Theme Week Belarus – Minsk

30 July 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  21 minutes

Babrujskaja street © Viktar Palstsiuk/cc-by-sa-4.0

Babrujskaja street © Viktar Palstsiuk/cc-by-sa-4.0

Minsk is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach and the now subterranean Niamiha rivers. As the capital, Minsk has a special administrative status in Belarus and is the administrative centre of Minsk Region (voblasć) and Minsk District (rajon). As of January 2021, its population was 2 million, making Minsk the 11th most populous city in Europe. Minsk is one of the administrative capitals of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). First documented in 1067, Minsk became the capital of the Principality of Minsk before being annexed by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1242. It received town privileges in 1499. From 1569, it was the capital of the Minsk Voivodeship, an administrative division of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. It was part of a region annexed by the Russian Empire in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919 to 1991, after the Russian Revolution, Minsk was the capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, in the Soviet Union. In June 2019, Minsk hosted the 2019 European Games.   read more…

East Turkestan or Xinjiang and the Uyghurs in China

11 March 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  25 minutes

Xinjiang Internment Camps map © US  National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Xinjiang Internment Camps map © US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Xinjiang, officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (East Turkestan) and formerly romanized as Sinkiang, is a landlocked autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), located in the northwest of the country close to Central Asia. Being the largest province-level division of China and the 8th-largest country subdivision in the world, Xinjiang spans over 1.6 million square kilometres (620,000 sq mi) and has about 25 million inhabitants. Xinjiang borders the countries of Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The rugged Karakoram, Kunlun and Tian Shan mountain ranges occupy much of Xinjiang’s borders, as well as its western and southern regions. The Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract regions, both administered by China, are claimed by India. Xinjiang also borders the Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai. The most well-known route of the historic Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border. It is home to a number of ethnic groups, including the Turkic Uyghur, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, the Han, Tibetans, Hui, Chinese Tajiks (Pamiris), Mongols, Russians and Sibe. There are more than a dozen autonomous prefectures and counties for minorities in Xinjiang. Older English-language reference works often refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan, East Turkestan and East Turkistan. Xinjiang is divided into the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south by a mountain range, and only about 9.7% of Xinjiang’s land area is fit for human habitation. Capital und largest city by far is Ürümqi.   read more…

Anne Frank Educational Centre in Frankfurt

27 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions Reading Time:  8 minutes

Diary of Anne Frank © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0

Diary of Anne Frank © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Anne Frank Educational Centre (German: Bildungsstätte Anne Frank) was founded in 1997 and is located in the neighbourhood of Dornbusch, Frankfurt am Main in Germany where Anne Frank was born. The Centre is supported by the Anne-Frank-Fonds in Basel. In their work, the Centre uses the biography and the diary of Anne Frank as a unique tool to promote tolerance and educate people about the consequences of Nazism, discrimination and racism.   read more…

Książ or Fürstenstein Castle

23 November 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks Reading Time:  14 minutes

© Jar.ciurus/cc-by-sa-3.0-pl

© Jar.ciurus/cc-by-sa-3.0-pl

Książ (Polish: Zamek Książ, German: Fürstenstein) is the largest castle in the Silesia region, located in northern Wałbrzych in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, Poland. It lies within Książ Landscape Park, a protected area located in the Wałbrzyski Foothills. The castle overlooks the gorge of the Pełcznica river and is one of the Wałbrzych’s main tourist attractions.   read more…

Lodz in Poland

27 May 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  7 minutes

Museum of Art © panoramio.com - Mietek Ł/cc-by-sa-3.0

Museum of Art © panoramio.com – Mietek Ł/cc-by-sa-3.0

Łódź, written in English as Lodz, is the third-largest city in Poland and a former industrial centre. Located in the central part of the country, it has a population of 679,941 (2019). It is the capital of Łódź Voivodeship, and is located approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi) south-west of Warsaw. The city’s coat of arms is an example of canting, as it depicts a boat (łódź in Polish), which alludes to the city’s name.   read more…

Synagogue of Halle (Saale)

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

Halle Synagogue © Allexkoch/cc-by-sa-4.0

Halle Synagogue © Allexkoch/cc-by-sa-4.0

The synagogue of Halle (Saale) is the house of worship of the Jewish community in Halle (Saale), which had 555 members in 2018. The building was originally built in 1894 as the Tahara House of the Jewish cemetery, laid out in 1864 northeast of downtown Halle, from white and yellow bricks according to plans by the architects Gustav Wolff and Theodor Lehmann. The conversion to a synagogue took place from 1948 after some renovations (consecrated in 1953) as a replacement for the old synagogue in the city center, which was destroyed during the November pogroms in 1938.   read more…

Topography of Terror in Berlin

27 January 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Berlin Reading Time:  12 minutes

© Manfred Brückels/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Manfred Brückels/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Topography of Terror (German: Topographie des Terrors) is an outdoor and indoor history museum in Berlin, Germany. It is located on Niederkirchnerstrasse, formerly Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, on the site of buildings which during the Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945 was the SS Reich Main Security Office, the headquarters of the Sicherheitspolizei, SD, Einsatzgruppen and Gestapo.   read more…

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin

27 January 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Berlin, Museums, Exhibitions Reading Time:  15 minutes

© Orator/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Orator/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (German: Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas), also known as the Holocaust Memorial (German: Holocaust-Mahnmal), is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It consists of a 19,000-square-metre (200,000 sq ft) site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae“, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 2.38 metres (7 ft 10 in) long, 0.95 metres (3 ft 1 in) wide and vary in height from 0.2 to 4.7 metres (7.9 in to 15 ft 5.0 in). They are organized in rows, 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. An attached underground “Place of Information” (German: Ort der Information) holds the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem. Building began on April 1, 2003, and was finished on December 15, 2004. It was inaugurated on May 10, 2005, sixty years after the end of World War II, and opened to the public two days later. It is located one block south of the Brandenburg Gate, in the Mitte neighborhood. The cost of construction was approximately 25 million.   read more…

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

27 January 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  15 minutes

Map of the Holocaust in Europe © Dennis Nilsson/cc-by-3.0

Map of the Holocaust in Europe © Dennis Nilsson/cc-by-3.0

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is an international memorial day on 27 January commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. It commemorates the genocide that resulted in the death of an estimated 6 million Jewish people, 200,000 Romani people, 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 60/7 on 1 November 2005 during the 42nd plenary session. The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust. On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz-Birkenau (today Oświęcim in Poland), the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, was liberated by the Red Army.   read more…

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