She pulled the knife from her chest and smiled, “Was that supposed to hurt?” Every person in the room gasped as she stood there, the bloody knife in her hand, completely unaffected, her smile broadening by the second. It took two minutes for her to realize what had happened. An agonizing sting ran down her body, a sting called regret? With a frown, her fingers wandered to her chest, her eyes focused on the pool of blood at her feet. Her body felt weak. She fell on her knees, her legs unable to handle her weight. What did she just do? Slowly, she closed her eyes, only to open them again with a jolt.

This time, with a jerk of her head she pointed at her now dead daughter and said, “Another bitch down.”


Exploring Best Art Museums in Rome

Listed under the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, Rome is amongst the 20 most popular tourist destinations. And the prestigious museums, artful pieces, pristine documents and all kinds of archeological stuff present in Rome justify this crowd. If you are planning to visit Rome, keep in mind that you are venturing in the world of art and history. Mingling in with the local crowd or travelling as a tourist – it’s your choice, but what really matters is understanding the breathtaking beauty of the miscellaneous artifacts you are about to encounter.

To ease your troubles of selecting where all to go, here’s a list of the top class, must – visits!

Vatican Museum or Musei Vaticani 11229861-old-spiral-stairs-in-the-Vatican-Museums-Musei-Vaticani--Stock-Photo.jpg

This 16th century museum is the result of Pope Julius II’s collection that gives this Vatican City museum the title of one of the best museums of the world. Art works like the Sistine Chapel, Lacoon and Borgia rooms, the Chapel of Beato Angelico, the Raphael Rooms that make the place a crowd puller. This extraordinarily crowded and esteemed museum also maintains dress code that prohibits exposure of skin. That means no short skirts or off shoulders, no midriffs or any such things. The museum remains closed for the Vatican holidays that are different from the Italian ones.

Borghese Gallery or Galleria Borghese

One visit to this acquisition by Pope Paul V, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, and you will understand why this museum situated on Villa Borghese Park is known to have one of the best art collections of the ancient time in the world. This magnificently prestigious museum contains Bernini’s delicate marble of Apollo and Daphne, works by Titian, Raphael, Domenichino, and Caravaggio.  A must visit for art patronages!

Capitoline Museum or Musei Capitoliniimages.jpg

Situated on the Campidoglio, Rome’s Capitol Hill, Musei Capitolini with the oldest known community ownership was founded by Pope Sixtus IV and was opened to the public in the year 1734. It is divided into two palaces, Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori. The former is home to excellent ancient sculptures and the later houses works of ancient and modern work including the Roman emblem and the ancient sculpture of the twins Romulus and Remus suckling a She wolf.

National Roman Museum

Having excavated items from the Roman and Imperial Fora, this scattered museum covers the Baths of Diocletian, the Palazzo Altemps, Palazzo Massimo and the Crypta Balbi. This prominent museum contains coins, statues, sarcophagi, stoneware, frescoes, mosaics, ornaments and other preserve worthy items relating to the rich Roman history. The national roman museum is a fascinating place to discover the wonders of the medieval and roman times.

National Gallery of Modern Artphillip-wong-rome-national-gallery-modern-contemporary-art-1b.jpg

The national Gallery of Modern Art Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna consists of arts from the 19th and 20th century. Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Burri, Luigi Pirandello are symbolized in the museum and so are the global artisans like Goya, Renoir, Van Gogh and Kandisky. This erotic museum of modern arts will open up gates, revealing pieces that’ll enthrall your mind towards the artistic era in Rome during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Maxxi Museum

This contemporary museum designed by the celebrity architect Zaha Hadid was inaugurated in 2010. Show casing 21st century art work including paintings, photographs and multimedia fixings from renowned Italian and other foreign modern day artists is known not for its permanent displays but for the excellent exhibition it holds, presenting some remarkable works especially on architectural themes. This modern museum has a café lounge where a continuous flow of customers could be noticed. On sunny afternoons, people could be seen enjoying in the piazza outside. Behind this museum is located one of the most popular ice cream parlors of modern day Rome – Neve di Latte.

Museum and Crypt of Capuchinscapuchins.jpg

This Franciscan ‘experience’, as some people like to put it, has been recently renovated to differ from the spine chilling burial chamber it was formerly. It displays everything of the time including the knotted whips friars used to flagellate themselves with and the articfacts confiscated from various natives by missionaries to rooms of stuff representing various heroes and saints. The main attraction of this place is the ghastly burial chamber decorated with the bones of monks dug up from the soil brought from Jerusalem. They are delicately arranged on walls and ceilings and some have been made into grisly chandeliers. To turn it more meaningful and impactive, an ebullient sign reads at the entrance ‘You will be what we are now’.

Museo della Civiltà Romana

This beautiful and marvelously engineered Mussolini-era building is a useful key to the ancient centro storico. Plaster casts of elaborate Trajan carvings, models of ancient sites including Rome itself, etc make the trek worth it. After enjoying the master pieces in here, you can cross along to Palazzo dei Congressi, another marvel of 1930s EUR architecture, and check on how the metaphor to ‘The Cloud’ or ‘La Nuvola’ is coming along. It is a revolutionary forum designed by Massimiliano Fuksas.

Along with the marvelous museums mentioned above, there are places of historic preservence that can be checked out. The list of Roman museums can never get over as every museum in there has something different to show case. Apart from those mentioned above, sites like Pallazo Massimo alle Terme, Villa Farnesina, Villa Giulia, Ara Pacis, Centrale Montemartini, Doria Pamphilj Gallery and Pius Clementine Museum are other valuable spots of art revelation that are worth your time!


Exploring Best Art Museums in Paris

Paris, also known as the city of love, romance, exotic wines and trendiest fashion! The city of art, the city of relics, the city of churches, bridges, sculptures, memories and a lot more! A trip to Paris means recapturing the moments lived and breathed by millions of legendary lovers and warriors,  by kings and artisans… by people unforgettable and people who need not be thought of to keep them alive!

The number of musuems in Paris is accountable for the rich history it boasts of. Amongst these, prominent are its art museums! If you’re planning a trip to Paris, you mustn’t miss the big deals!

The LouvreLouvre_Pyramid.jpg

Considered to be one of the most important museums in Paris, situated on the banks of river Seine, palace Louvre is the site of the most diverse collections of the pre 20th century sculptures, paintings, etc. The fortress palace is known to be dwelled in by the royal family before the completion of the palace of Versailles. In 1692, it was opened for the public to admire the great art collection. The collection kept on growing, expanding all over the beautiful composite structure. Today, it is known to house one of the best collections including the famous Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and the Victory of Samothrace. One can spot Islamic calligraphy and sculptures apart from symbolic paintings. The Tulleries garden bordering the explicit place is worth one’s time!

Jacquemart-André MuseumMusée_Jacquemart_André_2007_-_Recoura_n1

This extraordinary treasure of Paris is situated near Champs Elysees, the esteemed boulevard of Paris, focuses on the collections of the 18th century. Adorning a 19th century mansion, this compilation is a work of collection and procurement by Eduard Andre and the renowned painter Nélie Jacquemart. After the death of Eduard, Nelie decorated and handed the mansion over to be converted into a museum. The museum is adorned with alluring artoworks of French, Dutch and Italian origin.

Musée du Luxembourg220px-Paris_Musee_Luxembourg_facade.jpg

One of the oldest museums of Paris, opened for public in 1750, this museum is a state run collection of paintings. Situated on the imperial Luxembourg soil, this museum hosts a number of transitory presentations anticipated and admired by the localites. Exhibits in the latest years have included works by Modigliani and Vlaminck.

National Museum of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidoucentre_pompidou_paris_medium.jpg

Along with the Centre Gorges Pompidou, National Museum of Modern Art was inaugurated in the year 1977. Right from Cubism to Surrealism, Pop Art this museum boasts of a collection of one of the most esteemed objects of the 20th century and includes items corresponding the 20th century movements. The permanent collections here are freshly gone through every year to show case new acquirements. Housing over 50,000 prestigious permanent objects, the temporary exhibits are also awaited by the public.

