Chapultepec has the rather dubious distinction of being the only castle within North America to ever house actual sovereigns. It was originally constructed in 1725 on the orders of the Viceroy Bernardo de Gálvez, and was meant to be a large manor house for the Viceroy, who was the commander-in-chief of the Spanish colony, New Spain.
Currently the castle is the seat of National Museum of Cultures, which was formerly known as the Museum of Natural History. It was established as such by Lázaro Cárdenas in 1939. In this capacity it is open to visitors who can come and tour both the castle itself and the various collections it now houses. Through the past decades it has become a favorite location of movie directors appearing in both Robert Aldrich’s Vera Cruz and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet.
Mexico City’s mammoth cathedral was built across three centuries (1573–1813)—starting soon after Cortés and his allies vanquished the Aztec Empire—using stones taken from a destroyed indigenous temple. Today’s sanctuary serves up contrasts between unadorned neoclassical walls alongside exuberant gilt chapels and altarpieces as well as a massive pipe organ, with some baroque elements, that’s still dusted off and played from time to time. Be sure not to miss the high altar, and consider shelling out for a visit to the sacristy, with its glistening dome, grand canvases, and massive cabinets, fit to hold an archbishop’s entire stock of holy utensils. And for a queasy view of how much the ground beneath the city is sinking, note how chandeliers appear to list in comparison to the chapel’s vertical lines.
Built on an islet in the center of the lake, the city of Mexico grew up with a network of canals and artificial islands, making the Templo Mayor take place. The Spanish conquerors built he Metropolitan Cathedral on top of it, so the memory of the old and imposing pre-Hispanic Temple was lost for centuries. In the late 70s, workers from the electricity company accidentally found structures that the archaeologists identified as the sought temple.
Fortunately, today you can visit a large dug up section in a good state of conservation. You can admire sections of the temples dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the lord of war, and Tlaloc, lord of the rain. Between the walls of several sections of the temple, there are altars, snakes carved in stone and an imposing Tzompantli, which is a wall covered with representations of skulls, this because the Aztecs worshipped the dead, tradition maintained by Mexicans.
*The Monumental Clock of Pachuca, created with white quarry and with similar equipment of Big Ben, the clock marks the centenary of the Independence of Mexico and was inaugurated on September 15, 1910.
It is a small but charming “Magical Town”, just 4 hours away from Acapulco, nestled in an area surrounded by great hills and mountains, thanks to the intense exploitation of its silver deposits. Its people still live from the commerce and manufacture of objects that the precious metal alloys; the baroque constructions raised during the mining boom of the Colony are still preserved.
Any terrace is good to contemplate those jewels of the past, the new and small must be sought among the cobbled streets that go up and down everywhere. In addition, Taxco has a peculiar beauty, because this magnificent Magical Town has the ability to transport us to another time and space, just to the time of colonial Mexico.
Its beautiful cobblestone streets are characterized by its inclination, and almost all of them lead to beautiful little squares where it is possible to walk, visit the kiosk or sit on one of their benches.
The Republic of the Río Grande® Museum is housed in one of Laredo’s oldest structures located on San Agustín Plaza in downtown Laredo. The museum is a Mexican vernacular structure, constructed in 1830 with an 1860 addition.
Once home to both fur traders and fighter pilots, Fort Vancouver offers an authentic look at life in the Pacific Northwest through the past 200 years. Located just across the Columbia River from Portland in Vancouver, Wash., the region’s only national historic site is centered around a complete replica of Fort Vancouver, the fur-trading camp founded by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1825.
Chichen Itza is probably the most important city of the Mayan Culture in the Yucatan peninsula and has the most amazing buildings of any other Mayan ancient cities. Chichen Itza is also the largest and most impressive of the Mayan ruins, is an spectacular and mystical place to visit, if you only want to do one day trip during your vacation in Cancun, this should be this one.
Chichen-Itza (chee-chehn eet-sah) in Maya, was a sacred city of the Itza and the name literally means: "Mouth of the well of the Itza". Located 75 miles east of Merida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, Mexico; it covers an area of approximately six square miles where hundreds of buildings once stood. Now most are mounds but more than thirty may still be seen by tourists.
The ruins of Chichen Itza are divided into two groups. One group belongs to the classic Maya Period and was built between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D., at which time the city became a prominent ceremonial center. The other group corresponds to the Maya-Toltec Period, from the later part of the 10th century to the beginning of the 13th century A.D. This area includes the Sacred Well and most of the outstanding ruins.
Father of Belize's Independence 1981 and Founder of the City of Belmopan 1970.
A man who has dedicated fifty eight years of his life to the Government and people of Belize.
As First Minister, he initiated the process for Belize to become an independent country, which finally occurred in 1981. After independence, Price became the first Prime Minister of Belize and served in various government posts until 1996. In 2000, Price became the first person to be given the Order of National Hero, the highest honor in Belize.
Located in the heart of Belize City, St. John’s Cathedral is one of the few physical legacies of the long period as a British colony. Built in 1812 as the Church of England’s headquarters in Central America, the cathedral was once used to crown four different native kings of the Miskito tribe in lavish ceremonies matching the pomp and circumstances of coronations in Europe. Today, the cathedral is the oldest surviving building constructed by Europeans in Belize.
Using the enormous ballast stones brought over from Europe, English colonizers in what was then known as British Honduras erected the mighty St. John’s Cathedral as the power base of the Church of England in Central America. Visitors today can marvel at the well-preserved architecture made from sapodilla and mahogany wood, an antique pipe organ and tombstones of English colonists from the earliest days of the settlement of Belize City.
A 1792 French Creole plantation house authentically restored with outbuildings and gardens covering 15 acres. This landmark is a unique southern Louisiana landmark because of its age, quality of restoration, and outstanding collections. Magnolia Mound's mission is to illustrate and interpret the lifestyle of the French Creoles through educational programs, workshops, lectures, festivals, and other special events. The property includes a historic museum house, an open-hearth kitchen, overseer's house, quarter house, crop garden pigeonnier and carriage house.
Built in 1963 when Jimmy Davis was Governor of Louisiana, the Mansion is located on Capitol Lake near the State Capitol. Because so many antebellum mansions were being destroyed by fire and neglect, Gov. and Mrs. Davis instructed the architects to design a mansion in the Greek Revival style, which was the dominant style in Louisiana after 1830. This period marks a distinct departure from earlier Louisiana architecture. The Mansion contains a total of 25,000 square feet of space in three floors and a basement.
For a full 13 blocks, Royal Street runs parallel to Bourbon Street, yet this thoroughfare – one of the finest stretches of art galleries, antique stores, wrought iron balconies, restaurants and architecture in the USA – is sometimes almost completely missed by visitors. This is a real shame; beyond the qualities we’ve just described, Royal Street makes a nice counterbalance to the neon and noise of Bourbon.
Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes del Morro (Morro Castle) was erected between 1589 and 1630 to protect the mouth of the Havana port from pirates and invaders. The fortress stands on a rocky promontory known as El Morro, over the Atlantic. It was the King of Spain who ordered the castle to be built and appointed Juan de Texeda, a field commander, and Batista Antonelli, a military architect, to lead the works. The castle was originally planned to have an irregular polygonal shape, with three-meter-thick walls and deep moats.
The castle is an perfect example of renaissance military architecture, and is endowed with an harmonic elegance that melds with its natural surroundings through a series of terraces fused to the rock.
Nowadays, the castle offers impressive views of the sea and Havana. The lighthouse that crowns its tower was added in 1844 and helps guide ships docking in the port.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle in Old Havana, Cuba, one of Cuba’s most ancient castles. It is a great sample of military architecture during the Spain's rule over the Caribbean. It is located in the Plaza de Armas Square in Old Havana facing the sea. The Castle, as well as the rest of the old city’s fortifications, has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle is the oldest fortress still preserved in all the Americas. It was built between 1558 and 1577, in the same location where a fort was destroyed by French pirates in 1555. The west tower is crowned by the copy of a well-known bronze weathervane called La Giraldilla. The original was made in Havana in 1630 and is quite similar to the Giralda of Seville.
