“Should It Be Doing That?”: 13 More Amazing Buildings In Motion

By Mike in Architecture & Design, Technology & Futurism, Urban Videos MovingMontage

Buildings should be rock-solid steady under our feet, surely? Our instincts certainly tell us so – but perhaps someone should tell the current wave of architects and designers who seem so intent on rocking our world in a more literal sense than we’re used to. Have a look at these 13 more examples of buildings in motion, whether by illusory trickery or natty mechanics, and ask yourself – are we ready for urban life on the move?

(Images via: Building Design Online and benedict.adam)
In the urban jungle of the future, our survival-senses are going to take a serious battering. What would you do if a waterfall appeared to gush out the side of the towerblock overhead? Anyone not answering “run like the clappers” is probably working in the exciting new world of telematics – the projection of computer imagery on building surfaces. Take the proposal by consultants Body Data Space for a beautiful yet thoroughly alarming depiction of Angel Falls on the side of buildings in London’s Canary Wharf…
(Images via: NuFormer Digital Projections)
…or NuFormer‘s jawdropping showcase featuring colorful, crystal-clear imagery thrown onto the side of a monumental building. When the CGI is tailored to fit the architecture, it can appear to rebuild it before your eyes – and the effect is astounding.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0XKmU5hF5s 468 310]
(Images via: awidernet)
For a more tangible variety of building facade illusion, we turn to the Hyposurface – an array of nacho-sized triangular surfaces that move in and out according to varieties of input. The result is a wall that behaves like a liquid.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np0j7uoKMbY&feature=related 468 310]
It can respond to preprogrammed pattern-making, to light, to sound…the possibilities seem endless. Want it to mirror the shape of people walking past? It can do that. Respond to the noise of traffic? Check. If the future cityscape is Hyposurfaced, it is going to look busy.
(Images via: Calliope Studios)
Along similar lines is the Flare dynamic building surface. Its array of metal plates is controlled by pneumatic cylinders that alter the surface’s angle to the incoming light, making it lighten or darken like a monochrome pixel.
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMzoMyU0YQ4&feature=player_embedded 468 310]
As this computer simulation shows, the effect is of a living, breathing building surface – one that could play tricks with your sense of perspective (which begs the question, how would drivers feel about buildings that ripple and flow as they pass them?).
(Images via: io9)
But enough of illusions. If it is real movement you are after, try Dubai’s upcoming Shuffle Tower by James Law Cybertecture. Take four elements: residential tower, office tower, gardens, shopping mall. Arrange them on a series of mechanically jacked platforms – and whirl them around. Each section slowly rotates to give a 360-degree view of the surroundings and an ever-changing view.
(Images via: Everingham Rotating House)
The idea of putting a spin on conventional buildings isn’t just confined to the glitzy metropolitan sprawl. This example is in Wingham, Australia (population 4,182) and is descriptively named the Everingham Rotating House. Ever wanted to be able to follow the sunlight as the day waxes and wanes? So have the owners, prompting them to invest a decade into planning and building this 50-ton marvel. Electronics allow the occupants to control the rate of spin, up to a top speed of 160 meters an hour, during which time it would complete two full revolutions.
(Image via: Dynamic Architecture)
Back to the big city. You will have heard of the amazing Dynamic Tower of Dubai (it would be difficult to have missed it over the last 12 months) – but this is just the start of Italian architect Dr. David Fisher’s plans. As well as erecting two signature towers in Dubai and Moscow, Dynamic Architecture have released other concept designs, such as the one shown above.
(Image via: Dynamic Architecture)
The Dynamic tower is being assembled from prefabricated factory-built segments, taking the current obsession with modular design to new heights (sorry). Each module will be built to be self-containing and to draw its power and resources from the central core. Potentially, each section could be replaced wholesale if it malfunctioned – although we would like to see someone replacing the 80th floor of a building without a major kerfuffle.
(Images via: lvsboston and Educared)
One building you can see on the skyline today (if you live in Curitiba, Brazil, that is) is the Suite Vollard – 11 floors of independently rotating apartments. The name comes from a set of 100 engravings by Picasso – and the surrealist painter would surely have approved of an apartment where the view constantly changes and your door does a lap of the room.
(Images via: Michael Jantzen
If you are not fussy about which direction you’re pointing in the morning, keep an eye out for Michael Jantzen’s Wind Pavilion. It is still at the conceptual stage but it’s making a real buzz among the green building sector…because the movement of its lightweight segments (governed by the wind) is involved in generating electricity used to internally light it up at night.
(Images via: Michael Jantzen)
Jantzen further proves himself a mover and shaker in the field of moving architecture with the M-House, a riot of modular panels and transforming spaces. When the wind changes direction, you can change the shape of the house to suit. If you want a house extention (planning permission allowing, of course) then buy a new module and assemble it on the end.  Thanks to the slightly chaotic planking style, rooms can be made as airy or as tightly sealed as you like, according to season, weather or whim.
(Images via: Nitrolicious)
Staying with the theme of adaptability, the 160-ton structure that has just opened in Korea is designed to fit every social function.  Known as the Transformer, the building is a tetrahedron covered with a light-permeable membrane…and when a new type of venue is needed, the entire structure is flipped over to show a new side and a new social identity.
(Images via: design boom)
You are looking at a holiday cottage with a difference. Not only has the internal floorplan been turned inside-out, but the outside – a series of vertically-slatted windows with sliding blinds – can be opened to the light, or locked up to conserve energy and make the occupants feel snug. It’s called the Merry-Go-Round which nicely captures its sense of fun, and while we have questions (what happens with that flat roof when the rain hits?) we love this new face to family getaways.
(Images via: dornob)
And finally a moving building that plays hide & seek with the world. The Sliding House is a home built like a sword in its scabbard. The 50-ton outer skin is on rails and slides back to reveal a greenhouse, allowing the owner to control the amount of light spilling out into the garden at night. It’s also perfect from hiding away from prying eyes. When the shape of our homes can change to suit our wants and needs – how much will they say about us?
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Den of Daydreams: 8 Fantastical Make-Believe Makeovers

