Archive by Category "Travel Guide & Blog"

PROCIDA: Italy’s Capital of Culture

https://www.cntraveler.com/story/procida-italy-capital-of-culture-2022

Procida: Italy’s Capital of Culture

Procida is a tiny spot of land in the Bay of Naples. It might be best known as the island between Ischia and Capri. In late January, it was named Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2022, beating nine other candidates. A mix of cities and small towns becoming the first island to ever be granted the title.

Under two square miles in total, the island has mostly flown under the tourist radar (except in July and August, when many Neapolitans come here for their summer vacations). Procida was overshadowed by its better-known siblings, and this despite its big-screen moments serving as the set of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Il Postino. It features the same pastel houses, cafes-lined marinas, narrow streets but also historic sites, wild nature, and near-empty beaches.

The Capital of Culture announcement was marked by church bells and celebrations among its 10,500 inhabitants. “It was a moment of real pride for all of us,” says mayor Raimondo Ambrosino. “But it also felt like a recognition that’s been a long time coming.”

The proposal that earned the island the award—and 1 million euros—includes 44 projects spanning art, urban regeneration, environmental sustainability and more, involving 240 artists and 40 original works.

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St Petersburg: Historic & Fun Facts

St. Petersburg sheer grandeur and history of Russia’s imperial capital never fail to amaze, but this is also a city with a revolutionary spirit. Whether you’re cruising along the elegant canals, crossing one of St Petersburg’s 342 bridges over the mighty Neva River, you’re never far from water in St Petersburg. This has earned the city unsurprising comparisons to Venice. Stroll around the historic center and contemplate its striking plazas adorned with baroque and neoclassical palaces.
St Petersburg is the cultural center of Russia. Renowned for its world-class ballet and opera, along with its many bridges and art museum.

Facts

  1. Petersburg is Peter the Great’s breathtaking dream to become Venice of the North. 10% of St. Petersburg is covered with water. The city is located on 42 delta islands formed by the Neva River and 90 more rivers and canals.
  2. St Petersburg has 342 bridges (12 movable ones):
    • The longest bridge across the Neva is the Alexander Nevsky Bridge (909 meters with runways).
    • Siniy Bridge (The “Blue Bridge) on the Moika River is the widest bridge in the city and in the world: approximately 99.5 meters which equals St. Isaac’s Square.
  3. St Petersburg has 150 imperial palaces: The Hermitage, St. Isaac’s, Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, the Kirov, Nevsky Prospekt. Peter the Great modeled the city after European capitals and it has been referred as Russia’s “Window into Europe” for a long time.
  1. Petersburg had 3 names: Petrograd; Leningrad; and since 1992 St. Petersburg.
  2. St Petersburg has over 8,000 landmarks.
  3. The Hermitage museum was founded by Empress Catherine the Great. It has over 3 million items, located in 350 rooms in 5 buildings. It will take around 8 years and 20Km-walk to inspect the entire collection if one lingered only 1 minute per artifact.
  4. There are more than 140 museums and around 100 theatres.
  5. Peter & Paul Cathedral is the highest cathedral in Russia, with a bell tower of 122.5 meters.
  6. Nevsky Prospect is the warmest part of the city; the temperature in winter varies around 10o
  7. St Petersburg is the hometown of President Vladimir Putin.
  8. Petersburg is a popular name in the United States of America: 15 cities are called Petersburg.
  9. The Alexander Column is 47.5-meter high, weighs about 700 tons. It stands by its own weight. (Engineer: Auguste de Montferrand).
  10. Petersburg Metro system is the deepest underground system in the world! The deepest metro station in the city is Admiralteyskaya, which is at 86-meter under.
  11. Petersburg’s 600Km trams are listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
  12. Kunstkamera is the first public museum in Russia, opened in 1714 by Peter the Great.
  13. St Petersburg used to be a marsh land. Tsar Peter I ordered its foundation to connect Russia to Europe via shipping routes. The cost of the making was 100,000 human deaths.
  14. 5,000 cats were enlisted to save St Petersburg from rodents. To commemorate their services, 2 bronze cats “Yelisei and Vasilisa” sit in the eaves of the Eliseyev Emporium on Malaya Sadovaya street.
  15. There’s 24/7 daylight in St Petersburg from mid-June to early July. The phenomenon is called White Nights.

 

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Why go?
St Petersburg is an 18th century city of remarkable grandeur, colorful Baroque facades. Its buildings exude the opulence of Tsarist Russia, but are more European in essence than the Kremlin domes of Moscow. It was from St Petersburg that the tsars ruled Russia for two centuries until their downfall in 1917.

THE HERMITAGE
One of the world’s greatest art galleries, set in a magnificent palace from which tsars ruled Russia for one-and-a-half centuries, the State Hermitage fully lives up to its reputation as one of the country’s chief glories.

  • The art collection is on all three (3) floors of the Winter Palace; and the main two floors of the Little and Large Hermitages. The present Baroque/Rococo Winter Palace was commissioned from Rastrelli in 1754 by Empress Elizabeth.
  • Catherine the Great and her successors had most of the interior remodeled in classical style by 1837. The extensive collection is a history of Western European art, displaying the full range of artists such as Rembrandt, Rubens and Picasso and schools including the Florentine and Venetian Renaissance, Impressionism and post-Impressionism.
  • The palace encompasses five (5) main buildings, of which the Winter Palace alone has 1057 rooms and 117 staircases. The vastness of the place may need some planning, and several days to visit thoroughly.

 

WHERE TO GO & GET LOST, A DISCOVERY ROUTE
NEVSKY PROSPEKT: Russia’s most famous street runs 4km from the Admiralty to the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, from which it takes its name. The inner 2.5km to Moscow Station is St Petersburg’s seething main avenue, the city’s shopping centre and focus of its entertainment and street life. Today a walk down Nevsky is a walk into the heart of the new Russia: a ritzy, buzzing mishmash of colorful shop fronts, restaurants, bars, art galleries and perfumeries.

ZOOLOGICAL MUSEUM: This will fulfill your worst fears: a dusty Soviet museum full of stuffed penguins in glass cases. But there is a special reason to visit, it houses the only intact mammoths ever to have been excavated, fur and all.

Other essential sights include the burial place of the Romanovs and the former Trubetskoy Bastion Prison, Peter and Paul Fortress, the lavish interior and golden dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral many museums on Vasilevsky Island. Just walk, gaze, and get lost.

DVORTSOVAYA PLOSHCHAD: From Nevsky Prospekt, a 15-minute walk along Nevsky prospect brings you to Dvortsovaya Ploshchad (Palace Square), where the stunning green, white and gold Winter Palace appears like a mirage.

ADMIRALTY: A landmark that was the headquarters of the Russian navy, and today the building houses a naval college. it’s a foremost example of the Russian Empire style of classical architecture. Its gardens and fountain are particularly lovely in summer.

PLOSHCHAD DEKABRISTOV: West of the Admiralty, Ploshchad Dekabristov (Decembrists’ Square) is named after the first feeble attempt at a Russian revolution, the Decembrists’ Uprising of 14 December 1825. The most famous statue of Peter the Great, the Bronze Horseman, stands at the river end of the Square.

ST ISAAC’S CATHEDRAL: The lavish dome of St Isaac’s Cathedral, just south of ploshchad Dekabristov, is a dominant piece of the St. Petersburg skyline. Don’t miss the sublime city views from the colonnade (kolonnada) around the drum of the dome.

St. Petersburg is divided into numerous islands by rivers and canals and is often called as the “Northern Venice“. Saint-Petersburg together with its palaces, museums, theatres, distant suburbs and their parks is renowned for its world’s cultural heritage.

The phenomenon of “White Nights” lasts from May 25-26 till July 16-17.

  • July 22nd, Solstice Day, is the longest day: 18 hours, 53 minutes. The sun hardly hides behind the horizon, and you cannot find even the brightest stars in the night sky.
  • December 22nd, is the shortest day: 5 hours, 52 minutes.

 

Nicknames of the city:

  • Venice of the North, Palmyra of the North
  • The Northern Capital of Russia
  • Cultural Capital of Russia; Babylon of the Snows;
  • Russia’s Crown Jewel; Cradle of the Revolution.

Symbols of the city:

  • Angel with a Cross, weather-vane on top of the Peter and Paul Cathedral;
  • Little Ship (Korablik), weather-vane on top of the Admiralty tower;
  • Drawbridges
  • White Nights
  • The Seal: A sea anchor and a river anchor with a scepter — a symbol of royal power — on a red field.

Link: https://eng.russia.travel

 

ST PETERSBURG, SOME SITES TO SEE

State Hermitage Museum Peter and Paul Fortress Saint Michael’s Castle

(Mikhailovsky Castle)

Mariinsky Palace Faberge Museum
Winter Palace Peter and Paul Cathedral Mariinsky Theatre Nicholas Palace

(Nikolaevsky palace)

Griboyedov Canal (5Km)
Peterhof Savior on the Spilled Blood Yusupov Palace Summer Garden Troitskiy bridge
Catherine Palace

Amber Room

Catherine Park

State Museum Mikhailovsky Palace

Mikhailovsky Garden

Stroganov Palace Summer Palace of Peter the Great Botanical Gardens of Peter the Great
Palace Square

*Aleksandrovskaya Kolonna

*General Staff Building

St. Isaac’s Cathedral The Menshikov Palace Nevsky Avenue The Alexander Park
Admiralty Nikolo-Bogoyavlenskiy Morskoy Sobor Alexander Palace Field of Mars Alexander Nevsky Lavra

 

 

 

 

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Moscow Historic & Fun Facts

Moscow’s grandeur, colorful Palaces, playful Baroque facades and Museums exude the opulence of Tsarist Russia. A city renowned to be the World’s Cultural Heritage. Moscow thrills visitors with its artistry, history and majesty.
Moscow will move you and tantalize your senses, soothe your spirit and baffle your mind.
St. Petersburg just dazzles and delights.
The Kremlin and Red Square are at the heart of Moscow… wander within the walls of the ancient fortress, marvel at the overwhelming splendor of St Basil’s Cathedral. At nearly every turn in Moscow, you’ll see golden domes peeking out over the rooftops and hear church bells peeling through the streets, dotted with some 600 churches .. There are colorful hidden gems, historic fortresses and colossal cathedrals. The exteriors are adorned with stone carvings and glittering domes; interiors are packed with ancient icons, swirling incense and faithful worshippers. For more than a millennium, Orthodoxy has helped to define the Russian nation… And what is more thrilling than watching a ballerina defy gravity, leaping across the stage at the glittering Bolshoi Theatre? Or feeling the force of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, just a few blocks away from where it premiered more than a century ago? The classical performing arts in Moscow are still among the best in the world.

Facts:

  1. Moscow is the largest city on the European continent.
  2. Moscow claims the biggest number of billionaires in the world. Per Forbes, there are 84 billionaires in the city.
  3. The Kremlin is the world’s largest medieval fortress.
  4. The Kremlin house the Russian Tsars’ crown jewels.
  5. Moscow is named after the river Moskva.
  6. From 1712 to 1918, St. Petersburg acted as the capital of Russia.
  7. Moscow subway is famous for its underground architecture: 44 out of 200 stations are listed as cultural heritage sites.
  8. Moscow Metro holds the world record for on-time departures and arrivals, noting that the interval between trains during rush hour is only 40 seconds.
  9. England and Moscow’s flags have the same figure of St. George in armor, riding a horse and slaying a dragon.
  10. Arbat street is one of the oldest streets in Moscow and dates back to 520 years.
  11. Over 6 million passengers use the Moscow metro daily. It is the 3rd busiest metro in the world.
  12. Moscow State University is the world’s largest university building.
  13. Moscow is regularly named one of the most expensive cities in the world.
  14. Moscow’s State Library, founded in 1862, is the biggest in Europe and the 2nd biggest in the World after the US Congress Library.
  15. Lenin’s corpse is preserved in a Mausoleum at the Red Square.
  16. Yuri Gagarin, the first astronaut, is buried at the Kremlin.
  17. Moscow has an underground river.
  18. Moscow is home to the 200-tonne Tsar Bell, the largest bell in the world.
  19. Moscow’s Tunisian Embassy is believed to be haunted (located at 28 Malaya Nikitskaya St.)
  20. Moscow has 7 similar skyscrapers, collectively known as the ‘Seven Sisters’. The buildings are: 1. Hotel Ukraina, 2. Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, 3. Kudrinskaya Square Building, 4. Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel, 5. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 6. Moscow State University, 7. Red Gates Administrative Building.
  21. Moscow’s red Kremlin used to be white (in the 18th century).
  22. Sparrow Hills (Vorobyovy Gory) is the only metro station in the world that is located on a bridge.
  23. Ploshchad Revolyutsii station houses a bronze sculptured dog. It is said that rubbing its nose brings luck.
  24. Some metro stations host at night cultural events or art performances. Mayakovskaya station hosted the premiere of the “Game of Thrones”.
  25. Moscow’s stray dogs can navigate the metro.
  26. Moscow dogs are not allowed to bark during the hours 11pm-7am.
  27. Moscovites consume 33,000 tons of food per day.
  28. The 1st McDonald’s opened in Pushkin Square on Jan. 31, 1990, the queue stretched for several miles. On that historic day, the restaurant served more than 30,000 people, a record that remains unbroken worldwide.
  29. Stoleshnikov Pereulok (Moscow) is a pedestrian street and the most expensive one in Russia. 1m2 costs + $3,000 a year to rent. (Beirut (Lebanon) rings a bell, anyone???)

 

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

MOSCOW

Lay of the Land
At the heart of the city, the Kremlin sits on the banks of the meandering Moscow River. Most of the other major sights are within walking distance or a short metro ride away: The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Russia’s skyscrapers of Moskva-City, a soon-to-be-completed business district.

KREMLIN (RED SQUARE)
The Kremlin’s distinctive red-brick walls and 18 towers date back to the late 15th century. Ivan the Great bell tower was the tallest structure in Moscow. The massive stars atop the five tallest towersthe smallest weighs a ton—were introduced in 1937 to replace the czarist double-headed eagle.

  • Inside is a complex of cathedrals, palaces, and government offices, including that of the President, so expect tight security.
  • Sights include the Patriarch’s Palace and the State Kremlin Palace, as well as the Diamond Fund and Armory museums.
  • Don’t miss the Kremlin cathedrals: The czars were crowned among the beautiful frescoes of the Assumption (Uspensky) Cathedral and the tiny Church of the Deposition of the Robe (Rizopolozheniya) is especially lovely.
  • For a taste of czarist spectacle, time your visit to see the cavalry-ceremony reenactment in Cathedral Square (Sobornaya Ploschad). It’s held at 12:00 noon on the first three Saturdays of the month, from late April to October.
  • In summertime, buy ice cream from a vendor in the Tainitsky garden behind the cathedrals and enjoy the Rose Garden.

 

BOLSHOI THEATRE
Russian Neoclassicism Masterpiece that features an eight-columned portico surmounted by Apollo’s chariot.

STATE PUSHKIN MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
Located directly across the street from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts is one of Russia’s top museums. As part of a grand expansion plan intended to turn the neighborhood into a “museum city” within the city, the museum has moved its greatest hits—including works by Monet, Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Rodin, and Picasso—from the stately neoclassical main building to an adjacent mansion descriptively named the Gallery of Art of the Countries of Europe and America of the 19th and 20th Centuries. The museum’s third building houses the Museum of Private Collections, TRETYAKOV GALLERY.

 

MOSCOW, SOME SITES TO SEE

Metros

Moscow Kremlin The State Tretyakov Gallery Terem Palace Novoslobodskaya Belorusskaya
Red Square Gorky Central Park

and

Tverskaya Street

Moskva River Ploschad’ Revolyutsii Slavyansky Bulvar
St. Basil’s Cathedral Arbat Street

(1Km street)

Moscow State University Komsomol’skaya Arbatskaya
Lenin’s Mausoleum at Red Square State Historical Museum Novodevichy Monastery Prospekt Mira Teatralnaya
Bolshoi Theatre Cathedral of Christ the Saviour Moscow Zoo and Circuses Kievskaya Taganskaya Station
Armoury Chamber The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts Luzhniki Stadium Mayakovskaya Paveletskaya Station

 

 

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Sri Lanka Facts, The Land of Serendipity

SRI LANKA FACTS, the Land of Serendipity

 Beyond its ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, and amazing wildlife, the island nation has many other stories to uncover.

  1. Sri Lanka is nicknamed Pearl of the Indian Ocean and teardrop of India.
  2. Sri Lanka gave “serendipity” to the English language.
  3. The Sri Lankan national flag is one of the oldest in the world known as Lion Flag, dating back to 162 BC.
  4. Sri Lanka has 8 Sites inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage.

These include 6 cultural Cities and 2 natural sites:
(1) Polonnaruwa city; (2) Sigiriya city; (3) Dambulla Golden Temple; (4) Galle old town and its fortifications;
(5) Anuradhapura city; (6) Kandy city;
The natural sites include: (7) Sinharaja Forest Reserve; (8) Sri Lanka Central Highlands.

  1. Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to democratically elect a woman as the head of government.
  2. Sri Lanka is home to the oldest tree ever to be planted by a human: Sri Maha Bodhi was planted in 288 BC, which makes it more than 2300 years old.
  3. Sri Lanka covers an area of 25,332 mi². Its wildlife is incredibly diverse, home to: 123 species of mammals (such as elephants, leopards, and crocodiles), 227 species of birds, 178 species of reptiles, 122 species of amphibians, and many other animal species.
  4. The national sport isn’t cricket but volleyball.
  5. Sri Lanka is totally about tea. It was formerly known as Ceylon, a name synonymous with tea: it is the largest exporter of tea in the world, and grow black, green and white
  6. There’s more than hundreds waterfalls in Sri Lanka. The majority of its electricity is supplied through hydropower plants that tap into the immense energy of these falls.
  7. Cinnamon originated in Sri Lanka, and found by the Egyptians in 2000 BC. Today, Sri Lanka is still a leading exporter of the world’s cinnamon.
  8. A sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, brought from India in the 4th century CE, is still preserved in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy.
  9. Nuwara Eliya, a British-built town located in the hill country, is known for its temperate, cool climate. It used to be the favorite holiday retreat for the British elite.
  10. Adam’s Peak is the most sacred mountain in the country; it has been a mecca for people of various beliefs in Sri Lanka for over a thousand years.
  11. It has the highest literacy rate in South Asia (92%).
  12. Rice and curry is the staple dish in Sri Lanka. It’s often eaten from a banana leaf and with the hands (no cutlery). Rice is the main ingredient of Sri Lankan cuisine.
  13. It is common for restaurants, cafes, and bars to be named as hotels.

 

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Florence, Historical Fun Fact

FLORENCE NEWEST OUTDOOR DRINKING TREND

AND IS ALSO ITS OLDEST

In Renaissance-era Florence, small windows “buchette” were notched into the side of a building, carved into the outer walls of villas and palaces, and worked as wine bars. Le Buchette were stationed at elbow’s height, framed with stone, and shaped like a tabernacle. When dusk hits, Florentines would knock on the wooden shutter and throw coins, now Euros, and the Chianti would flow…

Now, a handful of people are changing Florence’s Newest Outdoor Drinking Trend (also its oldest).

“We need to help the Florentines regain possession of something that belongs to them,” says Matteo Faglia, the president of the 5-year-old Buchette del Vino cultural association. Faglia and his two cofounders are on a self-funded mission to preserve the legacy and locations of these buchette.

