3 Amazing Facts About Rome You Never Knew

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

3 Amazing Facts About Rome You Never Knew

Rome is a city of romance and ancient ruins coexisting in the cosmopolitan chaos of a modern national capital. Vestiges of the Roman Empire’s power and building prowess, the Forum and the Colosseum, are iconic landmarks and tourism magnets. And as the acknowledged world seat of the Catholic Church, Rome’s monuments to religious wealth over the centuries, such as the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, are important religious tourism sites and shrines. With a history dating back more than 3,000 years, and the art and architecture from along the way, Rome is a museum in itself. Within all of that exist hidden and obscure bits of culture and history.

The First and Largest European University is in Rome

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Sapienza University of Rome — often also referred to as Sapienza or the University of Rome — is the city’s, and Europe’s, oldest college, established in 1303 A.D. It is the largest university in Europe, and the second largest higher-education system in the world. Specializing in aerospace engineering and scientific research, among many other disciplines, the university with more than 700 years of history today is also known for its international studies programs. Sapienza serves 112,000 students with a faculty and staff of 4,000 professors and 2,000 officials, technicians, and librarians.

Typical for ancient Roman times, the genesis of Sapienza is dramatic and controversial. It seems an early Roman with powerful ambitions, Benedetto Caetan, convinced Pope Celestino V to abdicate the papacy, then took his spot. Calling himself Pope Boniface VIII, in 1303 he promptly excommunicated King Philip IV of France in the aftermath of a religious-political power struggle. The same year, he opened Stadium Urbis, the University of Rome, outside the walls of the Vatican. Given the tumultuous times, the move didn’t alleviate all tensions, of course, but it did help set a tone for future cooperation between secular and religious scholarship.

Trevi Fountain Coins Fund the Needy

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Nearly $800,000 worth of coins are tossed into Rome’s Trevi Fountain each year. The proceeds are donated to Caritas to help those in need. Located in the Quirinale district of the city, the enormous and intricately carved fountain is made mostly of travertine. It ended up being designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi, and was subsequently completed by Giuseppe Pannini and several others. At roughly 86 meters in height and 160 feet wide, the ancient fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in the city of Rome and, arguably, the most famous public fountain in the world.

Salvi wasn’t the original architect involved with the project. Architect Alessandro Galilei, a relative of famous ancient astronomer Galileo, originally was given the commission for the fountain’s design by Pope Clemens XII in 1730. However, the announcement elicited outrage from citizens, because another top architect in contention — Salvi — was a native Roman, while Galilei was Florentine. The project was given to Salvi in part to quell the uprising.

St. Peter’s is the Biggest Church Ever

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Viewed from afar, the scale of the buildings surrounding St. Peter’s Basilica gives you an idea of its immense size, as the otherwise sizable structures are dwarfed by the gigantic church in their midst. The Italian Renaissance behemoth is one of the pre-eminent Catholic holy shrines in the world. As such, it is visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists on a monthly basis.

You don’t have to be devout in order to be awed by the basilica’s grandeur. At 610 feet long and 150 feet high, the huge church is actually the second version. The first, which received basilica status due to its site above St. Peter’s tomb, was completed around 350 A.D. It stood for more than 1,000 years, but concerns over deterioration caused Pope Julias II to call for its demolition. Construction of the new basilica, which began in the early 1500s, took 120 years to complete. Its massive dome, some 140 feet in diameter, reaches a height of nearly 450 feet. After taking an elevator or hiking up the stairs, visitors to the dome level enjoy spectacular view of Rome and Vatican City.

3 Religious Temples With a Dark History

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Religious Temples With a Dark History

While many religious sites are viewed as beautiful, blessed places of worship, some of them are hiding a very dark history underneath their bejeweled exterior. Some temples have origin stories that include killing and/or threats of mythical proportions, and others are even said to be a path to Hell instead of Heaven. Here are three religious temples that just might give you more nightmares than miracles.

Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

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Built in the 16th century, the Tanah Lot temple in Bali is one of seven ocean temples built for the purpose of honoring the “spirits of the sea.” It is a beautiful piece of architecture, looking much like a ship made of stone, but its origin story is a rather dark one. According to legend, Niratha, a Brahmin priest, created the temple. Knowing it needed to be protected from evil, he took off the sashes he was wearing and threw them into the water, where they turned into snakes. To this day, scores of sea snakes surround Tanah Lot, protecting it from dark energies – and from people who just hate snakes. To make this temple even more secure, it is only accessible when the tide is low and a land bridge is revealed. Unfortunately, you can’t go inside unless you follow the Hindu religion, but either way you can observe the beautiful temple and its snake guardians from a short distance.

Cappella Sansevero, Italy

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Cappella Sansevereo is technically a “chapel” instead of a “temple,” but it deserves to be included on this list thanks to its pure creepiness. Capella Sansevero in Naples, Italy began as a kind of temple where the Sansevero family could worship God privately, before it ultimately became their burial chapel. But this is not the dark part. This chapel is home to two “anatomical machines”: a male and a pregnant female skeleton with a perfectly preserved circulatory system still present in their bodies (there also used to be a fetus to go with them, but it has since vanished). These anatomical machines were made by an anatomist named Giuseppe Salerno and collected by another, much spookier man named Raimondo di Sangro, who was the head of the Masonic lodge in Naples and believed to be some sort of dark wizard. The locals believed that he could make blood out of nothing at all, and that he frequently murdered people to experiment on them. While he didn’t make “Adam and Eve,” there is a rumor that they are actually two of his servants that he killed so that Salerno could make his sculptures, which now lurk beneath the main part of the chapel.

Mount Osore, Japan

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6 Oldest Theaters in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

6 Oldest Theaters in the World

As ancient civilizations developed, citizens grew an appetite for different forms of entertainment. Along came theater, with its many forms written to please audiences. Today, theater buffs will love learning more about the first constructions where comedies, tragedies and concerts took place. All of them are popular attractions in their own corners of the world. These are the oldest theaters in the world.

The Roman Theater of Orange, France

The Roman Theater of Orange, France

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Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981, the Roman Theater of Orange dates back to the 1st century. It sits near the French city of Avignon, and is so well preserved that people today still attend the Chorégies festival during the summers.

Originating in 1869, Chorégies is the oldest festival in France today. The acoustic wall of the theater, which is completely intact, is the key that allows the opera and lyrical theater performances to take place with an impeccable sound.

The Theater of Mérida, Spain

The Theater of Mérida, Spain

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Built between the years 15-16 B.C.E., the Theater of Mérida was sponsored by Consul Marcus Agrippa. It could seat up to 6,000 spectators, who were divided into their social rank. Its original architecture is considered classical Roman, but later restorations introduced a melange of design and decoration.

Considered one of Spain’s (many) gems, this theater is currently used in an annual winter festival.

The Theater of Taormina, Italy

The Theater of Taormina, Italy

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The Taormina Theater, also known as the Graeco-Roman Theater of Taormina, is located in the eastern part of Sicily. It is constructed in a particularly privileged area, as visitors can see the Etna Volcano and the Mediterranean Sea while walking around the top of the theater.

Built in the 2nd century B.C.E., the theater was constructed by the Greeks and later extended by the Romans. Currently, it hosts the Taormina Arte festival every year.

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The Theater of Epidaurus, Greece

The Theater of Epidaurus, Greece

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This Greek theater is said to have the best acoustics in the world. In fact, tour guides famously have their groups dispersed throughout the theater and show them that no matter where they are standing, they will hear a match drop on the floor on stage.

Located near the town of Ligurio, the Theater of Epidaurus rests in the middle of a pine forest. It was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century B.C.E. Archaeologists believe that he made use of the natural unevenness of the land to build it.

The Theater at Delphi, Greece

The Theater at Delphi, Greece

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Further up along the hill where we can find the Temple of Apollo, sits the beautiful Delphi Theater. Its position at the top grants spectacular views of an entire valley.

The theater was built in the 4th century B.C.E. with limestone from Mount Parnassus. Archaeologists estimate that its 35 rows held around five thousand spectators who enjoyed plays, poetry readings, musical events and various festivals that were carried out periodically in Delphi.

