Stuttgart Syracuse Szczecin
Salzburg is the fourth-largest city in Austria and the capital city of the federal state of Salzburg. Salzburg's "Old Town" (Altstadt) has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. The city is noted for its Alpine setting.
Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His mother was born at St Gilgen on the Wolfgangsee and his father in Augsburg. In the mid-20th century, the city was the setting for parts of the musical and film The Sound of Music.
Around 15 BC the separate settlements were merged into one city by the Roman Empire. At this time the city was called Juvavum and was awarded the status of a Roman municipium in 45 AD. Juvavum developed into an important town of the Roman province of Noricum. After the collapse of the Norican frontier, Juvavum declined so sharply that by the late 7th century it had become a "near ruin".
The Life of Saint Rupert credits the 8th-century saint with the city's rebirth. When Theodo of Bavaria asked Rupert to become bishop c. 700, Rupert reconnoitered the river for the site of his basilica. Rupert chose Juvavum, ordained priests, and annexed the manor Piding. Rupert named the city "Salzburg". He traveled to evangelise among pagans.
The name Salzburg means "Salt Castle". It derives its name from the barges' carrying salt on the Salzach River, which were subject to a toll in the 8th century, as was customary for many communities and cities on European rivers.
Finally, in 1732 King Frederick William I of Prussia accepted 12,000 Salzburger Protestant emigrants, who settled in areas of East Prussia that had been devastated by the plague twenty years before. Other smaller groups made their way to Debrecen and the Banat regions of the Kingdom of Hungary, to what is now Hungary and Serbia; the Kingdom of Hungary recruited Germans to repopulate areas along the Danube River decimated by the plague and the Ottoman invasion. The Salzburgers also migrated to Protestant areas near Berlin and Hanover in Germany; and to the Netherlands.
The ethnic German refugees went to western Europe, the United States and other western nations. Those who settled in West Germany founded a community association to preserve their historic identity as Salzburgers.
During the Anschluss, Austria, with Salzburg being a part of it, was annexed to the German Third Reich on 12 March 1938, one day before a scheduled referendum about Austria's independence. German troops were moved to the city. Political opponents, Jewish citizens and other minorities were subsequently arrested and deported. The synagogue was destroyed and several POW camps for prisoners from the Soviet Union and other nations were organized in the area.
Allied bombing destroyed 7,600 houses and killed 550 inhabitants. A total of 15 strikes destroyed 46 percent of the city's buildings especially around Salzburg train station. Although the town's bridges and the dome of the cathedral were demolished, much of its Baroque architecture remained intact. As a result, it is one of the few remaining examples of a town of its style.
Whether designer fashions at one of the numerous boutiques or the traditional "trachten" apparel popular across Europe, whether antiques, jewelry, books or music – you will find just what you're looking for in the romantic old streets of the inner city. 800 stores offer top quality merchandise, trained salespeople and a wide selection. Numerous traditional and modern coffeehouses and restaurants invite guests to sit back and relax after a long day of shopping.
The popular "Green Market" is held in front of the magnificent Collegiate Church from Monday to Saturday, selling fresh local fruit and vegetables as well as exotic delicacies, meat, poultry, fish and seafood, bread, cheese and pastries.
Hobby cooks meet at the "Schranne" market in front of St. Andrew's Church every Thursday morning. The traditional farmers' market has a wide selection of fresh local produce.
These markets are supplemented by smaller, weekly farmers' markets.
Illustrated books and books on Salzburg's history, art and culture are also great memorabilia. Salzburg cookbooks with traditional recipes and tempting dishes are also popular keepsakes.
Numerous second-hand bookshops, art shops and galleries offer watercolor paintings, sketches, etchings and photographs of the city dating back to the late 19th century. Facsimiles of historic documents or famous compositions such as the famous Christmas carol "Silent Night" also make charming souvenirs.
Fragrant nosegays decorated with cinnamon, cloves and a number of other spices, traditional "trachten" costumes and leather apparel and of course the "Original Mozartkugel" chocolates are also typical of Salzburg.
- The Salzburg Cathedral is a 17th century baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg, dedicated to Saint Rupert of Salzburg. It is the site of Mozart's baptism. And the composer Anton Diabelli sang in the Salzburg Cathedral boys' choir in the late 1700s. The first cathedral was built under Saint Vergilius of Salzburg, who might have used foundations by St. Rupert. The first Dom was recorded in 774. The so-called Virgil Dom was built from 767 to 774 and was 66 metres long and 33 metres wide. Archbishop Arno (785 – 821) was the first to arrange renovations of the Dom, which was in place for less than 70 years. In 842, the building burned down after being struck by lightning. Three years later, the re-erection of the building started.
- Hohensalzburg Castle is a castle atop the Festungsberg mountain. Erected at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg, it today with a length of 250 m (820 ft) and a width of 150 m (490 ft), is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. Construction of the fortress began in 1077 under Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein. This original design was just a basic bailey with a wooden wall. In the Holy Roman Empire, the Salzburg Archbishops already were powerful political figures, and they expanded the castle to protect their interests. Gebhard's conflict with Emperor Henry IV during the Investiture Controversy influenced the expansion of the castle, with the Archbishop taking the side of Pope Gregory VII and the German anti-king Rudolf of Rheinfelden. The castle was gradually expanded during the following centuries. The ring walls and towers were built in 1462 under Prince-Archbishop Burkhard II von Weißpriach. Hohensalzburg was refurbished from the late 19th century onwards and became a major tourist attraction, with the Festungsbahn cable car, opened in 1892, leading up from the town to the Hasengrabenbastei. It stands today as one of the best preserved castles in Europe. During the early 20th century it was used as a prison, holding Italian prisoners of war during World War I and Nazi activists (before the Anschluss with Germany) in the 1930s.
- The Salzburg Residenz. The Alte Residenz was the city palace of the Archbishops of Salzburg in the Old Town. A spacious building first documented in 1120. It was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries, especially by archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau. The wing of the Alter Markt was built under Markus Sittikus, whilst the Haupthof was completed under Paris Lodron, expanded under Guidobald von Thun and given a new facade under Franz Anton von Harrach. It now houses the Residenzgalerie. The gallery presents paintings of the 16th to the 18th century and Austrian paintings of the 19th century.
- Mozart's Birthplace. The Mozart family lived on the third floor of the "Hagenauer House" at Getreidegasse 9 for twenty-six years, from 1747 to 1773. The celebrated composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was born here on January 27, 1756. The building is named after the merchant and toy dealer, Johann Lorenz Hagenauer (1712-1792), who owned the building and was a friend of the Mozart family. The International Mozarteum Foundation first installed a museum in Mozart's Birthplace on June 15, 1880. It was systematically remodeled and enlarged over the decades and has become a cultural venue that draws thousands of visitors from around the world to Salzburg each year. Visitors are conducted through the original Mozart rooms at Mozart's Birthplace containing historic instruments, documents, memorabilia and most of the portraits painted during his lifetime, including the unfinished oil painting "Mozart at the Piano" painted by Mozart's brother-in-law, Joseph Lange, in 1789. The famous exhibits include Mozart's child violin, his concert violin, his clavichord, the harpsichord, portraits and letters from the Mozart family.
- The Mirabell Palace and Gardens. Prince-Archbishop Franz Anton von Harrach had Mirabell Palace redesigned by the famous baroque architect, Lukas von Hildebrandt, from 1721 to 1727, integrating the individual buildings into a self-contained complex. The palace was damaged by the great fire that swept through the city on April 30, 1818. A number of frescoes including those by Johann Michael Rottmayr and Gaetano Fanti fell victim to the flames. The grand marble staircase that led into the palace and the marble hall survived unscathed. Mirabell Palace owes its present unassuming appearance to Peter de Nobile, the court's architectural consultant and director of the Vienna School of Architecture. Details such as the edging of the windows, the capitals and stuccowork bear witness to the palace's former splendor. The masterly staircase by Lukas von Hildebrandt is one of the most precious works of art at Mirabell Palace. Charming putti (cherubs) decorate the marble balustrade; the sculptures in the niches are the work of the famous Georg Raphael Donner and among the finest products of the European baroque. The famous Mirabell Gardens were redesigned around 1690 under Prince-Archbishop Johann Ernst Graf von Thun to plans by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and completely remodeled around 1730 by Franz Anton Danreiter. The Pegasus Fountain, a work by Kaspar Gras from Innsbruck, was installed in 1913. The four groups of statues around the fountain were sculpted by Ottavio Mosto (1690) and symbolize the 4 elements: fire, air, earth and water. The Mirabell Gardens were opened to the public by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1854. Today they are a horticultural masterpiece and popular backdrop for photographers.
Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with an estimated population of over 411,161 people within its administrative limits. It is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, as well as the center of the Sarajevo Canton, which has a population of 578,757. Nestled within the greater Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, it is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans.
Sarajevo is the leading political, social and cultural center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its region-wide influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts contribute to its status as Bosnia and Herzegovina's major economic centre.
During the Middle Ages Sarajevo was part of the Bosnian province of Vrhbosna near the traditional center of the kingdom. Though a city called Vrhbosna existed, the exact settlement of Sarajevo at this time is debated. Various documents of the high Middle Ages note a place called Tornik in the region. By all indications, Tornik was a very small marketplace surrounded by a proportionally small village, and was not considered very important by Ragusan merchants.
Under leaders such as the second governor Gazi Husrev-beg, Sarajevo grew at a rapid rate. Husrev-beg greatly shaped the physical city, as most of what is now the Old Town was built during his reign. Sarajevo became known for its large marketplace and numerous mosques, which by the middle of the 16th century numbered more than 100. At the peak of the empire, Sarajevo was the biggest and most important Ottoman city in the Balkans after Istanbul. By 1660, the population of Sarajevo was estimated to be over 80,000. By contrast, Belgrade in 1838 had 12,963 inhabitants, and Zagreb as late as 1851 had 14,000 people. As political conditions changed, Sarajevo became the site of warfare.
Numerous other fires weakened the city, as well. The city was later rebuilt, but never fully recovered from the destruction. By 1807, it had only some 60,000 residents.
In the 1830s, several battles of the Bosnian uprising had taken place around the city. These had been led by Husein Gradaščević. Today, a major city street is named Zmaj od Bosne (Dragon of Bosnia) in his honor. The rebellion failed and, for several more decades, the crumbling Ottoman state remained in control of Bosnia.
The Ottoman Empire made Sarajevo an important administrative centre by 1850.
The Austria-Hungarian period was one of great development for the city, as the Western power brought its new acquisition up to the standards of the Victorian age. Various factories and other buildings were built at this time, and a large number of institutions were both Westernized and modernized. For the first time in history, Sarajevo’s population began writing in Latin script.
In the event that triggered World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated, along with his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 by a self-declared Yugoslav, Gavrilo Princip. In the ensuing war, however, most of the Balkan offensives occurred near Belgrade, and Sarajevo largely escaped damage and destruction.
During World War II the Kingdom of Yugoslavia put up an inadequate defense. Following a German bombing campaign, Sarajevo was captured on 15 April 1941 by the 16th Motorized infantry Division. The Axis powers created the Independent State of Croatia and included Sarajevo in its territory. On 12 October 1941 a group of 108 notable Muslim citizens of Sarajevo signed the Resolution of Sarajevo Muslims by which they condemned the persecution of Serbs organized by Ustaše, made a distinction between the Muslims who participated in such persecutions and the rest of the Muslim population, presented information about the persecutions of Muslims by Serbs, and requested security for all citizens of the country, regardless of their identity.
The city was bombed by the Allies from 1943 to 1944. The Yugoslav Partisan movement was represented in the city. Resistance was led by a NLA Partisan named "Walter" Perić. He died while leading the final liberation of the city on 6 April 1945. Many of the WWII shell casings that were used during the attacks have been carved and polished in Sarajevo tradition and are sold as art.
The crowning moment of Sarajevo’s time in Socialist Yugoslavia was the 1984 Winter Olympics. Sarajevo beat out Sapporo, Japan; and Falun/Göteborg, Sweden for the privilege. They were followed by an immense boom in tourism, making the 1980s one of the city's best decades in a long time.
During the siege, 11,541 people lost their lives, including over 1,500 children. An additional 56,000 people were wounded, including nearly 15,000 children. The 1991 census indicates that before the siege the city and its surrounding areas had a population of 525,980.
Today, Sarajevo is one of the fastest developing cities in the region. Various new modern buildings have been built, most significantly the Bosmal City Center, BBI Centar and the Avaz Twist Tower, which is the tallest skyscraper in the Balkans. A new highway was recently (2006–2011) completed between Sarajevo and the city of Kakanj. Due to growth in population, tourism and airport traffic the service sector in the city is developing fast and welcoming new investors from various businesses.
The near-future Sarajevo will have one the most developed commercial infrastructures in Southeastern Europe. The business enclave to be known collectively as the Sarajevo City Center will be one of the largest and most modern shopping and business centers in the region upon its completion in early 2013. Airport Center Sarajevo which will be connected directly to the new airport terminal will offer a great variety of brands, products and services.
- The Cathedral of Jesus' Heart commonly referred as the Sarajevo Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the seat of the Vrhbosanski Archbishop, currently Cardinal Vinko Puljić, and centre of Catholic worship in the city. The Cathedral is located in the city's Old Town district. The Cathedral of Jesus' Heart was built in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an important Catholic concept. Architect Josip Vancaš modeled it after the Notre-Dame de Paris using the neo-Gothic style and elements of Romanesque architecture. Work began on August 25, 1884, and was completed in the same month in 1889. The Bishop of Dubrovnik was present for the opening.