By Mike in Architecture & Design, Furniture & Interiors, Gadgets & Geek Art MontageThemeRoom

While many of us go for a functionalist, pick’n'mix approach to home decor (“I need curtains: oh, that will do” etc.), let us be upstanding for the financially brave, creatively passionate and unashamedly geeky souls who transform their homes into miniature versions of their favorite corners of modern culture, as these 8 thoroughly unique examples illustrate.

(Images via: Hack N Mod via Geeky Gadgets)
If you wish that the Steam Age was still with us and have a thing for overengineered pipes and rocket-firing dirigibles, you would feel thoroughly at home in this Extraordinary Gentleman’s house in New Zealand. The house is designed to look like a beached  Twenty Thousand Leagues-style submarine, complete with rust, encroaching greenery and a working periscope! Feeling similarly inspired? Prepare to have your savings torpedoed – this beast cost $100,000 to build.
(Image via: Gizmodo)
Everyone wants a treehouse. (Even adults want a treehouse.) But is it going too far to build a treehouse in your bedroom?
(Image via: Gizmodo)
The Kidtropolis Magic Indoor Treehouse Bedroom is kitted out with everything a treehouse-hugger could wish for. As well as the bed (only accessible via ladder), the room contains trapdoor storage facilites and a table that folds down from the ‘fence’ running round the room.
(Images via: Illusion 360 and Sellsius)
Staying with wood, what happens when you want a plushly-paneled basement study and your budget won’t stretch? For Lexington (Kentucky) lawyer Charlie Fratzer, the answer was simple: pull out a pen and draw it. With nothing but a $10 Sharpie and a fertile imagination, Fratzer has decorated his basement with staircases, furniture, members of his family and historical & fictional characters including Winston Churchill, Sherlock Holmes and Bullwinkle & Rocky.
(Image via: Gizmodo)
Now for the work of truly dedicated parents. This is a kid’s bedroom (please let it be a kid’s bedroom) in a house currently up for sale…
(Image via: Gizmodo)
…and the centerpiece (if you can call something entirely filling a room a ‘centerpiece’) is a reconstruction of a Star Wars Y-Wing. If you are wondering where the bed is, it’s laid along the wing. All you need is a droid alarm clock and the illusion is complete. (“R2, that duvet’s broken loose again, see if you can’t tuck it in”).
(Images via: SlipperyBrick)
Or perhaps your scifi tastes lean more towards the other largest franchise in the known Universe – in which case this NCC-1701D (that’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s USS Enterprise” to us terrestrial folk) home theatre should push all the right buttons. Check out other 14 similarly creative / mad-as-a-fish examples over at SlipperyBrick.
(Image via: The Telegraph)
But for sheer unadulterated Trek-lurve, the prize goes to interior designer Tony Alleyne. After his marriage faltered, Alleyne decided to turn his flat into the ultimate geek bachelor pad – by modeling it on the set of Star Trek: Voyager.
(Images via: The Telegraph and The Mirror)
Press the doorbell and a voice says “welcome to the 24th century” – and from there it’s a Trekkie’s paradise, complete with a “fully-working transporter” (a what?), touch-panel lighting, command consoles and a replica of Voyager‘s warp core that propels the ship between the stars. (It’s in the spot where the fridge used to be).  The price of all this geeky luxury? Fourteen maxed-out credit cards,  $160,000 in debt…and bankruptcy. Alleyne remains philosophical: “I’m still proud of what I created, but it’s been a financial disaster”.
