Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean just off the southeastern coast of Africa. It has been the inspiration for many documentaries and movies and is one of the most interesting and intriguing places on Earth. While you may think you know a lot about Madagascar, there are some interesting, little known facts that may surprise you. Here are 8 cool facts about this popular island country: 1. Most of Madagascar’s wildlife is found nowhere else on EarthMadagascar has been an isolated island for around 70 million years, breaking away first Africa around 165 million years ago and then from India nearly 100 million years later. This isolation led to the development of a unique flora and fauna, with 90 percent of its wildlife found only in Madagascar. Among its extinct mammals were giant flightless birds and dwarf hippos. Next ➞
10 Interesting Facts About Dubai History
Dubai is the second largest as well as the most populated emirate of the UAE on the Arabian Peninsula. Dating back to 3,000 BC, Dubai’s historyis as interesting and varied as the destination itself. From a small fishing village, Dubai has come a long way to establish itself as one of the world’s most prominent business and trade centers. Mentioned below will provide you with a glimpse of different phases of Dubai’s interesting history, beginning from its early settlements. Early Life: From 3rd century AD, Dubai was believed to be a part of pre-Islamic community led by the Sassanian Empire. Later in the 7th century AD, the Umayyad Caliph Group occupied the region, and introduced the religion, Islam here. But the archeological excavations revealed from the Al-Qusais depict the existence of human settlement in the region as early as 8000 BC. Further, the area has been found mentioned in the ancient book ‘Mojam Ma Ostojam men Asmae Al belaad wal Mawadhe’ tracing back to 1095 AD. The first European to settle here was Portuguese, who were later followed by French, Dutch and eventually British in the 18th century. Pearl Trading Centre: Dubai’s modern history is largely attributed to Al-Falasi clan – a part of the Ban Yas tribe led by the Makthoum family, who settled down here at the Creek’s mouth in the early part of the 19th century. This, in turn, marked Dubai’s prominence as a major fishing and pearling centre in the 19th as well as 20th centuries. As a result of the thriving pearl industry, the Bedouins upped their lifestyle and shifted their base from desert to coast. But the peal industry in Dubai collapsed due to several factors such as Great Depression, First World War and the invention of cultured pearl. Local Disputes: During 1940s, some tensions and wars occurred between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which even led the British to create a barrier zone between these two emirates. Major Trading and Export hub: The turn of the 20th century saw Dubai as a significant port, with the souk on the Deira region flourishing with hundreds of shops. However in 1950s, a slit began to develop in the creek probably due to the large number of ships here. HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Makthoum, the then ruler of Dubai, resolved this issue through an ambitious, visionary project that eventually strengthened Dubai’s position as a major port city. Apart from these, he was also instrumental in the development and implementation of several projects such as Al Shindagha Tunnel, Dubai World Trade Centre and Dubai Drydocks. Discovery of Oil: An important milestone in Dubai’s history was the discovery of oil in 1966 at Dubai’s Fateh Oil Field. Upon the first export of oil in 1969, the economy of the emirate began to flourish. From the creation of currency and establishment of largest harbor to the development of strong infrastructure network, the city underwent several major transformation with the revenue raked in from the oil and gas. Formation of UAE: When the British left the Arabian Gulf in 1971, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, along with five other emirates, united to form the United Arab Emirates. As a result of several negotiations and certain conditions, it was decided that Dubai and Abu Dhabi will have the major control over the country while having veto power to decide upon matters of national significance. The first president of UAE: Soon after the formation of the UAE, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became the president of the UAE, and he held the position till he died in 2004. Under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Makthoum, the UAE emerged into one of the world’s richest countries. Persian Gulf War: The 1990’s Persian Gulf War took a toll on Dubai’s economic climate, as the investors withdrew their huge sum of money from banks in the emirate speculating dubious situations. But in the mid 1990s, the trade communities from Kuwait and Bahrain shifted their base to Dubai. Moreover, the tremendous increase in oil price post the Persian Gulf War helped Dubai to overcome the unstable economic conditions. Dubai in 1990s: In 1990s, Dubai devised and implemented strategic plans to augment its popularity as an internationally recognized tourist destination. Burj Al Arab, the world’s only seven-star hotel, was opened in 1999.
