Common Cruise Ship Amenities 

Common Cruise Ship Amenities

 

Are you interested in taking a cruise?  If so, you are not alone.  Each year a large number of individuals consider vacationing aboard a cruise ship.  If you have never been on a cruise ship before, you may be wondering what activities, facilities, and services can be found onboard.  The activities found onboard a cruise ship will vary from ship to ship, but many cruise ships have a number of activities and services in common.

 

Some of the most well-known facilities found on cruise ships are dining halls, restaurants, and cafeterias.  Large cruise ships may offer a number of onboard dining facilities.  It is important to note that many of these dining facilities are considered upscale restaurants.  In addition to a sit-down restaurant, there area usually a number of small eateries located onboard.  Elegant dining restaurants are popular among cruisers.  To ensure that you are able to enjoy an elegant meal, you are encouraged to schedule a reservation as soon as you board the ship.

 

Aside from dining facilities, bars and dancehalls are also found on most cruise ships. As with most of the bars and dancehalls found on land, there may be age restrictions in place.  If you are traveling with your family, they may have to complete other activities while you enjoy the nightlight over the seas.  If this should occur, you are in luck because most cruise ships have daycare centers and other activities geared towards children of all ages.

 

When it comes to placing your child in the care of a ship’s daycare center, you are urged to quickly familiarize yourself with the staff.  This familiarization may help to calm your nerves.  It is also important to note that cruise ship employees are often closely monitored, highly educated, and properly trained.  While it may be difficult at first, you should feel comfortable leaving your child in the care of a cruise ship childcare worker.

 

Childcare is ideal for smaller children; however, if you are traveling with a teenager, daycare may not be an option.  Swimming pools, libraries, video arcades, and movie theaters can often be found on cruise ships.  Adult supervision is a policy that prevents children under a certain age from roaming freely around the ship.

Teenagers may be able to visit these facilities without adult supervision.  Each cruise ship is likely to have different adult supervision policies.  You are encouraged to review these policies before purchasing your tickets.

 

In addition to the above mentioned bars and dancehalls, gaming halls or casinos can be found on most cruise ships.  As with gambling on land, there are age limits on those that can gamble aboard a cruise ship.  Popular gambling activities include slots, blackjack, poker, and much more.  Many onboard casinos are open for business twenty-four hours a day.  Gambling is a popular cruise ship pastime.  If you are booking a cruise just to gamble, you may want to further explore the gambling options aboard each ship.

 

Cruise ship operators know that many travelers take a cruise to escape their daily routines.  Unfortunately for some, one routine that cannot be left behind is exercise.  That is why almost all cruise ships have onsite fitness centers and fully equipped gyms.  These gyms are often similar, and sometimes even better, than the gyms found in your hometown.  In addition to a fitness center, a large number of cruise ships have jogging tracks.

 

If a particular activity or event is the only reason why you are interested in booking a cruise, you are urged to physically check for that event or activity before making you

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Celebrating Spring Break aboard a Cruise Ship

Celebrating Spring Break aboard a Cruise Ship

 

Are you a hardworking college student?  If so, are you looking forward to spring break?  Spring break is an extended break that all college students in the United States are granted.  Unlike holiday breaks, spring break is often a time to vacation, let loose, and have fun with your friends.

 

Selecting a bring break destination is a fairly easy process. There are a large number of college students who flock to the most popular spring break destinations.  These destinations include Cancun, South Beach, the Bahamas, or Panama City.  Each of these destinations is famous for their sunny weather and amazing nightlife.  Despite their popularity, these beaches often become overcrowded during spring break.  If you are interested in swaying away from the norm, you may want to consider spending your spring break aboard a cruise ship.

 

When it comes to cruise ships, many individuals mistakenly believe they are only for family vacations or romantic getaways.  The truth is that you can take a cruise at just about any point in your life and go just about anywhere you want. That includes spring break.  If you are interested in spending your break partying and enjoying life, you do not have to worry. There are a number of cruise lines that have cruise ships that are just for you.

 

To find a cruise ship that allows adventure, partying, and all-around fun, you will need to do a little bit of research.  This research involves familiarizing yourself with popular cruise lines and the ships they offer.  If you are looking to examine popular cruise lines, you are encouraged to learn more about Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, or Costa Cruises.  In addition to these well-know cruise lines, it is likely that you will come across additional cruise lines offering fun filled cruises, all around the world.

 

When you are searching for a cruise ship that offers excitement and adventure, you are encouraged to stay away from ships that target families.  Family cruises are often limited on the amount of gambling or alcohol assumption that goes on.  If gambling and alcohol consumption is allowed, excess amounts are often frowned upon. To avoid confrontation, you are encouraged to stay away from these family cruise lines. That is unless you plan on spending your spring break with your family.

 

In addition to family cruises, you may want to avoid cruise ships that target couples.  These romantic cruises are often geared towards couples that are interested in experiencing a romantic and relaxing cruise.  If you are traveling with your partner, a romantic cruise may be acceptable for your needs.  Gambling and alcohol consumption is allowed aboard most romantic cruises, but excessive amounts are also often frowned upon.

 

To find the perfect cruise ship for your summer vacation, you are encouraged to find a cruise ship that targets those seeking adventures.  In addition to offering exciting onboard activities, you are likely to find that the land adventures are just as fun.  Many party cruises or adventure cruises dock in well-known ports.  These ports may have activities that are just what you are looking for.

 

Spending your vacation aboard a cruise ship is the perfect way to enjoy your break.  This unique vacation experience will often eliminate overcrowded beaches and unsafe adventures.  Aboard a cruise ship you can safely enjoy your break, while having fun at the same time.

Credit By Fifa55

 

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Chinese Martial Arts

Chinese Martial Arts

 

 

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Throughout the world, Chinese martial arts are well known and well respected.  China is a pioneer to martial arts, founding several excellent styles.  Although Kung Fu is the most well known Chinese martial art, there are others that are just as good.  Below, we will look at some of the other Chinese martial arts that aren’t as well known as Kung Fu.

 

HSING-I

This is actually one of the internal styles of Kung Fu, very closely in relation to Tai Chi.  It teaches students to subordinate their bodies, creating powerful movements with a very little expense of energy.  HSING-I isn’t well known about, although it is very powerful and well known throughout China.  The United States and other areas aren’t that familiar with it, with little to no schools or dojo’s out there that teach it.

 

Just like Tai Chi, HSING-I has deep roots in Chinese medicine and the Chinese perceptions of nature.  The blows that come from HSING-I come from the five elements of the Chinese – metal, fire, earth, water, and wood.  Similar to other forms that originate from Kung Fu, HSING-I offers complex, dance like movements that are adapted from the way animals react and move.  Due to the training being so demanding and rigorous, and the breathing exercises being so demanding, those who practice this martial art have astounding physical skills and amazing endurance.

 

Tai Chi

To those who live outside of China, Tai Chi resembles more of a dance.  The slow and calm movements it teaches are balanced and exact, performed while the stylist is in a deep state of relaxation.  While in this deep state of relaxation, the stylist will be fully aware of what he is doing and his movements, although he will appear to those around him to be asleep.

 

In reality, Tai Chi is an energy exercise that promotes strength, stamina, and flexibility.  By using the deep state of relaxation, Tai Chi enables stylists to benefit emotionally and spiritually as well.  Tai Chi also uses deep states of mediation as well, helping stylists to learn how to reach their high level of peace.

 

Chinese martial arts

Even though Kung Fu is the best martial art in China, there are many different forms and styles that originate from it.  There is the Shaolin style as well, which offers several different styles of Kung Fu as well, including the world famous “5 animals system”.  The five animals system is among the most popular in China and well known around the world for their devastating techniques and amazing power when used in combat.

 

Along with Kung Fu, both HSING-I and Tai Chi are great martial arts that help with endurance training and flexibility.  A lot of Kung Fu students in China choose to study one of these arts as well, as it helps to add to their physical and emotional power.  Students who study Tai Chi or HSING-I as well as Kung Fu, have a higher state of endurance and spirituality that simply cannot be matched.

 

All around the world, China is well known for martial arts.  China brought Kung Fu and Tai Chi to the world, which is something we are all thankful for.  Even though Japan offers their unique blend of martial arts, many consider China to be the founding father of martial arts.  The Chinese have been using martial arts for hundreds of years – providing just how dominant it can be as a means of self defense and a way to live your life in a peaceful manner.

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An Introduction To Capoeira

An Introduction To Capoeira

 

The martial art of Capoeira was originally created over 400 years ago in Brazil by the African slaves.  This martial art is unlike any of the other martial arts there anywhere in the world, and possesses a blend of power, beauty, mental balance, physical power, music, and an overwhelming sense of art and finesse.

 

Upon it’s creation, Capoeira proved to the world that it can be practiced by anyone, regardless of size, weight, or age.  The style is more than a martial art, but also a social event that is rich in tradition and history.  Capoeira is a truly powerful martial art, resembling a collaboration of music, dance, and exotic movements – and even a game.

 

Those who witness Capoeira games will note the music.  Both the music and the lyrics play a big part in the way that the game (known as jogo) is conducted.  For the players, there are several different rhythms that call for different speeds.  When watching the game played, spectators are normally in awe from the movements.  The jogo consists of a circle, with the players in the middle and the musicians at the foot of the circle.

 

Players that enter the game will enter into the circle, with a spring, cartwheel, or other type of visually stunning movement.  Upon entering the circle, players will complete back and forth with various combinations of poetic movements and breathtaking aerial displays.  It takes years of practice and hard work to become great at the jogo, as it requires precision, fast movement, and flawless application of the Capoeira techniques.

 

From a defensive standpoint, Capoeira is flashy, very creative, and also very useful, as the techniques seem to come out of nowhere and can be very hard to defend against.  The opponent or attacker has no clue what to expect from the student.  The Capoeira student defends himself through the use of dancing movements and acrobatic techniques, executing perfect movements that up until Capoeira were only dreamt of.

 

Capoeira and the jogo game are really big in Brazil, with hundreds of students learning the martial art.  It isn’t one of the most popular in the United States, although it is offered.  In South America it is more of a lifestyle, with jogo games being played on a daily basis.  A lot of martial arts students don’t want to learn Capoeira for the simple fact that the movements can be a bit of a risk.  Once you see how the style is performed, it can make you cringe at any second.

 

Over the last couple of decades, the art has grown a lot.  In 1974, the art of Capoeira became the national sport of Brazil, proving that just about everyone in Brazil had accepted it.  As time continues to pass, you can count on more and more competitions and dojo’s to surface – introducing this truly excellent martial art to newer generations.

 

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Bathroom Accessories and Wicker

Bathroom Accessories and Wicker
How to choose wickers

When doing your bathroom you might want to think about adding a few wicker baskets to set off the environment. Wicker is a wonderful accessory to any room in your house. All sorts of wonderful ideas came from the creation of wickers. Wicker can last forever, as well, the products are easy to maintain.

How do I know what wicker to select?
When choosing your wicker all you have to do us chose the color and style. The reason for that is wicker baskets are made of the same materials. Some baskets are painted however, which sets them apart from the rest. You can find a selection of colors, such as the blue baskets, black, brown, white, and so on.

How do I know which wickers are best suited for my bathroom?
You have a wide selection of wastebaskets, towel hangers, wicker stands, wicker shelves, and more to choose. Few wall frames are also made of wicker. Therefore, you must ask, do you want to hang pictures? Do you intend to use the wicker to store accessories? Do you need shelves to store linen and towels? Understanding your purpose can help you make the right choice. When choosing the colored baskets, you also want to think about the texture, patterns, style, and colors in your bathroom.

How do I take care of wicker materials?
When taking care of wicker it very easy. You can just throw it in the bathtub to wash it or even take it outside and use the garden hose to clean it. Let the basket dry in the sun and you are good to go.

How do I find wicker baskets, shelves, etc?
Shopping for wicker is easy, since most stores you visit have wicker baskets, shelves, stands, frames, wastebaskets, and more. The smaller stores may only have the smaller items, such as the shelves, wastebaskets, towel hangers, and so on. Larger stores often sell a wider variety of wickers. The Internet is your choice, since you can search for wicker sold worldwide.

How will the wickers look in my bathroom?
You can find some old pictures to hang on the wall to bring out the affect of the wicker. Wicker is supposed to look rough and old looking so anything you store in wickers will look good. Even if you hang ole’ wicker picture frames, and throw a rug on the floor you can rest assure that the room will look good. In addition, if you have an antique room, country room, Victorian style, or other bathroom design, it doesn’t matter because wicker looks good. In fact, wicker is probably one of the single most sold items that looks good no matter what.

How costly is this wicker?
Wickers do not cost a lot when compared to other bathroom accessories. In fact, you can purchase wicker baskets for as little as $1.

It depends on where you shop. In addition, you can shop around at yard sales and I will almost promise that nearly everyone you visit will have wicker items.

When your bathroom is done in wicker, you will love the affect that it can bring out. It’s always a good choice, especially when using them as bathroom accessories. While wicker looks good no matter where you put it, I feel that wicker benefits best in country settings, or natural surroundings.

How do I use my wicker items?
It depends, if you purchased a picture frame, you can store pictures, documents, achievements, and more in the frames. If you purchased baskets, you can store bathroom accessories, such as toiletries, towels, soaps, and more.

Credit By Fifa55

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Bathroom Accessories and Toilet Brush Caddies

Bathroom Accessories and Toilet Brush Caddies

Toilet brush caddies make up nice bathroom accessories. The caddies are idea, since if you just leave the toilet brush lying in the floor it dirties up your room. In addition, if you do not clean brushes after using them in the toilet, it can build up residue and leave a foul smell. As you can see, toilet brush caddies are nice necessities.

How to choose toilet brush caddies?
Musa, Chateau, Home, Outline, Wind, and Freestanding make a nice selection of toilet brush caddies. If you are searching to accomplish organic embellishments, you may like the crystal glass selections. The glass wear is sometimes structured with pure brass and wood wenges. Musa just created the latest wall-mounting caddies. You will find the latest chrome polish styles and the satin nickels.

How do I choose a caddy to match my bathroom?
The caddies made by Musa, i.e. most designs are crafted to fit any modern bathroom. The items are shipped from foreign legions, i.e. Italy. The items are basic, yet it will bring a classy style to your modern bathroom.

The toilet caddies come with accessories. Few companies sell with the item, wood wenges trims, tumblers, soap dish, and other holders. Most items sold by Musa are made of purely cut brass. Clear crystal glass is gorgeous and will fit any room. I mentioned that the caddies are designed for most modern bathrooms, yet the item will match nearly any style in Victorian rooms, regal baths, country style, and more. You may not want to choose the item to install in child baths, unless the children are older.

How do I choose other bathroom items that go with the caddy?
You have a list of items to select, including the glass corner and vanity shelves, tissue holders, robe hooks, towel bars, soap dish, tumblers, and so on.

How do I choose items designed by Chateau?
I am not partial to silver, yet Chateau made the latest brush caddies that attracts the eye. The latest brush caddy is polished in both chrome and brass. You will find a variety of matching hooks as well, which include polished brass, chrome, combo, and the brush nickel. If you choose the combination of gold and chrome, try mixing it with the chrome and brass polished hooks.

You can also mix the brass/chrome caddies with towel bars, designer mirrors, robe hooks, glass holders, and more. The item comes from Sweden, which the country’s crafters has proven faithful in designing elegant bathroom accessories.

If you intend to purchase the chrome/brass caddies, you may want to purchase a gold bath tissue holder, and a vanity glass shelf. The combination will make your guest think you are living high on the hog. If you do not like the glass vanities, then consider the décor mirrors that light up and mount on your wall.

Freestanding has a nice selection of brush caddies also. The gold are nice, yet in images it stands out loudly. I am a gold fan, i.e. I like gold tones, shades, colors, etc, yet the color in this instance is a bit disturbing to the eye. In this instance, you may want to consider the Oil Rub Bronze-Plate designed with steel. As I look at the image, I feel that the brush caddy would look nice in an antique atmosphere.

I love the wind so I had to check out the images designed by Wind Collections. The brush caddies are nice if you like chrome with spurts of gold. One of the bathroom accessories you want to consider with this series is the shower corner baskets.

Credit By Fifa55

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Celtic Tattoos

Celtic Tattoos

Celtic history goes back thousands and thousands of years. Early Celtic people were well known for their skills in artwork of jewelry, metal, and even weapons. They were warriors as well, regarded as fierce fighters by the Romans. Throughout Ireland, there are many examples and evidence of Celtic artwork and Celtic crosses.

Over the years, modern Celtics evolved and established symbols for themselves along the way. Throughout North America, Celtic people often wear these symbols to let others know that they are a Celtic descent. The symbols and knowledge have been passed down through the years, as there is little no written history. Tattooing however, keeps the Celtic tradition alive with the infamous Celtic cross and other popular Celtic designs.

Most Celtic tattoo designs come from Ireland, where the evidence of Celtic history is very strong indeed. The Trinity College found in Dublin, Ireland, contains many manuscripts that document the Celtic heritage and symbols. The height of Celtic tattooing however, occurred during the era when stone and metal work was really popular.

Celtic knot tattoos are some of the most popular and most common designs, featuring loops with no end that symbolize a never ending cycle of dying and rebirth. There are also Celtic animal tattoo designs as well, which are similar in design to the knot tattoos, although the cords in the design normally terminate in heads, tails, and feet. The pure knot tattoo designs are normally never ending, unless an individual adds an end to symbolize a spiral.

The meaning behind the knots in Celtic tattoos defies any type of literal translation and is found at a much deeper level. The interlacing of the knots expresses the repeated crossing of both physical and spiritual elements. The strands and their never ending path is a popular design for Celtic tattoos, representing life, faith, and love. For many years, Celtics have used these designs for emotional as well as heritage purposes.

Those who are from a Celtic descent, Irish, Scots, or Welsh, normally find a Celtic tattoo to be a great way to express their heritage pride. These tattoos help to reestablish pride, and give tribute to one’s ancestors. The tattoos aren’t easy to do, most taking several hours. Unlike other tattoo designs, Celtic tattoos are among the hardest designs in the world.

If you are from a Celtic descent and have decided to get a Celtic tattoo, the first thing to do is find an artist capable of doing the tattoo. The designs are very difficult and not all tattoo artists can do them. It’s always best to find a tattoo artist who has a background in Celtic designs, as this will ensure the tattoo is done correctly. The artist who does the tattoo needs to have an eye for detail and exact line placement – which is a skill that not all tattoo artists possess if you like pls come another web for readmore.

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Caring For A New Tattoo

Caring For A New Tattoo

When you finally decide to get a tattoo, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a reputable tattoo artist. Most tattoo artists have several designs that you can pick from. If you don’t find anything you like, you can always ask him to make a custom tattoo. You should always be careful in what you choose, as you’ll have the tattoo for the rest of your life. The design is very important, although not nearly as important as taking care of it.

Good tattoo artists will also clean and apply antiseptic ointment to your tattoo as they create it. Expert artists know that this helps keep the tattoo healthy. Once the tattoo is finished, the artists will wipe it down, clean it off good, and apply another coat of antiseptic ointment. Once the ointment has been applied, he will put a piece of soft tissue or cellophane over the tattoo.

Once the tattoo is finished, the artists should tell you how to take care of your new tattoo. Some of the better artists will talk to you and give you a detailed sheet with all of the information you need. If you went to a tattoo artist who didn’t explain this to you, you may be wondering just what you should do. Taking care of a tattoo isn’t hard – as long as you know what you can and can’t do.

When you first get home with your new tattoo, you should never hop right in the shower. You should keep it dry for the first few days, but also clean it every few hours. Before you touch the tattoo or clean it, you should always make sure that your hands are clean. If you keep your hands clean, you won’t have to worry about an infection.

You’ll also want to visit your local drugstore and purchase a tube of A&D ointment. A&D ointment is the best to use. A&D will keep your tattoo clean and shiny and should be used for the first few days. Once the ointment starts to dry on the tattoo, you should wipe the old application off and apply some more. Don’t rub it too hard, or you could damage the healing process. For the first few days, you should avoid using soap as well.

After 5 – 6 days, you can quit using the ointment. A&D ointment will keep your tattoo healthy, which you’ll notice the first time you apply it. After you stop using it, you should use an unscented body lotion. You want to avoid body lotions that have scents, as they can easily irritate the tender skin that resides under your tattoo.

After you have used the lotion for a few days, you can stop using it. Most tattoos, after they have healed, tend to leave a scab in some areas. If your tattoo has a scab, you should be careful when you try to pick it. If you aren’t careful, you could end up damaging your design. The best thing to do is you have a scab is to leave it alone. You can put A&D ointment on it if you want, as most of the time a scab will itch.

A tattoo can be a great thing to have providing you take care of it. Tattoos will stay with your for the rest of your life, unless you choose to get them surgically removed. Taking care of your tattoo now will keep it healthy and infection free in the long run. If you follow the above advice on how to take care of your tattoo – you won’t have anything to worry about.

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7 Key Reasons Why Events Marketing Should Be Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

7 Key Reasons Why Events Marketing Should Be Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

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When it comes to any corporate or company marketing strategy you would include plenty of social events to the list. When you add the social events into your marketing strategy, you are able to make contacts with many other associates and it will help your company or business flourish.

One of the biggest reasons why you include events in your marketing strategy is the fact that you make so many contacts. When you make contacts you are able to find new channels and ways to expand your business, as well as, make your business grow by reaching new markets. You never know what you can gain from having new associates.

Another reason to have events is to share the public that you give back to the community. This is a key point for businesses that are big in one area. They grow and find success in the community and should give back to the community. It gives the company more of a public edge.

Also, you should think about your competition. When you through parties and such, you will find the opportunity to mix and mingle with the competition. You can get a feeling for their next move through what the others have to say. You will find that everyone talks about everything at corporate events and you find out a lot about what people think of you and the business.

When you through a party or social event, you can also introduce a new product. You may find that a social event is the perfect time to show off your new investment or allow your guests to try out a new product. It’s kind of like a testing, but an unofficial one. You can get an idea of how it would sell on the market by giving it to your guests. Then you can release it or forget about it depending on your guests.

Another reason why you should through social events in your marketing is to keep your company name in the papers and on the minds of the community. When you do this type of marketing it is called reminder advertising. You are keeping the company and the products of the company in the minds of those who are in your target market and community.

You should also through social events so that the community and competition knows that your company is still in the good. If you can through huge social events for the company then it means that you must be making a profit, right? Well that’s what people are going to think. You should keep this in mind when it comes to any social event.

Also, companies should through events for the company just because it is a way to give back to the employees. They work hard all year long and a party every now and then will be a great benefit to being an employee. It will also make the company look better in the public eye. The community would be more supportive knowing that the company gives back to the community.

There are hundreds of reasons why a company should invest in their employees. The more active that the company is in the community and society, the more they are going to get supported if they ever wanted to expand and other things. With social events you know only gain the public’s interest, but their support as well. That could be one of the most important reasons why you would want to through an event. Social events have a lot of benefits for any corporate or company’s marketing strategies. Planning an event can be time consuming, but it is worth it.

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6 Ways To Promote Your Events To Your External Customers

6 Ways To Promote Your Events To Your External Customers

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You want your next event to be perfect. You want to make sure that you are including everyone that you can so that you are making this party the best that you can. The only way that you can do this is if you include all of your internal and external customers.
1. The first thing that you want to do is make sure that you are sending out the right invitations. You want your external customers to get the invitation early so that they can make the necessary arrangements to get there. They will feel good when they are informed early about the special party as well.
2. You will want to make your customers feel special. Give them a reason to want to come and give their support. You want them to have a special feeling like they are very important and you want and need them to come to the party. You will have a better chance at them showing up and making your party a great success as well.
3. Send them a personalized letter that is stating how important it is that they show up to your great event. You want them to feel special and important when they receive the letter. You will want them to feel this way so that they are sure to come along to your party.
4. Keep in contact with all the external customers that you have. You want to keep the lines of communication open so that you have more of an advantage over everyone else. You will have the feeling of getting more positive feed back when you are staying informed and in contact with your external customers.
5. Find ways to meet the needs of your external customers. You will want to stay up on the current status of your customers. Keep in contact with them so that you are able to keep things moving in the right direction. You want to stay in contact with the customers that are giving you positive feedback. You should invite them to your events and make them feel that they are very special to you and your party.
6. You should make sure that you are promoting your event and letting people know how great the party is going to be. You can let your former external customers know as well as the current ones how great this party is going to be. You will want to show them the great way that you can make this event wonderful. You want them to be a part of it so that they are finding out what they need to do and how to have the most fun that they can have.
You will want to ensure that your event is a great success and that everyone that is invited shows up. You want them to feel very good about the party and that they are going to have a great time. Getting all of your external customers there is something that will defiantly make sure that you are having the best event ever. You can find many different ways to stay in contact with your external customers and keep them satisfied.
If you are not sure what you can do to help yourself keep in contact with your external customers, you can hire a professional event planner to keep you informed with the great ideas that will help you in the long run. You will find it better for your event and for future parties as well.

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adware-software-removal-spyware

Why the Need to Remove Adware and Spyware

Spyware and adware removal nowadays is just a matter of choosing a well equipped anti-spyware program or utility. You install the software into your system and will scan and delete or quarantine spyware and adware programs that were secretly installed in your computer.

The proliferation of spyware and adware programs in the internet has lead an established and highly developed anti-spyware industry. As long as disgruntled internet users abound, the anti-spyware companies will continue to create utilities that will combat the onslaught of spyware and adware on your computers.

Basically a spyware program infects the computer through whatever files a user downloads from the internet. Adware and spyware attaches themselves on these files and can rapidly spread throughout the computer’s operating system. The sypware will commonly records information like IP addresses, credit card numbers, lists websites you visit and so on.

But as the spyware infects and spreads your computer, it installs components which affect the overall performance of the computer. They can also cause a degradation of the system resulting to unwanted CPU activity, inappropriate disk usage, and problems with network traffic. All these will cause your computer to low down. It will eventually become unstable and will cause software crashes and will sometimes prevent you from connecting to your networks and to the internet.

Some spyware programs are quite obvious but others are more covert, operating undetected by the user. When problems occur in the computer’s operating system, because these spywares are undetectable by ordinary means, users tend to believe that the problems were brought about by problems in the hardware or by a computer virus. But all the while, a spyware program is the one causing the ruckus.

More often not, a computer will be infected with more than one spyware program and have various components installed. Recent studies indicate that when one finds a spyware program installed in his computer, chances are dozens of the components of that spyware is installed all over the computer’s system.

And as the number of spyware programs and its components increase, users will encounter problems like computer slowing its functions to a crawl. Other spyware programs are more notorious. Some spyware will disable the computer’s firewall system or anti-virus software thus making the computer more vulnerable to spyware, adware and other infectious attacks.

Microsoft Windows platform users are more susceptible from these spyware and adware attacks. Probably because of the popularity of Windows which makes them an attractive and profitable target for spyware agents. Likewise, because of the tight knit Internet Explorer and Windows enjoy, IE users will most likely get an infection from spyware and adware than users of other internet browsers like FireFox.

Meanwhile other computer users are changing to Linux or Apple Macintosh platforms which appear to be less attractive to spyware and adware agents. These two platforms works on Unix underpinnings which restricts access to the operating system unlike with Windows.

It is quite unfortunate and rather irritating that spyware and adware programs grew and developed in the World Wide Web. But we cannot do anything about it now. What we can do is protect ourselves from their attacks by being cautious and by conducting regular spyware scanning and removals as well as performing regular updating of anti-virus and anti-spyware software to ensure that our computers are free from the annoying and damaging spyware.

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Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal (/ˌtɑːdʒ məˈhɑːl, ˌtɑːʒ-/; meaning “Crown of the Palace”) is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellatedwall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (U.S. $827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India’s rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.

Inspiration

The Taj Mahal was commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1631, to be built in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, a Persianprincess who died giving birth to their 14th child, Gauhara Begum. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632.The imperial court documenting Shah Jahan’s grief after the death of Mumtaz Mahal illustrate the love story held as the inspiration for Taj Mahal. The principal mausoleum was completed in 1643 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished about five years later.

Architecture and design

The Taj Mahal incorporates and expands on design traditions of Persian and earlier Mughal architecture. Specific inspiration came from successful Timurid and Mughal buildings including the Gur-e Amir (the tomb of Timur, progenitor of the Mughal dynasty, in Samarkand),[11] Humayun’s Tomb, Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb (sometimes called the Baby Taj), and Shah Jahan’s own Jama Masjid in Delhi. While earlier Mughal buildings were primarily constructed of red sandstone, Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones. Buildings under his patronage reached new levels of refinement.

Tomb

The tomb is the central focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal. It is a large, white marble structure standing on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an iwan (an arch-shaped doorway) topped by a large dome and finial. Like most Mughal tombs, the basic elements are Persian in origin.

The base structure is a large multi-chambered cube with chamfered corners forming an unequal eight-sided structure that is approximately 55 metres (180 ft) on each of the four long sides. Each side of the iwan is framed with a huge pishtaqor vaulted archway with two similarly shaped arched balconies stacked on either side. This motif of stacked pishtaqs is replicated on the chamfered corner areas, making the design completely symmetrical on all sides of the building. Four minarets frame the tomb, one at each corner of the plinth facing the chamfered corners. The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan; the actual graves are at a lower level.

The most spectacular feature is the marble dome that surmounts the tomb. The dome is nearly 35 metres (115 ft) high which is close in measurement to the length of the base, and accentuated by the cylindrical “drum” it sits on which is approximately 7 metres (23 ft) high. Because of its shape, the dome is often called an onion dome or amrud (guava dome). The top is decorated with a lotus design which also serves to accentuate its height. The shape of the dome is emphasised by four smaller domed chattris (kiosks) placed at its corners, which replicate the onion shape of the main dome. The dome is slightly asymmetrical. Their columned bases open through the roof of the tomb and provide light to the interior. Tall decorative spires (guldastas) extend from edges of base walls, and provide visual emphasis to the height of the dome. The lotus motif is repeated on both the chattris and guldastas. The dome and chattris are topped by a gilded finial which mixes traditional Persian and Hindustani decorative elements.

The main finial was originally made of gold but was replaced by a copy made of gilded bronze in the early 19th century. This feature provides a clear example of integration of traditional Persian and Hindu decorative elements. The finial is topped by a moon, a typical Islamic motif whose horns point heavenward.

The minarets, which are each more than 40 metres (130 ft) tall, display the designer’s penchant for symmetry. They were designed as working minarets—a traditional element of mosques, used by the muezzin to call the Islamic faithful to prayer. Each minaret is effectively divided into three equal parts by two working balconies that ring the tower. At the top of the tower is a final balcony surmounted by a chattri that mirrors the design of those on the tomb. The chattris all share the same decorative elements of a lotus design topped by a gilded finial. The minarets were constructed slightly outside of the plinth so that in the event of collapse, a typical occurrence with many tall constructions of the period, the material from the towers would tend to fall away from the tomb.

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Stonehenge

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, 2 miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, 7 feet (2.1 m) wide and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Agemonuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC,although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.

One of the most famous landmarks in the United Kingdom, Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. It has been a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882 when legislation to protect historic monuments was first successfully introduced in Britain. The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO‘s list of World Heritage Sitesin 1986. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage; the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another five hundred years.

Etymology

The Oxford English Dictionary cites Ælfric‘s tenth-century glossary, in which henge-cliff is given the meaning “precipice”, or stone, thus the stanenges or Stanheng “not far from Salisbury” recorded by eleventh-century writers are “supported stones”. William Stukeley in 1740 notes, “Pendulous rocks are now called henges in Yorkshire…I doubt not, Stonehenge in Saxon signifies the hanging stones.”Christopher Chippindale‘s Stonehenge Complete gives the derivation of the name Stonehenge as coming from the Old English words stān meaning “stone”, and either hencg meaning “hinge” (because the stone lintels hinge on the upright stones) or hen(c)en meaning “hang” or “gallows” or “instrument of torture” (though elsewhere in his book, Chippindale cites the “suspended stones” etymology). Like Stonehenge’s trilithons, medieval gallows consisted of two uprights with a lintel joining them, rather than the inverted L-shape more familiar today.

The “henge” portion has given its name to a class of monuments known as henges. Archaeologists define henges as earthworks consisting of a circular banked enclosure with an internal ditch. As often happens in archaeological terminology, this is a holdover from antiquarian use. Because its bank is inside its ditch, Stonehenge is not truly a henge site.

Despite being contemporary with true Neolithic henges and stone circles, Stonehenge is in many ways atypical—for example, at more than 7.3 metres (24 ft) tall, its extant trilithons’ lintels, held in place with mortise and tenon joints, make it unique.

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Parthenon

The Parthenon (/ˈpɑːrθəˌnɒn, -nən/; Ancient Greek: Παρθενών; Greek: Παρθενώνας, Parthenónas) is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the zenith of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and Western civilization, and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments. To the Athenians who built it, the Parthenon and other Periclean monuments of the Acropolis were seen fundamentally as a celebration of Hellenic victory over the Persian invaders and as a thanksgiving to the gods for that victory. As of 2007 the Greek Ministry of Culture was carrying out a programme of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined structure.

The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, that was destroyed in the Persian invasion of 480 BC. The temple is archaeoastronomically aligned to the Hyades. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon served a practical purpose as the city treasury. For a time, it served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire. In the final decade of the sixth century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

After the Ottoman conquest, it was turned into a mosque in the early 1460s. On 26 September 1687, an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment. The resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures. From 1800 to 1803, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elginremoved some of the surviving sculptures with the alleged permission of the Ottoman Empire.[citation needed] These sculptures, now known as the Elgin Marbles or the Parthenon Marbles, were sold in 1816 to the British Museum in London, where they are now displayed. Since 1983 (on the initiative of Culture Minister Melina Mercouri), the Greek government has been committed to the return of the sculptures to Greece.

Etymology

The origin of the Parthenon’s name is from the Greek word παρθενών (parthenon), which referred to the “unmarried women’s apartments” in a house and in the Parthenon’s case seems to have been used at first only for a particular room of the temple; it is debated which room this is and how the room acquired its name. The Liddell–Scott–Jones Greek–English Lexicon states that this room was the western cella of the Parthenon, as does J. B. Bury. Jamauri D. Green holds that the parthenon was the room in which the peplos presented to Athena at the Panathenaic Festival was woven by the arrephoroi, a group of four young girls chosen to serve Athena each year. Christopher Pelling asserts that Athena Parthenos may have constituted a discrete cult of Athena, intimately connected with, but not identical to, that of Athena Polias. According to this theory, the name of the Parthenon means the “temple of the virgin goddess” and refers to the cult of Athena Parthenos that was associated with the temple. The epithet parthénos (παρθένος) meant “maiden, girl”, but also “virgin, unmarried woman” and was especially used for Artemis, the goddess of wild animals, the hunt, and vegetation, and for Athena, the goddess of strategy and tactics, handicraft, and practical reason. It has also been suggested that the name of the temple alludes to the maidens (parthenoi), whose supreme sacrifice guaranteed the safety of the city. Parthénos has also been applied to the Virgin Mary, Parthénos Maria, and the Parthenon had been converted to a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the final decade of the sixth century.

The first instance in which Parthenon definitely refers to the entire building is found in the writings of the 4th century BC orator Demosthenes. In 5th-century building accounts, the structure is simply called ho naos (“the temple”). The architects Iktinos and Callicrates are said to have called the building Hekatompedos (“the hundred footer”) in their lost treatise on Athenian architecture, and, in the 4th century and later, the building was referred to as the Hekatompedos or the Hekatompedon as well as the Parthenon; the 1st-century-AD writer Plutarch referred to the building as the Hekatompedos Parthenon.

Because the Parthenon was dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, it has sometimes been referred to as the Temple of Minerva, the Roman name for Athena, particularly during the 19th century.

Function

Although the Parthenon is architecturally a temple and is usually called so, it is not really one in the conventional sense of the word. A small shrine has been excavated within the building, on the site of an older sanctuary probably dedicated to Athena as a way to get closer to the goddess, but the Parthenon never hosted the cult of Athena Polias, patron of Athens: the cult image, which was bathed in the sea and to which was presented the peplos, was an olivewood xoanon, located at an older altar on the northern side of the Acropolis.

The colossal statue of Athena by Phidias was not related to any cult and is not known to have inspired any religious fervour. It did not seem to have any priestess, altar or cult name. According to Thucydides, Pericles once referred to the statue as a gold reserve, stressing that it “contained forty talents of pure gold and it was all removable”. The Athenian statesman thus implies that the metal, obtained from contemporary coinage, could be used again without any impiety. The Parthenon should then be viewed as a grand setting for Phidias’ votive statue rather than a cult site. It is said[by whom?] in many writings of the Greeks that there were many treasures stored inside the temple, such as Persian swords and small statue figures made of precious metals.

Archaeologist Joan Breton Connelly has recently argued for the coherency of the Parthenon’s sculptural programme in presenting a succession of genealogical narratives that track Athenian identity back through the ages: from the birth of Athena, through cosmic and epic battles, to the final great event of the Athenian Bronze Age, the war of Erechtheus and Eumolpos. She argues a pedagogical function for the Parthenon’s sculptured decoration, one that establishes and perpetuates Athenian foundation myth, memory, values and identity. While some classicists, including Mary Beard, Peter Green, and Garry Wills have doubted or rejected Connelly’s thesis, an increasing number of historians, archaeologists, and classical scholars support her work. They include: J.J. Pollitt,Brunilde Ridgway,Nigel Spivey, Caroline Alexander, A.E. Stallings.

Older Parthenon

The first endeavour to build a sanctuary for Athena Parthenos on the site of the present Parthenon was begun shortly after the Battle of Marathon (c. 490–488 BC) upon a solid limestone foundation that extended and levelled the southern part of the Acropolis summit. This building replaced a hekatompedon (meaning “hundred-footer”) and would have stood beside the archaic temple dedicated to Athena Polias (“of the city”). The Older or Pre-Parthenon, as it is frequently referred to, was still under construction when the Persians sacked the city in 480 BC and razed the Acropolis.

The existence of both the proto-Parthenon and its destruction were known from Herodotus, and the drums of its columns were plainly visible built into the curtain wall north of the Erechtheion. Further physical evidence of this structure was revealed with the excavations of Panagiotis Kavvadias of 1885–90. The findings of this dig allowed Wilhelm Dörpfeld, then director of the German Archaeological Institute, to assert that there existed a distinct substructure to the original Parthenon, called Parthenon I by Dörpfeld, not immediately below the present edifice as had been previously assumed. Dörpfeld’s observation was that the three steps of the first Parthenon consisted of two steps of Poros limestone, the same as the foundations, and a top step of Karrha limestone that was covered by the lowest step of the Periclean Parthenon. This platform was smaller and slightly to the north of the final Parthenon, indicating that it was built for a wholly different building, now completely covered over. This picture was somewhat complicated by the publication of the final report on the 1885–90 excavations, indicating that the substructure was contemporary with the Kimonian walls, and implying a later date for the first temple.

If the original Parthenon was indeed destroyed in 480, it invites the question of why the site was left a ruin for thirty-three years. One argument involves the oath sworn by the Greek allies before the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC declaring that the sanctuaries destroyed by the Persians would not be rebuilt, an oath from which the Athenians were only absolved with the Peace of Callias in 450. The mundane fact of the cost of reconstructing Athens after the Persian sack is at least as likely a cause. However, the excavations of Bert Hodge Hill led him to propose the existence of a second Parthenon, begun in the period of Kimon after 468 BC. Hill claimed that the Karrha limestone step Dörpfeld thought was the highest of Parthenon I was in fact the lowest of the three steps of Parthenon II, whose stylobate dimensions Hill calculated at 23.51 by 66.888 metres (77.13 ft × 219.45 ft).

One difficulty in dating the proto-Parthenon is that at the time of the 1885 excavation the archaeological method of seriation was not fully developed; the careless digging and refilling of the site led to a loss of much valuable information. An attempt to discuss and make sense of the potsherds found on the Acropolis came with the two-volume study by Graef and Langlotz published in 1925–33. This inspired American archaeologist William Bell Dinsmoor to attempt to supply limiting dates for the temple platform and the five walls hidden under the re-terracing of the Acropolis. Dinsmoor concluded that the latest possible date for Parthenon I was no earlier than 495 BC, contradicting the early date given by Dörpfeld. Further, Dinsmoor denied that there were two proto-Parthenons, and held that the only pre-Periclean temple was what Dörpfeld referred to as Parthenon II. Dinsmoor and Dörpfeld exchanged views in the American Journal of Archaeology in 1935.

Present building

In the mid-5th century BC, when the Athenian Acropolis became the seat of the Delian League and Athens was the greatest cultural centre of its time, Periclesinitiated an ambitious building project that lasted the entire second half of the century. The most important buildings visible on the Acropolis today — the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike — were erected during this period. The Parthenon was built under the general supervision of the artist Phidias, who also had charge of the sculptural decoration. The architects Ictinos and Callicrates began their work in 447 BC, and the building was substantially completed by 432, but work on the decorations continued until at least 431.

Architecture

The Parthenon is a peripteral octastyle Doric temple with Ionic architectural features. It stands on a platform or stylobate of three steps. In common with other Greek temples, it is of post and lintel construction and is surrounded by columns (“peripteral”) carrying an entablature. There are eight columns at either end (“octastyle”) and seventeen on the sides. There is a double row of columns at either end. The colonnade surrounds an inner masonry structure, the cella, which is divided into two compartments. At either end of the building the gable is finished with a triangular pediment originally occupied by sculpted figures. The columns are of the Doric order, with simple capitals, fluted shafts and no bases. Above the architrave of the entablature is a frieze of carved pictorial panels (metopes), separated by formal architectural triglyphs, typical of the Doric order. Around the cella and across the lintels of the inner columns runs a continuous sculptured frieze in low relief. This element of the architecture is Ionic in style rather than Doric.

