Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jelena, Queen of Croatia

Statue of Queen Jelena, Solin

Jelena of Zadar (also known as Jelena the Glorious), Queen of Croatia, was the wife of Croatian King Mihajlo Krešimir II. They jointly ruled over Croatia from 946 to 969, a period which was marked by "peace, order and expeditious growth". Queen Jelena was "revered by her subjects" and "most adored for her charity".

Here is a great page that I found with information on the reign of Jelena and her husband.

Jelena died in October 976 and is buried next to her husband in Sv. Marija. The royal inscription on her sarcophagus is amongst the most important ( and most beautiful, I think.) epitaphs discovered by archaeologists.

"In this grave rests the glorious Jelena, wife of King Mihajlo, mother of King Stephen. She ruled/ brought peace to the Kingdom. On the 8th day of October 976 from the incarnation of Our Lord..... she was buried here. During her life as Queen she was also mother of orphans and protectress of widows. May those who look here say: God have mercy upon her soul."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Lauterbrunnen is a municipality in the district of Interlaken in the canton of Bern in Switzerland.

The municipality lies in the Lauterbrunnen Valley and comprises the villages Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Stechelberg and Isenfluh.

This is the best website I found about Lauterbrunnen, all of the others where not helpful at all but this one is great.

This is the best (and only) good place I found for pictures of Lauterbrunnen, I did wish that I could have found some better ones but these are quite good.

This one has good pictures, too. They are not crystal clear but are pretty good and there are lots of them.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote the poen Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (literal
translation: Song of the Spirits above the Waters) while he stayed near the Staubbach Falls
waterfall in Lauterbrunnen. This stanza is especially beautiful:

When from the high,
Sheer wall of rock
The pure stream gushes,
It sprays its lovely vapor
In billowing clouds
Towards the smooth rock,
And lightly received,
It goes enshrouded,
Softly hissing
Down to the deep.

You can read the rest of it here:

The Lauterbrunnen valley also provided the pictorial model for J. R. R. Tolkien's sketches and watercolours of the fictitious valley of Rivendell, and possibly also the name of the Bruinen river (meaning 'Loudwater') which flowed through it.

All pictures on the post are from Wikipedia.

Have fun exploring!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Declaration of Arbroath

On April 6 1320 a letter was sent to Pope John XXII sealed by
eight earls and forty-five barons declaring independence for Scotland.

The Declaration of Arbroath set out to confirm Scotland's status as an independent, sovereign state and its use of military action when unjustly attacked.

"As long as but a hundred of us remain alive,
never will we on any conditions
be brought under English rule.
It is in truth not for glory,
nor riches, nor honors, that we are fighting,
but for freedom
- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself".

This is but a small part of that great letter, but you can read all of it at

Here is the best place I found for information on it, and the page is beautifully written

Monday, December 21, 2009

This Above All...

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must fallow, as the night the day,
Thou canst be false to any man.
~William Shakespeare

Photo : Bruno Monginoux /

Friday, December 18, 2009


The monument of duke Branimir in Nin, Croatia

My last post was about a place in Croatia; now this post is about a Croat: Branimir, Duke of Dalmatian Croatia. He reigned from 879 to 892.

His name is an old Slavic name, and could be translated as "defender of the realm", or "defender of peace", as the word "mir" means peace in Slavic languages.

Branimir's predecessor was Zdeslav of Croatia and he was succeeded by Muncimir of Croatia

Under Branimir, Croatia was recognized as a state, totally independent from both Frankish and Byzantine rule. Throughout his life, Duke Branimir worked on increasing Croatian independence.

I looked for websites about and/or pictures of Branimir and could not find much of anything except on Wikipedia:

The picture is from Wikipedia and not my own.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Plitvice Lakes

The Plitvice Lakes is a national park in Croatia , situated at in the Plitvice Lakes municipality, in the mountainous region of Lika.
Here are some great websites that I found about it.

This is a link to The Plitvice Lakes National Park official website.
It has some really nice pictures, but its mostly for information about if you plan to travel there.

This site has lots of utterly beautiful pictures!
I highly recommend taking a look.

This one has some great pictures, too.

This is an absolutely fabulous informational site! It only has one little picture but that is all it needs; Rick Steves's description is lovely.

All pictures on this post are from Wikipedia and not my own.

Have fun exploring!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mont Saint-Michel

I first saw Mont Saint-Michel in a picture in a geography book and immediately fell in love with it. Le Mont Saint Michel(English: Saint Michel's Mount) is a rocky tidal island and a commune in Normandy, France. It is located approximately one kilometer off the country's north coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches.
If you are at all interested in learning more about Mont Saint-Michel, please have a look at some of these links!

This one is great for information about the history of the place and what is there to see.

This site has lots of information also, and it has some really good pictures of the place.

This one has some really great pictures!

This one has lots of historical information, the pictures are not very good but they do give you an idea of what it looks like.

This one has a ton of historical text but no pictures.

All pictures in this post are from Wikipedia and are not mine.

Have fun exploring!