Berlin's Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate, also called the heart of Berlin is one of Berlin's most famous monuments. The Brandenburg Gate is a monumental gate built in the 18th century as a symbol of peace. During the Cold War, when the gate stood right on the border between East and West, it became a symbol of a divided city. The magnificent monument was designed by Carl Gotthard and commissioned by the Emperor Wilhelm II. The project of the 65 meters wide and 28 meters high gate is inspired by the Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens. The Brandenburg Gate was built between 1778 and 1781, replacing another ancient gate. The decorations include reliefs representing scenes from the Greek mythology and it took another four years to be fully completed. The Brandenburg Gate, which until the Second World War had all the time to become a symbol of Prussian militarism, was badly damaged during the war. After the war and after the division of Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate was found right on the border between East and West Berlin, exactly in the Russian sector. In 1958 the gate was restored by the East Berlin while West Berlin funded the reconstruction of the Victoria statue. The Brandenburg Gate is certainly the most important modern European symbol of peace, the triumphant goddess’ entry into the city signifying the end of all conflicts. It is at the same time a symbol of division and reunification , a monument under which marched the Nazi torch-bearers who dragged Germany into the darkest period of history , but they overcame it , weeping for joy , people separated by arbitrary decisions for more than 50 years. Today, the Brandenburg Gate is no longer considered a symbol of division, but a symbol of a completely new era in the history of the extraordinary city. It is definitely one of the best known symbols of the city. The “Brandenburg Tor“ design was inspired by the Acropolis located in Athens. At the top of the gate there is a statue depicting the famous Victoria, the goddess of Triumph, who is driving a chariot pulled by four horses. It was sculpted by Gottfried Schadow. In 1806 the sculpture was taken to Paris by Napoleon’s troops as a trophy of war. It was brought back to Germany when the French lost the fight against them.
Biking around 30 miles down the most dangerous road in the world was one of the most exhilerating things I have ever done. The scenery is absolutely incredible - starting the journey at 15,400 feet in the foothills of some snowy mountains, you proceed to decend 1,200 metres along one of the most beautiful/terrifying roads in the world. One bit of advice would be to go for back and front suspension on the bike - we only paid for back suspension and could hardly feel our arms by the end. I would recommend it to anyone adverturous that likes living life on the edge - quite literally. WARNING : Very dangerous, 200-300 people die on this road every year.
Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic
Dubrovnik is a port city and one of the most prominent tourist resorts in the Adriatic Sea, in the extreme south of Croatia and it’s the centre of Dubrovnik - Neretva canton. In 2001, it had a population of 31.756 inhabitants. The fortress’ walls were built between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries and they are very well-preserved. ‘The Pearl of the Adriatic’ used to rival Venice economically and commercially in the XV, XVI centuries. A monument-city, part of the UNESCO world heritage, Dubrovnik has an unique architectural style due to the Turkish and Venetian influences. The most attractive part is the old town of Stari Grad, with paved streets, fountains and museums. The hospitality base is extremely generous and the nightlife can satisfy any demands. Also, we must not lose the opportunity to reach the island of Mljet, which is one of Croatia's national parks. Dubrovnik is also host to a festival of drama, music and folklore which is certainly the largest and the most remarkable cultural event that takes place every year between July 10 and August 25. On this occasion, the whole city turns into a huge stage, which represents an extra stimulus for artists and an additional reason for delight and pleasure for the spectators. The Medieval walled city is a luxury destination. Southern Dalmatia boasts with Croatia's main tourist attraction , one of the most beautiful cities in Europe , often called ,, the pearl of the Adriatic ' , one of the few medieval city- state that has rejected all the attackers and kept its walls intact , one of the most appreciated town – fortress, recognized around the world, joining the UNESCO world Heritage list in 1979.
