Category: Europe

The Formation of the Greek Religion Part I

The Formation of the Greek Religion Part I

The religion of the “proto-Greek” people contributed to the primitivism of the Greek religion, which in the course of the second millennium BC. C. descended from the north into the Hellenic peninsula and that of the pre-Hellenic or “Helladic” or “Pelasgic” or “Carie” or whatever you want to call peoples, who had settled in the country before those invasions. Culturally, and most likely also politically, these Helladic people depended on Crete: perhaps they were also ethnically related to the Cretans, as well as to the residents of the other Aegean islands. Even their religion will have been in some respects akin to or dependent on the Cretan one of the Minoan era; but it cannot be excluded that in other respects it was original and independent. The penetration of the Protogrecì occurred in successive waves over the course of several centuries: the religion that the first comers brought with them was not identical to that of the last invaders. Those, having imposed their lordship, and with it their language, to the Helladic peoples, partly adopted their civilization for various respects superior to their own. Thus was formed the Mycenaean civilization. Like this, the Mycenaean religion is therefore a composite, syncretistic product, which explains its differences – alongside the many similarities – with respect to the Cretan Minoan religion. (This, like all Minoan civilization, is pre-Greek, and is of interest to Greek religious history only for the influences it exercised on the Mycenaean religion, and for those that the Greek religion then exercised on it at the time of Hellenization). With the’ last invasion of Protogenic peoples towards the end of the second millennium the Mycenaean civilization was dissolved. Even religion, uprooted from the continent, was transplanted by the vanquished fugitives on the islands and coasts of Asia Minor, where over time it became impoverished, while on the other hand it appropriated new elements of eastern Asian origin. But even in the continent it was not completely annulled, because some of its elements survived in latent form and then passed into the historical Greek religion.

It is very difficult to distinguish within the Mycenaean religion what was the contribution of the Protogenic peoples of distant northern origin from what was the patrimony of the primitive Helladic peoples, in which patrimony one should further distinguish what was originally Helladic from what was import or derivation Cretan. The problem does not even arise for those elementary religious forms which are common to all peoples in a phase of not very advanced civilization, and in Greece they can therefore be attributed to an earlier time not only to Homer (where they almost do not appear), but also to formation of the Mycenaean religion: prenational elements and virtually present aboriginein each of the ethnic components of historical Greek religion, both in the religion of the Protogenic immigrants and in that of the Elladics. In Arcadia, shaking an oak frond within a spring, a vapor appeared, which then condensed in the form of a small cloud, which attracted the soaking clouds (Paus., VIII 38, 4). A Crannon, in Thessaly, under drought epoch dragged a noisy metallic wagon with above a vessel to obtain a semblance of the sound of thunder, and then the same thunder, and with it the rain (Antig., Hist. Mir., 15). These are magical rites, intended to produce like with like (sympathetic magic), acting through a mysterious force inherent in the things employed and in the operations and gestures performed and – in other cases – in the words spoken, and therefore essentially independent of the intervention of a divinity (prey), even if eventually aggregated and incorporated into the cult of some god (for example the aforementioned arcade rite in the cult of Zeus Liceo). There are no sure traces of totemism in Greece, despite the attempts made to prove its existence (especially S. Reinach, in several essays: Cultes, Mythes et Religions, vols. 5, Paris 1908-1923). The conception of the soul as ψυχή is frankly animistic, that is, as a breath, breath, spirit: the spirit that comes out of the body when man dies, that goes out, but then re-enters him, if he had simply fainted like Andromache (Il., XXII, 467), or stunned as Sarpedon (Il., V, 696): this congenital lightness of the soul as spirit, breath, breath is reflected in the conception of the soul as a bird (Weicker, Der Seelenvogel in der antiken Literatur und Kunst, Leipzig 1902) or as a butterfly or bee or moth (O. Waser, Ûber die äussere Erscheinung der Seele in den Vorstellungen der Völker, zumal der alten Griechen, in Archiv f. Reliġ ionswiss., XVI, 1913, 336 ff.), As well as in the εἴδωλα reproducing the figure of the deceased, but with wings. The 30 stones that still at the time of Pausanias (VII, 22, 3) were venerated at Fare in Achaia, each with the name of a god, can be traced back to fetishism. Representatives of demonism are the numerous groups of Charites, Sirens, Harpies, Erinyes, Satyrs, Sileni, Centaurs, Loaves, etc., some of which, especially those more or less theriomorphic, recall the numerous hybrid figures that abound on the seals and others Mycenaean and Minoan art objects. These elementary religious forms, although ethnically indeterminable, nevertheless have great importance for the history of Greek religion, also in relation to the conspicuous flowering of analogous forms (especially magic) which took place in the last periods of Greek religious history.

The Formation of the Greek Religion 1

Germany Archaeology

Germany Archaeology

In Germany the systematic search of the various archaeological remains of the national territory has been organized for a long time. Currently important new results have been obtained by the Archaeological Prospecting Center created in 1959 at the Landesmuseum in Bonn; this center carried out extensive aerial photographic surveys in the Rhineland, uncovering a large number of archaeological remains from various periods: entrenched villages from the Neolithic, mounds from the Hallstatt civilization, urn fields, enclosures from the La Tène era, locally called Gräber-Gärten (Wederath, Kreis, BernKastel, etc.), Roman villas and farms and in particular castra del limes of Germany Superior et Inferior.

The buildings of the Augustan age of Xanten (Castra Vetera) have not yet been identified also due to the phenomenon of erosion and the change of course of the Rhine. The first field (Vetera I) with internal stone constructions was probably built under Claudius, but few traces are preserved. On the other hand, the Neronian buildings are well known and a detailed plan has been made. The archaeological remains of Vetera II are scarce and poorly known, built by Vespasian after the events of 69 AD (Civil revolt) on the other bank of the west arm of the Rhine.) which attest, in the Augustan-Tiberian age, the existence of a military installation. Destroyed as a result of the riots of 69 AD, it was rebuilt and experienced various phases not documented with precision. Probably abandoned at the beginning of the 2nd century, the name does not appear in Antonino’s Itinerary. Following recent excavations it seems that also in Gelduba (Krefeld-Gellep) there was a small settlement of the Ubii, of which some traces have been found on the ground. In 69 a marching camp was built there for the troops from Superior Germany in the fight against Civil. Of this field only a few traces remain (parallel ditches, weapons, ceramics); around 71-75 AD was built near a castellum which underwent at least ten successive phases of construction up to the 4th century. The excavations made it possible to study the principia, the left door principalis and numerous moats. The Novaesium field (Neuss) is archaeologically well known. Currently it has been possible to establish a succession of twelve construction periods under Augustus and Tiberius. The best known phase of the encampment, the only one for which a detailed plan of the internal installations exists, is that of the Claudian age, to which the stone architecture of the buildings dates back. The existence of the canabae seems to be attested by the Tiberian age and a civil agglomeration developed there throughout the imperial period.

In Cologne, new clues have made it possible to establish the limits of the legionary camp of the Tiberian age, delimited in particular by a series of ovens for potters, who are currently considered dependent on the legionary camp. A part of the defensive system and the decumana gate were found of the military installations. The topography of the residential area of ​​Colonia Claudia-Ara Agrippinensis is also known: the ancient praetorium del campo was transformed into a palace with arcades intended for the governor of the province. Recently a mithraeum has been found and the remains of a theater and the site of the amphitheater located outside the walls have been brought to light; furthermore, the discovery of a series of towers and some sections of the walls made it possible to better understand the function of the outer wall that protected the city for the whole empire. As for the cities and the neighborhoods recently discovered, very little known is the ancient agglomeration of Neumagen (Noviomagus); only a few coins and ceramics (in addition to the famous reliefs) attest to its activity from the 1st to the 3rd century. An important craft and trade center has been located in Pachten (Contiomagus?). Rare are the traces relating to the 1st century AD. C., while much more numerous are those pertinent to the 2nd and especially to the 3rd and 4th centuries. A neighborhood of potters has been traced to the western edge of the vicus ; moreover, a sanctuary surrounded by a wall framed a temple with a square cell and portico and a monoptero temple dedicated to Pritona; the complex was to be flanked by a theater. A few years ago an important agglomeration built with an orthogonal plan was excavated in Schwarzennacker, on the Trier-Strasbourg road; the vicus it had to have an exclusively agricultural character. Systematic excavations of the site have revealed a residential neighborhood. The excavation of the Pesch sanctuary has recently been resumed; Remodeled several times, the temples often show traces overlapping and difficult to interpret: however, two main periods of occupation have been possible (in the 1st century and from the 2nd to the 4th century AD). The constructions of the second stage are of a very particular shape: the large central enclosure must have constituted a covered place; neither the destination nor the date of the singular temple B or basilica is clear, a square-plan building with a rectangular apse, divided into three naves by two rows of columns: the originality of the building suggests a mystery cult. The most important cult of the sanctuary must have been that of the Matronae Vacallinehae of which about three hundred inscriptions have been discovered. A new temple dedicated to the Matronae has been found in the same region in Zingsheim. A new cult complex was recently unearthed in Hunsrück, in Heckenmünster-Wallenborn, consisting of three temples, two of which are Celtic-type and the third has an orthogonal plan: there are annexes of the spa buildings. Built at the end of the 1st century AD. C., the sanctuary was abandoned at the end of the 3rd century.

After 1960, laboratory researches relating to ceramics multiplied, making it possible to better clarify the techniques of manufacture and to distinguish their origins. The importation of the “Italic sealed earth” and the importance it has for the dating of the places of discovery has been demonstrated once more by the recent discovery, in Haltern, of a potter’s workshop with fragments of molds for processing. of chalices imitating the Arezzo vases. The relationship between the Trier, Sinzig and Rheinzabern workshops and the master craftsmen operating in Mittelbronn and in the Moselle area etc. was also studied, and the influence of these in the production of the branches located further east was underlined. In this context, the recent discovery in Novaesium of Sigillata from central Gaul from the 2nd and 3rd centuries should be mentioned.

Germany Archaeology

Franco-German War of 1870

Franco-German War of 1870

Franco-German War of 1870/71, war between France and the North German Confederation under the leadership of Prussia. Last of the so-called wars of unification.

The cause of the war was v. a. In the will of O. von Bismarck , after the victories of Prussia in 1866/67, to secure its hegemony in continental Europe permanently, domestic political difficulties in France came in handy.

The external reason was the question of the “Hohenzollern candidacy for the throne” in Spain (Emser Depesche). On July 19, 1870, France declared war. While a Franco-Austrian alliance did not come about in time, the southern German states sided with Prussia. From the Palatinate, three German armies under Crown Prince Friedrich, Prince Friedrich Karl and K. F. von Steinmetz (with H. Graf von Moltke as Chief of Staff), mobilized in the shortest possible time, advanced and took the initiative.

They won at Weißenburg (4.8.), Wörth and Spichern (6.8.). The French Rhine Army under F. A. Bazaine was thrown into the fortress of Metz and enclosed in the battles at Colombey-Nouilly, Vionville-Mars-la-Tour and Gravelotte-Saint-Privat (August 14th to 18th). In an attempt to relieve Bazaine, the French Marshal M. Mac-Mahon was pushed to Sedan and surrounded there; his entire army surrendered on September 2, Napoleon III. got into captivity with her.

After the French Republic was proclaimed (September 4), the German armies advanced on Paris and closed it on September 15. on. Metz capitulated on October 27th. The armies set up by L. Gambetta in the south and north for the liberation of Paris were defeated at Orléans, Le Mans, Amiens and Saint-Quentin in December 1870 and January 1871.

Fearing that the neutrals would interfere, O. von Bismarck tried to hasten the fall of Paris and pushed through the bombardment of the fortress against the military leadership. An armistice was signed on January 28, 1871. Only in eastern France was there still fighting; on 1.2. the French Eastern Army was forced by the newly formed German Southern Army under E. Freiherr von Manteuffel to cede to Switzerland at Pontarlier, where they were interned.

Already on January 18th King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor in Versailles (foundation of the German Empire). On February 26 the preliminary peace of Versailles was concluded; on May 10th followed the Peace of Frankfurt. The obligation contained therein to evacuate the occupied French territories was fulfilled by Germany on September 16, 1873.

Air France

Air France [.epsilon. ː r Frà ː s], short for Compagnie Nationale Air France [k ɔ pa ɲ i nasj ɔ nal -], abbreviation AF [ ɑ eF], leading French airline, founded in 1933, Headquarters: Paris. 1990 Participation in Air Inter (merged with it since 1997) and takeover of the private airline UTA (Union des Transports Aériens). In 2000 she founded the airline alliance Skyteam with Delta Airlines Inc., Aeromexico and Korean Air. In 2003, AF carried 42.9 million passengers to 192 international destinations with a fleet of 360 aircraft. In 2004 there was a merger with the Dutch airline KLM to form Allianz Air France-KLM with the Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol hubs. Under the umbrella of the holding company, Air France and KLM continued to exist as independent companies, which together flew to 328 destinations in 118 countries in 2017 (passenger volume: 98.7 million). Turnover (2017): € 25.78 billion, employees (2016): 84,600.

French Revolution

French Revolution, epoch of French history that lasted from 1789 to 1799 and during which the old rule (ancien régime) was forcibly removed.

The French Revolution was caused by abuses such as the arbitrary rule of kings, steadily increasing national debt with a simultaneous increase in the tax burden and famine. It was rooted in the mind Enlightenment.

After the Estates General (clergy, nobility, third estate) had been convened in May 1789 because of the government’s financial difficulties, the third estate declared itself to be the constituent national assembly. With the storming of the Bastille (the old state prison in Paris) on July 14th, the open uprising began (July 14th became a national holiday).

The National Assembly decided on profound changes: it proclaimed human rights, created the centralized administrative system with the départements and abolished the privileges of the nobility and clergy. Leading people were GJ Danton and Jean Paul Marat (1743–93). The National Convention, the new parliament (since 1792), decided to abolish kingship; Louis XVI was executed in 1793.

The Welfare Committee (the executive organ of the National Convention) headed by M. de Robespierre and the National Convention exercised a reign of terror.

After the fall of Robespierre and his execution (1794), a board of five convent members took over the government in 1795. The internal failures (bankruptcy of the state in 1797) and the foreign policy defeats in the Revolutionary Wars led to Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup in 1799 and the dissolution of the Directory.

The general slogan of the French Revolution (“Freedom, Equality, Fraternity”) remained a demand made again and again by the champions for the Human rights.

Franco-German War of 1870

 

Hungarian Music

Hungarian Music

Hungarian music, name for Hungarian folk music, which can be divided into two layers in the unanimous folk song.

An older one with semitone pentatonic and parlando rubato performance, a younger one with a seven-step scale and rhythmically strict performance. Folk musical instruments include in addition to various forms of the violin, a cello-like instrument (gardon), dulcimer (cimbalom), hurdy-gurdy (tekerő), magnetic flute (furulya) and a popular oboe (tárogató).

Hungarian art music begins with Gregorian chants as well as vernacular epics and the work of foreign musicians at the Hungarian royal court (around 1000). Central and western European immigrants (since the 12th century) brought their music with them; traveling musicians and students mediated the exchange with the rest of Europe; Hungarian dances (Ungaresca) have been an integral part of the pan-European repertoire since the end of the 15th century.

During the Turkish rule (from 1526) and the tripartite division of the country (from 1541), historical chants (rhyming chronicles, political songs) lived on, especially in the Austrian part; Protestant and Hussite chant elements complemented the popular sacred song. Art music was used by the aristocratic courts, churches, monasteries and, in some cases, schools.

Between 1690 and 1711 the »Kurutzenlieder« were created, a combination of historical song and folk song with Slovak, Romanian and Polish features (e.g. the »Rákóczi-way«). In the middle of the 18th century the Verbunkos appeared. János Bihari (* 1764, † 1827), János Lavotta (* 1764, † 1820) and A. Csermák. Verbunkos and its branches in Csárdás and urban song as well as liberty and student songs form a folk style that was considered typical of Hungarian music from 1790 to the 20th century.

Liszt, Mihály Mosonyi (* 1815, † 1870) and F. Erkel created national Hungarian music with a romantic character. At Liszt close ödön mihalovich (* 1842, † 1929) and J. Hubay directly. The works of E. von Dohnányi and Leó Weiner (* 1885, † 1960) are in the German romantic tradition; Erwin Lendvai (* 1882, † 1949) is considered an important choral composer. Modernism includes Sándor Jemnitz (* 1890, † 1963), László Lajtha (* 1892, † 1963) and F. Farkas.

The most important Hungarian composers, B. Bartók and Z. Kodály, were also well-known folk music researchers and used original peasant music in their compositions. Bartók fuses national, folk music material with highly developed compositional methods. Kodály’s conception as a composer and teacher is based on folk music and has created the basis of a new Hungarian musical culture through a broad choral movement and a system of music schools, especially since 1945; it has received international attention as a model since the late 1950s.

As a teacher, Kodály trained several generations of composers, including P. Kadosa, Ferenc Szabó (* 1902, † 1969), Rudolf Maros (* 1917, † 1982) and P. Járdányi; worked abroad M. Seiber, A. Doráti and S. Veress. The contemporary music represented inter alia. G. Kurtág, G. Ligeti, Emil Petrovics (* 1930, † 2011), Sándor Szokolay (* 1931, † 2013), István Láng (* 1933), Z. Durkó, Attila Bozay (* 1939, † 1999), P. Eötvös, R. Wittinger and Z. Kocsis. In order to participate in the international development of music, some composers, musicologists and musicians – including Zoltán Jeney (* 1943, † 2019), László Sáry (* 1940) and László Vidovsky (* 1944) founded the »Studio for New Music (* 1944) in  1970 «(Uj Zenei Stúdió), with which they broke with tradition, drawing on the music of J. Cage. Encouraged by this group, but also withdrawn from it, other composer associations such as the »Group of Young Composers« (Zeneszerzók Csoportja) and the »Group 180« (180-as Csoport) were founded in the 1980s.

Szeged

Szeged [ sεgεd], German Szegedin [ sεgεdi ː n], capital of the district Csongrád, Southeast Hungary, on both sides of the Tisza near the mouth of the Maros, near the border with Romania and Serbia (Wojwodina), (2018) 161 100 residents.

Catholic bishopric; University (founded in Kapozsvár / Cluj-Napoca in 1872, re-establishment of the Hungarian University in Szeged, which closed there in 1919/20, in 1921), other universities, microbiological research institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, biotechnological center, national theater, conservatory, Ferenc Móra museum, botanical Garden. The food industry is important, especially salami and pepper production (Szeged is the center of the most important Hungarian paprika growing area), as well as mechanical engineering, furniture, textile and leather industries, tobacco processing, tire factory; in Algyő oil and gas production; Transport hub with inland port and airfield.

Demetriusturm (12th to 13th centuries, tower of the former Demetrius Church); Remains of a castle (13th century); Marienkirche (end of the 15th century) with baroque furnishings; neo-Romanesque cathedral with two 93 m high towers, built at the beginning of the 20th century to commemorate the flood disaster of 1879; neo-baroque town hall (1883); Town houses mainly from the 17th century.

On the already around 2000 BC Béla IV. Had a castle built in the 13th century. The important medieval salt transhipment point became a royal free town in 1498 and was under Turkish rule from 1543–1686. In 1879 a flood destroyed almost the entire city. In 1919, Szeged was the starting point for the counter-revolutionary movement to overthrow the Hungarian Soviet Republic.

Miskolc

Miskolc [ Wed ʃ Kolts], capital of the county of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Northern Hungary, on the eastern edge of the Bükk, (2018) 155 700 residents.

Industrial center; University (founded in 1949 as a TU for heavy industry), metallurgical open-air museum, etc. Museums; Iron and steel industry in the Diósgyőr district (decline during the 1990s), mechanical engineering, paper and food industries. The Tapolca district with its underground caves and lakes is a health resort (thermal springs).

The Gothic church on Avasberg (middle of the 13th century) was rebuilt several times; rebuilt after a fire in 1560–69. The castle ruins in the Diósgyőr district date from the 13th century; it houses a museum and is the scene of the annual castle festival.

Miskolc goes back to a Scythian settlement; Proven as a wine market in 1365, free royal town in 1405; came to royal Hungary after 1526 (Battle of Mohács), then was briefly Transylvanian. Located in the border area, Miskolc suffered from Ottoman raids and double taxation. Miskolc was a center of early industrialization (hammer and stamp mills, oldest blast furnace at the beginning of the 19th century).

Hungarian Music

Oberammergau Passion Play

Oberammergau Passion Play

Every ten years the Upper Bavarian municipality of Oberammergau hosts one of the most traditional performances in Germany, the Oberammergau Passion Play. The performances are not only the most famous passion plays in the world, since 2014 they have also been part of the nationwide register of intangible cultural heritage, which, like the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is of particular importance for the preservation of intangible values.

The first performance took place in 1634, when, after a devastating year of plague, the townspeople had vowed to regularly perform a passion play if they were freed from the plague. This tradition has continued to this day, despite temporary bans, including in the 18th century by the clergy of Elector Maximilian III. Joseph, held, and still nearly the entire ward is attending the games.

The text, which has been continuously expanded and redesigned over time, focuses on the last five days in the life of Christ; depending on the staging, there are also living images with scenes from the Old Testament or from the history of the games. After the Second Vatican Council at the end of the 1960s, which documented that the Jews are not guilty of Jesus’ death, the image of the Jews in the play was fundamentally revised at the request of the Catholic Church with the cooperation of various Jewish organizations. The music of the Passion Play, on the other hand, which comes from the pen of Oberammergau teacher and composer Rochus Dedler (1779–1822), has remained the same since it was first performed in 1810.

The planning and rehearsals for the Oberammergau Passion Play always begin several years before the performances. The whole community is entitled to vote in the selection of the director, actors and staging. The games not only represent an important cultural and religious tradition, they also represent an important economic factor with their more than 500,000 visitors from all over the world. Above all, the Passion Play Oberammergau is suitable for every visitor due to the dedication and intensity of its actors unforgettable experience.

regensburg

Regensburg is one of the oldest German cities and has been continuously settled since Celtic times. The capital of the Upper Palatinate district is the fourth largest city in Bavaria. It has around 140,300 inhabitants, who are spread over the extensive urban area on both banks of the Danube. Regensburg is a bishopric and an important tourist center in Eastern Bavaria.

Regensburg for culture lovers and study travelers

Regensburg has more than 1,300 architectural monuments. On a tour through the city, the Regensburg dynasty towers, the old town hall and the “Stone Bridge” from the 12th century as well as the Herzogshof catch the eye.
The streets of the old town are characterized by historical buildings from many eras. Rich merchant families built opulent houses and villas here. In between there are churches, the bishop’s seat and the imposing St. Peter’s Cathedral, where the famous Regensburg cathedral sparrows regularly appear. Emmeram Castle, the headquarters of Thurn & Taxis, is located a little outside the city center.

Regensburg for nature lovers and active people

Regensburg is cozy and at the same time exciting, as more than 20 museums, exhibitions and memorials show. In the summer months, many interesting events take place in the beautiful parks, in the city center and along the Danube, attracting visitors from all over Germany.
Nature lovers can hike or cycle in the Regensburg avenue belt or the wooded and hilly surrounding area. A special view of Regensburg is offered during a boat trip on the Danube, which also takes you past the two islands of Obere and Untere Wörth in the city area.

Sanssouci Palace

A visit to nearby Potsdam should not be missing on a trip to Berlin. Hardly any other city can boast such a unique architectural ensemble as the Brandenburg capital. UNESCO honored this unique combination of castles and parks in the form that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The focus of this ensemble is of course the Sanssouci Palace.

It started with old Fritz

Friedrich II laid the foundation stone for the magnificent gardens and the Sanssouci Palace in 1745 when he commissioned the construction of a small rococo summer palace. But it was not until the next century, in 1841, under Friedrich IV, a great-nephew of old Fritz, that the expansion into the palace and the gardens that can be admired today began. Friedrich Wilhelm IV had side wings built on the left and right of the original summer palace of his ancestor. The striking vineyard terraces, which nestle against the slope directly below the castle, were laid out in the time of Frederick II.

The architecture of Sanssouci

The original summer palace with a length of 91 m was built by the architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff based on the sketches of Friedrich II. The side wings that were added in the following century, each 31 m long, were again made by Ludwig Persius based on the king’s sketches.
The idea of ​​a summer palace was also retained under Friedrich IV and so all rooms are on one level so that you can access the garden without having to climb stairs. The front as well as the garden are oriented to the south and have magnificent decorations, whereas the north side is kept rather simple.

The German Versailles

Under Friedrich IV, the original place of residence of the old Fritz, who once wanted to be buried on the top terrace, was expanded and rebuilt for representative purposes. Accordingly, the rooms of the palace show themselves in a splendid interior that reminds quite a few visitors of the Palace of Versailles of the French Sun King, Louis XIV. In addition to the castle, it is also the impressive gardens that fascinate every visitor and make you dream of times gone by.

Oberammergau Passion Play Germany

Travel to Beautiful Cities in Bulgaria

Travel to Beautiful Cities in Bulgaria

Here you will find study trips and round trips through the metropolises of Bulgaria

Sofia

Take a round trip to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Sofia is the political, economic and cultural center of Bulgaria and includes many beautiful highlights. On this study trip you will get to know the culture and the most important sights, such as the national theater “Ivan Wasow”, the archaeological museum, the Banya Bashi mosque, the equestrian monument of Tsar Alexander and at the same time the most beautiful statue in the park. Discover the treasures of Sofia on a city break.

Plovdiv

European Capital of Culture 2019

Visitors to Plovdiv, also known as Plovdiv, the Bulgarian European Capital of Culture in 2019, can see tourist gems from afar: the historic center is enthroned on three hills. The elevations are called watershed hill, tightrope walker hill and guardian hill. The first Thracian tribes to colonize the historic site, followed by the Romans and the Ottomans. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Bulgaria made a new start as a nation by remembering its own roots. Plovdiv, now the second largest city in the country, rose to become a trading center and developed splendidly. Today, the historic center presents itself to its guests as a picturesque open-air museum with numerous tourist attractions.

The Archaeological Museum displays gold coins

One of the sights of Plovdiv is the Archaeological Museum, the main attraction of which is a gold treasure found in Panagjurishte. The gold coins date from the Thracian era and the 12th century. The Dzhumaja Mosque, which was built in the 15th century, is a magnificent building. The facade is adorned with a sundial, and excellent decorative friezes can be admired in the interior. The Plovdiv Ethnographic Museum is also beautiful. Furniture from the Baroque period is on display on the upper floor. Chamber music is performed in the museum courtyard from June to September. Foundations and individual paths have been exposed from the forum from Roman times.

Performances are still held in the Roman Theater today

One of the tourist attractions in Plovdiv is the Roman stadium, which dates from the 2nd century. The western part and the exit have been preserved. The stadium once had space for 30,000 visitors. Also worth seeing is the Roman theater, also built in the 2nd century. It is still used today for classical theater performances that take place in the months of May, June and September. The view of the wooded Rump Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains, is overwhelming. Friends of classical music will also get their money’s worth in Plovdiv. The city’s Philharmonic Orchestra has an excellent reputation. A trip to the unique Bachkovo Monastery, located a good twenty kilometers south of Plovdiv, is a must on a trip to Plovdiv.

Rhodope Mountains

the mountains of Orpheus

Magnificent nature and almost endless hiking trails – the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria are a true paradise for hikers, climbers, mountain bikers and lovers of beautiful landscapes. The Rhodope Mountains cover almost a seventh of the country, with the western and eastern parts differing greatly from each other. The western part is higher and has an average mountain climate, while the eastern part is more of a hilly relief. The highest peak is the Golyam Perelik at 2191 meters above sea level.

Magnificent nature on the border with Greece

Bulgaria is already known for its natural beauties, and the most picturesque areas of the country are in the Rhodope Mountains. Here, lush green meadows alternate with dark coniferous forests, craggy rocks and impressive gorges. There are also numerous protected plant species such as the so-called “resurrection plant”. According to legend, it grew out of the blood of Orpheus, because it has the unique property that it can awaken to new life even after it has dried up. The ideal climate and diverse vegetation also offer a rich fauna, including many endangered bird species such as the eastern imperial eagle, the red hawk and the corncrake, as well as various species of vulture. If you are lucky, you can also watch wolves and brown bears here.

Every season has its own charm in the Rhodope Mountains. In the summer months, the temperatures are ideal for long hikes and bike tours. But winter sports fans will also get their money’s worth here, as the mountains have two ski centers: Pamporovo and Chepelare. The developed rural tourism offers a great opportunity to get to know the culture and cuisine of the locals. The people of the region are known for their hospitality. The most popular resorts of the Rhodope Mountains are the villages of Gela, Shiroka Laka, Mogilitsa, Leshten, Kovachevitsa, Arda, Trigrad and Orechovo. The Trigrader and Buynov Gorge are definitely recommended for a round trip, because there are three unique caves here: the Devil’s Dragon Cave, the Haramiya and the Yagodina Cave, which are also accessible to visitors.

Valley of roses

The Rose Valley is a region in Bulgaria and geologically consists of two river valleys, in the west of Stryama and in the east of Tundzha. The famous Rose Valley is where the Stredna Gora mountain range and the Balkan Mountains approach. The valley is famous for its rose growing industry, which has been grown there for centuries and which produces nearly half of the world’s rose oil. Leading companies in the health and beauty industry such as “TomyShow Cosmetics” have made this area their home and set up their company headquarters there.

The center of the rose oil industry is Kazanlak, other important cities of the rose industry are Karlovo, Sopot, Kalofer and Pavel Banja. Festivals are held every year to celebrate the area’s roses and rose oil. The Rose Festival takes place in Karlovo and Kazanlak every year on the first weekend in June.

Seductive scent at harvest time

The rose picking season lasts from May to June. During this time, the whole region smells fresh and unique and is covered with colorful flowers. The Damascus rose grown here smells purer and more intense than other varieties. The elaborate collection process, traditionally a task for Bulgarian women and girls, requires great skill and patience. The flowers are carefully cut one by one and placed in wicker baskets which are then sent to the distilleries. The Kazanlak Rose Festival, held at the time when the roses are picked, is one of the most popular and beautiful festivals in the country. Many guests from Bulgaria and abroad gather in the city and witness colorful roses, happy songs and traditional rituals. In the early morning the solemn rose picking takes place, when pretty girls and women put on festive Bulgarian costumes and collect the rose petals. This is followed by the election of a rose queen – the most beautiful girl who takes part in this annual ritual. The cheerful celebrations then continue with a folkloric parade and the tasting of rose foods and drinks.

Travel to Beautiful Cities in Bulgaria

Turkey Recent History

Turkey Recent History

1980 coup

Between 1979 and 1980, the government of Süleymán Demirel decided to stop the alliance with Western countries, and with it, the hope of development of the private sector of the economy, which was supported by foreign aid. The Republican Party requested state control of the elementary means of production and the establishment of new alliances with the Third World and the communist bloc.

Extremist groups on the left and right again carried out the assassinations of political figures and carried out terrorist actions. The December of September of 1980, the army took control of the government and suspended the constitution. The new rulers imposed martial law, banned political activity, limited the right to the press and imprisoned thousands of citizens, accused of terrorists.
The Army ruled through the National Security Council, which appointed General Kenan Evren head of state, while Admiral Bülent Ulusu became Prime Minister.

Return to democracy

According to youremailverifier.com, the greatest advance towards the establishment of a civil government took place in 1982, when a new Constitution was promulgated, by which Evren was appointed President of the Republic. The parliamentary elections of November 1983 were an overwhelming victory for the Party of the Motherland (which had the support of the Army for its conservative right-wing character), whose top leader, Turgut Ozal, was appointed prime minister.

In 1989, Ozal was elected as the first civil head of state since 1960, and Yilidirim Akbulut replaced him as prime minister. Akbulut was replaced by Mesut Yilmaz in 1991, in turn replaced by economist Tansu Çiller in 1993, leader of the Straight Path Party. Turkey collaborated with international forces in the Iraqi expulsion from Kuwait between 1990 and 1991, although the Turkish troops did not participate in the Persian Gulf War. Following the war, and following an unfortunate uprising by the Iraqi Kurds, hundreds of thousands of refugees crossed the border into Turkey, although refugee camps were established under Allied administration in the vicinity of the Turkish border.

Since 1984, an undeclared war has been going on between successive Turkish governments and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Marxist-Leninist group that is trying to achieve the autonomy of the lands of 15 million Kurds by methods. terrorists.

The conflict is mainly located in the southeast of the country where the largest concentration of Kurdish population meets. In March 1995, the government of Tansu Çiller showed its intention to destroy the separatist movement, invading 40 kilometers of the Kurdish region located northwest of Iraq and which was a protected area of the United Nations. At the same time, the government passed more liberal laws allowing for the legalization of moderate Kurdish nationalist groups and the reopening of Kurdish schools.

2016 coup

In the evening hours of the 15 of July of 2016 they began circulating in Ankara dozens of military vehicles and aircraft. Moments later, an official statement confirmed that a faction of the Turkish Army was attempting to seize power and overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the midst of these actions, a total of 265 people died, including 161 government and civilian forces and 104 of the conspirators, 1,440 were injured and 2,839 soldiers were arrested after the failure of the coup [1] [2] .

The country’s Superior Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK for its acronym in Turkish) dismissed 2,745 judges for their alleged links to the cleric Fetulá Gulen, an exile in the United States who defends the creation of a parallel state in Turkey.

2017 Constitutional Reform Plebiscite

In 2017, the Turks go to the polls to vote on a constitutional reform Plebiscite that proposes the transition from a parliamentary model to the presidential one, having an acceptance of 51.32 percent of support, compared to 48.68 percent of those who They are against.

With this modification, all the executive power will be concentrated in the hands of the president and the figure of prime minister will be eliminated. In addition, the head of state may appoint vice presidents, ministers and senior officials and presidential decrees will influence decisions on the creation, dissolution, functions and structure of the ministries.

The president also obtains the right to announce the state of emergency with the approval of Parliament, appoint various members of the highest judicial body of the country and may issue decrees without the approval of legislators. These changes to the constitution will take effect from 2019.

Many international observers who accompanied this process contested the result since the legal framework was inadequate for the realization of a genuinely democratic process. This was stated by the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Cezar Florin who also assured that the state of emergency should never be used to undermine the rule of law.

For many of the international observers, the regulations and instructions adopted by the Higher Electoral Council (YSK) are insufficient for the holding of a democratic referendum.

Turkey Recent History

Norway History

Norway History

The Danish-Norwegian Union

While Sweden began to break away from the Union by force in the middle of the 15th century, the Norwegian Imperial Council elected Christian I of Denmark to be king in 1450 (Union Treaty of Bergen). Until 1814 Norway was ruled by Danish kings from the House of Oldenburg. Although Norway was guaranteed independence, it increasingly became a Danish vassal state without political powers, but with its own laws and courts. In 1536 the Reformation was introduced in Norway, in the same year the Norwegian self-government by Christian III. repealed (since 1572 office of governor).

In 1468/72 Norway lost the Orkney and Shetland Islands, as a result of the Swedish-Danish wars Jämtland and Härjedalen (1645) and Bohuslän (1658).

In the 18th century Norway experienced a very different socio-historical development from Denmark. The peasants, who were largely not dependent on the numerically weak nobility, became largely landowners through the purchase of crown, aristocratic and church land. In the dispute with the central Danish administration and with the rapidly growing stratum of peasants without landed property (Husmenn, “Häusler”), they developed a pronounced class consciousness. After the economic decline in the 14./15. In the 19th century, there was a significant improvement in the economic situation after 1500. The Hanseatic League no longer played a dominant role; Fish exports remained important, shipbuilding, timber industry (sawmills), and silver mining in the 16th and 17th centuries, Copper and iron as well as the steady expansion of the merchant fleet. This favorable development was reinforced by the introduction of absolutism in 1660. The trade was v. a. aligned to England and Holland. – Oslo burned down completely in 1624 and was rebuilt under the name Christiania (until 1924; later spelling Kristiania).

The Swedish-Norwegian Union

In the Treaty of Kiel (January 14, 1814), the Swedish Crown Prince Karl Johann (Karl XIV. Johann ) of Denmark obtained the cession of Norway with the exception of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. However, an elected assembly in Eidsvoll decided on May 17, 1814 a liberal imperial constitution and elected the Danish governor, Prince Christian Friedrich (later also Christian VIII. King of Denmark), as King of Norway. When Swedish troops marched in, Karl Johann forced the election of the King of Sweden, Karl XIII, in Moss on November 4, 1814 ., to the Norwegian king. The constitution of May 17, 1814 was retained with a few changes. However, Norway did not achieve equality in the Union; there was a Norwegian Council of State, but the king was represented in Norway by a viceroy or governor; Sweden determined foreign policy.

The reign of Charles XIV. Johann (1818–44) was marked by the struggle of the Storting against royal power. The Storting pushed through the abolition of the nobility (1821) and rejected the proposed introduction of an unlimited right of objection for the king (1824). The opposition weakened under Oskar I (1844–59), who granted the Norwegians their own coat of arms and flag. Oskar II. (1872–1905) rescinded the office of governor in 1873. In the 1870s, under the leadership of Storting President Johan Sverdrup (* 1816, † 1892) a liberal and peasant left in opposition to the conservative ruling party. After the election victory of the Liberals (Venstre) in 1882, the condemnation of the Conservative government of Selmer by the Reichsgericht led to a new crisis, the solution of which was the commissioning of Sverdrup to form the cabinet in 1884. This government, which emerged from the majority of the Storting, triumphed parliamentarianism in Norway.

In addition to the struggle for independence within the Union with the aim of complete sovereignty and the development of a liberal parliamentarism, in financially weak and infrastructurally underdeveloped Norway it was also about promoting the economic and technical areas: 1816 Foundation of the Bank of Norway; 1854 first railway line; 1909 Completion of the Oslo – Bergen railway line; before 1900 consistent use of water power to generate electricity as a prerequisite for industrialization; Creation of a merchant fleet (the third largest in the world at the beginning of the First World War). However, it could not be prevented that around 1 million Norwegians emigrated to North America from around 1850/60 to 1914 (high points of the wave of emigration: 1879, 1882, 1893). Men received universal suffrage in 1898 and women in 1913.

Norway History

Oslo

According to Youremailverifier, Oslo, [ Norwegian uslu ] (1624-1924 Christiania, Kristiania from 1877), is the capital of Norway, with most (2021) 697 000 residents city in the country, at the northern end of the Oslo fjord.

Oslo is the economic, trade and cultural center of Norway with universities and museums (e.g. Kon-Tiki Museum, Viking Ship House). In addition to container terminals, the seaport also has moorings for cruise ships and has ferry connections with Copenhagen and Kiel.

Oslo was founded in the middle of the 11th century and rebuilt after a major fire by King Christian IV (1624). The oldest building is Akershus Fortress from the 13th century. In the north-west of Oslo is the Holmenkollen, the scene of international competitions in skiing.

Manchester in England

Manchester in England

According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER, City of Manchester is located in the north west of England and has a population of 486,000 people. After London and Birmingham, Manchester is considered the third most important city in England. Manchester is located in the county of Metropolitan Country Greater Manchester.

The city has an exciting History behind it and a wide range of attractions to offer. The image of Manchester is characterized by buildings of the most varied of styles. There are buildings from the time of Victorian architecture to modern times.

Outside the city there are still factories from the days of the cotton industry. Today apartments and offices are housed in these.

The many brick buildings are particularly characteristic of Manchester. The most impressive building in the English city is the Gothic Cathedral of Manchester. The cathedral was built in 1421 in the perpendicular style. The tower of the sacred building was built many years later: in 1876.

The grain exchange is also worth a visit. It is known by the locals as the Corn Exchange. It was built in 1897 and is now used by the “The Triangle” shopping center.

If you visit Manchester, you should n’t miss the neo-Gothic Manchester City Hall. The building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse. In the sixties several large skyscrapers were built, which contributed to the creation of the new city skyline. The tallest building of the skyscrapers is the Beetham Tower, built in 2006. This houses a hotel, restaurants and apartments.
In the spring of 2008, construction began on England’s tallest building, the Piccadilly Tower.

Relaxation is definitely guaranteed in Manchester. There are more than one hundred and thirty- five parks and green spaces here. An absolute must is Heaton Park in the north of the city. The green area has an area of ​​250 hectares and is one of the largest parks in Europe. The St. Peter’s Square and Albert Square have to offer its visitors numerous monuments. These are dedicated to kings and famous people.

Music and theater are also of great importance in Manchester. The city has two symphony orchestras, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Halle Orchestra. Anyone interested in symphonic music would be in the Free Trade Hall and the Bridge Hall are just right. The latter building was dedicated to the Earl of Bridgewater. In both buildings you can spend wonderful evenings and enjoy symphonic music. Furthermore, Manchester is the founding place and also the hometown of various well-known music groups and singers, e.g. B. Oasis, Hollies or Take That.

Pop music concerts and other events take place regularly in the largest event hall in the English city. More than 21,000 spectators fit into the hall.

History and culture are also not to be neglected on a vacation in Manchester. The city has some interesting museums and galleries.

In the Museum of Science and Industry you can find out more about the industrial past of Manchester. A collection of locomotives, industrial machines, and airplanes is exhibited here. The Museum of Transport shows its visitors historic buses and trams. Anyone interested in natural history and Egyptological collections is in the right place at the Manchester Museum, which opened in 1880.

The Imperial War Museum North is worth a visit not only for the military history collection exhibited there, but also for the building itself. The impressive building was designed by the well-known architect Daniel Libeskind.

One of the most important art museums in the city is the Manchester Art Gallery. An impressive collection of European and Pre-Raphaelite paintings is exhibited here. The Whitworth Art Gallery is also worth seeing. The main focus of the gallery is modern art. Other interesting museums in the city include the Cornerhouse, the Urbis Center, the Manchester Costume Gallery at Plat Fields Park, and the Peoples History Museum.

However, you don’t have to spend all day sightseeing on a vacation in Manchester. The English city is also great for shopping. The main shopping streets in the city are the Market Street, King Street and Deansgate. At the New Cathedral Street and at the Exchange Square there are a lot of high-quality shops, z. B. the luxury department store Harvey Nicols. The two shopping centers Arndale Center and The Triangle are also worth a visit.

There is a great nightlife in Manchester. There are many hot spots, such as the city’s lesbian and gay district.

Best travel time for England

All in all, late April to September is the best time to travel in England. Most holidaymakers travel to England in summer, especially in the high season between the end of July and August (school holidays). Especially the regions near the sea, National parks and popular cities like York, Oxford or Bath are pretty full now. Opening times are often shortened between October and Easter, and some sights remain completely closed in winter. In the big cities (especially London) there is enough to discover in every season.

Manchester in England

West Berlin

West Berlin

Forced by the behavior of the SED (primarily due to the SED-controlled occupation of the New Town Hall in the east of the city by violent demonstrators, September 1948) and the Soviet occupying power, the magistrate and the House of Representatives partially relocated their seat to the west of the city, among others. in the Schöneberg town hall. For the West Berliners, the USA, Great Britain and France had changed from occupying powers to protecting powers. In the elections of December 5, 1948, which the magistrate residing in Berlin (West) had planned for the whole of Berlin as part of its constitutional powers, the SPD won an absolute majority; the House of Representatives elected Reuter again as Lord Mayor, who could only take office in the west of the city. The economic and cultural reconstruction of Berlin (West) began – intensified after the end of the blockade; In the process, within the framework of the reservation rights of the Western powers, which now continued their activities on a three-power basis, an increasingly dense network of ties developed between the western part of Berlin and the (later) federal territory. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for acronyms about Berlin.

After the state division of Germany (September / October 1949) all of Berlin and the Berlin question remained the focus of the German question in the East-West conflict (German history). Greater Berlin in its expansion created in 1920 was a state of the Federal Republic of Germany according to the Berlin constitution of September 1, 1950 and the Basic Law, but this provision was only valid to a limited extent until 1990 – in order to preserve the four-power status: due to the reservations of the western occupying powers the approval of the Basic Law (Article 23 GG for Berlin suspended) and the Constitution of Berlin (Article 1 II, III), Berlin was not allowed to be governed by the federal government; the Western Allies held fast to the four-power responsibility for Greater Berlin. Thereafter, all of Berlin was subject to the four-power control of the occupying powers according to the London Protocol of September 12, 1944; also the Four Power Agreement (Berlin Agreement) of September 3, 1971 underlined that West Berlin is “not a constitutive part” of the Federal Republic of Germany. According to the Western Allies, the supreme power in Berlin, according to occupation law, lay solely with the Allies; sovereignty over Berlin (West) was exercised by the three Western Allies. In the context of these occupation reservations, however, ever closer relations with the Federal Republic of Germany developed; Berlin (West), as a city-state at the same time as the state and municipality, was represented in the Bundestag by 22 members elected and sent from the center of the House of Representatives and by four members in the Bundesrat. Due to the Allied reservation, the Berlin representatives had voting rights in the plenum of both bodies, which were limited to questions of the rules of procedure. but full right to speak and give advice as well as voting rights in committees and parliamentary groups. The federal laws and international treaties of the federal government did not apply directly in Berlin (West), but usually contained the Berlin clause. The Federal Constitutional Court was responsible for constitutional complaints against acts of the Berlin authorities. not responsible. The essential principles of the Basic Law and the fundamental rights, on the other hand, were also considered federal law in Berlin (West) because of a reference in the Berlin constitution. The law on the position of the State of Berlin in the federal financial system of 4.1.1952 was decisive for inclusion in the legal, economic and financial system of the Federal Republic of Germany; here also the adoption of federal laws by the Berlin state legislature was regulated. Berlin (West) was included in the EC with the consent of the Western Allies.

The city’s ties to the Federal Republic of Germany were guaranteed by the western allies even after 1971; they found their expression among other things. in the fact that numerous federal authorities and courts had their seat here. In international law, Berlin (West) was represented by the Federal Republic of Germany.

The importance of Berlin (West) lay in its direct influence on the GDR and until 1961 consisted in the possibility for residents of the GDR and Berlin (East) to reach the Federal Republic of Germany via Berlin (West). After the failure of the Berlin Conference on Germany (1954), the Western powers issued a guarantee of protection for Berlin (West) in the London Three-Power Declaration (1954), which was approved by NATO. When the Soviet leadership under N. S. Khrushchev demanded that West Berlin be converted into a demilitarized “Free City” within six months (Berlin ultimatum), there was a second major Berlin crisis triggered (11/27/1958). The Soviet threat led to renewed Western declarations of guarantees for their urban sectors, but also to efforts by the adversaries to compromise to avoid a military confrontation. After talks with Khrushchev in Vienna (June 3rd / 4th, 1961), where he confirmed his ultimatum, American President J. F. Kennedy summarized American Berlin policy in July 1961 in the announcement of the Three Essentials. The USSR then paved the way for the GDR to build the Berlin Wall, with political support from the Warsaw Pact states(from August 13, 1961) free; In doing so, the GDR prevented, above all, the flow of refugees from its territory. After lengthy negotiations, residents of Berlin (West) were able to visit relatives in Berlin (East) from 1963–66 under four permit agreements.

In close ties to the rest of Germany, Berlin (West) tried to develop its cultural and economic development further. In the course of a reform discussion at the Berlin University, especially the Free University (FU), which was characterized by anti-authoritarian, neo-Marxist approaches, a radical socialist movement developed between 1966 and 1968, which expressed itself in many, often militant demonstrations (APO).

From March 1970, there were extensive four-power negotiations, and on June 3, 1972 the Berlin Agreement of September 3, 1971 came into force. Access to Berlin (West) was regulated in a German-German transit agreement of December 17, 1971, the modalities of visits by West Berliners to Berlin (East) and the GDR in a travel and visit agreement between the government of the GDR and the Senate of Berlin (West) set. The GDR issued extremely limited permits for visits to the West (reasons for approval: retirement age, disability, death of next of kin, etc.); by increasing and expanding the mandatory exchange of money (“minimum exchange”) per day of visit since 1980, it has cut the number of people entering from the west to less than half.

Until 1975 the SPD remained the strongest party in the House of Representatives; in the elections it won an absolute majority several times and since the constitution of 1950 came into force with Reuter (until 1953), O. Suhr (1955–57), W. Brandt(1957–66), H. Albertz (1966/67), Klaus Schütz (* 1926, † 2012; 1967–77), Dietrich Stobbe (* 1938, † 2011; 1977–81) and H.-J. Vogel (1981) the Governing Mayor; 1953–55 W. Schreiber (CDU) held this office. With the elections of 1975 the CDU became the strongest party and from 1981 provided the governing mayor: 1981–84 R. von Weizsäcker and 1984–89 E. Diepgen. The coalition of the SPD and Alternative List (in the House of Representatives since 1981) formed in February 1989 under W. Momper (SPD) broke up at the end of November 1990.

West Berlin

Places to Visit in Bordeaux, France

Places to Visit in Bordeaux, France

Churches or sacred institutions

Cathédrale St. André
The cathedral was inaugurated by Pope Urban II in 1096 and comes close to the enormous dimensions of Notre Dame in Paris. The cathedral in Romanesque-Gothic style has a separate bell tower, which offers a beautiful view.
The preserved baroque organ of the cathedral is also worth a detour.
Address: Place Pey-Berland

Eglise St. Michel

The Eglise St. Michel has a 114 meter high bell tower and was built between the 15th and 16th centuries. There is a daily flea market around the church.
Address: Place Canteloup

Saint Seurin

Saint Seurin dates from the 13th and 14th centuries. However, it did not get its current garb in 1831. However, a figure portal on the south side of the church still dates from the original days.
The vestibule from the previous building from the 11th century is even older than this. Reliquaries and sarcophagi from the 6th and 7th centuries can still be seen in the crypt.
Address: Rue Rod. Péreire

Stages

Stade Chaban-Delmas (Parc de Lescure)
The Stade Chaban-Delmas (Parc de Lescure) was inaugurated in 1924 and is constantly updated, so that today there is space for up to 35,200 people, for example when the local soccer team GB plays here.
Address: Place Johnston

Zoological Garden

Zoo de Bordeaux Pessac
The Zoo de Bordeaux Pessac was bought by Wild Nature Holding in 2004 and was subsequently revised and redesigned.
Address:
3, avenue du Transvaal
33600 PESSAC

Parks

Jardin Public
The Jardin Public was laid out in 1746. There is a nice children’s playground on the island (Ile des enfants) on the lake in the park. Also in the park are the species-rich Bordeaux Botanical Garden and the natural history museum.
Address: Cours de Verdun

Rivers and lakes

Garonne
The city’s river is the Garonne, which flows through the city from north to south. It is spanned by five bridges within Bordeaux.

