Theme Week Kazakhstan

November 19th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Ak Oda Presidential Palace in Astana © panoramio.com - Nikolay Olkhovoy/cc-by-3.0

Ak Oda Presidential Palace in Astana © panoramio.com – Nikolay Olkhovoy/cc-by-3.0

Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is the world’s largest landlocked country, and the ninth largest in the world, with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometres (1,052,100 sq mi). Kazakhstan is the dominant nation of Central Asia economically, generating 60% of the region’s GDP, primarily through its oil/gas industry. It also has vast mineral resources (List of cities in Kazakhstan, Economy of Kazakhstan, Tourism in Kazakhstan and Kazakh cuisine).   read more…

Theme Week Scottish Borders

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

Mellerstain House © geograph.org.uk - Steve Kent/cc-by-sa-2.0

Mellerstain House © geograph.org.uk – Steve Kent/cc-by-sa-2.0

The Scottish Borders is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the City of Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian and, to the south-west, south and east, the English counties of Cumbria and Northumberland. The administrative centre of the area is Newtown St Boswells. The term Scottish Borders is also used to designate the areas of southern Scotland and northern England that bound the Anglo-Scottish border.   read more…

Theme Week Guyana

September 24th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Kaieteur Falls © Bill Cameron/cc-by-sa-3.0

Kaieteur Falls © Bill Cameron/cc-by-sa-3.0

Guyana is a sovereign state on the northern mainland of South America. It is, however, often considered part of the Caribbean region because of its strong cultural, historical, and political ties with other Anglo Caribbean countries and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Guyana is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and southwest, Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west. With 215,000 square kilometres (83,000 sq mi), Guyana is the fourth-smallest country on mainland South America after Uruguay, Suriname and French Guiana (an overseas region of France).   read more…

Theme Week Uruguay

August 20th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Punta del Este © Roberto Tietzmann/cc-by-2.5

Punta del Este © Roberto Tietzmann/cc-by-2.5

Uruguay, officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a state in the southeastern region of South America. It borders Argentina to its west and Brazil to its north and east, with the Río de la Plata (River of Silver) to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Uruguay is home to an estimated 3.44 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo (List of cities in Uruguay). With an area of approximately 176,000 square kilometres (68,000 sq mi), Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America, after Suriname. Uruguayan culture is strongly European and its influences from southern Europe are particularly important. The tradition of the gaucho has been an important element in the art and folklore of both Uruguay and Argentina.   read more…

Theme Week Paraguay

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

Asunción © Felipe Antonio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Asunción © Felipe Antonio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Paraguay is a landlocked country in central South America, bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the country from north to south. Due to its central location in South America, it is sometimes referred to as Corazón de Sudamérica (“Heart of South America”). As of 2016, Paraguay’s population was estimated to be at around 6.7 million, most of whom are concentrated in the southeast region of the country. The capital and largest city is Asunción, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly a third of Paraguay’s population. In contrast to most Latin American nations, Paraguay’s indigenous language and culture, Guaraní, remains highly influential. In each census, residents predominantly identify as mestizo, reflecting years of intermarriage among the different ethnic groups. Guaraní is recognized as an official language alongside Spanish, and both languages are widely spoken in the country.   read more…

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…

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