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The Liberty Bell is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is seen by many people as being the symbol of American independence from Great Britain. The Liberty Bell is famous for a couple of reasons, and it is easy to recognize because it is cracked. Bells were used before cell phones and sirens to let people know something important was happening. Some bells were rung to let people know there was a fire, and at times they were rung when someone important had died. Sometimes bells were rung to let people know good things had happened. When the Declaration of Independence was read out loud to the people of Philadelphia on July 8th of 1776, the Liberty Bell was one of the many bells that were rung in celebration.
The first time the Liberty Bell cracked was on its first ringing in America. It had been purchased by the city of Philadelphia from a metal workshop, called a foundry, in London, England. They paid 199 dollars for the bell, and it was brought over by ship to America in 1752. The very first time the bell was rung, the rim of the bell cracked. The government of Philadelphia tried to send the bell back to England on the ship it arrived on, but they would not take it back with them. Two metal-workers in Philadelphia offered to fix the bell, instead. Their names were John Pass and John Stow. Neither of them had fixed a bell before, and on their first try they didn’t do very well. When the townspeople rang the bell, it sounded funny so John Pass and John Stow had to try again.
During the Revolutionary War, people in Philadelphia were afraid that the bells in their city would be melted down by the British to become round bullets to be used in musket guns. To stop this from happening, the Liberty Bell was put on a horse-drawn wagon and taken to Allentown, Pennsylvania and hidden under the floor of a church. The Liberty Bell didn’t go back to Philadelphia until after the British were gone, in 1778. Today, the Liberty Bell is in its own building next to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed.
There are a lot of different stories about how the bell became cracked the second time. Most people think it happened when Chief Justice John Marshall died, and the bell was rung in his memory in 1835. Other people think it happened between 1841 and 1845 when celebrating the birthday of George Washington, or on the 4th of July. Either way, the crack in the bell has never been fixed and you can still see the crack today.
Photo by William Warby
Great Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States, with parts in Tennessee and North Carolina. The park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The park contains some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, including Clingmans Dome, Mount Guyot, and Mount Le Conte. The border between the two states runs northeast to southwest through the center of the park. The Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park on its route from Georgia to Maine. With 12.5 million visitors in 2019, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.
The park encompasses 522,419 acres (816.28 sq mi; 211,415.47 ha; 2,114.15 km2), making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. The main park entrances are located along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) in the town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina, and in Townsend, Tennessee. The park is internationally recognized for its mountains, waterfalls, biodiversity, and spruce-fir forests. In addition, the park also preserves multiple historical structures that were part of communities occupied by early settlers of the area.
The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934 and officially dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The Great Smoky Mountains was the first national park whose land and other costs were paid for in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds. The park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and an International Biosphere Reserve in 1988.
As the most visited national park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park anchors a large tourism industry based in Sevier County, Tennessee adjacent to the park. Major attractions include Dollywood, the second most visited tourist attraction in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg, and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Tourism to the park contributes an estimated $2.5 billion annually into the local economy.
Biltmore Estate is a historic house museum and tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House, the main residence, is a Châteauesque-style mansion built for George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States, at 178,926 square feet (16,622.8 m2) of floor space (135,280 square feet of living area). Still owned by George Vanderbilt's descendants, it remains one of the most prominent examples of Gilded Age mansions.
In the 1880s, at the height of the Gilded Age, George Washington Vanderbilt II began to make regular visits with his mother, Maria Louisa Kissam Vanderbilt, to the Asheville area. He loved the scenery and climate so much that he decided to build his own summer house in the area, which he called his "little mountain escape". His older brothers and sisters had built luxurious summer houses in places such as Newport, Rhode Island, and Hyde Park, New York.
Vanderbilt named his estate Biltmore, combining De Bilt (his ancestors' place of origin in the Netherlands) with more (mōr, Anglo-Saxon for "moor", an open, rolling land). Vanderbilt bought almost 700 parcels of land, including over 50 farms and at least five cemeteries; a portion of the estate was once the community of Shiloh. A spokesperson for the estate said in 2017 that archives show much of the land "was in very poor condition, and many of the farmers and other landowners were glad to sell."
Construction of the house began in 1889. In order to facilitate such a large project, a woodworking factory and brick kiln, which produced 32,000 bricks a day, were built onsite, and a three-mile railroad spur was constructed to bring materials to the building site. Construction on the main house required the labor of about 1,000 workers and 60 stonemasons. Vanderbilt went on extensive trips overseas to purchase decor as construction on the house was in progress. He returned to North Carolina with thousands of furnishings for his newly built home including tapestries, hundreds of carpets, prints, linens, and decorative objects, all dating between the 15th century and the late 19th century. Among the few American-made items were the more practical oak drop-front desk, rocking chairs, a walnut grand piano, bronze candlesticks and a wicker wastebasket.
George Vanderbilt opened his estate on Christmas Eve of 1895 to invited family and friends from across the country, who were encouraged to enjoy leisure and country pursuits. Notable guests to the estate over the years included author Edith Wharton, novelist Henry James, ambassadors Joseph Hodges Choate and Larz Anderson, and U.S. presidents.
Who was George Washington Vanderbilt II?
George Washington Vanderbilt II (November 14, 1862 – March 6, 1914) was an art collector and member of the prominent Vanderbilt family, which made a huge fortune through steamboats, railroads, and various business enterprises. He built Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in the United States.
Location: Colorado, United States
Elevation: 14,115 feet (4,302 m)
Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in North America. The ultra-prominent 14,115-foot (4,302.31 m) fourteener is located in Pike National Forest, 12 miles (19 km) west of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. The mountain is named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike (though he was unable to reach the summit). The summit is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude.
Location: Colorado, United States
Top elevation: 11,570 ft (3,527 m)
Base elevation: 8,120 feet (2,470 m)
Vertical: 3,450 feet (1,050 m)
Skiable area: 5,317 acres (21.52 km2)
Oskar Schindler Factory
Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party. He is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories. He is the subject of the 1982 novel Schindler's Ark and its 1993 film adaptation, Schindler's List, which reflected his life as an opportunist initially motivated by profit, who came to show extraordinary initiative, tenacity, courage, and dedication to save the lives of his Jewish employees.
Schindler grew up in Zwittau, Moravia, and worked in several trades until he joined the Abwehr, the military intelligence service of Nazi Germany, in 1936. He joined the Nazi Party in 1939.
Prior to the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, he collected information on railways and troop movements for the German government. He was arrested for espionage by the Czechoslovak government but was released under the terms of the Munich Agreement in 1938. Schindler continued to collect information for the Nazis, working in Poland in 1939 before the invasion of Poland at the start of World War II.
In 1939, Schindler acquired an enamelware factory in Kraków, Poland, which employed at the factory's peak in 1944 about 1,750 workers, of whom 1,000 were Jews. His Abwehr connections helped Schindler protect his Jewish workers from deportation and death in the Nazi concentration camps. As time went on, Schindler had to give Nazi officials ever larger bribes and gifts of luxury items obtainable only on the black market to keep his workers safe.
By July 1944, Germany was losing the war; the SS began closing down the easternmost concentration camps and deporting the remaining prisoners westward. Many were murdered in Auschwitz and the Gross-Rosen concentration camp.
Schindler convinced SS-Hauptsturmführer Amon Göth, commandant of the nearby Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp, to allow him to move his factory to Brněnec in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, thus sparing his workers from almost certain death in the gas chambers. Using names provided by Jewish Ghetto Police officer Marcel Goldberg, Göth's secretary Mietek Pemper compiled and typed the list of 1,200 Jews who travelled to Brünnlitz in October 1944.
Schindler continued to bribe SS officials to prevent the execution of his workers until the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945, by which time he had spent his entire fortune on bribes and black market purchases of supplies for his workers.
Schindler moved to West Germany after the war, where he was supported by assistance payments from Jewish relief organisations. After receiving a partial reimbursement for his wartime expenses, he moved with his wife Emilie to Argentina, where they took up farming.
When he went bankrupt in 1958, Schindler left his wife and returned to Germany, where he failed at several business ventures and relied on financial support from Schindlerjuden ("Schindler Jews")—the people whose lives he had saved during the war.
He died on 9 October 1974 in Hildesheim, Germany, and was buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion, the only former member of the Nazi Party to be honoured in this way. He and his wife Emilie were named Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government in 1993.
The Roman Forum (Foro Romano) is located in Rome, Italy. It was an open-air location in the heart of the ancient city where many events took place - including political, religious, important meetings, criminal trials, buying and selling of goods, gladiator fights, and social activities. The Forum opened about 500 BC around the time that the Roman Republic was founded.
The area is rectangular in shape and is situated between Capitoline Hill and Palatine Hill which was where many of the ancient city’s magnificent monuments and significant temples were. The Forum was beloved by the ruler Julius Caesar who took a great interest in it. During his time, it was improved and expanded. Arches, statues, basilicas, and other artistic touches and architectural buildings were added.
Over 4.5 million visitors come to see the Roman Forum each year, making it one of the most popular destinations in the country of Italy.
The Forum was in use for about 1400 years. It wasn't until the Roman Empire fell that it became abandoned. It wasn't until 1803 when it was rediscovered again.
It took over 100 years to fully excavate the Forum.
The Romans would build new structures on top of old ruins. Archeologists have been able to uncover many centuries of remains because of this.
Rome was founded by Romulus after he killed his twin brother Remus. It is believed that Romulus is buried within the Roman Forum. His grave is marked by a large piece of black marble.
Stonehenge is a Neolithic monument located in Wiltshire, England. It is made up of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet high and 7 feet wide. The stones weigh more than 25 tons. Stonehenge is one of many features of this area. There are several burial mounds surrounding the site. Similar to other prehistoric monuments of the Neolithic and Bronze Age, there are many questions and quite a bit of mystery surrounding the structure.
Archeologists differ on when they believe the structure was built, some dating as far back as 3100 BC. Researchers also differ as to what Stonehenge was used for, some believing it was used as a burial ground, a place of healing, an astronomical observatory, a religious site, and even a mortuary for those who would later be buried in the area. More mystery surrounds how these prehistoric cultures would have had the technology and ability to move the massive bluestones that make up the structure. These stones would have been moved from a quarry several miles away and then lifted into place without the help of wheels and pulley systems that had not been invented yet.
Stonehenge is deeply rooted into English history and culture. In the 12th century, author Geoffrey of Monmouth included it in his The History of the Kings of Britain, a fanciful tale in which the wizard Merlin builds Stonehenge. J.M.W. Turner, one of the most famous landscape artists of the Romantic period, depicted Stonehenge in his paintings, helping to make the sight more popular. Today, more than 1.3 million people visit the site each year.
Location: Colorado, United States
Top elevation: 12,998 feet (3,962 m)
Base elevation: 9,600 feet (2,900 m)
Vertical: 3,398 feet (1,036 m)
Skiable area: 2,908 acres (11.77 km2)
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 10,750ft (3,280m)
Base elevation: 8,755ft (2,669m)
Vertical: 1,750ft (530m)
The White House, in America’s capital city of Washington D.C., is the home and office of the President of the United States. It has been the home of every president since 1800, so the first president, George Washington, did not live there. George Washington did not know what kind of house should be built for the president, so Thomas Jefferson suggested a contest. The contest was advertised in newspapers around the country, and George Washington picked a simple but classic design by an Irish man named James Hoban. The crews started building in 1792 and it took 8 years to finish. John Adams, and the first lady Abigail, moved into the house in 1800. Because the house is made of sandstone, it wasn’t white yet, but was a grey color instead.
During the War of 1812, the White House was burned by the English. James Madison and the first lady Dolly Madison were living in the White House then. When British troops got close to Washington D.C., Dolly called for a horse-drawn carriage to take them all to safety, but not until the painting of George Washington was saved from the White House. Today, the painting of George Washington is the only item that has been in the White House since it opened. When the War was over, crews painted the house white to cover the burned parts, and people started calling it the White House. President Theodore Roosevelt officially named the home The White House in 1901. It takes 570 gallons of paint to cover the whole building and the color is called “Whisper White”. In 1992, a renovation was done and 32 layers of paint were removed!
Every president has decorated the White House a little differently, adding things that they like. There’s a bowling alley, a movie theater, a running track, a tennis court, a swimming pool, a golfing green, and many other fun activities for the President and his family to enjoy when they aren’t working.
The White House is one of the most popular places to visit in the country. More than 30,000 people visit the White House every week!
Photo by mmarchin
Fort Pillow State Historic Park
Fort Pillow State Historic Park is a state park in western Tennessee that preserves the American Civil War site of the Battle of Fort Pillow. The 1,642 acre (6.6 km²) Fort Pillow, located in Lauderdale County on the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, is rich in both historic and archaeological significance. In 1861, the Confederate army built extensive fortifications and named the site for General Gideon Johnson Pillow of Maury County. It was attacked and held by the Union Army for most of the American Civil War period except immediately after the Battle of Fort Pillow, when it was retaken by the Confederate Army.
The Battle of Fort Pillow
The Union Army attacked and captured Fort Pillow to secure its strategic location on the Mississippi River. On June 4, 1862, Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow, enabling Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee. They would hold the fort until 1864.
The Confederate States Army defeated the Union troops at the Battle of Fort Pillow (April 1864), resulting in the massacre of 229 of the 262 black Union soldiers engaged in the battle. The white Union soldiers numbered 285. Confederate and Union witness accounts attest that some 300 soldiers were gunned down by the Confederate forces. The Confederate refusal to treat these soldiers as traditional POWs infuriated the North, and led to the Union’s refusal to participate in prisoner exchanges.
An examination of regimental records showed that "less than 36 percent of the men from white units died in battle or of wounds, while the death toll for black units was 66 percent."
A Confederate wrote in a letter home that "Forrest ordered them [negroes] shot down like dogs, and the carnage continued." In addition to regimental records, contemporary accounts by troops on both sides, as well as journalists, describe it as appalling slaughter. Within about three weeks, as political controversy grew, Confederates began to dispute accounts of a massacre. Union survivors’ accounts, later supported by a federal investigation, concluded that African-American troops were massacred by Forrest’s men after surrendering. Forrest, himself, claimed that he and his troops had done nothing wrong and that the Union men were killed because Bradford had refused to surrender. Controversy over the battle continues today.
"Remember Fort Pillow!" became a battle cry among black Union soldiers for the remainder of the Civil War. While the Union casualty count for the battle does not indicate that the Confederate forces took many prisoners, Confederate records show about 200 prisoners were shipped south.
In 1866, the Union Army created a cemetery for both Confederate and Union soldiers south of the battle site. In 1867, they moved about 250 bodies of Confederate and Union soldiers from that cemetery to the Memphis National Cemetery.
Granary Burying Ground
The Granary Burying Ground is the 3rd oldest cemetery in Boston. Established in 1660, there are over 2300 grave markers and about 5000 people buried here.
Some of the people buried here include:
- John Hancock
- Paul Revere
- Samuel Adams
- Robert Treat Paine
- James Otis
- Benjamin Franklin’s parents
- The 5 victims of the Boston Massacre
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Robert Treat Paine all signed the Declaration of Independence. James Otis, an early supporter of the Patriots, coined the phrase “Taxation without Representation is tyranny.”
The Puritan Churches did not believe in religious icons or imagery. It was only when someone died when they would show their beliefs about the afterlife through carvings on the gravestones. As you look around you will still see these carvings on the stones today.
Livestock grazing on Boston Common was used to cut the grass. The headstones where later reorganized into rows during the Victorian era to make it easier to cut the grass using modern technology - the lawn mower.
Castillo de San Marcos
The Castillo de San Marcos (Spanish for "St. Mark's Castle") is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States; it is located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida. The Castillo was designed by the Spanish engineer Ignacio Daza, with construction beginning in 1672, 107 years after the city's founding by Spanish Admiral and conquistador Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. The fort's construction was ordered by Governor Francisco de la Guerra y de la Vega after a raid by the English privateer Robert Searles in 1668 that destroyed much of St. Augustine and damaged the existing wooden fort. Work proceeded under the administration of Guerra's successor, Manuel de Cendoya in 1671, and the first coquina stones were laid in 1672. The construction of the core of the current fortress was completed in 1695, though it would undergo many alterations and renovations over the centuries.
When Britain gained control of Florida in 1763 pursuant to the Treaty of Paris, St. Augustine became the capital of British East Florida, and the fort was renamed Fort St. Mark until the Peace of Paris (1783) when Florida was transferred back to Spain and the fort's original name restored. In 1819, Spain signed the Adams–Onís Treaty which ceded Florida to the United States in 1821; consequently the fort was designated a United States Army base and renamed Fort Marion, in honor of American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion. The fort was declared a National Monument in 1924, and after 251 years of continuous military possession, was deactivated in 1933. The 20.48-acre (8.29 ha) site was subsequently turned over to the United States National Park Service. In 1942 the original name, Castillo de San Marcos, was restored by an Act of Congress.
Castillo de San Marcos was attacked several times and twice besieged: first by English colonial forces led by Carolina Colony Governor James Moore in 1702, and then by English Georgia colonial Governor James Oglethorpe in 1740, but was never taken by force. However, possession of the fort has changed six times, all peaceful, among four different governments: Spain, 1695–1763 and 1783–1821, Kingdom of Great Britain, 1763–1783, and the United States of America, 1821–date (during 1861–1865, under control of the Confederate States of America).
Under United States control the fort was used as a military prison to incarcerate members of Native American tribes starting with the Seminole—including the famous war chief, Osceola, in the Second Seminole War—and members of western tribes, including Geronimo's band of Chiricahua Apache. The Native American art form known as Ledger Art had its origins at the fort during the imprisonment of members of the Plains tribes such as Howling Wolf of the southern Cheyenne.
Ownership of the Castillo was transferred to the National Park Service in 1933, and it has been a popular tourist destination since then.
Christ Church Burial Ground
Christ Church Burial Ground is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is an early-American cemetery that is also the final resting ground of Benjamin Franklin and his wife, Deborah. Christ Church cemetery belongs to Christ Church, an Episcopal church, located in downtown Philadelphia. Christ Church was founded in 1695 and in the time before and during the American Revolutionary War was the church where many famous participants of the war effort practiced their faith, including George Washington.
Another prominent name in American history buried in Christ Church burial ground is Benjamin Rush. Not only was Benjamin Rush a signer of Declaration of Independence, he is also considered to be the father of American Psychiatry”. In 1773, Dr. Rush also founded Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Also buried there is Commodore William Bainbridge, who became very well known during the War of 1812 as the captain of “Old Ironsides”, the USS Constitution.
Today Christ Church is available for visitors to Philadelphia to go and see for a small fee. The burial site of Benjamin Franklin is visible from the street. One of the most popular things to do when visiting Benjamin Franklin’s grave site is to leave pennies.
Photo by angela n.
One of the top attractions in Paris, the Louvre is the largest, and arguably most impressive, art museum in the world. Its collection was first established in the 16th-century, as the private collection of King Francis I. One of his works was the famous Mona Lisa painting.
The Louvre became a national art museum, opened to the public in 1793, set within a huge palace that was constructed at the site of a 12th-century fortress. It showcases works spanning from ancient civilizations to the mid-1800s in a massive 675,000-square-foot space. The most popular works, the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory, are just three among 35,000 pieces, with all sorts of fantastic surprises to discover in room after room. Discover these and many more with the institution hosting some of most coveted treasures around the globe in its three wings, the Denon, the Sully and the Richelieu, arranged in a horseshoe shape. Tucked into the middle is a giant glass pyramid surrounded by three small pyramids known as the I.M. Pei’s Pyramide.
A 90-minute tour provides a great way to navigate the museum’s highlights, including top works and the medieval moat, with expert guides that provide fascinating insight into the palace’s history and its most impressive places. They’re offered in English multiple times daily, bringing more structure to a visit to help you get the most out of your time.
Juno Beach was one of five beaches of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France on 6 June 1944 during the Second World War. The beach spanned from Courseulles, a village just east of the British beach Gold, to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, and just west of the British beach Sword.
Taking Juno was the responsibility of the Canadian Army, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided by the Royal Canadian Navy and the British Royal Navy as well as elements from the Free French, Norwegian, and other Allied navies. The objectives of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division on D-Day were to cut the Caen-Bayeux road, seize the Carpiquet airport west of Caen, and form a link between the two British beaches on either side.
The beach was defended by the German 716th Infantry Division, with elements of the 21st Panzer Division held in reserve near Caen.
The invasion plan called for the 3rd Canadian Division to land on two beach sectors. It was hoped that the earlier naval and air bombardments would soften up the beach defences and destroy coastal strong points. Close support on the beaches was to be provided by amphibious tanks of the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and specialized armoured vehicles of the 79th Armoured Division of the United Kingdom.
The landings initially encountered heavy resistance from the German 716th Division; the preliminary bombardment proved less effective than had been hoped, and rough weather forced the first wave to be delayed. Several assault companies—notably those of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles and The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada—took heavy casualties in the opening minutes of the first wave. Strength of numbers, coordinated fire support from artillery, and armoured squadrons cleared most of the coastal defences within two hours of landing. The reserves of the 7th and 8th brigades began deploying at 08:30 (along with the Royal Marines), while the 9th Brigade began its deployment at 11:40.
The subsequent push inland towards Carpiquet and the Caen–Bayeux railway line achieved mixed results. The sheer numbers of men and vehicles on the beaches created lengthy delays between the landing of the 9th Brigade and the beginning of substantive attacks to the south. The 7th Brigade encountered heavy initial opposition before pushing south and making contact with the British 50th Division at Creully. The 8th Brigade encountered heavy resistance from a battalion of the 716th at Tailleville, while the 9th Brigade deployed towards Carpiquet early in the evening. Resistance in Saint-Aubin prevented the Royal Marines from establishing contact with the British 3rd Division on Sword.
By the time all operations on the Anglo-Canadian front were ordered to halt at 21:00, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada had reached its D-Day objective and the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division had succeeded in pushing farther inland than any other landing force on D-Day.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
The Battle of Bunker Hill is one of the most famous battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is also known as the Battle of Breed’s Hill. During the war, the British colonies in America fought against the British Crown for their independence and the right to rule themselves. The American Revolution started in 1775 and didn’t end until 1783. The Battle of Bunker Hill took place in June of 1775, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Today, Charlestown is part of Boston. The Battle of Bunker Hill was part of the Siege of Boston, which took place early in the Revolutionary War.
The British won the Battle of Bunker Hill but they had more casualties than the Americans. The battle showed the British that the new American Army, made up of the colonists, was much stronger than they had originally thought. Even though the Continental Army lost the Battle of Bunker Hill, the number of casualties they caused to the British Army, and the way the British Army was unable to fight back, gave the Americans a big confidence boost. General George Washington took over the command of the Continental Army two weeks later and brought with him enough cannon and heavy guns to drive the British out of Boston in March of 1776.
One of the American men who died in the Battle of Bunker Hill was General Joseph Warren. He was a doctor who was very good friends with Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. Just three days before the Battle of Bunker Hill, Joseph Warren was given the job of Major General. He died during the battle, just a few days after his 34th birthday. His death was a very sad moment for all those fighting in the American Revolution, but it helped to inspire the soldiers to fight even harder.
Pointe du Hoc
Pointe du Hoc lies 4 mi (6.4 km) west of the center of Omaha Beach. During World War II it was the highest point between the American sector landings at Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east. The German army fortified the area with concrete casemates and gun pits. On D-Day, the United States Army Ranger Assault Group attacked and captured Pointe du Hoc after scaling the cliffs.
The assault force was carried in ten landing craft, with another two carrying supplies and four DUKW amphibious trucks carrying the 100-foot (30 m) ladders requisitioned from the London Fire Brigade. One landing craft carrying troops sank, drowning all but one of its occupants; another was swamped. One supply craft sank and the other put the stores overboard to stay afloat. German fire sank one of the DUKWs.
These initial setbacks resulted in a 40-minute delay in landing at the base of the cliffs, but British landing craft carrying the Rangers finally reached the base of the cliffs at 7:10 am with approximately half the force it started out with.
The landing craft were fitted with rocket launchers to fire grapnels and ropes up the cliffs. As the Rangers scaled the cliffs, the Allied ships USS Texas (BB-35), USS Satterlee (DD-626), USS Ellyson (DD454), and HMS Talybont (L18) provided them with fire support and ensured that the German defenders above could not fire down on the assaulting troops. The cliffs proved to be higher than the ladders could reach.
The original plans called for an additional, larger Ranger force of eight companies (Companies A and B of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the entire 5th Ranger Battalion) to follow the first attack, if successful. Flares from the cliff tops were to signal this second wave to join the attack, but because of the delayed landing, the signal came too late, and the other Rangers landed on Omaha instead of Pointe du Hoc.
When the Rangers made it to the top at Pointe du Hoc, they had sustained 15 casualties. The force also found that their radios were ineffective. Upon reaching the fortifications, most of the Rangers learned for the first time that the main objective of the assault, the artillery battery, had been removed. The Rangers regrouped at the top of the cliffs, and a small patrol went off in search of the guns. Two different patrols found five of the six guns nearby (the sixth was being fixed elsewhere) and destroyed their firing mechanisms with thermite grenades.
Multiple copies of the Rangers orders were released in 2012 by the US National Archives, indicating that Lt. Col. Rudder had been told of the guns' removal prior to landing. His D-Day orders went beyond the taking of Pointe du Hoc and remained consistent: Land at Pointe du Hoc & Omaha Beach; advance along the coast; take the town of Grandcamp, attack the Maisy Batteries and reach the "D-Day Phase Line" (close to Osmanville) two hours before dark. The Rangers could then repel counterattacks along the Grandcamp-Vierville road, via the Isigny-Bayeux road or diagonally across open fields. They could also prevent mobile 150mm artillery getting within a 12-mile range of the beachhead.
Omaha Beach, was the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, during World War II. "Omaha" refers to an 8-kilometer (5 mi) section of the coast of Normandy, France, facing the English Channel, from east of Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes to west of Vierville-sur-Mer on the right bank of the Douve River estuary.
Landings here were necessary to link the British landings to the east at Gold with the American landing to the west at Utah, thus providing a continuous lodgement on the Normandy coast of the Bay of the Seine. Taking Omaha was the responsibility of United States Army troops, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided predominantly by the United States Navy and Coast Guard, with contributions from the British, Canadian and Free French navies.
The primary objective at Omaha was to secure a beachhead. The untested American 29th Infantry Division, along with nine companies of U.S. Army Rangers, assaulted the western half of the beach. The battle-hardened 1st Infantry Division was given the eastern half.
Opposing the landings was the German 352nd Infantry Division. Of its 12,020 men, 6,800 were experienced combat troops, detailed to defend a 53-kilometer (33 mi) front. The German strategy was based on defeating any seaborne assault at the water line, and the defenses were mainly deployed in strongpoints along the coast.
