While a B-list often connotes adjectives like ‘substandard’ or ‘subpar,’ one can always consider the notion as a gesture of defiance against popular opinion. Hence, the B-list for Western travelers may point the direction at South America – a region that is often misunderstood by the mainstream perspective. A literal take on one’s B-list is not a bad idea when choosing a Latin American destination. Here are the top 3 capitals worth exploring:
Tourists who travel to Colombia stop by at Bogota, but oftentimes they rarely leave for another city. Those who visit Bogota never fail to notice the charm of a high-altitude municipality whose infrastructure is highly reminiscent of its Spanish heritage. Bogota resembles the archaic layout of old Spanish and Italian cities, though it fosters a less boisterous atmosphere.
Caribbean Life News reports that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a US$20 million loan in helping Suriname launch an urban rehabilitation program with focus on Paramaribo’s old town, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. Nelson A. King reports:
The Washington-based financial institution said on Wednesday that the project seeks to contribute to the socio-economic revitalization of the city’s historic center “in order to attract back residents and businesses to the area; restore its cultural heritage value; reduce traffic congestion; and strengthen the institutional framework for its sustainable management.”
Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital, has 243,556 inhabitants, or 45 percent of the country’s population, the IDB said.
Set in Norway’s majestic fjord country, Flam is a town about 230 inhabitants. Yet in one year it will see about half a million visitors and nearly 200 cruise ships — ships so big they drown out the few small hotels situated on the waterfront. At the base of a UNESCO World Heritage site, Flam and its nearby residents are concerned about the number of tourists descending on the small, picturesque village.
Last year, Fjord Norway, the tourism office for the region, told the Telegraph that they were encouraging hotels to increase rates in the summer months, hoping that would push tourists to come in the off season.What’s causing the increased interest?Namely two factors: Disney’s animated film Frozen, which showcased Norway’s beauty and culture, and social media, particularly Instagram, where pictures of the stunning scenery are drawing thousands of ‘likes.’
Suzhou is often referred to as “the Venice of the East.” In a less ethnocentric world, we would perhaps call Venice “the Suzhou of the West.” The original canal city, Suzhou was already a over a thousand years old when Venice was founded (514 B.C.E. vs. 421 C.E.) It is also significantly larger than Venice, a full order of magnitude more, in fact. Its canal system is indescribably extensive and complex, spreading through a vast network of fields, farm lands and urban landscapes. This timeless and picturesque city certainly merits a visit, and is a top domestic tourist destination for Chinese nationals for good reason.
Suzhou is conveniently located about an hour ride on the bullet train from Shanghai.
Saint-Émilion is a commune in the Gironde department in Aquitaine region in southwest France. Perched on a limestone hilltop like a graceful balcony above the Dordogne Valley. In 1999, Saint Émilion became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, honored for its cultural landscape and historical vineyards. This medieval, fairytale town is a maze of curlicue ballast stone streets, strewn with charming storefronts, quaint squares, and flower-laden terraces. The town does everything it can to looks its best for the one million tourists who visit each year.
Heritage of Saint Emilion
In this honey-colored wine village, just east of Bordeaux, perhaps the most extraordinary site is the Saint Émilion Monolithic Church, dating from the 12th century. Where 1300 years ago, a Breton monk, Émilion, came to the ancient town then named Ascumbas.
Historical fountains in the well-preserved historic town of Safranbolu in northwestern Turkey, dating back to Ottoman times, will undergo a restoration so that water flows again through its bibcocks like it did for centuries.
Safranbolu Mayor Necdet Aksoy said that 48 fountains have been restored since 2009, while also noting that over years, as time passes, fountains inevitably corrode.
In an effort to fix this problem, Aksoy announced that the Safranbolu Municipality developed a large restoration project for a total of 51 fountains.
The Union of Historical Towns and the Foundation for the Protection and Promotion of the Environment and Cultural Heritage (ÇEKÜL) also take part in the project.
