Top Ten German Attractions

Top Ten German Attractions

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       Germany consists of 16 states with its capital and largest city being Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 square km (137,847 sq mi.) and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 80.3 million inhabitants, it is the most populous member state in the European Union. Germany is the major economic and political power of the European continent and a historic leader in many cultural, theoretical and technical fields. Various Germanic tribes occupied what is now northern Germany and southern Scandinavia since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented by the Romans before AD 100. During the Migration Period that coincided with the decline of the Roman Empire, the Germanic tribes expanded southward and established kingdoms throughout much of Europe. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the center of the Protestant Reformation. Occupied during the Napoleonic Wars, the rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in the unification of most of the German states in 1871 into the German Empire, which was dominated by Prussia. After the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and the subsequent military surrender in WWI, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic in 1918, with some of its territory partitioned in the Treaty of Versailles. Despite its lead in many scientific and cultural fields at this time, Germany nonetheless endured significant economic and political instability, which intensified during the Great Depression and contributed to the establishment of the Third Reich in 1933. The subsequent rise of fascism led to WWII. After 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation, and evolved into two states, East Germany and West Germany. In 1990, the country was reunified. Germany has the world’s 4th largest economy by nominal GDP and the 5th largest by purchasing power parity. Known for its rich cultural and political history, Germany has been the home of many influential philosophers, music composers, scientists, and inventors.

  1. Berlin
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            Berlin is the capital city of Germany and one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.4 million people, Berlin is Germany’s largest city and is the 2nd most populous city proper and the 7th most populous urban area in the European Union. Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one third of the city’s area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes. Berlin became the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–33) and the Third Reich (1933–45). During the 1920’s, Berlin was the third largest municipality in the world. After WWII, the city, along with the German state, was divided – into East Berlin, capital of the German Democratic Republic, colloquially identified in English as East Germany, and West Berlin, a political exclave (surrounded by the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989) and a de facto (although not de jure) state of the Federal Republic of Germany, known colloquially in English as West Germany from 1949 to 1990. Following German reunification in 1990, the city was once more designated as the capital of all Germany. Berlin is a world city of culture, politics, media, and science, hosting 147 foreign embassies. Its economy is primarily based on high-tech industries and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations, and convention venues. Significant industries include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, biotechnology, electronics, traffic engineering, and renewable energy. Berlin is home to renowned universities, research institutes, orchestras, museums, and celebrities and is host to many sporting events. Its urban setting and historical legacy have made it a popular location for international film productions. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts, public transportation networks, and an extremely high quality of living.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Cities, Top Ten European Cities, Top Ten Party Cities, Top Ten Opera Houses,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin,
  2. Munich
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    Munich is the capital and largest city of the German state of Bavaria. It is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the 3rd largest city in Germany, behind Berlin and Hamburg. About 1.5 million people live within the city limits. Its inhabitants are sometimes called Munichers in English. Its native name, München, is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning “by the monks’ place.” The city’s name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city’s coat of arms. Black and gold, the colors of the Holy Roman Empire, have been the city’s official colors since the time of Ludwig the Bavarian. Munich was first mentioned in 1158. From 1255 the city was seat of the Bavarian Dukes, it was an imperial residence from 1328 and in 1506 became the sole capital of Bavaria. Munich is home to many national and international authorities and major universities, major museums and theaters. By a large number of architecture worth seeing, international sports events, exhibitions and congresses and the Munich Oktoberfest is an attraction for tourism. The city’s motto is “München mag dich” (Munich loves you). Before 2006, it was “Weltstadt mit Herz” (Cosmopolitan city with a heart). Modern Munich is a financial and publishing hub, and a frequently top-ranked destination for migration and expatriate location in livability rankings. Munich is one of the economically most successful and fastest growing cities in Germany and the seat of numerous corporations and insurance companies. For economic and social innovation, the city was ranked 15th globally out of 289 cities in 2010.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Cities, Top Ten European Cities, Top Ten Arenas,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich,
  3. Frankfurt
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    Frankfurt am Main, commonly known as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the 5th largest city in Germany, with a 2012 population of 687,775. Frankfurt is the largest financial center in continental Europe and ranks among the world’s leading financial centers. It is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and several large commercial banks. The European Central Bank is the central bank of the eurozone, consisting of 17 EU member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is one of the world’s largest stock exchanges by market capitalization and accounts for over 90% of the turnover in the German market. Frankfurt is therefore considered a global city (alpha world city) as listed by the Loughborough University group’s 2010 inventory. Among financial centers it was ranked 7th by the International Financial Centers Development Index 2012 and 10th by the Global Financial Centers Index 2013. Due to its central location within Germany and Europe, Frankfurt is a major air, rail and highway transport hub. Frankfurter Kreuz, the Autobahn interchange close to the airport, is the most heavily used interchange in the EU with approximately 320,000 cars daily. Major trade fairs include the Frankfurt Motor Show, the world’s largest motor show, and the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest book fair. Frankfurt is also home to many cultural and educational institutions including the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University and Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, many museums (e.g. Städel, Naturmuseum Senckenberg, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Goethe House), and two major botanical gardens, the Palmengarten, which is Germany’s largest, and the Botanical Garden of the Goethe University. In 2011, the human-resource-consulting firm Mercer ranked Frankfurt as seventh in its annual “Quality of Living” survey of cities around the world. A unique feature of Frankfurt is its significant number of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings in the city center which form the Frankfurt skyline.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt,
  4. Hamburg
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    Hamburg is the 2nd largest city in Germany and the 9th largest city in the European Union. It is home to over 1.8 million people, while the Hamburg Metropolitan Region (including parts of the neighboring Federal States of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein) has more than 5 million inhabitants. On the river Elbe, the port of Hamburg is the 2nd largest port in Europe (after the Port of Rotterdam) and 10th largest worldwide. The official name reflects its history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire, and that it is a city-state, and one of the 16 states of Germany. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a fully sovereign state. Prior to the constitutional changes in 1919, the stringent civic republic was ruled by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten. Hamburg is a major transport hub and is one of the most affluent cities in Europe. It has become a media and industrial center, with plants and facilities belonging to Airbus, Blohm + Voss and Aurubis. Hamburg has been an important financial center for centuries, and is the seat of the world’s 2nd oldest bank, Berenberg Bank. The city is a major tourist destination for both domestic and overseas visitors; it ranked 17th in the world for livability in 2012, and in 2010 it ranked 10th in the world.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamburg,
  5. Cologne
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    Cologne is Germany’s 4th largest city (after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich), and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area. Cologne is located on both sides of the Rhine River. The city’s famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne and the University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln) is one of Europe’s oldest and largest universities. Cologne was founded and established in the first century AD, as the Roman Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium in Ubii territory. It was the capital of the Roman province of Germania Inferior and the headquarters of the military in the region until occupied by the Franks in 462. During the Middle Ages it flourished as one of the most important major trade routes between east and west in Europe. Cologne was one of the leading members of the Hanseatic League and one of the largest cities north of the Alps in medieval and renaissance times. Up until WWII the city had undergone several other occupations by the French and also the British. Cologne was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during WWII. The bombing reduced the population by 95% and destroyed almost the entire city. With the intention of restoring as many historic buildings as possible, the rebuilding has resulted in a very mixed and unique cityscape. Cologne is a major cultural center of the Rhineland; it is home to more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Cologne Trade Fair hosts a number of trade shows such as Art Cologne, imm Cologne, Gamescom, and the Photokina.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cologne,
  6. Düsseldorf
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           Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and center of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. Düsseldorf is an international business and financial center and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located centrally within the European Megalopolis, the city is headquarters to five Fortune Global 500 and several DAX companies. Messe Düsseldorf organizes nearly one fifth of all world‘s premier trade shows. Culturally, Düsseldorf is known for its academy of fine arts (Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, e.g. Joseph Beuys, Emanuel Leutze, August Macke, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Andreas Gursky), its pioneering influence on electronic music (Kraftwerk) and its large Japanese community. As a city by the river Rhine, Düsseldorf is a stronghold for Rhenish Carnival celebrations. Every year in July more than 4.5 million people visit the city’s Largest Fair on the Rhine funfair. As the 7th most populous city in Germany by population within city limits and an urban population of 1.5 million, Düsseldorf is one of the country’s five global cities. The Mercer’s 2011 Quality of Living survey of cities with the highest quality of life ranked Düsseldorf 5th worldwide and 2nd in Germany.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Cities, Top Ten European Citieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dusseldorf,
  7. Stuttgart
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    Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The 6th largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 613,392 (December 2011) while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million (2008). Stuttgart is spread across a variety of hills (some of them vineyards), valleys and parks – unusual for a German city and often a source of surprise to visitors who primarily associate the city with its industrial reputation as the ‘cradle of the automobile.’ The city of Stuttgart ranked 30th globally in Mercer’s 2010 liveability rankings, and 7th in Germany behind top-ranked cities such as Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich. For economic and social innovation, the city was ranked 11th globally, second in Germany after Hamburg and 7th in Europe in 2009 out of 256 cities. Under current plans to improve transport links to the international infrastructure, in March 2008 the city unveiled a new logo and slogan, describing itself as “Das neue Herz Europas” (“The new heart of Europe”). For business, it describes itself as “Standort Zukunft,” “Where business meets the future”), and in 2007, the Bürgermeister marketed Stuttgart to foreign investors as “The creative power of Germany.”
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuttgart,
  8. Dresden
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    Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area with 2.4 million inhabitants. Dresden has a long history as the capital and royal residence for the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who for centuries furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor. The city was known as the Jewel Box, because of its baroque and rococo city center. The controversial British and American bombing of Dresden in WWII towards the end of the war killed at least 25,000 civilians and destroyed the entire city center. The impact of the bombing ruined the face of the city, as did for other major German cities. After the war Restoration work has helped to reconstruct the historic inner city, including the Katholische Hofkirche, the Semper Oper and the Dresdner Frauenkirche as well as the suburbs. The city now is fully restored to its former glory. Before and Since German reunification in 1990, Dresden was and is one of the most cultural, educational, political and economic centers of Germany and Europe. The Dresden University of Technology is one of the 10 largest universities in Germany and part of the German Universities Excellence Initiative.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten CitiesTop Ten European Cities, Sculptures, Top 100 Sculptures, Top 100 European SculpturesPalaces, Top Ten Palaces, Top Ten European Palaceshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dresden,
  9. Walhalla Temple, Bavaria
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           The Walhalla temple is a hall of fame that honors laudable and distinguished Germans, famous personalities in German history, politicians, sovereigns, scientists and artists of the German tongue. The hall is housed in a neo-classical building above the Danube River, east of Regensburg, in Bavaria, Germany. The Walhalla temple is named for Valhalla of Norse mythology. It was conceived in 1807 by Crown Prince Ludwig, who built it upon ascending the throne of Bavaria as King Ludwig I. Construction took place between 1830 and 1842, under the supervision of architect Leo von Klenze. The temple displays some 65 plaques and 130 busts of persons, covering 2,000 years of history, the earliest person honored is Arminius, victor at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (9 AD).
    Links: Temples, Top Ten Temples, Top Ten European Temples, Top 100 Sculptors, Top 100 European Sculptures, Top Ten German Sculptures, Top 100 Busts, Top 100 Scientist, Top Ten Scientific Theories, Top Ten Composers, Top Ten Compositions by Beethoven, Top Ten Friezes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walhalla_temple,
  10. Oktoberfest
