A trip to France in Second Life

Bordeaux, France, January 2022 – click any image for full size
On this grid I actualize the worlds I imagine, conjure my wildest daydreams, and walk a path unknown. I am here to create a fantasy for others to enjoy. Landscaping is my medium, my love language, and my story.

– TONAL (Avalyn Aviator)

I recently had cause to visit two adjoining Full regions design by TONAL which offer a rich mix of environments combined by what is clearly a love of France: its architecture, its history and its sweeping countryside and landscape.

Bordeaux, France, January 2022

Within Bordeaux, France, TONAL offers visitors a cityscape worthy of historic Paris. Here stand buildings one might easily encounter in a walk down the Avenue des Champs-Élysée and the streets running back from it and to either side of its long arm. Like that broad avenue, the buildings here present shops (some spaces available for rent) and apartments above (some of which are available for rent and cleverly hidden with in the façades of the various buildings, reached via the region’s experience teleport option (if available for rent).

The streets may not be as broad as the likes of the Champs-Élysée, but they are perfectly navigable on foot and offer the opportunity to explore this city-like setting and discover its secrets and places of interest, such as the neighbourhood supermarket, the little children’s playground or the more ostentatious Jardin et Salon de Thé.

Bordeaux, France, January 2022

As with Paris, this is a cosmopolitan centre marked by open spaces and terraces looking down towards a body of water albeit is a lake rather than a river!), and fountains and statures add grace and a timeless sense of history to the setting. Unlike Paris, however, this is a cityscape market by tall medieval-like towers topped by conical roofs of a kind more commonly seen gracing many chateaux across France rather than in the heart of a metropolis. Even so, they add a sense of place here.

Placed at various points around the city are maps (some of which can be found inside public spaces and resemble oversized iPads). These provide a map of the city and the adjoining countryside (of which more below), and include click-to-teleport markers for those wishing to quickly hop around the setting’s major points of interest, such as the aforementioned Jardin et Salon de Thé or the rooftop restaurant or the grand stables, to name but three. Oddly, a map isn’t placed at, or close to, the landing point – but a wander around the streets will quickly reveal it.

Bordeaux, France, January 2022

With a westward perspective, the city looks out towards the countryside of Village des Chasseurs de la Valle de Londyn, the second Full region comprising this location.  Between countryside and city sits a large lake around which sits a part of the town far older than that around the landing point, the buildings clearly harking back to medieval times. Guarded to one side by an old (and unfurnished) fortified chateau, the majority of these aged building are façades designed to give a further sense of depth and place to the setting – which they do so admirably – although a walk around them will bring visitors to a cosy tavern.

Across the lake and reached via bridge or by following the cobbled ways either side of the water, the land opens out into hilly woodlands. Here, as the region’s name suggests, there is the opportunity for hunting, with part of the region only accessible on the purchase of the “hunting pass” (L$200 for 24 hours). I confess I didn’t give this a try, so am unsure of what to expect, but I did take the public track up and around the wooded hills, passing some of the cottages and country houses that are also available for rent here.

Village des Chasseurs de la Valle de Londyn, January 2022

At the time of my visit, it appeared some remodelling was underway – I caught sight of a couple of exposed plywood boards and at least one building within Village des Chasseurs de la Valle de Londyn was still set to track any movement of its rezzing box. However, none of this detracts from the appeal of either region or the opportunities for photography to be found throughout. That said, within Bordeaux, France, there is a lot for the viewer to rez and render, so those on more moderate system may need to adjust settings / reduce Draw Distance to a more comfortable level to assist in their explorations.

Warning aside, I enjoyed wandering through both Bordeaux, France, and Village des Chasseurs de la Valle de Londyn, so why not hop along and have a wander yourself?

Bordeaux, France, January 2022

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Lana’s whimsy in Second Life

LANA, January 2022 – click any image for full size

In September 2021 I visited LANA, the rich and in places quirky Homestead region designed by Valarie (Zalindah) – see Lana’s seasons in Second Life. Since then, the changing of the year has brought with it a changing in the region’s looks, although much of the core theme  – that of letting go, freeing oneself to experience anew – remains very much prevalent, as does the balance between land and water, together with some of the individual motifs visitors might have encountered with that previous iteration.

However, where back in September LANA offer a setting perhaps rooted more within natural elements- countryside, water, a small town, etc., in its new form the region embraces something far more whimsical in nature, offering multiple vignettes that will catch the eye as one explores, set within a landscape that is very different in styling although it does retain a combination of two seasonal styles.

