The Costa Dorada is an environment under a variety of pressures.

29 03 2013


Click on the banner below to know more about it.




A Renaissance artist: Leonardo da Vinci (I452-1519)

15 03 2013

Leonardo da Vinci is seen as the perfect example of a man of Renaissance, that is to say he showed a great interest in every aspect of life.
His skills range – from not-only being a great artist but also a successful inventor, architect, musician, botanist, mathematician and sportsman.


Self-portrait in red chalk, Royal Library of Turin (Circa 1512 to 1515)

Leonardo was born near Florence in 1452.  He attended school between the ages of five and 12 but seems to have found it unchallenging and spent much of his time drawing sketches. The quality of these drawings convinced his father that Leonardo should consider becoming a full time artist. He showed the sketches to Andrea del Verocchio, a well known artist in Florence, who agreed to take the 14 year old Leonardo as one of his apprentices. Verocchio was not only an artist but a gifted sculptor and goldsmith as well. He had a great influence on the young Leonardo. He is the one who insisted on Leonardo studying anatomy (the study of how the human body works) so that he could paint portraits and sculpt in a more realistic manner.

Throughout his working life he dissected up to 30 bodies of both men and women of different ages. He drew images of the lung, heart, brain and various muscles. He had discovered that the heart included a number of valves but was unaware that it acted as a pump for the circulation of blood throughout the body.

Among his great works of art are The Virgin on the Rocks (1494) and The Last Supper (1498) which is painted on the wall in the dining room of a monastery in Milan.

Jn 1499 Ludovico Sforza lost control of Milan following a war with France, forcing Leonardo to leave the city in search of a new patron. Leonardo moved back to Florence. It was here that he painted his most famous painting — the Mora Lisa. It is believed that the Mona Lisa is a painting of the wife of a wealthy silk merchant, Francesco del Giocondo, and that the painting was commissioned to celebrate the birth of their second child. The painting is famous because of its use of sfumato and the woman’s strange smile. She also seems to be looking at you from whichever angle you view the portrait.

Sfumato is the Italian term for a painting technique which overlays translucent layers of colour to create perceptions of depth, volume and form. In particular, it refers to the blending of colours or tones so subtle  (/ˈsʌt l/ Pronunciation[suht-l]) that there is no perceptible transition.

If you want to know more about this great Man, visit the following website:



A Precolombian town facing European conquest and colonisation: Tenochtitlan

22 02 2013


If you want to know more in a funny way about Spaniards ans Aztecs, click on:


The Orthodox basilica “Hagia Sophia”

13 02 2013

From 1453 on, the Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet II, extended his territory and he allowed the integration and the coexistence of populations with different cultures and origins like Jews and Christians.

He called his capital Istanbul and converted the Orthodox basilica Hagia Sophia /hɑːɪə sˈfə/ into a mosque, which is nowadays a museum.
From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the cathedral of Constantinople.

Hagia Sophia is one of the greatest surviving examples of Byzantine architecture. Of great artistic value was its decorated interior with mosaics and marble pillars and coverings.

When the cathedral was converted, the bells for example were removed and many of the mosaics were plastered over.
Islamic features — such as the mihrab, minbar, and four minarets — were added by the Ottomans.
For almost 500 years the main mosque of Istanbul, Hagia Sophia served as a model for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the Blue Mosque of Istanbul.

Source (photographs below) :

Averting a perfect storm of shortages in 2030.

4 02 2013

BBC correspondents explore the forecast by UK chief scientist John Beddington, of a “perfect storm” of food, water and energy shortages in 2030. They also consider what scientists and members of the public can do to help avert a crisis.

The mega-cities of the developing world hold an irresistible attraction for migrants from the countryside.
But as the cities swell, their need for food, water and energy multiplies.
The BBC’s Chris Morris asks whether urbanisation is sustainable.

Watch the following video to see how growing migrant populations put huge pressure on Delhi and Mumbai…


Interesting as well is to read the text below the video in order to understand why a World Bank report said in 2009 that:

the process of migration should be welcomed and encouraged as a way of lifting people out of poverty“.

Click on BBC_Perfect Storm_ Delhi ‘creaking at seams’ to kwow more about it.

Interactive map: urban growth

30 01 2013

The human race has seen an explosion in urban living over the past half century.
Use this interactive map to see how the world’s cities have grown over time.

Click on the BBC logo to begin.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

17 01 2013

The Pillars of the Earth is a historical novel by Ken Follett published in 1989 about the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England.
It is set in the middle of the 12th century, primarily during the Anarchy, between the time of the sinking of the White Ship and the murder of Thomas à Becket.
The book traces the development of Gothic architecture out of the preceding Romanesque architecture, and the fortunes of the Kingsbridge priory and village against the backdrop of historical events of the time…

If you want to know more about the novel. Klick on the pillars of the Earth!

Once you know more about it, let’s watch the trailer of the Pillars of the Earth!

Exeter Cathedral

11 01 2013

“Exeter Cathedral is one of the great cathedrals of England, and one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture anywhere. Its visual beauty is a story in stone and glass, embroidery and wood of the faith that built it; a faith which is alive and well and can be experienced here every day…”
From the Dean, Jonathan Draper

If you want to know more about that magnificent cathedral, just visit the following websites and enjoy it !

Our trip to Plymouth

21 12 2012

Hi everybody !


We hope you had a nice stay in Plymouth…


Back to France, we would like you to have a huge rest and enjoy Christmas time with your family.

We don’t want to spoil your holidays, but … as you know you are supposed to:

– hand back your trip diary to Mrs Billant by 21st January

– be able to answer Mr Penn  a few questions about the history of the sites we visited (test on Wednesday 9th January).

In order to help you you should be able to write  about the following topics in a few sentences (All answers in the folder, except numbers 1 and 5)
1) In 1066, William the Conqueror invaded… (see Exeter visit)
2) In 1580, Drake and his crew returned from a three-year journey…
3) In 1588, the Spanish Armada…
4) In 1620, the Mayflower embarked…
5) The cathedral of Exeter is very famous… (see Exeter visit)
6) In March and April 1941, Plymouth suffered its air raids known as the Blitz…

See you on 7th January.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hist_Theme 2_chapter 1_Citizenship and democracy in Athens (5th – 4th BC)

5 12 2012


If we are that lucky today to live in a democracy, it’s because lots of men and women before us imagined a system of governement in which people vote in elections to choose the people who will govern them.

The term “democracy” first appeared in the city-state of Athens.
Led by Cleisthenes, Athenians established what is generally held as the first democracy.

Cleisthenes is referred to as “the father of Athenian democracy”.