Visiting Oberfranken and discovering their great porcelain tradition

Ah – I see – the roots of Rosenthal and Hutschenreuther are in Oberfranken!

Always I have admired German porcelain. Not just Meissen, but also Rosenthal or Hutschenreuther. But I never thought about where the latter brands come from. I found out, when stopping over in Oberfranken. The family Hutschenreuther started producing porcelain in 1814. It was a love story, as Carolus M. Hutschenreuther married the daughter of the forest ranger. The ranger knew where to find the raw material for porcelain, caolin (or “white earth”). In 1857 Carolus’ son Lorenz founded his own porcelain factory in Selb, as this panel shows.

Around 1900, the family Rosenthal settled in Oberfranken and the brand “Rosenthal” emerged. In the 1950s, junior Philip Rosenthal returned and initiated the beautiful “studio-line”  that well-known arists like Walter Gropius contributed to. In 1956 the journal “Der Spiegel” had him on their front page and wrote about him.

Today, Rosenthal and Hutschenreuther belong to the Italian Sambonet-Paderno group.

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Why did I travel to Schönwald in Oberfranken? – I love to meet my friends – and a friend of mine lives here

In June 2018, I am on the road again, with Vreni. Our target is Berlin, and about half way to Berlin lies Schönwald. Our friend Herbert, now retired, has returned to his hometown in Oberfranken. We look forward to seeing him and envisage a hike in the Fichtelgebirge, as we have hiked together so many times in the Swiss Alps. We expected that there is nothing else to do in this peripheral region of Germany, near the border with the Czech Republic.

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Yes, indeed, Schönwald is close to the Czech Republic…

A few kilometers before reaching Schönwald, we stop at a gasoline station. The order to “pay first, then drive” is written in German, English, Czech, Polish and Russian.

This confirms that we are now very, very close to people with a slavic background.

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… but what a surprise! There is more to Schönwald and Oberfranken than just hiking, namely the tradition of porcelain production

When leaving the motorway at Selb to reach Schönwald, we have to drive our car around a huge teapot. A teapot? Do they make teapots here? Yes!

Schönwald, Selb and more cities in Oberfranken built innovative factories using mechanisation in the 19th century and produced more than 90% of German porcelain. Today, they offer a culture tour (Kulturreise) on the tracks of porcelain in Oberfranken.

We plan for a museum day to explore porcelain. Hiking is no fun anyway, because it is raining heaviliy and in the mist we cannot see any of the peaks of the Fichtelgebirge, though Herbert points into their direction and names some of them. Hm, we see nothing but white clouds.

We have our first dinner in a small hotel at Schönwald. Herbert turns round the plate and shows proudly that it carries the label “Schönwald”. Yes, Schönwald has its own factory and label for award winning robust hotel porcelain.

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Learning about mechanised porcelain production of the last two centuries in the Porzellanikon of Selb

The city of Selb has opened one of their old porcelain factories under the label Porzellanikon. Visitors can explore the production of porcelain and enjoy the beauty of the tableware of Hutschenreuther, Rosenthal, Kahla or Villeroy & Boch, all connected up today.

Here is what I took with me – it may not be perfect, as I am not a porcelain specialist at all.

The production of porcelain starts with blocks of stone that have to be crushed in several consecutive steps, a process that starts with huge millstones.

Using rotary drums, the stone blocks are further crushed. Kaolin, quartz and feldspar and other components are then mixed with water. The water has to be pressed out again using filters.

The raw material to produce plates, platters or plain bowls looks like over-sized sausages.

They are then formed using presses. Our friend Herbert worked here as a teenager to gain some pocket money.

For more complicated vessels such as this sugar bowl, liquid raw material is casted into a plaster mold. The sugar bowl forms itself near the plaster and when thick enough, the liquid in the middle is poured out and the bowl remains inside. I can hardly believe that this works.

The modeled porcelain pieces are then baked at high temperatures – the factory disposes of old kilns that we can walk into. As the photo above shows, the size of the sugar bowl is reduced considerably after having been baked.

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At the end, we enjoy the exhibition of porcelain products

It is a real pleasure to look at the well designed pieces of porcelain in the exhibition of the Porzellanikon. Here is a plate from the studo-line of Rosenthal.

And yes, it is Rosenthal. Actually the people from this area have this habit of turning round the plates in restaurants.

These two sets would make elegant coffee or tea tables.

The factories were inventive and even made cardboard plates out of porcelain.

I do love this design for children – the humor in it makes me smile.

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A walk through Selb

We end the day with a walk through the small town of Selb. They cherish their porcelain tradition with the unique porcelain street.

And again we find a slavic announcement – the small town of Selb wishes a “hearty welcome” in German and in Czech: Welcome to the town of porcelain in Bavaria.

Yes, thank you, Selb, Schönwald and Oberfranken. We felt welcome both, when meeting Herbert and when learning about porcelain. This experience was worth the stop over on our way to Berlin and we may return one day to see Herbert again and to explore more of the German porcelain culture.

 

Ravenna: In search of Byzantine mosaics – Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and in Classe

Saint Apollinaris is said to have brought Christianity to Ravenna in the 1st century. Two basilicas are named after him, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and Sant’Apollinare in Classe. “Nuovo” is the older church, already inaugurated in 504 as an ostrogothic Arian Basilica dedicated to Christ the Redeemer. Under Byzantine rule, this church became othodox-catholic, and in the 9th century the relics of Saint Apollinaris were transferred from Classe to Sant’Apollinare Nuovo – hence called “nuovo”. The original Basilica for Saint Apollinaris was built in Classe, near the port. It was consecrated in 549 by Maximian, when Ravenna was under Byzantine rule. Both basilicas are just wonderful – let us dicsover them.

But first let us recap again: In March 2018 we spent five days in Ravenna to see the town with its eight sites of UNESCO World Heritage:

  • two from the Western Roman Empire (402-476): the Mausoleum Galla Placidia and the Orthodox or Neonian Baptistery.
  • four from the Ostrogothic Rule (493-540): Theoderic’s Mausoleum, the Arian Baptistery, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (remodeled during Byzantine times) and the Archbishop’s Chapel.
  • two from the Byzantine Rule (540-751): San Vitale and Sant’Apollinare in Classe (both started during Ostrogoth times, but inaugurated in Byzantine times).

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Sant’Apollinare Nuovo

Yes, the older of the two basilicas named after Saint Apollinaris is called “Nuovo”. This is the view from outside. The bell tower is round with the typical double and triple windows. The narthex has been added later.

Inside the basilica measures 35mx21m. The nave is flanked with two rows of twelve columns in Greek marble. The mosaics are above the columns.

On the left hand side women martyrs are walking towards…

… Maria and Jesus with the three Magi.

On the right hand side, martyrs are walking towards Christ sitting on his throne and flanked by four angels.

It is assumed that the processions of the martyrs have been added by the Byzantines. The former decoration of the Arians was different, perhaps a line of courtiers.

Above the processions are 26 panels that describe the life of Christ (13 on each side). The example below shows the healing of the lame and the separation of the sheep from the bucks.

Most interesting is this Last Supper. Christ and the apostles are lying on long chairs as the Romans used to do for their meals. Never before have I seen such a “Roman” Last Supper. But why not? Why should the apostles and Christ not have behaved like the Romans, when eating?

Ursula and Leni intepret each of the 26 panels. It is like reading the Bible, and I have to admit, I read the stories from the Bible like people did at that time. With such beautiful mosaics it is a great pleasure to discover them and to enjoy, how the artists made the essence clear. For instance, a lame that carries his bed on his back has just been healed – it is simple and clear.

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Sant’Apollinare in Classe

On a sunny day, we take out our car and drive south to Classe, the ancient port of Ravenna. Here we find the basilica originally dedicated to Saint Apollinaris, namely Sant’Apollinare in Classe.

The nave is even larger, 55.5mx30.5m. The mosaic is in the choir.

