art, architecture, and cats in central & eastern europe (timothy dingman)

A recent sojourn in Central and Eastern Europe (Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Greece and Turkey) showed me the importance of the preservation of architecture, the complex relationship among government, the Roman and Orthodox Catholic rites, Islam, entrepreneurs and cats. I believe that I achieved some small understanding of most of what was going on … given my cultural bias but, I’ll never get the cats.

Dubrovnik, Croatia is a marvelously restored post Balkan war, 12th century city dominated by Venetian architecture, largely populated by Roman Catholics and cats. It is a tourist center but not so much artist friendly.  Everywhere you find churches, one-meter-wide alleys that become staircases, smooth (not cobblestone) walkways and … cats.

Ephesus, European Turkey is a marvelously restored post Erdagon, 6th century BC city and, except for the restored ruins, dominated by ancient Roman, Byzantine and Venetian architecture, largely populated by Orthodox Catholics, Shiite Moslems and cats. It is both tourist and artist friendly.  Here you find mosques, two-meter-wide alleys that became staircases, smooth (not cobblestone) walkways and … cats.

 
Assos, European Turkey is a marvelously restored, post Ataturk 12th century BC city and, except for the restored ruins, dominated by ancient Greek, Byzantine and Venetian architecture, largely populated by Moslems, Kurds and cats.  Also it is both artist and tourist friendly with textiles and jewelry for sale.  Again, there are mosques, two-meter-wide alleys that become staircases, smooth (not cobblestone) walkways and … cats.

I finally heard the answer to the “riddle of cats.” One day the Profit was walking in the Market when a cat brushed against his leg.  Amused, he stopped to stroke its head.  From that day forward, all cats have a marking on their foreheads.  It is not always readily visible but there is always the Arabic letter “M”.

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