Banff National Park

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© RicardMN Photography

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© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

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Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest national park, established in 1885 in the Rocky Mountains.

The park, located 110–180 kilometres (68–112 mi) west of Calgary in the province of Alberta, encompasses 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 sq mi) of mountainous terrain, with numerous glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes. The Icefields Parkway extends from Lake Louise, connecting to Jasper National Park in the north. Provincial forests and Yoho National Park are neighbours to the west, while Kootenay National Park is located to the south and Kananaskis Country to the southeast.

Over the past few million years, glaciers have at times covered most of the park, but today are found only on the mountain slopes though they include the Columbia Icefield, the largest uninterrupted glacial mass in the Rockies. Erosion from water and ice have carved the mountains into their current shapes.

Johnston Creek is a tributary of the Bow River in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. The creek is located in Banff National Park.

Johnston Creek originates north of Castle Mountain in a glacial valley southwest of Badger Pass and south of Pulsatilla Pass, at an elevation of 2,500 meters (8,200 ft). The creek flows southeast between Helena Ridge and the Sawback Range, and then south through a gorge known as Johnston Canyon. The stream empties into the Bow River, south of Castle Mountain, between Banff and Lake Louise, at an elevation of 1,440 meters (4,720 ft).

As Johnston Creek approaches the Bow River, it flows through a large canyon formed by erosion over thousands of years. The creek has cut through the limestone rock to form sheer canyon walls, as well as waterfalls, tunnels, and pools.

A popular hiking trail follows the canyon and leads to a meadow within the Johnston Valley above the canyon. The first part of the trail consists of a constructed walkway with safety rails and bridges, while the last part of the trail is natural and more rugged. Within the meadow are the Ink Pots, which are six blue-green spring-fed pools.

Ice climbing is a popular activity on the frozen waterfalls in winter. (Description from Wikipedia).

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Gothic clock on the ceiling of Sint Laurenskerk in Alkmaar

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Gothic clock on the ceiling of Sint Laurenskerk (St. Lawrence church) in Alkmaar, Netherlands.

Alkmaar is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Alkmaar is well known for its traditional cheese market.

Grote or Sint-Laurenskerk (English: Great, or St. Lawrence church) is a landmark Protestant church in Alkmaar, Netherlands. The building is located on the Koorstraat, named for its choir. The two organs are world-famous.

The Grote Kerk (1470-1498), dedicated to St Lawrence, is a handsome building and contains the tomb of Floris V, Count of Holland (d. 1296), a brass of 1546, and some paintings (1507). Anna Visscher is buried in this church. The church was built by Anthonius Keldermans (c. 1440-1512), from a church building family from Mechelen.

The earliest mention of the name Alkmaar is in a 10th-century document. As the village grew into a town, it was granted city rights in 1254. The oldest part of Alkmaar lies on an ancient sand bank that afforded some protection from inundation during medieval times. Even so, it is only a couple of metres above the surrounding region, which consists of some of the oldest polders in existence.

In 1573 the city underwent a siege by Spanish forces under the leadership of Don Fadrique, son of the Duke of Alva. The citizens sent urgent messages for help to the Prince of Orange; he responded by promising to open the floodgates of the dykes and flood the region if the need arose, which despite the protestations of the peasantry, fearful for their harvest, he proceeded to do. Some of his dispatches fell into the hands of Don Fadrique, and, with the waters beginning to rise, the Spaniards raised the siege and fled. It was a turning point in the Eighty Years War and gave rise to the expression Bij Alkmaar begint de victorie (“Victory begins at Alkmaar”). The event is still celebrated every year in Alkmaar on 8 October, the day the siege ended.

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Vallejo de Mena Romanesque Church of San Lorenzo

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© RicardMN Photography

Vallejo de Mena is in The Mena Valley (Spanish: Valle de Mena), a municipality of the province of Burgos, in the autonomous community of Castilla y León, Spain, that borders the provinces of Alava and Vizcaya (Basque Country) and Cantabria.

The municipality has 3,926 inhabitants distributed among 43 small villages, being its capital Villasana de Mena with 1.554 inhabitants.

The name Vallejo is a diminutive of Valley, therefore, Vallejo de Mena was called to a hollow that lies at the heart of the Valle de Mena. Nowadays this small village belongs to the municipality of Villasana de Mena, located a few kilometres away.

