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Santiago, Chile Economy

Santiago, Chile Economy

Santiago is one of the “top” cities with international business opportunities and establishes an image of tranquility, cleanliness and quality of life for visitors. In Santiago the civic life of the country takes place, there is La Moneda (the government palace), the Plaza de Armas and important buildings of the judicial and executive power. With its museums and pedestrian promenades, the center is a spectacle. In the Providencia, Bellavista, Las Condes or Vitacura neighborhoods, commerce, gastronomy and a hectic nightlife come together. Despite all the cement typical of a metropolis, in Santiago there are green spaces of great value: the Metropolitan Park (Cerro Tupahue) visible from much of the city and you can climb to its summit in different ways, walking, cycling, car and in an old and renovated “funicular” elevator. And the walk through the vineyards in the middle of the city offer tastings of the best Chilean wines. The Cordillera of Los Andes towards the town of Pirque to meet nature and taste typical food, buy some souvenirs or stroll along the banks of the river. The greatest virtues of Santiago is that it is close to the ski centers and the port of Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and other summer resorts on the shores of the Pacific where the snow and the sea are within reach.


The economy of Santiago de Chile exhibits great activity throughout the city. There are certain areas where things related to finances are concentrated. The quality of life of the population is one of the best in the region: according to average income, it occupies fifth place in the ranking after Mexico City, Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The growth rate of the metropolis reaches a figure close to 4% per year. One of the factors that facilitate the boom of the economy is international tourism. The city symbolizes an attraction and is very visited by people of different nationalities, attracted by its natural beauties and by the rich historical and cultural heritage it boasts. The Chilean capital has a high economic development, one of the highest in Latin America. The city is the gateway to the national territory thanks to the presence of the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport and the Los Libertadores trans-Andean pass, these accesses are used by tourists who visit the country. In addition, tourists staying in the sector have modern hotels of international standard. The area where the highest percentage of the economy of Santiago de Chile is concentrated is Las Condes, there are important financial sectors in Vitacura and Lo Barnechea. The distinguished complexes have rooms for holding meetings, exhibitions and various activities related to the economy and business. Generally, these ceremonies emulate the North American or European style: formality is made explicit in the attendees’ clothing and in the use of optimal language when explaining certain issues. The economy and business of Santiago de Chile define part of the social life of the country’s capital.

Heritage and monuments

Within the metropolitan area there are 174 heritage sites under the custody of the Council of National Monuments, among which are archaeological, architectural and historical monuments, as well as neighborhoods and typical areas. Of these, 93 are within the commune of Santiago, considered the historic center of the city. Although no Santiago monument has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, the following are proposed by the Chilean government:

  • the Inca sanctuary of Cerro El Plomo,
  • the church and convent of San Francisco
  • the palace of La Moneda.

In the center of the city there are buildings built during the Spanish domination for the most part, they correspond to Catholic temples, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Church of San Francisco or the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Other buildings of the time are the Plaza de Armas, the headquarters of the Royal Court, the Central Post Office or the Casa Colorada. During the nineteenth century new architectural works began to be erected in the capital of the young republic. The aristocracy built palaces for residential use in the República neighborhood. Other structures with artistic currents from Europe are added, such as the Club Hípico de Santiago, the central houses of the University of Chile and the Catholic University, the Central Station and the Mapocho Station, the Central Market, the National Library, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Paris-London neighborhood, among others. Various green areas in the city contain in their interior and in their surroundings various heritage sites such as Cerro Santa Lucía, the sanctuary of the Virgin Mary at the top of Cerro Tupahue, the lavish crypts of the General Cemetery of Santiago, the Forest Park, Parque O’Higgins and Quinta Normal.

Museums and Libraries

Santiago is home to a large number of museums of different types, which occupy the old buildings of colonial origin, such as the National Historical Museum, which is located in the Palacio de la Real Audiencia. The Casa Colorada houses the Santiago Museum, while the Colonial Museum is installed in the San Francisco church and the Pre-Columbian Art Museum occupies part of the old Customs Palace. The Museum of Fine Arts, established in 1947 the Museum of Contemporary Art, dependent on the Faculty of Arts of the University of Chile.

The Quinta Normal Park also has museums, among which are Natural History, the Artequin Museum, the Science and Technology Museum and the Railway Museum. In other sectors of the city there are the Aeronautical Museum in Cerrillos, the Tajamares Museum in Providencia and the Mirador Interactive Museum in La Granja. The latter, inaugurated in 2000, has been visited by more than 2.8 million attendees, making it the busiest museum in the entire country. As for public libraries, the most important is the National Library located in the center of Santiago. Its origins date back to 1813, which houses the headquarters of the National Archive. In order to provide more to the population, incorporate new technologies and complement the services provided by municipal libraries and the National Library.

Santiago, Chile Economy

Denmark Medieval Sculpture and Painting

Denmark Medieval Sculpture and Painting


The most interesting cases of sculpture in Denmark consist of baptismal fonts, documented by numerous examples. In Scania, for example. in Löderup and Tryde, some of them of monumental dimensions are preserved, adorned with complex theological representations among which, as in other examples of Jutland, the lion motif is extremely widespread, also present in the decoration of the portals. Scania is affected by the model of the Lund cathedral, while in Jutland three column groups can be identified, influenced by the cathedrals of Ribe, Viborg and Schleswig. The most important examples of Danish Romanesque sculpture are constituted by the nine antependia in gilded bronze, two of which preserved in the churches of Stadil and Sahl (Jutland), one in Lyngsjö (Scania), another in Nuremberg (Germanisches Nationalmus.) and the other five in Copenhagen (Nationalmus.). The dating of these works oscillates between 1140 ca. (altar of Lisbjerg; Copenhagen, Nationalmus.) and the first decades of the 13th century (altar of the church of Stadil). Of the same period is a series of crucifixes, such as eg. those of Aaby and Tirstrup, of the century. 12 ° (Copenhagen, Nationalmus.), Which present the particular iconography of the crowned Christ. The imposing crucifix (1225) of the choir of the Roskilde cathedral (preserved in a fragmentary state in Copenhagen, Nationalmus.), Which was especially schooling in the eastern Danish area, has a strong French inspiration; an excellent example is the large ivory crucifix from Herlufsholm Abbey, probably produced in Roskilde. use of brick, architectural decoration disappeared and for the rest of the Middle Ages the production of stone sculptures was rather limited. The major examples of Gothic sculpture are from the fourteenth century. In the church of the Cistercian complex of Sorö are preserved the funerary monuments of the Danish royals, including the sarcophagi of Christopher II (died in 1332), of Queen Eufemia (died in 1331) and of his son Valdemaro Atterdag (died in 1375), the decoration of which however has practically disappeared; in the cathedral of Roskilde there is the funerary monument of his daughter, Queen Margaret (d. 1412), which has alabaster decorations. The decoration of the choir stalls of Lund Cathedral, where Stories from the Old Testament, Prophets and Months are also depicted in the fourteenth century.


The oldest panel paintings are represented by figures of saints in trilobate frames that decorated the altarpiece of the monastery of Lögum, from c. 1325. (Copenhagen, Nationalmus.). Among the works of the late Gothic period, the altarpiece of the church of Nöddebo (Sjaelland), depicting a Crucifixion with the patrons, and another, much restored, coming from the Carmelite convent of Helsingör (Copenhagen, Nationalmus.), Where it is represented the Last Judgment together with the two reigning patrons, Christian II and Elizabeth. Of the murals – in addition to the paintings preserved in the churches of the Jutland region, from the first half of the century. 12th, such as those of Örreslev, Tamdrup and Ferring – the extensive decoration of the choir of the church of Raasted (Jutland), which constitutes the the most complete and important example of Scandinavian Romanesque painting, where the cycles of the Infancy and the Passion of Christ are depicted and, on the triumphal arch, the Traditio legis and together with the apostles, the Virgin and St. Michael slaying the dragon. Some characters, which denounce the presence of primitive elements of Gothic painting, suggest a dating towards the end of the 12th century for this cycle. The decoration of the church of the royal foundation of Vä (Scania) dates back a few decades earlier (c. 1170), which presents Christ in majesty in the apse basin surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists and, in the barrel vault of the choir, twenty-four medallions inside which are represented the celestial choirs singing the Te Deum. The particular quality level and the commissioning of the church, linked to Valdemaro I.

Denmark Painting

Palestine Liberation Organization

Palestine Liberation Organization

Palestine Liberation Organization, English Palestine Liberation Organization [ pæləsta ɪ n l ɪ bə re ɪ ʃ n ɔ ː gəna ɪ ze ɪ ʃ n], abbreviation PLO, 28 5./1. 6. Political and military umbrella organization founded in Cairo in 1964 for the Arab liberation movements fighting for an independent Arab state of Palestine, 1969–2004 by J. Arafat(Headquarters since 1994 in Gaza, official seat in Ramallah [Muqata]). Includes most Palestinian refugee and guerrilla organizations; Al Fatah has formed the core since 1968 (joining the PLO). One of the radical sub-groups is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, English abbreviation PFLP, founded in 1967, led by G. Habasch from 1967 to April 2000, later branched further. Since the summit conference of the Arab League in Rabat (October 26-30, 1974) recognized by all Arab states as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, admitted to the UN General Assembly (observer status) since November 1974, the PLO became a full member of the 1976 Arab League. The highest parliamentary body of the PLO is the Palestinian National Council (PNC). The “government” is the executive committee, which Arafat took over as chairman in 1969 and held until his death on November 11, 2004. Immediately thereafter, the Executive Committee appointed M. Abbas to the chairman. The preamble to the PLO charter of 1964 codified (since 1968) the abolition of the state of Israel and the claim of the Palestinians to all of former Palestine; after the declaration of renunciation as part of the Oslo peace process (September 1993), these passages were deleted on April 25, 1996 (finally in 1998 after the Wye II Agreement).

History: From 1948/49 onwards, Palestinian-Arab underground fighters (“Fedayeen”) carried out military operations against Israel from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Under the leadership of Ahmed Schukeiri (* 1908, † 1980), the PLO was constituted in 1964, funded by v. a. by Egyptian President G. Abd el-Nasser. After the Six-Day War of June 1967, in which Israel had occupied the remaining parts of Palestine on the one hand, and in which it also became clear that the liberation of Palestine as a task for the whole of Arabia had failed, the PLO shifted its political and military focus to Jordan, where it developed into a state in the state and won from 1968 under the leadership of the chairman of its member organization Al-Fatah,J. Arafat, greater political weight in the Middle East conflict. Controversies within the PLO repeatedly called the cohesion into question. After the expulsion from Jordan (“Black September” 1970), the PLO shifted its organizational focus to Beirut; Using terrorist means, it intensified its activities beyond the Arab region (Black September). Until 1974, the PLO saw the armed struggle for its own state as a primarily Palestinian task. Arafats marks a turning point in this policy first speech to the UN General Assembly on November 13, 1974, in which he presented a new dual strategy. At that time the Palestinian National Council had considered the possibility of a partial state regulation. After the PLO was expelled from Beirut by Israel in the Lebanon campaign (June 1982), the PLO moved its bases to eight Arab countries and its headquarters to Tunis (until 1993/94). In the Intifada that began on December 8, 1987it had to compete for leadership role with the Islamist organizations Hamas and Jihad Islami, which are more popular in the occupied territories. The Palestinian National Council proclaimed the State of Palestine in Algiers on November 15, 1988 and indirectly recognized Israel’s right to exist. This intensified the conflict with the Islamist groups in the occupied territories, but Arafat also found international support for the PLO’s change of attitude. Even the US subsequently recommended that Israel involve the PLO in peace talks, which Israel continued to reject. Arafat’s support for S. Husain the 2nd Gulf War in 1991 led to its international political isolation. Since the vital financial contributions v. a. In the absence of Saudi Arabia, the PLO was on the verge of ruin. In order to avoid this and to ensure that the PLO was the legitimate representative of the interests of the Palestinians, the leadership group around Arafat in 1993 agreed to the not undisputed compromise with Israel, both inside and outside the PLO.

After secret negotiations in Oslo, from August / September 1993 Israel and the PLO came to mutual recognition and on September 13, 1993 in Washington a framework plan for the long-term realization of the right of self-determination of the Palestinians (“Gaza-Jericho Agreement”) was adopted. On October 12, 1993, the PLO Central Council approved the agreement and appointed Arafat Chairman of the Palestinian (National) Authority, also known as the National Authority, in Gaza and Jericho. As part of the Taba Agreement of 1995, the PLO / Al-Fatah won the first elections to the Palestinian (autonomous or legislative) council in the autonomous areas on January 20, 1996 (50 of the 88 seats in the autonomous council) ; at the same time Arafat became elected President (“Rais”) of the Palestinian Authority (Autonomous or Legislative), in accordance with the Constitution of the Autonomous Areas of February 1994 for the transitional period up to the state proclamation planned for May 4, 1999. Since this was not possible until Arafat’s death in November 2004, he remained in office until then. The final status negotiations originally scheduled for 1996, which were supposed to lead to the state proclamation, had been refused by the Israeli government under B. Netanyahu. After the change of government to E. Barakon May 17, 1999, Israel again showed its readiness to negotiate with the PLO about the final status. On February 15, 2000 the PLO reached an agreement with the Vatican on an internationally guaranteed statute for Jerusalem. At the beginning of July 2000, the Central Council of the PLO authorized Arafat to proclaim a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank on September 13, 2000 unilaterally, if necessary after an agreement in principle with Israel had been reached. This unilateral state proclamation was then omitted to resolve the one at the Middle East Summit in Camp David (July 11-25, 2000; Barak and Arafat, mediator: B. Clinton) not to let an agreement on a final status contract that has not been reached finally fail. A new unilateral deadline until November 2000 was dropped for the same reason and because of the second or “Al-Aksa Intifada” that broke out at the end of September (sponsors in the early days mainly young people of Al-Fatah: Tanzim militias). After the renewed escalation in spring 2001, Israel declared the PLO and the Palestinian Authority to be jointly responsible for the terror in early December 2001. On December 13, 2001, the Israeli Prime Minister A. Sharon Arafat, from now on regarded as “no longer relevant”, under house arrest, where he remained almost uninterrupted until his death. In the spring of 2002, the Israeli government accused the EU of having helped finance the PLO’s violent resistance against the Israeli occupation with a substantial part of its funds going to the Palestinian Authority.

The question of Arafat’s successor at the head of the PLO was initially open. The rivals included v. a. Former comrades-in- arms of Arafat from exile who held important ministerial posts (above all Arafat’s former PLO general secretary M. Abbas, known as “Abu Mazen”, brief Palestinian prime minister from spring to autumn 2003), as well as younger leaders of the Tanzim militias involved in the Intifada have acquired social prestige. Abbas soon got into an internal power struggle with Arafat and resigned as Prime Minister in September 2003 because Arafat withheld control of the security services from him. According to Arafats Abbas died in November 2004 and took over the political leadership of both the PLO and the Palestinians (January 2005 election as President of the Autonomous Areas). In the second elections to the Autonomous Council on January 25, 2006, Al-Fatah only won a third of the seats, while Hamas received an absolute majority. This victory by the Islamists was also seen as a reaction of the middle class to the high level of corruption under Fatah rule. After consultation between Abbas and the Hamas leadership, the latter was able to determine the future prime minister (I. Hanija, in office from March 2006). Abbas then endeavored to form a unity government, which, however, could only be reached after a few setbacks at the beginning of February 2007 (confirmed by parliament on March 17, 2007 in separate sessions in Gaza and Ramallah and sworn in by Abbas) broke up after a civil war-like power struggle between Fatah and Hamas from May 2007 and the complete takeover of power in the Gaza Strip by Hamas in mid-June 2007. Abbas then appointed Salam Fayyad (* 1952) Prime Minister, but his de facto authority was limited to the West Bank. At the beginning of August 2009, a Fatah general congress took place for the first time in 20 years. He confirmed in an open vote Abbas headed it by an overwhelming majority and elected 18 members of the Central Committee and 80 members of the Revolutionary Council. In a policy paper, the delegates called for negotiations with the aim of a “just peace”, but also emphasized the “right to resist by all means” against Israel. In the period that followed, efforts to achieve a reconciliation with Hamas were in the foreground, but initially without resounding success. Salam Fayyad resigned in 2013 after tensions with Abbas. He was succeeded by Rami Hamdallah (* 1958). In 2014, Hamas and Al-Fatah were able to agree again on the formation of a Palestinian unity government and the holding of elections.

Palestine Liberation Organization

Dresden, Germany History

Dresden, Germany History

Dresden goes back to the Slavic village Drezdzany (“Settlers at the Forest”) located at an old Elbe crossing. The Elbe valley area, which has been Slavically populated since the 7th century, appeared in 1004 as the Sorbian residential district Nisan (i); after 968 part of the later so-called Mark Meißen, it came in 1144 to the Wettin margraves of Meißen, who in the course of the German settlement in the east had a castle built around 1150 on the site of the later (from 1530) castle. To the south of it, in the third quarter of the 12th century, following an older merchant settlement, the city of Dresden was laid out with a regular floor plan (first mentioned in 1206, named Civitas in 1216); the city wall (attested in 1299) enclosed the castle, but not an older Sorbian market settlement (so-called old Dresden). Together with the earlier Sorbian settlement of Altendresden, known as Nisan until 1370, on the right bank of the Elbe (municipal law 1403; incorporated as New Dresden in 1550), Dresden already had 5,900 residents in 1489.

As the residence of the Albertine line of the Wettins (1485–1918) and the capital of the Electorate of Saxony (from 1547), Dresden developed into a world-famous cultural center. After 1539 the Reformation prevailed in Dresden, which remained a stronghold of the strictly Lutheran creed even when the Albertine princely house became Catholic again in 1697 (for the Polish royal crown). Developed into a Renaissance residence under Moritz von Sachsen (1541–53), the economy and culture of the city were developed in particular by Elector August (1553–86) promoted; he created the Kunstkammer (1560) and a book and map collection, the predecessor of the Saxon State Library (1556). As the second oldest musical institution in Dresden after the Dresden Kreuzchor, which was created in the first half of the 13th century, the Hofkapelle was founded in 1548, the forerunner of the Staatskapelle Dresden. The court also sponsored the musical theater, which was shaped by Italian opera (first opera house in 1666).

Under August II the Strong (1694–1733), and August III. (1733–63) Dresden was a place of brisk building activity and a place of splendid court life (so-called Augustan age); at that time the art collections were expanded (porcelain collection 1720, green vault 1721, picture gallery 1722, antique collection 1723, copper engraving cabinet 1728). Altendresden, which fell victim to a fire in 1685, was rebuilt as Neustadt (“New Royal City”, name since 1732). During the Seven Years’ War (1756–63), the Prussian troops that occupied Dresden from 1756–59 caused great damage through arson; In 1760, King Friedrich II of Prussia was looking for a place to recapture the lost fortress in vain under severe destruction.

