Stereotypes are terrible. They form a definite picture of the world in our heads, and it is not so easy to change. Take, for instance, the concept of skyscraper: imagination of 90% people immediately provoke skyline of American cities, familiar from movies and TV. It is quite logical, but nowadays panorama of the best luxury skyscrapers is in other direction – keep moving to the East. For Arab structures may outdo Western ones in all respects.
Just a few decades ago, almost all the territory of modern Arab Emirates was mainly a desert. Today, it has changed beyond recognition – oasis of glass and concrete sprang up in the endless sands. In an attempt to stand out among the mates, Sheikhs are trying to build taller and more expensive constructions, and this race has led to the fact that it is in the East where you can see the most luxurious skyscrapers in the world. Admittedly, the most majestic of them is Burj Khalifa or Dubai Tower.Photo grayline.ae
Its striking characteristics are: height of 828 meters, 163 floors, and a budget of half a billion dollars. This miracle was being erected for five and a half years; the height of the tower was kept in secret until its very opening. The project was developed in such a way that if someone announced the construction of a rival skyscraper, the architects immediately could increase the number of floors... The creators won the game, and today the Burj Khalifa remains the tallest building in the world. But Dubai Tower has many other less notable advantages. For instance, it has its own specially designed cement with ice, which copes with the Arab heat. Skyscraper walls contain cooling membranes and air fresheners with unique fragrance. And elevators lift up visitors to their destinations with velocity of 18 meters per second – as quickly as nowhere else.
In Kuwait they also used to throw money on skyscrapers. Al Hamra Tower looks like golden bullion extended up to 414 meters, as though hinting that it cost a fortune. This unusual design was devised not only for architectural reasons, though to have the most beautiful views of the Arabian Gulf. Generally, Al Hamra Tower is a city inside a city. In addition to offices, there are cinemas, cafes, fitness centers. Only a parking takes as much as 11 floors, not to mention the amount of entertainments! Every day thousands of people visit the building to enjoy themselves. To the visitors’ delight, high-riser hosts the giant observation deck and unique insulation system that conquers 50-degree heat. It is worthy to add that the Kuwaiti authorities are not going to be limited to this very skyscraper...Photo alhamra.com.kw
However, Saudi Arabia was the first to launch a challenge in architecturalrace against the West. Back in the 90s they started to grow glass skyscrapers there. One of the relatively old projects is the skyscraper Burj Al-Mamlaka or Kingdom Centre. Opened in 2002, it won many awards for its amazing design. Externally the structure resembles a piece of jewelry, but the main advantage of its stuffing is an observatory which is located at an altitude of 297 meters. Nothing like that you can find in any other part of the Globe.Photo skyscrapercenter.com
Next Arabic record breaker is only a project so far. Supporting the trend for height, Saudi Arabia has ambitions to grow a high-rise building of 1001 meters. Such a giant should surpass all existing ones, including Burj Khalifa. Construction budget is 20 billion USD, it also includes the creation of a satellite town. Kingdom Tower (that’s the name of potential giant) is promised to see the world in 2019. In the meantime, the king of the Arabian desert can only be imagined, like hero of the Arabian Nights.
Airports, railway and bus stations are almost always erected at a human whim, while ports and harbours are joint creation of homo sapiens and nature. In this article OUTLOOK presents you the most beautiful port destinations with their own unique character worth exploring.
Where to look for Clementin, the narrowest hotel in Czech Republic merely 3.28 meters wide, how to chose between Pilsner Urquel, Krušovice and Gambrinus, when to feed gold-colored carps and why tram 91 has no peer? Elvira Matrosova learned about these and more. And despite the fact that this city stands on Vltava (Wilth-ahwa – literally means Wild water), it is aristocratic, consistent and calm yet far from Puritanism.
More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple.
The word is, Guy de Maupassant hated Eiffel Tower. The famous writer believed that it was uglifying the face of Paris without benefiting the city. Nevertheless, he could be often seen in a cozy cafe on the top of the construction. In such cases the author of “Bel Ami” used to say that “it was the only way the damned tower dropped out of his sight…”
There is hardly a person, who did not cancel his or her appointment or a walk due to nasty weather, since it is a challenge to get dressed, to keep warm, to wait in the bitter cold for transport, instead you feel like wrapping yourself in blanket and read a book.
