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Maraya Concert Hall Smashes A Guinness World Records Title As The Largest Mirrored Building In The World!

AlUla, Saudi Arabia – Located in the north western province of AlUla, Saudi Arabia, Maraya Concert Hall has set the Guinness World Records™  for largest mirrored building in the world. “Maraya” means “mirrors” in Arabic, and the “mirrored wonder” got this name due to the giant mirrors attached to its structure which reflect AlUla’s breath-taking landscape. This includes the Hegra region, which is the first historical site in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

The “Maraya” is a giant mirror cube, a silent and respectful building, a” site-specific landmark”, meaningful and elegant with intrinsic and extravagant simplicity, a true “Land-art Architecture”.

The extraordinary new façade of the Maraya Concert Hall was unveiled with a special ceremony held by the Royal Commission for AlUla during the second season of the Winter at Tantora Festival. The concert hall can hold up to 500 seats and hosted leading and prominent international artists, including musician Omar Khairat and opera singer Andrea Bocelli. The festival began its artistic journey with the renowned singer Aziza Jalal, who surprised her fans with a return after a 35-year hiatus.

Located in Wadi Ashaar, near the volcanic freeway, The Maraya Concert Hall is highly equipped with the latest theatrical and operatic sound systems. The structure is cube shaped with the exterior walls covered entirely in mirrors that reflect the picturesque nature of AlUla.  A landscape which has captivated creatives, artists and architects since the Nabataean civilisation and to the present day.

The external cladding displays 9,740 square metres of mirrors, which exceeds the minimum of 6,500 square metres. Commenting on the achievement, Amr Al Madani, CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla, said, “AlUla is a cultural heritage to the world, and this step comes in fulfilment of AlUla’s vision, to create a regional and global cultural centre. We have developed Maraya Concert Hall as a hub for world events, concerts, celebrations, gatherings, and business conventions. The mirrored hall is a global platform where nature, culture, and human heritage coexist in harmony.”

Al Madani added, “We are proud to celebrate the opening of Maraya Concert Hall, and we thank our partners, experts, engineers, and architects, who worked day and night to create this astounding monument in the heart of the marvellous desert environment of AlUla.”

Designer Florian Boje of Gio Forma said, “As evident in the architecture of the Nabataeans, Maraya Concert Hall was created utilising segmentation and [by] sculpting the blocks. This unique edifice makes us think about the unique landscape of the geological saga, the radical abstraction of the enchanting environment of AlUla, and the uncommon incursions for man in the natural landscape; the reflections give an overwhelming balance and a deep sense of the connection of human heritage with nature and its intertwining and harmonising together, which provides us with the responsibility of protecting our human culture that is combined with the exceptional nature of AlUla.”

The development of the Maraya Concert Hall came within the framework of the cultural and heritage statement of AlUla, which was recently issued and published by the Royal Commission for AlUla, inviting global arts and business communities to join the Royal Commission in a new cultural chapter in the rich history of AlUla.

The cultural and heritage vision of AlUla states, “The artistic mission of AlUla is clear, and [it] will remain the destination for artists to draw their inspiration from a site that highlights the monuments of historical civilisations.”

“What remains of great cultures is art and architecture. Successive civilisations have formed the cultural scene with their knowledge and experience, and AlUla will remain the artistic destination for artists to enhance a spirit of imagination and inspiration in their being, and the expression that constitutes the infrastructure of AlUla and its structures and daily life to enrich the encounters of the visitors.”

During the current season, the Winter Festival of Tantora witnessed a celebration of international events, including the “First Hegra Conference of Nobel Prize Laureates 2020,” which was held in the city of AlUla from January 30 to February 1. Eighteen Nobel Peace Prize laureates in various categories like economics, literature, physics, chemistry, physiology, and medicine joined the event along with an elite group of intellectuals, politicians and social leaders from 32 countries around the world. They presented theses’ to meet the challenges affecting humanity and the world. The conference sought to make a significant impact and offer provisions to urgent global dilemmas, and the discussions aimed to provide precise solutions regarding the future of education, health, agriculture, and the world’s economy.

The Winter at Tantora Festival offers a wide range of diverse experiences that cater to all tastes from all walks of life. The festival took place every weekend starting 19th December 2019, and until the 7th March 2020. Guests had the unique opportunity to visit the historical heritage sites before they are closed to the general public until October 2020 when AlUla will be open for tourist throughout the year. For more info please visit https://experiencealula.com

– The 26m high building includes a concert hall, capable to host generously 500 guest and unique performance stage as well as a dining hall with a breathtaking roof terrace and art features including the installation of the the renown Japanese Artist Yayoi Kusama .

– The gigantic stage features an unseen high-tech background ,a large retractable glass window of more than 800 square meters ,providing an exceptional outdoor view on Alula’s amazing landscapes blending the magic of nature and entertainment.

– The Stage design includes high-tech equipment to host the world’s most innovative and powerful shows.

Guinness Book of World Records

To qualify for a record in the Guinness Book of World Records as “The Largest Mirror-Covered Building in the World,” the Maraya Concert Hall has achieved the following criteria:

1. The façade of the building is made entirely of mirrors, not just glass.

2. The building is a permanent structure.

3. It is open to the public.

The size of the stage and the mirrors’ façade were verified on the date of registration with the Guinness Book of World Records on December 26, 2019, by independent surveyors from AECOM led by Thomas Koenig.

Gloria Gaynor Closes The 22nd Habanos Festival With Glamorous Gala Evening Dedicated To The Romeo And Julieta Brand

  • The event welcomed 1,200 guests and hosted the Habanos Awards as well as the traditional Humidors Auction
  • The famous singer Gloria Gaynor performed in the final evening concert, marking a glittering end to the XXII Habanos Festival
  • The Humidors Auction raised historic amount of 4.270.000 € with all proceeds going entirely to the Cuban Public Health System

February 29th, Havana, Cuba  The XXII Habanos Festival culminated this edition with the Gala Evening, marking a glittering end to a week packed with activities for lovers of the world’s best tobacco, arriving from 60 different countries around the globe. 

In this year’s edition of the traditional Humidors Auction five humidors from some of the most prestigious Habanos brands were auctioned, together with a special humidor donated by Simon Chase family to Habanos. The auction has raised the historic amount of 4.270.000 € with all proceeds going entirely to the Cuban Public Health System. For the first time in this traditional auction a humidor from the Cohiba brand reached 2.400.000 €.

The Gala Evening paid tribute to the 145th Anniversary of the Romeo y Julieta brand, presenting its three new vitolas in a new line, Línea de Oro. 

Attendees had the chance to taste, exclusively, the three new vitolas that make up the brand’s most Premium line: Hidalgos (57 ring gauge x 125 mm length), Nobles (56 ring gauge x 135 mm length) and Dianas (52 ring gauge x 145 mm length).

Throughout the evening, held in Pabexpo in the city of Havana, over 1,200 guests enjoyed an outstanding musical line-up headed by the famous international artist and pop icon, Gloria Gaynor, as well as other performances including Camerata Guido López and the Maestro Patterson Orchestra, Director of the Cuban Radio and Television Orchestra. In addition, there were artistic performances including the Company led by Santiago Alfonso, winner of the 2006 Cuban National Dance Award, and the great Vengsay Valdés, Director and first dancer of the Cuban National Ballet. 

The closing ceremony also hosted the Habanos Awards with Alexander Avellar receiving the prize in the Communication category, Jean Claude Reichling winning the award in the Business category and Servilio Jesús Córdova Torres  in the Production category, respectively.

Also, the winning couple of aficionados of the III Habanos World Challenge International Contest were Tarek Gamaye and Fabi Hammad, from the United Arab Emirates.

The Gala Evening, full of surprises and music acts, will conclude with the traditional humidors auction, with all proceeds going to the Cuban Public Health System. 

