Tuesday 21 May 2024

This post was previously shown following a visit to Thessalonika in May 2014


I have re-published it for blog friend Katerina 

Dating from the 7th century Agios Dimítrios is the largest church in Greece which following a fire in 1917 had to be rebuilt. The fire destroyed the 7th and 13th century fabric of the basilica but the crypt dating back to the 3rd century and built over a Roman bath remained intact. According to legend the crypt is the site of the imprisonment, torture and murder in 305 AD of the city's patron saint Dimitrios - a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and was martyred on the orders of Emperor Galerius. Six small mosaics dating from the 5th - 7th century survived the fire ranking amongst the finest in Greece.
St. Dimitrios with young children
Much of the original fabric was used in the rebuilding 
In the crypt there are still relics from when it was a Roman bath house
Agia Sofia
There has been a church since the 3rd century on the location of the current Agía Sofía. The present structure was erected in the 8th century and based on the design of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. In 1205 when the fourth Crusade captured the city it was converted into the cathedral of Thessaloniki. It was then converted to a mosque in 1430 after the capture of Thessaloniki by Ottoman Sultan Murad ll, and finally reconverted to a church during the liberation of Thessaloniki in 1912.
A fine Ascension fresco in the dome dating back to the 9th century
Just a short stroll away is the arch of Galerius and Rotunda
In the 4th century Roman emperor Galerius commissioned these two structures as elements of an imperial precinct linked to his palace. The arch emphasised his power and was composed of a masonry core faced with marble sculptural panels celebrating a victory over the Sassanid Persians. Less than half of the arch is preserved. The Rotunda is a massive circular structure that had an oculus like the Pantheon in Rome. Originally built to be a mausoleum for Galerius it became a polytheist temple, a Christian basilica, a Muslim mosque and then again a Christian church. It is now empty with archaeological work being carried out within. A minaret can be seen which was built when it was used as a mosque.

Friday 10 May 2024

More from Cornwall - Godolphin House

Hidden along narrow wooded country lanes, then entered courtesy a medieval pathway, is an atmospheric granite stone Cornish property built by the Godolphin family. The family made their wealth courtesy the surrounding land which was mineral rich in tin and copper. However, once political power from the royal court beckoned, the grounds and buildings then became a tenant farm holding.  

The colonnaded appearance of Godolphin house creates an imposing impression.
Whilst the courtyard and remaining walls hint at the vast scale of the original layout.

A medieval Bee Bole and Skep
In 1650 Godolphin house was the largest and most fashionable house built in Cornwall.  Sadly we were unable to venture into the house as it is only open on selected dates each year. However, as we wandered around the lost medieval gardens, now adorned with wild flowers, barns and estate outbuildings, there was a palpable sense of a history lost pervading the air. 
After exploring the area we enjoyed a caffè latte together with a delicious homemade chocolate brownie in what had once been the "piggery" before venturing further afield to the Cornish estate of Trelissick
Trelissick's prominent peninsula position offers far reaching and impressive views from both the garden, and the house. The mild marine climate allows the garden to host a collection of tender and exotic plants. 
The wider countryside made up of parkland and woodlands are managed to promote rare habitats for wildlife.

Love this Cornish slate wall - sometimes made using a herringbone design.

Adieu from Cornwall

Sunday 5 May 2024

Eary May in the Garden

Image not life size - Lily beetles are similar in size to ladybirds
I am on alert to visiting Lily beetles - Lilioceris lilii who are after my gorgeous lilies. These beetles are wily foes to have in your garden, and you might imagine that being bright red would mean that they are readily spotted and captured. However, they have a range of tricks up their scarlet sleeves in order to evade being caught, and you need all of your wits about you in order to get the upper hand. They are usually spotted mating or sun bathing on the upper surfaces of the topmost lily leaves. I thought that they must have eyes in the back of their heads because they immediately drop as soon as you approach. However, I have learnt that at the slightest hint of a shadow or any movement they instinctively move to the underside of the leaves or drop upside down onto the soil which neatly hides their bright red wings. Apparently they also squeak in order to warn to any other lily beetles frequenting the same plant. 
I am keeping my fingers crossed that my Argyranthemum frutescens - Marguerite daisy-tree has no menu appeal to any of the local deer population.

It's that time of year in the garden when so many flowers are bursting forth daily, and currently it is the Peony trees they are capturing our attention.