DESCRIPTION: During the Middle Ages the Greek tradition of disinterested research was stifled in Western Europe by a theological dictatorship which bade fair, for a time, to destroy all hope of a genuine intellectual revival. Most Arab cartographers also used Ptolemya€™s instructions in the construction of their own maps. Over the years, these enlightened Arabs injected new life and a storehouse of knowledge into the relatively backward science of Western Europe, and, for centuries, Arab culture actually dominated the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily. In the year 1138, the royal palace at Palermo, Sicily was the scene of a long-awaited meeting between an unusual Christian king and a distinguished Muslim scholar.
The monarch was Roger II, King of Sicily; his distinguished guest the Arab geographer Abu Abdullah Mohammed Ibn al-Sharif al-Idrisi [Edrisi]. Al-Idrisia€™s writings tell us less about his own character and personality than about those of the man who became his host and patron. Sicily in particular was an ideal meeting ground for the two civilizations a€“ Christian Europe and the Muslim Middle East.
Early in the 11th century a band of Norman adventurers, the Hautevilles, had ridden into southern Italy to wrest it from the Byzantine Greeks and the Muslims, and in 1101 Count Roger da€™Hauteville capped his career by conquering Sicily. Tall, dark-haired, bearded and corpulent, Roger, from a magnificent palace in Palermo, ruled his kingdom with a balanced mixture of diplomacy, ruthlessness, wisdom and skill that has led many historians to term his kingdom the best-governed European state of the Middle Ages. Rogera€™s interest in geography was the expression of a scientific curiosity just awakening in Europe, but inevitably he turned to a Muslim for help.
A few practical maps did exista€”marinersa€™ charts showing coastlines, capes, bays, shallows, ports of call and watering and provisioning placesa€”but in a typical medieval divorce of science and technology, these remained in the hands of navigators. To carry out the project, Roger established an academy of geographers, with himself as director and al-Idrisi as permanent secretary, to gather and analyze information.
The academy began by studying and comparing the works of previous geographersa€”principal among them 12 scholars, 10 of them from the Muslim world.
Al-Idrisia€™s two geographers from the pre-Islamic era were Paulus Orosius, a Spaniard whose popular History, written in the fifth century, included a volume of descriptive geography; and Ptolemy, the greatest of the classical geographers, whose Geography, written in the second century, had been entirely lost to Europe, but preserved in the Muslim world in an Arabic translation.
After examining at length the geographical works they had collected, the king and the geographer observed that they were full of discrepancies and omissions, and decided to embark on original research. During this research, al-Idrisi and Roger compared data, keeping the facts on which travelers agreed and eliminating conflicting information. Finally, however, the long 15-year geographical study was finished and the task of map making began. Al-Idrisi explained that the disk merely symbolized the shape of the world: The earth is round like a sphere, and the waters adhere to it and are maintained on it through natural equilibrium which suffers no variation. By al-Idrisia€™s time, Muslim astronomers had made great strides in methods of reckoning latitude.
Al-Idrisi himself gave three figures for the eartha€™s circumference, without deciding among them: Eratosthenesa€™ approximately correct estimate, a slightly smaller figure arrived at by Indian astronomers, and a still smaller numbera€”though larger than Ptolemya€™sa€”which was apparently agreed on by Sicilian scholars.
On the disk, according to al-Idrisia€™s own account, were incised a€?by skillful workersa€? lines marking the limits of the seven climates of the habitable world, arbitrary divisions established by Ptolemy running east and west and bounded by parallels of latitude, from the Arctic to the Equator.
The map, written in Arabic, shows the Eurasian continent in its entirety, but only shows the northern part of the African continent. The resulting book and associated maps which took 15 years to amass are, for this and the above reasons, unquestionably among the most interesting monuments of Arabian geography.
Modern geographers have attempted to reconstruct the features of the silver planisphere by using a combination of the maps of Rogera€™s Book, which has survived in several texts, and its tables of longitudes and latitudes.
Distortions, omissions, and misconceptions notwithstanding, the superiority of al-Idrisia€™s map over the world maps of medieval Europe is striking.
The first division of the first climate commences to the west of the Western Sea, which Idrisi called the Sea of Darkness.
Following the Nile, still eastward, we find the nomadic Berbers who pasture their flock on the borders of a river flowing from the east, debouching into the Nile stream.
It is clear that the part of southern Africa which is extended far to the east is a legacy from Ptolemy, but Arabian seafarers had taught Idrisi that the sea was open in the east, and in his own commentaries he writes: a€?The Sea of Sin [China] is an arm of the ocean which is called the Dark Sea [the Atlantic]a€?. To the south al-Idrisi pictured a great river, the Nile of the Negroes, a composite of the Senegal and the Niger Rivers that flowed from Central Africa west to the Atlantic.
Sicily, naturally, came in for special praise; it was a pearl of the age, and al-Idrisi told the story of the Norman conquest of the island by Roger da€™Hauteville, the greatest of Frankish princes, followed by the succession of the great king who bears the same name and who follows in his footsteps. Idrisi was not, however, able to put the countries around the Baltic into proper shape, even though his notes show him to have been familiar with a great many places there, as in the rest of Europe.
The impressive assemblage of facts from travelersa€™ accounts and geographical writings was interrupted now and then by fables, some taken directly from Ptolemy, some from popular folklore.
Al-Idrisia€™s Rome had an oriental magnificence; ships with their freight sailed up the Tiber to be drawn thus loaded right up to the very shops of the merchants. The Arabs knew these islands through Ptolemy, and called them Jazaa€™ir al-Khalidat [The Eternal Isles], presumably a version of the Greek name. After telling us that the Canaries had been visited by Alexander the Great and that the tomb of a pre-Islamic South Arabian king, made of marble and colored glass, can be seen on one of them, al-Idrisi gives the names of two of the islands. Even more interesting is al-Idrisia€™s account of an actual voyage of exploration into the western Atlantic, undertaken by 80 brave men from Lisbon whom he calls the mugharrirun, best rendered as a€?intrepid explorers.a€? The expedition must have taken place before 1147 - the date Lisbon fell to the Christians - but it is impossible to be more precise.
It was from the city of Lisbon that the mugharrirun set out to sail the Sea of Darkness in order to discover what was in it and where it ended, as we have mentioned before.
The inhabitants of the island of al-Sua€™ali are shaped like women and their canine teeth protrude. The island of Qalhan is inhabited by animal-headed people who swim in the sea to catch their food.
Al-Ghawr makes sense; it means a depression surrounded by higher land, and occurs elsewhere in the Arab world as a place name. Al-Idrisi gives the names of 13 islands in the western Atlantic; a 14th, visited by the mugharrirun, is nameless. On his map, Idrisi shows a long string of islands in the Western Ocean reaching north from the equator to Brittany. However, Arab geographers and astronomers were much too accurate in their latitude calculations to mistakenly spread the Canary Islands so widely over the ocean. The three intermediate islands in the chain may be the first cartographic representation of the Azores. Idrisia€™s description of other islands in the Atlantic appear to have more to do with fanciful legends than with reality. Some of these islands resemble the islands of Irish legend, and the Arabs may have incorporated parts of the Celtic tradition into their own legends. At the latitude of Tangier, in the Grand Sea, there are situated islands named a€?The Fortunate Islands.a€? These are spread in the sea, not far away from the west coast [of Africa], the Barbary Coast.
Al-Idrisi presented the planisphere, a silver celestial sphere and the book to his patron in 1154, just a few weeks before Roger died at 58, probably of a heart attack; he went on to compose another geographical work for William I, Rogera€™s successor. According to Arab sources, Idrisi composed yet another more detailed text and map in 1161 for Rogera€™s son William II.
In 1160, however, Sicilian barons rose in rebellion against William and during the disorders looted the palace; in a great fire in the courtyard, they burned government records, books and documentsa€”including a new Latin edition of Rogera€™s Book which al-Idrisi had presented to William. Since the barons had attacked the Muslims of Sicily with particular ferocitya€”killing, among many others, a famous poet named Yahya ibn al-Tifashia€”al-Idrisi fled to North Africa where, six years later, he died. As he had brought the Arabic text with him, however, his great work lived on, winning widespread fame, serving as a model for Muslim geographers and historians for centuries and providing the great Muslim historian, Ibn Khaldun, with practically all his geographical knowledge. It is a curious thought that had Columbus been aware of the true distancea€”from al-Idrisia€™s estimatesa€”he might have hesitated to undertake his epoch-making voyage and might never have discovered that new world which came to light one morning on the far side of the Sea of Darkness.
Idrisia€™s works are of exceptional quality when considered in comparison with other geographical writings of their period, partly by reason of their richness of detail, but mainly because of the afore mentioned a€?scientific methoda€™ that was employed, a procedure which was indeed unlike that adopted by most Latin scholars of that era.
There is, however, a markedly retrograde character to certain portions of his work, such as East Africa and South Asia; despite his narrative of the Lisbon Wanderers (see above and Beazely, vol.
In view of its modernity and high intrinsic worth, it is difficult to understand why Idrisia€™s work, composed as it was at the chronological and geographical point of contact between the Islamic and Christian civilizations, remained so long un-utilized by Christian scholars in Sicily, Italy, or other Christian countries, until we remember that the primary - we might even say the sole - interest of the Latin West in Arabic literature centered on the preparation of calendars, star tables and horoscopes, and, to some extent, the recovery of ancient lore.
Al-Idrisia€™s map places Gog and Magog in northern China, behind a great wall with a tower and a door; at the wall is an inscription, translated as a€?belongs to the Kufaya mountain range which encloses Gog and Magoga€?.
The first translation known of Idrisia€™s work was published in Rome only in 1619, and then in a very much shortened form (the translator did not even know the authora€™s name).
On the other hand, there is no question but that the Sicilo-Norman enthusiasm for geography exerted an indirect influence on the evolution of geographical knowledge, an influence that was to make itself felt more especially after the close of the Crusades period. Detail of the a€?The large Idrisi Mapa€? showing Europe and North Africa,a€? re-oriented with North at the top.
Reproduction and re-orientation of a map of the world adapted from the Muqaddimah [Introduction] to Ibn Khalduna€™s monumental work, The History of the World, 1381; derived from the 1154 al-Idrisi map. Souvenirs should give you a chance to relive an original experience every time someone walks into your house and says, " What the hell is that? Historically, people from all over the world came to Kerala in search of spices and ended up sharing their culture and religion with the Keralites.
Being a typical Kerala shopping item, spices are commonly available but dona€™t buy the cheap stuff in touristy places. This special type of mirror is not silvered glass but a hand-made metal-alloy mirror which reflects with complete clarity by eliminating secondary reflections. These masks made of various materials like - plaster of Paris, clay, papiermache or carved out of wood have become the face of Kerala.
Having become extremely popular, the product is available in handicraft shops all across Kerala.
You wona€™t find such pieces anywhere else in the world, with each elephant model being made from a single piece of wood.
Nettur Petti or the traditional jewellery box, the possession of which was once considered an indication of royalty and wealth, is an astonishingly attractive Kerala souvenir. An original kasavu sari could cost you anywhere between Rs.1000 for a very basic version to a few thousands for slightly more contemporary designs depending on purity and gold work.
Be it a presentation of an art form or the beginning of a function, nothing auspicious happens before lighting a brass oil lamp. It can be purchased from any of the metal ware stores and souvenir outlets throughout the state. Coir making is a laborious process but ita€™s widely popular for their bio-degradable composition and long life.
The coir products, made from the fibres extracted from the husk of coconut, prove that the people of Kerala make use of every part of the coconut tree. The price and looks depend on the way the fiber is extracted from the shell of the coconut and the quality of the fiber. Beypore near Kozhikode has a heritage boatyard which manufactures uru or dhow, a traditional Arabian trading vessel. Murals, which used to adorn Keralan temple walls for centuries, are now decorating homes and are used as art pieces on canvas and paper. We really dona€™t have to say this to an art connoisseur, contact an artist whose work you like.
A bamboo crafts artisans collective called a€?Uravua€™ in Wayanad fashions some really good products.
Imagine the entire state of Kerala turning into a giant shopping mall with participation from 10000 odd establishments of all sizes.
The airports and the shops around touristy areas are the last places where you want to pick up stuff.
With this basis the Muslims combined the accumulated knowledge gained through exploration and travel.
As his visitor entered the hall, the king rose, took his hand and led him across the carpeted marble to a place of honor beside the throne. Born in Ceuta, Morocco, across the strait from Spain, al-Idrisi was then in his late 30a€™s. Roger II, son of a Norman-French soldier of fortune who had conquered Sicily at the beginning of the 12th century, was an anomaly among Christian monarchs of his time. Captured by the Arabs in 831, the island had remained in Muslim control until the end of the 11th century. Four years later, he passed the territory on to his son, Roger, who in 1130 was crowned king as Roger II. His energy was a legenda€”one commentator remarked that Roger accomplished more asleep than other sovereigns did awakea€”and his court boasted a collection of philosophers, mathematicians, doctors, geographers and poets who had no superior in Europea€”and in whose company he spent much of his time. Christian Europea€™s approach to map-making was still symbolic and fanciful, based on tradition and myth rather than scientific investigation, and used to illustrate books of pilgrimage, Biblical exegesis and other works. He wanted to know the precise conditions of every area under his rule, and of the world outsidea€”its boundaries, climate, roads, the rivers that watered its lands, and the seas that bathed its coasts. Sicilya€™s busy and cosmopolitan ports provided an ideal place for such an inquiry, and for years hardly a ship docked at Palermo, Messina, Catania or Syracuse without its crew and passengers being interrogated about the places they had visited. This process of collecting and assessing material took 15 years, during which, according to al-Idrisi, hardly a day passed when the king did not confer personally with the geographers, studying accounts that disagreed, examining astronomical coordinates, tables and itineraries, poring over books and weighing divergent opinions. First, under al-Idrisia€™s direction, a working copy was produced on a drawing board, with places sited on the map with compasses, following the tables that had already been prepared.
