Tag Archives: sea

Macedonia – Ohrid

 

Macedonia-UNESCO-Ohrid

Situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid, the town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mainly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it has the oldest Slav monastery (St Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons dating from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. After those of the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow, this is considered to be the most important collection of icons in the world

Writing, education and Slavonic culture – all spread out from Ohrid in the 7th to 19th centuries. It is a cultural centre of great importance for the history not only of this part of the Balkan Peninsula, but also for all nations of the Slavonic tongue and for world history and literature, with precious manuscripts and other rarities. This city and its historic-cultural region are located in a natural setting of exceptional beauty, while its architecture represents the best preserved and most complete ensemble of ancient urban architecture of the Slavic lands.

Ohrid is one of the most ancient human settlements in Europe, containing as it does Neolithic archaeological sites and others from the Bronze Age and the Hellenistic period. With its numerous prehistoric sites and its traces of the material culture of more than 5,000 years ago, Ohrid is indeed an archaeological treasury and the surroundings of the lake can be styled a magical land of archaeology. More than 250 archaeological sites with material remains dating from between the Neolithic period and the late Middle Ages have been excavated.

Within the very heart of the present city of Ohrid lies the antique city of Lichnid, significant and rich, as is its successor. The metamorphosis of ancient Lichnid into medieval Ohrid took from the 6th to the 9th century, creating one of the most significant medieval cities in the Balkans. The Ohrid saga reveals memories of the birth of Slavic literacy and culture in the works of St Clement and St Naum; St Clement is worshipped as a patron of the city: his three decades of work in the city (886-916) initiated the foundation of the Clement Slavic University.

In the old part of the town lying on the hillside below the double ridge of Lake Ohrid, which came into existence in a remote geological period as a result of tectonic shifts, are to be found remains of ancient temples and basilicas as well as numerous churches and chapels, built from the 9th to the 14th centuries.

The ancient Slavonic St Clement’s Monastery of St Panteleimon at Plaosnik was resanctified on 11 August 2002 when, after many years, the remains of St Clement of Ohrid, the first Slavic Bishop (893) and founder of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, were returned to this temple.

Archaeological excavations of the cathedral church of St Sophia, which is situated at the foot of the hilly part of Ohrid and close to the lake, show that it was built on the foundations of an early Christian basilica and was reconstructed at the time of Archbishop Leo (1037-56). The name of Theoranius, one of the most important painters of the 14th century, has been discovered on the archangel’s sword in the ‘Repentance of David’ fresco on the first floor in the Church of St Sophia and on painted frescoes and icons for the other churches of Ohrid. The frescoes of St Clement’s Church of the Holy Mother of God are primarily distinguished by the artists’ obvious tendency towards individual characterization of the portraits and a marked effort to move away from iconographic stereotypes.

On the pillars in the narthex of St Naum two inscriptions are to be found: made by priests, they are valuable documentary evidence of the development of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic scripts in the Ohrid region. The monumental Early Christian Episcopal Church lies in the hilly part of Ohrid. The Church of St John the Evangelist (or Theologian) at Kaneo, built and decorated towards the end of the 13th century, is of great relevance to a study of Ohrid’s medieval monuments as it is a highly successful combination of Byzantine and Armenian elements. The other monuments of Ohrid are Samuel’s Fortress, with its enceinte of medieval ramparts, and the classical theatre built about 2,000 years ago, either in the late Hellenistic period or shortly after the Roman occupation. The town’s architecture represents, with its old typical streets and houses and its particular atmosphere around old squares, the best preserved and most complete ensemble of ancient urban architecture of this part of Europe.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC

 

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Ireland – Dunquin

Dún Chaoin (anglicized as Dunquin), meaning “Caon’s stronghold”, is a Gaeltacht village in west County Kerry, Ireland. Dunquin lies at the Western tip of the Dingle Peninsula, overlooking the Blasket Islands.

There is breath-taking cliff scenery, with a view of the Blasket Islands, where Peig Sayers lived. A museum in the village tells the story of the Blaskets and the well-known writers of the island, including Sayers, Tomás Ó Criomhthain, and Muiris Ó Súilleabháin. In 1588, when the Spanish Armada returned via Ireland many ships sought shelter in the Blasket Sound — the area between Dunquin and the Islands — and some were wrecked there. A memorial stands on the cliffs overlooking the site.

