Showing posts from February, 2018

Caceres, Spain

Caceres was inhabited since pre-historic times and evidence of this can be found in the Maltravieso Cave, which displays hand imprints, and El Conejar Cave. The Roman town, known as Norba Ceaserina was founded in 25BC, by veterans coming from nearby camps. As the empire declined the town was occupied by the Visigoths and slowly depopulated, only recovering its former glory a few centuries later, during the Muslim rule. Most of the remains from this period date from the 12th century, during the Almohad period, marked by political unrest and the threat posed by the Christian forces. The city was reconquered by Alfonso IX in 1229. During this period many noble families began building their manor houses resulting in the characteristic Caceres architecture that can be seen today: austere buildings with a defensive purpose. Caceres also benefited from the riches arriving from the Americas a few centuries later. It was during this period that the city overflew its walls and most of

Crystal Palace Gardens, Oporto, Portugal

The Crystal Palace Gardens were named after a building designed by the English architect Thomas Dillen Jones, inspired by the London Crystal Palace. The building was inaugurated by King D. Luís as the venue of the International Exhibition of Oporto and existed until 1951. During its active years, it was the venue for several other exhibitions and many cultural events. It included a pipe organ, which was used in concerts and was one of the biggest in the world. The building was demolished in 1951 to give way to a Sports Pavillion, renamed after the Portuguese athlete Rosa Mota in 1991. The gardens around the Palace were designed by the Berliner Emil David. They include fountains, statues, several botanical species such as magnolias, camellias and olive trees. There are a few lookout points in the gardens, providing magnificent views of the city and the river. Opening hours: 8h-19h (21h from 1 Apr. to 30 Sep.).

Merida, Spain

Emerita Augusta, the Roman city, was founded in 25 AD, at the end of the Cantabrian wars- in the Northern part of the Iberian Peninsula- when Ceaser Augustus retired most of his veterans and decreed they should settle in Lusitania. The location of the new city was strategically chosen in order to control the traffic on the western side of the Peninsula. The diversity and grandeur of the buildings made it one of the most important cities of its time and the most important in the Peninsula. From its foundation, Emerita Augusta became the unofficial capital of the Iberian Peninsula and the capital of Lusitania, one of its provinces. At its height, it is estimated that the population of Merida surpassed 40,000 inhabitants. Christianity arrived early to Merida, in the late 3rd or early 4th century. In 304 the martyrdom of a young girl, Saint Eulalia, caused a great sensation, with her cult spreading throughout the western Mediterranean. At the beginning of the 5th century, Merida was


Malta is an archipelago located in the Mediterranean sea. It has three main islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino. The history of Malta started around 4500 BC, when a group of people arrived from Sicily, from where they could see the island on the horizon. They where skilled seafarers as they were able to cross the sea with their belongings, which included domestic animals and seeds. The Maltese islands went through what can be classified a golden Neolithic Period, during which a number of grandiose temples that cannot be found anywhere else, were built. This period also left some exquisite and unique artefacts, exhibited in Malta's archaeological museums. Around 1200 BC the Phoenicians started to expand their empire and occupied Malta. The name of the archipelago is said to derive from the Phoenician word "Maleth", meaning refuge or safe haven. In the 6th century Malta, along with all the western Mediterranean possessions of the Phoenicians fell under the hegemony of Ca

Birgu, Malta

Birgu is one of the three fortified cities around the Grand Harbour, along with Senglea and Copiscua. It's also known as Vittoriosa, after being awarded the title "Città Vittoriosa" for withstanding the brutal attacks of the Ottomans during the Great Siege of 1565. It was the first capital of Malta after the arrival of the Knights Hospitallier but it had long existed before the Knights arrived. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans and Aragonese all contributed to the development of the city, due to its strategic location, instrumental to defend the island. How to go: From Valletta, buses 2, 3 and 4 . What I visited in one morning: The Inquisitor's Palace It is one of the very few surviving buildings used by the Inquisition and the only one accessible to the public. It was built around 1530 when the Knights Hospitallier arrived at the island. It was used by the Inquisition between 1574 and 1798.  Monday to Sunday 9 am to