The Byzantine church St George in Madaba, Jordan, is home to the “Madaba Map,” an impressive and by far the most well-known mosaic in the Holy Land. Floor map mosaic. Dating from the second half of the 6th century, the floor map mosaic depicts the geography of the Holy Land in the 6th century. It […]
Walk down the center aisle of the Mosque of Córdoba (la Mezquita) to view the spectacular mosaic-clad mihrab and unique eight-point dome over the maqsura. This section of the mosque was built by Al-Hakam II from 961-965 The Call to Prayer Explained To get a translation of the call to prayer, see our related post.
Borobudur, a massive 9th century Buddhist temple in Java, Indonesia, holds some of the best reliefs in the Buddhist world, recounting events in the life of the Buddha. Approach Guides’ founder David Raezer offers a tour of the eight best reliefs. This video is produced as part of our Insights Series in conjunction our guidebook […]
Ceremonial bars — also known as serpent bars — are a common symbol in the Maya world and often depicted being wielded by rulers on stelae. Such stelae were typically erected to commemorate a period-ending event (when the Maya base-20 long-count calendar zeroed out), commonly associated with change or rebirth. The bar typically ends in two […]
The qanat (pronounced ka-naht) is an Arab-designed underground canal/irrigation system that directs water from a high-elevation aquifer water source to a town or agricultural area along a perfectly-calculated and very slight downward grade (see illustration). Invented by the Persians in 1000 BCE and functioning as a “below-ground aqueduct,” it is ideally suited to warm, dry […]
Humayun’s Tomb was built by the Islamic Mughal dynasty in Delhi from 1562-71, 85 years before the Taj Mahal. By comparing the two structures, you will see how the Mughals refined and perfected their original design to create their masterpiece: the Taj Mahal. Approach Guides’ founder David Raezer explores the how the design similarities between […]
Following the Great Fire of 1666, King Charles II of England appointed Christopher Wren as chief architect in charge of rebuilding the city. In this Insights series video, Approach Guides’ founder Jennifer Raezer introduces Christopher Wren, offers insight into his distinctive style that defined London architecture during the early 18th century and points out her […]
The use of prayer beads, or japa malas, in both Buddhism and Hinduism speaks to a historical connection between the two faiths; however, Buddhist japa malas typically contain a lesser number of beads than the Hindu japa malas’ 108 — it is usually a divisor of 108. There many potential explanations for the significance of […]