Delftse Poort, Rotterdam, Netherlands


Rotterdam
Postmarked 1914
Publisher: Siegmund Hildesheimer & Co, London & Manchester (1830-1920) “Views of Holland series”

The Delftse Poort was built in 1545 as part of the Rotterdam’s fortification, protecting it from raiders and attackers. Over the years and through the ages, the use for such a structure diminished, but the gate remained as a monument to the city’s past. The gate was rebuilt three times after the original structure had become unstable. In the 1930s, an attempt was made to demolish it to free up space for infrastructure, however, the people spoke up and eventually, the city decided to move the gate to a different spot instead.

Unfortunately, the WWII began and the gate—and city as a whole—was severely damaged in the course of multiple bombings. After the war, reconstruction began and the city slowly grew back. The medieval gate was forgotten until artist Cor Kraat sought to resurrect it. Cor Kraat was opposed to the gray and tasteless architectural style that was used right after the war. Calling the houses gray blocks, he spent much of his life trying to bring contrast and color to the city. The gate was put back in 1993 as a skeleton made out of orange metal beams to symbolize how Rotterdam is constantly under construction.
Atlas Obscura

Google Street View: reimagined gate


“In the foreground the Delftsevaart and the Haagseveer, affected by the German bombardment of 14 May 1940” (from Wikimedia Commons)

Maison de la Reine Bérengère, Le Mans, France


LE MANS. — Maison de la Reine Bérengère, – Cour
House of Queen Bérengère, courtyard
Note on back dated July 1914 or 1919

Google Street View.

Wikipedia (French).

Berengaria of Navarre was queen of England as the wife of Richard I of England. She was the eldest daughter of Sancho VI of Navarre and Sancha of Castile. As is the case with many of the medieval English queens, relatively little is known of her life. Traditionally known as “the only English queen never to set foot in the country”, she may in fact have visited England after her husband’s death, but did not do so before, nor did she see much of Richard during her marriage, which was childless. She did (unusually for the wife of a crusader) accompany him on the start of the Third Crusade, but mostly lived in his French possessions, where she gave generously to the church, despite difficulties in collecting the pension she was due from Richard’s brother and successor John after she became a widow.
Wikipedia (English)

Bérengère (ca. 1165-1230) was Queen of the English as the wife of King Richard I of England. Musée de la reine Bérengère is a museum of Le Mans history located in three half-timbered merchant’s houses, ca. 1230. The museum is located on the old High Street that served to connect all the medieval city, both canonical and aristocratic houses. It is in the area known as la cité Plantagenêt. After being seized by William I of England, Le Mans fell into the hands of the Plantagenets in the mid-12th century. The houses were restored by Adolphe Singher (1836-1910) and acquired by the city in 1924.
CurateND

Ridderzaal, The Hague, Netherlands


Den Haag, Ridderzaal
(Knight’s Hall, The Hague)
Publisher: N.V. Uitg[ever?], Utrecht

Google Street View.

The Binnenhof (Dutch for Inner Court) is a complex of buildings in The Hague (also known as Den Haag) that has been the main meeting place of The Netherlands governance since 1446. Building started in the 13th century, the complex originally functioned as the castle residence of the Earls (or Counts) of Holland. The Main Hall, which has been called the Knights’ Hall since the 19th century, dates from the second half of the 13th century. The famous vaulted wooden ceiling was the largest of its kind for hundreds of years and was inspired by the ship building industry of that time. Since 1904 the Knights’ Hall has been the setting for the reading of the King’s speech at the annual opening of Parliament. In his speech, the King announces the Government’s plans for the coming year to the parliament and to the Dutch people.
(includes text & images tour)

The Ridderzaal is the main building of the 13th-century inner square of the former castle of the counts of Holland called Binnenhof at the address Binnenhof 11 in The Hague, Netherlands. It is used for the state opening of Parliament on Prinsjesdag, when the Dutch monarch drives to Parliament in the Golden Coach and delivers the speech from the throne. It is also used for official royal receptions, and interparliamentary conferences.

