Tag Archives: statue

USA 2016 – 20 Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego (2016-07-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 12 MAY 2018

One of the best views of San Diego’s harbour and skyline can be found at the Cabrillo National Monument – in fact, a clear day will actually give you a good view over a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Tijuana, and even Mexico’s Coronado Islands!

Situated at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California, the Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542 – the first time a European expedition had ever set foot on what later became the West Coast of the United States.

The first thing that greets you as you drive up into the national park is the fantastic Cabrillo Visitor Center, which in addition to its useful outdoor signage, viewing deck spots and smorgasbord of visitor information on hand, also sports a fantastically well done museum section, containing a fascinating array of carefully preserved items, information and interactive exhibits.

Then of course there is the unmissable limestone heroic statue of Cabrillo himself, a present to the USA from the Portuguese government. The original statue which was handed over by the Portuguese ambassador in 1938 was executed by sculptor Alvaro de Bree, with it weighing in at 6,400 kg and measuring 4.3 m in height.

However, weathering as a result of its exposed position dictated that the original sandstone model needed to eventually be replaced, and so in 1988 the (still striking) limestone replica that you see on site today made its appearance.

Interesting fact: During World War II the original Cabrillo Monument site was completely off-limits to the public thanks to the Point Loma Peninsula’s reservation for military purposes (San Diego is strategically incredibly important to the United States Navy), but this worked out well in the end – following the war, the national monument’s area was significantly enlarged thanks to work by both presidents Eisenhower and Ford.

Standing at around 57 hectares in size, the Cabrillo National Monument is also home to a number of other fascinating points of interest, like the Old Point Loma Lighthouse – one of the oldest lighthouses to ever operate on the West Coast of the United States of America.

And while this particular lighthouse now operates as a walk-in museum attraction only, just down the hill is the still very much in operation New Point Loma Lighthouse as well. There there are also the old gun batteries and retired radio station that houses an interesting the military history of the area exhibition.

In terms of nature activities, there are a number of short trails throughout the Cabrillo National Monument, including the popular two-mile long Bayside Trail that takes you through one one of the last remaining remnants of coastal sage scrub habitat in the world. It also in the process gives you spectacular views of Sand Diego Bay and the city beyond, Ballast Point (where Cabrillo landed), sandstone cliffs, and if the season is right, even some snow on the tops of the mountains!

The Coastal Tidepool Trail on the other hand takes you along its winding path down to the rocky intertidal area of the monument – which is incidentally one one of the best-protected and most easily accessible of rocky intertidal areas in southern California. Given the incredibly diverse and thriving animal communities to be found in the tidal pool area, this section also then happens to be one  of the more interesting spots of the park to pay a visit to.

Oh, and as if all this wasn’t yet enough, given its high elevation, the Cabrillo National Monument is also a brilliant whale watching spot – the perfect place in fact to watch migrating Gray Whales pass by from December through February!

So pretty hard not to include this as one of the many tourist things to do here in San Diego then!

Related Link: Cabrillo National Monument | Wikipedia | San Diego | #USA2016

Things to See in Ukraine: The Motherland Monument in Kiev Travel Attractions 01 NOV 2016

One of Kiev’s most striking skyline elements is the massive Motherland Monument, also known as Rodina-Mat. Standing at a colossal 62 metres high and visible from just about all over Kiev, there is no surprise in it often being described as one of the capital of Ukraine’s most distinctive features.

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Referred to as “Brezhnev’s Daughter” by the locals, the Motherland Monument is a giant stainless steel statue modelled by Vasyl Borodai and built in celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

The sculpture is a part of the Museum of The History of Ukraine in World War II, and as a whole, its structure measures 102 m in height, with it weighing in at around 560 tons.

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The sword in the statue’s right hand is 16 m long weighing 9 tons (interesting fact – it had to be shortened so that it no longer stood higher than the cross of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra, aka the Kiev Monastery of the Caves), with the left hand holding up a 13 by 8 m (43 by 26 ft) shield emblazoned with the State Emblem of the Soviet Union.

The Memorial hall of the Museum displays marble plaques with carved names of more than 11,600 soldiers and over 200 workers of the home-front, honored during the war with the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union and the Hero of Socialist Labor respectively.

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The slightly controversial (mostly around cost and choice of premium building material) statue was opened in 1981 (following a short two years of construction) in a ceremony attended by Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev. Interestingly enough, April 2015 saw the parliament of Ukraine outlawing all Soviet and Communist symbols, street names and monuments as a decommunization attempt, but luckily for Mother Motherland, World War II monuments are excluded from these laws.

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The sheer scale of this statue makes it an interesting  attraction to seek out, and of course, for military history buffs, the associated museum is an absolute treasure trove of information, gear and machinery.

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(Also, check out Destinations if you are looking for a good Travel Guide about Ukraine)

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Related Link: Motherland Monument | Wikipedia | Kiev

Things to See in South Africa: The Dick King Statue in Durban Travel Attractions 11 AUG 2016

Situated on the north shore of Durban Bay, the Victoria Embankment, also know as Esplanade, is Durban’s main promenade, stretching all around the waterfront and offering great views of the harbour. More or less at the center of this promenade you will stumble across a beautiful bronze equestrian statue dating back to August 1915 – the statue of Dick King.

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The statue commemorates Dick King and his heroic journey that is entwined in the history of Port Natal (now Durban).

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Port Natal was a British trading station in the region now known as KwaZulu-Natal. Richard ‘Dick’ King was an English trader and colonist based there, who became famous following his epic horseback journey that saw him cover a distance of 960 kilometres in 10 days (a journey that would  normally take 17), in order to request help for the besieged British garrison barricaded in at Itafa Malinde (now the Old Fort) of Port Natal from the British military outpost of Grahamstown.

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25 May 1842. Having successfully slipped out from a ship moored in the bay and escaping the Boer republic of Natalia’s Andries Pretorius (who was spearheading the siege), Dick King, accompanied by his 16-year-old servant Ndongeni, set out into the wilderness on horseback, fording  120 rivers and dodging attacks from both Zulu and Boer forces alike.

Without a saddle or bridle, the young Ndongeni could only make it halfway, but Dick King pushed on, covering the distance in a mere ten days, but arriving in a state of complete exhaustion. His message was heard, and a month later King returned aboard one of the British vessels carrying the relief parties, arriving in time to save the Port Natal garrison from imminent surrender or starvation.

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Later, Ndongeni would receive a farm at the Mzimkulu river and the humble King a farm at Isipingo for their services. On the 14 August 1915 this beautiful statue commemorating Dick King and his horse Somerset’s epic journey, and thus important piece of Durban’s history, was unveiled.

Related Link: Wikipedia | South African Guide | Mole’s Genealogy Blog

Coffee and the Giant Aloe at Alcare Aloe in Albertinia (2016-06-27) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 21 JUL 2016

The last day of our long weekend away in the Garden Route had finally arrived, and as luck would have it, the good weather that we had been enjoying up until now finally gave way to some rain, making the last morning of hotel breakfast and packing up a bit of a grey, overcast and wet affair!

While Evan and Natasha opted to stick around and spend some more time in George, the rest of us decided to call it a day and head back home via the N2 – but not before making a scheduled stop at the Alcare Aloe shop in Albertinia,to pick up some supplies that Monty and Cheryl had ordered before they had left for the weekend.

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Pleasingly, the shop has attached to it a great little coffee stop in the form of the Giant Aloe Cafe, which was exactly what the doctor ordered on such a cold and wet day.

Featuring a centrally placed fireplace and loads of home made nibbles to choose from, we quickly settled in for a nice warming cup of coffee and a small treat for the girls.

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(Also, it gave Chantelle and Cheryl an excuse to do a bit of browsing through the multitude of aloe products on display!)

Of more interest to me however was the giant, super realistic aloe statue erected outside. Naturally, a closer inspection was called for!

