Are We Closer to Solving the Mystery of Stonehenge?

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Why was Stonehenge built?

This monument dates back 5,000 (!) years, though it is now established that it was built in phases over several thousand years up until 1600 BC.

Scientists have also determined that the stones were quarried as far away as 225 kilometers in present day Wales. This has led to a recent theory that it was built in Wales and transported to the present site.

There are varying versions of how it was built, some involving aliens. Even more theories abound on why it was built, the most common it being a burial ground. And yet new theories come up, such as it being a two-story concert hall. New discoveries reveal more information yet raises more questions.

It seems like the more we know about it, the more its mystery deepens.

Perhaps we will never know. What is clear is that people 5,000 years ago started putting order into a bunch of large stones lying around. Perhaps it is a primeval desire of man to seek order in his world and Stonehenge is a symbol of that.
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Order

Remnant of York Castle from the Time of the Vikings

York Castle was built on the orders of William I to dominate the Viking city of York in Northern England in the year 1068.

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Clifford’s Tower, the keep (strongest and most secure part) of the castle, survives to this day and is one of the most distinguishable landmarks of the city.

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It has gone through a tumultuous history involving massacres, fires, explosions and wars.

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It has been used as an office, an armory, a prison, and even a cattle shed over the centuries.

The tower has a commanding view of the city, perhaps only matched by the more famous York Minster in the distance.

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Going down the spiral staircase, one is reminded of how lonely it must have been for the guardsmen as they kept watch over Clifford’s Tower.

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“Human says time goes by –
Time says human goes by.”
― Anonymous

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Heritage
Not quite Evanescent
Survive

A Thatched House in the Cotswolds

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Though thatched dwellings date back to primitive times, they became popular in nineteenth-century England when “the gentry wanted a taste of the good life and the simple pleasures of cottage living.”

I can understand if this longing for the simple pleasures of an idyllic, if idealized, life resonates even louder today.

Fortunately, some people have continued the tradition of thatching and it survives to this day in England.

I guess part of preserving heritage is not just to remind us of what has been but also to inspire us to see what might be.

Heritage

One of the Most Beautiful Sights in Kyoto

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.”
– Benjamin Disraeli

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I may not be as great a traveler as Benjamin Disraeli, but I have seen quite a bit and remember quite a few.

Among those things I’ve seen and remember is the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. I do like temples and, though not a Buddhist, I find it soothing to the soul when I’m in a Zen temple or garden. This one in particular captures harmony between heaven and earth, and also shines in its beautiful setting.

The Golden Pavilion is worth visiting for a sight to remember, if not to soothe one’s soul.
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Some facts about the Golden Pavilion
1. It is a World Heritage Site.
2. The top two stories are covered with gold leaf.
3. The gold is to purify any negative thoughts towards death.
3. Its origin dates back to the 1400s.
More info on the Golden Pavilion here.

Wanderlust
Harmony

We Should Stop and Look at Stained Glass Windows

The world today sometimes makes us feel “broken” in our everyday life, our aches and pains and joys disjointed, we ask “what is the meaning of it all?”

“The easiest thing to do is throw a rock. It’s a lot harder to create a stained glass window.”
– Jon Foreman

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Stained glass windows are made of fragments, like pieces of a puzzle. Only when viewed from afar that they transform into a beautiful whole.

If we stop and step back, maybe we can see how far we have come. In our relationships, the joys we have brought to others, our contribution to the world no matter how small, perhaps we can see a pattern emerging – a beautiful stained glass window in the making.

“People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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Stained glass windows offer a glimpse into something sublime. They tell us that there is something beyond the mundane, that perhaps we can transform ourselves and our world beyond the ordinary.

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Stained glass windows at St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, Czech Republic

Transformation
Shine

A Time Traveler’s Village

Before the Spanish came to the Philippines in the 1500’s, houses were made of light materials such as wood and bamboo. They were called “bahay kubo” (hut house), suited to the tropical climate. When the Spanish came, they brought elements of European architecture such as stone materials, but had to make them sturdier to withstand earthquakes while adopting “bahay kubo” elements to allow for natural ventilation. The hybrid became a unique design called “bahay na bato” (stone house).

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Many of these houses are hundreds of years old, a testament to the sturdiness of the design. Unfortunately, a number of them fell into disrepair and were in danger of being torn down to give way to urban development.

One man decided to save them and put them together in one place. In some cases the houses were dismantled brick by brick, door by door, window by window, and restored.

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This growing collection of restored ancestral houses is now a Heritage Park called Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (Filipino Houses of Acuzar).

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It’s a three-hour drive from Manila but it might as well be three hundred years back in a time machine.

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The Heritage Park is not a re-creation of an actual community that existed, rather it’s a re-creation of an experience of what might have been.

It even has a replica of Escolta, the high-end shopping street of Manila in colonial times.

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Today one can stay in one of the houses as they have been converted to accommodate guests and experience first hand a part of history.

It also has a hotel by the river leading to the sea, and a church.

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Nostalgia overdrive? It’s not without controversy. But I would rather that they be saved for the appreciation of future generations than be lost forever.

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
― George Orwell

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More info (Wiki) on the Heritage Park here.

Official website.