December 4th, 2013 | General |
Schloss Salem © F. Bucher/cc-by-sa-2.0-de
Salem Castle School is a boarding school with campuses in Hohenfels, Salem
in Baden-Württemberg in Southern Germany. It is considered one of the most elite schools in Europe.
The school was established by the educator Kurt Hahn
with support of Prince Maximilian of Baden
in 1920 and from the beginning accepted girls and boys. Under the Nazi regime Hahn (who was Jewish) was forced to emigrate to Scotland where he founded the British Salem School of Gordonstoun
as well as later Outward Bound
and the United World Colleges
The school’s mission continues to reflect its Hahnian roots. Specifically, Salem aims to present young people with high academic and extracurricular expectations and opportunities; and to introduce them to a lifelong sense of respect for the individual, responsibility to the community and an awareness of the importance of the democratic process in sustaining both.
The academic program in Years 5–7 is in German. Intensive instruction in German as a foreign language is available for international pupils. Even pupils arriving at the School with no German are fluent within one school year.
From Year 8 onward, Salem is fully bilingual and offers a dual curriculum. Students may either continue in the German system (Abitur) or enter the international classes & the IB Diploma Programme
, in which the language is English. However, students may switch systems until they enter the upper school. Approximately a third of the students in the upper years are in the IB system. Most students are of German background, but there is significant population of international students, with students attending from a variety of countries such as Switzerland, Spain, USA, China, Russia, Korea, India, Canada, Australia or Italy.
Read more on Salem Castle School and Wikipedia Salem Castle School. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.
November 30th, 2013 | General |
Rendered picture of the Abdali New Downtown which is currently under construction © Joeyzaza/cc-by-sa-3.0
Amman is the capital and most populous city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
. It is the country’s political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The recent economic growth experienced in Amman is unmatched by any other Arab city except those located in the Persian Gulf. Amman is also the administrative seat of the homonymous governorate
. Amman is also ranked a Gamma global city
on the World city index
Amman was named one of the MENA’s
best cities according to economic, labour, environmental, and socio-cultural factors. Amman is among the most popular locations for multinational corporations to set up their regional offices, alongside Doha
and only behind Dubai
. Furthermore, it is expected that in the next 10 years these three cities will capture the largest share of multinational corporation activity in the region. It is a major tourist destination in the region and the capital is especially popular among Gulf tourists. Much of Amman’s tourism is focused in the older downtown area, which is centered around the old souk (a colorful traditional market) and the King Hussein Mosque.
Large malls were built during the 2000s in Amman, including the Mecca Mall
, Abdoun Mall, Amman Mall,
City Mall, Plaza Mall, Al Baraka Mall, Istikal Mall, Taj Mall (in Abdoun
), Zara Shopping Center, Sweifieh Avenue Mall, and Mukhtar Mall. Further, Abdali Mall in Al Abdali is under construction. The Wakalat Street
(English: “Agencies Street”) is Amman’s first pedestrian-only street and carries a lot of label name clothes. The Sweifieh
area in general is considered to be the main shopping district of Amman.
Amman is the 8th most visited city by tourists and business travelers in the Middle East and Africa as well as the 9th highest recipient of international visitor spending. 1.8 million tourists visited the Jordanian capital in 2011 and spent over $1.3 billion in the city. If the entire kingdom is taken into account, there were 8 million tourists in 2010 and $ 4.4 billion in visitor expenditure, including medical tourists.
East Amman is the historic city centre. Eastern Amman is more traditional and older than the newer West. Small shops and single-family houses are dominant in East Amman’s landscape. East Amman is the hub for the capital’s historic sites and cultural activities. West Amman is the current economic city centre, and is the modern, stylish extension of Amman. Malls, shopping centres, expensive hotels, bars and international restaurants are part of West Amman’s development.
Amman is considered one of the most “westernized” and liberal cities in the Arab World. Amman has become one of the most popular destinations for “Western” expats and college students who seek to live, study, or work in the Middle East
or the Arab World
in general. The city’s culinary scene has expanded from its shwarma stands and falafel joints to embrace many popular American restaurants and fast-food outlets like McDonald’s and T.G.I. Friday’s
, Asian fusion restaurants, French bistros such as La Maison Verte and Italian trattorias. The city has become famous for its fine dining scene among Western expats and Persian Gulf tourists. Nightclubs, music bars and shisha lounges have sprouted across Amman, changing the city’s old image as the conservative capital of the kingdom. Jordan’s young population is helping shape this new burgeoning nightlife scene.
The New York Times
praised the cuisine of Amman. “You’ll find the bright vegetables from Lebanon, crunchy falafels from Syria, juicy kebabs from Egypt and, most recently, spicy meat dishes from Jordan’s neighbor, Iraq. It’s known as the food of the Levant
— an ancient word for the area bounded by the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian peninsula. But the food here isn’t just the sum of its calories. In this politically, religiously and ethnically fraught corner of the world, it is a symbol of bloodlines and identity.”
Read more on Greater Amman Municipality
, VisitJordan.com – Amman
, Queen Alia International Airport
, City Mall
, Mecca Mall
, Wikitravel Amman
and Wikipedia Amman
. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.
November 27th, 2013 | General |
Lincoln Memorial by night © flickr.com – CrashingWaves/cc-by-2.0
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia
and commonly referred to as Washington
, “the District”
, or simply D.C.
, is the capital of the United States. The signing of the Residence Act
on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district
located along the Potomac River
on the country’s East Coast
. As permitted by the U.S. Constitution
, the District is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States Congress
and is therefore not a part of any U.S. state. The states of Maryland
each donated land to form the federal district, which included the preexisting settlements of Georgetown
; however, Congress returned the Virginia portion
in 1846. Named in honor of George Washington
, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. Congress created a single municipal government
for the whole District of Columbia after the American Civil War
Washington, D.C., had an estimated population of 632,323 in 2012, the 24th most populous place
in the United States. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city’s population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington Metropolitan Area
, of which the District is a part, has a population of 5.7 million, the seventh-largest metropolitan area
in the country. The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States
are in the District, including the Congress, President
, and Supreme Court. Washington
is home to many national monuments and museums
, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall
. The city hosts 176 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations.
The architecture of Washington varies greatly. Six of the top 10 buildings in the American Institute of Architects
‘ 2007 ranking of “America’s Favorite Architecture
” are in the District of Columbia: the White House
; the Washington National Cathedral
; the Thomas Jefferson Memorial
; the United States Capitol
; the Lincoln Memorial
; and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
. The neoclassical, Georgian, gothic, and modern architectural styles are all reflected among those six structures and many other prominent edifices in Washington. Notable exceptions include buildings constructed in the French Second Empire style
such as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Outside downtown Washington, architectural styles are even more varied. Historic buildings are designed primarily in the Queen Anne
, Richardsonian Romanesque
, Georgian revival, Beaux-Arts
, and a variety of Victorian styles
. Rowhouses are especially prominent in areas developed after the Civil War and typically follow Federalist
and late Victorian designs. Georgetown’s Old Stone House
was built in 1765, making it the oldest-standing original building in the city. Founded in 1789, Georgetown University
features a mix of Romanesque and Gothic Revival architecture
. The Ronald Reagan Building
is the largest building in the District with a total area of approximately 3.1 million square feet (288,000 m2).
Read more on District of Columbia
, Washington, D.C. Homepage
, Washington, D.C. Travel Website
, LonelyPlanet.com – Washington, D.C.
, about.com – Washington, D.C.
, Wikitravel Washington, D.C.
and Wikipedia Washington, D.C.
. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.