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The first part of our meal: hummus in the center, freshly-baked pita behind it, and those balls in the front are some sort of slightly sweet fried dough.

Impressions of Kuwait City souk

As two colleagues and I sat down at a restaurant in Kuwait City in the evening, looking forward to a relaxed meal, a man at the next table spoke to us. A small man with uneven…

Jesus washes the disciples' feet in this fresco in Desesti church.

Wooden churches of Maramures, Romania

You’d think that after visiting the UNESCO-listed fortified churches of Transylvania and the painted churches of Moldavia, also UNESCO listed, we’d have gotten tired of visiting historic churches. Romania has yet another collection of UNESCO-listed churches,…

A panel from inside Patrauti church. Look at the detail the painter put into it? Do you happen to know who they are? The Spectacular Painted Churches of Moldavia

The spectacular painted churches of Moldavia

Last week I posted about the fortified churches in Transylvania, eight of which make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another collection of churches in Romania, this time in the northeastern part of the country, Moldavia,…

Viscri fortified church

Fortified Churches of Transylvania

Once upon a time, the King of Hungary, called Geza II (1141-1162), had a problem. His kingdom needed defending, especially in the south and east, in what is now Romania. It was the Middle Ages, and…

Bran Castle: Should you visit Dracula's castle?

Should you visit Dracula’s castle?

As the crowds shuffled through the castle, some tourists tried to stake out spots where they could take pictures of each room without people in the photo. Others posed for selfies, their backs to the beautifully…

a bookcase full of chotchkes at the Communist Consumers Museum in Timişoara, Romania

The Communist Consumers Museum

A Communist Consumers Museum? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? I mean, in the Cold War, we in the West were the consumer society. We still are. They were, well, communist. So what could a Communist…

The contrast between these two buildings is remarkable. The one on the left is down to the underlying brickwork in places while the one on the right is pristine. What is not clear is how much the restoration on the right involved removing decorative elements. I suspect some plasterwork was removed, since the originals of this type generally have different window frames for each row, as you can see on the building on the left. Visiting Timisoara: faded glory

Timişoara photo essay: Faded glory

Majestic buildings boast imposing, ornate facades, even on the side streets. Edged with statues, often figurative, each row of windows differs from those above and below, yet they all display detailed workmanship. Grand doorways framed with…

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