Category: Europe

Chalkidiki, Greece

Chalkidiki, Greece

Halkidiki peninsula
Halkidiki is a majestic peninsula that is one of the most attractive areas of northern Greece.
Located south of Thessaloniki , it is a real paradise, untouched by the detrimental effects of modern technology.
According to ancient mythology, in ancient times, titans, rivals of the gods, lived on this peninsula.
In the battle with the titans, the sea god Poseidon lost his trident – this is how the peninsula of Halkidiki arose, similar to the trident of Poseidon.
Chalkidiki consists of three peninsulas: Kassandra, Sithonia, Athos (Holy Mount of Orthodoxy).
The northern part of the peninsula borders on the Thessaloniki region, through which communication with mainland Greece is carried out.
The coastline of the peninsula, the length of which is about 520 km, forms four bays.
In the west Termichesky, in the south – Kaasandra and Agion Oros, in the east Strimonsky.
The region of Chalkidiki has an area of ​​2.915 km2. and a population of 80,000 people, in summer it more than doubles.
Chalkidiki is the only region of Greece whose history begins 600,000 years ago, as evidenced by the remains of an ancient man found in the stalactite cave of Petralona.
It is generally accepted that this is the birthplace of the giants and the place of their battle with the Olympic gods for the right to reign on Olympus.
Halkidiki resembles in its shape the mythical trident, the god of the seas Poseidon, piercing the blue waters of the Aegean Sea.
The birthplace of Aristotle, Halkidiki is an important tourist center.

Cities and towns in the Halkidiki region:
1. Nea Fokea – a village located on the eastern coast of the Kassandra peninsula with a picturesque bay and its Byzantine tower
at the very edge of the sea.
2. Pevkohorip – translated as “pine village”, one of the best villages on the Kassandra peninsula. It is famous for the only promenade in Halkidiki with a large number of bars.
3. Nea Potidea – a beautiful town with amazing sandy beaches, built on the ruins of the Corinthian colony of the same name.
4. Metamorphosis – a village located on the coast of the Chalkidiki peninsula, beautiful and cozy, with a small number of shops, taverns, hotels and, accordingly, there are not many tourists here, therefore the “night life” is not in full swing.
5. Afytos – the most picturesque village of the Kassandra peninsula, you should definitely visit it.
6. Neos Marmaras is by far the only major settlement in Sithonia. Beautiful with a good promenade, an abundance of places where you can eat and have fun. The village is surrounded by amazingly beautiful bays and pine forests. Nearby are a casino, a golf course and several discos.
7. Kallithea – one of the three largest tourist villages on Kassandra. The name of the village is translated as “beautiful view”, there are beautiful nature, many taverns, restaurants. Here are the largest discos and bowling on the first “finger”.
8. Ouranoupoli – “heavenly city”, so named probably because it borders on the monasteries of Athos. From here, boats with pilgrims leave for the monasteries. From the point of view of “night life” it is of no interest, like the entire third finger of Halkidiki.
9. Chanioti is another village where fans of “hang out” should strive. There are many souvenir shops and taverns.
10. Caries – the capital of the monastic republic of Agion Oros (Athos). The majestic museum of the history of Christianity is famous for its unique icons, books, manuscripts and other ancient exhibits.

Archaeological reserves:

  • Ruins of ancient Arnea
  • Ruins of ancient Mend
  • Ruins of ancient Olynthos
  • Ruins of ancient Thoron
  • The ruins of the ancient city of Stagira
  • Ruins of the ancient city (Polychrono)
  • Cave of Petralona
  • Temple of Zeus Ammon and Nymphs (Kallithea)
  • Ancient Mines (Stagira)
  • Likithos castle with bastions (XVI century)
  • The ruins of the castle and the ancient canal (N. Potidea)


  • Archaeological Museum of Polygyros (exhibits date back to the 1st-5th century BC)
  • Archaeological collection of Lambropoulos (Polygyros)
  • Petralona Cave Museum (prehistory)
  • Ethnographic Museum of Afytos
  • Archaeological collection in Olynthus
  • Museum of shellfish, etc.

Chalkidiki, Greece

Latvia Tourist Information

Latvia Tourist Information

Latvia is a great option for those who love beautiful European architecture, interesting historical sights and beach holidays. And if you have already chosen tours to Latvia for yourself, it remains only to get acquainted with the information about the country, which will undoubtedly come in handy on a trip.

Latvia: location. According to thesciencetutor, the rather small country of Latvia is located in the North of Europe, and its neighbors are Lithuania (border in the south), Estonia (border in the north of the country), Russia and Belarus (in the east and southeast, respectively).

Latvia: capital. The capital of Latvia is the stunning Riga – a city with beautiful architecture and ancient sights. Here you can visit castles and museums, churches and cathedrals for more than one day, or just wander around the cozy streets of Riga and the Old Town. And you can feel and feel the Latvian culture at local fairs, which are quite often held in the city.

Latvia: language. The official state language in Latvia is Latvian. At the same time, many residents of the country know and speak Russian.

Latvia: visa. Ukrainians will need a Schengen visa to enter Latvia. A tourist visa to Latvia is issued (the price of the consular fee is 35 euros) literally up to two weeks. All that is needed is to fill out an electronic application form, submit the necessary documents for a visa to Latvia and pay a consular fee.

Latvia: features of customs control. When entering the country, do not take with you more than 200 cigarettes / 50 cigars / 250 grams of tobacco (optional) and more than 1 liter of alcohol (wine up to 4 liters). Latvian customs regulations also prohibit the import of weapons, narcotic and explosive substances (objects), meat and dairy products, chocolates, and certain medicines. Difficulties may also arise with the import of ancient art objects (more than 50 years old), as well as amber.

Latvia: climate and seasonality. Tourists will be pleased with the climate of Latvia, because in winter there are practically no very severe frosts (usually temperatures are from 0 to -3 degrees), and in summer there is no tiring heat (on average + 21- + 23 degrees). Therefore, you can safely go to Latvia at any time of the year. But if you want to additionally visit the beaches of Jurmala, then it is best to go in July – the sea is as warm as possible (water temperature is about +22).

Latvia: time. There is no time difference between Riga and Kiev time.

Latvia: currency. The official currency in Latvia is the euro.

Latvia: tips. On average, in restaurants, “for tea” they give about 5-10% of the bill (but quite often they can already be included in the bill).

Latvia: telephone. It is worth buying a Sim-card on the spot. Regarding prices, one of the cheapest calls will be the local operator Zeltazivtina. For 2 euros you will have unlimited network (to phones of other operators 0.17 euros / minute) and the ability to activate the service for foreign calls (for calls to Ukraine) – it will cost about 4 euros for 30 minutes. As for emergency numbers, it is the same for everyone – 112.

Latvia: electrical network. In Latvia, the voltage in the network and the type of sockets are the same as in Ukraine.

Latvia: clothing etiquette. There are no special rules and requirements for clothing in Latvia.

Latvia: official holidays. The main holidays, of course, are the Independence Day, which is lavishly celebrated on May 4 and the Day of the Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia, which Latvians celebrate on November 18.

