What's in a name? Well, a lot, if the name is Philadelphia! But the Philadelphia that hidden europe has been exploring as this issue goes to press is not the great American city, but rather a small Brandenburg village, about an hour's drive southeast of Berlin, that bears the same name.
In this issue of hidden europe, we consider the potency of names and the images attributed to them as we explore the present fad for branding places. A while back, the branding iron was reserved for cattle, but now resorts, cities and entire countries are fair game.
Images of place pop up in another way as we delve into some early travel writings. What did a German count in search of a bride make of England in the eighteen twenties? And we follow a remarkable early English traveller, Gertrude Bell, who a hundred years ago went on the trail of the Yezidi people. Miss Bell set out from Jerusalem, but our own Yezidi journey starts in a more prosaic setting: the small north German town of Celle, which turns out to be an unlikely outpost of the Yezidi diaspora.
Our explorations of Yezidi life and culture were much abetted by the goodwill and enthusiasm of Karlos Zurutuza, an independent writer and photographer from Euskal Herria (the Basque Country). His images of the Yezidi homeland in Armenia are a great asset in this issue.
We welcome three guest contributors. Laurence Mitchell explores Novi Pazar in southern Serbia and David Cawley leads us to a Spanish retirement community with a difference - for it was founded by Emperor Augustus in 25 BC. Wolf Oschlies looks at 'People's Palaces' in eastern European capitals. Elsewhere in this issue, we report from three islands: one each off the coast of Turkey and Scotland respectively, and another that finds itself curiously split with allegiances to both France and the Netherlands.
Kathryn Kelly and her colleagues at Collins Bartholomew deserve our thanks, for this issue benefits greatly from the elegant cartography of map extracts from various atlases of that company (www.collinsbartholomew.com).
We shall, in a future issue, return to the intriguing tale of Philadelphia - the one in Germany, that is!
Nicky SC Gardner & Susanne Kries
20 February 2006