In the past, Fort George used to defend Grand Cayman from attacks by Spanish marauders from Cuba; though piracy on the high seas was over by this time, there was still frequent lawless activity.
The fort was also used as a coastal lookout for enemy ships as recently as World War II. Despite its small size, Grand Cayman was said to have had both German and British spies present during World War II, and a US Naval base was set up in the area behind the George Town Public Library. Caymanians did much to aid the allied efforts and several also enlisted in Trinidad to support the British during the war.
Discover the unique heritage and culture of Cayman via this lovingly restored window into the 18th century that’s only a 20-minute drive from George Town.
At a time in the Cayman Islands when most people lived in tiny, thatch-covered houses, a wealthy Englishman, using slave labour from Jamaica, created an astonishing 3-storey building called Pedro St. James.
In the 1990s, the Government of the Cayman Islands purchased Pedro St. James and painstakingly restored the Great House to the splendour of its 18th-century heritage.
Today, visitors can stroll through the imposing edifice with its period furniture and authentic artefacts to experience what life was like so long ago in Cayman’s history.
The first lighthouse on Grand Cayman was erected at Gun Bluff in the early 1900s, which is approximately a half-mile from the present site of the East End Lighthouse Park. This was required under the Justices and Vestry’s East End Light Law (1906). A 60-foot ship’s mast stood on the Bluff and William James Watler was hired as a lightkeeper to ensure that a kerosene lantern was hoisted to the top of the mast at 6:00pm every evening and lowered at 6:00am every morning. A fine “not exceeding forty shillings” was to be imposed on him if it was discovered that he had been lax in his duties. The light could be seen 10 miles out to sea.
The lighthouse at Gorling Bluff served until 1937, when the British Government gave order for five modern “navigational lights” to be erected around the coasts of all three Cayman Islands. The lights were to be placed on Crown Property, however, so that same year the Crown acquired Gorling Bluff. The replacement lighthouse was constructed by Mr. Morell from England, and it is this light which serves to the present day, though it is now solar-powered. Part of the wooden frame of the previous lighthouse remains, but the old kerosene lamp is now in the Cayman Islands National Museum.
The Henry B. Plant Museum is housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Victorian railroad resort that defined the elegant frontier, now a National Historic Landmark. Unlike most museums dedicated to lifestyles of the past, it contains the actual furnishings enjoyed by the first guests to visit here. The Museum accurately reflects the opulence of turn-of-the-century America and the vision of American transportation pioneer, Henry B. Plant.
The Museum seeks to transport the visitor through educational exhibits and events to the late Victorian period, the beginning of Florida’s tourist industry, and the early years of the city of Tampa.
At Dudley Farm, a one-of-a-kind authentic 325-acre working “Cracker” farm, you will see the evolution of North Florida farming through the eyes of three generations of the Dudley family; from the pioneer days circa 1850 through the introduction of gasoline-powered equipment circa 1945.
Dudley Farm Historic State Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some highlights include a visitor center, park staff in period clothing performing chores, production and harvest of heritage crop varieties and sugar cane, raising of heritage livestock varieties including Cracker cows and Barred Rock chickens, family farmhouse with original furnishings, general store and post office, 1880s kitchen outbuilding, cane syrup complex with autumn cane grinding, boiling, bottling, seasonal corn shucking, nature trail and picnic area.
A modern day world marvel, it’s worth the journey down south to the Coral Castle Museum in Homestead. As a tribute to his long lost love, a tiny Latvian immigrant who only weighed 100 pounds, moved and sculpted more than 1,000 tons of coral rock for nearly 30 years, until the project was completed in 1951. The feat has baffled scientists and engineered for years.
Since 1923 Scientists, Engineers, Scholars continue to be amazed! See a hand-carved 9-ton gate, a Polaris telescope, the world’s only Sundial with seasons. Enjoy a movie short about the mysteries of Coral Castle, its creator; Edward Leedskalnin. Relax at the Coral Castle Café and enjoy the delicious gourmet menu. Visit the unique gift shop with Coral Castle collectables, science, natural stones, jewelry and much more!
