Featuring worldwide places known for their art, sculptures, monuments, landmarks, travel articles

Archive for September, 2008

Chichen Itza – One of the Great Wonders of the World

Posted in Sculptures & Monuments  by admin on September 28th, 2008

One of the great monuments of the world, which just recently was declared a monument of world heritage, is Chichen Itza. This is one of the largest pre-Columbian archaeological sites built by the Mayans. The ancient Mayan ruins of this city are quite large and expand over a four mile area. These are some of the most awe inspiring archaeological places you can ever visit.

No one really knows when this great Mayan city was built, but we do know that their golden period was about 600A.D. Chichen Itza is a Mayan word which means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza,” which is a very logical name because this area of Yucatan is arid and there is no above ground water. The city was founded next to two cenotes, or large natural sink holes, created by earlier volcanic movement. These cenotes were large enough to provide enough water throughout the year for the city.

In the early 1900’s, diving excursion began in the cenotes and many important gold, jade and silver artifacts were found among the many bones from cadavers. This indicates that sacrifices were made to the god of rain, in thanks for the ample supply of water. During the height of the Mayan rule Chichen Itza was a major force in both political and economical power. This city learned to trade by sea, which is why they were able to obtain resources from distant places like central Mexico and Central America.

Although we know when the city reigned as one of the greatest powers of the Mayan culture, we are not sure why the city died out so suddenly. Evidence collected when the ruins were discovered indicate that many buildings were burned and much destruction, which indicates a possible conquering by another tribe. Some experts believe there is evidence of the Toltec King Quetzalcoatl’s arrival from central Mexico.One of the most interesting things about this city is the fact that the temples are designed with such exact science. The seven temples are designed in such a way as to represent time, they represent the seasons and days of the years.
The temples are amazing works of art and each has its own special uniqueness. When you enter the site, the first temple you will see is the “Piramide de Kukulcan” which has 365 steps (the days of the year), 52 different panels and 18 terraces. During the spring and fall equinox you will see that as the sun touches the steps on the northern side, the shadow of a moving serpent will appear.

The other temples are just as fabulous with amazing stone carvings, and murals of life, and conquering battles of the society. Much of this magnificent culture is still a mystery, but anyone who visits the site comes away with a feeling of greatness and awe for a strong, intelligent, and mysterious nation, which disappeared without reason.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

European Vacation Tips

Posted in Europe  by admin on September 26th, 2008

Where do you plan to go for some quiet and relaxing time? How do you wish to spend your vacation? Are you eyeing the possibility of a European vacation in the oncoming months? Then don’t postpone that dream of yours. You can certainly have your very own European vacation despite the very infamous National Lampoons news.

Several people are dying to spend their free time in Europe and take a tour of the romantic city of Paris, take a glimpse of London, and breathe in the air of the Alpine valley. All these and more are achievable as you venture in a European vacation yourself!

Take time to gather enough information as to how you should go about with your reservations up to planning out your accommodations. Here are some great tips that can help you decide on how to achieve a worthwhile know-how on your dreamed of European vacation.

How to plan an affordable European vacation

First—consider selecting a travel agency which specializes in dealing with European vacations and offering valuable packages. Surely you can confine with the do-it-yourself planning but you definitely have to consult an expert in the field. More so, you will have to use other languages in dealing with the accommodations. A European travel agency can help design for you an arrangement that is definitely to your own advantage. Needless to say, you will no longer have to burden yourself with the worries.

Second—when planning for a European tour, be sure to get to know more of the countries that you plan to visit. Take time to get to know its culture and most particularly the taboos. As you know, Europe is a continent with so much diversity so there is really a lot to learn. You will most probably think that there is so much likeness in Ireland and in the UK but there is a notable difference with Greece and Turkey.

Third—try your best to learn the country’s language. You need not be a fluent speaker of its native tongue but it will truly help if you try to grasp a few of the basic words such as the greetings and other necessary words to speak when dealing with the people around. Make an impression. Your effort to learn its mother tongue will be most appreciated by the natives.

More so, you can’t easily be fooled if you know how to speak some of its words in the native dialect. You need to know that very few of the locals in Holland, Germany, and some Scandinavian countries speak the English language. Also, the English language is commonly spoken in the coastal tourist resorts of Greece, Spain, and Portugal but not anywhere else.

Fourth—a cheaper European vacation is a lot easier to organize especially if you have enough time to do so. Take the Internet as your best resort to a cheap European vacation. Proper timing matters.

The European airlines have no specific time to offer the cheapest airline fares so you must be flexible with the time frame of your scheduled travel. There are of course other sources of transportation to Europe so you must not limit yourself to travelling by air.

A European vacation is twice the fun when you keep a close track of what your itineraries will be. Enjoy and bring out the best of your travel!

Tags: , , , , ,

The Ancient Ruins of Machu Picchu

Posted in Sculptures & Monuments  by admin on September 23rd, 2008

This is one of those places you want to see before you die, a place that you will remember for all of your days. It is called Machu Picchu, and is the remains of an ancient Incan city high up in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It is 43 miles northwest of Cuzco, way up at the top of a ridge surrounded by dense jungle.

Not much is known about the origins, or the history of the civilization that lived there. Most archaeological experts believe that it was most likely a religious retreat and royal estate created by the Incas. It was built around 1460 by the Incan rulers but abandoned 100 years later when the Spanish invaded.

This ancient city lies at an altitude of 8,000 feet, much higher than the Urumbamba Rive Cloud forest. It was probably abandoned because it was so hard to get to. As mentioned before it was founded by the Incan emperor Pachacuti, and after his death it passed to his family who were responsible for its maintenance.

Most of the buildings located in this ancient city were residences, with a few temples and public buildings. When it was founded there were about 1200 people that lived here. Most of the buildings are made of granite blocks that were cut with bronze tools and then smoothed out with sand.

What makes these structures interesting, is the question: How did the Incas get these stones moved to such an altitude? And how did they manage to fit the stones so perfectly together that they required no mortar? The joints are so tight that a knife cannot even fit through the stones.

Another unique feature of this city is that the structures were built into the landscape and the sculptures are carved into the mountain. The Incas supplied water to their ancient city thorugh cisterns and channels.
The temples sit on the precipice of the mountains. The houses were unique in that some of them were even two stories tall, and the second story was reached with a ladder made of rope, since there are few trees at this altitude. The houses are formed in groups with a communal courtyard for the group.

The roofs were made of thatch and had trapezoid shaped doors and windows which were very uncommon.
Even today, when you visit Machu Picchu, you are left with awe, that such a people could create such a wonderful city so high in the mountains. The silence and the strength of the structures are astounding.

Tags: , ,

Old World Wisconsin

Posted in Modern & Historical Art, United States  by admin on September 21st, 2008

Old World Wisconsin was established in 1976 commemorating 200 years of American History. Old World Wisconsin is the largest museum of rural life history in the world. European Immigrants, from the late 19th century to early 20th century, have been preserved on 600 acres of land in Eagle, WI. The natural prairie and woodlands have been untouched to represent the rural heritage of the 1870’s villages.

Countless historians searched, documented, and authenticated historical buildings of the Midwest. The over 60 historical structures were relocated to Old World Wisconsin. The reconstructions of the buildings were perfected to original form. Upon moving the buildings and ethnic farmsteads, the bricks, boards, logs, and stones were numbered to assure precise reconstruction.

To visit Old World Wisconsin is to take a walk into history. The 2 ½ mile walk from settlement to settlement is astonishing. There are live oxen and horsed tilling the land showing the traditional farming methods. Dressed in full costume the wives are preparing dinner over a wood burning stove. You can visit the general store, observe a school classroom, and walk inside the church. The blacksmith will teach and talk to you about blacksmithing as he has his irons in the coal fire. The ladies will shear the wool from the sheep, spin it on the spinning wheel, and make hand crafts.

In 1998, Old World Wisconsin added Pleasant Ridge. This replica of an African-American homestead was originally located in Grant County near Lancaster. Freed slaves from Virginia arrived in 1850 and helped found Pleasant Ridge. Pleasant ridge consisted of over 50 African-American, Germans, Irish, and English farmers. The diverse group bonded and built a log schoolhouse in 1873 and the United Brethren Church in 1884. This group of dedicated farmers formed and shaped a community.

Old World Wisconsin is dedicated to the immigration and resettlement of America. It is a piece of American History for all immigrants. The 10 farmsteads have furnished log houses, barns filled with hay and animals, a school, a church, a shoemaker, a blacksmith, a general store, and a well tended garden with heirloom plants. The furnished houses and costumed workers bring back American History for yesterday, today, and generations to come.

Tags: , , , ,