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…

University of the German Federal Armed Forces

26 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Hamburg, Universities, Colleges, Academies

Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg - Campus © Reinhard Scheiblich

Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg – Campus © Reinhard Scheiblich

The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) runs two universities: one in Munich, (Bundeswehr University Munich) and another in Hamburg (Helmut Schmidt University – which focus on the scientific work and the academic study of the German armed forces’ officers. Unlike other nations’ military academies, both universities only offer courses of study which have almost no relation to the military and correspond to courses at regular German universities. All professors at both universities are civilians. The future officers, who must serve for at least 13 years (16 for pilots), obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree comparable to the academic degrees granted at the other universities in Germany. Students at the Federal Armed Forces Universities need at least four academic years to achieve the master’s degree. Since 2003, civilian students have also been admitted to study at the universities of the Federal Armed Forces, provided that spaces for enrollment are available and that industrial companies are willing to underwrite the costs. The academic program at the universities of the Federal Armed Forces can be finished faster than at civilian universities because the curriculum contains about one third more content per year (trimesters instead of semesters are utilized). In exchange, the officers and officer candidates are fully paid and do not have to work in their free time.   read more…

Theme Week Georgia – Batumi

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

Coastline with Batumi on the horizon © flickr.com - Jagermesh/cc-by-sa-2.0

Coastline with Batumi on the horizon © flickr.com – Jagermesh/cc-by-sa-2.0

Batumi is the second largest city of Georgia and the capital of the Adjara, located on the coast of the Black Sea in Georgia’s southwest. It is situated in a subtropical zone at the foot of the Caucasus. Much of Batumi’s economy revolves around tourism and gambling (it is nicknamed “The Las Vegas of the Black Sea”), but the city is also an important sea port and includes industries like shipbuilding, food processing and light manufacturing. Since 2010, Batumi has been transformed by the construction of modern high-rise buildings, as well as the restoration of classical 19th-century edifices lining its historic Old Town.   read more…

Portrait: Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher

25 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher by Ernst Gebauer, around 1815

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher by Ernst Gebauer, around 1815

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt (16 December 1742 – 12 September 1819), Graf (count), later elevated to Fürst (sovereign prince) von Wahlstatt, was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal). He earned his greatest recognition after leading his army against Napoleon I at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.   read more…

Theme Week Georgia – Sukhumi

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

© panoramio.com - Владимир К/cc-by-3.0

© panoramio.com – Владимир К/cc-by-3.0

Sukhumi is a city on the Black Sea coast, on the Soviet Riviera. It is the capital of the unrecognised Republic of Abkhazia, which has controlled it since the 1992–93 war in Abkhazia, although most of the international community considers it legally part of Georgia. Sukhumi’s history can be traced back to the 6th century BC, when it was settled by Greeks, who named it Dioscurias. During this time and the subsequent Roman period, much of the city disappeared under the Black Sea. The city was named Tskhumi when it became part of the Kingdom of Abkhazia and then the Kingdom of Georgia. Contested by local princes, it became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 1570s, where it remained until it was conquered by the Russian Empire in 1810. Following a period of conflict during the Russian Civil War, it became part of the independent Georgia, which included Abkhazia, in 1918. In 1921, the Democratic Republic of Georgia was occupied by the Soviet Bolshevik forces from Russia. Within the Soviet Union, it was regarded as a holiday resort. As the Soviet Union broke up in the early 1990s, the city suffered significant damage during the Abkhaz–Georgian conflict. The present-day population of 60,000 is only half of the population living there towards the end of Soviet rule.   read more…

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