Observatory Hill

Helsinki, Finland

This 30 meters high rock hill was used as guard hill in the Middle Ages. If enemy ships were seen coming from the sea, fire was lighted to the hill to warn local people. After the great fire in Turku (1827), instruments and astronomical books of Turku University observatory were transferred to Helsinki.

The Helsinki astronomical observatory was built to the hill in 1834. It designed in cooperation by professor Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander and architect Carl Ludvig Engel. The observatory was among the most modern astronomical observatories of its time, and served as an example for several European observatories that were built afterwards. A separate tower was built in the observatory garden for the telescope designed for astrophotography. This building was finished in 1890.

At the top of the hill is is also situated Stigell’s monument Haaksirikkoiset (“shipwrecked”), erected in 1898. The sculpture is stretching to the west and increased the national spirit in the end of the 19th century.

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Details

Founded: 1834
Category:
Historical period: Russian Grand Duchy (Finland)

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Eva ka (Evak) (3 years ago)
Was very excited to go..but it's really small and you have to pay extra to go to the tower. Could have telescopes that people could use, also some kind of "space sand" or something like that for children to interract with. There are amazing museums in Finland from witch you can get plenty of ideas..so no stars
Benjamin Warner (3 years ago)
A great guide and insight into finnish astronomy :)
Olivia Harmon (3 years ago)
The museum showcases many beautiful old telescopes and other astronomical instruments, but the highlight in my eyes is the 4-billion-year-old iron meteorite piece from the Campo del Cielo.
Aleksi Lausti (3 years ago)
Great atmosphere along with historical astronomical devices and a little cafe in the courtyard. Not a long time needed to see the museum but sitting outside enjoying a beverage is very relaxing providing the weather is nice.
A.T. S (3 years ago)
Small compact museum. Lots of stairs. Nice surroundings. Nice Park. Bit small exhibition. Store has many books In museum. Worth to visit
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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.