- Latin Bridge is a historic Ottoman bridge over the River Miljacka. The northern end of the bridge was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip in 1914, which became a factor in the start of World War I. Judging by its foundation, it is the oldest among the preserved bridges in the city. The census of the Sanjak of Bosnia from 1541 mentions the bridge on this spot, built by the leather-worker Hussein, son of Sirmerd. This first bridge seems to have been made of wood, because the court record from 1565 witness that the stone bridge was built here by eminent citizen of Sarajevo Ali-Ajni Beg. Terrible floods on November 15, 1791 badly damaged the bridge and its reconstruction was financed by the Sarajevo merchant Abdullah-aga Briga. Someone worked out that the year when it was rebuilt can be obtained from the numerical values in the word 'Briga' it is 1213 which by Islamic calendar equals the year of the reconstruction 1798/99.
- The Sebilj is a pseudo-Moorish style wooden fountain in the centre of Baščaršija square in Sarajevo built by Mehmed-pasha Kukavica in 1753. It was relocated by Czech architect Alexander Vitek in 1891. It is also frequently called “the pigeon square”. A multi-national collaborative public arts project created a life-size contemporary interpretation of the famous public fountain and landmark in Birmingham, utilising traditional Bosnian design and craft techniques and combined with modern digital technology.
- The Avaz Twist Tower is a 176 m tall skyscraper which is the headquarters for Dnevni avaz, a Bosnia and Herzegovina newspaper company. The tower is located in the Marijin Dvor district, Sarajevo's business district. Construction began in 2006 and was finished in 2008. The tower is specific for its twisted facade. German company Schüco has chosen it among the 10 most beautiful buildings in the world. At the height of 150m, there is a public viewpoint from which the rest of the city can be seen.
- The Emperor's Mosque is an important landmark in Sarajevo, being the first mosque to be built (1457) after the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia. It is the largest single-subdome mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina, built in the classical Ottoman style of the era. It was built by one Isaković-Hranušić who dedicated it to the Sultan, Muhammad al-Fatih, the conqueror of Constantinople. Considered one of the most beautiful mosques of the Ottoman period in the Balkans, the mosque features a roomy interior and high quality decorative details, such as the mihrab.
Šiauliai is the fourth largest city in Lithuania. From 1994 to 2010 it was the capital of Šiauliai County. Unofficially, the city is the capital of Northern Lithuania.
The credit for the city's rebirth goes to Antoni Tyzenhaus (1733–1785) who after a violent revolt of peasants of the Crown properties in the Northern Lithuania (so-called in Polish: Powstanie Szawelskie, 1769), started the radical economic and urban reforms. He decided to rebuilt the city according to the Classicism ideas: at first houses were built randomly in a radial shape, but Tyzenhaus decided to build the city in an orderly rectangular grid. Šiauliai grew to become a well-developed city, with several prominent brick buildings. In 1791 Stanisław August Poniatowski, king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, confirmed once again that Šiauliai's city rights and granted it a coat of arms which depicted a bear, the symbol of Samogitia, the Eye of Providence, and a red bull, the symbol of the Poniatowski family. The modern coat of arms has been modeled after this version.
During World War I, about 65% of the buildings were burned down and the city center was destroyed. After the war and re-establishment of Lithuania, the importance of Šiauliai grew. Before Klaipėda was attached to Lithuania, the city was second after Kaunas by population size. By 1929 the city center was rebuilt. Modern utilities were also included: streets were lighted, it had public transportation, telephone and telegraph lines, water supply network and sewer.
In 1939, one fifth of the city's population was Jewish. German soldiers entered Šiauliai on June 26, 1941. According to one of the Jewish survivors of Šiauliai, Nesse Godin, some 700 people were shot in nearby woods during the first weeks of occupation after having been forced to dig their own graves. The Šiauliai Ghetto was established in July 1941.
The city was largely rebuilt anew in a typical Soviet fashion during the years of subsequent Soviet occupation.
- Šiauliai Cathedral A Samogitian elder M. Kęsgaila built the first wooden church in Šiauliai in 1445. Later, the church was destroyed several times, burned down, until it got its present form – Renaissance style, one towered, with six wall apse. When pope John Paul II established Šiauliai Diocese, the church became a Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. The church is painted from inside and outside with two shades of white. The Cathedral is surrounded by a brick wall with small watch towers at corners and firing openings. On the southern wall of the building you can see a sundial and external lighting, which has several control programs. The lighting is switched on during all church and Šiauliai city festivities.
- Sundial Square and the Golden Boy. The 750th anniversary of the city's existence in 1986 motivated the proper acknowledgment of the significance of this date. The competition for the reconstruction of the square was announced in 1981, and it was won by a trio of architects from Šiauliai: A. Černiauskas, R. Jurėla and A. Vyšniūnas. The centrepiece of Sundial Square is the gilded and bronze-ornamented decorative sculpture Šaulys (Archer) by Stanislovas Kuzma. It is almost four metres high. The sculpture, often referred to as the Golden Boy, and the numbers 12, 3 and 6, indicating the hours and infused into the pavement of the square in a way unify the three symbols of Šiauliai: the sun, representing the Battle of the Sun that took place on the city grounds, the archer that the city's name derives from, and the time that has passed since the name of the city was mentioned for the first time (in 1236). It is the highest sundial in Lithuania.
- “Cockerel” Clock Square Intersection of Vilniaus and Tilžės Streets. In 2003, the city of Šiauliai was celebrating its 767th anniversary, and one of its renewed symbols, the Cockerel, crowed: "Come on a date". Couples in love or business people agree to meet here: "We'll meet at the Cockerel". Now, the city symbol not only crows, but it also greets passers-by: "Welcome to Šiauliai." The greeting is uttered in English, German, French, Russian, Spanish, Esperanto, Hebrew, Swedish, Romany, and other languages.
- The Battle of the sun window. Lithuania's biggest stained glass window, "The Battle of the Sun", by Professor Kazys Morkūnas, is situated in the "Sun" concert hall. Its width is 200 square metres (length - 52 m.). It depicts the 1236 battle between the Lithuanian and Livonian Order armies and commemorates the 750th anniversary since the name of Šiauliai was first mentioned in historical chronicles.
- Hill of Crosses is a national centre of pilgrimage in Lithuania. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian national identity. Over the centuries, the Hill has come to signify the peaceful endurance of Lithuanian Catholicism. After the 3rd partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, Lithuania became part of the Russian Empire.
Poles and Lithuanians unsuccessfully rebelled against Russian authorities in 1831 and 1863. The two uprisings are thought to be connected with the contemporary use of the hill as a religious site. When families could not locate bodies of perished rebels during the uprisings, they started putting up symbolic crosses in the location of a former hill fort. In 1961, 1973 and 1975 the Hill was cleared and the crosses were burned or turned into scrap metal with the area being covered with waste to discourage further similar activities at the site. On each occasion the local inhabitants and pilgrims from all over Lithuania replaced the crosses on the hill. The hill is currently visited by many thousands of visitors and pilgrims from all over the world. The current number of crosses is unknown. Estimates put it at about 55,000 in 1990 and by 2006 the number had grown to an estimated 100,000.
Siena, or Sienna in English, is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena. The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year.
Siena did not prosper under Roman rule. It was not sited near any major roads and lacked opportunities for trade. Its insular status meant that Christianity did not penetrate until the 4th century AD, and it was not until the Lombards invaded Siena and the surrounding territory that it knew prosperity. After the Lombard occupation, the old Roman roads of Via Aurelia and the Via Cassia passed through areas exposed to Byzantine raids, so the Lombards rerouted much of their trade between the Lombards' northern possessions and Rome along a more secure road through Siena. Siena prospered as a trading post, and the constant streams of pilgrims passing to and from Rome provided a valuable source of income in the centuries to come.
It existed for over four hundreds years, from the late 11th century until the year 1555. At the Italian War, the republic was defeated by the rival Duchy of Florence in alliance with the Spanish crown. After 18 months of resistance, Republic of Siena surrendered to Spain on 17 April 1555, marking the end of the republic.
A Republican government of 700 Sienese families in Montalcino resisted until 1559.
Siena is large enough still to have items made in the local area, stemming from its history of craftmanship, so you will find some items not readily available anywhere else. Fine paper, neckties, fabrics, embroidery/tapestry, glazed terracotta, gold jewelry, and of course local food and wine, are some of the distinctive items produced locally. There is a great shop on Via di Citta (the main street) with leather luggage, purses, bags etc.
A huge Market is held every Wednesday around the Fortezza Mediceana from about 7am to about 2pm.
Due to the city's status as a major tourist attraction there are plenty of newsagents selling international papers and magazines. A good example is the shop opposite the church on Via San Marco in the Snail Contrada, which has a friendly and helpful multilingual owner, who also runs an internet access point.
Ten of the seventeen Contrade run in each Palio: seven run by right (having not run in the previous year's corresponding Palio) together with three drawn by lot from the remaining ten. A horse is assigned to each by lot and is then guarded and cared for in the Contrade stable. The jockeys are paid huge sums and indeed there are often deals and bribes between jockeys or between "allied" Contrade committees to hinder other riders, especially those of 'enemy' Contrade. For the three days preceding the Palio itself, there are practice races. The horses are led from their stables through the city streets to the Campo, accompanied by crowds wearing Contrade scarves or tee-shirts and the air is filled with much singing and shouting.
This event is not without its controversy however, and recently, there have been complaints about the treatment of the horses and to the danger run by the riders. In order to better protect the horses, steps have been taken to make veterinary care more easily available during the main race. Also at the most dangerous corners of the course, cushions are used to help protect both the riders and horses.
- The Cathedral of Siena dedicated from its earliest days as a Roman Catholic Marian church and now to Santa Maria Assunta (Most Holy Mary of Assumption), is a medieval church in Siena, central Italy. The cathedral itself was originally designed and completed between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure. It has the form of a Latin cross with a slightly projecting transept, a dome and a bell tower. The dome rises from a hexagonal base with supporting columns. The lantern atop the dome was added by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The nave is separated from the two aisles by semicircular arches. The exterior and interior are constructed of white and greenish-black marble in alternating stripes, with addition of red marble on the façade. Black and white are the symbolic colors of Siena, etiologically linked to black and white horses of the legendary city's founders, Senius and Aschius.
- Fortezza Medicea (the Medici Fortress sometimes called the Fort of Saint Barbara) is a fort built in the city between 1561 and 1563 on the orders of Duke Cosimo, a few years before he became the first Grand Duke of Tuscany. The fortress is positioned on the northern edge of the central Siena in the San Prospero quarter, and since 1923 has overlooked the city’s Artemio Franchi /Montepaschi Arena. Construction of the fortress followed the Battle of Marciano which in 1554 marked the final defeat of Siena by its long standing rival, Florence. It was located on the site of a previous fort, known as the Cittadella/Citadel, which had been built in 1548 on the orders of the Emperor Charles V after the city came under the control of Spain, subjected to the authority of the Spanish ambassador, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza.
- The Pinacoteca Nazionale is a national museum in Siena, Tuscany, Italy. Inaugurated in 1932, it houses especially late medieval and Renaissance paintings from Italian artists. It is housed in the Brigidi and Buonsignori palaces in the city's center: the former, built in the 14th century, it is traditionally identified as the Pannocchieschi family's residence. Buonsignori Palace, although built in the 15th century, has a 19th century neo-medival façade based on the city's Palazzo Pubblico. The gallery has one of the largest collections of Sienese paintings with gold backgrounds from the 14th and 15th centuries.
- The Basilica dell'Osservanza is a church on the outskirts of Siena, Italy. It was built around 1490, probably designed by Francesco di Giorgio. The church was expanded between 1495 and 1496 by Magnifico Despota Pandolfo Petrucci. Built in the Renaissance style, the original complex was damaged during the Siege of Siena in 1554. It was rebuilt during the Baroque period and restored between 1922 and 1932. During the Second World War it was almost totally destroyed by American bombing on January 23 1944, but in an ambitious post-war reconstruction project the original basilica was able to be rebuilt through photographs and evidence presented by the monks of the monastery.
- The Palazzo Pubblico, Siena's City Hall for almost 800 years, contains (amongst many other things) the famous frescos on good and bad government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, frescoes by Simone Martini and Duccio. The outside of the structure is an example of Italian medieval architecture with Gothic influences. The lower story is stone; the upper crenelatted stories are made of brick. The facade of the palace is curved slightly inwards (concave) to reflect the outwards curve (convex) of the Piazza del Campo, Siena's central square of which the Palace is the focal point. The campanile or bell tower, Torre del Mangia, was built between 1325 and 1344 with its crown designed by the painter, Lippo Memmi. The tower was designed to be taller than the tower in neighboring rival Florence; at the time it was the tallest structure in Italy.
Seville is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville, Spain. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of 7 metres (23 ft) above sea level. The inhabitants of the city are known assevillanos (feminine form: sevillanas) or hispalenses, following the Roman name of the city, Hispalis.
Seville is the fourth largest city of Spain with a municipal population of about 703,000 as of 2011, and a metropolitan population (including satellite towns) of about 1.2 million, making it the 31st most populous municipality in the European Union. Its Old Town is one of the three largest in Europe along with Venice and Genoa (covering almost four square kilometers), which includes three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The city was known from Roman times as Hispalis. Important archaeological remains also exist in the nearby towns of Santiponce, Italica and Carmona.
Existing Roman features in Seville include the remnants of an aqueduct, a temple in Mármoles Street, the columns of La Alameda de Hércules, the remains exposed in situ in the underground Antiquarium of the Metropol Parasol building and, finally, the remains in Patio de Banderas square, near of the Seville Cathedral. The walls surrounding the city were originally built during the rule of Julius Caesar, but their current course and design were the result of Moorish reconstructions.
