Mesa Verde National Park
Article currently being written. Expected publication date 2/16/17. Come back soon.
Mesa Verde National Park
Article currently being written. Expected publication date 2/16/17. Come back soon.
– Denver Museum of Natural History and Science –
One of Denver’s star attractions, the Museum of Nature and Science is a hallmark of the area, and an informal science education center for the Rocky Mountains. It hosts a variety of exhibits, programs, and activities for visitors to embark and learn from about the history of the Earth, the world, and most specifically Colorado. The building is roughly 716,000 square feet housing more than a million objects in its collections covering anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, geology, art, and the universe. It is also a repository for an incredible archives and library. The museum is independent and a non-profit with over 350 full time and part time staff, over 1800 volunteers, and a board of trustees with 25 member. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. There are six main areas in the museum – (1) The Exhibitions, (2) IMAX films, (3) lectures, (4) classes, and (5) programs based around anthropology, geology, health science, paleontology, space science, and zoology. They receive well over 300,000 students and teachers every year just in school groups alone.
The museum spread from the Edwin Carter Log Cabin Naturalist Museum in 1875 that was the private fauna collection of Colorado species gathered together by Edwin Carter from Breckenridge Colorado. In 1892 a group of Denver citizens declared interest in his collection to be moved to the capital for all to enjoy, and Carter sold it to them for $10,000. They added another collection of butterflies and moths as well a some crystallized gold. This combined collection became the Colorado Museum of Natural History and was incorporated in 1900. The Museum finally opened in 1908. By 1918 it opened another wing. In 1927 one of its teams discovered two stone projectile points embedded in extinct species of Bison in Folsom, New Mexico putting the museum in the spotlight.
There are several permanent areas of the museum, these are:
The museum also houses a large 50,000 plus object collection of anthropological, archaeological, and ethnological artifacts from North America. They also house over 800 items from an ethnological art collection, archival photographs, and documents. The Earth Sciences Collection contains six main groups of fauna, flora, and mineral components such as vertebrate paleontology, paleobotany, invertebrate paleontology, minerals, meteorites, and micromount. The Health Sciences Collection has rare an unique human anatomy specimens as well as pieces of medical importance. The Space Sciences Lab houses the museums Scientific Instruments Collection.
the Department of Space Sciences maintains a large digital collection of images and multimedia assets for space. The Zoology Collection houses over 900,000 specimens of species and creatures from around the globe. The
Bailey Library and Archives focuses on anthropology, archaeology, earth sciences, health sciences, space sciences, zoology, the Rocky Mountain West, and museum studies with over 53,000 publications, 2,500 rare books, and 9,000 volumes of scientific periodicals. Various temporary exhibits come in for a wide variation of subjects and collections. The Phipps IMAX Theater was built in 1940 originally used for concerts, films, and lectures. Then it was re-opened in 1983 as an IMAX Theater primarily.
The museum actually has various secrets as there are hidden paintings located throughout the museum such as Kent Pendleton, one of the diorama painters, placed eight elves hidden in his art for visitors to find, as well as some Star Wars related pictures by the IMAX lobby. Rated 5 stars out of 5
Gig Harbor, Washington
A small little port town and fishing village on Puget Sound bay, just south/southwest of Seattle. Located in Pierce County Washington, this small town of just around 7200 residents, is a great stop for tourists headed west. They claim to be the “Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula”. It is located conveniently near various parks, hitoric waterfront, boutiques, and restaurants. It is located alog State Route 6 about six miles from I-5. The town was founded by fisherman Samuel Jerisich in 1867 and was an attracting area for other immigrants from Norway, Sweden, and Croatia. It was officially platted in 1888 by Alred M Burnham. It was incorporated on July 12, 1946. Its known for commercial fishing, logging, boat building, and tourism. By 1950 it became generally a suburb of Tacoma. Today there is very little industry here – and boat building is rarely done anymore here. It is very popular for commercial fishing. It was the first place in the area to build a gas-powered fishing boat, done so in 1905 by the Skansie brothers.
This remarkable little alpine tourist trap resides in the mountains of Chelan County Washington boasting a residential population of just over 2,000 residents. The architecture, flavor, and culture is reminescent of atypical Bavarian village. The town was incorporated on September 5, 1906 as a small timber community centered around the Great North Railroad that was completed here in 1893. It was founded by two brothers – Lafayette and Chauncery Lamb who moved hre from Iowa to build the second largest saw mill in Washington State in 1903. By the 1920’s the railway relocated to Wenatchee throwing Leavenworth into remission. In 1962, a committee called LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone) was established and partnered with the University of Washington in hopes of breathing life back into this failing small town. Ted Price and Bob Rodgers, two businessmen from Seattle, bought a failing cafe off of Highway 2 in 1960 and came up with a plan with LIFE borrowing ideas from the Danish themed town of Solvang California for inspiration. Beginning with the Chikamin Hotel, they duo remodeled the town in Bavarian style. Leavenworth boasts a good tourist crowd from Seattle and outlying areas that come for the cultural portal it establishes. It is also popular for its Nutcracker Museum that opened in 1995 and the Oktoberfest celebration it hosts each year. The area also boasts a continental Mediterranean climate with hot, sunny summer days and cold, snowy winter nights. Rainfall is limited by the Cascade rain shadow as well as by the anticyclone.
Fort Worden, Washington
Right in the heart of Port Townsend is a historic US Military fort turned into a State Park. It resides along the Admiralty Inlet that flows by Port Townsend. The fort property, now owned by the National Park Service consists of 433 acres, originally as a US Army base to protect Puget Sound from invading forces from 1902 to 1953, named after U.S. Navy Admiral John Lorimer Worden who commanded the USS Monitor during the American Civil War. After it was decommissioned in 1953 and purchased in 1957 converted to a juvenile detention facility, and then turned to a State Park in 1973. Because the Admiralty Inlet was a strategic defense location for Puget Sound, three forts were built along the shores – Fort Worden, Fort Casey, and Fort Flagler creating a “Triangle of Fire” with huge guns thwarting any invasive force coming from sea. The forts were never used for war and never fired a shot. During World War I the guns were removed and used in Europe. It was primarily a training base for military applications. During World War II it became the headquarters of the Harbor Defense Command and jointly operated by the Navy and Army in a team effort. The artillery units were disbanded after World War II and gun batteries dismantled. During the Korean war a 2nd Engineer Special brigade was stationed here before being ordered to Korea to reinforce the Far East Command. After this, in 1957 the fort was in the hands of the state of Washington for diagnosis and treatment of troubled youths. Remnants of various batteries litter the landscape, some of which are open to explore by park visitors. The park also houses the Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum, a balloon hanger used by airships, three 3-inch anti-aircraft gun emplacements, several restored quarters on Officer’s Row, Point Wilson lighthouse, a campground, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, and lots of beaches for recreational use. In 1983 the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed here. In 2002 the movie “The Ring” was also filmed here.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
* Camp Verde, Arizona * http://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm *
Thanks to the Antiquities Act of 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt celebrated it by naming and declaring four National Monuments as having such historic and cultural significance, one of these was Montezuma castle – one of the best preserved examples of cliff dwellings in the country. This 45-50 room Sinagua pueblo ruin sheltered into a natural alcove in a cliff face overlooking Beaver Creek for 400 years is a phenomenal work of art. It was excavated in 1933, and although little artifacts remained, the architecture alone made it shine above others. Early visitors were allowed entrance into the castle by climbing a series of ladders up the limestone cliffs, but due to damages from tourism, it was closed off in 1951. The park consists of over 826 protected acres at the intersection of the Colorado Plateau, Colorado Basin, and Colorado Range. The park attracts over 350,000 visitors a year and is open 7 days a week from 8 am until 5 pm, except being closed for Christmas. The National Park Service has a wonderful museum below at the gate covering the history of the Sinagua and how the cliff dwellings were constructed, displays some of the artifacts recovered, tools used for life, and presents a gift shop for tourists.
The dwellings were first built and used by the Sinagua culture, a pre-Columbian peoples who were distinctly related to the Hohokam who once lived along the valley floor. The cliff dwelling is 5 stores in height and took over five centuries to construct. The construct is stone and mortar buildings with 20 rooms that could have housed upwards of 50 people. Carved into a limestone high cliff, the natural alcove shades the room from sun and rain. It took much skill to create this masterpiece, had an incredibly defensive standpoint, and was difficult to climb up into even with the ladders. There is evidence in another cliff wall that a earlier larger dwelling, but nothing remains of it. Original artifacts remaining were minimal as the area had been highly looted through the ages. It was occupied from 1100 C.E. to 1425 C.E. with its flourishing peak around 1300 C.E. Many tribes trace their roots to this pueblo, including several Hopi clans. This makes the Castle a pilgrimage point for the Hopi and other tribes who conduct religious ceremonies at this place. The first Euro-American contact was in the 1860s which gave it the name “Montezuma Castle” a big misnomer as the Aztec Emperor of Mexico never had anything to do with this community. In fact, it was built and abandoned at least 100 years long before he was ever born. The area was briefly abandoned due to volcanic ash that came from the Sunset Crater Volcano, and its likely the sediment from that ash aided with Sinagua agricultural success. During this brief flash of history, they lived on the hills nearby, then in 1125 re-settled in the Verde Vally and re-cycled the irrigation systems set up by their ancestors the Hohokam. They evacuated the area for an unknown as of yet reason around 1425 C.E. Theories for this ranged from droughts, clashes with the Yavapai people who moved into the Valley, and/or warfare.
“Timeless Beauty: Montezuma castle invites us to pause in wonder at the ingenuity of the people who began building it over 700 years ago. Ancestors of today’s Puebloan peoples built and occupied the Castle. We can only speculate why they chose to build here and how they lived in this magnificent cliff dwelling. Both Montezuma and Castle are misnomers. In the 1800s European Americans were fascinated with Inca, May, and Aztec civilizations and gave southwestern sites exotic names, in this case for Emperor Montezuma II – who lived long after the Castle was constructed. The Yayapai call this place the home of the protectors of the Yavapai. The Hopi refer to it as both Sakataka, place where the step ladders are going up and Wupat’pela for long high walls. Due to looting, by the early 1900s much of what the Castle’s residents left behind was gone. Damage to the building increased as visitors climbed ladders to walk through the rooms. Now this dwelling is only accessed for inspection, maintenance, and research.” ~ marker, Montezuma Castle, NM.
“Creating a home: To construct their cliff home, residents made use of a naturally eroded alcove and fit 20 rooms into the shape of its contours. Why build a home in a cliff face? There are many possibilities: proximity to water and farmland, to stay above floods, or for protection, the view, or the southern exposure that afforded winter solar heat and summer shade. A ready-made shelter also meant fewer walls and roofs to construct for housing, storage, workspace, customs, and rituals. To organize and partition the alcove space, builders created walls with river cobbles and limestone held together with mud mortar. Mud plaster covered and sealed the walls. For roof beams and floors between multi-storied rooms, they mostly used local sycamore along with some alder and ash, but also carried in fir and pine from a distance. The original roof beams protruding from the wall to the right of the tower and the large beam ending in the wall above the tower provide a sense of scale – the castle is not as high up or as large as it might appear. Each group living in the Castle likely had their own room, with roughly 140 square feet (13 sq. meters) or about 17.5 feet by 8 feet (5.3 m x 2.4 m) on average. Ceilings were at about 5 feet (1.5 meters). Peep holes and doorways provided light in the morning and early afternoon, but rooms were dark in the late afternoon and evening. Women or children likely did the plastering including annual patching of exterior walls that eroded easily – their hand prints are still visible in the plaster today.” ~ marker, Montezuma Castle, NM.
“Cycles of Care: Around the year 1400 C.E. people began leaving their homes here. Five hundred years later, its walls were still largely intact. The builders chose their home site wisely, taking advantage of the shelter that a natural alcove provided. The majority of what you see today is original, and the Castle is thought to be one of the best preserved sites from the period, likely due to its inaccessibility. Hopi and other Native consultants say dwellings like this were meant to recycle back to earth after the people left. However, in 1906 the Castle became a national monument to be managed for present and future generations. A variety of preservation treatments were applied to help withstand hundreds of thousands of visitors and keep the walls standing. Whenever possible, archaeologists attempt to match today’s treatment more closely with the original materials and building details, applying the minimum necessary to protect the integrity of the structure. ” ~ marker, Montezuma Castle, NM.
One of the most intriguing and interesting museums in Cork is the Butter Museum. My fiancee was quick to take me up the hill to this unsual museum that covers the history of Ireland’s most important food export and the world’s largest butter market. It’s definitely worth a gander and is enriching with the history of farming, commerce, and finance in Ireland. It doesn’t just focus on the food culture of early Ireland, but also covers the growth of Cork as a food trade center. The history of butter making is covered with a feature audio-visual presentation on Irish Butter, as well as a plethera of artifacts throughout history used in butter and food production. It can be done in about an hour, and only will cost you about 4 Euros to wander about. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center
* Roswell, New Mexico *
A whirlwind of change since the days when I grew up in Roswell, as quickly as I moved out of town the city was infected with an alien craze over the legendary UFO crash that took place there in the 40’s. The Center throws an annual UFO convention as well as talks, workshops, archives, and resources that attracts over a million tourists a year to this small little town. The Museum has a pretty complete archive of all UFO crashes, sightings, and investigations in the area as well as an extensive reading library for any visiting researchers. The Center focuses on solving the mysteries of all things alien and extraterrestrial. The admission is rather steep for the size of the museum, but is worth a gander for any alien enthusiast. The gift shop has expanded since the last time I visited, but the shops along main street have more souvenir offerings than the museum does. Rating: 3 stars out of 5. ~ Thomas Baurley.
