CULROSS, SCOTLAND

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Culross is a really charming village in Fife, Scotland. A former royal burgh and parish, the village has a population of around 400.  Culross was once  a bustling industrial centre of the coal mining and salt panning industries during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and many of its buildings are from this era. Originally it is believed that a religious community was founded here by Saint Serf during the 6th century.

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The building above is surely one of the most picturesque in the village.

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The National Trust for Scotland is involved in the conservation of this historic place and owns several of the buildings.

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Stepped gables and outdoor stairs to the top floor are very typical of houses in this area. I was told the reason for the stairs was that animals were kept on the ground floor but I can’t quite believe that, looking at the style of the ground floor windows. Perhaps they were two separate houses.

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Above, the incongruous appearance of a petro-chemical works can be seen from the village.

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Of course every sweet well kept village has its share of doorstep flowers.

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I was slightly surprised at the red roof tiles but then I read that it is thought that the collier ships carried them on return from Holland as ballast, and that’s how they were introduced to the area.

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This building above and below is known as Culross Palace – not actually a royal palace, it was built by a very successful merchant, Sir George Bruce, the Laird of Carnock, between 1597 and 1611.  James VI is believed to have visited in 1617.  It is open to the public and there is a cafe there, which I didn’t manage to have time to try.

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Getting a bit out of date now, the above two notices were displayed on either side of someone’s front door, giving a flavour of local sentiment.

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Culross Abbey was founded in 1217. The monastery is now a ruin but the remaining part of the building is used by the Church of Scotland as a local Parish Church.

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This village has been a film location for several films, not surprisingly, the most recent being the popular TV series Outlander.

There are other notable buildings but I have lost several photos.

The name Culross is generally pronounced Cooriss locally.

These photos are from June 2019.  I have more Scotland photos to come. Do come back again. Thanks for visiting.

I can be contacted via my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c867-photos-of-scotland

 

 

 

FALKLAND VILLAGE, SCOTLAND

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The village of Falkland in Fife, Scotland is a really pretty, well presented conservation village. The village houses are mostly built of cut stone, with  attractive but simple geometric styling.  The village also is home to the impressive Falkland Palace. This area was a location of the TV series ‘Outlander’.

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Shop window in Falkland village, above.

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Falkland Palace, a royal palace of Scottish Kings, a favourite place to visit of Mary Queen of Scots, originated in the 12th/13th centuries, and underwent various transformations in the centuries that followed. It was used in the filming of the TV series ‘Outlander’ and is a popular place for visitors now, being open to the public and maintained by the National Trust for Scotland.

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I love the stepped effect on the gable walls that can be seen on many houses in this area.

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This is the gate house at the Falkland Estate. Just look at those chimneys!

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The Falkland Estate is now a place of learning and recreation and there is a network of walks and cycle paths around the estate. Mine was a short visit, so I just have photos of the places I happened to see.

Below are some black and white photos I took while on a forest trail on the estate.

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This was last June, 2019. You might expect a good number of tourists around, but it was fairly quiet. A great place to visit if you don’t like crowds, and you can generally expect less rain and more sunshine here than in the more popular west of the country.  I mean, one day I really hope to see Skye – I’ve been there three times and each time it was shrouded in heavy mist and rain!

More from this region will follow. But there are more photos on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c867-photos-of-scotland

STAY WELL!

CHARLESTOWN, ITS LIMEKILNS etc.

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I visited Scotland last summer, where I visited friends in Charlestown, Fife,  but haven’t got round to showing these photos until now. Staying at home more due to the corona virus restrictions has finally motivated me to try to get it done.

Charlestown was a planned village created by Charles Bruce, the 5th Earl of Elgin in the 1750s.  The village cottages were built to house the workers operating the limekilns, intending to make the estate a major producer of lime for building purposes and fertiliser. Coal and limestone were resources already available on the estate. The lime industry was previously located in the neighbouring village called Limekilns.

Charlestown soon became one of the most important industrial centres in Scotland, served by a railway and harbour. It’s located on the coast of the Forth estuary, which flows into the North Sea on the East of Scotland.

