time created a net-like ornamentation. State of the art tracery and no identical window throughout the church are another pioneering feature. The St. Veits Cathedral had a high influence in the Late Gothic Architecture in all over Europe.
Fun fact 1: Due to a legal dispute over ownership only 7 people have a key to the regalia of royalty that are stored here.
Fan fact 2: The church has 7 bells – the biggest being 13,500kg – which are still being rang manually by 4 people until today.
Why I love it: This is the church where it all started. I have first seen it when I was in my early teenage years and have come back two more times to see St. Veits Cathedral. The outside with its flying buttresses is just breathtaking. And the vaulted ceilings in the inside are in no way inferior. I also like that it is located on a hill and you can actually make out the gigantic and impressive architecture from afar which is not always possible with churches that are within cities.

Unfortunately all my photos are still analoge but there are many on the web.

St. Johns Church (Johanneksenkirkka)

City/Country: Helsinki, Finland
Built in: 1888-1891 taking 3 years
Measurements:  59m length,  inner heights, 74m tower heights
Architectural Style: cross-shaped cathedral, Gothic Revival
Historical importance: It is the largest stone church in Finland by seating capacity and has very good acoustics. Located on a hilltop were there used to be the midsummer festivals. The church is – compared to others on the list – not that old. The outside is red brick and sits on a massive granite footing. The interior used to be a greenish-grey color but was changed in later renovations to a light-cream color. It was build by Adolf Emil Melander who also designed the seats, pulpit, altarpiece and font. It all has a ornamental feel to it.
Why I love it: We actually stumbled into this one and I had no idea about it beforehand. I liked it from the outside, it was already dark and snowing and it just gave off an interesting vibe. A sermon just ended and people left so we were able to have a peek inside and I was just stunned. It was a serendipitous find. Only later I learnt of its importance.

Trip to Helsinki st. Johns church

St. Mary’s Church (St. Marien)

City/Country: Lübeck, Germany
Built in: 1250-1350 taking 100 years
Measurements:  103m length, 38,5m inner heights, approx. 125m tower heights
Architectural Style: triple-naved basilica, Brick Gothic native to the baltic region
Historical importance: It is the highest brick building with the tallest brick vault ceiling in the world and the first of it’s kind. St. Marien was pathbreaking for 70 further churches in the baltic region. While on the outside its red brick shines bright the inside of the building is very calm. All was painted white and detailed floral frescos have been painted throughout the church. The church was destroyed in 1942 during a bomb raid and many of it’s artefacts and paintings burnt down. The fallen down bells have been preserved and it is humbling how they lay shattered on the floor. Immediately the church received an improvised roof that prevented further damaging and the re-building started 1947. The reconstruction has made it possible to cater to modern needs such as floor heating and more minimalist interior design. However it also removed some art historically pieces and is still controversially discussed.
Fun Fact 1: There was a scandal regarding the reconstruction of the fresco in the 1950s as one of the restaurateurs Lothar Malskat “invented” missing pieces of the frescos. After self-indictment the paintings were washed off. Günter Grass refers to this incident in his book “The Rat”.
Why I love it: The brick building style of the baltic architecture is just so unique and different. And also so impressive. I mean it is just bricks and then the ceiling is almost 40 meters high. It has a modern feel to it when entering while still holding the impressive architecture maybe even caters to it. The whitewashed walls and simple window decoration focus on the structure instead.

Cathedral of Santa María la Manor (Catedral Primada de America)

City/Country: Santo Domingo de Guzman, Dominican Republic
Built in: 1514-1541 taking 27 years
Measurements:  53m length, 3x23m wide, 16m inner heights,
Architectural Style: triple-naved hall church, Gothic (& Baroque)
Historical importance: It is the oldest church in the “New World” and (since 1990) part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which expands around the old town of Santo Domingo. The three doored entrance is rather unique as two doors are gothic and one baroque. The cross vaulted ceiling and limestone walls are really impressive and give of a golden coloured look.
Fan Fact 1: It is said that the church was the resting place of Christopher Columbus (before moved to a site a few miles away) however there is a dispute going on with Spain who claim they have the remains.
Fun Fact 2: The 500 year old doors are opened by the same key every since.
Why I love it: When I first saw this church it really hit me were I was standing. The sky was bright blue and the limestone was contrasting against it. The building style was just so different from churches in “The Old World” and it felt somewhat surreal. As often the outside impressed me much more than the inside. However for a Catholic church it was not as overly decorated and pompous but still rather gloomy. However it was fascinating and I would visit again when being in Santo Domingo.

