Monday, October 25, 2010

Guide to Lake Iseo, Italy

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Lake Iseo, also called Lake Sebina, is the fourth largest lake in the Lombardy region of Italy. The lake was formed by the Valcamonica Glacier, and is 24 kilometres long and up to 5 kilometres wide. This width is not always obvious as the largest lake island in Europe, Monte Isola, sits in the centre of the lake. The lake is situated just north of Brescia and Bergamo, this being reflected in the fact that it is administered on the western bank by the Bergamo district council, and on the east bank by the Brescia district council. The River Oglio, flowing down from the Val Camonica and entering between Lovere and Pisogne, mainly feeds the Lake from the north. The Val Camonica has thermal spas and prehistoric rock carvings. At the southern end of the lake lies the Torbiere, a peat bog and now a nature reserve. South of this lies the Franciacorta valley, producing the best sparkling wine in Italy.

On the eastern bank, a few kilometres up from the lake, is the Natural Reserve of the Pyramids of Zone, a unique formation of pillars created by uneven glacial erosion. The sixty-kilometre perimeter lakeside is dotted with villages and towns, the main ones being Iseo, Sarnico, Lovere, Pisogne and Marone. These towns are full of historical and cultural interest, yet it is pleasant to stroll along the promenade or linger over a drink in a café. There are a variety of water sports available on the Lake and fishing is popular with the locals, tench being the prized catch. There is a good selection of walking and cycling trails, and in Winter there is skiing north of Lake Iseo in the Presolano area.

Unique points

The fact that Lake Iseo is not well known outside Italy and therefore less touristy makes it more appealing. One of its biggest attractions is Monte Isola, the largest inland lake island in Europe, which is easily reached by ferry and with no cars on the island it is very peaceful, making it ideal for walking or cycling. There are also the Pyramids of Zone, where the erosion of glacial deposits has left pinnacles of earth up to ten metres high. On the western lakeshore are the bogns of Castro and Zorzino, sheets of limestone that plunge into the lake. North of the lake in Val Camino you can see hundreds of prehistoric rock carvings at the National Park of Rock Engravings and to the south of the lake is the Torbiere peat bog and Franciacorta, the area where the renowned sparkling wine is produced.

Getting there

Nearest airports

Bergamo (Orio Serio)



Milan (Malpensa)

Milan (Linate)

All of these airports are within reasonable travelling distance to Lake Iseo. Most international flights come into Milan Malpensa, although the low cost carrier Ryanair uses Bergamo and Brescia.

Car: travelling on the Milan Venice motorway (A4) to go to the West bank Of Lake Iseo you would come off at Sarnico junction and on to the SS649. To reach Iseo town, travelling east on the A4, you would also come off at Sarnico exit, and travelling west on the A4 you would turn off at Brescia up the SS510.

Public transport: There are regular connections by bus and train to Brescia from all the nearby airports, then connections from Brescia by bus and train to Iseo. The train continues up the east bank to Pisogne.

Once you have reached Iseo the most relaxing and picturesque option for getting around the lake is the ferry.

Guide to Lake Iseo, clockwise from Iseo town on the southern shores.


I am really fond of Iseo town; it has a relaxed ambience, wide squares and a lovely promenade with a fantastic view of the lake and Monte Isola. It is quite lively, mainly with Italian families and couples.

Iseo was a business centre in Roman times, and it was an important port until the end of the 19th century. The hero of Italian unification, Garibaldi, is celebrated with a statue and fountain in the main square. Also on this square is the Palazzo Vantini, built in the 1833s and now used as the town hall. The Pieve di S. Andrea dates back to the 12th century, and is distinctive because of its cusped Romanesque bell tower. The 11th century Castello Oldofredi was recently restored and now houses the public library.

Just south of the town are the peat bogs; Torbiere del Sebino is now a nature reserve. Lake Iseo was around 10 metres deeper in the past, but erosion of the bed of the River Oglio at the southern outflow meant that the lake level began to drop, cutting off a shallow basin, which gradually became a large marsh with peaty deposits. During the industrialisation of the 19th century local factories began using the peat as a source of energy, eventually excavating most of the peat deposits. Imagine digging up the peat using a caged spade with a five-metre handle!

Evidence of prehistoric settlement was found during peat cutting: stone arrowheads, blades and daggers dating from 5000 BC. Now the area is of great scientific interest and home to many species of bird and fish.

The Franciacorta region, south of Iseo, has become well known for its sparkling wine. In the mid 1950s a young entrepreneur started to make sparkling wine emulating the method using in the Champagne region of France. This means that the secondary fermentation of the wine occurs in the bottle, a process which takes around two years. Now this valley produces the legally protected Franciacorta wine, assuring it has been hand made using the traditional champagne methods in one of the thirty wineries in the area. Visits to the wineries and tasting sessions can be arranged. Wine lovers may wish to visit for the three days in September for the Wine Festival, with tasting, special meals and visits to cellars.

Villa Lechi, a Palladian style villa built in the 16th century, can be visited by appointment (phone 392 706 30087 to arrange) Just west of Erbusco is the Oglio North Park, on the eastern banks of the river.


Sarnico is the first resort heading west from Iseo. It was originally a prehistoric stilt village, as it stands where the lakes narrows and once again becomes the River Oglio. There are frescoes dating from 1200 AD in the church San Nazario e Rocca di Castione. You can still see ruined medieval ramparts.

For some Sarnico is best known as the home of the premier speedboat company Riva. One of the most fascinating aspects of the companys story to me is the journey of Pietro Riva from his hometown of Lagio on the Lake Como to Sarnico in 1842. The young Pietro was travelling to start a new job repairing boats in Sarnico; his 70-mile journey took him two days, travelling by boat, train and coach.

His repairs were so successful that he was soon being commissioned to build boats. The boat building business grew under Pietros son, Ernesto, who began produced boats powered by piston engines.

In 1912 Ernestos son Serafino achieved a speed of 24 kilometres an hour in a speedboat. Riva became a prestigious brand, sought by the rich and famous as a status symbol. However you no longer see speedboats on Lake Iseo because they were banned for environmental reasons in 1976!

Sarnico is home to the Bellini Gallery, a picture gallery exhibiting around 150 pieces, mainly from the period between the 16th and 18th centuries. The Gallery is in the old part of the city and was formerly a nunnery. Also on display are some sculptures and furniture.

The Palazzo to Sarnico rail line winds along Oglio River. Volunteers reopened this line recently. TrenoBlu as it is known is often steam hauled. The trains run during the Summer. There are rail connections from Bergamo and Milan.

Just outside Sarnico, heading east, stands the Faccononi villa, designed by one of Italys best Art Nouveau architects, Sommaruga, for the wealthy Faccanoni family. The villa on the lakeshore exemplifies Sommarugas trademark Floreale style.


The stretch from Tavernola north constitutes the most dramatic stretch of the west bank. Just try to blot out the quarry at Tavernola! Riva is a pretty fishing hamlet, full of arches and alleys. The old centre is up the hill at Zorzino. The Zorzino Bong, with its vertical slabs of limestone plunging Mount Clemo, creates its own enclosed bay. Further north is the Castro Bogn.


