Friday, November 22, 2013

Rock of (Middle) Ages...

In Ethiopia there are eleven monolithic churches that I hope to see someday. Carved right out of the earth in the 13th century, they’re unique in the world. To create these spectacular structures the builders first removed enough rock to expose an enormous solid cube. Then the interior of that block was carved away to create a sanctuary that was truly monolithic or ‘one rock,’ like those in the images above.

But if you know Bruce you can imagine his thoughts on visiting a country known primarily for Haile Selassie and famine. Since my chances of getting to Ethiopia are pretty slim, it's lucky for me that the two largest monolithic churches in Europe are located within 60 miles of Bordeaux.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

When Buildings Could Talk

The best thing about writing this blog is that I learn something new with every post. That was exactly what happened last week when I wrote about the colombage buildings in Alsace. After I had finished most of the text I found a video to finish the post with. In that video, Frederick, a young Alsatian, talked about restoring a colombage barn and house, and because it was in French I included a brief translation of his main points. What I didn’t tell you is that toward the end Frederick mentioned that there were symbols hidden in the timber framing of his house. He claimed that the original owner of the house was extremely  interested in having a large family, and that this message could be 'read' in the colombage.