Measured at the stylobate, the dimensions of the base of the Parthenon are 69.5 by 30.9 metres (228 by 101 ft). The cella was 29.8 metres long by 19.2 metres wide (97.8 × 63.0 ft). On the exterior, the Doric columns measure 1.9 metres (6.2 ft) in diameter and are 10.4 metres (34 ft) high. The corner columns are slightly larger in diameter. The Parthenon had 46 outer columns and 23 inner columns in total, each column containing 20 flutes. (A flute is the concave shaft carved into the column form.) The roof was covered with large overlapping marble tiles known as imbrices and tegulae.[citation needed]

The Parthenon is regarded as the finest example of Greek architecture. The temple, wrote John Julius Cooper, “enjoys the reputation of being the most perfect Doric temple ever built. Even in antiquity, its architectural refinements were legendary, especially the subtle correspondence between the curvature of the stylobate, the taper of the naos walls and the entasis of the columns.” Entasis refers to the slight swelling, of 4 centimetres (1.6 in), in the centre of the columns to counteract the appearance of columns having a waist, as the swelling makes them look straight from a distance. The stylobate is the platform on which the columns stand. As in many other classical Greek temples, it has a slight parabolic upward curvature intended to shed rainwater and reinforce the building against earthquakes. The columns might therefore be supposed to lean outwards, but they actually lean slightly inwards so that if they carried on, they would meet almost exactly a mile above the centre of the Parthenon; since they are all the same height, the curvature of the outer stylobate edge is transmitted to the architraveand roof above: “All follow the rule of being built to delicate curves”, Gorham Stevens observed when pointing out that, in addition, the west front was built at a slightly higher level than that of the east front.

It is not universally agreed what the intended effect of these “optical refinements” was; they may serve as a sort of “reverse optical illusion”. As the Greeks may have been aware, two parallel lines appear to bow, or curve outward, when intersected by converging lines. In this case, the ceiling and floor of the temple may seem to bow in the presence of the surrounding angles of the building. Striving for perfection, the designers may have added these curves, compensating for the illusion by creating their own curves, thus negating this effect and allowing the temple to be seen as they intended. It is also suggested that it was to enliven what might have appeared an inert mass in the case of a building without curves, but the comparison ought to be, according to Smithsonian historian Evan Hadingham, with the Parthenon’s more obviously curved predecessors than with a notional rectilinear temple.

Some studies of the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, conclude that many of its proportions approximate the golden ratio. The Parthenon’s façade as well as elements of its façade and elsewhere can be circumscribed by golden rectangles. This view that the golden ratio was employed in the design has been disputed in more recent studies.

Sculpture

The cella of the Parthenon housed the chryselephantine statue of Athena Parthenos sculpted by Phidias and dedicated in 439 or 438 BC. The appearance of this is known from other images. The decorative stonework was originally highly coloured. The temple was dedicated to Athena at that time, though construction continued until almost the beginning of the Peloponnesian War in 432. By the year 438, the sculptural decoration of the Doric metopes on the frieze above the exterior colonnade, and of the Ionic frieze around the upper portion of the walls of the cella, had been completed. In the opisthodomus (the back room of the cella) were stored the monetary contributions of the Delian League, of which Athens was the leading member.

Only a very small number of the sculptures remain in situ; most of the surviving sculptures are today (controversially) in the British Museum in London as the Elgin Marbles, and the Athens Acropolis Museum, but a few pieces are also in the Louvre, and museums in Rome, Vienna and Palermo.

Metopes

The frieze of the Parthenon’s entablature contained ninety-two metopes, fourteen each on the east and west sides, thirty-two each on the north and south sides. They were carved in high relief, a practice employed until then only in treasuries (buildings used to keep votive gifts to the gods).[citation needed]According to the building records, the metope sculptures date to the years 446–440 BC. The metopes of the east side of the Parthenon, above the main entrance, depict the Gigantomachy (the mythical battle between the Olympian gods and the Giants). The metopes of the west end show the Amazonomachy(the mythical battle of the Athenians against the Amazons). The metopes of the south side show the Thessalian Centauromachy (battle of the Lapiths aided by Theseus against the half-man, half-horse Centaurs). Metopes 13–21 are missing, but drawings from 1674 attributed to Jaques Carrey indicate a series of humans; these have been variously interpreted as scenes from the Lapith wedding, scenes from the early history of Athens and various myths. On the north side of the Parthenon, the metopes are poorly preserved, but the subject seems to be the sack of Troy.

The metopes present examples of the Severe Style in the anatomy of the figures’ heads, in the limitation of the corporal movements to the contours and not to the muscles, and in the presence of pronounced veins in the figures of the Centauromachy. Several of the metopes still remain on the building, but, with the exception of those on the northern side, they are severely damaged. Some of them are located at the Acropolis Museum, others are in the British Museum, and one is at the Louvre museum.

In March 2011, archaeologists announced that they had discovered five metopes of the Parthenon in the south wall of the Acropolis, which had been extended when the Acropolis was used as a fortress. According to Eleftherotypia daily, the archaeologists claimed the metopes had been placed there in the 18th century when the Acropolis wall was being repaired. The experts discovered the metopes while processing 2,250 photos with modern photographic methods, as the white Pentelic marble they are made of differed from the other stone of the wall. It was previously presumed that the missing metopes were destroyed during the Morosini explosion of the Parthenon in 1687.

Frieze

The most characteristic feature in the architecture and decoration of the temple is the Ionic frieze running around the exterior walls of the cella, which is the inside structure of the Parthenon. The bas-relief frieze was carved in situ; it is dated to 442 BC-438 BC.

One interpretation is that it depicts an idealized version of the Panathenaic procession from the Dipylon Gate in the Kerameikos to the Acropolis. In this procession held every year, with a special procession taking place every four years, Athenians and foreigners were participating to honour the goddess Athena, offering sacrifices and a new peplos (dress woven by selected noble Athenian girls called ergastines).

Joan Breton Connelly offers a mythological interpretation for the frieze, one that is in harmony with the rest of the temple’s sculptural programme which shows Athenian genealogy through a series of succession myths set in the remote past. She identifies the central panel above the door of the Parthenon as the pre-battle sacrifice of the daughter of King Erechtheus, a sacrifice that ensured Athenian victory over Eumolpos and his Thracian army. The great procession marching toward the east end of the Parthenon shows the post-battle thanksgiving sacrifice of cattle and sheep, honey and water, followed by the triumphant army of Erechtheus returning from their victory. This represents the very first Panathenaia set in mythical times, the model on which historic Panathenaic processions was based.

Pediments

The traveller Pausanias, when he visited the Acropolis at the end of the 2nd century AD, only mentioned briefly the sculptures of the pediments (gable ends) of the temple, reserving the majority of his description for the gold and ivory statue of the goddess inside.

East pediment

The figures on the corners of the pediment depict the passage of time over the course of a full day. Tethrippa of Helios and Selene are located on the left and right corners of the pediment respectively. The horses of Helios’s chariot are shown with livid expressions as they ascend into the sky at the start of the day; whereas the Selene’s horses struggle to stay on the pediment scene as the day comes to an end.

West pediment

The supporters of Athena are extensively illustrated at the back of the left chariot, while the defenders of Poseidon are shown trailing behind the right chariot. It is believed that the corners of the pediment are filled by Athenian water deities, such as Kephisos river, Ilissos river and nymph Callirhoe. This belief merges from the fluid character of the sculptures’ body position which represents the effort of the artist to give the impression of a flowing river., Next to the left river god, there are the sculptures of the mythical king of Athens (Kekrops) with his daughters (Aglauros, Pandrosos, Herse). The statue of Poseidon was the largest sculpture in the pediment until it broke into pieces during Francesco Morosini‘s effort to remove it in 1688. The posterior piece of the torso was found by Lusieri in the groundwork of a Turkish house in 1801 and is currently held in British Museum. The anterior portion was revealed by Ross in 1835 and is now held in the Acropolis Museum of Athens.

Every statue in the west pediment has a fully completed back, which would have been impossible to see when the sculpture was on the temple; this indicates that the sculptors put great effort into accurately portraying the human body.

Athena Parthenos

The only piece of sculpture from the Parthenon known to be from the hand of Phidias was the statue of Athena housed in the naos. This massive chryselephantine sculpture is now lost and known only from copies, vase painting, gems, literary descriptions and coins.

Restoration

In 1975, the Greek government began a concerted effort to restore the Parthenon and other Acropolis structures. After some delay, a Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments was established in 1983. The project later attracted funding and technical assistance from the European Union. An archaeological committee thoroughly documented every artifactremaining on the site, and architects assisted with computer models to determine their original locations. Particularly important and fragile sculptures were transferred to the Acropolis Museum. A crane was installed for moving marble blocks; the crane was designed to fold away beneath the roofline when not in use. In some cases, prior re-constructions were found to be incorrect. These were dismantled, and a careful process of restoration began. Originally, various blocks were held together by elongated iron H pins that were completely coated in lead, which protected the iron from corrosion. Stabilizing pins added in the 19th century were not so coated, and corroded. Since the corrosion product (rust) is expansive, the expansion caused further damage by cracking the marble.

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Pantheon, Rome

The Pantheon (UK: /ˈpænθiən/, US: /-ɒn/; Latin: Pantheum,[nb 1] from Greek Πάνθειον Pantheion, “[temple] of all the gods”) is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). It was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. Its date of construction is uncertain, because Hadrian chose not to inscribe the new temple but rather to retain the inscription of Agrippa’s older temple, which had burned down.

The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 142 feet (43 m).

It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” (Latin: Sancta Maria ad Martyres) but informally known as “Santa Maria Rotonda”. The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda. The Pantheon is a state property, managed by Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism through the Polo Museale del Lazio; in 2013 it was visited by over 6 million people.

The Pantheon’s large circular domed cella, with a conventional temple portico front, was unique in Roman architecture. Nevertheless, it became a standard exemplar when classical styles were revived, and has been copied many times by later architects.

Etymology

The name “Pantheon” is from the Ancient Greek “Pantheion” (Πάνθειον) meaning “of, relating to, or common to all the gods”: (pan- / “παν-” meaning “all” + theion / “θεῖον”= meaning “of or sacred to a god”). Cassius Dio, a Roman senator who wrote in Greek, speculated that the name comes either from the statues of so many gods placed around this building, or from the resemblance of the dome to the heavens. His uncertainty strongly suggests that “Pantheon” (or Pantheum) was merely a nickname, not the formal name of the building. In fact, the concept of a pantheon dedicated to all the gods is questionable. The only definite pantheon recorded earlier than Agrippa’s was at Antioch in Syria, though it is only mentioned by a sixth-century source. Ziegler tried to collect evidence of panthea, but his list consists of simple dedications “to all the gods” or “to the Twelve Gods,” which are not necessarily true panthea in the sense of a temple housing a cult that literally worships all the gods.

Godfrey and Hemsoll point out that ancient authors never refer to Hadrian’s Pantheon with the word aedes, as they do with other temples, and the Severan inscription carved on the architrave uses simply “Pantheum,” not “Aedes Panthei” (temple of all the gods). It seems highly significant that Dio does not quote the simplest explanation for the name—that the Pantheon was dedicated to all the gods. In fact, Livy wrote that it had been decreed that temple buildings (or perhaps temple cellae) should only be dedicated to single divinities, so that it would be clear who would be offended if, for example, the building were struck by lightning, and because it was only appropriate to offer sacrifice to a specific deity (27.25.7-10). Godfrey and Hemsoll maintain that the word Pantheon “need not denote a particular group of gods, or, indeed, even all the gods, since it could well have had other meanings…. Certainly the word pantheus or pantheos, could be applicable to individual deities…. Bearing in mind also that the Greek word θεῖος (theios) need not mean “of a god” but could mean “superhuman,” or even “excellent.”

