Temple of Heaven, Beijing


Temple of Heaven, Pekin
c.1910

Street View.

UNESCO World Heritage listing

The Temple of Heaven, or more literally the Altar of Heaven is a temple of Chinese religion used for imperial ceremonies for five centuries. Its buildings are situated in their own large and tranquil park in southeast Beijing.

Construction of the Temple of Heaven began during the reign of Emperor Yongle was completed in 1420. It was used by all subsequent Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In imperial China, the emperor was regarded as the Son of Heaven, the intermediary between Earth and Heaven. To be seen to be showing respect to the source of his authority, in the form of sacrifices to heaven, was extremely important. The Temple of Heaven was built for these ceremonies.
Sacred Destinations

The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was extended and renamed Temple of Heaven during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century. Jiajing also built three other prominent temples in Beijing, the Temple of the Sun (日壇) in the east, the Temple of Earth (地壇) in the north, and the Temple of Moon (月壇) in the west. The Temple of Heaven was renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong Emperor. By then, the state budget was insufficient, so this was the last large-scale renovation of the temple complex in imperial times.

The temple was occupied by the Anglo-French Alliance during the Second Opium War. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight Nation Alliance occupied the temple complex and turned it into the force’s temporary command in Beijing, which lasted for one year. The occupation desecrated the temple and resulted in serious damage to the building complex and the garden. Robberies of temple artifacts by the Alliance were also reported. With the downfall of the Qing, the temple complex was left un-managed. The neglect of the temple complex led to the collapse of several halls in the following years. In 1914, Yuan Shikai, then President of the Republic of China, performed a Ming prayer ceremony at the temple, as part of an effort to have himself declared Emperor of China. In 1918 the temple was turned into a park and for the first time open to the public.
Wikipedia

Qinian Hall (Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests) is most magnificent building in the Temple of Heaven. It is a wooden triple-gable circular pavilion which is 38 meters high with a three-level marble stone base. The ancient emperors prayed for good harvests here. There are 28 pillars propping up the hall. The inner 4 pillars are large, and stand for four seasons. The middle 12 pillars represent the twelve months. The outer 12 pillars indicate 12 periods of a day.

Huangqiongyu Hall (The Imperial Vault of Heaven) is smaller with only one circular gable and one level of marble stone base compared with Qinian Hall. It is the place to enshrine the worshiping tablets of Gods. Inside the hall are pillars and vault decorated by beautiful paintings and carvings. Outside is a circular wall – Echo Wall which can transmit sounds over long distances.

Huanqiu Altar (The Circular Mound Altar) is an empty circular platform with three levels of marble stones. Vivid dragons were carved on the stones to stand for the emperors. The number nine stands for power as well as the emperors in ancient China. You will surprisedly find the balusters and steps are either the sacred number nine or its multiples. In the ancient time, the emperors burn the offerings for Heaven in a stove on the platform.
China Discovery

Palace of Fontainebleau, France


Palais de FONTAINEBLEAU – Cour des Adieux.

Google Street View.

Official Website
Media Center for Art History (panorama views of rooms)
17th century plan

Used by the kings of France from the 12th century, the hunting lodge of Fontainebleau, standing in the heart of the vast forest of the Ile-de-France in the Seine-et-Marne region, was transformed, enlarged and embellished in the 16th century by King François I, who wanted to make it a “new Rome”. Surrounded by an immense park, the palace, to which notable Italian artists contributed, combines Renaissance and French artistic traditions. The need to expand and decorate this immense palace created the conditions for the survival of a true artistic centre.

The construction of the palace began in 1528. The modifications undertaken later by François I’s successors and carried out on different scales until the 19th century have left their imprint on the physionomy of the present complex, which today comprises five courtyards placed in an irregular manner and surrounded by an ensemble of buildings and gardens.
UNESCO World Heritage listing


FONTAINEBLEAU — Le Palais. Perspective du Chateau et de l’Etang
Published Levy & Neurdein Reunis, 1920s

Google Street View.

PALAIS DE FONTAINEBLEAU
Pavillon Louis XV – Entrée du Musée Chinois et l’Étang aux Carpes
Louis XV Pavilion – Entrance to the Chinese Museum and the carps pond.
Published by Musées Nationaux

Read more

18th Street Subway Station, New York


Subway Station, New York, N.Y.
c.1904

Google Maps (approximate location).

18 St was part of the first New York subway, opened in 1904. Like most local stations on the line, it is just below street level to reduce stair height, so there is no mezzanine, and it has separate fare controls on platform level on each side….When the Board of Transportation embarked on a platform extension program after World War II, they decided to close 18 St rather than enlarge it.
Abandoned Stations: 18 St (with more information and images)

Forgotten New York: Postcards from down under, Part 2

NYC Subway (link to more images on the right)

St. Keyne Well, Liskeard, England

Liskeard, St. Keyne Well
published F. Frith & Co.
c.1910

Street View

Keyne was a 5th-century holy woman and hermitess who said to have traveled widely through what is now South Wales and Cornwall.