Jeannie Johnson Tall Sailing Ship & Museum
Sitting in the Harbour of the River Liffey, just outside the CHQ Building is the replica of the infamous “Jeanie Johnston” ~ the three masted barque built in 1847 by John Munn that brought settlers over to the New World during the great Irish Famine. This replica was completed in 2002 and now sits primarily as a onboard history museum with night activities and events. The replica was designed by former Chief Naval Architect Fred Walker with the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich England. She is originally established as a ocean-going sail training vessel at sea and then in port coverts to a living history museum over the 19th century emigration between Ireland and the Americas. For 8 Euro or less, a guided tour takes you to her upper and lower decks giving a full narrated history of her chronology, feats, and sorrows. The main cabin demonstrates a picturesque view of what life was like onboard with numerous wax figures of her historic passengers. Overall the tour was masterfully done and a wonderful piece of Dublin’s maritime history. A must visit to any Irish tourist. Rating: 5 stars out of 5 by Leaf McGowan
Captain Cook Memorial Museum
* Grape Lane Whitby North Yorkshire, YO22 4BA, United Kingdom
01947 601900 *
After having followed Captain Cook’s life from his place of death in Hawaii, and embarking on part of the 2012 circumnavigation of Australia this summer aboard the HMB Endeavour, I could think nothing better than to finish my summer journey by going to Cook’s birthplace – Whitby. The Captain Cook Museum was my target. The museum is located in the actual house where Cook began his apprenticeship in the 17th century that began his adventures. Packed within this small building on its many different floors are exhibits about Cook’s life, achievements, maps, models, letters, and historical artifacts. Some of the rooms are furnished as they were in Cook’s time. For any Captain Cook fan or individual interested in his history, this is a not-to-miss place for the knowledge it shares. Those who really lack interest in Cook, it can be skipped. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
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A historical section to the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery exists on the “Cotter River”, the dam they built, and how it helped keep Canberra the Garden City that it is. I believe this is a permanent exhibit. Running through the Australian Capital Territory is the Cotter River, a fresh water source that is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee River and is really one of two rivers in the region, next to the Queanbeyan River that supports Canberra and its region. It was named after Garrett Cotter, a colonial convict who first settled the area. When Canberra was recommended to be Australia’s capital, water catchment was a significant consideration for the decision. Of the 2,358 square kilometers of the ACT, 480 was reserved as the catchment area for the Cotter River, calculated to support a population of just over 100,000. Three reservoirs were created, the Corin, the Bendora, and the Cotter Dams. Cotter Dam was built as a gravity dam out of concrete in 1912 alongside construction of the capital. They raised the height of the dam wall in 1951 for increased capacity, holding more than 3,856 million litres. This supplies the domestic drinking water and therefore only used for water reserves, blocking off any recreational watercraft use.
National Museum of Australia
* Lawson Crescent * Acton Peninsula, Canberra ACT 2601 * (02) 6208 5000 *
One of Australia’s most brilliant and diverse museums is the National Museum of Australia in Canberra within the heart of the Australian Capital Territory. It was established in 1980 by the National Museum of Australia Act to preserve and interpret Australian history, cultures, people, and events that made Australia what it is today. It was homeless until March 11, 2001 when it opened its doors in the national capital. Diverse collections and exhibits ranging from 50,000 Before Present upwards to the current day with focus on the Aborigine, the original inhabitants, their beliefs, culture, and myths. It covers European settlement of these shores from 1788 to modern day and focuses on the material culture that Australia creates both past and present. They possess the largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools found in Australia. Exhibits rotate around like all major museums and during my visit had a feature called “Not Just Ned” covering the Irish immigration to Australia. In addition to a massive artifact collection, they have a wide range of books, catalogues, and journals in their archives. Highly innovative and on track with technology, the Museum is notable for its advancement and design. They have an incredible outreach program with regional communities as well as a inclusion with the Aborigines. The Museum was designed by architect and design director Howard Raggatt themed with knotted ropes symbolizing the weaving together of Australian stories and tales. The entire building and grounds tells the story of creation, the Dreaming, and immigration of these shores. The building is at the center of the knot with trailing ropes or strips extending from the building, forming large loops that are walkways extending past the neighbouring AIATSIS building ending in a large curl aligning as the “Uluru Axis” representing the Australian natural landmark. This design incorporates Bed Maddock’s “Philosophy Tape”, Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles”, the Boolean String, A knot, Ariadne’s thread, and the Aboriginal Dreamtime story of he Rainbow Serpent creating the land. Within the Museum complex is an exact copy of the lightning flash zigzag that Libeskind created for the Berlin Museum by breaking a five pointed star of David. This initially brought allegations of plagiarism. Its exterior is covered with anodised aluminum panels that include worlds written in braille. These words include “mate”, “She’ll be right”, “sorry”, and “forgive us our genocide”. In 2006 the Museum was damaged by a hail storm that caused the ceiling to collapse, expose power cables, and flood the floor.
In honor of one of the world’s greatest explorers, Captain James Cook, and his ship the HMS Endeavor, a replica was started in 1988 to commemorate the Australian Bicentenary of European Settlement in Australia by the Bond Corporation. Constructed in Fremantle, Western Australia, she was completed in 1993 and commissioned in 1994 as one of the world’s most accurate maritime reproductions ever built. She took funding from various organizations, corporations, government, and private sources as well as labor and support from volunteers in the Fremantle community. She was operated by the HM Bark Endeavor Foundation until 2005. She was taken over by the Australian government through the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) in 2005 to the present day. Her maiden voyage took place in October of 1994 sailing to Sydney Harbour and following Cook’s path from Botany Bay to Cooktown. From 1996-2002 she retraced Cook’s ports of call around the world arriving in Whitby in 2002. She has since circum-navigated the world twice with over 170,000 nautical miles on her clock, visiting over 29 countries, most of the Pacific Islands, a ship museum in 116 ports, and this year of 2011, has embarked upon its first ever circumnavigation of Australia replicating Captain Cook’s original circling of Australia that is expected to take 13 months of sailing with a core professional crew and 40 adventurous voyage crew members learning the ropes of sailing a historic ship and what life was like in the 18th century onboard. The HMB will be docking at various ports every 5-12 days as it makes its way around Australia for visitors to embrace her glory and tour her presence in port of these particular cities as a floating museum. She will be docking in Brisbane (28 April – 8 May 2011), Gladstone (21 – 26 May), Townsville (10 – 14 June), Cairns (24 June – 5 July), Darwin (3 – 14 August), Geraldton (30 September – 4 October), Fremantle (14 October – 1 November), Bunbury (9 – 13 November), Fremantle (20 November – 30 December), Albany (14 – 18 January 2012), Port Lincoln (4 – 8 February), Adelaide (16 – 23 February), Portland (7 – 11 March), Hobart (24 March – 3 April), Melbourne (18 – 29 April), Eden (9 – 13 May) with brief visits to Thursday Island, North Qld (16 – 19 July 2011), Broome, WA (29 August – 1 September 2011) and Exmouth, WA (14 – 17 September 2011) to take on provisions and exchange voyage crew. Voyage crew members will sleep in hammocks and work hard climbing masts and hoisting sails. Four “supernumeraries” will have their own individual cabins and participate in the less arduous tasks on the ship. She has been completely refit for this 2011 voyage. The ship is beautifully crafted in replica-fashion giving the visitor a glimpse of a sailor’s life during the epic 1768-1771 voyage that brought Captain Cook to the shores of Australia. The replica has over 30 kilometers of rope and over 50 wooden blocks and pulleys, masts and spars holding 28 sails that manifest over 10,000 square feet of canvas. Life will be demonstrated during the tours on deck, in the galley where one can view the great firehearth that was state of the art in 1768. One can look over Captain Cook’s Great Cabin where he worked, dined, and shared quarters with the world famous botanist Joseph Banks. The replica is under the command of its regular master aptain Ross Mattson. While every advantage to power her by wind will be used in every respect as Cook’s original vessel could, she also carries engines, generators, an electric galley, showers, and safety equipment hidden in the cargo hold where the historic provisions were originally kept. Her 2011 voyage can be viewed in a daily log/ blog beginning here: http://anmm.wordpress.com/2011/04/15/day-1-%e2%80%93-sydney-to-brisbane-fond-farewells/.
The masts, bowsprit, deck, and topsides are all laminated Douglas fir on the HMB Endeavor. The Original ship, the HMS Endeavor, had spruce or fir as the main wood. The keel, lower hull, and frame of the ship is made from Western Australian hardwood jarrah while the HMS was of oak or elm. The HMB Endeavor’s sails are made from a synthetic canvas called Duradon while the original was of flax canvas. Over 18 miles of rope is used in the rigging. The six anchors with four carried on the bow weighing just under a ton in weight were replicated from those found after being lost from the original Endeavor on the Great Barrier Reef in 1770. The anchors are raised by the catheads and winched up by the windlass, all of which are replicated from the specifics of the original ship. The seats of ease are also replicated that are located by the catheads. The HMB Endeavor strikes the ship’s bell to tell the time of day – struck each half hour. A four hour watch is comprised of 1-8 bells with one hour indicated by two bells struck closely together. The firehearth down below has been replicated as a huge iron stove sitting on a stone hearth set on tin and sand to protect the deck in the best way possible to mimic the HMS Endeavor as a working model. It gained such attention in that it works and cooks 18th century type meals so well, it was featured in the BBC documentary “The Ship” filmed on board in 2001. Various 18th century replicas of kitchen and feasting items are on display. On the hatch are displayed various casks, containers, and sailmaker’s tools. A piece of pig iron ballast from the original ship recovered from the Endeavor Reef in Queensland is lashed to the central pillar representing the only original item on board. Hammocks and swinging cots were replicated and used by the operational crew. Mattresses onboard are handmade following 1760 specifications stuffed with wool and cotton waste. The latticed pantries were used for food storage and the preparation areas where Captain Cook would make plans is now where the navigation equipment is stored. The cabin of Charles Green, the Royal Society appointed astronomer, contains a copy of his original hand-made paper journal he made observations in by quill. The replicated curtains and bedspread are an attempt to match that which his wife originally made for him. The cabin shared by the artists, Sydney Parkinson and Alexander Buchan contain copies of Parkinson’s paintings, clothes, books, and personal effects. A marine was posted in the lobby of the ship day and night to protect the captain. Captain James Cook’s cabin is the largest on board with replicas of his desk, books, charts, and uniform on display. All sheets (linen) and curtains (wool) are hand loomed and hand finished. James Cook and Joseph Banks shared the cabin, replicas of his cloak he traded in New Zealand, shaving gear, and collection of shells from the voyage are in this room.
The heating stove is replicated from the one recovered in the 1984 discovery of the HMS Pandora wreck sunk on the Great Barrier Reef while returning Bounty mutineers in 1791. Corner cupboards and serving table show replicated bottles and pewter. The wooden trunnel in the sternpost surrounded by a brass ring was carrid aboard the US Shutle Endeavour’s maiden flight in 1992. Many gifts from the indigenous community are scattered throughout the Great Cabin including an Australian Aboriginal dalungda (nautilus shell) pendant, maori taiaha war staff, maori manaia of carved whale bone, australian aboriginal dithol, bunch of feathers, sooke indian paddle, french boomerang, South American seed, Australian Aboriginal boomerang and message stick.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PHOTOS, AND HISTORY:
Museum of Archaeology
* Kildare Street * Dublin 2, Co. Dublin, Ireland * +353 1 6777444 * http://www.museum.ie/ * Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm; Sunday: 2pm – 5pm ; Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and Good Friday *
The National Museum of Ireland has several museums throughout Dublin. One of its famous is the Archaeology Museum which is the national repository for all archaeological objects found in Ireland. The Museum boasts of over 2 million artifacts. It is Ireland’s premiere collection of Irish material culture, heritage, and the natural world. The National Museum ws founded under the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act of 1877. Originally the collections were divided between the Leinster House and the Natural History Museum in Merrion Street. Under the new Act, the government had funding to purchase the museum buildings and collections, build proper facilities and storage space for the Leinster House collections, and constructed this new custom-built museum on Kildare street for Archaeology opening on August 29, 1890. The purpose of the museum is to collect, preserve, promote, and exhibit all examples of Ireland’s portable material culture and heritage, interpret the collections, promote them, and make them accessible to the world. They are also to become the authoritative voice on relevant aspects of Irish heritage, culture, and natural history so that they can maintain the lead role in education, research, and scholarship pertaining to the collections and its contexts. The Building that houses the collections was built in 1889-1890 and designed by Cork architects Thomas Newenham Deane and his son Thomas Manly Deane which has since become an architectural landmark because it was built in the Victorian Palladian style and has been compared with the Altes Museum in Berlin that was designed by Karl Schinkel in the 1820s. The Building’s Neo-classical influences can be seen in the colonnaded entrance and the domed rotunda that is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. The rotunda contains classical columns that are made of marble quarried from Counties Cork, Kilkenny, Galway, Limerick and Armagh in order to mirror the entrance. Its great centre court has a balcony that is supported by rows of slender cast-iron columns with elaborate capitals and bases and are decorated with groups of cherubs. The balcony hosts more rows of plain columns and attractive openwork spandrels that support the roof. The building’s interior has rich motifs decorating the insides mimicking styles from Ancient Greece and Rome highlighted by mosaic floors with classical mythology scenes including the zodiac. The museum has several Permanent Exhibitions which are: (1) Or – Ireland’s Gold Artifacts housing the finest collection of prehistoric gold artifacts in western Europe ranging from Celtic Iron Age metalworking up through medieval ecclesiastical objects and jewelry. These are also Ireland’s collection of prehistoric gold workings dating from 2200 BCE to 500 BCE including torques, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and objects of unknown use. The Early Bronze Age collections were made primarily from sheet gold into sun discs, crescentic gold collars called lunulae, and then 1200 BCE new gold working techniques