We visited the Carmo Convent (The Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel) while in Lisbon this month. It was built between 1389 and 1423. On November 1, 1755, a massive earthquake struck the heart of Lisbon, followed by a tsunami and widespread fires. Between 15 and 20 percent of Lisbon’s population died. Eighty-five percent of the city’s buildings were destroyed, including the Carmo Convent.
The following picture shows an arch and the circle where the rose window would have been. These elements were reconstructed from the ruins of the convent in the early 1900’s. With the blue sky above, this is truly a beautiful and unusual place.
The Rose Window of the Carmo Convent
This photo was taken on September 11, 2017. Specs are:
Olympus TG-5, ISO 100, f/16, 1/160 second, 75mm (35mm equivalent).
The Shwemawdaw Pagoda, also called the Golden Rod Temple,is a stupa in Bago, Myanmar. Earthquake-prone Myanmar has lost many of its ancient pagodas and temples to these natural disasters. Although sturdily constructed, the tall stupas are not earthquake-proof. The Shwemawdaw Pagoda is no exception. According to the Journal of Earthquake and Tsunami, the Shwemawdaw Pagoda has fallen or been damaged in recorded history in 868, 875, 1757, 1913, and 1917. After a major earthquake in 1930, which almost completely destroyed this stupa, it was rebuilt and enlarged in 1954. The top of the pagoda, that was broken off in the 1917 earthquake, is preserved in its final resting place in the rebuilt stupa.
Here is a photo of the rebuilt Shwemawdaw Pagoda, with the broken top lying where it fell. At 114 meters (370.5 feet), it is the tallest pagoda in Myanmar.
Here is a close-up of the broken top, showing the internal brick construction.
Specs for these pictures:
1st picture: Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/8, 1/320 sec, 4.5 mm
2nd picture: Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/11, 1/400 sec, 18 mm
3rd picture: Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/6.3, 1/400 sec, 18 mm
During our recent visit to Bagan, Myanmar, we arose early one morning to climb to the top of the tower next to our hotel to view the sunrise. Even though we were early, there were a dozen people there already, all shivering. With cameras on tripods or steadied against the railing, we all stood silently looking in the same general direction. Suddenly one of us saw a small change in the light on the horizon, pointed and called out “there it is,” and all cameras swung toward that light. Many pictures were taken as the sun rose, as it created an ever-changing masterpiece of light and shadow on the landscape below.
As it happens, a very popular experience in Bagan is a hot air balloon ride, floating over the thousands of temples on the plains below. Just as we on the tower waited for the sunrise, now we waited for the balloons. As little dark spots near the horizon, they were harder than the sun to spot. But they did eventually appear, just over 20 of them, floating between the tower and the sunrise.
Bagan, located near Mandalay, was the capital of Myanmar for 500 years. By the 13th Century, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries had been built there. Of these, over 2200 remain, but in various states of disrepair. Bagan is plagued by numerous earthquakes. A major earthquake occurred on July 9, 1975, damaging many buildings beyond repair. A government-funded restoration begun in the 1990s has been severely criticized. Another major earthquake last year (August 24, 2016) destroyed about 400 buildings and severely damaged more. UNESCO is assisting in current restorations.
Seeing the damaged buildings during our visit in February this year, we could only wish that we had come a year earlier. While the picture above does not suggest the recent damage, it is obvious from the ground or any elevated viewing position. Nevertheless, a visit to Bagan is a wonderful experience.