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30/06/2010

Lum Vong, Traditional Lao Dancer, Laos


This photo was taken in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos.
The traditional Lao dance is called the lum vong. All the dancers form a circle. The size of the circle depends on the song being played, the lam or morlam. All the dancers will "fohn" in a circular way repeating the circle until the song stops. The circle and the dance are very coordinated and oriented. If the style and the beat of the song is slow, the dancers will go slowly. Conversely, the circle will rotate faster to a faster song.During Lao New Year and some other festivals, there will be professional Lao dancers of different ages and styles. Some of the dancers are teenagers or children performing ancient dances that has been passing down from generation to generation. Different cultures of Laos will also perform to express their cultures like the Hmong, Tai Dum and others. Usually, the dance will appear before the whole event takes place as an opening act to represent the New Year.

29/06/2010

"Top of the Rock", GE Building Observation Deck, Rockefeller Center, Manhattan, New York


This photo was taken from the "Top of the Rock", the GE Building Observation Deck.
The GE Building is an Art Deco skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center in the midtown Manhattan section of New York City. Known as the RCA Building until 1988, it is most famous for housing the headquarters of the television network NBC. At 259 m tall, the 70-story building is the 9th tallest building in New York City and the 32nd tallest in the United States. Its address is 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
The building was completed in 1933. The noted Art Deco architect Raymond Hood led a team of Rockefeller architects. It was named the RCA Building for its main tenant, the Radio Corporation of America, formed in 1919 by General Electric. It was the first building constructed with the elevators grouped in the central core. During construction, photographer Charles Clyde Ebbets took the famous photograph Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper. National Broadcasting Company, also owned by General Electric, leased space in the building.
The office of the Rockefeller family occupied Room 5600 on the 56th floor. This space is now occupied by Rockefeller Family & Associates, spanning between the 54th floor and the 56th floor of the building. In 1985, the building acquired official landmark status. The RCA Building was renamed as the GE Building in 1988, two years after General Electric re-acquired the RCA Corporation.
The observation deck atop the skyscraper, reopened to the public on November 1, 2005, after undergoing a $75 million renovation. It had been closed since 1986 to accommodate the renovation of the Rainbow Room. The deck, which is built to resemble the deck of an ocean liner, offers sightseers a bird's eye view of the city, competing with the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building. It is often considered the best panoramic city view, if only because it offers a view of the aforementioned Empire State Building, which cannot be seen from its own observation deck.

27/06/2010

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark


This photo was taken in Nyhavn during the winter, the colourful 17th century waterfront, canal and popular entertainment district in Copenhagen, Denmark. Stretching from Kongens Nytorv to the harbourfront just south of the Royal Playhouse, it is lined by brightly coloured 17th and early 18th century townhouses and numerous bars, cafés and restaurants. Serving as a heritage harbour, the canal is packed with old wooden ships.

12/06/2010

Kalta-Minor, Itchan Kala, Khiva (Xiva, Хива), Uzbekistan (O‘zbekiston, Ўзбекистон)


This is a close-up photo of the Kalta-Minor (the "Short minaret"), taken in Itchan Kala, the walled inner town of the city of Khiva, Uzbekistan.
Since 1990, Itchan Kala has been protected as the World Heritage Site. The old town retains more than 50 historic monuments and 250 old houses, dating primarily from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. Djuma Mosque, for instance, was established in the tenth century and rebuilt from 1788 to 1789, although its celebrated hypostyle hall still retains 112 columns taken from ancient structures.
Kalta-Minor is a short, yet enormous, minaret which stands before the facade of the Muhammad Amin-khan Madrassah. The minaret and Muhammad Amin-khan Madrassah were intended to finish the plan of the big square near the western gates of Ichan-Kala.
Kalta-Minor should have become the biggest and highest minaret in Central Asia. Its massive base is 14.2 m in diameter. However, construction was interrupted upon the death of Muhammad-Amin-khan in 1855 after a battle with the Turkmen as historian Munis reported. Legend has preserved a better version. A Bukhara Khan found out about the construction of a grandiose minaret in Khiva and agreed with its architect on the construction of a taller minaret in Bukhara. The Khiva Khan became angry and ordered the architect to be thrown from the minaret, which stopped construction. In any case, the structure rose to only 26m.
Decoratively speaking, the bright blue minaret of Kalta-Minor has no equal in Central Asia. It is the only minaret whose surface is entirely covered with colored glazed tiles.

