Friday, May 27, 2016

Musee d'Orsay, Paris

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d’Orsay – Museum in Paris

The Musee d’Orsay a museum in Paris, France is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station which had been constructed for the Chemin de Fer de Paris a Orleans and completed in time for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. It is towards the left bank of the Seine and was built between 1898 and 1900.The Gare d’Orsay had been inaugurated on 14th July 1900 and considered a masterpiece of industrial architecture.

It served as a terminus for the railways of south-western France till 1939. By 1939, it is said that the short platform of the station was unsuitable for the longer trains which came to be used for mainline services and after 1939, it was utilised for suburban services and some of it became a mailing centre at the time of the World War II.

 Thereafter it was used as a set for many films like Kafka’s The Trial adjusted by Orson Welles as well as a haven for the Renaud-Barrault Theatre Company. Over a period of time it as utilised as a parking lot and also a reception centre for prisoners of war. It was also used for auctioneers when the Hotel Drouot was being reconstructed.

Largest Collections of Impressionist & Post-Impressionist Masterpieces

The museum tends to hold mainly French art which dates back from 1848 to 1914 comprising of paintings, furniture, sculptures and photography. It has the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters like Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Several of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the opening of the museum in 1986.

It is said to be one of the largest art museum in Europe. Permission had been granted to demolish the station in 1970. However, Jacques Duhamel, Minister for Cultural Affairs, decided to build a new hotel instead and the station had been put on the supplementary list of Historic Monuments and eventually listed in 1978. The proposal of turning the station into a museum had come from the Directorate of the Museums of France and the idea was to construct a museum which would link the Louvre and the National Museum of Modern Art at the Georges Pompidou Centre. The said plan had been accepted by Georges Pompidou and a research was commissioned in 1974.

Officially Opened in December 1986

A competition had been organized in 1978 to design the new museum and ACT Architecture, comprising of a team of three young architects Pierre Colboc, Renaud Bardon and Jean-Paul Philippon, had been awarded the contract that involved the creation of 20,000 sq. m of new floor-space on four floors and the construction work was done by Bouygues.

 The Italian architect, Gac Aulenti was chosen in 1981, to design the interior inclusive of the internal arrangement, furniture, fittings and decoration of the museum. In July1986, the museum was equipped to receive its exhibits and it took 6 months to install the 2000 or so paintings, 600 sculptures together with the other works.

Most of the work of art had come from other museums like the Musee du Luxemboug and over a period of time, the collection had increased significantly due to the acquisitions and gifts. Officially, the museum opened in December 1986 by the president Francois Mitterrand.

Foz do Iguacu, Brazil


Foz do Iguacu – Seventh Largest in State Parana

Foz do Iguacu, a Brazilian city towards the border of Iguacu Falls is the 7th largest in the state of Parana where the population is around 265,000. It is situated almost 650 km west of Curitiba, the capital of the state, since it is the westernmost city in that state and the people of the city are known as iguacuenses. The Iguacu Falls which is placed on the border of Argentina and Brazil comprises of around 257 individual falls over 2.7 km and chosen as one of the New Natural Seven Wonders of the World.

There are around 80 nationalities namely Italy, Portugal, Lebanon, China, Paraguay and Argentina. Foz do Iguacu is so named since it tends to sit at the entrance of the Iguacu River, dischargingin the Parana River where the frontier among Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina lies. Iguacu means `large water, in Tupi-Guarani etymology. Foz do Iguacu is combined into a tri-national region adjoining Argentine city of Puerto Igauzu and the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este and the economy of the city depends on tourism with importance on trade and services.

Second Most Visited Leisure/Romantic Destination

As per research carried out by the Brazilian Tourist Institute –Embratur and the Foundation Institute of Economic Research – FIFE, in 2006, 2007 and 2008, Foz do Iguacu was said to be the second most visited leisure destination by foreign tourist after Rio de Janeiro. It had received 10 awards for Best Practices and Competitiveness Index in 2010 from the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism. Foz do Iguacu has been well-known by the different national as well as international media.

