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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Puzzle: Unknown Castle

Unknown, med

Size: 1000 pieces, 1 missing
Dimensions: 73 cm x 48.57 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: This lovely castle and the old buildings around it make for a challenging puzzle. There are many ways to approach it. The easiest regions to start would be the sky and clouds, the bright cars and storefronts at the bottom, the green grass region and the fence at its bottom, and the borders of the buildings and the sky. The larger windows of the building on the right can help the assembly of that part of the puzzle. The sky and clouds are distinct enough from the rest of the puzzle and can be filled in relatively easily. The Trees and shrubs can follow. The castle has a large region of a somewhat-uniform grey pattern, making it not so easy to assemble, but it makes for an interesting challenge.

Notes: I no longer have the box, so if you know of the series this puzzle is from and the building it portrays, please let me know.

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Puzzle: Detail of Roof on a Chinese Temple

Detail of Roof on a Chinese Temple, med
Size
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 48.1 cm x 67.95 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Structures series, 2013, No. 50941AAN, A 27053 PP

Puzzle: Another puzzle from the Structures series (see Astronomical Clock, Prague, Czech Republic, Galleries Lafayette, ParisSri Mariamman Temple and Church of the Savior, St. Petersburg for more).

To be honest, I did not expect this puzzle to be that interesting: from the box it looked like the too-bold lines of a too-bright building with too few detailed areas to make it interesting. It has, however, pleasantly surprised me. I’ve enjoyed following the diagonal and horizontal guide lines of the structure and the small details that revealed themselves during assembly.

I have started with the red horizontal, vertical, and diagonal regions, and built on them: each band of a different texture and colouring following the bands above or below it. The remaining regions are distinct and separated enough to be quite simple for a 1000 piece puzzle.

Notes: Unfortunately, the puzzle box does not indicate which temple is depicted on this puzzle. If you have any information on that, I would love to know.

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Puzzle: Vineyard Terrace by Sung Kim

Sung Kim - Vineyard Terrace, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.9 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer: Mega Puzzles, The Art of Sung Kim series
Artist:
Sung Kim – Born in 1940 in Seoul, South Korea, Sung Kim exhibited his artistic talents early in childhood. He entered and won various art contests and decided to pursue his passion for art by attending Seorabol Art College where he graduated with honors. Sung opened his own studio and worked as an illustrator for various magazines and children’s books. He traveled throughout Europe before immigrating to the United States in 1980. For the past 20 years, Sung has worked with various fine art galleries, producing over 400 original landscape paintings, and has sold his paintings to people from all over the world. [Puzzle box]
Painting: original

Puzzle: There is a wonderful book by Gerald Durrell called “My Family and Other Animals”, in which he describes life in Corfu – a Greek island to which his mother and three siblings have moved when he was 10. As a child, he explores the island gathering various animals (he has been an enthusiastic budding zoologist at that age), against the backdrop of the slow-paced life of the adults on the island. The olive trees, the sea, the tranquility of sunny afternoons, and the overall calm of the Mediterranean is what I remember vividly from the book. And this puzzle by Sung Kim carries that same quiet feeling of a light breeze on a vine-shaded terrace, on a lazy sunny afternoon somewhere in the Mediterranean.

This puzzle is not a trivial one to assemble, as uniform patterns such as leaves at the top, trees in the background, and bricks of the terrace take up large regions. It is a very calming scene, however, so I have found it quite relaxing, so I did not mind slightly longer time to find the pieces I needed. There are a few good regions to start: the boundary of the sky and the mountain, as well as the borders of the mountain and the trees, and far away trees and the fields. The table with white tablecloth, and the wine glasses and bottles is also easy to assemble. The window with surrounding bricks, and the chairs are also a different enough shade and pattern to not be difficult. The terrace frame is a little harder to complete, but when done it can serve as horizontal and vertical guides for the res of the puzzle. The lighter bricks of the wall are sufficiently different from the tiles of the floor. The leaves at the top can be fitted in between the horizontal guides of the terrace frame, and the rest of the puzzle comes together afterwards.

The assembly went very well with a glass of wine and the early spring sun coming in through the window, promising warm afternoons, if not in the Mediterranean.

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Puzzle: Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire

Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, med

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

Puzzle: A small, not very complicated, puzzle. The best place to start is the building roof/sky border, the distinct towers and building elements, white roof segments, and the sky itself. The bottom white region is also easy to complete, leaving the bushes for the last. Overall quick and pleasant puzzle to do, the Sure-Lox pieces fitting together well.

Notes: Ely Cathedral is the principal church of the Diocese of Ely, in Cambridgeshire, England. It is known locally as “the ship of the Fens”, because of its prominent shape that towers above the surrounding flat and watery landscape. The first Christian building on the site was founded by St. Æthelthryth (romanised as “Etheldreda”), daughter of the Anglo-Saxon King Anna of East Anglia, who was born in 630. She set up and ruled a monastery at Ely in 673, and, when she died, a shrine was built there to her memory. A new Benedictine monastery was built and endowed on the site by Athelwold, Bishop of Winchester, in 970. This became a cathedral in 1109. The cathedral is built from stone quarried from Barnack in Northamptonshire, with decorative elements carved from Purbeck Marble and local clunch. The plan of the building is cruciform (cross-shaped), with an additional transept at the western end. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Dürnstein, Austria

Durnstein, Austria, med

Size: 1000 pieces, 1 missing
Dimensions: 73 cm x 48.57 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: Not a completely trivial puzzle to complete, due to the snow and trees on the mountains forming a somewhat-uniform pattern. It is simple to start from the more prominent regions, such as the bright buildings, the river/snow border, the snow on the roofs, and the steps going up into the mountains. Once that is done, the top mountain range is separated into mostly blue and mostly black regions, and the central blue tower serves as a vertical guide to assist the completion. The Sure-Lox pieces fit together well and simplify the process that would have been harder with more loosely-fitting pieces.

Notes: Dürnstein is a small town on the Danube river in the Krems-Land district, in the Austrian state of Lower Austria. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Wachau region and also a well-known wine growing area.

The town gained its name from the medieval castle, Burgruine Dürnstein, which overlooked it. The castle was called “Duerrstein” or “Dürrstein”, from the German duerr/dürr meaning “dry” and Stein, “stone”. The castle was dry because it was situated on a rocky hill, high above the damp conditions of the Danube at the base of the hill, and it was built of stone. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Parliament Buildings [Canada] in 3D

3D Parliament Puzzle - front, md

Size:  87 pieces
Dimensions: 28.4 cm x 28.4 cm x 18 cm
Producer: CubicFun, 3D Puzzle series MC, #MC081h, complexity 4/5
Original packaging: unable to find on the CubicFun site

Puzzle: Following the St. Basil’s Cathedral  and the Taj Mahal 3D puzzles, I am now perpetually on the lookout for other higher-complexity puzzles made by CubicFun, and found a Canadian one in a nearby toy store (Mrs. Tiggy Winkles), sold as a special before Christmas.

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

3D Parliament Puzzle - packaging, md

I have done this in three stages:

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

3D Parliament Puzzle - pieces, md

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

3D Parliament Puzzle - pieces punctured, md

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):

3D Parliament Puzzle - tower, library, three buildings, md

3D Parliament Puzzle - core separated, md

3D Parliament Puzzle - towers and wings, md

3D Parliament Puzzle - core, md

3D Parliament Puzzle - core and towers, md

3D Parliament Puzzle - front full, md

The sides of the back buildings were tricky – there were several small pieces that had to fit together just so, and ended up not fitting very well, snapping off easily (tape to the rescue), and causing the edge towers and roofs to tilt. While rotating the puzzle, I had to keep straightening them.

3D Parliament Puzzle - side 1, md

3D Parliament Puzzle - side 2, md

3D Parliament Puzzle - back, md

3D Parliament Puzzle - side 3, md

A fun puzzle to do. However, compared to the previous two, punching the holes was not as easy: the pieces often did not fully separate, and attempting to remove the unnecessary parts peeled off the top layer of paper, so I had to be very careful to try minimizing the damage. This seems like a manufacturing issue with this particular puzzle, as the previous two puzzles did not have it.

I also had my 3 year-old catch me at separating the pieces from the sheets and insist on participating. He was mostly successful with some supervision (which speaks to how well the puzzle sheets are designed), with minimal damage to a couple of pieces, most of which I was able to fix with glue.

Notes from the puzzle booklet:

“The world’s famous architecture we build it. Parliament Buildings [Canada]

Tourists can visit the House of Commons and Senate chambers in the Centre Block. Inside the rotunda are the statues of Queen Victoria and former Prime Ministers of Canada. The office of the first Prime Minister, John A. MacDonald, in the East Block is open to public.

The parliament buildings were designed in Gothic Revival style and were made of sandstone and granite with magnificent carvings.

The parliament buildings are three edifices arranged around three sides of Parliament Hill’s central lawn. The Centre Block which contains the House of Commons and Senate chambers, features the Peace Tower on the south facade with the Library of Parliament at the building’s rear. The East and West Blocks each contains ministers’ and senators’ offices, as well as meeting rooms and other administrative spaces. The ground was broken in December 1859, followed by a number of other extensions to the parliament and departmental buildings. A fire destroyed the Centre Block in 1916. The Parliament Hill took on its present form with the completion of the Peace Tower in 1927.

The parliament buildings are fronted by the Peace Tower standing at 92.2 meters tall on the south facade of the Centre Block. CUrrently, the Peace Tower with 4.8 m clock face and 53 bells in its carillon is known as the world’s most delicate architecture in the Gothic Revival style.

From late June to the third week of August, the Changing of the Guard Ceremony takes place on the Parliament Hill. It starts a little before 10:00 in the morning when the Old Guard arrives. Once the Old Guard has been inspected, the New Guard arrives to relieve them.

The Mosaika Sound and Light Show takes place every evening on the Parliament Hill from early July to early September. A powerful narrative set against the spectacular backdrop of Parliament Hill, Mosaika takes the audience on an unforgettable journey of sound and light, as we explore Canada’s physical, historical and cultural landscapes. This bilingual show is 45 minutes in length and free of charge.

When visiting the Parliament Hill, visitors will fall in love with the solemn and magnificent buildings, pleasant charms from Peace Tower, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Ceremony, and the Sound and Light show.” [Puzzle booklet]

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Puzzle: Rochefort en Terre, Brittany, France

Rochefort en Terre, Brittany, France, med
Size
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 51.12cm x 66.52cm
Producer: Hasbro, MB Puzzles, Big Ben, 2005, #04962-G52
Puzzle: A pleasant puzzle to do, for stone parts good lighting is a plus. A good place to start are the windows and the door as well as the large bright flowers and leaves in the bottom right and the border of the roof and the sky. After that, the window borders, the water pipe, and the iron structure in the top left can serve as guides. Flowers and the rest of the stone work can follow. Not a completely trivial puzzle, but quite enjoyable.

Notes: Rochefort-en-Terre is a commune in the Morbihan department of Brittany in north-western France. Inhabitants of Rochefort-en-Terre are called in French Rochefortais. [Wiki]

Brittany is one of the 27 regions of France. It occupies a large peninsula in the northwest of the country, lying between the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south. Its capital is Rennes. The name of Brittany derives from settlers from Great Britain, who fled that island in the wake of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England between the fifth and seventh centuries. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Castle District Skyline, Budapest, Hungary

Castle District Skyline, Budapest, Hungary, med
Size
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 73 cm x 48.57 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: A slower-going puzzle, due to a large uniform-coloured sky and similar building colours. Good places to start are the borders between the sky and the building roofs, as well as the river and the long white and yellow building along the river. The darker church, the bright cars, and the larger white areas of building roofs can follow. The rest of the regions are similar in complexity to fill in.

Notes: Budapest is the capital and the largest city of Hungary, and one of the largest cities in the European Union. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with a unification on 17 November 1873 of west-bank Buda and Óbuda with east-bank Pest. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A.

St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A., med

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

Puzzle: A not-completely trivial puzzle to complete due to the large areas of sky, water, and similar dark regions of the reflections in the water. Good places to start are the red parts of the roof, the arches of the windows and doorways, the building walls, and the brighter water of the fountains. The stone vases and the palm trees can follow. From that point on, the sky, the water, and the reflections are relatively similar in terms of complexity to assemble.

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Puzzle: Rural Countryside by John Zaccheo

John Zaccheo - Rural Countryside, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 45.4 cm x 67.31 cm
Producer: Wrebbit, Perfalock series, # 20076, 2005

Note: I do not have the box anymore, and thus not sure who the artist is. If you have that information, please let me know.

Puzzle: A pleasant and easy puzzle to complete. The good regions to start are the sky (lots of horizontal guides there), the mountains, the tall red and yellow trees, the bridge, the river, the buildings, the birch trees, the cart with the hay, and the fence along the road. From that point on, the remaining pieces should fall into place easily.

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Puzzle: Night Stroll by Sung Kim

Sung Kim - Night Stroll, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 45.4 cm x 67.31 cm
Producer: Wrebbit, Perfalock series
Artist:
Sung Kim
Painting: original

Puzzle: A romantic view, this foam puzzle is very serene and a pleasure to assemble. This is another painting by Sung Kim, in addition to the 1000-piece one of Overlook Cafe. Le consulat building, the domes in the background, the sky, and the pavement borders are good places to start. The smaller areas of colour: the people, the street signs, the street lamps, the building windows, and the chairs can be filled in, leaving the house walls and the pavements to be completed last.

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Puzzle: Tulips lining lake Geneva

Tulips lining lake Geneva, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 46 cm x 34.5 cm
Producer: Wrebbit, Perfalock series, 2006, #50404-03
Photographer:
Richard Klune

Puzzle: One of the first foam puzzles I have assembled, it is colourful and simple to put together. The bright flowers have distinct colours, the left bottom corner pavement and the flower bed ledge can be completed easily, followed by the water and the evergreen bush in the bottom right. The border between the buildings and the sky provides a horizontal guide, allowing for easy completion of both regions.

Notes: Lake Geneva or Lake Léman is a lake in Switzerland and France. It is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal, med
Size
: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.5 cm x 35.5 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: A beautiful puzzle, a close-up view of the Basilica, with a larger view available in a 1000-piece puzzle I have assembled. The support beams at the top, and the spiky frame in the bottom are good places to start. The golden figures, the red/orange and purple columns, and the blue background areas can follow. The rest should fall into place easily – the puzzle is small and pieces fit well together.

Notes:

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Puzzle: Hong Kong Harbour, China

Hong Kong Harbour, China, med
Size
: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.5 cm x 35.5 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: Somewhat damaged by bad puzzle glue and long storage, this is one of the first puzzles I have assembled. Not trivial due to a large number of similarly-coloured regions. Areas of distinct colour are easiest to approach first (such as the blue, red, and white lights). The two skyscrapers to the right of the centre, and the lights along the waterfront are good regions to follow. From that point on, the black of the water is equally complex as the black of the skyscrapers with the yellow and green windows, but due to the small size of the puzzle and the Sure-Lox pieces fitting together well, it is not very complex to complete.

Notes: Victoria Harbour (or Hong Kong Harbour) is a natural landform harbour situated between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula in Hong Kong. The harbour’s deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instrumental in Hong Kong’s establishment as a British colony and its subsequent development as a trading centre. Victoria Harbour is home to most of the port facilities of Hong Kong, making Hong Kong amongst the world’s busiest. An average of 220,000 ships visit the harbour each year, including both ocean going vessels and river vessels, for both goods and passengers. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Tower Bridge, London, England

Tower Bridge, London, England, med
Size
: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.5 cm x 35.5 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: One of the first puzzles I have assembled, it has some glue damage from storage. The good regions to start are the water, the bright lights, and the railing on the bridge, followed by the borders between the bridge and the sky. The bridge top and towers, as well as the sky framed by the bridge can follow, leaving the remaining black of the sky to be filled in. Good lighting is a plus for the last part.

Notes: Tower Bridge (built 1886–1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London which crosses the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name, and has become an iconic symbol of London.

The bridge consists of two towers tied together at the upper level by means of two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical component of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

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

Puzzle: Another puzzle of the Neuschwanstein Castle, in addition to the 500-piece, the Ravensburger 500-piece, the 1000-piece, and another 500-piece puzzles I’ve assembled previously. Not the greatest view, as the castle takes up only a third of the picture, and the uniform black of the forest and blue of the mountains comprise most of it. Other than that (and a little glue damage, due to this puzzle being quite old in my collection), it’s not too boring to assemble. The sky and the mountains can be tackled first, followed by the castle itself, and the trees might present a bit more of a challenge, albeit offset by the small size of the puzzle.

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Puzzle: Carl’s Church, Vienna, Austria

Carl's Church, Vienna, Austria, med
Size
: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.5 cm x 35.5 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: One of the earlier puzzles I have assembled, and it unfortunately has a bit of glue damage. A very simple puzzle to assemble: the water, the bright windows, the green dome, the dark arches, the brighter main tower and two pillars are all easy regions to start with. The sky with fireworks is a bit more tricky, but due to the small size of the puzzle and the Sure-Lox pieces fitting together well it does not present too much of a challenge.

Notes: Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) is a baroque church located on the south side of Karlsplatz in Vienna, Austria. Widely considered the most outstanding baroque church in Vienna, as well as one of the city’s greatest buildings, Karlskirche is dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, one of the great reformers of the sixteenth century. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Winter Worship

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

Puzzle: A simple puzzle to do due to its small size. The orange of the buildings, and the flowing green of the river are good places to start, and the bridge railing serves as a horizontal guide separating the picture into two regions. The borders of snow-laden trees, the building, and the sky makes the top easy to assemble, and the rest of the puzzle shapes itself around the bridge and the river. Festive and pleasant to the eye.

Notes: Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English weorþscipe, meaning worship, honour shown to an object, which has been etymologised as “worthiness or worth-ship”—to give, at its simplest, worth to something. [Wiki]

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