The Lovere area was occupied by the Gauls in the Iron Age, and by the second century BC the Roman settlement began to take form.

Lovere still has ramparts remaining from its period as a medieval fortified town. The oldest church is the 12th century Capell di San Martino. The town was famous in the 15th century as Venetian textile town. Most of the output of woollen cloth was sold in Germany and Austria. At the beginning of the 16th century there was a period of turmoil, with periods of rule by the French, the Holy Roman Empire and the Spanish, which greatly disrupted the production and distribution of the cloth. There was more strife later that century with plagues and famines. By the 17th century the authorities had tackled the security problem of bandits and some Lombardy noblemen began to travel to Lovere for their holidays. The Basilica of Santa Maria dates from the 15th century and houses a 16th century organ case and frescoes. The lakeside Palazzo Tadini contains the School of Fine Arts, a gallery with paintings, sculptures and ceramics. Count Luigi Tadini began this collection in his town house in Crema. The Tadini familys only son died in Lovere in 1799 where they often took holidays. Count Tadini provided the funds to built the Palazzo, in memory of his son.

The English writer and poet Lady Mary Wortley Montagu lived in a villa on the outskirts of Lovere in the 1740s. Lady Mary is said to have written many letters to her daughter in the villa garden, and been inspired to write poetry by the beauty of her surroundings. In fact she declined an invitation to the Venice carnival saying, there are plenty things to do in this village which, by the way, is one of the most beautiful that exists. Lady Mary came to live in Italy in 1741, supposedly for health reasons, although it is thought that she no longer wanted to live with her husband. Lady Mary had travelled to Turkey as wife of the British Ambassador and there she came across the practice of inoculation against smallpox. She had her own children inoculated but was never given proper credit for introducing the practice in Britain. Lady Marys daughter married Lord Bute, who became prime minister of Britain in 1762, a year after Lady Marys death.

Lovere has another literary connection in Georges Sand, the French novelist, who wrote of Lake Iseo to a friend in London, Come, I have found a lovely place to live. Georges Sands real name was Aurore Dupin, but she had taken a mans name as it was not deemed suitable for ladies to be novelists in the 19th century, and she often dressed as a man. She had a long-standing affair with Chopin. After their break up in 1847 she wrote the novel Lucrezia Floriana. The romance between a young Italian noble and an older lady is set on Monte Isola. It is said that this novel inspired many visits by ladies seeking romance to the area!

In 1854 Lovere joined the industrial revolution, with the development of the first large steel complex in the region. Lovere prospered as an industrial centre until the 1980s, but this has left a scar on the landscape.

Valle Camonica

As you head round the north of the lake, you may wish to have a slight detour to visit the Valle Camonica. This valley is 90km long and contains 41 towns and villages, making it the longest valley in Italy. The healing powers of the waters of the spa town of Boario Terme were written about as early as 1497 by the naturalist Paracelsus. The Italian writer Manzoni was a regular visitor, living to the age of 88. Nearby at the Capo di Ponte is the National Rock Engraving Park, with prehistoric rock carvings, dating from Neolithic times through to the Iron Age. The carvings relate to the history of the Camuni tribe throughout this period. It is an amazing site, containing thousands of figures: an enormous stone history book. One of the most common carvings is that of the Camonic rose, which is now the emblem of the Lombardy region. On this site is the Archeopark, an open-air interactive park where you can try out various daily prehistoric activities e.g. lighting a fire, shooting with a bow and arrow and grinding corn and baking bread. The Archeodromo is a realistic construction of a Neolithic village with six huts perched on a rocky hill. Some school groups stay in the village for a few days to get an authentic taste of prehistoric life. Personally speaking I think Id rather go back to my hotel bed and shower. The traditional art of woodcarving continues in this area. The Cammunian Wood Handicraft Workshops in Boaria Terme, where all types of objects from religious ornaments to babies cribs are produced, can be found in the area. A fusion of modern and 16th century techniques are used to craft the goods.


Pisogne was an important centre in medieval times for commerce - a large weekly market was held there. The town had a ring of walls and a system of gates but not much is left standing now. In the Market Square you would be hung in a cage suspended from the tower for non-payment of taxes due to the bishop. Tax was due on almost everything - fishing, hunting, milling, salt and iron. The bishops were forbidden to inflict any punishment that would cause loss of blood, so humiliation was the next best option to extract their dues. In 1518 eight women accused of witchcraft were imprisoned in the Widow Tower before being burned.

Just off Market Square is Santa Maria Assunta church, which contains a 150-year-old pipe organ. The facade of the Palazzo Fanzango is adorned with medallions depicting the characters from the book I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed) written by Manzoni. This is an important piece of Italian literature, telling the tale of how love triumphed for two peasants despite the efforts of a local tyrant. The book also has a vivid description of the spread of the Plague in 17th century Milan.

At the end of the 17th century, Pisogne was home to the notorious bandit Giorgi Vicario. There was not much brotherly loyalty between the bandits as Vicario tracked down and killed Giuseppe Techi for a reward. Techis head was delivered on a tray decorated with bay leaves to the authorities. A double whammy, a reward and less competition locally!

Pisogne hosts the local festival of mushrooms and chestnuts on the last Sunday in September.


Marone is situated in a beautiful spot in a green valley at the foot of Monte Guglielmo. There are ruins of a first century Roman villa, Co del Hela as you enter the town. On the lakeside is the Parrocchiale di tours, an 18th Century Baroque style church with a marble altar. Marone was well known for production of woollen cloth and felt and the quarrying of dolomite. Nowadays tourism is the main industry.

A few kilometres uphill from Marone on the road to Zone lie the Earth Pyramids. They are an amazing sight: thin spires of earth up to 30 metres high, with large granite masses perched on top almost like hats. The Pyramids are not static as they can erode, causing the boulder to fall and gradually new pyramids are created.

On the way to the Pyramids is the church of San Giorgio and on the outer sidewall are frescoes painted in the 15th century, including one of San Giorgio slaying the dragon.

Further up the hill is the village of Zone. As you ascend you can see what I initially thought was a ski lift, above the road. It is in fact suspended containers, which carry the dolomite down from the Calarusso quarry. In some respects it reminded me of a Swiss alpine village; the air was so fresh and crisp. There are two interesting churches on the Piazza Almici: The octagonal 18th century Beata Veringe di Lourdes and the 17th century Parrocchiale S Giovanii Ballista, containing wooden works of art by Andrea Falconi. The festival of honey is held in the town square at the beginning of August. From Zone there are several walking paths and, if you're feeling energetic, one to the summit of Monte Guglielmo.


The largest lake island in Europe is 3km long, rising to an elevation of 600m, and is sometimes referred to as the pearl of Iseo. Only public service four wheeled vehicles are allowed on the island. If you want to see more of the island you can rent a bicycle or use the local bus. There is also the option to take the gentle level walk along the southern coast from the village of Peschiera Maraglio to Sensole and return on the ferry from Sensole. If you are feeling energetic you can visit the 13th century Il Santuario della Madonna della Cerinole, which is situated at the highest point of the island.

