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National Congress

March 27th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Brazil's bicameral National Congress (Portuguese: Congresso Nacional) consists of a Senate (the upper house) and a Chamber of Deputies (the lower house).

* The Federal Senate (Senado Federal) contains 81 seats: three senators from each state and three from the Federal District, elected on a majority basis to serve eight-year terms. Elections are staggered so that two-thirds of the upper house is up for election at one time and the remaining one-third four years later.

* The Chamber of Deputies (Câmara dos Deputados) comprises 513 deputies (members of congress), who are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms. Elections are based on a complex system of proportional representation by states. The seats are allotted proportionally according to each state's population, but each state is eligible for a minimum of eight seats and a maximum of 70 seats.


The Blackpool Tower, Blackpool, England

March 26th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Blackpool Tower is a tourist attraction in the town of Blackpool, Lancashire, in northern England (grid reference SD306360). The tower is 158 m (518 ft 9 in) tall. It was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It cost £42,000 GBP to construct, and it first opened to the public on 14 May 1894. It is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.

Unlike the Eiffel Tower, it is not quite free-standing: its base is hidden by a building housing the Blackpool Tower circus. Before going to the top of the tower, people climb up through several levels of attractions, including the circus, Out of This World, a dinosaur ride, an aquarium, and a ballroom. The top of the tower is accessed by two lifts. There are four viewing platforms open to the public, the lower of which is completely enclosed. These afford views of much of Lancashire, Winter Hill, southern Cumbria, North Wales, and the Isle of Man, in addition to Blackpool and the rest of the Fylde peninsula. An additional two platforms and the "crow's nest" are only accessible to staff. The enclosed lower platform contains a glass floor above the south-west leg that allows visitors to look down on the street below. The tower is topped by a flagpole, which normally flies the Union flag except during the illuminations when the flagpole is lit by nearly one hundred lamps.


The White Tower of Thessaloniki, Greece

March 15th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The White Tower of Thessaloniki (Greek: Λευκός Πύργος Lefkos Pyrgos, Turkish: Beyaz Kule) is a monument and museum on the waterfront of the city of Thessaloniki, capital of the region of Macedonia in northern Greece. It has been adopted as the symbol of the city, and also as a symbol of Greek sovereignty over Macedonia.

The present tower dates from the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520–66). There was an older tower on the same site, probably built by French knights during the period of the Latin Empire in Constantinople. The Tower was used by the Ottomans successively as a fort, garrison and a prison. In 1826, at the order of the Sultan Mahmud II, there was a massacre of the prisoners in the Tower. Owing to the "countless victims of Ottoman torturers and executioners", the tower acquired the name "Tower of Blood" of "The Red Tower", which it kept until the end of the eighteenth century.


TVP3 (Polish public television) building in Cracow, Poland

March 15th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

TVP3 (Polish public television) building and RTV tower/mast in Cracow, Poland

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Qutub Minar, Qutb, India

March 8th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world, and an important example of Indo-Islamic Architecture. The tower is in the Qutb complex in South Delhi, India. The Qutb Minar and its monuments are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The purpose for building this beautiful monument has been speculated upon, apart from the usual role of a minaret—that of calling people for prayer in a mosque—in this case the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque to the northeast of minar in AD 1198. It is the earliest extant mosque built by the Delhi Sultans. Other reasons ascribed to its construction are as a tower of victory, a monument signifying the might of Islam, or a watch tower for defence. Controversy also surrounds the origins for the name of the tower. Many historians believe that the Qutb Minar was named after the first Turkish sultan, Qutb-ud-din Aibak but others contend that it was named in honour of Khwaja Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiar Kaki of Ush, a saint from Baghdad who came to live in India who was greatly venerated by Iltutmish. According to the inscriptions on its surface it was repaired by Firuz Shah Tughlaq (AD 1351–88) and Sikandar Lodi (AD 1489–1517). Major R.Smith also repaired and restored the minar in 1829


Bismarck Tower, Szczecin, Poland

February 28th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

One of the many Bismarck Towers that dot the landscape of the former German Kaiserreich (as well as countries such as the USA, South Africa, Australia, and Argentina) is located in Szczecin, Poland, formerly Stettin, Germany. Located 150 km from Berlin, this picturesque city has something extra to offer: a tower built in dedication to Otto von Bismarck.

Its construction began relatively late, in 1913, and it was only finished in 1921. The total construction cost of the 25 metres tall tower was approximately 200,000 Mark.

The tower is located on top of a small hill and is surrounded by a small forest. This small nature area is now surrounded, however, by an industrial area. It is approximately 6 km from the city centre. Tram number 6’s end station is literally at the base of the small hill where the tower stands. One can also very easily follow the tram tracks in a car or by bicycle.


KVLY/KTHI TV Mast, Blanchard, North Dakota, USA

November 27th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Photo: KVLY/KTHI TV Mast

The KVLY-TV mast (formerly the KTHI-TV mast) is a television transmitting tower in North Dakota, USA, used by Fargo station KVLY channel 11. At 2,063 ft (628.8 m), it is currently the world's tallest supported structure on land.

The tower is located three miles west of Blanchard, North Dakota (at 47°20′32″N, 97°17′20″W), which is roughly halfway between Fargo and Grand Forks. It became the tallest artificial structure upon the completion of its construction on August 13, 1963. The mast was surpassed in height by 18 m (57 ft) in 1974 by the Warszawa radio mast near Konstantynow, Poland, but the latter collapsed on August 8, 1991, making the KVLY mast again the tallest structure on land. If completed as planned, the UAE's Burj Dubai, presently slated for completion in 2008, will surpass the mast as the tallest land structure.


Gediminas Tower, Vilnius, Lithuania

November 11th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Gediminas Tower is the only remaining functional part of the Upper Castle in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The first fortifications was built of wood by the Duke of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Gediminas (1316-1341). First the castle was built of brick in 1409 by Duke Vytautas the Great, (1392-1430). There are some fragments of the old castle, which are now restored according to numerous archeological researches on the Gediminas Hill.

It is possible to get onto the top of the Gediminas Hill by foot or by a funicular. The tower houses exposition of archeologic findings from the hill and surrounding areas. There is a good observation point at the top of the tower, from where the panorama of Vilnius Old Town can be admired.

Gediminas Tower is an important state and historic symbol of Vilnius and Lithuania: it is depicted on national currency litas and mentioned in numerous Lithuanian patriotic poems and folk songs.