They have spent the last few years identifying buchette and documented 181 in the city; restored them; and mounted shiny plaques under each.

The owners of Babae, an osteria down a flagstone alley in the Oltrarno quarter, reopened the buchette in their exterior wall and restored its functionality. Now, you can walk up to the brightly painted wooden shutter on Via Santo Spirito, ring the bell outside, and the tiny door will open to you. Throw down a few Euro for a white or a red wine, and a glass will be handed to you.

The window is open from:  09 am till 02pm, and from 05pm till 08pm.

To keep track of the up-to-date map of every restored wine window, consult Buchette del Vino’s website (https://buchettedelvino.org/home%20eng/index.html).

Link: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/florences-newest-outdoor-drinking-trend-is-also-its-oldest

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Bohemian Prague Legends & Fun Facts

In the heart of Europe lies a city shaped by emperors, authors and artists. With its gothic exuberance, 19th-century opulence and 20th-century modernism, Prague truly is a city like no other. From graffiti walls to shocking beer facts, here are the legends and facts you never knew about this glorious European capital.

  1. Prague Castle is the largest in the world. The 130-metre wide medieval castle, 70,000m2 land is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Prague Castle spans an impressive 18 acres and is home to stunning cathedrals, chapels, royal palaces and gorgeous ornamental gardens.
  2. The Rolling Stones liked the Prague Castle so much that $32,000 later, their stage light technician created the lighting of the castle, still in use today.
  3. Charles Bridge, connects the city’s Old Town to Mala Strana over the Vltava River, was built in the 1300s. It is said to be haunted by ghosts whose heads ended up on nearby spikes.
  4. The Charles Bridge has some rather mathematical significance. Former Czech king Charles IV laid the first stone of the bridge at precisely 5.31am on July 9, 1357. The king was so into astrology and numerology that he chose this date because of its written form: 1-3-5-7-9-7-5-3-1.
  5. Charles Square was once the largest town square in the whole of medieval Europe.
  6. Vltava River is the longest in the Czech Republic.
  7. Astronomical Clock Tower: an exact replica of the Astronomical Clock can be seen in the Hongdae district of Seoul in South Korea!
  8. Every hour the Prague Astronomical Clock strikes: a whole procession sets off including the 12 Apostles and Death and finishing off with a golden rooster crowing. The clock gives accurate information about: Day of the Year, Zodiac Signs, and Medieval Perception of the Universe with the Earth in its center.
  9. Prague Is Home to the World’s Second Ugliest Building: Zizkov Tower building, tall and grey structure. It has statues of climbing babies on it. Czech artist David Cerny was said to disrupt Prague’s medieval skyline.
  10. The Petrin Lookout Tower stands atop Petrin Hill – climb the 299 stairs and admire the best views. Called TV Tower, it has a one-room hotel with an amazing view over Prague from 70 m.
  11. The narrowest street in Prague (Vinarna Certovka) is barely 50 cm wide and has its own traffic light, which prevents pedestrians from meeting in the middle. (Mala Strana, Hlavni Mesto, Praha)
  12. The city’s famous Dancing House was inspired by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Designed in collaboration with Canadian-American Frank Gehry and Croatian-Czech Vlado Milunić, the building symbolizes yin and yang.
  13. Beer Spa: you can BATHE IN BEER and drink unlimited amounts! Apparently the high oil content in the beer helps open pores, gives a glowing appearance, improves immunity, stimulates metabolism and eases stress.
  14. Locals drink more beer per capita than any other nation in the world (Pilsner). Each Pragueite consumes roughly 155 liters of beer a year!
  15. The sculpture of the hanging man depicts the Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud and can be found in the Prague Old Town.
  16. There is a graffiti wall devoted to John Lennon. Since 1980, it’s been repainted numerous times and is laced in graffiti lyrics from Lennon and The Beatles…
  17. Karlovy Lázně Night Club in the city centre, is central Europe’s largest club

 

 

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VIENNA – The Imperial City’s Historic & Fun Facts

Baroque streetscapes and imperial palaces set the stage for Vienna’s artistic and musical masterpieces alongside its coffee-house culture and vibrant epicurean and design scenes.

“Vienna’s imperial grandeur is the legacy of the powerful Habsburg monarchy. Their home for more than six centuries, the Hofburg palace complex, incorporates the Burgkapelle (Imperial Chapel), where the Vienna Boys’ Choir sings Sunday Mass, and the famed Spanish Riding School, where Lipizzaner stallions perform elegant equine ballet, along with a trove of museums, including in the chandeliered Kaiserappartements (Imperial Apartments). Other immense palaces include the baroque Schloss Belvedere and the Habsburgs’ 1441-room summer residence, Schönbrunn, while 19th-century splendours such as the neo-Gothic Rathaus (City Hall) line the magnificent Ringstrasse encircling the Innere Stadt (inner city)”.

In the Museums Quartier district, historic and contemporary buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other artists.

 

Austria’s Imperial capital offers a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning modern architecture. It is famous for its cultural events, imperial sights, coffee houses, cozy wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm.

  1. Wine Capital (1,700 acres of vineyards, 320 vintners e.g. Grüner Veltliner, Rheinriesling and Weißburgunder). 640 wine framers in Vienna produce 2.5 million liters wine every year. Grapes were cultivated in Vienna as early as 1132 A.D. The Heurigen (wine taverns) scene was made possible through an imperial edict, which allowed growers to serve food with their wine.
  2. Viennese heuriger culture (wine taverns) has also been considered an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.
  3. City of Music, or the World’s Capital of Music, as more famous composers have lived here than in any other city in the world (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Johann Straus and Johannes Brahms are just a few who called Vienna home). While in Vienna, you can visit the former apartments of many of these famous musicians, which have been turned into museums. And don’t miss The House of Music. Here you can “discover the fascinating world of sound and Viennese music in an interactive, playful way”.
  4. City of Dreams: Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, lived and worked for nearly 50 years.
  5. Tiergarten Schönbrunn or the Vienna Zoo, built in the Palace’s gardens in 1752, is considered the world’s most beautiful zoo and boasts over 700 different animal species. And it is said to be the oldest zoological garden in the world.
  6. Vienna is divided into 23 districts. The city center in Vienna is a World Heritage Site.
  7. The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flags in the world.
  8. Austrian Croissants: The famous French croissant has Viennese origin, the Austrian kipferl (i.e. crescent in German). Bakers in Vienna made kipferl to commemorate Austria’s victory over the Ottoman Turks. The shape is based on the crescents seen on the uniform of the enemy. It is in 1770, when Maria Antoinette of Austria who married King Louis XVI of France, introduced her favorite pastry to France.
  9. The Wiener Riesenrad is the oldest still operating ferris wheel in the world.
  10. Vienna’s Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof) has over 2.5 million tombs (more than the city’s live population), including those of Beethoven, Brahms, Gluck, Schubert, Schoenberg and Strauss.
  11. The Sacher Torte was made by Franz Sacher, when the chef of the court of Prince Metternich fallen ill – just on when the prince ordered a new dessert. So the 16-year-old trainee, Franz Sacher, created a new dish. Hence, on that day in 1832, the Sacher Torte was born.
  12. The candy Pez, was invented in Vienna in 1927. Pez is the abbreviation of the German word “pfefferminz” or peppermint. The dispenser design looked like a lighter. Smoking was prohibited, so the Pez slogan was “No Smoking – PEZing Allowed.”
  13. The snow globe was also invented in Vienna, in 1900. The inventor, Erwin Perzy and his brother, are still making traditional snow globes, all hand painted and manually assembled.
  14. Vienna has been voted the world’s most livable city for the last 7 years in a row.
  15. Like Berlin, Vienna was also divided into four parts after WWII.
  16. More than 300 Balls are held annually in Vienna (Covid-era excluded)
  17. Viennese coffee culture is part of UNESCO intangible Cultural Heritage. (Café Prückel, has more than 100 years under its belt; Kaffee Alt Wien; Café Central housed inside Palais Ferstel; Café Diglas welcomed Emperor Franz Joseph I as his very first guest; Café Schwarzenberg; Cafe Museum; …)
  18. Vienna sits on the border of 2 climate zones: the European transitional climate and the dry Pannonian zone.
  19. Vienna the eco-friendly city: In 2014, Vienna adopted a ‘Smart City’ policy, which aims to have 50% of the city’s energy consumption come from renewable sources; and must limit the overall carbon emissions by 2050.

 

 

VIENNA: SOME SITES TO SEE
Schönbrunn Palace

and

Tiergarten Schönbrunn

St. Peter’s Catholic Church Albertina Museum MuseumsQuartier Stephansplatz
The Hofburg Rathaus Leopold Museum Vienna State Opera Maria-Theresien-Platz
Imperial Treasury Vienna (Hofburg Palace) Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien Seegrotte Karlsplatz
Belvedere Palace Prater

 

Museum of Natural History Vienna Column of Pest (Column of The Trinity) Heldenplatz
St. Stephen’s Cathedral Spanish Riding School Sigmund Freud Museum Historic Centre of Vienna Rathausplatz
Karlskirche Austrian National Library Austrian Parliament Building Castle Liechtenstein Mariahilferstrasse
Church of St. Charles Borromeo (Imperial Court Palace) Neue Berg Salzburg (317Km, 3H25)

 

Danube Valley

 

Ringstrasse

 

 

 

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Ancient Rome Amazing, Interesting & Fun Facts

Here are some amazing and interesting Facts on ROME.