(Images via: Wired)
If you constantly have the Mario theme-tune running through your head (like the creators of this little masterpiece), why not turn your home into a shrine to your favorite Italian plumber? That is what Antoinette J. Citizen has done, as reported by Wired. The walls are painted in jolly Mario colors and are studded with bricks that play the original sound effects when poked and pushed (and maybe even when jumped on). How many shiny gold coins did this cost?
(Image via: Daily Mail)
And finally, for all young girls pining to live the Cinderella dream (the glamorous ending, not the sitting-in-cinders part) then that dream can be a reality – if daddy is a premiership footballer with $80,000 to kick around, that is.
(Image via: Daily Mail)
The individually-tailored work of Mark Wilkinson Furniture, these luxury items of furniture include ornate murals and hand-crafted carriage beds. Some footballers have even come up with their own designs – leading the British media to label these creations the latest demonstrations of footballers having more money than sense. Would you like your darling treasures to grow up expecting to be treated like fairy-tale royalty?
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Mods: 26 Sexy Steampunk Gadgets & Hi-Tech Hacks

By Angie in Architecture & Design, Gadgets & Geek Art, Urban & Street Art


Steampunk is the mating of technology and romance, breeding some of the most wickedly cool gadget’s and art you’ve ever seen. It’s cool and brass-clad sexy. With a post apocalyptic type of rebellion, Steampunk enthusiast mod almost everything you can imagine and then some. This amazing urban art movement was birthed on the Internet, so it’s no wonder hi-tech hardware hackers are romancing technology with a Victorian passion, yearning for the aesthetic realm of The Time That Never Happened; Steampunk – where the future meets the past. Here are some of the slickest mods, 26 sexy Steampunk art and hi-tech hacks.

Mouse, USB, RSS Feed

(image credits:ilovecandid,forum modding,geeky gadgets,Steampunk Workshop)
The top two are fully functional modded mice, each is a one of a kind shiny handcrafted brass wonder. The USB drive holds 2GB of storage, but if you take this slick stick to work and someone tries to walk off with it, the vintage look with copper and brass gears, pipes, and bolts will make whoever uses it stand out in a crowd. RSS feeds, are you addicted to them? At one historic time, people were addicted to news coming hot off the telegraph. The shiny yet vintage telegraph machine is reborn as an RSS feed gadget.

Monitor & Keyboard

(image credit:DataMancer)
The Datamancer is an expert in steampunk-style technology. He is a Master of Mod. The 22″ widescreen LCD frame is solid 1/4-inch brass that was sanded and polished to a high shine. The base is a modernized remake of brass and black marble. The keyboard is a mixture of Neo-Victorianism and brass hi-tech.

Steampunk Flat Panel

(image credits:Steampunk Workshop)
Jake von Slatt is another computer mod icon on the steampunk stage. This Steampunk Desktop has a base made to look like marble. His hardware hacks to this flat panel LCD include knobs, gold painted pieces and plenty of brass.  For more retro-tech goodness, he added a brass keyboard and kerosene lamp. Jake von Slatt operates the Steampunk Workshop where you can find step-by-step directions to turn your computer into Victorian style and the Age of Scientific Wonders.

Victorian All-in-One PC

(image credits:steampunk workshop)
In this mod, Jake von Slatt researched Victorian era stages and discovered they were approximately 4:3 aspect ratio – the 16:9 wide-screen ratio from the cinema. He coated the 24″ wide screen monitor base with black spray lacquer and topped the supports off with some pieces of a brass chandelier. Then he fashioned monitor curtains for the stage on the frame. Finally, he completed the Victorian All-in-One PC which has Kubuntu 7.10  (Gutsy Gibbon) installed and is fit for the office of Queen Victoria.

DataMancer’s Steampunk Laptop

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIsBAX2EJnA 468 310]
The Datamancer reached out to millions over the Internet with this Victorian laptop mod. With this hack, he converted unknown masses to the aesthetic realm of Steampunk. This mod is so cool, yet it’s steamy hot. Who knows? The Datamancer’s next mod might be so hot that the heat wave will hit and crack your hard drive.

More Steampunk Computers


(image credits:portal23,Boston Globe,DataMancer)
More and more people crank out fabulous Steampunk fabrications. At top left, that computer was named Windows Vista 1907. Yet the top right computer is a blend of science fiction and industry in a piece called The ElectriClerk, fashioned from a 1988 Macintosh SE computer, a c.1923 Underwood typewriter, and a fresnel lens by Andrew H. Leman. The Victorian looking jewelry box is another laptop mod by Datamancer.

Cell Phone

(image credits:Slash Gear,Slash Gear,don pezzano,savas place)
Even cell phones have not escaped the aesthetic realm of Steampunk. These are made from recycled materials, vintage gears, old iron and other metals. The top two cells phones are from Russia with love. The workmanship on all four mobile phones make these modded gadgets a hot item. The bottom right phone was created from a Nokia, back when it was boring and not yet a symbol of grandiose invention.


(image credits:Tom Banwell)
The incredibly talented Tom Banwell dabbled in a variety of media, before his one of kind talents and interests combined the arts of history, costuming, mechanics, and fantasy. He admits to being wildly creative with his leatherwork. On the top left is Banwell’s Pachydermos mask, followed by Sentinel, Underground Explorer on the bottom left, and the Fire Master mask.

Electric Skull

(image credit:Donovan Design 2009)
Known for many Steampunk designs, Art Donovon created The Electric Skull for The Museum of Oxford Steampunk Art Exhibition. Donovan made this 27″ tall, comprised of solid brass, light, glass, and acrylic. The fact he is also handy with the craft of electric skills no doubt helped make this glowing skull gadget an extremely slick mod.

Gadgets & Robots

(image credits:brute force leather,Stephanie Halleux,Molly Friedrich)
The trio above were fashioned for The Museum of Oxford Steampunk Art Exhibition. The large leather robot was created by Stephanie Halleux, only one of her leather robot masterpieces. If you visit the exhibition, going on now at Oxford University, you can view Amanda Scrivener’s Lord Featherstone’s Clockwork Arm up close and personal. The bottom right is a creation from Molly “Porkshanks” Friedrich. She states, “I also lavish attention to detail and try to imbue each item with a narrative of some sort so that it feels more like an artifact from another place and time.”

Steampunk Art

(image credit: Kris Kuksi)
Kris Kuksi’s art speaks of a timelessness, of potentiality and motion attempting to reach on forever, and “yet pessimistically delayed; forced into the stillness of death and eternal sleep.” He themes his art to teach us “that although death may pursue us arbitrarily, we should never neglect to mourn the tremendous loss of individual potential.” This art is entitled, Caravan Assault Appearatus.

Steampunk Motorcycle

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This is Tom Sepe’s Steampunk Motorcycle on BRINK TV. This electric motorcycle gives off steam like a piece of the past mixing with a moment of time from the future.

1896 Steam Motorcycle

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t93QlgBu4Is 468 310]
Pete’s Garage presents “1896 Steam Motorcycle.”
If all this retro-futurism has left you yearning for more from the realm of Steampunk, check back next week for sexy as sin Steampunk artistic designs.
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Make it Right in New Orleans: 5 Slick New Home Designs

By Steph in Architecture & Design, Green Technologies NOLA-makeitright-main

After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward will never be the same again – and Brad Pitt is determined to make that a good thing. The actor’s Make it Right Foundation is in the process of building 150 affordable, green, storm-resistant homes designed by 21 star architects including Pugh & Scarpa, Adjaye Architects, MVRDV and Kieran Timberlake.
This charitable foundation is dedicated to creating a better, stronger community in the Lower 9th Ward, which was devastated by the 2005 hurricane. Participating architects were asked to create homes that are not only able to stand up to future storms, but are also non-toxic, earth-friendly, aesthetically advanced and in keeping with traditional New Orleans typologies, like the “shotgun” single-family home.

Adjaye Architects designed this single-family home to include an inverted pitched roof canopy that serves as both a solar and water collector and creates a shaded rooftop terrace. The reinforced structure has casement windows with hurricane impact glass, silkscreened cement board exterior panels and red cedar decking.
The MVRDV ‘bent house’ concept is an adapted shotgun house. The architects explain, “Bending the shot gun house up in two directions creates a carport at front and a shadow garden at the rear. The centre of the house contains the kitchen & bath- it is the lowest level. Stairs lead to a living room on the one side, and bedrooms on the other. The bedrooms and living room are above floodwater level. This means that escape would be possible to both the front porch and the rear porch.”
Architects Pugh & Scarpa have envisioned both single family homes and duplexes that emphasize shared community space, inspired by American patchwork quilting traditions with abstract geometric styles. In the single-family home, recycled wooden shipping pallets envelope the building to provide shade and texture. The duplex is characterized by an oversized front porch with a cooking pit that acts as a neighborhood hearth, encouraging interaction and community.
Kieran Timberlake’s design strives toward a mass customizable prototype that will eventually be prefabs assembled off-site locally with a range of options for interior layout, aesthetics and environmental systems. Both the ‘Garden’ prototype, which has a roof deck, sunscreens and mesh trellis, and the ‘Gable’ prototype with its covered rooftop area can be made from the same chassis.
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7 Wonders of the (Un)Dead World: Global Ossuaries

By Delana in 7 Wonders Series, Architecture & Design, Travel & Places ossuaries bone rooms burial chambers

It sounds like a horrible nightmare: human bones stacked in patterns on the floor, their skulls lining the walls and staring, gaping-eyed, at visitors. It’s no nightmare, though: in churches, cathedrals and underground chambers all over the world, the bones of millions of dead greet visitors. The grisly rooms, known as ossuaries, serve as the final resting place for human remains, often due to overcrowded cemeteries. They exist for different reasons, but they all hold a sort of macabre fascination for us, the living. These seven stunning examples of ossuaries remind us that life is fleeting, but some part of us can live on in this world.

1. Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic

bone church czech republic
Easily one of the most incredible collections of human bones in the world, the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic is unlike anything else. The small church rests at the outskirts of Kutna Hora and is filled with the mortal remains of more than 40,000 people. The origins of the “Bone Church,” as it’s commonly known, are nearly as interesting as the array of bones. In 1278, an abbot named Henry made a pilgrimage to Jesus’ burial place and brought back a small amount of earth. He sprinkled the dirt over the Sedlec cemetery, making it holy ground. Suddenly, it was the most popular place to be buried. When the cemetery ran out of room, the previously buried bodies were dug up, starting in 1511, to make room for the more recently dead.
sedlec ossuary bone church bone chandelier
It wasn’t until 1870 that the excavated bones were put to use. That’s when a local woodcarver, František Rint, was employed to arrange the huge quantity of bones in an attractive way. Rint proved to be a true artist, creating the most amazing bone art the world has ever seen. A coat of arms on the wall depicts a raven pecking at a skull, the breathtaking bone chandelier uses every bone in the human body at least once, and the walls and ceiling are adorned with jaunty strings of bones and skulls. The chapel is a Christian church, not a cult or Satanic ritual space as is often rumored. The bones on display were simply removed from the ground to allow more Christians to be buried on holy ground. The resulting ossuary is maybe the most beautiful one on Earth.