New Synagogue (Neue Synagoge)

City/Country: Berlin, Germany
Measurements:  29m wide (on curb view), 97 m length with 15 angle, 50m inner heights
Built in: 1859-1866 taking 6 years
Architectural Style: Moorish Revival
Historical importance: For this building renowned architect Eduard Knoblauch and Friedrich August Stüler were contracted. The oriental style with it’s gilded dome and terracotta front was unseen in Prussia. During the Pogroms Night 1938 arsonists set the synagogue on fire. Contrary to orders policeman Otto Bellgardt and superior Wilhelm Krützfeld intervened and called fire brigades argumenting it is a heritage-protected building and saved the building from burning down. Unfortunately the main synagogue was still destroyed in 1943 during British air raids. Remains have been savaged for building material and the dome had to be blown up due to safety reasons. Only in 1988 it was decided to rebuilt the facade and a few rooms behind. It now hosts a museum about Jewish life in Berlin.
“Fun Fact”: Due to the bright color of the cupola it was camouflaged during WWII to avoid falling victim to air raids.
Why I love it: For me this place feels like home and I walked by it daily. Being part of the Jewish volleyball team Makkabi allowed me access to the parts of the building which now inhabit a gym from which we could see the dome while practicing. This also had me attend service once here (and once in a Prague synagogue). Seeing the golden dome always makes me happy. It is were I went to pay me respects on November 9.

There are couple of sacred places I would have loved to see from the inside (or closer up) however I was not able to enter for not being part of the congregation or the religious faith. So if you ever made it to the following places please let me know how to get in: Dome of the Rocks, Jerusalem and Upensiki Cathedral, Helsinki. And of course there are many more I want to see.

Now please share your favorite building I need to see and put on my list.

Happy travels,

Tobia

Current TV Shows I Watching

Hello there,

It’s the time of year were snuggling up on the couch is favorite thing to do. If I don’t have a fire burning and read a book or surf the net I often have a show playing. So I figured I let you in on my current TV shows I am watching.

Nashville

A show about my guilty pleasure – country music. I have just finished season 4 and I love it mainly for the music. Which means a lot because music usually doesn’t play a big role in my life. The characters of the show are ok but sometimes i’s a bit too much drama and especially in season 4 I felt like all the political debates needed to be voiced. But I am having the soundtrack playing on my phone so I obviously like it enough.

How to get away with murder

I believe there was movie with Sandra Bullock about the story. Now it’s a tv show. I enjoyed season 1 and am currently in the middle of 2. However it sometimes feels a bit slow. I am not sure if I will watch all 5 seasons. However I do like a good crime show and I have recently watched all of them so this one it is.

Scorpion

I love this show. I like shows with case work and when I have the feeling I can actually lern something while watching even better. This show defiantly makes me feel “stupid”. Season 4 just became available.

Salvation

What happens when an astroid collides with earth and extinguishes all life? It’s a bit nerdy and interesting to consider if this would really happen. This is a show we watch together. We are done with season 1 and can’t wait for season 2 to be on Netflix.

Lucifer

We just started season 2 of this show a few nights ago. I probably like it a bit more than Mr. ♥. When winter comes around I am craving supernatural stuff with demons, vampires and such.

This is just a snap of what is currently on my list. So many more I am in the middle of. I keep track of it all with the TV time app. How do you do it? Only watch shows that are already completed? Or watch it as soon as they come out and then wait for the next season? I like collecting a few seasons and then just binge watching them. I am not a patient person and it drives my nuts when I have to wait.

Now leave a recommendation for a show I should put on my list.

Happy weekend,

Tobia

 

Disclaimer: This post contains links. Due to current (German) law this needs to be labelled advertising. Furthermore I have linked a few of my older articles because I believe you might enjoy them. 