LANA, January 2022

The first of these seasonal elements is encountered at the landing point, tucked into the south-east corner of the region. Taking the form of a single-roomed building with hard, concrete walls, and with and enclosed garden where visitors arrive, the landing point sits caught in the depths of winter and blanketed in deep snow. The single room of the building is comfortably furnished, two of its walls adorned by what I assume to be images of past iterations of LANA / previous builds by Valerie, while a fire blazes in the hearth, encouraging people to step inside and escape the snow.

At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be a way out of the walled garden or the house to get to the rest of the region. Snow is piled to dither of the structure, and in hanging around the landing point, I did notice several people seemingly confused, wandering in and out of the house, and finally resorting to climbing up the snow drift to one side of it to reach the roof (with one then promptly falling into the winter scene at the far end of the building that is open to the sky but glassed-off from the rest of the room!).

LANA, January 2022

However, the route to the rest of the region isn’t that hard to spot – there is, after all a large white arrow pointing to it from the garden, together with a hopscotch game. It runs over the snow partially piled between the left side of the house and the wall that encloses the garden to reach a road set between bare, arched trees which march away westward through the snow-covered landscape, a large frozen pond beyond one of their arches ranks and cold, open waters to the other.

It is on this pond and along road that the region’s sense of fantasy starts to be revealed: two huge snow wolves – or perhaps dire wolves? – guard both the ice and – a little more aggressively – the far end of the road. Beyond this second wolf and over a hump of snow-dusted ground sits a second pond where a tall Torii gate – watched over by a third wolf – offers the way forward for explorers. Here the path splits, one arm curling back east, to where more Torri gates climb a slope to reach above the snows and a headland that runs north on the shoulders of rocky slopes that rise from the waters on either side, home to ancient ruins and more for those who take that route.

LANA, January 2022

The second arm of the path, however, continues west over lowlands that gradually open out, the snow on them slowly giving way more and more to the scrubby grasses that refuse to remain under its blanket. Eventually turning north, these lowlands are home to trees on which frost still clings although the general sense is of a place in the throes of late autumn. From a distance this low-lying land appears is if it might be marshy in nature – and indeed, a sliver of water does split it’s northern end into a sliver of an island – but the ground is in fact dry.

Closer to where the snow gives way to the grass of these lowlands, the land also points north to where a second rocky upland sits, a large bay to one side of it, a narrower inlet to the other. The way to it is hard to miss, marked as it is by a combination of the remnants  of what must once have been a huge tree and the chinthe-like dragon hovering over it on lazy wing flaps.

LANA, January 2022

Dragons are another presence here that links this LANA with that of the past. Here they come in numerous forms – the chinthe, a water dragon, oriental dragons, and I was particularly enamoured of the peacock dragon curling down to a touch of afternoon tea.

The latter is also one of the elements of whimsy waiting to be found across the region; others include cloud beds floating over a little block of apartments, the oversized plushies scattered throughout the setting. Also to be found throughout the setting are vignettes focused on wildlife and animals – rabbits being a favourite within it – that offer plenty of opportunities for photography.

LANA, January 2022

Retaining much of its oriental lean throughout – notably on the top of the headland running up the east side of the region – whilst offering a setting that is entirely different from its prior incarnation sitting beneath a fitting EEP sky, LANA continues to offer a richness of design and content that makes it a ideal destination for the seasoned Second life traveller ad those looks for places to appreciate.

With thanks to Shaun for the suggestion for a re-visit.

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  • LANA (rated Moderate)

A trip to an Irish corner of Second Life

Carrowmore, January 2022 – click any image for full size

Courtesy of a suggestion from Shawn Shakespeare, I recently has cause to take a visit to Ireland – or more precisely, to Carrowmore, a little town located somewhere on the Emerald Isle, as imagined by Pleasure Ò Raigàin (vVEdanaVv).

This is a place to stay, chill, celebrate, perform, talk, chat, drink tea or eat some Shepherds Pie and listen to great Irish music and to taste our original Carrowmore Whiskey 🙂

– Carrowmore About Land description

Occupying a Homestead region held by Pleasure together with Evee Sturtevant and Mark Taylor (Mark42929), Carrowmore is a place where extraordinary care has been taken with its design (in fact, Pleasure is still tweaking parts of it), so preparation and care with a visit is essential to appreciating everything. As such, I’ve included some additional notes at the end of this article.

