Theme Week Indonesia – Sumatra

24 May 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Berbak National Park © cifor.org - James Maiden/cc-by-sa-2.0

Berbak National Park © cifor.org – James Maiden/cc-by-sa-2.0

Sumatra is a large island in western Indonesia that is part of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island that is located entirely in Indonesia (after Borneo, which is shared between Indonesia and other countries) and the sixth-largest island in the world at 473,481 km² (not including adjacent islands such as the Riau Islands and Bangka Belitung Islands). The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004. The 25,951 km² area of the World Heritage Site includes the National Parks Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barisan Selatan.   read more…

Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean

24 May 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Environment, General, Sustainability

Cannon Point at sundown © Blaine Steinert

Cannon Point at sundown © Blaine Steinert

The Chagos Archipelago or Chagos Islands (formerly the Bassas de Chagas, and later the Oil Islands) are a group of seven atolls comprising more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres (310 mi) south of the Maldives archipelago. This chain of islands is the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a long submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean. As part of its British Indian Ocean Territory, the Chagos were home to the Chagossians, a Bourbonnais Creole-speaking people, for more than a century and a half until the United Kingdom evicted them between 1967 and 1973 to allow the United States to build a military base on Diego Garcia, the largest of the Chagos Islands. Since 1971, only the atoll of Diego Garcia is inhabited, and only by military and civilian contracted personnel.   read more…

Theme Week Indonesia – Java

23 May 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Barakuda Beach in Karimun © Midori/cc-by-3.0

Barakuda Beach in Karimun © Midori/cc-by-3.0

Java is bordered by the Indian Ocean on the south and the Java Sea on the north. With a population of over 141 million (Java only) or 145 million (including the inhabitants of its surrounding islands), Java is the home to 56.7 percent of the Indonesian population and is the world’s most populous island. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is located on its northwestern coast. Much of Indonesian history took place on Java. It was the center of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires, the Islamic sultanates, and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Java was also the center of the Indonesian struggle for independence during the 1930s and 1940s. Java dominates Indonesia politically, economically and culturally. Four of Indonesia’s eight UNESCO world heritage sites are located in Java: Ujung Kulon National Park, Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, and Sangiran Early Man Site.   read more…

Theme Week Indonesia – Sulawesi

21 May 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

West Beach in Bira © Kondephy/cc-by-sa-4.0

West Beach in Bira © Kondephy/cc-by-sa-4.0

Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, is one of the four Greater Sunda Islands, and the world’s eleventh-largest island, situated east of Borneo, west of the Maluku Islands, and south of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. Within Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger populations.   read more…

Theme Week Indonesia

20 May 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage

Borobudur, the world's largest Buddist temple © Gunawan Kartapranata/cc-by-sa-3.0

Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddist temple © Gunawan Kartapranata/cc-by-sa-3.0

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world’s largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles), the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world’s 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world’s most populous island, contains more than half of the country’s population.   read more…

Theme Week India

22 April 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage

Jal Mahal of Jaipur © Labhanshi Mittal/cc-by-sa-4.0

Jal Mahal of Jaipur © Labhanshi Mittal/cc-by-sa-4.0

India (Bhārat), also known as the Republic of India (Bhārat Gaṇarājya), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.   read more…

Theme Week South Africa

19 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

East London - City Hall on Oxford Street © Bfluff/cc-by-sa-3.0

East London – City Hall on Oxford Street © Bfluff/cc-by-sa-3.0

South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded on the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, on the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and on the east and northeast by Mozambique and Swaziland, and surrounding the kingdom of Lesotho. South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 56 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of European (white), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (coloured) ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution‘s recognition of 11 official languages, which is among the highest number of any country in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most white and coloured South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d’état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country’s recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, discriminatory laws began to be repealed or abolished from 1990 onwards. South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation to describe the country’s multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid.   read more…

Adelaide in South Australia

7 April 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Chinatown on Moonta Street © Scott W./cc-by-2.5

Chinatown on Moonta Street © Scott W./cc-by-2.5

Adelaide is the capital city of the state of South Australia, and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. In June 2014, Adelaide had an estimated resident population of 1.31 million. South Australia, with a total of 1.7 million inhabitants, has the most centralised population of any state in Australia, with more than 75 percent of its people living in greater Adelaide, while the other population centres in the state are relatively small. The demonym “Adelaidean” is used in reference to the city and its residents. Adelaide is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges which surround the city. Adelaide stretches 20 km (12 mi) from the coast to the foothills, and 94 to 104 km (58 to 65 mi) from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south. Named in honour of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for a freely-settled British province in Australia. Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide’s founding fathers, designed the city and chose its location close to the River Torrens, in the area originally inhabited by the Kaurna people. Light’s design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, and entirely surrounded by parklands.   read more…

Dhow, the traditional sailing vessel of the Read Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean

1 September 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Tall ships, Yacht of the Month

Dhows Parade during Qatar National Day © flickr.com - Mohamod Fasil/cc-by-2.0

Dhows Parade during Qatar National Day © flickr.com – Mohamod Fasil/cc-by-2.0

Dhow is the generic name of a number of traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts with lateen sails used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region. Historians are divided as to whether the dhow was invented by Arabs or Indians. Typically sporting long thin hulls, dhows are trading vessels primarily used to carry heavy items, like fruit, fresh water or merchandise, along the coasts of Eastern Arabia (Arab states of the Persian Gulf), East Africa, Yemen and some parts of South Asia (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh). Larger dhows have crews of approximately thirty, smaller ones typically around twelve.   read more…

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