Three secret cities

 

Why is the Portuguese coat of arms set at an angle of 17 degrees on the façade of Rossio station?

Where in Portugal was The Magic Flute played for the first time and why did Mozart dedicate it to his master Cagliostro?

What is the theory concerning the fifth dynasty of Portugal, traces of which are found in the street layout?

Where can you find the most beautiful azulejos secreted around the city? Why and how did Lusitania become Portugal (Porto Graal), the place harbouring the legendary Holy Grail?

Where can you find the Lisboan serial killer’s head preserved in formalin?

Why was the south doorway of the Jerónimos Monastery designed according to Hebrew Kabbalistic principles?

What symbols are concealed within the Saint Vincent polytych at the Museum of Antique Arts?

Who in fact are the Sebastianists, messianic in the style of Shiite Muslims, awaiting the return of the lost King Sebastian?

Since the Middle Ages, Lisbon has been a favourite site for the development and application of the theories of alchemist kings, masonic ministers, occult poets, followers of hermeticism and the secret knowledge of the Knights Templar, who found refuge in Portugal after they were banned from the rest of Europe in the 14th century.

Vitor Manuel Adrião, acclaimed historian and philosopher, is heir to all this esoteric knowledge in Portugal. Here for the first time he reveals his incredible knowledge in this truly initiatory guide, with a mind-boggling interpretation of the arcana of a city which some consider is on the way to becoming the spiritual capital of Europe. 

Secret Lisbon, by Vitor Manuel Adrião, JonGlez Publishing, 2016, paperback, rrp US$19.95. 

 

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A statue denouncing corruption, a palatial allegory of Dante’s Divine Comedy, an exceptional psychedelic private museum, a monument to a police dog, García Lorca’s room at the Castelar Hotel, the toilets of a bar where “the acoustics were exceptional”, reminders of an attempted coup, a dome worthy of Gaudí

Far from the crowds and the usual clichés, Buenos Aires hides its treasures well, only revealing them to residents and travellers who wander off the beaten track.

An indispensable guide for those who thought they knew the city well or would like to discover its alternative face. 

Secret Buenos Aires, by Valeria Sampedro & Hernán Firpo, JonGlez Publishing, 2016, paperback, rrp US$19.95.

+++++

 

A horse’s tomb that has become a place of pilgrimage, a tree held up by a pillar in the garden of a Sufi convent that would herald the end of the world if it fell down, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s glass, a carpet that predicts the end of the Ottoman empire, fragments from the Black Stone of Mecca, the covering of a fountain from Pearl Harbor in the Pacific, a church under the protection of Muhammad, a synagogue that was a landmark for Ashkenazi Jews, a garment worn by the Prophet that was inadvertently ironed, a handful of hot ash that saved the Ottoman empire.

Far from the crowds and the usual clichés, Istanbul is still a reserve of well-concealed treasures only revealed to those who know how to wander off the beaten track, whether residents or visitors.

An indispensable guide for those who thought they knew Istanbul well, or who would like to discover the hidden face of the city. 

Secret Istanbul, by Emre Oktem, JonGlez Publishing, 2016, paperback, rrp US$19.95.

 

 

 

 

- reviewed by Sally Hammond

 

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