Fascination captured in stone

Uta von Ballenstedt was the wife of Margrave Eckard II von Meissen, member of the German dynasty known as the House of Ascania. Their marriage created no heir, and any chance of furthering their line ended with Eckard’s death in 1046, followed shortly thereafter by Uta’s. Her entire estate was donated to the construction of Naumburg Cathedral being erected in the early 13th century.  A little bit later the anonymous Naumburg master created a dozen donor figures for the cathedral, including representations of Eckard II and Uta.

These life-size statues are relatively rare in the annals of art history, as they depict neither king nor emperor, and are considered masterpieces of Gothic art.Indeed, some art connoisseurs consider Uta von Ballenstedt’s sculpture to be of exceptional beauty, even placing her on the same level as Botticelli’s Venus. She attracts many visitors to Naumburg Cathedral to this day – an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Naumburg Cathedral, postcard of early 20th century

P S.  The very nice town of  Naumburg (Saale) is nearly 1,000 years old, and there one can visit also the Friedrich-Nietzsche-Haus, a museum dedicated to the life and work of this well known German philosopher.

Street scene near the cathedral / Sunday 9 August 2020 / 36,2° Celsius


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Jo’s Monday walk : From Bay to Beautiful Bay



The picture above shows the colorant facade of an occupied house in West-Berlin from the early 1980s. This creative artwork delivers quite well the massive rebellious spirit of those days when there were more than 130 squatter houses downtown, and I used to live in one of them, a real crazy time. May be therefore ruins attract me very much till today?!

Simply like holidays, Havel river in summer, Berlin-Grunewald

Early morning in one of the many allotment gardens with view on an old water tower, Berlin-Westend

Rusty bridge to nowhere, Berlin-Charlottenburg

The railway system of Berlin used to be very different till WW II, quite similar to that in Paris with several stations (dead-ends) encircling the city centre. Hamburger Bahnhof  is now a museum, and Görlitzer Bahnhof a city park. This rusty bridge here used to be part of the already  forgotten freight station of Charlottenburg. 

Renaissance citadel of late 16th century, Berlin-Spandau

Collage by Saule Suleimenova, Berlin-Kreuzberg

This collage-work is made of hundreds of small plastic pieces assembled together, another form of ecological recycling. Strange, that it looks really more like a painting.

Crazy mural on Teufelsberg, Berlin-Grunewald

Home(land) is where you feel cozy and challenged at the same time. 

Urban idyll far away from the city centre, Berlin-Spandau

Graffiti in the endless ruins of VEB Kühlomat (former airport Johannisthal), Berlin-Treptow

The city full of contrasts, colorful, creative and flashy, but also with a lot of very quiet natural corners spread over the entire urban area.

Late afternoon view on Wannsee, Berlin-Zehlendorf

Suburban railways jungle of socalled Siemensbahn, Berlin-Siemensstadt

A must for all fans of Urbex (urban exploration) is the now unused Siemensbahn (suburban railways leading to Siemens City). It was built by Siemens company in the 1920s so that their employees could reach more easily the headquarter, administration offices and factories of the company. From 1946 till 1989 the suburban railways  were owned and run by the East-Berlin magistrate, also in West-Berlin like here. The administration of West-Berlin wanted to become independent and extended underground line no. 7 to Siemensstadt in the early 1980s. So people would use no longer the traditional Siemensbahn being closed as a consequence. One of many crazy stories from the time when the city was divided.

Dahlia beauty at Britzer Park, Berlin-Neukölln


“Paris is always Paris, but Berlin is never Berlin.”

(Jack Lang, former Culture Minister of France, 2001)

Take care and stay safe!


Summerfreshness arises over cryptic streams to lonely miracles and appealing humid secrets, passing by mysterious signs thrown quickly all over those dubious paths in a real twilight zone borne of sheer ambiguity – now time to follow again the traces of a nearby wise fox directing us in the very heart of fabulous wilderness.



Around 5500 BC the socalled Linear Pottery Culture did spread all over Europe. Migrating farmers and ranchers founded the first relevant culture with a large settlement area in the Neolithic period. 

Solar observatory and circle of Goseck (4800 BC), path between the palisades

The enclosure at Goseck in Germany was discovered by an air survey in 1991. It consists of an almost fully circular ditch and two concentric rings of palisades. Three cheek-shaped portals point towards the north, the south-east and the south-west and serve as aims for the observation of the sun at the winter solstice  The neolithic circular enclosure of Goseck had been already erected at around 4,800 BC, the oldest known facility and celestial calendar like this in Europe. As a place of assembly, trade, religious ceremony and jurisdiction it was the centre of an early micro-region. In 2005, the solar observatory and woodhenge of Goseck was reconstructed on its original site.

Dolmin Goddess (3,500 – 2,600 BC)
Menhir of Langeneichstädt

Hinkelsteins can be found everywhere in Europe. This is a rather small one and only the 2nd replica. The 1st replica had already been stolen some years ago by freaky people. Indeed when visiting the strange location there were sacrificed flowers on the ground because contemporary shamans still use such mythical places. Though the original menhir is safeguarded at the State Museum of Pre-History in Halle (Saale), Germany.

