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  • Dear Architecture Lovers, You Must Visit These 10 Destinations!

    A city can be defined by its food, its people and culture, however, nothing tells the story of a city better than its architecture. It takes you on a journey through the history of the city, its changing cityscape adapting to cultural movements and modernization while still preserving its old world charm. If you are a lover of architecture this list of 10 destinations is especially for you.   1. St. Petersburg, Russia Credit: Tama66 on PixabayRussia’s eclectic center also known as the Venice of the North is a mixture of architectural styles – from Neoclassical to Gothic, the city is a treasure trove of architectural delights. Witness the glory of imperial palaces, stunning cathedrals, and churches decorating the skyline, romantic bridges, and pathways that the many characters of Dostoevsky’s novels have taken. There is an abundance of Baroque style buildings in the city – intricate gold embellishments against pale pastels. The most worthy contender for the Baroque style would be the beautiful Winter Palace that was home to the Russian monarchy since the 1760s to 1917. It is now the home of the second largest art museum in the world – The Hermitage. You can find the Neo-classical style in Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, Yelagin Palace, as well as the Imperial Academy of Arts. Style Morderne – Russia’s take on Art Nouveau – can be clearly seen in the ornamental styling of the Singer House (the Russian headquarters of the Singer Sewing Machine Company), as well as the Eliseyev Emporium. The grim, dystopian architecture style of the Stalinist and Soviet eras can be witnessed in the House of Soviets – referred to as the “buried robot” by locals – and the Red Banner Textile Factory. The Gothic turrets and spikes of the cake-structure shaped Cheseme Church is a great example of Russian Neo-Gothic architecture.   2. Brasilia, Brazil Credit: David Mark on PixabayIf you are a fan of futuristic architecture, Brasilia is the place to head to. President Juscelino Kubitschek’s decided to build a futuristic city in what was once just barren land back in 1956. He commissioned architect Oscar Niemeyer to commence the project, he built residential, commercial and government buildings within a matter of months. The Cathedral of Brasilia is one of the most notable structures within the city and perfectly shows Niemeyer’s style of architecture. The elegant curving structures, with exposed concrete, bold but simple design elements. The most visited site in the city is the Templo da Boa Vontade, it is a seven faceted white marble pyramid designed by the architect and engineer R. R. Roberto. The pinnacle is set with the largest stone of pure crystal in the world, at a weight of 21 kilograms. Inside the temple is a spiral which represents the journey a human takes in the search of balance and transcendence. Other notable structures are the President’s residence and the Attorney General’s Office.   3. Miami, Florida Credit: Holgi on PixabayWith more than 800 Art Deco buildings in their pastel hues, Miami’s South Beach is a must visit for all those who love the 1930s glamour! In an attempt to make Miami a luxurious holiday destination in the 1920s and 1930s architects looked to Art Deco’s symmetry and geometry as well as colorful floral and animal motifs. You can see quintessential Art Deco design in the Webster, designed by Henry Hohauser who was one of the master architects behind the Deco styling of South Beach. The building follows the architect’s “rule of three”, and is built in thirds. Another famous building is The Carlyle, it has played a starring role in many films like Scarface and Bad Boys II – it is just a 100yards from the famed former mansion of Gianni Versace. Other Art Deco gems are Essex house – built to look like the landlocked ocean liner, the neon-lit Colony theatre, and Miami Beach Post Office.   