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23/07/2010

Namib Desert, Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia


This photo was taken close to Sandwich Harbour, in the Namib Desert, Namibia, the oldest desert in the world. The word Namib means place of emptiness...

21/07/2010

Little Italy, Manhattan


This photo was taken in Little Italy, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan, New York City, once known for its large population of Italians. Today the neighborhood of Little Italy consists of Italian stores and restaurants. I like the two women who are crossing the street, as their shopping bags show perfect green and red color harmony with the area !!
Historically, Little Italy extends as far south as Bayard Street, as far north as Bleecker, as far west as Lafayette and as far east as the Bowery.
Much of the neighborhood has been absorbed and engulfed by Chinatown, as immigrants from China moved to the area. What was once Little Italy has essentially shrunk into a single street which serves as a tourist area and maintains few Italian residents. The northern reaches of Little Italy, near Houston Street, ceased to be recognizably Italian, and eventually became the neighborhood known today as NoLIta, an abbreviation for North of Little Italy. Today, the section of Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal Streets, is all that is left of the old Italian neighborhood. The street is lined with some two-dozen Italian restaurants popular with tourists, and seemingly very few locals. Unlike Chinatown, which continues to expand in all directions with newer Chinese immigrants, little remains of the original Little Italy.
In 2010, Little Italy and Chinatown were listed in a single historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.

19/07/2010

Kastellet, Copenhagen, Denmark


This photo was taken in the Kastellet, Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the best preserved fortifications in Northern Europe.

18/07/2010

Yellow Line Road Markings, London


This photo was take in London.
In the United Kingdom, a double yellow line (commonly known as just a "Double Yellow") next to the kerb means that no parking is allowed at any time, whilst a single yellow line is used in conjunction with signs to denote that parking is restricted at certain times.

17/07/2010

Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri), Wales (Cymru)


This photo was taken in Snowdonia National Park (North Wales), established in 1951 as the third National Park in Britain, following the Peak District and the Lake District. It covers 2,140 km2, 60 km of coastline.

14/07/2010

The July Column (Colonne de Juillet), Bastille Day July 14th, the 'Storming of the Bastille' (14th July 1789), Paris, France


This is a photo of the July Column (Colonne de Juillet) which commemorates the events of the July Revolution (1830) and which stands at the center of the Place de la Bastille, a square in Paris, where the Bastille prison stood until the Storming of the Bastille' and its subsequent physical destruction between 14 July 1789 and 14 July 1790 during the French Revolution; no vestige of it remains.

13/07/2010

Great Highland Bagpipe (A' Phìob Mhòr)


This is a photo of a Great Highland Bagpiper. The Great Highland Bagpipe is a type of bagpipe native to Scotland. It has achieved widespread recognition through its usage in the British military and in pipe bands throughout the world.
The bagpipe is first attested in Scotland around 1400 A.D., having previously appeared in European artwork in Spain in the 1200s. The earliest references to Scottish bagpipes are in a military context, and it is in that context that the Great Highland Bagpipe became established in the British military and achieved the widespread prominence it enjoys today, whereas other bagpipe traditions throughout Europe, ranging from Spain to Russia, almost universally went into decline by the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Though widely famous for its role in military and civilian pipe bands, the Great Highland Bagpipe is also used for a solo virtuosic style called piobaireachd (aka pibroch).

