Friday, June 27, 2014

Scotland’s Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan is recognized as one of the most iconic images of Scotland all around the world. Eilean Donan Castle is located in Loch Duich towards Dornie around eight miles from Kyle of Lochalsh on the A87 road of the west coast of Scotland near the Isle of Skye.

Loch Alsh and Loch Long are within the vicinity and the castles can easily be reached on a single day trip from Inverness or Fort William by car or the services of the coach to and from Skye.It is situated on an island at a point where the three great sea lochs meet and is surrounded by some awesome scenery.

It is now one of the most visited and an important attraction in the Scottish highlands. Eilean Donan meaning Island of Donnan is probably called after the sixth century Irish Saint, Bishop Donan who came to Scotland somewhere in 580 AD.

There were several churches dedicated to Donan in this area and it is presumed that he formed small cell or community during the late seventh century on the island.

The Castle – A Stronghold

The castle which was founded in the thirteenth century became a stronghold of the Mackenzie Clan and their allies, the Clan Macrae.

The first fortified structure was not built till the early 13th century as a defensive means to protect the lands of Kintail against the Vikings who after raiding, settled and controlled most of the North of Scotland as well as the Western Isles between 800 and 1266.

Though it was first inhabited around the sixth century, the first fortified castle was built somewhere in the mid-13th century standing guard over the lands of Kintail and since then at least four various versions of the castle were built and rebuilt as the feudal history of Scotland got unfolded through the centuries.

Restored by Lt. Colonel John MacRae Gilstrap

Eilean Donan was partially destroyed in a Jacobite uprising towards 1719 and was in ruins for the best part of two hundred years till Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911 and restored the castle to its original glory.

The castle was then re-opened in 1932 after twenty years of labour and toil where one can explore every part of the castle with the opportunity to glimpse and enjoy the history of this castle. The castle now has its own visitor centre which has the Ticket Office, with Coffee and gift shops as well as toilets.

A good spacious area is available for free car park and large groups or parties are most welcome. For those who are unable to manage the large number of steps, can opt for the facility at the visitor centre for a computer based Virtual Tour that is made available on request since they do not have the facility of wheelchair access in the castle.

Castle Garrisoned in 1719

All throughthe centuries the castle had expanded and contracted in size and the medieval castle was probably one of the largest with towers and a curtain wall which covered the entire island where the main keep stood on the highest point on the island.

Towards the end of the 14th century, the area of the castle reduced to around a fifth of its former size and though the reason is unknown, it probably could be the outcome on the number of men needed to defend this structure.By the 16th century, horn work was added to the east wall to provide a firing platform for the newly introduced cannons.

The castle was garrisoned in 1719by forty six soldiers who were supporting the Jacobites and established a magazine of gunpowder who were waiting for the delivery of weapons and cannon from Spain.

 The English Government got to know of the intended uprising and sent three heavily armed frigates namely, The Flamborough, The Worcester and The Enterprise to suppress the matter.

The Castle rebuilt to its former plan 

The bombardment of the castle lasted for three days but met with limited success due to the large size of the castle walls where, in some places they were up to 14 feet thick. Captain Herdman of The Enterprise finally sent his men ashore and over powered the Spanish defenders.

With their surrender, the government troops discovered the magazine of 343 barrels of gunpowder which was then used to blow up whatever had remained from the bombardment. For the major part of the two hundred years, the ruins of Eilean Donan was left neglected abandoned and open to the elements till it was restored by Lt Colonel John who along with his Clerk of Works, Farquar Macrae dedicated his life in the restoration of Eilean Donan and the castle was once again rebuilt according to the surviving ground plan of the earlier phases and finally completed and was open to the public.

The castle is open daily from February to late October from 10 am to 6 pm and from late October to December from 10 am to 4 pm where the last admission is an hour before the closing time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Willemstad – European Colonial

Willemstad the capital city of Curacao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea which forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Historic Area of Willemstad is a European colonial of remarkable value and integrity which portrays the growth of a multicultural community over three centuries which has been preserved to a very high degree. Formerly the capital of the Netherland Antilles before its dissolution in 2010, the population estimated was 150,000 and the historic centre of the city was made up of four quarters, the Punda and Otrobanda, separated by the Sint Anna Bay which is an inlet that leads into the large natural harbour known as the Schottegat, the Scharloo and Pietermaai Smal quarter which are across each other on the smaller Waaigat harbour.

