Charlottenburg Palace Berlin

Beautiful Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin

charlottenburg_palace

The oldest surviving Prussian palace, begun 1695 and not finished until the end of 1700 century.

At the entrance there are headphones with audio guide that takes you through all rooms.

During the guided tour you listen to the history of the castle, and King Frederick I of Prussia who built the palace as a summer residence for his beloved Sophie Charlotte.



charlottenburg_palace_room

Approximately 70 beautiful rooms containing artwork from 1800 century.

For about 12 Euro you get a day ticket for all castles in Berlin and Potsdam.



Spend the evening at the Charlottenburg Palace with dinner and concert

A self-guided palace tour and a concert with the Berliner Residenz Orchester.

This tour is often sold out several weeks in advance, so be sure to book well in advance. You can choose from four seating categories.







charlottenburg_palace_christmas

One of the most beautiful Christmas Markets

From last week of November til Christmas, it’s a beautiful Christmasmarket here.

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Things to do in Berlin

Frigiliana, Spain – The charming white village in Andalusia

Frigiliana in Spain

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Frigiliana, Spain – A White Village in Andalusia

No glossy coffee table book about Andalusia and her white washed villages which does not prominently feature images of Frigiliana.

Voted ‘the prettiest of them all’, Frigiliana more than lives up to that reputation.

Approaching from either nearby Nerja or Malaga, the capital of the province, and rounding the last bend, the brilliantly white houses of Frigiliana spill down the steep hill of El Fuerte on the foothill of the Sierra Almijara.

The white is dotted with red, resulting from the thousands upon thousands of geranium flower pots which adorn the wrought iron balconies and open spaces in the many tiny squares.

frigilana

The white city Frigiliana, is best explored on foot to truly appreciate the beauty of every corner of this romantic as well as historic gem in the South of Spain.

For all the present day beauty, the village has a rather violent and bloody past.

Dominated for 500 years by the Moors, they were finally defeated in 1569 in the battle at La Axarquia by the reconquista army of the Catholic Kings, Ferdinand and Isabel.

Legend has it, that many Moors, rather than be captured by the conquerors, threw themselves down the hill of El Fuerte and indeed, archaeological finds of bones at the foot of the hill seem to prove the truth of the legend.

On the other hand, the Moorish culture which ruled the area for so long, accounts for the unique aspect Frigiliana has today.

A combination of southern Spanish style and exquisite mosaics, tiles and fountains of Moorish origin makes for a picture perfect atmosphere.

It’s no surprise that each year, at the end of August, Frigiliana celebrates the Festival of the Three Cultures, commemorating the Muslim, Christian and Jewish past of the place.

frigilana_street
Glued to the mountain side as it is, the cobbled streets are very narrow and very, very steep, interspersed with even steeper stone steps which lead from one level to the next.

Not a place to explore in sandals or heels, solid footwear is a must.



Hotels and Accommodation

If you want to stay over night you can find hotels in Frigiliana here.

Read more from Andalucia:



Frigiliana’s past and present;

– Not only dramatic but also sweet.

There is ‘El Ingenio’ the only sugar cane factory in the south of Europe which produced famous and must sought after honey.

Housed in an imposing building which looks more like a ducal palace than a factory production ceased a few years ago, but honey can still be bought.

Then, of course, there is Vino Dulce, the local very sweet and strong wine which is only drunk for desert.

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And finally, many artisan craft shops which make beautiful and unique ceramics, from plates and tiles to cute frogs and more.

The vision in white fades into the sunset after a day of reliving the past and enjoying the present of a truly outstanding place in the south of Spain.



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Granada’s Alhambra – a Moorish dream

Granada’s Alhambra – a Moorish dream

The breathtaking Palace and gardens of Granada’s Alhambra and Generalife , the epitome of an Arabian dream located in the South of Spain.

alhambra

From the Moorish era in Spain

500 years of Moorish rule have left a profound mark, particularly in the South of the peninsula.

The Alhambra is often referred to as the Crown Jewel or a pearl set in emeralds.

Originally built as a fortress in 889 on one of the seven hills surrounding Granada.

Converted into a royal palace in 1333 by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.

It has served as the abode of the rulers of the Nasrid dynasty until the reconquest by Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand in 1492.

An UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984, the Alhambra is the most significant example of Arab Islamic architecture in Europe.

Approach from the city either by foot or by car and enter the complex through La Puerta de Los Granadas.

Follow a steep climb to the Puerta de La Justica, a massive arch to enter the Alhambra proper.

moorish_alhambra

Over the centuries many buildings have been added on to the original fortress, so there is no general ‘floor plan’.

However each addition was designed with a view of creating a paradise on earth, with all the rooms of the royal quarters opening on to a central courtyard.

Walls and ceilings are covered with tiles, arabesques and calligraphy often in red, blue and gold.

Intricate stone carvings alternate with mosaics and scriptures from the Koran.

