Motorway Attraction


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The Grand Mosque of Muscat is featured as the Top 25 most beautiful Mosque in the World by the Telegraph, Uk’s leading newspaper.

Driving thru the busy Sultan Qaboos highway everyday, motorists ( that includes me) can’t help  but take  a split-second clear view (atop the Ghala roundabout flyover) of Oman’s famous Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. I got an interest to feature this place of worship in Muscat for being  featured in UK’s leading newspaper The Telegraph’s list of the 25 most beautiful mosques in the world.Other notable  mosques like Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, Al Haram Mosque, Saudi Arabia, Al-Masjid an-Nabawi – Medina, Saudi Arabia are also included in the list.With peaceful courtyards and elegant arcades, this mosque nestled within the hub of the City of Muscat is one of the most impressive buildings in this Gulf country. Its central minaret is 91.5 m (300 ft) tall, and the main prayer hall has a Persian carpet that took 600 women and four years to weave.

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The Grand Mosque’s slender tower(Central minaret) is 91.5 m (300 ft) tall
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The main prayer hall reportedly has a Persian carpet that took 600 women and four years to weave.
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The well-lit Dome at night..With peaceful courtyards and elegant arcades, this place of worship is one of the most impressive buildings in this Gulf country.
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Vantage view from the Sultan Qaboos Motorway…

New 7th Wonder City


A colorful ceremony on Thursday night May 7,2015  formalized the status of Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, Phils. as one of the world’s New7Wonders Cities.

The inauguration was held at the St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral grounds, with a bronze plaque presented to the city’s officials by the New 7 Wonders Foundation.

Established in the 16th century, its architecture echoes the fusion of cultural elements from the Philippines, China and Europe, creating a city that is without equal in Asia.

ItalsodescribedVigan as “the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. It is also a certified Heritage City in Asia.

New 7th Wonder City and a Heritage City in Asia.
New 7th Wonder City and a Heritage City in Asia.
Other than Vigan, the New7Wonders Cities are:
  • Beirut, Lebanon
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Durban, South Africa
  • Havana, Cuba
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • La Paz, Bolivia
New 7th Wonder City
St. Paul Cathedral Vigan

Animals do help grow trees.


Seed Dispersal by Animals elsewhere in the  world.

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In the North African desert, elephants scour the area for fruits that have fallen from the trees and deposit the seeds in their droppings several miles away. In South American jungles, monkeys eat figs and other fruit, carrying some away in their stomachs and dropping others onto the ground and in South Africa, even ants carry seeds into their nests, eat the tasty outer covering and leave the seeds to grow safely underground.

 Even humans carry seeds far away for plants – by taking an apple on a picnic, for example, and throwing the core, with its seeds, into the bushes.

Examples of seeds spread by this method include:

Dessert for Camels.Dates are part of their meals in one of the farms in Oman.
A camel enjoys a nice dessert of dates and later on discharges the seed  from her digestive tract elsewhere in the vast desert.Photo taken by author at a farm in the Batinah region of Oman.

The Beauty of Jebel Shams During Cold Weather


Hi all fellow bloggers! It’s good to be back and I am excited to share with you my very recent jaunt with friends to a must-see beautiful high place in Oman , THE JEBEL SHAMS touted as the The Grand Canyon of the Arabias. And talking about Jebel in Oman  , there’s got to be plenty of them but only one stands out …This blog zeroes in on a top tourist attraction called Jebel Shams or Sun Mountain.

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The steel-fenched edges of the Jebel Shams’s summit.
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Summit ridge of Jebel Shams as seen from a distance. Just simply stand around at the edge, and be soaked in the fantastic views…Jebel Shams or the Sun Mountain is the highest mountain in Oman at a height of 3005 meters. At the summit is a military radar base and observatory, both of which are closed to the public.

 A mountain or a hill would refer to Jebel in arabic.The one other famous and spectacular Jebel lying in close proximity is Jebel Akhdar meaning the Green Mountain but is overshadowed by Jebel Shams in magnificence being the highest point in Oman and the whole of Eastern Arabia both of which lie in the strategic Al Hajar Mountain range in Northeast Oman. Jebel Shams has an Elevation of 9,934′ (3,028 m). For the hikers coming from downtown Muscat and other places down,the air offers a unique experience.It is a chilly mountain air that goes down to single digits on the thermo scale or at most to as low as  two below zero.

