EMPIRES NFT Overview

         Each NFT from the EMPIRES collection is generated from a dataset representing one of fifteen different real-world heritage sites spanning generations, geographies and civilizations.

         ARTIFAKT NFTs have their own unique stories and place in history, which we believe adds a unique contextual dimension to the asset. See below for brief historical profiles of the EMPIRES collection ARTIFAKTS .

         Aside from several linked media formats at launch, each NFT represents ownership of the underlying 3D model. ARTIFAKT holders own the right to utilize their NFT across virtual environments in any way they like.

         As the ARTIFAKTS project and metaverse applications evolve so will the resources connected to each NFT, to include standardized 3D file formats and formats compatible with specific environments. We look forward to adding value to existing NFTs by prioritizing adaptations of the community's choosing.

         Each model is scaled in 3D space true to the dimensions of its real-world counterpart, and can be represented at true scale in virtual environments or scaled to applications as needed.

         Development of metaverse interoperability standards is in its infancy, but interpreting these standards and adapting ARTIFAKT models for compatibility is a core pillar of the ARTIFAKTS mission.

EMPIRES Collection: ARTIFAKT History

Belem Tower
Lisbon, Portugal
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Belem Tower, officially the Tower of Saint Vincent, is a 16th-century fortification located in Lisbon that served as a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers and as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. It was built during the height of the Portuguese Renaissance and is a prominent example of the Portuguese Manueline style, but it also incorporates hints of other architectural styles. The structure was built from lioz limestone and is composed of a bastion and a 30-metre (98.4ft), four-story tower.

It has incorrectly been stated that the tower was built in the middle of the Tagus river and now sits near the shore because the river was redirected after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In fact, the tower was built on a small island in the Tagus river near the Lisbon shore.  As development extended the shoreline progressively, more and more of the northern bank crept southwards into the Tagus, the tower becoming integrated into the riverbank over time.

The tower was designed by military architect Francisco de Arruda, named "Master of the works of the Belém stronghold" by King Manuel, and in 1516 he began receiving 763 blocks and504 stones for its construction. As construction progressed, a man-of-war called the Grande Nau (Great Ship), a heavily armed, 1000–ton ship continued to guard the estuary at the mouth of the Tagus until the fort's completion.

 In 1580, after a few hours of battle, the garrison stationed in the tower surrendered to Spanish forces under the command of the Duke of Alba. After this defeat, the dungeons of the tower served as a prison until 1830. It was also during the last quarter of the 16th century that the construction of the Philippine Barracks began. A rectangular two-story space was constructed over the bastion, giving the tower the visual profile that it has retained to the present, with sculpted crosses of the Order of Christ and domed turrets.

The 16th-century tower is considered one of the principal works of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style. This is especially apparent in its elaborate rib vaulting, crosses of the Order of Christ, armillary spheres and twisted rope, common to the nautically inspired organic Manueline style.  On the outside of the lower bastion, the walls have spaces for 17 cannons with embrasures affording a view of the river.  The bartizans, cylindrical turrets (guerites) in the corners that served as watchtowers, have corbels with zoomorphic ornaments and domes covered with ridges unusual in European architecture, topped with ornate finials. The bases of the turrets have images of beasts, including a rhinoceros.  This rhinoceros is considered to be the first sculpture of such an animal in Western European art and probably depicts the rhinoceros that Manuel I sent to Pope Leo X in 1515.

Point Cloud Attribution: none
Temple of Kukulcan
Yucatan, Mexico
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La Pirámide, known as the Temple of Kukulcán, is a Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatán.  Twice a year thousands of visitors crowd into the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá, located in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, in anticipation of the descent of Kukulcán. They gather around the site’s pyramid, called El Castillo (“the Castle”) by Spanish conquistadors, where, according to legend, Kukulcán, the feathered serpent god, alights from the heavens, blesses his worshipers on earth, and then makes his way to the underworld, or Xibalba.

