Photographer: Mari Wirta; Mari’s Web site
Summary Author: Mari Wirta
The photo above shows a black sand and pebble beach near the town of Vik i Myrdal, the southernmost settlement in Iceland. This sand originated from the basalt lava that covers much of the area. Because black sand isn’t routinely replenished like most beach sand when storms and tides wash the sand away, black sand beaches tend not to endure very long.
The geology of Iceland is comparatively young — it owes its existence to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that splits the island in half. Volcanoes along the ridge, such as Katla, erupt with some regularity continuing to add surface area and mass to the “land of ice and fire” and to augment the black sand beaches. Photo taken near sunset on October 3, 2012.
Photo details: Camera Model: NIKON D800; Lens: 16.0-28.0 mm f/2.8; Focal Length: 16mm (35mm equivalent: 16mm); Aperture: f/4.5; Exposure Time: 0.0040 s (1/250); ISO equiv: 400; Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.2 (Windows).
- Vik, Iceland Coordinates: 63.419444, -19.009722
The village of Vík or Vík í Mýrdal in full, is the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road around the island, around 180 km (110 mi) by road southeast of Reykjavík.
Despite its small size (291 inhabitants as of January 2011) it is the largest settlement for some 70 km (43 mi) around and is an important staging post, thus it is indicated on road signs from a long distance away. It is an important service center for the inhabitants and visitors to the coastal strip between Skógar and the west edge of the Mýrdalssandur glacial outwash plain.
A walk through the labyrinthine souk market of the northern Syrian city Aleppo. We pass a traditional olive & laurel soap seller from one of the oldest soap families in Aleppo, a metal-worker who hammers designs for brass tea trays, a cane-seller, a lingerie seller who’s inexplicably a man with two Naqabi women customers, a woodworking shop crafting kitchen utensils, and lastly a Halwa sweets-seller.
Documentary film by Isabelle Carbonell. Edited by Sarah Cannon.
The Old City of Aleppo is the historic city centre of Aleppo, Syria. Many districts of the ancient city remained essentially unchanged since its construction during the 12th to the 16th century. Being subjected to constant invasions and political instability, the inhabitants of the city were forced to build cell-like quarters and districts that were socially and economically independent. Each district was characterized by the religious and ethnic characteristics of its inhabitants.
The Old City of Aleppo -composed of the ancient city within the walls and the old cell-like quarters outside the walls- has an approximate area of 350 hectares (3.5 km²) housing more than 120,000 residents.
Characterized with its large mansions, narrow alleys, covered souqs and ancient caravanserais, the Ancient City of Aleppo became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.
Aleppo has scarcely been touched by archaeologists, since the modern city occupies its ancient site. The site has been occupied from approximately 5000 BC, as excavations in Tallet Alsauda show.
Early Bronze Age
Aleppo appears in historical records as an important city much earlier than Damascus. The first record of Aleppo comes from the third millennium BC, when Aleppo was the capital of an independent kingdom closely related to Ebla, known as Armi to Ebla and Arman to the Akkadians. Giovanni Pettinato describes Armi as Ebla’s alter ego. Naram-Sin of Akkad (or his grandfather Sargon) destroyed both Ebla and Arman in the 23rd century BC.
Middle Bronze Age
In the Old Babylonian period, Aleppo’s name appears as Ḥalab (Ḥalba) for the first time. Aleppo was the capital of the important Amorite dynasty of Yamḥad. The kingdom of Yamḥad (ca. 1800-1600 BC), alternatively known as the ‘land of Ḥalab,’ was the most powerful in the Near East at the time.
Yamḥad was destroyed by the Hittites under Mursilis I in the 16th century BC. However, Aleppo soon resumed its leading role in Syria when the Hittite power in the region waned due to internal strife.
Late Bronze Age
Taking advantage of the power vacuum in the region, Parshatatar, king of the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni, conquered Aleppo in the 15th century BC. Subsequently, Aleppo found itself on the frontline in the struggle between the Mitanni and the Hittites and Egypt.
The Hittite Suppiluliumas I permanently defeated Mitanni and conquered Aleppo in the 14th century BC. Aleppo had cultic importance to the Hittites for being the center of worship of the Storm-God.
When the Hittite kingdom collapsed in the 12th century BC, Aleppo became part of the Aramaean Syro-Hittite kingdom of Arpad (Bit Agusi), and later it became capital of the Aramaean Syro-Hittite kingdom of Hatarikka-Luhuti.
