Garden Route in South Africa

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

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…

Theme Week Jutland in Denmark

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

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…

Macao, Las Vegas of the East

18 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Marina at Macau Fisherman's Wharf © Mfwmarketing/cc-by-sa-4.0

Marina at Macau Fisherman’s Wharf © Mfwmarketing/cc-by-sa-4.0

Macau, also spelled Macao and officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is a city and special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China in the western Pearl River Delta by the South China Sea. With a population of about 650,000 and an area of 32.9 km² (12.7 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world. Macau is a former colony of the Portuguese Empire, after Ming China leased the territory as a trading post in 1557. Portugal paid an annual rent and administered the territory under Chinese sovereignty until 1887, when it gained perpetual colonial rights in the Sino-Portuguese Treaty of Peking. The colony remained under Portuguese rule until 1999, when it was transferred to China. Macau is a special administrative region of China, which maintains separate governing and economic systems from those of mainland China under the principle of “one country, two systems“. Originally a sparsely populated collection of coastal islands, the territory has become a major resort city and a top destination for gambling tourism, with a gambling industry seven times larger than that of Las Vegas. The territory is highly urbanised and most development is built on reclaimed land; two-thirds of the total land area is reclaimed from the sea.   read more…

Bikini Atoll in the Pacific

9 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

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…

Battir in the West Bank

2 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

© flickr.com - Labour Palestine/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Labour Palestine/cc-by-2.0

Battir is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, 6.4 km west of Bethlehem, and southwest of Jerusalem. It was inhabited during the Byzantine and Islamic periods, and in the Ottoman and British Mandate censuses its population was recorded as primarily Muslim. In former times, the city lay along the route from Jerusalem to Bayt Jibrin. Battir is situated just above the modern route of the Jaffa–Jerusalem railway, which served as the armistice line between Israel and Jordan from 1949 until the Six-Day War, when it was occupied by Israel. In 2007, Battir had a population of about 4,000. In 2014, Battir was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, as Land of Olives and Vines — Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir.   read more…

Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims

1 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month, UNESCO World Heritage

© G.Garitan/MathKnight/cc-by-sa-3.0

© G.Garitan/MathKnight/cc-by-sa-3.0

Notre-Dame de Reims (meaning “Our Lady of Reims”), sometimes known in English as Rheims Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the French city of the same name. The cathedral was dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is famous for being the traditional location for the coronation of the kings of France. The cathedral church is thought to have been founded by Bishop Saint Nicasius in the early 5th century. Marking an important conversion, Clovis, King of the Franks, was baptized a Christian here about a century later. Construction of the present Reims Cathedral began in the 13th century and concluded in the 15th century. A prominent example of High Gothic architecture, it was built to replace an earlier church destroyed by fire in 1221. Although little damaged during the French Revolution, the present cathedral saw extensive restoration in the 19th century but was severely damaged during World War I. The church was again restored in the 20th century. Reims Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims. The cathedral, a major tourist destination, receives about one million visitors annually.   read more…

Sigiriya in Sri Lanka

28 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Binuka poojan/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Binuka poojan/cc-by-sa-4.0

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri (Lion Rock) is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kashyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure — Sīnhāgiri, the Lion Rock (an etymology similar to Sinhapura, the Sanskrit name of Singapore, the Lion City). The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.   read more…

Theme Week Georgia – Kutaisi

27 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Downtown Kutaisi and White Bridge as seen from Mount Gora © Kober/cc-by-sa-3.0

Downtown Kutaisi and White Bridge as seen from Mount Gora © Kober/cc-by-sa-3.0

Kutaisi is one of the most ancient cities in the world and the third-most populous city in Georgia, traditionally, second in importance, after the capital city of Tbilisi. Situated 221 kilometres (137 miles) west of Tbilisi, on the Rioni River, it is the capital of the western region of Imereti.   read more…

Theme Week Georgia

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

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…

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