‘Comfort Town’

The stunning ‘Comfort town’ in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev looks like a real-life LEGO city.

Ever dreamt of visiting a real-life LEGO land? Well, coming close enough is ‘ The Comfort Town’ in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev which features low-rise apartment blocks, each painted a different pastel color. Yes, that’s right!

Creating a myriad of blues, greens, yellows, reds, and salmon pinks in the region of dull grey Soviet buildings, the Town is designed by Dmytro Vasyliev, Aleksandr Popov, Olga Alfiorova from the Eastern European firm Archimatika. They were apparently given a free hand to transform the area into an idyllic place to live, and have they done a fab job or what!



A city within a city, the town houses cafes, shops, and offices on the lower floors of each apartment. It also features a 14,763-square-foot retail section with a fitness club and a 3.7-acre outdoor sports facility. The cluster of 180 buildings further features space for leisure activities – such as five-a-side football and long streets, stretching from one side of the Town to the other.

Via – ArchiMatika

The project operates on the idea of a city-within-a-city, housing everything from shops and restaurants to schools and gyms. As the property sales brochure says, ‘Your little slice of Europe in Kyiv’, its 8,500 apartments and landscaped courtyards have been designed to be culturally closer to Europe than to Ukraine’s Soviet heritage.

Hallgrímskirkja Church

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran (Church of Iceland) parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland. At 74.5 metres (244 ft) tall, it is the largest church in Iceland and among the tallest structures in the country. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674), author of the Passion Hymns.

Situated on a hilltop near the centre of Reykjavík, the church is one of the city’s best-known landmarks and is visible throughout the city. State Architect Guðjón Samúelsson’s design of the church was commissioned in 1937. He is said to have designed it to resemble the trap rocks, mountains and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape. The design is similar in style to the expressionist architecture of Grundtvig’s Church of Copenhagen, Denmark, completed in 1940.

It took 41 years to build the church: construction started in 1945 and ended in 1986, but the landmark tower was completed long before the whole church was finished. The crypt beneath the choir was consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings were completed in 1974, and the nave was consecrated in 1986. At the time of construction, the building was criticized as too old-fashioned and as a blend of different architectural styles. The church was originally intended to be less tall, but the leaders of the Church of Iceland wanted a large spire so as to outshine Landakotskirkja (Landakot’s Church), which was the cathedral of the Catholic Church in Iceland.

The church houses a large pipe organ by the German organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn. It has electronic action; the pipes are remote from the four manuals and pedal console. There are 102 ranks, 72 stops and 5275 pipes. It is 15 metres (49 ft) tall and weighs 25 metric tons (25 long tons; 28 short tons). Its construction was finished in December 1992. It has been recorded by Christopher Herrick in his Organ Fireworks VII CD and by Mattias Wager on his CD Live at Vatnajökull.

The church is also used as an observation tower. An observer can take a lift up to the viewing deck and view Reykjavík and the surrounding mountains. The church is still used today for modern services and weddings.

The statue of explorer Leif Erikson (c.970 – c.1020) by Alexander Stirling Calder in front of the church predates its construction. It was a gift from the United States in honor of the 1930 Althing Millennial Festival, commemorating the 1000th anniversary of the convening of Iceland’s parliament at Þingvellir in 930 AD.

Home Alone house available to book on Airbnb

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Image caption,The famous home is located in the Chicago area

Home Alone fans can now live out their childhood dreams by spending the night in the film’s iconic house.

The house – home to the McCallister family in the 1990 Christmas classic – has been made available on Airbnb for one night only.

Located in the Chicago area, the home will be available to book from 7 December for $25 (£18).

The successful applicants will be able to stay overnight on 12 December. It is available for a maximum of four guests.

The blockbuster famously starred Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister.

Guests will be greeted on arrival by Devin Ratray, who played his older brother Buzz.

“You may not remember me as particularly accommodating,” Buzz is quoted as saying in the press release.

“But I’ve grown up, and I’d be happy to share my family home – my pizza, even – with you this holiday season. Just try not to let my tarantula, Axl, loose this time.”

Other perks include booby traps, aftershave and a mirror to scream into, and 90s junk food.

Incredible location for a lighthouse perched on a rock in Iceland’s wild surf

The lighthouse is surrounded by open water and is precariously …

The lighthouse is surrounded by open water and is precariously perched on a cliff. Morgunblaðið/Árni Sæberg

A photograph taken by Morgunblaðið photographer Árni Sæberg of the Þrídrangaviti lighthouse in 2009 has now become viral thanks to Justin Bieber of all people.

Árni Sæberg is photographer for our sister publication Morgunblaðið (and also takes photos for us at Iceland Monitor). The lighthouse, Þrídrangaviti, is located in the Westman Islands and is located around six miles from the shore.  It’s quite possibly the most isolated lighthouse in the world and is precariously perched on top of a rock pillar with the wild waves of the cold North Atlantic ocean raging below.

Þrídrangar means “three rock pillars” and the lighthouse was built there in 1939. The lighthouse has also been an inspiration to literature, with best-selling thriller novelist Yrsa Sigurðardóttir using it in her novel “Why did you lie?” This is not the first time that Sigurðardóttir draws inspiration from Sæberg’s photos. His photos of the deserted farmhouse in Hesteyri in the remote West Fjords became the setting of her spine chilling ghost story, I remember you, which recently was made into an Icelandic film of the same name.

The strong surf below the lighthouse.

