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Château de l’Herm is a castle in the départment of Dordogne in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France. Construction took place between 1500 and 1520 by Jean de Calvimont in the Forêt Barade.
Jean de Calvimont was in the Bordeaux parliament and ambassador of Francis I to Spain. It was later abandoned, after the family left it in 1605.
The moats are still visible. The castle is open to visitors.
It has been listed since 1927 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
The Nazi Occupation of the Islands of Guernsey
The Islands of Guernsey are what’s known as an ‘archipelago’ – a collection of islands located on the English Channel between England and France. Guernsey is the largest of five, and its sister Islands of Herm, Sark, Alderney and Lihou are a short boat trip (or even walk) away. Although considered to be hidden gems, the islands were not able to evade German occupation during World War II and subsequently the number of fortifications that still stand today and the history that surrounds them is both fascinating and astonishing.
Guernsey was officially occupied from 30th June 1940 when it was left undefended after the British Government decided to de-militarise it. Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister at the time, was hesitant to make this decision but the Islands offered no strategic benefit. German planes bombed the harbour in Guernsey’s capital parish of St Peter Port after mistaking a group of tomato lorries for a convoy of troop carriers and, after 48 hours, German troops began to land and their flag was raised. Around half of the Islands’ population including four fifths of school children were evacuated to the UK. Little did they know this would be for almost five years.
All five Islands quickly found themselves under German rule, each serving their own purpose for what became known as ‘Hitler’s Island Madness’ as the Channel Islands became the most fortified place in the world.
Dame Sybil Hathaway, Seigneur of Sark during the Occupation
16.2km away from Guernsey, Sark residents made the decision to remain and Dame Sybil Hathaway, the Seigneur of the Island, was the main point of contact between residents and German soldiers at the time. On October 3rd 1942, 12 British Commandos of the Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF) launched ‘Operation BASALT’ raiding Sark Island to capture prisoners and offensive reconnaissance. Sark itself is still a unique time capsule as one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned and exploring on foot, by bike or on a horse drawn carriage is the best way to get around.
Herm Island, which is only 20 minutes away from Guernsey by ferry, was initially passed by the Germans but was later claimed by the Third Reich on July 20th 1940. It was used to practise landing from barges in preparation for the invasion of England, under the guise of shooting a propaganda film called ‘The Invasion of the Isle of Wight’. Officers used the Island for shooting and training, and by the end of the Occupation there was only one Guernsey family living there. Today, it is a tranquil paradise with waters often mistaken for the likes of the Caribbean. As a popular place for walking through naturally beautiful surroundings, it is hard to imagine that it was once part of such turbulent times.
World War Two German Bunker, Alderney
In Alderney, virtually all residents were evacuated and this became the most heavily fortified of the Islands. Alderney celebrates ‘Homecoming Day’ on December 15th as an alternative to Guernsey’s Liberation Day celebrations in May, as the Island required a huge amount of clearing and it operated as a communal farm while order was restored. Alderney’s experience of the Occupation was very different to the other Islands, but at just 3 miles long by 1 ½ miles wide, it packs a great deal of history into its modern day visitor offerings with natural trails, military walks, Victorian forts, bunker open days and other annual events and tours.
The smallest of the Islands of Guernsey, called Lihou, is situated just off the west coast of Guernsey and accessed by a causeway at low tide for about two weeks every month. When the tide is right, you can walk over and explore the abundance of flora and fauna, a Benedictine Priory from the 12th century and a crystal clear Venus Pool. There is one house on Lihou, which was used for target practice by heavy artillery during the Occupation. One could say it is a miracle that the remains of the Priory were not completely destroyed as you can still go and see them to this very day.
The Islands were the only British territory Hitler ever conquered, and locals had most of their lands, belongings, food and freedom taken away. Some were sent to prisons and camps, while others resisted with acts of protest and defiance between 1940 and 1945. From changing the clocks to reflect the time in Germany to restricting activities such a fishing, club meetings and the singing of patriotic songs, islanders had to abide by these newly imposed laws otherwise they would have been arrested, or even faced the risk of being deported. The mounting pressure on food and ration supplies resulted in the early release of prisoners, but the situation was becoming critical.
Islanders collecting Red Cross parcels from Le Riche’s shop in St Peter Port, Guernsey
The SS Vega, a vessel run by the Red Cross was a lifeline and arrived with a lifesaving cargo in December 1944. She brought with her food and medical supplies. Rumours had spread through the islands about the ship’s arrival, and emotions were running high as islanders shouted with gratitude and cried with relief once it entered the harbour.
There are many families living in Guernsey whose parents or grandparents can recall specific details from life as a child during the Occupation. Some children would play pranks on German soldiers, while others were excited by the arrival of alien-like army trucks. Some even remember specific acts of kindness from soldiers who wanted to help rather than take control. But, many parents tell a different story as their future was looking increasingly uncertain as the years went by. Although islanders were given work by the Germans, many refused it despite the benefits that were promised to them. WWII fortifications across the Islands of Guernsey were constructed by captured men forced into work.
Islanders all had different experiences of the war as some sadly lost their lives and loved ones, while others formed civil relationships and found new ways to live with their enemies. Finally, in 1945, an announcement was given by Prime Minister Winston Churchill:
‘Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight. And our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today.’
On 8th May 1945, Churchill announced the end of the war in Europe, and the Islands of Guernsey were freed on the following day. For 75 years, Liberation Day has and will continue to be celebrated on 9th May, while Sark Island celebrates theirs on the 10th. It gives islanders a chance to rejoice in their freedom and reflect on those who had to endure everything that the Occupation brought with it.
68th Liberation Day 2013, The Guernsey Event Company
9th May is a Bank Holiday on the Islands of Guernsey, and Guernsey’s capital town of St Peter Port comes alive with thousands of people attending parades, firework displays, live music, entertainment and activities for everyone to enjoy. A sense of freedom, and the reminder of how truly resilient the islanders of Guernsey were, is what underpins the celebratory atmosphere that runs through all of the festivities. It is a time to think about how relieved and happy everyone must have felt. It is also a day of remembrance for those who bravely fought and lost their lives to serve an Island that thousands are proud to call home.
A Look Inside the Exotic World of Pleasure of a Sultan’s Harem
The very word harem conjures up the seediest fantasies of the wealth, splendor and decadence of Turkey’s Ottoman Empire.
There are cushions everywhere, shimmering curtains, incense breezes past the flickering candles, wine is poured and grapes are peeled, and, of course, seductive young women are stroking the beard of a powerful man old enough to be their father.
But how much of that is true, and how much is simply an exotic (and erotic) dream conjured up by ignorant outsiders?
Scene from the Harem by Fernand Cormon, c. 1877.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, Istanbul’s grand Topkapi Palace was the main residence of the ruling sultan. Now a museum and popular tourist site, it was then a sprawling complex of luxurious private chambers, grand state rooms, mosques, courtyards, kitchens, a library, a treasury and so much more.
At the heart of the sultan’s own rooms was the harem. Harem comes from the Arabic word haram, meaning a sacred or protected place — not to be confused with the haram pronounced “haraam” with a longer ‘a’ sound, which means forbidden. (It makes more sense in Arabic script)
Topkapi Palace on September 06, 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey.
The harem refers to the area of the sultan’s household that belonged to the women. It was a perfectly sealed sanctuary with no view or direct route to the outside, accessible only to those who knew the route. It contained living quarters for the sultan’s mother, his wives, his sisters, his daughters, and the female servants and slaves.
So, yes, this latter category included concubines, but that wasn’t what the harem was for. The vast majority of Muslim homes in the Ottoman Empire would have had a harem, even if it was just a single room, so the family’s women had their own space. Some Christian and Jewish households in the empire also followed this segregated style out of custom.
One of the rooms in the Harem section of Topkapi Palace, known as women’s quarters, in Istanbul, Turkey.
The harem was designed in accordance with the religious Sharia law, which ruled that in public women had to be watched closely by men and kept veiled. In the harem, however, they were free to do as they liked in the company of only other women.
For the vast majority of women the harem simply functioned as a household within a household and they had absolutely no contact with the sultan — the noble women did the things that noble women do, and their servants served them.
At the head of the house was the sultan’s mother, who held the title of Valide sultan.
Cariye or Imperial Concubine.
Within the harem the women were educated to become suitably sophisticated society brides and mothers for the bachelors in the sultan’s court, and the sultan’s daughters were useful chess pieces in wooing political allies.
The reality of the seedy myth though, is that the Ottoman Sultans kept large groups of concubines in the harem of Topkapi Palace. In fact they were permitted to sleep with any of their female servants and slaves who took their fancy — and often did — but only concubines were there primarily for sex.
Reception of the children of Marquis de Bonnac by the Ottoman Sultan.
Muslims could not be sold as slaves, so the role of concubine was filled by purchases of Christian girls taken from the Caucuses, Syria and Africa and given exotic Persian names to make them worthy of an emperor’s attentions.
They were kept under the watchful eyes of eunuchs. They were seen as less than men and therefore able to enter the harem. Concubines were expected to cater for all the sultan’s pleasures, including reading poetry and playing music, but their main role was in bed and to give the sultan a male heir.
Women of the Harem by Jules Laurens, c. 1847.
The children were raised in the harem with their mothers, who might be rewarded for their service by becoming one of the sultan’s four wives permitted under Islamic law.
With multiple wives and concubines producing large numbers of children with a potential claim to the throne (boys remained in the harem until puberty), the demise of an old sultan would generally end poorly for this extended family.
Beginning with Sultan Mehmed II — who on his accession in 1444 did away with his male relations — Ottoman law expected a new sultan to have his brothers got rid of, garotted with silk bowstrings or handkerchiefs at his command. It’s estimated that in total 78 Ottoman princes were done away with in this manner.
Sultan Mehmed II smelling a rose, from the Topkapı Sarayı (Palace) Albums. Hazine 2153, folio 10a.
From 1603 a more “humane” solution was preferred — these potential rivals were imprisoned in the harem from childhood in kafes. The kafes, or prince’s cages, of Topkapi Palace were small apartments that were cut off from the outside world, even within the isolated harem.
Deprived of education so that they would be unqualified to rule, they were released once they hit puberty. Emotionally troubled and isolated, many of the young princes would take their own life on their release.
Despite this brutal legacy, Topkapi Palace is beautiful — adorned with elegant wooden lattices, trickling fountains, serene domes and cool tiles.
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey.
With only rumour and hearsay escaping beyond the palace walls, no wonder European travelers were driven to publish exaggerated and scandalous accounts of the goings on inside.
With few men having access to the mysterious, cloistered world of the harem, they could largely invent a steamy exotic world without fear of contradiction.
They claimed — amongst other things — that the sultan would flick his handkerchief at each unlucky girl to make his choice for night, that rebellious concubines were locked in iron cages, and that Sultan Ibrahim I, also known as “Ibrahim the Mad,” was said to have bedded 24 concubines in a single night.
