|The Royal Mile|
|City Chambers, Royal Mile|
- Edinburgh Castle . Edinburgh Castle is visited annually by approximately one million people - if we except the Tower of London that is more people than visit any other ancient monument in the United Kingdom. Every visitor - particularly those on a restricted itinerary - should visit the Castle, not only because of the historical interest of this remarkable fortress and former royal residence, but because it offers such splendid panoramic views of the city. It is from these battlements, for example, that the traveller immediately appreciates the dramatic topography of Edinburgh, situated between sea and hills. Within the confines of the Castle, there is much to see. It was the seat (and regular refuge) of Scottish Kings, and the historical apartments include the Great Hall, which now houses an interesting collection of weapons and armour.No one is sure who first used the castle rock as a settlement, but it was long before the Romans came sailing up the Forth and landing at Cramond.
The Scott Monument
- The Royal Mile. The Royal Mile sits at the heart of Edinburgh and connects the castle withth Palace of Holyrood House. The Mile is overlooked by impressive, towering tenemants between which closes and stairways help to create a secret underground world. Peppered with superb attractions such as The Real Mary King's Close, historical sites such as St Giles Cathedral, wonderful shops and some of the best eating and drinking spots in the city there is so much to do and see. For recent history, be sure to visit the impressive Scottish Parliament building with its ultra-modern cutting edge design.
- Grassmarket. Once a medieval market place and site for public executions, the Grassmarket is now a vibrant meeting place bursting with lively drinking spots and eclectic shops. Loved by students,tourists and locals alike, as with all of Edinburgh, be sure to look upwards and admire the architecture and stunning views of the castle. Though executions ceased here in 1784, some of the traditional Grassmarket pubs such as The Last Drop and Maggie Dixon's keep alive the bloody history. The modern entertainment in Grassmarket centres around daily live music and acoustic performances.
- Holyrood House. The Palace of Holyrood House, the official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty The Queen, stands at the end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur's Seat, this fine Baroque palace is closely associated with Scotland's rich history. The palace is probably best known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots and as the setting for many of the dramatic episodes in her turbulent reign. The palace briefly served as the headquarters of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the 1745 uprising.
Eindhoven is a municipality and a city located in the province of North Brabant in the south of the Netherlands, originally at the confluence of the Dommel and Gender streams. The Gender was dammed off short of the city centre in the 1950s, but the Dommel still runs through the city. The city counts 213,809 inhabitants (1 January 2010), which makes it the fifth-largest city of the Netherlands and the largest of North-Brabant.
Around 1388, the city's fortifications were strengthened further. And between 1413 and 1420, a new castle was built within the city walls. In 1486, Eindhoven was plundered and burned by troops from Guelders. The reconstruction was finished in 1502, with a stronger rampart and a new castle. However, in 1543 Eindhoven fell again: its defense works were neglected due to poverty.
Art, technology, design, rock, hip-hop, dance, film, urban sports, unique hospitality. Strijp-S brings all this together. It is the new creative heart of Eindhoven, teeming with inspiration every hour of every day. Strijp-S is the place to be. First there’s the Portiersloge, the new ‘Gate House’ where a mega-model and a giant iPad explain the developments planned for the coming years as well as what there is to see here and now.
With the covered shopping centre 'De Heuvel Galerie', Piazza Centre, large department stores including the exclusive 'De Bijenkorf' and an extensive selection of boutiques an specialist shops, the centre of Eindhoven is the most bustling shopping centre in the South of the Netherlands.
In a central position in the heart of the city is the Markt, where in fine weather, the terraces are immediately full. Here, you mainly find "Grand cafés" where you can eat, drink and make merry! Also situated in the Markt is the legal Holland Casino.
Opposite central station is Stationsplein. With its restaurants, "Grand cafés", trendy dancing bars and terraces, this is an outstanding example of an area that is made for going out. There are more pubs, bars, pleasant eating-places and restaurants in Dommelstraat (side-street off Stationsplein), the venue 'De Effenaar' and the 'Liquid' club are also situated here.
