Snapshots

New York State’s Capitol Building

* The capitol took 32 years to build (1867-1899), and cost $25 million (equivalent to $500 million in today’s dollars).

* The Great Western Staircase, famously known as the Million Dollar Staircase, is a masterpiece that took an astonishing 14 years to build.

* The Capitol Flag Room has a large collection of flags, including those from the Civil War, the Battle of San Juan Hill, the Spanish-American War, and World War I and II.

Some building details from the capitol’s interior:

New York State Capitol Building

New York State Capitol Building

New York State Capitol Building

New York State Capitol Building

New York State Capitol Building

New York State Capitol Building

New York State Capitol Building

New York State Capitol Building

New York State Capitol Building

New York State Capitol Building

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The Albany Mummies

* In 1909, Samuel Brown, a board member for the Albany Institute of History and Art, purchased two ancient Egyptian mummies and their coffins from the Cairo Museum in Egypt.

* The mummies date from the 21st Dynasty and the Ptolemaic Period.

* A study of the hieroglyphs on one of the coffins revealed that it contained the mummy of a sculptor and priest named Ankhefenmut.

Albany Institute of History & Art Mummy and Coffin

Albany Institute of History & Art Mummy and Coffin

Albany Institute of History & Art Mummy and Coffin

Albany Institute of History & Art Mummy and Coffin

Albany Institute of History & Art Mummy and Coffin

Albany Institute of History & Art Mummy and Coffin

Albany Institute of History & Art Coffin

Albany Institute of History & Art Coffin

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Aegina, Greece: The Island of Artists

According to myth, this island’s name comes from a nymph who was one of the river god Asopos’ 20 daughters. Zeus fell in love with her and brought her to this island.

The Monastery of Saint Nektarios

The Monastery of Saint Nektarios

Aegina has attracted the likes of photographers, scholars, painters, sculptors, poets, potters, and musicians. Internationally acclaimed writer Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek, The Last Temptation of Christ) was drawn to the peace and quiet of this Saronic Gulf location that is ~16 nautical miles from Athens’ main port of Piraeus.

Built between 1904-1910 by Bishop Pentapoleos Nektarios, The Monastery of Saint Nektarios draws a large number of visitors every year. A Greek Orthodox saint, Agios Nektarios, was recognized as a saint in 1961. Many people visit his tomb to pray and ask for blessings, as he is known to perform miracles for those seeking help.

The Monastery of Saint Nektarios

The Monastery of Saint Nektarios

Since 2008 the island has hosted its annual Aegina Fistiki Festival, which promotes the cultivation of the “Aegina pistachio” as it is known internationally. The first organized commercial pistachio nursery was created on this island, and residents were encouraged to plant this tree in their gardens, around their houses, and in the fields. Because it was easy to grow and yielded high prices from buyers, the pistachio tree eventually replaced grape vines as the major crop, and Aegina became the leading location for pistachio production in Greece.

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Dreaming in Poros, Greece

“Coming into Poros gives the illusion of the deep dream.”
– The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller

Poros Town - Clock Tower

Poros Town – Clock Tower

Meaning “a small sea passage” or “narrow straight” in ancient Greek, Poros originally consisted of two islands – Sphairia and Kalavria. It’s believed that the Methana volcano exploded in 273 BC, and cut off Sphairia from Methana, creating the Poros of today.

With a population of ~4,000, Poros boasts numerous sand and pebble beaches, traditional foods, unique shops, and a clock tower visible from almost everywhere on the island. The location makes Poros a perfect home base for day trips to Athens or other nearby islands.

Historic Poros

* The Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi site is built on the slope of a pine forest. Founded in AD 1720 by Archbishop Iakovos the 2nd of Athens, it’s said that he was miraculously cured of lithiasis (stony concretions in the body) after drinking the holy water near the monastery.

* Built in the 6th century BC, only ruins are left of The Temple of Poseidon, where religious and civic issues were dealt with for city states. Demosthenes, one of the greatest ancient Greek orators, killed himself here in 322 BC by drinking poison hemlock.

* Because of its strategic geographical position, Poros was important during the Greek Revolution of 1821. It was considered the safest harbor, and the ideal place to hold committee meetings away from massive crowds.

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Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site – Hyde Park, NY

* This mansion boasted having electricity before all other homes in the town.

* With its prime location, the estate has majestic views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains.

* This country retreat was built in 1898 for Frederick Vanderbilt (grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who built the Vanderbilt fortune) and his wife Louise, and donated to the National Park Service in 1940 for the public to enjoy.

Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY

Interior room in Vanderbilt Mansion – Hyde Park, NY

Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY

Vanderbilt Mansion – Hyde Park, NY

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Hayden Butte Preserve Park – Tempe, Arizona

Actually a mountain, the Hayden Butte Preserve Park provides stunning views of the city of Tempe and Camelback Mountain. It’s also great for a quick, yet moderate-level, hike.

Hayden Butte Preserve Park

Hayden Butte Preserve Park

Hayden Butte Preserve Park

Hayden Butte Preserve Park

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