Apparently, the Church of San Lorenzo de Vallejo de Mena was performed in two distinct construction stages. The first phase was completed by teachers more fine and artistic, while the second stage was attended by local artists who were commissioned to complete the work. The initial project had a tower at the top of the third segment of the ship which was never finished.

The Church has a total of three covers of access, being the more interesting which opens on the facade of the Gables. Inside is a single nave divided into three sections by transverse arches, follows her a straight section that precedes the apse, all of them covered with vaults with the exception of the apse.

The Church of San Lorenzo de Vallejo vein represents one of the highest peaks of the Romanesque from Burgos. The cover opens on the facade of the Gables and keeps a resemblance to the cover of the Church for Bercedo. The porch goes a long way with respect to the line of the façade by what comes to form a separate body. He has not retained the original roof or the gargoyles should look in their day. On each side four supported columns appear with attic bases, the capitals of these columns are perfectly carved and decorated with motifs vegetables except on the left side in which are four Harpies. Porch adds a total of five archivolts, four are supported by columns and the archivolt interior is based on the door jambs.

The two foreign archivolts of the cover represent human figures of stature, strong and sturdy, very Castilian for its quality and for the topics the master sculptor represents. The three inner archivolts are decoration articles, vine leaves, balls, etc.

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Vasa ship, Stockholm

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© RicardMN Photography

Vasa (or Wasa) is a Swedish warship built between 1626 and 1628. The ship foundered and sank after sailing about 1,300 m (1,400 yd) into her maiden voyageon 10 August 1628. She fell into obscurity after most of her valuable bronze cannons were salvaged in the 17th century until she was located again in the late 1950s in a busy shipping lane just outside the Stockholm harbor. Salvaged with a largely intact hull in 1961, she was housed in a temporary museum calledWasavarvet (“The Wasa Shipyard”) until 1988 and then moved to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. The ship is one of Sweden’s most popular tourist attractions and has been seen by over 29 million visitors since 1961. Since her recovery, Vasa has become a widely recognized symbol of the Swedish “great power period” and is today a de facto standard in the media and among Swedes for evaluating the historical importance of shipwrecks.

The ship was built on the orders of the King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus as part of the military expansion he initiated in a war with Poland-Lithuania (1621–1629). She was constructed at the navy yard in Stockholm under a contract with private entrepreneurs in 1626–1627 and armed primarily with bronze cannons cast in Stockholm specifically for the ship. Richly decorated as a symbol of the king’s ambitions for Sweden and himself, upon completion she was one of the most powerfully armed vessels in the world. However, Vasa was dangerously unstable and top-heavy with too much weight in the upper structure of the hull. Despite this lack of stability she was ordered to sea and foundered only a few minutes after encountering a wind stronger than a breeze.

The order to sail was the result of a combination of factors. The king, who was leading the army in Poland at the time of her maiden voyage, was impatient to see her take up her station as flagship of the reserve squadron at Älvsnabben in the Stockholm Archipelago. At the same time the king’s subordinates lacked the political courage to openly discuss the ship’s structural problems or to have the maiden voyage postponed. An inquiry was organized by the Swedish Privy Councilto find those responsible for the disaster, but in the end no one was punished for the fiasco.

During the 1961 recovery, thousands of artifacts and the remains of at least 15 people were found in and around the Vasa’s hull by marine archaeologists. Among the many items found were clothing, weapons, cannons, tools, coins, cutlery, food, drink and six of the ten sails. The artifacts and the ship herself have provided scholars with invaluable insights into details of naval warfare, shipbuilding techniques and everyday life in early 17th-century Sweden.

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Stained glass Bishop Juan Quiñones Guzmán

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© RicardMN Photography

Bishop of Calahorra Juan Quiñones Guzmán ((2 Aug 1559 – 14 Sep 1576 Died) on a stained glass at The Palacio de los Guzmanes (Guzmanes Palace) in León, Spain.

The current headquarters of the Diputación de León (the provincial government) is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city. Don Juan de Quiñones y Guzmán, bishop of Calahorra, commanded its construction to Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, the most important architect back then.

It is a place of delicate elegance from the Renaissance, with flair and structural simplicity.

The building’s base is like a trapezoid, with four towers at the corners and an indoor courtyard with columns and beautiful stained glass windows at the second level. The stained glasses was made by Daniel Lopez Merille (1888-1961 died)

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Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite Valley

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© 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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Apollo Room Ceiling In The Dublin Castle

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© 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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