Thursday, 9 April 2015

The importance of Trees

Change your opinions, keep to your principles;
change your leaves, keep intact your roots.

(Victor Hugo)

From the earliest times, trees have been the focus of religious life for many peoples around the world. As the largest plant on earth, the tree has been a major source of stimulation to the mythic imagination. Trees have been invested in all cultures with a dignity unique to their own nature, and tree cults, in which a single tree or a grove of trees is worshipped, have flourished at different times almost everywhere. Even today there are sacred woods in India and Japan, just as there were in pre-Christian Europe. An elaborate mythology of trees exists across a broad range of ancient cultures.
In the early historical period, however, there is considerable evidence that trees held a special significance in the cultures of the ancient world. In Ancient Egypt, several types of trees appear in Egyptian mythology and art.
Egypt, before the dawn of history was teeming with trees. Of these trees are the petrified forests that are near the Giza pyramids and beside El Mokattam plateau. Egyptian Pharaohs planted trees and took care of them. They brought ebony wood from the Sudan, pine and cedar from Syria. Egyptian Pharaohs planted sant trees, sycamore, lotus fruits and willow.
At the time of the Crusades, Egypt had paid more attention to cultivating wood trees, to build marine fleet. There were 20,000 feddans of trees cultivated on both sides of Nile from Gerga to Aswan.
At present there is great attention paid to cultivating trees on the farms' borders, road sides, canals, drainage, around villages, on the sandy hills near the Mediterranean shores, especially the multi-purposes trees, such as sycamore, mulberry, lotus among others.
These trees give fruits and are wind shields; providing shade, air purification, producing wood for the purposes of carpentry, fuel and making coal.
In the desert environments of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Mesopotamia trees, and especially fruit trees, assumed a special importance. The head dress worn by one of the women buried in the tomb of Queen Pu'abi at the Sumerian site of Ur (c. 2500 BCE) includes in the elaborate decoration clusters of gold pomegranates, three fruits hanging together shielded by their leaves, together with the branches of some other tree with golden stems and fruit or pods of gold and carnelian.
In Egypt, the evergreen date palm was a sacred tree, and a palm branch was the symbol of the god Heh, the personification of eternity. For later cultures, the palm branch also served as an emblem of fecundity and victory. For Christians, the palm branch is a symbol of Christ's victory over death. It also signified immortality and divine blessings and is often seen as an attribute of Christian martyrs. It also denotes particular Christian saints such Paul the Hermit and Christopher, as well as the Archangel Michael. The palm tree is also a symbol of the garden of paradise.
Trees also figure prominently in the culture and mythology of Ancient Greece.
The oak tree was sacred to Zeus, especially the tree at the sanctuary of Zeus in Dodona which also served as an oracle; it would seem the rustling of the leaves was regarded as the voice of Zeus and the sounds interpreted by priestesses.
In several Greek myths, women and men are frequently transformed into trees: Atys into a pine tree, Smilax into a yew, and Daphne into the laurel, which was sacred to Apollo.

In numerous cases the spirit of trees is personified, usually in female form.
In Ancient Rome, a fig-tree sacred to Romulus grew near the Forum, and a sacred cornel-tree grew of the slope of the Palatine Hill. Sacred groves were also found in the city of Rome.
Perhaps not surprisingly, trees appear at the foundations of many of the world's religions. Because of their relative rarity in the Near East, trees are regarded in the Bible as something almost sacred and are used to symbolize longevity, strength, and pride. Elements of pagan tree cults and worship have survived into Judeo-Christian theology. In Genesis, two trees -- the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil -- grow at the centre of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). Scriptural and apocryphal traditions regarding the Tree of Life later merge in Christianity with the cult of the cross to produce the Tree of the Cross. The fantastic Story of the True Cross identifies the wood used for the cross in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as being ultimately from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. Other stories claim that Adam was buried at Jerusalem and three trees grew out of his mouth to mark the centre of the earth.
In Ancient Assyria, trees, fruit trees especially, were associated with fertility. The significance of trees in Ancient Assyria is shown in the numerous reliefs of winged deities watering or protecting sacred trees..
Some trees become sacred through what may have occurred in their proximity. It was under a pipal tree that Siddhartha Gautama (born 566 BCE) meditated until he attained enlightenment (Nirvana) and became the Buddha. The Bodhi or Bo (Enlightenment) tree is now the centre of a major Buddhist sacred shrine.

