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.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Shibam, Yemen


Shibam – Oldest Urban Planning of Vertical Construction

Shibam the 16th century city is surrounded by a fortified wall and is one of the oldest as well as the best example of urban planning created on the standard of vertical construction. Due to its impressive tower-like structures when tend to rise out of the cliff edge of Wadi Hadramaut, it has received the nickname of `The Manhattan of the desert’.

 Situated at an important caravan halt on the spice and incense route through the Southern Arabian plateau, the city of dwellings up to seven storeys high is developed on a fortified, rectangular grid plan of streets as well as squares.

The Shibam city is said to be constructed on a rocky division several hundred metres above the wadi bed and out-datesan earlier settlement which had been partially ruined due to massive flood in 1532-3. The dense layout of Shibam that is surrounded by adjoining tower houses with the outside walls tends to express an urban response to the need for refuge as well as protection by opposing families and their political and economic prestige.

Susceptible Expression of Arab/Muslim Traditional Culture

The domestic architecture of Shibam comprising its visual impact coming out of the flood plan of the Wadi, functional design, and material as well as construction technique is said to be outstanding though extremely susceptible expression of the Arab and the Muslim traditional culture. Shibam is said to be the first city on earth with vertical master plan. Since 1982, it is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city is a home to densely packed buildings that tend to range from four to eight storeys which began in 300 AD though now mostly built after 1532.

It is well-known due to its distinct architecture where the houses are made of mud brick and around 500 of them are tower blocks. The architectural style had been utilised to protect residents from Bedouin attacks. While Shibam had been in existence for around 1,700 years, most of the houses in the city tend to originate from the 16th century and several of them have been rebuilt various number of time in the last few centuries. Shibam has been a symbol for the rise as well as the flexibility of Middle Eastern culture in the misery of the surrounding desert.

Outstanding Universal Value

Due to the fortified ring wall, the city has survived almost two thousand years in spite of its risky position adjacent to the Wadi floodplain. It was built over the pre-Islamic capital of Shabwa after it was ruined in 300 AD, mainly levelling the former community. Few types of wreckage seemed to remain from the earlier constructions in Shibam comprising of a mosque that was constructed in 904 together with a castle which was built in 1220.

Shibam seems to bear witness to the cultural identity of the Wadi Hadramaut people together with the earlier traditional way of living. The characteristics which tend to carry Outstanding Universal Value comprise of the layout of the city, the city skyline, the city wall, the traditional buildings as well as the relationship of the city and its surround landscape which continues to be maintained.

Carcassonne – Fortified City in Southern France

Carcassonne, a fortified city in Southern France is located on a rocky hilltop and the town stands up with turrets, circled by thick stone wall that makes the fortified city seem like something out of a children’s storybook when viewed from a distance. The castle is said to viewed best from outside particularly since the town within the walls seems very appealing. The best way to reach Carcassonne is through the Canal du Midi which is a 150 mile waterway that tends to run through some of the most picturesque locations of Southern France. Several of the boat tours on the canal tend to stop at Carcassonne.

Since 1997, being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is most of the people’s idea of the prefect medieval castle. The old walled town known as La Cite tends to attract over 4 million tourists each year, especially in high summer. The fortified settlement prevailed on the hill since the pre-Roman era where Carcassonne now seems to stand. It is an outstanding example of a medieval fortified town in its present form, with the massive defences surrounding the castle and the adjoining buildings, together with its streets and fine Gothic cathedral.

It is also of extraordinary importance due to the extensive restoration campaign that was undertaken by the well-known architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc who was one of the founders of the modern science of conservation.Viollet-le-Duc took the renovation project in hand and the rest is said to be history. Owing to its position on historical routes through France, the area had been inhabited for over 5,000 years.

 It had been an important centre from 2,500 years ago ahead and was first fortified by the Romans, given the name Carcaso. Thereafter the Romans were driven out and Cracassonne fell in the hands of several invading tribes. It thus became more fortified and progressed particularly after falling into the hands of the powerful Viscount Trencavel. Carcassonne had reached its low point towards the middle of the 19th century when a century of abandon had made it extremely dangerous wherein the government had commanded it to be demolished.

The buildings in the city were occupied but were in very poor condition and the efforts of the mayor and the antique monuments inspector decision reversed and the restoration of the town started shortly thereafter. Restoration was disapproved since it ignored to certain extent, local traditions, for instance the local roofs were not steeply sloping or covered with slates, though those with less concern for these technicalities were of the belief that the results would be exceptional if mistaken.

Carcassonne comprise of a lower, external defensive wall surrounding a higher wall with several towers which enclosed the ancient town. Besides the streets of medieval dwellings, in the town one will find a cathedral and a chateau. One will also find a museum which explains the impact as well as the story of the Albigensian crusade.Carcassonne seemed to profit greatly from tourism, though also counts on manufacture as well as wine making as some of its other important economic segments

Later, as we enter the 13th century, the Albigensian Crusade under Simon de Montfort attacked and seized this cathar stronghold, and again more fortifications were added, sufficient to keep Edward the Black Prince out of Carcassonne during the Hundred Years War.

Subsequently the location and town gained strategic importance from being on the frontier between France and Spain. This became less important after 1659 when the Treaty of the Pyrenees passed the town and region definitively to France - hence from the 17th century onwards the need for a defended city passed and Carcassonne became an important regional town.

Essentials of travelling in Dubai


The city of Dubai today is associated with Eastern unalloyed luxury. Here you will find many “the most” places in the world – the highest skyscraper, the most expensive buildings, the highest dancing fountains and so on. Millions of tourists visit Dubai every year and their acquaintance with the city starts with the airport.

This place will impress you with the innovations, services and again, luxury. Where else will you be able to swim in swimming pools, relax in Jacuzzi and sauna and spend time in a fully equipped gym?

Another interesting place to visit – Zen Gardens for those who want to relax from overcrowded places.

Sleepyheads will adore a possibility to take a nap in a Snoozecubes – convenient and relaxing places to rest that can be rented by the hours.

On the territory of the airport there is a five-star hotel with several luxurious restaurants.

To get to the city from the Dubai International Airport you can use several means of transportation – by bus or by Metro (by the way, the longest fully automated metro network in the world, by the way!). But to feel the atmosphere of the city it would be a wise solution to take a taxi from Besides, such number of luxurious cars on the roads you won’t find elsewhere!

As for the public transport system of the city, it is beyond all praise – you can easily get to every major sight of the city. Today the most developed systems are bus and Metro transport options, and there is also a tram system that helps tourists to get to the remote places like Jumeirah Beach Residence and Palm Jumeirah.

The best time to visit Dubai is in winter. Then the temperatures are more mild and do not rise higher than mid-30 C. The summer heat can drive anyone crazy (sometimes temperature can reach 50 degrees!), however, even in July tourists can find a million ways to keep cool. By the way, the number of conditioners in the city of Dubai is astonishing – you can find a conditioner literally anywhere!

Things to remember: 

The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country and that calls for certain behavior of tourists if you want to show respect to the culture of this country. For example, you have to wear modest clothes in public places, to be polite and hold back from hugs and kisses on public for a while.

There are many tours for non-Muslims that are very entertaining and useful as you may learn a lot about Islamic culture.

If you visit Dubai with business purposes, do not forget about praying times of Muslims, so schedule your meetings taking it into consideration.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Travelling to the North

Nowadays in our stress-filled world people are constantly dreaming of making holidays. They look forward to heading for a distant place with a lot of sunshine and warm beaches, being away from all their usual routines, getting some fresh emotions and a change of perspective. But have you ever thought about travelling to an exotic place covered with snow and ice? This may be the regions of the North Pole or the Arctic. This way of spending a fantastic holiday is probably even better than a summer one, but one of the most unachievable peaks of the planet, the cold Arctic, accepts only the most courageous people who strive to overcome difficulties and to achieve the edge of the Earth.