Although Ptolemy had discussed several kinds of projection (Book I, #119), the problem of flattening out the surface of a sphere so that it could be represented on a flat map would not be solved until the 16th and 17th centuriesa€”the Age of Explorationa€”and none too satisfactorily even then. Zach states in 1806 that a€?the oldest terrestrial globe that is known was made for King Roger II of Sicily in the 12th century, and is especially remarkable for the value of the metal which was used in its construction, this being 400 pounds of silver. Below the Equator, an unexplored southern temperate zone was thought to be separated from the familiar northern one by an impassable area of deadly heat.
Two are in the BibliothA?que Nationale de France, including the oldest, dated to about 1300 (MS Arabe 2221). From this reconstruction it is evident that, like Ptolemy, al-Idrisi pictured the habitable world as occupying 180 of the 360 degrees of the worlda€™s longitude, from the Atlantic in the West to China in the East, and 64 degrees of its latitude, from the Arctic Ocean to the Equator.
Contrasted with the quaint and picturesque, but almost totally uninformative maps of the Christian scholars, the features of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East are easily recognizable in al-Idrisia€™s representationa€”Britain, Ireland, Spain, Italy, the Red Sea and the Nile.
He had no doubt met travelers and merchants from Scandinavia at the court of King Roger and received important information from them, but we know that the Arabs too had connections with the Baltic peoples and also those in Russia at that time.
In Russia, winter daylight periods were so short that there was hardly time for Muslim travelers to perform all five obligatory daily prayers. Paris (Abariz) earned a condescending reference as a town of mediocre size, surrounded by vineyards and forests, situated on an island in the Seine, which surrounds it on all sides; however, it is extremely agreeable, strong, and susceptible of defense. The Strait of Gibraltar, according to Rogera€™s Book, did not exist when Alexander the Greata€”as medieval legend had ita€”invaded Spain.
Discovered by Hanno in the fifth century BC, they were explored and colonized in 25 BC by Juba II, erudite king of Mauretania and husband of Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Antony and Cleopatra.
Some sources speak of these islands as if they were legendary, telling us for example that on each of the six islands - there are in fact seven - there was a bronze statue, like the one in CA?diz, warning voyagers to turn back. The mugharrirun were so famous for their exploit that a street in Lisbon was named after them.
A street in Lisbon, near the hot springs, is still known as a€?The Street of the Intrepid Explorersa€?; it is named after them.
It is hard to escape the impression that we owe the preservation of this account largely to the folk etymology in the last line.
The Azores are named after a kind of goshawk - in Portuguese, aA§or - prevalent there at the time of discovery. The inhabitants threw stones at the travelers and hurt several of Alexandera€™s companions. A small fresh-water river runs down from the foot of the mountain, where the inhabitants live. Al-Mustashkin is probably a corruption of al-mushtakin, meaning a€?the complainersa€? - appropriate enough for a population in thrall to a dragon. The Two Brothers could be the two small islands off Lanzarote in the Canaries, Alegranza and Graciosa, or indeed, any two prominent rocks off their coasts. This unnamed island, together with Masfahan, Laghus, The Two Brothers and possibly Sawa, are almost certainly islands in the Canary group. After describing the Canary Islands, Idrisi refers to an island in the Western Sea named Raqa, which is the Isle of the Birds, Djaziratoa€™t-Toyour. Distinct from the Canary Islands were the Isle of Female Devils, the Isle of Illusion, the Island of Two Sorcerers, and the Isle of Lamentation [Gazirat al-Mustashkin], which was inhabited and fertile, with tilled fields, but controlled by a terrible dragon.
An exchange of ideas and reciprocal influences between the two cultures certainly took place. This work is said to have been even more extensive than his earlier one, but only a few extracts have survived. At the same time, the silver planisphere and celestial sphere disappeared, apparently cut up and melted down. Although the Arabic text of Rogera€™s Book was published in Rome by the Medici press in 1592, it was not again available to Europeans in Latin until the 17th century.
Certainly the influence of Idrisia€™s Geography could not have been great in the world of letters or else traces of it would more easily be detected in Western literature. An explicit reference to Dul-Karnaia€™in (an Arabic name for Alexander, among others) by the gate, leaves no doubt as to Idrisia€™s source.
Displays a Ptolemaic construction with an arrangement of horizontal divisions into seven parallel climate zones, originally oriented with South at the top.
See the list below for descriptions on a wide array of places to visit and experience during your visit to the Central Texas area. And let me guess: you ended up with some kitsch made in China or buying a completely overpriced fake at the airport.
This article is to let you in on the speciality of stuff you can get only in Kerala, where to buy authentic products from ( more importantly where not to!) and give an estimated price range. Our guests say that the black pepper you buy from Kerala will transform your idea of what it really tastes like. If you go for a spice plantation tour in Thekkady or Wayanad, you can purchase the product directly from the farm at reasonable prices.
The secret composition of this mirror which has received geographical indication (GI) tag is known to only a few members of a particular family in Kerala who originally created it.
It is best to buy directly from the workshop of the family that makes it at Aranmula in Kerala.


The models capture the representational rules and the super natural characteristics of the characters portrayed by Kathakali (art form) artists. If you are visiting Kochi, you can buy reasonably priced Kathakali models at Kairali, Kerala State emporium showroom. From decorated elephants to different poses of the animal and even life size figures, the range of these artisans is simply amazing. Surabhi outlets (Kerala State Handicrafts Co-operative) in Kochi or Trivandrum would be a good place to purchase this item. Keralaa€™s Kasavu Sarees, an elegant symbol of culture, are spun in traditional hand operated looms.
Specialised saree shops in Kerala like Kasavukada in Kochi and Karalkada in Trivandrum will offer you a good range. Traditionally, Hindu households keep a lit lamp in their front courtyard every evening to bring in good luck. Mats, rugs, wall hangings, hammocks, bags, door pieces, ceiling and floor furnishings, beds, cushions, show pieces and many more products are made with coir. Alapuzha is the place where the product is made so check out some shops as you explore the backwaters here. The gigantic ships are made out of wood not fiber glass and it takes a team of 50 men around four years to complete a vessel. The present day artists were kind enough to mainstream this beautiful art form by painting them on canvases with acrylics. Carving coconut shell is very difficult and only highly skilled craftsmen can make products out of it due to its hardness.
