Theme Week Bolivia

June 25th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Sucre panorama © flickr.com - Micah MacAllen/cc-by-sa-2.0

Sucre panorama © flickr.com – Micah MacAllen/cc-by-sa-2.0

Bolivia, officially known as the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The capital is Sucre while the seat of government is located in La Paz. The largest city and principal economic and financial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on the Llanos Orientales (Tropical lowlands) a mostly flat region in the East of Bolivia. It is divided into nine departments. Its geography varies from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is bordered to the north and east by Brazil, to the southeast by Paraguay, to the south by Argentina, to the southwest by Chile, and to the northwest by Peru. One-third of the country is within the Andean mountain range. With 1,098,581 km2 (424,164 sq mi) of area, Bolivia is the 5th largest country in South America and the 27th largest in the world.   read more…

Theme Week Venezuela

May 21st, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Cumaná © panoramio.com - Guillermo Esteves/cc-by-3.0

Cumaná © panoramio.com – Guillermo Esteves/cc-by-3.0

Venezuela, officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a federal republic on the northern coast of South America, bordered by Colombia on the west, Brazil on the south, Guyana on the east, the Dutch Lesser Antilles to the north and Trinidad and Tobago to the north-east. Venezuela covers 916,445 km² (353,841 sq mi) and has over 31 million people. The country has extremely high biodiversity and is ranked 7th in the world’s list of nations with the most number of species. There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon Basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east.   read more…

Theme Week Ecuador

April 23rd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

A vicuña, one of two wild South American camelids. In the background the point on the Earth's surface that is farthest from the Earth's center, Chimborazo volcano © David Torres Costales/cc-by-sa-3.0

A vicuña, one of two wild South American camelids. In the background the point on the Earth’s surface that is farthest from the Earth’s center, Chimborazo volcano © David Torres Costales/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. The capital city is Quito, while the largest city is Guayaquil. What is now Ecuador was home to a variety of Amerindian groups that were gradually incorporated into the Inca Empire during the 15th century. The territory was colonized by Spain during the 16th century, achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830. The legacy of both empires is reflected in Ecuador’s ethnically diverse population, with most of its 16.4 million people being mestizos, followed by large minorities of European, Amerindian, and African descendants. Spanish is the official language and is spoken by a majority of the population, though 13 Amerindian languages are also recognized, including Quichua and Shuar.   read more…

Theme Week Ireland

March 26th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

The English Market in Cork © flickr.com - WordRidden/cc-by-2.0

The English Market in Cork © flickr.com – WordRidden/cc-by-2.0

Ireland (Irish: Éire), also known as the Republic of Ireland (Poblacht na hÉireann), is occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint George’s Channel to the south-east, and the Irish Sea to the east. Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures, especially in the fields of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music, and the Irish language. The culture of the island also shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, and sports such as association football, rugby, horse racing, and golf.   read more…

Theme Week United Arab Emirates

February 19th, 2018 | Author/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…

Theme Week Panama

January 22nd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Panama City © Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz/cc-by-sa-3.0

Panama City © Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz/cc-by-sa-3.0

Panama, officially called the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America. It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia in South America to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half of the country’s 4 million people. Panama was inhabited by several indigenous tribes prior to settlement by the Spanish in the 16th century. Panama broke away from Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada remained joined, eventually becoming the Republic of Colombia. With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977 an agreement was signed for the transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the 20th century, which culminated on December 31, 1999.   read more…

Theme Week Palestine

December 25th, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, Union for the Mediterranean

Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity © flickr.com - Neil Ward/cc-by-2.0

Bethlehem – Church of the Nativity © flickr.com – Neil Ward/cc-by-2.0

Palestine is a de jure sovereign state in the Middle East claiming the West Bank (bordering Israel and Jordan) and Gaza Strip (bordering Israel and Egypt) with East Jerusalem as the designated capital although its administrative center is located in Ramallah (Arab–Israeli conflict). Most of the areas claimed by the State of Palestine have been occupied by Israel since 1967 in the consequence of the Six-Day War. The population is at 4.7 million. The State of Palestine is recognized by 136 UN members and since 2012 has a status of a non-member observer state in the United Nations – which amounts to a de facto, or implicit, recognition of statehood.   read more…

Theme Week Libya

November 20th, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Ancient Roman Leptis Magna Theatre east of Khums © David Gunn

Ancient Roman Leptis Magna Theatre east of Khums © David Gunn

Libya is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. The country is made of three historical regions, Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya’s six million people. The other large city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.   read more…

Theme Week Kuwait

October 23rd, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Kuwait City © flickr.com - Mohammad Alatar/cc-by-2.0

Kuwait City © flickr.com – Mohammad Alatar/cc-by-2.0

Kuwait is a country in Western Asia. Situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, it shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. As of 2016, Kuwait has a population of 4.2 million people; 1.3 million are Kuwaitis and 2.9 million are expatriates. Expatriates account for 70% of the population. The capital is Kuwait City Oil reserves were discovered in 1938. From 1946 to 1982, the country underwent large-scale modernization. In the 1980s, Kuwait experienced a period of geopolitical instability and an economic crisis following the stock market crash. In 1990, Kuwait was invaded by Iraq. The Iraqi occupation came to an end in 1991 after military intervention by coalition forces. At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure. Kuwait is a constitutional state with a semi-democratic political system. It has a high income economy backed by the world’s sixth largest oil reserves. According to the World Bank, the country has the fourth highest per capita income in the world. The Constitution was promulgated in 1962. The Kuwait National Cultural District is a member of the Global Cultural Districts Network.   read more…

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