The setting sun during the spring and fall equinoxes casts a shadow on the northern balustrade of El Castillo that resembles the form of a snake slithering down the stairs, an effect which is heightened by the heads of sculpted beasts at the base.

The temple was probably built by the Toltec-Maya between 1050 and 1300 CE when the rest of the Maya population was dwindling. It’s famous not only for the descent of Kukulcán but also for its relationship to the Maya calendar. Each of the pyramid’s four sides has a staircase of 91steps. The total number of steps, when combined with the temple at its summit, equals 365—the number of days in the Maya solar year. The temple on top was used exclusively by priests who performed sacred rituals at a height that brought them closer to the gods in the sky.

Priests ascended one of the four staircases to reach the temple—the pyramid was never meant to be entered. In the 1930s, a group of excavators began exploring and discovered that another pyramid-temple was nestled within the larger pyramid. Further excavations revealed that the inner pyramid had nine platforms, a single stairway, and a temple containing human remains, a jade-studded jaguar throne, and a so-called Chac Mool. The Chac Mool is a type of Maya sculpture of an abstract male figure reclining and holding a bowl used as a receptacle for sacrifices. Researchers theorize that this inner pyramid was constructed sometime between 800 and 1000 CE. In the mid-2010s archaeologists using noninvasive imaging techniques discovered yet another pyramid buried within the two others. They theorize that it was probably built between 550 and 800 CE and may have had a single stairway and an altar.  Scholars speculate that rulers often constructed over existing buildings as a means of outdoing their predecessors.

In 2018 a team of archaeologists began exploring the underground water system beneath Chichén Itzá in an effort to find a connection to the presumed cenote below the Temple. If the archeologists are successful in proving the cenote’s existence, the Temple would then not only have served as a staircase that brought priests closer to the gods of the heavens but also as a gateway to the demons of the underworld. It would essentially be an axis mundi, the center of the world, uniting the earth with heaven and the underworld.

Point Cloud Attribution: none
Torre de Aragon
Molina, Spain
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The structure is a medieval fortress that is part one of the most extensive military complexes of the Middle Ages preserved in Spain today in Molina de Aragón (Guadalajara, Spain). The tower is located in the highest part of the area, dominating the valley generated by the Gallo River. The city of Molina de Aragón had a strategic character during the Middle Ages as it was located on the border of the Kingdoms of Castilla and Aragón.

The fortress originated as a Moorish fortress(10th-11th century), built over a pre-existing Celtiberian castle. The fortress was used as residence of the lords of the taifa of Molina. El Cid resided here when he was exiled from Castile. In 1129 it was conquered from the Moors by Alfonso I of Aragon, who gave it the Lara family.

The tower is one of the tallest buildings that rose in the Castilian Middle Ages, 30 meters measured from the ground level to the terrace. With the attack systems practiced at the time of its construction, this bastion was impregnable. It is pentagonal in shape to increase its resistance to impact from artillery, especially from catapults.  Despite various battles and attacks suffered, no army was ever able to conquer the Tower of Aragon. The Aragon tower was built on the remains of a previous Islamic fortress.  The tower was connected to the castle or citadel by a covered path or underground shell, in zigzag, whose layout is still perfectly observed today.

Its defensive capacity is equal to the lookout function. It is curious to note that its pentagonal plan does not correspond to its interior, which has four walls.  The interior, is accessed today through its authentic entrance gate, although in times of war it could only be entered through the open hole on the first floor, by means of mobile hand ladders.  The terrace can be accessed by ascending the half-timbered staircase with 78 steps terrace.

Point Cloud Attribution: CC Attribution Global Digital Heritage
Puerta de Toledo
Ciudad Real, Spain
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This structure is a fortified gate located in the Castilian-Manchega city of Ciudad Real , capital of the homonymous province. The structure was part of the city walls and has a pair of horseshoe arch and pointed arch on each of its facades. The gate is an example of military architecture in the 13th and 14th centuries. Its construction was promoted by King Alfonso X the Wise when in 1255 he granted the town his Carta Puebla, completing the work in 1328 under Alfonso XI.