10/07/2010

Women Portrait, Akha (Lao Sung) Hill Tribe, Northern Laos


This photo was taken in the north of Laos, in a small Akha village.The Akha are hill tribe of subsistence farmers known for their artistry. The ethnic group may have originated in Mongolia ar
ound 1500 years ago. The Akha generally live in bamboo houses raised on low wooden stilts in hilly areas. These huts are divided by gender - one side is for the women, and the other side, occupied by the men, is used as a more public area. The Akha subsist through an often destructive form of slash and burn agriculture which can result in elimination of old growth forest, native animal species and serious soil runoff problems. They are expert farmers who focus on mountain rice, corn, and soybeans that are planted in seasonal shifts. The Akha are also very efficient hunters, though their prey sometimes includes endangered species. Some Akha grew opium for income but they are increasingly building up the tourist industry. A village with a large percentage of Akha is Mae Salong (now known as Santikhiri). The Akha put a particularly heavy emphasis on genealogy - they are taught their family history at a very early age, and their culture has a strong focus on honouring ancestors and their parents, though they dispute that this represents a form of ancestor worship. A better description of Akha religion would be animism, as they believe in a world filled with spirits, both good and bad, that have a definite physical impact on the world. They believe in a natural cycle of balance that, if disrupted, can result in illness, hardship, or even death.
Most of the remaining Akha people are now distributed in small villages among the mountains of China, Laos (where they are considered Lao Sung), Myanmar (Burma), and northern Thailand.Lao Sung (or more commonly Lao Soung) is an official Laos PDR designation for highland dwelling peoples in Laos (the others being the Lao Loum and the Lao Theung). The ones in Laos, the actual Lao Soung, make up 9% of the Laotian population. The Lao Soung aren't actually one single ethnic group but are made up of (H)Mong (the main group), Yao, Akha, Phu Noi and other people who live in the Laotian mountaintops. All these groups are related. Their main religions are animism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk religions.

09/07/2010

The Mekong & Haw Kham (Royal Palace), Luang Prabang, Laos


This is a photo of The Royal Palace (official name "Haw Kham") in Luang Prabang, Laos, taken from the top of the Phousi mountain.
It was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. The architecture of the building has a mixed of traditional Lao motifs and French Beaux Arts styles. The site for the palace was chosen so that official visitors to Luang Prabang could disembark from their river voyages directly below the palace (Mekong River) and be received there. After the death of King Sisavang Vong, the crown Prince Savang Vatthana and his family were the last to occupy the grounds. In 1975, the monarchy was overthrown by the communists. The palace was then converted into a national museum.
You can see a previous post of the place, and browse through the Laos folder.

08/07/2010

Eden Amsterdam American Hotel, Leidsekade 97, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


These are two photos of the Eden American Hotel in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Built in 1900 in a Art Nouveau style , this is now a national monument (Rijksmonument), as the hotel has stunning Art-Deco features, and also a rich history, including playing host to the famous spy Mata Hari's honeymoon...

06/07/2010

MQB, Musée du quai Branly (Quai Branly Museum), Paris, France


These are photos of the Musée du quai Branly (see official website), known in English as the Quai Branly Museum, nicknamed MQB, a museum in Paris, France that features indigenous art, cultures and civilizations from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The museum is located at 37, quai Branly, close to the Eiffel Tower.
The building was designed by architect Jean Nouvel. The "living wall" (200m long by 12m tall) on part of the exterior of the museum was designed and planted by Gilles Clément and Patrick Blanc. The museum complex contains several buildings, as well as a mediatheque and a garden. The museum's frontage facing onto quai Branly features very tall glass paneling which allows its interior gardens to be remarkably quiet only meters from the busy street in front of them.

04/07/2010

Rundetårn, Copenhagen, Denmark


This is a photo taken inside the Rundetårn (Round Tower), a 17th-century tower located in central Copenhagen, Denmark. One of the many architectural projects of Christian IV, it was built as an astronomical observatory. It is most noted for its 7.5-turn helical corridor leading to the top, and for the expansive views it affords over Copenhagen.
The tower is part of the Trinitatis Complex which also provided the scholars of the time with a university chapel, the Trinitatis Church, and an academic library which was the first prupose-built facilities of the Copenhagen University Library which had been founded in 1482. Today the Round Tower serves as an observation tower for expansive views of Copenhagen, a public astronomical observatory and a historical monument. In the same time the Library Hall, located above the church and only accessible along the tower's ramp, is an active cultural venue with both exhibitions and a busy concert scedual.

