Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal – Ruins of Ancient City in Guatemala

Tikal is the ruins of an ancient city lying in the midst of the lush rainforest in Guatemala in the heart of Peten and this ruin was reported by Ambrosio Tut, a gum-sapper, to a La Gaceta, a Guatemalan newspaper and named the site Tikal. Report was republished in 1853 by the Academy of Sciences Magazine wherein archaeologist as well as treasure hunters started visiting the forest.

 The forest canopy towers over this ruins up to 50 to 60 meters in height, a city of 60,000 – 70,000 inhabitants surrounded by corn fields which once bustled with plenty of activity. The ruin is one of the largest archaeological sites as well as urban centres of the pre-Columbia Maya civilization and is in the archaeological region of the Peten Basin in present northern Guatemala.

 It is situated in the department of El Peten and is a part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.Today it is one of the most amazing and enjoyable site of Mayan due to its remote location as well as its jungle setting. Tikal National Park is situation in Northern Guatemala’s’ Peten province within a large forest region which has been referred as the Mayan Forest.

World Heritage Site 

This extends to neighbouring Belize and Mexico. Tikal National Park, covered within a much larger Maya Biosphere Reserve exceeds two million hectares with contiguous additional conservation areas and is one of the few World Heritage site inscribed according to natural as well as cultural criteria for extra-ordinary biodiversity and archaeological importance.

The ruins of Tikal comprises of over 3,000 structures which extend to over six square miles and include palaces, ceremonial platforms, temples, ball courts, plazas, terraces, avenues as well as steam baths. Ancient Maya had started building Tikal around 600 BC while for the next 1500 years; it was an important religious, scientific and a political centre.

Tikal was a city of power and size with many beautiful buildings which have been discovered and many more yet to be uncovered. From the various Maya sites in Central America, Tikal is one of the most breath-taking sites, due to the scattered impressive buildings that are being restored in an area with several ruined buildings still enveloped by the jungle.

Wealthy Metropolis

Tikal was a wealthy metropolis with around 100,000 inhabitants as well as the seat of power for the great Jaguar clan lords and attracts archaeologist from various parts of the world. The wild-life surrounding the ruins has made it an amazing destination to explore with the combination of nature and archaeological remains.

The site consist of 57,600 hectares of savannah, wetlands, tropical broadleaf and palm forests with numerous architectural as well as artistic remains of the Mayan civilization from the Preclassic period to the decline and eventual end of the urban centre around 900 AD.The forest consists of more than 200 species of trees with over 2000 higher plants which have been recorded across the diverse habitats.

The diverse ecosystems and the habitats have a wide spectrum of neo-tropical fauna and flora with five cats, including Jaguar and Puma with several species of monkey and anteaters together with over 300 species of birds, among the notable wildlife. Tikal is a site with universal outstanding value left by the Maya civilization.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ashford Castle, Ireland

Ashford Castle – A Medieval Castle 

Ashford Castle is a medieval castle which has been extended over the centuries and converted into a five star luxury hotel near Cong on the Mayo-Galway border, on Lough Corrib shores in Ireland. It is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World organisation and earlier was owned by the Guinness family. It is one of the oldest castles in Ireland which dates back to 1228 and fits into every person’s fantasy of a medieval fortress with soaring turrets with breath-taking views of Lough Corrib together with a resident ghost.

The rooms and suites comprises of traditional design with original features which are well restored together with the modern amenities of a luxury hotel, Its rural setting accommodates a host of outdoor activities which include golf, fly-fishing, horseback riding as well as hawk flying overseen by Ireland’s first school of falconry. The hotel historical and sprawling atmosphere makes it an appropriate setting for couples who can relax in the treatment rooms or dine in some of their choice restaurants together with the elegant George V Restaurant or the tradition Cullen’s at the cottage.

Imposing Structure – Stood the Test of Time

Situated in the heart of County Mayo in western Ireland, this amazing castle dates back to the 12th century and has stood the test of time inside the imposing structure of the castle. Its richly decorated interior conveys centuries of care and excellent craftsmanship together with its amazing oak panelling, exquisite antiquities and fine antique furnishing that adorn the several nooks and crannies as well as the leisurely drawing rooms with refined Prince of Wales Cocktail Bar.