 The Guardian, the British newspaper states that it is the best foreign destination of UK while the U.S. World Network CNN has classified it as one of the most romantic destinations. Foz do Iguacu is home of the Itaipu dam which is the largest hydroelectric plant in power generation in the world. Having 20 generator units and installed capacity of 14,000 MW, it tends to provide around 17% of the energy spent in Brazil and 75% of consumption in Paraguay.

Does not Operate Its Own Municipal Transport Network

The city is mainly Roman Catholic with a relatively great minority of Muslims as well as Buddhists. The city has a huge mosques and a Buddhist temple. An annual event, Fenartec is held in the convention centre of the city commemorating the multicultural diversity of the city which is generally in May. With regards to transport, the city does not operate its own municipal transport network.

On the contrary it licenses four private bus companies to operate services on its behalf and the fares of the bus are set by the municipality for all the four companies. The city had initiated an integrated city fare and created a hub near the city centre in 2003. The transport network tends to extend to certain distant locations like the city’s airport and the Iguazu Park though not between the city and its neighbour Cludad del Este or with Puerto Igauzu that is serviced by some other companies.

All these routes are not part of the incorporated network which is reflected by higher charges.

Exciting Excursions in Ukraine


Take an Advantage of the Tour around Ukrainian Sightseen!

Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe, is well-known for the most beautiful women, the tastiest borscht and cherry dumplings. Many poets and artists were charmed by the scenic beauty of the banks of the river Dnipro and pastoral scenes of Ukrainian villages. Hundreds of thousands of tourists travel to Ukraine every yearto walk through cobblestone paved roads of Lviv and ancient cities of Western Ukraine, feast the eye on architectural wonders of Odessa and touch the stones of ancient churches in Kyiv, also known as the Mother of all Russian cities.

Each and every city of Ukraine has its own story and personality. With help of various excursions in Ukraine, you will get a possibility to investigate myths, mysteries and secrets of any city you like from different angles and again and again find something new and interesting. No matter during what season you are visiting Ukraine, there is always something to watch and do:
  • Sightseeing tours. If you want to get an eyeful of the famous monuments, places and building, select this kind of tours to travel through the streets of ancient cities and get a full immersion to the enchanting atmosphere of old places filled with histories.
  • Bus tours are great at any weather and through the window you will see the famous historical buildings and monuments accompanied by the guide’s story about every sight.
  • Do not stick to the cities! Take a look around and explore the regions with help of cycling tours in Ukraine.
  • Consider yourself a gourmet? Take an advantage of gastronomic tours around big cities of Ukraine. For example, Lviv is famous for its coffee, chocolate and pastries, Poltava is a center of traditional Ukrainian cuisine and it seems that it is impossible to find a person who has never heard of the Chicken Kiev.

Ukraine is a place of unique sights and one of them is Chernobyl – the place where the time has stopped forever. You can travel to Chernobyl and the it will send shivers down the spine with the sight of the town abandoned long ago.

Using assistance of professional help with travelling around Ukraine: entrust to professionals all arrangements of visa support, hotel accommodations, guide service and any other additional help you may need during the trip.

There are so many ways to visit the most thought after touring spots that the only thing you have to do is to select the most convenient to you. There is no need to worry about security while you are here. Ukrainian streets and spreads are peaceful and quiet, and all possible means and precautions are made to rest assured that this condition will remain the same.

Sanssouci, Potsdam


Sanssouci – Former Summer Palace of King Frederick

Sanssouci, earlier summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam near Berlin is considered among the German rivals of Versailles. Sanssouci though it is more close to Rococo style, is quite smaller than its French Baroque counterpart. It is also famous for the various temples and follies in the park. The palace is said to be designed by George Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff from 1745 and 1747 in order to fulfil the need of a private residence of King Frederick where he could relax from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court.

The name of the palace sans souci is a French phrase which translates as `without concerns, which means without worries or carefree. It symbolises that the palace was a place to relax rather than a seat of power. Sanssouci is a bit more than a big single story villa more like the Chateau de Marly than Versailles. With just ten principal rooms, it had been built on the top of a terraced hill towards the centre of the park and the effect of the personal taste of King Frederick in the design and decoration of the palace was so great that the style had been branded as `Frederician Rococo’ and his feeling for the palace had been so strong that he regarded it as a place which would die with him.

