Friday, July 15, 2011

Say a Little Prayer

I love these votive chapels, most tiny, as small as 5m x 3m.  There are literally hundreds to be found on any of the Greek islands.  One finds them dotting barren hill and mountainsides, along the roads, beside crowded and quiet beaches, and in the village squares.  It is said that each local family has built (most in the last two centuries) and continues to maintain a chapel.  Some even have a little old lady dressed in black sitting solo, keeping a watchful eye over the church, or you might catch them head down, peacefully asleep.  Some churches are private but there are many, especially ones designated as monuments by the Ministry of Culture, that anyone can enter.  If one enters, it's best to give an offering to express one's gratitude to the spiritual world.  I've seen so many different types of votive offerings, from money, photos, and food to pieces of paper and wood with writings of praise.  I find the tradition of these tiny alters quite beautiful, and I hope it continues for a very long time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

God is in the Detail: Grand Entrance

While there are definitely grand pieces of architecture and cityscape throughout Istanbul, I love stumbling across details that might normally go unrecognized if simply using a tourist guidebook.  Recently, on one of my walks through the city I noticed this amazing door on an unassuming Ottoman ministry building.  It reminded me a bit of Andre Arbus and those other French designs from the 1930s and 40s employing metal and star bursts.  Sometimes a little detail or accessory can make up for what might pass as ordinary.