Stairway to Nowhere

Preaching to the Choir

Pulpit, Refectory, Alcobaça Monastery, Portugal

The Alcobaça Monastery was built in a unique early Gothic style following the precepts of the Order of Cistercians, with clean lines and the absence of decoration except for column capitals. Alcobaça Monastery and church are the first of this style in Portugal, dating to the 13th century. Abbey monks ate in the refectory (dining room). During meals, one of the monks ascended the pulpit and read passages of the Bible.

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CFFC: Horizontal Lines

Shallow Steps

Marble steps at Cais das Colunas (Columns Wharf) , Tagus River, Lisbon Portugal

Marble steps leading down into the Tagus (Teju) River in Lisbon, Portugal. Once the noble entrance to the city for visiting dignitaries as they disembarked from their boat, Cais das Colunas is a now a scenic landmark of the Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio). Queen Elizabeth II landed at Cais das Colunas in 1957. Lisbon sits on the north bank of a tidal estuary, where the Tagus flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

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Giant Steps

Giant Steps

Architecture in Nature, Giant Steps, Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, SD

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Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

Angkor Wat, near Siem Reap, Cambodia, is the largest religious monument ever constructed.  Originally built by  Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as a Hindu temple to the god Vishnu, it morphed a Buddhist temple by the 14th century.  The five towers of  central temple represent the peaks of Mt. Meru, the mythical home of both Hindu and Buddhist gods.  A series of galleries, terraces and steep stairways symbolised the effort needed to achieve enlightenment or reach heaven. Three sets of stairs on each side, one in the center and two on the corners, give access to the upper terraces and galleries of the center temple.  Often called the “stairway to heaven,”  the steps rise at a 70% grade.

When I visited Angkor Wat in 2006, one of the stairways on the south side had a handrail—the others required free climbing. Since that time, all but one of the staircases have been closed and access to the central tower is limited to 100 visitors a day.  The south set of steps is now covered by a wooden staircase with handrails. Maybe now I would go to the top. I wasn’t drawn to the steep climb when I was there.


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CFFC: Stairs, Steps and Ladders

Savannah Steps

Savannah Steps, Savannah, Georgia

Savannah Steps, Savannah, Georgia

Steps and cast iron railing outside a residential unit in Savannah, Georgia. Many entrances and buildings in Savannah have cast iron elements.

CFFC: Stairs, Steps and Ladders

Sunday Stills: The Letter “U” is for UP

U is for Up

Going Up! Stairway in the gardens at the Heritance Tea Factory, a converted tea factory that is now a hotel in the Sri Lankan highlands.

Going Up! Stairway in the gardens at the Heritance Tea Factory, a tea factory converted into a lovely hotel in the Sri Lankan highlands.

Sunday Stills, the next challenge: The Letter “U”

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