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  • History
    Updated at Dec 29,2014

    Fishermen’s Bastion (Halászbástya):

    The Fishermen's Bastion (Halászbástya) is open daily 24 hours. Admission to the upper-level lookout terrace: adult: 600 HUF, 10 % discount with Budapest Card, students between 6-14, pensioner from EU countries: 300 HUF, free for children under 6 years.

    The Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest appears like a magical castle up on the Buda hill built from white stones with little towers just like in a fairy tail. Built behind the Matthias Church between 1895 and 1902, Origin of the Bastion’s name: some say a fish market was nearby in the Middle Ages, according to others the Guild of Fishermen defended this part of the wall. As part of the renovations, the Fishermen’s Bastion was added in 1905. This is the large white tower and lookout terrace complex you see hanging over the side of Castle Hill beneath the Mátyás Church.  It was built between 1890-1905. The story is that different trades were responsible for defending different parts of the castle walls and that this section of the defenses was raised by the fishermen’s guild. In fact, the structure is a late 19th century fantasy built to add class to the area. That this is an invention does not detract at all from the attractiveness of the structure, nor from the impressive views of the river and Pest on the opposite side. In the north courtyard of the bastion stand two statues of the monks Julianus and Gellért (Károly Antal, 1937), while in the south courtyard stands a bronze equestrian statue of St Stephen (Szent István), the first King of Hungary (A. Stróbl, 1906). He was declared a saint for his efforts in bringing Christianity to Hungary. He carries the apostolic cross with two crossbars – a symbol granted him by the Pope. The plinth includes four lions and the reliefs on the sides depict scenes from Stephen's life.

    Its seven towers, colonnades and embrasures were designed in Neo-Romanesque style by Frigyes Schulek. Despite its name it's a look-out terrace. It has seven turrets one for each of the Hungarian tribes. The design was inspired by the Far East. "Kitchs but beautiful" according to the writer Szerb Antal. From its top you get one of the city''s best panoramic views. In tourist season there is an admission charge of about $1 to climb on the bastion. In the daytime around the year, the bastion is the place most overcrowded by tourists in the Castle Hill, mainly brought in here by buses:

    From here you can take the best pictures overlooking Budapest, well rather Pest only, you can see all great landmarks such as the Basilica, the Andrássy Út or the Heroes’ Square all together in one picture from above. This is where many tourists come for their great picture of Budapest showing all the beauty of the city including the Margaret Island and the Danube and many of the wonderful bridges crossing it:

    In the restaurant of the Bastion balcony:

    Best times to visit the Fisherman’s bastion is obviously a sunny, clear day to take a great shot over the city but also to see the architecture.

  • History | United Kingdom
    Updated at Jan 17,2017

    Tip 1: Stonehenge.

    Tip 2: Salisbury.

    ---------------------------- Tip 1-----------------------------------------------

    Main Attractions: Stonehenge Vistors' Centre, Stonehenge Cursus, Stonehenge stones, Old sarum,

    Start and End: Salisbury Main Station. Duration: 1 day. Weather: Bright, sunny day is a must. Most of the route (in Stonehenge) is in the open nature.

    Introduction:

    Older than The Parthenon, the Easter Island Statues and the Great Wall of China it's definitely worth a look. Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. One of the most famous landmarks in the UK. The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Both, Stonehenge and salisbury are in Wiltshire, England.  Salisbury is the third-largest settlement in the county, after Swindon and Chippenham. Stonehenge is 3 km west of Amesbury and 13 km north of Salisbury. Salisbury greatly aids the local economy. The city itself, Old Sarum, the present cathedral and the ruins of the former one also attract visitors. Salisbury was named as one of the world's Top 10 Cities to visit in 2015 by Lonely Planet. It is not the size of the stones and the effort to erect them, but, mainly, the timescale that impresses.

    Stonehenge's ring of standing stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Stonehenge is assumed to be a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another five hundred years.

    How to arrive to Stonehenge:

    By train: the nearest train station to Stonehenge is Salisbury about 18 km. away from salisbury. Trains (every half hour on week-days) take about an hour and twenty minutes to Salisbury from London Waterloo. The 08:50am gets you there in time, with a brisk walk to Salisbury bus station,

    By bus: the buses depart from Heathrow Airport and from Victoria Coach Station in London. The journey takes about 2 hours. Get off at Amesbury.
    From there you can either walk (about 2 miles) or get a taxi. You can buy tickets on the coach. It is the cheapest way to travel to Stonehenge.From Salisbury - there is a direct bus, with an oral tour, known as The Stonehenge Tour. The Stonehenge Tour is operated by Salisbury Reds. The hop-on hop-off tour picks up in Salisbury city centre and runs to Old Sarum as well, through the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.