Following Roman rule, there were successive conquests of the Roman province of Hispania Baetica by the Vandals and the Visigoths during the 5th and 6th centuries.
The city's development continued after the Castilian conquest in 1248. Public buildings constructed including churches, many of which were built in the Mudéjar style, and the Seville Cathedral, built during the 15th century with Gothic architecture. The Moors' Palace became the Castilian royal residence, and during Pedro I's rule it was replaced by the Alcázar (the upper levels are still used by the Royal Family as the official Seville residence).
In the late 16th century the monopoly was broken, with the port of Cádiz also authorized as a port of trade. The Great Plague of Seville in 1649 reduced the population by almost half, and it would not recover until the early 19th century. By the 18th century its international importance was in decline. After the silting up of the harbor by the Guadalquivir (river) upriver shipping ceased and the city went into relative economic decline.
The writer Miguel de Cervantes lived primarily in Seville between 1596 and 1600. Because of financial problems, Cervantes worked as a purveyor for the Spanish Armada, and later as a tax collector. In 1597, discrepancies in his accounts of the three years previous landed him in the Royal Prison of Seville for a short time. Rinconete y Cortadillo, a popular comedy among his works, features two young vagabonds who come to Seville, attracted by the riches and disorder that the 16th-century commerce with the Americas had brought to that metropolis.
Modern Seville has a wide variety of entertainment to offer throughout the day, but especially from the late evening to the early morning hours. The pleasant climate and the natural sociability of Sevillians lead people to spend most of their spare time outdoors talking, drinking and eating tapas. The nightclubs and disco-pubs don't fill with crowds before 2 am.
The main nightlife attractions are located within and around the city center. The La Alfalfaneighbourhood houses many pubs and tapas bars. A more alternative atmosphere can be found in La Alameda, with a frenetic nightlife of entertainment that ranges from traditional flamenco to heavy metal. Another popular area is El Arenal. Most of the discothèques are found in Betis street in Triana and in La Cartuja.
During spring and summer, outdoor cocktails bars (known as kioskos) are opened along Paseo de Colón, next to the Guadalquivir river.
The Seville oranges that dot the city landscape, too bitter for modern tastes, are commonly used to make marmalade and lotions; according to legend, the trees were imported when the mosque was constructed in order to provide shade and mask the scent of the medieval city. However, many tourists insist on trying the oranges which taste like sour lemons.
- The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See better known as Seville Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Seville. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. It was registered in 1987 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, along with the Alcázar palace complex and the General Archive of the Indies. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years. The cathedral is also the burial site of Christopher Columbus. The Archbishop's Palace is located on the northeastern side of the cathedral.
- The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral. Its height is 343 feet (105 m) feet. Its square base is 23 feet (7.0 m) above sea level and is 44 feet (13 m) feet long per side. It was built to resemble the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech (Morocco), although the top section of the bell tower dates from the Renaissance. Construction began in 1184 under the direction of architect Ben Ahmad Baso. According to the chronicler Ibn Sahib al-Salah, the works were completed on March 10 of 1198, with the placement of four gilt bronze balls in the top section of the tower. After a strong earthquake in 1365, the spheres were missing. In the 16th century the belfry was added by the architect Hernán Ruiz; the statue on its top, called "El Giraldillo", was installed in 1568 to represent the triumph of the Christian faith.
- The Torre del Oro (English: "Gold Tower") is a dodecagonal military watchtower, built by the Almohad dynasty in order to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir river.
Constructed in the first third of the 13th century, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the golden shine it projected on the river, due to its building materials (a mixture of mortar, lime and pressed hay). The tower is divided into three levels, with the third and uppermost being circular in shape and added in 1769. This tower has a lesser-known half sister: the Torre de la Plata, an octagonal tower.
- The Alcázar of Seville is a royal palace, originally a Moorish fort. It is the oldest royal palace still in use in Europe. The Almohades were the first to build a palace, which was called Al-Muwarak, on the site of the modern day Alcázar. The palace is one of the best remaining examples of mudéjar architecture. Subsequent monarchs have added their own additions to the Alcázar. The upper levels of the Alcázar are still used by the royal family as the official Seville residence and are administered by the Patrimonio Nacional.
- Metropol Parasol is a primarily wooden building located at La Encarnación square, in the old quarter of Seville. It was designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann and completed in April 2011. It has dimensions of 150 by 70 metres (490 by 230 ft) and an approximate height of 26 metres (85 ft) and claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. Its appearance, location, and delays and cost overruns in construction resulted in much public controversy. The building is popularly known as Las Setas de la Encarnación (Encarnación's mushrooms). The structure consists of six parsols in the form of giant mushrooms, whose design is inspired by the vaults of the Cathedral of Seville and the ficus trees in nearby Plaza de Cristo de Burgos. Metropol Parasol is organized in four levels. The underground level (Level 0) houses the Antiquarium, where Roman and Moorish remains discovered on-site are displayed in a museum. Level 1 (street level) is the Central Market. The roof of Level 1 is the surface of the open-air public plaza, shaded by the wooden parasols above and designed for public events. Levels 2 and 3 are the two stages of the panoramic terraces (including a restaurant), offering one of the best views of the city centre.
Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre. It was known in the Roman period under the name Scupi.
The site of modern Skopje has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC. Remains of Neolithic settlements have been found within the Skopje Fortress. The earliest people in Skopje Valley were probably the Triballi. Later the area was populated by the Paionians, but in the 3rd century BC, Skopje and the surrounding area was invaded by the Dardanians. Scupi, the ancient name for Skopje, became the capital of Dardania, which extended from Naissus to Bylazora in the second century BC. Roman expansion east brought Scupi under Roman rule as a colony of legionnaires, mainly veterans of the Legio IIV Claudia in the time of Domitian (81-96 AD). However, several legions from the Roman province of Macedonia of Crassus' army may already have been stationed in there around 29-28 BC, before the official imperial command was instituted. Shortly afterwards it became part of the province of Moesia during Augustus's rule. After the division of the province by Domitian in 86 AD, Scupi was elevated to colonial status, and became a seat of government within the new province of Moesia Superior. The district called Dardania (within Moesia Superior) was formed into a special province by Diocletian, with the capital at Naissus. From 395 AD, it passed into the hands of the Byzantine Empire. Scupi was probably a metropolitan seat during the middle of the 5th century.
At that time Skopje was the capital of Kosovo as an Ottoman vilayet. During the Ottoman Tanzimat (1839–76) reforms, nationalism arose in the Empire and in 1870 a new Bulgarian Orthodox Church was established and its separate diocese was created, based on ethnic identity rather than religious principles. The Christian population of the bishopric of Skopje voted in 1874 overwhelmingly, by 91% in favour of joining the Exarchate. In 1893, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization was established in Thessaloniki by a small band of anti-Ottoman Macedono-Bulgarian revolutionaries, who considered Macedonia an indivisible territory and claimed all of its inhabitants "Macedonians", independently of their religion or ethnicity. In 1903 an organized revolt against the Ottoman Empire was carried out by the IMRO. Its revolutionary network in Skopje region was not well-developed and the lack of weapons was a serious problem. At the outbreak of the uprising the rebel forces derailed a military train. On 3 and 5 August respectively, they attacked a Turkish unit guarding the bridge on the Vardar river and gave a battle in the "St. Jovan" monastery. In the next few days the band was pursued by numerous Bashibozuks and moved to Bulgaria. The Ottomans were ultimately expelled from the city on 12 August 1912 when 15,000 Albanians marched on Üsküb.
On 11 March 1943, Skopje's entire Jewish population of 3,286 was transferred by Bulgarian occupying forces to the Nazis and deported to the gas chambers of Treblinka concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. This was in stark contrast to the way Bulgaria handled its own Jewish population.
Until 1991 Skopje was the capital of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. The city expanded and the population grew during this period from just over 150,000 in 1945 to almost 600,000 in the early 1990s. Continuing to be prone to natural disasters the city was flooded by the Vardar River in 1962 and then suffered considerable damage from a major earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, which killed over 1,000 people and made another 120,000 homeless. and numerous cultural monuments were seriously damaged. A major international relief effort saw the city rebuilt quickly, though much of its old neo-classical charm was lost in the process. The new master plan of the city was created by the then leading Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. The ruins of the old Skopje train station which was destroyed in the earthquake remain today as a memorial to the victims along with an adjacent museum. Nearly all of the city's beautiful neo-classical 18th and 19th century buildings were destroyed in the earthquake, including the National Theater and many government buildings, as well as most of the Kale Fortress. International financial aid poured into Skopje in order to help rebuild the city. As a result came the many modern (at the time) brutalist structures of the 1960s, that can still be seen today, such as the central post office building and the National Bank, as well as hundreds of now abandoned caravans and prefabricated mobile homes. Fortunately, though, as with previous earthquakes, much of the old Turkish side of town survived.
Skopje’s eateries are plentiful and offer a diverse range of local and international flavors. International cuisine is well represented in Skopje with Chinese, Italian, Indian, Greek, Mexican, Middle Eastern and French restaurants all found within the city center. In addition, pizza and fast food places abound, as do small bakery cafes selling pastries such as the ubiquitous burek (a flaky filo pie stuffed with meat, cheese or spinach).
- The Skopje Fortress, commonly referred to as Kale Fortress, or simply Kale (from kale, the Turkish word for 'fortress'), is a historic fortress located in the old town. It is situated on the highest point in the city overlooking the Vardar River. The fortress is depicted on the coat of arms of Skopje, which in turn is incorporated in the city's flag. The first fortress was built in 6th century and was constructed with yellow limestone and travertine and along with fragments of Latin inscriptions, assert the idea that the material for the fortress originated from the Roman city of Skupi, which was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 518. The fortress is thought to have been built during the rule of emperor Justinian I and constructed further during the 10th and 11th centuries over the remains of emperor Justinian's Byzantine fortress which may have been destroyed due to a number of wars and battles in the region, such as that of the uprising of the Bulgarian Empire against the Byzantine Empire under the rule of Peter Delyan. Not much is known about the Medieval fortress apart from a few documents which outline minor characteristics in the fortress' appearance. The fortress was partially destroyed yet again by an earthquake in 1963 but was not reconstructed until recently.
- The Church of Holy Salvation is a Macedonian Orthodox Church in Skopje. It is situated east of Kale Fortress. The church was built in the mid-16th century and is three-nave, with the middle vessel arched and flat pages covered with gains in domes. In the west is the gallery for women. On the south wall, above the present level of the floor during the repair of the church year 1963-64 was discovered a flat painting dating from the 16th-17th century. During the 19th century the church was given the inal look. In 1824 the iconostasis was completed and in 1867 it was part of the throne icons. The iconostasis and icons were made by cooperatives and traders from Skopje.
- Porta Macedonia is a triumphal arch located on Pella Square in Skopje. Construction started in 2011 and was completed in January 2012. The arch is 21 meters in height, and cost EUR 4.4 million. The arch is dedicated to 20 years of Macedonian independence and its outer surface is covered in 193 m2 of reliefs carved in marble, depicting scenes from the history of Macedonia. It also contains interior rooms, one of which has a function of state-owned souvenir shop, as well as elevators and stairs providing public access to the roof, allegedly intended as space for weddings. It is designed to match the almost equally tall statue of " Alexander the Great", erected in the capital's central square in summer 2011.
- The Mother Teresa Memorial House is dedicated to the humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mother Teresa and is located in her hometown Skopje. The memorial house was built on the popular Macedonia Street in the Centar municipality, on the very location of the once Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, where Mother Teresa was baptized. It lies just east of the Ristiḱ Palace and the Macedonia Square. In the first three weeks, the memorial house was visited by 12,000 people.
- The Stone Bridge is a bridge across the Vardar River. The bridge is considered a symbol of Skopje and is the main element of the coat of arms of the city, which in turn is incorporated in the city's flag. The Stone Bridge connects Macedonia Square, in the centre of Skopje, to the Old Bazaar. The bridge is also less frequently known as the Dušan Bridge after Stephen Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia. The current Stone Bridge was built on Roman fondations under the patronage of Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror between 1451 and 1469. Throughout the centuries, the Stone Bridge was often damaged and then repaired. There is historical evidence that it once suffered during the great earthquake of 1555 which heavily damaged or destroyed four pillars. In 1944, explosives were placed on the bridge by Nazis. When Skopje was liberated, the activation of the explosives was prevented and the bridge was saved from destruction. Some executions have also taken place on this bridge, such as the execution of Karposh in 1689.
Founded seven thousand years ago, Sofia is the second oldest city in Europe. It has been given several names in the course of history and the remnants of the old cities can still be seen today.
|St George Rotunda|
Sofia is a city that grows but never ages. Bulgaria’s modern capital testifies to the country’s eternal bond between past and present. Monuments to its rich Thracian, Roman, Bulgar and Ottoman history rub shoulders with modem-day edifices of cosmopolitan city life. Over 250 historic landmarks and architectural monuments blend in with the city’s modern skyline. Despite the presence of numerous ruins from various epochs, which attest to its long and colorful history, much of Sofia’s historic grandeur has been lost.
Going by the Archeological Museum – one of the most interesting collections of Thracian, Greek and Roman monuments and gold, the former Communist Party House and the National Bank, it takes to the former Royal Palace, now the National Art Gallery and the really unique National Ethnological Museum. On the other side of the street is the classical Bulgaria Grand Hotel with its Vienese style cafe. One of the main sights is the Russian church – a magnificent example of a Byzantine style cathedral, surrounded by picturesque garden. Then the yellow pavement goes by the Millitary club (Voenen Klub) with some of the most famous bars and restaurants in the city with an ancient tomb in the backyard garden. On the same side of the street you see the beautiful neoclassical buildings of the Italian and Austrian embassy and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
|Petko and Pencho Slaveykov|
After 1944, all traffic around the square was gradually limited and it turned into a pedestrian area making it a perfect stopping off spot for coffee and people watching.
