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!!

Jessa xx

Images from


  1. I cannot wait to travel again. Big travel, Europe travel, Africa travel, Asia travel. This post makes me think about the cool, still air inside of these castles, and how quiet they can be even when filled with people. The light is lovely. The gardens extravagant...I want a castle!

  2. I've never even heard of this book before, but it sounds like something I would love! I can't wait to hit to the bookstore and pick it up!

  3. Wow - what an amazing looking book. These photos are fantastic....the detail in these rooms is incredible. They look like works of art. I would love to see this Palace in person!

  4. Thanks for stopping by a few weeks ago! I have been MIA lately and haven't been abel to respond. Please check out the cross blog ~ let me know if I can do anything for you! :0)

  5. Such stunning architecture! Hope you are having a perfect weekend! Kellie xx

  6. Beautiful architecture, would love to visit that awesome castle!
    HAve a lovely Sunday. xx

  7. Love the interior - and of course the architecture - so elegant and grand. It makes me think of all the places I haven't visited yet... Hope you had a good weekend. Love from London x

  8. Hi there, I just found you through your comment on So Chic Decor and started following you. I've been thinking of reading The Historian as I've heard so many good things about it. The architecture of that palace is absolutely breathtaking!

  9. I've heard of THe Historian, and am glad for the review. I'll add it to my want-to-read list and will get to it some time in the next six months or so.

    Having just read a couple of months ago another of Elizabeth Kostova's books, The Swan Thieves, I'll believe that The HIstorian is excellent as well. Swan Thieves was, in my opinion, brilliantly done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think Swan Thieves is her most recent.

    I'm also reading a book set in Bulgaria right now (called The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon) and am really enjoying it.

    Thanks for the book recommendation Jessa - much appreciated!!


  10. Thanks Ruth for the suggestions!! I'm excited to read The Swan Thieves.


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