The 14th Century Fortress Martinango is the ancestral home of the Olofredi family. It is one of the best-preserved forts in the region. It is unusual in that its highest tower is in the centre.

The population of the island is around 1700, with those not employed in tourism working as fishermen, in boatyards or making nets. In fact, the nets for the goal posts of the 1982 Football World Cup were made locally. Guess what - Italy won the Cup that year! There are still numerous naets, the typical wooden local fishing boats, to be seen. Some of the catch is left outside to dry in the sun in the traditional manner.

You can visit a traditional boatyard, Cantiere Nautico in Peschiere Maraglio, and see the construction of the handmade wooden boats.

I think that Monte Isola is a charming, tranquil place to visit, still relatively peaceful and relaxing. It is very thickly wooded, when you observe it from the shore its hard to imagine being able to reach the summit.

One of the big events on the island is the festival of Corzano, a hamlet that dates back to the 1600s. This only takes place every five years.

There are regular ferries from several towns on the lakeshore to the coastal villages in Monte Isola.

Suggested Itineraries

Day Trip:

Driving: it is possible to drive round the lake with a few stops in one day from Milan, Brescia or Bergamo and see unique sights.

Public transport: bus/train to Iseo, ferry trip from there. Trains from Brescia operate every hour, and it is a half-hour journey to Iseo, and they also go up to Pisogne, stopping at Sulzano and Sale Marsino.

Weekend/Short stay (2-3 nights) you could either be based in Iseo, spending a day visiting Monte Isola, one day visiting the west bank of the lake and one day on the east bank. An alternative would be to tour the lake in a day and spend a day either in Bergamo or Verona.

Iseo town would be a good base for day trips to the cities of Bergamo, Verona, Venice, Brescia, Vicenzia and Padova. Lake Garda and Lake Como are both nearby.

You can read to full guide to Lake Iseo at

Karen Bryan is a UK based indepedent travel consultant and writer specialising in less well known destinations in Europe. In her website, Europe a la Carte,, she demonstrates that you can see a lot more of the real Europe if you venture, even slightly off the well beaten tourist track.

Crafting wonders in silver with enamel laid

Russia has a history of beautiful crafts and art work that is known throughout the world. The most versatile and famous of the lot is the Russian silver and enamel work of the experts for ages and the beautiful tradition is still on.

There are many silversmiths which specifically, gestaltete.Es specialize in while the name of Peter Carl Fabergé stands with the Fabergé eggs he for the Tsar before the Russian revolution of 1917 has many other works of art in silver and enamel, both in connection with the Christian religion and the everyday who made silver inlay work of enamel was also done.

The process of working with this material with enamel inlay is a very ancient art and there are many methods of work with it.For crafting beautiful objects is vitreous enamel used that many excellent properties is hat.Es hard, smooth, translucent and handles bright long lasting Farben.Aufgrund of its durability and plasticity it was silver, copper in ceramic and stone objects in the form of beads, inlay work in stone, and is also extensively used in sculpture and paintings.
However, the objects are in hand from the Russian silver and enamel distinctive due to its processing and style of carving.

Generally is the style of metals with enamel inlay work in the champleve style of the French means "thrown". The surface is carved, so that it creates pits where molten enamel fires and leaves the base material exposed.

Cloisonné is another style of design such objects means what "cell" in French.Thin wires are placed, is applied to form cells or divisions, melting of the material or silver.The deposit is nice and glossy colourful.Silver and enamel known for creating elements such as candy owner, decorative items, spoons, bowls, bracelets, cups and Fabergé eggs.

Another way to create artistic designs on bracelets, Judaica and vases is filigree.A method of entails thin wires of silver that interwined is filigree and verwenden.Russische enamel inlay uses copper plates meshed form designs and objects or Finift for a Base.Es is another technique commonly used layers of enamel powder that where copper basis then compressed and gefeuert.Dies and each time it repeats precious gems and attachment points placed stones device be Russian silver is 925 standard of purity marked used during complicated enamel designs were, to enhance the beauty of silver.

By Russian silver and enamel to Mammoth Ivory writes for ivory and unique collection of artifacts Gallery Kunstgalerie.durchsuchen satin Choudhary, Anita.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The East side of the ancient Agora of Athens

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During the rule of Solon the Lawgiver, when the Athens Agora was taking shape, its eastern side was entirely free of buildings. The Dromos cut across the area diagonally, serving as a boundary. But since the city was growing, the need for public buildings was also increasing, especially after the Persian wars. Then it was that a great rectangular colonnade was built around structures that very likely belonged to one of the Athens courthouses, as indicated by a ballot box with judges' votes found there. During the Hellenistic period, Attalos of Pergamum donated to the city of Pallas Athena a magnificent, two-storey stoa, squaring off the Agora site and extending the business centre of the city east of the main road. These buildings were destroyed when the city was sacked by Sulla; but immediately afterwards, the Romans began a rapid reconstruction, an unerring measure taken by conquerors throughout history. On this side of the Agora, a library was built and then another stoa, beside that of Attalos. These and other structures were seen by Pausanias and Strabo when they came to Athens in the 2nd century AD.

Of the first long narrow stoa on the southeastern corner of the site, just a few vestiges remained because of the many changes the building underwent during the years after it was first built. Initially, the Stoa was on two levels along the Panathenaic Way, in order to compensate for the natural slope of the ground. It had eleven spaces for shops and a row of columns with Ionic capitals. It must have been a very busy spot, as shown by the figures of Herms, animals, and sundials carved on the first of the columns. The layabouts of antiquity also carved youthful profiles, some with lovely classical features and others created with the intent to ridicule.

The colonnade must have extended in front of the library beside it, of which nothing remains, because it was totally destroyed during the Herulian raid, but also because the wall put up afterward was built on top of the structures on this side of the Agora. Evidence of the inhabitants' anxiety after the sack of the city are the pieces of columns lying like wounded giants, in the hurriedly built wall.

This was the 3rd century AD, when the Roman Empire was confronting the threat of fierce Germanic tribes such as the Goths, Vandals and others, who had set out in the north, followed the river roads of eastern Europe and joined together with the nomadic tribes of the Caucasus. From there they spilled over into the Roman possessions around the Black Sea and Asia Minor. The Goths, together with their cousins, the Herulians, built a powerful fleet and sailed down into the Aegean sowing devastation. They captured Lemnos and Skyros, and destroyed Corinth and Argos while other cities were desperately and vainly building fortifications. In the sack of Athens, the Herulians destroyed everything except for the temple of Hephaistos and the sanctuaries on the Acropolis. The entire Agora was covered with a layer of ash from the buildings burned at that time. Many keys have been found which had been thrown into wells at that period, an indication of the despair felt by the frantic inhabitants. But the barbarian occupation did not last long. Encouraged by the fiery speeches of the orator Dexippus, the residents of Athens remembered how their ancestors had dealt with the Persians, and as one man, two thousand Athenians managed to expel the invaders.