Its luxury accommodations are largely spacious and individually designed with elegant furnishings, marble bathrooms with the comforts of gracious living. Every bedroom portrays a magnificent view either across the beautiful gardens, flowing river or the wide waters of Lough Corrib. The rooms are decorated in cheerful pastels with two dining rooms and three bars with traditional afternoon tea served in the drawing room. An array of outdoor activities is offered with three running trails, two tennis courts, archery and falconry lessons together with a tour boat which docks at the castle’s jetty twice a day in order to take the guest across the Lake Corrib. They also provide tours led by pony drawn carriages or traps around the ground.

Privilege of a World Renowned Culinary Experience

One can have the privilege of a world renowned culinary experience, dining at Ashford Castle where the George V Room offers elegant dining in the midst of period décor and a world class menu of modern Irish as well as international cuisine. The Connaught Room is a more intimate venue from May to September offering the most gourmet cuisine specialising in French a la Carte, which are prepared from a Michelin Star Chef of the highest standard.

For a more casual and a traditional dinner, Cullen’s Cottages situated on the grounds, is less than a two minutes’ walk from the castle. The Dungeon Bar with resident entertainers provides traditional Irish music, ballads, poetry as well as storytelling as part of an evening entertainment. Ashford also has one of the advanced Equestrian Centres in the country with Ireland’s first Falconry School providing rare opportunities to handle birds of prey. Plenty of entertainment and enjoyment lies in stores for those intending to visit Ashford Castle and explore this amazing medieval castle.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku – Capital & Largest City of Azerbaijan

Bakuis the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan and also the largest city on the Caspian Sea as well as of the Caucasus region, located 28 metres below sea level. It makes the lowest lying national capital in the world as well as the largest city in the world that is located below sea level. It is situated on the southern shore of Absheron Peninsula that projects in the Caspian Sea comprising of two principal sections, the downtown area and the old Inner City. Baku’s urban population at the beginning of 2009 was over two million inhabitants and officially around twenty five percent of the inhabitants live in Baku’s metropolitan area.It is one of the most beautiful world’s cities at the joint of Europe and Asia.

The port city of Baku, the industrial, cultural as well as the political capital of Azerbaijan, located on the western Caspian seaside is rich in oil fields and it has 11 administrative districts and 5 townships. Baku is also the largest cultural centre of Azerbaijan. It is the place where a national theatre, the first of its kind lifted the curtain where the first opera was performed. The first Azerbaijan newspaper was published as well as the first library was opened here

Largest Industrial Centre

Presently, Baku is known to have around thirty museums, seven theatres, eleven institutions of higher studies, philharmonic, opera theatre, cinema theatres, film studio and libraries which are accommodated in the city’s most beautiful buildings with interior decoration that are every bit amazing as their interior cultural content.Being the largest industrial centre, it is the place of ancient oil fields, popular Oil Stones, unique plant of deep water foundation, modern drilling floating units and high capacity derrick barges.

 Moreover it is also famous for developed oil refineries, petrochemicals, chemical, light food, engineering branches of industries together with oil equipment production, building material, instruments, radio electronics and electrical well as shipbuilding. In addition to this, Baku is also a large rail junction as well as a port terminal in the Caspian Sea and from 1967; the Baku underground was operational in the capital.

Old City/Icheri Sheher – Inner City

Interesting site of Baku is the Old City which is enclosed within the fortress wall or Icheri Sheher – Inner City and this open air museum along with the popular Maiden Tower which is located here is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The fortress architectural appearance is different from its unique originality and contains 44 monument of medieval architecture which includes the unique Palace of the Shirvanshahs, earlier residence of the rulers of Shirvan.

A Zoroastrian monument – fire worshipers’ temple `Ateshgah’, is around 30 km away from Baku in Surakhani village. Some distance further in the village of Gobustan is a rare monument of world culture one of earliest centres of human civilization with 4,000 rock drawings of people and animals and this historical art reserve has also been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. There are several shopping centres, boutiques, exhibition venues, restaurants together with world famous brands hotel. Baku is an amazing place to explore with its wonderful architectural appearance.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv – 2nd Largest City in Bulgaria/Oldest City in Europe

Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia and one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is situated in the huge plain between the Rhodope Mountains towards the south of Bulgaria and the Balkan Range, or Old Mountains – Stara Planina, which runs through the centre of Bulgaria. Both the ranges are visible on clear days. The River Maritsa flows through the city towards southeast before forming the Greek/Turkey border to the Aegean Sea.