It shows Christ, symbolized by a cross. The cross is flanked by two angels. Below the cross stands Saint Apollinaris that the church has been dedicated for. He is preaching and talking to the audience in the church and to the sheep surrounding him on the meadow. Stones, trees, bushes, flowers and birds surround the Saint.

In the middle of the cross, there is a small portrait of Christ.

The evangelists are flying above the scene. I am surprised to see the bull of Lukas: It is portrayed from the side and from the front at the same time – very much like a Picasso painting. May be that Picasso has visited this Basilica as a young man?

The lion of Mark looks very, very gentle, but may be this is what his evangelium is about… a story that should convey joy.

At the side we find three old acquaintances that we have come across in San Vitale: Abel sacrifying a sheep, Abraham about to sacrify his son Isaac and Melchisedec bringing wine and bread.

Beautiful, beautiful, just beautiful.

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Taking a break from all that culture

After all that culture we need a break and we benefit from the fact that the sun has started to warm Northern Italy. We drive to Fosso Ghaia and go for a walk in the pine forest.

Then we drive to the Lidos or the beaches south of Ravenna. They are empty, empty and just empty. One lonely man is raking the sand. If he continues at that speed, he will never complete his work until Easter in about four weeks, when the first guests are expected and the beaches start to fill up with lines of arm chairs and umbrellas. I cannot imagine the crowd looking at this empty sand beach.

We find just one (only one) restaurant open. It is full with craftsmen. They may be repairing the many holiday chalets and appartments that have their shutters closed right now.

Back in Ravenna we have a farewell dinner in the restaurant Capello, where I can also buy wines from the Emilia Romagna. I take with me Sangiovese, Lambrusco and Albana. The area is known for excellent food. Names like Parma (ham and cheese), Modena (vinaigre) or Bologna (spaghetti sauce) are resonating with me. And there is also more culture to see here. Perhaps I should plan to return soon…

References:
Clementina Rizzardi: “Ravenna, Eight Monuments World Heritage”, Municipality of Ravenna
Carola Jäggi: Ravenna, “Kunst und Kultur einer spätantiken Residenzstadt”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016
Jutta Dresken-Weiland: “Die frühchristlichen Mosaike von Ravenna”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016.

Ravenna: In search of Byzantine mosaics – San Vitale

The Basilica San Vitale has been inaugurated during Byzantine Rule, by Bishop Maximian in 547. The Ostrogoths had  started building San Vitale in 526.

Let us recap: In March 2018 we spent five days in Ravenna to see the town with its eight sites of UNESCO World Heritage:

  • two from the Western Roman Empire (402-476): the Mausoleum Galla Placidia and the Orthodox or Neonian Baptistery.
  • four from the Ostrogothic Rule (493-540): Theoderic’s Mausoleum, the Arian Baptistery, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (remodeled during Byzantine times) and the Archbishop’s Chapel.
  • two from the Byzantine Rule (540-751): San Vitale and Sant’Apollinare in Classe (both started during Ostrogoth times, but inaugurated in Byzantine times).

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San Vitale is a beautiful octogonal building with mosaics in the choir

The building plan of San Vitale combines Roman and Byzantine elements. A Roman element is the use of clay pipes for the dome. A Byzantine element is the octogonal plan. Charlemagne liked the octogonal plan of San Vitale so much that he modeled his palatine chapel in Aachen after it (Rizzardi, p. 74 and Dresken-Weiland also mentions that).

Inside the choir is beautifully decorated with mosaics. They are the best preserved Byzantine mosaics from Early Christianity (id est around 500, Rizzardi, p. 72).  Let us discover the San Vitale choir with the mosaics shining in green-blue-golden-white.

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Central cupola of the choir topped by the Lamb of God

In the center of the cupola the Lamb of God or Agnus Dei looks down at us as a symbol for Christ. He is flanked by four angels that stand in beautifully decorated gardens with birds and animals. The portrait of Christ himself is in the arch, along with the portraits of the apostles – next to Christ Petrus (grey hair) and Paulus (bald head).

