Virtual Tourism

Virtual tourism, google maps mashup, google video

Roman Theatres


Some of the most amazing satellite images on Google Maps are these remains of Roman theatres and coliseums. The remains of Roman buildings can be found all over Europe and Northern Africa and of course Google Maps is a great way to undertake a bit of virtual sightseeing.

Here are the most impressive Roman theatres and coliseums that we have found,

1. The Coliseum
2. Verona, Italy (amphitheatre)
3. Jerash, Jordan
4. Cartegna, Spain
5. Orange, France
6. Amman, Jordan
7. Ephesus, Turkey
8. Aspendos, Turkey
9. Verona, Italy (theatre)
10. Caerleon, Wales

Ponte Vecchio, Florence


The Ponte Vecchio is a Medieval bridge over the Arno River, in Florence, Italy, noted for having shops (mainly jewellers) built along it. It is Europe's oldest wholly-stone, open-spandrel segmental arch bridge.

Believed to have been first built in Roman times, it was originally made of wood. After being destroyed by a flood in 1333 it was rebuilt in 1345, this time in stone. Most of the design is attributed to Taddeo Gaddi. It has always hosted shops and merchants (legend says this was originally due to a tax exemption), which displayed their goods on tables after authorisation of the Bargello (a sort of a lord mayor, a magistrate and a police authority).

It is said that the economic concept of bankruptcy originated here: when a merchant could not pay his debts, the table on which he sold his wares (the "banco") was physically broken ("rotto") by soldiers, and this practice was called "bancorotto"

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Ipiranga Museum, Sao Paulo


Ipiranga is a historical borough located in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, composed by the districts of Ipiranga, Cursino and Sacomã. The name Ipiranga comes from the river of the same name located in the region, which means "red river" in Tupí-Guaraní. The Independence Park (Parque da Independência), where supposedly the Emperor Pedro I of Brazil proclaimed the independence of Brazil, the Paulista Museum, which exhibits classic architecture and a collection of Brazilian colonial artifacts, and the Zoology Museum, are also located in Ipiranga.

The Ipiranga River is perhaps one of the most famous Brazilian rivers because it is mentioned in the very first line of the Brazilian National Anthem.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi


The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi (St Francis), the mother church of the Franciscan Order, is a World Heritage Site in Assisi, Italy. The Franciscan monastery and the lower and upper church of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228. Simone di Pucciarello donated the land for the church, a hill at the west side of Assisi, known as "Hill of Hell" (because here criminals were put to death). Today, this hill is aptly called "Hill of Paradise".

The foundation stone was laid by Pope Gregory IX on 17 July 1228, although construction may already have been begun. This impressive church was designed and supervised by brother Elia Bombardone, one of the first followers of St. Francis and the former provincial minister of Syria. The lower basilica was finished in 1230.

In 1997 Assisi was hit by an earthquake. The Basilica was badly damaged (part of the vault collapsed, carrying with it a fresco by Cimabue), and was closed for two years for restoration.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Newsmap

The Newsmap has been updated and now includes a rolling news ticker with the latest news from the BBC, Reuters and Yahoo.

For those of you interested in the nerdy stuff the news ticker is powered by the new Google Feed API.

Ghost Island, Japan


Hashima Island was once the densest place on earth but now stands abandoned, except for the ghosts of course.

Hashima Island, commonly called Gunkanjima (meaning "Battleship Island) is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki itself. The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility. The island's most notable features are the abandoned concrete buildings and the sea wall surrounding it.

"Battleship Island" is an English translation of the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island, "Gunkan-jima". The island's nickname came from its apparent resemblance to a battleship, or "gunkan" (jima/shima meaning island) due to its high sea-walls. It also is known as the Ghost Island. It is known for its coal mines and their operation during the industrialization of Japan. Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 and began the project, the aim of which was retrieving coal from the bottom of the sea. They built Japan's first large concrete building, a block of apartments in 1916 to accommodate their burgeoning ranks of workers, and to protect against typhoon destruction.

As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima's mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974, and today it is empty, bare, which is why it's called the Ghost Island.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Orange Roman Theatre, France


The Theatre antique d'Orange is an ancient Roman theatre, built early in the 1st Century A.D. and located in Orange in Southern France. It is owned by the municipality of Orange and is the home of the summer opera festival, the Chorégies d'Orange.

It is one of the best preserved of all the Roman theatres in the Roman colony of Arausio (or, more specifically, Colonia Julia Firma Secundanorum Arausio: “the Julian colony of Arausio established by the soldiers of the second legion”) which was founded in 40 B.C. Playing a major role in the life of the citizens, who spent a large part of their free time there, the theatre was seen by the Roman authorities not only as a means of spreading Roman culture to the colonies, but also as a way of distracting them from all political activities.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Cathedral Square, Christchurch


Cathedral Square is the city centre of Christchurch, New Zealand. As the name suggests, it is directly in front of the city's Anglican cathedral, Christ Church.

Originally intended to be called Ridley Square (after the Protestant martyr Nicholas Ridley), the area was developed in the 1850s and 1860s, with work starting on the cathedral in 1862. A statue to Robert Godley, the city's founder, was erected in 1867, and the city's central post office was located alongside the square a few years later. The original choice of Ridley is another of Christchurch's many references to Oxford, since Ridley was martyred there.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Rion-Antirio Bridge, Greece


The Rio-Antirio Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge crossing the Gulf of Corinth near Patras, linking the town of Rio on the Peloponnese to Antirio on mainland Greece, thus connecting the peninsula with the rest of Europe. It has a length of 2252 m (2882 m including the access bridges); as it consists entirely of five cable-stayed spans and four pylons, and it is the world's longest cable-stayed suspended deck. Its width is 28 meters -- it has two vehicle lanes per direction, an emergency lane and a pedestrian walkway.

This bridge is widely considered to be an engineering masterpiece owing to several solutions applied to span the difficult site. These difficulties include deep water, insecure materials for foundations, seismic activity, the probability of tsunamis, and the expansion of the Gulf of Corinth due to plate tectonics.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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The Gherkin, London


30 St Mary Axe is a building in London's main financial district, the City of London. It is widely known by the nickname "The Gherkin", and occasionally as The Swiss Re Tower, Swiss Re Building, Swiss Re Centre, or just Swiss Re, after its previous owner but principal occupier. It is 180 m (590 ft) tall, making it the second-tallest building in the City of London, after Tower 42, and the sixth-tallest in London as a whole. The design is by Pritzker Prize-winner Sir Norman Foster and ex-partner Ken Shuttleworth and Arup engineers. It was constructed by Skanska of Sweden between 2001 and 2004.

The architects, Foster and Partners, crafted a distinctive cone-like shape to reduce the wind turbulence around the Gherkin. Its design won the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize for the best new building by a RIBA architect in 2004. It was the first time that the prize jury was unanimous in their decision. The building also won the 2003 Emporis Skyscraper Award for the best skyscraper in the world completed that year. It was constructed by Skanska, completed in 2004 and opened on 28 April 2004.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Newsmap

The Newsmap has been updated to include up to the minute news feeds from the BBC and Reuters.

The Newsmap not only shows you the latest headlines on a world map (thanks to the magic of GeoRSS) but brings you streaming video from a number of major news networks.

Enjoy!

Raffles Hotel, Singapore


The Raffles Hotel is a colonial-style hotel in Singapore, dating from 1887, and named after Singapore's founder Sir Stamford Raffles. Managed by Raffles International, it is known for its luxurious accommodation and superb restaurants. The hotel houses a tropical garden courtyard, museum, and Victorian-style theatre.

The hotel was founded by four Armenian brothers: Martin, Tigran, Aviet and Arshak Sarkies. They opened the 10-room colonial bungalow at Beach Road and Bras Basah Roads on 1 December 1887. The original location was by the seaside, although continued reclamation means that the site is presently some 500 meters away from the shore. No Asians were permitted as hotel guests until the 1930s. The hotel continued to expand over the years with the addition of wings, the completion of the main building, the addition of a verandah, a ballroom, a bar and billiards room and further buildings and rooms.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Acueducto de Segovia, Spain


Aqueduct of Segovia (or more precisely, the aqueduct bridge) is one of the most significant and best-preserved monuments left by the Romans on the Iberian Peninsula. It is among the most important symbols of Segovia, as is evidenced by its presence on the city's coat of arms.

As it lacks a legible inscription (one was apparently located in aqueduct's attic, or top portion), the date of construction cannot be definitively determined. Researchers have placed it between the second half of the 1st Century AD and the early years of the 2nd Century— during the reign of either Emperor Vespasian or Nerva. The beginnings of Segovia itself are likewise not definitively known. Vacceos are known to have populated the area before the Romans conquered the city.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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DIY Video Maps

Google's latest addition to Google Maps, 'My Maps' means that now anyone can make their own video map and share it with their friends.

Instructions

1. Go to Google Maps and click on the 'My Maps' tab.

2. Click on 'Create new map'

3. Fill in the 'title' and 'description' text box.

4. Zoom into a location on the map, choose the 'blue' place-mark and give your place-mark a title.

5. Next to where it says 'Description' click on 'Edit HTML' and then cut & past the embed code from a YouTube video.

6. Press OK and save.

7. To share your finished map with your friends click on 'link to this page' at the top right of the map and then cut and paste the address that appears in the address bar of your browser.

It really is that easy. Here's one I made in about two minutes of the The London Eye.

Of course if you do create a video map we would love to feature it on this site, so leave the address of your video map in a comment and we will share it with the world.

For more help check out the official Google Blog post, Map-making: So easy a caveman could do it

Castillo de San Marcos, Florida


The Castillo de San Marcos is a Spanish built fort located in the city of St. Augustine, Florida. It was known as Fort Marion from 1821 until 1942, and Fort St. Mark from 1763 until 1784 while under British control. The city of St. Augustine was founded in 1565. Over the next one hundred years, the city was defended by nine wooden forts. Following the 1668 attack of the English pirate Robert Searle, it was decided by the Queen Regent of Spain, Mariana, that a masonry fortification be constructed to protect the city. In October 1672 construction began on the fort that would become the Castillo de San Marcos.

The city of St. Augustine was founded in 1565. Over the next one hundred years, the city was defended by nine wooden forts. Following the 1668 attack of the English pirate Robert Searle, it was decided by the Queen Regent of Spain, Mariana, that a masonry fortification be constructed to protect the city. In October 1672 construction began on the fort that would become the Castillo de San Marcos.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Lonely Planet Video

As you might have guessed, on this site we love tourist and travel videos, and we also love Google Maps.

We are overjoyed then that Lonely Planet have decided to start showing travel videos on Google Maps (now I wonder where they got that idea?).

What is very cool about this new venture is that if you upload your travel videos to Lonely Planet TV you can then cut and paste a little code into your own website or blog and show your videos on a Google Map. I have embedded an example below (although in this instance the map is showing the top rated videos at Lonely Planet TV and not my videos).

Red Fort, New Delhi, India


The Red Fort was the palace for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's new capital, Shahjahanabad, the seventh Muslim city in the Delhi site. He moved his capital from Agra in a move designed to bring prestige to his reign, and to provide ample opportunity to apply his ambitious building schemes and interests. The Red Fort stands at the eastern edge of Shahjahanabad, and gets its name from the massive wall of red sandstone that defines its four sides. The wall is 1.5 miles (2.5 km) long, and varies in height from 60ft (16m) on the river side to 110 ft (33 m) towards the city. Measurements have shown that the plan was generated using a square grid of 82 m.

The fort lies along the Yamuna River, which fed the moats that surround most of the wall. The wall at its north-eastern corner is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, a defense built by Islam Shah Sur in 1546.

This article is licensed from Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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Google Earth April Fools

Google are usually quite inventive with their April Fools Day jokes. Last year they managed to add a cartoon image of some aliens holding a barbecue at the infamous Area 51 in America (images here).

This year Google produced a couple of fake products, GMail Paper (snail mail web 2.0) and Google TiSP (a free home wireless network utilising sewer pipes).

The best Google Earth related April Fool this year came from Google Sightseeing, which provided this kml link, purportedly to new live satellite imagery on Google Earth. However in reality the kml file overlays the image of a cloud over the earth so you can't see anything at all.

London Videos

All the London Videos can now be viewed on one map. The map also contains a number of other layers, including the current weather in London.

View the London Map here.

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