Calçada – Portugal’s Distinctive Mosaic Pavements

I first spotted the distinctive patterned street mosaics on Senado Square in Macau, in 2009. Then again, a couple of years later, in Rio de Janeiro.  They were strong reminders of the stories of the first global explorations, of the age of discoveries initiated by one of the largest colonial empires in history. It is…

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Brussels – Glimpses Of An Eclectic Cityscape

Brussels is hardly picture perfect. With much of its original medieval architecture destroyed in the 1695 bombardment by French troops, its postwar urban evolution has been hap hazard and eclectic. The result is an incredible mix of architectural styles ranging from Gothic to Art Nouveau to concrete contemporary, most segregated into dissonant compartments. It is the…

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The Singing Bells Of Brussels

The carillon of Mont des Arts is a musical clock on the facade of a connecting walkway of the Palace of the Dynasty, a reception hall that was part of Brussels’ ambitious urban renewal project leading up to the 1958 World Expo. Juxtaposed, in striking contrast almost representative of the architectural melting pot that is Brussels,…

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The Narrowest Church In Split

Tucked into a sentry’s walkway above the ‘Golden’ Gate to Diocletian’s palace, is an ancient church dedicated to Saint Martin, the patron saint of soldiers.  It is a replica of the 6th century original, with a beautifully carved pre Romanesque altar partition that has been in situ since the 11th century. Narrow is the norm in the confined…

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Guggenheim Bilbao – A Spectacular Symbol of Renewal

When we dashed across, nearly a decade ago, on a (crazy) day trip from Barcelona to Bilbao just to gaze upon those stunning overlapping waves of shimmering titanium, we were clueless about the city’s history of industrial decline, or of the conception of the Guggenheim museum as an icon of urban reinvention.  It is hard to imagine that…

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The Tomb Of Safdarjung

The site is deserted, even at midday. The Re.5/- entrance fee ($2/- or Rs.100/- for non SAARC foreigners!) is almost an apology, even without the elevated status of a royal tomb. This “last flicker in the lamp of Mughal architecture” is the final resting place of the erstwhile Nawab of Avadh, Mirza Muqim Abul Mansur…

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Architectural Reflections

I was surprised by how many architectural marvels I photographed last year, mirrored in reflection pools…….at least one from each of our 2013 destinations! You have seen the Paris reflections one too many times, so here are the rest, all from India: The Victoria Memorial, Kolkata Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi The Taj Mahal, Agra Chota…

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