My Illlustrated Travel Journal with Essays about Roman and Mediaeval History and some Geology


27.1.13
  Russian Splendour - The Smolny Cathedral in St. Petersburg

Cathedrals are among the architectonic highlights of St.Petersburg and so the bus tours through town try to cover as many of them as they can cram into 3 or 4 hours. One photo stop was at the Smolny Cathedral and Convent, a group of Baroque buildings that's actually not so overdone with gold and marble, but has a pretty white and blue colour scheme.

Smolny Cathedral, St.Petersburg

The convent, placed at a bank of the river Neva, was originally built as retreat for Elizabeth, daughter of Tsar Peter the Great, who had been excluded from succession to the throne. But when Ivan VI was overthrown by his own royal guards, Elizabeth became tzar and had a whole row of palaces to live in.

In former times, the place lay outside the city and was the site where pitch for ship building was processed; the name Smolny derives form the Russian word for pitch - smola.

View of the cathedral and some convent buildings

This one was taken from out of the bus, thus the slightly green tinge. But I like the angle so I included it. You may notice the many cars on some of the photos - yeah, those are a pest in St.Petersburg. Six lane roads get blocked by them and there's always a concert of horn beeps. Though the main problem and bottlenecks are the bridges; not many of them can take major traffic, and Petersburg is criss-crossed by rivers and canals.

(one of the convent buildings; detail)

Work on the convent continued under Elizabeth's patronage, planned as combination of a Russian Orthodox nunnery and a girl's school which would become the first in the Russian Empire.

The convent was built by the Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli (1700 - 1771) whose family had come to Russia while he was still a boy. The father had been invited to St.Petersburg by Tsar Peter the Great, and designed the Winter Palace (Eremitage), the Great Palace in Peterhof ouside town and the Yekaterisnky Palace in Tsarskoye Selo (today known as Pushkin), as well as some other Baroque buildings.

The son followed the father's footsteps. The cathedral and convent of Smolny were entirely his own project on which he worked from 1748 to 1764. But the cathedral was not yet finished when Elizabeth died in 1762.

Her daughter-in-law and eventual her successor (after her husband; Peter III, had been deposed and died under somewhat mysterious circumstances) was Catherine I. She did not like the Baroque style and so money for the cathedral project more or less dried up. Rastrelli could never build the bell tower he had planned and which was to be the highest tower in St.Petersburg, and the interior of the catherdral remained unfinished as well. Rastrelli left Russia in October 1763.

One of the convent buildings, seen from the yard side

But the convent buildings were put to good use as the Smolny Institute for Noble Girls and the Alexandra Institute for Burgeois Girls, the first schools for women in Russia. Later, the buildings were also used as fitting residence for rich widows. During the WW1, some of them served as lazarett.

Some convent buildings seen from the outside

The cathedral itself had never been used and fell into disrepair. At the time of Tsar Nicholas I it looked so desolate that he commissioned Vassily Stasov, a Russian architect, to repair and finish the building; a task that was completed in July 1835, when the cathedral was finally consecrated. Stasov added some neo-classical features in the taste of his time, but those are mostly visible in the interior which we didn't get to see due to lack of time.

Another view of the cathedral

After the revolution, the church was deprived of its religious furnishings by the Sovyet authorities. The convent buildings became the city headquarters of the communist party. In 1982, the cathedral was made into a concert hall, a function it keeps until today. The other buildings now house government institutions and some faculties of the St.Petersburg State University, namely the departments for sociology and political sciences. So there's some continuity, in a way.
 


18.1.13
  Russian Splendour - The Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg

While I'm waiting for a book about the history of Göttingen that should put some light onto Otto of Braunschweig-Göttingen (Otto the Quarrelsome) for a post about him, here's some more Russian shiny stuff for you to enjoy; some photos I took of and inside the Isaac's Cathedral - Isaakievskiy Sobor in St.Petersburg.

St.Petersburg, Isaac's Cathedral

Let's start with some numbers for Constance. *grin* The cathedral is one of the largest sacral buildings with a cupola to be found in the world. It's 111 metres long, 97 metres wide and 101.50 metres high; the diameter of the cupola measures 26 metres. The interior encompasses 10,767 square metres and can hold 14,000 people. When I visited it, it looked like there were almost that many tourists.