The strong surf below the lighthouse. Photograph/ Árni Sæberg

Sæberg  didn’t realise until recently that his photo of the lighthouse had been published all around the world for years until his barber showed him the photo on a German website. The barber’s daughter also told him that Justin Bieber had been posting the photo on social media.Sæberg flew with the national coastguard helicopter, TF LÍF to the take the photo of the lighthouse. It’s quite incredible how people actually managed to build this lighthouse, just at WW2 began. In 1939 there were no helicopters so people would have had to sail to the cliff and scale it. In an old article in Morgunblaðið, project director Árni G. Þórarinsson says in an interview, “The first thing we had to to was create a road up to the cliff. We got together of experienced mountaineers, all from the Westman Islands. Then we brought drills, hammers, chains and clamps to secure the chains. Once they got near the top there was no way to get any grip on the rock so one of them got down on his knees, the second stood on his back, and then the third climbed on top of the other two and was able to reach the nib of the cliff above. I cannot even tell you how I was feeling whilst witnessing this incredibly dangerous procedure.”Þrídrangar, the three pillars of rock are in fact four pillars named Stóridrangur, Þúfudrangur, Klofadrangur and the fourth one is nameless. In 1938 a road was constructed to Stóridrangur and the following year the lighthouse was raised. Many years later a helipad was set up on Stóridrangur where helicopters can land.

Morgunblaðið/Árni Sæberg

The national coastguard helicopter flying towards the lighthouse.

The national coastguard helicopter flying towards the lighthouse. Photograph/ Árni Sæberg

The Ruined Churches of Ani

Up on a plateau in the remote highlands of northeast Turkey, 45 km away from the Turkish border city of Kars, lies the crumbling ruins of some forty-odd churches, chapels and mausoleums. This area was once a glorious walled city called Ani belonging to the Armenian Kamsarakan Dynasty, who established base here in the 5th century. As the city grew in size, power and wealth, it became an important trading hub, and by the 11th century, the city boasted more than 100,000 citizens. During its heydays, it was known as “the City of Forty Gates” and sometimes “the City of a Thousand And One Churches.”

Ani’s golden age of wealth, peace and prosperity came to an end with the death of the Armenia ruler King Gagik I, after which the city gave way to a string of invaders starting with the Byzantines, followed by a ruthless massacre by the Turks, the Kurds, the Georgians, and then the Mongols who left the city devastated in 1236. Although Ani continued to exist for another six centuries it was little more than a small town. By the time the Europeans discovered Ani, it lay abandoned for nearly a century with great heaps of stones for former buildings. Ani’s most visible monuments today are the dozens of half standing churches.

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The Church of the Redeemer, completed shortly after the year 1035. It had a unique design: 19-sided externally, 8-apsed internally, with a huge central dome set upon a tall drum. The church was largely intact until 1955, when the entire eastern half collapsed during a storm.

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The Cathedral of Ani, built in 989.

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The Church of the Redeemer.

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The walls of Ani.

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The walls of Ani.

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The Monastery of the Hripsimian Virgins, by the Akhurian River.

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The walls of Ani.

Wild Jagged Skyscraper in New York City 

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56 Leonard Street is an 821 feet (250 m) tall, 57-story skyscraper currently under construction on Leonard Street in, New York City, United States. The Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron describes the building as “houses stacked in the sky.”

The building has 145 condominium residences priced between US$3.5 million and US$50 million. Residences will range in size from 1,418 to 6,400 square feet (131.7 to 594.6 m2) and will include 2 to 5 bedrooms all with private outdoor space.

As of May 2013, 70% of the building had sold. According to building developer Izak Senbahar, the building was 92% sold in seven months. In June 2013, a penthouse at 56 Leonard went into contract for US$47 million, making it the most expensive residential property ever sold below Midtown Manhattan.

The building was completed in 2016. Due to its cantilevered balconies it has been nicknamed as the Jenga building by the media.

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Central Park Tower NYC

Also known as Nordstrom Tower. At 1,550 feet, it has the highest roof height of any building in the United States, surpassing the Willis Tower by 100 feet (30 m). The building is also the tallest residential building in the world both by roof height and architectural height. Construction was delayed in 2015 and resumed in 2017. Topped out in September 2019. The building is listed as having 99 floors. Other sources put it at over 100 floors.

WEEHAWKEN, NJ – OCTOBER 2: The sun sets on the Deutsche Bank Center, Central Park Tower, the Steinway Tower, 432 Park Avenue and buildings along Billionaires’ Row in New York City on October 2, 2021 in Weehawken, New Jersey. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

Only in New York City: A 550 foot tall Concrete Skyscraper with no Windows 

Standing at 33 Thomas Street in the Civic Center neighborhood of New York City is a 550-foot tall monolithic, granite-clad, concrete building. Even in a city like New York, where tall buildings are typical, people passing by would look up to gaze at this intimidating structure —their attention drawn not by the building’s height but by its fortress-like appearance. Aside from a couple of ventilation openings on the sides, the building’s bare concrete slab façade is without a single window.

The Long Lines Building is owned by the multinational telecom company AT&T, and is indeed an impenetrable fortress. When it was built in 1974, AT&T asked architect John Carl Warnecke to design a structure that could withstand a nuclear blast and protect its occupants from fallout for up to two weeks after the attack. Such concerns were not uncommon at that time, and AT&T wanted to be sure that their expensive equipment stayed undamaged.

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The building was originally built to house AT&T’s solid-state switches and other equipment for the company’s long distance telephone lines, hence the name Long Lines Building. These switches required a high level of security and space, so the floors of the building are taller than average. Each floor is 18 feet high, so even though the building is as high as a 40 story tower, it has only 29 floors. The floors are also designed to bear an extremely large amount of weight.

The building continued to function as AT&T’s long distance telephone exchange until 1999. After that AT&T vacated the building and moved a few blocks away. The building is still used for telephone switching by some local exchange carriers, but some of the space is also used as a high security datacenter.

Since AT&T moved out, the building has been referred to by its street address 33 Thomas St., like many major New York City commercial buildings.

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No outside view.

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