The islands that make up the United Kingdom probably broke off of the mainland of Europe about 8 millennia ago. Orginally occupied by little-known tribal cultures, some of whom are thought to have built Stonehenge, the island region was invaded by the Celts around 500 BC.
Macau is known more for its multitude of casinos and capitalist leanings than for its colored history or the policies of its current administrator. Still, history shines through the glitzy surface of Macau: there is a distinct air of colonial Portugal in its cobble-stone streets, open markets, and historic architecture. And as Macau has transformed itself from colonial underdog to wealthy destination, it is now undergoing another transformation, trying to attract a less adult and more family-oriented kind of tourist.
As near to out-of-this-world as only a few habited places on this earth are, Bangladesh challenges the visitor to find fulfillment despite excessive population density, national poverty, and robust environmental extremes. The rewards for those who take on such a challenge, though, are unique and intriguing insights into the rich regional Bengali culture and the current state of South Asian and global society.
Being so close the United States has made the Bahamas one of the easiest of the “island paradises” to visit. From its sprawling capitol Nassau, to its many smaller islands, the Bahamas have everything other Caribbean islands have and more. The Bahamas are made up of 700 islands and 2500 cays, which make it a wonderful place for sailing and diving, and with so many locations, you’ll never get bored.
High on the itinerary of any traveler to South America is Peru, the third largest country in the continent. Peru is the home to several ancient Andean civilizations — most notably the Incas, who ruled until the Spanish invasion in 1533.
The newly independent nation of Georgia is hard to describe in terms of one particular region. Some consider it part of the Middle East, others Europe, and still others Asia. The reason for this may be because it is so closely related, both geographically and culturally, with all of these places. Once it broke from the former USSR, Georgia suffered some civil unrest, but as the situation stablizes, Georgia is becoming a major player in world affairs.
In the years after the American War of Independence, a number of Loyalist plantation owners tried their luck farming cotton on the Turks and Caicos, bringing with them slaves from their U.S. plantations. The farming operations failed and the land-owners left for greener pastures, but many of their former slaves stayed to work as rakers in the salt flats. Today, the locals whose lineage dates back to the early days of the Turks and Caicos, a group known amongst themselves as “Belongers,” can traces their heritage to the Bermudian salt industrialists and the transplanted slave rakers.
For many thousands of years, the Chinese culture has been one of walls. Finished in the earliest days of unified China–during the Qin dynasty–the Great Wall literally surrounds much of the nation. This is more symbolic than functional, but the years since its completion have seen many more political and cultural barriers built, intended as much to keep Chinese pride and culture in as they are to keep the western world out.
Even with the American travel ban, Cuba continues to thrive as a tourist destination for Europeans and otherwise. Before Castro, the Caribbeans largest island was very popular among U.S.-based tourists and business people; now, however, it takes a slightly more more adventurous sort to go there from America. But given the opportunity, those people simply can’t be kept away. When the travel ban does get lifted you can be sure that Cuba will again be one of the busiest destinations in the Caribbean.
The 9th-century founding of Novgorod by the Viking Rurik initiated a more than thousand-year history of wealth and war, trial and loss, conquest, Communism, and tyranny. The monarchic splendor and seething peasant ideology of old Russia, coupled with the complex social, economic, and political changes brought about during the Soviet era, survive today in one form or another in what is possibly the most enigmatic yet of this country’s many incarnations.