Turkish Delights

From Kimberly


From Byzantine jewels to the Byzantine architectural wonder Hagia Sophia, the splendors of East and West merge into legendary artistry.  Translated from Greek, Hagia Sophia means "Holy Wisdom."


Constantine The Great, Roman Emperor from 306 to 337, founded the Eastern Roman Empire in Byzantium (soon called Constantinople, then Istanbul) in a move to bring coherence and integration of the East into the vast empire.  He was the first emperor to convert to Christianity, and as well, proclaimed tolerance of all religions throughout the Roman Empire.


The structure we see today was designed by a Greek scientist and physicist at the bequest of Emperor Justinian.  Constructed between 532 and 537, it was a cathedral until 1453 when it was converted to a mosque with the addition of the distinctive minarets.  Ordained in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey, Hagia Sophia remains one of the greatest architectural marvels and holy sites in the world.

Under photo: Hagia Sophia

July 18, 2023 by Kimberly Hayes

Baroque Pearls For Your Inner Goddess


I've been fascinated with Greek and Roman art and antiquity my entire life - I'm quite sure a very early visit to Ludington Court at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art started it all.  I have fond childhood memories of the museum where my mother was a docent for many years. Years later, I even met my husband there!  As a lapsed Art History student, I am still enchanted by museums of all sorts; that said the MET remains the ne plus ultra - especially with the addition of the MET Breuer. This makes for the perfect trio between the MET on 5th and The Cloisters. Pictured here is a bronze sculpture in the largest of the Greek and Roman galleries, standing on a finely tessellated floor surrounded by grand columns - very much evoking an ancient villa - quite a transformation from what was once a restaurant!

July 16, 2016 by Kimberly Hayes

Be Jeweled!



This is the lovely Nuruosmaniye Mosque in Istanbul. It fairly glows, it's white marble walls punctuated with paned windows, allowing sunlight into the sanctuary. Nuruosmaniye means "the light of Osman", named so after the sultan who completed the building in 1755. This 18th century mosque is considered a masterpiece of Baroque Ottoman architecture. The "mother" and architectural inspiration for many mosques like this, is Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century as a Christian Greek Orthodox Basilica. Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul has a long and fascinating history being at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, a nexus of commercial, cultural, artistic, diplomatic and religious systems

May 07, 2016 by Kimberly Hayes

Baroque Pearls – Jewels of The Sea



There is something beguiling about an empty stairwell; an invitation, an air of intrigue – what's beyond that corner, who is up in those rooms above? Glancing at these stairs I can't help but imagine a 17th century contessa, draped in silk, lace and baroque pearls climbing the stairs to the "primo piano" to hear a new form of music, opera; this was the era it was created. This image was taken at the beyond-exquisite Palazzo Lomellino in Genoa – with very limited access I only saw the atrium, courtyard, and nyphaeum, so next time would plan an entire trip around their open day – the first Saturday of each month. Meanwhile their beautiful website and virtual tours must suffice – a glimpse into another time and space.

April 02, 2016 by Kimberly Hayes