How to Remove Grout From Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tiles are available in a variety of colors and designs. You need to use proper methods for cleaning tiles and grout so that the tiles do not get damaged. Here are some helpful tips for the same.

nYou must have invested a lot to have those beautiful ceramic tiles at your home. After the initial glory and glaze, it must have depressed you to find dirt or mildew building up on your precious tiles. You must also have noticed the discolored grout between the tiles.

Are you worried about your ceramic tiles getting spoiled? You need not worry, as there are easy ways of cleaning ceramic tiles using simple household products.nCeramic tiles are available in two types: glazed and unglazed ones.

The glazed tiles are covered with a shiny coat. They are water repellent and hence, are easy to clean.The unglazed or the matte finish ones are difficult to clean.

nGrout is the substance which helps in binding the two tiles together. Its color can either be similar to that of the tiles or in contrast. It should also be cleaned regularly.

Here are some useful tips.nIf the grout is beyond cleaning, you can always seal it or remove it. The tools required for removing grout are grout saw, grout scraper, and chisel.

You have to be careful not to damage the tiles in the process. The steps for removing grout are listed below.nTake every precaution possible to prevent ceramic tiles from getting stained.

By following these cleaning methods, you can have beautiful and spotlessly clean ceramic tiles.

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Swanky Makeover for Iit-kharagpur Hostel Rooms | Kolkata News - Times of India
For new entrants to IIT-Kharagpur this academic year that starts in August, there's some great news.The hostel rooms they will be allotted this time will no longer be of the whitewashed kind that just had a wooden table, an iron cot and a small rickety wooden almirah that you had to share with your roommate if you did not have a room to yourself.Such basic rooms, that most students rued about, especially because this was their first experience of living outside home, are going in for a complete makeover to make them swanky .The oldest and biggest IIT in the chain, perhaps, took a long time to usher in the change. But now that it has started, the institute is pulling out all stops. From highlighting walls to rolling in modular furniture and strategic lighting, replacing old floors with modern tiles, the rooms being designed are a delight to be in. Already 322 rooms in the old hostels have been re-done and renovations are on in 17 of the 21hostels on the campus.Chances are the authorities will allow air-conditioning of the renovated hostel rooms. This, too, was a longstanding demand. However, the matter is pending a deci sion in the governing body meeting that will happen soon. The fact that tuition fee has more than doubled -from Rs 45,000 to Rs 1,00,000 annually -might be an indication that air-conditioning will finally be permitted.However, there will be some rationing on this and studentscan opt out of the facility as this might need an additional fee, said one of the deans of the institute.For now, existing students are delighted with what has been done already -bright red, orange, green or yellow to highlight walls, glazed tiles on floors, geysers and latest fittings in bathrooms and a well-appointed common room with huge LED televisions, projectors and screens for special shows, home theatre systems etc.There will be a separate room in every hall for those musically inclined to practise and rehearse. We are thrilled. While it was always fun to bond with friends in hostels, we did miss home and the comforts we left behind. Now our hostels are going to be almost as good, said Sonal Priya, second-year student who is a boarder at Sarojini Naidu Hall.Five outdoor games and courts for cricket (a pitch is being professionally created), football, volleyball, badminton and basketball are being attached to each hostel as part of the renovation while new spaces are being eked out for indoor games.Gam-es have always been a strong point of the institute for years. Though we did have facilities on campus, it was not enough to accommodate the huge population of players, said games enthusiast Hrishabh Yadav.While the renovation will cost at least Rs 200 crore, the institute is trying to rope in alumni to help out. Vinod Gupta, who used to be a resident of RK Hall, and Vijay Khiawat, another alumnus who lived in Nehru Hall, are helping with renovation of their respective halls.Times have changed and we cannot remain behind.Gone are the days when people believed students should get used to austerity and avoid luxury. We are trying to bring in a modicum of comfort into hostels as we believe this will help improve performance, said IIT-Kgp director P P Chakraborty.Read this story in TeluguDownload The Times of India News App for Latest City .
2021 05 25
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Kitchen Tile Flooring - Choosing That Right Kind of Flooring
Style your kitchen with the right tiles - this will help you make your kitchen look good - and also protect the floor of your house from damage. The kitchen is a room that requires extra protection for its floors because of the kind of work that the room is used for. There is the constant danger of stains and damages caused by heavy falling utensils and so on. Your floor tiling has to be durable and long-lasting and easy to clean. The Kinds of Kitchen Tile Flooring Available in the Market Today There are many kinds of kitchen tile flooring that you will find in the market today - different materials can be found at different price ranges - each of these materials have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is easy enough to read up on the different materials available and choose the perfect material for your kitchen tile flooring. Glazed and Unglazed Tiles Firstly, there are glazed and unglazed tiles; the glazed tiles can be cleaned very easily and do not stain as often as unglazed tiles. All you need to do is run a mop soaked in warm water with a mild detergent solution across them from time to time. The problem with glazed tiles is that they are very smooth and therefore can be quite slippery. This is dangerous, especially if the kitchen area is prone to water spillage or if there are young children in your home. To avoid this, you could choose unglazed tiles over glazed ones. Unglazed tiles will prevent the floor from being slippery and have an aesthetically pleasing textured surface. Then again, unglazed tiles will not be as durable as glazed ones - they will be relatively more prone to damage because they are not protected by that extra layer of glazing. Different Kinds of Tiling Material Natural materials for kitchen tile flooring include porcelain, quarry, pebble and stone. These ties are textures, rough and durable - and also, relatively more expensive. They offer a great authentic look to your kitchen and give it that extra classiness that you might be looking for. Porcelain and ceramic is easily chipped and damaged - and one needs to replace the tiles often. A good idea would be to use glazed ceramic or porcelain tiles for your kitchen tile flooring - although you would have to be careful on the smooth surface. The other kind of material that you might want to use for your kitchen tile flooring is linoleum, vinyl, laminate or plank. These are manufactured in different styles - and each design makes them look like a different material from what they are - with stylized textural patterns like wood or stone or marble or mosaic. They are comfortable to walk on, easy to clean, difficult to slip on and convenient to use as kitchen tile flooring. However, they do not look as authentic or as stylish as natural materials, although they are available in different styles, colors and price ranges. They are usually much cheaper than the other kind of tiling - but they require immediate cleaning of spillage because they are not stain proof. The surfaces are easy enough to clean but stains are difficult to remove and the tiling can be dented by wear and use. It is easy enough to find the right kind of kitchen tile flooring for your home once you have decided what advantage you prioritize over all others - look through the immense numbers of websites available online for kitchen tile flooring and choose the tiles that will suit your kitchen the best.
2021 05 25
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Amanjena Hotel, Marrakech - Hotel Review
Less than four hours away from London, Marrakech offerskaleidoscopic souks, stunning viewsand the pleasing heat of the North African sun. Located close to snowy-peaks of the Atlas Mountains, Moroccos fourth largest city has a bustling vibrancy that will leave the most energetic visitor in need of some rest and relaxation. Thankfully Amanjena, the Aman groups first African venture is a 5-star property that is both spacious and serene, making it the perfect destination for unwinding. Its secluded location and elegant design is preserved by a relatively low number of guests staying here at any one time. This resorts focus on privacy makes the unique property a favourite with celebrities, including David Beckham, who recently celebrated his 40th birthday here with a host of A-listers. Where is it? Nestled just outside the vibrant city, Amanjena is a short drive from Marrakech Menara Airport. More than 30 flights run from Londons airports to Marrakech every week. Direct flights take three and a half hours. Style Amanjena means peaceful retreat therefore tranquillity is the absolute focus across this sprawling resort thats surrounded with majestic arches, lush date palms and pretty olive trees. Influenced by Marrakechs Saadian tombs, American architect Ed Tuttle wanted to create a place that felt like it had been there for a long time. The high dusky pink walls, made from ocher pis (red earth strengthened with straw) and emerald clay roofs certainly give the feel of an ancient, walled retreat. Rooms are adorned with local influences from handmade Berber rugs, traditional lanterns to Moorish style arches and pillars, the resort also has contemporary interior touches. The focal point of Amanjena is a stunning 33-metre heated outdoor pool made with shimmering hand-cut glazed tiles and dotted with comfy loungers. Food & Drink The resort has two restaurants, but one was closed for refurbishment during our visit. We were able to try the Japanese restaurant; Nama - which has a robata grill and sushi bar. Standout dishes included the flavoursome Eggplant with Soy Sauce and Crispy Prawn Tempura. For those looking to venture out, the nearby Mandarin Oriental is home to Ling Ling by Hakkasan. We enjoyed sampling delicious small plates including Japanese Tea-Smoked Pork Ribs and Salt and Pepper Squid. The buzzy restaurant, set next to picturesque olive groves, also has an experimental cocktail list, which you would expect from a Hakkasan. For a taste of traditional Moroccan fare, Le Marocain at Marrakechs Instagram-famous La Mamounia Hotel offers a wonderful experience. We enjoyed dishes including Lobster Tagine and slow cooked Marrakchia Lamb as a traditional Andalusian band and belly dancers entertained guests in the restaurants charming courtyard. Facilities There is an abundance of activities for guests to enjoy at Amanjena. We borrowed some bikes and cycled around the property one afternoon, which offered another perspective of the area and views of the Atlas Mountains. Theres also a floodlit tennis courts, a gym and golf course for the truly restless. Alternatively, guests can chill out at the library, which is stocked with fiction and fascinating picture books or pop over to the cigar bar after dinner. We always made time for the complimentary Afternoon Tea, which includes fresh mint tea and a selection of sweet traditional pastries. Those looking for true relaxation should head to the hotels well-equipped spa, which features two large, heated hammam, a jacuzzi and relaxation area. I enjoyed the invigorating signature treatment, which included being buffed with natural body scrubs using a traditional loofah-like kessa glove and relaxing on heated tiles while a detoxifying mud mask was applied to my body. The pampering session ended with a tension-busting massage using pure Argan oil, which quickly relaxed my achy limbs and left my skin feeling silky smooth. Which room? The 13-acre property offers 32 spacious Venetian-domed Pavilions each with a secluded courtyard, which looks everso pretty when lit up at night. For ultimate privacy, book one of the seven exclusive multi-level maisons, which feature a private pool, garden and butler service. Our Pavilion had a sprawling king-sized bed, living room with cosy wood-burning fireplace (Marrakech can get chilly at night) a generous bathrooms, with twin facilities, dressing area and a sunken tub set against a huge window overlooking an orange tree. Extra curricular For an adventurous day trip, the hotel offers tours of the Atlas Mountains and a guide through the mazy, treasure filled Jemaa el-Fnaa bazaar. The sprawling souks of Marrakech are world-renowned and are the perfect place for picking up fashionable Berber rugs, patterned pottery and magical lamps. The Jardin Majorelle, one of the countrys most visited sites, are beautifully ornate gardens which now incorporate a museum dedicated to the work of their late owner, Yves Saint Laurent the eponymous fashion designer who fell in love with Marrakech and made the city his home. Details A stay at Amanjena costs from 570 Euros per room per night, including breakfast and airport transfer. The rate is subject to tax and service charge.
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"physical Components of Persian Architecture" in Analysis of the Achaemenian Governments' Ideas.
INTRODUCTION Aryans are identified into three main branches of the Medes, Persians, and Parthians. At the beginning, the Medes established a government who were residing in the west of Iran. In 605 BC, they overthrew the Assyrian government that this action had a great influence on the civilizations of that time. There are some traces of seventh and eighth centuries BC from Medes civilizations in the Nooshijan hills. In this monument, Chevron arcs (sharp arrow)were used which have been performed using Percussion arch method and they developed to the extent that the arcs were similar to Safavid period. In 550 BC, a group of Aryans, Persians, led by Cyrus, overthrew the Medes and established Achaemenian government. The Persians gradually expanded their empire range, so that from 360 to 550 BC, Persian government ruled a large part of the territory of India, Central Asia, North Africa and the countries of the periphery, Red Sea, and the entire Balkan to the inside of Greece peninsula. Ancient architectural styles include Persian and Parthian architectural style that Persian style has been established during Achaemenid government and Parthian style has been established during the Parthian government. The summary of attributes and actions of ancient governments during Medes and Achaemenid period is expressed in Table 1. Governmental, economic, religious system of Achaemenian: Governmental system: centralized and with unified and strong leadership Economic system: strong and financial reserves Religious system: obedience of Ahura Mazda and trilogy gods and kings Expression of Problem: The research problem is finding out the impacts of Achaemenian government thinking on the physical form of Persian architecture by recognition of the Achaemenian and the architectural features of that era. Research questions: Was the Achaemenian thought of the governmental, economic, and religious systems effective on the physical form of Persian architecture? And the other is that whether the governmental thought of the Persians in the three systems had architectural works for adaption? Hypothesis: It seems that Achaemenian ideas in governmental, economic, and religious systems were effective on the physical form of Persian architecture and the architecture of this period can be explained in this period. Research method: This study is theoretical with a descriptive method. Information resources were in a library form by referring books and articles. Literature: In the book of "style of Iranian architecture" and "History and architecture practices in Iran" , the styles of Persian architecture and architectural features have been studied. Research purposes: The purpose of this study was to identify the relation between Achaemenian Government and architectural features and explain the impact of Persian governments on the physical form of Persian architecture in the form of architectural instances. Theoretical Basis: Urartus Architecture: The typical architecture of Persian architecture can be mentioned in northwestern Iran and East Anatolia or Turkey (Figure 1). The structure of Urartu building was made of beams and columns with marquee beds; buildings had rectangular plans and hypostyle halls were the specifications of this architecture. Decorative columns and building on the platform and using materials such as stone and wood were the other specifications of this architecture. The remaining examples of this architecture can be Hasanloo hill and castles around Van Lake in Turkey. Achaemenid architecture: The Persians who lived in the vicinity of Urartus in their migration routes use their pattern and barsav them. Later Achaemenid used Urartu architecture in Pasargadae, Persepolis, and Susa Apadana. A style of architecture that created the architecture of the Achaemenid period was the first documented method of Iranian architecture which is known as Persian method. Like the Greek architecture, Achaemenid architecture had a special harmony and proportion and Achaemenid kings searched for trained and required artists and artisans in their all territory and vast empire in order to finish all great architectural and structural plans and programs that in fact was the manifestation of their power, dominion, and glory. In the meantime, Greek experts played a greater role. The main buildings of that erawere great and majestic palaces. The architecture history of these buildings probably began from the beginning of the seventh century BC. At this time, Iranian tribes converted into semi-urban from nomadism. Of course, these tribes were the Indo-Aryan tribes which are named Medes and Persians after establishment and Medes resided in the northwestern of Iran and Persians resided in Khouzestan region. Median gradually established the first Persian Empire led by Diaako and chose a certain city that was Ecbatana or concourse of people for being the capital. By the selection of Ecbatana as the political center architecture of constructing palaces started by Medes in Iran that the evolved form of it were built during the Achaemenid era specially in Pasargadae, Susa, and Persepolis. One of the important elements of the architecture at that era was artificial platforms that the fortified residence of the King was made on it and the collection of these tall buildings shows that architects have tried to build palaces and monuments of this period on these platforms with what a high courage and skill, so that they can be seen very beautiful and remarkably even close or far. Stone steps were made to climb the stairs that the important of which is 25 meters wide that have been generated by the large pieces of carved stones. Of course, they put rocks without mortar and stones were used in the foundation of buildings. Also, mortar was also not used in the walls. Usually, metal clasps were used to lock the stones, as well as the traditional Greek architecture. Given the history of architecture in Iran, creating buildings on the platforms was not a new work, but also, in prehistory, as has been observed in silk hill, the chief's houses in the tribes were built on the platforms. But, shaving big stones and creation of stone buildings from carved stones was common in "Urartu" and "Atroupaten". Comparison between Urartu and Achaemenid architecture: Foundation of Persian architectural style was retrieved from simple buildings which were in the West and North West territory of Iran, but a new phenomenon that occurred with the expansion of Persian rule was collaboration with various artists from different lands construction, architecture and other arts related to it. The main topic of Persian-Achaemenid architecture creates an intercultural-civilization architecture which is unique and unparalleled in those days. The witness of this issue is the text of the inscription that is quoted by Darius the Great, King of Achaemenid . Two cases of Urartu architecture can be recognized in Persian architecture: 1. Hypostyle halls, 2. Kalaveh. With the exception that the materials in hypostyle halls in Urartu architecture were wooden columns in the middle of halls and wooden beams on the ceiling. This kind of architecture was used for the first time in Susa during Achaemenid era in which, the wooden columns to stone column and walls and ceiling were made of bricks to moderate the heat of Khouzestan plain with the help of brick which is the heat sink. Thus, the Urartu architecture was imitated in such a way. Persian architectural style features: Persian architectural style is a narrative architecture. This means that every corner of Persian architecture provides more ancient history of the buildings. Achaemenid established the first method of Persian architecture using art and technology of other obedience nations and composition and integration it with local and national thinking and art especially the use of ancient architectural periods particularly in Urartu architecture and Barsav them in designing orthorhombic spaces hypostyle halls. Summary of Persian architectural style features are: * Design and composition of the hypostyle hall and porches * Cleanly shaven stones and join them with metal clasps * Using carving, glazed tiles, jewelry in facades and decoration of building * Tendency to create platforms and make them in some buildings * Extension in the frame of buildings (length--width--height) * Create a flat cover with wooden beams and columns in porches and Forums * Using raw clay inside the thick walls * Carpeting the floor of covered spaces by a mixture of chalk and clay Amra * Being symbolic architecture to convey political, cultural and etc. purposes * Introversion, especially in Persepolis and Susa * Linking sub-sectors such as kitchen with hidden ways to the main sections * Beautification of landscapes surrounding buildings and collections with pool and waterfront and campus * Using curved marquee in basements * Create foundations with rubble stone * Physical appearance of outside the buildings with curved stones and physical appearance of the inside the buildings with glazed tiles Findings: Classification of Persian architectural style features: According to the classification of the characteristics of Persian architecture, the magnificent of this style completely depends on the centralized and strong economic and governmental system that can be seen in three dimensions; symbolic architecture, using art and technology of the other obedience nations, using carving, using glazed tiles and hanging jewelry (Table 2). Emanation of Achaemenian thinking in architecture: A. Governmental system, Centralized and unified and strong leadership: Symbolic Architecture to induce political, cultural and etc. purposes using grandeur-orientation in architecture and decorations. (Figure 2) B. Emanation of global thinking of government: Respect the culture and religion of the obedience nations: Lotus flower bud in the hands of Achaemenid kings was a sign of friendship and interaction with the surrounding nations. Using arts and technology of other obedience nations: Winged bulls with human heads were an idea from Assyrian architecture. (Figure 3). C. Strong economic government with financial reserves: Use carving, glazed tiles, jewelry in facades and decoration of building: "In the Achaemenid era, arrangement of palaces was done using colored glazed bricks". Create a flat cover with wooden beams and columns in the halls and porches. Timber transportation costs from distant areas. In the Persian architecture, baldachin was with beam and hypostyle halls, main components of creation and unique space. The wood could be easily used to cover openings of 5.2 to 5.3Gaz, but, in the architecture of Persepolis, the opening between two columns was about 6 Gaz (6.40 meters) and that was the largest wood covered opening in the world at that time. Such a wood was not found in those days and the wood used in palaces of Persia was from Jabal Amel Lebanon which came first to Susa and then went to Persepolis and was used (Figure 4). Conclusion: The architectural style which had led to the creation of architecture works in the Achaemenid period is the first method of Iranian architecture that is known as Persian style. Foundation of Persian style has been taken from simple structures in the West and Northwest regions and other areas. But, the new problem that occurred with the power of the rule of the Persians was collaboration of various artists from different lands. It is obvious that a country as large as Iran at the Achaemenid period should do this with the various territories under their control. The results revealed that the Persian architecture style was affected by the strong Persian government and their political attitudes and they showed it in symbolic architecture to induce political, cultural and etc. purposes using grandeur-orientation in architecture and decorations. Persians thought about a global government and in this regard, they respected the culture and architecture of other nations and used them. On the other hand, the strong political system created a strong economic system that can be seen in carving, glazed tiles, jewelry in facades and decoration of building. (Figure5). In total, according to what is stated the most important effective factor on the ancient Iranian architectural forms in the Persian style was the strong and centralized political and economic system that has been expressed in Table (3). REFERENCES Pirnia, M.K., 2001. Stylistics of Iranian Architecture, Iran, Tehran: Soroush Danesh Publications. Rasouli, H., 2005. History and architecture practices in Iran, Fourth Edition, Iran, Tehran: Peshotanu Publications. Rismani, A., 2014. Memorial Institute of Sadrolmotealleh in in Regards to Appearance of Mollasadra Thoughts of the Architectural Space, (Thesis), to obtain a degree (MSc), Iran, Shiraz: Islamic Azad University of Shiraz. Memarian, Gh. H., 2008. Iranian Architecture, Iran, Tehran: Soroush Danesh Publications. Nasr, T., 2007. onArt and Islamic Art, First edition, Iran, Shiraz: Navid Shiraz Publications. (1) Tahereh Nasr and (2) Amin Rismani (1) Ph.D of Urban Planning, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Shiraz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz, Iran. (2) Sama technical and vocational training college, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz Branch, Shiraz, Iran. ARTICLE INFO Article history: Received 12 October 2014 Received in revised form 26 December 2014 Accepted 1 January 2015 Available online 18 February 2015 Corresponding Author: Tahereh Nasr, Ph.D of Urban Planning, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, Shiraz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz, Iran. E-mail:
2021 05 25
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Nageshwar Mandir Tells a Sorry Tale | Pune News - Times of India
As one of the oldest temples in the city, Nageshwar mandir should pride itself on its age. Instead, one finds it groaning under the burden of antiquity. The plethora of boards announcing the names of donors to the temple would have one believe that it enjoys much patronage. However, the heartbreakingly desolate and disowned look of the temple suggest otherwise. Neither the date of construction , nor the founder's name of this temple is known definitively. Some records suggest that the temple , located in erstwhile Nagesh Peth and the present-day Somwar Peth, goes back to the times of Sant Dnynaneshwar and Sant Tukaram. Noted historian and author M.S. Mate says, "The stone building of the temple, based on a construction technique quite uncommon for the Peshwa period, could date back to 1610-1615 . The shikhara, with its Dravida and Rajasthani influences, may have been built much later around 1725-1750 during the reign of the Peshwas . However , it is equally possible that the old style of construction may have been practised during the Peshwa period." Large additions and changes made subsequently include a smaller temple of Lord Vishnu built in about 1780 by Aba Shelvekar and public cisterns within and outside the temple enclosure added in 1878 by Raghupatrao Aurangabadkar. Stories abound of a reservoir near the temple, whose water was believed to cure leprosy. The temple proper is a small room of solid stone, with one door and a conical tower bearing embossed stone figurines. The shiva-linga, which is said to be a natural rock, is about four feet below the outside level. Small shrines to Vitthal-Rukmini and Shani flank the main temple. Attached to the temple is a hall or sabhamandapa , open on three sides, supported by wooden posts and sporting a neatly finished - and now dark and stained - ceiling. A large space around the hall is enclosed and paved. The peripheral construction consists of congregation halls, rooms and residential accommodation. PRESENT CONDITION The temple relates a sorry tale of indifference and disrepair. It was quite some time ago that the Vishnu and Dutta idols from the ancillary temples were installed in separate temples towards the east of the temple complex's main entrance. But the debris of the disused temples still waits to be cleared. The walls of the chamber leading to the garbhagriha are clad with glazed tiles. That perhaps aids easier maintenance, but is an aesthetic disaster, much like the white-and-green glazed tiles surrounding the silver-plated doorframe inside or the drab yellow and grey paint daubed on the outside of the stone structure. Adding to the woes are the medley of usages the temple complex is subjected to; the debris of fallen portions; the chipping, crumbling and unkempt superstructure, shikhara, deepstambha, inner woodwork, and enclosing structures; incongruous electrical installations, even lounging dogs. The peripheral halls, which could well have been used for socio-religious congregations, are full of junk and litter. While another set of boards here hollers about Nageshwar Mandir Sallagar Mandal Va Jeernoddhar Samiti (Nageshwar temple advisory and renovation committee) and Nageshwar Mandir Devasthan Trust being the custodians of the temple, the weary complex itself is cloaked in an embarrassed silence about their contribution. They sure need to get their act together, for the temple's current plight stems as much from the lack of formal conservation guidelines as from their refusal to seek professional advice. Download The Times of India News App for Latest City .
2021 05 25
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A Spring Visit to the Italian Amalfi Coast
Having lived in Tuscany Italy, I have a strong attachment to this beautiful part of the world, with its wonderful culture, welcoming people and incredible landscapes. One of my most memorable trips was to the Amalfi Coast on a spring break, whose breathtaking beauty was exactly as I imagined it to be. This famous stretch of coastline is located in the Province of Salerno, south of Naples, and its Mediterranean climate makes it a perfect holiday destination. It is a wonderful landscape of whitewashed houses, beautifully adorned by the vivid colours of bougainvillea, and connected by a labyrinth of alleys and stairways leading to picturesque piazzas, where the scent of lemon blossoms linger in the balmy air.The Amalfi Coast consists of 13 towns which are spread across this strip of land, whose amazing inlets, bays and fjords are interspersed with pebbled beaches and rocks. The towns are conveniently connected by the SS.163 road, which is famous for its scenic route and is considered one of the most beautiful roads in Italy. Built in the 19th century during the Bourbon period, it follows the natural course of the coastline where each bend and curve highlights the spectacular beauty of the sea cliffs. Interestingly, before the coastal road was constructed, the locals used various footpaths and mule tracks to reach the towns, which are still in use today by trekkers and hikers who can enjoy the stunning views at their own pace.Spring on the Amalfi Coast is a wonderful time to visit as the sleepy towns and villages, with their authentic cafes and restaurants, come to life after their winter hibernation. With perfect temperatures and the welcoming sight of spring flowers, exploring this beautiful coast can be taken at a more leisurely pace, avoiding the busy tourist months of July and August. In this article I will share my favourite must-see towns and villages, along with their interesting attractions.AmalfiBeginning at the waters edge, the beautiful town of Amalfi is one of the most historic along the Amalfi Coast, where its cluster of whitewashed buildings gracefully adorn the hillside. As you meander along the pretty promenade with its variety of shops and cafes, you cannot fail to notice the marina with its colourful boats resting side by side in the azure water, displaying their international flags.Founded in the 9th century, there is a distinctly Moorish feel to the small town which was once a maritime republic, rivalling Pisa, Venice and Genoa as the coastal trading powerhouse between the Byzantine and Western world. One of its most famous traditions is the Regatta of the Ancient Marine Republic, where each year a crew of rowers challenge the arms of the cities of Pisa, Venice and Genoa in an unforgettable boat race. Originating in the post-war period, the event is organised at the beginning of summer in one of the four cities, who take it in turn to host the event.Amalfi has something for everyone, with a variety of beaches and an interesting mix of culture and history. Its location, which is right in the middle of the coast, makes it the perfect base for day trips to the island of Capri or smaller towns. The Amalfi Cathedral (Duomo di SantAndrea) Located in the Piazza del Duomo, and well worth a visit, this 9th century cathedral is in the Arab/Norman/Romanesque architectural style, with several additions made over the years to include Gothic, Byzantine and Baroque elements. Dedicated to the Apostle St. Andrew, it includes the 9th century Basilica of the Crucifix which leads to the Crypt of St. Andrew, whose remains were brought to Amalfi from Constantinople in 1206. The original facade of the cathedral was rebuilt in 1891 after collapsing, and is a mixture of striped marble and stone with the most wonderful lace detailing on its open arches.There are a mere 62 steps which lead up to the bronze doors of the cathedral, which were cast in Constantinople in 1066 by Simeon of Syria and bear his signature. However, I personally thought the Romanesque bell tower, whose structure began in 1180 and took over 100 years to complete, is quite beautiful. Including four small towers that are adorned with arches, this Arab structure has a highly elaborate top which is covered with the most wonderful majolica tiles.Stepping inside the cool interior of the cathedral, you cannot fail to be impressed by the triumphal arch in the apse which is supported by two ancient columns from Paestum. Adorning the walls and ceilings are paintings from the 18th century by Andrea DAsta and Castellano, which depict the life and miracles of St. Andrew. On the left side of the cathedrals portico you will find the Cloister of Paradise, which was built in 1266-68 and houses the tombs of Amalfis wealthy merchants. Featuring beautiful arcades made of pure white marble, complete with a Mediterranean garden as a centrepiece, there is a real sense of tranquillity as you gaze at the many historical art pieces on display in the surrounding walkways.Leading from the Cloister, and dating from the 9th century, is the Basilica of the Crucifix, which contains amazing frescoes and houses the cathedrals museum. Descending the stairs located at the east end, you will find the Crypt of St. Andrew which houses the saints relics in a central altar and is decorated with wonderful Baroque murals dating from 1660. There are also a selection of statues in bronze and marble, and I was particularly impressed by the large bronze statue of St. Andrew sculpted by Michelangelo Naccherino of Florence in 1604, who was a student of Michelangelo.Tip: As you leave the Cathedral, you will come across a number of narrow alleyways with numerable twists and turns which lead absolutely nowhere. Designed centuries ago to confuse attackers and protect the cathedral and inhabitants of the town, they are definitely worth exploring and a fun thing to do.The Cathedral is open daily from March to June, 9.00am-6.45pm.Entrance to the Museum and Cloister costs 3.AtraniIf you enjoy walking then a morning stroll to the tiny town of Atrani, which is located a couple of miles from Amalfi, is well worth the trip. A place where time appears to have stood still, this coastal fishing village nestles comfortably between two steep cliffs on the shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea, where its tiers of multi-coloured houses overlook one of the most beautiful pristine beaches I have ever seen.To appreciate the rustic charm of this village, you can climb the steps from beach level and meander through the winding streets, where you will discover incredible piazzas with cascading fountains, not to mention 13th century Baroque churches. Reaching the main square, I would suggest stopping at the cafe terrace in Piazza Umberto, where you will experience traditional Italian food whose recipes have been handed down through the generations. Timeless and authentic, Atrani epitomises the real heart and soul of Italy, and even though the facades of the buildings lining the square appear to be a little weather beaten, they have managed to retain their own unique beauty and, not surprisingly, have featured in numerous films throughout the years. PositanoOne of the most popular destinations on the Amalfi Coast, Positano is simply breathtaking and distinctly its own. There is something very special about Positano as, against all the odds, it clings defiantly to the cliffs of Monti Lattari in a pastel painted landscape which drops dramatically to the sea. Perching above the gulf with the most incredible views, it has an abundance of steep sets of stairs interlinking the alleys between the houses. Once a Roman settlement, it later became the site of a Benedictine abbey dating back to the 9th century. Due to its position, it was constantly pillaged and raided by Saracens and pirates; however, with the construction of the coastal road, Positano prospered becoming the playground of the rich and famous.The best way to explore is on foot, and with only one road through the town, you will be spoiled for choice by the many shops and cafes which huddle together, taking advantage of the space. However, there are many other eateries and coffee bars which are hidden away among the lanes surrounding the town that are definitely worth