Carrowmore, January 2022

Offering something of west-to-east orientation, visits start at the proscribed landing point, located within the town of Carrowmore and in the shadow of a tall tower that once formed a part of the local castle (in fact, the square around it is all that remains of the rest of the castle, itself long since turned into a cobbled square with the exception of a sliver of curtain wall). It is here that Sir Taylor Eveerness is waiting to greet new arrivals, presenting them with a note card rich with details about the setting and its history, including its association with the production of whiskey.

It was in the year of our Lord 1150 AD, when a primal, primal, primal… we better leave that 😉 … when a great-grandfather of my family spotted this beautiful piece of land. He immediately saw the possibility of growing grain, vegetables and all nutritious things in this soil. And that was partly the start of our wonderful whiskey. You will have plenty of time to taste it later.
In the beginning, the original whiskey was not what we know now. We called it “Poitin” and I still have a bottle here in my Castle. And no, it’s not to be tasted. You understand, it’s an old family heirloom.

– Sir Taylor Eveerness, introducing Carrowmore

Carrowmore, January 2022

Beyond the castle’s tower sits the rest of the town. This is marked by a harbour on its west side, its wharves and fishing boats indicating the Carrowmore is as much a working town rather as it is a place relying solely on tourist dropping in and staying – although as Sir Taylor’s guide notes make clear, there are places in town where the traveller can rest up should they so wish! Town town itself stands as close-knit community of small businesses (the bakery and the pub understandably proving to be the most popular!) with living spaces in the form of flats and apartments above them.

The rest of the land is set apart from the town by a channel of water that gives the region its east-west orientation. A broad stone bridge spans the water to link the town with the rest of the region – although no road continues from it; instead, the eastern reach of the region is given over to pastoral countryside with many attractions within it.

Carrowmore, January 2022

This is a place where sheep may safely graze in the shadow of the local chapel while the local farmhouse sits on a ridge to the south, a place where the farmer can keep watch over his flock and care for his horses. Between the chapel and farmhouse, laying claim to a stretch of the channel’s edge sit a little tavern and the watermill that doubtless played (plays?) a role in the production of the local poitín and whiskey!

Also awaiting discovery are the ruins of the old monastery as described in the notes from Sir Taylor. Sitting on the east side of the region, they are reached by a small bridge as they sit on a misty isle of their own.

Carrowmore, January 2022

Keen eyes may also spot two towers – one to the north, the other to the south – poking their heads over tree tops. One, not far from the chapel, is in fact a circular cottage sitting in the embrace of surrounding trees and rocks. It’s a place of romance, a cobbled path leading to its door by way of a garden of wildflowers lit by lanterns floating overhead, and with outdoor seating in the form of a stone bench and little rowing boat moored at the water’s edge. Nearby, stone steps climb a grassy slope to the island’s wooded northern end, where another retreat, rich in pagan and ancient spiritual symbolism, awaits.

Off to the south, the second tower also sits within a circle of rock and trees that help form a natural courtyard before it. It lies behind a great iron gate with mist clinging to and writhing over the stones shrubs before it, giving it an air of menace. And indeed, beyond the iron gate, the door will open to reveal a pair of ghostly figures; but rather than meaning harm, they prefer to indicate the teleport disk that provides access to the tower’s upper floors.

Carrowmore, January 2022

Carrowmore is a genuinely immersive setting which has to be explored gently on foot in order to be properly appreciated. If you simply cam or move swiftly from point-to-point and rely only on the note card provided by Sir Taylor, you risk missing a lot; but it does help introduce you to some of the local character in town who – together with the static visitors to the bakery, etc. – help bring a sense of life to the setting. But there is far more that awaits visitors – such as the tower cottage described above, or the ring of standing stones overlooking the chapel and another little cosy corner can be found tucked into the ruins of an old waterside shack.

Within the pastoral side of the region, deer can be found wandering and owls keep a wise eye on things. There’s even the chance to come across one or two of Ireland’s famed leprechauns who are willing to offer you a mug of beer – but whether it is enchanted or not, I couldn’t really say! Nor are things limited to just the ground. A teleport near the landing point (look around, you’ll find it!) will carry you up to a slightly macabre location in the sky, whilst the return teleport will deliver you back to one of the two towers in the region, helping to encourage exploration on foot with a walk back towards the town.