In the Peace of Dresden (December 25, 1745), which ended the 2nd Silesian War, Prussia was confirmed the possession of Silesia, Saxony had to pay high war compensation and waived Silesian claims. – On the 26./27. 8. In 1813, a few weeks before the Battle of Leipzig, the French under Napoleon I defeated the main army of the allies near Dresden (last victory on German soil).

In the 17th century Bohemian religious refugees and in the 19th century Polish emigrants found refuge in Dresden. In the course of the revolutions of 1830 and 1848/49, there was also political unrest in Dresden; In 1849 the Dresden May Uprising formed the starting point of the imperial constitution campaign. In the second half of the 19th century (opening of the first German long-distance railway between Leipzig and Dresden in 1839), Dresden developed into a transport hub and industrial center; the industrial enterprises spread mostly in the suburbs. In the further course of the 19th century, Dresden, a royal residence since 1806, grew rapidly. The incorporation of suburbs and the construction of typical working-class quarters associated with industrialization caused the population to rise rapidly (1699: 21,000, 1727: 46,000 and 1755: 63,000) (1834: 74,000, 1852: 100,000 [big city], 1890: 277,000). After the incorporation of 65 villages (1892) Dresden (1900) had 396,000 residents; In 1933, after the incorporation of a further 23 towns (1921), it had the highest population of 649,300.

Dresden has been able to maintain its reputation as a cultural center since the 18th century. Excellent teachers were appointed to the art academy, which was founded in 1764. Visual artists (P. O. RungeC. D. Friedrich), poets and writers (H. von KleistE. T. A. HoffmannL. TieckA. H. Müller, the Schlegel brothers) came together here in the spirit of Romanticism, namely in the circle of the doctor and philosopher CG Carus. Experienced opera in the 19th century (C. M. von WeberR. Wagner), Concert and theater a cultivation that was continued in the first decades of the 20th century. Dresden’s reputation as a cultural center was also promoted by the circles around the »Kunstwart« (1887) and the »Dürerbund« (1902), the painter secession »Die Brücke« founded in 1905, the Hellerau reform efforts and the dance art of Mary Wigman and Gret Palucca.

On 13./14. 2. In 1945, Dresden, which was overcrowded with an additional 200,000 Silesian refugees (according to recent research; previous figures of up to 700,000 have now been considered too high) as well as many forced laborers and soldiers, was heavily destroyed by American and British bomber units (»Operation Donnerschlag «). 772 British bombers dropped 1,477.7 t of mines and high-explosive bombs and 1,181.8 t of incendiary bombs in two night raids. The American bomber associations (311 “Flying Fortresses”) dropped 3,767.1 t of mines and high-explosive bombs and 643.1 t of incendiary bombs in the following six day-to-day attacks. The area of ​​total destruction was 12 km 2, together with the area of ​​severe damage 15 km 2. Information on the number of victims varies greatly. The official estimates for 1945 initially assumed 25,000 fatalities (final report in mid-March) and later (at the end of March) Nazi propaganda indicated 250,000 deaths for ideological reasons. Due to a suspected number of unrecovered victims, it became customary to state the minimum number of 35,000 victims, which numerous publications took over by 2005. At the end of March 2005, a commission of historians set up by the city of Dresden confirmed the number of around 25,000 deaths as the most reliable number of victims. On May 8, 1945, Dresden was captured by Soviet troops.

Dresden was 1918–45, 1946–52 and has been the state capital of Saxony since 1990; 1952–90 it was the capital of the GDR district of the same name. In 1950 10 more places were incorporated, including Hellerau, Klotzsche, Niedersedlitz and Zschachwitz.

The peaceful candle demonstration by over 7,000 people on February 13, 1982 in front of the ruins of the Frauenkirche in Dresden was the first non-state mass rally in the GDR. In October 1989 Dresden was, after initially civil war-like conditions on 4th / 5th. 10., one of the great arenas of the peaceful revolution in the GDR (German history).

Dresden – the destruction in the air war in 1945

Dresden as a warning: the destruction in the air war in 1945

Gerhart Hauptmann’s complaint about the destruction of a large cultural site *

Anyone who has forgotten how to cry will learn it again when Dresden went down. This cheerful morning star of youth has shone the world so far. I know that there are enough good spirits in England and America who were no stranger to the divine light of the Sistine Madonna and who weep deeply struck by the extinction of this star.

And I personally experienced the fall of Dresden under the Sodom and Gomorrah hells of the English and American planes. When I insert the word “experienced” it is still a miracle to me. I do not take myself seriously enough to believe that fate has expressly reserved this horror for me at this point in what is almost the most dear part of my world.

I stand at the exit gate of life and envy all my dead comrades who were spared this experience.

I cry. Don’t bother with the word “weep”: the greatest heroes of antiquity, including Pericles and others, were not ashamed of it.

From Dresden, from his deliciously even artistry in music and words, wonderful rivers flowed through the world, and England and America also drunk thirstily from it.

Did you forget that?

I am almost eighty-three years old and stand before God with a legacy that is unfortunately powerless and only comes from the heart: it is the request that God love, purify and clarify people more for their salvation than before.

*) The text was written in March 1945 and was first published on April 6, 1946. – G. Hauptmann, first married to a woman from Dresden from 1885–1904, stayed in Dresden for the last time from February 5 to March 21, 1945; he experienced the bombing and destruction of the city in the basement of a sanatorium in Oberloschwitz, where his second wife was being treated.

Hauptmann: Dresden, in: the same: Complete works, edited by H.-E. Hass, Volume 11: Post-traced works, fragments (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1996), page 1205 f.

Dresden, Germany History

Costa Rica – World of Birds

Costa Rica – World of Birds

When the land bridge between North and South America formed millions of years ago, the animal world literally exploded. Probably no other country in the world has such a high biodiversity in such a small area as the Central American Costa Rica. In addition to over a hundred different species of amphibians and reptiles, the world of birds is certainly one of the most flashy and colorful. In Costa Rica you experience a real bombardment of colorful feathers, huge super beaks and grandiose chants.
Reason enough for us, here in our top 10 ranking, to introduce our favorite birds.

Costa Rica’s birds – 10th place: Sulfur mask tyrant

No sooner have you arrived in Costa Rica than you are greeted by the distinctive song of the sulfur masked tyrant. In English it was named after its reputation that makes it unmistakable: Kiskadee.
If you want to watch the bird, you should search the power lines. The Kiskadee also likes to poke fruit from the plate if he feels he is not being watched.

Costa Rica’s birds – # 9: Chachalaca

The most colorful representatives of the Costa Rican birds did not make it to number nine, but certainly the most entertaining ones. Long before you can see them, their shrill calls indicate their existence. When the sociable hens emerge from the undergrowth, you think you are in Jurassic Park. They look like little Archeopteryx and mostly the brown birds have just nonsense on their minds. Therefore, the Chachalacas, as they are also called, deserve to be in 9th position.

Costa Rica’s birds – 8th place: Naschvogel

Definitely one of the most dazzling phenomena that Costa Rica’s tropics have to offer are the birds of sweet tooth. With their hopelessly lavish color scheme, the small, colorful birds definitely not only cast a spell on ornithologists. Many nature enthusiasts discovered their love for ornithology through them. Our blue miracle: A worthy rank 8.

Costa Rica’s birds – 7th place: frigate bird

We briefly leave the dense forests and go to the coast of Costa Rica. Because this is where our next favorite bird is native: the frigate bird. Its long, pointed wings make it unmistakable. Although it feeds exclusively on fish, the frigate bird cannot swim. Because he specializes in chasing other seabirds until they choke the fish out for them. This gave the extremely fast and agile birds the name “pirates of the skies”. And something else special: During courtship time, the males inflate their red throat pouch, which can then easily reach the size of a football.

Costa Rica’s birds – 6th place: Montezuma-fronted bird

The Montezuma- fronted bird, or Oropendula, made it to our number 6. Like many other birds, you hear the oropendula before you see it. Its exotic and mystical sounding calls provide that real jungle feeling. It is always worth looking for the Montezuma-fronted bird, because in addition to its beautiful appearance, its courtship behavior is extremely interesting: While the male calls, he holds on to the branch and plopps down like a wet sack. Usually the bird repeats the whole thing about ten times. Really very extraordinary and therefore our deserved number 6.

Costa Rica’s birds – 5th place: Macaw

No other animal embodies more Caribbean and tropical feeling than the macaw. Hardly any pirate film can do without the colorful, feathered character animal. If you want to see two different species of macaws in the wild, Costa Rica is the place for you. Almost 30 years ago on the verge of extinction, the strict protection of these birds and various reintroduction programs have paid off. Today more and more of the colorful birds are flying around. On the Pacific coast, where many almond trees grow, the scarlet macaws are easy to see. The rarer Great Soldier Macaws are at home further inland.

Costa Rica’s birds – 4th place: harpy

Sharp claws, a head of feathers and the dream of every ornithologist: the harpy ! It is one of the largest and strongest birds of prey in the world. His hunting grounds are the dense forests, and sloths and monkeys are the main prey. He can spot them from a great distance before whizzing through the dense branches as fast as an arrow and precisely to kill them. The harpy lives very hidden, even some local guides have never seen the animal. Nevertheless: In the Manuel Antonio National Park the sightings are increasing. So keep your eyes open.

Costa Rica’s birds – 3rd place: Toucan

With its huge beak and colorful plumage, the toucan is one of the stars in the Costa Rican rainforest. The birds come in different types. The most beautiful of the toucans is probably the fishing toucan, or rainbow toucan. From yellow to green and red to blue – the large-billed bird calls all colors its own. In addition to the provocative appearance, the calls of the toucans are also unmistakable. There is little better than watching the colorful hustle and bustle of the toucans over a cup of coffee in the morning as they feast on fruit and other delicacies.

Costa Rica’s birds – 2nd place: Quetzal

The well-deserved silver medal in our top ten of Costa Rica’s birds goes to the Quetzal. The home of the Quetzal are the cloud forests of Costa Rica, where it usually leads a life in secrecy. In the morning, when it flies a little deeper into the valley, where wild avocado trees grow, you have a good chance of seeing the colorful bird. During courtship the male gets a green tail over a meter long. Its belly is bright red and the beak shines a wonderful yellow. The quetzal : a mystical bird that has to be seen!

Costa Rica’s birds – 1st place: hummingbird

The gold medal of the most beautiful birds in Costa Rica, deserves the shining jewels of the rainforest. No other bird is more fascinating in so many ways than the colorful hummingbird. The little bird’s heart beats up to 500 times per minute. The hummingbird’s special wingbeat allows it to even fly backwards. 54 different species of hummingbirds live in Costa Rica. Most of the lively birds can be found in the highlands. It is always worthwhile to sit down next to a flowering bush and watch the colorful hustle and bustle of the little birds. When the sun shines, their brightly colored feathers shine in all sorts of colors. Definitely our winners!

Of course, we don’t want to ignore the rest of the approximately 900 bird species that Costa Rica has to offer. In no other comparable country live more different birds. On our trips, you can discover the colorful jewels of the rainforest. Our guides are looking forward to showing you.

Costa Rica - World of Birds

Visit Worth Seeing Cities in United Arab Emirates

Visit Worth Seeing Cities in United Arab Emirates

Here you will find study trips and round trips through the metropolises of the United Arab Emirates


Visit Dubai as part of a tour or city break. The sightseeing program includes skyscrapers, spectacular amusement parks and luxury hotels, such as the world-famous Burj al Arab, Emirates Tower, Almas Tower, Burj Dubai, Dubai World Trade Center, Dubai Zoo, Wild Wadi Water Park, Wonderland, and much more Dubai offers other tourist attractions such as the Old Town District (Bastakiya), the Great Mosque, the Dubai Museum, the Museum Village – Heritage Village, the Jumeirah Mosque and the souks. Enjoy wonderful days on a city trip in the city of the future – Dubai!


Island for leisure and luxury

At times the magic of the Orient can still be felt. Even in a country where luxury is obviously a matter of course and where the hotels see themselves as comfortable oases for the senses. The United Arab Emirates are something of a growth machine – a dream in the desert sands. But there is also the somewhat different Abu Dhabi. It is on the doorstep of the metropolis, embraced by the warm waves of the Persian Arabian Gulf: the island of Saadiyat.

On the doorstep of Abu Dhabi

The water taxi only has to cover half a kilometer from the port of Abu Dhabi. After five hundred meters, the visitor to Saadiyat enters an island that is as natural as it is artificial. It is 27 square kilometers in size, and it was not only created by heaped sand, but here there was still a mangrove belt on the coast several years ago. But the immediate vicinity of the power center of Abu Dhabi meant that Saadiyat changed face completely within a very short time. Today the small island presents itself as a refuge for leisure, luxurious well-being and of course for financial transactions of all kinds.

Cultural hotspot for Arabia

Manarat Al Saadiyat – Place of Enlightenment! Saadiyat’s planners gave the impressive visitor center this name. Among other things, the vision of a cultural hotspot in the Arab world is presented here. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum and the Zayed National Museum are to be built there. For this purpose, the pavilion that the United Arab Emirates built for the 2010 World Exhibition in Shanghai was dismantled. It should soon be taking up exhibitions and inviting people to all kinds of events.

Turtles as remnants of nature

World-class golfer Gary Player was the inspiration behind the design of the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, which is bordered by the island’s sandy beaches. There are already two five-star resorts: St. Regis and Park Hyatt. But a little bit of nature has remained: the hawksbill turtles still lay their eggs on the nine-kilometer-long beach.


The “Corniche” promenade in Abu Dhabi, the capital of both the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates, runs directly on the Persian Gulf and is a special attraction. It is located in the northwestern part of the city, is about eight kilometers long and leads in an arch from the Emirates Palace Hotel and from the five Etihad Towers to the northeast to the Heritage Park near the Al Mina fish market and the Mina Zayed harbor. Opposite the Corniche is the elongated island of Al Lulu.

There are several ways to explore the Corniche: Visitors can take a taxi and marvel at the imposing tall buildings that house elegant hotels, banks and shopping centers. Those who prefer to be active themselves should avoid the midday and afternoon heat. Only when it cools down is the Corniche populated by walkers, skaters, runners and cyclists, for whom a separate area is provided. The Corniche is very popular with the residents of Abu Dhabi – especially in the evenings and on the weekend, which lasts from Friday to Saturday. The numerous parks, cafés, restaurants and shops along the boulevard are then well attended.

The “Corniche Beach” is the biggest attraction. In the summer months the water temperature is 30 to 32 degrees, the water is clean and the blue flag is blowing. The artificially raised and wide beach is four kilometers long, it starts at the Hilton Beach Club and ends near Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street. Much of it is open to the public, some sections are reserved for families and couples. Single men are denied entry here, but they are welcome on Al Sahil Beach and in all public sectors. Appropriate swimwear is essential, kisses and tender touches are not welcome, and it is forbidden to bring alcohol.

Visit Worth Seeing Cities in United Arab Emirates

Iceland Landmarks

Iceland Landmarks

Thingvellir National Park

Breathtaking nature and a lot of history

The heart of the Icelandic nation has been beating here for over a millennium

Thingvellir National Park, founded in 1928 and now 237 km² in size, is located on the north bank of the 80 km² lake Þingvallavatn in the area of ​​the two municipalities Bláskógabyggð and Grímsnes og Grafningur in the capital area (“Höfuðborgarsvæðið”) around Reykjavík in southwest Iceland.

Translated into German, the Icelandic name is roughly “level of the people’s assembly”, which already points to the historical significance of the place. In fact, not far from the Almannagjá Gorge, after the conquest of the island by mainly Norwegian Vikings in the middle of the 10th century, the chiefs met and gathered three times a year to give advice. The intersection of the strategically most important equestrian trails at the time was easily accessible from all regions populated at the time. As “Alþing” this regular and worldwide one of the oldest parliamentary meetings existed until 1798 and the dissolution by the Danish occupiers.

A short dive in the cold clear water between America and Eurasia

The Thingvellir area owes its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004 to the two historically traditional and nationally significant dates of the acceptance of Christianity in Iceland in 1000 and the proclamation of the Republic in June 1944. In the summer of 1994, numerous ceremonies for the 50th anniversary took place here the founding of the state. Weathered and overgrown walls on the edge of the former meeting place are architectural witnesses of the medieval gatherings. A trip to the national park is also worthwhile for holidaymakers interested in geology and geological history, because it is located in the western rift zone and is surrounded by the four active volcanic systems Hengill and Hrómundartindur as well as Hrafnabjörg and Prestahnúkur.

Marvel at big fish and golden destinations not far from Reykjavík

The extensive Þingvallavatn lake is also known to be extremely rich in fish, the dominant species of trout and char in the water attract numerous anglers. A visit to the national park and its scenic surroundings can be easily combined with a round trip on the approximately 300 kilometer long holiday road “Gullni hringurinn” (Golden Tour) to many attractions in the south and southwest of Iceland.

Vatnajokull National Park

Iceland is famous for its breathtaking landscapes. The Scandinavian country has long been more than an insider tip, especially for nature lovers and adventure vacationers. A real must for visitors to Iceland is Vatnajökull National Park. After all, some of Iceland’s greatest natural wonders can be admired here in one of the largest national parks in Europe. In total, the park covers an area of ​​almost 14,000 square kilometers. So you should plan a lot of time when visiting the Vatnajökull National Park, which was founded in June 2008 and is characterized by an impressive variety of landscapes.

Fascinating sights: waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers

In the north is Dettifoss, one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in Europe. Another popular tourist magnet within the Vatnajökull National Park is the Askja central volcano, which is the center of the approximately 200-kilometer-long volcanic system of the same name. In the south, the Vatnajökull glacier, which gave the national park its name, casts its spell over numerous locals and tourists from all over the world every day. Near the glacier, which covers more than 8,000 square kilometers, is the Morsárfoss, the highest waterfall in the country, which is also a popular attraction. If you want to experience an impressive flora and fauna, you should look around in the east of the national park.

Geosea geothermal bath

With a breathtaking view of the ocean, the Geosea geothermal bath in Húsavik on the north coast of Iceland offers a very special and unforgettable bathing experience. With a little luck, visitors to this seaside resort even have the fantastic opportunity to watch whales in the sea. The geothermal bath is about 90 km away from the city of Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland. According to the Icelandic Tourist Office, adults pay 4300 kroner to enter, which is the equivalent of around € 32. For children under 16 years of age, the entrance fee is 1600 crowns. The entire geothermal system is heated by natural geothermal energy. Visitors have the choice between 3 pools, modern and stylish bathing in the warm thermal water is a treat for body, mind and soul.

Relaxation with a fantastic view of the Skyrim mountain ranges

So if you are traveling in the north-east of Iceland, Geosea should not be missed. The Geosea Bath is uniquely located on a cliff and the pleasantly warm water temperature is around 38 ° C. With a view of the bay of Skj lfanda and with mountains and pleasant music in the background, the relaxation experience for adults and children is absolutely fantastic. The well-equipped changing rooms of the thermal bath are equipped with spacious lockers as well as shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. The associated building in a fantastic design is well camouflaged from the outside in the grass and was built directly into the slope. With a direct view of wildlife, sea and mountains, a visit to the Geosea geothermal bath offers a unique Icelandic experience.

Husavik offers more activities and sights

As everywhere in Iceland, there is a lot to discover and experience besides swimming. Whale watching is a must have, but also the Diamant Circle, a 250 km tour the city has planned as a sight next to Ásbyrgi Canyon, Lake Mývatn and the Dettifoss waterfall. In the city’s restaurants you have numerous opportunities to enjoy regional cuisine.

Iceland Landmarks

Megève and Courchevel, France

Megève and Courchevel, France


Megève is a well-known winter sports resort in Savoy. The village with its districts Comblux and Còte 2000 is located at heights of 1027 m and 2485 m in the Mont Blanc region in eastern France. The French aristocrat Maurice de Rothschild discovered the charming mountain village for winter tourism at the beginning of the 20th century and had the first luxury hotel built there. To this day Megève has lost none of its charming fascination and belongs to the small group of “Best of the Alps” holiday resorts, which are visited by holidaymakers from all over the world.

Megève as a holiday destination for connoisseurs

In contrast to the Mont Blanc hotspot Chamonix, Megève has remained largely authentic. The village with around 3400 inhabitants impresses with beautiful hotels that fit well into the alleys of traditional stone houses. Winter sports enthusiasts and summer vacationers like to come to this place, which offers “pleasure holidays”. The ski areas on the local mountains have mostly easy and medium-difficulty slopes, the sports and wellness offer is adapted to a rather quiet clientele. Easy hiking trails for families and beginners, river tours and a “bit of adventure” with canyoning, balloon rides, climbing or paragliding are all part of an active summer holiday in Megève.

The focus of the hoteliers and inn owners is the well-being of all visitors and in the pedestrian zones around the small main square there are inns with star kitchens, elegant bars, boutiques and good party locations where celebrations take place all year round. The so-called “night marathon”, which leads the party people through the local bars and discos, is particularly popular.


Courchevel is one of the best ski resorts in the French Alps. It is located in Savoy in eastern France and is part of the 1400 km² ski area Le 3 Vallettas. International ski races and summer competitions have been held in the winter sports facilities around Courchevel for many years. Holidaymakers from all over the world travel to the snow-sure ski area to enjoy winter sports and après ski.

The municipality of Courchevel is divided into four districts at different altitudes. Le Praz is at around 1300 m, Village at 1550 m and Moriond at 1650 m. Courchevel as the main town is very high at 1850 m and located close to the slopes. The spectacular Altiport Courchevel, which offers spectacular views on the approach and was the setting for the famous Bond films, is even higher.

Courchevel: playground for the super-rich

The ski area around Courchevel has around 150 km of slopes and 17 km of hiking trails. The district of Moriond offers the best conditions for beginners and families with children. The famous off-piste “Saulire Couloirs” is internationally known. In the Courchevel area, vacationers will find beautiful mountain huts, several star restaurants and many high-priced hotels and chalets that are rented by celebrities from all over the world.

Village and Mondiol are jokingly called “oligarchs’ playgrounds”. The stations have adapted to this special clientele with après ski events, expensive boutiques and nightclubs. Leisure activities include helicopter flights, balloon rides or night skiing.

Le Praz is a bit more relaxed. The village shows typical Savoyard architecture with many residential buildings and several family-friendly facilities.

La maison Troisgros

One of the most famous restaurants in France is located in Roanne, a town in the Loire department. “La Maison Troisgros” has been run by the Troisgros family for three generations and has an excellent name beyond the borders of the country. The Gault-Millau has named it the best restaurant in the world. Attached to the restaurant is a five-star hotel that has been run by the family for just as long.

The highest gourmet tradition

The first generation of the Troisgros family settled in Roanne as early as 1930 and bought a hotel-restaurant opposite the train station. Jean-Baptiste and Marie Troisgros were purely self-taught, but their local, simple and “honest” cuisine soon found a lot of followers and made them known in the area. The wines from the area, Burgundy, completed the culinary offer. The two sons, Jean et Pierre, grew up in the tradition of this kitchen and both trained with all the great chefs of the time. At the same time, the family received guests in their hotel, which they also gave a familiar character.

The next generation

In 1957, the two brothers took over their parents’ restaurant and the “Hotel Moderne” became “Les Frères Troisgros”. Jean and Pierre kept the simple basics of their parents’ kitchen, enriching it with the finesse of the great French cuisine they had learned in their training. The Michelin Guide gradually recognized their stars, up to the third in 1968, which they kept permanently. In 1980 the restaurant was enlarged by the neighboring building.

La Maison Troisgros today

After the death of his brother Jean in 1983, Pierre Troisgros offered his son Michel, born in 1958, the successor in the tradition of the family restaurant. He is now the only owner and person in charge of the restaurant and the hotel, both of which he runs together with his wife Marie-Pierre. “Les Frères Troisgros” is still one of the outstanding examples of French cuisine.

Courchevel, France

Turkey Education and Culture

Turkey Education and Culture

The modern schooling system started by Mustafa Kemal and continued by his successors, is based on the European model. The arts represent themes of the Turkish tradition while showing Western influence. Radio and television have also reached rural areas, posing a threat to indigenous culture.


At the time of the establishment of the republic, more than 90% of the population was illiterate; the new government introduced important educational reforms and the first Constitution established that elementary education was compulsory for all Turks and free in state schools. In 2005 the literacy rate was 87.6% of adults. Education is compulsory between the ages of 9 and 14.

In the year 2000, according to educationvv, 8,014,733 students were enrolled in 49,599 primary schools. The enrollment rate in secondary education was 79% and 28% in higher education.
Access to Turkish universities is extremely difficult; The main institutions include the University of Istanbul (1453), the Aegean University (1955) in Izmir, the University of Ankara (1946), and the Technical University of the Near East (1956), also in Ankara.

Cultural tradition

The Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet evolved from traditional poetry to new forms, with greater freedom in images and rhythmic devices.

The transition from Islamic cultural traditions during the Ottoman Empire (see Islamic Art and Architecture), towards a more western trend, has been gradually gaining relevance in the country. Today’s Turkish painters strive to find their own art form, free from Western influences. The sculpture is less developed and the public monuments are, in essence, heroic representations of Mustafa Kemal and warlike commemorations of the Turkish War of Independence.

Popular music is the source of inspiration for important symphonic works (see Music of Islamic countries).
The most recent Turkish poetry survives thanks to the epic poetry of the Manas, poems that have been passed from generation to generation through the years. The early mystical poetry written by Yunus Emre and other authors in the 14th century gave way to a poetic heritage called ‘couch poetry’; the most popular was that recited by minstrels, a tradition that has continued to this day. Most critics point to Kemal Tahit as the most important modern novelist. Other prominent authors are Yasar Kemal and the poet Nazim Hikmet.

Cultural institutions

In this intricate maze of vaulted pavilions, which began construction in 1459 and became a museum in 1924, collections of objects that belonged to Ottoman sultans are gathered.
Turkey has opera houses in Istanbul and Ankara, with an Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul, three conservatories and a national folk music ensemble, in addition to several cultural institutions. Christian churches have been turned into mosques and those built by the famous architect Mimar Sinan are located in Istanbul, Edirne, Bursa and other cities.

The former palace of the Sultan, is today the Topkapi Museum, which brings together collections of objects that belonged to Ottoman sultans. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, located in Ankara, has among other valuable objects, with Hittite and Phrygian relics. Among the main libraries are the National Library in Ankara and the Beyazit State Library in Istanbul.


Turkey has 588 daily newspapers, most of which are of low circulation; those with the largest circulation are the Cumhuriyet, the Sabah, the Hürriyet, the Milliyet and the Türkiye, all of them published in Istanbul. The country also has numerous weekly and monthly publications (688 in 2000). The government controls four national radio broadcasts and five television channels, although there are also several private radio and television networks. There are about 37 million radio sets and 30 million television receivers. The country has 263 telephones and 52 computer equipment in use for every thousand residents.

Main cities

Located on the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul is the main port and largest city in Turkey. The walls seen here are remnants of the original city built in 324 AD by Emperor Constantine I.
According to the 2007 census, the population of the main cities was 11,174,257 residents in Istanbul, 3,428,000 residents in the capital Ankara, 2,409,000 in Izmir or Izmir, 395,388 in Adana and, finally, 459,877 in Bursa. Other major Turkish cities are: Kars, Samsun, Mersin, Van, Edirne (former Adrianápolis), Elâzığ, Kırıkkale, Iskenderun, Isparta, Konya, Malatya, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Maras, Adapazarı, Kayseri, Erzurum, Antioch and Antalya.

Official and spoken languages

The official language is the Turkish language. Furthermore, between 10 and 15% of the population speak their mother tongue, generally Kurdish or Arabic.


The Suleiman Mosque in Istanbul was built in 1550. The architect Sinan based his design on Byzantine churches, especially Hagia Sophia. The large central dome, on a square structure, opens onto small vaulted spaces with half domes as buttresses. The four pointed minarets, with balconies, are characteristic of the architectural style of late Islamic mosques.
Islam ceased to be the official religion in 1928. However, 99% of the population is Muslim, mainly Sunni, while the Shiites are in the southeast. Christians make up less than 0.1% of the total population. The Jewish community has about 20,000 members.

Turkey Education and Culture

Belarus Geography and Society

Belarus Geography and Society

Belarus is an essentially flat country. Its highest point is Mount Dzyarzhynskaya, 356 m high. We can distinguish three different regions, one to the north, where the lakes of glacial origin are found, another in the center, where there is a wide plateau covered with forests, and another to the south, swampy and practically uninhabited; they are the swamps of Pripyat.

The plateau is made up of a series of parallel bands oriented from west-southwest to east-northwest.

Due to its low altitude, the territory is very poorly drained, so shallow lakes and swamps are very abundant. There are more than 4,000 lakes, but all of them small. The rivers are long, slow and mighty, many of them allow navigation. There are three main rivers that drain Belarus, the Dnieper, the Pripyat and the Niemen.


It is characterized by being a low plain, with high and undulating lands that rarely exceed 300 m in height.


The Dnieper River runs through the east of the country. It is one of the main rivers in eastern Europe. It has a length of 2,290 km between its source in the Valdai plateau and its mouth in the Black Sea. In Belarus, 690 km of its route pass.

The Prípiat River runs through the south of the country. It is 710 km long, of which 495 km correspond to Belarus. It is born in Ukraine and empties into the Dnieper river near Chernobyl (Ukraine). There is a channel that connects this river as the Bug River, a tributary of the Vistula, passing through the cities of Pinsk and Brest.

The Niemen River is located in the northwest of the country. It is 937 km long, of which 459 km correspond to Belarus. It is born near Slomin, in Godno, from the union of several tributaries, and becomes navigable. It empties into the Baltic Sea, making the border between Lithuania and Kaliningrad.

Other important rivers are the Daugava, the Sozh, the Berezina, the Neris, the Pitichi, the Chara and the Sviloch.


The main lakes are: the Narach, of 79.6 km², the Osveya, of 52.8 km² and the Chervono, of 40.3 km², in addition to many other smaller ones.


The dominant climate is the humid continental climate, which is an extension of the maritime climate of the west coast typical of Western Europe but drier and with more contrasting temperatures, colder in winter and warmer in summer. The thermal oscillation is around 30 ºC. The centers of action that affect the region are the polar front, which brings maritime polar air masses, and which arrive sparingly and in summer, the Siberian anticyclone, which dominates in winter together with other occasional local anticyclones, and the anticyclone of the Azores that occasionally arrives in summer. Summers are hot and rainy, but short, winters are long, cold and dry, with precipitations in the form of snow, especially in autumn. and winter.

Average temperatures range from -6ºC in January to 20ºC in July. The precipitations oscillate between the 700 mm of the west and the 550 mm of the east.

In Belarus there is a clear contrast between the western and eastern regions of the country. The west receives the moderating action of the sea to a greater extent, so the temperatures are less extreme and the rainfall more abundant.


Belarus is a heavily forested country. One third of the country is covered in unpopulated forests. Conifers are the dominant species to the north, while birches and alders appear in the south. In the east the forest gives way to a wooded steppe. Being a very flat country, it is very poorly drained, so swamps and peatlands are frequent, such as the one around the Prípiat River.

Two ecoregions are distinguished: the mixed sarmatic forest, to the north, and the mixed forest of central Europe in the south.

Environmental issues

Belarus has large areas heavily contaminated by radiation after the Chernobyl accident. [1] in 1986


Forests occupy 30% of the surface: pine, fir and birch predominate in the north and oak, elm and white beech are predominant in the south.


The fauna is varied in the country including moose, reindeer, wild boar, wolves, foxes, squirrels, martens, wild hares, beavers, otters, minks, badgers, the European bison that is in serious danger of extinction.


According to andyeducation, the official languages are Belarusian and Russian.

Social development


Russians are the largest minority, with 13.5% of the population. Other minorities are: Ukrainians, Jews, Poles and Lithuanians. Life expectancy at birth is 76.4 years for women and 64.6 years for men. Infant mortality and other health-related statistics have been generally favorable, although radioactive fallout from the nuclear accident in the Ukrainian city of Chernobyl in 1986 has highlighted Belarus’s good health statistics.


Belarus has an extensive highway and rail system, and through its navigable rivers and the Dnieper-Bug canal system, it has access to the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.

Belarus Society

Bulgaria History

Bulgaria History

The area of ​​today’s Bulgaria was part of the historical Thrace landscape in ancient times. Of the Thracian tribes known from Greek written sources, the Triballians settled in western Bulgaria and eastern Serbia, the Serds in the area around Sofia, the Odryses around Stara Sagora and the Bessen in the eastern Rhodope Mountains. Since the 7th century BC The Thracians were culturally influenced and partially Hellenized by the Greek trading ports on the Black Sea and Aegean coasts. Around 450 BC The empire of the Odryses was formed in the territory of Bulgaria and was able to assert itself against the Greeks and Macedonians; neither Philip II of Macedonia, who owned the region in 342 BC. Chr. Conquered, even later his son Alexander the Great or the Diadoche Lysimachus in the early 3rd century BC BC brought the area under their full control. New immigrants were around 300 BC. Celtic ethnic groups with the center Tylos (on the Tundscha); they followed in the 2nd century BC. The Germanic Bastarnen and finally the Romans, the 29-28 BC. BC parts of Thrace conquered. In 45/46 AD the entire Thracian heartland finally came under Roman rule. The areas southeast of the line Sofia-Plovdiv were now on the province Thracia, the area north and west of this line with the province of Moesia (later divided several times, Moesia). Trajan secured the conquest through a Limes along the Danube and through the Dobrudscha (Trajan’s Wall). The population, now of very different origins, was partly Romanised. After the division of the Roman Empire in 395, the Thracian area came under the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. After devastation by the Goths and Huns, first forays by Proto-Bulgarian horsemen (since 491, several times in the first half of the 6th century) and the temporary supremacy of the Avars Slavs immigrated from the end of the 5th century and assimilated the local Thracian tribes. This ended the continuity of antiquity. After 675, the area came under the rule of the Turkic proto- Bulgarians, who at the end of the 6th century had been merged by Khan Kuvrat in the steppe zone around the Sea of ​​Azov to form a tribal group “Greater Bulgaria”. After his death, part of it penetrated to the mouth of the Danube.

Bulgaria under Turkish rule (1396–1878)

According to educationvv, the conquered Bulgaria was subordinated to the Beglerbeg of Rumelia with the seat (until 1836) in Sofia and divided into five sanjaks (Widin, Nikopol, Silistra, Macedonia, Thrace). The population losses were to be compensated for by the settlement of Anatolian colonists and the semi-nomadic Jürüken (cattle breeders from Asia Minor). The local nobility was socially and economically leveled and replaced by Turkish spahis (timar system); the entire population was heavily taxed and encouraged to change beliefs (Pomaken), partly also violently Islamized. Since the higher clergy consisted almost exclusively of Phanariots and Greek had become the language of the liturgy, the clergy of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was graced; the lower clergy and the monasteries developed into cells of national resistance. After the suppression of an uprising in northern Bulgaria (with the participation of Mirceas the Elder) in 1404, the Battle of Varna In 1444 and the capture of Constantinople by the Turks (1453) there was no longer any hope of a quick end to Turkish rule. With the exception of the economic contacts running through Ragusa, external relations were almost completely broken down. The endeavors of the Turkish Spahi warriors to transfer their service loans to large hereditary estates worsened the material situation of the Bulgarian peasants. The decline of the Ottoman Empire and the unsuccessful wars against the Habsburgs sparked local uprisings in Tarnowo (1598 and 1686), Gabrovo (1686), and Tschiprowez (1688 and 1737/38), which – just like the actions of the Heiducken  - were bloodily knocked down. At the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, many Bulgarians therefore sought refuge in the neighboring Danube principalities and in the Danube Monarchy.

The economic upswing that began in the 18th century with strong population growth favored the national revival, which was boosted by the »Slavic-Bulgarian history« of the Athos monk Paissi of Chilendar, which ended in 1762, and the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–74; In 1835 the first secular Bulgarian school was opened in Gabrovo. The freedom struggle of the Serbs (1804-17) and Greeks (1821-29), supported by Russia, as well as the inner-Ottoman reforms strengthened the national movement, which also supported the rebellious peasants (1835, 1841, 1850) in the struggle for a national Bulgarian church. Emigrants from Wallachia and Russia prepared the national uprising. In 1861 G. Rakowski organized the First Bulgarian Legion in Belgrade and in 1862 tried to organize the Heiducken to fight the Turks. In Bucharest, W. Levski and L. Karawelow founded a Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee based on the model of the Russian Narodniki and, in 1868, a Bulgarian Society. The establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate in Constantinople (1870), despite many setbacks, further increased the desire for national freedom and the unification of the Bulgarian territories. The April uprising of 1876, at which a. C. Botew participated, could be bloodily suppressed by the Turks (»Bulgarian horror«), but the Russo-Turkish War in 1877/78 ended the Turkish rule (including participation of Bulgarian irregulars in the battle of Pleven and on the Shipka Pass).

Bulgaria History

Hong Kong Overview

Hong Kong Overview

The Special Administrative Region comprises the island of Hong Kong (79.99 km 2) with the capital Victoria, the Kowloon peninsula and the New Territories with the hinterland of Kowloon as well as around 240 mostly uninhabited secondary islands. Hong Kong is the leading trade and financial center in Southeast Asia.

History: The island of Hong Kong became a British crown colony in 1842, which was expanded to include Kowloon in 1860 and the New Territories and numerous small islands in 1898 by a lease agreement (for a period of 99 years). According to an agreement signed in 1984, Great Britain returned the colony to the People’s Republic of China in 1997. According to this agreement, Hong Kong is to maintain its social and economic system and remain largely autonomous for a transition period of 50 years.

Politically, Hong Kong has had ever closer ties to mainland China since 1997. The transport links between the island and the mainland have been improved through infrastructure projects. At the same time, in 2014 the “umbrella movement” called for more democracy and free elections for Hong Kong. In the summer of 2019, young Hong Kong residents in particular protested against a bill that China had passed. People demanded freedom of expression and the rule of law. In order to attract media attention to their cause, they occupied the Hong Kong International Airport, among other places. Hong Kong is an economically important international financial center for China. China wants to end the protests as soon as possible.

According to shoppingpicks, the city comprises the island of Hong Kong, which is connected to the mainland by tunnels , the Kowloon peninsula and the New Territories with the hinterland of Kowloon, the island of Lantau and around 260 largely uninhabited islands. The area of ​​Hong Kong and especially the island of Lantau has been expanded significantly through constant land reclamation. Official languages: Chinese and English. Currency: 1 Hong Kong dollar (HK $) = 100 cents (c). Time zone: CET + 7 hours.


Located on the coast of the South China Sea, Hong Kong, a continuation of the South China mountainous country, is predominantly mountainous, with heights up to 958 m above sea level (Taimo Shan in the New Territories; Lantau Peak on Lantau Island at 934 m above sea level and Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island at 551 m above sea level). The heavily booked, rocky (especially granite) coasts are difficult to develop for settlements. The originally forested mountains are now grassland and wasteland with poor pine vegetation. On the island of Hong Kong there is evergreen deciduous forest in places (through reforestation). The summer is tropical and humid, the winter sunny and mostly mild, the spring mostly very humid and foggy. Summer and autumn typhoons with heavy downpours are not uncommon.

Population and Religion


95% of the population are Chinese. The influx of refugees from China was particularly large between 1945 and 1950. Illegal immigration continued later. In 1980, effective measures were taken to curb entry and immigration into overpopulated Hong Kong. The average population density of 6,549 people per km 2 is significantly exceeded in metropolitan areas as large parts of Hong Kong are uninhabitable.


The Constitution (Article 32) guarantees the residents of Hong Kong the freedom of religion, places religious activities in the area of ​​general public life under their protection and guarantees (Article 137) the religious communities the establishment and maintenance of their own schools. About two thirds of the population profess Daoism and Buddhism and maintain the traditions of the Chinese folk religions. Half of the roughly 10% Christians belong to the Catholic Church (Diocese of Hong Kong; Suffragan diocese of Canton [currently vacant]) and – with the exception of the few Orthodox Christians – Protestant churches and communities (around fifty in total; especially Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans) and the Anglican Church. The Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong is also the seat of the Anglican Church of the Province of East Asia. Since 1996, Hong Kong has also been the seat of the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan for Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Religious minorities are made up of Muslims (around 220,000), Hindus (around 40,000), Sikhs (around 10,000) and Jews (around 2,000). The starting point of the Jewish community (founded in 1857; opening of the first synagogue in 1900, today four synagogues) was the immigration of Jews (predominantly of Iraqi and Indian origin) to Hong Kong, which began in 1842.

Hong Kong Overview

Living in Suriname

Living in Suriname

Suriname – money

Local currency: 1 Suriname dollar equals 100 cents

Currency abbreviation: S $, SRD

Banknotes are issued to the value of 1, 2.5, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Sf, coins to the value of 1, 5, 10, 25, 100 and 250 cents.

Currency Exchange: international currencies can be used in banks, exchange offices,Hotelsit will be exchanged. US dollars and euros are the easiest to exchange, but other major currencies can also be exchanged. However, some banks only accept US dollars. There is a risk of fraud when exchanging on the black market. Many stores also quote their prices in US dollars.

Credit Cards: in the capital Paramaribo, you can pay with credit cards in upscale hotels, restaurants and some shops (mostly American Express, but also Visa and Mastercard).

ATMs of the Royal Bank of Trinidad & Tobago (RBTT) accept international credit cards.

Travelers checks should be made out in US dollars and are cashed by banks.

Foreign exchange regulations: National currency may only be imported and exported up to 100 SRD. The import and export of foreign currencies is not restricted, but the amount must be declared from US $ 10,000.

Bank opening times: Mon – Fri 7.30 a.m. – 2.00 p.m.

Health and Diseases in Suriname

Vaccination protection

For travel, no compulsory vaccinations are required in Suriname, there is an exception when entering from yellow fever areas, where proof of a valid yellow fever vaccination (at least 10 days and no more than 10 years old) must be available.

However, vaccinations against hepatitis A, diphtheria and tetanus, additional vaccinations against typhoid and hepatitis B for longer stays.


According to thereligionfaqs, there is a risk of malaria in the interior of Suriname. Different prescription drugs are available for malaria prophylaxis market(for example Doxycycline, Malarone or Lariam). An experienced tropical or travel doctor can advise you on the choice of medication, their intolerance and side effects and personal adjustment. The best protection against malaria (and also against dengue) is to prevent mosquitoes from biting you.

Dengue fever

Dengue fever, mainly transmitted by diurnal mosquitoes, also occurs in Suriname.


HIV / AIDS is widespread in Suriname, so be careful when you meet people on holiday.


When traveling in Suriname, you should pay particular attention to hygiene when consuming fruit, vegetables, fish, seafood and meat. Tap water should not be used as drinking water in Suriname, it can be bought in bottles in grocery stores.

Medical supplies

Medical care in Suriname is poor, before traveling to Suriname you should definitely take out health insurance abroad with emergency repatriation transport.

In addition to my general disclaimer, please note the following important note:

A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information and liability for any damage that may occur cannot be assumed. You stay responsible for your healthy.

Suriname – important addresses

Surinam Tourism Foundation : Waterkant 1,

Fort Zeelandia Complex, SR-Paramaribo
Postal address: PO Box 656, Paramaribo, Suriname
Phone: (597) 47 9200, Fax: (5) 47 7786
email: [email protected]

Ministry of Transport, Communication and Tourism : Prins Hendrikstraat 26 – 28,

Paramaribo, Suriname
Phone: 42 0422/23/24. Fax: 42 0425
email: [email protected]

Honorary Consulate General of Suriname in Germany (without issuing a visa): Mr. Edwin Matt, Honorary Consul General,

Adolf-Kolping-Strasse 16, 80336 Munich
Telephone: (089) 553363, Fax: (089) 597064
Opening times: Mon – Sat 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Suriname has no embassy in Germany, the responsible embassy is in The Hague, Netherlands.

Embassy of Suriname in the Netherlands : Ms. Susan Derby, Chargé d’affaires aI,

Gogelweg 2, NL-2517 Den Haag
Telephone: (+31) 070 365 0844
The Embassy of Suriname in the Netherlands is also responsible for Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Consulate General of Suriname in the Netherlands (with visa issuing): De Cuserstraat 11,

NL-1081 CK Amsterdam
Telephone: (020) 642 6137, Fax: (020) 646 5311
email: [email protected]

Embassy of Suriname in Belgium (with visa issuing): Avenue Louise 379,

B-1050 Brussels

Telephone: (032) 2 6401172

Honorary Consulate of Germany in Suriname : René van Essen, Honorary Consul,

Coster Straat 16, SR-Paramaribo
Telephone: (0011 597) 42 1000, 42 4280, Fax: (0011 597) 42 0771

Postal address: Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany, Coster Straat 16, Paramaribo / Suriname, South America

Germany has no embassy in Suriname, the responsible embassy is in Port-of-Spain (see Trinidad and Tobago – important address).

Honorary Consulate of Austria in Suriname (without passport authorization): Burenstraat 33,

Telephone: 47 6433, Fax: 42 2817
email: [email protected]
Opening times: Mon – Fri 2.30pm – 8pm

Living in Suriname

Travel to Vienna, Austria

Travel to Vienna, Austria

The city of Vienna is known for their large number of sights and attractions.  Visit for Austria travel guide.

This is how you should definitely see the Hofburg. For over seven centuries she was the seat of the Habsburgs. Originally the castle was built in the thirteenth century, which was expanded after the Habsburgs came to power. Today the Hofburg is the seat of the Federal President. The Hofburg also includes the Silver Collection, the Sissi Museum and the Imperial Apartments.

The absolute highlight of Vienna is the Prater with the Ferris wheel. The city’s landmark was created in the years 1896-1897. It was implemented by the English engineer Walter Basset. Thousands of tourists come to the Prater every year to ride the Ferris wheel or to have fun in the Wurstelprater amusement park.

Schönbrunn Palace was completed in 1770. The castle itself has beautiful gardens, the Gloriette, the zoo and the palm house. There was already a palace here in front of Schönbrunn Palace. The previous Katterburg Castle was built in the fourteenth century.

The Spanish Riding School is also worth seeing. It is a unique institution, there is hardly another comparable facility in the world, where you can learn the classical art of riding, which has not been changed over the centuries. If you want to find out more about the Lipizzaner, white horses, you should visit the Lipizzaner Museum in Stallburg.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral is located near the Ferris wheel, which is Vienna’s landmark. The cathedral was built by Rudolf the founder in the Gothic style. The cathedral has been the seat of a bishopric since 1469.

For museum lovers, Vienna will be a real paradise as the city has over a hundred museums to offer. To name a few examples, there would be the Art History Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Museum Quarter, Albertina, the Kunsthaus, etc.

Art and culture are also important to the city. There are a number of theaters and opera houses in Vienna, such as B. the Vienna State Opera, the Volkstheater, the Volksoper etc.

The Capuchin Church is also worth seeing – it was built in Vienna between 1622 and 1632. From 1633 until today, the church has been the final resting place for 138 Habsburgs.

The Karlskirche is the city’s most valuable baroque building. It was built in the eighteenth century. It was commissioned by Emperor Charles VI. Because of a plague epidemic.

Vienna is not only known for its large number of sights. Many well-known universities have their headquarters in Vienna.

There are also some interesting green spaces in the city. There are more than a hundred of them in total.

So you shouldn’t miss the Augarten Park. The Augarten Palais is located in the park. In the center of the park there was a castle called old Favorita. It was destroyed by the Turks in 1683 and rebuilt in the seventeenth century. The palace has been the seat of the Vienna Boys’ Choir since 1948 and has not been open to the public since then.

The Augarten Park was only created in the second half of the seventeenth century. The opening in 1775 was celebrated exuberantly by the people, as was Joseph the Second. Famous composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss have given concerts in the garden house.

The imperial porcelain factory has been housed in the garden house since the eighteenth century. Today you can get to know the history of Augarten porcelain here in the various exhibition rooms. There are other sights to see in the Augarten.

Other parks in Vienna are the Burggarten, the Stadtpark, the Vienna Woods and the Central Cemetery.

Travel to Vienna, Austria

Brussels: Europe’s Capital

Brussels: Europe’s Capital

The capital and residential city of Belgium and several surrounding municipalities form the bilingual Brussels region. Its residents are made up of Flemings and Walloons. As the secret capital of Europe, it is home to several institutions of the European Union. The NATO headquarters are nearby. In Brussels, services and administration play a bigger role than industry. The many monuments of the old trading town attract numerous visitors every year.

According to AbbreviationFinder, Brussels, Flemish Brussel, French Bruxelles, is the capital and residence of Belgium.

Together with 18 surrounding communities, it forms the 162 km² region of the same name.

The city lies on the Senne and is connected to Antwerp by the Brussels Sea Canal and to Charleroi by smaller canals.

The city proper has just under 150,000 residents, but the entire metropolitan area has more than 1 million residents. The majority of the residents of the bilingual city are either Dutch-speaking Flemings or French-speaking Walloons. With two full universities, three sub-universities or faculties and several universities, Brussels is an important center of education. There are also several libraries, museums and theaters in the city.

The Brussels region is also home to a wide range of industries with more than a third of the country’s industrial companies. In addition to companies in the textile, metal, electrical and chemical industries, there are machine and vehicle factories as well as metallurgical, steel and rolling mills. Inner-city traffic has been relieved by a subway since 1976. The trading center, which was already important in the Middle Ages, also has a port and an international airport.

Capital of Europe?

For the city of Brussels, the areas of administration and services are particularly important.

It is not only the seat of government and administrative authorities in the country, but also of numerous authorities and institutions of international rank. The number of all international organizations based in and around Brussels is estimated at almost 900.

No other city in the European Union has such a concentration of European institutions. Brussels is the seat of the permanent General Secretariat of the Benelux countries, the EU Commission and the European Atomic Energy Community EURATOM. Since 1960 in particular, the number of institutions tied to these authorities has increased rapidly. They currently provide jobs for more than 15,000 civil servants and employees. The NATO headquarters are located in the immediate vicinity of Brussels. 75% of all Belgian banks are also concentrated in Brussels.

This development has led to an immensely high demand for office space in the city in recent years and has caused land prices to rise astronomically. The resident population is therefore increasingly settling on the outskirts, so that some inner-city quarters look deserted at night.


Brussels (the name “Bruocsella” has been used since the 7th century) was built around a castle of the Counts of Leuven (later Dukes of Brabant), built at the end of the 10th century, on an island in the Zenne. In the 11th century the counts moved their seat to the Koudenberg. The settlement that developed between the two castles was already called a trading post at that time, which benefited from its favorable location at the junction of the Cologne-Bruges trade route over the Zenne. Around 1100 this settlement and other settlement cores around the castles were surrounded by a curtain wall. Since the 12th century, the cloth industry gained steadily growing economic weight. After several revolts by the guild citizens, the guilds were given a say in the city administration in 1421.

With the takeover of rule in Brabant by the Dukes of Burgundy (1430), Brussels, until then one of the seven (later four) main towns of Brabant, grew into the capital of the extensive territory. As early as the 14th century, due to the economic boom (cloth and cloth trade, trade in handicrafts; Brussels was the center of Flemish painting), several suburbs outside the wall were created City were included.

Under the Habsburgs, Brussels, newly fortified in 1530, became the capital of the Netherlands. During the Dutch struggle for freedom, the Duke of Alba had Counts Egmont and Horne executed here on June 5, 1568. In 1576 Brussels joined the Dutch uprising, but was recaptured by Spanish troops in 1585 after a long siege. The Dutch War of Independence severely damaged Brussels’s economy. Because of the blockade of the Scheldt harbors, cloth-making and the cloth trade lost their importance. The conversion to the production of glass and faience goods as well as Brussels lace was slow. In the wars of the French king Louis XIV. against Spain the city was badly hit. In 1695 almost the entire medieval old town burned down after a bombardment. Under the Austrian government (1713–94), Brussels experienced a new upswing, mainly because of the network of roads being developed with Brussels as the center. Trading companies and banks took their seat in the city (1778 opening of the stock exchange).

In the course of the French Revolutionary Wars, Brussels came under French rule in 1795; it was the capital of the Dyle department. Since 1815 it has belonged to the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with The Hague’s second capital. In 1830 Brussels started the revolution that led to the formation of the Kingdom of Belgium, of which Brussels became the capital. The economic upswing that began in the middle of the 19th century, mainly through the emergence of industrial companies, was promoted by the Belgian rail network, which was geared towards the capital. In both world wars the city was occupied by German troops. During the Second World War it suffered severe damage from air raids. After 1945, Brussels was one of the points of contention in the Flemish-Walloon language dispute.

At least 32 people were killed on March 22, 2016, and over 300 people were injured, some seriously. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks.

Brussels - Europe's Capital

Bosnia and Herzegovina Overview

Bosnia and Herzegovina Overview

Bosnia and Herzegovina, officially Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian Bosna i Hercegovina (BiH) [- hεrtsε-], state in Southeast Europe (2018) 3.3 million residents; The capital is Sarajevo.

In the south the country has a 20 km long stretch of coast to the Adriatic Sea.


After the amalgamation of the sub-armies, the total strength of the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina is 10,600 men. In place of compulsory military service, there has been a four-month general service obligation. The army (around 9,200 soldiers) is divided into 3 mechanized infantry brigades, 1 combat support brigade and 4 logistics battalions. The air force and air defense has around 900 men.

In 2006 Bosnia and Herzegovina joined NATO’s “Partnership for Peace”. US military aid to Bosnia and Herzegovina amounts to US $ 4 million (2015).


There is general compulsory schooling between the ages of 6 and 15. The school system is divided into a nine-year primary level, which is followed by a structured system of four-year secondary schools. These lead to the (technical) Abitur and, in addition to grammar schools, include vocational secondary schools with different specialist areas (technical, commercial, medical, educational, artistic). The languages ​​of instruction are in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, depending on the ethnic majority of the students, Bosnian or Croatian, in the Serb Republic of Serbian. This means that the school system is linguistically / ethnically split up, with ethnically integrated teaching only in the Brčko district. According to educationvv, the universities (standard period of study: 4 years) in Sarajevo (founded in 1949) form the basis of higher education, Mostar (founded in 1977), Tuzla (founded in 1976) and Bihać (founded in 1997) as well as around 40 higher education institutions, some of which are comparable to German universities of applied sciences (standard period of study: 2 years).


The media landscape in Bosnia and Herzegovina is diverse, but primarily shaped by the ethnic division of the country. Governments and political parties are very influential.

Press: The most important daily newspapers are »Dnevni Avaz«, »Oslobodjenje« and »Jutarnje Novine« in Sarajevo, »Nezavisne Novine« and the government newspaper of the Serbian Republic »Glas Srpske« in Banja Luka as well as »Dnevni List« and »Večernji List« in Mostar. Also of importance are the independent political weekly newspapers “Slobodna Bosna”, “BH Dani” and “Start” (both in Sarajevo) and “Novi Reporter” (Banja Luka).

News agencies: Federalna Novinska Agencija (FENA, state) and Nezavisna Novinska Agencija (ONASA, private) in Sarajevo and Novinska Agencija Republike Srpske (SRNA, state) in Banja Luka.

Broadcasting: The public broadcasting system of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into three parts: Radio-Televizija Bosne i Hercegovine (BHRT, Sarajevo) broadcasts a radio (»BH Radio 1«) and a television program (»BHT 1«), »Radio- Televizija Federacije Bosne i Hercegovine “, RTV FBiH) two radio and television programs and” Radio Televizija Republike Srpske “(RTRS) one radio and one television program. Private TV channels include “NTV Hayat”, “OBN Televizija”, “Hema TV” (all Sarajevo) and the Serbian “BN TV”. There are also a large number of private radio stations; “Antena Sarajevo” and “RSG Radio” from the RSG Group are among the largest.


South of Sarajevo is the formerly most important winter sports center of Yugoslavia (site of the XIV. Olympic Winter Games 1984), there are also some health resorts and spas with mineral and thermal springs, especially in the Bosnian highlands.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has tourist potential primarily due to its mountains with several national parks and old, historically interesting cities (Sarajevo, Mostar [ Mostar Bridge, destroyed in 1993; rebuilt in 2004; UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005] and Jajce).

As a result of the war damage, the uncertain political framework and the sluggish investment in the tourist infrastructure, tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina did not play a significant role for a long time. Only since the beginning of the 2000s has the number of holidaymakers increased significantly again (2013: 529,000 foreign visitors).


The traffic grows big problems from the extremely complicated relief conditions (mountain ranges stretching from northwest to southeast). The routes of the traffic routes are connected with a large number of complex traffic structures. The only significant railway line of 601 km (with viaducts of a total of 8 km and tunnels of almost 40 km in length) runs through the Bosna and Neretva valleys and represents the most important traffic axis in the country; it opens the access to the navy lowlands on the one hand and to the Adriatic Sea (Croatian port of Ploče) on the other hand. The road network (22,900 km) is extensive and the roads are largely poorly developed. Sarajevo Airport is of international importance in air traffic; There are important regional airports in Tuzla, Banja Luka and Mostar.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Overview

Turkey Politics and Law

Turkey Politics and Law


According to the 1982 constitution, Turkey is a parliamentary republic. It is committed to the separation of powers as well as fundamental rights and obligations. In a referendum in 2017, however, according to the electoral commission, a narrow majority of voters voted for a far-reaching constitutional amendment that transformed the system of parliamentary democracy into a presidential system. Since the 2018 election, the President has been head of state and head of government at the same time and has extensive powers. He is directly elected for a term of five years (re-election possible once). If the parliament decides on new elections in the second legislative period of the president, the incumbent may run for office again, resulting in a term of office of up to 14 years. According to carswers, the office of Prime Minister is no longer applicable. The president, who is allowed to belong to a party, is the commander-in-chief of the military, appoints a number of vice-presidents to be determined by him, the members of the cabinet and high-ranking officials, all of whom he can dismiss at any time. He can issue decrees with the force of law and introduce the draft budget to parliament. The parliament with a five-year legislative period has 600 instead of the previous 550 members (active and passive voting rights from the age of 18) and is elected in the same election as the president. The latter can dissolve it and call new elections without certain conditions, but at the same time makes himself available for election. Control of the executive by parliament is hardly possible any more. but at the same time puts himself up for election. Control of the executive by parliament is hardly possible any more. but at the same time puts himself up for election. Control of the executive by parliament is hardly possible any more.


Turkey is strongly centralized. There are 81 provinces (İl), 30 of which are metropolitan regions (Büyükşehir Belediyesi), which are divided into districts (İlçe) and further into municipalities (Bucak). Each province has an elected provincial assembly. The prefects (Vali, also: Gouverneur) appointed by the interior minister at the top act as representatives of the central government as well as the respective provinces as local authorities. At the head of the district administration is the District Administrator (Kaymakam), also appointed by the Minister of the Interior. Mayors (Belediye) in the parishes and village chiefs (Muhtar) in the villages are elected by the people.

Administrative division of Turkey

Administrative structure (2018)
Province (capital) 1) Area (in km 2) Population (in 1,000) Residents (per km2)
Adana 13 915 2,220.1 160
Adıyaman 7 033 624.5 89
Afyon 14 314 725.5 51
Ağrı 11 470 539.6 47
Aksaray 7 570 412.1 54
Amasya 5 690 337.5 59
Ankara 24 521 5,503.9 224
Antalya 20 723 2,426.3 117
Ardahan 4 842 98.9 20th
Artvin 7 367 174.0 24
Aydın 7 851 1,097.7 140
Balikesir 14 299 1,226.5 86
Bartın 2,080 198.9 96
Batman 4,659 599.1 129
Bayburt 3 739 82.2 22nd
Bilecik 4 302 223.4 52
Bing oil 8 253 281.2 34
Bitlis 7 021 349.4 50
Bolu 8 320 311.8 37
Burdur 6 840 269.9 39
Bursa 10 422 2,994.5 287
Çanakkale 9 933 540.6 54
Çankırı 7 490 216.3 29
Çorum 12 792 536.5 42
Denizli 11 692 1,027.8 88
Diyarbakır 15 058 1,732.4 115
Düzce 2 567 387.8 151
Edirne 6 074 411.5 68
Elâzığ 8 455 595.6 70
Erzıncan 11 619 236.0 20th
Erzurum 25 323 767.8 30th
Eskişehir 13 842 871.2 63
Gaziantep 6 819 2,028.5 298
Giresun 6 832 453.9 66
Gümüşhane 6 437 162.7 25th
Hakkari 7 179 286.5 40
Hatay (Antakya) 5,828 1,609.8 276
İçel (Mersin) 15 485 1,814.4 117
Iğdır 3,588 197.4 55
Isparta 8 276 441.4 53
Istanbul 5 196 15 067.7 2 900
İzmir 12 012 4,320.5 360
Kahramanmaraş 14 346 1,144.8 80
Karabuk 4 109 248.0 60
Karaman 8 845 251.9 28
Kars 10 127 288.9 28
Kastamonu 13 153 383.4 29
Kayseri 17 043 1,389.6 81
Kilis 1 428 142.5 100
Kırıkkale 4,534 286.6 63
Kırklareli 6 278 360.8 57
Kırşehir 6 352 241.8 38
Kocaeli (İzmit) 3 612 1 906.4 528
Konya 38 873 2 205.6 57
Kutahya 11 977 577.9 48
Malatya 11 776 797.0 68
Manisa 13 096 1,429.6 109
Mardin 8 806 829.2 94
Muğla 12 851 967.5 75
Must 8 059 408.0 51
Nevşehir 5 379 298.3 55
Niğde 7 352 364.7 50
Ordu 5,952 771.9 130
Osmaniye 3 124 534.4 171
Rize 3,922 348.6 89
Sakarya (Adapazari) 4 838 1,010.7 209
Samsun 9 083 1,335.7 147
Şanlıurfa 18 765 2,035.8 108
Siirt 5,473 331.6 61
Sinop 5,792 219.7 38
Şırnak 7 152 524.2 73
Sivas 28 549 646.6 23
Tekirdağ 6 313 1,029.9 163
Tokat 9 958 612.6 61
Trabzon 4,664 807.9 173
Tunceli 7 432 88.2 12th
Usak 5,341 367.5 69
Van 19 299 1,123.8 58
Yalova 847 262.2 310
Yozgat 14 072 424.9 30th
Zonguldak 3 304 599.7 182
1) The names of the province and the capital are identical, unless otherwise stated.


The judiciary is overseen by the Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors. The council consists of 13 members (6 appointed by the President, 7 elected by Parliament).

The structure of the ordinary jurisdiction has been in three stages since 2005. Courts of first instance are peace and district courts for civil and criminal matters as well as special courts such as B. Commercial, consumer, labor and family courts. Military jurisdiction was repealed with the constitutional reform that came into force in 2018. The newly established court of second instance will act as the court of appeal for all ordinary courts of first instance. The third and final instance is the Court of Cassation (Yargitay) in Ankara. The factual jurisdiction of the courts is in principle determined according to the value of the subject of the dispute. In each judicial district consisting of several provinces there is also an administrative and a tax court,

The legal system is characterized by two large reception processes. The first served to underpin the social and structural change from the Ottoman Empire to a western-oriented parliamentary republic whose main characteristics were secularismand the rule of law are. This process was initiated with the first constitution of the Turkish Republic (1924) and the adoption of the Swiss Civil Code, the first two books of the Swiss Code of Obligations, the Swiss Debt Enforcement and Bankruptcy Act, the Civil Procedure Code of the Canton of Neuchâtel, the Italian Criminal Code and the German Code of Criminal Procedure in the years 1926 to 1929. A commercial code composed of elements from French, Belgian, Italian and German law came into force in 1926 and a maritime trade code composed largely of German law in 1929 (both merged and revised in the new commercial code of 1956).

The second reception process was caused by Turkey’s rapprochement with the EU. With the establishment of the Customs Union in 1996, Turkey had to revise or enact new laws, particularly in the area of ​​commercial law. But the major codes have also all been revised: the Civil Code (2002), the Code of Civil Procedure (2004), the Code of Criminal Procedure (2005) and the Criminal Code (2005). Most of the Commercial Code and the Code of Obligations were also revised. The death penalty has been abolished since 2006.

Turkey Politics

Information about Greece

Information about Greece

Most trips to Greece go to the southern parts and the beautiful islands where the subtropical Mediterranean climate promises warmth with radiant sun. The wind from the sea makes the heat comfortable in the coastal areas, but if you prefer a little more moderate temperatures, spring and autumn are best for a visit.

Here you will find practical information and facts about Greece


Weather and best time to travel
Most trips to Greece go to the southern parts and the beautiful islands where the subtropical Mediterranean climate promises warmth with radiant sun. The wind from the sea makes the heat comfortable in the coastal areas, but if you prefer a little more moderate temperatures, spring and autumn are best for a visit. Visit for sunny Greece.

In Greece, euros (EUR) are used. The Greek state has for many years fought to get all businesses in the country to pay taxes. This has resulted in stores having a sign at the checkout that says that the customer must demand a receipt for their purchase. However, there are still many shops and restaurants that do not take cards or give receipts. However, there are usually plenty of ATMs in cities and villages, but check what the fee is for cash withdrawals.

However, you are often pleasantly surprised by the cheap prices of both restaurants and hotels that are far below the European average.

Beer beer in the Greek archipelago is an experience in itself. Southeast of Athens are idyllic archipelagos. From the lively port city of Piraeus there are countless ferry lines with different levels of price, comfort and destinations. It’s almost like taking the bus with lots of departures and lots of islands to choose from. There is an island for every taste, from the almost packed port of Fira on the popular holiday island of Santorini to the small island of Folegandros where the only ticket office staff has plenty of time to enjoy the view of the quiet port. You can buy the tickets on site, but in high season we recommend that you book and buy your tickets well in advance from home. Like everything else in Greece, the ferries can also be delayed, but take the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere and follow your ferry on the MyShipTracking app.

If you want to travel around Greece by bus, you will get acquainted with the bus company KTEL which runs all long-distance routes. KTEL has 62 subsidiaries that handle different cities, areas and islands. In the cities, you should be aware that there may be several different bus terminals, but in smaller towns and villages, the bus terminal is sometimes just a stop at a café that also serves as a ticket office. Always arrive well in advance as you do not always keep to the timetable but the bus can run both before and after the timetable.

Trains in Greece are neither modern nor particularly fast, but many routes are known for going through beautiful landscapes. The trains are operated by TrainOSE and most long-distance lines depart from the capital Athens.

In most countries, tips are part of the salaries of employees in the service industry. Therefore, it is good practice (and sometimes directly necessary) to give tips to, for example, cleaning staff, waiters, guides, drivers, etc. depending on the country you are visiting. Therefore, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with how much is normally given in tips and to whom before you embark on your journey. Find information on tips in Lonely Planet’s guidebooks.








Lower your shoulders and take it easy
The Greek islands have absolutely fantastic, white sandy beaches. The water is azure blue, crystal clear and calm. The wind waves gently in the palm crowns which gives a streak of shadow on your towel. The pace is more than calm. It is this mentality that you should take with you on your holiday in Greece. The Greeks are a friendly and welcoming people, who prefer not to stress more than is necessary. So forget the Swedish pace and efficiency at home in the desk drawer and only bring the lowered, relaxed shoulders on holiday.

A fantastic kitchen
Fresh feta cheese, juicy kalamata olives, grilled aubergines and crispy tomatoes. Locally produced olive oil in combat streams over the Greek salad or creamy tzatziki. The aroma of the fantastic Greek cuisine whets your appetite, so take a break from the sun and sit in one of the cozy taverns. Maybe you meet some local families, hear when the street musicians play a classic zorba. Almost all taverns serve delicious souvlaki, meat on skewers in Greek marinade. You also have to try surprisingly cheap gyros; super tasty pita bread stuffed with meat, tzatziki with french fries or vegetables.

The addictive island life
Rhodes, Crete, Kos, Corfu and the Cyclades archipelago do not attract many tourists for no reason. The Greek holiday islands in all parts of the country are truly holiday paradise. The sun is blazing on chalk-white beaches with small boats bobbing on the turquoise blue waves. A darker shade of blue is repeated on roofs, fences and chairs in the cozy taverns as a contrast to all the white in the beautiful coastal towns and villages. The price level out on the islands reflects its popularity and it is more expensive there than on the mainland but not close to Swedish prices.

The cradle of civilization
The capital of Greece is called the cradle of civilization. Athens, however, is neither clean, calm or child-friendly as other cradles are. It is not said that one should in any way avoid Athens. The city is incredibly exciting, hectic and authentic with its colorful shops, noisy markets and hectic road users. Here you get an incredible amount of adventure for the money. And so it is with this that it was precisely here that civilization arose, or at least Western democracy as we know it today. This very relevant part of the city’s history is still very much alive in Athens even today. Most popular is to visit is the city landmark Acropolis. But plan your visit carefully so you do not come here when it is the hottest and most tourists.

Poor economy and tax evasion
In 2009, it became known to the whole world that the Greek economy was completely under the ice. Today, it is on the road to recovery. In the big cities, there are still many homeless people and many refugees also come here. Out on the tourist islands, however, it is something completely different. As a tourist, you see the fight against tax evaders. There is a law that says that all stores must have a sign at the cash registers that informs that you as a customer must request a receipt. However, there are still many stores and restaurants that do not accept credit cards and do not provide receipts.

Information about Greece

Sudan Recent History

Sudan Recent History

In the presidential elections in April 2010, Bashir was confirmed in office with around 68.2% of the votes, according to the election commission. The NCP won around 73% of the votes in the parliamentary elections that were held at the same time. In South Sudan, S. Kiir Mayardit was elected President with around 93% of the vote. In July 2010, the International Criminal Court also issued an arrest warrant against Bashir on charges of genocide. In January 2011, in a referendum in South Sudan, 98.8% of voters were in favor of independence. President Bashir promised to accept the referendum result. Inspired by the Arab Spring protestsand in response to rising food prices, the end of subsidies and the secession of the South, riots broke out in Khartoum and other cities in mid-January 2011. The police broke up the demonstrations with tear gas and rubber truncheons. In the period that followed, there were disputes with the south about the future course of the border. Troops from the north advanced into the disputed region of Abyei between North and South Sudan and also captured the city of Abyei on May 21, 2011. The residents of the southern Sudanese tribe of the Ngok-Dinka were expelled.

On July 9, 2011, South Sudan became independent. On September 8, 2011, Sudan and South Sudan agreed to withdraw their troops from the Abyei area, their positions were taken by Ethiopian soldiers of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). In the provinces of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, fighting broke out between government troops and suspected members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM / N) from June and September 2011. In early September 2011, the military occupied the capital of Blue Nile, Damazin, and deposed the provincial governor there, a member of the SPLM / N. Darfur was also the scene of clashes between the government in Khartoum and rebel groups. In May 2011, peace talks between various rebel factions and the government took place in the Qatari capital Doha. However, Khartoum only reached an agreement with the relatively insignificant group Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM). Various rebel and opposition groups from Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, including JEM, SPLM / N and SML / A, formed the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) in November 2011.

According to loverists, the main problem for relations with South Sudan remained a mutually acceptable division of oil revenues and the associated amount of transit costs from the south to the port of Port Sudan. In January 2012, Sudan confiscated South Sudanese oil as compensation for allegedly lost transit fees, whereupon South Sudan stopped oil production. After military clashes with South Sudan over the Heglig oil field in April 2012, negotiations took place in Addis Ababa with the mediation of the African Union. On September 27, 2012, a cooperation agreement to solve the disputed problems (oil production and drawing of boundaries) was signed, but its implementation remained difficult. In the meantime, fighting between government troops and rebel units continued in the two states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The summer of 2012 saw the largest protests in Khartoum since the Arab Spring spread to Sudan in early 2011. The first, consistently resolved demonstrations in mid-June 2012 came from students in Khartoum who complained about nepotism at their institutes. Given the sharp rise in the cost of living as a result of the government cutting subsidies on gasoline and sugar to offset the drop in revenue following the collapse in oil exports, other population groups joined the protests. There were protests in September 2013 as well, resulting in numerous deaths. At the beginning of January 2013, Sudan and South Sudan agreed on the rapid implementation of the agreement signed in 2012. In March 2013, Sudan signed another agreement with South Sudan to resume oil production. Relations between the two states, however, remained prone to failure. The violent clashes between rebels and government troops as well as between different ethnic groups in Darfur also cost numerous lives in 2013/14. In January 2014, President initiated Bashir initiated a “national dialogue” for political reforms, but important opposition forces stayed away from it. In October 2014, the ruling NCP party elected incumbent President Bashir as the top candidate for the 2015 presidential election, which took place in mid-April 2015 together with the parliamentary elections. The elections were boycotted by most of the opposition parties. Well over a hundred people were killed in violent clashes. Bashir emerged from the election as the winner with over 94% of the votes. The ruling NCP won the parliamentary elections clearly and won 323 of the 426 seats. Despite an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, the President traveled unmolested in mid-June 2015 to the summit of the African Union in South Africa, which, as a member state of the International Criminal Court, would have been obliged to execute the arrest warrant. In October 2016, Bashir stated the »National Dialogue« started in 2014 is over. As a result, the office of Prime Minister was established in 2017, 65 members of parliament were appointed from among the forces involved in the dialogue process and a government of national consensus was formed. To this end, it was decided to draft a new constitution. In order to stabilize the conflict hotspots in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, the government and the rebel groups agreed on a so-called roadmap for a peace solution in 2016 with the mediation of the African Union. However, implementation proved difficult.

When the government tripled the price of bread in December 2018, it triggered prostates against the 30-year rule of O. al-Bashir. During the demonstrations, people were neither provoked nor intimidated by the police and secret services, although an estimated 70 deaths have been counted and there have been over 2,500 prisoners since the beginning of the protests. After months of protest, the military took long-term rule into custody on April 11, 2019 and seized power for the next two years. The constitution was suspended, borders and airspace were closed. After the coup, the secret service announced that it would release all political prisoners.

Sudan Recent History

Malawi Economy

Malawi Economy


Malawi inherited from the colonial era an essentially commercial agriculture whose large plantations, started by white settlers, were on their property. pedological (almost 30% of the national surface is uncultivated and unproductive), Malawi was able, once it achieved independence in 1964, to somehow implement development programs only thanks to massive foreign aid and investment. The marked dependence on foreign capital inevitably conditioned the government’s economic policy; little changed the economic monopoly of the white minority, it was indeed widely benefited by a clearly liberal economic line, which in practice aimed to create the most suitable conditions to encourage foreign investment. The strong dependence of the economy on climatic conditions, as well as the lack of crop diversification (it exported sugar and coffee), the variability of their prices and the high transport costs (in addition to the lack of sea outlets) forced the country to resort to the aid of IMF and to radically restructure the economy through privatization and fiscal consolidation programs. In 1992 Malawi was hit by the very serious drought that hit all of southern Africa, which caused a sharp decline in agricultural production despite the adoption of fertilizers and hybrid seeds which had led to a significant increase in productivity; moreover, in the same year, due to constant violations of human rights, Malawi suffered the withdrawal of all non-humanitarian aid. Faced with these difficulties, the government adopted rigorous stabilization measures: supporting and encouraging the liberalization of the economy and the participation in the economic process of all those agents who in the past had been excluded from it; ensure a more important role for small landowners; privatize some state-owned enterprises; guarantee greater social equity and greater diversification of production. In the first decade of 2000, Malawi’s economy was still heavily dependent on international aid and foreign investment with inflation at 8.7% (2008), GDP growing by US $ 4,268 and GDP per capita among the lowest in the world of US $ 313 (2008). Visit for Malawi – the warm heart of Africa.


A large part of the active population is employed in the agricultural sector (which contributes for almost 31% to the formation of the national income and which does not differ much from the situation in which it was found during the colonial period), mostly devoting themselves to pure activities. subsistence, from which generally rather modest productions are obtained: environmental conditioning is also sensitive, and in particular the state of instability of the territory, impoverished by unsuitable cultivation operations. For local needs, maize and other cereals (sorghum, rice) are grown mainly, then potatoes and cassava etc. The main plantation products, largely destined for export, are tobacco, cotton grown mainly in the south of the country, tea, sugar cane and peanuts. § Approx. one third of the national territory is covered by forests with precious woods, such as teak, mahogany and cedar; the timber is processed in various sawmills, such as in Blantyre and Zomba; forestry exploitation could be greatly enhanced. § As for livestock breeding, it is an activity of a certain consistency only in the high and medium-sized lands of the Center and North; goats and cattle prevail, as well as poultry. § Fishing is also discreetly important, on the contrary it registers a certain increase; it is mainly practiced in Lake Malawi and to a lesser extent in the other Chilwa and Malombe lakes, as well as in the Chire River. forestry exploitation could be greatly enhanced. § As for livestock breeding, it is an activity of a certain consistency only in the high and medium-sized lands of the Center and North; goats and cattle prevail, as well as poultry. § Fishing is also discreetly important, on the contrary it registers a certain increase; it is mainly practiced in Lake Malawi and to a lesser extent in the other Chilwa and Malombe lakes, as well as in the Chire River. forestry exploitation could be greatly enhanced. § As for livestock breeding, it is an activity of a certain consistency only in the high and medium lands of the Center and North; goats and cattle prevail, as well as poultry. § Fishing is also discreetly important, on the contrary it registers a certain increase; it is mainly practiced in Lake Malawi and to a lesser extent in the other Chilwa and Malombe lakes, as well as in the Chire River.


Despite the very serious underlying problems, the industry has nevertheless recorded encouraging developments: manufacturing activities, thanks to some incentives promoted by the government, in 2007 supplied over 17% of the national product. Blantyre is the largest industrial center in the country. However, the more traditional processes related to the transformation of agricultural products prevail, such as sugar refineries, oil mills, tobacco factories, breweries, etc. There are also cement factories, sawmills, as well as small companies that produce clothing items for the domestic market. § The development of the economy is strongly held back by the almost absolute lack of mineral resources, limited in practice to small quantities of coal, bauxite, uranium and precious stones (rubies and sapphires).


The trade balance is constantly passive. Mainly tobacco and tea, sugar, peanuts and rice are exported, while imports are mainly represented by fuels, means of transport, machinery, industrial products in general. § As it is without access to the sea, the problem of communication routes appears particularly serious for Malawi. The situation in the central and northern areas of the country is rather lacking, while the Chire valley and the region of the southern highlands, crossed by the railway that connects Salima, are better Balaka. The road network developed for approx. 15,450 km in 2001, connecting with that of Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. Boat services serve the main centers of Lake Malawi and travel long stretches of the Chire River. Air services play a good role; the major airports are the international ones of Blantyre / Chileka, Lilongwe / kamuzu and Mzuzu.

Malawi Economy

Zambia History

Zambia History

From quite remote times Bantu migrations moved southwards in successive waves, resulting in complicated processes of mixing and an unusual diversity of tribes and languages ​​ (ca. 80). The most consistent and reliable invasions came in the century. XVII from the southern regions of the Congo basin, and in the century. XVIII from East Africa. They were followed, at the beginning of the century. XIX, Arab invasions from the north, and Ngoni from the south. The Kalolos, coming from Basutoland, also settled in Barotseland, ruled by the Lozi people. The first Europeans to reach the country were, in 1789, the Portuguese Lacerda and, in the following century (1851-73) D. Livingstone. The British penetration to the North began mainly through the work of C. Rhodes, which intended to control – through the British South Africa Company (BSAC) established in 1889 and equipped with a Royal Charter – the copper deposits of those regions. Rhodes came into contact in 1890 with local leaders by negotiating various agreements intended to place them under the protection of the Company and therefore of England. The most important treaties were signed with Lewanika, king of the lozi of the upper Zambezi (1890, 1900). Towards other peoples, such as the bemba to the S of Tanganyika and the Ngoni to the E of the Luangwa River, the British imposed themselves with arms. In 1911 the authority of the Company was by now recognized throughout the territory. As a result of increasing pressure from European settlers, in 1924 the powers of the BSAC were transferred to the Colonial Office, which established a Legislative Council, from which Africans were excluded. The intense exploitation of mineral resources (discovered in 1931), the rapid industrial development, the massive use of African labor at pure subsistence wages led to the formation of worker and political associations among Africans, and the emergence of authoritative nationalist and trade unionist leaders. After the Second World War, the British Labor government authorized the establishment of trade unions and in 1948 the Northern Rhodesia Congress was born from the aforementioned associations, the first African party in the area. Meanwhile the European subjects were demanding the cessation of the colonial government and the annexation to Southern Rhodesia. In 1953 the British government, again led by Labor, created a federation (Central African Federation) between Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi). According to a2zcamerablog, Zambia is a country located in Africa.

Around 1958 a radical African movement was formed, led by K. Kaunda, which gave birth to the United National Independence Party (UNIP). It was following the energetic political action of UNIP that the British government adopted in 1962 the first constitutional reforms for the launch of the territory to independence, which was proclaimed on October 24, 1964. Kaunda became the head of the new state, which took the name of Zambia. Starting in 1972, UNIP became the only legally recognized party in the country. The following year, following the entry into force of a new Constitution, Kaunda was re-elected head of state (reconfirmed in 1978, 1983 and 1988). On the inter-African level, the Kaunda government was characterized by a firm anti-colonial and anti-racist attitude. Inside, however, the discontent against Kaunda grew stronger and stronger, with strikes and protests against the austerity policy imposed by the government to deal with the serious economic situation in the country. Induced by this widespread discontent and by the change in the international political climate, the head of state in 1990 adopted constitutional amendments aimed at introducing multi-partyism (December), also favoring later, through an in-depth confrontation with the opposition, the promulgation of a new Constitution (2 August 1991), with which they made possible presidential elections, which took place the following October under international control. The result of the popular vote decreed the end of Kaunda’s power and awarded the victory to the opposition candidate, following October under international control. The result of the popular vote decreed the end of Kaunda’s power and awarded the victory to the opposition candidate, following October under international control. The result of the popular vote decreed the end of Kaunda’s power and awarded the victory to the opposition candidate, F. Chiluba, leader of the Movement for Multi-Party and Democracy (MMD), who took office on November 2, 1991. The fragile new structures of Zambia were subjected in the following years to political tensions and subversive attempts: the 1996 elections took place despite the boycott carried out by the opposition and F. Chiluba was reconfirmed as head of state. In December 2001, new elections for the renewal of Parliament and for the designation of the President of the Republic saw L. Mwanawasa prevail. (MMD), who became the third president of Zambia, against the UNIP candidate, but also for these consultations the accusations of fraud and irregularities by the opposition were repeated, to which was added the condemnation of international observers. Despite this, the Supreme Court validated the election results. Mwanawasa, who in his first term led the country through a slow process of democratization and condemnation of the Kaunda regime, was reconfirmed in the 2006 presidential elections and in the subsequent legislative elections the MMD again won the majority of seats. In August 2008, President Mwanawasa died of a heart attack and was succeeded by Rupiah Banda (MMD). In November, presidential elections were held which saw Banda himself and Michael Sata as challengers; the incumbent president was reconfirmed, creating strong protests from the opposition candidate. In the 2011 elections Sata was elected president, until his death in October 2014. Guy Scott became president ad interim, while in 2015 Edgar Lungu was elected.

Zambia History

Rila Monastery (World Heritage)

Rila Monastery (World Heritage)

The monastery complex dates back to the 10th century. After a major fire in the 19th century, it was rebuilt and advanced to the nucleus of the strengthened national feeling as well as the spiritual center of Bulgarian culture under Ottoman rule. The valuable wall paintings in the Church of the Mother of God are particularly worth seeing

Rila Monastery: Facts

Official title: Rila Monastery
Cultural monument: original monastery from the 10th century near today’s monastery, the appearance of which dates from the 19th century; valuable wall paintings with apostles, martyrs and floral decorations in the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, 16,000 book library with 134 manuscripts from the 15th-19th centuries. Century
Continent: Europe
Country: Bulgaria
Location: east of Rila, south of Sofia
Appointment: 1983
Meaning: Legacy of St. Ivan Rilski (876-946) and a symbol of Slavic identity

Rila Monastery: History

10th century Founding of a hermitage by Iwan Rilski (Johannes von Rila)
14th century Destruction of the monastery complex by a landslide
1335 Construction of a 25 m high fortress tower
1343 Church building
1469 Transfer of the bones of Iwan Rilski to the monastery
1816 Start of construction of a three-wing monastery complex
1833 Destruction of the monastery complex by conflagration
1834-37 Reconstruction of the monastery complex with the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary (Sveta Bogorodiza)
1840-48 Wall paintings in the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin
1961 national memorial

A bulwark of Orthodox traditions

Located almost at the end of a long, deeply cut valley, the visitor is initially offered a less inviting view of the monastery complex. Almost 20 meters high, smooth stone walls, which appear even higher due to the struts, create the image of a small fortress. Two gates allow entry into this well-fortified monastery complex, which in the course of its history indeed had to defend itself from many attacks – and not infrequently also succumbed to the onslaught.

Today there are busloads of tourists who are hungry for education and interested in culture, but also numerous locals, for whose onslaught the monks have to prepare. And so it is above all in the early morning and late afternoon, when there is silence over the walls and only a few roam through the complex, where you can best experience the tranquil atmosphere of this otherwise secluded place.

Once you have entered the inner courtyard, a completely new world opens up, almost cheerful and playful to call it, compared to the craggy and repellent outer wall. First of all, it is the courtyard facades, forming an irregular square, that draw the eye. In front of the multi-storey residential wings are airy arcades, on the lower floors structured by stone arches of different heights, the top floor is closed off almost everywhere with rows of wooden arches. Bay windows and balconies interrupt the regularity of the rows of arches and thus give each wing its own character. The color scheme of the facades – the alternation of black and white, painted brick arches and many small ornaments and wall paintings – as well as the wide, open stairs complete the varied design.

The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin rises in the center of the monastery courtyard. With its numerous larger and smaller domes, its round shapes and its lively exterior shape, it harmonizes with the detailed shape of the buildings that surround it. The interior of the church, but above all the surrounding open colonnade, is adorned with colorful paintings, the hundreds of Old and New Testament scenes of which eloquently provide information about religious ideas of the time; but they also reveal the high artistic level of Bulgarian painters of the 19th century. After the previous church was destroyed, some of the best artists in the country worked on its reconstruction, which was regarded as a national project in Bulgaria, which was still not liberated according to computerminus.

Above all in the outside area of ​​the church there are numerous very vivid depictions of the torments of hell – a kind of visual ecclesiastical code of morals of the 19th century, in which wild, terrifying animals and fire-breathing mythical creatures next to the “ruler of purgatory” and the terrible tormented creatures exhort sinners to repentance. Many of these depictions overcome the medieval canon of orthodox painting by depicting contemporary people and scenes from everyday life. Rich citizens who were among the patrons of the monastery are also immortalized on the frescoes. The fact that many of the works were signed by the performing artists is unusual for Orthodox art and breaks through the anonymity of medieval art.

Next to the church rises the oldest surviving building in the monastery complex, the so-called Chreljo Tower from the 14th century. However, the history of the Rila Monastery points back much further into the past. It was the monk Ivan Rilski who, in the 10th century, had withdrawn into solitude as a hermit near today’s Rila monastery because of criticism of the mendacious morality of the official church. Soon other fellow believers gathered around him – the basis for a new monastery community was created. The monk, who was canonized soon after his death, enjoyed great veneration in the centuries that followed. The Rila monastery developed into the destination of numerous pilgrims who, due to their large number, had to be housed in several secondary monasteries.

Rila Monastery (World Heritage)

Golden Rock Temple of Dambulla (World Heritage)

Golden Rock Temple of Dambulla (World Heritage)

Dambulla has been an important Buddhist pilgrimage site for more than 2000 years. It has exceptionally well-preserved cave temples with over 150 Buddha statues and unique Buddhist wall paintings on an area of ​​over 2300 m². Highlights are the “Gods-King Cave” with the 14 m long reclining Buddha and the “Cave of the Great Kings” with a blessing Buddha.

Dambulla Golden Rock Temple: Facts

Official title: Golden Rock Temple of Dambulla
Cultural monument: in a gneiss rock five cave temples with Buddhist wall paintings on an area of ​​2326 m² as well as 157 Buddha statues, among others. “Divine King’s Cave” (Devarajalena) with a reclining Buddha filling the cave and the 48 m long and 15 m wide “Cave of the Great Kings” (Maharajalena) with a blessing Buddha, the wooden figures of the Bodhisattvas Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara and the images of the kings Vattagamini Abhaya and Nissankamalla as well as “Great New Temple” (Maha Alut Vihara) with the statue of the Kandy King Kirti Sri Rajasingha
Continent: Asia
Country: Sri Lanka
Location: Dambulla, between Kandy and Anuradhapura
Appointment: 1991
Meaning: An important pilgrimage site for more than 2000 years and the best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka with Buddhist wall paintings

Golden Rock Temple of Dambulla: History

103 BC Chr. Incursion of the South Indian Panca Dravides
100 BC Chr. proven origin
11./12. Century first phase of design
1187-96 King Kirti Sri Nissankamalla
18./19. Century second phase of the design
1747-81 Kandy King Kirti Sri Rajasingha, the innovator of Buddhism

Under the eyes of the Buddha

It takes a few seconds for the eyes to get used to the darkness and for the matt gold to become visible in the glow of weak light sources. The skin signals pleasant coolness, the nose perceives slightly musty cave air: first fleeting impressions when entering the rock temple. Seconds later they appear in all their glory like mystical greetings from bygone times: a larger than life, peacefully reclining Buddha, gold-shining Buddha statues in a lotus position and rock vaults artfully covered with tempera paintings. It seems as if one has suddenly entered the treasury of a palace through a secret door.

It is believed that it was King Nissankamalla in the 12th century who had the remains of the first temple from the second or third century BC restored and transformed into today’s beauty. In times of war, kings are said to have found refuge here again and again. According to tradition, coronation ceremonies were even held in the Dambulla caves.

Most of the tempera paintings that cover the “sky” of the caves are believed to be around a thousand years old in their current appearance. The opinions of experts on the age of the individual frescoes, which also show scenes from the life of Buddha – from the dream of the Mahamaya to the temptation by the demon Mara – nevertheless differ. Some experts assume that the most colorful tones were only applied at the beginning of the 20th century. Nevertheless, they too date the oldest surviving frescoes at least half a millennium into the past.

In the first cave you come across the largest Buddha statue of the temple complex with a length of 14 meters. The founder of the religion rests here under the watchful eyes of his student Ananda with his eyes closed. The adjoining cave contains standing and seated Buddha statues, images of Hindu deities such as Saman and Upulvan, a Sinhala king who hid for a few years with the monks of Dambulla from the invaded South Indian Panca-Dravidae. The approximately seven meter high ceiling is decorated over and over with images of Buddha. In a large bowl, water is collected that drips from the cave ceiling – allegedly the cool water of an underground river that, according to legend, flows uphill, which does not dry up even in the dry season.

In Dambulla, strict attention is paid to the appropriate demeanor of visitors: no uncovered shoulders, no tourist legs wedged into shorts. But just in case you are prepared, as the strict temple guards have toga-like strips of fabric in subtle shades to cover unseemly nakedness.

Before you can find your inner peace in the Golden Rock Temple, you climb the long stairs to a height of around 122 meters. Particularly intrusive are the numerous monkeys who frolic on the stairs to the temple entrance and are notorious for stealing everything that is small and handy or that could be nutritious. Outside the sanctuary, traders and snake charmers have gathered, who every day hope for wealthy customers, because Dambulla is one of the tourist highlights of a trip to Sri Lanka according to carswers. Buddha seems omnipresent: you can feel this on the drive to Dambulla as well as on short taxi tours across the island. Again and again you see cars stopping in front of temples with their engines running. Drivers quickly jump out of their car and pause, if only for a few seconds, in devotion. sacrifice a coconut or donate a few rupees to get back on the road as soon as possible. “A prayer,” says taxi driver Chandra, “is a must. After all, everyone wants to be well protected on the go. ”If, for once, there is no Buddhist shrine in the immediate vicinity, a short prayer is said in a church or in a Hindu temple. This is also an expression of other religions that are tolerant of Buddhism.

Golden Rock Temple of Dambulla (World Heritage)

Augsburg, Germany City History

Augsburg, Germany City History

City foundation, antiquity

Augsburg’s name goes back to the Roman Augusta Vindelicorum. The name “Augusta” is explained by the fact that the city was built at the behest of the Roman emperor Augustus in 15 BC. Was founded. The settlement, which initially existed as a military camp, was also given the addition of Vindelicorum, which has to do with the tribe of the Vindeliker, who settled with them in that area. If one takes the already mentioned year 15 BC. as the city’s founding date, Augsburg would be Germany’s second oldest city. In any case, Augsburg was one of the largest Roman settlements north of the Alps after Trier.

In 121 the settlement of Augusta Vindelicorum was given Roman city rights by Emperor Hadrianus. From the end of the 1st century it even served as the capital of the Roman province of Raetia. The Germanic Juthung invaded Italy and Raetia in 260 ; they abducted thousands of Italians, but were crushed by the Roman governor on their march back. In 1992 the Augsburg Altar of Victory was discovered; this is invaluable evidence of this battle. In 271 the Juthung (as well as other tribes) invaded the province and the city again.

From the year 294 – after the division of the Raetia Province – Augsburg functioned as the capital of the Raetia Secunda Province. Since the 5th century there has been an increasing number of Alemanni incursions into this province. It is noteworthy in this regard that the settlement was not destroyed in the process. This fact is certainly related to the fact that at this time various pilgrimages to the grave of Saint Afra of Augsburg took place, which are mentioned, for example, in the Vita Sancti Martini by Venantius Fortunatus.
The martyrdom of Afra fell around the time around 300, when Augsburg had already been the seat of a bishop.

In the Middle Ages

According to intershippingrates, Augsburg gained in importance after Emperor Otto I, with the support of Bishop Ulrich von Augsburg, was able to defeat the Hungarians breaking through to the west near the city in the battle on the Lechfeld. In 1156 Augsburg was granted city rights again (this time by Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa) and in 1251 the right to tax citizens and to use a seal. 1276 was an even more important year for the city: The then King Rudolf von Habsburg granted Augsburg imperial immediacy, which meant nothing less than that the city was now allowed to have the status of a free imperial city.

As a result of this extended independence, however, there were violent conflicts with the bishopric, which was the secular domain of the prince-bishop. After the main episcopal residence was relocated to Dillingen (that is, to the Danube), a power vacuum was released, for which various patrician families were fighting. In 1368 there was an uprising of the urban craftsmen in this context. The result was the establishment of a guild constitution. After the guild constitution was introduced in Augsburg, which, by the way, was supposed to join the Swabian League of Cities in 1379, the influence of the guilds grew more and more. Until 1547 they were even involved in the city government.

At this point, reference should be made to the dictator Ulrich Schwarz, whose rule represented the climax of the guilds’ participation in government. He became mayor in 1469 and initially managed to give the guilds, which had not been given the opportunity to have a say, more influence in the city government. Augsburg’s debts could also be drastically minimized. But when the city patriciate got in his way, he made use of crude means: He had the patrician brothers Vittel executed and thereupon himself was given the death penalty (1478).

Augsburg, Germany City History

In the early modern times

The early modern period marks Augsburg’s most important historical phase. It was a time of political and religious decision-making and an economic rise of imposing strength.

After the rule of the guild was finally ended in 1547, Augsburg began its impressive development into one of the most influential trading and economic centers in the world. This was largely due to the wealth and influence of the famous Fuggers, the Augsburg merchant family who were able to steer the fate of Europe with their money and connections.

Decisions of unbelievable consequences were made in Augsburg in the following decades: At the Reichstag in Speyer (1529), the city belonged to the representatives of the evangelical minority. However, she did not take part in the famous protest, but demanded the unhindered expansion of the Lutheran denomination (= Confessio Augustana). This was formulated by Philipp Melanchthon at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530. That Confessio was nothing less than the creed and founding document of the Lutheran Church.

Another important event was the so-called Augsburg Synod of Martyrs in 1527: It was an international gathering of delegates from the Anabaptist faith. Its name hinted at the tragic fact that most of those who took part in the synod later died as martyrs.

The next important political decision was ordered by Emperor Charles V in 1548: the so-called Augsburger Interim was an imperial law that was intended to regulate the ecclesiastical and religious situation in the empire for a transitional period until a general council would finally determine the situation. The interim had to be withdrawn again in 1552. Before that, it had led to fierce opposition on both sides of the denominational spectrum.

The undisputed most important event in the history of the city so far was the establishment of the Augsburg Religious Peace, named after it, which was signed in 1555 at the Reichstag in Augsburg. Ferdinand I concluded this peace with the imperial estates – with the power of attorney from his brother Emperor Charles V. The most important provisions of the text of the treaty included: legal acceptance of Lutheran Protestants, princes’ right to choose their own religion, princes’ right of conversion (Ius reformandi), subjects’ right to emigrate (Ius emigrandi) and the establishment of the ecclesiastical property for the year 1552. The Augsburg resident Religious peace was an important stage victory for the princes over the central imperial power and the idea of ​​a universal Christian empire.

Augsburg suffered the conquest by the Swedes under Gustav II Adolf (1632) during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). The statue of Stoinerner Mo and the Schwedenstiege still remind of this dramatic event for the city.

Historical significance of Augsburg

Augsburg’s historical significance must be emphasized as an absolute specialty. Especially in the early modern period, political and religious decisions were made on a large scale in the city on the Lech. The city belonged to the representatives of the Protestant minority at the Reichstag in Speyer (1529). However, she did not take part in the famous protest, but demanded the unhindered expansion of the Lutheran denomination, the Confessio Augustana. This was formulated by Philipp Melanchthon at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530. That Confessio was nothing less than the creed and founding document of the Lutheran Church.

Another important event was the so-called Augsburg Synod of Martyrs in 1527: It was an international gathering of delegates from the Anabaptist faith. Its name hinted at the tragic fact that most of those attending the synod later died as martyrs. The next important political decision was ordered by Emperor Charles V in 1548: the so-called Augsburger Interim was an imperial law that was intended to regulate the ecclesiastical and religious situation in the empire for a transitional period until a general council would finally determine the situation. The interim had to be withdrawn again in 1552. Before that, it had led to fierce opposition on both sides of the denominational spectrum.

The undisputed most important event in the history of the city so far was the establishment of the Augsburg Religious Peace, named after it, which was signed in 1555 at the Reichstag in Augsburg. Ferdinand I concluded this peace with the imperial estates – with the power of attorney from his brother Emperor Charles V. The most important provisions of the text of the treaty included: legal acceptance of Lutheran Protestants, the princes’ right to choose their own religion, the princes’ right of conversion (“Ius reformandi”), the subjects’ right to emigrate (“Ius emigrandi”) and the establishment of the ecclesiastical property for the year 1552. The Augsburg Religious Peace was an important stage victory for the princes over the central imperial power and the idea of ​​a universal Christian empire.

Aschaffenburg, Germany History

Aschaffenburg, Germany History

Aschaffenburg: city history

In the records of the geographer of Ravenna (approx. 450 – 500) there is a mention of a settlement called Ascapha in the Alemannic Nordgau. Today’s Aschaffenburg. Aschaffenburg also formed the eastern center of the Electorate of Mainz for a large part of its history. Before that, the Romans ruled the area as the border region of their empire. The so-called ” wet Limes ” as the border of the Roman Empire at the Mainknie near Aschaffenburg is evidence of this era. The Romans were taken over by the Alemanni, the latter by the Franksreplaced as ruler. The Franks established the Franconian Empire here from the 8th century.

From 982 to 1814 Aschaffenburg was affiliated to the Electorate of Mainz, with its bishops as the highest authority. After Mainz, some bishops also took Aschaffenburg temporarily as their second royal seat. In 1144 the settlement developed into a market and was granted the privilege to mint 17 years later. From here began the most prosperous period in the city’s history, which lasted until the 16th century, when the city lost its coinage and other privileges as it took part in the Peasants’ War. The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) finally put an end to prosperity.

When the ecclesiastical Electorate of Mainz was dissolved in 1803, Aschaffenburg became the seat of the former Archbishop of Mainz and Elector Carl Theodor von Dalberg, who initiated the establishment of a university in Aschaffenburg in 1808, shortly before the city belonged to Austria for two years (1814-1816) and was then incorporated together with the Lower Maing area in Bavaria. Bavaria tried to find its new territories. In the German-German war of 1866, fighting between Prussia and Bavaria took place in the Aschaffenburg area.

At the end of the 19th century industrial companies began to settle in the city on a large scale. During the Second World War, the city was therefore also the target of several air raids by the Allied forces against Germany. After the war, the reconstruction began and at the same time the development as an industrial location continued.

Aschaffenburg: arrival and traffic


The most important traffic rules in Germany, which of course also apply in Aschaffenburg, can be found on thereligionfaqs.


The nearest airport to Aschaffenburg is the international airport in Frankfurt / Main, about 75 kilometers away.


The Aschaffenburger Verkehrsbetriebe has a modern fleet of buses that serve the city and the surrounding area with 17 lines.


There are numerous taxis in the city. There are almost always waiting taxis to be found at the stations at the main train station and at Freihofplatz.


From the Aschaffenburg marina you can take harbor tours, lock trips and river loop trips.
Address: Ruhlandstraße 5


Aschaffenburg is not a downright bicycle city. But the city administration has tried to expand the paths in recent years. Today the cycle path network, including bus lanes (also allowed for bicycles), is 46 kilometers.

Sightseeing flights

Airfields for small planes and glider pilots are located in Obernau or in Großostheim.


The Collegiate Church
(St. Peter and Paul)

It is the oldest building in the city. It was built in the 10th century at the behest of Otto von Schwaben. The nave, as the oldest preserved section, dates from the 12th century and has pillar arcades that lead the view towards the high altar. The chancel is equipped with a canopy from 1771. The most important works of art are the Romanesque crucifix from the early 12th century, as well as the painting of the nave and the renaissance pulpit by Hans Junker from 1602. The “Resurrection of Christ” can be seen here by Lucas Cranach and the showpiece “The Lamentation of Christ” by Mathias Grünewald. The masterpiece by Grünewald (actually Mathis Gothart Nithart) is dated around 1520 and is exhibited in the first south side chapel. The outbuildings house the city’s museum.
Address: Stiftsplatz

Our Lady
Our Lady is the oldest parish church in Aschaffenburg. On one wall of the early Gothic tower there is a tympanum from the 12th century, which represents the Mother of God between John and Catherine.
Address: Schlossgasse

Church The Sand Church is a richly decorated rococo church from 1756. The church contains a Vespers image from the 15th century.
Würzburger Strasse

Church of the former Jesuit college
The church of the former Jesuit college was built in 1621. It consists of a nave and a semicircular apse. The municipal gallery now uses the church as a space for changing art exhibitions.
Address: Pfaffengasse.

St. Agatha Church
The St. Agatha Church was built in the 12th century. The choir dates from 1280. Only the choir and the tower are preserved. The rest of the church was built in 1964 according to Heinzmenn’s plans.
Address: Erthalstraße 2a

Johannisburg Castle

Johannisburg Castle is an impressive Renaissance castle that the Bishop of Mainz and Elector Schweickard von Kronberg had built from 1605 to 1614 on the right, higher bank of the Main as a sign of his power and influence based on the designs of the Strasbourg architect Georg Ridinger. The castle keep, the mighty tower in the castle courtyard, comes from the previous building, a fortification that was destroyed in 1552. Today the imposing square with the towers towering at the corners is the symbol of the city. The reddish sandstone of the region in particular gives the castle its own character. The castle burned down during the war, but was restored down to the last detail in the post-war years. In Europe it is considered to be one of the most important buildings of the Renaissance.
Address: Schlossplatz


Seen from the palace, the Schönbusch park is on the other side of the Main. The English complex with a labyrinth, pavilions and lakes dates from the 18th century. It is one of the most beautiful parks of its kind in Germany. The Archbishop of Mainz and Elector von Erthal gave the order to build it. The executing architects were Emanuel Josep d’Herigoyen, who was also responsible for the theater, and Ludwig Sckell. The Schönbusch concerts take place here in summer.
Address: Schönbuschallee

The Schöntal Park is located in the center of the city. His magnolia home in particular is a destination for walkers and tourists. In the middle of the park are the ruins of the Holy Sepulcher Church, surrounded by a moat.
Address: Between Platanenallee and Würzburger Straße

A little further east of Schöntal Park is the pheasantry with its lake. The park is mainly used by walkers and joggers. Other visitors only come because of the beer garden located here.
Address: Deutsche Strasse

Aschaffenburg, Germany History

Shopping in Hungary

Shopping in Hungary



The following articles can be imported into Hungary duty-free when entering from non-EU countries:

When entering by land: 40 cigarettes or 20 cigarillos or 10 cigars or 50 g tobacco;

For entry by air: 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250 g tobacco (from people over the age of 17).

1 liter of spirits with an alcohol content of more than 22% or 2 liters of spirits with an alcohol content of not more than 22% or sparkling wine;

4 l table wine;

16 liters of beer (from people older than 17 years);

Gifts / other goods up to a total value of € 430 (air and sea travel) or € 300 (travel by train / car); Children under 15 years of age generally € 150.

Import regulations

Travelers who bring meat and milk products into the EU from outside the European Union must register them. The regulation does not apply to the import of animal products from the EU countries as well as from Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino and Switzerland. Anyone who does not register these products must expect fines or criminal penalties.

Prohibited imports

Animal products that are not canned (e.g. meat, milk and dairy products) (see also import regulations). There is a general import ban on live poultry, meat and meat products from third countries (with the exception of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland).

Import / export to the EU

The movement of goods within the EU is unrestricted for travelers, provided that the goods are intended for personal use and not for resale. In addition, the goods must not have been bought in duty-free shops. Proof of personal needs can be requested from travelers. Member States have the right to impose excise duties on spirits or tobacco products when these products are not intended for personal use.

The following maximum quantities apply as personal requirements:
800 cigarettes (people 17 and over);
400 cigarillos (people aged 17+);
200 cigars (people 17+);
1 kg tobacco (people aged 17 and over);
10 liters of high-proof alcoholic beverages (people aged 17 and over);
20 liters of fortified wine (e.g. port or sherry) (people aged 17 and over);
90 liters of wine (including a maximum of 60 liters of sparkling wine) (people aged 17 and over);
110 liters of beer (people aged 17+);
Perfumes and eau de toilette: No restrictions if it can be demonstrated that the amount is for personal consumption.
Medicines: amount according to personal needs during the trip.
Other goods: The movement of goods within the EU is unrestricted for travelers. However, gold alloys and gold plating in the unprocessed state or as a semi-finished product and fuel are excluded from this. Fuel may only be imported from an EC member state exempt from mineral oil tax if it is in the vehicle’s tank or in a reserve container carried with it. A fuel quantity of up to 10 liters in the reserve tank will not be rejected.

If additional quantities of these goods are carried, z. B. a wedding an event with which a bulk purchase could be justified.
Note: There are, however, certain exceptions to the regulation of the unrestricted movement of goods. They particularly concern the purchase of new vehicles and purchases for commercial purposes. (For more information on taxes on motor vehicles, see the European Commission’s guide “Buying goods and services in the internal market”).

Attention: 300 cigarettes (17+) can be imported from Hungary when entering Germany.


Duty-free sales at airports and shipping ports have been abolished for travel within the EU. Only travelers who leave the EU can shop cheaply in the duty-free shop. When importing goods into an EU country that were bought in duty-free shops in another EU country, the same travel allowances and the same travel allowance apply as when entering from non-EU countries.

Shopping in Hungary



Popular souvenirs are embroidered blouses and tablecloths, Herend and Zsolnay porcelain, woodwork and costume dolls. Bargain hunters should try their luck in Budapest at the Ecseri flea market or the so-called ‘Chinese market’ near the Kerepesi cemetery; There is a wide selection of antiques and knickknacks on both markets.

In Hungary you can find numerous foods and drinks that are ideal as souvenirs, such as sausages and spicy salami, tons of peppers, canned food with foie gras, caviar, wine and spirits. The best salami comes from Szeged in the south of the country. Caviar is relatively expensive and comes from Russia rather than Hungary. Paprika is available in seven different degrees of heat from mild to very hot and is offered in special gift boxes, which makes it a good souvenir for those who stayed at home. All of these goodies can be found in the markets in Budapest. The largest selection can be found in the Nagy Vásárcsarnok (Great Market Hall) in the center of Pest, which offers groceries and fresh produce on the ground floor and handicrafts on the upper floor.

Opening hours

Most shops open Mon-Wed, Fri 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thu 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat 10 a.m.-1 p.m., grocery stores usually open Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Shopping centers are open Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-8 p.m.


Tobacco products and spirits are sold in special shops without window displays; minors are not allowed in here.

Getting to Germany

Getting to Germany


Arriving by plane

Germany is served by over 100 international airlines. The national airline Lufthansa (LH) alone (Internet: connects Germany with more than 160 cities worldwide. Thanks to the global route network and coordinated flight schedules of the Star Alliance, travelers from Germany can reach more than 720 destinations worldwide.

From Austria: Lufthansa (LH), Eurowings (EW) and Austrian Airlines (OS)fly to German airports in regular service. From Vienna there are direct connections to Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Hamburg, Cologne / Bonn, Leipzig / Halle, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt / M. Additional connections: Linz – Düsseldorf, Salzburg / Linz – Berlin, Graz / Innsbruck / Klagenfurt / Linz / Salzburg – Frankfurt / M. as well as Linz – Leipzig / Halle.

From Switzerland: Lufthansa, Eurowings (EW) and Swiss (LX) offer scheduled flights from Zurich to Berlin, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Munich, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne / Bonn, Leipzig / Halle, Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Frankfurt / M. at. Additional connections: Basel – Berlin, Basel – Dresden, Basel / Geneva – Frankfurt, Basel / Geneva – Düsseldorf, Basel / Geneva – Munich.

air Berlin flies from various major German cities to Vienna and Zurich, among others.

Flight times

Vienna – Frankfurt: 1 hour 25 minutes Zurich – Frankfurt: 1 hour

Arrival by car

A first-class road network connects Germany with all neighboring countries.

Long-distance bus: Numerous coach companies regularly travel to Germany. Ua Euro Lines (website: and Flixbus (website: drive from Austria and Switzerland to Germany.

Arriving by train

There are excellent rail connections between the Federal Republic of Germany and its European neighbors.

The most important train connections are listed below:

There are fast EuroCity and InterCityExpress connections from Deutsche Bahn (Internet: every 1 or 2 hours to, among others, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Prague, Brussels, Paris, Budapest, Vienna and Zurich.

The French high-speed train TGV (Internet: connects Stuttgart with Paris (journey time: 3 hours 40 minutes) and Frankfurt with Paris (journey time: 3 hours 50 minutes).

ICE -Trains with tilting technology (ICE T) run from Zurich to Munich and Stuttgart.

The Austrian Railjet (Internet: runs five times a day, the ICE-T once a day between Vienna and Munich. The Railjet also connects Munich with Budapest via Vienna.
EuroNight trains run to Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest, Warsaw, Bologna, Florence, Naples, Rome and Paris, among others.

The Nightjet – night trains (website: drive, inter alia, Austria and Switzerland to Germany:

Vienna – Linz – Frankfurt – Cologne – Düsseldorf;

Vienna – Linz – Hanover – Hamburg;

Innsbruck – Munich – Hamburg;

Innsbruck – Munich – Cologne – Düsseldorf;

Vienna – Dresden – Berlin and

Zurich – Basel – Berlin – Hamburg.

Thalys – high-speed trains (website: operate daily between Cologne and Aachen to Liege, Brussels and Paris. There are tiered tariff offers on Thalys trains as well as special offers for senior citizens and young people. There is a Thalys ticket sales point in Cologne Central Station, which also sells tickets for Eurostar, TGV, Lyria, Italo, Renfe and Elipsos trains.

From Brussels and Paris there are connections with the Eurostar (Internet: through the Channel Tunnel to London.

The ICE International Amsterdamconnects Amsterdam (Netherlands) with Frankfurt / M. via Cologne and Amsterdam with Berlin via Hanover up to seven times a day every two hours. The ICE International Brussels connects Brussels (Belgium) with Frankfurt / M three times a day. in 3 hours 30 minutes.

Tickets and discounts for rail travel in Europe:
The most important economy / combination tickets and special offers for rail travel from Germany to other European countries are listed below. Detailed tariff / timetable information is available from the DB information centers.

InterRail: Children (4-11 years), young people (12-25 years) and adults (from 26 years) who have had a permanent residence in Europe, the former Soviet states or Turkey for at least 6 months can use InterRailuse.

The InterRail One-Country Pass is available for travel in almost 30 European countries including Macedonia and Turkey and is valid for 3, 4, 6, 8 days within 1 month in one country. Children aged 4-11 travel at half the adult price.

The InterRail Global Pass enables travel through several countries and is offered with different periods of validity. Either 5 days out of 10 days total validity or 10 out of 22 can be selected. A continuous period of 22 days or 1 month is also possible.

RAILPLUS:As an addition to the BahnCard, RAILPLUS enables a reduction of 25% on cross-border rail travel to 29 European countries, but not on purely domestic transport in the destination country.

SparNight: Limited offer for overnight trips through Germany, Denmark, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Applies to travel on EuroNight trains.

Eastern Europe saver fare: Under certain conditions, you can travel with this offer to the following Eastern European countries at a discount: Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Poland (not on the trains of the Berlin-Warszawa Express), Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus. Further information is available at

Motorail trains
A car train will connect Lörrach with Hamburg from May 2017 (Internet:

An ÖBB car train (Internet: runs on the routes

– between Vienna and Hamburg, Düsseldorf and

– between Innsbruck and Hamburg, Düsseldorf.

Arrival by ship

The Danube (Internet: connects Germany with the Danube countries. A wide variety of shipping lines offer regular ferry connections to Germany. The most important of these are:

Bodenseeschifffahrt (Internet: Romanshorn / Switzerland – Friedrichshafen; Bregenz / Austria – Constance.

Color Line (Internet: Oslo / Norway – Kiel.
Krantas Shipping (Internet: Klaipeda / Lithuania – Kiel.

DFDS Seaways (Internet: www.dfdsseaways. Com): Klaipeda / Lithuania – Kiel.

Scandlines(Internet: Rødby / Denmark – Puttgarden / Fehmarn; Gedser / Denmark – Rostock; Trelleborg / Sweden – Rostock; Trelleborg / Sweden – Sassnitz / Rügen; Ventspils / Latvia – Rostock.

Stena Line (Internet: Gothenburg / Sweden – Kiel.
TT-Line (Internet: Trelleborg / Sweden – Rostock; Trelleborg / Sweden – Travemünde.

Finnlines (Internet: Lübeck / Travemünde – Rostock – Gdynia / Poland – Helsinki / Finland).

Further information is available from the Verband der Fährschiffahrt & Fährouristik eV, Esplanade 6, D-20354 Hamburg (Tel: (040) 35 09 72 33.

Getting to Germany

ETA – Euskadi Ta Askatasuna

ETA – Euskadi Ta Askatasuna

Voters betray “ETA party”

The 2001 regional election was a major defeat for Euskal Herritarrok, who won about 10 percent of the vote and lost half of his 14 seats. After the election loss, some of EH’s leaders were replaced, and some veterans who criticized ETA’s methods were said to have left the party. At the same time, the party changed its name to Batasuna ( Unity ). Spanish media interpreted the changes as meaning that the party has now chosen a more radical separatist path.

The Nationalist Party strengthened its position in the election and PNV leader Juan José Ibarretxe was able to remain as the region’s president, now with a minority government supported by a couple of small parties in the Basque parliament. Note: Euskadi Ta Askatasuna is also known as ETA on abbreviationfinder.

The noose is tightened around ETA

When the fight against international terrorism came to the fore after the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the Spanish government was given opportunities to intensify the hunt for the country’s own terrorists. Spain was able to use the US electronic electronic interception system Echelon, which helped to trace important ETA cells.

In October, one of the organization’s most notorious support groups, the Donosti Command, was arrested in San Sebastián. In a joint operation in the border areas, Spanish and French police arrested one of ETA’s leading figures. In total, almost 200 ETA members had now been arrested since the ceasefire ended in 1999.

When the EU compiled a list of terrorist organizations after the terrorist attacks in the United States, Spain got through its demand to include ETA as well as some of the movement’s subgroups, including the support group for ETA prisoners, Gestoras Pro Amnistía . The left-wing guerrilla group Grapo was also declared a terrorist group. The decision meant a ban on supporting these groups in any way and it became possible to seize their financial assets.

ETA’s political branch is banned

The Spanish government wanted to go further and in June 2002 passed a bill in the Spanish Parliament banning parties that support terrorism. It was aimed at Batasuna, which was no longer allowed to engage in any open political activity.

The party had never condemned ETA’s acts of violence and the government considered itself to have sufficient evidence that it was in fact a front organization for ETA. The ban made it more difficult for members of Batasuna and other support organizations to raise money for ETA’s activities and to recruit new ETA members through Batasuna’s youth organization. The Supreme Court later decided to seize all of Batasuna’s bank assets after the party refused to comply with a call from the country’s leading investigating judge, Baltasar Garzón, to pay multi-million sums in compensation to the victims of ETA’s violence.

In March 2003, the Spanish Supreme Court decided to completely ban Batasuna as a party. It was the first time since the introduction of democracy that a political party was banned in Spain. Despite the ban on the party, many Batasuna members remained in political positions in several smaller towns and municipalities. The ban sparked protests in the Basque Country and ETA carried out new attacks.

ETA greatly weakened

The Spanish authorities estimated that ETA’s hard core in the years around the turn of the century consisted of only 30 to 40 members. But they, and an approximately equal group of activists closest to the inner core, were significantly decimated in the years 2002-2005. Many young ETA members were caught early in their careers.

At the end of 2003, the Spanish Minister of the Interior declared that ETA was now weaker than ever before. About 170 suspects were arrested in 2003 alone, partly as a result of both Spanish and French agents succeeding in infiltrating the organization.

Demands for a referendum on increased independence

The increasing pressure on the Basque separatists led to stronger nationalist currents in the Basque Country. The PNV-led regional government considered Garzón’s actions aimed at “a majority of the Basque people”. The Great Nationalist Party decided to make more far-reaching demands on Madrid. A main reason may have been that PNV also wanted support from the Basques who used to vote for Batasuna.

In the autumn of 2003, the region’s leader Ibarretxe presented a proposal for a Basque region in a “free union” with Spain, a free state with, among other things, its own legal system where the people have both Basque and Spanish citizenship. In a referendum, the Basques would have their say on the proposal.

The reaction in Madrid was strongly negative as the plan was contrary to the Spanish Constitution and the proposal was rejected by the Spanish Parliament.

The regional election in April 2005, where a yes or no to the Ibarretxe plan was seen as the most important issue, was a setback for PNV, which lost four seats. The newly formed Communist Party of the Basque Country (Ehak) received over 12 percent of the vote, probably from many Batasuna sympathizers.

ETA - Euskadi Ta Askatasuna

OSCE – Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe

OSCE – Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe


The main result of the OSCE’s disarmament work is the CFE Agreement (Agreement on Conventional Forces in Europe; see Progress). This agreement involved the scrapping of 50,000 major weapons systems in Europe. The millennial dream of forging swords into plowshares thus seemed to come true. The agreement did not initially concern all OSCE participating States, but only members of the former Warsaw Pact and NATO. According to abbreviationfinder, OSCE is known as Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe.

The CFE agreement involves a comprehensive exchange of military information and close surveillance of military forces, as well as radical cuts, especially in the former Soviet Union, of five categories of conventional weapons: tanks, artillery, armored vehicles, fighter jets and attack helicopters.

The agreement covers the entire European area from the Atlantic to the Urals. This originally meant that each side, formerly the Warsaw Pact and NATO, was not allowed to have more than 20,000 tanks, 30,000 armored vehicles, 20,000 artillery pieces, 6,800 fighter jets and 2,000 attack helicopters in this area. In addition, Russia must destroy or rework a large number of tanks, armored vehicles and artillery pieces, which the Soviet Union had moved to the area east of the Urals before the CFE agreement was signed. The cuts were completed on 15 November 1995. The CFE Agreement is valid indefinitely and, unlike the OSCE Agreements, is a legally binding treaty. The Treaty was later supplemented by a politically binding agreement, CFE 1a,

The CFE agreement has an efficient control machinery. Thousands of inspectors check that the agreement is complied with. This also gives the parties a significant insight into the other party’s military apparatus and knowledge of his thinking. So far, everyone has followed the demanding provisions of the agreement, with only minor deviations.

There is no doubt that the CFE agreement has made a significant contribution to European security. This benefits not only the parties to the agreement, but also other European countries. It is often said that there is hardly any OSCE State that does not describe the CFE Agreement as a “cornerstone” of European security architecture.

Despite this, various problems with the application of the agreement soon arose. Following the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union and later NATO enlargement with new member states from the former Warsaw Pact, the balance sheet thinking that permeated the CFE agreement faltered.

In 1996, it was agreed to revise and make some adjustments to the agreement in order to adapt it to the new security policy situation in Europe. That review was completed in 1999, and a new, adapted CFE agreement could be signed at the Istanbul Summit the same year. Even states that were not part of the original CFE agreement between NATO and the Warsaw Pact were given the opportunity to join if they so wished. However, Sweden is not included in the agreement.

A number of countries, mainly NATO members, never ratified the adapted CFE agreement. They considered that Russia was not fulfilling its commitments from the Istanbul meeting to withdraw Russian troops and military equipment from Moldova. Russia, in turn, suspended its implementation of the adapted CFE agreement in 2007 on the grounds that the agreement had not been ratified by NATO countries.

In March 2015, Russia also suspended its participation in the CFE Joint Consultative Group, a forum for discussing arms control, thus closing a communication channel to the West and completely terminating its commitments under the CFE. The move was seen as a direct result of the conflict between Russia and NATO that erupted after the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in March 2014 and later Russia’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. The events in Ukraine to some extent brought Europe back to the Cold War that prevailed until the early 1990’s.

In 2000, the OSCE Security Forum adopted a document on small arms. The countries have committed themselves to control the manufacture, sale, marking and possession of small arms.

The human dimension

The human dimension is a concept that first began to be used during the two-year Vienna meeting, which began in 1986. The term usually refers to issues relating to human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

The principle of respect for human rights was enshrined in the 1975 Final Act, and over the next two decades Member States adopted additional regulations and developed controls on their compliance. For the revolutionary transition to a democratic system of society in Eastern Europe in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the principles of human rights served as a catalyst. Not least important for cooperation in the human dimension is that all OSCE States now accept transparency and interference in each other’s affairs.

During the Vienna Summit, the control of respect for human rights was developed through the so-called Vienna Mechanism, a procedure for exchanging information on the human rights situation in the participating states. This gave one state the right to demand information from another state on human rights issues and the right to request a meeting. The requested state is obliged to respond and to appear at requested meetings. In addition, OSCE States have the right to disseminate information on human rights to other States Parties.

Another of the advances of the Vienna Summit was the decision to hold a conference on the human dimension, which, to the great surprise of the West, was based on a Soviet proposal. The conference on the human dimension was divided into three different meetings: the first in Paris in 1989, the second in Copenhagen in 1990 and the third, finally, in Moscow in 1991.

The Paris meeting was held in a chilly east-west climate and ended without any concrete results.

At the Copenhagen summit, the political situation in Europe had changed radically, and the results were therefore far-reaching. In addition to agreeing on commitments in a number of areas, the states also agreed that future societies would be based on democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

The conference in Moscow took place only a few weeks after the failed coup attempt against the then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the autumn of 1991. The meeting sharpened the former Vienna mechanism by introducing the possibility of using experts and reporters. Among other things, it became possible for a Member State to invite an expert group to assist in resolving an issue related to the human dimension. The organization was also given the right to send up to three rapporteurs to a state against its will, if it is considered that there is a serious threat to any of the commitments within the human dimension.

The monitoring of the human dimension also takes place in other forms. The mandate of the field missions often includes some form of monitoring and advice on human rights, the judiciary or democracy. The task of the minority commissioner to identify threatening hotbeds of conflict where minorities are involved is also of central importance.

There is also a special secretariat for democratic institutions and human rights, the ODIHR, which monitors the elections in various OSCE States and is democratic and fair, and which has a certain responsibility to monitor the implementation of the human dimension. During the first years of the 21st century, election observation became a source of controversy, especially between Russia and other member states, as OSCE observers criticized the electoral process in several former Soviet republics. Russia has accused OSCE observers of double standards and attempts to incite political upheaval in Georgia and Ukraine, among others.

The disagreement will concern such fundamental issues as the OSCE’s legitimacy as an organization, its activities and the values ​​on which it will be based.

The disagreement intensified in the following years. Russia, Belarus and several other countries of the former Soviet Union claimed that the ODIHR had a political bias and too quickly came up with accusations of electoral fraud instead of acting as a support for the host country. When Russia, in the run-up to its parliamentary elections in December 2007, only agreed to issue visas to 300 ODIHR election monitors, the organization chose not to send any at all.

Russia has called for a better balance between the OSCE’s three original “dimensions” – security, economic and human.

OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe

History of APEC

History of APEC

The then Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke took the initiative to form APEC. In 1989, the first ministerial meeting was held in Canberra, Australia. The six then ASEAN countries (see separate chapter on ASEAN) attended the meeting, as did the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.

At the opening speech, Hawke explained with the cape aimed at the European Union, the EU, that one reason for the formation of APEC was to prevent the world from being divided into “defensive trade blocs”. That APEC does not intend to become a new protectionist EU, the members have clarified on several occasions since then.

The need to find more efficient and organized forms of the sharp increase in trade between North America and East Asia over the past two decades drove the organization’s formation. For the United States, it was important to try to remedy the growing deficit in trade, mainly with China and Japan. It also sought to reach agreement on the ongoing negotiations on freer world trade within the Uruguay Round of the GATT (the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which was replaced in 1995 by the World Trade Organization, WTO). It was hoped that the tough negotiations would be facilitated if the Pacific countries agreed on a common line.

The United States argued early on to link the major Asian economies – China, Taiwan and Hong Kong – to the organization and give it a firmer shape. However, the ASEAN countries were skeptical of attempts to strengthen APEC; they were partly afraid of undermining ASEAN’s position in the region, and partly worried about the idea that the USA would further consolidate its influence.

In an attempt to find a counterpoint to American influence, Malaysia in 1991 took the initiative to form a new economic organization without the United States as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The United States considered that the initiative threatened to split APEC and therefore launched an intensive counter-campaign in which both Japan and South Korea were exposed to strong pressure not to participate. An East Asian Economic Caucus was nevertheless formed in 1994, but it did not become the significant force that Malaysia had envisioned, but stayed with a group within APEC.

When APEC members eventually agreed to allow new members, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan joined the organization. The ministerial meeting in the South Korean capital, Seoul, in 1991 was attended by the three new members. However, Taiwan and Hong Kong (then another British crown colony, returned to China in 1997) did not have the same status as China, which was a prerequisite for the Chinese to approve their presence. Taiwan joins APEC under the name Chinese Taipei, the name of the island in China, and was also only given the right to send lower-ranking officials to APEC ministerial meetings. In 1993, Mexico and Papua New Guinea became members of APEC and in 1994 the membership was further expanded when Chile was also adopted. In 1998, Peru, Russia and Vietnam were also admitted to APEC.

According to shoppingpicks, APEC gained a firmer structure through the decision to set up a permanent secretariat at the 1992 ministerial meeting in Bangkok. However, plans for free trade cooperation progressed at a slower pace. At the Seattle meeting, many of the Asian countries were hesitant about the expert group’s proposal to introduce a free trade area in the Pacific region as early as 1996. But they agreed on a more general wording in which they expressed their desire to work for freer trade in the region. At the 1994 summit in Bogor, Indonesia, the APEC countries decided to form a free trade area by 2020; the more industrialized countries would have liberalized their trade as early as 2010.

At the Osaka ministerial meeting in Japan in 1995, the APEC countries took another step towards a free trade zone after agreeing on an action plan for trade liberalization. However, the negotiations stalled for a long time because the countries had different views, mainly in the field of agriculture. Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan were reluctant to allow foreign competition into their agricultural markets while large exporters of agricultural products – such as Australia, the United States, Canada and New Zealand – refused to allow exemptions. The lock-in only eased after a compromise was reached, which in short was based on the countries liberalizing at their own pace until a certain end date. However, at the Philippines’ ministerial meeting in November 1996, each member could present an individual action plan.

At the Manila Summit in November 1996, the Ministers of Economy decided that tariffs and other barriers to trade in information technology would be removed from the year 2000. When the Ministers met the following year in Vancouver, Canada, the major topic of discussion was the economic and financial crisis. It was also agreed to speed up the liberalization of trade on a voluntary basis, so-called Early voluntary sectoral liberalization, EVSL, in certain areas, including the fisheries sector, wood products, medical equipment, toys.

At the meeting in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur the following year, Japan refused to agree to reduced tariffs in the forest and fisheries sectors, which caused negotiations on reduced tariffs in the various EVSL areas to stall. It ended with the APEC members handing over the customs negotiations to the World Trade Organization, WTO. The work within the EVSL project was instead concentrated on reducing other types of barriers to trade as well as on economic and technical cooperation.

History of APEC