Category Archives: HISTORY & ARCHITECTURE

HISTORY & ARCHITECTURE

Piano and Violin building, Huainan, China

This amazing house called Piano House was built in Huainan (Anhui Province, China) on the project students of Architecture Department Hefeyskogo University of Technology (Hefey University of Technology), developed in conjunction with the designers of Huainan Fangkai Decoration Project Co.
Piano House consists of two parts, representing the two instruments – violin, transparent, based on semi-transparent piano.
unique building was built for music lovers, but the music has nothing to do. In the violin is the escalator, and the piano – Fair Grounds, where the visitors are plans for streets and suburbs of the city.

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The object is created with the filing of the local authorities. Unusual building seeks to attract the attention of Chinese people and tourists to the new developing area, which is the most significant object. Due to the continuous glazing (clear and tinted glass), the premises of the complex are the maximum amount of natural light. And at night, the body of the object is hidden in the darkness, leaving only the visible contours of the silhouettes of the giant neon “tools”.
Despite its popularity, the building is often criticized as a kind of postmodern kitsch and a typical student project, which is much more outrageous than the art and functionality.

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Bryce Canyon, Utah

 Bryce Canyon National Park is actually less of a canyon than it is a series of natural amphitheaters sunk into pink cliffs and filled with delicate red rock “hoodoos.” Millions of years of wind, water, and geologic forces have shaped and etched the surreal landscape. The most brilliant hues of the park comes alive with the rising and setting of the sun. Bryce is an unforgettable experience. Located 24 miles southeast of the town of Panguitch, the park is open all year-round and the area is popular with the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing crowd in the winter months. Summertime offers myriad walking and hiking trails along the rim and toward the bottom of the canyon. Many visitors think it’s even better seen from horseback. The 37-mile scenic drive will also get you to key overlooks and vistas, such as Sunrise, Sunset, Rainbow, Yovimpa, and Inspiration Points. The visitor center is also open all year-round. Bryce Canyon Lodge, a National Historic Landmark, is open April through November.

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Assen’s Fortress, Bulgaria

 The Fortress is located 3 km from the town. The castle was built on a rocky peak inaccessibility to Asenitza River . The earliest finds from archaeological excavations date back to 5-4 c . The area has been inhabited by the Romans, Byzantines and Bulgarians.

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 At the time of the Thracians the fort played an important role in defending the passage, connecting the territories of ancient Thrace to the Aegean . Byzantine Emperor Justinian did rise in that placein order to stop enemy incursions from the north. After numerous raids and battles , the fortress is still standing upright. Early Middle Eastern Rhodopes are within the first Bulgarian state and city walls protect its territories from foreign invaders . In the region  was a medieval town Stenimachos . In the 13th century , having expanded the territory of Bulgaria to three seas – White, Black and Adriatic Bulgarian Tsar Ivan Asen II strengthened the fortress. Large-scale construction is charted in Bulgarian at its entrance. Message carved on the rock causes the fortress and the nearby modern town to be called Assen’s  town.

The Outer wall has been well preserved. It has a height of 3 meters and a thickness of 2 m and it is clearly visible as it is  situated at the highest point with an inner citadel tower. In peacetime, it served as the residence of the governor , and during the war was used as a watchtower and a safe haven from the enemy.It  Can trace the outlines of reservoirs whose walls were lined with ceramic pieces .

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 The biggest attraction of the fortress is the medieval Christian church ” Mary of Petrich . ” Nave domed church was built in the 13th century by the order of Tsar Ivan Asen II. The tower of the temple served both tower and watchtower . The church itself has two floors , the first floor , according to the original intent of the builders was scheduled for crypt . The actual church is on the second floor . It is built with specially quarried and cut freestone blocks. The facade is indented to blind arches. Interestingly natural stone iconostasis characteristic of medieval Bulgarian church prior art and popular during the Renaissance wooden iconostasis . Part of the interior decoration of the church , however, was destroyed . During the earthquake in 1928, its dome collapsed , leaving precious frescoes of the arbitrariness of the raw mountain climate. It was later restored , thanks to it today we have some great fragments of frescoes dating back to the 14th century. This is actually the second mural layer.The firts Was applied in the 13th century , during the construction of the temple.

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 Since the beginning of the 90s of the 20th century the church functions as a church . It helds services associated most often with baptisms and weddings . The rest of the fortress and the church is open to visitors. The disposal guide introduces people to tumultuous past that is steeped in history span land. Assen’s fortress is visited by about 70 thousand tourists per year.

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Madrid, Spain

 Madrid is the capital and largest city in Spain. It is the third most populous municipality in the European Union after Greater London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-most populous in the European Union after Paris and London. The city is located on the river Manzanares in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid.

