The many attractions of ancient Cusco, Peru

8 August, 2008

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The ancient city of Cusco and its ancient monuments plays host to whole lot of ancient and not-so-ancient monuments.

Some of these are:

Sacsayhuaman: This ruined complex of a military fortress dating back to the Incan civilization is a marvel of construction. It is composed of large boulders, some weighing more than 300 tons each, fitted together without the use of cement.

San Blas: This is an old living area of Cusco, that is home to narrow and steep streets, colonial-styled houses and various art workshops.

Santo Domingo Church (Iglesia de Santo Domingo): This is a 17 century church which is located on the site of the Incan’s Temple of the Sun.

Temple of the Sun (Coricancha): This ruin was once the most important temple of the Incas, which was later used as a base for the Church of Santo Domingo when the Spanish plundered the city.

Cusco Cathedral: This magnificent renaissance-style, 16 century building is built in the shape of a Latin cross and contains about 400 colonial paintings including the famous ‘Last Supper’ by Marcos Zapata. It dominates the skyline of the Plaza de Armas.


Wonderful resorts at Minorca Island (Mediterranean Sea)

26 September, 2007

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The lesser known but equally famous, Minorca Island is the second largest of the Balearic Islands, the autonomous island group of Spain.

Famous for its many pristine beaches, both of sandy and rocky nature, as well as several sites of prehistoric, monolithic stone monuments, it isn’t require any sense of brilliance as to why this small island (only 15 km wide and 52 km long) is chock-a-block full of visitors all-year round.

With over 60,000 permanent inhabitants, Minorca plays host to a half a million visitors every year. But even with such large numbers, it is not as overrun by them as its nearest neighbours, Ibiza and Majorca are.

Apart from its beaches, there are various sites and monuments for those interested in history, archaeology, music and art. It also has a great nightlife too.

For all those thinking of making a beeline to Minorca, can stay in either one of these hotels:

Hotel Princesa Playa:
Gran Via Son Xoriguer 17, Minorca, Balearic Islands 07760, Spain

Hotel Sant Ignasi:
Carretera Cala Morell, Ciudadela, Minorca, Balearic Islands 07760, Spain

Sol Menorca:
Playa de Santo Tomás, s/n | (Re-opens April 27, 2007), Migjorn Gran, Minorca, Balearic Islands 07749, Spain

Blanc Palace Aparthotel:
Urbanización Sa Caleta | Menorca, Ciudadela, Minorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

Menorca Sea Club Apartments:
La Mar s/n | Cala’N Forcat, Minorca, Balearic Islands 07760, Spain


Malmo Castle – Last of the Scadanavian castles of the renaissance

26 September, 2007

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One of the oldest renaissance castle left in this part of the world (Scandanavia), Malmo Castle was originally constructed as a citadel by King Eric of Pomerania in 1434.

Later in the 16 century, it was demolished and rebuilt in the newer style by then King Christian III of Denmark, as the area was part of the then Kingdom of Denmark. For many years after that the castle remained a stronghold of the kingdom, defending the land against foreign aggressors.

Malmo Castle also once served a prison, with one of its famous inmate was the Earl of Bothwell, third husband of the Mary Queen of Scots, who served a prison sentence of 5 years from 1568-73.

Surrounded by moat and lots of greenery, Malmo Castle is now ‘serving life’ more as a museum than a prison fortress. Currently it houses the Art Museum, City Museum, the Natural History Museum, Aquarium & Tropicarium, and the Konstmuseet.

The latter one contains one of the largest collections of old Scandinavian masters. It also houses a large Russian painting collection dating around to 1900 – the largest outside Russia.

Located in the western side of the city of Malmo in Sweden, Malmo Castle is easily accessible by anyone wishing to visit it. It lies west of the area of Stortorget, the castle can be easily reached on foot.


Australian Bush tucker: Lets put on a barbie

22 September, 2007

Australians are very fond of their ‘bush tucker’. Bush tucker is associated with food cooked outdoors either on camping sites or at out-of-station trips.

These usually include cooking or rather, barbequing meats of their iconic animals such as Kangaroos, Emus (a flightless bird), Barramundi (fish) and yabby (crayfish).

The famous Aussie slogan, ‘Let’s put on a barbie’, cannot emphasize their love of cooking outdoors anymore than this.

Their modern-day, but traditional food items include vegemite (a black yeast spread); meat pie (minced meat pie); Tim Tams (chocolate coated biscuits); Anzac Biscuits (large wheat biscuits).

Then there Vanilla Slice (a custard pie slice topped with vanilla icing); Lamingtons (pieces of sponge cake coated with chocolate and any other flavoured icing and coconut); and Peach Melba (slices of peach served with whipped cream and sometimes with a scoop of ice cream).


Sigmaringen Castle – Home of the Hohenzollern Princes

22 September, 2007

One of the main castles in Germany is Sigmaringen Castle. Situated high on the Swabian Alb hills in the province of Baden-Wurttemberg, Sigmaringen Castle dominates the skyline of the town of Sigmaringen.

The manor, which was reconstructed in 1893, was the palace of the princes of the House of Hohenzollern. Constructed on a limestone ridge had been in use since a millennium, though it has been through various alternations ever since.

Though, it isn’t clear as who commissioned it originally, but from 1535 onwards, counts and then princes of Hohenzollern has been occupying it. The structure, which was originally constructed as a fortress, was later transformed into a beautiful and comfortable stately manor.

The castle, which is now, a museum is home to one of the largest collection of medieval weapons and armours. It also houses the local 16 and 16 German painters’ works that are considered outstanding works of arts in Germany.

Part of the collection consists of ancient carriages, sleighs and sedan chairs that provides a hindsight on the ways of travelling by the royals and nobles. Then there is the private library documenting the life and times of the Hohenzollern family.


Malmo: Sweden’s third largest metropolitan centre

22 September, 2007

Malmo is one the biggest cities in Sweden. In fact, it is its third biggest metropolitan centre and the largest in the southern area of mainland Sweden.

Located adjacent to the Oresund Strait, Malmo has a rich historical background, thanks to its importance as a old trading post of the region. With quarter of a million inhabitants, Malmo is also one of the major tourist attractions, which is now made more accessible by the recent construction of the Oresund Link.

Malmo’s attractions include the Malmo Castle that dates back to the 15 century as well as many other stone structures that are left standing from the Middle Ages. Then there is the City Centre, Stor Torget Square – said to be the largest square in the whole Scandinavian region – is also five centuries old.

For tourists, there are these wonderful hotels to reside in:

The Mayfair Hotel:
Adelgatan 4 | (formerly Ramada Mayfair Hotel), Malmo 21122, Sweden

Clarion Collection Malmo:
Engelbrektsgatan 16, Malmo 211 33, Sweden

Hotel Baltzar:
Sodergatan 20, Malmo 21134, Sweden

Hilton Malmo City:
Triangeln 2, Malmo 200 10, Sweden

Radisson SAS Malmo:
Ostergatan 10, Malmo 211 25, Sweden


Minorca Island: Small in size, but more beautiful

22 September, 2007

One of the major tourist attractions in the Mediterranean Sea is the island of Minorca.Part of the greater Balearic Islands group, Minorca belongs to the Spanish nation and lies not far from another of Spain’s island attractions – Majorca.

The name, Minorca comes from the Latin term, Minorca, meaning small or not so significant. The name corresponds with the size of the island, as it is just 15 km wide and 52 km long.

Though, it is the second largest of all the Balearic Islands, Majorca being the larger one, it is the most beautiful of them all. With miles of beaches, it has more beaches, than those of Majorca, Ibiza and Formentera combined. These beaches range from miles-long silver or golden crescents of sand to rocky bays.

The island itself is a set on a rocky bluff, overlooking an ancient port, which was a reason that saw French, Spanish and even British fighting over the island, and hence, for the control of the Mediterranean region (the island lies near the entrance to the Med. Sea).

Minorca Island is famously known for its large collection of megalithic stone monuments, including navetes, taules and talaiots that speak volumes of its early, prehistoric human settlement.

Though, tourism is a major industry at this island, it, unlike its nearby neighbours it not completely dependent on it. It’s other industries include leatherwork, costume jewellery production, dairy farming and gin manufacturing.


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