Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Abraj Al-Bait Towers – Saudi Arabia, Asia

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The Abraj Al-Bait Towers, also known as the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower, is a building complex in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The complex holds several world records, including the tallest hotel in the world, the tallest clock tower in the world, the world’s largest clock face, and the world’s largest building floor area. The complex’s hotel tower will become the second tallest building in the world upon its completion in 2011, surpassed only by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. The building complex is meters away from the world’s largest mosque and Islam’s most sacred site, the Masjid al Haram. The developer and contractor of the complex is the Saudi Binladin Group, the Kingdom’s largest construction company.
The tallest tower in the complex stands as the tallest building in Saudi Arabia, and the tallest and largest hotel in the world, with a height of 601 metres (1,972 feet). It is the fourth tallest building under construction. Upon its official opening the structure would surpass Dubai International Airport having the largest floor area of any structure in the world with 1,500,000 m2 (16,150,000 sq ft) of floorspace. It will also surpass the Emirates Park Towers in Dubai as the world’s tallest hotel. Read the rest of this entry

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Burj Khalifa – United Arab Emirates, Asia

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Burj Khalifa (“Khalifa Tower”), known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is currently the tallest structure in the world, at 829.84 m (2,723 ft). Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. The building officially opened on 4 January 2010, and is part of the new 2 km2 (490-acre) flagship development called Downtown Dubai at the ‘First Interchange’ along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai’s main business district. The tower’s architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago, with Adrian Smith as chief architect, and Bill Baker as chief structural engineer. The primary contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea. Read the rest of this entry

Lima – Peru, South America

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Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population fast approaching 9 million, Lima is the fifth largest city in Latin America, behind Mexico City, São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Lima is home to one of the largest financial hubs in Latin America. It has been defined as a beta world city by GaWC international ranking.
Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as la Ciudad de los Reyes, or “the City of Kings”. It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru. Today, around one-third of the Peruvian population lives in the metropolitan area. Read the rest of this entry

Chicago – USA, North America

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Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the USA, after New York City and Los Angeles. Its metropolitan area, sometimes called “Chicagoland,” is the third largest in the United States,[4][5][6] the largest in the Great Lakes Megalopolis, and the 27th most populous urban agglomeration in the world, with an estimated 9.8 million people in the three US states of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States, after Los Angeles County, California.
Chicago was incorporated as a town in 1833, near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. Today, the city retains its status as a major hub for industry, telecommunications and infrastructure, with O’Hare International Airport being the second busiest airport in the world in terms of traffic movements. Read the rest of this entry

Florence – Italy, Europe

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Florence (Italian: Firenz, alternate obsolete form: Fiorenza; Latin: Florentia) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with c. 370,000 inhabitants (1,500,000 in the metropolitan area).
The city lies on the River Arno; it is known for its history and its importance in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, especially for its art and architecture and, more generally, for its cultural heritage. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance; it has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. A turbulent political history included periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, religious and republican revolution. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy. Read the rest of this entry

Monte Carlo – Monaco, Europe

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Monte Carlo (French: Monte-Carlo, Occitan: Montcarles, Monégasque: Monte-Carlu) is an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco.
Monte Carlo is widely known for its casino and its prominence. The permanent population is about 15,000 in Quarter. Monte Carlo quarter includes not only Monte Carlo proper where the Le Grand Casino is located, it also includes the neighbourhoods of Saint-Michel, Saint-Roman/Tenao, and the beach community of Larvotto. It is also one of Monaco’s 10 wards, with a population of 3,500. It borders the French town of Beausoleil (sometimes referred to as Monte-Carlo-Supérieur).
The “Monte Carlo” name is of Italian origin, meaning the “Mount of Charles” named after the Prince Charles III of Monaco during the time of his reign. Read the rest of this entry

Milan – Italy, Europe

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Milan (Italian: Milano) is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza (created in 2004 splitting the northern part from the province of Milan itself), is one of Europe’s largest with an estimated population of over 4 million spread over 1,980 km2 (764.48 sq mi), with a consequent population density of more than 2,000 inhabitants/km².The growth of many suburbs and satellite settlements around the city proper following the great economic boom of the 1950s–60s and massive commuting flows suggest that socioeconomic linkages have expanded well beyond the boundaries of the city proper and its agglomeration, creating a metropolitan area of 7.4 million population expanded all over the central section of Lombardy region. It has been suggested that the Milan metropolitan area is part of the so-called Blue Banana, the area of Europe with the highest population and industrial density. Read the rest of this entry

Sofia – Bulgaria, Europe

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Sofia (Bulgarian: София, Sofiya) is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and is ranked as a Beta- world city.
Prehistoric settlements were excavated in the centre of the present city, near the royal palace, as well as in outer districts such as Slatina and Obelya. The well-preserved town walls (especially their substructures) from antiquity date back before the 7th century BC, when Thracians established their city next to the most important and highly respected mineral spring, still functioning today. Sofia has had several names in the different periods of its existence, and remnants from the city’s past can still be seen today alongside modern landmarks. Its ancient name, Serdica, derives from the local Celtic tribe of the serdi who inhabited the region since the 1st century BC. Read the rest of this entry

Kraków – Poland, Europe

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Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow, is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life and is one of Poland’s most important economic hubs. It was the capital of Poland from 1038 to 1596; the capital of the Grand Duchy of Kraków from 1846 to 1918; and the capital of Kraków Voivodeship from the 14th century to 1999. It is now the capital of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship.
The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland’s second most important city. It began as a hamlet on Wawel Hill and was already being reported as a busy trading centre of Slavonic Europe in 965. With the establishment of new universities and cultural venues at the emergence of the Second Polish Republic and throughout the 20th century, Kraków reaffirmed its role as a major national academic and artistic centre. The city has a population of approximately 760,000 whereas about 8 million people live within a 100 km radius of its main square. Read the rest of this entry

Bremen – Germany, Europe

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The City Municipality of Bremen (German: Stadtgemeinde Bremen) is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area (2.4 million people). Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.

Bremen is some 60 km (37 mi) south from the Weser mouth on the North Sea. With Bremerhaven right on the mouth the two comprise the state of Bremen (official name: Freie Hansestadt Bremen – Free Hanseatic City of Bremen).

  • Many of the sights in Bremen are found in the Altstadt (Old Town), an oval area surrounded by the Weser River, on the southwest, and the Wallgraben, the former moats of the medieval city walls, on the northeast. The oldest part of the Altstadt is the southeast half, starting with the Marktplatz and ending at the Schnoor quarter.
  • The Marktplatz (Market square) is dominated by the opulent façade of the Town Hall of Bremen. The building was erected between 1405 and 1410 in Gothic style, but the façade was built two centuries later (1609–12) in Renaissance style. The Town Hall is the seat of the President of the Senate of Bremen. Today, it hosts a restaurant in original decor with gigantic wine barrels, the Ratskeller in Bremen, and the wine lists boasts more than 600 — exclusively German — wines. It is also home of the twelve oldest wines in the world, stored in their original barrels in the Apostel chamber. In July 2004, along with the Bremen Roland, the building was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Read the rest of this entry