Theme Week United Arab Emirates – Emirate of Umm al-Quwain

February 21st, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Mangroves with the city of Umm al-Quwain © flickr.com - Peter Dowley/cc-by-2.0

Mangroves with the city of Umm al-Quwain © flickr.com – Peter Dowley/cc-by-2.0

Umm al-Quwain is the least populous of the seven emirates, located in the north of the country. The emirate is ruled by Saud bin Rashid Al Mu’alla. The emirate had 73,000 inhabitants in 2015 and has an area of 750 km2 (290 sq mi). The UAE culture mainly revolves around the religion of Islam and traditional Arab culture. The influence of Islamic and Arab culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle are very prominent as well. Five times every day, Muslims are called to prayer from the minarets of mosques which are scattered around the country. Since 2006, the weekend has been Friday-Saturday, as a compromise between Friday’s holiness to Muslims and the Western weekend of Saturday-Sunday.   read more…

Portrait: Andrew Carnegie

February 21st, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: Portrait |

Andrew Carnegie © Library of Congress - Theodore C. Marceau

Andrew Carnegie © Library of Congress – Theodore C. Marceau

Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, business magnate, and philanthropist during the Gilded Age. Carnegie led the expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century and is often identified as one of the richest people (and richest Americans) ever. He became a leading philanthropist in the United States, and in the British Empire. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away about $350 million to charities, foundations, and universities—almost 90 percent of his fortune. His 1889 article proclaiming The Gospel of Wealth called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated a wave of philanthropy.   read more…

Theme Week United Arab Emirates – Emirate of Ajman

February 20th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

© MMuzammils/cc-by-sa-3.0

© MMuzammils/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Emirate of Ajman has an area of a mere 260 square kilometres (100 sq mi), which makes it the smallest of the emirates in terms of area. It is named after the city of Ajman, which is its seat of government. It is bordered on the north, east, and south by the Emirate of Sharjah. It has a population of some 240,000. Located on the coast of the Arabian Gulf, Ajman also controls two small inland exclaves: Manama and Masfut, both of which are primarily agricultural. Approximately 95% of the population of the emirate resides in the city of Ajman, which forms part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. Ajman is ruled by Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi of the Al Nuaimi tribe. The Crown Prince of the Emirate is Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi.   read more…

Theme Week United Arab Emirates

February 19th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks |

Ras al-Khaimah - Al Hamra Fort Hotel & Beach Resort © Pedantin9/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ras al-Khaimah – Al Hamra Fort Hotel & Beach Resort © Pedantin9/cc-by-sa-3.0

The United Arab Emirates, sometimes simply called the Emirates, is a federal absolute monarchy in Western Asia at the southeast end of the Arabian Peninsula on the Arabian Gulf, bordering Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south, as well as sharing maritime borders with Qatar to the west and Iran to the north. In 2013, the UAE’s population was 9.2 million, of which 1.4 million are Emirati citizens and 7.8 million are expatriates. The country is a federation of seven emirates, and was established on 2 December 1971. The constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. The largest cities are Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Al Ain, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. Each emirate is governed by an absolute monarch; together, they jointly form the Federal Supreme Council. One of the monarchs (traditionally always the Emir of Abu Dhabi) is selected as the President of the United Arab Emirates. Islam is the official religion of the UAE and Arabic is the official language (although English, Urdu and Hindi languages are widely spoken, with English being the language of business and education particularly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai).   read more…

Costa Brava in Spain

February 19th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

Palafrugell © Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Pirineu de Girona/cc-by-sa-3.0

Palafrugell © Patronat de Turisme Costa Brava Pirineu de Girona/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Costa Brava (“Wild Coast” or “Rough Coast”) is a coastal region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain, consisting of the comarques (counties) of Alt Empordà, Baix Empordà and Selva in the province of Girona. Costa Brava stretches from the town of Blanes, 60 km (37 mi) northeast of Barcelona, to the French border. In the 1950s, the Costa Brava was identified by the Spanish government and local entrepreneurs as being suitable for substantial development as a holiday destination, mainly for package holiday tourists from France and Northern Europe. The combination of a very good summer climate, nature, excellent beaches and a favourable foreign exchange rate, which made Costa Brava a relatively inexpensive tourist destination, was exploited by the construction of large numbers of hotels and apartments in such seaside resorts as Blanes, Tossa de Mar and Lloret de Mar. Tourism rapidly took over from fishing as the principal business of the area. Between beaches and hidden coves surrounded by vegetation, are 199 locations in the coastal regions of Costa Brava.   read more…

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic

February 17th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General |

© flickr.com - Ben Kucinski/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Ben Kucinski/cc-by-2.0

Punta Cana is a resort town within the Punta Cana-Bávaro-Veron-Macao municipal district, in the municipality of Higüey, in La Altagracia Province, the easternmost province of the Dominican Republic. The area has beaches and balnearios which face both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and it has been a popular tourist destination.   read more…

Spy Museum in Berlin

February 16th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: Berlin, General, Museums, Exhibitions |

Enigma machine © Scontrofrontale/cc-by-sa-4.0

Enigma machine © Scontrofrontale/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Spy Museum Berlin is a private Museum in Berlin which was opened to the public on 19 September 2015. It is located at Leipziger Platz, directly at Berlin Potsdamer Platz station. The Museum shows in an interactive and multimedia exhibition the history of espionage and secret services worldwide. Special emphasis is dedicated to espionage activities in Berlin during the Cold War. In the exit area there are a shop, a café and a cinema.   read more…

Coro in Venezuela

February 14th, 2018 | Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage |

Iglesia de San Francisco © flickr.com - Grégory David Escobar Fernández/cc-by-2.0

Iglesia de San Francisco © flickr.com – Grégory David Escobar Fernández/cc-by-2.0

Coro is the capital of Falcón State and the oldest city in the west of Venezuela. It was founded on July 26, 1527 by Juan de Ampíes as Santa Ana de Coro. It is established at the south of the Paraguaná Peninsula in a coastal plain, flanked by the Médanos de Coro National Park to the north and the sierra de Coro to the south, at a few kilometers from its port (La Vela de Coro) in the Caribbean Sea at a point equidistant between the Ensenada de La Vela and Golfete de Coro. Thanks to the city’s history, culture and its well-preserved Colonial architecture, “Coro and its port La Vela” was designated in 1993 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, thus becoming the first site in Venezuela to be vested with this title. Since 2005 it is on the UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger.   read more…

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