September Notes from Istanbul: Fethiye Museum – Pammakaristos Church

Among the important churches built under Byzantine rule in the 11/12th century is the Pammakaristos Church, which is now the Fethiye Museum in the Çarşamba neighborhood of today’s Fatih district.

Pammakristos means very happy in Old Greek. The museum also houses the most beautiful examples of 14th century Byzantine mosaics. It was renovated in the 1930s.

This church museum is a real jewel.

Fethiye Museum in Çarşamba, Istanbul

Fethiye Museum in Çarşamba, Istanbul

Pammakaristos Church - Fethiye Museum

Pammakaristos Church in Fatih, Istanbul

Museum guard at Fethiye Museum in Istanbul

Museum guard at Fethiye Museum in Istanbul

Fethiye Müzesi map

The entry fee is TL 15 per person.

Advent Choir Concert in Oberursel


The girls’ choir of Maria-Ward-Schule, under the direction of Wolfram Gaigl, will present many English Christmas songs at one of the local churches.

When: 15 December 2012 (Saturday)

Time:  19:15 – 20:00 followed, by an Advent Market

Where: At St. Hedwig Church

Address: Im Eisenhammerweg  in Oberursel

Organized by St. Hedwig’s fundraising group

The concert’s proceeds are going to St. Hedwig Church in Oberursel

Adventskonzert Bad Homburg

The entry is free, but the church appreciates donations.

Oberursel Altstadt

As dusk was setting, we were on our way to the guest house/restaurant Zum Schwanen. As always, we have to approach this Altstadt area on foot as there is no parking out front any of these buildings.

Oberursel Altstadt

View from the Marktplatz towards St. Ursula Kirche with the guest house Zum Hirsch (to the deer) on the left.

Gasthaus "Zum Schwanen" in Oberursel


Weathervanes in Oberursel

The church tower carries a weather vane, which is typically the Wetterhahn (German: rooster). This neighboring house has one sitting on the roof top, but I would hope this is only for decorative purposes and put up by the owner himself.

The old saying jemandem den roten Hahn aufs Dach setzen (to place the red rooster on s.o.’s roof) means this person wishes to burn down the house. Usually someone else’s.

Easter Decoration in Germany

The tradition of decorating the local fountain near church for the Easter holiday might soon become extinct.

On our drive to Franconia in Northern Bavaria, we only passed two villages with a display of public Easter decoration.

Franconian village Easter decoration

One photo opportunity I missed as we were going around a tight bend in another village, and the third Easter display I found right here in my hometown village of Hambach (suburb of Dittelbrunn, near Schweinfurt).

Easter decoration in Hambach (Franconia)

Customs are bound to change with time.

Church Bells in Germany

If you have ever lived in rural Germany, then you are familiar with the sound of church bells ringing.

While growing up in a farm house on main street in rural Franconia (Northern Bavaria), I became so accustomed to hearing the bells at all times of the day that the bells’ sound went without perception.

Not until I left home and came back for occasional visits did I learn to appreciate their beautiful sound. Nowadays, when we stay for an overnight at my Elternhaus (parents’ home), I love to wake up to the sound of the nearby church bells.

The village main street on most any morning is filled with various sounds: farmers yelling directions to get the wagon into the barn, women gossiping in front of the house, along with the church bells ringing.

So I was delighted when I discovered Alexander von Halem‘s blog post about various church bells in Bavaria. Alexander has begun collecting the sound of church bells with an iPhone application called

Listen to the sound of various church bells on Zeilitzheim Castle in Bavaria, Germany.

Enjoy it.

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