Thursday, May 11, 2006

Back to blogging

Pictures from Germany: Dresden, the old location of the Communist Party headquarters: "eastern" Dresden, a ghost-city, was filled by huge malls and supermarkets in the midst of the "communist" totalitarian architecture; the contrast is so obvious that the city became uglier... I think

Dresden's railway station: the burned wall from WWII still apparent; the city seems to have been forgotten since that time


At the center of "east" Berlin: the satatues of Marx and Engels... like two supermen... But they are two great thinkers even with the propagandist "paint" by the artists-bureaucrats of the eastern block


In front of the Stazi's headquarters at "eastern" Berlin: funny, ugly, and, still, sad: the "cooperation" of the police with the propletariat... Now the building is a museum of the "totalitarian technics of control and spying", i.e., a Museum of the totalitarian state


Berlin's Museum at "eastern" Berlin: this is a major building in the history of architecture among the first (1720s) to champion museography and build a special building to celebrate antiquity... a precursor for the neo-classical school of the 19th century


An ex-American "check-point" right at the borders of "eastern" and "western" Berlin: behind me all that area (in "eastern" Berlin) was almost empty... since the fall of the wall it was invaded by new buildings that redefined the "borders"... now it's among the most expensive real estates in the city... funny, right?!

After a tiresome research-travel I had made throughout various European libraries in various European cities (Paris, Rome, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Dresden, Berlin...) it's time to go back to blogging...
This trip should be the last among a series of trips I've conducted since summer 2005 looking for various manuscripts that are crucial for my PhD dissertation ("The depiction of the Mediterranean in late Islamic cartography: from the 13th to the 16th centuries")... I must say it was VERY fruitful... I've enough materials to make two not one dissertation... NOW I've to sit down and write the damn thing....

Anyway... but the trip was also interesting other than being scientifically fruitful: I had fun: true that I'd visited many o these places before... but still some are always interesting to revisit (Florence and Rome obviously)... I visited Venice for the first time in a rainy day that made the city even more beautiful... But my major discovery was "Eastern" Germany... I had been in Germany but this time I finally went to an old country from the "Eastern Block"...

Th closest I got to "Eastern" Germany was in 1986 when I visited Berlin... and one of the metros back then goes under "eastern" Berlin... Oh! yes and I came from Tunis then in the Aeroflot so I landed in the airport of "eastern" Berlin...

This time, since I had to go to the State Library of Dresden, I decided to rent a car (with my brother Nidhal, who is based at Paris, mainly driving) and make the "tour" of "eastern" Germany (Dresden, Leipzig, and Berlin)... Thus I had the opportunity to see an ex-communist country (many Germans tend to forget that by the way)...

The pictures would speak better: what we have now is a weird amalgam of a totalitarian architecture (with its "artistic" embellishments still hanging there: in forms of scltpure and wall--painting) and a "commercial" architecture: the "Supermaket" kind of architecture... Clearly Germany is still suffering and trying to find its way out from a greyish past: in some places even the traces of WWII are still there... The integration of "Eastern" Germany is still underway and I'm not sure that it's successful... The economic crisis is also obvious... I found out, for instance, that a physician (in a provincial hospital) can be paid monthly the very ridiculous sum of 1,500 Euros!

Now with the coming of the Polish and Czeck into the European Union (both bordering Germany... or "Eastern" Germany) I wonder how things will "get done"...

4 Comments:

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Hannibal said...

@Tarek Welcome back! I really envy you dude:P Anyhow thank you for sharing these pics and your thoughts with us. Good luck with your dissertation!

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger Tarek Kahlaoui said...

Hi Hannibal... THANKS... I'm sure you know that the mosaic festival of el Jem was held last week... By the way have you known Hedi Slim?

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger Hannibal said...

@Yeah Tarek I already posted somthing on the Festival:) I met Mr. Slim a couple of times I guess. He is a great man!

 
At 2:36 PM, Blogger Tarek Kahlaoui said...

Yes he is... I knew you'd have known him since he was in charge of el-Jem in the INP... he is retired now (he is also from my father's home city: Moknine.. so I know the family)...

 

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