The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela

1 December 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  7 minutes

Bete Giyorgis © Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

Bete Giyorgis © Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Rock-hewn Churches of Lalibela are monolithic churches located in the Western Ethiopian Highlands near the town of Lalibela, named after the late-12th and early-13th century King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela of the Zagwe Dynasty, who commissioned the massive building project of 11 rock-hewn churches to recreate the holy city of Jerusalem in his own kingdom. The site remains in use by the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian Church to this day, and it remains an important place of pilgrimage for Ethiopian Orthodox worshipers. It took 24 years to build all the eleven rock hewn churches. The site of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela was first included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.   read more…

Portrait: Desmond Tutu, South African Anglican cleric, anti-apartheid and human rights activist

27 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait Reading Time:  17 minutes

Desmond Tutu at the German Evangelical Church Assembly 2007 © Elke Wetzig/cc-by-sa-3.0

Desmond Tutu at the German Evangelical Church Assembly 2007 © Elke Wetzig/cc-by-sa-3.0

Desmond Mpilo Tutu OMSG CH (born 7 October 1931) is a South African Anglican cleric and theologian, known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was the Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then the Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, in both cases being the first black African to hold the position. Theologically, he sought to fuse ideas from black theology with African theology.   read more…

Auckland Central Business District

21 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  15 minutes

Aerial view © flickr.com - Craig/cc-by-sa-2.0

Aerial view © flickr.com – Craig/cc-by-sa-2.0

The Auckland central business district (CBD), also called the city centre by Auckland Council, is the geographical and economic heart of the Auckland metropolitan area. It is the area in which Auckland was established in 1840, by William Hobson. It is New Zealand’s leading financial hub, and the centre of the country’s economy; the GDP of the Auckland Region was $122.557 billion in the year ending March 2020. The CBD is one of the most densely developed places in New Zealand, with many commercial and some residential developments packed into a space of only 433 hectares (1,070 acres). The area is made up of the city’s largest concentration of skyscrapers and businesses. Bounded by several major motorways and by the harbour coastline in the north, it is surrounded further out by mostly suburban areas; it is bounded on the North by Waitematā Harbour, east by Parnell, southeast by Grafton, south by Mount Eden, southwest by Newton, west by Freemans Bay and northwest by Viaduct Harbour.   read more…

Walvis Bay in Namibia

17 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  8 minutes

Oyster farming © Olga Ernst/cc-by-sa-4.0

Oyster farming © Olga Ernst/cc-by-sa-4.0

Walvis Bay is a city in Namibia and the name of the bay on which it lies. It is the second largest city in Namibia and the largest coastal city in the country. The city covers a total area of 29 square kilometres (11 sq mi) of land.   read more…

Covid-19 – your unique chance

13 August 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  9 minutes
Covid-19 © Colin D. Funk, Craig Laferriere, and Ali Ardakani/cc-by-4.0

Covid-19 © Colin D. Funk, Craig Laferriere, and Ali Ardakani/cc-by-4.0

“If someone thinks that the corona vaccinations could alter his or her genes, then he/she/it should take advantage of this unique opportunity, because it will not repeat itself that quickly. This is their big chance, as things are looking pretty unpleasant for them so far.”
– Twitter

  read more…

Waitemata Harbour in Auckland

28 April 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  7 minutes

© flickr.com - Bengt Nyman/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Bengt Nyman/cc-by-2.0

Waitematā Harbour is the main access by sea to Auckland, New Zealand. For this reason it is often referred to as Auckland Harbour, despite the fact that it is one of two harbours adjoining the city. The harbour forms the northern and eastern coasts of the Auckland isthmus and is crossed by the Auckland Harbour Bridge. It is matched on the southern side of the city by the shallower waters of the Manukau Harbour. With an area of 70 square miles (180 km²), it connects the city’s main port and the Auckland waterfront to the Hauraki Gulf and the Pacific Ocean. It is sheltered from Pacific storms by Auckland’s North Shore, Rangitoto Island, and Waiheke Island.   read more…

Garden Route in South Africa

22 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  4 minutes

Eastern Cape © flickr.com - South African Tourism/cc-by-2.0

Eastern Cape © flickr.com – South African Tourism/cc-by-2.0

The Garden Route is a 300-kilometre (190 mi) stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa which extends from Witsand in the Western Cape to the border of Tsitsikamma Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous estuaries and lakes dotted along the coast. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Mossel Bay, Great Brak River, Little Brak River, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Nature’s Valley; with George, the Garden Route’s largest city and main administrative centre. Recently the towns of Albertinia, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Ladismith, Calitzdorp, Oudtshoorn, De Rust and Uniondale have been added to the Garden Route district and municipality.   read more…

Bikini Atoll in the Pacific

9 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  18 minutes

Entrance sign to the island © Ron Van Oers/cc-by-sa-3.0-igo

Entrance sign to the island © Ron Van Oers/cc-by-sa-3.0-igo

Bikini Atoll, sometimes known as Eschscholtz Atoll between the 1800s and 1946, is a coral reef in the Marshall Islands consisting of 23 islands surrounding a 229.4-square-mile (594.1 km²) central lagoon. After the Second World War, the atoll’s inhabitants were relocated in 1946, after which the islands and lagoon were the site of 23 nuclear tests by the United States until 1958. The atoll is at the northern end of the Ralik Chain, approximately 530 miles (850 km) northwest of the capital Majuro. Three families were resettled on Bikini island in 1970, totaling about 100 residents. But scientists found dangerously high levels of strontium-90 in well water in May 1977, and the residents were carrying abnormally high concentrations of cesium-137 in their bodies. They were evacuated in 1980. The atoll is occasionally visited today by divers and a few scientists, and is occupied by a handful of caretakers.   read more…

Matamata in New Zealand

19 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Hobbiton sign in Matamata © Michael Goetter/cc-by-sa-2.5

Hobbiton sign in Matamata © Michael Goetter/cc-by-sa-2.5

Matamata is a town in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. It is located near the base of the Kaimai Ranges, and is a thriving farming area known for Thoroughbred horse breeding and training pursuits. It is part of the Matamata-Piako District, which takes in the surrounding rural areas as well as Morrinsville and Te Aroha. State Highway 27 and the Kinleith Branch railway run through the town. The town has a population of 7,910 as of June 2019.   read more…

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