Category Archives: Town Wall

Old City Jail (Charleston, South Carolina)

040713-063

Old City Jail
* Charleston, South Carolina *

Just on the fringe of historic downtown is one of Charleston’s most infamous sites, especially amongst ghost and pirate tours is The Old Charleston Jail. It was well known as the melting pot of some of America’s most heinous criminals in the founding days such as civil war prisoners, 19th century pirates, and infamous criminals such as Lavinia Fisher. The Jail operated from 1802 until 1939. It was also the County Jail until 1939. When Charleston was laid out and built, a 4 acre section of land was set aside in 1680 here for public use. It eventually became a site of a poor house, a hospital, workhouse for runaway slaves, and finally the jail was built on the square in 1802. Originally it was 4 stores wit ha two story octagonal tower. It was stamped Fireproof by Robert Mills in 1822. In 1855 renovations and alterations added a rear octagonal wing, main building expanded, and Romanesque Revival details were added. The 1886 Earthquake damaged the tower and top story which were eventually removed for safety. During the Civil War, confederate and federal prisoners of war were incarcerated here. After sitting vacant for 61 years, the American College of the Building Arts acquired the jail from the City in 2000 and preserved its history with emergency stabilization aid. Today it serves as an inspirational living laboratory and classroom for ACBA students. Bulldog Tour’s Haunted Jail Tour takes patrons through the cells, hallways, and rooms as it is presumed haunted by the spirits of deceased prisoners who died in the jail.

040713-064

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Medieval District of Dublin


Medieval District

Dublin, Ireland

The walled district of Dublin that contains Christ Church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublinia Medieval Museum, The Brazenhead Pub, and many other landmarks is known as the “Medieval District”. As Dublin can trace its origins back beyond a 1,000 years with a good part of Ireland’s historical cultural, educational, and industrial activities taking place in this area. The Egyptian-Greek astronomer/cartographer Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus ) wrote about Dublin in 140 C.E. as the settlement called Eblana which would date Dublin to over 2,000 years old. These writings of Dublin and Eblana being the same city are still under academic debate. Dublin was believed to have begun as a Viking settlement that was later preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement called Duiblinn. In the 9th-10th centuries there were two settlements where Dublin now stands. The Vikings resided in this area and called themselves “Dyflin” after the Irish “Duiblinn” or “Black Pool” referring to the dark tidal pool where the River Poddle enters the River Libbey. As a Gaelic settlement it was called “Áth Cliath” which means “ford of hurdles” located further up the river where present day Father Mathew Bridge is located at the bottom of Church Street. The Vikings ruled Dublin for almost three centuries until they were expelled in 902 C.E. They returned in 917 C.E. until they were defeated by the Irish High King Brian Boru at the battle of Clontarf in 1014 with Viking rule completely ceasing to exist by 1171 C.E. Dublin became the center of English power in Ireland after Norman invasions of southern Ireland (Munster/Leinster) from 1169-1171 C.E. when Dublin replaced Tara in Meath as the seat of the Gaelic High Kings of Ireland. After the Hiberno-Norman defeat of Dublin in 1171 C.E. most of the Norse inhabitants left the old city building a new settlement on the north side called “Oxmantown” and by 1400 C.E. the Anglo-Normans were absorbed into Irish culture. Settlers from England and Wales began populating the area. Rural areas around the city as far as Drogheda became an extensive English settlement and by the 14th century was fortified against the Native Irish becoming known as “The Pale”. English rule functioned from the Dublin Castle with landowners and merchants ruling Parliament from 1297 C.E. This was also around the time that St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church, and St. Audeon’s were established. Medieval dubliners were fearful of siege from the native Irish, walling the city where the Medieval district now sits. This fortified Medieval Dublin’s 5,000-10,000 inhabitants is a tightly knit small are of no more than 3 kilometers in circumference. Outside the city walls were suburbs such as the Liberties, on the lands of the Archbishop of Dublin, and Irishtown, where Gaelic Irish were supposed to live after having been expelled from the city proper by a 15th century law. Native Irish were forbidden to live within the walled city even though many did by the 16th century. Life during the Medieval period was very precarious and tragic. 1348 saw the lethal Black Death that ravaged all of Europe in the mid-14th century. Dubliners who died from the Black Death were buried in mass graves in the area called the “Blackpitts” and the plague lasted until 1649. Through the Middle Ages, Dublin payed protection money called “Black Rent” to Irish clans so that they would not raid the city. 1315, Edward the Bruce and his Scottish army burned Dublin’s suburbs. The English lost interest in maintaining their Irish Colony and eventually Dublin was taken back by the surrounding Irish. 1487 saw the English Wars of the Roses and in 1537 Silken Thomas besieged Dublin Castle. Henry VIII sent a large army to destroy the Fitzgerlands and replace them with English rule bringing back Dublin under English Crown rule.

