Hearst Castle on the Pacific Coast Highway

October 3rd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Dining Room © Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

Dining Room © Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California, United States. Designed by architect Julia Morgan, it was a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947. Hearst died in 1951, and it became a California State Park in 1954. The site was opened to visitors in 1958. Since that time, it has been operated as the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts “millions of travelers each year”. Hearst formally named the estate “La Cuesta Encantada” (“The Enchanted Hill”), but usually called it “the ranch”. Hearst Castle and grounds are also sometimes referred to as “San Simeon“, without distinguishing between the Hearst property and the adjacent unincorporated area of the same name.   read more…

Wollaton Hall in Nottingham

August 20th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

A view of Wollaton Hall west front and Stable Block from the south-west © Acabashi/cc-by-sa-4.0

A view of Wollaton Hall west front and Stable Block from the south-west © Acabashi/cc-by-sa-4.0

Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house of the 1580s standing on a small but prominent hill in Wollaton Park, Nottingham. The house is now Nottingham Natural History Museum, with Nottingham Industrial Museum in the out-buildings. The surrounding parkland has a herd of deer, and is regularly used for large-scale outdoor events such as rock concerts, sporting events and festivals. Wollaton Hall Park is Grade II* listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.   read more…

Acadia National Park in New England

August 13th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

© Someone35/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Someone35/cc-by-sa-3.0

Acadia National Park is a United States national park located in the state of Maine in New England, southwest of Bar Harbor. The park reserves much of Mount Desert Island and associated smaller islands along the Atlantic coast. Initially created as the Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916, the park was renamed and re-designated Lafayette National Park in 1919, and then renamed once more as Acadia National Park in 1929. Over three million people visited the park in 2016. Acadia is the oldest designated national park in the United States east of the Mississippi River, although two eastern national parks in Ontario are older: Thousand Islands (1904) and Point Pelee (1918). Today, with nearly 2.5 million visitors every year, the park is one of the ten most visited national parks in the United States due to its proximity to the metropolises of the East Coast.   read more…

Palmyra in Syria

August 6th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Cella of the Temple of Bel - destroyed in 2015 © Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

Cella of the Temple of Bel – destroyed in 2015 © Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

Palmyra is an ancient Semitic city (Tadmor) in present-day Homs Governorate, Syria. Archaeological finds date back to the Neolithic period, and documents first mention the city in the early second millennium BC. Palmyra changed hands on a number of occasions between different empires before becoming a subject of the Roman Empire in the first century AD.   read more…

Grant Park in Chicago

July 27th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Spirit of Music Garden © Alanscottwalker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Spirit of Music Garden © Alanscottwalker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Grant Park is a large urban park (319 acres or 1.29 km²) in the Loop community area of Chicago. Located in Chicago’s central business district, the park’s most notable features are Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Originally known as Lake Park, and dating from the city’s founding, it was renamed in 1901 to honor Ulysses S. Grant.   read more…

The Kyffhäuser Monument

April 6th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

© Burghof Kyffhäuser/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Burghof Kyffhäuser/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Kyffhäuser Monument (German: Kyffhäuserdenkmal), also known as Barbarossa Monument (Barbarossadenkmal), is an Emperor William monument within the Kyffhäuser mountain range in Thuringia. It was erected in 1890–96 at the site of medieval Kyffhausen Castle near Bad Frankenhausen. The Kyffhäuser Monument is the third-largest monument in Germany, after the Monument to the Battle of the Nations (Völkerschlachtdenkmal) commemorating the 1813 Battle of Leipzig and the Emperor William Monument at Porta Westfalica, both of which also were designed by architect Bruno Schmitz (1858–1916).   read more…

The Białowieża National Park

April 4th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Swamped forest © Lilly M/cc-by-sa-3.0

Swamped forest © Lilly M/cc-by-sa-3.0

Białowieża National Park is a National Park in Podlaskie Voivodeship, in Eastern Poland adjacent with the border with Belarus. The total area of the park is 152.2 square kilometres (58.8 sq mi). It is located 62 km (39 mi) southeast of Białystok (Poland). It is known for the protection of the best preserved part of the Białowieża Forest, Europe’s last temperate primaeval forest fragment that once stretched across the European Plain. It is home to the world’s largest population of European bison, the continent’s heaviest land animals. The border between the two countries runs through the forest, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park is adjacent on the Belarus side of the border. There is a border crossing for hikers and cyclists within the forest. According to one study, the park brings in tourist revenues of about 72 million zlotys per year.   read more…

The Prater in Vienna

March 21st, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Prater und Stuwerviertel © flickr.com - flightlog/cc-by-2.0

Prater und Stuwerviertel © flickr.com – flightlog/cc-by-2.0

The Prater is a large public park in Vienna‘s 2nd district (Leopoldstadt). The Wurstelprater amusement park, often simply called “Prater”, lies in one corner of the Wiener Prater and includes the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel. The area that makes up the modern Prater was first mentioned in 1162, when Emperor Friedrich I gave the land to a noble family called de Prato. The word “Prater” was first used in 1403, originally referring to a small island in the Danube north of Freudenau, but was gradually extended to mean the neighbouring areas as well. The land changed hands frequently until it was bought by Emperor Maximilian II in 1560 to be a hunting ground. To deal with the problem of poachers, Emperor Rudolf II forbade entry to the Prater. On April 7, 1766, Emperor Joseph II declared the Prater to be free for public enjoyment, and allowed the establishment of coffee-houses and cafés, which led to the beginnings of the Wurstelprater. Throughout this time, hunting continued to take place in the Prater, ending only in 1920.   read more…

Les Invalides in Paris

March 14th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Paris

Hôtel des Invalides, as seen from the Tour Montparnasse © Jens Peter Clausen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hôtel des Invalides, as seen from the Tour Montparnasse © Jens Peter Clausen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Les Invalides, commonly known as Hôtel national des Invalides (The National Residence of the Invalids), or also as Hôtel des Invalides, is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building’s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l’Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the Dôme des Invalides, a large church with the tombs of some of France’s war heroes, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte.   read more…

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