10 interesting facts about the Caribbean Islands
You are here: Home/ SGP/ 10 interesting facts about the Caribbean islandsYup, I have affiliate links on this blog and there may be some in this amazing and completely free content below. If you book or buy something through these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. 10 interesting facts about the Caribbean islandsLast Updated: April 3, 2018
FACTS ABOUT SPAIN ¿Lo sabías?......1. In Spain, most people celebrate their name day. In Spanish, it is called el día de tu santo. If you have the same name as a saint or a name related to the story of a saint, then you will have a name day. On every day of the year at least one name is celebrated. On special occasions like this, people say ¡Felicidades! (Best wishes.) 2. In Spain, it has always been the tradition to have two surnames, as follows: The first is your father's first surname and the second is your mother's first surname. The father's surname has always been considered to be more important and positioned first, meaning that only the father's surname is carried forward to the next generation. Here is an example: A man is called Jaime López García. When Jaime marries a lady called Elena Martín Pérez, their children's surnames will be López Martín. Only the men's surnames survive - those of Jaime's father and Elena's father. A NEW LAW: Many people have considered the Spanish naming tradition to be unfair, so from 1 July 2017 a new law means that parents can choose which surname should be positioned first. It gives mothers' surnames more equality! The word for 'surname' is 'apellido.' Some of the most common Spanish surnames are - García, Rodríguez, Martínez, Martín, Fernández, López, González, Sánchez and Pérez. 3. In addition to Spain, the Spanish language is spoken in the following countries- Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela. Spanish is also spoken in parts of- Andorra, Belize, Gibraltar, Morocco, the Philippines and the USA. 4. In Spain, the Spanish language is officially called Castilian (el castellano). There are other Spanish languages spoken there too, such as, Catalan (el catalán), Galician (el gallego), Basque (el vasco or el euskera), Valencian (el valenciano). 5. Spanish people love to sing and dance. The most famous type of Spanish music is Flamenco in the south of Spain. Flamenco music has three ingredients: el cante (the song), el baile (the dance), and el toque (the guitar playing).
10 Crazy Facts About Dubai
10 interesting facts about Vietnam you didn't know
Vietnam is one big #foodporn with some of the best food we triedduring our travels in Asia. We spent a month eating our way from Saigon in the South to Hanoi in the North, and picked up these 10 interesting facts about Vietnam along the way.
10 interesting facts about Patagonia
Patagonia! That massive chunk of land on the tip of the American continent, split between Chile and Argentina. This is the place for adventure travellers, home to some of the most incredible landscapes we've seen, exciting treks as well as a wide variety of wildlife. After a month travelling across this vast region, here are our 10 interesting facts about Patagonia we learnt on this stunning journey. Covered in this article: Patagonia means ‘Land of the Big Feet'It has the second longest living species on EarthPatagonian has wine, bien sûr!Welsh people live here!Mummy whales come here to give birthThe biggest dinosaur ever is from PatagoniaEl Calafate is not just a city, it's also a fruitPatagonia is a desert!It has a growing, expanding glacierLargest colony of Magellanic Penguins in the worldPatagonia means ‘Land of the Big Feet'The story goes that when Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, first set foot here in 1520, he found large footprints of the natives. Later when he met them, he alleged they were almost twice the size of normal human size, measuring around 4 metres (13ft)! Future explorers also wrote about meeting Patagonian giants but were later criticised for exaggerating. Fantasy or not, the myth of the giant natives inspired the name for the area, which has been used ever since. It has the second longest living species on EarthAt 2,600 years old, the Alerces Tree is an interesting fact about Patagonia because it is the second longest living species on our planet. The oldest is the Methuselah (White Mountains in California, USA), which is almost 5,000 yrs old. This famous tree is located in the UNESCO listed Alerces National Park on the Western side of Chubut, Argentina Patagonia, near the Chilean border. The National Park was created in 1937 to protect this family of ancient trees. Can you believe this tree is older than Jesus Christ? Stefan admiring one of the oldest trees in the worldPatagonian has wine, bien sûr!Argentinian Malbec from Mendoza and Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the Maipo province may dominate all the headlines, but Patagonia also has its own less talked about range of thriving wineries. The Patagonian weather of intense winters and summer cool nights is prime condition for certain grapes, particularly Pinot Noir. We visited the Viñas de Nant y Fallwinery near Esquel, Argentina, a gay owned vineyard specialising in Pinot Noir grapes, which prides itself for being “the southernmost vineyard in the world”! If you come in March, you may catch some of the local Vendimia (grape harvesting) festivities along with lots of wine tasting. Welsh people live here!Patagonia is home to one of the largest Welsh communities outside of Wales, especially in the Chubut region of Argentina. Settlers first arrived in 1865 in