Here is another wonderful edifice that is going to rack and ruin. This Croatian fairytale castle is slowly falling apart thanks to years of neglect.
Sitting atop a tall hill in northern Croatia, Trakošćan Castle looks
like a castle out of a fairytale, proudly peeking its spires out above
the tree line, but on closer inspection the signs of neglect have
started to mar the centuries-old fortification.
Originally built in the 13th century, the large manse was not the
product of some lord’s need for a grand home but was instead created as a
defensive fortification. Despite its martial background, its position
on top of a verdant forest hill has given it a distinctly romantic
appeal. Down the centuries the castle has been added to and rebuilt a
number of times giving it a bit of a varied design sense, but losing
none of its beauty. While the original owner of the castle is unknown,
the estate was passed down among a series of Croatian nobles before
finally being turned over to the Croatian government in the 1950s.
In 1953 Trakošćan Castle was opened to the public as a museum housing
a number of historical displays about the area, the castle, and
Croatian history in general. A man-made lake was also built at the foot
of the hill making the view from the castle all the more spectacular.
In recent years the grounds have been neglected and signs of wear and
age are beginning to appear. Despite this, if you have to choose just
one to visit while you are visiting Croatia, you can’t beat Trakošćan
Castle for sheer storybook looks.
Clancy's comment: What a shame. It looks extraordinary.
Welcome to a 300-year-old tea shop that brought tea to the English people, not to mention the Queen herself.
You’ll have to excuse the exoticized Chinamen figures atop the Twinings
tea shop doorway at 216 Strand. They’ve been sitting up there for about
three centuries, in which time the cultural acceptability of such
caricatures has lessened, and tea is more often associated with British
gentry than with Chinese merchants.
As a young man Thomas Twining apprenticed under an East India Company
merchant, importing goods from exotic locales, coffee and tea in
particular. Twining’s mercantile career began in 1706 when he opened a
small storefront on a busy London
thoroughfare called the Strand. He called it Tom’s Coffee House, and it
soon became a popular gathering spot for fashionable aristocrats.
Despite the fact that his shop was dedicated to coffee, Twining soon
garnered a reputation for having some of the finest tea blends in
London. Within a decade he ceased selling coffee entirely and almost
exclusively sold dry packaged teas. This allowed women to partake in
tea-drinking at home as well, as coffee houses were male-only
establishments. Twining expanded his business, opening up more shops,
and eventually growing it into the tea empire it is today.
Though we think of Britain’s relationship to tea being as old as the
nation itself, the drink had only been introduced in the 1660s by a
Portuguese queen. With the expansion of East Indian trade and merchants
like Twining though, tea quickly became the national beverage.
Today Twinings is synonymous with the history of British tea. Over
300 years later, the original Twinings shop on the Strand is still in
business. The Twinings logo, a simple, gold sign bearing the company
name, has remained unchanged since 1787, making it the oldest corporate
logo still in use. In 1837, Queen Victoria granted the company a royal
warrant, a merit which has given Twinings the honor of providing tea to
the royal family ever since.
Clancy's comment: Tea anyone? I love all of their teas, but especially Earl Grey.