The lowest point on land is the Dead Sea . The Dead Sea is a large salt lake , on the border between Israel and Jordan, and the basin is located at the lowest point on Earth. It is a terminal lake , meaning that it has no emissaries , and is fed by the waters of the Jordan. The degree of salinity is much higher than that of the oceans, which prevents almost all forms of life . There are in fact only microorganisms , algae and one species of shrimp , but there are also rich mineral reserves . In historical documents, the Dead Sea is indicated by various names : Sea Salt , Sea and Sea of Destiny Aggressive . The Dead Sea in Palestine , on the border between the state of Israel and Jordan , is the lowest point in the world , being approximately 395 meters below the sea level.
The Dead Sea is a sea no outlet , which is a terminal lake which for thousands of years has received the waters of the Jordan River and other smaller rivers , such as the river Arnon.
The trip from Amman to the Dead Sea is 55 km. On the road a stone reads: ” Sea Level “, but the Dead Sea itself can only be achieved after a further descent of 400 m below this signal. The sea has a high concentration of salts and minerals. This concentration is due to two basic reasons:
– For thousands of years, the water which is rich in salts , has been removing soils from the rocks of the Jordan River and other rivers have been channeled in the basin;
– The Dead Sea , lying nearly 400 feet below sea level rise , has no emissaries and all the water is coming progressively. In addition, losses due to the strong evaporation because of the hot, arid climate and low rainfall, have favored the concentration over time of a huge amount and characteristic of salts.
Madrid is the capital and largest city in Spain. It is the third most populous municipality in the European Unionafter Greater London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-most populous in the European Union after Paris and London. The city is located on the river Manzanares in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid.
Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations concerning art museums. Best known is the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising of three museums. The most famous one is the Prado Museum, the most popular Golden Triangle of Art member known for such highlights as Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas and Francisco de Goya’s La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. The other two museums are the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, established from a mixed private collection, and the Reina Sofia Museum. This is where Pablo Picasso’s Guernica hangs, returning to Spain from New York after more than two decades.
Madrid hosts the largest Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Spain, Las Ventas, established in 1929. Las Ventas is considered by many to be the world centre of bullfighting and has a seating capacity of almost 25,000. Madrid’s bullfighting season begins in March and ends in October. Bullfights are held every day during the festivities of San Isidro (Madrid’s patron saint) from the middle of March to the middle of June, and every Sunday, and public holiday during the rest of the season. Madrid is served by Barajas Airport. Barajas is the main hub of Iberia Airlines. It consequently serves as the main gateway to the Iberian peninsula from Europe, America and the rest of the world. Current passenger volumes range upwards of 52 million passengers per year, putting it in the top 20 busiest airports in the world. Given annual increases close to 10%, a new fourth terminal has been constructed. It has significantly reduced delays and doubled the capacity of the airport to more than 70 million passengers per year. Two additional runways have also been constructed, making Barajas a fully operational four-runway airport.
Casa de Campo is an enormous rural parkland to the west of the city, the largest of all Madrid’s green areas. It is home to a fairground, the Madrid Zoo and an outdoor municipal pool, to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the park and city take a cable car trip above the tree tops.
Dubrovnik is a great walking city for lovers of culture and history, with centuries-old monasteries, churches, synagogues and even one of the oldest operating pharmacies in Europe. But, if you’re looking for a day of relaxation between busy tours in marquee cities, it’s also a gorgeous spot to simply sit and watch the world go by amid red-roofed stone buildings and the sparkling, aqua Adriatic Sea.
The medieval-era Old Town is a walled city, and from above — you can walk the 1.3-mile stretch some 80 feet above ground level for spectacular views — it is reminiscent of Venice, just on a smaller scale (and with marble alleyways instead of canals). Like the Italian city, which lies just to the northwest, Old Town Dubrovnik is free of vehicular traffic and dotted with Renaissance churches and fountains, with a rich history as a trading port. In lieu of canals, you’ll find narrow, cobblestone streets where pedestrians stroll from shop to shop, dine and drink at al fresco cafes and soak up the sun.