As of June 2013, it had a population of 341,041 inhabitants. It is the administrative centre of Plovdiv Province as well as the municipalities of the City of Plovdiv, Maritsa municipality together with Rodopi municipality where the population of the municipal body was 403,153 in February 2011. Moreover, it is also an important economic, cultural, transport, as well as an educational centre and the second largest city in the historical international region of Thrace after Istanbul and the tenth largest city in the Balkans after Istanbul, Athens, Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Skopje, Tirana and Zagreb.

Traces of Neolithic Settlement – 4000 BC

Plovdiv has a history of 6,000 years with traces of Neolithic settlements which dates roughly to 4000 BC and is ranked among the world’s oldest cities. The city is also known for most of its recorded history in the west by the Greek name – Philippoupolis, introduced in 340 BC. Plovdiv originally was a Thracian city which later became a Greek city and thereafter a major Roman city. During the Middle Age, it retained its strategic regional importance changing between Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires and came under Ottoman rule towards the 14th century.

Plovdiv was liberated from Ottoman rule by the Russian army on January 4, 1878 and remained within the borders of Bulgaria till July that year and then became the capital of the autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia. Plovdiv and Eastern Rumelia in 1885 became part of Bulgaria.Presently Plovdiv is a famous tourist destination and has several interesting places to explore It is also well-known for hosting the Plovdiv international Fair twice a year as well as for its ancient sites.

Host to Cultural Events 

Plovdiv is also a host to cultural events like the International Fair Plovdiv, the international theatrical festival `A stage on a crossroad’ and the TV festival `The golden chest’. It has several remains which have been preserved from antiquity like the ancient Plovdiv Roman theatre, Roman Stadium, Roman Odeon, the archaeological complex Firene, to mention a few. The American educational institution outside United States is the oldest which was founded in Plovdiv in 1860, was later moved to Sofia and is presently American College of Sofia. Old Plovdiv is compact and walk able and the main downtown road tends to get blocked to traffic. One will find a good collection of Bulgarian revival buildings which are used as museums, restaurants and hotels that are worth visiting.

The Roman Amphitheatre which was discovered in 1970 during a construction project which is nearby and a part of the pedestrian zone has merchants selling art together with other interesting items Besides one can visit St. Marina church which has an unique wooden tower, a mosque from the Ottoman Empire and the nearby hill, the old town center which has a famous gateway entrance. Plenty of interesting sites lies in store to be explored while holidaying in Plovdiv.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to Find Properties Abroad

Properties abroad
Online portals provide the user with immense knowledge and information which is easy and convenient. A wide variety of views, reviews, briefing, explanation and information can be availed for service providers catering to the needs of viewers. Information with regards to private properties abroad can also be traced in the internet world which features the latest updates and availability of the same with the opportunity to relax in great comfort at any of these favourable destinations. Private rental holiday houses and luxury villas are available in France, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Thailand, Switzerland and Spain and those interested in renting at these destinations could get in touch with them to complete the required formalities and sign to confirm the booking conditions.

Range of Luxury Villas

The provider has a range of luxury villas and properties and clients could check and make their choice from the various destination options made available to the viewers. The properties mentioned are private residence which is not available to all and interested individual could mention their preferences, likes, dislikes and requirements with regards to the property of their choice which will be taken care of by their service team on board. Viewers could also check on the booking conditions which are available on the brochure and make a note that a booking is accepted and becomes legally binding only when a confirmation receipt is issued to the buyer. It is essential to be aware of the terms and conditions prior to any decision or deal undertaken.

Enjoyable Stay At Amazing Destinations

Some of the conditions applicable are that when a booking is cancelled, the same will only be acceptable in writing and signed by the person who had originally signed the booking form and in case of a cancellation some charges would be applicable. The seller would also be entitled to retain a certain sum due to expenses related to clerical, administration etc. incurred in connection with the booking and cancellation. Should the amount exceed the proportion of the forfeited charges retained by the seller, the client would be liable to pay the said amount. Clients should take note of the terms and conditions and have an enjoyable stay at some of these most amazing destinations in the world.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius, Lithuania
Vilnius – The Largest & Capital City of Lithuania 

Vilnius, the capital and the largest city of Lithuania lies in the valley of the confluence of Neris and Vilnia rivers having 527,930 inhabitants. It is located in the southeast area of Lithuania and is the second biggest city of the Baltic States.

