Bikernieki Memorial near Riga, Latvia

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Bikernieki Memorial (Latvian: Bikernieku memorials) is a war memorial to The Holocaust victims of World War II in Bikernieki forest, near Riga, Latvia.

Bikernieki forest is Latvia’s biggest mass murder site during The Holocaust of World War II during years 1941–44. There are 55 marked mass burial sites in the forest. About 46,500 people were reported to have been killed there, including Latvian and Western European Jews, Soviet prisoners of war, and Nazis’ political adversaries. The exact number of victims is unknown. Although Soviet Nazi War Crime Research Committee declared over 46,000 murders, later excavations did not confirm this number. The number of victims is speculated to be closer to 30,000.

The first victims were a few thousand men arrested in July 1941 and brought from Riga Central Prison. In 1942 another 12,000 Jews were brought from Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. In 1943 Riga Ghetto prisoners were brought here who were unable to work at Kaizerwald concentration camp, followed by those from the camp itself unable to work in 1944. In 1943 and onwards Nazis dug up graves and burned the bodies to hide the evidence. It is estimated that there are now around 20,000 victims buried in the forest.

Bikernieki forest is the biggest mass murder site during The Holocaust in Latvia with two memorial territories spanning over 80,000 square metres (860,000 sq ft) with 55 marked burial sites with around 20,000 victims still buried in total.

The memorial was initially planned and construction started in 1986, but was delayed after Latvia declared independence in 1991. The construction was revived in 2000 by German War Graves Commission with the help of local Latvian organisations and several German cities. It was financed mostly by German government and organisations, Austrian State Fund, and involved city donations. It was designed by Sergey Rizh and opened on November 30, 2001.

The architect of the memorial is Sergey Rizh, who worked for 15 years on the design of the memorial. There are two memorial territories – 6,550 and 79,630 square metres (70,500 and 857,100 sq ft) wide on both sides from the road. In addition to smaller forest pathways, there are two roads leading to the memorial’s central square – a historic road used to bring the victims and the main central road paved with concrete slabs and marked with a concrete arc exiting to Bikernieku Street.

The centre of assembly houses a black granite cube – a symbolic altar with engraving from Book of Job 16:18 “Earth, don’t cover my blood. Let my cry have no place to rest.” in Latvian, Russian, German, and Hebrew languages. The immediate area is surrounded by 4,000 granite stones arranged in a grid of forty-five 4-by-4-metre (13 ft × 13 ft) squares, and resembles a traditional Jewish cemetery. The unique rough-hewn 0.2-to-1.5-metre (0.66 to 4.92 ft) high granite stones of black, gray, and reddish colors come from Zhytomyr region in Ukraine. The stones are carved with European city names representing the home towns of the victims. The entrances to the memorial and other grave sites in the forest are marked with concrete pillars with symbols representing various groups of the fallen – Star of David representing Jews, Crown of Thorns representing war prisoners, and Christian cross representing civilians. Historians from the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum, educational establishment House of the Wannsee Conference, and historians from the member cities have documented the names of over 31,000 victims, published in Book of Remembrance: The German, Austrian and Czechoslovakian Jews deported to the Baltic States (2003).

Despite the nature of memorial, the surrounding hills are a popular summer hiking and winter sledding and skiing location. Although Germany supplies annual funding for memorial maintenance, it is insufficient to fund regular police patrols and surveillance. The memorial and gravestones have been vandalised several times, each time attracting media attention.
(From Wikipedia)

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Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite Valley

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Bridalveil Fall is one of the most prominent waterfalls in the Yosemite Valley in California, seen yearly by millions of visitors to Yosemite National Park. The waterfall is 188 metres (617 ft) in height and flows year round.

The Ahwahneechee tribe believed that Bridalveil Fall was home to a vengeful spirit named Pohono which guarded the entrance to the valley, and that those leaving the valley must not look directly into the waterfall lest they be cursed. They also believed that inhaling the mist of Bridalveil Fall would improve one’s chances of marriage.

Yosemite National Park is a United States National Park spanning eastern portions of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in the central eastern portion of the U.S. state of California. Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral/oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine.

The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granitic rocks and remnants of older rock. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in formation of deep, narrow canyons. About 1 million years ago, snow and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet (1,200 m) during the early glacial episode. The downslope movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted the U-shaped valley. (Description from Wikipedia)

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Stairway Riga Latvia Bw

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Stairway in the building of The Latvian Museum of Photography, Riga, Latvia.

The Latvian Museum of Photography (Latvijas Fotografijas muzejs) is situated in an old merchant building from the 16th century, and in the exhibition halls the renovated colorful wall paintings and the historic parquet flooring ornament can be seen.

