Routes of El legado andalusi/Al-Andalus

4 October 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, European Union, General, Living, Working, Building, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

In the 8th century, the Iberian Peninsula saw the arrival of Arabs and Berbers who mixed with the Roman-Visigoth inhabitants, engendering what was known as Al-Andalus. This successful medieval Muslim civilisation extended, at its peak, to most of what is today Spain and Portugal, until its downfall in the late 15th century.   read more…

Tripoli in Lebanon

15 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Tripoli Souk © Bertramz/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tripoli Souk © Bertramz/cc-by-sa-3.0

Tripoli is the largest city in northern Lebanon and the second-largest city in the country. Situated 85 kilometers (53 miles) north of the capital Beirut, it is the capital of the North Governorate and the Tripoli District. Tripoli overlooks the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and it is the northernmost seaport in Lebanon. It holds a string of four small islands offshore, and they are also the only islands in Lebanon. The Palm Islands were declared a protected area because of their status of haven for endangered loggerhead turtles, rare monk seals and migratory birds.   read more…

Union for the Mediterranean: Bon voyage!

12 January 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization of 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 28 member states of the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East (the western and middle part of the Middle East & North Africa region (MENA)) and Southeast Europe. It was created in July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, with a view to reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that was set up in 1995 and known as the Barcelona Process. The Union has the aim of promoting stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a forum for discussing regional strategic issues, based on the principles of shared ownership, shared decision-making and shared responsibility between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Its main goal is to increase both North-South and South-South integration in the Mediterranean region, in order to support the countries’ socioeconomic development and ensure stability in the region. The actions of the organization fall under three, interrelated priorities—regional human development, regional integration and regional stability. To this end, it identifies and supports regional projects and initiatives of different sizes, to which it gives its label, following a consensual decision among the forty-three countries. The region has 756 million inhabitants and is scenic, architecturally and culturally very diverse. Cities, lakes, mountains, beaches and national parks offer everything that promises fun, recreation and perfect vacations. The cultural offers are numerous. In addition to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, there are numerous galleries, museums, theaters and opera houses. Of course, there are plenty of shopping and entertainment possibilities. However, holiday pleasure is not untroubled in all countries. At present, Syria and Libya in general, Mauritania (Sahara and Sahel) and Lebanon (North Lebanon and the border regions to Syria and Israel), Palestine (Gaza Strip) should be partly avoided. In all other countries of the Levant and North Africa, increased caution, vigilance and prudence are recommended. At the end of each country portrait is a link to the U.S. Department of State, in order to be able to find out about the current security situation on the ground.   read more…

Theme Week Beirut – The Platinum Tower

7 February 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Marina Towers (left) and Platinum Tower (right) © A.K.Khalifeh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Marina Towers (left) and Platinum Tower (right) © A.K.Khalifeh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Platinum Tower is a highrise residential building in Beirut in Lebanon. It occupies a large plot on the Zaitunay Bay Marina, at Saint George Bay in the Beirut Central District. The house is illuminated over night at the edges, and on top, additionally with horizontal light lines at every ninth floor.   read more…

Arab–Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflict

6 January 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Oncenawhile

© Oncenawhile

(Latest update: 14 December 2019) The Arab–Israeli conflict is the political tension, military conflicts and disputes between a number of Arab countries and Israel. The roots (European colonial period, Ottoman Empire, widespread Antisemitism in Europe, Jews in the Russian Empire, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild (Jewish land purchase in Palestine), Theodor Herzl, Jewish National Fund, timeline of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, World War I, Sykes–Picot Agreement (San Remo conference, Mandate for Palestine, UN Charter, Chapter XII – International Trusteeship System, Article 80 (commonly known as the “Palestine Article” used by both conflict parties, Israel and Palestine, to create the wildest interpretations, speculations and conspiracy theories to assert the respective alleged right to the total land area), McMahon–Hussein Correspondence), Balfour Declaration, World War II, The Holocaust (International Holocaust Remembrance Day), Évian Conference, Mandatory Palestine, Forced displacement, and United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine) of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict (or the history of collective failure) are bound in the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism towards the end of the 19th century. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and currently belonging to the Palestinians, and in the Pan-Islamic context, as Muslim lands. The sectarian conflict between Palestinian Jews and Arabs emerged in the early 20th century, peaking into a full-scale civil war in 1947 and transforming into the First Arab–Israeli War in May 1948 following the Israeli Declaration of Independence (Nakba). Large-scale hostilities mostly ended with the cease-fire agreements after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War. Peace agreements were signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, resulting in Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and abolishment of the military governance system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in favor of Israeli Civil Administration and consequent unilateral, internationally not recognized, annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Even when the text is about 137 pages long, it is just a summary. The multitude of links point out that there is a lot more to learn in detail. At first, it is a timeline of the major developments in the region and it leads to today’s challenges. The starting point is the view of the international community, especially the European Union and North America, on the conflict, enriched with excursions into the ideas, convictions, believes, and thoughts of the direct and indirect involved parties to the conflict.   read more…

