Occurring every summer, the Udine Jazz Festival is a great time for the jazz lover to soak up great music in the idyllic setting of northern Italy. Originally a small affair, the jazz festival has blossomed into a world-class gathering, showcasing jazz legends such as Ornette Coleman, the innovative American saxophonist, trumpeter and composer. Other performers in the 2009 festival included Ravi Coltrane, Mistico Mediterraneo, and the FVG Gospel Choir. Performances take place around Udine and in neighboring towns.
For a spectacular entertainment treat, Udine offers 2 options for the best in Italian Opera. The first is the Al Ferroviaro Theater on Via Della Cernaia 2 in Central Udine. The second is The Ariston Theater on Via Aquileia 11. Both have regularly changing programs, but put on high quality performances
The lovely city of Udine provides several places to sample fine Italian cuisine. Udine restaurants have a reputation for flavorful food and good value for money. Travelers' budgets tend to go much further in Udine than in the bigger cities such as Milan or Venice, without sacrificing quality.
|Loggia del Lionello|
- The Cathedral of Udine. Santa Maria della Purità was entirely rebuilt following its destruction by an earthquake in 1511, but the church has been influenced by several eras. It lost its parish status in the late thirteenth century when it became the annex of what later became the cathedral, but Santa Maria is still noted for its eighteenth century frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo. The Cathedral of Udine began to be built as long ago as 1236, and it was finally consecrated in 1335. As is ordinary of Italian cities, one family greatly influenced the cathedral. The Manin family began a major renovation of it in the eighteenth century, and the Baroque interior is adorned with many works of art.
- Loggia del Lionello. In the principal square (Piazza della Libertà) stands the town hall (Loggia del Lionello) built in 1448–1457 in the Venetian-Gothic style It was begun in 1448 on a project by Nicolò Lionello, a local goldsmith, and was rebuilt following a fire in 1876. The new design was projected by the architect Andrea Scala.
- The Castle of Udine and Palazzo Patriarcale. Built upon a hill in the historical center of the city (138 meters above the sea level). The first official statement of the existence of a building on the hill dates back to 983: the Holy Roman Emperor Otto II donated to Rodoaldo, Patriarch of Aquileia a "castrum", a military building. The present building has the form of a palace and it was built on the ruins of a fortress destroyed in the year 1511 by an earthquake. The construction had started in 1517 and the works had lasted for 50 years. The external decoration of the palace and the paintings in the Parliament Hall are due to Giovanni da Udine, one of the pupils of Raphael. Today the castle hosts the History and Art Museum of the City of Udine.
- The Orto Botanico Friulano. A botanical garden at a location variously described as near the Istituto Tecnico per Geometri on Viale Leonardo da Vinci, or Via Urbanis, The garden was established in 1951 and contains collections of irises, local flora, Ericaceae, succulents, ferns, arid and desert plants, tropical trees, and Platanus orientalis. The garden's herbarium, housed within the Museo Friulano di Storia Natural, contains about 100,000 specimens.
- Loggia di San Giovanni, a Renaissance structure designed by Bernardino da Morcote. Loggia San Giovanni, situated on Piazza della Liberta, is emblem of the town of Udine. The splendid complex contains of porticoed arcades and the Torre dell'Orologio, magnificent town clock. In front of the Loggia there are monument of Justice, and high pillar with Venetian lion on the top of it.
|Loggia di San Giovannii|
From 1933 to 1935, a concentration camp primarily for political opponents of the regime was established on the Kuhberg, one of the hills surrounding Ulm. The Jews of Ulm, around 500 people, were first discriminated against and later persecuted; their synagogue was torn down after Kristallnacht in November 1938. The sole RAF strategic bombing during World War II against Ulm occurred on December 17, 1944, against the 2 large lorry factories of Magirus-Deutz and Kässbohrer, as well as other industries, barracks, and depots in Ulm. The Gallwitz Barracks and several military hospitals were among 14 Wehrmacht establishments destroyed. The raid killed 707 Ulm inhabitants and left 25,000 homeless and after all the bombings, over 80% of the medieval city centre lay in ruins.
- Ulm Minster is a Lutheran church located in Ulm, Germany. Although sometimes referred to as Ulm Cathedral because of its great size, the church is not a cathedral as it has never been the seat of a bishop. Ulm Minster, like Cologne Cathedral, was begun in the Gothic era and not completed until the late 19th century. It is the tallest church in the world, and the 4th tallest structure built before the 20th century, with a steeple measuring 161.5 metres (530 ft) and containing 768 steps. From the top level at 143 m (469 ft) there is a panoramic view of Ulm in Baden-Württemberg and Neu-Ulm in Bavaria and, in clear weather, a vista of the Alps from Säntis to the Zugspitze. The final stairwell to the top (known as the third Gallery) is a tall, spiraling staircase that has barely enough room for one person.
- Wiblingen Abbey was a former Benedictine abbey which was later used as barracks. Today its buildings house several departments of the medical faculty of the University of Ulm. The former abbey is located south of the confluence of the rivers Danube and Iller, south of the city of Ulm in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. Administratively, the former independent village of Wiblingen now belongs to the city of Ulm. The abbey is part of the Upper Swabian Baroque Route.
- The Rathaus (Town Hall), built in 1370, featuring some brilliantly-coloured murals dating from the mid-16th century. On the gable is an astronomical clock dating from 1520. Restored after serious damage in 1944.
- Albert Einstein Memorial - A small memorial at the site of the house where Albert Einstein was born in the Bahnhofstraße, between the present-day newspaper offices and the bank. The house itself and the whole district was destroyed in the firebombing of 1944.
- Stadtbibliothek, the building of the public library of Ulm was erected by Gottfried Böhm in the form of a glass pyramid and is situated directly adjacent to the town hall.
Urbino is a walled city in the Marche region of Italy, south-west of Pesaro, a World Heritage Site notable for a remarkable historical legacy of independent Renaissance culture, especially under the patronage of Federico da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482. The town, nestled on a high sloping hillside, retains much of its picturesque medieval aspect.
The most famous member of the Montefeltro was Federico III (or II), Duke of Urbino from 1444 to 1482, a very successful condottiere, a skillful diplomat and an enthusiastic patron of art and literature. At his court, Piero della Francesca wrote on the science of perspective, Francesco di Giorgio Martini wrote his Trattato di architettura ("Treatise on Architecture") and Raphael's father, Giovanni Santi, wrote his poetical account of the chief artists of his time. Federico's brilliant court, according to the descriptions in Baldassare Castiglione's Il Cortegiano ("The Book of the Courtier"), set standards of what was to characterize a modern European "gentleman" for centuries to come.
In 1502, Cesare Borgia, with the connivance of his Papal father, Alexander VI, dispossessed Duke Guidobaldo and Elisabetta Gonzaga. They returned in 1503, after Alexander had died. After the Medici pope Leo X's brief attempt to establish a young Medici as duke, thwarted by the early death of Lorenzo II de' Medici in 1519, Urbino was ruled by the dynasty of Della Rovere dukes.
The conflict ensued after the end of the War of the League of Cambrai (1508–16), when Francesco Maria I della Rovere decided to take advantage of the situation to recover the Duchy of Urbino, from which he had been ousted in the previous year.
In the early 1517 he presented himself under the walls of Verona to hire the troops which had besieged the city, now to be returned to the Republic of Venice. Della Rovere set off with an army of some 5,000 infantry and 1,000 horses which he entrusted to Federico Gonzaga, lord of Bozzolo, reaching the walls of Urbino on January 23, 1517.
He defeated the Papal condottiero Francesco del Monte and entered the city hailed by the population.
Pope Leo X reacted by hastily hiring an army of 10,000 troops under Lorenzo II de' Medici, Renzo di Ceri, Giulio Vitelli and Guido Rangoni and sending it against Urbino. Lorenzo was wounded by a bullet from an arquebus on April 4 during the siege of the Mondolfo castle, and returned to Tuscany. He was replaced by Cardinal Bibbiena. The latter was however unable to control the troops, and, defeated with relevant losses at Monte Imperiale, was forced to retreat to Pesaro.
The war was however ended by the lack of money of Francesco Maria della Rovere, who soon found himself unable to pay the troops hired at Verona. After some unfruitful ravages in Tuscany and Umbria, he began to seek for a diplomatic settlement with the pope. In September they signed a treaty by which della Rovere was relieved of all ecclasiastical censures and was left free to retreat to Mantua with all his artillery, as well as the rich library collected in Urbino by the former duke Federico III da Montefeltro.
- The Duomo di Urbino is a church founded in 1021 over a 6th century religious edifice. The 12th century plan was turned 90 degrees from the current one, which is a new construction also started by Federico II and commissioned to Francesco di Giorgio Martini, author of the Ducal Palace. Finished only in 1604, the Duomo had a simple plan with a nave and two aisles, and was destroyed by an earthquake in 1789. The church was again rebuilt by the Roman architect Giuseppe Valadier, the works lasting until 1801. The new church has a typical neo-classicist appearance, with a majestic dome. It houses a San Sebastian from 1557, an Assumption by Carlo Maratta (1701) and the famous Last Supper by Federico Barocci (1603–1608).
- Raphael's House The Renaissance painter Raphael was born in Urbino (in 1483) and the house where he was born is now a delightful little museum - a simple fresco of the Madonna and Child in one of the rooms may have been one of his earliest works. You will find it in Via Raffaello that runs up from Piazza della Repubblica.
- Albornz Fortress The small fortress at the top of Urbino is a great place for views of the town and surrounding hills. It was built in the fourteenth century and was the defensive point for the walls, built in the sixteenth century. It's now a library and public park.
- Oratorio di S. Giovanni Battista in Via Barocci is a small church entirely decorated in 1416 with wall-to-ceiling frescoes by the Marchegiani painters Jacopo and Lorenzo Salimbeni. Ignore the fact that few outside the Marches have ever heard of the brothers; just enjoy the brilliance of their earthy vision of the life of St John the Baptist and a terrifying Crucifixion - or just count the number of playful small dogs you can spot in the lively scenes.