Detail of one of the bronze doors

The cathedral, which is officially called Cathedral of the Holy Isaac of Dalmatia, was commissioned by Tsar Alexander I to commemorate the victory over Napoleon. It replaced an earlier church - the fourth in line on the site. The oldest, a timber building from 1707, was built by Peter the Great and dedicated to the saint that shared his birthday.

Isaac's Cathedral, interior

There was a special commission to decide on several designs submitted by architects, but in the end Alexander pulled the tsar, and his favourite, Auguste de Montferrand, won. The cathedral took 40 years to construct, from 1818 - 1858; interrupted several times because of static problems (ok, then there's still hope for the Berlin Airport).

Interior, view towards the iconostasis

It was not easy to take photos while staying close enough to my group not to lose them in the whirl of people and trying to avoid having a clutter of tourists on every pic, but I snatched some decent ones nevertheless. It's the disadvantage of group tours but without that I would not have gotten around in Petersburg in the first place. I visited the other towns on the cruise on my own, though.

Iconostasis, closeup

The splendid interior is dominated by ten huge columns of malachite; the floor, pilasters and other decorative elements are sculpted from various sorts of marble and granite from all over Russia; the walls and cupola are decorated with semi-precious stones, gold, and even gemstones, as well as large frescoes and mosaics by famous Russian artists. The three bronze gates were designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti, the columns of the porticos in front of the doors are granite.

View into one of the side chapels

The main iconostasis is also framed by malachite and lapis lazuli pillars The icons in the iconostasis as well as the other ones spread aroud in the cathedral have darkened over time and I only got few decent photos. It was another disadvantage of the crowds, the lack to really contemplate the paintings. While all that gold and marble stuff is a bit overdone for my taste, some of the icons were beautiful.

The cupola (slighly blurred because I was in a hurry)

During Soviet times, the cathedral became a Museum of Atheism, with a Foucault pendulum hanging from the main cupola. During WW2, it served as storage room for objects of art from the palaces in and around St.Petersburg. The dome of the cupola had been painted grey to prevent detection by German aircrafts; nevertheless, the cathedral suffered some damage but less badly than some other historical buildings. After the war, the cathedral was again reverted into a museum, this time about the History of Religion.

One of the icons

Today, the cupola sparkles golden in the sunshine again, and the interior has been renovated as well. The cathedral is still a museum, but no longer a themed one; it's simply the Isaac's Cathedral. It is still used for services on feast days, though.
 


7.1.13
  Border Castles and Conflicts - Castle Sichelnstein

Like most other minor castles I've posted about, the beginnings of the Sichelnstein are shrouded in obscurity and some names that may have been local legend rather than historical. To make things worse, the main source about the castle, the village website and guidebook, get some basic things wrong like misdating the Battle of the Lechfeld (it took place 955, not 933) and burying Otto the Quarrelsome in the wrong place, so I take the information it provides with a spoonful of salt.

The Saxon nobles Asic and Billing mentioned in Carolingian chronicles (811, 813), who fled from their own people and established local holds in the Frankian lands between Kassel and Göttingen, can not be connected with the later Sichelnstein family.

Remains of Sichelnstein Castle

The first person we can trace with more surety is one Wittilo who fought bravely at the Battle of Riade (933, also known as Battle of Merseburg, against the Magyars). King Heinrich I rewarded Wittilo by granting him the Sichelnstein as fief, and dubbing him. The ceremony took place during a diet in the palatine castle of Grona near Göttingen (nothing much remains of it, alas). This incident is a bit curious. One possible interpretation is that Wittilo was a ministerialis, a member of the legally unfree but still high ranking men serving in administrative functions at the royal court and as heavy cavalry in war. Heavy cavalry secured the victory at Riade which would have given Wittilo his chance to shine. Many ministeriales held fiefs to pay for their armour, but with less rights than freeborn nobles held their lands. An additional dubbing - if it is a realistic scenario; it's a bit too early for an established ceremony - could have meant that Wittilo gained the status of a freeborn knight. In that case he likely took his name of the castle from that time on.

