Friday, July 22, 2016

India’s treasured Taj Mahal is slowly eroding

The Taj Mahal is hidden by an arch that reveals the building as you enter  (Taylor)
AGRA INDIA London Bridge is falling down. Venice is sinking. The glaciers are receding. And the Taj Mahal is disappearing.

Listed as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Taj Mahal is also one of India’s most precious tourist attractions, if not THE most recognized site in the country. Sadly, the Taj, which was completed in 1643 as a tribute by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an eternal tribute of his undying love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, is today fighting a losing battle against pollution.

Over the centuries the Taj Mahal has survived multiple threats including Mogul rule and British colonialism, but now environmentalists must find a way to halt the enslaught of contemporary pollution.

Pollution problems have plagued the ancient mausoleum for decades, but the efforts to resolve the situation have resulted in a Catch-22 that will require a new approach to save the giant marble monument before it disappears.
Erosion is beginning to take its toll  (wikipedia)

Situated on the south bank of the Yamuna River, the Taj has been battling deterioration problems resulting from nearby industries since the early days of the 20th century. Despite a 1983 law which banned industrial construction within a 50-square mile radius of the monument, more than 200 new factories have been built in recent years.

Sulphur dioxide emitted from factories near the Taj Mahal was the primary culprit at first, but with nearly 7-million visitors to the site each year, exhaust from trucks and buses has also contributed to the problem.

At first the solution was to wash the mausoleum on a daily basis in an effort to eliminate as much of the polluting agents as possible.

Over time however, the Yamuna River has also become a victim making it little more than a liquid garbage dump. In the process, the fish have long since disappeared, leaving swarms of insects to thrive and endanger the Taj even further.
The symmetry of the mausoleum is one of its appealing features  (wikipedia)
Today the soft marble structure is visibly eroding with yellow and brown spots that can be seen with the naked eye.

The daily chemical “baths” intended to clean the marble help alleviate the problem left by mosquitoes and other insects, but they can also seriously damage the marble and  precious mosaics over time.

Among the factors in attempting to solve the problem is a debate over the cause of the pollution itself. It is no secret that India is smothering under the weight of its humanity and many of the industries that are the worst offenders also provide employment for thousands of people. Thus locals are in a love/hate relationship that can be justified on both sides of the argument.

Taj Mahal's crypt  (wikipedia)

The love story surrounding Shah Jahan’s grief following the death of Mumtaz Mahal is the stuff of legends. The Persian princess died while giving birth to the couple’s 14th child.

Construction began in 1632 and was completed in 1643. The surrounding buildings and gardens were finished approximately five years later.

Shah Jahan was obsessed with the concept of symmetry which is one of the first things visitors notice when they tour the grounds.

The masterful architectural design was created in such a way that the Taj Mahal is not visible until visitors enter the grounds through an archway that reveals the majestic monument in all of its symmetrical glory.

Across the river, on the north bank, a large area that is now a garden offers a different view of the Taj than the more familiar scenes that are photographed. It is believed that Shah Jahan intended to build another black “palace” for himself that would face the gleaming white marble of the Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal from across the river where it is believed ShaH Jahan would build a black mahal for himself (Taylor)
If that is true, the dream was never realized and Shah Jahan was buried in the mausoleum beside his beloved wife. Oddly enough, Shah Jahan’s tomb is slightly catty-cornered which makes it the only non-symmetrical item in the entire complex.

For now, the immediate problem is figuring a way to save the Taj Mahal from disappearing under the cloud of pollution that surrounds it.
Some of the outbuildings at the Taj Mahal complex   (Taylor)
One proposal has been to limit the number of visitors that are allowed to view the Taj Mahal on any given day.

Meanwhile, the Agra Development Authority is not helping the situation by submitting other proposals which include night illumination and possibly a cable-car system that will offer an aerial view of the structure.
Interior of the Taj Mahal  (wikipedia)

 Those who are fighting to preserve the integrity of Shah Jahal’s creation argue that the Taj Mahal has its own culture and beauty without outside enhancements that detract from the original concept.

For travelers who wish to view the Taj Mahal in all of its majestic glory, time may just be of the essence. You might want to plan to see the Taj Mahal before it “melts.” 

