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  • Five Challenging Cultural Tours for the 2010 Summer

    In such times of cultural awakening, cheap traveling and widely available information, the world begins to look more and more like a huge open air museum. And one must admit that there are few things that today’s travel industry cannot offer: form the Ancient Silk Road to the footsteps of Belgian comic hero Tin Tin, tour organizers are coming with creative options that can feed your craving for knowledge and adventure.

    Today’s post will try to give you a few suggestions on what is there to see and explore in the soon to come summer of 2010:

    Turkey

    Europe’s gate to the Oriental world, Turkey is a country of contrasts and inestimable cultural treasures. No matter how long your vacation might last, you will soon discover that you haven’t even enough time to see all the marvels of Istanbul, the capital that somehow managed to reconcile the rusty marble of the Roman ruins with the fastidious

    Byzantine churches and the delicate arabesques decorating its numerous mosques and hamams. Following the Mediterranean coast, you have a chance to rediscover the ruins of mythical cities like Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamum, Ephesus, Olympos or Cappadocia, along with the Turkey’s rich cuisine and irresistible music.

    Cuba

    Whether you are interested in the island’s turbulent history, its widely acclaimed music and dance tradition or its one and only cuisine, Cuba is ready to offer you that drop of authenticity that you’ve been looking for. Feel ready to follow the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway through Havana’s restaurants and cocktail clubs or just let yourself absorbed by the charm of Cuba’s old ports and colonial architecture.

    China

    The mesmerizing lights of Shanghai, the terracotta warriors from Xian, or the gargantuan dimensions of world’s most ambitious architectural project so far (that would be, of course, the Great Wall, and under the assumption that the Babel Tower was just myth) are just a few of China’s cultural highlights. A common and highly spectacular way to explore cultural China would be to take a cruise ship from Xian to Shanghai, and then upstream the Yangtze River to the old port of Chongqing (now a flourishing commercial center).


    South Africa

    After billions of dollars invested in its infrastructure and hospitality industry, South Africa is just a few days away from becoming the first African country to host a wold cup edition. Even if you are not a soccer fan, it would be a pity to miss a tour of the historical district of Cape Town, a stroll through Johannesburg’s modern art galleries or a weekend trip to Kawa-Zulu natal, home to the brave Zulu people.

    Armenia

    A 10 day tour of the tiny republic of Armenia is like a trip back in time: after taking your time to admire the vibrant capital of Yerevan (The Temple of Sun at Garni is a must), you can turn several centuries back with the medieval fortresses built on the heights of the Caucasus, visit an authentic caravanserai (part of the famous Silk Road) and finally let yourself captured by the solitary beauty of mount Ararat.  ?

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