Haunting and Stunning Photos of Abandoned Places in Russia

Haunting and Stunning Photos of Abandoned Places in Russia

What happens when the death knell tolls for an entire town? What does it look like when the knell stops ringing, everyone jumps ship, and there’s nothing but a few worn buildings to prove anyone lived there at all? It’s not pretty – or rather, it can be extremely pretty, in an eerie sort of way. Whether you find it dismal or delightful (photography-wise), take a look at some of the most stunning images of disrepair you’ll ever see. Read More


Beginner’s Guide to Romania’s Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

Beginner’s Guide to Romania’s Painted Monasteries of Bucovina

As a MIR tour manager for more than 17 years, I've led many MIR tours to the Bucovina region of Romania and to its painted monasteries, constructed in medieval times. Bucovina is a remote province tucked in the northeastern corner of Romania near Ukraine. Today the painted monasteries are pilgrimage sites for Romanian Orthodox believers, as well as highlights for travelers from all over the world. Nuns live and work at most of these monasteries, standing out in their distinctive black habits and veils. Here are some notes on what to look for when you visit four of Bucovina's most notable monasteries: Voronet, Sucevita, Moldovita, Humor. Read More


A Monastery Hike at Georgia’s David Gareja

A Monastery Hike at Georgia’s David Gareja

The David Gareja monastery complex, on Georgia’s southeastern border with Azerbaijan, is a long-established site of great significance for Georgians. Founded in the 6th century, the complex is still active today and features numerous cells carved straight into the bare rock face. These caves function as living quarters, refectories, chapels, libraries and rooms for instruction and silent meditation. Read More


A Cappella in Armenia: The Harmonies of Ensemble Luis

A Cappella in Armenia: The Harmonies of Ensemble Luis

The Armenian women’s a cappella group, Ensemble Luis, are known to give performances at the Temple of Garni, the nearby Geghard Monastery and the Khor Virap Monastery with a view of Mount Ararat. All three sites are ideal backdrops for their heavenly voices. Read More