The North Pole

The North Pole is the place where a white color predominates in everything, a drifting ice is under the feet and a lot of kilometers of a severe ocean around. The regions of the North Pole are the most mysterious destination on the Earth. The ice plunged into the water, the icebergs shining of various shades of the blue and the beauty of azure water –these are inimitable breathtaking views of the north. They attract those who dream of following the routes of the prominent navigators, gain an experience and change their attitude to life. The North Pole is a mixture of romance, uncertainty and heroism. If you want to admire the natural beauty of the north, test your strengths, reserve a state-room on board a modern ice-breaker equipped with up-to-date facilities and have a good time with the North Pole Expedition.

The Arctic 

The landscapes of the northern latitude are extremely unique. You don`t meet such marvelous places anywhere. The snowy ice-hummocks and northern lights of the Arctic are very fascinating sights. These regions are really virgin and are considered to be the ecologically cleanest on the Earth. The voyage to the Arctic is very valuable because each instant is the struggle against a severe reality and an income of unforgettable impressions.


Spitzbergen is an arctic archipelago which contains four large islands and more than a thousand smaller ones. It is the remotest place behind the polar circle. This region is known as the land of immigrants and polar bears. Surrounded by the mountains, in the lights of the polar night Longyearbyen is a fabulous settlement with comfortable hotels and cozy restaurants with stuffed bears. The brave, enterprising inhabitants of this region, people of different nations and nationalities, work hard building the paradise at the edge of the Earth. At first sight it is a common area, however, it is very cold and the best way of travelling here is by ice-breakers and dog-sleds.


You may be surprised to learn that the name of this country is translated from Danish as “a green land”. It is difficult to call the largest island of the world green, as it is crossed by the polar circle. The island can boast of majestic beauty and picturesque views, high cliffs and “crawling” ices, stunning fiords and the diversity of the sea world. The heart of Greenland is the town of Nook with ancient landmarks and amazing colored cottages.


Other towns attract tourists with their quiet places, large icebergs of awesome shapes and crystal water. All considered above charms you and makes take a camera. If you are fond of history, you discover unknown facts about the life of Vikings visiting some local museums. It is worth going to Turquoise Lake, fishing, seeing the northern lights in Greenland.

There are no roads in Greenland, so if you want to reach this place, you can get there by plane or by helicopter, by ship or by ferry. Some travelers go skiing, use snowmobiles, but the most exotic way of getting there is by dog-sleds. What is more, a visa is obligatory for visiting Greenland.



Visiting of the northern continent of the world known as Antarctica is a thrilling dream of many people. Fortunately, the times, when Antarctica was opened only for the polar explorers and researchers, have passed. The Antarctic continent is full of natural peculiarities: enormous icebergs of various forms and changeable colors evoke great emotions. Deception Island in the shape of a horseshoe is famous for its mineral and thermal waters. It is so funny to admire the colonies of clumsy penguins walking along the coast. The tourists are also eager to see the dry valleys and visit the Falkland Islands. The explorers` arranged way of life, a fast connection with so called “large land” give an opportunity to invite the tourists, provide them with proper accommodation, exciting sports such as skiing, diving, boating, sledging or going by snowmobiles and seeing the South Pole. Would you like to see these enchanting sights with your own eyes? Then don`t waste time, choose the means of transport, book tickets to the North Pole Expedition and set off to unlock the mysteries of nature.


These are all excellent choices for travel. Don't waste anymore time! The unforgettable journey to the North is just what you need to create memories that will last forever.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

National Library of Latvia, Riga

National Library of Latvia

National Library of Latvia – Under Management of Latvian Ministry of Culture

National Library of Latvia, a national cultural organization is under the management of the Latvian Ministry of Culture acting in agreement with the law `on the Latvian National Library’ and the other laws and regulation is agreed by the Cabinet. It was designed in 1919 after the Republic of Latvia had received its independence and was announced in 1918. The first administrator of the Library had been Janis Misins, a librarian as well as the founder of the Latvian scientific bibliography. Presently the Library tends to have a significant role in the expansion of the information society of Latvia, offering internet access to residents together with support in research and lifelong education.

The new library building is said to accommodate a modern information centre with abundant of space for social and cultural occasions, providing for all, multi-themed reading rooms as well as access to rare books together with audio/video recordings besides the usual printed matter. It is open to the general community for the purpose of viewing the Latvian, - Dainu skapis, and the chest of drawers of file cabinet comprising of thousands of Latvian folk verse, the wise and witty dainas. A cabinet which has been recognised by UNESCO of having global significance is on the register for the programme known as World Memory.

Free & Inventive Usage of Cultural/Scientific Heritage of Latvia

Its mission is to encourage free and inventive usage of the cultural and scientific heritage of Latvia in order to nurture education, research and development of knowledge together with the quality of life. The Library tends to collaborate with several other libraries, institutions and organisations in Latvia as well as in the world with the purpose of sharing professional experience and knowledge.

A typical cornerstone of the Library that symbolises every national library is the development of national literature, its endless storage together with long-term access. The National Library is said to be a centre of theoretical research as well as practical studies of the activities of Latvian libraries and carries out the task of the centre of Latvia Interlibrary Loan, safeguards the library and the information service to the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia, the Saeima. It also implements the standardisation of the branch. Its main apprehension, from the beginning has been the national bibliography and in 2000, the huge union catalogue - Ancient Prints in Latvian had received Spidola Prize and had been awarded `The Beautiful Book of the Year 99’.

Increase/Reserve National & International Literary Works

The library building has been active in establishing several exhibits, conferences and concerts. One will also find restaurant, café, Wi-Fi together with the most fabulous panoramic view of the Old Town. The plain objective of the latest structure is to increase and reserve the national as well as the international literary works, acquiring access for the general community. One will find more than four million units here which are generally of Latvian publication related to Latvia and Latvians.

The outstanding edifice which was opened in August of 2014 is the masterpiece of Gunars Bikerts, the world-renowned Latvian-American architect. The Library also comprises of various collections of posters from artists like Oskars Steinbergs, Sigismuds Vidbergs, Raoul Dufy, Bernhard Borcherts, Niklavs Strunke and several others.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Galicia, Spain


Galicia – One of the 17 Autonomous Communities of Spain

Galicia is one of the 17 Autonomous Communities of Spain which is located in the green and lush north western corner of Spain. The region of Galicia is an area of grass and granite which has a rugged coastline. It comprises of four provinces, namely LaCoruna, Pontevedra, Lugo and Ourense that have been named after their capital cities and is Europe’s western most regions. Towards the west and north it tends to face the sea, it faces the mountains shared with Asturias and Castile y Leon at the east and faces Portugal at the south.

Its coastline is the most remarkable in the peninsula with several fjords and various outstanding beaches. Geographically, Galicia is placed just above Portugal and faces the Atlantic Ocean and the Mar Cantabrico. This are of the country has an economy which is based on farming, fishing, agriculture and progressively tourism. Its climate tends to have four distinct seasons. Galicia is an autonomous community having a cultural heritage, climate and geography which is distinct from the rest of Spain. Though the history of the region as well as the scenery are regularly promoted as the areas foremost vacation attractions, beautiful beaches tend to fill the bays of three of the four provinces in Galicia combined with the scent of pine and eucalyptus.

Galicia Termed as Green Spain

In recent years, Galicia and especially the towns near to Santiago de Compostela together with its airport has become very popular with the British and American tourists. Galicia is often termed as green Spain due to its temperate climate as well as the elevated rainfall, when compared to the resorts of hotter South of Spain.

The landscape of Galicia is lush, mountainous with forests of pine and eucalyptus though like the rest of the Iberian regions, it tends to have a high level of autonomy and provincial self-determination. The biggest difference between Galicia and the more commonly visited southern Spanish resort to a tourist will be the landscape and the climate. More the 80% of the people in Galicia speak fluent Galician but almost most of them also speak Castellano, which according to them is known as Spanish and may also opt to use it most of the time.

Region of Contrast

Galician is known as Galegao in the local language and Gallego in Castellano. Galego is one of the five Iberian languages from where Latin changed itself. The other four are Spanish – Castellano, Catalan, Asturian and Portuguese. Besides this, there is Basque which bears no connection to any of these or to Latin. It is said that Portuguese seemed to develop from Galego, which was the original language that spread south before it had been standardised is Lisbon.

