Thirteen Magical European Ports

What are Britain’s 13 treasures, and what do the Druids and the Wizard Merlin have to do with them?

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When Joan Rowling described Deathly Hallows and Horcruxes, and Tolkien described Middle-earth, they also drew inspiration from Celtic, Welsh mythology – and something of the legends of medieval Britain turned out to be almost invariably reproduced in the narratives of Harry Potter and the Hobbits. Legends have preserved descriptions of feats and glorious battles, and moreover, the objects with which all this was directly connected. The mere listing of Welsh treasures immerses you in a world of gods and heroes, a world ruled by magical powers, ancient but still fascinating and inspiring.

The treasures told in myths going back a millennium and a half

Welsh myths – or rather, manuscripts – produce a list of thirteen magical artefacts known as Britain’s Thirteen Treasures. The location of these magical objects was determined by the homeland of the people who described them. They were the Welsh, the Celts who inhabited Wales, a territory in southwestern Britain.

The books that one reads in the 21st century sometimes contain quite a few truly ancient legends. Source: pinterest.com

Books, which one reads in the XXI century, sometimes contain a lot of really ancient legends. Source: pinterest.com

The treasures that are listed in the Welsh accounts are supposedly owned by kings at the dawn of British history, kings real and legendary, including the most famous character of Celtic mythology, King Arthur. Merlin, the wizard, also hunted for each of the artifacts and, according to one legend, at the end of his life he managed to get them all. They connect the appearance of the treasures with the Druids, a mysterious group of ancient sages.

Magic, magical objects appeared in the ancient tales when the hero of the tale was given an impossible task, for example, to have a formal opportunity to refuse a suitor for the hand of the king’s daughter. Among Britain’s thirteen treasures are weapons, everyday items, clothing, and even medieval “transport.”

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The treasures of Britain were considered quite ordinary, it would seem, things and objects (for that time)

At the head of the list is the Sword of Ridderch Hyla, nicknamed “Dirnwyn” or “White Handle”. It allegedly belonged to the king who ruled the Britons in the 7th century. He willingly gave the weapons in the hands of all comers, but these were few: sword, if he took it in the hands of a noble man, burst into flames, not causing any harm to the owner, if the thoughts of the same were unclean, burned him.

Magical artifacts: to feed, to water, to clothe, to drive, and to protect – but only the noble

The basket or stall of Gwyno Garanir, nicknamed the long-legged and, according to legend, turned into a heron, had far more peaceful and pleasant possibilities. If they put food in it for one person, when they opened it again, they took out food for a hundred people. Bran Galed’s horn from the North, the third treasure, was filled with any beverage one could wish for. It was said that once, in the distant past, the Horn belonged to Hercules.

Those long ago times can be judged mainly by extant myths and legends

The fourth legendary artifact, the Chariot of Morgan the Generous, ensured that the person in it would arrive magically quickly wherever he wished to be. And the Clidno Eyddin’s Saddle (the king of what is now Edinburgh), attached to the foot of the bed, “worked” as follows: the owner of the magic item needed to “wish”, to imagine a horse, and it appeared in the room in this very saddle.

The sixth artifact, the Knife of Llauvrodd Warchog, could be used during the battle, but it had a magical peaceful role: it could serve as a cutlery and cut meat for twenty-four men gathered at the table at the same time. And the Giant’s Cauldron of Dirnuch was used to determine whether a man was brave or cowardly. Meat put into the cauldron by a brave man was boiled in a flash, but if it was cooked by a coward, the water did not boil at all.

Gwyddno Garanir's basket. Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Another test offered a sharpening stone Tiddal Tidglede, the eighth treasure: if the sword was sharpened brave man, then the enemy any blow was fatal, but the coward was not able to sharpen a sword or someone wounded by it. There was a test that determined whether a nobleman or a commoner; it was all determined by the cloak of Padarn Baysridd: it sat properly on an aristocrat, but did not fit on a commoner.

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How many artifacts in all are listed among the Thirteen Treasures

The tenth and eleventh treasures were the Pot and the Dish of Rigenides the Cleric. It’s as simple as Bran’s Horn: whatever food you wish for, it will instantly be inside the magical artifacts. Twelfth place on the list was occupied by a board game owned by Gwenddoleu ap Caidio, who ruled North Solway in the 6th century. The field was made of gold and the figures – people – of silver. The latter had the ability to move around the playing field and play on their own.

The pot in which any of the mystery dishes appear is one of Britain's thirteen treasures. Source: pinterest.com

The pot, in which any of the riddled dishes appears, is one of the thirteen treasures of Britain. Source: pinterest.com

The thirteenth treasure is familiar to fans of the Potteries – the Cloak, which makes anyone who wears it invisible. It belonged to King Arthur. This darn dozen or so magical artifacts have not been immutable. In later legends the list of British treasures might have been different, such as the Mantle of Tegau, which determined whether a woman had broken her marriage vows or was honest to her husband and the rules of propriety. In the first case, the mantle she wore would reach only to her knees, while in the second, it would touch the ground.

