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Articles tagged "Architecture"

The City and the Writer: In Minsk with Valzhyna Mort

If each city is like a game of chess, the day when I have learned the rules, I shall finally possess my empire, even if I shall never succeed in knowing all the cities it contains. —Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Can you describe the mood of Minsk as you feel/see it? Minsk is not a city of moods. Rebuilt from the ground after World War II, it is measured out in perfect squares, with wide streets balanced out by long, tall buildings, and populated by gigantic statues and...

A History of Condo Sales

Part I. You wouldn’t notice it in the daylight. Instead, you’d be distracted by the bustling streets (perhaps by a tow truck, a crippled street vendor, a cab you’d hail, your eyes flitting between cab-top advertisements). Looking up is a hassle anyway. You’d have to crane your neck, tilt your nostrils helplessly upwards, exposing them to the drip of window AC units. And so our company’s gigantic neon sign escapes your sight, perched atop an eighteen-story...

V. Samsara

I have always been intrigued by the fact that cows in India are sacred. Unmolested, they roam the streets of towns and villages. In some parts they have a bell round their neck and a jasmine topknot on their head, sometimes they are painted. But mostly they are wretched. Gaunt, filthy and sick, they munch away on pounds of rotting waste, eating up slops, paper, or bits of material they find along the wayside. Drivers, rickshaw-men and pedestrians break their necks avoiding the cows...

Pallida Turba

Translator's Note: Three great waves of political cataclysm surged over a city already accustomed to periodic inundation by the black waters of the river Neva: the October Revolution, the purges of the 1930s, and the Nazi blockade decimated the population of St. Petersburg. Vera Nikolaevna was born in their wake, a few years after the Second World War, in its Soviet incarnation: Leningrad. Although her family lived in a communal apartment, the building on Vasilyevsky Island had in...

The Lanterns of Seville

To Julienne Peters of Brussels, who was moved to tears by the beauty of the Alcazar in the Seville of the Arabs, I dedicate these lanterns. "Would you look down on a cousin of yours if he addressed you in a language other than his own?" said Professor Alsido—for this is how the dancer with the magical eyes had introduced me to him—as he gulped his first drink. "I've heard you speak fluent French, so allow me to converse with you in that language." I nodded in agreement and...

from Dreams and Stones

The tree of the world, like every other tree, at the beginning of the season of vegetation puts out tiny delicate golden leaves which with time acquire a dark green hue and a silvery sheen. Then they become yellow and red as if they were burning in a live flame and when they have burned their last they go brown and fall to earth ragged and full of holes akin to pieces of paper turned to ash or rusted-through tin cans. From the first moments when the greenery is freshest and the greatest...
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