In the front niche sits Christ, flanked by the two archangels and then to the left San Vitale (his martyrium is said to have happened here) and to the right the Bishop Eclesius who initiated building the cathedral. They all stand on a meadow with flowers and birds.

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Both sides of the choir Jare dedicated to the Byzantine emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora

To the left of the choir there is a mosaic panel that shows the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the middle amidst his men and warriors. The Bishop Maximianus who inaugurated San Vitale in 547 is labeled.

To the right stands his wife Theodora amidst her accompaniment. She is said to be the daughter of a bear trainer and she became a very influential empress in Byzantium.

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At the entrance to the choir: Biblical scenes

At the entrance to the choir there are two Biblical scenes.

The first scene below shows Abel sacrifying a lamb and Melchisedec bringing bread and wine. To the left from the scene stands Moses as a good shepherd (caressing a sheep) and again Moses  taking of his sandals to climb Mount Horeb where he finds the burning bush. To the right above the prophet Isaiah looks down at the scene with Abel and Melchisedec.

The second scene centers around Abraham. He is serving food to the three vagabonds that turned out to be angels. Three bread loaves are on the table and Abraham brings a lamb while his wife Sarah watches the guests from the doorstep. To the right, the hand of God is stopping Abraham from sacrifying his son Isaac. Above the scene are the prophet Jeremiah (left) and to the right Moses receiving the Ten Commandments.

Another overwhelming assemblance of mosaics in Ravenna after the baptisteries and the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia… and there will be more – we have not yet seen Sant’Apollinare Nuovo and Sant’Apollinare in Classe.

References:
Clementina Rizzardi: “Ravenna, Eight Monuments World Heritage”, Municipality of Ravenna
Carola Jäggi: Ravenna, “Kunst und Kultur einer spätantiken Residenzstadt”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016
Jutta Dresken-Weiland: “Die frühchristlichen Mosaike von Ravenna”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016.

 

Ravenna: Comparing the Ostrogothic Arian Baptistery and the Roman Orthodox Baptistery

Now I will tell you about the Ostrogothic Arian Baptistery and for comparison of the christening scene recall the Roman Orthodox (Neonian) Baptistery. To conclude, we will visit the Mausoleum of Theoderic to say good-bye to him and his Ostrogoths.

Let us recap: In March 2018 we spent five days in Ravenna to see the town with its eight sites of UNESCO World Heritage:

  • two from the Western Roman Empire (402-476): the Mausoleum Galla Placidia and the Orthodox or Neonian Baptistery.
  • four from the Ostrogothic Rule (493-540): Theoderic’s Mausoleum, the Arian Baptistery, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (remodeled during Byzantine times) and the Archbishop’s Chapel.
  • two from the Byzantine Rule (540-751): San Vitale and Sant’Apollinare in Classe (both started during Ostrogoth times, but inaugurated in Byzantine times).

(In the fourth ostrogothic World Heritage which is the Archbishop’s Chapel with Christ as a warrior it is not allowed to take pictures).

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Let us return to the Orthodox (Neonian) Baptistery and compare the christening scene with the Arian baptistery

Remember the christening scene in the Orthodox Baptistery from my previous blog? Saint John holds a bowl to baptize Christ and the pigeon flies above – to me it seems to bless the water in the bowl. Historians assume that this christening scene has been altered later and that the scene in the Arian Baptistery reflects the original mosaic with Saint Joan holding his hand on Christ’s head and the Holy Spirit really flowing from the pigeon on to the head of Christ (see farther down).

By the way you can clearly discern the apostles Petrus with his grey hair (bottom left) and Paulus with his bald head (left from Petrus).

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The Arian Baptistery – smaller and more intimate – again  just aaahhh

The Arian baptistery is smaller than the Orthodox Baptistery. The short absidioles at the bottom of the facade indicate that the building used to be much higher.

Inside I utter another “aaahhh”. The room is full of modest solemnity with the christening scene and the procession of the apostles in the cupola. The apostles move towards the throne of Christ, and Petrus (with his grey hair) as well as Paulus (with his bald head) are on both sides of the throne.