08/06/2010

Le Moulin de la Galette, Paris


This is a photo of Le Moulin de la Galette, a windmill situated near the top of the district of Montmartre in Paris, France. The area has been depicted by artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Ramon Casas, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso. The windmill has been classified as a monument since 1939.
Previously, Moulin de la Galette was a famous
guinguette. It is now a restaurant.
The Moulin de la Galette is made up of two mills: "Blute-fin" and "Radet". The first mentioned name of the mill was "Palace windmill" in 1622. The Debray family acquired the two mills in 1809 for producing flour. But it was also used to pressurize the harvest or grind materials needed for manufacturing. The Parisian people appreciated it as Sunday walking goal.
The windmill "Blute-fin" was built in 1622 and often repaired. The name comes from the French verb "bluter" which means sifting flour for the separation from bran.
At the end of the Napoleon empire, in 1814, during the siege of Paris one of the Debray brothers strongly defended the windmill against Cossacks. They killed him and nailed him to the wings of the windmill.
In 1870, the owner Charles-Nicolas Debray, added a guinguette with a dancing room, and called it "Moulin de la Galette" in 1895. The "galette", is a small rye bread that Debray millers made and sold with a glass of milk. Now, in French, "galette" is the name of cake. In 1830, they replaced milk with wine (especially the local Montmartre wine) and the windmill by a cabaret.
The atmosphere was relaxed and customers more popular than in other establishments such as "Moulin Rouge". People came to "Moulin de la Galette" for enjoying and dancing.
Then the place was used as music-hall, radio and television studios. It was closed in 1974, at the end of the ORTF (French public TV). It is now a private property.
The windmill "Radet" was built in 1717. In the 19th century, it was transformed into a guinguette on Sundays and public holidays. An association "Friends of Old Montmartre" saved it from destruction in 1915. In 1924, its owner moved the windmill to the corner of Girardon and Lepic streets. It was restored in 1978, but is not running.

06/06/2010

Sunrise, Angkor, Cambodia


This photo was was taken in Angkor in Cambodia, and is showing a sunrise at Angkor Wat, the prime example and most known of the classical style of Khmer architecture, and the world's largest single religious monument. Angkor Wat was built for King Suryavarman II, king of the Khmer Empire, in the early 12th century, which he dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. It was designed as a pyramid representing the structure of the universe: the highest level at the center of the temple represented Mount Meru, the home of the Hindu gods, with the five towers on the highest level representing the five peaks of the mountain. The broad moat around the complex represented the oceans that surround the world.After Angkor was sacked in 1177 by the Chams, the traditional enemies of the Khmer, the empire was restored by a new king, Jayavarman VII, who established a new capital and state temple in Angkor Thom and the Bayon (see other post on Bayon, Angkor Thom on this blog). In the 14th or 15th century the temple was converted to Theravada Buddhist use, which continues to the present day.
Please also refer to this older post for other photos, including a Photoburst Photo of the Week !