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 Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations concerning art museums. Best known is the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising of three museums. The most famous one is the Prado Museum, the most popular Golden Triangle of Art member known for such highlights as Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas and Francisco de Goya’s La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. The other two museums are the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, established from a mixed private collection, and the Reina Sofia Museum. This is where Pablo Picasso’s Guernica hangs, returning to Spain from New York after more than two decades.

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 Madrid hosts the largest Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Spain, Las Ventas, established in 1929. Las Ventas is considered by many to be the world centre of bullfighting and has a seating capacity of almost 25,000. Madrid’s bullfighting season begins in March and ends in October. Bullfights are held every day during the festivities of San Isidro (Madrid’s patron saint) from the middle of March to the middle of June, and every Sunday, and public holiday during the rest of the season. Madrid is served by Barajas Airport. Barajas is the main hub of Iberia Airlines. It consequently serves as the main gateway to the Iberian peninsula from Europe, America and the rest of the world. Current passenger volumes range upwards of 52 million passengers per year, putting it in the top 20 busiest airports in the world. Given annual increases close to 10%, a new fourth terminal has been constructed. It has significantly reduced delays and doubled the capacity of the airport to more than 70 million passengers per year. Two additional runways have also been constructed, making Barajas a fully operational four-runway airport.

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 Casa de Campo is an enormous rural parkland to the west of the city, the largest of all Madrid’s green areas. It is home to a fairground, the Madrid Zoo and an outdoor municipal pool, to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the park and city take a cable car trip above the tree tops.

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10 interesting facts about New Zealand

1.  New Zealand is the first place on earth that receives the first ray of light. It specifically glints first on the small town of Rangitukia in North Island.

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2. New Zealand established a state-run tourism department in 1901 – the first in the world.

3. The world’s smallest marine dolphin and the rarest sea lion thrive only in New Zealand’s waters.

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4. The heights of Mount Everest were first conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander.

5. The first Rugby World Cup in 1987 was won by the New Zealand All-Blacks.

6. Vineyards located in the southernmost tip of the world belong to New Zealand’s Central Otago region.

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7. Wellington’s old Government Building is the biggest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere.

8. In 1893, New Zealand gave women the right to vote. It was the first country to do so.

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9. Only three countries in the world have two official national anthems – Denmark, Croatia, and New Zealand.

10. New Zealand has a ratio of 400 golf courses for every four million people. It has the greatest number of golf courses in the world.

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Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, German Schloss Neuschwanstein,  elaborate castle near Füssen, Germany, built atop a rock ledge over the Pöllat Gorge in the Bavarian Alps by order of Bavaria’s King Louis II (“Mad King Ludwig”). Construction began in 1868 and was never completed.

Louis II spent much of his childhood at Hohenschwangau Castle, a neo-Gothic, medieval-inspired castle elaborately decorated with scenes from legend and poetry. After his accession to the throne in 1864, Louis set out to build a “New Hohenschwangau Castle”—as Neuschwanstein was called until after his death—which he intended to be an even better reproduction of a medieval-style castle in line with his fairy-tale vision of monarchy. The Romanesque designs were drawn by scene painter Christian Jank, and these were translated into architectural plans by Eduard Riedel. In 1874 Riedel was succeeded as chief architect by Georg von Dollmann, who in turn was succeeded by Julius Hofmann in 1886.

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Neuschwanstein stands on the site of two smaller castles, the ruins of which were cleared away in 1868. The foundation stone for Neuschwanstein was laid in September 1869. Although Louis expected the entire project to be completed within three years, only the gateway building was inhabitable by 1873. The topping-out ceremony was held on January 29, 1880, but even then the castle was still under construction. The technical fittings were completed some four and a half years later, and the castle remained incomplete in 1886, when Louis died by drowning himself. He had lived there, off and on, only some six months in total. Several weeks after his passing, the unfinished castle was opened to the public as a museum. Simplified versions of the castle’s bower and square tower were not completed until 1892, and only about a dozen rooms were ever finished.

Neuschwanstein is known as a castle of paradox. It was built in a time when castles were no longer necessary as strongholds, and, despite its romanticized medieval design, Louis also required it to have all the newest technological comforts. The lavish structure is complete with a walled courtyard, an indoor garden, spires, towers, and an artificial cave. In contrast to the medieval castles it was modeled after, Neuschwanstein is equipped with running water throughout, including flush toilets and hot water in the kitchen and baths, and has a forced-air central heating system. The dining room is serviced by an elevator from the kitchen three stories below. Louis even made sure the castle was connected to telephone lines, although at the time of its construction very few people had telephones.

