THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
TRAVEL GUIDE TO PAROS
From the best beaches to visit on the island to the lesser-known picturesque villages in Paros, this is the ultimate itinerary to spending a holiday at one of the best parts of the Cyclades islands
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Annie Spratt
10 April 2021
Situated at the heart of the Aegean Sea is one of Greece's most popular islands with a 120km coastline of blonde-sand beaches, mountainous landscape and cliff-top villages. Paros belongs to the Cyclades island group renowned for their natural beauty and architectural aesthetics. The island has turned into a favourite travel destination for the seekers of Mediterranean charm peering through historical monuments, magical rural villages and enchanting beaches. Paros mixes traditional elements of Cycladic architecture with modern twists of vivid nightlife, which makes it ideal for both thrill-seekers and travellers longing for a relaxed vacation at a picturesque location.
Paros is easily reached from Piraeus port and Rafina Port via either a slow or a fast ferry. Travellers visiting Athens can fly to the new international airport in about 45 minutes. Its laidback neighbour - the island of Antiparos - situated 1km southwest is another destination in the area which is easily accessible by an excursion boat or a car ferry. Paros' proximity to some of the most well-known Cyclades islands, including Santorini, Naxos and Mykonos, make the destination ideal for island hopping via ferry rides. One of the most famous beach is the Golden Beach on the east coast, which can be reached via the car-carrying shuttle-ferry that operates daily. Apart from the numerous secluded beaches offering privacy, there are also popular sandy shores including Naousa Bay, Kolymbithres, Parikia, Punta and Santa Maria.
Paros lays about 150 km south-east of Piraeus and is separated by the island of Naxos by an 8 km wide channel. Composed of its fine white marble, Paros captivates the attention of tourists from all over the world, seeking a stunning vacation destination or chasing after one of the world's best windsurfing location found in the strait between Paros and Naxos. Abandoned mines and marble quarries are scattered all over the island, which consists of several uninhabited offshore islets, spread across about 196 km2 of land.
The fertile land of Paros bursts with sweet rural villages and ancient remains. The ferry hub does not attracts as many tourists as its famous neighbouring islands, making it ideal for the lovers of good walks past traditional taverns, laidback beach days, dynamic diving activities or evenings spent at sophisticated bars. Parikia and Naoussa are the two main villages of Paros where the island's nightlife attracts young crowds, while the traditional villages of Lefkes and Marpissa offer blissful tranquility. Paros is also a top destination for water sports. The “Meltemi” wind provides ideal conditions for windsurfing and kitesurfing - so much so that every summer visitors from all over the world head to the island where the Professional Windsurfing World Cup has been held since 1993.
Did you know: Napoleon’s tomb and the Venus de Milo were carved from Parian marble.
TO DO IN PAROS:
Paros is best visited in either May, June or September when the island is less crowded with tourists. The high season is usually between July and August when the temperatures are also at peak. If you find your way to Paros, make sure to leave enough time for a day trip to the Antiparos island, which is only a 10 minute ferry ride from the main harbour of Parikia and apart from picturesque scenery offers total isolation.
Paros Park is home to the summer festivals of plays and concerts held at the outdoor amphitheatre. This park is a protected area with caves and walking trails - the sunset scenery along the Lighthouse route is particularly stunning. There are free summer film showings at the open-air cinema and not one but three beaches lay in the area - the Monastiri Beach, the Turkou Ammos and Perikopetra.
The charming village of Parikia captivates travellers' hearts with its little shops, beautiful alleys and an open-cinema. At its port lays the 4th century Panagia Ekatontapiliani church, known as the “Church with 100 doors”. According to a local legend 99 doors have been found in the Panagia Ekatondapiliani, but the 100th will only be discovered once Constantinople (Istanbul) becomes Greek again. Whether you are in the mood to test the legend or not, this remains one of the best preserved churches in the country.
If you are looking for delicious coffee and food to start off the day or you are after exceptional nightlife at a charming port, the village of Naoussa is the place to be. Anyone with appreciation for fine wines, must also visit the Moraitis winery in Naoussa. The third-generation winemaker offers a taste of famous Greek and indigenous varieties including Malagouzia, Aidani Black, Karampraimi and Mandilaria. In addition, from Monday to Saturday visitors can explore the old winemaking tools in the small museum.
As there are quite a few places to visit around the island, driving will be your quickest option to explore the area. Yet, the island benefits from one of the best bus connections in the Cyclades. Parikia, Drios, Piso Livadi and Naoussa are the main towns to stay in Paros. If staying on the mainland is not an issue for you, Lefkes is a very good and affordable choice. The mountainous village is famous among tourists in the area and is only about three and a half kilometres away from the traditional white-coloured village of Prodromos, known to locals for its serenity and two monasteries.
The capital, Parikia, lays at the site of the ancient capital Paros. The local harbour is also a main hub for Aegean islands ferries travelling between other islands such as Santorini, Mykonos ad Naxos, as well as the port of Athens, Piraeus, Heraklion and Crete. Blue-painted doors and window frames, flat roofs and whitewashed walls decorate the traditional Cycladic style houses with gardens of pomegranates and oranges in Parikia. The marble remains of an ancient temple dedicated to Apollo lay above the central stretch of the seafront road, while on a hillside in the southern outskirts of the city travellers will find the remains of a castle dedicated to Asclepius. Recent non-archeological excavations discovered what is left of an ancient cemetery, which is now visible near the modern harbour.
MAIN BEACHES ON PAROS ISLAND:
Golden Beach's silky sands and deep blue waters unveil stunning Cycladic landscape, home to various cocktail bars and one of the best windsurf locations in the area.
Santa Maria is where the water starts off shallow and gets gradually deeper. Benefits from a few beach bars and restaurants alongside a close proximity to Naoussa.
Faragas is protected from the north wind on Paros island, where the water is crystal clear and the beach restaurants offers a variety of refreshments.
Monastiri is where you will find shallow waters and a rocky path leading to a peaceful cove area of a nude-friendly beach.