Want to go on a pub-crawl? The Stratumseind is extraordinarily suited to this. This is the street with the most bars in the whole of the Netherlands! There are more than 40 bars and various eating places which are also open at night.
|Van Abbemuseum |
- St. Catherine's Church is a Roman Catholic church in the centre of the city, dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria . The church is located in the Catherine square, at the end of Stratumseind and was built in the19th century to replace the dilapidated medieval, original Church. The neo-Gothic building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and is considered an early highlight of his career. Construction began in 1861 and was completed in 1867. The cost of construction amounted to 279,000 fl. Cuypers processed in this design a lot of ideas about the symbolism of Catholic writerJoseph Alberdingk Thijm . The most striking feature of the church are the two towers, both 73 meters high and at examples of French Gothic several forms, called a male and a female tower, with the names David and Mary. The towers are part of the double front tower . In 1942 and 1944 the church was badly damaged by bombing. After the war, restoration architect CH de Bever began rebuilding . The old windows that were lost were replaced by stained-glass windows by among others Charles Eyck and Pieter Wiegersma . The church has been a national monument since 1972 .
- The Evoluon is a conference centre and former science museum erected by the electronics and electrical company Philips, in 1966. Since its construction, it has become a landmark and a symbol for the city. The building is unique due to its very futuristic design, resembling a landed flying saucer. It was designed by architect Louis Christiaan Kalff, while the exhibition was conceived by James Gardner. The building was based on an idea by Frits Philips, who originally made a sketch of the building on a paper napkin. Frits Philips wanted to give the people of Eindhoven a beautiful and educational gift to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company that bears his family name. Its concrete dome is 77 meters (253 ft) in diameter and is held in place by 169 kilometers (105 mi) of rebar.In the 1960s and 70s it attracted large visitor numbers, since its interactive exhibitions were a new and unique concept in the Netherlands at that time. But when competing science museums opened in other cities, the number of visitors to the Evoluon declined every year. After several years of losing money, the original museum closed down in 1989 and the Evoluon was converted into a conference center, opening in 1998.
- The 'Blob'. Designed by award winning Italian Architect Massimiliano Fuksas, who also designed the new Piazza (glass canopy next to the Bijenkorf), the blob is the centre-piece of a complete re-development of the 18 Septemberplein, which includes two bicycle tunnels and a second smaller blob. Due to open at the end of March 2012, it will host shops on the ground floor and office space on the higher floors. Opinions are sharply divided on the architectural merit’s of the new structure, but what actually is a blob? The term is used in the IT world to denote a large chunk of computer data known as a Binary Large Object, but is more commonly associated with an amorphous, glutinous object, made famous by the 1958 film “The Blob” starring Steve McQueen, in which an ever-expanding jelly from outer-space terrorizes small town America. In the architectural world blob refers to a recognised style used by a number of famous buildings including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
- The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven is the city's top destination for contemporary art lovers. In addition to innovative temporary exhibitions, the permanent collection includes works by Lissitzky, Picasso, Kokoschka, Chagall, Beuys, McCarthy, Daniëls and Körmeling. For a schedule of their temporary exhibitions and other events at the museum, see the Van Abbemuseum website. The building, redesigned in 2003 by Abel Cahen around the original 1936 structure built by architect A.J. Kropholler, is in itself worth exploring.
- Parktheatre. A recently renovated, modern theatre with a variety of shows and entertainment, the Park Theatre is located in the Stadswandelpark just south of the city centre, near the Van Abbemuseum. Re-opened in 2007, the Park Theatre building is a work of art in itself, especially worth seeing at night. Classical theatre, ballet, concerts and other cultural events can all be found here, so be sure to check their schedule to get an idea of what's going on during your stay. There is also a restaurant in the theatre, Park & Pluche, which features outdoor dining during the summer months.
The controversial 'blob'
Esbjerg is an important seaport on the west coast of the Jutland peninsula in southwest Denmark, the main town of Esbjerg Municipality, the site of its municipal council and with a population of 71,576 (1 January 2011) the fifth largest city in Denmark, and the largest in west Jutland.
During the first months of 1868, a bill was introduced into the Danish Folketing concerning the establishing of a harbour at Esbjerg, which, seen from eastern Denmark at that time, was a desolate, grim, far-flung corner of the country. This bill was keenly debated in the Folketing, and subsequently in the Landsting. It was eventually passed, the harbour was built and the country's now fifth-largest city with 82.000 inhabitants was founded - from nothing, via a pioneer spirit and wild-west conditions to greatness, seen from a cultural as well as a business and educational point of view.
|Esbjerg Water Tower|
The city was once Denmark's biggest fishing harbour, and the harbour is still an economic driving force in the town. Besides the fishing industry Esbjerg is also the main city for Denmark's oil and offshore activities.
