Hagia Sophia: History, Legacy, Controversy

As the old song says, Istanbul was Constantinople. (It was also Byzantium, but our story begins a couple centuries after this first - and less famous - name change.) Few remnants remain in Turkey's largest city from this earlier period. There are ancient cisterns that helped sustain the city through numerous sieges, and some wall…

Armenian Culture in Glendale, CA

The line at Zankou Chicken in Glendale, California, a northern suburb of Los Angeles, is out the door, even during Covid and social distancing. Taped Xs on the ground indicate where we should stand to keep away from other customers, especially important since we are all salivating. Zankou is known for their rotisserie chicken, served…

America: A Travel Advisory

The United States is the only home I've ever known, outside of a few months here and there in other locations. I was born here, grew up here, largely live here still, and though I'm also a German citizen as of last December, I still identify almost solely as American. Nearly two years ago exactly,…

Barcelona and Petty Crime

It is one of the first things I was warned of when I began to plan a visit to Barcelona. "Don't leave your suitcase even for a moment." "Keep an eye and hand on your belongings at all times." "Don't put your phone down, and hold it tightly." Petty crime, especially theft and pickpocketing, are…