Who am I?
My name is Jürgen Järvik. I work as an instructional designer. I am from Estonia.
What is a grande flânerie?
La grande flânerie means the ‘great stroll’ in French.
My job has permitted me to travel relatively freely around Europe since 2014. I could be called a digital nomad, but while that term is about the matching of work with travelling, I want to emphasise what I do when I am not behind the computer when abroad, and more importantly, what my travel choices and itineraries say about me. I think that my personality and my way of life could be best described by the word flâneur as defined by Charles Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin, and Marcel Proust.
‘To leave without being forced in any way, and to follow your inspiration as if the mere fact of turning right or turning left already constituted an essentially poetic act.’ (Edmond Jaloux, ‘Le Dernier Flâneur’, Le Temps, May 22, 1936.)
‘And I travel in order to get to know my geography.’ (Marcel Réja, L’Art chez les fous, Paris: 1907, p. 131.)
What is this website about?
My flâneries over the years have provided me with a huge amount of photos of very different places in Europe, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. At some point it occurred to me that in case of a lot of cities, some photos that I had taken could be sorted into groups, each with its own theme. Such themes would include buildings representing a certain architectural style, buildings designed by a certain architect, or buildings related to a specific community in a city. As I saw that my photo collections were relatively comprehensive to ‘fill in’ those themes, to share them with a wider audience, I decided to create this website.
My website also contains some articles that I have written over the years about different places that I have visited. These can be grouped under the title Imaginary Travel.
What are the benefits of this website?
Comprehensive and representative collections
This website contains comprehensive and representative portfolios with photos of buildings from various cities in Europe, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. A number of articles and databases can be found online, providing detailed information and photos of buildings that constitute an architectural style or the body of work of an architect in a particular city. There is, however, no centralised collection of photos of buildings from different cities.
On this website you can open each portfolio knowing that the structures that are listed in it constitute the most important examples of the theme of that city.
Chronologically arranged collections
The buildings in the portfolios are generally chronologically organised. This makes it easier to see how an architectural style developed or how an architect matured.
Descriptions of buildings
Short descriptions are given with photos, to highlight their most important features, to provide interesting facts about them, or to link them to other buildings (e.g., on the basis of architectural influences, personal associations, etc.). This could be useful as much information about the less well-know buildings in many cities is not available in English.
The facts presented in the descriptions are from freely available online sources. I have tried to check the facts from multiple sources. This includes research in languages other than English, and this means, in some cases, a regular use of Google Translate. Sometimes I consulted architectural plans. There is no blindly copy-pasted text on this website.
The website does not compete with scientific publications, textbooks, and encyclopedias. Its aim is to create curiosity rather than provide detailed answers to questions. It is a starting point rather than a destination.
Addresses and maps
With most of the listed buildings their addresses are provided. The locations are also presented on maps. The most important benefit of these maps is that the locations on them are exact (unless otherwise stated). As in some cities (e.g., Istanbul) Google Maps locations are not always correct, my maps can be useful for you if you wish to visit the mentioned sites. I have verified the locations of all the buildings.
Who is this website for?
This website is for you if:
- You are interested in architecture, art, and history.
- You want to be introduced to a particular layer of architecture in a city.
- You are looking for information about and photos of less well-known buildings in different cities.
- You want to know what are the most important architectural features of a building and why it may be important from the point of view of art history, without having to go through long and complicated texts.
- You are looking for ideas about where to travel next, or you would just like to see something new in your city of residence.
You might benefit from my website if you are a student or teacher of history, art or architecture, if you work in these fields, if you are a travel organizer or a tour guide, or if you are a traveller, or a flâneur, just like me.