Walking along the narrow cobblestone street I paused before an old wooden brown door decorated with cast iron adornments. “I wonder what lay beyond?”. I had heard tales of merchants long ago who used hidden passages to transport their expensive silken wares through the heart of the city. Unperturbed and filled with the excitement of the unknown I pushed the door which groaned heavily and proceeded up the dimly lit passageway. The sound of people walking in the street dwindled as I wound my way up a narrow ancient corridor; the walls on either side had faded, cracks had wound a tapestry on either side. Light began to suffuse the corridor which opened up into a picturesque courtyard. The combination of rich colours, green plants crawling along walls, beautiful archaic facades and doors plunged one back into an era long ago. Turning around in wonder I suddenly paused. A magnificent red tower, elegantly framed with arched windows and a spiral stone staircase rose up into the sky. The passage of time had merely added to its beauty.
Pausing along the banks of the old town I looked out across the river. The night air gently caressed my face as the sound of the water flowing soothed my thoughts. The golden glow of lights illuminated the bridge brilliantly as it stretched forth, traversing the great expanse of water decorated with dancing lights. A sense of adventure stirred my heart, as I crossed the vast iron bridge, stepping onto an archaic cobblestone road. The transformation was immediate as I entered the old section of the city. Disappearing into a secluded street, I paused and looked down the empty street, illuminated by the warm glow of street lamps. Beautiful facades of buildings from a bygone era manifested their magnificence in the stillness of the night.
The night air was still, yet refreshing as the occasional wisp of wind caressed my face. Silhouettes of buildings contrasted starkly with the warm glow of street lamps which reflected the water glistening off the ancient cobblestones that lined this well trodden path. The scent of rainfall still remained in the cool air. I paused and stood for long moments contemplating the beauty of the archaic buildings, beautiful to behold in the stillness of the night. I could faintly hear my breath in the silence, which merely added to the beauty of that which I beheld before me.
The clicking sound of footsteps echoed distinctly within the almost deserted arcade. Pausing I glanced along the glass ceiling stretching far away, permeated by sunlight, and casting its soft radiance across the stark black and white tiled platform. The blend of classical architecture and symmetry was beautiful to behold. The arcade, created with a glass roof, symbolising modern urban life, was complemented with beautifully decorated mosaic floors, cast iron gates, marble columns, domed roof and ornate clock. The various architectural themes reflect the eras throughout European History from the Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance periods of European Civilisation. Slowly, the smell of freshly roasted coffee, permeated by the conversation of people enjoying the simplicities of life pierced my reverie. People swept by me, a still figure, going about their daily routine, casually glancing at me curiously. Suddenly, I became aware of the cafes, restaurants and artisan shops manifesting the beauty of vibrant European culture that somehow now seemingly came alive.
Passing through the heart of a city, I was suddenly inundated with a mélange of buildings, advertisements, clamour of traffic, smell of food stalls and rush of people from all walks of life, unfolding before my very eyes. The various expressions on people’s’ faces, especially those sprawled on the pavement evoked a pang of compassion making me reflect “I’d love to know that person’s life story”. Looking around while dodging the constant stream of people, I was captivated by the classical architecture that seemed to silently stand out, marked by stark simplicity and elegant beauty, reminiscent of a past era. Walking in the midst of the city I came across an arcade, formed by an honour guard of Classical Doric Grecian columns supporting a domed roof reflective of the Renaissance period with Baroque adornments. Designed within the Victorian Period, it manifested the beauty of past European eras, merged into a brilliant architectural style. In the distance a waiter was preparing tables for the forthcoming day; I could envisage people sitting in the cafe, chatting over coffee and hugging their cup for warmth on this cold winter day.
My footsteps echoed ever so softly as I mounted the stairs lightly upon the rich woollen carpet that graced the long hallway and staircase. Turning around I looked with one glance at the movement of the stairwell as it unfolded in a pattern of symmetrical and elegant beauty. The sophisticated of European flair, manifested itself in full force before me. The Mansion seemed to effortlessly blend Italian styled architecture complemented with Victorian period interiors, and brilliantly adorned with Classical period columns reminding one of antiquity. As I stood in awe, the memory of the tranquil gardens surrounding the building in a living embrace of natural beauty and serenity, added to the marvellous spectacle. The beauty and elegance of this mansion inspired me and captured my imagination with its masterful combination of elegant European architectural elements of a bygone era. For a moment, I yearned for a time long ago, to experience that which was barely kindled by the childlike creativity of my imagination.
Passing through the crowd of people, I calmly walked between the noisy throng, walking past the diverse range of modern stores selling their wares. I found myself gravitating towards an open space permeated by light. Suddenly I came into view of a tower reaching skywards towards a magnificent dome above which seemed to surround it within an embrace of steel and glass. The sight was both spectacular and strange to fathom. The colossus, so tall and strong, seemed unperturbed by the passage of time, both misplaced yet at once belonging to this period of constant change. I found myself standing in awe. The vibrancy and complexity of civilisation manifested within the architectural themes of cities never cease to amaze me. It seems that cities undergo a gradual metamorphosis as they see to redefine themselves in their own unique way. The sculptors that provide the energy behind this change are the various people throughout history and indeed the present that lend their various influences as determined by the cultural forces at play.