My Top 5 Man-Made Sights


Last month I posted about My Top 5 Cities to Wander. This month my Top 5 is about man-made places or things. These places or works of art hold a special place in my memories, my heart, and bring a smile to my lips.

  1. Michelangelo’s Slave and Bound Slave, Louvre Museum (Paris) – I have never been more captivated by art than these two unfinished statues. They are complete by being incomplete. I do not know how Michelangelo did it but there is feeling, emotion in those statues. I have seen them three times and still my heart stops each time. 
  2. Eiffel Tower, Paris – Anyone who knows me, knows I love this building. It was among the first iconic buildings I had seen when I first visited Europe and has been imprinted on my heart ever since.  I have been to the top twice, once on my birthday where I drank sweet sweet champagne with my sister and friends.  If I had never seen Michelangelo’s Slaves this building would be number one.
  3. Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur – The circular and geometric designs of its spires and the walkway them give them a unique look.  I learned of them shortly after they were built I had wanted to view them for myself ever since.  They did not disappoint. I think they are most beautiful lit up at night against the backdrop of the dark sky and city lights
  4. Taj Mahal, India – I had wanted to see the Taj Mahal since I was a child. For a short span of years I thought I may never see and tried to downplay its importance, that it could not be that spectacular.  Silliness really. Yet I did make it to Agra. A hot, humid and crowded experience that was all shed to the side when I finally saw the splendour of this magnificent building. It stands majestically and rightly so.
  5. Pagodas of Bagan, Myanmar – There are so many things I could put for number five. Yet the pagodas throughout Bagan are the first I think of. The entire area astounds me with the sheer amount of pagodas to be found. I loved wandering through the back roads on my scooter and viewing the beauty and importance of these buildings  to the people. 

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

 

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Michelangelo’s talent is breathtaking

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Gustave Eiffel’s treasure to Paris.

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Those brightly shining Petronas Twin Towers.

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The Taj Mahal, a labour of love.

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One of the numerous pagodas in Bagan

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Sunday Special – Blue Mosque, Istanbul


Istanbul is an amazing city in my opinion. In fact, only Paris surpasses it as my favourite. I spent a mere four days there in 2015 however it has imprinted upon me a lasting impression of beauty and history.  Although there are numerous mosques in this city of nearly 15 million the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, or the “Blue Mosque” as it is commonly referred to by tourists, is the most well-known and recognized. Taking eight years to build (1609 – 1616 C.E.) by order of Sultan Ahmed I, it has five large domes and six minarets along with several smaller domes. Within its walls are thousands upon thousands of blue Iznik tiles which why it is referred to as ‘The Blue Mosque’. To this day it continues to serve as a mosque, allowing Muslims to come to prayer five times per day. At these times the mosque is closed to tourists and non-Muslims.  As this is a popular attraction do expect queues during visiting times. I recall long lines yet they moved quickly.  I was glad to know that I could take non-flash photos in this stunning example of Ottoman architecture. It really was fascinating to see. I look forward to when I return to the Blue Mosque and Istanbul with my sister at some point in the future.

All photos taken and owned by Eeva Valiharju / Wanders The World

Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

Within the mosque’s courtyard

The beautiful interior

Sunday Special – Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Situated along the beautiful Neretva River lies Mostar, a city of cultural importance to the southern region of the Herzegovina area. Despite being one of the most heavily bombed cities in Bosnia during the Croate-Bozniak War, following the breakup of Yugoslavia, it has rebounded by rebuilding much of what was damaged. Today it is a popular destination for travellers (summer and fall mainly) and is said to have a festive and spirited vibe.

Among the most well-known and well-loved landmarks in Mostar is the Stari Most (The Old Bridge). In 1993 huge sections of it fell into the river during the war. Easily considered the heart of the city this 16th century Ottoman bridge was restored years later. Portions of it were even retrieved from the bottom of the Neretva. It is the pinnacle of the river and the pride of the city. It also is where Mostar Diving Club members gracefully dive 24 m/78.9 ft into the Neretva’s chilly 12C/53.6F waters.

Mostar’s Old Town is another popular area of the city. Admist the Medieval Ottoman style architecture that is prevalent you can find some pretty mosques and houses, such as the The Koski Mehmed pasa Mosque and The Biscevica House. And for something completely different and random, there is a Bruce Lee statue in the city as well.

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Stari Most (The Old Bridge) in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Mark Ahsmann

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Interior of Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, Mostar – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Stephen Hense

Sunday Special – The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia


On the edge of the Baltic Sea in European Russia is the country’s second largest city – Saint Petersburg – overflowing with history and stunning architecture. So much that many consider it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. UNESCO has named it a World Heritage Site. Among the city’s greatest building is The Winter Palace. Built in a Baroque style, this lavish and monumental building aimed to show the greatness of the Russian Empire. Originally a wooden building, it was constructed for Peter the Great and his family in 1708 CE. In the years to follow the building was rebuilt with stone and additions eventually added to it. It had been the home of Tsars for centuries, filled with gilded facades, opulent living quarters, numerous salons and used for many state gatherings and formal galas. The Romanovs occupied this palatial residence since Catherine The Great to the the time of the family’s fall in the 1900s. A history too long for me to even touch on, this magnificent building is now officially part of The Hermitage Museum. Restorations to the rooms and artifacts now showcase Russian history and countless works of art.

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Interior of church within The Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg – Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Januarius-zick

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Entrance to The Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia – Photo is Public Domain