Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Cristo Redentor - Corcovado

Corcovado is Rio de Janeiro’s most famous post card image and one of the most famous sights of the world. It is one of the highest points of the city and became a famous landmark in 1931 after the inauguration of the 38-meter high statue of the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor) on its top. Corcovado is 710 meters high and is located in Tijuca National Park.

Learn more:

- In 2007, Christ the Redeemer was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World

- The construction was launched in 1922, on the centenary of the Brazilian Independence Day.
- It has three panoramic elevators for 14 people each and also a 220 steps staircase and four escalators.
- You can get up to the top by car or take the old railway.
- Christ the Redeemer became national heritage in 1973

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

La Seine

Perhaps one of the best ways to see Paris, or the countryside in France for that matter, is via a cruise on the Seine. This river flows more than 480 miles through France, from Dijon (in the French Alps) and in through Paris.
When looking at Paris from above, you can clearly see how the Seine cuts the city in half, offering a very clear geographic division – and you can see how architecture and city planning has followed the presence of the Seine.
The banks of the Seine, in Paris, were in 1991 added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. No wonder, on these banks you’ll find the likes of the Musee d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower or Hotel des Invalides, the Louvre, Grand Palais or the Concorde. And, of course, in the middle of the Seine river (on Ile de la Cite) you’ll find the Notre Dame Cathedral.
If we go back as far as the time of the Roman Empire, we’ll find that the Seine has been a great commercial artery – linking Paris to the Loire, the Rhone and Rhine rivers. But of course, since Paris has been an inland port for such a long time it has also been invaded via the Seine a fair number of times – people have come, invaded and occupied using this waterway.
Today, most of the travelers on these waters outside of the commercial traffic will be tourists. And tourists love to see Paris from the famous Bateaux-Mouches – you should try it too sometime.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Berliner Dom

The Berliner Dom in Berlin is an impressive basilica known as the "Protestant St. Peter's." The present Baroque structure dates only from 1905, but stands on the site of several earlier structures. Berlin's cathedral is not a must-see, but it is certainly worth a look if time allows.


The earliest predecessor of the Berliner Dom was the St. Erasmus Chapel within the Hohenzollern royal court, which was elevated to the status of a collegiate church in 1465.
In 1536, Elector Joachim II transfered this "Domkirche" status to the former Dominican church south of the palace. After the elector accepted the Reformation in 1539, the Domkirche became a Lutheran church. In 1608, the the Dom was declared the highest parish church in the area. In 1613, Elector Johann Sigismund converted to Calvinism and the Dom became a court and parish church.
In 1747-50, that was replaced with a new cathedral north of the palace by Frederick the Great. Designed by Johann Boumann the Elder, this incarnation was in the Baroque style. After the royal sarcophagi were transferred from the crypt, the old cathedral was torn down.
To celebrate the union of Prussia’s Lutheran and Reformed communities, the Berliner Dom was renovated in the Neoclassical style in 1822 by the Berlin architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.
Finally, on the order of Wilhelm II, Schinkel's domed cathedral was demolished in 1894 and construction began on the current cathedral. Completed in 1905, it is much larger than any of the previous buildings. Designed by Julius Raschdorff in a Baroque style with Italian Renaissance influences, it was considered a Protestant answer to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
During World War II, the building was bombed by the Allies and severely damaged. A temporary roof was installed to protect what remained of the interior and in 1975 reconstruction began. The restoration of the interior was begun in 1984 and in 1993 the church reopened. During reconstruction, the original design was modified into a more simple form.

What to See

The large "Protestant St. Peter's" measures 114 m long and 73 m wide. Thedome is intricately decorated with mosaics. Other notable artworks include Sauer's Organ, the Neo-Baroque pulpit and stained glass windows designed by Anton von Werner. The main altar dates from 1850.
An excellent view of the dome and entire interior can be had from the dome'sgallery. The 270-step climb to the top is more pleasant than at most cathedrals, with a wide stairwell, plenty of places to pause, and interesting historic photos and models to look at along the way.
The most historically significant feature of the Berliner Dom is the crypt, with more than 80 sarcophagi of Prussian royals. The most impressive are the tombs of Frederick I and his queen, Sophie Charlotte. But non-enthusiasts may not find the tombs terribly interesting.

Friday, 10 June 2011


Biblioteca Nacional

Centro Cultural Justiça Federal

Bar Amarelinho

Cine Odeon

Theatro Municipal
The public square Marechal Floriano Peixoto, a.k.a Cinelândia, is located in the centre of Rio de Janeiro and runs north to south between Avenida Rio Branco and 13 de Maio and east to west between Araújo Porto Alegre and Evaristo da Veiga. The square was opened during the period of Avenida Rio Branco's construction, in the beginning of 20th century. At that time, there was a modernization project of Rio de Janeiro's downtown which goal was to follow the parisian urbanistic pattern with boulevards and Art Nouveau style buildings. Around of Cinelândia you can find a lot of buildings from Rio's Belle Époque: Palácio Pedro Ernesto, the Biblioteca Nacional, the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, the Odeon, the Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (known as Amarelinho) and the Theatro Municipal.

Learn more:

- The name Cinelândia became popular in the year 1930, when the square had various cinemas and a vivid cultural life. Today you will only find one cinema, the Cine Odeon;
- In 1976, the Palácio Monroe, one of Cilnelândia most beautiful monuments was teared down. Today the fountain Monroe is where the palace used to be.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Arcos dos Teles

Built in the end of the 18th century, Arco dos Teles (Telles Arch) is what’s left of an old, colonial Brazil residence. Located in the Praça XV plaza, in the middle of the city center, it’s the very last of the many “arches” that used to be so common in Rio. It is named after the Teles de Meneses family, former palace owners in the plaza. 

It leads to Travessa do Comércio, the alleyway to Rua da Lapa dos Mercadores, a corridor of houses in Old Rio style. 

Now it is full of bars and restaurants and attracts a regular crowd that includes business types from nearby offices as well as visiting tourists, who come for the food or the late afternoon happy hour. 

Find out more 

Back at the time of the viceroys in Colonial Brazil, if was sought after by those looking for a statue of Our Lady of Prazeres that was placed in a special niche in the “arco”. 

Besides food and drink, the bars and restaurants offer a variety of live music and spread their tables on the sidewalk.