New Year in Latvia is celebrated, as in Ukraine, on the night of the first day of January, but Christmas, according to the European model, is December 25th.

For tourists, the Ligo holiday (Yanov’s Day) will also be interesting. On this holiday, folk traditional festivities are held in all cities and you can get to know the Latvian original culture and customs as much as possible. On this day, you can also taste unique festive dishes – Janov cheese and very tasty barley beer.

Latvia Tourist Information

Latvia Literature in the Early Age

Latvia Literature in the Early Age

The various events of Latvian literature are closely connected with the history of the Latvian people. Just as the Latvian language is, together with Lithuanian, the most archaic of the European languages, so too the popular literature of the Latvians contains elements that date back to prehistoric times. But the fact that the collections of Latvian folk songs do not predate the second half of the century XIX requires a very careful and prudent critique for the understanding and study of this rich poetic heritage. To this is added another fact that profoundly characterizes the past and the mentality of the ancient Latvians: the Latvian folk songs, the dainas (see below: folklore), are exclusively lyrical: myological songs, of family life, songs of even more or less pagan festivals, of daily life, of love, etc.; – no name and no historical fact, no reference, neither generic nor particular, to the many centuries of freedom and subsequent political submission, in which the aesthetic conception of the life and nature of this people developed, under certainly unfavorable conditions. The dainas reveal a pure conception, full of love and nobility, of family life, and an ancient and essentially artistic interpretation of nature. Moreover, the Latvians lack any trace of an ancient dramatic literature and there are no sure indications to admit the existence of an epic literature.

The beginnings of written literature date back to the century. XVI, and are connected with the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation and also with the humanistic movement which in Livonia, compared to the other states around the Baltic (the ancient Hanseatic cities, Sweden, etc.), had a flourishing development. The first news about the adaptation or version of church texts or songs belong to the beginning or the middle of the century (for example, the Pater Noster in the Cosmography of S. Münster, edition of 1550). The Catechismus Catholicorum dates from 1585, the Enchiridion from 1586Lutheran. Note, in the beginnings of Latvian literature, the efforts of the Jesuits for the creation of a religious literature (Tolgsdorf, Elger and others): efforts that represent the survival of the great projects of A. Possevino and of the Polish king Stephen Bátory, master in those times of Latvia, to establish a polyglot university in Livonia.

The true development of Latvian literature, however, dates back only to the 10th century. XVII, from the time that the northern part of ancient Livonia belonged to the Swedes. It was then that G. Mancelius, rector of the new university of Dorpat (Tartu) and eminent humanist, composed the famous Langgewünschte Lettische Postill (1654) in Latvian, a collection of sermons that soon became popular. Earlier he had demonstrated his attachment to the Latvian language with his Lettus, das ist Wortbuch sampt angehengtem täglichen Gebrauch der lettischen sprache (1638). After him Chr. Fürecker, German by origin, but Latvian by family ties and by election, composed (1685) a large number of Lutheran hymns with a powerful and truly profound expression. Finally E. Glück, adoptive father of Catherine I, gave the Latvians the first complete version of the Bible: classic version for precision and expressive force. The end of the seventeenth century is also rich in research on language (dictionaries by G. Elger and Lange, grammar by Adolphy, poetics by Wischmann and others).

Less important are the contributions to the Latvian literature of the century. XVIII. Some Protestant pastors, including GF Stender (Stender the Elder, 1714-1796), have provided examples of narrative and didactic literature. At the same time, although hampered by the taste of the time, interest in popular traditions began to arise.

At the time of the Sturm und Drang this interest took on new vigor under the influence of Herder and J.-J. -Rousseau. Above all, the latter greatly influenced the literary career of the Riga historian and journalist Garlieb Merkel (1769-1850) who, despite having written his works in German, belongs to Latvian literature for his patriotic fervor and the impetus of revolutionary ideas that brought a new current of pure air into the unhealthy and suffocating atmosphere of ancient Livonia (see especially Die Letten, 1796 and Lieflands Vorzeit, ein Denkmal desRitterund Pfaffenthums, 1797-99). Not only in the sphere of social reforms, but also in the intellectual field and even more in the development of national consciousness, the great events of the beginning of the 19th century have profound repercussions in Livonia. The beginning of Latvian journalism belongs to this period: Latweeschu Awizes (The Latvian newspaper), founded in 1822 in Jelgava (Mitau) by the Protestant pastor Watson. Furthermore, the literature of the time, now represented by writers of purely Latvian origin (Leitāns, Līventāls, Dūnsbergis and others), while partly reflecting outdated motifs of the century. XVIII, becomes more and more spokesperson for new social and political conceptions.

The real national awakening in Latvia, however, is due to the generation that, born around 1830, carried out its activity especially in the last decades of the century. XIX. The movement began first in Moscow and Petersburg, where circles of Latvian intellectuals had already formed. The Moscow club headed by the political agitator, organizer and writer Kr. Waldemārs (1825-1891) was the most prominent. Among those who, following his directives, were constructing the new edifice of national consciousness, the poet J. Alunans (1832-1864), the fervent patriot Atis Kronvalds (1837-1875), the classic collector of Latvian dainas Kr. Barons should be noted. (1835-1923)

Alongside these radical representatives of the new movement (also called “jaunlatvieši”, young Latvians), there was also a more moderate current, inclined to compromise with the ancient religious and pedagogical tradition. The noble figure of Juris Neikens (1826-1868) emerges.

After the first polemical struggles (especially against the uncompromising representatives of the Balto-German aristocracy), Latvian writers, adhering to a belated romanticism, chose, for their poetic compositions, heroic and tragic themes of the Latvian past, in the first place. of the fatal arrival of the Teutonic Order in Livonia. Patriotic sentiment is deep and sincere there; good and sometimes even perfect the artistic form. The ballads of Auseklis (pseudonym of Krogzemju Mikus, 1850-1879), have almost risen to hymns of the Latvian people, to whom the epic L āč pl ē sis (Bear hunter) by Andrējs Pumpurs (1841-1902) gave heroic figures that perpetuate the centuries-old struggle between two peoples in art. The richness of folklore was exploited by J. Lautenbachs (1847-1928), who also attempted to blend ancient legends into a new epic unity.

At the same time, the Kaudzites brothers (especially Matiss, 1848-1926) created the costume novel based on the life of Latvian peasants, describing an era full of changes.

In the meantime, materialist currents were becoming increasingly pressing in Latvia as well. A talented poet, a scholar of Horace, foretold and sang its advent: Eduards Veidenbaums (1867-1892). The “new movement” (jaun ā str ā va) naturally resulted in the great revolt of 1905 and its most eminent representative was one of the greatest Latvian poets in general: Rainis (pseudonym of Jānis Pliekšans, 1865-1929) in whose works the ideals of patriotism and socialism appear fused, while their poetic form (especially that of dramas) shows a predilection for symbolism and even for mysticism. Alongside him we must remember Aspazija (pseudonym of Elza Rozenberge, wife of Rainis, born in 1868) known as a lyric poet and even more as a proponent of female emancipation.

The last 25 years of the century. XIX and the beginning of the century. XX are well represented even in the purely national and bourgeois field. Andrievs Niedra (born 1871) introduces a lively exposition and an eventful psychology into the novel; Rudolf Blaumanis (1862-1908) creates a cycle of dramas and comedies which reflect, with gracefulness of movements, the Latvian life before 1914; Jānis Poruks (1871-1911), delicate and melancholy pensive poet, perceives characteristic traits of the Latvian soul glimpsed “through the mists of the end of the century”; Vilis Plūdonis (born in 1874) and Anna Brigadere (born in 1861) enrich the literature with good patriotic, historical and contemporary poems; Finally, Eglīts (born in 1877), together with companions who gathered around him, introduced the

All three addresses of Latvian literature had more or less the same aims: 1. to free the aspirations of the reborn people from the tradition that was too local and too tied to the unsteady equilibrium of the ancient “Baltic governorates”; 2. to extend the horizon even beyond the barriers – Germanic and Slavic – which limited the possibilities for the development of Latvian thought. World war and emigration did the rest. The Latvian literature of the last 15 years, relying on the good authors of the last century, turns above all to the traditions of the Latvian past, or tries to interpret the complex and interesting conditions of the present life. Among the most original and vigorous writers of this period we mention: Eduards Virza (pseudonym of Lieknis, born in 1883), creator of the new Latvian epic, critic and journalist; Kārlis Skalbe, lyricist who with fine intuition reveals the intimate qualities of the heart of his people; Jānis Sudrabkams (pseudonym of Arvids Peine, born in 1894), sensitive, delicate, exquisitely modern poet; Aleksandrs Grīns (born 1895), author of compelling historical novels about the Livonian Renaissance. Among the poetesses they have secured a sure fame: E. Sterste-Virza, B. Skujeniece and A. Dale.

Latvia Literature in the Early Age

Italy Prehistory – Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic

Italy Prehistory – Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic

The most important discoveries took place in Liguria. At the Balzi Rossi excavations by AC Blanc and L. Cardini at Riparo Mochi, they revealed a cultural succession similar to the French one, in which above the Mousterian and separated from it and between them by sterile layers we have: 1) a industry of the lower Périgordian type, with tiny blades with very fine reverse retouching and small large chips with retouching at the base; 2) an average Aurignacian type level with nose scratchers, etc.; 3) an industry of the upper Perigordian type with a microlithic tendency, not geometrizing, with tiny razor blades with riveted backs, various burins, etc.; 4) a macrolithic industry with large scrapers, perhaps referable to the upper Magdalenian, and finally, 5) on the surface, a Mesolithic geometrising hypermicrolytic industry (see Sauveterrian) with still cold fauna (ibex, marmot). The so-called “Grimaldian” would therefore seem today to be the product of the confusion of various industries of the upper Paleolithic, whose distinction would not have been recognized in previous excavations.

An industry of the Aurignacian type, or rather the upper Périgordian type, with knives with overturned backs and so on. it came to light in the Finale area at the Arma dell’Aquila and the Arene Candide. In this cavern, on the Pleistocene deposit that contains it lie Holocene layers, characterized by current wild fauna and a lithic industry of the Mesolithic type, but notably different from that of the upper layer of the Riparo M0chi due to the absence of microbills and types geometrizing, in which small scratchers on short blades and ocher-colored pebbles abound that can somehow come close to those of Mas d’Azil, without having the characteristic designs. The seriousness with respect to the Mochi shelter is attested by the fauna in which every cold element has now disappeared. In the Aurignacian layer, the very rich burial of a young chief lying on an ocher bed appeared, with boulders placed on his hands and feet (fixation of the corpse). He wore a cap of pot-shells, still held a large flint blade, and had four elk horn command sticks around his chest. In the Mesolithic layers there was an authentic necropolis, with cromagnonoid-type skeletons, supine on a bed of ocher, and they too surrounded by an abundant kit (millstones and pebbles dyed ocher, flints, bone daggers, perforated deer teeth, etc.); numerous squirrel vertebrae found near a boy’s neck reveal the presence of a fur collar. New stations have been reported almost everywhere. The Fossellone cave (Circeo) gave a typical average Aurignacian, others (Quinzano, Lake Massaciuccoli, Tane del Diavolo di Parrano near Orvieto, Canale Mussolini and Grottacce in the Agro Pontino, Costiera di Sperlonga, C. Palinuro, Grotta S. Croce di Bisceglie, Zinzulosa di Otranto, Soleto, Grotta dei Pipistrelli di Matera) have given horizons referable rather to the upper Aurignacian. In Sicily a rigorous revision of the materials and of some deposits (S. Teodoro, Addaura) confirmed the absence of the Mousterian, still questioned by some. InS. Teodoro some skeletons came to light, the first Paleolithic on the island, in which Graziosi recognizes characters similar to those of the current Mediterranean populations, a human type that is highlighted for the first time in the Upper Paleolithic.

Various upper Paleolithic stations, with significantly different facies, have also been identified in the south-eastern cusp of the island, where this culture seemed absent. The shelter of the Fontana Nuova (Marina di Ragusa) seems to refer to the middle Aurignacian, others (Palazzolo Acreide, Canicattini, Sortino, Grotta Lazzaro di Modica) to the upper Aurignacian. Remarkable in Grotta Corruggi (Pachino) is the richness and variety of types, including microlithic ones, to be compared with the well-known shelter of the Castello di Termini Imerese.

The discoveries in the field of Quaternary art are remarkable. To the Balzi Rossi the already known finds of female statuettes and pebbles and bones with engravings were added (noted by L. Cardini among the materials of the Museum of Menton) pebbles with geometric graffiti or with schematic stylizations of the human figure similar to that of Grotta Romanelli. To the well-known female statuette of Savignano sul Panaro was added another one from Chiozza di Scandiano, unfortunately not coming from cultural strata of certain dating, and a third one of unknown origin (Trasimeno?). To the graffitied figures of Grotta Romanelli, already known for some time (bovid, female schematic profiles), blocks engraved with animalistic (feline and wild boar) and geometric figures have been added, and a block painted with schematic figures. Engraved pebbles were collected in Grotta S. Croce (Bisceglie). A painted Azilian-type pebble was collected by Buchner at the Grotta delle Felci (Capri). Finally a schematic wall painting was identified by AC Blanc at Arnalo dei Bufali (Sezze Romano).

Italy Prehistory - Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic

Russia Forestry and Breeding

Russia Forestry and Breeding

Forests. – The USSR ranks first in the world for the breadth of its forests covering just over 2 / 5 of its European industry, and less than 2 / 5 of that of Asia. Overall, it can be estimated at around 7 million ha. the forest area of ​​the USSR (27% of the world’s forest area); of this, however, just 1.7 million ha. they are found in Europe; moreover, while the northern regions here are well endowed with trees, the Ukraine is rather poor and the broad selvedge of low lands surrounding the Black Sea and the Caspian is entirely lacking. The economic importance of this immense nature reserve – for more than 1 / not yet exploited – it is enhanced by the great variety of essences that constitute it; conifers (especially pine and fir), which represent the most conspicuous part (over 65% of the total) and cover the northern and north-eastern sections of the country, are joined, in the center and in the west, by more species of broad-leaved trees (birch, alder, poplar, ash, oak, oak, beech), while also in the south, just beyond the limits of the European region, there are walnut, boxwood and sam š it(boxwood) from the Caucasian area. The poor viability of wooded areas (of which about 40% lack good communications), which has prevented or delayed their exploitation over large areas, fortunately compensates for the ease of transport that rivers allow in every season; the enormous consumption of wood in Russia is evident when we consider that 90% of this goes into the construction of houses and 95% into their heating. However, it can be calculated that the current production, which is around 175-200 million cubic meters. annually, represents just 1 / 4 of the production useful as possible. Of that, moreover, approximately 2 / 3 are constituted by firewood, and just 1 /5 from work lumber.

