Daily Archives: 01.02.2014

Amazing Man-made Boundaries



Amazing Man-made Boundaries

A border is a fictional line and is not at all remarkable for a common man. When visiting different states or countries people often recognize a border by the board signs which says “welcome to California” or “you are now leaving Oregon”. The significance of a border line is not usually known by people. It is not necessary for the border to be a line always it can be a city, a garden, a lake, a mountain, a stone or a desert. They are just meant to separate countries. Surprisingly there are some amazing borders in this world which are quite informative, beautiful, green and approachable. There are some borders which are quite unusual and are noteworthy.

 

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One of them is the “International Date Line” which is a border between the United States and Russia. This line also crosses amongst the Diomedes. The Diomedes lies in the Bering Strait and is just a pair of islands. The whole area of Diomedes is divided into two small portions named as “Big Diomedes” and “Little Diomedes”. Thus, the people of Little Diomedes belong to the American city and the region of Big Diomedes belongs to Russia but is still uninhabited. It is very simple for these people to travel from U.S to Russia. When these people step into other country, they are not just into their neighbor country but they are in a different time zone. It is 9AM Sunday on Little Diomede when it is 6AM Monday on Big Diomedes. Thus, the government has installed cameras across the strait of the Little Diomedes.

 

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The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a shred of land (about 258 kilometers) which serves as a divider between North and South Korea. Nobody can actually enter it without authorization as the border is so heavily protected and guarded. Thus, the border comes under the category of one of the most greatly militarized border in the world. The zone is actually a nature preserve as many endangered species have taken up the place as their permanent residence. Infact it is being said that their population is also increasing day by day. The two countries are still at war so an actual peace treaty was never made.

 

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The Derby Line border was an amazing border which passes through some institutions and even homes. This line separates US from Canada.  We can say that a family cooks the food in one country and eats it together in the neighboring country. The Opera House and the Haskell Free Library lies in this Border. The most important thing that one should know about the Opera House is that the Opera Stage is said to be in Canada but the entrance gate of the Opera and some of the seats of the stage comes in the United States. Due to this fact the building is provided with two separate addresses for US people and for Canada people.

 

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Another border which is actually a Municipality in the Netherlands is known as Baarle-Nassau or Baarle-Hertog. The land of Baarle-Hertog is actually divided into 26 separate fragments which are enclosed by Baarle-Nassau. But there are some portions which are shared by the two. This border is very much complicated and complex in view. But in the picture it can be seen that the left side is Netherland and the right side is Belgium.

Very less people know the fact that the District of Columbia is actually a border for Maryland and Virginia. The border comes with some rare features because of its location, size and shape. Originally one hundred stones in all were placed across the district to outline a border between Maryland and Virginia. Even today one can still find these stones placed there to indicate a border. Other unusual fact about this border is that the street is having different area codes for different sides. One code is for Maryland which is for the persons who are living in the northern side of the district and the other area code is for the other side of the district. Now, this is very strange.

 

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A city in Spain named Ceuta (which is situated on the edges of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea) is actually a border between Spain and Morocco. The city Ceuta is an enclave which is situated on the north coast of North Africa. Both countries are in a conflict regarding the ownership of the city. Once Morocco claimed that the city Ceuta and Melilla along with some Mediterranean islands which are across its border belong to their country. This lead to a number of conflicts and after which Spain decided to fence a border between the two countries to resolve the issue. The city is 18.5 square kilometers in size. Spain made a secure border which is about 3 meter high. The border is equipped with fences and bared wires.

There are many other borders which are quite amazing to have a look at. Some of them are the Azerbaijan and Armenia border, the boundary between the United Arab Emirates-Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates-Oman, the China-Pakistan-India border (Kashmir), Namibia’s Caprivi Strip (a border separating Botswana from Zambia), India-Bangladesh-Nepal border, Bolivia border and the Alaska-Canada border.

South Africa : A Classic Encounter



South Africa : A Classic Encounter

Well, searching an unusual place to visit, South Africa is your destination. South Africa hits the list when we talk about the beautiful places of the earth. Its sunny climate along with the diversified climate and people allows you to get an incomparable experience. All this makes South Africa to be called as Rainbow Nation and people from all over the places flew there to praise its wildlife, natural beauty, beaches and heart-throbbing drives through the country.  Here are some descriptions about the place that will help you to choose your destination and the season along with vivid descriptions of it.

Climatic Pleasures

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The climate is sunny there most of the times that means it provides with a variety of outdoor activities which includes searching for endangered animals like lions, leopards or cheetahs or surfing or enjoying hang-gliding there. It is seen that that the areas in the southern hemisphere are reverse as compared to the climate in the northern areas i.e. the summer is encountered here from November to February. So you plan your trip accordingly.

Bizarre and Astonishing places of South Africa

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If you are looking for something extra special then you are on the right page. Here are some of the most astonishing and bizarre places of the world which fortunately come under the tag “South Africa”. From revolving on the cable car and having a look of the whole city (Table Mountain) to going to the emotional phase of freedom fighters (Robben Island) to diving with sharks in Gansbaai to running with the horses in Kaapsche, all come in surprising package.

Visit to South Africa

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Actually South Africa is a place where there is a year round places to visit. Your interest in the place decides your time and duration of the visit. If you are keenly interested in holiday making then the place is haven from mid-December to late January or if you are love watching games then early spring i.e. from August to October is your season. Since all the resorts and national parks heavily filled, so it’s a suggestion to book your accommodation in advance to enjoy the place to its fullest.

People and their diversity

South Africa is not only beautiful with the places it has but also with the people it has. South Africa is known as the rainbow nation of the world because of the cultural diversity it carries. The population of South Africa consists of 31 million black people, 5 million White, 3 million colored and 1 million India which makes it 45 million South Africans having the density of 32.9 people per km2. This is one of the most complex and diversified population of the world. Also 11 different kinds of languages are heard to be spoken in the nation with English having most popularity. All the official meetings from government banks, hospitals to hotel staff is expected to speak in English.

“To do list” in South Africa

Since South Africa is the place which supports a wide variety of animals, birds and plants. So the to do list starts from whale watching which is an overwhelming experience. The activity fills you with joy when you feel the trust, awe of such a huge mammal and this attracts almost 13 million people from all over the world to this beautiful nation.

Also, South Africa- the home to the big five i.e. Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo ensures you with the wonderful sight of their natural habitat. Also, for someone with the adventurous gut can also have the opportunity to enjoy the game viewing over the elephant or the horse back.

Also, disappointment is the not the word to be encountered in South Africa. One who loves birds found an endless variety of birds from fast falcon to double breasted roller to all those endangered varieties of the world.

Other things that complete this list are sight seeking like the Holocaust Museum, SA national Gallery, Bokaap Museum etc. Well, the things also have some adventurous activities like the hiking and sport excursions. One can also have some vivid experience of cultural diversities when it comes to shopping and eateries.

Spiritual Africa

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When there is everything in South Africa then how this spiritual side remains hidden to the world. The spiritual Africa includes a mammoth Buddhist Temple en route to Pretoria. This Buddhist Temple allows the visitors to have the pious visit to the place and is open for all. Also, this seminary takes the monks from all over the continent to teach them various preaches of the Buddhism.

The spirituality is not limited to the temples. Africans are keen believers of God and hence this pious Limpopo’s Lake Fundudzi is famous for having been protected by Python God for years. The place has been worshiped by Venda people- a community who believe that the nearby forest namely Vendo Forest is a “holy forest” since it has been the resting place of the Venda forefathers and their custom includes a mesmerizing domba dance, kind of snake dance supported by Venda women.

To conclude with, South Africa is one of the most wonderful nations of the world having untarnished natural beauty, multi-ethnic deception and affordable luxury. Visitors can enjoy heart throbbing ecstasy of hiking, elephant back gaming, surfing and whale watching. Also, the hospitality, love, care and devotion expressed by the Africans attract you to visit the place again and again.

Maggie Valley – A Blessing



Maggie Valley – A Blessing

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Maggie Valley is a cottage for wealth of Southern hospitality, wonderful mountains and hills around, and pleasurable climate throughout the year. It is situated in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina; the place has an unrivaled, friendly and small town location. The future of the Southern Appalachian is built in such a way to preserve the past and the dynamic natural resources. A range of modern hotels, authenticate log cabins and quaint motels are being maintained and restored with all the hottest comforts.

