Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Answer: Do you have X-ray vision?

What kind of trees?  Answer: Orange trees

Extra credit answer:  They were first planted on 28 January 1534.  

How to solve:  I took the easy way out and did the most obvious thing.  I just zoomed in on the sign over the door.  (Yeah, I know a lot of you did Search-by-Image, which also works.  I’m just taking the simplest route here.) 

Some very clever folks recognized the flags as those of Spain and Catalonia, which would confirm the identity and location of this image.  It’s clearly the “Palau de Generalitat,” a simple search leads quickly to the Wikipedia page.  (It means: "Palace of the Generality," that is, the government of Catalonia.)  

After reading the page, I just searched the page for the word "trees," and voila!

This leads to a match in the photo gallery section of the page with one image labeled "Courtyard of the orange trees (Pati dels Tarongers)."

Another search for [ Pati dels Tarongers ]

Leads to the "Viquipèdia" (that is, the Catalan Wikipedia) page for "Pati dels Tarongers."

Unfortunately for us, the results are in Catalan.  Luckily, it’s a quick step to look for 
[ Google Translate ] and then drop in the URL to get the English translation of the "Viquipèdia" page for "Pati del Tarongers."  

The History section of the translated page tells the story: "The first planting in the garden of Palau was 24 orange(s), the 28 January of 1534, during the three years of Dionysius of Carcassonne."

A few readers noted that there are TWO courtyards in the Palau--and that's correct.  See the following aerial image: 

As you can guess, I took the picture from the lower right of this image (in the plaza) aiming towards the dome.  (Look carefully and you can see the shadows of the flags.)  

The first courtyard is an atrium, a simple, square opening at the entrance.  The larger, irregularly shaped courtyard are where the orange trees are kept.  If zoom in to 100%, you can actually see their shadows as well. 

Talk about X-ray vision! 

Search lesson:  Start simple, then keep following the trail.  Even if it takes you to another language, there's always Google Translate to help out!  

Next week... a much harder puzzle!  Stay tuned. 


  1. Bonus point: Look at this picture I took of a demonstration that took place in front of this same building.

    Do you know where is Azawad without looking it up?

  2. Peeved by the ambiguity of your question about the first planting date. It does not say "when were they first planted here.

    Good fun nevertheless.

  3. I'm still declaring the date unsolved until somebody scans the actual encyclopedia article. People lie on wikipedia all the time.

  4. I spent a huge amount of time trying to find it from the partial street sign. Failing that I was working on the flags.

  5. I spent a huge amount of time trying to figure it out from the partial street sign.

  6. Sometimes the "simplest" approach is not the fastest. I have the Google Image search Chrome plugin, which makes it very easy to right-click an image and search Google. That immediately brought up the Wikipedia article which happened to reference the courtyard. The whole process took about 20 seconds. The bonus question was too ambiguous to me. It should have been worded, "What date were trees of this kind first planted in this courtyard?"

  7. syntax, context, commonality, comprehension, extrapolation... - language can be such a bitch - in Catalan: la sintaxi, el context, en comú, la comprensió, l'extrapolació ... - L'idioma pot ser una gossa
    Enjoyed the photos Hanan. Auroras Chariot, Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona is impressive.
    Gold and Blue
    in black
    When DMR gives you oranges, make orangeade.

  8. Yes, we have an ability, unique to animals with a large field of binocular vision, that allows us to see through the clutter in our environment in ways that animals with a narrower field can't.