History also shows us that this theater was remodeled several times. The seats in the lower rows were built during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

The Theater of Dionysus, Greece

The Theater of Dionysus, Greece

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The Theater of Dionysus was the largest construction of its kind in ancient Greece. It is located in the northern part of the Acropolis of Athens and dedicated to Dionysus, god of the wine and theater. In fact, it was tradition for worshipers to pray to him in a manner that attracted spectators. Later, these rituals became the classic tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes.

Even though this theater was built in the 5th century B.C.E., records show that it carried on being a popular venue for many centuries. In fact, around the year 407, the performance time was extended to about six hours and the entry fees were deemed expensive.

Saudi: Richard Gere Visits Migrants Stuck in Mediterranean

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Richard Gere Visits Migrants Stuck in Mediterranean

Friday, 9 August, 2019 – 11:45
Actor Richard Gere, right, talks with migrants aboard the Open Arms Spanish humanitarian boat as it cruises in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Valerio Nicolosi)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Actor Richard Gere visited on Friday rescued migrants on board a humanitarian ship that has been stuck in the Mediterranean Sea for over a week.

The Hollywood star took food and supplies by boat to 121 people aboard the ship of Barcelona-based Open Arms charity.

The ship has been floating in international waters near the Italian island of Lampedusa after being blocked from entering ports in Italy and Malta.

The 69-year-old actor carried fruit boxes on board and spoke to several migrants who had fled war-torn Libya on un-seaworthy smuggling boats before being rescued.

Gere urged the world to “please support us here on Open Arms and help these people, our brothers and sisters.”

Other European countries have yet to respond to the aid group’s request for a solution to the impasse over the rescue ship.

The European Commission should help the migrants, European Parliament speaker David Sassoli said in a letter on Thursday to the EU executive’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Charity rescue boats have largely disappeared from the Mediterranean over the last year as governments have tightened controls and those that have rescued migrants have faced lengthy standoffs trying to disembark them.

7 Crazy Laws From Countries Around the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Crazy Laws From Countries Around the World

Laws enacted by government officials are supposed to keep citizens safe and countries in order. But what happens when some of these laws are completely crazy? From laws prohibiting the use of undergarments to laws about life after death, here’s a list of some of the craziest laws from around the world.

Italy

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In the city of Rome, goldfish are not allowed to live inside bowls. In order to keep pets healthy and happy, a law was created to ensure better treatment of dogs, cats and even pet goldfish. As a result, goldfish must reside within a full-sized aquarium, a luxurious upgrade from the traditional goldfish bowl.

Scotland

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In Scotland, choosing to wear underwear can have consequences. According to The Scotsman, if you are wearing underwear beneath your kilt, you can be fined two cans of beer. It’s safe to say that this isn’t a strictly enforced rule, but Scots may want to stock up on beer, just in case.

Portugal

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Portugal, a popular seaside destination, has a law against urinating in the ocean. Presumably, this law was made to protect the quality of the water at crowded beaches, but we have to wonder how this law is enforced? If you find a short line at the beach bathroom in Portugal, there may be some lawbreakers in your midst.

Singapore

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Since 1992, gum chewing has been banned in Singapore. The country has also banned littering and jaywalking. Oh, and when you use a public toilet, you are legally required to flush it. All of these laws are an effort to keep the country clean and welcoming for its residents and visitors, so we can’t complain about them too much.

Poland

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Winnie the Pooh, the beloved storybook character, was banned from a public playground in Poland due to the bear’s crude way of dressing. This is because Winnie the Pooh does not wear pants. Pooh’s outfit was deemed “inappropriate” by city council members, and children are no longer allowed to bring any items bearing Winnie the Pooh’s likeness to the town playground.

Japan

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In Japan, those extra pounds you gain around the holidays could get you into big trouble. This is because it’s illegal to be fat in Japan. In order to enforce the law, Japanese higher-ups have a mandatory waistline maximum for anyone over the age of 40. According to Pri, a man’s waistline measurement cannot exceed 33.5 inches, while a woman’s waistline cannot exceed 35.4 inches.

Greece

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In 2009, Greece went as far as creating a law to ban certain types of footwear. High heels are not allowed to be worn at archeological sites around the country. Apparently, the fashionable ladies’ footwear was causing major damage to the Odeon in Athens and lawmakers decided to take a precautionary measure to protect the country’s historical monuments.