The unique architecture and harbour of the city centre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The urban structure and the architecture of this amazing destination are both authentic examples of the architecture and colonial town planning of the Dutch during their time.

Established a Trading Settlement at Natural Harbour

The people of Netherlands had established a trading settlement at the natural harbour on the island of Curacao in the year 1634 and the town developed all through the centuries with great progress. The modern town comprises of various historic districts where the architecture portrays the European urban planning concepts as well as the styles from the Netherlands, the Spanish and the Portuguese colonial towns, where Willemstad is engaged in trade.

Willemstad is a big city as well as a small town and the people live in the hills encircling Schottegat and the Dutch heritage site with markets, museums and nascent café culture is worth exploring.

The Queen Emma Bridge which is regularly opened to let in large ships to pass through the channel is a sight to behold which can entice any visitor to take one of those trips and enjoy a ferry ride.

The Santa Anna Bay – A Historic Waterfront Strip

The Santa Anna Bay, a historic waterfront strip, is a vibrant reminder of Curacao’s Dutch heritage which has an amazing scene for professional photographers as well as visitors.

The Museum Kura Hulanda is housed in a Dutch Colonial building in the midst of the luxury Hotel Kura Hulanda compound and has a huge collection of African art which is one of the largest in the Caribbean, featuring some of the unique exhibits. This destination also has thirty eight awesome beaches and the finest of them fringe the west end area.

 In downtown Willemstad, guest of the new Renaissance Curacaocan take the opportunity of enjoying one of its kinds, manmade beach experience at the resort’s second floor saltwater infinity pool though visitors of any resort should rent car or a cab to Cas Abou Beach for one of the best stretch of sand and sea on the island which has the facility of a snack bar with restroom which is suitable for a long beach day.

The wildlife preserve near the west end of the island comprising of 4,450 acres of land offers nature lovers a variety of hiking trails through its desert landscapes and variant gardens inclusive of a hike to the top of the 1,240 ft. Mount Christoffel, a duration of two to three hours.

Visitors can explore this location and indulge in an ultimate travel experience, which are in plenty at this amazing destination.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hanoi – Capital City of Vietnam

Hanoicity is the capital of Vietnam which is situated in northern Vietnam towards the western bank of the Red River and is about 85 miles inland from the South China Sea.

Besides being the national capital, Hanoi is also a province level municipality which is administered by the central government. It is also the country’s second largest city with a population in 2009 estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts and 6.5 million for metropolitan jurisdiction and has an awesome blend of East and West with a combination of traditional Sino Vietnamese motif with French flair.

 It was the most important political centre of Vietnam from 1010 till 1802 and was eclipsed by Hue as the imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguven Dynasty – 1802 to 1945, though Hanoi served from 1902 to 1954 as the capital of French Indochina.

It was the capital of North Vietnam from 1954 to 1976 and became the capital of a reunified Vietnam after the North’s victory in the Vietnam War in 1976.

Hanoi – Political Centre for Chinese Conquerors

The region surrounding the present Hanoi was settled in prehistoric time and this location was often a preferred option as a political centre by Chinese conquerors. The first ruler of the Ly dynasty of Vietnam chose the site of Hanoi in 1010 which was then called Thang Long or the Rising Dragon, for his capital and it remained the main capital of Vietnam till 1802 when the last Vietnamese dynasty – the Nguyen transferred the capital to Hue in the south.

This city was renamed occasionally and one of these names – Dong Kinh was given when the later Le dynasty was destroyed by Europeans to Tonquin. The name Tonkin was considered while referring to the entire region during the French colonial period and in 1831, the city was renamed Ha Noi by the Nguyen dynasty.

An Enchanting Destination with Architectural Souvenirs 

Hanoi is an enchanting destination andnestled amidst wooded boulevards among the city’s two dozen lakes one will find architectural souvenirs left by those who conquered this place right from the Chinese who came in first in the last millennium, to the French.

From Noi Bai Airport to the city it takes around an hour offering great glimpses of the modern Vietnamese life, the farmers attending to their field, modern highways which abruptly becomes bumpy road, rivers etc.

The most amazing and breath taking scene is at dusk when the roads are filled with bicycles and the view of the setting sun dipping into the cornfields on the horizon enhancing the appearance of this awesome city.