Maggie Valley is so named on the memory of a little and pretty famous mountain girl, Maggie Mae Setzer Pylant with deep blue eyes and silky and blond hairs. A nice story of her father Jack Setzer, settling a post office with her name is associated with the name of the valley.

Most of the extensive area of the Maggie Valley is occupied with lands of Wildlife Refuge, Harmon Den, Pisgah National Forest and Great Smoky Hills. There is also a scenic place in Haywood country called Blue Ridge Parkway which has four entrances one in the Maggie Valley, and another one in Cherokee Indian Reservation and onto the Waynesville. If once we go there; we want to relocate in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The plethora of the country covers many superb mountain peaks, around 6000 feet elevation, a variety of outdoor activities to participate and a place to relax your body and soul. Haywood Country is in reach from the areas of major population of south-eastern U.S and from the east. This portion of the Maggie Valley makes the National Park of Great Smoky Mountains the most frequently visited place by people of U.S. This is place for nature enthusiasts to visit a place where there is combination of forests, wildlife and plant habitats. The place also serves as an inspiration for many artists in the sketches and drawings. Appalachian craft guilds of Western North Carolina are quite famous. Local crafters and artists offer quilts, carvings, pottery, handcrafted baskets, paintings and many more things for shopping or window shopping. If you are hungry then also you will find a beautiful traditional way of dinning, best local southern cooking and many other traditional cuisines.

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Maggie Valley is the home of a series of events: first come the rallies, concerts, shows, festivals which go throughout the year. Every year athletes, automobile lovers and motorcyclists from all over the world come to Maggie Valley in thousand of numbers to practice the thrill of the snakes and the scenery of the rallies and to get in touch with a different culture. The combination of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway make them stay in the Maggie Valley for longer number of days. Various musical concerts and festivals along with the rich instrumental and vocal tradition are lined up in the mainstay in the events of the Maggie Valley. The valley is covered with the blue grass and musical environment serves as the oregano of the delicious pizza, which have a drifting melodies of the music and one can also get attracted by the rock and roll show. If one goes for eating in Maggie Valley, he will love to have barbecue and chili as his favorite.

Some of the beautiful events of Maggie Valley are Smoky Mountain Oyster & Seafood Festival take place on weekends of the third week of April. The festival offers food and music for all the people of all ages. The place is also famous for featured Beer & Wine, Hotdogs, Grit Bar, Silent auction and lot more to explore. Another one called Southeastern Mini Truckin’Nationals happened on the 25th and 26th of April. This is meant for the car lovers and people who love to watch the open car shows accomplished with hundred of mini trucks and cars. A festival called Smokies Spring Motorcycle Rally on 2nd and 4th May for all ages of people consisting of bike builders, bike games, music concerts, bike shows, etc.

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Maggie Valley also has an awesome accommodation facility of hotels, motels and guest houses which give the feel of perfectly suited home away from home. You can choose your accommodations from hotel to motel, or to a cabin with front porch views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Maggie Valley is a place which you can explore in a minimum budget down from the hospitality to the satisfaction of your appetite. Maggie Valley is also famous for the Mountain Golf, with a perfect situation of golf in a unique style. Here, the surroundings are so chill and fresh like no other game we had ever played. For these elements of the mountains, it is also called as the Great Smoky Mountain Golf.

The weather of Maggie Valley is alive around throughout the year. In winters, snow and skiing are on the top. Winters are assured with the sophisticated Cataloochee’s famed snow making. Local weather of the valley get affected by the changing height of the Mountains of North Carolina from 900 feet to 6,600 feet. The temperature is expected to 10 to 20 degrees cooler on the highest mountain peaks. There is no time constraint for spring season especially in higher elevations it is unpredictable, whereas snow fall generally occur in March. But there is humidity and warmth in May, but at the time higher elevation become moderate and become the tourist’s hub. There can also be thunderstorms or afternoon showers on some days in the summertime. During winters, it is not uncommon to have snow in the higher area of mountains and hotness in the valleys. In a whole, Maggie Valley serves as a complete package with respect to seasons consisting of lowlands, snow, green valleys, snowfall, etc.

