Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Soaring to a height of 451.9 metres, the 88-storey twin structure is Kuala Lumpur's crown jewel.

The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is among the top 10 tallest buildings in the world. At 451.9 meters (1,482.6 feet), the Petronas Twin Towers was considered the tallest building from 1998 to 2004 when measured from the base to the antenna, or spire.

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The towers were designed and constructed by an Argentinean architect named Cesar Pelli. Planning for the towers officially began at the beginning of 1992 and construction began in March 1993. They were completed in the year 1998 on the site of the racetrack of Kuala Lumpur. Because of the depth of the bedrock at this location, the racetrack was an ideal location for the towers.

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The Petronas Twin Towers had 22 fewer floors than the World Trade Center buildings in New York City (88 floors compared to 110 floors). They are based on the simple Islamic architecture where every floor is based on an eight point star and the overall area of the buildings is spread out over 100 acres. The bottom floor consists of a shopping mall with a wide variety of goods.

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These towers are constructed from concrete, steel and glass with reinforced designs for added durability. A special kind of concrete was used because it was more reliable, but it also weighs twice as much as normal steel. Pouring the concrete was a major feat. This project holds the record for the longest pour in the nation’s history at 54 consecutive hours of pouring for each tower.



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Venture into the Old Town Square in Prague and trip back in time, 600 or 700 years. As you stand mesmerized and awed, the emotional history of Prague saturates the air..

Old Town Square

Old Town Prague is a medieval settlement of Prague and is the biggest city of the Czech Republic. The history rich old city is located in central Bohemia along the Vltava River. Also known as the “Golden City,” the Prague Old City has been included in the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. It was originally called the Old Town Square, mainly because it has numerous memorable structures and destinations.

Old town Prague

Prague Old Town is celebrated for both its grand and sublime events. It has its root in the ninth century, when it was comprised of settlements, yet it just got its name in the 14th century when the New Town was established and the wall and moat that encompassed it was demolished.

The focal point of the Old Town, suitably named Old Town Square, has served as Prague's main marketplace for more than 1000 years. It is home to most of the major sights, including the city’s famous Astronomical Clock.

Astronomical Clock

Narrow, cobblestoned paths radiate from the square in all directions following a plan that opposes any shred of modern logic. There are no straight lines here; indeed the streets look as if they were carved by nature rather than the work of man.

Notable places in the Old Town include:

Powder Gate (Prašná brána)

The 65m-tall Powder Tower was begun in 1475 during the reign of King Vladislav II Jagiello to form one of the 13 entrances to the Old Town. In 1483 it was left unfinished because the king moved to Prague Castle. Between 1875 and 1886 the tower was rebuilt, decorated and steepled by Josef Mocker. The gate acquired its present name in the 17th century when it was used to store gunpowder. Today, there is a small exhibition about the tower and it is open for great views.

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Municipal House (Obecní dům)

Built on the site of the royal court between 1906 and 1912, it is Prague's most prominent Art Nouveau building. Above the main entrance there is a huge mosaic “Homage to Prague“ by Karel Špillar. Inside, there is the Smetana Hall – the biggest concert hall in Prague, number of smaller halls, conference rooms and offices, cafés and restaurants to relax and enjoy the inner decoration. On 28 October 1918, the Czechoslovakian Republic was proclaimed here and meetings between Civic Forum and the communist regime were held here in November1989.

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Kinský Palace (Palác Kinských)

Built between 1755 and 1765 by Anselmo Lurago according to the designs by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, it is the most beautiful Rococo building in Prague. In 1768 it was bought by Štěpán Kinský, an Imperial diplomat. In February 1948 Klement Gottwald proclaimed communist rule in Czechoslovakia from the palace balcony. Nowadays, the Kinský palace belongs to the National Gallery.

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Celetná Street (Celetná ulice)

Named after the plaited bread rolls that were first baked here in the Middle Ages, the Celetná Street is a pedestrianised lane from the Old Town square to the Powder Tower. There are lots of architecturally and historically important houses, such as At the Three Kings, At the White Lion, At the Black Sun and At the Vulture. The most interesting one is the Cubist facade on the House of the Black Madonna, which dates only from 1912 and houses a branch of the Czech Museum of Fine Arts with a permanent exhibition on Czech Kubism.

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Church of Our Lady before Tyn (Kostel Panny Marie před Týnem)

This Gothic church was built in 1365 on the site of an earlier Romanesque church. Its magnificent multiple steeples are 80m high and dominate the square. Between the early 15th century and the year of 1620 it was the main Hussite church in Prague. A beautiful entrance portal decorated with scenes of Christ's passion and a huge Rococo altar on the northern wall are its most striking features. Right of the altar there is a tomb of the Danish astronomer Tycho de Brahe who worked at the court of the Emperor Rudolph II. Týn church has a grand-sounding pipe organ and occasionally, it is a concert venue.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Once a destination for honeymoons and family vacations, Niagara Falls has really stepped it up as an action-packed vacation spot. The falls are literally the biggest draw – watching the frothy water tumble at alarming speeds can be mesmerizing.

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The Niagara Falls along the border of the United States and Canada is made up of three smaller falls – the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls, which is located on the Canadian side, is one often referred to as the most attractive of the three and is named for its unique horseshoe shape.

