Archive for ancient

‘Captain of Destiny’, the best TVB series of the year so far.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2015 by vincentloy

‘Captain of Destiny’ (張保仔, literally as Cheung Po Tsai) is a 2015 Hong Kong historical fiction sci-fi television drama of 32 episodes by TVB. The drama is a retelling of the story of 19th century Chinese pirate Cheung Po Tsai and his conflict with the Qing imperial army, meanwhile encountering a time-travelling police constable from the 21st century. The drama starred Ruco Chan, Tony Hung, Grace Chan, Ram Cheung, Elaine Yiu, Maggie Shiu, Joel Chan, Mandy Wong, Susan Tse, Lau Kong, etc. It is a grand production and is one of the four anniversary series of 2015 to mark 48th anniversary of TVB.

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This series which concluded just now with its final episode also won the Most Favourite TVB Drama at the Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2015 yesterday. Despite receiving average points in viewership rating at Hong Kong, the drama is being very well received and I’m one of them who have more praise to this series compared to all the other dramas released this year. It is just so good and always kept me intensely catching up to latest episode of the series every night. In the first few episodes, I came to watch the series with less expectation but then I’m surprised by the great quality of storyline and characters the series present to TV audiences as the drama develops. I still enjoyed the time-travel concept eventhough TVB had used this idea many times before in the past.

First, we were shown in the present setting of Hong Kong when a female police constable (Grace Chan) accidentally traveled back in time to Qing dynasty from a waterspout when she is on a mission to catch a criminal named Bandit King (Ruco Chan). Once back to 200 years earlier, she met the famous pirate Cheung Po Tsai (Tony Hung) and his gang. Here the story goes between the pirates’ life and the life in the palace emphasizing the 11th prince (Ruco Chan again) who is a hardworking prince in mission to eliminate pirates. Many events followed between these main characters and the story development went very well in a good pacing mixed with light fun moments as well as serious and intense situations.

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Ruco Chan delivered yet another impressive performance as the 11th prince. His character here is very diverse, requiring him to deliver multitude of varying emotions and he nailed it. He conquered all the scenes he is in with powerful strength and expressions. Eventhough he is not in the titular role, but he shines over the rest in this drama. No wonder he won Most Favourite TVB Actor in Singapore last night too for his performance here. Very well deserved and I do hope his winning continues to TVB Star Awards Malaysia next month as well as the Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards in December. It’s time for him to be rewarded. Tony Hung portrayed the titular role and I’m fine with it. However, I find it weird that his character is not being given much attention throughout the series eventhough his name makes the series’ title. That has to be case when you have another lead role, the 11th prince of which I have said earlier that stood out better than the rest including this titular character of Cheung Po Tsai.

Grace Chan is a newbie artist and she should not be promoted too quickly by the TVB station by taking up this first female lead role here. The outcome is you get a performance that is poor and heavily criticized by many people. It’s not her fault mostly but I do cannot stand the overly exaggerated expressions and voice she shown in this drama. On the other hand, I also cannot stand anymore on the cute acts by the 11th prince’s lady servant, portrayed by Kelly Fu. However, her acting is far more natural than Grace. It is the veteran actors and actresses that back the series a lot too. Villains like Lee Shin Cheung (as admiral), Elaine Yiu (as concubine), and Lau Kong (as emperor) and others like Susan Tse (as concubine), Elliot Ngok (as imperial eunuch), Maggie Shiu (head pirate’s wife), and Ram Cheung (pirate’s strategist) did very well. Joel Chan and Mandy Wong also contributed very convincing performances in their respective supporting role too.

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Besides that, I’m also surprised by the effort put on the visual effects of this series. The visual effects especially during the war between the imperial army and the pirates are exceptionally good if measured by TVB standard. I’m stunned and amazed by that battle scene. It looks very cool, technically brilliant, intense and exciting. However, I am actually hoping for like two or more of those battle scene to further expand the storyline on the strained relationship between the pirates and the government. So actually, I don’t mind the series to be 40 episodes long.  The effort put on production design, costume and make-up design, and editing should also be complimented for this drama. The drama’s opening theme song by Fred Cheng, closing theme song by Ruco Chan and episode’s plug song by Linda Chung are all very nice to listen to and suits well to this drama’s heart.

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As for its ending just now, I’m very happy of how this series came to such a thought-provoking conclusion. It is an ending made with a lot of thoughts (and a nice twist) and I like that. I’m tired of typical non-moving yet happy ending made to most of TVB series in recent years. I’m also surprised to see Raymond Wong making a cameo appearance in the end as a pirate. Why him? It’s because he is originally cast to portray Cheung Po Tsai and not Tony Hung. So letting him to appear in the very last minute of the series’ ending would be quite interesting. In general, this drama is definitely the best TVB series of the year so far and if the next series ‘Lord of Shanghai’ isn’t as good as it is expected, then I see no problem for ‘Captain of Destiny’ to take home Most Favourite TVB Drama in both TVB Star Awards Malaysia and also in Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards. It is really very good and delivered beyond my expectation. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Captain of Destiny’ a total of 8.2. That’s the highest rating for a series I have given this year. Even Grace Chan’s bad acting here couldn’t pull the series down to below 8 points from me.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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Just finished my first TVB series of the year, ‘Noblesse Oblige’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2015 by vincentloy

‘Noblesse Oblige’ ( 宦海奇官 ) is a Hong Kong drama sets during Qing dynasty that starred Kenneth Ma as To Chan Fung, a lazy but good-hearted county magistrate who is given the task to clear the government from corrupted officials. Tavia Yeung starred as Kenneth’s sidekick, Wai Lam whom is a Buddhist nun. The 21-episodes long drama also starred Joel Chan, Ram Chiang, Susan Tse, Lau Dan, Benjamin Yuen, Cilia Lok, Yoyo Chen, Lee Shing Cheung, etc.

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This is the first TVB drama of the year that I watched, and the series ended just now with its two finale episodes on Saturday’s evening. I enjoyed this series because while it is a light-hearted production, the plot also includes in some serious matters (mostly on politics and corruptions) to create some exciting dramas. At one point, you get to be entertained by quite a number of good laughs from the series, while as the scene switches, you get to see real ‘business’ going on.

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At the very beginning, the series reminded me of ‘Rosy Business’, a very critically-acclaimed drama back in 2009. That series, along with ‘Noblesse Oblige’ were also produced by Lee Tim Sheng. He usually stood out on delivering some very good quality series to save TVB. Of course, ‘Noblesse Oblige’ is not as serious or as intensely good like ‘Rosy Business’. This time, Lee puts a bit more emphasis on comedy to this series (for something different) and it still worked, eventhough ‘Rosy Business’ is still better. As the series progresses, ‘Noblesse Oblige’ gets back to ‘typical’ low-drama moments that many present TVB series are experiencing. That’s a bit of disappointment there. Luckily, this series is short and won’t waste much of our time on further pointless story development.

Kenneth Ma is mostly exaggerated on his acting in this series. I think it is needed for his type of role here to push things slightly beyond boundary a bit for better result. However, his acting doesn’t really improves. Same goes to Tavia Yeung. She is mostly shy, quiet and easily ignored in the series despite she is the first female lead. Even her fellow mate, Wai Yu (portrayed by Cilia Lok) had far more interesting and catchy role here. Tavia’s character is only needed to protect and love Kenneth. Her past story, revealed only in the last two or three episodes of the series appeared to be ‘forced’ into the drama and is unappealing. Ram Chiang is good as supporting role here (he is always good in this kind of role).

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Fortunately, the drama’s ending is not bad. It’s a happy conclusion to Kenneth and Tavia (always like to see them as an on-screen pair. They are very compatible) and to his family and friends too. The main villain (Lee Shing Cheung) died, but I actually preferred him to be put to justice by the emperor himself rather than being killed by revenge. This implies to us that taking revenge like this is reasonable. That’s not the way it is supposed to be. The killing scene is also quite similar to that of ‘Overachievers’ drama last month in its finale episode too. Before I forgot, Lee Shing Cheung did absolutely brilliant as the villain here. Very good veteran actor. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Noblesse Oblige’ a total of 7.4. Better than many typical TVB dramas nowadays, but still not that good to the point that I can remember this for long.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Best Cities in Ancient and Traditional Architecture

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2011 by vincentloy

This is pretty much similar with the previous post entitled ‘Best Cities in Modern and Contemporary Architecture’ but of course my approach now is on ancient and traditional architecture for this post. This is a whole new fresh idea of having a list of top cities around the world with best ancient and traditional architecture, and this list is the first of its kind.