Bordeaux-Lac Bordeaux-Lac can be found on both sides of the northern ring road. The 160 hectare lake is the center of a complex that also includes the trade fair, a congress center, a cycling track and an amusement park.

Port

The city’s port is the sixth most important port in France, but the most important wine export port in the world. The city’s historic harbors lost their importance when sailing on the Gironde was no longer possible due to the increasing draft of the ships.
Internet: www.bordeaux-port.fr

Trips

The village of St. Emilion is 35 km east of Bordeaux . It is widely known for its 14th-century cloister of the Eglise Collégiale. The two towers Tour du Roy and Clocher Monolithe should also be visited here for a panoramic view, as well as the rock church Eglise Monolithe with the grotto and the catacombs. St. Emilion is even more famous for its excellent wines. Wine lovers should definitely not miss out on a few wine tastings.

The Médoc wine-growing region to the south and west of the Gironde covers 13,500 hectares. Wine enthusiasts are recommended to visit Château Mouton-Rothschild near Pauillac, which has collections and the wine store open to visitors.

The fortified castle of Château de la Brède is located around 20 km south of Bordeaux. It dates from the 14th century. Montesquieu was born here in 1689. A collection here commemorates the great writer and state theorist.

Trips

Atlantic coast
The Atlantic coast with its wonderful wide and white beaches is around 50 km (as the crow flies) from Bordeaux

Arcachon
The municipality of Arcachon with around 10,000 residents is located around 50 km (as the crow flies) southwest of Bordeaux.
The place is famous for its nearby dune “Dune du Pilat”, which has a height of about 110 m, a length of 2.7 km and a width at its base of about 500 m.

Traffic in the city

Tram
Since 2004 a modern tram has been running on three lines in the city of Bordeaux according to relationshipsplus. Most of the railway is supplied with an underground power supply. Internet: www.infotbc.com

Busses
Bordeaux has 72 bus routes that are used during the day, 10 express routes and 12 routes that are operated by the night bus.
www.infotbc.com

Taxis There are
around 400 taxis in Bordeaux. They can be called, stopped or boarded at one of the city’s numerous stations.

Bicycle
The bicycle path network in Bordeaux “intra muros” (within the city walls) is relatively well developed with cycle paths, not last. as the bus routes are also available to cyclists.

Places to Visit in Bordeaux, France

Transportation in Romania

Transportation in Romania

ON THE GO

Traveling by plane

Tarom (RO) (Internet: www.tarom.ro) flies regularly to Constanta, Arad, Bacau, Caransebes, Baia Mare, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Satu Mare, Timisoara, Oradea, Tirgu Mures, Sibiu, Suceava and Tulcea.

On the way by car / bus

Even the most remote places in Romania can be reached by car. There is now a 334 km long motorway network.

A vignette is required for cars on the roads of Romania. The vignette is valid for one year from purchase. In addition to the annual vignette, drivers can also purchase a 30-day or 7-day vignette.

The vignettes are available at border crossings, petrol stations (PETROM, ROMPETROL, OMV and MOL) and at post offices.

The petrol station network is well developed. Credit cards are not accepted at the petrol stations.

According to youremailverifier, the Romanian Automobile Club (ACR) has its headquarters in Bucharest (Tel: (92 71) and offers members of similar organizations Breakdown services. An ADAC international emergency call station has been set up. It offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC international health and accident insurance assistance with hotels, rental cars, vehicle or patient repatriation. The emergency call station in Bucharest is manned during the week (Tel: (021) 223 45 25. Internet: www.adac.de). At the weekend you can contact the emergency call station in Athens (see Greece). Buses go to almost all cities and villages. Taxis can be hailed in the street or ordered through hotels; one should use metered taxis.

Rental car

Reservations can be made at the airport or through the hotels. However, it is recommended to book a rental car with a chauffeur, as the traffic can be quite hectic. Documents: National or international driver’s license and the green insurance card. It is recommended that you take out short comprehensive insurance. The national driving license is sufficient for EU citizens. For nationals of EU and EFTA countries, the car registration number is used as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are advised to take the international green insurance card with them in order to benefit from full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance cover applies. In addition, the green cardfacilitate accident recording.

Transportation in Romania

Traffic regulations:
The use of cell phones at the wheel is only permitted when using a hands-free system.
Drivers must always have a fire extinguisher and two warning triangles in their car.
Absolute alcohol ban.
Driving with dipped headlights during the day is compulsory all year round.

Speed limits:
within built-up areas: 50 km / h (40 km / h for motorcycles);
on country roads: 90 km / h (60 km / h for motorcycles);

on expressways and European roads: 100 km / h;
on motorways: 130 km / h.

Traveling in the city

There is good public transport available in the larger cities. Bucharest is the only city that has a metro network (Internet: www.metrorex.ro). Tickets are bought in advance and validated on the bus or train. There are day, week and two-week tickets. An independent minibus service operates 18 different routes.

On the go by train

The Romanian State Railways (Internet: www.cfr.ro) is punctual, reliable and inexpensive. Some trains have sleeping and dining cars. Surcharge and seat reservation required for express and express trains. These run from Bucharest to Timisoara, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi, Constanta and Brasov. The “Rail Inclusive Tour” ticket also includes accommodation as well as transport. The train doors on Romanian trains are located relatively high above the platform, so boarding can often be a bit difficult for people with limited mobility.
Balkan Flexipass and InterRail passes are valid (for details see Germany).

On the way by ship

Shipping traffic on the Danube: From Calafat and from Moldova Veche, ships leave from Drobeta Turnu Severin and in Bechet you leave with SPET SA Bucuresti. There are ferries from Braila, Galati, Tulcea and from Smardan. Tulcea is connected to several villages in the Danube Delta by ferry.
There are currently no regular ferry transports departing from Romanian ports on the Black Sea.

TRAVEL WARNING

Current information

Numerous demonstrations against controversial easing of anti-corruption legislation have taken place in larger cities across Romania. In Bucharest, hundreds of thousands took part in the first days of February, and there were also riots. It cannot be ruled out that the protests will continue and that there will be further riots.

Travelers are advised to follow the situation in the media and avoid crowds.

Transportation in Hungary

Transportation in Hungary

ON THE GO

On the way by car / bus

According to youremailverifier, Hungary has a well-developed road network (Internet: www.aka.hu). There are eight major thoroughfares; except for the M8, they all start in Budapest. The two main connecting roads from Budapest are the M1 to Hegyeshalom and the M7, which connects Budapest with Lake Balaton. The M3 connects Budapest with eastern Hungary (as far as Görbehaza) and the M6 is the quickest way to get from Budapest to southern Hungary.

For the motorways (Internet: www.autobahn.hu) it is necessary to purchase an e-vignette which can be used for 4 days, 10 days, 1 month or 1 year at the toll booths on the motorway, at the Hegyeshalom border station and at the petrol stations in the Close to the motorway is available.

Emergency telephones can be found every 2 km on the motorways M1, M5, M7 and on Europastraße 5.

There is a well-developed network of petrol stations. All types of fuel commonly used in international traffic are available.

Bus: Volanbusz maintains bus routes to the cities in the country and to the resorts and vacation spots. Almost all Hungarian cities can be reached by bus from Budapest. Tickets are available from Volán and Ibusz offices across the country. There is also a bus network card.

Taxi: In order to avoid unpleasant surprises, the fare should be agreed upon before starting the journey.

Car rental at Ferihegy-Airport, at IBUSZ, Volán, the Budapest Tourist Office and the larger hotels.

Roadside Assistance:
The Hungarian Automobile Club operates a roadside assistance service on the weekends on the main roads and 24 hours on the motorways and can be reached nationwide on telephone number 188; (Address: Rómer Flóris u. 8, H-1024 Budapest. Tel: (01) 345 17 44 (24-hour helpline) (Internet: www.autoklub.hu).

An ADAC international emergency call station has also been set up ( Tel: (01) 345 17 17. Internet: www.adac.de). It offers ADAC members and holders of an ADACForeign health and accident protection assistance with hotels, rental cars, vehicle or patient repatriation.

Documents:
The national driving license is sufficient for EU citizens. For nationals of EU and EFTA countries, the car registration number is used as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are advised to take the international green insurance card with them in order to benefit from full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance cover applies. The green card can also make it easier to record accidents.

Transportation in Hungary

Traffic regulations:
– Wear seat belts.
– Strict alcohol driving ban (0.0%).
– Even during the day, dipped headlights must be used outside built-up areas.
– Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians must wear a safety vest outside the local area in poor visibility or darkness.
– Horn is only allowed in built-up areas if there is an immediate risk of an accident.
– Telephoning is only permitted with a hands-free system.
– Snow chains should always be carried in the vehicle during the winter season.

Speed limits for cars and motorcycles:
Motorway: 130 km / h
Expressway: 110 km / h
Country road: 90 km / h
Town: 50 km / h

Speed limits for buses:
Motorway: 80 km / h
Expressway: 70 km / h
Country road: 70 km / h
Town: 50 km / h

Note on traveling by road

Travelers who drive to Hungary by car should make sure that the TÜV stickers on their vehicles have not expired, otherwise there is a risk of serious problems with the Hungarian authorities.

Attention: Traffic violations such as speeding, non-compliance with seatbelts, driving under the influence of alcohol or driving over red traffic lights can result in heavy fines of up to HUF 300,000 (approx. € 1,100), which are collected on the spot. If you don’t pay immediately, you can expect your car to be confiscated.

Traveling in the city

The larger cities have good local transport networks. In Budapest there are buses, trolleybuses, trams, suburban trains (HEV), three underground lines and ferries.

Tickets for trams and buses are available in advance in tobacco shops. Day tickets are available for all modes of transport. The trams and buses run from 4.30 a.m. to 11 p.m., there are also some night lines (marked with “É”). Subway service from 4:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. There is also a rack railway (Városmajor – Széchenyi hill), an old train from the pioneering days of the railway (Hüvösvölgy – Széchenyi hill), a chair lift and a cable car. In the other cities there are trams or buses.

On the go by train

The Hungarian rail network runs radially, the center is Budapest. The route network is operated by MÁV (ticket office in Budapest, Tel / Fax: (01) 322 84 05; Internet: www.mav.hu) and covers 8,500 km. Timetable information is available at (01) 461 55 00 (international timetables) and (01) 461 54 00 (national timetables).

All major cities can be easily reached by rail; connections are good, but facilities are often inadequate. There is a surcharge for express trains; Seat reservations are required, especially in summer. Tickets and reservation cards can be purchased up to 60 days in advance.

Vintage train (website: www.mavnosztalgia.hu) run according to the schedule to the Danube Bend from Budapest West Railway Station to Kismaros Railway Station (every Saturday in spring and summer).
Further information is available from MAV Nosztalgia GmbH, Tel / Fax: (01) 302 00 69.

Note on rail travel

Fare reductions / special tickets: For retirees over the age of 60 there is a fare reduction RES. Tourist cards (valid for 7-10 days) are also available. The JUNIOR discount applies to people up to 26 years of age. Children under 4 years travel for free. Further information from the tourist office (see addresses).

Madeira Overview

Madeira Overview

Madeira – island of eternal spring

Madeira belongs to Portugal and thus to the European Union. Since the uprisings of Madeira’s residents in the 1970s after the so-called “Carnation Revolution” in Portugal, the island has been an autonomous region of Portugal, but still politically and militarily dependent on the mother country.
Madeira, together with the smaller island of Porto Santo and the two uninhabited islands – Ilhas Desertas and Ilhas Selvagens – forms the autonomous province of Madeira. The archipelago was discovered by Portuguese sailors in 1418.
The “Island of Eternal Spring”, as Madeira is also called, is located in the Atlantic, around 500 km from the African coast and around 1,000 km from Europe.

The island became famous for its important visitors, including Empress Sisi of Austria and Winston Churchill, who stayed for a long time on this beautiful island full of flowers and plants.
But on 19.20. In February 2010, the island fell victim to one of the worst natural disasters in living memory. As a result of tropical precipitation and severe storms, there were heavy floods and mudslides.
Entire streets were turned into raging rivers and destroyed houses, streets, cars and bridges. At least 42 people were likely killed.

Name of the country Madeira
Form of government Autonomous Region of Portugal
Geographical location Island in the Atlantic Ocean, about 500 km west of Morocco
National anthem Anthem of Portugal “A Portugesa”
Population approx. 213,000
Religions approx. 95% Roman Catholic
Languages Portuguese
Capital or administrative center Funchal
Surface 794 km²
Highest mountain Pico Ruivo with a height of 1,862 m
International license plate P
National currency Euro
Time difference to CET -1 h
International phone code 00351
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts, 50 hertz
Internet Top Level Domain (TLD) .pt

Population and cities

Population

Number
Madeira has around 230,000 residents.