If ski-ing is your thing, at 800m above sea level, Mount Vitosha is only 10 km far from Sofia, This is the highest ski resort in Bulgaria.The ski runs of Vitosha are various and are suitable for skiers and boarders of any level. Vitosha offers six ski runs with various difficulty and length - the green ski run being the easiest and the Vitoshko Lale the most difficult. The mountain is good for skiing in the winter and trekking in the summer. It is easily accessible both in the winter and in the summer but its weather is very changeable.
|Alexander Nevski Cathedral|
- Alexander Nevski Cathedral. Built in Neo-Byzantine style, it serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria and is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, as well as one of Sofia's symbols and primary tourist attractions. The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia occupies an area of 3,170 square metres (34,100 sq ft) and can hold 10,000 people inside. The construction of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral started in 1882 (having been planned since 19 February, 1879), when the foundation stone was laid, but most of it was built between 1904 and 1912. Saint Alexander Nevsky was a Russian prince. The cathedral was created in honour to the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, as a result of which Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule.
- The St. Sofia Church. After which the city is named. It is a typical basilica surrounded by a garden with 2 monuments – the St. George monument and the national poet Ivan Vazov monument, made of a Vitosha mountain rock. At the back of the church is the Sofia Municipality building and Moscovska Street with some of the most beautiful art deco houses of the Bulgarian elite before WWII some of the now working as cafes and restaurants.
- St George Rotunda. The Church of St George or“ Rotonda "Sveti Georgi" is an Early Christian red brick rotunda that is considered the oldest building in Sofia, It is situated behind the Sheraton Hotel, amid remains of the ancient town of Serdica. Built by the Romans in the 4th century, it is mainly famous for the 12th-14th century frescoes inside the central dome. Three layers of frescoes have been discovered, the earliest dating back to the 10th century. Magnificent frescoes of 22 prophets over 2 metres tall crown the dome. Painted over during the Ottoman period, when the building was used as a mosque, these frescoes were only uncovered in the 20th century.
- The Amphitheatre of Serdica. Was an amphitheatre in the Ancient Roman city of Ulpia Serdica. Discovered in 2004 and the subject of excavations in 2005 and 2006, the ruins of the amphitheatre lie on two adjacent sites in the centre of modern Sofia. The amphitheatre was built in the 3rd–4th century AD on top of a 2nd–3rd century theatre which had been ravaged by the Goths. However, the amphitheatre remained in use for less than a century and was abandoned by the 5th century. With an arena only around 10 m (33 ft) smaller than the Colosseum, the Amphitheatre of Serdica was among the biggest in the eastern part of the Roman Empire and the largest in what is today Bulgaria. The amphitheatre itself was accidentally discovered in 2004, during the early constructions of what came to be known as the Arena di Serdica Hotel. The east gate and the section of the amphitheatre within the hotel lot, which is about 1/6th of the entire building, was preserved and incorporated into the hotel's ground floor. It is freely accessible for tourists during the day
- The National Palace of Culture (NDK). The largest multifunctional congress, conference, convention and exhibition centre in Southeastern Europe. It was opened in 1981. The idea for the construction of this true contemporary castle comes from the former Bulgarian first-lady Lyudmila Zhivkova (daughter of the communist politician and leader of the former People's Republic of Bulgaria Todor Zhivkov). The project was worked out by a team of Bulgarian and foreign architects, lead by Alexander Barov. The landscaping of Bulgaria Square in front of the National Palace of Culture was made by another team of architects and landscape engineers, lead by Atanas Agura.
In July 2005, the National Palace of Culture was proclaimed the best congress centre in the world for the year by the International Organization of Congress Centres.
Split is a Mediterranean city on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea, centred around the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian and its bay and port. Split is by far the largest Dalmatian city and the second-largest city of Croatia. Spread over a central peninsula and its surroundings, Split's greater area includes the surrounding seaside towns as well. An intraregional transport hub, the city is a link to numerous Adriatic islands and the Apennine peninsula, as well as a popular tourist destination.
While the beginnings of Split are often connected to the construction of Diocletian's Palace, the city was founded earlier as a Greek colony of Aspálathos. The Greek settlement lived off trade with the surrounding Illyrian tribes, mostly the Delmatae, who inhabited the (much larger) nearby city of Salona. In time, the Roman Republic became the dominant power in the region, and conquered the Illyrians in the Illyrian Wars of 229 and 219 BC. Upon establishing permanent control, the Romans founded the province of Dalmatia with Salona as the capital, and at that time the name of the nearby Greek colony Aspálathos was changed to "Spalatum".
Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476, Spalatum became a part of the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as Byzantium. It grew very slowly as a satellite town of the much larger Salona. However, around AD 639 Salona fell to the invasion of Avars and Slavs, and was razed to the ground, with the majority of the displaced citizens fleeing to the nearby Adriatic islands. Following the return of Byzantine rule to the area, the Romanic citizens returned to the mainland under the leadership of the nobleman known as Severus the Great. They chose to inhabit Diocletian's Palace in Spalatum, because of its strong (more "medieval") fortifications. The palace was long deserted by this time, and the interior was converted into a city by the Salona refugees, making Spalatum much larger as the successor to the capital city of the province. Today the palace constitutes the inner core of the city, still inhabited, full of shops, markets, squares, with an ancient Cathedral of St. Duje (formerly Diocletian's mausoleum) inserted in the corridors and floors of the former palace. As a part of the Byzantine Empire, the city had varying but significant political autonomy.
The Medieval period in Split's Dalmatia province is marked by the waning power of the Byzantine Empire, and by the struggle of the neighboring powers, namely the Venetian Republic, the Kingdom of Croatia, and (later) the Kingdom of Hungary, to fill the power vacuum. The arrival of the Croats in the 7th century profoundly influenced the area. The hinterland and the islands were predominantly populated by the Croats, who began influencing the city itself. The early Medieval Croatian state (later the Kingdom of Croatia) founded neighbouring littoral cities (such as Šibenik), and encompassed the vast majority of the hinterland. In the following centuries Split developed an increasingly Croatian character, which can be seen in the architecture (particularly of churches) in the city and its surroundings. The city's Romance population increasingly mingled with the surrounding populace. The city was for the first time fully integrated within the state by Peter Krešimir IV in 1069, and again in 1075 by Demetrius Zvonimir.
To the north, the Venetian Republic began to influence the Dalmatian region from the 10th century, using its growing economic influence to gain control over the islands and the coastal cities. It gained control over the city during several periods, due mostly to the temporary weakness of the Croatian or Hungarian state. With the decline of the Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Croatia held de-factosuzerainty over the city, granting it significant autonomy due to the state's feudal character. In the year 1102, Croatia was forced into a personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary by its King, Coloman. The city however maintained its significant degree of independence, and in 1312, it issued statutes as well as currency of its own.
Split was ruled by the Venetian Republic up to its downfall in 1797. After a brief period of Napoleonic rule (1806–1813) when was even part of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, the city was allocated to the Empire of Austria by the Congress of Vienna. Large investments were undertaken in the city during that period, new streets were built and parts of the ancient fortifications were removed.
During the period of the Austrian Empire Split's region, the Kingdom of Dalmatia, was a separate administrative unit. After the revolutions of 1848 as a result of the romantic nationalism, two factions appeared. One was the pro-Croatian Unionist faction (later called the "Puntari", "Pointers"), led by the People's Party and, to a lesser extent, the Party of Rights, both of which advocated the union of Dalmatia with Croatia-Slavonia which was under Hungarian administration. This faction was strongest in Split, and used it as its headquarters. The other faction was the pro-Italian Autonomist faction (also known as the "Irredentist" faction), whose political goals varied from autonomy within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to a political union with the Kingdom of Italy.
The political alliances in Split shifted over time. At first, the Unionists and Autonomists were allied against the centralism of Vienna. After a while, when the national question came to prominence, they separated. Under Austria, however, Split can generally be said to have stagnated. The great upheavals in Europe in 1848 gained no ground in Split, and the city did not rebel.
After the end of World War I and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, the province of Dalmatia, along with Split, became a part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (which in 1929 changed its name to Kingdom of Yugoslavia). Since both Rijeka and Zadar, the two other large cities on the eastern Adriatic coast, were annexed by Italy, Split became the most important port in Yugoslavia. In the new country, Port of Split became the seat of new administrative unit, Littoral Banovina. The Lika railway, connecting Split to the rest of the country, was completed in 1925. After the Cvetković-Maček agreement, Split became the part of new administrative unit (merging of Sava and Littoral Banovina plus some Croat populated areas), Banovina of Croatia in Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
In April 1941, following the invasion of Yugoslavia by Nazi Germany, Split was occupied by Italy and formally annexed one month later. Italian rule met heavy opposition from the Croat population as Split became a centre of anti-fascist sentiment in Yugoslavia. Between September and October 1941 alone, ten officials of the Italian fascist occupation were assassinated by the citizens.
In September 1943, following the capitulation of Italy, the city was temporarily controlled by Tito's brigades with thousands of people volunteering to join the Partisans of Marshal Josip Broz Tito (a third of the total population, according to some sources). A few weeks later, however, the Partisans were forced into retreat as the Wehrmacht placed the city under the authority of the Independent State of Croatia a few weeks later. In a tragic turn of events, besides being bombed by axis forces, the city was also bombed by the Allies, causing hundreds of deaths. Partisans finally captured the city on October 26, 1944 and instituted it as the provisional capital of Croatia.
After World War II, Split became a part of the Socialist Republic of Croatia, itself a constituent sovereign republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the period the city experienced its largest economic and demographic boom. Dozens of new factories and companies were founded with the city population increasing three times during the period. The city became the economic centre of an area exceeding the borders of Croatia and was flooded by waves of rural migrants from the undeveloped hinterland who found employment in the newly-established industry, as part of large-scale industrialization and investment by the Yugoslav Federal Government.
|The Cathedral of Saint Domnius|
When Croatia declared its independence again in 1991, Split had a large garrison of JNA troops (drafted from all over Yugoslavia), as well as the headquarters and facilities of the Yugoslav War Navy (JRM). This led to a tense months-long stand-off between the JNA and Croatian National Guard and police forces, occasionally flaring up in various incidents.
The most tragic such incident occurred on November 15, 1991, when the JRM light frigate Split fired a small number of shells at the city and its surroundings. The damage was insignificant but there were a few casualties. Three general locations were bombarded: the old city center, the city airport and an uninhabited part of the hills above Kaštela, between the airport and Split. JRM Sailors who had refused to attack Croat civilians, most of them Croats themselves, were left in the vessel's brig. The JNA and JRM evacuated all of its facilities in Split during January 1992. The 1990s economic recession soon followed.
In the years following 2000, Split finally gained momentum and started to develop again, with a focus on tourism. From being just a transition centre, Split is now a major Croatian tourist destination. Many new hotels are being built, as well as new apartment and office buildings. Many large development projects are revived, and new infrastructure is being built. An example of the latest large city projects is the Spaladium Arena, built in 2009.
- Diocletian's Palace. After he nearly died of an illness, the Roman Emperor Diocletian (ruled AD 284 to 305), great reformer of the late Roman Empire, decided to retire from politics in AD 305. The Emperor ordered work to begin on a retirement palace near his hometown, and since he was from the town of Dioclea he chose the harbour near Salona for the location. Work on the palace began in AD 293 in readiness for his retirement from politics. The palace was built as a massive structure, much like a Roman military fortress. It faces the sea on its south side, with its walls 170 to 200 metres (570 to 700 feet) long, and 15 to 20 metres (50 to 70 feet) high, enclosing an area of 38,000 m² (9½ acres). The palace water supply was substantial, fed by an aqueduct from Jadro Spring. This opulent palace and its surroundings were at times inhabited by a population as large as 8,000 to 10,000 people, who required parks and recreation space; therefore, Diocletian established such outdoor areas at Marjan hill. The palace was finished in AD 305, right on time to receive its owner, who retired exactly according to schedule, becoming the first Roman Emperor to voluntarily remove himself from office.
- The Cathedral of Saint Domnius known locally as the Saint Dujam (Sveti Dujam) or colloquially Saint Duje (Sveti Duje), is the Catholic cathedral in Split. The cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Split-Makarska, headed by Archbishop Marin Barišić. The Cathedral of St. Duje is a complex of a church, formed from an Imperial Roman mausoleum, with a bell tower; strictly the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and the bell tower to Saint Duje. Together they form the Cathedral of St. Duje. The Cathedral is composed of three different sections of different ages. The main part is Emperor Diocletian's mausoleum, which dates from the end of the 3rd century. The mausoleum was built like the rest of the palace with white local limestone and marble of high quality, most of which was from marble quarries on the island of Brač, with tuff taken from the nearby river Jadro beds, and with brick made in Salonitan and other factories. Later, in the 17th century a chorus was added to the eastern side of the mausoleum. For that purpose the eastern wall of the mausoleum was torn down in order to unify the two chambers. The Bell Tower was constructed in the year 1100 AD, in the Romanesque style. Extensive rebuilding in 1908 radically changed the Bell Tower, and many of the original Romanesque sculptures were removed.
- The Museum of Croatian Archaeological Monuments located at Meštrovićevo šetalište, is the only museum in the country dedicated to researching and presenting cultural artifacts of the Croats in the Middle Ages, between the 7th and 15th centuries, particularly the time of the early medieval Croatian state from 9th to 12th century. Originally founded in Knin in 1893, the museum was moved first to Sinj, then Klis and finally to Split where today the collection is displayed in a purpose-built museum complex, opened in 1976.The holdings consist mainly of jewellery, weapons and items of daily use, and include a large number of stone artifacts that once belonged to the old Croatian church interiors. The collection of early medieval wicker, clay figurines, and old Croatian Latin epigraphic monuments is the largest collection of its kind in Europe.
- Temple of Jupiter At the end of the street Kraj Sveti Ivana is the Temple of Jupiter, later converted into a baptistry. The temple once had a porch supported by columns, but the one column you see dates from the 5th century. The headless sphinx in black granite guarding the entrance was imported from Egypt at the time of the temple's construction in the 5th century. The walls of the temple support a barrel-vaulted ceiling and there's a decorative frieze around the other three walls. Below the temple is a crypt, which was once used as a church.
- Marjan (pronounced "MARyan") is a hill on the peninsula of the city of Split. It is covered in a dense Mediterranean pine forest and completely surrounded by the city and the sea, making it a unique sight. Originally used as a park by the citizens as early as the 3rd century, it is a favorite weekend excursion destination and a recreational center for the city. It is also the setting for numerous beaches and jogging trails as well as tennis courts and the city ZOO, all surrounded by the scenic forest. The tip of the peninsula houses the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries. Marjan is 178 m tall and offers a view of the entire city, the surrounding islands, and the nearby mountains of Mosor and Kozjak
Stavanger is a city and municipality in Norway. Although the fourth largest city, Stavanger is the third largest urban zone in Norway and the administrative centre of Rogaland county. Located on the Stavanger peninsula in Southwest Norway, Stavanger counts its official founding year as 1125, the year the Stavanger cathedral was completed. Stavanger's core is to a large degree 17th and 18th century wooden houses that are considered part of the city's cultural heritage and these are hence protected. This has caused the town centre and inner city to retain a small-town character, and even after the city's rapid growth in the 1970s onwards, the urbanization of the city center has been limited and a large share of the population still lives in detached houses.
Stavanger fulfilled an urban role prior to its status as city (1125), from around the time the Stavanger bishopric was established in the 1120s. Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, England, is said to have started construction of Stavanger Cathedral (Stavanger domkirke) around 1100. It was finished around 1125, and the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation.
The city's history is a continuous alternation between economic booms and recessions. For long periods of time its most important industries have been shipping, shipbuilding, the fish canning industry and associated subcontractors.
Stavanger and its region, along with Liverpool, United Kingdom, was selected as a European Capital of Culture for 2008. The Stavanger2008 vision is expressed through the concept "Open Port". This can be understood both in its English sense - "an open harbour", - and in its Norwegian meaning of "an open gate". Open Port – Openness towards the world. The region and its people is supposed to be even more open and inclusive towards art, ideas and opportunities.
The Stavanger Region is home to the Gastronomic Institute of Norway, and also Måltidets Hus, the national centre for food-related professions.
- Stavanger Cathedral (Stavanger domkirke) is Norway's oldest cathedral. It is situated in the middle of Stavanger, and is the seat of the Diocese of Stavanger. Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, is said to have started construction of the Cathedral around 1100. It was finished around 1150, and the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation. The Cathedral was consecrated to Swithin as its patron saint. Saint Swithun was an early Bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. Stavanger was ravaged by fire in 1272, and the Cathedral suffered heavy damage. It was rebuilt under bishop Arne, and the Romanesque Cathedral was enlarged in the Gothic style. In 1682, king Christian V decided to move Stavanger's episcopal seat to Kristiansand. However, on Stavanger's 800th anniversary in 1925, king Haakon VII instated Jacob Christian Petersen as Stavanger's first bishop in nearly 250 years. During a renovation in the 1860s, the Cathedral's exterior and interior was considerably altered. The stone walls were plastered, and the Cathedral lost much of its medieval looks. A major restoration led by Gerhard Fischer in 1939-1964 partly reversed those changes. The latest major restoration of the Cathedral was conducted in 1999. Andrew Lawrenceson Smith is famous for his works here.
- Stavanger Museum is a museum of natural and cultural history established in 1877, located in the Norwegian city Stavanger. The museum's collections consist of several departments: the department of zoology, the department for cultural history (which also includes custodianship of the royal residence Ledaal). Departments include the Stavanger Museum of Natural History, Stavanger Maritime Museum, Norwegian Children's Museum, Norwegian Printing Museum, Stavanger School Museum, Stavanger Art Museum, and Norwegian Canning Museum.
- Preikestolen or Prekestolen, also known by the English translations of Preacher's Pulpit or Pulpit Rock, and by the old local name Hyvlatonnå (“the carpenter-plane’s blade”), is a massive cliff 604 metres (1982 feet) above Lysefjorden, opposite the Kjerag plateau, in Forsand, Ryfylke, Norway. The top of the cliff is approximately 25 by 25 metres (82 by 82 feet), almost flat, and is a famous tourist attraction in Norway.
The tourism at the site has been increasing, around 2012, the plateau was each year visited by between 150,000 and 200,000 people who took the 3.8 km (2.4 mi.) hike to Preikestolen, making it one of the most visited natural tourist attractions in Norway.
- The Three Swords (Sverd i Fjell) stand on the edge of Hafrsfjord, 6km from the centre of Stavanger. The monument is a popular backdrop for civil wedding ceremonies. The monument was unveiled by King Olav in 1983 and commemorates the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872, after which King Harald Fair Hair united the three districts of Norway into one kingdom.The crowns on the swords represent the different districts which took part in the battle.
- Gamle Stavanger ('Old Stavanger') is an area of the city of Stavanger, and is believed to be Europe's largest collection of wooden buildings. The area includes the Norwegian Canning museum which displays a typical factory from the 1920s. In the years after World War II, a new city plan was created for Stavanger. It included razing most of the old wooden buildings in the city centre, and replacing it with new modern structures in concrete. One single voice spoke up against this plan, and today it is recognized that Gamle Stavanger owes its existence to Einar Hedén, then City Architect of Stavanger. In 1956 the city council voted to conserve part of the old city centre. The area selected for conservation was the one considered the least desirable, consisting of small rundown wooden buildings located on the western side of Vågen. This area has what is considered North Europe's best kept wood houses, from both the 19th and 20th century. Some of the houses are owned by the municipality, but most are privately owned. Over the years the area has changed from seedy to trendy, and today is considered a choice location for the urban-minded with a sense of history. On two occasions Gamle Stavanger has grown, so that it now covers more than 250 buildings.
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 871,952 in the municipality (2010), 1.4 million in the urban area (2010), and over 2.1 million in the 6,519 km2 (2,517.00 sq mi) metropolitan area (2010). As of 2010, the Stockholm metropolitan area is home to approximately 22% of Sweden's population.
Stockholm's strategic location on 14 islands on the coast in the south-east of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, has always been historically important. Stockholm is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture, its abundant clean and open water, and its many parks. It is sometimes referred to as Venice of the North.
The strategic and economic importance of the city made Stockholm an important factor in relations between the Danish Kings of the Kalmar Union and the national independence movement in the 15th century. The Danish King Christian II was able to enter the city in 1520. On 8 November 1520 a massacre of opposition figures called the Stockholm Bloodbath took place and set off further uprisings that eventually led to the breakup of the Kalmar Union. With the accession of Gustav Vasa in 1523 and the establishment of a royal power, the population of Stockholm began to grow, reaching 10,000 by 1600.
By the second half of the 19th century, Stockholm had regained its leading economic role. New industries emerged and Stockholm was transformed into an important trade and service centre as well as a key gateway point within Sweden. The population also grew dramatically during this time, mainly through immigration. At the end of the 19th century, less than 40% of the residents were Stockholm-born. Settlement began to expand outside the city limits. The 19th century saw the establishment of a number of scientific institutes, including the Karolinska Institute. The General Art and Industrial Exposition was held in 1897.
Stockholm became a modern, technologically advanced, and ethnically diverse city in the latter half of the 20th century. Many historical buildings were torn down during the modernist era, including substantial parts of the historical district of Klara, and replaced with modern architecture. However, in many other parts of Stockholm (such as in Gamla Stan, Södermalm, Östermalm, Kungsholmen and Vasastan), many "old" buildings, blocks and streets built before the modernism and functionalism movements took off in Sweden (around 1930-1935) survived this era of demolition. Throughout the century, many industries shifted away from work-intensive activities into more high-tech and service industry areas.
Stockholm features a large variety of restaurants. However, dining in Stockholm can be expensive, if you aim for something else than the fast food bars, the run-of-the-mill English-style pubs or the ethnic restaurants that dominate the budget bracket. Be prepared to pay around 175-250 SEK or more for most main courses at quality restaurants. If you are on a tight budget, self-catering is probably the best option.
Most restaurants have "dagens rätt" - a lunch offer, normally including non-alcoholic beverages, bread, butter, salad and coffee M-F, usually 11AM-2PM. Expect to pay between 60-80 SEK. Many Asian, Indian, Mexican and fast food restaurants offer rather cheap "all you can eat" lunch buffets. Office workers usually go for lunch at noon, so try to show up just before, or past 1 PM.
The vast majority of restaurants' kitchens close at 10 PM, even on weekends so it is a good idea to be seated and ready to order early in the evening. Alcohol in restaurants is expensive. A single glass of house wine can cost more than 100 SEK, or 450 SEK for a bottle. Sweden has enforced non-smoking in all bars, pubs and restaurants. Smoking is usually permitted outdoors, or in designated smoking rooms/outdoor seating.
Note that many Stockholm restaurants are closed for vacation for a few weeks in July and/or early August. In December, many restaurants offer an (often rather expensive) "julbord" ("Christmas buffet"), a variation of the classic Swedish smörgåsbord with traditional seasonal dishes such as ham, pickled herring, "lutfisk" (stockfish from cod or ling, prepared with lye) and much more.
As in many other Swedish cities, clubs are quite often arranged illegally and underground outside of the city center. This is because of the notoriously strict liquor and nightlife jurisdiction. Alcohol taxes are high, clubs and bars are legally required to also have a kitchen in order to serve alcohol, clubs and bars must close at certain times and always employ a number of certified security guards in accordance with the closing time and guest capacity. These aspects contribute to the development of a big underground culture in Stockholm. During the summer months, many open air parties are arranged. During fall and winter, there are underground parties in abandoned factories and other industrial buildings, like in many other cities. Some parties are only held once, while others are recurring. These are, naturally, not listed and are often informed of on a word of mouth or online community basis. Generally, such clubs play techno, house and other electronic music, and so, ask locals for advice in legal clubs that play the same genre. The Swedish word for clubs arranged illegally is svartklubb (literally black club).
Sweden is internationally known for its design, and Stockholm has many stores where you can find Swedish-designed clothes, textiles and interior decoration items. Hand-made and hand-painted glassware is also a famous Swedish speciality.
The main shopping street in Stockholm is the wholly pedestrianised Drottninggatan in Norrmalm, dominated by major brands down at theSergels Torg end before giving way to smaller and more specialised shops further north. Drottninggatan is easily reached on the tunnelbanaat T-centralen taking the Sergels Torg exit.
Also connected to Drottninggatan is the square of Hötorget (T-Hötorget). Here is a daily fresh food market outside as well as Hötorgshallen, an indoor market for raw as well as cooked food.
Also accessible from Hötorget station is Stockholm's newest inner city mall, Mood Stockholm on Norrlandsgatan. This mall contains a lot of interesting boutiques not represented elsewhere in the city.
- Sankt Nikolai kyrka (Church of St. Nicholas), most commonly known as Storkyrkan (The Great Church) and Stockholms domkyrka (Stockholm Cathedral), is the oldest church in Gamla Stan, the old town in central Stockholm. It is an important example of Swedish Brick Gothic. Situated next to the Royal Palace, it forms the western end of Slottsbacken, the major approach to the Royal Palace. Storkyrkan was first mentioned in a written source dated 1279 and according to tradition was originally built by Birger Jarl, the founder of the city itself. For nearly four hundred years it was the only parish church in the city, the other churches of comparible antiquity originally built to serve the spiritual needs religious communities (e. g., Riddarholm Church). It became a Lutheran Protestant church in 1527. The parish church since the Middle Ages of the Nikolai parish, covering the whole island on which the Old Town stands, it has also been the cathedral of Stockholm since the Diocese of Stockholm was created out of the Archdiocese of Uppsala and the Diocese of Strängnäs in 1942.
- The Riddarholmen Church is the burial church of the Swedish monarchs. It is located on the island of Riddarholmen. The congregation was dissolved in 1807 and today the church is used only for burial and commemorative purposes. Swedish monarchs from Gustavus Adolphus (d. 1632 AD) to Gustaf V (d. 1950) are entombed here (with exceptions such as Queen Christina who is buried within St. Peter's Basilica in Rome), as well as the earlier monarchs Magnus III (d. 1290) and Charles VIII (d. 1470). It is one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm, parts of it dating to the late 13th century, when it was built as a greyfriars monastery. After the Protestant Reformation, the monastery was closed and the building transformed into a Protestant church. A spire designed by Willem Boy was added during the reign of John III, but it was destroyed by a strike of lightning on July 28, 1835 after which it was replaced with the present cast iron spire.
- The Bonde Palace is a palace in Gamla stan, the old town in central Stockholm. Located between the House of Knights (Riddarhuset) and the Chancellery House (Kanslihuset), it is, arguably, the most prominent monument of the era of the Swedish Empire (1611–1718), originally design by Nicodemus Tessin the Elder and Jean De la Vallée in 1662-1667 as the private residence of the Lord High Treasurer Gustaf Bonde (1620–1667) it still bears his name, while it accommodated the Stockholm Court House from the 18th century and since 1949 houses the Swedish Supreme Court. On the south side of the building is the street Myntgatan and the square Riddarhustorget, while the alleys Riddarhusgränd and Rådhusgränd are passing on its western and eastern sides.
