Sunday Special – Machu Picchu, Peru


Situated in a mountaintop 50 km / 50 mi northwest of the Peruvian city of Cusco is an old Incan citadel that has captivated tourists and travellers alike since it was re-discovered by¬†Hiram Bingham in July 1911.What he though was the “Lost City of the Incas” was in fact Machu Picchu. Considered by many to the archaeological find of the 20th century it is still not known why it was constructed, though current a current theory is that it was a retreat, a getaway for the rich built by Incan ruler Pachacuti. What is known that it was constructed around 1450 CE and was abandoned a century later, when the Spanish Conquest occurred.¬†

In 1981 this grand complex was named a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary. Two years later in 1983 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. It continues to this day to be one of the top tourism sites in the world. So much so that the daily visitors have been capped at 2,500 per day and there is concern of damage and wear with the demand from tourists. 

Machu Picchu, PeruMachu Picchu at sunrise, Peru РPhoto credit: http://Allard Schmidt, Peru Machu Picchu Sunrise, CC BY-SA 3.0
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Taking a Break


Hello everyone. I am taking a break for a couple weeks as it has been quite hectic for me. It’s quite usual for this time of year. I hope to get back to writing soon. In the meantime take care & happy travels.

Sunday Special – The Forbidden City, Beijing, China


Found within China’s capital city of Beijing is an incredible palace complex that served as the home of emperor’s for a span of over 500 years. The Forbidden City, named so as only emperors, their immediate families, and officials where the only ones permitted inside, is a massive 72 hectares / 178 acres complex that has approximately 980 buildings. Surrounding the complex is a wall standing 10 m / 32.8 ft high and houses 8,700 rooms. Additionally there is a 52 m / 170 ft moat. That is one secure palace! Construction on the complex began back in 1406 CE and was the imperial home through the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Since 1925 the Forbidden City has been under the care of the Palace Museum and in 1987 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with being deemed the largest collection of preserved ancient wood structures anywhere in the world. Due to its size and historical and cultural importance there are ongoing renovations occurring at the palace so at any time only about 80% of the complex is open for visitors.

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Hall of Supreme Harmony, found within Beijing’s Forbidden City – Photo credit:¬†Daniel Case,¬†Hall of Supreme Harmony, Forbidden City, Beijing, with tourists 2,¬†CC BY-SA 3.0

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Panorama of the Forbidden City РPhoto credit: Daniel Case, Forbidden City panorama from Gate of Supreme Harmony wikivoyage banner, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

 

Sunday Special – The Alhambra, Granada, Spain


In the Andalusian city of Granada you can see the stately Alhambra, a red-brick fortress and former residence of kings standing on the rocky hillside overlooking the River Darro.¬† It’s name in Arabic, qa’lat¬†al-Hamra, translates as The Red Castle, reflecting the colour of the fortress.¬† Considered one of the finest examples of Muslim architecture in all of Spain it¬† is not a surprise that it is one of the most visited places in the country.¬† The history surrounding this complex spans centuries. Historical records indicate that it was built in the 9th century CE as a minor military fortress though its illustrious history truly began when it was rebuilt in the 13th century and a royal residence was constructed by the Nasrids. Reconstruction the oldest part of the complex (the¬†Alcazaba) took place along with additions of towers and ramparts. Through the centuries it became a citadel with the adding of courts, royal palaces, a medina, army barracks, gardens, and more. It grew in size and splendour.¬† Later constructions were in the Renaissance style, during the time when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella held court there. In the early 1500s Charles V tore down and began building a new palace that bears his name.¬† Time went on and the fortress was eventually abandoned through the 1800s and even Napolean had a hand in the destruction of a portion of this incredible complex. Seemingly lost, Alhambra was found again in the 1900s. Extensive restoration of the complex and UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1984 has given life once again to the is fine example of Moorish design.¬†

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Inside a Nasrid Palace in Alhambra РPhoto credit: Ronny Siegel, Alhambra in Granada 011, CC BY-SA 4.0

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Alhambra at night РGranda, Spain РPhoto credit: Javier rodriguez jimenez, 037 (2)fotofrafia nocturna del patio de los leones, CC BY-SA 4.0

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Alcazaba portion of Alhambra, Spain РPhoto Jebulon, Alcazaba, Alhambra, Granada, Spain, CC0 1.0