The Allied plan called for the initial assault waves of tanks, infantry, and combat engineer forces to reduce the coastal defenses, allowing larger ships to land in follow-up waves. But very little went as planned. Difficulties in navigation caused most of the landing craft to miss their targets throughout the day. The defenses were unexpectedly strong, and inflicted heavy casualties on landing U.S. troops. Under heavy fire, the engineers struggled to clear the beach obstacles; later landings bunched up around the few channels that were cleared.
Weakened by the casualties taken just in landing, the surviving assault troops could not clear the heavily defended exits off the beach. This caused further problems and delays for later landings. Small penetrations were eventually achieved by groups of survivors making improvised assaults, scaling the bluffs between the most heavily defended points.
By the end of the day, two small isolated footholds had been won, which were subsequently exploited against weaker defenses further inland, achieving the original D-Day objectives over the following days.
Location: Colorado, United States
Top elevation: 12,170 feet (3,710 m)
Base elevation: 9,115 feet (2,778 m)
Vertical: 3,055 ft (931 m)
Skiable area: 1,547 acres (6.26 km2)
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce Canyon National Park is much smaller, and sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m).
The Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon was originally designated as a national monument by President Warren G. Harding in 1923 and was redesignated as a national park by Congress in 1928. The park covers 35,835 acres (55.992 sq mi; 14,502 ha; 145.02 km2) and receives substantially fewer visitors than Zion National Park or Grand Canyon National Park, largely due to Bryce's more remote location.
Fort McHenry is a historical American coastal pentagonal bastion fort on Locust Point, now a neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland. It is best known for its role in the War of 1812, when it successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from an attack by the British navy from the Chesapeake Bay on September 13–14, 1814. It was first built in 1798 and was used continuously by the U.S. armed forces through World War I and by the Coast Guard in World War II. It was designated a national park in 1925, and in 1939 was redesignated a "National Monument and Historic Shrine".
During the War of 1812 an American storm flag, 17 by 25 feet (5.2 m × 7.6 m), was flown over Fort McHenry during the bombardment. It was replaced early on the morning of September 14, 1814 with a larger American garrison flag, 30 by 42 feet (9.1 m × 12.8 m). The larger flag signaled American victory over the British in the Battle of Baltimore. The sight of the ensign inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem "Defence of Fort M'Henry" that was later set to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" and became known as "The Star Spangled Banner", the national anthem of the United States.
Bletchley Park is an English country house and estate in Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire) that became the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. The mansion was constructed during the years following 1883 for the financier and politician Sir Herbert Leon in the Victorian Gothic, Tudor, and Dutch Baroque styles, on the site of older buildings of the same name.
During World War II, the estate housed the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. Some of the more notable codebreakers included Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander, Bill Tutte, Joan Clarke, and Stuart Milner-Barry. The nature of the work there was secret until many years after the war.
According to the official historian of British Intelligence, the "Ultra" intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain. The team at Bletchley Park devised automatic machinery to help with decryption, culminating in the development of Colossus, the world's first programmable digital electronic computer. At its peak, nearly 10,000 personnel were working at Bletchley and its outstations. About three-quarters of them were women. Codebreaking operations at Bletchley Park came to an end in 1946 and all information about the wartime operations was classified until the mid-1970s.
Bletchley Park is open to the public and houses interpretive exhibits and rebuilt huts as they would have appeared during their wartime operations. The separate National Museum of Computing, which includes a working replica Bombe machine and a rebuilt Colossus computer, is housed in Block H on the site.
Old South Meeting House
The Old South Meeting House was built in 1729. It was used as a church and meeting point by the people of Boston. Its large size made it an ideal location for the massive public protests that took place from 1768 to 1775. There, Patriots and Loyalist would argue and debate the rules and regulations passed by the British Parliament.
On December 16, 1773 the Old South Meeting House was the location where over 5000 people came to protest British taxation. The protest didn't go well and people began to leave to further protest in the streets. A large group of people, led by the Sons of Liberty, left the meeting house and went down to the harbor where they dumped chests full of tea into the water. This event would come to be known as the Boston Tea Party.
In 1775, the British occupied the building to prevent any more large gatherings. They gutted the building and filled the inside with dirt so they could practice horse riding.
After the British evacuated Boston, Thomas Dawes created a plan to rebuild its interior. Unfortunately, a lot of the original artifacts were lost and destroyed by the British army.
In 1872, the meeting hall was almost destroyed by the Great Boston Fire. It was saved just in time by the arrival of a fire engine from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The congregation built a new church after the fire called Old South Church located in Copley Square. They still return once each year to the Old South Meeting House for services on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
The congregation had many famous members including:
- Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American female poet
- Samuel Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States
- William Otis, inventor of the steam shovel
- William Dawes, one of several men, including Paul Revere, to warn the colonists of the approaching British army
- Benjamin Franklin when he was a little boy
The Vatican is located in Rome, but it’s an independent state governed as an absolute monarch with the pope as the head of what is the world’s smallest country. Encircled with a two-mile border, it has its own militia to protect the pope, as well as 800 full-time citizens and temporary residents. Covering just over 100 acres, it’s only about one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York City. The name Vatican City was taken from Vatican Hill, first used in the Lateran Treaty which was signed in 1929 to establish the modern city-state. Within the Vatican are a number of cultural and religious sites, including the stunning St. Peter’s Basilica that was built upon an earlier 4th-century church, completed in 1626 after 120 years of construction. It also hosts the Vatican Museums, a massive complex of museums and galleries showcasing elaborate frescoes, paintings, sculptures, classical antiquities and tapestries, as well as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The chapel is famous for its frescoes which include works by Botticelli, Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, along with the ceiling and Last Judgment by Michelangelo. The Vatican is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, added in 1984. It remains the only one that is made up of an entire state. It prints its own stamps, mints its own euros, issues passports, and has its own anthem and flag. There is no taxation as souvenir sales, stamps and museum admission fees generate the Vatican’s revenue.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular. While it represents many types of biomes, the subalpine forest is the most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion.
Although Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years, aside from visits by mountain men during the early-to-mid-19th century, organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s. Management and control of the park originally fell under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of the Interior. However, the U.S. Army was eventually commissioned to oversee management of Yellowstone for a 30-year period between 1886 and 1916. In 1917, administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which had been created the previous year. Hundreds of structures have been built and are protected for their architectural and historical significance, and researchers have examined more than a thousand archaeological sites.
Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles (8,983 km2), comprising lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered a dormant volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years. Half of the world's geysers and hydrothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism. Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone. In 1978, Yellowstone was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have been documented, including several that are either endangered or threatened. The vast forests and grasslands also include unique species of plants. Yellowstone Park is the largest and most famous megafauna location in the contiguous United States. Grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk live in this park. The Yellowstone Park bison herd is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States. Forest fires occur in the park each year; in the large forest fires of 1988, nearly one third of the park was burnt. Yellowstone has numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, boating, fishing, and sightseeing. Paved roads provide close access to the major geothermal areas as well as some of the lakes and waterfalls. During the winter, visitors often access the park by way of guided tours that use either snow coaches or snowmobiles.
The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot monument in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch, it is the world's tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri's tallest accessible building. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and officially dedicated to "the American people," the Arch, commonly referred to as "The Gateway to the West" is the centerpiece of Gateway Arch National Park and has become an internationally recognized symbol of St. Louis, as well as a popular tourist destination.
The Arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947; construction began on February 12, 1963 and was completed on October 28, 1965 at an overall cost of $13 million. The monument opened to the public on June 10, 1967.
Caernarfon Castle is a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, north-west Wales cared for by Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environment service. It was a motte-and-bailey castle from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began to replace 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, and the Roman fort of Segontium is nearby.
While the castle was under construction, town walls were built around Caernarfon. The work cost between £20,000 and £25,000 from the start until the work ended in 1330. Although the castle appears mostly complete from the outside, the interior buildings no longer survive and many of the building plans were never finished.
The town and castle were sacked in 1294 when Madog ap Llywelyn led a rebellion against the English. Caernarfon was recaptured the following year. During the Glyndŵr Rising of 1400–1415, the castle was besieged. When the Tudor dynasty ascended to the English throne in 1485, tensions between the Welsh and English began to diminish and castles were considered less important. As a result, Caernarfon Castle was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Despite its dilapidated condition, during the English Civil War Caernarfon Castle was held by Royalists, and was besieged three times by Parliamentarian forces. This was the last time the castle was used in war.
The castle was neglected until the 19th century when the state funded repairs. The castle was used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1911 and again in 1969. It is part of the World Heritage Site "Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd".
The oldest bridge in Florence, Ponte Vecchio opened in 1345 and countless visitors continue to cross it today. A timeless symbol of the city, the original Roman crossing stood here as the only bridge over the Arno River until 1218, with the current bridge rebuilt following a flood. While we know that the bridge was constructed as part of a system of defense, it’s a mystery as to who designed it, though evidence points to Dominican friars, who had an excellent sense of harmony, proportion and use of numbers.
It’s easy to imagine the early residents of Florence bustling about Ponte Vecchio, with shops here since the 13th century, from fishmongers and tanners to butchers. The latter once tossed foul-smelling waste right into the river, causing a stench that led Ferdinand I to decree in 1583 that only jewelers and goldsmiths could have shops on the bridge.
Remarkably, Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s only bridge that managed to survive World War II, with all the others bombed and destroyed. Today, it’s a lively spot packed with tourists. By arriving just before dawn, you can enjoy serene magical views of the river and a colorful sunrise without the crowds. After dark, the shops’ wooden shutters create a look of wooden chests and suitcases that make it especially inviting for an evening stroll. Another perspective can be enjoyed underneath, through the occasional concert, theater presentations and boat rides.
Benito Mussolini changed the three windows in the center of the bridge to one large window in 1939 so Adolf Hitler could admire the view during his visit. This may have saved the bridge from demolition during World War II. When the Germans retreated, they destroyed all the nearby bridges. Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed. Instead, only the buildings at the ends were knocked down to block the path of Allied forces.
The bronze statue found on the bridge is of Benvenuto Cellini. He was a master goldsmith and artist from Florence. The statue was put up in 1901 to celebrate his 400th birthday.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is an American national park in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 748,436 acres (1,169 sq mi; 3,029 km2) and sits in four counties: centered in Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.
On average, about four million people visit Yosemite each year, and most spend the majority of their time in the seven square miles (18 km2) of Yosemite Valley. The park set a visitation record in 2016, surpassing five million visitors for the first time in its history. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development, ultimately leading to President Abraham Lincoln's signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864. John Muir led a successful movement to have Congress establish a larger national park by 1890, one which encompassed the valley and its surrounding mountains and forests, paving the way for the National Park System.
Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral and oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% are within Yosemite. The park contains suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plants, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy.
The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granitic rocks and remnants of older rock. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in the formation of deep, narrow canyons. About one million years ago, snow and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet (1,200 m) during the early glacial episode. The downslope movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors to its scenic vistas today.
Walden Pond is a lake in Concord, Massachusetts, in the United States. A famous example of a kettle hole, it was formed by retreating glaciers 10,000–12,000 years ago. The pond is protected as part of Walden Pond State Reservation, a 335-acre (136 ha) state park and recreation site managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. The reservation was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 for its association with the writer Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), whose two years living in a cabin on its shore provided the foundation for his famous 1854 work, Walden; or, Life in the Woods. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 ensured federal support for the preservation of the pond.
Henry David Thoreau
The writer, transcendentalist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau lived on the northern shore of the pond for two years starting in the summer of 1845. Thoreau was inspired by former enslaved woman Zilpah White, who lived in a one-room house on the common land that bordered Walden Road and made a living spinning flax into linen fibers. White's ability to provide for herself at a time when few if any other Concord women lived alone was a great accomplishment.
Thoreau's account of his experience at the pond was recorded in Walden; or, Life in the Woods, and made the pond famous. The land at that end was owned by Thoreau's friend and mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who let Thoreau use it for his experiment. Thoreau is credited with encouraging a respect for nature at an environmentally degraded site. The Concord Museum contains the bed, chair, and desk from Thoreau's cabin.
While living in Walden Woods for two years beginning in 1845, Henry David Thoreau contemplated Walden Pond's features. In "The Ponds" section of Walden, published in 1854, Thoreau praises the water's physical properties. He details its unparalleled water quality; its clarity, color, and temperature; its unique animal life (aquatic, bird, and mammal); its rock formations and bed; and especially, its mirror-like surface properties.
During the winter of his stay at Walden Pond's shore, for sixteen days a large group of men decamped from a train to cut ice from Walden Pond. In his journal, Thoreau philosophized upon the wintry sight of the ice harvesters: "The sweltering inhabitants of Charleston and New Orleans, of Madras and Bombay and Calcutta, drink at my well ... The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges." It was well known at the time that ice shipped from Boston went to many ports, including India.
The Spainish Steps climb from its base at Piazza di Spagna to the church at the top, the Trinita dei Monti. Altogether, there are 135 steps.
Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi were the architects who built the stairway from 1723 to 1725. They were chosen because they won the right in a contest in 1717. The idea for the project was originally birthed in the 1580’s by Pope Gregory Xlll. It never came to pass until Sanctis and Specchi made it happen over 140 years later.
Piazza di Spagna at the base contains the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Longboat), built in 1627 to 1629. Legend has it that Pope Urban Vlll arranged for the fountain to be installed when he was inspired by a longboat after the Tiber flood.
On the right corner of the stairs is the house where John Keats, an English poet lived before he died in 1821. The former cardinal Lorenzo Cybo de Mari’s palace is a short ways on down.
At the stairway’s top ramp is the Pincian Hill where the Villa Medici is. A manger scene is displayed there at Christmastime.
Located in the Vatican Palace, the Sistine Chapel is a large 15th-century chapel where the Pope lives, and in which popes are chosen and crowned. One of the main attractions of the Vatican City, it serves as the pope’s own chapel, used for important ceremonies and masses, but it’s perhaps most famous for its remarkable fresco paintings by Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The ceiling is one of Michelangelo’s most famous works, created between 1508 and 1512, with the painter working from a high platform with his arms stretched over his head, brush in hand. When entering the chapel, you can almost see him working while he wipes sweat from his eyes, toiling year after year often in intense heat, breathing in the terrible smell from the wet plaster used to create the masterpiece he never really wanted to paint in the first place. The artist considered himself more of a sculptor, with no experience painting frescoes – in fact, it’s been said that when he painted, he essentially painted sculpture on his surfaces. As you gaze up at the chapel ceiling, it’s easy to see this was the case, with his monumental figures embodying both beauty and strength.
In 1509, Michelangelo described the physical toll the project took to his friend Giovanni da Pistoia. In a poem he wrote about his spine being “knotted” from bending himself over and that his stomach was “squashed” under his skin.
The Boston Tea Party
Over 200 years ago, before the United States of America became an independent nation, England ruled Massachusetts. British Parliament had recently passed the Tea Act to save the East India Company from going into Bankruptcy. The act would make tea cheaper for the colonies but it left a previous tax in place that only the colonists would have to pay.
To them, it was another example of how they were being taxed unfairly.
If they were going to be taxed, then they wanted representation within the British government.
Their frustration grew and so did the tension until one day that frustration led to a party, but not the kind you're used to. This party ended with 342 chest of tea being dumped into Boston Harbor and soon a war would follow.
It was December 16, 1773. Just a few weeks earlier the Sons of Liberty demanded that 3 ships carrying tea to Boston return home to England. If they were going to be taxed on the tea, then they didn't want it.
The governor of Massachusetts disagreed.
He had given the ships' captains 2 weeks to unload their cargo. Now, it was the final day of his demand. 5000 colonists piled into the Old South Meeting House to protest. As you can imagine, a meeting with this many angry people did not go well.
People began to leave the meeting hall to plan further protests. A group of 116 men - led by the Sons of Liberty - went down to the harbor where the 3 ships were docked.
They climbed on board and began unloading the tea...right into the water.
Afterwards, many of the men left the state to avoid punishment. The British Parliament, already frustrated with the colonists behavior, wanted to send a message. They shut down business in Boston and enacted several laws called the Intolerable Acts to show off their power and put an end to the colonial resistance.
It didn't work.
In fact, it made things worse.
The colonists viewed the acts as a violation against the rights of Massachusetts. Instead of complying with the new laws, the Constitutional Congress was created to protest them. A few months later, in April 1775, the American Revolution would begin...and from there, a new nation would soon be born.
After the Boston Tea Party, drinking tea became less popular. It was considered unpatriotic. Instead, people began to drink more coffee.
The names of the 3 ships were the Dartmouth, the Beaver, and the Eleanor.
The Tower Bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London. It is a suspension bridge that was constructed between 1886 and 1894. The Bridge connects the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Southwark. The Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic symbols of London and sometimes gets confused with the London Bridge, which is more than a half a mile upstream.
In 1877 a Special Bridge or Subway Committee was formed to find a solution to the Thames River crossing problem. Over 50 designs were submitted, and ultimately a Gothic Style bridge designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette was chosen. In 1885, an Act of Parliament authorized the construction of the bridge, which took more than 8 years to complete. Five different contractors worked on the project which employed 432 construction workers. In total, the cost was $1,184,000, more than $124 million today. The then Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII and his wife opened the bridge on June 20th of 1894.
In 2008 a renovation and facelift was announced which included stripping off the red, white, and blue paint from the 1970s down to bare metal. It was a large task to ensure the stripped paint would not fall into the Thames River. During the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the 5 Olympic rings were hung from the Tower Bridge. Today, more than 40,000 people (motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians) cross the bridge each day.
The Pantheon is considered the most well-preserved and important building from ancient Rome. It is remarkable that it stands in such glory today. Initially built in 27 BC, it was dedicated to Romulus, the mythological founder of Ancient Rome and as a temple to all gods, - the word Pantheon means “honor all Gods.”
After being damaged by fire, it was rebuilt by the Romans in 125 AD, making it nearly 1,900 years old. The ancient Pantheon boasts the world’s single largest unsupported dome, measuring 142 feet in diameter and height. When the great artist Michelangelo saw this wonder for the first time, he was said to have exclaimed that it looked “more like the work of angels, not humans.”
The structure was way ahead of its time, with the exact composition of the material still unknown, although it appears structurally similar to modern concrete. All we know for certain is that it was built in a way to withstand the ravages of time and has managed to survive barbarian raids, somehow remaining intact with its majestic splendor and grand beauty throughout the centuries.
With the rise in Christianity and abandonment of pagan gods, an altar was added in 609 AD, transforming it into a Christian church. It is still a church today, hosting mass on Saturday evenings, Sunday mornings and holy days.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, known as Sacré-Coeur, is the second most visited monument in the city. Sacré-Coeur sits on the summit of Montemarte, the highest point in the city. From here, you can see all of Paris. The view from the top of the dome is second only to the Eiffel Tower.
Sacré-Coeur was built between 1875 and 1914 by the architect Paul Abadie. Before its construction, this area had already been used as a place of worship for hundreds of years. The druids of ancient Gaul erected temples dedicated to Mercury and Mars. Later the Romans would build their own temples. The L'Eglise Saint-Pierre, was built nearby in the 12th century. It was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1789.
The Franco-Prussian War and the "Commune" Revolution in 1871 were two bloody battles between France and Germany and the Vatican. The French people built Sacré-Coeur as a symbol of penance for the violence they had caused. Unforunately this did not end the violence. Sacré-Coeur was completed in 1914, the same year World War I began.
The bell in Sacré-Coeur is called "Savoyarde". It was cast in the Alps in the commune of Quintal, near Annecy. It took 21 horses to deliver the bell to the top of the hill in 1895. It is one of the largest (3 meter diameter) and heaviest (19 tons) bells in the world. It can be heard from 10km away.
The white stone used to build the basilica is the same used for the Arc de Triomphe and the Alexandre III bridge. When the stone gets wet it releases calcite which cleans the stone and helps it keep its white color.
The two equestrian statues on the front of the basilica represnt Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis.
Horseshoe Falls is located along the Niagara River at the Canadian-Untied States border between Terrapin Point on Goat Island, part of New York, and Table Rock in Ontario. Horseshoe Falls, or Canadian Falls, is the largest of the three waterfalls that together make up Niagara Falls,. More than 90% of the water flow goes over Horseshoe Falls. The other 10% goes over American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
The border between Canada and the Untied States was made official in 1819 by the Treaty of Ghent that stated that the northeastern end of the Horseshoe Falls was to belong to New York while the other portion would belong to Ontario. At one point, Goat Island and Terrapin Rocks were connected by a series of bridges, but the area was filled in the 1950s and renamed Terrapin Point. This was done in order to divert water and create dams to force water away from Terrapin Point. Unfortunately, it destroyed around 400 feet of the Falls themselves.
At 167 feet high, the Canadian Falls is actually a rather small waterfall. By comparison, Angel Falls in Venezuela are the tallest in the world at 3,212 feet. The fact that Canadian Falls is the tallest of the three at Niagara is a tricky figure, because technically Bridal Veil and American Falls measure 176 and 188 feet high. However, American and Bridal Veil both have a large number of rocks at their base limiting their overall height. Each year, around 30 million people visit Niagara Falls as tourists.
B. Free Franklin Post Office
The B. Free Franklin Post Office and Museum is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the only colonial-themed post office still operated by the United States Postal Service. That’s because it is the oldest and original Post Office in the United States and founded by Benjamin Franklin when he served as Postmaster General. There are many strange things about this post office. It is the only one in the country that does not wave an American Flag because when the B. Free Franklin first opened they did not have a flag waving. The B. Free Franklin Post Office also does not have a Zip Code and it has many rules for those who work there! The post clerks who work in the B. Free Franklin Post Office have to wear Colonial-style clothing, and they aren’t allowed to use ballpoint pens. Instead, they have to use quills in inkwells.
The postmark "B. Free Franklin" is from when Ben Franklin was still the Postmaster General. Instead of using stamps, people wrote their names in the top corner of the envelopes. The people who received the letters at the time paid for the postage and not those who sent them. Ben Franklin used to sign his envelopes as B. Free Franklin as a way to protest British rule over the colonies.
If you go inside the B. Free Franklin Post Office today you will see may postal artifacts, including figurines and photographs.
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is a United States national park located in the State of Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula. The park has four regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west-side temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier east side. Within the park there are three distinct ecosystems, including subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific coast.
President Theodore Roosevelt originally designated the park as Mount Olympus National Monument on March 2, 1909. The monument was re-designated a national park by Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt on June 29, 1938. In 1976, Olympic National Park was designated by UNESCO as an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 as a World Heritage Site. In 1988, Congress designated 95 percent of the park as the Olympic Wilderness.
The park provides habitat for many species (like the Roosevelt elk) that are native only to the Pacific Northwest coast. As a result, scientists have declared it a biological reserve and study its unique species to better understand how plants and animals evolve. The park is home to black bears and black-tailed deer. The park also has a noteworthy cougar population, numbering about 150. Mountain goats were accidentally introduced into the park in the 1920s and have caused much damage on the native flora. The NPS has activated management plans to control the goats. The park contains an estimated 366,000 acres (572 sq mi; 1,480 km2) of old-growth forests.
Prior to the influx of European settlers, Olympic's human population consisted of Native Americans, whose use of the peninsula was thought to have consisted mainly of fishing and hunting. However, recent reviews are pointing to much more extensive tribal use of especially the subalpine meadows. Most if not all Pacific Northwest indigenous cultures were adversely affected by European diseases (often decimated) and other factors. Large numbers of cultural sites are now identified in the Olympic mountains, and important artifacts have been found.
When settlers began to appear, logging became a fast growing industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Public dissent against logging began to take hold in the 1920s, when people got their first glimpses of the clear-cut hillsides. This period saw an explosion of people's interest in the outdoors; with the growing use of the automobile, people took to touring previously remote places like the Olympic Peninsula.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California, east of Los Angeles and San Bernardino, near Palm Springs. It is named for the Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) native to the Mojave Desert. Originally declared a national monument in 1936, Joshua Tree was redesignated as a national park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act. Encompassing a total of 790,636 acres (1,235.4 sq mi; 3,199.6 km2) – slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island – the park includes 429,690 acres (671.4 sq mi; 1,738.9 km2) of designated wilderness. Straddling San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains traverse the southwest edge of the park.
The earliest known residents of the land in and around what later became Joshua Tree National Park were the people of the Pinto Culture, who lived and hunted here between 8000 and 4000 BCE. Their stone tools and spear points, discovered in the Pinto Basin in the 1930s, suggest that they hunted game and gathered seasonal plants. Later residents included the Serrano, the Cahuilla, and the Chemehuevi peoples. All three lived at times in small villages in or near water, particularly the Oasis of Mara in what non-aboriginals later called Twentynine Palms. They were hunter-gatherers who subsisted largely on plant foods supplemented by small game, amphibians, and reptiles while using other plants for making medicines, bows and arrows, baskets, and other articles of daily life. A fourth group, the Mojaves, used the local resources as they traveled along trails between the Colorado River and the Pacific coast. Today, small numbers of all four peoples live in the region near the park; the Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians, descendants of the Chemehuevi, own a reservation in Twentynine Palms.
The park's oldest rocks, Pinto gneiss among them, are 1.7 billion years old. They are exposed in places on the park's surface in the Cottonwood, Pinto, and Eagle Mountains. Much later, from 250 to 75 million years ago, tectonic plate movements forced volcanic material toward the surface at this location and formed granite. Erosion eventually exposed the harder rocks, gneiss and granite, in the uplands and reduced the softer rocks to debris that filled the canyons and basins between the ranges. The rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park owe their shape partly to groundwater, which eroded the corners and edges of blocks of stone, and to flash floods, which left piles of rounded boulders.
Hanging Houses of Cuenca
The Hanging Houses of Cuenca are located around 85 miles east of Madrid, Spain. Also known as the Casas Colgadas, these houses literally hang off the cliffs above the River Huecar. The houses are known as “rascacielos” which means skyscrapers, and at one point they were very common along the cliffs. Today, not many remain.
The City of Cuenca was originally the capital of the Spanish province of Cuenca, and has been a city in the Iberian Peninsula since 714 AD. Although the area seems fairly uninhabitable, the city sits between the Jucar and Huecar Rivers, providing strategic access to the Iberian Peninsula. Because of this, a fortress city was built which included the Hanging Houses. Although not originally constructed with the city of Cuenca, there is evidence these homes were built as early at the 15th century thanks to some panoramic sketches of the town by artist Anton van de Wyngaerde.
The Hanging Houses were added to the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, but the most well known of the houses became a heritage site of its own in the 1980s when it became a museum dedicated to Spanish Abstract Art.
