Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A Happy New Year 2019

Along with Queen's songs official fireworks took place at 18:00 under chick clouds. 

I'd say that we are very fortunate that the rain resumed to fall upon us and got stronger soon after fireworks ended.

Wishing you a Happy New Year 2019!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

The most beautiful Parliament in the world revisited while the protesters against the "slave law" were on Christmas vacation...

The Chamber of Peers
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Szigliget Fortress

Remnants and ruins of Szigliget fortress remain on Várhegy hill's summit, located on the skirt of Lake Balaton. 

The castle was built between 1260 and 1262 as a siege against Ottoman Empire invasion. Hungary suffered tremendously from Ottoman Empire occupation. Indeed villages of Szigliget were destroyed, however, the castle contested and hadn't fallen down to Turks. 

The irony is that the castle was ordered by Leopold I in Holy Roman Empire to be demolished, which caused Hungarian rebellion against Austrian rule.

Castle has been under renovation. Cannons and several armours are exhibited there. 

Above all, the most impressive fact is the stunning panoramic view from the summit. 

It's definitely worth climbing a hill and indulge yourself in breathtaking scenery!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Kostnice v Sedlci - SPOOKY!

The Sedlec Ossuary, also known as the Church of Bones, is located in a suburb of Kutná Hora, Czech Republic. It takes around 15-20 minutes from the main station by walk. 

The history of Kutná Hora, located in the Central Bohemia, dated back to 1142 with the settlement of Sedlec Abbey that is the first Cistercian monastery in Bohemia. It was brought from the Imperial immediate Cistercian Waldsassen Abbey. The Sedlec Ossuary is a part of the former Sedlec Abbey.

In1995 the city center is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ossuary is among the most visited tourist attractions of the Czech Republic - attracting over 200,000 visitors annually.

I fully understand its popularity as soon as I stepped in a small Roman Catholic chapel located beneath the cemetery of all Saints.

Close to the entrance, bone chalices are displayed on both sides of stairs.
Bone chalice on the left

The ossuary is estimated to contain the skeletons of between 40,000 and 70,000 people, whose bones have, in many cases, been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. The bone-decorations were made by Czech carpenter, František Rint, who was employed by the  Schwarzenberg family in 1870.

Schwarzenberg Family coat-of-arms

Enlarged front view of above image
You may wonder why myriad of human bones were there?

It is very symbolic that Sedlec abbey cemetery became desirable burial site throughout Central Europe because of the fact that, in 1278, the Henry, abbot of the Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, went to the Holy Land, returned with a small amount of earth he had removed from "Golgotha (=skull)" and sprinkled it over the abbey cemetery...

As a results of the devastating pandemic of the Black Death (Great Plague) in mid 14th century and the following Hussite Wars in the early 15th century, many thousands were buried in the abbey cemetery. Cemetery had to be expanded to accommodate them.

Around 1400, a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery with a vaulted upper level and a lower chapel to be used as an ossuary for the mass graves unearthed during construction, or simply slated for demolition to make room for new burials... Well, then, such bones from approximately 10,000 were showcased.

Chandelier made of skulls and bones
The most eye-catching decoration in vault is probably the enormous chandelier of bones that contains at least one of every bone in the human body. Beneath it lie four bell-shaped mounds that also draw your attention.

It was worth visiting there!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Lake Balaton

Just a handful of dull/sleepy abstract photos taken in Lake Balaton, Hungary.

 I'd love to thank Péter, Dorina, Boti and Gabi for the warmest hospitality!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Water Snakes

At times, kids (especially boys) are genius for finding something very interesting and odd. 

Without a boy from Germany, I don't think I've noticed the small water snakes  living in Malom Lake (Malom-tó) in Tapolca... It appears there are at least two types of snakes there, however, I know nothing about them.

To be honest, this was my first time to see snakes living in water...

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

St. Stephen's Day In Hungary

The 20th of August is National holiday in Hungary. Hungarians commemorate the foundation of the Hungarian state.

It's called St. Stephen's day because it's his feast day. He encouraged the spread of Christianity and turned into a legitimate Christian state. Stephen I is the first king of Hungary, who was canonized by Pope Gregory VII

Festivities start in the morning with the raising of the Hungarian flag and continue on all day long, culminating in a spectacular fireworks on the Danube river!!!

Wherever fireworks take place, I am there!!! 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Mother Shipton's Cave

Everything gets petrified due to the richness of sulfate and carbonate in the well!

Mother Shipton's Cave is located in the park at Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, England. The place is known for petrifying well. This park is the England's oldest entrance-charging tourist attraction, open since 1630!!!

In 1630 the section of the Royal Forest that now forms our park was sold by King Charles I to a local gentleman, Sir Charles Slingsby. By then the well was so famous and visiting it was so popular that he placed it on exhibition and charged for guided tours around it. 

The earliest written reference to the well was by John Leyland, antiquary to Henry VIII. He visited the well in 1538 and noted that it was very well-known and visited by many to drink and shower under its falling waters, as they were believed to have miraculous healing powers!!!

Wishing Well
There is a wishing well around the back of the petrifying well. People visit to "petrify" their wishes...

As described above, the water contains a very high mineral contents. Hence It takes between three and five months to petrify a teddy bear. Actually, stone teddy bears are available to buy from the shop! 

Petrified hanged Peter Rabbit? holding non-petrified Teddy bear...
Who is Mother Shipton, BTW?

A statue of Mother Shipton
Mother Shipton is a nickname and the real name is Ursula Southeil (1488–1561). 

Although little is known about her parents, legend has it that she was born during a violent thunderstorm in a cave on the banks of the River Nidd in Knaresborough. Her mother, Agatha, was just fifteen years old when she gave birth, and despite being dragged before the local magistrate, she would not reveal who the father was.

Ursula grew up around Knaresborough. She was a strange child, both in looks and in nature. Her nose was large and crooked, her back bent and her legs twisted.  Just like a witch. She spent most of her days around the cave where she was born. 

21st Century of Mother Shipton cosplayer

Mother Shipton had a gift. She could predict the future. It started off with small premonitions but as she practiced she became more confident and her powers grew. Soon she was known as Knaresborough’s Prophetess, a witch. She made her living telling the future and warning those who asked of what was to come. 

The prophecies may not be all historically correct and the stories may have been embellished slightly over the centuries, but she remains one of those legendary figures of romance and folklore entwined in our imaginations and the local surroundings.

What must be certain is that 500 years ago a woman called Mistress Shipton lived here in Knaresborough and that when she spoke people believed her and passed her words on...

Leaflet of 2018 is available here.