Since the French Revolution, when the church of Sainte-Geneviève in Paris was deconsecrated and turned into the secular monument called the Panthéon of Paris, the generic term pantheon has sometimes been applied to other buildings in which illustrious dead are honoured or buried.

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Page semi-protected Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile (French pronunciation: [aʁk də tʁijɔ̃f də letwal] ( listen), Triumphal Arch of the Star) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élyséesat the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l’Étoile— the étoile or “star” of the juncture formed by its twelve radiating avenues.

The Arc de Triomphe should not be confused with a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

As the central cohesive element of the Axe historique (historic axis, a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route running from the courtyard of the Louvre to the Grande Arche de la Défense), the Arc de Triomphe was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographicprogram pits heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanicwarriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments with triumphant patriotic messages.

Inspired by the Arch of Titus in Rome, Italy, the Arc de Triomphe has an overall height of 50 metres (164 ft), width of 45 m (148 ft), and depth of 22 m (72 ft), while its large vault is 29.19 m (95.8 ft) high and 14.62 m (48.0 ft) wide. The smaller transverse vaults are 18.68 m (61.3 ft) high and 8.44 m (27.7 ft) wide. Three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919 (marking the end of hostilities in World War I), Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane under the arch’s primary vault, with the event captured on newsreel.

Paris’s Arc de Triomphe was the tallest triumphal arch until the completion of the Monumento a la Revolución in Mexico City in 1938, which is 67 metres (220 ft) high. The Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang, completed in 1982, is modelled on the Arc de Triomphe and is slightly taller at 60 m (197 ft). La Grande Arche in La Defense near Paris is 110 metres high. Although it is not named an Arc de Triomphe, it has been designed on the same model and in the perspective of the Arc de Triomphe. It qualifies as the world’s tallest arch.

History

The Arc is located on the right bank of the Seine at the centre of a dodecagonal configuration of twelve radiating avenues. It was commissioned in 1806 after the victory at Austerlitz by Emperor Napoleon at the peak of his fortunes. Laying the foundations alone took two years and, in 1810, when Napoleon entered Paris from the west with his bride Archduchess Marie-Louise of Austria, he had a wooden mock-up of the completed arch constructed. The architect, Jean Chalgrin, died in 1811 and the work was taken over by Jean-Nicolas Huyot. During the Bourbon Restoration, construction was halted and it would not be completed until the reign of King Louis-Philippe, between 1833 and 1836, by the architects Goust, then Huyot, under the direction of Héricart de Thury. On 15 December 1840, brought back to France from Saint Helena, Napoleon’s remains passed under it on their way to the Emperor’s final resting place at the Invalides. Prior to burial in the Panthéon, the body of Victor Hugo was displayed under the Arc during the night of 22 May 1885.

The sword carried by the Republic in the Marseillaise relief broke off on the day, it is said, that the Battle of Verdun began in 1916. The relief was immediately hidden by tarpaulins to conceal the accident and avoid any undesired ominous interpretations. On 7 August 1919, Charles Godefroy successfully flew his biplane under the Arc. Jean Navarre was the pilot who was tasked to make the flight, but he died on 10 July 1919 when he crashed near Villacoublay while training for the flight.

Following its construction, the Arc de Triomphe became the rallying point of French troops parading after successful military campaigns and for the annual Bastille Day Military Parade. Famous victory marches around or under the Arc have included the Germans in 1871, the French in 1919, the Germans in 1940, and the French and Allies in 1944 and 1945. A United States postage stamp of 1945 shows the Arc de Triomphe in the background as victorious American troops march down the Champs-Élysées and U.S. airplanes fly overhead on 29 August 1944. After the interment of the Unknown Soldier, however, all military parades (including the aforementioned post-1919) have avoided marching through the actual arch. The route taken is up to the arch and then around its side, out of respect for the tomb and its symbolism. Both Hitler in 1940 and de Gaulle in 1944 observed this custom.

By the early 1960s, the monument had grown very blackened from coal soot and automobile exhaust, and during 1965–1966 it was cleaned through bleaching.

In the prolongation of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, a new arch, the Grande Arche de la Défense, was built in 1982, completing the line of monuments that forms Paris’s Axe historique. After the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, the Grande Arche is the third arch built on the same perspective.

In 1995, the Armed Islamic Group of Algeria placed a bomb near the Arc de Triomphe which wounded 17 people as part of a campaign of bombings.

Design

The astylar design is by Jean Chalgrin (1739–1811), in the Neoclassical version of ancient Roman architecture (see, for example, the triumphal Arch of Titus). Major academic sculptors of France are represented in the sculpture of the Arc de Triomphe: Jean-Pierre Cortot; François Rude; Antoine Étex; James Pradierand Philippe Joseph Henri Lemaire. The main sculptures are not integral friezesbut are treated as independent trophies applied to the vast ashlar masonry masses, not unlike the gilt-bronze appliqués on Empire furniture. The four sculptural groups at the base of the Arc are The Triumph of 1810 (Cortot), Resistance and Peace (both by Antoine Étex) and the most renowned of them all, Departure of the Volunteers of 1792 commonly called La Marseillaise(François Rude). The face of the allegorical representation of France calling forth her people on this last was used as the belt buckle for the honorary rank of Marshal of France. Since the fall of Napoleon (1815), the sculpture representing Peace is interpreted as commemorating the Peace of 1815.

In the attic above the richly sculptured frieze of soldiers are 30 shields engraved with the names of major French victories in the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars. The inside walls of the monument list the names of 660 people, among which are 558 French generals of the First French Empire;[13]The names of those generals killed in battle are underlined. Also inscribed, on the shorter sides of the four supporting columns, are the names of the major French victories in the Napoleonic Wars. The battles that took place in the period between the departure of Napoleon from Elba to his final defeat at Waterloo are not included.

For four years from 1882 to 1886, a monumental sculpture by Alexandre Falguière topped the arch. Titled Le triomphe de la Révolution (“The Triumph of the Revolution”), it depicted a chariot drawn by horses preparing “to crush Anarchy and Despotism”. It remained there only four years before falling in ruins.

Inside the monument, a permanent exhibition conceived by the artist Maurice Benayoun and the architect Christophe Girault opened in February 2007. The steel and new media installation interrogates the symbolism of the national monument, questioning the balance of its symbolic message during the last two centuries, oscillating between war and peace.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Beneath the Arc is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Interred on Armistice Day 1920,[15] it has the first eternal flame lit in Western and Eastern Europe since the Vestal Virgins‘ fire was extinguished in the fourth century. It burns in memory of the dead who were never identified (now in both world wars).

A ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every 11 November on the anniversary of the armistice signed by the Entente Powers and Germany in 1918. It was originally decided on 12 November 1919 to bury the unknown soldier’s remains in the Panthéon, but a public letter-writing campaign led to the decision to bury him beneath the Arc de Triomphe. The coffin was put in the chapel on the first floor of the Arc on 10 November 1920, and put in its final resting place on 28 January 1921. The slab on top bears the inscription ICI REPOSE UN SOLDAT FRANÇAIS MORT POUR LA PATRIE 1914–1918 (“Here lies a French soldier who died for the fatherland 1914–1918”).

In 1961, American President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy paid their respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, accompanied by French President Charles de Gaulle. After the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, Mrs Kennedy remembered the eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe and requested that an eternal flame be placed next to her husband’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. President Charles de Gaulle went to Washington to attend the state funeral, and witnessed Jacqueline Kennedy lighting the eternal flame that had been inspired by her visit to France.

Access

The Arc de Triomphe is accessible by the RER and Métro, with exit at the Charles de Gaulle—Étoile station. Because of heavy traffic on the roundabout of which the Arc is the centre, it is recommended that pedestrians use one of two underpasses located at the Champs Élysées and the Avenue de la Grande Armée. A lift will take visitors almost to the top – to the attic, where there is a small museum which contains large models of the Arc and tells its story from the time of its construction. Another 46 steps remain to climb in order to reach the top, the terrasse, from where one can enjoy a panoramic view of Paris.

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Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the American state of New York. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge.

From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lies on the border of the United States and Canada with the American Falls entirely on the United States’ side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also on the United States’ side, separated from the American Falls by Luna Island.

Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America that has a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). During peak daytime tourist hours, more than six million cubic feet (168,000 m3) of water goes over the crest of the falls every minute. Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by flow rate.

The falls are 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York, and 75 miles (121 km) south-southeast of Toronto, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York. Niagara Falls was formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age), and water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean.

Niagara Falls is famed both for its beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Balancing recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 19th century.

Characteristics

The Horseshoe Falls drop about 188 feet (57 m), while the height of the American Falls varies between 70 and 100 feet (21 and 30 m) because of the presence of giant boulders at its base. The larger Horseshoe Falls are about 2,600 feet (790 m) wide, while the American Falls are 1,060 feet (320 m) wide. The distance between the American extremity of the Niagara Falls and the Canadian extremity is 3,409 feet (1,039 m).

The peak flow over Horseshoe Falls was recorded at 225,000 cubic feet (6,400 m3) per second. The average annual flow rate is 85,000 cubic feet (2,400 m3) per second. Since the flow is a direct function of the Lake Eriewater elevation, it typically peaks in late spring or early summer. During the summer months, at least 100,000 cubic feet (2,800 m3) per second of water traverses the falls, some 90% of which goes over the Horseshoe Falls, while the balance is diverted to hydroelectric facilities. This is accomplished by employing a weir – the International Control Dam – with movable gates upstream from the Horseshoe Falls. The falls’ flow is further halved at night, and, during the low tourist season in the winter, remains a minimum of 50,000 cubic feet (1,400 m3) per second. Water diversion is regulated by the 1950 Niagara Treaty and is administered by the International Niagara Board of Control (IJC).

The verdant green colour of the water flowing over the Niagara Falls is a byproduct of the estimated 60 tonnes/minute of dissolved salts and “rock flour” (very finely ground rock) generated by the erosive force of the Niagara River itself.

Geology

The features that became Niagara Falls were created by the Wisconsin glaciation about 10,000 years ago. The same forces also created the North American Great Lakes and the Niagara River. All were dug by a continental ice sheet that drove through the area, deepening some river channels to form lakes, and damming others with debris. Scientists argue there is an old valley, St David’s Buried Gorge, buried by glacial drift, at the approximate location of the present Welland Canal.