Sistine Chapel in the Vatican
The Sistine Chapel is one of the most visited places in the Vatican Palace, Rome, Italy. The Sistine Chapel is found on the right side of St. Peter's Cathedral. This is the papal palace chapel, being built as a place of mystery and silence, between 1472-1483, during the pontificate of Pope Sixtus I, and it was painted by the renowned artist Michelangelo Buonarroti, in 1510. The Sistine Chapel is a parallelepiped shape with a length of 41 meters, a width of 13.41 meters and a height of nearly 21 meters. It is said that these were the dimensions of the temple built by Solomon in the Old Testament period. The person who designed this building was Baccio Pontelli, a renowned architect of the time, and the one who oversaw its building was Giovannino Del Dolci. The chapel is divided into two parts: at the eastern end is the altar and in the west there is a space for the believers. The chapel’s ceiling is vaulted in the western style and the side walls, in their upper part, are illuminated by a series of 12 large windows. The floor of the chapel presents a particularly colourful terrazzo. The Sistine Chapel is the place where the next pope is chosen. The first service was celebrated here on the 9th of August 1483, when the chapel dedicated this occasion for the bodily Ascension into heaven of the Virgin Mary , a Roman Catholic celebration and dogma. A major tourist attraction , the world's smallest country , the City of Vatican occupies an area of 0.44 square kilometres and serves as a spiritual centre for millions of Roman Catholics worldwide. The Sistine Chapel is a must see for tourists arriving in this part of the world.
Istanbul Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, also known as Kapali Çarsi of Istanbul is a mystery for some and an unknown and closed box for many others. To really enjoy Istanbul, you should definitely lose yourself in the city or to become one with it, and one of the most handy ways to do this is a visit to the Grand Bazaar. The Grand Bazaar is actually a separate world in the Istanbul city. It is active, busy, indispensable for Turkey's largest city. In this location which attracts tourists from around the world and hundreds of thousands of daily visitors, one discovers not only a glorious history but also antique merchants , jewellers , tanners , carpet sellers - in a word , everything one needs . As the oldest and largest bazaar in the world, Grand Bazaar was built on the orders of Sultan Fatih, to ensure the financial stability of the Hagia Sophia museum. In this historic bazaar, located between the Nuruosmaniye and Beyazıt mosques, there are two domes called "Bedesten", Cehavir and Sandal” - the heart of the Turkish market. Beginning with its establishment and until now, the bazaar has remained the most important shopping center in Istanbul. It consists of 61 streets whose names generally describe the different businesses that are undertaken throughout the areas of the market: Fesçiler (caps sellers) Kalpakçılar (fur sellers) Aynacılar (mirrors sellers) etc. The 1500 square meters area called İç Bedesten, and the 1,300 square meters area called Sandal Bedesten can be considered half outside the bazaar itself. Around the Grand Bazaar there are inns which, again, are actually part of the bazaar. Today, there are over 4,000 shops in the Grand Bazaar. Most travelers who visited the Grand Bazaar in the past, portrayed it as a quiet and solemn place. Now is just the opposite. Wandering in the bazaar, you hear vendors inviting the potential customers in their stores. With these invitations, you can recognise words in maybe 10 different languages. The old style of treating customers is still valid. On the other hand, bargaining remained the basic ritual when shopping in the Grand Bazaar. This ritual is enjoyed by both the seller and the buyers. The Grand Bazaar is also the largest bazaar of jewellery in the world. To see it all, you would have to spend at least three days in there.
Almost halfway between Mérida and Cancún, on the airy esplanade from the low jungle of the Yucatán Península, the Kukulkan pyramid represents the centre of the architectural complex Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan city, invaded by the Toltec warriors from the tenth century, coming from their capital, Tula - central Mexico today. In the sun or in the shade of clouds, the harmony of this pyramid in steps, with a height of 24 m, seems really perfect: the four -sided stone tilts with finesse to the horizons and the small platform top is a temple (with height 6 m) dedicated to the cult of the god Kukulkan - the feathered serpent or Quetzalcóatl. The faces are made up of nine terraces, each with 52 boxes decorated flat, rectangular. A series of 91 steps cut narrow middle of each of the four sides of the pyramid, sandwiched between linear rails. The North side of the building, however, has a particularity: at the encounter with the earth, the two rails end in two large statues carved in stone, the snake heads representing the god Kukulkan. The composition of the pyramid determines the start of the count: 18 sections of an upper terraces - the 18 months of the Mayan solar calendar ; 52 boxes for what the Mayans considered " century" by combining the sacred with the solar calendar ; 364 steps ( 91x4 ) plus platform - number of days in the solar calendar. Although the pyramid served to the Kukulkan cult, the numerological interpretations and the very clear data about the Mayans’ knowledge of astronomy, put it directly related to the sun worship. Access to the pyramid was banned a few years ago to avoid irreversible damage. However, because of the slight distance from the square base, the proportionality of the architectural elements is best admired. But what turns out to be the highlight of the pyramid gathers twice a year thousands of visitors to Chichén Itzá: the symbolic lowering of the feathered Serpent, an extraordinary effect of light observed for ten minutes in the days of equinox, March 20 and September 21 at around 3 pm. The sunlight gradually forms off the northwest face, a sequence of seven triangles of light that fills gradually the descending line, like the body of a snake. Once it arrives at the base, this "snake" is completed by the union with the carved head Kukulkan, likely to play the leading role in agrarian rituals, deeply connected to the rhythm of nature. Another great detail of the pyramid, still the subject of scientific controversy, impresses the audience: the echo formed on the north side of the row of steps. If one claps, it feels like the sound hits the stones and generates the cry of the Quetzal bird, symbolizing the Mayans’ creative force, uniting with the serpent god Kukulkan personification.
