European Exhibition Features Parthenon Replica Built From Banned Books

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Kassel, Germany is now home to a Greek temple-inspired artwork that pays homage to free speech instead of the gods: As The Local Germany reports, the installation by conceptual artist Marta Minujín is built from 100,000 banned books, and is intended to challenge censorship both past and present.

Every five years, the city of Kassel, Germany becomes an art world hotspot when documenta—the international arts exhibition created by German artist and professor Arnold Bode in 1955—comes to town. Originally, documenta featured artworks banned by the Nazis, but over the years, it’s evolved into one of the world’s most important exhibitions for modern and contemporary art.

Now, in its 14th iteration, documenta is back and open until Sunday, September 17. As we previously reported, the two-part show kicked off in Athens on April 8 to mark this year’s theme, “Learning from Athens,” and premiered in Kassel on June 10. One of its most visible—and political—artworks is Minujín’s “Parthenon of Books,” which stands in the public square where Nazis once burned thousands of “un-German” books during the Aktion wider den undeutschen Geist (Campaign against the Un-German Spirit).

Built in the exact same dimensions as the real-life Parthenon, the structure's metal grill columns contains hundreds of titles, including the Bible, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988), and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), each one wrapped in plastic to protect their pages from the elements. Lodged into place by volunteers on cranes, the works will be distributed to visitors once the artwork is dismantled.

Check out some pictures of Minujín’s Parthenon of Books below.

Marta Minujin's "The Parthenon of Books" on display in Kassel, Germany
Marta Minujin's "The Parthenon of Books" is built from donated books and displayed at documenta: 14, the international art show in Kassel, Germany.
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Marta Minujin's "The Parthenon of Books" is built from donated books and displayed at documenta: 14, the international art show in Kassel, Germany.
BORIS ROESSLER/AFP/Getty Images

Marta Minujin's "The Parthenon of Books" is built from donated books and displayed at documenta: 14, the international art show in Kassel, Germany.
BORIS ROESSLER/AFP/Getty Images

Marta Minujin's "The Parthenon of Books" is built from donated books and displayed at documenta: 14, the international art show in Kassel, Germany.
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Marta Minujin's "The Parthenon of Books" is built from donated books and displayed at documenta: 14, the international art show in Kassel, Germany.
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

[h/t The Local Germany]

America's 25 Best Big Cities to Live In

Biking along the boardwalk in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Biking along the boardwalk in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Kirkikis/iStock via Getty Images

Although many people enjoy the peace and quiet that a rural, out-of-the-way small town can offer, others thrive in big cities. Approximately 80 percent of the United States's total population live in urban areas that offer a wide range of opportunities when it comes to socializing, careers, and everyday living.

Even though living in a big city sounds pretty nice, it comes with a price (literally), as home prices are generally higher in urban areas. Given the number of people who occupy the same space, there are also other worries about air pollution and traffic. However, sometimes the good outweighs the bad.

Financial advisory site Wallethub compared 62 of the largest cities in the United States and ranked them from best to worst, based on five key indicators: affordability, economy, education and health, quality of life, and safety. In the end, they figured out each city’s weighted average among all the different dimensions in order to compile the ranked list. Where did your city fall?

  1. Virginia Beach, VA
  1. Austin, TX
  1. Seattle, WA
  1. San Diego, CA
  1. Las Vegas, NV
  1. San Francisco, CA
  1. New York, NY
  1. San Jose, CA
  1. Honolulu, HI
  1. Portland, OR
  1. Raleigh, NC
  1. Minneapolis, MN
  1. Denver, CO
  1. Colorado Springs, CO
  1. Tampa, FL
  1. Washington, DC
  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  1. Mesa, AZ
  1. Omaha, NE
  1. Boston, MA
  1. Aurora, CO
  1. Charlotte, NC
  1. Chicago, IL
  1. Atlanta, GA
  1. Arlington, TX
Source: WalletHub

Chernobyl Will Soon Be More Accessible to Tourists, Ukraine Says

kefirm/iStock via Getty Images
kefirm/iStock via Getty Images

The Chernobyl exclusion zone, once considered one of the most dangerous places to step foot in on Earth, has taken on a much different role in recent years. The site of the 1986 accident that blew open the core of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and flooded the surrounding area with radiation is a tourist attraction today. The HBO miniseries Chernobyl has made the spot more popular than ever, and rather than discourage the public's fascination with the disaster, Ukraine is deciding to embrace it.

As CNN Travel reports, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky issued a statement declaring the 1000-square-mile exclusion zone around Chernobyl to be an official tourist destination.

"We must give this territory of Ukraine a new life," Zelensky said in his decree. "Until now, Chernobyl was a negative part of Ukraine's brand. It's time to change it. Chernobyl is a unique place on the planet where nature revives after a global man-made disaster, where there is a real 'ghost town.' We have to show this place to the world: scientists, ecologists, historians, tourists."

In order to boost Chernobyl's profile as a tourist attraction, the Ukrainian government will take steps to make it more accessible to the public. These will include establishing a "green corridor" that acts as a safe entry point into the area, and building new paths and checkpoints as well as renovating old ones. Pointless restrictions—such as rules against taking photos—will also be done away with.

Tours that take visitors through Chernobyl exist today, but they're much more complicated than a walk through the Louvre. Tourists must receive special permission to visit in advance, stick to approved routes, and undergo radiation screenings at various checkpoints. Despite the precautions required, tourism has exploded in the area by 35 percent since HBO's Chernobyl miniseries premiered earlier this year.

The Chernobyl exclusion zone is still radioactive, but safe enough that even the Ukrainian government is encouraging people to take day trips there. Even if you don't plan on booking your next vacation to Chernobyl, you can check out some photos of what the area looks like today.

[h/t CNN Travel]

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