Amore e pianto, vivono accanto


Saint Petersburg ~ Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ ~ Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood

Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is known to Petersburgers as the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood – or even just the Church on the Blood – as it marks the spot where Alexander II was fatally wounded in an assassination attempt on March 1, 1881. Designed by Alfred Parland in the style of 16th and 17th-century Russian churches, the Church of the Resurrection provides a stark (some would say jarring) contrast to its surroundings of Baroque, Classical and Modernist architecture.


Alexander II died of wounds inflicted in an attack by the terrorist group People’s Will. Immediately, his heir, Alexander III, declared his intention to erect a church on the site in his father’s memory, and moreover to have this church built in “traditional Russian” style – in distinction to what he saw as the contaminating Western influence of Petersburg.


Savior on the Spilled Blood is an architectural landmark of central St Petersburg, and a unique monument to Alexander II the Liberator.

It features Russia’s largest collection of mosaics (over 7,000 sq.m.), Italian coloured marbles, decorative stones from the Urals and Altai region, as well as a collection of Russian heraldic mosaics.


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Libyan Aseeda (عصيدة) Recipe

Arabic Boiled Flour Pudding: Asida العصيدة

Asida is a boiled flour pudding cooked directly in water. It is a popular traditional dish served in Libya during celebrations such as births or Eid. It is made of wheat flour or whole-meal flour dough cooked in water, and is eaten with honey or date syrup and melted butter. Some people use olive oil or samn (ghee) instead of butter. It is usually eaten for breakfast. Like bazeen, asida is a communal meal served in a large flat plate or gas’a, and it is generally eaten with the fingers, although spoons can be used. While Bazeen has Amazigh origins and is a purely North African dish, this boiled flour pudding has an Arabic name and versions of Asida are made in the Arabian Peninsula.

Take a look at the steps for the smiley face asida for children.

Serves 4

25g butter
1tsp salt
300g flour
1 litre boiling water

Served with:
Honey or date syrup
Melted butter or ghee

Fill a deep pot with 1/2 litre hot water. Add 25g butter and a teaspoon of salt.

Leave on medium heat until the water starts to boil.

Sift the flour then pour it into the pan all at once then remove from heat.

Immediately start to stir the flour into the buttery water.

Press the dough against the side of the pot to remove lumps.

Devil Woman


Vittorio De Seta 1954 – Lu Tempu Di Li Pisci Spata





Miniature Donkeys are the CUTEST Things Ever


The miniature donkeys at the Amelia Rise Donkey farm in Australia are some of the cutest creatures on this earth. They are small, they are happy and they are fuzzy.

Prepare for your blood pressure to be lowered and your day to be brightened:

Iranians celebrate Persian New Year


Iranians are celebrating Norouz which marks the beginning of the Persian New Year.

Norouz, which means New Day, has been celebrated annually for at least 3,000 years. It is one of the oldest and most cherished festivities in Iran.

The UNESCO has recognized the occasion as an “intangible cultural heritage of Persian origin.”

Spring is considered by many nations as a symbol of rebirth when flowers bloom and nature casts a green spell of fresh vitality.

In Iran and many other countries people welcome spring with the ancient Norouz celebrations which coincides with the astronomical Vernal Equinox Day or the first day of spring.

Norouz is the first of Farvardin, the first month of the Persian calendar which falls on March 21.

Now people in Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan mark the Persian New Year on the same day with various types of festivities such as games, songs and dances.

For Iranians, Norouz is a celebration of renewal and change, a time to visit relatives and friends, and pay respect to senior family members. They prepare to welcome the New Year days before by spring cleaning and buying new clothes.

After celebrating the festival of fire, Iranians start preparing the Haft Seen, a table with seven items starting with the letter ‘S,’ which is set to welcome the Persian New Year.

Apart from the main Haft Seen items, people also put the holy Qur’an in hopes of being blessed by God in the coming year.

Mirror, goldfish, eggs, dried nuts and fruits, candles, coins, hyacinth, and milk are also among the items Iranians include in their Haft Seen.

The whole table is a thanksgiving table for all the good bestowed by God, and symbolizes light, warmth, life, love, joy, production, prosperity, and nature.

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Syria celebrates occasion of Eid al-Nowruz



Damascus, (SANA) Ministry of Social Affairs, in cooperation with National Reconciliation Committee at People’s Assembly held a celebration on the occasion of Eid al-Nowruz under the motto “Syria, Home to All” at Dama Rose Hotel in Damascus.


Minister of Social Affairs Kinda al-Shammat stressed that Syrian Kurds are part of the Syrian people, adding that the victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army are an outcome of national unity of all spectrums of the Syrian citizens.

For his part, Minister of State for the National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar pointed out that Syria forms a pattern of co-existence among all its spectrums.


Chairman of the National Initiative for the Syrian Kurds Omar Ossi said that Eid al-Nouruz is a day for the co-existence and tolerance among all Syrian people, affirming that steadfastness of Syria’s leadership, citizens and army will defeat the conspiracy to which Syria is exposed.

During the celebration, scores of martyr mothers were honored.

National Kurds Movement for Peaceful Change congratulates Kurds on Eid al-Nowruz

Meanwhile, National Kurds Movement for Peaceful Change congratulated Syrian Kurds on the occasion of Eid al-Nowruz.

The Movement said in a statement ” We congratulate the Kurds around the world, particularly the Syrians who proved their national belonging to Homeland in confronting the foreign-backed terrorism that targets the country.”

B. Mousa/ Mazen

Vík í Mýrdal ~ Black Sand Beach on South Coast of Iceland


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).




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.

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Ancient City of Aleppo ~ Historical Souk ~ Syria


Published on Apr 16, 2012

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.

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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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[5][6]

Middle Bronze Age
In the Old Babylonian period, Aleppo’s name appears as Ḥalab (Ḥalba) for the first time.[6] 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.[7]

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.[6]

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.[6]

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.[6]

Iron Age
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.[11]

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.[12]

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.


Long Cold Winter …

babiesinsnowjan2014 207


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2013 in review

The 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.

Click here to see the complete report.

Cara Santa Lucia …


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.

Original Lebanese Ashta Recipe – Clotted Cream With Rose Water

What is Ashta (Kashta)?

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.

Lebanese Ashta Recipe
Original Ashta, Clotted Cream

Original Ashta vs Modern Ashta

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.

Lebanese Ashta Recipe
Scoop the Clotted Cream From Surface

Lebanese Ashta Recipe
Strained Ashta

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.

Lebanese Ashta Recipe
Ashta Served With Strawberries

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.

Make it Bun Dem

New Moon on Summer Solstice ~ Hecate Goddess of New Moon

Mind of Plants : Documentary on The Intelligence of Plants



Syria… a milestone in audiovisual heritage


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.

ornina2He added that the oldest scene of an orchestra of 26 players and the oldest full musical note engraved in cuneiform in an earthen tablet were also uncovered 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.

H. Said

Partial solar eclipse visible in Syria on November 3rd ~ 2013


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.

H. Sabbagh

Archeological findings from the Aramaic period uncovered in Sweida

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.



H. Said

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Happy as can bee


not camera shy at all :) they love the cosmos

Summer Palace, China


Summer Palace, China

Photograph by Shen Xinhang, National Geographic Your Shot

This Month in Photo of the Day: Travel Photos

Marble 17-arch bridge at the Summer Palace, China

This photo and caption were submitted to Your Shot.

See pictures of China from our photo community »





Wild Geranium … ?

wild geranium, i think, 10 june 2013

June Blessings

peonies garden 1 june 2013 124edpostl

first peony bloom, June 1, 2013, Goddess Blessings for a bountiful year! )O(

Hedgehog Cacti in Bloom


Photographer: Kathleen Kiefer; Kathleen’s Web site
Summary Author: Kathleen Kiefer

The photo above shows hedgehog cacti blooming in the Ancient Lakes area of Washington State. I had always wanted to see the illusive crimson to cherry colored blooms of the “hedgehog,” which grow on rocky hillsides and flat lands, usually in lithosol areas. Because collectors have been known to dig them up, even though seldom survive under propagation, they’ve become increasingly rare where they were once common. The ones above were found in a rather secluded part of the Columbia Basin, pictured against a backdrop of lichen-covered rocks, larkspur, phlox, and sulphur lupine. Photo taken on April 13, 2013.

Photo details: Top – Camera Model: Canon EOS 7D; Lens: EF-S10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM; Focal Length: 22.0mm; Aperture: f/25.0; Exposure Time: 0.0016 s (1/640); ISO equiv: 1250; Software: Adobe Photoshop CS4 Macintosh. Inset – Same except: Lens: EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS; Focal Length: 52.0mm.


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