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Sporty Saturday Vol.4 – autumn ride(s) .

I have some news, I have recently rediscovered the beauty of cycling. I know the page is called runningarchitect.com but I have spent the first seven months this year in running shoes and have been looking for a little twist lately. Living in Brandenburg you do not get very far by foot, so everybody rides a bike here..

After finishing the cycling adventure [1]  last September with my dad, I needed a little distance from my mountainbike – it is acctually just a hardtail, so some of you might not consider it to be a proper MTB 🙂 Anyway, spending the winter time in Slovakia and my behind needed some rest, I have focused on skiing and hiking, which has turned into occasional running and I did not miss it until the summer started and I have realised I have no means to get to the beach! I wanted to expand my playground and despite my trips to Saxon Switzerland [2], I felt like missing something.

Therefore, I have bought myself a new bike. After a heated discusion with my closest, we agreed a cyclo cross will be the right choice for me on these flats. It is basically a robust road bike with bigger tires, so you have no problem on gravel roads and can still be fast on proper roads as well. I would have never believed, how much extra speed can you gain by a good bike. Before, I would have rarely finished a ride with a faster average speed than 20 km/h, suddenly I could get up to 24 km/h without any further training.. Nevertheless, I have improved a bit and on good days, I can go 26 km/h – it is still working progress but it feels completely different. On that thought, I might do a separate post on the experience of riding a CX soon as I am quite enthuiastic about it these days. Till then, I have collect at least some pics from my latestest expeditions. The variety of landscape is so impressive here, I have only seen a fraction of the surrounding but there are such huge differences – you can check out the little gallery I have put together for you below. I think that is the main point I love about cycling – everything around you is constantly changing and it gives me a feeling of freedom.

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[1] Long ride: Cottbus-Brezno link for unfinished article here. And I promise, I will try to finish it in the near future 🙂 Anyway, pictures are already uploaded, so you can skim though..

[2] Two older posts and these are actually finished, enjoy reading.. link 1, link 2

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Weekend in the hay – Secrets Festival, Berlin

It has been quite a summer. I have so many drafts open, I might need the whole winter to finsh them all for you guys. Nevertheless, I have decided to share at least some of the activities of mine..

You might get the clue from my previous posts, I am a musically challenged person. I like music but I cannot read note sheets, neither do I play any instruments. What is more, when it comes to my playlist on iPod – it is a very unique thing, yet so mainstream. There are some no-gos for me, e.g. hard stuff and german rap. Otherwise, I am very open to any nice song and then I usually comit to it, my roomates could tell you stories about one-song-loops going on in my bedroom for a whole week. This, a rather strange habit of mine, is also a reason why I do not have any favourite interprets and I have not been to many concents so far either.

Despite these facts, I have wanted to attend a festival for some time now. I have been hearing about how great those weekends are and how much fun people have there etc. But never got invited. Who knows why 🙂 So, I when a dear friend ofmine asked me whether I would accompany her, Iwas very excited. We have survived a research project in Italy for one month in one hotel room, this would be another small adventure. Plus, we have not had a girls time since she has become a mom! I had little idea what are we going to attend, I fully trusted her taste (yes, she has one!). It was very spontaneous decision, I cleared my scedule and hopped on the train to Berlin. To he honest, I have struggled when packing and threw onto the pile even my large water wheel and frisbee as well – who knows. The rest was pretty basic – I was surprised how many packing lists could I find online and some of them were helpfull as well.

To my relief, it was not crowded at all. Secrets Festival 2016 [1] was just the right fit for me. We had a great weekend, listening to live music. Even the electro dance party on Saturday evening was acctually live 🙂 However, we spent the rest of weekend on the beach – it took place directly at Kiekebiusch See [3], covered in hay and sand, drinking beer and enjoying the songwriters songs. They were so many street musicans playing there, I really loved it. You can check out the names for yourself in the program [2].

