Top 10 Ancient Greek Artifacts

Ancient Greece was one of the civilizations that have left the biggest cultural impact on history. Whether we’re talking about their extensive mythology, the art forms, or the political innovations, there’s no denying the greatness of the Greeks. Fortunately, the physical evidence of their genius has resisted the trials of time and there are many incredible ancient Greek artifacts that are now exhibited on the shelves of many important museums around the world.

#1 Antikythera Mechanism

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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Perhaps the most fascinating of all the artifacts on this list, this mechanism is essentially an ancient analog computer, constructed by Greek scientists for calendric and astronomic purposes. It was discovered sometime around 1901 and, upon recent studies, it’s been unveiled that it was built in the 2nd century BC. The analog computer is located at the National Archeological Museum in Athens.

#2 Greek Sphinx

Surely you’re familiar with the famed Egyptian sphinx, but how much do you know about the Greek one? The statuettes were reflections of the opulence of the wealthy and their imagine consisted of the head of a woman, the body of a lion, the tail of a snake, and the wings of an eagle. The Greek sphinx originates from the civilization’s mythology, having been a fantastic creature sent by Hera to punish Thebes. It’s located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

#3 Parthenon Horse

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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Ancient Greece really valued its horses, as shown by the many works of art depicting them. One particularly well-executed display of this appreciation is the Parthenon friezes, which showcase a beautifully sculpted horse head.

#4 Head of Hygeia

 The mastery of Ancient Greek sculptors is properly displayed through this fantastic and skillfully crafted marble sculpture. It depicts Hygeia, the daughter of God of Medicine Asclepius and the soon-would-be Goddess of Health. It’s believed that it was crafted sometime in the 4th century, when Hygeia worshipping really started to take off. You can find the Head of Hygeia at the National Archeological Museum of Athens.

#5 Aphrodite of Melos (Venus of Milo)

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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One of the most famous works of art in history, the famed Venus of Milo sculpture received its name from the French, who retrieved the broken statue from a cavern on the island of Melos. Aphrodite was the Goddess of Love whose Roman equivalent was Venus. The statue can be admired at the Louvre Museum from Paris.

#6 Head of Zeus

The person whose image was sculpted was up for debate for a while, with its original name referring to the possibility of it being Poseidon. However, upon further archeological investigations, a consensus concluded that it was the figure of the almighty Greek deity.

#7 Hecate

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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The name was given to the Greek goddess trinity that was said to rule over Heaven, Earth, and the Underworld. She is heavily based off another deity, this time, an Egyptian one, going by the name Hekat. Most often, the trinity is said to have consisted of Hecate Selene, the Moon in Heaven, Persephone the Destroyer of the Underworld, and Artemis the Goddess of Hunting. The statuette can be admired at Metropolitan Museum of Art from New York.

#8 Bust of Apollo

Apollo was another important deity in Greek mythology. Son of Zeus and Leto, as well as a brother of the previously mentioned Artemis, Apollo’s most important contribution was his role as an oracle. At times, he would grant the gift of sightseeing to others as well, a worthy example being Cassandra from Troy.

#9 Pan Statue

Ancient Greek Artifacts

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Pan was essentially the underdog of the Greek deities, majorly because of his distorted appearance and his half-man, half-goat physical traits. Much like Dionysus, Pan was associated with hedonism of all kinds and, because of it, he was named Pan, a Greek word that means “all.”

#10 Head of Hermes

After the sculpture was discovered in 1926, it was taken to the National Museum of Athens. Archeologists have all agreed that the harmonic lines in the statue stand as testimony that it may have been the work of Praxiteles, one of the greatest sculptors of the 4th century BC.

Top Most Famous Paintings In The World

It’s said that the greatest people in history can be considered brilliant through their sheer capacity to be remembered even beyond their domain of activity. You don’t need to be a military expert or historian to know of the deeds of Napoleon Bonaparte or a well-versed classical music junkie to have heard of Beethoven or Mozart. You just do. In a sense, it’s like these personalities have been part of our knowledge since forever. Can anyone really remember the first time they’ve heard of Jules Verne?

This applies to painters as well. In their case, however, something else intervenes – their roles as creators. We all know the “one hit wonder” scenario. A musician, let’s say, releases a song that explodes overnight and becomes a major hit worldwide, but none of the pieces they release afterward manages to match this tremendous display of success. Does anyone, generally, know what happened to the people behind Macarena after they took the world by storm? And, sure, PSY might still be a familiar name today, but in generations to come, his name will likely fade into oblivion and Gangnam Style will undoubtedly be what humanity truly remembers.

Some painters, no matter their legacy, are often outshined by their creations. It may seem like everyone knows who Leonardo da Vinci is, but more than everyone knows about the Mona Lisa. And, with this said, let’s kick off the list which contains the most famous paintings in the world.

Most Famous Paintings

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The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

It’s hard to argue about this one, isn’t it? No other woman has been replicated, printed on mugs and other various souvenirs, or thoroughly analyzed like da Vinci’s Gioconda. The painting took roughly 15 years to complete, work for it having been started during the heart of the Renaissance era. The piece has been through a lot, even having been stolen at some point. Fortunately, today it hangs on the wall of Paris’ Louvre, where it’s exhibited under the protection of a thick bullet-proof barrier and visited by an average of 6 million people yearly.

Most Famous Paintings

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Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh’s work can easily be considered to be the most famous painted landscape of all time. The image of the village of Saint-Rémy under a trademark intense, swirling blue night sky has become equivalent to the name of the famed Dutch painter. It’s definitely not the only piece by van Gogh that can be universally recognized by quite a lot of people and, in fact, one of his latter works stands as one of the most expensive works of art ever sold. This is truthfully ironic given the fact that van Gogh has only sold one painting while he was alive. This definitely says a lot about his legacy.

Most Famous Paintings

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The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

Everyone knows this painting, and there have been numerous interpretations of the iconic scene unfolding in this legendary da Vinci piece. Painted near the end of the 15th century, the piece depicts the scene of The Last Supper, where Jesus gathered all of his Twelve Apostles to announce that one of them (spoilers, it’s Judas) would betray him. However, almost as famous as the image itself are the controversies surrounding it. While many people claim that the person seated to Jesus’ right is John the Apostle, several theories have surfaced which claim that was Mary Magdalene. All of this led to numerous media works that used the theory as a focal point, the most famous being Da Vinci’s Code.

Most Famous Paintings

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The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo Buonarroti

Nine scenes from the Book of Genesis have been transmuted into works of art through the mastery of Michelangelo. These artworks now embellish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, located in the heart of the Vatican. The most distinct of the images, though, is The Creation of Adam, which was one of the last pieces to be finished. And even though The Last Supper was definitely the source of numerous parodies in its time of existence, this Michelangelo piece probably holds the record.

9 Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals To See Before You Die

If you don’t find architecture fascinating, you’re missing out big time. I’ll admit that your average apartment building or even a typical Romanesque construction aren’t the most eye catching examples, but I can quickly turn the tides around by bringing up just one word: Gothic. No, it’s nothing of the “black lace, red Victorian dress” sort, but a late Medieval movement responsible for some of the most spectacular cathedrals and abbeys in Europe. You can easily recognize a Gothic building through some key characteristics, like rib faults, pointed arches and the flying buttress. Or, to put it more commonly, they tend to be really imposing and mildly intimidating looking. Whether you’re familiar with the style and want to see more, or you want to begin with the finest exhibits, we’re here to help with a list of 9 Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals To See Before You Die.

1. Notre Dame de Paris

Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals - Notre Dame de Paris

Location: Paris, France

We’ll start off with one of the most famous tourist attractions in Europe, the widely known Notre Dame (curtsy to Victor Hugo and his equally popular hunchback). The construction of the cathedral began sometime around the 12th century and through its centuries of existence, it suffered serious damage after the events of the French Revolution and World War II. Thankfully, an ambitious restoration process had it better looking than ever by the time we entered the 90’s.

2. Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral - Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Milan, Italy

I think that one of the most impressive things about Gothic structures, is just how time consuming their construction is. One of the best examples for this is the Milan Cathedral, which took roughly six centuries to reach its final form, after the first brick was laid in the 13th century. This construction is insanely spectacular, not just because of the imposing multitude of pinnacles and spikes, but because of its size too. Milan’s famed cathedral is the world’s fourth largest.

3. Santa Maria del Fiore

Florence's Dome Is Among The Most Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Florence, Italy

Ah, this is quite a common sight for your average Assassin’s Creed player. Long before Ezio Auditore was doing leaps of faith off the Cathedral of Florence’s roof, the first constructions began in 1420, finalizing about two decades later. The most spectacular aspect of the cathedral has to be the entirely brick constructed dome, adding to the sheer massiveness of the building. Funnily so, Filippo Brunelleschi, the mind behind the dome’s creation, feared losing control over the construction so much, that he kept hidden the technique that went into it. Which is why, centuries later, we still have no clue how he managed to build it.

4. Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia, Among The Top Most Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Barcelona, Spain

If you ask me, Sagrada Familia is by far the church with the biggest impact of all. It has a unique, incredibly intimidating appearance, thanks to the genius of Antonio Gaudi (who is responsible for about seventy percent of Barcelona’s architecture) and it’s guaranteed to make your breath stop when first laying eyes on it. Constructions first began in the 19th century and are still continuing today, with the deadline having been set for Gaudi’s death centennial, in 2026. When the Sagrada will be finished, it’s going to be the tallest church in the world and it’ll also have the honor of owning the tallest spire on Earth.

5. Cologne Cathedral

Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals Include The Cologne Cathedral

Location: Cologne, Germany

The Cologne Cathedral, which also serves as seat for the Archbishop of Cologne, is a church with a lot of history and with a lot of superlatives attached to its name. The project was started in the 13th century, having been interrupted two hundred years later. Thankfully, the construction was resumed in the 19th century and its final form was achieved in 1880. The cathedral is Germany’s biggest tourist nest, attracting over twenty thousand visitors daily. Moreover, it hosts second tallest spires in the world and the choir with the biggest width-height ratio.

6. Ulm Minster

Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals - Ulm Minster

Location: Ulm, Germany

If you’re thinking that this church is incredibly scary looking, you have all the reasons to think so. It’s the tallest church in the world, standing at 161 meters (530 feet) and from the top reachable level (141 meters), on a clear day, you can get a view of the Alps. As a fun fact, the last set of stairs is shaped into a spiral, with there barely being enough space for one person to fit in. If you’d like to self-induce some panic attacks, just thinking about climbing those stairs.

7. St. Stephen’s Cathedral

St. Stephen's - Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Vienna, Austria

Located in the central square of Vienna, Stephansplatz, St. Stephen’s Cathedral proudly stands tall – and for good reason – since it’s the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. Although not one hundred percent a Gothic structure, given the fact that it includes Romanesque elements in its appearance, the style of the spire alone is enough to make it a good representative of the Gothic movement.

8. Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral Is Included In The Most Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals

Location: Salisbury, England

The United Kingdom also has its undeniable share of beautiful Gothic constructions, with the Salisbury Cathedral being one of the most notable examples. There are several things that make this particular church stand out, one of them being the fact that it possesses the tallest spire in the United Kingdom. Another one is that it hosts the oldest working clock in the world, as well as one of the original four copies of King John’s Magna Carta.

9. Amiens Cathedral

Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals - Amiens Cathedral

Location: Amiens, France

The Amiens Cathedral is the tallest finished church in France, being deemed by many as more spectacular than the fellow Notre Dame. More than that, the building also has a historical meaning, since it houses the head of the one believed to be John the Baptist. As history has it, it was brought to the doorstep of the cathedral all the way from Constantinople, after the invasion of the Crusaders in 1204.

I was fortunate enough to see some of the entries from this list with my own eyes, so I can vouch for the fact that there is no feeling comparable with the fascinating overwhelm you encounter when you first gaze upon a Gothic cathedral. Not only are they stylistically impressive, but their age and the history that fills their walls manage to sate the cultural appetite of anyone who can get enjoy something like this. That being said, heed my advice. Add these 9 Breathtaking Gothic Cathedrals To See Before You Die to your bucket list.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Every day, my personal list of places that I have to visit before I die grows bigger. There are obvious choices, like London, New York, Tokyo or basically any other major city that’s known to be a must-see for any traveling enthusiast. Then you move on to places that can offer you more than a sightseeing experience, like the exotic shores of Bora Bora (if your wallet allows it) or an epic safari in the wilderness of Africa (if your heart rate allows it). And by the time you know it, you realize that you already have three pages worth of traveling destinations, and tell yourself: “enough.” But then, you stumble upon some article that describes in vivid detail the beauty of some unknown village on an abandoned island next to Iceland, and it comes with pictures too! Or, in my case, you find a gallery that showcases the beauty of Tuscany, perhaps a lesser hyped destination in Italy compared to famous places like Rome,  or Venice if you take away the fame of Florence. But let me tell you, Tuscany is just as worthy of being on that list just like any other destination and here are 9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany to tell you why.

