Historical notes

Masters and mentors

Raphael’s Rooms is a series of rooms in the Vatican Palace richly decorated by Raphael.

For now, I selected only a small fraction of this masterpiece that unlike many others, is of civic nature. It is called the School of Athens. 

Copernicus was a Polish astronomer and mathematician who challenged the belief that the Earth was the center of the universe. In his book, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium, he presented evidence for the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun. Despite facing opposition, Copernicus’s work shaped the scientific revolution and still impacts our understanding of the cosmos today.

Liberty leading the people

Believe it or not, this post is highly popular on my blog. It focuses on a painting and summarizing the events that happened in France during times of the French Revolution.

Roland was a legendary figure in medieval Europe, known for his bravery and loyalty to the Emperor Charlemagne. He is known primarily from the epic poem “The Song of Roland” an epic poem from medieval France, written in the late XIth century. 

For some unexplained reason, Roland is a figure symbolic for medieval trading cities.

Many people in Europe immediately think of D-Day when they hear about Normandy in France.

D-Day, which occurred on June 6, 1944, was the largest seaborne invasion in history. However, D-Day was a complex logistical operation, and one of its crucial components was the use of Mulberry harbours. One of them was operated in the French town of Arromanches.

Plaza de Oriente is a public square adjacent to the Royal Palace. On its left and right side the Plaza de Oriente, that in fact is a park (or garden) is decorated by rows of statues, popularly known as the Gothic Kings.

The Ishtar Gate of Babylon

The Ishtar Gate was one of the main entrances to Babylon. It was dedicated to the goddess Ishtar, who was the patron deity of love, fertility, and war. The Ishtar Gate was rediscovered in the early 20th century by a team of German archaeologists led by Robert Koldewey. Koldewey had been excavating at the site of Babylon since 1899, and had uncovered many important artifacts and structures from the ancient city.

A couple who came from England

During our two-week stay in New Zealand, we once visited a town that seemed totally deserted. In high season it was popular with surfers. But with a heavy storm on approach, there was not a soul around us. It was like we would have reached the end of the world. The name of the town was Collingwood

On vandals and revolutionaries

Two thousand years ago, a tribe called Vandals originating somewhere in the Southern Scandinavia took a long road South. In the V century, they seized the eternal city and looted or destroyed some of the heritage of ancient Rome. Today the historians are no longer convinced of the latter. But in the international vocabulary, a vandal is someone who destroys or damages things of value. Those may be things of monetary value as well as of historical significance.

Written in the Norman city of Rouen

As Normandy is located in the traditionally French territory, we associate it with French, or as referred to earlier in the history – the Franks. But who were the Normans according to historical facts? There is probably no better place in Europe to answer this question than Rouen, located in the present-day French Normandy, but in the past – the birthplace of the Norman traditions and culture.

Pope Gregory XIII was the one who commissioned the Gregorian Calendar, named after him, to make necessary corrections to its predecessor, the Julian Calendar. The reform was necessary to realign the calendar year with the solar year, ensuring a more accurate reflection of Earth’s orbit around the Sun, which used to occur in the Julian Calendar.

Patria, in commemoration of 1830

Pro Patria, the monument at the Martyrs’ square in Brussels, commemorating the events of 1830. The female figure carved from Carrara marble in 1838 by Guillaume Geefs represents Belgium standing on the chains of oppression after years under foreign rule. Patria is an originally Latin word meaning one’s native country or homeland.

The Old Port in Gdansk

In fact, this place is one of my favorites to spend leisure time in Poland, just to walk around, enjoy good food and make many beautiful photos. It is indeed very photogenic, no matter the season or time of the day. But the Old Port in Gdansk, known as the Main City, is also about its history. It has been an important center of maritime trade and commerce since the Middle Ages.

The Berlin Quadriga

The Brandenburg Gate is a famous entry gate located in the center of Berlin. The gate is one of the most important landmarks of Berlin and German history. At the top of the gate is the Quadriga. It depicts a chariot with four horses being led by the goddess of victory, Nike.

An elected king, a great battle and a fall of once a mighty kingdom

Looking through my photos taken in the Vatican Museums, I found a picture of a huge painting showing a nobleman on a horse leading a great battle. The nobleman is John III Sobieski, the king of Poland, more precisely of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The battle is the Battle of Vienna that for once and ever in the late Middle Ages stopped the Ottoman Empire from invading Europe.

A short note on the Roman Empire

A quick recolletion of hitorical facts on the Roman Empire with photos of Roman ruins still preserved in Rome.

A short note on slavery in Middle Age Europe

One day, while driving home late in the evening and listening to the beautiful Gladiator theme by Hans Zimmer on the radio, I thought of the Don Quixote and Sancho Panza monuments. I had taken photos of two twin monuments in Spain, one in Madrid and the other in Brussels. Although it may seem unrelated at first, there is a connection between these pictures and the Gladiator theme.

Ich bin ein Berliner

“Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berlin citizen) were the famous words spoken 1963 by the American president John F Kennedy in West Berlin. The gesture and the whole speech were considered a response to the erection of the Berlin Wall. 

Vikings did not bother to settle there

The Vikings homeland was lower Scandinavia, the coastal Northern Norway on Lofoten and a small continental region under the Gulf Stream impact. Although much land was available in Scandinavia, the Vikings did not settle there. Their interest was in the South.

Charlemagne, the King of Franks

Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great, is a highly important figure in French and European history during the early medieval era. He was both a skilled military leader and a clever politician. He established the Carolingian Empire, which replaced the Roman Empire in the Western regions of Europe. This empire eventually evolved into the Kingdom of France and, after the French Revolution, the present-day French Republic.


Historical notes