Tem­ples of Love

Love, they say, lasts for­ever. Just look at some of the world’s grand­est mon­u­ments to love. These tes­ta­ments to eter­nal love are liv­ing re­minders that when pas­sion strikes, any­thing is pos­si­ble.

Maxx-brides Honeymoon - - Tips - Text by An­to­nius Martono|

Boldt Cas­tle, Heart Is­land, New York: A mil­lion­aire’s 120-room gift to his wife

What bet­ter place for a love mon­u­ment than an is­land shaped like a heart? This Rhineland-style cas­tle was the fancy of mil­lion­aire Ge­orge C. Boldt, pro­pri­etor of New York City’s Wal­dorf As­to­ria Ho­tel, who built it for his wife, Louise. Be­gin­ning in 1900, more than 300 car­pen­ters, stone­ma­sons and ar­ti­sans worked on the six-storey, 120room cas­tle, which in­cludes tur­rets, a draw­bridge, gar­dens and a dove­cote. Dur­ing con­struc­tion, the Boldt fam­ily would sum­mer on the is­land, hol­ing up in the cas­tle’s Al­ster Tower. When Louise died sud­denly, a dev­as­tated Ge­orge or­dered that all con­struc­tion cease im­me­di­ately. The fam­ily never re­turned to Heart Is­land, and the property re­mained aban­doned un­til 1977, when the Thou­sand Is­lands Bridge Author­ity took con­trol and launched a restora­tion project.

Thornewood Cas­tle, Lake­wood, Wash­ing­ton: Built with three shiploads of trea­sures from Europe

When his wife ex­pressed a de­sire for a cas­tle of their own, early-20th-century mil­lion­aire Ch­ester Thorne – one of the founders of the Port of Ta­coma – didn’t need to think twice. He com­mis­sioned noted ar­chi­tect Kirt­land Kelsey Cut­ter to in­dulge his bride’s wish and sought out the finest Euro­pean ma­te­ri­als. The re­sult­ing 54-room Tu­dor-Gothic manor brings to­gether three-inch-thick solid oak doors and a grand stair­case from a 16th-century English manor; red-brick fac­ing from Wales; stained glass from the collection of an English duke; and Floren­tine mar­ble for the fire­places. Three sup­ply ships trans­ported the pre­cious cargo to Wash­ing­ton state via Cape Horn. But Thorne’s am­bi­tions went be­yond the cas­tle walls. He en­listed the Olm­sted Broth­ers land­scape ar­chi­tec­ture firm (of Cen­tral Park fame) to de­sign a for­mal English gar­den com­plete with wis­te­ria and climb­ing hy­drangea – and then hired a staff of 28 gar­den­ers for the up­keep.

El Beso (“The Kiss”), Lima, Peru: At­tached like your kiss

What bet­ter way to cap­ture the spirit of love than with a kiss? That’s ex­actly what they have done in the Mi­raflo­res district of Lima with a larger than life sculp­ture ti­tled El Beso, mean­ing “The Kiss.” Framed by spec­tac­u­lar views of the Pa­cific Ocean be­hind wavy mo­saic­tiled walls, this mon­u­ment to love, which de­picts sculp­tor Vic­tor Delfin and his wife in a lusty em­brace, was un­veiled dur­ing the park’s open­ing on Valen­tine’s Day in 1993. Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal tra­di­tion, the mayor of the district holds a kiss­ing con­test here each year with the cou­ple that holds the same pose as the sculp­ture the long­est the win­ners.

Ko­dai-ji Tem­ple, Ky­oto, Ja­pan: A wife honours her hus­band and his love of tea

Toy­otomi Hideyoshi, a 16th-century war­lord, made his name as one of Ja­pan’s great uni­fiers by con­sol­i­dat­ing po­lit­i­cal clans, re­form­ing class struc­tures (in­clud­ing a ban on slav­ery) and wag­ing war on neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. Of­ten on the go, he would ex­change letters with one of his favourite wives, Nene, the daugh­ter of a sa­mu­rai – and a valu­able source of strate­gic ad­vice and con­nec­tions. Af­ter Hideyoshi’s death, Nene built this com­plex, in what is present-day east­ern Ky­oto, in his mem­ory. The main tem­ple houses art­work and lac­quer fur­nish­ings and is sur­rounded by a me­mo­rial hall with carved im­ages of the cou­ple, a mau­soleum, a bam­boo grove and sev­eral for­mal gar­dens said to have been de­signed by 17th-century Zen land­scape ar­chi­tect Ko­bori En­shu. Nene paid trib­ute to Hideyoshi’s fond­ness for tea cer­e­monies by in­stalling two still­func­tion­ing tea houses.

Taj Ma­hal, Agra, In­dia: An iconic me­mo­rial built by a crew of thou­sands

When his third wife, Mum­taz Ma­hal, died while giv­ing birth to their 14th child, 17th-century Mughal em­peror Shah Ja­han or­dered the cre­ation of this mar­ble mau­soleum and sur­round­ing gar­dens. For 22 years, thou­sands of crafts­men worked on the Taj Ma­hal and its in­tri­cate in­lays, bas-re­lief and ac­cents of pre­cious and semi­precious stones. Cen­tred on a dome-topped tomb, the struc­ture fea­tures Is­lamic minarets, Per­sian and Hindu dec­o­ra­tive touches and a façade elab­o­rately carved with prayers. The beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated tombs of Mum­taz and Shah Ja­han are just de­coys. Ac­cord­ing to Mus­lim tra­di­tion, their bod­ies ac­tu­ally lie to­gether in a plain crypt be­neath the in­ner cham­ber, with their faces turned to­wards Mecca. Though the Shah clearly pre­ferred Mum­taz to his other wives, he did ac­knowl­edge them (and Mum­taz’s favourite ser­vant) with sev­eral smaller tombs, which sit past the vast gar­den com­plex.

Kel­lie’s Cas­tle, Perak, Malaysia: An ill-fated man­sion with tun­nels and a rooftop court­yard

In 1890, Scots­man Wil­liam Kel­lie Smith ar­rived in north­west­ern Malaysia to make his for­tune in the rub­ber and tin in­dus­tries. He set­tled into a Moor­ish­style manor on a knoll by the Kinta River with his lass Agnes and their daugh­ter. The cou­ple strug­gled for years to con­ceive an­other child un­til fi­nally, in 1915, their son Anthony was born. To cel­e­brate, Smith laid the ground­work for an elab­o­rate new brick man­sion to be adorned with flour­ishes like a rooftop court­yard, a sec­ond-floor in­door ten­nis court, tun­nels and se­cret rooms. But the project was plagued by prob­lems from the start, when an out­break of Span­ish flu killed many of the south­ern In­dian labour­ers. In 1926, Smith him­self died in Por­tu­gal, where he went to col­lect his cas­tle’s el­e­va­tor, which would have been the first in Malaysia. His heart­bro­ken fam­ily re­turned to Scot­land, leav­ing the ram­bling (and some say haunted) house – which is also re­ferred to as Kel­lie’s Folly – to be­come a tourist cu­rios­ity.

Petit Tri­anon, Ver­sailles, France: A regifted, he­do­nis­tic hide­away for many loves

Louis XV orig­i­nally com­mis­sioned this Ange-Jac­ques Gabriel-de­signed “lit­tle” chateau on the grounds of the Palace in 1762 for his mis­tress, Madame de Pom­padour. But the king’s beloved passed away four years be­fore the build­ing was fin­ished, so he pre­sented it to his next mis­tress, Madame Du Barry. The el­e­gant, neo­clas­si­cal manse achieved most of its no­to­ri­ety, how­ever, when young Louis XVI gifted it to his bride, Marie An­toinette. She

wasn’t ex­actly known for her grat­i­tude. From 1774 un­til the cou­ple’s vi­o­lent end, the os­ten­ta­tious queen used the house as an es­cape from the for­mal­ity of court life, open only to her in­ner cir­cle – mostly a cir­cle of ru­moured lovers. Marie let her imag­i­na­tion run wild. No­table touches in­cluded a ta­ble carved with im­ages of her pets, a lan­tern adorned with paste di­a­monds and sym­bols of Cu­pid, and mir­rored shut­ters in her pri­vate quar­ters to de­flect pry­ing eyes. Petit Tri­anon is open as part of a com­plete Ver­sailles tour or in­de­pen­dently.

