17 January 2017

Impressions and Images of Iran: Masjid-e Shah (Masjid-e Imam) in Isfahan

Isfahan (and central Iran in general) is where the phrase "history resonates" applies perfectly. There are plenty of architectural wonders here, as well as World Heritage Sites, due to the fact that this city used to be a capital of the Persian empire. Isfahan was the third and final capital of the Safavid dynasty, and there are plenty of buildings that were constructed during this time. One prime example is the Shah Mosque (also known as the Imam Mosque, after the 1979 Revolution).

15 January 2017

Book Review: Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

Perhaps it wasn't a wise decision to pick up this book. I must say, from the outset, that I didn't like it. See, I haven't read Faulkner before, so I was looking for a book to begin with, and this was recommended to me. I must say that I did not enjoy the experience.

See, many people compare the structure of this book to the onion. You peel the story, and as you peel off layers, the story becomes clearer and clearer. It is about 380 pages long, and within the first 100 pages, you would have no idea what is happening at all. I remember sitting in a train traveling from Berlin to Poznan and shaking my head, since I was 60 pages into the book, and I still cannot figure out what was going on. I guess Faulkner was writing using the stream of consciousness method, and it happens that the narrator turned the tap quite open that the stream was gushing out like a flood.

13 January 2017

Impressions and Images of Iran: Masjid-e Jāmeh in Isfahan

In every Muslim town, there will be a main mosque. There might be other mosques in town, but the main mosque is the Jama Masjid, or the congregational mosque. The word "jama" apparently means assembly in Arabic, and of course Farsi has borrowed plenty of Arabic terms when it comes to religion. So in several cities I have been to, I have visited their main mosques, and yes, most of them are known simply as the Masjid-e-Jāmeh. This entry shows how Isfahan's main mosque looks like.

11 January 2017

Things I Love in Berlin: Acoustic Guitar Night

Last month, we were in Neukölln, which is a neighborhood I don't usually find myself in. I suppose I just haven't explored this district as much as the other districts, but anyway, some friends of ours invited us to attend this guitar concert. Apparently, the Berlin Acoustic Guitar Night happens every month, and last month, it turns out that one of the performers was the fiance of a friend of our friends. So since we haven't seen these two friends of ours in a while, we thought that it would be a good idea to attend this concert to hang out, as well as enjoy some guitar music.

09 January 2017

Impressions and Images of Iran: Kelisā-ye Āmenāperkič in Isfahan

Isfahan has an interesting neighborhood south of the river. This is the neighborhood of New Julfa, which is one of the oldest Armenian quarters in the world. See, back in 1606, Shah Abbas I decided to more or less kidnap a whole village's worth of Armenians, moving them from the city of Julfa (now in modern Azerbaijan) to Isfahan. These Armenians were assigned to live in the neighborhood of New Julfa, and based on historical records, Shah Abbas I decided to move them to benefit from the trade and artisan skills the Armenians possessed. This was the neighborhood which I visited once, when I decided to walk south from the city center to see what Armenians have been up to. Primarily, my destination was the Kelisā-ye Āmenāperkič, also known as the Holy Savior Cathedral (Vank Cathedral).