Religion
About 95% of Madeira’s residents belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

National languages

In Madeira, as in the motherland Portugal, Portuguese is spoken.

Administrative center, other cities

The administrative center of Madeira is Funchal with a population of approx. 112,000.
Other cities are:

  • Machico with around 12,000 residents
  • Monte with around 9,000 residents
  • Santa Cruz with around 10,000 residents
  • Sao Vicente with around 6,000 residents

Madeira map

Coastline

Madeira has a coast to the Atlantic with a length of around 150 km.

Madeira: geography

General

The landscape of Madeira is very different and extremely impressive. The coast is partly very steep and is dominated by rugged rocky cliffs, the interior is predominantly mountainous and heavily overgrown. The valleys of Madeira are very lush and fertile in their vegetation.

Area and national borders

Madeira covers an area of ​​794 km².
Of these:

Fields and fields

The most important part of Madeira’s agriculture is viticulture. In addition, potatoes and bananas are grown on a large scale.

Madeira is an island belonging to Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic and therefore has no common border with any state.

Coastline

Madeira has a coast to the Atlantic with a length of around 150 km.

Tidal range

In Funchal, the mean tidal range is around 2 m.
(For a detailed explanation of ebb and flow, see tides, ebb and flow).

Compare
The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Madeira extends (from the island of Selvagens) over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 33 ° 07 ‘to 30 ° 01’ north latitude
Δλ = from 15 ° 51 ‘to 17 ° 15’ west longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Time

For Madeira, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than after CET:

Δt (CET) = – 1 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Funchal

Funchal lies at a north latitude of around φ = 32.5 °.
If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer starts in Funchal on June 21st. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

32.5 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °

so:

H = 81 °

This is the highest level above the horizon (exactly: above the chimney) that the sun occupies within the year in Funchal.

Mountains

Pico Ruivo
The highest mountain in the country is the Pico Ruivo with a height of 1,862 m.

Islands

The following smaller islands are in front of Madeira Island:

  • Porto Santomit
  • Ilhas Desertas
  • Ilhas Selvagens

Madeira Overview

The Most Beautiful Hotels In Tuscany

The Most Beautiful Hotels In Tuscany

The Tuscany is one of the most popular destinations in Italy and offers a great landscape also numerous famous buildings that are simply impressive. Visit the Cathedral of Florence, do a winery tour and discover the charming medieval city of Siena – there is a lot to do in Tuscany. Of course, for a successful stay you also need the right hotel and I’ve picked out quite a few for you. Here are my top 5 most beautiful hotels in Tuscany.

Il Pellicano, Porto Ercole

The five star Hotel Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole is definitely one of the most beautiful hotels in Tuscany. The main building and the six small cottages are surrounded by a beautiful Mediterranean garden and offer a great view of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Relax on the private beach, treat yourself to a few cocktails by the pool and dine in the chic hotel restaurant, which has been awarded a Michelin star. The Hotel Il Pellicano offers its guests excellent service and promises an unforgettable stay.

Four Seasons Hotel, Florence

According to relationshipsplus, the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze is hard to beat when it comes to pomp. Just because of its location in one of the largest private parks in Florence, the hotel has a majestic flair. A look at the suites also reveals: those who reside here feel like royalty. The rooms are all individually decorated with stucco ceilings, frescoes or wall paintings and offer a view of the beautiful park. There are a total of 116 opulent rooms that transport guests back to the 15th century. But I don’t want to reveal too much to you, click through the picture gallery and see for yourself:

Castello Di Casole, Casole D’Elsa

The Castello Di Casole is one of the largest private estates in Italy and offers a total of 41 breathtaking suites. A special highlight is the ingenious infinity pool, which offers a spectacular view of the surrounding vineyards. There are also two restaurants where Tuscan specialties as well as first-class sparkling wines from our own production are served. More Tuscany is not possible!

Belmond Villa San Michele, Fiesole

If you look at photos of the Belmond Villa San Michele , you will quickly see why the hotel is one of the most beautiful in Europe. The former monastery from the 15th century towers high above the hills of Fiesole and offers spectacular views. Surrounded by cypress and rose trees, guests can simply relax and let the beauty of Tuscany sink in. This picture book panorama is sure to stay in your memory for a long time.

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Montalcino

The last hotel I would like to introduce to you is the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Montalcino. The luxury hotel not only offers exclusive villas but also its own winery and golf course. As is to be expected in Tuscany, the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is located in the middle of an idyll of vineyards and rolling hills. Those who check in here can look forward to a relaxing holiday. With these pictures I feel a bit more relaxed 😉

Let’s go to Tuscany

After these dream images I would like to book a trip to Tuscany directly and I bet many of you feel the same way 😉 Unfortunately, these hotels are not exactly cheap, which is why I picked out a few affordable alternatives for you. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go to Tuscany!

Beautiful Hotels In Tuscany

Sightseeing in Bulgaria

Sightseeing in Bulgaria

Bulgaria, a Balkan state in south-east Europe, is becoming increasingly important as a holiday destination. The country not only offers beautiful beaches and good conditions for a relaxing beach holiday, but is also rich in architectural highlights and cultural sights.

In addition, nature lovers get their money’s worth. The holiday country on the Black Sea coast is surprisingly diverse and offers very varied landscapes. The price level is still pleasantly moderate, which is why Bulgaria is also very popular with young holidaymakers and families.

In the following we present you the most exciting tours, the most beautiful attractions and the best sights in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria-1002 - Overlooks the Valley

1. Sunny Beach

Sunny Beach in Bulgaria is one of the most popular vacation spots on the Black Sea coast. The most important difference to the legendary Golden Sands: Although you can party here too, it is definitely a bit quieter on Sunny Beach. The sunny beach is about eight kilometers long and up to 100 meters wide. So nothing stands in the way of extensive sunbathing and the promenade on the sunny beach leaves nothing to be desired.

The most famous tourist center in the whole country is called Slantschew brjag in Bulgarian, which means “sunny coast”. The closest airports are Burgas and Varna. There are now more than 800 holiday hotels in all price ranges on Sunny Beach. The season is mainly limited to the months May to October, in winter the region is often deserted and most of the hotel complexes are closed.

2. Golden Sands

The golden sands is also known as the “Ballermann of the Balkans”. It is usually much more turbulent here than on Sunny Beach. While you can find rest and relaxation on the fine sandy beaches during the day, the city becomes a great party backdrop in the evening. In the clubs and bars of the golden sands there are numerous drink specials and music from well-known DJs from all over the world.

The advantage of the golden beach for Ballermann on Mallorca: In addition to really cheap prices, there is neither a curfew nor a music ban. So partying is possible until the early hours of the morning. The Golden Sands region is excellently developed for tourism. The water sports such as jet skiing, sailing or surfing are not neglected here either.

3. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia

Sofia is the city not to be missed on a holiday in the Balkans. The most impressive building in the city is the magnificent Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This is the largest church in all of Bulgaria. The Memorial Cathedral is located right in the center of Sofia in the square of the same name.

With its golden domes that can be seen from afar, it is an impressive photo opportunity. But the interiors are also absolutely worth seeing. Above all, the wall paintings and the 82 icons are incomparable. If you can set it up, attend one of the cathedral’s regular services.

4. Rila Monastery

Bulgaria is a country with an astonishing number of monasteries. However, the Rila Monastery is one of the most beautiful that looks like a fortress. The Rila Monastery, which rises impressively against the backdrop of the Rila Mountains, is even on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. The monastery is around 120 kilometers away from Sofia, making it a nice destination for a day trip.

The entire monastery complex is around 8,800 square meters and consists of several residential and farm buildings as well as churches. Inside you can visit more than 300 rooms, including around 100 monk cells. If you want, you can even spend the night in the monastery.

5. Nessebar

Nessebar is a city that is mentioned in every travel guide. This is located very close to Sunny Beach and impresses with a fantastically preserved old town. While the old town of Nessebar is on a peninsula, pay a visit to the port as well. Here you can buy freshly caught fish, among other things. In the old town of Nessebar, on the other hand, you will feel like you are in a huge open-air museum.

There are numerous well-preserved buildings from different style periods in the old town as well as ruins. These testify to the city’s long history. In the historical core there are eleven medieval churches to marvel at. The typical Black Sea houses are also not missing in Nessebar. These are made of stone at the bottom and wood at the top. After you have completed an extensive sightseeing tour, you should definitely visit one of the restaurants. Here you can try a typical dish. Traditionally, you will be served a fruit schnapps with it.

The bridge of Lovech

6. Melnik

With just 208 inhabitants, Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria. Nevertheless, it offers a special feature: Here a unique wine is made from the Schiroka Melnischka Losa grape variety. For wine lovers, Melnik is a recommendable travel destination in Bulgaria, especially since the old town is absolutely worth seeing.

7. Bansko

The city of Bansko is one of the strongholds of winter sports in the Balkans. This is not far from the above-mentioned Rila monastery. In addition to well-groomed slopes, there are rustic restaurants in Bansko. Interesting events also take place here on a regular basis. The place, located at an altitude of 925 meters, is not only a popular winter sports resort, but also a health resort.

There are numerous mineral springs in the area around Bansko. The range of wellness treatments in the most popular hotels in town is correspondingly large. Skiers and snowboarders will feel at home in Bansko, as there are a total of 75 kilometers of slopes. The longest of the slopes is 16 kilometers long. In Bansko itself there are also some interesting museums and more than 100 cultural monuments.

8. Cape Kaliakra

Cape Kaliakra is one of the scenic highlights of Bulgaria and one of the country’s top attractions. Located on the border between Bulgaria and Romania, the approximately 70 meter high cape should not be missed. Here you have a wonderful view of the sea.

It is most beautiful at the Cape, of course, at sunset. With a little luck you can even see some dolphins below the cape. At the Cape there is a recommendable restaurant and there are also souvenir stands. Noticeable: Here you can buy a lot of things you have designed yourself from local traders. So if you are looking for a nice souvenir, you are sure to find it.

9. Basarbowski Monastery

Not far from the city of Ruse you can visit the Basarbovsky Monastery. This is the only monastery in the country in which monks still live. The orthodox mountain monastery is an impressive rock monastery. Before entering the monastery, you pass a fountain via an inner courtyard.

The natives of Bulgaria believe that this well water has healing powers. The monastery can be visited; Unfortunately, there are no overnight accommodations available.

10. Pamporovo

Pamporovo is another popular winter sports destination in the country, which is located in the Rhodope Mountains. With a bed capacity of more than 7,000 beds, Pamporowo is one of the tourist strongholds. Given at an altitude of 1,650 meters, snow is guaranteed in the winter months.

On site you will find accommodations of all categories and price ranges; there is also a ski school. The selection of slopes is exemplary: in addition to green slopes for beginners, there are also red, blue and black slopes for experienced skiers.

Rock'not'Roll (Andrey)

Kotor Travel Guide

Kotor Travel Guide

Kotor is the beauty of the Adriatic. Kotor is one of the most popular resorts in Montenegro, with its beautiful old town.

KOTOR

Montenegro, Kotor is a real gem hidden in a Lonely Planet chose the 2016 top travel destination urban crowd. Kotor, still relatively unknown, enchants the tourist with its magnificent nature. The rugged and summer green mountains surround the small town of Kotor, whose oldest buildings date back to the 12th century.

Fall in love with the beauty of Kotor

The Bay of Kotor can be called one of the most beautiful bays in the world with a good conscience. The crystal clear Adriatic Sea shimmers like turquoise and the high-altitude mountains create impressive frames for it. The most impressive views can be witnessed by climbing the mountain roads or the Kotor Fortress. From the heights you can also look at one of the best preserved medieval cities in the Balkans.

Kotor’s Old Town represents typical medieval architecture and was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. Well-preserved medieval buildings and numerous cultural heritage monuments have guaranteed the city a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Kotor, with a population of about 13,500, is not bursting with activities, but offers ideal opportunities for leisurely walks through the narrow alleys of the old town, hunting for landscapes and historic sites in the mountains, and marveling at luxury yachts in the harbor. A friend of romantic romance can visit the abandoned hotel, located on one of the best beach plots in Kotor.

The mountains of Kotor

The mountains of Kotor offer a magnificent view of the bay and the city.

When to travel?

The Bay of Kotor has a Mediterranean climate, so summers in the city are toasty and winters are mild. The best time to travel to Kotor is May-June as well as September-October, when the weather is warm and the tourist season is not at its hottest. However, especially in the fall, you should be prepared for the fact that some restaurants or other services may have already closed their doors by the end of the season.

July and August are the hottest, driest and most popular months in Montenegro. In this case, it is worth being on time in traffic, for example when booking accommodation, and also take into account the fact that prices tend to rise during the season.

Enjoy protected nature and an affordable price level

Kotor attracts tourists especially with its exceptionally magnificent nature, which offers a fascinating setting for both city holidaymakers and those who are enthusiastic about hiking. The actual beach destination Kotor is not, but you can also take a dip in the turquoise sea if you wish.

Montenegro’s currency is the euro, and Kotor’s affordable price level will surprise the tourist positively. Within the walls of the Old Town, prices are higher, but still at a reasonable level for Finnish tourists. Outside the Old Town, however, you can enjoy, for example, excellent fish meals with wines at a much lower price than Finnish restaurants.

FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT AT HOME

FLIGHTS, ACCOMMODATION AND MOVEMENT AT HOME

The old town of Kotor is exceptionally well preserved.

Direct flight to Montenegro

The easiest way to travel from Finland to Kotor is to fly to Tivat Airport, about 10 kilometers from Kotor. Norwegian operates from Helsinki to Tivat once a week. Tivat Airport is only about 10 kilometers from Kotor’s Old Town, and connections between the airport and Kotor are good by both bus and taxi.

Those hunting for cheap flights can also opt for alternative flights to the country’s capital, Podgorica, with a bus connection to Kotor. Buses to Kotor leave from Podgorica, but you can take a taxi directly from the airport.

Those who like Kotor can also buy a flight to the Croatian side to Dubrovnik and hop on a bus to Kotor there . You can also get a taxi ride from Dubrovnik to the Montenegrin side at a reasonable price.

Affordable accommodation in a hotel or private accommodation

Kotor offers accommodation for every budget, but in principle accommodation in the city is affordable. In the area you will find high-quality hotels for those who want it, but also cheap hostels even right in the heart of the old town.

Like the Balkans, the locals also offer accommodation in their own homes. These private inns are typically affordable, and the hospitable locals are happy to offer tips for the traveler. If you have not booked accommodation in advance, you will probably find locals offering accommodation at Kotor Bus Station.

Walking and public transport in Kotor

Kotor is easy to get around on foot, but if you want to experience the neighboring town of Budvan, for example, you can easily get there by local bus. The trip takes half an hour and costs a few euros.

You can also rent a car in Kotor, which can be a worthwhile option if you want to explore the city’s surroundings more widely. However, it is worth noting that the winding roads in the mountains are narrow and winding, and the local driving style is somewhat adventurous. An inexperienced driver should therefore rely on public transport and taxis.

KOTOR ATTRACTIONS

KOTOR ATTRACTIONS

The red brick-roofed buildings of Kotor’s Old Town are in themselves an interesting attraction.

Old Town

The UNESCO-listed Old Town of Kotor is one of the best-preserved medieval towns. In the alleys of the old town you will find several medieval churches and cathedrals, as well as charming squares and staircases.

The popularity of Kotor as a travel destination is constantly rising, and this is also reflected in the numerous tourist shops in the Old Town. However, the traveler should look deeper into the surface and enjoy the exceptionally fine architecture and history.

The walls of Kotor

Climbing the walls of Kotor is something that everyone visiting the city should experience. The views from the walls and especially from the fortress found at the top are breathtakingly magnificent – from here you will grab the best scenery of the trip.

Climbing requires good basic fitness, but the actual athlete does not have to be. Good shoes make climbing much easier. The scenery is at its best on a sunny day, but in summer it is a good idea to start climbing in the morning before the hottest hours. It takes a couple of hours to climb into the fort and back, so on a hot day, a bottle of water is a must.

Bay of Kotor

The foothills of Kotor Bay are not an attraction to look for in the city. However, it is this that gives Kotor its magnificent look. The Bay of Kotor combines rugged Nordic landscapes with a Mediterranean climate.

There are also islands in the Bay of Kotor, of which Our Lady On the Rocks is one of the most popular. It is an artificial island that, according to legend, was built after sailors found a picture of the Virgin Mary on the surface of a rock. The sailors made it a habit to throw a stone at that same place at the end of a successful voyage. From these stones the island is said to have been born.

Delicious food market

Kotor is not an actual shopping city, and you should only loosen purse strings at the food market. At the market you will find delicious air-dried ham, cheeses, olives and various fruits, of which figs in particular are wonderfully sweet.

THE BEST OF KOTOR

THE BEST OF KOTOR

Montenegro is known for its stunning mountain scenery.

The best experiences in Kotor

  1. Climb the walls of the old town
  2. Enjoy a cup of coffee in the hustle and bustle of the old town
  3. Visit the Maritime Museum
  4. Treat yourself to a fish meal at a local restaurant
  5. Explore the abandoned hotel Fjord

The best day trips from Kotor

  1. Perast
  2. Budva
  3. Skutarijärvi Nature Park
Turkey Defense and Foreign Policy

Turkey Defense and Foreign Policy

Foreign policy and defense

According to abbreviationfinder, Turkey is a nation in Western Asia. Its capital city is Ankara. In two rounds since the beginning of the 2000s, Turkey’s position in the world has changed dramatically. During the first decade of the century, a greatly improved economy coincided with an increased activity of Turkish companies abroad and an intense diplomatic activity characterized by great self-confidence and an ambition for “zero problems with the neighbors”. From the beginning of the 2010s, things started to go down. Conflicts arose with almost every country in the region and an increasingly authoritarian policy within the country created some anxiety in the western world.

turkey military spending and defense budget

For a long time, membership in the NATO military alliance has been the basis of Turkey’s foreign policy. For many years, the hopes of a future membership of the EU also got the country to emphasize its opportunity to build a bridge between west and east. Membership in NATO is not directly questioned, but not without problems.

  • Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Turkey for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

The United States has two air bases in Turkey and, at least until Donald Trump’s term as president, has placed great emphasis on relations with NATO’s only Muslim member state. But although Turkey has mostly been loyal to NATO, there are fairly widespread anti-American sentiments and often an annoyance to the United States within the Turkish leadership. In recent years, disagreements have risen in view of the war in Syria, where the United States has supported the Syrian-Kurdish guerrilla YPG, which has been one of the most effective opponents of the Islamic extremist Islamic State (IS) movement. Turkey, on the other hand, has fought the YPG, which is considered a branch of the Turkish-Kurdish guerrilla PKK. Following the attempted coup d’état in Turkey in 2016, the United States was accused of failing to distance itself quickly from the coup attempt. It has also been suggested that the United States was somehow involved in the coup by letting pastor Fethullah Gülen, of Turkey designated as the brains behind the conspiracy, live in the United States. There has been strong irritation in Turkey that the United States has not extradited him.

Disappointment to the EU

Turkey’s disappointment with the EU is evident. After long wishing to become a member of the EU, Turkey was recognized as a candidate country in 1999, albeit with reservations. To negotiate membership, the Turks must first improve respect for human rights and correct political abuses. This was precisely what progress-friendly forces in Turkey wanted to do, with the support of the EU. Soon there was a demand that Turkey’s Customs Union must include all EU members including Cyprus. Despite opposition from several EU countries, Turkey was allowed to negotiate membership in 2005, but negotiations were slow. EU adaptation in Turkey lost momentum, while Germany and France, in particular, raised new barriers to the prospect of entering a large, Muslim country in what some considered a kind of Christian community.

The EU has also been criticized for opposing Turkey while it was in a phase of democratization, but relied on Turkish support to resolve the acute crisis that arose with the great wave of refugees to Europe 2015, even though Turkey was then perceived as the next next to a dictatorship. At that time, Turkey was promised billions of euros to take care of refugees that the EU did not want, as well as increased pace in member negotiations. The support to the refugees comes in several forms, including smaller cash grants, but mainly as humanitarian aid through large, international organizations.

The schism between the EU and Turkey deepened after the coup attempt in 2016, when the EU was also accused of dragging its legs by standing on the government’s side. Turkey complained that promised refugee support was not paid and threatened to terminate the agreement. At the same time, Turkey demanded visa freedom for its citizens to the EU, while the EU demanded that Turkey first change the broad definition of “terrorism” which, among other things, led to mass arrests of tens of thousands of people after the coup attempt.

Especially with Germany, which has a large population group originating in Turkey, relations have been put to the test. 900 mosques in Germany are run by the Turkish Religious Authority, which pays the parish leaders’ salaries. In several German states, legislative changes are discussed that could make parishes less dependent on outside financial support (there is a voluntary church tax for Christians proposed as a model).

While the EU has for several years already acted in a way that Turkey perceived as patronizing and ruthless, and the negotiations virtually stopped, the Ankara government was aiming for other alliances. The AKP government began to pursue active diplomacy and trade in virtually all countries that were once part of the old Ottoman Empire. Even with Turkish-speaking former Soviet states in Central Asia, close contacts were made.

Support for Islamist parties

During the “Arab Spring” of 2011, tens of thousands of regime opponents in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries saw the Turkish AKP as an example of the party’s ability to combine basic Islamic values ​​with democratic and secular politics and liberal economic principles. But when a short-lived Islamic government in the most important country, Egypt, was overthrown by a new military regime, Turkey suddenly faced an enemy in Cairo instead of a friend. Turkey has insisted on considering the deposed Islamist President Muhammad Mursi as the legal leader of Egypt.

The attempts to gain influence in Tunisia and Libya since the dictatorship of the countries were overthrown were also unsuccessful, at least in the short term.

In 1949, Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel. For decades, the countries had good relations, but in 2009 it happened when then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan resigned to Israeli President Shimon Peres for Israel’s actions in Gaza. In 2010, the crisis deepened when ten Turks were killed in an Israeli command raid against the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of an international convoy that would try to break the blockade of Gaza. Israel refused to apologize, which ended with Turkey canceling the military cooperation agreement and downgrading diplomatic relations. Following a new Israeli shooting of Gaza in 2012, Erdoğan described Israel as a “terrorist state”. Only in 2016 were relations normalized, since Israel agreed to pay damages to the ten killed Turks’ relatives. The relations were put to the test again in 2017 when the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. At the head of Sunni Muslim countries, Turkey then called for international recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

The settlement with Israel following the offshore events around the Gaza convoy was interpreted in the outside world as an attempt by Turkey to break the relative isolation the country has endured. This also applied to the reconciliation with Russia that happened at about the same time.

Relations with Russia had been relatively tense following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but when Turkey in 2015 cut down a Russian fighter aircraft in the border regions against Syria, the countries turned into enemies. Russia restricted trade with Turkey and stopped all charter tourism, which hit hard on the Turkish economy. The conflict also involved the most serious confrontation between NATO and Russia since the end of the Cold War. In 2016, President Erdoğan Russia apologized and met his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin. They agreed to try to restore normal relationships. The approach was facilitated by the fact that Russia had fared more quickly than the EU and the US from the coup attempt and that Putin did not criticize the mass arrests in Turkey. Normalization was considered to benefit both countries financially.

Worried leaders in the West feared that a new alliance between authoritarian leaders could be created and disrupt the balance of power in Europe. In the conflicts in Syria and Libya, Turkish-Russian relations have continued to arouse interest. Ankara and Moscow have supported opposite sides in both countries, but at the same time have tried to tie the grip on negotiations between warring parties in a way that has placed the Western powers and the UN alongside the development of events.

Hunting for Kurdish guerrillas

Turkey’s relationship with Syria has long been poor due to Syria’s support for the Kurdish guerrilla PKK and major Turkish irrigation projects that reduced the flow of water to Syria. Relations improved since Syria broke with the PKK in 1998, and Turkey saw itself as the only Western-friendly state that could talk to Syria. But when it failed to stop the bloody persecution of the Assad regime by the spring 2011 opposition, Turkey instead became one of the driving forces for power change in Syria. The disintegration of the Syrian state aroused strong concern in Turkey that Kurdish groups in Syria could establish some form of self-government along the Turkish border, similar to the conditions in northern Iraq. The Turkish government threatened to intervene if the PKK was allowed to establish new bases on Syrian land.

The civil war in Syria also affected Turkey in a concrete way through a strong current of refugees. The Turkish government estimated that the country would not be able to handle more than 100,000 refugees and proposed that the UN establish a protected zone for refugees on Syrian soil along the border. This rejected the Security Council as unrealistic. Turkey appealed to the EU for greater efforts. In 2013, the crisis in Syria worsened rapidly and the number of Syrians seeking protection in Turkey skyrocketed. In 2019, Turkey hosted more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, one-tenth of which were in the established refugee camps.