The castle would not have been the present stone-walled building, but fortified by an earth wall and timber palisade, though the trench may have existed already. The houses were likely half-timbered; perhaps on stone foundations.

Sichelnstein, east wall with door

The feudal relationship was renewed under Otto I after Heinrich's death in 936, which means the fief was not allodial and likely indeed came to Wittilo first, and not to some obscure Carolingian ancestor.

The Sichelnstein family has left a few traces in chartes, several of them issued in Corvey monastery, so there may have been a connection (probably younger sons ending up there a few times) but nothing spectacular. When the empress Kunigunde, wife of Heinrich II, founded the Benedictine abbey in nearby Kaufungen in 1017, one Bardo of Sichelnstein was among the witnesses. Today, Kaufungen lies in Hessia, but at the time Hessia didn't exist as political entity (the landgraviate of Hessia was created in 1292); the land was likely crown land.

Walk along the northern curtain wall

The next fact we can prove is that the last of the Sichelnstein line, one Count Bardo, died in 1239 and was buried in Wahlshausen monastery at the Fulda river; the church still exists today. He may have been the same who killed his wife in 1189 but we can't say for sure. The Bardo who killed his wife had to answer at the diet of Fulda where King Heinrich VI (the son of Friedrich Barbarossa) first had him condemned to death but pardoned him to stay a prisoner at the monastery of Corvey. Bardo may have later returned to Sichelnstein, or the Bardo then living there was a relative. But the questionable website makes a mistake when it says that King Heinrich gave the Sichelnstein fief to Heinrich the Lion. The two men did reconciliate at the diet of Fulda after Heinrich the Lion's return from exile, and he was given back the allodial possessions of the Welfen family, but he was not granted any new fiefs. So if he got the Sichelnstein lands and castle, they must have been part of his allodial possession at that point. Because of the paucity of surviving documents, we can't trace the exact time when the Sichelnstein came into the hands of the Welfen

Sunlight sparks on the curtain wall

The Sichelnstein lands were definitely in possession of the Welfen family in 1372, when Duke Otto I of Braunschweig-Göttingen (our friend Otto 'the Quarrelsome') who had inherited the patchwork of Welfen lands in Lower Saxony, fortified the castle during his war with the landgrave of Hessia. Otto's mother was the daughter of Landgrave Heinrich II of Hessia who left no male heirs in direct line, so Otto claimed the lands. But so did several others, esp another nephew of the late landgrave Heinrich, and war broke out. Otto lost that war.

The Sichelnstein remained in Welfen hands. 1379, it was given to Otto's second wife Margarethe of Berg as dowry and widow seat. Margarethe survived her husband who died in 1394, by almost 50 years and lived most of the time in Castle Hardeg, but she visited the Sichelnstein a few times.

The trench at the western side

Later, the castle came into possession of the landgraves of Hessia. Maybe Otto's successors sold it or pawned it out; money was pretty tight in that branch of the Welfen family. It was probably damaged during the Thirty Years War and then abandoned, like so many other castles. Later it was used as quarry by the surrounding villages where you can hunt the stones in various old buildings.

Today only the lower part of the curtain wall remains, which is still a formidable sight. The interior contains the set up of a wooden stage and can be protected by a canvas roof; the castle is used for concerts in summer.

Seen from the south-west

The castle had once been surrounded by deep trench and only accessible via a drawing bridge that lead to the only gate in the east wall. Parts of the trench can still be seen at the western side of the castle; it still looks difficult to get across.

The groundplan of the castle shows an unusual horseshoe shape with the eastern side being straight and the western front curved. The curtain wall, built of basalt stones from the nearby Staufenberg Hill, still rises to 7-10 metres. Since it has no windows and the first traces of holdings for beams and a fireplace are at 10 metres heigth, the castle must once have been much higher, probably with half-timbered buildings like a palas sitting atop the stone walls like in this example (Falkenstein Castle in the Harz Mountains). Whether or not there had been towers can't be said for sure, but there likely was a battlement at the level of the stone walls since there are remains of arrow slits in some places.

Another view of the walls

The Sichelnstein was not a very large castle, but obviously strong enough to serve Otto the Quarrelsome as basis for his war with Hessia, so it must have looked more forbidding once, and you could cram a garrison inside if the men weren't wild about comfort.