Carrowmore, January 2022

As noted towards the top of this article, Pleasure has gone to additional lengths to add to the immersive atmosphere of Carrowmore, and as such, you should take some steps in preparation of a visit:

  • Make sure your viewer is set to Use Shared Environment (World → Environment sub-menu) – the region has a dedicated EEP Day Cycle, and it worth viewing the region under it (not the first two illustrations within this article).
  • Enable local sounds (if not on already) so you can appreciate the ambient sound scape as you explore.
  • Very important! – enable Media for the region (click on the camera icon on the right of the viewer’s top bar, and disable the music stream (if playing). Throughout the region are multiple points where media is used to add aural depth. Such media point may be triggered automatically, others by touch. To give a couple of examples:
    • Those entering the ruined monastery building will hear music and sounds in keeping with the location
    • Touching the central stone within the ring on e hill overlooking chapel will offer a rendition of (and admittedly Scottish in origin) folk song.
Carrowmore, January 2022

With live music provided by Mark Taylor in the square by the landing point (join the local group for details of events, the L$150 fee provides rezzing rights and goes towards the region’s tier), and put together with a huge amount of care and an eye for detail by Pleasure, Carrowmore is a richly engaging and highly enjoyable visit, one which – you can tell from the length of this piece – I thoroughly enjoyed!

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Visiting Longing Melody in Second Life

Longing Melody, January 2022 – click any image for full size

Bambi (NorahBrent) is the owner of the Oh Deer brand and is also is well-regarded among Second Life bloggers for her Missing Melody region designs – I’ve reviewed several iterations of that region myself in these pages. However, in 2021, she launched a new region setting – Longing Melody – which I finally managed to visit at the start of 2022.

Utilising a Full region rather than a Homestead as seen with Missing Melody, Longing Melody presents three different but interconnected seasons / settings that offer little hints of England and the British Isles and plenty to see and appreciate.

Longing Melody, January 2022

Visits start at the Longing Town train station, where a train with a decidedly continental lean sits at the platform to form the landing point. Exiting the train places new arrival on the platform (no surprises there), where two maps on the London underground are mounted on the platform walls. One of these is likely to be very familiar to users of the Tube, the other somewhat older and offers a more “natural” look to how London’s underground lines actually sit under the city’s roads and reaches. On a second wall is what might appear to be a further Tube map but is in fact a stylised map of the region that offers clues to a form of homage Bambi presents in the design. Alongside of this map in an information giver for the Second Life Nature Collective club.

Beyond the turnstiles for the station sits Longing Town itself, there the homage mentioned above is largely located, taken the form of links to Liverpool’s Fab Four. The road leading from / to the station for example, is called Abbey Road, home of a certain recording studio and also the title of the group’s eleventh album with its iconic (and much imitated) cover photo – which is also reproduced in the forms of silhouettes of John, Ringo, Paul and George filing across the road.

Longing Melody, January 2022

Before reaching the silhouettes, the road also passes Penny Lane, an alley leading in to courtyard behind the houses lining the road. Beyond the four silhouettes, the road makes a 90º turn to the right continuing to to a waterside promenade called The Globe. This in turn might be a reference to The Globe Theatre, Stockton on Tees in the north-east of England, famous for being the venue for two Beatles concerts that effectively bracketed their “breaking into” the US market after a lot of resistance from US record moguls (and the first of which took place shortly after John F. Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas).

Outside of the town proper, and reached via an arched passage, is a further reference to the Beatles, in the the form of Strawberry Fields, a broad concrete path runs north to reach the second element of the region. Here, beyond the gardens of some of the houses is a more rural setting, a place of meadows, sheep, a bubbling stream, rough footpaths and ruins. And where the town might be thought of as being caught  in a late summer, this northern rural area sits more in autumn, a place where the trees are turning a golden brown and sheep and deer roam free.

Longing Melody, January 2022

A canal cuts through this rural area; deeper than the local stream, it is crossed by a single hump backed bridge. The path beyond this continues eastwards, passing between more farm buildings and a large field guarded by drystone walls and home to sheep and cows. Once past these, the path starts a gentle climb to where a high brick wall bars the way, except for the open wooden door set within it.

This wall marks the point where the third of the region’s seasons commences, the hills beyond the wall being blanketed in winter. Snow cover the land, a narrow path winding up between the hills. Here the trees are either fir or denuded of there leaves, all equally frosted by the snow.

Longing Melody, January 2022

Cottages and more can be found on the shoulder and crown of the hill; one of the former cosily furnished, the other a shell. Watched over by foxes, snowmen and polar bears, this winter area offers further places to sit and pass the time and further opportunities for photography.

All of the above just scratches the surface of things. In the town, many of the buildings are simple façades, other have interiors that can be viewed through windows or entered and explored. Similarly, the gardens, the promenade, the rural spaces, all offer places to sit and relax. and needles to say, the region in rich in opportunities for photography.

Longing Melody, January 2022

Sharing a spiritual design with many of the settings that have surfaced within Missing Melody, Bambi’s Longing Melody offers visitors its own richness and diversity that should be savoured during a visit.

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Grauland’s tropical beauty in Second Life

Grauland, January 2022 – click any image for full size
It was back to JimGarand’s Homestead region of Grauland for me to mark the start of the year. As regulars to this blog know, I’ve tended to drop into the region two or three times a year to witness Jim’s designs and work. In fact, my last came in October 2021, a couple of months after Jim had decided to move things away from Mobile – leaving it as the home of his SL business – and give his region designs a little more room in terms of land capacity.

That design for Grauland was something of a departure from the designs we have tended to associate with Grauland, offering as it did an examination of lighting in Second Life using an urban setting. However, with this current iteration, Jim returns to his more familiar island themes in which he folds art and landscape into a unified whole.

Grauland, January 2022

The landing point sits to the north-west of the island, tucked into the cover of a large concrete-and-wood structure of the kind that can so often be a feature of of the region. This faces a line of jet skis sitting on the water across the beach that are available for riding around the island’s shallows. But if you opt to do so, take note that these waters form a narrow ribbon along the north and west sides of the island, so careful navigation is required to avoid bouncing off the region boundary (there’s more room to the south and east).

Those who prefer can walk around the beach to the west side of the island, passing by one of Jim’s little touches that always make visits interesting: a telephone kiosk that sits on the sands under the single light of a street lamp.

Grauland, January 2022

The southern end of the beach provides access to the island’s most prominent natural feature: a sandstone headland. This is a place where time has allowed the sea to sculpt it into a series of large caverns, the eroded rocks in turn ground down to form a broad expanse of sand below that that now helps prevent the sea from washing way the narrow towers and walls of rock that support the high ceilings of most of the cavern spaces – although a part of these have actually collapsed to form an open ring of stone.

Follow the sand through the caverns and it is clear the sea is still shaping them on their east side, where a table of rock extends out into a large bay, leaving their top supported by broad legs of rock, although a blow-hole has been blasted through a part of the table, forming another ring of stone.

Grauland, January 2022

The easiest way to see this high ground is to climb the steps at the back of the landing point structure or take the stone steps rising from the beach close by to reach a cutting and path through the rock. Both of these routes offer their own attractions, with the staircase in the building allowing visitors to climb to the roof and thence to a path the heads south over the top of the west cliffs to where a zen garden awaits – something that helps link this design with past iterations of Grauland.

Alternatively, prior to climbing all the way to the roof of the landing point, visitors can opt to walk along a roofless corridor  that offers an echo of the previous version of Grauland, lit as it is by a series of coloured lighting strips. Beyond this sits a an artificial depression that forms part of an artistic statement, the second part of which is to be found beyond the zen garden, itself connected to the depression by a set of steps.  Beyond the zen garden a further path winds to where concrete columns rise from the grass and rock over the top of the southern caverns.

Grauland, January 2022

To the east of the island, paths run between its uneven surface, one from the stone steps and path running up from the beach, the other from the concrete depression. Both point the way to the island’s main house as it overlooks the sweep of the island’s southern bay and eastern and southern beaches – the later of which forms a broad finger of sand.  With its deck and pool and split-level nature, the house is open to the public and offers a cosy retreat. To the north of it, along a loosely paved footpath sits a further little hideaway for those seeking a little privacy

As a personal note, I’ll admit that I did find the sound scape – designed to represent the echoing sound of the sea within the caverns – a little overwhelming whilst wandering. Nevertheless, with places to sit throughout, including out on the water to the south (brave souls, given what lies beneath!) – so jet ski users be aware that others might be relaxing on the water – Grauland again offers an engaging and rich environment in which to spend time, together with (need it be said?) plenty of opportunities for photography.

