"Enya emerges from the shadows wearing a full-length black taffeta dress and a velvet shrug. She’s 54, but she has the skin of someone much younger — or someone who spends most of her time in an Irish castle. She looks like a mix of Deanna Troi and my mom, which is to say, she is the most beautiful woman in the world. She appears, nods as the room applauds her, and disappears without a word. “Now, for a light mingle,” the exec announces." -- Anne Helen Petersen on Enya, her avoidance of celebrity, her history, her massively successful career, and her castles.
A brief survey of remarkable grottos: some, like the Nottingham Limestone Caves, have been expanded over time by human habitation and digitally surveyed in high resolution. Some have been turned into temples or castles. Sometimes they are at the bottom of the world, beneath Mount Erebus.
Stephen Biesty is an award-winning British illustrator famous for his bestselling "Incredible" series of engineering art books: Incredible Cross-Sections, Incredible Explosions, Incredible Body, and many more. A master draftsman, Biesty does not use computers or even rulers in composing his intricate and imaginative drawings, relying on nothing more than pen and ink, watercolor, and a steady hand. Over the years, he's adapted his work to many other mediums, including pop-up books, educational games (video), interactive history sites, and animation. You can view much of his work in the zoomable galleries on his professional page, or click inside for a full listing of direct links to high-resolution, desktop-quality copies from his and other sites, including several with written commentary from collaborator Richard Platt [site, .mp3 chat]. [more inside]
Q: Which was the last country in Europe to establish diplomatic relations with the Czech Republic?
A: Liechtenstein. [more inside]
A: Liechtenstein. [more inside]
Castles of the World. British castles. Scottish castles. Castle floor plans. Castles on the web (no, not virtual castles). [more inside]
Excellent post over at BLDBLOG on the history of Bannerman's Arsenal, a ruined island castle in the middle of the Hudson river, created by a war profiteer who was at one time the world's largest arms dealer. Bonus points for the amazing accompanying photos by Shaun O'Boyle, whose site Modern Ruins has been featured on the blue previously.
The Castle in Front of the Cave is, unsurprisingly, a castle in Slovenia fully integrated with a cave system; built in several stages beginning in the 13th century, the castle serves as the front to a large network of caves in the side of a mountain. This excellent flickr photoset has plenty more detail about the castle's history, defense systems & more. For those who want more detail, a series of QTVR panoramic images of the insides of the castle available on this Slovenian site. Via.
"King Anfortas currently owns this magic stone, schmooze him, take him surprise, how ever you will get it, but bring me this stone! As award I promise you my daughter and a place on the crown!" -- The Mystery of Castle Wildenburg, a slightly goofily-translated game that combines point-&-click with classic text adventure gameplay, and photos of the lovely German countryside. Read the "Prehistory," mouseover everything, save often (though you lose your accumulated points on loading a saved game), and be careful not to die of thirst.
American Castles. There are a few famous American castles: Bishop Castle (discussed previously here), Coral Castle, and Boldt Castle come to mind. However, this site lists them all; from the impressive to the mundane. If you're interested, you may be able to buy your own.
Castle Attack 2... Protect your castle from the attacking horde onslaught. You can use your archers, or lob rocks, dump boiling oil, or crush under burning logs. Extra points for accuracy. [note: shockwave, loud music, death, destruction]
Alnwick Castle, used in various films including Harry Potter and Robin Hood, has started planting the Poison Garden as part of its most recent additions (pdf). The Poison Garden includes belladonna and other examples of the worlds most deadly plants. Some specimens are kept behind bars for security purposes. Both the castle and the extensive garden seem like wonderful places to visit.
The Okinawa digital archive is a collection of images, video and narrative about the rich culture, history and ecology of the Ryukyu Islands. There's so much more to karate's birthplace than the famous, landscape-dominating military bases -- from music and dance to castles to a language and identity distinct from mainland Japan. Be sure to check out the picture gallery, searchable and sorted by region. [MI]
There's one man that represents where I was brought up in Lancashire. Steeplejack Fred Dibnah. His interests include industrial archeology, traction engines and wearing flat caps. Recently he has been making history programmes for the BBC where his enthusiasm and interest in what other people are saying is given a fresh twist by his working class perspective and respect for the builders of castles, mills etc. A great man with his own way with words. So, who are your local heroes?