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Articles - July 2020

Destinations Places to visit in Saudi Arabia: Discover the beauty of Saudi Arabia July 21, 2020

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country on the Arabian Peninsula, is hiding its secrets in the vast deserts and ancient cities and is waiting to be explored. Travel in places that haven't seen many visitors and discover the varied landscape. It is interesting that Saudi Arabia is the largest country without a permanent river. There are many places to visit in Saudi Arabia, where you can enjoy the breathtaking views from skyscrapers, stand on top of cliffs, and experience the feeling of standing at the edge of the world, or you can explore the beauty of the Red Sea, especially its coral reefs. Jeddah Saudi Arabia boasts many riches - but perhaps nothing is as breathtaking as its commercial capital, Jeddah. It is a center of diversity as a melting pot of different cultures highlighted by attractive and modern malls. But it also places a strong emphasis on local customs and traditions according to Saudi principles. If you are looking for a traditional experience of Islamic culture, look no further than Saudi Arabia and its second-largest city, Jeddah. Jeddah is one of the busiest cities in the Middle East, and a large part of it comes from its proximity to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. There are a huge number of shopping options ranging from modern malls to traditional stores that have been roaming their business for decades and decades. Jeddah is the largest city along the Red Sea and this gives it access to some truly amazing beaches. If you're looking for a sunny day out, you'll find in Jeddah everything you need. You can also pamper your inner architect by touring the city and enjoying impressive buildings just as well as preserving them.   Al-Shallal Theme Park One of the best places to visit in Saudi Arabia especially in Jeddah and that you can enjoy so much is to explore Al Shallal Theme Park. Located on the Red Sea, the waterfall is more than a resort. Attracts many residents and tourists every day. Many man-made lakes and waterfalls are found in the park. Some are scattered on the ground using rotating coasters, while others are spread among them. You can enjoy a stunning sea view because of its location near the Red Sea. Dine-in one of the many restaurants in the garden or stroll around the two-story mall.   Safari Desert Safari is one of the best things you can do in Jeddah. If you want to enjoy the desert safari around Jeddah, you can choose one of the many safaris in Jeddah. There are many desert safari trips like jeep trips with safari tours, camel tours, and sand dune trips in the desert.   Riyadh Riyadh is the most straightforward city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With most forms of entertainment banned, few attractions of interest, and a brutal climate, Riyadh is mostly a commercial destination. Although everyone is bound by the rules of the dress code for men and abayas, many Saudis have come across Western clothes. Riyadh is the capital as well as the most populous city in Saudi Arabia and also is one of the best places to visit in Saudi Arabia, which is located in the central region called Najd, on a sedimentary plateau at an altitude of 600 meters above sea level. It has its own television radio production complex, satellite communication facilities, and the largest and most recent campus in the Kingdom, colleges, schools, hospitals, clinics, and specialized healthcare centers.   National Museum The history of Islam is the main focus of this museum, which consists of 10 galleries, plazas, and a section that includes luxury cars and other property for the founding king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The museum is huge and very well known to tourists who do not know much about Saudi Arabia, and it is a good place to start discovering it. The surrounding historical area is very ethnic and beautiful and can take half a day to wander around.   