Friday, July 15, 2016

John Paul Getty’s beguiling villa in Italy: La Posta Vecchia

Twilight at La Posta Vecchia overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea  (

LADISPOLI, ITALY Most people have never heard of Ladispoli, Italy, but once you visit Hohn Paul Getty’s former retirement villa, you will never forget it. Situated on the Tyrrhenian Sea, LaPosta Vecchia is just 40 minutes outside of Rome and light years from its hustle and bustle.

It’s an ideal spot to end a visit to the “Eternal City” thanks to its close proximity to Fiumicino Airport That said, it is not inexpensive but if you can afford a deluxe five-star experience, then La Posta Vecchia is the place.
Perfect place to finish an Italian adventure  (

La Posta Vecchia translates to mean “the Old Postal House.” It is the perfect blend of the old and new filled with 17th century d├ęcor and the excavations of an ancient Roman villa. La Posta Vecchia was also the former retirement home of J. Paul Getty who bought the property in 1960 and restored it to its glorious past, including  preserving the archaeological ruins.

Today, La Posta Vecchia is a luxurious five-star hotel with 19 uniquely decorated rooms and spectacular panoramic views. Each room is spacious and appointed with Renaissance furnishings, paintings, tapestries and antiques,

Spectacularly immaculate grounds border the historic building on one side with the gentle caress of sea winds on the other.

Reclusive industrial mogul John Paul Getty, who had unparalleled wealth, was a Europhile looking for a place to retire in the 1960s when La Posta Vecchia beckoned and captured his imagination. The area, much like the Island of Capri three hours by car to the south off the coast of Naples, was beguiling to Roman emperors centuries ago.

During the time of Pompeius, Caesar and Marcus Aurelius, the area was known as Alsium. It was described as a “voluptuous seaside resort” of which little remains other than the serenity of the surroundings and Getty’s former retirement residence.
Industrialist J. Paul Getty  (wikipedia)

So captivated was Getty by the history of his luxurious new-found retirement villa, he excavated the ruins beneath the floor of the building and turned it into a living museum of ancient Roman life.

A wealthy Italian prince built La Posta Vecchia around 1640 to serve as a refuge for visitors to his nearby castle. For nearly three centuries it remained a grand escape for the rich until it was almost destroyed by fire in 1918.

For the next four decades the property deteriorated until Getty discovered the ruins beneath the main floor and began excavations which uncovered a huge Roman villa under the foundations that were decorated with intricate mosaics and African and Greek marble.

With loving care, Getty converted the “basement” of his retirement villa into a 1st century museum featuring pottery and other artifacts from the time as well as the ruins of the early villa.
Entrance to the excavation of ancient Rome beneath La Posta Vecchia  (
The kitchen at La Posta Vecchia is every bit as elegant as the hotel itself. The Cesar Restaurant serves up dishes prepared with fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs that are farmed at the hotel’s organic garden. If you like you can dine outdoors on the patio facing the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Getty lost interest in La Posta Vecchia in 1973 when he fled Italy to England following the kidnapping of his grandson. As a warning to the oil baron, the kidnappers sent Getty his grandson’s ear to let him know the consequences for failure to pay the ransom.

When Getty departed, he left his villa and grounds intact with its Flemish tapestries, antique furniture and artwork.
The interior pool is large and exquisite  (
In tribute to Getty, La Posta Vecchia has been left without renovations to create a front reception desk, bar or gym. Rather it retains its character as a private home that allows you to sense the presence of Getty himself while offering a welcoming atmosphere that you are his personal guests.

There is also a huge indoor swimming pool and a spa to massage away any tension that remains, although it hardly seems likely that La Posta Vecchia could rub you the wrong way.

Some of Getty’s personal staff remain on the property and can offer fascinating stories about its history.
La Posta Vecchia is where time stands still as it peers to the eternal rhythms of the sea  (

La Posta Vecchia is one of those places where everything old seems new again. From ancient ruins to 20th century entrepreneurship to the magic of Italy’s scenery and cuisine. La Posta Vecchia is an ideal place to say “Arrivederci Roma.”

