Posts tagged ‘Building’

Florence’s Duomo

Along with Rome’s Colosseum and Pisa’s Leaning Tower, the Duomo in Florence is one of Italy’s “big three” tourist attractions……..and with good reason.

Also know as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (“Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower”) construction started in 1296 and the main building took 150 years to complete. Giotto’s bell tower (the campanile) was built between 1334 and 1359; the famous dome (widely regarded as one of the finest masterpieces of the Renaissance) was added between 1420 and 1436 and the neo-gothic facade was re-designed in the late 19th Century.

From the outside it is truly breathtaking, not just because of its monumental size, but also because of it’s aesthetically pleasing form – most notably the stunning octagonal red brick dome (the largest masonry dome in the world) the elegant 85m high campanile and the fabulous pink, white and green marble decoration.

Next up, shots from the top of the campanile……

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

Baby Taj

Agra’s third main tourist attraction after the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort is the tomb of I’timad-ud-Daulah, more commonly know as the “Baby Taj”. The first Mughal building to be faced with white marble inlaid with contrasting semi-precious stones – it set the architectural precedent for the Taj Mahal built a couple of decades later.

The “Baby Taj” is a perfectly proportioned gem of a building, highly decorated with complex geometric patterns set in serene gardens on the banks of the Yamuna River:

© Mark Simms Photography (2014)

Agra Fort

Although the Taj Mahal is the main reason why so many tourists visit Agra, the city does have a couple of other attractions worth passing an hour or so. The first of these is the Agra Fort, also known as the Red Fort – not to be confused with Delhi’s Mughal palace of the same name.

In fact Agra’s Red Fort, built by Akbar the third (Mughal Emperor from 1556 to his death in 1605) is earlier than Shah Jahan’s Delhi fortress, for which it served as a model.

© Mark Simms Photography (2014)

Taj Mahal: Mehtab Bagh

Across the Yamuna River lies the Mehtab Bagh (or Moon Garden). From here you get an excellent view of the Taj Mahal from a totally different angle:

The Moon Garden is supposed to have been the location for the “mythical” black Taj – had it ever been built. Excavations have apparently uncovered footings/foundations, but the latest thinking is that these were for a large pool in which the Taj would have been reflected in the moonlight.

© Mark Simms Photography (2014)

Taj Mahal: Other Buildings

The Taj Mahal complex is bounded on three sides by crenellated red sandstone walls, with the fourth side, facing the Yamuna river, left open. These walls are cornered by ornate watch-towers and accessed through the huge great gate.

Within these walls lie the 300m square charbagh or Mughal garden and, on either side of the main tomb, the mosque and the jawab (a building almost identical to the mosque that exists almost exclusively to provide architectural balance and symmetry – although it may also have been used as a guesthouse).

© Mark Simms Photography (2014)

%d bloggers like this: