Petrodvorets outside St. Petersburg

Petrodvorets outside St. Petersburg
Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 73 cm x 49 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #40687-3
Photographer: Günter Gräfenhain
Puzzle: A wonderful depiction of the Grand Cascade fountains in the Petrodvorets (Peterhof) Palace in Russia. I’ve visited this beautiful place in the 1990s, and it was a pleasure to assemble this puzzle almost 20 years later.

Good places to start are the border of the pool and the grassy areas, the sky, the pool water, the palace, the evergreen trees, and the statue in the bottom right corner. After that, stairs, fountains, rock walls and arches between the stairs, striped embellishments, and statues can be assembled.

Notes: The Peterhof Palace (Russian: Петерго́ф, Dutch for Peter’s Court) is a series of palaces and gardens located in Petergof, Saint Petersburg, Russia, laid out on the orders of Peter the Great. These palaces and gardens are sometimes referred as the “Russian Versailles”.

The fountains of the Grand Cascade are located below the grotto and on either side of it. There are 64 fountains. Their waters flow into a semicircular pool, the terminus of the fountain-lined Sea Channel. In the 1730s, the large Samson Fountain was placed in this pool. It depicts the moment when Samson tears open the jaws of a lion, representing Russia’s victory over Sweden in the Great Northern War, and is doubly symbolic. The lion is an element of the Swedish coat of arms, and one of the great victories of the war was won on St Samson’s Day. From the lion’s mouth shoots a 20-metre-high vertical jet of water, the highest in all of Peterhof. This masterpiece by Mikhail Kozlovsky was looted by the invading Germans during the Second World War; see History below. A replica of the statue was installed in 1947.

Perhaps the greatest technological achievement of Peterhof is that all of the fountains operate without the use of pumps. Water is supplied from natural springs and collects in reservoirs in the Upper Gardens. The elevation difference creates the pressure that drives most of the fountains of the Lower Gardens, including the Grand Cascade. The Samson Fountain is supplied by a special aqueduct, over four km in length, drawing water and pressure from a high-elevation source.

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Postcard from the Kremlin

Postcard from the Kremlin
Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 68 cm x 48 cm
Manufacturer: Mega Puzzles, CxC32 ASST DFD13, A 07075 PP, #50941
Photographer: Gorbach Elena (Shutterstock)
Original: photograph
Puzzle: Lovely vibrant puzzle with lots of intricate details. My five-year-old loved it so much, it is now decorating his bedroom wall.

Good places to start are the border with the sky and specific colour patterns, such as dark green and yellow of the forefront tower, dark red and white of the top dome, yellow and red of the spherical embellishments on orange pedestals, flower-adorned arches, and white walls. The smaller details can be filled in afterwards.

Notes: A kremlin (Russian: кремль) is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. [Wiki]

The Kremlin in Izmaylovo is a unique center of culture and entertainment, based at the famous Izmaylovo Vernissage. It is built in a pseudo-Byzantine style, based loosely on what palaces in Russia looked like in pre-Petrine times, but more inspired by drawings of Russian fairy tales. This complex is used for civil weddings as it has a wedding palace, a restaurant and bars. However, it is also used as an amusement park/open-air museum for children on the theme of ‘Old Russia’. There is a reconstruction of a wooden Russian church that used to dot the Russian countryside before the Russian Revolution but it is not used for weddings. There is also a big market that sells souvenirs amongst other things. [Wiki]

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Winter at Neuschwanstein Castle

Winter at Neuschwanstein Castle
Size:  500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #58805-23
Author: Hans Peter Huber
Puzzle: Another beautiful rendition of Neuschwanstein Castle, this one has a magical feel to it, with the sky in sunset colours and grounds sleeping under the snow.

The easiest place to start is the sky with its many gradients and islands of colour. The castle can come next. The trees and the grounds are a bit more tricky, since there are only shades of blue and black, yet as the puzzle is not big, the challenge is not great.

This puzzle came as part of a package of five 500-piece puzzles.

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Thomas Jefferson’s Houses

Thomas Jefferson's Houses
Size:  500 pieces
Dimensions: 48 cm x 36 cm
Manufacturer: TCG, #58805-23
Author: Alamy
Puzzle: Vibrant, uplifting puzzle with blue skies, green trees, bright flowers, and a stately manor reflecting in a pond. Pleasure to assemble.

I liked starting with the red path around the pond, to separate the building and the grounds from their reflection. Building on that horizontal guide, the lawn and the gardens can be assembled. The sky and its boundary with the building, the building itself, as well as its reflection in the water can come next. The remaining area with trees and their reflection will follow.

This puzzle came as part of a package of five 500-piece puzzles.

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Puzzle: Riverside, California, U.S.A.

Riverside, California, medSize: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 51.12 cm x 66.52 cm
Producer: MB Puzzle, Hasbro Canada, 2009, 17077C-43969
Photographer:
Larry Ulrich

Puzzle: A colourful gazebo in a California park, with bright white steps, red pillars, orange roof and ornate decoration. Beautiful and peaceful puzzle to assemble, challenging enough to take a bit more time.

Good places to start are the orange striped roof and its border with the sky, the red pillars, the grass and the paths at the bottom, as well as the white steps and fence, and the red dome of the tower in the background. The more challenging parts are the sky, the greenery, and the brown tower and tree trunk regions.

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Puzzle: Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore, med

Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 48.10 cm x 68 cm
Producer: Mega Puzzles, Windows to the World series, 2008, No.50580, 8006528 FO
Photographer:
John and Debora Scanlan

Puzzle: Beautiful puzzle, lots of small detail adding to the challenge, but larger areas of gradient colours and the manageable size of 750 pieces make the assembly easier. Great places to start are the sky, the dark of the water, and the green hill bordering the sky. Bottom right region of uniform beige, the colourful stripes of the boats, and the ridged area near the water, in the bottom right quarter, as well as the close-up of a green plant at the bottom right, can be tackled next.

Larger buildings such as the orange/red one in the middle of the picture, yellow one next to it, and the white one ending the row of boats can be done next. From that point, it’s a bit more challenging, but vertical guides of completed buildings can help place the rest. Lovely imagery and fun to assemble.

Notes: Riomaggiore is a village in the province of La Spezia, situated in a small valley in the Liguria region of Italy. The village, dating from the early thirteenth century, is known for its historic character and its wine, produced by the town’s vineyards. [Wiki]

Riomaggiore is the most southern village of the Cinque Terre (“The Five Lands”), a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. Cinque Terre is comprised of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Provence

Provence, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.10 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2014, No.51420ACN, A12054LP

Puzzle: This puzzle does not have a title or specify where exactly this place is. If you know, please do share.

Another one from the Vibrant series, this is a well-done puzzle with beautiful imagery. It combines bright colours and subtle shades, clear borders and soft transition, as well as a variety of textures to convey the feel of stone of the building, metal of the lantern, sky, bright flowers, sharp branches, prickly succulents, and soft grass. The differences in colour and texture make the assembly simpler.

Good starting points are the sky bordering the trees and the roof, the lantern light, the window shutters, red flowers, darker building wall, yellow grass bordering on green trees, the blue patch in the distance, and the succulents on the left. The trees, succulents, and wall borders provide vertical guides, whereas the balcony floor, grass-tree boundary and grass-pavement boundary act as horizontal guides.

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Puzzle: Longwood Mansion in Natchez, Mississippi

Mansion, med

Size: 500 pieces, 3 missing
Dimensions: 35.24 cm x 50.48 cm
Producer
: MB, Hasbro, 1998, C4611-7

Puzzle: This puzzle does not have a title or specify where this place is. A big thank-you to Nic Phillips who has commented with the location.

Simple puzzle due to the number of pieces and the symmetric nature of the architecture. A lovely, serene scene to assemble. Good places to start are the borders between the sky and the building, as well as between the sky and the trees. The dome, pillars, balustrades, white arches, windows, and dark gaps between the white pillars can be assembled next, followed by the flower bushes, the orange of the walls, and the grass. The sky and the trees are slightly less trivial, but the remaining regions are not large and pieces fit together well. Overall quite an enjoyable puzzle, alas found by me with 3 pieces missing.

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Bridge, Royale

Bridge, Royale 1000, med

Size: 1000 pieces, 4 missing
Dimensions: 70 cm x 55 cm
Producer
: Royale, Golden, 4777-05
Photographer: Johnnyraff

Puzzle: This puzzle does not have a title or specify where this place is. If you know, please do share.

Beautiful puzzle with lovely play of light, a pleasure to assemble. Composition of the image makes it simple to pick out several horizontal and vertical guides: the bridge railing and arches, the green luminescent stripe in the water, the tree trunks and the building borders. The boundary between the sky and the buildings is quite easy to assemble, as are the reflecting lights and lit-up arches of the bridge. The buildings can come next, followed by the trees and the darker areas of the bridge and water. I have found this puzzle second-hand, with a block of 4 pieces missing.

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Puzzle: Untitled, Buildings along a waterfront

Untitled with paint pigment, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 46 cm x 63 cm
Producer
: Ceaco, package of 2 puzzles, 2013, #3210-1
Photographer: Lester A. Garcia
Original: photo

Puzzle: Together in the package with Paint pigment in the sun in Kathmandu, Nepal

Unfortunately untitled by the puzzle manufacturer, it took me a while to find the original photo on which this puzzle was based. Beautiful image and a very easy-flowing assembly, this puzzle is a pleasure. My 4-year old loved helping me with this puzzle, whereas normally 1000-piece ones are a bit too big for him to tackle. The clear vibrant colours of the buildings separated by distinct vertical and horizontal guides provided by the building boundaries and embellishments, split up by large windows, are very simple to assemble. The bottom part with its clear waterfront horizontal guide and reflections in calm water, ripples creating additional horizontal guides, logically follows.

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Puzzle: Times Square

Tony Shi - Times Square, med

Size: 234 pieces
Dimensions: 15.24 cm x 10.16 cm
Producer
: TDC Puzzles, Item #7177
Photographer: Tony Shi
Original: photo
Package: photo

Puzzle: “The World’s Smallest Jigsaw Puzzle. This puzzle has 234 of the smallest pieces ever to be die-cut. Tweezers are included to help you with this ultimate puzzle challenge. Good Luck!” [Puzzle box]

It being such a small puzzle that tweezers have to be included to handle the pieces, just like Into the Wind by Sally Caldwell Fisher, my friends thought it would make an interesting addition to my collection. Although the novelty factor is there, I can’t say I enjoyed putting this puzzle together.

Since it’s such a harlequin puzzle with blinding clashing colours, there is no one good sequence to assemble it. I started with the sky as it’s the most uniform area in the entire puzzle, followed by the red truck, the road, the beige and red patches of colour, and proceeded in random manner from that point.

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Puzzle: Tower Bridge in London, 3D

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, centre closeup 2, med

Size:  120 pieces
Dimensions: 76 cm x 12 cm x 23 cm
Producer: CubicFun, 3D Puzzle series MC, #MC066h, complexity 5/6
Original packaging: http://www.cubicfun.com/index.php?m=Products&a=show&id=43&bid=1

Puzzle: Following the St. Basil’s Cathedral, Taj Mahal, Parliament Buildings of Canada, and Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzles, I have my people periodically checking our nearby Mrs. Tiggy Winkles toy store for higher-complexity puzzles made by CubicFun. And this time, we have found the Tower Bridge of London.

Here is the box, the booklet (see below for the historical information contained therein) and sheets with puzzle pieces.

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, package contents, med

I have done this in three stages:

1. Separating all the pieces from the sheets in which they were embedded.

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, pieces, med

2. Punching out the holes in the pieces (I used a tip of a mechanical pencil). My 3.5-year old was very excited about helping, and so he did most of the hole-punching while I fitted the pieces together.

3. And putting together the puzzle itself. Below are the progress photos (this time I had enough willpower to stop briefly to snap a few photos):

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, first bridge end front, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, first bridge end, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, two bridge ends, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, first tower, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, first tower beginning, med

I recommend to be very attentive to the assembly of the two large towers and follow the letters on the base and the roof, to ensure that the corner towers are connected to the correct letters. Below is the photo of what NOT to do: notice the two holes around the balcony – those holes need to be facing the other way, toward the middle of the bridge, yet the towers attached to those corners need to face away from the middle of the bridge.

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, towers correct assembly, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, ends and towers, correct assembly, med

I had to re-do the two middle towers pictured above to face the holes the correct way in order to connect the two halves of the bridge.

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, parts before connection, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, connection, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, full bridge 2, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, full bridge, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, left closeup, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, right closeup, med

Londow Tower Bridge 3D puzzle, centre closeup, med

Lots of fun putting the puzzle together, even though the final product is a bit flimsy. It is, I suppose unavoidable, considering the flexible nature of the bridge.

Notes from the puzzle booklet:  “The world’s famous architecture we build it.

Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, which gives it its name. It has become an iconic symbol of London. Tower Bridge is one of several London bridges owned and maintained by the City Bridge Trust, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation.

Tower Bridge is sometimes mistakenly referred to as London Bridge, which is actually the next bridge up-stream. A popular urban legend is that, in 1968 Robert McCulloch, the purchaser of the old London Bridge which was later shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, believed mistakenly that he was buying Tower Bridge, but this was denied by McCulloch himself and has been debunked by Ivan Luckin, the seller of the bridge. Its present colour dates from 1977 when it was painted red, white and blue for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Previous to this, it was painted a chocolate brown colour.

1910 The high-level walkways, which were designed so that the public could still cross the bridge when it was raised, were closed down due to lack of use. Most people preferred to wait at the bottom and watch the bascules rise up!

1912 During an emergency, Frank McClean had to fly between the bascules and the high-level walkways in his Short biplane, to avoid an accident.

1952 A London bus had to leap from one bascule to the other when the bridge began to rise with the bus still on it.

1977 Tower Bridge was painted red, white and blue to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

The walkways boast stunning views of the River Thames and many famous London sites, serving as viewing galleries for over 380,000 tourists who visit each year.

The bascules are raised around 1000 times a year. The bascules, weighing over 1,000 tones each, were counterbalanced to minimize the force required and allow raising in five minutes.

Tower Bridge is still a busy and vital crossing of the Thames: it is crossed by over 40,000 people (motorists and pedestrians) every day.

The tour value of Tower Bridge— There are the museum, exhibition hall, stores and saloons inside the Tower Bridge. HMS Belfast sails under Tower Bridge to take up her permanent mooring in the Pool of London.

In the New Year’s Eve, there is the catharine all over the the sky of the River Thames. Old-timey Architecture, the fragrance of the beer from the saloon, the jow fom the church, and the vintage taxi surround the Tower Bridge, makes people go backward to the London in The Nineteenth Century.” [sic, booklet included with the puzzle]

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Puzzle: Neuschwanstein Castle in 3D

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, full left, medSize:  98 pieces
Dimensions: 41.5 cm x 18 cm x 33.5 cm
Producer: CubicFun, 3D Puzzle series MC, #MC062h, complexity 5/6

Puzzle: Following the St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Taj Mahal, and the Parliament Buildings of Canada 3D puzzles, I am now perpetually on the lookout for other higher-complexity puzzles made by CubicFun, and my partner found one in a nearby toy store (Mrs. Tiggy Winkles), getting it for me as a surprise the weekend when I was sick.

Here is the box, the booklet (see below for the historical information contained therein) and sheets with puzzle pieces.

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, package contents, med

I have done this in three stages:

1. Separating all the pieces from the sheets in which they were embedded.

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, pieces, med

2. Punching out the holes in the pieces (I used a tip of a mechanical pencil).

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, punched, med

3. And putting together the puzzle itself. Below are the progress photos:

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, base, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, two bases, md

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, two buildings on base, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, first two buildings, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, closeup, md

 

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, towers, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, balcony, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, red part separate, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, stairs, medNeuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, full yellow towers, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, full tower closeup, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, full right, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, 5 towers, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, front, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, full big tower, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, rull red yellow, med

Neuschwanstein Castle 3D puzzle, full red, med

I have quite enjoyed this puzzle. It is well-made and the castle looks beautiful when assembled.

Notes from the puzzle booklet:

Please note that I have not changed any spelling or grammar.

“The world’s famous architecture we build it. Neuschwanstein.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein is a 19th-century Bavarian palace on a rugged hill near Hohenschwangau and Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner, the King’s inspiring muse. Although public photography of the interior is not permitted, it is the most photographed building in Germany and is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

Today Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular of all the palaces and castles in Europe. Every year 1.3 million people visit “the castle of the fairy-tale king”. In the summer around 6,000 visitors a day stream through rooms that were intended for a single inhabitant.

The prince was born on the name day of the canonized Louis IX, King of France and founder of the House of Bourbon. Ludwig II was possessed by the idea of a holy kingdom by the Grace of God. In reality he was a constitutional monarch, a head of state with rights and duties and little freedom of action. For this reason he built a fantasy world around him in which – far removed from reality – he could feel he was a real king.

The conception of the palace was outlined by Ludwig II in a letter to Richard Wagner, dated May 13, 1868; “It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin at Hohenschwangau near the Pollat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles… the location is the most beautiful one could find, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world.”

Woodcarving in Ludwig’s bedroom took 14 carpenters 4 1/2 years to complete. The Monarch’s bed is crowned by the most intricate woodcarving and covered with richly Embroider draperies.

Gardons were built behind the Neuschwanstein Castle.

The Throne Room was created as the Grail-Hall of Parsifal. It was designed in elaborate Byzantine style. It was inspired by the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (now Istanbul), the 2 story throne room with its series of pillars of imitation porphyry and lapis lazuli, was completed in the year of the Kings death in 1886.

The throne room, which features a glass gem-encrusted chandelier; all Twelve Apostles and six canonised kings are painted on the wall that surrounds the pedestal for the throne – the actual throne was never finished.

Just imagine a mysterious stalactite cavern just between the Living Room and the Study Ludwig II. Magnificent and charming!

The region is full of mountains, forests, meadows, lakes, cycle paths… It proposes more you can ever think possible.

Today Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular of all the palaces and castles in Europe. It is also nominated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Every year 1.3 million people visit “the castle of the fairy-tale king”. In the summer around 6,000 visitors a day stream through rooms that were intended for a single inhabitant.” [Puzzle booklet]

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Puzzle: Buca Francesco by Viktor Shvaiko

Buca Francesco, med

Size: 504 pieces
Dimensions: 45.7 cm x 27.3 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox pieces. Company unknown – I do not have the box anymore. If you have this information, please do share. There were 4 puzzles in the box: Autumn in Paris, Buca Francesco, Rue Lafayette Paris, and Sunset Blaze – all by the same artist.
Artist: Viktor Shvaiko

Puzzle: Lovely puzzle with beautiful imagery and well-fitting Sure-Lox pieces. The easiest places to start are the sky, the water, the boats, and the vertical guides of building borders and corners where the colour contrast is the greatest. The bridge, the yellow building walls, the lilac flower in the top right quarter, the balconies, the table and chair backs, the lanterns and their reflections, and the banister with the flower planters can be put together next, leaving the arches, the windows, and the interior of the Buca Francesco building to fill in.

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Puzzle: Rue Lafayette Paris by Viktor Shvaiko

Rue Lafayette Paris, med

Size: 504 pieces
Dimensions: 45.7 cm x 27.3 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox pieces. Company unknown – I do not have the box anymore. If you have this information, please do share. There were 4 puzzles in the box: Autumn in Paris, Buca Francesco, Rue Lafayette Paris, and Sunset Blaze – all by the same artist.
Artist: Viktor Shvaiko

Puzzle: Crisp and bright colours, clear borders, and well-fitting Sure-Lox pieces make this puzzle a breeze to do. Easiest regions to start are the store banners with writing, the yellow-flowered green vine, the blue booth, the various flower arrangements, the window in the top left corner, and the table and chairs on the right. The pavement, the painting above the blue booth, and the arch with the lantern can come next, leaving the buildings further away and the smaller detail of the storefronts to complete the puzzle.

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Puzzle: Autumn in Paris by Viktor Shvaiko

Autumn in Paris, med

Size: 504 pieces
Dimensions: 45.7 cm x 27.3 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox pieces. Company unknown – I do not have the box anymore. If you have this information, please do share. There were 4 puzzles in the box: Autumn in Paris, Buca Francesco, Rue Lafayette Paris, and Sunset Blaze – all by the same artist.

Artist: Viktor Shvaiko – Russian artist Viktor Shvaiko was born August 23, 1965 in the Altai region. He grew up among the beautiful and rich landscapes of Siberian nature. He vision of beauty and passion for art helped him to enter the Novoaltaisk Artistic School. After graduation Viktor Shvaiko and his family left Altai for Pridnestrovie (Transkarpthia). There first exhibition of paintings was in Moukachevo in 1990, then a group exhibition in Hungary in 1991, and in Russia. In 1991 Viktor Shvaiko went to Italy. It was there Russian traveling artist Viktor Shvaiko painted beautiful images of cosy cafe areas around Italy, also in France. These paintings full of light illuminate the beauty of sunsets and dawns on the background of cityscapes. [All of Russia site]

Puzzle: A beautiful puzzle, easy to do due to its small size and well-fitting Sure-Lox pieces. Great places to start are the red storefront with yellow letters, the beige and brown wall regions above, the Pharmacie banners, the blue store front on the crossing street, and the grey windows in the top right corner. The pavement, yellow leaves, white pavement borders, and the painting above Pharmacie sign can be completed next, leaving the black Pharmacie store front, the windows above the red store front, and a few other small regions to complete the puzzle.

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Puzzle: Colmar, Alsace, France

Colmar, Alsace, France, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 66.52cm  x 51.12cm
Producer: Big Ben

Puzzle: Beautiful puzzle, not completely trivial, due to many small colourful regions. Some of the best places to tackle first are the blue of the sky and the water, sky and rooftop boundary, bright yellow regions, and the orange and grey building in the right quarter of the picture. The white umbrellas, green neon lights, umbrella reflections, and tall building in the centre and its reflection can be assembled next, leaving many smaller regions to complete the puzzle.

Notes: Colmar is the third-largest commune of the Alsace region in north-eastern France. Colmar was founded in the 9th century. Colmar’s secular and religious architectural landmarks reflect eight centuries of Germanic and French architecture and the adaptation of their respective stylistic language to the local customs and building materials (pink and yellow Vosges sandstone, timber framing).

The Municipal Library of Colmar owns one of the richest collections of incunabula in France, with more than 2,300 volumes. This is quite an exceptional number for a city that is neither the main seat of a university, nor of a college, and has its explanation in the disowning of local monasteries, abbeys and convents during the French Revolution and the subsequent gift of their collections to the town. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: San Joseph Church, Sicily, Italy

San Joseph Church, Sicily, Italy, medSize: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 51.12cm x 66.52cm
Producer: Hasbro, MB Puzzles, Big Ben, 2008, 04962-W42
Photographer: R. Kord/Robertstock
Puzzle: Not a completely trivial puzzle, but quite serene to put together with its tree blooms and a magnificent building. Good places to start are the border between the mountains and the sky, the outline of the church against the mountain, the horizontal guide of the pavement against the building base, the vertical guides of the pillars and tree trunks, the arch between the pillars of the bell tower, and the statue with the cross. That splits the puzzle up into smaller regions that are easier to tackle. The uniform white and beige of the walls, the balustrade, the pink blooms, and the pavement can be completed next. For the rest of the puzzle, good lighting is a plus.

Notes: I have found a lovely picture of this church at the Walks of Italy site.

It is situated in Taormina – a small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, in the Province of Messina. Taormina has popular beaches on the Ionian sea, which is remarkably warm and has a high salt content. The present town of Taormina occupies the ancient site, on a lofty hill. Portions of the ancient walls may be traced at intervals all round the brow of the hill, the whole of the summit of which was evidently occupied by the ancient city. Numerous fragments of ancient buildings are scattered over its whole surface, including extensive reservoirs of water, sepulchres, tesselated pavements, etc., and the remains of a spacious edifice, commonly called a Naumachia, but the real purpose of which it is difficult to determine. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Kirwan – Dream of Euripides

Kirwan - Dream of Euripedes, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.26cm in diameter
Producer: American Publishing & Television, Candu Toy & Sport Co. Inc, 1995, Rose Art Industries, Made in USA, No. 6524 (thank you to PuzzleMan for the producer information)
Artist: Jim Kirwan
Painting: original

Puzzle: A beautiful painting bringing to forefront the issues of ecology, consumerism, and the police state. The artist explores the two sides of the coin: how we see the idyllic society and what it costs in the environmental damage and lack of freedoms.

A fun puzzle to do, not very trivial for a beginner, mostly due to nearly-uniform colouring of the puzzle border pieces, and a large uniformly-patterned area in the bottom half. Easiest places to start are the “no”, “don’t”, and “stop” signs, yellow and blue outburst in the bottom left quarter, the horizontal separating black band between the top and bottom halves, and the smaller circle with two halves. In the top half, the sky and the sea, the sailboat, the tree and mountains bordering on the sky, and the red window are good as starting regions. The yellow leaves and the buildings in the top half and the smoke and brighter red and yellow spots are easy to distinguish. Once all these are in place, the puzzle is small enough to make the rest manageable.

Notes: “The symbol for Ecology was created by Euripides; it was a simple circle with a single horizontal line through the middle. In this version of that idea the world is portrayed in two extremes: in the upper portion of the painting the world seems almost idyllic; proportional; and livable with breathing room, clean water, and real possibilities without apparent limits.

In the lower half, concealed from what we think of as our opportunities; we can see what we have made of that bright vision of that fantasy world above. Pollution, oil pumps, the roots of the world amid the chaos of our failures and the trash we so abundantly produce in mega-volumes. That is what we have allowed ‘the developed world’ to become: A world composed of “NO” and “DON’T” and “STOP.” It is a world without light or grace or freedom of any kind. It is the underbelly of unchecked capitalism as we practice it and as we worship the material- philosophy with an incessant and nearly religious ‘consumerism.'” [Jim Kirwan on Rense.com]

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Puzzle: St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

St. Peter's Basilica, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.5 cm x 35.5 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: A lovely puzzle to put together, yet not completely trivial for a beginner. A good place to start is the border of the sky and the building which isolates the top third of the puzzle and provides a horizontal guide to assist in further assembly. The pillars and the lantern post make for good vertical guides. The dome, the windows, the dark archways, the red roof of the stage, the letters above the pillars, the dark building on the left, and the yellow hats of the people at the bottom are all relatively easy to put together. After that, it’s the parts of the building and the sky that are remaining.

Notes: St. Peter’s Basilica is a Late Renaissance church located within Vatican City.

Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains one of the largest churches in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the Catholic Roman Rite cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom”. [Wiki]

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