Hanoi is quite compact and the interesting sites of the city are all close to each other and easy to explore, making it easy to enjoy the interesting places of the city on foot or by cyclo.

The Mausoleum – An Amazing Place of Interest

A visit to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum which is the city most revered place should be explored while on a visit to this destination where the cyclo ride from HoanKiemLake takes only five minutes. The Mausoleum is open for visitors from 7.30 to 10.30 only in the mornings in summer and in winter from 8.00 to 11.00. Meter taxis as well as hired cars are easily available in Hanoi and if considering a long visit, one could opt in renting a bicycle or a motorbike for to and fro access in the city.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Find Flats For Rent At Your Finger Tip

With the use of internet at our disposal, users have the ability to navigate through online portal for any information and when it comes to locating accommodation,it is also easy to find flats for rent here. For all your needs on flats which ranges in various budgets, size and location, according to the needs of the consumers. With the help of this facility it tends to get a lot easier now in obtaining information with regards to flat rentals before indulging in the purchase of flats, without the need of physically venturing to these locations since the same is made available at your fingertips.

On making a choice, thereafter the consumer could consider visiting the location in order to finalise the transaction.The service provider being the next generation of free online classified platform is the provider of easy solutions to difficult task in the buying and selling of products besides, trading, organizing, discussing or even meeting people around or elsewhere.

This platform is made available to users enabling them to connect to a location of their choice which can be a home to them. Searching through a variety of choices could be a tedious task and this option has come to the rescue of users in need of this requirement.

Consumers could search through a variety of options made available with regards to location and price which can be filtered and an appropriate choice can be made according to their requirements by the concerned individual.

In addition to the information provided, users also have the benefit of viewing the videos that are accompanied with the related information enabling them to get to know more on the subject. Most of their classified advertisements come in rich colourful designs with videos and picture which gives the user the feel of the location and other related information which they could be looking forwards to.

Users also have the choice of accessing the portal through their mobile phone while on the go, in locating flat rentals and arrive at a solution to their problems with ease and comfort in a swift and efficient manner.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The History of Hamilton started in 1790

Hamilton, Bermuda
The history of Hamilton as a British city started in 1790 when 145 acres of land was set aside by the Bermuda Government for its future seat, which was officially incorporated in 1793 by an Act of Parliament and the Colony’s capital was relocated to Hamilton from St. George in 1815.

The city had also been at the political and military heart of Bermuda since then and government buildings included the parliament, Government house to the north, the former Admiralty house of the Royal Navy to the west and the British Army garrison headquarters at Prospect Camp to its east.

The town of Hamilton was founded and named after Sir Henry Hamilton who served as a Governor of Bermuda since 1788 to 1794. He was also instrumental in supporting the settlement of a town in the central parishes and though the people of St. George objected strongly to the creation of this new town, Hamilton felt it otherwise which made sense to have a town in the central area which would be close to people from all over the Island.

City of Hamilton an international and local business centre 

The new town of Hamilton developed quickly and overtook the Town of St. George and became the capital of Bermuda in 1815 during Richard Darrell’s Mayoral term which was considered to be one of Hamilton’s most outstanding Mayors.

The City of Hamilton became the hub of international as well as local business on the Island. Hamilton is packed with historic building, shops, museums, churches, galleries, parks and gardens which are all set alongside a beautiful natural harbour giving it a unique character.

The city’s layout is great for strolling together with its relaxed elegance, beautiful pink beaches and golf courses. Being the capital of the island since 1815, Hamilton Bermuda is a small, vibrant and a friendly city and is the heart and commercial hub of the island and besides being the main container port in the island it is also the centre of shipping and trade in Bermuda.

Hamilton is centrally located in Pembroke Parish

The town of Hamilton became a city in 1897 before the consecration of the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity in 1911, Church of England that was under construction at that point of time.

St. Theresa’s, a Catholic cathedral was constructed later on and presently the city overlooking Hamilton Harbour is the main business district with few structures besides office buildings and shops. The city has maintained a building height and view limit stating that no building should obscure the Cathedral.

During the 21st century, buildings were planned and some under construction are as high as ten stories in these area. Hamilton is centrally located in Pembroke parish which faces the Hamilton Harbour. Front Street is the main life and soul of Hamilton city as well as the centre of all activities.

It is at this location where most of the island’s shops, retail shops, restaurants, and various other commercial establishments like banks and insurance companies are placed.

