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Sights

Czech Republic is a very beautiful country with a rich history. There are a lof of sight-seeings, which attract a lot of tourists. Practically all cities, castles, moneral springs and mountain-skiing resorts of the republic are world famous. It is also very important that Czech Republic was able to preserve the monuments of architecture during the Second World War

Historic sights of the Czech Republic included in the World Heritage List of UNESCO. Total included in the UNESCO list are 12 monuments of the Czech Republic, including the historical city-centers of Prague, Hutna Hora and Cesky Krumlov. The most beautiful Czech towns by the readers of Travel in the Czech republic: Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Hutna Hora, Telc.

Baptistery of San Giovanni
The Florence Baptistery (Italian: Battistero di San Giovanni), also known as the Baptistery of Saint John, is a religious building in Florence, Italy, and has the status of a minor basilica. The octagonal baptistery stands in both the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza San Giovanni, across from Florence Cathedral and the Campanile di Giotto. The Baptistery is one of the oldest buildings in the city, constructed between 1059 and 1128 in the Florentine Romanesque style.

Although the Florentine style did not spread across Italy as widely as the Pisan Romanesque or Lombard styles, its influence was decisive for the subsequent development of architecture, as it formed the basis from which Francesco Talenti, Leon Battista Alberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, and the other architects created Renaissance architecture. In the case of the Florentine Romanesque, one can speak of "proto-renaissance", but at the same time an extreme survival of the late antique architectural tradition in Italy, as in the cases of the Basilica of San Salvatore in Spoleto, the Temple of Clitumnus, the church of Sant'Alessandro in Lucca.
Basilica of Saint Paul
The Basilica is within Italian territory and not the territory of the Vatican City State. However, the Holy See fully owns the Basilica, and Italy is legally obligated to recognize its full ownership thereof and to concede to it "the immunity granted by International Law to the headquarters of the diplomatic agents of foreign States". James Michael Harvey was named Archpriest of the Basilica in 2012.

The Basilica was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial place of St. Paul, where it was said that, after the Apostle's execution, his followers erected a memorial, called "a cella memoriae". This first edifice was expanded under Valentinian I in the 370s.
Basilica of Santa Croce
The Basilica di Santa Croce (Basilica of the Holy Cross) is the principal Franciscan church in Florence, Italy, and a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church. It is situated on the Piazza di Santa Croce, about 800 metres south-east of the Duomo. The site, when first chosen, was in marshland outside the city walls. It is the burial place of some of the most illustrious Italians, such as Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile and Rossini, thus it is known also as the Temple of the Italian Glories
Colosseum
he Roman Colosseum or Coliseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was commisioned in AD 72 by Emperor Vespasian. It was completed by his son, Titus, in 80, with later improvements by Domitian. The Colosseum is located just east of the Roman Forum and was built to a practical design, with its 80 arched entrances allowing easy access to 55,000 spectators, who were seated according to rank. The Coliseum is huge, an ellipse 188m long and 156 wide. Originally 240 masts were attached to stone corbels on the 4th level.

Just outside the Coliseum is the Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino), a 25m high monument built in AD315 to mark the victory of Constantine over Maxentius at Pons Milvius. Vespesian ordered the Colosseum to be build on the site of Nero's palace, the Domus Aurea, to dissociate himself from the hated tyrant. His aim was to gain popularity by staging deadly combats of gladiators and wild animal fights for public viewing. Massacre was on a huge scale: at inaugural games in AD 80, over 9,000 wild animals were killed.

The museum is located in the heart of piazza del Colosseo, on the homonymous B(blue) metro line.
Doge's Palace
The Doge's Palace (Italian: Palazzo Ducale) is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice in northern Italy. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic of Venice, opening as a museum in 1923. Today, it is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.
Grand Canal
The Canal Grande snakes through the city of Venice in a large S shape, traveling from the Saint Mark Basin on one end to a lagoon near the Santa Lucia rail station on the other. This ancient waterway measures 3,800 meters long and ranges from 30 to 90 meters wide. In most places, the canal is approximately 5 meters deep. The canal is an ancient waterway, lined with buildings - about 170 in all - that were mostly built from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Most were constructed by wealthy Venetian families. The majority of the city's traffic cruises up and down the canal, be it private boats, vaporetti (water buses), water taxis or the famous gondolas. Foot traffic gathers around three famous bridges that cross the canal: the Rialto Bridge, the Ponte Degli Scalzi, and the Ponte dell'Accademia. A fourth, modern (and controversial) bridge was recently added not far from the Scalzi bridge: the Calatrava Bridge.
La Scala Theater
Built in 1776–78 by the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria (whose country then ruled Milan), it replaced an earlier theatre that had burned. In 1872 it became the property of the city of Milan. The house was closed during World War I. In 1920 the conductor Arturo Toscanini led a council that raised money to reopen it, organizing it as an autonomous corporation. Bombed during World War II, the theatre reopened in 1946, partly through funds raised by benefit concerts given by Toscanini. In late 2001 La Scala closed for extensive renovations. Mario Botta served as the architect of the project, estimated to have cost some $67 million, and the theatre reopened in December 2004 with a performance of Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta, which had been performed at La Scala’s opening on August 3, 1778.

