9 Most Famous Windows in History

9. Pitt’s Pictures

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In an attempt to impose a tax relative to the prosperity of the taxpayer,  window tax was introduced in England in 1696. The bigger the house, the more windows it was likely to have, and the more tax the occupants would pay. The tax was extremely unpopular, because it was seen as a tax on “light and air”, and many people responded by bricking up their window-spaces. In Scotland, this Window Tax was imposed only a century later by William Pitt the Younger in the 1780s. It was first introduced in the financial district of Edinburgh, and to this day “Pitt’s Pictures” (blacked out windows with white painted cross-frames) can be seen in Charlotte Square. The tax was not repealed until 1851, by when it has already introduced another new word into English lexicon: “daylight robbery”.

8.Vostok’s Porthole

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“I see earth, it is so beautiful.” These were the first words ever uttered by a human being in the space. Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin has become the first human in space only a few minutes earlier. At 06:07 UTC on Wednesday, 12 April 1961, Vostok I was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. Three minutes later, the payload shroud which covered the window at Gagarin’s feet was opened.  the capsule’s plexiglass window. The simple plexiglass window contained the Vzor (Eyesight) optical orientation device.

7.The Pope’s Window

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It is but one of 12,523 windows in the Apostolic Palace, which, in addition, houses more than 10,000 chambers, three elevators, and 997 flights of stairs. However, it is the window. On every Sunday at noon, Pope John Paul II appeared at this window to recite the “Angelus” mass. The tradition is continued by his successor Benedict XVI. This is the  window in the papal study, one of 10 on the third floor of the building. The Pope, however, lives on the fourth floor.

6.Texas School Book Depository

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On November 22nd, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old former Marine who was working as a holiday-rush temporary employee at the building, fired rifle shots from the sixth floor of the Depository into the Presidential motorcade of John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was 88 yards away. Some say Oswald shot the President with three bullets within six seconds. Some say the time window can be as large as 8.3 seconds.  The Book Depository Company moved out in 1970, and the memorial museum for the assassination was opened in 1989.

5.The Window Capet

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Legends said that Louis XVI was captured at Varennes because he looked out of his carriage window. However, not even that window (nor any other window in the history) is as infamous as the window of the cell Marie Antoinette occupied in the Temple Prison.
Marie Thérèse Louise de Savoie-Carignan, the Princesse de Lamballe was the Superintendent of the Queen’s Household and one of the Queen’s closest friends. When the Royal Family attempted to flee France, the Princess fled toward England. However, learning of their capture at Varennes, she returned to Paris, where she joined Marie Antoinette in the Temple Prison. In August 1792, the two women were separated when the Princesse de Lamballe was transferred to La Force Prison. A month later, the Princesse became the most prominent victim of the September Massacres when the crowd dragged her from her prison cell, killed her, and then mutilated her body. They then put her head on a pike and paraded it in triumph before the window of the terrified Queen. with the grotesque demand that she be  forced “to kiss the lips of her intimate.” The Queen however did not see the head of her friend; she fainted upon learning about the gruesome end that had befallen her former companion.

4. Lady of Shalott

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Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem Lady of Shalott was based on a thirteenth-century Italian novella entitled Donna di Scalotta.  In Tennyson’s Arthurian interpretation, Lady of Shalott is cursed to never look out her window. She is allowed to view the world only from her mirror, through which she sees “shadows of the world”. One day, Sir Lancelot passes by the window, and she forgets the curse and looks out her window to catch a glimpse of him. The mirror cracks, and she was cursed. The story ends tragically with her death.
In literature, there are many famous windows: Rapunzel’s bleak one, Juliet’s window-balcony, etc. In Tennyson’s poem, the window represented the divide between idealism and reality, and also the Lady’s voluntary desire to attempt to bridge these two.

3. Rear Window

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If Lady of Shalott explored the divide between reality and idealism, Rear Window celebrated the identical nature of life on both sides of the window. In this 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie, James Stewart plays a photographer recuperating from a broken leg. In his boredom, Stewart’s character looks out of his rear window to spy upon his neighbours (whose personas eerily reflect and match those of Stewart’s and his girlfriend’s), only to discover not so savory details about one particular neighbour.

2. Niepce’s Heliograph

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From the photographer to the photographed.  La cour du domaine du Gras is not the first photograph attempted by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce, but this June 1826 photograph featuring a pigeon house and a barn roof is one of the earliest surviving ones. The View from the Window at Le Gras was captured at Saint-Loup-de-Varennes on a sheet of 20 × 25 cm oil-treated bitumen. To make what he called a “heliograph,” or sun drawing, Niépce’s camera obscura required an exposure time of more than eight hours, which made the sunlight illuminates the buildings in the pictures on both sides.

1. Defenestration of Prague

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In fact, there were two defenestrations of Prague, but only the second one was more historically notable. In 1617, Bohemian aristocracy rebelled the election of Duke Ferdinand of Styria as King of Bohemia, fearing that Catholic Ferdinand would revoke more Protestant rights.
At Prague Castle on May 23, 1618, an assembly of Protestants tried two Imperial governors for violating the Letter of Majesty (Right of Freedom of Religion), found them guilty, and threw them out of the windows of the Bohemian Chancellery. They landed on a large pile of manure in a dry moat and survived.
This defenestration started the Bohemian Revolt, and the Bohemians crowned their own king. Insulted, yet powerless to stop the revolt, the duke (now Ferdinand II of Austria) called his nephew Phillip IV of Spain for help. By 1620, the revolt has advanced into a continental conflict which will later be known as Thirty Years’ War.

Bonus: Windows

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This article contains direct quotes from Wikipedia.

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Comments
2 Responses to “9 Most Famous Windows in History”
  1. DrOberdeau says:

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