Cities

Cities

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Top Ten South American Cities

Top Ten South American Cities


  1. Buenos Aires, Argentina

           Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the 2nd largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent. Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the 4th largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of around 13 million. The city of Buenos Aires is not a part of the Buenos Aires Province, nor is it its capital; rather, it is an autonomous district. In 1880, after decades of political infighting, Buenos Aires was federalized and removed from Buenos Aires Province. The city limits were enlarged to include the towns of Belgrano and Flores. The 1994 constitutional amendment granted the city autonomy, hence its formal name: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. Its citizens first elected a Chief of Government (Mayor) in 1996; before, the Mayor was directly appointed by the President of the Republic. People from Buenos Aires are referred to as porteños (people of the port). Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination, and is known for its European style architecture and rich cultural life.
    Links: Top Ten Argentinean Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buenos_aires,
  2. Montévideo, Uruguay

    Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento. According to the census of 2004, Montevideo has a population of 1,325,968 (about half of Uruguay’s population). It has an area of 530 square km (200 sq mi) and extends 20 km (12 mi) from west to east. The southernmost cosmopolitan capital city in the Americas and 3rd most southern in the world, it is situated in the southern coast of the country, on the northeastern bank of the Río de la Plata, “Silver River.” The city was under brief British rule in 1807 and was involved in the first major naval battle in WWII: the Battle of the River Plate. It is also the place where the Montevideo convention was signed, in 1933, by 19 nations of the Americas. The city hosted the 1st FIFA World Cup in 1930. Montevideo has a rich architectural and cultural heritage, the latter including tango and candombe. According to Mercer Human Resource Consulting, in 2007 Montevideo provided the highest quality of life in Latin America. Described as a “vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life,” it is the hub of commerce and higher education in Uruguay: its first university, the Universidad de la República, was founded in 1849. The architecture of Montevideo reflects its history, ranging from colonial to Art Deco, and influenced by Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and British immigrants.
    Links: Top Ten Uruguayan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montevideo,
  3. Santiago, Chile

           Santiago is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation (Greater Santiago). It is located in the country’s central valley, at an elevation of 520 m (1,706.04 ft) above mean sea level. Although Santiago is the capital, legislative bodies meet in the coastal town of Valparaíso, a one-hour drive to the west. Chile’s steady economic growth has transformed Santiago into one of Latin America’s most modern metropolitan areas, with extensive suburban development, dozens of shopping centers and impressive high-rise architecture. It has a very modern transport infrastructure, including the steadily growing underground Santiago Metro, an effort at modernizing public bus transport and a free flow toll-based ring road and inner city highway system, part of which is tunneled underneath a large section of the city’s main river Mapocho connecting the Eastern and Western extremes of the city in a 25-minute drive. Santiago is the regional headquarters to many multinationals, and a financial center. Santiago has a diverse, cosmopolitan culture.
    Links: Top Ten Chilean Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago,
  4. São Paulo, Brazil

           São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world’s 7th largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the 2nd most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among the five-largest metropolitan areas on the planet. São Paulo is the capital of the state of São Paulo, which is the most populous Brazilian state, and exerts strong regional influence in commerce and finance as well as arts and entertainment. São Paulo maintains strong international influence and is considered an Alpha World City. The name of the city honors Saint Paul. The metropolis has significant cultural, economic and political influence both nationally and internationally. It houses several important monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin American Memorial, the Museum of the Portuguese Language, São Paulo Museum of Art and the Ibirapuera Park. The Paulista Avenue is the most important financial center of São Paulo. The city holds many high profile events, like the São Paulo Art Biennial, the Brazil Grand Prix Formula 1 Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo Fashion Week, ATP Brasil Open, and the São Paulo Indy 300. It is home to the São Paulo Stock Exchange, the Future Markets, and the Cereal Market Stock Exchanges (the 2nd largest stock exchange in the World, in market value). São Paulo has been home to several of the tallest buildings in Brazil, including the building Mirante do Vale, Italia, Altino Arantes, North Tower of the UNSCOM (United Nations Center Enterprise) and many others. The city’s Latin motto, which it has shared with the battleship and the aircraft carrier named after it, is Non dvcor, dvco, which translates as “I am not led, I lead.” The city, which is also colloquially known as “Sampa” or “Cidade da Garoa” (city of drizzle), is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, its architecture, gastronomy, severe traffic congestion and multitude of skyscrapers.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten South American Museums, Top Ten Brazilian Museums, National ParksTop Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Bridges, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A3o_Paulo,
  5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

           Rio de Janeiro is the 2nd largest city of Brazil, and the 3rd largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th largest in the Americas and 26th in the world. The city was the capital of Brazil for nearly two centuries, from 1763 to 1815 during the Portuguese colonial era, 1815 to 1821 as the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, and 1822 to 1960 as an independent nation. Rio is nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa or “Marvelous City.” Rio de Janeiro represents the 2nd largest GDP in the country (and 30th largest in the world in 2008), estimated at about R$ 343 billion (IBGE/2008) (nearly US$ 201 billion), and is the headquarters of two major Brazilian companies, Petrobras and Vale, and major oil companies and telephony in Brazil, besides the largest conglomerate of media and communications companies in Latin America, the Globo Organizations. The home of many universities and institutes, it is the 2nd largest center of research and development in Brazil, accounting for 17% of national scientific production according to 2005 data. Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (‘Cristo Redentor’) atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums. The 2016 Summer Olympics will take place in Rio de Janeiro, which will mark the first time a South American city hosts the event. Rio’s Maracanã Stadium will also host the final match for 2014 FIFA World Cup. Rio de Janeiro will also host World Youth Day in 2013.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 South American Sculptures, Top Ten Carnival Celebrations, Beaches, Top Ten South American Beaches, Top Ten Theatres, Top Ten Arenas, Top Ten Soccer Stadiums, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_de_Janeiro,
  6. Brasília, Brazil

           Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,562,963 (3,716,996 in the metropolitan area) as of 2008, making it the 4th largest city in Brazil. Brasília hosts 124 foreign embassies. As the national capital, Brasília is the seat of all three branches of the Brazilian government. The city also hosts the headquarters of many Brazilian companies. Planning policies such as the location of residential buildings around expansive urban areas, as well as building the city around large avenues and dividing it into sectors, have sparked a debate and reflection on life in big cities in the 20th century. The city’s design divides it into numbered blocks as well as sectors for specified activities, such as the Hotel Sector, the Banking Sector or the Embassy Sector. The city was planned and developed in 1956 with Lúcio Costa as the principal urban planner and Oscar Niemeyer as the principal architect. On April 22, 1960, it formally became Brazil’s national capital. Viewed from above, the main portion of the city resembles an airplane or a butterfly. Residents of Brasília are known as brasilienses or candangos (the latter referring to those not born in the city, but migrated there when the city was established). In local usage, the word “Brasília” usually refers only to the First Administrative Region within the Distrito Federal (Federal District), where the most important government buildings are located. Brasília has a unique status in Brazil, as it is an administrative division rather than a legal municipality like nearly all cities in Brazil.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Top Ten Cathedrals, Sculptures, Top 100 South American Sculptures, Top Ten Stadiums, Top Ten Soccer Stadiums, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bras%C3%ADlia,
  7. Lima, Peru

           Lima is the capital and largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central part of the country, on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population fast approaching 9 million, Lima is the 5th largest city in Latin America, behind Mexico City, São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. Lima is home to one of the largest financial hubs in Latin America. It has been defined as a beta world city by GaWC international rankings. Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as la Ciudad de los Reyes, or “the City of Kings”. It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru. Today, around one-third of the Peruvian population lives in the metropolitan area. Lima is home to the oldest higher learning institution in the New World. The National University of San Marcos, founded on May 12, 1551 during Spanish colonial regime, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas.Located principally in the city centre or Cercado de Lima and Rímac areas, the Historic Centre of Lima is among the most important tourist destinations in Peru.
    Links: Top Ten Peruvian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historic_centre_of_Lima, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lima,
  8. Bogotá, Colombia

    Bogotá, Distrito Capital, from 1991 to 2000 called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital city of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, even though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent Capital district and no longer belongs administratively to that department. Bogotá is the most populous city in the country, with an estimated 7,304,384 inhabitants (2009). Bogotá and its metropolitan area, which includes municipalities such as Chía, Cota, Soacha, Cajicá and La Calera, had an estimated population of 8,566,926 in 2009. In terms of land area, Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia, and one of the biggest of Latin America. It figures amongst the 30 largest cities of the world and it is the 3rd highest capital city in South America (after La Paz and Quito) at 2,625 meters (8,612 ft) above sea level. With its many universities and libraries, Bogotá has become known as “The Athens of South America.” Bogotá owns the largest moorland of the world, which is located in the Sumapaz Locality.
    Links: Top Ten Colombian Attractions, Top Ten Gold Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogot%C3%A1,
  9. Historic Centre of San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

           San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains. With a population of  approximately 2,504,991 in 2005, Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador, after Guayaquil. It is also the capital of the Pichincha province and the seat of Metropolitan District of Quito. In 2008, the city was designated as the headquarters of the Union of South American Nations. The elevation of the city’s central square (Plaza de La Independencia) is 2,800 m (9,200 ft), making Quito the 2nd highest administrative capital city in the world after La Paz, Bolivia, and the highest legal capital (ahead of Sucre, also in Bolivia, and Bogotá, Colombia). The central square of Quito is located about 25 kilometers (16 mi) south of the equator; the city itself extends to within about 1 km (0.62 mi) of zero latitude. A monument and museum marking the general location of the equator is known locally as la mitad del mundo (the middle of the world), to avoid confusion, as the word ecuador is Spanish for equator.
    Links: Top Ten Ecuadorean Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quito,
  10. Links: Cities,

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Top Ten Oceanic Cities

Top Ten Oceanic Cities

  1. Sydney, Australia

           Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia’s south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people. Inhabitants of Sydney are called Sydneysiders, comprising a cosmopolitan and international population. The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, commodore of the First Fleet as a penal colony. The city is built on hills surrounding Port Jackson which is commonly known as Sydney Harbour, where the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge feature prominently. The hinterland of the metropolitan area is surrounded by national parks, and the coastal regions feature many bays, rivers, inlets and beaches including the famous Bondi Beach. Within the city are many notable parks, including Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Gardens. In 2010, Sydney was ranked 7th in Asia and 28th globally for economic innovation in the Innovation Cities Top 100 Index by innovation agency 2thinknow. Sydney also ranks among the top 10 most livable cities in the world according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting, The Economist and Monocle and is considered among the top fashion capitals in the world. Sydney ranks among the top 10 world centers. It has hosted major international sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the final match of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The main airport serving Sydney is Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, Top Ten Opera Houses, Top Ten Concert Halls, Top Ten AquariumsTop Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Bridges, BeachesTop Ten Oceanic BeachesTop Ten Australian Beacheshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney,
  2. Auckland, New Zealand

           The Auckland metropolitan area, in the North Island of New Zealand, is the largest and most populous urban area in the country with 1,354,900 residents, 31% of the country’s population. Auckland also has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world. In Māori Auckland’s name is Tāmaki Makaurau, or the transliterated version of Auckland, Ākarana. The 2010 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Auckland 4th equal place in the world on its list, while The Economist’s World’s Most Livable Cities index of 2010 ranked Auckland in 10th place. In 2008, Auckland was classified as an Alpha World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory by Loughborough University. Auckland lies between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the low Hunua Ranges to the south-east, the Manukau Harbour to the south-west, and the Waitakere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and north-west. The central part of the urban area occupies a narrow isthmus between the Manukau Harbor on the Tasman Sea and the Waitemata Harbor on the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the few cities in the world to have harbors on two separate major bodies of water.
    Links: Top Ten New Zealand Attractions, Top Ten Clock Towershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auckland,
  3. Wellington, New Zealand
    CroppedImage1136665-Wellington-City-Dawn-homepagelanding-Dillon-AndersonFile:Pou Whenua in Mount Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand.jpgFile:Wellington-27-05-08.jpgWellington Cable CarFile:Parlamento da Nova Zelândia.jpg
    Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand after Auckland. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It is home to 393,400 residents. The Wellington urban area is the major population center of the southern North Island, and is the seat of the Wellington Region, which in addition to the urban area covers the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. The urban area includes four cities: Wellington, on the peninsula between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbor  contains the central business district and about half of Wellington’s population; Porirua on Porirua Harbor to the north is notable for its large Māori and Pacific Island communities; Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt are largely suburban areas to the northeast, together known as the Hutt Valley. Wellington also holds the distinction of being the world’s southernmost capital city. In 2008, Wellington was classified as a Gamma World City in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory by Loughborough University. The 2010 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world. In 2011 Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011 named Wellington as fourth in its Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011, referring to the New Zealand capital as the “coolest little capital in the world.”
    Links: Top Ten New Zealand Attractions, Cities, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Oceanic Museumshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington,
  4. Melbourne, Australia

           Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the 2nd most populous city in Australia with approximately 4 million inhabitants (2009). The Melbourne City Center is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division, of which “Melbourne” is the common name. The metropolis is located on the large natural bay known as Port Phillip, with the city center positioned at the estuary of the Yarra River (at the northern-most point of the bay). The metropolitan area then extends south from the city center, along the eastern and western shorelines of Port Phillip, and expands into the hinterland. Melbourne was founded in 1835 (47 years after the European settlement of Australia) by settlers from Van Diemen’s Land. It was named by governor Richard Bourke in 1837, in honor of the British Prime Minister of the day, William Lamb, the 2nd Viscount Melbourne. Melbourne was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847. In 1851, it became the capital city of the newly created colony of Victoria. During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850’s, it was transformed into one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities. After the federation of Australia in 1901, it then served as the interim seat of government of the newly created nation of Australia until 1927. Often referred to as the “cultural capital of Australia,” Melbourne is the birthplace of cultural institutions such as Australian film (as well as the world’s first feature film), Australian television, Australian rules football, the Australian impressionist art movement (known as the Heidelberg School) and Australian dance styles such as New Vogue and the Melbourne Shuffle. It is also a major center for contemporary and traditional Australian music. Melbourne was ranked as the world’s most livable city in the World’s Most Livable Cities ratings by the Economist Group’s Intelligence Unit in August, 2011. It was also ranked in the top 10 Global University Cities by RMIT’s Global University Cities Index (since 2006) and the top 20 Global Innovation Cities by the 2thinknow Global Innovation Agency (since 2007). The metropolis is also home to the world’s largest tram network.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, Top 100 FilmsTop Ten Paintings by the Heidelberg School, Sculptures, Top 100 Oceanic Sculptureshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne,
  5. Perth, Australia

           Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia and the 4th most populous city in Australia. The Perth metropolitan area has an estimated population of almost 1,700,000. The metropolitan area is located in the South West Division of Western Australia, between the Indian Ocean and a low coastal escarpment known as the Darling Range. The central business district and suburbs of Perth are situated on the banks of the Swan River. Shortly after the establishment of the port settlement of Fremantle, Perth was founded on June 12, 1829 by Captain James Stirling as the political center of the Swan River Colony. As the business and administration center for the resource-rich state, Perth has grown consistently faster than the national average. Perth became known worldwide as the “City of Light” when city residents lit their house lights and streetlights as American astronaut John Glenn passed overhead while orbiting the earth on Friendship 7 in 1962. The city repeated the act as Glenn passed overhead on the Space Shuttle in 1998. Perth is tied for 8th place in The Economist’s 2011 list of the World’s Most Livable Cities.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Astronautshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perth,_Western_Australia,
  6. The Gold Coast, Australia

           Gold Coast is a coastal city located in South East Queensland, Australia. The city is 94 km south of the state capital Brisbane. With a population approximately 540,000 (2010), it is the 2nd most populous city in the state, the 6th most populous city in the country, and also the most populous non-capital city in Australia. The Gold Coast also holds the title of the largest cross-state population of any metropolitan area in Australia, due to its close proximity to Tweed Heads which is located in New South Wales. The total metropolitan area of the region is over 600,000 people, many of whom cross the border daily. In addition, the urban area of the Gold Coast has almost joined with the urban areas of Logan and Brisbane, some 50 km north. While the origin of the city’s name is debatable, it earned a reputation as being the “gold coast” area by real estate investors. The first settlement of the area of Queensland was as a penal colony at Redcliffe. The Gold Coast urban area remained largely uninhabited by Europeans until 1823 when explorer John Oxley landed at Mermaid Beach. The hinterland’s red cedar supply attracted people to the area in the mid-19th century. Later in 1875, Southport was surveyed and established and quickly grew a reputation as a secluded holiday destination for the upper class Brisbane residents. The region of the Gold Coast grew significantly after the establishment of the Surfers Paradise hotel in the late 1920’s. The area boomed in the 1980’s as a leading tourist destination and by 1994, Queensland decided to amalgamate the city with Albert Shire to develop it as one of Australia’s “super cities.” This amalgamation made Gold Coast the 2nd largest municipality in Australia after Brisbane. Its new boundaries extend south to Coolangatta on the border with New South Wales, west to Mount Tamborine in the remote interior, and north to Beenleigh of Brisbane. Gold Coast is today known as a major tourist destination with its sunny subtropical climate, surfing beaches, canal and waterway systems, its high-rise dominated skyline, nightlife and rainforest hinterland, making tourism one of its most significant industries. Gold Coast will host the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, Top Ten Surf Spots,
  7. Canberra, Australia

           Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia’s largest inland city and the 8th largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney, and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne. A resident of Canberra is known as a “Canberran.” The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation’s capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely planned city. Following an international contest for the city’s design, a blueprint by the Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913. The Griffins’ plan featured geometric motifs such as circles, hexagons and triangles, and was centered around axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory. The city’s design was heavily influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation that have earned Canberra the title of the “bush capital.” The growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, which exacerbated a series of planning disputes and the ineffectiveness of a sequence of bodies that were to oversee the development of the city. The national capital emerged as a thriving city after WWII, as Prime Minister Robert Menzies championed its development and the National Capital Development Commission was formed with executive powers. Although the Australian Capital Territory is now self-governing, the federal government retains some influence through the National Capital Authority. As the seat of the government of Australia, Canberra is the site of Parliament House, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies. It is also the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as the Australian War Memorial, Australian National University, Australian Institute of Sport, National Gallery, National Museum and the National Library. The Australian Army’s officer corps are trained at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and the Australian Defence Force Academy is also located in the capital. As the city has a high proportion of public servants, the federal government contributes the largest percentage of Gross State Product and is the largest single employer in Canberra. As the seat of government, the unemployment rate is lower and the average income higher than the national average, while property prices are relatively high, in part due to comparatively restricted development regulations. Tertiary education levels are higher, while the population is younger.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canberra,
  8. Adelaide, Australia
    File:Adelaide nth tce1.8.jpg
    Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. According to the 2011 census, Adelaide has a population of 1.23 million. Adelaide is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St. Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges which surround the city. Adelaide stretches 20 km (12 mi) from the coast to the foothills, and 90 km (56 mi) from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south. Named in honor of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for a freely settled British province in Australia. Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide’s founding fathers, designed the city and chose its location close to the River Torrens in the area originally inhabited by the Kaurna people. Light’s design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, and entirely surrounded by parkland. Early Adelaide was shaped by religious freedom and a commitment to political progressivism and civil liberties, which led to the moniker “City of Churches.” As South Australia’s seat of government and commercial center  Adelaide is the site of many governmental and financial institutions. Most of these are concentrated in the city center along the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, King William Street and in various districts of the metropolitan area. Today, Adelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food, wine and culture, its long beachfronts, and its large defense and manufacturing sectors. It ranks highly in terms of liveability, being listed in the Top 10 of The Economist’s World’s Most Liveable Cities index in 2010 and being ranked the most liveable city in Australia by the Property Council of Australia in 2011 and again in 2012.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adelaide,
  9. Brisbane, Australia

            Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the 3rd most populous city in Australia. Brisbane’s metropolitan area has a population of over 2 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centered around Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the original European settlement and is situated inside a bend of the Brisbane River approximately 23 kilometers from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River valley between the bay and the Great Dividing Range. While the metropolitan area is governed by several municipalities, a large proportion of central Brisbane is governed by the Brisbane City Council which is Australia’s largest Local Government Area by population. Brisbane is named after the river on which it sits which, in turn, was named after Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825. The first European settlement in Queensland was a penal colony at Redcliffe, 28 kilometers (17 mi) north of the Brisbane central business district, in 1824. That settlement was soon abandoned and moved to North Quay in 1825. Free settlers were permitted from 1842. Brisbane was chosen as the capital when Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales in 1859. The city played a central role in the Allied campaign during WWII as the South West Pacific headquarters for General Douglas MacArthur. Brisbane has hosted many large cultural and sporting events including the 1982 Commonwealth Games, World Expo ‘88 and the final Goodwill Games in 2001. Brisbane is the largest economy between Sydney and Singapore and in 2008 it was classified as a Beta world city in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory by Loughborough University. It was also rated the 16th most livable city in the world in 2009 by The Economist.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brisbane,
  10. Links: Cities,

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Top Ten Asian Cities

Top Ten Asian Cities

  1. Shanghai, China

           Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010. Following rapid development over the last two decades it has become a leading global city, with significant influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology and transport. It is a major financial center and the busiest container port in the world. Located in the Yangtze River Delta in eastern China, Shanghai sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. The municipality borders Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces to the west, and is bounded to the east by the East China Sea. Once a fishing and textiles town, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to its favorable port location and was one of the cities opened to foreign trade by the 1842 Treaty of Nanking. The city then flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became the undisputed financial hub of the Asia Pacific in the 1930’s. However, with the Communist Party takeover of the mainland in 1949, the city’s international influence declined. In the 1990’s, the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in an intense re-development of the city, aiding the return of finance and foreign investment to the city. Shanghai is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as The Bund, City God Temple and Yuyuan Garden, as well as the extensive and growing Pudong skyline. It has been described as the “showpiece” of the booming economy of mainland China.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, Temples, Top Ten Asian Temples, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Asian MuseumsTop Ten Pagodas, Top Ten Clock TowersTop Ten Neon Lightshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai,
  2. Tokyo, Japan

           Tokyo, “Eastern Capital,” is the capital and largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family. Tokyo is located in the Kantō region on the southeastern side of the main island Honshu and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Tokyo Metropolis was formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo. The Tokyo Metropolitan government administers the 23 special wards of Tokyo (each governed as a city), which cover the area that was the city of Tokyo, as well as 39 municipalities in the western part of the prefecture and the two outlying island chains. The population of the special wards is over 8 million people, with the total population of the prefecture exceeding 13 million. The prefecture is part of the world’s most populous metropolitan area with upwards of 35 million people and the world’s largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US $1.48 trillion at purchasing power parity in 2008, ahead of New York City, which ranks 2nd on the list. The city hosts 47 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, the highest amount of any city. Tokyo has been described as one of the three “command centers” for the world economy, along with New York City and London. This city is considered an alpha+ world city, listed by the GaWC’s 2008 inventory and ranked 3rd among global cities by Foreign Policy’s 2010 Global Cities Index. In 2010 Tokyo was named the 2nd most expensive city for expatriate employees, according to the Mercer and Economist Intelligence Unit cost-of-living surveys, and named the 4th Most Liveable City and the World’s Most Livable Megalopolis by the magazine Monocle. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics and is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Bridgeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo,
  3. Bejing, China

           Beijing, also known as Peking, is the capital of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 (2010). The city is the country’s political, cultural and educational center and home to the headquarters for most of China’s largest state-owned companies. The metropolis, located in northern China, borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and a small section to the east, and Tianjin Municipality to the southeast. Governed as a municipality under the direct administration of the national government, Beijing is divided into 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties. It is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city, and the destination of many international flights to China. Few cities in the world have served as long as the political and cultural centre of an area as immense. Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. It has been the heart of China’s history for centuries, and there is scarcely a major building of any age in Beijing that does not have at least some national historical significance. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates. Its art treasures and universities have long made it a center of culture and art in China.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, Temples, Top Ten Asian TemplesTop Ten Stadiumshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing,
  4. Seoul, South Korea

           Seoul is the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea. A megacity with a population of over 10 million, it is the largest city proper in the OECD developed world. The Seoul National Capital Area is the world’s 2nd largest metropolitan area with over 25 million inhabitants, which includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province. Over half of South Korea’s population lives in the Seoul National Capital Area, and nearly a quarter in Seoul itself, making it the country’s foremost economic, political and cultural center. Seoul has been a major settlement for over 2,000 years, with its foundation dating back to 18 BC when Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, established its capital in what is now south-east Seoul. It continued as the capital of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty and the Korean Empire. The Seoul National Capital Area is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Changdeokgung, Hwaseong Fortress, Jongmyo Shrine and the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty. Today, Seoul is considered to be a leading global city, ranking among the top ten global cities in the Global Cities Index of 2010. It is one of the world’s top ten financial and commercial centers, home to major multinational conglomerates such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai-Kia. In 2008, Seoul was named the world’s 6th most economically powerful city by Forbes. Seoul has a highly technologically advanced infrastructure. Seoul was the first city to feature DMB, a digital mobile TV technology and WiBro, a wireless high-speed mobile internet service. It has a fast, high-penetration 100 Mbit/s fiber-optic broadband network, which is being upgraded to 1 Gbit/s by 2012. Seoul Station houses the 350 km/h KTX bullet train and the Seoul Subway is the 3rd busiest in the world, with over 2 billion passengers every year. Seoul is connected via AREX to Incheon International Airport, rated as the best airport in the world by Airports Council International. Seoul hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics, 2002 FIFA World Cup and the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. The city was named the World Design Capital for 2010 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.
    Links: Top Ten South Korean Attractions, Top Ten Bridgeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seoul,
  5. Hong Kong, China

           Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of China, the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China’s south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbor. With a land mass of 1,104 square km (426 sq mi) and a population of seven million people, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Hong Kong’s population is 95% ethnic Chinese and 5% from other groups. Hong Kong’s Han Chinese majority originate mainly from the cities of Guangzhou and Taishan in the neighboring Guangdong province. Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after the First Opium War (1839–42). Originally confined to Hong Kong Island, the colony’s boundaries were extended in stages to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and then the New Territories in 1898. It was occupied by Japan during the Pacific War, after which the British resumed control until 1997, when China resumed sovereignty. The time period greatly influenced the current culture of Hong Kong, often described as “East meets West,” and the educational system, which used to loosely follow the system in England until reforms implemented in 2009. Under the principle of “one country, two systems,” Hong Kong has a different political system from mainland China. Hong Kong’s independent judiciary functions under the common law framework. The Basic Law of Hong Kong, its constitutional document, which stipulates that Hong Kong shall have a “high degree of autonomy” in all matters except foreign relations and military defense, governs its political system. Although it has a burgeoning multi-party system, a small-circle electorate controls half of its legislature. An 800-person Election Committee selects the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the head of government. As one of the world’s leading international financial centers, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterized by low taxation and free trade, and the currency, Hong Kong dollar, is the 8th most traded currency in the world. The lack of space caused demand for denser constructions, which developed the city to a center for modern architecture and the world’s most vertical city. The dense space also led to a highly developed transportation network with public transport travelling rate exceeding 90%, the highest in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese AttractionsTop Ten Bruce Lee MoviesTop Ten Kung Fu MoviesTop Ten Martial Artistshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong,
  6. Tianjin, China

    Tianjin is a metropolis in northern China and one of the five national central cities of China. It is governed as a direct-controlled municipality, one of four such designations, and is, thus, under direct administration of the central government. Tianjin borders Hebei Province and Beijing Municipality, bounded to the east by the Bohai Gulf portion of the Yellow Sea. As a dual-core city, Tianjin is divided into the old city and the Binhai New Area. Binhai New Area is a new growth pole in China, and it maintains an annual growth rate of nearly 30% of the GDP. As of the end of 2010, 285 Fortune Global 500 companies have established branch offices in Binhai. It is a base of China’s advanced industry, financial reform and innovation. In terms of urban population, it is the 6th largest city in China, and its urban land area (Binhai New Area is not included) ranks 5th in the nation after Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Tianjin’s urban area is located along the Hai River, which connects to the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers via the Grand Canal in Tianjin. Tianjin was once home to foreign concessions in the late Qing Dynasty and early Kuomintang era. The municipality incorporates the coastal region of Tanggu, home to the Binhai New Area and the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA).
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Train/Railway Stations, Top Ten Ferris Wheels, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianjin,
  7. Xi’an, China

           Xi’an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang’an before the Ming Dynasty. Xi’an is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui and Tang. Xi’an is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army. Since the 1990’s, as part of the economic revival of interior China especially for the central and northwest regions, the city of Xi’an has re-emerged as an important cultural, industrial and educational centre of the central-northwest region, with facilities for research and development, national security and China’s space exploration program. It’s now one the most populous metropolitan area in inland China with more than 8 million inhabitants, including urban parts of Xianyang (Weicheng and Qindu districts).
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptures, Top Ten Pagodas, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xi%27an,
  8. Singapore
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    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.
    Links: Top Ten Ferris Wheels, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore,
  9. Yokohama, Japan

           Yokohama is the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture and the 2nd largest city in Japan by population after Tokyo. It lies on Tokyo Bay, south of Tokyo, in the Kantō region of the main island of Honshu. It is a major commercial hub of the Greater Tokyo Area. Yokohama’s population of 3.6 million makes it Japan’s largest incorporated city. Yokohama developed rapidly as Japan’s prominent port city following the end of Japan’s relative isolation in the mid-19th century, and is today one of its major ports along with Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Hakata, Tokyo and Chiba.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, Top Ten Ferris Wheelshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yokohama,
  10. Osaka, Japan
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           Osaka is a city in the Kansai region of Japan’s main island of Honshu, a designated city under the Local Autonomy Law, the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and also the largest part of the Keihanshin metropolis, which comprises three major cities of Japan, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. Located at the mouth of the Yodo River on Osaka Bay, Osaka is Japan’s 3rd largest city by population after Tokyo (special wards) and Yokohama. Keihanshin is the 2nd largest metropolitan area in Japan by population and one of the largest metropolitan areas highly ranked in the world, with nearly 18 million people, and by GDP the 2nd largest area in Japan and the 7th largest area in the world. Historically the commercial center of Japan, Osaka functions as one of the command centers for the Japanese economy. The ratio between daytime and night time population is 141%, the highest in Japan, highlighting its status as an economic center. Its nighttime population is 2.6 million, the 3rd in the country, but in daytime the population surges to 3.7 million, 2nd only after Tokyo (combining the Special wards of Tokyo. Osaka used to be referred to as the “nation’s kitchen”  in feudal Edo period because it was the center of trading for rice, creating the first modern futures exchange market in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, Castles, Top Ten Asian Castles, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osaka,
  11. Kobe, Japan
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           Kobe is the 5th largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture on the southern side of the main island of Honshū, approximately 30 km (19 mi) west of Osaka. With a population of about 1.5 million, the city is part of Keihanshin, the Kyōto–Õsaka–Kōbe metropolitan area. The earliest written records regarding the region come from the Nihon Shoki, which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine by Empress Jingū in AD 201. For most of its history the area was never a single political entity, even during the Tokugawa Period, when the port was controlled directly by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Kobe did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889. Its name comes from “kanbe,” an archaic title for supporters of the city’s Ikuta Shrine. Kobe became one of Japan’s 17 designated cities in 1956. Kobe was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city. While the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake diminished much of Kobe’s prominence as a port city, it remains Japan’s 4th busiest container port. Companies headquartered in Kobe include ASICS, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Kobe Steel, as well as over 100 international corporations with Asia or Japan headquarters in the city such as Eli Lilly & Company, Procter & Gamble, Boehringer-Ingelheim and Nestlé. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Bridgeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe,
  12. Taipei, China
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           Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China (ROC) and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan Island. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean. Another coastal city, Tamsui, is about 20 km northwest at the river’s mouth on the Taiwan Strait. It lies in the two relatively narrow valleys of the Keelung and Xindian rivers, which join to form the Tamsui River along the city’s western border. The city proper (Taipei City) is home to an estimated 2,618,772 people. Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung together form the Taipei metropolitan area with a population of 6,900,273. However, they are administered under different local governing bodies. “Taipei” sometimes refers to the whole metropolitan area, while “Taipei City” refers to the city proper. Taipei City proper is surrounded on all sides by New Taipei. Taipei is the political, economic, and cultural center of Taiwan. The National Palace Museum which has one of the largest collections of Chinese artifacts and artworks in the world is located in Taipei. Considered to be a global city, Taipei is part of a major industrial area. Railways, high speed rail, highways, airports and bus lines connect Taipei with all parts of the island. The city is served by two airports, Taipei Songshan and Taiwan Taoyuan. Taipei was founded in the early 18th century and became an important center for overseas trade in the 19th century. The Qing Dynasty in China made Taipei the provincial capital of Taiwan in 1886. When the Japanese acquired Taiwan in 1895 after the First Sino-Japanese War, they retained Taipei as the capital of the island, and also advanced an extensive urban planning in Taipei. The Republic of China took over the island in 1945 following Japanese surrender. After losing Mainland China to the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) resettled the ROC government to Taiwan and declared Taipei the provisional capital of the Republic of China in December 1949.
    Links: Top Ten Taiwanese Attractions, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Asian Museums, Temples, Top Ten Asian TemplesTop Ten Roof Ornamentshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taipei,
  13. Mumbai, India
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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: Top Ten Indian Attractions, Top Ten Bridges, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumbai, 
  14. New Delhi, India
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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: Top Ten Indian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Delhi,
  15. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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    Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the 2nd largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of 243 sqaure km (94 square mi), has a population of 1.4 million (2010). Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million. It is the fastest growing metropolitan region in the country, in terms of population and economy. Kuala Lumpur is the seat of the Parliament of Malaysia. The city was once home to the executive and judicial branches of the federal government, but they have since moved to Putrajaya starting in 1999. Some sections of the judiciary remain in the capital. The official residence of the Malaysian King, the Istana Negara, is also situated in Kuala Lumpur. Rated as an alpha world city, Kuala Lumpur is the cultural, financial and economic centre of Malaysia due to its position as the capital as well as being a primate city. Kuala Lumpur is defined within the borders of the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and is one of three Malaysian Federal Territories. It is an enclave within the state of Selangor, on the central west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Residents of the city are colloquially known as KLites. Since the 1990’s, the city has played host to many international sporting, political and cultural events including the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the Formula One World Championship. In addition, Kuala Lumpur is home to the tallest twin buildings in the world, the Petronas Twin Towers, which have become an iconic symbol of Malaysia’s futuristic developments.
    Links: Top Ten Malaysian Attractions, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Mosques, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuala_Lumpur,
  16. Links: Cities, Attractions,

Recommendations for Adventures in Asia 

Top Ten Middle Eastern Cities

Top Ten Middle Eastern Cities

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  1. Istanbul, Turkey

           Istanbul, also known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the largest city of Turkey. According to the address-based birth recording system of the Turkish Statistical Institute, the metropolitan municipality (province) of the city had a population of 13.26 million as of 2010, which is 17.98% of Turkey’s population and the largest in Europe. Istanbul is a megacity, as well as the cultural, economic, and financial centre of Turkey. It is located on the Bosphorus Strait and encompasses the natural harbor known as the Golden Horn, in the northwest of the country. It extends both on the European (Thrace) and on the Asian (Anatolia) sides of the Bosphorus, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. During its long history, Istanbul has served as the capital of the Roman Empire (330–395), the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (395–1204 and 1261–1453), the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). When the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on 29 October 29, 1923, Ankara, which had previously served as the headquarters of the Turkish national movement during the Turkish War of Independence, was chosen as the new Turkish State’s capital. Istanbul is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The city covers 39 districts of the Istanbul province.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions, Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istanbul,
  2. Mecca, Saudi Arabia

           Mecca is a city in the Makkah province of Saudi Arabia. Islamic tradition attributes the beginning of Mecca to Ishmael’s descendants. In the 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad proclaimed Islam in the city which was by then an important trading center. After 966, Mecca was led by local sharifs. When the authority of the Ottoman Empire in the area collapsed in 1916, the local rulers established the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz. The Hejaz kingdom, including Mecca, was absorbed by the Saudis in 1925. In its modern period, Mecca has seen tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure. The modern day city is the capital of Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Province, in the historic Hejaz region. With a population of 1.7 million (2008), the city is located 73 km (45 mi) inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 m (909 ft.) above sea level. Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in Islam. More than 13 million Muslims visit Mecca annually, including several million who perform the Hajj (pilgrimage). As a result, Mecca has become one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse cities in the Muslim world, however, non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the city. Mecca and Medina and its surrounding outskirts are the only two places where the Quran was composed.
    Links: Top Ten Saudi Arabian AttractionsTop Ten Spiritual Destinations on EarthTop Ten Mosques, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecca,
  3. Dubai, UAE

           Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates. The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the 2nd largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the only two emirates to have veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country’s legislature. The earliest recorded mention of Dubai is in 1095, and the earliest settlement known as Dubai town dates from 1799. Dubai was formally established in 1833 by Sheikh Maktoum bin Buti al Maktoum when he persuaded 800 members of the Bani Yas tribe, living in what is now part of Saudi Arabia, to follow him to the Dubai Creek by the Al Abu Falasa clan of Bani Yas, and it remained under clan control when the UK assumed the protection of Dubai in 1892. Its geographical location made it an important trading hub and by the beginning of the 20th century, it was an important port. In 1966, the year oil was discovered, Dubai and the emirate of Qatar set up a new monetary unit to replace the Gulf Rupee. The oil economy led to a massive influx of foreign workers, quickly expanding the city by 300% and bringing in international oil interests. The modern emirate of Dubai was created after the UK left the area in 1971. At this time Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi and four other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates. The following year Ras al Khaimah joined the federation while Qatar and Bahrain chose to remain independent nations. In 1973, the monetary union with Qatar was dissolved and the UAE Dirham introduced throughout the UAE. A free trade zone was built around the Jebel Ali port in 1979, allowing foreign companies unrestricted import of labor and export capital. The Gulf War of 1990 had a negative financial effect on the city, as depositors withdrew their money and traders withdrew their trade, but subsequently the city recovered in a changing political climate and thrived. Today, Dubai City has emerged as a global city and a business hub. Although Dubai’s economy was built on the oil industry, the emirate’s model of business drives its economy, with the effect that its main revenues are now from tourism, real estate and financial services, similar to that of Western countries. Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events.
    Links: Top Ten UAE Attractionshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubai,
  4. Doha, Qatar
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           Doha, “the big tree” is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar. Doha is Qatar’s largest city, with over 80% of the nation’s population residing in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, and is also the economic center of the country. Doha also serves as the seat of government of Qatar, which is ruled by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Doha is home to the Education City, an area devoted to research and education. Doha was the site of the first ministerial-level meeting of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. The city of Doha held the 2006 Asian Games, which was the largest Asian Games ever held. Doha also hosted the 2011 Pan Arab Games and most of the games at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Doha will also host a large number of the venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Doha is currently bidding to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. The World Petroleum Council held the 20th World Petroleum Conference in Doha in December 2011
    Links: Top Ten Qatari Attractions, Top Ten Architectural Works by I.M. PeiTop Ten Dome Interiors, Top Ten Domeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doha,
  5. Lahore, Pakistan
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    Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the 2nd largest city in the country. With a rich history dating back over a millennium ago, Lahore is a major cultural center of Pakistan. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a vibrant economic, political, transportation, entertainment and educational hub. Considered a gamma+ world city, Lahore maintains its historical status as one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and lively of cities. Lahore has been a center of cultural heritage for many civilizations. It successively served as regional capital of the empires of the Shahi kingdoms in the 11th century, the Ghaznavids in the 12th century, the Ghurid State in the 12th and 13th century, the Mughal Empire in the 16th century, the Sikh expansion in the early 19th century, and it was the capital of the Punjab region under the British Raj in the mid-19th and early 20th century. The traditional capital of Punjab for a thousand years, Lahore was the cultural center of North India which extends from the eastern banks of the Indus River to New Delhi. Mughal structures such as the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort, Shalimar Gardens, and the mausolea of Jehangir and Nur Jehan are popular tourist attractions for the city. Lahore is also home to many British colonial structures built in the Indo-Saracenic style, such as the Lahore High Court, the General Post Office, Lahore Museum and many older universities including the University of the Punjab. The Lahore Zoo, thought to be the 4th oldest zoo in the world, is also situated here. Lahore is referred to as the cultural heart of Punjab as it hosts most of the arts, cuisine, festivals, film-making, music, gardening and intelligentsia of the country. Known for its affiliation with poets and artists, it has the largest number of educational institutions in Punjab and some of the finest gardens in the continent. Lahore has always been a center for publications, where 80% of Punja’’s books are published and remains the foremost center of literary, educational and cultural activity in Punjab. It is also an important religious center as it is home to hundreds of temples, mosques and shrines like Data Durbar Complex. It is ranked 40 in the most populated urban areas in the world, with approximately 8,590,000 citizens, and the 8th largest city within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. In 2008, Lahore was ranked as a city with High Sufficiency to become a Gamma world city. In 2010 it was ranked by The Guardian as the 2nd Best Tourist Destination in Pakistan.
    Links: Top Ten Pakistani Attractions, Top Ten ZoosTop Ten Minarets,
  6. Medina, Saudi Arabia
    MedinaMedina1Medina2
           Medina, “the radiant city,” also transliterated as Madinah, is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the 2nd holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and it is historically significant for being his home after the Hijrah. Before the advent of Islam, the city was known as Yathrib, but was personally renamed by Muhammad. Medina is home to the three oldest mosques in Islam, namely; Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (The Prophet’s Mosque), Quba Mosque (the first mosque in Islam’s history), and Masjid al-Qiblatain (the mosque where the qibla was switched to Mecca). Because of the Saudi government’s religious policy and concern that historic sites could become the focus for idolatry, much of Medina’s Islamic physical heritage has been destroyed since the beginning of Saudi rule. The Islamic calendar is based on the emigration of Muhammad and his followers to the city of Medina, which marks the start of the Hijri year in 622 CE, called Hijra. Similarly to Mecca, entrance to Medina is restricted to Muslims only; non-Muslims are neither permitted to enter nor travel through the city. Muslims believe that Mecca and Medina and its surrounding outskirts are the two places where the Quran was revealed
    Links: Top Ten Saudi Arabian Attractions, Top Ten Mosques, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medina,
  7. Shiraz, Iran