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    ‘Octoberfest is the world’s largest fair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. To the locals, it is not called Oktoberfest, but “die Wies’n,” after the colloquial name of the fairgrounds (Theresienwiese) themselves. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the original Munich event. The Munich Oktoberfest originally took place during the 16 days up to, and including, the first Sunday in October. In 1994, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival would go on until October 3 (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the first Sunday is October 2 and 18 days when it is October 1. In 2010, the festival lasted until the first Monday in October, to mark the anniversary of the event. The festival is held in an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called Wiesn for short, located near Munich’s center. Visitors may also enjoy a wide variety of traditional food such as Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezen (pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Rotkohl/Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage). Probst!
    Links: Events, Top Ten Oktoberfests, Top 100 Events of the Year, Top Ten Fairs,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oktoberfest,
  11. Aachen
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           Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favored residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost city of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, 65 km (40 mi) west of Cologne. RWTH Aachen University, one of Germany’s Universities of Excellence, is located in the city. Aachen’s predominant economic focus is on science, engineering, information technology and related sectors. In 2009, Aachen was ranked 8th among cities in Germany for innovation.
    Links: The Pineal Gland, Sun Gazing, DMT and OM, Top Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Dome Interiors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aachen,
  12. Bremen
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    The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the River Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region (2.4 million people). Bremen is the 2nd most populous city in Northern Germany and 10th in Germany. Bremen is some 60 km (37 mi) south from the Weser mouth on the North Sea. With Bremerhaven right on the mouth the two comprise the state of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bremen,
  13. Rhine Gorge
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    The Rhine Gorge is a popular name for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a 65 km section of the River Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen in Germany. The region’s rocks were laid down in the Devonian period and are known as Rhenish Facies. The gorge was carved out during a much more recent uplift to leave the river contained within steep walls 200 m high, the most famous feature being the Loreley. The gorge produces its own microclimate and has acted as a corridor for species not otherwise found in the region. Its slopes have long been terraced for agriculture, in particular viticulture which has good conditions on south-facing slopes. Most of the vineyards belong to the wine region Mittelrhein, but the southernmost parts of the Rhine Gorge fall in Rheingau and Nahe. The river has been an important trade route into central Europe since prehistoric times and a string of small settlements has grown up along the banks. Constrained in size, many of these old towns retain a historic feel today. With increasing wealth, many castles appeared and the valley became a core region of the Holy Roman Empire. It was at the center of the Thirty Years’ War, which left many of the castles in ruins, a particular attraction for today’s cruise ships which follow the river. At one time forming a border of France, in the 19th Century the valley became part of Prussia and its landscape became the quintessential image of Germany. This part of the Rhine features strongly in folklore, such as a legendary castle on the Rhine being the setting for the opera Götterdämmerung. The annual Rhine in Flames festivals include spectacular firework displays at Sankt Goar in September and Koblenz in August, the best view being from one of a convoy of boats.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhine_Gorge,
  14. Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe
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           Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is a unique landscape park in Kassel, Germany. Art historian Georg Dehio (1850–1932), inspirator of the modern discipline of historic preservation, described the park as “possibly the most grandiose combination of landscape and architecture that the Baroque dared anywhere.” The area of the park is 2.4 square km (590 acres), making it the largest European hillside park, and 2nd largest park on a mountain slope in the world. Construction of the Bergpark, or “mountain park,” began in 1696 at the behest of the Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel and took about 150 years.
    Links: Top Ten Parks, Pyramids, Top Ten Pyramids, Top Ten European Pyramids,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergpark_Wilhelmsh%C3%B6he,
  15. Margravial Opera House
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    The Margravial Opera House or Margrave’s Opera House is a Baroque opera house in the town of Bayreuth, Germany, built between 1744 and 1748 by Joseph Saint-Pierre. It is one of Europe’s few surviving theaters of the period and has been extensively restored. The interior was designed by Giuseppe Galli Bibiena and his son Carlo of Bologna in the late Baroque style. Princess Wilhelmine of Prussia, wife of the Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, participated here as writer, player, composer, actor and director. Today she features in a sound-and-light presentation for tourists. The stage’s great depth (27 m) attracted Richard Wagner, who later had his Bayreuth Festspielhaus built north of the town. Each September from the year 2000 to 2009, the theater hosted the Bayreuther Baroque festival, with performances of early operatic rarities. The 2009 festival included performances of Andrea Bernasconi’s festa teatrale, L’Huomo, to a libretto by the Margravine Wilhelmine. The theater will close in August of 2012 for extensive refurbishment and redevelopment, a process which is expected to take several years to complete.
    Links: Top Ten Opera Houses, Top Ten Operas by Richard Wagner,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margravial_Opera_House,
  16. Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces
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    The Augustusburg and Falkenlust palaces is a historical building complex in Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. They are connected by the spacious gardens and trees of the Schlosspark. Augustusburg Palace and its parks also serve as a venue for the Brühl Palace Concerts. The Max Ernst Museum is located nearby. The palaces were built at the beginning of the 18th century by the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, Clemens August of Bavaria of the Wittelsbach family. The architects were Johann Conrad Schlaun and François de Cuvilliés. The main block Augustusburg Palace is a U-shaped building with three main stories and two levels of attics. The magnificent staircase was designed by Johann Balthasar Neumann. The gardens were designed by Dominique Girard. An elaborate flower garden for an area south of the palaces was also designed, but it was restructured by Peter Joseph Lenné in the 19th century and turned into a landscape garden. Attempts to renovate the area have proven difficult, due to poor source material availability. Falkenlust was built from 1729 to 1740, in the style of the Amalienburg hunting lodge in the park of Nymphenburg Palace by François de Cuvilliés. From shortly after WWII until 1994, Augustusburg was used as a reception hall for guests of state by the German President, as it is not far from Bonn, which was the capital of Germany at that time.
    Links: Palaces, Top Ten Palaces, Top Ten European Palaces,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustusburg_and_Falkenlust_Palaces,_Br%C3%BChl,
  17. Berlin Wall
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    The Berlin Wall was a concrete barrier built by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) that completely enclosed the city of West Berlin, separating it from East Germany. The Wall included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) that contained anti-vehicle trenches, “fakir beds” and other defenses. The separate and much longer Inner German border demarcated the border between East and West Germany. Both borders came to symbolize the Iron Curtain between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc. Before the Wall’s erection, 3.5 million East Germans had avoided Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin. From West Berlin, emigrants could travel to West Germany and other Western European countries. During its existence from 1961 to 1989, the Wall stopped almost all such emigration and separated the GDR from West Berlin for more than a quarter of a century. After its erection, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the wall, with estimates of the resulting death toll varying between around 100 and 200. The Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the “Anti-Fascist Protection Wall” by the communist GDR authorities, implying that neighboring West Germany had not been fully de-Nazified. The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the “Wall of Shame,” a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt while condemning the wall’s restriction on freedom of movement. In 1989, there were a radical series of Eastern Bloc political changes associated with the liberalization of the Bloc’s authoritarian systems. After several weeks of local civil unrest following the erosion of political power of the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary, the East German government announced on November 9, 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, a euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of the rest. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification.
    Links: Top Ten Walls, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Berlin_Wall,
  18. Quedlinburg
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    Quedlinburg is a town located north of the Harz mountains, in the district of Harz in the west of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. In 1994 the medieval court and the old town was set on the UNESCO world heritage list. Until 2007 it was the capital of the district of Quedlinburg. Some places in town with Romanesque architecture are part of the holiday route Romanesque Road, such as St. Servatius’ church at the castles hill, St. Wigbert’s church down the valley and St Marie’s church on the Montsion’s hill (Münzenberg).
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quedlinburg,
  19. Weimar
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    Weimar is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany, 170 km (106 miles) west of Dresden. Weimar is well known because of its large cultural heritage and its importance in German history. The city was a focal point of the German Enlightenment and home of the leading characters of the literary genre of Weimar Classicism, the writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. In the 19th century, famous composers like Franz Liszt made a music center of Weimar and later, artists and architects like Henry van de Velde, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Walter Gropius came to the city and found the Bauhaus, the most important German design school of interwar period. Weimar is the place where Germany’s first democratic constitution was signed after the WWI, giving its name to the Weimar Republic period in German politics (1918–1933), as well as one of the cities that got mystified by the National Socialist propaganda. Next to the city was, Buchenwald, one of the largest Nazi concentration camps in Germany. Until 1948, Weimar was the capital of Thuringia. Today, many places in the city centre have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites (either as part of the Weimar Classicism complex or as part of the Bauhaus complex) and tourism is one of the leading economic sectors of Weimar. Relevant institutions in Weimar are the Bauhaus University, the Liszt School of Music, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library and two leading courts of Thuringia (Supreme Administrative Court and Constitutional Court). In 1999, Weimar was the European Capital of Culture.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar,
  20. Würzburg Palace
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    The Würzburg Residence is a palace in Würzburg, southern Germany. Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt and Maximilian von Welsch, representatives of the Austrian/South German Baroque were involved in the construction, as well as Robert de Cotte and Germain Boffrand, who were followers of the French Style. Balthasar Neumann, architect of the court of the Bishop of Würzburg, was the principal architect of the Residenz, which was commissioned by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn and his brother Friedrich Carl von Schönborn in 1720, and completed in 1744. The Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, assisted by his son, Domenico, painted frescoes in the building. Interiors include the grand staircase, the chapel, and the grand salon. The building was dubbed the “nicest parsonage in Europe” by Napoleon. It was heavily damaged during WWII, and restoration has been in progress since 1945.
    Links: Palaces, Top Ten Palaces, Top Ten European Palaces,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C3%BCrzburg_Residence,
  21. Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm
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    The Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm, also known as the English Grounds of Wörlitz, is one of the first and largest English parks in Germany and continental Europe. It was created in the late 18th century under the regency of Duke Leopold III of Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817), returning from a Grand Tour to Italy, the Netherlands, England, France and Switzerland he had undertaken together with his friend architect Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff. Both strongly influenced by the ideals of The Enlightenment, they aimed to overcome the formal garden concept of the Baroque era in favor of a naturalistic landscape as they had seen at Stourhead Gardens and Ermenonville. Today the cultural landscape of Dessau-Wörlitz encompasses an area of 142 km2 (55 sq mi) within the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.
    Links: Top Ten Gardens, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dessau-W%C3%B6rlitz_Garden_Realm,
  22. Bamberg
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    Bamberg is a town in Bavaria, Germany, located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_of_Bamberg,
  23. Wartburg Castle
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    The Wartburg is a castle situated on a 1230-foot (410-m) precipice to the southwest of, and overlooking the town of Eisenach, in the state of Thuringia, Germany. In 1999 UNESCO added Wartburg Castle to the World Heritage List as an “Outstanding Monument of the Feudal Period in Central Europe,” citing its “Cultural Values of Universal Significance.”
    Links: Castles, Top Ten Castles, Top Ten European Castleshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wartburg_Castle,
  24. Speyer Cathedral
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    The Speyer Cathedral, officially the Imperial Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption and St Stephen, in Speyer, Germany, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Speyer and is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Bamberg. The cathedral, which is dedicated to St. Mary, patron saint of Speyer and St. Stephen is generally known as Kaiserdom zu Speyer (Imperial Cathedral of Speyer). Pope Pius XI raised Speyer Cathedral to the rank of a minor basilica of the Roman Catholic Church in 1925. Begun in 1030 under Conrad II, with the east end and high vault of 1090-1103, the imposing triple-aisled vaulted basilica of red sandstone is the “culmination of a design which was extremely influential in the subsequent development of Romanesque architecture during the 11th and 12th centuries.” As the burial site for Salian, Staufer and Habsburg emperors and kings the cathedral is regarded as a symbol of imperial power. With the Abbey of Cluny in ruins, it remains the largest Romanesque church. It is considered to be “a turning point in European architecture,” one of the most important architectural monuments of its time and one of the finest Romanesque monuments.
    Links: Top Ten Cathedrals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speyer_Cathedral,
  25. Frontiers of the Roman Empire
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    Hadrian’s Wall was built in 122 AD and the Antonine Wall was constructed in 142 AD to defend the Roman Empire from “barbarians.” The World Heritage Site was previously listed as Hadrian’s Wall alone, but was later expanded to include all the frontiers of the Roman Empire at its zenith in the 2nd century, ranging from Antonine’s Wall in the north to Trajan’s Wall in eastern Europe.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_Germany,
  26. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany,

Top Ten Greek Attractions

Top Ten Greek Attractions

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       Greece is a country in Southern Europe, with a population around 11 million. Athens is the nation’s capital and largest city. Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Western Asia, and Africa, and shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the northeast. The country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Epirus, the Aegean Islands (including the Dodecanese and Cyclades), Thrace, Crete, and the Ionian Islands. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km (8,498 mi) in length, featuring a vast number of islands (approximately 1,400, of which 227 are inhabited). 80% of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest, at 2,917 m (9,570 ft.). Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of Ancient Greece, which is considered the cradle of all Western civilization. As such, it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, and Western drama, including both tragedy and comedy. The cultural and technological achievements of Greece greatly influenced the world, with many aspects of Greek civilization being imparted to the East through Alexander the Great’s campaigns, and to the West through the Roman Empire. The modern Greek state, which comprises much of the historical core of Greek civilization, was established in 1830 following the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire. Greece is a democratic, developed country with an advanced, high-income economy, a high standard of living and a very high Human Development Index. Greece is a founding member of the UN, has been a member of what is now the European Union since 1981 (and the eurozone since 2001), and has been a member of NATO since 1952. Greece’s economy is also the largest in the Balkans, where Greece is an important regional investor.

  1. Athens
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           Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece dominating the Attica region. It is one of the world’s oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years. Classical Athens, as a landlocked location was a powerful city-state that emerged in conjunction with the seagoing development of the port of Piraeus. A center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC in later centuries on the rest of the then known European continent. Today a cosmopolitan metropolis, modern Athens is central to economic, financial, industrial, political and cultural life in Greece. In 2012, Athens was ranked the world’s 39th richest city by purchasing power and the 77th most expensive. The city of Athens has a population of 664,046 (796,442 in 2004) within its administrative limits and a land area of 39 km2 (15 sq mi). Athens is also the southernmost capital on the European mainland. The heritage of the classical era is still evident in the city, represented by ancient monuments and works of art, the most famous of all being the Parthenon, considered a key landmark of early Western civilization. The city also retains Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of Ottoman monuments. Athens is also home to the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. Landmarks of the modern era, dating back to the establishment of Athens as the capital of the independent Greek state in 1834, include the Hellenic Parliament (19th century) and the Athens Trilogy, consisting of the National Library of Greece, the Athens University and the Academy of Athens. Athens was the host city of the first modern-day Olympic Games in 1896, and 108 years later it welcomed home the 2004 Summer Olympics. Athens is home to the National Archaeological Museum, featuring the world’s largest collection of ancient Greek antiquities, as well as the new Acropolis Museum.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Cities, Top Ten European Cities, Top Ten Columns/Pillars,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens,
  2. Santorini
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           Santorini, officially Thira, is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast from Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 square km (28 square mi) and a 2001 census population of 13,670. The municipality of Santorini comprises the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 square km (34.990 square mi). Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit. Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements, on a formerly single island and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft.) high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the 4th side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected to the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest. The caldera being 400 m deep makes it impossible for all but the largest ships to anchor anywhere in the protected bay; there is, however, a newly built marina in Vlychada on the southwestern coast. The principal port is called Athinias. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The volcanic rocks present from the prior eruptions feature olivine and have a notably small presence of hornblende. It is the most active volcanic center in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera. The volcanic arc is approximately 500 km (310 mi) long and 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi) wide. The region first became volcanically active around 3–4 million years ago, though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lava from vents around the Akrotiri. The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of feet deep.
    Links: Top Ten Islands, Top Ten Greek ArtifactsTop 100 HousesTop Ten Minoan Artifacts,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santorini,
  3. Thessaloniki
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    Thessaloniki, often referred to internationally as Salonica, is the 2nd largest city in Greece and the capital of the geographic region of Greek Macedonia. Its honorific title is Συμπρωτεύουσα (Symprotévousa), literally “co-capital,” and stands as a reference to its historical status as the Συμβασιλεύουσα (Symvasilévousa) or “co-reigning” city of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, alongside Constantinople. The municipality of Thessaloniki has a population of 322,240, while the Thessaloniki Urban Area has a population of 790,824; making it the 5th largest and most populated city in the Balkans and the 2nd most populated city that is not a capital, after Istanbul. Thessaloniki is Greece’s 2nd major economic, industrial, commercial and political center, and a major transportation hub for the rest of southeastern Europe; its commercial port is also of great importance for Greece and the southeastern European hinterland. The city is renowned for its festivals, events and vibrant cultural life in general, and is considered to be Greece’s cultural capital. Events such as the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival are held annually, while the city also hosts the largest bi-annual meeting of the Greek diaspora. In 2014 Thessaloniki will be the European Youth Capital. Founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon, Thessaloniki’s history spans some 2,300 years. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the 2nd largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire. Thessaloniki is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, as well as several Roman, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish structures. The city’s main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans. Thessaloniki is a popular tourist destination in Greece and in 2010, ranked 5th in Lonely Planet’s best party cities in the world, comparable to other cities such as Dubai and Montreal.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Cities, Top Ten European Cities, Top Ten Party Cities,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thessaloniki,
  4. Rhodes
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    The City of Rhodes is a former municipality a popular tourist destination on the island of Rhodes, Dodecanese, Greece. It has a population of approximately 100,000 and has been famous since antiquity as the site of Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Colossus has been used in many poems, the most famous being Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The citadel of Rhodes, built by the Hospitalliers, is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_City_of_Rhodes,
  5. Olympia
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    Olympia, a sanctuary of ancient Greece in Elis, is known for having been the site of the Olympic Games in classical times, the most famous games in history. The Olympic Games were held every four years throughout Classical Antiquity, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The first Olympic Games were in honor of Zeus.
    Links: Top Ten Olympianshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympia,_Greece,
  6. Paros
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           Paros is an island of Greece in the central Aegean Sea. One of the Cyclades island group, it lies to the west of Naxos, from which it is separated by a channel about 8 km (5 mi) wide. It lies approximately 100 nmi (185 km) south-east of Piraeus. The Municipality of Paros includes numerous uninhabited offshore islets totaling 196.308 km² of land. Its nearest neighbor is the municipality of Antiparos, lying to its southwest. Historically, Paros was known for its fine white marble, which gave rise to the term “Parian” to describe marble or china of similar qualities. Today, abandoned marble quarries and mines can be found on the island, but Paros is primarily known as a popular tourist spot.
    Links: Top Ten Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paros,
  7. Delphi
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    Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis. The site of Delphi was believed to be determined by Zeus when he sought to find the center of Grandmother Earth (or Gaia). He sent two eagles flying from the eastern and western extremities, and the path of the eagles crossed over Delphi where the omphalos, or navel of Gaia was found. Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and became a major site for the worship of the god Apollo after he slew Python, a dragon who lived there and protected the navel of the Earth.  Python is claimed by some to be the original name of the site in recognition of Python which Apollo defeated. The Homeric Hymn to Delphic Apollo recalled that the ancient name of this site had been Krisa. Apollo’s sacred precinct in Delphi was a panhellenic sanctuary, where every four years, starting in 586 BC athletes from all over the Greek world competed in the Pythian Games, one of the four panhellenic (or stephanitic) games, precursors of the Modern Olympics. The victors at Delphi were presented with a laurel crown (stephanos) which was ceremonially cut from a tree by a boy who re-enacted the slaying of the Python. Delphi was set apart from the other games sites because it hosted the mousikos agon, musical competitions. These Pythian Games rank second among the four stephanitic games chronologically and based on importance. These games, though, were different from the games at Olympia in that they were not of such vast importance to the city of Delphi as the games at Olympia were to the area surrounding Olympia. Delphi would have been a renowned city whether or not it hosted these games; it had other attractions that led to it being labeled the “omphalos” (navel) of the earth, in other words, the center of the world. In the inner hestia (“hearth”) of the Temple of Apollo, an eternal flame burned. After the battle of Plataea, the Greek cities extinguished their fires and brought new fire from the hearth of Greece, at Delphi; in the foundation stories of several Greek colonies, the founding colonists were first dedicated at Delphi.
    Links: Top Ten Oracles, Top Ten Psychics, Coins, Top 100 Coins, Top 100 European Coins,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi,
  8. Create and the Architecture of Knossos
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    Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 5th largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the 13 administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry, and music). Crete was once the center of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. Knossos, Knossus, or Cnossus is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and is considered Europe’s oldest city. The name Knossos survives from ancient Greek references to the major city of Crete. The identification of Knossos with the Bronze Age site is supported by tradition and by the Roman coins that were scattered over the fields surrounding the pre-excavation site, then a large mound named Kephala Hill, elevation 85 m (279 f.t) from current sea level. Many of them were inscribed with Knosion or Knos on the obverse and an image of a Minotaur or Labyrinth on the reverse, both symbols deriving from the myth of King Minos, supposed to have reigned from Knossos. The coins came from the Roman settlement of Colonia Julia Nobilis Cnossus, a Roman colony placed just to the north of, and politically including, Kephala. The Romans believed they had colonized Knossos. After excavation, the discovery of the Linear B tablets, and the decipherment of Linear B by Michael Ventris, the identification was confirmed by the reference to an administrative center, ko-no-so, Mycenaean Greek Knosos, undoubtedly the palace complex. The palace was built over a Neolithic town. During the Bronze Age, the town surrounded the hill on which the palace was built.
    Links: Top Ten Islands, Palaces, Top Ten Palaces, Top Ten European Palaces, Top Ten Minoan Artifacts,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crete,
  9. Mycenae
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    Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km (56 miles) southwest of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km (7 miles) to the south; Corinth, 48 km (30 miles) to the north. From the hill on which the palace was located, one can see across the Argolid to the Saronic Gulf. In the 2nd millennium BC, Mycenae was one of the major centers of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae.
    Links: Top Ten Mycenaean Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycenae,
  10. Corfu
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    Corfu is a city on the island of Corfu, Ionian Islands, Greece. The city serves as a capital for the region of the Ionian Islands. The city is a major tourist attraction, and has played an important role since the 8th century. The city has become known as a Kastropolis (Castle City) because of its two castles.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corfu_(city),
  11. Mt. Olympus, Greece
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    Mount Olympus (Greek: Όλυμπος Oros Olympos) is the highest mountain in Greece, located in the Olympus Range on the border between Thessaly and Macedonia, about 80 km (50 mi) southwest from Thessaloniki, Greece’s 2nd largest city. Mount Olympus has 52 peaks, the highest peak being Mytikas, meaning “nose,” rises to 2,917 m (9,570 ft.). It is one of the highest peaks in Europe in terms of topographic prominence. Mount Olympus is noted for its very rich flora with several species. It is a National Park of Greece and a World’s Biosphere Reserve.
    Links: Top Ten Mountains, Top Ten European Mountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Olympus,
  12. Meteora
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    The Metéora, “middle of the sky,” “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above” (etymologically related to “Meteorite”) is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka.
    Links: Top Ten Monasterieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora,
  13. Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos
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    The Pythagoreion is an ancient fortified port in Samos, Greece, which has transformed into a nice and tranquil city with charter and yacht tourism as its main industry today. It has three ports with a new marina and a dock for ferries and passenger boats to other islands like Pathmos and to mainland Greece and Turkey. It contains ancient Greek and Roman monuments and a famous ancient tunnel, the Tunnel of Eupalinos or Eupalinian aqueduct. The Heraion of Samos was a large sanctuary to the goddess Hera, in the southern region of Samos, Greece, 6 km southwest of the ancient city, in a low, marshy river basin near the sea. The Late Archaic Heraion of Samos was the first of the gigantic free-standing Ionic temples, but its predecessors at this site reached back to the Geometric Period of the 8th century BC, or earlier. The core myth at the heart of the cult of Hera at Samos is that of her birth. According to the local tradition, the goddess was born under a lygos tree. At the annual Samian festival called the Toneia, the “binding,” the cult image of Hera was ceremonially bound with lygos branches. The tree still featured on the coinage of Samos in Roman times.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoreion, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraion_of_Samos,
  14. Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and Nea Moni of Chios
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    Although geographically distant from each other, these three monasteries belong to the same typological series and share the same aesthetic characteristics. The churches are built on a cross-in-square plan with a large dome supported by squinches defining an octagonal space. In the 11th and 12th centuries they were decorated with superb marble works as well as mosaics on a gold background, all characteristic of the ‘second golden age of Byzantine art.’
    Links: Top Ten Monasteries, Top Ten Mosaics,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_Heritage_Sites_in_Greece,
  15. Delos
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    The island of Delos, near Mykonos, near the center of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece. The excavations in the island are among the most extensive in the Mediterranean; ongoing work takes place under the direction of the French School at Athens and many of the artifacts found are on display at the Archaeological Museum of Delos and the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Delos had a position as a holy sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. From its Sacred Harbor, the horizon shows the two conical mounds that have identified landscapes sacred to a goddess in other sites: one, retaining its pre-Greek name Mount Kynthos, is crowned with a sanctuary of Zeus. Established as a culture center, Delos had an importance that its natural resources could never have offered. In this vein Leto, searching for a birthing-place for Artemis and Apollo, addressed the island: “Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my son Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple; for no other will touch you, as you will find: and I think you will never be rich in oxen and sheep, nor bear vintage nor yet produce plants abundantly. But if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo, all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, and incessant savour of rich sacrifice will always arise, and you will feed those who dwell in you from the hand of strangers; for truly your own soil is not rich.” —Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo 51–60.
    Links: Islands, Top Ten Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delos,
  16. Mystras
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    Mystras is a fortified town and a former municipality in Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece. Situated on Mt. Taygetos, near ancient Sparta, it served as the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea in the 14th and 15th centuries, experiencing a period of prosperity and cultural flowering. The site remained inhabited throughout the Ottoman period, when it was mistaken by Western travelers for ancient Sparta. In the 1830’s, it was abandoned and the new town of Sparta was built, approximately 8 km to the east.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystras,
  17. Bassae
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    Bassae (Latin) or Bassai, Vassai or Vasses (Greek, Modern: Βάσσες, Ancient: Βάσσαι), meaning “little vale in the rocks.” is an archaeological site in the northeastern part of Messenia, Greece. In classical antiquity, it was part of Arcadia. Bassae lies near the village of Skliros, northeast of Figaleia, south of Andritsaina and west of Megalopolis. It is famous for the well-preserved mid- to late-5th century BC Temple of Apollo Epicurius. Although this temple is geographically remote from major polities of ancient Greece, it is one of the most studied ancient Greek temples because of its multitude of unusual features. Its construction is placed between 450 BC and 400 BC.
    Links: Top Ten Friezes, Top Ten Relieves, Top Ten European Relieves,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Apollo_Epicurius_at_Bassae,
  18. Vergina
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    Vergina is a small town in northern Greece, located in the regional unit of Imathia, Central Macedonia. The town became internationally famous in 1977, when the Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos unearthed the burial site of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. The finds established the site as the ancient Aigai. The modern town of Vergina is about 13 km (8 mi) southeast of the district center of Veroia and about 80 km (50 mi) southwest of Thessaloniki, the capital of Greek Macedonia. The town has a population of about 2,000 people and stands on the foothills of Mount Pieria, at an elevation of 120 m (394 ft.) above sea level.
    Links: Top Ten Warriors, Top Ten Generals, Top Ten Tombs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vergina,
  19. Monastery of St. John the Theologian
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    The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian is a Greek Orthodox monastery founded in 1088 in Chora on the island of Patmos. It is built on a spot venerated by both Catholics and Eastern Orthodox as the cave where St. John of Patmos had visions. In 2012, 40 monks reside there. In 1088, Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos gave the island of Patmos to the soldier-priest John Christodoulos. The greater part of the monastery was completed by Christodoulos three years later. He heavily fortified the exterior because of the threats of piracy and Seljuk Turks. 330 manuscripts are housed in the library (267 on parchment), 82 manuscript of the New Testament.
    Links: Top Ten Monasteries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monastery_of_Saint_John_the_Theologian,
  20. Epidaurus
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    Epidaurus was a small city in ancient Greece, at the Saronic Gulf. Two modern towns bear the name Epidavros (Επίδαυρος): Palaia Epidavros and Nea Epidavros. Since 2010 they belong to the new municipality of Epidavros, part of the regional unit of Argolis. The seat of the municipality is the town Asklipieio.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctuary_of_Asklepios_at_Epidaurus,
  21. Mount Athos
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    Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Greece. A World Heritage Site and autonomous polity in the Hellenic Republic, Athos is home to 20 stavropegial Eastern Orthodox monasteries under the direct jurisdiction of the patriarch of Constantinople. Today Greeks commonly refer to Mount Athos as the “Holy Mountain.” In Classical times, while the mountain was called Athos, the peninsula was called Akté (Ἀκτὴ) (sometimes Acte or Akte).
    Links: Top Ten Mountains, Top Ten European Mountains, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Athos,
  22. Treasury of Atreus
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    The Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon is an impressive “tholos” tomb on the Panagitsa Hill at Mycenae, Greece, constructed during the Bronze Age around 1250 BC. The lintel stone above the doorway weighs 120 tons, with approximate dimensions 8.3 x 5.2 x 1.2m, the largest in the world. Mentioned by Pausanias, it was still visible in 1879 when the German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the shaft graves under the ‘agora’ in the Acropolis at Mycenae. The tomb has probably no relationship with either Atreus or Agamemnon, as archaeologists believe that the sovereign buried there ruled at an earlier date than the two; it was named thus by Heinrich Schliemann and the name has been used ever since. The tomb perhaps held the remains of the sovereign who completed the reconstruction of the fortress or one of his successors. The grave is in the style of the other tholoi of the Mycenaean World, of which there are nine in total around the citadel of Mycenae and five more in the Argolid. However, in its monumental shape and grandeur it is one of the most impressive monuments surviving from Mycenaean Greece. With an interior height of 13.5m and a diameter of 14.5m, it was the tallest and widest dome in the world for over a thousand years until construction of the Temple of Hermes in Baiae and the Pantheon in Rome. The entrance portal to the tumulus was richly decorated: half-columns in green limestone with zig-zag motifs on the shaft, a frieze with rosettes above the architrave of the door, and spiral decoration in bands of red marble that closed the triangular aperture above an architrave. Segments of the columns and architraves were removed by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century and are now held by the British Museum. The capitals are influenced by ancient Egyptian examples, and one is in the Pergamon Museum as part of the Antikensammlung Berlin.
    Links: Top Ten Domes, Top Ten Megalithic Stones, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasury_of_Atreus,
  23. Smuggler’s Cove
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    Navagio Beach, Smuggler’s Cove or the Shipwreck, is an exposed cove on the coast of Zakynthos, in the Ionian Islands of Greece and is the location of the wreck of the alleged smuggler ship Panagiotis.
    Links: Top 100 Beaches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navagio,
  24. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greece,

Top Ten Indian Attractions

Top Ten Indian Attractions

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       India is the 7th largest country by area and the 2nd most populous country with over 1.2 billion people. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. Home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and a region of historic trade routes and vast empires, the Indian subcontinent was identified with its commercial and cultural wealth for much of its long history. Four world religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism—originated here, whereas Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islam arrived in the 1st millennium AD and also helped shape the region’s diverse culture. Gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century and administered directly by the UK from the mid-19th century, India became an independent nation in 1947 after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi. The Indian economy is the world’s 11th largest by nominal GDP and 3rd largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies; it is considered a newly industrialized country. India is a federal constitutional republic governed under a parliamentary system consisting of 28 states and 7 union territories. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats.

  1. Mumbai
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    Mumbai, previously known as Bombay, is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the 4th most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million. Along with the neighboring urban areas, including the cities of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it is one of the most populous urban regions in the world. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbor. It is also the wealthiest city in India, and has the highest GDP of any city in South, West or Central Asia. The seven islands that came to constitute Mumbai were home to communities of fishing colonies. During the mid-18th century, Mumbai was reshaped by the Hornby Vellard project, which undertook reclamation of the area between the seven islands from the sea. Along with construction of major roads and railways, the reclamation project, completed in 1845, transformed Bombay into a major seaport on the Arabian Sea. Bombay in the 19th century was characterized by economic and educational development. During the early 20th century it became a strong base for the Indian independence movement. In 1960, following the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, a new state of Maharashtra was created with Bombay as the capital, which was renamed Mumbai in 1996. Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment capital of India and is also one of the world’s top ten centers of commerce. The city also houses India’s Hindi (Bollywood) and Marathi film and television industry.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Cities, Top Ten Asian Cities, Top Ten Bridges, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumbai,
  2. New Delhi
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    New Delhi is the capital of India and seat of the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of the Government of India. It is also the center of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi and is one of the eleven districts of Delhi National Capital Territory. The foundation stone of the city was laid by George V, Emperor of India during the Delhi Durbar of 1911. It was designed by British architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker. The new capital was inaugurated on 13 February 1931, by India’s Viceroy Lord Irwin.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Asian Cities, Top Ten Triumphal Arches, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Delhi,
  3. Ganges River
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           The Ganges is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh, which is the 3rd largest river in the World by discharge. The 2,513 km (1,562 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus and is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. It is worshipped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism and has been an important base of many former provincial or imperial capitals, such as Patliputra, Kannauj, Kara, Kashi, Allahabad, Murshidabad, Munger, Baharampur, Kampilya and Kolkata. Due to a dense human  population along its banks, the Ganges was ranked as the 5th most polluted river in the world in 2007. The pollution threatens not only humans, but also more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and the endangered Ganges river dolphin.
    Links: RiversTop Ten Rivers, Top Ten Asian Rivershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganges_river,
  4. Buddhist Pilgrimage of Lumbinī, Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya and Sarnath
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           Lumbinī, “the lovely,” is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama and where he lived roughly between 623 and 543 BC and founded Buddhism as Gautama Buddha. Lumbini is one of four magnets for pilgrimage that sprang up in places pivotal to the life of the Buddha, the others being at Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya and Sarnath. Lumbini, where the Buddha lived until the age of 29, has a number of temples, including the Mayadevi temple and others under construction. Also located here is the Puskarini or Holy Pond where the Buddha’s mother took the ritual dip prior to his birth and where he, too, had his first bath, as well as the remains of Kapilavastu palace. At other sites near Lumbini, earlier Buddhas were, according to tradition, born, achieved ultimate awakening and finally relinquished earthly form. Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Bodhimandala). For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha. Sarnath is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. Sarnath is located 13 km north-east of Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, India. Singhpur, a village one km away from the site, was the birthplace of Shreyansanath, the 11th Tirthankara of Jainism, and a temple dedicated to him, is an important pilgrimage site. Isipatana is mentioned by the Buddha as one of the four places of pilgrimage which his devout followers should visit, if they wanted to visit a place for that reason. It was also the site of the Buddha’s Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, which was his first teaching after attaining enlightenment, in which he taught the four noble truths and the teachings associated with it. Kushinagar is a town and a Nagar Panchayat in Gorakhpur district of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is an important to Buddhists, as it is the site, where Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumbinihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarnath, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodh_Gaya, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kushinagar
  5. Ajaṇṭā Caves
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           The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are about 300 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BC to about 480 or 650 AD. The caves include paintings and sculptures described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as “the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting”, which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, with figures of the Buddha and depictions of the Jataka tales. The caves were built in two phases starting around the 2nd century BC, with the second group of caves built around 400–650 AD according to older accounts, or all in a brief period of 460 to 480 according to the recent proposals of Walter M. Spink. The site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India. The caves are 100 km (62 miles) from the Ellora Caves, which contain Hindu and Jain temples as well as Buddhist caves, the last dating from a period similar to Ajanta. The Ajanta caves are cut into the side of a cliff that is on the south side of a U-shaped gorge on the small river Waghora (or Wagura), and although they are now along and above a modern pathway running across the cliff they were originally reached by individual stairs or ladders from the side of the river 35 to 110 feet below. The area was previously heavily forested, and after the site ceased to be used the caves were covered by jungle until accidentally rediscovered in 1819 by a British officer on a hunting party. They are Buddhist monastic buildings, apparently representing a number of distinct “monasteries” or colleges. The caves are numbered 1 to 28 according to their place along the path, beginning at the entrance. Several are unfinished and some barely begun and others are small shrines. Further round the gorge are a number of waterfalls, which when the river is high are audible from outside the caves. The caves form the largest corpus of early Indian wall-painting; other survivals from the area of modern India are very few, though they are related to 5th-century paintings at Sigiriya in Sri Lanka. The elaborate architectural carving in many caves is also very rare, and the style of the many figure sculptures is highly local, found only at a few nearby contemporary sites.
    Links: Top Ten Caves, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajanta_Caves,
  6. Ellora Caves and Kailash Temple

