SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Palermo

Palermo is a city of Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Metropolitan City of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence. Palermo is located in the northwest of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea; the city was founded in 734 BC by the Phoenicians as Ziz. Palermo became a possession of Carthage. Two Greek colonies were established, known collectively as Panormos or "All-Port"; as Panormus, the town became part of Empire for over a thousand years. From 831 to 1072 the city was under Arab rule during the Emirate of Sicily when the city first became a capital; the Arabs shifted the Greek name into the root for Palermo's present-day name. Following the Norman reconquest, Palermo became the capital of a new kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily and the capital of the Holy Roman Empire under Emperor Frederick II and King Conrad IV; the population of Palermo urban area is estimated by Eurostat to be 855,285, while its metropolitan area is the fifth most populated in Italy with around 1.2 million people.

In the central area, the city has a population of around 676,000 people. The inhabitants are known as Palermitani or, panormiti; the languages spoken by its inhabitants are the Italian language and the Palermitano dialect of the Sicilian language. Palermo is Sicily's cultural and tourism capital, it is a city rich in history, art and food. Numerous tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned gastronomy and restaurants, its Romanesque, Gothic and Art Nouveau churches and buildings, its nightlife and music. Palermo is the main Sicilian industrial and commercial center: the main industrial sectors include tourism, services and agriculture. Palermo has an international airport, a significant underground economy. In fact, for cultural and economic reasons, Palermo was one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean and is now among the top tourist destinations in both Italy and Europe, it is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale.

The city is going through careful redevelopment, preparing to become one of the major cities of the Euro-Mediterranean area. Roman Catholicism is important in Palermitan culture; the Patron Saint of Palermo is Santa Rosalia. The area attracts significant numbers of tourists each year and is known for its colourful fruit and fish markets at the heart of Palermo, known as Vucciria, Ballarò and Capo. Palermo lies in a basin, formed by the Papireto and Oreto rivers; the basin was named the Conca d'Oro by the Arabs in the 9th century. The city is surrounded by a mountain range, named after the city itself; these mountains face the Tyrrhenian Sea. Palermo is home to a natural port and offers excellent views to the sea from Monte Pellegrino. Palermo experiences a hot-summer subtropical Mediterranean climate, mild with moderate seasonality. Summers are long and dry due to the domination of subtropical high pressure system, while winters experience moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather due to the polar front.

Temperatures in autumn and spring are mild. Palermo is one of the warmest cities in Europe, with an average annual air temperature of 18 °C, it receives 2,530 hours of sunshine per year. Snow is a rare occurrence having snowed about a dozen times since 1945. Since the 1940s to nowadays there have been at least five times when considerable snowfall has occurred. In 1949 and in 1956, when the minimum temperature went down to 0 °C, the city was blanketed by some centimetres of snow. Snowfalls occurred in 1981, 1986, 1999 and 2014; the average annual temperature of the sea is above 19 °C. In the period from November to May, the average sea temperature exceeds 18 °C and in the period from June to October, the average sea temperature exceeds 21 °C. Palermo is surrounded by mountains; some districts of the city are divided by the mountains themselves. It was difficult to reach the inner part of Sicily from the city because of the mounts; the tallest peak of the range is La Pizzuta, about 1,333 metres high.

However the most important mount is Monte Pellegrino, geographically separated from the rest of the range by a plain. The mount lies right in front of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Monte Pellegrino's cliff was described in the 19th century by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as "the most beautiful promontory in the world", in his essay "Italian Journey". Today both the Kemonia are covered up by buildings. However, the shape of the former watercourses can still be recognised today, because the streets that were built on them follow their shapes. Today the only waterway not drained yet is the Oreto river that divides the downtown of the city from the western uptown and the industrial districts. In the basins there were, many seasonal torrents that helped formed swampy plains, reclaimed during history

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London is a five-star hotel, located in the Knightsbridge district of London and managed by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Housed in a historic, Edwardian-style building, the hotel opened its doors to the public in 1902 as the Hyde Park Hotel and in 1996 the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group purchased the property and conducted a full renovation re-opening in May 2000. In June 2018, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London completed the most extensive restoration in its 115-year history; the hotel was damaged in a fire on 6 June 2018, confined to the exterior courtyard area of the hotel with limited impact on the interiors and is temporarily closed. Overlooking London's Hyde Park on one side and Knightsbridge on the other, the hotel was built in 1889 as an exclusive ‘Gentleman’s Club’; the project known as Hyde Park Court, was announced in August 1887 but was delayed by planning disagreements, including the proposed height of the development, to be the tallest building in London.

Outraged residents feared a shadow would be cast over the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park and they threatened to force the builders to reduce the number of floors by putting up a wooden barrier which would block the light to the lower floors. An unsuccessful Bill was brought before Parliament to reduce the restriction of buildings from 100 feet to 60 feet, so the original design of the hotel remained; the outside consists of red Portland stone in an eclectic Franco-Flemish style. The hall, entered from Knightsbridge through swinging doors of carved walnut, was lined with coloured marble and had a frescoed ceiling, as well as a marble chimney-piece complete with a marble clock. Stairs of white marble flanked with balustrades led to the upper ground floor; this style of decoration continued in the principal communal rooms, including the breakfast and dining room overlooking Hyde Park. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group purchased the property in 1996 and conducted a complete £57 million renovation of the hotel, as well as a re-design of the restaurants and bar.

