Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ROME, ITALY - TOP ATTRACTIONS

1. VATICAN CITY and VATICAN MUSEUM

Vatican City is one of the world's smallest states since 1929. From 1450, the Vatican called in over a dozen of masters including Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo Di Vinci from central Italian cities to cradle of Renaissance art.

The Vatican Museums have one of the world’s greatest art collections, housed in a series of elegantly decorated palaces, apartments and galleries. (Below is the the statue of Laocoon and his sons.)































2. PANTHEON





Pantheon is the most important monuments of Roman. It had the largest dome in the world for more than 13 centuries. The symmetry of the decoration and the geometric harmony of the structure created the rhythm and magnificence of the interior.




3. PIAZZA SAN PIETRO and BASILICA di SAN PIETRO

Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter's Basilica) was built by Bernini using the imposing porticoes between 1656 and 1667. These porticoes are arranged in semicircles along the short sides of the square. Above the canonic entablature are 140 colossal statues of Saints and the patron pope, Alexander VII.

















St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest Roman Catholic building in the world. Tradition has it that St. Peter was crucified here in 67 AD, the last year of Nero’s reign, and buried nearby in a public cemetery outside the northern wall of the Circus of Nero. Fifteen major architects including Bernini worked during the 120 years of construction. Bernini also created the extravagant Baroque canopy, the Baldacchino, below Michelangelo’s massive dome.




4. COLOSSEUM

Completed in 80 AD, the Colosseum, Rome’s largest and most famous monument represents the centuries of the majesty and indestructibility of the capital of the world. Deadly gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights were staged by emperors and wealthy citizens largely to gain popularity. Colosseum could accommodate 55,000 people.



5. TREVI FOUNTAIN

Nicola Salvi’s theatrical design for Rome’s largest and most famous fountain,Trevi Fountain, was completed in 1762. In the middle, Neptune rides a shell-shaped chariot drawn by seahorses steered by two Tritons, demigods that are half-human in form, half-fish, one trying to master an unruly seahorse, the other leading a quieter beast, symbolizing the two contrasting moods of the sea. Behind is a baroque façade with statues of gods Plenty, Health and the Four Seasons.


6. SAN GIOVANNI in LATERANO

San Giovanni (St. John), Rome’s cathedral, was founded by Emperor Constantine in the early 4th century. It has rebuilt several times, notably in 1646 when Francesco Borromini restyled the interior, but retains its original basilica form.


7. PIAZZA DI SPAGNA and the SPANISH STEPS

Shaped like a crooked bow tie, and surrounded by muted, shuttered facades, Piazza di Spagna is crowded all day and night. The most famous square in Rome is built in the 17th century to house the Spanish embassy to the Holy See. The steps with an extravagant Rococo design were built by the Italian architect Francesco de Sanctis in the 1720 to link the square with the French church Trinita dei Monti.

8. PIAZZA NAVONA

The beautiful Navona Square (formerly the Stadium of Domitian) was built on the remains of the stadium of Domitian. Parades of ochre colored buildings surround the square spanning about 250 years, from the late 16th century. The square has three fountains. One in the centre has an obelisk. The smaller ones are twin creations by Giacomo Della Porta.

9. ROMAN FORUM

In the early times of the Republic, the Roman Forum was a chaotic place with food stalls, brothels and temples. By the 2nd century BC, Rome created a more respectable center and the food stores were replaced by business centers and law courts. The forum remained the ceremonial center of the city under the Empire, with emperors erecting new temples and monuments. The Roman Forum consists of ,Trajan's Column, Basilica Ulpia, the Forum of Julius Caesar, the Forum of Augustus, Forum of Nerva, the Forum of Vespasian, and the Temple of Venus and Roma.


10. SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE

This 5th century church dedicated to Mary was called Maggiore (‘the Great’) because its builders wanted to build the greatest of all churches dedicated to the Virgin. Santa Maria Maggiore with its exceptional blend of architectural styles ranging from early Christian to late Baroque is also famous for its superb mosaics.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Our next stop will be Rome, Italy. According to the previous poll of World Travel, 50% of voters chose Rome.

Where do you want to be next? Please vote for the destination you would like to see next. Also, please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting and/or e-mailing.

See you in Rome soon...