a visit.The Church of Santa Maria AssuntaSituated in the centre of Positano, the allure of this beautiful building makes it an obvious choice for weddings on the Amalfi Coast. Built on the site of a former Benedictine Abbey in the 10th century, the church, with its central dome of yellow, green and blue majolica tiles, is one of Positanos most distinctive landmarks. There is a small piazza in front of the church where you can admire the buildings facade and, in particular, its 28th century bell tower. With its bas-relief of fish, fox and a mythical dragon just above the bell tower door, it is one of the few surviving relics of the original abbey.Stepping inside, you cannot fail to be impressed by its white and gold interior in the Neoclassical design dating from the 18th century. Above the main alter you can admire the 12thcentury Byzantine icon of the Black Madonna, who according to legend was aboard a ship which was stranded off Positanos coast when the sailors, believing they heard the icon calling out Posa Posa (Put me down), decided to leave the Madonna on the mainland, where the inhabitants of Positano chose the Virgin as their patron and built a church in her honour. Interestingly, this is said to be the origin of Positanos name.Adorning the side chapels and altars, there are a number of beautiful artworks including the famous painting of the Circumcision by Fabrizio Santafede. An important part of Positanoc cultural, religious and architectural landscape, the church has appeared in many paintings, photographs and films. It is a haven for photographers and artists alike, and you can purchase paintings of the church directly from the artists. Given its location and the fact it can be seen from any point in Positano, this amazing church exudes an air of permanence and is fondly known by the locals as the heart of the town.BeachesFamous for its beaches, you cannot visit Positano without relaxing on the Spiaggia Grande which is particularly beautiful in the evening where you can enjoy live music and sample the wonderful fresh produce at the many restaurants and cafes close to the beach. However, if you prefer a more private and quieter beach, a favourite of mine is the Laurito Beach, which is accessed by boat (leaving Positanos Spiaggia Grande every 30 minutes) or from the square opposite the Hotel San Pietro via a flight of steps. It also boasts a number of wonderful restaurants; however, it will be necessary to book a dinner reservation in advance.PraianoIf you want to get off the beaten track then I highly recommend the lesser-known but equally enchanting village of Praiano. Once a fashionable resort and a favourite summer residence of 1st century Roman emperors, this seaside resort has a friendly and laid-back ambiance, where its crystalline seas were awarded the Bandiera Blu (Blue Flag) for cleanliness.Known as the Amalfi Coasts best-kept secret, its whitewashed homes, complete with terraced gardens, cascade dramatically down the stone cliffs. Throughout this hilly expanse, small boutiques sell locally made wares and visitors can sample the delights of just-caught seafood at the many restaurants and alfresco trattorias, where you will receive a wonderful welcome.NaturArte Project Introduced in 2016, the NaturArte Project is an open-air museum where majolica plaques and sculptures cover the pretty streets along eight routes. I actually enjoyed exploring all eight routes; however, my favourite and most picturesque path would have to be along Via Massa, which is an extremely narrow cobblestone lane meandering above the coastline. Interestingly, adorning the facades of the tiny homes hugging the cliffs are a wonderful array of beautifully glazed tiles depicting octopuses and dolphins, not forgetting the many figurines of saints who appear to keep a protective eye on the village and its inhabitants.Path of the Gods Having some of the most amazing walking paths I have ever experienced, the famous Path of the Gods is one of the best. Originally built in the 4th century by the Romans for transporting goods, it runs from Bomerano to Nocelle. You can join the route at Praiano by climbing up to the Convent of St Domenico. I have to say, it is a bit of a climb involving 1900 steps to reach the top, and actually feels a little like climbing a small mountain, however it is well worth the effort as the view across the bay to the island of Capri is indeed magical. If you are not keen on steep climbs, there are lots of other amazing walking routes stretching along the coastline either through the hills or beside the water.Marina di Praia BeachWedged between two towering cliffs you will find the picturesque cove at Marina di Praia, where you can cool off in the clear blue water which in spring is still warm enough to swim in. There are a variety of restaurants situated on the beach, and if you enjoy music, pay a visit to the nightclub Africana, which is cleverly built into sea caves with a glass floor just above the water, perfect for that evening cocktail. Perhaps not quite as glamorous as other beaches on the Amalfi Coast, I find it to be a peaceful oasis with many charms of its own.There is something truly magical about the Amalfi Coast, and in a country awash with beautiful landscapes, I feel it rightfully takes its place as Italys most scenic stretch of coastline. The enchanting towns and villages, with their string of pastel-coloured homes, elicit an old-world glamour of their own. With ornate churches, lemon groves, ancient palazzos, and incredible walks to explore, or simply relaxing on the many pristine beaches and sampling the delights of authentic Italian cooking, you are sure to return time and again to glimpse yet another stunning vista.
2021 05 25
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