  1. Rome was founded in 735 BC by Romulus.
  2. Modern Rome has 280 Fountains and more than 900 Churches.
  3. Rome became the capital city of unified Italy in 1870, taking the title from Florence.
  4. Rome is known as the “Caput Mundi” or “Capital of the World”.
  5. Rome is also known as the “Eternal City”.
  6. The Vatican City is the smallest generally recognised sovereign state in the world; With an area of just 0.44km2. The papal state has been formally recognised as a sovereign state since 1929.
  7. Saint Peter’s basilica – inside the Vatican City – is the largest church ever constructed.
  8. There is a secret passage that’s leading from Vatican City to Castel Sant’Angelo.
  9. The Ancient city of Rome is about 30 feet (9-meter) below the modern street level.
  10. The Colosseum of Rome is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  11. The symbol SPQR, which is found all over the city of Rome, stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” i.e. “The senate and the people of Rome”.
  12. Rome is older than Italy. Founded around 53 B.C. making it 2,500 years older than Italy.
  13. Italy did not become a unified nation until late in the 19th
  14. The Spanish Steps are not Spanish at all. The famous outdoor steps were funded by the French diplomat, Etienne Gueffier; and designed by Italian architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi. Steps are called Spanish after the Spanish Embassy’s location.
  15. Rome’s first university, “La Sapienza”, was established in 1303 AD. It is the largest in Europe and the 2nd largest in the world.
  16. Nearly 700,000 Euros worth of coins are tossed into Rome’s Trevi Fountain each year. The proceeds are donated to Caritas to help those in need.
  17. Romans had built a road network of 53,000 miles by the early 4th Each Roman mile was about 4,800 feet and marked by a milestone, giving birth to the saying “All roads lead to Rome.”
  18. The word “Palace” comes from the Palatine Hill, where Augustus initiated the tradition for Emperors’ to build their palaces.
  19. The mascot of Rome is a she-wolf that cared for brothers Romulus and Remus, Rome mythological Founders.
  20. Cats, by law, are free to roam in Rome.
  21. The Emperor Trajan built, around 107 and 110 AD, the first shopping mall in Rome. It had multiple levels, over 150 outlets.
  22. Rome has a museum dedicated entirely to pasta.
  23. Roman Gladiators rarely fought to death. Instead they were considered celebrities, but many were slaves. These harsh conditions inspired rebellions e.g. Spartacus.
  24. Ancient Romans celebrated a festival called “Saturnalia” in which slaves and their masters switch places.
  25. The Roman Emperor, Gaius Caligula, made his horse a senator, fed prisoners to wild animals, and had conversations with the moon.
  26. In Ancient Rome, only free men wore a Toga, a sign of Roman citizenship. Women wore Stola.
  27. The Purple-coloured clothing was a status symbol reserved only for Emperors or Senators.
  28. In Ancient Rome, women dyed their hair with goat fat and beech wood ashes. Popular colours were blonde and red.
  29. Romans used to eat their dinner lying down, lounging around on couches (sofas).
  30. Romans washed their clothes with urine. The liquid was collected in vessels, called fullos, which stood on the streets.

 

Link: https://www.livitaly.com/20-fun-facts-about-rome/
Links: https://www.isolatedtraveller.com/amazing-facts-about-rome/cts-about-rome/

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Barcelona – The Hip City

Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is defined by quirky art and architecture, imaginative food and vibrant street life. It has medieval roots, seen in the Gothic Quarter, but a modernist personality represented by architect Antoni Gaudí’s fantastical Sagrada Família cathedral. Its restaurant scene ranges from fine dining to tiny tapas bars. Barcelona’s to-do list is as plentiful as its sunny days.

Barcelona is defined in 03 zones. Each area has its wealth of historic buildings, fine art, iconic parks, performing arts spaces, and so much more.
Zone 1: Port Vell, La Rambla, El Raval, La Ribera, Placa de Catalunya, Barri Gotic
Zone 2: Eixample, Modernisme, Gaudi
Zone 3: Diagonal, Pedralbes

Below, our list of the very best things to do in Barcelona for when it’s time to go back.

LA SAGRADA FAMÍLIA, Antoni Gaudí’s unparalleled Unesco-listed monument inspires awe by its sheer verticality, it’s still under construction. Work began in 1882 and is hoped to be completed in 2026, a century after the architect’s death.

CATEDRAL DE BARCELONA or Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, housed some 2,000 years a Roman temple.

CASA BATLLÓ, called the “House of Bones” created by Antoni Gaudi and influenced by nature and has no straight lines (because they don’t exist in nature, as per Gaudí), stone pillars that contort like animal bones, and a tall ocean-blue stairwell.

PARK GÜELL is an almost make-believe landscape, home to Barcelona’s famous mosaic lizard—the image on a thousand postcards—plus spiral towers that look like fairground slides. The park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA, is Barcelona’s urban “green lung” of 280,000m2. It holds the: Catalan Parliament, Zoo, fountain, museum, small lake for rowing boats, Triumph Arche, century-old trees and abundant flora, sculptures.

PARC DEL LABERINT D’HORTA, its labyrinth is definitely the standout feature, a maze made of elaborate swirls of thick foliage.