 It runs alongside the water edge which is the first sight of the city seen by the cruise ship passengers as they come to shore in Hamilton.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Florence – Centre of Medieval European Trade & Finance

Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most famous city of Tuscany which has a population of around 370,000 inhabitants, expanding over to 1.5 million in the metropolitan location.

Florence is a city which is situated on the plain of the Arno and wedged between the hills which made it very popular. It is surrounded by towns, villages and beautiful landscapes, suspended between medieval atmospheres together with the splendours of the Renaissance and is popular of its history and a centre of medieval European trade and finance.

It is also one of the wealthiest cities known at that time. Besides this, it is also considered as the birthplace of the Renaissance which has been called `the Athens of the Middle Age’.

Its political turbulent history consists of periods of rule by the powerful Medici family with numerous religious as well as republican revolutions. Towards, 1865–71, the city had been the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.

Attraction – The Historic Centre

The Historic Centre of Florence draws many tourist every year to this amazing destination and Euromonitor International has ranked the city as the world’s 72nd most visited country in 2009 with around 1.7m visitors.

Moreover it was also declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1982 and due to its artistic and architectural heritage it had also been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The city is also known for its amazing culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. There are various museums and art galleries in this city like the Uffizi Gallery, the Palazzo Pitti, among many others, which exerts a strong influence in the field of culture, art and politics.

With regards to Italian fashion, Florence is considered as an important city and has been ranked among the top 50 fashion capitals of the world. It is also a major national economic centre as a tourist and industrial hub and in 2008 the city had been ranked 17th as the highest average income in Italy.

Museums/Palaces/Churches – Great Artistic Treasures

Florence’s museum, palaces and the churches contain some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world. Besides the Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti, the most popular and important interesting sites include the Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Bargello and the Accademia.

The churches of Santa Maria Novella and Santa Croce are amazing art galleries while the library of San Lorenzo is an excellent exhibition of Michelangelo’s architectural works. To explore more of Florence, one can wander through the oldest street in the city which leads to the Arno River and across the Ponte Vecchio one gets to experience the new area of Florence, the Oltrarno.

The Boboli Gardens is another interesting site to be visited and in order to experience an enchanting view of Florence; you can climb the hill to the church of San Miniato al Monte. The language spoken during the 14th century in the city was and continues as well as accepted as the Italian language.

 Most of the writers and poets of the golden age Italian literature, are connected in some way with Florence which has led them to the use of the Florentine dialect over the local dialects as a literary choice of language.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

St. John Capital City of Antigua & Barbuda

St. John
The largest and the capital city of Antigua and Barbuda, is St. John, a country which is located in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. It is placed at 17°7’N 61°51’W and has a population of 24,226 (2000) It is the chief port of the island of Antigua and the commercial centre of the nation.

The skyline of St. John is dominated by the magnificent white baroque towers of St. John’s Cathedral which was built in 1845 and the church is its third incarnation since the 1683 and 1745 earthquakes which had destroyed the original structures.

 The towers are the first sight of Antigua with many visitors who arrive by boat. St. John is a pleasant hub full of life and an ideal place for shopping and dining for many visitors. The Museum of Antigua and Barbuda isa site of interest of the early history of the island which is housed in the colonial Court House.

The museum displays Arawak as well colonial artefacts which were discovered on archaeological sites on the island and features life size replica of an Arawak house, models of sugar plantation etc.

White Baroque Towers of St. John’s Cathedral

In St. John, the farmers markets, candy coloured architecture and the ruins of sugar plantation draw the attention with a kaleidoscope of coral reefs with adventures in sailing. Visitors get the privilege of glimpsing the white baroque towers of St. John’s Cathedral, that dominate the skyline before they are joined on a cruise passenger on a Heritage Quay shopping excursion.

 One gets the opportunity of experiencing the island’s early cultures, or visitsto the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda which is housed in a 1750s colonial courthouse.

 The settlement of St. John’s had been the administrative centre of Antigua and Barbuda since the islands was first colonised in 1632 and became the seat of the government when the nation gained independence in the year 1981.

A Developed and Cosmopolitan City

St. John is also one of the most developed and cosmopolitan municipalities in the Lesser Antilles and is famous for its various shopping malls and boutiques all over the city with designer jewellery and haute couture clothing.