But from the 1930s lime production diminished and the limekilns at Charlestown finally closed in 1956.  They quickly became derelict and neglected but work on their restoration began in about 1990 and today they represent an amazing bit of history and industrial architecture.

Here are my photos of those wonderful architectural old lime kilns at Charlestown.

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The harbour, now a rather sleepy place compared with it’s once hustle and bustle.

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An old type of houseboat, moored at the harbour.

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The old worker’s cottages on the Elgin estate, now desirable residences. The tiny stone cottages, with their spacious gardens, all appear to have extensions built now.  Most of them have fabulous gardens, some in the front and back.  I was so impressed with my friend’s garden, above. You couldn’t do that in many parts of West Kerry.

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The above rooftops and chimneys are of houses on the coast road, Charleston.

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A view of the Queensferry Bridge, with the evening sun illuminating the cables, one of three bridges over the Firth of Forth. Another bridge can be glimpsed in the background. I will show more of these bridges in another post.

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The area is amazingly colourful with flowers – wild and cultivated, everywhere. Above is a field of wild poppies, close to the village. I was amazed to see how much more flowerful the area is compared with back in West Kerry, and the foliage growth on the trees much more advanced, in spite of the more northerly latitude, and also on the cold North Sea. The windy Atlantic coast at home does seem to shorten our summer. They also get more sunshine in this part of Scotland than in West Kerry.

I have more Scotland to show. I hope to do so soon, now that more severe Corona Virus restrictions are keeping me at home.

There are more photos of Scotland on my website, I’m still in the process of adding to that:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c867-photos-of-scotland

It’s possible to contact me from the website.

Thanks for visiting my post. BE SAFE!

MIZORAM, SOLOMON’S TEMPLE

Back to Mizoram again in this post, with still so many photos to show after my December / January trip.

There are church buildings all over the place in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, a state in North East India (which is 87% Christian),  and very large impressive  buildings they are too, but Solomon’s Temple is considered a ‘must see’ for tourists. It’s a huge building with a seating capacity of 3000 inside, and a lot more could be seated in the porch or canopied area all around the exterior of the building.

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The architect and leader of the Church Dr LB Sailo, claims that God showed him the design in a dream, so he set about attempting to get this church constructed.  It took more than 20 years to build, and it was built largely on voluntary labour. I found that the name of the religion was hard to grasp, as I was given different answers when I enquired about it.  ‘A cult’,  ‘Born again Christian’  ‘Kohhran Thianghlim’ (meaning Holy Church) were some answers. Whatever, it is, it is the largest Church building in Aizawl.  I don’t know how full it might be on a Sunday.  It’s open to tourists with a caretaker there to show you around.

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The walls of the building are covered in white busleara marble, and the floor is of red sandstone. The winter afternoon sun gives the walls a warm tint in some of these photos.

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Mizo Church goers do seem to enjoy their singing and this is generally accompanied by enthusiastic drumming.

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The building inside is just one open space. The ceiling is highly polished which enables the light from the windows to be reflected, giving extra light in the building.

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Notice the Star of David, generously applied as ornamentation around the building. They named this building after the original Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, (currently the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque) and see it as some kind of replacement for the First Temple.

Just for a little balance, I have included a few photos of other church buildings I happened to see as I walked around. I haven’t got the names of all of them

I would just like to say that I am not at all religious and have no religious beliefs whatsoever. I’m just an observer.

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Chaltlang Presbyterian Church, above and below (with Christmas lights).

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A Christmas tree street decoration below, outside a church building.

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Thanks for visiting my post. I might return again to Mizoram in another post.

I can be contacted via my website.

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c51-india

MIZORAM, CLOSER

I think Mizoram touched my heart a little, so I have decided to return – not physically, but I have revisited my photos and would like to take a closer look at some of them.

Mizoram is a state of North East India, which I visited over the Christmas and New Year period. I have written two earlier posts about this very interesting place.

In this post I have attempted to convey the impressions gained from everyday images, including street posters and notices, which are offering a window into the main values, concerns and issues in the community. These are just the images I happened to see, there are probably many more that I didn’t see or notice. It’s really just a small personal view.

