Saturday, January 24, 2015

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Plovdiv – 2nd Largest City in Bulgaria/Oldest City in Europe

Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia and one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is situated in the huge plain between the Rhodope Mountains towards the south of Bulgaria and the Balkan Range, or Old Mountains – Stara Planina, which runs through the centre of Bulgaria. Both the ranges are visible on clear days. The River Maritsa flows through the city towards southeast before forming the Greek/Turkey border to the Aegean Sea.

As of June 2013, it had a population of 341,041 inhabitants. It is the administrative centre of Plovdiv Province as well as the municipalities of the City of Plovdiv, Maritsa municipality together with Rodopi municipality where the population of the municipal body was 403,153 in February 2011. Moreover, it is also an important economic, cultural, transport, as well as an educational centre and the second largest city in the historical international region of Thrace after Istanbul and the tenth largest city in the Balkans after Istanbul, Athens, Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Skopje, Tirana and Zagreb.

Traces of Neolithic Settlement – 4000 BC

Plovdiv has a history of 6,000 years with traces of Neolithic settlements which dates roughly to 4000 BC and is ranked among the world’s oldest cities. The city is also known for most of its recorded history in the west by the Greek name – Philippoupolis, introduced in 340 BC. Plovdiv originally was a Thracian city which later became a Greek city and thereafter a major Roman city. During the Middle Age, it retained its strategic regional importance changing between Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires and came under Ottoman rule towards the 14th century.

Plovdiv was liberated from Ottoman rule by the Russian army on January 4, 1878 and remained within the borders of Bulgaria till July that year and then became the capital of the autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia. Plovdiv and Eastern Rumelia in 1885 became part of Bulgaria.Presently Plovdiv is a famous tourist destination and has several interesting places to explore It is also well-known for hosting the Plovdiv international Fair twice a year as well as for its ancient sites.

Host to Cultural Events 

Plovdiv is also a host to cultural events like the International Fair Plovdiv, the international theatrical festival `A stage on a crossroad’ and the TV festival `The golden chest’. It has several remains which have been preserved from antiquity like the ancient Plovdiv Roman theatre, Roman Stadium, Roman Odeon, the archaeological complex Firene, to mention a few. The American educational institution outside United States is the oldest which was founded in Plovdiv in 1860, was later moved to Sofia and is presently American College of Sofia. Old Plovdiv is compact and walk able and the main downtown road tends to get blocked to traffic. One will find a good collection of Bulgarian revival buildings which are used as museums, restaurants and hotels that are worth visiting.

The Roman Amphitheatre which was discovered in 1970 during a construction project which is nearby and a part of the pedestrian zone has merchants selling art together with other interesting items Besides one can visit St. Marina church which has an unique wooden tower, a mosque from the Ottoman Empire and the nearby hill, the old town center which has a famous gateway entrance. Plenty of interesting sites lies in store to be explored while holidaying in Plovdiv.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to Find Properties Abroad

Properties abroad
Online portals provide the user with immense knowledge and information which is easy and convenient. A wide variety of views, reviews, briefing, explanation and information can be availed for service providers catering to the needs of viewers. Information with regards to private properties abroad can also be traced in the internet world which features the latest updates and availability of the same with the opportunity to relax in great comfort at any of these favourable destinations. Private rental holiday houses and luxury villas are available in France, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Thailand, Switzerland and Spain and those interested in renting at these destinations could get in touch with them to complete the required formalities and sign to confirm the booking conditions.

Range of Luxury Villas

The provider has a range of luxury villas and properties and clients could check and make their choice from the various destination options made available to the viewers. The properties mentioned are private residence which is not available to all and interested individual could mention their preferences, likes, dislikes and requirements with regards to the property of their choice which will be taken care of by their service team on board. Viewers could also check on the booking conditions which are available on the brochure and make a note that a booking is accepted and becomes legally binding only when a confirmation receipt is issued to the buyer. It is essential to be aware of the terms and conditions prior to any decision or deal undertaken.

Enjoyable Stay At Amazing Destinations

Some of the conditions applicable are that when a booking is cancelled, the same will only be acceptable in writing and signed by the person who had originally signed the booking form and in case of a cancellation some charges would be applicable. The seller would also be entitled to retain a certain sum due to expenses related to clerical, administration etc. incurred in connection with the booking and cancellation. Should the amount exceed the proportion of the forfeited charges retained by the seller, the client would be liable to pay the said amount. Clients should take note of the terms and conditions and have an enjoyable stay at some of these most amazing destinations in the world.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius, Lithuania
Vilnius – The Largest & Capital City of Lithuania 

Vilnius, the capital and the largest city of Lithuania lies in the valley of the confluence of Neris and Vilnia rivers having 527,930 inhabitants. It is located in the southeast area of Lithuania and is the second biggest city of the Baltic States.

The area was occupied since the Mesolithic Age though it became a capital city from 1323, when the Grand Duke Gediminas got his seat transferred from Trakai to Vilnius. The word Vilnius is the masculine form of the river’s name, Vilnia which is feminine and is referred to the river surge. A monument to Gemiminas is placed in the Cathedral Square near the site of the former pagan temple and the Grand Duke is depicted when he had made a final decision, dismounted from his horse and had blessed the land to be the capital with its glory echoing like an iron wolf sound all over the world.

Vilnius is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality as well as of the Vilnius district municipality besides being the capital of Vilnius County. The first know records of this amazing destination as the Lithuanian capital was known from Gediminas’ letters in the year 1323.

Known for Old Town & Beautiful Architecture 

According to GaWC studies, Vilnius is categorized as a Gamma global city and is known for its Old Town with beautiful architecture. Moreover in 1994, this city had also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Till the 20th century, the Jewish influence led it to be described as the `Jerusalem of Lithuania’. As Napoleon passed through it in the year 1812, he had named it `the Jerusalem of the North’. Towards 2009, Vilnius became the European Capital of Culture along with the Austrian city of Linz. Vilnius is a cosmopolitan city having diverse architecture with 65 churches in and around Vilnius.

The city was developed around its Town Hall like most of the medieval town where its main artery, Pilles Street connects the Royal Palace with the Town Hall. One will find the most valuable historic as well as cultural sites here.

The buildings in the old town which are around 1,500, were built many centuries ago which has created a blend of various architectural style and though Vilnius is known as a Baroque city, one will come across examples of Gothic, Renaissance together with many other styles. This combination is also a gateway to the historic centre of the capital due to which it has been listed as the world heritage site.

Laser & Solar Technologies Manufacturers

Presently Vilnius has growing local advanced laser and solar technologies manufacturers’ centres successfully supplying their products to global markets. The Barclays Technology Centre was established in 2009 in Vilnius and is one of the four strategic engineering global centres. Vilnius has been a home to Eastern Orthodox Christian presence from the 13th or the 12th century and a famous Russian Orthodox Monastery of the Holy is placed near the Gate of Dawn, in Lithuania.

The Church of St. Michael as well as St. Constantine was built in 1913 and presently, a Supreme Council of the Old Believers is based in Vilnius. Several numbers of Christian and other Protestant groups are represented in Vilnius especially the Lutheran Evangelicals and the Baptists. Vilnius is an amazing destination and one will get enthralled exploring the various interest sites in and around this destination.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Preikestolen – Famous Attraction in Norway

Preikestolen or Prekestolen is also known by an English translation of Preacher’s Pulpit or Pulpit Rock and is a famous attraction in Forsand, Ryfylke, in Norway. It is located in Ryfylke, Rogaland, a country in Western Norway and the city of Stavanger, the fourth largest city in Norway is located 25 km from this site.

It consists of a steep cliff which towers at an impressive height of 604 meters over the Lysefjorden.The cliff is said to have been formed during the ice age, probably 10,000 years ago when the edges of the glacier reached the cliff and the water from it froze in the crevices of the mountain which eventually broke off large, angular blocks and were then carried away with the glacier.

 This could be the cause of the angular shape for the plateau. Along with the plateau, it continues to be a deep crack due to which the plateau at some point tends to fall down though all the geological investigations had indicated that this will not take place in the future. Geologist too has confirmed the safety of the plateau.

Earlier Known as Hyvlatanna/Planned Tooth

In olden times, the plateau was known as Hyvlatanna or planned tooth.Access to Preikestolen from Stavanger is done through the RV13 road as well as the ferry from Tau. Access by RV13 from the south is done through Sandnes via the ferry from Lauvik to Oanes and the roads are open with the ferries running throughout the year though in winter due to snow it may not be possible to hike to the top.

Road to the site ends at a parking facility at Preikestolen Fjellstue having a trail which extends from the parking area to the site and a trip hike to Preikestolen from the nearest car park takes around 3 to 4 hours for a person with normal fitness.

Walking to Preikestolen could be very steep in some places and the path begins at the Preikestolhytta which is elevated to approximately 270 metres above sea level climbing to 604 meter where the duration of the hike takes about one to three hours based on the experience as well as the fitness level of the traveller.

Best Time – April to October 

Though the elevation is only 334 meters and the walk is not really long, the total elevation loss and gain over the process of hike is more than one would expect since the paths ascends and descends at different ridges. During winter and spring time, walk is not recommended due to snow and ice with the possibility of the tracks being slippery.

The best time to hike the trail is from April to October where sturdy shoes and rain gear is essential for the hike. The rock formation could also be enjoyed from the sea by boat. The number of tourist to this site in recent year has been between 150,000 and 200,000 in 2012 making it the most natural visited tourist attraction in Norway and due to its increase in tourists arriving at this site, a project is presently in the pipeline for improving the path to the site which is accessible only through a 3.8 km route.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Inishmurray, Ireland

Inishmurray – Unique Uninhabited Island 

Inishmurray, which means Muireadheach’s island, is a unique uninhabited island which is situated 7 km off the County Sligo coast and is famous for the best examples of early settlement of Christian in Ireland and beyond. It occupies an area of 228 acres and was inhabited by over 100 people in 1880 though it was abandoned in 1948 and has remained a pilgrimage destination till date.

The island is one of Sligo’s top hidden gems and being isolated, it can be accessed only by boat in favourable weather condition. The beautiful journey from Rosses Point passes by the famous `Metal Man’, Coney Island, two eighteenth century lighthouses as well as a requested paid visit to the local seal colony.The island could be named after the early saint Muiredach mac Echdach of early 6th century of Killala.

One will find the remains of an early Irish monastic settlement there where Laisren – Saint Molaise, founded a monastery here in the sixth century. After the Battle of Cul Dreimhne, he was a confessor of Saint Columba on the nearby mainland. The island of Ireland had been attacked various times by the Vikings between the 8th and 9th centuries particularly in 807 and takes pride on strong links to famous saints and patrons like St. Colmcille.

Ecclesiastical Buildings

In the main monastery and in the Cashel area, one will find a 4.6 metres high by a 3 metres thick wall, enclosing the settlement, which still contains some of the ecclesiastical buildings like a stone roofed oratory, a clochan, two churches, a bee-hive hut together with other engraved slabs of stone, which are rumoured to be `cursing stones’.Besides these, one will also find fifteen buildings together with a schoolhouse that is visible on the island.

At the time of the early Christian period a large amount of stone carving took place on the island with over 100 carved stones and slabs in collection most of which have interesting and unusual crosses. It is presumed that the art of Inishmurray could have links with the Holy Land since several of the cross styles were used by crusading knights. A number was carved for grave slabs and another group were set up on the altars that were found scattered all over the island.

Stone Altars in Clockwise Route 

Around 16 stone altars are found arranged in a clockwise route around the island with each station marked by an engraved cross slab. Some of the slabs continue to remain in position though several of them have been moved by the OPW recently since like the slabs in the Cashel, they could be in danger of being robbed. Between 1998 and 1999, most of the altars had been excavated and rebuilt, ten to fifteen meters inland since they were in danger of falling in the sea.

Most of the cross slabs together with the other decorated stone from the Cashel had been locked in the schoolhouse towards the eastern area of the island. The Cashel, an early Christian art gallery has now some seven decorated stones, while the Cursing Stones have been removed to Belfast by the OPW in order to make copies.