My Favorite Books 2018 – Part I

[Advertising – unpaid, post contains affiliate links] I think one of my favorite past times has become reading. Just a few years ago I have not read at all. I just had no time. I was lazy to carry a book around all the time. And then I decided to give an eReader a chance. Well what can I say G*A*M*E*C*H*A*N*G*E*R. Here are my favorite books 2018

South of Main Street by Robert Gately

This book is heartwarming and gut twisting. While it was funny it had some deep thoughts however they were delivered lightly – at least I thought so. It about family dynamics, how to deal with mental health and how the person itself is living a happy life while seeing why everyone else is struggling. It shares lots of wisdom, gives hope and made me re-evaluate how I perceive and judge people. This is the only 5* book I read this year.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Column of Fire by Ken Follett

When I heard there was a third and final book in the Kingsbridge series I was all excited. “Pillars of the Earth” is one of my favorite books ever and while this one is not quiet there it is still a wonderful engaging story with all the elements of love, battle, history, intrigues and politics. Unfortunately the plot didn’t take much part in Kingsbridge itself but traveled all over the place. Still I would recommend reading if you like historic fiction.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback english, paperback deutsch

Photographers Wife by Nick Alexander

This was my first book by this author and I really enjoyed it. I have to admit I had an ambivalent feeling about the characters. I didn’t really like them, sometimes felt sorry for them and every once in a while could relate. However I found the story very much intriguing. It might have been the topic itself that drew me to read the book but the many layers to the story line that slowly revealed more and more kept me at it. My take away: life doesn’t always seem what is from the outside.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback englishpaperback deutsch

craftaliciousme seeking creative life favorite books 2018

End of the Wild: Shipwrecked in the Pacific Northwest by Jason Taylor

I was on the look out for a story about travel/survial/wilderness and it was a great find. As the title suggests it is about a shipwreck but in the end it is so much more. It goes into history of the area itself and the native civilizations and there connection to nature. Myths and legends and how we take things for granted. It left me with wanting to know more about the Salish history.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Kismet by MagdaLee Gordon

This was a rather unexpected read and from the book cover and description I did not guess what was headed my way. Honestly I might have not picked it up if I knew. It is dark, it is tragic. But it is beautifully written and it was a page turner.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback deutsch

Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg

I very much enjoyed this book. I would characterize it as a modern fairy tale. A young spoiled girl is being quite arrogant towards a young mans courting and has to face consequences. I enjoyed it anti was easy to read and entertaining.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english, paperback deutsch

Mermaids Sisters by Carrie Anne Noble

I found it was a cute little fairy tale. Something different from what I usually read. The writing style took me a bit longer to get through but it fits perfectly.
I was surprised more than once on how the story evolved and I found it entertaining.
My suggestion: give it a try.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Mystery of the Downs by Arthur J. Rees

This was a classic (published 1918) but I was unaware when I picked it up. So it doesn’t compare to the fast past crime mysteries of today but I still thought it was quite interesting and had a lot of twists and turns. I thought early on I had it figured out but was surprised more then once. I really enjoyed it and would recommend reading if you can handle this older writing style.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Ok, I think that is it for today. I will be doing a second round of books as I still have a few I want to share. Those will be the series I started reading this year and also a few German books. Please share one of your favorite in the comment so I know what to read next.

Happy reading,

Tobia

*If you buy a book through one of the Amazon links I will receive a small  provision. This would help me keep this blog alive and cover a few of the administrative costs. Thank you. Or maybe I just buy a new book, who knows…

Being an artist for 100 days – #100daysofcraftaliciousdrops

Another one in the books!
If you followed along on Instagram in the last months you couldn’t miss my crafty endeavor. I challenged myself to learn more about watercoloring and aquarell painting and so I joined the annual fun of #the100dayproject where artist meet and challenge themselves to try new things, dabble with new techniques and just play around.

You may also know that this was my third year in joining (read about #100daysofcraftaliciouspatterns here). And it was the easiest year yet.

