Agra Fort, India


Agra Fort – View showing Dewan Khas & Saman Burj Gaj in the distance
1910s

Cultural India: Agra Fort
Wikipedia (Agra Fort)
Maps: 1901 & 1909

Building location

The “Dewan Khas” or “Private Hall of Audience” is situated at one end of a broad stone terrace overlooking the river. At the other, alas! is a vacant space; on it formerly stood a corresponding pavilion, which, according to tradition, was constructed of green marble, if there be such a substance; at all events, of some rare material. It had shared the fare of the Zenana of Akbar; it had become dilapidated; it was pulled down. The “Dewan Khas” is of white marble, a large open room, whose flat roof is supported by a double row of slender twelve-sided columns.
The Personal Adventures and Experiences of a Magistrate During the Rise, Progress, and Suppression of the Indian Mutiny (originally published 1884)

Musamman Burj was built by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is said that at first a small marble palace built by Akbar was situated at this site, which was later demolished by Jehangir to erect new buildings. Shah Jahan in his turn chose this site to erect the multi-storied marble tower inlaid with precious stones for Mumtaz Mahal. It was built between 1631–40 and offers exotic views of the famous Taj Mahal….It is here that Shah Jahan along with his favorite daughter Jahanara Begum had spent his last few years as a captive of his son Aurangzeb. He lay here on his death bed while gazing at the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Wikipedia (Musamman Burj)


Interior of Dewan Khas and its inscription (Agra Fort)
Postmarked & letter dated 1905

Read moreAgra Fort, India

Brühl’s Terrace, Dresden, Germany


Treppe zur Brühl schen Terrasse

Steps to Bruhl’s Terrace. Google Street View

This is older postcard. It’s got the space for a message on the front and an undivided back, so before 1908, but I can do a bit better on the image at least.

First a brief history of the stairs (from WIkipedia because it gives the best summary I’ve so far come across).

After the Saxon defeat at the Battle of Leipzig and the occupation by Russian troops, military governor Prince Nikolai Grigorjevich Repnin-Wolkonski ordered the opening [of the terrace] to the public in 1814. He charged the architect Gottlob Friedrich Thormeyer with the building of a flight of stairs at the western end to reach the terrace from Castle Square and Augustus Bridge. The Brühl Palace was demolished in the course of the building of the Saxon Ständehaus in 1900.

The ensemble was totally destroyed in February 1945 when the city centre was heavily hit by the Allied Bombing of Dresden during the end phase of World War II. Today, it has been rebuilt; the precise amount restored is difficult to say as a percentage, but in general one can say the emsemble looks very much the same today as it did in the past.

Read moreBrühl’s Terrace, Dresden, Germany

Pallazzo Pitti/Pitti Palace, Florence


Firenze – Palazzo Pitti

Google Street View (location)

The Palazzo Pitti, in English sometimes called the Pitti Palace, is a vast, mainly Renaissance, palace in Florence, Italy. It is situated on the south side of the River Arno, a short distance from the Ponte Vecchio. The core of the present palazzo dates from 1458 and was originally the town residence of Luca Pitti, an ambitious Florentine banker. The palace was bought by the Medici family in 1549 and became the chief residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. It grew as a great treasure house as later generations amassed paintings, plates, jewelry and luxurious possessions. In the late 18th century, the palazzo was used as a power base by Napoleon and later served for a brief period as the principal royal palace of the newly united Italy. The palace and its contents were donated to the Italian people by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1919.

Wikipedia

The palace, which houses several important museums, was built in the second half of the 15th century probably on a project of Filippo Brunelleschi for Luca Pitti, but was unfinished at his death in 1472. The original building, formed by two floors and the ground floors, with only five windows on each tloor, was purchased in 1550 by Eleonora da Toledo, the wife of the Grand Duke Cosimo I de’Medici, thus becoming the official residence of the family. For this reason it was widened and changed, in 1560 by Bartolomeo Ammannati and at the beginning of the 17th century by Giulio and Alfonso Parigi.
Museums of Florence

Purchased in 1550, the Palace was chosen by Cosimo I de’ Medici and his wife Eleanor of Toledo as the new Grand Ducal residence, and it soon became the new symbol of the Medici’s power over Tuscany. It was also the royal palace of other two dynasties: the House of Lorraine-Habsburg (which succeeded the Medici from 1737) and the Kings of Italy of the House of Savoy, who inhabited it from 1865. Nonetheless the palace still bears the name of its first owner, the Florentine banker Luca Pitti that in the mid-1400s started its construction – maybe after a design by Brunelleschi – at the foot of the Boboli hill beyond the Arno river.
Uffizi Galleries

Prince’s Palace of Monaco


Palais de Monaco, Chambre d’York
Palace of Monaco, York Room
c.1910

Following is the York Room, so named because the Duke of York, brother of King George III of England, who had been on a vessel near Monaco when he was taken ill, died there in 1787. Despite the gloomy history, the room itself has beautiful frescoes, which decorate this room, represent the four seasons and are the work of the Genovese artist Gregorio de Ferrari representing the four seasons.

The marble mosaic table in the center of this room is the one designated to signing official documents. The room is furnished with ornate ebony Florentine furniture from the 17th century, a Boulle clock and royal portraits.
Palais Princier de Monaco


MONACO. Palais du Prince Salon d’York
York’s saloon in Prince’s Palace

Despite the caption. this looks more like the Blue Room, albeit with different patterned wallpaper, at the bottom of the web page

The room opens on to the Blue Room, which is used for official receptions. It received its name because the walls are lined with blue silk brocade. In it are Grimaldi portraits, 19th century Italian gilt and the dazzling Venetian chandeliers.
Palais Princier de Monaco

Google Maps.

Caernarfon Castle, Wales


Carnarvon Castle
Postmarked 1910.

Approximately here.

Caernarfon Castle (Welsh: Castell Caernarfon) – often anglicized as Carnarvon Castle or Caernarvon Castle – is a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, north-west Wales cared for by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service. It was a motte-and-bailey castle in the town of Caernarfon from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began replacing it with the current stone structure. The Edwardian town and castle acted as the administrative centre of north Wales and as a result the defences were built on a grand scale. There was a deliberate link with Caernarfon’s Roman past and the Roman fort of Segontium is nearby.

While the castle was under construction, town walls were built around Caernarfon. The work cost between £20,000 and £25,000 from the start until the end of work in 1330. Despite Caernarfon Castle’s external appearance of being mostly complete, the interior buildings no longer survive and many of the building plans were never finished. The town and castle were sacked in 1294 when Madog ap Llywelyn led a rebellion against the English. Caernarfon was recaptured the following year. During the Glyndŵr Rising of 1400–1415, the castle was besieged. When the Tudor dynasty ascended to the English throne in 1485, tensions between the Welsh and English began to diminish and castles were considered less important. As a result, Caernarfon Castle was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Despite its dilapidated condition, during the English Civil War Caernarfon Castle was held by Royalists, and was besieged three times by Parliamentarian forces. This was the last time the castle was used in war. Caernarfon Castle was neglected until the 19th century when the state funded repairs.
Wikipedia