Hatfield House in Hertfordshire

November 25th, 2015 | General | No Comments »

© flickr.com - Allan Engelhardt/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – Allan Engelhardt/cc-by-sa-2.0

Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. The present Jacobean house, a leading example of the prodigy house, was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I and has been the home of the Cecil family ever since. It is a prime example of Jacobean architecture. The estate includes extensive grounds and surviving parts of an earlier palace. The house, currently the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury, is open to the public.

Hatfield House is a popular tourist attraction because it has so many objects associated with Queen Elizabeth I, including some gloves and a pair of silk stockings that are believed to have been the first ones in England. The library displays a 22 feet (6.7 m) long illuminated parchment roll showing the pedigree of the Queen with ancestors back to Adam and Eve. The Marble Hall holds the Rainbow Portrait of Elizabeth. The State Rooms house many important paintings, furniture, tapestries and armour. The richly carved wooden Grand Staircase and the rare stained glass window in the private chapel are among the house’s original Jacobean features.

The Gardens, covering 42 acres (170,000 m²), date from the early 17th century, and were laid out by John Tradescant the elder. Tradescant visited Europe and brought back trees and plants that had never previously been grown in England. The gardens included orchards, fountains, scented plants, water parterres, terraces, herb gardens and a foot maze. They were neglected in the 18th century, but restoration began in Victorian times and continues under the present Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury.

The State Rooms can be seen in the midweek guided tours, and visitors can look around in their own time at weekends. On Friday, the Garden Connoisseur’s Day, the House is open for guided tours and for pre-booked specialist groups. There is also five miles of marked trails.

Read more on Hatfield House, Hatfield House Hospitality and Wikipedia Hatfield House. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

Taybeh in the West Bank

November 21st, 2015 | General | No Comments »

© Ralf Lotys/cc-by-3.0

© Ralf Lotys/cc-by-3.0

Taybeh is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, 15 kilometers northeast of Jerusalem and 12 kilometers northeast of Ramallah in the Ramallah and al-Bireh Governorate, 850 meters above sea level. Taybeh has a population of 2,100. It is the last all-Christian community in the Palestine region.

The Al-Khidr Church, or St. George Church, is located east of the centre of Taybeh, and was constructed during two periods, first in the Byzantine era, and then during the Crusader era. The remains of a Crusader castle, named caste of St. Elias, can still be seen.

Taybeh is the home of Taybeh Brewery, brewers of the only Palestinian beer. Since 2005, an Oktoberfest celebration is held in Taybeh, aiming at promoting local Palestinian products and attracting tourism. The celebration offers beer competitions, cultural, traditional and musical performances and other attractions. From 500 liters of beer in 1995, the company produced 600,000 liters in 2011, mainly sold in the West Bank and Israel. According to David Khoury, the brewery sells 6 million liters a year, and exports its products to Israel, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Spain. Brewed are five varieties: Golden, Dark, Amber, Light and since 2008 a non-alcoholic beer. The latter in particular for the Arab-Muslim market. The beer is kosher.

In November 2014, Nadim Khoury, the co-founder of Taybeh Brewing Company has also opened a line of Taybeh wines marketed under the brand name “Nadim” (in Arabic:”drinking companion”) for a variety of wines, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.

Read more on Taybeh.info, Taybeh Brewing Company and Wikipedia Taybeh. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.

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