4. Tokyo, Japan Credit: sayama on PixabayA city that has been through a lot of change from old wooden houses to the concrete and glass jungle it is now, Tokyo has a signature style of architecture. The modern transformation has given rise to many new buildings; the Nakagin Capsule Tower is a great example of rare Japanese Metabolism architecture. The tower is an apartment complex of 140 apartments – only 10m2 each. The funky Reversible Destiny Lofts was built with the idea of helping people attain longevity. It is inspired by Helen Keller; therefore it was made with features for people with different physical abilities and has something for every age group. Another must visit is Tokyo Camii, the largest mosque in Japan. The Mosque is inspired by Ottoman architecture and was designed by the architect Muharrem Hilmi Senlap, with materials such as marble brought in from Turkey. It was completed in 2000 and was built as a replacement of a Mosque previously built by Turkish immigrants in the 1930s. Other notable sites to visit are Reiyukai Sakaden Temple – a temple that looks more like a space-ship, SunnyHills – a pineapple cake shop built with a weaving wooden facade, Tsujiki Hongwanji – a Buddhist temple with a mix of Indian and Japanese design elements, and St Mary’s Cathedral – a futuristic looking modernist structure created by Kenzo Tange.   5. Tel Aviv, Israel Credit: avnernagar on PixabayTaking into account the city’s Mediterranean climate and the influx of Jewish immigrants, Bauhaus trained architects designed and built buildings in the cost effective style. The ‘white city’ is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with 4000 buildings within the sea side city. There are many buildings in Tel Aviv to be admired by the Bauhaus fan, some of the notable ones are the Bruno House, Rubinsky House, and Avraham Soskin House as well streets dedicated to this modern style.   6. Chandigarh, India Credit: David Mark on PixabayProbably not an obvious contender for this list but every student of architecture would know this city for its eccentric concrete designs. After the partition of India in 1947, the country’s first Prime Minister J. Nehru tasked Swiss architect Le Corbusier with building a modern city that is fast moving away from its past into the future. Le Corbusier is a modernist architect and him along with a few other architects like Pierre Jeanneret, Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry changed the cityscape. The city is designed on a super grid, buildings with exposed concrete and masonry as well as modernists sculptures located around the city. a great example of planning and design, it is a must visit if you are a student of architecture.   7. Oxford, England Credit: David Mark on PixabayMedieval era inspired architecture mingling with modern sentiments; Oxford is an academic city but will take your breath away with its beautiful Gothic Revival architecture. Referred to as “the city of dreaming spires” by poet Matthew Arnold, the city stays true to this description with many mid 19th century towers creating Oxford’s skyline. The city offers many sites to see – from the churches to its markets. You can witness military style stone architecture at St George’s Tower, the University Museum which is an example of one of the first non-religious Gothic buildings, the Radcliffe Observatory and many more spread across the city.   8. Barcelona, Spain Credit: Kirk Fisher on FacebookHome of Catalan Modernism, Barcelona is peppered with the world famous architectural structures of the father of this movement – Antoni Gaudí. Some of his notable works are the Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, and his masterpiece the La Sagrada Familia – which has been under construction since 1892, he kept building up until he passed away in 1926 and it is still under construction and will not be finished till 2026 to commemorate his centenary death anniversary. Barcelona is a beautiful city and is definite visit for anyone, even if you aren’t a fan of Gaudi’s peculiar architectural style.   9. Florence, Italy Credit: Michelle Maria on PixabayFlorence is world famous and its architecture has been appreciated in film, and book alike! It is also the birthplace of the famed Master, Leonardo Da Vinci. A city that celebrates art, you will find many architectural monuments here, some of the most famous ones are The Florence Cathedral or Duomo – a great domed cathedral, the Pitti Palace and the Palazzo Vecchio – which was home to Niccolo Machiavelli’s office at one point in history.   10. Hanoi, Vietnam Credit: Leon_Ting on Pixabay Once occupied by the French, the city boasts quite the collection of French Colonial Architecture, a city oozing with old world charm it will appeal to the romantic in you. Three of its most notable buildings are the St. Josephs Cathedral, Hanoi Opera House, and Hotel Metropole. The country may have had a devastating history steeped in blood, but it’s people have been resilient and the romance of the French Colonial era has managed to remain to this day. All you architecture lovers or just travel lovers should definitely add these destinations to your list!...