For the ancient Celts, the Yew tree was a symbol of immortality, and holy trees elsewhere functioned as symbols of renewal 
A tree scarred by lightning was identified as a tree of life, and, according to Pliny the Celtic Druids believed that mistletoe grew in places which had been struck by lightning. The Druids performed rituals and ceremonies in groves of sacred oak trees, and believed that the interior of the oak was the abode of the dead.
In India, it is believed that the Brahma Daitya, the ghosts of brahmans, live in the fig trees, the pipal (ficus religiosa), or the banyan (ficus indica), awaiting liberation or reincarnarnation. Among the eight or so species of tree considered sacred in India, these two varieties of fig are the most highly venerated.
The identification of sacred trees as symbols of renewal is widespread. In China, the Tree of Life, the Kien-Luen, grows on the slopes of Kuen-Luen, while the Moslem Lote tree marks the boundary between the human and the divine. From the four boughs of the Buddhist Tree of Wisdom flow the rivers of life. The great ash tree Yggdrasil of Nordic myth connects with its roots and boughs the underworld and heaven.
In Japan, trees such as the cryptomeria are venerated at Shinto shrines. Especially sacred is the sakaki, a branch from which stuck upright in the ground is represented by the shin-no-mihashira, or sacred central post.
Sacred forests still exist in India and in Bali, Indonesia. The holy forests in Bali are annexed to temples that may or may not be enclosed in it, such as the Holy Forest at Sangeh. The general feeling of respect and veneration for trees in India has produced a great variety of tree myths and traditions.
Most scientists agree that all humans were at one time tree huggers. That is, literally, our human ancestors were arboreal – they lived in trees.
Nobody is sure exactly why, but at some point our ancestors decided to stop hugging and swinging around in trees and go it on foot.
Nowdays people know about the importance that trees have in the environment. In Italy there is a national day dedicated to trees and is in november the 21st.
If this is not enough, here some reasons wht trees are so important: Trees Produce Oxygen, Clean the Soil, Control Noise Pollution, Slow Storm Water Runoff, Trees Are Carbon Sinks, Clean the Air, Trees Fight Soil Erosion.
A special mention goes to the olive tree:
The olive tree was native to Asia Minor and spread from Iran, Syria and Palestine to the rest of the Mediterranean basin 6,000 years ago. It is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world - being grown before the written language was invented. It was being grown on Crete by 3,000 BC and may have been the source of the wealth of the Minoan kingdom. The Phoenicians spread the olive to the Mediterranean shores of Africa and Southern Europe. Olives have been found in Egyptian tombs from 2,000 years BC. The olive culture was spread to the early Greeks then Romans. As the Romans extended their domain they brought the olive with them.
1,400 years ago the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, advised his followers to apply olive oil to their bodies, and himself used oil on his head. The use of oil is found in many religions and cultures. It has been used during special ceremonies as well as a general health measure. During baptism in the Christian church, holy oil, which is often olive oil, may be used for anointment. At the Christmas mass, olive oil blessed by the bishop, "chrism", is used in the ceremony. Olive oil was used to anoint the early kings of the Greeks and Jews. The Greeks anointed winning athletes. Olive oil has also been used to anoint the dead in many cultures.
The olive trees on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem are reputed to be over 2000 years old, still relative newcomers considering the long domestication of the olive. We don't know the exact variety of the trees on the Mount. Man has manipulated the olive tree for so many thousands of years that it is unclear what varieties came from which other varieties.

There is an old German proverb which says “If you planted a tree, built a house and raised a child, you have well occupied your life.” It is time that the human being realizes that trees are vital to its survival and to the survival of future generations. Our ancestors understood this interdependence between trees and men. Our myths clearly reflect this. Let us also be aware of this connection between us and the trees! May we give of the trees as much as they give us.


This week has been focused on italian lessons. Girls look very interesting in learning a new language and I undertsood it is not so easy teach your mothertongue because you know the rules but do not think about it and sometimes explain something that comes naturally is a little bit hard!

I am studying turkish language too and the pronunciation of  öü and  ı it is difficult for me and in italian we do not have this letters BUT I found my revenge!!! :D 
Turkish language doesn't have the sound GLI, IPA [ʎ], and here there is an example:

We have also seen a movie by F. Özpetek
It is one of my favourite and girls liked it too. The title is "Le fate Ignoranti" and we saw it in italian but with turkish subtitles.
 On sunday we saw Babel by A. G. Iñárritu, I had never seen it this movie before and I really suggest to see it because worths it.

One month in Izmir


It looks incredible but just one month in Izmir has past. Time is very fast when you enjoy!

Weeks runs and the work in Atolye is going very well. I also celebrated Easter in here, even if I couldn't get my big chocolate egg it is ok! :)

I've visited different places during this time and I can say that I am really in love with this city, so in this post I want to share some feelings and ideas that I have about Izmir and people that live in here.

I do not know if  it is because I am a girl or a stranger ...or just because I am a stranger girl but everybody is always ready to help you. What struck me the most is that even if they do not speak english they find a way to communicate for helping you. In the bus, in the street, in metro, in shops... I feel like even if it is a big city the people that live in here has conserved that tact and willingness typical of small villages. I do not want to generalize and say that everybody is an angel in here because for being te third city of Turkey for sure it has its own problems, but if my "stranger eye" noticed it, means that it is true.

 It is easier perceive things when you are no more to get used to. :)

During my days off or when my work is finished I like running along the seaside and looks to people and to the sea. I found it very relaxing and peaceful. Sometimes I forgot that I am in Turkey for how I feel good in here. For sure I miss my family and friends but not so much as I thought before leaving Italy. I would like to write so many things but my english is not so good for expressing it  and also I am not so good in writing so I leave you with some pics and a song that I loves listening while I am along the karsiyaka boardwalk. :)

Here the song that I like listening while I am on the seaside.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Gödence village


This week has been very special to me has my birthday came and I visited new places!

I have been in  Bostanlı bazaar and it was very messy, noisy and colorful. I found very cheap clothes in there. After the bazaar my friend said to me that is typical to eat  Gözleme and drink, as usual, tea.

I visited the big Campus in Buca, it is huge and impressive as the city I come from is  small  and my university is not so big.

On friday I attended my first turkish lesson at Dedam University and I met many erasmus student  from all Europe. I also met with an italian girl and I had to explain to everybody about EVS programme as it is not so famous as I thought.

On Saturday girls and me visited Gödence village.
We saw the fields and the new kahvehane that Seçil has opened in there.
The place is peaceful and full of green.
Girls and Seçil  were so nice that celebrated my birtday again with a cake!
I did not expected it and they moved me! :)

On Sunday girls and me went to see a puppet show in Izmir International Fair.
I think it was fine because all childern in there laughed very much and even if I couldn't understood anything it was a nice experience...I felt like a child that can't read,,. I just saw at the pictures!:D