Megalithic grave of Trebenow (3,300 – 2,800 BC)

A regional legend tells of two giants who came to Trebenow and built castles there. They initially lived in harmony, but quarreled because a giantess came into the village and both wanted to marry her. The two giants entrenched themselves in their castles and threw huge boulders at each other. Finally one of the giants was fatally hit, the other repented and built this boulder grave for his friend.


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Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary



The world is full of mysteries and unsolved riddles.

European Origins

  1. The End of the World
    1. Before the End: Fimbulwinter
    2. The Great Battle
    3. Rebirth and Reincarnation
  2. Rebirth in Germanic Mythology

Rebirth is a fascinating concept that is usually associated with the religious beliefs of Asia and not with ancient European Mythology. But surprisingly, there are some mentions of reincarnation in Western Myth and Legend. Could this be an indication of an underlying Indo-European connection and a widespread belief among the Proto-Indo-Europeans? To find out, ironically, we will have to start at the end of all things in Norse Mythology.

The End of the World

Ragnarok describes the end of the world as we know it, culminating in the epic clash between Gods and Giants and the subsequent destruction of heaven and earth. Other than in popular belief, Giants in Germanic legends are not just humongous humanoids but vicious monsters like Jormungandr, the enormous snake that wraps around the entire world and…

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Lute Player, oil on canvas, 1595
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

The baroque lute player in modern outfit appears in the legendary clip by R.E.M. after just 30 seconds and the film is full of cross-references to the ouevre and paintings of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. But this remains not the only citation from art history.

Loving you (Hommage to Michael Jackson),
popart by Pierre & Gilles, 2017

The clip for R.E.M.’s “Losing my Religion” is a perfectly constructed collage of various artistic styles from past and present. The video draws a wide arc with multiple connections to Caravaggio, Dutch paintings from the 17th century, art of the Communist October Revolution and postmodern creations by Pierre & Gilles.

Losing my Religion (1991) video by R.E.M.

Nearly 30 years ago, R.E.M. released “Out of Time”, which eventually sold over four million copies in the United States and transformed longtime college radio darlings into a mainstream concern. It was the album’s first single “Losing My Religion” that definitively turned the group into artistic and commercial leaders of the burgeoning alternative rock movement. The headline “Losing my religion” has been wrongly understood as an indication that the protagonist of the text is losing faith. In fact, however, front man Michael Stipe has taken up a forgotten phrase from the southern United States, which just means “to lose your temper.”

May 1st is All-Russian Subotnik
Poster by Dimitri Moor, 1920

The music by R.E.M. (1980-2011) is played till today, but sometimes by the wrong person. The following statement by R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe was in response to Donald Trump using one of the group’s songs at a Washington, D.C. rally in September 2015:

Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you — you sad, attention-grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.”

The Calling of St. Matthew, oil on canvas, 1599-1600
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio



I return to my little song  and patiently I sing it again above fishing holes in the ice where I stand shivering

Ningeokuluk Teevee / Pitseolak Niviaqusi
Shaman who reveals himself, 2007, lithography

The legendary avantgarde, underground and performance group THE RESIDENTS from San Francisco – which I have seen live only once in my life – deliver a true arctic feeling here with an empathic music and really insisting Eskimo songs from 1979. The identity of the members is unknown, and since their beginning, the musicians have always appeared in different masks, a real cult.

The Residents, Eskimo Songs, DVD, 2002

But I think the Arctic people should also speak here for themselves in colorful pictures, sounds and visions. The contemporary Inuit art fascinates me because of its rural and original perception. Life is difficult and not at all always romantic for them as you can see on the print hereunder. Today climate change is on the verge of destroying their icy homeland, the very future insecure and quite inpredictable.

Mary K. Okheena / Helen Klengenberg
Supplies brought At Last, limited print, 1995

Helen Kalvak, Fishing, Stonecut, 1975

Traditional Inuit throat singing by Cathy Keknek and Janet Aglukkaq
which reminded me very much to the Mongolian singing of same kind




Putin is actually a very happy man (as you can see also in the above US American cartoon) because Donald Trump now throws a ruined and divided country finally to the wolves. Though, the last ounce of reputation has already disappeared into nowhere guided by daily bizarre embarassment of a blonde sociopathic parvenu who unbelievably is still sitting in the White House – shameless as ever – what can be however amended  in the ides of coming November. 

Escape from White House or Me First – Washington, November 2020

According to a poll of December 2019 conducted by the YouGov agency on behalf of the German Press Agency, Donald Trump is believed to be even more dangerous than Iran’s political and religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Therefore it is not astonishing that actually many Germans show more sympathy for Vladimir Putin, he speaks German as well and has lived and worked several years in East-Germany before the unification of the country which allowed him some insights in mentality and culture.

