Polo

11 January 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Sport

Varsity Polo 2013 - Oxford vs Cambridge © Andreas Polo/cc-by-sa-3.0

Varsity Polo 2013 – Oxford vs Cambridge © Andreas Polo/cc-by-sa-3.0

Polo (Persian: chogān) is a team sport played on horseback. The objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled mallet. The traditional sport of polo is played on a grass field up to 300 by 160 yards (270 by 150 m). Each polo team consists of four riders and their mounts. Field polo is played with a solid plastic ball which has replaced the wooden version of the ball in much of the sport. In arena polo, only three players are required per team and the game usually involves more manoeuvreing and shorter plays at lower speeds due to space limitations of arenas. Arena polo is played with a small air-filled ball, similar to a small football. The modern game lasts roughly two hours and is divided into periods called chukkas. Polo is played professionally in 16 countries. It was formerly an Olympic sport. Polo originates from ancient Persia. Its invention is dated variously from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD. Persian Emperor Shapur II learnt to play polo when he was seven years old in 316 AD. Naqsh-i Jahan Square in Isfahan, Iran, is a polo field which was built by king Abbas I in the 17th century. The modern game of polo is derived from Manipur, India, where the game was known as ‘Sagol Kangjei’, ‘Kanjai-bazee’, or ‘Pulu’. It was the anglicised form of the last, referring to the wooden ball that was used, which was adopted by the sport in its slow spread to the west. The first polo club was established in the town of Silchar in Assam, India, in 1833.   read more…

Theme Week Argentina – San Carlos de Bariloche

24 September 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Civic Centre and port on Lake Nahuel Huapi © Dario Alpern/cc-by-sa-4.0

Civic Centre and port on Lake Nahuel Huapi © Dario Alpern/cc-by-sa-4.0

San Carlos de Bariloche, usually known as Bariloche, is a city in the province of Río Negro, situated in the foothills of the Andes on the southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. It is located within the Nahuel Huapi National Park. After development of extensive public works and Alpine-styled architecture, the city emerged in the 1930s and 1940s as a major tourism centre with skiing, trekking and mountaineering facilities. In addition, it has numerous restaurants, cafés, and chocolate shops. The city has a permanent population of 114,000. The name Bariloche comes from the Mapudungun word Vuriloche meaning “people from behind the mountain”. The Poya people used the Vuriloche pass to cross the Andes, keeping it secret from the Spanish priests for a long time.   read more…

Theme Week Argentina – Córdoba

23 September 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Teatro del Libertador © Nicolás Riofrio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Teatro del Libertador © Nicolás Riofrio/cc-by-sa-3.0

Córdoba is a city located in the geographical center of Argentina, in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas on the Suquía River, about 700 km (435 mi) northwest of the Buenos Aires. It is the capital of Córdoba Province and the second most populous city in Argentina after Buenos Aires, with about 1.3 million inhabitants. It was founded on 6 July 1573 by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, who named it after Córdoba in Spain. It was one of the first Spanish colonial capitals of the region that is now Argentina (the oldest city is Santiago del Estero, founded in 1553). The National University of Córdoba is the oldest university of the country and the second to be inaugurated in Latin America. It was founded in 1613 by the Jesuit Order. Because of this, Córdoba earned the nickname La Docta (roughly translated, “the learned one”).   read more…

