Juraj Jánošík: how an outlaw became the Slovak National Hero

Juraj Jánošík, the outlaw who supposedly robbed the rich and gave to the poor (a deed often attributed to the famous Robin Hood), and who has inspired really countless artistic works, was once an ordinary man, despite there are very few accounts about his life. One of them is the protocol from his trial in March 1713 when he was sentenced to death, other are the two documents from the archives in Trenčín, and lastly, there is the registry office of the parish in Varín. Thanks to the latter, we…

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#TodayInHistory – February 28

February 28 – Some important events on this day 202 BC 👉🏼 Coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty’s rule over China 1710 👉🏼 In the Battle of Helsingborg, 14,000 Danish invaders under Jørgen Rantzau are decisively defeated by an equally sized Swedish force under Magnus Stenbock 1854 👉🏼 Republican Party formally organized in Ripon, Wisconsin 1874 👉🏼 Arthur Orton, who became known as the Tichborne Claimant, was found guilty of perjury on this day after the longest…

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Snow Moon: February’s full moon

Every full moon has at least one nickname, dating back to the days when Native American tribes and Colonial Americans would name each moon based on weather conditions, farming routines and hunting trends. Do you remember, for istance, “Wolf Moon”, the first full moon of the year, or “Harvest Moon”? While January is traditionally the coldest month of the year in the northern hemisphere, the heaviest snow usually falls a month later, not by chance, on February. It’s not a coincidence then that the name for February’s full moon among…

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Escamol: the ants caviar of Mexico

Escamol is an ancient dish made with the edible larvae and pupae of two species of ants, known for its nutty, buttery flavor and It has been consumed in Mexico since the time of the Aztecs. Commonly known as “Mexican caviar” because of its similarity to the popular fish eggs, escamol consists larvae and pupae of ants belonging to the Liometopum apiculatum and L. occidentale, two species native to some semi-arid areas of Mexico and the southern United States. Its origins can be traced back hundreds of years, back to…

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#TodayInHistory – February 27

February 27 – Some important events on this day 1693 👉🏼 1st women’s magazine “Ladies’ Mercury” published in London, England 1814 👉🏼 Ludwig van Beethoven’s 8th Symphony in F premieres 1827 👉🏼 1st Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans 1900 👉🏼 In London, the Trades Union Congress and the Independent Labour Party (formed in 1893) meet, results in a Labour Representative Committee and eventually the modern Labour Party in 1906 1933 👉🏼 The Reichstag, German parliament building, destroyed by fire; possibly set by the Nazis, who blame and execute Martin…

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Anthesteria: the Greek festival of spring and the dead

The Anthesteria, in Ancient Greek Ἀνθεστήρια, was one of the four Athenian festivals in honor of Dionysus, “dead and reborn”. It was held each year from the 11th to the 13th of the month of Anthesterion, around the time of the January or February full moon. It celebrated the beginning of spring, particularly the maturing of the wine stored at the previous vintage. During the feast, social order was interrupted or inverted, the slaves being allowed to participate, uniting the household. However, the Anthesteria also had aspects of a festival…

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Praglia Abbey: a Benedictine monastery surrounded by the Euganean Hills

During the Middle Ages, many monks manually copied ancient books so they could be passed on to future generations. Over the years, the invention of the printing press made this work largely obsolete, but thousands of old books remained stored in monasteries. Many of those volumes lies still today in the library of the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria Assunta of Praglia, an almost 1,000-year-old monastery and maybe one of the most important monumental and religious communities in the area, located in the town of Teolo, only 10 minutes from…

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#TodayInHistory – February 26

February 26 – Some important events on this day 1616 👉🏼 Roman Inquisition delivers injunction to Galileo demanding he abandon his belief in heliocentrism, which states the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun 1732 👉🏼 1st mass celebrated in 1st American Catholic church, St Joseph’s, Philadelphia 1797 👉🏼 Bank of England issues first £1 note 1815 👉🏼 Napoleon Bonaparte and his supporters leave Elba to start a 100 day re-conquest of France 1869 👉🏼 Franz Schubert’s Symphony number 4, “The Tragic”, premieres 1881 👉🏼 P&O’s SS Ceylon begins world’s…