La Scala’s repertory is more varied than that of the other four or five leading opera houses. It tends to include a large number of unfamiliar works balanced by a limited number of popular favourites. Conductors are given control of casting and rehearsals. The composer Giuseppe Verdi was closely associated with the house during the 19th century. Toscanini’s tenure as artistic director marked one of the finest periods in the theatre’s existence.

Associated with the theatre are a ballet company, a ballet school, and a singing school. The expenses of La Scala are met by a combination of ticket sales, a municipal tax, and an Italian governmental subsidy.
Milan Cathedral
An exceptionally large and elaborate Gothic cathedral on the main square of Milan, the Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous buildings in Europe. It is the largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world.

The street plan of Milan, with streets either radiating from the Duomo or circling it, indicates that the Duomo occupied the most important site in the ancient Roman city of Mediolanum. Saint Ambrose built a new basilica on this site at the beginning of the 5th century, with an adjoining basilica added in 836. When fire damaged both buildings in 1075, they were rebuilt as the Duomo.

In 1386 the archbishop, Antonio da Saluzzo, began the new project in a rayonnant Late Gothic style that is more characteristic of France than Italy. Work proceeded for generations. The main spire was topped in 1762 with a polychrome statue of the Madonna, to whom the Duomo and its predecessor have always been dedicated.

Even now, some uncarved blocks remain to be turned into sculpture. Gothic construction on the rest of the Duomo was largely complete in the 1880s.
The Duomo was recently under major renovations and cleaning for several years, obscuring the west front with scaffolding. Works were finally completed in 2009, revealing the newly-cleaned facade in all its glory.
Naples National Archaeological Museum
The Naples National Archaeological Museum is a museum in Naples, southern Italy, at the northwest corner of the original Greek wall of the city of Neapolis. The museum contains a large collection of Roman artifacts from Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum. The collection includes works of the highest quality produced in Greek, Roman and Renaissance times. It is the most important Italian archaeological museum and is considered one of the most important in the world.

he museum hosts extensive collections of Greek and Roman antiquities. Their core is from the Farnese Collection, which includes a collection of engraved gems (including the Farnese Cup, a Ptolemaic bowl made of sardonyx agate and the most famous piece in the "Treasure of the Magnificent", and is founded upon gems collected by Cosimo de' Medici and Lorenzo il Magnifico in the 15th century) and the Farnese Marbles. Among the notable works found in the museum are the Herculaneum papyri, carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, found after 1752 in Villa of the Papyri.
Pantheon
Probably one of the most fascinating features of the Pantheon is the Architecture. The structure of the Pantheon is comprised of a series of intersecting arches. The arches rest on eight piers which support eight round-headed arches which run through the drum from its inner to its outer face. The arches correspond to the eight bays on the floor level that house statues.
The dome itself is supported by a series of arches that run horizontally round. Romans had perfected the use of arches which helped sustain the weight of their magnanimous buildings.

The Romans were aware of the heavy nature of their building materials. So they used lighter materials toward the top of the dome. \ On the lowest level travertine, the heaviest material was used, then a mixture of travertine and tufa, then tufa and brick, then all brick was used around the drum section of the dome, and finally pumice, the lightest and most porous of materials on the ceiling of the dome.
Pompeii & Vesuvius
The ancient city of Pompeii — famously ruined in A.D. 79 when mighty Mount Vesuvius blew its top — is one of Italy's most popular tourist attractions. Few visitors make it to the top of the towering volcano, but those who do enjoy a commanding view.

You can get to Vesuvius with a train/bus/hike journey. You start by riding a rickety but reliable commuter train from Naples or Sorrento (because it circles under Vesuvius, the train is called the Circumvesuviana). From the Pompeii stop, a shuttle van takes you up the volcano to the end of the road. From there, it's a steep 30-minute hike to the desolate, lunar-like summit.