- The Ducal Palace is a Renaissance building in the Italian city of Urbino. One of the most important monuments in Italy, it is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction of the Ducal Palace was begun for Duke Federico III da Montefeltro around the mid-fifteenth century by the Florentine Maso di Bartolomeo. The new construction included the pre-existing Palace of the Jole.Luciano Laurana, an architect from Dalmatia who had been influenced by Brunelleschi's cloisters in Florence, designed the façade, the famous courtyard and the great entrance staircase. The palace continued in use as a government building into the 20th century, housing municipal archives and offices, and public collections of antique inscriptions and sculpture. Restorations completed in 1985 have reopened the extensive subterranean network to visitors.
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands.
Utrecht's ancient city centre features many buildings and structures from the Early Middle Ages. It has been the religious centre of the Netherlands since the eighth century. Currently it is the see of the Archbishop of Utrecht, the most important Dutch Roman Catholic leader. Utrecht is also the see of the archbishop of the Old Catholic church, titular head of the Union of Utrecht (Old Catholic), and the location of the offices of the main Protestant church. Until the Dutch Golden Age Utrecht was the city of most importance of the Netherlands until Amsterdam became its cultural and most populous centre.
The lack of structural integrity proved to be the undoing of the central section of the cathedral of St Martin church when Utrecht was struck by a tornado in 1674.
The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 settled the War of the Spanish Succession. Since 1723 (but especially after 1870) Utrecht became the centre of the non-Roman Old Catholic Churches in the world.
In 1853, the Dutch government allowed the bishopric of Utrecht to be reinstated by Rome, and Utrecht became the centre of Dutch Catholicism once more.
During World War II, Utrecht was held by the Germans until the general German surrender of the Netherlands on 5 May 1945. Canadian troops that surrounded the city entered it after that surrender, on 7 May 1945.
Since World War II, the city has grown considerably when new neighbourhoods such as Overvecht, Kanaleneiland, Hoograven and Lunetten were built. Additionally the area surrounding Utrecht Centraal railway station and the station itself have been developed following modernist ideas of the 1960s, in a brutalist style. This led to the construction of the shopping mall Hoog Catharijne, music centre Vredenburg (Hertzberger, 1979), and conversion of part of the ancient canal structure into a highway (Catherijnebaan). Protest against further modernisation of the city centre followed even before the last buildings were finalised. In the early 21st century the whole area is being redeveloped.
- St. Martin's Cathedral, Utrecht, or Dom Church was the cathedral of the diocese of Utrecht during the Middle Ages. Once the Netherland's largest church, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, it is one of the country's two pre-Reformation cathedrals, along with the cathedral in Middleburg, Province of Zeeland. It has been a Protestant church since 1580. The building is the one church in the Netherlands that closely resembles the classic Gothic style as developed in France. All other Gothic churches in the Netherlands belong to one of the many regional variants. Unlike most of its French predecessors, the Dom Church has only one tower, the 112 m (368 ft) high Dom Tower, which is the hallmark of the city and the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. The tower was originally part of the Cathedral and was built between 1321 and 1382, to a design by John of Hainaut. The cathedral was never fully completed due to lack of money. Since the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674 the Dom tower became a free standing tower. The tower stands at the spot where the city of Utrecht originated almost 2,000 years ago.
- De Haar Castle. A visit to De Haar is a journey of discovery to a marvellous world. There are only a few castles in Europe that have the same ideal image of a medieval fortress with towers and ramparts, with canals, gates and drawbridges as De Haar. The castle was entirely restored and partially rebuilt in the late 19th century and it rises like a real fairy-tale castle from a park with large trees, surrounded by old gardens and ponds. Yet this enchanting oasis of harmony and peace is not far from the daily bustle of Utrecht city. The unique complex has something to offer for everyone. Young and old, for the knowledgeable art lover and the casual visitor. De Haar is an unusual and fascinating mixture of the medieval and the modern comforts of the late 19th century.
- The Rijnauwen Fort is the largest fort on the New Dutch Water Defence Line. A massive fortification that has no equal in the Netherlands as regards architectural style and soundness. In addition to a cultural/historical monument, the fort has become a valuable scenic area because it has been closed off for years. Weekly guided tours by the Forestry Commission are available from 1 April - 1 October. English tours can be pre-booked via e-mail.
- The Centraal Museum is a museum in Utrecht founded in 1838. Initially, the collection - exhibited on the top floor of the Utrecht townhall - was limited to art related to the city of Utrecht. In 1921 the collection merged with various private collections in the new 'centralised museum' (hence the name 'Centraal museum',centraal being the Dutch word for central) located in the former medieval monastery at the Nicolaaskerkhof. Currently, the collection comprises pre-1850 art, modern art, applied art, fashion and the city history of Utrecht. Amongst the highlights of the museum is the one-thousand year old 'Utrecht Ship'. The ship is part of the collection 'Stadsgeschiedenis'. The ship was found in 1930 near the Van Hoornekade in Utrecht and was put in the cellar of the 16th-century built part of museumbuilding.
- The Oudegracht, or "old canal", starts in the southeast of the city. Here the Kromme Rijn (the original main bed of the Rhine river) and the Vaartse Rijn (a medieval canal reconnecting Utrecht to the newer main stream of the Rhine, the Lek) arrive to meet the original moat of the fortified town, and the Oudegracht goes from there into the center of town. Parts of the Oudegracht follow the original flow of the river Rhine, but there is some disagreement on what parts. The northern part is most likely an early canal (app. 1000) connecting the Rhine section to the river Vecht. The southern part was started in 1122, after the water level of the Rhine in Utrecht dropped because of the new dam at Wijk bij Duurstede. The ground excavated was used to raise the sides of the canal, to reduce the chance of flooding.
Vaduz is the capital of the principality of Liechtenstein and the seat of the national parliament. The town, located along the Rhine, has about 5,100 inhabitants (as of 2009),most of whom are Roman Catholic. Its cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vaduz.
Although Vaduz is the best-known town internationally in the principality, it is not the largest: neighbouring Schaan has a larger population.
In the 17th century the Liechtenstein family was seeking a seat in the Imperial diet, the Reichstag. However, since they did not hold any territory that was directly under the Imperial throne, they were unable to meet the primary requirement to qualify.
The family yearned for the added power a seat in the Imperial government would bring, and therefore sought to acquire lands that would be Reichsunmittelbar, or held without any feudal personage other than the Holy Roman Emperor himself having rights on the land. After some time, the family was able to arrange the purchase of the minusculeHerrschaft ("Lordship") of Schellenberg and countship of Vaduz (in 1699 and 1712 respectively) from the Hohenems. Tiny Schellenberg and Vaduz possessed exactly the political status required: no feudal lord other than their comital sovereign and the suzerain Emperor.
There is also a small retail village between Vaduz and Balzers. This is home to a McDonalds, and a sports clothes shop among other things.
Liechtenstein isn't a cheap place to eat. If you want something budget and have a car, drive to Feldkirch just across the Austrian border.
- Vaduz Cathedral, or Cathedral of St. Florin, is a neo-Gothic church and the centre of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vaduz. Originally a parish church, it has held the status of cathedral since 1997. It was built in 1874 by Friedrich von Schmidt on the site of earlier medieval foundations. Its patron saint is Florinus of Remüs (Florin), a 9th century saint of the Vinschgau Valley. The Archdiocese of Vaduz was erected by Pope John Paul II in the apostolic constitution Ad satius consulendum 2 December 2002. Before then it had been the Liechtenstein Deanery, a part of the Swiss Diocese of Chur. The solemn public ceremony took place on 12 December 1997, in the parish church of Vaduz, which was then raised to the dignity of a cathedral.
- The Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (Liechtenstein Museum of Fine Arts) is the state museum of modern and contemporary art in Vaduz. The building by the Swiss architects Meinrad Morger, Heinrich Degelo and Christian Kerez was completed in November 2000. The museum collection of international modern and contemporary art is also the national art collection of the Principality of Liechtenstein.
- The Prince's Wine Collection Wine enthusiasts should definitely pay a visit to the Prince of Liechtenstein Winery, where visitors can walk through the vineyards and sample the excellent wines. The Winery is home to the Herawingert vineyards. With its four hectares of south-west-facing slopes and mild climate influenced by the warm 'Föhn' wind, Herawingert is among the best wine-growing regions in the Rhine Valley. Its excellent quality of soil offers ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. .
- The Red House, a gabled stairs structure with a large tower containing living quarters, is located in the Mitteldorf area of Vaduz. The house gets its name from the dark-red colour the building has had since the middle of the 19th century. Documents show that work began on another construction on the same site several centuries earlier, before being abandoned in the 15th century. The Red House's many owners over the years include the St. Johann Monastery. Since 1807 the building has been in the possession of the Rheinberger family. Egon Rheinberger - a famous painter, sculptor and architect from Liechtenstein - extended the Red House between 1902 and 1905.
- Vaduz Castle (Schloß Vaduz) is the palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein. The castle gave its name to the town of Vaduz, which it overlooks from an adjacent hilltop. The earliest mention of the castle can be found in the deed of Count Rudolf von Werdenberg-Sargans for a sale to Ulrich von Matsch. The erstwhile owners - presumably also the builders - were the Counts of Werdenberg-Sargans. The Bergfried (12th century) and parts of the eastern side are the oldest. The tower stands on a piece of ground some 12 x 13 metres and has a wall thickness on the ground floor of up to 4 m. The original entrance lay at the Hofzijde at an 11 metre height. The chapel of St. Anna was presumably built in the Middle Ages as well. The main altar is late-gothic. In the Swabian War of 1499, the castle was burned by the Swiss Confederacy. The western side was expanded by Count Kaspar van Hohenems (1613–1640). The Princely Family of Liechtenstein acquired Vaduz Castle in 1712 when it purchased the countship of Vaduz. .
Valencia is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona. The Port of Valencia is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the largest on the Mediterranean Sea.
Pompey razed Valentia to the ground in 75 BC as punishment for its adherence to Sertorius, but it was rebuilt around fifty years later, including large infrastructure projects, and by the mid-first century was experiencing rapid urban growth. Pomponius Mela says it was one of the principal cities of Tarraconensis province. Valencia suffered a new period of decline in the third century, but an early Christian community arose there during the latter years of the Roman Empire in the fourth century.
After the death of Almanzor and the unrest that followed, Muslim Al-Andalus disintergrated into numerous small states known as taifas, one of which was the Taifa of Valencia which would exist for four distinct periods: 1010–1065, 1075–1099, 1145–1147 and the last from 1229–1238.
The city remained in the hands of Christian troops until 1102, when the Almoravids retook the city and restored the Muslim religion. Although the self-styled 'Emperor of All Spain', Alfonso VI of León and Castile, drove them from the city, he was not strong enough to hold it. The Christians set it afire before abandoning it, and the Almoravid Masdali took possession on 5 May 1109. The event was commemorated in a poem by Ibn Khafaja in which he thanked Yusuf ibn Tashfin for the city's liberation.The declining power of the Almoravids coincided with the rise of a new dynasty in North Africa, the Almohads, who seized control of the peninsula from the year 1145, although their entry into Valencia was deterred by Ibn Mardanis, King of Valencia and Murcia until 1171, at which time the city finally fell to the North Africans. The two Muslim dynasties would rule Valencia for more than a century.
On 9 October, King James, followed by his retinue and army, took possession of the city. The principal mosque was purified and the Mass was celebrated. James incorporated city and territory into the newly formed Kingdom of Valencia, one of the kingdoms forming the Crown of Aragon, and permitted all people that lived in the city, Jews, Muslims and Christians, to stay there and live as citizens of the kingdom.
The Republic (1931–1939) opened the way for democratic participation and the increased politicization of citizens, especially in response to the rise of Conservative Front power in 1933. This climate marked the elections of 1936, won by the Popular Front political coalition which promoted the fervor of the masses. The military uprising of July 18 failed to triumph in Valencia. For some months there was a revolutionary atmosphere, gradually neutralised by the government.
Valencia is famous for its gastronomic culture; typical features of its cuisine include paella, a simmered rice dish with seafood or meat (chicken or rabbit), fartons, buñuelos, the Spanish omelette, rosquilletas and squid (calamares).
- The Valencia Cathedral was called Iglesia Mayor in the early days of the Reconquista, then Iglesia de la Seo and by virtue of the papal concession of 16 October 1866, it was called the Basilica Metropolitana. It is situated in the centre of the ancient Roman city where some believe the temple of Diana stood. In Gothic times, it seems to have been dedicated to the Holy Saviour; the Cid dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin; King James I of Aragon did likewise, leaving in the main chapel the image of the Blessed Virgin which he carried with him and is reputed to be the one now preserved in the sacristy. The Moorish mosque, which had been converted into a Christian church by the conqueror, was deemed unworthy of the title of the cathedral of Valencia, and in 1262 Bishop Andrés de Albalat laid the cornerstone of the new Gothic building, with three naves; these reach only to the choir of the present building. Bishop Vidal de Blanes built the chapter hall, and James I added the tower, called El Miguelete because it was blessed on St. Michael's day in 1418. The tower is about 58 m high and topped with a belfry (1660–1736). In the 15th century the dome was added and the naves extended back of the choir, uniting the building to the tower and forming a main entrance. Archbishop Luis Alfonso de los Cameros began the building of the main chapel in 1674; the walls were decorated with marbles and bronzes in the Baroque style of that period. At the beginning of the 18th century the German Conrad Rudolphus built the façade of the main entrance.
- The Torres de Serrans or Porta de Serrans is one of the twelve gates that were found along the old medieval city wall in Valencia. It is considered one of Valencia's most iconic buildings and is one the best conserved monuments in the city.
- The Museu de Belles Arts de València English: "Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia" is an art gallery founded in 1913. It houses some 2,000 works, most dating from the 14th-17th centuries, including a Self portrait of Diego Velázquez, a St. John the Baptist by El Greco, Goya's Playing Children, Gonzalo Pérez's Altarpiece of Sts. Ursula, Martin and Antony and a Madonna with Writing Child and Bishop by the Italian Renaissance master Pinturicchio. It also houses a large series of engravings by Giovan Battista Piranesi. The museum is housed in the St. Pius V Palace, built in the 17th-18th centuries. It has also sections dedicated to sculpture, to contemporary art and to archaeological findings.
- The Llotja de la Seda English "Silk Exchange" is a late Valencian Gothic style civil building, built between 1482 and 1548, and one of the principal tourist attractions in the city. The UNESCO considered it as a World Heritage Site in 1996 since "the site is of outstanding universal value as it is a wholly exceptional example of a secular building in late Gothic style, which dramatically illustrates the power and wealth of one of the great Mediterranean mercantile cities.". Behind the current building, there was an earlier one from the 14th century, which was called the Oil Exchange (Llotja de l’Oli, in Valencian, or Lonja del Aceite, in Spanish). It was used not only for trading with oil, but for all kind of business. Where in 1348 was traded perxal (percale) as some kind of silk. Valencia's commercial prosperity reached its peak during the 15th century, and led to the construction of a new building.
- The City of Arts and Sciences is an ensemble of five areas in the dry river bed of the now diverted River Turia in Valencia, Spain. Designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava and started in July 1996, it is an impressive example of modern architecture. The "city" is made up of the following, usually known by their Valencian names: El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía — Opera house and performing arts centre;L'Hemisfèric — Imax Cinema, Planetarium and Laserium; L'Umbracle — Walkway / Garden; El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe — Science museum; L'Oceanogràfic — Open-air oceanographic park. Surrounded by attractive streams and pools of water, it and the surrounding areas of the "city" are typically used as a relaxing place to walk day or night, with an open air bar outside El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe during the evening.
|The City of Arts and Sciences|
Valladolid is the capital city of the autonomous region of Castile and León and the Province of Valladolid in north-western Spain. It is situated at the confluence of the Pisuerga and Esgueva rivers, and located within three winegrowing regions: Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Cigales.
Remains of Celtiberian and of a Roman camp have been excavated near the city. The nucleus of the city was originally located in the area of the current San Miguel y el Rosarillo square, and was surrounded by a palisade. Archaeological proofs of the existence of three ancient lines of walls have been found.
In 1469 Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon were married in the city; by the 15th century Valladolid was the residence of the kings of Castile and remained the capital of the Kingdom of Spain until 1561, when the city was destroyed by a fire and Philip II, born here, moved the capital to Madrid, starting a period of decadence for Valladolid. In 1506 Christopher Columbus died in Valladolid in a house that is now a Museum dedicated to him. It was made the capital of the kingdom again between 1601 and 1606 by Philip III. The city was again damaged by a flood of the rivers Pisuerga and Esgueva.
The main speciality of Valladolid is, however, lechazo (suckling baby lamb). The lechazo is slowly roasted in a wood oven and served with salad.
Valladolid also offers a great assortment of wild mushrooms. Asparagus, endive and beans can also be found. Some legumes, like white beans and lentils are particularly good. Pine nuts are also produced in great quantities.
In the area of bread Valladolid has a bread to go with every dish, like the delicious cuadros from Medina del Campo, the muffins, the pork-scratching bread and the lechuguinos, with a pattern of concentric circles that resemble a head of lettuce.
The pastries and baked goods from the province of Valladolid are well-known, specially St. Mary's ring-shaped pastries, St. Claire's sponge cakes, pine nut balls and cream fritters.
Valladolid is also a producer of wines. The ones that fall under the Designation of Origin Cigales are very good. White wines from Rueda and red wines from Ribera del Duero are known for their quality.
- The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Assumption, better known as Valladolid Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral designed by Juan de Herrera. The cathedral has its origins in a late Gothic collegiate church, which was started during the late 15th century: before temporarily becoming capital of a united Spain, Valladolid was not a bishopric, and thus it lacked the right or necessity to build a cathedral. However, soon enough the Gothic collegiate church became outmoded with the growth of Renaissance classicizing architecture, and thanks to the newly established episcopal see, the Town Council decided to build a cathedral that would put similar constructions in neighbouring capitals in the shade. However, due to strategic and geopolitical reasons, by the 1560s the capital was moved to Madrid and funds for architectural projects were largely cut. Thus the cathedral was not finished according to Herrera's design; it was further modified during the 17th and 18th centuries, such as the addition to the top of the main façade, a work by Churriguera.
- The Plaza Mayor of Valladolid is the first great plaza in Spain, and closed with arcades, is a space intended for use as a market and as a backdrop to the public celebrations so dear to the Habsburg monarchy. It had been designed with large balconies to facilitate the viewing of the shows, and served as a model, since the seventeenth century, for many others in Spain (such as Madrid, 1617 or Salamanca, 1729) and South America, even having an impact in Italy. Its existence became defined in the mid-thirteenth century when the market moved from the Plaza de Santa Maria to Market Square, which since the early sixteenth century has been called Plaza Mayor. Individual unions were installed around it, as was the Convent of San Francisco, until 1499 the most important building in the vicinity. After that date, as mandated by the Catholic Monarchs it was the House of the Municipality who presided over the life of the city.
- The National Museum of Sculpture is a museum belonging to the Spanish Ministry of Culture. The museum has an extensive collection sculptural ranging from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century from convents, donations, deposits and acquisitions of the state. The museum was founded as the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts on October 4, 1842. It had its first headquarters at the Palacio de Santa Cruz. On 29 April 1933 it was moved to the Colegio de San Gregorio. Other current seats are in the 16th century Palacio de Villena and Palacio del Conde de Gondomar. The museum houses works from the 13th to 19th century, executed in the Iberian Peninsula or in other regions historically connected to Spain (Italy, Flanders, Southern America). Artworks include, among the others, a Raising of the Crossby Francisco del Rincon, I Thirst, and The Way of Calvary Gregorio Fernández, Adoration of the Magi by Alonso Berruguete, Lamentation of Christ by Juan de Juni, Penitent Magdalene by Pedro de Mena or the Holy Sepulchre or passage of the Sleepers Alonso de Rozas.
- The Teatro Calderón de la Barca is a theatre named after the playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca. The site of the theater was occupied until the mid-nineteenth century by the palace of the Duke of Osuna, Admiral of Castile, which was demolished to make way for the theatre. Jerónimo de la Gándara was the architect. One of the largest theaters in Spain, the facade has an eclectic neo-classical style. The Calderón opened in 1864. The interior has a horseshoe shape in the Italian style. The paint work, curtains and sets were created by the celebrated decorator Augusto Ferri. The Art Nouveau side lamps date from the early twentieth century. Other rooms were a coffee shop, a library decorated with many paintings, and a banquet room. The magnificent and lavishly decorated building became one of the main theaters in Spain when it opened.
- The Royal Palace of Valladolid was the official residence of the Kings of Spain during the period in which the Royal Court had its seat in Valladolid between 1601 and 1606, and a temporary residence of the Spanish Monarchs from Charles I to Isabella II, as well as and also of Napoleon during the War of the Independence. Currently is the headquarters of the 4th General Sub-inspection of the Army.
Valletta, Malta’s capital and a World Heritage site, is nothing short of an open-air museum. It is a living experience of Baroque architecture, throughout the years, Valletta has welcomed emperors, heads of state, artists and poets and is now the permanent seat of the Maltese government. The name "Valletta" is traditionally reserved for the historic walled citadel that serves as Malta's principal administrative district. However, Valletta, like many historical city centres, forms part of a larger continuous urban agglomeration; this is often referred to as
Valletta, the smallest capital of the European Union, is now the island’s major commercial and financial centre and is visited daily by throngs of tourists eager to experience the city’s rich history. Dotted with quaint cafés and wine bars, the city is today one of Malta’s main tourist attractions, hosting among others, the majestic St John’s Co- Cathedral, the imposing bastions and a treasure of priceless paintings. It also provides a stunning snapshot of Malta’s Grand Harbour, often described as the most beautiful in the Mediterranean.
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Valletta owes its existence to the Knights of St John, who planned the city as a refuge to care for injured soldiers and pilgrims during the Crusades in the 16th century. Until the arrival of the Knights, Mount Sceberras, on which Valletta stands, lying between two natural harbours, was an arid tongue of land.
No building stood on its bare rocks except for a small watch tower, called St Elmo, to be found at its extreme end. Grand Master La Valette, the gallant hero of the Great Siege of 1565, soon realised that if the Order was to maintain its hold on Malta, it had to provide adequate defences. Therefore, he drew up a plan for a new fortified city on the Sceberras peninsula.
By the 16th century, Valletta had grown into a sizeable city. People from all parts of the island flocked to live within its safe fortifications especially as Mdina, until then Malta's capital, lost much of its lure. The new city, with its strong bastions and deep moats, became a bulwark of great strategic importance. Valletta’s street plan is unique and planned with its defence in mind. Based on a more or less uniform grid, some of the streets fall steeply as you get closer to the tip of the peninsula. The stairs in some of the streets do not conform to normal dimensions since they were constructed in a way so as to allow knights in heavy armour to be able to climb the steps.
Fast forward a few centuries and the city built by gentlemen for gentlemen came under another siege; this time in the shape of World War II which brought havoc to Malta. Valletta was badly battered by the bombing, but the city withstood the terrible blow and, within a few years, it rose again. The scars of the war are still visible till this day at the site previously occupied by the former Royal Opera House in the heart of the city, a wound that has left Malta’s MPs divided these past 60 years over what should replace it.
During the post-war years, Valletta lost many of its citizens who moved out to more modern houses in other localities and its population dwindled to 9,000 inhabitants. However, in the last few years many individuals with a flair for unique architecture are trickling back into the city and investing in old properties.
Valletta's main street Triq Ir-Repubblika diagonally divides the city in half. It is one of Malta's busiest shopping and business districts, and also home to some of Valletta's most famous sights. Valletta has retained much of its original ambience and refined elegance making it a great place for a few days meandering. Come with time to reflect on its historic atmosphere and appreciate the peace; nightlife is not Valletta's strong point. After the shops have shut, the stalls closed and the tours departed, Valletta winds down. Good restaurants are plentiful, theatres and bars popular, but the capital is too small and quaint for any more nighttime action than that.The city’s unique setting nowadays plays host to a series of cultural events, from theatre in English, to concerts by leading opera singers.
|St Johns Co-Cathedral|
- The Magisterial Palace of the Grandmaster currently houses the House of Representatives of Malta and the office of the President of Malta. The palace is built around two courtyards, one of which is dominated by a statue of Neptune. There are two entrances in the front and one entrance from Piazza Regina just west of the National Library. The Armoury, housing one of the finest collections of Medieval and Renaissance weapons in all of Europe, runs the width of the back of the palace. The palace also features Gobelin tapestries and frescos by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio (a student of Michelangelo) amongst other treasures.
- St. Johns Co-Cathedral. Built by the Knights of Malta between 1573 and 1578, having been commissioned in 1572 by Grand Master Jean de la Cassière as the conventual church of the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St John, known as the Knights of Malta. The Church was designed by the Maltese military architect Glormu Cassar who designed several of the more prominent buildings in Valletta.
- The Grand Harbour Used as a harbour since at least Phoenician times. The natural harbour has been greatly improved with extensive docks and wharves, and has been massively fortified. The main waterway of Grand Harbour continues inland almost to Marsa. With its partner harbour of Marsamxett, Grand Harbour lies at the centre of gently rising ground. Development has grown up all around the twin harbours and up the slopes so that the whole bowl is effectively one large conurbation. Much of Malta's population lives within a three kilometer radius of Floriana. This is now one of the most densely populated areas in Europe. The harbours and docks are still active but with the departure of the British Military the harbour lost much of its military significance. A considerable part of Malta's commercial shipping is now handled by the new free port at Kalafrana, so the harbour is much quieter than it was in the first half of the 20th century.
- The National Museum of Fine Arts is home to works of art that were originally displayed in buildings of the Order, such as the Grand Master's palaces and churches, as well as paintings by Mattia Preti and J. M. W. Turner. Prior to its conversion into a museum, it was a residence. The Order acquired the building in the mid-18th century and transformed it into a Rococo palace. After the departure of the Order from Malta in 1798, the State took over the administration of the building and its contents. Paintings and sculptures were brought together in the early years of the 20th century and formed the core of the Fine Arts Collection within the National Museum by 1922. Subsequently, individuals and organisations made important donations and bequests to the collection, in addition to acquisitions made throughout the years. The highlight of the 19th century collection is a watercolour by J. M. W. Turner of the Grand Harbour.
- Fort Saint Elmo Stands on the seaward shore of the Sciberras Peninsula that divides Marsamxett Harbour from Grand Harbour, and commands the entrances to both. Prior to the arrival of the Knights of Malta in 1530, a watchtower existed on this point. Reinforcement of this strategic site commenced in 1533. After the Dragut Raid of 1551, during which the Turks sail unopposed into Marsamxett Harbour, work commenced on a major expansion, and by the time of the Ottoman Siege of Malta in 1565, this fortification had been reinforced and extended into a modest star fort.
Varna is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and the third-largest city in Bulgaria. Commonly referred to as the marine (or summer) capital of Bulgaria, Varna is a major tourist destination, business and university centre, seaport, and headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine.
The region of ancient Thrace was populated by Thracians by 1000 BC. Miletians founded the apoikia (trading post) of Odessos towards the end of the 7th century BC (the earliest Greek archaeological material is dated 600–575 BC), or, according to Pseudo-Scymnus, in the time of Astyages (here, usually 572–570 BC is suggested), within an earlier Thracian settlement. The name Odessos was pre-Greek, arguably of Carian origin. A member of the Pontic Pentapolis, Odessos was a mixed community—contact zone between the Ionians and the Thracians (Getae, Krobyzoi, Terizi) of the hinterland. Excavations at nearby Thracian sites have shown uninterrupted occupation from the 7th to the 4th century and close commercial relations with the colony. The Greek alphabet has been applied to inscriptions in Thracian since at least the 5th century BC; the city worshipped a Thracian great god whose cult survived well into the Roman period.
Theophanes the Confessor first mentioned the name Varna, as the city came to be known with the Slavic conquest of the Balkans in the 6th–7th century. According to Theophanes, in 680, Asparukh, the founder of the First Bulgarian Empire, routed an army of Constantine IV near the Danube delta and, pursuing it, reached the so-called Varna near Odyssos and the midlands thereof: perhaps the new name applied initially to an adjacent river or lake, Roman military camp, or inland area, and only later to the city itself. By the late 10 century, the name Varna was established so firmly that when Byzantines wrestled back control of the area from the Bulgarians in the 970's, they kept it rather than restoring the ancient name Odessus.
|Remains of Roman Bath house|
By the late 13th century, with the Treaty of Nymphaeum of 1261, the offensive-defensive alliance between Michael VIII Palaeologus and Genoa that opened up the Black Sea to Genoese commerce, Varna had turned into a thriving commercial port city frequented by Genoese and later also by Venetian and Ragusan merchant ships. The city was flanked by two fortresses with smaller commercial ports of their own, Kastritsi and Galata, within sight of each other, and was protected by two other strongholds overlooking the lakes, Maglizh and Petrich. Wheat, animal skins, honey and wax, wine, timber and other local agricultural produce for the Italian and Constantinople markets were the chief exports, and Mediterranean foods and luxury items were imported. Fine jewelry, household ceramics, fine leather and food processing, and other crafts flourished; shipbuilding developed in the Kamchiya river mouth.
14th-century Italian portolan charts showed Varna as arguably the most important seaport between Constantinople and the Danube delta; they usually labeled the region Zagora. The city was unsuccessfully besieged by Amadeus VI of Savoy, who had captured all Bulgarian fortresses to the south of it, including Galata, in 1366. In 1386, Varna briefly became the capital of the spinoff Principality of Karvuna, then was taken over by the Ottomans in 1389 (and again in 1444), ceded temporarily to Manuel II Palaeologus in 1413 (perhaps until 1444), and sacked by Tatars in 1414.
On 10 November 1444, one of the last major battles of the Crusades in European history was fought outside the city walls. The Turks routed an army of 20,000 crusaders led by Ladislaus III of Poland (also Ulászló I of Hungary), which had assembled at the port to set sail to Constantinople. The Christian army was attacked by a superior force of 55,000 or 60,000 Ottomans led by sultan Murad II. Ladislaus III was killed in a bold attempt to capture the sultan, earning the sobriquet Warneńczyk (of Varna in Polish; he is also known asVárnai Ulászló in Hungarian or Ladislaus Varnensis in Latin). The failure of the Crusade of Varna made the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 all but inevitable, and Varna (with all of Bulgaria) was to remain under Ottoman domination for over four centuries. Today, there is a cenotaph of Ladislaus III in Varna.
The British and French campaigning against Russia in the Crimean War (1854–1856) used Varna as headquarters and principal naval base; many soldiers died of cholera and the city was devastated by a fire. A British and a French monument mark the cemeteries where cholera victims were interred. In 1866, the first railroad in Bulgaria connected Varna with the Rousse on the Danube, linking the Ottoman capital Constantinople with Central Europe; for a few years, the Orient Express ran through that route. The port of Varna developed as a major supplier of food—notably wheat from the adjacent breadbasket Southern Dobruja—to Constantinople and a busy hub for European imports to the capital; 12 foreign consulates opened in the city. Local Bulgarians took part in the National Revival; Vasil Levski set up a secret revolutionary committee.
With the national liberation in 1878, the city was ceded to Bulgaria by the Treaty of Berlin; Russian troops entered on 27 July. Varna became a front city in the First Balkan War and the First World War; its economy was badly affected by the temporary loss of its agrarian hinterland of Southern Dobruja to Romania (1913–16 and 1919–40). In the Second World War, the Red Army occupied the city in September 1944, helping cement communist rule in Bulgaria.One of the early centres of industrial development and the Bulgarian labour movement, Varna established itself as the nation's principal port of export, a major grain producing and viticulture centre, seat of the nation's oldest institution of higher learning outside Sofia, a popular venue for international festivals and events, as well as the country's de facto summer capital with the erection of the Euxinograd royal summer palace (currently, the Bulgarian government convenes summer sessions there). Mass tourism emerged since the late 1950s. Heavy industry and trade with the Soviet Union boomed in the 1950s to the 1970s.
From 20 December 1949 to 20 October 1956 the city was renamed by the communist government Stalin after Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
- The Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral is the largest and most famous Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in the Black Sea port city of Varna, officially opened on 30 August 1886. It is the residence of the bishopric of Varna and Preslav and one of the symbols of Varna. The project for the cathedral, modelled after the temple in the Peterhof Palace, was by an Odessan architect by the name of Maas. Construction began immediately after the foundation stone was laid and took six years. Initially, the local government concluded a 6,000-leva contract with the architect, but he soon asked for more resources, so the commission decided to buy his plans but not engage him with the construction. Thus, the foundations were laid after the plan of Maas, whereas the building itself followed the plan of municipal architect P. Kupka. According to the project, the cathedral is a three-naved cross-domed basilica featuring two aisles and sized of 35 by 35 m, with the main altar being dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, the north one to Saint Alexander Nevsky and the south one to Saint Nicholas the Miracle Worker.
- Aladzha Monastery is a medieval Orthodox Christian cave monastery complex in northeastern Bulgaria, 17 km north of central Varna and 3 km west of Golden Sands beach resort, in a protected forest area adjacent to the Golden Sands Nature Park.
The monastery caves were hewn into a 25-m high vertical carst cliff near the upper edge of the Franga plateau on several levels. The complex also includes two small nearby catacombs. Dedicated to the Holy Trinity, it was an active hesychast monastic community of the Second Bulgarian Empire since the 12th century and perhaps survived until the early 18th century. Nearby, remains of a 5th-century cave monastery have also been found. A cave monastery may have existed not far from the modern monastery Aladzha, near Varna. Its early dating to the fourth century is secured by fragments of glassware, but coins of Justinian indicate that the complex may have still been in use during the 500s. As late as the early 20th century, the forested hills surrounding the monastery and known as Hachuka (Mount of the Cross) or Latin, were regarded by locals as sacred and inhabited by a mythical chthonic daemon treasure keeper, Imri Pop or Rim-Papa. Today, the grotto is a popular tourist destination. Its present name appeared in the late Ottoman period; Alaca (Turkish for motley) referred to its colourful murals, now almost destroyed. Thematic light shows are being staged in the summer.
- Varna Archaeological Museum has constantly carried out archaeological investigations and excavations on various sites all over Northeast Bulgaria. They now compose the Museum exhibition, more than 100 000 objects – monuments of past epochs from Varna, the Region and Northeast Bulgaria. The most important of them (one tenth of the whole Museum collection) are represented in the Museum exhibition halls. The Museum's arguably most celebrated exhibit is the Gold of Varna, the oldest gold treasure in the world, excavated in 1972 and dating to 4600-4200 BC, which occupies three separate exhibition halls. The museum also manages two open-air archaeological sites, the large Roman baths in the city centre and the medieval grotto of Aladzha Monastery at Golden Sands Nature Park.
- The Stoyan Bachvarov Dramatic Theatre is a theatre founded in 1921 as the Municipal Professional Theatre. It occupies a historic building in the centre of the city designed by Nikola Lazarov and built between 26 March 1912 and 5 June 1932. The building was finished by the architects Dabko Dabkov and Jelyazko Bogdanov. It is named after the prominent theatre actor Stoyan Bachvarov. The theatre has a main auditorium, a branch stage and a small auditorium.
- Euxinograd is a former late 19th-century Bulgarian royal summer palace and park on the Black Sea coast, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of downtown Varna. It is currently a governmental and presidential retreat hosting cabinet meetings in the summer and offering access for tourists to several villas and hotels. Since 2007, it is also the venue of the Operosa annual opera festival. The construction of the palace began soon after the land which it occupies was given to Knyaz Alexander Battenberg as a present by the Greek bishopric on 16 March 1882. There had previously been small monasteries called St. Demetrius and St. Constantine at that place, the buildings of which were subsequently converted into another small residence.
Venice is a city in northeast Italy sited on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. It is located in the marshy Venetian Lagoon which stretches along the shoreline between the mouths of the Po and the Piave Rivers. Venice is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. The city in its entirety is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon.
Venice became an imperial power following the Venetian-financed Fourth Crusade, which in 1204 seized and sacked Constantinople and established the Latin Empire. As a result of this conquest considerable Byzantine plunder was brought back to Venice. This plunder included the gilt bronze horses from the Hippodrome of Constantinople, which were originally placed above the entrance to St Mark's cathedral in Venice, although the originals have been replaced with replicas and the originals are now stored within the basilica.
By the late thirteenth century, Venice was the most prosperous city in all of Europe. At the peak of its power and wealth, it had 36,000 sailors operating 3,300 ships, dominating Mediterranean commerce. During this time, Venice's leading families vied with each other to build the grandest palaces and support the work of the greatest and most talented artists.
Venice's long decline started in the 15th century, when it first made an unsuccessful attempt to hold Thessalonica against the Ottomans (1423–1430). It also sent ships to help defend Constantinople against the besieging Turks (1453). After Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmet II he declared war on Venice. The war lasted thirty years and cost Venice much of its eastern Mediterranean possessions. Next, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. Then Portugal found a sea route to India, destroying Venice's land route monopoly. France, England and Holland followed them. Venice's oared galleys were at a disadvantage when it came to traversing the great oceans, and therefore Venice was left behind in the race for colonies.
Venice became Austrian territory when Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio on 12 October 1797. The Austrians took control of the city on 18 January 1798. It was taken from Austria by the Treaty of Pressburg in 1805 and became part of Napoleon's Kingdom of Italy, but was returned to Austria following Napoleon's defeat in 1814, when it became part of the Austrian-held Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. In 1848–1849 a revolt briefly reestablished the Venetian Republic under Daniele Manin. In 1866, following the Third Italian War of Independence, Venice, along with the rest of the Veneto, became part of the newly created Kingdom of Italy.
During the Second World War, the historic city was largely free from attack, the only aggressive effort of note being Operation Bowler, a precision strike on the German naval operations there in 1945. However the industrial areas in Mestre and Marghera and the railway lines to Padua, Trieste and Trento were repeatedly bombed. On 29 April 1945 New Zealand troops under Freyberg reached Venice and relieved the city and the mainland, which were already in partisan hands.
In addition, Venice is famous for bisàto (marinated eel), for the golden, oval-shaped cookies called baicoli, and for different types of sweets such as: pan del pescatore (bread of the fisherman); cookies with almonds and pistachio nuts; cookies with fried Venetian cream or the bussolai (butter biscuits and shortbread made in the shape of an "S" or ring) from the island of Burano; the crostoli also known as the chatter, lies, or galani; the fregolotta (a crumbly cake with almonds); milk pudding calledrosada; and cookies of yellow semolina called zaléti.
- The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. It lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the chapel of the Doge, and has only been the city's cathedral since 1807, when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, formerly at San Pietro di Castello. For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold).
- The Rialto Bridge is one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal. It is the oldest bridge across the canal, and was the dividing line for the districts of San Marco and San Polo. The present stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte, was finally completed in 1591. It is similar to the wooden bridge it succeeded. Two inclined ramps lead up to a central portico. On either side of the portico the covered ramps carry rows of shops. The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that architect Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted future ruin. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.
- Piazza San Marco (often known in English as St Mark's Square), is the principal public square of Venice, where it is generally known just as "the Piazza". All other urban spaces in the city (except the Piazzetta and the Piazzale Roma) are called "campi" (fields). The Piazzetta (the 'little Piazza') is an extension of the Piazza towards the lagoon in its south east corner. The two spaces together form the social, religious and political centre of Venice and are commonly considered together. A remark usually attributed to Napoleon calls the Piazza San Marco "the drawing room of Europe". (The attribution to Napoleon is unproven). It is one of the few great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic.