World’s Largest Cigar Festival Opens In Havana!

Habanos s.a. Announces Results Of US$ 531 Million Turnover As The 22nd Habano Festival Opens In Havana

Havana, Cuba – Havana is hosting the XXII Habanos Festival, the largest international event for aficionados of the finest tobacco in the world, Habanos, which will be held from the 24th of February to the 28th.

The event will be attended by enthusiasts of this unique product from all over the world, with the Bolívar, Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta brands taking centre stage.

Renowned habanos brands will announce special editions of their products, such as the Bolívar Belicosos Finos Reserva Cosecha 2016 and the Partagás Legado. In addition, in commemoration of the175th anniversary of the Partagás brand, the special humidor Partagás Tropicales will be presented, of which only 450 will be produced.

Corporación Habanos, S.A., which exclusively markets the 27 habanos brands worldwide, will announce during the opening of the XXII Habanos Festival its financial results for the 2019 fiscal year.

Press Release – http://www.multivu.com/players/uk/8695951-habanos-growth-of-531-million-turnover/

Attendees, from more than 60 countries, will enjoy a comprehensive program full of activities designed to explore some aspects of the Habanos culture.

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First Ship In Branson’s New Fleet Arrives In UK To ‘Shake Up’ The Booming Cruise Industry

  • Scarlet Lady,  first of new fleet of 4 Virgin Voyages cruise ships arrives in Dover
  • Aims to bring ‘Rock Star’ cruising’ to a booming sector
  • No kids on board as Branson targets an adults-only younger cruising audience
  • On-board formal dinners and dances replaced by gigs, tattoo parlours & vinyl stores
  • Massive Rockstar suites include mini music studios
  • Cruise passenger numbers have doubled in a decade and sector now worth $150 billion

At Sea, 20th February 2020 –  The first of Sir Richard Branson’s brand new fleet of cruise ships which aims to shake up the cruise industry arrives in the UK. Scarlet Lady is the first of four Virgin Voyages ships that will come into service each year for the next four years.

Virgin Voyages aims to do to the booming cruise industry what it did to the airline industry when Virgin Atlantic launched. Its fleet of four ships known as the ‘Lady ships’ will offer adults only, rock ‘n roll cruising to a new audience.

Globally the cruise industry is booming with passenger numbers almost doubling in the past decade from 17.8 million in 2009 to a forecast 32 million this year.

The latest cruise industry report reveals there are now 55 cruise lines globally with a total of 278 ocean ships and another 19 scheduled to debut in 2020 including Scarlet Lady. According to the same report the cruise industry is worth $150 billion worldwide and sustains 1,177,000 jobs.

Branson has spotted an opportunity in this growing sector. The average age of cruise passengers is getting younger and Virgin Voyages believe this new generation of sailors want a different kind of cruise holiday.

Virgin Voyages believes couples in their twenties, thirties and forties want a cruise experience that isn’t either high end formal or family friendly with theme park style rides.

The cruise line, set to make its maiden voyages in April, boasts state-of-the-art technology and opulent features, including a champagne delivery service, to ensure the ultimate passenger experience. 

Other features include:

– 1,330 cabins and 78 Rockstar suites, two of which offer the full rock star treatment with their own music rooms with their own guitars and amplifiers

– No buffets and big dining halls; Scarlet Lady has over 20 eateries ranging from brunch bars to restaurants run by Michelin-starred chefs

– Traditional tourist excursions at local ports will be replaced with visits to exclusive beach clubs

– Entertainment on board will be more festival-like in its offering with gigs, nightclubs, comedians, drag artists, and a variety of unusual shows

– Scarlet Lady has its own vinyl record shop and the first ever tattoo studio on board a cruise ship

– A major focus on wellness with spas, gyms, yoga, wellness pools and even a mud room

Virgin Voyages are also keen to emphasise the fleet’s green credentials; the company has banned single use plastics on board, is converting engine waste heat into clean electricity and exploring turning on-board waste into energy.