These cities listed would definitely have their long period of existence and fame and is rich on culture, background and history respectively. Before you even scrolled down to check on the list, you might have already thought of some cities which will be on the list revealed afterwards. First of all, these are the seven cities with best ancient and traditional architecture, fully chosen by me after several research, observation and consideration.

1. Beijing, China

2. Rome, Italy

3. Athens, Greece

4. Cairo, Egypt

5. Istanbul, Turkey

6. Siem Reap, Cambodia

7. Central Java, Indonesia

Hmm….I think I would add three more cities as usual for honorary mentions and to make up for a best 10 list.

8. Agra, India

9. London, England

10. Edinburgh, Scotland

Some of you might not agree to some of the cities listed here, or you may have some recommendation of other cities that you feel more deserving, feel free to comment. Actually, there are some other minor cities with great history and traditional architecture like Venice in Italy, Prague in Czech Republic, Barcelona in Spain, Paris in France, etc. All these Western cities do have similar outlook and hence it is impossible to insert them all into the list. I am trying to find cities with appealing and breakthrough historical landmarks and architecture.

Seven Wonders of Ancient World

Posted in Architectural Territory, Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , on January 24, 2011 by vincentloy

The list of Seven Wonders of Ancient World is actually compiled by some Hellenic tourists particularly in the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. The conquest of much of the known world in the 4th century BC gave Hellenistic travelers access to the civilizations of the Egyptians, Persians and Babylonians. These visitors began to list what they saw and compile a list of wonders, total in 7.

Out of the seven wonders of ancient world, 5 are from ancient Greece, which shows the success of Greece in art and architecture. The travelers did not travel further to ancient Chinese civilization and hence no Chinese structures is identified. Here comes the list which is also the 8th publication of seven wonders in my blog:

1. Great Pyramid of Giza


It is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis, Egypt with initial height of 146.5 m. It is constructed over 14 to 20 years period concluding around 2560 BC as the tallest man-made structure on Earth for over 3800 years. It is the oldest of the seven wonders of ancient world and the only one to remain largely intact.

2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon


It was built in the ancient city-state of Babylon (currently Iraq) around 600 BC by King Nebuchadnezzar 2 for his homesick wife. The gardens is destroyed by several earthquakes. It is quadrangular in shape, terraces-like consisting of arched vaults on checkered, cube-like foundations allowed for plantations. It is 30m long and 30 m wide and appears like a theatre.

3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus


It was a temple built in 550 BC dedicated to Greek Goddess, Artemis at Ephesus (currently Turkey). The whole temple was made of marble except for the roof. It is a 120-years project to build this temple, by architects Chersiphron and his son, Metagenes. The original temple was around 300 feet by 150 feet and about 50 feet high. The temple is rebuilt in 323 BC with larger scale with more than 127 columns.

4. Statue of Zeus at Olympia


The statue was made by Greek sculptor, Phidias around 432 BC at a workshop, then erected in the Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece. It is around 12 m tall and occupied half of the width of the aisle of the temple. It is a chryselephantine sculpture made of ivory and gold-plated bronze.

5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus


Known as Tomb of Mausolus, it is a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus (currently Turkey) for Mausolus, designed by Greek architects, Satyros and Pythis. It stood approximately 45 m high and each of the four sides was adorned with sculptural reliefs created by four Greek sculptors; Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas of Paros and Timotheus.

6. Colossus of Rhodes


It was a statue of the Greek God Helios erected in city of Rhodes on Greek Island between 292 and 280 BC to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over ruler of Cyprus. It stood over 30 m high, making it one of the tallest statues in the ancient world. It is built with iron tie bars with brass plates fixed to it to form the skin.

7. Lighthouse of Alexandria


It was a tower built between 280 and 247 BC on the island of Pharos at Alexandria, Egypt to guide sailors into the harbor at night. With estimated height of around 140m, it was among the tallest man made structures on Earth for many centuries. It could be seen from up to 47 km away.

There it is…curious on why some ancient structures from China are not in this list? It is because that the travelers have not been that far to China. Hence, all these structures are just at Western and Middle Region of the world.

(The pictures do not belong to me and the information obtained is from researches throughout the internet)

Seven Wonders of Ancient Egypt

Posted in Architectural Territory, Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2011 by vincentloy

Egypt is one of the earliest civilizations on Earth with over 3000 years of ancient civilization and over 2000 years of modern Egypt which is what we can see today. The civilization concentrated on the lower reaches of Nile River, which is the life force for the empire. Over 3000 years ago, the Egyptians had created ample of finest monuments the world has ever seen and till now, many hidden mysteries still laid beneath the desert of Egypt.

However, for now, the seven wonders of ancient Egypt will be uncovered to see on how astonishing these wonders of Egypt can be, which still fascinate people up until current days. I have watched before the documentary programme of the same title from Discovery Channel probably a year or two back, but I have forgotten much of it. I think it’s time to browse internet to look it up again, and share with you all. Here comes the list:

1. The Valley of the Kings

It is a valley of tombs constructed for pharaohs and powerful nobles of New Kingdom of ancient Egypt for a period of nearly 500 years from 16th to 11th century BC. The valley is known to have more than 63 tombs and chambers including the tomb for Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great which are decorated with scenes of Egyptian mythology. It is the most magnificent burial ground in the world with many precious treasures buried along the valley with the pharaohs and nobles.

2. Temple of Queen Hatshepsut


It is situated beneath the cliffs at Deir el Bahari near the Valley of the Kings. Designed by the architect Senemut, this mortuary temple is dedicated to the Sun God, Amon-Ra. It employs a lengthy, colonnaded terrace tht deviates from the earlier centralized Mentuhotep temple. There are three-layered terraces measuring up to 97 feet tall. It is constructed in 1480 BC, over 3400 years ago.

3. Karnak Temple Complex


It comprises a vast mix of ruined temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings; notably the Temple of Amun with the Sacred Lake as part of the magnificent site. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes and is the main place of worship of the 18th Dynasty, Theban Triad with God Amun as its head. It is the largest ancient religious site in the world, built in over 3300 years ago. The most interesting feature of the site is the Great Hypostyle Hall in the Precint of Amun-Re, covering an area of 5000 metres square with 134 massive columns.

4. Temple of Ramesses 2, Abu Simbel


It comprises two massive rock temples in southern Egypt which were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses 2 in 13th century BC to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. The great temple is relocated due to creation of Lake Nesser, artificial water reservoir. Four colossal statues of the pharaoh were erected as the front facade of the temple.

5. Mount Sinai


According to Jewish and Christian traditions, this is the mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments, hence is one of the most spiritual places on Earth. St. Catherine’s Monastery is built on the mount as the oldest monastery on Earth to mark the sacred event. It has been the center of pilgrimages for over 15 centuries and one of the finest example of Byzantine architecture.

6. Great Sphinx of Giza


It is a statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (mythical creature with lion’s head and human’s body) that stands on the Giza Plateau. It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 m long, 6 m wide and 20.22 m high. It is oldest known monumental sculpture, believed to have been built in the Old Kingdom around 4500 years ago in the reign of Pharaoh Khafra.

7. The Great Pyramid of Giza


Also known as Pyramid of Khufu, it is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. It is believed to be built as a tomb for 4th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu and constructed over 14 to 20 years period concluding around 2560 BC. Initially 146.5 m tall, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3800 years, the longest period of time ever held for such a record. Due to erosion, the present height is 138.8 m.

That’s it. These structures mentioned above are the seven wonders of ancient Egypt. Mainly, all of these are of tombs or temples, except for one, which is a natural landmark,  a spiritual mountain. Many things are of light brown or dark yellow in Egypt, since it is a place of sand, the miracle desert where one of the earliest civilizations was born with life source from the historical Nile River. Many of the ruins of these structures still stand today, well-preserved as the main tourist destinations as well as iconic landmarks of Egypt.

This picture above is beautiful, astonishing and perfect to describe Egypt in one shot. It is also nice to have this picture to end this post.

(The pictures above do not belong to me and the information is obtained and paraphrased after some researches throughout the internet)

Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece

Posted in Architectural Territory, Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2011 by vincentloy

Here, there must be Greece if Rome had already been mentioned. Both are among the greatest Western civilization of the past. Furthermore, it is the Greece civilization that came first (from 8th centuries BC to 146 BC), which resulted in Greek culture influencing Roman empire, which then spread in modified version to many parts of Europe, considered to be the seminal culture which provides the foundation of strong Western civilization.

Too bad I did not watch the documentary programme of the same title from Discovery Channel. I’m anticipating to watch it soon.

So, what are the seven wonders of ancient Greece that amaze people with its record-breaking aspects from architecture, art to engineering? There are many ancient Greek structures that were built in huge scale and in more grandeur condition, but only the top seven were chosen to be the best of the best, as the wonder of the ancient Greece.

1. Theatre of Epidaurus

It is a huge theatre which can holds over 15 000 people, designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century BC. It is used for dramatic performances, ceremonial events, baths and palaestra (wrestling). The original 34 rows of setings were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. As is usual for Greek theatres (opposed to Roman theatres), the view on a lush landscape behind the stage is an integral part of the theatre. The theatre is marveled for its exceptional acoustic properties too.

2. Statue of Zeus at Olympia


The statue is made by Phidias at around 432 BC. It was erected in the Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece and it was one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World. The seated statue, which stands at height of around 12 m, was a chryselephantine sculpture made of ivory and gold-plated bronze. The statue occupied half of the width of the aisle of the temple and if the statue is made to be a standing figure, then it would unroof the temple.

3. Temple of Apollo at Delphi

The temple was erected on the remains of earlier temple in around 7th century BC and it was designed by architects; Trophonios and Agamedes. The temple was a Doric hexastyle structure of 6 by 15 columns. It is destroyed in 373 BC by earthquake and then rebuilt with similar proportion in 330 BC by Spintharos, Xenodoros, and Agathon around the stylobate (stepped platform).

4. Colossus of Rhodes

It was a statue of the Greek God, Helios erected in the city of Rhodes between 292 and 280 BC. It stands at a height of over 30 m, making it as one of the tallest ancient statues in the world. It is also one of the Seven Wonders of Ancient World. It was constructed to celebrate Rhodes’ victory over the ruler of Cyprus. The statue is believed to be built of iron tie bars with brass plates fixed to form the skin. It is destroyed by 226 BC Rhodes earthquake.

5. Settlement of Santorini

Santorini is a volcanic island located in the southern Aegean Sea. It is the site of Thera eruption, one of the greatest in history which occured some 3 600 years ago at the height of Minoan civilization. The eruption is also the source of the legend of Atlantis. There was once a town, called as Minoan Pompeii (Ancient Akrotiri) which was once destroyed in 1450 BC from the volcanic eruption. The impressive buildings of the town are the three-storeys houses, some even with balconies and extensively decorated with frescoes.

6. Palace of Knossos

The great palace was built between 1700 and 1400 BC with periodic rebuildings after destruction. It is the political and ceremonial centre of Minoan civilization and culture on Crete. The palace appeared s a maze of workrooms, living spaces and store rooms close to a central square. The palace sits on 6-acres of land and had over 1 300 rooms as well as a theatre. Part of the palace is built up to five-stories high.

7. Parthenon

As Colosseum is the icon of Rome, Parthenon is the icon of Greece even till today. It is among the most famous ancient structures on Earth. It is a temple in the Athenian Acropolis, dedicated to Greek Goddess Athena. Construction began in 447 BC and completed in 438 BC. It is the most important surviving building of classical Greece and is the culmination of development of Doric order. The temple had been used as a treasury, church and mosque before. The exceptional architectural features of the temple are the subtle correspondence between the curvature of stylobate, the taper of naos walls and the entasis (visual correction) of the columns.

