Archive for February 3rd, 2019

February 3, 2019

Wawel castle, Krakow!

Ok so going into new territory, just a few years ago I had the opportunity to travel to the old Eastern Europe countries, and finally got to Poland. It was a nice experience that took me in two trips and possible another by next May’19. So let  me tell you about something different.

The Wawel castle in Krakow is a must to see, but after going around so excited seeing the different venues and night spots, I ran out of time!! Walked right by it and no time to go inside. This will definitively have to change next May’19. Promise. For the time being will put a post to remind myself of the visit to be.

krakow

The historic city is located at the foot of the Wawel Hill. Krakow was, before Warsaw, the capital of the Poland and is often considered the true center of the country with its traditions and over 1 000 years old history. It is the cultural and scientific center of the country Karol Wojtyła was Bishop and then Archbishop of Krakow, before becoming Pope John Paul II in 1978, the first non-Italian pope for 455 years.

The main thing is not to missed the Wawel castle, which I did not go in as the tour would have taken too long for my time and on a first visit wanted to touch as many places as possible to better understand the city and hopefully be back for in depth look later on with the family. The castle is wonderful bordering the Vistula river or wisla. Again, plan to see it, the major place to see here.

Wawel Castle, located in Krakow, was built at the behest of Casimiro III the great, who reigned between 1333 and 1370, and consists of several structures located around a central courtyard. In the 14C it was rebuilt by Jogaila and Eduviges I. During his reign the tower called Hen’s Paw (Kurza Stopka) and the Danish tower were added. The Chamber of Eduviges and Jogaila, in which is the Szczerbiec sword, which was used in coronation ceremonies, is exhibited today and is another remainder of this period.   On the hill were built other structures that served as barracks for the numerous clerics, royal employees and craftsmen. In this period, defensive walls and towers were erected such as Jordanka, Lubranka, Sandomierska, Tęczyńska, Szlachecka, Złodziejska and Panieńska.

krakow

Wawel Castle and Wawel Hill are the most important historical and cultural place in Poland. For centuries it was the residence of the kings of Poland and a symbol of the Polish state. It is currently one of the best art museum in the country. Founded in 1930, the museum comprises ten departments responsible for collections of paintings (including an important collection of Italian Renaissance paintings), engravings, sculptures, textiles (including the collection of tapestries by Sigismund II Augustus), Goldsmiths, weapons, armor, ceramics, Meissen porcelain and furniture. The museum’s Oriental Art collections include the largest collection of Ottoman tents in Europe. With seven specialized conservation studies, the museum is also an important center for the preservation of works of art.

krakow

The current building comprises Romanesque fragments and important gothic elements. Its current aspect mainly dates from the period (1504-1535), from the reign of Alexander Jagiellon (1501-1506) and from Sigismund I the Elder (1506-1548). The Treasure of the Crown, located in the historical Gothic rooms that were used since the 15C for the storage of the insignia of the crown and the jewels of the crown, exhibits objects of incalculable value of the ancient treasure that survived the looting, among them the memories of the kings of Poland, like the hat and the sword that the Pope gave to John III Sobieski after the Battle of Vienna or the crowning sword Szczerbiec.

krakow

Some webpages to help us enjoy the visit here are

Official Wawel Castle of Krakow

Official Wawel Castle and the tapestries to see

A fragment of a column of Wawel Castle has been incorporated into the skyscraper Tribune Tower of Chicago , IL USA. Located in a niche on the upper left corner of the main entrance, it is a visual tribute to the large Polish population in Chicago, the largest outside of Poland. And I used to live in a major second concentration in NJ with the ZBA or Polish Congress of America!

Something that must  and is in my to do list once get there again. In the meantime you can search for Krakow in my blog and see my previous posts.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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February 3, 2019

The other Churches of Segovia!

Ok so I am back in this wonderful Castilian town of my love. I heard about since birth, but finally came to see it in 1990 and has been an everlasting love affairs since. Hard to visit my beloved Spain without passing stopping here; I need to see its silhouettes! Of course, I am talking about Segovia ,in the Province of Segovia, and the autonomous region of Castilla y Léon!

So much to see in such a reduce space ,worth coming back over and over again. However, some minor monuments don’t get the recognition they deserve even in my previous posts touch only by word. It is time I tell you a bit more on the other Churches of Segovia!