Coconut shell products are available in Kerala handicraft emporiums in kochi and also in places around Alapuzha. As you spend your time traveling you are sure to find something else that might be of interest to you.
We have already suggested some places in the article, there are more and always buy from the specialists for the product you are looking for.
Almost at once the two men began to discuss the project for which the scholar had been asked to come from North Africa: the creation of the first accuratea€”and scientifica€”map of the entire known world. After studying in Cordoba, in Muslim Spain, he had spent some years in travel, covering the length of the Mediterranean, from Lisbon to Damascus. His co-religionists, commenting on his oriental life-style, complete with harem and eunuchs, disparagingly referred to him as the a€?half-heathen kinga€? and a€?the baptized Sultan of Sicily.a€? Educated by Greek and Arab tutors, he was an intellectual with a taste for scientific inquiry, and relished the company of Muslim scholars, of whom al-Idrisi was one of the most celebrated. Like Muslim Spain, it was a beacon of prosperity to a Europe caught in the economic slow-down we call the Dark Ages. In mathematics, as in the political sphere, al-Idrisi wrote of his patron, the extent of his learning cannot be described. Picturesque and colorful, European maps showed a circular earth composed of three continents equal in sizea€”Asia, Africa and Europea€”separated by narrow bands of water.
While medieval Europe had become fragmented and parochial, both politically and commercially, the Muslim world was unified by a flourishing long-distance commerce as well as by religion and culture.
The commissiona€™s agents haunted the ports, and if they discovered a traveler who had visited any particularly exotic region, he was conducted to the palace at Palermo to be questioned by al-Idrisi or even by Roger. Then a great disk almost 80 inches in diameter and weighing over 300 pounds was fabricated out of silver, chosen for its malleability and permanence.
The great geographer Gerardus Mercator commented, If you wish to sail from one port to another, here is a chart .
A knowledge of this globe would not have come down to our day had not Idrisi, a famous geographer of that time, given an especial description of the same, under the title Nothatol mostak [Pleasure of the Soul].a€? According to other scholars it is more probable that the reference here is to a circular disc or planisphere made by Idrisi, or an armillary sphere, but not to a terrestrial globe. Following the rough sketch prepared by al-Idrisi, the silversmiths transferred the outlines of countries, oceans, rivers, gulfs, peninsulas and islands to the planisphere. The planisphere showed the sources of the Nilea€”not explored by Europeans until the 19th century, but evidently known to 12th century Muslim travelersa€”and the cities of central Sudan.
Al-Idrisi described the lost city of Ghana (near Timbuktu, on the Niger) as the most considerable, the most densely peopled, and the largest trading center of the Negro countries.
Few cities are comparable in the solidity and height of buildings, the beauty of the surrounding country, and the fertility of the lands watered by the Tagus. The Norwegians had to harvest their grain when it was still green and dry it at their hearths since the sun shines very rarely upon them. Because the inhabitants of Africa and Europe waged continual warfare, Alexander decided to separate them by a canal, which he cut between Tangier and al-Andalus (southern Spain). A passionate art collector, Juba was also interested in science and technology, inventing a new method of making purple dye from the orchil plant - and the export of orchil from the Atlantic islands was of economic importance until early this century. But al-Idrisi tells of an attempted expedition to the Canaries in the late 12th century, during the reign of the Almoravid amir Yusuf ibn Tashafin. This is probably Tenerife, and the round mountain would be the 3,600-meter-high (12,000-foot) volcano called Pico de Teide. Eighty men, all ordinary people, got together and built a large ship and stocked it with enough food and water for several months.
The sheep are a problem, for the Azores were uninhabited when settled in the 15th century, and even if we slightly stretch the meaning of the word ghanam, which can also mean a€?goats,a€? we are still left with the problem of the origin of the creatures. There are many rivers and pools, and thickets where donkeys and long-horned cattle take refuge. There used to be a dragon in the area, and the people were forced to feed it with bulls, donkeys or even humans, according to the legend; when Alexander arrived, the people complained to him of the dragona€™s depredations. Al-Sa€™ali is a word that refers to a kind of female demon or vampire; judging by al-Idrisia€™s description of the female inhabitants of the island, it is apt.
This story of Alexander and the dragon echoes the Eleventh Labor of Hercules, the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, guarded by the dragon Ladon.
It could be argued that the first six islands, spread over three entire climate zones between the equator and the Strait of Gibraltar, represent the six known Canary Islands, forced into this north-south alignment by the physical constraints of the circular map with its narrow band of the Surrounding Ocean. The first two islands are the Canary Islands, properly shown in the first climate zone and carried forward from Ptolemya€™s map as the Fortunate Islands or Islands of the Blest.
This story may be a borrowing from Greek mythology, where a dragon guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides.
In the 1400a€™s, therefore, Christopher Columbus had to rely on other sources of information.
Unlike a multitude of Arabic writings of far less intrinsic value, the Rogerian Description found no Gerard of Cremona (translator of Ptolemy into Latin) to put it into Latin, and the authoritative geographical knowledge of the Western world was destined to develop unenriched by the treasures which Roger and Idrisi together had amassed. Gog and Magog appeared on Arabian maps as Yajoj wa Majoj from the 10th century; they appear on Al-Idrisia€™s map of 1154 under the same names. The climate numbers are given along the vertical axis, and the ten longitudinal divisions are given across the top. The text was accompanied by 71 part maps, a world map and 70 sectional itinerary maps, representing the seven climates each divided longitudinally into 10 sections. Please give us a call for more information on any place you in which you would like to know more. They continue to expand their range of figures, accessories, buildings as well as a book series wich is greatly acclaimed. That saree or an elephant model which reminds you of the festival could actually be the best thing you carry back home. The same holds true for cardamom, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg and other spices produced extensively in Kerala.
The Spices Board of Indiaa€™s a€?Flavorita€™ sells authentic spices in its various state-of-the-art showrooms like Lulu Mall Kochi.
The regal tradition of the equipment adds to the aura of this beautiful crafted oval mirror. Depending on the design and size the product could cost you anywhere between Rs.2000 to a couple of Lakhs.
