Theme Week Basque Country – Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

25 April 2024 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  8 minutes

© W. Bulach/cc-by-sa-4.0

© W. Bulach/cc-by-sa-4.0

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (literally “Saint John [at the] Foot of [the] Pass”; Basque: Donibane Garazi; Spanish: San Juan Pie de Puerto) is a commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in south-western France. It is close to Ostabat in the Pyrenean foothills. The town is also the old capital of the traditional Basque province of Lower Navarre. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is also a starting point for the French Way Camino Francés, the most popular option for travelling the Camino de Santiago. In 1998, the Porte St-Jacques (city gate) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as part of the sites along the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.   read more…

Einsiedeln in Switzerland

5 October 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  7 minutes

Einsiedeln Abbey © Dominik Landwehr/cc-by-sa-4.0

Einsiedeln Abbey © Dominik Landwehr/cc-by-sa-4.0

Einsiedeln is a municipality and district in the canton of Schwyz in Switzerland known for its monastery, the Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey, established in the 10th century.   read more…

Theme Week Auvergne – Le Puy-en-Velay

29 July 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  8 minutes

Chapel Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe © W. Bulach/cc-by-sa-4.0

Chapel Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe © W. Bulach/cc-by-sa-4.0

Le Puy-en-Velay (literally Le Puy in Velay; Occitan: Lo Puèi de Velai) is the prefecture of the Haute-Loire department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of south-central France. Located near the river Loire, the city is famous for its cathedral, for a kind of lentil, for its lace-making, as well as for being the origin of the Chemin du Puy, one of the principal origin points of the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela in France. In 2017, the commune had a population of 18,995.   read more…

Conques in Occitania

19 April 2023 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

Saint Faith Abbey  Church © Krzysztof Golik/cc-by-sa-4.0

Saint Faith Abbey Church © Krzysztof Golik/cc-by-sa-4.0

Conques (Languedocien: Concas) is a former commune in the Aveyron department in Southern France, in the Occitania region. On 1 January 2016, it was merged into the new commune of Conques-en-Rouergue.   read more…

Theme Week Navarre – Estella-Lizarra

24 November 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  8 minutes

© Mattana/cc-by-2.0

© Mattana/cc-by-2.0

Estella (Spanish) or Lizarra (Basque) is a town located in the autonomous community of Navarre, in northern Spain. It lies south west of Pamplona, close to the border with La Rioja and Álava. In 1927, Club Deportivo Izarra was formed who currently play in the Segunda División B. The town regularly hosts the GP Miguel Induráin.   read more…

Theme Week Navarre – Villava-Atarrabia

22 November 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  5 minutes

Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario © Zarateman/cc-by-sa-3.0

Church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario © Zarateman/cc-by-sa-3.0

Villava (Basque: Atarrabia) is a town and municipality located in the province and autonomous community of Navarre, northern Spain. The population is about 10,000, and the town is located 4 km away from Pamplona, the capital of Navarre.   read more…

Theme Week Asturias – Pola de Siero

26 January 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  5 minutes

© Anual/cc-by-3.0

© Anual/cc-by-3.0

Pola de Siero (in Asturian and as official name La Pola Siero, and also known as La Pola colloquially) is a town in the autonomous community of Asturias on the north coast of the Kingdom of Spain. It is the administrative capital of the municipality (concejo) of Siero. Pola de Siero is located in the centre of Asturias, approximately 16 km east of the regional Capital Oviedo and 16 km south of Gijón.   read more…

Arles in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region

16 May 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, French Riviera, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  6 minutes

Town Hall on Place de la République © flickr.com - Wolfgang Staudt

Town Hall on Place de la République © flickr.com – Wolfgang Staudt

Arles is a city and commune in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province of Provence. As part of the cultural initiative of the European Union’s European Capital of Culture, Arles is one of the convention and exhibition venues of Marseille-Provence 2013.   read more…

Theme Week Galicia

23 February 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Bon voyage, Theme Weeks Reading Time:  11 minutes

Carnota © Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez/cc-by-sa-3.0

Carnota © Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez/cc-by-sa-3.0

Galicia is an autonomous community in northwest Spain, with the official status of a historic nationality. It comprises the provinces of A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra, being bordered by Portugal to the south, the Spanish autonomous communities of Castile and León and Asturias to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the north. Galicia has over 1,660 km (1,030 mi) of coastline, including its offshore islands and islets, among them Cíes Islands, Ons, Sálvora, Cortegada, and—the largest and most populated—A Illa de Arousa. Hundreds of ancient standing stone monuments like dolmens, menhirs and megalithics Tumulus were erected during the prehistoric period in Galicia, amongst the best-known are the dolmens of Dombate, Corveira, Axeitos of Pedra da Arca, menhirs like the “Lapa de Gargñáns”. From the Iron Age, Galicia has a rich heritage based mainly on a great number of Hill forts, few of them excavated like Baroña, Sta. Tegra, San Cibrao de Lás and Formigueiros among others. With the introduction of Ancient Roman architecture there was a development of basilicas, castra, city walls, cities, villas, Roman temples, Roman roads, and the Roman bridge of Ponte Vella. It was the Romans who founded some of the first cities in Galicia like Lugo and Ourense. Perhaps the best-known examples are the Roman Walls of Lugo and the Tower of Hercules in A Coruña. During the Middle Ages, a huge quantity of fortified castles were built by Galician feudal nobles to mark their powers against their rivals. Although the most of them were demolished during the Irmandiño Wars (1466–1469), some Galician castles that survived are Pambre, Castro Caldelas, Sobroso, Soutomaior and Monterrei among others. Ecclesiastical architecture raised early in Galicia, and the first churches and monasteries as San Pedro de Rocas, began to be built in 5-6th centuries. However, the most famous medieval architecture in Galicia had been using Romanesque architecture like most of Western Europe. Some of the greatest examples of Romanesque churches in Galicia are the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the Ourense Cathedral, Saint John of Caaveiro, Our Lady Mary of Cambre and the Church of San Juan of Portomarín among others.   read more…

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