Fort Cornwallis, Penang


The Fort, Penang

Street View–approximate location

Fort Cornwallis is a bastion fort in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, built by the British East India Company in the late 18th century. Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia. The fort never engaged in combat during its operational history.
..
Captain Francis Light took possession of Penang Island from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786 and built the original fort. It was a nibong (Malay: palm trunk) stockade with no permanent structures, covering an area of 417.6 square feet (38.80 m2). The fort’s purpose was to protect Penang from pirates and Kedah. Light died in 1794. In 1804, after the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars, and during Colonel R.T. Farquhar’s term as Governor of Penang, Indian convict labourers rebuilt the fort using brick and stone. Fort Cornwallis was completed in 1810, at the cost of $80,000, during Norman Macalister’s term as Governor of Penang. A moat 9 metres wide by 2 metres deep once surrounded the fort but it was filled in the 1920s due to a malaria outbreak in the area.

Even though the fort was originally built for the British military, its function, historically, was more administrative than defensive. For example, the judge of the Supreme Court of Penang, Sir Edmond Stanley, was first housed at Fort Cornwallis when the court opened on 31 May 1808. During the 1920s Sikh police of the Straits Settlements occupied the fort.
Wikipedia.

Fort Cornwallis was regularly criticised by naval and military experts who deemed it far too small, too weak and too low to be of any real defence to the island. Built on a sandy ground, cracks regularly appeared in its walls. The ditch or moat was constructed in 1805 and added a degree of extra defence but a glacis on the two land-facing sides of the fort was deemed ineffective. With barely enough room on one side for a suitable Esplanade (parade ground: today’s green space) and the town close by on the other there was no room for expansion.

Inside the fort were barracks to house artillery regiments and officers, storerooms for armaments, gunpowder, gun carriages, clothing and foodstuffs, as well as kitchens, toilets and even a cell to house military prisoners. Access was via bridges leading to the two gateways seen today. Over each gateway was a building which served as officers’ quarters. The majority of cannons mounted on the fort’s ramparts were 9 and 18-pounders. Even when firing blanks they shook the walls and threatened the structure.
Fort Cornwallis, Penang (official website)

Zotokuin Temple, Motomachi, Yokohama, Japan


YOKOHAMA Obsèques Japonaises (montant au Temple).
(Japanese funeral rites (climbing to the Temple))

Zôtoku-in is a Kôya-san Shingon Buddhist temple in the Heiraku neighborhood of Yokohama; originally located in the Motomachi neighborhood and directly associated with the Yokohama Foreign Cemetery, it was moved to Heiraku, up on the Bluff, after the 1923 Great Kantô Earthquake. The chief objects of worship are Kôbô Daishi and Fudô Myôô. The temple’s Yakushi Hall, most recently rebuilt in 1972, remains in Motomachi. It is said to date, originally, to the 9th century, though there is no surviving documentation of this. The temple’s 20th century stone and metal main gate was replaced in 2008 with a new wooden gate in the traditional style.
The Samurai Archives (has links to Google Maps).

Motomachi, located at the foot of the Yamate area, was established when the residents of Yokohama Village moved here at the time of the opening of the port. Zotokuin Temple was located at the end of the main street (present day Motomachi-Dori). The building in this photograph is the Yakushi-do next to the main hall. The Yakushi-do was later moved to the Horikawa Waterway from its original location and still stands there today.
Naosite

In 1859, soon after the opening of the port of Yokohama, extreme nationalists killed Russian marines Roman Mophet and Ivan Sokoloff. The bakufu bought farmland-adjoining Zotokuin for their tomb. This grave is the oldest known in the Foreign Cemetery. … The former Zotokuin Cemetery area defined at that time is now the area near the Meyer M.Lury Memorial Gate (Motomachi Gate), where the oldest tombs can be found. [Approximately here.] After the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Zotokuin Temple was relocated to Heiraku (Yokohama).
Brief History of the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery

Arena of Nimes, France


NIMES. — Vie intérieure des Arenes. — ND
Published by  Levy & Neurdein, 1920s

Street View

The Amphitheatre of Nîmes is a perfect illustration of the degree of perfection attained by Roman engineers in designing and constructing this type of extremely complex building. It demonstrates perfect symmetry: oval-shaped, it measures 133 metres long and 101 metres wide, with an arena of 68 by 38 metres. 21 metres high, its exterior façade comprises two floors of 60 superimposed arches and an attic, separated by a cornice. At the top, pre-drilled stones were positioned to overhang so that long poles could be hung over the arena. A huge canvas canopy was then attached to these poles, thereby providing protection for the spectators against the sun and bad weather. Originally, all the arcades on the ground floor were open to act as entrances or exits. There are certainly bigger Roman amphitheatres, but this one is the best preserved of all of them.