Throughout the 19th century and into the early 20th, western writers wrote lustily of raunchy escapades behind the palace walls, and artists produced endless paintings of the female form inspired by the sultry image of the harem.
Ulanara Ruyi is the niece of the Empress and the childhood lover of Hongli, the fourth prince. She was initially chosen to be the third prince Hongshi's difujin (official wife), but fell out of the bride selection. Hongli's mother, Niohuru Zhenhuan, reveals to the Emperor that the Empress had killed the former Empress. Ruyi's aunt, Empress Yixiu, is locked away and she is poisoned by Zhenhuan. Before Ruyi's aunt dies, she tells Ruyi to become Hongli's Empress. With the Ulanara clan in disgrace after Empress Yixiu falls out of favor with the Emperor, Ruyi (Zhou Xun) learns the politics of the harem. She faces the schemes of Fuca Langhua the Empress, and her underling Gao Xiyue and is framed for inducing multiple miscarriages.
Ruyi is eventually forced to reside in the Cold Palace and separated from the Emperor. There, she meets Ling Yunche, an imperial guard who helps her survive. She also finds out the bracelet that Empress Fuca Langhua gave her on her wedding day prevented her from having a child. In order to help Ruyi, her close friend Keliyete Hailan decides to win Qianlong's favor and Ruyi is saved from the Cold Palace. After Gao Xiyue is exposed, she loses the favor of the Emperor. Ruyi approaches Gao Xiyue and tells her that the reason why she wasn't able to have a child is because of the bracelet that Fuca Langhua gave her. Gao Xiyue is saddened and eventually dies in the snow, after exposing Fuca Langhua's evil deeds to Emperor Qianlong. Xiyue's servant causes Fuca Langhua's son to die to comfort her owner. Fuca Langhua's daughter, Jingse, is also married to a Mongol Prince after Empress Dowager Zhenhuan refused to send her daughter for heqin. After Fuca Langhua almost drowns, she succumbed to illness out of grief.
Gao Xiyue and Fuca Langhua's downfall is actually the result of the scheming Jin Yuyan, a Korean woman in love with the King of Joseon. After Jin Yuyan's plans are revealed, she dies heartbroken when the King of Joseon refused to recognize her due to her being adopted. Another consort, Su Luyun also lost Emperor Qianlong's favor after she wanted her son to become the next Emperor she and her son eventually succumb to illness. Consort Shu Yehenara Yihuan loves the Emperor, but set herself on fire after realizing the Emperor never wanted her to have his children due to her connection with his mother. Even after surviving multiple conspiracies at the hands of scheming concubines and successfully proving her innocence, Ruyi's relationship with Qianlong (Wallace Huo) eventually becomes irreparable. She eventually becomes disillusioned with her husband and the harsh reality of life in the palace.
With the love and trust between them fading, Ruyi is put aside by Qianlong in favor of Wei Yanwan, who seeks to one day displace Ruyi as Empress. Wei Yanwan is eventually promoted to the rank of Imperial Noble Consort (one rank before Empress), but her ruthless and biased actions in managing the Emperor's harem create enemies amongst notable concubines such as Hailan, Balin Meiruo, and Han Xiangjian, who work to take her down. Ling Yunche, who was Yanwan's previous lover, tells Hailan about her endeavors and sacrifices himself to save Ruyi. Eventually, Wei Yanwan's numerous evil deeds are exposed, and Qianlong delivers a stoic apology to Ruyi, knowing their relationship cannot be repaired. Ruyi eventually peacefully dies after suffering from tuberculosis, saddening the Emperor heavily and hauntingly. Wei Yanwan is given a slow-acting and extremely painful poison, for which she must ingest the antidote on a regular basis to prolong her suffering. Emperor Qianlong and Empress Dowager, knowing that if Wei Yanwan lives until her son becomes emperor she will live a life of luxury, permit her the release of death.
The series ends with Emperor Emeritus Qianlong cutting a lock of his white hair and intertwining it with the lock of black hair that Ruyi cut decades earlier when she declared she no longer wanted to be his Empress. Qianlong dies with the two locks of hair in his hand as Ruyi's favorite plant, the green plum, blooms for the first time in decades.
|Zhou Xun||Ula Nara Ruyi (乌拉那拉·如懿)||Yanxi Palace |
|The Step Empress (继皇后)|
Lady Qing (Ce fujin) → Consort Xian → Noble Lady Xian → Commoner → Consort Xian → Noble Consort Xian → Imperial Noble Consort Xian → Empress
Coming from the Ula Nara clan of Plain Yellow Banner with the birth name Qingying (青樱), niece of Empress Jingren Ula Nara Yixiu. She was the childhood friend and lover of Hongli (who later ascends to the throne as Emperor Qianlong). She later becomes one of Qianlong's secondary wives. When Empress Jingren is deposed for her crimes, Qingying's standing in the palace is affected. So, she has to make amends with Empress Dowager Chongqing.
Wanting to distance herself from the past, Qingying asks the Empress Dowager to give her a new name, to make a fresh start. The Empress Dowager then gives her the name Ruyi 如懿, meaning 'beautiful and quiet' (美好安靜), reminding her that she must be calm if she wants to have a peaceful life in the palace.
After Hongli ascends to the throne, becoming Emperor Qianlong, Ruyi is granted the position of a consort. Due to events of the past, Ruyi is hated by other wives like Fuca Langhua, Gao Xiyue, and Jin Yuyan. Often targeted by their machinations, Ruyi survives with her strength and determination, and with the help of her close friends. She eventually gets promoted up the ranks in the harem until becoming the Empress. Later on, due to many misunderstandings between her and the Emperor, mainly plotted by Wei Yanwan and Princess Hejing, their relationship has become strained.
The last blow to their relationship occurred on one of the Emperor's tours to Southern China when he tries to take a courtesan, Shui Linglong, as a concubine to his harem. Disillusioned, Ruyi cuts her hair, wanting to end the relationship between her and the Emperor and declaring that she no longer wants to be his Empress. This angers the Emperor, who punishes the Empress by putting her under house arrest in Yikun Palace.
In the end, she reveals all of Wei Yanwan's wrongdoings to the Emperor, but she refuses to reconcile with him. She dies not long after from tuberculosis. Her death causes great pain and guilt to Qianlong Emperor up to the day he died.
An unpredictable individual who can be emotional and hide his emotions really well, never truly trusts anyone, which inadvertently hurts many of his wives and sons: from Fuca Langhua, Yonghuang, Yongzhang, his sister Elder Princess Duanshu, to his childhood love Ruyi. As he grew older, he becomes more erratic. When Han Xiangjian appeared, the Emperor lost control and hurt Ruyi. Despite Han Xiangjian's continuous denial of his feelings, Qianlong orders Ruyi to convince Xiangjian to accept him, which hurts Ruyi. Later on, he believes the disparaging remarks and accusations made by Wei Yanwan, Consort Yu Borjigit Eyinzhu, and Sakda Miaoqian. He doubts Ruyi and thinks she committed infidelity with Ling Yunche. He punishes Ling Yunche into becoming a eunuch to serve at Yikun Palace in hopes to humiliate Ruyi, to satisfy his blind jealousy, and to force Yunche to die.
Selfish, with an ego of a ruler, Hongli makes Ruyi completely lose all hope in him. On one of the Emperor's tours to Southern China, he tries to take a courtesan as a concubine. A determined Ruyi decides to end the relationship between her and the Emperor and cuts her hair. When he finally regrets his actions, it is already too late because Ruyi dies from tuberculosis. In his old age, he's tortured with his pain, always reliving the memories of Qingying but he can never see her again.
The Harem Edit
|Janine Chang  ||Keliyete Hailan (珂里叶特·海兰)||Xianfu Palace |
|Noble Consort Yu (愉贵妃)|
Embroidery Lady → Lady Hai (Shu fujin) → First Class Female Attendant Hai → Noble Lady Hai → Concubine Yu → Consort Yu → Noble Consort Yu (posthumous)
Hailan was initially an embroidery lady in Qianlong's residence until Ruyi helped her gain the title of Mistress. Gentle yet determined, she is a loyal friend and confidante of Ruyi. She is the mother of Yongqi, the Emperor's favorite son. Hailan is an exceptionally influential consort in the harem and she makes use of her influence to deal with the consorts who stand in Ruyi's way.
Di fujin → Empress
Elegant and dignified, Fuca Langhua was a respected and virtuous Empress who served her role well. However, she envied Ruyi and her intimate relationship with the Emperor. Under the manipulations of Jin Yuyan (Noble Consort Jia), she became embroiled in the inner palace conflicts and collaborated with Gao Xiyue to harm Ruyi. Her misguided actions eventually caused her relationship with the Emperor to deteriorate, and she died a woman with grievances.
Lady Jin (Shu fujin) → Noble Lady Jia → Concubine Jia → Consort Jia → Noble Consort Jia → Concubine Jia → Noble Lady Jia → Concubine Jia → Noble Consort Jia → Second Class Female Attendant Jin → Noble Consort Jia → Commoner → Imperial Noble Consort Shujia (posthumous)
An orphan who was taken in by a Joseon minister, Yuyan's main goal in life is to earn the Emperor's favor and bring honor to her tribe to assist her real love, the "young master" who eventually becomes the King of Joseon. Manipulative, cunning and shrewd, she is skilled in instigating conflicts between the concubines and is the main culprit behind many of the concubines' deaths. Her evil deeds were eventually revealed, and Emperor Qianlong granted her the posthumous title of Imperial Noble Consort Shujia (a homophone for loser).
Lady Gao (Shu fujin) → Noble Consort Hui → Imperial Noble Consort Hui → Imperial Noble Consort Huixian (posthumous)
Due to her father's position as a highly ranked officer, Xiyue is arrogant and defiant. She hated Ruyi and chose to submit to the more powerful Empress Fuca Langhua, collaborating with her to plot against Ruyi. Due to her naivety, she was often goaded by the Empress' attendant, Sulian, to commit many evil deeds in place of the Empress. Believed that she was haunted by A'rou's ghost, she falls ill for years with no hope of recovery when the Emperor, having discovered her part in blaming Ruyi, refuses to have her treated. Later discarded by Empress Langhua after she lost the Emperor's favor, she then discovered that the Empress was the one who caused her to be infertile by Ruyi who tells her out of sympathy. On her death bed, she exposed Langhua's evil deeds to Qianlong and gave him scabies as a parting gift when she learns that he never wanted a child with her because of her health issues.
Palace maid of Consort Chun → Palace Maid of the Royal Garden → Palace Maid of Consort Jia →Palace Maid of the Yangxin Palace→ Second Class Female Attendant Wei → First Class Female Attendant Wei → Noble Lady Ling → Concubine Ling → Consort Ling → Second Class Female Attendant Wei → Noble Lady Ling → Concubine Ling → Consort Ling → Noble Consort Ling → Imperial Noble Consort Ling → Imperial Noble Consort Lingyi (posthumous)
Yanwan was born a noble lady of the Yellow Banner, but was reduced to being a palace maid after her father was tried for treason. Her first love was Ling Yunche, but she abandoned him after Qianlong took notice of her (due to her close resemblance with Ruyi). She is an ambitious, cruel, and treacherous woman who sees Ruyi as her biggest foe. She would resort to all kinds of underhanded methods to climb up the ranks, hoping to be Empress one day. Yanwan is responsible for the deaths of many imperial consorts, royal children, and Ruyi's ultimate demise. Eventually, her evil deeds and past relationship with Ling Yunche were exposed to Qianlong, and she was slowly poisoned to death as punishment for her crimes.
Lady Su (Shu fujin) → Concubine Chun → Consort Chun → Noble Consort Chun → Imperial Noble Consort Chun → Imperial Noble Consort Chunhui (posthumous)
Lüyun is a naive woman who treated everyone with kindness and was manipulated often. She loved her sons dearly and would do anything for them. She has a good relationship with Ruyi and Hailan since their days in Prince Bao Manor. Lüyun lost Qianlong's favor when he found out she wanted to take the position of Empress for herself. She later died of illness.
Musician of South Manor → Second Class Female Attendant Mei → First Class Female Attendant Mei → Noble Lady Mei → Concubine Mei
A yueqin/pipa player hailing from Suzhou, Ruiji, was the first woman to be taken into the inner palace after Qianlong's ascension to the throne. She was actually sent in by Empress Zhenhuan to spy on Qianlong. After Ruiji lost her child, her health gradually weakened and she eventually lost the Emperor's favor. She was manipulated into thinking her child was killed by Empress Fuca Langhua, and was used as a chesspiece by Jin Yuyan (Noble Consort Jia) to cause the Empress' death.
When her identity was revealed, Ruiji was used as a scapegoat by Qianlong to weaken the Empress Dowager's control of the imperial harem by poisoning Muping's health to the point that she becomes infertile. She died a death with grievances after realizing she took revenge on the wrong person.
Noble Lady Shu → Concubine Shu → Consort Shu
A talented lady of noble birth, Yihuan was recommended into the palace by the Empress Dowager Zhenhuan. Despite being one of Empress Zhenhuan's chess pieces, she fell in love with Qianlong at first sight during one of his outings. She is extremely dedicated to him. Straightforward and good-natured, Yihuan keeps herself out of the palace inner conflicts and is good friends with Ruyi.
Unbeknownst to her, Qianlong personally gave medicine that would prevent her from bearing healthy children due to her affiliation with Zhenhuan. She becomes mentally unstable after her son died in infancy, and commits suicide soon after discovering Qianlong's true intention.
Palace maid of Ruyi → Imperial palace maid → First Class Female Attendant Shen → Noble Lady Shen → Concubine Shen → Commoner
Aruo was originally a personal maid that entered Qianlong's residence as part of Ruyi's dowry, she secretly sided with the Empress Langhua, Gao Xiyue and Jin Yuyan in an effort to climb up the ranks. Arrogant, superficial, and sharp-tongued, she appeared to be favored by Qianlong but was actually used by him as a charade partner. She was eventually sent to the Cold Palace and committed suicide there.
Shu fujin → Second Class Female Attendant Wan → First Class Female Attendant Wan → Noble Lady Wan → Concubine Wan → Consort Wan → Noble Consort Wan (posthumous)
A timid lady who never formed cliques, and always kept to herself. She was not favored by the Emperor and chose to express her love for the Emperor through drawings. She has a good relationship with Ruyi. She unknowingly played a part in Qianlong and Ruyi's separation due to Wei Yanwan's manipulations.
Concubine Ying → Consort Ying → Noble Consort Ying
A spirited young lady who is of royal Mongol descent, and is described as the “Southern beauty” by Qianlong. She despised Wei Yanwan and Jin Yuyan, and ended up becoming good friends with Ruyi.
Noble Lady Ke → Concubine Ke
A descendant of Mongolian royalty. She is very close to Barin Meiruo, dislikes both Wei Yanwan and Jin Yuyan, and stays loyal to Ruyi.
Noble Lady Rong → Concubine Rong → Consort Rong
A beautiful woman who was taken into the palace by General Zhaohui after her tribe was conquered by the Qing Dynasty. Xiangjian's only goal was to assassinate Qianlong in order to take revenge for her lover. She is on good terms with Ruyi, to whom she is grateful toward.
First Class Female Attendant Qing → Noble Lady Qing → Concubine Qing → Noble Lady Qing → Concubine Qing → Consort Qing → Noble Consort Qing → Imperial Noble Consort Qinggong (posthumous)
A daughter of the Deputy Minister from the Court of Sacrificial Worship, she was sent in by the Empress Dowager and acts as her spy. She was set-up by the Emperor, causing her to lose the ability to bear a child. After falling out of favor with the Emperor, she chose to submit to Wei Yanwan.
Personal maid of Langhua → Shu fujin → Noble Lady Yi → Concubine Yi (posthumous)
Originally a maid under Langhua, she was promoted to the position of Mistress after Qianlong took advantage of her.
Empress Fuca Langhua and Xiyue despised Qiying for stealing the Emperor's affections and caused her to miscarry her baby. She was manipulated into believing that Ruyi was the culprit, and attempted to assassinate the latter when they were living in the same quarters.
Concubine Yu → Consort Yu
A descendant of Mongolian royalty, and an early favorite of Qianlong. However, she leaked secret political messages for her people and intended to use a banned drug on Qianlong to increase his interest in bedroom affairs. She was under house arrest and cold-shouldered by Qianlong. Later to earn the Emperor's favor, she started coming up with lies, including framing Ruyi of having an affair with Ling Yunche. She was sent to the torture chambers after she was found to have lied about Ruyi and Ling Yunche's affair.
First Class Female Attendant Gong → Noble Lady Gong
A lady of Lin descent who entered the harem along with Concubine Ke. Originally sided with Jin Yuyan, she is close to Barin Meiruo, hates Wei Yanwan, and stays loyal to Ruyi.
First Class Female Attendant Xi → Noble Lady Xi
A lady of Sirin Gioro descent who entered the harem along with Concubine Ke. Originally sided with Jin Yuyan, she is close to Barin Meiruo, hates Wei Yanwan, and stays loyal to Ruyi.
Entered the palace at the same time as Eyinzhu. She is sided with Wei Yanwan.
Palace Maid → Second Class Female Attendant Kui → First Class Female Attendant Kui
Entered the palace when Ruyi was promoted to Imperial Noble Consort. She is sided with Wei Yanwan.
Second Class Female Attendant Xiu → First Class Female Attendant Xiu
Promoted from Second Class Female Attendant Xiu to First Class Female Attendant Xiu when Ruyi was promoted to Imperial Noble Consort.
Lady → Second Class Female Attendant Ping → First Class Female Attendant Ping
Entered the palace when Ruyi was promoted to Imperial Noble Consort.
Entered the palace at the same time as Eyinzhu.
Entered the palace at the same times as Eyinzhu.
She is sided with Wei Yanwan.
She is sided with Wei Yanwan.
Imperial members of the Qing dynasty Edit
|Zhang Fengyi ||Aisin Gioro Yinzhen (爱新觉罗·胤禛)||Yangxin Palace||Yongzheng Emperor (雍正皇帝) |
Father of Qianlong Emperor.
|Joan Chen ||Ula Nara Yixiu (乌拉那拉·宜修)||Palace of Great Benevolence||Empress Jingren (景仁宫皇后) |
Former Empress of Yongzheng Emperor Ruyi's aunt.
|Vivian Wu ||Niohuru Zhenhuan (钮祜禄·甄嬛)||Yongshou Palace |
|Empress Dowager Chongqing (崇庆皇太后)|
Foster mother of Qianlong Emperor Empress Zhenhuan.
Although she appeared to share a civil relationship with Qianlong, they are wary and suspicious of each other. In order to ensure that she continues to thrive in the inner court, she placed concubines that were subservient to her by Qianlong's side to spy on him. She hated Ruyi because of her familial relationship with Empress Jingren, but grew to respect her later on.
|Zhu Yan||Dowager Concubine Ji (吉太嫔) |
A disposed concubine of the Yongzheng Emperor who was banished to the Cold Palace, where she met Ruyi and attempted to assassinate Dowager Empress Zhenhuan.
|Li Jie |
Ma Qiyue (young)
|Aisin Gioro Hongshi (爱新觉罗·弘时)|
|Wang Xiao||Aisin Gioro Hongzhou (爱新觉罗·弘昼)||Prince He Manor||Prince He of the First Rank (和亲王)|
Fifth son of Yongzheng Emperor.
|Tang Chengjing||Lady Ujaku (吳扎庫氏)||Prince He Manor||Prince He's wife.|
|Xuan Lu ||Aisin Gioro Hengchuo (爱新觉罗·恒娖)||Grand Princess  Duanshu (端淑長公主) |
Yongzheng Emperor and Zhenhuan's elder daughter.
She was married to the Mongol clan since she was young.
|Wang Herun ||Aisin Gioro Hengti (爱新觉罗·恆媞)||Grand Princess Roushu (柔淑長公主) |
Yongzheng Emperor and Zhenhuan's younger daughter.
|Ding Qiao |
Wang Donghe (teen)
Ye Kaiwan (young)
|Aisin Gioro Yonghuang (爱新觉罗·永璜)||Prince Bao Manor |
Prince Ding Manor
|Prince Ding'an of the First Rank (定安亲王) |
Eldest prince Ruyi's foster son (later Su Lüyun's).
Initially innocent and simple-minded, he later grew to become ambitious and vied for the throne. He was instigated by Jin Yuyan into thinking the Empress killed his biological mother, the Imperial Noble Consort Zhemin, causing him to lose favor with the Emperor.
|Ma Yanan||Lady Ilari (伊拉里氏)||Prince Ding Manor||Yonghuang's wife.|
|Yu Yao||Aisin Gioro Yonglian (爱新觉罗·永琏)||Prince Bao Manor |
|Crown Prince Duanhui (端慧皇太子) |
Second prince, Fuca Langhua's eldest son.
He died young due to his weak health and Langhua’s bad parenting.
|Guan Xueying |
Wu Yuyu (teen) 
Liu Sitong (young)
|Aisin Gioro Jingse (爱新觉罗·璟瑟)||Changchun Palace |
Third princess Manor
|Princess Hejing of the First Rank (固倫和敬公主)|
Third princess, Fuca Langhua's daughter.
Proud and eloquent, she looks down on all the imperial consorts due to her noble birth but was later selected to marry a Mongol prince. She especially disliked Ruyi due to her rivalry with Langhua. She chose to side with Wei Yanwan, but later betrays her after Barin Meiruo convinced her of Yanwan's hypocritical deeds.
|Cheng Xingyuan |
Liu Zeyu (teen)
He Luanhui (young)
|Aisin Gioro Yongzhang (爱新觉罗·永璋)||Zhongcui Palace |
Third prince manor
|Prince Xun of the Second Rank (循郡王)|
Third prince, Su Lüyun's eldest son.
