Monuments and Landmarks in Asia
Hopefully everyone knows, that Hiroshima got bombed with the first atomic bomb during WWII. We will not get into the horrific details here, the World Peace Museum in Hiroshima does a sickening good job at that. We will, however, mention the iconic Atomic Bomb Dome, which the museum had been built close to. Originally, the dome was an exhibition hall, but by standing next to the epicentre of the A-bomb (the Aioi Bridge), and since the bomb detonated at 600 m in the air, there were some walls that could withstand the almost vertical blast. After the war, there was a discussion to demolish the ruin, but the decision was made to keep it as a memory of that devastating day in 1945 and a symbol of peace.
Being descendants of largely nomadic ancestors, modern day Kazakhstan has few ancient architectural sites. The one exception (and one of only three UNESCO sites in the country) is the Mausoleum of Khwaja Ahmad Yasavi in the town of Turkestan. Commissioned in 1389 by Tamerlane (a Central Asian conquerer), the mausoleum was a replacement for a smaller one to the Sufi mystic Khwaja Ahmad Yasaviis. A quite similar structure to those found in neighbouring Uzbekistan, the mausoleum may not compare with the Uzbek ones. But for Kazakhstan, it is arguably the greatest architectural site. And most definitely the only thing to do in the tiny town of Turkestan.
The Mongolian countryside is famously vast and equally flat. Add to that the fact that it is also the world's least densely populated country and it becomes easy to understand how far it is possible to travel without interruption. All of a sudden, over the horizon will emerge a huge statue of Mongolia's greatest historical figure, Genghis Khan. At 50 metres high and covered in the shiniest stainless steel, there is no way you can miss it. Take the elevator to the top and spend some time on Khan's horseback, gazing across the Mongolian steppes. If you want proof of the vastness of Mongolia, that's where you'll find it.
Every city has an iconic statue, Singapore got the water-spurting Merlion, half-fish and half-lion. The statue was originally located at the mouth of the Singapore River, but due to development of the riverfront, it got relocated to the present location near the Central Business District (CBD), where it now overlooks Marina Bay. The statue is modest 8.6 metres tall and is accompanied by a 2 metres tall Merlion Cub. But these are not the only Merlions in Singapore. There are no less than five officially recognised Merlion statues in Singapore, where the 37 metres tall replica on Sentosa Island is by far the tallest.
Grand Palace was originally the residence of the Thai king. It was built in 1782 and over time was constantly expanded, so today it is a large complex of odd buildings ranging from shiny Buddhist temples to more humble administration buildings. The Thai king and his mother don't live here, so don't expect to bump into them. But one you can see here is the famous and very holy Emerald Buddha (Phra Kaew). The statue, which is tiny (66 cm), was taken from Vientiane (now part of Laos) in the 18th century and is actually not made from emerald but jade. Every season, the king changes its robes to bring good weather and fortune to the country.