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The Tramontano Castle / Castello Tramontano, Italy

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

The Tramontano Castle that was begun in the early sixteenth century by Gian Carlo Tramontano, Count of Matera, is probably the only other structure that is above ground of any great significance outside of the sassi. However, the construction remained unfinished after his assassination in the popular riot of 29 December 1514. It has three large towers, while twelve were probably included in the original design. During some restoration work in the main square of the town, workers came across what was believed to be the main footings of another castle tower. However, on further excavation large Roman cisterns were unearthed. Whole house structures were discovered where one can see how the people of that era lived. Found under the main square of the modern city was a large underground reservoir, complete with columns and a vaulted ceiling.


Bauska Castle, Bauska, Latvia

July 4th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Bauska Castle is a complex consisting of the ruins of an earlier castle and a later palace on the outskirts of the Latvian city of Bauska.

The impressive castle, the remains of which were recently restored, stands on the narrow peninsula at the confluence of the rivers Mūsa and Mēmele where they form the Lielupe river. The first buildings were established between 1443 and 1456 by the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights and construction continued till the end of the 16th century.

After the collapse of the Teutonic Order in this area in 1562, Bauska Castle became the residence of the Dukes of Courland, for whom the palace was built in the 17th and 18th centuries. During the Great Northern War, both castle and palace were blown up.

Only ruins remain from the seat of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. The palace, however, is fully restored and can be visited daily during the summer months. The castle keep has a platform with an extensive panoramic view.


Karlštejn - a Gothic castle in Karlštejn, Czech Republic

July 4th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Karlštejn is a large Gothic castle founded in the 14th century by Charles IV. The castle served as a place for safekeeping the Empire coronation jewels, holy relics and other royal treasures. Located about 20 km southwest of Prague in the Karlštejn village, it is one of the most famous and heavily visited castles in the Czech Republic.

The castle was founded in 1348 by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV who personally supervised the construction works and the decoration of interiors. The construction was finished nearly twenty years later when the "heart" of the treasury – the Chapel of the Holy Cross situated in the Great tower – was consecrated in 1365. With the outbreak of the Hussite Wars, the Czech coronation jewels were moved to the castle and were kept there for almost two centuries, with some short-time breaks.


Pernštejn Castle, Nedvědice, Czech Republic

July 4th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Pernštejn Castle (Czech: hrad Pernštejn) is a castle located on a rock above the village of Nedvědice and the rivers of Svratka and Nedvědička, some 40 km northwest of Brno, Czech Republic.

It was founded by the Lords of Medlov before 1285. The family branch seated at the castle adopted the then fashionable name Pernštejn, which is the Czech version of the original German name, Bärenstein - "the Bear Rock". Its history is closly connected to the Lords of Pernštejn (Pernštejnové) and their descendants. The castle is one of the most preserved castles in Czech Republic.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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Ancient City of Salamis, Cyprus

June 23rd, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Salamis was an ancient city-state on the east coast of Cyprus, at the mouth of the river Pedieos, 6 km north of modern Famagusta.

The earliest archaeological finds go back to the eleventh century BCE (Late Bronze Age III). The copper ores of Cyprus made the island an essential node in the earliest trade networks, and Cyprus was a source of the orientalizing cultural traits of mainland Greece at the end of the Greek Dark Ages, hypothesized by Walter Burkert in 1992. Children's burials in Canaanite jars indicate a Phoenician presence. A harbour and a cemetery from this period have been excavated. The town is mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions as one of the kingdoms of Iadnana (Cyprus). In 877 an Assyrian army reached the Mediterranean shores for the first time. In 708 the city-kings of Cyprus paid homage to Sargon II of Assyria (Burkert). The first coins were minted in the 6th century BCE, following Persian prototypes.


Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

June 14th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Reunification Palace (Vietnamese: Dinh Thống Nhất) formerly known as Independence Palace (Dinh Độc Lập) built on the site of the former Norodom Palace, is a historic landmark in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It was designed by architect Ngo Viet Thu as the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War and the site of the official handover of power during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. It was then known as Independence Palace, and an NVA tank crashed through its gates, as recorded by Neil Davis.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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Burg Hohenwerfen - a castle near Salzburg, Austria

June 5th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Burg Hohenwerfen is a castle approximately 40 km south of the Austrian city of Salzburg. The castle is majestically surrounded by the mighty Tennengau and Hagen mountain ranges. The fortification is a "sister" of Festung Hohensalzburg both dated from the 11th century.

The former fortification was built in the 11th century as a strategic bulwark atop a 155 meter rock high above the Salzach river and valley. Hohenwerfen served Salzburg's rulers, the prince-archbishops, not only as a military base but also as a residential and hunting retreat.

During the Investiture, a struggle for power between the Pope and the German Emperor, the non-secular state Salzburg got between the lines.

To secure Salzburg, three major castles were extended: The Hohenwerfen, Festung Hohensalzburg and the Burgruine Petersberg. In the case of Hohenwerfen, the castle was extended in the 12th century and so a lesser extent again in the 16th century during the Peasants' War (German: Bauernkriege), when looting and rioting farmers and miners from the South of Salzburg moved towards the city in 1525 and 1526.


Belvedere on the Klausberg, Potsdam, Germany

June 5th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Belvedere on the Klausberg (German: Belvedere auf dem Klausberg from the Italian word for fine view) is located in the north of Brandenburg's capital of Potsdam. It was built from 1770-1772 under the rule of Friedrich the Great on the ridge, which bordered the northern edge of Sanssouci Park. Architect Georg Christian Unger received the commission for the building, which at the time of its construction could be seen from a great distance away.

In 1769, the year that the New Palace, at the western end of the park was finished, a new garden project was begun. On the southern slope of the Klausberg, fruit trees and grape vines were planted and many buildings received architectural face-lifts. Of these only the Belvedere and the Dragon House, built at the same time, were ever finished. Besides its decorative purpose, the Belvedere also earned a reputation during Friedrich's lifetime, as its name suggests, for its grand views of Sanssouci Park and the surrounding countryside.