Hidden in modern North Miami Beach, the Ancient Spanish Monastery takes us back. An enclave of European architecture and history, this Florida Heritage site—which was originally built in Sacramenia, a municipality of Segovia in northern Spain—has endured a long and interesting history to become the South Florida monument we know and love today.
“The Ancient Spanish Monastery is a little piece of Spanish history,” says Father Gregory Mansfield, Curator of the Ancient Spanish Monastery Museum & Gardens. “Construction began in 1133 AD, almost 360 years before Columbus left Spain and arrived in the Americas, and it took eight years to complete. There are over 35,000 stones, some of which weigh a ton and a half.”
In the 21st century, the Ancient Spanish Monastery serves as both a peek into history and a tourist attraction. At the entrance to the property, there’s a museum with historic Spanish artifacts like a hymnarium and pieces of armor worn during the Crusades. In that same building, there is also a gift shop with souvenirs available for purchase.
The Atlanta History Center is located in one of Atlanta’s most vibrant neighborhoods where the stories, mysteries and crusades of our region thrive. Our 33-acre experience features award-winning exhibitions, historic houses, enchanting gardens, interactive activities and a variety of year-round adult and family programs.
The Storytellers Museum is in a historic building that started as a general store; later, Johnny Cash converted it into his “Little Stage,” where his “Saturday Night in Hickman County” guitar pulls took place. For an unforgettable experience, come see the one-of-a-kind memorabilia and never-before-shown video footage of Johnny Cash; every visit includes a 20-minute Live Concert!
The Alexander Majors House is one only four surviving antebellum houses in Kansas City, Missouri, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1856 for the family of Alexander Majors, the house served as both a family home and as the headquarters for Majors’ successful freighting company. The Majors House was built facing westward, overlooking what was then the Kansas Territory.
Originally, the Majors House had nine rooms and nine fireplaces—one in each room. It boasts original floors of virgin white pine—non-existent today. The walls were originally plastered with white lime and hog-hair. The house’s main rooms consisted of an office, parlor, and dining room on the first floor, and three bedrooms and a family parlor on the second floor. Before the rear additions were constructed in the early 1900s, the Majors family’s kitchen was a detached outbuilding or lean-to.
Visit with Jamaica's Rastafari people. Warm and welcoming, they are happy to share with you their values of equality, healthy living and connectedness with nature.
Located just outside Montego Bay, Rastafari Indigenous Village is a living cultural center that offers you an opportunity to experience the Rastafari way of life. Whether you choose a half or full-day tour, you'll have the unique opportunity to connect with Rastafarians and learn more about their culture and values. You'll be introduced to drum makers who create traditional drums by hand, using techniques that have been passed down through generations. You can tour an organic vegetable and herb garden and learn more about why the Rastafari choose to follow a vegan diet, and what are its benefits. You can then have a meal with the Rastafari, and taste for yourself. A small store offers traditional handicrafts and jewellery. The tour concludes with a performance of traditional drumming and singing in the center of the village.
The Jesse James Birthplace Museum contains the largest collection of James family artifacts in the world. Tour the home where Jesse was born and raised alongside his also-infamous brother Frank. Jesse’s grave site at Kearney’s Mount Olivet Cemetery draws thousands of visitors each year, as does the Jesse James Festival, which takes place each September.
Buffalo Bill Cody remains the ultimate Old West icon. One of his final wishes was to be buried on Lookout Mountain above Denver, and his grave site at Lookout Mountain Park is free to visit. As part of the Denver Mountain Parks system, the park offers an engaging museum dedicated to the life and times of Buffalo Bill and his internationally known Wild West show, a curio shop and café located in the historic log Pahaska Tepee building, short walking and hiking trails, a picnic area featuring one of the oldest mountain rustic picnic shelters in the Denver Mountain Parks system, and sweeping vistas from mountain to plain. While you’re there, look for Sitting Bull’s eagle feather headdress in the museum, have a buffalo burger at the café, and enjoy a rustic mountain experience only 12 miles from Denver.
One of the oldest and most historic regions of the country, Port Royal has maintained much of its independence as well as its heritage. Once the enclave of pirates and other outlaws, there is still a strong seafaring tradition. Much of the old city, described in the 17th century as the "wickedest city in the west", lies underwater beside the town, the result of an earthquake that in 1692 swallowed about two-thirds of the then-living space. Since then, another earthquake in 1907, numerous hurricanes, fires, and various population-decimating diseases have plagued the town. Despite all, the waters around Port Royal are a virtual archaeological gold mine, filled with pieces of history that tell of everyday life in the earliest days of English occupation. Port Royal is also home to the Archaeological Division of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), which recently completed a sonar survey of the underwater city, revealing a sunken pirate ship in the Kingston Harbour. To date thousands of artefacts have been recovered, and there are plans to develop a local museum to showcase these items once the research on them is complete.
The first fort to be erected in Port Royal was Fort Charles. It was built in the late 1650-60 and was originally called Fort Cromwell but was renamed Fort Charles. The fort underwent several changes between 1656 -1670. In 1667, the fort had 36 guns and by 1765 it had 104 guns and a garrison with 500 men.
The Culture Yard today hosts a small museum which presents the phenomenal history of Trench Town along with articles, instruments and furnishing used by Tata Ford, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. The original 1940's buildings have been restored to their former glory and the site is truly a heritage tourism destination.
Liberty Hall located at 76 King Street, Kingston was the centre of activities for the Kingston division of The U.N.I.A. It was acquired in 1923 for eight hundred pounds sterling (£800). The two-storey building was the first meeting hall in Jamaica that was fully owned and operated by blacks. It was the home to plays, concerts, dances, elocution pieces, adult and children's choirs. One famous play, which took place here, was the "Slave Ship", which recaptured the horrors of the Middle Passage.
Liberty Hall was so named because of Garvey's great admiration for the Irish independence movement and the Irish Transport and General Workers Union whose headquarters in Dublin was named Liberty Hall in 1912. It was at this place, described as "the fortress of the militant working class of Ireland" that many plans were made for Irish self-determination, and Garvey saw the U.N.I.A struggle as being akin to that of the Irish.
Liberty Hall is decked in colours red, black and green, which are of much significance. The red denotes the blood of the Negro race nobly shed in the past and dedicated to the future; black represents the colour of the skin and green represents a promise of a better life in Africa. This monument stands as a proud reminder to all Jamaicans, and indeed to all visitors of the works and achievements of the great visionary and National Hero the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
24 Tucker Avenue is the former residence of the late Sir Alexander Bustamante. In 1940 Bustamante was held in detention at Up Park Camp for allegedly inciting workers to protest against low wages and poor working conditions. From this location he instructed his attorneys from the legal firm Judah and Randall, to build a home on the half-acre of land he had brought in 1939.
Bustamante's attorneys had the house completed within a year and around the same time Bustamante was released from detention camp. The house was at first rented for a couple of years before it was occupied by Bustamante. The building is a contemporary style 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom concrete house with a combined hip and gable end and timber shingle roof finish. Louvre windows are reflected throughout the design, with the exception of the pivoted sash windows of the bathrooms.
This Tucker Avenue home now has its place in Jamaica's history because a National Hero lived there and because of the eventful conferences which took place there.
The house is now open to the public as the Bustamante Museum and consists of a multimedia exhibition with artifacts on display.
Everyone wants the inside scoop on Casco Viejo, Panama's most charismatic neighborhood. Today, Casco Viejo (aka. Casco Antiguo, San Felipe or El Casco) is a vibrant community consisting of a sharp contrast of old and new, local and foreign. The buildings are in various stages or redevelopment and renovation, with a strictly enforced standard of Historical Authenticity. There is tremendous culture and a feeling which is unique only to this neighborhood in Panama.