           Ellora is an archaeological site, 29 km (18 mi) North-West of the city of Aurangabad in the Indian state of Maharashtra built by the Rashtrakuta dynasty. It is also known as Elapura (in the Rashtrakuta literature). Ellora represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 “caves” – actually structures excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut temples and viharas and mathas were built between the 5th century and 10th century. The 12 Buddhist (caves 1–12), 17 Hindu (caves 13–29) and 5 Jain (caves 30–34) caves, built in proximity, demonstrate the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.
    Links: Top Ten Rock-Cut Architecture, Top Ten Caveshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellora_Caves,
  7. Bangalore
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    Bangalore is the capital city of the Indian state of Karnataka. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka. Bangalore is India’s 3rd most populous city and 5th most populous urban agglomeration. Bangalore is known as the Silicon Valley of India, and a top ten entrepreneurial location in the world, because of its position as the nation’s leading Information technology exporter, as well as other startups. Located at a height of over 3,000 feet (914.4 m) above sea level, Bangalore is known for its pleasant climate throughout the year. A succession of South Indian dynasties, the Western Gangas, the Cholas, and the Hoysalas ruled the present region of Bangalore until in 1537 AD, Kempé Gowdā, a feudatory ruler under the Vijayanagara Empire, established a mud fort considered to be the foundation of modern Bangalore. Following transitory occupation by the Marāthās and Mughals, the city remained under the Mysore Kingdom. It later passed into the hands of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, and was captured by the British after victory in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1799), who returned administrative control of the city to the Maharaja of Mysore. In 1809, the British shifted their cantonment to Bangalore, outside the old city, and a town grew up around it, which was governed as part of British India. Bangalore is home to many well-recognized educational and research institutions in India, such as the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Management, National Institute of Fashion Technology and National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences. Numerous public sector heavy industries, technology companies, aerospace, telecommunications, and defense organizations, such as Bharat Electronics Limited, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, National Aerospace Laboratories, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Indian Space Research Organization, Infosys, and Wipro are headquartered in the city. A demographically diverse city, Bangalore is a major economic and cultural hub and the second-fastest growing major metropolis in India. The city also houses the Kannada film industry
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Asian CitiesTop Ten Entrepreneurial Cities, Pyramids, Top Ten Modern Pyramids, Top Ten Asian Pyramids, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangalore,
  8. Thanjavur and Brihadeeswarar Temple
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    Thanjavur is a city in southern India state of Tamil Nadu. Scholars believe the name Thanjavur is derived from Tanjan, a legendary demon in Hindu mythology. While the early history of Thanjavur remains unclear, the city first rose to prominence during the reign of Medieval Cholas when it served as the capital of the empire. After the fall of Cholas, the city was ruled by various dynasties like Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks, Thanjavur Marathas and the British Empire. It has been a part of independent India since 1947 and an important center of South Indian religion, art and architecture. The foremost among these, the Brihadeeswara Temple, is located in the center of the city. Thanjavur is also home to Tanjore painting, a painting style unique to the region. The city is an important agricultural center located in the Cauvery Delta and is known as the “Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu.” Roadways are the major means of transportation, while the city also has rail connectivity.  The Peruvudaiyar Kovil, also known as Brihadeeswara Temple, RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and an art of the work achieved by Cholas in Tamil architecture. This is the largest temple in India and one of India’s most prized architectural sites. The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century. The vimana or (temple tower) is 216 ft. (66 m) high and is among the tallest of its kind in the world. The Kumbam (Kalasha or Chikharam) (apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple weighs around 80 tons. There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock, at the entrance measuring about 16 ft. long and 13 ft. high. The entire temple structure is made out of granite, the nearest sources of which are close to Tiruchchirapalli, about 60 km to the west of Thanjavur, where the temple is. Built in 1010 AD by Raja Raja Chola I in Thanjavur, Brihadeeswarar Temple, also popularly known as the ‘Big Temple,’ turned 1000 years old in 2010.
    Links: Temples, Top Ten TemplesTop Ten Asian TemplesTop Ten Indian Temples,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanjavurhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brihadeeswarar_Temple,
  9. Hampi and Vijayanagara
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    Hampi is a village in northern Karnataka state, India. It is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, it continues to be an important religious center, housing the Virupaksha Temple, as well as several other monuments belonging to the old city. In around 1500 Vijaynagar had 500,000 inhabitants, probably making it the 2nd largest city in the world after Peking-Beijing and twice the then size of Paris.
    Links: Top Ten Columns/Pillars, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampi, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vijayanagara,
  10. Great Living Chola Temples
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    The Great Living Chola Temples are temples built during the Chola rule in the south of India. These temples are the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram. The Peruvudaiyar Kovil, also known as Brihadeeswara Temple, RajaRajeswara Temple and Rajarajeswaram, at Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and an art of the work achieved by Cholas in Tamil architecture. This is the largest temple in India and one of India’s most prized architectural sites. The Kumbam (Kalasha or Chikharam) (apex or the bulbous structure on the top) of the temple is carved out of a single stone and it weighs around 80 tons. The entire temple structure is made out of granite, the nearest sources of which are close to Tiruchchirapalli, about 60 km to the west of Thanjavur, where the temple is. Gangaikonda Cholapuram was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Sumatra, Kadaram (Kedah in Malaysia) at the beginning of the 11th century AD. It occupies an important place in the history of India. As the capital of the Cholas from about 1025 AD for about 250 years, the city controlled the affairs of entire southern India, from the Tungabhadra in the north to Ceylon in the south and other Southeast Asian countries. The great temple of Siva at this place is next only to the Brihadisvara temple at Thanjavur in its monumental nature and surpasses it in sculptural quality. The Gangaikondaan temple is an architectural and engineering marvel because the shadow of the main tower never falls on the ground throughout the year. Airavatesvara Temple is a Hindu temple of Dravidian architecture located in the town of Darasuram, near Kumbakonam in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This temple, built by Rajaraja Chola II in the 12th century AD.
    Links: Temples, Top Ten Temples, Top Ten Asian Temples, Top Ten Indian Temples, Top Ten Pillars/Columns,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brihadisvara_Templehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gangaikonda_Cholapuramhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airavatesvara_Temple,
  11. Allahabad
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           Allahabad, or “Settled by God” in Persian, is a major city of India and is one of the main holy cities of Hinduism. It was renamed by the Mughal emperor Akbar from the original (still unofficially used) native name of Prayaga, and is by some accounts the 2nd oldest city in India. It is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, lying some 205 km (127 mi) south of the state capital, Lucknow. The ancient name of the city is Prayaga (Sanskrit for “place of sacrifice”), as it is believed to be the spot where Brahma offered his first sacrifice after creating the world. It is one of four sites of the mass Hindu pilgrimage Kumbh Mela, the others being Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. It has a position of importance in Hindu scriptures for it is situated at Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers Ganges and Yamuna, and the ancient Sarasvati River. Many government offices of both central and state government are present in the city, which is also home to India’s 4th oldest university, AU and UP’s single National Institutes of Technology. Allahabad is a home to seven out of fourteen Prime Ministers of India. Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Gulzarilal Nanda, Vishwanath Pratap Singh and Chandra Shekhar were all either born in Allahabad, were alumni of Allahabad University or got elected from a constituency in Allahabad.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Cities, Top Ten Asian Cities, Top Ten Pilgrimages, Top 100 Birds, Top Ten Bridges, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayag,
  12. Vrindavan
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            Vrindavan also known as Vraj (as it lies in the Braj region) is a town in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is the site of an ancient forest which is the region where according to the Mahabharata, a grand Epic of Sanskrit literature dating back to the 3,000 BC, the deity Krishna spent his childhood days. The town is about 10 km away from Mathura, the city of Lord Krishna’s birthplace, near the Agra-Delhi highway. The town hosts hundreds of temples dedicated to the worship of Radha and Krishna and is considered sacred by a number of religious traditions such as Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Vaishnavism, and Hinduism in general.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vrndavana,
  13. Sanchi
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    Sanchi is a small village in Raisen District of the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, it is located 46 km north east of Bhopal, and 10 km from Besnagar and Vidisha in the central part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Known for its “Stupas,” it is the location of several Buddhist monuments dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th AD and is one of the important places of Buddhist pilgrimage. It is a nagar panchayat in Raisen district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Toranas surround the Stupa and they each represent love, peace, trust and courage. The ‘Great Stupa’ at Sanchi is the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BC. Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolizing high rank, which was intended to honor and shelter the relics. The construction work of this stupa was overseen by Ashoka’s wife, Devi herself, who was the daughter of a merchant of Vidisha. Sanchi was also her birthplace as well as the venue of her and Ashoka’s wedding. In the 1st century BC, four profusely carved ornamental gateways and a balustrade encircling the whole structure was added.
    Links: Top Ten Stupashttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanchi,
  14. Taj Mahal
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           The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra, India, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Indian and Islamic architectural styles. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” While the white domed marble mausoleum is its most familiar component, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures. Building began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, and employed thousands of artisans and craftsmen. The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision including Abd ul-Karim Ma’mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer.
    Links: Top Ten Wonders of the Medieval World, Top Ten Mausoleums, Top Ten Tombs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taj_mahal,
  15. Konark Sun Temple
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    Konark Sun Temple is a 13th century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), at Konark, in Orissa. It was constructed from oxidized and weathered ferruginous sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I (1238-1250 AD) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is an example of Orissan architecture of Ganga dynasty. The temple is one of the most renowned temples in India and is one of the Seven Wonders of India. Legend has it that the temple was constructed by Samba, the son of Lord Krishna. It is said that Samba was afflicted by leprosy, brought about by his father’s curse on him. After 12 years of penance, he was cured by Surya, the Sun God, in whose honor he built the magnificent Konark Sun Temple.
    Links: The Pineal Gland, Sun Gazing, DMT and Om, Temples, Top Ten TemplesTop Ten Indian TemplesTop Ten Sun Temples, Top Ten Hindu DeitiesTop 100 SculpturesTop 100 Asian Sculptures, Top Ten RelievesTop Ten Asian Relieveshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konark_Sun_Temple,
  16. Khajuraho Group of Monuments
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    The Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Khajuraho, a town in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, located in Chhatarpur District, about 620 km (385 mi) southeast of New Delhi, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, famous for their erotic sculptures. Between 950 and 1150, the Chandela monarchs built these temples when the Tantric tradition may have been accepted. In the days before the Mughal conquests, when boys lived in hermitages, following brahmacharya until they became men, they could learn about the world and prepare themselves to become householders through examining these sculptures and the worldly desires they depicted. The name Khajuraho, ancient “Kharjuravāhaka,” is derived from the Sanskrit words kharjura = date palm and vāhaka = “one who carries.” Locals living in the Khajuraho village always knew about and kept up the temples as best as they could. They were pointed out to the English in the late 19th century when the jungles had taken a toll on the monuments. In the 19th century, British engineer T.S. Burt arrived in the area, followed by General Alexander Cunningham. Cunningham put Khajuraho on the world map when he explored the site on behalf of the Archaeological Survey of India and described what he found in glowing terms. The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is considered to be one of the “seven wonders” of India.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khajuraho_Group_of_Monuments,
  17. The Himalayas
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           The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains, “abode of snow,” usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range immediately at the north of the Indian subcontinent. By extension, it is also the name of a massive mountain system that includes the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush, and other, lesser, ranges that extend out from the Pamir Knot. Together, the Himalayan mountain system is the world’s highest, and home to the world’s highest peaks, the Eight-thousanders, which include Mount Everest and K2. To comprehend the enormous scale of this mountain range, consider that Aconcagua, in the Andes, at 6,962 m (22,841 ft.) is the highest peak outside Asia, whereas the Himalayan system includes over 100 mountains exceeding 7,200 m (23,600 ft.). However the Alleghenian Mountains, formed during the formation of Pangaea, likely rivaled or exceeded the Himalayas in height. The main Himalayan range runs west to east, from the Indus river valley to the Brahmaputra river valley, forming an arc 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long, which varies in width from 400 km (250 mi) in the western Kashmir-Xinjiang region to 150 km (93 mi) in the eastern Tibet-Arunachal Pradesh region. The range consists of three coextensive sub-ranges, with the northernmost, and highest, known as the Great or Inner Himalayas. Some of the world’s major river systems arise in the Himalayas, and their combined drainage basin is home to some 3 billion people (almost ½ of Earth’s population) in 18 countries. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia; many Himalayan peaks are sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Geologically, the origin of the Himalayas is the impact of the Indian tectonic plate traveling northward at 15 cm per year to impact the Eurasian continent, about 40-50 million years ago. The formation of the Himalayan arc resulted since the lighter rock of the seabeds of that time were easily uplifted into mountains. An often-cited fact used to illustrate this process is that the summit of Mount Everest is made of marine limestone.
    Links: Top Ten Mountain Ranges, Top Ten Asian Mountains, Top Ten Tallest MountainsExplorersTop Ten ExplorersTop Ten Mountaineershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himalaya,
  18. Lotus Temple, Delhi
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           The Bahá’í House of Worship in Delhi, India, popularly known as the Lotus Temple due to its flowerlike shape, is a Bahá’í House of Worship and also a prominent attraction in Delhi. It was completed in 1986 and serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent. It has won numerous architectural awards and been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.
    Links: Temples, Top Ten Temples, Top 100 Flowers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_temple,
  19. Punjab and the Harmandir Sahib (“Golden Temple”)
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    The Harmandir Sahib, also Darbar Sahib, the “Golden Temple,” is a prominent Sikh Gurdwara located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It was built by the 5th Sikh guru, Guru Arjan, in the 16th Century. In 1604, Guru Arjun completed the Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism, and installed it in the Gurdwara. There are four doors to get into the Harmandir Sahib, which symbolize the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. The present day Gurdwara was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other Sikh Misls. In the early 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region from outside attack and covered the upper floors of the Gurdwara with gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance and its English name.