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Chun Castle

Chûn Castle
Near Pendeen, Cornwall, England

The Chûn Castle is an Iron Age hillfort on the summit of Chûn Downs holding a stronghold with secure views of the north and northwest, onwards to the Atlantic Coast and south towards Mounts Bay. it is roughly 84 meters in diameter with stone walls up to 2.7 meters high and is formed of two concentric rings of granite. There are stone gateposts flanking the entrance. To the west is a chocked well with steps descending down into the water. Pottery found on site suggests the main period of operation was from 3rd century BCE until 1st century CE, with possible re-occupation in 5th-6th century CE. Other evidence shows it was built around 2500 years ago. The fort is circular with two very impressive stone walls and an external ditch. In the interior of the circle fortifications are the remains of several stone walled round houses, of course in ruins, by later activity. One of these is an oval shaped roundhouse that is believed to be post-Roman occupation. The only entrance is a stone-lined passage through the large inner ramparat on the west side with an offset opening through the outer rampart, which is believed to have held a defensive function. A furnace was discovered on the northern edge containing tin and iron indicating that mineral processing was carried out here in the Iron Age. The entrance was set in line with the inner one and the entranceway aligned 250 meters towards the Neolithic chamber tomb known as Chun Quoit which was present long before the stronghold was created. Nearby to the east is the Romano-British courtyard house village of Bosullow Trehyllys which may have been contemporary with the fort. Chun Castle was probably utilized to protect the mining resources and the prehistoric trackway known as Old St. Ives Road.

Chun Quoit
is a neolithic standing structure which also serves as a bronze age burial mound. The dolmen burial chamber stands on bleak atmospheric moorland slopes about a mile from the sea by Great Bosullow. It consists of a huge capstone (3.3 x 3 meters) with a cupmark standing at about 2 meters height and supported by four standing stones to create a closed chamber. The only access to the interior of the grave is through a hole in the lower right side of the South by southeastern base slab. This monument was probably covered by an earth mound.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part A (4/10) -Leaving Amsterdam for Mons, Belgium to the “Trolls et Legendes” festival …

Part A


Hunting for the hostel in Mons

Friday, 10 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Mons, Belgium

The adventurers had a pretty interesting night partying in Amsterdam with the pub crawl. Awaking early with a hangover was not the best start to the day that Sir Thomas Leaf could have. Onwards to check out from the Zeesburg hostel after a good night rest. Princess Breanna took advantage of the free breakfast and chatting with friends before their departure, Sir Thomas Leaf was certainly too groggy and needed to catch up on winks. A short bus ride from the hostel to the Zeesburg park-n-ride, the party was soon into their rental auto-carriage and off on the road to Belgium – the land of chocolate and fries. The roads getting out of Amsterdam were pretty congested and a headache, but once into Belgium, the traffic alleviated somewhat. It was afterall Easter weekend and since European’s are big on travel and vacations, one would be sure to run into crowds hitting the roads for their Easter vacation plans. The party drove through Brussels, but didn’t stop, as they wanted to get to Mons to find their hostel and the festival center so they could see the opening acts at http://www.trolls-et-legendes.be/. Sir Thomas Leaf has 6 years of French under his belt so was quite excited to try it out – unfortunately he sucks at comprehension and pronunciation, so it was no better that he knew French as he was still stuck with English. It however was much easier for him to manage in Belgium than Germany and other countries he felt. The roads in the historic section of Mons were an absolute nightmare. Cobbled roads all one way, roads the GPS was saying existed either didn’t or were blocked off, the frustrated duo, arguing over directions, finally two hours of driving around in circles parked and hoofed it on foot dragging their luggage. They weren’t too far off as the looming castle of a hostel was right in front of them the whole time, it was just shut off from driving to it because of road constructions and restorations. Checking in, they were blessed with their own private room, as the apparently “full” hostel on the web, wasn’t so full in person. One could spot a few of the festival goers in their outfits that were staying at the hostel as well. Unfortunately, the duo really struggled getting around because no one knew English and with Sir Thomas Leaf’s poor french, it was a struggle finding out where to go. The woman at the hostel desk knew decent English so was able to guide them to the Central station so they could catch a bus to the festival center.