Since the door was locked I could only peek through the grille to get a view of the empty interior. The height may have made up for the limited ground space.
 


The Lost Fort is a travel journal and history blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and other places. It includes essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, as well as some geology, illustrated with photos of old castles and churches, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.
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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who hasn't yet gotten an Instagram account. :-)



Illustrated travel essays: Roman remains, Mediaeval buildings and ruins, other places; sorted by country


Roman Times

The Romans at War

Different Frontiers, Yet Alike
Exercise Halls
Mile Castles and Watch Towers
Reconstructed Fort Walls
Soldiers' Living Quarters
Cavalry Barracks

Roman Ships
Transport Barges

Life and Religion

Religious Sites
The Mithraeum of Brocolita
Mithras Altars in Germania
A Roman Memorial Stone


Germania

The Limes and its Forts

Limes Fort Osterburken
The Discovery
The Cohort castellum
The Annex Fort
The Garrisons

Limes Fort Saalburg
Introduction
Main Gate
Shrine of the Standards
The Walls
The vicus

Romans in Bavaria
Overview: Aalen, Weissenburg, Regensburg
The Fort in Aalen - Barracks

Romans at Lippe and Ems
Anniversary Exhibitions in Haltern am See
Varus Statue, Haltern am See

Romans at the Rhine
Boppard - A 4th Century Roman Fort
Villa Rustica Wachenheim
Wachenheim Villa, Baths and Toilets
Wachenheim Villa, Cellar

Romans at the Weser
The Roman Camp at Hedemünden
Weapon Finds

Roman Towns

Augusta Treverorum (Trier)
The Amphitheatre
The Aula Palatina
The Imperial Baths - Roman Times
The Imperial Baths - Post Roman
Porta Nigra - Roman Times
The Roman Bridge

Colonia Ulpia Traiana (Xanten)
History of the Town
The Amphitheatre in Birten

Moguntiacum (Mainz)
The Temple of Isis and Mater Magna


Gallia Belgica

Roman Towns

Atuatuca Tungrorum
Roman Remains in Tongeren


Britannia

Frontiers, Fortifications, Forts

The Hadrian's Wall
Introduction / Photo Collection
Fort Baths
Fort Headquarters
Building the Wall
The Wall as Defense Line

Wall Forts - Banna (Birdoswald)
The Dark Age Timber Halls

Wall Forts - Segedunum (Wallsend)
Introduction
The Museum
The Viewing Tower
The Baths

Signal Stations
The Signal Station at Scarborough

Roman Towns

Eboracum (York)
Bath in the Fortress
Multiangular Tower

Romans in Wales

The Forts in Wales
Overview

Roman Forts - Isca (Caerleon)
The Amphitheatre
The Baths in the Legionary Fort


Mediaeval Times

Living Mediaeval
Dungeons and Oubliettes
Pit House (Grubenhaus)
Medical Instruments

Mediaeval Art
The Choir Screen in the Cathedral of Mainz
The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion
Mediaeval Monster Carvings
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee - The Historical Context
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee - The Craftmanship

Mediaeval Weapons
Swords
Trebuchets
Combat Scenes


Mediaeval Germany

Towns

Braunschweig
Medieaval Braunschweig, Introduction
Lion Benches in the Castle Square
The Quadriga

Erfurt
A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Erfurt

Magdeburg
Magdeburg Cathedral
St.Mary's Abbey - An Austere Archbishop
St.Mary's Abbey - Reformation to Reunion

Paderborn
Town Portrait

Speyer
The Cathedral: Architecture
Cathedral: Richard Lionheart in Speyer
Jewish Ritual Bath

Xanten
Town Portrait
The Gothic House

Towns in the Harz

Goslar
Town Portrait

Quedlinburg
Town Portrait
The Chapter Church

Towns of the Hanseatic League

Lübeck
St. Mary's Church, Introduction

Stralsund
The Harbour

Wismar
The Old Harbour

Castles and Fortresses

Castles in Bavaria

Coburg Fortress
The History of the Fortress
The Architecture

Castles in the Harz

Ebersburg
The Architecture
Power Base of the Thuringian Landgraves
The Marshals of Ebersburg