World’s Driest Region – the Atacama Desert



World’s Driest Region – the Atacama Desert

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The Atacama Desert of Chile is the second driest desert in the world after icy Antarctica. It is located on the highlands of South America and covers about 1000 kilometers land shred on the coast of Pacific Ocean, west of the Andes Mountains. The desert is composed of salt lakes, sand and Felsic lava flows towards the Andes Mountains. It is barren piece of land with a very little rain in the decades. The desert is not at all suitable for living because of its uncertain climatic conditions, average temperature of 0° to 25° and its isolation it is sometime referred to as “Moon like”. And that’s why it is chosen to be fine site for the prototype testing of a future lunar rover. Though the desert is not suitable for inhabitant but its rich mines of nitrate and copper make Chile one of the leading exporters of it.

The Hand in the Desert

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The giant hand in the middle of the Atacama Desert which is named Mano del desierto is one of the strangest statues of the world. It was created by Chilean Sculpture Mario Irarrazaal in the early 1980’s. This statute was made with the purpose to imply the issues of human rights that were quite horrifying to be dealt by the people of the Chile in the past.  The hand is actually seems to be coming out of the sand. To add the insightful effect of the sculpture on the world it was in the outskirts of the city of Antofagasta.

Interesting Facts about Atacama:

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Virtually rainless – the Atacama Desert is said to be virtually rainless plateau as the average rainfall per year is just 1mm.Infact, due to dry weather mountain peaks that attain over 6,500 meters have no sign of glaciers. And some parts of desert have never been reported with any rainfall.

Sterile soil – the desert’s land is barren because of the sterile soil as it could not receive moisture from anywhere because of blockage from both sides by the Chilean Coast Range and Andes Mountains

Mars like soil– NASA has chose the desert’s land for testing instruments of Mars for future missions to the red planet. As the soil samples of the desert and mars soil are found to be similar. In fact the site has been chosen for the Earth-Mars Cave Detection Program.

Border dispute – The Chile and Bolivia fight over the land dispute of the Atacama Desert in 1800’s and finally dispute came to end with Chile having the land.

Birds and Animals of the Atacama Desert

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The Atacama Desert has the largest animal group as Birds. The desert’s salt flats near the Pacific and inland are very suitable for the Andean flamingos as they live on algae around there. The desert cliffs that overlook the ocean make home for the Humboldt penguins who live their year-round. The tamarugo conebill, the Chilean woodstar and the slender-billed finch are some of the threatened species that are helped in sustaining their life in the desert. The desert’ ecosystem also helps the birds of prey, such as burrowing owls and chimango caracaras when the flowers are blooming. Other birds like sparrows and humming birds also visit the desert seasonally to feed upon insects, nectar, flowers and seeds.

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Amphibians and Reptiles:

The desert has very less number of reptiles and amphibian species. The lizards of salt flats live in the dry areas of the desert around the ocean’s border, while the lava and iguanas lizards reside in every part of the desert. The Vallenar toad inhabits the ponds or streams of the desert where it also lays eggs.

 

Mammals:

The Atacama Desert’s dry weather and uncertain climatic conditions does not suits the entire mammal’s living there, therefore only few adapted species of mammal are inhabitant there. The grass grazing animals such as guanacos and vicunas eats grass irrigated by melted snow. Fur seals and sea lions gather around the sea coast while the vicunas need to remain near by the water supply constantly and the guanacos roam around the dry areas of the desert as they can survive without water for long time. Various other animals like viscacha, South American gray fox lives on fruits, eggs, lizards, seeds and even they desert scorpions.

 

Insects and Arachnids:

Very few insects are able to sustain their lives in the Atacama Desert due to its dryness. Different beetles and their larvae are the valuable source of food in the desert for various animals. Sand-colored grasshoppers blend with the pebbles are also inhabitants of the desert. Butterflies also become the inhabitants of the desert during warm and humid seasons.