In Roman times, the monument could hold 24,000 spectators spread over 34 rows of terraces divided into four separate areas or maeniana. Each was accessed via a gallery and hundred of stairwells and passages called vomitories. This clever arrangement meant that there was no risk of bottlenecks when the spectators flooded in. The amphitheatre was designed so that everyone had an unrestricted view of the whole arena. Several galleries were located beneath the arena, and were accessed by trap doors and a hoist-lift system. As a result, the decorative effects, animals and gladiators could access the arena during the games.
Amphitheatre Of Nîmes, Maison Carrée, Tour Magne (official website)

In the sixth century, under the Visigoths, Nimes Arena began to play a military role. Transformed from a sports arena to a castle fortress or “castrum arena” complete with a moat, Nimes Arena was a sort of emergency shelter of the people of the town in the event of attack.

Nimes Arena would go on to play an even more elaborate role in the twelfth century when it became the seat of the viscounty of Nimes and home to a chateau. In the eighteenth century, this went even further with the establishment of a whole 700-strong village within its walls. It was only in 1786 that Nimes Arena began to be restored to its original grandeur.
Trip Historic

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, the arena was transformed into a fortress by the Visigoths. Many invasions ensued and threatened the security of the people of Nîmes who decided to take refuge in the amphitheatre, which was easy to defend. In the Middle Ages, the edifice became a veritable fortified village with wells, houses, two churches and even a castle, all of which Existed up to the 18th century. The place became insalubrious and in 1786, as part of a city rehabilitation project, the destruction of the houses and restoration of the amphitheatre was decreed. The first phase of the works was interrupted during the revolutionary period to be resumed during the Second Empire. In 1813, the Prefect of the Gard authorized the first bull races and the arena was soon able to return to its original function. The first Spanish running of the bulls took place in 1863.
Avignon & Provence.com

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

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)

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

City Hall, Stockholm

On back:
STADSHUSET, STOCKHOLM, BLÅ HALLEN
City Hall, Stockholm, The “Blue Hall

Publisher: Sago-Konst AB (in Swedish)

City of Stockholm

Street View (exterior)

In 1907 the city council decided to build a new city hall at the former site of Eldkvarn. An architectural contest was held which in the first stage resulted in the selection of drafts by Ragnar Östberg, Carl Westman, Ivar Tengbom jointly with Ernst Torulf, and Carl Bergsten. After a further competition between Westman and Östberg the latter was assigned to the construction of the City Hall, while the former was asked to construct Stockholm Court House. Östberg modified his original draft using elements of Westman’s project, including the tower. During the construction period, Östberg constantly reworked his plans, resulting in the addition of the lantern on top of the tower, and the abandonment of the blue glazed tiles for the Blue Hall.

Oskar Asker was employed as construction leader and Paul Toll, of the construction company Kreuger & Toll, designed the foundations. Georg Greve also assisted in preparing the plans. The construction took twelve years, from 1911 to 1923.

The site, adjacent to Stadshusbron, being bordered by the streets of Hantverkargatan and Norr Mälarstrand to the north and west, and the shore of Riddarfjärden to the south and east, allowed for a spacious layout. The building follows a roughly rectangular ground plan. It is built around two open spaces, a piazza called Borgargården on the eastern side, and the Blue Hall (Blå hallen) to the west. The Blue Hall, with its straight walls and arcades, incorporates elements of a representative courtyard. Its walls are in fact without blue decorations, but it has kept its name after Östberg’s original design.
Wikipedia.

Rochor River, Singapore


The Rochor River, Singapore

No dating clues but about 1910.


Malay sampan and boys, Singapore. 

About 1910.

These two cards show the same part of the river (The buildings at the back on the left of the top card are the same as those on the right of the lower card.)

Rochor River is a canalised river in Kallang of the Central Region in Singapore. The river is about 0.8 km in length. Rochor River is a continuation of the Rochor Canal, and begins beneath Victoria Bridge and empties into the Kallang Basin.
Wikipedia

Before the development of land infrastructure, boats and river transport played the role in transportation of goods. Bumboats did not only ply the well-known Singapore River and the quays. They also plied other water bodies like the Kallang River, Rochor River and Rochor Canal for transport purposes. Rochor Canal is a continuation of a canal that begins from as far as the Bukit Timah area, its water source. Officially, only the section after the Kandang Kerbau Bridge is named Rochor Canal. It continues along the aptly named Rochor Canal Road and ends at Victoria Bridge, where it continues as Rochor River. It is one of five waterways that empties into the Marina Reservoir.

Rochor Canal gave rise to one of the earliest industries in Little India – cattle trade. The natural pasture fed by the waters of the Rochor Canal suited cattle trade. Many streets in Little India are named after this cattle trade legacy, such as Belilios Road (named after a prominent cattle trader), Buffalo Road, Desker Road (named after an abbatoir merchant), and Kerbau Road (kerbau means cattle in Malay). Kandang Kerbau means buffalo or cattle pen in Malay. The growth of cattle trade fuelled other industries. The first municipal incinerators were constructed off Jalan Besar and later, more municipal abbatoirs were built. Along the canal were rubber factories, ice works, and markets for used goods.
Rochor Canal as a Historic Waterway

Rochor River (modern photos and a map)

Baalbek, Lebanon


BAALBEK (Syrie). Le Temple de Venus – La façade
Temple of Venus – the facade

On back:
Require PALMYRA HOTEL, the only first class hotel facing the ruins of Baalbek

Published: M. Harris, Baalbek.

Street View

The temple of Venus was built in the third century. It has a highly original design: built on a horseshoe-shaped platform, it consists of a circular shrine with a square entrance that is almost as big. The outer façade of the shrine is graced by five niches, which means that there is not a single square wall. In the niches are representations of doves and shells, which has been taken as evidence that the shrine was dedicated to Venus.
The square entrance probably was not one of those classical triangle-shaped pediments supported by columns. In fact, the straight horizontal line was broken by an elegant arch. This is certainly not without parallel, but the baroque ensemble suggests that the architect wanted to show off that he was the best and the brightest. He succeeded.

Livius.org

UNESCO Word Heritage listing
Rome in the Footsteps of an XVIIIth Century Traveller
The Baalbek Ruins in Lebanon (photos and write up from a tour of site)


Model of Baalbek (Photo by Franck Devedjian. from Wikipedia Commons

Plan of Temple Complex


BAALBEK (Syrie).BAALBEK (Syrie). La Grande Mosque arabe du VIIe siecle construite avec les colonnes de granit des Temples romains
The Grand Mosque of the 7th century built with the granite columns of Roman temples
On back:
Require PALMYRA HOTEL, the only first class hotel facing the ruins of Baalbek

Published: M. Harris, Baalbek.

Google Maps.

The Great Umayyad Mosque
Built in the first century after the Hegira, during the Umayyad reign, on the remains of a Byzantine church, it is the largest mosque of all Baalbek. It is 60 meters long and 50 meters wide. It contains in the middle 30 columns carried from roman temples neighboring the castle. Some of them are decorated with Corinthian capitals either of granite or of massive stones. The walls of the mosques rise for 8 meters. Its architecture is similar to the Umayyad mosque in Damascus. It includes a courtyard surrounded by porticoes and a square minaret that stands in the courtyard like a war tower. The mosque’s walls hold many inscriptions that are decrees belonging to the Mamluk age. It was left ruined for a long time during the Ottoman and the modern ages. Lately, it has been restored and rehabilitated to perform regular prayers in there.
Destination Lebanon

Interior photo

Umayayd Route, Baalbek: photos at bottom of page two (pdf)

Santo Domingo & El Belen Churches, Quito


Ecuador Plaza Sucre – Iglesia y arco de Sto. Domingo (Quito)
Church and arch of Santo Domingo
c.1908 (Letter on back dated 25 December 1908)

Street View

Although they arrived in Quito in 1541, in 1580 the Dominicans started to build their temple, using the plans and direction of Francisco Becerra. The work was completed in the first half of the 17th century. Inside the church are valuable structures, such as the neo-Gothic main altar. This was placed in the late 19th century by Italian Dominicans. The roof of the Mudéjar style church features paintings of martyrs of the Order of Saint Dominic. The roof of the nave is composed of a pair and knuckle frame, coated inside by pieces of tracery. In the museum located on the north side of the lower cloister are wonderful pieces of great Quito sculptors such as the Saint Dominic de Guzmán by Father Carlos, the Saint John of God by Caspicara, and the Saint Thomas Aquinas by Legarda. Another Baroque piece that stands is the Chapel of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which is a recognizable feature of the architecture of Quito. This chapel was built beside the church, in the gospel side. In this was founded the largest fraternity in the city of Quito.
Wikipedia

Images on Wikimedia Commons


El Belén, Primera Iglesia de Quito Ecuador S. Am
El Belén,First Church of Quito
1950s.

Street View

Where the Spanish conquerors heard the first Mass on the occasion of the founding of Quito, a chapel was built. The chapel was known as Veracruz, now Belen. Right there was placed a crucifix carved in wood by the famous colonial artist Caspicara, between 1694 and 1697 by the “Cofradía de Guápulo”, Confraternity of Guápulo, by order of the Bishop of Quito.
[continued]
Quito Adventure