Faraday

Saturday, March 28, 2009

ANTALYA, TURKEY - TOP ATTRACTIONS

video

1. KALEICI (OLD TOWN):

Until the establishment of modern city of Antalya after World War II, Kaleici was Antalya, with its narrow streets and old houses surrounded by the ancient city walls. (Don’t forget to visit Suna-Inan Kirac Museum located in the Kaleici.)

2. YIVLI MINARE (FLUTED MINARET):

The Fluted Minaret built by the Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubat in the 13th century has become the Antalya's symbol. Yivli Minaret is located adjacent to the Kulliye, which was made of several buildings: Yivli Minare Mosque (Ulu Camii), Atabey Medrese, Mevlevihane (a chamber of dervishes), Turbes (Tombs), Baths. Yivli Minare Mosque is elegantly decorated by blue and dark blue mosaic-tiles.


3. ASPENDOS:

The ancient city of Aspendos, situated near Eurymedon River, is founded by Aka civilization in 10 BC and is one of the richest cities of the antique age. The amphitheatre is built by Roman in 2 AC.

4. SIDE:

Side dates back to the Hittite Period. It was a Hellenistic and Roman Town. The remains of gates, aqueducts and baths have been restored. One of its most important buildings is the 15,000 spectator theatre.


5. ANTALYA ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM:

Museum of Antalya with its many exhibitions and artifacts ranging from pre-historical times through the ages is a great place to spend a day inside. Here are just a few of the many halls: Natural History and Prehistory Hall, Hall of Gods, Hall of Emperors, Hall of Tomb Cultures, Hall of coins, Hall of Turkish - Islamic Period Works, Classic Period Hall.

6. ANTALYA and ALANYA CASTLES:


Antalya Castle lies in the centre of Antalya overlooking the harbor is a charming castle with its traditional architecture. Alanya Castle is a medieval castle built on the remnants of earlier Byzantine era and Roman era fortifications in 13th century until the city’s conquest by Seljuk Sultanate Alaeddin Keykubat in 1220.


7. WATERFALLS - DUDEN, KURSUNLU and MANAVGAT:


Manavgat River is one of the longest underground rivers in the world. Its water is clean and rich with minerals. You may swim or explore the surroundings in a canoe.


Duden Waterfalls, formed by the Duden River, are a group of waterfalls. The Lower Duden Falls drop off a rocky cliff directly into the Mediterranean Sea. Because of the raw ingredients in the water, large amount of volcanic materials have formed the river bed and a cave below the waterfall.
Kursunlu waterfall, surrounded by tall trees and birds, provides a peaceful atmosphere. The way to the waterfall well kept the amazing view onto the river bed and natural walk ways.


8. BEACHES at LARA and KONYAALTI:


Lara Beach is one of the longest beaches in Turkey with its gentle waves and dark sand. Konyaalti Beach lies west of Antalya, where a breathtaking view of the mountains can clearly be seen. Lara and Konyaalti beaches are matchless slices of paradise with translucent turquoise waters, crowded beach bars and clubs. Mini-City, located on the Konyaatli beach, is open air miniature park displays miniature buildings and models.


9. DEMRE and CALIS BEACH:

Demre (Ancient Myra) is best known for St. Nicholas (Santa Claus), the bishop of this Mediterranean city during the 4th century, who died here in 342 A.D. Every year in December the St. Nicholas Commemoration Ceremony is held, attracting many tourists. In ancient Myra, many rock tombs overlook the splendid theater Dalyanagzi, the ancient harbor of Andriace, is perfect for swimming and relaxing on the sandy beaches.

Çalis beach is especially known for its unique sunsets. Calis beach is also one of the nesting areas of the endangered species of sea turtles Caretta Caretta.


10. SAKLIKENT CANYON:

Saklikent is an 18 kilometer long spectacular canyon cut into the Akdaglar Mountains. This deep and steep canyon does not allow the sun to penetrate into its icy cold water. You can walk along the wooden board suspended above the water. After crossing the river, it is fairly straightforward to walk through the canyon for 6 kilometers.

11. DAMLATAS and KARAIN CAVES:

Damlatas Cave is located at the western Alanya peninsula. Its 50 meters long entrance ends with a cylindrical cavity, which leads to the basement of the cave. The stalactite and stalagmites inside the cave were formed in 15 thousand years. Besides its fascinating beauty the cave is famous with its air which is beneficial to asthmatic patients.