When the ice melted, the upper Great Lakes emptied into the Niagara River, which followed the rearranged topography across the Niagara Escarpment. In time, the river cut a gorge through the north-facing cliff, or cuesta. Because of the interactions of three major rock formations, the rocky bed did not erode evenly. The top rock formation was composed of erosion-resistant limestoneand Lockport dolostone. That hard layer of stone eroded more slowly than the underlying materials. The aerial photo on the right clearly shows the hard caprock, the Lockport Formation (Middle Silurian), which underlies the rapids above the falls, and approximately the upper third of the high gorge wall.

Immediately below the hard-rock formation, comprising about two-thirds of the cliff, lay the weaker, softer, sloping Rochester Formation (Lower Silurian). This formation was composed mainly of shale, though it has some thin limestone layers. It also contains ancient fossils. In time, the river eroded the soft layer that supported the hard layers, undercutting the hard caprock, which gave way in great chunks. This process repeated countless times, eventually carving out the falls.

Submerged in the river in the lower valley, hidden from view, is the Queenston Formation (Upper Ordovician), which is composed of shales and fine sandstones. All three formations were laid down in an ancient sea, their differences of character deriving from changing conditions within that sea.

About 10,900 years ago, the Niagara Falls was between present-day Queenston, Ontario, and Lewiston, New York, but erosion of their crest has caused the waterfalls to retreat approximately 6.8 miles (10.9 km) southward. The Horseshoe Falls, which are approximately 2,600 feet (790 m) wide, have also changed their shape through the process of erosion; evolving from a small arch, to a horseshoe bend, to the present day gigantic V. Just upstream from the falls’ current location, Goat Island splits the course of the Niagara River, resulting in the separation of the mostly Canadian Horseshoe Falls to the west from the American and Bridal Veil Falls to the east. Engineering has slowed erosion and recession.

The current rate of erosion is approximately 1 foot (0.30 m) per year, down from a historical average of 3 feet (0.91 m) per year. According to the timeline of the far future, in roughly 50,000 years Niagara Falls will have eroded away the remaining 20 miles (32 km) to Lake Erie and cease to exist.

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Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is centered around a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota. Sculptor Gutzon Borglumcreated the sculpture’s design and oversaw the project’s execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son Lincoln Borglum. The sculptures feature the 60-foot (18 m) heads of Presidents George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The memorial park covers 1,278.45 acres (2.00 sq mi; 5.17 km2) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.

South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. His initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles because of the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from American Indian groups. They settled on Mount Rushmore, which also has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure. Robinson wanted it to feature American West heroes such as Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill Cody,but Borglum decided that the sculpture should have broader appeal and chose the four presidents.

Senator Peter Norbeck sponsored the project and secured federal funding; construction began in 1927, and the presidents’ faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Gutzon Borglum died in March 1941, and his son Lincoln took over as leader of the construction project. Each president was originally to be depicted from head to waist, but lack of funding forced construction to end on October 31, 1941.

Mount Rushmore attracts more than two million visitors annually.

History

Originally known to the LakotaSioux as “The Six Grandfathers” (Tunkasila Sakpe) or “Cougar Mountain” (Igmu Tanka Paha), the mountain was renamed after Charles E. Rushmore, a prominent New York lawyer, during an expedition in 1885. At first, the project of carving Rushmore was undertaken to increase tourism in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. After long negotiations involving a Congressional delegation and President Calvin Coolidge, the project received Congressional approval. The carving started in 1927 and ended in 1941 with no fatalities.

As Six Grandfathers, the mountain was part of the route that Lakota leader Black Elk took in a spiritual journey that culminated at Black Elk Peak. Following a series of military campaigns from 1876 to 1878, the United States asserted control over the area, a claim that is still disputed on the basis of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie(see section “Controversy” below). Among American settlers, the peak was known variously as Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain, and Keystone Cliffs. It was named Mount Rushmore during a prospecting expedition by Charles Rushmore, David Swanzey (husband of Carrie Ingalls), and Bill Challis.

Historian Doane Robinson conceived the idea for Mount Rushmore in 1923 to promote tourism in South Dakota. In 1924, Robinson persuaded sculptor Gutzon Borglum to travel to the Black Hills region to ensure the carving could be accomplished. Borglum had been involved in sculpting the Confederate Memorial Carving, a massive bas-relief memorial to Confederate leaders on Stone Mountain in Georgia, but was in disagreement with the officials there.

The original plan was to make the carvings in granite pillars known as the Needles. However, Borglum realized that the eroded Needles were too thin to support sculpting. He chose Mount Rushmore, a grander location, partly because it faced southeast and enjoyed maximum exposure to the sun. Borglum said upon seeing Mount Rushmore, “America will march along that skyline.” Congress authorized the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission on March 3, 1925.

Between October 4, 1927, and October 31, 1941, Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted the colossal 60 foot (18 m) high carvings of U.S. presidentsGeorge Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to represent the first 130 years of American history. These presidents were selected by Borglum because of their role in preserving the Republic and expanding its territory. The carving of Mount Rushmore involved the use of dynamite, followed by the process of “honeycombing”, a process where workers drill holes close together, allowing small pieces to be removed by hand. In total, about 450,000 short tons (410,000 t) of rock were blasted off the mountainside. The image of Thomas Jefferson was originally intended to appear in the area at Washington’s right, but after the work there was begun, the rock was found to be unsuitable, so the work on the Jefferson figure was dynamited, and a new figure was sculpted to Washington’s left.

The Chief Carver of the mountain was Luigi del Bianco, artisan and headstone carver in Port Chester, NY. Del Bianco emigrated to the U.S. from Friuli in Italy, and was chosen to work on this project because of his remarkable skill at etching emotions and personality into his carved portraits.

In 1933, the National Park Service took Mount Rushmore under its jurisdiction. Julian Spotts helped with the project by improving its infrastructure. For example, he had the tram upgraded so it could reach the top of Mount Rushmore for the ease of workers. By July 4, 1934, Washington’s face had been completed and was dedicated. The face of Thomas Jefferson was dedicated in 1936, and the face of Abraham Lincoln was dedicated on September 17, 1937. In 1937, a bill was introduced in Congress to add the head of civil-rights leader Susan B. Anthony, but a rider was passed on an appropriations bill requiring federal funds be used to finish only those heads that had already been started at that time. In 1939, the face of Theodore Roosevelt was dedicated.

The Sculptor’s Studio – a display of unique plaster models and tools related to the sculpting – was built in 1939 under the direction of Borglum. Borglum had planned to make a secret room behind the hairline of Abraham Lincoln which was supposed to be a doorway to a chamber originally intended to hold some of America’s most treasured documents but was left unfinished due to his death. Borglum died from an embolism in March 1941. His son, Lincoln Borglum, continued the project. Originally, it was planned that the figures would be carved from head to waist, but insufficient funding forced the carving to end. Borglum had also planned a massive panel in the shape of the Louisiana Purchasecommemorating in eight-foot-tall gilded letters the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Louisiana Purchase, and seven other territorial acquisitions from Alaska to Texas to the Panama Canal Zone. In total, the entire project cost US$989,992.32. Unusually for a project of such size, no workers died during the carving.

Harold Spitznagel and Cecil Doty designed the original visitor center, finished in 1957. These structures were part of the Mission 66 effort to improve visitors’ facilities at national parks and monuments across the country.

On October 15, 1966, Mount Rushmore was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A 500-word essay giving the history of the United States by Nebraska student William Andrew Burkett was selected as the college-age group winner in a 1934 competition, and that essay was placed on the Entablature on a bronze plate in 1973. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush officially dedicated Mount Rushmore.

In a canyon behind the carved faces is a chamber, cut only 70 feet (21 m) into the rock, containing a vault with sixteen porcelain enamel panels. The panels include the text of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, biographies of the four presidents and Borglum, and the history of the U.S. The chamber was created as the entrance-way to a planned “Hall of Records”; the vault was installed in 1998.

Ten years of redevelopment work culminated with the completion of extensive visitor facilities and sidewalks in 1998, such as a Visitor Center, the Lincoln Borglum Museum, and the Presidential Trail. Maintenance of the memorial requires mountain climbers to monitor and seal cracks annually. Due to budget constraints, the memorial is not regularly cleaned to remove lichens. However, on July 8, 2005, Alfred Kärcher GmbH, a German manufacturer of pressure washing and steam cleaning machines, conducted a free cleanup operation which lasted several weeks, using pressurized water at over 200 °F (93 °C).

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Mont-Saint-Michel

Le Mont-Saint-Michel (pronounced [mɔ̃ sɛ̃ mi.ʃɛl]; Norman: Mont Saint Miché, English: Saint Michael’s Mount) is an island and mainland commune in Bretagne, France.

The island is located about one kilometer (0.6 miles) off the country’s northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches and is 7 hectares (17 acres) in area. The mainland part of the commune is 393 hectares (971 acres) in area so that the total surface of the commune is 400 hectares (988 acres).

As of 2015, the island has a population of 50.

The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: on top, God, the abbey and monastery; below, the great halls; then stores and housing; and at the bottom, outside the walls, houses for fishermen and farmers.

The commune’s position — on an island just a few hundred metres from land — made it accessible at low tide to the many pilgrims to its abbey, but defensible as an incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned would-be assailants. The Mont remained unconquered during the Hundred Years’ War; a small garrison fended off a full attack by the English in 1433. The reverse benefits of its natural defence were not lost on Louis XI, who turned the Mont into a prison. Thereafter the abbey began to be used regularly as a jail during the Ancien Régime.

One of France’s most recognisable landmarks, visited by more than 3 million people each year, the Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Over 60 buildings within the commune are protected in France as monuments historiques.

Geography

Formation

Now a rocky tidal island, the Mont occupied dry land in prehistoric times. As sea levels rose, erosion reshaped the coastal landscape, and several outcrops of granite emerged in the bay, having resisted the wear and tear of the ocean better than the surrounding rocks. These included Lillemer, the Mont Dol, Tombelaine (the island just to the north), and Mont Tombe, later called Mont Saint-Michel.

Mont Saint-Michel consists of leucogranite which solidified from an underground intrusion of molten magma about 525 million years ago, during the Cambrian period, as one of the younger parts of the Mancellian granitic batholith. (Early studies of Mont Saint-Michel by French geologists sometimes describe the leucogranite of the Mont as “granulite”, but this granitic meaning of granulite is now obsolete).

The Mont has a circumference of about 960 m (3,150 ft) and its highest point is 92 m (302 ft) above sea level.

Tides

The tides can vary greatly, at roughly 14 metres (46 ft) between highest and lowest water marks. Popularly nicknamed “St. Michael in peril of the sea” by medieval pilgrims making their way across the flats, the mount can still pose dangers for visitors who avoid the causeway and attempt the hazardous walk across the sands from the neighbouring coast.

Polderisation and occasional flooding have created salt marsh meadows that were found to be ideally suited to grazing sheep. The well-flavoured meat that results from the diet of the sheep in the pré salé (salt meadow) makes agneau de pré-salé (salt meadow lamb), a local specialty that may be found on the menus of restaurants that depend on income from the many visitors to the mount.

Tidal island

The connection between the Mont Saint-Michel and the mainland has changed over the centuries. Previously connected by a tidal causeway uncovered only at low tide, this was converted into a raised causeway in 1879, preventing the tide from scouring the silt around the mount. The coastal flats have also been polderised to create pastureland, decreasing the distance between the shore and the island, and the Couesnon River has been canalised, reducing the dispersion of the flow of water. These factors all encouraged silting-up of the bay.

On 16 June 2006, the French prime minister and regional authorities announced a €164 million project (Projet Mont-Saint-Michel) to build a hydraulic damusing the waters of the Couesnon and the tides to help remove the accumulated silt, and to make Mont Saint-Michel an island again. The construction of the dam began in 2009. The project also includes the removal of the causeway and its visitor car park. Since 28 April 2012, the new car park on the mainland has been located 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) from the island. Visitors can walk or use shuttles to cross the causeway.

On 22 July 2014, the new bridge by architect Dietmar Feichtinger was opened to the public. The light bridge allows the waters to flow freely around the island and improves the efficiency of the now operational dam. The project, which cost €209 million, was officially opened by President François Hollande.

On rare occasions, tidal circumstances produce an extremely high “supertide”. The new bridge was completely submerged on 21 March 2015 by the highest sea level for at least 18 years, as crowds gathered to snap photos.

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Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa (/ˌmoʊnə ˈliːsə/; Italian: Monna Lisa [ˈmɔnna ˈliːza] or La Gioconda [la dʒoˈkonda], French: La Joconde [la ʒɔkɔ̃d]) is a half-length portrait painting by the Italian Renaissanceartist Leonardo da Vinci that has been described as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world”. The Mona Lisa is also one of the most valuable paintings in the world. It holds the Guinness World Record for the highest known insurance valuation in history at $100 million in 1962, which is worth nearly $800 million in 2017.

The painting is thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, and is in oil on a white Lombardy poplarpanel. It had been believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506; however, Leonardo may have continued working on it as late as 1517. Recent academic work suggests that it would not have been started before 1513. It was acquired by King Francis I of France and is now the property of the French Republic, on permanent display at the Louvre Museum in Paris since 1797.

The subject’s expression, which is frequently described as enigmatic, the monumentality of the composition, the subtle modelling of forms, and the atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the continuing fascination and study of the work.

Title and subject

The title of the painting, which is known in English as Mona Lisa, comes from a description by Renaissance art historian Giorgio Vasari, who wrote “Leonardo undertook to paint, for Francesco del Giocondo, the portrait of Mona Lisa, his wife.” Mona in Italian is a polite form of address originating as “ma donna” – similar to “Ma’am”, “Madam”, or “my lady” in English. This became “madonna“, and its contraction “mona”. The title of the painting, though traditionally spelled “Mona” (as used by Vasari), is also commonly spelled in modern Italian as Monna Lisa (“mona” being a vulgarity in some Italian dialects) but this is rare in English.

Vasari’s account of the Mona Lisa comes from his biography of Leonardo published in 1550, 31 years after the artist’s death. It has long been the best-known source of information on the provenance of the work and identity of the sitter. Leonardo’s assistant Salaì, at his death in 1524, owned a portrait which in his personal papers was named la Gioconda, a painting bequeathed to him by Leonardo.

That Leonardo painted such a work, and its date, were confirmed in 2005 when a scholar at Heidelberg Universitydiscovered a marginal note in a 1477 printing of a volume written by the ancient Roman philosopher Cicero. Dated October 1503, the note was written by Leonardo’s contemporary Agostino Vespucci. This note likens Leonardo to renowned Greek painter Apelles, who is mentioned in the text, and states that Leonardo was at that time working on a painting of Lisa del Giocondo.

In response to the announcement of the discovery of this document, Vincent Delieuvin, the Louvre representative, stated “Leonardo da Vinci was painting, in 1503, the portrait of a Florentine lady by the name of Lisa del Giocondo. About this we are now certain. Unfortunately, we cannot be absolutely certain that this portrait of Lisa del Giocondo is the painting of the Louvre.

The model, Lisa del Giocondo, was a member of the Gherardini family of Florence and Tuscany, and the wife of wealthy Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo. The painting is thought to have been commissioned for their new home, and to celebrate the birth of their second son, Andrea. The Italian name for the painting, La Gioconda, means “jocund” (“happy” or “jovial”) or, literally, “the jocund one”, a pun on the feminine form of Lisa’s married name, “Giocondo”. In French, the title La Joconde has the same meaning.

Before that discovery, scholars had developed several alternative views as to the subject of the painting. Some argued that Lisa del Giocondo was the subject of a different portrait, identifying at least four other paintings as the Mona Lisareferred to by Vasari. Several other women have been proposed as the subject of the painting. Isabella of Aragon, Cecilia Gallerani, Costanza d’Avalos, Duchess of Francavilla,[22] Isabella d’Este, Pacifica Brandano or Brandino, Isabela Gualanda, Caterina Sforza—even Salaì and Leonardo himself—are all among the list of posited models portrayed in the painting. The consensus of art historians in the 21st century maintains the long-held traditional opinion, that the painting depicts Lisa del Giocondo.

Theft and vandalism

On 21 August 1911, the painting was stolen from the Louvre. The theft was not discovered until the next day, when painter Louis Béroud walked into the museum and went to the Salon Carré where the Mona Lisa had been on display for five years, only to find four iron pegs on the wall. Béroud contacted the head of the guards, who thought the painting was being photographed for promotional purposes. A few hours later, Béroud checked back with the Section Chief of the Louvre who confirmed that the Mona Lisa was not with the photographers. The Louvre was closed for an entire week during the investigation.

French poet Guillaume Apollinaire came under suspicion and was arrested and imprisoned. Apollinaire implicated his friend Pablo Picasso, who was brought in for questioning. Both were later exonerated. Two years later the thief revealed himself. Louvre employee Vincenzo Peruggia had stolen the Mona Lisa by entering the building during regular hours, hiding in a broom closet, and walking out with it hidden under his coat after the museum had closed. Peruggia was an Italian patriot who believed Leonardo’s painting should have been returned for display in an Italian museum.

Peruggia may have been motivated by an associate whose copies of the original would significantly rise in value after the painting’s theft. A later account suggested Eduardo de Valfierno had been the mastermind of the theft and had commissioned forger Yves Chaudron to create six copies of the painting to sell in the U.S. while the location of the original was unclear. However, the original painting remained in Europe. After having kept the Mona Lisa in his apartment for two years, Peruggia grew impatient and was caught when he attempted to sell it to directors of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It was exhibited in the Uffizi Gallery for over two weeks and returned to the Louvre on 4 January 1914. Peruggia served six months in prison for the crime and was hailed for his patriotism in Italy. Before its theft, the Mona Lisa was not widely known outside the art world. It was not until the 1860s that some critics, a thin slice of the French intelligentsia, began to hail it as a masterwork of Renaissance painting.

In 1956, part of the painting was damaged when a vandal threw acid at it.On 30 December of that year, a rock was thrown at the painting, dislodging a speck of pigment near the left elbow, later restored.

The use of bulletproof glass has shielded the Mona Lisa from subsequent attacks. In April 1974, while the painting was on display at the Tokyo National Museum, a woman sprayed it with red paint as a protest against that museum’s failure to provide access for disabled people. On 2 August 2009, a Russian woman, distraught over being denied French citizenship, threw a ceramic teacup purchased at the Louvre; the vessel shattered against the glass enclosure. In both cases, the painting was undamaged.

Aesthetics

The Mona Lisa bears a strong resemblance to many Renaissance depictions of the Virgin Mary, who was at that time seen as an ideal for womanhood.

The depiction of the sitter in three-quarter profile is similar to late 15th-century works by Lorenzo di Credi and Agnolo di Domenico del Mazziere. Zöllner notes that the sitter’s general position can be traced back to Flemish models and that “in particular the vertical slices of columns at both sides of the panel had precedents in Flemish portraiture.” Woods-Marsden cites Hans Memling’s portrait of Benedetto Portinari(1487) or Italian imitations such as Sebastiano Mainardi’s pendant portraits for the use of a loggia, which has the effect of mediating between the sitter and the distant landscape, a feature missing from Leonardo’s earlier portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci.

The woman sits markedly upright in a “pozzetto” armchair with her arms folded, a sign of her reserved posture. Her gaze is fixed on the observer. The woman appears alive to an unusual extent, which Leonardo achieved by his method of not drawing outlines (sfumato). The soft blending creates an ambiguous mood “mainly in two features: the corners of the mouth, and the corners of the eyes”.

The painting was one of the first portraits to depict the sitter in front of an imaginary landscape, and Leonardo was one of the first painters to use aerial perspective. The enigmatic woman is portrayed seated in what appears to be an open loggia with dark pillar bases on either side. Behind her, a vast landscape recedes to icy mountains. Winding paths and a distant bridge give only the slightest indications of human presence. Leonardo has chosen to place the horizon line not at the neck, as he did with Ginevra de’ Benci, but on a level with the eyes, thus linking the figure with the landscape and emphasizing the mysterious nature of the painting.

Mona Lisa has no clearly visible eyebrows or eyelashes. Some researchers claim that it was common at this time for genteel women to pluck these hairs, as they were considered unsightly. In 2007, French engineer Pascal Cotte announced that his ultra-high resolution scans of the painting provide evidence that Mona Lisa was originally painted with eyelashes and with visible eyebrows, but that these had gradually disappeared over time, perhaps as a result of overcleaning. Cotte discovered the painting had been reworked several times, with changes made to the size of the Mona Lisa’s face and the direction of her gaze. He also found that in one layer the subject was depicted wearing numerous hairpins and a headdress adorned with pearls which was later scrubbed out and overpainted.

There has been much speculation regarding the painting’s model and landscape. For example, Leonardo probably painted his model faithfully since her beauty is not seen as being among the best, “even when measured by late quattrocento (15th century) or even twenty-first century standards.”Some art historians in Eastern art, such as Yukio Yashiro, argue that the landscape in the background of the picture was influenced by Chinese paintings,[74] but this thesis has been contested for lack of clear evidence.

Research in 2003 by Professor Margaret Livingstone of Harvard University said that Mona Lisa’s smile disappears when observed with direct vision, known as foveal. Because of the way the human eye processes visual information, it is less suited to pick up shadows directly; however, peripheral vision can pick up shadows well.

Research in 2008 by a geomorphology professor at Urbino University and an artist-photographer revealed likenesses of Mona Lisa‘s landscapes to some views in the Montefeltro region in the Italian provinces of Pesaro and Urbino, and Rimini.

 

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