Madaba Map - Jordan

Madaba Map: Mosaic of Jerusalem

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 […]

Qanat - Palermo Sotterranea (Interior)

Off the Beaten Path in Sicily: Palermo’s Qanats

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 Tomb - Delhi, India

Taj Mahal Architecture: Origins in Humayun’s Tomb (Video)

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 […]

London UK - St. Stephen Walbrook Dome

London Architecture: Wren’s Churches (Video)

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 […]

Buddhist Japa Mala - Prayer Beads

Cultural Insight: Buddhist Prayer Beads

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 […]