Posted by: Rasma R | May 8, 2017

Oran, Algiers

oran

Leaving Morocco behind our armchair travels now take us to Algiers and the second largest city Oran. This city has been dubbed the “Little Paris of North Africa”. It is a lovely city with interesting colonial buildings. This is the birthplace of Rai folk music.

Its name in Arabic is “Wahran” which has been derived from the Berber word “uharan” meaning “two lions”.

Legend has it that in 900 A.D. there were still lions in this area. The last two lions were hunted down on a mountain near Oran. Due to this there is information that refers to them as “mountain lions”.

oran Demaeght-Museum1

The Demaeght Museum offers visitors exhibits on prehistoric archaeological finds from all over Maghreb. There is a special room devoted to Oran and a natural history exhibit of animals from Maghreb. The Maghreb or the Greater Maghreb is defined as most of the region of western North Africa or Northwest Africa, west of Egypt.

oran place du 1er november

Place du 1er Novembre is the city’s major square and tourist attractions where you can find a lovely fountain and monument in the center. The two major buildings to visit here are the town hall and the Theatre.

oran town hall

Dar el Bahia Oran’s Town Hall is worth taking a look at.

oran beyspalace1

 

Le Theatre d’Oran has impressive Baroque and French details and is considered the grandest place in the city. You can view the theater and catch a show or if you wanted to just tour the theater then you would have to find out when that could be done.

oran cathedral sacre couer

Visit the very lovely Cathedral de Sacre Coeur which the French opened in 1913.

oran cathedral sacre couer 2

It was converted into a library after Algeria claimed independence.

MC3_2046 Oran

It has amazing Roman Catholic architecture. You can browse the library.

oran great mosque

The Great Mosque was built in 1796 by Bey Mohamed El-Kebir as a celebratory symbol of liberation from the Spanish. Today visitors can take a closer look at it.

oran sheraton

Sheraton Oran Hotel and Towers is an incredible hotel that overlooks one of the most beautiful bays in Algeria. It has become part of Oran’s impressive skyline. The opening was in September 2005 and it was built to look like a boat on a cliff, There are 300 rooms and each of them have a view of the Mediterranean Sea.

oran petit lac

Petit Lac is Oran’s second largest lake. It is being developed for tourism and water sports. At present it is still a quiet place to be one with nature but with time it will have much to offer visitors.

oran PalaceofAhmedBey1

 

Qasr el-Bey or Bey Castle was constructed in a new area known as the Derb by the Bey Mohamed El-Kebir in the late 17th century. When visiting the castle visitors must get permission from security at the entrance gate. It is possible to join a tour.

oran synagogue

Great Synagogue of Oran dates from 1880 when construction was started. It was finally finished in 1918. This is one of the biggest and most impressive synagogues in North Africa. Once Algeria became independent it was transformed into a mosque in 1975.

oran casbah

Casbah (Citadel) Located in Mers El-Kebir an army port 2 km east of Oran City. The Casbah fortress was built during pre-colonial North Africa for defense.

oran jardin

Olympic Park is a modern park located opposite the Palais des Sports. The park has a lake and is known in Oran as the “Jardin Publique”.

 oran open air theater

Théâtre de Verdure an open-air theater which plays host to the famous Rai Festival every August.

oran madagh-beach-oran-algeria

Oran is home to one of Africa’s best beaches. Madagh Beach is located in a secluded spot between hills Here visitors can swim, sunbathe and even snorkel and kayak.

oran santa cruz

Fort Santa Cruz and Chapel is an ancient fort that was built in 1577 when the Ottomans occupied Algeria. It offers spectacular views and was used to watch for approaching ships. The chapel was built in 1847 and is a popular tourist destination.

oran railway

La Gare d’Oran visitors enjoy seeing this amazing Moorish revival railways station that was built in the 19th century. It is a historical place worth taking a look at.

oran le petit chalet

Oran offers visitors and locals many wonderful seafood places however the best one is Le Petit Chalet. Not only will you get outstanding seafood but impressive views of the ocean. It is located just a short drive outside the city and is particularly known for views of beautiful sunsets.

oran Ain_turck,_Oran_Province_(Algeria)

Head away from the city to Aïn-El-Turk a relaxing beach town just a few miles away. This seaside city has quiet beaches, nice cafes, hotels and exotic plants.

oran sahara

For something completely different head out into the Sahara Desert where you can ride horses or camels. You can see miles and miles of golden sand.

http://www.visitoran.com/city/attractions.asp

https://afktravel.com/88668/15-best-things-oran/

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Posted by: Rasma R | April 29, 2017

Rabat on the Bouregreg River

rab

The capital of Morocco, Rabat sits on the shores of the Bouregreg River and the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for landmarks of Islamic and French-colonial heritage.

rab kasbah

A top tourist attraction is the Kasbah district. Here inside the fortress wall that date from the 11th century you’ll find a small and peaceful neighborhood. Here you can stroll along twisting white and blue lanes in Andalusian-style.

rab kasbah mosque

Visit the Kasbah Mosque which was built in 1150 and is the oldest mosque in the city. This area also offers great views over to Sale and the Atlantic Ocean.

rab andalusian

Outside of the mosque are the beautiful Andalusian Gardens that were laid out in the early 20th century. Within the gardens you’ll fine the Oudaias Museum housed in a 17th century lodge. At the far end of the lodge a room shows an ancient Moroccan interior. There is also an exhibit of ancient illuminated Qur’ans, jewelry, pottery and musical instruments.

rab hassan

Of special interest is the unfinished Hassan Tower which was built by the Almohads. It was the work of ruler Yacoub al-Mansour but upon his death in 1150, construction was abandoned. All that remains now is the 45-meter high tower. The facade is covered by intricate designs.

Mausoleum of Mohammed V

Right next door is the amazing Mausoleum of King Mohammed V where the king lies in state. The tomb chamber is impressively decorated and zellige tile work covers the walls.

rab chellah

Visitors enjoy visiting the remnants of the 14th century Merenid citadel-town of Chellah. The walled ruins were positioned on an older Roman town called Sala. Both settlements can now be seen in Chellah and date from the 14th century. You can see crumbled mosques and mausoleums. The excavated Roman side includes a forum, bath and temple. There is an overlooking terrace with offers great views.

rab grand mosque

Rabat’s medina area has an Andalusian-style to it. Architecture here dates back to the 17th century. The two best shopping streets here are Souk es Sebbat and Rue Souka. There are interesting buildings to look at such as the Koubba Mosque and Grand Mosque as well as the Merenid Fountain. The Mellah (Jewish Quarter) on the southeast corner of the medina offers an interesting flea market.

New 'Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art' in Rabat

Mohammed VI Museum of Contemporary Arts offers an insight into Morocco’s modern art movement. The museum has found its home in a building from French colonial days. Here you can view the art work of almost all of the country’s top names in the art world.

rab arcaelogy

Rabat’s Ville Nouvelle or New City is home to the Archaeological Museum and the interesting Postal Museum. Along the street you can see French colonial architecture. On the edge of the district Avenue Hassan II follows the 17th century Undulations Wall that separates the modern city from the medina.

rab royal 2

To the south of Ville Nouvelle is Rabat’s Royal Palace, constructed in 1864 and is surrounded by a grand wall. The complex is interesting to look at but isn’t open to the public since the current king resides there. You can get the best photos from nearby Sunna Mosque.

rab sale

Across the Bouregreg River facing the city is the town of Sale. The town is home to some interesting medersas (madrassa – Islamic school of learning and mausoleums. Of particular interest is the Abul Hassan Medersa dating from the 14th century. If you climb up to the roof you can get great views of Rabat.

The medina area in Sale has interesting things to see like the Grand Mosque, the Mausoleum of Sidi Ben Ashir and the Fondouk al-Askour. You can also shop in some of the interesting souks.

rab lac

Part of the Lac Sidi Boughaba Parc National located in Mehdia is a freshwater lake which is a stopover for thousands of birds that migrate between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. The lake offers some of the best bird watching particularly between October and March.

rab marbled

You’ll find over 200 species of birds on the lake and many choose to spend winter here or nest. This is one of the last places in the world where you can see large numbers of marbled ducks. Among other birds there is the lovely marsh owl, crested coot, black-shouldered kite and greater flamingo.

The lake is also a wonderful place to do some hiking walking on the trails in the forested hills.

 

 

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/rabat-mar-rs-rab.htm

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/morocco/rabat/attractions/a/poi-sig/355499

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Posted by: Rasma R | April 25, 2017

Fascinating Fes

fes

Fes is an exotic and fascinating city located in northeastern Morocco. It is often referred to as the cultural capital of the country. There are many architectural wonders and historic buildings to delight in.

fes tanneries

One of the most iconic sights in the city and the most unbelievable scents come from the Chaouwara Tanneries. Here world-class leather is produced making use of methods that have changed little since medieval times. In the mornings you can see pits here full of colorful dye. To see it all the best way is to enter any one of the many leather shops here that have been built into the wall that surround the site.

fes Art-NajiCeramics1

At Art Naji is the place to go for ceramics and this is where you can get the distinctive blue pottery or intricate mosaics and much more. Guides will be glad to show you around. The clay used to make the pottery comes from the surrounding hills around Fes. All the pieces made here are of the finest quality and lead-free.

Medersa Bou Inania

The finest theological college in Fes is the Medersa Bou Inania built by the Merenid Sultan Bou Inan between 1351 and 1357. It has been restored with intricate tiles and carved plaster, lovely cedar and massive brass entrance doors. Instead of just having a prayer hall the Bou Inania is home to a complete mosque.

fes merdersa 2

The mihrab (niche facing Mecca) has an impressive ceiling and onyx marble columns. There is a lovely green-tiled minaret.

fes neijani museum

The Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts has found its home in a lovely restored fondouq or rooming house. At one time a caravanserai for travelling merchants who lodged above and stored and sold their goods below. The rooms with displays are centered around a courtyard. You can se traditional artifacts of craftsmen’s tools, chunky prayer beads and Berber locks, chests and musical instruments. There is a rooftop cafe offering spectacular views. No photos here.

fes gardensfes gardens 3

Jnan Sbil (Bou Jeloud Gardens) these lush gardens offer a respite from the city streets. There are leafy trails to walk along, fountains to admire and you can sit by the bird-filled lake. It is particularly lovely at dusk.

fes royal palace

The Royal Palace grounds are not open to the public. Visitors can view its impressive brass doors and carved cedar wood. To one side are lemon trees and tour guides will lead you around.

fes synagogue

Ibn Danan Synagogue is a lovely 17th century synagogue what was restored with the help of UNESCO in 1999. There are many interesting details here including a mikva or ritual bath in the basement. The original 17th century torah scrolls are made out of gazelled skin and stored in a wooden cupboard. Sign posts will lead you about.

fes rue

Walk along Rue des Merinides to see impressive wooden houses with wrought-iron balconies. Lots to see and like while strolling along this street.

fes fes el bali

Fes el Bali is the medina area and the oldest neighborhood in Fes.

fes bab

The main gate into this area is Bab Boujloud. Approaching the gates you can get a fantastic view of the famed landmark Medersa Bou Inania minaret. The winding streets are divided into two districts separated by a river. On the left bank are historic monuments and on the right bank shopping souks.

fes al mosque

Among the interesting buildings on the right bank are the Al-Andalus Mosque dating from 1321 and known its green and white minaret. The Old City is a great place to explore as you wander about along cobblestone lanes.

fes batha 2

The Batha Museum has found its home in a lovely 19th century summer palace and became a museum in 1915. Here you can see a great collection of traditional Moroccan arts and crafts. You’ll see historical and artistic artifacts among them fine woodcarving. There are also Fassi embroidery, colorful Berber carpets and antique instruments. The highlight here is a fantastic ceramic collections that dates from the 14th century to the present.

The Andalucian-style garden offers a place to relax. By a spreading Holm oak you can listen to open-air concerts during the Sacred Music and Sufi Culture Festivals.

fes borj nord

The Borj Nord was built by Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour in the late 16th century. It sits on level with the Merenid Timbs and offers a place to super views. In 2016 it became a national armory museum. Among its highlights are elaborately decorated sabres and muscats, traditional leather powder drums and interesting old photos. All signage in French and Arabic. No photos.

fes henna 2

Henna Souq is one of the medina’s oldest marketplaces. It is dominated by a huge plane tree that shades the stalls that sell ceramics and traditional cosmetics, including henna. It is a great place to stroll through and see the variety of products. Now no longer in use, the mohtassib (price controller) once had offices here and you can still see the large scales.

fes glaoui-palace-fez

Palais Glaoui is an 18th century palace that has fallen into disrepair. It was built by a pasha from Marrakesh and the family living here were its guardians for 100 years. The main house was built in the Andalucía-style and still has a well preserved 20th century  bathroom still used today. There is a large kitchen with cooking pots and out back is a modern-art gallery.

fes tombs 2

Merenid Tombs are in various stages of ruin. They are worth the climb up to see awesome views of Fes. At dusk is a great time to see all the lights come on.

fes national taza

Some 113 km from Fes you’ll find the Tazzeka National Park and Taza. Taza was founded by the Berbers in the 5th century. At one time it was a fortress. In the old town there are cereal markets, souks for mats, jewelry and carpets as well as the remains of the old kasbah. Inside Taza’s Great Mosque you see one of Morocco’s most beautiful bronze chandeliers with 514 oil lamps.

fes national caves

Outside of town are the Frouato Caverns which reach down to a depth of 180 meters with stalactites and stalagmites creating miniature sculptures. In the national park you’ll find a vast forest of cork, oak and cedar trees. For spectacular views climb to the summit of Djebel Tazzeka (1,980 meters) to see wooded countryside and the snow-bound peaks of the Middle Atlas.

fes sefrou

Sefrou is a walled town just 29 km southeast of Fes. It was once a major point on the caravan trading routes. It has become a sleep and lovely town. There are wonderful old buildings and an ancient kind of charm.

 

 

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/morocco/fez/attractions/a/poi-sig/355510

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/fez-fes-fas-mar-fes-fes.htm

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Posted by: Rasma R | April 22, 2017

Casablanca, Morocco

africa

In our armchair travels we are now going to take a look at Africa which is the world’s second largest continent. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, by the Suez Canal and the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Africa has been referred to a mysterious, as dangerous and of course for travelers as the place for safari lovers. Well as much as there may be places where you would be unsure of traveling to these day we can still take a look at all the wonders this continent holds. Then you can put it on your travel list for future consideration.

africa casablanca

We will first journey into North Africa and begin with Morocco and the city of Casablanca. This city always makes me think of the classic film by the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Only today their characters Rick and Elsa would not be saying a romantic and tearful good-bye in a  small, dark airport because today Casablanca is home to Morocco’s primary international airport and has become the main gateway to the country. So get comfortable, sit back and let our journey begin.

africa hassan 2 mosque

Beyond the northern tip of Casablanca’s medina or old city on the shoreline you’ll find the Hassan II mosque which actually dominates the entire city. It was finished in 1993 and is the second largest mosque in the world. It also has the world’s tallest minaret at 200 m high. 25,000 worshippers can gather together in the prayer hall and the courtyard with its retractable roof can easily accommodate another 80,000.

africa hassan 2 mosque 2.jpg

Everywhere you look you can see intricate decoration. The mosque sits right on the tip of a rocky bay above the ocean. Guided tours are available for non-Muslims beginning at the western entrance several times per day.

africa medina

Medina is Casablanca’s old city district offering visitors twists and turns along alleyways with many things to discover. There are tradesmen selling their creations to shoppers. It is a neighborhood that is a delight to discover wandering about on foot. It is a wonderful place to see how the people of the city live. In the southern section you can find some holy men koubbas or shrines.

africa mohammed

The city’s central plaza is known as Place Mohamed V and is home to many important official buildings like the main post office,

africa mohammed palace of justice

Palace of Justice, Prefecture, French Consulate and the main Bank of Morocco. All of the facades reflect the Neo-Moorish style.

africa mohammed 2

The square has a central fountain and lovely well-kept gardens. In the evening people enjoy coming here for evening strolls.

africa corniche

Corniche is the beachfront district located in the Ain Diab suburb. Along the shoreline you can see luxury hotels and restaurants.

africa corniche 3

There are beach clubs here and those wishing to sunbathe can choose to swim in the club swimming pools or in the ocean at the public beach. You’ll find many people here during the weekends enjoying their time on the sand, having picnics or strolling along the shore.

 africa sacre couer

Cathedral du Sacre Coeur was built in the 1930s in a mix of European and Moroccan styles. It is a building worth taking a look at.

africa notre dame

Nearby is the Notre Dame de Lourdes a church that has a vast stained glass window which covers over 800 square meters.

africa notre dame stained glass

This amazing stained glass window is the artwork of Gabriel Loire, a famous French artist.

africa market

The place to really see the city and its people is at the bustling central marked right in the center of the city. Here residents come to buy and sell. You can find most everything here including Morocco’s famous slippers.

When visiting Casablanca it is also worth it to venture beyond the city and see some of the other places nearby.

africa mohammedia 3

Mohammedia is a quiet seaside city 28 km from Casablanca. It offers some fine beaches and is home to Morocco’s second largest port. It is a lovely little city to wander in with grand palm-tree lined boulevards.

africa mohammedia 2

The beaches are along the coastline. It is great to relax at the cafes and restaurants here on summer weekends.

africa el jadida

 

102 km south of Casablanca is the small town of El Jadida where you can also find lovely beaches. In the Citadel area, built by the Portuguese you can climb up the walls for spectacular sea views. Also in this area are atmospheric cisterns, dating from the 16th century and were used as a filming location in the famous Orson Welles movie “Othello”.

africa qualidia

182 km south of Casablanca lies the charming seaside village Qualidia. It offers visitors a beautiful beach and many admire the Saadian era Kasbah or fortress district. This village is all about oyster and its oyster beds are famous all through Morocco. The restaurants offer oysters and lots of other seafood fresh from the sea.

africa safi 2

Finally 237 km  south of Casablanca is the port of Safi. It was already an important port in Roman times. The Portuguese occupied the city in 1508 and built the Dar el Bahar Fortress on the shoreline. It is Morocco’s most famous ceramic center. The two main highlights here are the Pottery Souk and the National Ceramic Museum.

 

 

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/casablanca-mar-c-cas.htm

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Posted by: Rasma R | April 17, 2017

Amazing Beauty and Adventure in the Canary Islands

can canary-islands-jpg-183

Leaving Bahrain behind on our armchair tours it is so simple being like a pinpoint on a map. I looked on the map to see where we were at the moment and realized we had never toured the beautiful Canary Islands. So sit back, relax and off we go.

can

The Canary Islands have a lot to offer visitors. There are lovely beaches, everywhere you look the beauty of nature surrounds you and you can visit picturesque colonial towns. This archipelago includes seven large and six smaller islands located 200 kilometers off the northwest coast of Morocco and Western Sahara Africa. The largest island is Tenerife. You’ll find UNESCO listed heritage sites and UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

can san cristobal flowers in square during festival

First we’ll make a stop at the colonial city of Sancristobal de la Laguna on Tenerife Island. This city is the former capital of this island. It is a lovely historic town with an impressive cathedral, Renaissance and Neo-classical churches and grand mansions built by wealthy families in the 17th and 18th centuries.

can iglesia conception.JPG

The town’s parish church Iglesia de Nuestra La Concepcion was built in 1496. It is an architectural gem both outside and inside.

can guzman 2

Dating from the 17th century is the lovely Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman. The facade has Plateresque details and an ornately designed Mudejar ceiling. In the interior you can see paintings by Canary Island artist Cristobal Hernandez de Quintana.

can museum

To discover the history of this region head for the History and Anthropology Museum. This museum introduces visitors to the history and culture of Tenerife Island through the centuries.

can beach

Those who wish to sunbathe can choose between three beaches:

Al Apio Beach has a sandy and gravelly shore with moderate waves.

El Navio Beach is great for those interested in water sports and windsurfing.

Arenisco Beach is near the lighthouse and visitors here love to take scenic walks along the coast.

You’ll find the island of Gran Canaria about 90 miles off the African coast. There is amazing natural beauty here and practically half of the island has been protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The island has dramatic cliffs to the north and beautiful beaches to the south.

can gran canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is a lovely sun filled seaside town. It was influenced by a Spanish colonial past dating back to the 15th century as well as the culture of the aboriginal Guanche people.

can Catedral_de_Las_Palmas_de_Gran_Canaria_(2).jpg

An architectural highlight here is the impressive Cathedral Las Palmas de Gran Canaria dating from the 16th century with Neo-classical features. The interior is Gothic with unusual palm-shaped columns. In the south wing you’ll find the Diocesan Museum, displaying a collection of religious art and ceremonial objects.

can gran canaria museum

Take the time to explore the Museum of the Canary Islands with an impressive archaeological and ethnographic collection. It shows visitors the pre-Hispanic culture of the island.

can nestor

Art lovers will enjoy the Nestor Museum which exhibits the art work of Nestor Martin-Fernandez de la Torre, one of the most renowned Spanish Symbolist painters. Here you can see portraits and landscapes as well as drawings, sketches and craftwork. The museum belongs to the Pueblo Canario or Canaries Village that was built by the artist’s brother in the Neo-Canarian style.

can gran canaria beach

Las Canteras Beach offers a wide sandy shore with gentle waters due to a natural breakwater formed by volcanic rock. Here for the comfort of visitors you’ll find public toilets, umbrella and lounge chair rental, water sport rentals and a play area for children. There is even an area for scuba diving.

La Playa Jinamar is a small beach with a dark sand shoreline and moderate waves.

can botanic 2

Visit the beautiful Jardin Botanico Viera y Clavijo or Canary Gardens. This lovely botanic garden lies in a valley. There are stone paths that will take you through the slopes of the valley and you’ll see a landscape with plant species native to the Canaries.

can museum of fine arts

Santa Cruz de Tenerife Tenerife Island is a picturesque seaport that has been built with broad avenues, lovely squares, exotic gardens and impressive architecture.

Among the visitor highlights is the Museum of Fine Arts with a wide variety of paintings by many different artists. It also displays the art work of Canary Island painters like Gaspar de Quevedo, Cristobal Hernandez de Quintana and Gonzalez Mendez.

can nature museum

To find out about the native people of Tenerife head for the Museum of Nature and Man. You’ll find out about the original inhabitants before the arrival of European settlers.

can carnival

The most famous event here is the annual Carnival Festival with people in colorful costumes and amazing processions.

can las teresitas

Among the beaches the best choice is Las Teresitas Beach with golden sand and two breakwaters giving way to gentle waves and waters safe for swimming. It is also popular with snorkelers. There are public toilets, sun lounges for rental, water sport rentals, a snack bar and play area for children.

Brujas Beach offers a lovely sandy shoreline that is surrounded by beautiful scenery. This is not good for swimming due to strong waves.

On Fuerteventura Island you’ll get to know the religious heritage of Betancuria which was the capital until 1834.

can catedral-de-santa

This town has an impressive cathedral the Catedral de Santa María de Betancuria which was originally built in Norman-Gothic style but later renovated in the 17th century in Baroque style. In the interior the sanctuary is lovely especially the choir and baptistry.

Other important religious buildings include the Hermitage of San Diego and the Franciscan Convent Church.

To take a look at spiritual art visit the Museum of Religious Art.

The Pilgrimage of Peña takes place on the third Saturday in September. It is held in honor of Nuestra Senora de la Pena (Our Lady of Pena) who is the patron saint of the island. Taking part in the festivities you get to see the folklore of the island and their religious customs.

can correljo fishing port

Also on Fuerteventura Island is Corralejo Fishing Port and beaches. Corralejo is a fishing port located in northern Fuerteventura. It is surrounded by impressive desert landscape of sand dunes. The town happily combines traditional seafaring culture with tourism. Around the port visitors will find picturesque houses with many restaurants and cafes. There is a beautiful waterfront promenade that ends in a small urban beach.

Outside of the town are lovely beaches like El Pozo Beach with a nice shoreline. There are many kiosks renting water sport equipment, beach chairs and sun umbrellas. It is great for swimming since the waters are mild.

El Moro Beach has white sand shoreline and crystal clear blue waters.

El Rio Beach also has white sand and at the end is a rocky promontory with a lighthouse.

can puerto del carmen

You’ll discover that the biggest tourist attraction on Lanzarote Island is Puerto del Carmen. Once an old fishing village it has been transformed into a beach resort with many modern hotels and restaurants. There are over six kilometers of sandy beaches with calm waters.

Visitors enjoy the Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen during the first two weeks of August. It is a religious festival honoring the patron saint of the fishing village. There are traditional processions and decorated colorful boats.

Visitors enjoy exploring the surrounding countryside. Volcanic activity created Lanzarote Island and it has a dramatic landscape of craters, canyons and valley. It is a UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve.

 These are just some of the beautiful and amazing things you can do and see on these islands. There is plenty more and you can be sure that you won’t run out of things to do. For other activities you can visit:

can cactus 2

Cactuaidea Park Gran-Canria the largest cactus park in Europe where the tallest cactus measuressix meters in height. It is located in La Aldea de San Nicolas in the west of Gran Canaria. You can find over 1,200 cactus species here. There is a cactarium with palm trees, aloe vera, peacocks and a tortoise.

can gran-canaria-palmitos-park-peacock

Not only the cactuses will delight you but there is a lot of babbling water and just past the amphitheater you’ll find an erupting artificial volcano that leads visitors to the beautiful garden. A stone path takes you around and you can see the peacocks, ducks, tortoises and donkeys. You can also visit a cave, have tapas at the outdoor bar and buy souvenirs.

can holiday-world-maspalomas

Whether you are visiting with children or not you have got to see Holiday World in the southern part of Gran Canaria. There are lots of activities for children like pony rides, parrot shows and a 4D cinema. For the older crowd there is a Ferris Wheel and even a roller coaster as well as a 20m free-fall Sky Drop. All of this is located in a shopping center. You’ll even find tenpin bowling in a U.S. style bowling alley that offers hot dogs. If you wish to indulge yourself there is a children’s entertainment service and you can head for the spa or gym.

can loro dolphins

Visit the friendly and delightful animals of Loro Parque  one of Tenerife’s most popular attractions. You can see wonderful dolphin shows and see sea lions do tricks. There are jumping orca whales and parrots chattering to one and all.

Visitors delight in over 300 species of birds, gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, sloths, jaguars, meekats, giant tortoises and so much more.

can loro penguins

This adventure park is located in Puerto de la Cruz. They have even recreated Antarctic conditions for Planet Penguin and you can see the penguins happily jumping off ice blocks into freezing water.

can loro parrots

Sharks swim through the tunnel in the aquarium and birds fly free in Katandra Treetops at the jungle recreation. There are plenty of swinging bridges and walkways leading you past cockatoos, emus and kookaburras.

 

http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/canary-islands-e-can-canary.htm

http://www.hellocanaryislands.com/other-tourist-attractions/

http://www.spain-tenerife.com/en/what-to-do/leisure-sports/loro-parque.html

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Posted by: Rasma R | April 15, 2017

Manama, Bahrain

bah

Our armchair travels have taken us to Bahrain. This is a nation that consists of over 30 islands in the Persian Gulf.

 bah causeway 2

The King Fahd Causeway is a series of bridges and causeways that connects Saudi Arabia to Bahrain. The causeway was built to improve the links and bonds between these two countries. It was officially opened to the public in 1986.

bah manama

Its modern capital Manama has left a lot of history behind for visitors to delight in instead of creating an ultra-modern city of steel and glass. The modern nicely blends in with the ancient history.

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The Bahrain National Museum is the country’s most popular attraction. Visitors can get a great introduction to its history here. The highlights are the archaeological finds from ancient Dilmun, the reproduction souq covering Traditional Trades and Crafts on the first floor and the satellite photo of Bahrain which takes up most of the ground floor.

Among the other exhibits are a Hall of Graves, Customs and Traditions, the Islamic era and Documents and Manuscripts. There is a wonderful museum shop, a cafe and some gallery spaces used for contemporary exhibits of art and sculpture. Most everything is labeled in both English and Arabic.

bah National Theatre of Bahrain by Architecture Studio02

Adjacent to the museum is the impressive National Theater of Bahrain. This is the third-largest theater in the Middle East. It appears to float up onto the water. It was built according to tradition and has interwoven aluminum strips allowing air to penetrate through the roof and the interior of the auditorium suggests the sea-going dhows of ancient Bahrain. The auditorium seats 1001 paying homage to “The Thousand and One Nights”.

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Al Fatih Mosque is the largest mosque in the country and can hold up to 7000 worshipers. It was built with marble from Italy, glass from Austria and teak from India, carved by local Bahraini craftspeople. Guides lead visitors through the mosque. The tour begins at the small library right inside the main entrance where women are given a black cloak and headscarf to wear while visiting the prayer hall. After the tour visitors can get free booklets in the Discover Islam series.

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Bab Al Bahrain the “Gateway to Bahrain” was built by the British in 1945. It is the entrance to Manama Souq. This is a great place to mingle with people of all nationalities, colorful street vendors, shoppers and a large variety of many different kinds of goods at the market. On the first floor you’ll find the Tourist Department.

bah beit al quran

Beit Al Quran museum is a wonderful example of modern Bahraini architecture with its carved Kufic script. This is home to a large and impressive collection of Qurans, manuscripts and woodcarvings that are a good introduction to Islam and Islamic calligraphy. Of particular interest are the miniature Qurans, with the smallest dating from 18th century Persia. All exhibits are labeled in English.

bah la fontaine

La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art showcases regional and international contemporary artists. It also has regular exhibits. It’s located in an impressive 19th century Bahraini town house with many features typical of Gulf Islamic architecture among them covered colonnades, archways and a signature fountain. In the complex you’ll also find an amphitheater, restaurant and one of the best spas in the city.

bah world trade

World Trade Center was built in 2008 and rises 240m high. This 50 story office tower is one of Manama’s most recognizable modern landmarks.

bah sail monument

The Sail Monument is an amazing sculpture that overlooks a busy roundabout. It is dedicated to one of Bahrain’s most important industries, pearl diving.

bah convention center

Gulf International Convention Centre is a landmark building to the south of the city center.

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Financial Harbor is something to see. It is the city’s highest building at 260m high with 53 floors.

bah al-areen-wildlife-park

Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve was established for the conservation of wildlife in the Middle East. It protects such rare Arabian species like the Oryx, Adax and Reem Gazelle.

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The park has 100,000 flora and trees and over 45 species of animals, 82 bird species and 25 flora species. Here visitors can see springbok, saluki dogs, impala, fallow deer, Chapman’s zebra and desert hares. Among Arabian species are Nubian ibex, wild goats, barbary sheep and Asiatic onager.

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One section is open to the public and the other is a protected reserve with two surface reservoirs for flora and fauna. Further renovations plan a falcon stadium and a pet park.

 

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/bahrain/manama/attractions/a/poi-sig/361010

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Fahd_Causeway

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Areen_Wildlife_Park

 

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Posted by: Rasma R | April 11, 2017

Muscat, Oman

oman

Our armchair travels have taken us to Oman, a nation located on the Arabian Peninsula. It has a terrain encompassing desert, riverbed oasis and long coastlines on the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. Wahiba Sands is known as a region of dunes inhabited by Bedouins.

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The capital Muscat is a port city that sits on the Gulf of Oman surrounded by mountains and desert. It has an amazing history and has become quite the modern city.

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To get a good look at the people and a feel for the city head for Mutrah Souq. This is the best you can do to see a traditional Arab market housed under modern timber roofing. Shops here sell Omani and Indian artifacts along with antiques, traditional textile, hardware and jewelry. Bargaining is the name of the game here and cash will get you the better deals. At the entrance to the souq you’ll find the traditional coffeehouse from days gone by which has become a locals-only meeting point for elderly men.

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Mutrah Corniche attractively stretches along latticed buildings and mosques. It is great to stroll here at sunset when the late afternoon light casts shadows across a serrated crescent of mountains and you can see the lights and lovely fountains. If you prefer you can also take a bike ride.

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The restored Portuguese Watchtower sits on a promontory out to the sea, halfway along Mutrah Corniche and offers a wonderful view of the ocean and Mutrah’s waterfront. This is a fantastic place to catch the evening breeze and is decorated with colorful fountains at night. In the evening you can get a free bike hire.

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Mutrah is the city’s main port area and here you can feel like you’re in a fishing village. Watch  the daily catch being delivered to the fish market. This is the permanent home of Shabab Oman, the country’s impressive fully-rigged training ship. The harbor is also home to His Majesty’s dhow, visiting cruise ships, the high speed ferry to Musandam and assorted naval vessels.

oman grand mosque

The Grand Mosque is an amazing example of modern Islamic architecture. It was a gift to the nation from Sultan Qaboos, marking his 30th year of reign. Visitors are impressed with the main prayer hall. You can see the Persian carpet that measures 70m by 60m wide and is the second-largest hand-loomed Iranian carpet in the world.

The mosque accommodates 20,000 worshippers, including 750 women in a private musalla (prayer hall). This is an active place of worship especially for Friday prayers. There are tours available.

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The Sultan’s Palace rises up with interesting mushroom pillars in blue and gold. On the island side, an avenue of palms leads to a roundabout that is surrounded by grand royal court buildings and the new national museum. The palace can be photographed from the outside but is closed to the public.

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Bayt al Zubair is a beautifully restored house which has become a popular privately owned museum exhibiting Omani heritage in thematic displays of traditional handicrafts, furniture, stamps and coins. The museum is the cultural center of Muscat and hosts many international exhibitions of contemporary art in Gallery Sarah on the museum grounds. There is a modern cafe and a souvenir shop.

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The Royal Opera House Muscat was built in 2011. It has a marvelous marble exterior, an interior of inlaid wood and Arabesque designs. You can do some shopping in the adjacent Opera Galleria arcade. Tours are available.

oman museum of modern art

The Ghalya Museum of Modern Art is a delightful little museum which encompasses both a modern art gallery and an old furnished house. The house is wrapped around a tiny central courtyard. The exhibits on display many preserved from the 1950s to mid-1970s are all centered on the private memorabilia of the family who once occupied this house.

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Al Jalali Fort guards the entrance to the harbor to the east. It was built during the Portuguese occupation in the 1580s on Arab foundations. The fort is accessible by way of a steep flight of stairs. It was a prison for many years and now has become a museum of Omani heritage. Entrance here is by permit only and you have to apply to the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture. During palace military occasions bagpipers perform from the fort battlements and the royal dhow and yacht sail into the harbor in full regalia.

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The National Museum has found its home in a new building right in the heart of Old Muscat. It is right opposite the Sultan’s Palace. This is a contemporary museum with space, light and height to enhance the selective displays that showcase the heritage of Oman. You’ll see giant screens, Arabic brail and high-tech devices that all bring the artifacts to life.

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For some relaxation head for Al Riyam Park. This park offers leafy shade and

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fine views of the harbor from the giant, ornamental incense burner. Local residents enjoy the small fun fair on weekends. The park is on the path of a popular hike that used to link Mutrah with Muscat proper.

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Al Mirani Fort was built around the same time as nearby Al Jalali Fort. It is closed to the public but it looms large over the harbor and contributes to the iconic view of Muscat that has been captured in 19th century lithographs. It has a special place in history as it contributed to the fall of the Portuguese.

oman al bustan

Al Bustan Palace sits among lush gardens. Today it is a grand hotel with an amazing domed atrium. It is well worth to see the interior and the location.

oman clock tower

The modern Clock Tower has become a prominent landmark.

 

 

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/oman/muscat/attractions/a/poi-sig/361117

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Posted by: Rasma R | April 8, 2017

Doha, Qatar

qatar

The wonder of our armchair travels is that we can always explore something new while sitting comfortably by our computers. Now if someone suggested that they wanted to take you to Qatar you might have the same reaction I had while exploring where we would be traveling to next. What or where is Qatar? The countries where most people travel to are well known and when someone suggests traveling to one of them people always express their preference. It is the countries that are least traveled to which surprise people. Well if at any time you might get the chance to travel to this country at least you will know something about it. So sit back, get comfortable and let us take a look at the capital of Qatar.

Qatar is a peninsular Arab country whose terrain includes arid desert and a long Persian (Arab) Gulf shoreline with beaches and dunes.

On the coast you’ll find the capital city Doha which is a modern city with a waterfront that offers many parks and a wonderful and impressive skyline.

qatar waqif

Souq Wagif is a wonderful marketplace that counts as the highlight and social heart of the city. The marketplace has been here for centuries and the Bedu used to bring their sheep, goats and wool to trade for essentials. This marketplace has been redeveloped so that now it resembles a 19th century souq with mud-rendered shops, exposed timber beams and beautifully restored original Qatari buildings.

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If you want to see something really different take a look at the Bird Souq. You’ll find it right behind the spice section of Souq Waqif. There is a collection of caged birds such as pigeons, parrots, cockatiels and budgerigars.

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The Museum of Islamic Art has found its home on its own purpose-built island and sits surrounded by a landscape of lawns and ornamental trees right off the corniche. The museum is shaped like a post-modern fortress with minimal windows and a “virtual” moat and spectacular views across the water. It has the largest collection of Islamic art in the world that has been collected from three continents.

qatar islamic art

The museum was designed by IM Pei (architect of the Louvre pyramid). The entrance is lined with palms and inside light and space is brought in by the dome. The art collection takes up three floors. The permanent collection is on the first and second floors. When you want to take a rest you’ll find the cafe downstairs. There is an excellent museum shop. You can get a free 40-minute guided tour in English and Arabic.

qatar falcon

If you want to see some heritage take a look at the Falcon Souq. It’s located in its own traditional arcaded building off Souq Waqif. Most of the amazing falcons are hooded in black leather as they perch upon open railings. The best time to take a look at these birds is in the evenings when you can see customers taking a closer look at the falcons and talking to the shopkeepers about the finer points of falconry. Right next door is the Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital which you can arrange to take a look at as well.

qatar arabian horses

Not far from the Falcon Souq are horse stables that are home to magnificent Arabian horses. You can take a closer look at these animals.

qatar al corniche

Close to the Museum of Islamic art you’ll find the beautiful Al Corniche. Right on the waterfront of Doha Bay this is an attractive looking crescent. In the background you can see spectacular views of dhows on the water and skyscrapers in the distance. On late afternoons on Fridays the beach fills up with families of all nationalities.

qatar thakira

On the northern end of Al Khor Corniche is 10km stretch of beach known as Al Thakhira. Much of this seashore is sabkha (salt flats) which can become like quicksand and can be treacherous when wet but also provide much adventure. This beach offers visitors a lovely old shoreline, mangroves, outcrops, desert and many birds. It is favored by bird watchers.

qatar omani market

Omani Market is a small market that offers many different things like Saudi dates,  hand-woven baskets, Omani dried fish, tobacco, incense and so much more.

qatar MIA

MIA Park is a lovely green space near the Doha waterfront. This is where you can see Richard Serra’s vertical steel sculpture that is known as “7”.

qatar MIA sculpture

It is the first public piece of art that was displayed by this celebrated artist in the Middle East. On the first Saturday of every month from October to March you can find stalls here that sell arts and crafts, clothing and souvenirs.

qatar gallery

Gallery Al Riwaq is located at the edge of MIA Park. It is a modern gallery space that offers wonderful temporary exhibitions with participating artists like Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami.

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Katara Beach is a great place to cool off and swim close to the city. This 1.5 km beach is located at the Katara Cultural Village. You can also enjoy dining and a show at the adjoining arts center. Children under six have free admission to the beach. There’s a ladies-only section and one piece swimming suits are advised.

qatar DohaFort

Doha Fort was built during the 19th century Turkish occupation. It has been used as a prison and as an ethnographic museum.

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One of the largest parks in the Gulf region is Aspire Park and is one of Qatar’s finest landscapes. Big crowds gather here on weekends. It is a wonderful place to get away from the city for a while and even have a picnic.

qatar aspire torch

Here you can see the Torch Tower which is also known as the Aspire Tower. This is an amazing 300m high building which served as a giant torch for the 15th Asian Games. Today it is a lovely hotel and well worth a look at.

qatar pearl monument

The Pearl Monument stands at the northern “sea” end of the corniche. It marks the entrance to the dhow harbor. It is a great spot for photos.

qatar clock tower

The Clock Tower is an important landmark and a great way of knowing where you are in the city.

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Barzan Towers rise high into the Arabian Sky and offer great views of the sea. It was built to serve as a watchtower. The tower is a rectangle building with three levels and an external staircase. All around is an unusual oasis of greenery, palm trees, a brook and animals just behind the towers.

Alborj Alshargi (The East Tower) has been fully restored. It was built in the early 20th century by the Qater Emir to keep a watch over pearl divers and to use as an observatory to inspect moon phases and to look at ships approaching the coast.

qatar film 2

A visit to Doha Film City can make you feel like you’ve stepped into an American west ghost town. It is like being on the set of a Hollywood movie right in the middle of the Arabian Desert. The Film City is located on the RasAbrouq Peninsula some eighty km from Doha. You will see a mini Arabic town with traditional mud-brick houses with wooden doors, there is a mosque, lots of gates and a look-out.

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About thirty minutes from the city center you’ll come to the Doha Zoo. Today the original zoo has been renovated and now has been converted into a safari park. This is home to some rare species like the Oryx which is presently an endangered species. The Oryx is the country’s national animal.  It is a member of the antelope family with large straight horns.

qatar zoo oryx

The zoo has different areas like Asia Woodland, Africa Safari and South American rainforest. Visitors will be able to get to see animals from all three of these places.

 

 

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/qatar/doha/attractions/a/poi-sig/361125

http://www.qatarliving.com/forum/welcome-qatar/posts/top-10-places-visit-doha-qatar

http://www.onlineqatar.com/attractions/al-thakhira-beach.aspx

http://www.onlineqatar.com/attractions/

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Posted by: Rasma R | April 3, 2017

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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Our armchair travels have taken us to Saudi Arabia which takes up most of the Arabian Peninsula and the Red Sea and Persian (Arabian) Gulf as coastlines. This is known as the birthplace of Islam and is home to the cities of Mecca and Medina.

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Riyadh the capital is the main financial hub and sits on a desert plateau. It has many amazing modern buildings that offer spectacular views of the city.

riy Masmak-Fort-Riyadh

Masmak Fortress is completely surrounded by sand and was built around 1865. This fort was the site of Ibn Saud’s 1902 raid at which time a spear was thrown at the main entrance door and the head of the spear is still lodged there by the force.

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Some of the highlights here include maps and interesting photos of Saudi Arabia from 1912 to 1937. These are displayed in galleries that have been converted from diwans or living rooms.

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Al Faisaliah Tower was designed by British architect Norman Foster and built in 2000. It is famous for its enormous glass globe made of 655 glass panels near the top. It has 44 floors including a five-star deluxe hotel and four exclusive restaurants, offices, apartments, the Sky shopping mall and an awesome viewing platform – Globe Experience. The needlepoint pinnacle has a crescent tip and rises 267m above the ground.

riy national museum

The National Museum is a state-of-the-art museum and one of the finest in the Middle East. It offers two floors of eight well-designed and informative galleries that give visitors a look into Arabian history, culture and art. You can see films in English through headphones that are shown on 180-degree screens. There are also great interactive displays.

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Riyadh Zoo is the largest zoo in Saudi Arabia which started in 1957. At first it was a small zoo that was home to animals that had been gifted to members of the Al Saud ruling clan. After renovation it reopened in 1987 and among its highlights i the Houbara bustard. This bird is almost extinct in the wild in Saudi Arabia. Opening hours vary with prayer times. Children can take mini train rides.

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The zoo is located in the heart of Malaz in Riyadh and has over 1500 animals from 40 different species. At the gates the flamingos will welcome you and are a great attraction. All of the animals are living in natural habitats.

riy zoo

You can see Bengal tigers which are also an endangered species native to India. At the Australian bush you can see kangaroos and emus.

riy souk

Owais Souq is an Arabian market that has many great flea-market stalls and you can buy anything from gold jewelry to beautiful fabrics. It’s a great place to bargain.

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Kingdom Center is a landmark tower in Riyadh and an amazing piece of modern architecture.

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It rises 302m high and its most distinctive feature is the steel-and-glass 300-ton Sky Bridge that connects the two towers. High speed elevators take you up to the 99th floor from where you can get spectacular views.

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Other important landmarks include the Clock Tower

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and the Water Tower.

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King Abdullah Malaz Park stretches for more than 318,000 square meters and is the largest park of its kind in the Kingdom. A 12-meter wide pedestrian pathway takes you around the lovely landscaped hills and greenery. Here you’ll find several children’s playgrounds, sport areas, specially shaded areas and a big restaurant. There is a spacious square overlooking the lake.

riy king park

The lake features the park’s main attraction as the sun goes down – dancing water fountains with colorful lights. There are benches scattered all through the park and you can even have a picnic if you like. Other facilities include an events center, VIP building and the park exploratory.

 

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/saudi-arabia/riyadh/attractions/a/poi-sig/361148

https://destinationksa.com/a-visit-to-king-abdullah-malaz-park-riyadh/

http://www.splendidarabia.com/destinations/riyadh-province/riyadh-national-zoo/

http://www.sauditourism.sa/en/Explore/Regions/Riyadh/Riyadh/Pages/r-4.aspx

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Posted by: Rasma R | March 30, 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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The impressive and modern capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi sits off of the mainland on an island in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. There is much to delight the eye here and is one of those cities where as you see one site you want to see so much more. So get comfortable and sit back in your armchairs and let’s begin the tour.

abu grand mosque

Set among lovely gardens and visible from every one of the bridges that join Abu Dhabi to the mainland is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It was the idea of the first president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed and is also his final resting place. This is an incredible mosque that can accommodate 41,000 worshipers and is among the few that is open to non’Muslims.

It was built of Macedonian marble and has become one of the most popular tourist sites in the city. The mosque combines Mameluke, Ottoman and Fatimid design elements. After 20 years of construction the mosque was finally opened in 2007. It is the biggest mosque in the UAE.

abu grand mosque prayer hall

The Prayer Hall features the world’s largest loomed carpet. Its medallion design with intricate arabesque motifs took 1200 craftsmen two year to complete.

Free 45 to 60 minute tours are available in English and Arabic. As you approach the entrance to the mosque you can see Sheikh Zayed’s mausoleum where prayers are continually recited by attendants. No photos are allowed here but other parts of the mosque can be photographed.

abu saluki

Arabian Saluki Center is the place where you can see these amazing dogs that originated in China. The saluki is thought to be one of the first breeds of dog to be domesticated. They are prized for their hunting skills and speed over distance. For centuries saluki’s have been man’s best friend to the Bedu. Many of these dogs are bred to race and according to the Guinness Book of Records, a saluki holds the record for four-legged speed clocked at 68.8km/h in 1996. Salukis are also prize winners and you can see these wonderful, shaggy-eared dogs in action by visiting the ten day Al Dhafra Festival. This breeding and training center is in the Falcon Hospital Complex.

abu falcon

The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is a working veterinary hospital for injured and ill falcons. There are guided tours available. You can get up close with these birds of prey in the wards and an on-site museum explains the history of falconry.

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You can even have the chance to take a photo with a falcon perched on your arm or you can feed one.

abu ferrari

Ferrari World is a theme park that brings the thrill of Formula One racing to Abu Dhabi. This is a must for thrill seekers. Children can test out their driving skills on the Junior GT track. You can thrill on the Flying Aces roller coaster; clocking speeds of 120km per hour on a 52-meter loop (the world’s tallest). Visitors can see a collection of Ferrari cars, take a Ferrari factory tour and learn more about this car.

abu corniche

The Abu Dhabi Corniche is a waterfront that always impresses with its white sand beaches and great promenade for strolling. It stretches the entire length of the northwest shore of the city. From the waterfront you can have iconic views of the high rise tower blocks lining the seafront. Here you can also find cycle path and landscaped gardens to walk in. On the public beaches are refreshment stands. During the day you can explore the various parks and at night enjoy the cafes along the waterfront.

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You’ll be amazed by the luxury hotel the Emirates Palace with its domed gatehouses and flying ramps. There are 114 domes and a 1.3km private beach. It has 1002 crystal chandeliers and 400 luxury rooms and suites. It also doubles as the city’s cultural hub. It hosts opera and renowned orchestras during the Abu Dhabi Classics concert season and film screenings during the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. In the Barakat Gallery you can see excellent fine art from ancient China, Egypt, Africa, Greece and Rome.

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In the foyer they serve the ever-popular afternoon high tea and as amazing as it might seem there is an ATM that dispenses gold bars.

abu masdar city center

Near the airport you’ll find Masdar City which is the world’s first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city powered completely by renewable energy. This is like a science community with a graduate-research university and companies, focusing on sustainability, clean tech and renewable energy. You can see some impressive architecture here.

abu masdar transport

You can ride on a pod-like driver-less Personal Rapid Transit or PRT vehicle. You can relax at the cafes and restaurants.

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Yas Island is one of Abu Dhabi’s top luxury hotel destinations. Here you can see stretches of sandy beaches. This is also home to the Yas Marina Circuit where the Abu Dhabi Formula One racing takes place every year.

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The iconic Qasr Al Hosn fort is featured on the back of the Dh1000 banknote. It is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi. It dates back to 1760 as a watchtower that safeguarded a freshwater well. It became the ancestral home of the ruling Al Nahyan family in 1793 and remained as a royal residence until 1966. The interior has been renovated and modernized and used as a museum. Here you can find an exhibit of photos, archaelogical finds, models and other objects charting the history of Abu Dhabi and its people.

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Corniche – Al Khalidiyah is a lovely beach for strolling, sunbathing and swimming. It is hard to believe that at one time this was a dhow-loading bay for cargo and passengers until th 1970s. Today the western end of this corniche offers the most facilities. Along the waterfront are parks, fountains, cycle tracks, walking paths and beaches. You’ll find plenty of benches and shady spots even exercise stations. For refreshments there are cafes.

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Emirates Park Zoo is well worth a visit especially if traveling with children. It is about thirty minutes from the city. Here you can see a variety of animals including rare white tigers, giraffes, elephants, a herd of zebra and a Siberian bear.

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There is also a primate section with lots of different monkeys and a flamingo park with a sea lion enclosure. Children love the petting zoo.

abu global market

Abu Dhabi Global Market is home to more than 40 international companies. All of them are clustered in this glass-and-steel monolith on Al Maryah Island right in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s new financial center.

The Galleria Mall at Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Here is also the Galleria Mall and a couple of five-star hotels. From the waterfront you can get spectacular views of the city skyline. Points of interest are the Cleveland Clinic with its catwalk podium

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and a suspension bridge the Sheikh Zayed Bridge.

abu maryah promenade

Al Maryah Island Promenade stretches for 5.4km long the western shore. This is the place for the lavish Christmas market and New Year’s fireworks. There is an assortment of bistros and cafes.

abu library

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Library has rare collections of Arabic calligraphy and copie of the Quran dating back to the 16th century. The collection is in the mosque’s minaret, giving great views over the magnificent domes and outlying islands.

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Miraj – The Museum offers visitors a look at lovely objects from around the Islamic world, including Persian carpets, calligraphy, ceramics and textiles. This is a private collection that also has some pieces for sale.

Lulu Island Development Plan; Abu Dhabi; United Arab Emirates; 2

Lulu Island is a magnificent man-made island with sandy beaches, date palms and dunes. It is just a short boat ride away from the marina on Breakwater.

abu sky tower

The Sky Tower is an observation tower that offers 360 degree panoramic views. At the top is the Colombiano Coffee House and Tiara a revolving restaurant.

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Khalifa Park is a large and leafy park that offers people different kinds of attractions. There is a football field and there are fountains, ponds and waterfalls. For children there’s an amusement park and a small train to take them around.

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Musical Fountains on Yas Island are enjoyed by most everyone especially at night when they are set to music.

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The Abu Dhabi Louvre was designed by Jean Nouvel. It was set in the shading of palm trees. It has a filigree dome with geometric openings meant to represent interlaced palm leaves, used in traditional roofing. The gaps are meant to create a shifting “rain of light” in the galleries that display world-class collections of paintings, sculpture and objects from antiquity to the present.

The artwork will be coming from the Louvre’s vast repositories and other loans from other leading French museums.

abu street

Street Sculpture five concrete monuments can be found on an traffic island between the World Trade Center and Etisalat Buildings. They are a date cover, incense burner, rosewater shaker, coffee pot and fort, symbolizing the traditions of hospitality and Bedouin culture.

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Capital Gate – looking skyward toward the southeast you’ll notice a 35 story, dramatic listing skyscraper. It holds the Guinness world record as the world’s most leaning building (18 degrees westward). It is home to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center and a Hyatt Hotel.

Dhows in harbor

Dhow Harbor is a great place to sit and watch the lovely dhows or traditional wooden cargo boats go by. You can watch fishers mend their nets, pile up lobster pots and unload fish. This is the spot where you can even imagine being in an small fishing village if you forget about Abu Dhabi’s very modern backdrop.

abu UAE pavilion

The UAE Pavilion is shaped like two parallel sand dunes. This is an award-winning building that was designed by Sir Norman Foster and partners. It was designed for the 2010 Shanghai Expo. It is used as an exhibition space for touring cultural shows. Every November it hosts the Abu Dhabi Contemporary Art Fair.

abu burj

Burj Mohammed bin Rashid is a 92 floor, 382m giant tower block that is part of the World Trade Center and has become an important landmark. It is the city’s tallest building and has an indoor terraced garden on the 90th floor. This is the tallest of two matching towers that look incredible when lit at night.

abu flagpole

UAE Flagpole is a giant 122m flagpole. The Emirate flag makes a great landmark. The small promenade beneath the pole is a great place for taking photos of the surrounding skyline.

abu aldar

Aldar HQ is a futuristic landmark building that is referred to as “The Coin” due to its distinctive penny-shaped architecture. It is the world’s first circular skyscraper and home to the modern design house Aldar, one of the largest property developers in the Emirates.

 

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/united-arab-emirates/abu-dhabi/attractions/a/poi-sig/361165

http://www.planetware.com/united-arab-emirates/abu-dhabi-uae-abu-abudab.htm

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