The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque, was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I. It contains Ahmed’s tomb, a madrasah and a hospice. Hand-painted blue tiles adorn the mosque’s interior walls, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue lights. After the Peace of Zsitvatorok and the crushing loss in the 1603–18 war with Persia, Sultan Ahmet I decided to build a large mosque in Istanbul to reassert Ottoman power. It would be the first imperial mosque for more than forty years. While his predecessors had paid for their mosques with the … Continue reading The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens

The Erechtheion or Erechtheum is an ancient Greek temple on the Acropolis of Athens which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon. The temple was built between 421 and 406 BC. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius. Some have suggested that it may have been built in honor of the legendary king Erechtheus, who is said to have been buried nearby. Erechtheus was mentioned in Homer’s Iliad as a great king and ruler of Athens during the Archaic Period. The classical building has suffered its … Continue reading Erechtheion, Acropolis, Athens

Theatre of Dionysus

The theatre of Dionysos Eleuthereus was built in the 6th century BCE and is seen on the hill of the Acropolis in Athens. Modified and expanded over the centuries, it is the oldest Greek theatre and is the site where some of the most famous Greek plays from antiquity were first performed. In the 4th century BCE, the theatre reached its full extent, holding upto 17,000 people. It continued to flourish in the Roman era but fell into decline in the Byzantine era and thereafter. It was excavated and then resorted to its current condition in the 19th century. The … Continue reading Theatre of Dionysus

Palanque, Mexico

Palenque is an ancient Mayan city of the Late Classic Period (c. 600–900 CE) and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. The Temple of the Inscriptions is best preserved and is also noted for its hieroglyphic inscriptions. In 1952 a crypt was discovered under the temple. Inside the crypt, jade ornamented remains of a likely ruler-priest was discovered. Another important site is the Temple of the Sun which is noted for large stucco bas-relief throne and figures. The famous structures possibly represent a rebuilding effort in response to the attacks by the city of Calakmul and its client states … Continue reading Palanque, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum (meaning Trench) is the site of a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city, not very far from Playa del Carmen. Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries. It is one of the rare cities built by Mayans because it was a walled city, perched on a 12m cliff facing the Caribbean sea. There are three major structures of interest at the Tulum archaeological site. El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God. Even though, the site is more … Continue reading Tulum, Mexico

Chan Chan Ruins, Peru

Chan Chan, was the largest city in pre-Columbian America. It is situated in the Moche valley, between the Pacific Ocean and the city of Trujillo. Chan Chan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Chan Chan is believed to have been constructed around 850 AD and had an estimated population of 40,000–60,000 people. The central area of Chan Chan comprises ten extravagant walled citadels. Its walls are decorated in high relief with geometric motifs and shapes of fish and birds. The building material used was adobe brick, and the buildings were finished with mud frequently adorned with patterned … Continue reading Chan Chan Ruins, Peru