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In keeping with its romantic design, the castle’s two-story throne room—which still did not contain a throne at the time of Louis’s death—is modeled after a Byzantine basilica; stars decorate its blue vaulted ceiling, which is supported by red porphyry columns. Louis was a patron of Richard Wagner, and wall paintings throughout the castle depict the legends that inspired the composer: the life of Parsifal in the fourth-floor Singers’ Hall; the Tannhäuser saga in the study; and Lohengrin in the great parlour. Despite remaining unfinished, Neuschwanstein Castle became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe. It also served as inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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Facts about the Colosseum, one of the greatest buildings of Ancient Rome.

The Colosseum took ten years to build. Its construction was ordered by the Emperor Vespasian in 70 AD and it was completed under the rule of his son, Titus, in 80 AD.
It had a capacity of over 50,000 and it could be filled in about half an hour.
Spectators could watch gladiators fighting each other, executions, demonstrations of animal hunting, battle re-enactments and even sea battles – the arena would be flooded.
The Colosseum was built on the site of a former lake. Drains were built 8m below the building to deal with the water flowing in from nearby streams.
It has massive foundations which are over 10 metres deep in some places.
Historians haven’t been able to discover the name of the Colosseum’s architect.
The arena in the centre of the Colosseum was covered in sand and contained a number of trap-doors so that wild animals could leap in to spice up the gladiatorial combat.

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It is estimated that over 400,000 people lost their lives in the Colosseum.
The Colosseum is the largest of the 200+ amphitheatres built in the Roman Empire.
The outer walls are nearly 50 metres high.
When it rained or when the sun was beating down too strongly on the spectators, a large fabric covering called the velarium was drawn across the Colosseum and anchored by ropes.
The last recorded evidence of Roman gladiators fighting in the Colosseum was in 435 AD.
The Colosseum was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1349. Lots of its stone was used to build churches, hospitals and palaces in Rome. Over the centuries, much of the building’s most valuable materials were stipped away. Today only a fraction of the original building remains intact.
The Colossuem is one of Rome’s key toursit attractions.
During its years of neglect, the Colosseum was home to many exotic species of plants. These probably grew from seeds which were brought in from across the Roman Empire when wild animals were used in the amphitheatre.

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Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is a great walking city for lovers of culture and history, with centuries-old monasteries, churches, synagogues and even one of the oldest operating pharmacies in Europe. But, if you’re looking for a day of relaxation between busy tours in marquee cities, it’s also a gorgeous spot to simply sit and watch the world go by amid red-roofed stone buildings and the sparkling, aqua Adriatic Sea.

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The medieval-era Old Town is a walled city, and from above — you can walk the 1.3-mile stretch some 80 feet above ground level for spectacular views — it is reminiscent of Venice, just on a smaller scale (and with marble alleyways instead of canals). Like the Italian city, which lies just to the northwest, Old Town Dubrovnik is free of vehicular traffic and dotted with Renaissance churches and fountains, with a rich history as a trading port. In lieu of canals, you’ll find narrow, cobblestone streets where pedestrians stroll from shop to shop, dine and drink at al fresco cafes and soak up the sun.

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Dubrovnik is nestled in the southwestern corner of Croatia, a boomerang-shaped country directly across the Adriatic Sea from Italy’s east coast, under which lies Bosnia and Herzegovina. The atmosphere is light and welcoming, due in no small part to the city’s gorgeous setting on the Dalmatian Coast, which can be appreciated on one of the many boat tours offered from the Old Town harbor. Nearby beaches are also accessible; tours further inland include country bike rides and wine-tasting.

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The port is a mainstay on Eastern Mediterranean cruise itineraries, sprinkled among greatest-hits stops like Athens, Venice and so many Greek Isles. Most Eastern Mediterranean cruises set sail from spring through fall, though winter cruising is gaining popularity.

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Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, one of the most beautiful capitals in the world, is built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. The beautiful buildings, the greenery, the fresh air and the proximity to the water are distinctive traits of this city. The Royal National City Park, (the first National City Park in the world), is a green space that breathes for the city, and a constant presence in the crush of the city.

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With its 750 year history and rich cultural life, Stockholm offers a wide selection of world-class museums and attractions. Most of the city’s attractions can be reached on foot, and there’s a good chance of experiencing a lot of things in a short time. Experience big-city life, the history of civilization and natural scenery, all in the course of the same day.

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Visit Stockholm City Hall. Climb the City Hall tower for a fantastic view of Stockholm. Don’t miss Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s oldest attraction and one of the best preserved medieval city centers in the world. Walk through small winding streets lined with stores full of handicrafts, antiques, art galleries and cafés. The Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral are also located in Gamla Stan.

