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.


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.


Preston: A market town with a historic past

21 September, 2007

Preston, a small cosmopolitan city has always been a center of trade and commerce – even during the Middle Ages.

Located halfway between London and Glasgow, the city is still carrying out its commercial duties acting as not just as a shopping center for the whole Northwest England region but also as an exporting center, trading goods, with many mainland European countries.

Preston, a small town with a population of 129,000 souls started out as what can easily be described as a Church Town, or as historians would have us believe, Priest Town; hence, the name, ‘Preston’.

Situated on River Ribble, Preston is the administrative center of Lancanshire and was recently inducted in the ‘city hall of fame’, when it became the nation’s 50th city. This honour was bestowed in 2002, the Golden Jubilee Year of Queen Elizabeth II accession to the throne. Since then, the city is known by its new title, “Queen’s Golden Jubilee City”.

Preston has always been a significant town during the ages. In the Roman times, a major road ran just north from the then city. In 1179, the village of Preston, received the Royal Charter, and thereafter became a town. The Middle Ages saw the town developed into a major commercial center as it sat on a main route from England to Scotland, contributing to its growth.

Then later on during the 16 and 17 centuries, it got embroiled in a political situation due to which it became the scene of the last major civil war fought in England in 1715. Aptly named, ‘Battle of Preston’ took place when Preston town-folk, sympathizers of Scottish Army loyal to James III of Scotland and England took on English army who were against his accession.

Preston during the ages, has not just been a commercial centre but also a tourist destination. It is more so evident as mentioned by an 18 century writer who visited it and described the city as a pretty town with lots of rich people.

Preston has a lot to offer to visitors. It’s main attractions are St. Walburge’s Church, Miller Arcade, Town Hall, Harris Building, St. John’s Minster, former Corn Exchange, Fishergate Baptist Church and beautiful Georgian buildings at Winckley Square.


Lichtenstein Castle: A very fairy-tale styled castle

21 September, 2007

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One of the most impressive, not to mention beautiful structures and among the stately homes is Lichtenstein Castle in Germany.

Located atop a cliff in the hills of Swabian Alb, in the province of Baden-Wurttemberg, the castle is only about 165 years old. Though, the current castle is quite young in terms of the general age of mainland European Castles, it is built on the site of the original castle that was constructed during the 1200s.

Unfornately, the original castle was twice destroyed in wars but during the reign of city-state Reutlingen in 1381, it was allowed to fall into despair by its then owners.

During the 1800s the land came into possession of King Frederick I of Wurttemberg who constructed a logde on the site. Then it passed down to his nephew who later on in 1842 reconstructed the current castle in a very fairy-tale style.

Currently its owners are the family of Duke of Urach.