Riyadh Zoo The largest zoo in the Kingdom and one of the top places to visit in Saudi Arabia and includes about 40 species of animals. The Riyadh Zoo is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Riyadh where history goes. It was formerly the King's own park for carrying his wild pets, which later became a zoo and is now open to the public. A suitable place for children and adults alike, where you can find many different animals, a beautiful playground.   Madinah Medina - known as one of the beautiful desert cities in Saudi Arabia - it is second only to Makkah Al-Mukarramah, which is of religious importance to the Islamic religion. The city has a lot to offer travelersو from religious monuments to the stunning cultural traditions that truly distinguish the city from the rest. The creation of Medina holds a very interesting story. Medina offers a wonderful blend of old Saudi culture and new business culture that has developed in the Kingdom. This city boasts a vibrant array of shopping malls, restaurants, galleries, and cultural activities as well as many desert activities - all within the city limits. At night, the city's landscape is unparalleled. Surrounded by rolling hills, moonlight is captured in such a way that you truly feel stuck in a magical Arabic fairytale!   Madain Saleh Tombs This is one of the greatest places to visit in Saudi Arabia, and it is also a very historical attraction for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This former capital of the Nabataean Empire is a site to visit on your trip to Al Ula. during your tour, which lasts for about 2.5 hours and stopped at key sites like Lonely Castle.   City Sightseeing on Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Enjoy Medina to the fullest on a bus tour. Your ticket allows you to see the city the way you want it and quickly jump into any of the eleven stations. Learn what you see with a voiceover with the available headphones. It will also stay cool and connected with free water and Wi-Fi on the bus.   Dammam The capital of the eastern region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dammam is the sixth-largest city in the country. Itis the main hub for the Saudi oil industry and is the largest developing city in the entire Arab region. The city, like the rest of the country, enjoys Saudi culture, traditions, and cuisine. The city is well developed and has many interesting places to visit including the beautiful Dammam Corniche area and King Fahd Park. To learn more about the history of the eastern region and Saudi culture, the Dammam Regional Museum is very helpful. The city also has some theme parks like Dolphin Village to see some fun live shows by friendly creatures. Like all major cities in the Gulf region, Dammam also has many major shopping centers where you can find the latest collection of the best brands, as well as many local street restaurants that serve famous authentic Middle Eastern dishes.   Dolphin Village One of the most interesting places to visit in Saudi Arabia is the Dolphin village. It is located at the entrance to the beautiful Al Marjan Island on Dammam Corniche. It includes horseback riding, a huge pool, daily show of dolphins along with seals, circus during special events such as Eid holidays as well as national events.   Al-Marjan Island This island is one of the most magnificent artificial islands in the Middle East. They connect to the Dammam Quay and carry all the attractions that locals, families, and tourists need, such as green spaces, playgrounds, and seating. You can also enjoy a boat ride to and from Al Marjan Island with a free meal. Also, Read: Restaurants in Riyadh: Top nice and affordable restaurants for expats Tourism in the Kingdom: Top things to do in Saudi Arabia

Culture A historical walk in the Kingdom: Things to do in Bab Al Bahrain July 09, 2020

Guarding the entrance of the Manama Suq in the capital Manama, Bab Al Bahrain was built in 1949. The formidable building that used to overlook the sea was the seat of the government’s administrative offices in the old days. Now though, it only houses the tourism sector offices and visitor’s center to help visitors learn about the history of the area and find all the amazing things to do in Bab Al Bahrain. Since then, Bab Al Bahrain has experienced many changes and renovations. Recently, the Ministry of Culture initiated a project to preserve Bab al Bahrain as a cultural landmark. Now the building shines in all of its historical glory and its magnificent architecture really stands out. Bab al Bahrain history Due to its long history of pearling, Bahrain started to adopt a pattern of urbanization in the course of the 19th century.  The modern cosmopolitan outlook of the city is largely due to Bahrain being the region’s first modern state and the rise of Manama as the first regional metropolis. History remembers the city is as passage-way for Modernity in the region. Pearl diving and trade started to take the form of an organized bureaucracy early on, as a result, the Kingdom was the first in the region to have a centralized government that led to the opening of Bahrain, Manama in specific, to the rest of the world. The most outstanding metropolitan project to take place in Manama at the time was Bab Al Bahrain. The Government renewed the waterfront through land reclamation and part of that development was the building. The project was designed in 1945, by late Amir Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's adviser Sir Charles Belgrave, as the seat of the government. The architectural design features some modern elements as well as some indigenous features, which added a unique centerpiece to the City Center at the time. As a result of additional land reclamation projects, Bab Al Bahrain is now ten minutes away from the sea after being just across it.    The renovation of Bab Al Bahrain Following a comprehensive renovation in the 80s, in which the building was altered somewhat, Bab Al Bahrain was restored and revamped again in 2012 to bring it back to its former state with limited alterations.  These included the reopening of the road leading to Manama Suq, which passes under the archways of the Bab Al Bahrain, to revive the fact that the building has always been meant as a gateway to the City.  In addition to renovating the building, the Ministry of Culture in Bahrain launched a contest for architectures from around the world to come up with new innovative designs for the square around Bab Al Bahrain under the name “Open Ideas Competition – Bab Al Bahrain”. The competition stated that applicants should take into consideration refreshing the memory of the sea that used to be adjacent to the site, as well as offering a metropolitan urban square that allows pedestrians to room an enjoy the area   Things to do in Bab Al Bahrain Bab Al-Bahrain suq Located in the heart of Manama, Bab Al-Bahrain suq houses more than 30 shops lining its main façade and walkway offering patrons a wide variety of goods, from Arabic perfumes and Bahraini sweets to local handicrafts and traditional antiques. There is also a post office and a travel agency among the Suq stores. In addition to shopping, the Suq allows shoppers to try Bahraini coffee and delicacies, it is home to several famous coffee shops, such as Bahrain’s first ice cream shop, Café Naseef, which opened in 1920, and Café Saffron which is a restaurant and cafe that serves traditional Bahraini cuisine.   Bab Al Bahrain Mall With beautiful architecture that mixes the old and traditional with the modern and the future, this mall is a beautiful place to visit even if you are not in the mood for shopping. However, if you are looking for great Bahraini jewelry and valuable handmade carpets this is the place to go.   Saturday Market One of the most fun things to do at Bab Al Bahrain is attending the Saturday Market. Usually held every Saturday, this market allows a place for artists to show their crafts such as including basket weaving, hand embroidery, carpets, and henna design. It also features live music, traditional Bahraini food vendors, and play areas for children. The market is often open for the days of major events such as during the Bahrain Grand Prix.   Manama Suq Through the passageway of Bab Al Bahrain, you can reach the old Manama Suq. The suq offers everything and more, all displayed in a lively array of shops. Goods there vary from textiles, spices, incense, perfumes, handicrafts, and souvenirs, all the way to modern products and trinkets from all over the world.  The suq offers a unique shopping experience that brings to mind the style of commerce from days long past. The Manama Suq is a must-visit while in Bahrain that visitors will be sure to enjoy.   Manama Post Office Right behind Bab Al Bahrain, you can find The original post office of Manama, which has been renovated to host a museum documenting the history of postal services of Bahrain through the history. In addition to its outstanding archive of photographs from the postal service since its inception, a complete catalog of Bahraini stamps as well as stamps from all over the world, and a collection of vintage cancellations, scales, and franking machines, all of which were positions of the Ministry of Transport and the Philatelic Bureau, the museum also comprises a philatelic bureau counter where people can purchase new and collectible stamps and a café with a great terrace that overlooks Bab Al Bahrain.

