Cannon on Frederiksværk town square

The small town of Fredericksværk in northern Sjælland, Denmark, was home to a substantial cannon foundry during the age of front-loading cannon. Between 1756 and 1833, an estimated 2.500 cannon were cast for the Danish military, but also for export.


Derelict cannon at the Fortezza of Rethymno

Main gate of the Fortezza

The fortress towering over the little Cretan town of Rethymno is a strange place. Built by the Venetians at the end of the 16th century to protect the town and its inhabitants from Ottoman invaders, it proved ineffective for this purpose in 1646, when it was taken after a short siege. The Ottomans demolished the church and built a mosque in its place.

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Noon signal in Valletta

In relation to size, Malta is probably the most fortified land in the world. The armed conflicts this tiny nation was in involved in are epic and so it is fitting that the harbour of the capital Valletta is flanked with two huge forts. On the north side there is a battery of British 19th century front-loading guns, one of which is fired every day at high noon. Even though the country gained political independence from the United Kingdom in 1964, the action here is carried out by reenactors posing as British colonial soldiers.


Cannon at the Royal Palace Garrison in Mandalay

Don't let this image fool you - Mandalay is a bustling trade center and definitely not a tranquil place.

When I visited Burma in 2012, there was little international tourism in Mandalay. The town does not offer a lot spectacular sites compared to other places in the country, so many visitors use it as a stop-over at most. Therefore the museum located in the middle of an ancient but still used garrison caters mostly to a local audience.