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The Taj Mahal was commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1631 to be built in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, a Persian princess who died giving birth to their 14th child. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632. Shah Jahan’s grief after the death of Mumtaz Mahal, was such that he commissioned for Taj the building to honour his dead wife. The mausoleum was completed in 1643, and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished about five years later. Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another ten years.

 

The tomb is the central focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal. It is a large, white marble structure standing on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building. All sides of the building are exactly the same as the next one. The most spectacular feature is the marble dome that surmounts the tomb. The dome is nearly 115 ft high. Because of its shape, the dome is often called an onion dome.

In line with the Islamic prohibition against the use of idol forms, passages from the Qur’an that comprise, some of the decorative elements.

 

The Taj Mahal is built on a parcel of land to the south of the walled city of Agra. The Taj Mahal was constructed using materials from all over India and Asia. It is believed over 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials. The translucent white marble was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, jade and crystal from China. The turquoise was from Tibet and the Lapis lazuli from Afganistan, while the sapphire came from Sri Lanka. In all, twenty-eight types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble.

 

According to the legend, Shah Jahan decreed that anyone could keep the bricks taken from the scaffold, and thus it was dismantled by peasants overnight.

No evidence exists for claims that describe, often in horrific detail, the deaths, dismemberments and mutilations which Shah Jahan supposedly inflicted on various architects and craftsmen associated with the tomb. Some stories claim that those involved in construction signed contracts committing themselves to have no part in any similar design.

According to the legend it is believed that Shah Jahan had planned to construct another Taj Mahal in black marble on the other side of the river but the war with his sons interrupted his plans.

Facts and numbers

  • The Taj Mahal enlisted 20 thousand artisans.
  • The Taj Mahal has between 7-8 million visitors per year.
  • In 2007, The Taj Mahal was the winner of the New 7th Wonder of The World.
  • The Taj Mahal took 21 years to complete.
  • Many precious stones were ripped off from its walls by the British during the Indian rebellion of 1857.
  • It is estimated to have taken more than 22,000 people to build this impressive building.
  • The full height of the Taj Mahal is 561 feet.
  • The Taj Mahal is surrounded by significant gardens and a number of other buildings including a mosque and guest houses which make up the 17 hectares of land within the complex walls.
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Photo source: Pixabay http://bit.ly/2wYP9OK

Every property comes at a cost! But you can ‘mind’ your budget as a property owner when it comes to one financial department concerning properties: taxes.

Financial consciousness should be a field in which every house owner should be a master. There are a few tricks that can be used to lower the tax level upon your property:

  1. Don’t build any secondary constructions to the house. Even a garage can easily raise the tax level, being considered an outdoor structure.
  2. Pay constant attention (not money!) to the taxes paid. If you feel like you’re paying too much you can file an appeal to the local tax agency. And you can ‘prospect the market’ too: ask your neighbors with similar house how much do they pay.
  3. Don’t make your home over glamorous. Apparently being too posh can be taxed accordingly so keep your home on the normal ground.

More tricks and details in the article on Property Division:

Are your property taxes outrageous? Tips to lower them down

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Photo source: Flickr http://bit.ly/2w1IB2K

There comes one point in every home owner’s life when a though crosses his/ her mind: I need a bigger place. Climbing up the property ladder is a natural thing to do when you have a family and the financial situation is in your favor.

The solution is either moving into a bigger apartment (considering you already own one) or switching for a house. And the decision might not be as easy to take as you might think. A spacious and well placed apartment can be almost as expensive as a house, so the financial reasons might not be enough to have a clear choice.

If this is the case, bear in mind a couple of decisive facts when choosing a new place to live:

  • Try to estimate as realistic as possible the necessities for the family space. How many bedrooms? How big should the living be? How many bathrooms?
  • The neighbors. You might be that type of a people person that doesn’t mind hearing neighbors through the walls or you might want some peace and quiet and more personal space. A house doesn’t guarantee sonic isolation, and you’ll still have neighbors looking over the fence, but it is clearly more isolated than an apartment.
  • Gardening. Decide fast how much do you like it and to which extent. If you find overwhelming watering the cactus, you will definitely hate mowing the lawn once every… let’s say ‘week’ to make you feel comfortable.
  • Future development. Do you think you’ll need a garage or some extra storage space in the years to come? Think about how flexible the surrounding space should be to meet all your needs.
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Photo source: House Beautiful http://bit.ly/1iAgAUt

Saying ‘Goodbye!’ to summer is never easy! The vacation is gone, the weather starts to get worse, and, before you know it, it starts snowing!

To prevent things from getting that dramatic, we thought of some easy ways to change seasons. Preparing for autumn is one way of getting accustomed to the change. So our advice is to start with some pieces of decor for your home.

Here are some ideas that guarantee you will enjoy this autumn.

  1. Make a vase out of a pumpkin.
  2. Prepare your table for the late autumn dinners with a nice centerpiece made with pumpkins.
  3. Decorate the entrance with fallen leaves or huge pumpkins.
  4. The blanket corner. If you have a garden and you already know you are going to enjoy talks and meals with your friends outside even during this fall, make sure you have the blankets handy.
  5. Learn how to make that yummy steaming pumpkin-spiced latte at home.