LA BOQUERIA, Barcelona’s oldest market since year 1217, with more than 200 stands united like a foodie’s choir: traders’ shouts, the clink of glasses, welcome greetings sung out (“holaaaa”).

LA RAMBLA, Barcelona’s most famous street and its one of the main arteries of the city — is nearly one-mile (1.2Km) pedestrianized boulevard from PLAÇA CATALUYNA to PORT VELL. It is still the strolling route for the city’s visitors offering the charm of the old-school florists, gelaterías, and candy stalls offering bites of crema catalana along the way.

SANT PAU ART NOUVEAU SITE, built by the legendary Modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner featuring Catalan Art Nouveau with extravagant domes, stained glass windows, epic pillars; with grounds scented by the medicinal fragrance of lavender, laurel and lemon. It was designed as a hospital that could heal by the power of its aesthetics.
BARCELONETA is a traditional district of Sailors & fishermen and 5km stretch of beaches. Millions of tons of sands were pumped onto 02 miles of shoreline lifting Barcelona into the rank of the world’s great beach cities.
CAMP NOU, Barcelona Football Club Stadium (largest in Europe and the 2nd biggest stadium in the world)
The “Kiss” Mural
EXPIATORI DEL SAGRAT COR or Sacred Heart church and the Tibidabo mountain
SANTA MARIA DEL MAR
PICASSO MUSEUM
OLYMPIC VILLAGE at the Sea Front: Water Sports, Discotheques, Bars …a place in effervescence

MONTJUIC is a mountain inside the city. A true bowl of Air. Hillsides covered with flowers, exotic trees & giant Cactus. The luminous fountains of Gaieta Buigas created magic environment.

LA RIBERA is a small village in the city, a very Authentic one. It forms with Barrio Gotico the Old City. (You can see Violin Makers, Glass Makers & Designers. Pensioners play cards, young people discuss at the edge of the fountain).

MONTSERRAT, the sacred saw-toothed Montserrat Mountain Range; its Monastery and 16th century Renaissance Basilica where you will view La Moreneta, known as the Black Madonna, the Patron Saint of Catalonia and a pilgrimage site.

 

EIXAMPLE:

 

La Casa Calvet Monument – Gaudi

Passeig de Gracia Monument

Museu de la Musica

La Casa Mila Monument

La Manzana de la Discordia (Casa Ileo Morero, Casa Batllo, Casa Amatller)

Tapies Foundation Museum

Avinguda del Tibidabo Monument

Park Guell

 

RAMBLAS:

 

Placa Catalunya Monument

Church Betlem Monument

Palace Virreina Monument

Boqueria Market

Grun

Placa Reial, Royal Square

Maritine Museum (Av. De les Dressanes)

BARRIO GOTICO:

 

Cathedral Santa Creu

La Placa Sant Jaume

Center Excursionist of Catalunia

Barcelona City Museum

La Placa del Rei

Frederic Mares Museum

Placa Nova

Placa del Pi

 

EL BORN:

 

Music Palace

Picasso Museum

Textile Museum

Santa Maria del Mar

El Passeig del Born (nightlife, bars, the Miramelindo Bar remains unchanged since years)

Maeght Galery

RAVAL:

 

Palau Guell

Monasteri Sant Pau del Camp

Hospital de la Santa Creu

Barcelona Contenporary Culture Center

Boqueria Market

 

SEA FRONT:

 

Christopher Columbus 60m Monument

Church of La Merce

Moll d’Espanya

MONTJUIC:

 

The Spanish Village

National Catalan Art Museum (MNAC)

Sant Jordi Palace

Calatrava tower (Telecommunications Tower)

Olympic Stadium

Joan Miro Foundation

Montjuic Castle

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?
1. Millions of tons of sands were pumped onto 02 miles of shoreline lifting Barcelona into the rank of the world’s great beach cities.
2. 7 out of 9 UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES in Barcelona waere created by Antoni Gaudi, called God’s Architect. And they are:

1) Casa Vicens
2) Palau Guell (La Rambla)
3) Casa Battlo (Passeig de Gracia)
4) Casa Mila
5) Park Guell
6) Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia
7) Crypt in Colonia Güell

Links:

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LOUVRE MUSEUM, PARIS

Musee du Louvre was originally commissioned as a fortress. In 1793 it opened its doors as a museum.
In 1682, Louis XIV moved the royal court to the Palace of Versailles.
In 1797, Napoleon raided Italy’s monasteries and churches and brought back artwork …mainly the masterpiece Veronese’s “Wedding Feast at Cana” and had to cut it in half as it was more than 700 square feet.
In 1882, Ecole du Louvre was founded and it is the training ground for future curators and excavators.
In 1911, the Painter Pablo Picasso was accused of stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre.
During the German occupation, the Louvre moved around 4,000 artwork to Château de Chambord.
The Ministry of Economy occupied the building until the President Francois Mitterand dedicated the entire space to Arts.
It will take you 200 days to see each of the 35,000 works of art on display.

Did you know that the museum has roughly 550,000 works, most of which it keeps locked up in storage.

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