Monthly Archives: February 2015
The Lion Dance is a pugilistic performance dating back to more than 1,500 years. Its performance during auspicious occasions such as the launch of new buildings, offices and shops is believed to bring good fortune and wealth. The Lion Dance is also performed during the Chinese New Year because of its association with the legendary stories of a bestial creature, the Nien, being frightened off by villagers banging on loud drums on the eve of Chinese New Year.
The lion is regarded by Chinese communities outside China as a creature representing good omen. However, the legend of Nien began with the lion as a monstrous creature. According to legend, every Chinese New Year’s eve, an unknown animal came to destroy the fields, crops and animals belonging to the farmers of the village. They could not identify the beast and named it nien which came to mean “year” in Chinese. To put a stop to the ravaging, the villagers made a fearful model of the animal out of bamboo and paper, with two men manipulating it, accompanied by the loud beating of instruments. They waited for the animal on New Year’s eve and succeeded in driving away the Nien. Henceforth, the Nien dance was performed annually on Chinese New Year’s eve with drums, cymbals and gongs. Over time, the image of the animal came to look more like a lion and the dance was later regarded as auspicious for all significant occasions.
Kleine Scheidegg (elevation 2,061 m, 6,762 ft) is a high mountain pass below and between the Eiger and Lauberhorn peaks in the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. It connects Grindelwald with Lauterbrunnen. The name means “minor watershed”, even though it is actually higher than the neighbouring Grosse Scheidegg. Possibly this is because Kleine Scheidegg is a watershed between the two arms of the Lütschinen river, while Grosse Scheidegg divides the Lütschinen valleys from the Reichenbach.
Located at Kleine Scheidegg is the Hotel Bellevue des Alpes and the Kleine Scheidegg railway station, which serves the two rack railways, the Wengernalpbahn (since 1893) and the Jungfraubahn (since 1896). The Wengernalpbahn has two branches: one begins at Grindelwald; the other commences at Lauterbrunnen and climbs to the pass via Wengen. The Jungfraubahn climbs steeply through tunnels inside the Eiger and Mönch mountains up to its terminal at the Jungfraujoch.
F/9, 1/1250 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6
Adolf Guyer-Zeller first thought of the idea of a tunnel in 1893, and at that point, he had planned to have 7 stations inside the tunnel before reaching the peak of the Sphinx. The building of the tunnel started on July 27, 1896 and took 16 years to complete. The construction phase was troubled by many problems including monetary shortages, inclement weather and mounting deaths due to construction accidents. The worst accident occurred in 1908, when 30 tons of dynamite accidentally exploded. When construction finally finished, the railway reached only to the height of the Jungfraujoch col, rather than the summit of the Sphinx, and had only two intermediate stations. However, even in its current state, the Jungfraubahn is a significant achievement in engineering and construction, still holding the title for highest railway in Europe.
The train into the mountain leaves from Kleine Scheidegg, which can be reached by trains from Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. The train enters the tunnel running eastward through the Eiger shortly after leaving Kleine Scheidegg. It runs close behind the Eiger’s north face, stopping at Eigerwand, where there is a window about 8 m long and a metre high, halfway up the face. The windows have been placed in holes used to remove excavated rock from the tunnel during construction, and are also occasionally used as access points, by climbers, and also rescue parties. This window was used for one of the final scenes of a Clint Eastwood spy movie the The Eiger Sanction. There one can get off the train to admire the view before the train continues five minutes later. The tunnel then turns west, heading towards the Jungfrau. There is a second stop at a window looking out on the Eismeer (“Sea of Ice”) before the train continues to the Jungfraujoch. The tunnel was constructed between 1898 and 1912; it is about 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) long, with gradients of up to 25%. The journey from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch takes approximately 50 minutes including the stops at Eigerwand and Eismeer; the downhill return journey taking only 35 minutes.
F/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6
“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
― C. JoyBell C.
Found this good inspirational-quotes by C.JoyBell C.
F/5, 1/250 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6
The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (Basilica of St. Mary of Health), commonly known simply as La Salute, is one of the largest churches of Venice and has the status of a minor basilica. It stands in a prominent position at the junction between the Grand Canal and the Bacino di San Marco on the lagoon.
In October 1630, the Venetian Senate decreed that if the city was delivered from the currently raging plaguethat had killed about a third of Venice’s population, then a new church would be built and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The city was so delivered, and Baldassare Longhena, then only 26 years old, was selected to design the new church. It was consecrated in 1681, the year before Longhena’s death, and completed in 1687.
The Salute is a vast, octagonal building built on a platform made of 100,000 wooden piles. It is constructed of Istrian stone and marmorino (brick covered with marble dust). The church is full of Marian symbolism – the great dome represents her crown, the cavernous interior her womb, the eight sides the eight points on her symbolic star. The Baroque high altar, designed by Longhena himself, bears a Byzantine Madonna and Child of the 12th or 13th century, brought from Crete by Francesco Morosini in 1670. Tintoretto contributed a painting of the Marriage at Cana in the great sacristy (Sacrestia Maggiore), which includes a self-portrait and is considered one of his best works. The most represented artist in La Salute is Titian, who painted St Mark Enthroned with SS Cosmas, Damian, Sebastian and Roch; the altarpiece of the sacristy; ceiling paintings of David and Goliath, Abraham and Isaac and Cain and Abel; eight tondi of the Doctors of the Church and the Evangelists; and Pentecost in the nave.
F/9, 1/250 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6
The Campanile of San Giorgio dei Greci was built by Bernardo Ongarin between 1587 and 1592, following a project by Simone Sorella. The Bell Tower started tilting from the beginning of its construction. Its inclination can best be seen from the bridge over the rio dei Greci, close to the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs). This photo was taken on one of the 416 bridges at Venice.
F/5, 1/800 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6
Notre Dame is 130 meters long, 48 meters wide, 35 meters high. The rose windows have a diameter of 10 meters. The cathedrals pillars have a diameter of 5 meters. Notre Dame is located on the Paris Island called Ile de la Cite, which concentrated the power attributes of France between the 4th and the 14th century. The world famous cathedral is referred to as: Notre Dame de Paris (“Our Lady of Paris” in French), The Notre Dame Cathedral or sometimes just simple “Notre Dame”.
Notre Dame has endured destruction and sunsequent restoration in many periods. However, much of the facade and interior still are true to the original designs. In the 16th century, both the Huguenots and the French king vandalized and changed a lot of the cathedral’s contents. A lot of the features on the cathedral’s exterior were removed because they were considered to be idolatrous, and tombs and stained glass windows were destroyed in the name of modernization. The cathedral was converted into a storage warehouse for food, during the French Revolution, and the heads of many of Notre Dame’s statues were removed. Between 1845 and 1870, a first attempt at restoration took place. A good portion of the previous century’s damage done to the cathedral was repaired, and new additions were built. Most recently, a new restoration program was started in 1991 and has gone on for 20 years with a focus on cleaning up facade’s and sculptures.
F/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6