Immediately afterward, they built a wall using rubble from the ruined buildings. The perimeter of this wall greatly reduced the area which the Athenians would have to protect in any future attack. The fortifications started under the Propylaea, from the position of the present Beule gate, descended to the east side of the Panathenaic Way, crossed the southeastern stoa and the library, reached as far as the back wall of the Stoa of Attalos, turned east for some meters and then turned south again, to touch the Acropolis rock. The extent of this fortification shows that the number of residents had already - dropped sharply. The wall was 11-1/2 meters high and 3-1/2 m. wide, it had two faces and the space in between was filled with column drums, inscriptions, pedestals of votive statues and sculptures of all kinds. Traces of one fortress tower and parts of a water mill have been preserved. Three gates have been identified with certainty on the west side, along the Panathenaic Way. But the most impressive part of the remaining wall, with the built-in column drums and the pieces of marble from earlier buildings, is on the site where the library of Pantainos once stood.

This was the intellectual heart of Athens, built around the end of the lst century AD. A long inscription has been found informing us that Titus Flavius Pantainos dedicated the entire structure with all its buildings and library with all its books to Athena Polias and the emperor Trajan. This same inscription enabled scholars to conclude that the building had a courtyard with rooms and roofed areas, as well as some outdoor stow. Another inscription demonstrated the strict operating regulations of the institution, which forbade the borrowing of the books on oath. Strangely enough Pausanias did not mention this library at all, ever partial to the sanctuaries of the gods and to more ancient structures. He treated the huge building next door, the Stoa of Attalos, with the same indifference.

Attalos of Pergamum, who built this magnificent Stoa, came from an adventurous dynasty which, although its roots were of Asia Minor extraction, had become fully Hellenized. Its founder was a certain Philetairos from the Pontus in whom the Macedonian Lycimachos had such confidence as to entrust his treasury to him to be kept in the fortress at Pergamum. The person who gained most from the disputes between Lysimachos and Seleucos over the division of Alexander the Great's enormous empire was this flexible Philetairos who found himself owner of all the goods entrusted to him. He founded the Attalid state which, between 283 and 129 BC developed into a centre of commerce and letters, largely due to the use of a new writing material derived from animal skins. It was, of course, not so new; from very ancient times, highly significant writings were recorded on a piece of thin leather called a diphthera. The Persians took this word and adapted it to their own language as defter, from which comes a Greek word meaning notebook. When, under the rule of the Ptolemies, Egypt prohibited the export of papyrus, the kingdom of Pergamum perfected the technique of making diphthera, to give it a finer texture, whiter colour and the possibility of writing on both sides. It also acquired a new name, pergamini or parchment.

The kings of Pergamum were great lovers of beauty. They adorned their capital with wonderful monuments, and superb sculptures. The "Dying Gaul" in the Capitol Museum in Rome, but above all the Altar of Pergamum in the Berlin Museum, bear witness to the high artistic standards of the period. The library of Pergamum, which was said to contain some 20,000 volumes, later was given by Mark Antony to the lovely Cleopatra to enrich the library at Alexandria. Finally, Attalos III, the last of his line, bequeathed this wealthy kingdom to the people of Rome by virtue of a controversial will, thus consolidating the Roman presence in Asia.

Two of the most significant scions of the Attalids, who alternated their rule of Pergamum, had studied in Athens. Each one, at the height of his glory, donated magnificent buildings to the city of their youth: the Stoa beside the Theatre of Dionysus, called Eumenes II, and the large Stoa in the Agora, Attalos II. Built in 150 BC at right angles to the slightly earlier Middle Stoa, the Hellenistic Stoa of Attalos became the new commercial centre of Athens for the next four centuries.

To construct the enormous base, or crepidoma, on which the stoa rested, the remains of an older peristyle which may have belonged to one of the 5th century courthouses, had to be covered. The Stoa was built in two tiers; it was about 117 metres long and 20 m. wide. Its facade, which faced west. was adorned by 45 Doric columns, unfluted at the bottom, as was the custom in the Hellenistic years, while in the interior, covered area there were 22 columns supporting a roof, all of which were unfluted with Ionic capitals. The facade of the upper floor also had 45 little Ionic columns which were joined together with decorated marble slabs: parapets to protect the people. There was an inner colonnade on the upper floor, as well, corresponding to the one on the ground floor. On each of the two levels, there were 22 square rooms suitable for use as shops. Initially the stairs leading up to the second level were outside, on the two narrow sides of the Stoa, as we can see traces of them on the northern edge of the ground floor roofed area, where the vestiges of a large marble fountain were also found. The outer, southern stairway was replaced by an interior one when the library of Pantainos was built to create more space between the two buildings. It has been restored and is used today. Later, a road passed over the south side of the Stoa of Attalos leading to the Athens gate at the boundary of the Roman Agora, where the commercial centre of the city continued to be during the centuries that followed. But even when the ancient Agora was no longer regarded as the business centre, it never ceased to be the main meeting place for the residents. Strabo, who came to Athens in the 2nd century AD, called the Roman market "Eretria", referring to the more ancient one by the same name his contemporary, Pausanias, used: "Kerameikos".

During the barbarian invasion, the Stoa was burned as seen from marks on the south inner wall. During the subsequent fortification, the solid structure built by Attalos was deemed suitable for a city wall. Then the shop facades were built, rows of columns were torn down and fortification towers were added all along the former stoa, leaving the Agora outside the protected district. One part of the back wall was dug up in the 19th century, and after the regular excavations in 1953, the Stoa of Attalos was fully restored by the American School of Classical Studies. Today it houses a museum on its ground floor, and in the roofed outdoor area there are statues, votive sculptures, inscriptions and stelae which bring to life many details of the past life of the City.

In front of the outer colonnade of the Stoa of Attalos, in the middle of the facade, a large square base was erected for a monument depicting the king of Pergamum in a chariot. Some years after the Stoa was built, a bema (raised platform) was also put up, from which orators and Roman generals could address the citizens of Athens, another indication of how much traffic there was in the area. The large number of bases of honorary monuments on the opposite side of the Panathenaic Way proves the same thing. Right behind these monuments are the ruins of the Odeion, one of the most greatly altered buildings in the Agora, owing to the many reconstructions and additions.

From various sources in antiquity, we know that the open, triangular space in the Agora next to the Dromos, was the venue for rituals and presentations, before the theatre of Dionysus was built. There were ikria here, wooden platforms from which the spectators watched the action unfolding. A brief reference even exists to the fact that one could see by climbing up on the branches of a poplar tree growing nearby. Perhaps this previous usage, together with the existence of a playing area and a large open space, was the reason why Agrippa built the Odeion on this precise spot.