An ambitious and calculative royal, he was goaded by Su Lüyun to compete for the position of the Crown Prince. He lost favor with Qianlong after the death of Empress Fuca Langhua.
|An Jie |
Hu Xianxu (teen) 
Rong Zishan (young)
|Aisin Gioro Yongcheng (爱新觉罗·永珹)||Qixiang Palace |
Prince Lü Manor
|Prince Lü of the First Rank (履亲王)|
Fourth prince, Jin Yuyan's eldest son.
Being the first prince born to Imperial Noble Consort Shujia after Qianlong's reign, he was initially favored which made him become more ambitious, cunning, and calculating. He later lost Qianlong's trust after the truth of the Mulan Garden incident was brought to light. He was exposed for plotting to get the position of Crown Prince by conspiring with his mother. He was soon expelled from the palace and became the adoptive grandson of Yuntao, the Prince Lü of the First Rank, who was Qianlong's uncle.
|Tang Mengjia||Lady Irgen Gioro (伊尔根觉罗氏)||Prince Lü Manor||Yongcheng's wife.|
|Qu Chuxiao  |
Bian Cheng (teen)
Wuze Jinxi (young)
|Aisin Gioro Yongqi (爱新觉罗·永琪)||Yanxi Palace |
Prince Rong Manor
|Prince Rong of the First Rank (荣亲王)|
Fifth prince, Hailan's son.
Sensitive and intelligent, he was Qianlong's favorite son. He distanced himself from Ruyi under the manipulations of Hu Yunjiao. He later died due to recurring bone cellulitis caused by Yanwan’s machinations.
|Janice Wu ||Hu Yunjiao (胡芸角)||Prince Rong Manor||Yongqi's concubine, Nursemaid Tian's daughter.|
Yunjiao was manipulated by Wei Yanwan into thinking that Ruyi caused the death of her mother. She was sent to Yongqi's side as a concubine and sowed discord between Yongqi and Ruyi, which caused the Emperor to become suspicious of Ruyi.
|Li Yiru||Lady Sirin Gioro (西林觉罗氏)||Prince Rong Manor||Yongqi's wife.|
|Zhang Jinze |
Zhou Jinshi (teen)
Chixu Xuanzhe (young)
|Aisin Gioro Yongrong (爱新觉罗·永瑢)||Zhongcui Palace||Prince Shen of the Second Rank|
Sixth prince, Su Lüyun's youngest son.
|He Xinrui||Aisin Gioro Jingyan (愛新覺羅·璟妍)||Zhongcui Palace||Princess Hejia of the Second Rank (和硕和嘉公主)|
Fourth princess, Su Lüyun's daughter.
|Ma Boquan |
Ha Lin (young)
|Aisin Gioro Yongxuan (爱新觉罗·永璇)||Qixiang Palace |
|Prince Yi of the First Rank (儀親王).|
Eighth prince, Jin Yuyan's second son.
He was set up by Wei Yanwan, which causes him to become crippled.
|Dongli Wuyou |
Zhang Yaoyang (young)
|Aisin Gioro Yongxing (爱新觉罗·永瑆)||Qixiang Palace |
|Prince Cheng of the First Rank|
Eleventh prince, Jin Yuyan's youngest son.
|Xu Lingchen |
Ye Shengtong (teen)
Lin Jingjie (young)
|Aisin Gioro Yongji (爱新觉罗·永璂)||Yikun Palace |
|Twelfth prince, Ruyi's eldest son. Accidentally plays a part in Ruyi’s framed affair with Yunche.|
|Lin Jingyi||Aisin Gioro Jingsi (爱新觉罗·璟兕)||Yikun Palace||Princess Heyi of the First Rank (固倫和宜公主)|
Fifth princess, Ruyi's daughter.
Born with a weak heart, she was startled by Jin Yuyan's dog, in a setup by Wei Yanwan, causing her to become comatose and later pass away.
|Jin Ziqi||Aisin Gioro Jingyuan (爱新觉罗·璟妧)||Yongshou Palace |
|Princess Hejing of the First Rank (固伦和静公主)|
Seventh princess, Wei Yanwan's eldest daughter.
She was raised by Barin Meiruo since birth and believed Meiruo was her birth mother. She disliked her birth mother Wei Yanwan because she thinks that she harmed Ruyi.
|Chen Yuan'er ||Aisin Gioro Jingyun (爱新觉罗·璟妘)||Yongshou Palace |
|Princess Heke of the Second Rank(和硕和恪公主)|
Ninth princess, Wei Yanwan's younger daughter.
She was separated from Wei Yanwan since birth and has a weak relationship with her birth mother.
|Wei Zihan |
Chen Xuetao (young)
|Aisin Gioro Yongyan (愛新覺羅·永琰)||Yongshou Palace |
Prince Jia Manor
|Prince Jia of the First Rank (嘉亲王) |
Fifteenth prince, Wei Yanwan's son.
He was later appointed the Crown Prince nearing the end of Qianlong's reign.
|Tang Jiaze||Qingyou (庆佑)||Yikun Palace||Son of Jingse.|
|Qin Yan||Zhang Tingyu (张廷玉)||Member of the Grand Council.|
He disliked the Empress Dowager and often goes against her opinions.
|Jia Tinglong||Fuca Fuheng (富察·傅恒)||A senior officer and commander-in-chief. Brother of Empress Fuca Langhua.|
|Gao Lancun||Gao Bin (高斌)||Qianlong's trusted minister. Gao Xiyue's father.|
|Wang Jinsong||Ula Nara Na'erbu (那爾布)||Left Minister. Ruyi's father.|
|Ma Weifu||Liu Tongxun (劉統勛)||Minister of the Eight Banners.|
|Huang Wei||Niohuru Naqin (钮祜禄·讷亲)||Minister of the Eight Banners. Close relative of Empress Zhenhuan.|
|Zhang Xingzhe||Zhao Hui (兆惠)|
|Wu Lihua||Yue Zhongqi (岳钟琪)|
Male servants Edit
Imperial guard of the Cold Palace → Imperial guard of Kunning Palace → Royal Lanling Imperial guard → Royal Imperial guard of 3rd rank → Slave → Royal imperial guard of 2nd rank → Royal imperial guard of 1st rank → Eunuch of Yikun Palace
Wei Yanwan's first love, Miaoqing's husband.
A loyal and empathetic man who helped Ruyi while she was banished to the Cold Palace. He gradually becomes attracted to Ruyi, and helped her through her most difficult times in the palace. He is later accused of having an affair with Ruyi, then castrated and subsequently ordered to serve in Ruyi's palace as a form of humiliation. He was killed by Hailan when the latter realized he would pose a threat to Ruyi's position as the Empress.
Female servants Edit
|Chen Xiaoyun ||Suoxin (惢心)||Yanxi Palace |
|Personal attendant of Ruyi.|
Observant and kind-hearted, she remained loyal to Ruyi through thick and thin. She likes Jiang Yubin and later marries him. She became disabled after Jin Yuyan put her through excessive torture.
|Qi Huan ||Rong Pei (容珮)||Yikun Palace||Personal attendant of Ruyi.|
A capable, firm and sharp-tongued woman, she is very loyal to Ruyi. She killed herself after Ruyi passed away from tuberculosis.
|Zheng Shuijing ||Lingzhi (菱枝)||Yikun Palace||Attendant of Ruyi.|
|Chen Erjia||Yunzhi (芸枝)||Yikun Palace||Attendant of Ruyi.|
|Li Linfei||Shuizhi (水芝)||Yanxi Palace||Attendant of Ruyi.|
|Gong Xiaoxuan ||Yuhu (毓瑚)||Yangxin Palace||Imperial palace maid. |
Former personal attendant of Qianlong's birth mother and current attendant of Qianlong, she assists Qianlong in keeping an eye of the internal palace.
|Guo Hong ||Fujia (福珈)||Shoukang Palace |
|Personal attendant of Empress Dowager Zhenhuan.|
|Zhang Yanyan||Xiuxia (绣夏)||Jingren Palace||Personal attendant of Yixiu.|
|Min Chunxiao ||Sulian (素練)||Changchun Palace||Personal attendant of Fuca Langhua. |
She often helped Empress Langhua plot against the other consorts behind her back. She was later killed by Zhenshu.
|Wang Xiaocheng||Lianxin (蓮心)||Changchun Palace||Personal attendant of Fuca Langhua. |
She was married off to Wang Qin by the Empress in exchange for Wang Qin's loyalty. Lianxin chose not to save Empress Langhua when she fell into the waters, ultimately leading to Langhua's death. It is also suspected that she had a role in murdering the second prince. She committed suicide later out of guilt.
|Liu Jia||Yexin (叶心)||Xianfu Palace |
|Personal attendant of Hailan.|
|Zhang Huanhuan||Xiangyun (香云)||Xianfu Palace |
|Attendant of Hailan. |
She was instructed by Gao Xiyue to frame Hailan of stealing her charcoal and was executed by Qianlong due to her unloyalty.
|Li Bingyi||Zezhi (泽芝)||Xianfu Palace |
|Attendant of Ruyi, later sent to serve Hailan.|
|Xia Nan ||Lixin (丽心)||Qixiang Palace||Personal attendant of Jin Yuyan.|
|Guo Yuanyuan||Zhenshu/Jung Swuk (貞淑/정숙)||Qixiang Palace||Personal attendant of Jin Yuyan. A highly skilled healer from Joseon. |
She was responsible for framing Ruyi of having an affair with Anji Bosang. After her plan was exposed, she was exiled back to Joseon.
|Zhou Xiaoqin ||Palace maid Yan (妍宫女)||Qixiang Palace||Attendant of Jin Yuyan.|
|Sun Qianqian ||Moxin (茉心)||Xianfu Palace||Personal attendant of Gao Xiyue. |
After Gao Xiyue's death, she sought revenge for her by colluding with Bai Ruiji to pass on smallpox to the seventh prince, leading to his death.
|Li Mengyang||Xingxuan (星璇)||Xianfu Palace||Attendant of Gao Xiyue.|
|Wang Chun (王純)||Chunchan (春婵)||Yongshou Palace||Personal attendant of Wei Yanwan. |
Often the mastermind behind Wei Yanwan's schemes. She was almost murdered by and thrown under the bus by Yanwan and later exposed Wei Yanwan's evil doings to the Emperor.
