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Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia

The Story

The construction began in 1882, in neo-Gothic style, only a year later, the project was reassigned to Gaudí, who said to completely revise it. Gaudi’s project involved the construction of an exceptional and innovative temple, composed of 18 towers, due to his untimely death he had only time to create one. Gaudí died in 1926, the project remained so unfinished, his dream is becoming reality, little by little, with the work of other masters and thanks to the donations of tourists from all over the world. The main features although are not yet completed, the Sagrada Familia is an incredible temple rich in religious symbolism.

Main features:

The towers To date, 8 of the 18 towers designed by Gaudí have been completed. The architect decided that twelve towers were dedicated to the apostles, four to the evangelists, one to Mary and another to Jesus. Each of the towers has a different height, compared to that of the others, based on the religious hierarchy it represents.You can reach the top of the towers, to observe the city from above and see, within a short distance, the rich details of the exterior of the temple.

The Interiors:

The interior is inspired by the forms of nature, so Gaudì created columns with the shape of a tree trunk, which transformed the interior of the temple into a huge stone forest.

The Basilica of the Sagrada Familia has become the symbol of Barcelona and is a visit not to be missed.

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The facades

The basilica has three facades rich in symbolism:

• Facade of the Nativity: Dedicated to the birth of Christ, extensively decorated and full of life.

• Facade of the Passion: More austere and simple than the other facades, the aim is to transmit the agony of the Crucifixion of Christ.

• Facade of the Glory: The main facade, much larger and more monumental than the rest, represents Death, the Final Judgment, Glory and Hell.

Knowing that he was unable to finish his work over the course of his life, Gaudí left to posterity the detailed plans for each missing part, so that the work could be completed.

Address

C/ Marina, 41.

Time Table

From November to February: 09:00 to 18:00
March: 09:00 to 19:00
From April to September: 09:00 to 20:00
October: 09:00 to 19:00

Price's List

Adults: € 17 (with audio guide € 25).
Students and under-30s: € 13.
Pensioners: € 11.
Children under 10: free admission.

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The nine chapels

Around the side aisles of the Concattedrale nine chapels have been restored: one is dedicated to the Madonna di Fileremo and the other eight are dedicated to the patron saints of the languages ​​of the Order. The languages ​​were assigned to the chapels in order of seniority and the predominant ones, Italian, French and Aragonese, placed near the altar.

The Chapel of the Madonna di Fileremo is also known as the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. The chapel contained the icon of the Madonna di Fileremo, in the possession of the Knights from the time of the Crusades and currently in Montenegro.

The Chapel of the Italian language, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Here the Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine is visible, the work was created by Mattia Preti.

The Chapel of the Language of France, dedicated to the Conversion of Saint Paul. Here is the work on the Conversion of St. Paul on the road to Damascus, which was also re-enacted by Mattia Preti.

The Chapel of the Language of Provence, dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel.

The Chapel of the Anglo-Bavarian language, also known as the Chapel of the Relics, dedicated to San Carlo Borromeo. Here were kept the relics owned by the Order.

The Chapel of the Language of Germany, dedicated to the epiphany of Christ.

The Chapel of the language of Castile, León and Portugal, dedicated to St. James. The altarpiece, also by Mattia Preti.

The Chapel of the Aragonese language is dedicated to Saint George. Here is the altarpiece depicting the martyrdom of the saint, considered one of the absolute masterpieces by Mattia Preti. It was precisely the realization of this altarpiece that consigned the artist to the convent church.

The Chapel of the Auvergne language, dedicated to Saint Sebastian.

Caravaggio

Although the greatest contribution to the decoration of the Co-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was given by the Calabrian Mattia Preti, who painted the ceiling vaults with scenes from the life of St. John, he made some altarpieces contained in the chapels, another artist contributed to the interior decorations. An artist who certainly needs no introduction, Caravaggio. During his stay in Malta, the famous artist tried to earn his appointment as a Knight to escape the arrest of the papal authorities, painting numerous canvases. The most important and well-known work is the Beheading of John the Baptist, the largest painting he has ever made and the only one bearing his signature, identifiable in the blood stain that flows from the Baptist. The other work is the San Girolamo Scrivente. Both paintings are exhibited in the oratory of the Concattedrale.

