Theme Week Brunei

24 May 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks Reading Time:  12 minutes

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque © flickr.com - sam garza/cc-by-2.0

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque © flickr.com – sam garza/cc-by-2.0

Brunei, officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace, is a country located on the north coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, the country is completely surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak. It is separated into two parts by the Sarawak district of Limbang. Brunei is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo; the remainder of the island’s territory is divided between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei’s population was 428,963 in 2018. The government is an absolute monarchy under the sovereign rule of Sultan and Yang di-Pertuan, which implements a combination of English common law and sharia law, as well as direct general Islamic practices. The population is at 460,000.   read more…

Theme Week Peru

19 April 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  18 minutes

Architecture of Paseo Pizzaro in Trujillo © Pitxiquin/cc-by-sa-4.0

Architecture of Paseo Pizzaro in Trujillo © Pitxiquin/cc-by-sa-4.0

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the south and west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon River. At 1.28 million km² (0.5 million mi²), Peru is the 19th largest country in the world, and the third largest in South America.   read more…

Theme Week North Korea

22 March 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks Reading Time:  10 minutes

Pyongyang © flickr.com - John Pavelka7cc-by-2.0

Pyongyang © flickr.com – John Pavelka7cc-by-2.0

North Korea, they officially call themselves the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or DPR Korea), is a country in East Asia constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. The country is bordered to the north by China and by Russia along the Amnok (known as the Yalu in Chinese) and Tumen rivers, and to the south by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two. North Korea, like its southern counterpart, claims to be the legitimate government of the entire peninsula and adjacent islands. Pyongyang is the country’s capital and largest city.   read more…

Theme Week Zeeland

22 February 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks Reading Time:  10 minutes

States of Zeeland in a former abbey in Middelburg © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-3.0

States of Zeeland in a former abbey in Middelburg © Marc Ryckaert/cc-by-3.0

Zeeland is the westernmost and least populous province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, borders North Brabant to the east, South Holland to the north, and the country of Belgium to the south and west. It consists of a number of islands and peninsulas (hence its name, meaning “Sealand”) and a strip bordering the Flemish provinces of East and West Flanders. Its capital is Middelburg with a population of 48,544 as of November 2019, the largest municipality in Zeeland is Terneuzen (pop. 54,589). Zeeland has two seaports: Vlissingen and Terneuzen. Its area is 2,934 square kilometres (1,130 sq mi), of which 1,151 square kilometres (440 sq mi) is water, and it has a population of around 380,000. Zeeland consists of several islands and peninsulas. These are, from north to south, Schouwen-Duiveland, Tholen, Noord-Beveland, Walcheren and Zuid-Beveland. It also includes a strip of land bordering the Belgian region of Flanders, the Zeelandic Flanders.   read more…

Theme Week Asturias

25 January 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  21 minutes

Gijon © Labé/cc-by-sa-3.0

Gijon © Labé/cc-by-sa-3.0

Asturias, officially the Principality of Asturias, is an autonomous community in northwest Spain. It is coextensive with the province of Asturias and contains some of the territory that was part of the larger Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages. Divided into eight comarcas (counties), the autonomous community of Asturias is bordered by Cantabria to the east, by León (Castile and León) to the south, by Lugo (Galicia) to the west, and by the Bay of Biscay (Cantabrian sea) to the north. Asturias is situated in a mountainous setting with vast greenery and lush vegetation, making it part of Green Spain. The region has a maritime climate. It receives plenty of annual rainfall and little sunshine by Spanish standards and has very moderated seasons, most often averaging in the lower 20s celsius. Heatwaves are rare due to mountains blocking southerly winds. Winters are very mild for the latitude, especially near sea level. Asturias is also home of the Princess of Asturias Awards. The paleolithic art in the caves of Asturias is declared World Heritage Site with the Paleolithic Art of Northern Spain.   read more…

Theme Week Jutland in Denmark

21 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  10 minutes

Christmas in Aarhus © flickr.com - EHRENBERG Kommunikation/cc-by-sa-2.0

Christmas in Aarhus © flickr.com – EHRENBERG Kommunikation/cc-by-sa-2.0

Jutland, known anciently as the Cimbric or Cimbrian Peninsula, is a peninsula of Northern Europe that forms the continental portion of Denmark and part of northern Germany. The names are derived from the Jutes and the Cimbri, respectively. As with the rest of Denmark, Jutland’s terrain is flat, with a slightly elevated ridge down the central parts and relatively hilly terrains in the east. West Jutland is characterised by open lands, heaths, plains and peat bogs, while East Jutland is more fertile with lakes and lush forests. Southwest Jutland is characterised by the Wadden Sea, a large unique international coastal region stretching through Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.   read more…

Theme Week Georgia

23 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

Changing skyline of Batumi © flickr.com - jagermesh/cc-by-sa-2.0

Changing skyline of Batumi © flickr.com – jagermesh/cc-by-sa-2.0

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the east by Azerbaijan, and to the south by Armenia and Turkey. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its approximate population is about 4 million. Georgia is a unitary parliamentary republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.   read more…

Theme Week Moldova

26 October 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

National Enoteca at Cricova © Cepaev/cc-by-sa-3.0

National Enoteca at Cricova © Cepaev/cc-by-sa-3.0

Moldova, officially the Republic of Moldova, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. The capital city is Chișinău (List of cities and towns in Moldova). Due to a decrease in industrial and agricultural output following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the service sector has grown to dominate Moldova’s economy and is over 60% of the nation’s GDP. It is the poorest country in Europe by GDP per capita, and it has the lowest Human Development Index in the continent.   read more…

Theme Week Laos

21 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  14 minutes

Mekong River flowing through Luang Prabang © flickr.com - Allie Caulfield/cc-by-2.0

Mekong River flowing through Luang Prabang © flickr.com – Allie Caulfield/cc-by-2.0

Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao: Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxôn Lao), is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. At the heart of the Indochinese peninsula, Laos is bordered by Myanmar and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the southeast and Thailand to the west and southwest. It is a one-party socialist republic, espousing Marxism–Leninism governed by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, under which non-governmental organizations have routinely characterized the country’s human rights record as poor, citing repeated abuses such as torture, restrictions on civil liberties, and persecution of minorities. There is a distinct rainy season from May to November, followed by a dry season from December to April. Local tradition holds that there are three seasons (rainy, cold and hot) as the latter two months of the climatologically defined dry season are noticeably hotter than the earlier four months. The capital and largest city of Laos is Vientiane and other major cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, and Pakse (Geography of Laos and List of cities in Laos). In 1993 the Laos government set aside 21 percent of the nation’s land area for habitat conservation preservation. The country is one of four in the opium poppy growing region known as the “Golden Triangle“. According to the October 2007 UNODC fact book Opium Poppy Cultivation in South East Asia, the poppy cultivation area was 15 square kilometres (5.8 sq mi), down from 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) in 2006.   read more…

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