DW Euromaxx – After years of renovation work, London’s famous landmark finally sounds again: Big Ben! We take you on a tour of the inside of the tower and reveal five secrets about it. This much in advance: The tower is not called Big Ben…
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the northeast end of the Palace of Westminster. The nickname is frequently extended to refer also to the clock and to the entire clock tower.
In 2012, the official name of the tower was changed to “Elizabeth Tower” to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond (60th year as queen) Jubilee.
ScarboroughTourist – The history of Scotland is as fascinating as it is complex. There were tribal Celts and ancient, face-painted Picts, Roman conquerors and audacious red-headed Vikings, fallen monarchs and powerful warrior-royals, noble clansmen, great explorers, pensive philosophers, bright inventors, and all that came with them and the remnants they left behind including astonishing signs of their presence and sophistication.
Think ancient and mysterious standing stones, fine castles and lavish stately homes, striking architecture, derelict fortresses, world-famous feats of engineering and more! From the Scottish Borders to Orkney and from Fife to the Isle of Skye, fierce battles, cruel ridings and bloody risings were won and lost, lasting unions were forged, and new discoveries and world-changing inventions were made.
Taj Mahal, also spelled Tadj Mahall, mausoleum complex in Agra, western Uttar Pradesh state, northern India. The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān (reigned 1628–58) to immortalize his wife Mumtaz Mahal (“Chosen One of the Palace”), who died in childbirth in 1631, having been the emperor’s inseparable companion since their marriage in 1612. India’s most famous and widely recognized building, it is situated in the eastern part of the city on the southern (right) bank of the Yamuna (Jumna) River. Agra Fort (Red Fort), also on the right bank of the Yamuna, is about 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the Taj Mahal.
In its harmonious proportions and its fluid incorporation of decorative elements, the Taj Mahal is distinguished as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a blend of Indian, Persian, and Islamic styles. Other attractions include twin mosque buildings (placed symmetrically on either side of the mausoleum), lovely gardens, and a museum. One of the most beautiful structural compositions in the world, the Taj Mahal is also one of the world’s most iconic monuments, visited by millions of tourists each year. The complex was designated a UNESCOWorld Heritage site in 1983.
Yogyakarta (often called “Jogja”) is a city on the Indonesian island of Java known for its traditional arts and cultural heritage. Its ornate 18th-century royal complex, or kraton, encompasses the still-inhabited Sultan’s Palace. Also within the kraton are numerous open-air pavilions that host classical Javanese dance shows and concerts of gamelan music, characterized by gongs, chimes and plucked string instruments.
Set into a rock dropping sheer down to the sea, this ancient 16th-century Saracen Tower is located in Maiori, one of the most exclusive areas of the Amalfi Coast.
This is truly a unique object standing between sky and sea, in a panoramic, high position less than a kilometer from the town center of Maiori, protected by a majestic chain of mountains: from here the view sweeps from the mountains to the charming town below, to then get lost in the infinite blue of the sea, offering one of the most picturesque views of the entire Amalfi Coast.
Built as a watchtower to defend this stretch of coast from invasions by the Saracens and pirates, who in past times attacked it by sea, this property has helped preserve the wonders of the Amalfi Coast, of which it is a splendid example. Developed on the panoramic road from the coast to the sea, with exclusive access to a wonderful private platform with sun loungers, this estate is part of a natural setting of incomparable beauty, characterized by dense Mediterranean scrub.
A true maze of paths crosses the 6,500-sqm park, arranged in terraces, along which the various living areas are located, including the Belvedere, the Canonica and the Saracen Tower.
Modena and the surrounding area is extremely rich in historic and cultural treasures like these. In their unparalleled beauty, within each castle’s walls lies a special story.
The castles of the Modena area date to a range of historical periods but together make up an invaluable legacy. They remain today—just as they were when they were built—important cultural landmarks for local community residents.
First stop – Palazzo Pio Carpi – Palazzo Pio in Carpi is an imposing and complex structure that comprises fortifications, towers, courtyards, and buildings constructed between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Palazzo looks out onto Piazza dei Martiri, one of Italy’s most beautiful piazzas, to breathtaking effect. Starting in 1300 and for most of the following two centuries, Palazzo Pio was the residence of the Pio family. The Pio Prince Alberto III, nephew of the famous Pico della Mirandola, transformed the fortress into a splendid Renaissance palace whose rooms were decorated with frescoes by court painters.Today, the town of Carpi has adapted the palazzo for use as a world-class cultural center that houses the Palazzo Pio Museum; the Municipal Museum; the Castello dei Ragazzi, a children’s art and recreation center; and the fascinating Museum and Monument to Political and Racial Deportees.
Second stop – Calcagnini Fortress Formigine – The ravishing Rocca Calcagnini Fortress stands in the heart ofFormigine, a symbol of the local community and a center for collective historical memories. Built in 1201 by the city of Modena as a defense against attacks by the rival city of Reggio Emilia and to secure its control of the territory, beginning in 1300 the Rocca Calcagnini Fortress was passed among various local noble families until it became property of the Pio family of Carpi, the Estes, and finally the Calcagninis.Around 1400, when the fortress was under the control of the Pios, it was turned into a castle-residence that appears today much as it did then, with a marquis’s palazzo and grounds encircled by a wall with four corner towers and a guardhouse.During the Second World War, the fortress was irreparably damaged in a ferocious bombardment in which virtually the entire Calcagnini family was lost. In 1946, it became the property of the town government and was rebuilt and transformed for use as the city hall.Today the castle houses municipal offices on its ground floor (the city council chambers and a venue for wedding ceremonies) with reception halls located in the northeast tower.To make your visit to the Rocca Calcagnini Fortress extra special, don’t miss the Multimedia Museum of Archaeology. Beautiful and innovative multimedia displays tell the story of the fortress and of the Calcagnini nobility.The Calcagnini Fortress is Formigine’s sparkling “living room.” In addition to housing a restaurant and a wine cellar, each year the castle hosts events of all kinds—music, theater, and much more.
Third stop – Spezzano Castle Fiorano Modenese – The origins of Spezzano Castle date to the Middle Ages. The castle was transformed into a noble family residence by the Pios of Savoia in 1529.Today, Spezzano Castle is an elegant country residence surrounded by grounds landscaped in the 19th-century—a lovely place to relax or perhaps have lunch in one of the designated picnic areas.The splendid porticoed courtyard dates to the Renaissance, and the Sala delle Vedute, with its splendid frescoes of towns, towers, and castles of Sassuolo’s feudal period, is especially striking.Its pentagonal tower, at one time a prison, today houses the Municipal Vinegar Cellar and the Fiorano Museum of Ceramics, dedicated to the local history of ceramics, one of the area’s most admired products.
Fourth stop – Vignola Fortress Vignola – The VignolaFortress has also become a symbol—in this case, of Italy’s cherry capital. Its towers, drawbridge, and moat provide one of the most fascinating examples of defensive architecture in the entire Emilia-Romagna Region.The Vignola Fortress was built in the eighth century by the abbot of Nonantola to defend the abbey’s lands. After passing through the hands of several noble families, in 1401 it was ceded by the Este family of Ferrara to Uguccione Contrari who transformed it into a sumptuous noble home and filled the residence with frescoes and precious objets d’art.Vignola’s picturesque city center provides the perfect setting for the imposing and well-preserved Vignola Fortress. The four-sided structure contains five floors and has three square towers. The internal courtyard is magnificent and, on the left side, the “Rocchetta” (the “little fortress”) and the Contrari and Grassoni halls are located. One of the most beautiful structures is the frescoed chapel, a rare gem of “International Gothic” style.
Fifth stop – Montecuccoli Castle in Pavullo Pavullo nel – FrignanoMontecuccoli Castle is perched on a spur of rock that overlooks the Scoltenna-Panaro River Valley, three kilometers from the center of Pavullo in the heart of the Frignano area.After briefly being governed by Modena, the surrounding area was ruled by the Montecuccoli family, the powerful lords of Frignano, until the arrival of the House of Este in the mid-fourteenth century. In these ancient times, the Montecuccoli Castle was the residence and military center of the Montecuccoli family, who built dozens of attached towers and fortresses to keep watch over the roads to Tuscany. At the highest point of this point of rock is the original castle keep, which is surrounded by other structures and three rings of walls, constructed over time.Below the castle and through a Gothic portal lies a beautiful medieval village, where the Palazzo del Podestà and the fifteenth-century Church of San Lorenzo are especially noteworthy.Starting in the 1960s, the castle became the property of the town, which restored it and built the Montecuccoli Museum Complex. The Complex contains the Frignano Botanical Museum; Raffaele Biolchini’s “Donazione,” a sculpture gallery featuring works in marble, wood, terracotta, and other materials by one of Modena’s preeminent modern sculptors; and Gino Covili’s “Paese Ritrovato,” a cycle of paintings and drawings dedicated to the work, lives, and history of the people of Frignagno.
Wartburg Castle, located close to Eisenach in Thuringia, is also known as “The Castle of the Germans”. But why? DW’s Hannah Hummel shows you around the castle, which is more than 1,000 years old. A fascinating journey to the times of minstrels, knights and ladies of castles – and to the famous Protestant Martin Luther, who translated the bible at Wartburg Castle.
First protected in 1864, Yosemite National Park is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
Poland, country of central Europe. Poland is located at a geographic crossroads that links the forested lands of northwestern Europe to the sea lanes of the Atlantic Ocean and the fertile plains of the Eurasian frontier.
Now bounded by seven nations, Poland has waxed and waned over the centuries, buffeted by the forces of regional history. In the early Middle Ages, Poland’s small principalities and townships were subjugated by successive waves of invaders, from Germans and Balts to Mongols.
In the mid-1500s, united Poland was the largest state in Europe and perhaps the continent’s most powerful nation. Yet two and a half centuries later, during the Partitions of Poland (1772–1918), it disappeared, parceled out among the contending empires of Russia, Prussia, and Austria.
Egypt, a country linking northeast Africa with the Middle East, dates to the time of the pharaohs. Millennia-old monuments sit along the fertile Nile River Valley, including Giza’s colossal Pyramids and Great Sphinx as well as Luxor’s hieroglyph-lined Karnak Temple and Valley of the Kings tombs.
Video timeline: 0:00 Khafre with Pyramid 0:08 Karnak temple 0:15 Cinematic view of Hatshepsut temple 0:21 Sphinx with blue sky 0:29 Cinematic view of Pyramids 0:37 Tomb ramses of Hieroglyphs 0:44 Edfu temple 0:53 Pyramids in Egypt 0:58 Sphinx Giza valley 1:05 Ancient in egypt 1:12 Sphinx in egypt 1:17 Obelisk pillar 1:24 big balloon in Luxor, egypt 1:27 Nile river 1:34 Cairo mosque 1:39 Beautiful Hieroglyphics 1:50 Aswan philae 1:58 Sea in El Gouna 2:06 Ocean in Hurghada 2:10 Sphinx with blue sky 2:13 Hieroglyphs 2:17 Pyramids 2:21 Hieroglyphs 2:29 Animated ancient 2:36 Sphinx with Pyramids 2:43 Pyramids in egypt 2:48 Great sphinx
The capital, Cairo, is home to Ottoman landmarks like Muhammad Ali Mosque and the Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities.