Archive for 08/21/13


Nestled among the terraced slopes of the Douro valley port wine-growing region, and overlooked by an ornate shrine, the town of  Lamego is elegant and infused with Baroque style. Atop one of its two hills stands the 13th century keep and a castle 100 years its senior. The  Porta dos Figos  gateway arch leads into the narrow streets of the inner town. Also found here is a somewhat unusual piece of history in the vaulted stone cistern dating back to times of Arab rule and bearing trade marks of master masons of the era. The 18th century Episcopal palace now houses the town's museum, containing amongst other treasures important work by the Portuguese master Vasco Fernandes "Grão Vasco". The principal church, the Sé , was built in the 12th century by the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques; indeed it was in this town that his ascension to the throne was announced and he assembled the original courts of the newly independent nation here in the Almacave church.


The Palace of Venaria  is a former royal residence located in Venaria Reale, near Turin, in Piedmont, northern Italy. It is one of the Residences of the Royal House of Savoy, included in the UNESCO Heritage List in 1997, and one of the largest royal residences in the world, comparable in size and structures to those of Versailles and Caserta; though the latter's park is far larger. The Palace was designed and built from 1675 by Amedeo di Castellamonte, commissioned by duke Charles Emmanuel II, who needed a base for his hunting expeditions in the heathy hill country north of Turin. The name itself derives from Latin, Venatio Regia meaning "Royal Hunt".




The Millau Viaduct  is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the valley of the river Tarn near Millau in southern France. Designed by the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, it is the tallest bridge in the world with one mast's summit at 343.0 metres above the base of the structure. It is the 12th highest bridge deck in the world, being 270 metres  between the road deck and the ground below. Millau Viaduct is part of the A75-A71 auto route axis from Paris to Montpellier. Construction cost was approximately €400 million. It was formally dedicated on 14 December 2004, inaugurated on the 15th, and opened to traffic on the 16th. The bridge has been consistently ranked as one of the great engineering achievements of all time. The bridge received the 2006 International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Outstanding Structure Award.


De Kameleon is, located in Bijlmer is the one area in the Netherlands that sometimes is considered a ghetto,  placed along the Karspeldreef, one of the main arteries in the area. It is quite a surprise that amidst the new ideology of the small scale such a large new building is projected. Kameleon is organized in horizontal slices. On ground floor is the new shopping center. All shops are accessible directly from public space, there is no collective interior: Kameleon is not a Mall. The supermarket, normally a bulky program with extensive impenetrable facades is embedded in smaller units that as such both differentiate and activate the ‘plinth’. There is one shortcut, The Passage, at 2/3rd of the length, creating an ‘8’. The 8 is good for circulation and good for business. From here an escalator connects to the next level, continuing the 8 in the 3rd Dimension. On the 2nd floor is one more supermarket; easily accessible from the public parking on the same level.

The Putra Mosque, or Masjid Putra in Malay language, is the principal mosque of Putrajaya, Malaysia. Construction of the mosque began in 1997 and was completed two years later. It is located next to Perdana Putra which houses the Malaysian Prime Minister's office and man-made Putrajaya Lake, is located at the centre of Putrajaya city, Malaysia. This 650 ha man-made lake is designed to act as a natural cooling system for the city and also for recreation, fishing, water sports and water transport. . In front of the mosque is a large square with flagpoles flying Malaysian states' flags. Malaysia has its origins in the Malay Kingdoms present in the area which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire. The first British territories were known as the Straits Settlements, whose establishment was followed by the Malay kingdoms becoming British protectorates.




The Nelum Pokuna, known as "Lotus Pond", Mahinda Rajapaksa Theater is a performing arts center in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The theater opened on 15 December 2011. The architecture of the building is inspired by the 12th-century Nelum Pokuna in Polonnaruwa. Built by King Parakramabahu the Great, Polonnaruwa's Nelum Pokuna is shaped as a stylised eight-petalled lotus flower. The total estimated cost of the project is LKR 3080 million. Government of the People's Republic of China provided LKR 2430 million out of the total cost of the building. The building spreads over 14,000 square meters of floor area. The theater is equipped with ultra modern facilities such as an auditorium with 1,288 seats, a library, and training facilities.





In a creative industry, you have to be surrounded by environments that inspire you constantly. Resting on rocky cliffs above the Mediterranean, fashion designer Pierre Cardin's bubble house is the perfect eccentric home to inspire his avant garde work. 25 years ago, Cardin was hunting for a summer home that would fit his style; both chic and space-age. In Cannes, he found a partially constructed home that caught his fancy. Designed by architect Antti Lovag, an equally legendary man in his field, the bubble house was being built for a French businessman, who died midway through construction. After the death of the first owner, Cardin swooped in and completed the work.



Sanya Phoenix International Airport is an airport serving the city of Sanya in Hainan, the southernmost province of China. It is located about 15 km northwest of the city center. In 2011, Sanya Airport handled 10,361,821 passengers, making it the 18th busiest airport in China in terms of passengers, and 24th busiest in terms of movements with 74,392 in 2011. Known for its small size, it plays a vital part in bringing tourists into Sanya. Sanya Phoenix Airport Railway Station of the Hainan Western Ring High-Speed Railway, which is planned to be opened by the end of 2014, will be located just north of the airport. Initially, it will only be connected to the Sanya Railway Station on the Hainan Eastern Ring High-Speed Railway, and will provide frequent high-speed rail service to a number of points along Hainan's eastern coast.




