Tag Archives: history

Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park

John Hunter at the Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park

John Hunter at the Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, USA. The photos in this post show the Cliff Palace site (photos by John Hunter). You must take a ranger led tour to walk into the Cliff Palace. The overhead lookout doesn’t require joining a tour.

Cliff Palace at sunset, Mesa Verde National Park

Recent studies reveal that Cliff Palace contained 150 rooms and 23 kivas and had a population of approximately 100 people. Out of the nearly 600 cliff dwellings concentrated within the boundaries of the park. Cliff Palace is an exceptionally large dwelling which may have had special significance. It is thought that Cliff Palace was a social, administrative site with high ceremonial usage.

Overview of the Cliff Palace

Sometime during the late 1190s, after primarily living on the mesa top for 600 years, many Ancestral Pueblo people began living in pueblos they built beneath the overhanging cliffs. The structures ranged in size from one-room storage units to villages of more than 150 rooms. While still farming the mesa tops, they continued to reside in the alcoves, repairing, remodeling, and constructing new rooms for nearly a century.

View from Cliff Palace

View from the cliff palace, looking across the valley.

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Borobudur in Java, Indonesia

Borobudur is an amazing Buddhist temple built in the 9th century. This is a site that can’t be missed, spectacular. All photos in this post are by John Hunter.

tourists on the top of Borobudur

Six square platforms form the base of Borobudur and these are topped by three circular platforms. The temple is decorated with over 2,500 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.

stone carvings on wall

The temple is surrounded by lush green forests and that greatly enhances the feeling of tranquility at Borobudur.

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Yunnan Nationalities Villages

People in Traditional Yunan Cloths

Yunnan Nationalities Villages is located on the east bank of Dianchi Lake in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China. All photos in this post are by John Hunter.

Inside traditional Yunan wooden house with open brick fireplace

The village covers 25 ethnic groups found in Yunnan with examples of traditional houses and guides dressed in traditional clothing. China has a total of 56 recognized ethnic groups. I don’t remember which houses and traditional clothing are which ethnic group (please comment if you have information to share).

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World War II Memorial, Washington DC

World War II Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in the background

The World War II Memorial in Washington DC is between the Lincoln Memorial (the photo above shows looking toward it) and the Washington Monument (below) on The Mall.

World War II Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background

The memorial was opened on 29 May 2004. Many Smithsonian museums, the White House and the Capital are within easy walking distance of the memorial.

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Library of Congress, Washington DC

Exterior view of the Library of Congress

Exterior view of the Library of Congress

The Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress in Washington DC is one of the most ornate buildings in the city. It was opened in 1897.

The incredibly ornate entry hall to the Library of Congress

The incredibly ornate entry hall to the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress also includes 2 more buildings (built much later). All 3 buildings are near the Supreme Court and the Capital.

The main reading room of the Library of Congress.

The main reading room of the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress was established by an act of Congress in 1800 when President John Adams signed a bill providing for the transfer of the seat of government from Philadelphia to the new capital city of Washington.

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National Museum of Korea in Seoul

The National Museum of Korea is a wonderful tourist destination in Seoul. I recommend it very highly.

Buddha statue with fancy headdress

The modern museum (built in 2005) is very spacious and filled with wonderful works of art. It provides a sense of the long history of Korea. It is very well laid out and includes enough information on the works to give you a sense of the context.

6th-7th century funery painted clay pots

Painted clay pots, Astana, Turfan 6th-7th century. These vessels decorated with pearl rounded patterns were made to be buried with the dead in tombs. The design originated in Sasanian, Persia and spread across Asia.

The museum displays relics and artifacts in six permanent exhibition galleries: Prehistory and Ancient History, Medieval and Early Modern History, Calligraphy and Painting, Asian Art, Sculpture and Crafts as well as one gallery highlighting donations.

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Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám, 文廟) Hanoi, Vietnam

Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám, 文廟) was established in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1070. The temple is located in old town Hanoi along with many other items of interest within easy walking distance (see Curious Cat Hanoi Tourist map). The temple grounds are enjoyable and provide a respite from chaotic Hanoi, and the history is interesting.

Temple of Literature courtyard

In 1076, Vietnam’s first university, the “Quốc Tử Giám” or Imperial Academy, was established within the temple to educate Vietnam’s bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. The university remained open from 1076 to 1779. In 1802, the Nguyễn dynasty’s monarchs founded the Huế capital where they established a new imperial academy.

bee on orange flower with yellow flower in background

Bee on flower in the temple grounds.

The temple layout is similar to that of the temple at Qufu, Shandong, Confucius’ birthplace. It covers an area of over 54000 square meters.

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Mosaic Art at Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang, Laos

I really like the mosaic artwork on the walls of buildings at Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, Laos.

close up view of mosaic wall of Wat Xieng Thong temple building

Luang Prabang is full of interesting temples and is a great place to walk around. The old city has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UN and I highly enjoyed staying in Luang Prabang.

buddha statues in front of a mosaic wall inside Wat Xieng Thong temple building

Buddha statues in front of a mosaic wall inside a Wat Xieng Thong temple building.

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Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex in the world, situated at Angkor, Cambodia, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city.

Angkor Wat complex with reflection in pond

As the best-preserved temple in the Siem Reap area, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture.

carving at Angkor Wat

As you would expect this UNESCO world heritage site is amazing. It is very large with a huge temple. The carvings are exceptional and numerous. I was there in the slow part of the season and while there were lots of people, there was plenty of room.

I went to Angkor Wat on 3 days. I was going elsewhere for a sunset visit (on my first day) but as it was cloudy I decided to go to Angkor instead (saving the sunset for another day) and get some photos in the nice light late in the day. I went to see the sunrise and continued on with my guide. Then I went back late in the afternoon on one of the other days – there was a bit more sun so I hoped for better photos and also it is huge, there is plenty to see.

photo inside Angkor Wat

Looking at my photos now they don’t convey the size of Angkor Wat. This last photo is taken inside the building several floors up above ground level. Angkor Wat is an absolutely wonderful destination and is surrounded in the larger temple complex (over a site 400 km square) by several other world class sites.