- Nationalmuseum (or National Museum of Fine Arts) is the national gallery of Sweden, located on the peninsula Blasieholmen in central Stockholm. The museum exhibits an impressive art collection due to its benefactors, King Gustav III and Carl Gustaf Tessin. The museum was founded in 1792 as Kungliga Museet("Royal Museum"), but the present building was opened in 1866, when it was renamed the Nationalmuseum. The museum is home to about half a million drawings from the Middle Ages to 1900, prominent Rembrandt and Dutch 17th-century collection, and a collection of porcelain items, paintings, sculptures, and modern art as well. The museum also has an art library, open to the public and academics alike. The current building, built between 1844 and 1866, was inspired by North Italian Renaissance architecture. It is the design of the German architect Friedrich August Stüler, who also designed the Neues Museum in Berlin. The relatively closed exterior, save for the central entrance, gives no hint of the spacious interior dominated by the huge flight of stairs leading up to the topmost galleries. The museum was enlarged in 1961 to accommodate the museum workshops. The present restaurant was instated in 1996.
- Stockholm City Hall is the building of the Municipal Council for the City. It stands on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, next to Riddarfjärden's northern shore and facing the islands of Riddarholmen and Södermalm. It houses offices and conference rooms as well as ceremonial halls, and the luxury restaurant Stadshuskällaren. It is the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet and one of Stockholm's major tourist attractions. The construction took twelve years, from 1911 to 1923. Nearly eight million red bricks were used. The dark red bricks, called "munktegel" (monks's brick) because of their traditional use in the construction of monasteries and churches, were provided by Lina brick factory near Södertälje. Construction was carried out by craftsmen using traditional techniques. The building was inaugurated on 23 June 1923, exactly 400 years after Gustav Vasa's arrival in Stockholm. Verner von Heidenstam and Hjalmar Branting held the inaugurational speeches.
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject (a federal city) of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. In 1914 the name of the city was changed to Petrograd, in 1924 to Leningrad and in 1991 back to Saint Petersburg.
Peter the Great was interested in seafaring and maritime affairs, and he aimed to have Russia gain an ability to take to the seas, so it could trade with other maritime nations. In order to do so, he needed a better seaport than Arkhangelsk, which was on the White Sea to the north.
On May 12 1703, during the Great Northern War, Peter the Great captured Nyenskans, and soon set about replacing that fortress. On May 27 1703, closer to the estuary (5 km/3 miles inland from the gulf), on Zayachy (Hare) Island, he laid down the Peter and Paul Fortress, which became the first brick and stone building of the new city.
During the first few years of its existence the city grew spontaneously around Trinity Square on the right bank of the Neva, near the Peter and Paul Fortress. However, Saint Petersburg soon started to develop according to a plan. By 1716 Domenico Trezzini had elaborated a project whereby the city centre would be located on Vasilyevsky Island and shaped by a rectangular grid of canals. The project was not completed, but is still evident in the layout of the streets. In 1716 Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Le Blond was appointed chief architect of Saint Petersburg by Peter the Great.
In 1725, Peter died at the age of fifty-two. His push for modernization of Russia had met opposition from the Russian nobility — resulting in several attempts on his life and a treason case involving his own son. Thus, in 1728, Peter II of Russia moved his seat back to Moscow. But four years later, in 1732, under Empress Anna of Russia, Saint Petersburg again became the capital of the Russian Empire. It remained the seat of the Romanov Dynasty and the Imperial Court of the Russian Tzars, as well as the seat of the Russian government, for another 186 years until the communist revolution of 1917.
In 1736–1737 the city suffered from catastrophic fires. To rebuild the damaged boroughs, a new plan was commissioned in 1737 by a committee under Burkhard Christoph von Münnich. The city was divided into five boroughs, and the city center was moved to the Admiralty borough, situated on the east bank between the Neva and Fontanka.
The Commission of Stone Buildings of Moscow and Saint Petersburg established in 1762 ruled that no structure in the city be higher than the Winter Palace and prohibited spacing between buildings. During the reign of Catherine the Great in the 1760s–1780s, the banks of the Neva were lined with granite embankments.
However, it was not until 1850 that the first permanent bridge across the Neva, Blagoveshchensky Bridge, was allowed to open. Before that, only pontoon bridges were allowed. Obvodny Canal (dug in 1769–1833) became the southern limit of the city.
The names of saints Peter and Paul, bestowed upon original city's citadel and its cathedral (from 1725 – a burial vault of Russian emperors) coincidentally were mirrored by the names of the first two assassinated Russian Emperors, Peter III (1762, supposedly a conspiracy led by his wife, Catherine the Great) and Paul I (1801, Nicholas Zubov and other conspirators who brought to power Alexander I, the son of their victim). The third emperor's assassination took place in Petersburg in 1881 when Alexander II fell victim of narodniki (see the Church of the Savior on Blood).
During World War I, the city was renamed Petrograd, meaning "Peter's City", to remove the German word "burg."
In March 1917, during the February Revolution Nicholas II abdicated both for himself and on behalf of his son, thus putting an end to the Russian monarchy and over three hundred years of Romanov dynastic rule.
On 7 November 1917, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, stormed the Winter Palace in an event known thereafter as the Great October Socialist Revolution, which led to the end of the post-Tsaristprovisional government, the transfer of all political power to the Soviets, and the rise of the Communist Party. After that the city acquired a new descriptive name, "the city of three revolutions" which recalls the fact that all these three major developments in the political history of Russia of the early 20th century occurred here.
In September and October 1917, the German troops invaded the West Estonian archipelago thus threatening Petrograd with bombardment and invasion. Thus on March 12, 1918, the Soviets transferred the government to Moscow. During the ensuing Civil War in 1919 general Yudenich advancing from Estonia repeated the attempt to capture the city, but Leon Trotsky mobilised the army and forced him to retreat.
On January 26, 1924, five days after Lenin's death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad. Later some streets and other toponyms were renamed accordingly. The city has over 230 places associated with the life and activities of Lenin. Some of them were turned into museums, as well as cruiser Aurora – a symbol of the October Revolution and the oldest ship in the Russian Navy.
During World War II, Leningrad was besieged by German forces. The siege lasted 872 days from September 1941 to January 1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest, most destructive, and most lethal sieges of a major city in modern history. It isolated the city from most supplies except those provided through the Road of Life across Lake Ladoga, and more than a million civilians died, mainly from starvation. Many others were eventually evacuated or escaped by themselves, so the city became largely depopulated.
- The Peter and Paul Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox cathedral located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress. It is the first and oldest landmark in St. Petersburg, built between 1712 and 1733 on Zayachy Island along the Neva River. Both the cathedral and the fortress were originally built under Peter the Great and designed by Domenico Trezzini. The cathedral's bell tower is the world's tallest Orthodox bell tower. Since the belfry is not standalone, but an integral part of the main building, the cathedral is sometimes considered the highest Orthodox Church in the world.
- The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. It is also variously called the Church on Spilt Blood and the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, its official name. This Church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
- The Saint Petersburg Mosque when opened in 1913, was the largest mosque in Russia, its minarets attaining 49 meters in height and the impressive dome rising 39 meters high. The mosque is situated in downtown St Petersburg, so its azure dome is perfectly visible from the Trinity Bridge across the Neva. It can accommodate up to five thousand worshippers. The founding stone was laid in 1910 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reign of Abdul Ahat Khan in Bukhara. By that time, the Muslim community of the Russian capital exceeded 8,000 people. The projected structure was capable of accommodating most of them. The architect Nikolai Vasilyev patterned the mosque after Gur-e Amir, the tomb of Tamerlane in Samarkand. Its construction was completed by 1921.
- Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral (sobor) in the city. It is dedicated to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great, who had been born on the feast day of that saint. The church on St Isaac's Square was ordered by Tsar Alexander I, to replace an earlier Rinaldiesque structure, and was the fourth consecutive church standing at this place. A specially appointed commission examined several designs, including that of the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand (1786–1858), who had studied in the atelier of Napoleon's designer, Charles Percier. Montferrand's design was criticised by some members of the commission for the dry and allegedly boring rhythm of its four identical pedimented octastyle porticos. It was also suggested that despite gigantic dimensions, the edifice would look squat and not very impressive. The emperor, who favoured the ponderous Empire style of architecture, had to step in and solve the dispute in Montferrand's favour. The cathedral took 40 years to construct, under Montferrand's direction, from 1818 to 1858.
- The Winter Palace was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs. Situated between the Palace Embankment and the Palace Square, adjacent to the site of Peter the Great's original Winter Palace, the present and fourth Winter Palace was built and altered almost continuously between the late 1730s and 1837, when it was severely damaged by fire and immediately rebuilt. The alleged storming of the palace in 1917 as depicted in Soviet paintings and Eisenstein's 1927 film "October" became an iconic symbol of the Russian Revolution.
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking, explaining the city's Germanic name.
Strasbourg is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. The city is the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine.
The first traces of human occupation in the environs of Strasbourg go back 600,000 years. Neolithic, bronze age and iron age artifacts have been uncovered by archeological excavations. It was permanently settled by proto-Celts around 1300 BC. Towards the end of the third century BC, it developed into a Celtish township with a market called "Argentorate". Drainage works converted the stilthouses to houses built on dry land.
The Alemanni fought a Battle of Argentoratum against Rome in 357. They were defeated by Julian, later Emperor of Rome, and their King Chonodomarius was taken prisoner. On 2 January 366, the Alemanni crossed the frozen Rhine in large numbers to invade the Roman Empire. Early in the fifth century, the Alemanni appear to have crossed the Rhine, conquered, and then settled what is today Alsace and a large part of Switzerland.
|The Kammerzell House|
A major commercial centre, the town came under control of the Holy Roman Empire in 923, through the homage paid by the Duke of Lorraine to German King Henry I. The early history of Strasbourg consists of a long conflict between its bishop and its citizens. The citizens emerged victorious after the Battle of Oberhausbergen in 1262, when King Philip of Swabia granted the city the status of an Imperial Free City.
A revolution in 1332 resulted in a broad-based city government with participation of the guilds, and Strasbourg declared itself a free republic.
Strasbourg Cathedral, on which construction began in the twelfth century, was completed in 1439 (though only the north tower was built) and became the World's Tallest Building, surpassing the Great Pyramid of Giza. A few years later, Johannes Gutenberg created the first European moveable type printing press in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg was a centre of humanist scholarship and early book-printing in the Holy Roman Empire, and its intellectual and political influence contributed much to the establishment of Protestantism as an accepted denomination in the southwest of Germany. (John Calvin had spent several years as a political refugee in the city).
After the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440, the first printing offices outside the inventor's hometown Mainz were established around 1460 in the Alsatian capital by pioneers Johannes Mentelin and Heinrich Eggestein. Subsequently, the first modern newspaper was published in Strasbourg in 1605, when Johann Carolus received the permission by the City of Strasbourg to print and distribute a weekly journal written in German by reporters from several central European cities.
After the ceasefire following the Fall of France in June 1940, Alsace was annexed to Germany and a rigorous policy of Germanization was imposed upon it by the Gauleiter Robert Heinrich Wagner. When, in July 1940, the first evacuees were allowed to return, only residents of Alsatian origin were admitted. The last Jews were expelled on 15 July 1940 and the main synagogue, a huge Romanesque revival building that had been a major architectural landmark with its 54-metre-high dome since its completion in 1897, was set ablaze, then razed. From 1943 the city was bombarded by Allied aircraft. While the First World War had not notably damaged the city, Anglo-American bombing caused extensive destruction in raids of which at least one was allegedly carried out by mistake. In August 1944, several buildings in the Old Town were damaged by bombs, particularly the Palais Rohan, the Old Customs House (Ancienne Douane) and the Cathedral. On 23 November 1944, the city was officially liberated by the 2nd French Armored Division under General Leclerc.
In the 1950s and 1960s the city was enlarged by new residential areas meant to solve both the problem of housing shortage due to war damage and that of the strong growth of population due to the baby boom and immigration from North Africa: Cité Rotterdam in the North-East, Quartier de l'Esplanade in the South-East, Hautepierre in the North-West. Between 1995 and 2010, a new district has been built in the same vein, the Quartier des Poteries, south of Hautepierre.
- Strasbourg Cathedral or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Strasbourg, France. Although considerable parts of it are still in Romanesque architecture, it is widely considered to be among the finest examples of high, or late, Gothic architecture. Erwin von Steinbach is credited for major contributions from 1277 to his death in 1318. At 142 metres (466 feet), it was the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874, when it was surpassed by St. Nikolai's Church, Hamburg. Today it is the sixth-tallest church in the world. Described by Victor Hugo as a "gigantic and delicate marvel", and by Goethe as a "sublimely towering, wide-spreading tree of God", the cathedral is visible far across the plains of Alsace and can be seen from as far off as the Vosges Mountains or the Black Forest on the other side of the Rhine. Sandstone from the Vosges used in construction gives the cathedral its characteristic pink hue.
- The Kammerzell House is one of the most famous buildings of Strasbourg and one of the most ornate and well preserved medieval civil housing buildings in late Gothic architecture in the areas formerly belonging to the Holy Roman Empire. Built in 1427 but twice transformed in 1467 and 1589, the building as it is now historically belongs to the German Renaissance but is stylistically still attached to the Rhineland black and white timber-framed style of civil (as opposed to administrative, clerical or noble) architecture. It is situated on the Place de la Cathédrale, north-west of the Strasbourg Cathedral, with whose rosy colour it contrasts in a picturesque way when seen from the opposite direction. The building's inside has been decorated on all floors by lavish frescoes by Alsatian painter Léo Schnug (1878-1933). It now houses a restaurant.