  • 7 Best Shopping Sites in New York

    All those of you who have decided to travel New York are in for a truly amazing journey. As you explore the many wonders of the City that Never Sleeps who will find that there is an unending number of attractions to explore and things to do. Out of all of these activities that keep attracting large numbers of holidaymakers almost all throughout the year, shopping seems to take a top place among every single travelers’ must-do list. Therefore, if you too are set to embark on your very own Muslim travel to New York you might want to take a look at these best shopping areas in NYC which are guaranteed to leave you completely overjoyed with one of the most spectacular shopping experiences you could ever hope to enjoy.   1. 5th Avenue Picture Credit -   We start off our list of best shopping areas in NYC with what could be one of the most famous shopping areas in the city, 5th Avenue. Almost all the iconic brands have their own New York shopping outlets in this location making it one of the best places you can enjoy a premium shopping experience and enjoy the true essence of this glamorous city. Some of the big brands present here include Tiffany & Co, Gucci, H&M, Michael Kors, Prada, Cartier, Armani and the towering 10000 square foot Apple Store. The main shopping area extends from 14th Street to 59th Street and be prepared to spend hours astounded by the super luxury boutiques and stores that dominate the landscape. Once you are done shopping at this high-end fashion street you definitely will feel like a true fashionista and it will sure give you lots to brag about to your friends once you get back home.   2. Macy’s Picture Credit -   There are quite a number of extremely famous shops in New York but the flagship store of Macy’s located at Herald Square truly stands out from the rest. The reputation of this Macy’s store goes far and beyond it being known as an impressive department store, it has grown to become an American icon and part of the country’s proud heritage. Crowned the world’s largest department store you are likely to get lost in this massive space that spans across an entire block. Here you will find anything from fashion items to household goods that will guarantee you find something to cater to your every shopping need. International shopper’s get a special bonus where you can show your passport and get a 10% discount card at the visitor’s center or even apply for it online. This way you can treat yourself to some affordable luxury as you browse through the massive collections this must-visit landmark shopping site has to offer.   Address: 151 West 34th Street, New York   Contact: +1 212-695-4400   Opening hours: Daily 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM (Sunday and Thursday till 10:00 PM)   Website:   3. Century 21 Picture Credit - Before you get carried away in some of the extravagant designer stores you might want to check out this famous store called Century 21. Buying designer stuff is great, but buying designer stuff on discount is super! That’s the reason behind Century 21 becoming one of the most famous shops in New York. Here you will be able to grab a wide variety of designer clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories on discounts as much as 70%. Since this is every shopping lover’s dream come true you might have to be prepared to engage in battle with other like-minded discount hunters that are drawn to the store. The afternoon hours are slightly less crowded so if you can stop by the store during this time you might be able to enjoy a more peaceful shopping experience while you browse through an impressive collection of designer goods including iconic fashion labels like Armani, Prada, Pucci and much more.   Address: 22 Cortlandt Street, New York   Contact: +1 212-227-9092   Opening hours: Sun 10:00AM – 10:00PM; Mon – Fri 7:45AM – 10:00PM; Sat 9:00AM – 10:00PM   Other stores in NYC: Cross County - Central Park Ave, Yonkers, NY; Westbury; Rego Park; Lincoln Square; City Point – Albee Square, Brooklyn   4. The Woodbury Common Premium Outlet Picture Credit -   If you are looking to enjoy the ultimate outlet shopping in New York then the Woodbury Common Premium Outlet is the perfect place for you. This is one of the best places you can find items for the entire family and also several other great gift options to take back home with you. There are well over 200 outlets representing world famous brands like Adidas, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Lululemon Athletica, Givenchy and much more. Just an hour away from Manhattan you can easily arrive in this site via a direct bus ride and you sure will spend hours browsing the multiple outlets present here which offer impressive discounts from 25%-65%. Tourists are highly encouraged to book a round trip online from the New York City Explorer Pass for as low as $40 and you will also get a complimentary VIP Coupon Booklet which offers additional discount coupons you can use as you shop. Address: 498 Red Apple Ct, Central Valley, NY 10917, USA   Contact: +1 845-928-4000   Opening Hours: Daily 9AM–9PM   5. Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market & the Brooklyn Flea Market Picture Credit -   Flea markets make up some of the best places to shop in NYC on a budget. That is why we highly recommend you drop by famous flea markets like Hell’s Kitchen down 39th street and the Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Green. These two sites are highly popular among locals and tourists alike and are full of authentic shops offering a good range of rare items like antiques, fashion items, food, vintage goods and collectables. Out of the two locations, the Brooklyn market tends to be less crowded but they both take on a very vibrant atmosphere that will get you in the mood to shop for some great items that are perfect to remember one of the most memorable holiday visits you could ever enjoy.   Hell's Kitchen Flea Market:   Address: 408-424 W 39th St, New York   Contact: +1 212-243-5343   Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday – 9 AM – 5 PM   Brooklyn Flea Market:   Address: 241 37th St., Brooklyn, New York   Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday – 10 AM – 6 PM   6. Cosmetic Market     Picture Credit - Any girl’s shopping experience will not be complete without grabbing some great quality cosmetics. And if you are on the lookout for some of the finest brands of cosmetics at bargain prices you should head on down to the Cosmetic Market. Here you will find almost every kind of beauty care product from some of the best brand names like Clinique, Sephora, L’Oreal, Chanel and many more. In addition to makeup, they also feature some interesting items like candles, picture frames and jewellery making it a great place to do grab some lovely gifts for all the special ladies close to you back at home.offer. Address: 15 E 37th St, New York   Contact: +1 212-725-3625   Opening Hours: Mon – Fri - 8.30 AM – 7 PM; Sat - 11 AM – 6 PM; Sun – 12 noon – 5 PM   7. Fishs Eddy Picture Credit -   Fishs Eddy is one of the unique stores in NYC you can visit to find the best quality kitchenware you could need for all your household needs. As you walk into this store you will be surprised by the large collection of bowls, cups, mugs, dishes and much more which are available in very attractive styles including rather funky and vintage designs as well. If you are lucky you might even be able to visit the store during a seasonal or clearance sale where you can get some attractive discounts on top of the already competitive prices they offer their products for.   Address: 889 Broadway, New York   Contact: +1 212-420-9020   Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs - 9 AM – 9 PM; Fri, Sat - 9 AM – 10 PM; Sun – 10 AM – 8 PM   Finding Halal Food in New York - Where to go? A Weekend Getaway in New York City ...