The overall view of the Acropolis, with the landmark, Parthenon standing overwhelmingly above others. This picture best describes ancient Greece.

Out of all these amazing ancient structures, only some survived till these days while others have been totally out of sight due to destructions from natural disasters or from the people itself. Even the survived structures have some portions partially destroyed. Many restoration works are being made to preserve these priceless structures that holds the key of the ancient Greece. As a conclusion, these seven wonders show how such impressive displays of engineering and architecture were managed in a time when technology is still at its infancy.

(The pictures above do not belong to me and the information from this post is obtained and paraphrased from browsing internet)

The Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome

Posted in Architectural Territory, Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2011 by vincentloy

Seven Wonders…hmmm…I remembered I had wrote several posts on this topic…yes, a number of it…first of all, it’s on the Seven Wonders of the World, then the topic just gets narrower; Seven Wonders of Asia (one of the most favourite posts in my blog of all time), Seven Wonders of China, Seven Wonders of Malaysia (my country) and now here comes…

The Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome

There is this programme from Discovery Channel of the same title aired yesterday and I’m glad I had watched it. This is really getting into my interest as the field covered here is basically on politics (history), engineering and of course ARCHITECTURE! My favourite! The happiest thing is that I’m going to Italy next month and Rome is one of the cities in my itineraries, so I am am able to check out few of it with my own eyes.

Rome is the last great ancient civilization, and many historical figures in the profession of arts like artists and architects are from the civilization. Hence, there must be a lot of outstanding masterpieces of their incredible works; which includes forums, temples, theatres, etc….which some still stands today as an icon of great architecture.

1. Circus Maximus

It is a huge arena or circus, in which modern people like us would call it as a stadium. However, the scale of this stadium is extraordinary. It can accommodates twice the number of people of today’s world largest stadium; which is over 250 000 people at a time. It is 621m in length and 118m in width. It is a free admission for all people and it seems worthy to advertise the power of the Emperor of the time, Trajan. It is upgraded and enlarged in 100 AD out of stone, marble and concrete which is a newly-discovered construction material at the time. It is over 100 feet high with four banks of seatings and it holds performance from gladiator battles to chariot racing. The structure survived for 500 years and it is only the outline of the foundation that is still visible today.

2. Trajan’s Forum


It is the last imperial forum built in Rome civilization at 112 AD and it acts as a formal gathering place to all Romans. It is built to ensure the popularity of Trajan Emperor and to prove that he belongs to Rome since he is a non-Italian emperor. The architect behind this project is Apollodorus whom is a Greek and is Trajan’s chief architect. The forum basically consists of elevations of arcades and statues, with spaces like market, library and a huge public square in the middle. There is a column with carvings that depict Rome’s military success. The building is so grand that it is of marble flooring and bronze roofing. Besides it, there is the Trajan’s Market which is the world first shopping mall with five floors and over 150 shops.

3. Aqueducts

Aqueduct is not a single building or structure. It is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. This remarkable system brought clean water to homes of one million residents of Rome and 200 million gallons of fresh water is brought to the city everyday from far outside Rome. It is the life force of Rome and it is definitely an engineering blueprint. The combined lengths of aqueducts running in Rome is about 500 miles, which only 29 miles were above ground. These go through different landscapes; hills and valleys. For aqueducts above ground, arches are built instead to save construction cost and to reduce the bulkiness of the wall.

4. Caracalla’s Bath

In 216 AD, another impressive structure is built. This time it is a bath, called as Caracalla’s Bath. It is a complex of not only having baths, but also library, meeting rooms, garden, sauna, pools, etc. Hence, the scale is enormous; 228 m long, 116 m wide and 38.5 m high and it can accommodates around 2000 people at a time. The centre of the bath alone is even larger than St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. For the history, Caracalla Emperor is a cruel, terrifying ruler of Rome. To clean off his cruel and dirty hands and to reverse his failing image, he built this bath for the people. Over 16 000 workers worked for the construction of the building and it took only four years. Another interesting and remarkable breakthrough in this project is the efficient water heating system called as hypocaust.

5. Roman roads

Roads today seem to be very normal for us, the modern society. However, it is another engineering marvel when it is first constructed in Rome over 2300 years ago, in 312 BC by Apius, the Roman censor. Hence, the first road is called as Appian Way. It acts as an efficient transportation system for troops, armies and goods. Hence, it is also a good and quick tool in expanding the Roman’s territory as the construction of the roads extended time by time. Basically, the roads are straight, cutting through hills and marsh while not avoiding these unsuitable landscapes with challenging construction. It is the core of Roman’s communication and some of the ancient roads are durable till these days.

6. Pantheon

It is a temple to all Gods built in 125 AD by Adrian Emperor. Actually, the exact function of the building still remains mystery till today, and same goes to the architect behind it, whom is either Apollodorus or Adrian Emperor himself or some other people not recorded in history. It is the best preserved Roman building and there are many statues of Olympian Gods in the building. It is topped with a dome with 44 m of span which is the largest ever made unreinforced concrete dome till today. The entrance is of Greek portal with columns and pediment, and the main space below the dome is half the size of a football field. The interior is unsupported and there is no precedent for the construction of this marvelous building. There are rings of collars around the base of the dome and lighter materials are used as the dome rises. Square coffers were cut out to reduce weight and also for aesthetic purpose. The dome topped with a circular hole of 30 feet wide which is called as oculus to allow a light beam to penetrate into the building.

7. Colosseum

Many would definitely recognize this amazing structure. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World too. However, I always have some difficulty in spelling it out; I would sometimes put a double ‘l’ or one ‘s’ in it. It is an elliptical amphitheatre, the largest ever built in the Roman empire. It is built in less than ten years by Vespasian Emperor, completed in 80 AD and opened by his son whom is the next emperor, Titus as he had passed away. It can holds up to 80 000 people at a time and it serves as an arena of entertainment. It is of high-banked terraces for seatings, 76 entrances, and inside, there are vaulted tunnels. Arches are the distinctive exterior feature of the structure. The first three floors are of arches while the fourth and fifth floor (highest) are of concrete wall. It is 189 m long, 156 m wide and 48 m high. The seatings are separated for different classes of the society with the emperor given the best seat and the women given the worst seats, which are at the highest level. It is the venue for many grand performances like gladiatorial contests, animals’ performances and even executions. Over 700 000 people have died at the venue. Currently, it is partially-ruined due to several past earthquakes and stone-robbers. Anyway, it still stands today as the most iconic landmark of Rome and even of the whole Italy.

That’s it. The list of the seven wonders is revealed. Do you agree with this list or you may have a better list. This list is just from the programme from Discovery Channel which I believed is much correct. All structures in the list are astonishing and are definitely among the best works of engineering breakthrough and architectural marvel. The information provided here are basically from what I watched from the programme and little bit of it are from browsing the internet. The pictures are definitely not mine. Not to praise myself, this post must be one of my greatest work in this blog of all time too. I really hope that this post will receive good rating and many viewing too. Thanks for reading, feel free to comment and enjoy!

Can I add one more? Yes…why not? Eventhough this building to be mentioned below is not considered to be in the category of ‘ancient’ but I felt that it is definitely worth a mention.

8. St. Peter’s Basilica

It is the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, Rome. It is a late Renaissance church and it has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding over 60 000 people at a time. It is also regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites, holding a unique position in the Christian world. The construction began in 1506 and completed in 1626. It is 220 m long, 150 m wide and 138 m high, dominating the skyline of Rome. The dome’s diameter is around 42 m, which is one of the largest domes in the world.  The basilica is approached via St. Peter’s Piazza, a forecourt in two sections, both surrounded by tall colonnades. The basilica is cruciform in shape with an elongated nave in the Latin cross form, and the entrance is through a narthex which stretches across the huge building. There are many architects behind this gigantic project; Donata Bramante, Antonio da Sangallo, Michelangelo, Jacopo Barozzi, Giacomo della Porta, Carlo Maderno and Gianlorenzo Bernini.

That’s it. That’s all for this long yet informative post. This is going to end with a beautiful collage of pictures of some iconic landmarks of Rome, Italy.

[Written by: Loy Tuck Man (Vincent) for www.vincentloy.wordpress.com on 17th January 2011.]