• October 21, 2016 at 3:03 am #1299
      Team YOLO !

      Ever wondered how the state of California got its name?

      Well, when Spanish and African explorers first landed on the Baja peninsula (in Mexico) in 1535, the beauty and lushness of the land reminded them of a fictional island called California they had read about in the Spanish novel, The Adventures of Esplandián, published 25 years before.

      In the novel, California is an island paradise laden with gold and protected by an army of griffins and fierce female warriors under the rule of Queen Calafia, an African beauty who was “of great courage” and “desirous of achieving great things.”

      In the 18th century, when the Spanish empire spread north from Mexico’s Baja California peninsula into what is now the U.S. state of California, the new territory was christened Alta California (upper California) and the name has stuck ever since.

      In the Room of the Dons at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel, you can gaze upon 9 murals depicting California history with Queen Calafia as a seminal figure in the Golden State’s prowess and prosperity. Standing 7-feet (2.3 m) high, the murals were painted by famous American artists, Maynard Dixon and Frank Van Sloun, and have been a mainstay in the hotel since its grand opening in 1926.

      Guide to Viewing the Murals

      The Room of the Dons is normally locked; you will need an escort to visit it.

      Call the hotel a day or two ahead of time and ask to speak to a manager. Explain that you are interested in seeing the murals and ask if there is a good time that day or the next to do so.

      (415) 392-3434

      After your mural viewing, ascend 18 floors to the hotel’s other star attraction, Top of the Mark.

      The hotel is at its busiest on weekdays, April-May, so that time of year, try for a Saturday or Sunday.

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