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Mysteries


Strange quirks of history

Scotland and Northumbria

Since first discovering Scotland, when I was sent there during my adolescence to learn English, I have felt attached to the country. Scotland has everything I love: romantic monuments, ghosts by the dozen, charming cities, and a countryside amongst the most beautiful in Europe. Scotland reminds me of Greece, but with different colors. Greece is…

Razoumovska

The patron of the epoch who built the grandest palaces was without a doubt Catherine II of Russia. With unlimited resources at her disposal, she could build colossal homes, grander than all the palaces of Europe. In fact, Catherine was only imitating her predecessor, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great. The latter was…

History’s Greatest Natural Disaster

Cretan artifacts are unique, unlike those of any other civilization. How had such a civilization vanished? What had become of the Minoans of Crete? It was a mystery.               In 1965, I married my wife Marina. To celebrate, we took a cruise that stopped at the island of Santorini….

The Love Story That Led To World War I

Many years ago, when I began attending the Salzburg music festival, I became well acquainted with my distant cousins, the Hohenberg princes. I was particularly fond of them. They were friendly, funny, and lively. They were also the grandchildren of one of most history’s most famous tragedies. At the end of the 19th century, Archduke…

The Venieri Nun

Kythira, it was my friend Fivos who helped me discover it. As well as Kiria Eleni Harou, who recounted its many stories. Some of them were well known, others were buried deep in the collective memory of the island, but the most enchanting were the histories of Hora, the capital of the island, where she had been a schoolteacher….

The Witches’ Well, Gleichenberg, Styria, Austria

Count Trauttmansdorff was presiding over a case of witchcraft, in the great hall of his fortress at Gleichenberg. We may imagine the scene: the Renaissance chairs, the rough medieval masonry, the rich tapestries hanging suspended from rings set in the walls, the narrow windows, the torchlight glimmering on dark wood. One corner of the room was…

Aghia Fonissa

The island of Cythera: I discovered this magical place thanks to one of its great admirers, my friend Fivos. He showed me her treasures, both known and unknown, and in particular, the splendid and terrifying ruins of Palaiochora. – – – – Fivos had a surprise for me. A peak upon which stands a medieval…

The Masked Lady

Introduction: My grandfather, King George I of Greece, was partial to his sister Alexandra. She had married the Prince of Galles, the future King Edward VII of England: the origin of the close ties between the royal families of Greece and England.   In 1910, George I attended the funeral of King Edward VII in London,…

Tomb

The location of Alexander the Great’s remains continues to be one of the great mysteries of history. One that has passionately occupied the minds of generations of experts. According to some, Alexander was ultimately buried in Siwa. I couldn’t miss seeing this site, my hero’s resting place. Since visiting, my opinion had crystallized. – – – –…

Initiation

It was fifteen or twenty years ago. We took the desert road from Cairo to Alexandria, then turned left and continued along the sea until Mersa Matruh, the famous port used by Queen Cleopatra and General Rommel alike. From there, the road turns right, through the desert to the oasis of Siwa, some 200 miles…