Greece – Old Town of Corfu

 

he Old Town of Corfu, on the Island of Corfu off the western coasts of Albania and Greece, is located in a strategic position at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, and has its roots in the 8th century BC. The three forts of the town, designed by renowned Venetian engineers, were used for four centuries to defend the maritime trading interests of the Republic of Venice against the Ottoman Empire. In the course of time, the forts were repaired and partly rebuilt several times, more recently under British rule in the 19th century. The mainly neoclassical housing stock of the Old Town is partly from the Venetian period, partly of later construction, notably the 19th century. As a fortified Mediterranean port, Corfu’s urban and port ensemble is notable for its high level of integrity and authenticity.

Corfu, the first of the Ionian Islands encountered at the entrance to the Adriatic, was annexed to Greece by a group of Eretrians (775-750 BCE). In 734 BCE the Corinthians founded a colony known as Kerkyra to the south of where the Old Town now stands. The town became a trading post on the way to Sicily and founded further colonies in Illyria and Epirus. The coast of Epirus and Corfu itself came under the sway of the Roman Republic (229 BCE) and served as the jumping-off point for Rome’s expansion into the east. In the reign of Caligula two disciples of the Apostle Paul, St Jason, Bishop of Iconium, and Sosipater, Bishop of Tarsus, introduced Christianity to the island.

Corfu fell to the lot of the Eastern Empire at the time of the division in 336 and entered a long period of unsettled fortunes, beginning with the invasion of the Goths (551).

The population gradually abandoned the old town and moved to the peninsula surmounted by two peaks (the korifi) where the ancient citadel now stands. The Venetians, who were beginning to play a more decisive role in the southern Adriatic, came to the aid of a failing Byzantium, thereby conveniently defending their own trade with Constantinople against the Norman prince Robert Guiscard. Corfu was taken by the Normans in 1081 and returned to the Byzantine Empire in 1084.

Following the Fourth Crusade and the sack of Constantinople by the Crusaders in 1204, the Byzantine Empire was broken up and, in return for their military support, the Venetians obtained all the naval bases they needed to control the Aegean and the Ionian Seas, including Corfu, which they occupied briefly from 1204 to 1214. For the next half-century, the island fell under the sway of the Despots of Epirus (1214-67) and then that of the Angevins of Naples (1267-1368), who used it to further their policies against both the Byzantine Empire now re-established in Constantinople and the Republic of Venice. The tiny medieval town grew up between the two fortified peaks, the Byzantine Castel da Mare and the Angevin Castel di Terra, in the shelter of a defensive wall fortified with towers. Writings from the first half of the 13th century tell of a separation of administrative and religious powers between the inhabitants of the citadel and those of the outlying parts of the town occupying what is now the Spianada.

In order to assert its naval and commercial power in the Southern Adriatic, the Republic of Venice took advantage of the internal conflicts raging in the Kingdom of Naples to take control of Corfu (1386-1797). Alongside Negropont (Chalcis), Crete, and Modon (Methoni), it would form one of the bases from which to counter the Ottoman maritime offensive and serve as a revictualling station for ships en route to Romania and the Black Sea.

The ongoing work on defining, improving, and expanding the medieval fortified perimeter reflects the economic and strategic role of Corfu during the four centuries of Venetian occupation. In the early 15th century activity concentrated on the medieval town, with the development of harbour facilities (docks, quays and arsenals) and continued with the renovation of the defence works. Early in the following century a canal was dug, cutting off the medieval town from its suburbs.

Following the siege of the town by the Turks in 1537 and the burning of the suburbs, a new programme of works was launched to isolate the citadel further and strengthen its defences. The strip of land (now the Spianada) cleared in 1516 was widened by demolishing houses facing the citadel walls, two new bastions were raised on the banks of the canal, the elevation of the perimeter walls was lowered, and the two castelli were replaced by new structures. The work, based on plans drawn by Veronese architect Michele Sanmicheli (1487-1559), were completed in 1558, bringing the town’s defences up to date with the rapid progress made in artillery in recent decades.

