Schwyz is the capital of canton Schwyz, which is located in the central Switzerland. It has an area of 53.3 square kilometers and a population of 14,331. German is the main spoken language within the region.
People in Schwyz still preserve many traditional ways of wood use, and musical instrument is one of the examples. Büchel, also known as Alphorn’s brother, looks like a trumpet but has brighter tone, is a handmade instrument mostly made of fine spruce. Chlefeli is another traditional wooden instrument, which is only played during Lent, is a clapping instrument that could only be found in the area of Schwyz.
Apart from instruments, other noteworthy crafts such as armbrust and sledge are also traditional woodcrafts that are still manufactured within the region.
In addition to handicrafts, there are a lot of wooden houses that have stood for centuries in Schwyz, and the oldest among these is the House of Bethlehem. Built in 1287, the house is well preserved and opened to the public as a museum today.
The foundation of Venice was constructed on vertical wooden piles, which has mostly remained intact after centuries of submersion. The piles penetrated through layers of soft sand and mud until they reached a harder clay ground. In fact, apart from the footing of the city, several buildings in Venice are also either built of wood or decorated with wood, such as Doge’s Palace in the Piazza San Marco, the well-known St Mark’s Square.
Quite a few chambers in Doge’s Palace including one of the most gorgeous rooms, the Council Chamber, are decorated with elaborated paintings and carvings on wooden ceilings. The roof of the Palace is also made of strong wooden structure; we were fortunate to be able to get up to the loft and see the structure under the guidance of a local architect.
Established in 1905, the National Coach Museum was first named Royal Coach Museum by Queen Amélia, who was aware of the cultural value of royal ceremonial carriages. The museum had only 29 vehicles in its original collection, and has started to increase its objects of collections after the establishment of Portugal Republic in 1910.
The museum is located within the Royal Riding Arena, which used to be the place for horse-training and horse-riding exhibition and games. It is housed in a building erected in 1787 and decorated with painted ceiling and tiles by several Portuguese artists.
Today, the National Coach Museum has wide collections of objects, including: coaches, berlins, carriages, chaise, cabriolets, litters, sedan chairs, and children’s cart, etc. And the exhibitions in the museum are primarily concerned with topics about the technical and artistic evolution of transportation means used by the European aristocracy dated back from 17th to 19th centuries.
Lello Book shop is located in Porto. It was inaugurated on January 13, 1906, and designed by a noted engineer of the time, Xavier Esteves. The Lello Bookshop is housed in a white architecture with art nouveaux facade; its distinguished outlook stands out from the rest of the other historical buildings on the street.
When stepping inside the bookshop, you will immediately feel a welcoming and cozy atmosphere, and be amazed by the full wall height bookshelves, and the high ceiling which created an expanded view. Other magnificent wooden interior decoration, such as carved wooden spiral staircase, fine carving of famous local writers on the column, and intricate woodcarving ceiling are just as impressive.
This beautiful bookshop is now one of the attractions in Porto. It has been selected as the third best bookshop in the world by the well-known travel guidebook, the Lonely Planet.
One of the highest mountains in Romania, Apuseni Mountain, which belongs to the Western Carpathian, is dwelled by only small number of people dotted over the whole mountain range. Wood is the only and the main resource people have up in the mountain. They rely on wood to make a living and live their life. People travel on cart into the deep forest to log and bring their own supply home. We met a plank maker, a rich man who had hired two local young guys to build his new house and a poor family who has no job and only rely on the berries collected from the forest nearby to bring them some income.
Cut through by the Carpathian Mountains in the middle, Romania has the mountainous terrain from the centre to the west. Because of the geographic barrier, the north-west of Romania has a peasant life in contrast to the tourist-oriented prosperity of the south-east Romania. Maramure?, a typical mountainous area situated at the north-west border amongst Romania, Hungary and Ukraine, due to its geographic location, has been handed between Hungary, Romania, Ukraine and CzechoSlovakia over last hundreds of years, and therefore the wooden buildings, interior and exterior decoration, and people’s life style related to wood are all affected by the past sovereign.
The ASTRA Museum of Folk and Civilization, one of the ASTRA National Museum Complex, is recognised as the largest permanent open air ethnographic exhibition in Europe. The chief director of National Museum Complex, Valeriu Ion Olaru, kindly showed us the distinctive wooden architecture within the open air museum and allowed us to go into buildings to explore its interesting stories and facts.
Apart from the museum, Mr. Olaru guided us into the largest restoration institute, situated next to the open-air museum, to show the scientific way of restoration and preservation of various types of material, including wood, metal, fabric, etc.
National Village Museum, located in the Her?str?u Park, north of Bucharest, was created by Dimitrie Gusti, Victor Ion Popa, and Henri H. Stahl in 1936. From 33 units of authentic wooden constructions on the first phase of building up the Village Museum to the present 272 units, village museum has strived to preserve the traditional farms and houses from all over Romania.
The homesteads including living houses, barns and stables from different area of Romania that are all displayed in this museum represent the various lives across Romania, from farmer life, poor peasant life, rich peasant life to merchant life. Various houses in people’s daily life such as public houses (pubs), churches, mills and even playgrounds are in the range of wooden representation.
Tam-Awan Village is located in Pinsao Proper, Baguio City, and it is famous for reconstructions of traditional wooden houses that recreate scenery of the native village in the area. Tam-awan now has seven Ifugao huts and two Kalinga houses.
The Ifugao hut is compact and relatively simple, and usually made of hard wood. The Kalinga house, on the other hand, is more spacious and is made of pinewood. All of these huts and houses are built by using mortise and tenon joint without a single nail.
Apart from wooden houses, Tam-awan village is also a venue for art exhibitions and workshops, with the aim to draw more people’s attention to the traditional culture and offer a platform for artists to perform their art.
Penang, located on the northwest coast of Peninsula Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca, is the second smallest Malaysian state and the eighth most populous.
Penang is composed of two parts – Penang Island, where the governmentis, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula.
George Town is the busiest and largest city in Penang. The inner city of George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are numerous century-old wooden houses standing by the street. Grand Chinese clan buildings and kongsi with magnificent structure and exquisite wooden carvings scatter in the city and tell of prosperity and the history of the immigrants.