The City of Las Vegas, amidst the Mojave Desert, stands tall and illuminating in the state of Nevada, United Sates of America. Vegas, manages to attract millions of visitors round the year, with its Casinos, bling and grandeur. With its exclusive censurable reputation, Las Vegas is affectionately known as “Sin City”.
Beyond the sin city vices, Las Vegas has a fascinating historical background and intriguing architectural marvels.
Las Vegas – “the meadows” was named the same by Rafael Rivera after its spring watered grasses. Rivera entered Las Vegas as a part of Antonio Armijo’s expedition to open a trade route between New Mexico and California (the Old Spanish Trail). Las Vegas was founded by ranchers and railroad workers.
One of the major contributions in formation of the ground work of the gambling and entertainment industry in Vegas was the construction of Hoover dam.
The engineering wonder- Hoover Dam (formerly known as Boulder dam) situated approximately 30 miles east from Las Vegas, was built during the Great Depression in the year 1931-1936. This colossal structure is the highest concrete dam in the western hemisphere, with its towers more than 700 feet above the Colorado River. Its length is 1244 feet, the crest evolution is 1232 feet, crest width is 45 feet and base width is 600 feet. It was built to provide flood control, irrigation, drinking water and electricity. . It supplies electricity to more than 20 million households in the states of Nevada, Arizona and California.
The construction of the hoover dam was a dramatic affair, with the mammoth figure of 1 billion dollars budget, Acrobatic high scalers-hired as workers and dynamite (8.5 million pounds)- used for excavating work. This project attracted thousands of workers, residing in and around the city. Casinos and show businesses were set up on Freemont Street to act as recreational activities for these workers. This resulted in heavy indulgence of the workers as well as visitors in the vices offered and flourished the gambling business.
With the rise in Casinos, entertainment industry and bling, hospitality also became one of the major businesses in Las Vegas. Today, Las Vegas epitomizes and rules the hospitality architecture in its own quirky ways. It has some of the most brilliant and sensational themed Hotels, some of them are listed below.
1. Caesars Palace:
Quoting Jeff Campbell Caesars palace is described as “quintessentially Las Vegas”.
It is one of the grandest infamous Greco- Roman themed hotels in Las Vegas. Caesars Palace is commonly mistaken as Caesar’s Palace (with an apostrophe), the reason for the former name being given is the resort’s creator, Jay Sarno, wanted every guest to be Caesar during their stay, hence implying many “Caesars,” not just one.
It was opened on August 5 , 1966. It is a massive structure built across 34- acre site. It’s 14 storey in height. One of the major highlights of the hotels is the 20 feet high statue of Julius Caesar standing tall in the driveway leading to the entrance.
Statues of Venus and David and Rape of the Sabine Women, all significantly depict the Greco-Roman mythology justifying the theme right from the entrance. Use of Fluted columns, Corinthian Columns and pediments is observed on the façade as well as in the interiors. The entire site of the hotel consists of mainly 6 towers, namely
Julius tower-the fourteen storey prominent structure formerly known as ‘Roman Tower’ with 587 rooms.
Augustus Tower-26 storey in height and consists of 949 rooms and suites.
Octavius Tower (668 rooms)
Forum tower- a 636,000 sq. ft shopping mall.
There are total of 3,960 rooms and suites in the hotel.
Bellagio, is another exquisite mansion and the most expensive hotel ever built ($ 1.6 billion), on the Vegas Strip. As the name suggests, the design of the hotel and its interiors are inspired by the commune or municipality of Bellagio, in Lombardy, Italy. It is well known for its stunning dancing fountains in the Italian styled courtyard of the hotel. One of the main attractions is the botanical garden which changes it themes according to the seasons- Chinese New year, spring, summer, fall and winter. Bellagio also achieves to attract the artistic side of guests with the magnificent display of artwork in its art gallery. Some of these art works are taken on loan from museums and private collectors around the world.
Luxor, another magnificent piece of architecture and design, is an Egyptian themed hotel on the Las Vegas strip. The hotel building is in the form of a pyramid, which is the highest in the United States of America, and one of the highest in the world (though constructed using modern materials and techniques). Luxor, dominates the skyline of Las Vegas because of its Sky beam. The Luxor sky beam is a solid cord of ivory light that courses from the tip of the pyramidsto the sky above. It is the strongest beam of light in the world (42.3 candelas). It is visible to up to 443 km away, on a clear night. The atrium of Luxor is largest in the world as it houses casinos, IMAX theatre and show venues.Luxor is also famous for the elevators which are inclined at a 39 degrees, so the guest could enjoy the view and grandeur of the atrium. The replica of the Sphinx is the largest in the world. Luxor truly is the architectural and engineering wonder.
Las Vegas, dazzles on the global stage not just with the gambling and glitter but also with its architectural marvels.
Contradictory to the popular saying, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” these Gems of the City of Las Vegas, grabs the attention of the whole wide world.
A firm believer of J.K Rowling’s famous quote, “Words are, in my not so humble opinion, the most inexhaustible source of magic”. Samruddhi Kulkarni is a 23 year old architect, an ardent reader, coffee enthusiast, loves to explore places and preserve them in her diary.