Puerto Madryn and over the years spread inland, creating settlements like Gaiman, Trelew, Trevelin and Dolavon. The Welsh culture has been retained across the region. For example, you can find road signs in Welsh as well as family owned tea houses serving an elaborate Welsh tea. We sought out several teahouses for Welsh tea including Nain Maggie in Trevelin and Ty Té Caerdydd in Gaiman where Princess Diana famously had tea in 1996. Welsh tea features a variety of cakes and tarts, including the renowned torta negra (Welsh cake) made using recipes handed down by previous generations. Tea time where Princess Diana famously came many years agoMummy whales come here to give birthOne of our favourite fun facts about Patagonia: the East coast of Patagonia is a popular breeding ground for whales. They reproduce every 2-3 years, opting for the safe and quiet waters around Peninsula Valdés in Chubut. One of the best places to see them is in Puerto Madryn or by boat trip from Puerto Piramedes, between May to December, when they come right up to the shore to give birth and raise their calves. This area is also famous for a having a lot of wildlife like penguins, seals, sea lions and killer whales (orcas). The biggest dinosaur ever is from PatagoniaDino fans will love this fun fact about Patagonia: the fossils for the largest ever dinosaur that walked our planet was found smack bang in the middle of Patagonia on the Argentinian side. This dinosaur is still unnamed but is known to have been a herbivore, measuring 42m in length and weighing 76 tons. To get an idea of its size, a statue of what it would have looked like has been recreated just outside of Trelew so you can visit and pretend you're in Jurassic Park. There is also a fascinating dinosaur museumin Trelew worth visiting, dedicated to all the dinosaur fossils found in the region, along with a laboratory where you can see the palaeontologists at work. The largest dinosaur fossils in the world found in PatagoniaEl Calafate is not just a city, it's also a fruitEl Calafate is the main city hub for tours to the famous Perito Moreno and surrounding glaciers. However, its name emanates from the Patagonian plant of the same name, which grows in abundance in the area. The calafate produces a berry-like fruit, which you can use to make marmalades, liquors, teas, ice creams, soups and even vodka. On the Chilean side of Patagonia, look out for yummy purple looking Calafate Pisco Sour, but go easy on these, they're not for the faint hearted! Patagonia is a desert!That's right. The 8th largest in the world in fact. The Patagonian desert is 673,000 square kilometres (260,000 mi2) and is primarily located in Argentina. It spreads all the way from the Andes on the Argentinian side to the Atlantic Ocean. The Patagonian desert is a cold winter desert, with average temperatures of only 3 degrees celsius (37 Fahrenheit), rarely exceeding 12 degrees celsius (53 Fahrenheit). Whilst you may associate the desert with sand dunes, it is in fact a barren area of land, with little precipitation and hostile conditions for plant and animal life. Therefore, the largest desert on our planetis Maudlandia in Antarctica, followed by the Arctic and Sahara deserts. The pretty fierce Patagonian desert landscapeIt has a growing, expanding glacierThe Perito Moreno glacier is a popular landmark in Patagonia, located in the Argentinian Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO world Heritage site. From all our interesting facts about Patagonia, this one is quite unique and rare because unlike most glaciers in the world, Perito Moreno is growing in size instead of receding. The precise scientific reasons why glaciers like Perito Moreno are receding are not yet fully understood by glaciologists. Perito Moreno is also very accessible. We hiked across Perito Moreno as part of a tour wearing crampons. Walking on the ice of this giant glacier is an experience we'll never forget and one we truly recommend to travellers visiting Patagonia. Largest colony of Magellanic Penguins in the worldUpon his arrival on the continent in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan discovered a unique species of penguins, which were subsequently named after him. One of the largest colonies of Magellanic penguins can be found at Punta Tombo, on the Argentinian side by the coast. Over 1 million Magellanic penguins descend on the region between mid-September to mid-April to nest, breed, moult and then migrate to the warmer climates in South Brazil. The Magellanic penguins grow to around 61-76 cm (24-30 inches) and are extremely cute to watch, especially when they're clumsily waddling around on land. Conversation with penguins in Patagonia
10 Amazing Facts About the French Medieval City of Carcassonne – 5
Medieval Era 12923SHARESShare on FacebookShare on TwitterThe medieval walled city of Carcassonne sits in the luscious valley of the Aude river—the gap between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. Slate roofs glint in the sun atop 13th-century towers that dominate the horizon. Surrounded by mountains and vineyards, the scent of pine shrubs, spicy herbs, and sweet flowers is carried on the cool winds. Known as the garrigue (gah-REEG), it is the signature scent of the south of France. View of the medieval city of Carcassonne amongst vineyards. Photo Harry. Photo Dennis JarvisHere are 10 amazing facts about this medieval wonder that you might not know. 1. The walls of the city are 1.9 miles (3 km) longCité de Carcassonne. Photo erjk.amerjkaAerial view of Carcassonne. Credit ChensiyuanThe Walls of Carcassonne. Photo Vicente Villamón2. The