Turkey’s attempt to contribute to overthrowing the Syrian regime at all costs is believed to have long left the country’s border with the southern neighbor country open to Sunni Muslim extremists, among them jihadists who would later call themselves Islamic State (IS). Turkey was criticized internationally for devoting more force to fighting Syrian-Kurdish guerrillas than IS. Only in late summer 2016 did Turkey pledge to seriously join the fight against IS and until then accept a continued role for the regime in Damascus. When IS was defeated (in 2019 battles were fought in desert areas that knocked out IS’s last real mounts), it was Kurdish-dominated forces that accounted for the largest efforts, with assistance from the US and other countries. But Turkey has not let go of its focus on Kurdish state-building efforts on Syrian soil. Three Turkish military offensive between 2016 and 2019 have focused on the Kurdish forces that Turkey describes as terrorists. The 2019 invasion, when the president also declared his intention to set up a zone where refugees from Syria would be sent back, took place in the face of deteriorating economy in Turkey and reduced voter support for Erdoğan and his party.

Turkey’s hostile attitude to the Syrian regime has strained relations with one of its most important partners, Iran. The fact that since 2011 NATO has a radar station on Turkish soil as a link in its defense shield against Iranian robots has also deteriorated the relationship. Iran has also criticized Turkey’s support for Sunni groups during the “Arab Spring”, as well as in the civil war in Yemen. However, an agreement in 2014 on increased economic cooperation and trade exchange is considered to have thawed relations. In 2017, Turkey, Iran and Russia rallied behind joint initiatives to end the civil war in Syria, with the condition of leaving Bashar al-Assad as head of state.

Although hundreds of Turkish companies operate in Iraq, the political relations between the countries are cool. By contrast, the AKP government has established relations with the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq and has great trade exchanges with the Iraqi Kurds, but without supporting the idea that they should form an independent Kurdish state. The export of oil directly from Kurdistan to Turkey for a time was condemned by the Iraqi government as illegal.

The Iraqi government is also opposed to the Turkish army’s repeated raids against the PKK on Iraqi soil. At the end of 2015, Iraq turned to the UN Security Council to remove a larger Turkish force. Since 2014, each year the Turkish parliament has extended a scheme that allows Turkish troops to be sent into Iraq and Syria to fight organizations that in Turkey are perceived as terrorist groups.

Cyprus sensitive issue

For historical reasons, Turkey-Greece relations have long been strained, but mutual aid following earthquakes in 1999 near Istanbul and Athens created a rapprochement and was followed by Greece’s veto of Turkish membership negotiations with the EU. Relations have been improving ever since, although it angered the Turkish leadership that the coup attempt in 2016 resulted in opponents of President Erdoğan seeking asylum in Greece. Erdoğan visited Greece in 2017, as the first Turkish President in 65 years. But he astonished his hosts by advocating a review of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, in which modern Turkey’s borders were established after the fall of the Ottoman Empire (see Ancient History).

The most serious conflict with Greece concerns Cyprus. The island, located near the Turkish coast, is divided between Greek Cypriots in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north. The split was completed in 1974, when Turkey invaded northern Cyprus to prevent a military junta in Athens from uniting Cyprus with Greece. Only the Greek Cypriot government is internationally recognized, though not by Turkey. However, the republic proclaimed by the Turkish Cypriots is recognized only by Turkey, which has troops in northern Cyprus.

For many tour nationalists, the Cyprus issue is emotionally charged. Turkey has in the past sometimes threatened to incorporate northern Cyprus, but AKP has taken a softer stance in office. It was probably behind a crucial turn in Cyprus in 2003, when the Turkish Cypriots opened the border between both parts of the island. Among other things, following pressure from the Turkish government, a majority of Turkish Cypriots in 2004 voted in favor of the plan for the reunification of Cyprus presented by the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. However, the Greek Cypriots rejected the proposal and thus the Greek Cypriot government came to represent Cyprus when it joined the EU in 2004. Subsequently, Turkey’s refusal to recognize the Greek Cypriot government, and the entry of Cypriot vessels into Turkish ports, has been a major obstacle to the Turkish EU. -membership. Turkey also protests that the Greek Cypriot government has entered into an agreement on the country’s economic zone in the Mediterranean with, among others, Israel, without consulting Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots. Talks about reunification of the island have been held occasionally but not led to agreements.

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, new states emerged in Central Asia, inhabited by Turkmen. Turkey’s attempts to approach these peoples have had the greatest success in Azerbaijan, whose language is close to what is spoken in Turkey. Turkish companies are very active in Azerbaijan and Turkey supports the country in its conflict with Armenia.

History casts its shadow over the Turks’ relationship with the Armenians (see Population and Languages) and the Armenian issue also disturbs Turkey’s relations with other countries. A number of countries’ official recognition of the expulsion of the Armenians in 1915 as a genocide has always led Turkey to cool down diplomatic relations for a period of time. For example, this happened to Sweden in 2010.

Against China, the Turkish leadership has made sharp markings after reports of mounting repression against the Uighur people in Xinjiang.

In conjunction with the corona pandemic, Turkey 2020, despite the spread of infection in its own country, has contributed protective equipment to, for example, Italy, Spain and Palestine. And besides, sold drugs to Armenia.

Great defense and military exports

Turkey has one of NATO’s largest military alliances in NATO. It consists of around 600,000 men, including 500,000 conscripts. Since 2014, the general military duty for most people has been going on for twelve months.

Turkey has its own production of tanks, military aircraft, satellites and warships. Drones (unmanned vehicles) have been used by the Turkish military both against Kurdish guerrillas in the country and in warfare on the Syrian side of the border, both for reconnaissance and for assault against, for example, armored vehicles. Both state-run Turkish Aerospace and the company Baykar, run by the president’s US-trained sister-in-law Selçuk Bayraktar, are developing drones.

FACTS – DEFENSE

Army: 260,200 people (2017)

The air Force: 50,000 men (2017)

The fleet: 45,600 Men (2017)

Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 2.2 percent (2017)

Military spending’s share of the state budget: 6.4 percent (2017)

Cyprus Defense and Foreign Policy

Cyprus Defense and Foreign Policy

Foreign policy and defense

According to abbreviationfinder, Cyprus is a nation in Western Asia. Its capital city is Nicosia. Cyprus’s foreign policy is mainly shaped by the relationship between Greece and Turkey, which is complicated by the question of Turkey’s possible EU membership. The world’s interest in the oil and gas deposits that are believed to be in the sea around Cyprus has led to closer cooperation with countries in the Middle East. In Greek Cypriot southern Cyprus, Russia’s influence is growing.

cyprus military spending and defense budget

On the Greek side, there is now hardly any talk of enosis (Cyprus’s association with Greece), but the ties between Greece and the Greek Cypriots are strong.

  • Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Cyprus for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

Even stronger is the Turkish Cypriots’ ties to Turkey, the only country to recognize the self-proclaimed Turkish Cypriot state. After Cyprus became an EU member in 2004, cautious attempts by the Turkish Cypriot side to make a little greater independence towards Turkey were made. In the autumn of 2005, for example, the first military maneuver was held in northern Cyprus where no troops from Turkey participated.

The EU issue complicates the relationship between Turkey and Cyprus. Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government, although Turkey must do so if it wants to join the EU. The Greek Cypriots are trying to exploit Cyprus’ membership of the EU to force Turkey to recognize their government. The tendency seems to be that every round of negotiations between Turkey and the EU includes compromises with the Greek Cypriot government in order not to veto Turkey.

NATO and the United States

The NATO and US nations have their own military interests in Cyprus. The United States has a radar station in the Troodos massif in the south, and Britain has since the colonial period two military bases on the island. Many Greek Cypriots suspected that the US intelligence service CIA was involved in the 1974 coup d’état (see Modern History) and the subsequent Turkish invasion.

In order to encourage the Cypriots to reach a negotiated settlement, the United Kingdom has promised to return half of the land it owns in the event of a conflict resolution. The land shall be distributed among the parties. However, the bases should remain.

Agreement on sea borders

To enable sample drilling for oil under the seabed in the eastern Mediterranean, the Greek Cypriot government in 2006 signed an agreement with Egypt, and later with Lebanon, on how to delimit the Cyprus economic zone. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots protested against being consulted, claiming that exploration is illegal as long as the island is divided.

In March 2018, tensions increased as Turkey for several weeks tried to stop an Italian company from searching for oil and natural gas in disputed waters outside Cyprus. The EU condemned Turkey’s actions, which led to Turkey-EU irritation. Cyprus paid tribute to the EU’s condemnation.

In the fall of 2019, the situation worsened again after Turkey sent a ship to drill for gas off the southern coast of Cyprus in areas of the economic sea zone where the Cypriot government has already granted rights to drill to French and Italian companies. Turkey has claimed that some of the areas in which Cyprus drills are either in the Turkish continental shelf or in areas where Turkish Cypriots have equal rights to deposits. In early 2020, the EU sanctioned Turkey for test drilling already done.

Cooperation with Israel

The Greek Cypriot government’s relations with Israel during the 21st century have gone from strained to good – in almost exactly the opposite of Turkish-Israeli relations. Not least, the cooperation is about Israeli interest in joint exploitation of gas and oil deposits under the sea between the countries. In 2010, protests came from Turkey against an agreement between Cyprus and Israel on economic zones at sea. The Turks did not claim to have their own claims in the sea area, their demands were that the Turkish Cypriots should be included in the negotiations. In 2012, Cyprus and Israel also signed an agreement on defense and intelligence work. In early 2020, Cyprus, Israel and Greece signed an agreement to build a 190-mile gas pipeline to transport natural gas from Israeli and Cypriot gas fields to Europe.

Loans from Russia

Russia’s influence over the Greek part of Cyprus grew in the early 2010s. In 2011, Russia came to the rescue with a crisis loan of EUR 2.5 billion as the island’s economy began to decline. Russia has made major investments in Cyprus, but there have been suspicions in the EU that a significant portion of this money came from organized crime and that they were “washed” through the Cypriot banking system and then reinvested in Russia. In the context of the 2012 economic crisis, the Cypriot banking sector was regulated and the country’s days in which tax havens seemed to be over.

The EU and the US also suspect Russia of using Cyprus as an intermediary for arms deliveries to the Middle East, mainly Syria and Iran. The Russian intelligence service is also believed to use Cyprus as a base for its operations in the Middle East.

Cyprus and the EU

In 1990, the Greek Cypriot government applied for EC membership (EU from November 1993). In 1995, Greece was promised by other EU countries that membership negotiations would begin with Cyprus. In exchange, Greece refrained from vetoing a customs union between the EU and Turkey. When in 1997 the EU invited Cyprus to negotiate, only the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government was intended. However, the negotiations formally involved membership for the entire island.

Since the issue of reunification was unresolved when Cyprus joined the EU in May 2004, EU laws only applied to the southern Greek Cypriot part of the island.

At the same time, the European Commission proposed a package of measures to break the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, without recognizing the Turkish Cypriot Republic. The package included assistance and proposals to allow direct trade between the EU and the Turkish Cypriots. However, the Greek Cypriot government raised objections with the argument that trade with Turkish Cypriots would mean acknowledging their state. By blocking the entire package of measures, the Greek Cypriots were able to freeze half of the proposed aid until 2006.

In July 2005, a few months before Turkey was given the go-ahead to start its own EU membership negotiations, Turkey pledged to open its ports and airports for Cypriot vessels and aircraft. However, the Turks have not yet fulfilled the promise, but they argue that the isolation of Northern Cyprus must first be broken.

Defense

Cyprus is one of the world’s most militarized areas. More than 30,000 soldiers from Turkey are estimated to be in northern Cyprus. The Turkish military on the island has also had a significant political influence. It does not obey the Turkish Cypriot authorities but is under the command of its own general staff. A formal defense pact exists between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot “state”.

The Greek Cypriot government has a defense pact with Greece. At Paphos in the southwest, a military air base was inaugurated in 1998, which the Greek Air Force may also use. The previous recurring military exercises between Greeks and Greeks on the one hand (southern Cyprus) and Turks and Turkish Cypriots (on the north) on the other were down in 2001–2005, as they sought to facilitate UN reunification negotiations.

The Greek Cypriot Defense Force (National Guard) is a combination of ground, air and naval forces as well as special forces and consists of around 12,000 men. For men between the ages of 18 and 50 there is general military duty, which for most people lasts for 24 months.

Since 1964, the UN has a peacekeeping force in Cyprus, UNFICYP (UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus). UN troops patrol an 18-mile buffer zone between northern and southern Cyprus. The width of the zone varies between seven kilometers and a few meters. Since the division of the island in 1974, the task of the UN troops has been to prevent open war. However, in practice, the peace force would not have been an effective obstacle if either side really wanted to attack. In March 2016, the UN had 995 military, 68 police and 33 civilian foreign workers on the island. Until 1987, Sweden had a battalion in Unficyp.

FACTS – DEFENSE

Army: 15,000 men (2017)

Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 1.9 percent (2017)

Military spending’s share of the state budget: 5.0 percent (2017)