Friday, April 27, 2007

Rome Hotel: Why People Should Spend More Time in Rome

Rome Hotel: Why People Should Spend More Time in Rome
by: Stefano Sandano

Every year the number of customers visiting Rome increases of 5% and there are always more historical sights to see. This year has we had the chance to attend the inauguration of the Ara Pacis which remained closed for restorations under the supervision of the architect Richard Meier.

Few people know that booking an hotel close to the spanish steps or to trevi Fountain they can see not only the Ara pacis itself but also the Tomb of the emperor Augustus which is located in Piazza Augusto imperatore.

The Ara Pacis of Rome was built in the area of the "Campo Marzio", close to the "via Flaminia", during the four years going from 13 to 9 BC, to celebrate the victories of Augustus in the western provinces of the roman Empire.

The same Augustus indicated on the work "Res gestae divi Augusti" ( Achievements of the divine Augustus )the rituals and the scopes that had led the Senate to build the commemorative altar, which during a large part of the antiquity, as a direct witness of the link between monument and personality, was known as "Ara Pacis Augustae":

"When I came back to Rome from Spain and Gaul ... once I had successfully closed the enterprises in these provinces,

the Senate decided that for my return the "ara della Pace Augusta" should be consecrated in the "Campo Marzio" and I agreed that in this place the law officers, the priests and the vestal virgins could celebrate an annual sacrifice".

The area of the "Ara Pacis" is limited by a rectangular fence in marble with several ornaments and a low relief with a width of approximately 33 feet and a length of just 3 feet.

The central altar, where were taking place the ritual sacrifices, can be reached through two gates located at the center of the shortest sides of the fence and is placed in an higher position with respect to the perimeter of the structure.

The main artistic interest of the "Ara Pacis" is given by the low relief organised in overlap borders and panels that entirely recover the internal and external surface of the enclosure and part of the central altar.

The celebrative scope of the work is directly testified by the presence of the emperor Augustus and of Agrippa,general of the roman navy and son in law of the first emperor, among the represented persons, but also, on the west side, by the scenes dedicated to Aeneas, considered the ancestor of the julio-claudian family to whom the same August was belonging to, and by those remembering the divine origin of Rome with the she-wolf nursing the twins Romulus and Remus under the eye of their father, the god Mars.

The decorations of the "Ara Pacis" are completed by ornaments of naturalistic character, with low relief of plants and small animals and the "Tellus" (the Earth), the divinity representing the personification of peace and prosperity that the empire of Rome was getting prepared to live thanks to the end of the civil wars.

According to the study of some documents, it is considered that the original orientation of the work had been chosen also in relation to the big sundial called "Horologium" that was already surging in the "Campo Marzio", and which gnomon, nowadays located in "piazza di Montecitorio" and known as the obelisk ofthe Pharao Psammetico II, was projecting the own shadow exactly at the centre of the altar every September 23rd, date of birth of the emperor Augustus.

About The Author
Stefano Sandano is an archaeologist and tour guide of Rome and if you want to know more about Rome you can visit Roman Guide.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Is Growing Saint George, Utah The New Palm Springs?

Is Growing Saint George, Utah The New Palm Springs?
by: Bob Therrien

Saint George, Utah is a short ride up Interstate 15 from Las Vegas, NV. It is a wonderful base of operations for your Adventure into the American Southwest! It is one of the fastest growing communities in the United States. It’s been called the new Palm Springs!

Just under two hours drive from Las Vegas, Nevada is another fast growing community. Saint George has an elevation of 2,880 feet above sea level. St. George has an average annual temperature of 59.9° F with summer temperatures well into the 100s. Palm trees and red rock cliffs are the norm in Saint George along with all the convenience of a city of 100 thousand.

Saint George is home to Red Cliffs Desert Preserve a 62,000-acre scenic wildlife reserve set aside to protect the desert tortoise and other rare and sensitive plants and animals Here is where three great ecosystems merge, the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau, Red Cliffs Reserve is biologically rich with an array of animals and plants rarely seen in one place. It contains the most northern populations of the desert tortoise, Gila monster, sidewinder rattlesnake, and chuckwalla - reptiles typically associated with hotter and more southerly deserts, like the Mojave.

Saint George is very close to Zion National Park. Biking at Gooseberry Mesa, ATV’s at Coral Pink Sand Dunes are close too, with Dixie National Forest, Snow Canyon, and Joshua tree forest, all in the area. Southern Utah and all it has to offer can be reached from here. If you love golf, you’ll find it here as well as shopping!

Saint George, Utah is located in Washington County. There is lots of controversy about the proposed public lands legislation in the United States Senate. The bill titled S.3636 considers a land swap of up to 24,000 acres. This wilderness area is part of the zionmojave outdoors.

