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

Sunday Special – La Mano de Punta del Este (or The Hand of Punta del Este) – Uruguay


Since February 1982, Uruguay’s Punta del Este has been home to this famous sculpture by Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal. Located on Brava Beach, in the popular resort town, stands the concrete and plastic statue of fingers struggling out of its sandy location. Irarrázabal created the iconic artwork during the first International Meeting of Modern Sculpture in the Open Air. La Mano has become one of the most recognized pieces of beach art and has been photographed by media and tourists alike. In fact, the popularity of La Mano prompted Irarrázabal to create similar works of art in Madrid, The Atacama Dessert (Chile) and Venice.

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La Mano de Punta del Este – Photo credit:  Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Rosina Piexoto 

By Rosina Peixoto (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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La Mano / The Hand at night – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Marcelo Campi

By Marcelo Campi from MVD, Uruguay (The hand) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Sunday Special – Rock Garden of Chandigarh, India


While in India, D and I were told that we should see the Rock Garden of Chandigarh. When I first heard of it I immediately thought of a flower-related rock garden since that is what is in my mom’s front yard. This rock garden is nothing of the sort. Rather, it is a very cool and interesting 10 hectare/25 acre outdoor sculpture museum. The garden and its artwork work was created solely by Nek Chand, a self-taught artist. He began to make sculptures in secret beginning in 1957. He found inspiration in the debris found during the construction of the city of Chandigarh. He utilized objects such as tiles, glass, ceramics, wires and the like. He scoured demolition sites and steadily formed art from all these recyclable items. Since the location he chose for his garden was on a protected conservatory (near Sukhna Lake), what he was doing was illegal. As a result,  he created his art at night for almost 20 years. When local authorities found out about the then 12 acre garden its future was uncertain.  In hopes of saving his art, Nek Chand turned to the public to garner support and it worked. And then in 1986 it was designated a public space. Today it is one of India’s most visited sites and I am very grateful and glad I had a chance to see this unique place. Nek Chand who, sadly passed away in 2015, shows us that art can be make from just about anything.

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

Sunday Special – Dude Chilling Park, Vancouver


How often does a prank end up becoming an official art installation? Well at least once. Here in my city of Vancouver that exact thing happened. It was just  a bit fun that ended up becoming permanent after the locals in the neighbourhood thought it fitting to the area.

Back in 2012 a then mystery prankster decided to replace an official park sign with one that mimed the exact signs posted by the Vancouver Park Board, but with a different name. Guelph Park in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood was, according to the signage, now given a new name – a cool name – a name to reflect a long standing sculpture by artist Michael Dennis. The name placed upon this fictitious park placard was “Dude Chilling Park”.  Since the sculpture resembled ‘a dude chilling in the park’ it was a suitable change. Alas, the false sign was removed by officials, much to the disappointment of the neighbourhood. So much so that a resident of the area set up a petition to garner support. It worked. With 1,500 signatures in favour of reinstating the sign, Parks Vancouver did just so in 2014. And there you go, sometimes a prank goes awesome!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – User: The Interior

Dude Chilling Park sign, Vancouver, BC

Dude Chilling Park sign, Vancouver, BC

Photo Credit – City of Vancouver Public Art Registry

Reclining Figure by Michael Dennis

Reclining Figure by Michael Dennis