Karain Cave, formed by limestone, is a complex of caves which consists of many chambers. These chambers are separated by calcite walls and narrow and curve passageways. Stalactites and stalagmites enrich the marvelous appearance of the cave. On the outer surface of the cave there are numerous niches and Greek inscriptions. Geological and geo-morphological researches revealed a lake in the middle of the plain in Pleistocene; and many open air settlements in Paleolithic period. There are fine water springs where the plain meets the mountains.

PRESENTATION ABOUT TURKEY
Turkish Cousine
Antalya Golden Orange International Film Festival
Blue Voyage
Wow Kremlin Palace-Antalya
Wow Topkapi Palace-Antalya
Turkish Visa Requirements

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

HISTORY OF ANTALYA, TURKEY

Our next stop in the World Travel will be Antalya, Turkey. Antalya attracts many tourists with its history and its natural beauty. For now, here is a short history of this lovely and lively city, Antalya. Enjoy...

Antalya is a beautiful Mediterranean city with its sandy beaches caressed by the turquoise sea. In this city, you can witness the evolution of civilizations of the Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks and Ottomans.

In 150 BC, Attalos II, king of Pergamon, founded the city Attalia (Antalya) to base his powerful naval fleet. In 133BC, Antalya became part of the Roman Republic. The city prospered in the Ancient Roman period. Christianity started to spread in the region after 2nd century. The city later became a naval base for the Christian Crusades.

Antalya became a major city during the Byzantines period. Until the city was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the early 13th century, it was an isolated outpost against the Turks accessible only by sea.

In the 18th century, Antalya’s actual lord was a Dere Bey. The family of Tekkeoglu rivaled the Ottoman governor, surviving by many years until the fall of the other great Beys of Anatolia. The city was briefly occupied by the Italians at the end of the First World War until the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

SEVILLA, SPAIN - TOP TEN ATTRACTIONS

Sevilla is Spain's fourth-largest city and capital of Andalusia. With the abundance of art and architecture which it has inherited from many centuries of history, Sevilla justifies the old saying, "If you have not seen Sevilla you have missed a marvel". Sevilla was the birthplace of two famous painters, Diego Velázquez and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and writer Miguel de Cervantes. Sevilla is also famous as the setting of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and "Marriage of Figaro" and of Bizet's "Carmen" and Figaro's barber shop in Rossini's "Barber of Sevilla".

1. REAL ALCÁZAR

Originally built for Moorish rulers and their harems, the Real Alcazar later served as the home of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella; still today Spanish royalty stays here on visits to Sevilla. The Alcazar has a Mudejar Palace and a Gothic Palace. Among the gardens are the Jardin de la Danza, Jardin de Troya, Jardin de la Galera, Jardin de las Flores, Jardin del Principe, Jardin de las Damas, Jardin del Laberinto Viejo, and the Jardin de la Alcoba. There is a very large area that contains the New Gardens, built in the 19th century in the English style.

2. PLAZA de ESPAÑA

The main feature of this plaza is its semicircular building complex. The Plaza de España is one of Seville's most easily recognised buildings and the epitome of the Moorish Revival in Spanish architecture. Today, the plaza mainly consists of Government buildings, including El Ayuntamiento. Each of the tiled alcoves by the walls of the Plaza represents a different province of Spain.

3. CASA de PILATOS

The Casa de Pilatos is a fascinating blend of Gothic, Mudéjar, and Renaissance architectural styles. It was built by Moorish and Christian architects in 16th century. The highlights of the museum are its Roman sculptures and frescos by European masters, as well as gardens with the orange trees.

4. CATEDRAL DE SEVILLA/GIRALDA TOWER

Sevilla's cathedral is one of the largest Gothic churches in the world. There is a monument to Christopher Columbus and works by the likes of Francisco Goya, one of Spain's most famous artists inside the cathedral. Sevilla Cathedral with its abundance of art treasures was built between 1402 and 1506 on the site of the town's principal mosque. The Giralda Tower is attached to the cathedral. When the mosque that stood on the cathedral's current site was razed, this beautiful minaret remained. Today it stands as Sevilla's most famous symbol.

5. PLAZA DE TOROS DE LA MAESTRA/MUSEO DE LA MAESTRANZA

The famous Maestranza bullring is mentioned in many novels and films, and even featured in the opera Carmen. The enormous ring can hold over 13,000 people. The bullring's Museo de la Maestranza contains matador memorabilia and artwork, as well as the heads of slain animals.

