Tag Archives: ww2

Llandaff Cathedral, Wales

Possibly one of the most underrated cathedrals in Wales, can be found in Llandaff, in the outskirts of North Cardiff. The Anglican cathedral is extraordinary, both visually and historically.

On the 2nd of January, 1941; during world war 2, Cardiff suffered the worst bombing of the war. With around 165 people killed and another 427 seriously injured, the city was at a chaotic state. The UK’s major towns and cities have been bombarded by then. And so, was Llandaff. Landmines have fell and exploded in the churchyard, cathedral spire and the roof. It destroyed many a graves, but especially the roof which collapsed inwards destroying most of the furnishings. Luckily a lot of its valuables such as the Victorian stained glass was taken out and put into into storage, and there was no outbreak of fire.

The architect, wanted to restructure the remaining parts of the cathedral by including a modern additional plaque to support the building itself and give it a new feature. To this day, visitors comment about this choice; you either love it, or hate it!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Schloss Drachenburg

Built in the 1880s, Schloss Drachenburg is a fairy tale castle. The architecture is full on romantic Gothic, with spires, the style of a medieval cathedral and a beautiful clock tower. It stands on a hill above the Rhine River, with beautiful breathtaking view of the said river.

drachen

A story from the German folklore says, that Siefried has slayed a dragon up on this very mountain, which the castle gets the name from. Drachenburg, translates to Dragon’s castle in English. The actual story of this castle is however less glamorous as it was commissioned by a rich stock broker. Funnily enough it was built in two years, yet recently a 15-year restoration was completed for 31.5 million euro.

Completed in 1884, the castle started off as a private villa, then was converted into a museum, which later on was used as an “Adolf Hitler” college for boys. To this day, you can still see holes from the US artillery fires, as they smashed the stained glass windows and facade in the last months of the war. It was at this time that the Nazi schoolboys decided to stop resisting against the americans.

The inside of the castle is full of German art and craftsmanship.

See below, some photos I took of a day well-spent in the Dragon’s castle.

Such a dreamy castle!

Mosta Dome

The Parish Church of Saint Mary, is popularly known as the Rotunda or the Mosta dome due to its large dome; which can be seen from most parts of Malta.

The church was designed by a Maltese architect called Giorgio Grognet de Vassé. The church’s design was closely based on the Pantheon in Rome; 6 columned portico with a circular 39.6m diameter dome. It was built between the 1833 and 1860 with funds raised by the local people.

IMG_20160218_202748

During World War 2 in 1942, a bomb fell through the church and it didn’t detonate. This was considered as a miracle especially since around 300 people were in the church waiting for the mass to commence. A replica of the said bomb is available to see in the sacristy, left of the altar.

 

Qormi Air-Raid War Shelters

Casal Fornaro is an event that happens in my home town Qormi, on a yearly basis. This is a festival which celebrates bread, and how it represented the town through the years, even during wars. During the time when the island was under attack, bread was made out of rice and tasted horrible, but at least it ensured that the citizens had something to eat. Nowadays the city of Qormi is still renowned for bread and together, we celebrate an event full of bread, pastries and culture.

On this day, the two local war shelters are open for the public, and to me, these deserve a visit every year.

In one of the shelters there is a re-enactment from World War 2, explaining the situation of the poor and the politicians. Then you are allowed to roam around the shelter and imagine for yourself what life was like during that time. The re-enactment happens in Maltese which is a disadvantage for any tourists visiting, however one can still visually appreciate the surroundings.

12141748_10154264470069606_7506035073343809104_n

12096384_10154264469919606_1729303589918724258_n

12112253_10154264469884606_2042140698733082667_n

In the second war shelter, there is a bread exhibition sponsored by the leading bakery ‘MayPole’ – One can find fancy bread available in the shelter just for viewing as can be seen in the images below.

10610669_10153235622309606_8179365273069322981_n

1622671_10153235622399606_2418373263476334742_n
One is able to buy similar bread through the many stalls in the festival as well as from their bakery any other day of the year.

The Malta Story

Keeping in mind that I have lived overseas, and that I know a number of foreigners, I have been asked countless times about Malta. What makes it so unique? Why are we so attached to the British? Why is our language so weird, and where did it come from?

Today, I came across the below picture. I would imagine this explains a lot:

maltesehistory

Briefly:

    • The Order of the Knights of St. John made it to malta in 1530. In 1561 the inquisition was established and 4 years later we had the Great Siege by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman troops eventually retreated, but they did lose around 9,000 men in this battle. The siege ended as a victory in favour of the Maltese on the 8th of September, which is to this day a bank holiday in Malta. A year later, Valletta was designed and founded and named Valletta of course after our star; the Grand Master Jean de La Vallette. He was buried within the capital city roughly three years later, and it was unfortunate that he didn’t see his vision of Valletta finalised.
    • In 1798, the Napolean Bonaparte took Malta from the hands of the Knights.
    • Just a year later, Britian takes Malta and the french surrendered. It was only in 1814 that Malta becomes a Britian Crown Colony. Within the British Period, Malta has participated in the First World war, and later at fought during the second world war. In 1964, we were given independence within the British Commonwealth and 10 years later Malta became a Republic. The last British services left the Maltese islands in 1979.
    • Recently, in 2004 Malta joined the European Union and 4 years later the Eurozone.

Source: http://www.visitmalta.com

Tribute to Christopher Lee

I do not go ape-shit crazy over every famous legend, that passes away… But, Christopher Lee deserves a mention.

christopher leeWho is Christopher Lee?
– He is one of a kind.
He was born in 1922, in England and has died due to heart failure at the age of 93.
– He has been given credit for 281 acting jobs (movies and series).
– Out of all these films around 90% of the time he acted as a villain.
– He participated during World War II, where he served his country in the Royal Air Force and in British Intelligence.
– He is a very tall man; 1.96m.
– One of his movies is still to be released next year.

What is he mostly known for?
– Christopher Lee, is Saruman in Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit.
– Christopher Lee has portrayed three different characters in the Sherlock Holmes Series: Sherlock Holmes, Mycroft – Holmes and Sir Henry Baskerville.
– Christopher Lee has been Dracula several times.
– Christopher Lee is the voice of Count Dooku in Star Wars.
– Christopher Lee is also a singer and he has released his last mini-album at the age of 92.

Memories I will treasure forever:

From the Hobbit: The Battle of 5 Armies
Saruman: “Leave Sauron to me”



Christopher Lee singing “My Way”. Elvis’ cover version turned into heavy metal

Siggiewi World War Shelters

So, I have been slightly quiet the last few days, but I guess I needed some me time, as I have been very busy with work. I have made two new friends over the weekend, which was great too.

On Sunday, the Siggiewi World War Shelters opened for the very first time. There were a lot of people so it was difficult to get a lot of pictures. But this will give you a brief idea. For those who have been to Siggiewi, these shelters are right under the main piazza, so they are pretty massive. I used to think that the ones in Qormi are quite big, but it’s nothing compared to these shelters; corridors upon corridors, with small rooms which the families themselves dug to have their own private space.

Great work done by the Siggiewi Local Council who opened this for the public.

20150329 - Siggiewi World War Shelters (1) copy

20150329 - Siggiewi World War Shelters (2) copy

20150329 - Siggiewi World War Shelters (3) copy