The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. The Library was part of a larger research institution called the Mouseion, which was dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts. The idea of a universal library in Alexandria may have been proposed by Demetrius of Phalerum, an exiled Athenian statesman living in Alexandria, to Ptolemy I Soter, who may have established plans for the Library, but the Library itself was probably not built until the reign of his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The Library quickly acquired many papyrus scrolls, owing largely to the Ptolemaic kings’ aggressive and well-funded policies for procuring texts. It is unknown precisely how many such scrolls were housed at any given time, but estimates range from 40,000 to 400,000 at its height.
The Medak fort, which lies about 100 km from Hyderabad in Medak was built by the local Kakatiya kings and is one really beautiful fort with its complicated architecture. What we should look out for in this 17th Century fort is all its entrances (also named ‘dwarams’) with lions, elephants and other carvings in the form of Simha Dwaram, Gaja Dwaram and others. The mosque that was built in the fort by the Qutub Shahis and is an indication of the culture blend that existed in the Telangana area with its Nizams and the Kakatiya rulers.
Golconda Fort (Urdu: “round hill”), (Telugu Gollakonda: “shepherds’ hill”), is a fortified citadel built by the Qutb Shahi dynasty (c. 1512–1687) as the capital of the Golconda Sultanate, located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. Because of the vicinity of diamond mines, especially Kollur Mine, Golconda flourished as a trade centre of large diamonds, known as the Golconda Diamonds. The region has produced some of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the colourless Koh-i-Noor (now owned by the United Kingdom), the blue Hope (United States), the pink Daria-i-Noor (Iran), the white Regent (France), the Dresden Green (Germany), and the colourless Orlov (Russia), Nizam and Jacob (India), as well as the now lost diamonds Florentine Yellow, Akbar Shah and Great Mogul.
The complex was put by UNESCO on its “tentative list” to become a World Heritage Site in 2014, with others in the region, under the name Monuments and Forts of the Deccan Sultanate (despite there being a number of different sultanates).[
When the First Fleet arrived in January 1788, King was detailed to colonise Norfolk Island for defence and foraging purposes. As Governor of New South Wales, he helped develop livestock farming, whaling and mining, built many schools and launched the colony’s first newspaper. But conflicts with the military wore down his spirit, and they were able to force his resignation.
Philip Gidley King was born at Launceston, England on 23 April 1758, the son of draper Philip King, and grandson of Exeter attorney-at-law John Gidley. He joined the Royal Navy at the age of 12 as captain’s servant, and was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1778. King served under Arthur Phillip who chose him as second lieutenant on HMS Sirius for the expedition to establish a convict settlement in New South Wales. On arrival, in January 1788, King was selected to lead a small party of convicts and guards to set up a settlement at Norfolk Island, leaving Sydney on 14 February 1788 on board HMS Sirius.
Hanna Dmyterko or Anna Dmiterko and later also known as Hanna Ratych (1893 – 1981) was a Ukrainian soldier during World War I. She became a Sergeant in the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, a unit in the Austro-Hungarian Army. Her exploits were reported in the press and she was decorated.
Dmyterko was known in her lifetime as a Ukrainian heroine together with Sofia Galechko, Olena Stepaniv, and Olga Pidvysotska. One of her sons, Volodar Ratych, died in World War II, but Rostislav, Lubomyr and Bohdan survived.
In 1978, Dmyterko was invited (as Mrs. Ratych) to the Fourth conference of Ukrainian seniors, at the Ukrainian centre near New York known as Soyuzivka, where she was honored at a veteran’s lunch. She lived in Edison, New Jersey with her son Rostislav. She died in Montreal in 1981. Her memoirs are second only to those of Olena Stepaniv as a source for those studying Ukrainian women’s experiences in World War I.
The statue of liberty is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken shackle and chain lie at her feet as she walks forward, commemorating the recent national abolition of slavery. After its dedication, the statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, seen as a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving by sea.