    Links: Temples, Top Ten Temples, Top Ten Asian Temples, Top Ten Indian Attractions,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmandir_Sahib,
  20. Hyderabad
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           Hyderabad is the capital and largest city of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Occupying 650 square km (250 sq. mi), along the banks of the Musi River, it has a population of 6.8 million and a metropolitan population of 7.75 million, making it the 4th most populous city and 6th most populous urban agglomeration in India. At an average altitude of 542 m (1,778 ft.), much of Hyderabad is situated on hilly terrain around artificial lakes, including Hussain Sagar—predating the city’s founding—north of the city center. Established in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Hyderabad remained under the rule of the Qutb Shahi dynasty for nearly a century before the Mughals captured the region. In 1724, Mughal viceroy Asif Jah I declared his sovereignty and created his own dynasty, also known as the Nizams of Hyderabad. The Hyderabad State ultimately became a princely state during British rule, and remained so for 150 years, with the city serving as its capital. The city continued as capital of a new Hyderabad State after joining the Indian Union in 1948 and before attaining its current status as the focal point of Andhra Pradesh in 1956. Relics of Qutb Shahi and Nizam rule remain visible today, with the Charminar—commissioned by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah himself—coming to symbolize Hyderabad. The Qutb Shahis and Nizams established Hyderabad as a cultural hub, attracting peoples from many parts of the world. Hyderabad emerged as the foremost center of culture in India with the decline of the Mughal Empire in the mid-19th century, with many artists migrating here at the time. Hyderabad was also historically known as a pearl and diamond trading center, and it continues to be known as the City of Pearls. Many of the city’s traditional bazaars, including Laad Bazaar, Begum Bazaar and Sultan Bazaar, have remained open for centuries. Special economic zones dedicated to information technology have encouraged companies from across India and around the world to set up operations and the emergence of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the 1990’s led to the title of “Genome Valley.”
    Links: Cities, Top Ten Cities, Top Ten Asian Cities, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, Top Ten Tallest Sculptures,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyderabad,
  21. Agra Fort
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    Agra Fort is a monument in Uttar Pradesh, India about 2.5 km northwest of the Taj Mahal. Agra Fort was originally a brick fort, held by the Hindu Sikarwar Rajputs, whih evolved into a walled city. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1488–1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in the fort at 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. After the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, Mughals captured the fort and seized a vast treasure, including the diamond later known as the Koh-i-Noor. The victorious Babur stayed in the fort in the palace of Ibrahim and built a step well in it. The emperor Humayun was crowned here in 1530. Humayun was defeated at Bilgram in 1540 by Sher Shah. The Hindu king Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, also called ‘Hemu,’ defeated Humanyun’s army, led by Iskandar Khan Uzbek, and won Agra. Hemu got a huge booty from this fort and went on to capture Delhi from the Mughals. The Mughals under Akbar defeated King Hemu finally at the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556. Realizing the importance of its central situation, Akbar made it his capital and arrived in Agra in 1558. It was in a ruined condition and Akbar had it rebuilt with red sandstone from Barauli area in Rajasthan. Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 4,000 builders worked on it daily for 8 years, completing it in 1573. It was only during the reign of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan that the site took on its current state. Legend has it that Shah Jahan built the beautiful Taj Mahal for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan tended to have buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems. He destroyed some of the earlier buildings inside the fort to make his own. At the end of his life, Shah Jahan was deposed and restrained by his son, Aurangzeb, in the fort. It is rumored that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with a view of the Taj Mahal. The fort was the site of a battle during the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company’s rule in India, and led to a century of direct rule of India by Britain.
    Links: Top Ten Forts, Castles, Top Ten Castles, Top Ten Asian Castles, Top Ten Diamonds,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agra_fort,
  22. Elephanta Caves
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    The Elephanta Caves are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally “the city of caves”) in Mumbai Harbour, 10 km (6.2 mi) to the east of the city of Mumbai in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The island, located on an arm of the Arabian Sea, consists of two groups of caves, the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves. The Hindu caves contain rock cut stone sculptures, representing the Shaiva Hindu sect, dedicated to the god Shiva. The rock cut architecture of the caves has been dated to between the 5th and 8th centuries, although the identity of the original builders is still a subject of debate. The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock. All the caves were also originally painted in the past, but now only traces remain. The island was called Gharapuri and was a Hindu place of worship until Portuguese rule began in 1534. The Portuguese called the island Elephanta on seeing its huge gigantic statue of an Elephant at the entrance. The Statue is now placed in the garden outside the Bhau Daji Lad Museum (erstwhile Victoria & Albert Museum) at the Jijamata Udyaan (erstwhile Victoria Gardens) at Byculla in Mumbai. This cave was renovated in the 1970’s after years of neglect.
    Links: Top Ten Rock-Cut Architecture, Top Ten Caves, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephanta_Caves,
  23. Western Ghats
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    The Western Ghats or the Sahyādri constitute a mountain range along the western side of India, which is one of the eight “hottest hotspots” of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. A total of 39 properties including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites, 20 in Kerala, 10 in Karnataka, 5 in Tamil Nadu and 4 in Maharashtra. The range starts near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, south of the Tapti river, and runs approximately 1,600 km (990 mi) through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala ending at Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India. These hills cover 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi) and form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan Plateau. The area is one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots” and has over 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species; it is likely that many undiscovered species live in the Western Ghats. At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten National ParksTop Ten Asian National Parks, Top 100 Birds, Top Ten Waterfalls, Top Ten Primates, Top Ten Big Cats, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Ghats,
  24. Namdapha National Park
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    Namdapha National Park is the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot and is located in Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. It is also the 3rd largest national park in India in terms of area. It is located in the Eastern Himalayan sub-region and is recognized as one of the richest areas in biodiversity in India. The park harbors the northernmost lowland evergreen rainforests in the world at 27°N latitude. The area is also known for extensive Dipterocarp forests.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten National Parks, Top Ten Asian National Parks, Top 100 Birds, Top Ten Big Cats, Top Ten Butterflieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Namdapha_National_Park,
  25. Shantiniketan
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           Shantiniketan is a small town near Bolpur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal, India, approximately 180 km north of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). It was made famous by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose vision became what is now a university town (Visva-Bharati University) that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The English-daily, The Nation (Thailand) notes, “Using the money he received with his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, the school was expanded and renamed Visva-Bharati University. It grew to become one of India’s most renowned places of higher learning, with a list of alumni that includes Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen, globally renowned filmmaker Satyajit Ray and the country’s leading art historian, R. Siva Kumar, to name just a few” Santiniketan is also a tourist attraction because Rabindranath Tagore wrote many of his literary classics here, and his house is a place of historical importance.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiniketan,
  26. Karla Caves
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           The Karla Caves are a complex of ancient Indian Buddhist rock-cut cave shrines located in Karli near Lonavala, Maharashtra. The shrines were developed over two periods, from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD, and from the 5th century AD to the 10th century. The oldest of the cave shrines is believed to date back to 160 BC, having arisen near a major ancient trade route, running eastward from the Arabian Sea into the Deccan. Karli’s location in Maharashtra places it in a region that marks the division between North India and South India. Buddhists, having become identified with commerce and manufacturing through their early association with traders, tended to locate their monastic establishments in natural geographic formations close to major trade routes so as to provide lodging houses for travelling traders.
    Links: Top Ten Rock-Cut Architecture, Top Ten Caves, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karla_caves,
  27. The Jantar Mantar
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    The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Sawai Jai Singh who was a Rajput king served Emperor Aurangzeb and later Mughals. The title of (King) and Sawai was bestowed on him by Emperor Mohammad Shah. Jai Singh II of Amber built his new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is also located in Ujjain and Mathura. It is modeled after the one that he had built at the Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as “an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.” Early restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of Major Arthur Garrett, a keen amateur astronomer, during his appointment as Assistant State Engineer for the Jaipur District. The jantar mantar was made by sawai jai singh as he was particularly interested in learning about the sky above his head.
    Links: The Universe, Top Ten Sundials, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jantar_Mantar,_Jaipur,
  28. Fatehpur Sikri 
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    Fatehpur Sikri is a city and a municipal board in Agra district in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The city was founded in 1569 by the Mughal emperor Akbar, and served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 to 1585. After his military victories over Chittor and Ranthambore, Akbar decided to shift his capital from Agra to a new location 23 miles (37 km) away on the Sikri ridge, to honor the Sufi saint Salim Chishti. Here he commenced the construction of a planned walled city which took the next 15 years in planning and construction of a series of royal palaces, harem, courts, a mosque, private quarters and other utility buildings. He named the city, Fatehabad, with Fateh, a word of Arabic origin in Persian, meaning “victorious.” it was later called Fatehpur Sikri. It is at Fatehpur Sikri that the legends of Akbar and his famed courtiers, the nine jewels or Navaratnas, were born. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best preserved collections of Mughal architecture in India. The Imperial complex was abandoned in 1585, shortly after its completion, due to paucity of water and its proximity with the Rajputana areas in the North-West, which were increasingly in turmoil. Thus the capital was shifted to Lahore so that Akbar could have a base in the less stable part of the empire, before moving back Agra in 1598, where he had begun his reign as he shifted his focus to Deccan. In later Mughal history it was occupied for a short while by Mughal emperor, Muhammad Shah (1719 -1748), and his regent, Sayyid Hussain Ali Khan Barha, one of the Syed Brothers, was murdered here in 1720. Today much of the imperial complex which spread over nearly two mile long and one mile wide area is largely intact and resembles a ghost town.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatehpur_Sikri,
  29. Mahabalipuram
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           Mahabalipuram, derived from ‘Mamallapuram’ is the prior and colloquial name of a town in Kancheepuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, now officially called Mamallapuram. It has an average elevation of 12 m (39 ft.). Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas around 60 km south from the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. The name Mamallapuram is believed to have been given after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler), as the favorite sport of the Pallavas was wrestling. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabalipuram,
  30. Pattadakal
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    Pattadakal is a site in Karnataka, lying on the banks of the Malaprabha River in the district of Bagalkot. It is 22 km from Badami and about 10 km from Aihole, and is well known for its Chalukya monuments. The Pre-Chalukya historical and Archaeological site Bachinagudda, is also near Pattadakal.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_of_Monuments_at_Pattadakal,
  31. Hill Forts of Rajasthan
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    These are hill forts within the state of Rajasthan mainly based in the Aravalli mountain range and built between the 5th century AD and 17th-18th century AD. They include the fort palaces of Udaipur, Bikaner, Dungarpur, Bundi and Kota as in Jaisalmer and Mehrangarh Fort Chittorgarh fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort, the fortress of Ranthambore, Gagron Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Amer Fort.
    Links: Top Ten Fortshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill_Forts_of_Rajasthan,
  32. Patan
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    Patan was a capital of Gujarat in medieval times. It is the administrative seat of Patan District in the Indian state of Gujarat and administered by municipality. The city contains many Hindu and Jain temples as well as few mosques, dargahs and rojas. The city has many historical places also.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patan,_Gujarat,
  33. Mandu
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    Mandu or Mandavgad is a ruined city in the present-day Mandav area of the Dhar district. It is located in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh, India, at 35 km from the Dhar city. In the 11th century, Mandu was the sub division of the Tarangagadh or Taranga kingdom. This fortress town on a rocky outcrop about 100 km (62 mi) from Indore is celebrated for its fine architecture.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandu,_Madhya_Pradesh,
  34. Nālandā
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    Nālandā was an ancient center of higher learning in Bihar, India. The site is located about 88 km south east of Patna, and was a religious center of learning from the 5th century AD to 1197 AD. Nalanda flourished between the reign of the Śakrāditya (whose identity is uncertain and who might have been either Kumara Gupta I or Kumara Gupta II) and 1197 AD, supported by patronage from the Hindu Gupta rulers as well as Buddhist emperors like Harsha and later emperors from the Pala Empire. The complex was built with red bricks and its ruins occupy an area of 14 hectares. (488 by 244 m) At its peak, the university attracted scholars and students from as far away as Tibet, China, Greece, and Persia. Nalanda was ransacked and destroyed by a Turkish Muslim army under Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193. The great library of Nalanda University was so vast that it is reported to have burned for three months after the invaders set fire to it, ransacked and destroyed the monasteries, and drove the monks from the site. In 2006, Singapore, China, India, Japan, and other nations, announced a proposed plan to restore and revive the ancient site as Nalanda International University.
    Links: Top Ten Libraries, Top Ten Ancient Libraries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nalanda,
  35. Hemis
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    Hemis is a town in India 40 km southeast of Leh in Ladakh, well known for the Hemis monastery that was established in 1672 AD by King Senge Nampar Gyalva. Hemis is best known to tourists for the colorful festival held in July. Hemis also could be associated with the Hemis National Park, an area that is home to the endangered snow leopard. The national park was created in 1981. It is the only high altitude park in the country.
    Links: Top Ten Monasteries, Top Ten Big Cats, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemis_Gompa,
  36. Bhimbetka Rock Shelters
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    The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site of the Paleolithic, exhibiting the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent, and thus the beginning of the South Asian Stone Age. It is located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The Bhimbetka shelters exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India. At least some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus more than 100,000 years ago. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old. The caves also deliver early evidence of dance. The name Bhimbetka is associated with Bhima, a hero-deity of the epic Mahabharata. The word Bhimbetka is said to derive from Bhimbaithka, meaning “sitting place of Bhima.”
    Links: Cave Paintings, Top Ten Asian Cave Paintings, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Shelters_of_Bhimbetka,
  37. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India,

