The Borgund Stave Church.

The Borgund Stave Church is a historic church in Norway.

Khiluk, Canada

Khiluk, also known as 'Spotted Lake', is said to have healing powers.

Shahara Bridge.

The Sharah Bridge in Yemen can only be reached by car.

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach in Australia was elected Australia's cleanest beach.

Málaga, Spain.

This diverse city has something to offer for every visitor.

Borgund Stave Church, Borgund, Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

The Borgund Stave Church is located in Borgund, Lærdal, in the Sogn og Fjordane region of Norway. Stave churches are medieval churches made entirely of wood with a post-and-lintel structure. Lintels are - in this case - load-bearing building components. And posts, also referred to as architraves, are the beams that rest on the lintels. In post-and-lintel structures, beams (architraves) rest horizontally on the columns or pillars (lintels), supporting the weight of the structure above the openings of windows and doors. A very simple yet adequate example that demonstrates this, is Stonehenge.

Most of today's existing, authentic Stave Churches are in Norway, except for one in Poland called the Vang Stave Church, which was relocated from Norway to an area that used to belong to Germany but now belongs to Poland.

The Borgund stave church was built between 1180 and 1250 AD, and dedicated to Saint Andrew. It probably replaced an older church. Archeological research found remains of an older church or a heathen temple under the floors. Some of the Borgund stave church's finest features are the lavishly carved portals and the roof carvings of dragon heads

Fun facts:
  • On the walls of this particularly church are several runic inscriptions, one of which reads: "Tor wrote these runes in the evening of St. Olav's mass."
  • There is a replica of this church in Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Dutch queen Wilhelmina writes about this church in her autobiography "Eenzaam maar niet alleen" (which means: "Lonely but not alone").
It is possible to visit the Borgund stave church. On the website of Fortidsminneforeninga are the opening hours and contact information. It is possible to cycle and hike to the stave church, or to take a bus there. For bus times, email borgund@stavechurch.com. A guided tour from Flam to the stave church is possible as well.






Inside the Borgund Stave Church
Inside the Borgund Stave Church
Inside the Borgund Stave Church

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands National Park, Queensland, Australia

Whitehaven Beach, Queensland is Australia's most photographed beach, and looking at the pictures it's not hard to imagine why. Pristine, white beaches, clear blue waters and lush vegetation; it is a feast for the eyes. It is protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park, bordering on the famous Great Barrier Reef. The area is completely unspoilt. There are no litter bins, dogs, playgrounds or barbecues. Visitors are asked to take their litter with them when they leave. It won't surprise you that this particular beach has won several awards for Queensland's and even the whole of Australia's cleanest beach.


Whitehaven Beach is only accessible by boat, but there are many, many tour operators who'd be glad to take you there from the mainland by ferry, power boat, sailboat or luxury yacht. (See the official Whitehaven Beach webpage for more info.) There are also tour operators who provide aerial tours by helicopters and seaplanes, and there are snorkeling, diving and kayaking excursions that go there from the mainland as well. Hamilton Island is said to be the gateway for Whitehaven Beach trips.

Once there, you can spend the night camping on one of the rustic camping sites.




Shahara Bridge, Shahara District, Yemen

This bridge was built in the 16th century and served the purpose of connecting the village of Shahara to that of Shaharat al-Fays across a gorge of 300 meters deep, so people could easily move from one town to another. Rumor goes the bridge was built to fight Turkish invaders, in connection with a legend that the bridge could be removed when danger loomed, but acknowledged sources make no mention of that. Designed and built by Salah Al-Yemen at the orders of Al-Asta Saleh Al-Suaidi, its construction cost more than a 100,000 silver rials.

The bridge is used by the locals on a daily basis, and is widely regarded an architectural masterpiece. It also attracts visitors from around the world, but the area is inhospitable and not easily accessible. Shaharah and Shaharat al-Fays are only accessible by car, which must either be personally owned or a rental. Safety measures do not allow visitors to take a taxi, unless accompanied by an official tour guide.

Spotted Lake (Khiluk), British Columbia, Canada

Spotted Lake lies in British Columbia in Canada, and is one of the most remarkable natural phenomena we know. The First Nations, or Aboriginal people, the Okanagans, called Spotted Lake Khiluk.

Spotted Lake looks the astonishing way it does, because its water is filled with all different kinds of minerals. When in the summer most of the lake evaporates, puddles as you see on the picture are left. Minerals harden, forming pathways around the puddles. The color of the puddle depends on the composition of minerals it holds. Among others, it contains some of the world's highest quantities of magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium sulphates.

The lake officially belongs to First Nations. It was bought from its previous owners, the Ernest Smith Family, in 2001, after having belonged to the Smiths for 40 years.

It supposedly has healing powers but visitors are no longer permitted to come close. Instead, a small sign nearby informs visitors of the lake's healing powers. The Okanagan call it a "sacred medicine lake", and have written a Statement of the Okanagan Tribal Chiefs, that says among others:

"Since the dawn of history, Spotted Lake or “Ha? Ki lil xw” As we call is has been a sacred place. Indians from all tribes came to visit the Lake for the medicine it the lake contains. The ceremonial cairns, too numerous to count that surround the lake testify to that. Some of these are so ancient they have sunk underground and only their tops remain above ground. Some are buried altogether. There are many stories told by our ancestors about the cures this lake has provided, physically and spiritually through its medicine powers……

.…. Its medicinal powers are not to be taken lightly. This Lake is a Chief among lakes, its powers are above the purely physical. It contains 365 circles in various shapes, sizes and depths. Each particular day of the year. Anyone who goes to this lake will find the right circle if he seeks.
" From Syilx

In Osoyoos, a nearby city, are plenty of hotels to stay for a night or two, if you wish to visit Spotted Lake.



Málaga, Málaga Province, Andalusia, Spain

Málaga is a city in the province of Málaga, region of Andalusia, Spain. Historic remains such as dolmens and cave paintings suggest that Málaga and the surrounding area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but origins of the city of Málaga remain unclear. Nowadays Málaga counts 561.250 inhabitants, and has a long, rich (though slightly unclear) history demonstrated by dolmens and cave paintings in the nearby area. The city has over twenty museums, including the Wine Museum, the Heritage Museum, the Fine Arts Museum and the Holy Week Museum. It also has many churches, Spain's first Protestant cemetary which is perhaps mobidly gorgeous, gardens and parks. It also has splendid beaches, hotels, bars and night clubs. But some of the most noteworthy attractions are the alcazaba, the castle on the hill Gibralfaro (called Castillo de Gibralfaro), the Cathedral (Catedral de la Encarnación), which is beautiful from the inside as well as the outside, the botanic garden Jardín de la Concepción, and the Roman amphitheater.


In the 1st century BC the Roman amphitheater was built at the foot of the Alcazaba. It was discovered in 1951 during the works of building a garden at what is coincidentally the Citizen Art Center.


The alcazaba was built in the 11th century from the remains of the Roman fort ruins located on the hill of Málaga. An alcazaba is an a Moorish fortification and according to architect restorer Leopoldo Torres Balbás the Alcazaba of Málaga is the prototype of military architecture in the Taifa period. It consists of fortified walls, defense towers, a Moorish gate and three palaces. It also has a garden called Plaza de Armas, and within you'll find an archeological museum with Roman, Phoenician and other artifacts found over the years. This alcazaba was originally built to serve as a defense against pirates.

The Alcazaba

The Alcazaba

The Alcazaba
Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas
The Catedral de la Encarnación was built between 1528 and 1782, and was erected on the site where the city's main mosque had stood during the eight centuries of Muslim domination. It carries the nickname "La Manquita", which means "The One-Armed Lady" because the Catedral has actually never been finished. The top part of the main façade and the south tower remain incomplete. This cathedral is the second highest in Andalusia.

Málaga with La Manquita mid-center

La Manquita


Castillo de Gibralfaro lies on a hilltop and makes a good destination for those who enjoy intense, uphill hikes. But if that's not your thing, you can also get there by car. The castle was built in 929 AD, and was enlarged in the beginning of the 14th century by Yusef 1, Sultan of Granada. Its double walls were then made to enclose the alcazaba as well. The castle offers great views, restored ramparts around which visitors can walk, buildings and courtyards. Near the entrance is the Interpretation Center, a small military museum.

Castillo de Gibralfaro
The Jardín de la Concepción is a 150 year old botanic garden north of Málaga. The garden houses more than a 1000 different sorts of vegetation, historic buildings, waterfalls, fountains, streams, and old sculptures. Aside from vegetation, the garden is also home to different sorts of animals, like snakes and turtles. 

Jardín de la Concepcíon
Also, if you're going to Málaga, don't forget to visit the Central Market (Mercado), which features 250 stalls and is situated in a glass building, with stained glass covering the front and the back. The Central Market is the place to be for fresh fish, meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables.


Mercado

Mercado

Málaga beach tourism

Málaga

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