This draft bill would designate more than 219,000 acres as wilderness, preserve utility corridors, create an off-road trail system, develop a new conservation area, protect 170 miles of the Virgin River, and sell to the highest bidder up to 25,000 acres of public land at fair market value. As with any change, many people are concerned about the wording of the bill and the future rights for people to use the outdoor lands that they have had access to for years. Saint George has been growing, fast for the past few years and there is a concern about the developers who would buy the land up for bid. Controlling urban sprawl in this area is a concern to many. So much of Southern Utah is an adventure outdoor wilderness area, not many people want to see changes take place that would restrict their access.

The bill also creates utility corridors and Southern Utah is awaiting the Lake Powell Pipeline. The pipeline legislation was signed into law in May of 2006. In order to meet the water demands of an ever-growing population in Southern Utah, Washington, Kane and Iron counties are pursuing a pipeline that would run from Lake Powell to Sand Hollow Reservoir. These 158 miles of pipeline would bring 70,000 acre feet of water to Washington County, 10,000 acre feet to Kane County and 20,000 acre feet to Iron County. The pipeline would most likely cost $494 million or more in current dollars.

The Lake Powell Pipeline would allow Utah to tap into its unused portion of the Upper Colorado River water, which was defined in the 1922 Colorado River Compact. The Compact divides the river basin into two areas: the Upper Colorado (comprising Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) and the Lower Basin (comprising Nevada, Arizona and California). Currently Utah is using 74 percent of its annual allocation of 1,369,000 acre feet.

There’s a lot going on here, and you’ll enjoy your Saint George tours.

About The Author
Bob Therrien is a travel writer and has traveled all over North America. He currently operates the website at Saint George Tours.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Scottish Highlands, Land Of Ancient Peoples

The Scottish Highlands, Land Of Ancient Peoples
by: John Winkler

Glencoe is in the heart of the Scottish highlands – in the old days it was renowned for being inaccessible. Yet people have been around here for up top 10,000 years, since the retreat of the last Ice Age. They’ve left their traces.

The traces of people who lived in this area 3,000 years ago have been found a short drive from here.

Mesolithic people moved from site to site based on fishing and hunting. River mouths and estuaries were good sites, they always needed fresh water and materials for building shelters. The weather was warmer then than it is to-day. In this area they also needed protection in the winter, so caves seem to be a good answer. Go North round the shoreline from Oban for a couple of miles to Ganavan sands and you’ll see where they lived.

On the right you’ll pass the old castle built on short cliffs with caves. That’s where the Mesolithic people lived – their rubbish tips have been found. The water level was 16 foot or so higher then. They have found human bones as well as bone and stone artefacts. Tourists can see the caves where they lived. They were all over Ardamurchan, opposite here, and on the Inner Islands. For how long did they live here? Oh, just for four thousand years or so, until settled farming developed.

This country belonged to a farming people, the Picts, during Roman times. They built the strange circular defensive “brochs”. It is a marvellous thing to visit, we’ve been there. Very strange. There is a broch on the island of Lismore nearby, easily found but hardly ever visited to-day.

But during the Roman times the Western Islands were raided and occupied by the Scotia from Northern Ireland. They established an early Kingdom called Dalriada and there are a multitude of remains of them and their burial sites around the Kilmartin area South of Oban, under 2 hours drive from here. After St. Columba established his base on Iona and travelled extensively around the Western Isles, he brought the Picts and the Scots together.

Vikings raided the West Coast from the late 8th century onwards and later settled mostly in the Hebrides. Loch Linnie was the furthest inland they came. One of the early raids was on Iona in 795, part of a series.

The early Scottish kings were buried on Iona just down the road, across the ferry to Mull then one more short ferry trip.

The Vikings came because they had clan wars in Norway taking their toll on the people, and the looting of the Christan Churches helped to fund their local wars back home. They took Scots people with them as slaves. Late in the Viking period there are records of a battle in Laroch, the older name for Ballachulish near Glencoe village and remains have been found there. There is a legend that a Viking ship foundered on a rock in the mouth of Loch Leven on the South Side near where the bridge is now, and a Viking Prince was drowned. If you look West at the lochside at low tide from close to the Bridge you will see such a rock as could do this damage at high tide.

The famous Viking, King Haakon died in Orkney after his ships were damaged in the storm at the Battle of Largs in 1263. This saw the end of the Viking rule in Scotland. His son, Magnus, gave up the Islands after that and a lasting treaty was signed three years later. By this time the Vikings had settled in the Island communities, had all intermarried, had converted to Christianity.

John Winkler
Bayview Kentallen

About The Author
John Winkler used to be the marketing correspondent for The Times in London. Now retired he and his wife have a pretty period cottage on the lochside at Glencoe in Scotland. They let it out for vacations.