Waterton Lakes National Park

July 30th, 2014 | General | No Comments »

Prince of Wales Hotel © Svrspr/cc-by-sa-3.0

Prince of Wales Hotel © Svrspr/cc-by-sa-3.0

Waterton Lakes National Park is a national park located in the southwest corner of Alberta, Canada, and borders Glacier National Park in Montana, USA. Waterton was Canada’s fourth national park, formed in 1895 and named after Waterton Lake, in turn after the Victorian naturalist and conservationist Charles Waterton. The park contains 505 km2 (195 sq mi) of rugged mountains and wilderness.

Operated by Parks Canada, Waterton is open all year, but the main tourist season is during July and August. The only commercial facilities available within the park are located at the Waterton Park townsite. The park ranges in elevation from 1,290 metres (4,232 ft) at the townsite to 2,910 m (9,547 ft) at Mount Blakiston. It offers many scenic trails, including Crypt Lake trail. In 2012/2013, Waterton Lakes National Park had 402,542 visitors.
 

In 1932, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was formed from Waterton and Glacier. It was dedicated to world peace by Sir Charles Arthur Mander on behalf of Rotary International. Although the park has a lot of diversity for its size, the main highlight is the Waterton lakes—the deepest in the Canadian Rockies—overlooked by the historic Prince of Wales Hotel, a National Historic Site of Canada.

The park is part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, designated as World Heritage Site in 1995 for their distinctive climate, physiographic setting, mountain-prairie interface, and tri-ocean hydrographical divide. They are areas of significant scenic values with abundant and diverse flora and fauna.

Read more on Waterton Lakes National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park and Wikipedia Waterton Lakes National Park. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.


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The Arab League

July 26th, 2014 | General | No Comments »

© HCPUNXKID/cc-by-sa-3.0

© HCPUNXKID/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Arab League is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Southwest Asia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members. Currently, the League has 22 members, although Syria’s participation has been suspended since November 2011 as a consequence of government repression during the ongoing uprising and civil war.

The League’s main goal is to “draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries”.

The Arab League has also played a role in shaping school curricula, advancing the role of women in the Arab societies, promoting child welfare, encouraging youth and sports programs, preserving Arab cultural heritage, and fostering cultural exchanges between the member states. Literacy campaigns have been launched, intellectual works reproduced, and modern technical terminology is translated for the use within member states. The league encourages measures against crime and drug abuse, and deals with labour issues — particularly among the emigrant Arab workforce.

Within the Arab league there are smaller organizations, e.g. the African Union, the Arab Maghreb Union and the OPEC. Economic achievements initiated by the League amongst member states have been less impressive than those achieved by smaller Arab organisations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Among them is the Arab Gas Pipeline, that will transport Egyptian and Iraqi gas to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. As of 2013, a significant difference in economic conditions exist between the developed oil states of Algeria, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE, and developing countries like Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

The Arab League is rich in resources, with enormous Oil and Natural Gas resources, it also has great fertile lands in South of the Sudan, usually referred to as the food basket of the Arab World, the region’s instability has not affected its tourism industry, that is considered the fastest growing industry in the region, with Egypt, UAE, Lebanon, Tunisia and Jordan leading the way. Another industry that is growing steadily in the Arab League is telecommunications. Within less than a decade, local companies such as Orascom and Etisalat have managed to compete internationally.

Read more on Arab League and Wikipedia Arab League. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.


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Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, the national library of the Vatican

July 23rd, 2014 | General | No Comments »

Vatican Library entrance © Benoit Lhoest/cc-by-sa-3.0

Vatican Library entrance © Benoit Lhoest/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Vatican Apostolic Library (Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly called simply the Vatican Library, is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from throughout history. On 20 March 2014, the Holy See announced that NTT Data Corporation and the Library concluded an agreement to digitize approximately 3,000 of the Library’s manuscripts within four years. It noted that there is the possibility of subsequently digitizing another 79,000 of the Library’s holdings. These will be high-definition images available on the Library’s Internet site.

Pope Nicholas V established the library in the Vatican in 1448 by combining some 350 Greek, Latin and Hebrew codices inherited from his predecessors with his own collection and extensive acquisitions, among them manuscripts from the imperial Library of Constantinople. The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana was established in 1475. When its first librarian, Bartolomeo Platina, produced a listing in 1481, the library held over 3,500 items, making it by far the largest in the Western world. Around 1587, Pope Sixtus V commissioned the architect Domenico Fontana to construct a new building for the library; it is still in use today. Books were displayed on benches to which they were chained.
 

Today, the library holds some 75,000 manuscripts and over 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula. The Vatican Secret Archives were separated from the library at the beginning of the 17th century; they contain another 150,000 items. Among the most famous holdings of the library is the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, the oldest known nearly complete manuscript of the Bible. The Secret History of Procopius was discovered in the library and published in 1623. The Vatican Library is a research library for history, law, philosophy, science and theology, open to anyone who can document their qualifications and research needs. Photocopies for private study of pages from books published between 1801 and 1990 can be requested in person or by mail.

The Library closed on 17 July 2007. It was reopened September 20, 2010. A School of Library Science is associated with the Vatican Library. In 1959, a Film Library was established. This is not to be confused with the Vatican Film Library, which was established in 1953 at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. In 2012, plans were announced to digitize, in collaboration with the Bodleian Library, a million pages of material from the Vatican Library”. A grant was provided by the London-based Polonsky Foundation.

Read more on Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, vaticanstate.va – Vatican Library and Wikipedia Vatican Library. Photos by Wikimedia Commons.


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