The Alhambra rests on a platform and the entire complex is completely walled in interspersed by 13 towers.

Some are watch towers and some serve purely recreational purposes.

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Courtyard of the Lion

The most famous features is no doubt the Court of the Lions.

A courtyard decorated with a huge fountain made of alabaster, supported by twelve lions carved from marble.

The lions symbolize the power and influence of the dynasty.

Generalife and the gardens

In tune with the paradise theme, you can feast your eyes on a sin fin of trees and flowers.

Gaze into reflecting pools and listen to the tinkling waters of countless fountains.

Another significant feature of the Alhambra is an abundance of nightingales which inspired many a poet.

generalife

After a walk through the many halls and rooms, including the harem and the Court of the Myrtles and climbing one or two of the towers, proceed to the Generalife.

Designed and built by Muhammed III, the Generalife was the summer palace of the sultans originally connected to the main palace by a covered walkway.

The most outstanding feature of the Generalife are however the gardens.

Admire the Court of the Water Channel, a long pool framed by flower beds and fountains spewing fine sprays of water into the air.

Follow the walkways paved with white and black pebbles from the beds of the rivers Darro an Genil which flow through Granada and rest your feet on one of the stone benches in the Garden of the Sultana.

Thought to be the best preserved example of a medieval Persian garden in Al-Andalus and shaded by cypress trees.

You can visit the Alhambra with a guided tour or do it on your own.

Remember comfortable shoes, because there is a lot of walking involved.

Guided Alhambra tour




Luxurious stay near Alhambra

alhamra_palace_hotel

Nearby Alhambra you find the beautiful Alhambra Palace Hotel.

Inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII in 1910 as a hotel and casino, the hotel preserves the luxury and style of the beginning of the 20th century.

hotel_alhambra_palace

Decorated in a design which reflects the art of the Alhambra but incorporates the amenities of a modern day luxury hotel.

Home from home for many celebrities and artists, follow their example, sit on the roof terrace at night, look out over the illuminated Alhambra and the city below and let the dream continue.

Link to the hotel for more pictures and information: Alhambra Palace Hotel

Alhambra tours and more things to do around Granada

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Attractions, Festivals and events in Nice

Attractions, Festivals and Events in Nice

Festivals and Events in Nice

Some of the festivals and event in Nice attract many thousands of visitors.

In February / March, the Nice Carnival explodes onto the streets just as the sun gets higher in the sky, days lengthen and spring is on the horizon.

With parades, dancing, live music and raucous fun, the Carnival is the highlight of winter events in Nice.

carnival_nice450

Nice Carnival

Nice Carnival is one of the biggest events in Nice, happening every year over a period of two weeks with its culmination on Mardi Gras.

It is up there with some of the largest carnivals in the world and is said to attract over one million tourists every year.

Read more about it here

citrus_festival

Menton Lemon Festival

Can be combined with its neighbor-town Mentons Lemon Festival, often running at same time.

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nice_jazz_festival

Nice Jazz Festival

An other popular festival, Nice Jazzfestival, has been going strong since starting in 1948.

Some of the biggest names from jazz music including Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong, have performed here over the years.

Today it has more of a mix of music rather than just traditional jazz.

The Nice Jazz Festival usually takes place second week in July.

Read more

musee_matisse_nice
Musee Matisse

Culture and Museums

Nice has plenty for culture lovers among its attractions.

There are numerous museums as well as theatres, and a visit to the Opera De Nice is highly recommended.

The opera

is located within the old town in a very grand building that was originally constructed as the municipal theatre of Nice then became the city’s main opera venue from 1902 onwards.

There’s a regular programe of performances here so check their schedule when you’re visiting to see what’s on.

Website: opera-nice.org

Museums

Nice has an excellent selection of museums, some of which feature the works of artists who visited the city for its great light.

Matisse was one artist drawn to Nice and you can see some of his works at the Musee Matisse which is situated within a 17th century Genoese villa.

Other works of art are featured in the Museum of Asian Art, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

The early history of Nice as a settlement can be discovered at the Museum and Archaeological Site of Cimiez.

This is where an ancient Roman settlement was situated, and there are still ruins from this period to be seen here.

Another ancient site is Terra Amata and there’s a museum focusing on prehistoric Nice here.

Parks and Gardens

Nice has a couple of lovely parks and gardens to explore when you’d like a break from the busy streets.

The Jardin Botanique de la Ville de Nice is a relatively small municipal botanical garden that is open every day and free to enter.

There are over 3,500 species of plants here, many of which are Mediterranean, plus there’s a 6,000 species herbarium to see too.

Parc_Phoenix_Greenhouse_and

Parc Phoenix is a larger botanic garden and zoo that features one of the largest greenhouses in Europe.

Plant species are displayed according to climatic zones, and you can see pelicans, turtles, and swans around the large pool.

Things to do in Nice

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