Esbjerg is western Denmark’s main hub with a big city atmosphere. The city offers attractive shopping and cultural activities and a versatile business community. The city centre sizzles with activity all year round. An exciting mix of culture houses, numerous specialty shops, and a rich variety of restaurants and cafés in an alluring urban environment characterize Esbjerg’s shopping and cultural centre.
Esbjerg is a lively and modern city that offers the opportunity to try out new ideas. As a young harbour city, Esbjerg hospitality is striking. Tourists also add their touch to the city. Apart from visitors from summer house areas, large cruise liners call at the city. In Esbjerg, visitors can experience a pulsating shopping and cultural centre and yet still have only a short distance to nature and good beaches. The city’s unusual road network is built on a grid modeled after an American pattern, straight streets at right angles to each other. That has resulted in plenty of light, air and open street space.
Esbjerg has some great options for shopping centered around the two main shopping streets. Kongensgade is a pedestrianized shopping street and has some 150 specialty shops and eateries.Torvegade, partly pedestrianized, is also worth a visit. The two converge right around the main square in town.
- Fisheries and Maritime Museum. The Fisheries and Maritime Museum is the largest institution of its kind in Denmark focusing on Danish fisheries and marine biology, the tidal wetlands (Wadden Sea), west Jutland coastal shipping and the North Sea offshore industries. So the theme of the museum can truly be said to be "people and the sea"
- Sædden Church was built and consecrated in 1978. The church was built together with the Saedding centre by designers Inger and Johs. It is monumental building with beautiful brickwork and an Interesting twist on lightning. The church is modern, but related to old romanesque church tradition.
- The Old Court House. Esbjerg’s former Courthouse and County Gaol was built in 1891 by the architect H.C. Amberg and officially opened in August 1892. Today, it houses the tourist office and local police station. On the first floor, there is a wedding room and the former town council chamber can be used for receptions, etc. The
building originally consisted of two sections: a courthouse and town hall in the front part, and a police and a county gaol in the rear section. The cells were used until 1956, when the new police station became operational. The Courthouse was used until 1970.
- Water Tower. Built in 1896-97, Esbjerg's water tower was designed by C.H. Clausen, who has virtually copied the medieval residence Haus Nassau in Nuremberg. The function of the tower as a water tower was not of any supreme importance, although the tower quickly became the landmark of the town. It was originally built with a vantage platform on the top floor. After some years of being inaccessible to the general public, it was reopened after a privately undertaken restoration. Apart from offering a magnificent view of the town and harbour, marshland and sea, the tower has changing exhibitions as an added attraction.
- Man meets the Sea is a 9 metre (30 feet) tall white monument of four seated males, located west of Esbjerg next to Sædding Beach. It is located opposite the Fisheries and Maritime Museum, is one of the area's major tourist attractions, and is a famous landmark of Esbjerg. The sculpture was designed by Svend Wiig Hansen and installed on 28th October 1995. It was funded by the municipality of Esbjerg, the Kunstfond (an art fund), and private sponsors, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the municipality in 1994. The artist's original idea for the location of the sculpture was Grenen, north of Skagen. The monument can be seen from ships leaving or entering Esbjerg harbour.
Man meets the sea
Essen is a city in the central part of the Ruhr area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Located on the River Ruhr, its population of approximately 579,000 (as of June 30, 2008) makes it the 9th-largest city in Germany. For the year 2010, Essen was the European Capital of Culture on behalf of the whole Ruhr area.
Until the 1970s, Essen had been one of Germany's most important coal and steel centres. Historically linked to the centuries-old Krupp family iron works, the city has since developed a strong tertiary sector of the economy, so it is sometimes called "desk of the Ruhr area" (together with nearby Düsseldorf). Essen is home to 13 of the 100 largest German corporations and seat to several of the region's authorities.