           Shiraz is the 6th most populous city in Iran and is the capital of Fars Province, the city’s 2009 population was 1,455,073. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the Roodkhaneye Khoshk (Dry river) seasonal river. Shiraz has a moderate climate and has been a regional trade center for more than 1,000 years. The earliest reference to the city, as Tiraziš, is on Elamite clay tablets dated to 2000 BC. In the 13th century, Shiraz became a leading center of the arts and letters, thanks to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. Shiraz was the capital of Persia during the Zand dynasty from 1750 until 1781, as well as briefly during the Saffarid period. Shiraz is known as the city of poets, literature, wine and flowers. The word “shir” in Persian means “lion,” but it could also mean “milk.” It is also considered by many Iranians to be the city of gardens, due to the many gardens and fruit trees that can be seen in the city. Shiraz has had major Jewish and Christian communities. The crafts of Shiraz consist of inlaid mosaic work of triangular design; silver-ware; pile carpet-weaving and weaving of kilim, called gilim and jajim in the villages and among the tribes. In Shiraz industries such as cement production, sugar, fertilizers, textile products, wood products, metalwork and rugs dominate. Shirāz also has a major oil refinery and is also a major center for Iran’s electronic industries: 53% of Iran’s electronic investment has been centered in Shiraz. Shiraz is home to Iran’s first solar power plant. Recently the city’s first wind turbine has been installed above Babakoohi mountain near the city.
    Links: Top Ten Iranian Attractions, Top Ten Mausoleumshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiraz,
  8. Muscat, Oman
    File:Intermission in Mutrah.jpgKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFile:ROHM.jpgAutosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHFile:OmantelMuscatCBD.jpgFile:MUTRAHCORNICHE2.jpgFile:MuscatRoadGate.jpgFile:Oman-Muscat-16-Sultans-Palace-2.JPGFile:MuscatBeachs.jpg
           
    Muscat is the capital of Oman. It is also the seat of government and largest city in the Governorate of Muscat. As of 2010 census, the population of the Muscat metropolitan area was 734,697. The metropolitan area spans approximately 1,500 square km (580 sq mi) and includes six provinces called wilayats. Known since the early 1st century AD as an important trading port between the west and the east, Muscat was ruled by various indigenous tribes as well as foreign powers such as the Persians and the Portuguese Empire at various points in its history. A regional military power in the 18th century, Muscat’s influence extended as far as East Africa and Zanzibar. As an important port-town in the Gulf of Oman, Muscat attracted foreign tradesmen and settlers such as the Persians, the Balochs and Gujaratis. Since the ascension of Qaboos bin Said as Sultan of Oman in 1970, Muscat has experienced rapid infrastructural development that has led to the growth of a vibrant economy and a multi-ethnic society. The rocky Western Al Hajar Mountains dominate the landscape of Muscat. The city lies on the Arabian Sea along the Gulf of Oman and is in the proximity of the strategic Straits of Hormuz. Low-lying white buildings typify most of Muscat’s urban landscape, while the port-district of Muttrah, with its corniche and harbour, form the north-eastern periphery of the city. Muscat’s economy is dominated by trade, petroleum and porting.
    Links: Top Ten Omani Attractions, Palaces, Top Ten Gates, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscat,_Oman,
  9. Amman (Ancient Philadelphia), Jordan
    AmmanAmman1Amman2Amman3
    Amman is the capital and largest city of Jordan. It is the country’s political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost 6.5 million by 2025 due to constant and rapid immigration. Amman is also the administrative seat of the homonymous governorate. Amman is also ranked a Gamma global city on the World city index. Amman was named one of the MENA’s best cities according to economic, labor, environmental and socio-cultural factors. Amman is considered one of the richest and most Western-oriented cities in the Middle East. According to the 2011 Global Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities, Amman is among the top ten cities in the entire Middle East and Africa region in terms of international visitors and international visitor spending making it an important global destination city for tourism and business. According to the index, the city alone welcomes 1.8 million visitors and makes $1.3 billion a year in international visitors’ spending. Regionally, Amman is considered more prominent in global business and tourism than its counterparts in the Persian Gulf with the exceptions of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Amman receives more international tourists than Beirut as well, however it earns less income from them then the Lebanese capital.
    Links: Top Ten Jordanian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amman,
  10. Beirut, Lebanon
    File:ChurchMosque.jpgFile:Beirut Museum.jpgxFile:BeirutParliament.jpg
    Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon. As of 2007 the population was estimated to be around 1 to 2 million. Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast, it serves as the country’s largest and main seaport. The Beirut metropolitan area consists of the city and its suburbs. The first mention of this metropolis is found in the ancient Egyptian Tell el Amarna letters, dating from the 15th century BC. The city has been inhabited continuously since then. Beirut currently serves as Lebanon’s seat of government and plays a central role in the Lebanese economy, with many banks and corporations based in its city center  Hamra Street, Rue Verdun and Ashrafieh. The city is the focal point of the region’s cultural life, renowned for its press, theaters  cultural activities and nightlife. After the destructive Lebanese Civil War, Beirut underwent major reconstruction, and the redesigned historic city center  marina, pubs and nightlife districts have once again made it a tourist attraction. Beirut was named the top place to visit by The New York Times in 2009, and as one of the ten liveliest cities in the world by Lonely Planet in the same year.
    Links: Top Ten Lebanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beirut,
  11. Abu Dhabi, UAE
    Abu DhabiAbu Dhabi1
           Abu Dhabi, literally “Father of gazelle,” is the capital and the 2nd largest city in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast. The city proper had an estimated population of 896,751 in 2009. Abu Dhabi houses important offices of the federal government, and is the seat for the United Arab Emirates Government and the home for the Abu Dhabi Emiri Family and the President of the UAE from this family. Abu Dhabi has grown to be a cosmopolitan metropolis. Its rapid development and urbanization, coupled with the relatively high average income of its population, has transformed Abu Dhabi to a larger and advanced metropolis. Today the city is the country’s center of political, industrial activities, and a major cultural, and commercial centre due to its position as the capital. Abu Dhabi alone generated 56.7% of the GDP of the United Arab Emirates in 2008. Abu Dhabi is home to important financial institutions such as the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and the corporate headquarters of many companies and numerous multinational corporations. One of the world’s largest producers of oil, Abu Dhabi has actively attempted to diversify its economy in recent years through investments in financial services and tourism. Abu Dhabi is the 2nd most expensive city for expatriate employees in the region, and 50th most expensive city in the world. Fortune & CNN stated that Abu Dhabi is the richest city in the world.
    Links: Top Ten United Arab Emirates Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Dhabi,
  12. Astana, Kazakhstan
    AstanaAstana1Astana2Astana3Astana4Astana5Astana6Astana7Astana8
           Astana, formerly known as Akmola, Tselinograd and Akmolinsk, is the capital and 2nd largest city (after Almaty) of Kazakhstan, with an officially estimated population of 708,794 as of August 1, 2010. It is located in the north-central portion of Kazakhstan, within Akmola Province, though administrated separately from the province as a federal city area.
    Links: Top Ten Kazakhstani Attractions, Pyramids, Top Ten Modern Pyramids, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astana,
  13. Kuwait City, Kuwait
    Kuwait CityKuwait City1Kuwait City2Kuwait City3Kuwait City4Kuwait City5Kuwait City6
    Kuwait City is the capital of Kuwait with a population of 2.38 million in the metropolitan area. Located at the heart of the country on the shore of the Persian Gulf, and containing Kuwait’s parliament (Majlis Al-Umma), most governmental offices, the headquarters of most Kuwaiti corporations and banks, it is the political, cultural and economic center of the emirate. Kuwait City’s trade and transportation needs are served by Kuwait International Airport, Mina Al-Shuwaik (Shuwaik Port) and Mina Al Ahmadi (Ahmadi Port) 50 km to the south, on the Persian Gulf coast.
    Links: Top Ten Kuwaiti Attractions, Top Ten Mosques, Top Ten MinaretsTop Ten Towers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuwait_City,
  14. Ancient City of Damascus, Syria
    Ancient City of DamascusAncient City of Damascus1Ancient City of Damascus2Ancient City of Damascus3Ancient City of Damascus4Ancient City of Damascus5Ancient City of Damascus6Ancient City of Damascus7Ancient City of Damascus8
    Damascus, commonly known in Syria as Al Sham, and as the City of Jasmine, is the capital and the largest city of Syria and one of the country’s 14 governorates. The Damascus Governorate is ruled by a governor appointed by the Minister of Interior. Damascus is a major cultural and religious center of the Levant. The city has an estimated population of 4,211,000 (2009). Located in southwestern Syria, Damascus is the center of a large metropolitan area of 6 million people (2009). Geographically embedded on the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range 80 kilometers (50 mi) inland from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean on a plateau, Damascus experiences a semi-arid climate due to the rain shadow effect. The Barada River flows through Damascus. First settled in the 2nd millennium BC, it was chosen as the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate from 661 to 750. After the victory of the Abbasid dynasty, the seat of Islamic power was moved to Baghdad. Damascus saw a political decline throughout the Abbasid era, only to regain significant importance in the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. During Ottoman rule, the city decayed completely while maintaining a certain cultural prestige. Today, it is the seat of the central government and all of the government ministries. Damascus was chosen as the 2008 Arab Capital of Culture.
    Links: Top Ten Syrian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_City_of_Damascus,
  15. Old Walled City of Shibam, Yemen
    Old Walled City of ShibamOld Walled City of Shibam1Old Walled City of Shibam2
    Shibam (often referred to as Shibam Hadhramaut) is a town in Yemen with about 7,000 inhabitants. The first known inscription about the city dates from the 3rd century AD. It was the capital of the Hadramawt Kingdom.
    Links: Top Ten Yemen Attractions, Top Ten Wallshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibamhttp://whc.unesco.org/en/list/192,
  16. Links: Cities, Attractions,

