A Layered Cake: Cologne Cathedral

The city of Cologne, Germany has a long and interesting history.  When I visited the city, everywhere I looked there was some reminder of ancient and Medieval cultures.  Much of Cologne was destroyed during WWII, but an impressive amount remains.  And, nothing is quite so impressive in Cologne as the Kolner Dom/Cathedral.  Beyond being an excellent example of Gothic architecture, as well as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a beautiful building.  Construction began in 1248 to house the reliquary of the Three Kings (a giant golden box supposedly containing the bones of the Biblical Magi) but the cathedral remained incomplete until the 19th century.  Consequently, the Dom has a multilayered history from the ground-up.  The interior of the Dom is everything you could possibly want from a cathedral: beautiful stained glass windows, mosaics, murals, ornate altars, etc.  After exploring every inch of the nave, you can actually hike up one of the towers and lookout on the city (I can’t imagine doing that climb more than once).

Around and underneath the Dom are Roman ruins of various sizes, from a random wall or arch to larger architectural remains.  Just meander over to the parking garage near the Dom and you’ll find a lovely bit of Roman ruins.  Within the Cathedral Treasury, which houses an amazing assortment of ecclesiastical robes and jewels, you can also view the grave goods of two Frankish burials of a woman and a boy.  Ah, a structure to fulfill every need of a history/archaeology nerd.

To learn more:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/292

Moon House Ruins, Bears Ears National Monument

This well-preserved cliff dwelling, located on Cedar Mesa within Bears Ears National Monument, was built by the Ancestral Puebloans sometime between 1150 and 1300 AD.  The pictographs and painted walls are what draw visitors to this beautiful site.  I was able to photograph the interior of Moon House, but the lighting was too poor to capture the pictographs.  I highly recommend hiking this area and exploring the archaeological sites.  As ever, be respectful of the site: do not touch the rock art, do not sit on or lean against the cliff dwelling walls, do not take any artifacts, etc.  This fragile site is just another example of why this area deserves the preservation and protection that can be provided under a national monument.

General Information/How to Get a Permit:

https://www.blm.gov/visit/kane-gulch-ranger-station

Favorites in Archaeology: Salamis, Cyprus

I had the opportunity to explore the extensive Roman ruins of Salamis, which is considered one of the best archaeological sites on Cyprus, while traveling around North of the UN Buffer Zone. While wandering around the ruins, it is easy to imagine the bustling city it once was. Salamis became the ancient capital of Cyprus as far back as 11 BC by the Greeks and was subsequently occupied by a number of civilizations (i.e. Egyptians to Romans). Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian commissioned some of the buildings; construction was conducted primarily after an earthquake in 76 AD. There are Romans baths, mosaics, an amphitheater etc. The city was destroyed by an invasion around 674 AD, forcing the occupants to the area around Famagusta/the southern half of Cyprus.

The site was looted constantly until 1952, when excavations by the Department of Antiquities began. Excavations were halted in the summer of 1974, when Turkish forces invaded Cyprus and subsequently occupied the area. Government officials of the Republic of Cyprus have long been concerned about the treatment of this archaeological site, since it is located in the Turkish Republic of Cyprus. Hopefully, UNESCO can declare Salamis a World Heritage Site someday. Archaeological sites tend not to fare well when it comes to war and politics.

Links:

http://www.mcw.gov.cy/mcw/DA/DA.nsf/0/2A17F73DAB6246A3C225727600322BA3?OpenDocument

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamis,_Cyprus

http://www.herts.ac.uk/heritage-hub/history-on-the-move/articles/salamis