The Kathakali faces made of wood and figurines of different sizes are also equally elegant. A piece will cost you anywhere between a couple of hundred rupees to a thousand depending on size and design. The product is manufactured in Cherpu near Thrissur under a co-operative society of artisans and also near Trivandrum. Being fully hand crafted with each lock and screw shaped and chiselled by hand, this is another authentication of the patience and skill of the artisans from Nettur region in north Kerala. The saree is made of light cotton material in off white with a border interwoven from thread dipped in real gold (kasavu). These lamps are cast in bronze or bell metal and last for centuries with occasional cleaning. It is an important small scale industry of Kerala which is monetarily supported by the Kerala government. A remarkable feature of the technology of Uru making is that, there are no documents, work plans, technical data sheets or drawings right from the concept stage to completion.
The traditional piece is crafted from gold (24g) and copper (3.5 Kg) and sports golden crescents and spheres in its design. Besides mural paintings, Raja Ravi Varma paintings have also become the face of Kerala's rich art tradition.
Art lovers can buy mural paintings at the art gallery of Vaasthu Vidya Gurukulam, Aranmula or remakes of Raja Ravi Varma work sold in Kochi. If you experience any of Keralaa€™s snake boat races and enjoy yourself, why not buy yourself a snake boat model? Fresh enterprises, mind blowing offers, exciting prizes and unique products which promote the cultural heritage of Kerala are the hallmarks of this event. As a young man with poetic pretensions he had written student verse celebrating wine and good company, but in the course of his journeys he had discovered his real passion: geography. The occupying Arabs had built dams, irrigation systems, reservoirs and water towers, introduced new cropsa€”oranges and lemons, cotton, date palms, ricea€”and exploited the islanda€™s mines and fishing grounds.
Nor is there any limit to his knowledge of the sciences, so deeply and wisely has he studied them in every particular. The Garden of Eden and Paradise were at the top and Jerusalem at the center, while fabulous monsters occupied the unexplored regionsa€”Sirens, dragons, men with dogsa€™ heads, men with feet shaped like umbrellas with which they protected themselves from the sun while lying down (see #205, #207, #224, #226).
The mission he entrusted to al-Idrisi was intellectually Herculean: to collect and evaluate all available geographical knowledgea€”from books and from on-the-spot observersa€”and to organize it into an accurate and meaningful representation of the world. Muslim merchants, pilgrims and officials used so-called a€?road booksa€?, itineraries that described routes, traveling conditions and cities along the way. What was the climate of the country, its rivers and lakes, mountains, coastal configurations and soil? All creatures are stable on the surface of the earth, the air attracting what is light, the earth what is heavy, as the magnet attracts iron. The mathematician al-Khwarizmi reduced Ptolemya€™s estimate of the length of the Mediterranean Sea from 62 to 52 degrees; the Spanish Muslim astronomer al-Zarqali further adjusted the figure to the correct 42 degrees. Roger II of Sicily had his world map drawn on a six-foot diameter circle of silver weighing about 450 pounds. The Baltic area and Poland were represented much more precisely than on Ptolemya€™s maps, showing the fruit of the geographersa€™ investigations. In the fourth section of the first climate, al-Idrisi located the sources of the Nile in their approximately correct position, though he pictured the Nile of the Negroes as joining the Egyptian Nile at that point.
The gardens of Toledo are laced with canals on which are erected water wheels used in irrigating the orchards, which produce in prodigious quantity fruits of inexpressible beauty and quality.
Juba populated the Canaries with Berber-speaking colonists, perhaps the ancestors of the Guanches. The admiral in charge of the expedition died just as it was about to set out, so the venture came to nothing. Then they set sail with the first gentle easterly and sailed for about eleven daya€™s, until they came to a sea with heavy waves, evil-smelling, ridden with reefs and with very little light. The a€?sea with heavy waves, evil-smelling, ridden with reefs and with very little lighta€? can probably be ignored, for the passage is influenced by the a€?land of darknessa€? thought to exist in the farthest West, and the reefs may echo a passage in Platoa€™s Timeus which speaks of the shallows in the Atlantic marking the site where Atlantis sank. No large mammals are indigenous to the Azores, and sheep or goats could only have been brought to the island by previous mariners. In the Arabic-speaking world, popular legend transferred a number of the heroic deeds of Hercules to Alexander - including the building of a land bridge across the Pillars of Hercules. The wood is deep black, and merchants come to the island to harvest it and then sell it to the kings of the farthest West. The same linear arrangement of islands appears on 14th century maps such as the 1351Laurentian portolano (Book III, #233), and, a full century later, on the Bartolomeo Pareto map (1455), since it was still impossible to determine longitude. The sixth island, shown opposite the entrance to the Mediterranean, would be al-Ghanam [Island of Sheep], Madeira. I think that Babcock comes close, but, rather than the cormorant, the bird referred to is the goshawk [Afar], a species of hawk that closely resembles an eagle and abounds in the Azores, and from which the entire archipelago gets its name. On the Island of Two Heathen Brothers, two pirates lived until they were turned into rocks, and the inhabitants of the Island of Kalhan had the bodies of men and the heads of animals. Using a globe prepared by a German cartographer named Martin Behaim (Book III, #258), based on Ptolemya€™s miscalculations, Columbus also added in Marco Poloa€™s equally misleading estimates of distances and concluded, incorrectly, that by sailing west from Spain he could reach Japan or India after no more than a 4,000 mile voyage. The consecutive numbers sometimes used to refer to the sectional maps are shown in the upper right corner of each section.
Old Jew street or the Broadway in Kochi also have some reliable places to shop for authentic spices. The sari for women and mundu for men is the dress code followed by Keralites on festive occasions reflecting the flavour of the land. Different varieties available include mayilvilakku (the peacock lamp), hamsaVilakku (swan lamp) and archana deep (lamp for offering). With fewer boats being launched nowadays, the skilled artisans now spend time making wooden models of these gigantic masterpieces.
The Nettipattom is valued-showpiece in many establishments and it said to bring in good luck.
These paintings seize subtle emotions of either mythological characters or the common man in a realistic manner. Gold ornaments of traditional design could also be considered as a unique take-aways or pick some sandalwood work you stumble upon. He is responsible for singular innovations and for marvelous inventions, such as no prince has ever before realized. His purpose was partly practical, but mostly scientific: to produce a work that would sum up all the contemporary knowledge of the physical world. Other Muslim scholars, like the Iraqi astronomer al-Battani and the Persian al-Biruni (#214.3), composed tables giving the latitudes of leading cities. The works of Al-Idrisi include Nozhat al-mushtaq fi ikhtiraq al-afaq - a compendium of the geographic and sociological knowledge of his time as well as descriptions of his own travels illustrated with over seventy maps; Kharitat al-`alam al-ma`mour min al-ard [Map of the inhabited regions of the earth] wherein he divided the world into seven regions, the first extending from the equator to 23 degrees latitude, and the seventh being from 54 to 63 degrees followed by a region uninhabitable due to cold and snow. The British Isles also were treated with a surprising insight, probably due to contacts between Norman England and Norman Sicily. It is a considerable island, whose shape is that of the head of an ostrich, and where there are flourishing towns, high mountains, great rivers and plains.
Gradually, knowledge of the location of the Canaries was lost, even though Lanzarote, the island nearest the North African coast, lies less than 100 kilometers [60 miles] west of the mainland.
Al-ldrisi says the admirala€™s curiosity was aroused by smoke rising from the sea in the west, probably the result of volcanic activity.
Neither name is Arabic, nor do they appear to be transcriptions of Greek, Latin or Romance - but the fact that these two islands had names at all means mariners must have visited them, and the names are either native designations or hark back to some lost, perhaps oral, source. They were sure they were about to perish, so they changed course to the south and sailed for twelve days, until they came to Sheep Island, There were so many sheep it was impossible to count them, and they ranged freely, with no one to watch them. The Azores lie almost 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles) west of the coast of Portugal - one-third of the way to America. Some Greek mythographers thought the Islands of the Hesperides lay off the coast of North Africa, and we have already seen how al-Idrisi associates Alexander with two of the Atlantic islands. The island is said to have been inhabited in the past, but it fell to ruin and serpents infested the land.
Al-Sua€™ali and al-Mustashkin both sound completely legendary, but there is nothing legendary about Hasran and Qalhan, which sound as if they might belong together. During the period of rediscovery of the Azores under Prince Henry the Navigator, these birds were supposedly responsible for guiding the sailors to these distant islands.
According to one historian, friendly relations were established between the Sultan of Spain and the invaders. Started in Austin in 1984 as PC's Limited by Michael Dell, the company has grown into one of the largest publicly-traded companies in the world and a leader in the personal computer and computer services industry. This is an ideal souvenir to take back home which will remind you of the culture of Kerala. The artisans who make it take a strict fast for the 20 odd days they work on a single piece. This annual event takes place from December to mid-Jan which is part of the broader peak season for travel in Kerala.
Others belonged to a later tradition of systematic geography, like the 10th century scholars Ibn Hawqal (#213) and al-Masa€™udi (#212), who produced books intended as something more than practical guides for the tax collector or the postman: as additions to the fund of human knowledge.
An element of subjectivity entered into the fact that southern Italy was represented as larger than the north, and that Sicily occupied a substantial part of the Western Mediterranean, in contrast to Sardinia and Corsica, which shrank in scale. This country is most fertile; its inhabitants are brave, active and enterprising, but all is in the grip of perpetual winter. The Greeks called the Canary Islands TA?n MakarA?n NA“soi [The Islands of the Blessed], and they were regarded as the furthest known land to the west. In another passage al-Idrisi gives more details of this island - incidentally showing that a longer account of the voyage of the mugharrirun must have existed.
In the 19th century, Carthaginian coins were found on the most westerly of the islands, Corvo - 31A° west longitude - and although the find has been questioned, the origin of the coins has never been satisfactorily explained. But if the word is Arabic, one would expect it to be preceded by the definite article a€?ala€?. Since the only inhabited islands in the western Atlantic just before the coming of the Europeans were the Canaries, Hasran may belong to that groupa€”unless, of course, it is to be sought in the Caribbean!


If the isle of Raqa is indeed one of the Azores, then the discovery of these islands occurred as early as the 10th century. The company employs almost 90,000 people worldwide, with over 14,000 local employees.Dell Diamond 3400 E. In addition, scientific expeditions were dispatched to areas on which information was lacking. Contrary to a still popular misconception that up to the time of Columbus everyone believed the world was flat, many scholars and astronomers since at least the fifth century B.C. Not surprisingly, the best part of both map and text, accurate and detailed, dealt with Sicily itself. It forms an island 300 miles long by 150 miles wide: this is surrounded by the Nile on all sides and at all seasons . Al-Idrisi gave the names of many English towns, principally ports, with the distances between them. They caught some of the sheep and slaughtered them, but the flesh was so bitter they could not eat it. He says Sheep Island is large, shrouded in shadows, and filled with small sheep whose flesh is bitter and inedible. Corvo is marked on the Canterino map of 1351, where the name occurs as Corvini - considerably before its official discovery. Draftsmen and cartographers accompanied these expeditions so that a visual record of the country could be made.
The greater part of the country is only habitable on the borders of the Nile for the rest of the country . Hastings was a considerable town, densely populated, with many buildings, markets, much industry and commerce; Dover, to the east, was an equally important town not far from the mouth of the river of London, the broad and swiftly flowing Thames. In 1402 the Normans partially conquered them, meeting stiff resistance from the indigenous Guanches. They took some sheepskins and sailed on to the south for another twelve days until they sighted an island. Nearby is another island, called Raqa, which is the home of a red bird the size of an eagle, which catches fish in its claws and never flies far from the island.
Certain adventures of Sinbad the Sailor, from Tales of the Arabian Nights, are almost identical to those of Saint Brendan. Home of the Triple AAA Pacific Coast League Minor League, Round Rock Express baseball team. You may get there sooner or you may not get there as soon as you expected, but you will certainly get there. In the mid-15th century, the Spanish took control of the Canaries and continued the conquest. The settlers quickly burned down all the forests, so it is now hard to know for certain, but some sort of scented wood may have once grown there. But whether the Irish borrowed these myths from the Arabs, or vice versa, or if they both obtained them from an earlier common source is a matter of conjecture. Enjoy Americas favorite national pasttime in an affordable, exciting, fun, family-friendly atmosphere in a modern, top-of-the-line stadium located in Eastern Round Rock.Historic Chisolm Trail and Round Rock - In 1851 a small community was formed on the banks of Brushy Creek, near a large round rock located in the middle of the creek. Al-Idrisia€™s silver disk, or planisphere, was a form of projection considerably in advance of others of its time. Fighting was still going on when Columbus used the islands as the first stop on all four of his voyages to the Caribbean.
They headed toward it in order to explore and when they were not far offshore, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by boats, which forced their ship to land beside a city on the shore. A king of the Franks heard of this, al-Idrisi adds, and sent a ship to the island to bring him that fruit and some of the birds, but the ship was lost and never returned.
The Guanches were not finally subdued until the end of the 16th century, when they and their language virtually disappeared. They saw the men who lived there; they were light-complexioned, with very little facial hair. The first postmaster called the community Brushy Creek, but in 1854 the small settlement was renamed Round Rock in honor of this now famous rock.