Thursday, July 7, 2016

How to communicate in any language

Trying to learn a few words in an language can often make traveling much easier

CHARLOTTE, NC Travel is contagious. For some it takes longer than others to become afflicted, but once bitten by the parasite of wanderlust, the disease is often incurable.

One major barrier for many novice travelers is language. Many first-timers solve that problem by initially visiting places where English is more or less spoken as it is as home. True there can be bumps along the way such as “chips” for French fries, “crisps” for potato chips, a “lift” for an elevator or “shagging” which means making love rather than a popular dance in the southern region of the United States.

It’s all part of a traveler’s initiation into the world of global communication and understanding. For example, Sussex in England means “the place of the South Saxons.” Similarly Essex is “East Saxony” and Wessex is “West Saxony.”

Norfolk is the “place of the North Folk” while Suffolk is the same in the south.

 England's Norfolk region ...Blakeney  (wikipedia) 

Many visitors enjoy demonstrating new-found linguistic expertise after a trip to the U.K. by writing with historical flair. This can be accomplished by adding a few specific letters to certain words. Thus, when the letter “E” is added to the end of a word such as “olde” it becomes far more impressive than the version we use today. Add the word “ye” to front of it to create “ye olde” and now you have really traveled back in time.

The letter “U” or reversing the letters “ER” are also useful for writing about travel to Great Britain. The word “color” becomes British by turning it into “colour.” The same is true of “labour” and “favour.”
When going to the movies, make it seem more elegant by going to the “theatre” rather than the “theater.” This also works with “shopping centre” instead of “the mall.”
The Lion Court at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain  (wikipedia)
Once the primary fear of language is overcome, some Americans may be emboldened on their first trip to the continent. All those years of high school Spanish rapidly disappear when travelers realize they are fluent simply by putting the word “el” in front of a noun and adding “O” to the end. Consequently, a bank becomes “el banko” and food is now “el foodo.”

This also works for Italian by adding “I” or “A” combined with a variety of hand gestures. Note that the more movement one uses, the greater the fluency.
When traveling in Italy use a lot of  As and Is and add plenty of gestures  (wikipedia)
In Switzerland you can practice three languages at once; Greman, Italian and French. France, on the other hand, has no time for such nuances.

Advanced students soon realize that eliminating the articles “a”. “an” and “the” is also advantageous when trying to master bilingual skills by using broken English as a substitute for virtually any other language in the world. Never use past tense and somehow you are immediately understood. For example you could say “He jump in lake,” rather than the proper usage.
This is not Notre Dame but there are more than one Notre Dames in France  (Taylor)
Once indoctrinated into basic words and phrases, travelers often establish a bucket list of global attractions that have, until now, been little more than distant fantasies; Notre Dame, the Acropolis, the Kremlin et al. Unfortunately when globetrotters reach this stage of expertise, it may open the gate to one of travel’s great paradoxes as well as disappointments.

When most people speak of Notre Dame they think of the great cathedral in Paris made famous by Victor Hugo’s hunchback. The problem lies in the fact that “Notre Dame” in French means “Our Lady” and refers to the Virgin Mary. Therefore, there are hundreds of Notre Dames around the world, including a famous university in the United States.
If you really want to practice you can speak three languages in Switzerland and English too  (wikipedia)
Travelers who visit THE Acropolis are really only visiting AN acropolis because the word “acropolis” in Greek means “the highest spot in a city.” In other words, Greece has many “acropoli” not just the one where the Parthenon looks down upon Athens.

It’s no different with Kremlin. A “kremlin” in Russia is a “major fortification” so there are countless “kremlins” throughout the country.

“Alt Stadt” in German sounds exotic, but it simply means “Old Town.” In German, “ober” means “over” and “gau” means “region of.” Therefore the village of Oberammergau means nothing more than the “region over the River Ammer.”

The Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most exclusive shopping avenues of the world, runs directly from the railway station in Zurich, Switzerland to the lake. When translated, however, Bahnhofstrasse merely means “train station street.”
Germany is an easy place to pick up a language if you drink beer  (wikipedia)
Here’s a tip for inexperienced travelers, never return from Florence and say you saw the “Ponte Veccho Bridge.” “Ponte” is Italian for “bridge” so what you just said is “I saw the Old Bridge Bridge.”