An alien in the desert

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A long skeleton of about 6-inch was found in the Atacama Desert which showed various incongruities as compared to the normal human skeleton. The Skeleton has the teeny weeny body along with the alien like skull. The Skeleton has just account of the 10 ribs rather than 12 as compared to humans. The skeleton might seem to have earthly organs but the actual figure created quite a medical mystery. When the mummified specimen was found in the desert lots of buzz was around that might alien have landed the earth but nothing seems to be able to prove the fact.

Life on Islands: Andaman and Nicobar Islands



Life on Islands: Andaman and Nicobar Islands

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The juncture of the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal has a group of islands across it. The islands were previously referred to as graveyards of Martyrs. By then they were just some hills which are found to be extending from Myanmar to Indonesia. But now the islands are a Union Territory of India and are known as the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The island resides in Indonesia, 150 km in the north of Aceh. The Andaman Sea is responsible for the separation of the territory from Burma and Thailand. The Andaman and the Nicobar Islands are separate islands on the north and the south respectively as the Andaman Sea is in the east and the Bay of Bengal is in west. 8,073 km2 is the approximate land area of the Andaman territory whose capital is a town named Andamanese town, Port Blair. And Car Nicobar (also known as Malacca) is the name of the capital of the Nicobar Islands. After the independence of India in 1947 and Burma in 1948, the British empire decided to take over the two islands: Anglo-Indians and Anglo-Burmeseon under their empire but the deal was never finalized and in 1950 the islands were finalized as the parts of Indian Union and finally in 1956 they were declare as a Union Territory. The range of the islands is from 92 degree to 94 degree East and 6 degree to 14 degree North latitudes. A 150km wide channel separates the Nicobar group from the Andaman group. This channel is known as the Ten Degree Channel. The topmost point is the Saddle Peak in the North side of the Andaman Island. This peak is about 2,402 feet (about 732m) above the surface of ground. The river named the “Hooghly River” is 901km away from the Andaman and Nicobar groups.

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A very famous event of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was the 2004 Tsunami. The island comes under the category of those places which are close to the epicenter of the underground earthquake. The islands were destroyed by the 26th December 2004 tsunami. The tsunami was very high and was followed by an Ocean earthquake. The homes are devastated and people became homeless. The dead bodies of more than 2,000 people were found. The worst thing that happened in Andaman and Nicobar islands was the inundation of the “Indira Point” in the ocean. The Indira Point actually lies at the southern tip of the Great Nicobar (which is the southernmost island).  A large amount of the area was still submerged in the ocean. The number of survivors was quite less. The whole image of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands during the 2004 Tsunami can be seen in the above picture. It can be seen that the impact of the tsunami was very devastating. Because of this tsunami in 2004 the number of tourist visits was very less in 2005.this lead to some loss in money and it also demoralized the investors and even the people of the island. But after this event new evacuation plans were set up and now the island is quite safe. Some pre-tsunami evacuation plans and small scale tourist infrastructure has been developed in the areas which are highly prone to the natural disasters. But still there is need of improvement and it will take some time to completely revive the facilities and damage that was done by the tsunami. Despite of the dangerous events that happened there, the islands are still very glorious and untouched when it comes to the natural beauty and the unmapped marine life of the island.

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Today, the people who are living in the islands of Andaman and Nicobar are the descendants of those who were living there before the beginning of colonial rule or the mainland settlers. They live around the capital (Port Blair) on South Andaman. They are living on a group of 572 small tropical islands (among them 36 are inhabited) which is very green and beautiful because of its lavish forests with unique wildlife. The sun always beams on the outlandish flora and fauna on the islands. This sight will surely take ones breath away. 86% of the area of the island is covered with forests where many deer, gecko crab-eating macaque, wild boar and pythons can be found roaming around.

There are striking white beaches which are a home to turtles. But the main diamond point is the marina life. The ocean will leave you spellbound with its shinning and clear blue waters, the myriad living beings that are living in the ocean from years and the incredible corals. People from many places visit these islands for some adventurous activities like fishing and scuba diving. If anyone wants to get close to the nature and wants to have a closer look on the marine life then scuba diving is a must thing to go for.  Thus, a young adventurous tourist will return home with full satisfaction. Tourism in Andaman and Nicobar Island is rising continuously because of the recent Tourist Infrastructure Developments. If you are going to visit these islands you are definitely going to have a good and lifetime experience.