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The green island of Djurgården is home to some of the city’s most popular attractions. Visit the world-famous warship the Vasa, the world’s oldest open-air museum Skansen, or Astrid Lindgren’s Junibacken. And don’t miss the chance to see Stockholm from the water. Naturally a city built on fourteen islands offers marvelous views over the water. There are many different sightseeing tours to choose from. And if fourteen islands aren’t enough, Stockholm offers a wonderful archipelago with 30,000 islands, islet rocks and skerries.

There are many reasons why Stockholm is the natural Capital of Scandinavia. One is that Stockholm is positioned at the heart of the region, and enjoys the benefits of a world-class transport infrastructure. Another is that Stockholm is the largest city in the largest country in Scandinavia.

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It is also where you find the most multinational companies, the largest stock market and, not least, the most visitors. People come to Stockholm for the food, the design and the music. Stockholm also offers a unique range of galleries and museums, and every year the eyes of the world are on Stockholm when the Nobel Prizes are awarded.

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Lofoten Islands, Norway

Introduction

The Lofoten Islands are somewhat isolated as they lie well into the Arctic Circle, but their natural beauty and authentic culture attract tourists every year. These islands, whose name means “lynx foot” in Old Norse, are very rocky and little vegetation grows. Despite this, a number of animals call the islands and surrounding waters home and due to the weather and geography some of this wildlife is quite unique, such as the deep water coral reef off the coast. Among the more common animals that call the islands home are eagles, puffins, otters, and moose.

This landscape and lack of plant life makes the rocky mountains even more beautiful, but the lack of vegetation also makes the islands sparsely populated as living conditions, especially in the winter months, can be difficult. Despite their northerly location, the islands are relatively warm as the average winter temperatures are above freezing. None-the-less, the long summer day and long winter nights can be difficult to get used to.

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History & Background

Despite the northern location of the Lofoten Islands, their weather has encouraged human settlement of the islands for thousands of years and by the Viking Age in the 700s there were fortifications in the town of Kabelvag.

Unlike their neighbors in the south, the people living on the Lofoten Islands didn’t get real involved in the Viking lifestyle, although Vikings did live on the islands. Instead the islands have been the center of the cod industry. Perhaps this is what initially drew the people to the islands as the cod tend to arrive in the largest numbers during the winter months.

As Hanseatic League power in Bergen grew in the 1200-1700s, so too did the wealth in the Lofoten Islands as dried cod was one of Norway’s largest exports at the time. Since Bergen had a monopoly on the trade from northern Norway during this time, nearly all of the cod caught in the islands was transported to Bergen for shipment elsewhere. As the Hanseatic League’s trade network expanded, demand for cod increased and so too did the wealth and power in the Lofoten Islands.

Despite the fall of the Hanseatic League, the waters surrounding the Lofoten Islands are still home to cod and the islands remain home to people focused on this industry. No matter the political climate elsewhere, the culture and lifestyle in the islands have remained on the cod industry. Today this is only slightly changing as tourism has grown, but the tourists generally arrive in the summer months and the cod arrive in greater numbers during the winter months. No matter the season, nearly everyone remains reliant on the seas to bring in fish or tourists year round.

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Lofoten Islands Today

The people in the Lofoten Islands are about as grounded as anyone can be. For hundreds of years the people have lived off the seas as fishermen and today that simple lifestyle continues. The islands are divided in numerous small settlements as cities are non-existent and each town is slightly unique. The people all seem to know each other or try to find a link and common last name when they encounter each other.

This simple lifestyle dominates the islands, but modern life, technology, and tourists have guaranteed the people on the Lofoten Islands are in touch with the outside world. Rock climbing, biking, and other sports are common and modern day technology is a great tool to keep in touch or to find the schools of fish in the nearby oceans. Despite this, there seems to remain a mystery and intrigue surrounding the islands by outsiders as authors and artists have distributed enough of the culture to spark curiosity, but not a full understanding.

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Lugano, Switzerland

Lugano is the biggest city in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. However, it is not the cantonal capital. (The capital is Bellinzona).

It lies on Lake Lugano, and is surrounded by mountains, including Monte Brè, Monte San Salvatore and the Sighignola. The Italian border lies about 8 km (5 miles) from the centre of town – the suburb of Gandria, now officially part of the city, stretches right up to the frontier.

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In 2003 Lugano merged with its suburbs, creating the much enlarged city of Nuova Lugano. It is now the 8th biggest Swiss city in terms of surface area; it was previously 61st.

