Tag Archives: architecture

“The Architect’s Apprentice” by Elif Shafak

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Yet another delight from Elif Shafak. I loved it. Shafak guides the reader through intricacies of humanity with wit and love, compassion and wisdom. Her Istanbul became mine.

“The Architect’s Apprentice” is to me a love story, a story of brotherhood, a story of creation, a story of jealousy, a story of grandiose failures and humble beginnings. In other words, it is fully human. I found her characters authentic to the core.

I rejoiced yet another time in the tides of Safak’s wisdom. Here are a few of favourite quotes:

‘When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.’

“Little did he know, back then, that the worth of one’s faith depended not on how solid and strong it was, but on how many times one would lose it and still be able to get it back.”

“Centre of the universe was neither in the East nor in the West. It was where one surrendered to love.”

‘Truth is a butterfly: it lands on this flower and that. You run after it with a net. If you capture it, you are happy. But it won’t live long. Truth is a delicate thing.’

In her Autor’s Note, Shafak expresses “hope that this story, too, will flow like water in the hearts of its readers.” I definitely did in my heart.

The entrance halls of Tbilisi

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Whenever I was in Tbilisi before, I had an urge to push doors open. «There must be magic to discover behind its enchanting doors », my inner nudge was saying. And so it is. .

The magic of stained glass by Italian masters, on doors crafted by Georgian carpenters, framed by unique patterns of metal shaped in laces by Armenian blacksmiths, leading to halls adorned by Renaissance or Moorish style paintings on walls and ceilings … all this beauty as a celebration of our diversity giving birth to something amazing.

There are so many wonderful buildings in Sololaki through which German, Italian, Georgian, Armenian and Russian architects expressed their love for the beauty of this city.

The magic of Kalantarov’s house: in the heart of Sololaki

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One of the local legends say that the house was built by the oil magnate Kalantarov as a pledge of love to an Opera signer, who agreed to nothing more than a dwelling as splendid as the Opera House in Tbilisi. The young architect Sargsyan seemed to like all things Moorish in architecture and design. The love birds soon moved in and lived there happily until 1921. It then became home to many families placed here by virtue of soviet expropriation. It was slowly losing its magic, until it was refurbished by the Academy of Arts in 2014.

When we got in, Alla Borisovna – one of the house residents – was standing in the inner hall and was immediately attracted by the art book my guide was holding. From a page to another we got into stories around the house, its inhabitants’ habits and the love she and my guide – Elene – shared about Tbilisi’s architecture and the men and women who left us so many architectural jewels to admire today.

Queens and balconies

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Once upon a time here lived queen Darejan, a mother of 23 girls and boys. Her king built a palace for her on the incline to Sachino. She was also a builder and she furthered it to its glory of the XVIII century.

She fought for whom she loved. She lived the best she could in those troublesome times, and saw her end on Earth in exile on foreign cold land.

Today we can take the same walking paths she took thanks to the reconstruction funded by tax payers of Georgia. And we can admire the city from the beautiful blue framed balcony, perhaps from the exact same spot the queen used to.