Keyne was one of the 12 daughters of the Welsh king King Brychan Brycheiniog (Bin what is now South Wales (A different source, De Situ Brecheniauc, says that he actually had 24 daughters, all of whom were saints). Although she was a great beauty and received many offers of marriage, Keyne took a vow of virginity and pursued a religious life (hence her Welsh name, Cain Wyry, or Keyne the Maiden).[5] Her vita reports that she traveled widely, and is said to have founded several oratories, including Llangeinor in mid Glamorgan, Llangunnor and Llangain in Dyfed, and Rockfield (Llangennon) in Runston, Gwent. Eventually she is said to have crossed the Severn into Cornwall, where she resided as a hermitess for many years. The village of St Keyne in Cornwall, is named after her, and is the site of a church and a holy well which also take her name.

The holy well of Saint Keyne is located near St. Keyne’s Church, and currently features a well building made of dressed granite. The original housing was built in the 16th century, but was rebuilt in the 1936 after the adjoining lane was widened. The plaque next to the well describes the spell which Saint Keyne cast upon the water of the well. The plaque reads:
“The legend of Saint Keyne Well. Saint Keyne was a princess who lived about 600 AD. She laid on the waters of this well a spell thus described by Richard Carew in 1602 AD—
‘The quality that man or wife
Whom chance or choice attaines
First of this sacred stream to drinke
Thereby the mastery gains.'”

Wikipedia.

Chagres River, Panama

Chagres River, Source of Water Supply Of High Level Locks of the Panama Canal

Published Valentines & Sons Publishing Co, New York. Postmarked 1908.

Google Maps

The Chagres River in central Panama, is the largest river in the Panama Canal’s watershed. The river is dammed twice*, and the resulting reservoirs—Gatun Lake and Lake Alajuela—form an integral part of the canal and its water system. Although the river’s natural course runs northwest to its mouth at the Caribbean Sea, its waters also flow, via the canal’s locks, into the Gulf of Panama to the south.
Wikiepdia: Chagres River & Panama Canal: Layout
*Both dams constructed after 1908

Ski jump, Fiskartorpet, Sweden


“Fiskartorpet”, skidbacke vid Stockholm
c. 1910

Fiskartorpet is a recreational area north of Stockholm, Sweden, in the Djurgården area. It features a small hotel, a conference center, and a number of restaurants. Sporting facilities include an ice hockey rink, a soccer field, and a K-47 ski jump. The owners advertise it as the “world’s smallest ski resort”.

The first ski jump at the site was built in the 1890s.
Wikipedia

The first ski jumping hill at Fiskartorpet was built already in 1890, but the construction which still can be seen today has its origins in 1928. However, in 1982 the hill was closed down for jumping and despite no plans to tear down the extraordinary tower (it should be kept as an historical building), at least the inrun was slowly becoming a ruin. In 2005 Kristian Entin from ski club in Enskede decided to revive the hill and he managed to engage some other ski jumpers and ski friends for the idea. In fall 2005 both hills were repaired and in March 2006 the first competition after 23 years took place.
Ski Jumping Hill Archive

Street View

Tombs of Mamluks, Cairo, Egypt


On back:
Tombs of Mamelloucs
Pubilshed by Castro Brothers, Cairo.
c. 1920

As best I can tell, this view seems to be South-west of Cairo Citadel (here), whereas the “City of the Dead” is to the north-east (here). Maybe one day someone who knows something will happen along and sort it out.

The City of the Dead, or Cairo Necropolis, is an Islamic necropolis and cemetery below the Mokattam Hills in southeastern Cairo, Egypt. The people of Cairo, the Cairenes, and most Egyptians, call it el’arafa (trans. ‘the cemetery’). It is a 4 miles (6.4 km) long (north-south) dense grid of tomb and mausoleum structures, where some people live and work amongst the dead.

The Mamluk Sultanate rulers … founded a new graveyard named Sahara, because of its desert environment, outside the city at its north-eastern border. It was also a place for military parades, such as tournaments and investiture ceremonies, as well as for processions, at which sultan and nobles took part during the religious celebrations. Some built their palaces on the main road of the cemetery in order to assist the spectacles.
Wikipedia

Exploring Cairo’s City of the Dead

Who Were the Mamluks?
The Mamluks ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 until 1517, when their dynasty was extinguished by the Ottomans. But Mamluks had first appeared in the Abbasid caliphate in the ninth century and even after their overthrow by the Ottomans they continued to form an important part of Egyptian Islamic society and existed as an influential group until the 19th century. They destroyed the Crusader kingdoms of Outremer, and saved Syria, Egypt and the holy places of Islam from the Mongols. They made Cairo the dominant city of the Islamic world in the later Middle Ages, and under these apparently unlettered soldier-statesmens’ rule, craftsmanship, architecture and scholarship flourished. Yet the dynasty remains virtually unknown to many in the West. [More.]
History Today


CAIRO, Citadelle and Mamelouk Tombs
Dated & postmarked 1906
Publisher: ? & H, Cairo. The bottom of the letters if cut off but it’s probably Lichtenstern & Harari, especially as this image appears above their name on the link.


CAIRO — General view of Tombs of the Kalifs
c.1910
Publisher: Levy Sons & Co


CAIRO. — Tombs of the Kalifs.
c.1910
Publisher: Levy Sons & Co


CAIRO — Tombs of the Mamelukes
c.1910
Publisher: Levy Sons & Co