..it would be a shame not to end this post with my new favourite song, so here we go:  Katie O’Connor – Wishing well [link on Youtube]. Let the one-song-loop-party begin! :))

 

[1] official site here

[2] link to the progam and artists here

[3] Kiekebusch See, Berlin N 52.353917,  E 13.537958  here

 

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Sporty Saturday Vol. 03 – Rocking the rocks, again.

If you are following me on instagram (for those who want to join me @runningarchitect) you would know, that I have returned to the Saxon Swizerland few more times. What is more, I have the feeling, I will be coming there more often as that place rocks – so let me show you what I am so crazy about.

Looking at the map, the area does not seem to be so huge. Do not let that fool you, because it is a very large and diverse place. You can go there for an easy family trip with your kids or you can power out and even work in some vertical meters as well. As I have learnt before, the map I have got [1] is not as accurate as it can get – some of the drawn paths are missing in the reality. What is worst, the german marking system sucks. If you have every been walking or hiking in Czech Republic of Slovakia, you would know what I am taking about. You must deliberately want to get lost to wander off a path there. So, to avoid confused looks into my map at each crossroad I would have pass, I have started planing the routes in advance [2] and it turned out to be a great time saver. It would send me to a strange places from time to time :-), but I was able to pick up pace a little bit and run wild. Yeah, I have got some strange and confused looks from people I was passing by as the trail running is a new thing here. However, I have met few guys on the train, who were (judging from their outfits and gear) definitely going for a run there – so I have got high hopes. And now to my favourite part of posts, I have put together few shots for you in the gallery below, please enjoy.

 

[1] Scale 1:25 000, by Kompass.

[2] Using the Suunto watch Ambit3Sport link here and movescount.com.

GPX-file 01 [26k]

GPX-file 02 [12k]

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Sporty Sunday Vol.02 – Saxon Switzerland

Moving to the southern Brandenburg (DE) has at least one great perk – I live closer to Saxon Swizerland [1]. So, I have finally packed a small backpack and went for a hike accompanied by a friend of mine (hence, there are also pictures of me in the gallery 🙂 ). I have already been in the southern part of the mountains before but I think the northern part (everything above the river Elbe) is even more impressive. Mountains never get old for me and to be honest, I haven not seen even half of those charming spots there yet. I am sure, I wil be returning there soon. If you are a fan of climbing on sandstone or you just love rocks, I would definitely recommend putting it on your list. I am sure, you will be able to find some recommendations on the Internet – there are plenty of routes, some are more challenging than others. You can check out our route in the file attached below. The best part is, the most of the paths are completely runnable if you can chatch a breath.. Enjoy.

GPX-file

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[1] You can read more about Saxon Swizerland at Wikipedia.

Lovely lookout points in Brandenburg

Growing up in the mountains, Nizke Tatry (Slovakia), it has been a hard transition for me to get used to living on plain. If you have ever visited Brandenburg or you happen to live here, you would know, how flat this area is. I was used to climb up a hill and be able to see things from above – to gain a certain distance from the rush in the town. It was always easy to find a piece of quiet up there, even though I have gained that perspective only recently. As they say, you become aware of good things only after you lose them. Nevertheless, I am not the first nor the last person longing for opportunity to stuck my head into the clouds. So it should not come as a surprise, there are plenty of lokout points in Brandenburg. Today, I would like to present my two favourites to you – they oth have been built as a part of IBA 2000-2010. Both objects are very interesting, yet not in the same way. If you fancy interesting architecture, you would love Rostiger Nagel. You can take plenty of nice shots there. However, if you are planing on seing magnificent nature and find some peace, you should visit the one at Felixsee.