Further enrichments for the Essen experience are city events and attractive restaurant and pubs offering a great selection of food and drink. Essen is regarded as "the city for shopping". Exquisite jewellery shops, elegant boutiques, major furniture stores, exclusive design studios, and an assortment of department stores offer a varied and exciting shopping experience.
|Folkwang University of the Arts (Werden Abbey)|
Those wanting to “immerse“ themselves in the history of the “Black Country“ should not miss travelling the “Industrial Culture Route“: on a 400-km circuit, 46 industrial monuments afford entirely new perspectives of and insights into the industrial history of the region.
|The Old Synagogue|
- Essen Cathedral. Essen Minster or Cathedral (Essener Münster, since 1958 also Essener Dom) is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Essen, the "Diocese of the Ruhr", founded in 1958. The church, dedicated to Saints Cosmas and Damian and the Blessed Virgin Mary, stands on the Burgplatz in the centre of the city. The minster was formerly the collegiate church of Essen Abbey, founded in about 845 by Altfrid, Bishop of Hildesheim, around which the city of Essen grew up. The present building, which was reconstructed after its destruction in World War II, is a Gothic hall church, built after 1275 in light-coloured sandstone. The octagonal westwork and the crypt are survivors of the Ottonian pre-Romanesque building that once stood here. To the north of the minster is a cloister that once served the abbey. Essen Minster is noted for its treasury (Domschatz), which among other treasures contains the Golden Madonna, the oldest fully sculptural figure of Mary north of the Alps. The first bishop of Essen, Cardinal Hengsbach, was buried here in 1991.
- The Old Synagogue. The former Essen synagogue, completed in 1913 by master builder Edmund Körner on behalf of the Jewish community, is the only free-standing major synagogue structure to have survived - at least externally - the Second World War. Today, it constitutes a unique cultural and architectural monument. The future House of Jewish Culture is, however, presented not as a museum and historical site but rather as a meeting place where people can come into contact with Jewish culture and the Jewish way of life.
- The Villa Hügel is a mansion in Bredeney. It belonged to the Krupp family of industrialists and was built by Alfred Krupp during 1873 as a residence. More recently, the Villa Hügel is the main office of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation (major shareholder of the Thyssen-Krupp corporation) and houses an art gallery. At the time of its construction, the villa featured some technical novelties and peculiarities, such as a central hot air heating system, own water- and gas works and electric internal and external telegraph- and telephone systems (with a central induction alarm for the staff). The mansion's central clock became the reference clock for the whole Krupp enterprise; every clock was to be set with a maximum difference of half a minute. The archive of the Krupp family and company is also located there. An annex, called the Little House (kleines Haus) on the estate holds sixty rooms and served to confine Alfried Krupp in the aftermath of the Second World War. The house has 259 rooms and occupies 8,100 m². It lies in a 28 hectare park overlooking the River Ruhr and the Baldeneysee.
- Werden Abbey. Saint Ludger founded a monastery in 799 and became its first abbot. The little church which Saint Ludger built here in honor of Saint Stephen was completed in 804 and dedicated by Saint Ludger himself, who had meanwhile become Bishop of Münster. Upon the death of Ludger on 26 March 809, the abbacy of Werden passed by inheritance first to his younger brother Hildigrim I (809–827), then successively to four of his nephews: Gerfried (827–839), Thiadgrim (ruled less than a year), Altfried (839–848), Hildigrim II (849–887). Under Hildigrim I, also Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne, the new monastery of Helmstedt in the Diocese of Halberstadt was founded from Werden. It was ruled over by a provost, and remained a dependency of Werden till its secularization in 1803. During this time the abbey and its territory became part of Prussia, but three years later it was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Berg. In 1815 it became Prussian again as part of the Rhine Province. The buildings are currently used by the Folkwang University of the Arts.
- Museum Folkwang. All epoch-making art periods from the romantics to the modern avant-garde are represented in the Folkwang Museum by excellent exhibits: paintings, graphics, and sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries, a first class collection on the history of photography, antique ceramics and some examples of Far Eastern and African art.
|The Villa Hügel |
Fethiye is a city and district of Muğla Province in the Aegean region of Turkey. Modern Fethiye is located on the site of the ancient city of Telmessos, the ruins of which can be seen throughout the city. Telmessos was the most important city of Lycia, with a recorded history starting in the 5th century BC. The Lycians were never members of a specific country, but rather a tightly-knit confederation of fiercely independent city-states.
The city became part of the Persian Empire after the invasion of the Persian King Harpagos in 547 BC, along with other Lycian and Carian cities. Telmessos then joined the Attic-Delos Union established in mid-5th century BC. and, although it later left the union and became an independent city, continued its relations with the union until the 4th century BC.
Fethiye was formerly known as Makri; while it received a considerable amount of Turkish population from the Greek Islands and mainland Greece under the terms of the 1923 exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey, the Greeks deported from the area founded the town of Nea Makri (New Makri) in Greece.