Musée d’Orsay368_1musee_d_orsay.jpg

This modern collection of art is just the break you need from the classical overload other museums provide. Impressionist and post impressionist paintings adorning spacious, illuminated rooms not only rejuvenate your mind but your interest in Parisian Art. Right from Dega’s dancers to Monet’s water lilies and Gaugin’s thriving jungles, these otherworldly exhibits are sure to engross you completely. Works by Van Gogh, Delacroix, Manet and many other prestigious artisans are present to rob you of your boredom!

Musée Carnavalet or Museum of Paris Historymusée-carnavalet.jpg

This free entry museum contained within Hotel de Carnavalet and Hotel Le Peletier de Saint Fargeau, Renaissance era mansions, describes the history of Paris over 100 rooms. If you are curious about the multi faceted history of this city of wonders, it may do good to visit this museum filled with the Resurgence period items. The museum also hosts exhibition once in a while which presents various items reflecting the Parisian heritage in a successful manner.

Petit Palaispetit-palais-09.jpg

A completely new phase of the Petit Palais contains around 1300 works from 20th century. They include masterpieces by Courbet, Cezanne, Monet, and Delacroix and many more! It is one of the free entry museums near the prestigious street of Champs Elysees. The temporary exhibitions charge a fee for visitors over 13 years of age. A beautiful and popular museum as it is, it is considerably new keeping in mind the recent renovations.

Rodin MuseumRodin Meudon Gate 180dpi.jpg

The Rodin museum named after Auguste Rodin keeping in view the number of works by him and his student present in the museum is one of the premium art museums of Paris. Apart from extraordinarily excellent works like “The Thinker”, the museum has a sculpture garden that provides for an excellent venue to saunter in. A must visit for everyone!

Counterfeit Museumcounterfeit-museum-1.jpg

This fascinating and remarkable museum offers for a change of mood. Situated near the 16th Arrondissement of Paris, this museum was created by the Union des Fabricants in 1951. The original idea was to make the people aware of the real items and their copies. This museum keeps on changing its items. Sometimes mobile phones and Levis jeans are an item of display and sometimes these change to Bic razor and Barbie dolls. Right from pens to sport shoes to Swiss army knives and cigarette lighters, you’ll find various items on display.

These were some of the best museums in Paris but the list doesn’t end here, or rather it begins here! POUPEE, Musee de la, POSTE, PUBLICITE, they are just a few but you would find hundreds and hundreds of them there! So have a good time exploring the heritage of the city of art!


Exploring History of British Museum

The first national museum harboring about 8 million objects, the British museum in London, is the collection of the well known physician, Sir Hans Solane. Although a physician, he was fond of collecting exclusive stuff. Many of his patients, including Queen Anne and King George I and II used to bestow him expensive gifts and he himself used to buy precious items while on tours along with his patients.zzzz

On 7th of June 1753, the British Parliament passed an act to declare this collection as the national museum.

It is recorded that during the 18th century about 5000 people used to visit it every years and these days this number has risen to become 6 million per year!zzz

A brief view on the timeline!

Sir Hans Solane had collected innumerable items, starting from coins, medals, books, prints to drawings! Modern technology has been successful in preserving the organic ethnographic and natural specimens. The museum was opened to the public in 1759 and right from the very first day, its entry was free. In the beginning, the collection was displayed in the Montague House in Bloomsbury, where the original structure now stands.z

The museum received its first Egyptian mummy in the year 1756. In 1757, King George II gifted the “Old Royal library”. A stone representing a petrified loaf and a bark of a tree gnawed by a beaver were received in the year 1760. In 1765, the museum was handed a live tortoise from North America. Assortments of precious objects including the Tahitian mourner’s dress were acquired after Captain Cook’s three Pacific voyages ranging from the year 1767 – 1770. In 1772 the Greek Vase belonging to Sir William Hamilton was attained.

In the year 1802, the Rosetta stone from Egypt pertaining to the Ptolemaic period was obtained by the museum closely followed by the purchase of bronze statue of “Discobolos” (a man throwing a dish) of the 5th century and the marble bust of “Clytie” of the Roman era belonging to Italy from British collector Charles Townley. It was then in the year 1807 when the Department of Antiquities was found. The museum received a sculpture, i.e. a marble block, from the Temple of Apollo the Helper built on Mount Kotylion at Bassae located in Greece. In 1816 The Parthenon gave a number of marble sculptures. The Nereid or the sea nymph Monument depicting Greek and Lycian style was obtained in the year 1842. Then the remains of the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos from south west Turkey were received between the years 1856 and 57. During the same time, ‘Great Winged Bull’, one of the first stone sculptures excavated at the site of Nimrud, Iraq were added to the exhibits.zz

In 1897, the demise of A.W. Franks was followed by an inheritance of the Oxus treasure along with 3,300 finger rings, 153 drinking vessels, 512 pieces of continental porcelain, and miscellaneous items of

During late nineteenth century, the natural history remains were transported to the British Museum of Natural History. In 1898, Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild bestowed the Waddesdon manor with glitters known as the Waddesdons Bequest. This consisted of 300 pieces of exclusive jewelry, plate, enamel, carvings, and the Holy Thorn Reliquary. Baron Ferdinand’s will stated that the collection be exhibited in a special room called the Wadessdon Bequest Room and apart from the rest of the collection.

In the year 1997, the library department was shifted to the new British Library in St Pancras.

The new century opened up projects for new buildings. The trustees purchased the 69 houses around the museum with intentions to demolish them and expand the museum. The removal of books had provided for the needed space for the overflow of manuscripts and written material and after the new buildings emerged, the ethnography collections were retrieved from their temporary place in the Museum of Mankind.

In the year 1972, the act to the British Library was passed, separating the manuscripts and books from the museum. They were dispatched to the library.

In 2000 the centre of the museum underwent renovation to be known as Queen Elizabeth II Great Court or simply the Great Court. It includes the original reading room. Various new galleries were opened. The whole system museum was re arranged keeping in view the modern world requirements but preserving the old world beauty.

In the twentieth century, a number of changes were incorporated. In 1920, the research laboratory was started up.

The museum today !

The British Museum yet has not stopped increasing its collection. By the gifts of wealthy people and assistance from great curators and collectors, the museum has been able to build its collection. This museum has been open through all the days of the year accept a few days during the world wars. It has consistently worked and served the people of Britain through thick and thin and has become the pride of Britain. Today it no more houses the artifacts of natural history and the fragile manuscripts it once used to. All that has been exhibited in individual British museums. Nevertheless, it still preserves the property of making the history come alive with the artifacts from around the world representing vivid cultures!

Throughout the history, the museum has faced ups and downs but excellent organization has kept it up and has helped in the attraction of tourists from all over the world!

Savior – A piece of Fiction!

When I was 11, I was obsessed with action.

Millions of people fought years ago and died years ago. Millions of people did that for us years ago. Many of them became famous as freedom fighters. Bhagat Singh, Lal Bhadur Shastri, and Rani LakshmiBai were some of them. But there were some who never came to be known by us, some who were dedicated to the people, worked for the people but were not by the people. And I know about such a man, a man whose death still haunts me. Maybe because he died because of me.

It took place years ago, when I was just 18 and the whole of India was fighting for freedom. A time when the Indians killed Britishers on sight and the British too did its share of kidnapping Indian women and children. And I too was a woman, a helpless woman whom they had kidnapped. I was thrown into a ship and that was when it started….

Previously, two of their captives had disappeared and the Brits believed that they were rescued. So this time they had put us in the upper deck where only the whites could enter. I looked around at the three other people in the room. One, a kid of about seven, was lying on the bed and looked unconscious to me, another was a woman looking out of the window and the third occupant-a woman -was sitting on the floor, her knees pulled up to her chest, and sobbing pitifully. I went to her and put my arms around her to comfort her. But when I tried to speak, I couldn’t. It was hard to choke back tears at this point but I held on. At this precise minute, the door opened and a white man entered the room.