Italy volcano: Etna and Stromboli burst into life

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE UK EXPRESS NEWS)

 

Italy volcano: Etna and Stromboli burst into life as double eruption strikes Sicily

MOUNT Etna in Sicily has burst into life, releasing huge plumes of volcano ash into the sky – while erupting Stromboli caused lava flows and fires to break out.

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Explosive activity increased at Etna’s New Southeast Crater (NSEC). Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily’s second-largest city, has one of the world’s longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. The National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said their surveillance cameras showed increased gas emissions from the base of the southern flank of NSEC, indicating that a new fissure has opened at the crater. It created ash emissions, explosions and lava flows.

The volcanic ash cloud reached 4.5 km (15 000 feet) above sea level.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the nearby Mount Stromboli volcano’s activity intensified.

The Stromboli volcano also caused fires to break out in nearby Punta Lena.

Etna's volcanic activity increased on Saturday, sending plumes of ash into the sky

Etna’s volcanic activity increased on Saturday, sending plumes of ash into the sky (Image: GETTY)

Fires affected an area of around 100m and despite the continuous work of fire crews, it is still active.

The area is uninhabited and there is no danger for islanders and tourists.

Stromboli is continuously monitored by INGV and Italy’s Civil Protection agency.

The Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS) Twitter account posted images showing lava flow in the southern part of Stromboli island

The tweet read: “#Sentinel2 has captured the lava flow along the Sciaria del Fuoco, but also the last hot spots from the fires that have affected the southern part of the island in the past few days.”

July has seen a succession of activity on two of Sicily’s three active volcanoes.

Imaging shows lava flows on Stromboli isand

Imaging shows lava flows on Stromboli island (Image: TWITTER/@CopernicusEMS)

Stromboli also increased its activitycaused fires to break out in nearby Punta Lena

Stromboli also increased its activity and caused fires to break out in nearby Punta Lena (Image: GETTY)

On July 21, a heavy emission of ash emanating from Etna into the sky forced the closure of two airports in Catania.

Mount Stromboli has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years.

On July 3 of this year, two major explosions occurred, alongside 20 additional minor explosive events.

A hiker near the volcano’s summit was killed after being struck by flying debris as the eruption began.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.

Two Americans arrested in Rome over killing of police officer

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Two Americans arrested in Rome over killing of police officer

Rome (CNN)Two 19-year-old Americans have been arrested while on vacation in Rome over the murder of an Italian police officer Friday, Italian police told CNN Saturday.

The Carabinieri police force said in a statement that the pair were arrested Friday night for “the crime of aggravated murder and attempted extortion.”
Police named the suspects as Christian Gabriel Natale Hjorth and Elder Finnegan Lee, and said both were from San Francisco, California. Photos of the pair have not been released.
Italian police officer Mario Cerciello Rega was stabbed eight times at 2 a.m. local time on Friday, in the Prati neighborhood of Rome on Via Pietro Cossa, near the hotel where the two young men were staying, police said. Officer Rega was declared dead at 4:30 a.m.
The police statement said surveillance footage and witness testimonies had allowed the Capitoline Investigative Unit to identify the two responsible for the “heinous crime.”
The two Americans were arrested inside their hotel room in Rome.
“They were already ready to leave the country,” police said. “During the search of the hotel room, which was occupied by the two detainees, the murder weapon was found and seized, a knife of considerable size, cleverly hidden behind a ceiling panel, as well as the clothes worn during the crime.
“The two, once at the station, were interrogated by the Carabinieri, under the direction of the magistrates of the Public Prosecutor of Rome, in the face of overwhelming evidence, they confessed to the charge.”
Only one of the men is accused of stabbing the officer, but both admit to taking part in the fracas, police said.
Police also noted that the Americans had stolen a backpack from an Italian citizen shortly before the murder. The suspects subsequently answered the owner’s cellphone, which they had also taken, and told him “they would not return the backpack without 100 euros and 1 gram of cocaine,” police added.
After police were contacted by the victim, officers met the American suspects under the guise of retrieving the backpack.
They subsequently identified themselves as law enforcement officers, upon which one of the suspects took out a knife and stabbed the officer eight times before fleeing the scene, police said.
The police said that the pair “did not hesitate to engage in a scuffle which culminated in the tragic deadly wounding of Mario Rega Cerciello.”
Matteo Salvini, Italy’s far right interior minister, expressed his condolences over the officer’s death. “Mario, a police officer, a hero, a boy with all his life ahead of him, who had been married for just 40 days,” he wrote on Twitter. “How much sadness, how much anger. A prayer, a hug to his loved ones.”
Italian state police (Polizia di Stato, in Italian) also paid tribute to the murdered officer shortly after news of his death emerged, with a number of police cars sounding their sirens outside the Carabinieri headquarters in Rome.
The investigation into the officer’s murder is ongoing.
CNN has contacted the US Embassy, which referred questions to the US State Department. CNN has not yet received a response from the State Department.

