“Crete, an island bathed in a wine-dark sea, rich, beautiful, populous; many are those who live in its ninety towns, many are its languages.”
The words of Homer, in The Odyssey, written in 700 BC, may help formulate an idea of what visitors will find on this Green island. A historic, Mediterranean, vibrant island with beaches which have nothing to envy of any other beaches in the world. Its cities, under continuous development, contrast with the people who still maintain that spirit, so focus
by Cristóbal Ramírez
The Acropolis, the Plaka, and the rest of Greece‘s compelling capital are a treasure chest you could rummage through for days on end. But just as important to this ancient country and culture are sites out in the hinterland, where the air is purer and in many cases life is still simpler. Here are the top 4, all within 180 kilometres (112 miles) of Athens.
The closest-in at just 80 kilometres (48 miles), this ancient city on the Pelopponese peninusla is home to
The mighty Roman Empire started gradually invading and turning the Iberian Peninsula into Hispania in the first two centuries BC a pax romana that would last till the 4th century AD, when it started to lose ground to barbarian tribes such as the Gauls, Vandals, and Visigoths; by 585, Romanised Visigoths effectively controlled the entire peninsula for more than a century up until the Muslim invasions from North Africa.
But those nearly 700 years were decisive – indeed, fateful – for Iberia. Du
When it comes to the pre-Columbian past of Peru, most of us automatically and understandably think of the Incas. But there were many other cultures and civilizations in these lands, some of them much older than the Incas. Several of these elder civilizations originate in what is now desert regions up and down the country's coast north and south of its present-day capital, Lima. One example you've heard about is the Nazca people, because of their now famous artifacts, the Nazca Lines. But you
If you’ve got even a passing knowledge of history and/or Greek mythology, you’ve probably heard of the Minotaur, the monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull, imprisoned in a labyrinth by Minos, king of Greece's island of Crete, and fed human sacrifices. Obviously the bull-headed thing is a little bit of a stretch, but on this island you can visit the spot where this legend may well have originated. On Mount Kefala, a couple of miles outside Crete’s capital Heraklion, lie the ru
You’ve no doubt been to or at least have heard about the Yucatan Peninsula’s wondrous Maya archaeological sites like Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Uxmal. But did you know that Mexico’s most famous beach resort, Cancun, boasts a mini-me version of these mighty sites? Las Ruinas del Rey ("the Ruins of the King") are easily accessible right off the hotel zone’s main drag, Boulevard Kukulkan, just south of the hotel zone on the way to/from the airport.
Dating to around 300 BC and now open daily during
In 2014, Spain's capital marked another cultural high point when the National Archaeological Museum reopened after a six-year, €65-million renovation. It’s still housed in the same handsome 19th-century neoclassical building on Calle Serrano in downtown Madrid, and still displays a wealth of world treasures including some unique to Spain such as a replica of the spectacular Altamira Caves prehistoric art and the iconic Celto-Iberian bust known as theLady of Elche (top). What’s different is a
There are various good reasons to consider a visit to the tiny country of Honduras in Central America, especially if you’re a fan of diving, adventure, ecotourism, and castaway beaches. But if like me you’re fascinated by the Mayans and the magnificent archaeological sites they left behind, a visit is not simply worth considering but at some point almost obligatory, and mostly because of this: glorious Copán.
In the west of the country some three hours by road from San Pedro Sula (six or so fr
Just the word Jordan captivates the mind and soul. An open and welcoming nation allowing the traveler to experience both culture and adventure, combined with the vibrant capital of Amman. No matter what your passion is, you will find it in the Kingdom of Jordan. Afwan! A warm welcome to Jordan.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which once captivated ancient travelers, continues to enthrall a whole new generation as a modern, vibrant nation. From the haunting, primeval starkness of Wadi Rum, to the
Wherever a trip may take you, it’s always interesting to get to know the history and culture of the natives. Museums are one of the ways to do this of course, so when I found myself in Paros island, I made sure to visit its Archaeological museum in the city of Parikia.
My first impression of the museum was a beautifully landscaped exterior, decorated with a few carefully chosen exhibits that intrigued me enough to want to see more! It was there I first saw the mosaic from the 3rd-century BC of
I had to pick my time carefully to visit the city of Bath. I wanted to go before the bulk of the tourists came, but after the rush of Christmas crowds around the many shops. But, that’s the way it’s always been, for visitors have been coming to Bath since before the Romans came, over 2,000 years ago.
Costa Rica is making news in 2014 – from the thrilling World Cup 2014 playoffs in Brazil to the United Nations recognizing several historic sites in southern Costa Rica for World Heritage status.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added four pre-Colombian sites located in the southern region of Costa Rica to its list of World Heritage locations at the end of June 2014.
The archeological sites of Finca 6, Batambal, El Silencio, and Grijalba-2 in the Diquís
The capital of the island of Crete during the Neolithic era was Phaestos. But the small settlement of Gortyn grew and grew, until it eventually became a city that eclipsed Phaestos. During the Roman era, in the first century, it became capital of Crete. The remains of this time, the city’s apogee, can be seen and studied today in archaeological excavations that have led to some of the most important discoveries in Europe.
The excavations began in 1884, leaving the workers themselves amazed.
When one thinks of Belize, most likely the first thought to come to mind is the fabled Blue Hole, and the world’s second largest barrier reef, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. But the tiny nation surrounded by its big brother to the north, Mexico and Guatemala to the west and south, is an eco-travelers, adventurer enthusiasts dream. Taking a closer look, there is more to Belize than meets the eye.
Scuba dive or take a helicopter ride over Belize’s stunning Blue Hole
There are few animals – and offhand I can’t really think of any birds – with quite the mystique of the iridescent emerald-green denizen of southern Mexico and Central America known as the resplendent quetzal. Since they’re fairly rare (officially “near threatened”) and even more elusive, you’re very unlikely to spot one if you go birding in the scrub forests of the Yucatan or the highlands of Chiapas (they’re somewhat easier to spot further south, in places like Costa Rica and Guatemala, altho
For many tourists, the city of Cuzco is little more than a stopping point on their way to Machu Picchu. Yes, they look at the churches, plaza, and cobbled lanes, but they wouldn’t really be visiting Cuzco (spelled Cusco in Peru itself) were it not the gateway to the most famous of Inca archaeological sites in the Andes. That’s why the impressive Inca ruins of Sacsayhuamán, just over a mile (2 km) north of the city, are still bypassed by many visitors. Fortunately, on my own r
Chances are you’ve heard of Hannibal, and maybe even that he and his Punic army tried to invade Italy by crossing the Alps with elephants. The city-state he fought for, Carthage, was classical Rome’s biggest rival in the Mediterranean, and one of the big kahunas of the entire ancient world. Even if you’re coming to Tunisia mainly for a warm beach vacation (as so many do), you owe it to yourself to not miss this important UNESCO World Heritage Site (especially if you’re staying in the popular r
Why is that? Well, Peru offers a New Year’s experience to appeal to virtually any and every type of traveler. It’s famously filled with the mystical and the historic. It also offers high culture, unsurpassed ecotourism, and adrenaline-pumping adventure. Add in a plethora of superb hotels, restaurants and spas, and it all adds up to a special occasion you’ll never, ever forget. Another year? Bring it on.
Top Peruvian New Year’s Traditions
To ensure a new year full of good luck and prosperity,
Xian was the start of the Silk Road and at one time the largest city in the world. Today the city of eight million is booming, and still home home to the famous "Terracotta Warriors" and other great attractions. Here are its do-not-misses:.
1. The Terra Cotta Warriors: The sight of thousands of life-size terra cotta warriors in formation does not disappoint. It is part of the tomb of Qin Shi Huang who, 2,220 years ago, united the various areas of China and named himself First Emperor of China.
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