Besides this, there are also several independent locally run shops selling a variety of fashionable stuff. This country attracts the tourist from many exclusive resorts on the island from cruise ships which tend to dock in its harbour at Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay many times a week. One will find fresh produce of fish and meat on the south-western edge of the city which is sold daily.

One can also visit the Antigua Rum Distillery which is located at the Citadel and is the only rum distillery on the island with annual production yield being more than 180,000 gallons bottled. To the east of St. John is the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium which is a multi-use stadium in North Sound, created mostly for cricket matches and have also hosted matches during the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

 The Antigua Recreation ground and Antigua and Barbuda’s national stadium is also located in St. John’s. The strongest presence in the city is the investment banking industry with many major world financial institutions having their offices in St. John, Antigua.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Fez – Oldest Imperial City of Morocco

Royal Place Fez
Fez or Fes is the third largest and the oldest Imperial city of Morocco and has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.It is also believed to be one of the world’s largest car free urban areas and is the capital of the Fes-Boulemane region. By 2010, it had a population of around one million.

The city has two old medinas or old town, the larger being the Fes el Bali and behind its high walls lies a magical, medieval city which is vibrant with life in each of its 9000 narrow street. Al-Qarawiyyin which was founded in 859 AD is the oldest continuously functioning madrasa in the world and the city has been called the Mecca of the West and the Athens of Africa. This amazing city is the best location for historical landmarks since it is the oldest Imperial city.

Spiritual and Cultural Capital 

Fes is the spiritual as well as the cultural capital of Morocco and one can experience the real Morocco at Fes which is a fascinating and a vibrant city. Ville Nouvelle, the new part of Fes, was built by the French and is much different from the median where the wide boulevards are lined with modern shops and the traffic is too much. Though there is not much to explore, one can visit their westernized hotels if intending to lodge there. September to November and April to June are the best time to visit Fes and the climate is not too hot.

One can take advantage of visiting this destination in June when the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music is usually held and get to know more about this amazing city. Fes el-Bali is an interesting site to explore and the biggest attraction of Fes. It is the entire old median and the best way to reach around and see its main sights is to hire a local guide through Riad or the hotel.

Two Alleys – Talaa Kebira/Talaa Seghir

The Talaa Kebira and the Talaa Seghir are the two main alleys in old Fes where both end up at the main gate of Bab Bou Jeloud. If one should lose their way, they can ask for the direction of the Bab Bou Jeloud which is very impressive with its little square having rooftop restaurants that are very enjoyable. The Kasbah restaurant is a decent one with excellent services where people have the liberty of lingering over mint tea while watching the city below.

Fes is also famous for leather products where most of which comes from the leather bazaar or souq in old Fes. The tanneries which have been operative right from the medieval times, has not changed much,is worth visiting and in order to visit them one has to go to a leather shop with handbags, slippers and jackets where the guide can help in exploring and navigating the traveller.

The Medersa Bou Inania built in 1300

The three museums in old Fes are worth visiting and a good place to rest from the bustle of the street. The Nejarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Craft is located in a beautiful building which has amazing little rooftop café. The Dar Batha Museum with interesting display or artwork is more enjoyable with its traditional blue coloured pottery that Fes is famous for, while the Belghazi Museum offers similar artworks though one can also buy them here if interested.

The museum located inside a palace, is very good and though a bit expensive, one can enjoy a good meal here. Medersas or religious schools are two, in old Fes, which are worth visiting. The Medersa Bou Inania which was built in 1300 has some beautiful examples of Merenid plasterwork as well as wood work while the Medersa el-Attarine is filled with amazing Merenid craftsmanship offering fantastic scenes of the old city from the rooftop. The Mellah which is the old Jewish quarter of Fes shows the difference of the architecture from the rest of the medina.

Jewish Cemetery/Merenid Tombs

The Jewish cemetery is quite eye catching with white tombstones heading down the side of a hill as far as possible, while some are over the edge and a guide would be very helpful in relating the history of the place. The Merenid Tombs is another interesting site which is located outside the walls of old Fes and one can see them from several rooftops in Fes. Most of the tourist head up the hill to the tombs to get a better view of Fes at sun set.

The Kairaouine Mosque is huge where 20,000 people can pray here, is tucked deep in the heart of medina and is difficult to get a glimpse of it since it is wedged between several shops and homes. However, the mosque had been recently opened for renovation and tourist can get a glimpse when the doors are open for public and get to see the beautiful tile work inside. The library too is one of themost important and oldest in the world.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Salzburg – Salt Fortress

Salzburg literally means `Salt Fortress’, is the fourth largest city in Austria and is also the capital of the federal state of Salzburg. It is a little pleasant town which is one of the European cities that has been left with rich culture and traditions.