In 1934, the city was renamed 'Fethiye' in honor of Fethi Bey, one of the first pilots of the Ottoman Air Force, killed on an early mission.
There cannot be another place on the planet where the phrase "something for every budget" is more true. Dining out is an experience and with different budgets the experience may be different, but all so very enjoyable. Restaurants can cost you anything from a couple of pounds upwards. Forget rotating stumps of meat-like substance on the way home from a large quantity of lagers, Turkish Kebab Houses offer fresh, flavoursome doners and kebabs served in diverse ways from across the country. Chicken doners contain just chicken, lamb is 100% lamb meat, nothing in the way of fillers or strange offcuts. With the amazing local naturally organic vegetables which taste fabulous, you can enjoy a filling lunch for a couple of pounds.
Recently recommended in their Top 15 'on the up' destinations, Tripadvisor write "Prepare to be enchanted by this lively Mediterranean seaside town and working harbour. Travellers report it's less touristy than other nearby towns, though with shops, restaurants, and fascinating ruins all around, there's plenty to see and do. Hike to nearby Kayaköy, an abandoned "ghost village," or visit the magnificent beach at Ölüdeniz, where you can bask in the sun or paraglide over the turquoise waters".
|Fethiye's canalside market|
- The Tomb of Amyntas, also known as the Fethiye Tomb is an ancient tomb located in the south side of the city in the mountainside, in the base of the mountain. The impressive looking tomb was built in 350 BC, and was named after the Greek inscription on the side of it which reads "Amyntou tou Ermagioiu", which translated to English means "Armyntas, son of Hermagious". The tomb was built by the Lycians, the people who lived in this area of Turkey at the time. What makes this tomb unique is the fact that it is very large inside. While many other tombs carved into mountainsides are quite little, comparable to a small room, the interior of the Tomb of Amyntas is the size of a full-sized temple.
- Fethiye Castle. The ancient castle stands on the place where the city was first founded. Its existing walls date back from the eleventh century. Rebuilt during the fifteenth century by the Knights of Rhodes, the castle was used as a naval base. The incredible views of Fethiye from the hill make up for the lack of general upkeep of the castle ruins and the short walk up the hill. At sunset there is no better place to enjoy a few drinks and watch quietly, as the city is bathed in a golden glow, the sky turns pink, outlining the islands lying in the bay and eventually the sparkle of the city lights below.
- The Roman Theatre. Built in the second century AD, the Roman Theatre stands opposite the commercial harbour near the town centre. Typically Roman in style, it was built on the ruins of a previously built Greek style theatre. Excavated in 1993, the theatre is undergoing a restoration project.
- Fethiye Market. Tuesday is a busy day in Fethiye town. Its market day and the town is bustling with hundreds of stallholders situated either side of the canal selling everything you can possibly think of. Superb local grown fruit and veg at very low prices together with Turkish "Versace", Turkish "Gucci" clothes. Buy fake watches "Breitling", "Tag Huer", "Rado", "Rolex" etc. They look identical to the real thing and are usually avaiable in two grades. The first is a cheap version from £10 to £25 and are usually quite heavy, the second quality sometimes waterproof, vary from £25 to £80. Please shop around however and haggle.
- Ölüdeniz Beach (literally Dead Sea) is a small resort village in the Fethiye district with the Aegean Sea to the south and the high, steep sided Babadağ Mountain to the North, 14 km (9 mi) south of Fethiye. The town is a beach resort. Ölüdeniz remains one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean. It has a secluded sandy bay at the mouth of Ölüdeniz, on a blue lagoon. The beach itself is a pebble beach. The lagoon is a national nature reserve and building is strictly prohibited. Ölüdeniz is famous for its shades of turquoise and aquamarine, and is an official blue flag beach, and is frequently rated among the top 5 beaches in the world by travelers and tourism journals alike. The resort is also famous for its paragliding opportunities. It is regarded as one of the best places in the world to paraglide due to its unique panoramic views, and the Babadağ Mountain's exceptional height.
Ölüdeniz Blue Lagoon
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area.
Located on the banks of the River Arno, Florence is famous for its history and especially its importance in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, its art and architectureand, more generally, for its cultural heritage. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.
