Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What's with all the Grotto?

I was digging into the internet for the previous post about Castles that maybe i'll get to visit one day, when I kept running into Grottoes.  I had only heard that term once before when it was used to describe a room on Hefner's estate.

A grotto (Italian grotta and French "grotte") is any type of natural or artificial cave that is associated with modern, historic or prehistoric use by humans.

So on to some Grottoes...

The Blue Grotto

The Blue Grotto (Italian: Grotta Azzurra) is a noted  sea cave on the coast of the island of Capri, Italy. Sunlight, passing through an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater, creates a blue reflection that illuminates the cavern.

Venus Grotto

Venus Grotto
The building is wholly artificial and was built for the king as an illustration of the First Act of Wagner's "Tannhäuser". Ludwig liked to be rowed over the lake in his golden swan-boat but at the same time he wanted his own blue grotto of Capri. Therefore 24 dynamos had been installed and so already in the time of Ludwig II it was possible to illuminate the grotto in changing colours.

Fingal's Cave

Fingal's Cave is a sea cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, part of a National Nature Reserve owned by the National Trust for Scotland.  It is formed entirely from hexagonally jointed basalt columns.

Dickeyville Grotto

The Dickeyville Grotto is a series of grottos and shrines in DickeyvilleWisconsin, in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison, in Grant County, WisconsinUnited States. The site is visited by 40,000 to 60,000 visitors per year. It is located at the intersection of  U.S. Highway 151 and Highway 35.

Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto

Our Lady of Lourdes is the name used to refer to the Marian apparition said to have appeared before various individuals on separate occasions around LourdesFrance. The apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes began on 11 February 1858, when Saint Bernadette Soubirous, a 14-year-old peasant girl from Lourdes, told her mother, after being asked, that she had seen a "lady" in the cave of Massabielle, about a mile from the town, while gathering firewood with her sister and a friend.  Similar appearances of the "lady" were reported on seventeen further occasions that year.

The Grotto at the Playboy Mansion

Shell Grotto

The Shell Grotto is an ornate subterranean passageway in Margate, Kent. Almost all the surface area of the walls and roof is covered in mosaics created entirely of seashells, totalling about 2,000 square feet (190 m2) of mosaic, or 4.6 million shells. It was discovered in 1835 but its age remains unknown.

Pope's Grotto

Alexander Pope's villa has gone but the grotto, which formed part of the garden, survives in Twickenham, England . The grotto was formerly at the lower level of Pope's Villa and is now at the lower level of an Arts and Crafts building which is now a school. A passageway leads under Cross Deep road to what is now a girl's school. Apart from its association with the poet, the chief interest of the grotto is large collection of geological specimens which was used to line the brickwork of the vaults. 


Naica Crystal Cave

Buried a thousand feet (300 meters) below Naica mountain in the Chihuahuan Desert, the cave was discovered by two miners in 2000. The cave contains some of the largest natural crystals ever found: translucent gypsum beams measuring up to 36 feet (11 meters) long and weighing up to 55 tons.

Here is a link for more information and photos for the cave-very worth while. Link

Genesis 19:30
[ Lot and His Daughters ] Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Maybe deep down I feel under attack so that made me look up fortifications. Castles Anyone?

I don't know, maybe since my contract with the city is under attack, as well as my pension and our budgets, that why I feel under attack and that sent me to researching fortifications.  I could use a financial castle right now.

Neuschwanstein Castle

is a 19th-centuryBavarian palace on a rugged hill near Hohenschwangau and Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned byLudwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner, the King’s personal favorite performer.

Throne Room

Grotto made to look like a cave with water fall and secrete glass door that slid into the "rock"

Hunyad Castle

The Huniad Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara (Transylvania), present-day Romania.

The Potala Palace Castle

In 637 Emperor Songtsen Gampo decided to build this palaceon a hill, and the structure stood until the seventeenth century, when it was incorporated into the foundations of the greater buildings still standing today. Construction of the present palace began in 1645 during the reign of the fifth Dalai Lama and by 1648 the Potrang Karpo, or White Palace, was completed. The Potrang Marpo, or Red Palace, was added between 1690 and 1694; its construction required the labors of more than 7000 workers and 1500 artists and craftsman.

