The European Union: Bon voyage!

November 10th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Past posts of the EU series have focused on the EU as such, its different political fields and institutions, and culinary aspects. In this post, the EU and its federal states can be experienced at first hand. The EU supports this by, among other things, the annual title of the European Capital of Culture. The title creates a window in the cultural and social life of the respective city / region as well as the entire federal state, but no rule without exception: In the year 2000 Reykjavík in Iceland was the first city which country is EFTA member and not in the EU. In the year 2010 Istanbul in Turkey was the first city of a candidate for membership of the European Union. In addition there are cultural routes in the individual federal states and the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. According to the World Economic Forum, 5 of the TOP10 destinations in the world are EU states. These are Spain (1), France (2), Germany (3), United Kingdom (5) and Italy (8). The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) also sees 5 of the top 10 destinations of the world in the EU, but in a different order: France (1), Spain (3), Italy (5), Germany (7) and United Kingdom (9). Today we are doing a small tour through the federal states, which might inspire you to experience the European Union on site. Enjoy! :-)   read more…

Warsaw Old Town

October 19th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Castle Square © Adrian Grycuk/cc-by-sa-3.0-pl

Castle Square © Adrian Grycuk/cc-by-sa-3.0-pl

The Warsaw Old Town is the oldest part of Warsaw, the capital city of Poland. It is bounded by the Wybrzeże Gdańskie, along with the bank of Vistula river, Grodzka, Mostowa and Podwale Streets. It is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in Warsaw. The heart of the area is the Old Town Market Place, rich in restaurants, cafés and shops. Surrounding streets feature medieval architecture such as the city walls, the Barbican and St. John’s Cathedral. Warsaw’s Old Town has been placed on the UNESCO‘s list of World Heritage Sites as “an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.   read more…

Matera in Southern Italy

October 12th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage

© Tango7174/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Tango7174/cc-by-sa-4.0

Matera is a city in the province of Matera in the region of Basilicata, in Southern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Matera and the capital of Basilicata from 1663 to 1806. The town lies in a small canyon carved out by the Gravina. Known as la Città Sotterranea (“the Underground City”), Matera is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, having been inhabited since the 10th millennium BC. Its historical center “Sassi“, along with the Park of the Rupestrian Churches, is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1993. On 17 October 2014, Matera was declared Italian host of European Capital of Culture for 2019 with the Bulgarian town of Plovdiv.   read more…

Old City of Jerusalem

September 12th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

Old City of Jerusalem - Temple Mount © Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

Old City of Jerusalem – Temple Mount © Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Old City of Jerusalem is a just about 0.9 square kilometers (0.35 sq mi) wide walled area in East Jerusalem and forms the core of the Middle East/Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Until 1860, when the Jewish neighborhood Mishkenot Sha’ananim was established, this area constituted the entire city of Jerusalem and Israeli right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unintentionally right in pointing out that Jerusalem is indivisible, as to this day the Palestinian old town remains to be a self-contained and undivided entity. The Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. It was added to the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger in 1982. Although the Mount Zion with the Abbey of the Dormition is located outside the city walls, it is occasionally seen as part of the Old City. In 2011, UNESCO issued a statement reiterating its view that East Jerusalem is “part of the occupied Palestinian territory, and that the status of Jerusalem must be resolved in permanent status negotiations.” The border between East and West Jerusalem, the City Line as part of the Green Line, runs between the Old City Wall and the Mamilla Mall in West Jerusalem.   read more…

Museum of the Ancient Near East in Berlin

September 10th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Berlin, Museums, Exhibitions, UNESCO World Heritage

Ishtar Gate © Hnapel/cc-by-sa-4.0

Ishtar Gate © Hnapel/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Vorderasiatisches Museum (Near East Museum) is an archaeological museum in Berlin. It is in the basement of the south wing of the Pergamon Museum and has one of the world’s largest collections of Southwest Asian art. 14 halls distributed across 2,000 square meters of exhibition surface display southwest Asian culture spanning six millennia. The exhibits cover a period from the 6th millennium BCE into the time of the Muslim conquests. They originate particularly from today’s states of Iraq, Syria and Turkey, with singular finds also from other areas. Starting with the Neolithic finds, the emphasis of the collection is of finds from Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria, as well as northern Syria and eastern Anatolia.   read more…

Xi’an in China

August 29th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Bell tower © Danielinblue/cc-by-sa-3.0

Bell tower © Danielinblue/cc-by-sa-3.0

Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi Province, People’s Republic of China. It is a sub-provincial city located in the center of the Guanzhong Plain in Northwestern China. One of the oldest cities in China, Xi’an is the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Western Zhou, Qin, Western Han, Sui, and Tang. Xi’an is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.   read more…

Theme Week Uruguay – Colonia del Sacramento

August 24th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Misiones de los Tapes Street at night © Flc1980/cc-by-sa-3.0

Misiones de los Tapes Street at night © Flc1980/cc-by-sa-3.0

Colonia del Sacramento, formerly the Portuguese Colónia do Sacramento) is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is one of the oldest towns in Uruguay and capital of the Colonia Department. It has a population of around 27,000. It is renowned for its historic quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Modern Colonia del Sacramento produces textiles and has a free trade zone, in addition to a polytechnic centre and various government buildings.   read more…

Berlin Modernism Housing Estates

August 15th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, Berlin, UNESCO World Heritage

Großsiedlung Siemensstadt by Hugo Häring © Doris Antony/cc-by-sa-3.0

Großsiedlung Siemensstadt by Hugo Häring © Doris Antony/cc-by-sa-3.0

Berlin Modernism Housing Estates (German: Siedlungen der Berliner Moderne) are an ensemble of six subsidized housing estates from the early 20th century, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating mainly from the years of the Weimar Republic (1919–1933), when the city of Berlin was particularly progressive socially, politically and culturally, they are outstanding examples of the building reform movement that contributed to improving housing and living conditions for people with low incomes through novel approaches to architecture and urban planning. The estates also provide exceptional examples of new urban and architectural typologies, featuring fresh design solutions, as well as technical and aesthetic innovations.   read more…

Palmyra in Syria

August 6th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Cella of the Temple of Bel - destroyed in 2015 © Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

Cella of the Temple of Bel – destroyed in 2015 © Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

Palmyra is an ancient Semitic city (Tadmor) in present-day Homs Governorate, Syria. Archaeological finds date back to the Neolithic period, and documents first mention the city in the early second millennium BC. Palmyra changed hands on a number of occasions between different empires before becoming a subject of the Roman Empire in the first century AD.   read more…

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