The area was occupied since the Mesolithic Age though it became a capital city from 1323, when the Grand Duke Gediminas got his seat transferred from Trakai to Vilnius. The word Vilnius is the masculine form of the river’s name, Vilnia which is feminine and is referred to the river surge. A monument to Gemiminas is placed in the Cathedral Square near the site of the former pagan temple and the Grand Duke is depicted when he had made a final decision, dismounted from his horse and had blessed the land to be the capital with its glory echoing like an iron wolf sound all over the world.

Vilnius is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality as well as of the Vilnius district municipality besides being the capital of Vilnius County. The first know records of this amazing destination as the Lithuanian capital was known from Gediminas’ letters in the year 1323.

Known for Old Town & Beautiful Architecture 

According to GaWC studies, Vilnius is categorized as a Gamma global city and is known for its Old Town with beautiful architecture. Moreover in 1994, this city had also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Till the 20th century, the Jewish influence led it to be described as the `Jerusalem of Lithuania’. As Napoleon passed through it in the year 1812, he had named it `the Jerusalem of the North’. Towards 2009, Vilnius became the European Capital of Culture along with the Austrian city of Linz. Vilnius is a cosmopolitan city having diverse architecture with 65 churches in and around Vilnius.

The city was developed around its Town Hall like most of the medieval town where its main artery, Pilles Street connects the Royal Palace with the Town Hall. One will find the most valuable historic as well as cultural sites here.

The buildings in the old town which are around 1,500, were built many centuries ago which has created a blend of various architectural style and though Vilnius is known as a Baroque city, one will come across examples of Gothic, Renaissance together with many other styles. This combination is also a gateway to the historic centre of the capital due to which it has been listed as the world heritage site.

Laser & Solar Technologies Manufacturers

Presently Vilnius has growing local advanced laser and solar technologies manufacturers’ centres successfully supplying their products to global markets. The Barclays Technology Centre was established in 2009 in Vilnius and is one of the four strategic engineering global centres. Vilnius has been a home to Eastern Orthodox Christian presence from the 13th or the 12th century and a famous Russian Orthodox Monastery of the Holy is placed near the Gate of Dawn, in Lithuania.

The Church of St. Michael as well as St. Constantine was built in 1913 and presently, a Supreme Council of the Old Believers is based in Vilnius. Several numbers of Christian and other Protestant groups are represented in Vilnius especially the Lutheran Evangelicals and the Baptists. Vilnius is an amazing destination and one will get enthralled exploring the various interest sites in and around this destination.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Preikestolen – Famous Attraction in Norway

Preikestolen or Prekestolen is also known by an English translation of Preacher’s Pulpit or Pulpit Rock and is a famous attraction in Forsand, Ryfylke, in Norway. It is located in Ryfylke, Rogaland, a country in Western Norway and the city of Stavanger, the fourth largest city in Norway is located 25 km from this site.

It consists of a steep cliff which towers at an impressive height of 604 meters over the Lysefjorden.The cliff is said to have been formed during the ice age, probably 10,000 years ago when the edges of the glacier reached the cliff and the water from it froze in the crevices of the mountain which eventually broke off large, angular blocks and were then carried away with the glacier.

 This could be the cause of the angular shape for the plateau. Along with the plateau, it continues to be a deep crack due to which the plateau at some point tends to fall down though all the geological investigations had indicated that this will not take place in the future. Geologist too has confirmed the safety of the plateau.

Earlier Known as Hyvlatanna/Planned Tooth

In olden times, the plateau was known as Hyvlatanna or planned tooth.Access to Preikestolen from Stavanger is done through the RV13 road as well as the ferry from Tau. Access by RV13 from the south is done through Sandnes via the ferry from Lauvik to Oanes and the roads are open with the ferries running throughout the year though in winter due to snow it may not be possible to hike to the top.

Road to the site ends at a parking facility at Preikestolen Fjellstue having a trail which extends from the parking area to the site and a trip hike to Preikestolen from the nearest car park takes around 3 to 4 hours for a person with normal fitness.

Walking to Preikestolen could be very steep in some places and the path begins at the Preikestolhytta which is elevated to approximately 270 metres above sea level climbing to 604 meter where the duration of the hike takes about one to three hours based on the experience as well as the fitness level of the traveller.

Best Time – April to October 

Though the elevation is only 334 meters and the walk is not really long, the total elevation loss and gain over the process of hike is more than one would expect since the paths ascends and descends at different ridges. During winter and spring time, walk is not recommended due to snow and ice with the possibility of the tracks being slippery.