|Yang Liu||Lancui (瀾翠)||Yongshou Palace||Personal maid of Wei Yanwan. |
She was used as a bait by Wei Yanwan to threaten Zhao Jiuxiao into harming the eighth prince. Was later sent to and died at the Punishment Bureau by Yanwan in order to avoid leaving evidence of her mistress' relationship with Ling Yunche
|Bai Lan ||Kexin (可心)||Zhongcui Palace||Personal attendant of Su Lüyun.|
|Ding Liuyan||Suyun (俗云)||Yonghe Palace |
|Personal attendant of Bai Ruiji.|
|Shi Min||Hexi (荷惜)||Chuxiu Palace||Personal attendant of Yihuan.|
|Zhang Xinying||Xinyan (新燕)||Qixiang Palace||Personal attendant of Aruo.|
|Wang Jingya ||Shunxin (顺心)||Zhongcui Palace||Personal attendant of Chen Wanyin.|
|Wang Xinwen||Abao (阿宝)||Chuxiu Palace||Personal attendant of Barin Meiruo.|
|Zhang Menghan||Xianfu Palace||Personal maid of Kezhuzi.|
|Chen Mengxi||Xipo (喜珀)||Chengqian Palace |
|Personal attendant of Han Xiangjian.|
|Gao Dongyu||Hali (哈丽)||Chengqian Palace |
|Attendant of Han Xiangjian.|
|Zhang Xinyuan||Guli (古丽)||Chengqian Palace |
|Attendant of Han Xiangjian.|
|Ma Lan||Jingyang Palace||Personal attendant of Lu Muping.|
|Huang Wen ||Huaixin (怀心)||Jingyang Palace |
|Personal attendant of Huang Qiying.|
|Zhao Jing||Duoyun (朵云)||Yonghe Palace||Personal attendant of Eyinzhu.|
|Jin Xi||Duoyan (朵颜)||Yonghe Palace||Personal attendant of Eyinzhu.|
|Tian Miao||Nursemaid Tian (田嬷嬷)||N/A||Hu Yunjiao's mother. |
She was bought over by Wei Yanwan and committed many evil deeds for her due to Yanwan helping her during difficult times.
|Wang Wei||Sakda Miaoqian (萨克达·茂倩)||Daughter of an official. She was bethrothed to Ling Yunche as his wife. |
Due to her background as one of the ladies of the eight banners, she looked down on Ling Yunche and did not have a good relationship with him. Due to her jealousy, she collaborated with Eyinzhu to accuse him of having an affair with Ruyi and was exiled.
|Yu Shaoqun||Anji Bosang (安吉波桑)||A senior monk. |
He was framed by Jin Yuyan and was accused of having an affair with Ruyi.
|Zhang Yuxi ||Shui Linglong (水玲珑)||A famous courtesan favored by Qianlong.|
|Li Guangjie||Prince Yu (玉氐王爺)||Prince of Joseon and later the King of Joseon. Jin Yuyan's first love.|
|Fang Xiaoli||Madame Na (那夫人)||Ruyi's mother.|
|Cai Wenyan||Madame Fuca (富察夫人)||Empress Fuca Langhua's mother.|
|Meng Xiu||Madame Wei (卫夫人)||Wei Yanwan's mother. A greedy and obnoxious woman.|
She was thrown under the bus by Yanwan and took the blame of harming Ruyi's children, and was put to death.
|Song Jiateng||Zhaqi (扎齐)||Hailan's nephew. A greedy and obnoxious man.|
He was manipulated by Wei Yanwan to frame Hailan of harming Ruyi's children.
|Xu Xiaoning||Zuolu (佐禄)||Wei Yanwan's younger brother.|
|Wu Rige||Saisang Gendun (赛桑根敦)||Ruler of Khorchin tribe. Eyinzhu's father.|
|Liu Jun||Han Ati (寒阿提)||Ruler of Han tribe. Han Xiangjian's father.|
|Wang Leifang||Han Qi (寒企)||Han Xiangjian's first love.|
|Liu Yupu||Bai'erguosi (拜尔果斯)||Kezhuzi's father.|
|Zhang Xiaolin||Anduo (安多)||Anji Bosang's disciple.|
|Huang Deyi||Tian Jun (田俊)||Nursemaid Tian's son, Hu Yunjiao's brother.|
|Fang Yuchen||Yao'er (桃儿)||Madame Wei's maid.|
The series is directed by Wang Jun,  produced by Huang Lan,  and written by the author of the original novel Liu Lianzi.  The series also employed William Chang and Tongxun Chen as their overall style director,  Han Zhong as art director and Peng Xuejun as cinematography director. 
Wu Xuelan, also known as Liu Lianzi, started to write the original novel in 2011, and changed her work several times to achieve the best version in the next five years. 
New Classics Media picked up the series for a 90-episode season (later shortened to 87), and each episode cost approximately S$1.95 million, making it the most expensive television series in China. 
On January 14, 2016, it was announced that Zhou Xun will play the leading role of Hoifa-Nara, the Step Empress.  The role of Qianlong Emperor, the male lead, was announced to be portrayed by Wallace Huo on May 27.  On August 3, actors Janine Chang, Vivian Wu, Dong Jie, Tong Yao, Jing Chao, Xin Zhilei, Li Chun, Zeng Yixuan and Chen Haoyu were cast in major supporting roles for the drama.  Around 5,000 actors competed for roles in the drama. [ citation needed ]
Shooting began on 23 August 2016 and took place in various locations including Hengdian World Studios, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, and Hangzhou.  The series wrapped up filming on May 5, 2017. 
|1.||"Double Shadow (双影)" (Theme song (Ending theme episode 47 onwards))||Yi Jiayang||Ding Wei & Jim Lee||A-mei & Sandy Lam|
|2.||"Incense & Fleeting Years (沉香流年)" (Opening theme song (episode 1-46))||Yi Ming||Yi Ming & Wang Yaoguang||Lei Jia|
|3.||"Like the Fragrance of Plum Blossoms We Once Knew (梅香如故)" (Ending theme song (episode 1-38, 40-46))||Lv Jingye||Chen Shimei||Mao Buyi & Zhou Shen|
|4.||"Things stay the same, but people have changed (人非物是)" (Opening theme (episode 47 onwards))||Chen Shimei||Asia Philharmonic Orchestra|
|5.||"Worries (心事)" (Ending theme song (episode 39 only))||Lv Jingye||Yan Qing||Deng Tongtian|
The series received mixed responses from viewers.
Many felt underwhelmed by the unaggressive heroine, who was not able to face off the villain consorts even in the second half of the drama, thus making her character design flawed and unconvincing. The drama was also criticized for its anti-climatic story and depressive tone. Critics felt that it was ironic and unbelievable for the protagonist to pursue monogamy in a highly feudalistic context. The slow pacing in the first half of the drama was pointed out, with critics believing that the screenwriters neglected to write with compact story-telling to flesh out the characters. 
The series has also received criticism over the age of the leading performers, with viewers saying they made unconvincing teenagers, and criticized the series' producers for not using younger actors to portray the lovestruck teens. Viewers were also divided over the lack of dubbing for Zhou Xun’s 15-year-old character, as they felt that her voice was “too raspy” and “mature” for a teenager. 
However, there were also praises for the drama. Zhang Hanyue, a writer and critic, said “The show becomes more and more heart-tugging as the story goes deeper." Many viewers agree that Ruyi bears many characteristics of a modern female. Vogue magazine commented that the drama actually recorded “the failure of a high-end girl” because what Ruyi had been pursuing was spiritual connections with her spouse and such a pursuit represents the taste and ideal of the modern middle class. [ citation needed ] Critics agree that the drama introduces a new light to and narrative of palace dramas, deviating from the existing patterns of treacherous harem games.  The drama won acclaim for its exquisite props, lavish sets, and stellar cast. 
On January 25, the Beijing Daily, an official government newspaper, criticized the program for failing to promote socialist values.  Four days later, on January 29, the Chinese government cancelled the program and similar programs such as Story of Yanxi Palace.  CNN and other media outlets quickly reported on this incident, calling it Chinese censorship.  
|Dragon TV ratings |
|Broadcast date||Episode||Ratings (%)||Audience share (%)||Rank (excluding CCTV)||Rank (including CCTV)|
|Jiangsu TV ratings |
|Broadcast date||Episode||Ratings (%)||Audience share (%)||Rank (excluding CCTV)||Rank (including CCTV)|
Awards and nominations Edit
|24th Huading Awards||Best Director||Wang Jun||Nominated|||
|Best Actor||Wallace Huo||Nominated|
|12th Tencent Video Star Awards||Best Web Drama||Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace||Won|||
|Golden Bud - The Third Network Film And Television Festival||Top 10 Web Drama||Won|||
|Influence of Recreational Responsibilities Awards||Web Drama of the Year||Won|||
|2nd Asian Academy Creative Awards||Best Leading Actress||Zhou Xun||Won|||
On 10 June 2016, Fox Networks Group Asia (FNG) and Turner Broadcasting System Asia acquired global rights outside mainland China to the series.  It was the first epic period drama secured by FNG for markets outside China, and was carried by STAR Chinese Channel (SCC), the flagship Chinese general entertainment channel, starting 20 August 2018 in selected countries, rerun on August 6, 2019 in all countries for return a year. 
From 27 November 2018, it aired on Fox Taiwan. From 27 December 2018, it aired on Talentvision Canada. To date it has debuted in 18 countries and regions, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and Philippines. 
A History of Dewey, Utah… By Herm Hoops
The bridge is gone, the station is gone. The people are gone, and what is left is concrete, asphalt, concrete and sameness!
Not much is left of Dewey, Utah is along the Colorado River near the Dewey Bridge. Originally named Kingsferry, it began in the 1880s after Samuel King built and operated a ferry across the Grand River and a small community soon developed around the ferry. (3) The town served as a ferry crossing until the Dewey Bridge was constructed in 1916.
Actually there are two versions of the name source. The first and most preferred states that Dewey Smith, a prospector, camped by the river ford around 1880 where the Utah highway 128 crosses the river. The other version suggests that the name was taken from a raft used to ferry supplies and equipment down river to the mouth of Professor Creek on a raft named for Admiral Dewey.
The ferry was owned by Samuel King and operated by Dick Eastwood. In 1909 a one-year contract was awarded to George Coombs to operate the ferry for $20/month plus tolls. Gay Brown was the next ferryman. Brown also helped build the bridge at Dewey which was completed in 1916. In 1914 the ferryboat broke loose and floated 15 miles down the river. Apparently the ferry was not replaced before the bridge was finished.
Crude rafts and home built boats were common on the river below Cisco. In the early days (1879-1905) people living in Castle Valley went to the railroad in Cisco for supplies. The supplies were floated downstream by raft from Dewey to the mouth of Professor Creek, where the town of Richardson was located. Richardson had a post office, opened in 1886 and by 1905 the town had faded. In August 1898, Henry Grimm went 22 miles upstream from Moab in a 24′ row boat carrying about 500 pounds of supplies. He returned with 6,000 feet of lumber! Johnson, Iverson, Warner and Livingston boated from Dewey Bridge to Moab on August 1901. Walter Mendenhall, of San Juan River fame, floated from Cisco to Moab in a 14-15′ scow in fall of 1907.
The Dewey Bridge, constructed in 1916, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed to support the weight of 6 horses, 3 wagons, and 9000 pounds of freight. The bridge is (was?) significant for its outstanding engineering accomplishment and for its historical role as a vital transportation link connecting southeastern Utah with Colorado and points east.
In the early decades of the Twentieth Century, Moab and other southeastern Utah towns were dependent on communities in western Colorado both for everyday supplies and for markets for their agricultural products. The bridge, which spans the Colorado River, was the first to provide a direct connection to those supplies. Dewey Bridge was Utah’s longest suspension bridge and, at the time of its construction, was the second longest suspension bridge west of the Mississippi. It is also the state’s longest clear span bridge. The bridge was originally brought in pieces built by the Midland Bridge Company of Kansas City, Missouri by rail and assembled across the Colorado River, 30 miles
upstream from Moab, Utah. The bridge featured an all wood deck measuring 502 feet long, 10.2 feet wide from support to support and 8 feet wide from rail to rail. The bridge also consisted of two metal towers, a run of seven cables on each side of the bridge deck, and cable anchors. The old Dewey Bridge was burned on April 2008 by a 7-year-old playing with matches.
Access between Moab and Castle Valley was originally via a pack trail called the Heavenly Stairway. This trail, named for a dramatic descent of over 1,000 feet was described as beautiful, but difficult to navigate. Isolated from Utah’s population centers, this area depended on Grand Junction and other cities in Colorado for supplies and a market for agricultural products. Moab residents pushed for a road to be built along the riverbank. By 1902, the trail was replaced with a toll road, called King’s Toll Road, after Samuel King. King was the operator of the toll ferry used prior to the construction of the Dewey Bridge. Rocks inscribed with “Kings Toll Road” can still be found along the roadway. While the road improved travel, it was not built high enough above the river level and was often flooded.
By the 1920s the toll road was reconstructed above the ordinary high-water mark so it could be used year-round. The road was briefly used for the route of the Midland Trail across eastern Utah. However, by 1923 the trail had been moved to a more direct routing, similar to modern I-70. The road from Moab along the river to Castleton was added to the state highway network in 1931, as SR-129. In 1933, the route was redesignated SR-128 and extended to Cisco.
The highway was gradually upgraded to a two-lane paved roadway. By 1974, much of the gravel and dirt road from Cisco to Moab was paved, although the asphalt was rough and pitted, and the “improvements” were negligible. Even better, because Dewey Bridge was only one lane wide — barely eight feet — large vehicles could not get across it. Today, the highway is used as a scenic drive for visitors to the area.
The state legislature extended SR-128 about 3 miles at its east end in 1969, due to the pending construction of Interstate 70. Plans called for the freeway to bypass the Cisco area, including the terminus of SR-128. The legislature transferred a portion of SR-4 (the legislative designation for what was then signed US-6/US-50) near Cisco to the proposed interchange with I-70.
In 1985 the Utah Department of Transportation began construction on a new bridge, just down river from the old one, and when it opened, traffic on Highway 128 increased dramatically. Further “improvements” have brought still more cars and motorhomes and trucks. Sometimes it is downright congested. It’s a beautiful drive and those discovering it for the first time will be awestruck, but they’ll never be able to understand just what it felt like on that summer night in 1973.
A few years ago, Jennifer Speers, the millionaire with a soul, bought up the adjacent Dewey Bridge subdivision from a developer. She plowed under the roads, dismantled the infrastructure and tore down a $600,000 home in order to restore the area to the way it had been.
Ballard and Maxine Harris lived at Dewey and set up the billboards, they were very nice people. (1.) Harris had a number of vocations during his lifetime, beginning as a cowboy in his youth, he worked for the railroad during WWII and then as a highway foreman for the Utah Department of Transportation for nearly 30 years, retiring in 1976. He also served as a field observer for the National Weather Service for 48 years and a field collector for the National Geological Survey for 38 years, every morning you could find Ballard in his orange UDOT jumpsuit on Dewey Bridge taking measurements to determine the river volume.
Following his retirement, Ballard operated a service station along highway 128 near his home at the Dewey Bridge for many years, meeting and greeting tourists from around the country and the world and becoming somewhat of a tourist attraction himself in the process. In addition to establishing a store for gasoline, cold drinks and highly entertaining conversation for people in the midst of the desert, Mr. Harris devoted himself to providing a safe and reliable feeding station for hundreds of wild birds peacocks, turkeys, doves, pigeons and many others, calling it his “offering” to God. A man of strong faith and conviction, Mr. Harris was a member of no organized church, but sought his Lord on a daily basis. Ballard Harris also ran the filling station at Cisco that supposedly was the inspiration for Johnny Cash’s song named Cisco Clifton’s Fillin Station.
Alvie and Susie Johnston, went to school in Cisco, and Alvie (a real character) told Paul LaFontaine that Maxine was the most sought-after girl in school. While working as a ranger at Westwater (, , and ) Paul always stopped at their place for gas. He spent a whole afternoon with them once, needing gas when the power was out, and had to wait for it to come back on so the pump would
work. Technology then advanced with satellite river volume transmissions and Maxine getting a TV satellite dish and the gas station thereafter was hardly ever open. Paul asked Maxine why and she told me that a John Wayne movie is always playing on the satellite TV at their house.
As time went on the property that was adorned with a variety of spiritual and social messages store and
signs became run down. The colorful array of signs including: The Ten Commandments The Lord’s Bulletin Board listing the names and numbers for a mental health service, Alcoholics Anonymous, a number for runaway kids, and the Suicide Prevention Hotline a sign listing all of the churches in the area and a number of signs denouncing drug use. One of the many anti-drug signs said: “Warning! Drugs Do Kill. Say No.” There was a big sign proclaiming that “Three of the World’s Greatest Problems are (1) Misused Drugs, (2) Greed, (3) Waste” and “When Satan Rocks Your Boat, God is Your Best Anchor.”
Harry Ballard Harris, 91, of Cisco, died Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2005 in Cedar City, he was born in Green River on June 28, 1914. There was a story that the religious signs were related to the death of a relative, but a search that rumor is not true. Harry just seemed to have through his ministry of kindness and hospitality to others, the intent to give others the messages on those signs.
In 1976, not far from Dewey I found the remains of a partially completed rock house, with a beautiful, well-constructed grand staircase that led to a great view of the Colorado River And the river bottoms. Phil LaFontaine was told that one of the Moab Shumways was the builder, thinking it was on his land and not BLM. He was told otherwise and forced to leave it unfinished.
Herm Castle - History
Herm was a Crown Dependency from 1204 until the end of the Second World War, when the States of Guernsey purchased it for £15,000, so that it could be kept open for all to enjoy. It is now leased on a rolling basis, with the tenant required to maintain the island for the enjoyment of all.
Despite its size (0.77 square miles / 2 square km — 1.5 miles long, 0.5 miles wide) it is a haven for wildlife, with around 100 species of birds living there, including puffins and pheasants. The terrain is varied, with a common to the north occupying around a third of the landmass and leading down to the long golden sands of Shell Beach, and cliffs to the south falling to Belvoir Bay and the isle of Hermetier. Most of the island is granite.
Shell Beach (above), formerly known as Le Mielle, is so-named because of the sheer quantity of shells that used to be deposited there by the Gulf Stream from as far away as Mexico. Present-day visitors, however, will find that except for among the rocks much of the beach if now covered in a slightly coarse sand rather than unbroken shells.
There are some great views of Shell Beach in this drone video, which also shows a lot of the common and the clear, clean waters surrounding the island.
Plant life is just as varied as the wildlife, with woodland on the upper slopes, gorse on the common, and New Zealand Flax on the fringes of the beach. The temperate climate allow for an abundance of semi-tropical plant types that are less common on the mainland.
Boats ply the three mile crossing between Guernsey and Herm year round, with the Trident ferry (above) doing good trade in the summer when tourists visit the island from St Peter Port. At high tide it docks at the main harbour, but when the tide is low it instead drops off and collects its passengers from the Rosaire Steps (below), a short distance to the south.
Harald Eggert, writing in The Channel Islands described the Rosaire Steps as ‘a rock with a cave’, and claimed that ‘the local people will tell you that this is where in earlier days a mermaid market was held: the luckless mermaids were chained to the rock while the bidding took place.’ At the time of his writing (1978), six shipping lines ferried passengers between Guernsey and Herm daily between May and October.
Legend has it that Sir Percival Perry, who leased Herm in the 1920s and 30s encased a pristine Model T Ford within the stonework of the harbour itself, although without demolishing it, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know the truth of this tale.
Aside from the kiosks at Shell Beach and Belvoir Bay, most of Herm’s buildings are clustered around the harbour. These consist of the gift shop, White House Hotel (no phones, televisions of clocks, previously the private home of Sir Percival Perry) and the Mermaid Tavern, which takes its name from the sailing ship that brought supplies to the island for three decades leading up to the 1900s.
The manor and non-denominational 11th century Chapel of St Trugal sit up on the crest of the hill, connected to the buildings below by a winding track. A small campsite sits close to the western shore, looking out towards Guernsey. A granite, windowless building in the grounds of the White House Hotel holds some claim to fame for the island, being the smallest prison in the world.
One of Anthony Gormley’s casts of his own body was loaned to the island for two years as part of an art project and installed on Le Petit Monceau (below). However, the £150,000 sculpture was too expensive for the island to keep hold of for longer, and so in 2012 when the loan came to an end it was returned to the artist.
It is governed directly from Guernsey, and forms part of the electoral district of St Peter Port South in the States of Deliberation. It is home to Britain’s smallest school, with just one classroom, and has had direct dial telephones through the Guernsey exchange since the installation of a 60-channel digital radio link in 1985. The BBC’s Domesday Project described the island’s power station setup in 1985:
It is situated in a central position at the top of the island in the old farm buildings. There are three DAF generators, each with a power output of 71 kilowatts, though normally only one is run at a time. The diesel oil which the engines use is shipped over from Guernsey by boat, and piped to the power house from the harbour. In summer about 300 litres of oil are used each day, and in winter when the number of people on the island is smaller, about 225 litres per day.
Chapel of St Trugal
The chapel was built in the 11th century when Herm was home to many monks. It is not known whether the original builders were merely followers of St Trugal, who lived in Normandy, or if the saint visited the island himself.
Its angled layout meant that the monks could sit in the nave, to the north, while the public would sit in the west, from which they would be unable to see the monks.
The chapel was significantly overgrown when Major Peter and Jenny Wood took over the leave of Herm, but they cut back much of the growth to uncover the west front, replaced the stained glass windows and established a garden there. Many of the new windows feature scenes significant to the island, with the BBC reporting that one depicts two Guernsey cows boarding Noah’s ark.
The chapel is not consecrated, and so non-denominational, but there are weekly services from visiting priests.
History of Herm
Herm has been occupied at least since Neolithic times (10200 – 2000BC), as tombs from that period are found on the island, but little is known about its inhabitants until the 6th century when it was occupied by monks. Some speculate that the name is a shortened version or hermit. At that time it was supposedly connected to the neighbouring island of Jethou (below) until the land between the two was swept away by a storm in 709.
It became a part of the Duchy of Normandy, along with the rest of the Channel Islands, in 933, and an English Crown Dependency from 1204 onwards when Philip II of France took mainland Normandy from England, leaving the Channel Islands behind.
By the 1800s Herm’s rich granite deposits meant that it was used for quarrying (for which up to 400 people lived on the island at one time) and leased to tenants who, unlike the current tenants, treated the island as their private domains.
Herm during the Second World War
Unlike Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney, Herm was neither occupied nor fortified during the Second World, but its beaches were used by the German troops to practice troop landings in preparation for an invasion of Britain. They also shot a propaganda film there which, when shown back home in Germany, was claimed to be footage of a successful German landing on the Isle of Wight.
At the same time, the British forces had their eye on the, with a view to scoring a PR coup, with plans for raids on Herm, Jethou and Brecqhou on the night of 9/10 February 1943. Operation Hunchback, as it was known, would be conducted by 42 men, but was cancelled at the last minute due to bad weather, and finally conducted in a less grand scale (the plans for Jethou and Brecqhou were abandoned) on 27/28 February. It wasn’t a great success, and they found the island to be deserted.
Tenants of Herm
James Stevens Linklater1884 – 1889
Linklater isn’t mentioned by many sources that discuss the tenants of Herm. However, he appears to have purchased the island from Louis Numa Brard and Augustin Claude Broquin for £7375 on 6 August 1884. It further appears that he tried to sell the island again almost right away, initially to Britain, suggesting the it should mount a 35 ton cannon on the highest point to bring St Peter Port under its control. After several years of negotiations he sold the lease of the island to Prince Blucher. (Source: http://quivis.co.uk/herm/herm.html).
Gehbard Furst Blucher von Wahlstatt1889 – 1914
Famed for introducing wallabies to Herm, although none of these have survived to the present day, as they were housed in a zoo when Blucher left the island at the start of the First World War.
Compton Mackenzie1920 – 1923
Best known for writing Whisky Galore and The Monarch of the Glen, Mackenzie was born in Barra, Scotland, and a lifelong Scottish nationalist. He co-founded the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP). He was tenant of both Herm and Jethou. He wrote two novels while on Herm, including Fairy Gold which included recognisable descriptions of the island.
Percival Lea Dewhurst Perry1923 – 1939
Chairman of the Ford Motor Company Ltd for 20 years from its incorporation in 1928, setting up its network of dealers, racing Ford cars and writing poetry to promote the vehicles. He opened Ford’s first factory outside of the US, in Manchester. He was the tenant of Herm until the start of the Second World War.
A G Jefferies1948 – 1949
The States of Guernsey leased Herm to A G Jefferies following its purchase at the end of the Second World War on two conditions. First, it should be open to the general public during summer daylight hours, and second, the island should not be altered in any way, so as to preserve its beauty.
Jefferies established Herm’s own postal service when the Postmaster General refused to reinstate the financially unviable post office that had operated for half an hour each day between 1925 and 1938. Jefferies’ service only conducted the mail as far as St Peter Port where it was handled for onward conveyance by the regular postal service, so anything sent from Herm had to carry two stamps — one issued by Herm and one by Britain. Herm stamps were attached to the backs of envelopes and the top left of postcards, and could also be used to pay for messages sent to Guernsey by carrier pigeon before the installation of a telephone line in 1954.
Major Peter and Jenny Wood1949 – 1980
The most famous of all of the tenants was Major Peter Wood (actually Major Alexander Gouch Wood) and his wife Jenny. They took over the 80-year lease in 1949 when the island was in a poor state, and made worse shortly thereafter when a naval mine, left over from the war, floated into the harbour, detonated against the wall and blew out most of the island’s remaining windows.
The major and his wife looked after the island until 1980, when they retired. He died in 1998, and Jenny wrote a book about their early life there, entitled Herm, Our Island Home, which described the work they undertook to bring it back to a habitable and commercially-viable condition. The opening page of the book describes the devastation caused by the blast:
We passed through the silent shattered village and reached the harbour and then we turned and looked back. The road was littered with seaweed, splintered stone and beach pebbles, so that we had to watch where we put our feet.
The roofs of the cottages were all awry and most of the windows were black and empty, blown in by the force of the blast from the mice which the night before had floated almost in the harbour on the rising tide and detonated with devastating force just 40 yards from the end of the mole, and only 100 yards from the centre of the village. Start against the skyline, 600 yards away, we could see that one of the barns was a skeleton, all the tiles blown off.
It was the 4th January 1952, and the British government had announced on 30 December 1951 that the English Channel could now be regarded as free of wartime mines. Just four days ago. Ironical.
When Jenny Wood also died she was buried beside her husband in a grave outside the Chapel of St Trugal at the top of the island.
Adrian Heyworth and Penny Wood Heyworth1980 – 2008
From 1980 onwards, the lease was maintained by couple’s daughter, Penny Wood Heyworth, and her husband, Adrian. However, they put the remaining 40 years of the lease up for sale on 17 May 2008, initially for £15,000,000.
John and Julia Singer2008 – present
The lease was acquired in September 2008 by Starboard Settlement, reportedly for a far smaller figure than its sale price. Starboard Settlement, a trust that provided financial support for developing world charities, formed Herm Island Ltd to manage the island for its trustees, and vowed to maintain it in the condition under which they had acquired it.
John and Julia Singer became the new managers of the island, and moved there from Guernsey following the purchase. John was Starboard Settlement’s investment manager, and according to the UK’s Independent newspaper, the couple had ‘met and fallen in love on Herm 14 years [previously]’.
No cars are permitted on the island, and neither are bicycles (despite these being permitted on Sark, which also forbids cars). That doesn’t mean you won’t encounter a powered vehicle when walking on the island, though, as some residents use quad bikes or tractors to get around. There is also a tractor-hauled fire tender, although this is only used as a stopgap measure while awaiting assistance from the Guernsey Fire Brigade.
The ferry route between Herm and Guernsey is operated under license by the Trident Charter Company. The two boats in use — Trident V and Trident VI — are each licensed to carry 250 passengers, and generally run at 10 knots for a crossing time of between 15 and 20 minutes.
The speed limit for boating in the immediate vicinity of Herm is 6 knots.
Health and Safety
Herm has one resident special constable who is accompanied by two officers sent over from Guernsey on bank holidays. It has no doctor, and so medical assistance is offered in the first instance by a team of first aiders. Herm is served by the Flying Christine III naval ambulance, which will take a minimum of 45 minutes to reach the island from Guernsey.
The aforementioned fire tender has a capacity of 2000 litres and a 60 metre reel to pump it onto the source of the fire, operated by the island’s team of 10 retained firefighters. The island doesn’t have any fire hydrants because it doesn’t have mains water. All water on the island is drawn from boreholes sunk through the bedrock.
Herm photo gallery
Read more about Herm
A body on a beach, an impossible alibi and an unstoppable race against time!
Herm appears in The Sarnian, the explosive adventure series in which the discovery of a dead body on one of Guernsey's most secluded beaches blows the lid on a world of intrigue and deceit.
Castle Cornet is Guernsey&rsquos ancient harbour fortress, which was isolated upon a rocky islet until the construction of a breakwater and bridge in the 19th century.
Today, the Castle features five fascinating museums which tell the story of Guernsey&rsquos military and maritime history, and four well-researched &ldquoperiod&rdquo gardens.
Located in the Upper Barracks, the Maritime Museum is where you will learn about Guernsey&rsquos ancient relationship with the sea.
The museum also includes a gallery of marine art and a display about the Gallo-Roman wreck recovered from the nearby harbour mouth in 1985.
The Story of Castle Cornet
The exhibition was opened in 1997 and is located in the lower barracks building.
The displays interpret the history of Castle Cornet using a variety of reconstructions, replicas, models and original artefacts.
Here, you will be able to explore an interactive guide to Castle Cornet and a database of Castle illustrations, as well as an audio presentation about the great explosion of 1672, which destroyed much of the early castle.
201 Squadron RAF Museum
Guernsey&rsquos own museum celebrates the 201 Squadron&rsquos links with the Island, which date back to the 1930&rsquos, when their Southampton-based flying boats came on training flights and good visits.
The Squadron is currently the only RAF unit to retain such an affiliation.
Royal Guernsey Militia and Royal Guernsey Light Infantery Museums
They are two related military museums in the Castle&rsquos Hospital building which are the most recent developments in the Castle.
The Royal Guernsey Militia Museum, which was officially opened in May 2011, tells the story of the Militia from its 13th century origins as an island defence force to its 20th century disbandment on the formation of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry.
The Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum tells the story of the Guernseymen who fought in the Great War.
The Hatton Gallery is a spacious gallery in the Upper Barracks building, housing portraits of local relevance.
The gallery is not normally open to the public, except for specific advertised events.
Sark, Channel Islands
The smallest of the four main Channel Islands, Sark is located some 80 miles from the south coast of England and only 24 miles from the north coast of France. Not part of the United Kingdom nor the European Union, Sark is reputed to be the smallest independent feudal state in Europe and to have the last feudal constitution in the western world.
Whilst not strictly speaking a sovereign state, under a unique status the Seigneur of Sark, the head of the feudal government, holds the island for the English monarch.
Confused? …well perhaps just a glimpse into the history of Sark will help to explain the unique status of this fascinating little island.
A few worked stone and flint finds testify to early life on megalithic or Stone Age Sark. Still later it appears that the Romans inhabited the island, possibly for a few hundred years or more.
Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages ensued and with it historical fact gets a little vague. What is known however, is that along with the new faith of Christianity which was spreading across Europe at the time, the missionary St.Magloire arrived in Sark around 560AD. St.Magloire is credited with founding a monastery on the north-west of the island (still known as ‘La Moinerie’), and from there he dispatched his friars to bring the Christian faith to the other Channel Islands.
The monastery survived several raids by pagan Vikings throughout the ninth century until the early 900s when the next generation of Norsemen (now Christianised Norsemen otherwise known as Normans) settled the region. The first Duke of Normandy was Rollo, and it was Rollo’s son William Longsword who took possession of the Channel Islands in 933.
Sark’s long association with the English Crown dates back to 1066 when Guillaume Duke of Normandy conquered England. Guillaume became King William I of England, also known as ‘The Conqueror’. Although he was now king of England, William also retained his position as Duke of Normandy.
Later, when King John of England lost Normandy to King Philip II of France in the early 1200’s, the Channel Islands remained loyal to the English crown. In return for this loyalty, King John granted the islands certain rights and privileges which allowed them to be virtually self-governing.
Over the next few centuries, the Channel Islands were subject to many murderous French raids the Sark community however weathered these stormy times and by 1274 Sark had a population of about 400, mostly involved in farming, fishing and other ‘less legal’ shipping occupations.
It is thought that the Black Death was responsible for ending the long period of continuous habitation of Sark, around 1348.