Florence was established by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 80 BC as a settlement for his veteran soldiers and was named originally Fluentia, owing the fact that it was built between two rivers, which was later corrupted to Florentia. It was built in the style of an army camp with the main streets, the cardo and the decumanus, intersecting at the present Piazza della Repubblica. Situated at the Via Cassia, the main route between Rome and the north, and within the fertile valley of the Arno, the settlement quickly became an important commercial centre. In the ensuing two centuries, the city experienced turbulent periods of Ostrogothic rule, during which the city was often troubled by warfare between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines, which may have caused the population to fall to as few as 1,000 people. Peace returned under Lombard rule in the 6th century. Florence was conquered by Charlemagne in 774 and became part of the Duchy of Tuscany, with Lucca as capital. The population began to grow again and commerce prospered. In 854, Florence and Fiesole were united in one county.
Florence's museums, palaces, and churches house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. The most popular and important sites in Florence include the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Uffizi, the Bargello, and the Accademia. The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are veritable art galleries, and the library of San Lorenzo is a magnificent exhibition of Michelangelo's architectural genius. Wander some of the oldest streets in the city until you reach the Arno River, cross the Ponte Vecchio, and experience the "newest" area of Florence, the Oltrarno. Be sure to set aside time to see the vast and varied art collection housed in the Pitti Palace. When you grow weary of museums and monuments, head outdoors. Spend a day at the Boboli Gardens or climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte to experience an enchanting view of Florence.
Florence is considered by many to be an open-air museum. If you are interested in architecture, for example, you don't need to visit any museums: many of the palaces and squares are masterpieces of their own. Designed by Michelozzo, Andrea di Cambio and Brunelleschi, among many others, many of the great palaces and piazzas in Florence are spectacular to behold. The main squares often display statues by Giambologna or Michelangelo.
The Piazza della Repubblica is a square in the city centre, location of the cultural cafes and bourgeois palaces. Among the square's cafes (like Caffè Gilli, Paszkowski or the Hard Rock Cafè), the Giubbe Rosse cafe has long been a meeting place for artists and writers, notably those of Futurism. The Piazza Santa Croce is another; dominated by the Basilica of Santa Croce, it is a rectangular square in the centre of the city where the Calcio Fiorentino is played every year.
The whole animal was traditionally eaten; tripe, (trippa) and (lampredotto) were once regularly on the menu and still are sold at the food carts stationed throughout the city. Antipasti include crostini toscani, sliced bread rounds topped with a chicken liver-based pâté, and sliced meats (mainly prosciutto and salame, often served with melon when in season).
- Florence Cathedral. The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral church of Florence. The Duomo, as it is ordinarily called, was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style to the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th century Gothic Revival façade by Emilio De Fabris. The cathedral complex, located in Piazza del Duomo, includes the Baptistery and Giotto's Campanile. The three buildings are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence and are a major attraction to tourists visiting the region of Tuscany. The basilica is one of Italy's largest churches, and until development of new structural materials in the modern era, the dome was the largest in the world. It remains the largest brick dome ever constructed.
- Ponte Vecchio. Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Old Bridge was, until 1218, the only bridge across the Arno in Florence. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On November 4, 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the tremendous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks. When the Medici moved from Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti, they decided they needed a connecting route from the Uffizi to the Palazzo Pitti on the other side of the Arno that would enable them to keep out of contact with the people they ruled. The result was the Corridoio Vasariano, built in 1565 by Vasari and which runs above the little goldsmiths' shops on the Ponte Vecchio.
- Michelangelo's David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504, by the Italian artist Michelangelo. It is a 5.17-metre (17.0 ft) marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504. Because of the nature of the hero that it represented, it soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome. The statue was moved to the Accademia Gallery in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.
- The Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi is the most important and most visited museum in Florence. The Uffizi palace was designed and begun in 1560 by the architect Giorgio Vasari in the period when Cosimo de' Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany, was bureaucratically consolidating his recent takeover of power. Built in the shape of a horseshoe extending from Piazza della Signoria to the Arno River and linked by a bridge over the street with Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi were intended to house the administrative offices (uffizi) of the Grand Duchy. From the beginning, however, the Medici set aside a few rooms on the third floor to house the finest works of their collections. The Gallery was subsequently enriched by various members of the Medici family. Two centuries later, in 1737, the palace and their collection were left to the city by Anna Maria Luisa, the last Medici heir, and today houses one of the world's great art galleries. Masterpieces on show include; Botticelli's Primavera and Birth of Venus, Leonardo da Vinci's The Annunciation and The Adoration of the Magi, Filippino Lippi's Madonna and Child with Two Angels, Titian's Venus of Orbino and many other works, including from the early Masters Cimabue and Giotto, Early Rennaisance pioneers Fra Angelico and Masaccio, and Caravaggio and Rembrant. Today, the Uffizi is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Florence. In high season (particularly in July), waiting times can be up to five hours. Visitors who reserve a ticket in advance have a substantially shorter wait.