In the 13th century Floris IV, Count of Holland bought a piece of land next to a small lake to build a house on. The Ridderzaal, the manorial hall of Floris V, grandson of Floris IV, was built on this estate in the 13th century. Over the centuries, the government buildings developed around this lake and incorporated the Ridderzaal. From the early 17th century, the Ridderzaal became an important trading place for booksellers, as Westminster Hall was in London. In later centuries it served a variety of purposes – as a market hall, a promenade, a drill hall, a public record office, a hospital ward, even the offices of the state lottery. It was restored between 1898 and 1904 to serve its present purposes.
Wikipedia


On back:
Den Haag
Ridderzaal – Intérieur

Publisher: Weenenk & Snel, den Haag (1908-1958)

Baptistery, Cathedral & Campianile, Pisa, Italy


PISA – Duomo, Battistero e Campanile dell alto

Baptistery, Cathedral & Campianile (bell tower)

The Pisa Baptistery of St. John (Italian: Battistero di San Giovanni) is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical building in Pisa, Italy. Construction started in 1152 to replace an older baptistery, and when it was completed in 1363, it became the second building, in chronological order, in the Piazza dei Miracoli, near the Duomo di Pisa and the cathedral’s free-standing campanile.
Wikipedia: Pisa Baptisery
Wikipedia: Pisa Cathedral

The square of the Cathedral of Pisa represents the best example of the Pisa Romanesque style through its magnificence and perfection, a harmonious fusion of classical, early Christian, Lombard and eastern motifs. The buildings maintain a stylish unity. The Cathedral, the Tower, the Baptistery and the Camposanto represent together the allegory of human life.
Piazza del Duomo


PISA – Il Campanile
The Bell Tower

Wikipedia: Leaning Tower of Pisa

Bargello, Florence


FIRENSE – Cortile e scala del Bargello
Bargello courtyard & staircase

Official Website

The Bargello, also known as the Palazzo del Bargello, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, or Palazzo del Popolo (Palace of the People), is a former barracks and prison, now an art museum, in Florence, Italy. . . . The word bargello appears to come from the late Latin bargillus (from Gothic bargi and German burg), meaning “castle” or “fortified tower”. During the Italian Middle Ages it was the name given to a military captain in charge of keeping peace and justice (hence “Captain of justice”) during riots and uproars. In Florence he was usually hired from a foreign city to prevent any appearance of favoritism on the part of the Captain. The position could be compared with that of a current Chief of police. The name Bargello was extended to the building which was the office of the captain.
. . .
Construction began in 1255. The palace was built to house first the Capitano del Popolo and later, in 1261, the ‘podestà’, the highest magistrate of the Florence City Council. This Palazzo del Podestà, as it was originally called, is the oldest public building in Florence. This austere crenellated building served as model for the construction of the Palazzo Vecchio. In 1574, the Medici dispensed with the function of the Podestà and housed the bargello, the police chief of Florence, in this building, hence its name. It was employed as a prison; executions took place in the Bargello’s yard until they were abolished by Grand Duke Peter Leopold in 1786, but it remained the headquarters of the Florentine police until 1859. When Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor Peter Leopold was exiled, the makeshift Governor of Tuscany decided that the Bargello should no longer be a jail, and it then became a national museum.

Wikipedia.

TERMINOLOGY
The word “bargello” appears to derive from the late latin noun bargillus, meaning “castle” or “fortified tower“. Bargello was the title attributed to a military captain, precisely the “Captain of justice”, who from 1554, under Duke Cosimo I, made arrests, conducted interrogations, and carried out death sentences.

THE PALACE
The Bargello was used as a prison until 1786, when the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo abolished capital punishment. Consequently, from this time on, the Bargello no longer held executions. The Bargello next served as the headquarters of the Florentine police until 1859. When Pietro Leopoldo II was exiled, the makeshift Governor of Tuscany decided that the Bargello should no longer be a jail, thereby becoming a national museum. Construction of the palace began in 1255 when Lapo Tedesco, an Italian architect of the XIII century, incorporated the old palace, the tower of Boscoli, the property of an ancient Florentine family, as well as certain houses and towers belonging to the Badia Fiorentina. Subsequently, the palace was merged with a new building on Via dell’Acqua, and in 1295, its arcaded courtyard was created. Between 1340 and 1345, the famous Italian architect Neri di Fioravante added another story to the building. The Bargello was designed around an open courtyard with an external staircase leading to the second floor. An open well is located in the center of the courtyard.
Florence Inferno

The National Museum has its setting in one of the oldest buildings in Florence that dates back to 1255. Initially the headquarters of the Capitano del Popolo (Captain of the People) and later of the Podestà, the palace became, in the sixteenth century, the residence of the Bargello that is of the head of the police (from which the palace takes its name) and was used as prison during the whole 18th century. Its walls witnessed important episodes of civic history. It was the meeting place of the Council of the Hundred in which Dante took part. It wituessed sieges, fires, executions, the most famous perhaps being that of Baroncelli, involved in the Pazzi plot against the Medici, which Leonardo also witnessed. During the 14th and 15th century, the palace was subjected to a series of alterations and additions, still preserving its harmonious severity, best seen in the beautiful courtyard, the balcony and the large hall on the first floor.

