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Posts Tagged ‘UNESCO World Heritage Sites’


Vietnam Visa Requirements to Visit Hoi An

October 24th, 2010
This week's featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is a gorgeous example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating back to the 15th through the 19th centuries. During those years, Hoi An was a famous port of call for traders searching for silk, spices, porcelain, traditional Chinese remedies, tea and other goods. Eventually, many merchants from China and Japan came to live in Hoi An full-time and brought their families. The city ceased to be an important trading port after the 19th century, when silt made the Thu Bon River impassable for large ships. Now, it's a beautifully preserved tourist town, with shops and hotels surrounding a traditional city center. The historic area, called Hoi An Ancient Town, was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The UNESCO website calls it "an outsta

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Belarus Embassy Requirements to See Mir Castle Complex

October 17th, 2010
This week's featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Belarus. Constructed in the latter part of the 15th century, Mir Castle Complex is like something out of a fairy tale. This stunning castle was expanded and updated in the 16th century, and contains Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, including turrets, towers and a drawbridge. According to the UNESCO World Heritage site,  "Mir Castle is an exceptional example of a central European castle, reflecting in its design and layout successive cultural influences (Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance) that blend harmoniously to create an impressive monument to the history of this region." Want to check out  Mir Castle? First, you'll need to acquire a visa from the Belarus embassy. Apply before your trip, as you will not be able to

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Armenian Visa Requirements to Visit the Monastery of Geghard

October 3rd, 2010
This week's featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is a charming old monastery carved into the side of a mountain in Armenia. The monastery of Geghard dates back to the 4th century AD, when it was founded by Gregory the Illuminator, the man responsible for Armenia's adoption of Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. However, most of the buildings in the monastery were built later. The main chapel, for example, was constructed in 1215 AD. The original 4th century construction consisted of rooms and chambers carved out of a cave that surrounded a sacred spring. Although the original cave cell housing the spring is still there, little else is left of the original monastery, as it was all destroyed by earthquakes or Arab invaders. The monastery is home to an ancient spear, supposedly

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Chinese Visa Requirements to See the Temple of Confucius

September 21st, 2010
As you probably already know, Confucius was an extremely influential Chinese philosopher. His philosophy emphasized the importance of honoring family and tradition, but also the importance of treating other people with kindness, empathy and respect. He lived from 551 to 479 BC. Although we don't have any manuscripts written by Confucius, his teachings were preserved by his students and compiled into the Analects. However, don't bother reading the Analects if you're looking for the short, pithy quotes that Westerners often jokingly attribute to Confucius. Per Wikipedia, here are some things Confucius actually did say: "To know your faults and be able to change is the greatest virtue." "What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others." "Knowledge is recognizing what you

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Mali Visa Requirements to Visit Timbuktu

September 17th, 2010
Like most American children, I grew up hearing the word "Timbuktu" used as shorthand to describe somewhere very exotic and very far away. I had no idea it was a real place until I got older and started studying geography-it might as well have been located in Never-Never Land. Timbuktu is real, and it's actually located in Africa, in the country of Mali. This week's featured UNESCO World Heritage Site, Timbuktu was once one of Africa's most important centers of trade and learning. Founded by a group of nomads sometime in the 10th century, Timbuktu was originally a place for them to camp with their cattle during the dry season. Over the centuries, it grew, and since it was located near the Niger River and the crossroads of trans-Saharan trade routes for gold, ivory, salt and slaves, it e

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