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part A (4/10) -Leaving Amsterdam for Mons, Belgium to the “Trolls et Legendes” festival …

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Mons, Belgium

Mons, Belgium
Population [2006] is 91,221 (47.78% male / 52.22% female)
Mons is a city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut and is considered a Walloon city (French). At Spiennes some of the best flint tools in Europe were found dating from the Neolithic period and were the first signs of activity in the region. 1st century BC, Julius Caesar entered the region and settled by the the Nervii the settlement of Castrilocus consisting of a castrum where the name was derived. The name was later changed into Montes for the hills upon which the castrum was built. 7th century – Saint Ghislain and his two disciples built an oratory/chapel dedicated to Saints Peter and paul near the Mons hill. 12th century, Baldwin IV, the Count of Hainaut fortified the city – causing the population to grow fast, trade to flourish, and several commercial buildings, town halls, and churches constructed near the Grand’Place. 13th century saw a population of 4,700; by end of the 15th century grew to 8,900. 1515 Charles V took an oath here as Count of Hainaut. Beginning in 1572 various occupations began – Protestant takeover by Louis of Nassau, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre murder of de Coligny, the Duke of Alba took control in that September for the Catholics. The city was laid to ruin and many of its inhabitants were arrested. 1580-1584 Mons was the capital of the Southern Netherlands. Continue reading Mons, Belgium

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New Amsterdam Red Light District Tour

New Amsterdam Red Light District Tour
“The Red Light District Exposed”
The tour meets daily at 6:45 pm next to the Tourist Information Center directly in front of Centraal Staation. Look for the guides wearing red New Europe T-shirts. €10 Adults/€8 Students
Now I’m not usually a real big fan of “tours” and the whole “tourist” “sightseeing” parts of travelling. I usually like to explore on my own. But this tour was very affordable and had an incredible tour guide who knew her history of the district and was extremely helpful with orientation to Amsterdam. I couldn’t recommend any other tour “more” other than the accompanying “free” tour of Amsterdam each morning by the same company. They market the tour as “The Red Light District Exposed” and they certainly do an incredible job talking about every sensual or creepy corner of the district. They advertise with “Intrigued by the Red Light District at night but don’t feel safe exploring it on your own?” and they perfectly show the area for its beauty, intrique, history, and that its quite safe – with a two hour walking tour wandering from coffee shops and jazz clubs to sex theaters and smart shops, prostitute windows, and condom shops, ending with free shots and cocktail specials at the infamous Belushi’s bar. The guides take you to the Proefokaal and other Historic Bars, the World’s first Stock Exchange, a stroll through China Town, window gazing at the Condomerie, to the Old Church, Jazz legend Chet Baker’s place of death, the Warmoestraat: hardcore leather neighorhood, S&M Specialist, Smart Shops and a talk about Mushrooms, visits to the Sex Shops, Video Cabins, the Elite Streets, The Bulldog: Amsterdam’s first “Coffeeshops”, The Prostitution Information Center, the Word’s first Sex Theater, the Newmarket, and many more intriguing locations. On the eve of April 8, 2009 – we were luckily blessed with a fabulous guide named “Stacey”. Stacey was born in Russia, has lived in Canada, the US, Italy, and Malaysia, and now Amsterdam. She’s studying Art History and completing her degree in Asian Studies. Friendly, courteous, and extremely intelligent, she’s one of the best guides on the planet. The tour is worth the 10 Euro just to pick her brain about great places to eat, see, and experience nightlife. Top rating 5 stars out of 5. Thanks Stacey!!! Continue reading New Amsterdam Red Light District Tour

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The Amsterdam Waag

The Amsterdam Waag
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

In the heart of Amsterdam lies a remnant of the former city walls known as the “Amsterdam Waag”. The walls were constructed here between 1481 and 1494. The Waag was constructed in 1488 and originally housed one of the city gates known as the “Sint Anthoniespoort”. The lower part of another gate also exists here called the Regulierspoort (“Munttoren”) and a defense tower known as the Schreierstoren. As the city wall disappeared, the New Market (Nieuwmarkt) began and the building housed the weighing scales. It became the predominant weigh house in Amsterdam. Weigh houses are buildings where scales are set up to weigh goods and levy taxes on goods transported through the area. From 1550-1690 those accused of witchcraft were sometimes brought here to be subjected to a “witch test” where if the person was found to be lighter than a set weight, s/he was deemed guilty. During the Spanish Inquisition, public executions took place here and to the left of this building you can find an inclined alleyway called the “Bloedstraat” (Blood street) where the blood from executions drained down. “Waag” means “scale” and his how the place got its name. In the late 16th century, as the city expanded, the wall was torn down and the gate lost its function. The defensive canal and palissade was turned into the market square, raising the ground, and filling in the canal. The upper floors housed four guilds – the smiths, the painters, the masons, and the surgeons. Each had its own entrance tower. This is the famous spot where in 1632 Rembrandt van Rijn was commissioned to paint the surgeons at work which is how the Anatomical Lesson of Dr. Tulp made his name. They added a theatrum anatomicum in 1691 so that paying members of the public could witness human dissections. the guilds were dissolved in 1795 leading to many different uses of the building, including a fire brigade and two museums before being taken over by a foundation in 1990. This foundation originally planned to partly destroy the building and build an addition designed by Philippe Starck but because the foundation went bankrupt they were unable to accomplish this feat. The local neighbourhood, historians, and the Amsterdam city council worked to restore it keeping its medieval background. In 1996 the Waag Society became the principal tenant. The Waag Society is the ICT research foundation that is working in the social and cultural domain of Amsterdam, and is a responsible group, according to locals, for its part in shutting down the Red Light district and cafes. The building also houses a very expensive cafe/restaurant on the ground floor that most locals recommend to avoid.