 Presently the people of Galicia and north Portugal seem to understand each other quite well. Galicia tends to offer some of the best hotels in Spain and is a pleasant place for vacations. It is a region of contrast and as one tends to explore it, they will find areas offering different backdrops. The coast of Galicia is known as the `Costa de la Muerte’ or `Coast of Death mainly due to the number of shipwrecks along the rocky coast, which has tiny fishing villages, untouched covers and fine shady beaches.

Kish Island


Kish – Beautiful Island & Tourist Attraction

Kish Island, a beautiful island and a tourist attraction is located towards the north east of the Persian Gulf around 17 km from the southern offshore of the mainland Iran. The island is frequently called the Pearl of the Persian Gulf and has an area of 90 square km.The tiny island of Kish off the southern coast of Iran bears a resemblance to a building site. It is said that five thousand people tend to work in the night for the completion of Padide Legend City which will be housing a shopping centre, five star hotels, amusement park and the largest anchor of the world.

The castle shaped 11,000 square metre restaurant had been completed in only 110 days. A local contractor had commented that they could rival Dubai. Kish is also known for its beautiful resort in the Middle East as well as the Persian Gulf. The island tends to have relaxed laws when compared to the rest of Iran and the people of Kish are hospitable and friendly. Entry visa is not essential for Kish and foreign nations do not need entry visa at the authorised arrival and departure point in Kish Island.

Participated First time in Arabian Travel Market

At Kish International Airport, officials tend to take your photograph together with your fingerprints and stamp the passport enabling one to stay up to 14 days on the island. If the traveller happens to be a western, they may be asked about the reason of their visit and one should ensure to carry all the verification papers inclusive of the hotel reservations together with the phone numbers, etc. On arrival at Kish Airport, the female passengers are instantly escorted to a room and are requested to wear headscarves with appropriate clothing.

These clothing are made available at the Airport and the passengers are expected to return them when they leave Kish. The staffs seem to be polite but tend to speak little English so it is best to learn some of the Persian phrases. For the first time in eight years, this year the authorities of the island had participated in the Arabian Travel Market, which is a trade fair in Dubai and have been forceful for more publicity. An advisor to the Kish authorities, Ahmed Tabrizi, claims that investors are coming knocking after a week talking to investors from Japan and China.

Country’s Free Zone

Kish had been a playground for Iran’s Shah, with its spotless beaches and later on had been designated as one of the country’s free zones in 1989. Though visitors can enter without visa with no taxes charged by the authorities, this has failed to entice tourist and businessmen. Presently only 20% of the companies in the free trade zone in Kishtend to involve foreign partners and the visiting foreigners seem to be mainly migrant workers form the United Arab Emirates – UAE. They tend to make the half-hour plane hop to renew their visa and are not big payers, staying generally in cheap hotels.

The best hope for Kish in increasing visitors could be tourist on their way to mainland Iran. The government has started introducing visas on arrival for some nationalities. The Americans and Brits needing visas in advance could use Kish in obtaining one in two days. Mr Tabrizi adds that `Kish is going to be the gateway to Iran’.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Indian Inspired Home Design Ideas

Designers: Homify

Indian Interior Design – Rich Textiles/Furniture

It is everyone’s dream to have a dream house of their own and there are many who tend to decorate every available space in their house to make it look colourful and appealing. Rooted deeply in the culture and history of the country, Indian interior design has rich textiles as well as furniture which are often handmade utilising traditional methods. You can journey along for ideas for indian décor for your house with old age and new age interiors adorning the houses.

Key elements of Indian design are the rich colour and texture which gives the living room, a splendid feeling. Indian tradition as well as culture tends to have a long standing relationship with flowers and one can go natural by adding lively flowers in a room to enhance the atmosphere in the home. The option of adding artificial flowers is also open to give the home a floral touch. Flowers could be placed in the hallway, wherein the guest could be greeted with the sweet fragrance of the flowers.