Grauland, January 2022

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Patch Thibaud’s Hanging Gardens in Second Life

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, January 2022 – click any image for full size
In this palace he erected very high walks, supported by stone pillars; and by planting what was called a pensile paradise, and replenishing it with all sorts of trees, he rendered the prospect an exact resemblance of a mountainous country. This he did to gratify his queen, because she had been brought up in Media, and was fond of a mountainous situation.

– Berossus, priest of Bel Marduk, 4BCE, quoted by Flavius Josephus

The above words  – admittedly quoted almost 300 years after they were said to have been written – are the earliest mention of the fabled Hanging Gardens  of Babylon.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, January 2022

Listed as one of the  Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Hellenic culture, the gardens were said to have been constructed close to the city of Babylon and alongside the grand palace built by the Neo-Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II (642-562 BCE). As the quote from Berossus notes, they were said to have been a remarkable feat of engineering; an ascending series of tiered gardens containing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and vines resembling a large green mountain constructed of mud bricks, which he ordered built in order to help his queen, Amytis of Media to overcome her homesickness for her native lands.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, January 2022

Whether or not Berossus was writing literally or figuratively is unclear: a lot is known about Nebuchadnezzar II’s reign and works – and there is no mention of fabulous gardens built for Amytis (or any of his other queens) isn’t listed amongst them, nor do any other ancient Babylonian texts from the times around the period in which the Gardens were said to have existed make any mention of them; further, of all the ancient Seven Wonders, the Hanging Gardens alone are the one for which the location has not been definitively established.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, January 2022

This has led some scholars to believe that the texts quoting descriptions of the Hanging Gardens are actually describing palace gardens that were known to exist, such those that Assyrian King Sennacherib (704–681 BCE) had built in his capital city of Nineveh (close to the modern city of Mosul in Iraq), and Berossus attributed them to Nebuchadnezzar for purely romantic / political reasons; others lean more the the belief the Hanging Gardens were simply the result of romantic imaginings.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, January 2022

However, whether real or not, the legend has given rise the many descriptions of the Hanging Gardens, together with a plethora of illustrations and paintings, such that it is possible to (re)create how they may have appeared through 3D modelling – or to use the basic descriptions to offer an interpretation of how the Hanging Gardens may have appeared, complete with personal expressions and twists.

This is precisely what Patch Thibaud has done within Second Life, with his utterly fabulous Hanging Garden of Babylon, a Full region design (utilising the private Full region land capacity bonus), and which is currently highlighted in the Destination Guide. Patch is a long-time Second life resident who has, down the years created some outstanding builds in-world. In fact, I recently wrote (in part) about one of his most famous – The Cathedral – which has become both an outstanding statement of art in its own right and a venue in which art can be presented, courtesy of it being located within Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat arts estate (see: A Cathedral and Silent Beauties in Second Life).

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, January 2022

With this build, Patch (with the assistance of Cristabella Loon and Lιlly Hawk (NatalieRives)) brings together a genuinely stunning interpretation of  the Hanging Gardens that mixes into it elements that are not from the period in which the Gardens were said to exist but also from periods a lot more recent, including touches that might be seen has echoing the Greco-Romano period in which the legends of the Hanging Gardens began to gain wider circulation within the (then) Known World.

The centrepiece of the design is the great “mountain” of the gardens, here presented as a towering palace, tiered without and with multiple levels within, the structure rises from the waters and surrounding gardens to offer a place of rooms, stairs, walkways, rooms, outlying tiers where trees and shrubs grow as per the classic descriptions of the Gardens. Routes window up through the interior of the building and via outside stairways and ramps connect the various levels and eventually reach the “rooftop” gardens.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon, January 2022

The latter is a formal garden, richly laid out around a water feature, and of a kind that would look at home in the gardens of any grand European home or palace of the 18th or 19th centuries. Surrounded by building elements with the Greco-Roman lean, this “rooftop” garden also sits within rooms that have a distinctly Renaissance styling. Taken on its own, this rooftop area, complete with terraces and infinity pool, would be eye-catching enough, but it is just the jewel in a stunning crown of the design.

However, I’m not going to ramble on about the build here – I hope the photos I’m including here will encourage you to visit – what I will say is that this a genuinely engaging build, from the outlying gardens through the lower levels of the palace to the rooftop gardens. Throughout all there are numerous places to sit, paths to explore and – obviously – multiple opportunities for photography, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon is one of the Seven Wonders of our Digital World. And don’t miss the boat ride around and under the palace!

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