creating torcs by twisting bars or strips of gold. The exhibit reflects the evolution of the styles up to 900 BCE where gold working was divided into two main types: solid objects including bracelets and dress-fasteners and the large sheets of gold collars and delicate ear-spools. (2) – Prehistoric Ireland: Is he exhibition that covers human settlement in Ireland from stone tools of the first hunter-gatherers in 7000 BCE to bronze weapons of the Late Bronze Age (500 BCE) highlighting a reconstructed Passage Tomb as the backdrop for the tools, pottery, and artifacts. The history covers introduction of metalworking (2500 BCE) and its evolution and changes. Displays of copper axes, daggers, shields, cauldrons, and cast bronze horns are amongst some of the highlighted artifacts. Jewelry made of glass, stone, and amber; wooden shields, wheels, and cauldrons are also exhibited. (3) – Kingship and Sacrifice: Is the exhibit covering Ireland’s infamous Iron Age bog bodies found at Oldcroghan, Co. Offaly and Clonycavan, Co. Meath in 2003, and research up to date that has been conducted to understand them. Most of these bodies are believed to have been human sacrifice that were deposited in bogs along tribal boundaries to signify sovereignty and kingship rituals during the Iron Age. These collections includes items of royal regalia, horse trappings, weapons, feasting utensils, boundary markers and votive deposits of butter known as bog butter. (4) – The Treasure contains Iconic Treasures until the real exhibit is ready. These cover outstanding religious and secular metalworking that dates from Pagan Celtic Iron Age through the Middle Ages. Some highlights include the sumptuously ornamented Broighter gold collar, models of a boat, a cauldron, the Broighter Collar in La Tčne art style, eighth to ninth-Century ‘Golden Age’ artifacts such as the Ardagh and Derrynaflan Hoards, the Moylough Belt Shrine, and the gilt silver ‘Tara’ Brooch. (5) – Viking Age: covering hoards of silver bullion, brooches, plain silver, and other artifacts from 800 CE to 1150 CE; history of Viking graves (9-10th centuries); rural life; nd remains of Dublin excavations from 1962-1981 demonstrating ecclesiastical metalwork of the 11th and 12th Centuries showing fusion of Scandinavian and Irish art styles at the close of the Viking Age. (6) – Medieval Ireland: 1150 – 1550 C.E. galleries labelled Power, Work and Prayer to reflect the three-fold division of medieval society – nobles, common people and clergy. It covers warfare, agriculture (pastoral and arable), import trade and the various crafts and industries operating in towns. Focuses on churches and faiths, religious practice and devotion as well as church furnishings. (7) – Ancient Egypt: Ireland’s fabulous Egyptian collections display over 3,000 artifacts most of which were acquired from excavations carried out in Egypt between 1890-1920 ranging from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. These include sites such as Hieraconpolis, Deir el-Bahri, Ehnasya, Oxyrhynchus, Tarkhan and Riqqa highlighting the gilt and painted cartonnage case of the mummy Tentdinebu (22nd Dynasty c. 945 – 716 BC); the mummy portraits of a woman and a young boy from Hawara (first/second Century AD); model of a wooden boat (early 12th Dynasty c. 1900 BC); and a number of important stelae, tomb furniture, offering tables, jewellery and household equipment. (8) – Ceramics and Glass from Ancient Cyprus: The displays to this collection show many artifacts that have never been exhibited before including ceramic pieces from tombs uncovered in the 19th Century. These artifacts range from the Bronze Age (2500 BCE) to the late Roman period (300 CE) including five clay figurines on loan from the Cyprus Museum Nicosia, ceramics, and glass. (9) – Life and Death in the Roman World: displaying artifacts that have been in storage in the National Museum of Ireland since the early 1920s demonstrating classical art and architecture consisting of glass vessels, textiles, sculpture, ceramics, coins, gemstones and architectural fragments from places as geographically diverse as Egypt, Austria and England. This exhibit also displays Etruscan material exploring the themes of ‘Everyday Life’; ‘Death, Burial and the Afterlife’; ‘Religion’; ‘Personal Adornment and Dress’; ‘Entertainment’; and ‘Imperial Power in the Roman world’ and ends with the introduction of Christianity. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
National Museum of Ireland
* Collins Barracks, Kildare Street, Dublin, Ireland *
– hosts decorative arts, scientific instruments, military history, and revolutionary history of Ireland. While the focus is Ireland, it also covers other cultures. The museum does not permit photography. It has a pretty interesting collection. There is also a collection of Samurai armor in the exhibition. There are 4 floors to the museum – including Irish Country Furniture, to scientific instruments, silverware, ceramics, folklife and costumes, glassware, coins, clothing, as well as other arts from many cultures of the world including Etruscan vases, gauntlets worn by King William at the Batle of the Boyne, and other pieces of history. The exhibit, “The Road to Freedom”, installed in 2006, covers Irelands struggle with Britain, and has displays on the Easter Rising. The National Museum also demonstrates a collection of military history from early Irish soldiers and warfare in Ireland from 1550 to modern day as well as the Irish participation in the American Civil war. Museum has two bookshops and a tasty cafe. The Barracks themselves, built in 1702, in neo-classical style, are a significant piece of Dublin history as it was a former military barracks in Arbour Hill that once housed British armed forces, Irish army garrisons for three centuries, with upwards of 1500 troops, and is representative of the oldest continuously occupied barracks in the world. They were originally called “The Barracks” changing name to “The Royal Barracks” and now “Collins Barracks” when given to the IRish Free State in 1922. The complex was originally built as a mansion for the Duke of Ormonde, with several large squares opening at the south side. Also a prison, once holding Theobald Wolfe Tone who was one of the main leaders of the 1798 revolt and was convicted of treason here.
Bru na Boinne, County Meath, Ireland
One of Ireland’s most infamous monuments and archaeological sites, Newgrange is amongst the Bru na Boinne World Heritage sites next to Knowth and Dowth. It is popular like Stonehenge with its Solstice astronomical line-ups and viewing of the sun as it appears through its portal. The monument is a large mound complex shaped like a giant kidney covering an area of about an acre of land and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones most of which are decorated by megalithic rock art. Newgrange is one of the best examples in Ireland and Western Europe of a passage grave or tomb. Constructed around 3200 BCE, this site is older than the Egyptian pyramids and a 1,000 years older than Stonehenge.