Decorating Ideas – Not Heavy Investment of Time/Money

Decorating ideas for a home need not be a heavy investment of time and money. If one intends to have an affordable home interior decorating ideas to revive up a room you could make it distinct with a few changes like

  • Re-arranging the furniture and try positioning it at interesting positions which will change the appearance of the room, providing a wider and inviting layout. 
  • Lamps could be replaced with fresh lamps which changes the setting of the room. 
  • The upholstery also could make a vast difference which tends to blend with the colour and the lighting in a room.

Novelties can be picked on Trips/Vacations

Other changes beside these could be done with the details according to the atmosphere and the appearance of the room in question. Home décor tends to come naturally for those who have a keen interest for details in décor. Most the novelties could be picked up while on trips to various destinations on a vacation. India is a country which is rich in heritage and local arts and crafts from different parts of the country helps in making a home a lovely place to live in. Some of them worth mentioning are –

  • Rajasthani Dewans sets and ornate chairs that are frequently utilised as props in the traditional or period drama film sets could be very appealing in homes. With the combination of old carpets, together with saris or bedcovers for the upholstery of chairs with attractive colours, could be wonderful embellishment in the house providing an ornate, ethereal appearance. 
  • Wooden Swing- Rich wooden swings have been a fashion statement as well as a chill out zone in homes. These could be adorned with good looking fabric and cushion to give a comfy feeling. 
  • Wall Art can also change the complete setting of a room and the idea of wall art can be explored in a beautiful and creative way. It is also a great way of using the wall in a creative manner.
By using your creativity and imagination, a dull room can be altered into a lively and an appealing environment which can make a tremendous difference to the members of a household and can be a place one would want to return back after a hectic day outdoor.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Vantawng Waterfall, Mizoram

Vantawng Waterfall

Vantawng Waterfall – Most Picturesque Waterfall in Mizoram

Vantawug Fall is located at a distance of around 137 km from Aizawl and 5 km from the village of Thenzawl in Serchhip district. It is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Mizoram. It has been named after Vantawnga who was an excellent swimmer who could hover in the cascading water like a fish, though unfortunately during one of hisperformances, a drifting log fell from above and killed him. It is surrounded by lush greenery and difficult stony terrain where approaching close to the fall seems to be difficult.

The height of the fall had been recorded as 750 ft. and though it had been difficult to get close to it, due to the forested hillsides surrounding it, a comfortable viewing tower has been constructed by the Tourism Department. This had made it possible for the tourist to enjoy the natural beauty of Vantawng Falls. With the water from Vanva River gushing from a height of 750 ft., Vantawng is the 13th highest waterfall in India. Originating from Vanva River, these falls are assumed to be 230 mts in height and bamboo groves tend to surround these waterfalls.

Linked to Most of the Capital Cites of North Eastern States of India

It is located around 75 kilometres from the peaceful town of Thenzawl, which is famous for its handloom products. At tourist lodge in Thenzawl, accommodation facilities are made available for the visitor which is surrounded by huge stretch of thick bamboo forests in the vicinity of the Thenzawl hill station at an elevation of 750 feet. An overnight stay will provide an amazing experience with its equipped cafeteria and cottage.

The closest main airport is Shillong. Aizawl is linked to Kolkata and Imphal by air. The capital town of Mizoram, Aizawl is connected by Alliance Air Service daily to Kolkata which is almost 1 hour 45 minutes, Guwahati is 40 minutes and Imphal is 30 minutes. At Aizawl, Lengpui airport is 152 kilometres from Vantawang, is connected with Guwahati, Silchar as well as Kolkata. It is well linked to most of the capital cities of the north eastern states of India. Moreover Aizawl is also linked to Kolkata, 1547 kilometres by air, from where it is linked to the rest of India.

Aesthetic Beauty of Cliff - Plunging Waterfall

The nearest rail station is said to be in Silchar which is around 335 kilometres away from Vantawang and one can travel from Guwahati to Silchar by the Barak Valley Express, Cachar Express or the Tripura Passenger. By road, Vantawang is 152 kilometrs from Aizawl, its capital. The National Highway number 54 tends to connect Aizwal through Silchar with the rest of thecountry.

Buses as well as taxis are made available from Vantawang to Aizwal. Private as well as government buses, sumo services tend to ply day and night on all the days except Sunday. One can hire taxis on all the days of the week from any area of Mizoram. It is an amazing destination to spend a peaceful vacation and has attracted tourist from far and wide.

The aesthetic beauty of the cliff together with the plunging waterfall entices visitors to often visit this destination. Visiting this region seems to be incomplete if the Vantawng Falls is missed out from their itinerary

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

4 Exciting Things Happening in London in 2016

The weather in London starts getting warmer in mid-March or early April. With the warm(er) weather, there is a host of energetic things to do and lots of outdoor activities. In this post, we take a look at four exciting things happening in London in 2016.


Photo: Neil Howard
1. Sunset Boulevard. 

The English National opera will be following up last year’s production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ by Sondheim followed by a production of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ by Andrew Lloyd Weber. The opera has a star-studded line-up for this year’s production; Glenn Close will take the role of Norma Desmond in the revival of Webber’s 1993 musical smash adapted from Billy Wilder’s film of 1950.

Siobhan Dillon, Michael Xavier, and Fred Johanson will join Close on stage. “Sunset Boulevard” is based on the story of a penniless screenwriter who ends up falling in love with Desmond and his fantasy world. Desmond is then persuaded to help her write a “master piece.” The first show will be held at the London Coliseum from Friday April, 1st at 7.30 p.m. Each show will have 400 tickets with about 100 going to £12 and the others £10.

2. CircusFest 2016

The CircusFest will run for three weeks in April 2016 starting from Monday 4th. Although there will be several performances across London mainly at the Albany, ArtsDepot, and Jackson’s lane, the main hub for the CircusFest will be at the RoundHouse.

All shows at RoundHouse start at 12.00 a.m and cost between £ 7.50 and £29.50.

3. London Coffee Festival

The London coffee festival returns in 2016, and you can go ballistic on the best coffee on offer. This festival is a celebration of the city’s vibrant coffee culture and features gourmet coffee,specialty tea (well what can you expect it is after all England!!) demonstrations from some of the world’s best baristas, live music and coffee themed seminars.

The festival kicks off on the 7th April with the first two days set aside for industry participants before doors open to the public on the evening of the second day. Tickets to the event are available each for a three hour session labeled brunch, lunch or tea and will set you back between £10 and £25.

4. Chelsea Flower Show


Dubbed the world’s greatest flower event, the show is hosted by the Chelsea’s Royal Hospital. You wouldn’t want to miss this five day show that attracts over 150,000 visitors each year. This year’s show will be held between the 24th and the 28th of May and tickets go on sale early for £25 and £70 depending on the day and time you go for the show.

Post Sponsored by the Corinthia Hotels

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Trolltunga, Skjeggedal


Trolltunga – One of the Most Remarkable Scenic Cliffs in Norway

Trolltunga is a portion of rock which tends to jut out horizontally out of a mountain about 700 metres above the north area of the lake Ringedalsvatnet in the municipality of Odda in Hordaland County, Norway. Situated towards the east of the Skjeggedal area, the cliff is about 10 kilometres east of the village of Tyssedal and the Sorfjorden which is a branch off, of the main Hardanger Fjord. The cliff is said to be part of the Precambrian bedrock which was formed during the ice age around 10,000 years back when the glacier’s edges had reached the cliff.

The water from the glacier had frozen in the crevices of the mountain and ultimately broke off huge, angular blocks that were later on carried away with the glacier. Along the cliff, gneiss continues with deep cracks and the trail to Trolltunga also passes through the bedrock with the washed slippery hillsides in the background also contain gneiss. It is said to be one of the most remarkable scenic cliffs in Norway and the view is incredible. The cliff tends to overlook the valleys of Hardanger region and the mountains surrounding the cliff reaches a height of up to 1500 meters.

Hikes notto be Undertaken During Winter

Some of the hilltop has plains that are intermingled with lakes with patches of snow present in some areas even during summer time. Owing to heavy use by tourist, the Trolltungs trail turns quickly to mud after one shower of rain in the summer. The hike begins in Skjeggedal and goes through the high mountain comprising of 10-12 hours and the ascent is said to be about 900 metres which is a long and difficult hike. The hike is generally done from mid-June based on when the snow tends to melt in the mountain.