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The Legend of the drowned city of Kitezh submerged in Svetloyar Lake

According to a Russian legend, hidden beneath the waters of Lake Svetloyar, in the Nizhny Novgorod Region north-east of Moscow, there is Kitezh, a mythical city built by Georgy II, the Grand Prince of Vladimir in the early part of the 13th century. Its first reference comes in an anonymous late 18th century book known as “the Kitezh Chronicle” which was thought to have originated among the Old Believers of Russia. The book does not actually say that the city disappeared or that it was covered by the lake, but…

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#TodayInHistory – February 25

February 25 – Some important events on this day 1570 👉🏼 Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth I of England for heresy and persecution of English Catholics during her reign. Also absolves her subjects from allegiance to the crown. 1793 👉🏼 1st US cabinet meeting, held at George Washington’s home 1836 👉🏼 Showman P. T. Barnum exhibits African American slave Joice Heth, claiming she was the 161 year-old nursemaid to George Washington 1862 👉🏼 First Legal Tender Act 1862 is passed by the US Congress, authorizing the United States note (greenback)…

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Black Shuck: The mythic hellhound Of Medieval England

Black Shuck, Old Shuck, Old Shock or simply Shuck is the name given to a ghostly black dog which is said to roam the coastline and countryside of East Anglia, a traditional region of eastern England. Stories about the creature form part of the folklore of Norfolk, Suffolk, the Cambridgeshire fens and Essex. His name, Shuck, may derive from the Old English word “scucca” meaning “demon”, or possibly from the local dialect word “shucky” meaning “shaggy” or “hairy”. In any case, Black Shuck is one of many ghostly black dogs…

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#TodayInHistory – February 24

February 24 – Some important events on this day 303 👉🏼 1st official Roman edict for persecution of Christians issued by Emperor Diocletian 1208 👉🏼 St Francis of Assisi, 26, received his vocation in Portiuncula Italy 1525 👉🏼 Battle of Pavia: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s troops beat the French. French King Francois I captured, 15,000 killed or wounded 1582 👉🏼 Pope Gregory XIII announces New Style (Gregorian) calendar 1739 👉🏼 Battle of Karnal: Army of Iranian ruler Nadir Shah defeats the forces of the Mughal emperor of India, Muhammad…

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Blackhead Lighthouse | Northern Ireland

Blackhead Lighthouse, located only half an hour from Belfast and on the Causeway Coastal Route, was built in 1902. It marks the very northern end of Belfast Lough where it opens out into the North Channel that separates Northern Ireland and Scotland. Over the years, It would have guided many famous vessels during Belfast’s golden age of shipping, including the ill-fated Titanic. It was converted to electric operation in 1965, and lightkeepers lived at the station until 1975. It is one of 65 lighthouses operated by the Commissioners of Irish…

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#TodayInHistory – February 23

February 23 – Some important events on this day 303 👉🏼 Roman Emperor Diocletian begins his policy of persecuting Christians, razing the church at Nicomedia 1455 👉🏼 Johannes Gutenberg prints his first Bible (estimated date) 1540 👉🏼 Francisco Vázquez de Coronado’s expedition sets off from Mexico in search of the 7 cities of Cibola 1836 👉🏼 Alamo besieged for 13 days until March 6 by Mexican army under General Santa Anna; entire garrison eventually killed 1886 👉🏼 “The Times” of London publishes world’s 1st classified ad 1904 👉🏼 United States…

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22nd February: the Roman Festival of Caristia.

