Wat Rong Khun: The mesmerizing White Temple of Chiang Rai

There is a temple in Thailand, in the Chiang Rai Province that stands out from all other temples in the country. This stunning architectural masterpiece is known as the Wat Rong Khun and it was built by the artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. His intention was to build a temple where people can practice meditation and learn about Buddha and his teaching. All around the world is dubbed as The White Temple because it is built from white plaster mixed with thousand little glass pieces inside that sparkle in the sun. 1024px-Chiang_Rai_Thailand_Wat-Rong-Khun-02 1280px-Chiang_Rai_Thailand_Wat-Rong-Khun-01 It is different from the other Thai temples first of all because it’s white and not golden like it should be traditionally, and it was built by an artist who used his own imagination to create his own visual understanding of the Buddha teachings. To date, the temple is not finished and Kositpipat is still adding parts to make it even more stunning. It is considered more like an art exhibit because there are so many unusual things to be seen inside and around the temple which make the visitors’ tour even more interesting. 1024px-020_Disciple_(9214657134)Chiang_Rai_-_Wat_Rong_Khun_-_0002The main building is known as the ubosot and it can be reached by crossing a bridge installed upon a small lake. The bridge is dubbed as the cycle of rebirth and in front of it is one of the most bizarre art pieces in the place. Hundreds of hands are reaching out trying to grab something. This piece represents the suffering souls in hell who were greedy during their lifetime. After crossing this remarkable scene the visitors stand in front of the ubosot and have to cross the “Gate of Heaven” to enter. 006_Purgatory_(9214719914)Wat_Rong_Khun_o_el_Templo_blanco_de_Chiang_Rai,_Tailanda._(17199615247)The most unexpected and fun part begins when they go inside. There are many murals that depict famous people and fantasy characters. Michael Jackson, Harry Potter, Neo from The Matrix, Captain Jack Sparrow, Hello Kitty, Elvis, Superman, and even Freddy Krueger are gathered together on the walls which makes the temple even more unusual. Kositpipat decided to add his favorite characters in the temple because they are also a part of who he is. His plan is to add more buildings around so they will be nine when he finishes the place completely. One of the planned buildings will be reserved for Buddhist monks who can use it whenever they come to visit the Chiang Rai Province.1024px-025_Dragons_(9214634354) 1024px-White_Temple_IOn 5th May 2014, the temple was damaged by an earthquake and Kositpipat wanted to close it indefinitely for safety reasons. But, after a team of engineers came to inspect the place and confirmed that the structure was not that damaged from the quake, he continued with work as before. Some buildings are still not open to the public like the ubosot, but the owner allows visitors to come and see it from the outside. Hopefully, he will finish his project as planned and it will be even more exciting to visit.White_Temple_III
images: commons.wikimedia.org

The Dancing House: The most unusual office building in Prague

There is a movement in the postmodern architecture known as deconstructivism. It is a very unique style that in some way combines architecture with abstract art. This is because of the absence of symmetry and harmony in the shape of the buildings which became very popular in the past 30 years.800px-The_Dancing_House_in_Prague  In Prague, a building was made in this style which is known as The Dancing House. It was designed by the architects Vlado Milunić and the famous Frank Gehry. The construction started in 1992 and it was finished in 1996. In that time, it was a surprise for the people of Prague to see that kind of building that literally popped out from every other building in the city. It is a single construction of that kind that over the years became a very popular tourist attraction.1024px-Dancing_house_windowsThe Dancing House sets on a property of a previous building that was destroyed in 1945 during the bombing of Prague. Until 1960, it set in ruins and there were no architectural plans for that space. After 30 years, the land next to the building was owned by Václav Havel who was a very popular leader in the country. When he became the president of Czechoslovakia, Milunic came to him with the idea and his plan was gladly accepted. Havel always wanted to do something creative with that space and was hoping that with this unusual building he will attract many tourists along the Vltava river. Dancing_house_green_lightThe house was originally named Fred and Ginger after the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The shape resembles the two dancers holding each other, the curved shape of it represents the female and the other column represents the male. It was named by Gehry who later requested that the name should be changed because he didn’t want Prague to have a building that was inspired by Hollywood famous film couple but instead to have a name chosen by the citizens of the city. The name Dancing House still stands as an inspiration from Gehry’s idea because the shape really looks like a dancing couple.Prag_–_Das_Tanzende_Haus_-_Fred_und_Ginger_-_Tančící_dům_-_Fred_a_Ginger_-_panoramio1024px-Dancing_House_(7154386345)This magnificent structure is located in the center of Prague, on Resslova Street next to the Vltava River which is very close to the metro station Karlovo Námesti. The top floor is the only one open to the public where visitors can enjoy the magnificent view of the city from the Ginger and Fred Restaurant. The other floors are mainly offices which make the Dancing House the most fascinating post-modern office building in the country.Prague_1,_Czech_Republic_-_panoramio_(62)

A one-men project: The Bishop Castle in Colorado is the largest self-built castle in America

A 15 years old boy decided to save money in order to buy a land where he can build a cottage for him and his family. He found a little place on a mountainside in Colorado and single-handedly started to build his dream house. The small cottage that the boy built was surrounded by rocks which gave an impression to the locals that the place looks like a castle. Little time was needed for the boy to really decide to take their opinion for granted.450px-CastilloBishop2Jim Bishop is working on his fortress for over 50 years now and with every little new addition, he makes the place looks even more magical. At first glance, the castle looks like it comes out of a fairy tale because of the medieval style and the three large cathedral windows. Throughout the years, many people promised to help him with materials and building but they were just empty promises because no one ever showed up which made Bishop’s decision even more firmly to build everything by himself. When asked, he often calls his home “a monument to hardworking people”. castillo castle image 2He gathered thousands of rocks from the San Isabel forest nearby and built a fortress so high that the top peeks out above the trees of the mountain. According to BishopCastle.org, there are three full stories and many little bridges around the whole castle. One of the most fascinating is the Fire-Breathing Dragon in which Bishop installed a burner from a hot-air balloon so that it resembles a real dragon placed on top of the front part of the castle.castillo castle image 3This just proves a point, that if you really want to make a dream come true in life, you have to work hard to make it happen. But, all great accomplishments have their downsides throughout the process. Bishop struggled with the Washington bureaucrats for over 40 years because of the stones that he used from the national forest. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer and decided to make his friend David Merrill the future keeper of the castle. But, it turns out that Merrill is trying to make many changes to the place that Bishop never approved.450px-Vistainterior3castillo castle imageThe castle is always open to the public for free and there was no need for someone to try to make it even more attractive for tourists because it is stunning as it is. Unfortunately, Bishop is still trying to stop Merrill from making further decisions for the place but we can hope that this remarkable monument will stay the same because every person in Pueblo is on Bishop’s side. However, Bishop is still building and has no intentions to stop. Tourists from all over the U.S. come to see the castle and most of them meet with Bishop who when asked why he decided to build it he replies that he always wanted to have a castle and believes that every man wants one for himself.   lossy-page1-800px-thumbnail.tif