Photo by Turol Jones
Alcazar of Segovia
The Alcazar of Segovia translates to the Fortress of Segovia. It is located in Segovia, Spain. The Alcazar of Segovia is one of the most recognizable castles in Spain because it is distinctly shaped like the bow of a ship, breaking from the side of a rocky crag at the intersection of two rivers in the Guadarrama mountains.
Like many different fortifications in Spain, the Alcazar began as a Roman Fort but little of the original structure remains. The Moors also used the space as a fort until around 1120 when it was rebuilt from wood and was used by King Alfonso VIII as their primary residence.
Although the Alcazar was originally built as a fortress, it has since served as a royal palace, a state prison, an Artillery College, and a military academy. Most recently, the Alcazar has served as the Museum of the Royal College of Artillery. In pop culture, many will recognize the castle as being the French home of Sir Lancelot in the 1967 musical film Camelot.
Santa Maria delle Grazie
Santa Maria delle Grazie is a gothic church located in Milan, Italy. It is home to one of the most famous paintings in the world called “The Last Supper”. The talented artist Leonardo da Vinci painted the masterpiece between 1494 and 1498. The artwork represents the last dinner Jesus and his disciples shared together before Jesus’ crucifixion. The details of the painting are spectacular. There are even traces of silver and gold in the picture. Leonardo used tempura and oil to paint the picture. The painting is unique because it’s painted on the wall of the church. It is a huge painting of 8.80 meters wide and 4.60 meters high.
Through the years, the art has deteriorated so it has been restored from time to time. To protect the painting, only 25 people are allowed to visit the room every 15 minutes so it is kept at a perfect temperature. Many people find the painting to be shrouded in mysteries that have never been solved. The picture remains in its original place in the dining room of the church’s convent. It is considered one of the most important pieces of history in the city and possibly in the entire world.
Duke of Milan, Francesco I Sforza had the church built in 1463. It was completed 34 years later in 1497.
On August 15, 1943, the church was hit by allied bombs. The bombs damaged most of the refectory but they did not damage the painting.
Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War II cemetery and memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. It honors American troops who died in Europe during World War II. The memorial is located on the site of the former temporary battlefield cemetery of Saint Laurent, covering 172.5 acres and containing 9,388 burials.
A memorial in the cemetery includes maps and details of the Normandy landings and military operations that followed. At the memorial's center is Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves, a bronze statue. The cemetery also includes two different flag poles which at two different times people gather around the American flags to watch them lower and fold both flags.
The cemetery, which was dedicated in 1956, is the most visited cemetery run by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) with one million visitors a year. In 2007, the ABMC opened a visitor center at the cemetery, relating the global significance and meaning of Operation Overlord.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is an American national park located in southwestern Utah near the town of Springdale. A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile (590 km2) park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to 2,640 ft (800 m) deep. The canyon walls are reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone eroded by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The lowest point in the park is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest peak is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, the park has a unique geography and a variety of life zones that allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park's four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches.
Human habitation of the area started about 8,000 years ago with small family groups of Native Americans, one of which was the semi-nomadic Basketmaker Anasazi (c. 300 CE). Subsequently, the Virgin Anasazi culture (c. 500) and the Parowan Fremont group developed as the Basketmakers settled in permanent communities. Both groups moved away by 1300 and were replaced by the Parrusits and several other Southern Paiute subtribes. Mormons came into the area in 1858 and settled there in the early 1860s. In 1909, President William Howard Taft named the area Mukuntuweap National Monument in order to protect the canyon. In 1918, the acting director of the newly created National Park Service, Horace Albright, drafted a proposal to enlarge the existing monument and change the park's name to Zion National Monument, Zion being a term used by the Mormons. According to historian Hal Rothman: "The name change played to a prevalent bias of the time. Many believed that Spanish and Indian names would deter visitors who, if they could not pronounce the name of a place, might not bother to visit it. The new name, Zion, had greater appeal to an ethnocentric audience." On November 19, 1919, Congress redesignated the monument as Zion National Park, and the act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson. The Kolob section was proclaimed a separate Zion National Monument in 1937, but was incorporated into the national park in 1956.
The geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area includes nine formations that together represent 150 million years of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation. At various periods in that time warm, shallow seas, streams, ponds and lakes, vast deserts, and dry near-shore environments covered the area. Uplift associated with the creation of the Colorado Plateau lifted the region 10,000 feet (3,000 m) starting 13 million years ago.
Aqueduct of Segovia
The Aqueduct of Segovia is located in Segovia, Spain, and is one of the best preserved elevated Roman aqueducts still remaining in the world today. It is so important to the culture of Segovia that the aqueduct is featured on the city’s Coat of Arms.
Although it is hard to pinpoint the actual date of inscription for the aqueduct, or the date it was constructed, it is assumed that it was built sometime in the 1st century AD, when the Emperors Domitian, Nerva, and Trajan were rulers of Rome. The reason no one is able to date the aqueduct is because the original date inscription was located in the top portion that has now mostly crumbled with age. Each of the three tallest arches along the top of the aqueduct would have displayed large bronze letters to indicate the name of the builder and when it was constructed. Two of the original niches are still visible.
The original purpose of the Aqueduct of Segovia was to transport water from the Rio Frio into the city of Segovia. First the water was gathered in a tank known as the Big House, or El Caseron, and then it flowed towards a large water tower to be distributed through the city. Thirty-six semi-circular arches had to be rebuilt during the 15th century after being destroyed by the Moors in the 1000s. Amazingly, the granite blocks fit together so precisely that they did not require mortar to hold them together.
Photo by Eric Titcombe
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story tall skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, in New York City. Constructed between 1930 and 1931, the structure cost more than $40 million dollars to construct, which today would amount to more than $534 million dollars.
It is one of the most famous pieces of Art Deco architecture in the United States, joining the Chrysler Building, in Chicago, as one of the most recognized Art Deco styled structures. The Empire State Building was the tallest man-made structure in the world from 1931 until 1970 when it was surpassed by the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Until the construction of the Empire State Building, the plot of land was owned by the Astor family, and on the site was constructed the Waldorf-Astoria which was remained open until the 1920s when it was sold to Bethlehem Engineering Corporation. Eventually, the building was sold to Empire State Incorporation, which was a combination of influential New Yorkers, including members of the du Pont family, and Al Smith, a former governor of New York. Together, they designed a 50-story structure which eventually increased to 102-stories. During construction, more than 4 stories were added per week. It took just 13 months of total construction time to finish. President Herbert Hoover officially opened the building to the public, illuminating the building’s iconic lighting.
In 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber, piloted by Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith Jr, crashed into the side of the Empire State Building between the 79th and 80th floors. Flying through thick fog, the pilot did not see the skyscraper. Unfortunately, fourteen people were killed. Betty Lou Oliver, an elevator operator, survived falling 75 stories inside of the elevator, which still today stands as the longest survived elevator fall recorded.
It tooks just 20 months design, plan, and construct the Empire State Building.
The tower on top of the skyscraper was originally designed for airships to dock and drop off passengers.
Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor
The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, or the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is a Roman Catholic Church built on the summit of Mount Tibidabo. Although the Church is of Neo Gothic design, it is a relatively new church, opened and completed in 1961.
The Catholic Church decided that they wanted to build a church on the summit of Mount Tibidabo at the end of the 1800s because the Catholic diocese had heard a rumor that a Protestant church and a casino was going to open there. In 1886, Saint John Bosco was given the area of land and groundbreaking took place in 1902. The construction of the massive church took place in stages, with the crypts being built first from 1903 to 1911, and then the main part of the church from 1915 to 1951. Finally, the towers were added and finally finished in 1961.
On the top of the church is a massive statue of Jesus Christ made from bronze and standing 23 feet tall. This was the second statue of Jesus that was placed on the top of the Sagrat Cor. The first was placed in 1935, but was destroyed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. The one you see today was placed when the church doors opened in 1961.
Photo by Emma
The Notre Dame de Paris is also called the Notre Dame Cathedral. Its name really means Our Lady of Paris. It took almost 200 years for the church to be completely built. The groundbreaking took place in 1163 and it wasn’t finished until 1345, more than 650 years ago. It is one of the most well-known churches in the entire world and is very much admired by architects.
The reason why architects like the Notre Dame so much is because it was one of the first buildings in the world to use a flying buttress. A flying buttress is roof support that arches away from a building and looks pretty. Because of all the large and fragile windows on large stone churches, buttress, or supports, were needed to keep the roof from caving in. A flying buttress was pretty but also very strong. The Cathedral is also covered with chimera statues, or gargoyles. They look like monsters and mythical beasts. Some of them look like dragons, others like goats, and some even like monkeys.
One of the things that makes the Notre Dame so special is that it has a reliquary in its treasury. A reliquary is a group of items that are very important. In the Notre Dame, these items are important to the Catholic Church because they are believed to have belonged or been important to Jesus Christ. One of those items is the Crown of Thorns which Jesus was said to wear while carrying the cross. Another relic is what is believed to be a piece of the cross Jesus was crucified on, as well as one of the nails that held Jesus to the cross.
Recently, on April 15, 2019, Notre Dame was severly damaged by a fire. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has vowed to have it rebuilt in 5 years. This is an ambitious schedule. We hope that it comes true so we can visit the inside of the cathedral again soon.
The Alamo is located in San Antonio, Texas. It is a Spanish mission which was built in 1718 and is the location where the Battle of the Alamo was fought between Mexican troops and Texans and Texas immigrants in 1836.
It took place over issues with the cotton industry, immigration rights, slavery, and Federalism. Mostly though, the conflict was over money. Although the battle only lasted 13 days, it was very gruesome (about 600 Mexicans and between 180-250 Texans died).
When Santa Anna and the Mexican army stormed the Alamo, the Texas army led by James Bowie and William Travis fought back valiantly, using anything they could. That is why the Alamo came to stand for courage and resistance to oppression. “Remember the Alamo” is a popular coined phrase which is said to remind people everywhere to stand up for their rights.
The Alamo was the scene for other wars before the Battle of the Alamo. In fact, 6 flags have flown over it from different nations.
Today, the Alamo is toured by visitors from all around the world. You are able to walk inside the church mission and you can stroll around the grounds too. The Long Barrack where the army officers slept can be viewed as well.
A guided tour or an audio tour are available for a small fee.
A Disney mini-series in the 1950's, Davy Crockett, was based on the life of David Crockett, a U.S. Congressman who fought and died in the battle.
The battle would provide a rallying cry for the fight for Texas independence. On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston with 800 Texans defeated Santa Anna's Mexican army of 1,500 men at San Jacinto.
The Telefónica Building in Madrid, Spain is a 292-foot-tall skyscraper that was built in 1929. With 14 floors, it was the tallest building in Madrid until 1953 when it was overtaken by the Edificio España. The Telefónica Building was designed by architect Ignacio de Cárdenas who had studied under an American architect named Lewis S Weeks in New York City, New York. Much of the design of the Telefónica Building is American in style, but Cárdenas added churrigueresque design to the outside so that it blended in better with the other buildings in Madrid. Churrigueresque design is a style of Baroque architecture that is very elaborate and detailed.
Construction of the Telefónica Building started in 1926 and the building was finished in March of 1929. When the front doors officially opened in January of 1930, the final cost was 32 million pesetas, the former currency of Spain. More than 1000 people worked on the building! From 1936 to 1939, the Spanish Civil War took place,. The Telefónica Building was used as a watchtower by the Republican forces. It was also the Offices of the Foreign Press during that time, so it became a target of bombings. American author, Ernest Hemmingway, sent his reports from inside the Telefónica Building during the Civil War.
For many years, the Telefónica Building could be seen from many different angles in the Madrid skyline. It stood out because it had a red lit clock that could be seen from far away. In 2013, the color was changed to blue.
Photo by Javier Paredes
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is located about 12 miles away from Paris, France, in Versailles. This palace was the home of the Kings and Queens of France from 1682 until the start of the French Revolution in 1789. Before the grand palace was constructed there, King Louis XIII had built a more modest hunting lodge. It was while King Louis XIII was staying at his hunting lodge that the Day of the Dupes took place, where his own mother conspired to overthrow the government and take control. It was after the Day of the Dupes that King Louis XIII decided to tear down the hunting lodge and build a grand palace. Over many years the grounds and house expanded until the structure became what it is today - more than 720,000 square feet.
It wasn’t until Louis XIV that the palace started to grow into the massive building it is today. King Louis XIV invited many of the nobles and high-ranking French officials to stay with him in the Palace. Because of this, King Louis was able to maintain more control over the French government because all the noblemen were staying away from their own homes. The Palace of Versailles was extremely expensive to run, though. It was estimated by historians that the cost of maintaining the palace and to feed the staff and Royal Family took as much as 25% of the entire national income of France. High excess by the French crown would eventually lead to a revolution of the French people. In 1789, the King and Queen of France were forced to go back to Paris by the French people and the Palace was closed. A few years later, the new Convention Government declared that all royal property was to be sold at auction, and that included the furniture, art, equipment, and books. Even the fleurs-de-lys, the symbol of the French Monarchy, were ordered to be chiseled off the outside of the Palace.
The Palace of Versailles is today part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s list of World Heritage Sites. UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites help to preserve places of outstanding importance to the heritage of humankind as a whole. There are only 754 of them today.
Utah Beach was the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944 (D-Day), during World War II. It is the westernmost of the five code-named landing beaches in Normandy. Amphibious landings at Utah were undertaken by United States Army troops, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided by the United States Navy and Coast Guard as well as elements from the British, Dutch and other Allied navies.
The objective at Utah was to secure a beachhead on the Cotentin Peninsula, the location of important port facilities at Cherbourg. The amphibious assault, primarily by the US 4th Infantry Division and 70th Tank Battalion, was supported by airborne landings of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division. The intention was to rapidly seal off the Cotentin Peninsula, prevent the Germans from reinforcing Cherbourg, and capture the port as quickly as possible.
Utah, along with Sword on the eastern flank, was added to the invasion plan in December 1943. These changes doubled the frontage of the invasion and necessitated a month-long delay so that additional landing craft and personnel could be assembled in England.
Allied forces attacking Utah faced two battalions of the 919th Grenadier Regiment, part of the 709th Static Infantry Division. While improvements to fortifications had been undertaken under the leadership of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel beginning in October 1943, the troops assigned to defend the area were mostly poorly equipped non-German conscripts.
D-Day at Utah began at 01:30, when the first of the airborne units arrived, tasked with securing the key crossroads at Sainte-Mère-Église and controlling the causeways through the flooded farmland behind Utah so the infantry could advance inland. While some airborne objectives were quickly met, many paratroopers landed far from their drop zones and were unable to fulfill their objectives on the first day. On the beach itself, infantry and tanks landed in four waves beginning at 06:30 and quickly secured the immediate area with minimal casualties. Meanwhile, engineers set to work clearing the area of obstacles and mines, and additional waves of reinforcements continued to arrive. At the close of D-Day, Allied forces had only captured about half of the planned area and contingents of German defenders remained, but the beachhead was secure.
The 4th Infantry Division landed 21,000 troops on Utah at the cost of only 197 casualties. Airborne troops arriving by parachute and glider added an additional 14,000 men, with 2,500 casualties. Around 700 men were lost in engineering units, 70th Tank Battalion, and seaborne vessels sunk by the enemy. German losses are unknown. Cherbourg was captured on June 26, but by this time the Germans had destroyed the port facilities, which were not brought back into full operation until September.
American Falls is a cataract waterfall located in New York along the border of the United States and Canada. A cataract waterfall is a large and powerful waterfall with only one down pouring location. American Falls is the second largest of the three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls, and falls completely within the United States, unlike the larger Horseshoe Falls which falls two-thirds within Canada and one-third within the United States.
The height of American Falls ranges between 70 and 110 feet although it appears to be much taller. This is because of the large number of rocks at the base of the falls known as a talus. The distance from the top of the falls to the river is actually 188 feet. Rock falls happen with some regularity in the area, with the most recent happening in 1954 when Prospect Point collapsed to the north. This caused a large number of rocks and boulders to go down the river towards the American Falls, and modified the ledge to become a “W” shape.
Because of the massive number of rocks that flowed downstream to the ledge, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers decided to survey the rockfall and try to determine how to stop the falls from becoming a series of rapids. To do this, they completely blocked the flow of water over the American Falls from June to November of 1969. It was determined by the Corp of Engineers to not alter the rock wall in anyway but to allow nature to take its course.
The Mardasson Memorial is a monument honoring the memory of American soldiers wounded or killed during World War II's Battle of the Bulge. Designed in the shape of a five-pointed American star, it is located near Bastogne in the Luxembourg province of Belgium. The first step toward the memorial was undertaken on July 4, 1946, with the presentation of some earth from the site to U.S. President Harry Truman. The dedication was on July 16, 1950.
Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, was a major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It took place from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region in Belgium and Luxembourg towards the end of the war in Europe. The offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy four Allied armies and force the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers' favor.
The Germans achieved a total surprise attack on the morning of 16 December 1944. American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany's armored forces, and they were largely unable to replace them. German personnel and, later, Luftwaffe aircraft also sustained heavy losses.
The Germans had attacked a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of heavily overcast weather conditions that grounded the Allies' superior air forces. Fierce resistance on the northern shoulder of the offensive, around Elsenborn Ridge, and in the south, around Bastogne, blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success. Columns of armor and infantry that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads. This, and terrain that favored the defenders, threw the German advance behind schedule and allowed the Allies to reinforce the thinly placed troops.
The farthest west the offensive reached was the village of Foy-Nôtre-Dame, southeast of Dinant. They were stopped by the U.S. 2nd Armored Division on 24 December 1944. Improved weather conditions around 24 December permitted air attacks on German forces and supply lines, which sealed their failure. On 26 December the lead element of Patton's U.S. Third Army reached Bastogne from the south, ending the siege. The battle continued for another month before the front line was effectively restored to its position prior to the attack. In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left severely depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line.
The Germans' initial attack involved 410,000 men; just over 1,400 tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns; 2,600 artillery pieces; 1,600 anti-tank guns; and over 1,000 combat aircraft, as well as large numbers of other armored fighting vehicles (AFVs). These were reinforced a couple of weeks later, bringing the offensive's total strength to around 450,000 troops, and 1,500 tanks and assault guns.
Between 63,222 and 98,000 of these men were killed, missing, wounded in action, or captured. For the Americans, out of a peak of 610,000 troops, 89,000 became casualties out of which some 19,000 were killed. The "Bulge" was the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II and the third-deadliest campaign in American history.
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the most important buildings in American history. It is the building where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed. Today it is part of Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia and is visited by more than 500,000 people each year.
Independence Hall was constructed in 1753 to be the home of the colonial Pennsylvania Legislature. For many years it was actually used as the capitol building until the capital of Pennsylvania was moved to Lancaster in 1799. During the American Revolutionary War, Independence Hall was where the Continental Congresses met to discuss the founding of a new nation as well as a new government for the former British Colonies.
On June 14th, 1775, the Second Continental Congress gathered inside of Independence Hall and voted for George Washington to be the Commander-in-Chief of the newly formed Continental Army. At the same time, the Continental Congress named Benjamin Franklin as the very first Postmaster General. A little more than a year later, the Declaration of Independence was signed which officially proclaimed that the American Colonies would be leaving the British crown. In 1787, the Constitution of the United States was drafted and adopted after the Articles of Confederation failed. The Constitution created the laws for how the United States would be governed.
Photo by Xiquinho Silva
Old North Church
Old North Church is in the North End section of Boston, Massachusetts. It is where the famous signal known as “One if by land, two if by sea” was carried out during the American Revolutionary War. Old North Church is the oldest standing church still in Boston today, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also Boston’s most visited historic site! The church was built in 1723, and was used as an Episcopal church.
In 1775, before the American Revolution began, Boston was a hot bed of revolutionary activity. “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere” is one of the most famous opening lines of any poem in American history. It tells the story of the time just before the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, Lexington and Concord. American Patriots had stock piled ammunition in Concord and the British Army was marching towards the town to seize the ammunition and put down any hopes of rebellion. The patriot group, The Sons of Liberty, found out about the British plans and decided to try to stop them. Two members of the Sons of Liberty were asked to watch the movement of the British Army and alert the others by lighting lanterns in the church steeple- one if the British were coming by land, and two if they were coming by sea. Paul Revere and 30 other riders went through Boston to alert everyone to the British army’s movements after two lanterns were placed in the Old North Church steeple on April 8th, 1775.
The church was mostly made up of members that were loyal to the British crown. The fact that it was used by the Sons of Liberty to warn the colonists of the British Army makes the event even more amazing.
Castello Sforzesco was built in 1450 by Francesco Sforza. Francesco was an Italian military leader and the Duke of Milan from 1450 until his death in 1466. When construction was complete, Francesco used it as his home.
In 1494, Francesco's son Ludovico Sforza became Lord of Milan. He, along with his wife Beatrice d'Este, would host large festivals and gatherings at the castle. Beatrice d'Este belonged to the highest class of Renaissance women and her great taste for the arts could be seen in the paintings and decorations throughout the caste. They hired many of the best artists of the time including Leonardo da Vinci, who painted the frescoed ceiling of the "Sala delle Asse."
In 1526, the Treaty of Madrid gave Spain parts of Italy. During this time, the Spanish converted the castle into a citadel (a fortress). There were about 1000 to 3000 men assigned here. The Spanish improved the fortification and expanded the length of the surrounding walls.
Most of the castle was demolished during the period of Napoleonic rule. Around this same time, both Piazza Castello and Piazza d'Armi were constructed.
When Italy united in the 19th century, the castle was no longer used by the military. It was used by the city instead. In 1880, the Via Dante was built to connect the castle with the Duomo. The central tower, Tower Filarete, was rebuilt based on 16th centrury drawings and dedicated to King Umberto I.
Allied bombings in 1943 (World War II) severely damaged the castle. After the war, it was rebuilt and used as a museum.
Before Castello Sforzesco, Castello di Porta Giova stood in this location in the 14th century. It was destroyed around 1447 leading to the construction of the new castle.
Juliette Gordon Low House
The Juliette Gordon Low House was the childhood home of the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low. It is located in the historic district of Savannah, Georgia. The home is more formally known as the Wayne-Gordon House. The house was originally built for a former Savannah mayor named James Moore Wayne. During the Civil War, James Moore Wayne was a Supreme Court Justice of the United States, and he was one of the few Southern men to remain in the American government and not leave to become members of the Confederacy. The house was constructed for him in 1818, and although no one is very sure the architect who designed it, there are many historians who believe it was William Jay. William Jay was a very famous Savannah architect who was originally from England. The style of the house fits the style that William Jay designed in, and William also received a fine for leaving construction garbage in the area at the same time the house was being built.
Juliette Gordon Low was born in the house on Halloween night in 1860 and she grew up in the beautiful house in downtown Savannah. Years later, after marrying Andrew Low and living in both Savannah and Scotland for many years, Juliette Gordon Low became a widow and started to travel the world. She met Robert Baden Powell in England, and he told her about his boy’s organization called the Boy Scouts. Juliette became friends with Robert’s sister who had founded the Girl Guides and it gave Juliette an idea. When she went back to Savannah she decided to start her own girls’ group and call it the Girl Scouts. Although only 18 girls signed up at first in 1912, now the Girl Scouts have more than 3.7 million members.
Mount Rushmore is a national memorial located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Made up of four massively large sculpted heads, it features the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each of the sculptures are more than 60 feet in height and are situated nearly 6000 feet above sea level, making it the highest government memorial in the country.
Gutzon Borglum was the lead designer and project manager at the site from 1927 to 1941 along with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum. A South Dakota historian by the name of Doane Robinson came up with the idea to make the massive carving into the Black Hills in the hopes of driving up tourism to the area. Originally, the design was to be carved into an area known as The Needles, an area of eroded granite pillars with much significance to the Native American groups living in the area. In addition, Robinson was wanting to carve American West figureheads, such as Red Cloud, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Lewis and Clark, but was overruled by Borglum who believed that the presidents would have more universal appeal to tourists.
Construction on the monument lasted until 1941, 6 months after Gutzon Borglum passed away. By this point, funding had run dry and the grand plan of carving the monuments from head to waist had to be abandoned. Mount Rushmore remains a very popular place to visit each year, just as Doane Robinson had wanted. In 2016, nearly 2.5 million people visited the national memorial.
Statue of Liberty
Sculptor: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
The Statue of Liberty is in New York City, on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The Statue is seen by many people to be the symbol of freedom, and as a welcoming sign to immigrants who came to the United States looking for a better life. The Statue of Liberty is a woman, holding a torch high above her head in one hand and a tablet in the other that has the date July 4th 1776 written on it in Roman Numerals. She is wearing a robe and broken chains are around her feet. She is known as Lady Liberty.
In 1870, the French decided that they would pay for the statue if the Americans would build the base for the statue to stand on. The American government did not pay for the pedestal the state was supposed to stand on, so a couple of different fundraising events took place to make the money for it. 120,000 people donated, most of them giving less than 1 dollar per person.
Lady Liberty was built by a man named Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel tower in Paris, France. The Statue of Liberty came over to the United States in pieces. The head and the torch were finished first, and these two parts were shown in Philadelphia and other cities before being put together with the rest of the statue. She was unveiled and dedicated by President Grover Cleveland, who had been the governor of New York, in 1886.
The Statue of Liberty is made from copper. Because she is outside in the rain and snow, she has turned a minty green color, which is called oxidizing. It took 30 years for the outside of the statue to turn from dull brown to green. At first, the government thought that the oxidized green color was damaging the statue, so they were going to paint it. People were angry about the statue being painted, so scientists did some tests and discovered that the green color actually protected the statue. The amount of copper it took to create the Statue of Liberty could make 30 million pennies.
The statue has had some changes over the years to help keep it protected. One of the biggest changes was in 1984 when the original torch was removed and a new torch was added. The new torch is copper with gold to reflect the sun. Today, the United States government is building a new museum so that everyone can visit and learn about the Statue of Liberty and her history. You will also be able to see the original torch when the museum opens.
Plymouth Rock is considered to be one of the main symbols of early American settlement in the New England area of the United States. In 1620, 102 English Pilgrims who were looking for a new life left England on the Mayflower ship and landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts. According to legend, Plymouth Rock is the exact location that the Pilgrims first landed when they arrived in the New World. These original settlers did not write anything about specific rocks when they arrived. There are only two records that were kept by the Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth. One was written by William Bradford. His journal is now called Of Plymouth Planation. The second one is named Mourt’s Relation, but neither talk about the exact landing site of the Mayflower or any rocks in the area. It wasn’t until many years later that anyone wrote about the Plymouth Rock itself.
