Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters
When I saw this week’s Photo Challenge, I mistakenly believed that it’d be difficult to find an appropriate photo. I mean, who takes pictures of letters? One pass through my photo library however, and I was quickly overwhelmed by choices.
It seems that “letters” have become so much a part of my reality, I hardly notice when I’ve taken a picture of them anymore!
I ended up choosing 2 photos that couldn’t be more diametrically opposed: Characters from a caffe in Florence, Italy, and a historically significant ancient mosaic from the floors of a church in Madaba, Jordan.
We discovered these adorable little creatures waiting to be eaten in the display of one of Firenze’s oldest cafes – The Caffe Gilli, founded in 1733. The Italian translates to: “Characters of the Factory.” Whether anyone actually bought and ate one, I’ll never know. I certainly couldn’t. They’re too cute!
The Madaba Map, on the other hand is quite a bit more ‘serious.’ It’s the oldest surviving topographic depiction of the Holy Land. Dating back to the 6th Century AD, the floor mosaic is made up of some 2 million pieces of locally sourced stone. It details valleys, hills and towns from Lebanon in the north to the Nile Delta in the south, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Eastern Desert.
Jerusalem, located at the centre of the map, is particularly detailed and significant structures, like the Damascus Gate, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Tower of David, are clearly outlined.
The Madaba Map has been used in the localisation and verification of biblical sites, with excavations in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter (1967) and outside Jaffa Gate (2010) substantiating its accuracy. Study of the map also played a significant role in determining the geographical location of the city, Askalon (Asqalan on the map).
Located on the floor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Madaba, Jordan, the Map is just one of the city’s many Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics.