Archive for July, 2010

Aduc cu placere si cu multumiri o noua contributie a prietenului meu din Bat-Yam, doctorul Gica Manescu.

Pentru cei care intreaba, ma aflu intr-o calatorie profesionala la Maastricht si Geneva si din aceasta cauza nu am avut timp sa scriu pe blog in ultima saptamana si nu voi avea timp probabil nici in saptamana care urmeaza. Sper sa reintru in ritmul ‘normal’ in jur de 4-5 august.


‘Ticuncic’ este expresia scoasa candva de cineva, pentru cineva, care stie de toate.Este “Reparatorul “.Nu e instalatorul,  sau electricianul. Este persoana multitalentata si multistiutoare, care soseste fara amanari si zile de asteptare. Locuieste prin apropierea Bat  Yam-ului,  la Hulon. E si modest la pretz. Un prieten bun , mi l-a recomandat, cunoscandu-se de 30 ani . E Beny.  Aveam un  necaz cu un arc de la patul din dormitor, cu lada care nu se inchidea bine. Beny mi-a telefonat, i-am dat adresa s-a suit in masina, dupa lucru, si a venit. Un barbat de vreo 60 ani, simpatic, alura frumoasa, maini puternice.


S-a uitat, a examinat situatia si a coborat la masina parcata in strada, sa isi ia niste unelte. Revenind, a ridicat, a miscat, s-a intins pe podea. Facea parca o echilibristica. A batut, a intors, a sucit si a rezolvat. Multzumit el,si  eu am ramas fara cuvinte. Dar mi-am revenit, si la revedrre, pentru nevoi. N-a trecut multa vreme, si ingrijitoarea mea pentru curatzenie, ma cheama sa-mi spuna si arate ca aspiratortul nu mai functzioneaza. Adica nu mai absoarbe ce era pe covoare. Un telefon lui Beny. Nu stia si trebuia sa plece  la atelierul respectiv. A plecat in afara de Hulon, la Azur  si specialistii au constatat ca trebuiau filtre noi. Le vor pune, costa atata ( nici nu era ceva scump) si sa vina dupa doua zile. S-a dus, a platit si a venit, cu factura. I-am platit drumurile si ce era pe nota de plata. Cine putea sa-mi faca mie serviciul asta?  Imi vine sa cred ca nimeni, dintre cunoscutzi. Iar eu,imposibil. Nu de mult imi facuse un specialist pentru usile special de intrare in apartament, o reparatzie, si a zgaltait putzin usa, care s-a deplasat probabil cu catziva mm, din balamaua de sus. Nu mai puteam inchide cu broasca speciala, din  partea de sus. Specialistul ,un smecher, mi-a cerut 280 NIS. Am lasat-o balta. Incuiam numai partea de jos. Ce cauta hotzii, nu am in apartament. Nici bijuterii, nici monede de aur, nici rezerve de Euro sau dolari. Doar sekeli, si nu multzi. E aproape automatul, Bankomat-ul, cum se spune.  Aveam greutati de a misca masina de spalat rufe, pe placile terasei, unde e locul ei.In afara de asta,desi o fixam, la viteza mare in rotirea tamburuluui, o pornea intr-o parte. Credeam ca o placa de pe podea, nu sta bine si trebuie aranjata. A venit unul sa repare. A intors masina, dar era vorba de o rotitza, ne fixata bine sau defecta. Nu  a luat nimic, era un vecin care se ocupa cu lucrari de constructie. Stia dn trecut, ca la mine nu face munca pe gratis.Telefon lui Beny. I-am explicat pentru ce trebuie sa vina. Din auto  a adus un ciocan puternic, s-a uitat la broasca,si a batut balamalele, cand in jos, cand in sus, iar o ochire la broasca si dupa 4 minute, gata. La masina de spalat, dupa ce a intors-o, a bagat mana la rotzi, a sucit si invartit, si nu mai aluneca.Am facut proba, spaland. Sta fixa si n-am de ce s-o misc. El luase o suma derizorie. Vreau sa sper, ca nu va trebui sa-I chem in curand. Dar stiu ca nu numai eu am imbatranit.Ne-am despartzit cu                                                                 

     Shabat shalom, ca era vineri dimineatza.


Dr.G. Manescu

Iulie 2010                                                                


Browsing on YouTube after I have seen a documentary on the two faced paintings of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner I discovered this film that catches the war lithographs and more works of Otto Dix inspired by his trauma during and after the First World war.