100daysofcraftaliciousdrops - being an artist

Let’s see if I can come up with a little fun list of noteworthy things and stuff I learned along the way:

  1. You don’t need much to join and get started in this project. Overall I spent approximately 30€ in paint and pens. It could have been even less because in the end I mainly used 1-2 pens. As for the paper I recycled the inner core of where wrapping paper is rolled on to. Of course this took some time preparing and cutting up in my squares but I appreciate using materials that are otherwise a waste.
  2. To be honest the kraft paper was a real challenge. It had some coating that was water resistant – not ideal for watercoloring. And so I was actually thinking about scrapping it on day 50 to experience with real aquarell paper. (I already got a pad.) I just couldn’t manage to make the edges look all fringed and cool. I am glad I stuck with it though because it made me think outside the box and figure out new ways to achieve what I was trying to get.
  3. I think I used about eight different techniques for all my images.
  4. It is very calming to watch the paint move around on paper and find its way.
  5. I usually only spent a maximum of 15 minutes on the project. A bit longer when I took a process video. (Check it out a compilation on my Instagram highlights).
  6. Sometimes I felt guilty for not taking longer to do it. I asked myself if I didn’t take it seriously.
  7. I never really had the feeling I want to quite. I actually complained a week before it ended to Mr. 🖤 that the project will end and that I am so sad.
  8. I always painted on the assigned date but was slow on posting to Instagram. However I have to admit there where two days where I completely forgot because I was so tired and one day where I deliberately decided to do two pieces the next day.
  9. I like the blue ones with white pen the best. I actually think they look much more interesting if pen is added.
  10. I already have two ideas for the next 100 day project. That only proves: Creativity breeds creativity!

When I started the project my goal was to end up with at least 50 pieces or art. In the end I got 74. Here are a few of my faves:

100daysofcraftaliciousdrops faves - being an artist

Now check out the whole collection #100daysofcraftaliciousdrops and let me know what your faves are. Also if you are interested you can check my highlights on Instagram for a few process videos.

One thought that I had during this project was: When are being an artist? When is the time you become legit? Who defines what an artist is? Do you have to sell a piece? Do you have a gallery show your work? Do you have to call yourself an artist? I really don’t know and would be interested in your opinion.

Happy weekend and stay crafty,

Tobia

At the Moment #4

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Life is in full swing over here and I am actually happy. I am busy but not too busy. Of course I could always do more but I don’t stress and I like it. As the tradition has it I do a little snapshot of the moment to celebrate my birthday (if you are interested here is 2015, 2016, 2017).

sunset at büsum waddensea creative life

 

.I think: 

This last year has been really good to me. It was better than most in the last years which doesn’t mean it was easy but I do feel it is going uphill and that is something I haven’t felt for long. However it also made me realize I am heading into being “old”. I don’t feel this way at all but it is what I realize in conversation more often and in reactions by people when they hear my age. Someone recently told me “so you are heading towards 40” and my reaction was at first “no, oh wait… yeah I guess I am, never thought about it that way”. When I considered this comment later on I wonder if it wasn’t a bit rude… Anyhow I don’t mind.

.I like: 

That Mr. ♥ and I have done some little weekend adventures lately in Berlin. Just little things like taking a drive to the lake (ok, we test drove cars but still). Walking around in the neighbourhood. Starting to implement eating at the dining table and not only in front of the tv. Also he picks me up every time when I arrive late at night at the train station. Makes me happy.

.I don’t like:

What I read on some of my “friends” facebook pages. Seriously how do you handle it. Specially political comments you can definitely not agree upon and are often times offended by. Do you “unfriend” even though there is a history and some sort of connection? I mean often times it is just repeated bullshit and we all know that getting into discussions there will do no good at all but where to draw a line? When do you put a stop to people spreading this sh**. Sorry but it seems like Facebook is full of that and nothing else is going on there anymore. It’s like an accident – you can’t look away because it’s so tragic.

.I feel: 

happy and content. And I don’t say this very often unfortunately. But it shows me I have made some right decisions in the last months/years and that does feel good.
I also feel the cool summer breeze on my skin which is a benefit after the heatwave we had and which is again heading our way.