In the 9th century BC, Aleppo was conquered by the Assyrians and became part of the Neo-Assyrian Empire until the late 7th century BC, before passing through the hands of the Neo-Babylonians and the Achamenid Persians.
Souqs and Khans
Main article: Al-Madina Souq
The city’s strategic trading position attracted settlers of all races and beliefs who wished to take advantage of the commercial roads that met in Aleppo from as far as China and Mesopotamia to the east, Europe to the west, and the Fertile Crescent and Egypt to the south. The largest covered souq-market in the world is in Aleppo, with an approximate length of 13 kilometers.
Al-Madina Souq, as it is locally known, is an active trade centre for imported luxury goods, such as raw silk from Iran, spices and dyes from India, and coffee from Damascus. Souq al-Madina is also home to local products such as wool, agricultural products and soap. Most of the souqs date back to the 14th century and are named after various professions and crafts, hence the wool souq, the copper souq, and so on. Aside from trading, the souq accommodated the traders and their goods in khans (caravanserais) and scattered in the souq. Other types of small market-places were called caeserias (قيساريات). Caeserias are smaller than khans in their sizes and functioned as workshops for craftsmen. Most of the khans took their names after their location in the souq and function, and are characterized with their beautiful façades and entrances with fortified wooden doors.
The most significant khans within and along the covered area of Souq al-Madina are: Khan al-Qadi from 1450, Khan al-Saboun from the early 16th century, Khan al-Nahhaseen from 1539, Khan al-Shouneh from 1546, Khan al-Jumrok from 1574, Souq Khan al-Wazir from 1682, Souq al-Farrayin, Souq al-Dira’, Souq al-Hiraj, Souq al-Attarine, Souq az-Zirb, Souq Marcopoli, Souq as-Siyyagh, The Venetians’ Khan,*Souq Khan al-Harir from the second half of the 16th century, Suweiqa, etc.
Other traditional souqs and khans in Jdeydeh quarter (outside the walled city):
Souq al-Hokedun or “Khan al-Quds”. Hokedun means “the spiritual house” in Armenian, as it was built to serve as a settlement for the Armenian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. The old part of the Hokedun dates back to the late 15th and early 16th centuries while the newer part was built during the 17th century. Nowadays, it is turned into a big souq with a large number of stores specialized in garment trade.
Souq as-Souf or the wool market, located at Salibeh street, surrounded with the old churches of the quarter.
Bawabet al-Qasab, a trade centre for wooden products.
LEAKED: FSA Filmed Their Burning of Ancient Souq in Aleppo Feb 17, 2013
With crying eyes each Syrian follows the daily news of a fake revolution led by NATO & its stooges in their country.
Saddened to hear of the deaths of innocent people in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, troubled to see their country infested by fanatic Wahhabi Sex Jihadists wanting to create an Islamist (not Islamic) Caliphate where they can get their Harem while their masters in the west get their land’s riches.
Shocked to see their infrastructure destroyed so some unknown will come to power, and devastated to see their heritage robbed.
But what hurts most is covering the crimes of these fanatic criminals & blaming the Syrian Army for it. Burning the ancient souq in Aleppo is just one of thousands of such examples.
Originally posted on Moorbey'z Blog:
Band members L to R: James Mott, Bill Calhoun, Michael Torrance, Clark Bailey. Ducho Dennnis/ It’s About Time Archives
The Lumpen performing at Merritt College, 1970. Left to right: James Mott, Michael Torrance, and Clark Bailey. (Ducho Dennis, courtesy of It’s About Time Archives)
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Originally posted on Back Road Journal:
My husband grew up in an Italian American home where most Sundays a classic meal was served around 2:00 P.M. in the afternoon. If you visit a home in one of the towns that has a “Little Italy” on a Sunday, you will more than likely smell the wonderful aroma of a long simmered sauce that fills the house.
This special sauce or “gravy” as some people call it is not a typical marinara sauce. It is a sauce prepared with a variety of meats which usually includes meatballs and sausages. It can also have braciole, pork or beef ribs, and other chunks of meat. The meat juices give the sauce a rich taste that is enhanced from hours of low and slow cooking.
Originally posted on Auntie Dogma's Garden Spot:
(NaturalNews) On January 17, 1995, an article written by Beatrice Dexter about the benefits of honey and cinnamon powder, appeared in The Weekly World News.
Please allow me to preface this article with a bit of information unbeknown to the writer and virtually everyone else: cinnamon is 26 percent sulfur based and honey is 33 percent sulfur based, making their combination 59 percent sulfur based and the reason why their combination is so effective.