More inspiration in the following articles:

47 Cozy Ways to Decorate Your Home for Fall

Fall Decorating on Pinterest

20 Cozy Fall Decorating Ideas to Delight Your Inner Homebody

 

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Photo source: Property Division http://bit.ly/2eS3I0m

Property is a better investment for old age than pension, experts say! Even with the rising uncertainty over the property market, most specialists consider a rented property a reliable source of income.

Buy to let or simply investing in a property is a good decision according to this article in Property Divison:

More People Choosing Property Over Pensions

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Before the reign of Queen Victoria, Canning Town had no real significance and it did not even get its name until the Victorian period. It is probably named after Charles Canning. He was a famous and popular character at the time as he had successfully managed the Indian Mutiny in his role as Viceroy of India. Once the area started to be developed, it turned into a busy industrial and commercial hub.

During the 1930s, housing conditions in Canning Town were so bad that the local council started a program to clear the slums and to provide better social conditions for local residents. Many properties were torn down, and new houses, nurseries, medical clinics and even a lido opened in the area.

The Second World War also badly affected the area and led to further redevelopment after the war. Much of the East End was a prime target for German bombers and it is estimated that over 85% of local housing stock was destroyed.

Canning Town was also the scene of one of the worst bombing events in the war, although a government cover up at the time hid the full extent of the incident. In September 1940, local residents were sheltering in the basement of South Hallsville School during an air raid. They were staying in the school because they had been evacuated from their homes.

The school suffered from a direct hit burying all of the sheltering locals under piles of rubble. Reports at the time indicated that around 70 people died in the incident, but it is now believed that close to 600 people died on the site making this the worst civilian casualty rate in a bombing raid during the war.

Due to the massive loss of housing caused during the blitz, social housing took the form of new council estates, including a number of high-rise tower blocks, which were popular at the time.

One high-rise block became well-known in the 1960s for all the wrong reasons when a gas explosion caused an entire corner of the block to collapse. Ronan Point and its surrounding high-rises were demolished to make way for safer, and smaller, houses and the lessons learned from this accident changed the way that high-rises were built.

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The window tax was a property tax based on the number of windows in a house. It was a significant social, cultural, and architectural force in England, France, Ireland, and Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries. To avoid the tax some houses from this period can be seen to have bricked-up window-spaces. In was introduced in England and Wales in 1696 and was over-ruled in 1851, 156 years after first being introduced. France (established 1798, over-ruled 1926) and Scotland both had window taxes for similar reasons.

 

When the window tax was introduced, it consisted of two parts: a flat-rate house tax of 2 shillings per house, equivalent to £12.51 in 2015, and a variable tax for the number of windows above ten windows in the house. Properties with between ten and twenty windows paid an extra four shillings, equivalent to £25.03 in 2015 and those above twenty windows paid an extra eight shillings, equivalent to £50.06 in 2015.

 

The bigger the house, the more windows it was likely to have, and the more tax the occupants would pay. Nevertheless, the tax was unpopular, because it was seen by some as a tax on “light and air”. A similar tax existed in France from 1798 to 1926.

 

There was a strong agitation in England in favour of the abolition of the tax during the winter of 1850–51, and it was accordingly over-ruled on 24 July 1851, and a tax on inhabited houses substituted. The Scottish window tax was also abolished at the same time.

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Property prices are usually more relative than time, but – as we already mentioned before, there are always some things to do to make sure your property is according to the standards on the market.

Renovating the bathroom is one sure way to maximize the property price. One recent study reveals which of the main features inside a bathroom can help sell the house at the expected price:

Quality wall/floor tiles with good grouting (76%) was cited as the feature to add the most value to a bathroom. This was closely followed by electric or power shower (70%) and then, good sized fixtures (sink, toilet, shower/bath – 66%). The lowest ranking feature to add value to a bathroom was surprisingly underfloor heating at 34%.

If you are considering some kind of renovating of your property and the bathroom is one of the focus points, read the article on Property Reporter to make sure you won’t miss any of the features expected by buyers.

Which feature adds the most value to bathrooms?

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Photo source: Traditional Home http://bit.ly/2pIyvA1

When it comes to pets, the rent market is usually split in two between landlords – usual pet ‘haters’, and tenants – whom can be quite fond of their pets. One of the most difficult situations is the one when the two have to get along. It is just a joke, of course, but there have been conflicts and prices going up for houses of apartments to let because of the appearance of pets into the discussion.

But, when you are the owner, the problem is easily solved. A pet lover – depending on the degree, of course, can even make changes to the house to accommodate the animal companion.

Here are a couple of things to do to improve your home and make it pet-friendly:

  1. Choose a durable and easy to clean flooring. You will then be assured that the dog will not dig in to bury a treasure in the dinning, and that the cat will not leave paw marks on the freshly washed kitchen floor.
  2. Use slip-proof rugs for the ‘playing’ area. The slipping rugs are a problem for children usually, but the other runner in the house might find them just as troubling.
  3. Make a drawer with easy-to-clean solutions. Use specific products that are pet friendly and that eliminate both stains and odours.

You will find a lot of good advice in the following article both for cats and dog lovers.

Decorating Ideas: Making a Pet-Friendly Home

 

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