Mural in Hamburg

Vladimir Putin also had always great interest in narrow bilateral connections between the two countries but this has not hindered him some time ago  to place offensive rockets near the city of Kaliningrad in former Eastern-Prussia only around 600 km from Berlin and Warsaw, a clear and hazardous provocation and just one example for a new Cold War between East and West. After the heavy political turmoils of the early 1990s Russian economy felt in some kind of agonizing koma, and Vladimir Putin is dreaming indeed of something else for maintaining his way of Russian national pride and imperial importance.

The East is Red – installation for Nordart 2018 by Liu Ruowang (China)

Not so long ago Russia did not play a relevant role on the international political stages, but this has changed dramatically in the recent years, and Vladimir Putin’s current strength is also a result from the weakness of the West.

The latest referendum in Russia cemented Vladimir Putin’s autocratic rule and established a new constitution outside the international applicable laws. The Russian president can now openly intervene in the judiciary, and acccording the new constitution Vladimir Putin could now remain president until 2036 or longer, who knows.

By anchoring the priority of national law over the authority of international jurisdiction in Russia’s constitution, Russian citizens can no longer go to the European Court of Human Rights for instance  since such judgements are no longer legally binding or relevant at all in Russia.

Let’s go West / Russian radical nationalists (Putin’s thinktanks) have already designed strategies of seizing all countries in Europe in order to firmly establish a Russian Empire from Lissabon until Wladiwostok

The annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s aggression in eastern Ukraine continue.  And the gigantic military parade that took place on Red Square in Moscow at the end of June – despite the ongoing acute danger to Covid 19 – was intended to show his people that pride and greatness of Russia are inextricably linked to his leadership. But Vladimir Putin also sent a massive signal to the West: Russia is again a great power. As a matter of fact Hitler initiated the same kind of excessive, intimidating and militaristic parades, a quite worrying and very disturbing historical parallel.

Countries like Poland and the Baltic states really fear most of all this kind of  aggressive force in their neighboorhood especially due to very bad experiences during and after WW II. Thus, these ultra-nationalistic authoritarian Russian attitudes and imperial strategies do not comprise anything good for the future of Europe. 

After WW II one should have thought that mankind is a bit more intelligent, but peace today is again jeopardized by many suspicious powers


An intense ride and walk today to the elemental attitudes of quite green Berlin being equipped not only with lots of culture and visionary street-art but besides to be discovered also huge forests, rivers, lakes and numerous parks on the municipal territory.

Video by Stiftung Naturschutz Berlin

Berlin is sometimes also called capital of the wild animals, and in this video the Wildlife Officer of Berlin, Derk Ehlert, will show you some reasons for it. You can see for example Canadian wild geese, mandarin ducks from Asia or the European kingfisher in the very city centre at Tiergarten park not far from Brandenburg Gate. Unfortunately this video is only available in German, but pictures may also tell a story.

Forestal pond, Berlin-Grunewald

The ruins of freight station Berlin-Charlottenburg and after decades of decay now encircled by a wild and thick jungle

“We can use patterns from the previous era to guess at some features in such a new era. As each past era has felt its ways to be superior to the ways of prior eras, we may expect the next era to see their ways as superior to ours.” (The Age of EM, Robin Hanson)

Sand dunes, Berlin-Grunewald

Greened gasometer, Berlin-Marienfelde

Around 2,000 years ago forests were regarded in Central-Europe as holy locations,  so the woodlands meant the natural temple those days as already reported by the Roman historian Tacitus in Germania IX. This may explain somehow also the romantical view on this special location being virulent till today. Now nature is in any case wild as ever and beyound our control.

Krumme Laake is a tiny lake in the woods of Berlin-Müggelheim

Former railway facilities at natural park Gleisdreieck, Berlin-Schöneberg

With these pictures and impressions I am wishing you a nice and happy summer season whereever.


If you are looking for some special comfort or experience, you will find it possibly at Hotel Sidi Driss in old Matmata, Southern-Tunisia. We had the opportunitiy to visit the site during a round trip through all Tunisia in 2006, and it attracts not only fans of Star Wars in which this filming location featured as the home of Luke Skywalker on the planet Tatooine for the 4th film episode in 1976.

The contemporary hotel was designed as a traditional Berber troglodyte underground building at medieval times. The Berbers created them by digging a large pit in the ground with a depth of ca. 10 m. Around the perimeter of this pit artificial caves were then dug to be used as rooms, with some homes comprising multiple pits, connected by trench-like passageways. These structures in the ground were much cooler than buildings on the surface, ancient airconditions not requiring any energy like today.

Actual accomodation fares at Hotel Sidi Driss are not really high, as the standard is obviously quite simple, rural and original. Room numbers are pinned on the long existing old walls, but we did not test it as we had already a booked accomodation at the oasis of Tozeur.  Besides a lot of people are passing by for a short visit to feel a little bit of multiple Star Wars ambitions and more here in the vast desert of the Sahara.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Comfort