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Nazca’s condor, Nazca Desert, Peru

September 17th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Geoglyph of the condor, Nazca Desert in Peru.

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Temple of Wadi al-Sabua, Egypt

September 11th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The temple built by Amenhotep III was dedicated principally to the Nuibian form of the God Horus, and later, apparently during the time of Ramesses II, to Amun. It was damaged during the Amarna Period, but later restored by Ramesses II.

The temple that was actually built on the orders of Ramesses II, utilizing at least some Libyan captives sometime around his 44th year as king, was dedicated to Amun-Re and Re-Horakhty. It was the third speos style temple that Ramesses II built in Nubia, the most famous of which is of course at Abu Simbel. The temple sphinx-lined approach in the two forecourts leading to the initial stairway provides the name of this area, which is known as the Valley of the Lions (Arabic Wadi al Sabua). The entire complex that proceeds the rock hewn chambers was enclosed within a huge brick wall over a meter thick on a rectangular plan measuring 35 by 80 meters, with buttresses on the north and south external sides.


Spis Castle, Slovakia

September 11th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The ruins of Spiš Castle (Slovak: Spišský hrad (help·info), Hungarian:Szepesi vár, German: Zipser Burg) in eastern Slovakia form one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe. The castle is situated above the town of Spišské Podhradie and the village of Žehra, in the region known as Spiš (Szepes). It was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1993 (together with the adjacent locations of Spišská Kapitula, Spišské Podhradie and Žehra).

Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier castle. It was the political, administrative, economic and cultural centre of Szepes county. Before 1464, it was owned by Hungarian kings, afterwards (until 1528) by the Szapolyai family, the Thurzo family (1531-1635), the Csáky family (1638-1945), аnd (since 1945) by the State.


Orava Castle, Slovakia

September 3rd, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Orava Castle (Slovak: Oravský hrad, German: Arwaburg, Hungarian: Árva vára ) is the name of a castle situated on a high rock (520 meters/1,760 feet), which was constructed in the 13th century, considered to be one of the most interesting castles in Slovakia. Many scenes of the 1922 film Nosferatu were filmed here, although until recently it was thought to have been shot in Transylvania.

The natural formation "castle cliff" - a limy spur 112 meters (367 ft) high, modeled by the Orava River and its right tributary brook Racova - has been inhabited since the primeval ages. The wooden rampart became during its history a strong walled castle of which the first written documents dates back to 1267. At that time only the ground floor was built of stone, the stories were made of wood.

In 1370 the castle became the center of the Orava County. A tetrahedral multi-story towerntury was built here in the 14th century, probably on older foundations, as a donjon - the place of "last shelter" by defensive the castle. After 1474, King Matthew gave order to build a square and a residence-wing at the Middle Castle. The buildings were situated in front of the castle. In 1534 John of Dubovec obtained the castle and became county head. He started to rebuild the castle and to make new fortifications. He ordered to build a half-round tower at the Upper Castle that in 1539 was followed by two large round fortifications to inside stories for cannons at the Middle Castle. Also the Middle platform was made for cannon firing. In the years 1539 - 1543 John of Dubovec built a five-story palace on the free place between the tower and the stone wall of the Upper Castle. The Turkish peril was the reason for building new fortifications. The new gate with a ditch and drawbridge in the Lower Castle was completed in 1543. The Tower of the Archives was built against the castle walls.


The Château de Villandry, France

August 22nd, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Château de Villandry is located in Villandry, in the département of Indre-et-Loire, France.

The lands where an ancient fortress once stood were known as Colombier until the 17th century. Acquired in the early 1500’s by Jean Le Breton, France’s Controller-General for War under King Francois I, a new château was constructed around the original 14th-century keep where King Philip II of France once met Richard I of England (“the Lionhearted”) to discuss peace.

The château remained in the Le Breton family for more than two centuries until it was acquired by the Marquis de Castellane. During the French Revolution the property was confiscated and in the early 1800’s Emperor Napoleon acquired it for his brother Joseph Bonaparte.

In 1906, Dr. Joachim Carvallo purchased the property and poured an enormous amount of time, money and devotion into repairing it and creating what many consider to be the most beautiful gardens anywhere. Its famous Renaissance gardens include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens. The gardens are laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges. In 1934, Château de Villandry was designated a Monument historique. Like all the other châteaux of the Loire Valley, it is a World Heritage Site.


Chinon Castle, France

August 22nd, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Chinon is a castle located on the bank of the Vienne river in Chinon, France.

The importance of Chinon derives from its position on the bank of the Vienne river, just before it joins the Loire. From prehistoric times, the rivers of France formed the major trade routes, and the Vienne joins the fertile southern plains of the Poitou and the city of Limoges to the thoroughfare of the Loire, thus giving access to the sea at the port of Nantes on the western coast, and to the Île-de-France in the east. Chinon offers an easy crossing point by means of a central island in the Vienne, and the rocks dominating the shore provided not only a natural fort, but also protection against the annual flooding of the river.

The site appears to have been used for a Gallo-Roman castrum. Towards the end of the 4th century, a follower of St Martin, St Mexme, established first a hermitage, and then a monastery on the eastern slope of the town. This foundation flourished in the Early Middle Ages, with a large and highly decorated church, a cloister and a square of canons' residences. Unfortunately the all too familiar pattern of Huguenot damage in the sixteenth century, followed by closure and partial demolition during the Revolution of 1789 and onwards has left only a much-damaged facade and tower, although the building is now being restored as a cultural centre.


The Château de Cheverny, France

August 22nd, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Château de Cheverny is located at Cheverny, in the département of Loir-et-Cher in the Loire Valley in France.

The lands were purchased by Henri Hurault, comte de Cheverny, a lieutenant-general and military treasurer for Louis XI, whose descendent the marquis de Vibraye is the present owner.

Lost to the Crown because of fraud to the State, it was donated by King Henri II to his mistress Diane de Poitiers. However, she preferred Château de Chenonceau and sold the property to the former owner's son, Philippe Hurault, who built the château between 1624 and 1630, to designs by the sculptor-architect of Blois, Jacques Bougier, who was trained in the atelier of Salomon de Brosse, and whose design at Cheverny recalls features of the Palais du Luxembourg. The interiors were completed by the daughter of Henri Hurault and Marguerite, marquise de Montglas, by 1650, employing craftsmen from Blois.


The Château de Chenonceau, France

August 22nd, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Château de Chenonceau, near the small village of Chenonceaux, in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France, was built on the site of an old mill on the River Cher, sometime before its first mention in writing in the 11th century. The current manor was designed by the French Renaissance architect Philibert Delorme.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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