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Fortress of Malbork (originally Marienburg in German), Poland

June 27th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Fortress of Malbork (originally Marienburg in German)

The city of Malbork was built around the fortress of 'Malbork' (originally Marienburg in German), founded in 1274 on the right bank of the river Nogat by the Teutonic Knights and named for their patron saint, the Virgin Mary. This fortified castle became the seat of the Teutonic Order and Europe's largest Gothic fortress. The river and flat terrain allowed easy access for barges a hundred kilometers from the sea. During Prussia's government by the Teutonic Knights, they collected tolls on river traffic and forced a monopoly of the amber trade. The city later became a member of the Hanseatic League, and many Hanse meetings were held there. The castle successfully withstood a siege after the Battle of Grunwald under the guidance of Heinrich von Plauen. However, it was sold during the Thirteen Years' War in 1457 to Casimir IV, the king of Poland, by the Bohemian king's imperial soldiers in lieu of their pay. The city of Malbork under mayor Bartholomäus Blume disobeyed the Poles for three further years until the mayor was hanged. Since then Malbork became one of the Polish royal residences until the partitions of Poland in 1772. In 1945 the castle was severely damaged as a result of fighting during World War II, but was reconstructed thereafter.

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Buckingham Palace, England

June 27th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch and the largest "working" royal palace remaining in the world. The expression "Buckingham Palace" or simply "The Palace" has become a common way of referring to the source of press statements coming from parts of the British Royal Family. In addition to being the London home of HM Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace is a setting for state occasions, royal entertaining and base for all officially visiting heads of state, and is a major tourist attraction. It has been a rallying point for the British at times of national rejoicing and crisis. However, it is not universally admired, and was voted the fourth ugliest building in London in March 2005.

The palace originally known as Buckingham House, a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, was acquired by King George III in 1762 as a private residence. It was enlarged over the next 75 years, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in Victoria's time, with the addition of the large wing facing east towards The Mall, and the removal of the former state entrance, Marble Arch, to its present position near Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park. The east front was refaced in Portland stone in 1913 as a backdrop to the Victoria Memorial, creating the present-day 'public face' of Buckingham Palace, including the famous balcony.

The original Georgian interior designs included widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a heavy redecoration in a Belle epoque cream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House following the death of King George IV. The Buckingham Palace Gardens are the largest private gardens in London, originally landscaped by Capability Brown, but redesigned by William Townsend Ailton of Kew Gardens and John Nash. The great man-made lake was completed in 1828 and is supplied with water from the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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The Wawel Castle and The Wawel Cathedral, Cracow, Poland

June 27th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The Wawel Castle and The Wawel Cathedral

The Wawel Castle (Polish: Zamek wawelski) served as a royal residence and the site where the country's rulers governed Poland for five centuries from 1038 until 1596.

The Wawel Cathedral is Poland's national sanctuary with 1000-year-old history, it was the coronation site of Polish monarchs.

The so-called Sigismund's Chapel (Kaplica Zygmuntowska in Polish) is one of the most notable pieces of architecture in Kraków. Built as a tomb chapel of the last Jagiellons, it was hailed by many historians of art as the most beautiful example of Toscan renaissance north of the Alps. Financed by king Sigismund I of Poland, the chapel was built between 1519 and 1533 by Bartolomeo Berrecci. A square-based chapel with a golden dome houses the tombs of its founder king Sigismund, as well as king Sigismund Augustus of Poland and Anna Jagiellonka. The design of internal sculptures, stuccos and paintings was carried out by some of the most renowned artists of the epoch, including the architect himself, Georg Pencz, Santi Gucci and Hermann Vischer.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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