Abu Dis in the West Bank

21 July 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Dome of Rock in East Jerusalem as seen from Abu Dis © Padres Hana/cc-by-sa-3.0

Dome of Rock in East Jerusalem as seen from Abu Dis © Padres Hana/cc-by-sa-3.0

Abu Dis or Abu Deis is a Palestinian village in the Quds Governorate (Jerusalem) of the Palestinian National Authority bordering the Palestinian East Jerusalem. Since the 1995 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Abu Dis land has been mostly part of “Area C“, under full Israeli control. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) census, Abu Dis had a population of 12,604 in 2016. Abu Dis is situated on an ancient site, surrounded by deep valleys. Ruins have been found of ancient buildings, cisterns, grape presses and caves, one with a columbarium. Ceramics from Late Roman and Byzantine period has also been found.   read more…

Chapel of Notre Dame in West Jerusalem

19 June 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Notre Dame of Jerusalem © Mislishka/cc-by-sa-3.0

Notre Dame of Jerusalem © Mislishka/cc-by-sa-3.0

The “Chapel of Our Lady of Jerusalem” (French: “Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Jérusalem”) or “Chapel of Notre Dame”, is a religious building affiliated with the Catholic Church which is located in the “Complex of Notre Dame of Jerusalem” (formerly known as “Notre Dame de France”, or “Our Lady of France”) which was built by French religious between 1893 and 1894 in West Jerusalem, as part of a larger group of buildings known as the “Hospice of Our Lady of France”, which was built mostly in stone with “defensive” purposes.   read more…

Market place Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh

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

© Boris Macek/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Boris Macek/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jemaa el-Fnaa is a square and market place in Marrakesh‘s medina quarter (old city). It remains the main square of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists. Marrakesh was founded by the Almoravid Dynasty in 1070 by Abu Bakr ibn Umar and subsequently developed by his successors. Initially, the city’s two main monuments and focal points were the fortress known as Ksar el-Hajjar (“fortress of stone”) and the city’s first Friday mosque (the site of the future Ben Youssef Mosque). The Ksar el-Hajjar was located directly north of today’s Koutoubia Mosque. The major souk (market) streets of the city thus developed along the roads linking these two important sites and still correspond to the main axis of souks today. At one end of this axis, next to the Ksar el-Hajjar, a large open space existed for temporary and weekly markets. This space was initially known as Rahbat al-Ksar (“the place of the fortress”). Other historical records refer to it as as-Saha al-Kubra (“the grand square”), or simply as as-Saha or ar-Rahba.   read more…

Negev in Israel

25 May 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Arad © Neukoln/cc-by-sa-3.0

Arad © Neukoln/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The region’s largest city and administrative capital is Beersheba, in the north. At its southern end is the Gulf of Aqaba and the resort city of Eilat. It contains several development towns, including the nuclear reactor, built by France and paid for by Germany, in Dimona (Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center), Arad and Mitzpe Ramon, as well as a number of small Bedouin cities, including Rahat and Tel as-Sabi and Lakyah. There are also several kibbutzim, including Revivim and Sde Boker; the latter became the home of Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, after his retirement from politics.   read more…

Theme Week Turkey

18 April 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

Levent business district in Istanbul © Derrick Brutel/cc-by-sa-4.0

Levent business district in Istanbul © Derrick Brutel/cc-by-sa-4.0

Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country located mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe. East Thrace, the part of Turkey in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus and the Dardanelles (collectively called the Turkish Straits). Istanbul, which straddles Europe and Asia, is the largest city in the country, while Ankara is the capital. Turkey is bordered on its northwest by Greece and Bulgaria; north by the Black Sea; northeast by Georgia; east by Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran; southeast by Iraq; south by Syria and the Mediterranean Sea; and west by the Aegean Sea. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of the country’s citizens identify as Turkish, while Kurds are the largest minority, at between 15 to 20 percent of the population.   read more…

Nazareth, home town of Jesus

1 April 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Grotto of Annunciation © Ramessos/cc-by-sa-3.0

Grotto of Annunciation © Ramessos/cc-by-sa-3.0

Nazareth is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. Nazareth is known as “the Arab capital of Israel”. Nazareth Illit (lit. “Upper Nazareth”), declared a separate city in June 1974, is built alongside old Nazareth. In the New Testament, the town is described as the childhood home of Jesus, and as such is a center of Christian pilgrimage, with many shrines commemorating biblical events. With the exception of the Old City, the two Nazareths are architecturally uninspired, as are most of the other development towns of Israel, too. In March 2010, the Israeli government approved a $3 million plan to develop Nazareth’s tourism industry. New businesses receive start-up grants of up to 30 percent of their initial investment from the Ministry of Tourism.   read more…

Al-Karak in Jordan

5 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Union for the Mediterranean

Al-Karak and Kerak Castle © Berthold Werner/cc-by-3.0

Al-Karak and Kerak Castle © Berthold Werner/cc-by-3.0

Al-Karak, known in the Kingdom of Jerusalem as Kerak, is a city in Jordan known for its Crusader castle, the Kerak Castle. The castle is one of the three largest castles in the region, the other two being in Syria. Al-Karak is the capital city of the Karak Governorate. Al-Karak lies 140 kilometres (87 mi) to the south of Amman on the ancient King’s Highway. It is situated on a hilltop about 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) above sea level and is surrounded on three sides by a valley. Al-Karak has a view of the Dead Sea. A city of about 32,000 people has been built up around the castle and it has buildings from the 19th-century Ottoman period. The town is built on a triangular plateau, with the castle at its narrow southern tip.   read more…

Jesus Trail in Israel

24 December 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Walking the Jesus Trail near Nazareth © Zeromancer44/cc-by-sa-3.0

Walking the Jesus Trail near Nazareth © Zeromancer44/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Jesus Trail is a 65 km (40 mi) hiking and pilgrimage route in the Galilee region of Israel that traces the route Jesus may have walked, connecting many sites from his life and ministry. The main part of the trail begins in Nazareth and passes through Sepphoris, Cana (Kafr Kanna), the Horns of Hattin, Mount Arbel Cliffs, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Tabgha, and the Mount of Beatitudes. An alternate return route passes by Tiberias, the Jordan River, Mount Tabor, and Mount Precipice. The Jesus Trail runs within the 1967 border.   read more…

Yitzhak Rabin Center in Tel Aviv

13 November 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries, Union for the Mediterranean

© Avishai Teicher/cc-by-2.5

© Avishai Teicher/cc-by-2.5

The Yitzhak Rabin Center is a library and research center in Tel Aviv, Israel, built in memory of assassinated Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.   read more…

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