Monday, April 06, 2020

Monday, April 06, 2020

Favorite Temples and Mosques

Posted by Hippobean at 5:58 PM 0 comments Links to this post
In Hippo's travels:

1. Pre Rup - Siem Reap, Cambodia

An imposing staircase, lion temple guards and the view of the jungle from the top of the temple was magnificent. The Hippo is usually not much about Hindu temples as they have scary statues but this one had all the architecture without scary figures. The red clay was intense and brilliant in the early morning sun. The temple was small which she liked better.

Hippo's all time favorite. SmallTiger's favorite too.

2. Abdulaziz Khan Madrassah -
Bukhara, Uzbekistan
Just around the corner from our hotel the Abdullaziz Madrasa was the most colorful. It's so beautiful it blew the Hippo away.
Inside, we were able to see some of the cells of the students. They were quaint and cozy with 2 stories. Even the walls were decorated.

Most stunning of all the Islamic architecture.

3. Gur Emir Mausoleum -
Samarkand, Uzbekistan
Timur's simple black stone sarcophagus, without decoration. A powerful message. Tiles and interior covered in deep blue and gold. The combo colors most befitted for a ruler.

The setting is among green trees, beautiful and serene. Illuminated at night.
I liked this massoleum the most.

4. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque -
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Pure white, side halls with arches, interior domes with crystal chandeliers, prayer halls with mosaics, columns decorated with golden palm leaves, one continuous carpet covered the main prayer hall. Even the women ablution room was elaborately decorated.

The Hippo had found no other equal to this mosque. She was absolutely stunned.

5. Angkor Wat -
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Largest and the most sacred, its enormity is mind boggling. The quincunx, and it's perfect reflection on the moat, and oh the view of the 5 the towers from the causeway with heads of naga balustrade.
The inner temples, the corridors with symmetrical columns, Angkorian architecture, no parallel. Stunned.

"We'd always have Angkor".

6. Tirta Empul - Bali, Indonesia
Most beautiful Hindu Balinese water temple. Golden stupas with thatch tops that looked like mushrooms, brilliantly decorated temple columns and ceilings. White stone statues. Gorgeous, gorgeous.

7. Philae Temple - Aswan, Egypt
Hippo's first Egyptian temple and dedicated to a goddess.
Enormous pylons carved with figures of Isis. Stone columnade.
Impressive. Most impressive.
The first always the most impressionable.

8. Kok Gumbaz Mosque -
Shakhrisabz, Uzbekistan
Built by the ruler Ulugbek (Tamerlane's grandson) in honor of his father, Shakhruh. The name means 'blue dome', the most beautiful dome of all mosques.
Not the most elaborate dome but the beauty was its simplicity in light blue ceramic titles, with the an inscription in white tiles around the tholobate of the dome that displays a passage from the Koran: "Sovereignty belongs to Allah, wealth belongs to Allah."
Stunned by the simple beauty of the dome. Couldnt take my eyes off it.

9. Manu Ok Kaung Monastery -
Inwa, Myanmar
The Hippo first saw it online and got immediately hooked. The brilliant golden yellow of its walls and the maze of corridors and halls did not disappoint.
One of Hippo's most favorites.

Shwe Indein Pagoda -
Indein, Myanmar
Stupas, stupas and a thousand stupas everywhere, of every style, color and size. Ochre, golden, square and round bases with cone tops. Carved garudas on the stupa entrances. Blew me away.

Just because Hippo loved the giant faces. SmallTiger loved the giant faces too.
Banyon - Siem Reap, Cambodia

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Favorite palaces and castles

Posted by Hippobean at 1:01 PM 0 comments Links to this post
In Hippo's travels:

1. Punakha Dzong - Punakha, Bhutan
Most majestic in all of Bhutan. The Hippo was stunned by the Tibetan Bhutanese architecture. Unlike any she's ever seen. So unique and intricate. Stole my heart.

2. Peleș and Pelișor Palaces - Sinaia, Romania
His and hers palaces. Peleș elaborate enough but not too much. Pelișor with a feminine touch, more like a home. These castles were dear to my heart as I've read about Queen Marie. At an altitude of 930m, at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains in the Carpathians, Sinaia stays with me always.

3. Pavlovsk Palace - Pavlovsk, Russia
More like a country home than a grand palace. Richly decorated but its smaller size makes it intimate. The lake on the back with the palace reflected perfectly on the calm water. After all the over killed gold and excessive frescoes of the other
bigger palaces, this one offered a breath of fresh air. I really liked this palace.

4. Tashauli Palace/Harem - Khiva, Uzbekistan
Harem quarters. Ceilings and walls covered with Islamic art. Colorful ceilings for the concubines, walls in the arabic blue and white. Beautiful quarters for the ladies.

5. Nezvizh Castle - Niasviž, Belarus
Small castle but ornate. Russian crystal chandeliers and mirrors on the walls that perpetually reflect the crystals. In its halls, we dined on potato pancakes in the dead of the night, and breakfasted eggs and toast in torrential rain. The cloudy rainy days made the castle longing and romantic. The adjacent hotel also made it to Hippo's favorite hotel list.

6. Winter Palace - St Petersburg, Russia
The Jordan staircase has no parallel. So beautiful, it's beyond words. The Russian crystal chandeliers, the huge lapiz and malachite vases, Hippo's 2 favorite semi precious. Golden onion dome, inside and out. The Hermitage. All next to the Neva river. Russia's most beautiful.

7. Mikhailovsky Palace (The Russian Museum) - St Petersburg, Russia
Not large in size but filled with great treasures such as the Briullov's 'Narcissus looking into the water', 'The Last Days of Pompeii', and Alvazovsky's 'The View of Constantinople by Moonlight'. Beautiful Russian gilded crystal chandeliers. Intimate palace. I've enjoyed the museum pieces but liked the palace more.

7. Bahia Palace - Marrakesh, Morocco
Intricate and elegant Islamic architecture. Very colorful, every inch carved and painted, and the design never repeated. Each room a new color combo, a different design. Great feast for the eyes and blew the Hippo to color heaven.

9. Malbork Castle - Malbork, Poland
The Teutonic Knights castle, a stunning structure of red bricks, with an outer fortress, a middle castle complete with latrine towers, and an upper castle on a hill through a drawbridge. The outer courtyard in the Middle castle was big and the inner courtyard in the Upper Castle was intimate with the Teutonic Pelican atop the central well, surrendered on 4 sides with 2 stories cloisters. Bronze statues of the Grand Masters. The entire complex was huge, the biggest brick castle in the world, impressive and absolutely gorgeous. Couldnt take my eyes off it.

10. Trakai Island Castle - Trakai, Lithuania
Eye catching red brick castle that sat on an island. Beautiful sight. Inner courtyards with open corridors running the entire wall. Enormous round and square towers. Colorful stained glasses depicting knights on horses. In the Duke Chamber, a painting depicting the king at the head of the table with 2 rows of chalices, a serpent with the head of the bishop under the table, and the bishop stealing the crown on the other end of the table. Wow. Loved this castle.

10. Tintagel - North Cornwall, UK
On a jagged promontory projecting into the Cornish sea, the ruins are pitch black. Not very much remains in the mystical Arthur's castle but the arched gate and the few wall ruins stood on the headland like a silent reminder of the boy who became king, wielded the Excalibur, founded the Camelot, a tragic infidelity and found redemption in the Grail. With the sea forever crashing on the shores below and the incessant howling winds, the black ruins, and the Romance, the castle has made it to Hippo's list as a bonus.


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