Culture Bahrain Fort: Ancient Castle and Capital of Dilmun July 08, 2020

 One of the most important tourist attractions and best landmarks in Bahrain is the Bahrain Fort (Qal'at al-Bahrain) or the Portuguese Fort as it is called, and the castle’s history dates back to the fourteenth century AD, but the castle was provided with other buildings during different eras such as the Portuguese rule of Bahrain.   It is located in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, in the Seef district on the seashore, and it is one of the best places that tourists like to visit for its historical and architectural importance, and it is worth noting that the castle was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.   Located only a 10-minute drive west of Manama, on an ancient hill (hills created by centuries of urban reconstruction), the majestic Bahrain Fort overlooks the bay. Built by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, as well as that it is believed to be the capital of the ancient Dilmun Empire. As you wander through the air fossils of residential, commercial, public, military, and religious buildings, don’t forget that humans have inhabited this site continuously since 2300 BC.   This is where the most important discoveries of Dilmun were found in Bahrain, and it provides an outstanding example not only of the strength of Dilmun but also of its successors during the Tylos and Islamic periods. The castle is backed by an elegant and modern visitor center and an excellent museum, where you can pick up a free audio guide. When you're done wandering through the ruins, be sure to enjoy wonderful sea views with a drink in the Museum Café. What is the Bahrain Fort? Bahrain's rich commercial history, known as Dilmun in ancient times, is reflected in many archaeological sites, the most prominent of which is the Qal'at al-Bahrain site registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort is located on top of an artificial hill covering an area of ​​17.5 hectares which was built over more than 4000 years of continuous occupation. It is the site of the former capital Dilmun and one of the most archaeological sites in the Arabian Gulf. Excavations over the past fifty years have revealed residential, public, commercial, and military structures that attest to the importance of the site over the centuries. These results are brought to life through an audio guide available in the site museum. The museum’s display area has been open to the public since 2008, and it consists of 5 exhibition halls organized around a huge mound wall. With a display of 500 artifacts, the site's long settlement history is displayed to the unique background of the wall, which recreates the various exposed artifacts on the site. The museum café facing the sea offers stunning views of the fort and the surrounding palm groves.   How old is Bahrain fort? The area is believed to have been occupied for about 5,000 years and contains valuable insight into the copper and bronze ages of Bahrain. The first Fort was built about three thousand years ago, in the northeastern peak of Bahrain Island. The history of the current fortress dates back to the sixth century AD.   Bahrain Fort Description Bahrain’s Fort has great historical importance due to its use as the capital of the Delmon civilization, Portuguese garrison, commercial port, apartment building, and religious center. It was built from an artificial hill of 12 meters (40 feet) high, formed by human settlers from 2300 BC. to the eighteenth century, it was later rebuilt using the Greco-Roman style. This square-shaped structure consists of high-quality stones and turrets on the four corners (two of which form the main entrance), weapons, artifacts, and holes in the strategic sites used to shoot arrows, red Hellenistic tiles, coins, and a trench.   Things to do at Bahrain Fort: You can walk around the castle and see the buildings and forts left by previous civilizations, all made of stone and occupying a castle measuring 16 square meters, and includes the archeology remaining from different times in Bahraini history.  Your visit should also include archaeological excavations documenting the presence of people in this area during the BC period, especially 2300 BC, and you should also visit the original forms with a distinctive shape suitable to take some great memorial photos, especially at night.  Don’t forget to visit the museum, which was created inside the castle area, which is a wall with a height of 8 meters, and this wall contains archaeological layers from different eras, and inside this wall, there are 5 graded halls, all of them ascending request.  Because Qal'at al-Bahrain is located right next to the seashore, you must go across the beach and witness the beauty and tranquility of the waters of the Arabian Gulf sea. Also, you can take pictures of the sea and the castle together. Museum Café Enjoy a fabulous evening with the best sea views from any terrace on the island, this cafe is the perfect place to end the afternoon to explore Bahrain Fort. Sip your locally grounded aromatic coffee, drink divine cakes from local bakeries, and watch the mudflats come to life with birds.   What hotels are near Qal'at al-Bahrain? This marvelous fort offers plenty of hotels near it, for example, you will find InterContinental Regency Bahrain hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, and Downtown Rotana hotel, in addition to Elite Grande hotel and Le Méridien City Centre Bahrain.   Restaurants near Qal'at al-Bahrain: If you are looking for great restaurants near the fort you will find many of them such as Le Chocolat, Maya La Chocolaterie, Elevation Burger, and Paul Bakery and Kunefeci‎.   What attractions are near Qal'at al-Bahrain? When you visit Bahrain Fort, you can also enjoy seeing other attractions located near it such as The Raven's Nest, The Sultan Center, Al-Fatih Mosque (Great Mosque), Saar Mall, and Sitra Mall. Also, Read: Dilmun Civilization: The ancient civilization of the Gulf Famous Castles Around the World: Discover the best world’s castles

Destinations Virtual Travel: Bring The World To Your Home Right Now! July 08, 2020