Harzburg
The Harzburg and Otto IV

Hohnstein
Origins of the Counts of Hohnstein
The Family Between Welfen and Staufen
A Time of Feuds (14th-15th century)

Regenstein
Introduction
The Time of Henry the Lion

Scharzfels
Introduction
History

Hidden Treasures
The Stauffenburg near Seesen

Castles in Hessia

Castles in Northern Hessia
Grebenstein
Reichenbach
Sichelnstein

Kugelsburg
The Counts of Everstein
Troubled Times
War and Decline

Weidelsburg
The History of the Castle
The Architecture
The Castle After the Restoration

Castles in Lower Saxony

Adelebsen / Hardeg
The Keep of Adelebsen Castle
The Great Hall of Hardeg Castle

Hardenberg
Introduction

Plesse
Rise and Fall of the Counts of Winzenburg
The Lords of Plesse
Architecture / Decline and Rediscovery

Castles in the Solling
Salzderhelden - A Welfen Seat
Grubenhagen

Castles in Thuringia

Brandenburg
The Double Castle
Role of the Castle in Thuringian History

Castles in the Eichsfeld
Altenstein at the Werra
Castle Scharfenstein

Hanstein
Introduction
Otto of Northeim
Heinrich the Lion and Otto IV
The Next Generations

Normanstein
Introduction

Wartburg
A Virtual Tour

Castles at the Weser

Bramburg
River Reivers

Krukenburg
History and Architecture
Outbuilding 'Shepherd's Barn'

Polle
The Castle and its History
Views from the Keep

Sababurg / Trendelburg
Two Fairy Tale Castles

Churches and Cathedrals

Churches in the Harz

Steinkirche near Scharzfeld
Development of the Cave Church

Walkenried Monastery
From Monastery to Museum

Churches in Lower Saxony

Königslutter
Exterior Decorations
Cloister

Wiebrechtshausen
Nunnery and Ducal Burial

Churches in Thuringia

Göllingen Monastery
Traces of Byzantine Architecture

Heiligenstadt
St.Martin's Church
St.Mary's Church

Churches at the Weser

Bursfelde Abbey
Early History

Fredelsloh Chapter Church
History and Architecture

Helmarshausen
Remains of the Monastery

Lippoldsberg Abbey
History
Interior

Vernawahlshausen
Mediaeval Murals

Reconstructed Sites

Palatine Seat Tilleda
The Defenses

Viking Settlement Haithabu
Haithabu and the Archaeological Museum Schleswig
The Nydam Ship

Miscellanea

Other Mediaeval Buildings
Lorsch, Gate Hall
Palatine Seat and Monastery Pöhlde

Miscellanea - Along Weser and Werra
Bad Karlshafen
Hannoversch-Münden
Uslar
Treffurt
Weser Ferry
Weser Skywalk


Mediaeval England

Towns

Chester
A Walk Through the Town

Hexham
Old Gaol

York
Clifford Tower, Part 1
Clifford Tower, Part 2
Guild Hall
Monk Bar Gate and Richard III Museum
Museum Gardens
Old Town
Along the Ouse River

Castles

Castles in Cumbria

Carlisle
Introduction
Henry II and William of Scotland
The Edwards

Castles in Northumbria and Yorkshire

Alnwick
Malcolm III and the First Battle of Alnwick

Scarborough
From the Romans to the Tudors
From the Civil War to the Present

Churches and Cathedrals

Hexham Abbey
Introduction

York Minster
Architecture


Mediaeval Scotland

Towns

Edinburgh
Views from the Castle

Stirling
The Wallace Monument

Castles

Central Scotland

Doune
A Virtual Tour
History: The Early Stewart Kings
History: Royal Dower House, and Decline

Stirling
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle

West Coast Castles

Dunollie and Kilchurn
Castles Seen from Afar

Duart
Guarding the Sound of Mull

Dunstaffnage
An Ancient MacDougall Stronghold
The Wars of Independence
The Campbells Are Coming
Dunstaffnage Chapel

Abbeys and Churches

Inchcolm Abbey
Arriving at Inchcolm

Other Historical Sites

Picts and Dalriatans
Dunadd Hill Fort
Staffa


Mediaeval Wales

Towns

Walks in Welsh Towns
Aberystwyth: Castle and Coast
Caerleon: The Ffwrwm
Conwy: The Smallest House in Great Britain

