Have you ever been to a place so serene that it invoked passive tranquility in your heart? The essence of the gold-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria is capable of calming your senses to a certain degree, ensuring that you ditch all negative thoughts and embrace positivity, even against your will. This is the sort of power that this 20th Century cathedral emancipates.

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Brief History
Saint Alexander Nevsky was a famous Russian prince and philanthropist and this Cathedral was built in the honor of 200,000 Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Russian and Belorussian soldiers, who were martyred during the Russo-Turkish war between 1877 and 1878, which liberated Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. It is one of the biggest and last of the Eastern Orthodox Cathedrals – in this part of the world - that are still present in an immaculate condition.

Design & Architecture
This cathedral is based on Neo-Byzantine architecture and features a cross-dome structure, with a 45 meter high gold-plated dome. This cathedral has over 12 bells in its bell tower, which is 53 meters high and weighs a total of 23 tons. While the single heaviest bell weighs 12 tons, the lightest is of 10 kilograms.

The words of the Lord’s Prayer are inscribed around the central dome in thin gold letters, while the surrounding décor consists of plush materials, including multi-colored Italian marble, alabaster and Brazilian Onyx. These work hand-in-hand to mesmerize locals and tourists, who happen to visit.

Construction
The Foundation Stone was laid in 1882, even though minor phases of construction had begun in February 1979. Major progress in construction was however, recorded between 1904 and 1912. This Cathedral was the brain-child of three famous architects – Alexander Pomerantsev was the Chief Designer, while Alexander Yakovlev and Alexander Smirnov were apprentices at the time during its initial construction phase, between 1904 and 1912.

Pomerantsev changed Ivan Bogomolov’s initial construction plan that was used between 1877 and 1878. The final plan was ready by 1898, while a team consisting of the finest European craftsmen, decorators and artists from Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria, was selected to start working on the cathedral.

Nearby Locations for Sight-Seeing
Next to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, lies the St. Sofia Church – on which the city of Sofia is named. Some of the other historically important places located nearby include the Bulgarian Parliament, Academy of Sciences, Monument to the Unknown Soldier and National gallery of Foreign Art. A flea market located nearby, is the popular haunt for tourists and locals, who are looking for antiques, icons or handmade textiles.

Situated in Italy Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It lies in the Tyrrhenian Sea between the Balearic islands and the Italian peninsula and south of Corsica. It has become a popular vacation destination offering a number of diverse activities like swimming, boating, hiking, climbing windsurfing and camping. Sardinia has a Mediterranean climate with warm and dry summers, cool winters and rains in spring. It is known for Nuragic civilization dating back to the 1500 BC.

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Cagliari

The Sardinian capital of Cagliari is built on seven hills. Castello is the oldest part of the city offers stunning views of the Gulf of Cagliari, or Angels Gulf. Bastione San Remy made of typical local white lime-stone offers fantastic views of Cagliari and the Mediterranean Sea. The beautiful Romanesque church Cathedral of Cagliari lies at a short distance from Bastione San Remy.

Sardinia is famed to be having the most exotic beaches located in the Mediterranean Sea some of the best beaches being Li Coggi, Cala Gonone and Costa Smeralda that appears in the list of ‘The World’s Best Beaches’ in international travel websites and magazines. One of the spectacular beaches Le Pelosa is situated 50 kilometers North of Alghero Airport close to small town of Stintino.

Sardinian wildlife is another major attraction. Varied species of birds such as the Chaffinch and Flamingo, different species of deer and foxes, Balaenoptera Physalus, monk seals and turtles all constitute the unique wildlife. La Maddalena an archipelago in Isola Razzoli offers nature at its best and can be reached by boat. One of the prestigious sailing races Louis Vuitton Trophy is another reason for visiting this place.

Nuraghe of Barumini another important and well preserved site consist of 7.000 nuraghe or stone dwellings. Costa Smeralda, in the North-East of Sardinia is a hot vacation destination frequented very often by the richest people of the world. Prince Aga Khan visited this region in the 60′s and many other celebrities. When you visit Sardinia and fall in love with it, you may begin to consider living there for a longer period of time. With a site like sardiniapropertyfinder.com you can find a house of your dreams from Sardinia. You can also find more information when you click here. With its white and sandy beaches, turquoise sea charming islands and exotic local cuisine it is truly a great place worth visiting.

A land of breathtaking beaches, stunning monuments and sumptuous cuisine, Turkey is definitely an unmissable experience of a lifetime. Visit to Turkey can be really exciting with various tour packages catering to the needs of the tourists. The site www.onturkeytours.com introduces some of the most interesting tours. Apart from Istanbul, the popular Turkey tour packages include Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Antalya etc. Some of the popular tours in Istanbul are mentioned below.

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Half Day Morning Istanbul Classic Tour will take you to places likeHagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Hipodrome, Obelisk, Caferaga Medresesi or Grand Bazaar. These are daily tours with departure time 08.00-08.30 to 12.00-12.30. It charges 35 euros per head. Hagia Sophia that was originally a Byzantine church and later went on to become an Ottoman mosque and at present a museum in Istanbul is a major attraction in this tour. The building has a classical basilica plan with a rectangular structure 246 ft long and 230ft wide. The Sultan Ahmed Mosque popularly known as the Blue Mosque is a historic mosque the interior walls of which is adorned with blue tiles.

Half Day Afternoon Ottoman Relics of Istanbul Tour covers places like Topkapi Palace and Grand Bazaar. Departure time is at 13.00-13.30 to 17.00-17.30 and price is 35 euros per head. Topkapi Palace is a huge palace that served as the residence for the Ottoman rulers for nearly 400 years. The palace is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the monuments included in the “Historic Areas of Istanbul”. The Grand Bazaar which is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world consists of 3,000 shops and 61 covered streets. It is set inside the walled city of Istanbul in the Fatih district and attracts 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily.

HalfDay Bosphorus Cruise Tour will take u on a cruise on river Bosphorus. It covers places like Rustempasa Mosque, Spice Bazaar or Egyptian Bazaar. Rüstem Pasha Mosque is an Ottoman mosque located in Hasırcılar Çarşısı in the Tahtakale neighborhood, of the Fatih district of Istanbul. It was built by Mimar Sinan an Ottoman imperial architect for the grand vizier Rüstem Pasha. The mosque houses a religious school. Spice Bazaar also known as the Egyptian Bazaar situated in the Eminönü quarter of the Fatih district is the largest bazaar in the city. The bazaar comprises of 85 shops in total selling jewellery, souvenir, spices, dried fruits-nuts and sweets.

Barcelona is probably one of the most surreal cities that you will visit in Europe. It maintains a very exquisite charm that will relax, calm and excite you at the same time. As such, if you are in Barcelona, you will definitely be finding a hint of Salvador Dali everywhere. All this combines with the monumental buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi to make this city a part of the most beautiful oil paintings you have even seen. When you come here, you enjoy being a part of many street performances and shop at the amazing duty free shops. Barcelona is the hub of Maudi architecture and modernist architecture as well.

There are a number of beaches in Barcelona that you must definitely be visiting. Some of the most popular beaches include Sant Sebastia, Barceloneta, Bogtell, Nova Icaria, Sant Miquel and Marbella amongst others. You can come here anytime between March and November to enjoy a sunbath on the warm golden sands. You can also walk on the famous tree lined walkway known as Les Rambles. You will find many artists, performers and street dancers in this area as well. Apart from this, walking along El Portal de I’Angel and La Placa de Catalunya is also a great idea. If not, just move to the beachfront boardwalk and get some healthy tan. The most beautiful destinations of this city includes Barri Gotic, a pseudo-medieval center located in the city. You can also go to La Placa Reial, Born, Teatre del Liceu, Flameco Show and even ride a cable way in this city.

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Barceloneta beach

There are many guided tours available fir the people visiting Barcelona. You can be opting for the more adventurous bike tours, the seaside tours or even check out the classic yatch rent services and enjoy your day roaming around the shore of the city. The Born region has many uptown restaurants that will definitely be enjoyed by you. Opt for something that is more authentic and local to get the true flavors of Barcelona. A number of festivals are also organized in the city, which denote the distinctive culture of Catalonia. You can attend the Sonar festival- a 3 day musical extravaganza, the Cavalcada de Reis- a float parade, the Monegros Desert Festival- the biggest electronic music festival, Corpus and the Sant Jordi, which is considered to be the Valentine’s Day of Barcelona. On this day, women gift men books and men give them roses. Isn’t it a wonderful place to be?

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