Curiosities of Europe, part III

And I go again finding gems in my vault of pictures and needed to have them in my blog for you and me or me and you ! These are wonderful towns visited in my trails of Europe several years back. Hope you enjoy the visual trip thru Spain and Belgium as I. Therefore, here is my take on the new curiosities of Europe, Part III.

The 83-meters high Belfry of Bruges (Brugge) is a high medieval tower surmounting the Cloth Hall on the Grote Markt , It is a civil monument, built in several stages from the 13C to the 15C, which was the symbol of the municipal independence of Bruges, an important commercial city in the Middle Ages.

Brugge le belfroi c2004

A first construction surmounted by a wooden tower erected in 1240. The construction housed the wool and cloth halls and warehouses. The tower had a more administrative function and served at the time for the magistrates of the city. It included a room of safes as well as the archives of the city. The halls of the city extended during the 15C and in particular between 1482 and 1486 , A gallery was added to the rear of the halls during the 16C. The inner courtyard also received a few galleries on the first floor. In 1741 a fire again destroyed the spire of the tower. This was repaired in 1753, but without the spire. The tower received its present form with the addition of a new neo-Gothic openwork crown in 1822 at the top to replace the damaged old one, and by the absence of a new spire.

The City of Brugge museums on the belfry:

The University of Salamanca is the second oldest university in Spain but the oldest that remains, since the University of Palencia no longer exists, and the oldest in the Hispanic world; it is also the fifth oldest in Europe and the fourth oldest remaining. It was founded by Alfonso IX of León in 1218. On the other hand, it was the first to obtain the title of university in Europe. Its origin dates back to the Cathedral Schools whose existence can be traced back to 1130, when its schoolmaster attended a council in Carrión. The first official document is that of King Alfonso IX of León, by which he grants the title of Studium Generale (General Studies) to these schools, due to the quality of their teachings, this is dated 1218, Miguel de Unamuno is the personality the university’s most significant in the 20C Unamuno was rector of the university from 1900 to 1914 but left his post because of disagreements with the regime of Primo de Rivera. With the advent of the Second Spanish Republic, in 1931, he was reinstated in his functions. He became rector for life in 1934 (an honorary post following his retirement). He died the first year of the Spanish Civil War (1936).

Salamanca Universidad courtyard ent c1995

The Salamanca university museum

The town of Ciudad Rodrigo is in the province of Salamanca in the autonomous community of Castille-y-León, It is at 86 km from Salamanca City, It has a wonderful collection of a cathedral, palaces and churches. It also has the City/town hall, the Cerralbo Chapel, the Castro palace, the Águila palace, the Marquesa de Cartago palace or the Vázquez house. The plaza de Amayuelas is responsible for welcoming visitors to Ciudad Rodrigo, since it is the main point of access to the interior of the walled enclosure. Once we cross the Puerta de Amayuelas (gate of the wall), we find the monument to Fernando II de León, and on the left the information and tourism office next to the Palacio de los Velasco. In front, the imposing façade of the Cathedral and the Plaza de San Salvador, and to the right some stairs that give access to the walkway of the rampart.

Ciudad Rodrigo plaza de Amayuelas palacio velasco et chap de Ceralbo c2004

The Ciudad Rodrigo tourist office and its heritage :

The Parc Güell is one of the achievements of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, It was built between 1900 and 1914 , and restored from 1984 to 1993, This was originally a garden city that the patron of Gaudi, Eusebi Güell, had asked him to build on a hill of the City, El Carmel. The Park Güell is first and foremost a garden, with only a few constructions inside the park having been completed, such as the two mushroom-shaped houses framing the entrance. Once through the gate, the visitor finds himself in front of stairs with fountain islands in the center, in particular the emblematic salamander-shaped fountain.You see as the picture a fantastic salamander, one of the symbols of Barcelona, ​​decorated with trencadís.

Barcelona parc Güell Gaudi work c2004

On the first fountain, there is a circle, symbolizing the world, and a graduated compass, an architect’s tool, intertwined with imitations of trunks through which water flows, The second fountain represents a dragon’s head emerging from the flag Catalan, reference to the legend of Saint George very present in Catalan heraldry since Peter the Ceremonious, and used by Gaudi in the Casa Batlló. Finally, it is at the third fountain, the best known, that we find a dragon symbol of fire which is interpreted as the emblem salamander of Nîmes, the city where Gaudi spent part of his youth and whose Jardins de la Fontaine inspired this park,  

The official Parc Güell :

The Cathedral Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena, next to the Royal Palace in Madrid.  The Virgin of La Almudena the patron saint of Madrid  has its altar in the transept of the right aisle, opposite the entrance by calle de Bailén. It is a high altar, which can be accessed by two side staircases with bronze handrail. The original sculpture, representing the Virgin with the child in her arms is an image of Gothic style carved in wood. It is positioned in the central niche of the altarpiece, done by the end of the 15C. This is a must to visit and often overlook by visitors.(see posts)

Madrid Catedral de la Almudena altar of the virgin c2004

Madrid Catedral de la Almudena capilla mayor de la cripta Virgin Almudena c2004

The official Catedral de la Almudena:

The Madrid tourist office on the Cathedral

There you go folks, another dandy round of beautiful places to see and saw , always looking forward to see them again, eventually. Hope you enjoy this round of Spain and Belgium in my curiosities of Europe ,Part III as I

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

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2 Comments to “Curiosities of Europe, part III”

  1. Beautiful pictures of the cathedral – thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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