VENEZUELA: Mérida – Historic architecture and street life in Santiago de los Caballeros de Mérida

Mérida or with its Spanish full name “Santiago de los Caballeros de Mérida”, is the capital and commercial center of the state of Mérida with 317,410 inhabitants counted in 2013. The city is as well the tourist and university center of the Venezuelan West and located in the begining of the higher levels of the Andes. There are heaps of canyons, little creeks and the mountain landscape offers numerous outdoor activities of all kind.

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PARAGUAY: Asunción – The greenest capital in the world

Asunción is the capital city of Paraguay and is located on the western shore of the Río Paraguay, on the bay of Asunción. The city impresses with the architecture in the colonial style, including the turmoil of the streets and the whole in a somewhat run-down but very friendly and summery inviting area. Asunción has a good 550,000 inhabitants, in the metropolitan area it should be at the 1.9 million. That’s quite a lot, considering that the country has only 6.7 million inhabitants. And it is just green everywhere in all colors.

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PARAGUAY: Itaipú Hydroelectric Power Plant – Imposing major project of technical creation

Itaipú is the name of a hydroelectric power plant and the associated Itaipú dam and the Itaipú reservoir on Paraná on the border between Paraguay and Brazil. Until the completion of the Three Gorges Dam in the People’s Republic of China in 2006, Itaipu was the world’s largest power plant in terms of output. Due to the high capacity utilization of turbines, Itaipu remains mostly in first place in terms of annual energy production even after 2006.

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CHILE: Angol Urbex Adventure – The mysterious old Ilabaca Hospital

The photographer Salvador Seda has been working on the Angol Streetart Map in Chile since quite a while and fills it with interesting stories and great photographs. His focus is often on the history of the urban art and the spot. In that case obviously it makes sense to explore abandoned places and Salvador is a big fan of Urbex. During an adventurous tour of discovery, the streetart hunter visited the Ilabaca Hospital, which had been out of order for decades. The dilapidated buildings and half-collapsed rooms have something eerie but at the same time also something attractive, which arouses curiosity. In such places you can usually find interesting graffiti art as well.

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COLOMBIA: Zipaquirá – Magical Underground Catedral de Sal

The Catedral de Sal in Zipaquirá is a very special Catholic church located deep in the underground in the salt mine of Zipaquirá, located in the province of Cundinamarca in Colombia. It has no official status as a cathedral and is not subject to any bishop, but attracts thousands of visitors and pilgrims every week. The whole complex is part of the theme park Parque de la Sal and there are numerous religious artefacts and imposing artworks presented below the surface. The additional great light effects and lamp installations make a visit just unforgettable.

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BRITAIN: Architectural beauty and relaxing nordic nature – Aberystwyth in Wales

Aberystwyth ist just a really lovely, cute place, full of young people from all over the European Union because of its famous university,  which looks like Hogward from the Harry Potter movies. The little refuge is a brilliant destination, if you want to calm down and rest for a while in a chilled area. Close to Aberystwyth is also the small picturesque town of Borth which sits above a vast beach where you feel as if suspended between heaven and earth, between the past and the present.

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MALTA: Sacred Door Saints and Nicknamed Houses

Religion plays an important role in Maltese culture and tradition. There are over 360 chapels and churches throughout the archipelago, including the huge Carmelite Cathedral in Valetta and the great Ta’ Pinu Basilica in Gozo for example. The presence of faith is also evident in the streets and integrated onto the homes of the Maltese people in form of small plaques, figures and ornaments depicting saints and thus acting as the patron saint of the building. Many Maltese also give their houses their individual names, so you often find among these door saints also tiles or signs with the building names. Here is a small collection of these beautiful mostly made of ceramic works of art.

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ROMANIA: Road Trip through the wonderful Banat

Reportage with an article and heaps of photos about a road trip through the Banat. It was a father-and-son-journey, with a search for family roots and ancestor data. So it was ideally to set off on Father’s Day at the highway to the east. The plan was to pay the Banat a visit after all that years. And it was just great! Check out the story and photo gallery.

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ITALY: Orgosolo’s wonderful Picasso-like and protest-laden Murales

In the mountains of Sardinia is the small picturesque village of Orgosolo. And it is indeed picturesque that it resembles a small art gallery. The streets and houses are completely decorated with fascinating wall paintings, with the so-called “Murales”. The works are often interspersed with the content of the protest or with paroles and slogans, the motifs also often show political or historically important scenes. But of course there are also a lot of other themes and motifs involved and time by time some new artwork is getting added.

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LAOS: Majestic Buddha Park – Xieng Khuan

After leaving Vientiane on our way to the 4000 Islands in the South of Laos we passed a monumental and historic treasure site you shouldn´t miss if you are around. The local name is Xieng Khuan, but the English words for this area make it self-explanatory for what it’s about. The Buddha Park is a park filled up with over 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues. There are several Buddhas spread across the square, as well scenes from ancient legends and numerous gods and goddesses.

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