Places In History: Villa Adriana at Tivoli

Some 18 miles outside of the great city of Rome lies one of the greatest, but lesser known, remains of the Empire, the Villa Adriana at Tivoli.  The ruins of this beautiful palace and its gardens are among the most beautiful places I have ever visited.  The complex served as a retreat from the pressures of governing for the Emperor Hadrian.  The palace was constructed during the 110s CE and is known for combining many of the architectural achievements of Egypt, Greece, and Rome.  It wonderfully combines waterworks, landscaping, and architecture in a truly astonishing way.  Take a look at the pictures below and, next time you are in Rome, get out of the city for a bit and visit this striking UNESCO World Heritage site.

Featured Image. “The Canopus.” CC BY-SA 3.0.
The Emperor’s Abode: Hadrian’s Villa.Discover Italy.
Villa Adriana  (Tivoli).” UNESCO.
Canopus.” Public Domain.
Mosaic Floor.” By Jastrow – Own work, Public Domain.
Maritime Theatre.” By Tango7174 – Own work, GFDL.
Villa Adriana.” By AlMare – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5.
Approach to Villa Adriana.” CC BY-SA 3.0.

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Places in History: Hattusa

In the highlands of north central Anatolia is located the capital of a long-forgotten civilization that, even today, is relatively little-known.  This site, Hattusa, was the center of the Hittite state that dominated much of modern Turkey and Syria during the second millennium BCE.  Hattusa was occupied from the third millennium BCE and went through several stages of occupation – each built atop the ruins of a previous settlement.  The most impressive remains date from the 16th – 11th centuries BCE when the city became the capital of the mighty Hittite empire.  The origins of the Hittite Empire remain lost to the mists of history, but their capital demonstrates an advanced state of city-building and urban planning.  The city was surrounded by a wall with five gates, the most famous of which are called the “Lion Gate” and the “Sphinx Gate” – so named due the sculptures that adorn them.  Hattusa was unknown to historians and archaeologists until it was first discovered in 1834.  The site has been under excavation for much of the 20th and 21st centuries – interrupted primarily by the two World Wars.  It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986 due to its historical importance in the history of Western Asia.

Featured Image: “Great Temple.” By Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Hattusa.”(Flickr/CC BY 2.0)
Hattusa.” By China Crisis, CC BY-SA 2.0.
Lion Gate.” By Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Hattusa.” Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The Republic of Turkey.

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Places in History: The Potalia Palace

With today’s post, I am starting a new series to go along with “This Day In Strange History” and “Tied to Today” – Places in History.  Each installment of this series will tell the story of a place from the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.  I hope you enjoy reading about some of these amazing locations from around the world.

The Potalia Palace Complex located is located in Lhasa, high on the Tibetan Plateau.  The site was the residence of the Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism from its founding in 637 CE – 1959 when the 14th (and current) Dalai Lama was forced to flee into exile following the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.  The modern palace was constructed in the 17th century and is a architectural marvel  and is unique for its amazing natural surroundings as the pictures below will show.  It is still an active Buddhist monastery.

The complex’s main constituent parts are the White Palace and the Red Palace.  The White Palace was the actual residence of the Dalai Lama and also includes the burial sites of eight previous Dalai Lamas.  The Red Palace is primarily a religious center and monastery.  It includes numerous chapels for prayer and meditation and a large library dedicated to Buddhist scholarship and learning.  The complex was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

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Featured Image: “Potalia Palace” By Coolmanjackey – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.
The Red Palace“By René Heise – Own work, CC0.
Interior of the Potalia Palace“By Luca Galuzzi, CC BY-SA 2.5.
The White Palace” By –, CC BY-SA 2.0.
Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa.” UNESCO.