Castles

Edwardian Castles

Beaumaris
The Historical Context
The Architecture

Caernarfon
Master James of St.George
The Castle Kitchens

Conwy
The History of the Castle
The Architecture

Norman Castles

Cardiff
History

Chepstow
History: Beginnings unto Bigod
History: From Edward II to the Tudors
History: Civil War, Restoration, and Aftermath

Manorbier
The Pleasantest Spot in Wales

Pembroke
Pembroke Pictures
The Caves Under the Castle

Welsh Castles

Criccieth
Llywelyn's Buildings
King Edward's Buildings


Baltic States and Poland

Towns along the Sea Coast
From Tallinn to Gdansk


Flanders / Belgium

Towns

Antwerp
The Old Town

Bruges
A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Bruges

Ghent
A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval Ghent

Tongeren
Roman and Mediaeval Remains


Scandinavia

Norway

Castles and Fortresses

Defense over the Centuries
Akershus Fortress: Middle Ages
Akershus Fortress: Architectural Development
Vardøhus Fortress


Other Times

Ages of Stone and Bronze

Development of Civilization
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

From Stone to Bronze
Paleolithic Cave 'Steinkirche' in the Harz mountains
Gnisvärd Ship Setting on Gotland

Pre-Historical Orkney
Ring of Brodgar - Introduction
Ring of Brodgar - The Neolithic Landscape
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae


Post-Mediaeval

Thirty Years of War
The Vasa Museum in Stockholm

The Splendour of St.Petersburg
Isaac's Cathedral
Smolny Cathedral
Impressions from the The Neva River

Steampunk and Beyond
Fram Museum, Oslo, Part 1
Fram Museum Oslo, Part 2
Historical Guns
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then - The Vasa Museum
Vintage Car Museum, Wolfsburg


Tours and Cruises

Travelling in Germany
Hanseatic Towns at the Baltic Sea
At the Coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Quedlinburg and Surroundings
Halberstadt and Surroundings
In the Land of Saale and Unstrut
Interesting Sites in Thuringia
Some Castles in Thuringia (2017)
Teutoburg Forest and Paderborn
Towns, Castles and Churches in Bavaria
Summer Tours 2016

Travelling in the UK
Castles in Northumbria and Eastern Scotland
Abbeys and Churches in Northumbria
From Edinburgh to Oban - A Visit to Scotland
Neolithic, Pictish and Viking Remains on Orkney
Castles in Wales

Cruises
Cruise on the Baltic Sea
The Hurtigruten Tour / Norway


Beautiful Germany

The Baltic Sea Coast
From the Bay of Wismar to Hiddensee
The Flensburg Firth
A Tour on the Wakenitz River

Harz National Park
Arboretum (Bad Grund)
Bode Valley, Rosstrappe and Devil's Wall
Cave Dwellings in Langenstein
Harzburg and the Ilsetal
Oderteich Reservoir
Views from Harz mountains

Nature Park Meissner-Kaufunger Wald
Sea Stones, Kitzkammer, Heldrastein
'Hessian Switzerland'
Karst Dolines and Kalbe Lake

Nature Park Solling-Vogler
The Hutewald Forest
The Raised Bog Mecklenbruch

Rivers and Lakes
The Danube in Spring
Edersee Reservoir
A Rainy Rhine Cruise
River of the Greenest Shores - The Moselle
Vineyards at Saale and Unstrut

Parks and Palaces
Botanical Garden Göttingen
Forest Botanical Garden, Göttingen
Hardenberg Castle Gardens
Junkerberg Cemetary
Wilhelmsthal Palace and Gardens

Other Landscape Sites
Oberderdorla and Hainich National Park

Seasons and More

Spring
Spring on my Balcony
Spring at the Kiessee Lake
Spring in the Rossbach Heath

Summer
Memories of Summer
Summer Hiking Tours 2016
Summer Thunderstorms

Autumn
Autumnal Views from Castle Windows
Autumn Photos from Harz and Werra
Autumn in the Meissner
Autumn at Werra and Weser