The Oldest Palaces Still In Use Today

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

The Oldest Palaces Still In Use Today

Many ancient civilizations were driven by excess: excesses of power, of wealth, of pride. And when you have all three in spades, it’s easy to understand why so many cultures sought to showcase their strength by building the biggest and most extravagant palaces in the world. Of course, many of these palaces are now gone. But not all of them are — and many of them are still being used, even today.

Citadel of Aleppo

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Location: Aleppo, Syria

One of the oldest structures on this list, the Citadel of Aleppo is a castle in Aleppo, Syria, that has stood for over 5,000 years. This mighty structure features high walls, an entry bridge, and a huge gateway that are all mostly intact, despite being exposed to centuries of war, weather disasters, and natural decay.

From 2002 to 2010, non-profit societies (such as the World Monuments Fund) have tried to preserve the remaining structures of the Citadel, but their activities ground to a halt when the Syrian Civil War erupted in 2011. As of 2017, the site is reopened to public visitors interested in seeing one of the Middle East’s premier historical monuments for themselves.

Topkapi Palace

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Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Today, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, is a large, sprawling museum complex overseen by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. But back in 1458, when the building’s construction was ordered by Mehmed the Conqueror, it was envisioned as a grand palace suitable for generations of Ottoman sultans. And given its impressive majesty, it’s clear that it served this function well — for a while, at least.

By the 17th century, sultans had grown weary of the building, preferring the newer, bigger palaces that had since been built. The Topkapi Palace’s importance continued to wane over the years, moving from royal palace, to imperial treasury, to the eventual museum that we know today. But though it lost favor over the years, you can still go in the palace to see an amazing collection of ancient Ottoman relics, manuscripts, and treasures.

Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine

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Location: Rome, Italy

An ancient part of the Roman Forum, the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine was built in 312 CE. The building, though not originally conceived as a palace, served multiple functions, including a council chamber, meeting hall, courthouse, and place of worship.

This was a crucial structure for the Romans of the time, but the Basilica wouldn’t last. It was severely damaged by earthquakes over hundreds of years until little remained of the building’s actual construction. So, though the Basilica isn’t technically still used today, it stands as a timeless landmark of Roman history — so much so that several events of the 1960 Summer Olympic Games were held at its former location.

Burg Meersburg

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Location: Meersburg, Germany

Burg Meersburg, or Meersburg Castle, is the oldest inhabited castle in Germany. Reports estimate that the castle was first built sometime in the 7th century, though there are multiple theories surrounding its initial construction. Like many others on this list, the castle has undergone significant renovations over the years, and much of the original construction is no longer visible.

Nevertheless, Meersburg Castle is a popular tourist attraction in Germany, regularly drawing in thousands of visitors a year. You can visit the castle yourself on a self-guided tour, though naturally, several areas are off-limits.

Palace at Pylos (Nestor’s Palace)

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Location: Pylos, Greece

Nestor’s Palace is considered the best-preserved Mycenaean Greek palace of the Bronze Age, located in the town of Pylos, Greece. This ancient structure was actually featured in Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, from whence its casual title — Nestor’s Palace — was derived.

Historians aren’t sure when Nestor’s Palace was first built, though excavators report that most of the artifacts discovered inside date back to 1300 BCE. The palace itself was destroyed by a fire just 100 years later, though modern-day archaeologists would eventually rediscover it in 1939.

Due to its historical weight, the area is a huge draw for tourists. You can visit the site for yourself and watch the excavators dig through the rubble, along with checking out the nearby Greek museum.