Bartholdi was inspired by a French law professor and politician, Édouard René de Laboulaye, who is said to have commented in 1865 that any monument raised to U.S. independence would properly be a joint project of the French and U.S. peoples. The Franco-Prussian War delayed progress until 1875, when Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the U.S. provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions.
The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and in Madison Square Park in Manhattan from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar (equivalent to $30 in 2021). The statue was built in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.
The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and is a major tourist attraction. Public access to the balcony around the torch has been barred since 1916.
The graceful attractions around Agra will make any tourist fall in love with marble inlay. If you find yourself eager to take a piece of this craftsmanship home with you, head to Subhash Emporium. The boutique has a decades-strong reputation as the go-to place to shop for stone handicrafts in Agra.
Inside, you’ll find tons of travel-friendly marble inlay souvenirs, like floral coaster sets, animal statuettes, small boxes, and candle holders. The store also sells larger items, like lamps, tabletops, and carved-marble trays, that it can ship directly to your home.
Even if you don’t want to shop, it’s worth swinging by Subhash Emporium for its captivating demonstrations–one of the top things to do in Agra. The experienced craftspeople here will show you the precise art of inlaying small pieces of polished stone into hard marble–which might make the high prices of these items seem slightly more reasonable.
The Taj Mahal almost seems to extend across the Yamuna River at Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden), a square garden complex measuring 300 meters on each side. It’s the only remaining park in a series of nearly a dozen Mughal-built gardens in the area.
The park has some pretty flowering trees and bushes–a stark improvement from its state in the mid-1990s, when the site was just a mound of sand. The Archeological Survey of India is hard at work restoring Mehtab Bagh and has already planted Mughal-era plants to help bring the site back to its original glory.
The landscape aligns perfectly with the gardens of the Taj, making it one of the best places in Agra to get a view (or a photo) of the stunning structure–especially at sunset. Outside of the gates to the complex, you can shop for Taj Mahal trinkets and other souvenirs from sellers in the area.
On the banks of the Yamuna River sits another one of Agra’s exquisite structures: Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb. The mausoleum contains the remains of Mirza Ghiyas Beg, a Persian official who served the Mughal empire, as well as his wife.
Legend has it that this jewelry box-like tomb was actually the inspiration for the Taj Mahal, earning it the nickname “Baby Taj.” The red sandstone and marble structure features 13-meter-high hexagonal towers on each corner.
The most noteworthy thing about this attraction, though, is that it was the first structure to use pietra dura, the iconic Indian inlay technique that uses semiprecious stones to create decorative floral designs in marble. You’ll see exquisite geometric patterns, depictions of vases and cups, and delicate flower bouquets from floor to ceiling of the graceful structure–reminiscent of those on the Taj Mahal.
Despite its beauty, Itimad-ud-Daulah’s Tomb gets far fewer visitors than other attractions around Agra, making it an ideal place to appreciate the lovely features without the crowds.
The Taj Mahal isn’t the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Agra–the city is also home to Agra Fort, a centuries-old red sandstone fortress that was once the imperial city for a succession of Mughal rulers.
Sightseeing here is like wandering around a city within a city. The most extraordinary building at Agra Fort is Jahangir Mahal, a massive palace that blends stunning Hindu-inspired features (like overhanging enclosed balconies) with Central Asian architectural elements (such as the signature pointed arches). Inside, tourists can see the gilded central court where royal women once passed their days.
Tourists can also check out a range of other noteworthy structures, including Anguri Bagh (a courtyard with puzzle piece-like outlines of gardens around water channels), Khas Mahal (a palace with pavilions made of white marble and red sandstone), Musamman Burj (an octagonal tower with intricate marble inlay work), and Diwan-i-Khas (a gathering hall featuring a pair of black and white marble thrones).
With so much to see, Agra Fort will require at least a few hours on your itinerary. It makes for a great afternoon stop after a morning at the Taj Mahal.