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was Augustus' son-in-law and governor of the Eastern provinces of the Empire. Late in the 1st century BC, he offered the Athenians a magnificent building for performances or even for philosophical discussions, thus winning the coveted title of benefactor of the city together with an honorary monument at the entrance to the Acropolis. The design of the Odeion reflected the Roman taste for the grandiose; it utilised the natural incline of the ground in the best possible way, giving it plenty of space on the ground, with stoae, multiple levels and two entrances. The most impressive of these must have been in the south, right in front of the Middle Stoa.

Persons entering the Odeion from this side passed under two rows of Corinthian columns, then proceeded into the main hall with its very high ceiling projecting up above the building. From this point, one descended to the 1000-seat audience area, and from there to the semi-circular marble-tiled orchestra. Above the orchestra was the stage, behind which was the other, northern entrance with a small exterior gate.

The large dimensions of this hall must have been the reason why the roof collapsed a century after it was built. In the restoration which followed, a good many rows of benches were removed from the upper section, and the hall acquired perceptibly smaller dimensions. Now it had but one entrance, that of the north side, embellished with the statues of Giants and Tritons. After the barbarian raids, the building underwent another radical change of form, to house a gymnasium. Of its old facade, only four of the gigantic statues were kept, while behind it, a large flat area was levelled off to be used as a porticoed courtyard. Even farther back, rooms and more courtyards were built and equipped with bath facilities. The large number of these disparate areas can be explained by the custom of the ancients to have classrooms in their gymnasia. This custom provided the root for the modern Greek word gymnasio meaning secondary school.

Even though the Odeion was completely destroyed, the monumental 2nd century AD entrance remained, of which we can still see the bases and the statues of two proud representatives of the world of myth. One is a Giant with a snakish form and the other is a mature, strongly-built Triton with a fishtail instead of legs.

It has been ascertained that myths were generated at the dawn of human thought. Beginning with the superstitions of the early peoples up to the symbolism of the Platonists that expressed primitive totemism and interpreted metaphysical concerns, myth passed through various stages of evolution. But it always presupposed the distant past, because only then did events take on the dimension of hyperbole. A typical example was provided by the Romans whose own mythology was comparatively poor. In addition, they were practical and victorious army commanders and administrators who had no need of heroic models, nor were they generally renowned as being lovers of speech and poetry. But they adopted the Greek religion and liked to present mythological beings in their art.

Giants and Tritons were the remnants of Greek prehistory. The former were vanquished by the gods in a decisive battle for peace, because as children of the Earth - shown by their snakish tails - they represented natural phenomena such as storms, floods and disasters. One of these was Enceladus, who was buried under the island of Sicily and every time he moved, he created earthquakes. The Tritons were considered to be marine spirits and had a dual substance of both destruction and restitution; rather like a storm followed by calm. Although Triton appears as the son of Poseidon and Amphitrite in Greek mythology, he may very possibly be of foreign origin.

A gold Mycenean ring shows some creatures wearing a strange, scaly garment. There are Babylonian ring stones and Assyrian seal stones in the British Museum, depicting forms that are half human and half fish, while at Pasargadae in Persia, a gate has been found on the jamb of which there is a relief representation of such a dual-form being. Eusebius, a 4th century Christian chronicler, mentioned similar creatures who appeared, he said, during the years of the Babylonians. Eusebius found this information in the texts of Apollodoros, a 2nd century BC historian and philosopher who was interested in the genealogy of the gods before the Flood. Apollodoros' main source was a "Babylonian History" written in Greek in the 4th century by a priest named Berosos from Bithynia. Having access to the cuneiform texts of the Chaldeans, Berosus learned that in the very ancient times, an amphibian creature named Oannes had arisen from the sea. This strange being civilized humanity with its superior wisdom. Other Oannes also appeared from time to time, always bearers of abundance and knowledge. The Sumerians worshipped this figure as a god named Enki, while the Babylonians called the same divinity Ea, i.e. god of the waters, and believed that his palace was in the city of Eridu on the Persian Gulf. It is strange to consider the fact that in western Africa there is a tribe called the Dongons, who believe that knowledge about the movement of the stars was imparted to them by wise amphibian creatures. Then of course there is the Gorgon or mermaid of more recent Greek folklore. So it would appear that the Triton of the ancients is a timeless being, with distant alien ancestors as well as more recent local descendants.

In Pausanias' book Boeotica, there is a very interesting reference to Tanagra. The men of the region, he said, managed to catch a Triton by trickery and beheaded it because it was annoying their wives. The traveller described the headless body, which he claimed to have seen displayed in the city, and, in fact, described an amphibian, unpleasantly anthropomorphic being. The Triton of the Odeion was a beautified version of this mythic creature which has so captured the human imagination.

In front of the gigantic statues at the entrance to the Odeion there was a large temple of Ares. Today nothing of this building has been preserved other than its outline - distinguishable from the rest of the site because it is covered with gravel - a few slabs with relief shields, and some scattered parts of columns and capitals. Many of the latter bear the characteristic notches made by Roman masons, even though the rock was cut in the 5th century, showing once more that the temple had been initially built somewhere else, and was brought here bit by bit and rebuilt together with its later altar during Roman rule. The citizens of classical Athens were not particularly interested in erecting a temple to Ares, the violent, strongly built, and not exceptionally intelligent, god of war; especially when their city was protected by Promachos Athena, she of organised defence and cool strategy. But the Romans held Ares (Mars) in high esteem as the divine leader of their legions. The prevailing opinion of scholars as to the initial position of the temple of Ares in the Athens Agora is that it was originally situated in Acharnes, where there is known to have been a sanctuary of the god. A cult of this kind would have been absolutely logical there, given that this Attic Deme was situated at the border which had to be guarded against enemy raids, and the war-loving Ares, pugnacious and always ready for a fight, was the most appropriate protector of the borders. One should also point out the mingling of two extreme states in the erotic relationship between warlike Ares and the tender goddess Aphrodite. The union of these two totally different divinities generated the all-powerful Eros, who could calm even his fierce father, and Harmony who brought the equilibrium into this contradictory world.

Pausanias gives us only one fleeting mention of the temple of Ares, because, when he passed by the site, he was mainly interested in the statues in and around it. Some of these statues have been identified in the truncated sculptures found nearby and now exhibited in the Agora Museum. Others have been lost forever: such as the 6th century statues of the tyrannicides Harmodios and Aristogeiton. These statues were booty which Xerxes took to Persia where they remained until Alexander the Great regained them and sent them back to Athens. The tyrannicides were considered worthy of respect as symbols of Democracy; they were also the first mortals to be honoured by having statues erected to them, a privilege hitherto reserved only for gods and demigods. The statues had been placed on this side of the Agora because this was probably where Hipparchos was killed. His death was decisive in bringing down the tyranny instituted by his father, Peisistratos. Thucydides told us that this bold action took place on the day of the Panathenaia, when the tyrant was supervising the preparations for the procession. We also know that the celebrants' point of departure was the Altar of the Twelve Gods, the city's main crossroads.

This significant Altar had been built in about 520 BC on the northern edge of the Agora, the apex of the imaginary triangle which constitutes its area. Within a walled enclosure, it had become established as the place where the underprivileged, the persecuted and even badly treated slaves sought sanctuary. Perhaps this was why Pausanias wrote that he saw an Altar of Mercy: an obvious reference to sanctuary, which led -most archaeologists to conclude that these two names referred to the same altar. Of the structure itself there are no significant traces, because the train line passed right over it. This railroad line is for visitors the northernmost boundary of the Agora, even though there were in antiquity, important buildings on the other side, which have not yet been fully excavated and studied.

Athens Maps are always useful to know the whereabouts in Athens Greece and be able to find hotels such as Electra Palace Hotel.

Modern techniques involved in stone carving

All through history one of the most powerful expressions has stone carving of creative education to endure the test of time represented. Knowledge and traditions of the ancient Greeks and Romans are displayed in the huge building and complex feature in this by their nation carving sculptures all.

We have a knowledge of the ancient Egyptians and your company because of the huge pyramids and stone carving hieroglyphs, recording to see history for each.Also modern civilization has create artistic illustration for company and capturing the essence of our greatest leaders influence in carving monuments verwendet.Mit stone carving, stone carving no shock having its society and history, trying to find large numbers of people, create your own carving piece.

If you are looking to the exercise of carving give stone, there are a number of techniques and strategies you should be familiar with tools to make your artistic ability to maximieren.zuerst their essential to identify the primary which all carving craftsmen regardless of their current ability level require. To start to look a person like the stone creative talent affects an individual's chisel.

There are a variety of stone chisel provided, to the sculptor and reduce the time of creation and craftsmen to create your preferred result will aid have all the correct stone chisel.Keep in mind when working with stone masonry is no easy smash down to one image displayed wird.Jede chisel is a particular reason remove big chunks of stone masonry, to small groves in the stone walls, place stone chisel to gently smooth the stone and the planned image accents.

While the use of suitable stone chisel used in combination with the carving weighted hammers the main tools in this art creation were properly is highly developed technology to the stone carving artist would Beihilfen.Eine tool such as the diamond solid drills help stone carving artisan to go a long way in conveniently cut and drilling in the solid surface stone masonry.

Some artists avoid the use of modern technology such as the diamond full drill for the preference of the traditional tools, although most have adopted the diamond-drill technology, as a source to speed up the stone carving process and increase the chances of your favorite piece to schaffen.Die diamond full drill is an equipment such as the stone chisel and the stone hammer and must be used to aid of the craftsmen in their quest, as the stone artists of in history the most advanced technology available to you in the stone chisel and hammer used.

To find out more visit the Stone Carving tools and where you use your artistic Wizard

All you need to know about craving craft

Crafts are generally created by hands. Meanwhile, the request craft is a member that is carved on some materials such as stone, wood, metal, or ivory. However, to carve the materials need a persistence, skill and artistic sense.

Meanwhile, the wood carving craft is a carving craft that is applied to materials made of wood.In this case, carving is a technique materials are special and unique to carve the materials machen.Um people use typically tools such as carving chisels.

Carving art is a literary work of Visual Forms.In processing this art Kruwikan has characteristic with a harmonious arrangement, so it's no wonder that there are aesthetic value hat.Carving art itself in different materials containing wood, metal, ivory, stone and other materials, usually angewendet.Unterdessen are the forms of this art stylization of natural forms including plants, animals, clouds, water, people and many more.

Along the time carving art from wood, metal, porcelain, gold, ivory applies to different types of furniture and decorative or artistic elements, woven fabrics and many more.

One of the examples of carving art is Bali craft.Bali craft is one of the craft, which is known for its uniqueness.Bali has made in fact, a wide range of craft products like wood carving, souvenirs, Bali scrubs, aromatherapy, bags, shoes and Bali Sandalen.Haben with the existence of art and culture in Bali Bali handicrafts high artistic value and high taste be used as decoration for home, Park, hotel and Office.

Finding crafts, should try, high quality products at wählen.Suchen, a quality you have not only to the price during the samples of products, not guaranteed ist.Man can say that the products are qualified if you find the manufacturing process of the products you see.

In the development of crafts people using by hand, not only can but also through laser engraving machines craft erstellen.Je for different devices can the quality of the engraving machines strong variieren.Aus therefore is that best choice to go to get a variety of engraving machines with reasonable price, which matches with your application.

Historical Hampi provides A soul-soothing experience

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It is not every day that one gets a chance to break free from the clutches of mundane, unexciting and routine life in the city and holiday at an exotic locale far away. There was a feeling of sheer exhilaration at the prospect of a quiet break from the monotony of our urban existence. The combination of Dasara holidays and a weekend gave us an opportunity to undertake our long awaited holiday amidst the 12-15th century ruins of Hampi - the globally renowned heritage holiday destination sited 355 km from Bangalore.

We were team of five hardcore adventurers, campers and heritage admirers. Our team comprised of Kishore Patwardhan, Shiva Kumar, Sree Krishna, Mahesh V and myself. Fully fired up with anticipation we embarked upon our sojourn with an aim trek among the rocks and cliffs of Hampi, the headquarters of the Vijayanagar empire during the 13-15 centuries.

Hampi - a world heritage site

Hampi is a world famous heritage tourism destination and one of the 16 Unesco recognised World Heritage Sites in the country. Once home to a cultural efflorescence involving sculptors, musicians, artists, and artisans who worked together to translate the lofty vision of the Vijayanagar princes into enduring monuments, Hampi is currently an underdeveloped village which doesn't even have a proper tar road. The ruins sprawl over an area of 26 sq. km and are evocative of ancient Hindu kings' pomp and glory. The opulent palaces, temples and massive fortifications are built with such ingenuity that they blend naturally with their surrounding rock formations, and appear as though they have just grown out of them.

Sited on the banks of the graceful Tungabhadra, amidst massive boulders and craggy hills, Hampi was the capital of the ancient Vijayanagar empire which controlled the Deccan for over 200 years from 1336-1565 AD, and reached its zenith during the reign of Krishnadevaraya, its most famous emperor. Following the death of Krishnadevaraya in 1529 AD the neighbouring Muslim Bahamani rulers coalesced and attacked Hampi. The invading armies ran amok in the town, destroying its beautiful temples and monuments left the once grand city in ruins.

Present day Hampi is divided into four distinct sectors - Venkatapura to the northeast, Hampi towards the northwest, Kodirampura to the south and Kamalapura to the southeast. On the opposite bank of the river is Anegondi, the old capital of the Vijayanagar empire which hosts a massive fort and other monuments. Several imposing monuments are in various stages of ruin and under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) - a Central government body mandated to protect and maintain all historical sites in the country. Though the ASI has commenced restoration and protection of the site, its efforts don't seem enough. Severely understaffed, it is unable to prevent insensitive tourists from littering and vandalising the monuments already crumbling under the pressure of the elements.