Amsterdam Waag

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Fortress Marienberg (Wurzburg, Germany)


Castle Marionburg, Germany

Fortress Marienberg / Castle Marionburg
http://www.schloesser.bayern.de/englisch/palace/objects/wu_fest.htm
* Festung Marienberg * Nr. 239 * 97082 Würzburg * Telephone (09 31) 3 55 17-50 *
Festung Marienberg is a humongous fortress along the Main river in Wurzburg, Germany. A fort since ancient times, it is one of the most prominent landmarks along the Main. Originally a Celtic settlement and shelter, the Marienkirche was built in 704 AD and by the 13th century was surrounded by its first fortifications. By 1492 the main castle was encircled by a medieval ring wall with the Scherenberg gate. In May of 1525 the Peasant’s War attempted unsuccessfully to sieze the castle – with 15,000 men failing. Their leader Florian Geyer went to Rothenburg ob der Tauber in early June to procure the heavy guns needed to breach these walls while the leaderless peasant army camped around the castle and thereby outflaked by the bishop’s professional army. More than 8,000 were slaughtered or blinded. In 1600 Julius Echter rebuilt the fortress into a Renaissance palace. Continue reading Fortress Marienberg (Wurzburg, Germany)

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Wurzburg, Germany


Entering Wurzburg

Wurzburg, Germany
Wurzburg is a Franconia city in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. It is located on the Main River approximately 120 kms from Frankfurt and Nuremberg by road and it is a center for culture, exports, trade, and commerce. It is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Unterfranken. It is a German speaking city with the regional dialect as Franconian. The city itself is not included in the district of Wurzburg but is its administrative seat and holds a population of roughly 131,320 (2006 census). Wurzburg started as a Celtic fortification in 1000 BC where the Castle Marienberg now stands. As it was Christianized in 686 by Kilian, Colman, and Totnan; a group of Irish missionaries wanting to convert the area. First called Vurteburch in 704, the first diocese was founded by Saint Boniface in 742 who appointed Saint Burkhard as the first bishop of Wurzburg. The bishops created a duchy in the center of the city which extended throughout the 12th century to Eastern Franconia. Wurzburg became the seat of several Imperial diets, including the one of 1180, in which Henry the Lion was banned from the Empire and his duchy was handed over to Otto of Wittelsbach. [wikipedia] In 788, the first church was built and became the present Würzburg Cathedral and was later consecrated that same year by Charlemagne. It was converted to Romanesque style from 1040 to 1225. Wurzburg is also home to the infamous University: The University of Würzburg, which was founded in 1402 and re-founded in 1582.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 12, Part B (4/6) – Wurzburg and Castle Marionburg, Return to Dusseldorf

Part B


View of Castle Marionburg from the bridge in Wurzburg

Monday, 6 April 2009
Wurzburg, Germany

The adventurers made it to Wurzburg. Wandering around the streets and exploring the artistic architecture, statues, and sights. The adventurers were in awe of what a beautiful city Wurzburg is. Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Vanssa, and Princess Brea crossed the bridge with all the statues to see how far a walk it would be to make it to the Castle on foot. Deciding against it, they opted for a scenic walk along the waterfront and over to the Tourist Information center. Soon thereafter, Lord Christian picked the group up in his motor-carriage and drove them up to the Castle. There they explored the still used interiors, walls, towers, and well. A key was held in the hand of a Saint and the other who may have held one, was missing the arm that would of held the missing key. Could this be the heavily sought after “Key?” to “Life”? Was the key in the hands of this other statue and cut off by someone who wanted “the sacred key of life”? Bedazzled and confused, the adventurers continued on as Sir Thomas Leaf believed a mighty Troll may have taken the Key to Belgium. Omens and prophecies said the key would be there. Being a reknown diviner – faith was planted to follow his intuition. After the castle, it was a couple hour drive to Dusseldorf. The party dropped by Sir Ingo the Great’s for some tea and cake, then Lady Vanessa lured Princess Breanna and Sir Thomas Leaf off for some Lebanese fast food. That evening they took it easy and settled down to a movie satisfied with their adventure.