In addition, the Ring of Invisibility, once owned by Merlin and having the same property as the Cloak of Invisibility, sometimes appeared on the list. If any other treasure was added to the thirteen in any legend, the total number of magic items was still thirteen-just something from the main list was removed. And in the end, as some of the Welsh sources say, they all ended up with Merlin – Merlin took them with him when he left this world, so that mere mortals couldn’t get any of the treasures.

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Thirteen Magical European Ports

Cruises through Europe have long been popular with travelers. They combine the thrill of the sea with the exploration of several places at once. Almost every day of the cruise can be spent in a different city. So this is the best way to enjoy the beauties of Europe.

1. Barcelona.

Barcelona, as one of the few ports in Europe, offers an interesting and attractive combination of high mountains, sandy beaches and a bustling metropolis with interesting artistic architecture.

The city literally pulsates with various manifestations of art not only in galleries and museums. To fully enjoy this city, indulge in a sunset stroll along the beaches and treat your taste buds to dishes from the masters of molecular gastronomy.

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1. barcelona

2. Marseille

Marseille, the jewel of the Provençal coast, has literally transformed itself into a charming multicultural port city. To this day, the heart of the city is the lively Old Port with its romantic view of dozens of yachts and cruise ships. It’s also home to the waterfront, restaurants and the best seafood delicacies. History and monument lovers will also enjoy themselves. Marseille is the oldest city in France, founded by Greek merchants 2,600 years ago. The main attraction of the city is the oldest district of Le Pannier, as well as the famous Marseille Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-la-Mayeur.

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2. Marseille

3. Genoa

Genoa is one of the Italian cities where the narrow streets surprisingly lead to magnificent squares. The most beautiful street of the city is considered Strade Nuove, where the palatial residences of the richest families of the city were built. As the hometown of Christopher Columbus, it reflects the rich maritime history and ancient wealth of trade development. The historic center thrives to this day, the pedestrian area takes you to the port, where a 76-foot lighthouse, the emblem of Genoa, stands behind the stop.

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3. Genoa

4. Stavanger

The region of Stavanger in southwestern Norway is famous for its natural attractions and old wooden houses. The city itself is surrounded by long beaches, beautiful fjords, and boasts a rich variety of museums and cultural events.

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4. Stavanger

5. Savona

The charming port of Savona, a city in northwest Italy, is full of stores and cozy cafes. The impressive mix of modern cruise ships and ancient fishing boats will charm you on a short walk. The historic center with museums and the medieval Priamar fortress can easily be reached on foot. You can enjoy pleasant relaxation on the nearby city beaches.

Magical thirteen magical European Ports - Photo 6

5. Savona

6. Flam

The port city of Flam in southwest Norway is probably one of the most visited in the country. It is the main gateway for fjord trips, and a short sightseeing cruise is one of the best experiences. The popular Viking Valley with a real Viking village is nearby. In addition to Viking history, you can learn a lot about the way of life of the descendants of the local geniuses.

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6. Flam

7. St. Petersburg

The port of St. Petersburg is the largest port in northwest Russia. Cruise ships are moored in the port of the Sea Facade, on Vasilievsky Island, about a 15-minute drive from the center. Here you can find an almost endless list of palaces, museums and galleries. The streets of the historic center are beautiful and the squares are richly decorated.

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7. St. Petersburg

8. Helsinki

The capital of Finland is located on a peninsula in a beautiful bay in the south of the country. It is known as a city of islands and green parks. Many islands can be reached by regular ferries. This is a great opportunity to relax on the beach, in the shade of the trees or in local restaurants. Despite the close connection with nature, Helsinki combines all the best of Finland, especially culture, interesting local architecture, shopping and gastronomy.

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8. Helsinki

9. Valletta

Valletta, the capital of Malta, is known mainly for its palaces, museums and especially its magnificent churches. The historic center is listed by UNESCO as one of the most historic areas in the world. You can enjoy the unique atmosphere of Valletta in the lively harbor with a beautiful view.

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9. Valletta

10. Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca is located on both sides of Palma Bay and, in addition to the bustling port, boasts a beautiful waterfront and five beaches within easy reach. The port area is home to the city’s most famous landmark, the huge Gothic cathedral known as Palma Cathedral. It is worth watching the play of rays streaming through the colored glass mosaics of the windows.

Magical thirteen magical European Ports - Photo 11

10. Palma Mallorca

11. Kotor

Kotor is a famous port city on the Adriatic Sea in Montenegro, which attracts primarily because of its location deep in the bay. The medieval town has narrow streets going uphill. Among the monuments of the city are several Romanesque churches. The streets are decorated with aristocratic houses and palaces.

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11. Kotor

12. Dubrovnik

This ancient fortified city is often compared to Venice, but instead of canals you will find impressive narrow cobbled streets. The busiest place is in the center, in the pedestrian zone, along which there are restaurants and cafes.

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12. Dubrovnik

13. Mykonos

The charm of Mykonos lies in the white houses, narrow winding streets and windmills. You can enrich your walk through the town by visiting archaeological sites and folklore museums. There are fashionable boutiques and stores, and you can also relax a bit on the terraces of cafes with beautiful views.

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13. Mykonos

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