- The Palais Rohan (Rohan Palace) is one of the most important buildings in the city. It represents not only the high point of local baroque architecture, according to widespread opinion among art historians, but has also housed three of the most important museums in the city since the end of the 19th century: the Archaeological Museum (Musée archéologique, basement), the Museum of Decorative Arts(Musée des Arts décoratifs, ground floor) and the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-arts, first and second floor). The city gallery, Galerie Robert Heitz, is also in a side wing of the palace. The palace was commissioned by Cardinal Armand Gaston Maximilien de Rohan, Bishop of Strasbourg, from the architect Joseph Massol and erected between 1731 and 1742 according to plans by Robert de Cotte. It was built on the site of the former residence of the Bishop, the so-called Palatium, which had been built from 1262 onwards. In 1744, Louis XV stayed in the palace, and Marie Antoinette stayed there in 1770. In 1805, 1806 and 1809, Napoléon Bonaparte stayed there and had some of the rooms changed to suit his tastes and those of his wife, Joséphine. In 1810, Napoleon's second wife Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma spent her first night on French soil in the palace. Another royal guest was king Charles X of France in 1828.
- The Barrage Vauban (Vauban weir) is a weir erected in the 17th century on the river Ill west of the "Petite France" district in Strasbourg. It was constructed from 1686 to 1700 by the French Engineer Jacques Tarade according to plans by Vauban. Several stories high, it houses sculptures in its main level and a panoramical terrace on its roof.
- The Palace of Europe has served as the seat of the Council of Europe since 1977 when it replaced the 'House of Europe'. Between 1977 and 1999 it was also the Strasbourg seat of the European Parliament. The first assemblies of the Council of Europe used to take place in the stately, 1880s main building of Strasbourg University, the former Kaiser-Wilhelms-Universität. Between 1950 and 1977, they took place in a provisory concrete building of purely functional architecture, the House of Europe (Maison de l'Europe), that stood where there now is the lawn leading up to the Palace of Europe. The architect of this building was Bertrand Monnet. The first stone of the Palace of Europe was laid on 15 May 1972 by the Swiss politician Pierre Graber. The building, designed by architect Henry Bernard, was inaugurated on 28 January 1977. It was built on the site of a tennis court that had been inaugurated in the 1930s and also used to serve as an ice rink in winter.
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany. The city lies at the centre of a densely populated area, surrounded by a ring of smaller towns. This area called Stuttgart Region has a population of 2.7 million. Stuttgart's urban area has a population of roughly 1.8 million, making it Germany's seventh largest. With over 5 million inhabitants, the greater Stuttgart Metropolitan Region is the fourth-biggest in Germany after the Rhine-Ruhr area, Berlin/Brandenburg and Frankfurt/Rhine-Main.
Stuttgart is spread across a variety of hills (some of them vineyards), valleys and parks – unusual for a German city and often a source of surprise to visitors who primarily associate the city with its industrial reputation as the 'cradle of the automobile'. Stuttgart has the status of Stadtkreis, a type of self-administrating urban county. It is also the seat of the state legislature, the regional parliament, local council and the Protestant State Church in Württemberg as well as one of the two co-seats of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
Stuttgart itself was probably founded around 950 AD shortly before the Battle of Lechfeld by Duke Liudolf of Swabia, one of the sons of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I the Great. The town was used for breeding cavalry horses in fertile meadows at the very centre of today's city, although recent archaeological excavations indicate that this area was already home to Merovingian farmers.
A gift registry from Hirsau Abbey dated around 1160 mentioned 'Hugo de Stuokarten', confirmation of the existence of the Stuttgart of today.
Between this time and the 14th century, the settlement was owned by the Margraves of Baden and the Württemberg towns of Backnang and Besigheim.
Around 1300, Stuttgart became the residence of the Counts of Württemberg, who expanded the growing settlement into the capital of their territory (Territorialstaat). Stuttgart was elevated to the status of city in 1321 when it became the official royal residence. The territory around Stuttgart was known as the County of Württemberg before the counts were elevated to dukes by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1495, when Stuttgart became the Duchy capital and Ducal residence.
In the 18th century, Stuttgart temporarily surrendered its residence status after Eberhard Ludwig founded Ludwigsburg to the north of the city. In 1775, Karl Eugen requested a return to Stuttgart, ordering the construction of the New Castle.
During the revolution of 1848/1849, a democratic pan-German national parliament (Frankfurt Parliament) was formed in Frankfurt to overcome the division of Germany. After long discussions, the parliament decided to offer the title of the German emperor to King Frederick William IV of Prussia. As the democratic movement became weaker, the German princes regained control of their independent states. Finally, the Prussian king declined the revolutionaries' offer. The members of parliament were driven out of Frankfurt and the most radical members (who wanted to establish a republic) fled to Stuttgart. A short while later, this rump parliament was dissolved by the Württemberg military.
By 1871 Stuttgart boasted 91,000 inhabitants, and by the time Gottlieb Daimler invented the automobile in a small workshop in Cannstatt, the population had risen rapidly to 176,000.
In 1871, as an autonomous kingdom, Württemberg joined the German Empire created by Otto von Bismarck, Prime Minister of Prussia, during the unification of Germany.
At the end of the First World War the Württemberg monarchy broke down: William II of Württemberg refused the crown – but also refused to abdicate – under pressure from revolutionaries who stormed the Wilhelm Palace. The Free State of Württemberg was established, as a part of the Weimar Republic. Stuttgart was proclaimed the capital.
In 1920 Stuttgart became the seat of the German National Government (after the administration fled from Berlin, see Kapp Putsch).
During the period of Nazi rule, Stuttgart held the "honorary title" Stadt der Auslands deutschen (City of the Germans living outside of the Reich).
During World War II, the centre of Stuttgart was almost completely destroyed in Allied air raids. Some of the most severe bombing took place in 1944 carried out by Anglo-American bombers. The heaviest raid took place on 12 September 1944 when the Royal Air Force bombed the old town of Stuttgart dropping over 184,000 bombs including 75 blockbusters. More than 1000 people perished in the resulting firestorm. In total Stuttgart was subjected to 53 bombing raids, resulting in the destruction of 68% of all buildings and the deaths of 4477 people.
The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Stuttgart in April 1945. The French 5th Armored Division, French 2nd Moroccan Infantry Division and French 3rd Algerian Infantry Division, began their drive on Stuttgart on 18 April 1945. Two days later, the French forces coordinated with the US Seventh Army for the employment of US VI Corps heavy artillery to barrage the city. The French 5th Armored Division then captured Stuttgart on 21 April 1945, encountering little resistance. The French army occupied Stuttgart until the city was transferred to the American military occupation zone in 1946.
Wine-growing in the area dates back to 1108 when, according to State archives, Blaubeuren Abbey was given vineyards in Stuttgart as a gift from 'Monk Ulrich'. In the 17th century the city was the third largest German wine-growing community in the Holy Roman Empire. Wine remained Stuttgart's leading source of income well into the 19th century.
Stuttgart is still one of Germany's largest wine-growing cities with more than 400 hectares of vine area, thanks in main to its location at the centre of Germany's fourth largest wine region, the Württemberg wine growing area which covers 11,522 hectares (28,470 acres) and is one of only 13 official areas captured under German Wine law. The continuing importance of wine to the local economy is marked every year at the annual wine festival ('Weindorf').
Stuttgart also has several famous breweries such as Stuttgarter Hofbräu, Dinkelacker, and Schwaben Bräu.
- The Stiftskirche Stuttgart (Collegiate Church) is an inner-city church. It is the main church of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg (Evangelische Landeskirche in Württemberg) as well as the parish church of the evangelical (Lutheran) inner-city church district of Stuttgart. Structures of a small Romanesque church from the 10th and 11th centuries could recently be traced as having been exactly in today's church outline. In 1240, a stately three-naved church with two towers is built in the Romanic style, apparently by the Counts of Württemberg who from around that time are residing in the nearby Old Castle. From the end of the 13th century a double tomb is preserved in today's South tower chapel. It contains the remains of Ulrich I, Count of Württemberg and his second wife, Countess of Württemberg, Agnes von Schlesien-Liegnitz (both died in 1265). With Stuttgart the new residence of the rulers of Württemberg, a new Gothic chancel was built from 1321 to 1347. To it was added a Late Gothic nave in the second half of the 15th century by Ulrich V. In 1500, a coloured, later (from the 19th century) golden pulpit was added.With the adoption of the Lutheran Protestant Reformation in Württemberg in 1534, all pictures and altars are removed from the naves, pewage and a gallery is added. The tombstones are moved to the interior of the church.
- The Old Castle (German: Altes Schloss) is located in the centre of Stuttgart. It dates back to the 10th century. The first castle dated back to around 950 when Stuttgart was a settlement for breeding horses. In the 14th century it became the residence of the sovereign Counts of Württemberg. In the 16th century dukes Christopher and Ludwig ordered it to be converted into a Renaissance castle. Moats around the castle were removed in the 18th century. In 1931, the castle was severely damaged by a fire and before it could be reconstructed it was damaged by bombing in the Second World War. The castle was finally renovated in 1969. Today the Old Castle is home to the Württemberg State Museum. King Charles I of Württemberg and his wife Olga are buried beneath the castle church. The inner courtyard houses a monument to Eberhard I. The Old Castle stands adjacent to its replacement, the New Castle, which was built in the late 18th century. On the Karlsplatz side of the Old Castle is a museum dedicated to the memory of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg a former resident of Stuttgart who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler on 20 July 1944.
- The New Palace (German: "das Neue Schloss", which may also be translated as New Castle) is a building which stands on the south edge of Schlossplatz, the central square in Stuttgart, Germany. The castle is built in late Baroque style. From 1746 to 1797 and from 1805 to 1807, it served as a residence of the kings of Württemberg. (At other times, the Ludwigsburg Palace, a few miles to the north was the favoured residence of the royal family). The palace stands adjacent to the Old Castle. The castle was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing during the Second World War and was reconstructed between 1958 and 1964. During this time most of the inside of the castle was also restored and the building was used by the Baden-Württemberg State Parliament. Today it is used by the State Ministries of Finance and Education. Public tours of the building are only permitted by special arrangement. Schlossplatz stands next to two other popular squares in Stuttgart:Karlspatz to the south and Schillerplatz to the south west. The future German President, Richard von Weizsäcker was born in the New Castle on April 15, 1920.
- The Mercedes-Benz Museum is an automotive museum housed in Stuttgart, Germany. Stuttgart is home to the Mercedes-Benz brand and the international headquarters of Daimler AG. The current building, which stands directly outside the main gate of the Daimler factory in Stuttgart, was designed by UN Studio. It is based on a unique cloverleaf concept using three overlapping circles with the center removed to form a triangular atrium. The building was completed and opened on 19 May 2006. Previously, the museum was housed in a dedicated building within the factory complex and visitors had in recent decades been transported from the main gate by a secured shuttle. The building's height and "double helix" interior were designed to maximise space, providing 16,500 square metres (178,000 sq ft) of exhibition space on a footprint of just 4,800 square metres (52,000 sq ft). The museum contains more than 160 vehicles, some dating back to the very earliest days of the motor engine. The vehicles are maintained by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center of Fellbach. The museum provides visitors with free audio tours in a variety of languages. In 2007 the museum was visited by 860,000 people.
- The Staatstheater Stuttgart (Stuttgart State Theatre) are a multi-branch-theatre with the branches Oper Stuttgart (Opera Stuttgart), Stuttgart Ballet (Stuttgarter Ballett) and Stuttgart Drama Theatre (Schauspiel Stuttgart) in Stuttgart, Germany. Designed by the noted Munich architect, Max Littmann, who won a competition to create new royal theatres, the building was constructed between 1909 and 1912 as the Königliche Hoftheater, royal theatres of the Kingdom of Württemberg with a Grosses Haus and a Kleines Haus. In 1919 the theatres were renamed the Landestheater, and later, theStaatstheater. The Small House was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War and, today, the site is occupied by a new Kleines Haus designed by Hans Volkart, which opened in 1962.
Syracuse (Siracusa) is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse. The city is notable for its rich Greek history,culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes. This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in ancient times, when it was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world. Syracuse is located in the southeast corner of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea.
Syracuse was founded in 734 or 733 BC by Greek settlers from Corinth and Tenea, led by the oecist (colonizer) Archias, who called it Sirako, referring to a nearby salt marsh. The nucleus of the ancient city was the small island of Ortygia. The settlers found the land fertile and the native tribes to be reasonably well-disposed to their presence. The city grew and prospered, and for some time stood as the most powerful Greek city anywhere in the Mediterranean.
Though declining slowly by the years, Syracuse maintained the status of capital of the Roman government of Sicily and seat of the praetor. It remained an important port for trade between the Eastern and the Western parts of the Empire.
After a period of Vandal rule, Syracuse and the island was recovered by Belisarius for the Byzantine Empire (31 December 535). From 663 to 668 Syracuse was the seat of Emperor Constans II, as well as metropolis of the whole Sicilian Church.
The city was besieged by the Aghlabids for almost a year in 827–828, but Byzantine reinforcements prevented its fall. It remained the center of Byzantine resistance to the gradual Muslim conquest of Sicily until it fell to the Aghlabids after another siege on 20/21 May 878. During the two centuries of Muslim rule, the capital of the Emirate of Sicily was moved from Syracuse to Palermo. The Cathedral was converted into a mosque and the quarter on the Ortygia island was gradually rebuilt along Islamic styles. The city, nevertheless, maintained important trade relationships, and housed a relatively flourishing cultural and artistic life: several Arab poets, including Ibn Hamdis, the most important Sicilian poet of the 12th century, flourished in the city.
In 1038, the Byzantine general George Maniakes reconquered the city, sending the relics of St. Lucy to Constantinople. The eponymous castle on the cape of Ortygia bears his name, although it was built under the Hohenstaufen rule. In 1085 the Normans entered Syracuse, one of the last Arab strongholds, after a summer-long siege by Roger I of Sicily and his son Jordan of Hauteville, who was given the city as count. New quarters were built, and the cathedral was restored, as well as other churches.
|The Greek Theatre|
After the Unification of Italy of 1865, Syracuse regained its status of provincial capital. In 1870 the walls were demolished and a bridge connecting the mainland to Ortygia island was built. In the following year a railway link was constructed.
|The Ear of Dionysus|
Syracuse today has about 125,000 inhabitants and numerous attractions for the visitor interested in historical sites (such as the Ear of Dionysius). A process of recovering and restoring the historical centre has been ongoing since the 1990s.
Honey and almonds are the main ingredients for sweets in Siracusa, especially the “giuggiulena”, which is a delicious nougat flavored with sesame seeds. “Cassata siracusana” is also much appreciated. It is different from the Cassata made in the rest of Sicily as it has no icing topping and is made up of sponge, chocolate and ricotta cheese layers. There are many types of biscuits made by the confectioners for religious festivals: “biscotti dei morti” for All Saints’ Day, “quaresimali” (Lent biscuits) which are made with toasted almonds and pistachio nuts, and “cuccìa”, a dessert that is made for the Santa Lucia festival from wheat-germ, milk, ricotta cheese, zuccata and candied fruit. Almond milk or a Granita made with almonds are alternative sweets, both made with the almonds that are grown in Avola.
Paper is still made from papyrus today, following ancient methods that were invented many centuries ago by the Egyptians. The paper can be bought plain, or painted, with subjects that are mostly of Greek or Egyptian inspiration. It is possible to follow the processing of papyrus paper in some shops, starting from the stalks of the plant and finishing with the paper.
The local pottery, sold in the characteristic laboratories-workshops so frequent in this part of Sicily is also worth looking at.
If you prefer to take home some food and drink as a souvenir, for yourself or for some relatives and friends, we recommend a bottle of Nero d’Avola or Moscato di Siracusa, or a jar of the famous “fish preserves” that are made in the Siracusa area: choice fillets of tuna fish or mackerel in oil, packaged in glass jars.
- The Duomo The cathedral in Syracuse was built in Ortigia on top of the remains of a temple that dated back to the 5th century B.C. This was a Doric edifice with six columns on the short sides and 14 on the long ones: these can still be seen incorporated in the walls of the current church. The base of the Greek edifice had three steps. The interior of the church has a nave and two aisles. The roof of the nave is from Norman times, as well as the mosaics in the apses. The façade was rebuilt by Andrea Palma in 1725–1753, with a double order of Corinthian columns, and statues by Ignazio Marabitti. The most interesting pieces of the interior are a font with marble basin (12th–13th century), a silver statue of St. Lucy by Pietro Rizzo (1599), a ciborium by Luigi Vanvitelli, and a statue of the Madonna della Neve ("Madonna of the Snow", 1512) by Antonello Gagini. The building contains influences from various cultures within its walls, Greek, Byzantine, Arabic and Norman. The main façade was rebuilt in Baroque style after the earthquake in 1693.
- The Castello Maniace is a citadel and castle in Syracuse, Sicily. It stands on a large promontory, where it was constructed between 1232 and 1240 by the Emperor Frederick II. It bears the name of George Maniakes, the Byzantine general who besieged and took the city in 1038. Originally, one could only enter the castle over a bridge spanning a moat (now filled). A notable feature of the castle is the decorated portal. Today the castle is open to public and is a local tourist attraction in Syracuse. Still, the castle has become run down since the Bridport family left in 1982.
- Orecchio di Dioniso. This is a deep cave about 65 meters deep, 11 meters wide and 23 meters high. It is famous for its special acoustics, which are due to the acute angle-shape of the ceiling that is similar in shape to the outer ear, hence its name “Orecchio” which means “Ear”. It has unbelievable acoustic powers: a sound produced inside the cave is amplified up to 16 times.
- Basilica of Santa Lucia, a Byzantine church built, according to tradition, in the same place of the martyrdom of the saint in 303 AD. The current appearance is from the 15th-16th centuries. The most ancient parts still preserved include the portal, the three half-circular apses and the first two orders of the belfry. Under the church are the Catacombs of St. Lucy. For this church Caravaggio painted the Burial of St. Lucy, now housed in the Church of Santa Lucìa alla Badìa.
- Aretusa Fountain. This is one of the city’s greatest tourist attractions. Over the centuries it inspired poets and writers such as Virgil and Ovid, André Gide and Gabriele D’Annunzio, fascinated by the legend that is linked to this place. The story goes that Alpheus, son of Oceanus, fell madly in love with the nymph Aretusa, the Goddess Artemides’ handmaid. The nymph did not share his feelings. To save her, Artemides turned her into a water source but Zeus also turned Alpheus into a river, allowing him to meet up with Aretusa.
Szczecin is the capital city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. In the vicinity of the Baltic Sea, it is the country's seventh-largest city and the largest seaport in Poland. As of June 2011 the population was 407,811.
Szczecin is located on the Oder River, south of the Szczecin Lagoon and the Bay of Pomerania. The city is situated along the southwestern shore of Dąbie Lake, on both sides of the Oder and on several large islands between the western and eastern branches of the river.
In a campaign in the winter of 1121–1122, Bolesław III Wrymouth, the Duke of Poland, gained control of the region as well the city of Szczecin and its stronghold. The inhabitants were converted to Christianity by two missions of bishop Otto of Bamberg in 1124 and 1128. At this time, the first Christian church of St. Peter and Paul was erected. Polish minted coins were commonly used in trade in this period. The population of the city at that time is estimated to be at around 5,000-9,000 people.
Polish rule ended with Boleslaw's death in 1138. During the Wendish Crusade in 1147, a contingent led by the German margrave Albert the Bear, an enemy of Slavic presence in the region, papal legat, bishop Anselm of Havelberg and Konrad of Meißen besieged the town. There, a Polish contingent supplied by Mieszko III the Old joined the crusaders. However the citizens had placed crosses around the fortifications, indicating they already had been Christianized. Ratibor I, Duke of Pomerania, negotiated the disbandement of the crusading forces.
While not as heavily affected by medieval witchhunts as other regions of the empire, there are reports of the burning of three women and one man convicted of witchcraft in 1538.
In 1570, during the reign of Pomeranian duke Johann Friedrich, a congress was held at Stettin ending the Northern Seven Years' War. During the war, Stettin had tended to side with Denmark, while Stralsund tended toward Sweden - as a whole, the Duchy of Pomerania however tried to maintain neutrality. Nevertheless, a Landtag that had met in Stettin in 1563 introduced a sixfold rise of real estate taxes to finance the raising of a mercenary army for the duchy's defense. Johann Friedrich also succeeded in elevating Stettin to one of only three places allowed to coin money in the Upper Saxon Circle of the Holy Roman Empire, the other two places were Leipzig and Berlin. Bogislaw XIV, who resided in Stettin since 1620, became the sole, and Griffin duke when Philipp Julius died in 1625. Before the Thirty Years' War reached Pomerania, the city as all of the duchy declined economically due to the sinking importance of the Hanseatic League and a conflict between Stettin and Frankfurt (Oder).
The Prussian administration deprived Stettin of her administrative autonomy rights, abolished guild privileges as well as its status as a staple town, and subsidized manufacturers. Also, colonists were settled in the city, primarily Hugenots
On 15 October 1939, neighbouring municipalities were amalgamated into Stettin, creating Groß-Stettin with about 380,000 inhabitants in 1940. The city had become the third-largest German city by area, after Berlin and Hamburg.
As the war started, the number of non-Germans in the city increased as slave workers were brought in. The first transports came in 1939 from Bydgoszcz, Toruń and Łódż. They were mainly used in a synthetic silk factory near Szczecin. The next wave of slave workers was brought in 1940, in addition to PoWs who were used for work in the agricultural industry. According to German police reports from 1940, 15,000 Polish slave workers lived within the city.
During the war, 135 forced labour camps for slave workers were established in the city. Most of the 25,000 slave workers were Poles, but Czechs, Italians, Frenchmen and Belgians, as well as Dutch citizens, were also enslaved in the camps.
In February 1940, the Jews of Stettin were deported to the Lublin reservation. International press reports emerged, describing how the Nazis forced Jews, regardless of age, condition and gender, to sign away all property and loaded them on to trains headed to the camp, escorted by members of the SA and SS. Due to publicity given to the event, German institutions ordered such future actions to be made in a way unlikely to attract public notice.
Allied air raids in 1944 and heavy fighting between the German and Soviet armies destroyed 65% of Stettin's buildings and almost all of the city centre, the seaport and local industries. Polish Home Army intelligence assisted in pinpointing targets for Allied bombing in the area of Stettin. The city itself was covered by Home Army's structure "Bałtyk" and Polish resistance infiltrated Stettin's naval yards. Other activities of the resistance consisted of smuggling people to Sweden.
Monument to the workers
killed during the 1970 anti-communist
protests, known as the
"Angel of Freedom"
The 1962 Szczecin military parade led to a road traffic accident in which a tank of the Polish People's Army crushed bystanders, killing seven children and injuring many more. The resultant panic in the crowd led to further injuries in the rush to escape. The incident was covered up for many years by the Polish communist authorities.
The city witnessed anti-communist revolts in 1970. In 1980, one of the four agreements, known as the August Agreements, which led to the first legalization of Solidarity, was signed in Szczecin. Pope John Paul II visited the city on 11 June 1987. The introduction of martial law in December 1981 met with a strike by the dockworkers of Szczecin shipyard, joined by other factories and workplaces in a general strike. All these were suppressed by the authorities. Another wave of strikes in Szczecin broke out in 1988 and 1989, which eventually led to the Round Table Agreement and first semi free elections in Poland.
Since 1999 Szczecin has been the capital of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship.
- The Cathedral Basilica of St. James the Apostle, was built by the citizens of the city and modeled after the Church of St. Mary in Lübeck. It is the largest church in Pomerania and for many years after the reformation was part of the Pomeranian Evangelical Church. The church was established in 1187 and the Romanesque-style building was completed in the 14th century. One of its two towers collapsed during a storm in 1456 and destroyed part of the church. Reconstruction lasted until 1503 and the entire church was remodeled based on a single-tower hall church design. Air raids on the night of 16 August 1944 during World War II resulted in collapse of the spire added in 1901 and extensive damage to other parts of the building. The north wall, all altars and artworks inside were destroyed by the bombs and ensuing fire. Following the war, government officials were reluctant to allow reconstruction of the church however, a heritage conservator pointed out that demolition of the remaining structure would be more costly than rebuilding it. In 1971, work began on the church and continued for three years. The north wall was reconstructed in a modern style which did not harmonize with the rest of the building and the tower was stabilized, but the spire was not rebuilt. Instead, the tower was capped with a short hip roof or pyramid roof resulting in a height of 60 meters (196 feet). In 2006, another renovation commenced which saw new heating systems and flooring installed. Organs, to replace those removed before the World War II bombing and never recovered, were constructed and the tower was strengthened so it could support a redesigned spire. In 2010, a new, neo-baroque Flèche has been constructed.
- Old City Town Hall the present day shingle-roofed Town Hall in the Old City district was built for the municipal government in the 15th century. At the time, it was considered the new Town Hall, erected at the site of the one built in the previous century. In 1968, the building was brought back to its original look. With care and skill were restored, among others, Gothic ornaments of the interior walls. A sumptuously adorned elevation was to raise the prestige of the city officials. Since 1869, the building houses a popular restaurant and tavern.
- National Museum, Szczecin established on 1 August 1945. The main part of an exhibition is placed in Landed Gentry House (Pałac Sejmu Stanów Pomorskich, Landeshaus), Staromłyńska 27 Street. The four other parts are:
The Main Building of Muzeum Narodowe w Szczecinie, Wały Chrobrego 3 Street
The Szczecin's History Museum, Old City Town Hall in Szczecin, Księcia Mściwoja II Street
The Old Art Galery of Muzeum Narodowe w Szczecinie, Staromłyńska 27 Street
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Staromłyńska 1 Street
The Narrow Gauge Railway Exhibition in Gryfice
- Szczecin Bismarck tower construction began relatively late, in 1913, and it was only finished in 1921. The total construction cost of the 25-metre-tall tower was approximately 200,000 German Papiermarks. The tower is located on top of a small hill and is surrounded by a small wood, although the surrounding area is now generally industrial. It is approximately 6 km from the city centre, close to a tram terminus. Although one can visit the tower, the main entry way is fully sealed off, as are all windows, making entry impossible. It is also in need of restoration.
- The Ducal Castle was the seat of the dukes of Pomerania-Stettin of the House of Pomerania (Griffins), who ruled the Duchy of Pomerania from 1121 to 1637. Barnim the Great of Pomerania-Stettin erected the castle within Szczecin's walls against the will of the burghers in 1346. An older Pomeranian burgh had been leveled in 1249. In 1490 the castle was partially reconstructed for Bogusław X's wedding with Anna Jagiellonka (daughter of king Casimir IV Jagiellon). Between 1573−1582 the castle was rebuilt again, this time in the mannerist style for duke John Frederick by Italian stonemasons according to design by Wilhelm Zachariasz Italus. Two new wings were added to close the courtyard before the medieval southern and eastern wings. The main gate was adorned with ducal crest, the eastern wing was enhanced and the northern wing was intended for chapel.