Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, California, USA

Griffith Observatory is in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, California, sitting on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood. It opened in 1935 with a free admission, according with Griffith’s will because he wanted to make astronomy accessible to the public and it included a planetarium under the large central dome. During World War II the planetarium was used to train pilots in celestial navigation and it was again used for this purpose in the 1960s to train Apollo program astronauts for the first lunar missions. They renovated it in 2002 and it was closes for 4 years. They built an underground expansion too with a café, a gift shop and a theater. One wall inside the building is covered with the largest astronomically accurate image ever constructed “The Big Picture” 150 feet (46 m) by 20 feet (6.1 m) depicting the Virgo Cluster of galaxies; visitors can explore the highly detailed image from within arm’s reach or through telescopes 60 feet (18 m) away. The observatory has six sections: The Wilder Hall of the Eye, the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky, the W.M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda, the Cosmic Connection, the Gunther Depths of Space Hall, and the Edge of Space Mezzanine and you can see different exhibitions in each part.

Tips

The observatory is closed on Mondays. The entrance is free but you must pay the shows in the planetarium.
There’s a small free parking next to the Observatory, but you can also leave your car along the steep road leading up to the observatory.
You also have a public bus leaving from the Vermont-Sunset Metro station at weekends.
It’s a very good spot to make photos of the Pacific Ocean, the Hollywood Sign and Downtown Los Angeles.

Forlì, Forlì-Cesena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Forlì is the chief town of the province of Forlì-Cesena in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. It is rich of an important architectural heritage cause it has, among other buildings, some medieval ones. It also has many remains of old civilizations of great historical interest. The heart of social and economic life is Aurelio Saffi Suqare (main square of the city). It has 128 m long and 87 m wide and we can see in the middlethe the statue of Aurelio Saffi, (Italian politician), character symbol of the city, to which the square is dedicated. The most important buildings of the city give on this site: the Post Palace, the Town Hall from the year 1000, the clock tower which was destroyed during the second world war and rebuilt in 1975, Albertini Palace (15th century) and the Abbey of Saint Mercuriale with his bell tower. The San Domenico Museum contains an art gallery where we find the portrait of Caterina Sforza by Lorenzo di Credi, the resemblance to the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci was emphasized. Under Mussolini, Forlì became an urban centre and there was a restoration work that changed the downtown. The monument to the unknown soldier and the statue of Icarus are witnesses of this fascist architecture.

Tips

If you arrive by plane, the airport is 5 km from the city centre. There is no train service connecting the airport to the center so you can take the bus, a taxi or just rent a car at the airport if you want to explore the region.
Forlì has very dry and hot summers while its winters are hard and wet. This is why spring is the ideal time to explore the city. The temperatures are not too high and the rain is quite rare.
Aurelio Saffi Square is the most important place of the city and you will find many bars, restaurants and shops that will fill all your needs.
If you are thinking about spending your vacations in Forlì, you have very interesting cities to discover nearby such as Bologna, Modena, Ravenna, Cesena, Ferrara, and if you want to enjoy the Adriatic Sea, you can extend your stay from a few days to go to the sea either Rimini or Pesaro, it’s really worth it. You can also visit San Marino.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

The Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Camii is a historic mosque of Istanbul, known as the Blue Mosque because of ceramic adorning the walls of its interior. It was built between 1609 and 1616, during the reign of Sultan Ahmet 1 who decide to build it to appease God after the unfavorable outcome of the war with Persia. It has the tomb of the founder, a school and a hospice. It is the starting point for caravans of Muslim pilgrims to Mecca, it has six minarets. Its dome 23.5 meters in diameter is supported by four massive pillars and buttressed by four semi-domes; 260 windows flood the light building. The interior is decorated with 21,043 tiles from Iznik in a dominant blue. The prayer hall is topped by an ascending system of domes and semi-domes, each supported by three porticos, culminating with the large central dome which has 43m high at its central point. The decorations include verses from the Koran. The floors are carpeted, with carpets given by the faithful and are regularly replaced when worn. The most important element in the interior is the mihrab made of marble. The yard is about as large as the mosque itself and is surrounded by a continuous, rather monotonous vaulted arcades. The central hexagonal fountain is rather small in contrast to the dimensions of the court. The monumental door, but wide, to the courtyard is characterized by the architecture of the arcade. Until recently the muezzin calling to prayer or had to climb a narrow spiral staircase five times a day to announce the call to prayer. Today a public sound system is used, and the call can be heard through the old part of the city, echoed by other mosques nearby.

Tips

The Sultanahmet Mosque has become one of the most popular tourist attractions of Istanbul. Large crowds of Turks and tourists gather at sunset in the park in front of the mosque to hear the call to evening prayer at sunset and the mosque is brilliantly illuminated by colored spotlights.
The large backyard has sanitary facilities on both sides.