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Unveiled in 2010, this 9 metre tall statue of a Cape Aloe plant (Aloe ferox) features individually sculpted leaves, flowers and thorns, weighing in at approximately 2,500 kg!

This beautiful piece of art (designed by George-based sculptors) took approximately 8,800 man hours to complete and now stands as a beautiful and eye-catching landmark for the small town of Albertinia (which is already kind of known as “Aloe Country “anyways!).

In other words, you can’t miss it.

Related Link: Giant Aloe Statue | Alcare Aloe | Albertinia

Japan 2014 – 14 The Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda, Tokyo (2014-10-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 11 NOV 2015

With the sights of Tokyo Dome and LaQua at Tokyo Dome City now done and dusted, Ryan and I turned on Google Maps and looked for something green to head towards. (In general, this is pretty much how we quite often selected where to go whilst in the big cities – Simply head for the big green open spaces on the map!).

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We settled on visiting the slightly controversial Yasakuni Shrine, primarily because of the possibility of finding a war museum near this massive shinto shrine – which of course meant a lengthy walking journey to Chiyoda, Tokyo. (Seriously, you guys have no idea as to just how many kilometers Ryan and I traversed on foot over the course of our two week long holiday trip!)

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The walk through Chiyoda itself was particularly pleasant, thanks to cool overcast conditions, a beautiful mix of towering modern and intricate old buildings, and a lot of greenery all around. We also took care to take a journey through many of the side streets, allowing us to stumble on quite a few pretty cool Japanese sights.

Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine founded in 1869 by Emperor Meiji, dedicated to those who lost their lives whilst in the service of the Empire of Japan.

The spirits of about 2.5 million people, who died for Japan in the conflicts accompanying the Meiji Restoration, in the Satsuma Rebellion, the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, the First World War, the Manchurian Incident, the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific War, are enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine in form of written records, which note name, origin and date and place of death of everyone enshrined.

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The Honden (main hall) shrine also serves to commemorate anyone (including non-Japanese such as Taiwanese and Koreans ) who died on behalf of the empire, people such as relief workers, factory workers, and other ordinary citizens.

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This then is a very solemn place to visit, with a tranquil heaviness that hangs in the atmosphere.

The massive grounds feature a number of memorials and statues, as well as some truly massive torii (steel, bronze, concrete, wood) and mon gates (hinoki cypress) under which you need to pass.

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(If fact, the first torii is the impressive Daiichi Torii, a massive steel arch that was at the time of its creation, the largest torii in Japan. It stands approximately 25 meters tall and 34 meters wide!)

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One of the sights I found truly mesmerizing was the tall Statue of Omura Masujiro, which was created by Okuma Ujihiro way back in 1893. It was Japan’s first Western-style bronze statue, and honours Omura Masujiro, the man who is known as the “Father of the Modern Japanese Army”.

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All in all, the visit to this massive 6.25 hectare complex was a fantastic, if sobering experience, and definitely worth a recommendation.

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(Notice the white gloved policeman bearing down on me. Turns out one can’t actually take photos of this particular building! Oops…)

Related Link: Yasakuni Shrine | Yasukuni Jinja

Things to See in Scotland: The Kelpies Travel Attractions 10 JUN 2015

If you are particularly fond of horses and find yourself in the Falkirk region of Scotland, then it probably wouldn’t be wasted on you to make a trip through to The Helix in order to view sculptor Andy Scott’s gigantic equine The Kelpies sculptures.

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The Kelpies are 30-metre high horse-head sculptures, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and near River Carron, in The Helix, a parkland project built to connect 16 communities in the Falkirk Council Area, Scotland.

The sculptures were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013. The sculptures form a gateway at the eastern entrance to the Forth and Clyde canal, and the new canal extension built as part of The Helix land transformation project. The Kelpies are a monument to horse powered heritage across Scotland.

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The sculptures opened to the public in April 2014. As part of the project, they will have their own visitor centre, and sit beside a newly developed canal turning pool and extension. This canal extension reconnects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the River Forth, and improves navigation between the East and West of Scotland.