 

1) Tower at Felixsee, Bohrsdorf.  N 51.616487, E 14.547338

If there is a one sport I have fallen in love with living in Germany, it would be swimming in the pond. I have to admit, I used to be quite scared  to swim in open water, I was horryfied I will get tangled in waterplants and drawn. Yet, going to the beach with my friends and swiming in Groups helped me overcome this fear. So, I cannot imagine spending a sunny Saturday anywhere else than somewhere close to water. It is safe to say, there are so many ponds and lakes in Brandenburg (..and also in Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, etc.). Some of them are muddies than others and soem of them larger beach attached etc. If I were to pick one lake I like the best, it would be the Felixsee (1). The water is so clear, and the lake is quite deep so there are barely any plants there. It is a perfect place for a daytrip in summertime – I would bike there but you can definitely get there by a car as well.

The tower itself is a ca. 30m high wooden structure and you can enjoy a nice view from the top – the lake, vast forests, some chimneys from the powerplants close by, and of course you can find some wind-wheels on horizont as well. To get some impressions, check out the gallery attached below.

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2) Rostiger Nagel, Senftenberg. N 51.527224, E 14.099115

I have acctually heard about Rostiger Nagel in class. So, we have decided to check it out afterwards, yet it was too far to walk from Senftenberg. Considering the fact, we had no clue in which direction the thing was – it was kind of spare-the-moment-trip-and-jump-on-the-train, we have ended up eating icecream in Senftenberg and returned home. Ever since, it was on my list of things to visit one day. So, last weekend I have finally manage to get there. 🙂

The tower is literally a 30m-tall rusty nail (Rostiger Nagel) placed in the middle of a former strip mine landscape which is currently being flooded. It was built out of corteen steel and has some impressive details as you can see in the gallery below. Waiting four years to see the thing, I was a little bit disappointed by this project. it might be a very impressive object but the landscape around is still transforming and I missed the opportunity to lay down on the beach and swim in the lake.

 

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Bedrich Schnirch. The first suspended steel roof.

I have been thinking about posting another recipe of a granola but then I have decided to write about more interesting topic this evening. I have noticed that I have not written about anything serious in a long time. Finally, a perfect idea crossed my mind yesterday. A lot of you guys liked the article on the folk architecture in Cicmany [link] and I thought I will do another piece on something very close to my heart. In the course of my studies, every time I attended a class where we were supposed to compose a paper, I have always been asigned to work on a topic with case study in Slovakia. To be honest, it is not an easy task to do especially if you have spent your college time aborad. I would usually have to look very hard to come up with something interesting. I have recently took a class ‘Design in existing context/ Renovation and alteration of architectural heritage’. It was a very interesting subject and I have learnt a lot about the industrial heritage – suspension bridges from the end of 19th century in particular. Anyway, I was supposed to write a short paper concearning a related topic. My problem was, Slovakia used to be quite agricultural land and the industrial revolution arrived very late, so I was short on interesting objects. There were no preserved suspension bridges to write about. However, I have accidentally stumbled upon an engineer Bedrich Schnirch and the rest of the paper came together very easily.

Bedrich Schnirch (in German literature Friedrich Schnirch, 1791-1868) was a czech engineer, inventor, and architect. He is known for designing the first suspended bridge on the european land as well as designign the first suspended bridge for a railway traffic. However, only few sources mention his work on the field of suspended roof constructions, neither do they mention his patent of a chain roof form 1826. Schnirch started designing and building bridges in Czech Republic, it used to be a part of Austria-Hungary back then, just like Slovakia, and later on moved to Vienna. The most of the bridges he had designed have been replaced over the time but there is one last from 1847 in Podolsko. It has been translocated to a new place, Stadlec, in the 1980s but it is still in use.[1] Considering the slow progress of industrial revolution in Slovakia, the time Schnirch has been working on his significant projects, all his structures vere build exclusively out of wrought iron. [2] The first puddling oven in Slovakia has been put into use in 1839. So, in his early projects, Schnirch was definitely using handmade steel parts. In the paper written on 10/1824 he describes several parameters of those emelents, e.g. the thinner the part was, the better strength the material performed in the experiments – comparing the determined overall tensile strenght of the mateial. The article (in German [3]) is looking at a hypothetical construction for a theatre, covered by a chain-roof, presenting a contemporary calculations concearning its load bearing behaviour. It is questionable, wheather was Schnirch fully aware of the Navier´s theoretical work on suspended construtions composed in 1823 [4] when composing this article. It could have been based on his own experience aquiried during planing and construction the bridge in 1823-24 in Staznice, span 29.71m.[5] Nevertheless, Schnirch introduced here the term suspended roof construction and has also registered a patent on the small chain-roofs. He presented this solution as a fire-resistant construction, as it would withstand fire for much longer than just a plain timber skeleton. According to the literature, by the end of 1820s, this solution has been implemented on five/six objects – Straznice, Tuřany na Morave, probably two structures in Český Brod and two in Banska Bystrica. 