Furthermore, when you realize that Ponte Vecchio only means “Old Bridge” it tends to lose a bit of its romance.
Adding to the confusion, terms sometimes seem to make no sense at all. The Pont Neuf, or “New Bridge”, in Paris is actually the oldest bridge still standing along the River Seine.

As your travels unfold, be brave and venture into the challenging world of language. The Germans would say “Gute Fahrt” or “Good Journey.”

Somehow you have to give the French credit, "Bon Voyage" does sound a lot better.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Frankenstein and vampires celebrate their 200th birthday in Switzerland

The Castle of Chillon was made famous by Lord Byron in his epic poem  (wikipedia)

LAKE GENEVA, SWITZERLAND Had it not been for an unseasonably cold and rainy weekend in June, 1816 near Geneva, Switzerland, Gothic literature might have never had two of its most infamous characters.

In fact, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi might never have had careers, because that’s when the Frankenstein monster and vampires were born.
Mary Shelley created Frankenstein  (wikipedia)

Mary Godwin was only 19-years old when she dreamed up the idea of a scientist who created human life from the body parts of corpses. It was the result of a challenge by Mary’s future husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, George Gordon, Lord Byron and John Polidori to see who could come up with the best horror story. In the process, Mary brought Dr. Frankenstein’s monster to life, while Polidori gave us the world of vampires.

Villa Diodati -- Home of Frankenstein and vampires  (wikipedia)
It happened at Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva. To pass the time the group invented stories which resulted in the creation of Frankenstein, published in 1818 as The Modern Prometheus,” and Polidori’s 1819 Gothic horror story “The Vampyre.” 

At first it was believed that Lord Byron was responsible for the genesis of vampire literature. Byron attested to the fact that Polidori, who was also the poet’s personal physician, was the author of the now infamous bloodthirsty creatures.
The Frankenstein monster  (wilipedia)

Though Villa Diodati is a private residence today and inaccessible to visitors, it can be seen by boat from the lake.

A site that can be visited however, nestles it the eastern end of Lake Geneva, and it is here that Lord Byron attained his literary credentials in the region with his 392-line narrative poem “The Prisoner of Chillon.”

The Castle of Chillon was originally a Roman outpost along the main road through strategic Alpine passes to the east and south. The first written accounts of the castle date to 1005, but it was Byron’s poem in 1816 detailing the imprisonment of a Genevois monk, Francois Bonivard, that captured the imagination.
The dungeon at Chateau Chillon where Francois Bonivard was prisoner  (wikipedia)

Bonivard was held prisoner at the castle from 1532 to 1536 and the imprints of his footsteps are still visible in the dungeon floor where he was chained.

The Castle of Chillon is one of Switzerland's most popular sites thanks to Byron  (wikipedia)
Because Switzerland has been a democracy since the 13th century, it has never had any royalty so castles are not as common in the mountainous country as in other parts of Europe. Even so, Chillon remains one of the most popular attractions in Switzerland.
Portrait of Lord Byron  (wikipedia)

Travelers to Lake Geneva who have no interest in castles or monsters can still enjoy the essence of Swiss culture. With vineyards literally creating a carpet of grapes from the highest hill to the water’s edge, it is one of the most productive wine regions in Switzerland.

Never heard of Swiss wine? That’s because the Swiss drink it themselves and very little is exported. Better to export fictional fiends and savor the wrath of grapes than vice versa.

Teetotalers can still indulge in another well-known Swiss tradition however, as Nestle celebrates its 170th anniversary in 2016. The world famous chocolate company came into existence in 1866 in the village of Vevey as a milk-based baby food manufacturer.

Fireworks at the close of the Geneva Festival light up the sky  (wikipedia)
In 1879, Nestle merged with the inventor of milk chocolate, Daniel Peter, and in 1905 it joined forces with the Anglo-Swiss Milk company in what may have been the sweetest business deal in history.
In Geneva fireworks are an art form  (wikipedia)

Henri Nestle was the founder of the business, but the word “nestle” in French also means nest or finding comfort in a nest and who could dispute such a claim when they “nestle with a chocolate concoction” created on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland?

