Author: Don Knebel

The Grand Cascade of Peterhof, near St. Petersburg (Photo by Don Knebel) 0

Column: ‘Kingdom of Fountains’

Peter the Great literally changed the face of Russia after a trip to Europe. Peterhof, often called the “Russian Versailles,” is among the most impressive architectural results of that trip. Peter became tsar of...

Amber Fort, near Jaipur, India (Photo by Don Knebel) 0

Column: Full employment at Amber Fort

Visitors to Amber (or Amer) Fort, about seven miles from Jaipur, can see the magnificent palace of a sixteenth-century maharaja. They can also see how 21st century India is attempting to keep all its...

Bicycle parking flat in Amsterdam. (Photo by Don Knebel) 0

Column: Amsterdam: Bicycle capital

Amsterdam is well known for its canals, its museums and its casual tolerance of certain activities other cities find unacceptable. It is also known as the bicycle capital of the world. Amsterdam’s 780,000 residents,...

Tallinn, Estonia, Song Festival Grounds (Photo by Don Knebel) 0

Column: Estonia was born singing

Estonia is a tiny country along the Baltic Sea. In a very real way, the country was born singing. Beginning in the 13th century, the region of Estonia, lying north of Latvia and west...

Statue of Frederick V in Amalienborg Palace. (Photo by Don Knebel) 0

Column: Lessons from a Copenhagen Statue

“The Little Mermaid” is Copenhagen’s most famous statue. A short walk away, an older and larger statue carries an important message. In 1748, King Frederick V of Denmark/Norway ordered redevelopment of a waterfront area...

Church of St. Simeon the Stylite. (Photo by Don Knebel) 0

Column: World record for pole sitting

One of the world’s oldest churches honors a fifth-century ascetic whose record for endurance has remained unbroken. The church itself originated a design that is still emulated. The person known as Simeon the Stylite...

Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate from the West. (Photo by Don Knebel) 0

Column: Brandenburg Gate: Symbol of Unity

For nearly 30 years, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate was a symbol of division. It is now a symbol of German pride and unity. In about 1788, Prussian King Frederick William II ordered construction of a...

West Side of United States Capitol in 2013. (Photo by Don Knebel) 0

Column: The Capitol: Homage to Roman Gods?

The Capitol in Washington, D.C., is among the most-recognizable buildings in the world. Even the name of this symbol of American democracy mirrors European religious buildings, some of them pagan. In 1791, Pierre L’Enfant,...

Vasa Warship in Stockholm’s Vasa Museum (Photo by Don Knebel) 0

Column: Vasa: Stockholm’s famous ship on display

The most popular museum in Scandinavia features an ill-fated Swedish warship launched almost 400 years ago. The museum also holds lessons about hubris and obsequiousness. By the early seventeenth century, Sweden was the third...