The best time to hike the trail is from April to October where sturdy shoes and rain gear is essential for the hike. The rock formation could also be enjoyed from the sea by boat. The number of tourist to this site in recent year has been between 150,000 and 200,000 in 2012 making it the most natural visited tourist attraction in Norway and due to its increase in tourists arriving at this site, a project is presently in the pipeline for improving the path to the site which is accessible only through a 3.8 km route.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Inishmurray, Ireland

Inishmurray – Unique Uninhabited Island 

Inishmurray, which means Muireadheach’s island, is a unique uninhabited island which is situated 7 km off the County Sligo coast and is famous for the best examples of early settlement of Christian in Ireland and beyond. It occupies an area of 228 acres and was inhabited by over 100 people in 1880 though it was abandoned in 1948 and has remained a pilgrimage destination till date.

The island is one of Sligo’s top hidden gems and being isolated, it can be accessed only by boat in favourable weather condition. The beautiful journey from Rosses Point passes by the famous `Metal Man’, Coney Island, two eighteenth century lighthouses as well as a requested paid visit to the local seal colony.The island could be named after the early saint Muiredach mac Echdach of early 6th century of Killala.

One will find the remains of an early Irish monastic settlement there where Laisren – Saint Molaise, founded a monastery here in the sixth century. After the Battle of Cul Dreimhne, he was a confessor of Saint Columba on the nearby mainland. The island of Ireland had been attacked various times by the Vikings between the 8th and 9th centuries particularly in 807 and takes pride on strong links to famous saints and patrons like St. Colmcille.

Ecclesiastical Buildings

In the main monastery and in the Cashel area, one will find a 4.6 metres high by a 3 metres thick wall, enclosing the settlement, which still contains some of the ecclesiastical buildings like a stone roofed oratory, a clochan, two churches, a bee-hive hut together with other engraved slabs of stone, which are rumoured to be `cursing stones’.Besides these, one will also find fifteen buildings together with a schoolhouse that is visible on the island.

At the time of the early Christian period a large amount of stone carving took place on the island with over 100 carved stones and slabs in collection most of which have interesting and unusual crosses. It is presumed that the art of Inishmurray could have links with the Holy Land since several of the cross styles were used by crusading knights. A number was carved for grave slabs and another group were set up on the altars that were found scattered all over the island.

Stone Altars in Clockwise Route 

Around 16 stone altars are found arranged in a clockwise route around the island with each station marked by an engraved cross slab. Some of the slabs continue to remain in position though several of them have been moved by the OPW recently since like the slabs in the Cashel, they could be in danger of being robbed. Between 1998 and 1999, most of the altars had been excavated and rebuilt, ten to fifteen meters inland since they were in danger of falling in the sea.

Most of the cross slabs together with the other decorated stone from the Cashel had been locked in the schoolhouse towards the eastern area of the island. The Cashel, an early Christian art gallery has now some seven decorated stones, while the Cursing Stones have been removed to Belfast by the OPW in order to make copies.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Broads

Broads -Magical Waterland of Britain 

The Broads is the magical water land of Britain which is a beautiful environment of inland lakes that have been formed from medieval peat excavations and subsequently flooded. They are a network of navigable rivers and lakes in the English counties of Suffolk and Norfolk. It is made up of forty three separate Broads and six rivers which are connected by more than 200 km of lock free navigable waterways and due to its wild expanse of shallow lakes, woodland, grazing marshes and fen, is home to several of the rarest plants as well as wildlife in UK inclusive of colourful swallow tail butterfly and the enchanting white water lily.

The Broads and a few of the surrounding land have been considered as special area with a certain level of protection which is similar to a national park by the Norfolk and the Suffolk Broads Act 1988. The Broads Authority which is a special statutory authority is responsible for the management of the area which became operation in 1989. Its total area covers a space of 303 square kilometres, major part of which is in Norfolk with more than 200 kilometres being of navigable waterways.

Member of International Family of National Parks 

Thirteen broads have been opened for navigation with three more having navigable channels where some of these broads have been imposed with navigation restrictions during autumn and winter season. The Broads is also a member of the international family of National Parks and its unique landscape with shallow lakes as well as rivers makes it an appropriate area for wildlife.

The Broads offers tourists a wonderful experience with its rich mixture of attraction on land and water throughout the year in the historical city of Norwich. The beautiful countryside together with many picturesque charming towns and villages, the big skies and sparkling landscape of marshland field, tangled woodlands all adds up for a perfect adventure and relaxation, a time for leisure, to reflect, explore and enjoy a time of serenity and peace away from the hectic schedules of life.

Best Way to Explore – By Boat 

The best way to explore Broads is by boat and the famous Broads motor cruisers are holiday favourites since 1930. The current boats are provided with all comforts of home on board and should the tourist desire to visit during quieter or cooler month, it could be the best option for exploration. The freshness of the air, mingled with sparkling water and wide horizons during the day and the dark starry nights could give the visitors an awesome boating holiday experience on the Broads.

This location has been a boating holiday destination for many since the late 19th century and in 1878, small yachts were made available for hire from John Loynes. Being easy to access to the area by rail from London, Harry Blake in 1908, then created an agency for yachting holidays.

It has also been an important racing yachts centre since then and the design of the boats have undergone several innovative features, which include short fin keels and separate rudder and the design eventually was used on seagoing yachts since the 1960s.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Knap of Howar

Knap of Howar – Oldest Known Standing Settlement – NW Europe

Knap of Howar is one of the oldest known standing settlements of Scotland which lies in North-West Europe towards the west shore of Papa Westray in Orkney and the island is home to the Knap of Howar. It comprises of two inter-connected houses which dates back to the Neolithic or the New Stone Age.

 The name `Knap of Howar’, as it is named means the `knoll of mounds’, and describes the sandy dunes that cover the remains prior to their first excavations by William Traill and William Kirkness in the year 1929. The Knap had been inhabited during the same period as the famous Skara Brae site on Orkney mainland of Scotland though it was constructed earlier and is contemporary with a number of chambered cairns, elaborate mortuaries, which includes one on the Holm of Papay.

The combination of wind and winter storms have revealed stonework as well as shell packed midden or waste which have been utilised in insulating the structure. A two well-constructed oval and inter-connected stone buildings or house structures have been discovered which is presumed to belong to the Iron Age. Most of the Neolithic structures at that time were labelled `Pict’s Houses’ though William Traill was aware that these structures were likely to be much older than the Pictish period.

Representing Neolithic Farmstead

The well preserved buildings had been occupied by Neolithic farmers for over 5000 years back which had intact doorways, stone benches, stone partitions and the buildings were preserved well. They are considered to represent a Neolithic farmstead which was excavated between 1930 and 1970.The remains were left till 1070 when fresh excavations were done and consolidated by the Ministry of Works, presently Historic Scotland and was supervised by Anna Ritchie. Radiocarbon dating indicated that the Knap of Howar was inhabited between 3700 and 2800 BC.

The walls are 1.6 metres with the largest encompassing of an area of 10 metres by 5.0 metres and the smaller 7.5 metres by 3 metres. It has an upright slab dividing them in rooms and in several ways similar to Skara Brae on mainland Orkney, with the fittings and furniture which includes the hearth, built-in cupboards, pits and stone benches.

Similar to Modern Orcadian

The waste remains were the main pastoral rearing for cattle, sheep and pigs and there is also some evidence of cereal cultivation as well as harvesting of fish and shell fish. Entrances to the houses were by low narrow passage which provided a shelter from the Orkney weather and were also linked by an internal passageway which seemed very low.It is presumed that the Knap could not have been built by the primitive hunter gatherers but a product of confident farming society according to Ritchie.

From the evidence of the chambered cairns it indicates that they are similar to modern Orcadian – inhabitants of Orkney, though slightly a shorter version and few could have lived into their fifties. The people of Knap farmed cattle and sheep besides fishing. Pottery was also discovered at the Knap of Howar which is known as Unstan ware and it was at Unstan where evidence of such pottery was first located.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Monte d’Accoddi

Monte d’Accoddi – An Archaeological Site in Northern Sardinia 

Monte d’Accoddi is an archaeological site situated in northern Sardinia, Italy in the territory of Sassari near Porto Torres. It is a site of megalithic structure and the oldest part dates to around 4000-3659 BC; which was discovered in 1954 in a field that was owned by a Segni family.

 The structure seems to have a base of 27mx27m, probably reaching a height of 5.5 m and culminating in a platform of around 12.5 x 7.2m which is accessible through a ramp. It has been described as an altar, temple or a step pyramid and was partially reconstructed during 1980s.