And as you’d expect from Virgin the crew will be dressed in unique uniforms.

Scarlet Lady will arrive in the UK after her five-day inaugural voyage undergoing sea trials from Genoa in Italy where she was built at the Fincantieri shipyard.

From Dover, she will head to Liverpool for two days before heading across the Atlantic for a star-studded reception in New York and then on to Miami where she will based and make her inaugural passenger voyage around the Caribbean in April.

Routes on offer include a five-day sailing to Costa Maya in Mexico, Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, and a quick getaway to Key West and Bahamas.

The ship will later be joined by sister liner Valiant Lady which features seven-night Mediterranean itineraries out of Barcelona, Spain when she debuts in May 2021.

20th Anniversary Laureus World Sports Awards

Lewis Hamilton And Lionel Messi Share Laureus Sportsman Award In First Ever Tie – A Moment Of History BERLIN, February 17, 2020 – In a moment of sporting history, the greatest Formula One driver of his generation Lewis Hamilton and Lionel Messi, the world’s greatest footballer, were declared joint winners of the prestigious Laureus World […] Read more

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Ras Al Khaimah New Year’s Eve Fireworks Sets Two Guinness World Records™

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE; January 1, 2020 – Ras Al Khaimah captivated visitors and viewers from around the world as it ushered in 2020 with a New Year’s Eve fireworks performance that welcomed thousands of visitors to the emirate. This year’s fireworks spanned a duration of 13 minutes and set two GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ – one for the ‘Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Launching Fireworks Simultaneously’and the second for the ‘The Longest Fireworks Waterfall’. These take the total number of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ set for fireworks hosted by Ras Al Khaimah to five in just three years.

The first record of the evening was achieved by a firework display using 173 PyroDronesTM, all simultaneously executing a stunning firework display. The PyroDronesTM carried fireworks that could be initiated remotely from the air. The display ushered in the New Year by creating a visual ‘2020’ in the sky followed by an elegant chandelier draped with a beautiful cascade of pyrotechnic sparks ending with the recreation of the monuments of Ras Al Khaimah. The display leveraged advanced pyrotechnics and integrated wireless technology lighting up the shores of the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

The second record was for the ‘Longest Fireworks Waterfall’ creating a cascading effect of brilliant white sparks strung across a distance measuring 3,788.86 metres to form a continuous waterfall, breaking the previous record of 3517.23 metres previously held by Fukuoka, Japan. To qualify for the record attempt, each of the waterfall fireworks was required to measure no less than 28 cm long and 3 cm in diameter, with the display required to last at least 30 seconds

The event was verified by an official adjudicator from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ for the ‘Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Launching Fireworks Simultaneously’ and the ‘The Longest Fireworks Waterfall’.

Following the fireworks gala, the organisers received the Guinness World Records titles from the adjudicator.

In 2019, Ras Al Khaimah welcomed visitors from around the world to its NYE event that set two GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ – for the ‘Longest chain of fireworks’ and for the ‘Longest straight line of fireworks’. The 2018 celebration set a new world record for the ‘Largest aerial firework shell’.

Crowds thronged the main venue of Al Marjan Island, the lifestyle development by Marjan, the master-developer of Ras Al Khaimah, from early in the evening as well as at viewing decks along the coast at Al Hamra. Marjan worked closely with Ras Al Khaimah’s government entities to set up the public viewing areas across Al Marjan Island. More than 27,000 additional public car parking spaces were provided to welcome the guests.

For the first time, Ras Al Khaimah also hosted the New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner that was headlined by multi-Platinum singer, songwriter, and fashion icon, Najwa Karam, and celebrity singer Waleed Al Shami.

Various government entities contributed to the success of the event in Ras Al Khaimah including Marjan, Ras Al Khaimah Police, Ras Al Khaimah Government Media Office, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Ras Al Khaimah Chamber of Commerce, Public Works, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality, Al Hamra and others.

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