Russia and Europe

Resently we, russians, often wish to look like europeans. We learn foreign languages, copy way of life, moda, dishes and manners etc. We appreciate so much when they take us for germans in Stambul, for swedes – in Amsterdam and for scandinavians – in Madrid…

Why we do so? – it’s hard to understand. But the magority follow the trend – they try not to look russian.

Some succed, some not. But it works only until the place of origin (Russia) reveals and since then invisible tension appears. Like, as if someone you just acquainted, declared he served 8 years for burglary.

The reason is not that we are “undereuropeans”, it is that our  «models» from civilised Europe used to learn about russians as barbarians for ages. Europeans accepted tolerance to turkish workers, homos and addicts. But failed to do so to russians.

Here are 19-20 century maps performing image of Russia in Europe eyes.

(translated from http://cyrillitsa.ru/posts/480-ecce-russo.html)

Lithuanian myth of lost love

Perkunas, God of Thunder, was the father God. The fairest goddess was Jurate, a mermaid who lived in an amber palace in the Baltic. Kastytis was a courageous fisherman living along the coast near the mouth of the Sventoji River.

Kastytis would cast his nets to catch fish from Jurate’s kingdom. The goddess sent her mermaids to warn him to stop fishing in her domain. He did not stop. After the mermaids failed, Jurate went to demand he stop. When she saw how handsome and courageous he was she fell in love with him and brought him to her amber palace.

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( goddess Jurate and fisherman Kastytis, sculpture by Nijole Gaigalaite, 1961. Palanga, Lithuania)

Perkunas, knowing Jurate was promised to Patrimpas, god of water, was angered to find an immortal in love with a mortal. In anger, Perkunas sent a bolt of lightning to destroy the goddess’ palace and kill her mortal lover. Her palace was destroyed and Jurate was chained to the ruins for eternity.

She weeps tears of amber for her lost lover. When the storms stir the sea, fragments of her palace ruins are driven onto the shores of the Baltic. Tear drop shaped pieces are thought to be particular treasures as they are the tears washed from the grieving goddess’ eyes. These amber pieces are said to be as clear and true as her tragic love.

Bunker in Baltiysk

WW II german bunker in Baltiysk (Pillau)

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Fishing for amber

This is a drawing from the first amber publication, by Philip Hartmann in 1677, showing fishermen fishing for amber.

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And this is how they fish it today!

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Amber Road

The Amber Road is a hypothetical ancient trade route for the transfer of amber from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.

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An important raw material, amber was transported from the North Sea and Baltic Seacoasts overland by way of the Vistula and Dnieper rivers to Italy, Greece, the Black Sea, and Egypt thousands of years ago, and long after.

In Roman times, a main route ran south from the Baltic coast in through the land of theBoii (modern Czech Republic and Slovakia) to the head of the Adriatic Sea (modernGulf of Venice). The Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun had Baltic amber among his burial goods, and amber was sent from the North Sea to the temple of Apollo atDelphi as an offering. From the Black Sea, trade could continue to Asia along the Silk Road, another ancient trade route.

The Old Prussian towns of Kaup and Truso on the Baltic were the starting points of the route to the south. In Scandinavia the amber road probably gave rise to the thrivingNordic Bronze Age culture, bringing influences from the Mediterranean Sea to the northernmost countries of Europe.

Sometimes the Kaliningrad Oblast is called the Янтарный край, which means “the amber area”.

Battle of Königsberg

The Battle of Königsberg, also known as the Königsberg Offensive, was one of the last operations of the East Prussian Offensive during World War II. In four days of violent urban warfare, Soviet forces of the 1st Baltic Front and the 3rd Belorussian Front captured the city of Königsberg – now Kaliningrad, Russia.

Curonian Spit

Curonian spit this fall.

Greek Myth of Phaeton

Phaeton, the son of Phoebus Apollo the Sun God asked his father to drive the Sun Chariot pulled by wild horses. For a time his travels went well, then suddenly the horses bolted and the chariot came to close to the Earth, setting it ablaze. This was said to be the origin of volcanoes. The entire Earth was blazing, the forests burned and the land parched. The heat was so great that the peoples of Africa were burned black. amber_legends_006

The God Zeus, in an gesture to save the earth, struck Phaeton dead with a lightning bolt. Phaeton’s body fell into the River Eridanus. The nymphs of the stream pulled his body from the stream and buried him on the river bank.

After a time his three sisters, the Heliades (aka Electrides), came in search of the grave. When they found it, they vowed to stay with their dead brother and wept day and night. Their wasting bodies took root and became covered with the bark of the surrounding trees. Their arms turned to branches and eventually, the three were transformed into trees. Their tears continued to flow, and as they hardened in the sun, turned to amber.

The city these days

Autumn in the city (by Natalia Dorovskikh)

Amber and electricity

Over 2500 years ago, Thales of Miletos discovered that when amber was rubbed against cloth, sparks were produced and then the amber attracted husks and small wooden splinters. This force was given the name “electricity” after the Greek word electron which means amber.

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Norse Mythology

Different Worlds and Times

Late Breaking Bad

A Tardy Blogger Gets Hooked

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