The Church or Iglesia de San Andrés is located in the city of Segovia, in the Plaza of La Merced. The Convent of Our Lady of Merced, founded in 1367, existed in this same square. The Church is located on the west side of the square and, although subjected to alterations, still preserves its primitive Romanesque style two apses, with half-point windows, columns, capitals, corbels and Byzantine moldings. It has a three-body tower, plastered and with spire, sharp and slated. The north cover is the primitive. The south cover has a statue of the holy titular, San Andrews. The interior has three naves. The main altarpiece consists of two bodies, occupying the center statues and the side paintings. It would also contain the altar of the demolished convent adjoining. Sculptures of Our Lady of the Mercedes, San Ramón and San Pedro Nolasco.

romanesque Segovia on the Church of San Andrés

Tourist office of Castilla y Leon on San Andrés

Segovia

The Church or Iglesia de San Martin, erected in the 12C, it already existed in 1117, because in the testament of Domingo Petit the abbot that appears as a witness. It is located in the current Plaza de Juan Bravo, midway between the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Roman aqueduct. It is a temple of Mozarabic origin with Romanesque style. The Church differs in part from the original, as some parts have been reconstructed or eliminated, as is the case of the central apse, which was replaced. It has three naves, transept with brick dome and tripartite headboard.  Of the Church are notable the belfry, which is Romanesque-mudejar style, and has arches of brick on stone columns. It is also noteworthy its arcaded gallery, which surrounds the whole Church except the front. This portico has half-point arches resting on columns with Romanesque capitals.  The cover of the western façade is one of the largest doors of Spanish Romanesque. It is a cover of five arch vaults, decorated with vegetal motifs. It is sheltered by a portico, as a narthex, whose opening is a large set of arch vaults supported by human statues representing characters from the Old Testament.

Segovia

The Church or Iglesia de San Millán  is located next to Avenida Fernández Ladreda, in the neighborhood of San Millán. The Romanesque tower forms the oldest remains of the Church, since it corresponds to the 11C being Mudejar style, the rest of the Church is the product of the reform made between 1111 and 1126 by king Alfonso I the Battler (Batallador) during his government in Castile for his marriage with Doña Urraca, so it is one of the oldest Churches in the city. Its construction reflects the influence of Aragonese architecture, reproducing the plant of the Cathedral of Jaca on a smaller scale. It is composed of four apses, of which three correspond to the naves and the fourth, a later addition, to the sacristy. It has three covers, one on each side, and two galleries of porticoes arches, so common in the Romanesque Segoviano. Inside we can find three large naves with a simple roof, replacing the initial Mudéjar roof. The columns and capitals are large in comparison to the size of the Church. Among the most notable capitals we find one that is thematic the magicians path of Bethlehem and another that has as a theme the flight of Egypt. Among the ornaments destined to the cult stands out its main altar of Romanesque style, composed of a crucified surrounded by ten blinded arcades, as well as several pieces of the processional imagery that participates in the Holy Week of Segovia, as are the carvings of Nuestra Señora de la Soledad or Our Lady of Solitude at the foot of the Cross and the Blessed Christ in his last Word, which were donated by the Segoviano sculptor Aniceto Marinas and correspond to his homonymous brotherhood, which has its canonical headquarters in the Church.

Segovia

The Church or Iglesia de San Clemente, the Church, which stands between the Calle del  Marquis de Mondéjar, Calle Gobernador Fernandez Jiméneza and Calle Doctor Sancho, is characterized by a semicircular apse with three paired arches, with columns that would have inside windows of half point, pedestals and capitals. It would preserve from its primitive Romanesque construction the portico, and two covers: the one that corresponds to the main nave, and the lateral one, which gives entrance to the Church. The tower is of low elevation and was eliminated in the 18C. Altars would be baroque and Churrigueresque in style. At the beginning of the 20C, the congregation was added to the parent parish of San Millán.

Romanesque Segovia on the Church of San Clemente

Segovia

The Church or Iglesia San Sebastiàn,  is located in the Plaza de San Sebastiàn  at the end of the aqueduct, in the upper part of the city, next to the Plazuela de Avendaño.  It was told in history that in 1906  it was closed to the cult, by threatening ruin the vaults of plaster and brick, which served only to hide the primitives. It  became an independent parish. Its exterior is Romanesque-Byzantine and has apses, doorways and windows with the typical character of the Segovia’s Churches of the 13C or earlier. The tower is reduced and lost its primitive style after several renovations. The interior has three naves.

Romanesque Segovia on the Church of San Sebastiàn

Segovia

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The Convent or Convento de San José at Calle Tomasa de la Iglesia,4  It’s a cloistered convent of the Barefoot Carmelite nuns.  Convent founded by Saint Teresa of Jesus in 1574. Initially it was located in a building a few meters higher than its posterior and definitive location to which they moved in 1579, for having a greater need for space.  On the outside we find a wall of masonry revoked with two doors, one that gives to the convent, with two jambs decorated with remains of what was undoubtedly the house of Diego de Porres ( another Saint) and another larger that gives way to the Church.  The Church is a single nave with three sections and a chorus at the feet. Originally had a wooden roof that was replaced between the 17C and 18C by vault of plasterwork.

