Sunday, 25 September 2011

Duomo di Milano

An exceptionally large and elaborate Gothic cathedral on the main square of Milan, the Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous buildings in Europe. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world.
The street plan of Milan, with streets either radiating from the Duomo or circling it, indicates that the Duomo occupied the most important site in the ancient Roman city of Mediolanum.

Saint Ambrose built a new basilica on this site at the beginning of the 5th century, with an adjoining basilica added in 836. When fire damaged both buildings in 1075, they were rebuilt as the Duomo.

In 1386 the archbishop, Antonio da Saluzzo, began the new project in a rayonnant Late Gothic style that is more characteristic of France than Italy. Work proceeded for generations.

The main spire was topped in 1762 with a polychrome statue of the Madonna, to whom the Duomo and its predecessor have always been dedicated.

Even now, some uncarved blocks remain to be turned into sculpture. Gothic construction on the rest of the Duomo was largely complete in the 1880s.


Sunday, 18 September 2011

Bad Wimpfen

Wimpfen is situated opposite the mouth of the river Jagst at the borderline of the regions of Kraichgau, the Hohenlohe plains and the Neckar basin. Early settlement is unclear, but from the 5th century BC onwards small inhabited areas and early stoneage villages can be traced. Important the early settlement, besides the good soil, was its closeness to an ancient people’s road which. Coming from France, this crossed the Neckar and thence continued in two directions: one towards the east between Jagst and Kocher via Nuremburg and the other towards southeastern Europe from Öhringen to the Danube. This was the road of the Nibelungs, if historical tales are to be believed.

Celtic traces
Around 450 BC, a new people came to the fore who brought forth an important culture in the central Neckar area for the first time: the Celts. They are thought to have given the rivers in this area their names (Kocher and Jagst) and probably also Wimpfen. According to Obermüller (German-Celtic Dictionary, Leipzig 1872) the name of Wimpfen consists of „uimpe“ (walled–in) and „bin“ (mountain), meaning „walled-in mountain“ or „wall on the mountain“. A Celtic castle is supposed to have existed on the „Altenberg“, but there is no archeological evidence. Roman historians later on recorded Germanic Suebi Nicreti (Swabians of the Neckar) having settled here.


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Museu da República

The Catete Palace, also known as the Museum of the Republic is definitely one of the most interesting cultural attractions in Rio de in Brazil to visit.  The Catete Palace was the seat of Brazil's Republican Government from 1897 to 1960 and scene of activities of eighteen Presidents, and has seen some of the most important events in Brazil's political life, including the Declaration of Brazil's entry into World Wars I and II and the suicide of President Getúlio Vargas in 1954.
Transformed into a museum when Brasília became the nation's capital in 1960 one of the most important facts about Rio de Janeiro, and closed for restoration from 1983 through 1989.   The Republic Museum/Catete Palace, located at Catete, close to the Flamengo neighborhood, reopened with a broad-ranging cultural program that includes exhibitions, concerts, plays, movies, videos, boutiques, restaurants and a book-store.   The gardens of the Museum acquired new lighting, with the replacement of 71 forged iron posts - in the eclectic style - with other posts with contemporaneous designs made of steel. Today, on the ground floor, the Entrance Hall and the Ministerial Room still retain the solemn atmosphere of capital meetings and decisions regarding the nation's destiny.   Two long-standing exhibits present historical information about the first occupant of the Palace and his descendants and about the inauguration of the Republic Museum.   The remaining rooms hold temporary exhibits that represent varied aspects of Republican Brazil.
 On the second floor, known as the "noble floor" is very luxurious and its thematic diversity stand out.   The Chapel room and the Blue, Noble, Pompeian, Venetian, Moorish and Banquette rooms show off their vintage Brazilian and French furniture, paintings from artists such as Baptista da Costa, Gustavo dall'Ara, Décio Vilares, Rodolfo Amoedo, Henrique Bernardelli, besides sculptures, chandeliers and porcelain from the 19th and 20th Centuries. The third floor highlights the reconstruction of President Getúlio Vargas' room.  The remaining rooms are devoted to the display of objects, text documents and photographs from the Republic Museum's own collection.   The complex also hosts a cult movie theater.   The theater is especially known for its art movies and is named "Cinema Museu da República".   You can check the theater's schedule in any newspaper in town.

Catete Palace Additional Information

Additional Information on the Catete Palace: Address:  Rua do Catete, 153 - Catete Open Hours: Tues-Thurs-Fri, noon-5pm Wed, 2pm-5pm- Sat-Sun-Holidays, 2pm-6pm. Free admission Sundays and Wednesday to the Catete Museum. Phone: (21) 3235-2650 the garden within the Catete Palace is opened for visits until 10 pm.