The first prototype has been designed in Banska Bystrica in 1826. There have been found original plans of two buildings in archive in 1960s and afterwards have found one of them still standing. There have been released some short publication back then concearning this great discovery. However, the most publication – except for The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture :), do not recognise Schnirch as an inventor of suspended roof constructions. This one object is acctually still standing there and hundereds of people are walking by every day, not noticing. The house has been originally constructed in 15th-16th century, yet in 1826 it has got a new roof covering area of 12.4 x 25.6m. All in all, 26 chains in the distance of appx. 49.5cm are ankered in the facades and deflected over a two gothic masonry arches in the middle. Each chains is composed of 5 segments made out of crubicle steel with min. 0.8 x 2.5cm (1/3 Zoll x 1 Zoll) [6].

construction

The axonometry shows the load bearing principle and the main construction components. These have been added to the historical substance from 15-16th century in 1826. Vertically, the tensile force from chains is anchered into the facade which is balanced by its dead load. These anchors can be seen in certain areas underneath the plaster. The horizontal share is being distributed into the walls through additional  horizontal arches built upon the ceiling. The diverting is being carried out by two gothic arches built in masonry, these have additional tiebacks from flat-steel-profiles. The ethernit tiles has replaces the original roof coat and during this reconstruction, a wooden substructe has been added as well. The original roof coat has been built out of cast-iron elements – some of them have been found on site and documented (by third party). However, there are no available measurements. Looking at the holes, where the original wires have been attached to the main chains, an appx. 14,6 cm (equals ca. 5,5 Zoll = 14,487cm) interval has been noticed. On those, Schnirch proposed to hang cast-iron elements of 55 □ Zoll in his article and a sketch presented a rectangularly shaped tiles. So we could come to e.g. 10 x 5,5 Zoll (26,4cm x 14,5cm) big tiles which were overlaping by half of the length. For more vivid image, make sure to click through the gallery attached below. I have left out the structural analysis on purpouse as this article is not supposed to be too scientific. However, if you are interested in more details please let me know so in the comment section.

All in all, I have been fascinated by the simplicity of the structure and its good condition. It has passed about 160 years, yet the chains are (except for one split piece) still intact and the roof still suits it purpose. However, I have been disappointed by the ethernit plates and their wooden substructure which declassified the lightness of the suspended roof.

 

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NOTES

[1] Stadlecky most – link, originally built over Vltava in Podolsko, CZ. There is a video of translocation and the process of rebuilding it in Stadlec here. It is unfortunatelly in Czech, sorry. More impressions of the bridge could be find here.

[2] 1740 begins the production of crucible steel, the process has been invented by Benjamin Huntsman. However, the production in similiar ovens has started in Germany in 1823, thanks to Friedrich Krupp and his mild steel. In the mean time, Henry Cort has produced puddled steel in 1784 and England has become a leader in the business for many coming years.

