A planned community

The year is 1413, and you inherit an island that is uninhabited becase, 70 years prior, Umur Pasha raided the island and everyone either ran away or were sold into slavery.

What to do?

You may petition the government to establish a fort, to keep the Turks away and protect the island.  But then you may have to wait forever.  You may, perhaps, pay for the fort, but forts are costly and unproductive: forts plant no crops and raise no livestock.  You'd never get your money back.

But if you are Zan Quirini, the solution is straightforward: you build a planned community.  The community consists of duplex homes, two stories each, surrounded by a ring of three-story houses.  The back-wall of the three-story houses is a very nice, solid fortress wall, hanging over precipices on all sides, with a couple of defensive towers.  You then invite settlers from Mykonos and from Tilos, and you charge them rent for their nifty new homes.

The Castle of Stampalia still stands on what once was the acropolis of Astypalaia.  The people only left Quirini's houses in the 1950's because of earthquakes, and the Castle is now an open museum in which only the churches and the fortress wall have been kept in good condition.

Zan's descendants appended "Stampalia" to their last name, in memory of the island they once owned.  To this day their home, Palazzo Quirini Stampalia, is a public library and museum in Venice.

  The church of Saint George inside the Castle.  Stampalia (Astypalaia), Dodecanese.  Leica Typ 114, 11 August 2018.

The church of Saint George inside the Castle.  Stampalia (Astypalaia), Dodecanese.  Leica Typ 114, 11 August 2018.

At the edge of the world

Beyond the edge of the world, little is certain.

Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees, but nobody knows with certitude where that is.  But we know exactly where Abraham lived for decades: he lived in this place.  He lived here until he was 75 years old, and then emigrated to the land of Canaan.

Beyond the edge of the world, only foes remain.

This is the place where triumvir Crassus lost seven Legions, his son, and his life in 53 B.C.  It is where emperor Caracalla was assassinated in 217 A.D., and where tetrarch Galerius lost to the Persians in 297.  It is also where the Kingdom of Jerusalem experienced its first serious defeat, in 1104, which severely weakened the Principality of Antioch and led to the eventual loss of the County of Edessa.

The Romans called this frontier city Carrhae, but we call it Harran, the same name used in the book of Genesis.

  This mosque lies atop a church built on top of the  Temple of Sin .  Caracalla was on his way from Edessa to visit  Sin  at Carrhae when he fell to his own bodyguard.  iPhone X, 13 July 2018.

This mosque lies atop a church built on top of the Temple of Sin.  Caracalla was on his way from Edessa to visit Sin at Carrhae when he fell to his own bodyguard.  iPhone X, 13 July 2018.

Where only a lark remains

Gortyn was for hundreds of years  a major Roman provincial capital: it oversaw Crete and Cyrenaica.  Only two buildings have been excavated and are monitored by site guards: the Odeon and Titus' church β€”he whom Paul left in Crete to evangelize the island.  The rest of the large city lies under olive groves, neglected.

This olive tree, one of the oldest and largest in Greece, was planted around the year 400, after earthquakes had damaged most buildings, but hundreds of years before the city was finally destroyed by Saracen invaders.  Some jokester inserted the broken column in the tree when it was still young, and the tree grew around it.  

Of all the things the average Cretan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine people did in Gortyn for the two thousand years that they made this city their home, this prank is pretty much all that is left.

 Peregrinus  anchored off of Crete for three weeks.  Gortyn, Crete, 24 March 2018.  Leica Typ 114

Peregrinus anchored off of Crete for three weeks.  Gortyn, Crete, 24 March 2018.  Leica Typ 114

Sunset in the Arabah

The wilderness and the desert will be glad,
And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom;
Like the crocus
It will blossom profusely
β€”β€”β€” Isaiah  35:1-2 (VIII-VII cent. BC)

  Arabah desert, Israel.  5:59PM, 6 March 2018.  iPhone X.

Arabah desert, Israel.  5:59PM, 6 March 2018.  iPhone X.

Starkenberg

Shortly after the fall of Jerusalem in 1187, pious Hanseatic burghers gave what until then had been the House of the Germans under the Knights Hospitaller its very own hospital to run during the siege to recover Acre, which was won in 1191.  The following year, perhaps in recognition of their efforts,  the Pope issued the German monk-soldiers their own charter, as the Order of the House of Saint Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem.  We know them as the Teutonic Knights.

The Teutonic Order always felt ill at ease in this grand and rich new capital of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.  In bustling Acre, the lingua franca was, well, French.  Sure, the Pisans had their own harbor, and the Venetians and the Genoese their own sovereign enclaves, but the kings and bishops of Acre were largely Frankish, as were the leaders of the supposedly brotherly Hospitaller and Templar Orders.  And so the Germans built their own castle, to hold its archives, its library, and its treasury up in the mountains, miles away.  They called it Starkenberg, but the history of the Kingdom of Jerusalem was not to be written in German, so everyone calls it today by its literal French translation, Montfort.

Montfort was lost to the Egyptian Mamluks in 1271, and abandoned since.

  Montfort of the Galilee.  Beyond the mountains, the coast of Achzib, the old Phoenician port city, and the shimmering Mediterranean.  Leica Typ 114, 5:57 PM, 14 February 2017

Montfort of the Galilee.  Beyond the mountains, the coast of Achzib, the old Phoenician port city, and the shimmering Mediterranean.  Leica Typ 114, 5:57 PM, 14 February 2017

Through the temple door

Theseus, the great ingrate, abandoned Ariadne on the beach at Naxos, while she slept.  

Seven hundred years later, Lygdamis, the Naxian tyrant, ordered a large temple to Apollo be built facing the harbor,  but his ambitions were cut short by the Spartans.  The temple remained unfinished.  A further 2,500 years on, the main doorway stands.  Neither pillage nor earthquakes have ever brought it down.

Some say the gate was never dismantled by looters because of its enormous weight.

We prefer to think it is Ariadne's window, from where she still looks out to sea, waiting for her lover Theseus' black-sailed ship to return.

 Peregrinus , a white-sailed ship, framed by the 20 foot-tall main door to the 530 B.C. Temple of Apollo.  Naxos, 27 September 2017,   iPhone 6 Plus.

Peregrinus, a white-sailed ship, framed by the 20 foot-tall main door to the 530 B.C. Temple of Apollo.  Naxos, 27 September 2017, iPhone 6 Plus.

On the beach at Mykonos

Peregrinus at our Mykonos anchorage, as seen from Ornos Beach.

  4:46pm, 5 August 2017.  Leica Typ 114.

4:46pm, 5 August 2017.  Leica Typ 114.

In Leros

A windmill on its own island, under the watchful eye of the Castle of Our Lady, in Leros.  The castle sits where the ancient acropolis of Leros once stood.

 Peregrinus  stayed at anchor in Leros three nights in late July 2017.

Peregrinus stayed at anchor in Leros three nights in late July 2017.

Under a Frankish castle

We arrived back in Rhodes tonight to meet tomorrow our friends Per and Elly, who kindly held a package or two on our behalf. 

This time, instead of going into the sterile marina, we anchored under the medieval walls built by the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John.  These walls withstood the Egyptian attack of 1444 and the Turk attack of 1480, but in 1522, with only 7,000 Knights to defend against an onslaught of over 100,000 Turks, the city fell for four centuries, until the Italians took it back in 1912.

  11 July 2017.   Peregrinus  freshly arrived from Simi.  Leica Typ 114.

11 July 2017.  Peregrinus freshly arrived from Simi.  Leica Typ 114.