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Dover

April 10, 2004 - We took a one day (albeit a 20 hour day!) pre-Easter trip to Dover to visit the white cliffs and Roman remains.  Sean was missing the sea and Paul had promised to visit more Roman sites.  Thankfully the transportation was running with no problems this weekend, but the weather did keep up its usual precedent.  It started out as a very damp day though it did finally dry up enough that we could see France (Calais) across the channel.  We did a lot of walking, although we did not manage to get directly onto the cliffs.  Next time, we may rent a car.  The Roman Painted House in Dover is considered the best preserved Roman house with frescoed walls.  It was discovered in the twentieth century when a house was demolished.  The museum which surrounds it gives information about the Roman navy (cassis) stationed in Dover.  Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures, so you'll just have to visit!

 

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It was a misty morning, but from the rocky beach and promenade we could look up to Dover Castle on the hill and see the white cliffs above one of the busiest ports in Britain.

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One of the more interesting sites in the town of Dover is the old church of St James.  It had fallen into disrepair but was destroyed by bombs in WWII.  The ruins have been left standing as a memorial.  Outside the ruins is the White Horse Pub, which dates back to the thirteenth century.

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Dover Castle is a really large site situated on a hill, which has been used since Roman times.  From the top you can look down to the harbor and even see across to France.

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Sean took the opportunity to shake his fist at France, which you can see as the dark line across the water in the second picture.  The third picture is one of the many WWII guns that are on display at Dover Castle.  Somehow, the warning sign next to the gun makes it less imposing.  The fourth picture is of one of the two Roman lighthouses (pharos) in Dover which was used as the bell tower for the church of St Maria in Castris (St Mary in the Camp, which was incorrectly translated in a few places as St Mary in the Castle).

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The first three pictures are also of the lighthouse and church.  The upper 5m of the lighthouse were added later, but the lower portion is the base of the original Roman lighthouse.  The lighthouse is said to have been a replica of the great lighthouse at Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

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Inside the castle keep, in addition to several museum exhibits, there is a reconstruction trebuchet.  This is slightly disturbing, because it does seem to be functional and despite the warning, it is just too tempting a jungle gym for little kids (and at least one father that we saw!).  The next two pictures are taken from the roof of the castle proper.  In the last picture, the hill opposite was where the second of the two Roman lighthouses once stood.

 


12-Apr-2004

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