.I wear: 

New earrings. I had to get a birthday present for my cousin and I finally “dared” to walk into a jewellery store I drove by for years always peeking in and thinking “oh well I can’t afford”. So when I went there with the goal buying something for her and realizing it was actually reasonably prized and really cute stuff I was a bit mad at myself. Why do I always restrict myself? Why do I not grant myself new beautiful things that I don’t need. Well I walked out with two new pairs and I couldn’t be more happy.

.I need: 

Nothing.

.I’m annoyed by: 

That I often feel overwhelmed with things I don’t understand. That I feel so “desperate” that I often don’t even start to attempt it or only half-heartedly because I give up on the way. And then I sit in a state of half-attempts and it annoys the heck out of me. Can I please get my motivation and drive back that I lost somewhere in the 20s?

.I want: 

Healthy hair. I don’t know if the first signs of age – than I hate it – or some weird other stuff. However I am rather sad. It’s just flimsy, dry, broken and nothings seems to works. I have a hair dresser appointment and will cut it off completely (20 cm or more) because I am done with it. Lets see if she can save something and work some magic anyhow short(er) hair here I come.

.I hear: 

Podcasts – check out my faves here, music – I recently discovered this album that I came to love and have on repeat

.I’m making: 

I am in the second half of “The 100 Day Project” and I am loving how easily this project flows. I am doing blue water color drops and often add some pen markings. Check out the #100daysofcraftaliciousdrops and follow along. I love playing around and trying new approaches. Unfortunately I am not always happy how my artworks turn out and sometimes I wish I new how to achieve certain things. I am usually not too patient with try and error but this is a fun way for me to play and explore.

creative life 100dayproject blue aquarelle

 

.I eat: 

Too much ice cream. I just can’t stop myself. I have declared this summer to find the best ice cream parlour in Berlin. So every time Mr. ♥ and I are out and about I steer him to a new place and we have to give it a try. If you can recommend any cool spots, leave a note!

.I drink: 

I am bit of a sucker for the San Pellegrino Orange lemonade lately. It has a tinge of bitterness to it that I quite like. Other than that I have lots of mint/lemon infused water.

.I smell: 

Berlin. Can a city have a smell? I somehow think yes. For me it is when it has rained in Berlin and the summer sun is just coming back out. The wet dusty asphalt with a pinch of heat. Somehow all the life of the city is in this moment. The ugliness, the party nights, the smelliness but somehow clean washed, the green parks and the freshness. A new start, a new beginning, a slow moment and all the possibilities…

.I miss: 

Blogging, reading blogs, commenting on blogs and just being involved. I am a bit lost here and I have to admit I was – for the first time ever – considering shutting this whole thing down when I had to get this GDPR stuff figured out. It is a lot of time investment and I feel like no one is actually here – but did I ever do it for someone else but me?!. Then I saw the results on a instagram survey: Do you still read blogs Yes 53%, No 47% and I was really surprise. I guess I am not alone feeling lonely. And I should read more if I want pople to stop back at mine…

.I regret: 

How some conversations have turned out lately. How words can be so hurtful and that you can not take them back once they are said. That I don’t manage to walk the line between saying what is in my heart and needs to be said and being heard without hurting.

.I dream:

Of a house or apartment by the waterfront. It is an instant stress reliever being at the water, watching the waves and smelling the air. I sincerely hope it will not be a dream forever and I wish it will not leave us broke in its wake because right now it is crazy in Berlin and it will not get better.

.I read:

I am currently reading book #16 this year which is not too bad. It is called “Das Mädchen, das den Himmel berührte” by Luca dDi Fulvio. I am not sure how I like it so far. I struggle a bit with the writing style and it’s not as easy to be read as other books hence it takes longer. My goal this year however was to read a few more “sophisticated” books and not only purely “low involvement entertainment” as I call them. So I guess I am on the right track. Let’s be friends on Goodreads and share our reviews there!

Now excuse me I will find me some cake and check back on what I wrote last year. I try not to have a peek before I start typing away because I like to see if things change dramatically or if they are on repeat. Nerdy? Maybe.

Happy birthday to me and happy day to you,

Tobia