you like to waste time?
Our "Great Links" are interesting web places we've found:
Totally silly ways to waste time
Louis XIV, the Sun King, expanded and embellished Louis XIII's modest
Versailles "hunting lodge" palace into Europe's grandest royal
Louis XIV spared no expense (and nearly bankrupted
France) in adorning Versailles with the finest furnishings to impress
his subjects and foreign dignitaries.
In 1849 Adelicia married Joseph Acklen, a young attorney from Alabama,
and they immediately began construction on Belle Monte (Belmont.) An Italianate-style
villa, it was a summer home escape from the heat at her 8,400 acre Louisiana
cotton plantation. The Acklens built, furnished, and landscaped one of
the most elaborate antebellum homes in the South, with 36 rooms and 19,000
sq. ft. The estate contained an art gallery, conservatories, lavish gardens,
aviary, lake and zoo.
Alnwick Castle is the second largest inhabited Castle in England, the
first being Windsor Castle, and has been the home of the Percys, Earls
and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309. The earliest mention of Alnwick
Castle in the history books appears soon after 1096 when Yves de Vescy
became baron of Alnwick and erected the earliest parts of the Castle.
You may recognize this film location, for everything from Harry Potter
to Elizabeth to Becket to Blackadder.
The order for the construction of the Topkapi Palace on the Seraglio Point
overlooking both Marmara and Bosphorus was given by Mehmed II after the
conquest of Constantinapolis in 1453. It consists of many smaller buildings
built together and surrounded by four courts. Topkapi Palace was home
to all the Ottoman sultans until the reign of Abdulmecid I (1839-1860),
a period of nearly four centuries.
Also see the
The foundation was laid in 1792 by order of Empress Catherine II the Great,
and the palace presented as a gift to her first and favorite grandson,
Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich (the future Emperor Alexander I) on the
occasion of his marriage to Grand Duchess Elizaveta Alexeevna (1779 -
The palace construction was completed in May
of 1796, during the last year of Catherine the Great's reign. On June
12, 1796, Grand Duke Alexander Pavlovich and his spouse moved into the
In 1884, a wealthy widow named Sarah L. Winchester began a construction
project of such magnitude that it was to occupy the lives of carpenters
and craftsmen until her death thirty-eight years later. The Victorian
mansion, designed and built by the Winchester Rifle heiress, is filled
with so many unexplained oddities, that it has come to be known as the
Winchester Mystery House.
In December 1631, the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, commenced the
construction of one of the greatest monuments of all time, the Taj Mahal.
It is a mausoleum built in the memory of his beloved and favorite wife,
Mumtaz Mahal, fulfilling one of the promises that he made to her as she
lay on her deathbed: To erect a monument to match her beauty.
William Randolph Hearst's instructions to famed San Francisco architect
Julia Morgan in 1919: "Miss Morgan, we are tired of camping out in
the open at the ranch in San Simeon and I would like to build a little
By 1947, Hearst and Morgan had created an estate
of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways.
The Villa d'Este in Tivoli, Italy, was commissioned and built by Cardinal
Ippolito d'Este. Born in 1509, he was the son of Lucrezia Borgia and the
grandson of Pope Alexander VI. He was the only Cardinal who could say
that he was the grandson of the Pope. Ippolito d'Este was a bishop at
the age of two, an archbishop at the age of ten and a cardinal at thirty.
At the age of forty-one, he came close to becoming Pope. After several
unsuccessful attempts to become Pope, D'Este spent the last twenty years
of his life in Tivoli. From 1550 until his death in 1572, one of the most
erudite, cultured, intelligent and disconcerting men in Europe created
his dream garden.
We visited the gardens at Villa d'Este in January,
Until about 1630, Isola Bella (which at the time was known as the Lower
Island as opposed to the Upper Island, now known as "Dei Pescatori"
or Fisherman's island) was essentially, a strip of land and rock inhabited
by fishermen. Construction of the first buildings began on the orders
of Giulio Cesare Borromeo (1593-1638.)
The palace and gardens were conceived
as a single unit with great scenographic impact, and the island began
to take the shape of an imaginary vessel with the villa built on the narrowest
part in the north (forward deck) and the garden on the widest part in
the south (after deck).
Potala Palace was built by King Srong-tsan-gam-po and Princess Wen-Cheng
in the Seventh Century. The original palace was largely destroyed in the
medieval era. It was rebuilt by the fifth Dalai Lama in the Seventeenth
Century. The palace has 13 stories, and is 117 meters high. It was the
chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala,
India after a failed uprising in 1959.
The temples at Angkor are spread out over some 40 miles around the village
of Siem Reap, about 192 miles from the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.
They were built between the eighth and 13th centuries and range from single
towers made of bricks to vast stone temple complexes. It was mysteriously
abandoned by the Khmer civilization. The jungle soon overwhelmed Angkor
Wat, hiding it for several centuries with thick tropical foliage.
world's most expensive house
Lakshmi N Mittal, Chairman and CEO, of the LNM Group, bought a central
London house for a stunning price of $128.25 million in 2004. The Indian
steel magnate's new house has thus walked into the Guinness Book of Records
as the world's most expensive house.
Mittal's new house is in Kensington
Palace Gardens, the world's most
expensive residential neighborhood, where the average home price is
The Winter Palace was commissioned by the daughter of Peter the Great,
Empress Elizabeth I, in 1754 as an official royal residence. The Palace
was the official residence of the Russian Emperors and Empresses from
1762 till February 1917 when the ruling dynasty of the Romanovs was overthrown
by the Revolution.
At the turn-of-the-century, George C. Boldt, millionaire proprietor of
the world famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, set out to build
a full size Rhineland Castle in Alexandria Bay, on Picturesque Heart Island.
The grandiose structure was to be a display of his love for his wife,
Imagine a dwelling so splendid that the king of France, after spending
the evening there as a guest, claps the owner in jail for the rest of
his life for attempting to overshadow the monarchy!
The minister: Nicolas Fouquet.
The king: Louis XIV. The crime: misappropriation of funds, although the
charges were trumped up. The real reason for Fouquet’s incarceration,
or at least the straw that broke the royal camel’s back, was the
king’s envy over the magnificent château where the party was
This opulent palace was built in 1843-1856, during the reign of Sultan
Abdul Mecit I. The palace served as the official residence of the sultans
till 1876. It consists of mainly 3 parts, the Mabeyn (State rooms), the
Muayede Salon (Ceremonial Hall) and the Harem (where the Sultan and his
entourage lived). The palace has 285 rooms, 46 halls and 6 hamams.
Also see the Wikipedia
Yalis of Istanbul
It was in the latter half of the 17th century, when the Empire stretched
from Makkah to Budapest and from Tunis to Tabriz, that it became fashionable
for Ottoman viziers, admirals and civil and military pashas to build prestigious
summer homes along the Bosporus, the strait that separates Europe and
Asia. These homes were called yalis, a word deriving from the Greek yialos,
Yali, built in 1775, was named for Kibrisli Mehmet Emin Pasha, the
Cypriot grand vizier of Sultan Mahmut II who bought it in 1840. Seven
generations of the Kibrisli family have lived in the yali, and today it
is still the family’s summer home.
Butler's Tour of Mar-A-Lago
Tony Senecal, Donald Trump's butler, opens the doors to Mar-A-Lago for
a rare peek inside the Palm Beach estate.
of Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huangdi (259 BC - 210 BC), the first emperor of China, ascended
the throne at the age of 13, when construction of his tomb began. On completion
of his many conquests, he ordered 720,000 conscript laborers to hurry
up on building his royal tomb. It was finished just-in-time in 210 BC
for his use. His son, the second Qin Emperor,saw to his entombment.
HGTV is giving away a home worth more than $2 million. Tour the home &
enter to win.
In 1649, Filippo Bon, head of one of Venice's most important families,
commissioned a palace to be built at the junction of the Grand Canal and
the Rio di San Barnaba.
The Breakers is a mansion, built as the Newport summer home of Cornelius
Vanderbilt II, a member of the wealthy United States Vanderbilt family.
Designed by renowned architect Richard Morris Hunt and with interior decoration
by Jules Allard and Sons and Ogden Codman, Jr., the 70-room mansion was
constructed between 1893 and 1895 at the then-astronomical cost of more
than seven million dollars.
Hatfield House, built between 1607 and 1611 by Robert Cecil, lst Earl
of Salisbury and Chief Minister to James I, has been in the Cecil family
ever since. Many interior scenes of the Wayne mansion in the 1989 film
Batman were shot at Hatfield House.
George Vanderbilt named Biltmore Estate by combining two words: "Bildt,"
the region in Holland where the Vanderbilt family originated, and "more,"
an old English word meaning upland rolling hills. For more than a century,
visitors have been fascinated by this remarkable place.
Polgeto Castle is considered the best conserved castle in the Umbertide
area of Tuscany because it has always been inhabited. The property is
now subdivided & portions are for sale as condominiums.
Ludwig's Schloss Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein, originally a monument to the minnesingers of medieval
times, was reinterpreted as the Castle of the Holy Grail and the Throne
Room was redesigned as the Hall of the Holy Grail – dedicated to
the mystery of salvation for the world.
The Cheverny's estate has belonged to the same family, the Huraults, for
more than six centuries.
Totally silly ways to waste time