In Touch With Divinity : Church of The Nativity, Jerusalem



In Touch With Divinity : Church of The Nativity, Jerusalem

In the holy land of Jerusalem time stands still. Nobody can claim that the land is peaceful though. For centuries, Jerusalem has been witness to various bloody battles for possession. Ever since Moses set out in search of the Promised land, Jerusalem has seen it all- from the Crusades of the Middle ages to the Siege of Jerusalem in 2002. Palestinian and Israeli armies have fought tooth and nail, taking refuge in some historical structures that have withstood invasions, fires, earthquakes and calamities since times unknown.

And there in Bethlehem stands the Church of the Nativity. It is believed that the fortress like Basilica has been built over the very manger where the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus of Nazareth. The Church of the Nativity is believed to be the oldest Christian Church still in operation. The imposing structure is indeed special. Christian from all over the world assemble here to behold the spot where their lord was allegedly born. Apart from the obvious religious significance, this church has a very rich historical legacy to boast of. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger.

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History

It is believed that the Roman Emperor Constantinople and his mother originally commissioned the construction of this church in 327 A.D. Parts of the original mosaic floor still remains today but most of the original structure was demolished in the Samaritan Rebellion of 529 A.D. Most of the structure that we see today is a remnant of what the Byzantine Emperor Justinian rebuilt with pronounced grandeur. Church of the Nativity indeed has survived many a hostile invasion.

The mosaic of the original church showed the Magi wearing Persian attire visiting newborn Jesus. It is said that out of respect to the depiction of the Magi on the mosaic, the Persians spared the church of the Nativity in their war against the Byzantine Empire in 614 AD. All other churches and religious structures were shown no such mercy.

When the Crusaders conquered the Holy Land, 100 armed knights were appointed to guard the Church. The Church was adorned with mosaics and column paintings of Saints in the style of the Renaissance period. Various techniques like pigments suspended in wax has been used.

 

The Fourteen Point Star

Visitors to the Church of the Nativity today can see a fourteen point silver star on the ground marking the exact spot where Jesus was born. Its a serene experience when you walk past the site that marked the birth of  someone who changed the course of the entire world history. You need not be a devout Christian to realize that there is something in the air of the Church of the Nativity which proclaims that history was created here.

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The Door of Humility

When you enter the Church of the Nativity you pass through a four feet tall entrance called the Door of humility. One might opine that the door was built to make all pilgrims bow in front of the Lord and related philosophical gibberish, but they would be mistaken. The door of humility’s primary purpose was to ward off soldiers on horseback, dacoits on camels and plunderers who ran haywire after the crusades. Today, tourists from all over the world click selfies in abandon.

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The Fight for Possession

Today a turmoil exists over the administration of the Church of the Nativity. Three different sects of Christianity claim stakes in the Church and are often at loggerheads with each other. The three sects are- the Greek Orthodox Church, the Armenian Orthodox and the Franciscan order of the Roman Catholic Church. The resident clerics are so embroiled in their claims of custody over the church that they can never agree on a plan of action to adopt for the church renovation. The Crusaders’ paintings on the red limestone columns of the basilica are threatened by water dripping from the rotting roof. The wooden structure of the Basilica has remained the same since the fifteenth century, threatening the structural integrity of the building. The problem is worsening and yet, no one can reach a consensus despite interventions on the parts of the authority. Scholars rue the fact that the holiest shrine of Christianity is falling prey to a hostile atmosphere.

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The fight over Jerusalem is not new. In fact the warring sects had worsened to such a condition that the then Ottoman Sultan had to intervene. An unwritten system of status quo was introduced. According to that status quo , it was mandated that things in the church would be done exactly as it always had been. Anyone who had cleaned a particular tapestry, sat beneath a particular statue, dusted a particular painting or processioned down a particular aisle would continue to do so exclusively. And that is how it is done, even today.

Though the Church of the Nativity today will not offer you a glimpse of green fields, stables and everything about the Nativity scene you have been conditioned to expect, what with tourists jostling over each other, come here anyway just to behold the magic and charm that pervades the very core of the basilica where history was conceived.

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The Chain Bridge, Budapest : A Magnificant Linkage



The Chain Bridge, Budapest : A Magnificant Linkage

To connect the two cities in the capital of Hungary, Budapest the first permanent suspension bridge constructed was The Chain Bridge which is officially known as Széchenyi lánchíd. This suspension bridge connects the western city Buda and the eastern city Pest over the river Danube and is the most widely known Bridge in Budapest.

Till the year 1836, the only way to cross the Danube River and reach the other city was by taking a temporary bridge which was available only in summers. During winters it had to be disassembled to protect the bridge from drift ice. At that time of the year one would have to take a ferry in order to travel between Buda and Pest. In 1836 a prominent statesman in Europe, count István Széchenyi couldn’t attend his father’s funeral due to a halt in ferry service and decided to build a permanent bridge over the river. The work of its construction was given to an English civil engineer William Tierney under the supervision of Scottish engineer Adam Clark. When the construction was to be started William Tierney had already designed two suspension bridges over Thames in London that’s why he had the right kind of experience for this project. After the count’s name Chain bridge was named as Széchenyi and it was opened in November 20, 1849. At the Buda end of the bridge, a square is named after Adam Clark which is decorated with flowers and has milestone “0” in form of an oval shaped stone carving. This carving was done by Miklós Borsos.

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The Chain Bridge is 375 meter (1230ft) long and 16 meter wide. It contains two traffic lanes which are 6.45 meter wide each along with pavements at the rims. One can walk over these pavements and explore the magnificent view of the cities. The decorations over the bridge are made of cast iron and the bridge stands on just two towers. These support the span with huge iron chains. Thus the name lánchid, Hungarian for chain, was given to the bridge. Other than these chains, there are large lion shaped capstones made with stone which decorate the sides of the bridge over its portals. These were made by the sculptor János Marschalkó and give the Chain Bridge its characteristic style. There is an urban legend widespread in Budapest that these lions do not have any tongues, however that’s not the fact and these lions do have tongues but they are very small and can be seen only from above.  All of this has made the Chain bridge an engineering and architectural marvel in itself.

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In 1913, looking at the increased traffic over the bridge, it was decided to forfeit the bridge and reconstruct certain parts by replacing the existing ironwork. The work of broadening of the bridge and other slight modifications were done without changing the original design and appearance of the bridge. The bridge again opened on 27 November, 1915 for traffic and was rechristened as Széchenyi Chain Bridge.

During the War of Independence, the bridge risked the wrath of Austrians who tried to destroy it but could not be successful at doing so. But later on, near the end of the Second World War, in order to stop the Red Army from progressing, the Chain Bridge was blown up by Germans. Except the pillars, the bridge was almost completely destroyed. However it was reconstructed and was one of the first structures to be rebuilt after the Second World War. After its reconstruction it was made open to the public on 20 November, 1929 which was exactly 100 years after its original inauguration.

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The construction of Chain Bridge has helped Budapest with its economy and has evolved the two cities Buda and Pest into fast growing metropolitan cities. It has a special significance as a symbol of Independence in Hungary and the bridge radiates calmness, dignity and balance which has provided it with a reputation of a high stature in Europe. The Chain Bridge also symbolizes national awakening and advancement.

Along with being a modern world’s engineering wonder, the Chain Bridge also has gained immense popularity through various entertainment industries. The Chain Bridge appeared in the 2002 movie Spy and also it features in the beginning of a popular Katy Perry song, Fireworks. The film fraternity of Indian Cinema, Bollywood has also showcased this Hungarian bridge in the climax of a blockbuster movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

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The Chain Bridge of Budapest is undoubtedly a wonderful piece of architecture and holds a peculiar significance for the citizens of Budapest. But it is also a visual delight that makes many tourists want to visit and explore the beauty captivated in here. While walking over the pavements of the bridge one can see the Parliament at the Pest side which gives an astounding view especially at the night. The dark water of the River Danube reflects the lights of the Parliament and the city giving the passer-by a visual delight. If one takes a walk from the Buda end towards the Batthyány Square, they can also view the front of the Parliament and admire its exceptional beauty.