I saw the other two women around me shiver (ok, I was scared too) as the man entered the room. He strode directly towards the kid on the bed, his face determined. Was he going to kill us or were we being handed back to our families in exchange of something? I had no idea what was in store for me. I stared as the man heaved the kid on his shoulder and motioned for us to follow. Noticing a gun in his hand, we complied. Once outside he took us through winding passages in the ship. As time passed, the passages started growing deserted.

After a few minutes, the route he took was totally empty. On a sudden impulse I asked the man, “You’re going to kill us?” as soon as the words were out, I wished I had never spoken .The man stopped and turned towards me. His face sturdy but not cruel. “No” he said in a deep voice. “I’m not going to kill you, or even hurt you, as a matter of fact. But promise me that as soon as I let you out, you’d never turn around or speak to anybody about me. Once you’re out I don’t exist, ok?”

We nodded and I was about to speak when a man’s voice boomed from the rear, “You traitor!”

We all turned around to face a burly Brit. The next thing I knew was that I was being pulled from behind. We were all running and shots rang from behind us. The man led us to a door that opened into a dark hollow. He led us through the narrow path and after about fifteen minutes walk he stopped. We saw a thin streak of light behind us and knew they were not far away. The man brought his mouth near my ears and whispered, “Lead the women and kid through and take the first left. I’ll handle the bastards. Just hurry and don’t make a noise.” I could clearly hear his labored breathing and was reluctant to leave him. How I came to trust him, I don’t know but whatsoever, I followed his orders. Moving cautiously in the dark, I suddenly noticed a light ahead. Moving towards it, I noticed that it was the turning, lit by a lantern. It forked into two, and I took the left and suddenly stopped short as I heard the fire of a bullet. Looking behind me I saw the tension on the other women’s faces too. The one who now carried the child looked on the verge of tears. My own breath was held and after what seemed like ages the voices of the men went away. After what seemed like an eternity, I started walking again but not towards the exit but towards him.

Making my way through the dark with the lantern, I finally heard someone breathing heavily and my leg hit something. Bending down I realized it was none other than the man. Placing the lantern down I noticed his bleeding stomach and knew that he was shot. I was so frantic that all I could do was ask why?

And to this monosyllable he answered, “I lost my loved one in their hands and didn’t want your lovers to experience the same. I knew it was wrong, that we’re wrong. It was the least I could do.” And with that he left the world but his memories never left me. Many wouldn’t consider this meeting as being a friendly one but for me that single meeting was enough and I knew that he was my friend, my savior…….

Unveiling The History of Seattle’s Underground City

Situated in the state of Washington, a 100 miles from the Canadian border, lies a major port city of US – Seattle. The mystics of the Queen city are something of historic importance. A look at the history of Seattle’s underground city would leave you intrigued too, I’m sure.

seattleThe Seattle we know today didn’t exist until the 6th of June, 1889. The modern day Pioneer Square was a void of nothingness before 1889. What was the magnanimous event that turned the pre existing void to what it is today? Was it a magnanimous event or a traumatic disaster?

The underground city life

Before we go into the deep, let’s know a bit of the pre 1889 Seattle. It used to lie 12-30 feet below the present Seattle. The swampy mud land was inhabited by the Native American tribes of Duwamish and Suquamish. The town of Seattle started evolving around the Pioneer Street, located exactly where it is today. From here, the city began growing as a series of upward rising streets and at the base of this hill was a low lying marshland. Due to tides, this area used to flood twice a day. The sewage lines located by the corner of the water front streets were not spared this flood and this meant that people going to the loo had to be careful or else they could be blown off their seats during a tidal wave. The visit to the water front was now regulated according to the tidal time table and the toilets were built on the first floor. Even the single leveled houses had their toilets on pedestals.

Slowly, Seattle started organizing better. The high crime rates started dropping and by early 1890’s the city was a leading one, courtesy the womenfolk and their hard work. The numerous wooden house dwellers started involving in trades.Michael Benton HiRes (2)

The Great Fire

On one fine day when the fire chief was out of town, June 6th, 1889, a cabinet maker spilt glue over gasoline fire. It is needless to describe the after events – the glue catching fire, spreading around, majority of the city made of wood, the volunteer fire workers though being helpful but not as efficient…it was a matter of some 12 hours after which 120 acres of Seattle city was transformed to ashes. Courthouse, churches, service buildings – all were burnt to the foundation. Everything came to a screeching halt as the people found their properties in ruins and mind you, there was just one case of casualty if we talk about the human population – no harm to them!


1931 Hipodrome

However, the people of Seattle were not the ones habitual of fretting. They were rather relieved that the fire had eased one of their troubles; the rodent population had been reduced to vestiges by the fire. The civilians got their hats on and picked themselves up. Hey decided to rebuild rather than relocate. In this combustion, they saw an opportunity to rebuild their precious city according to their liking.

Second chances are rare, they say. It’s important to make note of how you use the second chance given to you and Seattlers proved pretty good in making the better of the one given to them. Amongst the various measures taken, wooden buildings were banned and stone and brick was introduced. To rid themselves of the tide problem, they started building on higher platforms. Downtown was leveled. Some roads were raised by as much as 22 feet. All business moved to the upper floor. Decoration downstairs was reduced whereas gaiety increased on the upper floor. People had to climb up the stairs to visit shops. Even to cross roads, they had to climb up and down staircases. With the lightning of glass prisms in the underground city, the people of Seattle started living a new life. It was a beginning after a disastrous end.3804151495_bfcb886d97

Soon, the threat of more rodents led to the flight of the underground city to the over ground one. People moved their residences upstairs. Buildings in the underground were used as warehouses and coops of nefarious activities.

Eventually, people forgot about it and it lay abandoned. The new generation new little about it and cared even less due to their ‘race the time’ schedules.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour    Fire-Horizontal

And then came into play Bill Speidel, the famous savior of the Pioneer Square, a columnist with the Seattle Times by profession. It was the year 1954 when the city’s birthplace had fallen to such a case of disrepair that few gave it its rightful respects. Shirley, Bill’s wife, suggested he should get it restored and that’s where the saga of Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour begins.

During his activism, he, unanticipated by nature of course, chanced upon some old shops elevated after the fire. He paid a certain amount to various store owners as rent and inspected the elements closely. It was a matter of great struggle with the Seattle City Council before the underground city was first recognized as of historic importance. Having the support of over 100000 people, Bill moved on with a petition and got 20 blocks of the Pioneer Square as Historic District. He opened up an Underground Tour and on the first day took about 500 enthusiastic customers around.

The 1960’s were when the Seattle Central Association, a under oath enemy of historic preservation, tore down buildings to make parking lots for the automobile reign. The pioneer street would surely been under attack if it had retained its state of disrepair. But the plate of ‘Historic district’ encouraged the banker’s enough to kick in cash funds for development of the area. The preservation of the Pioneer Square was underway! Today they it’s known as one of the oldest neighborhoods and it’s hard to imagine how under cherished the place once was.

Over the years, the buildings have been smartened up to make them visually attractive. Bill Speidel took his customers on a tour that had the underground charm and was in every way ‘under the ground’, countering the situation today due to the city Council’s concern and claims of it being unsafe. That’s the time the underground city was unveiled in the real sense to the people.

The subversive city was affirmed dangerous years ago, but parts of it are open for tour conductors. The tours include visits to old bank vaults, toilets, furniture, wooden beams and all along with mice and mustiness. Tours are popular amongst tourists and locals alike. In 2004 adults only Underground Tours were organized incorporation talks about prostitution, the opium trade and other immoral deeds. Tales about ghosts are not uncommon, rather the people who question the existence of phantoms in the said district are regarded as under informed, naïve idiots!

G4LQD00Z Seattle, a really intriguing place with Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks lying alongside an intricately unintentional ‘Underground’, today is known as one of the big boys and is counted along with New York and San Francisco. The Rainy City has its own store of old worldism and theology to offer. Leaving you speechless is not its intention, but so was the case with the creation of the city below and old habits are hard to rid…