July 27, 2007
Do you think this title sounds ludicrous? Oh, probably it does but it only sounds…
Yesterday (26th July) was one of the most important national holidays in Cuba (maybe even the most important). However if you follow US press you’d ask yourself “Why on Earth they celebrate that day??? They should erase it from their nation’s memory!” and that would be quite reasonable question when you see this title: July 26th Marks Anniversary Of Castro’s Failure, Cuban Revolution
Isn’t that tremendously malicious when you know how that “failure” has raised national spirit to struggle against the regime, when you know that was the dawn of Revolution? (truth maybe I founded isolated article but still)
For those of you who don’t know 26th July 1953 is the day of the attack on the Moncada Barracks which failed indeed but there were many casualties on both sides. Castro was arrested and since he was/is a lawyer has decided to defend himself. In his speech he said historical sentence ”History Will Absolve Me”, sentence which became the foundation of the 26th July Movement. For more about attack, trial and whatnot you should check great film by Yanara Guayasamin “Cuba, the Value of Utopia” (my review is HERE). (I just wanna stress here that I’m not expressing my opinion is Castro good president or dictator?)
But let’s go back on the topic. I don’t know does the date has anything with it but yesterday I watched this amazing film 638 Ways to Kill Castro directed by Dollan Cannel (check the link) as a part of Free Zone festival.
At first, indeed I thought the title is kind of sarcastic exaggeration but NO IT’S NOT! It’s a story about 638 recorded attempts of Castro’s assassination!
And gosh, you should see that. It’s as if you are watching one of the James Bond movies. It’s a collection of the most impossible and most bizarre ideas you could(n’t) imagine!
Exploding cigar that was intended to blow up in Castro’s face is one of those. Since Castro was fascinated with scuba-diving CIA made search of Caribbean mollusks looking for a shell to contain lethal quantity of explosives, which would be painted vividly to attract Castro’s attention; Then making toxic diving-suit; poison pills; bacterial poison (Clostridium botulinum) to be placed in Castro’s handkerchief or in his tea and coffee; poisoned cigars; CIA has even made agreement with mafia to assassinate Castro … etc
Here is little statistics: During Kennedy there were 42 attempts; Nixon 184; Carter 44; Regan 197; Bush senior 16, Clinton 21
We could see testimonials of people who participated in those attempts, former FBI and CIA agents. One of them have ”as being Catholic” (who ”don’t believe he’ll go in paradise”) had moral dilemma but then he said to himself: “Government is asking that from me so who the hell am I to worry about me?” WOW someone would say that is patriotic!
But to be honest what shocked me the most (I guess I’m too naïve) is the treatment that those evident terrorists have in US (one of them is calling Bush administration “allies”). Namely we can see people who are openly talking about their attempts to kill one foreign leader how freely live in Florida with their families and having business and are financing other groups who are still attempting to kill Castro!?!? On the journalists question “Do you think you are terrorist” one of them (Antonio Veciana I think) replies “yes, I was terrorist then”. Just like that! I didn’t know that acts of terrorism have dead line after which everything is OK.
Or with Orlando Bosch, man who is prototype of terrorist. He organized airplane crash 1976 of the Cubana air company by putting bomb in the plane. It has 73 victims, all civilians; the only Cuban “officials” were members of Cuban fencing representation (all teenagers).
He was arrested but Republican Congresspersons Ileana Ross and Connie Mack organized intensive lobbying for him and eventually President George H. Bush has released him from jail. On the journalists question is he responsible for that plane crash Orlando Bosch replies “Not only for that one. They are accusing me for plane crash above Jamaica and for crash of cargo-plane above Cuba. And I say In war everything is allowed and I’m in war against Fidel Castro”. Those are words of a man who received personal pardon from then president George Bush in spite of the arguments and protests.