Winter
Advent Impressions
Christmas Decorations from the Ore Mountains
Winter at the Kiessee Lake
Winter Wonderland
Winter 2010

Wildlife
Birds at the Feeder
Harz Falcon Park
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The Baltic Sea Life
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The North Sea Life

Experimental
Alien Architecture
Carved Monsters in Cathedrals
Llama, Llama
Odd Angles
Spectacular Sunset
Carved Animals


Across the Channel - United Kingdom

Mountains, Valleys, and Rivers
Sheep Grazing Among Roman Remains
A Ghost Cruise on the Ouse River
West Highland Railway

The East Coast
By Ferry to Newcastle
Highland Mountains - Inverness to John o'Groats
Some Photos from the East Coast

Scottish Sea Shores
Crossing to Mull
Mull - Craignure to Fionnphort
Pentland Firth
Staffa
Summer Days in Oban
Summer Nights in Oban

Wild Wales - With Castles
Hazy Views with Castles
Shadows and Strongholds
Views from Castle Battlements

Wildlife
Sea Gulls


Shores of History - The Baltic Sea

The Northern Coast
From Gotland to St.Petersburg

The South-Eastern Coast
Beaches at the Curonian Spit
From Tallinn to Gdansk


Land of Light and Darkness - Norway

The Hurtigruten-Tour
Along the Coast of Norway - Light and Darkness
Along the Coast - North of the Polar Circle
A Voyage into Winter
Culture and Nature in Norway
The Farthest North

Norway by Train
Winter in the Mountains

Wildlife
Bearded Seals
Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord




Illustrated Essays about historical themes, events, and persons - mostly Roman and Mediaeval


Roman History

Wars and Frontiers

Maps
Romans in Germania

Traces of the Pre-Varus Conquest
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn
Introduction

Along the Limes
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg

Roman Frontiers in Britain
Hadrian's Wall

Rebellions
The Batavian Rebellion

Roman Militaria

Armour
Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapons
The pilum
Daggers
Swords

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles

Life and Religion

Religion
The Mithras Cult
Isis Worship
Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots
Styli and Wax Tablets

Public Life
Roman Transport - Barges
Roman Transport - Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Roman villae
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Miscellaneous
Legend of Alaric's Burial


Mediaeval History

Feudalism
Feudalism, Beginnings
Feudalism, 10th Century
The Privilege of the deditio
A Note on handgenginn maðr

The Hanseatic League
Introduction and Beginnings
Stockfish Trade


Germany

Geneaologies

List of Mediaeval German Emperors

Geneaology
Anglo-German Marriage Connections
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors

Biographies

Kings and Emperors
King Heinrich IV
Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

Princes
Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto of Northeim
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg

Famous Feuds

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War - Introduction
The Star Wars

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg


Scotland

Scottish Kings

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War (1)
King David and the Civil War (2)

Houses Bruce and Stewart
Robert the Bruce and Stirling Castle
The Early Stewart Kings

Scottish Nobles and their Quarrels

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding


Wales

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

The Rebellions
From Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Scandinavia

Kings of Norway
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages

Famous Nobles and their Feuds
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg

Post-Mediaeval

Explorers
Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole


Miscellanea

Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera
Otto von Guericke


Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit

The Harz
Karst Landscape
Karst - Lonau Falls
Karst - Rhume Springs

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bogs
The Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Paleontology

Fossils
Ammonites


Novels in Progress / Planning

Roman Novels
(Historical Fiction)

The Saga of House Sichelstein
(Historical Fiction)

Kings and Rebels
(Fantasy)

Poetry Translations

Historical Ballads by Theodor Fontane
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

Poems by Theodor Storm
From Heaven into Valleys Deep
The Grey Town By the Sea
The Seagull Flies Ashore Now

Other German Poems
Kästner, Progress of Mankind
Hebbel, Summer Picture
Rainer Maria Rilke, Autumn Day


Not So Serious Romans
Aelius Rufus Visits the Future Series
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Royal (Hi)Stories
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Historical Memes
Charlemagne meme
Historical Christmas Wishes
New Year Resolutions
Aelius Rufus does a Meme
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances

Funny Sights
Tourist Kitsch in St.Petersburg


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Links leading outside my blog will open in a new window. I do not take any responsibility for the content of linked sites.

