Portrait: Rothschild family

September 28th, 2016 | Destination: | Portrait | No Comments »

Coat of arms of the Rothschild family

Coat of arms of the Rothschild family

The Rothschild family is a wealthy family descending from Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a court Jew to the German Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel, in the Free City of Frankfurt, who established his banking business in the 1760s in Judengasse. Unlike most previous court Jews, Rothschild managed to bequeath his wealth and established an international banking family through his five sons, who established themselves in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Naples. During the 19th century, the Rothschild family possessed the largest private fortune in the world, as well as the largest private fortune in modern world history. The family’s wealth was divided among various descendants. Today, Rothschild business encompass a diverse range of fields, including financial services, real estate, mining, energy, mixed farming, wine and charities. The name of Rothschild became synonymous with extravagance and great wealth; and, the family was renowned for its art collecting, for its palaces, as well as for its philanthropy. By the end of the century, the family owned, or had built, at the lowest estimates, over 41 palaces (Le Goût Rothschild), of a scale and luxury perhaps unparalleled even by the richest royal families. The British Chancellor of the Exchequer Lloyd George claimed, in 1909, that Lord Nathan Rothschild was the most powerful man in Britain. more…

Grand Bazaar in Tehran

September 26th, 2016 | Destination: | General | No Comments »

© Antoine Taveneaux/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Antoine Taveneaux/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Grand Bazaar (Persian: Bāzār e Bozorg) is an old historical market in Tehran, the capital of Iran. Located at the Arg Square in Southern Tehran, it is split into several corridors over 10 km in length, each specializing in different types of goods, and has several entrances, with the main being the entrance of Sabze Meydan. In addition to shops, the Grand Bazaar of Tehran has contained banks, mosques and guest houses. The bazar has access to Tehran Metro through Khayyam Metro Station. While the current bazaar is most associated with the 19th century onwards, its roots go back much further. The area around Tehran has been settled since at least 6,000 BCE, and while bazaar-like construction in Iran as a whole has been dated as far back as 4,000 BCE, Tehran’s bazaar is not this old. It is hard to say exactly when the “bazaar” first appeared, but in the centuries following the introduction of Islam, travellers reported the growth of commerce in the area now occupied by the current bazaar. The Grand bazaar is a continuation of this legacy. Research indicates that a portion of today’s bazaar predated the growth of the village of Tehran under the Safavids‘ dynasty, although it was during and after this period that the bazaar began to grow gradually. Western travellers indicated that by 1660 CE and beyond, the bazaar area was still largely open, and only partially covered. more…

Theme Week Argentina – San Carlos de Bariloche

September 24th, 2016 | Destination: | General | No Comments »

Civic Centre and port on Lake Nahuel Huapi © Dario Alpern/cc-by-sa-4.0

Civic Centre and port on Lake Nahuel Huapi © Dario Alpern/cc-by-sa-4.0

San Carlos de Bariloche, usually known as Bariloche, is a city in the province of Río Negro, situated in the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. It is located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park. After development of extensive public works and Alpine-styled architecture, the city emerged in the 1930s and 1940s as a major tourism centre with skiing, trekking and mountaineering facilities. In addition, it has numerous restaurants, cafés, and chocolate shops. The city has a permanent population of 114,000. The name Bariloche comes from the Mapudungun word Vuriloche meaning “people from behind the mountain”. The Poya people used the Vuriloche pass to cross the Andes, keeping it secret from the Spanish priests for a long time. more…

Theme Week Argentina – Córdoba

September 23rd, 2016 | Destination: | General, UNESCO World Heritage | No Comments »

Teatro del Libertador © Nicolás Riofrio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Teatro del Libertador © Nicolás Riofrio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Córdoba is a city located in the geographical center of Argentina, in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas on the Suquía River, about 700 km (435 mi) northwest of the Buenos Aires. It is the capital of Córdoba Province and the second most populous city in Argentina after Buenos Aires, with about 1.3 million inhabitants. It was founded on 6 July 1573 by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, who named it after Córdoba in Spain. It was one of the first Spanish colonial capitals of the region that is now Argentina (the oldest city is Santiago del Estero, founded in 1553). The National University of Córdoba is the oldest university of the country and the second to be inaugurated in Latin America. It was founded in 1613 by the Jesuit Order. Because of this, Córdoba earned the nickname La Docta (roughly translated, “the learned one”). more…

Topkapı Palace in Istanbul

September 23rd, 2016 | Destination: | General, UNESCO World Heritage | No Comments »

© Carlos Delgado/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Carlos Delgado/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Topkapı Palace (Turkish: Topkapı Sarayı) or the Seraglio is a large palace in Istanbul, that was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years (1465–1856) of their 624-year reign. As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a museum and as such a major tourist attraction. It also contains important relics of the Muslim world, including Muhammed’s cloak and sword. The Topkapı Palace is among the monuments contained within the “Historic Areas of Istanbul“, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, and is described under UNESCO’s criterion iv as “the best example[s] of ensembles of palaces […] of the Ottoman period.” The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people, and covered a large area with a long shoreline. It contained mosques, a hospital, bakeries, and a mint. Construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople. It was originally called the New Palace (Yeni Saray or Saray-ı Cedîd-i Âmire) to distinguish it from the previous residence. It received the name “Topkapı” (Cannon Gate) in the 19th century, after a (now lost) gate and shore pavilion. The complex was expanded over the centuries, with major renovations after the 1509 earthquake and the 1665 fire. more…

Theme Week Argentina – La Plata

September 22nd, 2016 | Destination: | General | No Comments »

Plaza Moreno and the Cathedral © Barcex/cc-by-sa-3.0

Plaza Moreno and the Cathedral © Barcex/cc-by-sa-3.0

La Plata is the capital city of the Province of Buenos Aires and of the partido La Plata. It has a population of 740,000 and its metropolitan area has 900,000 inhabitants. La Plata was planned and developed to serve as the provincial capital after the city of Buenos Aires was federalized in 1880. It was officially founded by Governor Dardo Rocha on 19 November 1882. Its construction is fully documented in photographs by Tomás Bradley Sutton. La Plata was renamed Eva Perón City (Ciudad Eva Perón) between 1952 and 1955. La Plata is a planned city, urban planning paradigm of the late 19th century. It is also an example of “hygiene”, which was becoming important in that time. Rocha decided to erect a new city to host the provincial government institutions and a university which had already been planned. Urban planner Pedro Benoit designed a city layout based on a rationalist conception of urban centers. The city has the shape of a square with a central park and two main diagonal avenues, north to south and east to west. In addition, there are numerous other shorter diagonal streets. This design is copied in a self-similar manner in small blocks of six by six blocks in length. For every six blocks, there is a small park or square. Other than the diagonal streets, all streets are on a rectangular grid and are numbered consecutively. Thus, La Plata is nicknamed “la ciudad de las diagonales” (city of diagonals). It is also called “la ciudad de los tilos” (city of linden trees), because of the large number of linden trees lining the many streets and squares. more…

Theme Week Argentina – Ushuaia

September 21st, 2016 | Destination: | General | No Comments »

Ushuaia © Jerzy Strzelecki/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ushuaia © Jerzy Strzelecki/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range, and on the south by the Beagle Channel. It is the only municipality in the Department of Ushuaia, which has an area of 9,390 km2 (3,625 sq mi). The main economic activities are fishing, natural gas and oil extraction, sheep farming and ecotourism. more…

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