Generally one can hike to Trolltunga till mid-September. While undertaking the hike one needs to be in good shape with the right equipment before setting out. There is no mobile phone coverage along the route. Hikers are cautioned not to undertake hikes to Trolltunga during winter time, except from mid-March when one can join guided snowshoe hikes with Trolltunga Active.

Hikes in Strong Wind/Heavy Rain/Foggy Weather – Avoided

All the nature based activities are at the risk of individuals and one should ensure using sturdy hiking boots, together with extra clothing and should be prepared for bad weather. A map and compass is essential with adequate supply of food and drink for consumption, together with torch and a first aid kit. The weather in the high mountain is prone to changes instantly and hence one should check the latest weather forecast before going to Trolltunga.

Hiking to Trolltunga in strong wind, heavy rain or in foggy weather should be avoided. There are search and rescue operations for hikers in serious trouble every year and hence one needs to prepare well and be a responsible and safe hiker.Norway is far north which means the daylight seems to be short from September and night are very cold. It is advisable to start the hike early in the morning, latest by 8 in the morning. If one intends to stay overnight in the mountain area around Trolltunga, you could carry along your own tent.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Osijek, Croatia


Osijek – Biggest Economic/Cultural Centre of Eastern Croatian

Osijek is the biggest city as well as the economic and the cultural centre of the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia. It is also the administrative centre of Osijek-Baranja County. Owing to its important location towards the junction of the Drava and Danube rivers, this huge and once a prosperous town, is the fourth largest city in Croatia having a population of about 101,000 inhabitants, which bore most of the impact of the 1990s conflict. Several fine buildings have been restored to its previous glory though some scars tend to remain where some of the building bore the marks of bullet holes or shrapnel markings on them.

Osijek has been divided into two main regions, the upper town focusing on the city square, Trg Ante Starcevic and Tyrda, the preserved fortress town towards the east of the town centre besides the Drava River.

Attractions comprise of a fortified centre – The Tyrda which dates back to the 18th century, the impressive neo-Gothic Church of St. Peter and St. Paul as well as the grand Europska Avenija along which one can see some wonderful examples of the Art Nouveau architecture that was famous in this area of the world in the late 19th century together with a somewhat unnerving statue entitled Soldier in the Throes of Death.

Tyrda – Oldest preserved Baroque Centre

Tyrda which is the oldest part is a preserved Baroque centre where the central square is controlled by Kuzni’s pillar and it is here that one will find the Museum of Slavonia and the Archaeological Museum, together with galleries, besides the impressive churches. The entire city tends to have 12 districts or blocks, Upper Town, Lower Town, Fortress, New Town, South 1, South 2, Green Field, Industrial District, Retfala, New Retfala, Tvrdjavica and The Left Coast.

Besides being an administrative centre of Osijek-Baranja County, it is also and industrial centre and its rich history have left behind an abundance of cultural and artistic heritage. Asides from the concathedral towards the centre, one will find a Capuchin church with a series of art nouveau building in European Avenue, the National Theatre. Osijek tends to have a tram system which dates back to 1884 where the three main line link the railway station, town square, Tyrda, industrial district and all city borders.

Well-Designed City to Negotiate by Foot

Presently the network is in the process of being completely renovated and more than doubled in length, together with the old trams of the city being modernized. The local buses tend to compensate where the trams do not seem to reach and are fairly regular.

 Map of the local transport system is available on the Tourist Boards’ website. Tourists can experience the ride on the oldest tram in Europe which have been reconditioned for the purpose of sightseeing tours while buses are made available every 10-15 minutes in the city area and every 20-25 minutes which are linking the settlements around the city. There are various bicycling routes all across the city like Donji grad-Biljie, Jug II – Industrijska cetvrt and much more.

Taxis tend to serve within the main railway station/airport to the city centre. Overall, it is a straightforward and well-designed city to negotiate by foot with some hills. This destination is an amazing part of the continent with intriguing stories together with deep histories and very interesting to explore.