Monday, September 1, 2014

Krivoklat Castle,Prague

Krivoklat Castle
Krivoklat – Oldest & Important Castles of Czech Republic

Krivoklat is a market town in the Central Bohemian Region of Czech Republic and also a place where the Krivoklat Castle is placed. The market town is one the most popular tourist location as well as the seat of the Krivoklatsko Landscape Protected Area.Krivoklat Castle is located 40 km west of Prague and was built in the late 13th century and belongs to the oldest and the most important castles of the Czech Republic.

It was built as a hunting lodge, the seat of the royal Master of Hounds and a weekend getaway for the Premysl Princes. The original gothic castle was discovered during the reign of Premysl Otakar II and later on was rebuilt by king Vackay IV and then enlarged by king Vladislav of Jagellon during the 15th century who built the vaulted Gothic hall having several resemblances with the famous Vladislav Hall at the Prague Castle.Several times the castle got seriously damaged after which it was turned into a dreadful prison and its importance reduced to a great extent. In the 19th century during the Roman times, the castle was reconstructed.

Used as Prison by Habsburgs

The early childhood days of Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV were spent here before they were sent off to France. The Krivoklat Caste was used as a prison by Habsburgs and in its round tower, Edward Kelley; the English alchemist was imprisoned for two and a half years since he refused to reveal the secret of the philosopher’s stone to Rudolf II.

Its historical interiors comprises of the chapel, the Knight’s Hall, the Furstenberg library, the Royal Hall, the jail and the Furstenberg museum while its cylinder shaped tower housed an exhibit on hunting weapons. Another amazing fact regarding a trip to Krivoklat is the surrounding countryside along with various trails which are apt for hiking, biking and much more.

The Huderka tower too offers an awesome view around. It present appearance dates back to 1826 when the Furstenberg family had extensively restored it after it was damaged by fire and the reconstruction was done by Joseph Mocker and Karel Hilbert, the Czech architects.

Tourist Destination/Museum/Theatrical Exhibition 

Currently the Krivoklat castle is used as a museum, a tourist destination as well as a place of theatrical exhibitions with gothic paintings and books which are stored here. Since the 14h century, the village Krivoklat gradually developed under the castle. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the first cottages developed below the castle and the hamlet came to be known as Budy. Camrdoves, a nearby hamlet grew and towards the 17 and 18th centuries they combined into a single village.

In 1886, the hamlets of Amalin Budy, Camrdoves and Castonice had a single administrative unit – the village of Krivoklat. In 1851, a post office was opened under the German name, PURGLITZ. The village was part of the Austrian monarchy till 1918, in the RAKONITZ – RAKOVNIK district which is one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia.

It is easy to reach Krivoklat from Prague. A train can be taken to Beroun which needs to be changed thereafter for a local train that stops in the village of Krivoklat. The duration of the journey is around 83 minutes. Above the castle, one will find beautiful carp filled ponds with the reflection of the church which makes the view amazing. Krivoklat is an interesting destination to explore with its beautiful scenery around it.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Liverpool, England

Ian Moran/Getty
Liverpool – The Most Splendid Setting of English City

Liverpool, a city in Merseyside, England lies on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. The Mersey Estuary which divides Liverpool from the Wirral Peninsula and the boundaries of Liverpoolare adjacent to Bootle, Crosby and Maghull towards south, Sefton to the north and Kirkby, Huyton, Prescot and Halewood in Knowsley towards the east.

It was a borough from 1207 and a city from 1880. Towards 2011, the population was 466,415. Liverpool is described as the most splendid setting of any English city, at 176 miles towards northwest of London and situated on the Liverpool Bay of the Irish Sea, it is built across a ridge of sandstone hills which rise to a height of about 230 feet above sea level at Everton Hill.

It represents the southern boundary of the West Lancashire Coastal Plain, Being a historical part of Lancashire, Liverpool’s urbanisation and its expansion enhanced its status as a major port which included the participation in the Atlantic slave trade. Moreover, Liverpool was also the port of registry of the ocean line, the RMS Titanic together with several other Cunard and White Star ocean lines like the RMS LUSITANIA, Olympic and Queen Mary.

 Liverpool’s status as a port city has been responsible to its diverse population which historically came from a wide range of people, religious as well as culture, especially those from Ireland.

Home to Ancient Black African/Chinese Community

Liverpool, England
Besides this, the city is also a home to the ancient Black African community as well as the oldest Chinese community in Europe. The natives of Liverpool are called Liverpudlians while colloquially as Scousers.