That forestry still occupies a place in the USSR is absolutely unequal to the extent of reserves, is also demonstrated by the small size of the export of timber, in which the pre-war level was reached only in 1929-1930, as appears from the table following:

In the last five years, this trade has represented, in value, less than 15 % of total Russian exports (150-170 million rubles); however, it should be added that about half of the quantity is made up of processed timbers, which absorb about 70% of the total value. England, Germany and Holland are the largest customers of the USSR timber; the former alone absorbs almost half of Russian exports and more than half of processed products.

Breeding. – The following table clearly highlights the contraction that Russia’s livestock herd has undergone in the last quarter of a century, and the more and more conspicuous part that the Asian sector has taken on in the European sector.

While taking into account the perturbed post-war conditions and above all the consequences of the collectivization of farms which led to a severe blow to breeding, as well as for the extraordinary increase in mechanical means, also for the intense culling of animals that led to socialization of land ownership, it is undeniable that that contraction was accentuated by the poor conditions in which farming was practiced (lack of hygienic precautions, epidemics, lack of nutrition, etc.), due to the strong post-war monetary devaluation, due to the diminished or ceased export, etc. However, in relation to its population, the USSR has more head of cattle than the remaining portions of Europe and Asia, except for pigs.

If we take into account the wide possibilities of the country, it is evident that breeding still has a rather modest importance there; and it would appear more evident if precise analytical elements were possessed on the unequal distribution of the zootechnical herd in the various regions of the USSR.

Despite the very strong reduction suffered in comparison with the pre-war, equines which is available at the USSR still represent about 1 / 3of the world quantity, thus placing Russia in first place, in this respect, among the states of the earth. The extensive meadows of the S. and SE. (Don, lower Volga) are very suitable for horse breeding; The podolica and northern breeds are also excellent in terms of quality and, like that of the steppe, are suitable for different uses. The recent development of vehicles has undoubtedly reduced the use of the horse as a towing animal, without however being able to replace it, given the deficiency or poor maintenance of most of the roads. On the other hand, the reindeer in the extreme north is transported and towed, and in the arid areas near the Caspian the camel, both animals characteristic, at least as a rule, of nomadic populations; donkeys and mules, limited to the southern regions,

For the number of cattle, the USSR occupies one of the first places in the world, but both its breeding and the organization of the industries connected to it still need a lot of care. The density of cattle is highest in the districts of the Don and the middle Volga, and lowest in the arid territories of the SE. and on the central plateau, where pastures are lacking; moreover, while N. is aimed above all at the production of milk, in southern Russia and in the first place in Ukraine, animals for slaughter are bred.

As for industrial products, the immediately pre-war period had seen a promising development of that of milk first, of skins and then of tanning, in Western Siberia, from which some products underwent further manipulation in European Russia. However, Siberian butter was prepared, under the Tsarist regime, by small dairies with little advanced equipment; hence the Soviet government’s efforts to reorganize its industry on a technical basis, which has partly moved the production centers to the European sector and especially to the Baltic, central, Ukraine and the middle Volga regions. However, while milk production has risen in the last five years to 270-300 million quintals, the export of butter has remained at a rather modest level (30 thousand tons in 1932), corresponding in value to approximately 3% of total exports. Much smaller, and equally modest, is the trade in meat and skins, almost all of which is processed in central Russia and Ukraine.

The numerical fluctuations and the general decrease for sheep and goats, which find the best development conditions in the semi-arid zone close to Pontus and Caspian, appear even more serious than for large livestock. After British India, the USSR is the state that collects the largest quantity, but now about half of this belongs to the territories of Central Asia, the Caucasus and southern Siberia. In the European sector the most important centers of wool trade remain Char′kov, Voronež and Saratov; production, which had been around 1.5 million quintals between 1925 and 1930, decreased to less than half after this date (0.6 million tons in 1932).

With the loss of the Polish and Lithuanian provinces, Russia has seen a considerable reduction in the number of pigs, raised mainly in the western regions, which correspond to the dominion of the oak. With all this, the USSR remains in fourth place in the world, after Germany, having partially compensated for that loss with the flourishing development that livestock itself has taken on especially in Ukraine.

Something similar happened to poultry animals, which were largely imported into German markets from western Russia in the pre-war period (especially geese). Poultry and eggs constitute a significant economic resource for some areas of central Russia, but the establishment of special establishments equipped in harmony with the dictates of modern technology is still too recent. However, with the end of the war and revolutionary interlude, the USSR quickly regained its neighboring markets, absorbing by itself, in the last decade, about 40% of the (slaughtered) poultry imported into Germany. On the other hand, the increase in the production of eggs has not been as continuous, the export of which has undergone considerable changes.

The breeding of silkworms (Ukraine) has little importance in the European sector; higher instead that of bees, which is practiced, as well as in Ukraine and in the lower Volga, where it is most intense, in the whole wooded region of central Russia.

Russia Forestry

Germany Figurative Arts – Renaissance

Germany Figurative Arts – Renaissance

Renaissance and Reformation in Germany, are the main forces of an era which, spiritually prepared already before, begins around the beginning of the sixteenth century to get lost during the following century in a new period of transition. As for the other forms of spiritual life, also for art they were decisive in a positive and negative sense: positively because, through close participation in a great European spiritual current and through a deepening of religious sentiment, they increased their activity. artistic, also prompted by new models; negatively, because the great preponderance of the Italian Renaissance tore German art from the national and social environment that was its natural condition of life, while the Reformation, limiting the whole activity of the spirit to intimate religiosity, took away its main basis from figurative art. As a consequence of this double cause the incomparable enrichment of German art in the first two decades of the century. XVI was followed by an almost total collapse. Just as, under the impulse of French Gothic art, German art had reached its most powerfully original expressions and soon after it had become sterile, so in the German Renaissance, Italian art, at its peak, excited artists to express their creative forces fully, but immediately after the spread of the fashion almost extinguished any national spirit of art. The conflict between the national spirit and foreign currents culminates in Alberto Dürer (v.), Rightly considered as the most genuine representative of German art. In him the transition from the craftsman to the artist takes place, from the severe law of the Middle Ages to the freedom of the Renaissance; in him the typically German research of highly characteristic expressions and the predilection for decorative forms, with the need, learned from Italy, of formal beauty and rigorous structure come together. In the synthesis of these two antithetical qualities, as well as in the domain of all the means of drawing and color, Dürer represents an unsurpassable peak. His antagonist is Matthias Grünewald (v.), Who, upon contact with foreign art, reacted by deepening the spiritual heritage of his race more and more, so that, placed alongside Dürer, the typical representative of the spirit of his time, appears doubly anachronistic; i.e. like a late gothic artist, that excessive maturity has pushed to the extreme limits of his art, or as an artist of the Baroque era, which is a prelude to later developments. At the opposite pole of Dürer we find Hans Holbein the Younger (v.), Born twenty-six years later, who effortlessly welcomed within himself the spirit of the Italian Renaissance through which he expressed his skills as an attentive and acute observer. He is not an Italian, although one cannot imagine him, as he is, without the help of Italian art; frankly German, it closes (1542) a golden age, which had begun in 1490 with the advent of Dürer (born in 1471).

