Jingdezhen, China’s Porcelain Capital

21 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Shanghai Museum - Underglaze blue lotus-shaped dish with Sanskrit inscriptions, Jingdezhen ware, Wanli Reign, 1573-1620 © Gerbil/cc-by-sa-3.0

Shanghai Museum – Underglaze blue lotus-shaped dish with Sanskrit inscriptions, Jingdezhen ware, Wanli Reign, 1573-1620 © Gerbil/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jingdezhen is a prefecture-level city, in northeastern Jiangxi province, with a total population of 1.7 million (2018), bordering Anhui to the north. It is known as the “Porcelain Capital” because it has been producing Chinese ceramics for at least 1,000 years, and for much of that period Jingdezhen porcelain was the most important and finest quality in China. The city has a well-documented history that stretches back over 2,000 years. Jingdezhen is situated in the north-east of Jiangxi and borders on Anhui; the city center area is located in the north-east of the Poyang Lake Plain. Its area is 5,256 km² (2,029 sq mi). The highest point is 1,618 m (5,308 ft), with plains on the southern part having an average altitude of 200 m (660 ft). There are some cities and counties between Jiangxi and Anhui Province around Jingdezhen. To its north, northwest and northeast are Dongzhi, Xiuning and Qimen County of Anhui province. To its south are Wannian County and Yiyang County. To its west is Poyang County. Lastly, to its southeast are Wuyuan County and Dexing City. Jingdezhen’s natural resources include kaolin, coal, manganese, and lime, but it is the kaolin that has made the city famous in China and the world. For over a millennium, its unique kaolin has enabled Jingdezhen to make high-quality porcelain. (The word “Kaolin” came from “Gaoling” or “Kaoling”, a village located in Ehu Town, Fuliang County, Jingdezhen).   read more…

Macao, Las Vegas of the East

18 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Marina at Macau Fisherman's Wharf © Mfwmarketing/cc-by-sa-4.0

Marina at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf © Mfwmarketing/cc-by-sa-4.0

Macau, also spelled Macao and officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is a city and special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China in the western Pearl River Delta by the South China Sea. With a population of about 650,000 and an area of 32.9 km² (12.7 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world. Macau is a former colony of the Portuguese Empire, after Ming China leased the territory as a trading post in 1557. Portugal paid an annual rent and administered the territory under Chinese sovereignty until 1887, when it gained perpetual colonial rights in the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking. The colony remained under Portuguese rule until 1999, when it was transferred to China. Macau is a special administrative region of China, which maintains separate governing and economic systems from those of mainland China under the principle of “one country, two systems“. Originally a sparsely populated collection of coastal islands, the territory has become a major resort city and a top destination for gambling tourism, with a gambling industry seven times larger than that of Las Vegas. The territory is highly urbanised and most development is built on reclaimed land; two-thirds of the total land area is reclaimed from the sea.   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…

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…

Golden Temple in Amritsar

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

Sarovar and the Golden Temple © flickr.com - Ken Wieland/cc-by-sa-2.0

Sarovar and the Golden Temple © flickr.com – Ken Wieland/cc-by-sa-2.0

The Golden Temple, also known as Harmandir Sahib, meaning “abode of God” or Darbār Sahib, meaning “exalted court”, is a gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is the preeminent spiritual site of Sikhism.   read more…

Grand Palace in Bangkok

13 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Chakri Maha Prasat © Andy Marchand/cc-by-sa-3.0

Chakri Maha Prasat © Andy Marchand/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The king, his court, and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), resided at the Chitralada Royal Villa and his successor King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) at the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall, both in the Dusit Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year. The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand.   read more…

Theme Week Laos – Vientiane

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

Patuxai © Gorgo

Patuxai © Gorgo

Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1573 due to fears of a Burmese invasion but was later looted then razed to the ground in 1827 by the Siamese (Thai). Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic center of Laos. The city had a population of 820,000 as at the 2015 Census.   read more…

Theme Week Laos – Luang Prabang

25 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Night Market © Ekrem Canli/cc-by-sa-4.0

Night Market © Ekrem Canli/cc-by-sa-4.0

Luang Phabang, commonly transliterated into Western languages from the pre-1975 Lao spelling as Luang Prabang, literally meaning “Royal Buddha Image“, is a city in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site. It was listed in 1995 for unique and “remarkably” well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries. The city was formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name. It had also been known by the ancient name of Xieng Thong. It was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos, until the Pathet Lao takeover in 1975. The city is part of Luang Prabang District of Luang Prabang Province and is the capital and administrative centre of the province. It lies approximately 300 km (190 mi) north of the capital Vientiane. Currently, the population of the city as a whole is roughly 56,000 inhabitants with the UNESCO protected site being inhabited by around 24,000.   read more…

Theme Week Laos – Pakse

24 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

River bank of Don Khon with stilt wooden houses and leaning Arecaceae at golden hour from Don Det © Basile Morin/cc-by-sa-4.0

River bank of Don Khon with stilt wooden houses and leaning Arecaceae at golden hour from Don Det
© Basile Morin/cc-by-sa-4.0

Pakse is the capital and most populous city of the southern Laotian province of Champasak, making it the second most populous city in Laos. At the confluence of the Xe Don and Mekong Rivers, it has a population of about 88,000. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Champasak until it was unified with the rest of Laos in 1946.   read more…

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