In fact many of those men who would be undoubtedly qualified as terrorists in any other country or even in the States if they their target is not Castro are friends of president Busch’s family. We can see them on many photographs with both Georges and Jeb Busch, current governor of Florida. Man who ordered execution of Che Guevara, Felix Rodriguez has a gift with this note: “With highest esteem and admiration – George Busch”
Many of these assassinators-in-attempts are living in Florida as I said but they even have a game in which they are killing Castro every month. It is absolutely ridiculous game which reminds on paintball where everyone wears uniforms, weapons and they are sneaking around the house where “Castro” (with the beard of course) have a meeting with his gang. Then suddenly they are jumping in the house, taking “Castro” outside where he begs for his life. Then they ask “Castro” why he killed so many people and he replies (falling on the knees) “Oh forgive me! Forgive me!” Naturally every month they are showing no mercy.
You can’t imagine how idiotic that looks. And those people (there is entire anti-Castro organization) are personal friends of Jeb Busch.
Former US diplomat in Cuba Mr. Wayne Smith (executive secretary of President Kennedy’s Latin American Task Force and chief of mission at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana) quoted Mr George W. Busch (there is part of that speech in the film as well) when he said that “everyone who is hiding, protecting, supporting, financing terrorists is a terrorist himself” and he absolutely agreed with him and added “but that is precisely what US government is doing with these terrorists. So isn’t Busch terrorist as well?”
Well maybe he’s not. Maybe he just read book written by some other, much, much clever George (who must be right. Right?). And there it says very clearly:
“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”
July 25, 2007
1. If someone would ask you about the eldest culture what would you say? Egyptians? Greeks? Romans? Oh well … this TT is about one ancient civilization you probably have never heard before; civilization 3000 years older than ancient Egyptians. Unfortunately for that culture is that is located in Serbia and therefore condemned on existence in the shade of ignorance at least for now (don’t get me wrong, we Serbs are partly guilty as well). I guess this is my small contribution.
2. First I’d like to write something about natural habitat of that ancient culture: the mighty Danube and its breathtaking Đerdap gorge. Đerdap gorge with its Iron Gate (on the photograph) is a center of Đerdap National Park which is on tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage located in the eastern Serbia.
3. The Đerdap gorge is the longest fissure in Europe and a rare natural phenomenon. There are sections where the vertical cliffs rise 300m above the level of the Danube and the measured depth of the so-called “cauldrons” goes up to 82 m (one of the greatest river depths in the world). 4. Gorge was always a world for itself, almost isolated from its surrounding and that especially in early Holocene when surrounding plain region had become deserted. Big River was the main sculptor in creating this remarkable mountain landscape which is why there are so many changes of altitude in one, relatively small region and therefore there are several ecological zones with many endemic species.
5. That breathtaking landscape was the settlement of civilization whose discovery marked a new chapter in the study of European prehistory: Lepenski Vir. Lepenski Vir is an impressive illustration of the link between man and nature, of the role and significance of the natural environment for husbandry and the organization of life and culture in general. 6. Archaeological site Lepenski Vir in spite the fact that it is place of immeasurable value and significance cannot shine in its full beauty due to its location – Serbia and its quite limited financial support (hopefully that will be changed in the future). It is the center of one of the most important prehistoric culture that had existed 8000-4500 BC.
7. First population were tribes of hunters who had stayed on these fertile river banks establishing first settlements. Then around 5300 BC culture of Lepenski Vir had so called “Neolithic Revolution” when they along with fishing and hunting started to domesticate animals. It was beginning of agriculture and cattle breeding.
8. They begun pottery manufacture and making tools and other objects including religious ones as well. It was birth of different beliefs and establishing of the cult of Mother Earth. 9. Therefore they had specific way of burying: in the position of embryo which confirms beliefs of ancient farming cultures that everything is coming from Mother Earth and that everything is going back to her (“dust to dust” sounds familiar?).
10. Figurines founded in the settlements have enormous significance and are representing divinities. Those stone idols are fish-like humanoids and that’s why we’re guessing that divinities are connected with the river.
11. Remains of the “villages” are amazing. Namely in order to use the terrain in the best possible way they’ve had to build houses according to some plan. There is a central building with the empty space turned toward the Danube and that was sort of main square. Other buildings had surrounded the central one framing the square and forming “streets” to the main square or Danube. Thanks to these facts we know that Lepenski Vir is the eldest known urban settlement in Europe.
