Tags: travel

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Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, OMAN





There exist many beautiful mosqs in the world but I found the interior image of this one particularly stunning. Oman looks very inviting in general.

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Wikipedia INfo:
In 1992 His Majesty Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman should have a Grand Mosque. A competition for its design took place in 1993 and after a site was chosen, construction commenced in 1995. Total construction time: more than six years.

The Mosque is built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone. The main musalla (prayer hall) is square (external dimensions 74.4x74.4 m) with a central dome rising to a height of 50m above the floor. The dome and the main minaret (90m) and four flanking minarets (45.5m) are the mosque’s chief visual features.

The main musalla can hold over 6,500 worshippers, while the women’s musalla can accommodate 750 worshippers. The outer paved ground can hold 8,000 worshippers and there is additional space available in the interior courtyard and the passageways, making a total capacity of up to 20,000 worshippers.

A major feature of the design of the interior is the prayer carpet which covers the floor of the prayer hall. It contains 1,700 million knots, weighs 21 tonnes, took 4 years to produce, and brings together the classical Tabriz, Kashan and Isfahan design traditions. 28 colours in varying shades were used, the majority obtained from traditional vegetable dyes. It is the largest single piece carpet in the world. The world's largest hand-woven carpet was produced by Iran Carpet Company (ICC) at the order of the Diwan of the Royal Court of Sultanate of Oman to cover the entire floor of the main praying hall of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (SQGM) in Muscat. The carpet measures over 70×60 meters, and covers the 4343 square meter area of the praying hall, all in a single piece.

The Mosque is built on a site occupying 416,000 square metres and the complex extends to cover an area of 40,000 square metres. The newly built Grand Mosque was inaugurated by His Majesty the Sultan of Oman on May 4, 2001.

Info taken from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultan_Qaboos_Grand_Mosque

More & Country Info:
http://www.omanet.om/english/Relegious/grandmosq.asp

CIA World Factbook OMAN:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/mu.html
adieu

casa del mar -- baja/cabo, mexico






REPORT FROM MEXICO by MARIBETH MELLIN
Things change, but beauty remains down in Los Cabos

Is there serenity in the midst of the busy tip of Baja? There is, if you know where to find it.

The newish toll road from the Los Cabos airport to the Corridor is a marvelous shortcut past rolling hills covered in cactuses and boulders. During a recent quick getaway, I chatted happily with a fellow passenger and was merrily raving about the sushi at Nik-San when the road ended at the entrance to San José del Cabo.

"Goodness gracious, what in the world could that be?" I cried (a rough translation of my Spanish exclamation). We faced a massive, humongous brown building behind a vast black parking lot. I spotted a patch of blue sea beyond a sidewalk as we sped by. Commercial Mexicana, a grocery store chain, had claimed the prime entryway to the San José hotel zone. Ah yes, I was back in Los Cabos...

whole article:
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20051204/news_1t04mellin.html

casa del mar website:
http://www.casadelmarmexico.com

their photo galleries:
http://www.casadelmarmexico.com/gallery/

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why posted here? we're looking for possible vacation spots. this one's on the list. & comes with recommendations.

pretty, no? ; )~
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Malaysia

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Classic Mianangkabau architecture at the Istana Seri Menanti, Malaysia.

The Seri Menanti Royal Museum building was built about 100 years ago without using a single nail. Even today, the structure remains strong. It used to be the official residence of the 7th Yang Di-Pertuan Besar [state ruler]. Today it serves its purpose of being a museum with many prized artifacts.

Source & More Info:
http://www.malaysia-by-malaysian.com/negerisembilan.html
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Amsterdam Christmas

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Merry Xmas everyone and Happy Holidays. :)

Amsterdam is always worth a trip but it's especially nice in this season.

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Christmas in Amsterdam is truly a season of celebration, whether or not you celebrate the day itself in its traditional, religious sense.

The Dutch holiday season started weeks ago, November 14, with the arrival of Sinterklaas and all his Zwarte Pieten (Black Peters). The story says that naughty children will be whisked off to SPAIN by these helpers of Sinterklaas, but there were no signs of missing children on the day of the parade. The Pieten received far more attention from the throngs of children than did the Sint himself, perched atop his white horse (perhaps this was due to the fact that they carried candy and cookies, which they gave out to the children by the handful!).

The celebrations continued on the weekend of 5 December, when Sinterklaas (originally the holy day of Sint Nicholaas) is celebrated each year. On the eve of the 5 December, the children leave their boots by the fireplace, hoping to wake up to find them filled with sweets. On the day itself, families gathered to exchange gifts and (traditionally) insulting poems and to eat lavish holiday meals.

For visitors to the city, who are more used to the Anglo-American Christmas held on the 24 and 25 December, there is till plenty of fun left to be had. Although the majority of Dutch people have adopted similar traditions of gift exchange and family celebrations during this time, many businesses remain open. Tourists are a welcome sight in the city any time of year, and businesses have learned to cater to the many that choose to spend their Christmas holidays here.

Source - Christmas article:
From http://www.amsterdam.info/events/christmas/

Amsterdam Architecture & Heritage info:
http://www.bmz.amsterdam.nl/adam/uk/woonh.html

Amsterdam General & Tourism info:
http://www.visitamsterdam.nl/
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Ice Hotels

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Ice Hotel in Quebec, Canada.

Ice hotels are temporary buildings made up entirely of snow and sculpted blocks of ice. They are built each year in the coldest regions of the world as a way to attract vacationers to resort areas. Heavily promoted by their sponsors, they have special features for travelers who are adventurous and interested in more unusual environments. Their lobbies are filled with ice sculptures and food and beverages such as vodka are especially chosen for the circumstances.

CANADA
About 10 km East of Québec City, the first ice hotel in North America is erected each January. In its last iteration it had 85 beds, all made of ice but lined with deer furs and covered with mattresses and arctic sleeping bags. Only the bathrooms are heated, in a separate insulated structure. The hotel is usually made (architecture and size vary from season to season) with 4,750 tons of sculpted ice, forming arches over rooms with 16 foot (5 m) ceilings, two art galleries, a bar, a movie theater and a chapel where weddings are held. All of the furniture is made of ice, so are glasses and plates. $120-$180 USD/night, each room has Internet access. In its first 4 years of operation the hotel has had 220,000 visitors and 10,500 guests. In 2005 it will open on January 7 and close down on April 3rd. http://www.icehotel-canada.com/en/index.en.php

SWEDEN
The Ice Hotel near the village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden was the first of its kind and is probably the most famous. With the exception of the beds, the entire hotel is made out of ice blocks. The hotel only exists between November and May. In its latest incarnation it will probably be over 30,000 square feet (3,000 m²) in size. The management boasts that each room is unique and that the architecture of the hotel is changed each year, as it is rebuilt from scratch. http://www.icehotel.com/

NORWAY
The Alta Igloo ice hotel has been rebuilt yearly since 1998. It is Europe’s northernmost ice hotel. The hotel has 20 beds and it is decorated with numerous ice sculptures and furnishings, including lighting systems which enhance the different types of crystalline formations. The guests use sleeping bags covered on reindeer hides.http://www.alta-friluftspark.no/alta_friluftspark_eng/

FINLAND
The Mammut snow hotel is not an ice hotel per se as it is made entirely of snow. Many of its furnishings and decorations are made of ice. It is located within the walls of the Kemi snow castle. http://www.snowcastle.net/

Also come have a look at ___interiors___ & JOIN! :)