Sweet­heart Abbey, Dum­fries, Scot­land: A widow’s heart­felt shrine

This tale is un­mis­tak­ably me­dieval. No­ble-born Devorgilla of Galloway’s re­sponse to her hus­band’s death was to em­balm his heart and place it in an ivory cas­ket, which she then car­ried around with her at all times. Devorgilla per­formed many char­i­ta­ble acts in mem­ory of her late hus­band, in­clud­ing found­ing this Cis­ter­cian monastery – named Dulce Cor, Latin for “Sweet Heart” – in 1273. Orig­i­nally spread over more than 20 acres, the Abbey com­plex in­cluded a large, English-style church with carved col­umns, a 92-footh­igh bell tower and res­i­den­tial quar­ters for the broth­ers. When the widow died in 1289, she was buried in front of the abbey church’s high al­tar, still hold­ing on to her hus­band’s en­shrined heart. Over the cen­turies, the Abbey changed hands and pur­poses, un­til it fell vic­tim to the Protes­tant Ref­or­ma­tion of the mid-1500s. To­day, vis­i­tors come to roam the el­e­gant, well-kept ru­ins, which in­clude the red-sand­stone shell of the church and its lovely arch­lined nave, and a stone ef­figy of Lady Devorgilla clutch­ing her beloved’s heart.

Mirabell Palace and Gar­dens, Salzburg, Aus­tria: An or­nate man­sion that in­spired a cou­ple’s 15 ba­bies

This baroque man­sion and its ac­com­pa­ny­ing gar­dens were a lav­ish gift from Prince Arch­bishop Wolf Di­et­rich von Rait­e­nau to his mis­tress, Salome Alt (hence the orig­i­nal name, Al­te­nau Palace, or Schloss Al­te­nau). Af­ter work­ing its magic on those love­birds – who even­tu­ally had 15 chil­dren – the place was passed down to sub­se­quent Prince Arch­bish­ops, each of whom made his own changes to the site. The mas­sive Salzburg fire of 1818 prompted an­other round of re­build­ing. While the cur­rent palace bears lit­tle re­sem­blance to von Rait­e­nau’s orig­i­nal, vis­i­tors can still spy an 18th-century stair­case re­plete with carvings and sculp­tures, an elab­o­rate mar­ble grand hall, or­nate stucco work and the gor­geous gar­dens. The main build­ing now houses govern­ment of­fices, while con­certs, wed­dings and other events are reg­u­larly held on the grounds. You may rec­og­nize the gor­geous gar­dens, filled with top­i­ary, stat­ues and foun­tains, from the “DoRe-Mi” num­ber in “The Sound of Mu­sic.”

Casa di Gi­uli­etta (Juliet’s House), Verona, Italy: Where true love be­gan

When it comes to love sto­ries there could be none greater than that of Romeo and Juliet. First con­ceived by Luigi da Porto in 1524 and later im­mor­talised by Wil­liam Shake­speare, the sad tale of the star-crossed lovers has pulled at heart­strings the world over. The ro­man­tic city of Verona in Italy lays claim to not only be­ing the set­ting for this story of woe but also the home of “Juilet’s House” and the fa­mous bal­cony where Romeo and Juliet’s love first blos­somed. More mar­ket­ing ploy than his­tor­i­cal fact, Casa di Gi­uli­etta is in fact a re­stored 13th-century inn with no proven link to the love­birds. But that hasn’t stopped hun­dreds of thou­sands of tourists from queu­ing up to be pho­tographed on the bal­cony or touch­ing the right breast of Juliet’s statue for good luck.

Taj Ma­hal - In­dia Tourism

Boldt Cas­tle Me­dia

Mirabell Palace and Gar­den

Kel­lie’s Cas­tle

Ko­dai Ji Tem­ple

Petit­tit Tri­anon

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