The American Falls is a little less impressive than the Horseshoe Falls as it has almost nine times less water in it and that is way it is not very striking to see. The Bridal Veil Falls is even thinner than the American Falls, but the mist that surrounds it gives it a look of the veil of a newly wedded bride.

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The falls cover the international border between Ontario Province of Canada and the State of New York. The Niagara Falls is 27 km (17 miles) long from the north to the northwest of Buffalo, New York, and 120 km (75 miles) long from south to southeast of Ontario. Niagara Falls is known both for its beauty as well as the source of much hydraulic power. As such, balancing out both the commercial and industrial usage of the falls has proven very challenging for engineers.

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Some of the main tourist attractions around the Niagara Falls include the Maid of the Mist (boat cruise), Journey Behind the Falls (platform and tunnels below the falls), Illumination of the Falls, Observation Tours and the Imax Theater that gives an educational tour of the falls. Most visitors come to Niagara Falls during the summer due to its daytime and evening attractions.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Neuschwanstein is without a doubt the most acclaimed castle in the world. The “New Swan Stone Palace” in English, Neuschwanstein Castle is an image of idealised romantic architecture. Neuschwanstein (noy-shvahn-shtine) castle is a structure of contrast, irony, and mystery — and beauty.

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The Neuschwanstein Castle is a Romanesque Revival palace built during the 19th century on a rugged hill in Bavaria, Germany. It was specially made by King Ludwig II of Bavaria also known as the “Fairytale King”. The royal residence served as a retreat for the reclusive king and as an homage to Richard Wagner.

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King Ludwig was a great admirer and supporter of Richard Wagner, the world – renowned composer. Many rooms in the castle’s interior were inspired by Wagner’s characters. The third floor in particular mirrors Ludwig's profound respect of Wagner's operas. The Singers Hall, which occupies the entire fourth floor of Neuschwanstein also contains characters from Wagner’s operas.

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The enchanting castle was equipped inside with state of the art technology at that time. For instance on each floor of the palace there were toilets with automatic flushing system, and in addition an air heating system for the whole castle. Water was supplied by an adjacent spring situated at only 200 meters above the castle.

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During King Ludwig II reign, visitors were not permitted in the castle. At the time of Ludwig's death the palace was far from complete. He only slept 11 nights in the castle. Seven weeks after the king's demise, Neuschwanstein was opened to the public. Since then, more than 61 million people have visited the Neuschwanstein Castle.

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The castle's location is also a fairytale one. An iconic figure in the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, visitors' is treated to a scenic beauty and magnificent landscape that surrounds it. Neuschwanstein Castle has a very beautiful inner garden enclosed by a walled courtyard. It even has an artificial cave. Its interior is as beautiful as its outside. Though only 14 rooms were finished before Ludiwg II’s sudden death in 1886, these rooms were majestically decorated. The noteworthy rooms include the: Hall of the Singers, Throne Hall, Bedroom, Drawing room, Dining room and the Study room.

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Today, Neuschwanstein castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe. More than 1.3 million people visit "the castle of the fairy-tale king" annually. In the summer around 6,000 visitors a day stream through rooms that were intended for a single individual.

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The castle has such an appeal, to the point that it even attracted Hollywood producers. In fact, it has been the inspiration in several movies, including the Sleeping Beauty castle and Cinderella castles. It is also the model for the castle found at Tokyo Disneyland.

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The Neuschwanstein Castle is a property of Bavaria, which has spent more than 14.5 million dollars on safeguarding and renovating it. Since photography inside the castle is not permitted, guests can only leave with memories after visiting it. For security reasons the palace can only be visited during a 35-minute guided tour. But a visit to Germany is not complete without a visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It may be ruining the day for thousands daily, but at least it’s “not fatal,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said of Metro Manila’s traffic mess.

Not fatal? Not burdensome? "Eh di Wow!" This is a stupid remark! No wonder why traffic in Metro Manila continues to worsen while Sec Jun Abaya is in Office. He is not only incompetent, but also insensitive with twisted logic. Is he waiting for someone to die before he act in the current woes MRT is into?



Is this the kind of public servant Pnoy administration is really made of? What the public needs is someone who can ease the burden the daily train commuters are experiencing for a long time. We all know Abaya has a sterling educational background, but he is not the right man to handle the affairs of DOTC. He lacks the expertise.

After being lambasted in the media with his remark, Sec Jun Abaya did issue an apology, which read "I wish to assure the public that we are well aware of the situation we all face every day. Please be assured that we are doing everything in our power and exerting the maximum effort to ease traffic in Metro Manila and the surrounding areas. Some of these solutions will take time.”

Sec Abaya, your apology is well appreciated but the riding public wants faster action. Mr. Abaya, your "not fatal" add insult to our daily woes. It would be much better if you are only being humble to yourself and accept the fact that you failed in delivering the solutions the daily train commuters' needs.

After almost 6 years in the office, he is still monitoring the situation and studying it. Gosh! If I were Abaya and I could not handle or solve the traffic situation, MRT/LRT maintenance, etc., I would just resign so someone more capable could take over for the sake of the country.

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