 It is most famous as the hometown of Mozart as well as other musical geniuses like Von Trapps and many others and has the ability to transport one back in time and a perfect place for folks who care about culture and history.

 Its Old Town has internationally renowned baroque architecture and is one of the most preserved city centres, north of the Alps. Salzburg has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and has been host to three universities as well as a large gathering of students. Besides this, it is also noted for its rich attractive setting together with a scenic Alpine backdrop.

Birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus

Salzburg has also been the birthplace of the 18th century composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and in the mid-20th century, the city became the setting for parts of the famous and popular musical play and film, The Sound of Music.

This city has managed to preserve an extraordinarily rich urban fabric which had developed over a period of time from the Middle Ages to the 19th century when it was a city state ruled by a prince-archbishop. Many craftsmen and artist were attracted by its flamboyant Gothic art, before the city became popular through the work of the Italian architects Vincenzo Scamozzi and Santini Solari, to whom the Salzburg centre owes its Baroque appearance.

 It was at the meeting point of northern and southern Europe that probably sparked the genius of Salzburg’s most famous son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and whose name has been associated with the city.

Ecclesiastical City-State

Salzburg is an excellent example of an ecclesiastical city state peculiar to the Holy Roman Empire from Prussia to Italy. With its absence as political and administrative units in the early 19th century, and adoption of alternative trajectories of developmentit has set an example of this type of political organism which has survived so completely while preserving its urban fabric and individual buildings to such a remarkable degree.

The Salzburg skyline amidst a backdrop of the mountains is characterized by its profusion of the spires and domes, which are dominated by the fortress of Hohen-Salzburg.

Hohen-Salzburg Fortress- Roman Structure

The Hohen-Salzburg fortress which is a Roman structure on a steep rock fan overlooking the city was placed in the Middle Age by a wooden fort where the first stone building dates back to the early 12th century which was enlarged with towers, bastions and outer wards towards the 15th century. Huge reconstruction with extension was done at the beginning of the 16th century which continued to the late 17th century.

It has a number of buildings of secular as well as ecclesiastical which are of very high quality right from the late Middle Ages till the 20th century. This city is rich in building from the Gothic period onwards with a combination in the creation of a townscape and urban fabric of great beauty and individuality.

Barcelona – Founded as a Roman City

In the Middle Ages, founded as a Roman city, Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona and after merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, it continued to be an important city in the Crown of Aragon. It was besieged on many occasions during its history and has a rich cultural heritage which today is an important cultural centre as well as a major tourist country.

Its architectural works of Antoni Gaudi and Lluis Domenech i Montaner have been listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. Barcelona is the capital city of the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain and its second largest city, has a population of around 1.6 million in its administrative limits. It is a large city having many district articles with sightseeing, nightlife, restaurants accompanied with accommodation.

Gained World Recognition

Being a capital and the largest city of Catalonia and Spain, it is located directly on the north eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula facing the Mediterranean Sea on a plain which is approximately 5 km wide and limited by the mountain range of Collserola, the Llobregat River to the southwest and the Besos River to the north.

The plain has an area of 170 km out of which 101 km is occupied by the city and it is 120 km south of the Pyrenees and the Catalian border with France. It has a rich history and was under the Roman, then Frank law before gaining independence.

Towards 1992, Barcelona gained recognition internationally when they hosted the 1992 Summer Olympic Gamesas well as world classconferences and exposition together with several international sport tournaments, which brought about a massive enhancement to its tourism industry.

Old City to Modern – Preserve and Celebrate the Ancient

This led to the change in the city in ways which are seen today with neighbourhoods renovated with a focus of modern design in all aspects of life in Barcelona right from public buildings to the simple park and its surroundings. Earlier visitors can see the amazing change from the old city to modern that has taken place while simultaneously the new elements work to preserve as well as celebrate the ancient.

Besides this, the city is full of what the European cities are famous for, like outdoor markets, shops, churches, museums, restaurants and is exciting to walk together with and extensive reliable Metro system for distant destinations.