Theme Week Argentina – La Plata

22 September 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Plaza Moreno and the Cathedral © Barcex/cc-by-sa-3.0

Plaza Moreno and the Cathedral © Barcex/cc-by-sa-3.0

La Plata is the capital city of the Province of Buenos Aires and of the partido La Plata. It has a population of 740,000 and its metropolitan area has 900,000 inhabitants. La Plata was planned and developed to serve as the provincial capital after the city of Buenos Aires was federalized in 1880. It was officially founded by Governor Dardo Rocha on 19 November 1882. Its construction is fully documented in photographs by Tomás Bradley Sutton. La Plata was renamed Eva Perón City (Ciudad Eva Perón) between 1952 and 1955. La Plata is a planned city, urban planning paradigm of the late 19th century. It is also an example of “hygiene”, which was becoming important in that time. Rocha decided to erect a new city to host the provincial government institutions and a university which had already been planned. Urban planner Pedro Benoit designed a city layout based on a rationalist conception of urban centers. The city has the shape of a square with a central park and two main diagonal avenues, north to south and east to west. In addition, there are numerous other shorter diagonal streets. This design is copied in a self-similar manner in small blocks of six by six blocks in length. For every six blocks, there is a small park or square. Other than the diagonal streets, all streets are on a rectangular grid and are numbered consecutively. Thus, La Plata is nicknamed “la ciudad de las diagonales” (city of diagonals). It is also called “la ciudad de los tilos” (city of linden trees), because of the large number of linden trees lining the many streets and squares.   read more…

Theme Week Argentina – Ushuaia

21 September 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Ushuaia © Jerzy Strzelecki/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ushuaia © Jerzy Strzelecki/cc-by-sa-3.0

Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range, and on the south by the Beagle Channel. It is the only municipality in the Department of Ushuaia, which has an area of 9,390 km2 (3,625 sq mi). The main economic activities are fishing, natural gas and oil extraction, sheep farming and ecotourism.   read more…

Theme Week Argentina – San Salvador de Jujuy

20 September 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Belgrano Square and the Government Palace © Gustso/cc-by-sa-4.0

Belgrano Square and the Government Palace © Gustso/cc-by-sa-4.0

San Salvador de Jujuy, commonly known as Jujuy and locally often referred to as San Salvador, is the capital city of Jujuy Province in Argentine Northwest. It lies near the southern end of the Humahuaca Canyon where wooded hills meet the lowlands. The city lies on National Route 9 that connects La Quiaca 289 km (180 mi) with Salta 120 km (75 mi), and it is 1,525 km (948 mi) from Buenos Aires. Tourist destinations not far from the city are Tilcara 84 km (52 mi), Humahuaca 126 km (78 mi), and the Calilegua National Park 111 km (69 mi). Jujuy is located near the Andes, at the junction of the Xibi Xibi River and the Río Grande de Jujuy, 1,238 meters above sea level. The weather is humid during the summer and dry and cold during the winter. Temperatures vary widely between day and night.   read more…

Theme Week Argentina

19 September 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Mar del Plata © Leandro Kibisz/cc-by-sa-2.5

Mar del Plata © Leandro Kibisz/cc-by-sa-2.5

Argentina is a federal republic located in southeastern South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with its neighbor Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the second largest in Latin America, and the largest Spanish-speaking one. Buenos Aires is the federal capital of the nation. The earliest recorded human presence in the area of modern-day Argentina dates back to the Paleolithic period. The country has its roots in Spanish colonization of the region during the 16th century. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas viceroyalty founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, culminating in the country’s reorganization as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city.   read more…

Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina

28 October 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Puerto Madero © Allan Aguilar/cc-by-sa-3.0

Puerto Madero © Allan Aguilar/cc-by-sa-3.0

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the continent’s southeastern coast. The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the third-largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of around fifteen and a half million.   read more…

Estancias in South America

12 September 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Estancia Villanueva © Jarrigorria/cc-by-sa-3.0

Estancia Villanueva © Jarrigorria/cc-by-sa-3.0

A Estancia or Estância is a Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese term describing private landholdings. In some areas these were large rural with similarities to the American term ranch.They are large farms which are spread over extensive areas often 10,000 hectares. Estancias in the southern South American grasslands, the pampas, have historically been a livestock (cattle or sheep) estate. In the early Caribbean and Mexico, holders of encomiendas acquired land in the area where they had access to Indian labor, and often the need for on-site Hispanic supervisors or labor bosses called estancieros. In Mexico, multiple estancias owned by the same individual could be termed an hacienda. The term estancia is used in various ways in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Chile and southern Brazil. The equivalent in other Spanish American countries would be hacienda.   read more…

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