12. “Houses” have had base in the form of trapezium with tent-like wooden construction above it. In the central part of the house was hearth with the place for sacred figurines. What it is fascinating is that heat from the hearth was spreading equally by the floor thanks to the material and way of building. So it seems they had one of the eldest (if not the eldest) floor heating
13. Life in Lepenski Vir died out 4500 BC when its inhabitants moved in search of bigger arable lands.
This was the story about my prehistoric “compatriots”. I hope you liked it.
P.S. If you’d like to leave your comment please scroll up and click “Comments” under the title of this TT (and above TT photo with newspaper and coffee). The one which is above this entire post is for the book and not TT. Thanks!
July 24, 2007
The Inheritance of Loss
“Kiran Desai is a terrific writer” are the words of Salman Rushdie and indeed this can be seen from the opening paragraph of her second novel:
“All day, the colors had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths. Briefly visible above the vapor, Kachenjunga was a far peak whittled out of ice, gathering the last of the light, a plume of snow blown high by the storms at its summit.”
And this, almost liquid style is something which will carry you on one melancholic and funny and sad and (for me quite) educational journey. You just have to relax and let the stream to carries you away. I must say I did use dictionary a lot (in her river you’ll find beautiful and rare pebbles) and in spite the fact I could understood from the context it would be really such a shame not put little more effort and I was richly awarded. (of course this is something which we from non English world sometimes have to do)
I’ve mention that it was quite educational read. In the background of the story is one historical event: separatist aspiration of Nepalese in the region of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, near the border with Nepal for establishing Gorkhaland. This is something I completely wasn’t familiar with so I had to search a little bit. Of course that is not necessary to understand the book (and especially if history of your own country is full of numerous separatist movements) because misery and consequences are more than evident. In the first plan is the effect of this struggle on the life of common people in the region and personal … well, tragedies of the main characters.
The main characters (including the ones which surround them) are one colorful specter of different personalities that divide story in two (inseparable) parts: Indian on the Eastern Himalayas and American in the cheap restaurants and filled, dirty basements of NYC. Each of them is composed with numerous so emotional, so personal and histories so blind for the histories of others but in the same time so dependable on them. Because misery is more bearable when is not alone. I’m not going to write any spoiler because some of my friends are about to read this novel so I’ll write in general.
There is story about gloriously failed ambition as a “consequence” of wrong genotype (or wrong inheritance), story about too high ambitions and fake image of life that depends only on the talent for mimicry (if you’re good enough maybe you’ll convince yourself that you are one of them), different love stories with political or religious or (wrong) sexual obstacles, story of American dream (or was it nightmare?), immigration, exile, globalization, post colonial disorientation … etc.
Clashes of cultures are so hilarious and sad in the same time. People who would change their inheritance without thinking but after numerous failures they will decorate themselves with superhuman self convincing that precisely that same inheritance is making them unique and interesting (“…who had hit on the fact that you could escape from being a drab immigrant and have a fantastic time as an Indian among the tie-dyed, spout all kinds of Hindu-mantra-Tantra-Mothar-Earth-native-peoples-single-energy- -organic-Shakti-ganja-crystal-shaman-intuition stuff.”); and when they found themselves in the surroundings with people from the same pot as theirs they will start putting peacock feathers on the crow being nothing more than ridiculous and pathetic.
Oh it’s more/less the same thing with our immigrants when they come back here. I really love this part:
“… that immigration, so often presented as a heroic act, could just be the opposite; that it was cowardice that led many to America; fear marked the journey, not bravery; a cockroachy desire to scuttle to where you never saw poverty, not really, never had to suffer a tug to your conscience; where you never heard the demands of servants, beggars, bankrupt relatives, and where your generosity would never be openly claimed; where by merely looking after your own-wife-child-dog-yard you could feel virtuous. Experience the relief of being an unknown transplant to the locals and hide the perspective granted by journey”
I belong to the nation with unfortunately huge expatriated population and I know many that quote from above refers to. And I do think this transformation is the worst consequence of immigration. That morbid tendency to be assimilated, morbid tendency to be someone else and incurable disease to represent themselves as someone else when they come back in motherland to exhibit their success to the family and left-behind (once) friends. And their universal defending mechanism/explanation (precisely as Desai said as well) is “jealousy, jealousy”… *sigh* how wrong they are…
However I must say that I expected a little more from this novel. I’m not sure what exactly but somehow I have a feeling that something is missing (for my personal sensation). Indeed I think she ended book (too) quickly but that’s surely not the reason for this feeling. I finished book 30 minutes ago so maybe it’s too early to find the right answer so when/if I do I’ll update this post.
Of course I highly recommend this novel.
This book is part of my TBR 2007 Challenge. I’m horribly late with this one thanks to my faculty obligations.
July 23, 2007
Posted by Milan under Blogroll
OK I’m VERY late with this one. Namely this contest has been announced more that month ago but I was in the middle of my faculty obligations (which you may noticed with my not-consistent posting here). I now I’m really horrible with all kind of reading contests; I usually fail because I just can’t force myself to pick few titles and read them one after another. I just love to take randomly book from my shelf when I finish current book so usually I just can’t stay with the list I’ve made earlier. I guess that’s not quite normal, right?
Anyhow I’m jumping in this train and catching the last wagon with the permission of Susan from West of Mars who created this journey. I must admit that she is actually reason why I’m jumping in another contest with this embarrassing contest history of mine. She often has lovely bookish contests promoting new, young writers and independent publishers but I was always forced to skip them due to numerous reasons. So now when I think I’m able to play, here I am
Here are the rules:
1. Find a book that’s a “hidden treasure”. That means a book that hasn’t made it to a best-seller list anywhere that you can find. A suggested reading list is available at WestofMars.com. Feel free to find your own treasure, though.
2. The book MUST be from a royalty-paying publisher. If in doubt, ask.
3. Read it.
4. Post a review somewhere on the Internet between July 15 and August 15.
5. Sign the Mr. Linky at West of Mars. Include the permalink for your review.
6. Yes, you can use a Hidden Treasure book that fulfills another contest or reading challenge.
7. Yes, you can review more than one book.
8. If, for some reason, you don’t want to win a prize, let Susan know.
9. If you have suggestions for the Hidden Treasures Suggested Reading List, or a prize for the winners, drop Susan an e-mail.
10. Prizes will be awarded August 20. Winners will be contacted and winning list will be posted no later than 22 August.
Check out this post if you search additional information or original contest post
(I’m still thinking about book(s) I’ll use and waiting reply from Susan to see what she thinks about my suggestions)
July 17, 2007
OK it’s very strange to say when you are 30 years of age (as a matter of fact as of today so Happy Birthday to me! Wee!!!) since I’d like to believe that 30 is not “old” that experience you have is the best one you’ll ever feel. In spite the fact that hopefully decades are in from of you. But I really cannot imagine that I shall ever be part of better concert than the one from last Saturday, 14th July.
I should say that we in Serbia have ‘history of waiting Stones to come rolling’ and we all believed that they will come after Godot. In past few years their concert has been canceled several times. We even have a saying that whoever bring Stones in Serbia will win next elections. So when the concert has been announced we didn’t have high hopes; then the tickets has been released and we bought them and still we didn’t have high hopes (because once concert has been canceled in spite the tickets) and then day after day idea of the concert has becoming more and more realistic until the final day. We went, enter the concert space, looking at the stage, listen other musicians who were play and still without real knowledge that in a few hours the Stones will be on that same stage! So we were waving our bodies with “Elecrtic Orgasm”, cult Serbian rock band (I’m a huge fan) and “The Answer” from Belfast who were giving us some homage to Led Zeppelin and AC/DC; luckily Stones generation is familiar with that sound. and then after some dense psychological pause it came dark…
… and dark … and then small light in the distance … and the crowd started to scream … and the light has becoming brighter … and brighter … and screams were louder … and louder … and the light brighter … and scream louder … and light brighter … and bigger … and then … BANG! … ‘Start me up’ … partly blind we were starting to realize: this is THE moment: They ARE here!
(I was 15 meters in front of this moving stage)
I don’t know … I was standing in shock and looking at those men convincing myself that I am there and they are there as well and even though it looks exactly as on TV it’s not TV (or if so I’m on TV). I was standing and thinking That shit I’ve spent my youth in is over … OVER! (probably my youth as well LOL) and then I become wild.
After first song Jagger said “Dobro veče Srbijo! Zdravo Beograde! Presrećni smo što smo ovde!” (Good evening Serbia! Hello Belgrade! We are very happy to be here!) and after that he was holding more than 50000 people in his hand. He was actually speaking in Serbian after almost every song “Ja se odlično zabavljam! A vi?” (I’m having great fun! Are you?) …“Konačno smo ovde” (We are finally here) … finally indeed!
I wont lie, when Keith Richards said “Welcome to the club!” my eyes were filled with tears. This might sound silly for you; maybe you think it’s just another concert, not big deal. Oh but it is, it is!
Of course they are great professionals and great institution and legends and whatnot so you shoud expect at least perfection. And of course, perfection is what you’ll get. At least.
It will not be exaggeration if I say that we’ve got that night much, much more.
It was evident that Jagger and the crew have felt enormous positive energy. And nothing else will be the same again (I’m saying that with all risk to be pathetic). When you once live picture of high resolution it will be impossible that anyone in the future will manage to sell you some domestic or foreign forgery. 50000 people will remember 14th July 2007 as a day they become part of the world.
It was our Bang, The Biggest Bang!
July 13, 2007
Ok I just came back from Faculty (I had exam and it was OK) which is the reason why i wasn’t be active on my blog last week. Anyhow I’m back and I guess I’m catching the last train for this week’s TT. Therefore I’m going to post my link on TT Site right now (while is still open for new posts) and then I’ll write something. SO if you’re coming in the meanwhile please do come back later and check my new TT. Thanks
It seems I’m too late after all … now I’ve lost enthusiasm …
Well, As you probably know as of last Saturday we have new Seven Wonders of the World. Indeed it was kind of Miss of the world internet election but even so it was interesting. I did vote and I’m happy to say that almost all my candidates have won, sadly not all but …
Anyway, these new Wonders reminded me of the old ones so I asked my friends do they know all Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was so unpleasantly surprised with the results. No one couldn’t name all Wonders and their places. And I’m talking about highly educated people… Indeed we didn’t learn about that in school but I guess I was thinking it is basic culture. Obviously it’s not (and I’m NOT adequate to talk about “basic” anything). So I decided to write about old Seven Wonders before I mention the fresh ones.
The list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was originally compiled around the second century BC and we’ll begin with the only one that still stands:
1. Great Pyramid of Giza 2650-2500 BC
Here it is important to say that ONLY Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is listed as one of the Wonder and not all three. The monument was built by the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu of the Fourth Dynasty around the year 2560 BC to serve as a tomb when he dies.
When it was built, the Great pyramid was 145.75 m (481 ft) high. Over the years, it lost 10 m (30 ft) off its top. It ranked as the tallest structure on Earth for more than 43 centuries, only to be surpassed in height in the nineteenth century AD. It was covered with a casing of stones to smooth its surface.
New theories concerning the origin and purpose of the Pyramids of Giza have been proposed… Astronomic observatories… Places of cult worship… Geometric structures constructed by a long-gone civilization… Even extraterrestrial-related theories have been proposed with little evidence in support… The overwhelming scientific and historic evidence still supports the conclusion that, like many smaller pyramids in the region, the Great Pyramids were built by the great Ancient Egyptian civilization off the West bank of the Nile as tombs for their magnificent Kings… Tombs where Khufu, Khefre, and Menkaure could start their mystic journey to the afterlife.
2.Hanging Gardens of Semiramis in Babylon 600 BC
Fruits and flowers… Waterfalls… Gardens hanging from the palace terraces… Exotic animals… This is the picture of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in most people’s minds. It may be surprising to know that they might have never existed except in the minds of Greek poets and historians! Sadly we’ll never know that for sure. While the most descriptive accounts of the Gardens come from Greek historians such as Berossus and Diodorus Siculus, Babylonian records stay silent on the matter. Tablets from the time of Nebuchadnezzar do not have a single reference to the Hanging Gardens, although descriptions of his palace, the city of Babylon, and the walls are found. Even the historians who give detailed descriptions of the Hanging Gardens never saw them. Modern historians argue that when Alexander’s soldiers reached the fertile land of Mesopotamia and saw Babylon, they were impressed. When they later returned to their rugged homeland, they had stories to tell about the amazing gardens and palm trees at Mesopotamia.. About the palace of Nebuchadnezzar.. About the Tower of Babel and the ziggurats. And it was the imagination of poets and ancient historians that blended all these elements together to produce one of the World Wonders.
3.Temple of Artemis at Ephesus 550 BC
Although the foundation of the temple dates back to the seventh century BC, the structure that earned a spot in the list of Wonders was built around 550 BC. Referred to as the great marble temple, or temple D. The temple served as both a marketplace and a religious institution. For years, the sanctuary was visited by merchants, tourists, artisans, and kings who paid homage to the goddess by sharing their profits with her. Recent archeological excavations at the site revealed gifts from pilgrims including statuettes of Artemis made of gold and ivory… earrings, bracelets, and necklaces… artifacts from as far as Persia and India.
On the night of 21 July 356 BC, a man named Herostratus burned the temple to ground in an attempt to immortalize his name, which he did indeed. Oddly enough, Alexander the Great was born the same night. The historian Plutarch later wrote that the goddess was “too busy taking care of the birth of Alexander to send help to her threatened temple”. And when Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor, he offered to rebuild the destroyed temple, but the Temple was not restored until after his death in 323 BC.
4.Statue of Zeus at Olympia 435 BC
The ancient Greek calendar starts in 776 BC, for the Olympic games are believed to have started that year. The magnificent temple of Zeus was designed by the architect Libon and was built around 450 BC. Under the growing power of ancient Greece, the simple Doric-style temple seemed too mundane, and modifications were needed. The solution: the Athenian sculptor Pheidias was assigned for the “sacred” task.
Statue occupied the whole width of the aisle of the temple that was built to house it, and was 40 feet (12 meters) tall. It has been 5th-6th centuries AD presumed destroyed by fire or earthquake.
5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus 351 BC
Similar to the Great Pyramid, we are now visiting the burial place of an ancient king. Yet the Mausoleum is different – so different from the Pyramid that it earned its reputation – and a spot within the list – for other reasons. Geographically, it is closer to the Temple of Artemis… And it was the beauty of the tomb rather than its size that fascinated its visitors for years.
It is located in the city of Bodrum (f.k.a. Halicarnassus) on the Aegean Sea, in south-west Turkey. From 377 to 353 BC, king Mausollos of Caria reigned and moved his capital to Halicarnassus. Nothing is exciting about Maussollos life except the construction of his tomb. The project was conceived by his wife and sister Artemisia, and the construction might have started during the king’s lifetime. The Mausoleum was completed around 350 BC, three years after Maussollos death.
The word mausoleum has since come to be used generically for any grand tomb, though “Mausol – eion” originally meant “[building] dedicated to Mausolus
6. Colossus of Rhodes 292-280 BC
From its building to its destruction lies a time span of merely 56 years. Yet the colossus earned a place in the famous list of Wonders. “But even lying on the ground, it is a marvel”, said Pliny the Elder. The Colossus of Rhodes was not only a gigantic statue. It was rather a symbol of unity of the people who inhabited that beautiful Mediterranean island — Rhodes.
The construction of the Colossus took 12 years and was finished in 282 BC. For years, the statue stood at the harbor entrance, until a strong earthquake hit Rhodes about 226 BC. The city was badly damaged, and the Colossus was broken at its weakest point — the knee. The Rhodians received an immediate offer from Ptolemy III Eurgetes of Egypt to cover all restoration costs for the toppled monument. However, an oracle was consulted and forbade the re-erection. Ptolemy’s offer was declined.
7. Lighthouse of Alexandria 3rd century BC
Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one had a practical use in addition to its architectural elegance: The Lighthouse of Alexandria. For sailors, it ensured a safe return to the Great Harbor. For architects, it meant even more: it was the tallest building on Earth. And for scientists, it was the mysterious mirror that fascinated them most… The mirror which reflection could be seen more than 50 km (35 miles) off-shore. The project was conceived and initiated by Ptolemy Soter around 290 BC, but was completed after his death. For centuries, the Lighthouse of Alexandria (occasionally referred to as the Pharos Lighthouse) was used to mark the harbor, using fire at night and reflecting sun rays during the day. It was even shown on Roman coins, just as famous monuments are depicted on currency today.
When the Arabs conquered Egypt, they admired Alexandria and its wealth. The Lighthouse continues to be mentioned in their writings and travelers accounts. But the new rulers moved their capital to Cairo since they had no ties to the Mediterranean. When the mirror was brought down mistakenly, they did not restore it back into place. In AD 956, an earthquake shook Alexandria, and caused little damage to the Lighthouse. It was later in 1303 and in 1323 that two stronger earthquakes left a significant impression on the structure.
And that would be Seven Wonders of Ancient World.
Now we’ll continue the list with the New Seven Wonders
8. (1.) Chichen Itza, Yucatán, Mexico
Chichen Itza was a major regional center in the northern Maya lowlands. The Maya name “Chich’en Itza” means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza “. Chichén Itzá, the most famous Mayan temple city, served as the political and economic center of the Mayan civilization. Its various structures – the pyramid of Kukulkan, the Temple of Chac Mool, the Hall of the Thousand Pillars, and the Playing Field of the Prisoners – can still be seen today and are demonstrative of an extraordinary commitment to architectural space and composition. The pyramid itself was the last, and arguably the greatest, of all Mayan temples.
9. (2.) Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Located atop the Corcovado Mountain at a height of 710 meters, the statue of Christ the Redeemer is certainly one of the world’s best known and most visited monuments. The statue represents Jesus standing with outstretched, welcoming arms and is one of the most famous symbols of this lively city.
The entire monument is 38m high with the statue accounting for 30m, the span from finger tip to fingertip is 28m and there is a small chapel housed in the base. As a vantage point it offers superb views of downtown Rio de Janeiro, the bay, Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. The monument was inaugurated on the day of Our Lady of Aparecida, 12 Oct 1931 by then President Getúlio Vargas and cardinal Dom Sebastião Leme .
The original design was done by a Brazilian, named Heitor da Silva Costa. He was also the engineer in charge of the construction. He shared the project with French sculptor Paul Landowski. It was built from 1926 to 1931, with funds raised from donations. There’s a chapel for 150 people on the base of the statue.
10. (3.) Great Wall, China
The Great Wall of China is a Chinese fortification built from the 3rd century BC until the beginning of the 17th century, in order to protect the various dynasties from raids by Hunnic, Mongol, Turkic and other nomadic tribes coming from areas in modern-day Mongolia and Manchuria. Several walls were built since the 3rd century BC, the most famous being the Great Wall of China built between 220 BC and 200 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. The Great Wall is the world’s longest man-made structure, stretching over a formidable 6,352 kilometer, from Shanghai Pass on the Bohai Sea in the east, at the limit between “China proper” and Manchuria (Northeast China), to Lop Nur in the southeastern portion of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Along most of its arc, it roughly delineates the border between North China and Inner Mongolia.
Mao Zedong had a saying: “You’re not a real man if you haven’t climbed the Great Wall”.
(you should read Binu by Su Tong and his version of the myth how the wall was erected)
11. (4.) Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Perú
The legendary ‘Lost City of Machu Picchu’ is without a doubt the most important tourist attraction in Peru and one of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites. Machu Picchu was constructed around 1450, at the height of the Inca empire, and was abandoned less than 100 years later, as the empire collapsed under Spanish conquest. Although the citadel is located only about 50 miles from Cusco, the Inca capital, it was never found and destroyed by the Spanish, as were many other Inca sites. Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew to enshroud the site, and few knew of its existence. In 1911, Yale historian and explorer Hiram Bingham brought the “lost” city to the world’s attention. Bingham and others hypothesized that the citadel was the traditional birthplace of the Inca people or the spiritual center of the “virgins of the sun,” while curators of a recent exhibit have speculated that Machu Picchu was a royal retreat.
t is thought that the site was chosen for its unique location and geological features. It is said that the silhouette of the mountain range behind Machu Picchu represents the face of the Inca looking upward towards the sky, with the largest peak, Huayna Picchu (meaning Young Peak), representing his pierced nose.
I’ve mention Virgins of the Sun, I shall write about one of my favourite Virgin of the Sun, Yma Sumac.
12. (5.) Petra, Jordan
Petra is considered the most famous and gorgeous site in Jordan located about 262 km south of Amman and 133 km north of Aqaba. It is the legacy of the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2000 years ago. Admired then for its refined culture, massive architecture and ingenious complex of dams and water channels. The approach through a kilometer long, cool, and gloom chasm (or Siq) a long narrow gorge whose steeply rising sides all but obliterate the sun, provides a dramatic contrast with the magic to come. Suddenly the gorge opens into a natural square dominated by Petra’s most famous monument, The Treasury (El-Khazneh), whose intricately carved facade glows in the dazzling sun.
The Petra basin boasts over 800 individual monuments, including buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, and colonnaded streets, that were mostly carved from the kaleidoscopic sandstone by the technical and artistic genius of its inhabitants.
Petra sights are at their best in early morning and late afternoon, when the sun warms the multicolored stones, you can view the majesty of Petra as it was seen first when discovered in 1812 after being lost by the 16th century for almost 300 years!
13. (6.) Roman Colosseum, Rome, Italy
The Colosseum, which stands near the center of present-day Rome, is perhaps the finest surviving example of ancient Roman architectural engineering. One of the most famous ruins in the world, thousands of tourists visit it every year.
The Colosseum is shaped like a modern football stadium and could seat 45,000 spectators. The four-story facility is 161 feet high, about 600 feet long and 500 feet wide. Events such as fights between gladiators and between men and wild animals were held there. Awnings could be hung from the walls to protect spectators from the sun.
The oval-shaped, sand-covered floor of the arena originally could be flooded for water spectacles. Later, however, cages for people and animals were installed beneath the arena. A wall separated the arena from spectators whose seats rested on sloping concrete supports as in many stadiums today.
Construction of the Colosseum started during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, who ruled from A.D. 69 to 79. Construction was completed in A.D. 80.
bonus (7.) Taj Mahal, Agra India
Taj Mahal stands on the bank of River Yamuna, which otherwise serves as a wide moat defending the Great Red Fort of Agra, the center of the Mughal emperors until they moved their capital to Delhi in 1637. It was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess. She died while accompanying her husband in Burhanpur in a campaign to crush a rebellion after giving birth to their 14th child. The death so crushed the emperor that all his hair and beard were said to have grown snow white in a few months.
When Mumtaz Mahal was still alive, she extracted four promises from the emperor: first, that he build the Taj; second, that he should marry again; third, that he be kind to their children; and fourth, that he visit the tomb on her death anniversary. He kept the first and second promises. Construction began in 1631 and was completed in 22 years. Twenty thousand people were deployed to work on it. The material was brought in from all over India and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to transport it to the site. It was designed by the Iranian architect Ustad Isa and it is best appreciated when the architecture and its adornments are linked to the passion that inspired it. It is a “symbol of eternal love”.
bonus#2 (8.) The Pyramids of Giza
Three Pyramids of Giza as the only remaining Wonder Of Ancient World are Honorary Candidate and has been removed from voting. This is the only right decision because it sounds absolutely absurd to even consider any doubts about them as one of the most amazing monument of human civilization. Or imagine that Statue of Liberty in NYC or Opera in Sidney win over Pyramids of Giza. That would be true embarrassment of our generations. Of course many will say that this whole voting is absurd but lets look this from brighter side: there are so many people who will (sadly) hear about these amazing places for the first time.