Categories
Travel

Inca Ingenuity in the Andes

Nestled deep in the Andes, the former Inca capital city of Cusco stands at 11,152 feet (3,399 m) above sea level. It is a destination for tourists from around the world who ascend the treacherous mountainside roads to make their pilgrimage to one of the modern wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. While it is best known for its proximity to the ancient city, there is a wealth of other sites in and around Cusco that still have intact remnants of the region’s Inca past.

Two llamas on a surviving Inca architecture stone structure at Machu Picchu. Photo © Caroline Cervera.
Two llamas on a surviving stone structure at Machu Picchu. Photo © Caroline Cervera.
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Travel

Destinations Rich in History and Culture

The world contains numerous cultures, traditions, cuisines and languages that make excellent destinations for any history buff.  The featured countries’ rich history and heritage evoke images of the days gone by and lure hundreds of tourists to taste their interesting cultures.

Get a Taste of Italian Culture

Italy. Image © Federico Baccari.

Known for its rich art and architecture, Italy has inspired the architecture of many Western nations. Be it Michelangelo’s statue of David or Leonardo da Vinci’s eternal portrait of the Mona Lisa, these artworks are beyond excellence and people from across the world still stand in large queues to glimpse these masterpieces. Some of the world’s famous structures like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Colosseum and Sistine Chapel call Italy their home.

It’s not just the art and architecture that attracts thousands of tourists to this beautiful country — it’s also a love for traditional Italian music and dance. Hordes of music lovers, singers, and musicians gather from different corners of the world to be part of country’s rich heritage. You will be amazed to know that today’s world-famous opera has its roots in Italy.

Italians are also famous for their fashion sense. Some of the world’s famous luxury fashion brands such as Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Prada, Gucci, and Versace were born in Italy. Italian cuisine has also today made its mark on the menus of world’s top notch restaurants.

If you are on an exploration trip of world’s history and culture, Italy should be top on your exploration list.

Walk Through Lanes of Greece Lost in History

Parthenon, culture
The Parthenon . Photo © Andrew Griffith.

Greece has always been on the radar of historians, archaeologists, and curious travelers. Since ancient times, Greece has left its mark in various domains, be it art, music, philosophy, literature, or politics. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are considered to be the Fathers of philosophy who brought about change in the common man’s thinking and those works were a step towards development in science, astronomy, physics and mathematics.

Greece also has many different styles of designs and architectural forms that greatly influenced Roman architecture. They were the first to build based on geometric calculations. The Temple of Athena and Theatre of Epidaurus are a testimony to Greece’s excellent architectural work.

The culture of Greece has evolved over years and today Greeks take pride in having successfully overcome their turbulent past. A trip to Greece is surely an eye opener for many tourists and history buffs alike.

Discover Peru’s Archaeological and Cultural Treasures

Machu Picchu. Photo © Dan Merino.

Art has always been an integral part of Peru culture, even though the styles have gone through significant changes over different ages. Besides its art, Peru is also home to some of the world’s richest heritages and archaeological gems – Machu Picchu is one of them that needs no introduction. The country’s plethora of sites dating back to the pre-Incan civilization lures thousands of curious tourists, history buffs, scientists and archaeologists; the enigmatic Nazca Lines still remain a mystery today.

Explore India’s diversities

Taj Mahal, culture
Taj Mahal. Photo © Dennis Jarvis.

India’s history dates back 5,000 years. The country has been ruled by several dynasties, each one leaving its mark with its architectural masterpieces. From Mughal monuments in Agra and Delhi to magnificent forts and palaces in Rajasthan to Dravidian temples in Kerala and Karnataka to rock cut cave temples, there is no end to India’s architectural marvels.

Architecture, music, dances, and festivities have always been an inseparable part of India’s rich culture and traditions. With each state specializing in its own folk music and dances, it would take a lifetime to gather an insight in all these cultural extravaganzas.

A trip to India is a must for those seeking a paramount exposure to varied traditions, customs and cultures of the world’s greatest diversified society.

