Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris; the palace is now a historical monument and UNESCO World Heritage site, notable for the ceremonial Hall of Mirrors, the jewel-like Royal Opera, the royal apartments. The Palace was stripped of all its furnishings after the French Revolution, but many pieces have been returned and many of the palace rooms have been restored. In 2017 the Palace of Versailles received 7,700,000 visitors, making it the second-most visited monument in the Île-de-France region, just behind the Louvre and ahead of the Eiffel Tower; the site of the Palace was first occupied by a small village and church, surrounded by forests filled with abundant game. It was owned by the priory of Saint Julian. King Henry IV went hunting there in 1589, returned in 1604 and 1609, staying in the village inn.

His son, the future Louis XIII, came on his own hunting trip there in 1607. After he became King in 1610, Louis XIII returned to the village, bought some land, in 1623-24 built a modest two-story hunting lodge on the site of the current marble courtyard, he was staying there in November 1630 during the event known as the Day of the Dupes, when the enemies of the King's chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu, aided by the King's mother, Marie de' Medici, tried to take over the government. The King sent his mother into exile. After this event, Louis XIII decided to make his hunting lodge at Versailles into a château; the King purchased the surrounding territory from the Gondi family and in 1631–1634 had the architect Philibert Le Roy replace the hunting lodge with a château of brick and stone with classical pilasters in the doric style and high slate-covered roofs, surrounding the courtyard of the original hunting lodge. The gardens and park were enlarged, laid out by Jacques Boyceau and his nephew, Jacques de Menours, reached the size they have today.

Louis XIV first visited the château on a hunting trip in 1651 at the age of twelve, but returned only until his marriage to Maria Theresa of Spain in 1660 and the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661, after which he acquired a passion for the site. He decided to rebuild and enlarge the château and to transform it into a setting for both rest and for elaborate entertainments on a grand scale; the first phase of the expansion was supervised by the architect Louis Le Vau. He added two wings to the forecourt, one for servants quarters and kitchens, the other for stables. In 1668 he added three new wings built of stone, known as the envelope, to the north and west of the original château; these buildings had nearly-flat roofs covered with lead. The king commissioned the landscape designer André Le Nôtre to create the most magnificent gardens in Europe, embellished with fountains, basins, geometric flower beds and groves of trees, he added two grottos in the Italian style and an immense orangerie to house fruit trees, as well as a zoo with a central pavilion for exotic animals.

After Le Vau's death in 1670, the work was taken over and completed by his assistant François d'Orbay. The main floor of the new palace contained two symmetrical sets of apartments, one for the king and the other for the queen, looking over the gardens; the two apartments were separated by a marble terrace, overlooking the garden, with a fountain in the center. Each set of apartments was connected to the ground floor with a ceremonial stairway, each had seven rooms, aligned in a row. On the ground floor under the King's apartment was another apartment, the same size, designed for his private life, decorated on the theme of Apollo, the Sun god, his personal emblem. Under the Queen's apartment was the apartment of the Grand Dauphin, the heir to the throne; the interior decoration was assigned to Charles Le Brun. Le Brun supervised the work of a large group of sculptors and painters, called the Petite Academie, who crafted and painted the ornate walls and ceilings. In the 1670s and 1680s, 10 million livres worth of solid silver furniture was commissioned to designs by Le Brun, including tubs for Louis XIV's orange trees, an 8 foot high sculpted throne, a silver balustrade in the Salon of Mercury.

These items were melted down in 1689 to contribute to the cost of fighting the Nine Years' War. Le Brun supervised the design and installation of countless statues in the gardens; the grand stairway to the King's apartment was soon redecorated as soon as it was completed with plaques of colored marble and trophies of arms and balconies, so the members of the court could observe the processions of the King. In 1670, Le Vau added a new pavilion northwest of the chateau, called the Trianon, for the King's relaxation in the hot summers, it was surrounded by flowerbeds and decorated with blue and white porcelain, in imitation of the Chinese style. The King spent his days in Versailles, the government and courtiers, numbering six to seven thou

Lado Ketskhoveli

Lado Ketskhoveli was a writer and revolutionary, one of the first people to introduce Joseph Stalin to Marxism. He was one of the few people that Stalin looked up to because of his "astonishing, outstanding talents" and a person whom Stalin called himself a "disciple" to; the son of a Gori priest, Lado met Stalin while living in Gori and joined the church school that he attended. He had been attending a better school, the Tiflis Seminary, but had been sent back to the church school after orchestrating a protest and a strike at the Seminary, it was due to Lado's early influence that Stalin first wanted to become an administrator in order to make a better difference. Lado took Stalin, when Stalin was only thirteen, to a bookstore and bought him a copy of On the Origin of Species by Darwin. Afterwards, while Stalin was attending the Tiflis Seminary at an older age, Lado tried to enter the Kiev Seminary after having gotten himself and all 82 of the other students expelled from the Tiflis Seminary from their strike four years earlier.

