Editor-in-Chief & Publisher: MIR JAVED RAHMAN


Architectural love story


Issue Date 11 - 17 Feb, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Architectural love story

Castles are great architectural works that reflect the art of a particular time; however, there are some castles that were built as a token of love. Expression of love is divinely romantic but erecting castles in the name of love is unmatchable. Nevertheless, love and tragedy are reoccurring themes to these castles.

1. Boldt Castle on Heart Island, New York
George Boldt gifted this five-acre castle estate to his beloved wife, Louise on Valentine’s Day in 1905. Located on the Heart Island, the castle has a medieval and Victorian architectural style. It was supposed to be an eleven-building complex, but four years after the construction started, Louise passed away and Boldt halted work and never returned to the island. The splendid structure fell into ruins until 1977 when Thousand Island Bridge Authority acquired the property and restored the castle.

2. Taj Mahal in Agra, India
The marble-clad masterpiece is one of the most magnificent architectural token of love but it was built as a mausoleum, in memory of lost love. Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan enlisted a board of architects to build a tomb after the death of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. While the dome of the mausoleum and its four standing minarets are built out of white marble, all the outlying buildings within the Taj Mahal complex are primarily built out of red sandstone, combining Persian, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles.

3. Swallow’s Nest Castle in Crimean, Ukraine
Originally named ‘The Castle of Love’, Swallow’s Nest Castle is the most romantic castles of Neo-gothic style. This castle began as a wooden cottage and was used as a lover’s nest. It was built by a German noble in 1912, who used it as his honeymoon getaway. Today the two-story castle is open to tourists.

4. Dobroyd Castle in Todmorden, England
Started as a promise of love, this castle soon turned into a honeymoon home. John Fielden, son of a wealthy insdustrialist, fell in love with a local weaver girl, Ruth Stansfield. Fielden proposed to her, but she said she would marry him if he would promise to build her a castle on a hill. The initials of the couple were engraved in a dozen places – the monograms JFR carved into the Devon marble and Caen stone, as a testimony to their love. However, the couple separated when Ruth was sent to school in Switzerland.

5. Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah, Malaysia
Built by Scottish planter William Kellie Smith for his wife Agnes Smith, Kellie’s Castle is Malaysia’s oldest castle. Construction began in 1915, combining three architectural styles – Greco-Roman, Moorish, and Indian. Smith went to fetch a lift for the castle tower from England, where he died of pneumonia. The castle remains unfinished and the ruins are rumoured to be haunted.

6. Stratford Castle in Durban, South Africa
Stratford Castle started off as a kiss of inspiration from true love. The Castle’s cornerstone on the North wing is engraved with Sir Walter Raleigh’s immortal words: “But true love is a durable fire, In the mind ever burning; Never sick, never old, never dead; From itself never turning.” The castle was built upon the spirit of those lovely words.

7. Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida
A man named Ed Leedskalnin spent 28 years building this castle after he was dumped by his fiancé the day before their wedding. Leedskalnin claimed to know the secrets of the great pyramids. Yet neither his knowledge nor his devotion to his lost love brought her back to him. It has, however, brought thousands of visitors to Coral Castle.


VALENTINE’S DAY
HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
VALENTINE’S DAY

Various fanciful legends have clouded the history of Valentine’s Day. The roots of this day are in the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. Pope Gelasius I
recast this pagan festival as a Christian feast day circa 496 AD, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine's Day. Because there were at least three early Christian saints by that name, which St. Valentine was honoured remains a mystery. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14. Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine was a priest who attracted the disfavour of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270 AD. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine." Probably the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not focused on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion.
In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar, removing the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable.
St. Valentine was one of the casualties. It was not until the 14th century that this Christian feast day became definitively associated with love and has since become a universal day to celebrate love.

WEEK IN HISTORY




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