• Clutching precariously at the sheer walls of a gorge, Rocamadour is historically one of the most popular sites of pilgrimage. One object of veneration is a wooden “Black Madonna” in a cave chapel built into the side of the cliff. She may represent either persistent pagan influences or a reference to Mary Magdalene.

    Traditionally, Black Madonnas were hidden and associated with darkness and fertility.

    Madonna at Midnight (Rocamadour, the Dordogne, France)
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  • Château Montségur (secure mountain) clings to a limestone peak in the Ariège Pyrenees. It is the site of one of the final events of the Albigensian Crusades, which was waged by the French crown and the Catholic Church against the heretical Cathar (“pure” in Greek) church. After refusing to recant, 207 Cathar believers were martyred on a pyre at the foot of the mountain on the morning of March 16, 1244. A funeral stele now in the Field of the Burnt Ones reads: "To those martyred in the name of pure Christian love." The search for their “treasure” (the Holy Grail?) continues. The cliffs below the “Last Refuge” are topped by a menacing sky broken by the pure white upper clouds that seem to illuminate the cathedral of the “pure.”
    Last Refuge—1244 (Château Montségur, France)
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  • Escape from Freedom (Monastery at Meteora, Greece)
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  • Sheer sandstone cliffs rise abruptly from the pounding Atlantic surf for five miles along the coast of County Clare. The diminutive human figures and castle stand against the vast devouring power of the ocean.

    Devouring Sea (Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland)
    767,960
  • Nestled in a peaceful valley among the Wicklow Mountains are the monastic ruins founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. A traditional place of retreat and pilgrimage, it remained a monastic center, despite repeated Viking raids. The round tower was a place of safety when cries of Odin! rang out.
    Odin! (Glendalough, Wicklow Mountains, Ireland)
    767,960
  • The "duel" on the Stadun (main street) between the black cat of the city and the invading machine conjours up the destruction which rained down on the city in the Balkan Wars.

    Duel in Dubrovnik (Dubrovnik, Croatia)
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  • Stari Most (Old Bridge) connecting the Muslim neighborhood of Mostar and the Croat neighborhood. The 16th century Ottoman-era bridge was destroyed by the Croats in 1993 during the Balkan Wars. It was rebuilt with UNESCO funds and re-opened in 2004.

    Bridge of Sorrows (Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina)
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  • This double-walled city on the banks of the Aude River in Languedoc has a unique history. On July 21, 1209, the Albigensian Crusade army torched the nearby city of Bèzier and massacred 20,000 people. Some Crusaders were themselves horrified, but they were encouraged by the cry: “kill them all, God will recognize his own.” A week later, the Crusaders besieged Carcassone, which surrendered to avoid Bèzier’s fate. Carcassone’s leader, however, was betrayed and murdered. Here, the city is ablaze—or is it only vestigial fear reflected in the shimmering river of time?

    The Fire This Time (Carcassone, France)
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  • Periodically threatened, Eilean Donan Castle was a strategic island of loch and mountain during the fighting among Scottish clans. Reached only by a sturdy bridge, it is the archetype of refuge—and hope. Historically, the area was largely in the hands of Clan MacKenzie, who fought off other clans, such as the MacDonalds from the Isle of Skye. Tradition has it that in the early part of the 14th century, Clan MacKenzie allowed Robert the Bruce, later King of Scotland, to take refuge in Eilean Donan Castle.
    Highlander Retreat (Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands, UK)
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  • The ruins of Kilchurn Castle inhabit a rocky spit of land, formerly an island, at the head of Loch Awe. Abandoned for centuries, it is reminiscent of Camelots past and present. While shrouded in somber hues, a burst of sunlight cleaves the dooming darkness and reflects a shining hope.
    Camelot (Kilchurn Castle, Lock Awe, Scottish Highlands, UK)
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  • An island, with its prominant castle, surrounding vegetation, and approaching boat, emerges from the depths of Lake Iseo, suggesting parallels to Arnold Bocklin’s Symbolist painting of the same title. The glowing white sanctuary is suspended between a celestial light and the sepia-somber depths of the unconscious. "Just as it is the task of the poet to express feeling, so painting ought to elevate. A painting should tell something and give the spectator food for thought just as much as poetry does, and make an impression upon him as does a piece of music." Arnold Bocklin
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  • Heaven's Gate (St. John at Kaneo, Lake Orhid, Rep. of N. Macedonia
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  • This limestone outcropping looms up out of fertile pastures and is crowned by a round tower and a ruined cathedral. Rivaling Tara as an ancient royal seat and associated with St. Patrick, it is a repository of Irish history.

