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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Night Lights of Europe

This fascinating image shows the twinkling lights of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia. The density of light reflects the level of urbanisation, with the seaboards and industrial cities of Western Europe particularly brightly illuminated, while large tracts of Africa and the barren lands of northern Russia are shrouded in darkness.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Hancock Museum (Newcastle)

Highlights include a large-scale, interactive model of Hadrian's Wall, major displays showing the wonder and diversity of the animal and plant kingdoms, spectacular objects from the Ancient Greeks and mummies from Ancient Egypt, a planetarium and a life-size T-Rex dinosaur skeleton, this museum is really fun :)

Friday, 12 November 2010

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge spanning the River
Tyne in England between Gateshead's Quays arts quarter on the south bank, and the Quayside of Newcastle upon Tyne on the north bank. The award-winning structure was conceived and designed by architects Wilkinson Eyre and structural engineers Gifford. The bridge is sometimes referred to as the 'Blinking Eye Bridge' or the 'Winking Eye Bridge" due to its shape and its tilting method. In terms of height, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge is slightly shorter than the neighbouring Tyne Bridge, and stands as thesixteenth tallest structure in the city.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Newcastle Brown Ale

Nicest drink ever!

Tyne Brewery, Newcastle

Newcastle Brown Ale was originally created by Colonel J. Porter in 1925. The recipe, however, was adapted over a period of three years to create the flavour that is distinct to the beer today. When first exhibited, Newcastle Brown Ale swept the board at the prestigious 1928 International Brewery Awards. The gold medals from these awards are still featured on the label.
Newcastle Brown Ale went into production at Tyne Brewery in 1927, with Newcastle Breweries having occupied the site since 1890, with brewing on the site dating back to 1868.[1] The production launch of Newcastle Brown was said to have been an overnight success, with claims that the day after it went on sale, the Police requested the strength be reduced, because the cells were already full.[1]
The blue star logo was introduced to the Newcastle Brown Ale bottle in 1928, the year after the beer was launched. The five points of the star represent the five founding breweries of Newcastle. One of these, John Barras, is now commemorated in the pub chain of the same name.
Newcastle Brown Ale became a brand of Scottish & Newcastle after the merger of Scottish Brewers with Newcastle Breweries in 1960.

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Latin Quarter (Paris)

The Latin Quarter is Paris' traditional center of great thinking. Some of the world's most important artists, philosophers, and writers have passed through the area throughout history, frequenting the centuries-old Sorbonne University or the many now-legendary cafes around the area. The Latin quarter retains the nostalgic charm of past ages, while still being an important hub of education and ideas to this day. It's also a lush, picturesque area of Paris, with lots of quiet squares and gardens, winding backstreets, and vibrant open-air markets.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Champs Elysees & Arc de Triomphe

Taking a walk down the city's most famous avenue (the Champs Elysees) to Napoleon's most notable legacy to Paris (the Arc de Triomphe) is a grand walk for anyone visiting the city. Unfortunately, the cobblestones and click clacks of horse drawn carriages have been replaced by screeching cars and a line of chain restaurants along the Champs Elysees. Nevertheless, this famous street which extends from the Jardin de Tuileries to the Arc de Triomphe is worth a walk. The colossal arch itself was planned by Napoleon to commemorate all of his military successes (the names of generals are carved in the top and inside of the arch) and was completed in 1836. The arch stands a whopping 164 feet tall and holds the tomb of France's unknown soldier from WWI. You can access the arch via an underground passage and then climb to the platform via 284 steps or take a lift (and a few steps too).

Friday, 5 November 2010

The Louvre Museum in Paris

Louvre , foremost French museum of art, located in Paris. The building was a royal fortress and palace built by Philip II in the late 12th cent. In 1546 Pierre Lescot was commissioned by Francis I to erect a new building on the site of the Louvre. During his reign, several paintings by Leonardo, including the Mona Lisa,and works of other Italian masters came into the royal collections. In 1564, Catherine de' Medicicommissioned Philibert Delorme to build a residence at the Tuileries and to connect it to the Louvre by a long gallery. The Grande Galerie was completed in 1606 under Henri IV. 