  • 5 of the Best Olympic Opening Ceremonies

    The Summer Olympics 2016, now also known as the Rio Olympics 2016 will have its opening ceremony on August 5th and its closing ceremony on August 21st. The opening ceremony of the Olympic events will be watched by millions of people worldwide where local and international performers present colorful, entertaining performances. The Rio de Janeiro Olympics will be taking place in Maracana Stadium. 1) Athens - 2004 Motto of the sporting event was ‘Welcome Home’. The mascots were Phevos and Athena representing links between the Ancient and modern Olympic Games. The Olympics wereheld in its country of origin where the highlights of the event were filled with representationsof Greek mythology and Ancient Greek civilizations and banners with beautiful artwork. Scenes of the Minoanand Mycenean civilization represented were by floats, including the scenes of the Greek Classical and Byzantine periods. Then the scenes evolved to the progressions of the 20th and 21st centuries. Icelandic singer Bjork and DJ Tiesto also performed at the 2004 Olympics. 2) Moscow - 1980 The Moscow Olympics opening ceremony in 1980 stood out for the spectacular card stunt where images were created by 6800 army cadets holding up cards in different colors. This event was considered unique during this era. There were dance performances and gymnastics as well. The Olympic mascot for that year was Misha the bear. 3) Beijing - 2008 The Beijing Olympics were held at the Beijing National Stadium also known as the Bird’s Nest. Beautiful artistic, colorful performances that had themes of nature and fantasy as well as traditional Chinese music and culture were showcased. One of the opening acts even included a scroll painting performance by dancers. Sarah Brightman and Liu Huan sang the Olympic theme song.Five mascots were created to represent the fiveChinese elements and their names were a play on the words ‘Welcome to Beijing’. 4) London - 2012 Being directed by Danny Boyle and with Queen Elizabeth II formally opening the 2012 London Olympics, there were several highlights of the program. A comedic performance from Rowan Atkinson with the London Orchestra and J.K. Rowling reading from Peter Pan were some of the best moments, including when the Olympics Cauldron by Thomas Heatherwick was lit by young athletes to represent 204 countries. That year the Olympic mascot was Wenlock.  5) Sydney - 2000 The opening ceremony for the Sydney Olympics was one of the most memorable and beautiful ceremonies.The three Olympic mascots were selected to represent Australia’s flora and fauna. There were musical segments such as Deep Sea Dreaming that represented the sea in which singer Nicki Webster performed.The Nature segment represented the wildlife and Australian outback, while the Awakening segment commemorated Aboriginal history. The Tin Symphony and tap dancing performances were also held.  Prayer facilities at Rio Olympics 2016 Muslim travelers can use the multi faith centre located in the athletes’ village, which also has separate prayer rooms for men and women.Mosques in Rio Janeiro include the SociedBeneficente Muçulmana which is also a community centre, and The Mesquita da Luz.  Halal food at Rio Olympics 2016 Brazil is well-known for being an exporter of Halal meat, but it is difficult to find Halal restaurants. Muslims traveling to the Rio Olympics can get more information from the Sociedade Beneficente Muçulmana or the mosque as well. Muslim travelers can ask the restaurant staff if they serve Halal food or food that does not contain pork or alcohol. When in doubt, vegetarian or seafood items can be ordered to be safe.  Click here for more information about Rio Olympics 2016 ...

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