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Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new featureTravel Catfocuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).
Travel Cat spotted in: Gumusluk, Turkey.
This week's Travel Cat comes from Bob Patrick, a reader residing on Turkey's Bodrum Peninsula (much like another Travel Cat alum).
Gumusluk, once home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is now home to this orange tabby basket-napper. But before you "aww" yourself silly, Bob shares a little more background info on that Wonder:
Rome Travel / Italy Travel / Tourists / Europe Travel / Historical Travel / Ancient History Travel / → All Tags
We know the cash flow is tight over in Europe, but when it comes to maintaining some of the cultural treasures it’s probably a good idea to invest in a little upkeep. This seems to be especially the case in Italy, where we heard that the Colosseum is already feeling the wear and tear of over 2,000 years of tourist trampling, and now it looks like one of Rome’s other famous landmarks are beginning to show their age.
Apocalypse Travel / Thanatourism / Religious Travel / Egypt Travel / Ancient History Travel / Tourist Traps / Tourism / → All Tags
It's Veterans Day today, and it's also 11.11.11 as the date goes. Naturally tourist sites have been preparing for both, but with the major difference that Veterans Day takes place in the US and focuses on looking at history and remembering while 11.11.11 happens around the world, with a focus on the future.
For some however, it's actually a lack thereof (the future) with the belief that the world will end today. Well it hasn't yet, and Egypt's Great Pyramid can attest to this. Fearing negative attention and spiritual ceremonies, the Great Pyramid was closed to tourists. The AP notes that only the pyramid was on lock-down:
The ancient port city of Caesarea should be a strong contender on anyone's Israel travel itinerary. During the days there are the Roman ruins to be explored, among the best preserved in the Middle East. They include carefully excavated living quarters, baths, andmost famouslya huge theater/colosseum finished around 10BC, because the Romans valued their entertainment. Those are for the tourists, something that we point out in a 100% non-denigrating way.
Of all the destinations on the interwebs, we take our tourism seriously. You should just know that that's what you're getting into.
But once the sun sets, and especially during the summer, there are all kinds of events and concerts that bring out younger and more local crowds. The modern town is one of Israel's most upscale areas, and the region is actually maintained by a private organization dedicated to economic and cultural development rather than by a city council.
It might not be the most practical layover destination from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, but if you’re visiting the Twin Cities it might as well be on your itinerary this summer. King Tut and plenty of his ancient goodies have made their way to the Science Museum of Minnesota, and plenty of history will be on display through the beginning of September.
The museum welcomes one and all to enter the golden world of the pharaohs, as the exhibit opened up over the weekend. There’s more than 100 different artifacts from thousands of years past including plenty of goodies from King Tut. Golden sandals as well as 10-foot statue are just some of the items on display during this exhibition.
Woowho wants to go to Egypt now that the revolution's most violent days are behind us? No one? Yea, we didn't think the traveling public would be so eager to jump back into Cairo when they've barely cleared the makeshift protestor shacks from Tahrir Square. Still, the portion of the country that earns their income from tourism still needs to eat, and thus the pyramids have reopened to visitors.
This Voice of America article that interviewed some of the locals who work at the pyramids is quite eye-opening, especially with excerpts like this:
If you have traveling to Pompeii on your bucket list, you better book your ticket to Italy now. The ancient Roman city, which was frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, has had several of its walls collapse.
Last month a portion of the "House of the Gladiator," where the gladiators trained, and part of a retaining wall at the "House of the Moralist," a home, as well as two other walls came down. It's been a big concern internationally, since Pompeii is one of the world's best-preserved ancient sites.
Ancient History Travel / Elgin Marbles / Museum Travel / Historical Travel / History / History Travel / → All Tags
Today's a big day in the world of Greek antiquities, as the massive New Acropolis Museum in Athens opens its doors to the public for the first time. The fancy new building was designed by architect Bernard Tschumi, and incorporates classic and contemporary elements to display 4,000 artifacts, more than ten times the number of the inadequate old museum it replaces. The New York Times has a nifty article and slide show of the $200 million museum, which it calls "one of the highest-profile cultural projects undertaken in Europe in this decade."
Officials in Greece are trying to get stiletto heels banned at important archaeological sites because these evil heels are damaging the ancient stuff. To quote Eleni Korka, a director taking care of such ancient sites:
Female visitors must wear shoes that do not wound the monuments. These monuments have a skin that suffers and people must realise that.
Too many tourists is a bit of a problem at many of the ancient sites in Greece - a few years ago they did a big clean-up of the Odeon of Herodes Atticus theater in Athens and removed 59 pounds of chewing gum stuck under the seats in the process. For some reason they haven't thought of banning chewing gum a la Singapore, but the anti-stiletto movement is growing strong.
· Women Banned From Wearing Stilettos at Ancient Greek Sites [Daily Mail]
· Will This Be The Summer You Party in Greece? [Jaunted]
· Greece Travel Guide [Jaunted]
Are you sitting down? Yes? Okay good, because we are about to burst a travel bubble: Pompeii isn't all that great. If you're still planning on making an Italian pilgrimage this spring or summer and want to get the usual ration of ancient ruins, then please let us suggest taking a day trip to the less crowded but no less impressive Ostia Antica, the old port city for Rome.
Only some twenty miles outside of downtown Rome and accessible by extra-urban train lines (yay, no bus tours!), Ostia Antica is a playground of multi-story Roman ruins just waiting for you to run amok down its cobblestone streets and in its amphitheatersafter paying the €6.50 entrance fee, of course. Like Pompeii, the place is an active archaeological site packed with mosaics and frescos. Unlike Pompeii, Ostia wasn't destroyed by a flippin' volcano, meaning that most of the city is as intact as possible for a place that's been booming since the 3rd century BC.
There are plenty of cities that could credibly claim to be the center of the world, but only one has gone through the trouble of marking the exact spot. The timeless city of Rome is home to the Umbilicus Urbis Romae (the "navel of the city of Rome"), a spot in the Roman Forum from which all distances in Rome and the Roman Empire were measured. Constructed by the Emperor Augustus around 20 B.C., it was once marked by a grand marble tower, but all that's left of it is a sad little pile of bricks with a plaque. Still, it represents an excellent starting point or endpoint for any Roman adventure, and it's just one of several neat facts about Rome I picked up from a new book called the Mental Floss History of the World.
Other nifty tidbits include some trivia on Roman manners. Did you know that it was considered polite in ancient Rome to vomit between meals so you could eat more? Well it was, and the mess never got too out of hand, thanks to an army of slaves charged with cleaning up the spittle. Talk about lousy jobs. Rome was also the first civilization to use central heating systems, and even had hot and cold running water (in upper class homes, naturally) so residents could switch between hot, cold, and tepid baths. Why not just find a temperature you like and stick with it?
Humanity has evolved in the ensuing generations, and some of these ideas have been embraced (plumbing), while others, like the between-meal vomiting, have been rendered obsolete (save for the occasional fashion model). Still, it's interesting to take a look at a society that's at once ancient and far removed, and at the same time mirrors our own to a frightening degree of accuracy.
Why see the real Rome when you can take a trip there via the Uncanny Valley? "3D Rewind Rome" promises a fun-filled trip back into the past, goofy glasses and all, and we're... kind of frightened, to be honest.
A stone's throw from the Colosseum, 3D Rewind Rome puts imaginary gladiators back into the stadium to fight, as well as imaginary senators back into the Forum and imaginary plebeians back into the market. Tickets are only €10 ($13), but: Dude, you went to Italy just to play a video game? That's a travel foul. Besides, real gladiators are coming back!