I’m a history buff and should have realized it was 200 years ago during the winter of 1812 that Napoleon lost his Grand Army on the steppes of Russia. He captured Moscow but had to retreat as the Russians did not surrender. He lost half of his fighting men and was eventually defeated back in France. He escaped his first exile, returned to power shortly, and was finally defeated at Waterloo in 1815. We will probably hear more about Napoleon in the next few years.
One item of interest was a secret letter he had written requesting the Kremlin be destroyed before his forces left Moscow. That letter was recently auctioned for $243,000, bought by the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris. The same museum bought a 300 page manuscript written by Napoleon in his later exile on Saint Helena Island. The manuscript was purchased for almost half a million dollars.
I do not know where the letter or manuscript came from when it arrived at the auction house. However, I did get an answer to one of my questions: was Napoleon’s order carried out? Unfortunately, yes, the Kremlin was burned along with a lot of art work.
Speaking of history, I have heard very little about commemorating the War of 1812 fought here in America.
A square seems straightforward, complete, and perfect. No irregularity, equal on all sides, and foundational in mathematical, architectural, and geometry discussions. It is almost as if you have to get your squares correct to build upon: got to get your 90 degree angles, trigonometry and square roots correct. However, these are not the squares I am going to mention briefly. I want to touch on some well known squares. And by the way I’m not talking about Hollywood Squares either.
When I drive through small towns the courthouse often sits directly on the town square in many of them. In larger cities the town square remains a hub of activity. These squares serve as recognizable landmarks often reflecting a city’s cultural heritage and history. For example, Red Square obviously makes one think of Moscow. When I visited Red Square I realized it was not exactly a perfect square, but close enough. I have never visited Tiananmen Square in China so I’m not sure about its squareness. I do know when I visited Times Square in New York City it was anything but square. Each of these are easily associated with their respective cities conjuring up images in our minds when we hear them mentioned on the news or in conversation.
Red Square: The Kremlin
Times Square: Neon flashing lights
Tiananmen Square: The Imperial Palace.
I choose to include these national icons on the board game of TreasureTrove as players travel the world in search of fabled wealth. The following situation card gives a player the option of which of these famous landmarks to visit.
Times Square was known for many years as Longacre Square. Renamed Times Square in 1904 when the New York Times moved it’s headquaters there. Times Square is the number one tourist site in the world visited by over 35 million people each year.
Tinanamen Square is the largest open urban square in the world. It was named after the “Gate of Heavenly Peace,” which sits directly north and seperates Tiananmen square from the Forbidden City. Also one of the busiest tourist sites in the world.
Red Square sits next to the Kremlin, the official residence of the President of Russia. It is considered the center of Moscow and all of Russia. The square’s name has no connection to the red associated with communism or the red buildings. Was known as Trinity Square for many years, named after Trinity Cathederal, the predecessor of St. Basil’s cathederal presently on Red Square. The Russian word “kransny,” meaning beautiful is thought to have been the origins of the contemporary “red.”
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