Thanks to its surrounding mountains and the lake, and the fact that its situation south of the Alps gives it a milder climate than most of Switzerland, Lugano is a popular holiday destination, and tourism is an important source of income.

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The city is Switzerland’s third biggest financial centre. All the major Swiss banks, as well as a number of private international banks have offices there. Commerce also plays an important role in the city’s economy.

Lugano is the main base for the Università della Svizzera Italiana (the University of Italian-speaking Switzerland), founded in 1996, which also has close links with universities in northern Italy.

It has a small airport at Agno, flying mainly to other Swiss airports. However, a privately run shuttle bus service links it to Milan’s international Malpensa airport. Lugano lies on the railway linking northern Switzerland with Italy via the Gotthard. Locally, funicular railways run from the city to nearby Monte San Salvatore and Monte Brè, and another links the station to the lakeside.

Lugano’s close links with northern Italy are a reflection of Ticino’s membership of the Insubrica euroregion, established in 1995, whose other members are the Italian provinces on the other side of the border.

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History

The name of the city comes from the Latin „lucus”, meaning „sacred forest.” Archaeological finds have shown that the area was settled by Etruscans and Celts. In the ninth century the town was subject to the bishop of Como, who gradually extended his rights there; during the Middle Ages in the complex struggles between Milan and Como, and later between Milan, France and the Swiss Confederates it changed hands several times and came finally under Swiss rule in 1513.

When the French invaded Switzerland in 1798 they abolished the system of subject areas, and created a canton Lugano, which was renamed Ticino in 1803.

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Reichsburg Castle, Mosel Valley, Germany

In the most romantic part of the Moselle Valley, where the river curves between two hiking paradises – Eifel and Hunsrück – lies the old town of Cochem. Even the Romans sang the praises of this remarkable landscape. It is true – a few things have changed since then, but the attraction has remained because the past centuries – above all the Middle Ages – have left their marks here.

The magnificent Reichsburg, the big castle, situated on a precipitous rock high above the town, dominates the landscape. The many delicate pointed towers, battlements and oriels give the impression of a typical fairy tale castle, particularly as it is one of the few castles in Germany, which was rebuilt in its original style after its complete destruction. As impressive as the castle itself is the view of the Moselle Valley with its beautiful forests, meadows, fields and vineyards, as well as the old part of the town.

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The town of Cochem itself is a sight worth seeing, not only because of its narrow streets and twisty alleys, the lovingly restored half timbered houses with the typical slate roofs, the historical market-place, but also because of its medieval town gates, churches and walls. The wine-growers and restaurant owners would also like to take the time to introduce you to the variety of their excellent Riesling wines.

You can enjoy another facet of the town walking along the Mosel promenade which is decorated with flowers and where many benches invite you to a quiet break. A further attraction is a river tour on one of the Moselle boats, either during the day or at night with music and dancing, when the lights of the castle and the town are reflected in the water. Have fun and relax in the only indoor swimming pool with artificial waves in this area. It is a wonderfully situated leisure centre between meadows and vine-yards and offers all the luxury of a modern swimming pool in fine and bad weather.

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Bruges, Belgium

The historic town of Bruges Belgium (Brugge) is a gorgeous Gothic city located near the Belgium coast.  In the 11th century, Bruges was one of the world’s largest cities.  Today, it is a popular tourist destination that features famous landmarks, tourist attractions and some great museums and art galleries.
Visitors to Brugge can enjoy bike rides along dykes, strolls through local parks and shopping throughout the town. Bruges is also acclaimed for its great chocolate and local beer.

There are excellent hotels, guest houses and B&Bs in central Bruges, near the Brussels Airport and close to the Ostende ferry terminal.
Bruges can be easily reached by train from Brussels, Paris or Amsterdam.  The Brussels airport is a short distance away, as is the ferry and “chunnel” to England.

Recently, Bruges has become widely known around the globe, thanks to the Hollywood movie “In Bruges” which stars actor Colin Farrell.

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Himeji Castle, Japan

The Himeji Castle is located in Himeji City in the western Hyogo. It was constructed in the mid-14th century, and after a three-layer castle tower was built by the order of the man of power Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century, Ikeda Terumasa, a feudal lord of the castle rebuilt it further in the 17th century. Its figure was likened as a white heron spreading its wings, and thus called the Hakuro-jo, or White Heron Castle. It was designated as a national treasure in 1931, and as the World Cultural Heritage in 1993.

The Tenshukaku (castle tower) is the main structure and has 5 stories in appearance but 6 stories inside and a first basement. All structures are covered with white plaster unique to Japan. The roofs are covered with kawara tiles and white plaster is applied to the joints. The sturdy, magnificent structure and elegant appearance, as well as complex and tactical defense devices make the Himeji Castle the most prominent castle in Japan.

