World famous Landmarks | Sunday Observer

World famous Landmarks

St. Basil’s Cathedral

The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed commonly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, is a church in Red Square in Moscow, Russia. The building, now a museum, is officially known as the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat or Pokrovsky Cathedral.

It was built from 1555-61 on orders from Ivan the Terrible and commemorates the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan. A world-famous landmark, it was the city’s tallest building until the completion of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in 1600.

The building is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising into the sky, a design that has no analogues in Russian architecture.

The church acquired its present-day vivid colours in several stages from the 1680s to 1848. Russian attitude towards colour in the 17th century changed in favour of bright colours; icon and mural art experienced an explosive growth in the number of available paints, dyes and their combinations. The original colour scheme, missing these innovations, was far less challenging.

The 25 seats from the biblical reference are alluded to in the building’s structure, with the addition of nine small carrot domes around the central tent, four around the western side church and four elsewhere. This arrangement survived through most of the 17th century. The walls of the church mixed bare red brickwork or painted imitation of bricks with white ornaments, in roughly equal proportion. The domes, covered with tin, were uniformly gilded, creating an overall bright but fairly traditional combination of white, red and golden colours

The original building, known as Trinity Church and later Trinity Cathedral, contained eight side churches arranged around the ninth, central church of Intercession; the tenth church was erected in 1588 over the grave of venerated local saint Vasily. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the church, perceived as the earthly symbol of the Heavenly City, as happens to all churches in Byzantine Christianity, was popularly known as the “Jerusalem” and served as an allegory of the Jerusalem Temple in the annual Palm Sunday parade attended by the Patriarch of Moscow and the tsar.

Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical triumphal arch in Berlin, and one of the best-known landmarks of Germany.

It is built on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel.

It is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin within Mitte, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building that houses the German parliament. The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which led directly to the Royal City Palace of the Prussian monarchs.

The Brandenburg Gate was not part of the old fortifications, but one of 18 gates within the Berlin Customs Wall, erected in the 1730s, including the old fortified city and many of its then suburbs.

The gate consists of 12 Doric columns, six to each side, forming five passageways. Citizens originally were allowed to use only the outermost two on each side. Atop the gate is a Quadriga, a chariot drawn by four horses. The new gate was originally named the Peace Gate and the goddess is Eirene, the goddess of peace.

Lascaux

Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne.

They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art. These paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old.

They primarily consist of images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list along with other prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley.

The cave contains nearly 2,000 figures, which can be grouped into three main categories: animals, human figures, and abstract signs. The paintings contain no images of the surrounding landscape or the vegetation of the time. Most of the major images have been painted onto the walls using red, yellow, and black colours from a complex multiplicity of mineral pigments including iron compounds such as iron oxide (ochre) haematite, and goethite, as well as manganese-containing pigments.

The most famous section of the cave is The Great Hall of the Bulls where bulls, equines, and stags are depicted. The four black bulls, or aurochs are the dominant figures among the 36 animals represented here.

A painting referred to as “The Crossed Bison”, found in the chamber called the Nave, is often submitted as an example of the skill of the Paleolithic cave painters. The crossed hind legs create the illusion that one bison is closer to the viewer than the other. This visual depth in the scene demonstrates a primitive form of perspective which was particularly advanced for the time.

Bran Castle

Bran Castle is near Bran and in the immediate vicinity of Braşov, is a national monument and landmark in Romania.

The fortress is on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. As discovered by the Dutch author Hans Corneel de Roos, the location Bram Stoker actually had in mind for Castle Dracula while writing his novel was an empty mountain top, Mount Izvorul Călimanului, 2,033 metres high, located in the Transylvanian Călimani Alps near the former border with Moldavia.

In 1212, Teutonic Knights built the wooden castle of Dietrichstein as a fortified position in the Burzenland at the entrance to a mountain pass through which traders had travelled for more than a millennium, but in 1242 it was destroyed by the Mongols.

In 1920, the castle became a royal residence within the Kingdom of Romania. It became the favourite home and retreat of Queen Marie. The castle was inherited by her daughter Princess Ileana who ran a hospital there in World War II: it was later seized by the communist regime with the expulsion of the royal family in 1948.

The castle is now a museum open to tourists, displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Marie.

Sagrada Familia

The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family) is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926).

Construction work on Sagrada Família commenced in 1882 and Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms.

The main nave was covered and an organ installed in mid-2010, allowing the still-unfinished building to be used for religious services.

In common with Catalan and many other European Gothic cathedrals, the Sagrada Família is short in comparison to its width, and has a great complexity of parts, which include double aisles, an ambulatory with a chevet of seven apsidal chapels, a multitude of towers and three portals, each widely different in structure as well as ornament.

In contrast to the highly decorated Nativity Façade, the Passion Façade is austere, plain and simple, with ample bare stone, and is carved with harsh straight lines to resemble the bones of a skeleton.

The church plan is that of a Latin cross with five aisles. The central nave vaults reach forty-five metres while the side nave vaults reach thirty metres. The transept has three aisles. The columns are on a 7.5 metre grid.

The Burj al Arab Hotel

The Burj Al Arab is a hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the third tallest hotel in the world; however, 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space.

Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m from Jumeirah beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to mimic the sail of a ship. It has a helipad near the roof at a height of 210 m above ground.

The hotel is managed by the Jumeirah Group. Despite its size, Burj Al Arab holds only 28 double-story floors which accommodate 202 bedroom suites. The smallest suite occupies an area of 169 m2, the largest covers 780 m2. Al Muntaha (“Highest”), is 200 m above the Persian Gulf, offering a view of Dubai.

It is supported by a full cantilever that extends 27 m from either side of the mast, and is accessed by a panoramic elevator.

Al Mahara (Oyster), which is accessed via a simulated submarine voyage, features a large seawater aquarium, holding roughly 990,000 L of water. The wall of the tank, made of acrylic glass to withstand the water pressure, is about 18 cm thick.

Engineers created a ground/surface layer of large rocks, which is circled with a concrete honeycomb pattern, which serves to protect the foundation from erosion. It took three years to reclaim the land from the sea, while it took fewer than three years to construct the building itself.

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