Segovia

Of course the above are my favorites, there are more! and will put some general webpages to help you enjoy fully Segovia and its monuments.

Tourist office of Segovia on monasteries and churches

Tourist office of Segovia on the old town heritage monuments

City of Segovia tourism general views

Province of Segovia on tourist spots to see

The quest continues for more, as Spain is everything under the sun! Never amazes me to find wonderful places to see ,no wonder is the no 2 spot on Earth for visitors behind my belle France. And numbers are from WTO-UN or United Nations World Tourism Organisation ,keeping numbers on travelers since 1949! Enjoy Segovia for it’s treasures!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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February 3, 2019

Citadela de Jaca or Castillo San Pedro in Jaca!

So let me stay on the north of my beloved Spain, in the beautiful kingdom of Aragon, oops it is an autonomous region of Spain, and the province of Huesca, and the city of Jaca. On the road to the pyrénées and my belle France. This is a monumental construction and because of staying in bigger more popular cities seldom overlook by the visitor. I like to tell you a bit of the off the beaten path into my Spain!

Let me tell you a bit more on the Citadel of Jaca aka Saint Peter’s castle. This is in my stop over city of Jaca for many years, familiar territory!

The Ciudadela de Jaca or Castle of Saint Peter in Jaca, province of Huesca, autonomous region of Aragon.

jaca

It is protected upstream by the forts of the Coll de Ladrones or thieves and the turret of the Riflemen. It testifies to the diffusion of the military art to defend the place à la Vauban. The Spanish citadel of Jaca is a pentagonal construction, with a defensive rampart in every corner communicated by paths of round, which king Felipe II, in the 17C, ordered to erect in a suburb of Jaca because he feared an Invasion of the French heretics. Its construction is framed in the defense strategy adopted by king Felipe II after the invasion of the Tena Valley by troops from the south of France in January 1592, and also as a soothing element of possible internal revolts. It was conceived as the central axis of a thick network of Pyrenean defenses in which were integrated the towers of Ansó, Hecho, La Espelunga (Canfranc) and Santa Elena (Biescas-Valley of Tena), in addition to the small castles of Berdún and Canfranc.

jaca

Its construction began in 1595, and ended in the 18C. It was under king Felipe  III, in 1613, that the access façade was completed. However, the digging of ditches and other collateral projects were longer, and still continued towards the end of the 17C. The interior is accessed by a Mannerist air door on which the Austrian shield appears. United with that of Liège, in Belgium, it is the only citadel of this pentagonal shape that is preserved completely. Its external protection system is built around a pit. The arms court consists of a double arch, broken bows and a basket handle alternate and rely on the pillars of stones in its lower and upper brick.  Around the immense central courtyard, the buildings to house the troops, offices, warehouses and ammunition, organized in five blocks parallel to the walls, are aligned. Inside is also the military Chapel of San Pedro, you will find a large square of arms also pentagonal, around which are articulated the barracks quarters and the chapel of the Citadel that is the Church of San Pedro that was built in the 18C (St Peter)  a baroque building with a stone façade built in the second half of the 17C. The citadel was only used defensively during the War of Independence. But paradoxically, it was the French troops who took possession of it after having conquered the place. They occupied the fortress for four years.

jaca

The fortress has a five-pointed star plant and is preserved practically intact since its construction. It observes the characteristics of a fortress of Italian trace, maintaining all its elements; Moat, bastions, escarpments and buttresses, barracks for the lodging of the troop, powders, tunnels.The access is made crossing the moat through a bridge of three arches plus a drawbridge to access the door of the enclosure, Herrerian style of great artistic interest.

jaca

Do not forget to see the military miniature museum inside a jewel for the aficionado and collector and just plain history buff like me:love it!! More than 32000 figurines in 23 showcases retracing the military history of our days in figurines that goes down to 20 mm or about 0,8 inch! All in order from the first great armies of the world,from the crusades to the 18C, towards WWI, Spanish Civil War, towards WWII, and towards Peace. A must to see while there , perhaps the main thing to see there!

jaca

jaca

some webpages to help you plan your trip and enjoy it are

Military miniature museum inside Citadel of Jaca

Official Citadel of Jaca

City of Jaca on the Citadel

Region of Aragon heritage on the Citadel of Jaca

Again, come up north and continue on the beautiful Spain, the second most visited country in the world in 2018 85M by WTO-UN. And see this jewel of our times, the Citadela de Jaca!

And remember, happy travels, good health ,and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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