This unusual Piano and Violin shaped building built in 2007 serves as showroom for exhibiting the plans for newly created district of Shannan in Marihuana City, China. The transparent Violin houses the escalators and the staircase for the main piano building which displays various plans and development prospects for newly developed area. It was reportedly designed by Heifer University of Technology and has been built to a scale of 50:1. Because of its unique shape it has become a popular tourist place and many newly weds have their photo taken in its front. The locals have dubbed it “the most romantic building in China”. Anhui is a province in the People's Republic of China. Located in eastern China across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, it borders Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a tiny section in the north.





The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum is situated in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is one of the city’s main landmarks. It was completed in 1996. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer with the assistance of structural engineer Bruno Contarini, who had worked with Niemeyer on earlier projects, the MAC-Niterói is 16 meters high; its cupola has a diameter of 50 metres with three floors. The museum projects itself over Boa Viagem, the 817 square metres reflecting pool that surrounds the cylindrical base “like a flower,” in the words of Niemeyer. A wide access slope leads to a Hall of Expositions, which has a capacity for sixty people. Two doors lead to the viewing gallery, through which can be seen the Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, and Sugarloaf Mountain. The saucer-shaped modernist structure, which has been likened to a UFO, is set on a cliffside, at the bottom of which is a beach.





Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia. Its neighbouring countries are China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west. Suối Tiên Amusement Park is an amusement park in District 9, Hồ Chí Minh City. The park includes several entertainment areas. The landscaping and attractions in the park illustrate Vietnam's history and legends, such as Âu Cơ and Lạc Long Quân as well as the Battle of Son Tinh and Thuy Tinh, known as "The Battle of The Mountain God and The River God". An artificial seawater pool is located in the park for sea-bathers. There is also a dinosaur garden. The Tiên Dong beach is a man-made beach featuring a gigantic waterfall with the face of an emperor sculpted into it. The park is colorful, and you will find giant sculpted dragons painted in gorgeous blue and orange pastels, soft red Buddha statues and lush green gardens, as well as all the normal theme park attractions; the park also has a zoo.





Hotel ANDRONIS LUXURY SUITES is located on the caldera, offering breathtaking views of the volcano, the surrounding islands and the Aegean Sea. Boasting a combination of classic luxury and modern design with minimalist. Andronis Luxury Suites - this white room located on the cliff of the Caldera, with a magnificent view of the Aegean sea, the nearby island of endless clear skies and the volcano. The hotel combines classic luxury and modern minimalism. Having been here once, you will want to stay here forever. The hotel Andronis promotes a healthy and natural lifestyle. It offers massage services, a luxury spa and a restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine. It serves just made ​​from bio products. Andronis suites carved into the rock, creating an excellent and authentic setting for a romantic getaway. They are decorated in a mix of traditional Cycladic and contemporary styles. Guests can relax in the soothing atmosphere of its elegant suites. In addition, a hot tub and stunning views of the island.





Hot Air Balloon Tours are one of the most popular activities in Cappadocia. Typically lifting off at sunrise, these rides last about an hour in the air and literally go wherever the wind may blow in the Cappadocia Valley. The balloon baskets hold around 20 people with the pilot riding air currents much like a boat, floating down the valleys, often below the ridge line and quite close to the chimney rocks. It's a fantastic ride and if you've ever had the urge to splurge on a balloon ride, this would be the place to do it. There are 15 balloon companies in the region.


Discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand, where you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set  from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogy in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and can be seen as it appeared in the films. The Green Dragon Inn is now open and is a special feature of our tours. All tours groups visit the inn as part of their tour and receive a complimentary refreshment. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm. As the Hobbiton Movie Set is located on a real New Zealand farm, we also offer you the opportunity to cuddle and bottle feed the pet lambs.


White Cyclone is a wooden roller coaster at Nagashima Spa Land in Mie Prefecture, Japan. At 1,700 m in length, White Cyclone is the third longest wooden roller coaster in the world, and is the longest wooden roller coaster outside of the United States. Despite its length, White Cyclone is still considerably shorter than the 2,479 m Steel Dragon 2000, the world's longest steel roller coaster, which is also at Nagashima Spa Land. In addition to being the third longest wooden roller coaster, White Cyclone is the seventh tallest wooden roller coaster in the world, and the fourth tallest wooden roller coaster outside the United States. A single ride on the White Cyclone costs ¥1,000, and the ride is restricted to those individuals above 1.3 meters in height; and those individuals under 54 years of age.


The Ryugyong Hotel is a 105-story pyramid-shaped skyscraper under construction in Pyongyang, North Korea. Its name "capital of willows" is also one of the historical names for Pyongyang. The building is also known as the 105 Building, a reference to its number of floors. Construction began in 1987 but was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered a period of economic crisis after the fall of the Soviet Union.

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