Seldec Ossuary

Hello Again!

I’m sorry that I didn’g get back to my posting last Tuesday as planned…funny story actually…I fainted in a drug store and then had to undergo some tests and such, but everythings fine and now I just get to relish in my embarassment. Haha! But anyways, I’m back in action here at Taxidermy and the 20th Century!

Okey dokey. So while I was away on vacation, I started to think about where would be some of the oddest places to travel. Of cource catacombs and haunted houses came to mind, but I was thinking about something more original, per se. So, after some digging I found what I think might be one of the absolute oddest and most beautiful places: The Seldec Ossuary in the Czech Republic.

As chance would have it, I unintentionally used a picture from the Seldec Ossuary in one of my previous posts about a wonderful Facebook page! What initially stood out to me was the artistic nature of the place. Not only is it grand and overwhelming, but it also has a sort of symmetry to it which is captivating.

The Seldec Ossuary is home to between 40,000 to 70,000 humans (well, their remains for that matter). In 1870, the Ossuary realised that it was in a bit of a disarray (a hoarders situation) and had to do something to bring some organization to the place. They hired woodcarver Frantisek Rint to “bring some order” to the place. What he ended up creating was a macebre mass of architecture.

Even though it may seem a bit like a specialised taste to want to visit a place like this, the Seldec Ossuary is actually one of the Czech Republic’s most visited attractions. It attracts over 200,000 visitors a year….hopefully i can add to that number.

Thanks for hanging in there with us!

-C

Picture Source:

http://www.izzy-loves.com/2011/01/sedlec-ossuary.html#!/2011/01/sedlec-ossuary.html

 

Getting to Know the 1800’s Part I

Absquatulate: To take leave, to disappear.

I’m so sorry about that short hiatus, things have been so crazy. I’ve been dealing with several international bureaucracies, and I don’t even really have a moment right now. Hopefully, I’ll get back on a stable schedule and be able to post more regularly. In the mean time, I’m going to do a series of posts about Getting to Know the 1800s, taking excerpts from Everyday Life in the 1800s by Marc McCutcheon. Perhaps it will entertain some of you, especially those of you who enjoyed the Olde Timey Insults! Funny what quaint slang they had back then, isn’t it?

Gotham: New York City.

You just thought it was from the Batman (admittedly, I accidentally wrote Bathman at first) comics, didn’t you? Well, actually, this name has been referring to the Big Apple throughout the early 1800s. McCutcheon cites a less-than-flattering description of New York City as Gotham:

“An Albany or Newark dog is well worth fifty cents, if brought to Gotham’s authorities, as if actually killed in Gotham’s streets… We understand that a dog’s flesh is quite a luxury in Gotham market.” Philadelphia Public Ledger, 5 August 1836.

Gotham City

Pigs: Kept as pets and as future food sources in yards, towns, and cities all over America. Thousands of them ran freely on New York City streets during the first half of the century.

Queen Anne House: A house style popular in the 1870s and 1880s in England and America, actually based on a combination of Elizabethan, Tudor, Gothic, and English Renaissance forms. Notable features included polygonal or cylindrical towers, bay windows, balconies, and ornate woodwork.

Queen Anne House

Groom’s Seat: A small seat or rumble seat where a groom or footman rode at the back of a coach or carraige.

Dugway: Popular slang for a simple, dug-out road.

George IV Phaeton: An elegant, slipper-shaped carriage with folding hood, pulled by two horses. This vehicle was very popular with women because it was graceful and was open to allow the passengers’ fashion to be seen and admired from the street.

George IV Phaeton

-A.

Photos Courtesy Of:
http://www.rina2012.co.uk/communities/2/004/005/953/492/images/4514693977.jpg

5 Stunning Gothic Cathedrals

Cathedral of Santa Maria, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Palma de Mallorca Catedral de Santa María
This sandstone Cathedral is both the pinnacle of Majorcan architecture and an orchestra demonstrating the glory of religious handiwork. It appears like a fortress on the hillside, absolutely glowing with Spanish sun. It was built on the foundations of a Moorish mezquita (mosque) and sports massive external buttresses. The support system’s elegance and practicality lend historians to believe that Catalan master mason Berenguer de Montagut (known to have worked on the Catedral de Manresa and at Santa María del Mar in Barcelona) was summoned for this island cathedral’s construction.

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral, England

This Cathedral, built ca. 1337-60, was presumably built by the royal master mason Thomas of Canterbury. It was formally a Benedictine abbey church and the Benedictines residing there were interested in keeping as much of the original building as possible. The master mason used lattice work with vertical and horizontal lines to satisfy the abbey’s wishes, and is, in fact, a continuation of the Decorative style. However, what makes the Gloucester Cathedral special out of Decorative Gothic architecture, is that the motifs were entirely standardised. This style was continued well throughout the 14th century in England because of the architectural possibilities.

Marienkirche LübeckMarienkirche, Lübeck, Germany

Unlike other parts of Europe, the Gothic architecture of Northern Europe, including the Germanic regions, is often structurally more simple, yet colossal. The Marienkirche is no exception. It has bright turquoise towers, menacing in their almost minimalist lack of decoration. The spires are incredibly steep, and the entire floorplan of the building is surprisingly wide. A gorgeous Cathedral with much gold plating, the interior is spectacular, yet without ostentatious architectural decoration.

Milan CathedralMilan Cathedral, Italy

As we all know (pfft!), Milan was the seat of the Lombardi rulers during the Gothic architectural period, and as connoisseurs of the arts, the Lombardis funded the building of gorgeous structures such as the Milan Cathedral. It was built in the late 14th century, around 1387, and sports a double aisle structure that allows for a wider floorplan and the aesthetic depth of multiple rows of columns. There were severe issues in building this Cathedral because of the dimensions and weight distribution necessary for it to be as tall as it was wide. While it was completed in construction in 1572, the final additions of decorations were added in the 19th century. While you can’t see it well from the pictures I provide, I urge you to look at the windows of this structure, especially along the choir and transept. They have organic, Elven-esque patterns that are stunning, even in photographs.

Albi Cathedral

Albi Cathedral, France

Formally known as the Cathedral of Ste.-Cécile, this gorgeous Cathedral (shown above) was built in 1287, and it doesn’t look like much but a large sandy block from the outside. But when you walk inside, one notices the immense amount of handiwork, not to mention architectural splendor of this magnificent construction. While it appears much like a keep from the outside, almost bulky and clumsy, the interior has vast, breathtaking painting and gold lining.

If you’re interested in any of these Gothic pieces, I urge you to go visit them yourself! Of course, not all of us can enjoy this luxury, so consider investing in the book Gothic, by Könemann, for an in-depth look into Gothic architecture, sculpture, and painting. Almost all of the structural information I’ve noted here has been from this book, and it contains breathtaking photographs that cannot be found on the internet.

-A.

 

Photos Courtesy of: