Nov
24
2010
0

What is California's "City of the Dead?"

california city of the deadCalifornia’s City of the Dead has a little over 1.5 million residents.  About 1500 of those residents are alive. Near the beginning of the 20th century, San Francisco politicians began a campaign to move the cemeteries out of town by promoting the idea that cemeteries spread disease, the more important reason being that they wanted [&hel[more...]

Nov
07
2010
1

What is the Great Thurible?

great thuribleWhat is the Great Thurible? A – A long lost uncle by marriage that just left you wealthy. B – A Norse godling. C – A new super-hero with the ability to throw lighting bolts. D – None of the above. The answer is D.  I’m sure most of you knew from the beginning that [&hel[more...]

May
08
2010
0

What is Krak des Chevaliers, Syria?

Krak des ChevaliersKrak des Chevaliers is a Crusader fortress in Syria and one of the premier preserved medieval military castles in the world.  It is located  west of the city of Homs and close to the border of Lebanon.   It is administratively part of the Homs Governorate but is an excellent day-trip if headquartering in Hama or [&hel[more...]

May
07
2010
0

What is Apamea, Syria?

apameaApamea, just to the northwest of Hama, Syria, was a treasure city of the Seleucid kings and was capital of the ancient province of Apamene.  At various times the city was known as Pharmake, Pella, Cherronesos, and was the Biblical city of Shepham.  Apamea was so closely tied to Jerusalem the first-fruits brought from that [&hel[more...]

May
04
2010
3

What are the Water Wheels of Hama?

water wheels hama syriaThe Water Wheels of Hama are part of an ancient irrigation system and were used to raise water into aqueducts.  They have been used for a couple of thousand years to irrigate the city and surrounding valleys.  There is an old mosaic in the Hama museum, found in Apamea and dated to 469 A.D. showing [&hel[more...]

Apr
19
2010
--

What is The Alhambra?

The Alhambra - courtesy bernjan - CC-BYThe Alhambra (Calat Alhambra – “the red fortress”), is a fort and palace complex built during the mid 14th century by the Moorish rulers of Granada.  The Alhambra's palaces were built for the last Muslim Emirs (Kings) to rule in Spain, the Nasrid dynasty. It was started in the thirteenth century by the founder of [&hel[more...]

Feb
23
2010
1

When did the White House get its name?

The White House .circa 1860 (photo from D.C. Public Library NKCP)The home of the President of United States was officially named the White House in October 1901. Construction of the building started in 1792, and the John Adams was the first President to occupy the building in 1800, even though it was far from finished. During the 19th century it was variously known as the [&hel[more...]

Jan
08
2010
0

What is the Step Pyramid of Saqqara?

Step Pyramid Saqqara - courtesy Paul Mannix - CC-BYThe Step Pyramid at Saqqara, the Pyramid of Zoser, is the oldest known free standing stone structure in the world and the first of the Egyptian Pyramids.  King Zoser’ name was Netjerykhet. The name Zoser was given by New Kingdom visitors to the monument, thousands of years later.  The original name of the Step Pyramid [&hel[more...]

Jan
06
2010
0

Is the Pyramid of Kufu (the Great Pyramid of today) really one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?

Khafre domminates the horizon - courtesy Dale Gillard - CC-BYIs the Pyramid of Kufu (the Great Pyramid of today) really one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? Actually, no. It was the Pyramid of Khafre, the second largest pyramid at Giza which was the Great Pyramid of the Seven Wonders, even though smaller in both height and volume than the Great Pyramid [&hel[more...]

May
24
2009
0

What is the CN Tower?

CN Tower - courtesy SanGatiche - CC-BYThe CN Tower in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a communications and observation tower standing 1,815.4 ft. It surpassed the height of the Ostankino Tower while still under construction in 1975. It then was the tallest free-standing structure ‘on land’ in the world. Because the Petronius Platform oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico is [&hel[more...]

May
24
2009
0

What is the Sears Tower?

Sears Tower - courtesy David Paul Ohmer - CC-BYThe Sears Tower is a skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois. At the time it was finished in 1973 it was the tallest building in the world, surpassing the World Trade Center towers in New York City. It is the tallest building in the United States, and the fourth tallest freestanding structure in the world. In summer [&hel[more...]

May
24
2009
0

What is the Empire State Building?

Empire State Building - courtesy Jim Linwood - CCc-BYThe Empire State Building is an Art Deco skyscraper in New York City. The Empire State Building is legend. Built in the midst of the Great Depression, it was, and still is a testament to American fortitude and ingenuity. It was the world’s tallest building for more than forty years, from 1931 until the completion [&hel[more...]

May
23
2009
0

What is the Chrysler Building?

Chrysler Building - courtesy tiseb - CC-BYThe Chrysler Building is an Art Deco skyscraper in New York City. Near the beginning of the 20th century, the race for the tallest building in the world got underway and the Chrysler Building was the first building to top the then tallest structure, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was the world’s tallest building [&hel[more...]

May
23
2009
0

What is the Shanghai World Financial Center?

Shanghai World Financial Center - courtesy Micah Sittig - CC-BYThe Shanghai World Financial Center skyscraper in Shanghai, China. It is the second tallest building in the world and the tallest in mainland China, including Hong Kong. It is currently the world’s tallest completed building by roof. It tops out at 1,614.2 ft. The most distinctive feature in the design of the building is an [&hel[more...]

May
23
2009
0

What is Taipei 101?

Taipai 101 dominates the skyline - courtesy tylerdurden1 - CC-BYTaipei 101 is a skyscraper located in Taipei, Taiwan. The building is the world’s tallest “completed skyscraper” according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.  The Burj Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is not yet ‘completed.’  Since international architectural standards define a “building” as a structure capable of being fully occupied. The [&hel[more...]

May
23
2009
0

What is the Burj Khalifa (Burj Dubai)?

Burj Dubai March 2009 - courtesy Joi - CC-BYUpdate – – The Burj officially opened in January, 2010 and was renamed Burj Khalifa.  It is now officially the tallest building in the world. Burj Dubai is a skyscraper under construction in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Even in its unfinished state, it is the tallest man-made structure ever built. During July 2007, the Burj [&hel[more...]

Apr
26
2009
0

What was the Temple of Artemis?

Temple of Artemis - courtesy heydrienne - CC-BYOne of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis, also known as the Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis and completed in 550 BC at Ephesus. Only foundations, which are in a rather swampy hole, and some sculptural fragments remains from the temple. Artemis was [&hel[more...]

Apr
24
2009
0

What is Stalinist Gothic architecture?

Moscow State University - courtesy Argenberg - CC-BYStalinist architecture, (Stalin’s Empire style, also referred to as the Stalinist Gothic, or Socialist Classicism) is a term given to architecture of the Soviet Union between 1933 and 1955, when Nikita Khruschev condemned “excesses” of the past decades. There is nothing quite like Stalinist-Gothic architecture, except the Gotham City backdrops of the Batman films. During [&hel[more...]

Apr
18
2009
2

What was the ancient city of Persepolis?

Persepolis - courtesy simonhn - CC-BYPersepolis was founded by Darius I in 518 B.C., as the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was constructed on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian predesessors. The earliest remains date from around 515 BC. To the ancient Persians, the city was called [&hel[more...]

Apr
18
2009
0

What is the temple of Delphi?

The Temple of Apollo, Delphi - courtesy Hyperfinch - CC-BYThe sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke, was the site of the omphalos, the ‘navel of the world’. Charged with sacred meaning, Delphi in the 6th century B.C. was the religious center and symbol of unity for the ancient Greek world. The sacred precinct in Delphi was a place, where every four [&hel[more...]

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