Monday, May 17, 2010

PICTURESQUE MEDIEVAL EUROPEAN TOWNS & VILLAGES

I love Europe, and these pictures make me love the continent even more.

1. EGUISHEIM, Alsace, France


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Who could fail to fall under the spell of this charming village in France, where it almost seems like time does not exist? Eguisheim, with its winding cobbled streets and its flower-decked traditional medieval half-timbered houses, is one of France's most idyllic villages. This mostly German-speaking village in the Haut-Rhin country of Alsace, France is notable for, and largely devoted to, producing high-quality Alsace wine.

Eguisheim is also known for its round layout with the famous statue of Pope Leo IX in the central main square. Pope Leo IX was born in Eguisheim, and was Pope from 1049 until 1054. Leo or Leon is still a popular name in Eguisheim, and there are many wine makers with the name: Leon Beyer, Leon Baur, and others.



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Official site of the village of Eguisheim

2. COLMAR, Alsace, France


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Colmar, the capital of central Alsace, with its ±67,000 inhabitants – much larger than the ±2000 of Eguisheim – still, despite its size, retains a 'country town' atmosphere which contributes so much to its charm. Colmar offers visitors a glimpse into a 1000 years of European history. Amazingly preserved from the ravages of time, its homogenous historical centre is classed as a 'protected area' and has benefited from careful restoration and ongoing improvements for more than 20 years (via).

Colmar's secular and religious architectural landmarks reflect eight centuries of Germanic and French architecture and the adaptation of their respective stylistic language to the local customs and building materials (pink and yellow Vosges sandstone, timber framing). The medieval centre of this historic town has fine overhanging timber-framed buildings, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, a dream for the keen photographer.


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Official site of the village of Colmar

3. PYRGI, Chios, Greece


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The village of Pyrgi, a fortresslike complex of narrow streets, tightly packed houses and arches, with a ruined tower-dungeon at its center is one of the most beautiful villages of Chios Town in Greece. It has a population of about 1200 inhabitants. It was named after the central medieval tower that still stands in the village and has maintained its traditional architecture.

Pyrgi is also called the ‘painted village’ because of the superb decoration of its houses: grey and white geometrical shapes decorate the facades of the houses, in a style originating from Italy, when Chios was under the occupation of the Franks. The outer layer of cement is painted white and then geometric shapes (triangles, chevrons, circles, etc.) are scraped away.

Like in the other medieval villages of the island, the stone houses of Pyrgi are built close one to each other, forming a defensive wall. Narrow stone-paved streets, superb churches, unique architecture and balconies full of flowers and sun-dried tomatoes are composing the magical scenery of the village of Pyrgi.


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4. STEIN AM RHEIM, Schaffhausen, Switzerland


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Stein am Rhein, with its 3,182 residents, is a municipality in the state of Schaffhausen in Switzerland. The town has a well-preserved medieval centre, retaining the ancient street plan. The site of the city wall, and the city gates are preserved, though the former city wall now consists of houses. The medieval part of the town has been pedestrianized and many of the medieval buildings are painted with beautiful frescoes.

Stein am Rhein is home to a number of buildings that are listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance. There are three churches on the list; the former monastery church of St. Georg, the former Benedictine monastery church of St. Georgen and the Castle Church (Kirche auf Burg). Stein am Rhein received the first Wakker Prize for the preservation of its architectural heritage in 1972. The award noted that Stein am Rhein was nearly unique in Switzerland and rare in all of Europe for the number of notable buildings in a compact space. It also noted the excellent care with which the city was preserved.

Stein Am Rhein official site


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© Pamela Henwood


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5. ROTHENBURG, Bavaria, Germany


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The Altstadt (old town) of Rothenburg Germany is a patchwork of winding cobbled lanes lined with picturesque half timbered houses. No other town in Germany brings you closer to the spirit of the Middle Ages - especially the medieval festivals like the so called "Master's draught" let you truly get in touch with its moving history.

What makes Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany even more exciting is its reputation as town of eternal Christmas. All year round lots of shops offer beautiful handcrafted Christmas gifts and souveniers. In December the town gets realy crowded, because nobody wants to miss the famous Christmas Market, one of the most romantic ones in Germany.


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Official Rothenburg tourist site

6. BIBURY, Gloucestershire, England


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Bibury, a small village in England’s Cotsworlds – with its weavers cottages, Saxon architecture and trout farm – is one of the most romantic villages in the world.

The Cotsworlds Hills is not only a beautiful natural sight but the oolitic limestones they are formed from was the was the ideal building material during the medieval times. The Cotsworlds divides the heart of England from the North Sea, stretching through the counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

Bibury, with its honey-coloured 17th-century stone cottages with steeply pitched roofs, was once described by William Morris as "the most beautiful village in England”. The cottages were built by weavers who supplied cloths for fulling at nearby Arlington Mill. Bibury is in fact two small villages separated by the River Coln. On the one side Bibury and on the other, Arlington. The history of Bibury dates back to at least the Iron Age and there are remains of a hill fort above the village.

Bibury's most popular tourist attraction is the row of weavers cottages in Arlington Row. Henry Ford once tried to buy entire row and transport it to a theme park in Michigan. In 1929 the row was purchased by Royal Society of Arts and it has now been restored by the National Trust.


Rooftop Repetition by Pam Brophy




Arlington Mill in Bibury by Steve Daniels


The Swan Hotel Bibury by Pam Brophy

9 comments:

  1. Vrouwen, Ik ben een inwoner van het pittoreske stadje Rothenburg. Wij, de mensen van Rothenburg zijn ziek en moe van alle toeristische wo bezoekt ons op een constante basis. We zijn moe van de klootzakken die wil om ons te vragen al deze qeustions over onze geschiedenis! Ze brengen ook allerlei evels aan onze prachtige dorp heeft. Dus stop met bemoedigende mensen om ons te bezoeken!

    Met vriendelijke groet,

    Hans Pussenpawer

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  2. thank you for posting these beautiful pictures

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  3. the buildings have a lot of lines as their decorations on the outside

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  4. this is very beautifull, like in comic or fairy tail.
    i'm blogger from Bali

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  5. THANK YOU FOR SHARING SO MUCH BEAUTY...BROUGHT LIGHT TO MY DAY...:)

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  6. If you want to see man made beauty, go to Europe!

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  7. I think Frodo will appear!

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