Aït-Benhaddou in Morocco

6 May 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  10 minutes

© ER Bauer/cc-by-2.5

© ER Bauer/cc-by-2.5

Aït Benhaddou is a historic ighrem or ksar (fortified village) along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakesh in Morocco. It is considered a great example of Moroccan earthen clay architecture and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.   read more…

Carthage in Tunisia

28 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Reconstruction of Punic Carthage © flickr.com - damian entwistle/cc-by-sa-2.0

Reconstruction of Punic Carthage © flickr.com – damian entwistle/cc-by-sa-2.0

Carthage was the capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia. Carthage was one of the most important trading hubs of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the classical world. Today Carthage is a posh villa suburb of Tunis, the location of the largest university in the country and the location of the Tunisian presidential palace. The Carthage excavations are one of the most important tourist attractions in Tunisia. Most tour operators offer day trips from the seaside resorts on the Mediterranean coast to Tunis, Carthage and Sidi Bou Said.   read more…

Nile Delta on the Mediterranean Sea

27 July 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  11 minutes

Nile River and Nile Delta. Pretty obvious why both are that important to Egypt © ISS Expedition 25 - NASA Earth Observatory

Nile River and Nile Delta. Pretty obvious why both are that important to Egypt
© ISS Expedition 25 – NASA Earth Observatory

The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Lower Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world’s largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers 240 km (150 mi) of Mediterranean coastline and is a rich agricultural region. From north to south the delta is approximately 160 km (99 mi) in length. The Delta begins slightly down-river from Cairo.   read more…

El Gouna in Egypt

18 June 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  7 minutes

© superdragon67/cc-by-sa-3.0

© superdragon67/cc-by-sa-3.0

El Gouna is an Egyptian tourist resort, owned by Samih Sawiris and developed by Orascom Hotels and Development, dating from 1989. It is located on the Red Sea in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt, 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Hurghada. It is part of the Red Sea Riviera, and a host city of the El Gouna Film Festival. El Gouna has 10 kilometers of coastline and consists of 20 islands surrounded by lagoons. The town is 25 kilometers away from the Hurghada International Airport, but the city also has its own private airport. El Gouna is also known for being Egypt’s greenest city, being the most environmentally-friendly town in all of Egypt.   read more…

Golf and resort town Hammamet in Tunisia

25 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  7 minutes

Old city of Hammamet © Mahdi Chaker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Old city of Hammamet © Mahdi Chaker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hammamet is a town in Tunisia. Thanks to its beaches, it is a popular destination for swimming and water sports and is one of the primary tourist destinations in Tunisia. It is located in the south-eastern section of Cap Bon and is part of the Nabeul Governorate. The reported number of inhabitants varies from 100,000 to 400,000 and the population quadruples due to tourists’ arrival in the summer.   read more…

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

16 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  8 minutes

© BenSlivka/cc-by-sa-4.0

© BenSlivka/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Hassan II Mosque (Grande Mosquée Hassan II) is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest functioning mosque in Africa and is the 7th largest in the world. Its minaret is the world’s second tallest minaret at 210 metres (689 ft). Completed in 1993, it was designed by Michel Pinseau under the guidance of King Hassan II and built by Moroccan artisans from all over the kingdom. The minaret is 60 stories high topped by a laser, the light from which is directed towards Mecca. The mosque stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean; worshippers can pray over the sea but there is no glass floor looking into the sea. The walls are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable. A maximum of 105,000 worshippers can gather together for prayer: 25,000 inside the mosque hall and another 80,000 on the mosque’s outside ground.   read more…

Kutubiyya Mosque in Marrakesh

12 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

© Baca12/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Baca12/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Kutubiyya Mosque or Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh in Morocco. The mosque’s name is also variably rendered as Jami’ al-Kutubiyah, Kutubiya Mosque, Kutubiyyin Mosque, and Mosque of the Booksellers. It is located in the southwest medina quarter of Marrakesh, near the famous public place of Jemaa el-Fna, and is flanked by large gardens. All the names and spellings of Kutubiyya Mosque are based on the Arabic word kutubiyyin, which means “booksellers”. The Koutoubia Mosque, or Bookseller’s Mosque, reflects the honorable bookselling trade practiced in the nearby souk. At one time as many as 100 book vendors worked in the streets at the base of the mosque.   read more…

Market place Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh

10 June 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Boris Macek/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Boris Macek/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jemaa el-Fnaa is a square and market place in Marrakesh‘s medina quarter (old city). It remains the main square of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists. Marrakesh was founded by the Almoravid Dynasty in 1070 by Abu Bakr ibn Umar and subsequently developed by his successors. Initially, the city’s two main monuments and focal points were the fortress known as Ksar el-Hajjar (“fortress of stone”) and the city’s first Friday mosque (the site of the future Ben Youssef Mosque). The Ksar el-Hajjar was located directly north of today’s Koutoubia Mosque. The major souk (market) streets of the city thus developed along the roads linking these two important sites and still correspond to the main axis of souks today. At one end of this axis, next to the Ksar el-Hajjar, a large open space existed for temporary and weekly markets. This space was initially known as Rahbat al-Ksar (“the place of the fortress”). Other historical records refer to it as as-Saha al-Kubra (“the grand square”), or simply as as-Saha or ar-Rahba.   read more…

The Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Mount Sinai

1 March 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

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

Saint Catherine’s Monastery in front of Mount Sinai © flickr.com – 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…

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