Located along a elongated ridge on the Boyne River, five miles west of Drogheda, and close to the location where the Battle of the Boyne took place in 1690. Built entirely with stone tools, the Faerie Sidhe (folklore) or Passage Grave (Archaeology) is an impressive monument: The purpose of the monument is disputed greatly as there is no evidence that Newgrange was used as a repository for bodies, bones, burial artifacts or ash. Mythology tells us that the Tuatha De Danann, legendary first rulers of Ireland, built Newgrange as a burial place for their chief – the Dagda Mor with his three sons. The site is also believed to be where the hero Cuchulainn was conceived by his mother Dechtine. Also listed in mythology as a Faerie Mound, it was believed to have been the home of Oenghus, the God of Love. Other theories are that it was a place of worship for a “cult of he dead”; or for astronomically-based faiths. It is also believed to have been a burial site for Celtic Kings and a meeting place for Druids and Faeries. Legends state that t some otherworldly conditions, the Queen of the Faeries can be seen here with her subjects.
Visitors can only access Newgrange via bus shuttle from the visitor center at Bru na Boinne and those wishing to see the Winter Solstice sunrise light-up has to be awarded via lottery for the experience with a select few other lottery winners. A 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. At the end of the passage are three small chambers off the larger central chamber. Each of the smaller chambers has a large flat “basin stone”; which is where it is believed the bones of the dead were originally deposited. During the Winter Solstice, lights of the rising sun enters the roofbox – lighting up the passage, and shining onto the floor of the inner chamber – illuminating the room for 17 minutes. Megalithic Rock Art surrounds the monument with some world notable pieces such as the triskel carved on the entrance stone, Kerbstone 1 and 52. Other rock art carvings fit into one of ten categories, five of which are curvilinear (circles, spirals, arcs, serpentine forms, and dot-in-circles), and the other five are rectilinear (chevrons, lozenges, radials, parallel lines and offsets). Intriguing archaeological finds were found throughout the site, including Roman coins, an iron wedge, and a stone phallus. It is believed to have taken 20 years to build with a work force dedicated all of those years full time of 300 individuals. Under the burial tomb theory, it is believed to have been sealed and closed for several millenia after which the local folklore and mythology of the faeries were believed to be assigned to the mound. The site was used for ritual purposes well into the Iron Age.
The Passage tomb was re-discovered in 1699 when material for road building was being harvested from the mound. A large excavation of the mound took place in 1962 as well as the rebuilding of the original facade of sparkling white quartz stones found at the site. Newgrange has been compared to the Gavrinis passage tomb in Brittany for which it is very similar to. The Gavrinis cairn is 5,500 years old; 60 meters in diameter, and covers a passage and chamber that is lined with elaborately engraved stone. Newgrange is built of alternating layers of earth and stone with grass growing atop, and the front reconstructed facade is of flattish white quartz stone studded at intervals with large rounded cobbles covering the circumference. Newgrange was found written about as a tumulus in a letter by Edward Lhwyd in December 15, 1699. The Annals of the Four Masters state that the Danes plundered Newgrange in 861. It has been said that during the first excavation, a large amount of treasures including ornaments and fictilia (earthenware objects) including a gold chain, two rings, a gold trocks, a bronze pin, and a small iron weapon were recovered.
Brú na Bóinne
* aka “Palace of the Boyne” or “Bend of the Boyne” * Knowth/Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland * UNESCO World Heritage Site *
“Bru na Boinne” is the name of a Boyne River Valley section that is home to the World Heritage sites consisting of the Tumulus Sidhe known as “Knowth”, “Dowth”, and “Newgrange”. These monuments are the largest and one of the most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe that consist of a complex of neolithic chamber tombs, standing stones, henges, and other prehistoric enclosures dating as early as 35th century B.C.E. (predating the Egyptian pyramids) The Palace is centrally the name for the visitor center that is home to a museum, cafe, interpretive displays, information center, and central shuttle bus location for visitors to get to Knowth and Newgrange. It is located in County Meath near the village of Donore along the south bank of the Boyne River. The large oval stones in the water feature are 330 million year old naturally occuring concretions that make the site a geological attraction as well. The Sidhe/Tumulus of Newgrange and Knowth are to the north of the Boyne. The site covers over 780 hectare acres with over 40 passage graves, prehistoric sites, hengestones, circles, and features as well as substantial Megalithic rock art. Each of the monuments are on a ridge within the river bend, with Knowth and Newgrange containing stones re-used from earlier monuments at the site. The sites were visited repeatedly and re-used during various ages such as the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Medieval periods adding assortments of artifacts, features, and enclosures to the site throughout the years. In addition to the famous tombs/tumulus of Knowth, Dowth, and Newgrange are also the ceremonial complexes known as Cloghalea Henge, Townleyhall passage grave, Monknewtown henge and ritual pond, and the Newgrange cursus. Newgrange stands as the central mound of the Boyne Valley passage grave cemetery. Each of these three main tumulus sites have archaeo-astronomical significance and alignments. Newgrange and Dowth have Winter Solstice solar alignments, and Knowth has an Equinox solar alignment. The complex areas are surrounded on the south, west, and east by the Boyne river, and to the north by the Mattock river.
The River Boyne
The Goddess Boann
A grandiose River in Leinster, Ireland that runs a course of over 112 kilometers (70 miles) passing by the Brú na Bóinne complex and World Heritage site, by the ancient city of Trim, Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara, Navan, the Hill of Slane, Mellifont Abbey, and the medieval city of Drogheda. It starts at Trinity Well in Kildare and flows towards the Northeast through County Meath where it empties into the Irish Sea. The river is abundant with Salmon and trout that hosts much Irish mythology on the passage of knowledge down the river. The river is notorious for its historical, archaeological, and mythological connotations. Ptolemy drew out the river in his mapping of Ireland and he called it ????????? (Bououinda). According to Irish mythology, the river was created by the Goddess Boann and the river is named after her as well as representative of her. It is also the river where Fionn mac Cumhail captured Fiontan, the Salmon of Knowledge. It is also home to the infamous “Battle of the Boyne” which took place near Drogheda in 1690. The archaeological remains of a Viking ship was found in 2006 in the river bed near Drogheda.