6. MUSEO de BELLAS ARTES

Founded in 1835, Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Art) has the finest collection of pictures in Spain after the Prado in Madrid, particularly of the works by 17th century Spanish painters.

7. MUSEO DEL BAILE FLAMENCO

The Museo del Baile Flamenco covers the history of flamenco and features biographies of famous dancers. One of the museum's highlights is its collection of colorful costumes worn by flamenco dancers Antonio Gades and Cristina Hoyos.

8. PARQUE DE MARIA LUISA


To the south of the Tobacco Factory in Sevilla, in the Avenida de Isabel la Católica, is the main entrance to the large Parque de María Luisa, laid out by the Infanta María Luisa Fernanda de Borbón.

9. BARRIO SANTA CRUZ

Barrio Santa Cruz is distinguished by its wrought-iron gates, flower-filled balconies, and tiny squares. This Andalusian neighborhood is known for its free flamenco shows.

10. HOSPITAL de LA CARIDAD

The Hospital de la Caridad was built in the 1600s by Don Miguel de Mañara. The hospital is famous for its many paintings by Murillo and Valdés-Leal. Today, monks and nuns continue Mañara's tradition by continuing to care for the sick here.

Sevilla Hotels
Spanish Visa Requirements

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Monday, March 16, 2009

LONDON - TOP TEN ATTRACTIONS

1. BUCKINGHAM PALACE


Buckingham Palace was originally bought in 1761 by George III for his wife, Queen Charlotte as a family home. Since then, it’s extensive renovation works and extensions, and the amount of Royalty it has housed, has made it a great tourist attraction. Also Buckingham Palace garden is a home to over 350 different types of wildflowers.

2. TOWER BRIDGE


Tower Bridge over the River Thames in London is one of the finest bridges in the World. At the Tower Bridge Exhibition you can enjoy breath-taking views from the high-level walkways and learn about the history of the Bridge and how it was built. You can then visit the Victorian engine rooms, home to the original steam engines that used to power the bridge.



3. HOUSES of PARLIAMENT and BIG BEN


Big Ben named after the first Commissioner of Works, Sir Benjamin Hall. It holds the record of being the “world’s largest four-faced chiming clock.” The tower of the clock, has cells within it to imprison members of parliament for breach of parliamentary privilege, but the last recorded case of this was in 1880.

Big Ben lies at the North-Eastern end of the Houses of Parliament. This magnificent building has been the home of the English parliament since before 1547 and was originally called the Palace of Westminster. This is the site that Edward the Confessor had the original palace built in the first half of the eleventh century. Since 1547 it became the home of the English Parliament.

4. THE LONDON EYE


A flight on the London Eye, the world's highest observation, is an unrivalled experience. As you rise to an incredible 135 meters above the River Thames, the 30 minute rotation provides stunning panoramic views of the city and reveals parts of London which are simply not visible from the ground.


5. BRITISH MUSEUM


British have one of the world’s oldest and most celebrated comprehensive collections of some of history’s most prized artifacts. With over 13 million pieces ranging across every major point in human history, British Museum exhibitions are nearly encyclopedic in nature.


6. NATIONAL GALLERY

The National Gallery in London houses one of the largest collections of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is a non-departmental public body; its collection belongs to the public of the United Kingdom and entry to the main collection is free of charge.


7. TOWER of LONDON

The ancient stones echo with dark secrets, sparkling jewels in fortified vaults and ravens parade the grounds. The Tower of London, founded by William the Conqueror in 1066-7, holds some of the most remarkable stories from across the centuries. Despite the infamous reputation as a place of torture, this powerful and enduring fortress has been enjoyed as a royal palace and served as an armory.


8. MADAME TUSSAUD WAX MUSEUM


At Madame Tussauds, you'll come face-to-face with some of the world’s most famous faces. From Shakespeare to the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, you'll meet history and politics' most influential figures; sing along with Kylie; strike a penalty with Rooney or receive once-in-a-lifetime audience with Her Majesty the Queen.



9. NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM


As well as the permanent dinosaur exhibition, the Natural History Museum boasts a collection of the biggest, tallest and rarest animals in the world. In addition, the new Darwin Centre opens in September 2009.


10. KENSINGTON PALACE


Kensington Palace has been a royal residence since 1689 and part of the palace remains a private residence for members of the Royal Family today. Visitors can explore the magnificent State Apartments and the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, which includes dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales.

To find more attractions in London please click here.

London Hotels
UK Customs and Visas

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