- Palazzo Vecchio. Literally the "Old Palace", still fulfils its original role as Florence's town hall. Completed in 1302 by Arnolfo di Cambio, the palazzo retains its medieval appearance although much of the interior was remodeled for Duke Cosimo I when he moved into the palace in 1540, transferring the ruling family from its old residence near San Lorenzo (now known as the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, on via Cavour). It became known as Palazzo Vecchio when Cosimo transferred his court to Palazzo Pitti. During the brief period that Florence was the capital of Italy (1865-71), it housed the Parliament and Foreign Ministry. The original part of Palazzo Vecchio is the work of Arnolfo di Cambio (1245-1302) and was built at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth century as the seat of the Priors. Successive additions of the fifteenth and, above all, of the sixteenth centuries have changed the scale of the rear of the palace without modifying the massive appearance of the huge blocks, gallery and tower dominating Piazza Signoria.
bloggers note: This was the toughest top 5 I have had to do so far as there are probably 105 top things to do! I decided to go with popular choice (must sees) rather than personal opinion on this one.
|Frankfurter Skyline, © Foto: Tanja Schäfer|
Frankfurt is the by word for business, yet the old part of the city around the Römerberg, with its restored timber-framed buildings remains a real doll’s house. Chocolate-box pretty. Frankfurt has just 680,000 inhabitants, a tenth of the population of the German state of Hesse. And it takes less than twenty minutes to cross the city on foot. Frankfurt is home to many museums including Städel, Naturmuseum Senckenberg and the Goethe House and two major botanical gardens, the Palmengarten, which is Germany's largest, and the Botanical Garden of the Goethe University.
In the old town, the simplicity of rural German life, with it's narrow alleyways and traditional bars sits comfortably alongside the cosmopolitan station district which, within less than one square kilometre, is home to more than one hundred nationalities, living side by side peacefully in some extremely grand houses. The streets bustle with the sound of all the languages of the world, and Turkish, Italian, Indian, Chinese or Pakistani food is to be had on every corner. On summer days, tables and chairs appear in the squares outside cafes and restaurants.
Even the casual visitor cannot fail to be impressed with the contrast, when a view from one of the Main bridges takes in both the civic splendour of the Römerberg and the imposing skyline of modern high-rise architecture.
During the 1970s, the city created one of Europe's most efficient underground transportation systems. That system includes a suburban rail system (S-Bahn) capable of reaching outlying communities as well as the city centre, and a deep underground light rail system with smaller coaches (U-Bahn) also capable of travelling above ground on street rails.
Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Portugal's Autonomous Region of Madeira. The city has a population of 111,892 and has been the capital of Madeira for more than five centuries. The name Funchal, was applied by the first settlers that landed on its shores due to the abundance of wild fennel where, as tradition goes, the primitive burg was built. From the Portuguese word "funcho" (fennel) and the suffix "-al", to denote "a plantation of fennel":
During the second half of the 15th Century, the sugar industry expanded significantly along the southern coast, from Machico until Fajã da Ovelha, making Funchal the most important industrial centre of the industry.
|João Gonçalves Zarco|
The city itself is nestled in a great natural amphitheatre, facing the blue Atlantic with a backdrop of dramatic mountains. Located in the stunning south of Madeira, on it’s sunniest coast amidst banana plantations and wonderful gardens where flowers bloom all year round in the shelter of the verdant mountains, it is an extremely lush, green and relaxed city by day but scratch Funchal’s surface and you will find it to have a vibrant and varied nightlife scene with multiple personalities.
Funchal has also for many years been one of the Atlantic Cruise-ship’s main ports of call; with the Liner harbour right in the middle of the town. The approach to Funchal Harbour is well documented as one of the two most spectacular in the world, being on a par with Rio de Janeiro. It has now become a tradition that most European Liners, on their maiden voyage, call here; it is quite usual to see upwards of four cruise ships in at any one time. Once ashore, the cafés, restaurants and history that mark this famed capital are just a stroll away.
