CONWY Castle (aka Conway Castle), located in North Wales, was built by Edward I of England (r. 1272-1307 CE) from 1283 to 1292 CE to protect and maintain, along with several other castles, his newly acquired dominance in the region. Built on a rock promontory, the castle incorporated the latest defensive design features such as massive round towers, a double courtyard or bailey, and outer barbican defensive walls and towers. Conwy Castle is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
From 1272 CE Edward I, the new king of England, conquered most of Wales and joined it with the county system present in England. Following the death of Llywelyn, the Prince of Wales, in 1282 CE, the only part of Wales which remained free was the wild mountainous north and here the king built several major castles which included Caernarfon Castle, Harlech Castle, and Conwy Castle. Work began on Conwy Castle in March 1283 CE and would continue over that decade, the vast team of labourers, masons, and craftsmen being supervised by Master James of Saint Georges (c. 1235-1308 CE), the experienced architect and engineer who had previously built castles in Europe and who would be involved in many of Edward’s other Welsh castles.
NINNA-JI is a Shingon Buddhist temple complex located in Kyoto, Japan. Known as the ‘Temple of Heavenly Benevolence’, it was founded in 888 CE by Emperor Uda (r. 887-897 CE). Ninna-ji is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and its Main Hall is recognised as an official National Treasure of Japan. The site is today perhaps most famous for its Buddhist artworks and the large grove of cherry trees which provide a magnificent sight during their annual blossoming.
Emperor Uda reigned in the final quarter of the 9th century CE, and he oversaw the completion of the construction of a Buddhist temple site in the western foothills outside the capital Kyoto (Heiankyo) in 888 CE. The name Ninna-ji derives from ninna (‘Virtue and Harmony’), the posthumous era name of the reign of Uda’s father and predecessor, Emperor Koko (r. 884-887 CE). When Emperor Uda retired from office in 897 CE he promptly took up the position of abbot, the temple’s first. The royal connection to the site continued until 1869 CE with an imperial prince always being appointed as abbot.
THE ROMAN BATHS IN BATH – A DEEP DIVE INTO BRITAIN’S ANCIENT HISTORY:
BATH, the famous spa town in Somerset England, has attracted people from near and far for centuries to its healing springs and baths. Today the city is known for its beautiful Georgian architecture and as the destination for the wealthy elite of the 18th and 19th centuries CE. The rich and powerful visited the beautiful city to drink the warm, strange tasting water, but the use of the hot spring water also has a much older history.
In the center of the UNESCO world heritage city, you can visit the Romans Baths. Here you can learn about how the hot spring was worshiped and utilized by the Romans who conquered Britain in 43 CE. The Romans constructed a temple and bath complex in honor of Sulis Minerva, a Romano-Celtic composite of Sulis, the Celtic goddess of the healing and sacred water, and Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. In a few decades, the city of Aquae Sulis emerged around the bath complex as one of the most important spa and pilgrimage sites in the western part of the Roman Empire. Visiting the once-forgotten Roman Baths will give you insight into the ancient city’s long history, and it is also one of the places in England where you can learn a lot about life, religion, and changes in the society of Roman Britain.
Gallery of 68 competitive designs for the Great Tower for London, 1890
GREEK TEMPLES OF SICILY:
THERE are at least a thousand reasons to visit Sicily, the great island – indeed the largest in the Mediterranean – that forms the triangular football to the boot that is the Italian peninsula. They are all very good reasons, including amazing landscapes, a uniquely complex and delicious cuisine, a history that is diverse and multifaceted beyond belief, excellent wines, a vast array of archaeological sites, an even vaster one of historical towns and villages. But one key reason to visit the island is missing from the list above: Greek temples!
Greek temples are one of the earliest well-defined expressions of what we now recognise as the Western tradition in architecture, and one of the most influential ones by a vast margin to this day. They go back to the 8th or 7th centuries BCE, and, as the name entails, they are indeed a key achievement of the Archaic Greeks. They originated in what is the south of modern Greece, namely the Peloponnese and Central Greece, where Greek temple architecture appears to have its main roots, probably derived from local wooden predecessors.
The Greek mainland’s architectural style is the Doric one, considered to be the most austere and ‘male’ in character. The eastern Aegean and Asia Minor were famous for their own development, the more elegant and ‘female’ Ionic style, conceived about a century after the Doric one. Its most prominent examples at Samos, Ephesus, and Didyma (much better preserved than the other two) are also marked by their vast monumental size. What is so remarkable about the Greek temples of Sicily then?
29 rare and amazing photos capture city scenes of Europe in the 1850s.
Inside the Wanderer, the world’s oldest leisure caravan in existence.
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