Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World V in Second Life: Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness. 

Frank Gehry

          This is the fifth story in my Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in Second Life (SL) series.   My last trip was to the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.   So far, I’m three for four in trying to find the long gone Wonders of the Ancient World.  (One of the nice things about virtual worlds is that things and places long gone in Real Life (RL) are invariably around somewhere in the Metaverse.) 
          For the late arrivals, my rationale for this series about the Wonders of the Ancient World is that I’ve been blogging about a variety of topics in Second Life (SL) lately.  Fashion, steampunk, sex, pirates, and friendship to name but a few.  (I’m nothing if not eclectic.)  However, I feel I’ve gotten away from my roots.  My original intention was to travel across the grid to see new places and meet new people.  I think I’m doing pretty well with the latter but the former maybe not so much. 
           A group of places that I’ve always wanted to visit in RL and have been frustrated mostly by time and to a certain extent by distance is the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.   Given that only one of them still stands and that unfortunately seems to be surrounded by a swirl of political turmoil which looks like it won’t be ending any time soon, SL seems to be a pretty good bet to go looking for them.  (Significant Other also likes the idea of me not clocking up any more frequent flyer miles in RL.) This is the fifth in what will be a series of seven stories. 

The ancient world has always had a certain fascination for me.  Maybe because I grew up in a country where we seem to have more people who are over one hundred years old than we have buildings and monuments that old has something to do with it. 
           Working from Wikipedia’s list of the Seven Wonders, I was able to locate all seven within SL.  (Or, I thought I had.)  This was a good sign and I have my marching orders.  I’m going to visit all of them for my own sake and to bring the places and stories back to my readers. 

This time, I’m visiting the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.  The Mausoleum was built by the widow, Artemisia, in memory of her late husband and brother, Mausolus,   (Whom am I to judge?)  during the fourth century BCE.  BTW, where do you think the word mausoleum came from?  The tomb at Artemisia built at Halicarnassus  (modern Turkey) for Mausolus was renowned for its architectural beauty and hence made it onto list of the Wonders of the Ancient World early on.  Only ruins and fragments in a few museums are left today. 
I TP into Museum Island where a short walk takes me to the Mausoleum.  In front of me is a three tiered structure.  A staircase guarded by two lions leads to the ground floor entrance to the tomb proper.  The second tier is a grouping of columns which in turn holds up the roof. 
Being the curious person that I am, I enter the tomb and see the actual sarcophagus sitting in the middle of a plain, unadorned chamber.  When the doors close behind me there is a feeling of solitude.   Despite the closed doors and lack of windows, natural light fills the space.  (Virtual worlds are wonderful, aren’t they?)  The designer has succeeded in creating a space that mimics its RL equivalent.  Some might suggest that when that occurs, one has moved from craft to art.
And, yes, for the morbidly curious out there, I do try and remove the sarcophagus’s lid and peek inside.  However, it was locked firmly in place.  (What?  Everyone knows I’d have tried even if I didn’t write about it.  At least I’m being honest and permit my readers to live vicariously through me.) 
That was it.  Mausoleums don’t have a lot to keep me around once I get past the architecture and whatever else of an artistic or historical interest there may be especially if I have no relationship to the interred. 
Like my four previous trips, I didn’t have any interaction with anyone.  No one’s around.  I guess that’s probably true of most burial sites.  This brings me back to that idea that’s been forming in my mind since I began this journey that maybe some places in SL are just meant to be viewed and not occupied.  This may also explain the low readership I’m having with this series.  (OK, maybe it’s my writing but I’m working on that!)  I’ll explore this idea in future stories and with other residents. 
My first visit had left me worried about whether or not I was wasting my time with this series of stories.  My second visit reaffirmed my original enthusiasm for the project.  The third was a disappointment because I couldn’t find my goal.  The fourth trip was a hit.  This time I was successful too.  I hope that the remaining two Ancient Wonders meet or exceed my expectations.  (Assuming that I can find them again.) 
As I wrote earlier, my travels across SL have brought me to many different places.  Admittedly, many of these journeys were random.  Now, I’m moving along on a journey with a purpose.  (Maybe I’m growing up?  Significant Other may have another opinion here.)  Searching for the famous sites from antiquity seems like a worthwhile thing to do. 
My reasons for this journey still stand.  First, how much of the ancient world can I find inworld?  Second, how well has the ancient world been reconstructed?  My travels to date have brought me in contact with many residents who are either building worlds in SL or are living their virtual lives there.  The Great Pyramid, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus, and  Mausoleum at Halicarnassus are just the first stops on this journey and I have two left. Anyone who would still like to join me for part or all of it, please reach out to me and we’ll work out the calendars.  I’d be glad for the company! 
I’ve included links to several pictures I took of the sim I visited.  But check the sites out for yourselves.  Pictures, especially when I’m the photographer, are never as good as being there. 
As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1 Frontal View

Photo No. 2 Entrance

Photo No. 4 Tomb Close-up

Photo No. 5 View from Front Steps

Photo No. 8 Aerial View


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