Ellen's Blog

From Dubai to Kazakhstan

Archive for January 27, 2010

Astana: The Dubai of Kazakhstan???

Click here to read the complete article: Astana: The Dubai of Kazakhstan………

“Dubai’s downward spiral, while completely predictable and well-deserved, is still a great disappointment to fans of hubristic architectural spectacles like myself. The opening of the Burj Dubai/Al Khalifa is cold comfort as stocks sink faster than the artificial islands of the Palm. Abu Dhabi’s chastening bailout means that Dubai’s future, if it has one, lies in the safe, predictable gaudiness seen all over the Persian Gulf. Dubai was certainly reprehensible in many ways, and inherently doomed to fail, but it was one of the most spectacular architectural visions the world has ever seen. I hope its end will be met with regret as well as schadenfreude.”

The Story of the Tulip

Click: Dutch Folk Song: Tulips from Amsterdam

The tulip, symbol of Holland. But did you know that this flower has its roots in the mountains of Kazakhstan? Even in Holland most people do not know that this is the real place where their national symbol originated. Most Dutch people will tell you that the original tulip was growing in Turkey but in fact traders from Turkey brought it at the end of the 16th century from the Central Asian mountain ranges to Western Europe. In that period, the Turkish Empire was much larger than the current country Turkey.

The first reports of tulips in Europe date from 1560 and it crossed the Dutch border around 1570. The first tulips in the Hortus Botanicus of the Leiden University were planted there in 1593 by the botanist Carolus Clusius.

Greig's Tulip (tulipa greigii)

The Dutch have created hundreds of different types of tulips in the last centuries. But not only the Dutch were good in creating new types. Nature did also a good job in Kazakhstan where you can find 34 different species of this flower in the wild today. 6 of these species are present in the Aksu-Zhabagly nature reserve. If you are from Holland or are interested in this flower, a walking trip in the Aksu-Zhabagly nature reserve will be the best opportunity to see this flower in it’s own habitat.

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CLICK HERE FOR ARABIC MUSIC * Nancy Ajram

Last night we had a lovely dinner at MARGAUX.

Location: Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Burj Dubai

Cuisine: French, Italian

indoor and outdoor seating: during the winter outdoors can be a little chilly as the fountains might spray cool water over the tables on the balcony.

Vegetarian options: limited but different, tasty and well presented.

Definitely worth it!