For the ultimate grand finale, visit Geneva in August and catch the last night of the Fete de Geneve or Festival of Geneva. If you think you have seen fireworks before, you probably haven’t until you witness the hour-long display of pyrotechnics that bring down the curtain on Geneva’s festival.

Using the north shore of the lake as a backdrop, the southern banks are reserved as a viewing area. The fireworks are synchronized to a musical theme, and once they begin, they, indeed, are linked to the music with Swiss precision.
Geneva's skyshow is one of a kind and not to be missed (wikipedia)
It’s a skyshow that is not to be missed. Everything else pales in comparison.

Thus, the fireworks began on the southern shores of Lake Geneva in 1816 and two centuries later, Frankenstein and his vampire friends are still enjoying the show.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Kon-Tiki Museum conjures adventure in Oslo

Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki sailed across the Pacific Ocean in 1947 to Polynesia (wikipedia)
OSLO, NORWAY Usually when people say “They don’t like museums,” what they really mean is that they don’t like certain “types” of museums. For example, there are five exhibitions that immediately come to mind that have universal appeal to even the most hardened “museum cynic.”

The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland is a showcase of both the summer and winter games over the last century. The Museum of Transportation in York, England features trains, trolleys, buses and any other means of mobility from the U.K.’s historic past. In Stockholm, the Wasa Museum is a three-story virtually complete Swedish warship dating to 1626 that was salvaged from the bottom of the harbor in the 1960s. And then there are the outdoor ruins of Pompeii, once a thriving port city near Naples that was smothered by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.
Model of the Kon-Tiki from above  (wikipedia)

Oslo, Norway is home to another such venue which is guaranteed to become a topic of dinner conversation following a tour. The Kon-Tiki Museum captures the imagination of everyone who visits, especially appealing to the “little boy” spirit of adventure that lives within the soul almost every male on the planet.

Here in a single setting, visitors discover the story of Norwegian explorer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl who set out to learn more about the wanderlust spirit of primitive man’s search for new worlds. Guests can also experience the original vessels used during Heyerdahl’s amazing expeditions including the Kon-Tiki, Ra, Tigris, Easter Island, Fatu-Hiva, Tucume and Galapagos. There is a cave tour as well, plus an underwater exhibit and a life-size model of a whale shark.
What makes the Kon-Tiki Museum so appealing is that it’s the kind of place you know a little bit about from magazine articles or television programs but not much more. Then, when you see it up-close-and-personal, it becomes and eye-brow raising source of discovery and suddenly, what was supposed to be a fifteen minute break in the itinerary turns into a two or three hour love affair filled with curiosity and wonder.
Ra II was a reed boat the Heyerdahl team used to cross the Atlantic in 1970  (wikipedia)
Heyerdahl’s first expedition began on April 28, 1947 on a balsa raft called Kon-Tiki. Along with five other crew members, Heyerdahl began his quest from Callao, Peru sailing across the Pacific Ocean to the Polynesian Islands with the purpose of proving it was possible for people in pre-Columbian times to have settled Polynesia from South America.
Side view of Ra II which Heyerdahl used to sail from Morocco to Barbados  (wikipedia)
In literal terms, the “pre-Columbian era” represents to the times preceding the first voyages of Columbus in 1492.
Heyerdahl used only materials and technologies available to the people of the time in which they lived, attempting to prove that there were no technical reasons that would prevent them from a successful voyage. Though the 1947 expedition did sail with some modern equipment, Heyedahl’s argument was that the technologies they possessed had nothing to do with the physical proof that a primitive raft could successfully complete the journey.
Sailing their vessel built from balsa logs and other native materials recorded in illustrations by Spanish conquistadors, the sextet of adventurers were at sea for 101 days covering 4,300 miles before crashing on a reef in the Tuamotu Islands.
The indigenous craft was built from nine balsa tree trunks lashed together with hemp roping. Cross-pieces of balsa logs added support and pine splash boards covered the bow. The main-mast was built from mangrove wood to form an A-frame while behind the main-mast was a bamboo cabin that was 14-feet long and 8-feet wide. The steering oar was also made of mangrove with the rudder blade built out of fir.
Adventurer Thor Heyerdahl  (wikipedia)
Initial supplies consisted of 275 gallons of drinking water stored in 56 water cans. For food, the team relied on flying fish, dolphin fish, yellow fin tuna, bonito and shark which were plentiful to catch during the voyage. Other provisions included 200 coconuts, sweet potatoes, bottle gourd and an assortment of fruit.
Some 23-years later, in May of 1970, Heyerdahl challenged the Atlantic Ocean by sailing from Morocco on a course for Barbados in a reed boat called Ra II. A year earlier, the Norwegian explorer had attempted the same experiment but was forced abandon the project, falling short by only a week.
The Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo is home to all of Heyerdahl's expeditions  (wikipedia)
The 1970 expedition with its eight man crew was at sea for 57 days for a distance of 3,270 nautical miles. Using wall paintings of papyrus vessels from Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and Central and South America, Heyerdahl had the added vision of demonstrating that people from differing cultures and religions could work together to accomplish a common goal.

