Alberobello in Apulia

5 October 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Yvon Fruneau/cc-by-sa-3.0-igo

© Yvon Fruneau/cc-by-sa-3.0-igo

Alberobello (Italian: literally “beautiful tree”) is a small town and comune of the Metropolitan City of Bari, Apulia, southern Italy. It has 10,700 inhabitants and is famous for its unique trullo buildings. The trulli of Alberobello have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996.   read more…

Quinta da Regaleira in Portugal

1 October 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, House of the Month, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

© Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0

Quinta da Regaleira is a quinta located near the historic centre of Sintra, Portugal. It is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the “Cultural Landscape of Sintra”. Along with the other palaces in the area such as the Quinta do Relógio, Pena, Monserrate and Seteais palaces, it is considered one of the principal tourist attractions of Sintra. The property consists of a Romantic palace and chapel, and a luxurious park that features lakes, grottoes, wells, benches, fountains, and a vast array of exquisite constructions. The palace is also known as “The Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire”, which is based on the nickname of its best known former owner, António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. The palace was designed by the italian architect Luigi Manini.   read more…

Theme Week Laos – Luang Prabang

25 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Night Market © Ekrem Canli/cc-by-sa-4.0

Night Market © Ekrem Canli/cc-by-sa-4.0

Luang Phabang, commonly transliterated into Western languages from the pre-1975 Lao spelling as Luang Prabang, literally meaning “Royal Buddha Image“, is a city in north central Laos, consisting of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 comprise the UNESCO Town Of Luang Prabang World Heritage Site. It was listed in 1995 for unique and “remarkably” well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a blend of the rural and urban developments over several centuries, including the French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries. The city was formerly the capital of a kingdom of the same name. It had also been known by the ancient name of Xieng Thong. It was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos, until the Pathet Lao takeover in 1975. The city is part of Luang Prabang District of Luang Prabang Province and is the capital and administrative centre of the province. It lies approximately 300 km (190 mi) north of the capital Vientiane. Currently, the population of the city as a whole is roughly 56,000 inhabitants with the UNESCO protected site being inhabited by around 24,000.   read more…

Theme Week Laos – Pakse

24 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

River bank of Don Khon with stilt wooden houses and leaning Arecaceae at golden hour from Don Det © Basile Morin/cc-by-sa-4.0

River bank of Don Khon with stilt wooden houses and leaning Arecaceae at golden hour from Don Det
© Basile Morin/cc-by-sa-4.0

Pakse is the capital and most populous city of the southern Laotian province of Champasak, making it the second most populous city in Laos. At the confluence of the Xe Don and Mekong Rivers, it has a population of about 88,000. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Champasak until it was unified with the rest of Laos in 1946.   read more…

Theme Week Laos – Champasak Town

23 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

River bank of Don Khon with stilt wooden houses at golden hour from Don Det © Basile Morin/cc-by-sa-4.0

River bank of Don Khon with stilt wooden houses at golden hour from Don Det © Basile Morin/cc-by-sa-4.0

Champasak is a small town in southern Laos, on the west bank of the Mekong River about 40 km south of Pakse, the capital of Champasak Province. The town was once the seat of the Kingdom of Champasak, an independent Lao state which was abolished by the French in 1945 when they created the Kingdom of Laos, but the last King of Champasak had his palace in Pakse.   read more…

Theme Week Laos

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

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…

Sintra in Portugal

31 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Part of the historic centre © Peter K Burian/cc-by-4.0

Part of the historic centre © Peter K Burian/cc-by-4.0

Sintra is a town and municipality in the Greater Lisbon region of Portugal, located on the Portuguese Riviera. The population of the municipality in 2011 was 377,835, in an area of 319.23 square kilometres (123.26 sq mi). Sintra is a major tourist destination in Portugal, famed for its picturesqueness and for its numerous historic palaces and castles. Sintra is also a major luxury dining and tourism destination within the Portuguese Riviera, as well as one of the wealthiest municipalities in the country, and is known for the numerous notable events hosted in Sintra, such as Bilderberg Meetings and the Open de Portugal.   read more…

Grands Causses Regional Natural Park in Occitanie

21 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Avène © Toutaitanous/cc-by-sa-3.0

Avène © Toutaitanous/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Regional Nature Park Grands Causses (French: Parc naturel régional des Grands Causses) is located in the French department of Aveyron in the Occitania region. The nature park was founded on May 6, 1995 and today covers an area of around 327,000 hectares. The park administration is based in Millau, where the “Maison du Parc” is located. The park is made up of 93 municipalities with a catchment area of around 68,000 inhabitants. A part of the Grands Causses Regional Nature Park is the Causses and Cévennes Property, which in turn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Larger towns in the park are Millau, Saint-Affrique, Sévérac d’Aveyron (Commune nouvelle; formerly: Sévérac-le-Château), Creissels, Vabres-l’Abbaye and Saint-Georges-de-Luzençon.   read more…

Island of Gorée

5 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Inextre/cc-by-sa-3.0-es

© Inextre/cc-by-sa-3.0-es

Île de Gorée is one of the 19 communes d’arrondissement (i.e. districts) of the city of Dakar, Senegal. It is an 18.2-hectare (45-acre) island located 2 kilometres (1.1 nmi; 1.2 mi) at sea from the main harbour of Dakar, famous as a destination for people interested in the Atlantic slave trade although its actual role in the history of the slave trade is the subject of dispute. Its population as of the 2013 census was 1,680 inhabitants, giving a density of 5,802 inhabitants per square kilometre (15,030/sq mi), which is only half the average density of the city of Dakar. Gorée is both the smallest and the least populated of the 19 communes d’arrondissement of Dakar. Other important centres for the slave trade from Senegal were further north, at Saint-Louis, Senegal, or to the south in the Gambia, at the mouths of major rivers for trade. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name is a corruption of its original Dutch name Goedereede, meaning “good roadstead“.   read more…

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