World heritage: Alhambra Palace in Granada; Xinhua

Photo taken on Oct. 29, 2013 shows a cloister of the Palace of Charles V at the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. The Alhambra Palace is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was inscribed onto the world heritage list in 1984 by UNESCO.

Source: World heritage: Alhambra Palace in Granada

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Sydney Opera House: 40 fascinating facts; Lizzie Porter; Telegraph

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Opera House, we’ve tracked down 40 facts about Australia’s most recognisable building…

Source: Sydney Opera House: 40 fascinating facts

Celebrating the history of the Sydney Opera House; ABC

Find out about the construction of the iconic building and the man who designed it.

Source: Celebrating the history of the Sydney Opera House

Opera House is Australia’s Top Icon; Bidita Debnath; MedIndia

Sydney Opera House was declared Australia’s best-known icon ahead of its 40th birthday this weekend, in a report that said it was worth Aus$775 million to the economy every year.

Source: Opera House is Australia’s Top Icon

40 (odd) things you never knew about the Opera House; Daily Telegraph

THE Sydney Opera is the world’s most iconic building.

Source: 40 (odd) things you never knew about the Opera House

The Galapagos go green; Deutsche Welle

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World Heritage Sites Alberta: Some Of The Most Spectacular Places In Wild Rose Country; Huffington Post

Source: World Heritage Sites Alberta: Some Of The Most Spectacular Places In Wild Rose Country (PHOTOS)

Athens, Ancient and Theatrical; Quest Greek Islands

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A trip to Athens from the Greek Islands…

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Bergen, Norway, a coastal city with lots of charm; David Armstrong; My San Antonio

Norway – Bryggen

Standing on Mount Floyen, 1,050 feet above Norway’s second city, I have the harbor below me – clear, clean blue fjord water bordered by wooden houses and fringed by emerald urban forest. Behind me, I see Norway’s mountainous spine, a rugged line of peaks separating Bergen and the country’s Atlantic coast from Oslo, 300 miles to the east.

“Picturesque” is a word often used to describe Bergen, and this view, at the end of an eight-minute funicular ride, is certainly that.

Here’s another word: charm.

Bergen’s got charm to burn. Rich in beauty, culture and the arts – the annual Bergen International Festival is the largest arts festival in Scandinavia – Bergen, with 250,000 people, is big enough to be interesting and small enough to get your arms around. And with 943 years of history, this time-honored port city has got stories to tell.

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Syria, Paradise Lost: Part I; Norbert Schiller; Mint Press News

Remembering visits to Syria’s lesser-known sites from antiquity, now threatened by conflict., Aleppo, Assad, Daraa, Hafez al-Assad, Syria, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites,…

Source: Syria, Paradise Lost: Part I

Discovering Africa: The Ancient Ruins Of Tipaza; Venicia Guinot; Ventures Africa

Algeria – Tipasa

Located 70 km from Algiers – capital of Algeria – is the coastal town of Tipaza.  With vestiges of the ancient Punic and Roman civilization, the city has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Tipaza was an ancient Punic trading-post founded in the 5th century BC. The city’s name, which means “place of passage “or” stop, was also inspired by early Phoenicians.  But after being conquered by Ancient Rome, it was turned into a military colony by the emperor Claudius for the conquest of the kingdoms of Mauretania.

The modern Tipaza is the capital of the Tipaza Province in Algeria.  It was founded in 1857. This Berber-speaking coastal town is now famous for its sandy beaches and ancient Roman relics.

The archaeological site of Tipaza contains various relics: the remains of a Basilica, cemetery, baths and an Amphitheatre.

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A cheap vacation in the Riviera? Try Albania; Davia A Andelman; USA Today

Albania – Butrint

SARANDA, Albania — Nestled in the remote eastern corner of the Adriatic, where it joins the Ionian Sea, is a 125-mile stretch of beachfront real estate unlike most others in the world. This little-known edge of Europe is called the Albanian Riviera. It differs sharply from its counterparts, the French and Italian Rivieras, by its cost — a week there could give you barely a few hours in its snazzier, snootier namesakes.

Certainly there are other vacation beach fronts along the brilliant blue waters of the Adriatic: the increasingly popular Dalmatian Coast of Croatia, for example. But few visitors uncover the beauty and simplicity of Albania, which at one time was Europe’s most thuggish communist gulag but is now America’s most slavishly devoted ally on the continent.

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We visit beautiful, bucolic Shirakawa-go to escape Tokyo’s hustle and bustle; Casey Baseel; Rocket News 24

Japan – Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Amazing as Japan’s metropolises are, after spending enough time in some of the most densely populated spots on the planet, urban fatigue starts to set in. There’s nothing likea getaway to the countryside to refresh your spirits after one too many days scurrying around downtown in packed train and subway cars.

The Shirakawa-go district, located in Gifu Prefecture, is close enough to Tokyo or Osaka that it makes an easy weekend escape for residents, as well as a simple side trip for overseas tourists crisscrossing the country. In terms of atmosphere, though, Shirakawa-go is worlds away from Japan’s largest cities.

The area around Shirakawa-go isn’t developed enough to warrant a train station, so for visitors without a car getting there involves a 50-minute bus ride from Takayama, the nearest significantly-sized rail-accessible town. Infrequent bus service is also available from Nagoya, but considering the three-hour ride this entails, your posterior will probably thank you for taking the train as far as possible to Takayama instead.

Source: We visit beautiful, bucolic Shirakawa-go to escape Tokyo’s hustle and bustle

Scare up a fabulous time in scotland’s first city; Wipula Paquet; Bangkok Post

‘What not to see?” exclaimed my Scottish friend Fiona, her long blonde curls waving in the air, when asked about her dear hometown of Edinburgh. I was unsure if her excitement came from pure Scottish pride, or her heavy afternoon consumption of English lager under a rare sunny sky in Cardiff. Having listened to Fiona unrelentingly blab about how hot, hip, modern and rich in history Edinburgh is _ far outreaching premier European destinations such as London, Paris and Berlin _ I was sceptical of the objectiveness behind her claims.

Source: Scare up a fabulous time in scotland’s first city

Beacons of faith rise from the ruins; John Borthwick; The West Australian

John Borthwick joins other pilgrims to marvel at the history and spirituality of several temples in Central Java.

Source: Beacons of faith rise from the ruins

Mission Possible: Saving Kaas; Gangadharan Menon; Mid-Day

India – Western Ghats

Maharashtra boasts of the ecologically rich Kaas plateau, which is akin to Uttaranchal’s Valley of Flowers. Gangadharan Menon documents the efforts of select conservationists who are trying to sensitise villagers and tourists to preserve Kaas

Kaas is considered to be Maharashtra’s own Valley of Flowers. But unlike its namesake in the Himalayas which is accessible only after an arduous trek, Kaas is at an easily motorable distance. Located just 300 km from Mumbai, and a mere 40 km from Satara, it is this easy accessibility, that’s also been the bane of this floral heaven.

And, it is in this context that the conservation efforts of people like Dr Sandeep Shrotri of Ranwata Society become extremely significant. Apart from getting Kaas included among the 39 World Natural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO along the Western Ghats, he and his team are working day in and day out to conserve the place by sensitising the visitors and the villagers.

The Western Ghats are 1,600 km long, and run through six states from Gujarat to the peninsular tip of India, and is considered by geologists to be older than the Himalayas.

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Architecture City Guide: Tel Aviv; Gili Merin; Architecture Daily

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Stonehenge WAS built on solstice axis: Ice ridges inspired pre-historic…; Dalya Alberge; Daily Mail

Excavations have found meltwater ridges naturally point directly at the mid-winter sunset in one direction and the mid-summer sunrise in the other.

Source: Stonehenge WAS built on solstice axis: Ice ridges inspired pre-histori

Images of the devastation of Hue royal citadel; Vietnam Net

Viet Nam – Complex of Hué Monuments

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Latitude Zero from underwater; Jorge Silva; Reuters

The Galapagos Islands are a dream come true for both divers and photographers, even more so when they are combined into one.

Source: Latitude Zero from underwater