The Imagination Vacation

 

The Imagination Vacation

by Amy Lignor

 

Works of art actually relieve stress. Not only are we all experiencing that, but headlines have appeared that state this election year was the most stressful on record. Marriages actually broke down and broke apart all together because of this political agenda. So now that all of this is over and done with, taking a vacation from it all would be the best thing to alleviate that stress as fast as possible. Of course, seeing as that only 5% of the population or less can actually afford a trip like that, perhaps reading about these incredible (and very large) works of art could at least make the imagination run enough to be swept away from the stress for a time. So…ask yourself this question: If you could witness the most beautiful, incredible buildings ever created on this planet, where, exactly, would you go?

Well, let us begin in a world where beauty and politics actually came together. It is a fact that on the steps of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, many politicians met on a daily basis to debate, fight and make the citizens want to pull their hair out. But for us, in 2017, this building is truly the highest standard of beauty. The slight curve of those Corinthian columns, sitting atop that hill, is a stunning sight to behold and literally remains the base of perfect architecture.

Traveling on to Spain, the Museo Guggenheim is one of a kind. Set in the northern city of Bilbao, the interconnecting blocks and sheets of titanium make this a classic and thrilling industrial design. Go inside and you’ll even get a glance at some of the most amazing works of art on the planet.

 

Moving away from industrialism, yet staying in the beauty that Spain has to offer, you can head to a church that rises above the rest. Sagrada Familia was born in the brilliant mind of one of the most unconventional designers in all of history: Antoni Gaudí. Construction commenced in 1882 and, oddly enough, is not scheduled to be completed until 2026 when the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death is celebrated. It was this particular artist’s vision that was so intricate that by the time this huge Roman Catholic Church is finished it will sport three facades and eighteen towers, with the highest set to represent Jesus Christ. However, no matter what building stage this church is in, the beauty and grandeur that can be witnessed is overpowering.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Bibliotheca Alexandrina Photo credit: Nikola Smolenski

As everyone knows, Egypt has a wealth of architecture and sites that boggle the mind. However, the ancient pyramids are not, in many peoples’ eyes, the best of the best when it comes to stunning architecture. It is
actually a “new” building that pays homage to an ancient building that people wish with all their hearts still existed – especially in regards to what treasures it once held. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a combination library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean in the city of Alexandria. It has been described as looking like a giant discus that alit on the ground at an angle, and is arguably the first stunning creation of the new millennium, being completed in 2002. With a vast rotunda that could hold eight million books, Cleopatra and the incredible Hypatia of Alexandria (if you want a good story, read up on her), would be more than proud.

 

Another piece of architecture that comes with an incredible backstory that includes everything from a mad monk to a mysterious room that was never found yet held treasures that would be truly priceless today, is the Winter Palace in Russia. Known as the core of the State Hermitage Museum, this literal palace on the banks of the Neva River in St. Petersburg came from the brilliant mind of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The Russian tsars loved this odd pistachio-colored structure and used it as their winter residence. Filling an entire block, call up some pictures and let your imagination run wild with this one. So many stories, mysteries and historical secrets; if only those walls could talk…

 

If extra time is left over for this stress-free escape to the various corners of the earth, add in a stop to Syria and stand before a true medieval castle that’s 800 years old. Crac des Chevaliers stands proud and tall, looking like it weathered time even better than Elizabeth Taylor did. A mini-town can be found as you cross over the moat dug out of the rock and enter the thick outer walls. A chapel, a Great Hall – all Gothic things survive and thrive, making it look as if the Crusaders only moved out yesterday.

 

There are many other great architectural landmarks to be seen and coveted. So take the time for an “Imagination Vacation” in order to take a deep breath before going back to the always fun world of “reality.”

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