Sunday, February 24, 2008

Amber - the Jurassic Memoires in beautifully crafted jewellery...

Dinosaurs have been more popular than ever since their starring role in the film Jurassic Park.

A more surprising result of the film's popularity has been a worldwide surge in demand for amber jewellery. Amber's popularity got peek after millions of people saw dinosaur DNA extracted from a mosquito trapped in amber in the film.

People learned that amber, which is fossilised pine tree resin, is ancient and valuable, like an antique from history.
Demand is especially strong for amber with insects inside it.

The two main sources of amber on the market today are the Baltic states and the Dominican Republic. Amber from the former is older, and thus preferred on the market.

Demand is especially strong for amber with insects inside it. Amber prices can range from $20 to $40,000 or more.

Luckily for new amber enthusiasts, amber from Poland is more widely available on the market than it was in previous years thanks to the liberalisation of the economies of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Baltic amber is found in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, and occasionally washed up on the shores of the Baltic Sea as far away as Denmark, Norway, and England.

Other amber sources include Myanmar (formerly Burma), Lebanon, Sicily, Mexico, Romania, Germany, and Canada.
The desire for amber is nothing new. Amber artefacts dating back to the Stone Age have been found in what is now Germany and Denmark.

The Romans sent armies to conquer and control amber-producing areas. The Emperor Nero was a great connoisseur of amber. During his time, according to the Roman historian Pliny, the price of an amber figurine, no matter how small, exceeded the price of a healthy slave.

The ancient Germans burned amber as incense, so they called it 'bernstein', or 'burn stone'.

Certain orders of knights controlled the trade, and unauthorised possession of raw amber was illegal in most of Europe by the year 1400.
What secrets might amber hold?

Could a mosquito trapped in amber really contain dinosaur DNA? Most amber just isn't old enough, having had some 25 to 50 million birthdays at the most. The dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period. The Jurassic period was 144 million years ago. But in 1994, Dr Raul Cano of California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, a molecular biologist, reported in the British journal 'Nature' that he and his colleagues had extracted DNA from a weevil that was trapped in amber 120 to 135 million years ago, when dinosaurs did indeed roam the earth.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Warsaw window shopping

Pictures taken in Złote Tarasy - newest commercial center in Warsaw, located just next to old communist railway station building.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Nikiszowiec - Katowice

Fot. Śląski Urząd Marszałkowski

There is such place in South of Poland - Nikiszowiec (Neekeeshowec) - which is unique in entire Europe.

Located in Katowice, biggest city in the heart of Silesia, fully built in bricks -resembles small vilages in south of Europe. Narrow streets look like city in middle ages. It turns 100 years old.

This place is unknown as sightseeing place and if you don't know about its existence, you will not see while coming to Poland.

This is the place where Polish film producers are shooting the movies and painters are painting. :) Movie directors like Kazimierz Kutz or Lech Majewski are the examples.

It was built 1908-24, based on design of Emil and Georg Zillmann. It was a colony for workers of coalmine ''Nickisch''.

Place is today fully functional including church, school, bakery, laundry, restaurant and drugstore - it was designed for 1 000 inhabitants. This place is the example of the most consistent urban design in the region.

This year it turns 100 years old and loud celebrations are planned.

Place is easy to find: by car you need to get to the crossing of highway A-4 with road 86.

More pictures at original article in Gazeta Wyborcza

Friday, February 1, 2008

Hard Rock Cafe vs Stalin

Yesterday I was rushing around the city, just trying to fix some things. I was looking around and I was thinking how bad it is, that after the war Warsaw was not restored properly. The main part of the center full of ruins of old apartment houses was not restored - there was a decision of removing them and place there a huge building Palace of Culture called 'Gift from Stalin'.
Josef Stalin was horror Soviet Union leader 1922-53. It was said he gave an option of either a metro system, or the palace. The people wanted a metro, so Stalin gave them the palace :( In 50-ties.
There is a concert hall, where are many performances taking place. The first band visiting Poland behind Iron Courtain was The Rolling Stones - I was kid at that time, but since then they had many fans in Poland. My mom was one of them :) so, when I was a kid I used to hear Rolling Stones as lullabys :)

Still today the center of the City is not arranged yet, because there are too many different ideas and there is no settlement. The ideas oscillate between removing Stalin's gift completely through leaving it and just hide with skyscrapers to expose it nicely as important historical monument.
I really do not understand why to remove it - whatever history is connected with it, it is still part of the past and history, right?

Walking around yesterday I just realise just another Laugh of the History - that huge guitar as big as the Palace of Culture. The first one you can find here.

Ińsko 70 km East from Szczecin

Ińsko is a beautiful summer resort place in Lake Drawski district, situated in the centre, 80 km far from Szczecin and 80 km far from the Baltic Sea.

Situated in the centre of Lake Iński District, on the south bank of Lake Ińsko, belongs to the prettiest landscape on the West Seaside with waters of the I class purity.
In Lake District it is a city situated on the highest level over the sea (130 m).

The highest lift- off of Ińsko Upland Mount Głowacz (180 m over the sea level), is at the same time a nature reservation and is 7 km far from Ińsko.

This region is called Switzerland of Ińsko.

Unique character, picturesque countrysides, reservations are unusually valuable, with rich fauna and flora. Ińsko Landscape Park was founded 1981. The territory of Ińsko Landscape Park is formed by glacier. Spreading around Lake Ińsko hills which appeared after the glacier create an unforgettable landscape.

Water in the lake is preserved very clean - 1st class.
Ińsko Upland lakes are a real landscape’s ornament. You will be attracted by unusually formed bank’s line of the lake: peninsulas, islands, bays.
Curiosity for tourists’ experts are floating islands on Linówko Lakes and the Stone Bridge. Because of abundance (18 lakes and 45 smaller ones known as a water pond) and variety of the area, Iński Landscape Park is called Blue Lakes District and hills covered with forests.

Ińsko neighbourhoods are known for their numerous archeological excavations and seldom met relics of architecture. There are numerous remains of castles here. It is worth seeing monumental country churches built in the XVIII- XIX centuries and living houses made of stone with characteristic wooden towers.
From the city there are innumerable sightseeing routes in different directions. Amateurs of horse- riding can use riding centre which are 20 km far.
In the village you find: *post office *shops *a petrol station *a pharmacy *medical aid
Place is great for amateurs of foot and bicycle wanderings, fans of water sports, anglers, lovers of wild mushrooms and hunters.
Beautiful landscapes are waiting also for tourists who likes taking pictures, painting, drawing and admiring nature beauty.

Good place to stay for families PROMYK site in English here.

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