Valletta: Co-Cathedral of San John Baptist

The Story

Certainly the most important monument of Valletta and among the most important in all of Malta, is the Co-Cathedral dedicated to St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of the Knights Templar. The construction of the Co-Cathedral was commissioned in 1572 by the Grand Master Jean de la Cassiere. At the end of the works, in 1577, the building became the conventual church of the order, replacing the church of San Lorenzo a Birgu. The oratory and the sacristy were added in 1598. Initially it was modest in the cathedral, with few decorations. However, in the seventeenth century, the Grand Master Cotoner ordered its internal restructuring, to equip the Order of the Knights with a church that competed in splendor with those of Rome. The direction of the works was entrusted to Mattia Preti, who transformed the interior into a Baroque style. The building remained the conventual church of the Order until the Knights were expelled from the island by the French.

The exteriors

The exteriors do not offer a rich style and have the typical architectural style of a fortress, from what is recognized by the military engineering training of Cassar and the style of the Knights of Malta. The facade of the Concattedrale is very simple compared to the richness of the interior: the construction is in a mannerist style, typical of Cassar. The central door is engaged by two Doric columns, which support an open balcony, from which the Grand Master used to speak to the crowd on important occasions. On the sides of the columns there are two empty niches, and the facade is delimited by two bell towers that contribute to giving symmetry to the complex.

The interiors

The interiors unlike the exterior of the building, the interiors are richly decorated. The main author was Mattia Preti who enriched the place of worship during the Baroque period. Preti painted the vaults of the central nave in which episodes from the life of St. John the Baptist are narrated and most of the side altars that celebrate the languages ​​spoken within the Order. Thanks to the mastery and mastery with which he uses the technique of chiaroscuro, the images have a sense of three-dimensionality, to the point that they are not flat but real statues. Also of great importance is the way in which the artist managed to embed the phases of the Baptist’s life by exploiting the ribbing between the vaults.

The Tombs of the Templars Knights

The floor of the entire Cathedral is made of marble and consists of about 400 tombs belonging to members of the Order. The tombstones are richly decorated in polychrome marble and bear the coat of arms of the Knights, episodes of life depicting the single deceased (generally a scene of triumph in battle), as well as allegorical elements and epitaphs.The remains of the Grand Masters are instead contained in a crypt; among these are two of the most important: Jean de la Valette and Alof de Wignacourt.

General informations

Because of the particular floor of the Co-Cathedral, entry is prohibited by wearing high-heeled shoes, but in the ticket office they may be available to wear flaps.

Address

John Baptist’s Square

Time Table

Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm (last entry at 4:00 pm)

Saturday from 9:30 to 12:30 (last entry at 12:00)

Sunday is reserved for religious services, with 6 Masses at 7:15, 8:00, 9:15, 11:00, 12:00 (October to June) and 18:00

Price's List

The ticket price is € 10.00 for adults,

€ 7.50 for over-65s and students with a card,

while children under 12 can enter for free if accompanied by an adult.

Rome: Pantheon

The Story

Not far from Piazza Navona, right in the center of Rome, stands the Pantheon, a monument of an inestimable artistic and historical value that was built at the behest of the prefect of Emperor Augustus, the consul Agrippa between 27 and 25 BC. The Pantheon that we can admire today was rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian, in 128 AD under which the Roman Empire reached its peak. Adriano to thank Agrippa dedicated the main facade to him, writing a large Latin inscription.

Legends

Many stories and legends circulate about this monument, first of all we don’t know who was the architect who created the monument, it is believed that it could have been Apollo d’Oro who was later killed by Adriano, others say that it was Adriano himself.

One of the legends is linked to the same place where it is located. In fact, it is said that right here Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, was seized by an eagle at his death and taken to heaven among the gods. Or that Cybele, an ancient Greek deity worshiped as the Great Mother, appeared in a dream to Agrippa to request the construction of the temple. Or again that the oculus, the hole in the center of the dome, would have been created by the Devil fleeing from the temple of God.

The Architecture 

The Pantheon is a masterpiece of architecture and engineering. Among the best preserved historical monuments of Rome, it has exerted great influence on all Western architecture. The temple is composed of a circular hall covered by a hemispherical dome, preceded by a pronaos of Greek derivation with 16 Corinthian columns supporting the tympanum, these columns were built with Egyptian granite from the Assuan quarries and later transported to Rome. Today the tympanum is empty, but at the time of the Romans there was a high bronze relief depicting the battle between the giants and the Amazons. The ceiling of the pronaos was also of bronze, but Pope Urban VIII in 1932 decide to remove the bronze to make the altar canopy made by Bernini, inside the Basilica of St. Peter. Once past the enormous columns and the gigantic door, also in bronze, a marvel of architecture opens up to your eyes. Suddenly you find yourself in this huge empty space that makes you dizzy and that makes you feel very small. Thus it was necessary to feel before the presence of the gods. The most interesting and revolutionary thing is that the internal diameter of the gigantic dome corresponds exactly to the height of the temple from the ground and ideally prolonging the curvature of the vault we obtain a perfect sphere! You feel so enveloped by the dome that you will feel like you are suspended in the center of a large hollow sphere. Impressive to think of the engineering knowledge necessary to build such a structure and make it hold the whole weight. Precisely for this reason the dome was made by mixing concrete with ever lighter materials, from travertine to pumice stone, as we approached the top, so that the center of gravity was kept as low as possible. This absolutely brilliant and revolutionary idea has allowed the dome of the Pantheon to withstand almost two thousand years and arrive perfectly intact until today.

