When we think of cities, we tend to think of places which are crowded, modern, and secular. It’s easy to forget that cities can exist things like skyscrapers, elevated roads and shopping centres – those things we’ve come to see as their hallmarks.
“Urbanistan”, a new collection of images from photographer Matjaz Krivic, offers a different perspective. His photographs show cities and towns in developing countries, many dominated by religious buildings, and many lacking those things we’ve come to see as inherently “modern”. He says he wanted to show the variety of urban experience: “When I go to different cities and urban environment, I feel different”.
The images capture everything from views of ancient cities from a distance, to individuals working, playing or celebrating. Krivic says his favourite image is the one above, taken on a misty morning high up in Yemen’s Haraz mountains:
I climbed up the stairs to a Shugruf Palace terrace in the evening to get a breath of fresh air when the beauty of a evening mist coming up the mountain stroke me. It was so surreal, so mysterious that I ran down to get my camera and took one single shot. A second later it was gone.
A selection of Krivic’s images are below. You can view the full set here.
This shows the distinctive roof architecture in Patan, an area of Kathmandu. These buildings are now under the protection of UNESCO.
Here, a man bathes in Lake Lake Sarova in Amritsar, a city in north-western India. At the centre of the lake is the Harmandir Sahib, or Golden Temple, which is key to the Sikh religion and attracts more visitors than the Taj Mahal.
A market in Djenné, a city in central Mali. Just behind, you can see the walls of the Great Mosque, the largest mud brick building in the world.
Uramantakht is a city in Iran’s western Kurdish region. Here, pilgrims stand among homes built into the hillside to celebrate the pre-Islamic religious holiday of Aroosi Pir Shahriar.
This, and the image at the beginning of this piece, show a fortified settlement perched atop Yemen’s Haraz mountains.
Lhasa, Tibet, China
We love this one. These kids are perched on an old MIG aircraft which was parked in the square near Lhasa’s Potola Palace by the Chinese authorities. Krivic calls it a “symbol of occupation”, juxtaposed with the palace, “a symbol of Tibetan Buddhism”.
Beni Isguen, Algeria
Beni Isguen is one of five intricately planned, fortified religious villages built in the early 11th century to the south of Algiers, Algeria. The fabric of the settlement has changed very little in the intervening 900 years.
This image shows a warehouse crammed with spare parts in Nouakchott, the largest city in Mauretania and one of the largest in the Sahara.
A historical Yemeni town also protected by UNESCO’s World Heritage status.
All images: Matjaz Krivic.
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