Top Ten Scottish Attractions

Top Ten Scottish Attractions

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       Scotland is a country occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, Scotland is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides. Edinburgh, the country’s capital and 2nd largest city, is one of Europe’s largest financial centers. Edinburgh was the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, which transformed Scotland into one of the commercial, intellectual, and industrial powerhouses of Europe. Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, was once one of the world’s leading industrial cities. Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union. This has given Aberdeen, the 3rd largest city in Scotland, the title of Europe’s oil capital. The Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. Having entered into a personal union with the kingdoms of England and Ireland following James VI, King of Scots, succeeding to the English and Irish thrones in 1603, the Kingdom of Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on May 1st, 1707 to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. This union resulted from the Treaty of Union agreed in 1706 and enacted by the twin Acts of Union passed by the Parliaments of both countries, despite popular opposition and anti-union riots in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and elsewhere. Scotland’s legal system has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in public and private law. The continued existence of legal, educational, and religious institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 Union. In May 2011, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won an overall majority in parliament and intends to hold a referendum on independence on September 18th, 2014.

  1. Edinburgh
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    Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth which is the area where the River Forth flows into the North Sea. With a population of 482,640 in 2012, it is the largest settlement in Lothian, a region of the Lowlands. From its prehistoric beginning as a hillfort, following periods of Celtic and Germanic influence, Edinburgh became part of the Kingdom of Scotland during the 10th century. With burgh charters granted by David I and Robert the Bruce, Edinburgh grew through the Middle Ages as Scotland’s largest town. By the time of the European Renaissance and the reign of James IV it was well established as Scotland’s capital. The 16th century Scottish Reformation and 18th century Scottish Enlightenment were formative periods in the history of the city, which played a central role in both. The University of Edinburgh, which now includes Edinburgh College of Art, is the biggest university in Scotland and ranked 17th in the world. Identified as the UK’s most competitive city in 2010. Each August the city hosts the biggest annual international arts festival in the world, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Book Festival as well as many others. Edinburgh regularly polls as one of the best places to live, having won more than 12 UK Best City Awards in 8 years to 2013. Attracting over one million overseas visitors a year, it is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in the UK, and was voted European Destination of the Year at the World Travel Awards 2012.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten European Cities, Top Ten Bridges, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh,
  2. Glasgow
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    Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and, as of the 2011 census, is the Scottish city with the highest population density with 3,395 people per square km. It is situated on the River Clyde in the country’s West Central Lowlands. Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become one of the largest seaports in the world. Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the 15th century, it became a major center of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century. From the 18th century the city also grew as one of Great Britain’s main hubs of transatlantic trade with North America and the West Indies. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the population and economy of Glasgow and the surrounding region expanded rapidly to become one of the world’s pre-eminent centers of chemicals, textiles and engineering; most notably in the shipbuilding and marine engineering industry, which produced many innovative and famous vessels. Today Glasgow is one of Europe’s top ten financial centers and is home to many of Scotland’s leading businesses. Glasgow is also ranked as the 57th most livable city in the world.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten European Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow,
  3. Aberdeen
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    Aberdeen is Scotland’s third most populous city, and the UK’s 37th most populous built-up area, with an official population estimate of 220,420. Nicknames include the Granite City, the Grey City and the Silver City with the Golden Sands. During the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries, Aberdeen’s buildings incorporated locally quarried grey granite, which can sparkle like silver due to their high mica contents. Since the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s, other nicknames have been the Oil Capital of Europe or the Energy Capital of Europe. The area around Aberdeen has been settled since at least 8,000 years ago, when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don. Aberdeen has won the Britain in Bloom competition a record-breaking ten times, and hosts the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, a major international event which attracts up to 1,000 of the most talented young performing arts companies. In 2012 Mercer named Aberdeen the 56th most liveable city in the World, as well as the 4th most liveable city in Britain. In 2012 HSBC named Aberdeen as a leading business hub and one of eight ‘super cities’ spearheading the UK’s economy, marking it as the only city in Scotland to receive this accolade.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdeen,
  4. Edinburgh Castle
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    Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland from its position on the Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD). There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. From the 15th century the castle’s residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland’s national heritage was recognized increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programs have been carried out over the past century and a half. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. It has been besieged, both successfully and unsuccessfully, on several occasions. The most notable sections are St Margaret’s Chapel from the early 12th century, which is regarded as the oldest building in Edinburgh, the Royal Palace and the early-16th-century Great Hall, although the interiors have been much altered from the mid-Victorian period onwards. The castle also houses the Scottish regalia, known as the Honors of Scotland and is the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland.
    Links: Castles, Top Ten European Castles, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edinburgh_Castle,
  5. Rosslyn Chapel and Roslin Castle
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    Rosslyn Chapel, properly named the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Catholic collegiate church (with between four and six ordained canons and two boy choristers) in the mid-15th century. Rosslyn Chapel and the nearby Roslin Castle are located at the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland. The chapel was founded by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness (also spelled “Sainteclaire/Saintclair/Sinclair/St. Clair”) of the Sinclair family, a noble family descended from Norman knights from the commune of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in northern France, using the standard designs the medieval architects made available to him. Rosslyn Chapel is the third Sinclair place of worship at Roslin – the first being in Roslin Castle and the second (whose crumbling buttresses can still be seen today) in what is now Roslin Cemetery. The purpose of the college was to celebrate the Divine Office throughout the day and night and also to celebrate Holy Mass for all the faithful departed, including the deceased members of the Sinclair family. During this period the rich heritage of plainsong (a single melodic line) or polyphony (vocal harmony) would be used to enrich the singing of the liturgy. An endowment was made that would pay for the upkeep of the priests and choristers in perpetuity and they also had parochial responsibilities. After the Scottish Reformation (1560) Catholic worship in the Chapel was brought to an end, although the Sinclair family continued to be Roman Catholics until the early 18th century. From that time the Chapel was closed to public worship until 1861 when it was opened again as a place of worship according to the rites of the Scottish Episcopal Church. In later years the Chapel has featured in speculative theories regarding Freemasonry and the Knights Templar. An extensive program of conservation is currently underway.
    Links: Top Ten Columns/Pillars, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosslyn_Motet,
  6. Heart of Neolithic Orkney
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    Heart of Neolithic Orkney refers to a group of Neolithic monuments found on the Mainland, one of the islands of Orkney, Scotland. The site of patrimony currently consists of four sites: Maeshowe – a unique chambered cairn and passage grave, aligned so that its central chamber is illuminated on the winter solstice. It was looted by Vikings who left one of the largest collections of runic inscriptions in the world. Standing Stones of Stenness – the four remaining megaliths of a henge, the largest of which is 6 m (19 ft.) high. Ring of Brodgar – a stone circle 104 m in diameter, originally composed of 60 stones set within a circular ditch up to 3 m deep and 10 m wide, forming a henge monument. It has been estimated that the structure took 80,000 man-hours to construct. Skara Brae – a cluster of ten houses making up Northern Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village. Ness of Brodgar is an archaeological site between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness that has provided evidence of housing, decorated stone slabs, a massive stone wall with foundations, and a large building described as a Neolithic “cathedral.”
    Links: Top Ten Ancient Stone Monuments, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_Neolithic_Orkney,
  7. St. Andrews Link
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    St Andrews Links in the town of St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, is regarded as the “home of golf.” It is one of the oldest courses in the world, where the game has been played since the 15th century. Today there are seven public golf courses; the Balgove, Eden, Jubilee Course, Strathtyrum, New, the Old Course (which is widely considered one of the finest, and certainly the most famous and traditional, courses in the world), and the new Castle Course, sited on the cliffs a mile to the east of St Andrews and designed by the architect David McLay Kidd, which opened in June 2008. The courses of St Andrews Links are owned by the local authorities and operated by St Andrews Links Trust, a charitable organization. St Andrews is also home to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, one of the most prestigious golf clubs and until 2004 one of the two rule making authorities of golf (in that year, the Royal and Ancient Club passed on its rulemaking authority to an offshoot organization, The R&A). In addition to the public courses there are two courses at the privately owned Fairmont Hotel (Torrance and Kittocks) to the south of the town; the Dukes and Drumoig, both inland parkland courses to the west A few miles further South are the modern links of Kingsbarns and the traditional Balcomie links at Crail.
    Links: Golf, Top Ten Golf Courses, Top Ten European Golf Courses, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Andrews_golf_course,
  8. The Crucible of Iron Age Shetland
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    The Crucible of Iron Age Shetland is a combination of three sites in Shetland of outstanding cultural and natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crucible_of_Iron_Age_Shetland,
  9. Holyrood Palace
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    The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the Monarch of the UK in Scotland. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century, and is a setting for state occasions and official entertaining. Holyrood Abbey was founded by David I, King of Scots, in 1128, and the abbey’s position close to Edinburgh Castle meant that it was often visited by Scotland’s monarchs, who were lodged in the guest house situated to the west of the abbey cloister. James IV constructed a new palace adjacent to the abbey in the early 16th century, and James V made additions to the palace, including the present north-west tower. Holyrood Palace was re-constructed in its present form between 1671 and 1679 to the Baroque design of the architect Sir William Bruce, forming four wings around a central courtyard, with a west front linking the 16th-century north-west tower with a matching south-west tower. The Queen’s Gallery was built adjacent to the palace and opened to the public in 2002 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection. Queen Elizabeth spends one week in residence at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of each summer, where she carries out a range of official engagements and ceremonies. The 16th century Historic Apartments of Mary, Queen of Scots and the State Apartments, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public throughout the year, except when members of the Royal Family are in residence.
    Links: Palaces, Top Ten Palaces, Top Ten European Palaces,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Holyroodhouse,
  10. National Wallace Monument
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    The National Wallace Monument is a tower standing on the summit of Abbey Craig, a hilltop near Stirling. It commemorates Sir William Wallace, the 13th century Scottish hero. The tower was constructed following a fundraising campaign, which accompanied a resurgence of Scottish national identity in the 19th century. In addition to public subscription, it was partially funded by contributions from a number of foreign donors, including Italian national leader Giuseppe Garibaldi. Completed in 1869 to the designs of architect John Thomas Rochead at a cost of £18,000, the monument is a 67 m (220 ft.) sandstone tower, built in the Victorian Gothic style. The tower stands on the Abbey Craig, a volcanic crag above Cambuskenneth Abbey, from which Wallace was said to have watched the gathering of the army of King Edward I of England, just before the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Visitors climb the 246 step spiral staircase to the viewing gallery inside the monument’s crown, which provides expansive views of the Ochil Hills and the Forth Valley. A number of artifacts believed to have belonged to Wallace are on display inside the monument, including the Wallace Sword, a 1.63m (5 ft., 4 in) long sword weighing almost three kilograms. Inside is also a Hall of Heroes, a series of busts of famous Scots, effectively a small national Hall of Fame.
    Links: Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Warriors, Top Ten Swordshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Monument,
  11. Loch Ness
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    Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 37 km (23 mi) southwest of Inverness. Its surface is 15.8 m (52 ft.) above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as “Nessie.” It is connected at the southern end by the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian Canal to Loch Oich. At the northern end there is the Bona Narrows which opens out into Loch Dochfour, which feeds the River Ness and a further section of canal to Inverness. It is one of a series of interconnected, murky bodies of water in Scotland; its water visibility is exceptionally low due to a high peat content in the surrounding soil. Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch by surface area at 56.4 km2 (21.8 sq mi) after Loch Lomond, but due to its great depth, it is the largest by volume. Its deepest point is 230 m (755 ft.), making it the 2nd deepest lake in Scotland after Loch Morar. It contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined, and is the largest body of water on the Great Glen Fault, which runs from Inverness in the north to Fort William in the south.
    Links: Lakes, Top Ten European Lakeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_ness,
  12. St. Kilda
    631452
    St Kilda is an isolated archipelago 64 km (40 mi) west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean. It contains the westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The largest island is Hirta, whose sea cliffs are the highest in the UK, and three other islands (Dùn, Soay and Boreray) were also used for grazing and seabird hunting. The origin of the name St Kilda is a matter of conjecture. The islands’ human heritage includes numerous unique architectural features from the historic and prehistoric periods, although the earliest written records of island life date from the Late Middle Ages. The medieval village on Hirta was rebuilt in the 19th century, but the influences of religious zeal, illnesses brought by increased external contacts through tourism, and WWI all contributed to the island’s evacuation in 1930. St Kilda may have been permanently inhabited for at least two millennia, the population probably never exceeding 180 (and certainly no more than 100 after 1851). Currently, the only year-round residents are defense personnel; a variety of conservation workers, volunteers and scientists spend time there in the summer months. Two different early sheep types have survived on these remote islands, the Soay, a Neolithic type, and the Boreray, an Iron Age type. The islands are a breeding ground for many important seabird species including Northern Gannets, Atlantic Puffins, and Northern Fulmars. The St Kilda Wren and St Kilda Field Mouse are endemic subspecies.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Kilda,_Scotland,
  13. Links: European Attractions, Top Ten European Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotland,

