Friday, August 20, 2010
The Historian and The Castle
Last night I finished reading The Historian. It was a book I loved so much that I read it exceedingly slow. I knew once I was finished I would long for more time with the characters, and I was sad to say goodbye to them as I finally closed the book for the last time. It was brilliantly written and masterfully researched. It is in essence a book about Dracula, but the history in it is painfully true, and my knowledge of Romania and Bulgaria have increased more than I would have imagined.
Much of the character's travels took them to ancient monasteries, old castles, and ornate libraries centuries old. This left me craving historical buildings. I've spent the morning studying ancient castles and monasteries and found one I wanted to share with you.
Above is the Queluz National Palace. It is an 18th century Portuguese Palace located in Queluz. It was built as a summer retreat for Royalty and later served as a place of refuge for Queen Maria I (also known as Maria the Pious on account of her religious fervor) as following her husband Infante Peter of Portugal's death, her mental illness became sadly debilitating. In 1795 the court was forced to move to the Quelz palace as the Ajuda palace their primary home had burnt down. The queen would reside in her room all day and visitors would recount having heard her horrifying screams.
The building itself is remarkable and the french artisans who designed the interior did an exquisite job. I like to imagine the dresses and the dancing that took place within the ball room, and I am in awe of the rich history those walls have witnessed. While much sadness lived there it easy to see the dreamy and whimsical essence that lingers on. I suppose that is the beauty of a castle, it always invokes some enchantment.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!
Images from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queluz_National_Palace