Speyer in Rhineland-Palatinate

10 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  6 minutes

View from Altpörtel tower towards Speyer Cathedral © Roman Eisele/cc-by-sa-4.0

View from Altpörtel tower towards Speyer Cathedral © Roman Eisele/cc-by-sa-4.0

Speyer is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany with approximately 50,000 inhabitants. Located on the left bank of the river Rhine, Speyer lies 25 km (16 miles) south of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim, and 21 km (13 miles) south-west of Heidelberg. Founded by the Romans, it is one of Germany’s oldest cities.   read more…

Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius

7 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  13 minutes

Christmas 3D video projected on the Cathedral © flickr.com - Guillaume Speurt/cc-by-sa-2.0

Christmas 3D video projected on the Cathedral © flickr.com – Guillaume Speurt/cc-by-sa-2.0

The Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania. It is situated in Vilnius Old Town, just off Cathedral Square. Dedicated to Saints Stanislaus and Ladislaus, the church is the heart of Catholic spiritual life in Lithuania.   read more…

Holy Land

24 December 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean Reading Time:  9 minutes

Star of Bethlehem in the Church of Nativity © Dirk D./cc-by-sa-3.0

Star of Bethlehem in the nativity grotto of the Church of Nativity in Betlehem © Dirk D./cc-by-sa-3.0

The Holy Land is an area roughly located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Bank of the Jordan River. Traditionally, it is synonymous both with the biblical Land of Israel and with the region of Palestine. The term “Holy Land” usually refers to a territory roughly corresponding to the modern State of Israel, the State of Palestine, western Jordan, and parts of southern Lebanon and southwestern Syria. Jews, Christians, and Muslims regard it as holy. Part of the significance of the land stems from the religious significance of Jerusalem, and the location of the First and Second Temples), as the historical region of Jesus’ ministry, and as the site of the first Qibla of Islam, as well as the site of the Isra and Mi’raj event of c. 621 CE in Islam.   read more…

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…

Theme Week Guatemala – Antigua Guatemala

30 October 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

Santa Catalina Arch and Volcan de Agua © flickr.com - Chad Davis/cc-by-sa-2.0

Santa Catalina Arch and Volcan de Agua © flickr.com – Chad Davis/cc-by-sa-2.0

Antigua Guatemala, commonly referred to as just Antigua or la Antigua, is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala known for its preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Antigua Guatemala serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name. It also serves as the departmental capital of Sacatepéquez Department.   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…

Reichenau Abbey in Lake Constance

10 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

Cloisters Reichenau © Schlampi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Cloisters Reichenau © Schlampi/cc-by-sa-3.0

Reichenau Abbey was a Benedictine monastery on Reichenau Island (known in Latin as Augia Dives). It was founded in 724 by the itinerant Saint Pirmin, who is said to have fled Spain ahead of the Moorish invaders, with patronage that included Charles Martel, and, more locally, Count Berthold of the Ahalolfinger and the Alemannian Duke Santfrid I (Nebi). Pirmin’s conflict with Santfrid resulted in his leaving Reichenau in 727. Under his successor Haito the monastery began to flourish. It gained influence in the Carolingian dynasty, under Abbot Waldo of Reichenau (740–814), by educating the clerks who staffed Imperial and ducal chanceries. Abbot Reginbert of Reichenau (-846) built up the important book collection. Abbot Walafrid Strabo (842–849), who was educated at Reichenau, was renowned as a poet and Latin scholar.   read more…

Babylon in Iraq

6 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  11 minutes

Ishtar Gate in Babylon © Ali Kareem Yousif/cc-by-sa-4.0

Ishtar Gate in Babylon © Ali Kareem Yousif/cc-by-sa-4.0

Babylon was the capital city of the ancient Babylonian empire, which itself is a term referring to either of two separate empires in the Mesopotamian area in antiquity. These two empires achieved regional dominance between the 19th and 15th centuries BC, and again between the 7th and 6th centuries BC. The city, built along both banks of the Euphrates river, had steep embankments to contain the river’s seasonal floods. The earliest known mention of Babylon as a small town appears on a clay tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad (2334–2279 BC) of the Akkadian Empire. The site of the ancient city lies just south of present-day Baghdad. UNESCO inscribed Babylon as a World Heritage Site in 2019.   read more…

Sagrada Família in Barcelona

1 September 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  8 minutes

© Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Bernard Gagnon/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Basílica de la Sagrada Família (Spanish: Basílica de la Sagrada Familia; ‘Basilica of the Holy Family‘), also known as the Sagrada Família, is a large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Designed by the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), his work on the building is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On 7 November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church and proclaimed it a minor basilica.   read more…

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