Towering magnificently
Towering magnificently, the summit of all summits in the Arabias, Wadi Shams in its full splendor engulfed by beautiful clouds…
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At the foot of Jebel Shams..the view to the top of of the Grand Canyon is captivating.
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    The author in a memorble pose before the famed mountain with better half.
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    Looking down from  Jebel Shams’ summit edges into the space below us, with a spectacular drop of around 1.5 km showcases a gorge below us that had been carved out of Jebel Shams over time. A pathway can be seen below us, (used by former village dwellers long abandoned) which are of interest to visitors wanting to take a walk on it.

     TheStory of Jebel Shams

    As the author have gathered, the Jebel Shams has a long history dating back 250,000,000 years ago. The Jebel came into existence with the formation of a sea called tethys which was formed when Oman and Iraq separated.Tethys sea is  a former tropical body of salt water that separated the supercontinent of Laurasia in the north from Gondwana in the south during much of the Mesozoic era (251 to 65.5 million years ago).. In Oman sediments were deposited in relatively shallow waters, which later formed the very hard grey limestone found on the jebel.The sea was warm and rich in life, and many fossils can be found throughout the region. As tethys was crated, submarine volcanoes were formed and the magma from these has turned some of the limestone to marble. When the tethys sea began to disappear about 90,000,000 years ago, the ocean floor was pushed over the land, forming the mountain. After the formation of the mountain, water erosion has shaped the “Grand Canyon” with a vertical drop of 2,100 meters from the summit to the base.

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    Al Nakhur Summit.The Grand Canyon is a must-see for any local or international tourist.
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    Wadi Nakhur is home to about a dozen small villages.

    Today the jebel is home to at least a dozen small villages, where the main occupations are animal husbandry, farming, and rug weaving.

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    Jebel Shams also has some of the oldest Juniper trees in the world.

    Jebel Shams also has some of the oldest Juniper trees or al’alaan in the world, some specimens are hundreds of years old and with trunks 2 – 3 meters wide. Another common tree on the mountain is the thorn of Christ tree or sidr, the fruit “nubuq” are eaten by the locals, and taste similar to apples.

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    This scenic area, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Arabia, once supported dozens of remote mountain settlements.

    This scenic area, often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Arabia, once supported dozens of remote mountain settlements. In the early 2000s however, the Oman Government moved all the inhabitants to less remote sites with easier access to modern services, leaving the villages to ghosts and foreign trampers.

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    The rim of Al Nakhur summit – strange-looking black thing is sitting atop a boulder.

    The rim of Al Nakhur summit – strange-looking black thing  is sitting atop a boulder. Very surreal-looking. It raises the question whether it is a head of something ,like the head of an animal, a sheep perhaps. We can see eyes, and some facial features. And that’s the beauty of Arabia’s Grand Canyon.

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    A narrow and imposing opening to the grand canyon is a rather suitable beginning to what becomes a rough graded track

    The drive into the heart of the beast! A narrow and imposing opening to the grand canyon is a rather suitable beginning to what becomes a rough graded track. After passing thru the village of Al Hajir, the walls of the canyon close in and soar above you…

     

     

     

    The way to the top!

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Holiday Cheers!


The Philippine Jeepney
The Philippine Jeepney. I chose the Jeepney in the Philippines as my featured image for my Season’s greetings. Here as shown is this multi-decade old passenger vehicle still lording all over the streets of the Philippines intricately, artistically and elaborately painted to depict the Christmas spirit celebrated on every December month.

A Jeepney in the Philippines is elaborately painted to depict the Christmas spirit celebrated on every December month.

As a contributor to the world of wordpress blogging, I’d like to embrace this opportunity to greet all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year! Continue reading Holiday Cheers!

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen : There will be something solid for you to stand on, or, you will be taught how to fly.

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