The Castle hosts the Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom Viewing Fair, cherry blossom viewing drum music performance and Princess Sen-hime Peony Festival in spring, Himeji Castle Festival in summer, Moon Viewing Fair and Himeji All Japan Ceramics Market in autumn. Visitors never cease throughout the year. In the surrounding areas, there are a Japanese garden Koko-en, an affinity with the Castle, Otokoyama Sen-hime Tenmangu Shrine and Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History.
Engyoji Temple,Mt.Shosha,to the northwest from the castle was founded more than 1000 years ago.Hollywood movie “The Last Samurai”(2003)was shot here.

Restoration of Himeji Castle Main Keep<2009-2015>
After a lapse of more than 45 years since the major restoration in 1950’s -1960’s,Himeji Castle is undergoing a full-scale restoration.This five-year project is focusing on re-plastering damaged and grimy plaster walls and replacing the roofing tiles on the main keep.During the renovation work,it is covered by a roofed scaffold structure,but Himeji Castle is not only the main keep.Visitors can enjoy more than 70 buildings designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan as well as many interesting devices intended for attackers on the way to the main keep.
For about three years from March 26,2011,you can go up to the top floor of the roofed scaffold structure by the elevators and get a look at the repair process and also enjoy a magnificent panoramic view from a height of 50 meters above the ground.
The scaffolding will be removed by spring 2015.

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Ramanathaswamy Temple, India

The temple of Ramanathaswamy is located to the southern end of the Indian Peninsula on an island called Rameshwaram. The island sanctified by the footprints of lord Rama stands proud of the Ramanathaswamy Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva whose worshipable deity was Lord Rama himself. The popular temple lies next to the sea of bay of Bengal. Believed to have been built around 12th century there have been many addition so far. The temple area covers an area of 15 acres of land.

Legends opined that the Siva-Linga in the Ramanathaswamy Temple was installed by Lord Rama on his return from the Island of Lanka after killing Ravana. Lord Rama wanted to absolve himself of the sins of killing the Lanka King Ravana, who was a Brahmin by birth. Lord Rama sent Hanuman to Mount Kailasha to bring the Linga. When Hanuman was late Sita made a Linga out of sands with her hand . Thus,the Linga came in to existence and came to be known as Rama -Linga.

Temple Architecture

There is a deity of Hanuman placed on the main entrance seen trying to remove the sand Rama -Linga. The Temple has a long corridors with large sculptured pillars that are designed with intricate carvings. The corridors are the longest temple corridor in India. The corridor is 9m high and 21 feet wide. The Ramanathaswamy temple contains a total of about 1212 pillars in the north and south corridors. There is the huge bull Nandi, the carrier of lord Shiva towards the east entrance. The sculpture is 5 meter long and 3 m high.

As one goes to the interior of the temple there can be seen the Ramanathaswamy Siva shrine. In the principal sanctum or the altar , there is placed the Linga of Sri Ramanatha. The Vishwa- Linga installed by Hanuman rests to the right of the Ramatha- Linga on a different altar . The Shrine of Parvathavardhini, the consort of Sri Ramantha is to the left side of the linga. There is also a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu called Setu Madhava.

There are to be found 22 teerthams or tanks in the temple where pilgrims traditionally bath before offering puja to the deities. Some of the important tanks are Mahalakshmi, the tank of wealth, Gayatri, tank to get rid of Curse and Setu Madhava to get the blessing of Lakshmideva. The Surya tank is famous for acquiring knowledge of the past, present and future.

Daily Chores in the Temple

Six worship services are carried out each day, the first being at 5am and it continues till the dark evenings. Special pujas are offered to the deity with great festivity every Friday. The whole day sees the temple surrounded by a large population of devotees.Non Hindus are not allowed inside the inner Sanctum.

Festivals

Lord Rama is worshiped in the month of Aani or June and July according to the English calender. Two annual Bhrammotsavams are celebrated in the month of Aadi and in Maasi. Other festival held in the temple premises are Adi Thirukalyanam in June, Mahalaya Amavasai in September, Ramalingam Prathastai Mayand Navarathri Festival in October.

 

 

 

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Niagara Falls The Frozen Beauty

“After temperatures plunged to a sub-arctic -52C in parts of the US, the tourist attraction on the US-Canada border gave those brave enough to venture out a sight they will never forget.”

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Twenty million people a year visit the three falls – the American Falls and Bridal Veil on the US side and Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side – which on a normal day boast a volume of more than 500,000 litres of water a second. The combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world.

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The winter storms have whipped America into an ice cold frenzy with even Hell freezing over. 190million people have been affected.

The polar vortex is relatively commonplace in the Arctic, but it is extremely rare for it to move southwards towards North America.

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Mysterious stone spheres in Costa Rica

Archeology we faced all puzzles. One of the largest , however, lies in the southern part of Costa Rica, where on earth are scattered hundreds of smooth stone spheres , as if out of children’s box with a collection of marbles.

Those in Costa Rica , however, are quite large and are unlikely to play. The largest of them with a diameter up to 2 meters and weigh 16 tons . Some of them lie on the ground , while others are partially embedded in it. Orbs are immortalized in the iconic scene of the movie ” Raiders of the Lost Ark ” where a model of one of them life-size nearly crushed Indiana Jones.

Stone balls are mainly located in the southern region dihydrogen Delta and Isla del Cano , about 30 km from the coast. Balls are found in other parts of Central America. Nowhere , however, they are not so many and such good quality in Costa Rica, where about 300 of them. Many believe they are perfect as proportions and smooth , making the mystery surrounding their creation even more . Research scientists are also hampered by the fact that most of the balls are moved from their original places in the jungle where they were found . So now it is impossible to determine the period for which they were created . Who did these balls and what was their purpose? Both questions scientists can not give a definite answer. There are many different myths. According to one Orbs came from the lost continent of Atlantis, while other are made by Mother Nature herself .

The first information about these balls appear at the end of 19. century, but have been described scientifically only in the 30s of last century, so it is considered a relatively new discovery. The most interesting , and of course the most controversial theory is that the stone spheres were placed in specific locations of the Indians in an era long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus and served as transformers of the gods ! And all other ancient monoliths , their function was to capture and set the running world power. According to this view the stone balls were sort of tuning forks on the ground that vibrate and passed various frequencies that you were then captured by the aliens. I.e. stone balls were a kind of antennas as part of a communications receiver for the aliens. Well , it is clear that the ancients have a wireless network.

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Archeology we faced all puzzles. One of the largest , however, lies in the southern part of Costa Rica, where on earth are scattered hundreds of smooth stone spheres , as if out of children’s box with a collection of marbles.

Those in Costa Rica , however, are quite large and are unlikely to play. The largest of them with a diameter up to 2 meters and weigh 16 tons . Some of them lie on the ground , while others are partially embedded in it. Orbs are immortalized in the iconic scene of the movie ” Raiders of the Lost Ark ” where a model of one of them life-size nearly crushed Indiana Jones.

Stone balls are mainly located in the southern region dihydrogen Delta and Isla del Cano , about 30 km from the coast. Balls are found in other parts of Central America. Nowhere , however, they are not so many and such good quality in Costa Rica, where about 300 of them. Many believe they are perfect as proportions and smooth , making the mystery surrounding their creation even more . Research scientists are also hampered by the fact that most of the balls are moved from their original places in the jungle where they were found . So now it is impossible to determine the period for which they were created . Who did these balls and what was their purpose? Both questions scientists can not give a definite answer. There are many different myths. According to one Orbs came from the lost continent of Atlantis, while other are made by Mother Nature herself .

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The first information about these balls appear at the end of 19. century, but have been described scientifically only in the 30s of last century, so it is considered a relatively new discovery. The most interesting , and of course the most controversial theory is that the stone spheres were placed in specific locations of the Indians in an era long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus and served as transformers of the gods ! And all other ancient monoliths , their function was to capture and set the running world power. According to this view the stone balls were sort of tuning forks on the ground that vibrate and passed various frequencies that you were then captured by the aliens. I.e. stone balls were a kind of antennas as part of a communications receiver for the aliens. Well , it is clear that the ancients have a wireless network.

Many other researchers stones had astronomical functions in prehistoric America and this is one of the most common such . Many of them are found in groups of up to 20 units, often located in the geometric figures such as triangles , rectangles or straight lines. In many cases these figures pointing to the magnetic north of the earth. Some say they were even navigational markers for landing spacecraft . Another very common and increasingly accepted view is that these different sized stone balls have been used as a symbol for the rank of a chief of a tribe or a village . May have served as a ceremonial or religious symbols.

Researchers are united only one question – the balls are made ​​by hand , which makes the achievement even more impressive. Most interesting is the theory that the ancient Indians have special potion by which rock softening her Wael in various forms. This theory is so intriguing that it worked Jose Davidovits of the French Institute for geopolymer . The thesis is not supported by any archaeological or geological evidence. Most balls are made of granodiorites – magmatic rocks similar in composition to granite . But no one has been able to show so far that it can influence it chemically to be formed .

