Monthly Archives: December 2011

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree – USA, North America

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The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a large Christmas tree placed annually in Rockefeller Center in mid-town Manhattan in New York City. The tree is erected and lit in late November or early December. In recent years, the lighting has been broadcast live nationwide on NBC’s Christmas in Rockefeller Center show. The tree, usually a Norway spruce 69 to 100 feet (21 to 30 m) tall, has been put up every year since 1933. In 2011, the 74-foot (23 m) tree will be lit on November 30 and remain until January 6, 2012.
Many Rockefeller trees were given to Rockefeller Center by donors. Read the rest of this entry

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Bryce Canyon Natioanl Park – USA, North America

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Bryce Canyon National Park is a national park located in southwestern Utah in the United States. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon which, despite its name, is not a canyon but a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by wind, water, and ice erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m).
The Bryce area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. Read the rest of this entry

Plympic Stadium – Canada, North America

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The Olympic Stadium (French: Stade olympique) is a multi-purpose stadium in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district of Montreal, Quebec, Canada built as the main venue for the 1976 Summer Olympics. The stadium is nicknamed “The Big O”, a reference to both its name and to the doughnut-shape of the permanent component of the stadium’s roof; “The Big Owe” has been used to reference the astronomical cost of the stadium and the 1976 Olympics as a whole.
The stadium is the largest by seating capacity in Canada. After the Olympics, it became the home of Montreal’s professional baseball and Canadian football teams. Since 2004, when the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, D.C., the stadium has no main tenant, and with a history of financial and structural problems, is largely seen as a white elephant. It currently serves as a 56,040-seat multipurpose facility for special events (e.g. concerts, trade shows), and continues to serve as a 66,308-seat venue for playoff and Grey Cup games hosted by the Montreal Alouettes. Read the rest of this entry

Hollywood Bowl – USA, North America

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The Hollywood Bowl is a modern amphitheater in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States that is used primarily for music performances. It is the largest natural amphitheater in the United States, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000.
The Hollywood Bowl is known for its band shell, a distinctive set of concentric arches that graced the site from 1929 through 2003, before being replaced with a somewhat larger one beginning in the 2004 season. The shell is set against the backdrop of the Hollywood Hills and the famous Hollywood Sign to the Northeast.
The “bowl” refers to the shape of the concave hillside the amphitheater is carved into. The bowl is owned by the County of Los Angeles and is the home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the host of hundreds of musical events each year. Read the rest of this entry

Colosseum – Italy, Europe

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The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre (Latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium, Italian Anfiteatro Flavio or Colosseo), is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering.
Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started in 72 ADunder the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus, with further modifications being made during Domitian’s reign (81–96). The name “Amphitheatrum Flavium” derives from both Vespasian’s and Titus’s family name (Flavius, from the gens Flavia).
Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. Read the rest of this entry

Comédie-Française – France, Europe

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The Comédie-Française (Théâtre-Français) is one of the few state theaters in France. It is the only state theater to have its own troupe of actors. It is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris.
The theatre has also been known as the Théâtre-Nautique, the théâtre de la République and La maison de Molière. It inherited the latter name (English: House of Molière) along with the dramatic venue of the best-known playwright associated with the Comédie-Française, Molière. He was considered the patron of French actors. He died seven years before “La maison de Molière” was rechristened the “Comédie-Française,” and it continued to be known popularly by the former name even after the official change of name. Read the rest of this entry

Leaning Tower of Pisa – Italy, Europe

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply the Tower of Pisa (Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa’s Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) after the Cathedral and the Baptistry.
The height of the tower is 55.86 m (183.27 ft) from the ground on the low side and 56.70 m (186.02 ft) on the high side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m (13.42 ft) and at the top 2.48 m (8.14 ft). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons (16,000 short tons). The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is displaced horizontally 3.9 metres (12 ft 10 in) from where it would be if the structure were perfectly vertical. Read the rest of this entry

Pisa – Italy, Europe

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Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa. Although Pisa is known worldwide for its leaning tower (the bell tower of the city’s cathedral), the city of over 88,332 residents (around 200,000 with the metropolitan area) contains more than 20 other historic churches, several palaces and various bridges across the River Arno.
The city is also home of the University of Pisa, which has a history going back to the 12th century and also has the mythic Napoleonic Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies as the best Superior Graduate Schools in Italy.
Pisa lies at the junction of two rivers, the Arno and the Serchio, which form a laguna at the Tyrrhenian Sea. Read the rest of this entry

Great Wall of China – China, Asia

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The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups. Several walls have been built since the 5th century BC that are referred to collectively as the Great Wall, which has been rebuilt and maintained from the 5th century BC through the 16th century. One of the most famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains; the majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty.
The Great Wall stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east, to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. Read the rest of this entry

Sky Tower – New Zealand, Australia

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The Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower located on the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in the Auckland CBD, Auckland City, New Zealand. It is 328 metres (1,076 ft) tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast, making it the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Due to its shape and height, especially when compared to the next tallest structures, it has become an iconic structure in Auckland’s skyline.
The tower is part of the SKYCITY Auckland casino complex, having been originally built for Harrah’s Entertainment. The tower attracts an average of 1,450 visitors per day (over 500,000 per year) for a variety of reasons.
The upper portion of the tower contains two restaurants and a cafe, including a revolving restaurant which is located 190m from the ground, turning 360 degrees once every hour. Read the rest of this entry