Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, German Schloss Neuschwanstein,  elaborate castle near Füssen, Germany, built atop a rock ledge over the Pöllat Gorge in the Bavarian Alps by order of Bavaria’s King Louis II (“Mad King Ludwig”). Construction began in 1868 and was never completed.

Louis II spent much of his childhood at Hohenschwangau Castle, a neo-Gothic, medieval-inspired castle elaborately decorated with scenes from legend and poetry. After his accession to the throne in 1864, Louis set out to build a “New Hohenschwangau Castle”—as Neuschwanstein was called until after his death—which he intended to be an even better reproduction of a medieval-style castle in line with his fairy-tale vision of monarchy. The Romanesque designs were drawn by scene painter Christian Jank, and these were translated into architectural plans by Eduard Riedel. In 1874 Riedel was succeeded as chief architect by Georg von Dollmann, who in turn was succeeded by Julius Hofmann in 1886.

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Neuschwanstein stands on the site of two smaller castles, the ruins of which were cleared away in 1868. The foundation stone for Neuschwanstein was laid in September 1869. Although Louis expected the entire project to be completed within three years, only the gateway building was inhabitable by 1873. The topping-out ceremony was held on January 29, 1880, but even then the castle was still under construction. The technical fittings were completed some four and a half years later, and the castle remained incomplete in 1886, when Louis died by drowning himself. He had lived there, off and on, only some six months in total. Several weeks after his passing, the unfinished castle was opened to the public as a museum. Simplified versions of the castle’s bower and square tower were not completed until 1892, and only about a dozen rooms were ever finished.

Neuschwanstein is known as a castle of paradox. It was built in a time when castles were no longer necessary as strongholds, and, despite its romanticized medieval design, Louis also required it to have all the newest technological comforts. The lavish structure is complete with a walled courtyard, an indoor garden, spires, towers, and an artificial cave. In contrast to the medieval castles it was modeled after, Neuschwanstein is equipped with running water throughout, including flush toilets and hot water in the kitchen and baths, and has a forced-air central heating system. The dining room is serviced by an elevator from the kitchen three stories below. Louis even made sure the castle was connected to telephone lines, although at the time of its construction very few people had telephones.

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In keeping with its romantic design, the castle’s two-story throne room—which still did not contain a throne at the time of Louis’s death—is modeled after a Byzantine basilica; stars decorate its blue vaulted ceiling, which is supported by red porphyry columns. Louis was a patron of Richard Wagner, and wall paintings throughout the castle depict the legends that inspired the composer: the life of Parsifal in the fourth-floor Singers’ Hall; the Tannhäuser saga in the study; and Lohengrin in the great parlour. Despite remaining unfinished, Neuschwanstein Castle became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe. It also served as inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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Facts about the Colosseum, one of the greatest buildings of Ancient Rome.

The Colosseum took ten years to build. Its construction was ordered by the Emperor Vespasian in 70 AD and it was completed under the rule of his son, Titus, in 80 AD.
It had a capacity of over 50,000 and it could be filled in about half an hour.
Spectators could watch gladiators fighting each other, executions, demonstrations of animal hunting, battle re-enactments and even sea battles – the arena would be flooded.
The Colosseum was built on the site of a former lake. Drains were built 8m below the building to deal with the water flowing in from nearby streams.
It has massive foundations which are over 10 metres deep in some places.
Historians haven’t been able to discover the name of the Colosseum’s architect.
The arena in the centre of the Colosseum was covered in sand and contained a number of trap-doors so that wild animals could leap in to spice up the gladiatorial combat.

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It is estimated that over 400,000 people lost their lives in the Colosseum.
The Colosseum is the largest of the 200+ amphitheatres built in the Roman Empire.
The outer walls are nearly 50 metres high.
When it rained or when the sun was beating down too strongly on the spectators, a large fabric covering called the velarium was drawn across the Colosseum and anchored by ropes.
The last recorded evidence of Roman gladiators fighting in the Colosseum was in 435 AD.
The Colosseum was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1349. Lots of its stone was used to build churches, hospitals and palaces in Rome. Over the centuries, much of the building’s most valuable materials were stipped away. Today only a fraction of the original building remains intact.
The Colossuem is one of Rome’s key toursit attractions.
During its years of neglect, the Colosseum was home to many exotic species of plants. These probably grew from seeds which were brought in from across the Roman Empire when wild animals were used in the amphitheatre.

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Parsley – a bomb of vitamin K

Distributed worldwide, parsley is respected both for its pleasant taste and  decorative appearance.

This spice is a veritable treasury of vitamin K, which mainly comes from its favorable effect on the organism.

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10 g of this aromatic plant not only contain 0% calories but give more than 150% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin K. This vitamin serves essentially to the  body in different ways: it protects bones from fractures, prevents calcification of arteries and protects the liver and some prostate cancers, but the most famous is that it promotes normal blood clotting. In fact, its name comes from the German word initially koagulation – clotting.

With parsley does not need to overdo, especially during pregnancy, because when consumed in large quantities it can cause trouble.

Smokers should cherish the parsley, because it can improve the quality of their breath. It contains therein vegetable oils such as myristicin proven act as chemical protectors of the lungs, helping to neutralize carcinogens such as benzopyrene – a part of the cigarette smoke.

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At present more parsley vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and folic acid – vitamin B group, which plays an important role in the normal functioning of the cardiovascular system. The flavonoid luteolin did also present in stable quantities, is an antioxidant, a real hunter of free radicals and immune system modulator.

It is advisable to always choose fresh parsley to dried, but it’s only because of the taste factor. Fresh parsley should have a healthy green color and it;s dense and fragile. It is appropriate to avoid faded and yellowed twigs and leaves, because this is an indication of damage from pesticides or decay. Parsley should always be washed thoroughly under running water before eating or storing in the refrigerator.