Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bosporus (Bosphorus)

This narrow, zigzagging, 18- mile-long channel flows south-westward from the BLACK SEA to the SEA OF MARMARA. Beyond the Marmara, the current continues south and west through the HELLESPONT channel to the AEGEAN SEA. Like the Hellespont, the Bosporus borders part of north-western ASIA MINOR; it was considered to be a dividing line between EUROPE AND ASIA.

Shorter and generally narrower and swifter-flowing than the Hellespont, the Bosporus ranges in width from 2.5 miles to 400 yards. Its name, “cow ford” or “ox ford,” was in ancient times said to refer to the mythical wanderings of IO, a woman loved by the god ZEUS and transformed into cow by Zeus’s jealous wife, HERA. But the name may refer to a more mundane cattle crossing.

Around 513 B.C.E., the Persians under King DARIUS (1)—preparing to cross from Asia to Europe for their invasion of Scythia—spanned the Bosporus with a pontoon bridge consisting of about 200 ships anchored in a row. This was a remarkable engineering feat in the ancient world, although not as amazing as the Persians’ bridging of the Hellespont, a wider channel, 30 years later. In modern times the Bosporus, now a part of Turkey, was not bridged until 1973.

The Bosporus and Hellespont were the two bottlenecks along the shipping route between the Black Sea and the Aegean. This route had become crucial by about 500 B.C.E. when ATHENS and other cities of mainland Greece were becoming dependent on grain imported from the northern Black Sea coast. As a natural site where shipping could be raided or tolled, the Bosporus, like the Hellespont, offered wealth and power to any state that could control it. This, combined with the excellent commercial fishing in the strait and its value as a ferry point, helps to explain the prosperity of the Bosporus’s most famous city, BYZANTIUM, located at the southern mouth. Athens controlled the Bosporus in the 400s B.C.E. by holding Byzantium as a subject ally.

Further reading: John Freely, The Bosphorus (Istanbul: Redhouse Press, 1993); Yusuf Mardin, Bosphorus Through the Ages (Ankara: T. C. Kültür Bakanligi, 1995); Rhonda Vander Sluis, From the Bosphorus: A Self-guided Tour (Istanbul: Çitlembik, 2000).


The Golden Vimanam at the Ranganathar Temple,
Srirangam - Tamilnadu
TempleNet The Ultimate Source of Information on Indian Temples.

Templenet is an online journal as well as a comprehensive encyclopedia on Indian Temples. It is intended to serve as a one stop source of information on these monumental pieces of work.
This website is targeted towards different classes of audiences - the resident and non resident travellers wishing to tour the Land of Temples - the armchair tourist - those with a serious interest in archeology, history , religion and mythology - and simply to anyone with an interest in Indian culture. This site will be a pointer to thousands of temples in India.

Mosques Around The World

A Mosque (Masjid) contains symbolic or functional features, each one of which has its own history that is important to Muslims, one is the Mihrab, a niche that indicates the Qibla (direction of prayer), the Minbar (elevated pulpit) used for sermons, proclamations and readings, the Qubah {Dome} set on a high drum and a centralized or annular (ring-like) plan with two ambulatories or corridors the Minarat where the faithful are called for prayer. Today the Minaret serves as a visual inspiration indicating a Muslim community, or as seen in Mecca & Madina sanctuaries displaying as far as possible the location of a holy place.
The Mosque Review by Islamic Architecture. (English)

Mosques Around The World by IslamiCity.


Ma'sajid Around the World by Islamicfinder.

The Shire - Place of Enchantment

The Shire is not a place with emphasis on particular spiritual practices but is in our own way respectful and supportive of the Earth and all living beings on it; cultural and artistic enrichment and expression and spiritual diversity.

Cultural and spiritual vitality means:

• Shared creativity, artistic expression, cultural activities, rituals and celebrations.

• Sense of community unity and mutual support.

• Respect and support for spirituality manifesting in many ways.

• Shared vision and agreements that express commitments, cultural heritage and the uniqueness of our community.

• Flexibility and successful responsiveness to difficulties that arise.

• Understanding of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all the elements of life on Earth and the community's place in relation to the whole.

• Creation of a peaceful, loving, sustainable world.
If you like hobbits for neighbours, then consider buying a house in the
Shire of Bend, Oregon. Nice!

A little piece of Middle Earth ... southeast Bend? Not exactly. But The Lord of the Rings did provide at least part of the inspiration – as well as the name for “The Shire,” a radically different small residential development now in the planning stages.
Locate on a bit over six acres on the west side of Benham Road near Tillicum Village; The Shire will include about 30 homes ranging in size from roughly 1,500 to 2,100 square feet.

Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil and Labná

Architecture, Restoration, and Imaging of the Maya Cities of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labná
by Reed College.
The main purpose of this web site is to make available enough large, high quality images that viewers may begin to explore these world famous Maya cities, perhaps even to decide that this is one place on earth they absolutely must visit in person.

At Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labná, each major building is unique, many composed with exceptional refinement, the buildings and courts richly juxtaposed, creating distinctive urban spaces. Some buildings display a profusion of stone ornament, requiring hundreds of high quality photographs to see the complexity and beauty of these sites.

This web site includes 19th and early 20th century drawings, prints, and photographs, showing the appearance of these four cities before the extensive restoration campaigns of the twentieth century, and allowing us to see the variety of ways in which early explorers and scholars recorded these newly discovered wonders. In addition, there are over 1000 recent photographs, showing previously unpublished architectural and sculptural details, interior spaces, paint remains, current restoration, and approaches to the public presentation of these heavily visited sites.

Theology in Stone

Thinking about church architecture has come to an impasse. Reformers and traditionalists are talking past each other. Statements from both sides are often strident and dogmatic. In Theology in Stone, Richard Kieckhefer seeks to help both sides move beyond the standoff toward a fruitful conversation about houses of worship. Drawing on a wide range of historical examples with an eye to their contemporary relevance, he offers refreshing new ideas about the meanings and uses of church architecture.

Kieckhefer begins with four chapters on the basic elements of church architecture-the overall arrangement of space, the use of an altar or pulpit as a centering focus, the aesthetics of church design, and the functions of sacred symbols.

He goes on to offer three extended historical studies, dealing with churches of medieval England, revival-style churches of America, and modern churches of twentieth-century Germany. Drawing on these case studies, he concludes with a vision of a new theology of church architecture--historically grounded, yet framed for our own time.

Theology in Stone by Richard Kieckhefer
Oxford University Press, 2004 | 390 pages | PDF | 3.4 MB

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Helike - The Real Atlantis - BBC - Helike: The Real Atlantis-1 Video
On a winter night in 373 BC, the classical Greek city of Helike was destroyed by a massive earthquake and tidal wave. The entire city and all its inhabitants were lost beneath the sea. What has bewitched archaeologists about Helike is that it was engulfed just when ancient Greece was reaching its height; when the philosophy and art that inspired the western world for thousands of years were invented.

Inspiring the myth

Its destruction was one of the most appalling tragedies of the classical world and most probably the reality behind the myth of Atlantis. But now, unlike Atlantis, a team of archaeologists may have found Helike - a lost city from the heyday of Greek civilisation. If it is as well preserved as everyone hopes, Helike could be a time capsule from this crucial time in human development.

For centuries there had been just no sign of it. All archaeologists had to guide them were obscure and often contradictory ancient texts. So, despite numerous expeditions trawling the waters off the coast of Greece and vast amounts of money and technology thrown at the problem, no one could find anything except two small coins, unearthed over a hundred years ago.

Not drowned but buried

Then, in 1988 Dora Katsonopoulou and Steven Soter took up the challenge. Dora had grown up with the legend from childhood and was determined to find the archaeological treasure on her doorstep. Together they went back to basics and re-examined the ancient texts. These said that Helike had sunk into a poros, which everyone had taken to mean Gulf of Corinthe. But Dora thought that a poros could also be an inland lagoon. If she was right, the lost city which had inspired Atlantis might not be under the sea, as everyone thought, but somewhere inland.

A landscape on the move

Studying the geology of the region, earthquake expert Iain Stewart argues that a large earthquake could well cause an inland lagoon. Small recent earthquakes in the region have caused ground liquefaction - a terrifying phenomenon where the ground literally turns to water beneath your feet. If the same had happened on a much larger scale then the whole city could have been plunged downwards, taking much of the city below sea level. But the earthquake in 373 BC could also have had a second more devastating effect. As well as liquifaction recent earthquakes have caused chunks of coastline to fall into the sea. If this happened on a large scale underwater landslides could cause a large wave, or tsunami. This would race across the Gulf of Corinthe, ricochet off the opposite bank and come charging back again, to crash over the sunken plain and fill in the lagoon.