city walls have 52 massive towersTowering above. Photo candi…The fortified city has a concentric design having two outer walls with 52 towers and barbicans, designed to prevent attack by siege engines. The shining turrets of Carcassonne. Photo Ad Meskens3. A Roman tower housed the Medieval InquisitionThe shallow-pitch terracotta tile roofs and red brick layers identify these towers as Roman, one of which is called “The Inquisition Tower”. The Medieval Inquisition’s purpose was to root out and prevent the spread of Cathars and Waldensians—followers of religious movements that were denounced by the Catholic Church. Gallo-Roman Towers of Carcassonne. Photo José LuizExtracts from a letter written around 1285 by the Consuls of Carcassonne to Jean Galand, a Dominican Inquisitor at Carcassonne, describe what conditions were like in the Inquisition Tower: La Délivrance des emmurés de Carcassonne by Jean-Paul Laurens, 1879… you have created a prison called “The Wall”, which would be better called “Hell”. In it you have constructed small cells to inflict pain and to mistreat people using various types of torture. Some prisoners remain in fetters … and are unable to move. They excrete and urinate where they are … Some are placed on the chevelet [an instrument of torture]; many of them have lost the use of their limbs because of the severity of the torture … Life for them is an agony, and death a relief. Under these constraints they affirm as true what is false, preferring to die once than to be thus tortured multiple times. 4. Carcassonne was the first fortress to use hoardings in times of siegeOverhanging wooden ramparts attached to the upper walls of the fortress provided protection to defenders on the wall and allowed them to shoot arrows or drop projectiles on attackers beneath. Two of the towers that are on the right side of the entrance. Photo Dennis JarvisA view of eh wooden hoarding from inside the castle walls. Photo Dennis Jarvis5. Edward the Black Prince failed to take the city during the Hundred Years’ WarDuring the 1355 Great Raid by the English in the Aquitaine–Languedoc region, Edward “the Black Prince” crippled southern France’s economy through the practice of chevauchée. This involved burning and pillaging enemy territory to reduce the region’s productivity. When the Black Prince passed through Carcassonne, his army razed the Lower Town, but couldn’t take the extremely well defended walled city. Carcassone’s position as a key defensive fortification on the border with Spain remained until the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed, which effectively pushed the border further south—diminishing Carcassone’s strategic importance. The 16-year-old Black Prince at the Battle of Crecy by Julian Russel, 18886. In 1849, the City of Carcassonne was nearly demolishedNot the news this Carcassonne gargoyle wanted to hear. Carcassonne was struck off the roster of official fortifications under Napoleon and the Restoration. It fell into such disrepair that the French government decided that it should be demolished, causing an uproar among local citizens. Mayor of Carcassonne, Jean-Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille, and writer Prosper Mérimée, inspector of ancient monuments, led a successful campaign to preserve the walled city. The architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was commissioned to renovate the entire city. Carcassonne. Photo Vicente Villamón 7. The French poet Gustave Nadaud made Carcassonne famousCité de Carcassonne. Photo Javier MedinaHe wrote a poem about a man who dreamed of seeing Carcassonne before he died. His poem inspired many others and was translated into English several times. I’m growing old, I’ve sixty years; I’ve labored all my life in vain: In all that time of hopes and fears I’ve failed my dearest wish to gain. I see full well that here below Bliss unalloyed there is for none. My prayer will ne’er fulfilment know I never have seen Carcassonne, I never have seen Carcassonne! Read the entire poem here. 8. In 1898, Pope Leo XIII upgraded Carcassonne’s Gothic Church to a BasilicaThe minor Basilica is entirely inside the city walls. Famed for its stained glass windows—some of the oldest in the south of France—the Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus is a national monument. Basilica of Saint-Nazaire (11th – 14th century), the jewel of this medieval city, Carcassonne. Photo Dennis JarvisBasilica of Saint-Nazaire is noted for its stained glass windows. Photo Dennis Jarvis9. Today, there are 50 permanent residence households living within the ancient city wallsIf you’d like to stay a night or two, L’Echappee Belle Bed and Breakfastis inside the ancient city walls. Owner Jacqui Boulter says most visitors aren’t aware that people actually live inside and tend to think it’s purely a tourist attraction. Have a look around inside the walled city with this Google Maps “street view”. 10. Carcassonne competes with Mont St Michel for the title of the most visited monument in FranceThe citadel was restored at the end of the 19th century and in 1997 it was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Carcassonne Castle. Photo BrianRS1Carcassonne bridge. Photo App1990Carcassonne. Photo Rhino Neal Contains affiliate links References and credits Featured image: Alain Mach Wikipedia.org Living in the World’s Greatest Walled Cities—Lindsey Galloway for the BBC The Inquisition Against the Cathars of Langeudoc Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services that I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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