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2003 Issue

Compiled by
Bruce Gventer

This month’s focus is the many virtual tours that can be found on the World Wide Web. Let me know if you would like to take more of these virtual tours. There is a lot to see on these sites.  As always, I want to hear your opinions; you can email me at .       


A Military checkpoint at
 the Samurai Gate.

Edo or Ancient Tokyo

 This is a fascinating site all about ancient Tokyo which was then known as Edo. The site is very cleverly designed so that your tour is conducted in the form of a story by a dweller in the city. I recommend you start with the instructions (click on the pink question mark in the upper left hand corner) because the site offers a lot of text and pictures, and some of them will only appear if you follow the directions. The tour starts with the reign of Japan's emperor, Tokugawa, 200 years ago. The site is still growing with new pictures and information is constantly being added.

 Before you leave, make certain you visit the map room. Here you will find a map that shows all the places you can visit. You will also want to visit the Shogun's art gallery. In this area you will find beautiful ukiyoe images by some of Edo's best artists. Each image is accompanied by a short explanation of the artist and the content of the image. There are more than 3,000 images in the Shogun's collection, and the site tries to display different ones each week. Ken Matsushima, the site's manager, kindly offers you the opportunity to email him with requests to view specific artists or a particular series in the collection.

The links pages take you to sites with ukiyoe images or information on Japanese history. I recommend you stop reading and go directly to this site; it is great.


Willard Clock from 1837
By Simon Willard (1752-1848)
in the Old Supreme Court Chamber.

     On this site brought to you by the U.S. government, you can take a virtual tour of the Capitol Building. You will need a screen resolution of 800 by 600 or larger and a Java-enabled and frames-enabled browser. Most computers and browsers have these capabilities. There is a lot of historical information side by side with panoramic views of the rooms in the Capitol. Descriptions of the various objects found in these rooms are also included.

On the left hand side of the browser, you will see live pictures from the Capitol. Below the picture is a floor plan, and you can click on this to position the camera's view. The site allows you to zoom in for a closer look or zoom out to see more of a room. Check the navigation help button for instructions on how to use the different commands.

On the tour you will visit the Old Supreme Court Chamber, which was the Senate Chamber from 1800 to 1808. The Supreme Court met in this room from 1810 until 1860. At that time, Chief Justice John Marshall helped establish the foundations of American constitutional law. Here also Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the Dred Scott Decision on March 6, 1857. The room itself was designed by architect Benjamin Latrobe.

You can also visit the Old Senate Chamber where the Senate met from 1810 to 1859. During that time period, the Senate grew from a small advisory council to a great forum for national debates. The architects Benjamin Henry Latrobe and Charles Bulfinch were instrumental in its design.

The Senate Chamber is also on display. The Senate moved here when the north wing of the Capitol was completed in 1859. You can visit the President's Room which is one of the most ornate rooms in the Capitol. The fresco paintings by Italian artist Constantino Brumidi adorn this room. The National Statuary Hall was completed in 1857. There is a lot more you can learn on this tour.



Painting by Turner.

Durham Castle and Cathedral

     Here you can take a tour of the peninsula on which Durham Castle and Cathedral are located. You can also visit both the castle and the cathedral. "Few buildings in England can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Durham Castle. Founded soon after the Norman Conquest, the castle has been rebuilt, extended and adapted to changing circumstances and uses over a period of 900 years." This is quite an impressive history. Like the other parts of this site you can use the interactive maps to visit different parts of the castle, which was built by King William the Conqueror in 1072

 As with the Castle, the Cathedral offers you much history as you tour the various sites that make up the Cathedral. The Cathedral Church of Christ and Blessed Mary the Virgin is the last resting place of St Cuthbert, considered the greatest of the early English saints. The Cathedral is one of the most complete examples of Romanesque architecture that still survives.

The timeline starts with the Saxons in 976 and ends with the Windsors in the present day. If you are not sure of all the terms, then the glossary is where you can be educated. Need to know still more? Then try the other useful sources page for lots of links concerning the castle and cathedral. In 1986 UNESCO designated the site a World Heritage site.


Chagall window.

Virtual Tour of Jerusalem

      Tour the Holy Land without leaving your living room. You can visit the Jerusalem Gates, see the city's holy sites, look at the famous Chagall windows, and take a stroll through the city.

  In 1962 the Synagogue of the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center was dedicated. The floors and interior walls are made of Jerusalem stone. In the synagogue, you will find the beautiful Chagall windows. Chagall and his assistant, Charles Marq, worked on the windows for two years. For the project, Marq developed a special process of veneering pigment on glass. This allowed Chagall to use as many as three colors on a single uninterrupted pane. The pair made sure that the windows would get the proper lighting by testing the spot where the windows would be placed.

  You can also tour the Golden Gate, which is in the legends of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. "An early Jewish tradition holds that it is through that gate that the Messiah will enter Jerusalem. According to Christian tradition, Jesus made his last entry to Jerusalem through the Mercy Gate. The Muslims refer to it as the Gate of Mercy and believe it to be the gate referred to in the Koran, through which the just will pass on the Day of Judgment." You can also visit Herod's Gate, Lion's Gate, Zion Gate, Damascus Gate, Jaffa Gate, Dung Gate, and Sha'ar Hagai Gate.

  Keep going and you will find these holy sites: Nebi Samwil, the Dormition Abbey, Church of the Ascension, Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, the Place of Ascension, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Muristan, the Church of All Nations, the Jewish Quarter, the Carmelite Convent, the Russian Convent, the Church of the Visitation, St. Onuphrius Monastery, Notre Dame Monastery, St. Salvature Monastery, Dominius Flevit Church, Monastery of the Cross, Ratisbonne Monastery, the Dormitory Abbey, and the Byzantine Monastery.

  From The "Old" Jerusalem Mosaic you can tour the city through various "gates": portraits, old maps, landscapes, and works of art depicting the city in different periods. This section is still being constructed.


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