- Teatro La Fenice ("The Phoenix") is one of the most famous theatres in Europe, the site of many famous operatic premieres. Its name reflects its role in permitting an opera company to "rise from the ashes" despite losing the use of two theatres (to fire and legal problems respectively). Since opening and being named La Fenice, it has burned and been rebuilt twice more. La Fenice was rebuilt in 2001 in 19th-century style on the basis of a design by architect Aldo Rossi and using still photographs from the opening scenes of Luchino Visconti's 1954 film Senso, which was filmed in the house, in order to obtain details of its design. It reopened on 14 December 2003 with an inaugural concert of Beethoven, Wagner, and Stravinsky. The first opera production was La traviata in November 2004.
- The Doge's Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia. In 810, Doge Angelo Partecipazio moved the seat of government from the island of Malamocco to the area of the present-day Rialto, when it was decided a a ducal palace, should be built. However, no traces remains of that 9th century building as the palace was partially destroyed in the 10th century by a fire. The following reconstruction works were undertaken at the behest of Doge Sebastiano Ziani (1172–1178). A great reformer, he would drastically change the entire layout of the St. Mark's Square. The new palace was built out of fortresses, one façade to the Piazzeta, the other overlooking the St. Mark's Basin. Although only few traces remain of that palace, some Byzantine-Venetian architecture characteristics can still be seen at the ground floor, with the wall base in Istrian stone and some herring-bone pattern brick paving. Political changes in the mid-13th century led to the need to re-think the palace's structure due to the considerable increase in the number of the Great Council's members. The new Gothic palace's constructions started around 1340, focusing mostly on the side of the building facing the lagoon. Only in 1424, did Doge Francesco Foscari decide to extend the rebuilding works to the wing overlooking the Piazzetta, serving as law-courts, and with a ground floor arcade on the outside, open first floor loggias running along the façade, and the internal courtyard side of the wing, completed with the construction of the Porta della Carta (1442).
Verona is a city in Veneto, northern Italy. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of northeast Italy. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, owing to its artistic heritage, several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheatre built by the Romans.
The city has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban structure and architecture.
The city became important because it was at the intersection of several roads. Stilicho defeated Alaric and his Visigoths here in 403. But, after Verona was conquered in (489 AD) the Gothic domination of Italy began; Theodoric built his palace there, and according to Irish legends that's what Verona was named after. It remained under the power of the Goths throughout the Gothic War (535–552), except for a single day in 541, when the Armenian officer Artabazes made an entrance. The defections that took place among the Byzantine generals with regard to the booty made it possible for the Goths to regain possession of the city. In 552 Valerian vainly endeavoured to enter it, but only when they were fully overthrown, the Goths surrendered it.
In 569, it was taken by Alboin, King of the Lombards, in whose kingdom it was, in a sense, the second most important city. There, Alboin himself was killed by his own wife in 572. The dukes of Treviso often resided there. At Verona Adalgisus, son of Desiderius, in 774 made his last desperate resistance to Charlemagne, who had destroyed the Lombard kingdom. Verona was then the ordinary residence of the kings of Italy, the government of the city becoming hereditary in the family of Count Milo, progenitor of the counts of San Bonifacio. From 880 to 951 the two Berengarii resided there. Otto I ceded to Verona the marquisate dependent on the Duchy of Bavaria.
Alberto was succeeded by Mastino II (1329–1351) and Alberto, sons of Alboino. Mastino continued his uncle's policy, conquering Brescia in 1332 and carrying his power beyond the Po. He purchased Parma (1335) and Lucca (1339). After the King of France, he was the richest prince of his time. But a powerful league was formed against him in 1337 – Florence, Venice, the Visconti, the Este, and the Gonzaga. After a three years war, the Scaliger dominions were reduced to Verona and Vicenza (Mastino's daughter Regina-Beatrice della Scala married to Barnabò Visconti). Mastino's son Cangrande II (1351–1359) was a cruel, dissolute, and suspicious tyrant; not trusting his own subjects, he surrounded himself with Brandenburg mercenaries. He was killed by his brother Cansignorio (1359–1375), who beautified the city with palaces, provided it with aqueducts and bridges, and founded the state treasury. He also killed his other brother, Paolo Alboino. Fratricide seems to have become a family custom, for Antonio (1375–87), Cansignorio's natural brother, slew his brother Bartolomeo, thereby arousing the indignation of the people, who deserted him when Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan made war on him. Having exhausted all his resources, he fled from Verona at midnight (19 October 1387), thus putting an end to the Scaliger domination, which, however, survived in its monuments.
Guglielmo (1404), natural son of Cangrande II, was more fortunate; with the support of the people, he drove out the Milanese, but he died ten days after, and Verona then submitted to Venice (1405). The last representatives of the Scaligeri lived at the imperial court and repeatedly attempted to recover Verona by the aid of popular risings.
From 1508 to 1517, the city was in the power of the Emperor Maximilian I. There were numerous outbreaks of the plague, and in 1629–33 Italy was struck by its worst outbreak in modern times. In Verona an estimated 33,000 people (of a total of 54,000) died in 1630–1631.
The advent of fascism added another dark chapter to the annals of Verona. As throughout Italy, the Jewish population was hit by the anti-Semitic laws (1938), and after the invasion by Nazi Germany in 1943, deportations to Nazi concentration camps. An Austrian Fort (now a church, the Santuario della Madonna di Lourdes), was used to incarcerate and torture allied troops, Jews and anti-fascist suspects especially after 1943, when Verona became part of the Repubblica di Salò or "Social Republic".
As in Austrian times, Verona became of great strategic importance to the regime. Galeazzo Ciano, Benito Mussolini's son in law was accused of plotting against the republic during a mock trial staged by the Nazi and fascist hierarchy in Castelvecchio. Ciano was executed on the banks of the Adige with many other officers on what is today Via Colombo. This marked another turning point in the escalation of violence that would only end with the final liberation by allied troops and partisans in 1945.
After World War II, as Italy entered into NATO, Verona acquired once again its strategic importance, due to its closeness to the Iron Curtain. The city became the seat of SETAF (South European Allied Terrestrial Forces) and had during the whole duration of the Cold War period a strong military presence, especially American, which is decreasing only in these recent years. Now Verona is an important and dynamic city, very active in terms of economy, and also a very important tourist attraction because of its history, where the Roman past lives side by side with the Middle Age Verona, which in some senses brings about its architectural and artistic motifs.
The Veronese are keen eaters of horse-meat (cavallo), a local speciality. Pastisada de caval, is a dish of braised horse meat, as is Picula de Caval. Pizza is not traditionally eaten locally, but pasta dishes feature widely on restaurant menus. Try Pizzocheri (buckwheat pasta with cheese and sage), casoncelli (a type of ravioli) or bigoli (thick spaghetti). Casoela is a pork casserole, and a bollito misto is a mixture of boiled meats, usually served with pearà, a local sauce then you can find only in Veneto.
Via Mazzini is Verona's golden mile of shopping, taking you between Piazza Bra and Piazza delle Erbe. Most of the major Italian labels are represented, and even if you can't afford them it's great to wander and window shop. Corso Porta Borsari is another elegant shopping street in Verona. There are very nice shop, like Lo Scrittorio, an old fashioned shop selling papery and elegant pens and pencils. Corso Santa Anastasia, This street is the centre of antiques shops' zone. Narrow streets where you can find authentic masterpieces.
- The Basilica di San Zeno (also known as San Zeno Maggiore) is a minor basilica of Verona. Its fame rests partly on its architecture and partly upon the tradition that its crypt was the place of the marriage of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Together with the abbey which forms an annex, it is dedicated to St. Zeno of Verona. St. Zeno died in 380. According to legend, over his tomb, along the Via Gallica, the first small church was erected by Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths. The history of the present basilican and the associated Benedictine monastery begins in the 9th century,when Bishop Ratoldus and King Pepin of Italy attended the translation of the saint's relics into the new church. This edifice was damaged or destroyed by a Magyar invasion in the early 10th century, at which time Zeno's body was moved to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Matricolare: it was soon moved back to its original site in what is now the crypt of the present church (May 21, 921). In 967, a new Romanesque edifice was built by Bishop Raterius, with the financial assistance of the Holy Roman Emperor, Otto I. On January 3, 1117 the church was damaged by an earthquake, and as a result was restored and enlarged in 1138. The work was completed in 1398 with the reconstruction of the roof and of the Gothic-style apse.
- Castelvecchio. A 14th-century, red brick, fortified castle on the banks of the river Aldige. The main castle buildings house the city art museum which is packed with a rich collection of medieval sculpture and Renaissance paintings. As well as the museum, the extensive castle ramparts are great for exploring - ideal for families with children who enjoy running around castle fortifications. The Castelvecchio has an adjoining bridge over the river which is open all the time - walk over the bridge for some fantastic views of the castle on the river.
- Casa di Giulietta A house claiming to be the Capulets' has been turned into a tourist attraction. It features the balcony, and in the small courtyard, a bronze statue of Juliet. It is one of the most visited sites in the town. The metal of its chest is worn bare due to a legend that if a person strokes the right breast of the statue, that person will have good fortune. Many people write their names and the names of their beloved ones on the walls of the entrance, known as Juliet's wall. Many believe that writing on that place will make their love everlasting. After a restoration and cleaning of the building, it was intended that further writing should be on replaceable panels or white sheets placed outside the wall. It is also a tradition to put small love letters on the walls (which is done by the thousands each year), which are regularly taken down by employees to keep the courtyard clean.
- Porta Borsari is an ancient Roman gate in Verona. It dates to the 1st century AD, though it was most likely built over a pre-existing gate from the 1st century BC. An inscription dating from emperor Gallienus' reign reports another reconstruction in 265 AD. The Via Postumia (which here became the decumanus maximus) passed through the gate, which was the city's main entrance and was therefore richly decorated. It also originally had an inner court, now disappeared. The gate's Roman name was Porta Iovia, as it was located near a small temple dedicated to Jupiter lustralis. In the Middle Ages it was called Porta di San Zeno, while the current name derives from the guard soldiers which were paid the dazio (Latin bursarii). The façade, in local white limestone, has two arches flanked by semi-columns with Corinthian capitals which supports entablature and pediment. In the upper part is a two-floor wall with twelve arched windows, some of which are included in small niches with triangular pediment.