03/07/2010

Street Portrait, Akha Tribe, Laos


This photo was taken in the north of Laos , in a small Akha village.The Akha are hill tribe of subsistence farmers known for their artistry. The ethnic group may have originated in Mongolia around 1500 years ago. Most of the remaining Akha people are now distributed in small villages among the mountains of China, Laos (where they are considered Lao Sung), Myanmar (Burma), and northern Thailand.Lao Sung (or more commonly Lao Soung) is an official Laos PDR designation for highland dwelling peoples in Laos (the others being the Lao Loum and the Lao Theung). The ones in Laos, the actual Lao Soung, make up 9% of the Laotian population. The Lao Soung aren't actually one single ethnic group but are made up of (H)Mong (the main group), Yao, Akha, Phu Noi and other people who live in the Laotian mountaintops. All these groups are related. Their main religions are animism, Buddhism, and Chinese folk religions.

02/07/2010

Caldera, Santorini (Σαντορίνη), Cyclades (Κυκλάδες), Greece (Ελλάδα)


This photo was taken in Santorini (Σαντορίνη), Cyclades (Κυκλάδες), Greece (Ελλάδα).
Santorini is a volcanic island located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast from Greece's mainland. Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. A giant central lagoon, more or less rectangular, and measuring about 12 by 7 km, is surrounded by 300 m high steep cliffs on three sides.

01/07/2010

Zuiderkerk from Groenburgwal, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


This is a photo taken in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and showing the Zuiderkerk ("southern church") is a 17th Century Protestant church in the Nieuwmarkt area. The church played an important part in the life of Rembrandt and was the subject of a painting by Claude Monet.
The Zuiderkerk was the city's first church built specifically for Protestant services. It was constructed between 1603 and 1611 and stands on the Zuiderkerkhof ("Southern Graveyard") square near the
Sint Antoniesbreestraat. The distinctive church tower, which dominates the surrounding area, was not completed until 1614 and contains a carillon of bells built by the brothers Hemony, installed in 1656.
The design of the church in Amsterdam Renaissance style is by Hendrick de Keyser, who was also buried in the church in 1621. A memorial stone was placed on top of his tomb in 1921. De Keyser designed the church as a pseudo-basilica with a central nave and two lower side aisles, six bays long, with Tuscan columns, timber barrel vaults and dormers. The stained glass in the rectangular windows was replaced by transparent glass in the 17th Century. The richly detailed tower is a square stone substructure, on which an octagonal sandstone section stands with free-standing columns on the corners. On top of this is a wooden, lead-covered spire.
French Impressionist painter Claude Monet painted the church during a visit to the Netherlands. There is some confusion about the date of this painting, but it was probably one of 12 paintings made by Monet in 1874 during a visit to Amsterdam. The composition is centred on the church spire, with the Groenburgwal canal leading up to it in the foreground. The reflections of the buildings on the water are represented by yellow brushstrokes only, with no detail to them. The painting now hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Three of Rembrandt's children were buried in the Zuiderkerk, which is very near to Rembrandt's house in the Jodenbreestraat. Ferdinand Bol, one of Rembrandt's most famous pupils, was buried in the Zuiderkerk in 1680. According to local legend, Rembrandt painted the Night Watch at the church because his own studio was too small. However, the story is highly disputed and most likely untrue.
The Zuiderkerk was used for church services until 1929. During the final (1944-1945) winter of World War II, known as the hongerwinter ("winter of hunger") in the Netherlands because food was so scarce, the church was in use as a temporary morgue because people were dying faster than they could be buried. The church was closed in 1970 because it was at the point of collapse. In the years 1976-1979, the church underwent renovation, and since 1988 it serves as a municipal information centre, with regularly changing exhibitions as well as a permanent exhibition which features a scale model of Amsterdam as it is envisioned in 2020.
Since June 2006, the church also houses the "Wall of Fame", an homage to Dutch celebrities who have made a positive contribution to society, such as charitable work. The honourees include Amsterdam mayor
Job Cohen, renowned former soccer player Johan Cruijff and four-time Olympic swimming champion Inge de Bruijn.
The church is open to visitors Monday through Saturday. The tower, which offers stunning views of the surrounding area, is open to visitors Tuesdays through Sundays during the summer months. The carillon plays on Sundays between 4pm and 5pm.