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.

Egypt Pyramid

There are 138 pyramids discovered in Egypt as of 2008. Most were built as tombs for the country's Pharaohs and their consorts during the Old and Middle Kingdom periods.
The earliest known Egyptian pyramid is the Pyramid of Djoser which was built during the third dynasty. This pyramid and its surrounding complex were designed by the architect Imhotep, and are generally considered to be the world's oldest monumental structures constructed of dressed masonry.
The best known Egyptian pyramids are those found at Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo. Several of the Giza pyramids are counted among the largest structures ever built.
The Pyramid of Khufu at Giza is the largest Egyptian pyramid. It is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence

The Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza (also called the Pyramid of Khufu and Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now Cairo, Egypt, and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that survives substantially intact. It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for Fourth dynasty Egyptian King Khufu (Cheops in Greek) and constructed over a 20 year period concluding around 2560 BC. The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. Originally the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface, and what is seen today is the underlying core structure. Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories regarding the Great Pyramid's construction techniques. Most accepted construction theories are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place.
There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. The so-calledQueen's Chamber and King's Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the main part of a complex setting of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honor of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite" pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal (pronounced; Persian/Urdu is a mausoleum located in Agra, India, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
The Taj Mahal (also "the Taj") is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."
While the white domed marble mausoleum is its most familiar component, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures. Building began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, and employed thousands of artisans and craftsmen.. The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision including Abd ul-Karim Ma'mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hanging Garden

1. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis, near present-day Al Hillah, Babil in Iraq, are considered to be one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They were built by the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar II around 600 BC. He is reported to have constructed the gardens to please his sick wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the trees and fragrant plants of her homeland Persia.The gardens were destroyed by several earthquakes after the 2nd century BC.
2. The lush Hanging Gardens are extensively documented by Greek historians such as Strabo and Diodorus Siculus. Through the ages, the location may have been confused with gardens that existed at Nimrud, since tablets from there clearly show gardens. Writings on these tablets describe the possible use of something similar to an Archimedes screw as a process of raising the water to the required height.[citation needed] Nebuchadnezzar II also used massive slabs of stone, which was unheard of in Babylon, to prevent the water from eroding the ground.


A major center of the Indus Valley Civilization was Harappa whose ruins lie 35-km southwest of Sahiwal (about 250 km from Lahore). This was the first of Indus Valley Civilization sites to be discovered.

Situated besides an earlier course of the Ravi River, Harappa was discovered in 1920-21. The area of Harappa is bigger than Moenjodaro but much to the remains above ground were ravaged by brick-hunters using the material as blast when the railway tracks between Lahore and Multan were laid. However, several cemeteries, which escaped the attention of vandals, have been excavated to reveal the richness and sophistication of its culture.

Like Moenjodaro the excavations have revealed a series of cities, stacked one upon another. The site, with its citadel and great granary, seems similar in many ways to Moenjodaro and like its southern sister-city appear to have thrived around 2000 to 1700 B.C. with an economy based largely on agriculture and trade. The Harappan society seems to have been egalitarian, pursuing a rather simple way of life. The cemeteries discovered at Harappa confirm that the Indus Valley people buried their dead, many of them wearing finger rings, necklaces of steatite beads, anklets of paste beads, earnings and shell bangles. Copper mirrors, antimony rods, shell spoons and vessels and urns of various shapes and size lay in the graves. Some of the female skeletons had anklets of tiny beads and girdles studded with semi-precious stones.

Excavations have recalled evidence of some pre-Harappan material, which shows strong affinity, with some Kot Diji finds. On display at the Museum is excavated material, including terracotta toys, gamesman, and jewelry, animal figurines, bronze utensils statuettes etc. Harappa and Moenjodaro are two places which form the focal point of tourist attraction. So if you are in Pakistan do'nt miss these historical journeys. You'll be facinated by the displays and exotic archeological finds!

Dudipatsar Lake

Dudiptsar is another beautiful lake encircled by snow clad peaks. The word "dudi" means white and "sar" means lake. This name has been given to the lake because of the white color of snow at surrounding peaks. In summer the water of lake reflects like a mirror. Its not easy to visit this lake as there is tough hike. Its gonna take you four to six hours for this lake after tough hiking and trekking.

Tear(Ansoo) Lake

Ansoo Lake is a high-altitude lake (elevation 16,490 feet or 5,027 metres) in the Kaghan Valley in the Mansehra District of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. It is near Malika Parbat in the Himalayan range.

It can be reached by a difficult trek from Saiful Mulook Lake. If one chooses to walk it takes more than 8 hours for both going and coming back to the lake Saif ul Muluk. Horses can also be hired from the Lake Saif ul Muluk along with a guide person who will take you to the Ansoo Lake. Another trek to reach Ansoo Lake is from Mahandri, which is 40 km below Naran, but this is a less treaded route and the difficulties are unknown. The name "Ansoo" comes from its tear-like shape (the Urdu word Ansoo means teardrop). The lake is said to have been discovered in 1993 by Pakistan Air Force pilots who were flying low above the area. Earlier, the lake was not even known to the locals.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


LAKE SAIFUL MULUK It is situated at a distance of 10 km from Naran at an altitude of 3500 m. It provides an excellent view of the 5290 m high Malika Parbat (Queen of the Mountains). The lake and its surroundings have a touch of unreal about them and are breathtakingly lovely. There is a charming legend about a prince called Saiful Muluk who fell in love with a fairy of the lake. The lake is named after the prince. The best way to reach the lake is to walk but you may also take a pony or a jeep.

Jamrud Fort

One of the major Tourist Attractions in Peshawar is the majestic Jamrud Fort. Jamrud, the small town located in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, is the home to Jamrud Fort. Jamrud's proximity to Afghan border and Khyber pass, a part of Hidu Kush Range, has made it not only an important trade route between central Asia and the South Asia but also a strategic military base. That is why Peshawar Jamrud Fort had been under attack many a times. It serves as the gateway to the famous Khyber Pass. Jamrud Fort was built by the Sikhs in 1823. The wonderful architecture of Jamrud Fort in Peshawar is completely in harmony with the rugged terrain and surrounding. The Fort looks majestic with its jumble of towers and loop-holed walls. The fort lies about 20 kilometers east of Peshawar city. The huge stone arch of Jamrud Fort over the road make the formal entrance to the pass. As you pass under the arch you enter tribal areas inhabited by the Afridi tribes in Pakistan. The fort has survived several attacks and has witnessed many ups and downs of the Sikh dynasty during the early 19th century. In 1837, the Afghans attacked the Sikhs in Jamrud Fort during the Battle of Jamrud between the Afghans and Sikh ruler Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa. It is said that Jamrud Fort is the place where commander Sardar Hari Singh was fought his last battle and was killed by the Afghans. During the British colonial period Jamrud Fort served as a base for a cantonment of the British Indian Army. During the military operations of 1878-79 Jamrud Fort was proved to be of great importance as the frontier outpost on British territory towards Afghanistan. It was the headquarter of the Khyber Rifles also served as the military base during Tirah campaign in 1897-1898. provides detailed information on Jamrud Fort