Author: Don Knebel

National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan (Photo by Don Knebel)

Taipei: A Caldron and a Cabbage

An estimated 10 percent of the important cultural artifacts from 7,000 years of Chinese civilization are owned by a single museum. The museum is not in China, and its most visited item is not...

Remains of Ephesus Library (Photo by Don Knebel)

Column: The Library of Ephesus

Ephesus, a port on the Ionian coast, was one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire. Its beautiful library now anchors one of Turkey’s most popular destinations. In the second century, Ephesus...

Ma’loula, Syria, in November 2010 (Photo by Don Knebel)

Column: The language of Jesus in Ma’loula

Until a few years ago, visitors to an ancient mountainside village in southwestern Syria could hear the words of Jesus in his own language.  Today, those words have been temporarily silenced. Ma’loula (or Maaloula)...

Interior of Pantheon in Rome (Photo by Don Knebel)

Column: Rome’s heavenly dome

The largest unreinforced dome in the world is also the oldest. Most Americans unknowingly see the lasting influence of this extraordinary achievement of Roman architects every day. In about 126 A.D., Roman Emperor Hadrian...

Stairs to Nile in Church in Ma’adi, Egypt (Photo by Don Knebel)

Column: The Holy Family in Egypt

Western Christians seeking sites associated with Jesus’ birth usually go to Bethlehem, where the Bible says Jesus was born. Egyptian Christians (“Coptics”) are more likely to seek out sacred sites in Egypt. According to...

Praying at the Western Wall (Photo by Don Knebel)

Column: Jerusalem’s Holy Wall

A section of a 2,000-year-old wall is the world’s holiest place for many Jews, providing one reason why determining the future of East Jerusalem is so difficult. In 19 B.C., Judea’s King Herod began...

A street in the Jewish section of Cordoba, Spain. (Photo by Don Knebel)

Column: Cordoba’s golden age

The historic Jewish section of Cordoba, Spain, recalls a period that the world has largely forgotten. While Christian Europe was asleep, Muslims and Jews in Spain together fashioned an era of remarkable creativity. After...

Kapaleshvara Temple in Chennai, India (Photo by Don Knebel)

Column: St. Thomas and the Kapaleshvara Temple

The Kapaleshvara Temple is the largest of many colorful Hindu temples in Chennai, a city in southern India previously known as Madras. The temple’s history is entwined with a dubious claim about a disciple...

Broadcast Tower in Berlin, Germany (Photo by Don Knebel)

Column: The ‘Pope’s Revenge’ a Christian symbol

During the Cold War, the East German government erected a 1207-foot-tall broadcast tower in East Berlin, intended to celebrate the superiority of the Communist system. The plan backfired, constantly reminding East Berliners of what...

Northern Cemetery in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Don Knebel)

Egyptian tombs known as City of the Dead

Turning an old joke line on its head, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are “just living” to get into a cemetery, creating one of Cairo’s most unusual tourist destinations. In the 14th century, Cairo’s...