The canton of Bern is the perfect example of what Switzerland offers at its best: a UNESCO World Heritage capital city with all year cultural atmosphere, a combination of turquoise blue water lakes and the most impressive peaks of the Alps. With its large, modern convention centres, the city of Bern is a preferred venue for big events.
The Alpine areas are home to a range of delightful facilities that are perfect for hosting events and, in particular, incentive activities. Inspiring views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in Grindelwald guarantee varied and sustainable meetings with a high experience factor.
Think of Switzerland and you no doubt envision the snow-capped Alps, miles of breath-taking hiking, and possibly a delicious serving of fondue. But there’s a lot more to this country – and specifically Bern – than that.
The United Arab Emirates may be best known for the towering skyscrapers of Dubai, its famously luxurious hotels, and its extraordinary man-made Palm Islands.
Now visitors to the Emirates are being encouraged to take a step back thousands of years into the past, with the opening up of the country’s first Unesco World Heritage site to visitors. The Al Ain Oasis – in the country’s fourth largest city of Al Ain – is quite literally an oasis in the middle of a metropolis of 650,000 people. The 3000-acre site is filled with more than 147,000 date palms, many of which are still part of working farms.
Not only did American aviator Jimmie Angel not fear to tread here, he actually crashed his plane right on top. Or rather its wheels got stuck into the marshy ground – and ever since his name has stuck to the world’s tallest waterfall, 3,212 feet (979 metres) up in the Venezuelan jungle, with the longest uninterrupted drop, 2,648 feet (807 metres).
Angel wasn’t even the first person to boldly go where no man has gone before. He’d flown over it four years earlier, in 1933, after being told about it by Spaniard Felix Cardona. Cardona got there in 1927, the first Westerner credited to have done so, though others believe early Spanish explorers probably nosed him out by a few hundred years.
TEHRAN – Located in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, the Jameh Mosque, or Masjed-e Jameh in Farsi, is of deep architectural significance as it shows off designs employed for more than one millennium, starting in about 840 CE.
Covering over 20,000 square meters, it stands adjacent to the world-famous Imam Mosque in south side of the historical Naqsh-e Jahan (Imam) Square, the second largest in the world after Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the mosque is still functional as a busy place of worship in the historical precinct of the city.
It features evolutionary yet remarkable decorative tilework, stucco and other intricate geometric details, majority of which date back to the Seljuk, Mongol, and Safavid eras.
Like many other archaeological sites in Iraq, access to Hatra has been limited by instability and cycles of violence that followed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
Baghdad – The ancient city of Hatra withstood Roman invasions nearly 2,000 years ago and decades of more recent war and instability in Iraq but then jihadists marked it for destruction.
The Islamic State (ISIS) vandalised Hatra, 110km south-west of Mosul, and is reported to still have a presence in the area, which may put the famed archaeological site in the line of fire as Iraqi forces fight to drive the jihadists back.
Hatra, known as Al-Hadhr in Arabic, was established in the second or third century BC and became a religious and trading centre under the Parthian empire.
It was surrounded by two walls — one of earth and another of stone that was dotted with towers.
Spanning Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia and home to 4,700 species, the Pantanal wetlands are under threat from deforestation and agriculture. But local people are taking on the challenge to protect this unique region.
Inside a small aircraft, decorated with a polka-dot jaguar design, Ângelo Rabelo checks data on a small laptop computer. “We’re approaching a river spring!” he shouts over the plane’s noisy engine.
Below, the Paraguay river in Brazil’s Mato Grosso state snakes between clusters of vibrant green forest and extensive patches of farmland. The plane flies over a large, barren-looking stretch of light brown land where soy is being grown. A small buffer zone of trees separates the crops from the river, in which lies a pulsating spring.
The Neolithic ruins of Skara Brae on the Orkney Islands of Scotland transport a history minded traveler back 5,000 years.
If cavemen still have a capital, it must be the Orkneys – the island chain off the northern coast of Scotland. Marked by multiple ancient stone circles with a mysterious purpose that still defies historians and scientists, the islands are also home to the best preserved Neolithic village in the world – Skara Brae.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the remains of Skara Brae and Neolithic Orkney are more than 5,000 years old and were once the home of Stone Age humans. It sits on the western coast of Mainland, the largest of the Orkneys. Older than The Great Pyramid of Giza or Stonehenge, the village sat buried for millennia until a severe storm blew enough sand away to reveal the remains in 1850.
From the magnificent work of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona to the ancient city of Cordoba and the famous pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela — the choice of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit in Spain is big and varied.
With a staggering 44 UNESCO sites, Spain is the third most represented country on the list of world heritage sites, trailing only Italy and China. Renting a car in Spain and driving yourself to the sites that interest you most, is a great way to explore Spain at your own pace.
To pique your interest and inspire your next European adventure, we’ve compiled a list of a few of Spain’s most popular world heritage sites easily accessible by rental car.
Finding myself working for Wilderness Safaris in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools seems less by coincidence than by appointment at the right time as my forefathers lived in the area around Mana Pools long before it was inscribed as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site in 1984. My father was born somewhere in the Zambezi Valley in 1922 and lived here with his parents until they were moved out and settled in the Hurungwe area as chief and headman in the new area. The chiefs then were Mudzimu, Dandawa and Nyamhunga.
Every time I make it down the escarpment from Makuti I have a sense of homecoming. This is what makes my time at Ruckomechi Camp so special because I feel the reconnection with my ancestors.