Dubrovnik is nestled in the southwestern corner of Croatia, a boomerang-shaped country directly across the Adriatic Sea from Italy’s east coast, under which lies Bosnia and Herzegovina. The atmosphere is light and welcoming, due in no small part to the city’s gorgeous setting on the Dalmatian Coast, which can be appreciated on one of the many boat tours offered from the Old Town harbor. Nearby beaches are also accessible; tours further inland include country bike rides and wine-tasting.
The port is a mainstay on Eastern Mediterranean cruise itineraries, sprinkled among greatest-hits stops like Athens, Venice and so many Greek Isles. Most Eastern Mediterranean cruises set sail from spring through fall, though winter cruising is gaining popularity.
Stockholm, one of the most beautiful capitals in the world, is built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. The beautiful buildings, the greenery, the fresh air and the proximity to the water are distinctive traits of this city. The Royal National City Park, (the first National City Park in the world), is a green space that breathes for the city, and a constant presence in the crush of the city.
With its 750 year history and rich cultural life, Stockholm offers a wide selection of world-class museums and attractions. Most of the city’s attractions can be reached on foot, and there’s a good chance of experiencing a lot of things in a short time. Experience big-city life, the history of civilization and natural scenery, all in the course of the same day.
Visit Stockholm City Hall. Climb the City Hall tower for a fantastic view of Stockholm. Don’t miss Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s oldest attraction and one of the best preserved medieval city centers in the world. Walk through small winding streets lined with stores full of handicrafts, antiques, art galleries and cafés. The Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral are also located in Gamla Stan.
The green island of Djurgården is home to some of the city’s most popular attractions. Visit the world-famous warship the Vasa, the world’s oldest open-air museum Skansen, or Astrid Lindgren’s Junibacken. And don’t miss the chance to see Stockholm from the water. Naturally a city built on fourteen islands offers marvelous views over the water. There are many different sightseeing tours to choose from. And if fourteen islands aren’t enough, Stockholm offers a wonderful archipelago with 30,000 islands, islet rocks and skerries.
There are many reasons why Stockholm is the natural Capital of Scandinavia. One is that Stockholm is positioned at the heart of the region, and enjoys the benefits of a world-class transport infrastructure. Another is that Stockholm is the largest city in the largest country in Scandinavia.
It is also where you find the most multinational companies, the largest stock market and, not least, the most visitors. People come to Stockholm for the food, the design and the music. Stockholm also offers a unique range of galleries and museums, and every year the eyes of the world are on Stockholm when the Nobel Prizes are awarded.
The Lofoten Islands are somewhat isolated as they lie well into the Arctic Circle, but their natural beauty and authentic culture attract tourists every year. These islands, whose name means “lynx foot” in Old Norse, are very rocky and little vegetation grows. Despite this, a number of animals call the islands and surrounding waters home and due to the weather and geography some of this wildlife is quite unique, such as the deep water coral reef off the coast. Among the more common animals that call the islands home are eagles, puffins, otters, and moose.
This landscape and lack of plant life makes the rocky mountains even more beautiful, but the lack of vegetation also makes the islands sparsely populated as living conditions, especially in the winter months, can be difficult. Despite their northerly location, the islands are relatively warm as the average winter temperatures are above freezing. None-the-less, the long summer day and long winter nights can be difficult to get used to.
History & Background
Despite the northern location of the Lofoten Islands, their weather has encouraged human settlement of the islands for thousands of years and by the Viking Age in the 700s there were fortifications in the town of Kabelvag.
Unlike their neighbors in the south, the people living on the Lofoten Islands didn’t get real involved in the Viking lifestyle, although Vikings did live on the islands. Instead the islands have been the center of the cod industry. Perhaps this is what initially drew the people to the islands as the cod tend to arrive in the largest numbers during the winter months.
As Hanseatic League power in Bergen grew in the 1200-1700s, so too did the wealth in the Lofoten Islands as dried cod was one of Norway’s largest exports at the time. Since Bergen had a monopoly on the trade from northern Norway during this time, nearly all of the cod caught in the islands was transported to Bergen for shipment elsewhere. As the Hanseatic League’s trade network expanded, demand for cod increased and so too did the wealth and power in the Lofoten Islands.
Despite the fall of the Hanseatic League, the waters surrounding the Lofoten Islands are still home to cod and the islands remain home to people focused on this industry. No matter the political climate elsewhere, the culture and lifestyle in the islands have remained on the cod industry. Today this is only slightly changing as tourism has grown, but the tourists generally arrive in the summer months and the cod arrive in greater numbers during the winter months. No matter the season, nearly everyone remains reliant on the seas to bring in fish or tourists year round.
Lofoten Islands Today
The people in the Lofoten Islands are about as grounded as anyone can be. For hundreds of years the people have lived off the seas as fishermen and today that simple lifestyle continues. The islands are divided in numerous small settlements as cities are non-existent and each town is slightly unique. The people all seem to know each other or try to find a link and common last name when they encounter each other.
This simple lifestyle dominates the islands, but modern life, technology, and tourists have guaranteed the people on the Lofoten Islands are in touch with the outside world. Rock climbing, biking, and other sports are common and modern day technology is a great tool to keep in touch or to find the schools of fish in the nearby oceans. Despite this, there seems to remain a mystery and intrigue surrounding the islands by outsiders as authors and artists have distributed enough of the culture to spark curiosity, but not a full understanding.
Lugano is the biggest city in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. However, it is not the cantonal capital. (The capital is Bellinzona).
It lies on Lake Lugano, and is surrounded by mountains, including Monte Brè, Monte San Salvatore and the Sighignola. The Italian border lies about 8 km (5 miles) from the centre of town – the suburb of Gandria, now officially part of the city, stretches right up to the frontier.
In 2003 Lugano merged with its suburbs, creating the much enlarged city of Nuova Lugano. It is now the 8th biggest Swiss city in terms of surface area; it was previously 61st.
Thanks to its surrounding mountains and the lake, and the fact that its situation south of the Alps gives it a milder climate than most of Switzerland, Lugano is a popular holiday destination, and tourism is an important source of income.
The city is Switzerland’s third biggest financial centre. All the major Swiss banks, as well as a number of private international banks have offices there. Commerce also plays an important role in the city’s economy.
Lugano is the main base for the Università della Svizzera Italiana (the University of Italian-speaking Switzerland), founded in 1996, which also has close links with universities in northern Italy.
It has a small airport at Agno, flying mainly to other Swiss airports. However, a privately run shuttle bus service links it to Milan’s international Malpensa airport. Lugano lies on the railway linking northern Switzerland with Italy via the Gotthard. Locally, funicular railways run from the city to nearby Monte San Salvatore and Monte Brè, and another links the station to the lakeside.
Lugano’s close links with northern Italy are a reflection of Ticino’s membership of the Insubrica euroregion, established in 1995, whose other members are the Italian provinces on the other side of the border.
The name of the city comes from the Latin „lucus”, meaning „sacred forest.” Archaeological finds have shown that the area was settled by Etruscans and Celts. In the ninth century the town was subject to the bishop of Como, who gradually extended his rights there; during the Middle Ages in the complex struggles between Milan and Como, and later between Milan, France and the Swiss Confederates it changed hands several times and came finally under Swiss rule in 1513.
When the French invaded Switzerland in 1798 they abolished the system of subject areas, and created a canton Lugano, which was renamed Ticino in 1803.
In the most romantic part of the Moselle Valley, where the river curves between two hiking paradises – Eifel and Hunsrück – lies the old town of Cochem. Even the Romans sang the praises of this remarkable landscape. It is true – a few things have changed since then, but the attraction has remained because the past centuries – above all the Middle Ages – have left their marks here.
The magnificent Reichsburg, the big castle, situated on a precipitous rock high above the town, dominates the landscape. The many delicate pointed towers, battlements and oriels give the impression of a typical fairy tale castle, particularly as it is one of the few castles in Germany, which was rebuilt in its original style after its complete destruction. As impressive as the castle itself is the view of the Moselle Valley with its beautiful forests, meadows, fields and vineyards, as well as the old part of the town.
The town of Cochem itself is a sight worth seeing, not only because of its narrow streets and twisty alleys, the lovingly restored half timbered houses with the typical slate roofs, the historical market-place, but also because of its medieval town gates, churches and walls. The wine-growers and restaurant owners would also like to take the time to introduce you to the variety of their excellent Riesling wines.
You can enjoy another facet of the town walking along the Mosel promenade which is decorated with flowers and where many benches invite you to a quiet break. A further attraction is a river tour on one of the Moselle boats, either during the day or at night with music and dancing, when the lights of the castle and the town are reflected in the water. Have fun and relax in the only indoor swimming pool with artificial waves in this area. It is a wonderfully situated leisure centre between meadows and vine-yards and offers all the luxury of a modern swimming pool in fine and bad weather.
The historic town of Bruges Belgium (Brugge) is a gorgeous Gothic city located near the Belgium coast. In the 11th century, Bruges was one of the world’s largest cities. Today, it is a popular tourist destination that features famous landmarks, tourist attractions and some great museums and art galleries.
Visitors to Brugge can enjoy bike rides along dykes, strolls through local parks and shopping throughout the town. Bruges is also acclaimed for its great chocolate and local beer.
There are excellent hotels, guest houses and B&Bs in central Bruges, near the Brussels Airport and close to the Ostende ferry terminal.
Bruges can be easily reached by train from Brussels, Paris or Amsterdam. The Brussels airport is a short distance away, as is the ferry and “chunnel” to England.
Recently, Bruges has become widely known around the globe, thanks to the Hollywood movie“In Bruges” which stars actor Colin Farrell.
The Himeji Castle is located in Himeji City in the western Hyogo. It was constructed in the mid-14th century, and after a three-layer castle tower was built by the order of the man of power Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century, Ikeda Terumasa, a feudal lord of the castle rebuilt it further in the 17th century. Its figure was likened as a white heron spreading its wings, and thus called the Hakuro-jo, or White Heron Castle. It was designated as a national treasure in 1931, and as the World Cultural Heritage in 1993.
The Tenshukaku (castle tower) is the main structure and has 5 stories in appearance but 6 stories inside and a first basement. All structures are covered with white plaster unique to Japan. The roofs are covered with kawara tiles and white plaster is applied to the joints. The sturdy, magnificent structure and elegant appearance, as well as complex and tactical defense devices make the Himeji Castle the most prominent castle in Japan.
The Castle hosts the Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom Viewing Fair, cherry blossom viewing drum music performance and Princess Sen-hime Peony Festival in spring, Himeji Castle Festival in summer, Moon Viewing Fair and Himeji All Japan Ceramics Market in autumn. Visitors never cease throughout the year. In the surrounding areas, there are a Japanese garden Koko-en, an affinity with the Castle, Otokoyama Sen-hime Tenmangu Shrine and Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History.
Engyoji Temple,Mt.Shosha,to the northwest from the castle was founded more than 1000 years ago.Hollywood movie “The Last Samurai”(2003)was shot here.
Restoration of Himeji Castle Main Keep<2009-2015>
After a lapse of more than 45 years since the major restoration in 1950’s -1960’s,Himeji Castle is undergoing a full-scale restoration.This five-year project is focusing on re-plastering damaged and grimy plaster walls and replacing the roofing tiles on the main keep.During the renovation work,it is covered by a roofed scaffold structure,but Himeji Castle is not only the main keep.Visitors can enjoy more than 70 buildings designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan as well as many interesting devices intended for attackers on the way to the main keep.
For about three years from March 26,2011,you can go up to the top floor of the roofed scaffold structure by the elevators and get a look at the repair process and also enjoy a magnificent panoramic view from a height of 50 meters above the ground.
The scaffolding will be removed by spring 2015.
Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain is the world’s longest bridge fountain. The fountain is programmed to play different shows during the day and night. During the day, the fountain shows a hundred different configurations meant to evoke waving willow branches and willow leaves. When the sun goes down, 200 lights illuminate the fountain as it sends up dancing, rainbow-colored jets of water in the air in synchronization with music.
The park also has outdoor stage, eco-observatory and picnic spots.
Zhangjiajie City is located on the northwestern border of Hunan Province. Covering an area of 9,516 square kilometers (about 3,674 square miles), there are four areas under its governance: Yongding District and Wuling District, Cili County and Sangzhi County. The city enjoys subtropical moist mountain climate, thus for visitors it is an ideal place to spend one’s holiday.
Zhangjiajie City features a variety of different terrains including: mountainous regions, upland areas, plains, and Karst rock areas. Among these, the mountains cover 76 percent of the total area. The world-famous natural heritage site ‘Wulingyuan Scenic Area’ is located on the base of these great mountains. Areas worth visiting include Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (known as China’s first national forest park), Suoxiyu Natural Resource Reserve, and Tianzi Mountain Natural Resource Reserve. The scenic area hosts many natural features including: mountains, forests, caves, lakes and waterfalls and perhaps there are more than three thousand rock ridges and eight hundred ghylls. They enjoy the reputation of ‘Original Picture on Mountain and River of China’. This wonderland is covered with dense forests and is considered Mother Nature’s Oxygen Bar.
Amsterdam is one of the greatest small cities in the world. From its canals to world-famous museums and historical sights, Amsterdam is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe.
Amsterdam is also a city of tolerance and diversity. It has all the advantages of a big city: culture, nightlife, international restaurants, good transport – but is quiet, and largely thanks to its extensive canals, has a little road traffic. In Amsterdam your destination is never far away, but get a bike for an authentic local experience.
Amsterdam tourist attractions:
Museums are the main tourist attraction in Amsterdam. Everyone knows the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum, but there is much more. Amsterdam has over fifty museums which attract millions of visitors each year.
Athens is one of the cities with the longest history in the world. Many important people wandered its streets through out time. It is really worth a visit, and to make it more fun here are some interesting facts about it.
1. One of the oldest cities in the World: its origins date back to 3000 BC. Athens prides itself for being considered as the “Cradle of Civilization” since it was the birthplace of democracy, western philosophy, Olympic games, political science, Western literature, major mathematical principles and theater. It is also believed that the city has been around for so long, it has tried nearly every form of government known to this day.
2. Home of the Gods: ancient Greeks believed the world was ruled by many different gods, each one of them having their own story and special powers. Mount Olympus was their home from where they ruled mankind. There is a story that says Athena and Poseidon competed to who will become guardian of Athens. Poseidon gave the city the gift of water but Athena’s olive tree won the favor of the other gods, making olive trees to be considered sacred in Greece.
3. First Olympic Games: The first Olympic games were held in Athens in 776 BC. People would come from all over Greece to watch the games where the winners were given olive wreaths. Greeks were so serious about this games that athletes who backed out were fined with cowardice. The first games as we know them were held here in 1896, the city then hosted them again in 2004.
4. Origins of the Theater: Greek tragedies were played in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine. Comedies in the other hand were about low-class characters. Only boys were allowed to act on the plays, they had to wear large mask so the audience could tell the part they were playing.
5. Acropolis: its name comes from the word “Acro” meaning “high” and “polis” meaning “city”. It refers to the sacred hill where ancient Greeks built many temples honoring their gods. The most important is the Parthenon in honor of goddess Athena, from where Athens gets its name. The Acropolis has survived all kind of natural disasters, wars and invasions for over 20 centuries. Lord Elgin, a former Ambassador to Constantinople, took almost the entire collection of statues, vases and monuments left from the temples and sold them to the British Museum. There is a long-standing dispute between Greece and Britain about this now infamous “Elgin Marbles”.
The Czech Republic lies at the heart of Central Europe and at its center is the beautiful and historic city of Prague. With a population of some 1.3 million residents, the city lies on either side of the Vltava River in the middle of Bohemia that is one of the three historic Czech territories; the others being Moravia and Silesia. The city has seven “chapter divisions” or districts.
1. Interesting fact: Skoda, a local car manufacturer, is one of only four automobile trademarks that can claim a more than 100-year-old history. The company was founded by Mr. Emil Skoda. Skoda means “pity” in Czech.
2. Weird fact: The Old Kladbury Horse is considered a Living Work of Art and listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It’s the only horse bred for ceremonial purposes at royal courts.
3. Random fact: Czech pucks do not leave black smudges. The exact formula of the Gufex pucks, manufactured in a Moravian village, is a secret.
4. Useless fact: The Czech Republic has the largest network of signposted footpaths in the world. As of 2002, more than 38,000 kilometers of paths have been signposted.
5. Fun fact: The first sugar cubes were made in the Czech town of Dacice in 1841.
6. Educational fact: The word “robot” is Czech. It first appeared in a drama written by Czech playwright and journalist Karel Capek called R. U. R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots). It was actually his artist brother Josef though who came up with the word.
7. Historical fact: Prague Castle, begun in the 9th century, is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest castle in the world.
8. Medical fact: Czech doctor Jan Jansky was the first to divide blood into four types in 1907.
9. Outer Space fact: Neil Armstrong played Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony on the moon.
10. Religious fact: The Infant Jesus of Prague is one of the oldest and most revered images of Jesus. Credited with miracles and healing, people from all over the world have sent it dresses, which are on display at Church of Our Lady Victorious.
11. Natural fact: Pravcicka Brana is the highest natural arch in Europe. Located in northern Bohemia along the German border, it is 21 meters high with a span of 26.5 meters.
12. Sobering fact: In 1951, Dr. Jaroslav Skala created the first “sobering-up station” for those who’d enjoyed the pub a bit too much. It was to act as an introduction to his treatment facility for alcoholics. His treatment was based on routine, community order, work, sports and singing anti-alcohol songs.
Although there is evidence of human habitation on the site of the Kremlin dating back to 500 BC, Moscow’s history really begins around 1147, when Yuri Dolgoruky, Grand Duke of Kiev, built a wooden fort at the point where the Neglina and Moskva Rivers converge. The city grew rapidly and, despite being razed by the Mongols in 1208, was soon powerful enough to attain primacy among the Russian principalities, acknowledged in 1326 when the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church moved there from Vladimir.
At the same time, stone buildings began to appear in the Kremlin and, by the end of the 14th Century, the citadel was fortified with stone walls. Under Ivan the Great (1462 – 1505), the Kremlin became the centre of a unified Russian state, and was extensively remodelled, as befitted its new status. Meanwhile, Moscow spread outside the walls of the citadel, and the Kremlin became a world apart, the base of the twin powers of state and religion. This period saw the construction of the magnificent Cathedrals of the Assumption, the Annunciation and the Archangel, and the uniquely Russian Terem Palace, the royal residence. The addition of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower completed Sobornaya Square, and added to the imposing effect of the Kremlin skyline.
Ivan’s descendents further developed and adapted the Kremlin complex and, even when Peter the Great moved the capital to St Petersburg, Russia’s rulers continued to leave their mark on the medieval town. Peter himself built the Kremlin Arsenal, originally planned as a military museum and now occupied by a barracks, and the 18th and 19th centuries brought Neoclassical masterpieces such as the Senate Building and the Great Kremlin Palace. After the 1917 Revolution, the Kremlin regained its rightful place as the seat of the Russian government, and the legacy of the Communist era is still visible in the large red stars that top many of the defensive towers, and in the vast, modern State Kremlin Palace, originally the Palace of Congresses.