11 of the Most Incredible Cliff Buildings
By The World Geography, 15 April 2012.
Buildings that we often encounter on the cliffs are castles, fortresses, lighthouses, monasteries... These buildings were built in inaccessible places for protection from enemies, for a good view of the water surface, beautiful views of the environment or other reasons. Exactly, these beautiful views, natural environment and often amazing architecture of buildings, attract many tourists in these areas.
1. Guaita Fortress, San Marino
Guaita fortress, located on Guaita peak and overlooking the city of San Marino, is an iconic image of this micro country embraced by Italy. The fortress was constructed in the 11th century and served as a prison for some time. Guaita is one of the Three Towers of San Marino, located on the three peaks of Monte Titano. The towers are depicted on the San Marino's national flag and its coat of arms.
2. Church of Katskhi Pillar, Georgia
This is Katskhi Pillar. It abruptly rises 40 meters (130 ft) from the hills of Central Georgia and looks similar to a giant’s club. In the 4th century, Georgia adapted Christianity as its state religion, and Katskhi Pillar became the site of a small church first built in the 7th century. One Georgian monk has been living in it for nearly 20 years now. It is also interesting that women are not allowed to climb to the top.
3. Bled Castle, Slovenia
Bled castle is a medieval castle built on a precipice above the city of Bled in Slovenia, overlooking Lake Bled. According to written sources, it is the oldest Slovenian castle and is currently one of the most visited tourist attractions in Slovenia. This castle is situated on top of a steep cliff that rises 130 meters (425 ft) above the glacial Lake Bled and it is a symbol of Bled and Slovenia.
4. Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Greece
The Holy Trinity Monastery is an Orthodox monastery in central Greece. The monastery is one of six functioning monasteries in Meteora. It is the oldest among those present at Meteora, having been built in 1476. This monastery sits on a tall rock 400 m (1,300 ft) in height.
In the old days, access to this monastery was via a net and rope ladder. Today, entrance to the monastery is gained by climbing 140 steps cut into the pinnacle rock. It was richly decorated and had precious manuscripts; however, these treasures were looted during World War II.
5. Swallow's Nest, Ukraine
The Swallow's Nest is a decorative castle near Yalta on the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine. It was built between 1911 and 1912 in Gaspra, on top of 40-metre (130 ft) high Aurora Cliff, to a Neo-Gothic design by the Russian architect Leonid Sherwood. The castle overlooks the Cape of Ai-Todor of the Black Sea and is located near the remnants of the Roman castrum of Charax. Swallow's Nest is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Crimea, becoming the symbol of Crimea's southern coastline.
6. O'Brien's Tower, Ireland
O'Brien's Tower marks the highest point of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. The tower was built on the cliffs in 1835 by local landlord Sir Cornellius O'Brien as an observation tower for the hundreds of Victorian tourists that frequented the cliffs at the time.
The Cliffs of Moher rise 120 metres (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag's Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 metres (702 ft) just north of O'Brien's Tower. The cliffs receive almost one million visitors a year.
7. Capo Caccia Lighthouse, Italy
The lighthouse of Capo Caccia is located in a stunning location high atop spectacular cliffs (110 m or 360 ft height) overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, 25 kilometres (15 mi) from the community of Alghero on the north-west coast of the island of Sardinia, in Italy. The history of the lighthouse dates back to 1864, and over the years its lantern has been lit with a variety of fuels, including acetylene and oil, until 1961 when it was electrified. The lighthouse also serves as a landing light for the nearby Alghero airport.
8. Montfort Castle, Israel
Montfort is a ruined crusader castle in the Upper Galilee region in northern Israel, about 22 miles (35 km) northeast of the city of Haifa and 10 miles (16 km) south of the border with Lebanon. The fortress is built on a narrow and steep cliff above the southern bank of Nahal Kziv (stream in northern Israel). The site is now a national park inside the Nahal Kziv nature reserve, and it constitutes an important spot of tourism and attracts many tourists both from inside and outside Israel.
9. Varlaam Monastery, Greece
The Varlaam Monastery in Meteora is one of four active male monasteries in the Meteora monastery complex in Greece. It is the second largest monastery in the monastic community. This monastery is situated on a rocky promontory that is 373 meters (1,200 ft) high.
In 1350, an ascetic monk named Varlaam climbed this great rock and settled at the top. He built three churches, a cell for himself and a water tank. No one chose to follow his lead, so after his death the site was abandoned. The buildings fell into ruin for almost 200 years until 1517, when two rich priest-monks, Theophanes and Nektarios Apsarades from Ioanina, ascended the rock and founded a monastery.
10. Lichtenstein Castle, Germany
Lichtenstein is a fantastic castle precariously perched high on the side of a cliff near Honau in the Swabian Alps, Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany. It was built between 1840 and 1842 by Count Wilhelm of Württemberg. Wilhelm was inspired by a novel popular at the time called Lichtenstein, a romantic portrayal of the region's chivalric warriors in the Middle Ages. The castle is famous for its large collection of historic weapons, armour and treasures. And although it is situated on quite a pristine place - nowadays the castle is a popular spot for weddings.
11. Split Rock Lighthouse, USA
Split Rock Lighthouse is a lighthouse located southwest of Silver Bay, Minnesota, USA on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It is built on a 130-foot (40 m) sheer cliff, eroded by wave action. This very spectacular lighthouse was completed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1910. Because of its picturesque form and location, it has been the subject of many photographs and postcards.
[Source: The World Geography. Edited. Top image and some links added.]
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