Theme Week Egypt – Aswan

May 26th, 2017 | Destination: | General, UNESCO World Heritage | No Comments »

Temple of Isis on Philae © Steve F-E-Cameron/cc-by-sa-3.0

Temple of Isis on Philae © Steve F-E-Cameron/cc-by-sa-3.0

Aswan, formerly spelled Assuan, is a city in the south of Egypt, the capital of the Aswan Governorate. Aswan is a busy market and tourist centre located just north of the Aswan Dams on the east bank of the Nile at the first cataract. The modern city has expanded and includes the formerly separate community on the island of Elephantine. Aswan is the ancient city of Swenett, which in antiquity was the frontier town of Ancient Egypt facing the south. Swenett is supposed to have derived its name from an Egyptian goddess with the same name. This goddess later was identified as Eileithyia by the Greeks and Lucina by the Romans during their occupation of Ancient Egypt because of the similar association of their goddesses with childbirth, and of which the import is “the opener”. The ancient name of the city also is said to be derived from the Egyptian symbol for trade, or market. Aswan is served by the Aswan International Airport. Train and bus service is also available. Taxi and rickshaw are used for transport here. more…

Wine Quarter in Lower Austria

May 26th, 2017 | Destination: | General | No Comments »

Vino Versum Poysdorf © Werner Kraus/cc-by-sa-3.0

Vino Versum Poysdorf © Werner Kraus/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Weinviertel (“wine quarter”) or Viertel unter dem Manhartsberg (“area below the Manhartsberg“) is located in the northeast of Lower Austria. In the east, the Weinviertel borders Slovakia at the March River. In the south, it borders Mostviertel and Industrieviertel, its limits being the Wagram, the Danube and the Marchfeld. Its western neighbor is Waldviertel, the traditional border being the Manhartsberg. In the north, the Weinviertel is adjacent to the Czech Republic, more specifically Moravia. The river Thaya runs back and forth across the border. more…

Theme Week Egypt – Cairo

May 25th, 2017 | Destination: | General, UNESCO World Heritage | No Comments »

View from Cairo Tower © Raduasandei

View from Cairo Tower © Raduasandei

Cairo is the capital and largest city of Egypt. With well over 20.5 Million inhabitants, the city’s metropolitan area is the largest in the Middle East and the Arab world, and 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by Jawhar al-Siqilli (“the Sicilian”) of the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a center of the region’s political and cultural life, and is nicknamed “the city of a thousand minarets” for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab world, as well as the world’s second-oldest institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses, and organizations have regional headquarters in the city; the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence. more…

Theme Week Egypt – Shadwan Island

May 24th, 2017 | Destination: | General | No Comments »

© Wusel007/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Wusel007/cc-by-sa-3.0

Shadwan is a barren rocky island 30 miles southwest of the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula and 20 miles northeast of el Gouna. It is the largest of a group of islands in the mouth of the Gulf of Suez in the northern Red Sea and measures 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) in length, and between 3–5 kilometres (1.9–3.1 mi) wide. It was formerly also called Shaker Island and features a lighthouse. The island is famous as a touristic site for underwater diving and fishing. more…

Portrait: Vincent van Gogh

May 24th, 2017 | Destination: | Portrait | No Comments »

Vincent van Gogh signature

Vincent van Gogh signature

Vincent Willem van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who is among the most famous and influential figures in the history of Western art. In just over a decade he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of them in the last two years of his life in France, where he died. They include landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits, and are characterised by bold colours and dramatic, impulsive and expressive brushwork that contributed to the foundations of modern art. His suicide at 37 followed years of mental illness and poverty. more…

Theme Week Egypt – Siwa Oasis

May 23rd, 2017 | Destination: | General | No Comments »

Historic Center of Siwa with famous mud brick architecture © Michael Hermann/cc-by-sa-4.0

Historic Center of Siwa with famous mud brick architecture © Michael Hermann/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Siwa Oasis is an oasis in Egypt, between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Western Desert, nearly 50 km (30 mi) east of the Libyan border, and 560 km (348 mi) from Cairo. About 80 km (50 mi) in length and 20 km (12 mi) wide, Siwa Oasis is one of Egypt’s most isolated settlements, with 23,000 people, mostly Berbers who developed a unique culture and a distinct language of the Berber family called Siwi. Its fame lies primarily in its ancient role as the home to an oracle of Ammon, the ruins of which are a popular tourist attraction which gave the oasis its ancient name Ammonium. Historically, it is part of Ancient Libya. more…

Theme Week Egypt

May 22nd, 2017 | Destination: | General, Theme Weeks | No Comments »

Luxor - Winter Palace Hotel © Rowan

Luxor – Winter Palace Hotel © Rowan

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by Palestine and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, and across from the Sinai Peninsula lies Saudi Arabia, although Jordan and Saudi Arabia do not share a land border with Egypt. It is the world’s only contiguous Afrasian nation. Egypt has among the longest histories of any modern country, emerging as one of the world’s first nation states in the tenth millennium BC. Considered a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion and central government. Iconic monuments such as the Giza Necropolis and its Great Sphinx, as well the ruins of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak, and the Valley of the Kings, reflect this legacy and remain a significant focus of archaeological study and popular interest worldwide. Egypt’s rich cultural heritage is an integral part of its national identity, which has endured, and at times assimilated, various foreign influences, including Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and European. One of the earliest centres of Christianity, Egypt was Islamised in the seventh century and remains a predominantly Muslim country, albeit with a significant Christian minority. more…

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