1. Birthplace Of Italian

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Italian's Origin

Anyone who possesses some basic knowledge on the ethno genesis of European languages knows that Italian was founded on the premises of Latin. After all, if not the descendants of Romans, then who? However, even though the language itself was shaped by Latin, the Italian we hear being spoken today is actually created around the dialect spoken in Tuscany. How many regions can claim they have the honor of having such a widely liked dialect, that the entire country agreed to adopt it?

2. Pinocchio Is From Tuscany

Pinocchio Is Tuscan - Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Like most stories, Disney wasn’t the first to tell the story of the famous marionette Pinocchio. The original tale was crafted by Italian author Carlo Collodi, who was born in the Florence of the year 1826 and lived his whole life in Tuscany, which was, back then, under Austrian control. The story was then picked up by Disney over a century later, and turned into the 1940 adaption we know all too well today.

3. First Region To Adopt Pavements

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Paved Roads

If there is one thing that’s vastly known, is that Florence has always been an epitome of elegance of beauty. This is all thanks to the rich banks and the flowering merchandise business of the Renaissance era, which made Tuscany a region financially potent to bring out the best of itself. Curtsy to this, in 1339, it adopted the initiative to pave all the roads in Tuscany, something that revolutionized the world, as we can attest over seven centuries later.

4. The Leaning Tower Of Pisa

Interesting Facts About Tuscany Include The Existence Of Other Towers Like Pisa's

The legendary tower of Pisa has become a trademark for Italy in general. But do you know how it came to assess its infamous, skewed position? Ironically enough, the word “pisa” originates from Greek and it means “marsh land,” which seems to have been a grim prediction of the Italian architects’ choice to build a 15,000 tonnes weighting tower on unstable marsh land. What’s more, this isn’t the only tower of sorts in Tuscany: the church of Saint Nicola and the bell tower of the church of Saint Michele dei Scalzi also share the iconic leaned position of the Pisa tower.

5. UNESCO Heritage Sites

UNESCO Heritage Sites Compose Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Tuscany is undoubtedly a must see for anyone who would like to be taken on a cultural trip among the history filled walls and roads of the region. There are more UNESCO Heritage Sites in Tuscany than in places like South Africa, Argentina or Australia, with the biggest density being found in Florence, Siena and Pienza. But it’s not just buildings other architectural masterpieces that bear the seal of the UNESCO Heritage Site; many of the landscapes in Tuscany are considered of great value too, since they’ve inspired many of the greatest Renaissance painters.

6. The Marble Arch Is Tuscan

The Marble Arch's Origins Make Up Some Interesting Facts About Tuscany

Perhaps you’re familiar with the Marble Arch, the huge construction that was built on the corners of Park Lane and Oxford Street in London. Well, the material used for its construction is actually marble that was exported from Tuscany. Back then, Italy could afford sparing some of its Tuscan marble, since it was a commonly and widely used resource by many Renaissance artists. The best example is Michelangelo’s famous David, which is today exhibited at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.

7. The Birth Of Opera And Musicals

Opera's Origins - Interesting Facts About Tuscany

The biggest accomplishment that can be awarded to Tuscany, is undoubtedly the colossal impact it had in the cultural world. Around the middle of the 16th century, and the Renaissance Era, a group of Tuscan poets, musicians and intellectuals known as Florentine Camerata joined forces to intertwine Green myths with music, and put them on stage. This movement eventually led to the apparition of the first operas, which in turn were the foundation for the development of classical forms as music, such as the symphony.