Dürer, M. Grünewald and H. Holbein are three peaks in the history of German Renaissance painting: their features are reflected in numerous other artists of their time, to varying degrees; but while they rise to a magnitude before which belonging to a particular school no longer has great importance, the other artists remain more closely linked to the individual local schools. In the Upper Rhine the dominant personality is Hans Baldung (v.), Called Grien; in Bavaria the dominance is divided between Albrecht Altdorfer from Regensburg and Wolf Huber from Passau, whose beginnings were strongly influenced by Luca Cranach (v.), a young painter from Franconia, who later, as a painter at the court of Saxony, took a completely different direction, giving a note of its own to the art of the Reformation and the Renaissance. In Augusta where Hans Holbein the Elder, although belonging to the previous generation, continued his activity until the late Renaissance, Jörg Breu and Hans Burgkmair (v.) were industrious; and the latter with its decorative tendencies profoundly influenced engraving and the minor arts. In Lower Germany the master of the altar of St. Bartholomew, a native of Upper Germany, kept German traditions alive. But Bartolomeo Bruyn, a little younger, came completely under the Dutch influence; and another of the main painters of Cologne, the master of the Death of Mary, is even identified with Joos van Cleve the Elder of Antwerp.

In sculpture we find an equally rich development of provincial schools, without however that personalities of undisputed value manage to rise to absolute heights. The Vischer workshop in Nuremberg, handed down to his children by P. Vischer the Elder, can be considered representative of the development of sculpture from the late Gothic to the Renaissance. But for all the rest, the workshops of the sculptors, who are increasingly influenced by painting and are often reduced to a purely industrial activity, generally have no other importance than that given by their great technical ability. In Augusta, in the place of Gregory Erhart who came from Ulm, Adolfo Daucher takes over, who can be called the Burgkmair of sculpture. Next to him Loy Hering works at intervals, coming from Kaufbeuren and later moving to Eichstätt, who developed an extraordinary fruitfulness as the author of funerary sculptures. In Bavaria Hans Leinberger from Landshut represents the style – half village and half mannerist – which corresponds in painting to the so-called “Danubian style” of Altdorfer and Huber. A similar excess in the search for pictorial effects and expression is observed in the Upper Rhine in the masters who worked on the altar at Isenheim and Breisach, and, in the Middle Rhine, in Hans Backofen. In Lower Germany, some stonecutters ‘and wood carvers’ shops (the Beldensnyder in Münster, Claus Berg in Lübeck, Hans Brüggemann from Lüneburg) continue to operate in a style which, if in detail follows the forms of the Renaissance transmitted from Flanders, in the spirit basically always continues the gothic style of the latest way, decorative and narrative.

The very abundance of production, which we have only hinted at, suggests how much it must fall towards the level of the products of industrial art; and as much as this was fecundated, the major arts were equally damaged by turning to a purely external skill. Unlike the craftsmanship of the late Gothic period, the Renaissance craftsmanship, marked by an academic spirit, has its roots in the spiritual need no longer of an entire people, but only of a higher caste, educated humanistically. Gradually the furrow that divides the nation and separates art from the people more and more widens. It first manifests itself in the works of engravers intent on developing new iconographic and ornamental repertoires (the so-called “Kleinmeister”), such as HS and B. Beham, Germany Pencz, H. Aldegrever, J. Binck; then continues in the pompous illustrative style and glass painting of Virgilio Solis, J. Amman, T. Stimmer and Cristoforo Maurer; and finally ends in the complete mannerism of Rudolf’s painters (so called because they were mostly industrious at the court of Emperor Rudolf II), such as Hans of Aachen, Joseph Heinz, Bartolomeo Spranger. Adamo Elsheimer from Frankfurt stands out, the only German painter who is part of the European artistic development, but who spent his entire life outside Germany, in Rome. The development of sculpture was healthier, which could rely on the tradition of the minor arts. In the art of the medal Hans Schwarz, Federico Hagenauer, Cristoforo Weiditz and others distinguished themselves; in minute plastic work Pietro Flötner, Hans Daucher, Benedetto Wurzelbauer and others, also producing good decorations. Meanwhile, in the larger and more monumental works, especially in the courts, Flemish and Italian artists of great technical skill were increasingly imposed.

In the early decades of the sixteenth century, architecture was of secondary importance compared to the figurative arts, both for reaction to the overabundant production of late Gothic art, and for the Reformation, which hampered the development of sacred architecture, or even for the difficulty of assimilating models of the Italian Renaissance. From the beginning of the Renaissance the decorations and ornamental motifs were copied almost exclusively; the understanding of his new concepts of structure and space which is found in the so-called “beautiful” church of Santa Maria in Regensburg is exceptional. From about 1530 onwards, secular architecture developed more strongly, in direct relationship with the increased power of the bourgeoisie and princes. Examples of the first are the municipalities of Altenburg (v.), Schweinfurt, Brieg, of Rotenburg, the Tucher house and the Hirschvogel house in Nuremberg; of the second, the Hartenfels castle near Torgau, the castles of Liegnitz, of Güstrow, the oldest parts of the royal palaces in Dresden, Munich, Berlin and above all the wing of Otto Henry of the castle of Heidelberg, where the general conception it is Italian, but the details are German. The last phase of the German Renaissance, which begins around 1580, is characterized by an accentuation of the two elements which then operated simultaneously: the local one, which, after a broader assimilation of the forms of the Italian Renaissance, develops with greater independence and freedom; and the European one which, thanks to the Counter-Reformation, grows in importance above all in southern Germany and still leans more directly on the contemporary Italian art, in the meantime already headed towards the Baroque. The most prominent personalities in this period of the German Renaissance are Giorgio Beer and Enrico Schickhardt in Stuttgart, Elias Holl in Augusta, who built the new town hall there, Giacomo Wolff in Nuremberg. Instead in Munich, which thanks to the Counter-Reformation and the building activity of the Wittelsbach dynasty now becomes an artistic center, an international style of import prevails. In central Germany, Aschaffenburg Castle, built to designs by Giorgio Riedinger, was a model for many similar buildings. In northern Germany, the cities of Brunswick (with Paolo Francke), Münster, Lüneburg (town hall, work by Lüder v. Bentheim), Gdansk (civic architect Antonio da Obbergen) became centers of Renaissance architecture.