- The Verona Arena (Arena di Verona) is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra, which is internationally famous for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures of its kind. The building itself was built in AD 30 on a site which was then beyond the city walls. The ludi (shows and games) staged there were so famous that spectators came from many other places, often far away, to witness them. The amphitheatre could host more than 30,000 spectators in ancient times. The round façade of the building was originally composed of white and pink limestone from Valpolicella, but after a major earthquake in 1117, which almost completely destroyed the structure's outer ring, except for the so-called "ala", the stone was quarried for re-use in other buildings. Nevertheless it impressed medieval visitors to the city, one of whom considered it to have been a labyrinth, without ingress or egress. Ciriaco d'Ancona was filled with admiration for the way it had been built and Giovanni Antonio Panteo's civic panegyric De laudibus veronae, 1483, remarked that it struck the viewer as a construction that was more than human.
Vienna is the capital and the largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with more than 25% of Austria's population, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 9th-largest city by population in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century it was the largest German speaking city in the world, and before the first world war and the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the city had 2 million inhabitants.
During the Middle Ages, Vienna was home to the Babenberg dynasty; in 1440, it became the resident city of the Habsburg dynasties. It eventually grew to become the de facto capital of the Holy Roman Empire and a cultural centre for arts and science, music and fine cuisine.Hungary occupied the city between 1485–1490.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman armies were stopped twice outside Vienna (Siege of Vienna, 1529 and Battle of Vienna, 1683). A plague epidemic ravaged Vienna in 1679, killing nearly a third of its population.
During the latter half of the 19th century, the city developed what had previously been the bastions and glacis into the Ringstraße, a new boulevard surrounding the historical town and a major prestige project. Former suburbs were incorporated, and the city of Vienna grew dramatically. In 1918, after World War I, Vienna became capital of the Republic of German-Austria, and then in 1919 of the First Republic of Austria.
From the late 19th century to 1938, the city remained a centre of high culture and modernism. A world capital of music, the city played host to composers such as Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler and Richard Strauss. The city's cultural contributions in the first half of the 20th century included, amongst many, the Vienna Secession movement, psychoanalysis, the Second Viennese School, the architecture of Adolf Loos and the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle. Within Austria, it was seen as a centre of socialist politics, for which it was sometimes referred to as "Red Vienna". The city was a stage to the Austrian Civil War of 1934, when Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss sent the Austrian Army to shell civilian housing occupied by the socialist militia.
The atmosphere of four-power Vienna is captured very well in the Graham Greene screenplay for the film The Third Man (1949), directed by Carol Reed. Later he adapted the screenplay as a novel and published it. Occupied Vienna is also colourfully depicted in the Philip Kerr novel, "A German Requiem." This title is misleading and reflects a common misunderstanding that the Viennese are "German" which to a Viennese is offensive. Whilst some authors will claim that the German language includes Vienna as within the "Deutcheraum" the Viennese themselves do not identify with Germany, or indeed with the rest of Austria in a defacto cultural, social or political sense.
In winter, small street stands sell traditional Maroni (hot chestnuts) and potato fritters.
Sausages are popular and available from street vendors (Würstelstand) throughout the day and into the night. The sausage known as Wiener (German for Viennese) in the U.S. - care here Dachshund dogs are also called Wieners in the U.S.and in Germany, is in Vienna called a Frankfurter. Other popular sausages are Burenwurst (a coarse beef and pork sausage, generally boiled), Käsekrainer (spicy pork with small chunks of cheese), and Bratwurst (a white pork sausage). Most can be ordered "mit Brot" (with bread) or as a "hot dog" (stuffed inside a long roll). Mustard is the traditional condiment and usually offered in two varieties: "süß" (sweet) or "scharf" (spicy).
The Naschmarkt is a permanent market for fruit, vegetables, spices, fish, meat, etc. from around the world. The city has many coffee and breakfast stores, such as the Julius Meinl with branches throughout the city districts.
Vienna, along with Paris, Prague, Bratislava and Warsaw is one of the few remaining world capital cities with its own vineyards. The wine is served in small Viennese pubs known as Heuriger, which are especially numerous in the wine growing areas. The wine is often drunk as a Spritzer ("G'spritzter") with sparkling water. The Grüner Veltliner, a dry white wine, is the most widely cultivated wine in Austria.
Beer is next in importance to wine. Vienna has a single large brewery, Ottakringer, and more than ten microbreweries. A "Beisl" is a typical small Austrian pub, of which Vienna has many.
- St. Stephen's Cathedral (German: Stephansdom) is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, OP. Its current Romanesque and Gothic form seen today, situated at the heart of Vienna in the Stephansplatz, was largely initiated by Rudolf IV and stands on the ruins of two earlier churches, the first being a parish church consecrated in 1147. As the most important religious building in Austria's capital, the cathedral has borne witness to many important events in that nation's history and has, with its multi-colored tile roof, become one of the city's most recognizable symbols.
- The Austrian Parliament Building is where the two Houses of the Parliament of Austria conduct their sittings. The main construction lasted from 1874 to 1883. The architect responsible for the building in a Greek revival style was Theophil Edvard Hansen. He designed the building holistically, each element harmonising with the others and was therefore also responsible for the interior decoration, such as statues, paintings, furniture, chandeliers, and numerous other elements. Hansen was ennobled by Emperor Franz Joseph with the title of a Freiherr (Baron) after completion. One of the building's most famous features is the later added Athena fountain in front of the main entrance, which is a notable Viennese tourist attraction. Following heavy damage and destruction during the Second World War, most of the interior has been restored to its original splendour.
- The Burgtheater originally known as K.K. Theater an der Burg, then until 1918 as the K.K. Hofburgtheater, is the Austrian National Theatre in Vienna and one of the most important German language theatres in the world. The Burgtheater was created in 1741 and has become known as "die Burg" by the Viennese population; its theatre company of more or less regular members has created a traditional style and speech typical of Burgtheater performances. The theatre opened on 14 March 1741, the creation of the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa of Austria who wanted a theatre next to her palace. Her son, Emperor Joseph II called it the "German National Theatre" in 1776. Three Mozart operas premiered there: Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782), Le nozze di Figaro (1786) and Così fan tutte (1790). Beethoven's 1st Symphony premiered there on 2 April 1800.
- The Albertina is a museum in the Innere Stadt (First District) of Vienna. It houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world with approximately 65,000 drawings and approximately 1 million old master prints, as well as more modern graphic works, photographs and architectural drawings. Apart from the graphics collection the museum has recently acquired on permanent loan two significant collections of Impressionist and early 20th century art, some of which will be on permanent display. The museum also houses temporary exhibitions.
- Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial 1,441-room Rococo summer residence in modern Vienna. One of the most important cultural monuments in the country, since the 1960s it has been one of the major tourist attractions in Vienna. The palace and gardens illustrate the tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs. In the year 1569, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II purchased a large floodplain of the Wien river beneath a hill, situated between Meidling and Hietzing, where a former owner, in 1548, had erected a mansion called Katterburg. During the next century, the area was used as a hunting and recreation ground. Especially Eleonora Gonzaga, who loved hunting, spent much time there and was bequeathed the area as her widow's residence after the death of her husband, Ferdinand II. From 1638 to 1643, she added a palace to the Katterburg mansion, while in 1642 came the first mention of the name "Schönbrunn" on an invoice.
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city. It is located in the southeast of the country. It is the second biggest city of the Baltic states, after Riga.
Vilnius is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County. The first known written record of Vilnius as the Lithuanian capital is known from Gediminas' letters in 1323.
Historian Romas Batūra identifies the city with Voruta, one of the castles of Mindaugas, crowned in 1253 as King of Lithuania. During the reign of Vytenis a city started to emerge from a trading settlement and the first Franciscan Catholic church was built.
According to legend, Gediminas dreamt of an iron wolf howling on a hilltop and consulted a pagan priest for its interpretation. He was told: "What is destined for the ruler and the State of Lithuania, is thus: the Iron Wolf represents a castle and a city which will be established by you on this site. This city will be the capital of the Lithuanian lands and the dwelling of their rulers, and the glory of their deeds shall echo throughout the world". The location offered practical advantages: it lay within the Lithuanian heartland at the confluence of two navigable rivers, surrounded by forests and wetlands that were difficult to penetrate. The duchy had been subject to intrusions by the Teutonic Knights.
Its growth was due in part to the establishment of Alma Academia et Universitas Vilnensis Societatis Iesu by King Stefan Bathory in 1579. The university soon developed into one of the most important scientific and cultural centres of the region and the most notable scientific centre of the Commonwealth.
During its rapid development, the city was open to migrants from the territories of the Grand Duchy and further. A variety of languages were spoken: Lithuanian, Polish, Ruthenian, Russian,Old Slavonic, Latin, German, Yiddish, Hebrew and Turkic; the city was compared to Babylon. Each group made its unique contribution to the life of the city, and crafts, trade, and science prospered.
The 17th century brought a number of setbacks. The Commonwealth was involved in a series of wars, collectively known as The Deluge. During the Russo-Polish War (1654–1667), Vilnius was occupied by Russian forces; it was pillaged and burned, and its population was massacred. During the Great Northern War it was looted by the Swedish army. An outbreak of bubonic plague in 1710 killed about 35,000 residents; devastating fires occurred in 1715, 1737, 1741, 1748, and 1749. The city's growth lost its momentum for many years, but the population rebounded, and by the beginning of the 19th century its population reached 20,000.
|St Anne's Church|
Following the November Uprising in 1831, Vilnius University was closed and Russian repressions halted the further development of the city. Civil unrest in 1861 was suppressed by the Imperial Russian Army.
