Quinta da Regaleira is a land located in Sintra, a small village nearby Lisbon, Portugal. Designed by the Italian architect Luigi Manini and built in the late 1800s by the rich owner Carvalho Monteiro (also known as Monteiro the Millionaire, Brazilian-Portuguese businessman, entomologist and freemason), the estate includes Medieval, Classic, Manueline and Renaissance styles buildings.
Among palaces, gardens, caves and lakes, the Initiation Well is arguably the most picturesque construction: an inverted 27-meter tower shape well with a staircase that was actually never used as a proper well. It is believed that it was used for ceremonial purposes linked to Tarot mysticism and Masonic principles
The number of landings and steps could be also associated to Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy and may represent the nine skies of paradise, the nine sections of purgatory or the nine circles of hell.
In the early 1800s, thousands of ordinary people were imprisoned at Kilmainham Gaol not only for serious crimes such as murder or rape, but even for cattle stealing and other minor crimes: a fourteen-year-old boy was convicted for seven days for stealing two loaves of bread.
This jail (now a museum), located in Dublin, is famous because of its link with the history of Irish nationalism: the majority of the Irish leaders in the rebellions from 1798 to 1916, prisoners during the Anglo-Irish War (1919-1921), and anti-treaty forces during the civil war were detained there.
In May 1916, during the Easter Rising, fourteen men were sentenced to death and shot by firing squads in the Stonebreakers’ Yard of Kilmainham Gaol. Seven of them had been the signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic that was posted on Easter Monday on the walls around Dublin and read on Sackville Street (now known as O’Connell Street, renamed in honor of the nationalist leader Daniel O’Connell ) by Patrick Pearse. These were Thomas Clarke, Seán Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, Patrick Pearse, Éamonn Ceannt, James Connolly, and Joseph Plunkett (the man who married Grace Gifford in the Gaol chapel the night before he was shot).
The firing squads in charge of the executions at Kilmainham Gaol, composed of six kneeled and other six standing soldiers were provided with just one real bullet and the rest blank, so that they wouldn’t know who shot the killing one.
After the harsh treatment of those leaders of the Easter Rising, Irish citizens began to empathize with the Rising’s cause and later, in the general United Kingdom election in 1918, the Irish republican party Sinn Féin received huge support among voters in Ireland. They refused to take their seats in the U.K. parliament, founded a separate parliament in Dublin and declared Irish independence, ratifying the Easter Rising Proclamation of the Irish Republic, leading subsequently to the War of Independence in 1921.
The official closing order of the Kilmainham Gaol was issued by the Minister for Justice of the Irish Free State in 1929.
Less famous than the Egyptian pyramids but not less fascinating, those burial monuments belong to the ancient kingdom of Kush, a rival to Egyptian settled from 2500 BC in the Nubian Valley (modern Sudan) to AD 350, when the kingdom of Axum invaded and conquered the capital Meroë and ended the Kushite dominance.
Compared to the Egyptians, they are more recent (built a thousand years after), smaller (the highest is less than 30 meters, Giza’s is 139 meters), and with steeper sides. There are around 200 pyramids in the Nubian Valley, more than in Egypt.
Meroë, located 240 kilometers north of Khartoum, is the biggest and best-preserved sacred area, where 30 kings, eight queens, and three princes are buried.
Although relatively unknown (the last group of pyramids was discovered between 2009 and 2012), the Nubian pyramids are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011.
Some of the Northern Ireland‘s neighborhoods are still divided by walls: the Peace Walls (or Peace Lines) separate the nationalists/Catholics/Irish from the loyalists/Protestants/British people.
Most of them are in Belfast, others are also existing in Portadown, Derry and Lurgan, with a total length of around 34 km; some of them have gates that are opened only during daylight.
The walls were initially built as a temporary structure to avoid the violence episodes; the first peace line is dating back to 1969 in Belfast after the riot that had involved nationalists, loyalists and police that caused more than 150 homes destroyed, almost two thousand families evacuated, 8 killed and more than 700 injured people.
The number of the walls have raised from less than 20 in the early 1990s to more than one hundred nowadays; there was also an increase after the Irish-British Good Friday Agreement of the 10th April 1998.
According to the public local opinion, the walls are still necessary to maintain the peace and avoid the violence in those areas: the majority of the people still think that more time is needed to change the mentality that has caused lots of conflicts in the past.
In September 2017, the Northern Ireland Department of Justice published its Interface Programme, which intention is removing all the structures by 2023.
Reading the messages of thousands of people marked on the Peace Walls, it is evident that the thought of the people, with or without walls, is still aimed at peace.
In 2008, a curious initiative by the Russian newspaper Izvestia, Radio Mayak and a Russian television channel, determined The Seven Wonders of Russia:
Mount Elbrus Volcano located in the western area of Russia, it’s the tenth most prominent mountain in the world and the highest Caucasian (5.643 m) mountain. Mount Elbrus has two twin summits, whose ascent is accessible to all climbers, though, according to many experts, it is considered dangerous because of its potential volcanic activity.
The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed Church located in the Red Square, Moscow, it’s now a museum, built from 1555 on orders from Ivan IV Vasilyevich “the Terrible” in commemoration of the capture of Astrakhan and Kazan. The cathedral, since 1990 in the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s list, is one of the most famous Russians symbols.
The Peterhof Palace Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and referred as the “Russian Versailles”, it is a series of outstanding palaces and gardens located in Saint Petersburg, built in 1714 on the orders of Peter the Great.
Mamayev Kurgan A memorial complex in the city of Volgograd commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad (World War II, 1942- 1943), built between 1959 and 1967.
The complex is dominated by the Mother Russia statue (85 m high).
The Valley of Geysers Located in the Kronotskij Natural Reserve, Kamchatka Peninsula, this spectacular valley has one of the largest concentration of geysers in the world with hundreds of living geysers and hot springs.
Discovered in the 1950’s it is now a UNESCO World Heritage site; the valley, due to its instability, is often subject to geological disasters like the events in 2007 and 2014 that had hardly damaged the landscape.
Lake Baikal Formed more than 20 million years ago and located in the southern area of Siberia, it is the largest by freshwater, the deepest (1.642 m depth) and maybe the oldest an clearest lake in the world.
The Manpupuner rock formations Also known as the Seven Strong Men Rock Formations, these seven gigantic (30-45 m high) stone pillars are located in the Pechoro-Ilychski Reserve,western Ural mountains. The pillars have bizarre shapes formed through the effects of wind, rain, ice and snow.
The Pitcairn Islands archipelago is formed by four volcanic islands: Pitcairn, Henderson (which is included in the UNESCO world heritage list), Ducie and Oeno. It is located in the Southern Pacific Ocean and it is the least populous national jurisdiction in the world (about 50 inhabitants).
Its history is famous because of the Bounty mutineers, who settled the islands in 1789 after taking control of the ship and abandoning its commander William Blighand 18 crewmembers. The wreck of the Bounty is now still visible underwater in Bounty Bay, Pitcairn Island.
But the beauty of the beaches and the atolls must not deceive: in this heavenly place life is not the best: the inhabitants (descendants of the famous mutineers and Tahitian women) have lived various vicissitudes for two centuries: from clashes with the local population in the first period (which led to the killing of some of the mutineers) to the latest pornographic pedophile scandals that involved the inhabitants themselves.
10th of June, 1944. World War II. After the murder of the SturmbannführerHelmut Kämpfe, a Major of the Nazi Waffen-SS, the Germans troops, in revenge, entered the town of Oradour-sur-Glane and killed 642 civilians, including women and children (except the only woman survived, Marguerite Rouffanche), murdered by bombs after they were gathered in the church. It was one of the worst massacres during the World War II; now the (ghost) village, as a permanent memorial, is exactly as it was upon its destruction, with the Mayor’s car still where it was parked in 1944.
With great indignation of the French people, all those convicted in connection to the massacre were released from prison after the trial.
The Mel Gibson movie The Patriot featured a scene where a church filled with civilians was burned by enemy troops, based on the Oradour-sur-Glane events.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.