And in the ninth century, 70 Muslim scholars, working under the patronage of Caliph al-Maa€™mun, gathered in the Syrian Desert to determine the length of a degree of latitude. There are arid wastes where one must walk two, four, five, or twelve days before finding water . From the few words of Guanche preserved in the Spanish chronicles, we know they spoke a form of Berber, and were therefore probably descended from Jubaa€™s colonists. Rather than rely on travelersa€™ guesses of distance, as previous astronomers had done, they used wooden rods to measure the road they traveled until they saw a change of one degree in the elevation of the polestar. Yet when Europeans encountered them, they had no memory of the mainland; having no boats, they were unaware that the other islands in the group were inhabited. After the Civil War, Jesse Chisholm began to move cattle from South Texas through Round Rock, on the way to Abilene, Kansas. Their calculation resulted in a figure for the eartha€™s circumference equivalent to 22,422 miles, an error of 3.6 percent, almost as accurate as Eratosthenesa€™ estimate and a considerable improvement over Ptolemya€™s.
The route he established, which crossed Brushy Creek at the round rock became known as the Chisholm Trail. On the fourth day a man who spoke Arabic entered and asked them who they were and where they were going and what was the name of their country. They told him everything and he said not to worry, and that he was the kinga€™s interpreter. The next day they were taken into the kinga€™s presence and he asked the same questions they had been asked by the interpreter. Grimes were both mortally wounded during a shootout that is re-enacted each year as part of the Frontier Days Celebration in July, have been preserved and remodeled and now house fine dining restaurants, art galleries, offices, etc.Old Settlers Park 2800 E. They told him what they had told the interpreter the day before, of how they had embarked upon the ocean in order to find out about it and see the wonders it contained, and how they had come to this place. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock, Texas 78664 Huge 570 acre sportsplex complete with 3 miles of walking-jogging trails, 20 baseball fields, 5 softball fields, 12 tennis courts, 7 soccer fields, 2 volleyball courts, professionally designed disc-golf course, 7 playgrounds, picnic areas with BBQ grills, aquatic center, and a lake with paddleboat rentals and designated fishing areas. This safe, family-friendly park further enhances Round Rocks reputation as the Sports Capital of the World.Premium Outlet Mall 4401 N.
More than 50 top stores and restaurants, all conveniently located to your home or office at La Frontera. When dawn broke and the sun rose, we found we were in great pain because we had been so tightly bound.
Contour farming, planting cover crops, building stock tanks, rotating crops and planting new seed varieties reduced wind and water erosion and kept the soil intact during periods of drought.
One of them asked us: a€?Do you know how far you are from your country?a€™ a€?No,a€™ we answered.
The mission of the Pflugerville Pfarmer's Market is to bring fresh, locally grown and prepared foods to the Pflugerville community.Vendors sell locally grown produce including tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash, okra, garlic, melons, peaches and grapes, artisan baked goods,honey, flowers,eggs, free-range meats, jarred salsas, pickles and jams,fruits and plants. IH-35, Georgetown, Texas 78628 - Hidden for 10,000 years, this fascinating underground discovery in 1963 is one of the best preserved caves in Texas and one of the few places where remains of prehistoric animals were unearthed. Explore this limestone cavern and discover beautiful examples of natures perfect artwork such as The Flowing Stone of Time, the mysterious Lake of the Moon and the intricate Soda Straw Balcony. Among the amazing variety of formations found within the cavern you will see beautiful helictites, ancient flowstones, and giant columns. With the assistance of the Texas Historical Commission and the dedication of preservation-minded county citizens and officials, the fifth courthouse of Williamson County has been returned to its original 1911 splendor, once again becoming a focal point of the county. The architecture of the downtown square buildings surrounding the old courthouse have been restored to its period beauty. As you walk aroundthe town square, you can view the beautiful gingerbread features that takes us back to yesteryear.San Gabriel Park 445 E.
Morrow St., Georgetown, Texas 78628 - Meandering right through the very heart of Georgetown is the San Gabriel River.
San Gabriel Park is graced with Pecan trees and 200 year-old oak trees that offer the shade of their branches to family picnics, games of touch football or Frisbee, concerts, festivals, canoeing, swimming and fishing. For those with a little more energetic spirit, theres a new wooded 1-mile hike and bike trail that wanders along the North Fork of the San Gabriel River from San Gabriel Park to the new Rivery Park west of I-35. Resembling Bourbon Street in New Orleans, this older section of Sixth Street offers rows of shot bars, piano bars, biker bars, pubs, dance clubs, tattoo parlors, art galleries, and restaurants on both sides of the street in downtown Austin. Great live music of every type from well-known performers and up and coming bands alike, along with a very lively atmosphere make visiting downtown Austin a unique experience and keep .
Popular events like the Austin Mardi Gras celebration, SXSW (South By Southwest Music Festival), ROT Rally (The Republic of Texas Bikers Rally), the Old Pecan Street Festival and Sixth's Street infamous Halloween celebration all make for great times with great people. With a wide range of newer, hip, chic restaurants, and more upscale clubs with rooftop decks and outdoor seating, West Sixth Street provides for a little more relaxed, yet still lively nightclub atmosphere.Esthers Follies on 6th Street - 525 E. 6th St., Austin, Texas 78701 Esther's Follies began as a by-product of a pool parlor, called Esther's Pool, on East Sixth Street April Fool's Day, 1977. For more than a quarter-century, the folks at Esthers Pool have kept Austin rolling with laughter.
Part magic show, part vaudeville review, part satire tour-de-force, Esthers Follies takes no prisoners, offering biting, hilarious satire on all the newsmakers and events fit to parody.
The stage's huge windows look out over Sixth Street, so passersby unwittingly become part of the show. Go Thursday through Saturday, or book the theatre for a private party.Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown Ritz - 320 E.
6th St., Austin, Texas 78701 Although there are numerous locations now, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is an innovative Austin original and still Austins only independently owned and operated movie theater, offering a unique setting for dinner and a movie all in one. Located on Sixth Street in the newly remodeled former Ritz Theater, The Alamo Drafthouse Downtown offers two theaters seating 75, and 175 and is a hip combination of restaurant, bar, movie theatre, and events venue. Movies include first-runs, as well as classics, and the dinner is chef-prepared and the drinks are reasonably priced.
Also check out the Rolling Roadshow (giant inflatable screen that goes on the road throughout the U.S.
It is a pretty cool concept and has created quite a huge following.Warehouse District - Downtown area bordered by Cesar Chavez St.
