The Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

About 80 kilometers southwest of Paris stands the city of Chartres, one of whose main cultural attractions is its Gothic cathedral built between 1194 and 1220. It was built in the same place where other churches and cathedrals had been before, the first one around 360 A.D., all of them destroyed by fires: the first…Continue readingThe Chartres Cathedral’s great labyrinth

The strange and controversial prehistoric ‘sorcerer’ of the Cave of the Trois Frères

Very close to the French town of Montesquieu-Avantés, in the Midi-Pyrénées region, and to the Tuc d’Audoubert cave with its fantastic prehistoric clay bisons, is the cave of the Trois Frères (Three Brothers). Both are part of an underground system of three caves formed by the river Volp (the third one is the Enlène cave).…Continue readingThe strange and controversial prehistoric ‘sorcerer’ of the Cave of the Trois Frères

The scientist who captured the Russian Empire in colour photographs before they were invented

Photography has improved so much, technologically speaking, that today we see images from only twenty years ago and they almost seem prehistoric to us; in fact, many people probably don’t even know what rolls were or how the processing was done. It would be even worse if we go back a little further, to black…Continue readingThe scientist who captured the Russian Empire in colour photographs before they were invented

The wrought iron bar chain that saved the Amiens Cathedral from collapsing

The Amiens Cathedral, listed as a Historical Monument in 1882 and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981, is a reference in its style and also has a series of curious elements that make it particularly interesting. One of them is the famous labyrinth that paves the floor of the nave; another, the…Continue readingThe wrought iron bar chain that saved the Amiens Cathedral from collapsing

The ancient sculptors of the stone heads and potbellies of Monte Alto, Guatemala, knew the magnetic properties of the rocks

On February 1976 archaeologists found a sculpted turtle head with magnetic properties in the ceremonial center of Izapa in the coastal plain of the State of Chiapas in Mexico. Radiocarbon dating gave that sculpture the date of 1500 BC. About 150 km to the southeast, in the ancient ceremonial center of Monte Alto in Guatemala,…Continue readingThe ancient sculptors of the stone heads and potbellies of Monte Alto, Guatemala, knew the magnetic properties of the rocks

How Galileo Galilei made calculations for the Statue of Philip IV in Madrid

Does a sculptor have to resort to mathematics to make a statue? Moreover, would he need a wise man like Galileo Galilei? Well, as incredible as it may seem, that happened in Madrid in the middle of the 17th century: between 1634 and 1640 the Italian artist Pietro Tacca had to ask the famous sage…Continue readingHow Galileo Galilei made calculations for the Statue of Philip IV in Madrid

World’s oldest portrait, carved in ivory 26,000 years ago

Near the Czech town of Dolní Věstonice in Moravia is the archaeological site of the same name. A site that, before systematic excavations began in 1924, had already provided researchers with extensive prehistoric materials from the Gravettian period (which ran from 27,000 to 20,000 years ago). Some 2,300 pieces of pottery have so far been…Continue readingWorld’s oldest portrait, carved in ivory 26,000 years ago

Simonetta Vespucci, the muse who was a model both for Botticelli and many others, died at the age of 23

If we had to choose the most famous paintings in history, there would certainly be one from Botticelli and, most likely, the one chosen would be The birth of Venus, which is one of the greatest paintings ever produced in Quattrocento. The curious thing is we can also admire the face of this goddess in…Continue readingSimonetta Vespucci, the muse who was a model both for Botticelli and many others, died at the age of 23

Fort Samaipata, the largest rupestrian architectural work in the world

Although Machu Picchu attracts mass media attention and world tourism on the Andean area, this one is extraordinarily rich in historical patrimony and abundant archaeological sites can be found distributed by the countries that compose it, from the cañari ruins of Ingapirca (Ecuador) to the great Inca constructions or the Peruvian mochicas huacas, through the…Continue readingFort Samaipata, the largest rupestrian architectural work in the world