The Oldest Palaces Still Standing

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Many of the amazing ancient palaces built by our ancestors have been lost to time, but others are still standing. Should you get a chance to see one of these amazing artifacts for yourself, take it! There’s no telling how long these buildings will be around, and getting a chance to see them live will certainly make a trip worthwhile — even if you aren’t a fan of history.

10 Cities All Architecture Lovers Need to Visit Before They Die

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Cities All Architecture Lovers Need to Visit Before They Die

From towering skyscrapers to the ancient Colosseum, the world is filled with architectural marvels. And since architecture is best enjoyed in person, here are 10 cities that architecture lovers simply must visit.

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

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It’s called the “City of Big Shoulders” for a reason. Chicago is home to some of the oldest skyscrapers, such as the Manhattan Building, built in 1891; the Reliance Building, built in 1895; and Chicago Savings Bank Building, completed in 1905. Most of Downtown Chicago was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871, but the iconic Chicago Water Tower, built in 1869, was left standing. Built solely of yellow Lemont limestone, seeing the 182-foot tower firsthand should be on every architecture lovers bucket list.

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

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Rome is home to some of the world’s most photographed structures, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Trajan’s Market. Had it not been for the Romans, designs like the arch and the dome would never have come to be. Rome’s classical structures are a must see. That’s a given. But the city’s Baroque style buildings, which were mostly constructed during the 17th century, are also well worth your time. The sheer grandness of structures like St. Peter’s Basilicaand the Trevi Fountain can’t be captured in a photograph. Few things in life will leave you as awestruck as taking a stroll inside St. Peter’s, with its massive dome, and looking up. You may never want to look down again.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

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Influenced by the legendary 19th century Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona’s architecture, much like the city itself, is imaginative and colorful. One sight that’s a must see is Gaudi’s Casa Batllo. The façade of the building is constructed of broken ceramic tiles, thus creating an eye-popping mosaic that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Other structures that are inspired by Gaudi’s vivid imagination include Jean Nouvel’s Tower, which is designed to resemble a geyser of water shooting through the air, and Frank Gehry’s Fish.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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In addition to being home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai skyline is filled with twisty-turny steel buildings. If you find yourself wandering in this desert city, be sure to check out the Burj al Arab, which is designed to look like an Arabian dhow ship, as well as the curving Cayan, with its seemingly impossible 90-degree twist. There’s also the famed underwater zoo located in the Dubai Mall, which features 300 different species of aquatic life, including all types of fish, sting rays and sharks.

Shanghai, China

Shanghai, China

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Fueled by government investment, Shanghai has grown rapidly in recent years. It’s almost as if a glossy new structure pops up each month. The architecture in Shanghai is modernistic, and best represented in buildings like the Hongkou Soho office building, with its pleated exterior. Shanghai is also home to the second tallest building in the world, the Shanghai Tower, which features a twisted, glass façade that stretches upward for 2,073 feet.

Paris, France

Paris, France

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The birthplace of Art Deco and Gothic architecture, Paris is a city whose rich architectural history stretches back centuries. Gothic style, which is marked by colorful stained glass windows and flying buttresses, can be seen in a number of Paris cathedrals, including the Sainte-Chapelle, the St-Gervais-et-St-Protais and, most famously, Notre-Dame, which was in the news earlier this year after sustaining serious damage during a 15-hour fire. Paris’s famed Art Deco buildings, with their notable exteriors that feature numerous horizontal lines, began popping up shortly before World War I and were dominant in the ’20s and ’30s. Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Grand Rex movie palace are two prominent structures that exhibit this style. This is a small sample of the numerous architectural wonders in the City of Light.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

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The Russian capital is home to some of the most recognizable architecture in the world with a style known simply as Russian architecture. Arguably the most renown structure in the Russian style is Moscow’s Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Constructed in the 16th century during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral is known for its vibrant, onion-shaped domes. Moscow is also home to more recent architectural wonders like the Ostankino Tower, which was completed in 1967 and was for a period of time the tallest building in the world, and a group of Moscow skyscrapers known as the Seven Sisters. The seven buildings, which were built during the reign of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, are wide and blocky, and scattered throughout Moscow. They were constructed in the Stalinist style of Russian architecture, which borrows elements of the Russian baroque.