Quarry for granodiorites , however, lies in the Talamanca mountain range , about 80 km from the place where they were first discovered more balls . The transportation of the blocks of the Indians was difficult but not impossible task , since they probably have shaped the fields of space to roll easier. However, according to the researchers to move each block would have had quite large groups of men , and the Indians did not have much sophisticated tools. It is also interesting that not found any unfinished ball .

However, questions remain how the balls were made and for what purpose . Some areas are so smooth and perfectly round, the Indians probably used a secret for us technology as taken by aliens ? However, there is one problem – very few balls have been tested with modern instrumentation . When discovered in the last century, the largest poluzariti the ground were measured because only plummet and making lap horizontally and diameter were calculated mathematically .

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The Garden of Saiho Ji in Kyoto, Japan

The garden of Saihō-ji is acclaimed by many as Kyoto’s most beautiful garden and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. It is especially famous for its moss garden, for which reason it is also commonly known as Moss temple or Koke-dera (苔寺).

In 1339, the famous Zen monk Musō Soseki became the head priest of the temple and remodeled the garden. For him, creating gardens was part of his zen meditation routine. He founded a lot of temples and built or remodeled their gardens, but Saihō-ji is clearly his masterpiece.

Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408, 足利義満) sat here in meditation in the upper part of the garden commemorating the garden’s creator Musō Soseki. Yoshimitsu’s grandson shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435-1490, 足利善政) loved this garden so much that he modeled his own retreat, the Temple of the Silver Pavillion – Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺), after Saihō-ji. Famous monks of different Buddhist sects have been head priests of the temple – namely Kūkai (774-835), Hōnen (1133-1212) and Musō Soseki (1275-1351). During the Edo period the temple fell into disrepair. It must have been at this time that moss slowly encroached the garden until it covered all of it. Today, there are roughly 120 types of moss in the garden.

The best times to view the garden are during the rainy season (mid-June until mid-July) and in autumn, when the red and orange of the maple’s leafs contrast nicely with the lush green of the velvety moss.

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Monsanto in Portugal

 This time I’ll take you in a special tour deep in the village. This isn’t a common village, like other village. But this is a stone village, namely Monsanto. Monsanto is an authentic Portuguese village built between gigantic stones. We can see many houses squeezed between gigantic boulders and stunning views. Its appearance hasn’t changed from time to time, with tiny streets carved from the rock. The location of this village is in Southeast of Serra da Estrela (Portugal), perched on the side of a mountain. Many people called this as stone houses.

Monsanto is a small village, having a significant population in Roman times. In the twelfth century, D. Afonso Henriques donated the population, conquered from the Moors, the Order of the Templars. Probably there is already a fortified settlement in prehistoric times, as identified in the vicinity materials of Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age.

The land of rare beauty as the symbol of the gigantic boulders and manpower play the lead role. “Holy Mountain” is the bulwark of charismatic Erges border, so the Monsanto people brave to say that “Monsanto who conquers and conquers the world.” In the past of the legends and stories related to invasions and attacks on the population.

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Las Lajas Sanctuary, Columbia

Less than 5 miles from Ipiales, alongside Colombia’s Guaitara River, sits the resplendent Las Lajas Sanctuary and its Gothic Revival-style minor basilica church. Fervor, legend, and mystical belief have it that, following a series miraculous events involving a mother and her deaf-mute daughter, a dramatic image of the Virgin Mary spontaneously appeared on a gargantuan rock above the river. During the years since the image’s mid-18th century apparition, many shrines have been built in its honor, and many thousands of pilgrims from all over Colombia and Ecuador have journeyed to Las Lajas to pay their respects.

The existing church, designed such that the Virgin Mary’s image and her flat sedimentary canvas are its high altar, took over three decades to erect. Funding funneled in over the years from local churchgoers’ donations, with a final completion date of August 20, 1949. The homage and prayer retreat rises nearly 330 feet from the bottom of its canyon foundation, and connects to the opposite side of the canyon via a bridge clocking in at 165 feet high. Its decidedly un-South American appearance renders the basilica all the more striking amidst the sweeping water and rock formations, and religious imagery. Truly, Las Lajas looks more like a castle than a house of worship.

But house of worship–and house of divine intervention–it is. Not surprisingly, due to its storied history, many of Las Lajas’ visitors leave with accounts of transformative spiritual experiences and miracles. A 10 to 15-minute walk through the grounds reveals a collection of plaques along a cliff wall that the years’ pilgrams have left as thanks for revelations and wonders they accredit to the presiding Virgin Mary’s influence.

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