About the Vikings & Their Coming To Ireland:
The Vikings were originally the inhabitants of Norse countries, such as where modern-day Denmark and Norway are now located. They became a seafaring explorer people due to the Scandinavian land pressures occuring in 700 C.E. Many of the first Vikings to set out were the younger sons of nobility who stood to inherit nothing from their father’s estates. They bonded with groups of warriors and went down the coasts pillaging settlements. They sold their booty for money and this became their lifestyle. They utilized longboats to sail across the North Sea to attack Britain, France, and Ireland. It is from these invasions that they were labelled the “Norsemen”. and then as “Vikings”. They called themselves “Ostmen”. The Vikings first landed in Ireland in 795 C.E., settling in Iona. Most of these original Vikings were Norwegian and very Pagan. When they ran into Christianity, they smited the religion, demolished Christian iconography, symbols, and sites. They were brutal to their prisoners and were known barbarians. This was one of the reasons they attacked the monastic settlement of Iona initially. They attacked the Rathlin Island Monastery in 795 as well as Hompatrick, Inishmurray, Inishbofin, and Sceilg Mhicil. The Norse raiders struck Iona again in 802 and 806 killing over 68 monks. They would hit-and-run raid these monasteries taking the riches and slaves that they brought back to sell in Scandinavia. By 841 C.E. they founded a permanent settlement at the mouth of the HREF=”http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2826″>River Liffey which became the foundation for the city of Dublin and was named after the “Black Pool” that the area represented. Dubhlinn became a thriving slave trade center for the British Isles. It was defeated by the Irish in 902. From there The Vikings moved their power base to the Isle of Man. They established similar bases of wooden stockades built around beached longboats in Waterford (914) and Limerick (922). These quickly became prominent trading centers. Dublin was ruled by a Norse king from 853-1014. A second phase of raids took place in 914 where they re-captured territories recently taken back by the Irish. They retook Dublin in 917. The Native Irish resisted, while some formed ephemeral alliances with the Norse creating combinations of Irish against Norse, Norse agaist Norse, and Irish against Irish. The Vikings eventually settled the lands they conquered and became farmers or fishermen. By the 11th century, the Irish built a stronger opposition as they had adopted much of Viking military methodology until Brian Boru became the first King of all Ireland with a success over the Vikings by 1014. The Norse were pushed out and the Viking period only lasted 220 years.
Dublina Viking & Medieval History Museum
* http://www.dublinia.ie/ * St Michaels Hill * Christchurch, Dublin 8, Co. Dublin, Ireland * 01 679 4611 *
Located within and connected to the infamous Christ Church Cathedral of Dublin (a.k.a. “The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity”) is now one of Dublin’s most spectacular and interactive museums/tourist attractions. Christ Church is the elder of Dublin’s two medieval cathedrals, next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Christ Church is officially claimed as a set of both the Church of Ireland and the Roman Catholic archbishops in Dublin. The Museum and Cathedral sits in the former heart of medieval Dublin next to WOod Quay at the end of Lord Edward Street. Christ Church is the only one of the three cathedrals that can be seen from the River Liffey. It is the home of the purported tomb of “Strongbow” – the medieval Norman-Welch warlord who came to Ireland and marking the start of English involvement in Ireland. The Dublinia Museum tells the story about how Dublin was settled by the Vikings and that is was an important medieval mecca at one time. It was established by the Medieval Trust in the rooms of the disused Synod Hall. The concentration of the museum is between the 11th century and the Reformation. The museum is a living history museum, with hands-on displays, and typical museum artifact displays. Reconstructed dioramas give glimpses of Dublin in the Middle Ages. The Museum gets quite crowded and is sometimes difficult to navigate around. The museum also houses the archaeological finds and a presentation of the current excavations of Wood Quay. The museum is linked by a bridge to Christ Church. Parts of the building are visible and climbing the tower will give you spectacular views of Dublin’s skyline. There are three prime exhibitions in Dublinia: (1) Viking Dublin Exhibition, (2) Medieval Dublin Exhibition, and (3) History Hunter’s Exhibition. Visitors can explore the Viking times of Dublin, its settlement, what life is like on a Viking warship, the clothing, what it is like to be a slave, and how cramped Viking homes were. Visitors can learn the runic alphabet and learn the mythos of the time. Visitors can see medieval Dublin – following history from Strongbow to the Reformation, what warfare and crime/punishment was like in the times, and about the Black Death. Visitors can get a glimpse of the historic Dubin Faire. Tourists can also gain insight into modern archaeological practices and current digs in the area, the technology they use, and the tools they utilize. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Denver Art Museum
http://www.denverartmuseum.org/ * 720-865-5000 * Denver Art Museum * 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy * Denver, CO 80204
A day of art all around for me as me and friends wandered into the Denver Art Museum on their ‘free day’ which is the first Saturday of the month. Being my first visit to Denver’s impressive Art Museum, I enjoyed my visit and will definitely be back. Hosted in Denver’s Civic Center, this Art Museum is reknown for its collections that expanse well over 68,000 works of art and has quite a notable collection of American Indian Art. Originally founded in 1893 at the Denver Artist’s Club, it took on the name of the “Denver Art Association” in 1916 and moved into its first galleries in 1918 where it became known as its current namesake. Taking over the current building in 1971 that was designed by Gio Ponti and local architect James Sudler as a 24-sided, 7 story architectural art piece in of itself. In 2006, the Duncan Pavillion grew to a 5,700 square feet second story additon to the original Morgan Wing clad in titanium and glass. The museum hosts nine curatorial departments: (1) Modern and Contemporary, (2) Native Arts, (3) Architecture, Design and Graphics, (4) Asian Art, (5) New World Art, (6) Painting and Sculpture, (7) Photography, (8)Western Art, and (9) Textile Arts. The Museum has and does display the arts of India, China, Japan, Southwest Asia, Tibet, Nepal, Southeast Asia, religious art, traditional folk crafts, modern and contemporary collections of 20th-century artists including the Herbert Bayer collection, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Robert Motherwell, Damien Hirst, Philip Guston, Dan Flavin, John DeAndrea, Gottfried Helnwein, Yue Minjun, Native American arts (spanning several hundred tribes) with Northwest Coastal woodcarvings, Naskapi painted leather garments, Winnebago twined weaving, Plains Indian beadwork, Navajo weaving, Pueblo pottery, California basketry; Oceanic arts spanning all the major islands with wood carvings, painted bark cloth from Somoa, Tonga, and Hawaii; Melanesian collections from Papua New Guinea & New Ireland; drawings, paintings; African Arts with sculptures, textiles, jewelry, paintings, printmaking, drawings, Yoruba works; New World Arts; Latin American arts including ceramics, stone, gold, jade, furnishings, silver from Spanish Colonial periods; Pre-Columbian arts from Mesoamerica, lower Central America, and South America; Mayan art from Mexico, guatemala, and Belize; European and American paintings and photographic works; Coptic and pre-Columbia textiles; Western American Art; the Harmsen Collection; and many more …. The Museum cannot be completely covered in a day – so make your visit to span the weekend. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Pacific Tsunami Museum
130 Kamehameha Ave * Hilo, HI 96720-2833 * (808) 935-0926 * http://www.tsunami.org/ *
The Pacific Tsunami Museum is a non-profit run organization spreading the awareness and preparedness for the natural disaster of the tsunami. They believe through education and awareness no one ever should die again in Hawaii from a tsunami. They also act as a preservation museum for the social and cultural history of Hawaii as well as a memorial for those who lost their lives in tsunamis. In the shadow of the volcanoes, they feel that not many concern themselves about tsunamis which is a real threat for Hawaii as tsunamis have killed more people in Hawaii than all other natural disasters combined. They claim that from 1900-1964 there was a tsunami every five years exceeding 1 meter run-up. April 1st, 1946 and May 23, 1960 were devastating periods for Hilo by tsunamis. They feel all of Hawaii is not prepared for the disasters to come. Over the last 30 years there has been major population growth without the effect of tsunamis. The luck can only last so long. People have forgotten how devastating this natural catastrophe can be. By passing on stories, documentation, histories, photos, and evidence of these tragedies, they can teach the people to be prepared. They work in collaboration with the International Tsunami Information Center, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and the University of Hawaii, as well as State and County Civil Defense Agencies. The museum houses exhibits to interpret the phenomena, the Pacific Tsunami Warning System, history of tsunamis in the Pacific Basin, tsunamis of the future, myths & legends, and public safety measures for this type of disaster. They are open Monday-Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. General admission is $8.00 as of the writing of this piece.