He was able to enter the Kiev Seminary, but suspicion fell on him and he was arrested. He was let out again on police surveillance, but managed to get away from their watch and return to Tiflis, where he met up with Stalin once more, he showed Silibistro "Silva" Jibladze, a rather famous man who, in years past, had beaten up the rector of the Tiflis Seminary, to Stalin. Jibladze, Noe Jordania, some others, had formed a group known as the Mesame Dasi, the "Third Group", in 1892; the group was a socialist party made up of Georgians. They had all come together in Tbilisi and taken over the newspaper known as Kvali, using it to spread revolutionary messages to the workers in the area. Stalin wished to help with the newspaper and went to the leader of the group, Jordania, to ask to do so, he was swiftly and rudely denied. Lado, disliking Jordania's attitude as much as Stalin, took Stalin to the Russian workers' circles, forming in Tbilisi, it was here, thanks to Lado. During the latter part of 1899, Lado began organizing a full-scale strike by the workers in Tbilisi and he was eagerly assisted by Stalin.

They began the strike on New Year's Day and Lado managed to bring the city to a grinding halt by having the train drivers join him in the strike. However, this was not just let go by the government, as the secret police had been watching their activities for a while. Stalin was arrested by them in January 1900 under the pretense that his father, had not been paying his taxes in his local village, but the revolutionary group was able to work together to raise the money for his bail. When he returned, both Lado and Stalin continued to work on organizing strikes. On May Day of 1900, Stalin began to organize a secret meeting of the revolutionaries, considering it was the day that labor demonstrated; however with his meticulous secrecy, he was found out and the secret police first came to Lado, but he managed to escape to Baku, leaving Stalin to take his place. No arrests came of the incident, though Stalin did become marked by the police as a leader of the group. In 1901, Lado began to work with Abel Yenukidze in order to print a radical newspaper called Brdzola, "Struggle".

They were able to begin printing it on an illegal printing press in Baku. In 1903, Lado was arrested in Baku and put in the Metekhi Fortress, a political prison run by the Tsars. While he was there, one day, he had begun yelling "Down with Autocracy" at the guards and, in return, one of them shot him in the heart. Afterwards, there was no ceremony at his burial, but both Dzhugashvili and Lado's younger brother spoke at his funeral, his brother said that Lado's last words were, "They will pay dearly for my death."Because of the great respect and admiration that Stalin held for Lado, one of the few people he considered an equal, he had a collection of articles created in 1938 that were dedicated to Lado, including a paean made by Lavrentiy Beria. In addition, commemorative articles continued to be made by various newspapers from 1938 onward, until the end of the war, and, in 1953, a monograph was made to immortalize his exploits. In the town of Arali, a statue of Lado was erected in front of the House of Culture.

There used a be a collective farm nearby the town, named after Lado. "Joseph Stalin A Short Biography" – The Internet Archive "First Steps of Stalin and His Early Years of School" – PMLI

Bligh Place, Melbourne

Bligh Place is a street in Melbourne, Victoria. It is a short and narrow open laneway, running north from Flinders Lane between Elizabeth Street and Queen Street in the central business district of Melbourne. Located near Victoria University and the financial centre of Melbourne, Bligh Place is a short lane which connects across Flinders Lane with University Place and University Arcade through to Flinders Street; as such, it is popular with university students. The lane was developed in the 1990s following the location of Victoria University to the inner city campus and has a heritage building, restored in the late 1990s on the eastern entrance and some converted warehouse lofts apartments. A vista is created by the Victoria University campus to the south on Flinders Street; the lane has a number of bars and Asian eateries. The lane is bitumen with a small strip blue stone cobbled gutter, has suspended overhead lighting and is unused by vehicular traffic. Australian Roads portal