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London re-opened in May 2000. In June 2018 an extensive restoration of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London was completed. Internationally renowned designer, Joyce Wang, oversaw the redesign of the rooms and public areas. In 1899, a fire struck the property, damaging the top three floors of the Knightsbridge wing and destroying part of the roof, including the central iron and glass turret. All residents made a successful escape, despite the fire brigade's ladders only reaching halfway up the building. After the renovations, the building was reopened in 1902 as the Hyde Park Hotel, London's newest and grandest hotel; the ceilings and marble floors had survived, period fireplaces in the style of Louis XV and XVI were installed, while the furnishings echoed the 18th century style of Sheraton and Hepplewhite. Between 1911 and 1912, the Ballroom was redecorated in a style of Louis XVI. In 1925, the architects Charles Frédéric Mewès and Arthur Joseph Davis, who remodeled some of the principal rooms in a traditional Louis XV style, added a Palm Court.

On 6 June 2018, a fire broke out again, believed to have been caused by welding work, but no staff or guests were injured. The hotel temporarily closed for six months. In December 2018 the public areas of the hotel including all of their bars and restaurants reopened in time for the busy festive season. On Monday 15 April 2019 the hotel reopened to full service with all rooms and suites reopened and ready to use after extensive renovation and improvements; as a private'Gentleman's Club' the entrance to the building was through the Loggia, but in 1902, when it reopened as Hyde Park Hotel, the postal address changed from Albert Gate to 66 Knightsbridge. Tradition has it that the Queen would not allow any form of advertising within the Park, therefore insisted that the main entrance, with the hotel's name above it, be moved from the Park side to Knightsbridge; the Queen mandated that the original entrance be preserved for Royal use, unless permission is otherwise granted by the Royal Household, upheld since.

The doors were opened during the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937 when the Crown gave special permission for the guests to use the park entrance. Today, guests of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London can still take part in this tradition of the hotel by requesting permission from the Royal Parks to use the ‘Royal Entrance’ for special occasions. Guests who have been granted access to this entrance include members of the Japanese Imperial family, former South African Premier General Hertzog, a President of Uganda. Many important events have been held at the Hyde Park Hotel. A few such events were Lady Doris Vyner's silver wedding party in 1948, with the King and Queen as guests of honour, the Balaclava Ball, hosted by the five cavalry regiments who had taken part in the Balaclava charge attended by the Queen, Prince Philip, the late Queen Mother. Other celebrations include the 1992 production of “Pavarotti in the Park”, one of the country's largest open-air concerts, the 1995 Anniversary of VE Day in which seven Heads of State and their delegations took up residence, ‘Party in the Park’, one of Europe's largest music events.

The hotel hosted the 80th birthday party of Margaret Thatcher, attended by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, along with former Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair, former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Jeffrey Archer and entertainers Shirley Bassey and Joan Collins among others. The interiors of the restaurants and bar were created by the designer Adam Tihany; the hotel is home to three restaurants: Dinner by Heston Blument

Ecuadorian hermit crab

The Ecuadorian hermit crab known as the Pacific hermit crab is a species of land hermit crab. It is one of the two land hermit crabs sold in North America as pets, the other being the Caribbean hermit crab. C. compressus is a member of the class Malacostraca. They can be up to 12 mm in length and are thought to be one of the smallest species of land hermit crabs, they have four walking legs, a small pincer, a large pincer, antennae. Many people who keep these hermit crabs as pets notice that Ecuadorian crabs can be fast walkers faster than Caribbean hermit crabs, that they are quite active, their eyes are more oval-shaped when compared to the round eyes of Caribbean hermit crabs and are thicker. Their big claw has five small ridges on the upper part; the tips of the second pair of walking legs are darker than the rest of the leg. The abdomen of the Ecuadorian hermit crab is fat. Ecuadorian hermit crabs vary in colour, some are bright, but more they are a tan colour. Sometimes, they may have the insides of their legs.

They have comma-shaped eyes, unlike the "purple pincher", which has dot-shaped eyes. When choosing a shell, they tend to give preference to shells with a wide and round aperture; as with all hermit crabs, painted shells are harmful to them, as they eat the paint chips and can be poisoned with chemicals used in the paint. This shortens their lives. Native to Ecuador and Chile, these hermit crabs live on the Pacific seashore around tidal pools and high-tide zone, their bodies have adapted to this seashore existence, in captivity, they require access to seawater, as they must metabolize the salt in it and bathe in it to maintain gill moisture. Failure to provide access to seawater will result in death. Like most hermit crabs, they are scavengers and consume seaweed, dead fish, other detritus that washes up on the shore. C. compressus prefers the odors of foods that they have not eaten. Hermit crabs exposed to one food for at least 9 hours preferred foods having other odors for the next 6 hours; this short-term avoidance of food compels the crabs to seek out a wider range of food.

This might be advantageous to the crabs through the consumption of a more nutritionally balanced diet. Ecuadorian hermit crabs can make a chirping sound to communicate with each other. Hermit crabs overall were once seen as a "throwaway pet" that would live only a few months, but species such as C. clypeatus have a 23-year lifespan if properly treated and some have lived longer than 32 years. Ecuadorian hermit crabs have been known to live to over 30 years. In general, despite their moniker, hermit crabs are social animals that do best in groups, they require a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment, adequate substrate to allow them to bury themselves while molting. Ecuadorian Hermit Crabs Wiki