Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tales of Royal Tragedies

Currently running a promo for this book in Amazon.com. Available in print and kindle versions. Tales of Royal Tragedies book is a compilation of interesting saga of the European royals over the centuries. However, not entirely fairytales.

The book retells some of the most fascinating, if not, spellbinding and often shocking stories in the European royal court. From controversies, scandals to crime mysteries, adulteries and tragedies. Fairytale that went bad. But despite all the misadventures and waywardness, European monarchy is still an enthralling institution, making royal watching a delightful pastime.

This book can now be purchased in Amazon.com. Please click the link HERE.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Heidelberg Castle


One of the most ancient castles in Germany, Heidelberg Castle was constructed in 1300 and a former home of several Prince Electors. It is located on the hill, about 300 feet above the city of Heidelberg.

This is one of the most breathtaking landmarks in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg to visit.

The castle garden, built in 1616, served as a tribute of Prince Elector Friedrich V to his wife, Elisabeth. It was dubbed as the masterpiece garden during that period due to its elegant landscape. Built on several terraces, the garden is beautifully made of flower beds, mazes, arbours, waterfalls, sculptures, a heated greenhouse with orange trees, large ponds and a grotto for musical water arts.

In 18th century, during the reign of Prince Elector, Karl Theodor, the Heidelberg Tun, known as the world's largest wine barrel, was built to be used as the repository of wine taxes paid by the wine growers in the Palatine. The barrel can hold up to 58, 214 gallons of wine. It has a dance floor built on top of the barrel. 

The castle has a unique museum called Apothecary museum, visitors will learn the history of pharmacy at this museum as it showcases complete collections of pharmaceutical laboratories, pharmacopoeias, flasks, mortars, vessels and over 1,000 raw drugs used between 17th and 19th centuries.

There's one interesting activity organized in Heidelberg Castle every first Saturday of June and second Saturday of July, the Castle Lighting or the Schlossbeleuchtung and fireworks display. This activity is done to commemorate the fire incidents in he castle during earlier times.

The best recommended way of visiting the castle is either funicular or walking. If you choose funicular: Here's how: Walk to a Kornmarkt or you may take bus 11 or 33 for Kornmarkt, take the Bergbahn stop up to the first stop - the castle. If you choose walking: Walk through Burgweg which is next to Kornmarkt, it is a path that will lead you to the castle.The path splits to two, the short route and the scenic route, just follow signs pointing your way to the castle.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Forchtenstein Castle


On the foothills of the Rosaliengerbirge mountain, northern part of Burgenland, Austria, looms Forchtenstein Castle, the only fortress in Austria that was never captured by the Turks during the Turkish War.
It is strategically located in the municipality of Forchtenstein and was originally built in 15th century by the former Lords of Mattersburg who eventually used the name of the castle as their noble courtesy title.

The succeeding Lord Forchtenstein died without a male heir, thus, the castle was possessed by the imperial family of Austria, the House of Habsburg. The Habsburgs leased it to Austrian noble families and centuries later, Emperor Ferdinand II awarded it to a Hungarian nobleman named, Nikolaus Esterhazy, during a time when Austria and Hungary were still a dual monarchy.

Count Esterhazy started refurbishing the castle and fortified with Kaiserstein stone adding bastion, treasure chamber, portals, cannon balls and fountains. His successor and son, Paul, further renovated the castle and extended with ornaments and several structures including a baroque equestrian statue. The treasure vault was built in a secret passage which was left undiscovered even during World War II. It became the repository of Esterhazy's art collection and precious positions. 

When Prince Paul died, the castle was no longer used as a residence but a vault of family treasures and weapons. The baroque murals in the courtyard had been whitewashed several times but were elaborately restored in the 20th century. Since 2004, the murals are beautifully conserved and added to the mystical splendor of the baroque castle.

Today, Forchtenstein Castle is still owned by the Esterhazy family and can be visited by the public on guided tour. Check the website of the castle here to read further details and information.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Borrekens Castle

Located within the municipality of Vorselaar in the province of Antwerp, Belgium, Borrekens Castle, is one of the medieval castles in Belgium that survived until now. It is privately owned and according to few sources in the internet, the castle is not open to visitors, however those who just want to take pictures, the castle can be viewed on the road and visitors are permitted to take photos on the exterior of the castle.

Locals in Vorselaar called it Kasteeel de Borrekens. Its construction dated back in 1270 and originally belonged to Van Rotselaar family. By the 16th century the castle went to different families: Cornelies Van Bergen, Arensberg and Proost. It is not known however if these families belonged to Belgian nobilities.

In 17th century, Proost family sold the castle to a local official in Antwerp after the family had financial trouble. The castle undergone another renovation in 19th century and was sold later to the Borrekens family whose ownership survived up to the present time. It is not known however, if the present Borrekens generation reside in the castle.

Since this is a privately owned structure and sources in the internet never mentioned anything about arrangement with local tours to visit the castle on special occasions, it is difficult however to speculate if a special arrangement with the owners can be arranged. Judging from the photos available online, the exterior and surroundings of Borrekens Castle it seemed the building is well-maintained. Poor thing.