Across the globe and across the ages, culture has flourished in times of prosperity and remained an enduring touchstone in times of hardship. Delve into rich and timeless traditions from western Europe to eastern Asia and discover how cultures of the past continue to influence contemporary life. Trace history in the remarkable architecture of Budapest and Berlin, and explore the vestiges of once-powerful civilizations amid the ancient ruins of Sri Lanka and Israel. Delve into the legacy of the Silk Road in the beautiful cities of Samarkand and Tbilisi, and get immersed in the timeless lifestyle of Mongolia’s nomads. Amid the marble palaces and winding souks of Oman, soak up the rhythms of life on the Arabian Peninsula. Along the way, get immersed in the art, music, dance, and flavors that define these rich cultures.
Supplier: National Geographic Expeditions
London is undoubtedly one of the world's finest cities. In addition to numerous monuments from its more glorious past, London is equally well-known for its pageantry and tradition. London has something for everyone - wide boulevards buzzing with excitement far into the night, quiet squares and explorable alleyways. Visit this famous city's parks, museums, galleries, monuments, abbeys and churches, skyscrapers and ruins, Georgian squares. Take in such events as the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower, or the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, or even one of the many theatrical productions. Some of the most exclusive shops are found along Oxford, Bond and Regent Streets. An old favorite and one of the world's premier institutions is Harrods - offering everything from Chanel suits and sliced salmon to caviar and even pets.
Situated high in the Judean Hills, Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel, is one of the most extraordinary cities in the world, presenting a unique combination of ancient history, spiritual sanctity and colorful cultures.
Established 3000 years ago by King David, Jerusalem is a fascinating city of many contrasts and diversities. It is a city where old and new, holy and secular, pure nature and beautiful architecture mix into magical harmony of smells, sounds and sights. Sacred to the world's three main religions, Jerusalem is a captivating city, whose visitors are left touched and inspired by the shining glow of its religious shrines, picturesque scenery and magnificent golden limestone. It is home to the Israeli parliament, the President's Residence and the government offices. A visit to Jerusalem, known as the "City of Gold" is an unforgettable experience.
Berlin is without doubt the most fascinating city in Germany. Covering around 341 square miles Berlin is a unique landscape. With its numerous parks, lakes and wooded areas it is sometimes easy to forget that Berlin is the capital of Germany. The troubled history of this celebrated capital has for many years attracted tourists from around the world. It is estimated around 80% of Berlin was destroyed during the Second World War; landmarks like the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church stand as a lasting reminder of the mass destruction this city once endured. Perhaps one of Berlin's most famous landmarks is the Berlin Wall, the 'iron curtain' that divided this great city into two halves between 1961 and 1989. The East was governed by communism while the West was allowed to flourish under a democratic capitalist government. Even now, over a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the differences between the former East and West are still very apparent. Berlin has an undeniable air of mystery that has always been and always will be a major draw for tourists from around the world.
Surrounded by striking mountains on one side and soft sandy shores along its coasts, Muscat is an ancient town, characterized by a unique civilization reflecting Arabian and Islamic influences. It maintains a medieval appearance with two ancient Portuguese forts guarding the rocky cove around which the town is built. In the heart of the old, walled-in city is the magnificent Sultan’s Palace and various ancient buildings, distinctive with Eastern Arabian style, Arabesque gates and beautiful engravings. The Muttrah Souq (bazaar) is without a doubt the most interesting souq in the Arab Gulf States - with a vast array of Arabian antiques, bright textiles and exquisite gold and silver jewelry. Muscat is indeed a treasure chest of places to see, where history comes alive and age-old secrets are revealed in a taste of timelessness. Muscat boasts fine museums. Distinctive with its clean silver sands, Qantab Beach is surrounded by mountains which prevent exposure to strong winds. Muscat is a photographer’s delight.
Caught between eastern and western Europe, Budapest has a character uniquely its own. It's also the last cheap, civilised city in Europe. Budapest can seem like one big sight, with each phase in its history, from the Ottoman period until the Communist days and from renaissance to revolution, leaving its mark on the city. For the tourist, a trip to Hungary's capital is dominated by the majestic sights of Buda. In the summer, there are open-air festivals at Szeged, Diosgyor Castle in Miskolc, Gyor and Pecs. Visit the former Royal Palace complex, the Matyas templom and the Belvaros. Margaret Island is a giant recreational park and feels pleasantly separated from the city bustle. Hungarian National Gallery houses Hungarian art since the birth of the nation. Although Esztergom is Hungary's most sacred city, home of the Archbishop and the nation's biggest church, it has a real-life edge. The first-time visitor to Szeged is invariably struck by its space and grandeur. One's immediate impressions of Hungary's third largest provincial city are of greenery and plazas, of broad.
Ulaanbaatar, the capital of the Republic of Mongolia, is situated at the foot of the Bogdo Khan Uul, which rises 3,000 feet above the city. Ulaanbaatar is the political, cultural, economic and transportation center of the country. It has an international airport, the only university in the country and a library with ancient Mongolian, Chinese and Tibetan manuscripts. Founded in 1649 as a monastery town, Ulaanbaatar still preserves the monastery section and residence of the Living Buddha, once Mongolia’s spiritual leader.
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Built around the same time as Babylon and Rome, the city of Samarkand has seen the conquests of Alexander the Great, Genghis-Khan and Tamerlane's. Centuries of development melted cultures from Arabia and Asia with poets and historians calling it "Rome of the East, The beauty of sublunary countries, The pearl of the Eastern Muslim World." Samarkand is a wealth of ancient architecture with spiritual value making it listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Famous monuments to visit is the Registan Mosque, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, and Guri Amir Mausoleum and the Shahi-Zinda Necropolis.
According to legend, the city of Tbilisi was founded in the 5th century by King Vakhtang Gorgasali who discovered a mystical warm spring that inspired the king to build a city on the site. Tbili meaning "warm" has been rebuilt 29 times and old town Tbilisi is known for its natural sulfur bathhouses. The city straddles the Mtkvari river, sits at the foot of the Trialeti mountain range, and lies in the center of eastern Georgia.
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