Category Geography

Where was the city of Troy?

Until the 1850s many historians thought that the great adventures described by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey were all fables which had existed only in the poet’s imagination. But between 1870 and 1890 excavations carried out by as German businessman, Heinrich Schliemann, established not only that the great city had actually existed but that nine different Troys had stood on the Spot. Each city had been destroyed and a new one rebuilt during a period of 3,000 years.

Later excavations by other archaeologists confirmed Schliemann’s belief that these ruins were really the remains of Troy. The archaeologists also found that the great battles and siege in which this city, ruled by King Priam, was destroyed. Today we are certain that Troy did exist and that its towers rose from the summit of a hill called Hsarlik that now stands in Turkey by the waters of the Hellespont.


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Which is the most beautiful city in Japan?

The cities of Japan have grown extremely rapidly since the Second World War mainly because of the spread of new industries which provided work for people but made the cities rather ugly. One city escaped this fate: Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan founded by the Emperor Kwammu in A.D 794. For a thousand years Kyoto was the capital of the Japanese empire. During this time it became rich in monuments and the architecture of its buildings resembled that of Chinese cities. Kyoto has stout walls built all round it as a defence against attackers and the city was approached through eighteen gates in the walls. Inside were many gardens and temples of the Buddhist and Shinto religions.

Kyoto is also famous for its works of art and craftsmanship, especially porcelain and silks, and is today visited by many tourists.


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Where to find Africa’s largest national parks?

The animals of Africa, many of them belonging to species which are now rare, today live under special protection from the danger of being hunted into extinction.

These animals live in national parks, huge areas reserved for them in central and eastern Africa. With the aid of wildlife Fund, these parks have become great tourist attractions. Every year thousands of people come from all over the world to see the giraffes, elephants, lions, gazelles, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and reptiles which live in freedom in these reserves.

There are good tracks and smooth roads and visitors can drive for hundreds of kilometres through these national parks. Some of Africa’s most important reserves are in Kenya and Tanzania. The Serengeti National Part in northern Tanzania covers an area of 15,000 square kilometres and extends from Lake Victoria to Mount Kilimanjaro. It has the finest collection of plains animals in Africa and is especially famous for its lions.


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Where you can find the most famous city on water?

The fame of Venice and its incomparable natural and artistic beauties was confirmed when a world-wide fund was opened to save its treasures. The enormous sums collected show the love felt in every part of the world for this Italian city, set on the water.

Venice is built on about 115 islands in the Adriatic Sea, 4 kilometres east of the mainland to which it is connected by road and rail. The city is interested by canals, the chief of which is the Grant Canal, and has nearly 400 bridges.

In addition to its canals and bridges, Venice is renowned for its churches and palaces. The most famous of these are St. Mark’s Cathedral with its tall campanile beside it built at one end of the Piazza San Marco, and the Doges Palace.

In the course of the centuries, innumerable artists have been inspired by Venice and in return they have left the results of their creative genius.


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Which is the smallest state in the world?

Covering an area of less than half a square kilometre the Vatican City is the smallest state in the world.

Approximately half of its territory is occupied by famous constructions: the Basilica of St Peter standing at the head of a large square which is encompassed by Bernini’s magnificent colonnade; the Vatican palaces, the residence of the Pope; the Vatican museums, rich in works of art; and the Sistine Chapel. In the remaining area are garden, ships, squares, a railway station and an astronomical observatory.


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Where you can find the land of the tulips?

The tulip is undoubtedly one of the best known and most popular flowers in the world. Its vivid colours and the simple lines make it a small masterpiece, much prized in both gardens and homes.

The ancient origin of the tulip is unknown, but we have much information on its introduction into Europe. It was the TURKS who brought this flower to the West some 400 years ago. The name tulip means ‘turban’ which the flower is thought to resemble.

There is probably no other flower which has been given such an enthusiastic welcome or spread so quickly throughout Europe. Within the space of a few years, the craze for tulips grew into ‘Tulipomania’, reaching its height in Holland.

Certain rare varieties fetched astronomical prices: by 1610 some tulip bulbs were worth as much as an ale-house or a mill. One bulb was paid for with a new carriage, complete with two horses, another was exchanged for 12 acres of land. Materials and lace were decorated with designs of tulips. This craze lasted for almost half a century.


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Where you can find a town made of salt?

Beneath the city of Wieliczka in Poland lies one of the most extraordinary sights in the world; a subterranean town made of salt.

This town is in the heart of a salt mine which goes down to over 300 metres below ground and has more than 112 kilometres of tunnels. All the elements that make up the town are built from salt, that is from sodium chloride in a crystalline state, which has a consistency similar to that of porous stone. Everything is made of rock-salt, from the pillars to the lamp-posts, from the streets to the bridges. There is everything here that you would find in any small town: a church decorated with basreliefs, a railway station, a throneroom, a ballroom, small lakes, wide specious streets. All that is the work of the miners who through decades of patient labour succeeded in completing labour succeeded in completing this colossal task.

Although there are other towns made of salt in both Poland and Austria, Wieliczka is the most complete and most perfect of them all. The salt mines there have been worked for over nine centuries.


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Where is island of fire?

One of the most active volcanic areas in the world is Iceland: in addition to craters which have been dormant since time memorial, the island has some thirty active volcanoes.

Iceland possesses other volcanic features, such as thermal springs and solfatara (which emit sulphur and water vapour gases); the most notable are the geysers which are jets of water at a high temperature.

The Icelanders have taken advantage of these hot springs: they have directed them into a system of pipes which heat homes, swimming pools and greenhouses. Since 1943 the whole city of Reykjavik has thus been able to solve its heating problems.


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Where is the famous valley of the roses?

The valley of the roses’ could be the title of a novel or a romantic film, one of many fantasies; instead it actually exists in Bulgaria.

It is a narrow valley (enclosed by two mountain chains and crossed by the Tundza, the principal tributary of the river Maritza) which at harvest time becomes a sea of roses, a unique spectacle. Until the height of summer every morning at the first signs of dawn the petal pickers fill their large sacks and hurry to deliver their product to be processed before the petals lose their fragrance.

Rose essence, known and appreciated in all parts of the world, is extracted from the petals.


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Where is the land of lakes?

Looking at a map, Finland seems like a piece of lace, a tunnel riddled with an infinite number of very characteristic lakes.

Finland has, quite rightly, been called the land of lakes: in fact, from the smallest, which is virtually a puddle, to the largest, the Saimma situated in the south, it has tens of thousands of lakes which cover 9.4 percent of the country. This Lake District with its inland archipelagos has been less effected by outside influences than the coastal regions.

Someone once said that there are two dominant colours in Finland, blue and green; the blue of the lakes and the green of the forests. If we add to these colours the white of the snow that for a good part of the year covers Finnish territory, we have named the three national colours of Finland. The snow feeds innumerable rivers which often link the lakes.

One feature which may seem strange in country as flat as that in southern Finland is the way the lakes are on different levels. Sometimes characteristic waterfalls, which the Finns have used for the production of electric energy, are formed by a river flowing rapidly from one lake to another.


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