Lucia, la cui festa cadeva, secondo il calendario Giuliano nel “De piö cört che ghe séa”, (il giorno più corto che esista), diffonde lo splendore dei suoi occhi accecati sulla corrispondente lunga notte del solstizio invernale.
In alcuni luoghi d’Italia, nel giorno della festa, si usa distribuire, pane ai poveri, o cuocere piccoli pani rotondi, denominati “occhi di S. Lucia”.
Nel Nord durante la notte tra il 12 e 13 dicembre, la Santa si incarichi di distribuire doni ai fanciulli.
Molte sono le cantilene e le ninne-nanne popolari, nonché invocazioni ritmiche per impetrare la salvezza della vista.
If you’re familiar with Arabic and Lebanese sweets, you would know that “Ashta” is a major ingredient and is considered as the king of fillers. Ashta is a slang word for “Kashta” in classical Arabic, which refers to clotted cream prepared with rose water and orange blossom water. Ashta is used as a filler in desserts such as Knefeh (kunafa), Znood el Sit, Atayif (Katayif) and in many others. It is also served on top of fruit cocktails. There is more than one method to make Ashta. In modern times, chefs hacked their way into a cheap shortcut whereby Ashta is made with boiled milk, corn flour and bread. This is not bad, and it’s cheap to make. However compared to the original recipe it doesn’t stand grounds. The original Ashta recipe is prepared purely with milk (preferably raw), and is therefore more expensive to make. The reason is that depending on how fatty the milk is, you may get just one table spoon of Ashta for each cup of milk. Whereby in the “hacked” method you get almost one cup of Ashta for one cup of milk. The original Ashta method is quite simple to make though. Using raw milk, or supermarket whole milk mixed with half and half (milk and cream), bring them to a boil while stirring, lower the heat, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice. As soon as the milk starts to clot, add the rose water and orange blossom water, and start scooping out the Ashta/clotted cream from the surface into a separate strainer… That’s it. Once the Ashta cools down, you can use it as filler in Arabic sweets, or you can serve it with fruit cocktails garnished with honey and nuts.
Original Ashta vs Modern Ashta
If you’re familiar with Arabic and Lebanese sweets, you would know that “Ashta” is a major ingredient and is considered as the king of fillers. Ashta is a slang word for “Kashta” in classical Arabic, which refers to clotted cream prepared with rose water and orange blossom water. Ashta is used as a filler in desserts such as Knefeh (kunafa), Znood el Sit, Atayif (Katayif) and in many others. It is also served on top of fruit cocktails.
There is more than one method to make Ashta. In modern times, chefs hacked their way into a cheap shortcut whereby Ashta is made with boiled milk, corn flour and bread. This is not bad, and it’s cheap to make. However compared to the original recipe it doesn’t stand grounds.
The original Ashta recipe is prepared purely with milk (preferably raw), and is therefore more expensive to make. The reason is that depending on how fatty the milk is, you may get just one table spoon of Ashta for each cup of milk. Whereby in the “hacked” method you get almost one cup of Ashta for one cup of milk.
The original Ashta method is quite simple to make though. Using raw milk, or supermarket whole milk mixed with half and half (milk and cream), bring them to a boil while stirring, lower the heat, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice. As soon as the milk starts to clot, add the rose water and orange blossom water, and start scooping out the Ashta/clotted cream from the surface into a separate strainer… That’s it.
Once the Ashta cools down, you can use it as filler in Arabic sweets, or you can serve it with fruit cocktails garnished with honey and nuts.
Originally posted on One Stop Cook:
Juicy shredded beef with the flavors of Mexico all wrapped into a corn tortilla and smothered in green sauce and cheese. I’m topping mine with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, more cheese and green sauce. Add some rice and beans and you’ll think you’re in a Mexican restaurant, enjoy!
Originally posted on African Blood Siblings:
In the Service of our Ancestors and African Love,
Listen Seeker, I come in peace,
“The body is the house of God. That is why it is said, “Man know thyself.”” — African Proverb
When I was less Knowledgeable, I would search the aisles of a convenience store for the best brand of Shampoo. “Not tested on Animals” was a phrase that appealed to me. It hadn’t yet occurred to me that with one exception every mammal on Earth, from the camel to the panda, has pale skin and thin, stringy hair so to some “people” “Animal hair” was considered the same as “human hair.” Back then I looked at costs and company ethics; I had a suspicion whether these products would work for me and either I would leave the aisle or neglect the product. With Water, Sun Light and a good heart, my hair grew into large tough locs. The exceptional Mammal, the African, belongs to the peak of beings. Unlike his “human” counterparts his hair, skin, mind and spirit separate him from the Animals. The African is the Creator of Earth’s Crown and the Earth is the African’s Crown’s Creator. We are mutually responsible to adorn one another. Our “human” counterparts aren’t. They were given Animal Features for their Heart. So why in the world do some of us look to them–not Nature–to help our hair?