Thus far the ASI has identified and restored about 121 major monuments in Hampi and has installed explanatory signboards and information plates in front of each one of them. Easy to read, digitally printed maps have also been placed in strategic locations amidst the ruins to help tourists find their way to monuments of their choice. ASI trained guides are available to show visitors around monuments (guide fees: Rs.150-500 per day). For those who would rather wander in the ruins on their own, vehicles are available for hire: bicycles (Rs.100-200 per day) and motorbikes (Rs.300-500 per day excluding fuel). Autorickshaws driven by self-styled local guides are also an option.

Day 1 - Drive to Hampi

The 355 km journey from Bangalore to Hampi situated in the Bellary district of Karnataka began on October 12 at 8.15 pm. The first 25 km out of the garden city was a tortuous jostle through traffic-clogged streets. The next leg, a stretch of about 200 km on the NH-4 (National Highway-4) upto the famous fort-city of Chitradurga was fast and smooth on the new toll highway (Rs.10 per trip per car) built as part of the Golden Quadrilateral project. The remaining 120 km stretch on potholed National highway-13 which links Hampi via Hospet with Chitradurga was a bumpy and slow ride, we finally reached Hampi at about 4 a.m.

Day 2 - Temples tour in Hampi's main bazaar area

Having reached at an unearthly hour (4 a.m), we decided to pitch a tent and camp out amidst the mountains on the manicured lawns of the Hampi Vidyaranya Math - a religious institution which administers the Virupaksha temple for our much deserved siesta. The local administration collects an entry fee from all vehicles entering Hampi (Rs.30 for cars, Rs.45 for buses and Rs.5 for two wheelers).

After a short nap and a refreshing swim in the Tungabhadra, we set out to explore Hampi and its heritage monuments. The first stop was the Virupaksha temple in the main bazaar area, Hampi's largest operational temple complex. The massive mahadwara(main entrance) leads into a vast open courtyard of the beautiful stone temple supported by intricately carved pillars and friezes. Perhaps the most striking feature of this 15th century temple is a small dark cubicle behind the sanctum sanctorum, where an inverted shadow of the imposing rajagopuram (entrance cupola) is reflected on the wall opposite - evidence that the pinhole camera technique, and the properties of refraction and dispersion of light were perfected and practised in India well before they became known in the western world. The tallest structure in the ancient town, rajagopuram of the Virupaksha temple is clearly visible from as far as Kamalapuram about 5 km away.

After marvelling at the Virupaksha temple, we climbed the adjacent Ratnakuta hill strewn with several small abandoned temples. Contiguous to Ratnakuta is the Hemakuta hill, scattered with temples and large dolmens. Conspicuous among the buildings atop the Hemakuta hill is Sasivekalu (mustard seed) Ganesha, a 12 ft tall monolithic image of the elephant god enshrined in an open pillared pavilion. Consecrated in 1506, the statue depicts four-armed lord Ganesha seated in the ardha padmasana yogic. Another monolithic idol the 18 ft Kadalekalu (Bengal gram) Ganesha also enshrined on the Hemakuta hill is installed in a fine dolmen supported by attractively carved pillars and friezes depicting gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon.

With the sun beating down mercilessly, we took a lunch break and rested in the cool shade of the ruins. Refreshed we traversed a rough footpath to the sprawling Achyutaraya temple about 500 metres from the main bazaar. The temple has some of the most decorative carvings found in the ruins and was built by Salakaraju Tirumaladeva, chief officer of king Achyutaraya, predecessor of Krishandevaraya. A towering gopuram at the entrance leads into the temple's carved halls and sub shrines. An important shrine inside is dedicated to Agni, the God of fire.

We capped the day's activities with a visit to the top of Mathanga hill. Climbing a steep flight of 600 steps which weave and wind their way between massive boulders and through caves was well worth the effort. The view from the summit, of the sunset flooding the ruins of Hampi with crimson light, offered an awesome vista.

Day 3 - Tour of the royal enclosure and more monoliths

Venturing deeper into Hampi ruins, we took in the magnificent 26 ft tall monolithic statue of Lakshmi Narasimha (the half-lion-half-man incarnation of Vishnu), seated atop the giant coils of the seven-headed serpent god Adishesha. Consecrated in 1528 on the orders of Krishnadevaraya, the sculpture originally depicted the divine consort Lakshmi seated on Narasimha's lap. It is popularly believed that the monolith was mutilated and the Lakshmi idol hacked to pieces by raiding armies. An idol of Lord Shiva, known as Badavalinga, is sited in the immediate vicinity. The 12 ft tall lingam carved out of shiny black granite rises out of a shallow pool of clear water.

Our next stop was to Hampi's most famous Vittala temple, 5 km by road or 3 km cross-country trek through rocky hillocks or by road. We opted for the latter, a decision which provided a memorable experience. En route were monuments far removed from the tourist circuit - Purandara Mantapa on the banks of river Tungabhadra; and the King's Balance where it is believed the Vijayanagar princes weighed gold and silver ornaments received as tribute from subordinate kingdoms.

The Vittala temple is perhaps the finest example of Vijayanagar architecture. Originally constructed by king Devaraya (1421-1440), it was further embellished during Krishnadevaraya's reign (1509-1529). The temple comprises an impressive rajagopura, a sabha mantapa (congregation hall), narasimha mantapa, kalyana mantapa (wedding hall), utsava mantapa (function hall) and several small devi shrines in the passageways. The pillars hewn out of single granite blocks with carved friezes, produce musical notes when tapped gently, prompting the mantapa to be christened the Hall of Musical Pillars.

Yet perhaps the most breathtaking structure in Hampi is the amazing Stone Chariot installed inside the Vitthala temple. This life-sized chariot carved out of stone and 22 ft tall, is testimony to the skills of the stone carvers of the Vijayanagar era. The intricately carved monolithic stone wheels of this chariot rotate on its axle with the precision and detailing of their sculptures inspiring awe.

A little distance away is the grand Hazara Rama temple, originally built by Vijayanagar kings for private worship. The temple which stands within a walled enclosure exudes an air of elegant serenity when the soft moonlight illuminates its beautiful friezes, even as its rock sculptures glisten in the rays of the morning sun. The relief sculptures on the walls and temples depict scenes from the epic Ramayana.

Our next stop was the Royal Enclosure, which contains the Lotus Mahal, elephant stables, Zenana enclosure, the Mahanavami Dibba and the stepped tank. The Zenana enclosure or the queens' quarters is an eclectic blend of Hindu and Islamic styles of architecture, surrounded on all sides by tall watchtowers - most of them in a state of ruin. The elegant Lotus Mahal appears suspended like a floating palace on a full moon night. Close by are the elephant stables, a majestic row of 11 domed stalls, with arched connecting doorways. One of the palaces here has been converted into a museum which displays an impressive collection of royal artefacts.

The enormous platform known as Mahanavami dibba with a floor area of 5,300 sq ft, served as a festivities viewing platform for kings, consorts and royal officers. About 30 ft above ground level, it is decorated with intricately carved horses, soldiers, a couple of foreign looking dignitaries, and a scene showing girls frolicking in water. The vantage view of the Tungabhadra as it silently winds its way through the rocky cliffs is enchanting. Another must-see monument here is the stepped tank, about three metres deep, into which water was fed by a series of stone channels, an example of expert engineering techniques developed several centuries ago.

