Palau Güell is an early Gaudí masterpiece, designed for his longtime benefactor, Eusebi Güell. The mansion, one of Gaudí's first big projects, was recently restored and re-opened to the public. The centerpiece of the building is the amazing ceiling/skylight and a rooftop full of chimnies. Palau Güell is worth the visit if only to see some of Gaudí's early genius, especially his interest in turning something functional (a chimney!) into a magical work of art.
Though less popular than Gaudí's more famous Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, and Casa Mila, prepare to wait in line. When I visited, tickets were sold for entrance every fifteen minutes, seemingly based on capacity. Buy your ticket at the window before joining the queue. Audioguides are included in the price so don't forget to pick one up on your way in.
Sometimes, beauty lies above our head. Here are a few highlights of some stunning ceilings that are worth looking up to admire! Warning. There is a highlight of a chandelier made of human bones which may be a bit disturbing to some but in its own macabre way, it is uniquely beautiful.
"Korea--it gets under your skin," she said, with her Scando-Slavic English.
My wife and I had struck up a conversation with the only other person resting in the pavilion's shade on this summer afternoon in Seoul, in the garden of the new National Museum. She was--is--a Finnish expat, who came with her Polish husband when he got a job in the South Korean capital several years ago.
After walking all morning through galleries ranging from Neolithic to Neo-confucian, it felt so good to rest our feet.
And so we sat by the pond reflecting the world's sixth-largest museum. The pavilion has an octagonal roof covered in green celadon tiles. Looking up at the symmetrical ceiling is almost hypnotic.
The last time I'd been to Seoul was nearly twenty years ago; expats, aside from diplomats and U.S. military, were rare then. Not any more. The city is full of French bakeries. Indonesians in...
Esthetically speaking, there are not many architectural wonders in the world that could compare to the Alhambra. Every inch of the Nasrid Palace there are examples of intricate, nature-inspired arabesques; painstakingly exact stone, wood and marble craftsmanship; delicate geometric gridding; and beautifully adorned alabaster stalactites. This image is an example of the intricacies that make the Alhambra so remarkable. These arches hover above one of the numerous entryways leading into the famed Patio de los Leones. There is seemingly no end to the details that cover every wall, ceiling, door and window of this celebrated place. The palace is a labyrinth of grand rooms and courtyards, fountains, waterways and pristine, koi-filled reflecting pools. This trip I had more time to let my eyes wander in reverence over the delicate artistry above. What makes this place so impressive is how...
As you enter the Spanish Synagogue sanctuary, in Josefov, Prague, it’s nearly impossible not to let your eyes plant themselves on the immaculately carved and painted dome ceiling for a good few minutes. Take several moments. Soak it in. Built in 1868 on the grounds of Prague’s oldest Jewish house of worship, you can’t help but feel the history within these sacred walls. Thanks to a late 1990’s restoration, the original splendor complete with stunning stained glass windows are now on view after being closed for 20 years. Be sure to visit the exhibit on the second floor prayer hall. The display places this, along with the other Prague synagogues and cemetery within Moravian and Bohemian Jewish history.
After walking carefully around the room looking at all the portraits that frame the windows, I sat still for quite awhile studying the ceiling above. I kept thinking that if I were a student and had to sit through lectures in this hall, I would never learn a thing, as I would be too distracted staring at the intricately painted ceiling and walls. Founded in 1702, a number of history’s luminaries have walked its halls. The University of Wroclaw was a real treat on our itinerary, with this beautiful room, a museum, and the “mathematician’s tower” with excellent bird’s eye views of the city.
If you have a day to kill in Prague, I strongly suggest taking the hour train ride out to the medieval town of Kutna Hora. Amid the wonders of this charming village, you'll discover one of the most ghastly, morbid and, at the same time, spectacular displays of artistic ingenuity to be found anywhere. The Sedlec Ossuary is the location of a grand assembly of human bones from hundreds of years of human burial arranged and configured into large neat mounds, a giant chandelier, a coat of arms and several wall and ceiling adornments. The unique works of art were created by a wood carver named Frantisek Rint in the 1,800's. He was asked to place the bones uncovered by the construction of the church basement into orderly piles, but made art of them instead. The Ossuary is a real oddity and needs to be seen to be believed. Kutna Hora is home to many other attractions, such as an awesome...
The mosques, palaces and tombs in Istanbul are so stunningly beautiful. This ceiling was in one of the sultan's tombs next to the Aya Sofya in Istanbul. The detail of the pattern and the vibrant colors make these works of art. It was interesting to me that the entire family of the sultan was buried here, in such a lovely place. If you go to Istanbul, and I would put it on your list as I would all of Turkey, be sure to not only see the Aya Sofya, but also the tombs of the sultans which is right next to the Aya Sofya. Definitely worth it.
Topkapi Palace was where the Sultans lived for most of their 600 year rule over the Ottoman Empire. The Harem of the palace was home to the Sultan's mother, his concubines, wives, children, and servants. This architecture and detailed ceilings are among the most beautiful I've seen. You'll spend your visit looking up.
If you go, don't miss the exquisite collection of jewels in the Treasury.
If you happen to be meandering through Budapest, and have the urge to do a little sightseeing, St. Stephen's Basilica is definitely a sight to see. The structure is named in honor of Stephen, the first king of Hungary. Apparently, his right hand is also housed here, but fortunately I did not come across it during my explorations. What I did come across, and what will greet you upon entering, is a dazzling array of multicolored marble columns that soar to the heavens. What is not carved in relief on the walls is gilded in gold on the ceilings. The intricacy of the floor and the meticulous attention to detail will almost make you forget to look up. Ah, but when you do, what a sight to behold! The dome of St. Stephen's is probably one of the more awe-inspiring views in Budapest. Natural light spills in from the etched windows to illuminate the works of art that seem to float above you,...
One of my favorite things to visit in Barcelona is the world-famous Sagrada Familia. Among many other things I love about it is how the ceiling looks like a beautiful kaleidoscope - you adjust your viewpoint even a bit and the whole scene changes. A true architectural and cultural masterpiece that's not something to be missed on any trip to Barcelona.
of the Bethesda Terrace brought me back a few times on the same trip.
When planning a May trip to Italy with my husband, magical Venice was one of the cities I knew I wanted to visit. I was really looking forward to seeing all the things typically associated with Venice: gondolas, the Grand Canal, St. Mark's Square, etc. But what I hadn't expected was all the beauty I would find in the city's most hidden, unexpected places.
Even St. Mark's Basilica, at the heart of its eponymous square, has under-appreciated, extraordinary details. While most focus on the façade, don't forget to look up—the ceilings and porticoes are adorned with some of the most striking artwork in Venice, in the form of frescoes and mosaics.
My suggestion when visiting Venice is to disregard any pre-planned agenda you might have, and to just wander from one end of the city to the other, making sure to look in every nook and around every corner, because you never know where you'll find...
Whilst a lot of people would go see the Sistine Chapel when visiting Rome, fewer travelers venture out to this grand church at the Piazza di San Ignacio near the Pantheon, which features an almost equally beautiful painted ceiling done by Andrea Pozzo, a Jesuit Brother. Here, you'd admire the grand dome not knowing that it is just a painting that makes it look like a real 3-dimensional one (shown in the middle of the photo above). Simply amazing!
I grew up being exposed to the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola and to unexpectedly drop in on this particular church celebrating the life of St. Ignatius through the paintings on the frescoes, makes it even more special and meaningful. We were also able to catch a children's choir practicing in one of the side chapels, filling the church with enchanting Christmas melodies.
If you're in Rome, do drop by this church. Although not as widely...
The Pfister Hotel was built in 1893 and this ceiling is right above the lobby.
Renovated in 2008, This hotel is my first lodging suggestion for anyone that wants a hotel that has no chain feel.
The lobby bar is a logical meeting place, and across the street is the Milwaukee Club.
You don't need to understand French to understand the show, and these days most of the performances at the Opera Garnier are dance.
Everything from the contemporary Jerome Robbins to the classic Nureyev, the sublime Pina Bausch to the spectacular Balanchine
There is still some opera, this year they've announced what promises to be a stunning presentation of Carmen and surprising Hansel and Gretel by Engerbert Humperdink (who knew he wrote opera?).
There are also a few classical music performances each season.
Whatever is happening on stage, the room is gorgeous and you're sure to be enthralled with the master piece on the ceiling painted by Marc Chagall.