The beauty of Islamic Architecture: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

6887385701_2d45b51b77_bNo building captures the true essence of Islamic architecture like a mosque. There are many beautiful mosques in the world including The Great Mosque of Mecca, The Blue Mosque, Faisal Mosque, Imam Reza Shrine and many more…. one of these is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque located in Abu Dhabi. It is the largest and the most beautiful mosque in United Arab Emirates.27635789125_c851b6825d_bHistory: The construction on the mosque started in 1996 by the late and great president of UAE Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan. The mosque was completed in December 2007. It took about $545 Million to complete the construction. The materials were imported from different parts of the world: crystals, marble, stones, ceramics and all other materials were imported from more than 15 countries. Almost 3000 artisans from all over the world helped to shape one of the most beautiful mosques in the world.Water_mirror_and_columns_in_Sheikh_Zayed_MosqueFeatures Of The Mosque: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque holds a number of different records including the world’s largest carpet which was imported from Iran. The carpet is made from wool and was designed by a popular Iranian artist by the name of Ali Khaliqi. The carpet weights a total of 35. To enhance the beauty of the mosque seven chandeliers have also been imported from Germany. The mosque can accommodate around 41000 worshippers at a single time. You can spot the mosque from miles away due to its wonderfully constructed minarets. The mosque has a total of 4 minarets. Domes are a big part of Islamic architecture and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has a total of 82 domes which is one of the many unique features of the mosque. There is also a special area in the mosque for female worshippers. It can hold up to 1500 female worshippers at any given time.Inner_court_yard_of_Shekh_Zayed_MosqueMillions of people visit the mosque every year including celebrities and royalty. It is necessary for everyone to wear modest clothes. Both men and women should never wear revealing clothes while visiting the mosque. You can also sign up for a free guided tour of the mosque. If you are visiting the mosque then you should definitely sign up for the guided tour. It will help you learn about the history and magnificence of the mosque. If you forgot to bring your modest clothes with you then don’t worry. You can get Abayas and robes from the mosque which you can return upon exiting the mosque. Other than modest dressing, you have to take off your show before entering this spectacular landmark.inside-the-abu-dhabi-mosque-united-arab-emirates-uaeSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a jaw dropping site to visit. It is one of the most beautiful places in UAE. Like millions of other people, you can also visit the mosque free of cost. The mosque can entertain thousands of tourists at any given time however it starts to get crowded near important Islamic events like Eid and Ramadan.   Sheikh_Zayed_Grand_Mosque_Interior

Cui Jie and the Collision of Sound and Art

From a very early age, Cui Jie was obviously a very gifted artist, and she continues to develop her style now that she is in her mid-30’s. Jie was born in Shanghai, China and eventually ended up studying and honing her craft at the China Academy of Art in the Oil Painting Department. While she now lives in Beijing, China, she is not a total unknown to the Western world, with the Wall Street Journal going as far as to describe her as one of “China’s rising art stars.”guyv7Over the years, the style and subject matter of Jie’s work has changed a little, with her latest work perhaps being the most intriguing. She has spoken about synesthesia, which is essentially when people see a color when they hear a specific sound. She is looking at introducing that idea into her current way of working as opposed to going off on a totally different tangent to explore the connection between sound and visuals. tgbjkh6People unfamiliar with the work that Jie delivers may be interested to hear about how she comes up with her ideas. The art for which she is best known involves looking at sculptures and buildings within the parts of China where she has lived and worked, and then creating a painting of those structures, but from a very different viewpoint than what you would get from looking at them at street level. She often talks about the texture and surfaces of the structures and buildings in question, but rather than taking a hands-on approach, Jie will let the reflections off these surfaces, and the feelings and emotions they invoke, guide her once she decides to put paint to canvas. kbyu7The end result of this truly Modernist approach to art are pieces that are stunning to look at. With your first look, you can clearly see the sculptures and buildings as separate pieces, but the more you look, the more they seem to merge and become one and the same. There is a familiarity there, especially for those who have been to those cities and seen the subjects, yet you also feel as though you are viewing these pieces from an angle that you couldn’t get to in the real world. CaptureJIe is of the belief that architecture experiences the passing of time in much the same way as humans do, so she sees here take on the structures that she uses in her art as a way of re-shaping that history. It’s an incredibly exciting concept that very much shines through in every piece that she creates. Given her past, we can certainly expect her to start incorporating new styles and techniques in the future, which is a truly exciting thought for lovers of her art.    ygvy6

Lake Titicaca: where spectacular landscapes and cultures unite

Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world. It’s large enough to contain both natural islands, farmed in the same way for centuries, as well as artificial ones.lake-titicaca-floating-islandTiticaca has an elevation of more than 12,500 feet above sea level, an altitude so high visitors can at first find it difficult to catch their breath. On the border between Peru and Bolivia, the lake lies high in the Andes Mountains, providing incredible panoramic views of snow-clad mountains by day and superb opportunities for star gazing at night because of the thin atmosphere and lack of light pollution.3776984006_1f782fcc23_bBut Lake Titicaca gets its status as a visually-stunning location due to the very humble totora reeds that grow in the lake’s shallows. Not only do these reeds provide nesting opportunities for a variety of bird species, including the flightless Titicaca grebe, but they have also been integral to human habitation of the area.guitgkInca ruins can be found on many of the lake’s natural islands, reached by reed boats found nowhere else. However the Uru people went one further, and created whole islands from the reeds. Initially constructed in pre-Colombian times to protect the Uru from attack, the largest of these islands are just half the size of a football field.Lake_Titicaca_on_the_Andes_from_Bolivia They contain at least one reed-built structure housing an extended family, while some also incorporated watchtowers constructed from the reeds. Traditionally, they would be found far out in the center of the lake, up to ten miles from shore, but are often now much closer to the shallows. Sixty or so remain, housing 1200 Uru people who hunt and fish in a traditional way as well as making textiles for visitors.Lake_Titicaca_-_Road_to_Bolivia_(8385839315)So important are textiles to the region that another tribe, the Taquile, have been awarded intangible heritage status by UNESCO for them. Local wool is formed into yarn by the women of the community and then knitted into textiles solely by its men.