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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!

Characters of the Factory

Characters of the Factory

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 oldest surviving map of the Holy Land, the Madaba Map, 6th Century AD

The oldest surviving map of the Holy Land, the Madaba Map, 6th Century AD

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).

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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.

25 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love your examples of letters πŸ™‚

    April 26, 2014
  2. Love the map. At first I thought you had taken a picture of a terrain and imposed letters on it until I read your article. Fantastic.

    April 26, 2014
    • Thanks! Haha, I only wish I was talented enough to do what you thought I’d done. πŸ˜‰

      April 27, 2014
  3. Stunning photo! Are you familiar with the mosaics of Piazza Armerina in Sicily? They had the same sort of impact on me when I saw them.

    April 26, 2014
    • Thanks! Unfortunately I am not. πŸ˜‰ We haven’t been to Sicily yet, but it’s definitely on the list. Will make sure to check these out when we go.

      April 27, 2014
  4. My fave is the map, very nice captures! πŸ™‚

    April 26, 2014
  5. thats stunning

    April 27, 2014
  6. Those are both good in very different ways.


    April 27, 2014
  7. Very cool interpretation of “letters” ..!

    April 28, 2014
    • Hey! There you are! Wondered where you’d gotten to. Nice to “see” you again. πŸ™‚

      April 29, 2014
      • Its been a tough 2014, Shelley. My mother-in-law passed away from cancer in March and it was very unexpected and tough on the family. We are finally getting back into swing of things and have been traveling a little again. I am hoping to get back into writing my blog again.

        Glad to see you guys are doing well!

        May 8, 2014
        • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that. πŸ™ Take good care of yourselves. I’ll be thinking of you.

          May 8, 2014
  8. The Madala Map is probably the most interesting letter submission I’ve seen this week. There really is challenge in Weekly Photo Challenges. And, it forces you to browse through your photo and makes you share what you wouldn’t normally share, isn’t it?

    April 30, 2014
    • Really? Wow! πŸ˜€ You’re totally right though…it didn’t even occur to me to post this pic until the Challenge came up. It’s a great way to share!

      April 30, 2014
  9. You are right in those creatures in the first picture being so adorable and desperate to eat. I think I’d go for a green frog.

    May 2, 2014

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