Praça dos Três Poderes in Brasília

15 April 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  5 minutes

National Congress of Brazil © flickr.com - Marcelo Jorge Vieira/cc-by-sa-2.0

National Congress of Brazil © flickr.com – Marcelo Jorge Vieira/cc-by-sa-2.0

Praça dos Três Poderes (Three Powers Plaza) is a plaza in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. The name is derived from the presence of the three governmental powers around the plaza: the Executive, represented by the Palácio do Planalto (presidential office); the Legislative represented by the Congresso Nacional (National Congress); and the Judiciary, represented by the Supremo Tribunal Federal (Supreme Federal Court).   read more…

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

29 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  16 minutes

© flickr.com - Sergio Luiz/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Sergio Luiz/cc-by-2.0

The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (Portuguese: Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro) is a festival held every year before Lent; it is considered the biggest carnival in the world, with two million people per day on the streets. The first Carnival festival in Rio occurred in 1723. The typical Rio carnival parade is filled with revelers, floats, and adornments from numerous samba schools which are located in Rio (more than 200 approximately, divided into five leagues/divisions). A samba school is composed of a collaboration of local neighbours that want to attend the carnival together, with some kind of regional, geographical and common background. There is a special order that every school has to follow with their parade entries. Each school begins with the “comissão de frente” (meaning “Front Commission”), that is the group of people from the school that appear first. Made of ten to fifteen people, the comissão de frente introduces the school and sets the mood and style of their presentation. These people have choreographed dances in elaborate costumes that usually tell a short story. Following the “comissão de frente” is the first float of the samba school, called “abre-alas” (“Opening Wing”). These are followed by the Mestre-sala and Porta-Bandeira (“Master of Ceremonies and Flag Bearer”), with one to four pairs, one active and three reserve, to lead the dancers, which include the old guard veterans and the “ala das baianas”, with the drum line battery at the rear and sometimes a brass section and guitars.   read more…

Theme Week Guatemala – Antigua Guatemala

30 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

Santa Catalina Arch and Volcan de Agua © flickr.com - Chad Davis/cc-by-sa-2.0

Santa Catalina Arch and Volcan de Agua © flickr.com – Chad Davis/cc-by-sa-2.0

Antigua Guatemala, commonly referred to as just Antigua or la Antigua, is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala known for its preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Antigua Guatemala serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name. It also serves as the departmental capital of Sacatepéquez Department.   read more…

Theme Week Guatemala – Guatemala City

29 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  8 minutes

Palacio Nacional © flickr.com - Francisco Anzola/cc-by-2.0

Palacio Nacional © flickr.com – Francisco Anzola/cc-by-2.0

Guatemala City (Spanish: Ciudad de Guatemala), locally known as Guatemala or Guate, officially Ciudad de Guatemala, is the capital and largest city of Guatemala, and the most populous urban area in Central America. The city is located in the south-central part of the country, nestled in a mountain valley called Valle de la Ermita (English: Hermitage Valley). It is estimated that its population is about 1 million. Guatemala City is also the capital of the Municipality of Guatemala and of the Guatemala Department.   read more…

Theme Week Guatemala – Quetzaltenango

28 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Rodrigobaaz/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Rodrigobaaz/cc-by-sa-4.0

Quetzaltenango, also known by its Maya name, Xelajú or Xela, is both the capital of Quetzaltenango Department and the municipal seat of Quetzaltenango municipality in Guatemala. Quetzaltenango has a population of 180,706 (2018 census). The population is about 61% indigenous or Amerindian, 34% Mestizo or ladino and 5% white Latin American. The city is located in a mountain valley at an elevation of 2,330 meters (7,640 feet) above sea level at its lowest part. It may reach above 2,400 m (7,900 ft) within the city. The Municipality of Quetzaltenango consists of an area of 122 km² (47 sq mi). Municipalities abutting the municipality of Quetzaltenango include Salcajá, Cantel, Almolonga, Zunil, El Palmar, Concepción Chiquirichapa, San Mateo, La Esperanza, and Olintepeque in Quetzaltenango department and San Andrés Xecul in Totonicapán department.   read more…

Theme Week Guatemala – Cobán

27 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  12 minutes

© flickr.com - Herny Aranjuez/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – Herny Aranjuez/cc-by-sa-2.0

Cobán, fully Santo Domingo de Cobán, is the capital of the department of Alta Verapaz in central Guatemala. It also serves as the administrative center for the surrounding Cobán municipality. It is located 219 km from Guatemala City. As of the 2018 census the population of the city of Cobán was at 212,047. The population of the municipality, which covers a total area of 1,974 km², was at 212,421, according to the 2018 census, but the rural area is in reality much, much more populated than the 374 person claimed by the census. Cobán, at a height of 1320 metres above sea level, is located at the center of a major coffee-growing area. The Cobán Airport is serving the city.   read more…

Theme Week Guatemala – Tikal National Park

26 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

Tikal Plaza and North Acropolis © Bjørn Christian Tørrissen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tikal Plaza and North Acropolis © Bjørn Christian Tørrissen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tikal is the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala. It is one of the largest archeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. Situated in the department of El Petén, the site is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   read more…

Theme Week Guatemala

25 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks Reading Time:  9 minutes

Tikal mayan ruins © chensiyuan/cc-by-sa-4.0

Tikal mayan ruins © chensiyuan/cc-by-sa-4.0

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala (Spanish: República de Guatemala), is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 17.2 million, it is the most populous country in Central America and is the 11th most populous country in the Americas. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City, the largest city in Central America.   read more…

Theme Week Honduras – Choluteca City

26 June 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  5 minutes

Entrance to Choluteca © Brbigam

Entrance to Choluteca © Brbigam

Choluteca is a municipality and the capital city of the Honduran department of the same name. Situated in southern Honduras between El Salvador and Nicaragua, the city is generally considered the regional centre of southern Honduras and is a major transit point on the Pan-American Highway. It has a major bus station and is home to the regional light (ENEE) and water (SANAA) utilities. The city is located on the Choluteca River, near the centre of the department. An arching silver bridge crosses the river into the city.   read more…

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