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The Interior

Entering inside you will surely be attracted by the light that comes from the hole in the center of the dome, in fact raising your eyes you will notice that the only source of light is represented by the oculus, or a hole placed at the zenith and it is precisely his relationship with light, the most important aspect of the Pantheon. It is light that creates the space inside. The dome has a water channeling system that, even when it rains, the water is channeled into channels inside the dome and walls in order to be conveyed down to the floor. Unlike all the other great times of the past that were made to be seen almost exclusively from the outside with the Pantheon, this concept is reversed. Inside the temple there are seven splendid niches, between two Corinthian columns, which originally served to represent the seven divinities connected to the cult of the planets, namely the Sun, the Moon, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury and Mars. When the Pantheon was converted into a Christian basilica at the beginning of the 7th century, some of them were used for the construction of altars dedicated to Christian martyrs. The Basilica then took the name of Santa Maria della Rotonda or Santa Maria ad Martyrs and inside are the sepulchres of famous people, and artists including Annibale Caracci and Raffaello Sanzio. Also in January 1878, on the occasion of the death of the first King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II, the Pantheon was chosen as a dwelling for the tombs of the kings of Italy. It currently houses the remains of King Vittorio Emanuele II, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of Savoy.

For those visiting Rome, even for just one day, a stop at the Pantheon is a must, it is indeed a monument so majestic and well maintained that doubt still arises today as the Romans did to build such a work.

Address

Rotonda Square

Time Table

Monday to Saturday: 8.30am to 7.15pm

Sunday: 9.00am to 1.15pm

Price's List

Free Entrance

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One of the most notable elements of the interior decoration of the temple is a ostensory with a stunning valance, which is a Gothic masterpiece. Four columns of red marble mined in Kamenari, a small town near Kotor, supported by a three-tiered octagonal structure topped with a figure of an angel. On each of the three tiers imprinted in stone carving the scenes from the life of St. Tryphon. He was a martyr and a pious man. During his holy and pure life, Tryphon received from God the ability to heal people and the gift of exorcism, for what he became famous with his contemporaries.

As for the relics, the head of St. Typhon is in the Cathedral of St. Tryphon in Montenegro, in the town of Kotor. Some of his relics was brought in 1803 in Russia.

St. Tryphon cathedral continued to keep some of its secrets. In ancient times, all the walls of the church were decorated with frescoes, which almost did not survive to the present. Recently, at the apses and vaults aisles, the remains of paintings were found out, executed in Byzantine style. It is proved that the creation of these frescoes dates back to the XIV century, but it is not known who made these frescoes – the Greeks or the Serbs.

Cathedral of St. Tryphon is depicted on the emblem of the city and is one of the most important tourist attractions of Kotor.

Kotor: Saint Tryphon's Cathedral

The Story

The construction of the Cathedral has been delivered on July 19,1166 (building began in 1124) in the name of St. Tryphon, who is considered the saint patron of Kotor. Many trials have fallen to the lot of the building; one of the most difficult moments in the history of the temple was a catastrophic earthquake in 1667. It caused the destruction of the building, so that both bell towers of the cathedral had to be rebuilt, using the stone from the Croatian island of Korcula, the high towers (the height of which are 33 m and 35 m) acquired some characteristics typical to the style of “baroque”. Between themselves, they are connected with a wide arch that separates the façade horizontally. At the top of the facade is placed a large window – rosette and arch forms itself a portico, located directly above the entrance to the cathedral.

In 1979, in Montenegro there was another devastating earthquake and the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon was facing again a really difficult period. However, by 2003 the reconstruction work carried out by UNESCO, had been completed in the entire city.

There is a plaque on the facade of the cathedral, installed in 1925 in honor of the millennium, the day of the coronation of the first Croatian king Tomislav.

The most important value of the cathedral is the relics of St. Tryphon, which rest in the chapel where there’s also a large wooden crucifix with unknown origin.