During the January Uprising in 1863, heavy fighting occurred within the city, but was brutally pacified by Mikhail Muravyov, nicknamedThe Hangman by the population because of the number of executions he organized. After the uprising, all civil liberties were withdrawn, and use of the Polish and Lithuanian languages was banned. Vilnius had a vibrant Jewish population: according to Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 154,500, Jews constituted 64,000 (so around 41% percent). During the early 20th century, the Lithuanian-speaking population of Vilnius constituted only a small minority, with Polish, Yiddish, and Belarusian speakers comprising the majority of the city's population.
Under Polish rule, the city saw a period of fast development. Vilnius University was reopened under the name Stefan Batory University and the city's infrastructure was improved significantly. By 1931, the city had 195,000 inhabitants, making it the fifth largest city in Poland with varied industries, such as Elektrit, a factory that produced radio receivers.
The war had irrevocably altered the town – most of the predominantly Polish and Jewish population had been either exterminated during the German occupation or deported to Siberia during the first Soviet occupation. Many of the surviving inhabitants, particularly members of the intelligentsia, were now targeted and deported to Siberia in the beginning of the second Soviet occupation. The majority of the remaining population was compelled to relocate to Communist Poland by 1946, and Sovietization began in earnest. Only in the 1960s did Vilnius begin to grow again, following an influx of Lithuanian and Polish population from neighbouring regions and well as from other areas of the Soviet Union (particularly Russians and Belarusians). Microdistricts were built in the elderates of Šeškinė, Žirmūnai, Justiniškės and Fabijoniškės.
- The Cathedral of Vilnius is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania. It is situated in Vilnius Old Town, just off of Cathedral Square. It is the heart of Lithuania's Catholic spiritual life. In 1387, the year in which Lithuania was officially converted to Christianity, the Gothic style Cathedral with five chapels was begun and eventually constructed, but this cathedral burnt down in 1419. During the preparation for his coronation as King of Lithuania, Vytautas built a significantly larger Gothic Cathedral in its place; the Cathedral had three naves and four circular towers at its corners. Flemish traveler Guillebert de Lannoy noticed its similarity to the Frauenburg Cathedral. The walls and pillars of this cathedral have survived to this day. In 1522, the Cathedral was renovated, and the bell tower was built on top of the Lower Castle defensive tower. After the fire of 1530, it was rebuilt again and between 1534 - 1557 more chapels and the crypts were added. The Cathedral acquired architectural features associated with the Renaissance. In 1529, Crown Prince of Poland and future king Sigismund II Augustus, was crowned Grand Duke of Lithuania in the Cathedral. After the fire of 1610, it was rebuilt again, and the two front towers were added. The Cathedral was damaged during the war of 1655. It was renovated and decorated several more times.
- Gediminas' Tower is the only remaining part of the Upper Castle in Vilnius. The first fortifications were built of wood by Duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Gediminas. Later the first brick castle was completed in 1409 by Grand Duke Vytautas. Some remnants of the old castle have been restored, guided by archeological research. It is possible to climb to the top of the hill on foot or by taking a funicular. The tower houses an exposition of archeologic findings from the hill and the surrounding areas. It is also an excellent vantage point, from where the panorama of Vilnius' Old Town can be admired. Gediminas' Tower is an important state and historic symbol of the city of Vilnius and of Lithuania itself. It is depicted on the national currency, the litas, and is mentioned in numerous Lithuanian patriotic poems and folk songs.
- St. Anne's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Vilnius' Old Town, on the right bank of the Vilnia River. It is a prominent example of both Flamboyant Gothic and Brick Gothic styles. St. Anne's is a prominent landmark in the Old Town of Vilnius that enabled the district to be included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The first church at this site, constructed of wood, was built for Anna, Grand Duchess of Lithuania, the first wife of Vytautas the Great. Originally intended for the use of Catholic Germans and other visiting Catholics, it was destroyed by a fire in 1419. The present brick church was constructed on the initiative of Grand Duke of Lithuania Alexander in 1495–1500; the exterior of the church has remained almost unchanged since then.
- The Cathedral of the Theotokos is the main Orthodox Christian church of Lithuania.
The cathedral was built during the reign of the Grand Duke Algirdas in 1346. It was constructed by Kievan architects with the blessing of Saint Alexius Metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus in 1348. The Cathedral of the Theotokos is one of the most ancient churches of Vilnius, built before the christianization of Lithuania when the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the last pagan state in Europe. It became an important spiritual centre for the growing Christian population of the duchy. In 1495 the marriage between Aleksandras of Lithuania and Yelena of Muscovy (Ivan III's daughter) was held in the cathedral in the presence of Saint Macarius. It was there that Yelena was buried in 1513.
- The Presidential Palace (Lithuanian: Prezidentūra), located in Vilnius Old Town, is the official office and eventual official residence of the President of Lithuania. The palace dates back to the 14th century and during its history it has undergone various reconstructions, supervised by prominent architects, including Laurynas Gucevičius and Vasily Stasov. The Palace traces its history back to the 14th century, when Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, issued an edict donating land in the city to the Vilnius Diocese, for this reason the palace is sometimes referred to as the Bishops' Palace. Construction of the Palace took place in the late 14th century under the auspices of the first Bishop of Vilnius Andrzej Jastrzębiec, and over succeeding generations, the building was gradually enlarged and renovated. During the Renaissance, the Palace was once again renovated, and parks and gardens surrounding the building were expanded.
Volgograd, formerly called Tsaritsyn; 1589–1925 and Stalingrad; 1925–1961 is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is 80-kilometre (50 mi) long, north to south, situated on the western bank of the Volga River.
The city became famous for its resistance, extensive damage, and death toll during the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II.
In 1607 the fortress garrison rebelled against the tsar's troops for six months. In 1608 the city had its first stone church, St. John the Baptist.
At the beginning of the 17th century, the garrison consisted of 350-400 people.
In 1670 troops of Stepan Razin captured the fortress; they left after a month. In 1708 the insurgent Cossack Kondraty Bulavin held the fortress. In 1717, Bulavin (who died in July 1708) was sacked by the Crimean Tatars and Kuban. Later, in 1774, Yemelyan Pugachev unsuccessfully attempted to storm the city.
In 1691, Tsaritsyn established customs. In 1708, Tsaritsyn was assigned to Kazan Governorate; in 1719, to Astrakhan Governorate; According to the census in 1720, the city's population was 408 people. In 1773, the city became the provincial and district town. From 1779, it belonged to Saratov Viceroyalty. In 1780, the city was under Saratov Governorate.
The first railroad came to the town in 1862. The first theater opened in 1872, the first cinema in 1907. In 1913, Tsaritsin's first tram-line was built, and the city's first electric lights were installed in the city center.
During the Russian Civil War Tsaritsyn came under Soviet control from November 1917. In 1918, Tsaritsyn was besieged by White troops under Ataman Krasnov. Three assaults by White troops were repulsed. However, in June 1919 Tsaritsyn was captured by White forces of General Denikin, which left the city in January 1920. This was known as the Battle for Tsaritsyn.
In 1931, in the city including the German settlement-colony Old Sarepta (founded in 1765), subsequently became the largest area of the city — Krasnoarmeysky. The first institute was opened in 1930, a year later was opened and the Pedagogical Institute.
Under Stalin, the city became a center of heavy industry and trans shipment by rail and river, and as a result was attacked by Axis forces during World War II. In 1942, the city became the site of one of the pivotal battles of the war. The Battle of Stalingrad saw perhaps the greatest casualty figures of any single battle in the history of warfare (estimates are between 1,250,000 and 1,798,619). The battle began on August 23, 1942, and on the same day, the city suffered heavy aerial bombardment that reduced most of it to rubble. By September, the fighting reached the city centre. The fighting was of unprecedented intensity; the central railway station of the city changed hands thirteen times, and the Mamayev Kurgan (one of the highest points of the city) was captured and recaptured eight times. By early November, the German forces controlled 90 percent of the city and had cornered the Soviets into two narrow pockets, but they were unable to eliminate the last pockets of Soviet resistance in time. On November 19, Soviet forces launched a massive counterattack. This led to the encirclement of the German Sixth Army and other Axis units. On January 31, 1943 the Sixth Army's commander, Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrendered, and on February 2, with the elimination of straggling German troops, the Battle of Stalingrad was over.
- Volgograd State Panoramic Museum Started life as the Museum of Defense of Tsaritsyn named after Stalin, and it was opened on the 3rd of January of 1937. In 1948 it was renamed in Museum of Defense of Tsaritsyn-Stalingrad, in 1963-1982 it became Volgograd State Defense Museum, and in 31 of May of 1982 it was renamed the Volgograd State Panoramic Museum “Stalingrad Battle”. It contains the artistic panorama “The Defeat of Fascists Armies at Stalingrad” - the biggest pictorial canvas in Russia, at 16m x 120 m. The Panorama Museum sited on the Volga contains artifacts from World War II. These include arms and machines from the war and a rifle of the famous sniper Vasily Zaytsev (popularized in Western media in the film Enemy at the Gates) is also on display.
- Pavlov House. a wartime relic showcasing the life history of this hero city during WW2. It's an open air museum just beside the panorama museum without admission fee. You may not enter the building as you could only go around it, but you can get close enough to see the scars by bullets, grenades, bombs and etc. It is so famous because it is one of the few complete pre-war structure to actually survive the Stalingrad battle ( the whole of Stalingrad was totally ruined flat into rubble from the war). Check out the warplanes and tanks displayed in rows just beside the Pavlov house too!
- The Volgograd synagogue. Built in 1911
- The Central Embankment (named after the 62nd Army) was built after the Great Patriotic War. You can find here statues and memorials from different historical periods starting from the time when Volgograd was named Tsaritsin till nowadays.
- The Motherland Calls , also called Mother Motherland, Mother Motherland Is Calling, simply The Motherland, or The Mamayev Monument, is a statue in Mamayev Kurgan in Volgograd, commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad. It was designed by sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich and structural engineer Nikolai Nikitin. Declared the largest statue in the world in 1967, it is the last non-religious statue to be declared the largest; every record holder since has been a Buddhism-related sculpture. Compared to the later higher statues, The Motherland Calls is significantly more complex from an engineering point of view, due to its characteristic posture with a sword raised high in the right hand and the left hand extended in a calling gesture.