Malbork Castle

The castle was founded by the Teutonic Order after the conquest of Old Prussia. Its main purpose was to strengthen their own control of the area following the Order's 1274 suppression of the Great Prussian Uprising of the Baltic tribes. No contemporary documents survive relating to its construction, so instead the castle's phases have been worked out through the study of architecture and the Order's administrative records and later histories. The work lasted until around 1300, under the auspices of Commander Heinrich von Wilnowe.  The castle is located on the southeastern bank of the river Nogat. It was named Marienburg after Mary, patron saint of the religious Order. The Order had been created in Acre (present-day Israel). When this last stronghold of the western Crusades fell to Muslim Arabs, the Order moved its headquarters to Venice before arriving in Poland.  Malbork became more important in the aftermath of the Teutonic Knights' conquest of Gdańsk (Danzig) and Pomerania in 1308. The Order's administrative centre was moved to Malbork from Elbląg (Elbing). The Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, Siegfried von Feuchtwangen, who arrived in Malbork from Venice, undertook the next phase of the fortress' construction.[4] In 1309, in the wake of the papal persecution of the Knights Templar and the Teutonic takeover of Danzig, Feuchtwangen relocated his headquarters to the Prussian part of the Order's monastic state. He chose the site of Marienburg conveniently located on the Nogat in the Vistula Delta. As with most cities of the time, the new centre was dependent on water for transportation.  The castle was expanded several times to house the growing number of Knights. Soon, it became the largest fortified Gothic building in Europe, on an nearly 52-acre site. The castle has several subdivisions and numerous layers of defensive walls. It consists of three separate castles - the High, Middle and Lower Castles, separated by multiple dry moats and towers. The castle once housed approximately 3,000 "brothers in arms". The outermost castle walls enclose 52 acres, four times the acreage of the enclosed space of Windsor Castle.

Pena National Palace

The palace's history started in the Middle Ages when a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena was built on the top of the hill above Sintra. According to tradition, the construction occurred after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.  In 1493, King John II, accompanied by his wife Queen Leonor, made a pilgrimage to the site to fulfill a vow. His successor, King Manuel I, was also very fond of this sanctuary, and ordered the construction there of a monastery which was donated to the Order of Saint Jerome. For centuries Pena was a small, quiet place for meditation, housing a maximum of eighteen monks.  In the 18th century the monastery was severely damaged by lightning. However, it was the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, occurring shortly afterwards, that took the heaviest toll on the monastery, reducing it to ruins. Nonetheless, the chapel (and its magnificent works of marble and alabaster attributed to Nicolau Chanterene) escaped without significant damage.  For many decades the ruins remained untouched, but they still astonished young prince Ferdinand. In 1838, as King consort Ferdinand II, he decided to acquire the old monastery, all of the surrounding lands, the nearby Castle of the Moors and a few other estates in the area. King Ferdinand then set out to transform the remains of the monastery into a palace that would serve as a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family. The commission for the Romantic style rebuilding was given to Lieutenant-General and mining engineer Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege. Eschwege, a German amateur architect, was much traveled and likely had knowledge of several castles along the Rhine river. The construction took place between 1842–1854, although it was almost completed in 1847: King Ferdinand and Queen Maria II intervened decisively on matters of decoration and symbolism. Among others, the King suggested vault arches, Medieval and Islamic elements be included, and he also designed an exquisitely ornate window for the main façade (inspired by the chapter house window of the Convent of the Order of Christ in Tomar).

Entrance Gate

Hohensalzburg Castle

Hohensalzburg Castle (German: Festung Hohensalzburg, literally "High Salzburg Fortress") is a castle in the Austrian city of Salzburg, atop the Festungsberg mountain. Erected at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg, it today with a length of 250 m (820 ft) and a width of 150 m (490 ft), is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe.

Château de Blois

The Royal Château de Blois is located in the Loir-et-Cher département in the Loire Valley, in France, in the center of the city of Blois. The residence of several French kings, it is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans.
Built in the middle of the town that it effectively controlled, the château of Blois comprises several buildings constructed from the 13th to the 17th century around the main courtyard.  It has 564 rooms and 75 staircases although only 23 were used frequently. There is a fireplace in each room. There are 100 bedrooms.

Château de Pierrefonds

The Château de Pierrefonds is a castle situated in the commune of Pierrefonds in the Oise département (Picardy) of France. It is on the southeast edge of the Forest of Compiègne, north of Paris, between Villers-Cotterêts and Compiègne.  The Château de Pierrefonds includes most of the characteristics of defensive military architecture from the Middle Ages, though it underwent a major restoration in the 19th century.

Egeskov Castle

Egeskov's history dates to the 14th century. The castle structure was erected by Frands Brockenhuus in 1554.  Due to the troubles caused by the civil war known as the Count's Feud (Danish: Grevens fejde), general civil unrest, and a civil war introducing the Protestant Reformation, most Danish noblemen built their homes as fortifications. The castle is constructed on oaken piles and located in a small lake with a maximum depth of 5 metres (16 ft). Originally, the only access was by means of a drawbridge. According to legend, it took an entire forest of oak trees to build the foundation, hence the name Egeskov (“oak forest”).

Psalm 31:3
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.