2. Santa Maria della Concezione, Rome, Italy

santa maria della concezione dei cappuccini
Santa Maria della Concezione is a wonderful example of the fact that not everyone sees death as something to be feared. The church features the remains of more than 4,000 Capuchin friars arranged in artistic displays. Some bodies are complete and dressed in Capuchin robes, but most have been disassembled and are displayed individually as bones in artful designs. A plaque in the chapel tells visitors in three languages “What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be.” It is a reminder that life is fleeting and that any one of us could be gone tomorrow. Rather than being gruesome or horrific, the reminder is gentle and positive, reminding us to take care of our affairs today and be right with the higher power at all times.

3. Brno Ossuary, Brno, Czech Republic

brno ossuary czech republic subterranean bone chamber
The Brno Ossuary has been quietly existing under St. Jacob’s Square for hundreds of years, mostly forgotten. When a new construction project was set to begin in the area in 2001, a routine exploratory archaeological dig was performed. What it turned up was beyond anyone’s imagination. The remains of approximately 50,000 people were found stuffed into the subterranean channel. The bodies were likely dug up from cemeteries to make room for more burials. They were, at one time, stacked neatly, but centuries of neglect and flooding saw them washed into a big messy pile. The city began restorations on the site and plan to open it to the public in 2010 or 2011; it will be Europe’s second-biggest ossuary. And although it’s filled with dead bodies, the ossuary won’t be a place to get lost in morbidity or sadness; rather, it will be an ideal place to meditate on the relationship between life and death.

4. Capela dos Ossos, Evora, Portugal

capela dos ossos portugal
The Capela dos Ossos, or Chapel of Bones, sits next to the Church of St. Francis and is a major tourist attraction in Evora. Like the above ossuaries, the goal of this particular mass crypt isn’t to scare or disgust; it’s to inspire visitors to contemplate the transitory nature of life. The Capela dos Ossos was created in the 16th century to handle overflow from local cemeteries and to communicate the inevitability of death. One of the more noticeable features of the chapel is the two dessicated bodies – a man and a young child – hanging by chains from the wall. Their identities are unknown, but local legend says that they are a father and son who treated the mother of the family badly and were cursed.

5. Chapel of Skulls, Czermna, Poland

kaplica czazek chapel of skulls poland
The story of the Chapel of Skulls (or Kaplica Czazek) is almost more interesting than the actual display of human remains in this Polish church. Between the years of 1776 and 1804, a Czech priest and a local gravedigger spent many long hours exhuming bodies from the numerous mass graves in the Czermna area. They set aside the more interesting skulls (those will bullet holes or obvious maladies, or those of politicians) and took the rest to the chapel. Overall, they dug up somewhere in the neighborhood of 24,000 skeletons. Most of them are stuffed into the 16-foot underground crypt, but the bones of approximately 3000 people adorn the chapel in what the Czech priest liked to call a “sanctuary of silence.”

6. Paris Catacombs

paris catacombs
The bone-lined catacombs under Paris are arguably the most famous – and undoubtedly the largest – underground ossuary in the world. From the 18th century, poor burial procedures and hopeless overcrowding in Parisian cemeteries were causing widespread disease among inhabitants. It was decided that the dead would be buried in a the large system of tunnels (actually depleted quarries) beneath the city, and the long process of moving them all began. While the bones were originally just piled up and labeled, French officials eventually realized that the catacombs could become a major tourist attraction. The bones were tidied and arranged in neat displays, with stacks of tibiae and skulls forming lovely – if macabre walls. Sadly, a vandalism incident in September 2009 caused Paris officials to close the catacombs to tourists for an undisclosed period of time.

7. Skull Tower of Niš, Serbia

skull tower serbia
The Skull Tower in Serbia is the only bone collection on this list that is actually meant to inspire terror in those who see it. However, the terror incited by the tower was meant for a long-ago enemy. In 1809, the Serbian rebel army suffered a significant setback in their quest for freedom from the Ottoman Empire. The commander of the Turkish army ordered the heads of the fallen Serbs to be cut off and mounted on a tower to warn anyone who might try to fight against the Empire. A total of 952 were once a part of the Skull Tower, but over the years deterioration and family members have claimed most of the skulls. Only 58 remain today, and a chapel was built to protect the tower. It stands today as a monument to the brave Serbs who fought for their independence.
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