8. Tuscany Has A Ski Resort

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Ski Resort

This might come off as quite surprising, especially given the fact that Italy often loses to neighbors such as Switzerland and Austria when it comes to mountainside tourism. However, Tuscany has more to offer than rolling hills and green, lush flora. Mount Amiata is a popular destination for those who are looking for an escapism in the heart of the mountains, whether it’s for skying or for plain relaxation purposes.

9. Legendary Artwork

Tuscany's Culturally Famous Artworks Are Some Better Known Interesting Facts About Tuscany

For our final bullet point, we have to give credit where credit’s due, even though said credit has been given numerous of times. Tuscany is the host of some of the post valuable artworks in the world, and it can pride itself for being the birth place of some of the biggest names in the Renaissance. For example, Botticelli’s famous “The Birth of Venus” painting is displayed at the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo’s David is exhibited for the world to see in Florence. What’s even cooler is than many Tuscan cities and towns are works of art by themselves, being the hosts of many amazing churches, cathedrals and buildings rich in history and culture.

Long story short, Tuscany is amazing. And Florence shouldn’t be the only reason why you’d want to visit it. Although definitely its strongest point, the region in itself is full of gorgeous landscapes and perhaps lesser known towns and cities that are worth a sightseeing escapade, thanks to these 9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

Terry Widner, the brains and steady hands behind Spoontaneous, is as creative as it gets. His site, Spoontaneous, the balance between puns and spoons, displays his work from the last five or six years. Who said spoons have to be boring and made out of metal? Widner proves to everyone that spoons can be fun, especially if their descriptions or titles involve puns, which they usually do. Wooden spoons design possibilities are limitless, as the creator of Spoontaneous is eager to prove. Just a glance at his portfolio shows that he’s got a headful of surprising ideas. However, even he admits he values design over functionality. Therefore, don’t expect to be able to use all of Widner’s spoons for eating soup. With some of them, you can at least ladle it.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

I did warn you Spoontaneous products aren’t the most functional gifts to give your mother. But you can’t deny this one is gorgeous. Made out of African black wood, this could be an intriguing addition for all spoon collectors out there. Who knows, maybe you can use it at that Halloween party you’ve been dying to throw.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

While he compromises on functionality, Terry Widner, the creator of these spoons, certainly makes up in creativity. This quirky idea of merging a snake and a spoon is just snaketastic. Again, it might only be used as a decor piece, but it would sure stand out with its unique quirky design. Even the wood’s color and texture resemble a snake’s skin.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

It is an aubergine or a plate? It’s actually a spoon, and I won’t lie, I would use it for serving salad. It’s a very ingenious idea and Widner executed it flawlessly. Like the rest of his products, he doesn’t fail to stay faithful to his real subjects. His attention to detail can be noticed in the aubergine’s stub which turns yellow at the base. He even nailed the color and texture of the vegetable, in a strike of genius.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

Entitled Fowl play, this spoon takes things to a whole new level. It’s made out of maple and ebony, and the feet are metal. This artist has proven how you can break away from constraints and embrace creativity at its best. Again, the attention to details is easy to notice: the eyes, the beak and the elongated neck add a lot of character to this intriguing design.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

Made out of grapefruit wood and incorporating a turquoise stone as well as silver and pigments, this artwork was called The “Eater” Bunny. Widner confessed he gets completely immersed in his creative process and he never knows what’s going to turn out once he starts carving. He went on to add that the work itself seems to take off in its own direction, and he can only follow the lead. I guess this bunny was feeling particularly luxurious when he possessed Widner to create it.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

The creator of Spoontaneous experiments from time to time with other materials, but he admits he keeps going back to wood. He hears a calling and enjoys employing the wood he stumbles upon. Widner never took art or carving classes and takes pride in saying he is self taught. He is inspired by other artists and woodworkers and doesn’t shy away from learning from and studying their artwork.

Spoontaneous, The Balance Between Puns And Spoons

Since the artist emphasizes fun, not functionality, his belief transpires in all his carvings. In his past, Widner experimented with creating boxes, canes and even a pipe. When he started focusing solely on spoons, it was like a light was switched on and he soon discovered his design possibilities were unlimited. And this rhino speaks volumes about possibilities: it was made out of maple, deer antler tips and beads for it’s tiny eyes.

Image sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7