Parks, Recreation and Amusement

Parks, Recreation and Amusement

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Destinations

Destinations

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Cities

Cities

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Islands

Islands

Islands

Top Ten Singaporean Attractions

Top Ten Singaporean Attractions

Singapore  Singapore1

       Singapore is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, 137 km (85 mi) north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia’s Riau Islands by the Singapore Strait to its south. Singapore is highly urbanized, though almost half of the country is covered by greenery. Singapore had been a part of various local empires since it was first inhabited in the 2nd century AD. Modern Singapore was founded as a trading post of the East India Company by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 with permission from the Sultanate of Johor. The British obtained full sovereignty over the island in 1824 and Singapore became one of the British Straits Settlements in 1826. Singapore was occupied by the Japanese in WWII and reverted to British rule after the war. It became internally self-governing in 1959. Singapore united with other former British territories to form Malaysia in 1963 and became a fully independent state two years later after separation from Malaysia. Since then it has had a massive increase in wealth, and is one of the Four Asian Tigers. The economy depends heavily on the industry and service sectors. Singapore is a world leader in several areas: It is the world’s 4th leading financial center, the world’s 2nd biggest casino gambling market, and the world’s 3rd largest oil refining center. The port of Singapore is one of the five busiest ports in the world, most notable for being the busiest transshipment port in the world. The country is home to more US dollar millionaire households per capita than any other country. The World Bank notes Singapore as the easiest place in the world to do business. Singapore is a parliamentary republic with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The People’s Action Party (PAP) has won every election since the British grant of internal self-government in 1959. The legal system of Singapore has its foundations in the English common law system, but modifications have been made to it over the years, such as the removal of trial by jury. The PAP’s popular image is that of a strong, experienced and highly qualified government, backed by a skilled Civil Service and an education system with an emphasis on achievement and meritocracy; but it is perceived by some voters, opposition critics and international observers as being authoritarian and too restrictive on individual freedom. Some 5 million people live in Singapore, of whom 2.91 million were born locally. Most are of Chinese, Malay or Indian descent. There are four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

  1. Singapore

    Description:
    Links: Cities,
  2. Singapore Flyer

    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Ferris Wheels,
  3. Esplanade Performing Art Center
    File:Theatre and Concert Hall, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore - 20110528.jpg
    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Concert Halls, Top Ten Opera Houses,
  4. Links: Top Ten Singapore Hotels, Top Ten Singapore Restaurants, Casinos, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore,

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Top Ten Tibetan Attractions

Top Ten Tibetan Attractions

File:Flag of Tibet 1920-1925.svg

       Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 m (16,000 ft). Indian-controlled areas claimed by the People’s Republic of China as part of Tibet Tibet emerged in the 7th century as a unified empire, but it soon divided into a variety of territories. The bulk of western and central Tibet were often at least nominally unified under a series of Tibetan governments in Lhasa, Shigatse, or nearby locations; these governments were at various times under Mongol and Chinese overlordship. The eastern regions of Kham and Amdo often maintained a more decentralized indigenous political structure, being divided among a number of small principalities and tribal groups, while also often falling more directly under Chinese rule; most of this area was eventually incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. Following the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet. The region declared its independence in 1913. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following a military conflict, Tibet was incorporated into the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising. Today, the PRC governs western and central Tibet as the Tibet Autonomous Region while eastern areas are mostly within Sichuan and Qinghai provinces. There are tensions regarding Tibet’s political status and dissident groups are active in exile. The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism has become a growing industry in Tibet in recent decades. The dominant religion in Tibet is Tibetan Buddhism, in addition there is Bön which was the indigenous religion of Tibet before the arrival of Buddhism in the 7th century AD (Bön is now similar to Tibetan Buddhism) though there are also Muslim and Christian minorities. Tibetan Buddhism is a primary influence on the art, music, and festivals of the region. Tibetan architecture reflects Chinese and Indian influences. Staple foods in Tibet are roasted barley, yak meat, and butter tea.

  1. Lhasa
    File:Bundesarchiv Bild 135-KA-07-089, Tibetexpedition, Mönche mit Blasinstrumenten.jpgFile:Norbulinka. August, 1993.JPGFile:Barkhor in Lhasa 20007 (Detail) Dieter Schuh.JPG
    Lhasa is the administrative capital and a prefecture-level city of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is the 2nd most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining, and at an altitude of 3,490 m (11,450 ft), Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world. The city contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist sites such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang temple and Norbulingka palaces, many of which are located in Chengguan District, the city seat.
    Links:
  2. Potola Palace
    File:Snow Lions protect the entrance to the Potala Pallace.jpgFile:The quiet and peaceful park, pond, and chapel behind the Potala.jpgFile:White Palace of the Potala.jpg
           The Potala Palace is located in Lhasa and named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of Chenresig or Avalokitesvara. The Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Lozang Gyatso, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, started the construction of the Potala Palace in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel, pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. It may overlay the remains of an earlier fortress, called the White or Red Palace, on the site built by Songtsen Gampo in 637. Today, the Potala Palace is a museum. The building measures 400 meters east-west and 350 meters north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m. thick, and 5 m. (more than 16 ft) thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes. Thirteen stories of buildings – containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues – soar 117 meters (384 ft) on top of Marpo Ri, the “Red Hill,” rising more than 300 m (about 1,000 ft) in total above the valley floor. Tradition has it that the three main hills of Lhasa represent the “Three Protectors of Tibet.” Chokpori, just to the south of the Potala, is the soul-mountain (bla-ri) of Vajrapani, Pongwari that of Manjushri, and Marpori, the hill on which the Potala stands, represents Chenresig or Avalokiteshvara.
    Links: Palaces, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potala_Palace,
  3. Xining
    File:Xining 2008.png
           Xining is the capital of Qinghai province in western China, and the largest city on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts. The city was a commercial hub along the Northern Silk Road’s Hexi Corridor for over 2,000 years, and was a stronghold of the Han, Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties’ resistance against nomadic attacks from the west. Although long a part of Gansu province, Xining was added to Qinghai in 1928. Xining holds sites of religious significance to Muslims and Buddhists, including the Dongguan Mosque and Ta’er Monastery. The city lies in the Huangshui River valley, and owing to its high altitude, has a cold semi-arid climate. It is connected by rail to Lhasa, Tibet and Lanzhou, Gansu.
    Links: Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xining,
  4. Drepung Monastery
    File:Ganden Phodrang.JPGFile:Young monks of Drepung.jpgFile:Monks in the great assembly hall at Drepung Monastery, Tibet.jpg
           Drepung (Rice Heap) Monastery, located at the foot of Mount Gephel, is one of the “great three” Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Sera. Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and is located on the Gambo Utse mountain, 5 km from the western suburb of Lhasa. Freddie Spencer Chapman reported, after his 1936-37 trip to Tibet, that Drepung was at that time the largest monastery in the world, and housed 7,700 monks, “but sometimes as many as 10,000 monks.” Since the 1950’s, Drepung Monastery, along with its peers Ganden and Sera, have lost much of their independence and spiritual credibility in the eyes of Tibetans since they operate under the close watch of the Chinese security services. All three were reestablished in exile in the 1950’s in Karnataka state in south India. Drepung and Ganden are in Mundgod and Sera is in Bylakuppe.
    Links: Top Ten Monasterieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drepung,
  5. Sera
    File:Keutsang Hermitage.jpgFile:Stone-Sera16.JPGFile:MG 5813.JPGFile:Sera Mey.jpgFile:Tsongkhapa.jpgFile:Sera Mey monks in the main temple.jpg
           Sera Monastery is one of the ‘great three’ Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet, located 1.25 miles (2.01 km) north of Lhasa. The origin of the name ‘Sera’ is attributed to a fact that the site where the monastery was built was surrounded by wild roses (se ra in Tibetan language) in bloom. The original Sera monastery is located in Lhasa, Tibet, about 5 km (3.1 mi) north of the Jokang and is responsible for some 19 hermitages, including four nunneries, which are all located in the foot hills north of Lhasa. The Sera Monastery, as a complex of structures with the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges, was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355–1435), a disciple of Tsongkhapa. During the 1959 revolt in Lhasa, Sera monastery suffered severe damage, with its colleges destroyed and hundreds of monks killed. After the Dalai Lama took asylum in India, many of the monks of the Sera Monastery who survived the attack moved to Bylakuppe in Mysore, India. After initial tribulations, they established a parallel Sera Monastery with Sera Me and Sera Je colleges and a Great Assembly Hall on similar lines to the original monastery, with help from the Government of India. There are now 3,000 or more monks living in Sera, India and this community has also spread its missionary activities to several countries by establishing Dharma centers, propagating knowledge of Buddhism. The Sera Monastery in Tibet and its counterpart in Mysore, India are the best locations to witness the “Monk Debates” on the teachings of Buddha and the philosophy of Buddhism. Sera Monastery developed over the centuries as a renowned place of scholarly learning, training hundreds of scholars, many of whom have attained fame in the Buddhist nations.
    Links: Top Ten Monasterieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sera_Monastery,
  6. Ganden
    File:Ganden monastery.jpgFile:Gandendebate.jpgFile:Ganden15.JPG
           Ganden Monastery (also Gaden or Gandain) or Ganden Namgyeling is one of the ‘great three’ Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet, located at the top of Wangbur Mountain, Tagtse County, 36 km ENE from the Potala Palace in Lhasa, at an altitude of 4,300 m. Its full name is Ganden Namgyal Ling (dga’ ldan rmam rgyal gling). Ganden means “joyful” and is the Tibetan name for Tuṣita, the heaven where the bodhisattva Maitreya is said to reside. Namgyal Ling means “victorious temple.”
    Links: Top Ten Monasteries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganden_Monastery,
  7. Shambhala

           In Tibetan Buddhist and Indian Buddhist traditions, Shambhala is a mythical kingdom hidden somewhere in Inner Asia. It is mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and the ancient texts of the Zhang Zhung culture which predated Tibetan Buddhism in western Tibet. The Bön scriptures speak of a closely related land called Olmolungring. Whatever its historical basis, Shambhala gradually came to be seen as a Buddhist Pure Land, a fabulous kingdom whose reality is visionary or spiritual as much as physical or geographic. It was in this form that the Shambhala myth reached the West, where it influenced non-Buddhist as well as Buddhist spiritual seekers, as well as popular culture.
    Links: Top 100 Mandalas, Top Ten Spiritual Destinations on Earthhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shambhala,
  8. Sagarmatha (Mount Everest)
    Mount EverestMount Everest1Mount Everest2Mount Everest3Mount Everest4Mount Everest5Mount Everest6
    Sagarmāthā, “Holy Mother,” known to the west as Mount Everest, is the world’s highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 m (29,029 ft.) above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point. Its massif includes neighboring peaks Lhotse (8516 m), Nuptse (7855 m) and Changtse (7580 m). In 1856, the Great Trigonometric Survey of British India established the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29,002 ft. (8,840 m). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon a recommendation by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India. Waugh named the mountain after his predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest. Although Tibetans had called Everest “Chomolungma” for centuries, Waugh was unaware of this because Nepal and Tibet were closed to foreigners. The highest mountain in the world attracts many well-experienced mountaineers as well as novice climbers willing to hire professional guides. While not posing substantial technical climbing challenges on the standard route, Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather and wind.
    Links: Top Ten Nepali Attractions, Top Ten Mountains, Top Ten Tallest MountainsExplorershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mt._Everest,
  9. Links: Top Ten Dalai Lamas, Buddhistshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibet,

Recommendations for Traveling Through Tibet