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Views of Miramar hidden by fog

Miramarreko Gaztelua kanpotik (By Micha? Bulsa - Norberak egina, CC BY-SA 4.0,

11 January 2024 - 00:05

At Christmas we went on holiday with our friends to Trieste (in Slovenian Trst). In it, among other monuments, we have visited the Castle of Miramar. The story of this building is curious. It was built between 1856 and 1860 by the Archduke Maximilian of the Habsburg Dynasty, under the direction of the architect Carl Junker. Maximilian was the brother of the Austrian emperor and established his residence with his wife Carlota, since then Trieste was not part of Italy, but depended on the Austrian Empire.

However, in 1864 Maximilian's life changed. That year Napoleon III.ak decided to establish an imperial monarchy in Mexico to protect France’s commercial interests in the country, which was creditor of Mexico’s debt. Consequently, with the help of the governments of England and Spain and the support of the Mexican conservatives, the crown was offered to Maximiliano. Maximilian welcomed the delegation to Miramar Castle with the proposal to become emperor.

The castle was a luxury residence without military function. It is beautifully decorated and lush. It's neo-gothic and it's full of works of art. Located on the edge of the Adriatic Sea, it is surrounded by a beautiful botanical garden. The posters placed for tourists perfectly explain all the details of the building, furniture and decoration. Also on the upper floor the Duke Amadeo of Aosta XX. At the beginning of the century he made changes and reforms in the Art Deco style.

But as we moved forward in the visit, we observed an explanatory gap, as there was only one reference around the last breath of the Archduke. In one of the posters, very briefly and simply, there was talk of Maximilian’s ‘terrible end’, without explaining what happened to him! He seemed to want to hide Maximilian's firing in 1867. The truth is that Mexican Republicans, supported by the US Government, beat their army. Arrest, trial and death. However, there was no information about this in the explanations of the castle.

By pulling it, we also realized that no information was given about the workers who participated in the construction or about the waiters and creatures of the castle, nor about the origin of Maximilian's wealth. There was a debate between us: What do we know when we visit monumental places? Is aesthetic analysis enough or should we also count on what is behind it? Why do we visit elitist places like him? For aesthetic pleasure?

In their works and decorations, they reflected the mentality of those who lived in the castle: religiosity, militarism, colonialism, patriarchal values… For example, pineapple was a luxury fruit brought from the colonies. As one of the fellow travellers said: “Piarerías show more than Iduri has. But for that, the information panels simply look and get wrong in the blurry description.”

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