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 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 Libya – Tripoli

25 November 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Istiqlal Street © Abdul-Jawad Elhusuni

Istiqlal Street © Abdul-Jawad Elhusuni

Tripoli is the capital city and the largest city of Libya. Tripoli, with its metropolitan area, has a population of about 1.1 million people. The city is located in the northwestern part of Libya on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean and forming a bay. Tripoli includes the Port of Tripoli and the country’s largest commercial and manufacturing centre. It is also the site of the University of Tripoli. The vast Bab al-Azizia barracks, which includes the former family estate of Muammar Gaddafi, is also located in the city. Colonel Gaddafi largely ruled the country from his residence in this barracks. Tripoli was founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians, who named it Oea. Due to the city’s long history, there are many sites of archaeological significance in Tripoli. “Tripoli” may also refer to the shabiyah (top-level administrative division in the current Libyan system), the Tripoli District.   read more…

Theme Week Libya – Misrata

24 November 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Misurata Fountain © vedi Fonte/cc-sa-1.0

Misurata Fountain © vedi Fonte/cc-sa-1.0

Misurata is a city in the Misrata District in northwestern Libya, situated 187 km (116 mi) to the east of Tripoli and 825 km (513 mi) west of Benghazi on the Mediterranean coast near Cape Misurata. With a population of about 281,000, Misrata is the third-largest city in Libya, after Tripoli and Benghazi. It is the capital city of the Misurata District and has been called the trade capital of Libya. The harbor is at Qasr Ahmad. The name “Misurata” derives from the Misrata tribe, a section of the larger Berber Hawwara confederacy, whose homeland in Roman and early Arab times was coastal Tripolitania. The location of the city creates a dualism of sea and sand, bounded by the sea to the north and east and to the south by golden sands dotted with palm and olive trees. Like Benghazi and Tripoli, Misurata is divided into two distinct sections. Older Misurata consists of small stone houses and narrow arched streets while the newer part of the city, which began to develop in the 20th century, consists of modern buildings, homes, factories and industrial areas. Aside from its distinct location, which makes it a centre for the exchange of commodities and materials with the rest of the cities of the country, Misrata has modern infrastructure, including paved roads, electricity and communications.   read more…

Theme Week Libya – Kufra oasis group

23 November 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Al Jawf © NASA

Al Jawf © NASA

Kufra is a basin and oasis group in the Kufra District of southeastern Cyrenaica in Libya. At the end of nineteenth century Kufra became the center and holy place of the Senussi order. It also played a minor role in the Western Desert Campaign of World War II. It is located in a particularly isolated area, not only because it is in the middle of the Sahara Desert but also because it is surrounded on three sides by depressions which make it dominate the passage in east-west land traffic across the desert. For the colonial Italians, it was also important as a station on the north-south air route to Italian East Africa. These factors, along with Kufra’s dominance of the southeastern Cyrenaica region of Libya, explains the oasis’s strategic importance and why it was a point of conflict during World War II.   read more…

Theme Week Libya – Benghazi

22 November 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Benghazi Waterfront © Jaw101ie

Benghazi Waterfront © Jaw101ie

Benghazi is the second most populous city in Libya and the largest in Cyrenaica. A port on the Mediterranean Sea in the Kingdom of Libya, Benghazi had joint-capital status alongside Tripoli, possibly because the King and the Senussi royal family were associated with Cyrenaica rather than Tripolitania. The city was also provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. Benghazi continues to hold institutions and organizations normally associated with a national capital city, such as the country’s parliament, national library, and the headquarters of Libyan Airlines, the national airline, and of the National Oil Corporation. This creates a constant atmosphere of rivalry and sensitivities between Benghazi and Tripoli, and between Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. The population was 670,797 at the 2006 census.   read more…

Theme Week Libya – Tobruk

21 November 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Port of Tobruk © Maher A. A. Abdussalam

Port of Tobruk © Maher A. A. Abdussalam

Tobruk is a port city on Libya’s eastern Mediterranean coast, near the border of Egypt. It is the capital of the Butnan District (formerly Tobruk District) and has a population of 120,000 (2011 est.). King Idris of Libya had his palace at Bab Zaytun. Tobruk was traditionally a stronghold of the Senussi royal dynasty and one of the first to rebel against Colonel Gaddafi in the Arab Spring. At the outset of the 2011 Libyan Civil War, the city quickly came under the control of the NTC. In September 2014 the internationally recognized government of Libya relocated to a Greek car ferry in Tobruk harbor. A rival New General National Congress parliament continued to operate in Tripoli. In October 2014 they again re-located, to a hotel named Dar al-Salam also known as the Al Masira Hotel in Tobruk. In November 2014 that government was declared illegal by Libya’s highest court. Tobruk has a strong, naturally protected deep harbour. It is probably the best natural port in northern Africa, although due to the lack of important nearby land sites it is certainly not the most popular. The city is effectively surrounded by a desert lightly populated with nomadic herdsmen who travel from oasis to oasis. There are many escarpments (cliffs) to the south of Tobruk (and indeed in all of Cyrenaica, the eastern half of Libya). These escarpments generally have their high sides to the south and their low sides (dip slopes) to the north. This constitutes a substantial physical barrier between the north and south of Libya in the Tobruk area.   read more…

Theme Week Libya

20 November 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Ancient Roman Leptis Magna Theatre east of Khums © David Gunn

Ancient Roman Leptis Magna Theatre east of Khums © David Gunn

Libya is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south and Algeria and Tunisia to the west. The country is made of three historical regions, Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya’s six million people. The other large city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.   read more…

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 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…

Overview Theme Weeks

27 December 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Theme Weeks In irregular intervals we publish Theme Weeks about cities, regions, and countries. Here you can find the complete list.   read more…

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