[3] Ueber Dachstühle von Schmiedeißen, deren Leichtigkeit, Wohlheit und Anwendbarkeit, written in October 1824, published in Mittheilungen der k.k. Mährisch-Schlesischen Gesellschaft… 12/1824, 01/1825, incl. drawing.

[4] Calude Louis Marie Henry Navier (1785-1836) has contributed a great deal to Mechanics and Analysis through his life. In 1823, he published Rapport .. etc mémoire sur les ponts suspendus in French. It is a remarkable work regarding suspended bridge constructions and their static and dynamic behaviour, it is also responsible for the boom of suspended bridges in late 1820s. The paper has been partially translated into German in 1825 by J.F.W.Dietlein (1787-1837), Berlin. The full german version has been presented in 1829 by J.G.Kutschera in a paper Bericht an Herrn Becquen und Abhandlung über die (Ketten-)Hängebrücken von Herrn Navier. So, the only way Schnirch would based his article on the Navier’s work were if he understood French, which is possible, yet not proved. 

[5] The suspended bridge in Straznice has been erected as the first of its kind on the european land in 1823-24 and served till 1857(61). The first suspended bridge in steel has been builtby James Finley in 1801 in USA and the first in Europe came around 1817 – designed also by Finley.

[6] The contemporary units converted into metric system.

1 Linie – 1/12 Zoll
1 Zoll = 0,02634 m = 2,634 cm
1 □ Zoll = 1 Zoll² = 6,937956 cm²
1 cub. Zoll = 0,0000 1827 457 m³
1 Foot = 0, 316081 mm
1 Klftr (Klaffern) = 6 Foot = 1,896486 m
1 □ Klftr = 1 Klftr² = 36 □ Foot = 3,590494 m²
1 Unze = 28,349g
1 Pfd (libra) – österreichische Pfd = 514,37g = 0,51437kg
1 Cnt = 100 Pfd = 51,437kg
1Pfd/ □ Zoll = 0,070755 kg/cm²
1Cnt/□ Zoll = 7,0755 kg/cm²

Daytrip to Krakow

Living in central Europe, everything is pretty close to you – there are several major cities worth visiting, only few hours of drive away. Despite this fact, I have visited Krakow for the very first time this weekend.

I have read several very general articles about Krakow and have realised, one day will not be nearly enough. However, I have decided to stick to the idea of a daytrip and focused on visiting only the downtown area. It is after all a very nice place and if you wear the right kind of shoes, you will manage it just fine. When I was listing the places I wanted to see, I have looked for architecture from different eras. The main square, Rynek Glowny, has a rather historical character and is listed as a UNESCO site. So it is a must-see-place and be warned, you will meet there the whole army of tourists. Then, this huge crowd marches along the Florian Street and mainly the Grodzka Street – down to the Wawel Castle. Going to Krakow and not visiting these places would be a crime, so I took a look as well. I have been sort of looking forward the St. Marys Basillica and the view from the top of its tower, yet it is open only in summertime. What a shame. On the other hand, the church from inside is nothling like you would expected from a gothic cathedral – very glittery and colourful at the same time. If you like to know more about medieval time in Krakow, there is an exciting Underground Museum, where you can walk through catacombs and excavation sites underneath the Rynek. As the time was short and it was not so high on my list, I did not go.

Beside all the historical monuments, I wanted to see something more peacefull and new as well. Surprisingly, the majority of tourists does not leave the axis Florian St – Rynek Gl. – Grodzky St – Wawel. So, you have to literally take few steps aside and behind second corner, you will find yourself among casual people of Krakow. When looking for some new architectural projects, I have found two nice additions inside of the downtown district from the beginning of this millenium – both of them designed by Ingarden & Ewy Architects. So they have a similiar handwriting and are rare examples of modern additions into an historical urban pattern.