 
The statues at Castle Marionburg, one holding a key, the other perhaps had the missing key

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 12, Part B (4/6) – Wurzburg and Castle Marionburg, Return to Dusseldorf

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Ansbach, Germany


Ansbach, Germany

Ansbach, Germany
www.ansbach.de
Ansbach or Anspach is a town of roughly 40,512 people in the Bavarian state of Germany (census 2004). It was originally called Onolzbach. It serves as the capital of the administrative region of Middle Franconia. 25 miles southwest of Nuremberg and 90 miles north of Munich, Ansbach has been an important center for Franconia and Bavaria. It resides on the Frankische Rezat, a tributary of the Main river. Ansbach started out as a Benedictine monastery in 748 by Gumbertus (a Franconian noble) who was later canonized. Centuries later, the monastery and its adjoining village called Onolzbach populated into the town that is now “Ansbach” (1221 AD). The counts of Oettigen ruled there until the Hohenzollern burgraves of Nuremberg took over in 1331 making the seat of their dynasty there until they acquired the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1415. With the death of Frederick I (Elector of Brandenburg) in 1440, the Franconian cadet branch of the family was not politically united with the main Brandenburg line remaining independent as “Brandenburg-Ansbach”. Continue reading Ansbach, Germany

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Lichtenau, Germany


Lichtenau, Germany

Lichtenau, Bavaria, Germany
A small village/town of roughly 3,780 population just off the infamous “Castle Road” theme route of Southern Germany. Its a small market town in the district of Ansbach, Mittelfranken, Bavaria, Germany. 390 meters above Sea Level with an Area of 41.39 km² (16 sq mi). Very traditional little town, it is also home to the “Veste Lichtenau” (castle) which now houses the Nuremberg Archives.
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Nürnberg, Germany

Nuremberg is located on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. It is in the heart of the Franconia / Bavaria state of Germany. It is Franconia’s largest city and is located 170 km’s north of Munich. In 2006, it’s population was 500,132. It is located 302 meters above sea level. Nuremberg saw great expansion from 1050-1571 because it was located on one of the key trade routes for the region and thereby was referred to as the “unofficial capital” of the Holy Roman Emperor as often royal meetings took place at the Nuremberg Castle. In 1219 it became a Imperial Free City under Emperor Frederick II and was popular as one of the two great trade centers on the route from Italy to Northern Europe. 1298 saw a horrible massacre (one of several in the Rintfleisch Massacres) of the Jewish population as they were accused of having desecrated the host with a hidden agenda to combine the northern and southern parts of the city which were divided by the Pegnitz River – and since the Jews settled there, this was one of the means the city had of getting rid of them. The area is now the City Market, Frauenkirche, and the City Hall (Rathaus). From the 15th-16th centuries, the German Renaissance flowered in this center. Then in 1525, the Protestant Reformation took influence in the area, and in 1532 the religious Peace of Nuremberg was signed here. The Thirty Year’s War did its damage in 1632 and declined thereafter until recovery in the 19th century as it grew into an industrial center. Because of the bankruptcy after the war, Nuremberg was given to Bavaria who took over the debts and guaranteed amortization. Eventually Nazi Germany landed here. Because of its former relevance to the Holy Roman Empire, the Nazi Party chose the city to be the location for the huge Nazi Party conventions – the Nuremberg Rallies that were held from 1927-1938. When Hitler rose to power in 1933, the rallies became huge state propaganda events and Nuremberg became a center of Nazi ideals. It was here that Hitler ordered the Reichstag to convene at Nuremberg to pass anti-Semitic Law to revoke German citizenship for all Jews. Today there still remains many examples of Nazi architecture. With WWII, Nuremberg became the headquarters of Wehrkreis (military district) XIII and an important site for the production of airplanes, submarines, and tanks. Continue reading Nürnberg, Germany

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Nibelungenmuseum and the legend (Worms, Germany)

Nibelungenmuseum
Worms, Germany
http://www.nibelungenmuseum.de/

In the August of 2001 the city of Worms opened their historic Nibelungenmuseum, depicting and audio-journeying the tales about the Nibelungenlied right at the town wall where some of the legends may have taken place. They boast of “state-of-the-art” didactic aids that are led by story tellers representing the great renowned tales of the unknown 12th-century poet.

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