Before the construction of the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon, at the same place there was an old church built in 809, by a noble citizen Andriy Saratsenis. According to many sources, he bought in the IX century the relics of Saint Tryphon from the Venetian merchants, who brought them from Constantinople to Kotor. Later, the church was completely burned during the great fire and the townspeople decided to rebuild the temple in honor of its saint patron, but in a more stately form. By the way, the body of Andrij Saratsenis who presented the relics to the city and the cathedral, also rest in a sarcophagus at the right of the main entrance of the building.

Address

Saint Tryphon Square

Time Table

Summer Time

Monday to Saturday from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm

Winter Time

Monday to Saturday from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm 

Sunday is reserved for religious services, the Masse is at 10.00

Price's List

The ticket price is € 3.00 for adults,

Children under 10 year’s old are FREE

Athens: Parthenon

Without shadow of a doubt the symbolic monument of the city of Athens, of the entire civilization and as well as of the Greek culture is the Parthenon, an example of engineering perfection, built with impressive techniques considering the times in which it was built and the technologies available at that time.

The great temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, was built after the definitive victory of the Athenians over the Persians which took place in 479 BC when they were victorious, they returned to their homeland, admiring the destruction with their eyes.

Thanks to Pericles, a great politician, speaker and Athenian military, the city was gradually rebuilt, it was the temple still standing until today his greatest work, built more or less where there was already a much smaller temple that was destroyed by the wars, Pericles decided to create a magnificent structure, which represented all the greatness of Athens.

The construction

The construction works of the Parthenon are located between 447 BC and 432 BC when under the supervision of the Athenian sculptor and architect Phidias, with the close collaboration of the architect Ictino, who was the one who designed the temple, this impressive white pantelic marble temple was built on a calcareous base.

A Doric, peripteral and octastyle temple with the main façade with eight columns.

The dimensions

To understand the constructive genius of the architects of the time, just think of the size of the entire monument: about 70 meters long, 31 meters wide and 14 meters high.

Such dimensions, as the architects predicted, cause visual deformations which would have made the monument appear non-linear, therefore they built the symmetrical temple with respect to its central axis, giving the columns a slight inclination from the outside towards the inside, to the end to cancel the visual deformations.

The central cell of the temple is of impressive dimensions, this because there was to be protected an immense treasure and the statue of the Goddess Athena completely realized in ivory and gold with an high of 12m, built by Phidias.

The Metopes

The Metopes were sculptures created on a square background and probably blue, made with the technique of high relief. Initially there were 92, 32 on each of the long sides and 14 on the short sides, they were divided from each other by simple architectural decorations called triglyphs. They depict war scenes that underline how reason wins over irrationality.

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Fusion of the Doric style with the Ionic style

In order to create such a majestic temple the architects found new solutions for its design, in fact to the Doric style they decided to merge also the Ionic style. This fusion is perceived, for example, by the presence of ionic columns that support the ceiling of the hall of virgins. Moreover from the presence of sculptures that decorate both the interiors and the exteriors: in the external frieze of typical Doric style, there are 92 metopes; in the internal frieze of typical Ionian style, the Panathenaic procession in which the people offered to the goddess Athena the Peplos (the typical Greek white dress) are depicted; this frieze is 160 meters long. As for the two friezes, the pediments were also adorned with sculptural works by Phidias: the pediments depict the birth of Athena from the head of Zeus and the struggle between Athena and Poseidon for supremacy over Attica.

The Ionic Frieze

160 meters long and 1 meter high, the Ionic frieze was inside and placed above the outer walls of the cell. It is a continuous and uninterrupted sculpture, created with the bas-relief technique that represents the procession of the people to the temple of the Goddess Athena and the related horse races that took place every 4 years, in honour of Athena. Initially the frieze was rich in vivid colours such as ochre, red, blue and chestnut.

Oriental pediment

It tells of the birth of the Goddess Athena from the head of Zeus. This sculpture is contained in an isosceles triangle.

Western pediment

As for the oriental one, it also has the shape of an isosceles triangle in which the sculptures depict the struggle between Athena and Poseidon to conquer dominion over Attica.

Address

Acropolis of Athens

Time Table

08:00 – 17:00 (last admission: 16:30)

Closed Days

1st January

25th March

1st May

Easter Sunday

25th and 26th December

Price's List

Full: €20, Reduced: €10
Valid for the archaeological site of the Acropolis and its Slopes.

Tickets are available at ticket offices on site as well as online.

Contacts

Phones

Gianluca’s Phone +30/698 0225751

Emails

info@medshoretours.com

groups@medshoretourscom

Athens
Maltezou 39,
Alimos 17455
Greece
Santorini
Karterados,
Santorini 84700
Greece
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