Welcome/Willkommen!

Hello and welcome. Hope you enjoy the images I have posted. Please do not reproduce them without my permission. Most are available as note/greeting cards or as prints/enlargements. Thank you for visiting my site and your comments.
Many have asked about the Header image above, which I named 'Eerie Genny'. It was originally shot with film [taken on the shore of the Genesee River near the Univ. of Rochester]. During the darkroom development, I flashed a light above the tray. The process, known as 'solarization', produces eerie, ghostlike effects; some have mistaken this image as an infra-red photo. Some 35+ years later, I scanned and digitized the print, and did a little modern day editing, and, voila.
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Budapest 6: Night on the Danube [Sky Watch Friday]

On the last night of our Road Scholar Budapest tour, the group was treated to a buffet dinner cruise on the Danube. The weather was perfect, the food delicious and the photo-ops mind-boggling. The  first seven images below were shot from the deck of the ship. The moderate speed gave me ample time to get off many shots. All were hand-held and shooting in the Manual Mode: 1/60 sec, f5.6 and allowing the camera to choose the ISO [3200 in all cases]. In the top two images, you can see both the illuminated Liberation Monument atop Gellert Hill and the Liberty Bridge (1894-99) [rebuilt after WWII restoring all its original features]. 
 


               Next we come to Buda Castle and the Mathias Church, with the Chain Bridge below.



                         And now, my favorite structure in Budapest, the Parliament building.




At the conclusion of the cruise, we got a surprise; viz. we went by bus up to the Buda Castle area where there was an overlook that offered a magnificent view of the Danube and its bridges. Needless to say, a lot of other folks/tours knew about it, too; so I was fortunate to get myself into a  position to get some good shots, despite the crowding and short duration of our visit. 




This concludes our visit in Budapest.  Next week I will start a new series of postings devoted to the Prague leg of the tour. {By the way, I learned that Westerners generally mispronounce Budapest. Phonetically, it is pesht [not pest] because a free s is spoken as sh; in contrast, sz is spoken like our s.} In German, Pest means plague or pestilence.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Budapest 5: The Dohány Street Synagogue [Sky Watch Friday]

Our visit to the Vajdahunyad Castle [see last week's post] concluded the afternoon program, and we now had free time to explore on our own. We hitched a ride with our bus, which was returning to our hotel, but asked that we be dropped off at the Dohány Street Synagogue [the driver was kind enough to make an illegal stop for us].
Constructed between 1854 and 1859, the synagogue is in Byzantine (Moorish) Revival style. Thus, the twin onion-shaped domes contribute to its mosque-like appearance. The building suffered considerable damage in WWII and underwent extensive renovations in the 1990s.




The interior is laid out like a church basilica, having a main nave and two side aisles. Note also  the cupola [bottom image], which was unprecedented for a synagogue.





   In addition to the synagogue, several other buildings/areas belong to the complex; viz. a museum, the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, and a cemetery. While it is not customary to have a cemetery next to a synagogue, this was a result of historical circumstances. Over two thousand of those who died in the ghetto from hunger and cold during the winter 1944-1945 are buried here.
The Park holds the Memorial of the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs — at least 400,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered by the Nazis. It resembles a weeping willow whose leaves bear inscriptions with the names of victims.


   
In a separate courtyard, I came across yet another memorial. It is a poignant sculpture, which made me think of the victims who were shot at the edge of the Danube. [see the Shoe Memorial from an earlier posting].


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Budapest 4: Heroes’ Square and the Vajdahunyad Castle [Sky Watch Friday]


After a field trip and lunch, our group visited Heroes’ Square. This is a huge open plaza containing two significant monuments. One is a semi-circular colonnade bearing 14 statues of men who had major impacts on Hungary’s history. The second is a 36-meter-tall column, topped with a figure representing archangel Gabriel presenting a crown to the nation’s founding king. At the base of the column is a group of seven statues representing the original tribal chieftains who brought the Magyar people to the land that is now Hungary [around A.D. 896]. The monument was erected in 1896 as part of the Millennial Celebration commemorating this movement. The images below are from my cell phone, as those taken with my Canon have somehow been lost.





We continued strolling into City Park [Városliget] to the Vajdahunyad Castle, which was also built for the Celebration. It was not really a castle, rather a complex of buildings reflecting different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Our entrance into the castle area was through a gate with two Gothic style towers.



To our left, we passed the Ják Church, which contains an accurate reproduction of an early 13th century Romanesque Benedictine church facade


Close by was one of Budapest’s most popular monuments, the statue of Anonymous [completed in 1903]. You can see how the tip of the pen has been rubbed shiny by its many visitors.


Off to our right was a lovely Baroque building, which now serves as the Museum of Agriculture.


I don't know the function of the Renaissance building below, nor that of the Gothic tower behind it].


The Castle is situated on the edge of a small lake, which we passed as we exited the grounds.  The last image shows a nice overview of some of the structures, which are along the water’s edge.




Thursday, October 26, 2017

Budapest 3: Buda Castle Area [Sky Watch Friday]

Following breakfast, we were bused across the river [Donau or Danube] to the Castle Area on the Buda side. At the Museum of Music History, we were treated to a private lecture and a mini-concert by two extraordinary student musicians. Below is an extraordinary curved piano that belonged to Bela Bartok, which was played for some of the pieces.


Also located in the castle area is the Mathias [Mátyás] Church. The current building is in the Neo-Gothic style; originally built in the second half of the 14th century, it was extensively reconstructed in the late 19th century.





In close proximity to the church is the so-called Fisherman’s Bastion. A terrace in the neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style, it was built between 1895 and 1902. It contains 7 towers and a statue of St. Stephen [István], the first King of Hungarians, erected in 1906. The Bastion was almost destroyed in WWII and was rebuilt 1947-48. The 7 towers represent the 7 Magyar tribes that settled around 896; the conical forms are an allusion to the tribal tents of the early Magyars.



        


Finally, there are numerous wonderful views of the Danube and Pest from different vantage points, including from the interior of the Halászbástya restaurant where the group had lunch [see last image].






Thursday, October 19, 2017

Budapest 2: Architecture [Sky Watch Friday]

Following our lunch in the Great Market Hall, we were bussed to a location convenient to start an extensive walk through Pest. We began close to the Parliament building complex. Here are two images; at later dates, I will post more, including shots taken at night.



We passed various government and public buildings, such as the Museum of Ethnography [image below]. One still had memorial signs of the 1956 Revolution; e.g. our tour guide assistant, Micha, stands examining filled-in bullet holes in the museum facade.



 A lesson we learned in Vienna was to look up, because buildings often exhibited ornate decoration well above ground level. This proved to be true in Budapest as well.



Eventually, we reached St. Stephen’s Basilica, where, later in the week, my wife and I would attend an evening brass ensemble and organ concert.



We headed back towards our hotel because we would pass the Great Synagogue, also referred to as the Dohány Synagogue [the street on which it is located]; it is the largest synagogue in Europe. Note the two Moorish-like minarets, each with a 'onion dome'. I will show more images in later posts because we returned two more times to see the interior, as well as the museum.