Pattaya City (" the wind south-west monsoon ") is located on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, Chon Buri province, 160 km southeast of Bangkok. Pattaya City is one of the most popular resorts in southern Thailand and in the world, a world center of entertainment. The biggest attraction in Pattaya is the vibrant nightlife, famous throughout the world, countless discos, bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues being concentrated everywhere. Whether you travel here alone, with friends or family there will be a corner of heaven for you, enjoying the most of what you want: comfort, relaxation, tranquility or fun, excitement and new experiences. It looks like a modern city with an impeccable hotel infrastructure. It is a quality shopping center with diverse commodities at reasonable prices. Beaches: - The main beach is called Pattaya Beach and it,s situated along the city and bordered by a promenade where a multitude of shops, hotels, restaurants and entertainment centers are aligned. The middle and southern parts are very animated, due to its location in proximity to shops, discos and bars, while the northern part of the beach is more quiet, designed for relaxation. - Jamtien beach is preferred by those who want a relaxing holiday in the company of family or practitioners of water sports enthusiasts. Here lies the Leisure Park Tower Pattaya and Pattaya Water Park with numerous pools and huge slides. For the more adventurous travelers it is dedicated a section from the beach at Pattaya Klang to the port area, adjacent to nightclubs and entertainment venues. 7.5 km west of Pattaya it’s found one of the most beautiful places in the world – the Ko LAN Island, famous for its fine white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, coral reefs and exotic fish. All water,on land or extreme sports are common in Pattaya, whether you choose diving, surfing, jet skiing, bungee jumping, karting, scuba diving, paragliding, windsurfing or parasailing. For a perfect combination of relaxation , fun and culture , we recommend visiting the city and the surrounding areas, the Wat Phra Yai temple, which houses a huge statue of Buddha , the Elephant Village , where you can ride on the animals’ back, the Zoo in Sriracha - home to more than 200 Bengal tigers and 15 000 crocodiles, the Sanctuary of Truth , filled with sculptures that show the Asian philosophies , Mini Siam, where we can admire over 100 miniature models of famous buildings worldwide or the Suan Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
The Church of the Resurrection of Christ, also known as "The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood" is one of the biggest Orthodox churches in Russia - St. Petersburg. The church is also known by the name of The Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ - its official name. Its name refers to the blood of Alexander II of Russia, who was murdered in that place on March 13, 1881. Construction of the Great church began in 1883 under Tsar Alexander III as a tribute in memory of his father. Work went slowly, being completed only in 1907, during the reign of Nicholas II. The financing were provided by the royal family, along with many private donations from the locals and others. The church is located in an open space, occupying one of the banks of the Griboedov canal that crosses the city of St. Petersburg. On the actual place of the church occurred the event that led to receiving the name “Church of the spilled blood”. From the architectural point of view, this cathedral is different from the other buildings in the city of St. Petersburg. The architecture of the city is mostly baroque and neoclassical. The Church of the Spilled Blood is anchored in the medieval Russian style, in the spirit of the national romantic architecture. The church intended to update the image of the XVII- century Yaroslavl churches and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. The Church of the Resurrection of Christ shows an area of more than 7500 square meters of mosaics according to what the restorers say – being the church with the largest mosaic area in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most famous Russian architects of the time - among them being included Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel - but the one who led the entire team was the master architect Alfred Alexandrovich Parland.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House, which is located atop a promontory that guards the port of Sydney, Australia, is a project, design and implementation of Danish architect Jørn Utzon. It is considered the symbol of a city, Sydney, of a country and a continent, Australia, thousands of totally uninterested in opera tourists visiting the building each week just to admire it. Geographically, it is situated atop Cape Bennelong closing the port, 33 ° 51' 25'' south latitude and 151 ° 12' 55 '' east longitude. Currently, it is the headquarters of the Australian Opera, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Opera House is also the place where numerous theatre and ballet groups stop when they are on tour. The building is managed by the Opera House Trust , under the Ministry of arts in the Australian state of New South Wales , whose capital is Sydney. One of the symbols of Australia, a masterpiece of the twentieth century, the Sydney Opera House comprises three buildings shaped as shells , arched and intertwined , and it is visited by thousands of tourists every week just to admire it. Sydney Opera House is located on the old site of a warehouse that was demolished in 1958. The cornerstone was laid in March 1959 and the construction was carried out in three stages. The first phase (1959-1963) involved the construction of the foundation and platform. Phase II (1963- 1967) was building the superior strength structure and the roof. Phase III (1967-1973) was arranging the interior of the building. Sydney Opera House was inaugurated on 20 October 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II with the '9th Symphony' by Ludwig van Beethoven. The first performance at the Sydney Opera House was held on 28 September 1973 with the show "War and Peace" by Sergei Prokofiev, and on 29 September, in the Concert Hall, a performance by the Sydney Philharmonic was given. After the opening in 1973, the opera house has had a number of improvements and refurbishments.
Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Petronas Towers, also known as the Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, were the highest buildings in the world from 1998 until 2004, if you calculate the height from the main entrance to the last level. The first thing you need to do once you get in Kuala Lumpur is going to see these two impressive towers of 88 floors and 452 meters high. The entry is based on a pass that is given in order of arrival. As superb as these buildings are, nothing compares with the stunning views that can be admired from the bridge linking the two towers. Each tower weighs over 300,000 tons because the towers are built of concrete. The Petronas towers hold several world records: the tallest twin towers, the deepest foundation of the world, the highest bridge in the world. For their construction they have spent over a billion dollars. Behind the Petronas towers there is a beautiful garden , actually a park popular with locals , and tourists ... palm trees, an English lawn , a tranquil lake , benches , fountains ; dancers ; ... all these make this place an oasis in the urban jungle of the city - all-round, tourists can see different tall blocks , hotels and office buildings, but none can be compared to the Petronas towers ! The towers were designed by Cesar Pelli, an argentine -american architect. In his view, the scheme for success was found - twin towers with elegant proportions and sleek appearance. The 88 floors are constructed largely of reinforced concrete, steel and glass façade, designed to resemble Malaysian motifs of culture and tradition, evoking Islamic architecture. An eight-pointed star made of squares’ intersection suggests a reference to the Islamic design, curved arches creating a facade that resembles the temples’ towers.
The unbeatable parisian brunch
Brasserie Maison Rouge is a new place based in Châtelet. Everything is homemade and fresh. The service is very good. I recommend this place for a brunch on Sundays (from 11:00 AM to 04:00 PM). It's a self-service buffet, 29 Euros, which is an excellent value for money. One advice: book in advance, it's usually full!
Castle of Versailles
Palace of Versailles is one of the largest and most opulent castles in the world. With over 2,100 windows, 1,250 fireplaces and 67 staircases, the Versailles castle is one of the most visited attractions in France. Being a perfect example of French art of the 18th century, this historic building is on the UNESCO World Heritage list for more than 30 years. The castle was the official residence until 1789, and has since been regarded as an unofficial residence. Known as the " Cradle of Liberty " , the Palace of Versailles was the place where the population of Paris has expressed dissatisfaction with King Louis the 14th , forcing the royal family to leave behind the decadent life and move in the real capital of France, Paris. In visiting the Palace of Versailles there are several points that should not be missed, although the entire ensemble is really special. The Queen’s apartment has 4 rooms and each was occupied by the each queen, the last one being Marie Antoinette. It underwent many changes that explain the multitude of apartment styles in contrast with the king’s apartment. In this apartment, the queens have lived outside the public life (all the kings’ children were born in the big bedroom). The King's apartment, redecorated several times, was last painted between 1671 and 1681 and represents planets revolving around Apollo, God is represented by the sun (emblem of King Louis XIV) in Greek and Roman mythology. The apartment has 7 rooms, each room with a view or: buffet, games, dance room, billiard room during celebrations given by the king. Hall of Mirrors, 73 meters long, 10.5 meters wide and 12.3 meters high, has painted on the ceiling several scenes from the life of King Louis XIV from when he began his reign in 1661 and until in 1678 when it was the treaty of peace of Nijmegen. The King used to walk through this room every day on his way to the chapel and the apartment. The hall was used to host large receptions, royal weddings and meetings between ambassadors.