A 15 years old boy decided to save money in order to buy a land where he can build a cottage for him and his family. He found a little place on a mountainside in Colorado and single-handedly started to build his dream house. The small cottage that the boy built was surrounded by rocks which gave an impression to the locals that the place looks like a castle. Little time was needed for the boy to really decide to take their opinion for granted.Jim Bishop is working on his fortress for over 50 years now and with every little new addition, he makes the place looks even more magical. At first glance, the castle looks like it comes out of a fairy tale because of the medieval style and the three large cathedral windows. Throughout the years, many people promised to help him with materials and building but they were just empty promises because no one ever showed up which made Bishop’s decision even more firmly to build everything by himself. When asked, he often calls his home “a monument to hardworking people”. He gathered thousands of rocks from the San Isabel forest nearby and built a fortress so high that the top peeks out above the trees of the mountain. According to BishopCastle.org, there are three full stories and many little bridges around the whole castle. One of the most fascinating is the Fire-Breathing Dragon in which Bishop installed a burner from a hot-air balloon so that it resembles a real dragon placed on top of the front part of the castle.This just proves a point, that if you really want to make a dream come true in life, you have to work hard to make it happen. But, all great accomplishments have their downsides throughout the process. Bishop struggled with the Washington bureaucrats for over 40 years because of the stones that he used from the national forest. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer and decided to make his friend David Merrill the future keeper of the castle. But, it turns out that Merrill is trying to make many changes to the place that Bishop never approved.The castle is always open to the public for free and there was no need for someone to try to make it even more attractive for tourists because it is stunning as it is. Unfortunately, Bishop is still trying to stop Merrill from making further decisions for the place but we can hope that this remarkable monument will stay the same because every person in Pueblo is on Bishop’s side. However, Bishop is still building and has no intentions to stop. Tourists from all over the U.S. come to see the castle and most of them meet with Bishop who when asked why he decided to build it he replies that he always wanted to have a castle and believes that every man wants one for himself.
When we think of the sunrise we always feel relaxed because the sight of the colors that the sun is giving to us is breathtaking. A new day is born and the joy of light is spreading everywhere. In 1876, the lord of the Qajar dynasty Mirza Hasan Ali Nasir al Mulk started to build a mosque and his first priority was to give respect to the sun and all its glory. Every morning the whole mosque is filled with gorgeous colors that are spreading from the stained glass onto the floor covered with Persian rugs. The site is mesmerizing, it looks like a thousand rainbows decided to show up at the same time with a purpose to make every person that comes inside happy. The mosque was completed in 1888 and since then, is one of the most beautiful structures in Iran. Nasir al Mulk showed his faith in the most stunning way which makes even non-religious people feel bliss when they see this kaleidoscopic magnificence. According to irandoostan.com, the architects who designed the mosque were Mohammad Hasan-e Memar and Mohammad Reza Kashi-Saz. They combined art and architecture that can rarely be seen in other parts of the world. Today, the mosque is still used for worship but it is allowed for anyone to come inside. It is known by different names but one of the most popular is The Pink Mosque because of the pink color tiles. Architects are amazed by the structure, art critics can’t say enough to describe its beauty and it is a real paradise for photographers. In the middle of the mosque, there is an open courtyard with a pool surrounded by colorful flowers. The whole place has many arches which are uniquely decorated and the most fascinating parts are their ceilings.As a national heritage of Iran, the mosque is always under protection and restoration. Its maintained by the Nasir-al-Mulk Endowment Foundation and the man who is in charge for the stained windows and all decorations is Hajj Mirza Ayat. The best time to visit is from 8 to 9 am in the morning when the colorful magic is happening. Similar mosque with stained-glass windows to Nasir-al-Mulk is the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
The love for weaponry is re-emerging, and with the proliferation of reality shows, documentaries, and other forms of mainstream media regarding blacksmithing and weapon forging, it is not difficult to imagine that a lot of us have turned into knife geeks overnight. Well, we have just found knife heaven, and it is not in the US. It’s actually in a small, idyllic town in France called Thiers. It was in this town that the iconic knife “Le Thiers” was created, designed way back in 1993 by the Brotherhood of the Thiers Knife. The guild’s French name even sounds cooler: “Confrerie du Couteau Le Thiers”. So what is Le Thiers? And what sets Thiers’ knives apart from others?
Le Thiers is a foldable knife with a simple yet classic design and dependable functionality—a knife truly designed to stand the test of time. It reminds us of the equally classic knife from the Philippines, the Balisong, only that it’s generally smaller in size, and is made with only one solid handle instead of two.It’s also a testament, a culmination of Thiers’ knife making tradition that heralds back to as far as the thirteenth century. In fact, culmination is a wrong term because their practice is far from over. Their industry is far from slowing down with more than 200 coutelleries (that’s what they call family-owned knife shops), in a town with a population of less than twelve thousand.Some of these workshops have been passed down to entire generations of knife makers for hundreds of years, such is their tradition of knife making. But did you know that you don’t have to be born in Thiers to be a coutelier? In fact, one of the most well-loved makers by knife connoisseurs, Roland Lannier hails from Paris. He only found his way to Thiers through his love for medieval weaponry in role-playing games.
Now, he leads his own workshop with two other knife makers: Agathe (a 23-year-old badass female knife maker with a degree on graphics decoration) and Guillame (a 27-year-old medieval fencer). If you ever do decide to visit Thiers, don’t forget to bring some tissues and be prepared to drool.
References: bbc.com, rolandlannier.com