In this post I have cropped some images close, in order to focus on some more specific details. The results may be a little grainy or fuzzy in some cases, but I was never one to let technical imperfection get in the way of saying what I want to say.

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It’s so nice to see how the core values of respect, kindness and consideration are painted on the walls of the local schools (above).

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Many street posters are relating to child development, health, nutrition and child safety.

 

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As it was Christmas time in this state where nearly 90% are Christian, Christmas decorations and lights were much in evidence on the streets. Strange (for me) to see colourful flowers at Christmas time. The snow covered trees and reindeer would be more familiar Christmas images here in Ireland.

Christmas Lights at Chaltlang, Aizawl City.

 

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K V Paradise

KV Paradise, at Durtlang, outside of Aizawl City is a monument and mausoleum created by a local teacher in memory of his beloved wife who was killed in a car accident. A Mizo version of the Taj Mahal, though not so well maintained nowadays. Here the local children are playing in the disused fountain.

I think Mizo children are so delightful and beautiful. You would nearly want to take them home with you. These three below asked me to take their photo as I passed by – and don’t they just know how to pose!!  I hesitate to show children’s photos but they are all so sweet I hope it’s ok to share them.

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Christmas Feast Queue--

Above is just part of a very, very long queue of people for the Christmas Community Feast in a local Community Hall. Mizos don’t have a big Christmas dinner at home as we do. They all go to Church on Christmas Day, and from what I could hear they sing their hearts out, and the following day they all go to their local community meal, which I can tell you was very good – apart from the pork dish with a lot of big lumps of stewed fat. But there was a big choice of delicious food. The queue was very fast moving and served very efficiently.

Careers, below.

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Some of the street posters related to training and careers.  This one above appealed to me as the woman selling inflatable toys was standing in front of a poster offering air hostess training. “Let your dream come true”… I also noticed that only females are wanted in this one. On all my recent flights both men and women were employed as cabin crew. The job title “Air Hostess” seems to be very old fashioned now.

Below are more street posters or wall paintings relating to training or occupations

Homes

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Homes, a subject close to my heart, come in many shapes and sizes, and different building styles. In Aizawl city there are of course blocks of flats as well as single and adjoined houses. But to hugely simplify it there are 3 different types of houses that I observed. 1. Traditional Mizo bamboo houses, mostly outside the city centre and in the mountains, pretty but not very weather proof (I have no photos).  2. Timber framed cottage style houses with walls of some type of thin porous board (possibly MDF or similar?) and corrugated roofs.  3. Concrete and steel supported single brick boxy shaped multi floor buildings, also with corrugated roofs or flat concrete balcony roofs (often both). Now many would also like to remind me that you would often see houses with a combination of all styles of building. But in general I would say that the structures are basic and not of good quality particularly in terms of insulation and waterproofing.

The following photos show several different examples.

My impression was that the concrete and brick structures appear to grow upwards, floor upon floor, as and when more space is necessary for the family, or to create rentable income. So, while the road space outside cannot be expanded, the number of people living in the area grows and grows, putting more and more pressure on the overcrowded streets which are very polluted with the traffic fumes, smelly, noisy and most unhealthy. There is a massive need to create sustainable business opportunities outside of the city to encourage more people to move out of this crowded place.

Burial

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The graves in Aizawl are worth a close look because of their colourful and decorated appearance. They are also closely integrated with the residential areas.

By contrast with the modern well tended graves in Aizawl, I have included a couple of photos of older graves in the mountains in Sialsuk, some miles from Aizawl, where a village has now disappeared.

My earlier posts on Mizoram can be seen here:

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/02/04/mizoram-india-up-in-the-mountains/

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/01/27/mizoram-2/

I still have more photos I would like to show, but maybe later. Thanks for visiting. Do come back again. More Mizoram photos can be seen on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c51-india

I can be contacted via my website.

PAPHOS ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK

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Cyprus is an archaeologist’s paradise. Layer upon layer of historical architectural ruins lie all over the place, and especially here in the Archaeological Park in Paphos. History has not always been kind to earlier civilisations, with foreign invasions and earthquakes destroying many wonderful buildings and works of art.