The building’s use as National Museum began in the mid-19th century. Today it is the setting for works of sculpture, mainly from the grand ducal colleotions, and for many examples of “minor” Gothic decorative arts.
Museums in Florence

The entrance of the museum gives access to the inner courtyard, where criminals were executed until 1786. The walls are decorated with coats of arms representing high ranking officials and city districts. . . . The staircase on the inner court leads to an arcaded gallery known as the Verone, where you’ll encounter a number of marble sculptures by GiamBologna, a Flemish artist who worked in Florence for most of his life.
A View on Cities

Guidhall (Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana), Florence


FIRENZE – Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana
c.1910

The Arte della Lana was the wool guild of Florence during the Late Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. It was one of the seven Arati Maggiori (“greater trades”) of Florence, separate from the Arti Minori (the “lesser trades”) and the Arti Mediane (the “middle trades”). The Arte della Lana dealt in woollen cloth and cooperated with the other corporations of bankers and merchants in administering the commune, both under the podestà and the Republic of Florence.

At the height of the industry the Arte della Lana directly employed 30.000 workers and indirectly about a third of Florence’s population, and produced 100,000 lengths of cloth annually. The Arte della Lana saw all the processes from the raw baled wool through the final cloth, woven at numerous looms scattered in domiciles throughout the city. Like other guilds, the Arte served only to coordinate the activities of its own members, who did not generally own the means of production or directly manage the processes. Its syndics ensured that quality standards were met and contracts were honored. The predecessor and until the mid-14th century the rival of the Arte della Lana was the powerful Arte di Calimala, a corporation of importers of raw cloth, who dyed and finished it.

The guildhall, the Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana, was completed in 1308, with an attached fortifiable tower-house. From its interior, where some 14th-century frescoes remain, a gallery designed by Bernardo Buontalenti links the palazzo with the church of Orsanmichele. The palazzo is now the seat of the Società Dantesca.
Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Commons: interior photos

St Kevin’s Church, Glendalough, Ireland


ST KEVIN’S KITCHEN AND ROUND TOWER, GLENDALOUGH
1932s

Street View

St. Kevin’s Church better known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen is a nave-and-chancel church of the 12th century. It is called St Kevin’s kitchen because people believed that the bell tower was a chimney to a kitchen but really no food was ever cooked there. This stone-roofed building originally had a nave only, with entrance at the west end and a small round-headed window in the east gable. The belfry with its conical cap and four small windows rises from the west end of the stone roof in the form of a miniature round tower.
Visit Wicklow

This stone-roofed building originally had a nave only, with entrance at the west end and a small round-headed window in the east gable. The upper part of the window can be seen above what became the chancel arch when the chancel (now missing) and the sacristy were added later. The steep roof, formed of overlapping stones, is supported internally by a semi-circular vault. Access to the croft or roof chamber was through a rectangular opening towards the western end of the vault. The church also had a timber first floor. The belfry with its conical cap and four small windows rises from the west end of the stone roof in the form of a miniature round tower. It is commonly known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen as the bell tower resembles a kitchen chimney. However, food was not cooked here.
Wikipedia.

The Wartburg, Eisenach, Germany

On reverse: Wartburg von N. O. (Kuranstalt Hainstein)

Not sure on date. Published Friedrich Bruckmann.

A castle near Eisenbach in the grand-duchy of Saxe-Weimar. It is magnificently situated on the top of a precipitous hill, and is remarkable not only for its historical associations but as containing one of the few well-preserved Romanesque palaces in existence. The original castle, of which some parts—including a portion of the above-mentioned palace (Landgrafenhaus)—still exist, was built by the landgrave Louis “the Springer” (d. 1123), and from this time until 1440 it remained the seat of the Thuringian landgraves. Under the landgrave Hermann I., the Wartburg was the home of a boisterous court to which minstrels and “wandering folk” of all descriptions streamed;[1] and it was here that in 1207 took place the minstrels’ contest (Sängerkrieg) immortalized in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Some years later it became the home of the saintly Elizabeth of Hungary (q.v.) on her marriage to Louis the Saint (d. 1227), to whom she was betrothed in 1211 at the age of four.[2] It was to the Wartburg, too, that on the 4th of May 1521, Luther was brought for safety at the instance of Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, and it was during his ten months’ residence here (under the incognito of Junker Jörg) that he completed his translation of the New Testament.