History Blogs - Ancient

Roman History Today
Ancient Times (Mary Harrsch)
Bread and Circuses (Adrian Murdoch)
Following Hadrian (Carole Raddato)
Mike Anderson's Ancient History Blog
Mos Maiorum - Der römische Weg
Per Lineam Valli (M.C. Bishop)
Judith Weingarten

Digging Up Fun Stuff
The Anglo-Saxon Archaeology Blog
Arkeologi i Nord
The Journal of Antiquities (Britain)
The Northern Antiquarian
The Roman Archaeology Blog

History Blogs - Mediaeval

Þaér wæs Hearpan Swég
Anglo Saxon, Norse & Celtic Blog
Casting Light upon the Shadow (A. Whitehead)
Norse and Viking Ramblings
Outtakes of a Historical Novelist (Kim Rendfeld)

Beholden Ye Aulde Blogges
A Clerk of Oxford
Historical Britain Blog (Mercedes Rochelle)
Magistra et Mater (Rachel Stone)
Michelle of Heavenfield (Michelle Ziegler)
Senchus (Tim Clarkson)

Royal and Other Troubles
Edward II (Kathryn Warner)
Henry the Young King (Kasia Ogrodnik)
Piers Gaveston (Anerje)
Lady Despenser's Scribery
Simon de Montfort (Darren Baker)
Weaving the Tapestry (Scottish Houses Dunkeld and Stewart)

A Mixed Bag of History
English Historical Fiction Authors
The Freelance History Writer (Susan Abernethy)
The History Blog
History, the Interesting Bits (S.B. Connolly)
Mediaeval News (Niall O'Brian)
Time Present and Time Past (Mark Patton)

Thoughts and Images

Reading and Reviews
Black Gate Blog
The Blog That Time Forgot (Al Harron)
Parmenion Books
Reading the Past
The Wertzone

Imaginations
David Blixt
Ex Urbe (Ada Palmer)
Constance A. Brewer
Jenny Dolfen Illustrations
Wild and Wonderful (Caroline Gill)

Poets and Photographers (German Blogs)
Alte Steine (Burgdame Eva)
Durch Bücherstaub geblinzelt (Silberdistel)
Insel-Aus-Zeit (Carmen Wedeland)

German Travel Blogs
Good Morning World
Meerblog
Sonne und Wolken
Teilzeitreisender
Unterwegs und Daheim

Highland Mountains
The Hazel Tree (Jo Woolf)
Helen in Wales
Mountains and Sea Scotland

The Colours of the World
Shutterbugs


Research

Archaeology
Past Horizons
Archaeology in Europe
Orkneyar

Roman History
Deutsche Limeskommission
Internet Ancient Sourcebook
Livius.org
Roman Army
Roman Britain
The Romans in Britain
Vindolanda Tablets

Not so Dark Ages
Burgundians in the Mist
Viking Society for Northern Research

Mediaeval History
De Re Militari
Internet Mediaeval Sourcebook
Kulturzeit
The Labyrinth
Mediaeval Crusades
Medievalists.Net

Castles
Burgenarchiv
Burgenwelt
Exploring Castles
The World of Castles

Miscellaneous History
Heritage Daily
The History Files

Post-Mediaeval Sites
Vasa Museets Skeppsbloggen

Mythology
Ancient History
Encyclopedia Mythica

Online Journals
Ancient Warfare
The Heroic Age
The History Files

Travel and Guide Sites

Germany - History
Antike Stätten in Deutschland
Burgenarchiv
Strasse der Romanik

Germany - Nature
HarzLife
Naturpark Meissner
Naturpark Solling-Vogler

England
English Heritage
Visit Northumberland

Scotland
The Chain Mail (Scottish History)
Historic Scotland
National Trust Scotland

Books and Writing

Writing Sites
Absolute Write
TheLitForum.com

Historical Fiction
Historical Novel Society
Historia Magazine

Interesting Author Websites
Bernard Cornwell
Dorothy Dunnett
Steven Erikson
Diana Gabaldon
Guy Gavriel Kay
George R.R. Martin
Sharon Kay Penman
Brandon Sanderson
J.R.R. Tolkien
Tad Williams


*********************


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