The site is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway which is near the hamlet of Ottava. The Prenuragic shrine of Monte d’Accoddi could probably be the most comprehensive representation of prehistory in Sardinia being continuously frequented from the Middle Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age and because it contained the most significant elements of traditions as well as innovation during the Neolithic to the Eneolithic period. There has been a lot of speculation regarding its hypothetical genetic relationship, significance and reconstructive hypothesis.

Complex History 

Excavations carried out at Monte d’Accoddi have portrayed a very long as well as a complex history with regards to this monument. While the original site seems to be destroyed by fire, it had been replaced during a second phase around 3500 BC during the Ozieri era which consisted of a megalithic sanitary of 4.7 metres high menhir being the focal point.

At the time of the third stage towards the end of the Ozieri era or at the beginning of the Filigosa-Abealzu era between 3000 to 2800 BC, the sanctuary as well as the menhire had been pulled down where a Red Temple was constructed with its floor and walls painted in red.

The fourth stage was the construction of stepped temple that had a ramp for access and resembled a ziggurat. This was probably built during the Chalcolithic era somewhere in 2800 BC which is the excavated and restored site presently.

Currently the menhir stand by the side of the ramp and towards the opposite side are two large boulders having cup marks together with a flat stone slab that rest on small support boulders. The stone slab has curious handles carved in it. At first this slab with its supports seems like a dolmen though it is considered as an altar.

Hut Foundations Around the Site 

Besides this there are hut foundations around the site. One can reach this site from the older dual carriage road from Port Torres to Sassari that runs through Ottava and not the autostrada which is confusingly called, in October 2010, the SS131. Sign post of this site is placed to the right – south west of this road, where a lane leads to a large car park.

It is a few hundred metres walk from the car park along a good path towards the entrance and the ticket office is in the compound with amazing displays in the office on the site with its stage wise development. It is an interesting site to explore and learn more about the people during that era.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Madame Tussauds London

Madame Tussauds – World Famous Wax Attraction

Madame Tussauds is a world famous wax attraction in London with branches in various major cities which was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud and formerly known as `Madame Tussaud’s. Madame Tussauds has now grown to be a major tourist attraction in London, incorporating till 2010, the London Planetarium in its west wing displaying wax works of historical as well as royal figures, sports star, film stars and infamous murderers.

It is owned and operated by Merlin Entertainments. The Museum has expanded and continues to expand with branches in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin, Blackpool, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, New York City, Shanghai, Sydney, Vienna, Washington, D.C., Wuhan and Tokyo with temporary museum in Busan – Korea, together with location coming in various areas like Beijing, Singapore, Prague, Orlando and San Francisco. The London museum being a world famous wax attraction provides an ultimate celebrity experience in the heart of Time Square comprising of over 225 incredibly life like stars and icons.

New York Pass/Marvel Super Heroes 4D

The New York Pass offers free entry to witness this attraction while entrance to Marvel Super Heroes 4D is provided with an additional fee. The New York Pass not only provides a free entry to Madame Tussands Wax Museum, but also 80 other attractions within New York City.At Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, one can take the opportunity of taking a picture with their favorite celebrity where the wax replica of over 100 replicas look real as though they are really present there.

The two floors, 30,000 square foot museum gives visitors the opportunity of getting close and personal with the celebrity where touching is highly encouraged and the pictures look very realistic. Some of the replicas do have fun little features included, such as when one touches celebrity Jennifer Lopez’s backside, she tends to blush. Being in partnership with Marvel Comics, Madame Tussauds has assembled some of the Avengers, a multi-sensory Marvel 4D Theatre which enables film viewers to experience the action as well as get wet when the superheroes tend to save Las Vegas from being destroyed.

Face to Face Experience with Celebrities 

Making a wax figure is a lengthy process which could take from four to six months. When a researcher prepares a survey on the celebrity or star in the attraction, they tend to obtain all information with regards to the celebrity, which includes on how they would pose for pictures, their common facial expressions together with their hairstyles and preference on their attire.

If they are in a position, they then come in for a sitting. The stylist takes over their measurements together with various photos which provide the artist with the opportunity to match the hair as well as eye shade perfectly. The team use oil based paint for the face, and applies it in layers, thereby creating a skin complexion that seems very real.

Another amazing fact is that the body is not only made of wax but of steel and clay as well. Madame Tussauds adds or rotates new figures, to keep the attraction exciting and new, frequently. Once can get the opportunity of a face to face experience with some of their favorite celebrities and capture them in picture and cherish those memories for a life time.