The man who first designated the specific granite boulder as the landing site of the Pilgrims was Elder Thomas Faunce, who was angry to learn that a ships’ wharf was going to be built where the Plymouth Rock was located and was going to bury it. Because other Plymouth townspeople knew that Elder Faunce had been born to one of the earliest settlers while the Pilgrims were still alive, they believed him and helped him save it. The wharf was built but Plymouth Rock was saved and preserved.
Since Elder Faunce saved Plymouth Rock, it has been a popular symbol of Americana. Only about a third of the stone is visible above ground, and it’s believed to be around 4 tons (that’s as much as a baby blue whale!). Historians think that the current Plymouth Rock is only about half of its original size, because during the 18th and 19th century people would chip away at the stone to take home souvenirs.
In 2020, the Plymouth Rock will celebrate it’s 400th year of history for the United States. Plymouth, Massachusetts is planning a big celebration, including having an Ultimate Thanksgiving feast much like the original settlers and the Wampanoag Native Americans had.
Basilica di San Lorenzo
The Basilica di San Lorenzo is a large and beautiful church built outside the city walls of Florence in the year 393. It’s the burial place for the Medici family who were rich and powerful rulers in Italy.
The Basilica di San Lorenzo was the cathedral church of the city for three hundred years and was the official seat of the bishop during that time. It was also the parish church of the Medici family until the church was rebuilt years later.
Inside the Basilica di San Lorenzo is a decoration and sculpture by the famous artist, Donatello. There is also the Laurentian Library that was influenced by Michelangelo and the Old Sacristy by Bruenelleschi where church furnishings and vestments are kept. There is a cloisture of enchanting green space in the center where you can look up at the sky. In the cloisture, there is a round-arch arcade with elegant columns created by Brunelleschi’s disciple, Antonio Manetti Ciaccheri between 1457 and 1460.
In the museum area, there is a crypt belonging to Donatello and the tomb of his close friend, Cosimo di Medici. The main part of the church has gorgeous arches and columns that stretch up to the ceiling for all to admire.
The front exterior of the basilica was never completed. Michelangelo wanted it to be covered in smooth marble but today it is still made of rough stone.
The USS Constitution is a wooden navy ship that is located today in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which is part of Boston. It was originally launched in 1797 and was named by George Washington after the American Constitution. She was one of six ships that had been paid for by the American Government to help fight against pirates. The USS Constitution was built in Boston and the metal bolts and copper pieces were made by Paul Revere. Her first job was in the Quasi-War with France when she was used to protect American merchants on the open water. In 1805, the Treaty of Peace and Amity was signed on the deck of the USS Constitution between America and Tripoli, which said that American ships would no longer be targeted by pirates.
The USS Constitution became very well-known during the War of 1812. There were several incidences on the ocean that made the Constitution become legendary in American history. In June of 1812, off the coast of New Jersey, the USS Constitution was surrounded by 5 British warships. Suddenly, the wind died down and the Constitution was able to keep pace in front of the warships for 36 hours and escape. Only one month later the Constitution encountered the British ship Guerrière and they shot cannon back and forth at one another. For twenty minutes, the cannon balls flew and when the battle was over, the Guerrière was destroyed and the Constitution was mostly intact. This is when the USS Constitution got the nickname of “Old Ironsides” because it looked like cannonballs bounced off her sides like she was made of iron rather than wood. This unexpected victory made the ship a war hero, and she would go on to capture more British ships before the War of 1812 was over.
Today, the USS Constitution is the oldest warship on the water. It has been floating in the Charlestown Naval Harbor in Boston since 1934 and thousands of people go to visit her each year.
Betsy Ross House
The Betsy Ross House is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is believed to be the location where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. There are many who believe and many who don't, that this is where Betsy Ross was living when she, as a seamstress and flag-maker, sewed the first American flag, usually called a Betsy Ross flag. The reason why many people believe that the current house is one that belonged to her is because her grandchildren and current descendants say it was. But, most historians believe that the actual house would have been next to the one that is here today. The traditional story told is that Betsy Ross met with George Washington and Robert Morris, a relation of hers, and they discussed the need for a new flag. Betsy Ross accepted the challenge and created the iconic early American flag. The reason why most historians do not believe that Betsy Ross was responsible for creating the first American flag is because records of her doing this did not show up in history until around the time of the Centennial, or 100th anniversary of the United States, in 1876. Her two grandsons, William J. and George Canby, wrote a letter to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870 claiming that their grandmother had made the flag herself. Many historians believe that she was one of many who helped create the flag, and that her most lasting alteration was to change the stars from having six-points to five-points.
Known as the “Birthplace of Old Glory”, the house that stands there today was in very rough shape in the 1930s. In 1937, a radio mogul named A. Atwater Kent offered a large sum of money to have the house restored so that it could be brought back to its original glory. Much of the original structure was salvaged. Workers also used parts from demolished houses from the same period for the reconstruction. In 1941, Kent offered the house to the City of Philadelphia as a present so that it could become a museum and tribute to Betsy Ross. During the United States Bicentennial in 1976, the remains of Betsy Ross and her third husband, John Claypoole, were moved to the courtyard of the house. A Bicentennial is a 200th anniversary.
Carpenter's Historic Hall
Carpenter’s Hall is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in an area known today as the U.S. Historic District. Not only is the house important on its own, it also is part of the reason the area of Philadelphia is considered to be so historic. The Carpenter’s House started construction in 1770 and wasn’t finished for five years. It was built to be the Meeting Hall for the Carpenter’s Company of the City and County of Philadelphia, which is the oldest craft guild in the United States. A guild is a group of workers who all do the same job who come together to work towards a common goal. But, Carpenter’s Hall was also the location of the First Continental Congress in 1774, where British Colonial citizens first met to discuss the potential of becoming an independent nation.
The First Continental Congress met in Carpenter’s Hall starting on September 5th in 1774 until October 26th of 1774. The reason the group could not meet in Independence Hall at the time was because more moderate members of the Pennsylvania colonial government were meeting. It was in Carpenter’s Hall that the First Continental Congress decided to bar the import of slaves to the colonies, and to discontinue the slave trade within the colonies. During the Revolutionary War, Carpenter’s Hall was used as a hospital by both British and American soldiers, and weapons and equipment were stored in the basement. After the war, in 1791, the first floor of the building was used as the First Bank of the United States under Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton.
Today, Carpenter’s Hall is one of the many historic sites that make up Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.
Old State House
The Old State House in Boston, Massachusetts, is part of the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2-and-a-half-mile long path that visits 16 different sites that were important to American History. The Old State House is the oldest public building in Boston, and today is a museum that people can go and visit to learn more about Boston’s history during the American Revolutionary War.
Built in 1713, no one is certain who designed the first version of the State House. In 1747, there was a fire in the building, so the entire inside of the building had to be rebuilt, but the bricks on the outside were undamaged. One of the original features of the building were wooden statues of a lion and a unicorn, which represented the British Crown. The Old State House had several purposes. The basement of the building was warehouses, the first floor was a Merchant’s Exchange for shopping, and the second floor was for different parts of the government. On March 5th of 1770, the Boston Massacre took place in front of the Old State House. Five colonists were shot and killed by British soldiers, and the Old State House was featured in many of the sketches of the attack, which were used to help promote the need for Independence.
On July 18th of 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read to happy crowds of people from the eastern balcony of the Old State House. The lion and the unicorn were removed from the building and burned in a big fire. Almost 200 years later, on July 11th of 1976, Queen Elizabeth II of England and her husband toured Boston and stood on the eastern balcony, where she said that "If Paul Revere and Samuel Adams could have known that a British monarch would stand on the balcony of the Old State House and be greeted with such kind words… well, I think they would have been extremely surprised!"
Trevi Fountain is located in the Trevi district of Rome, Italy. Its origins date all the way back to 19 BC, when Marcus Agrippa, a Roman consul and lieutenant to Julius Caesar, commissioned an aqueduct to provide water for the baths he had built in the city. It was used to fill three fountains in Rome’s Via del Corso in the 12th century. While there were restorations and new aqueducts put in place here over the years, the fountain you see today was built in baroque style between 1732 and 1736, making it nearly 300 years old. The opulent masterpiece stands 85 feet high and is about 160 feet wide, as the city’s largest and most famous fountain.
The fountain is visually stunning, featuring a marble statue of the Roman Sea God Neptune at the center surrounded by Tritons, the messenger of the sea. Many come to toss three coins into the water as legend tells that those who do will enjoy several benefits. To enjoy them, you’ll have to turn your back to it and throw each coin with your right hand over your left shoulder. Throwing the first means you’ll get to return to Rome. The second coin leads to discovering your true love and a third means it will lead to marriage. There is an average of $3,500 worth of coins tossed in every day, and they all go to a good cause, support programs for the poor in the city.
The Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is in the capital city of the United States, Washington, D.C. It was built in 1922 to honor the 16th president of the United State, Abraham Lincoln. For many people, it symbolizes race relations in the country, as well as freedom and equality.
During the Civil War, the American North fought the American South over states’ rights and over the right to own slaves. During that time, Abraham Lincoln was the President of the United States, and he fought to preserve the country as one. President Lincoln was shot and killed five days after the Civil War ended. Most Americans consider him to be one of the greatest presidents. The Lincoln Memorial was built to honor Abraham Lincoln, and two of his most famous speeches are carved into the walls. One of them is the Gettysburg Address. In 1863 at the Gettysburg battlefield, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his “Gettysburg Address”, which is one of the most well-known Presidential speeches in American history. The other speech carved into the memorial is his Second Inaugural Address, the speech he gave when he was reelected as President of the United States.
Many important speeches and rallies have taken place in front of the Lincoln Memorial. In 1963, 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial and heard Doctor Martin Luther King Junior deliver his very famous and moving “I Have a Dream” speech. Although most Americans think of Abraham Lincoln as being one of the best presidents, not everyone agrees. The Lincoln Memorial is sometimes vandalized. Vandalized means to damage on purpose.
One fun fact about the Lincoln Memorial is about his hands. If you look at how President Lincoln’s hands are sitting, they form the American Sign Language signs for A and L, his initials.
Cattedrale di Pisa
The Cattedrale di Pisa is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It’s the seat of the Archbishop of Pisa.
Construction began in the year 1063. Pisa had been at war with Muslims in Sicily, Italy. They used spoils of the war to pay for the new cathedral. At the same time, St. Mark’s Basilica, in Venice, was being constructed. There was a contest to see which project would be the most beautiful and luxurious.
The cathedral is absolutely breathtaking. On the outside, it is decorated with bronze objects, marble of different colors, and mosaic work.
The inside is amazing too. It has a wooden ceiling with gold leaf paint. There is also a painting inside the dome which was done in honor of the Virgin in all her glory with the saints. The famous artwork was painted by two artist, Orazio and Girolamo Riminaldi.
The cathedral has a number of important organs inside. The Serassi organ was made between 1831 and 1835. There is also an organ made by Mascioni of Cuvio in 1977.
A fire swept through the cathedral in 1595. Repairs had to be made to fix the damage.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is an American national park in northwestern Wyoming. At approximately 310,000 acres (480 sq mi; 130,000 ha; 1,300 km2), the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long (64 km) Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service-managed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding national forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18,000,000-acre (7,300,000 ha) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the world's largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems.
The human history of the Grand Teton region dates back at least 11,000 years, when the first nomadic hunter-gatherer Paleo-Indians began migrating into the region during warmer months pursuing food and supplies. In the early 19th century, the first white explorers encountered the eastern Shoshone natives. Between 1810 and 1840, the region attracted fur trading companies that vied for control of the lucrative beaver pelt trade. U.S. Government expeditions to the region commenced in the mid-19th century as an offshoot of exploration in Yellowstone, with the first permanent white settlers in Jackson Hole arriving in the 1880s.
Efforts to preserve the region as a national park began in the late 19th century, and in 1929 Grand Teton National Park was established, protecting the Teton Range's major peaks. The valley of Jackson Hole remained in private ownership until the 1930s, when conservationists led by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. began purchasing land in Jackson Hole to be added to the existing national park. Against public opinion and with repeated Congressional efforts to repeal the measures, much of Jackson Hole was set aside for protection as Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943. The monument was abolished in 1950 and most of the monument land was added to Grand Teton National Park.
Grand Teton National Park is named for Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. The naming of the mountains is attributed to early 19th-century French-speaking trappers—les trois tétons (the three teats) was later anglicized and shortened to Tetons. At 13,775 feet (4,199 m), Grand Teton abruptly rises more than 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above Jackson Hole, almost 850 feet (260 m) higher than Mount Owen, the second-highest summit in the range. The park has numerous lakes, including 15-mile-long (24 km) Jackson Lake as well as streams of varying length and the upper main stem of the Snake River. Though in a state of recession, a dozen small glaciers persist at the higher elevations near the highest peaks in the range. Some of the rocks in the park are the oldest found in any American national park and have been dated at nearly 2.7 billion years.
Grand Teton National Park is an almost pristine ecosystem and the same species of flora and fauna that have existed since prehistoric times can still be found there. More than 1,000 species of vascular plants, dozens of species of mammals, 300 species of birds, more than a dozen fish species and a few species of reptiles and amphibians inhabit the park. Due to various changes in the ecosystem, some of them human-induced, efforts have been made to provide enhanced protection to some species of native fish and the increasingly threatened whitebark pine.
Grand Teton National Park is a popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, fishing and other forms of recreation. There are more than 1,000 drive-in campsites and over 200 miles (320 km) of hiking trails that provide access to backcountry camping areas. Noted for world-renowned trout fishing, the park is one of the few places to catch Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
The third largest church in Italy, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore has been a symbol of grandeur in Florence ever since its completion. The Italian Gothic building was finished in the 15th century, built on the site of a 7th-century church – the remains of that very church can be viewed in its crypt.
It stands tall over the city as its third and last cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin of the Flower in 1412. The first stone of the façade was laid in 1296. It was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio who worked on the cathedral for six years, through 1302. The magnificent Renaissance dome that dominates the building was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Gazing at the structure today, note the basilica’s exterior with its marble panels in varying shades of pink and green, a white border and a more recent elaborate Gothic Revival façade that dates to the 1800s.
The interior holds very significant works of art, including impressive frescoes painted by Andrea del Castagno in 1456 and Paolo Ucello in 1436. Ucello also frescoed a clock on the inside wall with its four heads of saints. One of the most popular things to do in Florence is to climb to the top of the dome where you’ll be surrounded by lavish frescoes while taking in an awe-inspiring vista of the city’s endless red roofs.
It took over 140 years to complete the cathedral. The domed rooftop was the biggest challenge to complete as the technology to build it didn't exist in 1293 when it was designed. They started bulding the cathedral anway and the roof was left open until Fillipo Brunelleschi came up with the final design over 120 years later.
The cathedral was under construction for 80 years before Fillipo Brunelleschi was born.
The city of Florence held a competition to find a design for the domed roof. It was during this compeition where Brunelleschi won with the help of his sculptor friend Donatello. Brunelleschi had not built anything before coming up with his design.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is an American national park located approximately 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Denver International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The eastern and western slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the park's northwestern region. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra.
The Rocky Mountain National Park Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson on January 26, 1915, establishing the park boundaries and protecting the area for future generations. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the main automobile route, Trail Ridge Road, in the 1930s. In 1976, UNESCO designated the park as one of the first World Biosphere Reserves. In 2018, more than 4.5 million recreational visitors entered the park. The park is one of the most visited in the National Park System, ranking as the third most visited national park in 2015. In 2019, the park saw record attendance yet again with 4,678,804 visitors, a 44% increase since 2012.
The park has a total of five visitor centers with park headquarters located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center—a National Historic Landmark designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West. National Forest lands surround the park including Roosevelt National Forest to the north and east, Routt National Forest to the north and west, and Arapaho National Forest to the west and south, with the Indian Peaks Wilderness area located directly south of the park.
The Appian Way is an ancient road built in 312 BC by Appius Claudius Caecus for the purpose of transporting military supplies. It is called the “Queen of Roads” because it has lasted so long.
The Ancient Appian Way was Rome’s gateway to the East before modern streets and highways were built. It was a straight line to the important town of Capua and then stretched for 400 miles to Brindisi where Roman ships sailed to Egypt and Greece.
The road was very advanced for its time. Huge paving blocks made of basalt form the sturdy base. There’s a strip where animal-powered vehicles traveled and elevated sidewalks for people to walk.
Many famous men walked on the street, like Julius Caesar and St. Peter of the Bible. Now, the first 10 miles of the road is preserved as a regional park called Parco dell’ Appia Antica. There are Roman monuments along the roadway and a church where St. Peter had a vision of Jesus.
The road can be accessed by bike, on foot, and parts of it by car.
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Charles Young was born into slavery in Kentucky in 1864. Charles' father Gabriel escaped slavery in 1865, crossing the Ohio River to Ridley, Ohio and enlisting in the 5th United States Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment during the American Civil War. His service earned him and his family their freedom, which was guaranteed by the 13th Amendment after the war. Charles would go on to have a military career of his own. In 1887 he graduated from West Point. From there he rose to become a Buffalo Soldier in the United States Army and become its first African-American colonel.
Charles Young was the third African American graduate of West Point, the first black U.S. national park superintendent, the first African American military attaché, and the highest ranking black officer in the United States Army until his death in 1922. He also taught military science at Wilberforce University, during which time he purchased this house, which he called "Youngsholm." The house was built in 1832, and is reported to have served as a way station on the Underground Railroad.
On March 25, 2013, under the Antiquities Act, President Barack Obama designated the house as the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, a unit of the National Park Service. Operated as a house museum with exhibits about Young and the Buffalo Soldiers, it is currently open for public visitation by appointment.
Buffalo Soldiers originally were members of the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This nickname was given to the Black Cavalry by Native American tribes who fought in the Indian Wars. The term eventually became synonymous with all of the African-American regiments formed in 1866:
- 9th Cavalry Regiment
- 10th Cavalry Regiment
- 24th Infantry Regiment
- 25th Infantry Regiment Second
- 38th Infantry Regiment
Although several African-American regiments were raised during the Civil War as part of the Union Army (including the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the many United States Colored Troops Regiments), the "Buffalo Soldiers" were established by Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army. On September 6, 2005, Mark Matthews, the oldest surviving Buffalo Soldier, died at the age of 111. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California. The park was established on September 25, 1890 to protect 404,064 acres (631 sq mi; 163,519 ha; 1,635 km2) of forested mountainous terrain. Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of, and contiguous with, Kings Canyon National Park; both parks are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. UNESCO designated the areas as Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976.
The park is notable for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth by volume. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is connected by the Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Park's General Grant Grove, home of the General Grant tree among other giant sequoias. The park's giant sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres (316 sq mi; 81,921 ha; 819 km2) of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The parks preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is in Paris, France, and is one of the city’s most famous monuments, after the Eiffel Tower. It took many years to build, with the first work starting in 1806 and completed 30 years later in 1836.
The person who wanted it to be built was Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon Bonaparte was a very successful French military leader. Napoleon was the emperor of France for 10 years and he built a very large empire across Europe until it fell apart in 1815. Even though he only reigned for 10 years, he is considered to be a very famous commander, and people still study his military style today. Napoleon wanted to honor the French Revolution, when he came to power in France, by building the arch and then decorating it with carvings of different battles and the names of different military leaders.
The Arc de Triomphe looks much older than it really is because it is based off a much older arch, the Arch of Titus that is in Rome, Italy. The Arch of Titus was built during the Roman Empire by Emperor Domitian and is more than 1900 years old. However, the Arch of Titus is an honorific arch and the Arc de Triomphe is a triumphal arch. A triumphal arch has two pillars, an arch, and then a flat top.
Underneath the arch is a newer memorial that was added after World War I. Many soldiered died during World War I and not all of them were able to be identified later by their families. Those people were buried underneath the arch in what is called “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”. Above the tomb is an eternal flame so that we will never forget their sacrifice even though we may not know their names.
Park Street Church
The Park Street Church was built many years after the American Revolution in 1809. Over 200 years later, it is still an active congregation.
Before the 1800's, the Old Granary stood here. It was used as a public storage for grain until rats and other pests caused it to be shut down. A new church was constructed in its place.
In 1809, 26 charter members came together to form the Trinitarium Evangelical congregation. Here, they built the largest and most recognizable building in Boston. It was so tall, that ships coming into the harbor could see the steeple as they arrived.
The Park Street Church was built in a style inspired by Christopher Wren (a famous architect in London). Its steeple was 217 feet tall, making it the tallest building in Boston until 1867 and the tallest in the United States until 1828.
In 1829, William Lloyd Garrison gave his anti slavery address from here. During his speech, he talked about why slaves should be treated as equal citizens and be given their freedom. He argued that there was no legal or religious reason for slavery. He continued to fight for the end of slavery until it was abolished by a Constitutional ammendment in 1865.
Sunday school children performed America (My Country 'Tis of Thee) for the first time here in 1831.
Giverny is a commune in Northern France that sits on the right bank of the River Seine. A commune is a district in France. The village of Giverny is about 50 miles away from Paris and has some of the most scenic landscapes in all of France. This beauty drew many Impressionist artists from other countries to the area in the early 1900s. Giverny is most known for being the site of artist Claude Monet’s garden and home. Today, Giverny and Monet’s Gardens are a popular tourist attraction in France.
Before 1890, Claude Monet was traveling on a train towards Paris when he first saw the village of Giverny. He immediately decided he wanted to move there and had purchased his home by 1890. In the coming years, Monet set to building grand gardens and pathways that he could paint in his signature Impressionist style, including some of his most famous pieces such as The Waterlily Pond, Green Harmony (1899).
Many artists moved to Giverny in the early 1900's to be close to Monet. Noted artist Frederick Carl Frieseke spent each summer from 1906 to 1919 in a home next door to Monet, and artists Richard E Miller, Lawton Parker, Guy Rose, Edmund Greacen, and Karl Anderson became resident artists of the village. In 1910, all six of these artists were given a show at Madison Gallery in New York and the six artists became known as the “Giverny Group”.
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
The Magic Fountain was designed by Carles Buïgas in 1928 for the 1929 Universal Exposition. It sits on the former site of The Four Columns. The fountain uses 3620 jets and over 700 gallons of water to create an impressive visual display.
It took just a year to complete Buïgas' ambitious project. Over 3000 workers were used to get the fountain ready on time. The first show debuted just one day before the start of the Universal Exposition. Music was added to the show in the 1980's to enhance the performance.
The Four Columns were originally created by Josep Puig i Cadafalch in 1919. They were built to symbolize the four stripes on the Catalan flag. The columns were removed in 1928, along with many other Catalanist symbols, in preparation for the 1929 Universal Exposition. The Prime Minister of Spain, Miguel Primo de Rivera, did not want these politcal statements to be seen. A replica of these columns was rebuilt nearby in 2010.
The fountain was damaged during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930's. It was shut down until it was repaired in 1955 with the help of Carles Buïgas.
Pearl Harbor is an American lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. It has been long visited by the Naval fleet of the United States, before it was acquired from the Hawaiian Kingdom by the U.S. with the signing of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is now a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet. The U.S. government first obtained exclusive use of the inlet and the right to maintain a repair and coaling station for ships here in 1887.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States (a neutral country at the time) against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, just before 08:00, on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning. Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time (18:18 GMT). The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighters, level and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. Of the eight U.S. Navy battleships present, all were damaged, with four sunk. All but USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. A total of 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. Kazuo Sakamaki, the commanding officer of one of the submarines, was captured.
Japan announced a declaration of war on the United States later that day (December 8 in Tokyo), but the declaration was not delivered until the following day. The following day, December 8, Congress declared war on Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy each declared war on the U.S., which responded with a declaration of war against Germany and Italy. There were numerous historical precedents for the unannounced military action by Japan, but the lack of any formal warning, particularly while peace negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy". Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.
The Colosseum or Coliseum is a large oval amphitheater in the city of Rome, Italy. The structure is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and was built between 70 and 80 AD under the Roman emperor Vespasian and finished under Emperor Titus. More modifications were made to the Colosseum between 81 and 96 AD under Emperor Domitian. Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian are known as the Flavian Dynasty, hence the name Flavian Amphitheatre. Many historians believe the name Colosseum came from the colossal statue of Nero that was nearby. Successors of Nero altered the statue to look more like Helios, or Apollo, the Sun God. Despite having links to the pagan religion of the Romans, the statue remained standing throughout much of the religiously intolerant Middle Ages.
The Colosseum is huge, and was estimated to have been able to hold between 50,000 and 80,000 people when it was still active. The space was used for battles between gladiators, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and even as a large stage to put on Classical mythology plays. When the Roman Empire fell, the Colosseum fell into disuse, but found different purposes during the Medieval era. The marble was removed and used in other buildings in Rome including St Peter’s Basilica. The Colosseum was used for everything from housing, various workshops, a fortress, a Christian shrine, and even a zoo.
Despite its condition, the Colosseum remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome with thousands of people visiting each year. Starting in 2011, a private company was contracted by the Italian government to restore the Colosseum, costing 25 million euros. The first stage was to clean and restore the exterior with the second stage being to replace the floors to be used to provide more extensive guided tours.
Solitude Mountain Resort
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 10,488ft (3,197m)
Base elevation: 7,988ft (2,435m)
Vertical: 2,494ft (760m)
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 11,068ft (3,374m)
Base elevation: 8,530ft (2,600m)
Vertical: 2,538ft (774m)
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 11,000ft (3,353m)
Base elevation: 7,760ft (2,365m)
Vertical: 3,240ft (988m)
Arco della Pace
The Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) was built in the early nineteenth century to celebrate the peace between European nations that was reached in 1815. Luigi Cagnola was the creator.
The Arco della Pace is part of the “Foro Bonaparte” which was built like a Roman Forum to honor Napoleon’s victories. Napolean was a powerful French military leader and emperor.
Construction of the first part of the arch began in 1807. Napoleon was ousted as the emperor in 1814 and the building stopped. Years later, the work was finally finished. A big ceremony was held in 1839 when the arch became official. The Emperor Ferdinand l of Austria led the big event and the people of Milan were very happy to have the arch finally completed.
The design of the Arco della Pace is very elaborate. It has a large passageway in the center with two smaller ones on each side. It is clad in elegant marble and has beautiful sculptures and columns.
There are four big statues that stand in front of it. On top of the arch are three more statues. There are two statues on each side of the arch which were supposed to face the city of Paris but actually face the opposite way.
The arch was originally built to display Napoleon’s victories. Unfortunately for Napoleon, construction stopped when the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy was conquered by the Austrian Empire. Instead of displaying his victories, one of the scenes shows the Battle of Leipzig which led to his defeat.
The arch is 25 meters tall and the statues on top are made of bronze. An inscription on top reads Sestina della Pace meaning Poem by Peace.
Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, just off shore from San Francisco, California. Although the island was originally home to just a lighthouse, in 1828 a prison was built there to house military prisoners. Around 100 years later, in 1934, a federal prison was opened there and was run by the American government until 1963. It is one of the most notorious prisons in American history because of the high-profile people who were sentenced to prison there, and for the fact that many people believed that it was inescapable.
The federal prison, or penitentiary, was a maximum-security prison that was used to house some of America’s most notorious criminals. One of these people was Al Capone, the American gangster who was famous during Prohibition for being the head of the Chicago crime ring known as the Chicago outfit. Even though it was believed that you could never escape from Alcatraz, 36 different prisoners tried to escape 14 different times. Three men named Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin successfully escaped in 1962. Even though the men were able to get out, Alcatraz continued to be known as “The Rock”.
Today, people believe Alcatraz to be one of the most haunted places in the United States. Native Americans in the San Francisco bay area believed the island to be inhabited by evil spirits before it became a prison. But, in recent years, ghost investigators have visited the island and believe that its the site of many ghosts and spirits of prisoners who had been on the island.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is an American national park located in the state of Maine, southwest of Bar Harbor. The park preserves about half of Mount Desert Island, many adjacent smaller islands, and part of the Schoodic Peninsula on the coast of Maine. Acadia was initially designated Sieur de Monts National Monument by proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. Sieur de Monts was renamed and redesignated Lafayette National Park by Congress in 1919—the first national park in the United States east of the Mississippi River and the only one in the Northeastern United States. The park was renamed Acadia National Park in 1929. More than 3.4 million people visited the park in 2019.
Native Americans of the Algonquian nations have inhabited the area called Acadia for at least 12,000 years. They traded furs for European goods when French, English, and Dutch ships began arriving in the early 17th century. The Wabanaki Confederacy has held an annual Native American Festival in Bar Harbor since 1989. Samuel de Champlain named the island Isle des Monts Deserts (Island of Barren Mountains) in 1604. The island was granted to Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac by Louis XIV of France in 1688, then ceded to England in 1713. Summer visitors, nicknamed rusticators, arrived in 1855, followed by wealthy families, nicknamed cottagers as their large houses were quaintly called cottages. Charles Eliot is credited with the idea for the park. George B. Dorr, the "Father of Acadia National Park," along with Eliot's father Charles W. Eliot, supported the idea through donations of land, and advocacy at the state and federal levels. John D. Rockefeller Jr. financed the construction of carriage roads from 1915 to 1940. A wildfire in 1947 burned much of the park and destroyed 237 houses, including 67 of the millionaires’ cottages.
The park includes mountains, an ocean coastline, coniferous and deciduous woodlands, lakes, ponds, and wetlands encompassing a total of 49,075 acres (76.7 sq mi; 198.6 km2) as of 2017. Key sites on Mount Desert Island include Cadillac Mountain—the tallest mountain on the eastern coastline and one of the first places in the United States where one can watch the sunrise—a rocky coast featuring Thunder Hole where waves crash loudly into a crevasse around high tides, a sandy swimming beach called Sand Beach, and numerous lakes and ponds. Jordan Pond features the glacially rounded North and South Bubbles (rôche moutonnées) at its northern end, while Echo Lake has the only freshwater swimming beach in the park. Somes Sound is a five-mile (8 km) long fjard formed during a glacial period that reshaped the entire island to its present form, including the U-shaped valleys containing the many ponds and lakes. The Bass Harbor Head Light is situated above a steep, rocky headland on the southwest coast—the only lighthouse on the island.
The park protects the habitats of 37 mammalian species including black bears, moose and white-tailed deer, seven reptilian species including milk snakes and snapping turtles, eleven amphibian species including wood frogs and spotted salamanders, 33 fish species including rainbow smelt and brook trout, and as many as 331 birds including various species of raptors, songbirds and waterfowl. In 1991, peregrine falcons had a successful nesting in Acadia for the first time since 1956. Falcon chicks are often banded to study migration, habitat use, and longevity. Some trails may be closed in spring and early summer to avoid disturbance to falcon nesting areas.
Recreational activities from spring through autumn include car and bus touring along the park's paved loop road; hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding on carriage roads (motor vehicles are prohibited); rock climbing; kayaking and canoeing on lakes and ponds; swimming at Sand Beach and Echo Lake; sea kayaking and guided boat tours on the ocean; and various ranger-led programs. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Two campgrounds are located on Mount Desert Island, another campground is on the Schoodic Peninsula, and five lean-to sites are on Isle au Haut. The main visitor center is at Hulls Cove, northwest of Bar Harbor.
Mehrangarh, located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is one of the largest forts in India. Built in around 1459 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards. A winding road leads to and from the city below. The imprints of the impact of cannonballs fired by attacking armies of Jaipur can still be seen on the second gate. To the left of the fort is the chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda, a soldier who fell on the spot defending Mehrangarh.
There are seven gates, which include Jayapol (meaning 'victory gate'), built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. There is also a Fattehpol (also meaning 'victory gate'), which commemorates Maharaja Ajit Singhji victory over Mughals.
Photo: Güldem Üstün
Deer Valley Resort
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 9,570ft (2,920m)
Base elevation: 6,570ft (2,000m)
Vertical: 3,000ft (910m)
The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is a 13th-century Teutonic castle and fortress located near the town of Malbork, Poland. It is the largest castle in the world measured by land area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.It was originally constructed by the Teutonic Knights, a German Catholic religious order of crusaders, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress. The Order named it Marienburg in honour of Mary, mother of Jesus.
Barcelona is famous for its grand architecture, which includes some impressive works by Antonio Gaudi, including Park Guell. Commissioned by Eusebi Güell who wanted to create a stylish park for the city’s aristocracy, his idea was to have his friend Gaudi convert plots of land he’d purchased in 1899 into an English-inspired garden city. Gaudi commenced the work in November of 1900, devoting himself to building the walls, entrance pavilion, roads, viaducts and the main entrance stairs, among other features. Following Güell’s death in 1918, the land was sold to city hall to be transformed into a public park, which opened the year Gaudi died in 1926. Since then, it’s become one of Barcelona’s most important points of interest.
Walking through Park Guell feels like a stroll through a real-life fairytale with its remarkable stone structures, wavy shapes that look like flowing lava, covered pathways with columns shaped like trees, and fantastical buildings with lots of colored glass and ceramic mosaics. From the entrance is the Dragon Stairway, an icon of the park with the famous dragon sculpture separating its three sections. Along it are other symbols, like a snake and the emblem of Catalonia. The last few steps hold a Greek-theater shaped bench, designed to take advantage of summer shade and winter sun. At the top of the park is a terraced area for enjoying a jaw-dropping view of the park with the magnificent city serving as the backdrop.
John Frost Bridge
John Frost Bridge is the road bridge over the Lower Rhine at Arnhem, in the Netherlands. The bridge is named after Major-General John Dutton Frost who commanded the British forces that reached and defended the bridge during the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. The bridge was featured in the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, although the IJssel bridge in Deventer was used for the film.
Operation Market Garden
In September 1944 the Allies launched Operation Market Garden. The road bridge across the Lower Rhine should have been the final objective of the operation, and its capture was tasked to the British 1st Airborne Division. Unexpected German resistance in Arnhem meant that only a small force of some 740 men were able to reach the northern end of the bridge, commanded by Lt-Colonel John Frost.
On the night of the 17 September the British attempted to take the southern end of the bridge, using a flame thrower to destroy German positions in the bridge's towers. This accidentally ignited an ammunition store and the fresh paint on the bridge caught fire, illuminating the area for most of the night and forcing the British to abandon their attempt.
The German forces in Arnhem eventually overwhelmed Frost's men, although this took several days. They had however succeeded in closing the bridge to German armour for about four days, twice as long as a whole division was expected to hold the bridge. The rest of the division held out at nearby Oosterbeek until 25 September before being evacuated across the river.
Although the bridge survived the battle, it was bombed and destroyed by B-26 Marauders of the 344th Bomb Group on 7 October 1944 to prevent the Germans from using it to send reinforcements south of the river.
The Paul Revere House
The Paul Revere House is located in Boston, Massachusetts, and was the home of silversmith and Patriot Paul Revere. The house was built in 1680 and is the oldest house in downtown Boston. Paul Revere was not the first man to live in the house, but he purchased the home in 1770 and lived there with his wife Sarah and their children, and then his second wife Rachel after Sarah died, and their children.
Paul Revere is an American Patriot who was a member of the secretive group known as the Sons of Liberty. He is most well-known for his Midnight Ride on horseback just before the battles of Lexington and Concord at the start of the American Revolutionary War. Because Revere was a silversmith, he used his metalworking skills to make engravings and other pieces with political themes that backed the American cause.
Paul Revere sold his house in 1800 and it changed hands several times. The bottom half of the house was turned into stores and has been everything from a candy shop, to a bank, to a cigar factory, to a vegetable business. It wasn’t until 1902 that Paul Revere’s great grandson bought the house so that it could be restored and turned into a museum. The doors to the museum opened in 1908 and was one of the very first house museums in the United States.
Photo by Nick S.
Alabama State Capitol
The Alabama State Capitol, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the First Confederate Capitol, is the state capitol building for Alabama. Located on Capitol Hill, originally Goat Hill, in Montgomery, it was declared a National Historic Landmark on December 19, 1960.
Alabama has had five political capitals during its history since it was designated as a territory of the United States. The first was the territorial capital in St. Stephens in 1817; the state organizing convention was held in Huntsville in 1819, and the first "permanent" capital was designated in 1820 as Cahaba. The legislature moved the capital to Tuscaloosa in 1826, where it was housed in a new three-story building. Finally, in 1846, the capital was moved again to Montgomery. These changes followed the development of greater population in the state, as European-American settlers moved in, often accompanied by their slaves, or purchasing more enslaved African Americans after arrival here. Large parts of the state were developed for King Cotton.
The first capitol building in Montgomery, located where the current building stands, burned after two years. The current building was completed in 1851, and additional wings were added over the course of the following 140 years.
The current capitol building temporarily served as the Confederate Capitol while Montgomery served as the first political capital of the Confederate States of America in 1861, before Richmond, Virginia was designated as the capital. Delegates meeting as the Montgomery Convention in the Senate Chamber drew up the Provisional Constitution of the Confederate States on February 4, 1861. The convention also adopted the Permanent Constitution here on March 11, 1861.
Civil Rights Movement
On March 25, 1965, the third Selma to Montgomery march ended here with 25,000 protesters at the foot of the capitol steps on Dexter Avenue. Prominent protesters included Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Coretta Scott King, Ralph Bunche, Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, John Lewis, James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, and Joan Baez.
A delegation from the protestors attempted to see Governor George Wallace to give him a petition that asked for an end to racial discrimination in Alabama. The governor had sent word that he would see the delegation, but they were denied entry to the capitol grounds twice and told no one would be let through. State police surrounded the capitol and prevented the marcher's delegation entry to the grounds. Martin Luther King Jr. then gave an impassioned speech at the base of the steps:
We are not about to turn around. We are on the move now. Yes, we are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us.
— Martin Luther King Jr.
The delegation was later let through into the capitol, but were told that Wallace's office was closed for the day. The delegation later left, without having been able to give their petition to anyone. It read:
We have come not only five days and fifty miles but we have come from three centuries of suffering and hardship. We have come to you, the Governor of Alabama, to declare that we must have our freedom now. We must have the right to vote; we must have equal protection of the law and an end to police brutality.
— Selma to Montgomery marchers petition
The capitol steps have continued to be the rallying point for civil demonstrations over the succeeding years. Memorial Selma to Montgomery marches have ended at the steps on several occasions. The most recent, in honor of what would have been King's 83rd birthday, was held on January 15, 2012. On this occasion the marchers were greeted by Governor Robert J. Bentley.
Today, the march route is memorialized as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, a designated National Historic Trail.
Because of the march and the events surrounding it the Voting Rights Act became law on August 6, 1965.
Mission San Diego de Alcala
Mission San Diego de Alcala was founded on July 16, 1769 by a Spanish friar named Junípero Serra. It was the first of twenty one missions to be started in California with the goal of spreading Christianity in the region.
Prior to the Spanish arrival, the Kumeyaay people had lived here for 12,000 years. The first Spanish ships arrived in 1542. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo named the bay San Miguel in honor of the saint's feast day. It would later be renamed San Diego when another Spanish explorer, Sebastián Vizcaíno, arrived in 1602.
The missions were used to settle areas of California for Spain to ensure that Russia did not control the territory. The Spanish colonization threatened the Kumeyaay people and on November 4, 1775 they raided the mission. It was set on fire and burned to the ground.
Father Serra led the rebuilding of the church. Eventually the Spanish and Kumeyaay people would work together to harvest the land. Many even converted to catholicism.
After the Mexican-American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made the San Diego area a United States territory.
Today, the mission still serves as an active parish. Much of the history of this area and artifacts can be found in the mission's museum.
In 1976, Mission San Diego de Alcalá was named a basilica. This is a special priveledge that can only be given by the pope.
The current church is the fifth to be built on this site.
The Royal Observatory, or the Old Royal Observatory, is located in Greenwich along the River Thames. The Observatory is famous for sitting along the Prime Meridian, giving its name to Greenwich Mean Time (also known as Universal Time). For years, the Observatory has played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and is currently number 000 (first on the list) among the International Astronomical Union.
Commissioned in 1675 by King Charles III, the first stone was laid on August 10th and was completed the follwoing year. John Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal, and thus the main house is often known as Flamsteed House in reference to him. By 1767, the Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne had begun the publication of the Nautical Almanac based on the observations he made at the Observatory. This was the first almanac that had data dedicated to the determination of longitude at sea.
The Royal Observatory has a brass strip that runs through the courtyard. This brass strip was put in place in the 1960’s to mark the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian is used around the world for mapping and timekeeping. It was important for helping ships to navigate their positions at sea.
If you look at the top of the observatory you will notice a large red ball. This ball helped mariners to synchronize their clocks before heading out to sea. Each day, at exactly 1pm, the ball would be dropped. Ships in port could see the ball dropping and they would align their clocks to match Greenwich Mean Time.
Today the Royal Greenwich Observatory is located in Cambridge and the Greenwich site has been converted into part of the National Maritime Museum and has been incorporated into the Royal Museums Greenwich. The Museum features a new planetarium as well as the Annie Maunder Astrographic Telescope, which is a cluster of four separate instruments.
Palacio Real de Madrid
The Palacio Real de Madrid, or the Royal Palace of Madrid, is the official home of the Spanish Royal Family in the city of Madrid, Spain. Although the very large house is the royal family’s official home, King Felipe VI and his family do not live there today. The Royal Palace of Madrid is owned by the Spanish State and is used only for state ceremonies. The Palace is very big, with more than 1.45 million square feet of space and has 3,418 rooms. It is the largest royal palace in all of Europe!
Before the Palace was used by the Spanish royal family, it was originally built for Muhammad I between 860 and 880 when Madrid was under Arabic (Moorish) control. When it was first constructed, it was designed to be a fortress to protect the Moorish people who were living in the area. Over the centuries, the building was expanded to be a royal palace and was redesigned on the inside to be more opulent and more lavish. Beautiful pieces of priceless art were hung inside, including Renaissance pieces by Caravaggio, Baroque pieces by Velazquez, and Romantic pieces by Goya. While visiting the Palace, you can see all this beautiful artwork, and will also get to see the official Spanish Royal Crown and Scepter.
In front of the Palace is a beautiful square known as the Plaza de la Armeria. The Plaza was first built by King Phillip II in 1553 when he wanted an area for royal stables. Today it is used as part of the outbuildings of the Palace, along with the Sabatini Gardens, the Campo del Moro Gardens, and the Plaza de Oriente. You can visit all of these areas to see the statues and lavish gardens.
Photo by JEAN ROBERT THIBAULT
Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, Italy. “Palazzo Vecchio” is Italian. It means “Old Palace” in English.
Palazzo Vecchio is a beautiful building that overlooks the gallery of statues. From here, you can see the Piazza della Signoria, an “L” shaped square that holds the statue that Michelangelo created of David.
The people who lived in Florence had the idea to build the palace in 1299. They wanted it to be the symbol of power for their city. They placed it right above the ruins of the Uberti Ghibelline towers where they had a very important victory over the Guelph faction.
The Palazzo Vecchio is built on top of an ancient Roman theater that was once part of the Roman colony of Florentia. You can purchase tickets to view the underground ruins.
Inside the Palazzo, there are many famous paintings. A microcosm in the palace keeps art and history safe for visitors to enjoy. A massive hall named Salone dei Cinquecento was built in 1494. It has paneled ceilings and walls decorated with frescoes, gold, and large statues. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti painted the two large murals on the walls. Unfortunately, the work of these great artists was never completed.
Leonardo da Vinci started painting the Battle of Anghiari. Michelangelo Buonarroti painted the Battle of Cascina.
Michelangelo never finished the painting because he was called by Pope Julius II to Rome to paint the Sistine Chapel.
Da Vinici's work was destroyed in the process of painting the wall. He was experimenting with different painting processes which mixed wax with the paint pigments. In an attempt to speed up the drying time, he used a coal fire to heat the room. The heat from the fire melted the wax off the walls ruining the painting.
Mount Vernon is an American landmark and former plantation of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and his wife, Martha Washington. The estate is on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Alexandria, across from Prince George's County, Maryland. The Washington family had owned land in the area since 1674. Around 1734, they embarked on an expansion of the estate that continued under George Washington, who began leasing the estate in 1754 but did not become its sole owner until 1761.
The mansion was built of wood in a loose Palladian style; the original house was built by George Washington's father Augustine, around 1734. George Washington expanded the house twice, once in the late 1750s and again in the 1770s. It remained Washington's home for the rest of his life. Following his death in 1799, under the ownership of several successive generations of the family, the estate progressively declined as revenues were insufficient to maintain it adequately. In 1858, the house's historical importance was recognized and it was saved from ruin by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association; this philanthropic organization acquired it together with part of the Washington property estate. Escaping the damage suffered by many plantation houses during the American Civil War, Mount Vernon was restored.
Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is still owned and maintained in trust by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and is open every day of the year. Allowing the public to see the estate is not an innovation, but part of an over 200-year-old tradition started by George Washington himself. In 1794 he wrote: "I have no objection to any sober or orderly person's gratifying their curiosity in viewing the buildings, Gardens, &ca. about Mount Vernon."
Location: Colorado, United States
Top elevation: 12,313ft (3,753m)
Base elevation: 9,712ft (2,960m)
Vertical: 2,601ft (793m)
Sainte-Chapelle, or Holy Chapel, is a royal chapel located along the River Seine in Paris, France. Built in the Gothic style, the Sainte-Chapelle was built within the medieval Palais de la Cite, which was the residence of the King of France until the 14th century ended. The Sainte-Chapelle is considered to be one of the highest achievements of the Rayonnant period of Gothic architecture, a period that lasted between 1240 and 1350. The Rayonnant architecture in the Sainte-Chapelle is seen in the buttresses and the vertical height of the chapel.
In 1238, King Louis IX of France commissioned the Saint-Chapelle to be constructed to house his large collection of Passion relics (physical remains of the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ), which included the original Crown of Thorns worn by Christ during his crucifixion. Today, the Crown of Thorns is housed in the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Consecrated (declared sacred) on April 26th of 1248, the royal chapel has one of the most extensive 13th-century stained glass collections in the world.
During the French Revolution, much of the Sainte-Chapelle suffered damage. Most of the relics were dispersed throughout the country or were damaged and destroyed. Many of the reliquaries, including the grande chasse (or reliquary box) was melted down for the gold. The steeple and baldachin (canopy over the altar) were removed from the structure. It would not be until the end of the 19th century that the church was restored, with much of the chapel today being a re-creation. Thankfully, more than two-thirds of the stained-glass windows are original and authentic.
Sachsenhausen or Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg was a Nazi concentration camp in Oranienburg, Germany, used from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May 1945. It mainly held political prisoners throughout World War II. Prominent prisoners include Joseph Stalin's oldest son Yakov Dzhugashvili, assassin Herschel Grynszpan, Paul Reynaud the penultimate Prime Minister of France, Francisco Largo Caballero Prime Minister of the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War, the wife and children of the Crown Prince of Bavaria, Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, and several enemy soldiers and political dissidents.
Sachsenhausen was a labor camp outfitted with several subcamps, a gas chamber, and a medical experimentation area. Prisoners were treated harshly, fed sparingly, and killed openly. Those held captive in Sachsenhausen were the men and women which the Third Reich wanted dead, not just because of their religion, but because of their political beliefs and their power over those who listened to them. After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the structure was used by the NKVD as NKVD special camp Nr. 7. Today, Sachsenhausen is open to the public as a memorial for the crimes committed within its walls.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge in California that connects San Francisco and Marin County. The Bridge takes drivers over a mile-wide strait that connects the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. A strait is a narrow body of water that connects two larger bodies of water. The Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937 and was the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world.
Before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, the quickest way to get from one side to the other was by boat. There was a ferry boat that operated starting in 1820 to take travelers from San Francisco to Marin County. Although many people in the area asked for a bridge to be built, engineers believed that one could never be constructed because the winds there are very strong, and the strait had strong currents and tides which would make construction very hard. It wasn’t until 1933 that construction began using a design by an architect named Irving Morrow. Construction took four years, and unfortunately, 11 men died while the bridge was being built. Building bridges was a very dangerous job. On February 17, 1937, a worker’s platform collapsed and the net below it failed. There was a total of 31 men working on the platform, and 19 of them were caught in the net. Sadly, 12 of them fell into the icy water of the strait and 10 of them passed away.
Today, around 110,000 cars drive over the bridge every day. Walkways were built on the bridge when it first opened, so people can walk or bicycle across it. The Golden Gate Bridge has been named one of the Modern Wonder of the World and is one of the most photographed sites in California.
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters).
The canyon and adjacent rim are contained within Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Indian Reservation, the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.
Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While some aspects about the history of incision of the canyon are debated by geologists, several recent studies support the hypothesis that the Colorado River established its course through the area about 5 to 6 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River has driven the down-cutting of the tributaries and retreat of the cliffs, simultaneously deepening and widening the canyon.
For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.
Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a tidal island and mainland commune in Normandy, France.
The island lies about one kilometre (0.6 miles) off the country's north-western coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches and is 7 hectares (17 acres) in area.
As of 2017, the island has a population of 30.
The commune's position—on an island just a few hundred metres from land—made it accessible at low tide to the many pilgrims to its abbey, but defensible as an incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned would-be assailants. The island remained unconquered during the Hundred Years' War; a small garrison fended off a full attack by the English in 1433. Louis XI recognised the reverse benefits of its natural defence and turned it into a prison. The abbey was used regularly as a prison during the Ancien Régime. During the German occupation of France in World War II, soldiers used St. Auburn church as a lookout post.
Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. It is visited by more than 3 million people each year. Over 60 buildings within the commune are protected in France as monuments historiques.
Wright Brothers Memorial
Wright Brothers National Memorial, located in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, commemorates the first successful, sustained, powered flights in a heavier-than-air machine. From 1900 to 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright came here from Dayton, Ohio, to have a private areas with steady winds to experiment with their flying machine.
The Wrights made four flights from level ground near the base of the hill on December 17, 1903, in the Wright Flyer, following three years of gliding experiments from atop this and other nearby sand dunes. It is possible to walk along the actual routes of the four flights, with small monuments marking their starts and finishes. Two wooden sheds, based on historic photographs, recreate the world's first airplane hangar and the brothers' living quarters.
A 60 foot (18.29 m) granite monument, dedicated in 1932, is perched atop 90-foot-tall (27 m) Kill Devil Hill, commemorating the achievement of the Wright brothers. They conducted many of their glider tests on the massive shifting dune that was later stabilized to form Kill Devil Hill. Inscribed in capital letters along the base of the memorial tower is the phrase "In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright conceived by genius achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith." Atop the tower is a marine beacon, similar to one found in a lighthouse.
The doors of the tower are stainless steel over nickel, with a price of $3,000 in 1928 (equivalent to $35,818 in 2019). The six relief panels represent the conquest of the air:
Left Door (top to bottom): The contraptions of the French locksmith Besnier, who thought he could fly if he propelled himself into the air while wearing paddles on his arms and legs; An homage to Otto Lilienthal, a German who died while conducting gliding experiments; A reference to a French philosopher who thought that since dew rose in the morning, if it could be placed in an expandable bag attached to a box and sail, it would naturally rise when placed in the sun. (It didn't.)
Right Door (top to bottom): Icarus, the Greek mythological figure who tried to fly from Crete by attaching feathers to his arms with wax. He fell when he flew too close to the sun, melting the wax; Bird flight to plane flight, or the rise of a phoenix; Kites used by the Wrights and others in early experiments.
First powered flight
In camp at Kill Devil Hills, they endured weeks of delays caused by broken propeller shafts during engine tests. After the shafts were replaced, Wilbur won a coin toss and made a three-second flight attempt on December 14, 1903, stalling after takeoff and causing minor damage to the Flyer. Because December 13, 1903, was a Sunday, the brothers did not make any attempts that day, even though the weather was good, so their first powered test flight happened on the 121st anniversary of the first hot air balloon test flight that the Montgolfier brothers had done, on December 14, 1782. In a message to their family, Wilbur referred to the trial as having "only partial success", stating "the power is ample, and but for a trifling error due to lack of experience with this machine and this method of starting, the machine would undoubtedly have flown beautifully."
Following repairs, the Wrights finally took to the air on December 17, 1903, making two flights each from level ground into a freezing headwind gusting to 27 miles per hour (43 km/h). The first flight, by Orville at 10:35 am, of 120 feet (37 m) in 12 seconds, at a speed of only 6.8 miles per hour (10.9 km/h) over the ground, was recorded in a famous photograph. The next two flights covered approximately 175 and 200 feet (53 and 61 m), by Wilbur and Orville respectively. Their altitude was about 10 feet (3.0 m) above the ground. The following is Orville Wright's account of the final flight of the day:
Wilbur started the fourth and last flight at just about 12 o'clock. The first few hundred feet were up and down, as before, but by the time three hundred ft had been covered, the machine was under much better control. The course for the next four or five hundred feet had but little undulation. However, when out about eight hundred feet the machine began pitching again, and, in one of its darts downward, struck the ground. The distance over the ground was measured to be 852 feet; the time of the flight was 59 seconds. The frame supporting the front rudder was badly broken, but the main part of the machine was not injured at all. We estimated that the machine could be put in condition for flight again in about a day or two.
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Elevation: 6,288.3 ft (1,916.7 m)
Mount Washington, called Agiocochook by some Native American tribes, is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288.2 ft (1,916.6 m) and the most topographically prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River. It is located in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains.
