Hundertwasser and Kuchlbauer Tower : When Beer and Art meets

 

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Beer and Art? Why not, Welcome to Bavaria!  the world’s Beer capital and home of amazing architecture! As we continue with our trip to the Romantic & Historical roads of Bavaria, after Regensburg and Walhalla, our next stop was the quaint town of Abensberg.

Have you heard about Hunderwasser?

If you love Architecture, then I am sure that the name Hundertwasser rings a bell. He is one of the most successful painters of the 20th century. The famous and legendary Artist/ Architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser made it possible when He conceived from his amazing talent the birth of Abensberg’s famous landmark of Kuchlbauer World of Beer  : the Kuchlbauer Tower.

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The KunstHaus in Abensberg ( Designed, planned and built by Peter Pelikan, as inspired by works of Hundertwasser. )
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The Beer garden with the view of the Kuchlbauer Tower

The  Kuchlbauer Turm ( Kuchlbauer Tower) originally a 70 metre-high tower, planned  by Hunderwasser for Leonhard Salleck, the owner of the Brewery, but the tower of this height could not be built. After his death, his plans became the inspiration  for his long-standing Draftsman, Peter Pelikan who re-designed and planned the present tower. One look from these structures will tell you that they are crazy, and yet amazing work of art , a Beer Art Tower, architectural project which has becomes Abensberg’s most famous landmark as of today. It’s no wonder that this tower has been incorporated into Abensberg’s town logo giving it a distinct sense of obligation and responsibility. It’s not just a tower of Brewery, it is a symbol of legacy, a pride of Bavaria, and a tourist’s magnet.

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My Little Travel Buddy enjoying the view and the colorful artwork of Hundertwasser inside the KunstHaus

A tribute to Bavaria and its breweries, the tower symbolizes all the elements of beer and the art of brewing from which the region of Bavaria is world-famous for. Beer and Art  is a perfect combination, actually a great design concept to create something that art enthusiasts called “Masterpiece“and truly a work of Art. This is how I describe this place when I saw the Kunst Haus and see some of the works of Hundertwasser. If you want to know the tower’s conceptual meanings and symbolism, look into this. The Kuchlbauer Tower is also the place for Abensberg’s Christmas Market and attracting tourists from different parts of the world during Christmas season.

The KunstHaus Abensberg

Beside the Kuchlbauer Tower stands another beautiful work of Art —- the KunstHaus. A beautiful gallery and art museum that was designed and built by Peter Pelikan, a long-standing friend and Draftsman of Hundertwasser and the one who completed this project.  He worked closely with Hundertwasser and this structure reflects  the Artist’s famous dictum : “Beauty is a Panacea” ( or Schönheit ist ein Allheilmittel). It houses a souvenir shop, where one can buy the famous beer from the Brewery, an art museum which pays tribute to Hundertwasser’s life, paintings and artworks done all over the world. There is a multi-media room at the basement where shows his  life and teachings about Art, architecture, nature and life in general. This place is amazing and even though there are many stairs, my daughter loved to follow the colorful patterns in the floor, the models, and the old oven used by the Artist in his home in the province in Austria. Even the bathrooms are super colorful and I am sure that I am not the only one who couldn’t resist to take photos of it. Every corner has a fun, colorful detail and lovely patterns.

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Colorful bathroom inside the KunstHaus

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For Hundertwasser, art was not to be limited by any framework. An artist’s work should have an effect on all areas of life, be it on clothing or, through articles for everyday use, on daily life. Hundertwasser also created many objects intended to express his quest for beauty and for variety in all areas of life, but also his concern and commitment for the environment and for nature.

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A taste of the Beer legacy in Abensberg
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Nice details on the foot of the tower

A Beer Garden with a View

The tour ended with the visit to the Beer garten just beside the Tower. Included in the fees is a Beer and a Pretzel. How cozy it is to drink beer while we admire the tower behind us. It’s like a page in a fairy tale book. I was even thinking that I am in another world when I looked at the tower. We spent some time admiring the fascinating details of the tower and my daughter busied herself from the play areas in the Biergarten.

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Even before seeing this place, I was already inspired by Hundertwasser’s works and detailed approach in painting. I love his natural approach and technique. His style is very original, aesthetically appealing, and always amazed me. I reflect that Hundertwasser wanted to restore beauty and romanticism to their place in everyday life.

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I have painted a piece inspired by one of his works and learning more about his life and seeing this place for real makes me realize that even from his early days, his sense of unusual sense of color and form is very dominant. A true artist by heart which made a wide contribution to many parts of the world. I love everything about Mosaic painting and detailed paintings so I am really happy to visit this place. I am looking forward to see more of Hundertwasser’s work and I hope to visit them someday.

For now, I  will continue to do my passion, to paint from my heart.

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My painting inspired by Hunderwasser’s famous dictum: Beauty is a Panacea

So you see, Beer and Art are two prominent things in life, but art is eternal.

What can you say about Hunderwasser’s work and the Kuchlbauer Tower?

Is it too crazy? or larger than life?

If you love to see more of my personal artworks, make sure you check out my Instagram Page and  follow JustbluedutchArt’s facebook page. I want to thank those people who continuously appreciates my artwork, and supporting me as an artist and buying my paintings.

Until then, thank you for reading friends, see you in my next travel stories!

 

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99 Names of God | Grand Mosque in Kuwait

The dome of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait is probably one of the most beautiful things created by man and the architecture influenced by Islamic faith in Kuwait.This unforgettable sight is also the center of this mosque (masjid al- kabeer ) and contains the 99 Names of God written around it.The dome of the mosque is 26 metres (85 ft) in diameter and 43 metres (141 ft) high, and is decorated with the Asma al-hosna.

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Dome of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait where the 99 Names of God is written.

According to tradition (hadith) there are 99 names of God in Islam, known as the ʾasmāʾu- llāhi l-ḥusnā (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى‎‎) “Beautiful Names of God” (also أسماء الحسنى asmāʾu-l-ḥusnā “Beautiful Names”).

I have made hundreds of photos in my 4 times visiting this Mosque together with my family and friends and each time, I always find so many notable architecture details worth mentioning. Now, as I remember my Expat days back then in Kuwait and exploring the local sightings, the Islamic touch always fascinates me, totally unforgettable .

What about you, what kind of local attractions attracts you the most?

This post is in response to this week’s DP photo challenge |Names

Early morning with a view | Neues Schloss

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Relaxing morning with a view of Neues Schloss

I love simple pleasures in life and one of those is having early morning reflections.Lately, where the air gets crisp and colder each day, there’s no better way to spend a quiet morning with a relaxing view like this, with the Neues Schloss seems floating along the peaceful Danube river. I am even grateful when the sun decided to bring sunshine even for a few hours. I have posted about New Castle for numerous times here, seen from different perspectives, but I just love to capture it also  in different seasons. I am bent on making better photos because I wanted to do justice to the beauty that’s in front of me.Nowadays that almost everything is covered with fog, frost and the other night, we had snow, well I think it’s that thin, drizzle of fresh snow! I am not so looking forward to the cold, but a sight of snow gives an excitement in my heart. Couldn’t believe that its only few more days, and then it’s Christmas. It will be our first Christmas here in Germany and so far, alles gut!

So again, I thought of dropping by a  visit to my favorite spot in front of the river, just in the front of Reduit Tilly where I can have a perfect view of the Kavalier and the Neues Schloss. I love the open Shanz architecture  and I found more details every time I visit. I love this particular view where I see a different perspective of the castle.Even with the blunder, the castle in the background always brings a nostalgic effect to me. This is the best postcard that I brought home from last week’s  Wandertag.

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A wire coated with frost creates a beautiful blunder for the castle

 

I have always been fascinated with castles and dreamed  of seeing one someday. It’s always been a childhood dream. I have always been looking forward to see real castles and even be inside of it! The thrill, the excitement, the sight and the whole experience of finally making it real is unforgettable.When I visited the Burg Eltz , I fell in love at it first sight, more like a fairy tale trip.First, Burg Eltz was a beautiful castle tucked in the middle of the forest. That makes it even more enigmatic. Walking inside the steep stairs and those grand cellars and viewing the  halls was a delight even thought I have a wiggling toddler wrapped in front of my chest. I grew up thinking that the Walt Disney’s Disneyland castle is the best, but then I moved to Germany and learned that there are so much  more than castles and fairy tales. That my Expat  life is even larger than what I think…it has its own reality bites. I am telling you, it’s not always good. Some days there are times I find myself clueless how can I get by especially now that I can’t speak ‘passable’ German yet. Even my thoughts are just a minute of a fraction of what I could be able to conceive from life itself.

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A new perspective of the New Castle,signalling a new chapter in my life.

But then, I know that in the absence of everything, then ANYTHING is possible. I know that the new castle in front of me has something in store for me here. Having new friends, learning the language, and finally integrating into a new culture gives me whole new motivation everyday.

For now, I feast my eyes from the beauty of nature that offers me everyday. Feeling grateful, and full of hope for better days.

How about you, do you like Castles?

 

 

A walk into the Old town

One of the perks of being an Expat is living like a tourist everyday, or on a tour without a tour guide.Sightseeing is absolutely free, unlimited and you’ve got full access to discover the less-touristic areas which makes a place special.You can explore the neighborhood and outskirts like a curious tourist and be amazed of the hidden gems around you, without the rush.Of course there would come a time that you’ll get used to seeing the buildings and structures around you,and suddenly it all becomes a normal sight. You won’t think of it as worthy of a second look, but then, it is because you have discovered something else. Something even more grand, something worth of admiration.

And the best way to do this, is by foot- walking, at your own pace.

 

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The Old Town (Altes Rathaus )  of Ingolstadt : neo-Renaissance  style by Gabriel von Seidl in 1882 which serves as the seat of the Lord Mayor.Also known as the Four Houses in One simply because 4 old houses were joined together.

For the past months that I am doing lots of walking, (both figuratively & literally) into my new town, I have found so many interesting history and tales that is way beyond the written reviews in Trip advisor or any tourist site in the net about this place. It is not as big as Munich or Berlin, but it has its own identity, and rich cultural heritage. No wonder there is so much mention in this place. In this little old town of Ingolstadt, that certain” Bavarian ” spirit is in the air, everywhere. From the locals who walk the streets  in their traditional Lederhosen and Dirndls, up to the details engraved in their beautifully restored gabled houses, picturesque Architectural ensembles in different periods and up to their imposing gateways.

One particular Bavarian character of this city  that I noticed ever since I step on this place is their impressive fortifications, which, I can say that has become the Old’s town’s charm. The “Schanz”( a series of fortifications) has a reason why it has been built and preserved up to this day.  Indeed, Ingolstadt is a Medieval city of towers and gateways.

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Details of the Altes Rathaus

The church Liebfrauenmünster or also called the Minster to our Dear and Beautiful Lady  is definitely a must-see. I love its exterior and even more the details found inside. When I spent a day on top of the Pfeifturm, the town’s watch tower, which stands beside the city’s oldest parish church, of St. Moritz, the prominent roof of the cathedral stands out.It is one of the largest late-Gothic church of this kind in the whole region of Bavaria, even in Southern Germany.According to records, about 7,000 tree trunks were used in its construction.

 

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The Liebfrauenmünster 

 

Do you like the Audi car?

I’m telling you, Ingolstadt is a city more than just Audi. When you walk down the street, you can see that the locals really loved their cars, their sleek  Audi cars as they loved their Bavarian beer. Of course Audi is a prominent landmark in this town, where almost everybody drives in style. With 566,646 cars built in 2015, the Ingolstadt parent plant is the Audi Group’s largest production facility and Europe’s second-largest car factory. Globally networked, Audi Ingolstadt is the company’s flagship plant in terms of its technological prowess. This is where the Audi A3, Audi A4, Audi A5, Audi Q2 and Audi Q5 car lines are built. One of the biggest magnet for this city is the Audi Forum, which attracts more than 400,000 visitors each year.

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Stone and Bronze architectural detail

Another distinctive detail I saw in this town is the Bronze and Stone façade. From the memorial plaques in the Franziskanerkirche, valuable and unusually well-preserved memorial plaques adorn the walls,the pillars, and the side chapels. This old town is home of the impressive Asam’s Church of Maria de Victoria. This hidden church boasts of the phenomenal ceiling fresco by Cosmas Damian Asam , the most famous Bavarian Baroque artist. His phenomenal creativity  is shown in the largest flat ceiling fresco in the world at 42 m X 16m which can be admired by walking round it. I could stare at this ceiling for hours. When I walk, the image seems to move, simply amazing.Now I know what is perspective painting means. If you want to know it, you’ve got to see the ceiling fresco of Asam’s church of Maria de Victoria or the Asam’s church in  Munich which is also work of the Asam Brothers.

 

Another treasure found in this church is the  Lepanto Montrance– a filigree work of art, set in gold and silver, which represents the Christian’s victory over the Turks in the sea battle in Lepanto. It is a unique battle portrayal on the most valuable monstrance in the world.

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Then there’s the impressive Neues Schloss, (New Castle) a fortress type castle which stands in the middle of the city centre. It is built by Duke Ludwig the Bearded in the first half of  15th century. I love the picturesque view of this castle when I am on top of the bridge above the Danube river. Inside this castle is the magnificent vaulted, elegant interior that accommodates the Bavarian Army museum where it displays the historical weapons, armaments and tin soldiers.Outside this castle are the decorated 17 richly decorated cannons,the Scherer and the Schererin which guards the Neues Schloss. It weights more than 9 tons each.  Right in the castle courtyard  you can also view the Baroque Clocktower. This location is a major touristic area along Paradeplatz  square where the fountain and statue of Ludwig the Bavarian can be found.

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The face of the Cannon in the courtyard of Neues Schloss 

 

 

 

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Beautiful gable Borgeuois town houses

 

My walks have also took me to the outside of the medieval town walls as far as the Taschenturm tower, which used to be one of the minor gates in the Town Wall. The city’s most famous landmark-  The Kreuztor, is the most beautiful of all the preserved gateways that leads from the west into the old town. Four small corner towers and sparingly used limestone decorations embellish this red brick gateway tower from the late 14th century. It’s name came from the leper house with its chapel “to St. Cross” that used to be here outside the town.

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The Taschenturm Tower
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Narrow fronts,high gables of the Bourgeois town houses located in the city center

As I continue to explore the city, I admired the beautiful architecture of the narrow gable houses. They are colorful, unique and has a distinctive feature that really makes this city a worth while to see. If you’ve seen the gable architecture where Amsterdam is famous for, then you know what I mean. It certainly gives an identity to the city. The houses of the old town, in which councilors,guild masters and professors once lived, and which have been witness to a great deal back in the old days, are still full of life up to this day. I wanted to photograph each one of them because every single house is unique.

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Beautiful architecture in the old town of Ingolstadt

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It is very obvious that Ingolstadt is a city with strong fortifications. These Schanz were built by Leo von Klenze have resisted many attacks over the centuries. That is why these fortifications are still so visible, intact and well maintained up to this time. At any given time, you can see the unique, open-air museum of German fortress architecture especially if you walk through the Rose Garden of  Klenzepark where you can see the Turm Triva, which is the home of the Bavarian Police Museum. It is right inside of the lush green oasis with the view of the River Danube.

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The Turm Triva, the home to the Bavarian Police Museum

I was wondering what is Turm Triva when I first saw it. At first I thought it was an open air arena, but then I didn’t realize that it was part of the Bavarian fortifications. Then I’ve learned that the wall complexes, with the Baur and Triva round towers (Turm Baur & Turm Triva)  and the Reduit Tilly in the classical style build just at the bridge head of the Danube river were built for the refuge for the Royal family.

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A display of a Bavarian armor along the Anatomiestr.

For a fact that apart from all of these architectural sites, Ingolstadt also is very green. I can say that its one place for a lover of nature and for someone who wants to walk and enjoy the slow pace of life. Over the few months, I began to adapt to my new routine in this city. I knew now why the locals love outdoors and when its sunny and nice, everyone just hop on their bicycles roaming around the city like crazy. There’s always something to do and see.

When I did the walking tour to find all the Stolpersteine here in Ingolstadt, I appreciate this old city even more. For me, the best way to explore a small, traditional city like this is by foot.  Not only that I feel belongedto it as I walked around , smiled, greet, and nod to the old folks whom I found to be so active, and to the busy people in the streets, but also, I can easily feel the beat, or the vibe of the city. So all in all, it was always a great walk around the old town.

Have you’ve been to a walking tour?  How was your experience?

 

 

Inspiring Spire: Liberation Tower

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Kuwait’s Liberation tower against the vast blue skies.

The spire of the Liberation tower in Kuwait looks so small against the vast expanse of the Kuwaiti skies. More like a tiny needle. Tiny as it may seem compared to world’s super tall structures, at 372 m, the Liberation Tower is the world’s 38th tallest free-standing structure, by pinnacle height. It is standing proud & big symbolizing Kuwait’s liberation from Iraqi invasion.

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Kuwait’s Liberation tower

Climbing this tower is one of the significant experience I had while living in Kuwait.While up in the viewing deck of Kuwait Towers, I had feasted my eyes on the azure blue seascape of the Arabian Gulf,but not so with the Liberation Tower. Since it’s situated in the middle of the city, the views are different of course. The views above the revolving sphere is phenomenal if you really like to see Kuwait in a different angle. Kuwait has a promising Skyline though surrounded with a flat, urban dwellings. Up above, looking down at the brown desert landscape makes me think that Kuwait is indeed a tiny place,scarce with natural resources , but incredibly diverse.

Are you afraid of heights? Do you find it interesting to climb towers ?

 

If you like this post and want to waste more time, don’t forget to  follow me on my  Twitter  and my Instagram  for more stories about my Expat Life Thanks!

 

A day in the Pfeifturm

Who doesn’t like to have a view like this?

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View of the old city  of Ingolstadt from Pfeifturm

Sunday is another Ruhetag ( rest day)  but I decided to climb the 200+ steps that leads to the slender Gothic Pfeifturm in Ingolstadt. After climbing the Olympic Tower in Munich I thought I could brave myself with climbing the steep stairs. I like visiting old churches & towers as much as Castles since I found so much history in them, and its better to see them than read about it.

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Pfeifturm as seen in the city’s model displayed in front of the Rathaus. (Photo source : Extraprimagood)

Built probably in the 13th century , and standing at 63 meters high, Pfeifturm stands close to St.Moritz church. It’s the prominent landmark in the heart of the city centre alongside   Alte Rathaus (old town hall) and the new Rathaus (City town Hall). From the old times,the Pfeifturm served as the city watchtower against the enemies and at later part to watch over for fires in the city. The tower is open for public tours and viewing but could only be arranged with Ingolstadt Tourismus . Because of the size of the viewing deck, only 14 participants are allowed on each tour.

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View from above of the steep cobbled stone staircase going up the Pfeifturm.

I wanted to climb the Pfeifturm because I wanted to see the panoramic view of the whole city. I was hoping to see a sunset view but the time is not with me. As I’m always fascinated how would it looked from above and I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw. We had a fine weather last Sunday, the sky was clear, and the temperature is mild, not too much wind up in the Tower & I could even have a glimpse of the mountain caps of the Alps.

 

While climbing the steep wooden planks, I was overwhelmed by the number of flies inside. The windows are almost full of it and it looks just so eerie. The old wooden planks with wooden nails remains intact and sturdy. Still, if you have a thing with heights, and your knees are weak, this tour is not suitable for you.

The Pfeifturm holds a fascinating story since the watchman and his family once lived here. In the early days, there is neither electricity nor water so the family would get a bucket of water from the ground up for their needs. They used lamps for their light.Imagine climbing the wooden planks approximately 200 plus steps numerous times a day! I caught a glimpse of the small area where the family sleeps and a place for the children to play.

Imagine a life in this Tower. Although the children could have enjoyed the views, eventually the risk that they might fall becomes a concern.

 

The view from 45m in the viewing deck is awesome. From Pfeifturm, you can see the wonderful view of the late Gothic cathedral ‘Liebefrauenmunster’. On sunny days during Fall, you might even catch a glimpse of the Alps.

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Have you discovered something historical lately?

How as your experience?

 

Are you on Twitter? If you’ve enjoyed this post then make sure to follow my Twitter page and my Instagram page for updates on my Expat Life in Bavaria.

 

The Cannons in Neues Schloss

 

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The face of the massive- war cannons guarding the New Castle in the Bavarian Armee Museum.

These are totally not the ordinary type of cannons!

As mighty as this saying goes ;

“Whoever controlled Ingolstadt, controlled the key to Bavaria”, is true as it means.

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The face of the cannons guarding the Neues Schloss in Bavaria | Ingolstadt

 

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Bavarian pride

When we are exploring the quaint city of Ingolstadt, we managed to find our way from the cobbled streets of the city center down to the path leading us to the courtyard of the Neues Schloss or the New Castle. In it was the amazing view of the displayed war cannons .Around the town showcases a unique, open air museum of German fortress architecture that really proves its mighty strength of fortifying their city and a visit to the Bayerisches Armee Museum did not fail us.

In 1418, Ludwig the Bearded laid the foundation stone for the Neue Veste (New Citadel), in the centre of which rises the Neues Schloss or the New Castle which has  17 richly decorated cannons in the castle courtyard reflect the scale of the weapons arsenal at that time.

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Notable inscriptions on the body of the massive cannons displayed outside Neues Schloss.

Two of the oldest of these exhibits belonging to the Bavarian Army Museum comprise a set of double cannons from the years 1524/25 which go by the names of “Scherer” and “Schererin”. The first weighs 9,690 pounds, the second 9,395 pounds. The Neues Schloss is now home to the Bavarian Army Museum – an exhibition of historical weapons, armaments and pewter figures.

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Parade of Cannons

Another bit of history learned & worthwhile thing to see here. Now I find this interesting because I tried to compare the design and size to other war cannons that I have seen  from  the ones I have seen in Corregidor and In Kuwait.

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Intricate detail of the Cannons

Keep posted for more of our adventures as we continue to pretend tourists here in Bavaria while we are chasing a Toddler and gobbling yummy Pretzel along the Donau. Tschüss!

 

 

 

Architecture Above :Liebfrauenmünster

Germany is not only famous for its beautiful nature, dreamy castles & Burgs,UNESCO-world- heritage sites, sausages,Oktoberfest, Football & beer. This country is also a home to many beautiful churches & life-standing Architecture.As I recall my experience while seeing the great DOM Cathedral in Trier, I was in awe seeing another hidden gem  in the small city of Ingolstadt,in Bavaria, the Liebfrauenmünster. If you walk into the old city center, you can’t miss not to see its towering beauty.

Last Saturday, I was grateful that finally its open. The first time we visited, it was closed so we tried to visit again. This church was constructed in 1425 and was completed in  1525. The Architectural style is Gothic and it has 2 Towers with heights of 62m & 69m.

 

 

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I love everything about the facade and exteriors of this church. Its beautiful in the outside but the interior is another thing. As soon I opened the door (photo below ) ,I am perplexed of the harmonious musical chants from the pipe organ  (Klais Organ) which has 4 manuals, 106 ranks, 70 stops, 5,436 pipes.

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The doors of Liebfrauenmünster

The pipe organ was built in 1928 with 84 Ranks / 61 registers (+ 6 Ext. / Tr.) on 3 manuals reusing many old Bittner register by Steinmeyer (D, Oettingen)
1977 technical properties reusing some Steinmeyer Register from 1928 through Klais (D, Bonn).

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The pipe organ in Liebfrauenmünster in Ingolstadt,Germany

The cathedral also has a choir organ with 60 ranks / 44 registers (+ 1 Ext.) On 3 manuals (Wegscheider 2016) and a chamber organ with 6 registers on 1 Manual (Jann, 1986) and an apple shelf.

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The gigantic columns of the church.

Another intricate detail is the base of the columns which are quite interesting.

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Decorative column base (Photo credit to my husband)

Another remarkable feature of this this beautiful church was its Vaultings.As I did my research, I found out that its  included in the listings of the South German Late Gothic design & building Praxis  which mainly features the selection of finest & complicated parametric modelling study of late Gothic vaults chiefly in Swabia, Bavaria, Saxony & Bohemia.

Begun in 1425 Chapels (c. 1512–1520) by Erhard Heydenreich, Baumeister between 1509–1524 A Staffelhall church (like Dinkelsbühl), certainly most famous for the bizarre, varied, and profuse vaults of its six chapels by Erhard Heydenreich; the most iconic of which is a double-layered vault in which the flying ribs of the lower vault take the shape of branches. Bucher describes these vaults as symbolising “the last stand of a dying style.” “They are still based on a disciplined geometric grid which explodes into fireworks of incredible technical and design sophistry. The Renaissance was to reject these games with a vengeance, very much as the Bauhaus was to obliterate Art Nouveau.

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Intricate vaulting design of the Liebfrauenmünster in Bavaria
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Beautiful door facade of the church

My daughter enjoyed marvelling the inside of this church,although I am not sure if she will behave if we attend the mass here one day. But I am glad to know that they have separate timings for kinder (children) together with their parents .

It was a great afternoon well spent visiting this church and I am looking forward to explore it more. Maybe climb the towers to have a great view of the city someday?

How about you, do you explore the culture & history beyond the sights you see in the places you visited?

For me, I have learned that whenever I looked up into something beautiful, I made sure I got a piece of history of it.Churches may serve its religious functions,but we must learn to appreciate the great effort & artistry of the people who built it , let alone who designed it.

Ingolstadt is lucky to have this church.It’s a gem. Indeed, something that the locals should be proud of !

This post is in response to today’s photo challenge : Look Up

Look Up

The Art of Islamic Patterns

Over the years that I have been roaming around in Kuwait I have encountered so many different types of fascinating Islamic patterns that I truly find beautiful. If you are an art enthusiast like me, you would notice pure creativity in  single window or facade details. From doors to the walls, from floors to decorative Arabic mashrabiya.

Are you like me who ponders when seeing a work of art? for even a single pattern?

I am writing from my own perspective of things that I see here in Kuwait  but to quote Monty Python, what has Islam ever done for us? You know, apart from the algebra, the trigonometry, the optics, the astronomy and the many other scientific advances and inventions of the Islamic Golden Age.

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Islamic pattern is a pure Art. The Arabic calligraphy combined with decorative tiles which has been carved and all handmade is a gem in every significant building. Aside from the lavish cost of the whole building, I consider it as a treasure because it’s all made of hard work of skilled craftsmen.

I always like art and interiors, when I live in Kuwait, I notice that there’s always the stunning patterns that grace mosques, madrasas and  Amir’s palaces not only here, but in other parts of the world also.

Islamic craftsmen and artists – who were prohibited from making representations of people in holy sites – developed an instantly recognizable aesthetic based on repeated geometrical shapes.

The mathematical elegance of these designs is that no matter how elaborate they are, they are always based on grids constructed using only a ruler and a pair of compasses.

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Although the size and grandeur of this chandelier from Germany  is huge, I was in awe just gazing at this marvelous dome inside the Grand Mosque particularly in the Amir’s entrance Hall.Every single detail was carved into perfection and unified patterns.

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These decorative and colorful wall patterns are all geometrical figures which has symbolic meanings. The choice of color, shape and texture fitted perfectly to the base and provide aesthetical harmony.

If you take a closer look on Islamic design, you can mostly conclude that all these patterns are  based on Greek geometry, which teaches us that starting with very basic assumptions, we can build up a remarkable number of proofs about shapes. Islamic patterns provide a visual confirmation of the complexity that can be achieved with such simple tools.

Amazing right?

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These gigantic lamps are also a striking piece accentuating the brilliant ceiling patterns.

Here is a quote from Eric Broug, who is a Dutchman &  one of the most active practitioners of Islamic geometric design working today.

“Geometry is really a universal language, everyone can – and does – relate to it instinctively,” he says. “There is a joy to be had in starting with a blank piece of paper and to draw lines and circles and end up with a pattern that is recognizable and beautiful. This process connects you very directly to a design heritage.”

If you wanna know more about this wonderful subject and learn from Eric’s approach, you can check out his books about Islamic designs here.

I never knew how wide & deep the insights of these patterns not until I browse on his writings about Islamic designs. He had a great job showing how wonderful world of these patterns.

As I have noticed,geometric patterns make up one of the three non-figural types of decoration in Islamic art which also include calligraphy and vegetal patterns.  Whether isolated or used in combination with nonfigural ornamentation or figurative representation,  geometric patterns are popularly associated with Islamic art, largely due to their aniconic quality.

These abstract designs not only adorn the surfaces of monumental Islamic architecture but also function as the major decorative element on a vast array of objects of all types. While geometric ornamentation may have reached a pinnacle in the Islamic world, the sources for both the shapes and the intricate patterns already existed in late antiquity among the Greeks, Romans & Sasanians in Iran.

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Take this Moroccan door detail for example,notice how the shape of the door knob that is exactly the same as the overall door patterns just the colorful designs & color are enhanced.

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Points for aesthetics is the similar floor & ceiling design. Such balance & Unity is achieved in this approach.The overall effect is so calming and yet striking to your senses.

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Islamic artists appropriated key elements from the classical tradition, then  complicated and elaborated upon them in order to invent a new form of decoration that stressed the importance of unity and order. The significant intellectual contributions of Islamic mathematicians, astronomers and scientists were essential to the creation of this unique new style.

Considering the rich origin of these patterns, I am amazed how intricate the modern designs which were derived from the past heritage. If you visits various hotels, function areas and Diwaniyas here, you can find that these Islamic patterns are always present in the design.

I love the Art of Islamic Patterns, how about you?

Do you find any interesting patterns from your place of living?

What do you find unique in the places that you’ve visited?

 

 

Arab Organizations HQ Building

Last Saturday I visited the Arab Organization HQ building. I needed to satisfy my curiosity why this building is acclaimed to be world renowned for its beauty in the Middle East and has been attracting visitors around the globe. Now I know why.

The Arab Organizations HQ building houses 4 major Arab organizations namely  : 1. ) Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development,2.)  OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries), 3.) Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation and the 4.) Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company. This building costs USD $ 150 Million & was completed in 1994.

The exterior of the building itself offers a lot of history & functional concept behind it.  I don’t know about you but beyond every aesthetics, I’d like to know the concept behind it since what lies behind the facade is quite interesting.Outside it looks like a box-type massive structure with deep recessed windows but these features are intentional.In a climate where day time temperatures can reach 50° C, heat and light posed critical design challenges.  The virtually maintenance-free rough stone and granite exterior creates a natural sand trap.  Windows on each face of the building are deeply recessed and angled to offer indirect sunlight.The whole building blends modern architectural techniques with traditional Arabic artisan crafts.

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As I entered the building, I am faced to this massive hand-carved door. A total stunner which is labor of love considering the thousand pieces that this door needs to be assembled. This door is used as the main entrance of the building. Each door weighs one ton, and they’re so well-balanced that they will open at the touch of a finger. A Tunisian carved stone surround the entrance of this building.

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The colossal Moroccan wall fountain & giant tile work on both sides of the interior of the lobby area which gives a delight surprise to any visitor.This building houses approximately 2,500 kinds of indoor plants all imported from the Netherlands .

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A historical carpet hung just above the information area of the lobby.

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Wood screen carved in traditional Arabesque design.

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This beautiful view of a chandelier from Germany above the spiral staircase leading to the second floor of the Library.

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Woodwork of the base of the spiral staircase.

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The outer view of the wood frame separating the Main Lobby to the Library. Once inside the Library, the viewer has a different view of the movements from the outside and the reflection of light creates a rather formidable pattern.

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Beautiful Tunisian woodwork pattern inside the Tunisian Room.The highly polished surfaces of the Tunisian Room  reflect the exquisite craftsmanship of the Tunisian ceramic tile panels and exquisitely carved stone work.  The huge marble conference table is surrounded by arches gracefully supported by double columns.  The walls are carved Tunisian stone and the floors, columns and arches are hewn from Jordanian stone.  Decorative panels of wood and stone repeat the ceramic designs.  The Moroccan cedar wood of the ceiling flagrantly scents the air.

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So much adore for this majestic Atrium of the Arab Organization HQ building. These trees are revolving to get equal amount of sunlight and aged 40 years old.Once in the Central Atrium, the trees are positioned in gravel using Hydroculture.  Since there is no soil around the trees, their nutrients are supplied in the water.  Their under floor pots are regularly turned to prevent any natural tilting towards the sunlight from the Glass Wall.

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The majestic Egyptian Mashrabia towers the full 9 stories in height in the center of the  main Atrium surrounded with 40 years old revolving trees .

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Imagine the feeling of lightness created by nine stories of pure air in the core of the building. The sky seems to stretch endlessly upward, unhindered by the large glass skylight in the ceiling and the enormous suspended glass wall on the north east.Here we see many of the traditional features. The majestic Egyptian Mashrabiya towers a full nine stories high. Lush vegetation and central trees (each over 40 years old) provide additional shade. The Syrian fountain adds soothing water music.  The marble floor repeats the geometric star patterns of the skylight and fountain.

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This Syrian fountain located in the center of the Atrium depicting the traditional hoash or central courtyard of classic Arab house design. The gentle water sounds lend a cool tranquility. It’s concentric star design repeats in the inlaid marble of the Atrium floor.It serves as a common ground for the building’s occupants and visitors, a comfortable area for socialization and interaction.

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The ground-floor Pre-function Hall displays Moroccan design from the refined detail of the gypsum ceiling to the zellige mosaics adorning each wall and a fountain . The marble pillars are inlaid with Moroccan tiles. A Moroccan carpet covers the center of the floor. Even the small brass table surrounded by four chairs boasts an intricately designed base. Hand-painted door from Morocco lead from Pre-function Room. And every ornament, every stitch here has been executed by hand.

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Another interesting feature of this building is the ceiling lights designed to coordinate the whole design of this VIP receiving area.

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Furnished in black leather and cherry wood and equipped with remote controlled programmable lighting and simultaneous translation services, the Multi-function Hall is the largest conference room inside the Arab Organization HQ building.

Large hand-woven wall-hangings, designed by a Kuwaiti artist, depict Arab history and culture, while enhancing the room’s acoustics.  A carved wooden suspended ceiling incorporates subtle lighting, enhanced by the indirect light that filters through the marble screen.  The traditional star design of the floor is repeated in the inlaid tops of the cherry wood tables.

I had an overdose  of artworks displayed in this building. I’ve said to myself to myself that it’s no wonder people flocked to see Arab Organizations HQ. Now, I have high respect for each of the intricate wood carvings and in every detail of this structure. I cannot even give justice to the actual views compared to my photos. One must need to be in this tour to learn about how rich the culture behind the walls of this building. This is indeed a fusion of Moroccan, Egyptian, Tunisian,Syrian and overall Arabic design & culture into one.

A visit to this place turned an ordinary Saturday morning into a memorable one. I am so grateful with Aware Center for enabling this tour to be accessible for Expats like me. It was a pleasure once again to discover beautiful building like the Arab Organization HQ building. The tour itself was very well done & executed in a very detailed manner. I highly appreciate even the coffee break in the Atrium’s cafeteria which offered a delightful snack with a majestic view of the glass wall panels with a view from outside & the Artwork inside the Atrium.

I highly recommend for anyone who is in Kuwait to try to visit this building, you won’t regret it. Should you want to learn more about this beautiful architecture, then you can explore their website here. You can even view their virtual tour here. This place has contributed to my cravings to see much more of Kuwait cultural heritage,its amazing architecture & advanced engineering designs.

Have you visited any important building or structure lately? What was it significance?

If you would like to visit any monumental structure of architectural importance, what would it be?

 

 

 

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