Tag Archives: history

Experiencing the best of Cartagena Colombia

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photo by CC user 43355249@N00 on Flickr

Heading to Colombia soon? If you plan on experiencing the best of Cartagena Colombia, it is advisable to look up a guide to plan your travels there. Thankfully, this article will do much to help you in this quest, as you will see below…

1) Walled City of Cartagena

Constructed to fortify this vulnerable trading settlement from attacks by opposing colonial powers and pirates, the Walled City of Cartagena became a formidable challenge to any invading force upon its completion in the early 19th century.

In the present day, it is a charming place for travelers to explore and discover sights and experiences that can be found around any given corner. From historical and cultural sites that will be explored in further detail below, to bars and restaurants offering up the finest in Colombian cuisine, there is much to like about this corner of South America.

2) Castillo San Felipe de Barajas

The spearhead of this cities’ offensive prowess was Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, as it is located on a point of land where the comings and goings of ships could be tracked. This allowed the highly valuable shipments of gold bullion to be protected from pirates within sight of land, and it also acted as a deterrent to those that sought to lay siege to the city.

Its superior positioning ensured its survival to the present day, with tons of battlements in pristine condition compared to similar fortifications around the world.

3) Las Bóvedas

When invading buccaneers were caught by security forces over the years, they were taken to Las Bóvedas, the city’s dungeon. While these thick cell blocks within this section of Cartagena’s walls once held prisoners that despaired their bad fortune, today they are home to a number of boutiques that trade in a variety of Colombian handicrafts, making it a great place to pick up souvenirs for loved ones back home.

4) Plaza Santo Domingo

If you are looking for a place to chill out, people watch, and enjoy a great meal, there is no better place within Old Cartagena then Plaza Santo Domingo. With statues, lots of classic Spanish architecture, and numerous restaurants to choose from, it is the perfect place to enjoy the Old City after the sultry equatorial sun has set.

5) Cathedral de San Pedro Claver

Finally, make sure you make time to see Cathedral de San Pedro Claver before moving on in your Colombian adventures. Named after a priest that made it his mission to help newly freed slaves get their footing after being liberated from their servitude elsewhere in the West Indies, the story of the padre behind this place will be equally as captivating as soaring arches and design of this place.

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Discovering the posh palaces of Seoul

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photo by CC user aperezdc on Flickr

With the young K-pop stars capturing the attention of the world of the past few years, people have started to shift their sights from other Asian destinations to this tiny but fascinating country. In addition to its musical talent, the cuisine of the nation has begun to win over many adherents for its diversity of taste and texture experiences, as well as its healthy nature compared to other diets in other parts of the world.

All of this has generated a great deal of interest in South Korea, and the tourist arrivals have reflected this trend over the past half decade. While this nation’s break-neck pace of progress, its modernity, and its food are driving visits, Korea also has its fair share of historical attractions that are well worth exploring.

Located within Seoul city limits are a number of palaces built within the past 1000 years that housed members of the Joseon dynasty, ruling over their subjects in the Hermit Kingdom. If you are pressed for time, the following palaces of Seoul will give you the optimal cultural experience that are you are seeking out of your trip here.

Gyeongbok-gung

Being the largest of the palaces built during the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbok-gung served as the center of Korean government until the invading Japanese burned it in the late 16th century. Rebuilt after this attack and another raid in 1910, this palace is still being restored to its former glory, but large parts are back to the way they were during their heyday.

On the grounds of this former royal residence are two museums, the National Palace Museum and the Korean Folk Museum, both of which are essential for any visitor seeking to understand the cultural background of those that call this country home in the present day.

Changdeok-gung

Also serving as a seat of government after the destruction of the former palace, Changdeok-gung is another temple that you can’t afford to miss as a cultural aficionado. One of the greatest highlights of this historical attraction is the Huwon, or “secret garden”, which is a rare piece of greenery in the midst of uber-urban Seoul that sprawls over 78 acres behind the palace.

Changgyeong-gung

Serving formerly as the summer palace for the monarchs that ruled during the Koryo dynasty, this historical point of interest holds more than 900 years of heritage within its gates. While this palace has its fair share of gates, pagodas, and other aspects of structural interest, Changyeong-gung is best known for its close proximity to the Jongmyo shrine, when many royal family members during the Joseon dynasty conducted holy rites.

Turkey: Why It’s the Place to Be in 2015

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If your impression of Turkey runs no further than the country’s magnificent beaches then it may be time to reassess that opinion. The sun-drenched stretches of sand are just one of many major attractions in this extremely popular vacation destination.

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Discovering Dutch Culture: 3 Unmissable Historical Attractions in the Netherlands

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Occupying a particularly historical corner of Western Europe, the Netherlands holds its fair share of historic treasures within its compact borders. From the times of the Roman Empire, through the Middle Ages and countless wars to the present, this country has many sites waiting to be discovered by the intrepid traveler.

With farmland that has been tended to for close to 2,000 years, historic districts that have either survived bombardment in the wars of the 20th century or have been lovingly restored, and a people that values their existence, there are places here that you shouldn’t miss in the Netherlands on your next Euro trip.

Even if you only have a few days in this tiny Low Country, these three historical attractions in the Netherlands will have you coming away from this place feeling like you did it justice on your first visit. Let’s explore them together!

Tour the classic windmills of Kinderdijk

If there’s one icon that people inevitably associate with the Netherlands, it’s the windmill, and we’re not talking about the modern variety that generates renewable energy. Our minds instead take us back to the days where their wooden precursors provided the necessary energy to pump water out of the surrounding land, as the nearby river and high water table had caused problems with soaking wet fields in prior centuries.

One of the windmills in the Kinderdijk area, recognized by UNESCO for its cultural significance to the history of the Netherlands, can be viewed from the inside (Museummolen), and rest can be viewed from their exteriors via a leisurely bike ride through the pancake-flat countryside that dominates much of the area.

Visit the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam

The worst wars in the history of humanity raged through much of the first half of the 20th century, and in Europe, the Netherlands was in the middle of it all. The nation fell to Nazi Germany in 1940, and suffered on a much larger scale than neighboring nations when it came to the horror of the Holocaust, as it lost 75% of its Jewish population. Anne Frank and her family were among those targeted, but they managed to hide from the Gestapo for most of the war thanks to their sympathetic neighbors. They hid them in a series of hidden rooms at the rear of a canal house in the middle of Amsterdam, which concealed them for two years until an anonymous tipster blew their cover.

Thanks to the popularity of Anne Frank’s diary that has found amidst the strewn remains of their former hiding spot, this space eventually became the Anne Frank Museum, which expands more on her and families’ lives, and has exhibits that tell the story of other persecuted peoples around the world.

Walk the medieval streets of Utrecht

Founded as a fort by the Roman Empire in 47 AD, Utrecht has a lengthy history that tells its story visually via the copious quantities of medieval era buildings found within its city limits. The Dom Tower, built in the 13th century, is the tallest church steeple in the nation, with the view from its 112 metre high perch being nothing short of breathtaking. On the other end of the scale, one of the world’s first houses built in the modernist style (Rietveld Schroder House, built in 1924) can be seen here, a fact which speaks to the diversity of structures in this vibrant Dutch city.

Key Stops On Britain’s Literary Trail

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The United Kingdom has given the world much over time: rock bands with a deft taste in lyrics and rhythm, the meditative pleasure of enjoying a spot of tea with a delightfully sweet treat as a counterbalance to the drink’s bitterness, the practice of driving on the left that thumbs its nose as the French and the Americans in one fell swoop.

One area though, where Britain has left its mark from generation to generation without fail, is in the department of creative writing. Ever since the Age of Enlightenment liberated the civilized world from the curtain of ignorance that was the Dark Ages, British authors and playwrights have been cranking out prose, plays, and novels that have inspired countless lovers of the written word throughout the world.

As much as you have enjoyed reading the literary genius of these savants, don’t you think it is time you took the next step and walked the ground upon which they tread in days gone by, desperately searching for the muse they needed to finish writing their tale? If you have the desire to do so, then book your plane ticket for the United Kingdom, as we have prepared an itinerary that will take you through the neighborhoods and backyards of three prominent British authors.

William Shakespeare: Stratford Upon Avon

Located in the English countryside a couple hundred kilometres northwest of London, the birthplace of William Shakespeare is practically a mandatory stop for all fans of literature. With the quaint surroundings of this provincial town dripping with inspiration for the aspiration for the budding wordsmith, William was born, raised, and met the love of his life here, before rising to fame as one of the greatest playwright’s in the history of the English language (he is even credited with the creation of many words, having coined them in his manuscripts).

Charles Dickens: London

As Britain was serving as the epicentre of the unfolding Industrial Revolution, the rapidly increasing economic inequality that resulted from it served as the backdrop for many of Charles Dicken’s works, which included the seminal tales of A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist. Visiting the townhouse in the borough of Camden in the heart of London is a great way to get inside the head of this author, as this is the place where his wife’s sister tragically died in his arms as he wrote the latter work referenced above.

Remembering this, imagining the soot-filled air of 19th century London, along with the radical rich-poor divide that defined this point in history is the ideal way to not just learn about Dickens’ living arrangements, but to feel them as well.

J.K. Rowling: Edinburgh

Moving to the present day, the mantle of fine British authors of the past has been picked up these days by J.K. Rowling, author of the novellas making up the Harry Potter series. Living and writing against the backdrop of Edinburgh, where reminders of its medieval past were everywhere, this perpetually poor artist went for it and produced a fantastical series about a bunch of teenage witches and wizards in training, set against the backdrop of the modern world.

She lit the imaginations of the present young generation on fire, and she has been richly rewarded for it. Those looking to see the sights that inspired locations in the books and subsequent movies have many tour agencies willing to show them around places such as Gloustershire Cathedral, the London Zoo, and even the Elephant House in Edinburgh, where Ms. Rowling wrote the first lines of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Experiencing French Indochina In Style

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When people think about getting away to Southeast Asia, they most commonly envision a fine white sandy beach in Thailand, or increasingly these days, a less trafficked beach in Malaysia. While these destinations have more than their fair share of attractions, there is a more adventurous portion of this region that is begging to be explored. Read the rest of this entry

Three Beautiful Balkan Cities Worth Exploring

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With vacation planning season in full swing, the time to consider your explorations is now, as delaying in putting together your itinerary for much longer is certain to end in disappointment. The best tours, hotel rooms, and cheapest flights are vanishing with each passing day, with fewer and fewer low price/ high value propositions remaining as the future slowly slips in to the present. Read the rest of this entry