Maachu Pichu

Machu Picchu, site of ancient Inca ruins located about 50 miles northwest of Cuzco, Peru. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). The complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites. The ruins lie on a high ridge, surrounded on three sides by the Urubamba River some 610m below. In 1911 a Peruvian guide led Yale professor Hiram Bingham up a steep mountainside … Continue reading Maachu Pichu

Nasca Lines

Nasca Lines are a set of simple geometric designs: trapezoids, straight lines, rectangles, triangles, and swirls. Some of the swirls and zigzags start to form more distinct shapes: a hummingbird, a spider, a monkey. These are located just over 200 miles southeast of Lima, near the town of Nasca. In total, there are over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant designs, also called biomorphs. Some of the straight lines run up to 30 miles, while the biomorphs range from 50 to 1200 feet in length (as large as the Empire State Building). Paul Kosok, an … Continue reading Nasca Lines

Moai

The Moai statues are located on Easter Island, or ‘Rapa Nui’ and are believed to have been carved between 1250 to 1500 AD. There are approximately 900 known Moai statues, the tallest being 21 meters high, weighing over 160 tonnes. Many archaeologists suggest that “[the] statues were thus symbols of authority and power, both religious and political. But they were not only symbols. To the people who erected and used them, they were actual repositories of sacred spirit. Carved stone and wooden objects in ancient Polynesian religions, when properly fashioned and ritually prepared, were believed to be charged by a … Continue reading Moai

The Churches of Chiloe

In the Chiloé archipelago off the coast of Chile are about 70 churches built within the framework of a “Circular Mission” introduced by the Jesuits in the 17th century and continued by the Franciscans in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Churches of Chiloé represent a successful fusion of indigenous and European culture, the full integration of its architecture in the landscape, environment and spiritual values of the communities. Sixteen churches were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2000. Along with their basic architectural design (tower façade, basilican layout and vaulted ceiling), these sixteen churches are significant for their building … Continue reading The Churches of Chiloe

Queen’s Day / King’s Day, Netherlands

Koningsdag or King’s Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 27 April (26 April if the 27th is a Sunday), the date marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander.[Until the abdication of Queen Beatrix in 2013, the holiday was known as Koninginnedag or Day and was celebrated on 30 April. There are large scale celebrations across the country with a lot of locals and tourists celebrating in Amsterdam. There is a sea of orange along the canals of Amsterdam as people drink and party through the day and night. An outdoor concert is held on … Continue reading Queen’s Day / King’s Day, Netherlands

Alhambra, Granada, Spain

The Alhambra was so called because of its reddish walls (in Arabic, («qa’lat al-Hamra’» means Red Castle). It is located on top of the hill al-Sabika, to the west of the city of Granada. The Alhambra was built chiefly between 1238 and 1358, in the reigns of Ibn al-Aḥmar, founder of the Naṣrid dynasty, and his successors. After the expulsion of the Moors in 1492, Charles V, who ruled in Spain as Charles I (1516–56), rebuilt portions in the Renaissance style and destroyed part of the Alhambra in order to build an Italianate palace designed by Pedro Machuca in 1526. … Continue reading Alhambra, Granada, Spain