The Grevin Wax Museum in Paris is located on the Grands Boulevards on the right bank of the Seine. The museum was founded in 1882 by Arthur Meyer, a journalist for ‘Le Gaulois’, the French daily newspaper. It was named after Alfred Grevin the first art director of ‘Le Gaulois’ and a caricaturist. He was best known for his caricatures of contemporary Parisian women. He was also a sculptor, cartoonist and designed costumes and sets for the popular theater.
It is one of the oldest wax museums in Europe. It also houses a hall of mirrors and a theater for magic shows. It contains more than 450 characters arranged in scenes from the history of France and modern life including a panorama of French history from Charlemagne to Napoleon III, bloody scenes of French Revolution, movie stars, and international figures… You will also see the wax statues of Mahatma Gandhi and Shah Rukh Khan. Please do not miss the scene with Quasimodo and Esmeralda and Mother Theresa with Pope.
There is also a section, which demonstrates the making of the wax statues. When in Paris, this museum is a must visit.
Situated near the massive peaks of the Aiguilles Rouges and Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix is one of the oldest ski resorts in France and is known as the “gateway to the European Cascades”. The north side of the summit of Mont Blanc, and therefore the summit itself are part of the village of Chamonix. Chamonix commune is well known among skiers and mountain enthusiasts. It is very near the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy. The River Arve which originates from the northern side of the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps flows through Chamonix. It receives water from the many glaciers of Chamonix valley, mainly the Mer de Glace.
We checked in to Hotel Alpina for a night which is right in the center of Chamonix. Even though it was a poorly maintained hotel their restaurant at the top floor was really nice with a wonderful view of the snow caped mountains from the balcony.
While in Chamonix, the absolute must see attractions are visiting Mont-Blanc and Aiguille du Midi peaks and Mer de Glace or Sea of Ice Glacier (the largest glacier in France). The nostalgic red cog railway to Montenvers will take you to the top of the Aiguille du Midi mountain peak (at 3842 meters) for an unforgettable view of the Alps. The railway station is hardly ten minutes away from the city center. A small cable car allows visitors to descend from the train station onto the Mer de Glace glacier where they can enter a manmade ice grotto. The ice grotto is cut into the living glacier
The gallery of Crystals features a collection of the finest crystal specimens in the Mont Blanc massif.
The Museum of Alpine Fauna has an interesting display of many of the local birds and animals that you can expect to see in the area like chamois, ibex, marmots, foxes, pheasants, grouse etc.
Hotel du Montenvers, built in 1880 is an integral part of Chamonix. It was renovated in 2003 but still retains its rustic charm. The restaurant serves a variety of traditional dishes.
The mountain was the scene of two fatal air crashes… In 1950 Air India Flight 245 (Bombay-Istanbul-Geneva-London) with 48 passengers, including crew, crashed into Mont Blanc as the pilot miscalculated the descent killing all the passengers.
In January 1966 another Air India flight Boeing 707, named Kanchenjunga crashed into Mont Blanc. After leaving Bombay, it had made two scheduled stops at Delhi and Beirut and was en route to another stop at Geneva when flown into Mont Blanc killing 106 passengers and 11crew. One of the passengers was Dr. Homi Jehangir Bhabha the chairman of Indian Atomic Energy Commission.
Burj Khalifa or “Khalifa Tower” is a mega tall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is the tallest structure in the world standing at 829.8m. The construction of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004, with the exterior completed in 2009. The building was opened in 2010. It is designed to be the centerpiece of large-scale, mixed use development. The decision to build a building of such proportion was for Dubai to gain international recognition. The building was named in honor of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalif bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The building broke numerous height records, including its designation as the tallest tower in the world.
Burj Khalifa was designed by Adrian Smith of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Hyder consulting was chosen to be the supervising engineer with NORR Group Consultants International Limited chosen to supervise the architecture of the project.
“At the Top”
The major attraction of the tower is the outdoor observation deck named “At the Top” opened on 5th January 2010 at the 124th floor. From the observation deck you can have an awe inspiring aerial view of Dubai. At 452 meter it was the highest observation deck in the world and the highest outdoor observation deck in the world when it opened. Although it was surpassed in December 2011 by Cloud Top 488 on the Canton Tower at 488m, Burj Khalifa opend the 148th floor SKY level at 555 m, once again giving it the highest observation deck in the world on 15 October 2014. The below pictures were taken by me from “At the Top” during my visit in May-2010. Visitors are able to purchase the tickets online in advance for a specific date and time and at a discounted rate over tickets purchased on the spot.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The mosque was initiated by the late president of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted to establish a structure which unites the cultural diversity of Islamic world, the historical and modern values of architecture and art. His final resting place is located on the grounds besides the same mosque. The mosque was constructed from 1996 to 2007. The mosque complex covers an area of around 30 acers exclusive of exterior landscaping and vehicle parking. It is the country’s key place of worship for Friday gathering and Eid prayers.
The Grand Mosque’s design and construction “unites the world” by using artisans and materials from many countries including India, Italy, Germany, Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Republic of Macedonia and United Arab Emirates. More than 3,000 workers and 38 renowned contracting companies took part in the construction of the mosque. Natural materials were chosen for much of its design and construction due to their long lasting qualities, including marble stone, gold, semi-precious stone, crystals and ceramics. It was built by the Italian company Impregilo. The design of the mosque was inspired by Persian, Mughal and Moorish mosque architecture, particularly the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan and the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco being direct influences. Grand Mosque’s design was a fusion of Arab, Persian, Mughal and Moorish architecture.
The carpet in the main prayer hall is considered to be the world’s largest carpet made by Iran’s prayer hall is considered to be the world’s largest carpet made by Iran’s Carpet Company and designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi. This carpet measures 60,570 square feet and was made by around 1,200 – 1,300 carpet knotters and took approximately 2 years to complete. The weight of this carpet is 35 ton and is predominantly made from wool originating from New Zealand and Iran.
The seven chandeliers were made by Faustig in Munich, Germany that incorporate millions of Swarovski crystals. The largest chandelier is the second largest known chandelier inside a mosque, the third largest in the world and has a 10 m diameter and 15 m height.
The 96 columns in the main prayer hall are clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl. The 99 names (qualities or attributes) of Allah are featured on the Qibla wall in traditional Kufic calligraphy is designed by the prominent UAE calligrapher, Mohammed Mandi Al Tamimi.