    Celtic Treasure (Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland)
    1202,960
  • Atop the Hill of Slane, associated with Christianity and St. Patrick since the 5th century, sits the ruins of medieval Slane Abbey. The tower, Celtic High Crosses, and iconic tree reign in perpetual twilight, punctuated by the white of the gravestones and low-lying clouds. What—or who—keeps this vigil?
    Eternal Vigil (Hill of Slane, Ireland)
    1202,960
  • Dark Side of the Moon (Rose Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey)
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  • A Time to Every Purpose (Uchisar, Cappadocia, Turkey)
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  •  

     

    Blue Mosque in Black and White (Istanbul, Turkey)
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  • On the south bank of the fast-flowing Boyne River, and near the site where St. Patrick landed in the 5th century, rises the gaunt skeleton of the “Yellow Steeple.” This last remnant of an Augustinian Abbey stimulates visions of centuries of study and solitude.
    Corner Office (Yellow Steeple, Trim Abbey, Ireland)
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  • Jacob's Ladder (Hotel DelaCoste, Pezenas, France)
    767,960
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  • Stairway to Heaven (Rector's Palace, Dubrovnik, Croatia)
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  • Underground church in Ilhara Valley, Turkey.

    Written in Stone (Ilhara Valley, Turkey)
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  • I happened upon this neighborhood grotto, with offerings of personal momentoes arrayed below the statue of the Virgin Mary.
    Earth Mother (Orta San Giulio, Italy)
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  • The ancient wall could enclose a safe courtyard or, with its iron gate, be a prison wall. The flower struggles to rise above the wall. The white ducks are unconstrained, in the view of the white flower.
    Wallflower (Brugges, Belgium)
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  • Cloistered (Begijnhof, Brugges, Belgium)
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  • The Piazza del Campo, in the heart of medieval Siena, is a scallop-shaped, brick-and-stone paved site of uniquely-balanced architectural harmony. Paradoxically, it is also the venue of the twice-yearly festival, the Palio della Contrade. The high point of the event is a stately procession of the Contrade (parishes) of Siena, followed by a brutal and symbolic 75-second horse race around the square. What is the timeless race unfolding in the center of the square here?
    The Race (Piazzo del Campo, Siena, Italy)
    1202,960
  • View of Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia. This mountain is where the Serbians and Montenegrins launched their artillary attacks on the Old Town, in December 1991, during the Balkan Wars.

    Living on the Edge (Dubrovnik, Croatia)
    1202,960
  • A desolate limestone plateau crowns a bend in the Tarn Gorges. The ruins of a medieval robber baron’s castle perch above a largely uninhabited, and previously preyed upon, village. The barren, stone-terraced slopes are vestiges of more fruitful times.
    As Above, So Below (Tarn Gorges, France)
    1202,960
  • Mt. Olympus, home of the gods of antiquity, is in Greece, not Italy. The dramatic lighting of the distant mountain and the foreground dominance of the church steeples sets up an interplay between two manifestation of the archetypal desire for "sanctuary."
    Olympus (Dolomite Moutains, Italy)
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  • A Zen Buddhist path metaphor inspired by Christmas Humphreys, the British author, judge, and founder of the Buddhist Society of London, who also said “walk on” unceasingly.
    Begin, Walk On (Sella Pass, Dolomite Mountains, Italy)
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  • The scene is reminiscent of Davos, Switzerland, where Thomas Mann's, The Magic Mountain" takes place at the Berghof tuberculosis sanitarium. It is physically on a mountaintop and figuratively isolated from the mundane world of the "flatlands." A sanitarium may be a place of "sanctuary," with a possible cure, but more often it is a place of gradual institutionalization, ending in death.
    Magic Mountain (Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy)
    1202,960
  • Escher's Pool (near Glencoe, Scotland, UK)
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  • Primordial Pond (Inverewe Garden, Scotland, UK)
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  • The Gathered (Geithorn, the Netherlands)
    767,960
  • Connemara National Park is dominated by the Twelve Bens mountain range. The Bens are drained by mountain strems culminating in tiny, isolated lakes. This wild, largely uninhabited region of western Ireland immediately evokes a vision of a primeval Eden-like paradise. In this image, the eternal, pre-historic dance of the pair symbolizes the human pair in the Garden of Eden—the primodial sanctuary.
    Pas de Deux (Connemara National Park, County Galway, Ireland)
    1202,960
  • Paradise Lost (Minnewater Lake, Brugges, Belgium)
    1202,960
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