Recommendations for Expeditions in the Middle East

Top Ten African Cities

Top Ten African Cities

  1. Cape Town, South Africa

           Cape Town is the 2nd most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its harbor as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is also Africa’s most popular tourist destination. Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally developed by the Dutch East India Company as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival on April 6, 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa. Today it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. As of 2007 the city had an estimated population of 3.5 million. Cape Town’s land area of 2,455 square km (948 square mi) is larger than other South African cities, resulting in a comparatively lower population density of 1,425 inhabitants per square km (3,690 /sq mi). Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa, and is featured in the flag of Cape Town and other local government insignia. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
    Links: Top Ten South African Attractions, Top Ten MountainsTop Ten African Mountains,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Townhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_Mountain,
  2. Johannesburg, South Africa

           Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa. The city is one of the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the world, and is also the world’s largest city not situated on a river, lake or coastline. While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa’s three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court, which has the final word on interpretation of South Africa’s new post-Apartheid constitution. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. Johannesburg is served by O.R. Tambo International Airport, the largest and busiest airport in Africa and a gateway for international air travel to and from the rest of Southern Africa. According to the 2007 Community Survey, the population of the municipal city was 3,888,180 and the population of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Area was 7,151,447. Johannesburg includes Soweto, which was a separate city from the late 1970’s until the 1990’s. Originally an acronym for “South-Western Townships,” Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg populated mostly by native African workers in the gold mining industry. Eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, the apartheid regime (in power 1948–1994) separated Soweto from the rest of Johannesburg to make it a completely Black area. The area called Lenasia is now also part of Johannesburg, and is predominantly populated by those of Indian ethnicity since the apartheid era. The Gauteng province as a whole is growing rapidly due to mass urbanization, which is a feature of many developing countries.
    Links: Top Ten South African Attractions, Top Ten Fireworks Shows,
  3. Cairo, Egypt

           Cairo, literally “The Vanquisher” or “The Conqueror,” is the capital of Egypt, the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a center of the region’s political and cultural life. Cairo was founded by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th century AD; but the land composing the present-day city was the site of national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo is also associated with Ancient Egypt due to its proximity to the ancient cities of Memphis, Giza and Fustat which are nearby to the Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza. Egyptians today often refer to Cairo as Maṣr, the Arabic pronunciation of the name for Egypt itself, emphasizing the city’s continued role in Egyptian influence. Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab World, as well as the world’s 2nd oldest institution of higher learning, al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses and organizations have regional headquarters in the city, and the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence. With a population of 6.76 million spread over 453 square km (175 sq mi), Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. With an additional ten million inhabitants just outside the city, Cairo resides at the center of the largest metropolitan area in Africa and the 11th largest urban area in the world. Cairo, like many other mega-cities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic, but its metro, currently the only one on the African continent, also ranks among the 15 busiest in the world, with over 700 million passenger rides annually. The economy of Cairo was ranked 1st in the Middle East and 43rd globally by Foreign Policy’s 2010 Global Cities Index.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Artifacts, Top Ten Egyptian Artifacts, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten African Museums, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo,
  4. Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands


           Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital (jointly with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), 2nd most populous city of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the 21st largest city in Spain, with a population of 222,417 (2009). Located in northeast quadrant of Tenerife, about 210 km (130 mi) off the northwestern coast of Africa within the Atlantic Ocean. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands, until 1927 when a decree ordered that the capital of the Canary Islands be shared, as it remains at present. The port is of great importance and is the communications hub between Europe, Africa and Americas, with cruise ships arriving from many nations. The city is the nerve center on domestic and inter-island communications in the Canary Islands. The city is home to the Parliament of the Canary Islands, the Canarian Ministry of Presidency (shared in a four-year term with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), one half of the ministries and boards of the Canarian Government, (the other half being located in Gran Canaria), the Tenerife Provincial Courts and two courts of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands. Its harbor is one of Spain’s busiest being important for commercial and passenger traffic, as well as for being a major stopover for cruisers en route from Europe to the Caribbean. It also has one of the world’s largest carnivals. The main landmarks of the city include the Auditorio de Tenerife (Auditorium of Tenerife), the Santa Cruz Towers (Torres de Santa Cruz) and the Iglesia de la Concepción. The city is a melting pot of diverse cultures that give it a cosmopolitan character. The largest distinct communities have immigrants from: Latin America, Africa and Western Europe. In recent years the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife has had a significant aug bizarre constructions, the horizon (Skyline) is the sixth in height across the country, only behind Madrid, Benidorm, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao.
    Links: Top Ten Canary Island Attractions, Islands, Top Ten Concert Halls, Top Ten Architectural Works by Santiago CalatravaTop Ten Sculptures by Igor Mitorajhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Cruz_de_Tenerife,
  5. Funchal, Madeira


           Funchal is the largest city, the municipal seat and the capital of Portugal’s Autonomous Region of Madeira. The city has a population of 112,015 and has been the capital of Madeira for more than five centuries.
    Links: Top Ten Portuguese Attractions, Top 100 Flowers, Top Ten Flower Regions,
  6. Marrakech, Morrocco

           Marrakech or Marrakesh, known as the “Red City,” is the most important former imperial city in Morocco’s history. The city of Marrakesh is the capital of the mid-southwestern economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, being also the 2nd largest city in Morocco. Like many North African cities, the city of Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city (the médina) and an adjacent modern city (called Gueliz) for a total population of 1,070,000. It is served by Ménara International Airport and a rail link to Casablanca and the north. Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Djemaa el Fna. The square bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers and musicians. By night food stalls open in the square turning it into a huge busy open-air restaurant.
    Links: Top Ten Moroccan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medina_of_Marrakesh,
  7. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary islands, Spain

           Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the political capital, jointly with Santa Cruz, the most populous city in the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands and the 9th largest city in Spain, with a population of 383,308 (2010). Las Palmas is the largest city of the European Union outside Europe. It is located in the northeast part of the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) off the northwestern coast of Africa within the Atlantic Ocean. Las Palmas enjoy a subtropical climate, with mild to warm temperatures throughout the year. According to a study carried out by Thomas Whitmore, director of research on climatology at Syracuse University in the United States, Las Palmas enjoys “the best climate in the world.” It was founded as city in 1478, considered the de facto only capital of the Canary Islands until the 17th century. Today, the city is capital of Canary Islands with Santa Cruz and home to the Canarian Ministry of Presidency (shared in a 4-year term with Santa Cruz de Tenerife), one half of the ministries and boards of the Canarian Government, (the other half being located in Tenerife), Gran Canaria Provincial Courts and two courts of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands.
    Links: Top Ten Canary Islands Attractions, Top Ten Spanish Attractions,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Palmas_de_Gran_Canaria,
  8. San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain

           San Cristóbal de La Laguna is a city and municipality in the northern part of the island of Tenerife in the Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, on the Canary Islands (Spain). The city is 3rd most populous city of the archipelago and 2nd most populous city of the island. It is a suburban area of the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Starting in 2003 the municipality started an ambitious Urban Plan to renew this area, that was carried out by the firm AUC S.L. The city was the ancient capital of the Canary Islands. La Laguna is physically part of the city of Santa Cruz, as both cities and municipalities, form a single large urban center, which is in the process of consolidating their union with other populations. It is home to the University of La Laguna which is home to 30,000 students; these are not included in the population figures for the city. La Laguna is considered to be the cultural capital of the Canary Islands. Also there is in the habit of being calling the “City of the Anticipated ones”, for having been the first university city of the archipelago. Its economy is business-oriented while agriculture dominates the northeastern portion of the city. The urban area dominates the central and the southern parts. Tourism covers the northern coast. The main industry includes some manufacturing. The industrial area is made up of the main subdivisions of Majuelos, Las Torres de Taco, Las Mantecas and Las Chumberas. In this city one finds the legendary house of Catalina Lercaro spectrum, as well as the incorrupt body of sister Sor María de Jesús, and the Christ of La Laguna. Another emblematic building of the city is the Cathedral of La Laguna, which is the catholic cathedral of Tenerife and his diocese. In 2010 after a survey, La Laguna was listed as the city with the best reputation in the Canary Islands and the third no provincial capital city of Spain with the best reputation, but behind Gijon and Marbella.
    Links: Top Ten Canary Islands Attractions, Top Ten Spanish Attractions,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Crist%C3%B3bal_de_la_Laguna,
  9. Port Louis, Mauritius
     
           Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. It is the largest city of the country, with a population of 147,688 (2003), and main port, bordering the Indian Ocean.
    Links: Top Ten Mauritius Attractions, Top Ten Portshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Louis,
  10. Nairobi, Kenya


           Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The name “Nairobi” comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to “the place of cool waters.” However, it is popularly known as the “Green City in the Sun” and is surrounded by several expanding villa suburbs. Founded in 1899 as a simple rail depot on the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda, the town quickly grew to become the capital of British East Africa in 1907 and eventually the capital of a free Kenyan republic in 1963. During Kenya’s colonial period, the city became a center for the colony’s coffee, tea and sisal industry. Nairobi is also the capital of the Nairobi Province and of the Nairobi District. The city lies on the Nairobi River, in the south of the nation, and has an elevation of 1,795 m above sea-level. Nairobi is the most populous city in East Africa, with a current estimated population of about 3 million. Nairobi is currently the 12th largest city in Africa, including the population of its suburbs. Nairobi is now one of the most prominent cities in Africa politically and financially. Home to thousands of Kenyan businesses and over 100 major international companies and organizations, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the main coordinating and headquarters for the UN in Africa & Middle East, the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), Nairobi is an established hub for business and culture. The Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) is one of the largest in Africa and 2nd oldest exchange. It is ranked 4th in terms of trading volume and capable of making 10 million trades a day. The Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC) defines Nairobi as a prominent social center.
    Links: Top Ten Kenyan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nairobi,
  11. Tripoli, Libya



           Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is affectionately called The Bride of the Mediterranean, describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means “Three Cities.” As of the 2006 census, the Tripoli metropolitan area had a population of one million. The city is located in the northwest part of the country on the edge of the desert, on a point of rocky land projecting into the Mediterranean and forming a bay. The city includes the Port of Tripoli and the country’s largest commercial and manufacturing centre. It is also the site of Al Fateh University. The vast Bab al-Azizia barracks, which includes the former family compound of Muammar Gaddafi, is also located in the city; Gaddafi largely ruled the country from his residence in this barracks. Tripoli was founded in the 7th century BC by the Phoenicians, who named it Oea. Due to the city’s long history, there are many sites of archaeological significance in Tripoli. The climate is typical Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and cool winters with modest rainfall. “Tripoli” may also refer to the shabiyah (top-level administrative division in the current Libyan system), Tripoli District, also called the Tarabulus District.
    Links: Top Ten Libyan Attractions, Top Ten Triumphal Arches, Top Ten Clock Towers,
  12. Tetouan, Morocco

           Tetouan is a city in northern Morocco. The Berber name means literally “the eyes” and figuratively “the water springs.” Tetouan is one of the two major ports of Morocco on the Mediterranean Sea. It lies a few miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar, and about 40 mi (60 km) E.S.E. of Tangier. In 2004 the city had 320,539 inhabitants. Arabic is the official language but it is not used for everyday dialogue. The city has its own dialect, a particular variant of Arabic which is distinct from Jebli Arabic. However, Jebli arabic is predominant since people from the neighboring rural areas settled in the city during the 20th century rural flights. The use of Spanish and French is still widespread especially by the businessmen and intellectual elites. Its main religion is Islam, though a small Christian minority lives in the city.
    Links: Top Ten Moroccan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C3%A9touan,
  13. Casablanca, Morocco

           Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city as well as its chief port, located on the Atlantic Ocean in Western Morocco. The 2004 census recorded a population of 2,949,805 in the prefecture of Casablanca and 3,631,061 in the region of Grand Casablanca. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, while the political capital city of Morocco is Rabat. Casablanca hosts headquarters and main industrial facilities for the leading Moroccan and international companies based in Morocco. Industrial statistics show Casablanca retains its historical position as the main industrial zone of the country. The Port of Casablanca is one of the largest artificial ports in the world, and the largest port in North Africa.
    Links: Top Ten Moroccan Attractions, Top 100 Filmshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casablanca,
    Products: Casablanca (Film),
  14. Tangier, Morocco

           Tangier, preferred, sometimes Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 (2008). It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. The history of Tangier is very rich due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures starting from the 5th century BC. Between the period of being a Phoenician town to the independence era around the 1950’s, Tangier was a place, and, sometimes a refuge, for many cultures. However, it was not until 1923 that Tangier was attributed an international status by foreign colonial powers, thus becoming a destination for many Europeans, Americans and Indians alike. The city is currently undergoing rapid development and modernization. Projects include new 5-star hotels along the bay, a modern business district called Tangier City Centre, a new airport terminal and a new soccer stadium. Tangier’s economy is also set to benefit greatly from the new Tanger-Med port. Tangier’s sport team I.R.T. (or Ittihad Riadi de Tanger) is the main football club and has the most followers. Tangier will be one of the host cities for the 2015 African Nations Cup soccer championship, played at the new Ibn Batouta Stadium and in other cities in Morocco.
    Links: Top Ten Moroccan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangier,
  15. Timbuktu, Mali



           Timbuktu, formerly also spelled Timbuctoo, is a town in the West African nation of Mali situated 15 km (9.3 mi) north of the River Niger on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the 8 administrative regions of Mali. In 2009, the town had a population of 54,453. Starting out as a seasonal settlement, Timbuktu became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. After a shift in trading routes, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory and slaves and became part of the Mali Empire early in the 13th century. In the first half of the 15th century the Tuareg tribes took control of the city for a short period until the expanding Songhay Empire absorbed the city in 1468. A Moroccan army defeated the Songhay in 1591, and made Timbuktu, rather than Gao, their capital. The invaders established a new ruling class, the arma, who after 1612 became independent of Morocco. However, the golden age of the city was over and it entered a long period of decline. Different tribes governed until the French took over in 1893, a situation that lasted until it became part of the current Republic of Mali in 1960. Nowadays Timbuktu is impoverished and suffers from desertification. Several initiatives are being undertaken to revive the historic manuscripts still kept in the city. Meanwhile, tourism forms an important source of income. In its Golden Age, the town’s numerous Islamic scholars and extensive trading network made possible an important book trade: together with the campuses of the Sankore madrassah, an Islamic university, this established Timbuktu as a scholarly centre in Africa. Several notable historic writers, such as Shabeni and Leo Africanus have described Timbuktu. These stories fueled speculation in Europe, where the city’s reputation shifted from being extremely rich to being mysterious. This reputation overshadows the town itself in modern times, to the point where it is best known as a metaphor for a distant or outlandish place.
    Links: Top Ten Malian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbuktu,
  16. Links: Cities, Attractions,

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