While Cardinal Richelieu collected art with state funds, work on the buildings was continued under Louis XIII. Lescot's architectural designs were expanded by Jacques Lemercier in 1624, and under Louis XIV the magnificent colonnade was brought to completion (1670) by Louis Le Vau and Claude Perrault . In 1750 part of the royal collections was put on view in the Luxembourg palace. In 1793 the Musée Central des Arts was created by decree and the Grande Galerie of the Louvre was officially opened. For many years the area beneath the Grande Galerie served as artists' studios and workshops. 

Napoleon I added vastly to its collections by his conquests, and in 1803 the museum was proclaimed the Musée Napoléon. Many famous works were returned after his downfall. The grand architectural scheme of the Louvre was completed by Napoleon III. The museum is famous for its enormous collection of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities, and for its superb old masters, a collection especially rich in works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, and Leonardo. Its most famous sculptures include the Nike, or Victory, of Samothrace and the Venus of Milo. A part of the museum building houses the Museum of Decorative Arts, a private institution.

In 1984 excavations began for the gradual expansion of the Louvre underground; construction was completed in 1993. A glass pyramid, designed by I. M. Pei and opened in 1989, sits atop the entrance to this new space. At first the pyramid caused considerable controversy between critics who considered it a defacement of the museum and those who judged it a continuation of the eclecticism of Parisian architecture; it has since become a nearly universally acclaimed landmark. Pei has also overseen the extensive renovations and expansions of exhibition space that have continued through the 1990s. 

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Notre Dame Picture

Notre Dame Picture - gargoyle looking at Paris from the top of Notre Dame.
You can see Sacre-Coeur in the distance at the top, middle of the picture.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Eiffel Tower (France - Paris)

Why was the Eiffel Tower Built 
The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World Fair which also coincided with the centenary of the French Revolution. Out of a number of designs submitted as part of a competition, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel won, and was responsible for erecting the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower Facts 
Even though it is one of the best known monuments worldwide, many facts about the Eiffel Tower are not known to many.

Following are a few important facts about the Eiffel Tower.

-- Erection of the Eiffel Tower began on January 26, 1887
-- Erection of the Eiffel Tower was completed on March 31, 1889
-- Erection of the Eiffel Tower took 2 years, 2 months, and 5 days from start to finish
-- Alexandre Gustave Eiffel was the main architect, Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier were the main engineers, Stephen Sauvestre was the main architect, and Jean Compagnon handled the construction of the Eiffel Tower
-- Alexandre Gustave Eiffel is the very person who created the internal frame of the Statue of Liberty in the year 1885
-- The Eiffel Tower stands 324 meters tall
-- Material used for the Eiffel Tower is wrought iron (puddle iron) of the highest quality
-- The Eiffel Tower was made using 9441 tons of wrought iron
-- A total of 18038 pieces of wrought iron were joined together to create the Eiffel Tower
-- Approximately 60 tons of paint is required to paint the Eiffel Tower
-- The Eiffel Tower is painted every 7 years in 3 shades of brown (darkest shade at the bottom)
-- Even today painting the Eiffel Tower is done using brushes
-- In clear weather (very seldom seen today) you can see approximately 42 miles from the top of the Eiffel Tower
-- The base of the Eiffel Tower covers a square area of 100 meters
-- During gusty winds, the Eiffel Tower sways upto 15 cms at its summit
-- The names of 72 prominent French scientists and famous personalities are affixed on the sides of Eiffel Tower just beneath the first platform, 18 names per side
-- There was only one death during the construction period of the Eiffel Tower, that too outside working hours and not work related
-- Alexandre Gustave Eiffel died on December 27, 1923 in Paris
-- The Eiffel Tower has a total of 1710 steps to the topmost third level small platform, 674 steps to the second level, and 347 steps to the first level, all counted from the ground
-- The Eiffel Tower was to be dismantled and the metal sold as scrap 20 years after it was constructed, but this never happened
-- The Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure when it was built, but this has been surpassed over the years
-- Today, the Eiffel Tower is open to the public every day of the year
-- Persons on wheelchairs can visit the Eiffel Tower upto the second level using the elevator
-- You can use the steps only till the second platform (the third platform is accessible only via elevators)
-- The Eiffel Tower has got restaurants on the first and second platforms
-- The restaurant on the first platform is Altitude 95 and faces the river Seine
-- The restaurant on the second platform is named Jules Verne and needs prior booking
-- The Eiffel Tower belongs to the city of Paris and is given on a renewable contract to a limited company named Societe d'exploitation de la Tour Eiffel
-- Over 200 million people have visited the Eiffel Tower since its inception

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Monday, 1 November 2010

st paul's cathedral (London)

Cathedral & History

About St Paul’s

A Cathedral dedicated to St Paul has stood on this site since 604AD, and throughout the Cathedral has remained a busy, working church where millions come to reflect and find peace.

St Paul’s is not only an iconic part of the London skyline but also a symbol of the hope, resilience and strength of the city and nation it serves. Above all, St Paul’s Cathedral is a lasting monument to the glory of God.

Its rich and diverse history means there is lots for visitors to the Cathedral to discover, for more information about visiting St Paul’s go to our Visits and Events pages. 

A History of St Paul’s Cathedral

The current Cathedral – the fourth to occupy this site – was designed by the court architect Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.
Its architectural and artistic importance reflect the determination of the five monarchs who oversaw its building that London’s leading church should be as beautiful and imposing as their private palaces.
Since the first service was held here in 1697, Wren's masterpiece has been where people and events of overwhelming importance to the country have been celebrated, mourned and commemorated. Important services have included the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill; Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the launch of the Festival of Britain; the Service of Remembrance and Commemoration for the 11th September 2001: the 80th and 100th birthdays of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, to Lady Diana Spencer and, most recently, the thanksgiving services for both the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.

Over the centuries, St Paul’s has changed to reflect shifting tastes and attitudes. Decoration has been added and removed, services have been updated, and different areas have been put to new uses. Today, the history of the nation is written in the carved stone of its pillars and arches and is celebrated in its works of art and monuments.
In the crypt are effigies and fragments of stone that pre-date the Cathedral, relics of a medieval world. From Wren’s original vision, Jean Tijou’s beautiful wrought iron gates of 1700 still separate the quire from the ambulatory; children still test the acoustics in the Whispering Gallery; and the 1695 organ which Mendelssohn once played is still in use.
The magnificent mosaics are the result of Queen Victoria’s mid-19th century complaint that the interior was "most dreary, dingy and undevotional.” The American Memorial Chapel stands behind the High Altar in an area that was bomb-damaged during the Second World War – a gesture of gratitude to the American dead of the Second World War from the people of Britain. An altar has now been installed on a dais in the heart of the Cathedral, bringing services closer to those who attend them.
St Paul’s is currently undergoing an historic £40 million programme of cleaning and repair to mark the 300th Anniversary of the Cathedral in 2010. This is the first time in its long history that the building has been comprehensively restored inside and out. Once the programme of cleaning and repair is finished the two million visitors and worshippers who come to St Paul’s each year can witness Wren’s original vision and see his Cathedral as fresh as the day it was completed.

The Diocese of London

St Paul’s is the cathedral of the Diocese of London. The Diocese is made up of five episcopal areas: Willesden, Edmonton, Stepney, London and Kensington.
Four of these have an Area Bishop, to whom the Bishop of London, The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard Chartres, delegates certain responsibilities. The Bishops are assisted by Archdeacons. Archdeaconries are further divided into deaneries which are groups of parishes. The Bishop of Fulham is the Suffragan Bishop for the whole Diocese. In 2004 the Diocese celebrates its 1400th anniversary.