Slopes of Castle Utilised as Flower/Vegetable Gardens

Due to the disagreement regarding the site of the palace in the park, Knobelsdorff had been fired in 1746 and a Dutch architect, Jan Houman had completed the project. Frederick the Great, desired to cultivate plums, figs and wine on the doorstep of Potsdam and in 1744, he had a terraced garden designed in Sanssouci Park for the same. However, owing to the extremely beautiful view he decided on a large summer residence above the terraces a year later.

Besides this, the new palace and the picture gallery had been built in subsequent years where the slopes of the castle had been utilised as flower and vegetable gardens. Presently, one will also find the tomb of Frederick II, on the castle hill. With the pile of ruins towards the north of the castle, artificial segments of ruins had been grouped into a staffage of the art of the ancient world that had hidden a water basin at the same time and the fountains in the park received their supply of water from this basin.

Breath-taking Backdrop for Events

The king was fond of the lavish waterworks which he could enjoy only in the end since the system functioned properly only after the construction of the steam engine building in the 19th century. In the meanwhile, the baroque garden that had gone out of fashion had been redesigned in the style of the landscape park under the successors of Frederick the Great and then expanded by Frederick William IV.

 These were done by structures like Charlottenhof Castle, the orangery and the Roman Baths which were to bring part of Italy to his native country for his sake. The castles of Sanssouci Park are considered to be a breath-taking backdrop for events like the Potsdam court concerts or the musical festivals.

Lucca, Tuscany


Lucca – Living Testimony of Past Times

Lucca is situated in a green valley, North West of Florence and is a living testimony to past times, dominions and kingdoms. The impeccably preserved jewel of medieval architecture as well as the buildings stems charm, portraying layers of history from all areas of its narrow winding streets. The Lucca monuments, palaces, churches and roads with its very shape have a story to convey, right from the Roman times down through the Middle Ages, to the Napoleonic age and eventually to the Risorgimento. Every layer merger with preceding ages tends to mark the growth as well as the changes of the city.

The high broad walls that tend to illustrate the city seem to be a feature of the past with a pleasant element of its present. The ancient city is totally surrounded with walls which we see today that dates back to the 17th century. It is now no longer utilised for defense and are crowned by 4 km of green parkland with a beautiful place to walk, cycle or to stop for a picnic outing . The rich families who tend to enhance the city are closely linked with the various enchanting legends and tales of Lucca. At the heart of the city, the central square, maintains the shape of the Romanamphitheatre, showing the outline of an ancient arena.

Its Attractions Portrays Ancient History

Lucca is one of those cities which is most loved by all Tuscany, a stop which cannot be missed in an itinerary in exploring the region. Located on a plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps it is less than half an hour from the coast of Versilia. Lucca can be reached by car as well as by train from Pisa and Florence, which makes it perfect for visitors to get around especially on public transportation.

Several of its attractions portray its ancient history from the touch of the Roman amphitheatre which can be seen in the shape of the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro to the archaeological remains of the 12th century church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, to the different towers as well as villas from the 12th and the 16th centuries.

Surrounding Wall Lost it Military Importance

As the city progressed and got modernized, the walls that surrounded the old town were preserved which was not the case of several other cities in Tuscany, inclusive of Florence. Since the walls seemed to lose its military importance, the top of the wall turned out to be pedestrian promenade which is presently the main attraction of Lucca.

The area surrounding the wall is well cared for with green grass as well as trees seen all along the walls which have become a park that surrounds the city, blocking out the modern life. One can undertake a bike ride around the complete perimeter or stroll while enjoying a gelato or just rest from sightseeing on one of the several shaded benches which tend to line the main walkway.

Other attractions comprise of the Piazza of San Michele with its beautiful Church of San Michele in Foro, the Basilica of San Frediano and the Clock Tower and Guinigi Tower to mention a few.