Dora's theory makes sense, except for one thing. There is no lagoon in the region today. There is, though, a trail of clues that explains what could have happened. An ancient bridge that is strangely nowhere near water shows how river sediment coming down from the mountains changes the shape of the plain - over hundreds of years the lagoon would have silted up, hiding the lost city beneath solid ground. A host of boreholes drilled into the plain and a remote cave with the legend attached to it have helped pinpoint where the now underground city might lie.

Glimpses of Ancient Greece

Slowly Dora and Steven have pieced it all together, but there have been several false starts along the way. The first lot of ruins they found were Roman - a settlement built hundreds of years after Helike's disappearance to honour the famous lost city. Next they found ruins that turned out to be prehistoric - an early bronze age settlement built 2,500 years before Helike. It wasn't until 2001 that Dora and Steven at last got their breakthrough.

Whilst Horizon was filming, the team uncovered ruins from classical Greece. Securely dated by coins and pottery, the team are convinced they have at last found the city they've been looking for. It will take years to uncover Helike's riches, but for the first time in thousands of years, we have glimpses of the lost city that inspired Atlantis.

Source: BBC 2

Science as the key to solving the Ancient Mysteries

Both science and wisdom serve to demystify the mysterious. Thereby, they should be expected to work hand in hand to prove the truth about the nature of our existence. In recent centuries, science has helped us see beyond much of the ignorance imposed through religious dogma and superstition. At great personal risk, numerous scientific pioneers like Galileo and Copernicus methodically pushed back the veils of ignorance imposed through Christian Rome’s religious strictures.

Thanks to those who refused to succumb to Christian Rome’s oppression and long-term suppression of the truth, we now know far more about our world and universe than the inhabitants of recent millennia. Even so, we still live in a civilization where those organizations and leaders that have been the greatest sources of ignorance, oppression, and conflict over the centuries, somehow still manage to deceive, delude, and manipulate billions. Since science has managed to lift the veils of darkness from the realities of the natural world, the time has arrived to do the same regarding the conceptual and spiritual aspects of existence that religion has purposely confounded for millennia.

The sages and scientists of ancient Egypt knew much that still eludes modern researchers. As repeatedly recorded in their words, they were helped by symbology and wisdom preserved by the scientist-sages of a much earlier period of civilization, which they called Zep Tepi, a.k.a. the First Times. Throughout this book I demonstrate that these wisdom symbologies originated from a deeply ancient source, then through millennia of use in ancient Egypt, Nubia, and elsewhere, and then into the Hebrew texts through AmenMoses’ efforts.

These ancient symbolic sources have always purposefully encoded a deeply profound merger of science and spiritual wisdom. Likewise, the underlying rules and structure of ancient symbologies are based on precise scientific principles and natural observations. It is already understood that Egyptian hieroglyphs are based on the natural world, but very few grasp that the underlying rules for the symbologies evidenced throughout the Nile Valley were based on very profound science that has long been erroneously misinterpreted as magic, mysticism, and religion.

Among the most important keys to demystifying pivotal details were simple conclusions from string theory and quantum physics. The most important was validation by theorists, via the math of string theory, that there are 11 dimensions to our reality. This vital detail clarified and validated why the numbers 4 and 7 and symbolic uses of 11 were so important in ancient symbolic concepts and narratives. The repeated uses of these numbers and the very specific contexts they are used within demonstrates that ancient sages purposefully and redundantly sent forth details to the future that precisely encode the actual structure of our 11 dimension universe. This and other science is verifiably encapsulated within very ancient symbolism and narratives. Many are aware that the numbers 4, 7, and 11 have a very special place in numerology and related mysticism. Now you are given the proof of why these numbers were so vitally important to the ancients, which also proves that religious and mystical assertions about them are mostly bunk.

Lemuria actually existed – Geologic Evidence

India and Meganesia, comprised of Australia, New Guinea, Tasmania, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, are fragments of the once existing supercontinent called Gondwana. Seafloor-spreading separated these land masses from one another, but as the spreading centers became inactive, they fused again into a single plate. So in the region of question there exist two sunken continents: Zealandia at the western edge of the Pacific and the Kerguelen plateau in the Indian Ocean. There is also another significant plateau near the Rodrigues triple point, where the mantle’s thickness is double the average (roughly 20 km), although nowadays there is no known geologic formation under the Indian or Pacific Oceans that corresponds to the hypothetical Lemuria. However, drilling carried out in 1999 from a research vessel discovered that the Kerguelen plateau was submerged about 20 million years ago due to rising sea levels. Samples of a 90 million-year-old sediment, collected from the seabed, revealed the existence of pollen and fragments of wood.

