Khiva: A UNESCO World Heritage Site; IslamiCity


Uzbekistan – Itchan Kala

Khiva (Uzbek: Xiva, Хива; Russian: Хива) is a town in the western province of Khorezm in the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Along with Samarkand and Bukhara, Khiva is an important and often overlooked historical site on what was once the Great Silk Road.  It’s difficult to imagine what exactly ancient Khiva was like, considering the historical areas were restored to a scrubbed and squeaky-clean look by the Soviets in the 1970s. However, the clustered array of mosques, madrassahs and tiled minarets within a area of less than 3km provides a sense of how crowded and bustling this town must have been throughout its history.

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The big read: Rambling the Riviera in Albania; Ellie O’Byrne; Irish Examiner


Albania – Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra

Albania’s coastline has grown in popularity as a budget sun destination for Italian families. We should follow their lead for a unique, culturally distinctive travel experience, says Ellie O’Byrne.

“ARE you from Cork? I recognised your accent. I used to live in Wilton. My wife is Irish.”

Living up to the ultimate cliché of the Irish abroad in the vertiginous UNESCO world heritage city of Gjirokastër, 70km inland from the Albanian Riviera, as dusk falls on the cobbled streets, is a satisfying feeling.

Stopping for a chat, chairs are gathered around and our near-neighbour joins us for a coffee.

 

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20 Absolutely Cool and Fun Things to Do in Budapest for First-timers; Always Wanderlust


Hungary – Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue

Hungary’s fascinating capital is historically comprised of three cities that were unified to form what is today Budapest. Buda and Obuda on the west bank of the Danube and Pest on the opposite. Today, Budapest has two districts, Buda and Pest, which have a distinct vibe from one another.

Slapped with a “UNESCO World Heritage Site” badge, Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. While much of Hungary is going through some crazy things, I consider the city the last bastion of hope and unity. Alright, that bit was a bit cheesy. But, I’m not joking when I say that Budapest is legit. Like it’s a city for cool peeps.

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In Russia, The World’s Largest Lake Takes On The World Bank and Mongolian Power Build-Up; Kenneth Rapoza; Forbes


Russia – Lake Baikal

The biggest fresh water lake in the world is under attackagain…this time from Mongolian power companies with help from the World Bank looking to build two hydroelectric dams that draw from an important Russian river.

Last week, the World Bank held public hearings in Russia to discuss environmental impact studies around Lake Baikal in Russia, moving two mid-sized hydroelectric dams in Mongolia on Selenga River flowing into Lake Baikal another day closer to fruition. Lake Baikal is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so anything going up there now requires United Nations oversight.

“I’ve been to the hearings about the Mongolian projects. People don’t want dams along Lake Baikal, even in remote upstream areas,” says Eugene Simonov, international coordinator for Rivers Without Borders.

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Quick guide to Malta; Sofia Zetterman; Scandinavian Traveler


Malta – Megalithic Temples of Malta
Three beautiful Maltese islands to explore but not enough time?Here are the five short cuts to the ultimate Malta experience – and yes, you will get fantastic local food, great Maltese wine, an historic temple, a dip in a blue lagoon and souvenirs to bring back home.

See one of the worlds’ oldest temples

If you have to choose one historical sight to see while in Malta this is it: The Ggantija temples and heritage park in Xaghra village is the oldest free-standing temple in the world. The Ggantija megalithic temple complex is one of the oldest and historically significant man-made structures on Earth – older than the pyramids of Egypt! The Ġgantija temples were built during the Neolithic period (c. 3600–2500 BCE), making them more than 5,500 years old. They were built before  metal was had been introduced, so the temples are made of limestone.

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A train journey through the majestic Douro Valley; Louise Hurren


Portugal – Alto Douro Wine Region

A trip to the Douro valley is a must for wine lovers, whether you’re a fan of Port in particular or Portuguese wines in general. More than 2,000 years of winemaking have shaped this UNESCO World Heritage Site into a unique, vine-terraced destination dotted with wineries that welcome visitors with attractive tasting rooms, dining and accommodation options.

However, driving a car along the narrow, winding roads that make their way up the dizzyingly steep slopes is not for everyone. So why not let the train take the strain? A direct line runs up the valley, starting from Porto’s São Bento station in the city centre and ending near the Spanish border at Pocinho. The towns of Régua and Pinhão making good stopping off points along the way.

Porto

Before you board the train, take time to explore the city of Porto (Oporto to locals).

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6 Awesome and Affordable Destinations in China You Can Take a Budget Flight To; Joanne Poh; MoneySmart


China – Classical Gardens of Suzhou

China is one of the countries that Singaporeans like to pretend they know. Not only is the majority of our population of Chinese descent, but we live amongst and interact with thousands of Mainland Chinese every day.

But in reality, the average Singaporean has only been to Hong Kong, or at most Beijing and Shanghai. Here are six exciting Chinese destinations that you can visit by taking an affordable budget flight from Singapore.

Dalian

Dalian is a very popular destination amongst domestic tourists as it’s a young, stylish city with lots of shopping and entertainment options. In fact, it’s gained a reputation for being a fashion mecca of sorts, with an annual International Fashion Festival.

Sights:

  • Shopaholics will want to make a beeline for the many glitzy malls, including Dalian Friendship Shopping Centre, New Mart Shopping Plaza, Victory Plaza and Parkland.

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