The word Scouse seems to be a synonymous with the Liverpool accent and dialect. Liverpool’s wealth as a port city helped in the construction of two major cathedrals which dates from the 20th century namely the Anglican Cathedral, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott which played host to the annual Liverpool Shakespeare Festival and has one of the longest naves, the largest organs, the heaviest as well as the highest peals of bells in the world.

The Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral on the other hand, which is on Mount Pleasant, near Liverpool Science Park was first planned to be much larger, according to the original design of Sir Edwin Lutyens, though only the crypt got completed and the cathedral was finally built in a simple design by Sir Frederick Gibberd.

Though it is built on a smaller scale than Lutyens’ original design, it is capable of incorporating the largest panel of stained glass in the world. Hope Street, the road that runs between the two cathedrals is a pleasing coincidence to believers and the cathedral is colloquially referred as Paddy’s Wigwam because of its shape.

The World Capital City of Pop

The city celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2007 and held the European Capital of Culture title with Stavanger Norway in 2008. It has also been listed as `the World Capital City of Pop’ by Guinness World Records, by the popularity of The Beatles as well as the other groups from Mersey beat period and much later who have made their contribution to its status as a great tourist destination. Tourism is the main economy of Liverpool.

 Many areas of Liverpool city centre were listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004. Liverpool is also the home of two of its Premier League football clubs namely Liverpool and Everton where matches between the two are known as Merseyside derby and the world famous Grand National also takes place annually, on the outskirts of the city at Aintree Racecourse.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Almaty – Largest City & Capital of Kazakhstan 

Almaty the former capital of Kazakhstan is still its largest city having a population of 1,421,868 by August 2010 with 9% of the country’s population located in one city.Almaty means `city of apple tress’, and due to its relatively mild weather, it has a wide range of apple trees. Moreover, the Almaty area is considered to be the genetic home of a variety of apples which is often visited by scientists as well as researchers from all over the world, to get to know more above the complex system of genetic as well as to discover the origin of the domestic apple. Almaty is also a financial as well as a cultural centre of Central Asia and takes pride in its moderately sized tourist as well as expatriate communities. It is also one among the top 50 most expensive cities worldwide for expats according to Mercer Human Research, to live in.

Stock Exchange – Largest in Central Asia 

This destination is an awesome gateway to distinctive and an undiscovered country where the Kazakh people are very pleasantly hospitable, kind and welcoming. Almaty still continues to be the centre of commerce for Kazakhstan with the stock exchange together with the largest banks that are located there, including Kazkommerts bank, the largest bank in Kazakhstan as well as one of the largest players in Central Asia. Its Stock exchange is one of the largest in Central Asia which is responsible for a major proportion of the economy of the country. New developments to increase the financial facilities are in the pipeline and presently Almaty Financial District and Esentai Park is under construction.
Centre for Asian Winter Games – January 2011

Almaty is a city with amazing beauty and is situated in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau towards the extreme south-east of Kazakhstan making the backdrop of mountains with the taller buildings a dramatic and an impressive sight. It was also the centre for the Asian Winter games in January 2011. On a clear weather, one will see the beautiful rugged snow-capped mountains at the city’s doorstep towards the south and since the city slopes from south to north, navigating the streets tends to get a lot easier. If one is travelling uphill, then they are heading towards the south. One will find a small mountain range which borders the city towards the east.

Kazakhstan’s Main Transport Hub

Almaty is also Kazakhstan’s main transport hub where most of the travellers pass through instead of lingering. Should one decide to stay on for some days, they can enjoy the various green parks with colourfully illuminated fountain, the excellent museums, theatres, markets and shops. Some of Central Asia’s best selections of restaurants, clubs and bars are available for eating, drinking as well as dancing. Besides this, it is also the starting point for great hikes, treks, drives as well as skiing in the Zailiysky Alatay and Kyrgyzstan and is a short distance for the central Tian Shan in Kazakhstan’s further south-eastern point. The most appropriate time to visit Almaty is during mid-April to late May and mid-August to mid-October where the climate is not too hot or too cold and is very pleasant.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Tube -London

The Tube -London
The London Tube or the Underground is a rapid public transport system serving a large part of Greater London as well as parts of the home counties of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex where it serves around 270 stations and 402 kilometres of track out of which 55% is above ground. Its history dates back to 1863 when the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground railway opened between Paddington and Farringdon serving six intermediate stations.

The Underground network, which has been nicknamed The Tube’, by generations of Londoners, has now increased to 270 stations and 11 lines stretch deep into the Capital’s suburbs and further on. The network incorporates one of the world’s first underground railways, which is now part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines as well as the first line in 1890, to operate electric traction trains, the City & South London Railway which is now part of the Northern line and in 2012/13 has carried around 1.23 billion passengers all across the various stations.

Tunnel Constructed Using the Cut & Cover Concept

The system’s first tunnel was constructed below the surface using the cut and cover concept. Later on circular tunnels were dug through the London Clay which was much deeper and the former lines were marketed as the Underground in early 20th century on maps as well as signs at central London stations. Private companies which owned and operated the railways were merged in 1933 and formed the London Passenger Transport Board.

 London Underground Limited – LUL, the prevailing operator is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London TfL, which is the statutory corporation that is responsible for several elements of transport network in Greater London. The idea of constructing an underground railway was proposed in 1830 to link the City of London with some of the railway termini in the urban centre with the Metropolitan Railway permitting to build a line in 1854.

Underground Railway Opened in January 1863

The underground railways was opened in January 1863 using gas lit wooden carriage hauled by steam locomotives which was a success serving 38,000 passengers on the first opening day which was done by borrowing trains from other railways to provide service to the passengers. The Metropolitan district Railway which is also known as the District Railway opened in December 1868 from south Kensington to Westminster as a part of a plan for an underground inner circle which connected London’s main line termini.

The Circle line with the Metropolitan and District railways was completed in 1884 with the cut and cover concept.Both the railways expanded with the District building five branches towards the west which reached Ealing, Hounslow, Uxbridge, Richmond and Wimbledon while the Metropolitan extended towards Verney Junction in Buckinghamshire which is over 50 miles from Maker Street and the centre of London.

The Tube or Underground in the city of London is one of its kinds and London would not exist without the tube and the visitors would not want to leave the British capital without the `Mind the Gap’ image, which is the first underground railway system in the world.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lviv – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Lviv – Cathedral of Saint George
Lviv is a city in western Ukraine which was once a major population centre of the Halych-Volyn Principality, the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, the Habsburg Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria and later on the capital of Lwow Voivodeship at the time of the Second Polish Republic. Lviv is the biggest city of the region as well as the historic city centre on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Formerly being the capital of the historical region of Galicia, Lviv is now considered as one of the main cultural centres of present time Ukraine. The historical centre of Lviv, along with its ancient buildings, together with cobblestone streets has survived the Soviet and Nazi occupation during World War II which remained unscathed.

The city has various industries together with institutions of higher education like the Lviv University and Lviv Polytechnic and is also a home to several world class cultural institutions which include philharmonic orchestra and the famous Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. In September 2006, Lviv celebrated its 750th anniversary with a son et lumiere in the city centre.

Central European Flair in Architecture

Lviv is situated on the edge of the Roztochia Upland around 70 km from the Polish border and 160 km from the eastern Carpathian Mountains with an average altitude of 296 metres above sea level. The city has a multicultural history which was founded by Kind Daniel of Galicia in 1256 which fell under the Polish control towards the 14th century where Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Germans and others lived together for centuries.

Lviv which is located in the Ukrainian region of Ukraine as a Soviet province has most of its signs only in Ukraine with only a few in Russian. Due to its Polish and Austro-Hungarian history, this city has Central European flair in its architecture which makes it one of the most amazing cities in Eastern Europe.

 The people here are very proud of their history as linguistically, culturally as well as ethnically, Ukrainian city has a population of over half a million from World War II before which the majority were Polish, leaving its impact of Polish history.

Lviv – Traditional Celebration of Holidays with Themed Festivals

Vysokyi Zamok – High Castle is its highest point above sea level where the castle has an amazing view of the historic city centre together with its distinctive green domed churches accompanied with intricate architecture. The old walled city was at the foothills of the Vysokyi Zamok on the banks of the river Poltva. In the 13th century the river was utilised to transport the goods.

The city of Lviv is an interesting tourist destination which is very captivating, rich in historic architecture with an indulgent coffee house culture. It is a city with impressive temples with ancient squares, cosy narrow streets, museums and galleries which house artistic masterpieces of various historical events. The traditional celebration of the holidays came from Lviv with the new format of several themed festivals.

The city has a majority of new art as well as modern culture trends in the country together with the ideas of several interesting entertainment. Lviv is full of activity all year round and tourist visiting this city during spring, summer; autumn or winter will have a memorable stay at this amazing historical destination.