Posted on June 30, 2017
Diplomatic relations between Russia and the Western nations are at a particularly low ebb at present, the worst in many years. It, therefore, comes as no surprise to HX followers that MB has made a recent trip to the heart of the Russia to try to mend some fences. And when one travels to the capital city, one knows that fence-mending doesn’t happen in ornate cathedrals, hotels or fancy metro stations. No Siree. If fence-mending is your game, then there is only one location in Moscow to head for.
MB received word prior to travel that Vlad Putin was busy and was unlikely to get a chance to press the flesh with MB. MB took the news on the chin as one would expect, and soldiered on regardless. But in the end, the paths of the two men did indeed cross, as the ‘main man’ emerged from the Kremlin complex one evening in his nuclear bomb-proof car, accompanied by some serious looking dark-glassed 4x4s, as MB was walking past. Needless to say, the Russian President gave MB a thumbs-up as both men made eye-contact. MB responded in kind with an air high-five. Mr Putin smiled. So did MB.
A day or two later, MB found himself not outside the Kremlin walls, but within. Do not ask MB how he manages such magical diplomatic feats, as he is not at liberty to say. Anyway, informing all the Kremlin security staff that he had the personal permission of Mr Putin to photograph at will, MB ran amok with his Canon 7D, and photographed anything that moved. And much that didn’t.
Seriously, a visit to the red-walled Kremlin complex is a huge thrill. The area called Cathedral Square from the outside is stunning, and one can also enter the inside of the churches to see the ornate Orthodox-style religious decoration. If ever HX followers wish to travel in the footsteps of MB, just shoot MB a private message, and he will immediately take the permission of Mr Puttin to get you inside. Guaranteed.
On the occasion of MBs visit, a class of young military cadets were celebrating their graduation, so many family members and guests were in attendance, as can be seen in some of the below photos.
Expect international diplomatic relations to start improving dramatically. Real soon!
Traffic is stopped (1st photo) to allow Mr Putin’s entourage to exit the Kremlin onto the adjoining public street (2nd photo)
The Kremlin Complex:
The Kremlin Palace (event hall):
Cathedral Square, etc
Posted on June 29, 2017
Although it is known by other formal and former names, St Basil’s Cathedral is known as such throughout the world and is the jewel in the crown of Moscow’s Red Square. It was commissioned by the dastardly Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the Russian conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan, and was built between 1555 & 1561. It is not known with 100% certainty who the architects were, but they are commonly considered to have been two in number, named Barma and Postnik. The building is unique in world architecture, with nothing similar in existence. Read More
Posted on March 15, 2017
For 900 years, since the middle of the 6th century approx, the Hagia Sophia Greek Orthodox Bassicila in Istanbul (known as the Ayasofia in Turkish) was the largest cathedral in the Christian world – atop the pile, so to speak. It then became a Mosque for 500 years, until it was converted into a museum in 1935 by a secular Turkish government. Its dome roof is still studied by architectural and engineering students worldwide, and it was a groundbreaking structure in its day, and even beyond.
If you follow Turkish politics in more recent times, then you will be aware that the Hagie Sophia has become one of the meats (there are many) in the internal Turkish conflict sandwich. There is much demand from Islamists that it reconverts to a Mosque, and in recent months a Muslim performed Islamic prayer on the floor of the building. There are also some other smaller buildings with the same name, but in different towns in Turkey, which are also the similar targets of the Islamic brothers. To the best of MB’s knowledge, some have already fallen.
Prime Minister Erdogan is a master fox in the overall political scheme of things, playing and relying very much on the less educated strands of society, who are also more prone to the urgings of the Muslim Imams. Turkish politics are in a huge state of flux at present, and it remains to be seen which way Erdogan will eventually go on this Hagia Sophia matter. If he wins the constitutional election next month, he will become an all-powerful President, and may very well not bother too much with this issue thereafter. Inshallah.
MB is now thinking back to a conversation he had a few short years back with a young Istanbul tourist guide who had taken part in the mass demonstrations in Taksim Square/Gezi Park of 2013. There were multiple groups involved in the protests and many seemed to have different agendas. MB’s young Turkish friend explained that all the groups, albeit from different strands of society, had one common bond. They did not want any further Islamisation of Turkey.
MB recently discussed this point with a Turkish friend in Qatar. He was of the opinion, given recent history and particularly the fact that Erdogan has used the recent military coup attempt to castrate the more secular opposition to his government, it will only be a few short years before Turkey becomes akin to Saudi Arabia in many Islamic respects. MB spent two years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, (2012 to 2014) and has visited Istanbul multiple times so he can speak with a little authority on the subject. Suffice it to say, that many, if not the majority, in Saudi Arabia wish they could have what Turkey presently enjoys in terms of social life and culture. It’s sad, to put it mildly, that Erdogan should be taking his people in the opposite direction.
OK! MB knows this is just a Weekly Photo Challenge post, but he recently thought of posting something on the current Turkish situation. Today’s theme just opened the door, and MB decided to walk right in!
Posted on January 13, 2017
Most of MB’s recent posts relate to his end December Lebanese wedding experience. And for this week’s photo theme of ‘ambience’, he, of course, needs look no further that the wedding party venue of said wedding. The venue was previously called Nahr El Kalb in Arabic (meaning ‘The Dog River’), but is now called the less mystical ‘The Legend Venue’. It sits in a spectacular small river valley setting, and has a very spectacular entrance lobby which leads visitors into the spectacular dining hall area when any Irish guy attending blurts out WOW! Ambience!!! Read More
Posted on January 12, 2017
MB has already given followers two deadly previous posts on his Lebanese wedding experience: A Lebanese Wedding and A Lebanese Wedding – Outside the Church. He now gives followers post Nr 3 – Inside the Church. Read More
Posted on January 7, 2017