The main centre of town focused around the Ciutat Vella or the Old City is sheer enjoyment for those interested in experiencing the life of Barcelona. The beaches provide sun and a time for relaxing during the long period of warm weather.
Barcelona – World’s leading Tourist Destination

Barcelona is also the world’s leading tourist, trade fair, exhibition, economic and cultural sports centres along with its influence in commerce, education, media, fashion, entertainment, science and art, all of which have added their contribution in making it one of the world’s major global cities.

Besides this, it is also a cultural and an economic centre in south-western Europe – Iberian Peninsula. Barcelona is a transport hub having one of Europe’s main seaports, an international airport that handles over 35 million passengers every year along with extensive motorway network together with high speed rail line that links to France and the whole of Europe.

From its entertainment point of view, Barcelona hosts several annual fiestas, most of which are unique to Catalonia, offering great insight into its distinctive culture, some of which worth mentioning are Cavalcada de Reis which is a majestic float parade of the Three Wise Men, held on the evening of January 5 each year. Sonar is an annual three day music festival described officially as a festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art where music is the main aspect of the festival and runs for three days and nights, starting in the third week of June on a Thursday.

Great Architecture and Beaches

Barcelona is an amazing and accessible modern city with great architecture, good food and museum. It is known to be a perfect beach city and is both a 24 hour metropolis and a family oriented city. One can travel easily by public transport or walk around the city.

For those interested in getting a real taste of Barcelona, can join a group of English speaking local guide for free sightseeing expeditions and in addition to explore major landmarks and famous streets, the local guides are available who can provide tips, recommendations as well as stories to enrich the tourist with information since they are well versed in the life of their city and are passionate about their city offering tours which are both educational as well as full of fun.

The city is worth visiting during off season and is lovely even in winter during the months of January and February when the possibility of rain is less. It is during these months that the city is not too cold with sunny and blue skies. The temperature of 19-23 degree Centigrade is considered comfortable weather, the normal temperature during April and June and late September to November, is the best time to visit Barcelona.

Innovative Boat Lifts and Docks

Waterfront homes are often prized because of the opportunity to launch boats and watercraft directly from a private backyard. However, some shores may be rough or uneven. Certain waterfront terrains are not suitable for launching boats. Similarly, there are parks that also pose some challenges in bringing watercraft in and out of bodies of water such as lakes, rivers and ponds.

With boat lifts, launching watercraft is made easy from any type of terrain. For example, some shores may have steep drops of several feet. Certainly, it does not make sense to simply vertically drop a small boat into the water and risk damaging the hull and other components. A boat lift is designed to offer a smooth and safe way of moving watercraft into and out water from elevations.

Stainless steel cables are used to secure boats to the hooks that are connected to boat lifts. Vertical screw drive boat lifts have components that precisely lower and lift watercraft. Heavy duty marine batteries provide the necessary power to deliver direct current to a small motor that's attached to the boat lift. Aluminum makes up the frame of a boat lift that is designed to stand in place while handling heavy loads of thousands of pounds. and other sites are examples of suppliers of boat lifts and other marine structures.
Innovative modular docks are also available for installation on waterfront properties. Sectional metallic docks with wheels can be easily assembled, disassembled and transported in order to conveniently launch watercraft.

Math and Science Class... On Vacation?

There is a lot of talk lately about the importance of STEM classes and the fact that US is lagging behind in math and science scores, students, and potential employees. If this is the future, how do you get your kids to thrive with these subjects, and to understand all the places where they can be useful? One great way to do this is to take the concepts far beyond the classroom, and let the kids be around them at home and on vacation.

Planning a road trip? Have them calculate the fuel efficiency of the car, and to plan the route, looking at the different speed limits of each possible road, plus the distance traveled, to see which one is truly the quickest. Headed somewhere exotic like the Galapagos? Read Darwin's seminal work with them, discuss it, and bring a digital guide to the plants and animals. Let them bring the tablet or smart phone with them when they ID the animals. To make sure they've identified the tortoise, finch, lizard or other animal correctly, they need only to click here.

Vacations can also be designed to inspire young scientists or mathematicians. Budding engineers might love a trip to NASA or the racetrack to watch how machine design can change the world. Charity vacations can be taken to help design and make solar well pumps in Africa with teens. Kids can go to the mountain tops for a fossil or archaeology dig, and learn how to identify artifacts. If your child can dream it, you can see it close up. Not only can it be fun, but the difference in the classroom and their future can be life-changing.