Tourists in Funchal also roll up to enjoy activities such as diving in the crystal-clear waters, surfing the waves, boat trips, swimming with dolphins, spending the day at sea ‘whale-watching’, taking day long excursions along the coast and through the eucalyptus smelling mountain woods, paragliding on the coast, enjoying spectacular rounds of golf on the famous courses or simply to just enjoy a snack at the numerous “people watching” cafes and outside garden venues.
Take a stroll along Avenida do Mar, where you will be enchanted by the atmosphere; the various boat restaurants which line the shore, such as the Beatles Boat (The Vagrant), are lit up at night. Hop off at Estrada Monumental for a choice of restaurants and an assortment of shops. Those with a head for heights who wish to take advantage of spectacular views of the city should ride the cable car or Teleferico. Hop off at Rotunda do Infante and discover one of the most historic spots in the island – the statue of Portuguese navigator Infante D. Henrique.
- The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption in the Sé area of the city, is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Funchal, which encompasses all of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. The late fifteenth-century cathedral is one of the few structures that survives virtually intact since the early period of colonization of Madeira.
The cathedral is designed in a Gothic style and has three naves. The roof of the cathedral features a Mudéjar-inspired design and is of cedar wood. The exterior walls are made of stone from Cabo Girão. The cathedral contains a silver processional cross, donated by King Manuel I of Portugal, considered one of the masterpieces of precious metalwork of Manueline Portugal.A statue of Pope John Paul II is located outside the cathedral, which was moved to its current position after formerly being installed in the urban area of Funchal adjacent to the waterfront. The cathedral was structurally complete in 1514. Prior to completion, however, by 1508, when Funchal was elevated to the status of a city, the cathedral was already being used for the celebration of Mass. The spire of the bell tower and a few additional details were finalized in 1517-1518.
- The Madeira Story Centre, Funchal’s latest visitors’ attraction, where you can learn everything about Madeira’s history and development up to the present day, is located in the Old Town, in the Largo Almirante Reis, opposite the Monte Cable Car Station.
This spectacular, interactive museum allows the visitor to go back in time on a virtual journey and ‘relive’ in chronological sequence the archipelago’s great historic events, from its volcanic birth 14 million years ago to the first hydroplane landing in Madeira, from the times of the Infant D. Henrique to Napoleon and Churchill. The permanent exhibitions feature the themes: Volcanic Origin, Discovery Legends, Discovering Madeira, Turmoil and Trade, Strategic Island, Flourishing Madeira, Post-navigation Era and Exploring Madeira. Taking you on an extremely fascinating voyage through times, some departments of the exhibition summarize whole centuries, while others tell in details about one specific event only.
- Madeira Wine Museum. If you want to know more about Madeira Wine, this museum is a ‘must see’. You will find anything from pictures to machinery, all related to the culture and production of wine. In the oldest Madeira Wine cellars you can see documents, books and machinery testifying the old days of Madeira Wine production.
- Volcanism Centre & Caves of São Vicente. The Volcanism Centre is located in São Vicente, a charming village on Madeira’s north coast, sitting at the end of the valley where the formation of the island started. This centre manages to convey culture and education in a very entertaining way by providing the visitors with audiovisual demonstrations of volcanic eruptions and the birth of an island. Here, you can also visit São Vicente’s famous volcanic caves (already existing and now included in the Volcanism Centre) and stroll through the beautiful gardens featuring Madeira’s endemic flora. Of volcanic origin, the caves are composed of a series of lava tubes, result of an eruption that happened 400 thousand years ago. This complex of ‘volcanic tunnels’ represents a development of over 1000 meters length and so far it is the biggest known on Madeira Island. The pedestrian course has a length of 700 meters that takes around 30 minutes to view. A truly amazing walk through the entrails of the earth during which you will be able to admire volcanic stalactites, lava accumulations, known as ‘lava cakes’, and the ‘erratic block’ (a stone carried by the lava that got stuck in one of the lava channels because of its dimensions).
- The Funchal Passenger Ropeway is a gondola lift that transports people from the lower section of Funchal to the suburb of Monte. Construction of the ropeway began in September 1999, was inaugurated in November 2000, and has been in operation since November 2000. The departing station is located at Parque Almirante Reis in central Funchal. The length of the cable car line is 3,718 m and the height difference 560 m; the trip takes approx. 15 minutes. The line has over 39 cabins with 8 seats each, carrying 800 passengers per hour.
|Madeira Wine Museum|