05/06/2010

"Alors, tu tires ou tu pointes", Pétanque


These two photos were taken in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris (Association Sportive du Jardin du Luxembourg - Section Pétanque).
They are showing people playing Pétanque, a form of boules where the goal is, while standing with the feet together in a small circle, to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (jack). The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel.The current form of the game originated in 1907 in La Ciotat, in Provence, in southern France. The English and French name pétanque comes from la petanca in the Provençal dialect of the Occitan language, deriving from the expression pès tancats, meaning "feet together" or more exactly "feet anchored".The casual form of the game of Pétanque is played by about 17 million people in France, mostly during their summer vacations.
Throughout the world, there are many outdoor games that have as their central activity the competitive pitching of a heavy ball along the ground so as to arrive closer to a target than one's opponent. The English have their lawn bowling, which is played on a manicured lawn and has several sub-types. The Italians have their Bocce; the South Slavs their Balinaje, etc...The French game pétanque is among the more aggressive versions and is played by more people all over the world than any other.


04/06/2010

Down The Mekong, Laos


This photo was taken in Northern Laos, on the bank of the Mekong.
The Mekong is one of the world’s major rivers. It is the world's 12th-longest river and the 7th-longest in Asia. Its estimated length is 4,350 km, and it drains an area of 795,000 km2, discharging 475 km3 of water annually.
From the Tibetan Plateau this river runs through China's Yunnan province, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam established the Mekong River Commission in 1995 to assist in the management and coordinated use of the Mekong's resources. In 1996 China and Myanmar became "dialogue partners" of the MRC and the six countries now work together within a cooperation framework.
The extreme seasonal variations in flow and the presence of rapids and waterfalls in this river have made navigation extremely difficult.

03/06/2010

Mykonos (Μύκονος) Windmills, Cyclades, Greece


This photo was taken in Mykonos, a Greek island, part of the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. It spans an area of 105.183 km2 and rises at an elevation of 341 m at its highest point. The island is composed primarily of granite. It has little natural fresh water and relies on the desalination of sea water in order to meet its needs. There are 9,320 inhabitants most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos, also known as Chora (i.e. the Town in Greek, a common denomination in Greece when the name of the island itself is the same as the name of the principal town), which lies on the west coast.
It is believed that the island was named after a local hero, who is considered an offspring of the god Apollo and was worshipped locally in antiquity.
The windmills of Mykonos are the trademark of the whole island. They can be seen from every point of Chora village and they are the first thing to see when the ship gets close to the harbour, as they stand on a hill overlooking the area.
There are 16 windmills today on Mykonos. Most of them were built by the Venetians in the 16th century and till the early 20th century, they were used to grind the wheat. They were an important source of income for the inhabitants and supported a lot the economy of Mykonos in difficult times. With the evolution of economy, their use gradually declined till they stop working in the middle of the 20th century.
Their architecture is similar. They all have round shape, white colour and a pointed roof. Such windmills are found in almost all Cyclades islands. One of these windmills has been transformed today into a museum. The view from this site is excellent. You can see the whole village of Chora and the harbour, while the best time to visit is during the sunset.

02/06/2010

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia


This is a photo of the Sydney Opera House, New South Wales, Australia. Designed by the Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the project was built in three stages : 1959–1963 consisted of building the upper podium; 1963–1967 saw the construction of the outer shells; 1967-1973 consisted of the interior design and construction. It was formally opened in 1973 by Elisabeth II, and in 2007 was made a UNESCO World Heritage. To know more about it, please refer to following Wikipedia web page Sydney Opera House. You can also refer to some previous post for similar photos.

01/06/2010

Lindengracht Market, Amsterdam


This photo was taken on the Lindengracht Market (Saturday food and flowers market), next to the Noordermarkt Market in Amsterdam.Lindengracht which translates into English as the lime tree canal, has been filled up during the modernization of the city at the end of the 19th Century, and turned into the wide street with two rows of the huge lime trees in the middle. Each Saturday, 232 market stands are built along the whole street. Lindenmarkt - originally just a Jordaan neighborhood market, exists since 1895 and since 1922 it is so called day market – it is open up into the late afternoon hours. Today, together with the nearby Farmer’s Market on the Nordermarkt, (both open on Saturday), Lindenmarkt is probably the best food market in Amsterdam.