Hofburg, Vienna’s Imperial Palace

January 25th, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Hall of Festivities during a concert of the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra © Wiener Hofburg Orchester/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hall of Festivities during a concert of the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra © Wiener Hofburg Orchester/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Hofburg is the former principal imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty rulers and today serves as the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. It is located in the center of Vienna and was built in the 13th century and expanded several times afterwards. It also served as the imperial winter residence, as Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence.   read more…

Angkor Wat in Cambodia

January 16th, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Buddhist monks in front of the Angkor Wat © flickr.com - sam garza/cc-by-2.0

Buddhist monks in front of the Angkor Wat © flickr.com – sam garza/cc-by-2.0

Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer Empire, which also recognized as Yasodharapura and flourished from approximately the 9th to 15th centuries. Angkor was a megacity supporting at least 0.1% of the global population during 1010–1220. The city houses the magnificent Angkor Wat, one of Cambodia‘s popular tourist attractions. The word Angkor is derived from the Sanskrit nagara, meaning “city”. The Angkorian period began in AD 802, when the Khmer Hindu monarch Jayavarman II declared himself a “universal monarch” and “god-king”, and lasted until the late 14th century, first falling under Ayutthayan suzerainty in 1351. A Khmer rebellion against Siamese authority resulted in the 1431 sacking of Angkor by Ayutthaya, causing its population to migrate south to Longvek.   read more…

Bahia Honda State Park in the Lower Florida Keys

January 14th, 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

© flickr.com - KimonBerlin/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – KimonBerlin/cc-by-sa-2.0

Bahia Honda (Spanish deep bay) is an island in the lower Florida Keys. U.S. 1 (the Overseas Highway) crosses the key at approximately mile markers 36-38.5, between Ohio Key and Spanish Harbor Key 12 miles (19 km) west of Marathon, close to the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge. The island is virtually uninhabited, being home to the 524-acre (2.12 km²) Bahia Honda State Park. Founded in 1961, the park occupies most of the island. The channel at the island’s west end is one of the deepest natural channels in the Florida Keys.   read more…

Theme Week Vatican City – Vatican Museums

December 28th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Main complex of the Vatican Museums © F. Bucher/cc-by-2.5

Main complex of the Vatican Museums © F. Bucher/cc-by-2.5

The Vatican Museums (Italian: Musei Vaticani; Latin: Musea Vaticana) are Christian and art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by popes throughout the centuries including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display, and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments. Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. The Sistine Chapel, with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze di Raffaello decorated by Raphael, are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. In 2017, they were visited by 6 million people, which combined makes it the 5th most visited art museum in the world. There are 54 galleries, or sale, in total, with the Sistine Chapel, notably, being the very last sala within the Museum. It is one of the largest museums in the world. In 2017, the Museum’s official website and social media presence was completely redone, in accord with current standards and appearances for modern websites. The Museums had 6,427,277 visitors in 2017, making them the fourth-most-visited art museum in the world.   read more…

Theme Week Vatican City – Apostolic Palace

December 27th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Pope Benedict XVI during the traditional weekly mess © Oliver-Bonjoch/cc-by-sa-3.0

Pope Benedict XVI during the traditional weekly mess © Oliver-Bonjoch/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Apostolic Palace (Latin: Palatium Apostolicum; Italian: Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the Roman Catholic Pope and Bishop of Rome, which is located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Papal Palace, Palace of the Vatican and Vatican Palace. The Vatican itself refers to the building as the Palace of Sixtus V in honor of Pope Sixtus V. The building contains the Papal Apartments, various offices of the Catholic Church and the Holy See, private and public chapels, Vatican Museums, and the Vatican Library, including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and Borgia Apartment. The modern tourist can see these last and other parts of the palace, but other parts, such as the Sala Regia and Cappella Paolina, are closed to tourists. The Scala Regia can be seen into from one end but not entered.   read more…

Theme Week Vatican City – Vatican Gardens

December 25th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

© Marek.69/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Marek.69/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Gardens of Vatican City (Latin: Horti Civitatis Vaticanae), also informally known as the Vatican Gardens (Italian: Giardini Vaticani) in Vatican City, are private urban gardens and parks which cover more than half of the country, located in the west of the territory and owned by the Pope. There are some buildings, such as Radio Vatican and the Governor’s Palace, within the gardens. The gardens cover approximately 23 hectares (57 acres) which is most of the Vatican Hill. The highest point is 60 metres (200 ft) above mean sea level. Stone walls bound the area in the North, South and West. The gardens and parks were established during the Renaissance and Baroque era and are decorated with fountains and sculptures. There is no general public access, but guided tours are available to limited numbers. The gardens also enshrine 16 Marian images venerated worldwide at the designation of the Roman Pontiff, who is the owner of the gardens.   read more…

Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire

December 19th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

© GavinJA/cc-by-sa-3.0

© GavinJA/cc-by-sa-3.0

Waddesdon Manor is a country house in the village of Waddesdon, in Buckinghamshire, England. It is located in the Aylesbury Vale, 6.6 miles (10.6 km) west of Aylesbury. The Grade I listed house was built in the Neo-Renaissance style of a French château between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839–1898) as a weekend residence for grand entertaining and as a setting for his collection. The last member of the Rothschild family to own Waddesdon was James de Rothschild (1878–1957). He bequeathed the house and its contents to the National Trust. It is now managed by the Rothschild Foundation chaired by Jacob Rothschild, 4th Baron Rothschild. It is one of the National Trust’s most visited properties, with over 467,000 visitors annually. Waddesdon Manor won Visit England‘s Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category in 2017.   read more…

Hever Castle in Kent

October 31st, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

© Nessy-Pic/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Nessy-Pic/cc-by-sa-4.0

Hever Castle is located in the village of Hever, Kent, near Edenbridge, 30 miles (48 km) south-east of London. It began as a country house, built in the 13th century. From 1462 to 1539, it was the seat of the Boleyn (originally ‘Bullen’) family. Anne Boleyn, the second queen consort of King Henry VIII of England, spent her early youth there after her father, Thomas Boleyn, inherited it in 1505. The castle passed to him upon the death of his father, Sir William Boleyn. It later came into the possession of King Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. The castle is now open to the public as a tourist attraction.   read more…

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…

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