As mentioned abovem this christening scene is different from the one in the Orthodox Baptistery. In the Ariane Baptistery, Saint John holds his hand on Christ’s head and the pigeon pours Holy Spirit on to Christ’s head. Furthermore, Saint John, dressed in his fur coat, holds a walking stick instead of a cross. The god of the river Jordan is of the same size as the main figures and he has crabs on his head. The two scenes are very similar, but different, and the setup of the Arian Baptistery is deemed to be original. I love how gently Saint John looks at Christ.

The Arian Baptistery was built  around the year 500 by the Ostrogothic Arianic Christian community. The Ostrogothic king, Theoderic the Great, belonged to the Arianic community. Arians believe that Christ is the son of God, “but that he is distinct from the Father and therefore subordibate to him”, wikipedia explains, as opposed to the Orthodox-Catholics (still one church at that time) that believe in Trinity –  God, the Holy Spirit and Christ are one God in three divine persons. The Orthodox-Catholics declared the Arianic concept to be heretic and they persecuted them.

The Arianic community in Ravenna was small. This might explain, why their baptistery is smaller. Historians say that their mosaic had been completed in two stages. They conclude this from the fact that under the throne, the grey-headed apostle Petrus and the bald headed apostle Paulus as well as under the third apostle next to Paulus the lawn is of much darker green color than under all the other apostles. Only around the throne, there are flowers. And in addition the palm trees look different. The historians assume that, when the throne, Petrus, Paulus and the third apostle had been accomplished, the Arians run out of money – and only later they were able to complete the procession of the apostles.

I love the unostentatios solemnity of this small baptistery. Being baptized here must have been a great experience.

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Good-bye Theoderic

I think that Theoderic was a very modern person. He is said to have been tolerant and cosmopolitic – I sense, as if he had lived through the times of Enlightment. In his mausoleum, we say good-bye to him.

The mauseoleum is one of the eight monuments of Ravenna in the World Heritage List. It consists of carefully cut Istrian stone blocks and excels by its 10.76m monolithic dome weighing 230 tons (Source: Rizzardi). On the second floor stands the porphyry sarcophagus of – as historians think – Theoderic.

When the Byzantines took over in 540, they removed his body, because they were against Arianism. Why? A belief that allows for a tolerant and cosmopolitic attitude is wonderful – and I would love to see more of that right today.

References:
Clementina Rizzardi: “Ravenna, Eight Monuments World Heritage”, Municipality of Ravenna
Carola Jäggi: Ravenna, “Kunst und Kultur einer spätantiken Residenzstadt”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016
Jutta Dresken-Weiland: “Die frühchristlichen Mosaike von Ravenna”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016.

Ravenna: The heritage of Galla Placidia and Neone (Roman times)

Let us recap: In March 2018 we spent five days in Ravenna to see the town with its eight sites of UNESCO World Heritage:

  • two from the Western Roman Empire (402-476): the Mausoleum Galla Placidia and the Orthodox or Neonian Baptistery.
  • four from the Ostrogothic Rule (493-540): Theoderic’s Mausoleum, the Arian Baptistery, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (remodeled during Byzantine times) and the Archbishop’s Chapel.
  • two from the Byzantine Rule (540-751): San Vitale and Sant’Apollinare in Classe (both started during Ostrogoth times, but inaugurated in Byzantine times).

Let us start with our impressions from Roman times, the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia and the Orthodox (Neonian) Baptistery. The latter we will compare later with the Arian Baptistery.

 

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia – solemnity in blue and golden colors

Galla Placidia was the daughter of Theodosius, the last emperor of the unified Roman Empire . In her second marriage Galla was the wife of Constantius, Magister Militum of Honorius, the first emperor of the Western Rome Empire (after the partition of Rome in 395). For some years Constantius ruled together with Honorius. Galla’s son, Valentianus III, became emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 425. Until 437 and until he was 18 years old, she managed the empire. During this time – in 425 – she had her mausoleum built. This is the outside view of the mausoleum with its four transepts. The transepts are ornated with blind columns and arcades.

Inside, we find a solemn atmosphere primarily in the colors blue and golden. The cupola is a blue sky filled with stars, with the cross in the middle and the four evangelists in the corners. I love the decoration band around this sky full of stars.

Below the cupola there are four mosaics with two men, a fountain and pigeons. In two of the mosaics, the pigeons are drinking from the water. These two pigeons drinking water decorate many, many souvenirs in Ravenna – cups, plates, mouse pads, scarfs, tablecloths, t-shirts etc. The elegant men next to the pigeons have not been identified.

Two of the mosaics in the four transepts show deer drinking water alluding to the psalm “like a deer drinking from a stream, I reach out to you, my god.”

The third transept hosts the mosaic depicting Christ as the good shepherd – he is caressing one of his sheep – and the animal obviously enjoys that.

Last the fourth transept shows the martyr Laurentius or Lawrence moving towards his martyrium, the grill, which is next to a bookcase with the four gospels.

The decoration in primarily blue and golden colors creates a solemn atmosphere. Very, very beautiful. Galla Placidia was surely an intelligent woman, but in addition she had a good taste. We looked around and around, we checked out every detail and, after having stepped out, I had to go back to get another glance.

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The Orthodox or Neonian Baptistery – another “aaahhhh”

The Orthodox Baptistery is the second testimony of Ravenna as the capital of the Roman empire. It has been accomplished by Bishop Neone (450-476). This is why it is also called “the Neonian Baptistery”. The baptistery is what remains from the Basilica Ursiana which in the 18th century has been replaced by a new cathedral. This is the view from outside.

An interesting detail are the pilaster strips (Lisenen) and round-arch mouldings (Rundbogenfriese) – blind columns and arcades. This decoration has been in use in ancient Roman times, in Byzantium and in Ravenna. In Ravenna the Langobards picked it up and integrated it in their Lombardian architecture. From here the Romanesque architecture spread throughout Europe in the 11th century.

As this is a baptistery, the decoration centers around christening. The top of the cupola shows Christ standing in the river Jordan. He is being christened by Saint John, while the god of the river Jordan watches the procedure. Around this scene the apostles form a procession.

The outer circle contains a band of four double niche constructions alternating between a desk with the bible surrounded by two chairs (see below) and the throne of Christ in a garden (see above).

Windows give light to the baptistery. Next to the windows are plaster figures – perhaps prophets.

Below the windows are absidioles that once were much higher and contained (lost) mosaics showing biblical scenes. The spandrels connecting the absidioles are decorated with mosaics showing (unidentified) men sourrounded by blue and golden.

When entering the baptistery, I opened my mouth – aah – and just stared up at the cupola. Far away I heard a voice say something, but I did not listen. Only after some time I understood that this voice wanted me to show my ticket or buy one. A ticket? I came back to the world – oh yes, the cash point is inside the baptistery. The voice was very friendly, repeated “ticket please” and obviously enjoyed that I was so much overwhelmed by the beauty of the mosaics.

We will return to the scene of christening shown in the Orthodox Baptistery and compare it to the same scene in the Arian baptistery.

References:
Clementina Rizzardi: “Ravenna, Eight Monuments World Heritage”, Municipality of Ravenna
Carola Jäggi: Ravenna, “Kunst und Kultur einer spätantiken Residenzstadt”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016
Jutta Dresken-Weiland: “Die frühchristlichen Mosaike von Ravenna”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016.

Ravenna: My history overview

“No, no, I only visit Ravenna in winter,” Ursula says. I take a break from my favorite winter activities which relate to skiing, take out my car and off we go in the beginning of March 2018 to explore Ravenna and its eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

When we arrived in Ravenna in the first week of March, winter was still present, as the snow heaps on the Piazza del Popolo show.

It was very cold and it was raining. Even the cyclists used their umbrellas. Fortunately, by the end of our week in Ravenna, we could again sit outside to enjoy our Italian espresso in the warm sun.

Before exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Ravenna, let us get an overview of Ravenna’s history. It may not be complete, as I am not a historian, but it helped me to navigate in Ravenna and understand the background of the sites we visited.

Source: See references below, and sometimes I would use Dr. Google to verify my understanding.

To summarize, the eight sites of UNESCO World Heritage at Ravenna are:

  • from the Western Roman Empire (402-476): Mausoleum Galla Placidia and the Baptistery of the Orthodoxs.
  • from the Ostrogothic Rule (493-540): Mausoleum of Theoderic, Arian Baptistery, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (remodeled during Byzantine times) and the Archbishop’s Chapel.
  • from the Byzantine Rule (540-751): San Vitale and Sant’Apollinare in Classe (both started during Ostrogoth times, but then inaugurated in Byzantine times).

See, where you find the sites in Ravenna.

Source: Clementina Rizzardi: “Ravenna, Eight Monuments World Heritage”, Municipality of Ravenna.

Let us explore these eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the coming blogs.

References:
Clementina Rizzardi: “Ravenna, Eight Monuments World Heritage”, Municipality of Ravenna
Carola Jäggi: Ravenna, “Kunst und Kultur einer spätantiken Residenzstadt”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016
Jutta Dresken-Weiland: “Die frühchristlichen Mosaike von Ravenna”, Schnell+Steiner, Regensburg 2016.

 

Basel Carnival 2018 – about the lantern exhibition: Eating insects, figugegl and hol’s dr Geier

Let us come back to the lantern exhibition 2018 on the Cathedral Square with some cheerful topics: Eating insects, Figugegl and hol’s dr Geier.

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Eating insects

Eating insects – this is a new gourmet trend that can be well expressed in the masks and fancy costumes matching the lanterns.

Look at this enticing menu made from insects. “Dä Börger isch feiner mit e paar Säggsbeiner” – “this (ham)-burger is more delicious with a few (animals with) six legs”.

Enjoy the barbecue at the edge of the plate: “Made, Würmer muesch uffspiesse, erscht denn kasch s’Ässe richtig gniesse” – “grubs, worms – this is what you have to skewer, only then you can enjoy your meal.”

This lantern plays with the words: “Dr Wurm isch dinne” – “the worm is inside”. Yes, the worm is inside the meal, but in German this means at the same time: “This is, where the rub or the problem is”.

At the cortège, the Pfluderi were disguised as grasshoppers assembling around this huge grasshopper. The verse says: “In dr Gourmetbaiz froogt e Maa, könnt ich d’Made saignant ha” – “in the restaurant a guest asks, whether he could have the grub rare”.

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Figugegl

Many, many years ago, Figugegl was the publicity for Fondue, one of the Swiss national meals (melted cheese). Figugegl was an acronym: „Fondue isch guet und git e gueti Luune“ or “Fondue is good and gives good humour”. The Gassegotter replaced “Fondue” with “Fitness” which leads to “Fitness isch gsund und git e gueti Luune” or “Fitness is good and gives good humour”.

The Gassegotter comment the trend for extreme slimness by recommending that „äs birebitzli rund isch gsund“ or “a little bit “round” is healthy”.

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Hol’s dr Geier – Basel first

Trump says „USA first“. On this lantern I found „Basel zerscht“ or “Basel first” , along with – „hol’s dr geier“ or “the vulture may grab it”.

Well, the vulture might be a sign for bankruptcy, but… “D’Roche Schuublaade sin no lang nyt lär, das fräit e jede-n-Aggtionär“ or “the drawers of Roche will not be empty for many years, this makes every shareholder happy”.

In addition I find here a tought about the lantern exhibition at the Münsterplatz or Cathedral Square: „Dä Münschterplatzz (isch) schön, Ladärne dört obe schtön“ – “That Cathedral Square is beautiful – lanterns are standing up there.”

Yes I agree, the Cathedral Square is beautiful, in particular, when the lanterns are “up there”. And I agree: Basel first! – I look forward to next year’s lantern exhibition on Tuesday, March 12th 2019.