Yet another siege by the Turks in 1571 decided the Venetians to embark on a vast project covering the medieval town, its suburbs, the harbour, and all the military buildings (1576-88). Ferrante Vitelli, architect to the Duke of Savoy, sited a fort (the New Fort) on the low hill of St Mark to the west of the old town to command the surrounding land and at sea, and also the 24 suburbs enclosed by a ditched wall with bastions and four gates. More buildings, both military and civil, were erected and the 15th century Mandraki harbour was restructured and enlarged. At the same time, the medieval town was converted to more specifically military uses (the cathedral was transferred to the new town in the 17th century) to become the Old Citadel.

Between 1669 and 1682 the system of defences was further strengthened to the west by a second wall, the work of military engineer Filippo Vernada. In 1714 the Turks sought to reconquer Morea (the Peloponnese) but Venetian resistance hardened when the Turkish forces headed towards Corfu. The support of Christian naval fleets and an Austrian victory in Hungary in 1716 helped to save the town. The commander of the Venetian forces on Corfu, Giovanni Maria von Schulenburg, was inspired by the designs of Filippo Vernada to put the final touches to this great fortified ensemble. The outer western defences were reinforced by a complex system of outworks on the heights of two mountains, Abraham and Salvatore, and on the intermediate fort of San Rocco (1717-30).

The treaty of Campo Formio (1797) marked the end of the Republic of Venice and saw Corfu come under French control (1797-99) until France withdrew before the Russian-Turkish alliance that founded the State of the Ionian Islands, of which Corfu would become the capital (1799-1807). The redrawing of territorial boundaries in Europe after the fall of Napoleon made Corfu, after a brief interlude of renewed French control (1807-14), a British protectorate for the next half-century (1814-64).

As the capital of the United States of the Ionian Islands, Corfu lost its strategic importance. Under the governance of the British High Commissioner Sir Thomas Maitland (1816-24), development activity concentrated on the Spianada; his successor, Sir Frederic Adam (1824-32), turned his attention towards public works (building an aqueduct, restructuring the Old Citadel and adding new military buildings at the expense of the Venetian buildings, reconstruction and raising of the town’s dwellings) and the reorganisation of the educational system (the new Ionian Academy was opened in 1824), contributing to the upsurge in intellectual interests sparked during the French occupation. At the same time, the British began demolishing the outer fortifications on the western edge of the town and planning residential areas outside the defensive walls.

In 1864 the island was attached to the Kingdom of the Hellenes. The fortresses were disarmed and several sections of the perimeter wall and the defences were gradually demolished. The island became a favoured holiday destination for the aristocracy of Europe. The Old Town was badly damaged by bombing in 1943. Added to the loss of life was the destruction of many houses and public buildings (the Ionian Parliament, the theatre, and the library), fourteen churches, and a number of buildings in the Old Citadel. In recent decades the gradual growth of the new town has accelerated with the expansion of tourism.

(whc.unesco.org)

Montenegro – Budva

Budva  is a coastal town in Montenegro. It has around 15,000 inhabitants, and is a centre of Budva Municipality. The coastal area around Budva, called the Budvanska rivijera, is the centre of Montenegro’s tourism, and is well known for its sandy beaches, diverse nightlife, and examples of Mediterranean architecture.

Budva is 2,500 years old, which makes it one of the oldest settlements on the Adriatic sea coast.

Lithuania – Nida

Nida is the biggest town in the Curonian Spit with approximately 1650 inhabitants. It is composed of 3 little settlements  – Nida, Skruzdynė and Purvynė as the old Nida was snowbouded by dune sands in 1675 and the local inhabitants were forced to settle further north. It is located 48 km from Klaipėda and only 4 km form the borderline with the Russian Federation.   Nida was harried many times during the World Wars but finally it was rebuilt by soviets in 1953 and in 1961 under the order of the Supreme Council of Soviet Lithuania Nida became an administrative center of Neringa city.

Ireland – Duncannon

Duncannon is a village in southwest County Wexford, Ireland. Bordered to the west by Waterford harbour and sitting on a rocky promontory jutting into the channel is the strategically prominent Duncannon Fort which dominates the village.

According to legend, the settlement at Duncannon dates back to the time of Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna in the 3rd century AD.

Primarily a fishing village, Duncannon also relies heavily on tourism and is situated on the clearly signposted and very scenic Ring of Hook drive. Duncannon boasts a mile long, blue flag recipient golden beach and is a very popular spot with locals and tourists alike.
Duncannon Fort, which was built in 1588 incorporates a maritime museum, Arts centre, café and craft shop and is open daily to visitors from June to September.