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Apollo Room Ceiling In The Dublin Castle

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Apollo Room Ceiling Inside The Dublin Castle Dating From 1746. Dublin, Ireland.

Dublin Castle (Irish: Caislean Bhaile Atha Cliath) off Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland, was until 1922 the seat of the United Kingdom government’s administration in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland. The Castle served as the seat of English, then later British government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland (1171-1541), the Kingdom of Ireland (1541-1800), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800-1922).

The State Apartments, located in the southern range of buildings of the Upper Yard, contain the rooms formerly used by the Lord Lieutenant for personal accommodation and public entertaining during the Castle Season. Today these richly decorated rooms are used by the Irish Government for official engagements including policy launches, hosting of State Visit ceremonial, and the inauguration of the President every seven years. The principal rooms of the State Apartments include: Saint Patrick’s Hall, Throne Room, State Drawing Room, State Dining Room, State Bedrooms, State Corridor.

Fire damaged the State Drawing and Ante Drawing Rooms in the south-east corner of the State Apartments in 1941. The adjoining cross block had been divided between offices of the Chief Secretary and the Viceroy. The Council Chamber, which was used for swearing in new Viceroys and by the Privy Council, lay between them, over the archway. It had structural weaknesses and was completely rebuilt in 1962. Works in the adjoining State Drawing Room area were completed in 1968 and the Apollo Room now contains the ornate plaster ceiling and fireplace of the demolished Georgian, Tracton House.

Dublin Castle has appeared in numerous films including Barry Lyndon, Michael Collins, Becoming Jane and The Medallion, as well as the television series The Tudors, where it doubles as the Vatican in the pilot.

Dublin Castle hosts the Heineken Green Energy festival each May bank holiday weekend. Part of Dublin Castle appears on the cover of the Jandek album Khartoum Variations.

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Old Bicycle In Central Stockholm

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Old bicycle at Riksbron and Norstedt Building in Stockholm, Sweden.

Riksbron (Swedish: “The National Bridge” or “The State Bridge”) is an arch bridge in central Stockholm, Sweden leading from Drottninggatan on Norrmalm 44 metres over to Riksgatan on Helgeandsholmen.

The name is derived from the bridge’s proximity to several buildings of national importance, including Riksdagen, the Parliament Building; Rosenbad, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Government Chancellery; and the Sager House, official residence of the Prime Minister.

The Norstedt Building (Swedish: Norstedtshuset) is the main office of P.A. Norstedt & Söner AB on Riddarholmen in Stockholm.

The building, designed by Magnus Isaeus and built in 1882-91, features a spire-like roof, which is a well-known silhouette on the skyline of central Stockholm.

Bridge Vasabron is passing in front of the building and Gamla Riksarkivet (“Old National Archive”) lies south of it.

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Warm Stockholm View

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic region, with 914,909 people living in the municipality, approximately 1.4 million in the urban area, and 2.2 million in the metropolitan area. The city is spread across 14 islands on the coast in the southeast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Malaren, by the Stockholm archipelago and the Baltic sea. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by Birger Jarl. It is also the capital of Stockholm County.

Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden. The Stockholm region alone accounts for over a third of the country’s GDP, and is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita. It is an important global city, and the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region. The city is home to some of Europe’s top ranking universities, such as the Karolinska Institute and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall. One of the city’s most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia. The Stockholm metro, opened in 1950, is well known for its decoration of the stations; it has been called the longest art gallery in the world. Sweden’s national football arena is located north of the city centre, in Solna. Ericsson Globe, the national indoor arena, is in the southern part of the city. The city was the host of the 1912 Summer Olympics, and hosted the equestrian portion of the 1956 Summer Olympics otherwise held in Melbourne, Australia.

Stockholm is the seat of the Government of Sweden and most government agencies, including the highest courts in the Judiciary, and the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister. The Government has its seat in the Rosenbad building, the Riksdag is seated in the Parliament House, and the Prime Minister’s residence is adjacent at the Sager House. The Stockholm Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the Swedish monarch, while the Drottningholm Palace, a World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Stockholm, serves as the Royal Family’s private residence.

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Old Modernist Pharmacy In Barcelona

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Nadal Pharmacy (La Rambla, 121), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. 1850. The most famous of Barcelona’s old-fashioned pharmacies.

Fresh-eyed travellers to Barcelona can sometimes have the impression that the city is a basket of hidden treasures, where everyday twists and turns can lead you down hidden pathways and into secret corners of the city. One of our favourite quotidian marvels of Barcelona is the city’s old-fashioned pharmacies, many of which date back to the Art Nouveau period.

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barcelona art – barcelona photographs