The mountain is notorious for its erratic weather. On the afternoon of April 12, 1934, the Mount Washington Observatory recorded a windspeed of 231 miles per hour (372 km/h) at the summit, the world record from 1934 until 1996. Mount Washington still holds the record for highest measured wind speed not associated with a tornado or tropical cyclone.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway ascends the western slope of the mountain, and the Mount Washington Auto Road climbs to the summit from the east. The mountain is visited by hikers, and the Appalachian Trail crosses the summit. Other common activities include glider flying, backcountry skiing, and annual cycle and running races such as the Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and Road Race.
Old North Bridge
Old North Bridge is located in Concord, Massachusetts. This bridge served an important role at the Battle of Concord, which was the first battle of the American Revolutionary War. Although the original bridge is gone, a wooden replica was constructed to replace it in 2005. The bridge and a nearby park make up what is called Minute Man National Historical Park, which is a popular place for tourists to go and visit while they are in Boston.
The first day of the American Revolutionary War was on April 19th of 1775. Starting with the Battle of Lexington and leading into the Battle of Concord, the Old North Bridge was where "the shot heard 'round the world" happened, when American soldiers fired against British soldiers in hopes they would retreat, which they did. The British soldiers and American soldiers proceeded to face each other down across the North Bridge. This action was seen as the first steps towards Independence during war time.
The original bridge was taken down in 1973 by the town of Concord because it was no longer usable. A bridge was constructed a few hundred yards away and was dismantled and rebuilt several times over, until 2005 when a replica of the original Old North Bridge was built in its original location. In 1911, a grandson of Major John Buttrick, who led the colonial forces to Old North Bridge during the Revolutionary War, built a mansion overlooking the site of the bridge. Today, that mansion is owned by the National Park Service and features beautiful gardens.
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 10,026 ft (3,056 m)
Base elevation: 6,900 ft (2,100 m)
Vertical: 3,200 ft (980 m)
Skiable area: 7,300 acres (11.4 sq mi; 29.5 km2)
The Space Needle is an observation tower located in Seattle, Washington. It is one of the main landmarks of the city, as well as the majority of the Pacific Northwest. The Space Needle was constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair at the Seattle Center, which drew more than 2.3 million visitors to the Emerald City. Today, the structure is one of the tallest buildings west of the Mississippi River at 605 feet tall, and around 20,000 people use the elevator each day to get a bird’s eye view of the city. The elevators travel at 10 miles per hour and take around 41 seconds to go from top to bottom.
Designed to withstand a variety of different weather patterns, the Space Needle has 25 lightning rods, can endure an earthquake up to a 9.0 magnitude, and withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour. The observation deck at the top of the Needle sits at 520 feet above the city and features a restaurant called the SkyCity which rotates. You can see the downtown Seattle skyline, as well as surrounding islands, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and mountain peaks such as Mount Rainier and Mount Baker.
In August of 2018, the Space Needle unveiled its most recent addition, the first and only revolving glass floor in the world. At 500 feet above the ground, 50 stories up, “The Loupe” offers a 360 degree view of the city below. Ten layers of tightly bonded glass ensures that no cracks or accidents happen.
Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. The archaeological site is located in Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico.
Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the Northern Maya Lowlands from the Late Classic (c. AD 600–900) through the Terminal Classic (c. AD 800–900) and into the early portion of the Postclassic period (c. AD 900–1200). The site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles, reminiscent of styles seen in central Mexico and of the Puuc and Chenes styles of the Northern Maya lowlands. The presence of central Mexican styles was once thought to have been representative of direct migration or even conquest from central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations view the presence of these non-Maya styles more as the result of cultural diffusion.
Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.
Temple Mickve Israel
The Temple Mickve Israel is a Jewish synagogue located in Savannah, GA’s historic district. It is one of the few examples of a gothic style synagogue in the United States and is the home of the third oldest Jewish congregation in the country. Founded in 1735, the congregation was formed by 42 Jewish settlers who came to the new Georgia colony looking for religious freedom. The Temple Mickve Israel was constructed in 1876 and has been used by the congregation ever since. Mickve Israel means “The Hope of Israel”.
Many of the original congregation members came to Savannah from London but had left their home countries of Spain and Portugal in the 1720 fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish Inquisition was a time period in which the Catholic Church was punishing anyone who was not a member of the Catholic faith. Wealthy Jews in London paid for many Jewish settlers to go to Savannah, including the original members of the church and many who followed later. One of the many ships coming to Savannah with Jewish settlers brought with them a Sefer Torah. A Sefer Torah is a handwritten copy of the Torah, or the Jewish holy book. They are very rare. The one that is in Temple Mickve Isreal is one of the oldest in the United States.
The Temple Mickve Isreal also has many Presidential letters in its library, dating all the way back to the very first president of the United States. When George Washington was elected president, the leader of the congregation wrote him a letter, and President Washington wrote him back. Since then, more than 10 presidents have written to the congregation including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Barak Obama.
Church of Saint George
The Church of Saint George is one of eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches in Lalibela, a city in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Originally named Roha (Warwar), the historical and religious site was named Lalibela after the King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela of the Zagwe dynasty, who commissioned its construction. He is regarded as a saint by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
The Church of Saint George was carved downwards from a type of volcanic tuff. This is the sole architectural material that was used in the structure. It has been dated to the late 12th or early 13th century AD, and thought to have been constructed during the reign of King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, of the late Zagwe dynasty. It is among the best known and last built of the eleven churches in the Lalibela area, and has been referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". Lalibela, King of Ethiopia, sought to recreate Jerusalem, and structured the churches' landscape and religious sites in such a way as to achieve such a feat. “The churches at Lalibela are clustered in two major groups, one representing the earthly Jerusalem, and the other representing the heavenly Jerusalem. Located directly between them is a trench representing the River Jordan”. The dimensions of the trench are 25 meters by 25 meters by 30 meters, and there is a small baptismal pool outside the church, which stands in an artificial trench.
According to Ethiopian cultural history, Bete Giyorgis was built after King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela of the Zagwe dynasty had a vision in which he was instructed to construct the church; Saint George and God have both been referred to as the one who gave him the instructions.
Lalibela is a pilgrimage site for members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church; the church itself is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela".
On first approach the site appears wholly inaccessible, with sheer drops on every side and no access bridge. It is accessed via a very narrow man-made canyon, spiralling downwards, which changes to a tunnel close to the church, to further conceal its presence.
Pilgrims who died after reaching the site are placed in a simple open tomb on the outer walls.
The hollowed interior contains a simple shrine to St. George and, behind a curtain (forbidden to view apart from priests) lies a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is an American national park that preserves and reclaims the rural landscape along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio.
The 32,572-acre (50.9 sq mi; 131.8 km2) park is administered by the National Park Service, but within its boundaries are areas independently managed as county parks or as public or private businesses. Cuyahoga Valley was originally designated as a National Recreation Area in 1974, then redesignated as a national park 26 years later in 2000, and remains the only national park that originated as a national recreation area.
Cuyahoga Valley is the only national park in the state of Ohio and one of three in the Great Lakes Basin, with Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior and Indiana Dunes National Park bordering Lake Michigan. Cuyahoga Valley also differs from the other national parks in America in that it is adjacent to two large urban areas and it includes a dense road network, small towns, four reservations of the Cleveland Metroparks, eleven parks of the Summit Metro Parks, and public and private attractions.
No Native American tribes currently have federal recognition in Ohio; however, the former inhabitants of the Cuyahoga Valley were Native Americans. The Wyandot, Iroquois, Ottawa, Objibwe, Munsee, Potawatomi, Miami, Catawba, and Shawnee all lived in or traversed this area, but the Lenapé Nation, also known as the Lenape’wàk or Delaware Nation, are considered "the Grandfathers" of many Native Nations of the upper Ohio River Valley. They had a democratic and egalitarian sociopolitical structure where leaders (sachem) consulted elders who advocated for the expectations of the people before decisions were made. The Lenapé were actively involved in long-distance trade networks and were highly skilled at creating goods and art such as pottery, stone weaponry, clothing, and baskets. Wars, coercive treaties, and legislative changes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries resulted in Lenapé movement both west and south from their geographic origins in present-day New York City, the lower Hudson Valley, eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and northern Delaware, through the Ohio River Valley and Cuyahoga Valley, to current residencies primarily in Oklahoma and Ontario, Canada.
The name Cuyahoga is believed to mean "crooked river" from the Mohawk name Cayagaga. However, the Mohawk were never in the region alongside Settlers, so this is highly unlikely.
Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with French engineer Albert Caquot. Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida fashioned the face. Constructed between 1922 and 1931, the statue is 30 metres high, excluding its 8-metre pedestal. The arms stretch 28 metres wide.The statue weighs 635 metric tons, and is located at the peak of the 700-metre Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. A symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and is listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone.
Duomo di Milano
The Duomo di Milano took 6 centuries to complete. It was constructed between 1386 to 1965 and dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente (The Nativity of Saint Mary). It is the largest basilica in Italy, 3rd largest in Europe.
The first cathedral was built in this location in 355 AD. A basilica was added to in 836. In 1075, a fire damaged these buildings leading to the construction of the Duomo.
Work began in 1386 under the new ruler of Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti and his the cousin, Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo. They used this as an opportunity to prove to the nobles and working class that they were better off under Visconti than they were under his predessor Barnabò.
By 1402, about half the cathedral had been completed but construction would slow down following Gian Galeazzo Visconti's death this same year. The cathedral would slowly evolve over the next 300 years with different architects continuing the project.
On May 20, 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte, a few days before being crowned King of Italy, ordered that the exterior of the Duomo be completed. He said that the expenses would be paid by the French treasurer but they were never paid. Napoleon was successful in jump starting the project. During the 1800's, the arches and spires would be completed. The statues were finished and new stained glass windows were put in to replace the old one.
On January 6, 1965 construction was completed when the last gate was inaugurated. After 579 years, the work was done.
The Duomo di Milano has about 3400 statues.
The nearby canals were built to bring marble to the cathedral during its construction.
The Eiffel Tower is in Paris, France. It is an iron tower and it is named for the engineer who designed it, Gustave Eiffel. Gustave Eiffel also helped to build the State of Liberty in New York City. The Eiffel Tower has become a national symbol of France and is known world-wide. When it was first built in 1889, it was the tallest structure in the world. The Eiffel Tower held that honor until the Chrysler Building was constructed in New York City 41 years later.
Even though the Eiffel Tower is today considered to be one of the most recognizable symbols of France, it was not very welcome at first. When the Tower was first proposed, a group of engineers, artists, and writers got together and wrote letters to the French Government asking them for it not to be built. They believed that the Tower would not be able to be built and stay up for long because it seemed impossible, but they also thought that it was ugly. One of the men who protested the Tower was named Guy de Maupassant. Supposedly, Guy ate lunch everyday in the dining room of the Eiffel Tower because it was only place that he could not see the Tower.
During World War II, the French government shut down the elevators that were in the Tower so that Hitler and the Germans could not use them. Adolph Hitler commanded his generals to destroy the Eiffel Tower along with the rest of Paris, but his generals disobeyed his orders.
It takes 60 tons of paint to cover the Tower, and it gets painted every seven years. It’s painted in three different colors from bottom to top, lighter at the top and darker at the bottom. Today the Eiffel Tower is the most visited monument in Paris. Almost 7 million people go to the Tower every year!
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa was built in 1173 and completed many years later in 1392. It took over 200 years to build because of wars and, at times, a lack of money.
Four architects and engineers were responsible for building it. The Leaning Tower of Pisa got its name because of how much it leans. It started tilting to one side during its construction due to the soft ground it is built on. The city’s name Pisa even translates to mean “marshy land”.
Throughout its construction, the builders tried to straighten it but their attempts failed. The ground was just too soft. It is believed that the only reason it didn’t topple over during construction was because the building delays gave it a chance to settle. Some of the other tall buildings nearby lean too.
The tower is about 60 meters tall and has 296 steps going up to the top. It was one of the first circular buildings of its time. It weighs 15,000 tons. There are seven bells In the tower that are rung for different occasions.
Construction of the tower was stopped for almost 100 years due to war.
The tower used to lean more than it does today. Restoration work was completed in 2001 that adjusted the towers lean from 5.5 degrees to just under 4 degrees.
The tower was built as a free standing bell tower for the nearby cathedral.
The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain is a Roman Catholic Church and Basilica that is mostly unfinished. A Basilica is a large building used in ancient Rome as a court of law, or a building similar to a Roman basilica but used as a Christian Church with special privileges granted by the Catholic Pope. The Sagrada Familia is an active construction site and has been in the process of being built since 1882. There are many reasons why the Sagrada has been under construction for so long, including the Spanish Civil War, being funded only by private donations, and continual changes to the design and structure. Even by 2010, the building was only half way completed. It is estimated that the building structure will be completed in 2026 and the decorations by 2032.
One of the most interesting parts of being in constant construction is being able to view the distinct differences in weathering and aging of the façade. You can see where new stonework has been added to the weather stained older sections. The styling of the building is both Gothic and Art Nouveau in its design and is unlike many of the other structures in Barcelona. One of the most interesting pieces in the Sagrada is the 1,492 pipe organ that was installed in 2010. Because the church is so big, additional organs will have to be installed to fill the space with music. These organs will be able to be play separately or together, with a combined 8,000 pipes.
Today, you can visit the completed portions of the structure. These areas include the Nave, the Crypt, the Museum, the Gift Shop, and two of the towers (Passion and Nativity). Although the original structure was completely funded by private patron donations, today the construction of the church is paid for by ticket sales to the site.
16th Street Baptist Church
The 16th Street Baptist Church was organized as the First Colored Baptist Church of Birmingham in 1873. It was the first black church to organize in Birmingham, which was founded just two years before. The first meetings were held in a small building at 12th Street and Fourth Avenue North. A site was soon acquired on 3rd Avenue North between 19th and 20th Street for a dedicated building. In 1880, the church sold that property and built a new church on the present site on 16th Street and 6th Avenue North. The new brick building was completed in 1884 under the supervision of its pastor, William R. Pettiford, but in 1908, the city condemned the structure and ordered it to be demolished. Pettiford was pastor from 1883 to 1904.
The present building, a "modified Romanesque and Byzantine design" by the prominent black architect Wallace Rayfield, was constructed in 1911 by the local black contractor T.C. Windham. The cost of construction was $26,000.
As one of the primary institutions in the black community, the 16th Street Baptist Church has hosted prominent visitors throughout its history. W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Paul Robeson and Ralph Bunche all spoke at the church during the first part of the 20th century.
Civil Rights Era
During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the 16th Street Baptist Church served as an organizational headquarters, site of mass meetings and rallying point for African Americans protesting widespread institutionalized racism in the South. The reverends Fred Shuttlesworth, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)) leader Martin Luther King Jr., and SCLC leader James Bevel, who initiated the Children's Crusade and taught the students nonviolence, were frequent speakers at the church and led the movement.
On Sunday, September 15, 1963, Thomas Blanton, Bobby Frank Cherry and Robert Edward Chambliss, members of the Ku Klux Klan, planted 19 sticks of dynamite outside the basement of the church. At 10:22 a.m., they exploded, killing four young girls - Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair. Twenty-two other victims suffered injuries. They were there preparing for the church's "Youth Day". A funeral for three of the four victims was attended by more than 8,000 mourners, white and black, but no city officials.
This was one of a string of more than 45 bombings within the decade. The neighborhood of Dynamite Hill was the most-frequently targeted area during this time. The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church increased Federal involvement in Alabama. President Johnson passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act the following year; and in 1965 the Voting Rights Act was passed, making literacy tests and poll taxes illegal.
Following the bombing, more than $300,000 in unsolicited gifts were received by the church and repairs were begun immediately. The church reopened on June 7, 1964. A stained glass window depicting a black Jesus, designed by John Petts, was donated by citizens of Wales and installed in the front window, facing south.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana, on the Canada–United States border, adjacent to the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1 million acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges (sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains), over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem," a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2).
The region that became Glacier National Park was first inhabited by Native Americans. Upon the arrival of European explorers, it was dominated by the Blackfeet in the east and the Flathead in the western regions. Under pressure, the Blackfeet ceded the mountainous parts of their treaty lands in 1895 to the federal government; it later became part of the park. Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1932 work was completed on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which provided greater accessibility for automobiles into the heart of the park.
The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. Known as the Lewis Overthrust, these sedimentary rocks are considered to have some of the finest examples of early life fossils on Earth. The current shapes of the Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges and positioning and size of the lakes show the telltale evidence of massive glacial action, which carved out the valleys and lakes. Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century during the late Little Ice Age, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the active glaciers may disappear by 2030 if current climate patterns persist.
Glacier National Park has almost all its original native plant and animal species. Large mammals such as grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats, as well as rare or endangered species like wolverines and Canadian lynxes, inhabit the park. Hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species, and a few reptiles and amphibian species have been documented. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra. The easternmost forests of western red cedar and hemlock grow in the southwest portion of the park. Forest fires are common in the park. There has been a fire every year of the park's existence except 1964. 64 fires occurred in 1936, the most on record. In 2003, six fires burned approximately 136,000 acres (550 km2), more than 13% of the park.
The Segovia Cathedral is located in the main square of the city of Segovia in Spain. It is a massively large Gothic-style Catholic Church that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was constructed in the mid-16th century, between 1525 and 1577. When it was built, its late-Gothic style was considered very outdated elsewhere in Europe. The designer, Juan Gil de Anatanon, built the church with three large vaults, a bell tower, a massive ambulatory, as well as side chapels and exquisitely designed glass windows.
The original (and first) Cathedral built in Segovia was closer to the ancient Alcazar but during the Revolt of the Comuneros in 1520-1521 the cathedral was severely damaged. The siege of the original cathedral lasted several months which led to the construction of a new cathedral of Segovia.
Photo by Graeme Churchard
St Louis Cathedral
The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, also called St. Louis Cathedral, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and is the second oldest cathedral in continuous use in what would become the United States. It is dedicated to Saint Louis, also known as King Louis IX of France. The first church on the site was built in 1718; the third, under the Spanish rule, built in 1789, was raised to cathedral rank in 1793. The original St. Louis Cathedral was burned during the great fire of 1788 and was expanded and largely rebuilt and completed in the 1850s, with little of the 1789 structure remaining.
Saint Louis Cathedral is in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Three Roman Catholic churches have stood on the site since 1718, when the city was founded. The first was a crude wooden structure in the early days of the French colony. As the French were Catholic, their church was prominently located on the town square.
Construction of a larger brick and timber church was begun in 1725 and was completed in 1727. Along with numerous other buildings, the church was destroyed in the Great New Orleans Fire (1788) on Good Friday, March 21, 1788. The cornerstone of a new church was laid in 1789 and the building was completed in 1794.
In 1793 Saint Louis Church was elevated to cathedral rank as the See of the Diocese of New Orleans, making it one of the oldest cathedrals in the United States. In 1819, a central tower (designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe) with a clock and bell were added. The bell was embossed with the name "Victoire" in commemoration of the Battle of New Orleans victory in 1815.
The present structure dates primarily to 1850. The bell from the 1819 tower was reused in the new building and is still there today. During the renovation, St. Patrick's Church served as the pro-cathedral for the city.
The cathedral was designated as a minor basilica by Pope Paul VI in 1964. Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral in September 1987.
African Burial Ground National Monument
African Burial Ground National Monument is a monument at Duane Street and African Burial Ground Way (Elk Street) in the Civic Center section of Lower Manhattan, New York City. Its main building is the Ted Weiss Federal Building at 290 Broadway. The site contains the remains of more than 419 Africans buried during the late 17th and 18th centuries in a portion of what was the largest colonial-era cemetery for people of African descent, some free, most enslaved. Historians estimate there may have been as many as 10,000–20,000 burials in what was called the "Negroes Burial Ground" in the 1700s. The five to six acre site's excavation and study was called "the most important historic urban archaeological project in the United States." The Burial Ground site is New York's earliest known African-American "cemetery"; studies show an estimated 15,000 African American people were buried here.
The discovery highlighted the forgotten history of enslaved Africans in colonial and federal New York City, who were integral to its development. By the American Revolutionary War, they constituted nearly a quarter of the population in the city. New York had the second-largest number of enslaved Africans in the nation after Charleston, South Carolina. Scholars and African-American civic activists joined to publicize the importance of the site and lobby for its preservation. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993 and a National Monument in 2006 by President George W. Bush.
In 2003 Congress appropriated funds for a memorial at the site and directed redesign of the federal courthouse to allow for this. A design competition attracted more than 60 proposals for a design. The memorial was dedicated in 2007 to commemorate the role of Africans and African Americans in colonial and federal New York City, and in United States history. Several pieces of public art were also commissioned for the site. A visitor center opened in 2010 to provide interpretation of the site and African-American history in New York.
Early History of Slavery in New York City
Slavery in the New York City area was introduced by the Dutch West India Company in New Netherland in about 1626 with the arrival of Paul D'Angola, Simon Congo, Lewis Guinea, Jan Guinea, Ascento Angola, and six other men. Their names denote their place of origin- Angola, the Congo, and Guinea. Two years after their arrival three female Angolan slaves arrived. These two groups heralded the beginning of slavery in what would become New York City, and which would continue for two hundred years.
The first slave auction in the city took place in 1655 at Pearl Street and Wall Street - then on the East River. Although the Dutch imported Africans as slaves, it was possible for some to gain freedom or "half-freedom" during the time of Dutch rule. In 1643, Paul D'Angola and his companions petitioned the Dutch West India Company for their freedom. Their request was granted, resulting in their acquisition of land on which to build their own houses and farm. By the mid-17th century, farms of free blacks covered 130 acres where Washington Square Park later appeared. Enslaved Africans were granted certain rights and afforded protections such as the prohibition against arbitrary physical punishment.
The English seized New Amsterdam in 1664, and renamed the fledgling settlement to New York (after the Duke of York). The new city administration changed the rules governing slavery in the colony. At the time of the seizure, some forty percent of the small population of New Amsterdam were enslaved Africans. The new rules regarding slavery were more restrictive than those of the Dutch, and rescinded many of the former rights and protections of enslaved residents, such as the prohibition against arbitrary physical punishment.
In 1697 Trinity Church gained control of the burial grounds in the city and passed an ordinance excluding blacks from the right to be buried in churchyards. When Trinity took control of the municipal burial ground, now its northern graveyard, it barred Africans from burials within the city limits. Through much of the 18th century, the African burying ground was beyond the northern boundary of the city, which was just beyond what is today Chambers Street.
As the city population increased, so did the number of residents who held slaves. "In 1703, 42 percent of New York's households had slaves, much more than Philadelphia and Boston combined." Most slaveholding households had only a few slaves, used primarily for domestic work. By the 1740s, 20 percent of the population of New York were slaves, totaling about 2,500 people. Enslaved residents also worked as skilled artisans and craftsmen associated with shipping, construction, and other trades, as well as laborers. By 1775, New York City had the largest number of enslaved residents of any settlement in the Thirteen Colonies excepted Charles Town, South Carolina, and had the highest proportion of Africans to Europeans of any settlement in the Northern colonies.
Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. Originally known as Boulder Dam from 1933, it was officially renamed Hoover Dam for President Herbert Hoover by a joint resolution of Congress in 1947.
Since about 1900, the Black Canyon and nearby Boulder Canyon had been investigated for their potential to support a dam that would control floods, provide irrigation water and produce hydroelectric power. In 1928, Congress authorized the project. The winning bid to build the dam was submitted by a consortium called Six Companies, Inc., which began construction of the dam in early 1931. Such a large concrete structure had never been built before, and some of the techniques were unproven. The torrid summer weather and lack of facilities near the site also presented difficulties. Nevertheless, Six Companies turned the dam over to the federal government on March 1, 1936, more than two years ahead of schedule.
Hoover Dam impounds Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States by volume (when it is full). The dam is located near Boulder City, Nevada, a municipality originally constructed for workers on the construction project, about 30 mi (48 km) southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. The dam's generators provide power for public and private utilities in Nevada, Arizona, and California. Hoover Dam is a major tourist attraction; nearly a million people tour the dam each year. The heavily traveled U.S. Route 93 (US 93) ran along the dam's crest until October 2010, when the Hoover Dam Bypass opened.
Boston African American National Historic Site
The Boston African American National Historic Site, in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts's Beacon Hill neighborhood, interprets 15 pre-Civil War structures relating to the history of Boston's 19th-century African-American community. These include the 1806 African Meeting House, the oldest standing black church in the United States.
This historical site is located on Beacon Hill, a neighborhood just north of Boston Common. The site was designated in 1980 to "preserve and commemorate original buildings that housed the nineteenth-century free African-American community on Beacon Hill." That year President Jimmy Carter signed bills authorizing this and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, as well as one to establish the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio. He said:
The two bills that I will sign today represent a three-pronged effort to preserve a vital, but long neglected, part of American heritage; the history and culture of Americans of African ancestry and their role in the history of our nation.
Boston's first African residents arrived as slaves in 1638 with early colonists. Over time, more of their descendants were born free to white mothers; in other cases slaveholders freed slaves for service. After the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts effectively abolished slavery by the terms of its new constitution. By the 1790 census, no slaves were recorded in Massachusetts. African Americans became activists in the abolition movement, also working to gain racial equality and educational parity with whites. They engaged in political processes to meet their objectives.
Before the Civil War, more than one half of the 2,000 African Americans in Boston lived on the north slope of Beacon Hill; blacks also lived in the West End north of Cambridge Street, and in the North End. These areas gradually were occupied by new groups of immigrants after African Americans moved to southern areas of Boston. (The North End became a center of Italian immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.)
The historic site is one of 39 African-American Heritage Sites of the National Park Service.
Historical timeline from Wikipedia
- In 1638 the first enslaved Africans brought to Boston aboard the slave ship Desire.
- In 1641 Massachusetts enacted Body of Liberties defining legal slavery in the colony.
- In 1770, Crispus Attucks, an escaped slave, was the first colonist killed in Boston Massacre. He was a national symbol of black men, like the black Revolutionary War soldiers, who helped bring a free nation into being.
- Slavery abolished in 1783 in Massachusetts. Quock Walker, an escaped slave, sued for his liberty in 1783. With his victory, Massachusetts abolished slavery, declaring it incompatible with the state constitution.
- African Meeting House opened as First African Baptist Church. Establishment of the African Baptist Church drew many blacks to hear the church's minister, Thomas Paul. The meeting house hosted a school, community groups, musical performances, and antislavery meetings.
- In 1829 David Walker published The Appeal, an essay urging slaves to fight for their freedom.
- In 1831 William Lloyd Garrison began publishing The Liberator (anti-slavery newspaper), promoting interracial anti-slavery alliances and the protection of fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad.
- In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act required states (even free ones) enforce the return of fugitive slaves to their owners. Antislavery protests followed passage of this law, and black and white Bostonians joined in direct actions to protect and some times rescue fugitives seeking shelter in the city. The slavery trial of Anthony Burns in Boston galvanized Northern opposition to the Fugitive Slave Law. After the trial, U.S. marshals and a company of marines were required to escort Burns to a ship to take him back to Virginia and slavery.
- In 1861 the Civil War started.
- In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation signed. Responding to pressure from black and white abolitionists and the need to bolster the Union forces, President Lincoln admitted African-American soldiers to the Union forces. 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry formed, the first all-black regiment raised in the North. Black Bostonians formed the core of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. On July 18, 1863, the 54th regiment led an assault on Fort Wagner in an attempt to capture Confederate-held Charleston, S.C. In this hard-fought battle, Col. Robert Gould Shaw and many of his soldiers were killed. Sgt. William Carney of New Bedford was wounded while saving the flag from capture.
- In 1865 the Civil War ended; 13th Amendment abolished slavery. After the Civil War, many freed African Americans moved north. Boston's black population increased from fewer than 2,500 in 1860 to nearly 12,000 by 1900. Most newcomers came from the Southeast. During Reconstruction, some were relocated by the Freedmen's Bureau for training and employment as domestic servants. The newcomers expanded black residential areas, settling in Boston's South End and Roxbury. Gradually long-time black residents of Beacon Hill moved their businesses and homes to that area.
- In 1897 the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial honoring 54th Massachusetts Regiment was dedicated in Boston Common.
Nearby is the Black Heritage Trail.
Nicodemus National Historic Site
Nicodemus National Historic Site, located in Nicodemus, Kansas, United States, preserves, protects and interprets the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the Reconstruction Period following the American Civil War. The town of Nicodemus is symbolic of the pioneer spirit of African Americans who dared to leave the only region they had been familiar with to seek personal freedom and the opportunity to develop their talents and capabilities. The site was named, at least in part, for a legendary African-American slave featured in abolitionist Henry Clay Work's "Wake, Nicodemus (1864)." It is a mystical story of an old slave died away and buried in a hollow tree who had asked to be awakened on the Day of Jubilee.
The historic site contains five buildings:
- Township Hall (now home to a temporary visitor center)
- African Methodist Episcopal Church
- First Baptist Church
- St. Francis Hotel
- Nicodemus School District #1 Schoolhouse
Nicodemus was founded in 1877, led by Rev. W.H. Smith, a black minister, and W.R. Hill, a white land developer, and five other black men who formed the Nicodemus Town Company. They began visiting churches in Kentucky to encourage people to move to Kansas. Kansas was a free state, part of the Underground Railroad and home to abolitionist John Brown. Handbills and flyers distributed by the company called Nicodemus a place for "African Americans to establish a black self-government."
By the mid-1880s Nicodemus was a small, bustling town. There were two newspapers, three general stores and at least three churches. The town had a number of small hotels, an ice cream parlor, bank, livery and a number of homes. The population was an estimated 700 at the town's heyday.
To ensure growth the town needed the railroad. The residents of Nicodemus made several attempts to reach out to various railroad companies in an attempt to attract a rail line to Nicodemus, but it was all to no avail. The railroad passed to the south. Over time people moved closer to the railway and established a new town called Bogue. Bogue has a population of 173 today.
Perhaps one of Nicodemus' most famous residents is Veryl Switzer. Switzer was an All-American football player for Kansas State in 1951, 1952 and 1953. He went on to play two seasons for the National Football League Green Bay Packers, before taking leave to serve in the U.S. Air Force. He resumed his professional career with the Packers after 2½ years in the military. He later went on to play for the Calgary Stampeders and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League before retiring.
Switzer is now farming 840 acres (3.4 km2), in Nicodemus, and is one of the top investors in the creation of a flour mill there. A co-op was formed in 1999; and, while "Promised Land Flour" and "Nicodemus Pancake Mix" are being marketed, the flour mill has not yet been built.
The site is still home to several descendants of the original settlers. It was designated a National Historic Site by an Act of Congress in 1996.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park is a 480-acre (190 ha) National Park Service unit in Maryland. It commemorates the life of former slave Harriet Tubman, who became an activist in the Underground Railroad prior to the American Civil War. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument was created by President Barack Obama under the Antiquities Act on March 25, 2013.
Born enslaved in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman was beaten and whipped by her various masters as a child. Early in life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when an irate overseer threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another enslaved person, but hit her instead. The injury caused dizziness, pain, and spells of hypersomnia, which occurred throughout her life. After her injury, Tubman began experiencing strange visions and vivid dreams, which she believed were premonitions from God. These experiences, combined with her Methodist upbringing, led her to become devoutly religious.
In 1849, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia, only to return to Maryland to rescue her family soon after. Slowly, one group at a time, she brought relatives with her out of the state, and eventually guided dozens of other enslaved people to freedom. Traveling by night and in extreme secrecy, Tubman (or "Moses", as she was called) "never lost a passenger". After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed, she helped guide fugitives farther north into British North America (Canada), and helped newly freed enslaved people to find work. Tubman met John Brown in 1858, and helped him plan and recruit supporters for his 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry.
When the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 enslaved people. After the war, she retired to the family home on property she had purchased in 1859 in Auburn, New York, where she cared for her aging parents. She was active in the women's suffrage movement until illness overtook her, and she had to be admitted to a home for elderly African Americans that she had helped to establish years earlier. After her death in 1913, she became an icon of courage and freedom.
George Washington Carver National Monument
George Washington Carver National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service in Newton County, Missouri. The national monument was founded on July 14, 1943, by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who dedicated $30,000 to the monument. It was the first national monument dedicated to an African American and first to a non-president.
The site preserves the boyhood home of George Washington Carver, as well as the 1881 Moses Carver house and the Carver cemetery. His boyhood home consists of rolling hills, woodlands, and prairies. The 240-acre (97 ha) park has a 3⁄4-mile (1.2 km) nature trail, film, museum, and an interactive exhibit area for students.
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver (1860s – January 5, 1943) was an American agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. He was the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century.
While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow other crops, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, as a source of their own food and to improve their quality of life. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts. Although he spent years developing and promoting numerous products made from peanuts, none became commercially successful.
Apart from his work to improve the lives of farmers, Carver was also a leader in promoting environmentalism. He received numerous honors for his work, including the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP. In an era of high racial polarization, his fame reached beyond the black community. He was widely recognized and praised in the white community for his many achievements and talents. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a "Black Leonardo".
Carcassonne is a French fortified city in the region of Occitanie. A prefecture, it has a population of about 50,000.
Inhabited since the Neolithic, Carcassonne is located in the plain of the Aude between historic trade routes, linking the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea and the Massif Central to the Pyrénées. Its strategic importance was quickly recognized by the Romans, who occupied its hilltop until the demise of the Western Roman Empire.
In the fifth century, it was taken over by the Visigoths, who founded the city. Within three centuries, it briefly came under the Islamic rule. Its strategic location led successive rulers to expand its fortifications until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.
Its citadel, known as the Cité de Carcassonne, is a medieval fortress dating back to the Gallo-Roman period and restored by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1853. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. Consequently, Carcassonne relies heavily on tourism but also counts manufacturing and winemaking as some of its other key economic industries.
The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed on 7 November 1659, and ended the 1635 to 1659 Franco-Spanish war.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, is located in Anacostia, a neighborhood east of the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, D.C. Established in 1988 as a National Historic Site, the site preserves the home and estate of Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent African Americans of the 19th century. Douglass lived in this house, which he named Cedar Hill, from 1877-1888 until his death in 1895. Perched on a hilltop, the site offers a sweeping view of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington, D.C., skyline.
The site of the Frederick Douglass home was orignally purchased by John Van Hook in about 1855. Van Hook built the main portion of the present house soon after taking possession of the property. For a portion of 1877, the house was owned by the Freedom Savings and Trust Company. Later that year, Douglass purchased the home and expanded its 14 rooms to 21, including the two-story library and the kitchen wings.
Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey; c. February 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, becoming famous for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. Accordingly, he was described by abolitionists in his time as a living counter-example to slaveholders' arguments that slaves lacked the intellectual capacity to function as independent American citizens. Likewise, Northerners at the time found it hard to believe that such a great orator had once been a slave.
With the election of President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Douglass hoped for a political appointment, likely postmaster for Rochester, New York, or ambassador to Haiti. Instead, he was appointed marshal for the District of Columbia, a role which he accepted. His appointment to this highly visible position marked the first time a black man successfully received a federal appointment requiring Senate approval. Douglass, however, was not asked to fill many of the roles expected of a marshal. Typically, the marshal would attend formal White House gatherings and directly introduce guests to the President. Douglass, excused from this role, later complained that he should have resigned because of the slight. Still, the job brought him financial stability, and in 1878, with a $6,000 loan from his black friend and former abolitionist Robert Purvis, he purchased the 20-room Victorian home on nine acres (3.6 ha) and named it named Cedar Hill. He bought an additional 15 acres (6.1 ha) around the property the following year.
In the home, Douglass became a cultivated member of high society. He and his grandson Joseph played the music of Franz Schubert in the west parlor, which served as the music room. Here he also worked on what would be his last autobiographical book, Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, first published in 1881 and reissued 10 years later. His wife Anna had a stroke in 1882 which left her partially paralyzed; she died on August 4 and Douglass became depressed. "The main pillar of my house has fallen", he wrote to a friend.
In January 1884-1885, Douglass applied for a marriage license at District of Columbia City Hall before heading to the home of Reverend Francis James Grimké and Charlotte Forten Grimké, where he married a white woman named Helen Pitts. The marriage, was not approved by most members of either family. Helen's father, an abolitionist who was previously proud to know Douglass personally, never offered his blessing and refused to visit Washington unless he knew his daughter and her husband were out of town. Douglass had hired Pitts as a clerk in 1882. She was a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and had been a teacher of freed blacks in Virginia and Indiana. Interviewed about her marriage, she responded, "Love came to me and I was not afraid to marry the man I loved because of his color."
On February 20, 1895, Douglass attended a women's rights rally in Washington and was escorted to the platform by Anna Howard Shaw and Susan B. Anthony. He returned to Cedar Hill for an early supper and intended to attend a neighborhood black church. As he was telling his wife Helen about one of the day's speakers, he suddenly collapsed and died.
In 2017 the site was used to represent Washington, D.C., on its America the Beautiful quarter.
The Freedmen's Colony of Roanoke Island, also known as the Roanoke Island Freedmen's Colony, or "Freedman's Colony", was founded in 1863 during the Civil War after Union Major General John G. Foster, Commander of the 18th Army Corps, captured the Confederate fortifications on Roanoke Island off North Carolina in 1862. He classified the slaves living there as "contraband", following the precedent of General Benjamin Butler at Fort Monroe in 1861, and did not return them to Confederate slaveholders. In 1863, by the Emancipation Proclamation, all slaves in Union-occupied territories were freed. The island colony started as one of what were 100 contraband camps by the war's end, but it became something more. The African Americans lived as freedmen and civilians. They were joined by former slaves from the mainland, seeking refuge and freedom with the Union forces. They were paid for their work and sought education, along with their children.
As commanding officer of the Department of North Carolina, in 1863 Foster appointed Horace James, a Congregational chaplain, as the "Superintendent of Negro Affairs in the North Carolina District", to supervise the contraband camps and administer to freedmen. James was based at New Bern, where he managed the Trent River contraband camp. James believed the Roanoke Island Colony was an important experiment in black freedom and a potential model for other freedmen communities. Freedmen built churches and set up the first free school for black children here; and they were soon joined by Northern missionary teachers who came to the South to help the effort. There was a core group of about six teachers, but a total of 27 teachers served at the island. As the war went on, conditions became more difficult at the crowded colony, whose residents suffered infectious diseases.
In 1865 President Andrew Johnson ordered the return of all property under his "Amnesty Proclamation", and the lands cultivated and occupied by contraband camps were returned to owners. The freedmen were not given rights to their holdings in the Colony, and most left the island. Its soil had proved too poor to support many subsistence farmers. In later 1865, the US Army directed the dismantling of the three forts on the island. By 1867, the colony was abandoned, but about 300 freedmen still lived there independently in 1870. Some of their descendants live there today.
The original village was destroyed on 10 June 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a company of troops belonging to the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich, a Waffen-SS unit of the military forces of Nazi Germany. A new village was built after the war on a nearby site, but on the orders of the then French president, Charles de Gaulle, the original has been maintained as a permanent memorial. The Centre de la mémoire d'Oradour museum is located beside the historic site.
On 10 June, the German 1st Battalion sealed off Oradour-sur-Glane and ordered everyone within to assemble in the village square to have their identity papers examined. This included six non-residents who happened to be bicycling through the village when the SS unit arrived. The women and children were locked in the church, and the village was looted. The men were led to six barns and sheds, where machine guns were already in place.
According to a survivor's account, the SS men then began shooting, aiming for their legs. When victims were unable to move, the SS men covered them with fuel and set the barns on fire. Only six men managed to escape. One of them was later seen walking down a road and was shot dead. In all, 190 Frenchmen died.
The SS men then proceeded to the church and placed an incendiary device beside it. When it was ignited, women and children tried to escape through the doors and windows, only to be met with machine-gun fire. 247 women and 205 children died in the attack. The only survivor was 47-year-old Marguerite Rouffanche. She crawled to some bushes and remained hidden overnight until she was found and rescued the next morning. That night, the village was partially razed.
Several days later, the survivors were allowed to bury the 642 dead inhabitants of Oradour-sur-Glane. Adolf Diekmann, commander of 1st Battalion, said the atrocity was in retaliation for the partisan activity in nearby Tulle and the kidnapping of an SS commander, Helmut Kämpfe.
The Holocaust Memorial is a memorial to the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000-square-metre (200,000 sq ft) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or "stelae", arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38 metres (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 metres (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.7 metres (7.9 in to 15 ft 5.0 in). They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem.
Building began on 1 April 2003, and was finished on 15 December 2004. It was inaugurated on 10 May 2005, sixty years after the end of World War II in Europe, and opened to the public two days later. It is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate, in the Mitte neighborhood.
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is a writer's house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex. She did not survive the war but her wartime diary was published in 1947. Ten years later the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block.
The museum opened on 3 May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination.
Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank was a German-Dutch diarist of Jewish heritage. She gained fame after her death with the publication of The Diary of a Young Girl, in which she documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. It is one of the world's best known books and has been the basis for several plays and films.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, she lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam, Netherlands, having moved there with her family at the age of four and a half when the Nazis gained control over Germany. By May 1940, the Franks were trapped in Amsterdam by the German occupation of the Netherlands. As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the Franks went into hiding in some concealed rooms behind a bookcase in the building where Anne's father, Otto Frank, worked. From then until the family's arrest by the Gestapo in August 1944, she kept a diary she had received as a birthday present, and wrote in it regularly.
Following their arrest, the Franks were transported to concentration camps. In October or November 1944, Anne and her sister, Margot, were transferred from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died a few months later.
Otto, the only survivor of the Frank family, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that her diary had been saved by his secretary, Miep Gies, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947. It was translated from its original Dutch version and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl, and has since been translated into over 70 languages.
Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site was established in Topeka, Kansas, on October 26, 1992, by the United States Congress to commemorate the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Brown v. Board of Education aimed at ending racial segregation in public schools. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and, as such, violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees all citizens "equal protection of the laws."
The National Historic Site consists of the Monroe Elementary School, one of the four segregated elementary schools for African American children in Topeka, and the adjacent grounds.
The story of Monroe Elementary begins long before the Brown decision. In 1855, John Ritchie, an abolitionist, bought 160 acres (65 ha) from Jacob Chase in Topeka, Kansas. After the Civil War a number of newly freed African Americans came to Topeka and built homes on this land. Due to the sizable African American population, the school board decided to establish a school for black children in the neighborhood. "Ritchie's Addition" became the site of Monroe School. After Ritchie's death in 1887, the land was purchased by the Topeka Board of Education to build a school for African American children.
The current building is actually the third Monroe school to sit on the corner of Fifteenth and Monroe streets. The first school was located in a small rented building used from 1868 until a permanent structure was erected in 1874. The current building was constructed in 1926 immediately south of the old school. It was one of many schools in Topeka designed by the prominent Topeka architect Thomas W. Williamson between 1920 and 1935. His firm, Williamson and Co., was hired by the Topeka Board of Education to design a series of progressive schools. Monroe Elementary School is a two-story brick and limestone building in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. The building was made with some of the best materials and the most modern technology of the time.
In the Brown case, the legal opinion was not that the schools for black children in Kansas were qualitatively worse in construction, books, etc. than the schools for white children. Instead, the opinion was that school segregation by itself was an unfair detriment to the education of black children. The holding that "separate" by itself was unconstitutional was what made Brown the landmark case in school desegregation.
Booker T Washington National Monument
The Booker T. Washington National Monument is a National Monument near Hardy, Franklin County, Virginia. It preserves portions of the 207-acre (0.90 km²) tobacco farm on which educator and leader Booker T. Washington was born into slavery on April 5, 1856. It provides interpretation of Washington's life and achievements, as well as interpretation of 1850s slavery and farming through the use of buildings, gardens, crafts and animals.
Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an American educator, author, orator, and adviser to multiple presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African American community and of the contemporary black elite. Washington was from the last generation of black American leaders born into slavery and became the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants. They were newly oppressed in the South by disenfranchisement and the Jim Crow discriminatory laws enacted in the post-Reconstruction Southern states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Washington was a key proponent of African-American businesses and one of the founders of the National Negro Business League. His base was the Tuskegee Institute, a historically black college he founded in Tuskegee, Alabama. As lynchings in the South reached a peak in 1895, Washington gave a speech, known as the "Atlanta compromise", which brought him national fame. He called for black progress through education and entrepreneurship, rather than trying to challenge directly the Jim Crow segregation and the disenfranchisement of black voters in the South.
Washington mobilized a nationwide coalition of middle-class blacks, church leaders, and white philanthropists and politicians, with a long-term goal of building the community's economic strength and pride by a focus on self-help and schooling. With his own contributions to the black community, Washington was a supporter of racial uplift, but secretly he also supported court challenges to segregation and to restrictions on voter registration.
Black activists in the North, led by W. E. B. Du Bois, at first supported the Atlanta compromise, but later disagreed and opted to set up the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to work for political change. They tried with limited success to challenge Washington's political machine for leadership in the black community, but built wider networks among white allies in the North.
Washington mastered the nuances of the political arena in the late 19th century, which enabled him to manipulate the media, raise money, develop strategy, network, push, reward friends, and distribute funds, while punishing those who opposed his plans for uplifting blacks. His long-term goal was to end the disenfranchisement of the vast majority of African Americans, who then still lived in the South. His legacy has been very controversial to the civil rights community, of which he was an important leader before 1915. After his death, he came under heavy criticism for accommodationism to white supremacy. However, a more balanced view of his very wide range of activities has appeared since the late 20th century. As of 2010, the most recent studies, "defend and celebrate his accomplishments, legacy, and leadership".
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama, commemorates the contributions of African-American airmen in World War II. Moton Field was the site of primary flight training for the pioneering pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, and is now operated by the National Park Service to interpret their history and achievements. It was constructed in 1941 as a new training base. The field was named after former Tuskegee Institute principal Robert Russa Moton, who died the previous year.
Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. military. Civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
"Tuskegee Airmen" refers to all who were involved in the so-called "Tuskegee Experiment," the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.
The military selected Tuskegee Institute to train pilots because of its commitment to aeronautical training. Tuskegee had the facilities, and engineering and technical instructors, as well as a climate for year-round flying. The first Civilian Pilot Training Program students completed their instruction in May 1940. The Tuskegee program was then expanded and became the center for African-American aviation during World War II.
The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. They proved conclusively that African Americans could fly and maintain sophisticated combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen's achievements, together with the men and women who supported them, paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military.
The Reichstag is a historic building in Berlin, Germany, constructed to house the Imperial Diet (German: Reichstag) of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until 1933, when it was severely damaged by an arson fire. After World War II, the building fell into disuse; the parliament of the German Democratic Republic (the Volkskammer) met in the Palast der Republik in East Berlin, while the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany (the Bundestag) met in the Bundeshaus in Bonn.
The ruined building was made safe against the elements and partially refurbished in the 1960s, but no attempt at full restoration was made until after German reunification on 3 October 1990, when it underwent a reconstruction led by architect Norman Foster. After its completion in 1999, it once again became the meeting place of the German parliament: the modern Bundestag.
The Reichstag Fire
The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building, home of the German parliament in Berlin, on 27 February 1933, precisely four weeks after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany. Hitler's government stated that Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch council communist, was the culprit, and it attributed the fire to communist agitators. A German court decided later that year that Van der Lubbe had acted alone, as he had claimed.
The day after the fire, the Reichstag Fire Decree was passed. The Nazi Party used the fire to claim that communists were plotting against the German government. This helped lead the way for support of Nazi Germany.
Arromanches is remembered as a historic place of the Normandy landings during World War II. It was on the beach of Arromanches that the Allies established an artificial temporary harbour to allow the unloading of heavy equipment. This port allowed the disembarkation of 9,000 tons of material per day.
Although Arromanches is located at the centre of the Gold Beach landing zone, it was spared the brunt of the fighting on D-Day so the installation and operation of the port could proceed as quickly as possible without damaging the beach and destroying surrounding lines of communication. The port was commissioned on 14 June 1944.
This location was one of two sites chosen to establish the necessary port facilities to unload quantities of supplies and troops needed for the invasion during June 1944, the other was built further West at Omaha Beach. The British built huge floating concrete caissons which had to be assembled to form walls and piers for the artificial port called the Mulberry harbour. Sections of the harbour still remain today with huge concrete blocks sitting on the sand and more can be seen further out at sea.
- By 12 June 1944 more than 300,000 men, 54,000 vehicles, 104,000 tons of supplies had been landed.
- During 100 days of operation of the port 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of material were landed.
- The best performance of the port was in the last week of July 1944: during those seven days the traffic through Arromanches exceeded 136,000 tons or 20,000 tons per day.
Today, Arromanches is mainly a tourist town. Situated in a good location for visiting all of the battle sites and war cemeteries, there is a museum at Arromanches with information about Operation Overlord and the Mulberry harbours.
On 21 September 2013 Bradford-based sand sculpting company Sand in Your Eye created a tribute called "The Fallen 9,000". It was a temporary sculpture project—a visual representation of 9,000 people drawn in the sand which equates the number of civilians, German forces and Allies that died during the D-day landings. It coincided with Peace Day, and was washed away with the tide at the end of the day.
Pegasus Bridge, originally called the Bénouville Bridge after the neighbouring village, is a road crossing over the Caen Canal, between Caen and Ouistreham in Normandy. The original bridge, built in 1934, is now a war memorial and is the centrepiece of the Memorial Pegasus museum at nearby Ranville. It was replaced in 1994 by a modern design which, like the old one, is a bascule bridge.
On the night of 5 June 1944, a force of 181 men, led by Major John Howard, took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset, southern England in six Horsa gliders to capture Pegasus Bridge, and "Horsa Bridge", a few hundred yards to the east, over the Orne River. The force was composed of D Company (reinforced with two platoons of B Company) and men of the Glider Pilot Regiment. The object of this action was to prevent German armour from crossing the bridges and attacking the eastern flank of the landings at Sword Beach.
Five of the gliders landed as close as 47 yards from their objectives just after midnight. The attackers poured out of their battered gliders, completely surprising the German defenders, and took the bridges within 10 minutes. They lost two men in the process, Lieutenant Den Brotheridge and Lance corporal Fred Greenhalgh.
One glider landed at the bridge over the River Dives, some 7 miles off. Most of the soldiers in this glider moved through German lines towards the village of Ranville where they eventually re-joined the British forces. They were reinforced at 03.00hrs by Lieutenant Colonel Pine-Coffin's 7th Parachute Battalion, and linked up with the beach landing forces with the arrival of Lord Lovat's Commandos.
Later in 1944, the Bénouville Bridge was renamed Pegasus Bridge in honour of the operation. The name is derived from the shoulder emblem worn by the British Parachute Regiment which depicts Bellerophon riding the flying horse Pegasus.
The Auschwitz concentration camp was a complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust. It consisted of Auschwitz I, the main camp (Stammlager) in Oświęcim; Auschwitz II-Birkenau, a concentration and extermination camp with gas chambers; Auschwitz III-Monowitz, a labor camp for the chemical conglomerate IG Farben; and dozens of subcamps. The camps became a major site of the Nazis' Final Solution to the Jewish Question.
After Germany sparked World War II by invading Poland in September 1939, the Schutzstaffel (SS) converted Auschwitz I, an army barracks, into a prisoner-of-war camp for Polish political prisoners. The first inmates, German criminals brought to the camp in May 1940 as functionaries, established the camp's reputation for sadism. Prisoners were beaten, tortured, and executed for the most trivial reasons. The first gassings—of Soviet and Polish prisoners—took place in block 11 of Auschwitz I around August 1941.
Construction of Auschwitz II began the following month, and from 1942 until late 1944 freight trains delivered Jews from all over German-occupied Europe to its gas chambers. Of the 1.3 million people sent to Auschwitz, 1.1 million died. The death toll includes 960,000 Jews (865,000 of whom were gassed on arrival), 74,000 ethnic Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and up to 15,000 other Europeans. Those not gassed died of starvation, exhaustion, disease, individual executions, or beatings. Others were killed during medical experiments.
At least 802 prisoners tried to escape, 144 successfully, and on 7 October 1944 two Sonderkommando units, consisting of prisoners who staffed the gas chambers, launched an unsuccessful uprising. Only 789 staff (no more than 15 percent) ever stood trial; several were executed, including camp commandant Rudolf Höss. The Allies' failure to act on early reports of atrocities by bombing the camp or its railways remains controversial.
As the Soviet Red Army approached Auschwitz in January 1945, toward the end of the war, the SS sent most of the camp's population west on a death march to camps inside Germany and Austria. Soviet troops entered the camp on 27 January 1945, a day commemorated since 2005 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In the decades after the war, survivors such as Primo Levi, Viktor Frankl, and Elie Wiesel wrote memoirs of their experiences, and the camp became a dominant symbol of the Holocaust. In 1947 Poland founded the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, and in 1979 it was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Wolf's Lair was Adolf Hitler's first Eastern Front military headquarters in World War II. The complex, which became one of several Führerhauptquartiere (Führer Headquarters) in various parts of Central and Eastern Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa—the invasion of the Soviet Union—in 1941. It was constructed by Organisation Todt.