The first one, Malopolska Garden of Arts [1], is located in a grid between first and second ring and it about 10min walk from Rynek through a very exciting neighbourhood (no irony here – some historical facades, some modern add-ons, and some greenery as well). The building itself is a large ‘L’ and has two entrances from two sides of a block – one wing houses a library, the other accomodates a cultural center with a garden. Underneath the library, there is a nice cafe as well – and they have delicious cakes there :). If you are entering from the garden site, it is a labyrinth but be brave! It is a very quiet place with no signs of tourists what so ever – mostly young people chilling on beanbags, candle-light, soft music, etc.

The second project, Tourist Info Pavillion [2], can be found directly on the Grodzky Street. It is very simple and narrow volume – really just a pavillion. However, the is very grandiose space on the inside and as it is so much larger than it appears from outside. I  have been very surprised.  The facade looked rather strange from the street – especially if you are just a random tourist passing by. The three peculiar windows are acctually very nice stained-glass.

You should check out the gallery attached below for some impressions. I have took a lot of pictures, yet I cannot upload all of them, so here goes just a short preview of what to expect.

[1] Further information about Małopolski Ogród Sztuki at archdaily.com or are the official site.[2] More about the Pavillion here.

 

 

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Folk architecture, Cicmany.

The enchanting village Čičmany [1] is located in central western part of Slovakia enclosed by mountains Strážovské vrchy. Originally founded in 1272, the village has been declared a national monument of folk architecture in 1977 (Národná kutúrna pamiatka –  rezervácia ľudovej architektúry) due to its unique architecture, traditional clothing and embroidery. There can be found 33 listed objects  – log houses decorated with ornaments in white colour. Through the time, these patterns has developed from simple geometrical drawing into complex art and  have become a part of village´s identity, its trademark and national pride. It took me 25 years to pay this unique place a visit. I have had a good knowledge base going there as I have recently written a paper in school about it [2]. I am not going to bore you with more details. However, my obsession with folk architecture has to be elaborated further. 

I have been frequently asked the question ‘What is there to see in Slovakia?’ and as majority of my friends are foreigners, I have often played a tour guide as well. It is not an easy job to do so here. Slovakia has no pyramids, the number of expectional landmarks is very limited, neither would you find great museums here. Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is nothing like those other great historic cities in central Europe, e.g. Prag, Vienna or Budapest. I used to be very intimidated by this fact and have struggled for a long time what to show my friends. You have to know, Slovakia has been a part of Kingdom of Hungary, later a part of The Austria-Hungary Monarchy, and has only recently separated from Czech Republic [3]. Therefore folk traditions and local architecture were the only mean to form a national identity and the high culture has been absent for centuries. Yet, I have learned to look at things from different angle when studying architecture. I have reased, folk music and dance, traditional costumes, and vernacular architecture should be considered the greatest Slovak monument with all its intangible aspects and the best part is, they are being embraced even nowadays. 

Folk architecture is very unique and impulsive – it is never finished and constantly changing.[4] It is alive as long as there are people (folk) who maintain those traditions and it becomes extinct when the last member passes on. Unfortunatelly, folk architecture is lacking external publicity. You can read about renaissance palaces, gothic cathedrals, or english gardens – they all follow some specific set of rules, yet the folk architecture is a mystery. It works with random ideas, sometimes even very strange ones. That is the part I appreciate most about it.

However, Čičmany, its urbanism and structures themselves, is the only folk monument which was created based on plan. The majority of current urban pattern is based on master plan proposed in 1923 and most log-houses were constructed in 20th century. The reservation of folk architecture includes all in all 115 objects, 32 are listed on as heritage, yet only 3 houses have been built before 1921. Nevertheless, these objects represent a valuable documentation of original type of rural housing objects in the region, traditional building techniques and for the village characteristic decoration elements with unique emotional impressiveness.[5] Furthermore, the village is a rare example of preserving folk architecture under supervision of conservation experts, including architects and urban planners. Chosen approach to reconstruct the village as a whole unit after the destructive fires in 1907 and 1921 prove the historical and cultural significance of the place even at the beginning of 20th century. It is also one of few conservation projects in the central Europe from this period. We might not have Versailles in Slovakia but we definitely have plenty to offer as well – even some unconventional sights. 

