Villa Borghese Gardens, Rome Italy.

Green lungs of Rome.

The Villa Borghese Gardens (80 hectares) is the third largest public park in Rome, Italy.

Originally, a private vineyard, the Park Garden was redesigned and enlarged in the early 17th century by Cardinal Scipione Borghese (nephew of Pope Paul V). It was further landscaped following an English-style gardens design in the 19th century.

The main building of the Villa is the 17th century Casino Nobile, which houses the Museo or Galleria Borghese. Designed by Giovanni Vasanzio (Jan Van Santen), the Villa was built to house the extensive collection of paintings, artwork, ancient statues and artefacts owned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese.

Often referred to as the green lungs of Rome, the park, which is easily accessible from anywhere in Rome, features wide leafy shady lanes, landscaped gardens, several museums, neo classical temples, beautiful fountains and many monuments and statues.

Biking through park. Villa Borghese gardens. Rome. Italy.
Rome. Italy. People biking through the leafy lanes within the Villa Borghese Gardens, which is the largest public park in Rome.

It also has a scenic lake or lagoon that allows tourists and locals to hire boats and row in amongst the water fowl and around the imitation Ionic Temple of Aesculapius.

It’s a pleasure to walk or bike through its shaded pathways and observe Romans and visitors at play or relaxing and escape the hectic streets of Rome. Note: The Villa Doria Pamphili is the largest landscaped park in Rome and the Villa Ada is the second largest.

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All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.

Krak des Chevaliers, Syria.

 Outstanding Crusader castle

Krak des Chevaliers (Crac des Chevaliers) was largely built by the Christian Knights Hospitaller (Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem) who occupied it around the 12th century.

The strategically positioned crusader castle lies on a volcanic crater with a view of Homs gap which gave access to the Mediterranean coast and interior of Syria. 

The castle eventually fell to the armies of Islam, who occupied the building for hundreds of years and strengthened the defences further.

Gothic, Romanesque and Arabic architectural elements and legacies are found throughout the well-preserved castle, which is one of the greatest masterpieces of military architecture found anywhere in the world.

Crusader castle. Krak des Chevaliers. Syria.
Krak des Chevaliers. Syria. View of an Inner vaulted passageway set-up with souvenir and handicraft stalls at the crusader castle.

Krak des Chevaliers is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

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All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas.