The Jewish Cemetery and the Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial Park at the Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary

The city of Budapest in Hungary has such an interesting history and there are many wonderful sites to see when visiting the capital city. One of the places that should certainly be visited is the Dohany Street Synagogue, also known as the Great Synagogue. There are many reasons to take time to go to the synagogue, most notably the synagogue itself as well as the Hungarian Jewish Museum that is located there. When walking around the grounds of the synagogue, you will find two spots that are both beautiful and yet humbling at the same time. First is the Jewish Cemetery that is located at the synagogue, which is something very unusual indeed. The second is the Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial Park, which is a courtyard with the focal point being the weeping willow artwork.

Inside the Courtyard of the Great Synagogue
Standing in the Cemetery with the Plaque in the Background
Trees in the Cemetery with the Synagogue Adjacent

We happened to visit Dohany Street Synagogue on a rainy day, which in many ways enhanced to the atmosphere as we walked around the synagogue to see the memorials that are located there. In a period of history that is important to remember in order to ensure that it never happens again, the memorials honor the over 400,000 Hungarian Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. The cemetery is certainly unusual in that the Torah specifies that burials are supposed to be outside of the city, but this was a matter of circumstance as about 2,000 people were buried at the site during the Holocaust in a makeshift graveyard. Today there is a lush garden amongst the various headstones to commemorate those who are buried there.

The Imre Varga Weeping Willow Art Piece
Memorial in the Cemetery
Another View of the Cemetery

At the rear of the synagogue is the Raoul Wallenberg Holocaust Memorial Park. The artwork by Imre Varga depicting a weeping willow with names and tattoo numbers of those whose lives were lost there engraved on the leaves. The water from the rain was glistening off of the leaves and branches while were there and it was truly as if the artwork was actually weeping on the day that we visited. We had a similar experience when we saw the Shoes on the Danube Bank, which is another memorial to those who were murdered during the Holocaust. It is a very somber experience as you walk around the grounds, but certainly something that should be seen when planning a trip to Budapest.

Artwork Depicting People Being Murdered
Headstones in the Cemetery
The Weeping Willow from Behind

San Miguel Chapel in Historic Santa Fe, New Mexico

The San Miguel Chapel is the oldest church in the continental United States and is over 400 years old. The area of Santa Fe in New Mexico has been populated for thousands of years, first as an ancient Pueblo settlement, then by the Spanish as part of their imperial conquests, next by the people of Mexico, and finally by the United States. There are many things that make the chapel unique, first from its history as a Franciscan missionary to a Catholic church as well as its architecture being built in the traditional adobe style of the region. The church is dedicated to the Archangel Michael and today it is privately owned and is open to the public to tour.

Front of San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe
Sign Outside of the Chapel
Painting of Archangel Michael

Construction of the chapel began in 1610 and the walls of the adobe building are the original walls, which requires constant upkeep to ensure they endure in the future. The ceiling of the church is held up by wooden beams, one of which is dated back to 1710. The San Miguel Chapel is located in the El Barrio de Analco National Register Historic District in Santa Fe, which also has the oldest house in the United States. There is a large oil painting of the Archangel Michael inside of the church as well as the nine panel wooden artwork that sits behind the altar. In addition to the artwork, there is the mission bell which was brought from Spain in the 17th century.

The Famous Mission Bell of San Miguel
Nine Panel Artwork Behind the Altar with Archangel Michael Top Center
View of the Chapel Interior

Although visiting the San Miguel Chapel will only take about thirty minutes, it is certainly worthwhile to do when visiting Santa Fe in New Mexico. The history of the chapel that was built by the Tlaxcalan Indians under direction of the Franciscan Padres is certainly quite fascinating. It is source of pride for the people of Santa Fe to this very day.

Wooden Beams Supporting the Ceiling
Close Up of the Carvings on the Beams

The Breckenridge Troll – Whimsical Artwork

We have seen many different pieces of artwork made from wood throughout our travels, but the Breckenridge Troll was certainly one of the most interesting. Although it is a troll, it is not a scary troll, but rather a more whimsical character. One could almost imagine him getting up and walking away when no one was looking. Instead of a typical carving where the artist creates the image by carving into a large piece of wood, it is actually made up of many small planks of wood that are put together to create the statue. The hair is made up of twigs, which almost gives the quality of motion to the statue. It is quite common to find wooden statues in Colorado and if you drive through the mountain towns you will likely see many different stores selling wooden bears carved from tree stumps and logs. Breckenridge in Colorado seems to really like whimsical or mythical creatures as there is a large sasquatch or big foot statue in the center of town that has also been carved from wood.

Close Up of the Troll’s Face
Wider View of the Breckenridge Troll
Details of the Wooden Planks
Big Foot Statue