Sunday, December 5, 2010
Caernarfon Castle (Welsh: Castell Caernarfon) is a medieval building in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. There was a motte-and-bailey castle in the town of Caernarfon from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began replacing it with the current stone structure. The Edwardian town and castle acted as the administrative centre of north Wales and as a result the defences were built on a grand scale. There was a deliberate link with Caernarfon's Roman past – nearby is the Roman fort of Segontium – and the castle's walls are reminiscent of the Walls of Constantinople.
In 1986, Caernarfon was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites as part of the "Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd" in recognition of its global importance and to help conserve and protect the site. The castle houses the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum.
A view in Ostrow Tumski, Wroclaw
Ostrów Tumski ("Cathedral Island", German: Dominsel) is the oldest part of the city of Wrocław in south-western Poland. It was formerly an island (ostrów in old Polish) between branches of the Oder River.
Archaeological excavations have shown that the western part of Ostrów Tumski, between the Church of St. Martin and the Holy Cross, was the first to be inhabited. The first, wooden church (St. Martin), dating from the 9th century, was surrounded by defensive walls built on the banks of the river. The island had approximately 1,500 inhabitants at that time.
The first constructions on Ostrów Tumski were built in the 10th century by the Piast dynasty, and were made from wood. The first building from solid material was St. Martin's chapel, built probably at the beginning of the eleventh century by Benedictine monks. Not long after the first cathedral was raised, in place of the small church.
In 1163 the settlement was raided by Boleslaw I the Tall who had returned after being banished. After taking control of the area and waiting for the political situation in Silesia to stabilize, he chose Ostrów Tumski as his new seat. He began replacing the wooden defenses with brick ones and to build a Roman-style residence.
In 1315 Ostrów Tumski was sold to the church authorities. Since the island ceased to be under secular jurisdiction, it was often used by those who had broken the law in Wrocław, as a place of sanctuary. An interesting indication of the special status of the island was a ban on wearing anything on the head, effective even on Tumski Bridge beyond the border pole of this small "ecclesiastical nation" (the law also applied to royalty).