Hamra Street, Beirut’s Champs Elysées

23 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  12 minutes

Hamra Street © flickr.com - Lolinka/cc-by-2.0

Hamra Street © flickr.com – Lolinka/cc-by-2.0

Hamra Street or Rue Hamra is one of the main streets of the city of Beirut, Lebanon, and one of the main economic and diplomatic hubs of Beirut. It is located in the neighborhood of the same name, Hamra. Its technical name is Rue 31. Due to the numerous sidewalk cafes and theatres, Hamra Street was the centre of intellectual activity in Beirut during the 1960s and 1970s. Before 1975, Hamra Street and the surrounding district was known as Beirut’s trendiest, though in the post-war period it has arguably been eclipsed by Rue Monot in Ashrafieh, Rue Gouraud in Gemmayzeh, Rue Verdun, and downtown area. In the mid 1990s, the Municipality of Beirut gave a face lift to the street to reattract tourists all year round. Hamra Street was known as Beirut’s Champs Elysées as it was frequented by tourists, mostly Americans, Europeans and mega-rich Arabs, all year round. Today it is a commercial district with numerous prestigious universities (such as: American University of Beirut, Lebanese American University, and Haigazian University), hotels, furnished apartments, libraries, restaurants and coffee shops, with “78 Street” (commonly known as “the Alleyway”) being Hamra’s main pubbing and clubbing hub.   read more…

Haram esh-Sharif or Temple Mount in East Jerusalem

3 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Andrew Shiva/cc-by-sa-4.0

Known to Muslims as the Haram esh-Sharif (“the Noble Sanctuary”, or “the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem”) and the Al Aqsa Compound, and to Jews as Temple Mount (“Mount of the House [of God, i.e. the Temple in Jerusalem]”), is a hill in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Old City of Jerusalem that for thousands of years has been venerated as a holy site in Christianity, Islam and Islam, and Judaism alike.   read more…

Safed in Israel

23 August 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

© Team Venture/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Team Venture/cc-by-sa-4.0

Safed is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of 900 metres (2,953 ft), Safed is the highest city in Galilee, a region that Israel (in the north) and Lebanon (in the south) are reluctant to share, and in Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters. Its mild climate and scenic views have made Safed a popular holiday resort frequented by Israelis and foreign visitors. In 2019 it had a population of 36,000.   read more…

Capernaum on Sea of Galilee, the town of Jesus

2 August 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  6 minutes

Catholic church, built over the house of Saint Peter © Herwig Reidlinger/cc-by-sa-3.0

Catholic church, built over the house of Saint Peter © Herwig Reidlinger/cc-by-sa-3.0

Capernaum was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500. Archaeological excavations have revealed two ancient synagogues built one over the other. A house turned into a church by the Byzantines is believed to have been the home of Saint Peter. The real “House of Peter” is, of course, the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, built over the tomb of Saint Peter.   read more…

Mount Hermon

26 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  2 minutes

Lake Ram and Mount Hermon © Idobi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Lake Ram and Mount Hermon © Idobi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Mount Hermon is a mountain cluster constituting the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Its summit straddles the border between Syria and Lebanon and, at 2,814 m (9,232 ft) above sea level, is the highest point in Syria and is therefore in two Middle East conflict zones. On the top, in the United Nations buffer zone between Syrian and Israeli-occupied territories, is the highest permanently manned UN position in the world, known as “Hermon Hotel”, located at 2814 metres altitude. The southern slopes of Mount Hermon extend to the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights, where the Mount Hermon ski resort is located with a top elevation of 2,040 metres (6,690 ft). A peak in this area rising to 2,236 m (7,336 ft) is the highest elevation in Israeli-controlled territory.   read more…

Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv

7 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  4 minutes

Hadar Yossef National Sports Center © Little Savage/cc-by-sa-4.0

Hadar Yossef National Sports Center © Little Savage/cc-by-sa-4.0

Yarkon Park is a large park in Tel Aviv, Israel, with about sixteen million visits annually. Named after the Yarkon River which flows through it, the park includes extensive lawns, sports facilities, botanical gardens, an aviary, a water park, two outdoor concert venues and lakes.   read more…

Mount of Beatitudes on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee

12 April 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  4 minutes

Church of the Beatitudes © Berthold Werner

Church of the Beatitudes © Berthold Werner

The Mount of Beatitudes is a hill in the Northern District of Israel, in the Korazim Plateau. It is where Jesus is believed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount which started with the Beatitudes. Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mass at this site in March 2000. The Jesus Trail pilgrimage route connects the Mount to other sites from the life of Jesus.   read more…

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in East Jerusalem

2 April 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  16 minutes

Calvary/Golgotha © Gerd Eichmann/cc-by-sa-4.0

Calvary/Golgotha © Gerd Eichmann/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a church in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of East Jerusalem. It contains, according to traditions dating back to the fourth century, the two holiest sites in Christianity: the site where Jesus was crucified, at a place known as Calvary or Golgotha, and Jesus’s empty tomb, where he was buried and resurrected. The tomb is enclosed by a 19th-century shrine called the Aedicula. The Status Quo, an understanding between religious communities dating to 1757, applies to the site. Within the church proper are the last four (or, by some definitions, five) stations of the Via Dolorosa, representing the final episodes of the Passion of Jesus. The church has been a major Christian pilgrimage destination since its creation in the fourth century, as the traditional site of the resurrection of Christ, thus its original Greek name, Church of the Anastasis (‘Resurrection’). Today, the wider complex around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre also serves as the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem, while control of the church itself is shared among several Christian denominations and secular entities in complicated arrangements essentially unchanged for over 160 years, and some for much longer. The main denominations sharing property over parts of the church are the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Apostolic, and to a lesser degree the Coptic Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox.   read more…

Dimona in the Negev

10 March 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  6 minutes

© מצילומי-יהודית-גרעין-כל/cc-by-2.5

© מצילומי-יהודית-גרעין-כל/cc-by-2.5

Dimona is an Israeli city in the Negev desert, 30 kilometres (19 mi) to the south-east of Beersheba and 35 kilometres (22 mi) west of the Dead Sea above the Arava valley in the Southern District of Israel. In 2019 its population was 34,500. The Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center, colloquially known as the Dimona Reactor, is located 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) southeast of the city.   read more…

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