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Bellevue Palace

Bellevue Palace

[caption id="attachment_160531" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Peter Kuley[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Schloss Bellevue is the official residence of the President of Germany since 1994. The palace in the central Tiergarten district of Berlin is situated on the northern edge of the Großer Tiergarten park, on the banks of the Spree river, near the Berlin Victory Column. Its name ("beautiful view" in French) derives from the scenic prospect over the river course. Schloss Bellevue was erected in 1786 as a summer residenc...

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The Bayreuth Festival

The Bayreuth Festival

[caption id="attachment_24223" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Bayreuth Festspielhaus © Spurzem/cc-by-sa-2.0-de[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Bayreuth Festival is a music festival held annually in Bayreuth, at which performances of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner are presented. Wagner himself conceived and promoted the idea of a special festival to showcase his own works, in particular his monumental cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and Parsifal. Performances take place in a specially designed th...

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The North Sea city of Wilhelmshaven

The North Sea city of Wilhelmshaven

[caption id="attachment_160627" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Welcome to Wilhelmshaven © Uwe Karwath[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Wilhelmshaven is a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the western side of the Jade Bight, a bay of the North Sea. The Siebethsburg castle, built before 1383, was occupied by pirates and destroyed in 1433 by the Hanseatic League. Four centuries later, the Kingdom of Prussia planned a fleet and a harbour on the North Sea. In 1853, Prince Adalbert of Prussia arranged the Ja...

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The Cinque Ports in Kent and Sussex

The Cinque Ports in Kent and Sussex

[caption id="attachment_153740" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Cinque Ports map © Clem Rutter[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Confederation of Cinque Ports (pronounced "sink" ports, not as the French "cinq") is a historic series of coastal towns in Kent and Sussex. It was originally formed for military and trade purposes, but is now entirely ceremonial. It lies at the eastern end of the English Channel, where the crossing to the continent is narrowest. The name originates in Norman French, meaning "five ports", which are: Hasti...

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Positano on the Amalfi Coast

Positano on the Amalfi Coast

[caption id="attachment_160828" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Tubus/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Positano is a village and comune on the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana), in Campania, mainly in an enclave in the hills leading down to the coast. Today tourism is by far the major industry. Positano is also very popular for Limoncello and "L'Albertissimo", an alcoholic tipple that can only be found at a small stall at the main harbour. The city is member of the Cittaslow movement. Positano was a relatively poor fi...

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The island of Helgoland

The island of Helgoland

[caption id="attachment_150410" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Heligoland © Sioux[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Heligoland is a small German archipelago in the North Sea. Formerly Danish and British possessions, the islands (population 1,127) are located in the Heligoland Bight (part of the German Bight) in the south-eastern corner of the North Sea. They are the only German islands not in the immediate vicinity of the mainland and are approximately three hours sailing time from Cuxhaven at the mouth of the River Elbe. In addition...

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Novosibirsk, Siberia's Chicago

Novosibirsk, Siberia's Chicago

[caption id="attachment_151050" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Lenin's House, now hosts the Novosibirsk State Philarmony Hall © Skokian[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Novosibirsk is Russia's third-largest city, after Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and the largest city of Siberia, with a population of 1,473,700 (2010 Census preliminary results). It is the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast as well as of the Siberian Federal District. Rapid growth and industrialization were the reasons behind Novosibirsk's nickname: the "Chic...

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Rochefort on the Atlantic coast

Rochefort on the Atlantic coast

[caption id="attachment_153073" align="aligncenter" width="590"] The L'Hermione © Dimimis/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Rochefort is a commune in southwestern France, a port on the Charente estuary. It is a sub-prefecture of the Charente-Maritime department. Rochefort is a notable example of 17th-century "ville nouvelle" or new town, which means its design and building resulted from a political decree. The reason for building Rochefort was to a large extent that royal power could hardly depend on rebellious Pro...

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