Tamme-Lauri oak is the thickest and oldest tree in Estonia. The height of the tree is 17 metres (56 ft), circumference is 831 centimetres (327 in), measured 130 centimetres (51 in) from the ground. According to researchers, the tree was planted around 1326. The oak has been hit repeatedly by lighting, damaging the branches, and the center had become empty. During restoration in 1970s an old hideout of forest brothers was found inside the cavity. Seven people could stand inside the tree before it was filled with 8 tonnes (18,000 lb) of reinforced concrete.The tree is still viable, although it has lost its top because of the lightning strikes.
The name of the Tamme-Lauri oak comes from Tamme-Lauri farm, which in turn got its name from the spirit that was thought to live in the oak, bringing bad and sometimes good luck. It was the spirit of fire called Laurits.
Tamme-Lauri oak was depicted on the back side of Estonian ten kroon banknote. The land where the tree is located was bought by Estonian Ministry of the Environment in 2006 and the oak has been under protection since 1939.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.