The strategic importance of Sark’s location in the Channel meant that over the next few hundred years it was always the subject of close attention, a fact that was particularly influenced by the status of Anglo-French relations at that time. In 1549 a French naval force of 400 men landed on the island and established fortifications: they were eventually expelled.
The fear of further French occupation led to Sark being permanently settled again in 1565 by the Seigneur of St Ouen from nearby Jersey, Helier de Carteret. Together with his wife and several of their St Ouen tenants, the Heliers moved onto the island.
Helier’s role was to ensure that Sark would never again become depopulated and could rise, when required, to defend itself. To achieve this he parcelled the land up into sections, each large enough to support a family and charging a peppercorn rent, he leased each parcel. Strict tenancy agreements stipulated that a house must be erected on each parcel of land and each tenant was required to provide a man, armed with a musket and ammunition, to defend the island when called to do so.
In 1565 Queen Elizabeth I rewarded Helier by granting him the feudal title of fief, with an obligation to maintain 40 households and men with arms to defend the island and to pay the Crown the twentieth part of a knight’s fee annually for the privilege – in today’s money that is about £1.79! This royal recognition formally established the constitutional basis which survives on Sark to this present day.
The first forty tenants came mainly from Jersey, many were either friends or family, but all were united by the strict Presbyterian faith. Helier’s settlers brought with them Jersey laws and customs and Sark’s first parliament, known as the Chief Pleas, met in November 1579.
With royal approval, the ownership of Sark changed several times during the early 1700s until in 1730 it was purchased by Susanne Le Pelley, the widow of a prominent Guernsey privateer. It was also around this time in history that the effects of the revolution in nearby France began to lap the shores of the island. The Le Pelley family however appear to have responded well to any anti-feudal sentiment by launching several public projects including the building of a free school.
During the Napoleonic Wars new canon began to appear along the cliffs tops of Sark, and the dutiful tenants kept to the terms of their tenancy agreements by organising night time vigils with arms at the ready to repel any attempted French invasion.
The Industrial Revolution appears to have arrived in Sark in 1833 with the discovery of copper and silver deposits this led to the formation of the Sark Mining Company. To finance the venture the Seigneur mortgaged the island with the hope of finding lucrative veins of ore. 250 Cornish miners duly arrived, along with all the equipment necessary to extract the precious minerals. Those lucrative veins were never found however, and the mines were eventually abandoned in 1847 leaving the Seigneur in serious debt.
Unable to afford the mortgage, the Le Pelleys sold the fief of the island to the Collings family with the Reverend W.T.Collings becoming the new Seigneur in the early 1850s. Rev. Collings embarked upon a substantial building programme which included adapting Creux harbour to accommodate the new steam boat service from Guernsey. With this, the economy of Sark changed almost overnight as the first tourists began to arrive, staying at the newly built hotels and admiring the local scenery including the Seigneurie’s once private gardens.
During World War II, Sark was occupied by German forces between 3rd July 1940 and 10th May 1945. Perhaps due to its relatively small size and traditional reliance on agriculture and fishing, the islanders appear to have suffered less than they did on the larger of the Channel Islands.
With the arrival of the 21st century, feudal Sark is now being forced to adapt. In coming to terms with international Human Rights legislation, major amendments have already been made to its inheritance and tax laws, and radical constitutional and administrational changes are gradually being introduced.
Visitors to modern-day Sark however would hardly notice the impact of the radical changes and reforms taking place. With no airstrip, no motor cars or tarmac roads, life on Sark remains visibly unaffected by modern life, and, perhaps it is because personal transportation is restricted to foot, bicycle or horse drawn carriages that the pace of life appears more congenial and relaxed.
The islanders themselves now welcome all, or almost all, to share in their haven. French invaders, or tourists as they are called, arrive constantly throughout the summer months via the local Guernsey – Sark ferry. Less welcome it seems are the more local noisy neighbours from London who have taken up residency on a nearby island. It appears that their lack of popularity is due in part to their desire to change the traditional agricultural face of Sark.
After the Conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmet II ordered to built his palace in its present location on top of the ancient Byzantine ruins, meanwhile he spent some time during its construction at a smaller palace where there is the University of Istanbul today, in Bayezit square. Once they moved to Topkapi palace, the old one was called as "Old Palace" and Topkapi as the "New Palace". But local people called it as "Topkapi" which in Turkish means "Gate of Cannons" because of huge cannons displayed outside of its gates, those which were used during the Conquest.
There were originally around 700-800 residents of the Palace at the beginning, but during the centuries it dramatically raised to 5,000 during normal days and 10,000 during festivals, approximately. Amongst these, the Janissaries were the biggest part of the population who were based within the first courtyard of the palace. The palace became the largest palace in the world, a city within a city. The walls surrounding it were about 5 kilometers (around 3 miles) long. The palace having around 700,000 m2 of area during the foundation years, it currently has only 80,000 m2 of area because of building constructions in its grounds towards the end.
During the 400 hundred years of reign at Topkapi, each sultan added a different section or hall to the palace, depending on his taste or on the needs of the time. Therefore the palace is formed by a maze of buildings centered around a series of courtyards protected by different gates. Its architecture is predominantly Middle Eastern in character. The initial construction was Cinili Mansion, a tiled kiosk finished in 1472, and the main gate (Bab-i Humayun in Arabic or the Imperial Gate) facing Sultanahmet square and Hagia Sophia church, and the Palace ramparts at the second gate (Bab-us Selam or the Gate of Salutation) were completed in 1478. A third gate, Bab-us Saade or the Felicity Gate, separates the core and most important parts of the palace from other sections, such as the Treasury for example.
At first, the Harem was left in the Old Palace and was moved to its present location only one century later by sultan Murad III, again with the addition of several buildings during many years. The Harem, literally meaning "forbidden" in Arabic, was a complex of apartments in the palace belonging to the wives, concubines and children of the sultan, guarded by the black eunuchs. At some point, its population topped to a record high of 474 ladies. Inside the Harem there were rooms dedicated to the mother of the sultan, wives of the sultan, his concubines, Turkish baths, circumcision room, apartments of the chief black eunuch, and apartments of the sultan, in total over 400 rooms. Today, the Harem is a separate museum within the palace complex and there are escorted tours at certain hours of the day.
The palace was opened to the public as a museum in 1924 by the order of Ataturk. There are many sections in the Topkapi Palace which can be visited today, these are exhibition halls and doesn't contain any furniture. Some of the exhibition halls are closed for restorations but still the visit of the palace would take a half day for an interested person. Please note that in some of the exhibition halls you're not permitted to take any photographs, such as Treasury, Sultans' costumes, and the Holly Relics.
Once you pass the first gate, Imperial Gate, you'll be in the first courtyard called as the "Courtyard of the Regiments". From this gate anybody could pass but only the sultan would be on the horse, while all others on foot. Here, a nice park, some ruins and columns from the Byzantine period, a 6th century Hagia Irene church which is occasionally used for some concerts and art exhibitions today, the Imperial Mint, and the Archaeological museum welcomes you. Before you get to the second gate, there are ticket boots, a change office, and a small gift shop on the right.
The second gate has two guard towers and is called "Gate of Salutation", because everybody had to salute the sultan before going through. From this gate, only the sultan and people working in the palace could pass, it wasn't for the public access. Today, passing through this gate there will be a security check and ticket control, and you access to the second courtyard of the palace (courtyard of the Divan). There are two small scale models of the palace on the right and a big map showing the foundation and expansion of the Ottoman Empire. To the right of the courtyard, there are palace kitchens where there were between 800-1,000 cooks preparing food for this 10,000 people living in the palace. Today there is a nice collection of Chinese and some Japanese porcelains collection and the silverware at separate sections of the kitchens. Across the courtyard, to the left, there is the Divan, or Council Chamber, where the viziers and grand vizier gathered to talk about daily issues or to receive foreign visitors. There was the treasury of the Divan next door, which is an exhibition of weapons of that time today, and the Tower of the Justice above it was used for the surveillance of the harbor. The Harem entry is also in this courtyard just behind the Divan chamber.
The third gate is called "Gate of Felicity" because the sultan and his court celebrated important events here, sitting on his throne when the sultan was happy everybody was happy. This gate was protected by the white eunuchs and nobody could pass through without the permission of the sultan. When you enter the third courtyard (courtyard of the Enderun), the first building is the Audience Hall where the sultan received his viziers or foreign ambassadors. The room is nicely decorated with some furniture. Behind this room, there is a library as well. On the right of the courtyard there is a collection of sultans' costumes and the Treasury, maybe one of the most popular section of the museum. Amongst the many interesting items we can name the 86 carat Spoon Maker’s (Kasikci in Turkish) Diamond, Topkapi Dagger, huge emeralds, several thrones, big candle sticks made of pure gold, and relics of St. John the Baptist.
On the left of the third courtyard, there is the Holly Relics section where religiously important items are displayed, such as the mantle, footprint, a tooth and hair of the Prophet Mohammed, swords of the first caliphs, container of the Black Stone from Ka'ba, and so on. Next to this hall, there are several other rooms with the paintings of the sultans, miniatures, old clocks etc.
After the third courtyard, there are several passages to the fourth and last courtyard of the palace, the private garden of the sultan (Sofa-i Humayun in Arabic) where he had roses and tulips and some kiosks from which he had a great view of the city while drinking his tea or coffee. Baghdad kiosk, Revan kiosk and Sofa kiosk on the left of the courtyard overlooking the Golden Horn, all of them built in the 17th century and decorated with fine tiles and mother of pearl inlaid on wood, circumcision room for the sons of the sultan, Mecidiye kiosk on the right of the courtyard overlooking the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus, built in the mid-19th century, and the small mosque are some interesting elements of this last courtyard. Just below the Mecidiye kiosk, there is a self service cafeteria and a restaurant today.
The Topkapi Palace is in the Sultanahmet neighborhood near Eminonu in the Old City area, and is open daily between 09:00 – 17:00 except on Tuesdays. During the summer period it has longer opening hours (until 19:00 usually). The museum is closed to visitors on the first day of religious holidays, as well as on 1st of January. Currently, the admission to the palace costs 150 TL for adults and another 100 TL to the Harem.
Phone: +90 212 5120480
Fax: +90 212 5285991
Please note that admission fees, opening times or days of closure of the museums might be changed without prior notice, or that museum or section might be closed for restorations. To be certain on the closure days or opening times, you can call that museum directly (country code for Turkey is +90) or contact me to double check. Most of the museums have longer opening hours during summer months.
Click here for high resolution photo gallery of the Topkapi Palace. You can also check the Google Map of the Palace at this link.
The Heidelberg man
In 1907, a workman made a spectacular find when he discovered a human jaw bone at a sandpit just south of Heidelberg. It became apparent quickly that the fossil belonged to an extinct species of humans that had been unheard of until then. The German scientist Otto Schoentensack was the first to identify the fossil and suggested the name homo heidelbergensis. Recent tests have confirmed that the fossil is more than 600,000 years old making the find the earliest evidence of human life ever to be found in Europe.