Sunday, July 27, 2008

Visiting Istanbul, Turkey - The Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

I visited Ayasofya in 1994 and to this day, I will always remember the magnificent views within the ancient church/mosque/museum that held me in awe, wall after wall. To know more about this historic and truly unique structure, read some background on the Hagia Sophia here.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Visiting Ankara, the Capital of Turkey

Many would be familiar with Istanbul or Constantinople, Turkey's largest and also most famous ancient city. Ankara comes second in terms of size and population.
I visited Ankara in 1994 and remembered the city being located on top of a rocky hill, which allowed you to have quite a scenic view of the rest of the city and the Enguri Su river.
I also remember the scorching, hot daytime weather during summertime while I was there - average daytime temperature was 45 degrees Celcius - and yes, it was a memorable visit indeed.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Turkey - Visiting Pamukkale, Denizli

If you think this image was taken from some Hollywood sci-fi flick, then you're absolutely wrong. This place actually exists, in Turkey. To be exact, you can visit these extravagantly unique "salt bowls" at Pamukkale (or ancient Hierapolis) in Denizli, Turkey.

Apparently, thermal spring waters laden with calcareous salts running off the plateau's edge have created this fantastic formation of stalactites, cataracts and basins. These hot springs have been used since Roman times for their therapeutic powers.

I was at this very spot back in 1994, during one of those English summer holidays I had while studying abroad. An amazing place to visit in Turkey.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The 3 Largest Shopping Malls in the World

Shopping malls - something city dwellers can't live without. It's like a watering hole for buffaloes and hippos; it attracts all kinds of animals who either need the cooling rejuvenation of water or just simply to be part of the herd. You know how it is - you just need to be in one whether you really need to be or not.

I found out that the world's top three largest malls, based on gross leasable area according to Forbes Magazine, are:
1. South China Mall, Dongguan, China - opened 2005
2. Golden Resources Mall, Beijing, China - opened 2004
3. SM Mall of Asia, Manila Bay, Philippines - opened 2006

South China Mall covers 600,000 square meters of total floor area, which allows a leasable space for over 1,500 stores. Unfortunately the mall suffers from lack of retailers, believed to be due to its locality which is in the suburbs and only accessible by car, and is due for closure in July 2008.

Golden Resources Shopping Mall has about 680,000 square meters of area but allows for less retailers at 1,000 outlets only. It also faces the problem of being "under-shopped", again believed to be due to locality as well as high pricing, which does not cater for your average Chinese.

SM Mall of Asia has a total floor area of 386,224 square meters and is built on 19.5 hectares of reclaimed land. It consists of four building interconnected by walkways.

I'm not much of a mall visitor myself but I find it very interesting to see humans congregate at these places which they believed to be their source of everything and anything, come weekends or hoildays especially. Maybe it's an Asian thing. But then again, you also have the Mall of America.