The Dome

Excerpts from J B Ward-Perkins’ book “Roman Imperial Architecture” on the dome of the Pantheon in Rome. “The dome is coffered, with five diminishing rings of twenty-eight coffers each, in antiquity stuccoed and perhaps gilded, and the only light comes from the great central oculus.” “Familiarity cannot deaden the impact of the interior as one…

Memories of a late summer visit to Oxford

We’re officially in November. Even in Dubai, the dregs of summer are being blown away by the cool evening breeze. Where has the year gone? I haven’t written in my blog for a couple of weeks. I have good weeks when I’m posting every day and then I have weeks when I don’t want to…

October already

I’m not quite sure how it came about but ladies and gents we find ourselves once more in October. That’s a full three quarters of the year gone. Time to look through that list of New Year resolutions and see if there are any easy wins left. Or maybe it’s time you started writing new…

Segedunum, the Roman Fort at Wallsend

As its name suggests, Wallsend, near Newcastle, was where the Roman wall built during the reign of Hadrian ended. The Roman fort Segedunum (thought to be derived from old local words for either ‘strong’ or ‘victorious’) was located slightly to the north of the river Tyne and helped the Romans keep an eye out for…

The Great Court, British Museum

The Great Court of the British Museum had been one of those spaces on which I had been waiting to unleash my new fisheye lens. I hadn’t realised that originally the space where the Great Court is now had been an open courtyard (without a roof) and that it was redesigned in the late 90s….

I walked the wall..

At least 30+ miles of it. In AD 122, under the orders of the Emperor Hadrian who ruled the Roman empire at that point, a massive 73 mile wall was constructed across North England roughly from New Castle to Carlisle. Segments of this once massive wall exist and numerous tourists and history fans undertake to…

Porta Borsari- the Roman gate in Verona

Verona claims to be the city in Italy that has the maximum number of ancient Roman monuments after Rome (I’m guessing that they don’t count towns like Pompeii and Herculaneum in these kind of lists). After a city makes a claim like that, I feel fairly obliged to go take a look and so I…

Bologna and its porticoes

At first you don’t notice it, walking down the Via dell’Independencia. After all you’re just following the herds late on a Saturday afternoon. After about 10 minutes it suddenly hits you. You’ve been walking on what you think is the pavement and yet this pavement has a roof and really the only time you lose…

Meanwhile in Dubai

We’ve got a new tourist attraction that opened up earlier this year. Yes, this is the Dubai Frame. When I moved to Dubai in May 2016, the Frame was still in its early stages of construction and I remember thinking it looked at that point like an oil rig. It is an impressive structure meant…