    With on board commentary in 10 different languages we guide you through the glorious landscape telling you all about historical tales and facts that took place in the area.

    In the winter the Stonehenge red Tour Bus depart from Salisbury to Stonehenge 5 times a day, every round hour (10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00, 14.00). In the summer the bus departs every half-an-hour, starting at 09.30 and ending at 17.00.

    There are 3 options with the Stonehenge Tour bus:

    Bus, Old Sarum, Stonehenge, & Cathedral:  Adult  £34.00, Child (5 - 15 years) £22.00, Family (2 adults & up to 3 children)  £99.00.

    Bus, Old Sarum, & Stonehenge: Adult £28.00, Child (5 - 15 years) £18.00, Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) £82.00.

    Bus only: Adult £15.00, Child (5 - 15 years) £10.00, Family (2 adults & up to 3 children) £41.00.

    Online booking: https://gosouthcoast.digitickets.co.uk/tickets

    On foot: You walk the way from Amesbury to Stonehenge. 3.3 km. walk. An hour and a half there, and another hour back. It inevitably involves crossing the main road A303, both going to Stonehenge and when coming back. Crossing the A303 - not a place for walking - there is no pathway. You can use an underpass to get under the A303 roundabout, then use the pavements along the A345 / Countess Road. You see the stones from the same distance the formal passengers see them. But, you save the hefty amount of money paid to the Stonehenge Tour bus. Detailed instructions and map on this beautiful walk are in: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stonehenge-landscape/features/walking-in-the-stonehenge-landscape  or https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/jun/10/walk-guides-stonehenge

    Practical Tips on Stonehenge:

    1. The Stonehenge Tour Bus is the public bus departing from Salisbury rail and bus stations. Exiting the stations - turn left and you'll see the bus. You show your pre-booked online ticket and get a ticket to the tour bus. ANOTHER BUS waits for the incoming passengers and takes them to the ancients monumental stones' site.

    2. Allow, at least, 2 hours for the walk around the whole site while listening to the audio guide explanations. Every grounsdkeeper, you'll meet around - is a treasure of knowledge and passion for this magnificent historic site.

    3. Choose a bright, lovely, sunny day. Much of the experience is the nature around !! Try to lock on a non-busy day. Usually, Stonehenge site is flooded with visitors. The nature around is astonishing without the herds of people who encircle the ancient stones. For those who are  really interested in going beyond the rope fence and walk among the Stonehenge stones - there are called Special Access or Inner Circle visits that take place outside public opening hours (i.e. dawn or dusk). The times of these visits can make for some excellent atmospheric photo opportunities. There are two ways of conducting a Special Access Tour; by booking straight with English Heritage on their website, or by booking a private tour with two companies from London: Andersons http://www.andersontours.co.uk/stonehenge-special-access/ and Evan Evans https://evanevanstours.com/sightseeing-tours/day-tours-from-london/stonehenge-at-sunrise-oxford-windsor-castle/ and https://evanevanstours.com/sightseeing-tours/day-tours-from-london/stonehenge-at-sunset-oxford-windsor-castle/ .

    4. The audio guides are heartily recommended. Therer is VERY limited signed information and there is so much to learn. The audio guide is available in several languages and if you listened to all available material would take an estimated 30-60 minutes.

    5. Remember - you cannot approach the stones very close. You are not allowed to touch the stones/rocks (English Heritage and some tour operators from Salisbury can arrange early morning or evening visits allowing you to do this). The solstice festivals in summer and winter are the only days you can actually touch the stones and walk among them. Solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice each year (around June 21 and December 21) as the sun reaches its most northerly or southerly excursion. Visitors are guided around the monument by roped pathways and on-site attendants.

    6. It would have been nice to see the site at sunset or sunrise as the views look amazing.

    7. The café in the visitor centre has long wooden tables and decent food: soups, sandwiches and salads and uses lots of produce from local suppliers.

    8. At Stonehenge's visitor centre there are also toilets (clean), a gift shop (stuffed toys), a restaurant and a really informative exhibition centre.

    Stonehenge Opening Times: EVERYDAY. 16 OCT - MAR: 9.30 - 17.00, APR - MAY: 9.30 - 19.00, JUN - AUG: 9.00 - 20.00, SEP - 15 OCT: 9.30 - 19.00. Last admission time is 2 hours before the advertised closing time. Advance Booking is recommended !!! In advance, online Prices: The biggest gripe really is the entry price: Heritage and National Trust members - free., Adult £15.50, Child (5-15) £9.30, Concession (student, senior) £13.90, Family (2 adults, up to 3 children) £40.30. On the spot, walk up prices (without Gift Aid): Adult £16.50, Concession £14.90, Child £9.90, Family £42.90. The HIGH admission price includes entry to the information centre, bus journey to the site and obviously a quite distant view of the not-so-big (...) stones themselves. During the winter and summer solstices - entrance is free, but, expect mighty crowds and "carnival" atmosphere... Free admission: Members of English Heritage and National Trust (the national organizations that help manage the site) get in free with their annual membership.

    As we said - the nature around is the main feature. The Stonehenge landscape is one of the best preserved areas of readily accessible chalk downland in the UK. Rolling hills and dry river valleys allow for pleasant walks without too much trouble. The Stones can be viewed quite clearly from the roadside. Unlike the other monuments in the area however, it is necessary to pay to get closer. 

    Stonehenge main entrance:

    From the Stonehenge main entrance, visitors centre and museum - there are buses available to take you to the stones and back (free, included in your admission ticket). It is an efficient shuttle bus from car park to the monument. You drop off the bus at the 4th stop. You may decide to walk there. It can be a good choice as it is a stunning view as you walk nearer (if the weather allows) (VERY long walk of 35-40 minutes to the stones). Walk around the Stones s slow as you like, no need to rush. It has a beautiful surrounding countryside. Interpretation and signage at the visitors' centre are excellent. Audio guides for adults and for families are available on site (pick them up before you get the shuttle to the stones !).  You can download them free onto your device from the App Store or Play Store.

    Do not miss seeing the recreated face of a 5,000-year old Neolithic man in the visitor centre and then having glance at the old Neolithic houses or the Neolithic village outside (opposite the main entrance) - based on remains found at Durrington Walls. The five Neolithic houses were built based on archaeological evidence of houses found at Durrington Walls. Each one had a chalk floor, a hearth and stake-built walls. Some had evidence of furniture and of chalk cob walls. Archaeologists think the Neolithic settlement may have been connected with nearby Stonehenge as part of a large religious complex. The houses being excavated may have even been occupied by some of the builders of Stonehenge:

    The Heel Stone (or "Friar’s Heel" or the "Sunday Stone") is a single large block of sarsen stone standing within the Avenue outside the entrance of the Stonehenge earthwork, close to the main road (Highways Agency A344). In section it is sub-rectangular, with a minimum thickness of 2.4 metres, rising to a tapered top about 4.7 metres high:

    We recommend getting off the shuttle (visitors' centre -> stones) halfway, at Fargo Plantation, and wandering through the trees to see the much older - oblong ditch known as The Cursus, before approaching the stones. The Stonehenge Cursus (sometimes known as the Greater Cursus) is a large Neolithic cursus monument on Salisbury plain. A huge and mysterious monument, the cursus is a 3km long earthwork just north of Stonehenge. Consisting of a ditch and bank running east-west, it is still visible on the landscape, although its purpose remains unknown. It is roughly 3 kilometres long and between 100 metres and 150 metres wide. Excavations in 2007 dated the construction of the earthwork to between 3630 and 3375 BCE -  several hundred years before the earliest phase of Stonehenge in 3000 BC. They were first identified in the 18th century by William Stukeley who though they were Roman racecourses - hence the name which is Latin for "course". These Cursus discoveries hint that the site was already being used as an ancient centre of ritual prior to the stones being erected more than 5,000 years ago:

    The road that approaches Stonehenge from the NW, for the shuttle bus only:

    It seems that men through the ages have simply been unable to comprehend such a massive feat of engineering and construction and so it was inevitable that various myths would spring up to fill the void from sun worship to dancing giants frozen in stone, to portals to another dimension. The fact that there appear to be, among other things a face and human foot-like stone engravings in the stone would seem to perpetuate some of these ancient myths. The size of the stones used to build the ancient monument are max. 9 meters long and their maximal weigh is 50 tons. During the reconstruction works at the site, during the 1950s, It was required to use massive cranes to lift the original Stonehenge's rocks. Considering the distances they were moved have led to wild theories of supernatural (aliens) involvement in the building of the structure. It has long been known that some of the rocks that make up Stonehenge must have travelled a long distance before becoming part of the monument. Whilst the larger sandstone blocks (‘sarsen’ stones) that make up its outer circle are thought to have a local origin from the Marlborough Downs area, the smaller ‘bluestones’ are exotic to the region. Presently, the most comm assumption is that the bluestones travelled 240km to Wiltshire from South Wales. They were brought from the Preseli Hills in south-west Wales, probably largely by boat:

    View from due north:

    There are always many people here, but as the area is quite vast it doesn't feel crowded or touristy. It might be crowded near the rope benches. The rope around Stonehenge is well thought out, and is more oval than circle, so at certain points you're really far away. At other points you're really close up.

    View from due west:

    View from due south:

    At the exhibition centre wall projection they explain how the stones are perfectly positioned for the shortest (and longest) days of the year. On the shortest day (Dec 21st, also known as winter solstice) the sun sets between the biggest stones. This midwinter sun sets exactly opposite to where the midsummer sun rises, so on the longest day of the year (June 21st, summer solstice) the sun rises above the heel stone and into the centre:

    The prehistoric site holds spiritual significance for many Pagans and Druids. For years modern day people have flocked to Stonehenge on the summer solstice, to stay up all night and watch the sun rise. However, archeologists now believe that back in the day, the winter solstice was a lot more important, olden day people would honour their ancestors and pray for the sun to return:

    After completing your walk around the stones' circle - return to the visitors' centre. With your face to the visitors' centre - (still inside Stonehenge site) turn right and climb 100 m. looking for the YELLOW bus which will take you to Old Sarum (and continues back to Salisbury). The return bus departs every half-an-hour (hh.13 and hh.43) in the summer and every hour in the winter (hh.43). The ride from Stonehenge to Old Sarum is included in your admission ticket and takes approx. 20 minutes through idyllic and romantic countryside fields. The YELLOW bus to Old Sarum departs from Stonehenge - every half an hour. The driver will drop you on the main road to Salisbury. Continue climbing the road and after 70-80 m. you see a brown sigh pointing LEFT (you have to cross the road) to the archeological site of Old Sarum. A path (5 minutes walk) is leading to the hill fort. You arrive to the car-park, turn right and you face the entrance to Old Sarum. Keep in mind that in a windy or rainy day - there is very little shelter in Old sarum (well, the same holds in Stonehenge as well...). Not much is left. Outer walls (quite mighty in the past), and another castle with a hidden (huge) ditch in the centre, Old Sarum is a good introduction to Salisbury - since, it is the original Salisbury and is a must for all those wanting to find out about the origins of the city and the Cathedral. The site is fascinating if you have any interest in history and archeology and the views over Salisbury and Wiltshire are lovely. It is actually located 3 km north of modern Salisbury near the A345 road. The Old Sarum settlement appears in some of the earliest records in the country. An Iron Age hill fort was built around 400 BC, controlling the intersection of two native trade paths and the Hampshire branch of the Avon river. The site continued to be occupied during the Roman period, when the paths became roads. The Saxons took the British fort in the 6th century and later used it as a stronghold against the Vikings. The Normans constructed a bailey castle, a stone curtain wall, and a great cathedral. A royal palace was built within the castle for King Henry I. This settlement lasted for around 300 years until new Salisbury grew up around the construction site for the new cathedral in the early 13th century. The buildings of Old Sarum were dismantled for stone and the old town dwindled. Its long-neglected castle was abandoned by Edward II in 1322 and sold by Henry VIII in 1514. Its importance is thus derived from three periods: its use during the Iron Age between about 400 BC and AD 43; the period of Roman occupation, between AD 43 and about AD 410; and the period between the establishment of the royal castle after 1066 and the transition of the cathedral to a new site about AD 1220:

    First, you see the impressive ramparts consing of two earth banks separated by a ditch.

    Then, after crossing the Old Sarum's wooden bridge - you step into the heart of a once bustling medieval castle. Built around 1070 by William the Conqueror, it was here in 1086, that William gathered all the powerful men of England for a ceremony to assert his royal authority. Building the castle in the middle of the old earthworks - created an inner set of fortifications which became home to a complex of towers, halls and apartments, and a huge bailey. Nothing is left from the Salisbury’s First Cathedral. The first cathedral was a modest building damaged by a violent thunderstorm just five days after its consecration in 1092. In 1220 foundations were laid for a new cathedral in Salisbury (New Sarum) and the old cathedral was demolished. Many of its stones were re-used in the construction of the new cathedral in Salisbury new city.

    In a nice day - Old Sarum is good for nature walks. There are many footpaths which criss-cross the site. If you climb over the outer ramparts of the - you get views of the Wiltshire countryside. The English Heritage states that "rabbits enjoy digging holes in the banks and there are a wide selection of wild birds and butterflies on site including a kestrel". I've seen none of them...

    The only option around for food and drink is the Harvester pub - opposite the Old Sarum site. There are two vending machines for snacks inside the site.

    If Old Sarum is not included in your Stonehenge admission ticket - the entrance prices are:  adult - £5.00, Child (5-15 years) £2.70, Concession  £4.00, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £11.70. Open: everyday. APR-OCT: 10.00 - 18.00, NOV-MAR: 10.00-16.00.

    Many buses pass from Old Sarum (along the A345 road) to salisbury: Salisbury Reds service X5 (Stagecoach 5 on Sundays), No. 8; Stagecoach Hampshire No. 8; Wiltshire Buses No. 501 service and, finally, our known the Stonehenge Tour service. There are toilets near the car-park. There is a gift shop. NO ACCESS for wheelchairs. Remember - waiting for the bus to Salisbury along the A345 - is without a shelter.

  • History | Germany > Plön > Göppinger Schloss
    Updated at May 22,2013

    Plön Castle (Plöner Schloss)  the former residence of the Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein and was built during the Thirty Years War in the 17th century. During its history it was a militiray school and boarding school. It is open to the public on a limited extent.

  • History | Germany > Lubeck > Altstadt > Lubeck Hanseatic buildings > Buddenbrooks House - Buddenbrookhaus: 4 Meng Strasse.
    Updated at May 22,2013

    Thomas and Heinrich Mann grandfather bought this house in 1841. This Baroque house has an attractive white facade. The Mann brothers spent part of their childhood in this famous building. Thomas Mann used this building as a background to his world-renowned noble "The Buddenbrooks".

    Another Hanseatic building (16th-18th centuries) in Meng road:

    Schabbelhaus - Hanseatic building, in the famous Meng road from the 16th-18th centuries has been restored and transformed into one of the most famous restaurants in Germany.

  • History | Germany > Lubeck > Altstadt > Breite Straße > Sankt Jakobi church
    Updated at May 22,2013

    Visit the Jakobi church - a small Gothic church in the heart of the Breite strasse. See inside the delicate woodworks on the church organs. The norty aisle is devoted in memorial of a Lubeck training ship lost in 1957.

     

  • History | Germany > Lubeck > Altstadt > Lubeck Cathedral - Domkirchof > Brant Nutke legendary work in Lubeck Dom: a giant cross from 1477.
    Updated at May 22,2013

  • History | Germany > Lubeck > Altstadt > Burgtor
    Updated at May 22,2013

    The most ancient building in Lubeck adjacent to the Burgtor:

  • History | Italy > Tuscany, Italy > Pisa Tower
    Updated at May 22,2013

  • History | Malaysia > Kuala Lumpur Malaysia > Jamek Mosque
    Updated at May 22,2013

    Equally worth a visit, Masjud Jamek is the oldest mosque in Kuala Lumpur. Its red brick and marble structure is strikingly beautiful, and based on Indian Islamic architecture. It was built at the exact point where the Sugai Klang and the Sugai Gombak rivers meet, and is surrounded by palatial coconut palms and channels of calm water. It’s free to explore the airy marble interior, and ideal place to hide from the heat outside.

  • History | Netherlands > Haarlem
    Updated at May 22,2013

    We visited St. Bavokerk church, which is open from 10:00 till 17:00 )16:00 in the winter). The church was once a Catholic cathedral, and is built in the Gothic style. The church was originally built in the beginning of the 14th century, but was burnt and rebuilt at the end of the 15th century, and became a cathedral only in 1559. It was converted to a Protestant church in 1578. You’ll find a public toilet by the church, which is always a valuable tip in almost every location…