After a week in the California desert with almost zero internet connection, and a brief trip to San Francisco, I’m relieved to finally be back at the computer! It was a longer haitus than expected and I don’t plan on allowing a similar amount of time to elapse between articles in future, but I did manage to get a few cool pics of one of San Fran’s most impressive landmarks. Check it out…
Palace of Fine Arts
I’m not quite sure how but after several visits to San Francisco, I had somehow managed to remain oblivious to one of the city’s most enduring icons. That is until last week, when I was wandering down the promenade from Fort Mason in the direction of the Golden Gate Bridge, only to discover what looked like one of the great buildings of classical antiquity looming above me!
The incredible Palace of Fine Arts was designed by Bernard Maybeck for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. The event was a world’s fair (the name given to large public exhibitions held since the mid-19th century) commemorating the completion of the Panama Canal, although many in the city saw it as an opportunity to showcase San Francisco’s resurgence from the colossal earthquake of 1906. It’s amazing how, after wandering around the city and getting to grips with its history, much of its culture and identity is symbolically captured within the stones of this breathtaking monument.
Inspired by both Greek and Roman architecture, the palace houses a number of allegorical figures representing Contemplation, Wonderment and Meditation. While much of the structure, including the rotunda, was restored by early 2009, work is nevertheless ongoing and the expansive undergrowth gives the viewer the feeling of walking beneath the pillars of a lost civilization. If you’re in the area, this is definitely something that cannot fail to inspire and enthrall.