Day 4 - Anegondi and return to Bangalore

On the last day of our excursion we set out early morning for Anegondi, 35 km by road, reluctantly refusing the option of crossing the river on coracles, plied by local fishermen. A proposed bridge to link these two villages has been stalled by Unesco because under the World Heritage Council rules, there should be no modern construction on heritage sites. Anegondi formed the northern outpost of the Vijayanagar Empire and its once mighty fort is now in ruins. The main landmarks of this village are the Ranganatha temple, Huchchappayana Matha, Pampa sarovara and Nava Vrundavana.

The sprawling Ranganatha temple is sited in the centre of Anegondi from which we visited the Pampa sarovara, a large water body set amid rocky hillocks. A short coracle ride ferried us to the Nava Vrundavana, a highly venerated temple housing nine shrines dedicated to Madhva seers (theerthas) - Padmanabha, Kavindra, Vageesha, Govinda-wadiyar, Vysaraya, Raghuvarya, Srinivasa, Rama and Sudhheendra - dating back to 12th-16th centuries.

Returning from Nava Vrundavana by coracle, the next stop was Anjanadri Hill, about 6 km from Anegondi. This rocky formation topped by a Hanuman temple, presents a striking visual when viewed from Hampi. Surprisingly the entire hill including the temple is being managed by self-styled ganja smoking, Hindi-speaking sadhus aka godmen who continuously recite verses from the Ramayana. The best feature of Anjanadri is the marvellous view it offers of the surrounding countryside. Amidst rugged cliffs, the mighty Tungabadhra flows calmly and gracefully offering fantastic sunset and sunrise vistas.

On the return journey back to Bangalore, the only stop en route was at the Tungabhadra Dam, Hospet, about 22 km from Hampi. It encloses waters spread over 400 sq km, making it the largest multi-purpose dam in Karnataka, generating 27 MW of electricity annually and also irrigating several thousand acres of land in Bellary, Raichur and Chitradurga districts. Recreation facilities in the form of fountains, beautiful walks, children play park, an aquarium and a musical fountain are also on offer.

Our four-day sojourn in the ancient ruins of Hampi made us aware that there's more to this world heritage site than is generally depicted and promoted. Though the ruins span only 26 sq. km, the list of monuments identified by ASI features over 121 temples and other monuments of which we had visited only a few. A good enough reason to revisit this psychologically uplifting seat of an ancient empire which is testimony to the architecture and town planning capabilities which we are heir to.

Getting there.

Hampi is sited in central Karnataka and is well connected by rail, road and air.

Rail. The nearest railhead is Hospet from where one has to travel another 15 km by road.

Road. Regular bus services are available from Bangalore to Hospet 15 km from Hampi.

Air. Bellary (74 km) is the nearest airport; other convenient airports are Belgaum (190 km) and Bangalore (353 km).

The best time to visit Hampi is from September to February. Summer months can be quite unpleasant with temperatures soaring above 380 C.


Hampi offers a few hotels with rudimentary facilities viz, Hotel Mayura Vijayanagar, Pampa Lodge, Naga Lodge among others priced in the range of Rs.60-150 per night.

Hospet has many hotels offering better facilities. Hotel Malligi (Rs 140-700 per night), Priyadarshini (Rs 140-500), among others.

Eating out in Hampi. Numerous small eateries and cafés line the road in the main bazaar area catering to every taste and season - South Indian, North Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, Italian - and include ice cream parlours, fresh fruit stalls etc. This is probably because every second traveller to Hampi is a foreigner.

Hampi Festival. Every year in November, the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) organises the grand Hampi Utsava to attract visitors to this far-flung locale. This year's festival is slated for November 3-5.

Tips to travellers

Heat. Hampi is a hot expanse. There is little shelter across its vast area except a few trees and the ruins themselves. Even in winter, afternoons are very hot. A water bottle, sun cap or umbrella is advisable paraphernalia while exploring Hampi.

The river. The Tungabhadra is treacherous and should be avoided except by good swimmers. Since the river flows through rocky and boulder-strewn terrain, judging the depth is difficult and underwater, the rocks are slippery.

For more information about Hampi visit

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Precious metal clay techniques

Precious metal clay (also known as PMC) is easy to use and endless opportunities in art, crafts and jewelry. One of the most versatile and malleable forms for the production of detailed available and complex jewellery, sculptures or other creative pieces is processed much faster than traditional metal blacksmithing PMC. PMC, sometimes silver tone, called works the same way of how many art clay substances. However, metal will leave after drying triggered sound burning the binding agent and the precious metal. The popularity of this Adaptive material is growing because the usability, flexibility and diversity that it offers both artist and jewelry.

Precious metal clay is a soft-like substance that sound has the same moulding properties as art.Ideal to create any size, shape and form, sound for complex pieces with unique details can used be scanned.the flexible and moist texture allows the sound in forms with different designs and details to be moulded.

These qualities mean that there techniques when working with precious metal clay, making it an exciting and flexible medium with arbeiten.Es plenty of scope for interesting and complicated designs and textures with methods such as stamps, etching, adding stones and other design techniques to are there different types of metal sound as well as diversity in the amount of metal in the solution and the time required for the organic binder removed the dismissal during the process to create silver, gold, bronze burn copper or steel pieces.

Setting techniques

Once you have your basic form, you can create unique and interesting jewelry pieces by setting different kinds of precious stones, beads or glass in the finished metal piece.This must be set in the metal, once the firing process completed, many different ways ist.Es to avoid damage, the stones can be set in the metallic sound, depending on what materials are used.

Stones can directly in wet Art Clay, set, is embedded with the widest part of the stone when the sound is shrinking fired and that engages stone.Alternatively set stones after the sound is to produce dry and with a small drill to the hole where the stone will sit, ground.A touch of adhesive can also be used to help keep the stone in position.

Texturing techniques
There are many ways in which your PMC creations, texture with standard etching and carving techniques to more creative methods of metal clay chips, frosting, sound Appliqus and syringing added.

To achieve a unique and interesting texture, shave or rub dried metal sound and add chips to an existing piece of music. for a frosted look a thick layer of paste use sound and a scraper or icing knife to a broad influence to erstellen.Eine other popular texturing technology to create shapes from precious metal clay and attaching with water for the existing Design.Die sound are endless options for creating interest and diversity in metal.

Adam Hunter - E-Commerce Marketing Manager of precious metals offer a choice of supplies from over 10,000 products including gold and silver wire, jewellery findings, tools, art sound and operator-precious metal - gold, silver, Platinum and Palladium as well as technical information for jewelers, jobber, designers, craftsmen, artisans and students.

Contact for interviews, quotes, pictures or comments:
Adam Hunter
E Commerce Marketing Manager
Tel(DDI): + 44 (0) 121 212 6491