Friday, October 16, 2009

This Colosseum

This Colosseum (also sometimes Coliseum) image was created by me after my holiday to Rome when I wanted to portray the magnificent structure as it might once have looked. It was my first holiday to Italy and we spent a long weekend going round the famous ancient sites. It's an amazing place for tourists, even on visits without much planning because such amazing pieces of history litter the city.I used an existing tourist postcard image as a basis and used various techniques to take other parts that still exist and repeat them around the rest of the shape. It wasn't simply a case of mirroring what was already there becuase so much of the centre of this amazing piece of history was incomplete and it is not a simple matter to wrap the rest of the building around because the perspective can't be easily adapted. The image on the right shows how I roughly mapped out where the majority of the front of the Colosseum was missing, and what I had to fill in as a patchwork of other cloned areas. Most of the arches were copied from the part that was rebuilt at the bottom a couple of centuries ago but this had to be distorted and tinted, with a whole new set of shadows added. After this, large blocks had to placed in the arches on which used to stand an array of impressive statues. The Colosseum was originally called the Flavian Amphitheatre and was the largest of its kind in the Roman Empire. Contruction began in 72AD and was finished in 80AD, and it was used for entertainment such as gladiator combat for about two hundred years. Still up until the 500s it was in use for one thing and another but two earthquakes around that time caused significant structural damage. Another earthquake in 847AD and a fourth in 1349 did most of the rest of the damage however in its state of ruin it was then plundered for marble that was used in the construction of St Peter's Basilica in the 16th century. In 1749 however the abuse was stopped by Pope Benedict XIV and bits of reconstruction were attempted in the centuries after, leading to the very new-looking brighter-coloured brick.Rome is a massively popular tourist destination due to historical features. Some of the most significant and those I visited while having my holiday in Rome were:Ara Pacis, Aurelian Walls Baths of Caracalla, Baths of Diocletian, Bocca della Verità, Castel Sant'Angelo, Catacombs of Rome, Circus Maximus, Forum Romanum, Imperial forums, Colosseum, Curia Hostilia, Cloaca Maxima, Palatine Hill, Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilicas, Torre dei Conti, Torre delle Milizie, Trajan's Column.

Great Sphinx

The Great Sphinx of Giza is a statue of a reclining lion with a human head that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile, near modern-day Cairo, in Egypt. It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 m (241 ft) long, 6 m (20 ft) wide, and 20 m (65 ft) high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient

Angkor Wat or Angkor Vat

Angkor Wat (or Angkor Vat) is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation—first Hindu, dedicated to Vishnu, then Buddhist. The temple is the epitome of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.
Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple mountain and the later galleried temple, based on early South Indian Hindu architecture, with key features such as the Jagati. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu mythology: within a moat and an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi) long are three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of towers. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west; scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of the architecture, its extensive bas-reliefs and for the numerous devatas (guardian spirits) adorning its walls.
The modern name, Angkor Wat, means "City Temple": Angkor is a vernacular form of the word nokor which comes from the Sanskrit word nagara meaning capital. Wat is the Khmer word for temple. Prior to this time the temple was known as Preah Pisnulok, after the posthumous title of its founder, Suryavarman II.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the United States' oldest national parks and is located in Arizona. Within the park lies the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, considered to be one of the major natural wonders of the world. The park covers 1,902 mi² (4927 km²) of unincorporated area in Coconino County and Mohave County.

Most visitors to the park come to the South Rim, arriving on Arizona State Route 64. The Highway enters the park through the South Entrance, near Tusayan, Arizona, and heads eastward, leaving the park through the East Entrance. All park accommodations are operated by the Xanterra corporation. Park headquarters are at Grand Canyon Village, a short distance from the South Entrance, being also the center of the most popular viewpoints. Some thirty miles of the South Rim are accessible by road. A much smaller venue for tourists is found on the North Rim, accessed by Arizona State Route 67. There is no road connection between the two within Arizona except via the Navajo Bridge, near Page, Arizona, entailing a five-hour drive. Otherwise, the two rims of the Canyon are connected via Las Vegas, Nevada, and the Hoover Dam.The rest of the Grand Canyon is extremely rugged and remote, although many places are accessible by pack trail and backcountry roads.
The area around the Grand Canyon became a national monument on January 11, 1908 and was designated national park on February 26, 1919. The creation of the park was an early success of the environmental conservation movement; its National Park status may have helped thwart proposals to dam the Colorado River within its boundaries. (Lack of this fame may have enabled Glen Canyon Dam to be built upriver, flooding Glen Canyon and creating Lake Powell.) UNESCO has declared it as a World Heritage Site.
The Grand Canyon itself, including its extensive system of tributary canyons, is valued for the combination of large size, depth, and the exposed layering of colorful rocks dating back to Precambrian times. It was created through the incision of the Colorado River and its tributaries after the Colorado Plateau was uplifted and the Colorado River system developed along its present path.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty (French: Statue de la Liberté), officially titled Liberty Enlightening the World (French: La Liberté Éclairant le Monde), dedicated on October 28, 1886, is a monument commemorating the centennial of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence, given to the United States by the people of France to represent the friendship between the two countries established during the American Revolution. It represents a woman wearing a stola, a radiant crown and sandals, trampling a broken chain, carrying a torch in her raised right hand and a tabula ansata tablet, where the date of the Declaration of Independence JULY IV MDCCLXXVI is inscribed, in her left arm. Standing on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, it welcomes visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans traveling by ship. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi sculpted the statue. and obtained a U.S. patent for its structuare. Maurice Koechlin—chief engineer of Gustave Eiffel's engineering company and designer of the Eiffel Tower—engineered the internal structure. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was responsible for the choice of copper in the statue's construction and adoption of the repoussé technique, where a malleable metal is hammered on the reverse side.
The statue is made of a sheathing of pure copper, hung on a framework of steel (originally puddled iron) with the exception of the flame of the torch, which is coated in gold leaf (originally made of copper and later altered to hold glass panes). It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal with a foundation in the shape of an irregular eleven-pointed star. The statue is 151 ft (46 m) tall, but with the pedestal and foundation, it is 305 ft (93 m) tall.
Worldwide, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable icons of the United States and was, from 1886 until the Jet Age, often one of the first glimpses of the United States for millions of immigrants after ocean voyages from Europe.

St. Peter's Basilica

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower (French: Tour Eiffel, is a 19th century iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris that has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower, which is the tallest building in Paris, is the single most visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch for the 1889 World's Fair.
The tower stands at 324 m (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-story building. It was the tallest structure in the world from its completion until 1930, when it was eclipsed by the Chrysler Building in New York City. Not including broadcast antennas, it is the second-tallest structure in France, behind the Millau Viaduct, completed in 2004. And while the Eiffel Tower is a steel structure, and weighs approximately 10,000 tonnes, it actually has a relatively low density, weighing less than a cylinder of air occupying the same dimensions as the tower.
The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend either on stairs or lifts to the first and second levels. The walk to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is only accessible by lift. Both the first and second levels feature restaurants.
The tower has become the most prominent symbol of both Paris and France. The tower is a featured part of the backdrop in literally scores of movies that take place in Paris. Its iconic status is so established that it even serves as a symbol for the entire nation of France, such as when it was used as the logo for the French bid to host the 1992 Summer Olympics.