While in profane constructions the Italian prototypes were more or less translated into Nordic forms, the sacred buildings of the Catholics were openly inspired by Roman models: thus the church of San Michele, built in Munich for the Jesuits (the mark of the counter-offensive launched by the Counter-Reformation), prepares the Italianate current of the Baroque.

Baroque age. – The attempts to give a national character to the Renaissance style, which are observed in some buildings, especially in those of Elias Holl, did not come to maturity. There was a halt in development, which is usually explained as a natural consequence of the catastrophe of the Thirty Years’ War, the political and economic effects of which were fatal for Germany. But war does not explain everything. Politically, the increase in absolutism had an influence, the external forms of which were modeled on those elaborated in France and Spain, while the impoverished bourgeoisie indistinctly re-attached itself to the ancient national traditions. To this political and social split is added the religious one. While the spirit of the Counter-Reformation came from Latin countries (Italy, Spain) together with part of the artistic ideas linked to the Catholic program, Protestantism maintained its denial in the face of art or at least deprived it of all opportunities, preventing its union with the liturgy and divine service, and, in opposition to tendencies of Catholics, he turned to the models offered by Holland. The reciprocal play of these forces produces and favors opposing tendencies, which unfold in parallel, without any compromise.

Above all, in places far from cultural centers, a late Gothic survives, lacking in vigor and with a popular imprint and unable to produce important works. Out of these secondary currents, art that wants to be modern gathers where the presence of a princely house can favor it: it becomes stately and takes on an Italian or French-Dutch orientation, depending on the political orientation of the individual courts. The most popular artists are mostly foreigners; and almost all secondary artists. The German imitators of these more able than worthy foreigners – for example the painter Joachim von Sandrart – are certainly not superior to them. A large part of the artistic production of that time was regulated by purely practical purposes; Protestantism in ecclesiastical architecture, in accordance with his principles, he emphasizes that concept of art and Catholicism, in countries where the struggle continues, is also forced to lock itself up in spiritual severity. Thus in this period between 1630 and 1680 the German Baroque mainly gives an impression of stasis and subjugation to foreign art.

But from the undercurrents of the post-Gothic style and under new vivifying external influences an original German art was to be reborn.

Germany Figurative Arts - Renaissance

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

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

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

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

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)

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

The 10 top honeymoon destinations

The 10 top honeymoon destinations

A wedding is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have in your life. On this day you marry the love of your life and you promise it eternal loyalty, support and affection. But a wedding must also be planned so that it can be a wonderful day and of course the honeymoon also belongs to the wedding.

In order for the honeymoon to be unforgettable, you should talk to your future spouse as early as possible about what ideas you have about the honeymoon and what wishes you would like to fulfill. Sometimes you have to compromise, because not everyone has the same taste. But which countries or cities are particularly suitable for honeymoons? Would you rather go to the sun and the sea or is a city trip the perfect choice for a honeymoon? Below are the top 10 honeymoon destinations.

Hawaii, Pacific Ocean

The remoteness of this island is the perfect place to start your marriage.

Paris, France

It is not for nothing that Paris is called the city of love, because couples who are in love and newlyweds regularly get lost in this city.

Bali, Indian Ocean

In Bali you can also make yourself comfortable on your honeymoon on the white sandy beaches.

Venice, Italy

Venice is also a very romantic city that is often visited during honeymoons. You can sit in one of the gondolas with your spouse and glide through the canals or take a romantic night stroll through the narrow streets.


Greece has a lot of pages that are ideal for a beautiful honeymoon. You can spend your honeymoon, for example, on islands like Rhodes with their cute white houses and blue shutters, or you can visit a cosmopolitan city with a history like Athens.

Maldives, Indian Ocean

No place is better suited for a dreamlike and heavenly honeymoon than the Maldives.

Rome, Italy

If you read Roma the other way around, it’s called Cupid and that’s why this impressive city is also suitable for a honeymoon.

New York City, United States

If you love the big city flair, New York is the perfect honeymoon destination.


In the Caribbean, you can forget all your worries during your honeymoon and enjoy a few heavenly weeks by the sea.

Las Vegas, United States

Las Vegas is not only useful for a short-term wedding, but also for the subsequent honeymoon, because here you can test your fresh luck directly in a casino.

Las Vegas, United States

England Famous Philosophers and Theologians Part II

England Famous Philosophers and Theologians Part II

Wilhelm von Ockham (about 1285-1347)
English philosopher and theologian. Wilhelm von Ockham was born in Ockham around 1285 and trained in the Franciscan order. He studied theology at Oxford University. He left behind writings on natural philosophy and theological as well as works on logic and politics. Von Ockham is considered one of the leading exponents of nominalism.

Matthew Parker (1504-1575)
Archbishop of Canterbury and Reformer of England. Parker was born in Norwich in 1504. He studied at Cambridge and became a deacon, then a priest in 1527 and finally Archbishop of Canterbury in 1559. During his career he was strongly influenced by the so-called Cambridge Reformers, whose chaplain he was appointed after Anne Boleyn was put on the throne. Parker died in Lambeth in 1575.

Nicholas Ridley (c. 1500-1555)
Bishop of Rochester and Anglican martyr. Ridley was born into a distinguished family in Northumberland around 1500 and studied at Cambridge. As a priest-professor he temporarily moved to Paris and a few years after his return became the highest proctor of the University of Cambridge. In 1547, Ridley was ordained Bishop of Rochester. He was executed under Maria I in 1555 – along with Hugh Latimer.

Lord Robert Runcie (1921-2000)
Archbishop of Canterbury 1980-1991. Robert Runcie was born in Liverpool in 1921 as the son of an electrical engineer. He studied Ancient History and Literature at Oxford during World War II and volunteered for combat. Runcie became a priest in the early 1950s. In 1980 Margaret Thatcher named him Archbishop of Canterbury. Runcie wed the Prince of Wales to Lady Diana in 1981.

John of Salisbury (ca.1115-1180)
theologian, scholastic. John of Salisbury was born in England around 1115 and received his training from the famous Pierre Abélard in Paris, who made a significant contribution to making Salisbury one of the most popular theologians of his time. He is also seen as a thought leader in the English Enlightenment. One of his role models was Aristotle. Von Salisbury died in Chartres in 1180.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713)
moral philosopher, politician. Anthony Ashley-Cooper was born in London in 1671 and grew up in the famous Exeter House. As a philosopher, he played an enlightening role that contradicted Hobbe’s philosophy of egoism. The essence of harmony was of central importance in his views. Its influence on subsequent generations is enormous, so it was very well received by Leibniz, Herder, Diderot and others. Ashley-Cooper died in Naples in 1713.

David Sheppard (1929-2005)
Bishop of Liverpool. Sheppard was born in Surrey in 1929 and studied in Cambridge. At first he distinguished himself as a cricketer over many years. Sheppard was very active in his church career and was one of the pioneers of “Faith in the City”. In 1998 he received the honorary title of Baron Sheppard of Liverpool. Sheppard died in Liverpool in 2005.

William Tyndale (c. 1448-1536)
priest and scholar, translator of the Bible into English. Tyndale was born in North Nibley around 1448. He studied at Oxford and Cambridge. His translation of the Bible was most widely used to date, due to the invention of the printing press. He introduced entirely new words into his mother tongue. However, the work was banned in England. Tyndale was executed in Vilvoorde in 1536 for his translation.

