Da Vinci code attracting curious tourists to Uki
TOURISTS from around the world are heading to a medieval-style castle near Uki to unlock the secrets of the "da Vinci" code and save the planet.
In the process the Castle on the Hill has won a major tourism guernsey - an Award of Distinction in the Northern Rivers Tourism Awards for 2004.
But artist Robert Pope, director of the International Art Science Institute which is also housed in the castle, says winning the award was not just a result of offering unique accommodation.
He says it is directly due to cracking the "da Vinci code" - scientific wisdom hidden in the paintings of 15th Century Italian Renaissance artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci which has recently been made famous by an international blockbuster novel by Dan Brown.
The novel - a stunning thriller that has provoked debate about its interpretation of Christianity - zooms in on the hidden code as the key to a deep historical mystery.
Mr Pope claims his art/science research has cracked not only the da Vinci code but takes studies of the "basic law" of the universe further.
He says the novel is "the best thing that ever happened to us because it explained what we are all about".
"We use art as a catalyst. We've learnt this from the da Vinci code."
Mr Pope says scientists from all over the world, many of them bi-chemists, and other people simply concerned about the state of the planet and civilisation now come to his castle to relax and discuss the hidden secrets:
"We had one fellow very depressed because of all the violence in the world.
"I thought I'd have to go easy and not hit him with the heavy stuff. But he ended up happy because he could see a way out."