Spilled color palette: pools and lakes of Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve; People’s Daily Online

Pictures show the scenery of Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve in southwest China’s Sichuan province. A…

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UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Algeria; Benjamin Elisha Sawe; WorldAtlas

Algeria – Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad

Such great empires as the Romans, Ottomans, and the Hammadid Dynasty each left lasting marks on Algeria’s cultural landscape.

Algeria is one of the leading tourist attraction countries in the North African region. The country has implemented some of the development strategies leading to development of modern hotels and infrastructure to promote tourism. Most of the tourists visiting Algeria come mainly from Europe and the US while the locals are also embracing domestic tourism. The country is characterized by ancient dynasty and empires with a rich traditional history that acts as major attraction sites. There are a total of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. We look at a few of the most notable ones below.

Al Qal’a of Beni Hammad

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World’s largest cave, Hang Son Doong, is in Vietnam; Jarryd Salem; CNN Travel

Viet Nam – Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

A trip to Vietnam’s Hang Son Doong cave is an adventure like no other. The world’s largest cave even has its own weather system with underground clouds.

(CNN) — “Watch out for dinosaurs.”

I smile at our guide’s warning and enter the lush jungle growing inside Hang Son Doong, a 3-million-year-old cave in the central part of Vietnam. Water drips from a gaping scar in the ceiling over 100 meters (328 feet) above us. A spectacular sunbeam starts to creep down the side of the serrated cliffs. The shrill call of birds and macaque monkeys echoes off the limestone, drifting in from the unseen world beyond the skylight.

“Watch out for dinosaurs. That’s what we called this place when we first discovered it,” caving expert Howard Limbert, elaborates. The prehistoric atmosphere made the reference obvious.

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6 luxurious things to do on a weekend in Prague; Olivier Templar James; A Luxury Travel Blog

Prague is one of the world’s most romantic destinations. It is situated in the Vltava River and it is the embodiment of scenic views and unique blend of history. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site and it has long been a favorite tourist destination. One of the stunning things about Prague is that it has a fine balance between the architecture and culture of the 1400s and the current modern amenities, thereby making a first time visitor feel like they have been transported back to a different century.

Source: 6 luxurious things to do on a weekend in Prague

Why Portugal’s majestic Douro Valley should be on your holiday wish list; Susy Atkins; Telegraph

Source: Why Portugal’s majestic Douro Valley should be on your holiday wish list

Cruising Portugal’s Douro River: Stunning valley scattered with hilltop vineyards, villages, heritage sites; National Post

The Douro Valley, with the wide river cutting through it, is an UNESCO World Heritage site and the birthplace of some of the world’s finest wines…

Source: Cruising Portugal’s Douro River: Stunning valley scattered with hilltop vineyards, villages, heritage sites

Biking Albania: Touring Centuries Old City of Gjirokaster; Karen Rubin; Going Places, Far & Near

Albania – Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra

(I travel to Albania with BikeTours.com’s President Jim Johnson on a specially constructed “President’s Tour” itinerary that modifies the regular “Albania’s UNESCO Sites with Rivers, Valleys, and Gorges” trip.  (See: Come to Albania Now to See Emergence of a Young Country-Best Way to Experience Albania is on Bike Tour. This is 5th in the series.)

Our ride today, the 6th of cycling (7th of the tour), will bring us into the historic city of Gjirokaster – an Ottoman-era city carved into the hillside overlooking a spectacular river valley.

Today’s 46 km ride is one of the easiest – almost steadily downhill or flat – for a total elevation gain of just 200 meters and a loss of 360 meters. We follow the Vjoca River to Kelcyra Gorge.

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New Jesuit missions route in Latin America; Deutsche Welle

Argentina – Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis: San Ignacio Mini, Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto and Santa Maria Mayor (Argentina), Ruins of Sao Miguel das Missoes (Brazil)

Six Latin American countries have opened a new Jesuit mission route leading through Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile.

Argentine minister for tourism, Gustavo Santos, opened the route at a ceremony in the ruins of the Jesuit mission at San Ignacio Miní in north-western Argentina. He said that he hoped the route will be of interest to all you wish to enjoy his country’s cultural heritage, not merely pilgrims. The route also caters for the growing demand for religious tours in and around Argentina, the birth place of Pope Francis – who himself joined the Jesuit order in 1958.

The San Ignacio Miní mission was founded in the 17th century by Jesuits.

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Unexpected Highlights of Travel to Albania; Laura Longwell; Travel Addicts

Albania – Historic Centres of Berat and Gjirokastra

When we decided to travel to Albania, we had absolutely no idea what to expect. We’d heard a few sound bites about bad roads and transportation challenges and a few vague assertions that it was an inexpensive place to visit – nothing to help us form any good ideas about what we would be experiencing. For us, as for most Americans, Albania was a completely dark place on our mental maps.

What we found in Albania was a mix of remarkable natural beauty, deep history, tempting food, and some of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere. It’s like Italy with limited public transportation and the French Riviera with more partially-constructed buildings and less attitude. Albania is like its neighbor to the south, Greece, but with far fewer tourists and a whole lot of Cold War bunkers.

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How to see the Great Wall of China; Mercedes Maguire; Escape

There’s a good reason it’s called great – it stretches the equivalent of Sydney to Perth and back and is more than 2300 years old.

Source: How to see the Great Wall of China

Nalanda University declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO; Sreekanth A. Nair; American Bazaar Online

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India – Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda, Bihar

Important center of Vedic learning between 5th to 1200 AD.

Nalanda University or known as Nalanda Mahavira, one of the oldest study centers in India, has been declared World Heritage Site, by the UNESCO, on Friday.

Situated about 98 Km. away from Patna, the state capital of Bihar, Nalanda is considered as one of the prominent Buddhist monasteries in ancient India.

Declaring the world heritage status, UNESCO tweeted, “Just inscribed as @UNESCO #WorldHeritage Site: Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavira at Nalanda, Bihar #India.”

“Nalanda stands out as the most ancient university of the Indian Subcontinent. It engaged in the organized transmission of knowledge over an uninterrupted period of 800 years. The historical development of the site testifies to the development of Buddhism into a religion and the flourishing of monastic and educational traditions,” UNESCO said on its website.

On the Mersey beat; Jane Day; Yorkshire Post

The birthplace of the legendary Fab Four and a designated Unesco World Heritage Site, Liverpool is one of the gems in the Northern cultural crown. The waterfront is a good place to start, and making our way through the city we are met with an impressive array of historic buildings.

Source: On the Mersey beat

CST’s hidden heritage; Rajendra B. Aklekar; The Hindu

India – Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus)

The iconic railway station building had its first Heritage Week — a peek into its history and the trappings, fittings and architecture that make it special, and timeless.

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UNESCO meets to expand World Heritage; Deutsche Welle

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6 reasons you need to visit Kotor — the European city most people have never heard of; Chris Hitchings; Tiny Rucksack

Kotor is, without a doubt, the most beautiful city in Montenegro, if not the Balkans.

Source: 6 reasons you need to visit Kotor — the European city most people have never heard of

Poland’s prime and primeval forest; Dan McLaughlin; Irish Times

Poland – Białowieża Forest

At dusk a last bar of orange burns low in the western sky. A silvery sheen covers meadows where corncrakes and tree frogs call under a yellow moon.

The ancient forest is now inky black. Somewhere within, wolves, lynx and elk are waking, but two fragments of its darkness have broken away and watch, silent and massive, as several humans draw closer through the dew-covered glade.

We are 60m from a pair of bison, 800kg relics of the vast, wild woodland that covered much of Europe for millennia, and which survives in all its misty, mysterious, Tolkienian glory in eastern Poland’s Bialowieza Forest.

Bison rest in the forest by day, emerging to feed when the light fades.

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Ayutthaya: Once a diplomatic hub, now a heritage site; Aroonim Bhuyan; IANS

Thailand – Historic City of Ayutthaya

The sheer splendour of Ayutthaya makes one forget that it is a balmy May afternoon when on a visit to the Unesco World Heritage Site some 80 km from Thailand’s capital Bangkok.

After lunch at a riverside restaurant at modern-day Ayutthaya, the visit to the once flourishing temple city was an enriching experience.

Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya was the second capital of the Siamese kingdom.

It was a global centre of economics and trade, and an important connecting point between the east and the west.

The Ayutthaya royal court exchanged ambassadors across the world, including with the French court at Versailles, the Mughal court in Delhi and the imperial courts of Japan and China.

Right at the entrance of the site, a plaque gives an idea of what it holds.

“Wat Mahathat (The royal temple that houses Buddha’s relics,” it reads.

 

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Wieliczka salt mine; Deutsche Welle

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Photos of a wrenching moment in history; Deb Hopewell; BBC

Photographer Joseph Eid captures photos of Palmyra – one of the world’s most intact ancient ruins – before and after IS occupation. The juxtaposition is wrenching.

Source: Photos of a wrenching moment in history

News Brief: Philadelphia Becomes First World Heritage City; Meetings Today

Source: News Brief: Philadelphia Becomes First World Heritage City