The Soviet system built its reputation on all for one and one for all. This seems to be a euphemism for what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.
In 1993, while rummaging through a junk shop in Vienna, Austria, artist Oliver Croy made an extraordinary discovery—hundreds of beautiful, handcrafted architectural models each neatly wrapped in rubbish bags. Croy was so attracted by the skilled workmanship that he acquired the entire lot—nearly four hundred of them.
The works of art which were confiscated, stolen, or burnt on Polish territory between 1939 and 1945 number hundreds of thousands. Here, we haven’t written about those which were destroyed and lost forever, but instead focus on the ones which still exist somewhere, and remain to be found.
About 12 kilometers north of the city of Arles, in the Provence region of southern France, is the small town of Fontvieille. It is a commune of just 3,500 inhabitants who live from agriculture and tourism, but until the 5th century AD it was also the place where the greatest concentration of mechanical energy was found in the entire ancient world.
A 15th-century medieval manuscript, one of the ‘great books of Ireland’, is returning to its Irish roots almost 400 years after it was captured in a siege.
You may find it hard to believe, but what you’re seeing in the picture above is actually a self-operating, programmable machine, capable of writing letters and words with a quill pen, that’s still functioning after a quarter of a millennium.
The ancient Spanish city of Salamanca, situated on the banks of the River Tormes, is one of the oldest university towns in Europe with a rich and elegant collection of Renaissance, Roman, Gothic and Baroque monuments. Among them are two majestic cathedrals built between the 12th and 18th centuries. The New Cathedral, constructed between the 16th and 18th centuries, features late Gothic style with a Baroque styled cupola. The cathedral’s vaulted stone ceilings contain graceful paintings and its sandstone walls are intricately carved. But one element is peculiarly out of place and out of time.
BUOYED BY AMERICAN AID the USSR was assured of victory over the Third Reich. As early as February 1943, the Soviets established the Trophy Brigades. Their purpose was to join in the ransacking and share with the Allies the spoils of war.
If any creature ever got that sinking feeling, it was surely a feline sailor who got it three times but waded through them all. The black and white cat was originally named Oscar but then became known as Unsinkable Sam.
Even Queen Elizabeth II has some old pieces of jewelry that once belonged to the Russian royal family.
The diamond, emerald and sapphire tiaras of the Romanov dynasty were remarkable for their beauty and opulence, and they were well known to other monarchies in Europe. This has to do with their unusual shape since most were reminiscent of the kokoshnik, an old type of Russian headdress. It was Catherine the Great who first brought the fashion for “Russian dress” to the court, and then in the middle of the 19th century under Nicholas I it was made mandatory. At official receptions, women began to wear diadems with a national flavor—“les tiares russes,” as they are called abroad.