Battir in the West Bank

2 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

© flickr.com - Labour Palestine/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Labour Palestine/cc-by-2.0

Battir is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, 6.4 km west of Bethlehem, and southwest of Jerusalem. It was inhabited during the Byzantine and Islamic periods, and in the Ottoman and British Mandate censuses its population was recorded as primarily Muslim. In former times, the city lay along the route from Jerusalem to Bayt Jibrin. Battir is situated just above the modern route of the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway, which served as the armistice line between Israel and Jordan from 1949 until the Six-Day War, when it was occupied by Israel. In 2007, Battir had a population of about 4,000. In 2014, Battir was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, as Land of Olives and Vines — Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir.   read more…

The MSC Orchestra

1 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Cruise Ships, Yacht of the Month

in Tallinn © Bin im Garten/cc-by-sa-3.0

in Tallinn © Bin im Garten/cc-by-sa-3.0

MS MSC Orchestra is a cruise ship that was built in 2007 for MSC Cruises. She is the second ship of the Musica class. She could at the time accommodate 2,550 passengers in 1,275 cabins. Most inside cabins were later refitted with two bunk beds and therefore she can now accommodate 3,200 passengers. Her crew complement is approximately 990.   read more…

Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims

1 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month, UNESCO World Heritage

© G.Garitan/MathKnight/cc-by-sa-3.0

© G.Garitan/MathKnight/cc-by-sa-3.0

Notre-Dame de Reims (meaning “Our Lady of Reims”), sometimes known in English as Rheims Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the French city of the same name. The cathedral was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is famous for being the traditional location for the coronation of the kings of France. The cathedral church is thought to have been founded by Bishop Saint Nicasius in the early 5th century. Marking an important conversion, Clovis, King of the Franks, was baptized a Christian here about a century later. Construction of the present Reims Cathedral began in the 13th century and concluded in the 15th century. A prominent example of High Gothic architecture, it was built to replace an earlier church destroyed by fire in 1221. Although little damaged during the French Revolution, the present cathedral saw extensive restoration in the 19th century but was severely damaged during World War I. The church was again restored in the 20th century. Reims Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims. The cathedral, a major tourist destination, receives about one million visitors annually.   read more…

Meenakshi Temple in Madurai

30 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© Mamichaelraj/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Mamichaelraj/cc-by-sa-4.0

Meenakshi Temple (also referred to as Meenakshi Amman Temple or Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Temple also spelled as Meenaatchi Temple) is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Thirukamakottam udaya aaludaiya nachiyar Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareshwar, a form of Shiva. The temple is at the center of the ancient temple city of Madurai mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature, with the goddess temple mentioned in 6th century CE texts. This temple is one of the Paadal Petra Sthalam. The Paadal Petra sthalam are 275 temples of lord Shiva that are revered in the verses of Tamil Saiva Nayanars of 6th-9th century CE.   read more…

Theme Week Georgia – Tbilisi

28 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

View from Narikala fortress © Marcin Konsek/cc-by-sa-4.0

View from Narikala fortress © Marcin Konsek/cc-by-sa-4.0

Tbilisi, in some countries also still known by its pre-1936 international designation, Tiflis, is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Kura River with a population of approximately 1.5 million people. Tbilisi was founded in the 5th century AD by Vakhtang I of Iberia, and since then has served as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Between 1801 and 1917, then part of the Russian Empire, Tbilisi was the seat of the Imperial Viceroy, governing both Southern and Northern Caucasus.   read more…

Sigiriya in Sri Lanka

28 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Binuka poojan/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Binuka poojan/cc-by-sa-4.0

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri (Lion Rock) is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kashyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure — Sīnhāgiri, the Lion Rock (an etymology similar to Sinhapura, the Sanskrit name of Singapore, the Lion City). The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.   read more…

Theme Week Georgia – Kutaisi

27 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Downtown Kutaisi and White Bridge as seen from Mount Gora © Kober/cc-by-sa-3.0

Downtown Kutaisi and White Bridge as seen from Mount Gora © Kober/cc-by-sa-3.0

Kutaisi is one of the most ancient cities in the world and the third-most populous city in Georgia, traditionally, second in importance, after the capital city of Tbilisi. Situated 221 kilometres (137 miles) west of Tbilisi, on the Rioni River, it is the capital of the western region of Imereti.   read more…

Lewis and Clark Expedition, the first overland expedition to lay ground to develop the American West

27 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Route of the expedition © Victor van Werkhooven

Route of the expedition © Victor van Werkhooven

The Lewis and Clark Expedition from August 31, 1803, to September 25, 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the United States expedition to cross the newly acquired western portion of the country after the Louisiana Purchase. The Corps of Discovery was a select group of U.S. Army and civilian volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark. The expedition made its way westward, and crossed the Continental Divide of the Americas before reaching the Pacific Coast (Timeline of the Lewis and Clark Expedition).   read more…

Theme Week Georgia – Tskhinvali

26 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Tskhinvali balcony © Alaexis/cc-by-sa-4.0

Tskhinvali balcony © Alaexis/cc-by-sa-4.0

Tskhinvali is a city in the independent region of South Ossetia, Georgia Transcaucasia and the capital of the Republic of South Ossetia (which has been recognised by the Russian Federation and four other UN member states only) and the former Soviet Georgian South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast. The city had been administratively divided into the region (mkhare) of Shida Kartli by Georgia after the revocation of the autonomous oblast. It’s located on the Great Liakhvi River approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi) northwest of the Georgian capital Tbilisi.   read more…

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