Some of the ruins here are as old as 2000 years or more, and some date to medieval times.

Here are several photos of these ruins, which include four roman palaces (with some well preserved mosaic floors), castles and amphitheatres.

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Thanks for viewing my photos. Please visit my Cyprus Category on my website:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c857-cyprus

Also see my other posts on Cyprus here

CYPRUS, IN THE TROODOS MOUNTAINS

WINTER IN PAPHOS, CYPRUS

TIME AND TIDE – and Flaking Paint (old boat at Latchi)

THE MAGIC OF LIGHT (Zygi Harbour, Cyprus)

STAVROVOUNI (Cyprus)

STAVROVOUNI 2 (CYPRUS)

APPROACHING CYPRUS

TOMBS OF THE KINGS, PAPHOS, CYPRUS

TOMBS OF THE KINGS, PAPHOS, CYPRUS

The Tombs of the Kings in Paphos, Cyprus, is a very famous UNESCO Work Heritage site.  A must see for all visitors to the region. It dates back to about the 3rd century BC and it was a  burial ground for the richest, most powerful Ptolemaics of the time. Apparently, no Kings were buried there, but it was given its name because of the impressiveness of the rock hewn tombs.

Excavations began there in 1977; tomb raiders had long since removed most of the artifacts. A few pieces remained, that were inaccessible to the raiders.

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Individual niches or loculi are cut into the rock in many of the chambers

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Some of the rock cut stairs have survived well, but many are not easy for old knees nowadays.

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This is a well preserved tomb with lovely doric columns.

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Above can be seen hole in the wall made by tomb raiders to gain access to an adjoining tomb.

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Tourists building stone piles in the area. The whole place is littered with them – stone piles, that is!

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Thanks for visiting.

My earlier posts on Cyprus are:

CYPRUS, IN THE TROODOS MOUNTAINS

TIME AND TIDE – and Flaking Paint (old boat at Latchi)

WINTER IN PAPHOS, CYPRUS

APPROACHING CYPRUS

THE MAGIC OF LIGHT  (Zygi Harbour, Cyprus)

 STAVROVOUNI (Cyprus)

STAVROVOUNI 2  (CYPRUS)

Do checkout my website category on Cyprus:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c857-cyprus

 

 

 

 

CYPRUS – Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa

Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa, in Paphos

Cyprus is an archaeologist’s paradise. There are several ancient sites, all over the country and several of them are in Paphos where I stayed, and excavations are ongoing.

Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa in Kato Paphos is a very interesting site where over the centuries from the 4th century until the 16th century, a number of buildings of Christian worship were created and destroyed.  The exact history seems very complicated, and involved Arab invasion and Earthquakes, building, destruction and rebuilding many times.

The existing church is used for worship in recent times. I didn’t think it was open while I was there, but I understand that it is beautiful inside. Worth a look judging by the photos I have seen.

Here are several photos of the current building and the ancient ruins that surround it.

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Below is a photo of an information notice at the site. If you click on it you will get a sharper, more readable version.

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The ancient sites of Cyprus are particularly noted for their splendid mosaics, some of which you can see below.

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There are raised walkways around the site, offering great views of the mosaics and other remains, without damage to the antiquities.

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St Paul and St Barnabas are believed to have visited this place to spread Christianity in 45 AD, and it is believed that St Paul was tied to a pillar by the Roman soldiers and whipped  39 times, before the Roman Governor Sergius Paulus was converted to Christianity. The photo above shows the pillar marked with a red arrow.

Thanks so much for viewing my post. If you would like to see more of Cyprus, I have made a number of other posts on Cyprus. See the links below, and watch out for more to come.

CYPRUS, IN THE TROODOS MOUNTAINS

WINTER IN PAPHOS, CYPRUS

TIME AND TIDE – and Flaking Paint (old boat at Latchi)

THE MAGIC OF LIGHT  (Zygi Harbour, Cyprus)

 STAVROVOUNI  (Cyprus)

STAVROVOUNI 2  (CYPRUS)

APPROACHING CYPRUS

Also, do checkout my website category on Cyprus:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c857-cyprus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BERLIN 3, Modern Buildings and Structures

Here are some of my photos of those modern buildings which I encountered in my short time doing the tourist thing in Berlin. I know Berlin has many fantastic modern buildings, and I only saw a few, and grabbed some shots as I walked around.

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Modern buildings at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin above and below.

 

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The building on the left above intrigued me because it had a kind of perspective defying shape; it’s wider at the top! It was designed by Renzo Piano.

Information on these Potsdamer Platz buildings can be found on:

https://potsdamerplatz.de/en/architecture/

 

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Below is the very eye-catching Ottobock Science Center for Medical Technology in Berlin. The design of the building, also known locally as the “muscle house” takes its inspiration from the design of the muscle fibres of the human body.

From the following website:

https://www.e-architect.co.uk/berlin/science-center-medical-technology

“Starting from the idea of human muscle fibers, the Berlin architectural firm Gnädinger was assigned the task of creating an amorphous, abstract façade, which wraps dynamically around the six-storey, reinforced concrete frame, encompassing around 1,000 square meters of floor space…..”

 

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Looks like there is a lovely garden on the rooftop of the Medical Centre.

 

The two photos below are of the Axel Springer building.  Axel Springer SE is the largest digital publishing house in Europe.

 

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Central Station, below, or Hauptbahnhof.  This is a marvelous feat of modern architecture and engineering. It also houses shops, restaurants and amazing self cleaning toilets. I didn’t get a picture of the outside of the building.  The building was designed by architect Meinhard von Gerkan and opened in 2006.

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Boxy buildings, below, yet not all looking the same. I find the patterns they make quite visually interesting. These buildings are across the road from some of the murals of the East Side Gallery, on the old Berlin Wall.

 

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Below is the simple building of the Chapel of Reconciliation, designed by Berlin architects Rudolf Reitermann and Peter Sassenroth, which was built to replace the demolished original church building, that was located just on the east side of the Berlin Wall. It consists of an oval building and a rectangular bell house. It’s more attractive features are perhaps best experienced inside; I particularly liked the corridor space between the outer and inner wall, with the sun shining through the vertical timbers,  inspired, though minimalist.

 

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A peaceful place for relaxing and reflecting (above)

 

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The TV Tower, or Fernsehturm, is in central Berlin, Germany. Close to Alexanderplatz in Berlin-Mitte, the tower was constructed between 1965 and 1969 by the government of the German Democratic Republic. It can be seen from many parts of the city.

The original design of the magnificent tall Tower was devised by the GDR architect Hermann Henselmann. The sphere of the TV Tower was intended to remind people of the Soviet sputnik satellites and was to light up red, the colour of socialism.

It was also specifically intended to have no religious significance or associations whatsoever, and it was a source of amusement to many that the sunlight on the sphere creates an image of a cross.

The tower accommodates a revolving restaurant now, which turns hourly on its own axis, with spectacular views from 203 meters high.

The church on the left is St. Mary’s Church.

 

The two photos below were taken from Pankov Station, part of the underground system.

 

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The above structure has been built on the site of part of an excavation of the old Gestapo Headquarters that exposed a number of subterranean solitary confinement cells and interrogation chambers. Now it is used for an exhibition of photos and information.

Below is a photo that shows the roof of that structure, with reflections on it of the buildings around.

 

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Looking across from Checkpoint Charlie (above), showing some of the many tourists who flock to the landmark. Behind the camera is a replica of the unit that checked people travelling from West to East. East to West would not normally have been permitted. The colourful pipes in the picture are everywhere and are used for drainage from the many building sites currently in the city. Love them or hate them, they get in the way of photography, and one has to simply try to incorporate them creatively into the photos.

Another example of those pipes shown below.

 

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The rebuilding of the Berlin Palace, above, located on Museum Island.  The original Palace was destroyed by the East German communist regime in the 1950s. Completion is expected in 2018.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  More on Berlin to follow.

Please also take a look at my website for more photos of Berlin.  All photos are for sale.

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c860-germany