Should we have a look at notes of those who plan their trips to Spain, next to the darling of all hearts, Barcelona, Montserrat is bound to rank second. Also, the mountain of the abbey is a must-visit spot for local dwellers, too – they believe it necessary to visit Catalonia’s religious heart at least once a year.
Sauntering through picturesque nooks of Grand Dame Europe we look around without even suspecting how many interesting things there are beneath our feet. If you are annoyed with standard tours that include marathon race around museums and monuments, we suggest you have a look at good Old World from a different perspective. Or more specifically, look under its feet.
What do you imagine when you hear the word "abbey"? I'm sure most people will first of all think of Westminster. But what if I said that in fact it is no longer an abbey? So what makes these medieval buildings so special? Let's look at the example of buildings from different European countries.
"A small territory with a great mission" is the motto under which on February 11, 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See recognized Vatican as a sovereign territory. It was an agreement which opened doors for curious patrons who for centuries had been trading gossip about "What is kept inside Vatican castles?".
Why have three wives if there is a chance to get hold of jewels? And as soon as a name of a king becomes “nourished” with a collection of family relics, one can start thinking about the one and only who will continue a reputed kin. Knowing that Thirty Years’ War was about to begin, Christian IV of Denmark and Norway ordered to build a castle that would be impossible to destroy.
In the very heart of jungles, surrounded by a stripe of water around the perimeter, a huge regular-shaped rectangle that seems like it is giving geometry classes to the starts overlooking it is situated. Silent skies saw times of shiny glory and painful descent of this amazing object. Over five centuries it had been the prime pearl of the mysterious Khmer Empire, its crowning glory and its enemies’ envy.
Buddhists say: to get rid of suffering, one should get rid of desire. There are special places for that. Today we suggest you to check out our top five of stunning temples, where Buddhists and tourists are looking for a way to harmony for their souls.
The architecture of temples has interesting and sometimes controversial history. Quite often the novelties and fundamentals of movements in architecture started with the building of temples with sophisticated design. The Polish Roman Catholic churches are rather bright in their beauty.
There’s hardly anything that compares to bright-starred sky and silence. It is the stars that OUTLOOK want to tell you about or more precisely about the places with the best view on them. In Europe it is recommended to go stargazing not to some place but to… Slovenia. Point is, this small country is one of the cleanest in the world and consequently isn’t that polluted with smog.
Mosque, is a prayer building with a dome. It has adjacent minaret towers, there can be not more then nine minarets; stepping inside a pilgrim sees ancient writings which are lines from the Quran. Only Arabic words adorn the walls, portrait painting is prohibited. Today we will tell our readers about the most extraordinary treasures of the Muslim world.
Sometimes it happens that you look at a postcard with a picture of a city and instantly realize that this is Kyiv, or Moscow, or Rome or your native village. And it isn’t courtesy of your geography teacher but back-breaking efforts of artisans with whose hands commonly familiar architecture masterpieces were created. Today we recall Italian conqueror of marble Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Seoul of South Korea that blisteringly turned from an ancient city of a poor country into a prospering capital of an advanced state over 20th century, definitely deserves respect; as much esteem is earned by those municipal officials and patriots who, in times of explosive industrialization, managed to preserve glorious heritage of the past – royal palaces of Joseon dynasty.
Icerink instead of heated floor. Bomber hat and a puffer jacket as an alternative to terry robe. Eco-hotels and cafes in Canada, Romania and even hot Dubai offer a possibility to have leisure time a-la North Pole. The exotic hotels are not only those near the ocean and tropic palms.
Georgia, which a little more than ten years ago hit the path of serious reforms, has changed much, not only becoming more democratic and more successful, but the state has also updated its look. Architects from around the world successfully worked here creating over all the territory a number of important and unique objects symbolizing country rebirth.