Population  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
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sir Thomas Leaf was inspired by the healing energies of the plaza that was mythologically known for its healing and the bread that doesn’t burn. From the crazy wild partying city of Amsterdam – a walk through a door to another dimension – into a Dutch square where it was sacred, quiet, and tranquil. Intriguing thoughts about the key swarmed Leaf’s mind. He realized he is closer yet to discovering the ‘key of life’. After the tranquility, Kevin led the band to oogle over the Dutch masterpiece painting and learning about the seals and marks of Amsterdam. The tour ended at Anne Frank’s house where the story of “tolerant” Amsterdam stood up against the Nazis and the tragedies befell that struggle. Hungry for Thai food, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea headed over to the Asian District to try out the highly recommended “Bird Thai” restaurant which they quite enjoyed. Wandering back to the hostel for a nap and down time before exploring the nightlife with the New Amsterdam Tour’s Pub Crawl.
The Old Church (Oude Kerk) in the Red Light District
* http://www.oudekerk.nl/ * Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The Oude Kerk is the oldest parish church in Amsterdam. It was consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht and is located in the De Wallen, Amsterdam’s main red-light district. The church spans over 3,000 square meters. Its foundation was set upon an artificial mound. Its roof is the largest medieval wooden vault in Europe. The floor is primarily gravestones as the church was built atop a cemetery. The planks are Estonian and date to 1390. The church has gone through numerous renovations through its history. The first set of alterations occured in the 1350’s where the aisles were lengthened and wrapped around the choir in a half circle to support the structure. During the 15th century, the north and south transepts were added creating a cross formation. This work was completed in 1460. Before the Alteratie or “Reformation” in 1578 the Church was primarily “Catholic”. The Church then became Protestant. The 16th century saw many battles leading to the Church becoming looted and defaced. It became a public space where the locals gossiped, peddlers selling their wares, beggars sought shelter, but in 1681 the Calvinists fed up with the homeless kicked them out. The Church was closed off with a brass screen. Then the Church became a center for the registry of marriages, followed by the city archives. Local citizens continued to be buried underneath the church up until 1865 with a total count of 2500 graves containing over 10,000 Amsterdam citizens. Pipe organs were built in 1658 with the cabinet organ constructed in 1767. The third was built by the German Christian Vater in 1724 establishing the finest baroque organs in Europe. Today, many concerts are performed here including the BBC Singers and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. This is now a center for both religious and cultural activities and can be rented for presentations, receptions, and dinner parties. Continue reading Oude Kerk (Old Church) (Amsterdam, Holland)
Damrak 18 * 1012 LH Amsterdam, Netherlands * +31 20 6228376 * http://www.sexmuseumamsterdam.nl/
A fabulous little two house two-story museum dedicated to sex, erotica, and the history of the arts through the ages. From prehistoric application, to the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians to modern day Amsterdam, one can walk through the history of copulation and play through the ages. It is also the world’s first and oldest sex museum, the “Venustempel” in Amsterdam. A leading museum on the theme of sensual love with an extensive collection of erotic pictures, paintings, objects, recordings, photographs and even attractions. All of the exhibits have been gathered together personally by the owners and can be viewed in their 17th century property on the Damrak. The collection is continually growing. One of my favorite stops in Amsterdam. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
One of the most picturesque parts of Amsterdam is it’s canals. A tremendous effort that was created by conscious city planning. Beginning in the early 17th century with immigration at its peak, the city decided to develope a comprehensive plan of a design based on four concentric half-circles of canals with their ends emerging into the IJ bay. They called this the Grachtengordel. Three of the canals exist primarily for residential development … these are the Herengracht (Gentleman’s Canal), Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal), and Prinsengracht (Prince’s Canal’). The fourth and outermost canal is the Singelgracht that serves the purposes of defense and water management. In the early days, The defensive purpose was established by moat and earthen dikes, with gates at transit points, but otherwise no masonry superstructures. These canals interconnected each other along the radii, created a set of parallel canals on the Jordaan quater for transportation, adding in the defensive purpose of the Singel which later converted to a residential and commercial purpose, as well as incredible employment opportunities with the construction of more than one hundred bridges. The construction began in 1613 going from west to east. Construction was completed in the southern section by 1656. The eastern part of the concentric canal plan, covering the area between the Amstel river and the IJ bay, has never been implemented. In later years, several canasl were filled in to make streets or squares such as the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and the Spui. Amsterdam’s canals is a haven for houseboats and bohemian living. The canals are flushed weekly to keep the water clean and to eliminate any stagnation or stench that usually come with canals. Every week hundreds of bicycles are dredged from the bottoms. Continue reading Amsterdam’s Infamous Canals
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The largest city in Holland (The Netherlands) and its capital, is world-famous “Amsterdam”. It is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands. It is also the headquarters for most Dutch institutions and 7 of the world’s top 500 countries including Philips and ING. Amsterdam is located in North Holland in the western portion of the country. Amsterdam boasts over a million people (2008) and merged with the northern part of the Randstad, is the 6th largest metropolitan area of Europe at over 6.7 million in population. Amsterdam is most popular for its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, its red light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops all of which draw over 4.2 million visitors a year. Amsterdam is named after a dam in the river “Amstel” where the Dam Square resides today. It started as a small fishing village in the late 12th century later becoming one of the most important port cities in the world during the Dutch Golden Age due to its innovative developments in trade. At this time it became a leading center for finance and diamonds. It was named as such when the inhabitants of the area built a bridge with a dam across the Amstel had been exempted from paying a bridge toll by Count Floris and had to bound together as a city. By 1327 it was well known as “Amsterdam”. Amsterdam was granted city rights by 1306. Continue reading Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Fortress Marienberg / Castle Marionburg
* 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)
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.
Monday, 6 April 2009
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.