(video source artpopulus)

The series ‘War’ was part of the exhibition at the Neue Gallerie in New York that I wrote on the blog about a couple of months ago. In this video we get some more of the works in which Dix saw a way of putting behind him the experiences of the war, in order to open what will become the most proliphic period of his career in the 20s years of the last century.

Kirchner reaction to war was different. He found refuge in Switzerland, abandoned his style and themes inspired from the Bohemian life of pre-war Berlin and Dresden and started to exorcise himself by painting landscapes and sliding into morphine addiction.

(video source lucilleetjeanne)

The two German painters will share the ‘honor’ to be included later in the category of authors of degenerated art by the Nazi regime.

The last episode of the Maltese travel notes is dedicated to the former capital of Malta – Mdina and the adjoining village of Rabat. We visited them in our last full day on the island.

the old city of Mdina

Mdina was populated as early as the year 700 BC and may have been founded by the Phoenicians. It was the capital of the island until after the Grand Siege, when the knights moved their principal institutions in the fortified city of Valletta.

Mdina Main Gate

The city today has no more than 300 inhabitants, but the surrounding Rabat has a population of 11,000. The entrance to the city is made through a spectacular gate, more beautiful than the access gate in Valletta.

in the streets of the old city of Mdina

The old city offers the traditional views of narrow streets in former medieval city. A tourist accustomed with the old city of Jerusalem will not feel displaced here at all.

knights are still walking the streets

There is a lot of tourist exploitation going on in the old city. Photo opportunities with armored knights is one of them.

St. Paul's Cathedral

The most important building in the city is the imposing Cathedral of the Conversion of Saint Paul. Saint Paul is the patron of Malta. Arrested in Jerusalem in the year 60 for preaching the new Christian faith through the Eastern part of the Roman empire he was sent to trial to Rome, but on its way to the capital of the world at that time the ship was wrecked and Paul saved himself on the island, living according to the legend in a grotto in Rabat. He converted the governor and thus introduced Christianity to the island, but later was captured again and sent to Rome to be killed during the reign of Nero.

interior of the St. Paul's cathedral

The current impressing building was built in Baroque style by the end of the 17th century, after an earthquake destroyed a previous church built by the Normans on the same place. Here took place the inauguration ceremonies of the Grand Masters of the knights Order of Saint John.

floor of the St. Paul Cathedral

We had the last opportunity to admire here the tombs on the floor of the cathedral, specific to the religious art of Malta.

dome of Saint Paul's Cathedral

The decoration of the church is due to a large extent to the Calabrese painter Mattia Preti, among other beautiful frescoes depicting episodes from the life of Saint Paul.

Madonna and Child icon (13th century)

An old icon of Madonna and Child is one of the beautiful objects of art saved from the previous church destroyed in the quake.

Mosaic in the Roman Domus

another Mosaic in the Roman Domus

Out of the city of Mdina we visited the principal objectives in Rabat, the adjoining village. One of them is the Roman Domus, actually a 20th century reconstruction of a Roman villa, hosting a beautiful museum on the ruins of a 1st century townhouse built during the Roman epoch. The mosaics are exquisite, with both decorative motives as well as figurative symbolic representations.

statue of Claudius - Roman Domus

Among the statues a splendid statue of emperor Claudius.

theatrical masks - Roman Domus

Theatrical masks remind one of the favorite pastimes of the Roman inhabitants of the place.

Saint Paul's Catacombs

Saint Paul's Catacombs - 2

One almost mandatory stop in Rabat are the Roman catacombs, named somehow inaccurately Saint Paul Catacombs. They do not have too much with Saint Paul, in reality they were the burial places of the city of Mdina for a few centuries, as Roman law forbid burial inside the city. Today they are well within the streets of Rabat, but then they were safely remote from the walls of Mdina.  The underground labyrinth of corridors and burial chambers may have some macabre fascination, but it’s not my preferred kind of visiting objective.

the train does not come today

We did not miss the touristic minicar train ride of the city, which took us around the whole Mdina and Rabat and allowed us a few spectacular photo angles. One of the interesting objectives was the deserted train station. There is no train service today in Malta, and no need for one on an island whose diameter is 40 or 50 kilometers at most. Yet the British tried to build one during their rule, but it proved to be totally uneconomic and was abandoned after the second world was.

