Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most remarkable architectural structures from medieval Europe. It is located in the Italian town of Pisa, one of the most visited European cities.


Tower of Pisa stands at 60 metres and until 1990 was leaning at about a 10 degree angle.

Although it was designed to be perfectly vertical, it started to lean during construction.

Hagia Sophia/ Ayasofya Mosque

Hagia Sophia, One of the seven wonders of the Medevil World, the Hagia Sophia was built in 537 AD. In Greek, Hagia Sophia means ‘Holy Wisdom’, is home to the orthodox and Greek Catholics. This was the world’s largest cathedral until the Seville Cathedral was completed a thousand years later, in 1520. Once a patriarchal bascilica followed by a mosque, the Hagia Sophia stands today as a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. The Hagia Sophia as we see it today was built subsequent to the fall of two churches which once stood there. The first of which was built in the first millennium as a pagan temple in 360 AD. However, it was destroyed when Archbishop John Chrysostom was sent into exile by Emperor Arcadius for criticizing the empress. Nothing remains of that church today. The church was rebuilt by Emperor Theodosius II and designed by the architect Rufinos in 415 AD but was similarly destroyed. Marble block remainders of this Church have been recovered and survive to this day. These two churches were primarily used as the main churches of the Byzantine Empire. The final construction as we see today was initiated by Emperor Justinian in 532 AD.

The exquisite architecture composing the cathedral, designed by Isidor of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles, led it to being the epitome of the Byzantine architecture. The Hagia Sophia, most well-known for its tremendously large dome with a diameter of 110 feet and 210 feet above the ground, required innovation of new ideas of providing a basis for the dome. This was accomplished using 4 piers with a base of 118 yards squared. The significance of the dome was the vault leading to the heavens. As a whole, the size of the church is 260 x 270 feet. A beautiful collection of relics occupied the walls of the church including a silver iconostasis, a wall of religious paintings, of 50 feet in height

 The Hagia Sophia served as a cathedral church for the Patriarch of Constantinople for over a thousand years, during which it was sought to be the ‘mother church of the Christian East’. However, the cathedral was transformed into a mosque on May 29, 1453 by the Turkish Ottoman Sultan Mehmet. This was a result of the poor conditions undergone by the cathedral including missing doors. As a result, the transition demanded clean-up removal of the bells, iconostasis, altar and plastering of the mosaics. It was renamed to the Ayasofya Mosque. In addition, a mihrab, minbar, and 4 minarets were built. In 1935, the Turkish head-of-State, Mustafa Kemal converted the mosque to a museum as it exists today. During the course of the period when the Ayasofya was a mosque, it was the prominent in Istanbul. Many mosques built by the Ottomans used its modeling and architecture. Examples of these are the Sultan Ahmad Mosque, the Suleymaniye Mosque, and the Rustem Pasha Mosque. However, with time the mosque required additional structural support. One of the world’s first earthquake engineers, an Ottoman architect, Sinan, accomplished this task. More so, Sinan engineered two additional minarets in the western side of the mosque.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Alhambra Palace, Spain

Alhambra Palace and fortress complex is located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain.

It was constructed during the mid 10th century (about 300 years after the Arab conquest of Spain) by the Berber ruler Badis ben Habus his successors kept building and enlarging the palace and even after it was reconquest (in the Reconquista) by the Spanish Alhambra Palace kept being modified till the 19th century.



For more information visit Wikipedia - Alhambra

Silver Mine Hotel, Sala, Sweden

Spend the night in the world's deepest underground hotel in Sweden

Sala Silvermine in Sweden houses a hotel suite 509 ft. underground

In the next few years, extreme travelers could spend the night floating around in a space hotel. For now, what the Earth can offer will have to suffice. Thankfully, some options have the potential to satiate even the most adventurous — take for example the deepest underground hotel suite in the world. Located in the old, 15th century Sala Silver mine in Sweden, the suite lies 509 ft. deep under the earth's surface.

 The tunnels of Sala's mine were used to excavate for silver until 1908. Now, it houses a museum, a theater, two ornate dining rooms, and a hotel suite where two people can spend the night. Guests are first toured around the underground facilities so they know their way around, but ultimately left alone overnight — attendants stay on ground level. If you're hit by the call of nature in the middle of the night, you'd have to go up to 165 ft. to access the nearest toilet; no bathroom exists within the mine. Phones, of course, do not work that deep underground.

 Clearly, if you're claustrophobic, agoraphobic, or if you really just can't stand gloomy places, this hotel is not for you. But if you fancy a stay underground for whatever purpose you might have, you can spend a night in Sweden's Sala Silver mine suite for $580.





The Dubai Fountain - World’s Largest Dancing Fountain

Set on the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake, at the center of the Downtown Dubai development in Dubai, the Dubai fountain can shoot 83,000 liters of water at any moment and water jets as high as 240 feet into the air. Illuminated by 6,600 lights and 25 colored projectors, the 900 feet long fountain can be seen from over 20 miles away.

The Dubai Fountain performs daily accompanied by a range of classical to contemporary Arabic and world music. The performance repertoire including Sama Dubai; Baba Yetu, an award-winning song in Swahili; the Arab world’s top-selling dance number Shik Shak Shok; and the signature piece of world-renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Con te partiro (Time to Say Goodbye).

When the fountain was inaugurated in 2009, it had two types of shooters - super shooters, which shoot water under more pressure up to 240 feet in the air, and extreme shooters, which can shoot water under the most pressure to 420 feet in the air. Because it takes a lot of time to build up enough pressure and energy to shoot water that high in the air, the super shooters are used the least during each show. The extreme shooters were used only once during the opening ceremony, after which they were disabled and no longer used in the shows.

Dubai Fountain schedule:

1:00pm First afternoon show 
1:30pm Second afternoon show

Evening Shows

6:00 PM to 11:00 PM Sun – Wed 
6:00 PM to 11:30 PM Thu – Sat