While regular travel may be out of the plan in the meantime, virtual escapism is open to everyone with an internet connection. From east to west, you can experience the world's most epic landmarks without the epic crowds and fellow tourists. Some of the world’s leading landscapes out there are all just a few clicks away. We bring you a selection of the best virtual travel experiences to keep you sane during the lockdown. Spend a night under the northern lights The aurora borealis is a dazzling natural phenomenon caused by Earth’s magnetic field interacting with electrically charged particles from the sun. The lights are visible from countries at high northern latitudes, such as those of Scandinavia, Russia, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. The Norwegian Lights over Lapland project takes travellers on a five-minute journey through a series of 360-degree videos. The virtual travel trip starts in the Icehotel in Abisko national park, northern Sweden, heads into the wilderness on a reindeer sleigh, passing Lake Torneträsk and an Arctic birch forest on the way to a cosy wooden Sami hut at the base of Mount Noulja. A series of time-lapse videos then show the lights dancing overhead in vibrant streaks and arcs of rippling green. Get into the active Ambrym volcano, Vanuatu Ambrym volcano is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. This virtual travel tour ventures down into it just a few metres from a churning 1,200C lava lake. It follows adventurers Ulla Lohmann and Sebastian Hoffmann, a couple who make documentary films, along with volcanologist Thomas Boyer, who descend together to the third terrace of Benbow, one of the main vents of the Ambrym volcano, on the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. The short interactive film joins the team as they prepare for the expedition, travel to base camp, up to the rim beyond the jungle, into the ash plain, and abseil down into the crevice, sitting just 60m away from the lava. The documentary, Spitting Distance – The Descent Into a Raging Volcano, is also available online.   Go up to Mount Everest Known in Nepali as Sagarmatha and Tibetan as Chomolungma, the world’s highest peak sits on the border between Nepal and China. Explore Everest’s south base camp in Nepal, at an altitude of 5,380 metres, with interactive 360-degree views of snowy peaks and colourful prayer flags. Via an interactive map, and a 3D rotating viewer, you can gaze at the 8,848-metre summit, plus other Himalayan peaks stretching west into Pakistan and east to Bhutan. Clicking the human-shaped icon on this page highlights all the points around the mountain range that can be explored further at ground level. Views from other peaks, including over the Imja River and mountain villages, are visible in these 360-degree images. There’s also shot of a busier south base camp – it sees about 35,000 visitors a year, after all.   Discover the natural wonders of Chile Chile 360, a free app you can now download that will help you virtually explore wonders from the Torres del Paine to the Atacama Desert to Easter Island. The National Historic Museum of Chile is offering virtual tours, too. And in very excellent news, you can enjoy the European Southern Observatory’s virtual tour of the famed astronomical observatory in Santiago. There’s a whole other world of experience open to you if you have a VR headset, but those of us doing this from our cell phones should jump to this link and choose from the VR options that follow.   Explore The Grand Canyon in the USA At 277 miles in length, 18 miles across at its widest, and a maximum 1,857 metres deep, this vast Arizona landmark is grand in nature as well as name. Around 40 sedimentary layers are visible in its steep cliffs, with the oldest basement rocks formed around two billion years ago. Hike the canyon’s Bright Angel Trail via a Google Street View Trek. One of the most popular long-distance routes in the national park (9.3 miles), it zigzags up from the Colorado River to the south rim. Like with other entries in the list, wider exploration is on offer with Google Earth view, which lets users zoom in and out and click into points of interest.   See the fascinating Hang Sơn Đoòng, Vietnam The world’s largest cave, Hang Sơn Đoòng in central Vietnam’s Phong Nha-Ke Bang national park, was explored by scientists for the first time in 2009, after a local man, Ho Khanh, discovered it in 1991, but did not locate it again until many years later. Sơn Đoòng 360 is a project by National Geographic aiming to preserve the cave in digital form before it becomes subject to extensive tourism development. It's simply a trek – created from 360-degree images and atmospheric sound effects – heads through light-filled caverns, passing a 70 metre-tall stalagmite called Hand of Dog, and huge sinkhole jungles.   Take a tour in Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland This fantastical section of County Antrim’s Atlantic coastline is made up of more than 40,000 interlocking, geometric (mostly hexagonal) basalt columns. Legend has it that the unusual rock formations are the remains of a stepping-stone causeway path to Scotland, built by giants. Scientists believe they were in fact formed by lava flowing into the sea, as molten basalt erupted through chalk beds 50 to 60 million years ago. The National Trust has created a series of virtual travel tours, with views from Aird Snout headland and by the water’s edge in the bay of Port Noffer at different times of the day. There are also sweeping views from above to explore elsewhere, including the Carrick A Rede trail and the rope bridge. Watch the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a spring celebration in Washington, D.C., commemorating the March 27, 1912, gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city of Washington, D.C.  Festival organizers are making this year’s festival a virtual one. Through April 12, you can take a virtual tour of the blossoms with a park ranger as your guide, watch videos of what the artists booked for the festival had intended to perform live, and, of course, calm your nerves via a 24/7 cherry blossom cam. Also Read: Coronavirus Quarantine: How to Travel without Leaving Home?

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