Monday, October 31, 2011

The city of students

Patras is definitely famous for Agios Andreas church, Rio-Antirio bridge, the port (maybe tentoura as well :-P), but not less, it is also known as the city of students. Three major universities are: University of Patras, Hellenic Open University and TEI of Patras, where more than 30.000 study every year.
The Gerokostopoulou stairs (gr. Γεροκωστοπουλου), are just above Patras main square, plateia Georgiou. It’s a popular place among students, where they gather for coffee, ouzo, beer, to play board games or watch football. The area is very nice with its own unique character: narrow streets, small coffee places and restaurants, all with affordable prices.

The café on the photo is just somewhere in the middle of the stairs. I have never been inside, it was already closed when I first saw it. Despite that, it really caught my attention when passing by. I like the photo so much, that eventually it became the background of my blog (if You haven’t noticed :-P). I don’t even know what was the name of the café when it existed, and I really regret never having a chance to sit down for coffee there…
Everything in one place: strong colors and different shapes, wooden furniture and stone walls, small windows and old door, some palm tree out of nowhere, truly unique place. So many contrasts, and yet somehow it all fits together. This café is like a symbol of the area for me.

 Photo details: Panasonic DMC-FX 150, Landscape Mode, f 1/2.8, 1/640s, 0EV, f=29mm (for 35mm), GIMP software

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The symbol of Patras

Some would say, that any blog related with city of Patras should have been started with Agios Andreas church. Well, it didn’t happen in my case, but I will try to fix it today.
The patron of the city is Agios Andreas (Saint Andrew), so it should not be a surprise that the biggest basilica in Patras is church of Agios Andreas. It is not only the biggest church in the city, but also the biggest in Greece and 2nd biggest in all the Balkans.
It is located in south-west part of the city center, where the street with same name starts (corner with Korai). The construction started in 1908, to “replace” old church of Agios Andreas, located just next to new one. It took almost 70 years to inaugurate basilica in 1974. Since then, it’s a true symbol of Patras. You will find it on every single souvenir in every single store (since 2004, most of souvenirs have both, the basilica and Rio‑Antirio bridge).
The highest dome is 46m high, that allows the church to top over rest of the buildings in the city. It’s visible from almost any view point (the photo was taken from Dasylio this October). The size is so huge that more than 5.000 people can attend the mess.

Second photo was taken from the west side of basilica, not the main entrance on the south, as it would be against the sun at the time of the day I went there. The west side had not only better light afternoon, but usually is empty and allows to take “clean” photo, without any people. I was only a bit unlucky with the car, but still not bad :-P

Photo1: NIKON D70s, Aperture priority, f 1/8, 1/640s, -0.3EV, f=105 mm (for 35mm), GIMP software

Photo2: NIKON D70s, Aperture priority, f 1/8, 1/1000s, -0.3EV, f=27 mm (for 35mm), GIMP software

Friday, October 21, 2011

Where democracy started

Greece is the place where democracy started. The city of Athens established democracy somewhere between 5th and 4th century BC (some sources mention year 507 BC). Name comes from two Greek words: δήμος (people) and κράτος (power), and is translated simply as “the rule of the people”. The classical Athenian democracy is considered to be “direct democracy”, as all citizens were eligible to vote (in fact only male, born from parents from Athens, not slaves, not foreigners, not below 20 years old were allowed to speak and vote). Democracy as we know today, is “parliamentary democracy” or “liberal democracy” where all citizens choose their representatives through elections, later, the representatives form the government.

The building on the photo is Patras court, located between streets of Korinthou, Maizonos, Gounari and Kanari, in the center. Photo was taken in September 2010. Strikes, demonstrations, protests against the government, slogans written on buildings – all this are tools of today’s direct democracy, and where else, if not in Greece, should we find them…
One of the biggest general strike against the Greek government and Troika proposals, took place just recently this week in all major cities of Greece, including Patras. It might be, that the building from the photo is “updated” with some fresh new slogans :-P

Photo details: NIKON D70s, Aperture priority, f 1/8, 1/160s, -0.7EV, f=37mm (for 35mm), GIMP software

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Greek Golden Gate Bridge

One of the most impressive bridges of Europe, and definitely the most impressive in Greece, is just a five minute walk from my house. I like to call it “The Greek Golden Gate Bridge” as it became a symbol for city of Patras and whole Greece (You will not buy any souvenir without the bridge, even the fridge magnet) like the original Golden Gate Bridge is for San Francisco and US.
I see it several times everyday, but yet, it's not so easy to take a good photo of it! I was lucky for one sunset to have a cloudy sky, perfectly red sun and quite good clarity of air (very rare for Patra area).
The official name of the bridge comes from Charilaos Trikoupisis, 7-time greek prime minister from 1875 to 1895, who was the first one to bring up the idea of connecting Peloponnese with inland Greece (he was also the one to come up with the idea of rack railway from Diakopto to Kalavryta). Casual name, used in everyday life, is just Rio-Antirio bridge.

It's 2880m long (at the moment of construction was the longest cable-stayed deck in the world) and 28m wide, the structure is held on 4 main pylons, where the highest one is 164m tall. It is designed to hold to earthquakes, so common in this area. It's a part of new network of national motorways in Greece, connecting Athens and Patra with Ioannina and Igoumenitsa. It was inaugurated on August 7th, 2004, just one week before 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Photo details: NIKON D70s, Manual, f 1/7.1, 1/400s, -0,3EV, f=40mm (for 35mm), GIMP software

Monday, October 17, 2011

Different beauty

I have finally decided to start my own blog. I don't have a clear picture what I want to write about... will it be only about photos ? Probably no, as there is so much more: hiking, trips, whole Greece, Poland and still more... I guess there will be a little bit of everything.
First big challenge was the title itself, but finally I came up with very sophisticated: “Photos from Patras, Greece, and many other...” to possibly cover anything I would like to write about in the future. To explain a bit: Patras is now my home town, Greece my home country, but I will also go back in time to old trips and photos from all over the Europe, and to my real home city of Lodz in Poland, where I was born, so “many other” applies to “many other places” and “many other topics” as well.

For the first post, I have chosen one of my favorite photos from Patras. I took it somewhere in September 2010, while I was wondering around the city, on the back of the main bus station. I don't fully understand the “story” of painting... I leave it up to You... but the size  really makes an impression. 

Photo details: NIKON D70s, Aperture priority, f 1/9, 1/400s, -0.7EV, f=52mm (for 35mm), GIMP software