Forbidden City in China

July 9th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

The Forbidden City - View from Jingshan Hill © Pixelflake/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Forbidden City – View from Jingshan Hill © Pixelflake/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing in China. The former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty—the years 1420 to 1912, it now houses the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for almost 500 years. Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 72 hectares (over 180 acres). The palace exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.   read more…

Theme Week Bolivia – Sucre

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

Sucre, capital de Bolivia © - Micah MacAllen/cc-by-sa-2.0

Sucre, capital de Bolivia © – Micah MacAllen/cc-by-sa-2.0

Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia, the capital of the Chuquisaca Department, and one of the capitals of Bolivia, where the Supreme Court is located. The government of the City of Sucre is divided into the executive and legislative branches. The city is named in honor of the revolutionary leader Antonio José de Sucre. After the economic decline of Potosí and its silver industry, Sucre lost the Bolivian seat of government when it was moved to La Paz in 1898. Today, it is the 6th most populated city in Bolivia. Located in the south-central part of the country, Sucre lies at an elevation of 2,810 meters (9,214 feet). This relatively high altitude gives the city a cool temperate climate year-round.   read more…

Theme Week Ecuador – Quito

April 28th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Municipal Palace in the Plaza Grande © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0

Municipal Palace in the Plaza Grande © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0

Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 2,850 metres (9,350 ft) above sea level, it is the second-highest official capital city in the world, after La Paz, and the one which is closest to the equator. It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of 2,671,191 according to the last census (2014), Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of the Metropolitan District of Quito. The canton recorded a population of 2,239,191 residents in the 2010 national census. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations.   read more…

Theme Week Ecuador – Cuenca

April 27th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Centro Histórico © -

Centro Histórico © –

The city of Cuenca — in full, Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca — is the capital of the Azuay Province. It is widely regarded as the most European city in the country of Ecuador due to its 16th and 17th century era Spanish colonial architecture resembling cities and architecture throughout Spain. The city of Cuenca is located in the highlands of Ecuador at about 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) above sea level, with an urban population of approximately 400,000 rising to 700,000 inhabitants in the larger metropolitan area. The centre of the city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site due to its many historical buildings.   read more…

The Białowieża National Park

April 4th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Swamped forest © Lilly M/cc-by-sa-3.0

Swamped forest © Lilly M/cc-by-sa-3.0

Białowieża National Park is a National Park in Podlaskie Voivodeship, in Eastern Poland adjacent with the border with Belarus. The total area of the park is 152.2 square kilometres (58.8 sq mi). It is located 62 km (39 mi) southeast of Białystok (Poland). It is known for the protection of the best preserved part of the Białowieża Forest, Europe’s last temperate primaeval forest fragment that once stretched across the European Plain. It is home to the world’s largest population of European bison, the continent’s heaviest land animals. The border between the two countries runs through the forest, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park is adjacent on the Belarus side of the border. There is a border crossing for hikers and cyclists within the forest. According to one study, the park brings in tourist revenues of about 72 million zlotys per year.   read more…

Shenyang in China

March 16th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

West Pagoda Street © Ecabal/cc-by-sa-4.0

West Pagoda Street © Ecabal/cc-by-sa-4.0

Shenyang, formerly known by its Manchu name Mukden or Fengtian, is the provincial capital and the largest city of Liaoning Province in the People’s Republic of China, as well as the largest city in Northeast China by urban population. The city’s urban area has 6.3 million inhabitants, while the total population of the Shenyang municipality, which holds the administrative status of a sub-provincial city, is up to 8.1 million. Shenyang’s city region includes the ten metropolitan districts of Shenyang proper, the county-level city of Xinmin, and two counties of Kangping and Faku. In the 17th century, Shenyang was conquered by the Manchu people and briefly used as the capital of the Qing dynasty.   read more…


March 2nd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage



The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of NationsInternational Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members, including Cook Islands and Niue. Most of its field offices are “cluster” offices covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist. In October 2017, the United States and Israel have declared that they will leave UNESCO on 31 December 2018. Efforts to keep the United States in the UNESCO promptly started on the diplomatic floor.   read more…

The Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai

March 1st, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

Saint Catherine's Monastery in front of Mount Sinai © - Joonas Plaan/cc-by-2.0

Saint Catherine’s Monastery in front of Mount Sinai © – Joonas Plaan/cc-by-2.0

Saint Catherine’s Monastery, officially “Sacred Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount Sinai”, lies on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai, in the city of Saint Catherine, Egypt in the South Sinai Governorate. The monastery is controlled by the autonomous Church of Sinai, part of the wider Eastern Orthodox Church, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between 548 and 565, the monastery is one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world. The site contains the world’s oldest continually operating library, possessing many unique books including the Syriac Sinaiticus and, until 1859, the Codex Sinaiticus. A small town with hotels and swimming pools, called Saint Katherine City, has grown around the monastery.   read more…

Theme Week United Arab Emirates – Emirate of Sharjah

February 23rd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Buhairah Corniche © Basil D Soufi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Buhairah Corniche © Basil D Soufi/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Emirate of Sharjah is one of the seven emirates. The emirate covers 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 sq mi) and has a population of over 1.4 million. The emirate of Sharjah comprises the capital city of Sharjah, after which it is named, and other minor towns and exclaves such as Kalba, Dibba Al-Hisn and Khor Fakkan. The emirate is a constitutional monarchy. It has been ruled by Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi since 1972. Sharjah is the third largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates, and is the only one to have land on both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The emirate covers 2,590 square kilometres (1,000 sq mi) which is equivalent to 3.3 per cent of the UAE’s total area, excluding the islands. Sharjah City borders Dubai to the south and Ajman to the north, and the three form a conurbation. The city lies some 170 kilometers away from the UAE capital city Abu Dhabi. Sharjah also encompasses some important oasis areas, the most famous of which is the fertile Dhaid region, where a range of vegetables and fruits are cultivated.   read more…

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