Belly up to the crater's edge. Steaming vents are a reminder that while Vesuvius is quiet today, it's just taking a geological nap. The last eruption was in 1944, and it's only a matter of when, not if, it will erupt again. Italian authorities close Vesuvius to visitors when they think the volcano is acting too frisky.

A hike around the crater's lip comes with spectacular vistas of Naples, its sweeping bay, and Pompeii. Be still. Listen to the wind and the occasional cascade of rocks tumbling into the crater. As you observe wisps of smoldering steam, imagine the scene nearly 2,000 years ago, when Vesuvius sent a mushroom cloud of ash, dust, and rocks 12 miles into the sky. For 18 hours straight, spewed ash settled like a heavy snow on Pompeii. Most of the city's 20,000 residents fled as roofs and floors began collapsing.

But then, suddenly, the eruption changed. A red-hot avalanche of rock and ash raced down the mountainside at nearly 100 miles per hour. Pompeii and the 2,000 unlucky souls who had stayed behind were buried, leaving their bodies encased in volcanic debris. As the bodies decomposed, they left hollow spaces. Centuries later, archaeologists detected these spaces and gently filled them with plaster, creating molds that chillingly capture their anguished last moments.

Today, ongoing excavations of once booming Pompeii offer the best look anywhere at ancient Roman life. Back then, Rome controlled the entire Mediterranean Sea, and Pompeii was an important, big port town. Not rich, not poor, Pompeii was middle class. And because it was a port, it was a sailor's quarter, with lots of bars, public baths, brothels, restaurants, and places of entertainment.

The best way to understand Pompeii is to walk the site; the entry fee is $15 (for a free audio tour of the site, see www.ricksteves.com/audioeurope). In good Roman style, the city was well organized, contained by its walls with a grid street plan. Back in antiquity, most of Pompeii's streets would have been lined with stalls and jammed with customers from sunup to sundown. Chariots vied with shoppers for street space.

One of Pompeii's most impressive aspects is how abundant water was. In this well-plumbed city, lead pipes funneled water from an aqueduct-fed reservoir at the high end of town directly to neighborhood water tanks. With the tanks installed just below the level of the reservoir, gravity did the work — and ensured good water pressure. Fountains provided a social center at street intersections, and a steady stream of water flushed the chariot-rutted streets clean. Pompeii's citizens enjoyed relaxing at its impressive public baths.

For archaeologists, Pompeii was a shake-and-bake windfall. They first got to work at the site back in the 1700s — before Italy was united. The local king who ruled from Naples demanded: "Bring me the best of whatever you find!" That's why, as impressive as the ancient city is, the finest art and artifacts of Pompeii ended up back in Naples, at the National Museum of Archaeology.
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is situated in the area between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Three thousand years ago, this valley between Campidoglio and the Quirinal, which was to become the future social and political centre of one of the greatest empires of ancient times, was submerged in marshland.

By an incredible invention of engineering, which was commissioned by the last two Etruscan kings, the so-called Cloaca Maxima, a canal that is still in function to this very day, allowed for the drainage of the land.

The area soon began to develop and already at the end of the 7th century BC, it was home to many markets and a hive of social activity.
Santa Maria del Fiore
Santa Maria del Fiore, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, is the third largest church in the world (after St. Peter's in Rome and St. Paul's in London) and was the largest church in Europe when it was completed in the 15th century. It is 153 metres long, 90 metres wide at the crossing, and 90 metres high from the floor to the bottom of the lantern. The third and last cathedral of Florence, it was dedicated to Santa Maria del Fiore, the Virgin of the Flower, in 1412, a clear allusion to the lily, the symbol of the city of Florence.

It was built over the second cathedral, which early Christian Florence had dedicated to St. Reparata. The numerous different styles that we encounter in the building bear witness to changing tastes over the long period of time that elapsed between its foundation and its completion.
Santa Maria delle Grazia Church
It may only receive a cursory look by most visitors, but Santa Maria delle Grazie is a handsome church with a fine dome by Bramante. There is also a lovely cloister. The last meal shared by Jesus and his disciples was a common theme used to decorate convent refectories, especially in Florence, but Leonardo presented the subject in a completely innovative form. He made drastic modifications to the layout of the scene and, most notably, presented this episode from the Gospels with astounding realism.

Despite Leonardo's carefully preserved preparatory sketches in which the apostles are clearly labeled by name, there still remains some small debate about a few identities in the final arrangement. Most recently, novelist Dan Brown claims in The Da Vinci Code that the figure on Jesus' right is not John the Apostle, but Mary Magdalene. Brown also claims that Peter is making a threatening gesture towards "Mary," representing a fierce battle between the two figures in the early church. Most art historians, however, point out that St. John is commonly represented with feminine features and there is no reason to think the figure is Mary.

Whatever the case, there can be no mistaking Judas, small and dark, his hand calmly reaching forward to the bread, isolated from the terrible confusion that has taken the hearts of the others. One critic, Frederick Hartt, has said the composition works because it combines "dramatic confusion" with "mathematical order."
St Mark's Campanile
The campanile of St. Mark’s is an imposing square plan tower about 99 metres high, crowned by a spire that was once a lighthouse for shipping. It is the prototype of all the campaniles of the lagoon area. It was first built in the 12th century on the site of what was probably a watchtower and rebuilt in its current form early in the 16th centurywith the addition of a belfry and with the spire faced in copper and topped by a sort of rotating platform with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel which functioned as a weathercock.

Of the five original bells only the largest remains. The others, now replaced, were destroyed when the tower collapsed in 1902. From the belfry loggia there is a spectacular bird’s eye view of the city and the lagoon. Against the base of the campanile is the balcony built by Jacopo Sansovino between 1537 and 1549 and decorated with marbles and bronzes .
St. Mark's Square
St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) is Venice on parade, where everyone comes to see and be seen. It is Venice's only square with the title of "piazza" - the rest are called "campo." Life has revolved around this piazza since the days of the Republic, when it was a market as well as the center of civic and religious life. Considered one of the finest squares in the world and certainly Venice's prime attraction, it is surrounded on three sides by the stately arcades of public buildings and on the fourth, by Basilica di San Marco's riot of domes and arches and the soaring St. Mark's campanile. The lines waiting to enter the basilica, which is by far the most popular attraction in Venice, may seem intimidating, but you can skip these by joining a tour. No obstruction mars the vast stone-paved expanse of St. Mark's Square, where the only traffic is Venetians, tourists, and the ever-present pigeons.
The Arch of Peace
This photochrome print of the Arch of Peace (Arco della Pace) in Milan is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). This 23-meter marble structure stands in the Piazza Sempione, at one end of the Simplon Road, the strategic route through the Alps taken by Napoleon I when he invaded northern Italy in 1800. Napoleon later commissioned the arch to commemorate his victories. Construction began in 1806 under the direction of the architect Luigi Cagnola (1762–1833), but the work was not completed during Napoleon’s rule. In 1826, Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria ordered that the arch be completed and dedicated to the peace that was restored in 1815 when Napoleon was defeated and driven from power. Construction was completed in 1838 under the direction of the architect Francesco Peverelli (1789–1854), who took over the work after the death of Cagnola. The neoclassical structure consists of three arcades and four marble Corinthian columns, with numerous sculptures by Pompeo Marchesi (1790–1858). At the top, the arch is capped by several bronze pieces, which include two figures on horseback at both corners, and the Sestiga della Pace, a sculpture of a carriage drawn by six horses by Abbondio Sangiorgio (1798–1879).
Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is a fantastic work of art that is much more than a mere sculpture. This triumphant example of Baroque art with its soft, natural lines and fantasy creatures embodies movement as the soul of the world. The fountain is a true wonder, a jewel of water and stone that is nestled between the palaces of the historic centre of the city.

You can already hear its presence from the nearby streets. Indeed, as you get nearer the sound of its gushing waters grows constantly more intense, reaching a crescendo in the square, where you will find the most breathtaking sight. Suddenly, the space seems to open out and you stand before a symbolic representation of this great force of nature, a tumultuous spring that seems to flow out of the ground.

The light and shade effects on the marble make the wind seem to bellow through the drapes and locks of the statues, agitating the waves, creating an extraordinarily intense and spectacular scene. In this Baroque creation, the architecture itself seems to come alive with the current of the revitalising waters.
Uffizi Gallery
The building of Uffizi complex was begun by Giorgio Vasari in 1560 for Cosimo I de' Medici so as to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates, hence the name uffizi, "offices". The construction was later continued by Alfonso Parigi and Bernardo Buontalenti and completed in 1581. The cortile (internal courtyard) is so long and narrow, and open to the Arno at its far end through a Doric screen that articulates the space without blocking it, that architectural historians treat it as the first regularized streetscape of Europe.

Vasari, a painter and architect as well, emphasised its perspective length by the matching facades' continuous roof cornices, and unbroken cornices between storeys and the three continuous steps on which the palace-fronts stand. The niches in the piers that alternate with columns filled with sculptures of famous artists in the XIX century.
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