The Kerguelen plateau (continent), which presently is submerged 1 to 2 km below sea level, was formed beginning with volcanic eruptions 110 million years ago. Its size might have been even bigger than it is now, since the Broken Ridge underwater volcanic plateau, located west of Australia, was contiguous with it. Geologic evidence presented layers of soil and charcoal, which prove that this was dry land with flora and fauna. Its sedimentary rocks are similar to the Australian and Indian ones, suggesting they were once connected, possibly forming Lemuria.

Zealandia or Tasmantis, with its 3.5 million square km territory being larger than Greenland, is another nearly submerged continent, with New Zealand being its most notable remnant. It broke away from Gondwana, then from Antarctica, and lately from Australia and became almost completely submerged (93 percent) about 23 million years ago.

An interesting huge geologic formation in the Pacific is the approximately 2 million square km volcanic basaltic Ontong Java Plateau near the Solomon Islands, located close to the Antarctic-Pacific ridge by the Louisville hotspot, formed by a mantle plume, which is a lifting of hot rock from the Earth’s mantle. This resulted in the 4,300-km long Louisville underwater chain of over 70 seamounts in the southwest Pacific, stretching to the Indo-Australian plate, and specifically to New Zealand, and which may be connected with other ridges reaching the eastern islands of the Pacific.

The Indo-Australian plate may have been connected to the African plate and the Antarctic plate, forming one plate that could host the Kerguelen continent or similar formations in the past. The theory of plate tectonics states that Madagascar and India were parts of the same continent, and if we accept the Lemurian timeline we may conclude that early humanoids may have lived on this former continent, sharing the same genetic heritage, although the land itself has now drifted apart.

The clusters of islands filling the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and India remain as possible geologic evidences. The Mascarene Islands east of Madagascar have a common volcanic origin and form a distinct ecoregion, comprising the Mauritius, Reunion, Rodrigues islands, the Cargados Carajos shoals, and the banks or former islands of Saya da Malha, Nazareth, and Soudan. The Mascarene plateau, with an area of over 115,000 square km extending from the Seychelles to Reunion, is another evidence for the submerged Lemurian continent, as it has very shallow waters, having depths varying between a mere 8 meters to 150 meters. The plateau presents banks consisted of former coral reefs, some of which might have been islands in the geologic near past, when sea levels were even 130 meters lower than today.

The Saya de Malha bank (in English mesh skirt) is a very shallow bank of 40,808 square km, lying southeast of the Seychelles, which reveals that the whole was above water during the Ice Age. The bank is so proper that it was the site of an attempt to create an artificial island by creating seacrete and biorock. The other bank—Nazareth—has an area of about 11,000 square km (according to some sources, this varies between 7,625 and 26,000 square km). Other remnants of Lemuria may be the islands of Seychelles, Reunion, Zanzibar, Mauritius, and Chagos. Reunion, Comoros, and Mayotte are closer to Africa, while Chagos is in the middle of the ocean, halfway from Tanzania to Java.

Seychelles is an archipelago nation of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, altogether a mere 451 square km, located 1,500 km (930 miles) east of mainland Africa, northeast of the island of Madagascar. The main islands—the inner ones—are located on a shallow bank called Seychelles bank or Seychelles plateau, while the outer islands are situated at 230–1,150 km from the main island Mahe. The inner, central group are composed of 42 granitic islands called the Granitic Seychelles, which form the northernmost part of the Mascarene plateau, all being fragments of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana and thought to have been separated from other continents 75 million years ago. The Outer Islands comprising 46 percent are the Coralline Seychelles, five island groups made up of low-lying coral islands with dry, infertile soils. The fifth, the Amirantes Island, stretches at a distance of about 155 km, all on the shallow Amirantes bank/plateau, with depths varying between mostly 25 to 70 meters.

The Chagos group consists of 60 islands and seven atolls, having an area of around 15,000 square km, of which 12,642 square km form the Great Chagos bank, including lagoons. The Pitt bank, with almost 56 km in length and a width between 20 and 30 km, of an area of 1,317 square km and depth varying between 7 and 44 meters, makes the third largest atoll structure in the world.

The Maldives encompass 1,192 islets and 250 islands, being the lowest lying country with a maximum natural ground level of only 2.3 meters above sea level. This must have been much bigger in the period of glaciations, so this may be a reference to the classical Sanskrit texts dating back to the Vedic times mentioning the ‘‘Hundred Thousand Islands’’ (Lakshadweepa). This generic name, which would include not only the Maldives but also the Laccadives and the Chagos groups, is evidence that it was known and inhabited since ancient times, very possibly before the presumed sinking of Lemuria in 16,000 BCE, and it has been made part of it.

Lakshadweep or Laccadives/Minicoy/Amindivi Islands (the ‘‘hundred thousand islands’’) are located between Arabia and India. It officially consists of about 36 islands and islets covering in total 28 square km, but it also comprises 12 atolls, three reefs, and five submerged banks. Two banks farther north are not considered part of the group—the Angria and the Adas banks—but they have considerable size. Angria bank is a big, shallow, sunken coral atoll on the continental shelf, off the west coast of India, 40 km long by 15 km wide, with a minimum depth of 20.1 meters. Between Angria and the Laccadives lies the Adas bank, with 70 meters at its shallowest point, but all these could have been islands during the last Ice Age, with even more uplift in the previous ages, subsequently of much bigger size when Lemuria presumably existed.

Although current plate distribution may suggest the opposite, the flora and fauna of a portion of land on one plate may be the same as that of the adjacent land belonging to another plate. A good example is the northern boundary of the Indo-Australian plate with the Eurasian plate, which form the Himalaya and Hindu Kush. Its subducting boundary crosses the ocean from Bangladesh to Burma, Sumatra, and Borneo and is not parallel with the so-called Wallace line, which is the biogeographic boundary between the Asian and Australian indigenous faunas. That is also the case for Madagascar and India; although separated now, they preserved their original fauna or part of it in fossils, which is another indirect evidence for the possible existence of Lemuria.

Lemuria actually existed – Mythical Evidence

In the reptilian literature, the sunken continent of Lemuria or Mu is sometimes shown as the homeland of a reptilian race of creatures, often identified with dragons. Reptilian humanoids, snakepeople, or lizardmen are common motifs in folklore, crypto-zoology, science fiction, mythology, and ufology. They are presented as being evolved on Earth parallel to mankind or as the remains of a prehuman civilization, eventually extraterrestrial. The myths and legends of many cultures throughout history abound in reptilian humanoids; in the Indian Naga, reptilian beings are said to live underground and interact with human beings on the surface. It is said that they once lived on a continent of the Indian Ocean that sank beneath the waves, which points to Lemuria. Indian texts also refer to a reptilian race called the Sarpa. Perhaps the supposedly best known of all ‘‘lives’’ on the other side of the Pacific; it highlights the early prehistoric connections between India, America, and Eurasia. The Aztec main god and sky god, Quetzalcoatl, the ‘‘feathered serpent,’’ was variously depicted either as a man, a serpent, or a reptilian humanoid.

Similar impersonation appears in the Bible in the book of Genesis, when God punishes the serpent for deceiving Eve by decreeing, ‘‘You should go on your belly from now on,’’ implying that the serpent had legs before then. Thus the snake is therefore often portrayed in Europe as a woman with a snake’s tail. East Asians venerate the dragons, and the underwater realms are referred to as where the dragon kings and their descendants live. The main mythology states that there is a direct human lineage descending from dragons, claimed often by East Asian emperors, who were believed to be able to interchange from humans to dragons at will. This lineage is not solely characteristic of Asian mythology; Greek mythology also abounds of reptilians like Cecrops I, the mythical first king of Athens who was a combination of man and snake. Lamia, a child-devouring female, was half woman–half serpent, and the god of the cold north wind, Boreas, was a winged man bearing snakes. Paleontologist Dale A. Russell came up recently with the hypothesis that the Chicxulub meteorite, which left a crater 180 km wide on the Yucatan Peninsula and on the surrounding seabed some 65 million years ago, did not exterminate all the dinosaurs and some of them became intelligent bipods called troodontids, who had fingers and binocular vision similar to humans, enforcing the rationale of the mythical persistence of such creatures (Russell 2009).