The top-secret, high-security site was in the Masurian woods about eight kilometres (five miles) east of the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg, in present-day Poland. Three security zones surrounded the central complex where the Führer's bunker was located. These were guarded by personnel from the SS-Begleitkommando des Führers, Reichssicherheitsdienst and the Wehrmacht's armoured Führerbegleitbrigade. Despite the security, the most notable assassination attempt against Hitler was made at Wolf's Lair on 20 July 1944.
Hitler first arrived at the headquarters on 23 June 1941. In total, he spent more than 800 days at the Wolfsschanze during a 3 1⁄2-year period until his final departure on 20 November 1944. In mid-1944, work began to enlarge and reinforce many of the Wolf's Lair original buildings. The work was never completed because of the rapid advance of the Red Army during the Baltic Offensive in late 1944. On 25 January 1945, the complex was blown up and abandoned 48 hours before the arrival of Soviet forces.
Caerphilly Castle (Welsh: Castell Caerffili) is a medieval fortification in Caerphilly in South Wales. The castle was constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century as part of his campaign to maintain control of Glamorgan, and saw extensive fighting between Gilbert, his descendants, and the native Welsh rulers.
Surrounded by extensive artificial lakes – considered by historian Allen Brown to be "the most elaborate water defences in all Britain" – it occupies around 30 acres (12 ha) and is the largest castle in Wales and the second-largest castle in the United Kingdom after Windsor Castle.
It is famous for having introduced concentric castle defences to Britain and for its large gatehouses. Gilbert began work on the castle in 1268 following his occupation of the north of Glamorgan, with the majority of the construction occurring over the next three years at a considerable cost. The project was opposed by Gilbert's Welsh rival Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, leading to the site being burnt in 1270 and taken over by royal officials in 1271.
Despite these interruptions, Gilbert successfully completed the castle and took control of the region. The core of Caerphilly Castle, including the castle's luxurious accommodation, was built on what became a central island, surrounding by several artificial lakes, a design Gilbert probably derived from that at Kenilworth. The dams for these lakes were further fortified, and an island to the west provided additional protection. The concentric rings of walls inspired Edward I's castles in North Wales, and proved what historian Norman Pounds has termed "a turning point in the history of the castle in Britain".
The castle was attacked during the Madog ap Llywelyn revolt of 1294, the Llywelyn Bren uprising in 1316 and during the overthrow of Edward II in 1326–27. In the late 15th century, however, it fell into decline and by the 16th century the lakes had drained away and the walls were robbed of their stone. The Marquesses of Bute acquired the property in 1776 and under the third and fourth Marquesses extensive restoration took place. In 1950 the castle and grounds were given to the state and the water defences were re-flooded. In the 21st century, the Welsh heritage agency Cadw manages the site as a tourist attraction.
This medieval castle is one of United Kingdom's iconic sights and a weekend home for the Queen. Monarchs have been using this palace since the time of Henry I, the fourth son of William the Conqueror.
Apart from being the Queen's home, the castle hosts official visits and is used for ceremonies. Part of the Royal Collection is housed here.
The medieval castle mixes Georgian and Victorian styles with some Gothic features. The staterooms were designed by Jeffry Wyatville in the 19th century and they are a combination of Rococo and Victorian Gothic styles.
While entering the area of the castle, you will undergo an airport-style security check. Try to reduce the number of items you bring with you in order to pass the check quickly. You will be asked to check in some items such as luggage, pushchairs or scissors.
Eating or drinking is not allowed in the castle. Taking pictures and filming is allowed in some areas. The castle may be closed due to special events - please check the official website before your visit.
This medieval castle is one of United Kingdom's iconic sights and a weekend home for the Queen. Monarchs have been using this palace since the time of Henry I, the fourth son of William the Conqueror.
Apart from being the Queen's home, the castle hosts official visits and is used for ceremonies. Part of the Royal Collection is housed here.
The medieval castle mixes Georgian and Victorian styles with some Gothic features. The staterooms were designed by Jeffry Wyatville in the 19th century and they are a combination of Rococo and Victorian Gothic styles.
While entering the area of the castle, you will undergo an airport-style security check. Try to reduce the number of items you bring with you in order to pass the check quickly. You will be asked to check in some items such as luggage, pushchairs or scissors.
Eating or drinking is not allowed in the castle. Taking pictures and filming is allowed in some areas. The castle may be closed due to special events - please check the official website before your visit.
This medieval castle is one of United Kingdom's iconic sights and a weekend home for the Queen. Monarchs have been using this palace since the time of Henry I, the fourth son of William the Conqueror.
Apart from being the Queen's home, the castle hosts official visits and is used for ceremonies. Part of the Royal Collection is housed here.
The medieval castle mixes Georgian and Victorian styles with some Gothic features. The staterooms were designed by Jeffry Wyatville in the 19th century and they are a combination of Rococo and Victorian Gothic styles.
While entering the area of the castle, you will undergo an airport-style security check. Try to reduce the number of items you bring with you in order to pass the check quickly. You will be asked to check in some items such as luggage, pushchairs or scissors.
Eating or drinking is not allowed in the castle. Taking pictures and filming is allowed in some areas. The castle may be closed due to special events - please check the official website before your visit.
This majestic palace is the official residence of British monarchs and is usually recognized as a symbol of UK's monarchy.
Originally built as a townhouse, Buckingham Palace was turned into a private residence for Queen Charlotte in 1761. The palace was reconstructed and enlarged during the 19th century and it has been used as a residence of the British monarch since Queen Victoria's reign. Apart from that, it serves as an exquisite example of Neoclassical architecture.
The palace has 775 rooms and the largest private garden in London. On selected days, you can visit some of the state rooms that are used for official and state ceremonies, and the Queen's Gallery which showcases pieces from the Royal Collection. When visiting, do not miss the Changing the Guard ceremony and make sure to arrive early to see well.
Since you will go through an airport-style security check upon arrival, try to bring as little belongings as possible. Note that while taking photographs is prohibited in the State Rooms, you can use your camera in the garden.
September 11th Memorial
The memorial commemorates the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The names of nearly 3000 victims are engraved in bronze on the Memorial so the visitors can pay their respects.
It was opened to the public on September 11, 2011 – the day which marked the 10th anniversary of the tragic event. The memorial is situated on the former location of the Twin Towers.
The 9/11 Museum, which is a part of the complex, introduces its visitors to the 9/11 events from the factual side but also provides authentic stories, artefacts and memories of the victims.
Respectful behaviour is expected.
Library of Congress
Possibly the largest library in the world as well as the oldest cultural institution in the US. It is divided into three buildings. The most often visited one is the Beaux-Art Thomas Jefferson Building (the oldest one of the three, finished in 1897). All three buildings are connected by underground passages.
The library houses the largest collection of books and other materials (CDs, maps, photographs etc.) in North America and one of the largest ones in the world (growing every day). A significant amount of books of the Library of Congress is in languages other than English (almost 500 different languages).
There are free guided tours organised daily and a special family tour, suitable for small children, on Saturday. You do not need to book the tours in advance.
Tower of London
Also known as Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, this complex was one of the many castles built as part of the Norman Conquest of England. It has been extended several times in the past and has always played a major role in English history.
For some time, the Tower was used as a prison. Many notable figures were imprisoned here, e.g. Sir Walter Raleigh with his wife Elizabeth Throckmorton, Guy Fawkes, Anne Boleyn and even Elizabeth I before she became a queen. The Tower was also used as an armory, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England.
This large complex is now undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions in London drawing plenty of tourists who come not only for the Crown Jewels. Bear in mind that the whole complex is rather large so be sure to save enough time for it so you could see all the things that interest you.
Consider buying your tickets online so you can avoid the long queues that sometimes form there on busy days.
Palace of Westminster
The elaborate Palace of Westminster is home to both houses of the Parliament of the UK - the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
The palace dates back to 1097, when the oldest part of the complex, Westminster Hall, was built. It was used as the primary residence of the Kings of England back then. In the 16th century, it was destroyed by fire and after that, it became the seat of the Parliament of England and the Royal Courts of Justice. The complex was destroyed again by fire in 1834 and the only original structures to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, and the Jewel Tower.
The following reconstruction was executed by Charles Barry who redesigned the palace in the Gothic Revival Style you can admire today. The building is an outstanding example of Neo-Gothic architecture and it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Apart from the regular audio and guided tours (which are offered in several languages), a special tour (English only) which is adjusted for children is offered as well so do not hesitate to take your whole family with you.
Since it is such an iconic London sight, you might remember the Palace appearing in many films and TV series (e.g. V for Vendetta or Sherlock).
First inhabited by Benedictine monks back in the 10th century, this Gothic church is one of the most important icons of London.
A century after the arrival of the monks, King Edward the Confessor rebuilt the church and chose it as his burial site. Henry III had the abbey rebuilt again in 1245 and managed to turn it into one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country. The work on the present church was mostly finished during the reign of Richard II, and Henry VII added a chapel to the church.
Westminster Abbey has been used for the royal coronations since the 1066 coronations of both King Harold and William the Conqueror. Nowadays, it is also a setting for royal weddings and another royal (and state) ceremonies. In 2011, Prince William and Catherine Middleton got married here.
Many other notable figures are buried in the abbey or have their memorials here, for example, Sir Isaac Newton, William Blake or Lewis Carroll.
Saint Paul's Cathedral
This enormous white cathedral and one of London's tallest buildings serves as the seat of the Bishop of London and as a funeral site of important political figures (e.g. Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill). It is also here where Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981.
The current church was built in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren, one of the most famous English architects, after the Great Fire of London. Its interior is as imposing as its exterior - note the mosaics on the ceiling (added in the 19th century by William Richmond) and the marble altar from 1958 which replaced the original large Victorian altar damaged during WWII.
The dome is supported by eight arches, reaches 111 meters (366 ft), and contains three galleries - the Whispering Gallery (renowned for its acoustics), the Stone Gallery, and the highest point of the outer dome, the Golden Gallery, which can be reached via 528 steps and offers spectacular views of the city.
While inside the cathedral, do not miss the elaborate crypts, too. The cathedral contains Nelson's Tomb, Wellington's Tomb, and Sir Christopher Wren's Tomb.
St Paul's Cathedral is an active church so be sure to check the calendar of the events on the official website to make sure it will not be closed to the public due to religious events during your visit.
Home to one of the largest collections of works and artefacts coming from all over the world, the museum is dedicated to human history, art, and culture. It was opened for the first time in 1759.
The museum contains 10 departments of various collections. You can see artefacts dedicated to indigenous peoples of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, antiquities illustrating the cultures of ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, Buddhist paintings or drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo. Last but not least, the museum houses extensive numismatic collections.
The entrance to the museum is free so it is a great choice for those who travel on a budget. Allow yourself a lot of time to explore the whole museum.
The largest park in New York City spreads across 843 acres. It is even bigger than some countries (e.g. the Principality Monaco or the Vatican City State). Despite the fact that it was landscaped, it looks very natural. The park was opened for the public for the first time in 1858 and broadened to its present-day size in 1873.
Central Park is one of the most popular filming locations in New York City. Among many films that feature the Central Park is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, When Harry Met Sally or Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Among the many places worth visiting in Central Park are: the Belvedere Castle, the famous Strawberry Fields (a memorial dedicated to John Lennon) and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. If you do not feel like walking all the way through the park, you can rent a bike, enjoy a horse carriage tour or a pedicab tour.
Times Square (nicknamed “The Crossroads of the World”) is the best known square in New York City and also its beating heart. It got its name in 1904 and it was named after the New York Times which moved the headquarters there.
It comes into focus mainly during New Year’s Eve celebrations which are traditionally held at Times Square (the tradition dating back to 1903) and covered by the ABC programme Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
The highlight of the evening is the famous ball dropping during which the huge ball descends about half a meter. The tradition of counting down the last seconds of the year while watching the huge ball slowly go down dates back to 1907. The moment it drops completely, the New Year starts.
Times Square is also known for its neon signs. The NASDAQ sign at Times Square is the world’s largest LED sign. Also, there are many brand shops, cafés and restaurants. The square also appeared in many films. Among the most famous ones are Vanilla Sky, Enchanted, Spider-Man 3 or New Year’s Eve.
Times Square is usually crowded with tourists. Note that since 2011, the square is smoke free.
St Patrick's Cathedral
A Neo Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral which also functions as the seat of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. Its corner stone was laid in 1858 and the cathedral was dedicated in 1910.
Inside the cathedral, you will find the Pietà statue which is three times the size of the famed Michelangelo's Pietà. The breathtaking windows were made by artists from all over the world (USA, England or France). Two of the altars that are located inside the cathedral were made by Tiffany and Company (the altars of St. Louis and St. Michael).
There are in fact two St. Patrick’s Cathedrals in Manhattan but the older one (located on Mulberry Street) is now referred to as the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral.
Both the entrance and the tours in St. Patrick's Cathedral are free of charge but some small donation is expected. Also, since it is an active church, you should behave respectfully.
This iconic temple complex is an absolute must-see. Being the largest religious monument in the world, it is a wonderful showcase of grandeur.
Angkor Temple is the most stunning and the best-preserved temple in the complex. It was built at the end of the 12th century by the Khmer King Suryavarman II, probably as his funerary temple. The temple represents Mount Meru, which is a sacred mountain and the centre of all universes according to Hindu mythology.
The temple is considered to be the masterpiece of Khmer architecture as well as the centre of Khmer civilisation. It was also listed as a UNESCO monument in 1992. No wonder it became a national symbol and you can find it on the national flag of Cambodia.
You have to carry your ticket with you at all times because you will be checked upon entering every temple. Don't forget to dress respectfully. If you want to get around the whole complex, you are going to need to hire a vehicle - a bicycle, van or a tuk-tuk.
The gigantic obelisk (in fact the tallest obelisk and the tallest stone structure in the world) commemorates George Washington – the first president of the USA. The Washington Monument is not only an icon of the city but also one of the most iconic landmarks of the whole country.
Its cornerstone was laid in 1848 and it was opened in 1889. There are 896 steps leading to the top of the monument. They are not usually open to the public due to the safety concerns.
Unfortunately, the monument is closed until spring 2019 due to the renovations of the elevator. You can get here by subway, Smithsonian Station (blue, orange and silver lines).
This pantheon-shaped building with a bronze statue of George Washington commemorates the roots of American democracy. It is the site of George Washington's presidential inauguration (in 1789) and later many important government offices were located there.
Even through its architecture, the building refers to democracy, for it is built in Greek Revival style, referring to the democracy of Ancient Greece.
Now, there is a museum of George Washington and many important memorabilia connected to his persona are on display there (e.g. the Bible used during his presidential oath).
The entrance is free and there are also free tours guided by the rangers or the staff.
Photo by Wendel Fisher on Flickr
Arlington National Cemetery
This serene cemetery serves mainly as a burial place for American soldiers and veterans. There are countless tombstones located there and new ones are still being added (due to that, the cemetery was recently enlarged).
Apart from the soldiers, there are also several presidents of the United States buried there (e.g. John F. Kennedy) together with their wives. You can also find there many members of various minorities, politicians, medical figures and other important people.
Apart from the tombstones, there are also several military memorials (e.g. the USS Maine Memorial) which commemorate America's military history. If you are interested in finding one particular grave, a free ANC Explorer app should help you with that.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
The neoclassical memorial located at the Tidal Basin commemorates the third president of the USA – Thomas Jefferson. The construction of the beautiful building was finished in 1943 (the statue of Jefferson was added four years later) and it was designed by John Russell Pope.
The memorial is covered in white marble and it looks especially stunning during the spring season when the many cherry trees surrounding it are in blossom. If you are visiting Washington during that time, you should definitely not miss it.
The focal point of the interior is the bronze statue of Jefferson. The walls are decorated with various quotes by Jefferson (taken e.g. from the Declaration of Independence and other documents that he authored or his correspondence).
The whole place is located slightly off the beaten track and therefore its atmosphere is very calm and serene. It is definitely a place worth visiting even though you have to walk for quite a while to get there.
The icon of New York (and one of its most often photographed skyscrapers) was not always known as the Flatiron Building. In 1902, when it was built for the Fuller Company, it was called the Fuller Building. The company only had its headquarters there till 1910 so the name eventually changed.
The area where the building is located (between the 22nd and 23rd Street) was already known as the "Flat Iron" and so the building got its name after the spot rather than after its shape. Nowadays though, the whole area is called the Flatiron District (after the building).
Sadly, it is not open to the public and there are no tours organised - the building is full of offices. Many publishing companies have their headquarters here (e.g. MacMillan Publishing). Still, it is definitely worth the trip because the Renaissance Revival building looks stunning even from the outside.
An Art Deco skyscraper and one of the tallest skyscrapers in New York City. For a short period of time (11 months) before the Empire State Building was finished in 1931, it actually was the tallest building in New York.
It was built for the Chrysler company (though the company no longer has its headquarters there) and the Chrysler-related features were embedded into its design.
There are 77 floors in total and 32 elevators. The building appears in many films (e.g. Men in Black III).
Only the lobby is open to the public, the rest of the building is unfortunately not accessible to tourists. Despite that, the building is definitely worth seeing since it is a true gem of Art Deco style.
United States Capitol
One of the iconic symbols of American democracy and the seat of the United States Congress. The building itself is an imposing piece of neoclassical architecture. Its construction was finished in 1800 but some of its present-day parts were added later (e.g. its gigantic dome).
There is even a private subway under the Capitol that transports politicians between the Capitol and the House and Senate office buildings. The Capitol also includes an area called the Crypt where George Washington was meant to be buried (but he wished to be buried elsewhere so there are no actual tombs in the Crypt).
There are no entrance fees in the Capitol but be sure to make your tour reservation in advance if you want to get inside. If you wish to view the Galleries or the Senate in session, you need to arrange a tour through your Senator or Congress representative’s office. International visitors may arrange their tours in the Capitol Visitor Centre. For further information consult the official website.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus
Opened in the 1860s, this theater is known as the place of Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865. While performing Our American Cousin, one of the stage actors shot the president in the head. The theater still stages plays and also organizes historic tours which will inform you about the history of the place as well as the assassination.
Temple of Hephaestus
Washington National Cathedral
A gem of Neo-Gothic architecture, this stunning cathedral can easily rival those in Europe. Completed in 1990, it is the second largest church in the US. Throughout its history, the cathedral has witnessed three presidential funerals and six presidential prayer services. Definitely worth visiting for its majestic design - the interior features stained glass windows, numerous carved figures, and also a placard for every US state.
Once a gateway to the USA for millions of immigrants, this small island close to shore is best known for being an immigrant inspection station.
The first immigrant ever to pass the inspection here is said to be a teenage girl Annie Moore in 1892 and the last immigrant was inspected here in 1954.
During its active era, around 12 millions of immigrants went through the immigration inspection here. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration introduces its visitors to this era and the stories of the immigrants. Both the Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. The place is definitely worth visiting for its educational value. You can get there by ferry and during the ferry ride you can enjoy the view of the Statue of Liberty and of Manhattan.
Photo by Linus Henning on Flickr
Sydney Opera House
The icon of Sydney is a must visit even for those who do not enjoy opera all that much. The expressionist building was designed by Jørn Utzon from Denmark in the 1950s and this innovative design of his changed the course of modern architecture. Since 2007, the building is also listed on UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Opera House does not consist of only one grand stage. There are several individual venues located inside: the Concert Hall, the Joan Sutherland Theatre, the Drama Theatre, the Playhouse, the Studio, the Utzon Room, the Recording Studio and the Forecourt.
If you wish to visit the Opera House, you can either buy tickets for a specific performance or you can take part in the daily tours which are organised by the Opera House. The various tours (e.g. tours in languages other than English or children-friendly tours) are listed on the official website. Booking the tour in advance is highly recommended.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
This steel arch bridge, one of the largest ones in the world, is one of the most renowned icons of Sydney. Its construction was finished in 1932 and it is sometimes nicknamed "The Coathanger", due to its shape.
You can admire it from a distance as a part of Sydney skyline or come closer and even climb it. The view of the city from the top of the bridge is absolutely breathtaking and you can take stunning panoramic pictures from there. You can also access its pylon and get a 360-degree view of the city.
The bridge is equally imposing at night when it is all lit up. It is also used as a place of fireworks displays during New Year's Eve celebrations, with a countdown being screened on the bridge's pylon.
The most famous bell in Europe, perhaps even in the world, Big Ben, is one of the iconic landmarks of London. The tower is the third largest bell tower in the world and is over 150 years old. It was recently renamed Elizabeth Tower as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth's 60 years’ of reign.
Being a part of Westminster Palace, it was designed in the Neo-Gothic style. There is no elevator - instead, there are 334 steps that lead to the top. Normally, tours are only available to British nationals who organize a trip through their Member of Parliament but now they are suspended completely due to refurbishments. They should resume in 2021. The bell itself was silenced too.
The skyline in this part of London is spectacular. Taking pictures of Big Ben with the London Eye in the background is very popular.
Pike Place Market
Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is one of the most well-known parks in New York City, a place of respite as well as a meeting place and a site of several major protests in the recent years. When visiting, do not forget to sit down and play a game of chess at the park's trademark chess tables.
The park was first opened in 1871 and spans over 9.75 acres of land. Apart from flower beds, trees and well-kept grassy areas, the park showcases the large Washington Square Arch, modelled after the world-famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and constructed in 1892.
If you think you may have seen the park before, you may be right. It features in several movies, and it was one of the major locations in the post-apocalyptic scenario movie I Am Legend, with the hero of the movie having set his main camp just next to it.
Photo by HyunJae Park on Flickr
I was selected to be the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army by the Second Continental Congress in 1775. I led the army of the United Colonies from June 1775 to December 1783. Four years later, I became the President of the United States.
I was the first President of the United States. My term lasted from 1789 to 1797. As the first president, it was my duty to set the standard for our nation's future leaders by not acting like a King. It was important to give authority and talk with with my cabinet leaders before making decisions that would shape our new nation.
I was born in Boston in 1706. I grew up here working as a printing apprentice for my brother before running off to Philadelphia at age 17 to seek a new start. Growing up in the printing industry helped me to appreciate free speech. I always believed that "without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech." Later, I would get involved in politics and would go on to serve in the Continental Congress and as the Ambassador to France. I am the only person to have signed The Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Peace with Great Britain, and the Constitution of the United States. It gave me great pride to see and be part of this new nation built on liberty and justice for all.
I was a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia in the 1700's. I published the Pennsylvania Gazette when I was 23. Later, I would publish Poor Richard's Almanack, a yearly book filled with weather information, recipes, and predictions. I would often write articles for my newspapers but I wouldn't always use my real name.
I was the 16th President of the United States. I led the United States through the Civil War, helping to end slavery and bring a divided nation back together again.
I was shot by John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Ford's Theater. I was taken across the street to Petersen House where doctors tried to save me. I would pass away that evening but my legacy of standing up for human rights would last forever.
Martin Luther King Jr
I was a social activist and Baptist minister during the 1950's and 60's. I sought equal rights for African Americans through non-violent protests. It was my life's mission to help people realize that "all men are created equal". In 1964, I became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Before becoming well known for my midnight ride, I was a silversmith in Boston. I was the third of twelve kids in my family. At the age of 13, I left school to become an apprentice to my father. The silversmith trade helped me to meet many important people and gave me the connections I would need when I became active in the American Revolution.
I rode my horse from Charlestown to Lexington warning residents of the British army's advance from Boston. I was captured in Lincoln but not before the warning was out and the militia were able to gather.
I helped inspire the black community and drive action in the civil rights movement by refusing a bus driver's orders to give up my seat in the "colored section" of the bus to a white passenger. My resistance led to a court case that ruled bus segregation was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment which provides protection for equal treatment.
I formed a group of Imagineers in the 1950's to design a theme park that adults and kids could enjoy together. Disneyland opened in July 1955. It was broadcast to more than 70 million tv viewers. Since then, many millions more visit Disney parks each year in Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
In June 1937, I completed Guernica, a large anti-war painting done using only gray, black, and white oil paints. I created this piece in response to the Nazi Germany and Italian warplanes that bombed Guernica, a Spanish village in northern Spain. It was my hope that bringing worldwide attention to the Spanish Civil War would help to end the fighting. The painting is now on display in the Museo Reina Sofia, just a few steps from here.
My family moved to Barcelona in 1895 after my sister passed away. I've always felt a special connection to the city. Today, the Museu Picasso in Barcelona holds over 4,200 pieces of my work.
I became the Prime Minister of Spain on June 1, 2018. I was born in Madrid and now live in the Palacio de La Moncloa, the Palace of Moncloa. The palace has been the official residence of each Prime Minister of Spain since 1977.
Sir Christopher Wren
In 1675, I received commission from King Charles II to design the Royal Observatory. This was a special project for me as it combined my love of science and mathematics with my love of architecture.
Sir Christopher Wren
In 1669, I was assigned the task of designing St Paul's Cathedral. The Great Fire of London burned down many of the churches in the area. St Paul's Cathedral was one of about fifty churches that I helped rebuild. At first, we tried to renovate what was left of the existing structure but in the early 1670's we demolished it entirely and started over. Today, St Paul's Cathedral is one of the most famous sites in London. Over 300 years later, its dome is still one of the highest in the world.
I was born into slavery in 1822. In 1849, I escaped and found freedom in Philadelphia. Shortly after, I returned to help guide others to freedom through a network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. Over the course of several missions, more than 70 people were led to safety. I \"never lost a passenger\". Later, I worked for the Union Army as a scout and a spy before becoming the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the Civil War. My knowledge of marshes and rivers, helped lead to the successful raid at Combahee Ferry and the safe rescue of over 700 slaves.
I was a computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral through the 1940's and into the 1960's. I was one of the first computer programmers to work with the Harvard Mark I. In the early days of computing, it was a difficult task programming computers in machine code. I worked on a program (called a compiler) that would take English terms and convert them into this code. My work on the first compiler led to the COBOL programming language which is still in use in many business systems today.
As a military general, I conquered much of Europe in the early 1800's defeating the Austrian, British and Russian armies. I went on to become the first emperor of France reigning from 1804 to 1814.
I belonged to the acting company, The King's Men (previously known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men) which built the Globe Theatre on this location in 1599. It has since been rebuilt. On 29 June 1613, the theatre caught fire during a performance of Henry VIII. The modern theatre that is here today was built in 1997 to be an approximation of the original design.
I was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire on 26 April 1564. As an English poet and playwright, I produced many plays, sonnets and poems including Hamlet, Othello, and Macbeth. Many of my works continue to be studied and performed to this day.
Queen Elizabeth II