The Kon-Tiki Museum is a showcase of wonder, awe and adventure. But don’t bother to visit if you “don’t like museums.”

Friday, June 3, 2016

A Curtain call for Shakespeare’s London theater

Exterior of London's Globe Theater, rebuilt through the efforts of American actor Sam Wanamaker  (wikipedia)

LONDON – This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. How  ironic then that excavations for a new apartment tower in London have uncovered the remains of the 16th century theater known as the Curtain where some of his plays were first performed.

But the plot thickens with true dramatic flair thanks to a number of twists.

Archaeologists were surprised to discover that the Curtain was not round like most playhouses of the day. Rather it was square. Adding to the intrigue is the reference in the prologue of Shakespeare’s “Henry V”, which was first staged at the Curtain, where the structure is called “this wooden O.”

Other London theaters during Shakespeare’s time, such as the better known Globe and Rose were circular in design.
The "Wooden O" today in London  (wikipedia)

Adding to the maze of curiosities surrounding Shakespeare and Elizabethan theater over the past four centuries, is the story of an American actor who was responsible for constructing a replica of the Globe theater in London.

During a visit to English capital in 1949, Wanamaker was astonished and dismayed to discover that only trace of the original theater honoring the memory of Shakespeare’s literary contributions was a grimy deteriorating plaque on an abandoned brewery.

With passionate determination Wanamaker created the Shakespeare Globe Trust in 1970 in an effort to raise money for the construction of a new playhouse. In 1997, the Globe reopened with a performance of none other than “Henry V.” Today, the Globe is the only thatch roofed building in the city.

Sadly, Wanamaker died in 1993, never see his dream come to fruition.

Oddly enough, the high cost of real estate is creating building projects throughout London, and the excavation process has accidentally established a bit of a “golden age” of archaeology in the city.
Standing room only for a performance of King Lear at London's Globe Theater  (wikipedia)
Other recent projects have uncovered skeletal remains of 14th century plague victims as well as Roman sandals.

Senior archaeologist at the Museum of London Archaeology, Heather Knight, claims the Curtain site “has probably the best preserved remains of any of the playhouses we’ve looked at.”

The recent excavations show that the Curtain was approximately a 100-foot by 72-foot rectangle that could accommodate about 1,000 people.

Though the Curtain was home to Shakespeare’s acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, from 1597 to 1599, and one of the oldest playhouses in London, it is also one of the least known.

The first performance at the "new" Globe was Henry V  (wikipedia)
As a tribute to Shakespeare’s literary contributions, Sam Wanamaker had a three-fold concept in mind for his Globe reconstruction. First, it would be an active playhouse where patrons can witness performances in much the same manner as they would have been staged during Shakespeare’s time.

Second, it is a school where actors can learn the techniques, nuances and historical styles of theatrical evolution through the centuries.

And finally it is a source of research for Shakespearean and Elizabethan studies.

Aerial view of Sam Wanamker's Globe...the only thatched roof building in London  (wikipedia)
For travelers to London, the Globe is also a living museum where children of all ages can gain a broader understanding of Shakespeare through a variety of ingenious interactive kiosks.

“The show must go on” as they say. Thanks to contemporary progress, some of London’s past has been unearthed and rediscovered. “All the world is a stage” as the Curtain rises like the Phoenix from the ashes of history.