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

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Several ancient monuments from Athens’s classical era are still standing, most notably the Parthenon, with its enormous stone columns. There is also the Theatre of Dionysus, which was the birthplace of Greek tragedy and the first theater ever constructed. And what would a historically rich city like Athens be without its ancient temples? During its heyday, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, which was completed around the 2nd century, had an unthinkable 104 columns, although only a few remain standing today.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

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The most populous city in Turkey is known for two distinct styles of architecture: Byzantine and Ottoman. The Hagia Sophia, which was constructed in the 6th century, is a church that is emblematic of the Byzantine style, with its massive dome and elegiac mosaics depicting Christ and other biblical figures. The Ottoman style of architecture also flourished in Istanbul. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries a number of imperial mosques were constructed throughout the city, including Faith Mosque, Yeni Mosque\ and Bayezid Mosque. The mosques all have the key features of the Ottoman style, with extensive use of domes and columns, and are an absolute marvel to experience in person.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

New York City, New York, U.S.A.

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From the Art Deco masterpiece that is the Chrysler Building (1930), to the Gothic Revival design of the Woolworth Building (1913), to the more recent green design of the Conde Nast Building, New York City’s skyscrapers employ a wide range of stylistic elements. The character of the city can also be seen in the architectural designs used in its residential neighborhoods. From the brownstones in Brooklyn to the tenements on the Lower East Side, New York’s five boroughs are an architectural cornucopia whose styles are as diverse as the city itself.

4 Most Powerful Passports in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Most Powerful Passports in the World

Wouldn’t it be great to travel around the world and never have to worry about going through a lengthy process of applying for a visa. For some, their nation’s passports grant them hassle-free entry to hundreds of far-off countries. For others, diplomatic relations hamper the ability to move around at will.

Here we have the four most powerful passports in the world according to statistics compiled by London-based citizenship and residence advisory Henley & Partners, though, since there are a few ties, the list really stands at nine. Using information gathered from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the firm classifies passports by the ease of which they can obtain visa-free and/or visa-on-arrival admission.

Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden

Denmark, Finland, Italy and Sweden

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Four European nations, three of which are Nordic countries, share fourth place with the ability to enjoy visa-free travel to 187 countries. Throughout much of Europe, people from these countries not only enjoy ease of entry but are also classified under the Freedom of Movement act. This human rights act grants individuals the possibility to choose where they live and work. Curiously, Finland, Denmark and Sweden (in that order) made the top 10 of the UN’s 2019 World Happiness Report. Is there be a direct correlation between happiness and freedom to travel? Italians meanwhile can set off on adventures to mysterious places such as Benin, Comoros and Guyana with just their passport in hand.

Germany and France

Germany and France

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The Germans and French go one better in third place by having visa-free travel to 188 countries. Since the statistics were first published in 2006, Germany has maintained a top five position and increased their visa-free access by 59. France has done better still in fostering preferable visa relations with 60 new nations. As with their European counterparts in fourth place, the Germans and French can also make use of the Freedom of Movement act. Adventurous citizens of both can pack their bags and set off for lesser-known nations such as Kiribati and Tuvalu.

South Korea

South Korea

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With visa-free travel possible to 189 nations, South Korea takes second place and starts the Asian domination at the top end of the list. South Korea ranked 11th in 2006 but thanks to the addition of an incredible 74 new visa-free arrangements since, it now has one of the most desirable passports. The entire European continent opens its doors to South Koreans. The citizens can also delight in free and stressless visa arrangements with Caribbean islands and much of Latin America.

Japan and Singapore

Japan and Singapore

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The prize for the most powerful passport in the world goes to Japan and Singapore. Their citizens can visit 189 countries either visa-free or by a visa-on-arrival agreement. They beat South Korea to the top spot based on the fact that they also have visa-free entry to the world’s four largest economies of China, India, the European Union and United States. Only four nations have this power, the others being Brunei and San Marino. Japan has established new visa-free relations with 61 new nations since 2006 while Singapore has increased their total by 67. With either of these passports in hand you could travel by land from Portugal to Malaysia and only need to prearrange an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) visa for Pakistan.

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