Monday, February 15, 2016

Panorama Sao Paulo

Edifício Itália

The beginning of the 20th century was the time of great development and changes in Sao Paulo.  It was possible due to the booming export of coffee.  It was the time when such landmarks as the Train Station Luz (1901) Teatro Municipal (1911), Edifício Martinelli (1929), Correio Central (1920), and the Mercado Municipal (1933) were constructed. You will find beautiful examples of local art nouveua style

But the real symbol of the city's modernity in 20th century became Edifício Itália.  It is a 42-storey building constructed in 1965. It was the tallest building in South America for many years.

One of the attractions of the building is a restaurant located at the top. The restaurant itself is rather high-end pricewise and food. However the quality of service is rather low.  Or maybe a team had a bad day. But it is a perfect place to compare how much the city panorama gains after dark simply get there before sunset.

Edificio Italia - Sao Paulo - Brazil

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lima - Plaza Mayor

Incas, Machu Picchu, the Lake Titicaca are the best-known highlights of Peru.  Lima - the capital of the country remains somewhere aside.  It is usually a stopover on the route.
The city is located on the edge of the desert, on the Pacific coast, at the mouth of the river Rimac. I would imagine it as another sunny South American city. But due to the phenomenon of thermal inversion it is covered with fog most of the year.   Unpleasant fog disappears in the summer.  But still the blue sky is not very common.
Cathdral - Lima - Peru - PizzaroNo matter what is your next destination in Peru, it is worth staying to see the city.  Lima was the Viceroyalty.  It means it was political, commercial and ecclesiastical center of the Spanish South America for two centuries. The city was founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro.  His grave can be found in the chapel on the right side from the entrance to the Cathedral. It's hard to miss it because the chapel is decorated with frescoes and mosaics depicting Pizzaro as conqueror. It is interesting that the real remains of Pizzaro were moved to that chapel only in 1985.  It was a part of celebration of the city's 450 anniversary.

The Cathedral is one of the most important and interesting monuments to see. Temple, which we visit today is actually the third Cathedral built on the same spot. The first two churches were built in the 16th century. The first was a small chapel consecrated in 1540. The second much larger church was built by Bishop Geronimo de Loayza 1551. The third cathedral was consecrated in 1622. Interior decoration of the cathedral is rich in styles.  You will find good examples of decorative works in 14 chapels.  There is a museum of sacred art in the former treasury and private rooms. You can see some interesting examples of local Christmas cribs and even special beds for the Christ Child.

Cathedral - Lima - Peru
The Cathedral is located at the Plaza Mayor.  The square was formerly known as the Plaza de Armas (the name was changed in 1997). It is historic and administrative center of the city.  You can find here the Palace of the Archbishop (Palacio del Arzobispo) with a stunningly decorated façade, the City Hall (Municipalidad de Lima) with beautifully restored wooden balconies and the Palacio de Gobierno (Presidential Palace).  And there is a fountain with a statue of the Angel of Fame in the center of the square.
Plaza Mayor - Lima  - Peru
The Presidential Palace witnessed political struggles.  It was where the first coup d’état in Latin America took place.  Francisco Pizarro was murdered there in 1541. The present building comes from the 20th century, but the plan of the ground floor has been preserved from the original building. Every day, except Sundays, at noon there is a ceremony of the changing of the guard in the uniforms from the period of struggle for independence. 
Changing of the Guard - Lima - Peru
The square is a good starting point for a walk through the narrow streets of the old town. Well, see you next time.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Teotihuacán - Mexico

About an hour drive from Mexico City you will find a pre-Columbian city of Teotihuacán. The history of the city dates back to the 1st and 2nd century of our era.  Today it is a World class monument listed as a UNESCO heritage site.  It is something you cannot miss while you are in Mexico City.
Teotihuacan - Mexico CityTeotihuacán is one of the most important archeological sites in Mexico.  And there are many articles on the subject available in all languages.  It is not my intention to copy the information but for your reference I included three links at the end of this post.  So what is it about?  There are just a few practical tips how to organize your visit to get the best of it.
Teotihuacan is located in a valley at the altitude of over 2 000 meters above sea level.  The area is barren with little vegetation.  It means temperatures are pretty high, higher than in Mexico City.  Apparently it is always warm there. Moreover on sunny days there is no shade where you could hide. Guidebooks usually recommend taking something to protect yourself from sun.  A bottle of water is a must.  Follow the recommendation – it is hot over there.

Pyramid of the Sun - MexicoIf you are planning to get there by yourself then most likely you will start the tour from the gate 1 – from the beginning. It is where you buy tickets. Coaches and mini-vans, with organized groups, often pull up at a parking lot close to the Pyramid of the Sun.   It means they start the tour from the square in front of the Pyramid of the Moon which is the end Avenida de los Muertos.  In that case you should walk down the Avenue of the Dead (Avenida de los Muertos) to the gate 1.  There is an archaeological museum and a tourist information center over there. Otherwise you will miss important part of the Teotihuacan.
The best know Mexican pyramids are those from Yucatan Peninsula.  The Pyramids of the Sun and of the Moon differ from Yucatan ones in construction and they are less decorated. There are just a few reliefs and paintings preserved in Teotihuacan. Moreover the guides say that only 30% of the construction of the pyramids is the original.  The rest is a reconstruction.  The city was discovered by accident.  One of the pyramids was almost blown up because the expedition thought it was an element of the landscape. You can see how it may look like at the photos placed next to the Pyramid of the Sun.
Pyramid of the Monn -Mexico

Climbing the pyramids may be a challenge, if you do not practice any sport regularly.  The steps are high and your muscles may be soared the next day. But no doubt it is worth climbing the two pyramids.
Find out more about Teotihuacan at Aztec History, Sacred Destinations and Visit Mexico sites.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Sao Paulo for weekend

São Paulo, the symbol of modernity and affluence, is sometimes called New York of South America. The golden age of the city began with the construction of the railway line to the port of Santos.  The main reason for the project was to transport coffee beans from inland to the world.

Sao Paulo - city center - BrazilThere are a few historic buildings, mostly churches in the city center.  It may be difficult to spot them as they are squeezed between modern buildings.  Church of St. Anthony (Igreja de Santo Antônio) and Church of St. Francisco (Igreja de São Francisco de Assis) are good examples.  The oldest part of the city is the Patio de Colégio.  It is where São Paulo de Piratininga was founded by the Jesuits Anchieta and Nóbrega. The small building you find there does not look like historic one.  The square is surrounded by Manhattan style buildings.  

Sao Paulo - Mercado Municipal - Brazil
It is worth visiting the Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market) for lunch break. There are over 10 restaurant-bars that serve among others local food on the mezzanine. It is true that the definition of locality in the case of Sao Paulo is difficult.  Each cuisine is local in Sao Paulo.
We did not know what's what on the menu. So we discreetly looked at the plates on nearby tables. It was not difficult because tables where set the way they formed one long table. Discretion proved to be indiscreet and after a while a couple sitting next to us offered help. They described what other people were eating. Perhaps we could order any food.  A queue of local people waiting for tables was a proof that it was the right place for trying the local cuisine. And it was good.