A bit trendier and certainly more pricey, it caters to a slightly older crowd than the other downtown entertainment areas. True to its name, the formerly old, abandoned warehouses throughout this downtown section of Austin have been renovated into concert halls, high-end retail stores, art galleries, salons, trendy steakhouses, seafood eateries, and other chic restaurants and bars such as Qua (a dance club with a live shark tank under the see-through dance floor) and Cedar Street Bar (with outdoor patios and courtyards for live music, dancing and dining). In the 1970s, Stubbs Restaurant became the heart of an explosive music scene and was ground zero for musicians like Joe Ely and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Other musicians who would play for their supper in those days included Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Robert Cray, George Thorogood, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Linda Ronstadt, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. The Lubbock location closed years ago, but the legend continues in Austin with great Texas Bar-B-Que, ice cold beer, and an indoor and outdoor concert venue featuring some of the most popular bands in music today. The 30-acre garden is free and open to the public most days year-round and is enjoyed by over 400,000 visitors each year, including thousands of school children from Austin and the surrounding communities. Theme gardens such as rose, herb and Japanese garden are interconnected with streams, waterfalls and Koi-filled ponds. Three acres in size, Barton Springs Pool is fed from under ground springs and is on average 68 degrees year round. Over the years, Barton Springs Pool has drawn people from all walks of life, from legislators who have concocted state laws there to free-spirited topless sunbathers who turned heads in the seventies. Even Robert Redford learned to swim at the pool when he was five years old while visiting his mother's relative in Austin.
The pool began as a swimming hole in the Colorado River, became a resort in the 1920s, and is today a popular swimming pool operated by the City of Austin.Elizabet Ney Museum - 304 E.
In this studio, Ney sculpted the great men of frontier Texas, among them, life-sized figures of Stephen F.
Ney also assembled in this studio her earlier sculptures of European notables, among them, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, King George V of Hanover, Otto von Bismarck, Giuseppi Garibaldi, Justus von Liebig, Arthur Schopenhauer and Jacob Grimm, all cherished portraits Ney rendered from life as a as a young artist.
By the turn of the century, Elisabet Ney's Hyde Park studio had become a gathering place for influential Texans drawn to the colorful character of "Miss Ney" and to the stimulating discussions of politics and ideas that took place there.
Inspired by Ney's "revolutionary" idea that art and beauty have been and can be powerful forces in the shaping of a nation as well as in individuals, these early Texans went on to found the University of Texas Art Department, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Texas Fine Arts Association and museums and art schools throughout the state.
See the rainwater harvesting system, meditate on the beauty of a Hill Country stream, visit Wild Ideas: The Store, and dine at the Wildflower Caf.
Dont forget your walking shoes so you can take a short hike on one of four trails, and be sure to bring your camera to photograph the award-winning architecture and beautiful blooming displays. Weekend activities include workshops and lectures on everything from gardening with natural plants to nature photography. Few locals realize it is only a short drive of 13 miles from the capitol building, making it one of Austin's best kept secrets.Wildlife to be observed and photographed includes white-tailed deer, raccoons, armadillos, squirrels, and numerous birds. Capital Of Texas Hwy., Austin, Texas 78746 - Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve was founded in 1974 to protect 227 acres of Texas Hill Country. Come and enjoy over 3 miles of hiking trails through woodland, grassland, and streamside habitats.
Wild Basin also hosts a variety of family events, concerts, adult workshops, children's and school programs. Wild Basin's nature education programs are funded by special events, memberships, corporate donations and grants. Trail maps are available at the Environmental Education Center or at kiosks at either trailhead.
A Segway Tour is an exciting and unique approach to viewing historical landmarks, local businesses, and captivating attractions. Informative guides will lead you on an intriguing journey full of facts and entertainment through downtown Austin to the Texas State Capital.Lone Star Riverboat Cruises - Located on Lady Bird Lake (formally Town Lake) in downtown Austin, Texas. Experience the exhilaration of the outdoors, the abundant waterfowl, our ever changing city skyline and the natural beauty that is Austin. Hewanted to share that beauty with the town he loved,so he openeda canoe rental business on the banks of the creek, just downstream from Barton Springs. He and his wife, Dorothy,and their four-year-old daughter rented out theirnine canoes on weekends while Howard worked for the Texas Park and Wildlife Department. Together they built the business to the environmentally friendly and family oriented establishment that it is today. With over100 canoes and kayaks and reasonable prices, Zilker Park Boat Rentals is the perfect place to bring friends and family to enjoy a relaxing outing on the water. But if you're looking for a pleasant, mostly flat, walk, jog, or bike ride with several excellent views of downtown Austin and Lady Bird Lake, then the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail may fit the bill for you.The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge - (formerly known simply as the Congress Avenue Bridge) crosses over Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas.
The bridge was known as the Congress Avenue Bridge from the construction of the first span across the Colorado River at that location in the late 19th century until November 16, 2006, when the Austin City Council renamed the current bridge in honor of the late Ann W. The bridge is a concrete arch bridge, with three southbound and three northbound vehicle lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.
The bridge is currently home to the world's largest urban Mexican Free-Tailed Bat colony and hosts large crowds of Austinites gathered for bat watching at sunset throughout the Spring and Summer months.Long Center for the Performing Arts - 701 W.
Palmer (Municipal) Auditorium, built in 1959 on the shores of Town Lake, was recently renovated into a multi-venue community performing arts center. It is one of Austin's most vibrant and innovative arts organizations and Central Texas' oldest professional theatre.The Broken Spoke - 3201 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, Texas 78704 - Texas' most definitive legendary dance hall built in 1964. If you're ever in Austin, stop by for an ice-cold Lone Star longneck and some traditional country music by some "real" country musicians.The Spoke has some of Austin's very best local talent such as Alvin Crow, Asleep at the Wheel, Gary P. Nunn, Sam and Son, better known as The Geezinslaw Brothers, Jerry Jeff Walker, The Derailers, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Chris Wall, and Dale Watson just to name a few.
Some of the old time country music legends that have played The Spoke include Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, Hank Thompson, Tex Ritter, Ray Price, Kitty Wells, Grandpa Jones, Willie Nelson and George Strait. While most of these stars are no longer around, Willie still stops in for chicken fried steak.
When it was completed in 1888, it was claimed to be the seventh largest building in the world. Some 1,000 men (mostly convicts) worked every day for four years at the height of the project.
It cost $3,744, 600 to build and was funded funded through an article in the state constitution, adopted February 15, 1876, which authorized the sale of public lands for the purpose. In one of the largest barter transactions in recorded history, the builders of the capitol were paid with over three-million acres of public land in the Texas panhandle.
This tract later became the largest cattle ranch in the world, the XIT Ranch, covering ten counties (The XIT brand stands for 10 in Texas). The building has been renovated many times, with central air conditioning installed in 1955 and the most recent refurbishments completed in 1997.
It was built in 1854, designed by prominent architect Abner Cook in Greek Revival style, and has been the home of every Texas governor since 1856. The mansion is the oldest continuously inhabited house in Texas and fourth oldest governor's mansion in the United States that has been continuously occupied by a chief executive. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and further was declared a U.S. On June 8, 2008, while midway through a major renovation, the mansion was heavily damaged by a four-alarm fire believed to be arson.



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