Tag Archives: national monument

USA 2019 – 05 The Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC (2019-10-25) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 01 DEC 2020

Like the nearby Washington Monument, or the Statue of Liberty, or the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Eiffel Tower, or even our beloved Table Mountain, the incredibly special Lincoln Memorial is one of those iconic landmark pieces that filmmakers are able to (and often do) use so that you immediately know just exactly where in the world this story is currently taking place. As such, the opportunity to experience such an incredibly important American landmark in person was enough to make me giddy with excitement!

Of course, the Lincoln Memorial is a lot more important to the fabric of American society than just a landmark. The memorial honors Abraham Lincoln, the 16th and perhaps greatest of US presidents, a statesman and lawyer that before his assassination in 1865 managed to lead the nation through the American Civil War, earmarked as one of the country’s greatest moral, constitutional, and political crises, and in doing so, succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy. In short, the memorial serves to symbolize his belief in the freedom and dignity of all people, and as such has featured prominently in almost all campaigns for equality (especially in terms of race relations) across the broad spectrum of people that call themselves American.

The architect commissioned for the job was Henry Bacon, who went on to draw inspiration from the great neoclassical temples, with the end result being this incredibly beautiful and stoic Greek Doric temple which contains an exquisite and large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln (designed by Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli Brothers) flanked by excerpts from both his second inaugural address and his Gettysburg address. Clad in Yule marble quarried from Colorado, the structure is surrounded by 36 fluted columns, above which are inscribed the names of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death.

Shuffled off to the side is a TINY little gift shop, while below the structure is a small underground museum, which delivers some history about Lincoln as well as the memorial itself, expanding on in particular its role as a race relations center. Stretching out in front of the memorial, all the way through to the World War II memorial, is the Lincoln Reflecting Pool, a massive canal of still water that completes the design and turns the whole affair into this really special space of self-reflection that has a certain air of tranquility about it – despite the overwhelming hordes of tourists that make the pilgrimage to see this very important piece of American history!

The Lions of Rhodes Memorial in Cape Town (2017-06-24) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 17 NOV 2017

I’ve written about the Rhodes Memorial on these pages before,  and earlier in June I took my two girls up the slopes of Devil’s Peak to go and see this unique, classically inspired memorial to the English-born South African politician Cecil John Rhodes.

Firstly, if you have never seen this national monument in person before, then the Sir Herbert Baker and Francis Macey designed structure sitting on the flank of Table Mountain (above my old alma mater UCT for that matter) is guaranteed to impress.

(Well, that said, the girls didn’t really think it was all that. The liked the stairs and the horse, but as far as what they were concerned, the most exciting bit was  the prospect of being allowed to take a photo or two with my phone camera, a promise that I had to make before we had even exited the car!)

Flanked by eight lions (cast by J.W. Swan and modeled upon those protecting Nelson column in Trafalgar Square), the memorial is fronted by the dynamic ‘Statue of Energy’, an imposing horse with rider sculpture – said to be a tribute to Rhodes’ restless drive and determination.

49 granite steps (one for each year of his life) then lead you to the main viewing platform which is adorned with a classic arrangement of Doric columns, the center at which stands the bronze bust of Cecil John Rhodes himself.

At this point of the photos, you might of course notice something slightly out of place.

Sadly, during the populist anti-colonialism outcry (complete with symbol defacement) that took place throughout South Africa in 2016, a few activists tried to behead the bust, ultimately failing in their attempt but doing enough damage so as to leave Rhodes without his nose.

As you might imagine, this does rather spoil the whole effect.

The site is also home to a popular tea garden and restaurant (makes sense when you consider the gorgeous view over Cape Town to be had from this location), and is also the starting base for a couple of popular Table Mountain hikes.

(The hour long walk to the King’s Blockhouse being one of those).

For the record, we didn’t pop in to the tea garden because we still had quite a few other interesting things to get to on the day (Llandudno Beach, Hout Bay Harbour, and World of Birds to be exact), but the girls were okay with that – after all, I did let them fool around with my phone camera for a bit…

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A visit to Rhodes Memorial doesn’t take particularly long, and no matter your view on colonialism or the likes of people like Cecil John Rhodes, it is worth a visit just for the architecture and view alone!

Related Link: Rhodes Memorial | Rhodes Memorial Tea Garden

Things to See in South Africa: The Arderne Gardens in Cape Town Travel Attractions 10 FEB 2016

If you are in Cape Town and want an incredible collection of indigenous trees, go to the magnificent Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. However, if you are looking for something a little more exotic, then the stunning Arderne Gardens is certainly not going to disappoint!

arderne gardens with its champion trees in claremont, cape town, south africa 1

Arderne Gardens is a public park and arboretum in Claremont, Cape Town, located in the Western Cape of South Africa. It was established by in 1845 by Ralph Henry Arderne, a timber merchant originally from Cheshire, England. In 1979, the park was named a South African Provincial Heritage Site, and is currently managed by City Parks of the City of Cape Town and the non-profit organisation Friends of the Arderne Gardens.

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Weighing in at 4.5 hectares large, Arderne Gardens contain one of the richest collections of exotic trees and shrubs in South Africa, with more than 300 different species of trees (from literally all over the world) represented. In addition to its Japanese Garden and duck and fish ponds, it also features six Champion Trees, namely the massive Morton Bay Fig (one of the largest trees in South Africa), a Cork Oak, an Aleppo Pine (possibly the largest in the world), the Norfolk Island Pine, a Turkish Oak, and a Queensland Kauri.

arderne gardens with its champion trees in claremont, cape town, south africa 3

In terms of history, the park forms part of the original Stellenberg estate, which was acquired by Ralph Henry Arderne (1802-1885) in 1845. He named it The Hill, and began to collect trees, shrubs and perennials from around the world. His elder son, Henry Matthew Arderne (1834-1914), was equally enthusiastic as a collector of plants and together the Ardernes had intended to create a garden containing the representatives of all the flora of the world, sourcing many of their trees and shrubs from Australia and New Zealand via trading them for local plants with passing ships.

The Hill was sold in 1914, and subsequently subdivided, with a portion of 4,5 hectares being registered in favour of the Council of the City of Cape Town in July 1928. It was this section that became known as Arderne Gardens in 1961.

arderne gardens with its champion trees in claremont, cape town, south africa 4

The beautiful gardens with its ponds, lawns and shady nooks makes it a popular city retreat for Capetonians, and thus well worth visiting if you want to see something slightly different from the local flora that nearby Kirstenbosch has on offer!

arderne gardens with its champion trees in claremont, cape town, south africa 5

arderne gardens with its champion trees in claremont, cape town, south africa 6

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arderne gardens with its champion trees in claremont, cape town, south africa 8

arderne gardens with its champion trees in claremont, cape town, south africa 9

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(Select photos courtesy of Marie Frei at the Friends of the Arderne Gardens)

Related Link: Arderne Gardens | Friends of Arderne Gardens