Author: Don Knebel

Reusable Coffin in Melk Abbey (Photo by Don Knebel)

Melk Abbey and its reusable coffin

Commentary by Don Knebel An historic abbey in Melk, Austria is one of the most impressive buildings in the nation. It is also known for an invention that was never used. In 1089 A.D,...

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...

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)...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...