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Union for the Mediterranean: Bon appétit!

7 November 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, Union for the Mediterranean

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization of 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 28 member states of the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East (the western and middle part of the Middle East & North Africa region (MENA)) and Southeast Europe. It was created in July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, with a view to reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that was set up in 1995 and known as the Barcelona Process. The Union has the aim of promoting stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a forum for discussing regional strategic issues, based on the principles of shared ownership, shared decision-making and shared responsibility between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Its main goal is to increase both North-South and South-South integration in the Mediterranean region, in order to support the countries’ socioeconomic development and ensure stability in the region. The actions of the organization fall under three, interrelated priorities—regional human development, regional integration and regional stability. To this end, it identifies and supports regional projects and initiatives of different sizes, to which it gives its label, following a consensual decision among the forty-three countries. The region has 756 million inhabitants and is culinary very diverse (European cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine, Maghreb cuisine, Levantine cuisine, Middle-Eastern cuisine and Arab cuisine).   read more…

Theme Week Beirut – The Marina Towers

14 April 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Marina Tower and the Four Season Hotels and Resorts Tower © A.K.Khalifeh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Marina Tower and the Four Season Hotels and Resorts Tower © A.K.Khalifeh/cc-by-sa-3.0

Marina Towers project is a residential complex in Beirut Central District, Lebanon. It is located near the Beirut Marina and consists of a high-rise apartment building, Marina Tower, and two mid-rise apartment buildings, Marina Court and Marina Garden. Designed by the renowned firm of architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the Marina Towers project is built on over 7,000 square metres of land with the main tower reaching a height of 150 metres, making it the second tallest building in Lebanon. The Marina Towers project is the biggest and most prestigious residential project on the Mediterranean sea and one that is a natural part of Beirut itself, boasting ultra luxurious simplex, duplex apartments and a penthouse with a private pool.   read more…

Theme Week Beirut – The Corniche

15 February 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© flickr.com - Evan/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Evan/cc-by-2.0

The Corniche Beirut is a seaside promenade in Beirut Central District, in Beirut. Lined with palm trees, the waterfront esplanade offers visitors a magnificent view of the Mediterranean and the summits of Mount Lebanon to the east. Corniche Beirut has its foundation in the Avenue des Français, which was built during the period of the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon along the seafront that extended from the old town.   read more…

Theme Week Beirut – The Phoenicia

1 February 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Hotels, Union for the Mediterranean

© flickr.com - Hussein Abdallah/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Hussein Abdallah/cc-by-2.0

The Phoenicia Hotel Beirut is a historic 5-star luxury hotel situated in the Minet El Hosn neighborhood of Beirut in Lebanon. It is located on Rue Fakhreddine near the Corniche Beirut promenade and walking-distance from Beirut Central District, and a few kilometers from Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport. The Phoenicia is part of the worldwide InterContinental Hotels Group, but it dropped the actual use of the chain name in 2012. The Phoenicia was built by the Lebanese businessman Najib Salha, who founded La Société des Grands Hotels du Liban (SGHL) in 1953. It was designed by the noted American architect Edward Durell Stone, working with American architect Joseph Salerno and local architects Ferdinand Dagher and Rodolphe Elias. The design showed Levantine influences in its high ceilings, sweeping staircases and palatial pillars. The hotel’s interiors and furniture were contracted to the New York firm of William M. Ballard and were designed by Neal Prince, who was responsible for the interior decoration of most Intercontinental Hotels at the time.   read more…

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