A sumptuous palace that was once the home of France’s Kings, the Louvre is the most important of Paris’ top museums. Visitors enter the museum in the courtyard of the palace at the glass pyramid (designed by Ieoh Ming Pei in 1917). The Louvre Museum possesses more than 30,000 artworks (many considered masterpieces)-from antiquities to European paintings of the 15th to 19th centuries. It is impossible to see it all in one visit, but tourists can focus on a particular gallery, such as classical sculpture, Italian Renaissance art, or 17th-century French paintings, or take a self-guided tour to see the Louvre Museum’s highlights. The most famous piece is the Mona Lisa or La Gioconda (or La Joconde in French) painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503-1505. Other exceptional works are the ancient Venus de Milo sculpture, the monumental Victory of Samothrace of the Hellenistic period, the immense Wedding Feast at Cana painting by Veronese (1563), and Botticelli’s frescoes. Also a must-see is Liberty Leading the People (1831) by Eugene Delacroix, depicting the Parisian uprising of July 27th to 29th, 1830 known as “Trois Glorieuses” (“Three Glorious Days”).
Nepal and Himalaya are a fabulous destination if you are looking for adventure and ancient history exploration. The Bodhanath Stupa, just outside of Kathmandu, is one of the largest stupas of its kind in the world, and dates to sometime around the 6th century, possibly even earlier. Like Bhaktapur, it lies on the old trade route to Tibet and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stupa sustained minor damage during the 2015 earthquake but is otherwise in good condition. The stupa itself is a symbol of enlightenment but at Boudhanath the symbolism is particularly clear. Each different shape represents one of the five elements, earth, water, fire, air, and sphere, which are also the attributes of the five Buddhas. Brought together in the form of the stupa, their unity reflects in abstract fashion the structure of the universe itself.
Join the most exclusive Hotel Member Club and enjoy amazing benefits. China is a fascinating destination if you are searching for adventure and ancient history exploration. Few cities in China can boast quite the same concentration of splendid historic sites and ancient temples as the city of Hangzhou (Hangchow), capital of Zhejiang province at the southernmost end of China’s famous Grand Canal. Much of this rich collection is gathered around lovely West Lake, a six-kilometer-square stretch of water in the heart of the old city, which is surrounded by numerous hills, pagodas, and temples. Divided into five distinct sections by man-made causeways dating back as far as the 11th century, it’s a marvelous area to explore on foot as you cross from one stretch of water to the next, only to be met with another cluster of fine old buildings (it’s particularly pleasant in spring when its many peach trees are blossoming). Part of the fun is lingering on the lake’s many fine old bridges, one of the best being the Broken Bridge (Duanqiao) linking the Baidi Causeway with the shore, and exploring Little Paradise Island with its four mini-lakes linked by the zigzagging Bridge of the Nine Arches. Be sure to hop aboard one of the many tour boats and small pleasure craft available to whisk you around the lake, and if time permits, stick around for the fun musical fountain show held each evening.
Thailand is a an awesome destination if you are looking for ancient history mixed with modern attractions feeling. Even if your plans for Thailand mainly involve frolicking on a beach, cozying up to elephants, and eating as much Massaman curry and tom ka gai as humanly possible, you’ll probably spend at least a day or two in Bangkok. There’s plenty to see and do in the capital, but it’s perhaps best to start with the Grand Palace. This is the number one sightseeing attraction in the city, and it’s staggering in historical significance and craftsmanship. The grounds are a maze of royal halls, temples, and ancient relics, the most important being Wat Phra Kaeo, Temple of the Emerald Buddha. A relic within this temple is said to be a piece of bone or hair from the enlightened Buddha himself. Allow several hours to do the Grand Palace justice, but if you’re up for more walking afterward, you can easily take in some of the city’s other major landmarks. The famous Wat Po and Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn (a great place to watch the sunset), are also nearby. And as Bangkok is a main hub for international travel, it’s a great starting point for excursions throughout the country.
Switzerland is a fabulous location but also one of the most expensive. Not having your legal documents in order can cost you a lot here. So we will discuss the amazing locations and also the practical tips regarding insurance and other legal matters. In a stunning location, perched on a peninsula of the River Aare, the Swiss capital of Bern exudes old world charm, and the city’s medieval old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Strolling along the cobbled streets, visitors can explore the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, with panoramic views from its tower; 16th-century fountains; the Zytglogge medieval clock tower with moving puppets; and six kilometers of shopping arcades, called “Lauben” by the locals. The Rose Garden (Rosengarten) offers beautiful views of the old town center. Bern boasts many excellent museums, and art-lovers will appreciate the impressive galleries, including the Zentrum Paul Klee, the world’s largest collection of works by this famous artist, and the Bern Museum of Art (Kunstmuseum). Don’t miss the markets, held in the Bundesplatz (parliament square) with views of the elegant Renaissance-style parliament building (Bundeshaus). Families will also enjoy a visit to the Bear Park.
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