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03 August 2017 @ 09:35 pm
Built between 1749 et 1758 by Jacques François de Chambray, knight of the Order of Malta and Governor of Gozo, Fort Chambray became an hospital during the 19th century and a leprosarium between 1937 and 1956 - and is now converted into a luxury residential complex. You can easily find an apartement to rent for your holidays, here - but the most beautiful, maybe, is outside the walls, in this out of time landscape.
01 May 2017 @ 10:14 am

Castle "De Keukenhof". This is a castle that has stayed within the same family for centuries by means of inheritance. Its origins are strictly connected to the success of the Golden Age ‘United East Indian Company’ (V.O.C.): the man who built it in 1642 was Adriaen Maertenszoon Block, a former Commander of V.O.C on the Moluccan islands. In that age the Moluccans were especially important because of their precious cloves and the VOC was fighting a grim battle to enforce the monopoly over this spice.

He bought the land of "Keukenduin" (literally ‘kitchen dune’) with the purpose to have his house built there. He then slowly expanded the property and even became the biggest landowner in the area. The castle did not have towers yet, but still the splendid halls on the first floor must have impressed many visitors.
In the following centuries the estate kept growing until 1809 (thanks to squire Steengracht).

The salons are full of furniture dating of many years and styles. For instance, in the book cabinet, a very beautiful and complete Encyclopaedia from 1770 is on display (the Foundation that owns the estate now has employed a team of professionals and volunteers to take care of the many and varied restorations).

The story of the castle’s inhabitants is told by the large collection of painted portraits on the walls. The beautiful interior - still in its original setting - shows how the lords of castle "De Keukenhof" lived. Even the kitchen is still intact and it is still used during festivities and dinner parties at the castle.

Welcome to KeukenhofCollapse )
15 January 2017 @ 09:38 am

Built in 1799
22 August 2016 @ 01:10 pm
Shakespeare's mythical Elsinore stands at the northeastern headland of Zealand - Denmark's largest and most populated island -, overlooking the Øresund and Sweden.

In1420's, a first fortress (
Krogen) was built here. Completed by the fortress of Kärnan, on the opposite side of the sound (swedish nowadays, but danish at that time), Krogen controlled one of the few entranceways to the Baltic Sea. 150 years after, its foundations were reemployed to erect the much larger, Renaissance style Kromborg, built by Frederick II between 1574 ans 1585.
The place was destroyed by a fire in 1629, restaured, and then taken by the Swedish. Many works of art were lost at that time and a newer, more sophisticated defense system was built.
From early 18th century to early 20th century, the fortress was used as a prison. Deserted by the army, restored, it opened to public in 1938.

The original castle of Bussy was built in 12th century, but the place was reconstructed and modernized many times.
In 1520, the surrounding wall is knocked down to create delicate Renaissance galleries in the courtyard, and in 1649, the new front of the castle is finished by the new owners of the place, the family of Rabutin - now de Bussy-Rabutin.

In 1844, after the great success of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas is at the height of his fame and fortune. Searching for a place where he could escape parisian bustle to produce new stories, he buys a few plots of land on the slopes of Port-Marly and hires the architect Hippolyte Durand to build his dream house. A neo-Renaissance castle overlooking the Seine river, completed by a miniature neo-gothic castle (the Château d'If) and gardens "à l'anglaise" inspired by the English poet and gardener William Mason.

On july 25, 1847, 600 people came at the housewarming party. Dumas'door was opened to almost everyone and many people took advantage of it - the house was always full of friends, mistresses, admirers, profiteers, full of pets too (dogs, cats, parrots, monkeys and even a vulture)... A ruinously expensive way of life that couldn't last long.
In march 1849, pursued by many creditors, Dumas sold for the modest sum of 31,000 gold francs a property that had costed him hundreds of thousands. The buyer allowed him to remain here, but in 1851, as the creditors and the debts had only increased, he had to leave France for Belgium.
Here ends Dumas' story in Port-Marly.

In 1969, the castle had fallen in disrepair, water started to seep inside by the broken roof and the owner, a private development company, planed to destroy it to build 400 new homes on the site.
In response, two preservation groups were created, one by Port-Marly and cities around, the other by french historian Alain Decaux. The restoration began in early 1970's and the two groups still work together to preserve the place, now given back to its old splendour.

02 July 2016 @ 08:27 pm

A fortified medieval Islamic palace built during the second half of the 11th century in the Moorish taifa of Zaragoza of Al-Andalus."
Read more...Collapse )
01 June 2016 @ 04:09 pm

Built by Sultan Mehmed II in 15th century

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On the shores of a quiet little strait in Beara Peninsula, a 19th century manor and the ruins of a 15th castle stand face to face. A notice here tells the story of Dunboy Castle, besieged by English troops during Nine Years War but you find almost nothing about the manor and I had to search the web to find more informations about it. These are two different buildings, two different times, families and stories, but related by the land they dominate and the dramatic pages of Irish History they embody.

First of all was Dunboy Castle.
The place belonged to Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare, who joined the irish noblemen fighting against English authority. Unfortunately for him, the letter in which he submitted to the Spanish king (ally of the rebels) was intercepted by the English. The queen was not amused, and sent her troops to attack Dunboy. The castle fall in june 1602, an all the defenders died, killed in combat or executed. The O'Sullivan clan never returned to their castle home, of which not much remains now - a few crumbled walls, half covered by vegetation.

More pics and the rest of the storyCollapse )

Here, you'll find the whole story, with old pictures of ruined Puxley Manor and an interesting video of the place before and during restoration.

Last (but not least) interesting thing to know about the place : Daphne du Maurier's Hungry Hill is directly inspired by the Puxley family and manor's history.

31 March 2016 @ 05:17 pm
Just a picture from the road, after a long day of discoveries.
According to this website (where you can find a few more historical informations) the castle, overlooking the little bay of Dunmanus, was built in 1430 by Donogh More O'Mahony.