Ancient Greek Statues from My Childhood

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Poseidon or Zeus. The National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Greece.

Poseidon or Zeus. The National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Greece.

Summer. Athens is melting in the heat, thermometers show 40 degrees in the shade. You can, of course, spend all your time on the beach, but it is unforgivable for Greece. Even if you rest on the islands, muster the courage and make a day trip to Athens. Agree with me, it is better to look at ancient Greek artifacts with your own eyes than read about them in travel blogs.

However, an assault of the Acropolis in summer is a real horror. Yes, the Parthenon is majestic and caryatids are beautiful, but Athens has the one place where you can find the most important Greek artifacts and enjoy them in very comfortable conditions. I’m speaking of the biggest museum in Greece—the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. It has some rare sculptures and ceramics dated to as early as the 11th century B.C.

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Why Not Return the Maltese Islands to the Order of Malta?

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Valletta, the capital of Malta.

Valletta, the capital of Malta.

Really, why not? Most of the modern attractions of Malta were created by the Knights Hospitaller. Of course, we know that the oldest building of the world is located on Gozo, one of the Maltese Islands, but most of the tourists strive to visit Malta to look at the Grand Master’s Palace, majestic cathedrals of Valletta, the city of Valletta itself, and knights’ fortresses around it.

When you approach Valletta from the sea or from the air, you certainly see the wonderful dome of the Carmelite Church. This is a postcard of Malta. The view of this dome, surrounded by yellow buildings and powerful city walls, is forever associated with Malta in the memory of every traveler who ever visited the island.

However, while the Carmelite Church is wonderful outside you will find a very simple interior. Ten minutes will be enough to enjoy it, and then I invite you to visit a real gem of Valletta. If you had the opportunity or time to visit only one attraction of Malta, I would suggest St. John’s Co-Cathedral.

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The Laocoon Group—My Favorite Greek Mythology Sculpture of the Vatican Museum

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The Laocoon Group sculpture in the Vatican Museum. Rome, Italy.

The Laocoon Group sculpture in the Vatican Museums. Rome, Italy.

The Laocoon sculpture is a perfectly performed Death itself. I was a child when I first saw this statue. I did not realize its value. I just looked at the beautiful bodies of a grandfather and his grandchildren. Oh yes, I did not know it was the Trojan priest Laocoon and his sons, Antiphantes and Thymbraeus. If there is a beard, then he must be an old man, period! But this old man was in such perfect physical condition that I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I guess the ancient Greeks knew some kind of secret of getting into such a shape and keeping it without using the steroids that we need nowadays in order to recreate such an appearance.

This is the only statue that in my childhood I failed to draw successfully from the catalogue due to the huge amount of detail. It was much easier with Venus de Milo or Apollo sculptures. And now just imagine how much effort it took to cut it out from a solid marble block. As I learned later, there were two blocks, but still, does it make the process easier?

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