Chad Varah (1911-2007)
clergyman and founder of the Samaritans (telephone counseling). Varah was born in Barton-upon-Humber in 1911, the first of nine children of a priest. He studied at Keble College in Oxford, among others. In 1953 he set up the Samaritans, a telephone counseling service on a non-clerical basis. Between 1953 and 2003 he was also the church leader of a London congregation. Varah died in Basingstoke in 2007.

Baroness Mary Warnock (born 1924)
philosopher and writer of existentialism. Warnock was born in Winchester in 1924, the youngest of seven children to a wealthy family. She studied at Oxford, then became an honorary member and taught philosophy at the university. In 2008 she was charged with campaigning for euthanasia in people with dementia. She also takes the view that religion cannot be the basis of political decisions.

John Bainbridge Webster (1955)
Anglican theologian. Webster was born in Mansfield in 1955 and studied in Cambridge. He worked as a chaplain and tutor at Durham University, and later as a professor in Oxford and Aberdeen. He writes recognized writings in the field of social, historical and moral theology.

William Wilberforce (1759-1833)
Protestant reformer, front fighter against the slave trade. Wilberforce was born in Kingston upon Hull in 1759 and studied at Cambridge University. He was elected to the British House of Commons. Later he dealt with India, freedom, religion and campaigned vehemently against the slave trade in Great Britain. Wilberforce died in Chelsea in 1833, days after British slavery was abolished after decades of struggle.

Thomas Wolsey (circa 1475-1530)
Cardinal and Archbishop of York and founder of Christ Church College in Oxford. Wolsey was born in Ipswich around 1475 and studied theology at Oxford. This was followed by ordination, doctor of theology, appointment as a Roman Catholic cardinal and finally the post of English Lord Chancellor. For a long time he was considered the most powerful man in England until he was charged with high treason. Wolsey died in Leicester in 1530.

John Wyclif (Wycliffe), (about 1330-1384)
philosopher, theologian and religious reformer. Wycliffe was born in Yorkshire around 1330. He studied at Oxford and later headed Balliol College. In his teachings he took the view “power only through grace” and denied the Pope his claim to political power. The people admired him, the rulers persecuted him. Wyclif died after suffering a stroke in 1284.

John Wyclif

England Famous Philosophers and Theologians Part I

England Famous Philosophers and Theologians Part I

Francis Bacon (1561-1621)
philosopher, writer, statesman and pioneer of empiricism. Bacon was born in London in 1561, studied various subjects in Cambridge from the age of 14 and lived with his brother Anthony, who later became a spy. He left behind many valuable philosophical and legal writings. The saying “knowledge is power” comes from Bacon. He died in Highgate in 1621.

Roger Bacon (1214-1292 or 1294)
Franciscan monk and philosopher. Bacon was born near Illchester in 1214 and studied at Oxford University, where he also briefly taught. He later went to Paris University to teach in Europe’s intellectual center. In history he is an advocate pioneer of empirical methods. Bacon became a Franciscan monk at an advanced age and eventually died in Oxford. He was called “Doctor Mirabilis” – “wonderful teacher”.

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
philosopher, social reformer, lawyer. Jeremy Bentham was born in Spitalfields in 1748 to a lawyer and studied at Oxford. He was considered a radical and campaigned for women’s suffrage and also for freedom of the press. He also called for the abolition of the penalty for homosexuality and was a spearhead of utilitarianism. Democracy was also very important to him. Bentham, who usually thought far ahead of his time, died in London in 1832.

Lady Anne Conway (1631-1679)
The philosopher was born Anne Fich in London in 1631 and spent her childhood in what is now Kensington Palace. During her short life, she maintained an intensive philosophical exchange with the Platonist Henry More. Jewish Kabbalah, Quakerism and the teachings of Descartes shaped Conway’s views. With her debut and only work called “The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy” she exerted a significant influence on Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Conway died in her native town in 1679.

Ralph Cudworth (1617-1688)
philosopher and theologian. Ralph Cudworth was born in Somerset in 1617, the son of a minister. After studying in Cambridge, he was given a chair in Hebrew studies and was henceforth titled Regius Professor. Cudworth belonged to the Cambridge Platonists and placed emphasis on human free will in his studies. His epistemology was based on the concept of relation. Cudworth died in Cambridge in 1688.

John Graham (1794-1865)
Bishop of Chester, English academic and tutor to Charles Darwin. Graham was born in Claypath in 1794 and educated at Cambridge. In the university town he was appointed deacon in 1818, later head of Christ College and from 1834 vice chancellor of the university. He was Charles Darwin’s tutor during his studies. In 1848 Graham became Bishop of Chester. He died there in 1865.

John Harvard (1607-1638)
English-American theologian. Harvard was born in London in 1607 and studied at Cambridge. Five years later he moved to America with his wife and became a Doctor of the Church. He died in Massachusetts in 1638 and bequeathed half his fortune and his library to an educational institution. Harvard University was named after him to show its gratitude for the donation, which in turn paved the way for the university system in the USA.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
philosopher and state theorist. Hobbes was born in Westport in 1588, the son of a minister. Recognized as a child prodigy, he studied at Oxford University at the age of 17. Hobbes most famous work is “Leviathan”, which contains his theory of absolutism. He also dealt intensively with egoism and represented it. He died in Hardwick Hall in 1679.

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)
Anglican clergyman, theologian, and writer. Kingsley was born in Devon in 1819. He studied in London and Cambridge. He later taught at Cambridge, was chaplain to Queen Victoria from 1859 and became a decade later to the canons of Chester and Westminster Abbey (1873). As a writer, he excelled in particular with the children’s book “Die Wasserkinder”. Kingsley died in Hampshire in 1875.

Hugh Latimer (ca.1485/1492-1555)
bishop and Anglican martyr. Latimer was born a farmer’s son in Leicestershire between 1485 and 1492 and later studied at Cambridge for his academic achievements. Latimer was appointed university minister in 1522. He was a radical advocate of the Reformation, supported the planned divorce from Henry VIII and made many enemies. Latimer was made Bishop of Rochester and Worcester, but was eventually executed under Mary I at Oxford in 1555.

JB Lightfoot (1828-1889)
Anglican Bishop of Durham and British theologian. Joseph Barber Lightfoot was born in Liverpool in 1828. He studied at Cambridge and later became a Fellow and Professor at Trinity College. In 1866 he became a Whitehall preacher, in 1871 a canon at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and finally in 1879 Bishop of Durham. Lightfoot researched the Bible using new methods before he died in Bournemouth in 1889.

John Locke (1632-1704)
philosopher, psychologist, educator, father of liberalism. John Locke was born in Wrington in 1632. His father was a lawyer. Locke studied medicine and philosophy at Oxford and advanced to become one of the trend-setting representatives of empiricism in Great Britain. The member of the London Royal Society left behind several works, including “Two Treatises of Government” (1690) among the most important. Locke, who exerted great influence during his lifetime, including the American Declaration of Independence, died in Oates in 1704.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
philosopher, sociologist, political economist. John Stuart Mill was born in Pentonville in 1806 as a descendant of the philosopher James Mill. Even as a teenager he dealt with a wide variety of doctrines such as logic and metaphysics. In his philosophy, the principle of experience plays the decisive role in gaining knowledge. The term dystopia (as opposed to utopia) also goes back to him. Mill became one of the most influential positivists of his century. Mill died in Avignon in 1873.