That was our last day in Malta. Early next morning Mr. David, the hotel driver took us back to the airport, to start our way home via Athens. It was the end of a visit in an interesting place, very much worth visiting once, probably not more than once.

O noua contributie a doctorului Gica Manescu ne aduce de aceasta data o emotionanta marturie personala si o ocazie de a-l cunoaste mai bine pe acest minunat prieten si coleg de liste internetice, tanar in spirit si totdeauna dornic de comunicare si de impartasirea amintirilor si trairilor vietii sale.


Nu de azi, de ieri,imi place sa citesc. La Biblioteca oraseneasca de langa mall, am gasit si gasesc multe romane, istorie, povestiri, de diversi autori, in limba originala sau traduceri. In rafturi se gasesc cartzi in ebraica, pentru adultzi si copii, in franceza, engleza si de catva timp, in ruseste.

Era intr-o zi de joi si teminasem ultima din cele trei cartzi, la care am dreptul ,o luna, daca nu prelungesc. Cum zilele ce urmau trebuia sa ma duc acolo, apoi vineri si sambata e inchis,le-am pus de o parte si am pus semnul de carte, intr-un volum imprumutat de un prieten. Dupa cateva zile, am venit acasa cu 3 volume noi. Am intrerupt cartea pe care o citeam, si am pus semnul. Nu era ceva de uitat inceputul. Ce semn de carte voi folosi  acum? Stiam ca am undeva, unul de carton, primit de la o librarie. Deschizand un sertar, intr-un coltz,  am dat de cel folosit al sotziei mele, Paula,decedata in urma cu aproape 3 ani. Surpriza, bucurie, amintiri. In 1969, proiectam in septembrie,un concediu in Israel. Eram in corespondenta cu Paula si sotzul ei, Puiu, medic stomatolog. Ne-au invitat sa locuim la ei. Cand am stiut data plecarii, primitul pasapoartelor se facea fara dificultati si repede, i-am anuntzat, stiind ca fiul lor, student la Politehnica din Haifa, era concentrat  la armata, pentru o luna.Ei erau cei mai buni prieteni ai nostri. Beatrice, prima mea tovarase de viatza ( din 41 pana in 85) se cunostea cu Paula de la varsta de 10 ani. Ambele erau eleve la Notre Dame . Eu am cunoscut-o in 37, odata cu altzi adolescentzi, fete si baietzi, care veneau la Beatrice si in cercul carora, intamplator, m-am alaturat. Pe Puiu, l-am cunoscut mai tarziu   -1939- cand “ se tzinea” de Paula ,ca mine din 38, de Beatrice. Dar nici domnisoarelor nu le-a displacut. Ne-am casatorit in 1941, noi in aprilie, ei in  iunie. A venit urgia, pogromul din Iasi, ( tatal Paulei ,decedat in “trenul mortzii ) si vietzile noastre s-au despartit, pana dupa razboi. Ei  la familie la Craiova, noi, la Focsani. In 45, ne-am reintalnit in Bucuresti. Am fost mereu unii cu altzii, si mai apoi in concedii, si cu baietzii nostri. Fiecare cuplu cu cate un copil. Si asa a ramas. In 1962, ei au emigrat in Israel si i–am condus la gara. Ne unea corespondenta. Banalitati si povestiri anoste. Stiam unii de ceilalti. Am sosit in Israel, intr-o seara placuta si asteptati la gardul de despartzire. Ne-am revazut si imbratzisat cu caldura prieteniei vechi.  Locuiau in  Bat Yam , intr-unul  din blocurile pentru noi veniti. Erau multzi “ romani “ in vecinatate. Printre ei o matusa de a mea ( sora mica a mamei mele, cu sotzul, parintii muzicologului ( nu stiu daca este si un feminin), Dr. Ruth ben Zvi- Gutman. Mai erau farmacistul Carniol, ziaristul Randa,s.a.  Cladire simpla,  locuiau la parter, si au avut de facut unele adausuri : usi intre camera, ceva la baie,si altele. Erau 3 camere si anexele necesare. Dupa 1-2 ani, au cumparat un apartament, dupa planuri,cu modificarile dorite, intr-un bloc mic, la 5 minute de mare. Revin la povestire. Intr-una din zile , barbatii la mare, nu era la doi pasi, si doamnele acasa, la palavre, amintiri, fara sfarsit. S-au asezat pe canapeaua din salon ( mi-a povestit ulterior Beatrice) ,cand  cartea ce o avea Paula in mana, s-a deschis unde era un semn de carte. O frumusetze, De vreo 20/4  cm., din fire de atze multicolore, impletite si niste franjuri subtziri, pa marginile inguste. Paula ii spune, ca in 67, dupa Razboiul de 6 zile (n-au fost 7,ca atunci Dumnezeu se odihneste si cei ai lui ), au plecat la Ierusalim, Capitala intregita, si l–a cumparat, cu o nimica, in bazarul arabesc. “Ti-l daruiesc “ ii spune. Imbratzisari, sarutari, multzumiri. A avut semnul, pana cand m-a lasat, ducandu-se cred eu intr-o lume mai buna.L-am luat sa-l folosesc. Cand in 1986, Paula cu mine, ne-am apropiat si am facut planuri de viitor, ca parteneri de viatza si a vazut la mine semnul de carte, l-a primit inapoi, cu bucurie si dragoste. Nu s-a despartzit de el, pana in preajma mortzii. Acum il folosesc eu. Deschid cartea, si am amintirile din anii de fericire, bucurii si placeri, cu doua femei, exceptionale, pentru mine, mame exagerate pentru baietzi si prietene sincere pentru cei apropiatzi. Uitandu-ma la fotografiile lor si cu semnul de carte, ros,decolorat cu franjurile mititele si totusi prezente, mi-au dat lacrimile. Gandul la cei  65 de ani petrecutzi cu ele, si la bine si la rau, gandul ca fiecare dintre ele, mi-a spus, la nevoie “ Gica, sa nu ma parasesti “, am avut, ca sa spun asa, ,multzumirea ca nu le-am parasit , le-am indeplinit dorintzele si ambele au plecat, dupa ce le dadusem sarutarea de “  Noapte buna “ . E greu pentru mine, dar sunt constient, ca ele mai suferinde, s-ar fi chinuit. Invidia este felul cum s-au stins. E un noroc al soartei.


