The Church of San Vitale, the masterpiece of Byzantine art in Ravenna. Construction began in 526 by Bishop Ecclesius under the Ostrogothic queen Amalasuntha (d. 535) and was consecrated in 547 during the reign of the emperor Justinian. This octagonal church, built of marble and capped by a lofty terra-cotta dome, is one of the most important surviving examples of Byzantine architecture and mosaic work.
My friend Leia Weathington, award-winning author of Bold Riley, tweeted an idea for an adventure story about “a Swedish Viking lady and an Islamic bean-counter lady tearing ass across the continents in the 12th Century”. Well I happened to know that Vikings frequently hired themselves out to the Byzantines in Constantinople, which would have put them in direct contact with the Islamic world, and yes Viking women were known to fight, and there is at least one historical account of women fighting with the Varangians (Vikings, Saxons, Danes and Rus in the employ of Byzantium).
The Viking woman is wearing Varangian costume and the Muslim woman is wearing what may be totally inaccurate period costume, but decipherable reference of 12th Century Muslim women is really hard to find.
The islands in the vast Greek archipelago are all together composed of tradition, culture and natural beauty. This island state attracts travellers who are often bewitched by one particular island and return there every year. The large islands, like Rhodes, Corfu, Crete, Lesvos and many others are among thefavourite destinations worldwide; the smaller ones acquire devoted friends who adore the peace and quiet and their authentic colours.
Little picturesque fishing villages and harbours, monuments and remains of Greek culture, Byzantine churches and living tradition make the island part of Greece a true paradise. The warm, Mediterranean climate allows you to bask in the sun and the sea from early spring until late autumn. September and October in Greece are renowned for their pleasant temperatures. The Greek seas stay warm until November and you can enjoy an extended summer which is unique the world over - what the Greeks call “Mini summer"…