The gate was part of the walls that surrounded and protected the city in the Middle Ages. It was also equipped with doors and rakes capable of preventing entry. From an artistic point of view, it is a mixture of Gothic and Islamic art. During the restoration work on the gate, carried out a few years ago, several sculpted heads wearing a crown were discovered in the vaults, so it is interpreted that it could be a representation of the king, perhaps Alfonso X.  It is the only gate that is preserved today, of the seven that the old wall that surrounded Ciudad Real had. It had various functions throughout its history, serving as surveillance of the city, to the doorway where taxes were paid in the transport of goods and people from Toledo to Seville.

The gate is made of ashlar stone with the marks of at least seven different stonemasons.  This central body is divided into two halves by a double wall with pointed arches, where the rastillo (lift gate) was housed; it is covered, in turn, by two ribbed vaults divided into four panels, with pointed arches supported on corbels, in whose keys appear the coats of arms of the kingdoms of Castile and Leon. This double central space is very similar to the gates of the Sun and of Alfonso VI of Toledo.

Point Cloud Attribution: CC Attribution Global Digital Heritage
Umm an-Nar Tomb
Mleiha, UAE
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Located off the coast of Abu Dhabi emirate, the small island of Umm an-Nar features an archaeological site that has yielded significant finds that have helped to illuminate the culture and lifestyle of Bronze Age inhabitants of the United Arab Emirates

The ancient site of Mleiha is comprised of a wide agricultural settlement containing a variety of archeological features which date to the post Iron Age, the Hellenistic period and post-Hellenistic periods. Until recently the oldest archeological discoveries recorded at Mleiha dated back to the 3rd century BC, however recent discoveries of an Umm an-Nar tomb at the site have pushed its ancient history back to the 3rd millennium BCE.

The tomb was discovered within a date palm orchard by archeologists from the Directorate of Antiquities in Sharjah in 1988. Its layout is typical of an Umm an-Nar tomb plan with its circular construction. Measuring 13.85 m in diameter, it is the second largest Umm an-Nar tomb to have been found after one in Ras Al-Khaimah which measures 14 m.

The tomb was based on a foundation ring made up of un-worked blocks of stone. It is faced with uniform limestone ashlars. The tombs’ entrance is at the northern side as indicated by a large rectangular shaped ashlars bearing a relief decoration.

The interior of the tomb is divided into eight units, each of which contains a corbelled burial chamber. The floors inside the burial chambers are paved with stone blocks.  Each chamber was designed to contain several bodies, but the precise number is difficult to tell because of disturbances by grave robbers and the passage of time.

Archaeologists have recovered a number of objects from the settlement on the island, providing insight into the lives of these early people. Artifacts include necklaces, jewelry and even a gold hairpin; copper weapons; and imported and local pottery decorated with elaborate designs. Bronze objects, such as fishing hooks, also were found. These were made from locally sourced copper that likely came from the mountains near the inland oasis of Al Ain.

Artifacts such as fish hooks and net sinkers illustrate the people’s dependence on the sea for food. Dugong, cousins of the manatee, also called “sea cow”, seems to have been a staple of the diet, and the hide and oil also were used. Now a protected species, dugongs must once have been plentiful, since many of their bones were found at the site.

Point Cloud Attribution: CC Attribution Global Digital Heritage
Herstmonceux Castle
East Sussex, England
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The story of the castle begins in 1441 when Sir Roger Fiennes, Treasurer of the Royal Household, obtained a license from Henry VI to crenellate his existing manor house. Sir Roger was a veteran of the French wars and had fought with Henry V at Agincourt in 1415.

Fiennes decided to build his castle in brick, now a commonplace building material, but in 15th century England a rare luxury. The use of brick makes it clear that Fiennes intended his grandiose new residence to be a statement of his family's wealth and status. Stone was used only for window and door openings and for corbels. As a 'statement', Herstmonceux was unequivocal; it was the largest private residence in England.

The moated castle is more a complex of buildings than a single fortified house. A curtain wall encloses an area twice as large as that 'other' moated castle in East Sussex, Bodiam, and within the walls was space for a large number of secondary buildings, capable of housing the large household of an important baron.

The Fiennes family maintained their position of importance at court for a century before 1541 when Sir Thomas Fiennes, Lord Dacre, made the fatal mistake of falling out with Henry VIII.  Thomas was tried for murder and robbery of the King's deer after his poaching exploits on a neighboring estate resulted in the death of a gamekeeper. He was convicted and hanged as a commoner, and the Herstmonceux estate was temporarily confiscated by Henry VIII of England, but was restored to the Fiennes family during the reign of one of Henry's children.

The interior of the castle was dismantled in 1777, leaving the exterior walls standing and remained a ruin until the early 20th century.

In 1910 Colonel Claude Lowther bought the estate and began to realize his vision of recreating an elegant country house. During WWII the castle was used by the Hearts of Oak insurance company to store records, and on several occasions was strafed by German planes. After the war it was purchased by the Admiralty and used as a new base for the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Then in 1994 the castle was transformed into its current role as an international study center under the auspices of Queen's University (Canada).

Point Cloud Attribution: CC Attribution Global Digital Heritage
Bajra Sandhi Monument
Bali, Indonesia
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The Bajra Sandhi Monument is a memorial to the struggles of the Balinese people throughout history. The monument is located in front of the Bali Governor's Office in Denpasar, Indonesia, on the island of Bali. The monument was built in 1987, inaugurated by President Megawati Sukarnoputri on June 14, 2003.

The monument follows the architectural principles of the "Tri Mandala." It consists of three parts: 1) Utama Mandala, the main building in the center of the monument, 2) Madya Mandala, the inner courtyard surrounding the Utama Mandalao, and 3) Nista Mandala, the outer courtyard surrounding the Madya Mandala.

The main building, the Utama Mandala, has three floors. In the center of the ground floor is a lake called the Puser Tasik. The first floor, Madyaning Utama Mandala, contains 33 dioramas, similar to those in the National Monument in Jakarta, but with a focus on the struggles of the Balinese people. The second floor is a meditative space which provides a panoramic view of Denpasar.

The dioramas cover various incidents in the history of the Balinese, including the Balinese kingdom, the introduction of Hinduism, the Majapahit era, Dutch colonialism, and the struggle for independence.  The invasion of the Dutch in 1906 and 1908 saw the deaths of over 1,000 Balinese people, many of whom were civilians, including the Balinese rulers of Badung and Tabanan. These were some of six Dutch involvements in Bali, these most recent being the most catastrophic in statistical proportions.

Point Cloud Attribution: None
Salomons Stables
Tunbridge Wells, England
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The Salomons family stables, now a commercial center named Runcie Court, were a crowning feature of the expansive Broomhill country home of the Salomons family for a hundred years.

The Salomons Family arrived in London from the Netherlands early in the 18th century, attracted by the financial opportunities in the developing British economy.  In 1829 David Salomons acquired Broomhill Cottage, 'a very elegant, small leasehold villa' with 36 acres of land. It was a new house, perhaps three or four years old. The previous owner had been GG Downes, an East India (tea)broker with a Marylebone address.

Between about 1850 and 1852 the original 'Cottage' was demolished and a new Broomhill was built. The new main building forms the core of the present house, including the two museum rooms.  It may be that the architect Decimus Burton worked on the new Broomhill.

Between 1890 and 1894 Salomons built a large new coach-house and stables, with space for twelve carriages and twenty-one horses. It incorporated state-of-the-art features, such as hot-water heating and electric lighting, but most important was its eye-catching design. Salomons designed it himself, working with the local architect, William Barnsley Hughes. The building is of red brick and white Portland stone see set around a central courtyard. The style is of a 16th century French chateau with much ornamentation.

The main block housed the carriages with staff accommodation above. It has three stories and is topped by an ornate cupola. The wings are 2-story with stalls and loose-boxes on the ground floor, and storage lofts above. The small octagonal building on the front corner was a forge.

Point Cloud Attribution: None
Temple of Concordia
Agrigento, Italy
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The Temple of Concordia is an ancient Greek temple in the Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples) in Agrigento on the south coast of Sicily, Italy. It is the largest and best-preserved Doric temple in Sicily and one of the best-preserved Greek temples in general, especially of the Doric order.

The temple was built c. 440–430 BC. The well-preserved peristasis of six by thirteen columns stands on a crepidoma of four steps (measuring 39.42 m × 16.92 m, and 8.93 m high)  The cella measures 28.36 m × 9.4 m. The columns are 6 m high and carved with twenty flutes and harmonious entasis (tapering at the tops of the columns and swelling around the middles).

It has been conventionally named after Concordia, the Roman goddess of harmony, for the Roman-era Latin inscription found nearby, which is unconnected with it.

If still in use by the 4th and 5th century, it would have been closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire. The temple was converted into a Christian basilica in the 6th century dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul by San Gregorio delle Rape, bishop of Agrigento and thus survived the destruction of pagan places of worship.

At that time the spaces between the columns were filled with walling, altering its Classical Greek form. The division between the cella, the main room where the cult statue would have stood in antiquity, and the opisthodomos, an adjoining room, was destroyed, and the walls of the cella were cut into a series of arches along the nave. The Christian refurbishments were removed during the restoration of 1785. According to another source, the Prince of Torremuzza transferred the altar elsewhere and began restoration of the classic building in 1788.

Prior to 2019 visitors were only allowed to walk around the outside of the site, but following the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda fashion show inside the temple in July 2019 the interior was opened to the public.  Dolce & Gabbana worked with archaeologists and restoration experts to ensure that the event could take place without damaging the ancient structure.

Point Cloud Attribution: None
Peterborough Guildhall
Peterborough, England
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The local people of Peterborough decided to erect this Guildhall structure to commemorate the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.

The building was designed by John Lovin who had also been the architect for the restoration work on the Bishop's Palace in Peterborough and was completed in 1671.  It was designed in the Classical style with arcading on the ground floor to allow markets to be held; an assembly room with mullion windows was established on the first floor. The building, which was funded by public subscription, bears the Royal arms of King Charles II and shields displaying the arms of Bishop Joseph Henshaw, Dean James Duport, Humphrey Orme MP and the Montagu family.

In the early 20th century, the building was the traditional meeting place for the historic Fitzwilliam Hunt. At that time the guildhall was physically connected to other buildings, which have since been demolished.

On July 4th, 2012 the guildhall was the starting point for the Olympic flame's journey on day 47 before leaving for Lincolnshire as part of its relay tour of the United Kingdom as part of preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Point Cloud Attribution: None
Evju Bygdetun Stabbur
Gvarv, Norway
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Until the 20th century, most Norwegians lived and worked in buildings that were designed and built according to vernacular building traditions, what in Norwegian is known as byggeskikk. These practices varied somewhat by region and climatic conditions and evolved over time, but were largely based on use of wood and other locally available resources.

Since the Middle Ages, most dwellings were log houses with notched corners, carefully crafted to ensure protection against the elements. Centrally placed open-hearth fires with smoke vents in the roofs gave way to stone stoves and chimneys in early modern times. Specialized buildings became commonplace, organized around farmyards or gårdstun. The introduction of exterior boarding (weatherboarding) in the 18th century improved housing standards considerably and gave rise to larger houses.

A typical medium-sized farm in the inland of Norway would include a dwelling house (våningshus), hay barn (låve), livestockbarn (fjøs), one or more food storage houses (stabbur), a stable, and occasionally separate houses for poultry, pigs, etc. Houses that had separate heat sources, e.g., washing houses (eldhus) and smithies were usually kep tseparate from the other houses to prevent fires. Outhouses were typically separate, small structures. If the farm housed craftsmen, there would also be separate houses for carpentry, wheel making, shoemaking, etc. Food storage houses – stabbur – were usually built on stilts in ways that made it difficult for mice and rats, but not cats, to get in.

Point Cloud Attribution: CC Attribution Kulturarv i Vestfold og Telemark fylkeskommune
Linji Huguo Chan Temple Sanmon
Taipei, Taiwan
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This sanmon is part of the Linji Huguo Chan Temple, a Buddhist temple located in Zhongshan District of Taipei, Taiwan.  The temple was  designed by Japanese monk Meishan, commenced in 1900 and was completed in 1911.  Linji Huguo Chan Temple is a typical example of the Edo period architecture.

A sanmon is the most important gate of a Japanese Zen Buddhist temple, and is part of the Zen shichidō garan, the group of buildings that forms the heart of a Zen Buddhist temple.  Its importance notwithstanding, the sanmon is not the first gate of the temple, and in fact it usually stands between the sōmon (outer gate) and the butsuden (lit. "Hall of Buddha", i.e. the main hall).

The temple’s three gates are called kūmon (gate of emptiness), musōmon (gate of formlessness) and muganmon (gate of inaction)and symbolize the three gates to enlightenment, or satori. Entering, pilgrims can symbolically free themselves from the three passions of ton (greed), shin(hatred), and chi (foolishness).

Point Cloud Attribution: CC Attribution VibrantNebula
99 Domes Mosque
Makassar, Indonesia
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Currently under construction and delayed by Covid-19, the 99 Domes Mosque is envisioned as a religious tourist destination for Indonesia and a new landmark in the city of Makassar.  The mosque is located on the edge of Losari Makassar Beach and was designed by Ridwan Kamil who also designed the Aceh Tsunami Museum in Banda Aceh.

The mosque is designed to accommodate 13,075 worshipers including 3,880 prayer rooms capacity, 1,005 mezzanine worshipers, and an 8,190 person congregation.  The place of worship is predicted to attract the attention of tourists, and will be equipped with a water filter that will distill brackish water into fresh water to be used as the main source of water for the worshipers of the ablution mosque.

The 99 Dome Mosque is built on a reclaimed land of Losari Beach, in the former sea which is now called Center Point of Indonesia (CPI) Makassar. The mosque occupies only a small corner on the size of the reclamation area, less than one percent of the total 157.23 hectares of landfill above the ocean.  The remainder of the reclamation area is a business and residential area by a major developer of Jakarta, Ciputra.

Construction of the reclamation area and mosque has been contentious on numerous fronts. The People's Coalition for Fisheries Justice (KIARA), an environmental non-governmental organization, voiced against the reclamation area.  The sand to stockpile CPI was brought in largely from Takalar by Royal Boskalis, a foreign company from the Netherlands who was also involved in the project in Jakarta.  Environmentalists from WALHI South Sulawesi opposed the project by taking legal action but lost in court.

A resident is quoted as saying, “To please the people, the first building built in the reclamation area is the mosque?"

Construction on the mosque resumed in April 2021, but the process has been challenged by elected official changes, construction quality concerns and budget overruns and irregularities using public funds.  Interim audits revealed that the construction may be dangerous and utilizes materials that may deteriorate in years rather than centuries.  The project was initially budgeted to cost Rp160 billion, in August 2020 the total cost was estimated at Rp206 billion, and the cost to finish construction remains a primary concern.

Point Cloud Attribution: CC Attribution dekahobby
Rinsi Church
Muhu-Rinsi, Estonia
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The Old Byzantine-style five-tower stone church on the island of Muhu was designed by Riga architect Heinrich Scheel. The construction of the Muhu-Rins Orthodox Church was completed in 1873.  The builders were skilled local men supervised by Old Believers from The Peipsi area in eastern Estonia.  It is one of two functioning Orthodox churches on the island.

From 1836 to 1940, Russian Orthodoxy in the Baltic (defined as the imperial provinces of Estland, Livland, and Kurland/the interwar republics of Estonia and Latvia) underwent dramatic changes and shifts in fortune. At the beginning of this period, Orthodoxy was the religion of a small number of bureaucrats, soldiers, and merchants: the most numerous Orthodox group in the region, the Old Believers, rejected the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church.

However, in the 1840s, approximately 110,000 Latvians and Estonians converted to Orthodoxy, largely in an effort to gain the support of the Russian state in their tempestuous relationship with the German landowning elite. This set the stage for simmering confessional tensions with Lutheranism, whose dominance in the region had been largely unchallenged to this point.

The tumultuous period between the first Russian Revolution in 1905 and the collapse of Russian control over the region in 1917-18 saw Baltic Orthodoxy emerge as a laboratory for church reform. Orthodox churchmen (Latvian-, Estonian-, and Russian-speaking) made a distinctive contribution to ecclesiastical renovation while at the same time facing the violence and deprivation unleashed by war and revolution.

Following the establishment of the independent republics of Latvia and Estonia, the Orthodox minorities confronted a range of new questions: how should they relate to the new states and their laws regarding religion? What was their relationship with the Moscow patriarchate and other autocephalous Orthodox churches, particularly the patriarchate of Constantinople? And how would they remain united in the face of ethnic diversity? Many of these questions remained unresolved by the time the republics were occupied by Soviet troops…

Point Cloud Attribution: none
Heddal Stave Church
Heddal, Norway
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The Heddal Stave Church is a triple nave stave church and is Norway's largest stave church. It was constructed at the beginning of the 13th century.  The wooden churches of Norway are described and discussed in different ways for the last 160 years. Where did they come from? Were they reminiscent of pre-Christian temples? Were they copies of churches in England, Denmark, or Germany? Were they inspired from Byzantium or even The Far East?

There is a legend telling about the erection of the church and how it was built in three days:

Five farmers from Heddal had made plans for a church, and they decided to have it built. One day, Raud Rygi (one of the five men) met a stranger who was willing to build the church. However, the stranger set three conditions for doing the job, one of which must be fulfilled before the church was finished.

Raud had three options: 1) fetch the sun and the moon from the sky, 2) forfeit his life-blood, or 3) guess the name of the stranger.

Raud thought the last would not prove too difficult, so he agreed to the terms. But time began to run out. All of the building materials had arrived during the first night, and remarkably, the spire was built during the second. It became clear to Raud that the church would be finished on the third day.

Down at heart and fearing for his life, Raud took a walk around in the fields trying to figure out what the stranger's name could be. Still wandering about he had unconsciously arrived at Svintruberget (a rocky hill southeast of the church site) when he suddenly heard a strange but most beautiful and clearly audible female song:

- Tomorrow Finn will bring us the Moon.
- Where he goes, the sun and Christian blood perish.
- He brings children to song and play.
- But now my children, sleep safe and sound.

Now Raud knew what to do, as the stranger was a mountain troll. As expected, the stranger visited Raud the next day, to present the church. Together they walk over to the church, and Raud walks up to one of the pillars, hugs it as if to straighten it, and says, "Hey Finn, this pillar isn't straight!" Finn snaps back, "it could be even more bent!" and then hastily leaves the church.

Raud had solved the riddle after all. The stranger's name was Finn and he lived in the Svintru Mountain. Finn, also known as Finn Fairhair, a troll, could not ever after stand the sound of church bells, so he moved along with his family to Himing (Lifjell).

Point Cloud Attribution: CC Attribution Kulturarv i Vestfold og Telemark fylkeskommune

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