Dr.G. Manescu

Iulie 2010

It is my friend Pierre who introduced me to the work of Satyajit Ray. Charulata (The Loney Wife) was the first film of him that I saw, at Pierre’s recommendation. Then I fell recently on an article written in one of my preferred magazines History Today by Andrew Robinson, author of Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye: The Biography of a Master Film-Maker about Shatranj Ke Khilari (The Chess Player). It opened my interest, and I started to look for the film. Luckily I found the subtitled version on youTube.


The Chess Players is the only film of Ray which ventures deep into a different culture – the one of the Muslim kingdom of Oudh, and is spoken in the Urdu language. Filmed on location in Lucknow it describes the end of the last Muslim fief in India in 1856, going deep into the social and cultural causes of the fall of the kingdom. It is a work of great psychological and cinematographic beauty, also the most expensive film ever made by Ray. The famous Indian writer V.S. Naipul was quoted comparing this film with a Shakespeare play, and the comparison is not exaggerated.

There are two apparently distinct threads in the film. One is the historical story of the deposing of the last king of Oudh, Wajid Ali Shah (played by Amjad Khan). He is described in the film as a fascinating mix of corruption and sensitivity, of debauchery and resignation. Ray had ambivalent feelings to this character, which is on one side a symbol of the decay of remains of the Mogul empire, but on the other side has an internal dignity and continues a tradition and a way of life which is misjudged and completely mis-understood by his enemies. The opposing camp of the British is represented by general Outram (Richard Attenborough), the archetype of the colonial conqueror, misjudging and downplaying the culture of his opponents. The dialogs between the two are fascinating. They use a translator, and the translation is rigorously accurate. Yet, the true meaning gets often lost in translation. The dialog between cultures needs to take place much above the dictionary.

The second thread is the one of the chess players. Two friends, belonging to the aristocracy of the kingdom spend all their time, days and nights playing chess. They play it the old way, they are proud that the game invented in India (and not in Persia!) spread all over the world, and although they hear that the British had changed some rules they ignore the changes. By love for the game they ignore everything around – their affairs, their wives, the dangers that threaten their kingdom and mode of life. Chess becomes the central obsession of their lives and the central obsession of the film, a symbol of the tradition and refinement of their civilization, but also of the obsession and refuse to face the reality that leads to its loss. While spending time in fighting each others king, they fail to protect the real king and his kingdom. Sanjeev Kumar as Mirza Sajjad Ali and Saeed Jaffrey as Mir Roshan Ali are perfect in the two roles.

The cinematography of Ray is beautiful and refined as is the world that it describes. Many of the scenes are beautiful compositions, and when music and dance mix as it does in many Indian films it fits perfectly in the story and the ambiance of the court. The story of the takeover of the last Muslim kingdom of India by the British, with the passive complicity of the local nobility too busy to live its life of luxury and enjoy its preferred pleasures is forever cast in the images of this wonderful film.

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

(video source bensundartube)

In Bernard Tavernier’s film Laissez Passer which I wrote about a few days ago Henri-Georges Clouzot gets indirectly a harsh treatment. He is one of these directors who continued to work under the German occupation during WWII, and was attacked for this attitude long time after. He was also a fine director, classics like Quai d’Orfevres, Le Salaire de la Peur (Wages of Fear, maybe the best role in the career of Yves Montand) and Diabolique are among the best works in French cinema until the emergence of the New Wave, which displaced Clouzot.

(video source DivineBB)

It is ironical that La Verite was his last great film, and that the New Wave exponents were so critical of him. The film contains in my opinion in it many of the elements that were further taken over, continued and amplified by Truffaut, Godard, et co. It is to some extent a milestone at the border between the classic and the new French cinema of the 60s. The subject itself speaks about the confrontation of two generations. A young girl is brought to trial. She killed her lover and the court needs to decide if this was an accident, or a passion crime, or a calculated murder. The tribunal is composed of all that represents the old generation – judges, lawyers, audience – all ready to pass a moral judgment or maybe a lynch on the girl. She comes from a different world, she belongs to a different generation, one that refuses to complain to conventions, she speaks a different language, listens to a different music, feels and loves differently. Today’s spectator cannot abstain from thinking about 1968, the year when than generation took the streets in France and elsewhere, and changed history. But the year is still 1960, and the verdict of the trial can be only one.

The intuition of Clouzot is ahead of time not only in what concerns the historical judgment. It is also in the style of filming. Most of the film is a court drama, in the American tradition of Kramer, just translated in French. A few scenes however are filmed in the street, part of the flashbacks that recall the story of the affair that ended in tragedy. Well these scenes are for all practical purposed New Wave. They do not only depict the Paris of the new generation, they are also filmed in the style of the new generation of directors. Here Clouzot bends graciously towards the young directors that will defame him.

(video source beatlessette)

And of course, there is Brigitte Bardot. This is one of her best roles, she plays the whole range of emotions she is capable of, is beautiful and vulnerable, passionate and desperate. She attracts men, she attracts the attention, she creates emotion. It is her against the whole world, in a personal rebellion with no chance of success. With this film she established herself as a serious actress, not only as a popular star. It is her film to the same extent that it’s Clouzot’s and it is one to remember.

Veteran documentary director Leslie Woodhead filmed on the British pop scene since the 60s. He starts ‘How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin’ by telling how he filmed the four boys in Liverpool in 1962. He did not stop here, catching The Stones in the Park on film in 1969. Then, triggered by the events in Prague in 1968 his attention shifted to the processes in Eastern Europe, to the repression and the hopes, the birth of the Solidarity movement in Poland and the changes that finally led to the fall of the wall in 1989. Lately he was in Srebenica and in Beslan,with the attention still focused in the same geographical space, to be witness to the horrors of the post-communist world. ‘How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin’ represents the merging of the passion of rock in the first years of his career with the long term obsession with the history of the last decades of the Communist era.

(video source LPBTV)

Woodhead’s thesis is striking and daring. He says that it is not merely the cold war enemies or the economic situation that led to the melting of the Soviet system, and it was not Gorbachev either. More than everything else it was the four boys from Liverpool, the culture of freedom and the influence they had on the young generations of Russia in the 60s and 70s.


