Sunday, May 16, 2021

Versailles, France

Not only is Versailles a former royal palace, it is also a town. In fact, in the 1600s it was planned and built from scratch. Louis XIV's father had used the land, which was served by a small village, as a hunting ground. When the Sun King came to power, he asked his architects to build an entirely new town, plus a palace that would be the envy of the world. [2005]

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Versailles, France

Louis XIV, the Sun King, held that the gardens at Versailles were just as important as the palace so he commissioned a major renovation in 1661. Why so much attention to the gardens? They were where the Kings of France could demonstrate their mastery of the land, and, by extension, their command of the earth. Florae are so much more servile than people. [2005]

Friday, May 14, 2021

Versailles, France

The Honor Gate serves as the ceremonial entrance to the Chateau de Versailles, residence of France's reigning royals from 1682 until the French Revolution brought down the monarchy in 1789. The Revolution also brought down the original "golden gate," only to be replaced by this one, and then a replica of the original in 2008. [2005]

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Berlin, Germany

After the Berlin Wall was toppled in 1989, the Brandenburg Gate re-emerged as a symbol of unification rather than the division that had plagued Germany since 1961. The TV tower with its trademark sphere is one of the anchors of Alexanderplatz. Here you are, looking from west to east, five years after the wall came down. [1994]

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Changhua, Taiwan

One of the most impressive gates in Taiwan leads on to the Great Buddha statue and temple, which occupy Mount Baghua, the highest point in Changhua. The entire site is a 20th century creation that appeals to tourists but, more importantly, provides a point of pride for the Taiwanese themselves. [2012]

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Jerusalem, Israel

The walled city of Jerusalem is punctuated by eight portals (but one is closed). This is the newest and is therefore called the New Gate even though it is well over a century old. It was cut through the ramparts to provide easier access to the Christian Quarter from the outside world (where you see the traffic). [2010]

Monday, May 10, 2021

Europa Road, Gibraltar

Although it doesn't look very regal, Prince Edward's Gate was one of the main entrances into the British colony of Gibraltar. It was opened in 1790 through a defensive wall that was built in the 1500s. Prince Edward was Queen Victoria's father. [2015]