The Caristia, also called Cara Cognatio, was one of several days in February that Ancient Romans honored family or ancestors. It followed the Parentalia, nine days of remembrance which began on February 13 and concluded with the Feralia on February 21. If for the Parentalia families visited the tombs of their ancestors and shared cake and wine both in the form of offerings and as a meal among themselves, the Feralia was a more somber occasion, a public festival of sacrifices and offerings to the Manes, the spirits of the…

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Cementerio del Andinista: a cemetery dedicated to the mountaineers who perished climbing Mount Aconcagua

At 6,962 metres (22,840ft), Mt. Aconcagua is the tallest peak in the Americas and, nestled high in the Andes near the border of Argentina and Chile, it’s the highest mountain anywhere outside of Asia. To mountaineers, it’s not a very technical trek, as it doesn’t require any specialized equipment to reach the summit, even though the hike can be deceptively dangerous for those who are unprepared. Not by chance, Aconcagua is believed to have the highest death rate of any mountain in South America, around three a year, which has…

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#TodayInHistory – February 22

February 22 – Some important events on this day 1632 👉🏼 Galileo’s “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” is published 1774 👉🏼 British House of Lords rules authors do not have perpetual copyright 1797 👉🏼 The Last Invasion of Britain, launched by the French during the Revolutionary Wars, begins near Fishguard, Wales. In 1797, the European continent was engaged in a struggle with the France, which had deposed its monarchy following the French Revolution in 1787. This first conflict, between 1792 and 1797, consisted of a lightly-allied coalition (now…

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Ajdovska Deklica: an unmistakable facial pareidolia in the Julian Alps and her fantastic story

Ajd literally means “heaten ” in Slovenian, but it also denotes a sort of supernatural quality. This rock formation, known as “Ajdovska Deklica” but traditionally known to English speakers as the “Heathen Maiden” that resembles a human face can be seen in the northern face of Mount Prisojnik near Kranjska Gora, in the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia. When you arrive at the top of the Vršič Pass, park your car and take some time to admire the high mountain peaks that look at the valley below: they are the…

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#TodayInHistory – February 21

February 21 – Some important events on this day 1173 👉🏼 Pope Alexander III canonizes Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury 1583 👉🏼 Groningen, Netherlands, begins using Gregorian calendar 1613 👉🏼 Michael Romanov, son of Patriarch of Moscow, elected first Russian Tsar of the house of Romanov 1804 👉🏼 1st locomotive, Richard Trevithick’s, runs for the 1st time, along the tramway of the Penydarren Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales 1821 👉🏼 Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire begins 1828 👉🏼 1st American Indian newspaper in US, “Cherokee Phoenix”, published…

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The “Ice volcano” that becomes a very nice attraction in Kazakhstan

Probably the steppes of Kazakhstan’s Almaty region are not the most inviting place to visit, especially in winter time, but there is one unusual phenomenon that has been attracting a lot of tourists in the area.Located between the villages of Kegen and Shyrganak in the middle of a snow-covered plateau is a 14-meter-high ice tower that continuously spouts water which turns to ice almost instantly.The unique structure, four hours away from the Kazakh capital city of Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana, looks like a miniature volcano, however, instead of hot lava, it…

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#TodayInHistory – February 20

February 20 – Some important events on this day 1280 👉🏼 Japanese Imperial Court orders all temples and shrines to pray for victory in the impending second Mongol invasion. In 1274 the Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan launched the first of two failed invasions of Japan. Eight years before, Kublai had sent a letter to the Japanese emperor (who in the letter he called the “King of Japan”), threatening the use of force unless Japan submitted. The Japanese did not respond. So it was that five years later the Mongol…

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Perro Caliente: you might not even see the hot dog beneath this pile of potato chips, sauce, and quail eggs!

In Colombia, fast-food restaurants and street-food vendors invent all kinds of sauces and dressings to keep their customers coming back for more. And, curious fact, their creativity to come up with all those unusual sauces is really amazing, and it’s what people, tourists or not, love the most. For those accustomed to seeing their regular hot dogs adorned with a simple strip of ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise, perro caliente might destabilize also most expert eaters. First, you notice the layer of crumbled potato chips. Then there’s the criss-crossing drizzles of…

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#TodayInHistory – February 19

February 19 – Some important events on this day 356 👉🏼 Emperor Constantius II shuts all heathen temples 1594 👉🏼 Having already inherited the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth through his mother, Catherine Jagellonica of Poland, Sigismund III of the House of Vasa is crowned King of Sweden, succeeding his father John III of Sweden. 1600 👉🏼 Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodes in the most violent eruption in South American recorded history. 1878 👉🏼 Thomas Edison is granted a patent for his gramophone (phonograph). 1906 👉🏼 Will Keith Kellogg and Charles…

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Casa Hamilton, the charm of abandonment overlooking the Atlantic Ocean

The island of Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands. It is famous for its active volcano, Mount Teide, which is considered the third-largest in the world. But here there is also a place that combines a sense of abandonment and breathtaking views: it is the Elevador de aguas de Gordejuela, better known as Casa Hamilton, a pumping station where hydraulic pumps once transported the abundant waters of the Gordejuela springs to hills and banana plantations, located in the extraordinary area by Los Realejos. This set of ruins, which…

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#TodayInHistory – February 18

February 18 – Some important events on this day 1519 👉🏼 Hernán Cortés leaves Cuba for the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico with 11 ships and 500 men 1678 👉🏼 John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” is published in Holborn, London, by Nathaniel Ponder 1685 👉🏼 Fort St. Louis is established by a Frenchman at Matagorda Bay thus forming the basis for France’s claim to Texas. 1861 👉🏼 King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia becomes first King of Italy 1968 👉🏼 X Winter Olympic Games close in Grenoble, France 1879 👉🏼 Sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi…

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February 17: International Cat’s day

In Norse mythology, Freyja is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, and seiðr, a type of magic practiced in Norse society during the Late Scandinavian Iron Age relating to telling and shaping of the future. She was also associated with war and death, and It was said that after a battle, she would lead a band of Valkyries to gather the fallen warriors—or half of them, at least. She would take her share of the dead to Folkvang, her hall in the home of the gods,…

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#TodayInHistory – February 17

February 17 – Some important events on this day 1510 👉🏼 Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque first conquers the city of Goa, entering it with little conflict 1568 👉🏼 Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II agrees to pay tribute to the Ottoman Empire for peace 1815 👉🏼 Treaty of Ghent ratified by the US Senate and signed by President James Madison ending War of 1812, over a month after it was signed in Europe. The Treaty of Ghent, signed in the city of Ghent, Belgium, ended the War of 1812 between…

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Terrible Tilly, the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

When you see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, you probably think, “Oh, what a beautiful lighthouse!” But – there is more, much more, to its story. Devastating storms, harsh existence, isolation, madness, death, and even hauntings – all add up to the myths, mystery, and intrigue surrounding the lighthouse not by chance nicknamed “Terrible Tilly”. But let’s start at the beginning. One mile west of Tillamook Head, a rock Shaped like a sea monster rises from the ocean. It is where old Nor’easters go to die, and where Indians believed under…

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#TodayInHistory – February 16

February 16 – Some important events on this day 374 👉🏼 9th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet 600 👉🏼 Pope Gregory the Great decrees saying “God bless You” is the correct response to a sneeze 1659 👉🏼 1st known cheque (£400) (on display at Westminster Abbey) 1838 👉🏼 Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal are killed by Zulu warriors 1840 👉🏼 American Charles Wilkes discovers Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica 1861 👉🏼 Abraham Lincoln stops his train at Westfield on his way to Washington to thank…

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The oldest comic in the world? In a tomb in Jordan!

It was drawn 2,000 years ago and does not depict superheroes, cute little animals or thieves in a luxury car, but the workers of the ancient city of Capitolias, in the north of Jordan, one of the 10 Greek-Roman cities listed by Pliny the Elder as the Decapolis, a group of semi-autonomous Hellenistic cities on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire, between present-day Israel, Jordan and Syria. The painting, which is the oldest example of modern “comic”, with the phrases pronounced by the protagonists spelled out next to their…

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