Henry More (1614-1687)
philosopher, poet. Henry More was born into a wealthy family in Grantham in 1614 and later studied at Eton. He led the group of the Cambridge Platonists. The core of his philosophy was the immortality of the soul. After intensive correspondence with the philosopher Anne Consway, he dedicated his book “Antidote against Atheism”, which came out in 1653, to her. Many other writings against materialism and atheism were published by him. More died in Cambridge in 1687.

Henry More

Kosovo Social Security

Kosovo Social Security

Proportion of literate adults: 91.9% (2007)

Major religions: Islam, Christianity (Serbian-Orthodox, Roman-Cat.)

Urban population: 38% (2012)

Life expectancy (female / male): 81.6 years (2016)

Gender Inequality Index: –

Birth rate: 2.0 (2018)

Infant mortality: 10.6 per 1000 births (2018)

In 2001, a three-pillar pension system was established in Kosovo under the supervision of the World Bank and USAID introduced. In 2015, the pension expenditure of all pension benefits amounted to 4.5% of GDP. The first pillar comprises a basic pension that covers all persons who are permanently resident in Kosovo and who have reached the retirement age of 65 years. The corresponding pension payments are set at a flat rate of € 75 and therefore do not have any reference to the career history of the pensioners. The so-called wage replacement rate, which is around 17%, can be calculated from the ratio between the basic pension and the average wage. The basic pension is financed from the public budget. In 2018, 127,000 beneficiaries received the basic pension, which corresponds to 7.1% of the total population. The second pillar of the pension system follows the individualized funded principle. This pension system is compulsory for all employees born after 1946 and formally employed. 10% of the earned income (shared equally between employer and employee) is invested in an individual asset account each month, which is dated from Kosovo Pensions Savings Trust is managed. Upon retirement, the accumulated assets are transferred to a pension insurance scheme from which pension benefits are granted once or monthly. The total number of active contributors in this pillar was around 244,000 in 2017. Less than 7% of the special assets that have accrued to date (€ approx. 1,500 million, 2017) will be invested in Kosovo. Between 2002 and 2015, the Kosovo Pensions Saving Trust generated an annual return of 2.17%. The third pillar comprises voluntary, individually made pension payments as well as additional employer-financed pensions. The relevance of these optional pensions is negligible.

According to THESCIENCETUTOR, the law on the status and rights of families of martyrs, invalids and members of the UÇK as well as of civilian victims of war regulates the various benefits in favor of war disabled persons, e.g. B. family, disability or survivors’ pensions, but also tax exemptions, employment benefits or easier access to educational institutions. Pension benefits range from € 40 for civil war invalids to € 534 for families with four or more members who belonged to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and are considered missing. 201813,138 relatives of martyrs and invalids received a corresponding rent, in total approx. € 40.8 million and 38,345 war veterans received a veteran’s pension, in total € 70.1 million – together these social expenditures make up 1.7% of GDP. The level of expenditure in this service category has risen sharply in recent years and is likely to continue to rise. The services are almost entirely concentrated on the Albanian majority.

The basic social security law covers two categories of benefit recipients. Category I defines families as beneficiaries in which all family members are temporarily or permanently unavailable for the labor market, e.g. B. Children up to 14 years, young people up to 18 years, if they are integrated into the education system, single parents with at least one child under 15 years, people with severe and permanent disabilities over 18 years, older people over 65 years. Category II comprises those families in which at least one family member is available to the labor market and in which at least one child younger than 5 years or an orphan younger than 15 years is cared for. The benefits from both categories are linked to strict means tests. The monthly benefit varies from € 50 for a single person to a maximum of € 150 for a family with seven or more members, which corresponds to a wage replacement rate of 11.2% (individual). In 2018, around 25,345 families with around 103,409 family members received social assistance, a proportion of the population of 6%. At around € 32.9 million, or a share of 0.5% of GDP, the total expenditure is low. In Kosovo there are two special institutions that specialize in the care of adults with mental illnesses (in Shtime) and in the care of the elderly (in Prishtina). In addition, five municipal facilities for people with intellectual disabilities and facilities for the elderly were recently opened. The institutions in Shtime and Prishtina have been repeated with in the past linked to human rights abuses.

The capacities of institutionally provided social services are very limited. In addition, only a few locally accessible outpatient services have established themselves so far. One of the reasons for this is that the municipalities are financially heavily dependent on transfer payments from the state budget. The demand for care services is significantly lower than elsewhere in Europe due to the specific demographic reality in Kosovo, but also due to the pronounced role of traditional family structures. However, the demand will increase in the medium term, especially against the background of falling birth rates and increasing life expectancy, socio-structural changes, but also with regard to the migration movements in Kosovo.

Kosovo Jashari monument, Prekaz

5 Attractions in Iceland

5 Attractions in Iceland

In recent years, our Scandinavian neighbor Iceland has become a very popular travel destination, and rightly so. Has this piece of sugar not yet caught your interest? Let me then tempt you with five sights that can turn the tables!

Yes, many of us long to be able to get on a bus, train or plane and get to a better place, without having to be dragged along with all the duties and challenges of everyday life. Sometimes we want to get away even when we can not afford it. While some choose to borrow for travel , others choose to wait to move. If you are going to make the decision to borrow money, it is of course very important to review the terms.

Black beach in Reynisfjära

According to Softwareleverage, Iceland is known for its beautiful landscapes and environments. One of the country’s most famous tourist destinations for those who want a sight to behold is the black beach in Reynisfjära. The coastal area has received a lot of attention around the world and major film productions such as Star Wars and Game of Thrones have been filmed there.

The blue Lagoon

Craving for natural and highly relaxing treatment for the body? The Blue Lagoon is what is called a “geothermal spa” and has become one of Iceland’s most visited tourist destinations. It is located in something as exotic as in a lava field. Next time I go to Iceland I will definitely make a trip there.


No country that attracts tourists for the beautiful views and environments would be complete without a national park? Skaftafell was founded in the autumn of 1967 and consists of almost five thousand square meters of natural beauty. There is also a camping area for those who want to spend more in the park and have time to see everything it has to offer. Perfect for the family as the children do not learn to have a boring time there.


If you, like many others, need to get a little closer to yourself and find inner peace, the Húsey area is right for you. There are great landscapes to walk on and a popular retreat center. It is also possible to ride an Icelandic pony.

Hekla volcano

The volcano is one of the coolest phenomena in the world, but it is very rare that we actually get the chance to see them in real life. In Iceland there are several volcanoes to witness and the coolest is probably Hekla, which is about 1500 meters high and one of the country’s most active. Just do not hope it gets an outbreak when you are there!

There we have it, five sights in Iceland. Do you get the urge to go?

5 Attractions in Iceland