Aksoy also said that the Governorate of Karabük province will allocate a budget of 450 million Turkish liras ($116.4 million) for the restoration.
Local activists are also incensed by proposed “touristic development zones” and other urbanization plans on Ohrid’s shores.
Conservationists are warning that Europe’s oldest lake, a haven of biodiversity and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, faces multiple development threats.
Lake Ohrid, which straddles the mountainous border of Macedonia and Albania, has been in existence for up to three million years and is home to more than 200 species of flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world.
But huge infrastructure plans on the Macedonian side have alarmed environmentalists and the United Nation’s cultural agency UNESCO, which has called on the country’s authorities to conduct an urgent assessment of the potential cumulative damage.
Geoff Hann organizes bus tours in the war-torn Afghanistan. This is his unbelievable story.
For about £3500 (or Rs 3 lakh) you could take a three-week trip into the heart of war-torn and Taliban-occupied Afghanistan. Terror tourism is not very new but what makes this three-week tourism package unique is the fact that it is run by a 79-year-old man from England! Meet Geoff Hann who runs Hinterland Travel that takes tourists around Afghanistan. Hann is an old player to the terror tourism business having set up the company in the ’70s, taking tourists into dangerous countries such as Syria, Iraq and Pakistan among others. Interestingly enough, he has never run into trouble… except last year when while driving through the province of Heart his tourist bus was ambushed by the Taliban and fired upon by grenades and machine guns.
Ever since we’d seen pictures of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, aka the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba, we’d known that it would be at the top of our “must see” list when we returned to Spain. Quite simply, there’s no other building like it in the world and if we had to describe it in less than ten words we’d say, “a sixteenth-century cathedral inside an eighth-century mosque.” But that doesn’t even begin to convey the ten-plus wow factor of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, without a doubt the most stunning religious place we’ve ever seen. Nor does it suggest the promising symbolism of two major religions, Islam and Christianity, coexisting in one shared space.
As our ship slowly navigated through the Havana Bay towards the port,the sun was just coming up from the Atlantic Ocean. It was the crack of dawn; puffy white clouds in the sky had a crimson tint on the edgesfrom the rising sun. The gentle breeze was a bit soothing yet it was hot and humid. Many of us with cameras were on the upper deck to watch the ship’s approach to the harbor. As the skyline became clearer, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of skyscrapers, and other buildings painted with bright colors: some old, historic, and yet others revealed neglect.
The waters in the inlet and the bay were calm, clear, and reflected the blue sky. Gentle waves with white peaks welcomed us along with a few people on the shore.
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Dasht-e Lut, known as the Lut Desert, is a large salt desert in Kerman and Sistan and Balouchistan Province, southeast of Iran, and is the world’s 25th largest desert.
The surface of the sand there has been measured at temperatures as high as 70 °C (159 °F), and it is one of the world’s driest and hottest places. It was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list on July 17, 2016.
It lies between two faults: the Nehbandan Fault on the east and the Nayband Fault on the west. The Lut Desert catchment area is about 175 thousand square kilometers (one tenth of the total area of the country) and is 900 kilometers from north to south and about 300 kilometers from west to east. At the foothills facing the Lut Desert, there are relics of human settlements from the fourth millennium B.C.
While India holds the notorious record of witnessing maximum selfie deaths in the world for two successive years, here’s one instance where selfies have actually turned helpful.
The Assam Police has tracked down two poachers through the selfies clicked inside Kaziranga National Park in northeastern India. The duo had allegedly killed a female rhino in June last year, and were arrested on Wednesday in central Assam’s Nagaon district, the Hindustan Times reported.
The Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site and houses two-thirds of the planet’s great one-horned rhinoceros. There are 2,401 rhinos in the sanctuary of which nearly 800 are females.
The report further added that one of the photographs had the poacher smiling with what appeared to be two automatic rifles fitted with silencers in the backdrop. Police said that their “informers” got hold of the images.
For as long as history has dictated, water bodies have been deemed the cradle of civilisation. Navigation, irrigation, sustenance, agriculture and, in modern times, electricity… But what about fire?
From Prometheus to Maui, legends and lore have written of audacious heroes; tricksters turn benefactors who let the warmth of flames fall into human hands. Fire is the saviour of humankind – as the only species on Earth who knows how to utilise its energy, we are thus rewarded with its benefits, from being able to cook to staying alive in harsh winters. Even beyond the narratives of mythology, humanity has long overlooked the blessing of fire and another cradle of wealth: volcanoes.
Since time immemorial, volcanoes have been a muse to religion and the arts.
Victoria Falls is much more than just a mesmerising 100-metre plunge down a cliff. As a £120m airport opens nearby, Samuel Fishwick falls for its thrills and spills.
Not much makes a 13-hour-and-40-minute journey fly by. Still, after departing from Heathrow Airport and arriving via a transfer at Johannesburg Airport, my first sight of Victoria Falls puts it all in perspective. Rumbling between Zimbabwe and Zambia, where the two nations meet, the world’s largest sheet of falling water has taken 150 million years to form, thundering between rock faces as if trying to escape their outstretched arms.
Last November, President Robert Mugabe (yes, still there) opened Zimbabwe’s £120m Victoria Falls International Airport, promising direct flights to Europe — as well as floods of tourists from it.
EARLIER this year, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added four new sites to the World Heritage List. The Nalanda University ruins, Chandigarh’s Capitol Complex and the Khangchendzonga National Park in Sikkim were added to the list of protected sites in July at the 40th session of the committee, bringing India’s total to 35 recognised heritage sites.
The program to list and protect heritage sites around the world started in 1972 with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage being adopted by the UNESCO general conference. Over 44 years, 192 countries have ratified the convention, making it among the most adhered to global treaties.
The prestigious heritage list includes places recognized for their historical, cultural and scientific significance, and are legally protected from endangerment by human and animal trespassing.
• Earth is home to some truly beautiful natural wonders. • From colorful bodies of water to giant naturally-formed crystals, these are some of the world’s strangest natural wonders.
Ever played the game of Twister on water? The green, yellow, and brown polka dots that form on British Columbia’s Spotted Lake each summer make it look like you could.
It’s a far cry from the stereotypical landscapes of clear blue lakes, rolling green hills, and white-sand beaches that inspire most travelers—and that’s part of what makes strange natural wonders like Spotted Lake so thrilling.
St Isaac’s Cathedral in St Petersburg had been a secular museum since fall of USSR.
Under the watch of Russian police, a group of activists knelt on the icy paving stones outside St Isaac’s Cathedral in St Petersburg to recite article 14 of the Russian Constitution that guarantees the secularity of the state.
Flash protests like these have erupted in St Petersburg since the city government announced this month that it would transfer use of the iconic, 19th-century cathedral and Unesco world heritage site to the Russian Orthodox Church.
More than 190,000 people have signed an online petition addressed to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Georgi Poltavchenko, the governor of St Petersburg, demanding that the handover of St Isaac’s to the orthodox church be stopped.
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Fin Garden is located southwest of Kashan, Isfahan province. Its reputation is due to a historic event that happened there. Qajarid Premier Amir Kabir was murdered in a plot hatched by Nassereddin Shah’s men in the Fin Bathhouse in 1852.
Fin Garden has all the elements of Iranian gardens. It is somehow similar to Shazdeh Garden in Mahan, Kerman. Spread over 23,000 square meters, the garden has good water resources. It comprises a central yard, fortification wall and cylindrical towers.
Cedar trees, dating back to 500 years ago, surround the garden and its ponds. Fin Garden has 579 cedar trees and a number of sycamore trees. There is a water mill on the left side of the garden, which still works.
Historicity Fin Garden dates back to the rule of Safavid King Shah Abbas. Even some documents attribute it to Al-e Bouyeh era.