The best part about folk architecture is, you do not need a college degree to understand it. It is quite straight forward, made by people for people, pleasing your eyes. You can check out some samples from Cicmany in the gallery attached below. It is like entering a kingdom of gingerbread houses.

 

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[1] Čičmany/Cicamny, Slovakia: N 48.956539,  E 18.516933

[2]  Living monuments vs. conservation – conserving heritage in use, case study Cicmany. If you are interested, please contact me and I will email it to you.

[3] The Slovak Republic was founded 1.1.1993. So it has been only 22 years of independency compared to centuries of being governed by other nations.

[4] There are roots of the term living monument.

[5] Some examples of ornaments could be found on p.8 in a Master Thesis of N. Simova (2013) here.

 

Seeing Istanbul (instead of sightseeing in Istanbul).

Visiting Istanbul two times and just passing by the Hagia Sophia? I can imagine, some people would consider it to be a crime – especially if you are an architect to be like I am. Still, I have intwntionally passed by it several times (even during its opening hours!).

Studying architecture, you come across Hagia Sophia right in the first semester. It is definitely one of the most important builgings ever built and there have been numerous publications written about how precious and valuable it is. As I have read
at least few of them, I am well aware of its importance and by skipping the visit, I did not want to belittle it at all. I have simply enjoyed other sights.

It has become a habit of mine, every time I visit a new town/city, I always get to its highest point to get an overview – a general impression of it. This often require walking uphill, e.g. Barcelona, Paris, or Bregenz. Sometimes the natural topography is too flat, e.g. Hamburg or Berlin, so then I at least climb few stairs or take a lift. This viewing from above helps me to create a map in my head of how the city is composed – of course, you can always just read a map but combining it with acctuall experience makes it more personal. So then, when I do my (sight)seeing, I pinpoint those to this mental plan. I often get ‘lost’ on my tours but I never get lost in the meaning I don’t know where I am. As an architect to be, I have been trained to read and understand maps and frankly, I do well. So, when I get lost it means that I go somewhere unintentionally or without any special purpose 🙂 Just wandering through streets, observing the everyday life can be more exciting than a visit of an overcrowded ancient monument. And that was the reason why I have skipped Hagia Sophia. I have seen so many perfect pictures of it that going in would be disappoiting.

It has been my experience that tourists develop a certain arrogance when walking in groups. They do not care if they get into your picture or whether they invade your personal space – as long as they get to see what those numerous guides have been talking about. So going to see that extraordinary space I have seen in mumerous perfectly staged pictures and studied about would destroy all my appreciation for it. Some things are better in our imagination.

So instead of viewing Hagia Sophia with tousand other peole, I have made my own list of sights which I went to see in Istanbul.

1st
If you are looking for a great overview of european side of Istanbul, you can always go to Galata tower. However, I would also recommend climbing up to Constantine fortification wall! I have barely met any tourists there – it might be because of the steep climb up (would not recommend for small children), but the view was so worthed as you could see the Golden Horn in its full length. Plus, I have found some nice cafes and restaurants right next to the wall remains and the delicious smell of turkish food on the street was almost surreal.

2nd
I am easilly impressed by ancient monuments or their ruins (afterall, I study architecture). However, I have been even more fascinated by rhose which are still in use. There are several byzantine cisterns in Istanbul which are worthed your time. [… to be continued.]

3rd
The food in Istanbul is really delicious. If you are looking for a lovely evening, get a ferry to asian side. No matter where you get (Uskudar or Kadikoy), it is so easy to find a nice market with fresh vegetable, cheese and other delicious stuff. I would say the nightlife in streets is not as wild as on european side but more sattle and cultural – perfect for an evening strall (even if you travel solo as I did!)

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