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Built of structural steel with a stainless steel cladding (materials strongly associated with Scottish industry), The Kelpies are 30 metres high and weigh 300 tonnes each. Construction began in June 2013, and was complete by October 2013. However the process of fabricating the steel was several years in the making. SH Structures, of Yorkshire, carried out this fabrication and also managed the erection of the sculptures on site.

The Kelpies are positioned either side of a specially constructed lock and basin, part of the redeveloped Kelpies Hub.

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The name was chosen by Scottish Canals at the inception of The Helix project, in 2005. The Kelpies name reflected the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 10 horses; a quality that is analogous with the transformational change and endurance of Scotland’s inland waterways. The Kelpies represent the lineage of the heavy horse of Scottish industry and economy, pulling the wagons, ploughs, barges and coalships that shaped the geographical layout of the Falkirk area.

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According to sculptor Andy Scott “The original concept of mythical water horses was a valid starting point for the artistic development of the structures.”

“I took that concept and moved with it towards a more equine and contemporary response, shifting from any mythological references towards a socio-historical monument intended to celebrate the horse’s role in industry and agriculture as well as the obvious association with the canals as tow horses.”

According to Scott the end result would be “Water-borne, towering gateways into The Helix, the Forth & Clyde Canal and Scotland, translating the legacy of the area into proud equine guardians.”

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Related Link: Kelpies | Wikipedia

Things to See in Russia: The Bronze Horseman Travel Attractions 23 FEB 2015

The Bronze Horseman is an equestrian statue of Peter the Great in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Commissioned by Catherine the Great, it was created by the French sculptor Étienne Maurice Falconet. The name comes from an 1833 poem of the same the name by Aleksander Pushkin, which is widely considered one of the most significant works of Russian literature.

The statue is now one of the symbols of Saint Petersburg, in much the same way that the Statue of Liberty is a symbol of New York City (interestingly enough, both were designed and built by French artists).

The statue’s pedestal is the enormous Thunder Stone, the largest stone ever moved by man. The stone originally weighed about 1500 tonnes, and was carved down to 1250 during transportation to its current site.

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The equestrian statue of Peter the Great is situated in the Senate Square (formerly the Decembrists Square), in St. Petersburg. Catherine the Great, a German princess who married into the Romanov line, was anxious to connect herself to Peter the Great to gain legitimacy in the eyes of the people. She ordered its construction, and had it inscribed with the phrase Petro Primo Catharina Secunda MDCCLXXXII in Latin and Петру перьвому Екатерина вторая, лѣта 1782 in Russian, both meaning ‘Catherine the Second to Peter the First, 1782’, an expression of her admiration for her predecessor and her view of her own place in the line of great Russian rulers.

(Having gained her position through a palace coup, Catherine had no legal claim to the throne and wanted to represent herself as Peter’s rightful heir.)

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In 1775 the casting of the statue began, supervised by caster Emelyan Khailov. At one point during the casting, the mould broke, releasing molten bronze that started several fires. All the workers ran except Khailov, who risked his life to salvage the casting. After being remelted and recast, the statue was later finished. It took 12 years, from 1770 to 1782, to create the Bronze Horseman, including pedestal, horse and rider.

The tsar’s face is the work of the young Marie-Anne Collot, then only 18 years old. She had accompanied Falconet as an apprentice on his trip to Russia in 1766. A student of Falconet and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Collot (called Mademoiselle Victoire by Diderot) modelled Peter the Great’s face on his death mask and numerous portraits she found in Saint Petersburg.

The right hand of the statue was modelled from a Roman bronze hand, found in 1771 in Voorburg in the Netherlands at the site of the ancient Roman town Forum Hadriani.