From this time the castle was allowed gradually to decay. It was restored in the 18th century in the questionable taste of the period; but its present magnificence it owes to the grand-duke Charles Alexander of Saxe-Weimar, with whom at certain seasons of the year it was a favourite residence.

The most interesting part of the castle is the Romanesque Landgrafenhaus. This, besides a chapel, contains two magnificent halls known as the Sängersaal (hall of the minstrels)—in which Wagner lays one act of his opera—and the Festsaal (festival hall). The Sängersaal is decorated with a fine fresco, representing the minstrels’ contest, by Moritz von Schwind, who also executed the frescoes in other parts of the building illustrating the legends of St Elizabeth and of the founding of the castle by Louis the Springer. The Festsaal has frescoes illustrating the triumphs of Christianity, by Welter. In the buildings of the outer court of the castle is the room once occupied by Luther, containing a much mutilated four-post bed and other relics of the reformer. The famous blot caused by Luther’s hurling his ink-pot at the devil has long since become a mere hole in the wall, owing—it is said—to the passion of American tourists for “souvenirs.”

The armoury (Rüstkammer) contains a fine collection of armour, including suits formerly belonging to Henry II. of France, the elector Frederick the Wise and Pope Julius II. The great watch-tower of the castle commands a magnificent view of the Thuringian forest on the one side and the plain on the other.
From 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica via Wikisource

Street View

Website with virtual tour.
Wikipedia.

Cité de Carcassonne, France


CITÉ de CARCASSONNE — Les remparts vers le Château et le Grand-Hôtel
c.1910

The Cité de Carcassonne is a fortified medieval city within the French city of Carcassonne. There are two sets of walls enclosing the Cité. The inner one which dominates the picture here, and the outer outer one that you can see parts of on the left. The walls were originally built in the Roman era, and part of that remains , but for the most part they date from the 13th century. The Château is a 12th century count’s castle. You can see its square towerstowards the back as you follow the wall.

This photo below shows the fortified city with its walls on a hill within the larger city. (The towers with orange tiles on the roof are the Gallo-Roman towers.)


“Cité de Carcassonne” from Wikipedia

As you might imagine from the building of walls and castle, Carcassonne was the site of much fighting at times:

After the Romans arrived in Gaul the settlement fell under their jurisdiction as an important Roman outpost or Colonia known as Carcasum. For centuries, Carcasum enjoyed a relatively peaceful and prosperous existence until the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. In 453, after months of fighting the Romans finally lost Carcassonne to the Visigothic king Theodoric II, who subsequently fought-off attacks from the Franks in 508. However, in 725 the Saracens took Carcassonne from the Visigoths, who were driven out of Western Europe in the 8th century. Saracen control of Carcassonne was relatively short lived, however, as the French King Pépin le Bref recaptured the city in 760.
Cellar Tours (it had the best summary).

Then there’s a few centuries of realtive peace.

In August 1209 the crusading army of the Papal Legate, Abbot Arnaud Amalric, forced its citizens to surrender. Viscount Raymond-Roger de Trencavel was imprisoned whilst negotiating his city’s surrender and died in mysterious circumstances three months later in his own dungeon. The people of Carcassonne were allowed to leave – in effect, expelled from their city with nothing more than the shirt on their backs. Simon De Montfort was appointed the new viscount. He added to the fortifications.

In 1240, Trencavel’s son tried to reconquer his old domain, but in vain. The city submitted to the rule of the kingdom of France in 1247. Carcassonne became a border fortress between France and the Crown of Aragon under the Treaty of Corbeil (1258). King Louis IX founded the new part of the town across the river. He and his successor Philip III built the outer ramparts. Contemporary opinion still considered the fortress impregnable. During the Hundred Years’ War, Edward the Black Prince failed to take the city in 1355, although his troops destroyed the Lower Town.
Wikipedia

Then some more centuries of peace. The walls collapsed. Then in the mid-19th century the government decided the walls had to go. A campaign was launched and in 1853 a large, long project commenced to restore the city structurally and enhanced its Medieval-aspects. It also involved destroying an adjoining structures that didn’t fit the vision, throwing people out of their homes and roofing the towers in a material and style copied from the north of France.

The Wall City of Carcassonne is an interesting website about the history of the city, the restoration and the people who lived there (there’s a link to the English version near the top of the page).

Château et Remparts de la Cité de Carcassonne (Centre des Monuments Nationaux) is aimed at visitors but it has a nice self-guided tour brochure that details the