Tag Archives: ruins

Romania – UNESCO – Dacian Fortesses

Built in murus dacicus style, the six Dacian Fortresses of the Orăștie Mountains, in Romania, were created in the 1st centuries BC and AD as protection against Roman conquest.

Their extensive and well-preserved remains present a picture of a vigorous and innovative ancient civilization. Today, treasure-hunters sometimes search the area, as Romania lacks legislation in this domain.

The six fortresses – Sarmizegetusa Regia, Costeşti-Cetăţuie, Costeşti-Blidaru, Piatra Roşie, Băniţa and Căpâlna – that formed the defensive system of Decebalus were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, as well as the settlement and fortifications at Feţele Albe.

Dacian Fortress of Sarmizegetusa Regia


The town of Sarmizegetusa Regia was the capital and major fortress of the Dacian kingdom, probably built in the mid first century BCE. It consisted of perimeter walls and fortifications, a sacred precinct, and a settlement area primarily for nobles and supporting servants. It was located at the top of a 1200 meter hill with excellent visibility of the surrounding lands. The sacred precinct was on the east side of the town, with a prominent plaza and circular shrines. There were two settlement areas one on the east side and a larger one on the west. In addition to dwellings they included workshops, storage buildings, and agricultural processing areas. Notable for the time is a distribution system for drinking water that used ceramic pipes.

Dacian Fortess of Costești – Blidaru

Czech Republic – Frydstejn Castle

The ruins of Frýdštejn Castle can be found in the Liberec Region, Czech Republic, near the town Turnov. It is one of three castles in Jablonec nad Nisou District. A typical rock castle, it lies on the upper end of a long sandstone rock ridge, next to the village of Frýdštejn (former Zásada). The castle dominates the nearby Jizera river valley and the old trade route from Turnov to the north.

Frýdštejn was constructed during 14th century (exact date is not known). It is mentioned for the first time in a church source from 1385. Being owned by a Catholic it was besieged by Hussites in August 1432 but its lord had agreed to cease hostilities and later joined the Hussites. The castle had changed owners several times. After a sale in 1556 it lost its function as a watchtower and at the end of 16th century it was no longer inhabited. During the Thirty Years’ War marauders, deserters, and fugitives of every kind found shelter here.

The public has been allowed to visit the ruins since the 1890s, when the Turnov Adornment Club bought it from the Prince of Rohan, who lived in Sychrov Castle. The club had the conserved masonry reinforced. Archaeological findings from this period are available in the Turnov Museum. Today the castle is owned by the village Frýdštejn, which preserves its current state.

Cyprus – Paphos – Tombs of the Kings

The Tombs of the Kings is a large necropolis lying about two kilometres (little over a mile) north-west of Paphos harbour in Cyprus.

The underground tombs, many of which date back to the 4th century BCE, are carved out of the solid rock, and are thought to have been the burial sites of Paphitic aristocrats and high officials up to the third century CE (the name comes from the magnificence of the tombs; no kings were in fact buried here). Some of the tombs feature Doric columns and frescoed walls. Archaeological excavations are still being carried out at the site. The tombs are cut into the native rock, and at times imitated the houses of the living.

Cyprus – Lemesos – Temple of Apollo

Limassol, lying between the ancient kingdoms of Kourion to the west and Amathus to the east, is the second largest town in Cyprus. Together with the suburbs surrounding it, it is already a large town, and is continually expanding in a coastal zone. It is a modern town, with fine residences, modern buildings, shops, luxury hotel complexes, countless restaurants & Taverns, and entertainment places to cater for all tastes.
The Apollo Temple, Near Limassol, is part of the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, the ancient god protector of forests.

Belarus – Old Ruins

The Palace in Ruzhany

Różany began its life in the late 16th century as the site of Lew Sapieha’s castle. The Sapieha residence was destroyed in the course of the internecine strife in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania when it was attacked by Michał Serwacy Wiśniowiecki’s forces in 1700.

Różany was rebuilt as a grand Neoclassical residence in the 1770s by Aleksander Michał Sapieha. The architect was Jan Samuel Becker from Saxony. The palace was set in an English park. Apart from the palace, there were a theatre (1784-88), an orangery, and several other outbuildings. It was Becker who designed the local church (rebuilt in the 1850s).

By the time of King Stanisław II’s visit in 1784, work on the palace had been suspended. The Sapieha estates were nationalised in the aftermath of the November Uprising (1831). Three years later, the palace compound was leased to Ari Leib Pines to be used as a textile mill and weaving factory.

In 1914 the palace was accidentally set on fire by factory workers. The First World War and subsequent financial hardships prevented the building’s restoration until 1930. The partially restored palace was ruined in 15 years, a casualty of the Second World War. The ornate palace gate survives and has recently been repaired.

The Castle in Golshany

The castle ensemble was built in the 17th century as Pavel Stephan Sapega’s residence.

The castle looks much like the castle of Mir. The front view of the Castle of Golshany resembles some Dutch castles near Antwerp (the approximate spelling of those castles is Besenstehen and Klaidael). The interior of the Castle of Golshany featured numerous frescos, stained-glass windows, moulded fireplaces, floors paved with terracotta ceramic tiles. There was a labyrinth of stone cellars under the castle, which used to be jocularly called a stone flower of mannerism.

The Northern War and the Swedish troops had no mercy on one of Belarus’ most beautiful castles. However, the devastation was fully accomplished in 1880 when the last owner of the castle would opt to blow up the towers and the walls in order to use the bricks for building a tavern.

What has left of the ensemble is two corner towers, the north-east and the north-west parts of the palace.

The place gave the Belarusian literature classic Vladimir Korotkevich the inspiration to write a bestseller book ‘The Black Castle of Golshany’.