Go off the Beaten Track in Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Photo © Dennis Jarvis.

The culture of Cambodia has been strongly influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism. The Angkor period lasting between the 9th and 14th century CE marked a golden age for the country during which it saw great advancement in its art, architecture, and music. Architects and sculptors of the Angkor era created many unmatched pieces of artwork that drew strong inspiration from mythical creatures of Hindu and Buddhist cultures – the Angkor Wat Temple is a great example of this era.

The country still holds an old-fashioned charm and the warm and hospitable people of Cambodia are its true treasure. A visit to this South-Asian country is sure to touch your heart.

Uncover the Mysteries of Buddhism in Bhutan

Bhuntan
Bhutan. Photo © Jean-Marie Hullot.

The world’s last remaining Buddhist kingdom, Bhutan, is known for its ancient Buddhist culture and traditions that have been successfully preserved to this day. Buddhism spread its roots in Bhutan during the 7th century CE, when many monasteries and Buddhist temples came into existence. For an ardent explorer, a trip to Bhutan is a must to get an insight in the country’s mystic cultures and customs. Artwork and paintings based on themes and legends related to life of Buddha give you a deep understanding of Bhutanese rich traditions. Uniquely shaped monasteries, temples and Dzongs with elaborate motifs, carvings and wall paintings boast of Bhutan’s exclusive architecture.

Festivities are an integral part of Bhutanese culture. Chaam dances, colorful costumes, and elaborate spread of traditional food and wine during these festivals display rich cultural heritage of this Himalayan country.

While Bhutan still maintains its ancient Buddhist traditions, it has whole-heartedly embraced modern development and advancement. Where other countries measure their progress through GDP, Bhutan measures it through ‘Gross National Happiness’ – no wonder why it is called the land of mysteries!

Learn about Pharaonic History in Egypt

Pyramids of Giza. Photo © Dungodung.

Egypt is known to be one of the earliest civilizations in the world with its history dating back 6,000 years or more. The country’s ancient treasures such as the Pyramids of Giza and temples of Luxor, Karnak, and Abu-Simbel, built during the time of the pharaohs, have drawn many tourists and history buffs. One of the biggest fascinations about Egypt is its legacy of mummies which can still be seen today in Egyptian Museum of Cairo.

Besides architecture, literature has also been an important part of Egypt’s culture. Symbolic writings can be seen on temple, tombs and pyramids walls.

Those with a keen interest in ancient civilizations will also find Egypt to be a paradise.

Categories
Interviews

Ethereal Peru: An Interview with Director Nathalie Bondil of the MMFA

Peru is one of six “cradles of civilization,” from which a series of advanced societies emerged. Characterized by remarkable artistic expression and technological innovation, successive Andean cultures thrived among the peaks and valleys of the Andes until the armies of Francisco Pizarro vanquished the Inca in 1532 CE. Nevertheless, primordial, symbolic imagery–mythical, ritualistic, and spiritual–continued to shape the artistic spectrum, precipitating a wave of nationalist affirmation in modern times.

Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon provides a retrospective presentation of Peru’s history through an exploration of identity, spirituality, and indigenous collective memory as reflected in art. In this world exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks to Ms. Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal), with regard to this exhibition’s unique focus and meticulous organization.

Categories
Interviews

A Dazzling Display of Peruvian Silver in Canada

This fall the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia (UBC), in Vancouver, Canada, dazzles visitors with the sparkle and brilliance of Peruvian silver. Luminescence: The Silver of Perú, on display until December 16, 2012, explores the impact of this precious metal across the centuries, underscoring its impact on art, culture, and religion. While widely known as a source of gold for Spanish conquistadores, Peru has long been the site of intensive silver mining and production for millennia. Today, Peru remains the world’s largest producer of silver.

In this interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Dr. Anthony Shelton, Director and Curator of the Museum of Anthropology, about silver’s enduring presence in Peruvian culture in addition to the challenges of creating exhibition that encompasses the artistic spectrum.