And let me say that I believe that for a large extent he is right. I have lived that period in Romania. I had the walls in my room filled with posters of my rock music idols. I was circulating vinyl music disks obtained on the black market and I was copying music on tapes. I was listening to foreign radio stations and especially to Radio Free Europe, where we, Romanian, had the chance to listen between 1969 to 1975 to the fabulous music that was broadcast by the legendary DJ and professor of rock and freedom who was Cornel Chiriac. I knew none of the people who were interviewed by Leslie Woodhead for the film – Artemy Troitsky, Kolya Vasin, Iury Pelyushonok – fans, musicians, DJs, but I knew their stories because this was the story of my whole generation, a generation which was taught freedom of thought and beauty and joy of life by the Beatles and the rock music that followed, which refused to live according to the rules imposed by the system, and which eventually, when it grew up helped tear down the system. And I do agree with Woodhead when he says (in other words, but this is the essence) that when thinking at the fall of the Soviet system ‘Yellow Submarine’ was more important than rockets, and Paul and John played a greater role than Reagan and Gorbachev.

Exaggerating? Just a bit.

(video source yanros)

In one of the final scenes of the film, in 2004, Paul McCartney eventually made it to Moscow and sang ‘Back in the USSR’ in the Red Square. People wept. The circle was closed. The Beatles had won the cold war. Cornel Chiriac was also there.

The second exhibition of the Litvak Gallery in Tel Aviv establishes the place as one of the solid landmarks of the art scene in the city, and a house of the art glass bringing artists of international reputation. After the first show that gathered works of many contemporary artists of the genre, the second ‘Light and Space in the Garden of Reason’ belongs to Vaclav Cigler. Born in 1929 in Prague, the artist is one of the best known names working in the material nowadays.

Star of David

When entering the gallery the visitor realizes immediately that Cigler’s art is not only about the objects but also about the relation between the objects, the viewer and the environment. On the right-hand wall a large window opens to the landscape of the city of Tel Aviv, and a ‘Star of David’ made of optical glass (the preferred material of the artists) relates the viewer with the outer reality reflected through the work of Cigler. Especially created for this exhibition the ‘Star of David’ is not the only Jewish symbol in the exhibition. Cigler (who is not Jewish) also created a ‘Ladder of Jacob’ made of course of glass, catching the elements of reality as part of the ascending to heaven symbolism.

two spheres

Many of the objects exposed come in pairs. The two spheres play one with the other, catch the images of each other and of the external world and send them back to the viewer.

Clear Pyramid

Cigler invites the viewer to be part of the making of the art experience, by moving permanently, and watching the objects as they change their reflection of self and reality. Such is the feeling with the pyramids, another primary form preferred and often represented by the artist.

Convex and Concave

‘Convex and Concave’ is a game of alternate shapes of mirrors that reflect and change the reality.

reflecting pools (Rippled Surfaces)

The other material Cigler is using beyond glass is water. His reflecting pools like the one where a pulsing pump sends ripples in the rhythm of the heart beats play together with mirrors on the ceiling to create effects of reflection. If you come with friends at the exhibition try playing the games of seeing each other’s reflections in the pools and in the mirrors.


Even when the object gets apparently closer to a figurative representation it is still a pretext to catch the images around and send them beck to the eyes in unexpected angles.

Block with Circle Segments

In the middle of the exhibition path the visitor can go on the terrace, where a few works play with the urban landscape around the exhibition building, catches, segments and recomposes it. Picasso and the cubists would have loved these games in glass.


I would call the final section of the exhibition the Brancusi section. It seems to be not only influenced by Brancusi. I would say that if Brancusi had created in glass, this is the way his works could have looked like.


The dark room seems to become a tradition in the exhibitions at the Litvak Gallery. This time we are invited to see, hear, and feel a gathering of colored eggs (the shape of the Beginning of the World at Brancusi!) that seem suspended in darkness in the sounds of un-earthly music. Is this how new universes are born?


The exhibition ends with another work clearly inspired by the Endless Column. Where Brancusi superposed the double pyramids accessing to the sky, Cigler places his prisms, catching the reality around and sending it back in surprising directions. Somehow the feeling is that this universe has more than three dimensions.

The exhibition is open until the end of September. Audio-guides  with explanation of each work are available, as well as guided tours that start every time a few visitors gather (at least this is what happened last Friday). The English Web page of the gallery can be found at, the Hebrew one at and the youTube Channel is

I have heard for the first time about Gozo when I bought on Amazon one of the tour guides in preparation for the trip. The title was ‘Malta and Gozo’. What in the world is Gozo, I asked myself. The answer is of course that Malta is an archipelago, and Gozo is the second island in size (67 square kilometers) and a population of 31,000 inhabitants out of the about 400,000 total population of Malta. The third one in size if you ask has a population of six (one is a policeman, crime rate must be high).

the ferryboat to Gozo

The connection between the island of Malta and Gozo is by means of ferryboat. It’s not necessarily my preferred travel experience, although the ferry between the two Maltese islands seems well run and maintained, I was lucky to see Polanski‘s Ghost Writer only after this trip.

the harbor of Mgarr

We took a organized trip, which is probably best to see Gozo, and one day is more than sufficient. The minibus waited for us at the harbor of Mgarr, which has a spectacular location, very Mediterranean in style.

the dome of Xewkija

The first stop was in the village of Xewkija, where the driver and guide of our tour was living. The village has a population of 3000 and a Rotunda church with a dome larger in size than the one of St. Paul’s in London.

admire God's creation

A welcome sign at the entry of the church invited us inside.

inside the Rotunda church of Xewkija

It is in fact man’s creation dedicated to God, rather than God’s creation. I have already written about the deep catholic feelings of the Maltese, and the church in Xewkija is a good exemplification. It was built during 20 years, between 1951 and 1971 and was all funded from money coming from the Catholic community of the village. All 3000 inhabitants have room in the church at the big events of the Catholic calendar.

stained-glass window in Xewkija

Not only its size, but also many of the interior decoration and pieces of religious art are remarkable. Of course, it is not the first church on this place, several other preceded it in the history, and part of the art objects previously used in these churches are preserved in the small museum of the church.

from the roof of the Rotunda church in Xewkija

One can climb the stairs or take the elevator to the roof of the church. The viewer is rewarded with the 360 degrees landscape of a large part of the island.

Gharb folklore museum

Our next stop was in the folklore museum in Gharb. It is quite a typical museum of ethnography, hosted by a 18th century house. The visitor will find here the typical sections in such museums about local crafts and costumes, some interesting, but presented in quite a dusty style.

Gozo wine

We did not have unfortunately the occasion to taste the wines of Gozo, just to photo the stand in a place where they were sold.


I already wrote in another episode about the megalithic temples of Ggigantija. The island is populated for 5000 years.

Dwejra Bay, Azure window

Our next stop was in the spectacular Dweira bay with the Azure window and the interior lagoon carved in the limestone rock that dominates the geology of the island (as of the whole Malta). It is beautiful, reminding the Rosh HaNikra cave in the North of Israel.

Calypso's Boutique

The island of Gozo is also known as the island of Calypso, so the tour included the place where the legend says the nymph imprisoned Ulysses for seven years. Not too much can be seen there, just the entrance of a cave in a hill by the sea, so I preferred to put here a picture of … Calypso’s Boutique.

John Paul II greets us in Victoria

The capital of Gozo is Victoria, or Rabat as it was known during the Arab rule. The Citadel which is an old city fortification is the tourist center of interest, and this was our last stop on the island.

inside the Gozo Cathedral of Assumption

The Cathedral of Assumption dominates the Citadel. It was built in 1697-1703, by Lorenzo Gafa, and it’s another wonderful piece of religious architecture and includes many of the characteristics of the other churches in Malta, including the elaborated tombs on the floor.

Gozo cathedral - ceiling and trompe-vue

The art of the ceiling with a spectacular trompe-vue impressed me.

good-bye, Gozo

The way back was by ferry-boat again, a 20 minutes trip which brought us back to the main island.

Prietenul meu din Bat Yam, dr. Gica Manescu mi-a dat permisiunea sa preiau pe blog inca un episod din amintirile sale. Ii multumesc din nou pentru osteneala de a-si asterne pe hartie amintirile si intamplarile prin care a trecut si pentru placerea pe care ne-o face de a le impartasi.

Daca am inceput sa scriu cate ceva despre “ lumea inconjuratoare “ care ne ajuta sa traim mai bine si poate mai usor, am gasit, de mai mult timp, intr-o sradutza ce uneste doua strazi paralele, tot un emigrant rus, un cizmar. Trecand acum catva timp prin ea, mi-au venit in minte amintiri, din anii copilariei . Ce frumos a fost!


Parca eram in orasul meu natal, Focsani, in care candva, Milcovul facea granitza intre Muntenia si Moldova. Acolo a fost strabunicul meu, un fel de vames. Dar amarat, cu 4 copii si fara “ ciubuc “ Nici n-ar fi luat. A fi “Cohen “ era o cinste, in Comuntatea evreiasca, cat de mica era. Pentruca n-a vrut sa ia bacsis de la un turc, traficant de tutun (bacsisul era introdus de ei de peste 100 ani), a urmat o  tragedie. Sub coviltirul carutei, Efraim ,strabunicul meu, a gasit foi de tutun, interzise, fara unele taxe. Nevoind sa plateasca, turcul“ l-a achitat” pe vames cu un glontz mortal.  Asa a ramas strabunica, vaduva tanara, saraca si cu casa grea. Parca-l vedeam pe domnul Schwartz, care repara incaltzamintea, doar cu materialul clientului. Intr-o camera la un  demi-sol, cu un bec atarnand deasupra mesei de lucru, pe un scaunel cu trei picioare,cu ochelarii pe varful nasului si un zambet in coltzul gurii. Scuipa din gura cateva cuie, din lemn sau fier, si-mi raspundea la salut. Trebuiau pingelite ghetele mele. Lua in mana bucata de crupon, cumparata de tata la domnul Zilberman, si incepeea prima operatzie. Punea o foaie de ziar pe o talpa si cu o pila speciala – rashpel- lua modelul si marimile. Avea tiparul cu care taia din crupon, ce ii era necesar,imi dadea restul si sa vin  dupa patru zile. Nu intrebam de pretz si nici el nu-mi spunea. Eu ridicam ghetele talpuite si tata ii trimitea banii.Acum aveam o reparatie mica, la pantofi. Se tocisera   putzin, marginile tocurilor. Trebuiau indreptate, sa pot calca bine. Am ntrat in strada de trecere. Acum, in  fatza mea, la umbra unui pom, sedea el, pe un  scaunel, in  spatele unei mesutze cu unelte de cizmarie. Un barbat de vreo 60 ani, cu ochelari cu rame de metal, cu o sapca pe cap, un pulover in carouri . Potrivea niste flecuri, dintr-o foaie groasa de cauciuc, la niste pantofi scalciatzi. S-a oprit si m-a privit. Shalom – shalom. I-am dat sa intzeleaga ca nu vorbesc limba lui. Am trecut la ebraica si ne-am intzeles, cu ce stiam fiecare. Surpriza mea,a  fost cand l-am intrebat de unde vine. N-a intzeles. Cu aratatorul spre el am spus: Kiev ? Moskva ? Leningrad ? A raspuns: Bender. Deci Cetatea Alba, in Moldova – Basarabia. Ciupea ceva pe romaneste. Venise de 3 ani, cu sotzie si 3 copii. Tatal lui  fusese   responsabil la o cooperativa de reparat incaltaminte, in locul unde bunicii, au avut-o inainte de revolutzie. El a  invatat si a ajuns institutor la o scoala din  oras. Nu le este usor,  locuintza gasita, mica, dar spera la mai bine.  Una din  fete,pianista, este “ozeret “ – ajutoare- la o famile si mai are cateva lectii de pian. El cu cizmaria, mai aduce un ban. Ia pretzuri modeste. Lucru de maestrie, nu face. Stie ce a mai apucat sa vada si chiar sa incerce, pe langa tatal lui.Mici reparatii si el are tot de ce e de nevoie. Tot ca domnul Schwartz, tzine in  gura cateva cuie, cu o sula face gaurile si cu un ciocan special, bate cuiele. Are si o solutzie de lipit, cam indoelnica.


Langa el pe banci, concetateni isi povestec intre ei ( parca e ceva specific rusilor, de a se aduna prin parcuri, gradini si a sta de vorba ) .

Am scris titlul dupa cum ati vazut. De fapt, omul meu, ca sa spun asa, nu e cizmar adevarat cu calificarile necesare. As fi scris “ sandalar “ termen folosit in ebraica, dar in romaneste, n-ar fi fost corect. Exact ar fi fost poate “ carpaciul “,dar m-am oprit. E o expresie prea pejorativa si nu vreau sa jignesc pe nimeni.

Cand ploua si trec prin gradinitza, nimeni sub  copac, nimeni pe banci.E rece, e umed, pe jos, baltoace. Sunt trist.Eroul meu din povestire, sta prin casa si nu-si poate imbunatati traiul zilnic. Noroc insa, ca suntem in Israel si nu in Republica Moldova, ca aici, soarele e mai mult pe cer, decat dupa nori.


Iulie 2010