Damascus, (SANA)- World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, marked on 27th October, aims to raise awareness of the importance of audio and visual documents of heritage of which Syria forms a milestone since ancient times.
Deputy Director of Laboratory Department at the Archeology and Museum Directorate, Mahmoud al-Sayyed, said in a statement to SANA that the scientific data and archeological findings show that the statue of Ornina, the first singer of temple in the old world, was found in Syria.
Al-Sayyed pointed out that archeological statues, wall murals, embossed sculpture boards, remains of musical instruments and old inscriptions which have been unearthed in Syria are among its most important sources to know about the types, shapes and features of musical instruments and understand the musical scale.
He highlighted that the archive of the Kingdom of Mari on the right bank of the Euphrates river is one of the richest and most significant written source dated back to the Bronze age that provides insight into the situation of music and musicians and the royal palace’s training centers at that time.
Syria is also home to the oldest orchestra scene that was disclosed in the archeological site of Tal al-Hariri and which shows the diversity of the musical instruments used in the kingdom and indicates the development of joint musical playing and tunning.
Al-Sayyed clarified that this scene marked a new stage of the development of music in terms of the emergence of orchestras and paving the way for musical notes.
He made clear that the most remarkable music innovation which the Syrians have offered the human civilization is represented in the oldest full musical note engraved in an earthen tablet containing four verses written in cuneiform, which are followed by six lines naming the Babylonian music dimensions.
The tablet was unearthed during excavation works in the ruins of the Kingdom of Ugarit in Lattakia between 1950-1955 and dates back to the Late Bronze Age in the 14th century B.C..
The flute, lyre, drum, rebeck and the lute were among other musical instruments proven to have been used in Syria since early periods as indicated by the archeological sculptures and cuneiform inscriptions discovered in several sites.
Damascus, (SANA) – Several countries in the world, including Syria, will witness a partial solar eclipse on Sunday November 3rd.
Chairman of the Syrian Astronomical Society Mohammad al-Asiri said that the eclipse will be partial in Syria, ranging between 15% in the north and 25% in the south of Syria, lasting around 1 hour and 25 minutes.
He said the eclipse will be around21% in Damascus and will occur during sunset, finishing minutes before the sun sinks below the horizon, starting at 3:13 PM, peaking at 3:58 and ending at 4:38.
Al-Asiri warned against staring at the sun during the partial eclipse as this is harmful to the human eye and may result in permanent loss of vision, noting that the Society will specify areas for monitoring this event using special goggles and telescopes.
Sweida, (SANA)- Excavation works at the site of Tal Dabket Breikeh in Sweida unearthed a stone-paved floor of a grain storeroom dating back to the Aramaic period between 1000 and 700 B.C..
Excavations in the mound, which goes back to the Middle Bronze age 2000-1500 B.C., continue by the national excavation expedition in completion of previous seasons.
Head of the Archeology Department of Sweida Hussein Zein-Eddin told SANA reporter that the expedition uncovered many pottery and stone findings, including an ivory ornamental piece portraying a mythical animal with simple geometric decorations.
He noted that the image indicates that the ivory industry was prosperous during the first three centuries of the first millennium B.C..
Zein-Eddin pointed out that the expedition continued its work in the southern and southeastern part of Zu al-Shurat temple in the archeological site of Sab’ and unveiled the full part of the southern and southeastern wall of the temple.
Many archeological findings were uncovered during the excavation works, the most important of which are 29 bronze coins dating back to the Nabataean and Roman periods.
Originally posted on Old World Garden Farms :
I have never been a huge pumpkin fan. Yes, I would eat an occasional piece of pumpkin pie (if it had a decent size dollop of cool whip on top), and I would enjoy a pumpkin cookie or two (who can resist the cream cheese icing on top). But I have found ‘pumpkin love’.
Originally posted on Culinaria Italia - Italian Food and Cooking:
In truth there probably isn’t one authentic recipe for Ragu alla Bolognese, but this one is close enough. There are however countless inauthentic ones. It bears little or no resemblance to the dish known as Bolognese or Bolognaise found outside of Italy. It is also never served with Spaghetti!