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The statue portrays Peter the Great sitting heroically on his horse, his outstretched arm pointing towards the River Neva in the west. The sculptor wished to capture the exact moment of his horse rearing at the edge of a dramatic cliff. His horse can be seen trampling a serpent, variously interpreted to represent treachery, evil, or the enemies of Peter and his reforms. The statue itself is about 6 m (20 feet) tall, while the pedestal is another 7 m (25 feet) tall, for a total of approximately 13 m (45 feet).

For the pedestal, an enormous boulder known as the Thunder Stone was found at Lakhta, 6 km (3.7 mi) inland from the Gulf of Finland in 1768. It is considered the largest stone ever moved by man – it was effectively moved 6 km overland to the Gulf of Finland by manpower, rollers, and capstans, then transported by barge up the Neva River to St. Petersburg. According to the fall 1882 edition of La Nature, the stone’s dimensions before being cut were 7 × 14 × 9 m. Based on the density of granite, its weight was determined to be around 1500 tonnes.

(Falconet had some of this cut away shaping it into a base, so the finished pedestal weighed slightly less.)

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronze_Horseman

Things to See in Mongolia: Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue Travel Attractions 01 FEB 2015

The gigantic steel Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue, part of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, is a 40 metre tall statue of Genghis Khan on horseback, situated on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog (54 km east of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar).

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According to the legends, this spot is where he is famed for having found his golden whip.

The statue is symbolically pointed east towards his birthplace, and as mentioned above, it sits on top of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, a visitor centre which itself stands 10 metres tall, with 36 columns representing the 36 khans from Genghis to Ligdan Khan.

The statue was completed in 2008, based on the designs of sculptor D. Erdenebileg and architect J. Enkhjargal.

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Visitors walk to the head of the horse through its chest and neck of the horse, where they can have a panoramic view from up high. The main statue area is intended to be surrounded by 200 Ger, yurt camps, designed and arranged like the pattern of the horse brand marks that were used by the 13th century Mongol tribes.

The cost of the complex as a whole is reported to be $4.1 million, spent by The Genco Tour Bureau, a Mongolian company.

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The attached museum has exhibitions relating to the Bronze Age and Xiongnu archaeological cultures in Mongolia, which show everyday utensils, belt buckles, knives, sacred animals, etc. and a second exhibition on the Great Khan period in the 13 and 14th centuries which has ancient tools, goldsmith subjects and some Nestorian crosses and rosaries.

Next to the museum there is a tourist and recreation center, which covers a further 212 ha.

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So in other words, a LOT of proud Mongolian culture to be taken in, all under the survey of this gleaming, colossal warlord!

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genghis_Khan_Equestrian_Statue

Things to See in China: Guan Yu of Yuncheng Giant Statue Travel Attractions 24 JAN 2015

In 2010 work was finally completed on the gigantic statue of the legendary general of the Three Kingdoms period,  Guan Yu – often reverently called Guan Gong (Lord Guan) and Guan Di (Emperor Guan). The colossal statue is situated in the general’s hometown of Chang Ping village near Yuncheng city, part of the Shanxi province, People’s Republic of China.

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The statue was made with more than 500 tonnes of copper and 2,000 tonnes of steel. It is 61 meters tall, to mark Guan’s 61-year life. (Also, the foundation of the statue is 19 meters high, reflecting the fact that Guan spent 19 years in Yuncheng.)

Guan Yu (died 220) was a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty. He played a significant role in the civil war that led to the collapse of the dynasty and the establishment of the state of Shu Han – founded by Liu Bei – in the Three Kingdoms period.

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As one of the best known Chinese historical figures throughout East Asia, Guan’s true life stories have largely given way to fictionalised ones, most of which are found in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms or passed down the generations, in which his deeds and moral qualities have been lionised. Guan is respected as an epitome of loyalty and righteousness.

Guan Yu was deified as early as the Sui dynasty and is still worshipped by many Chinese people today, especially in southern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and among many overseas Chinese communities. He is a figure in Chinese folk religion, popular Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism, and small shrines to Guan are almost ubiquitous in traditional Chinese shops and restaurants.

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Oh, and apparently he is even responsible for the Guan Dao weapon.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guan_Yu