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    Luxury Wine Tour of Apulia

    Luxury Wine Tour of Apulia

    The region of Apulia at the heel of Italy has 1000 hours more sunlight a year than the re…moreThe region of Apulia at the heel of Italy has 1000 hours more sunlight a year than the rest of the country and its local sun drenched grapes make superb wines. On this trip you will meet some of the top winemakers of the region, taste their wines and be dazzled by Apulia’s undiscovered richness of wine, food and art . Join us on this spectacular tour. Castel del Monte in Andria is a 13th Century castle and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Carlo de Corato, Rivera’s owner says the unique terrain around the Castle combined with the cool breezes coming down from the Balkans are the reason for outstanding wines like Falcone. You’ll also taste other top wines like Cappellacio and Rupicolo. Mr. Cocevola oversees the working farm, and winery near Castel del Monte producing superior wines likeVandalo. Other good wines are Rosso Cocevola, Pampanuto and Il Tratto. La Corte in Fiore, Trani. Housed in a 16th Century building, this restaurant has won many awards for its seafood specialties. You will love it. Trani is a medieval town built on the Adriatic Sea with one of the most spectacular 13th Century Cathedrals right on the water. You’ll have special access to the cript with splendid frescoes and mosaics. Hidden in the midst of an ancient olive grove this 500 year old Masseria where you will be staying has been a fortress, a farm and a refuge for pilgrims. Today Masseria Torre Coccaro is a 5 star resort, a sublime mixture of Apulian rusticity and world class luxury where you’ll begin to understand the magical allure of Puglia. Alberobello is famous for its 1,500 conical trulli homes. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy strolling through the hilltop town of Martina Franca, a beautiful baroque city full of great churches and palazzos from the 17th and 18th century. Small fishing boats deliver the fish daily to the door of L’Ancora Restaurant built on the rocks right on the sea in Monopoli. Enjoy “crudo”, the Italian equivalent of sushi or their cooked specialties. Enjoy a free afternoon at Masseria Torre Coccaro with its own private beach on the Adriatic sea. For further pampering retreat to a cool spa built in in an underground cave. Ostuni known as "the White Town" is an architectural jewel with a striking medieval cathedral and endless winding streets to get lost in before your first glass of wine. At Torre Coccaro the Chef displays his remarkable skills at blending tradition with innovation using just picked seasonal foods grown locally on Coccaro’s land. A private yacht takes guests for swims in the crystal-water coves of Monopoli. Brindisi was a major port city during Roman times and a column still marks the end of the Appian way. Rubino is a family owned winemaker in Brindisi growing local varieties in vinyeards near the Adriatic sea. Luigi Rubino holds his wine tasting at the restaurant Penny, a hot spot on the harbour, housed in a 12th Century building in order to highlight food pairing. Enjoy a lunch with orecchiette, a local pasta specialty with fresh tomatoes and basil that works well with the red negroamaro. Then artichoke ravioli with shrimps sauteed in garlic and slivers of parmesan and tagliolini sauteed with squid and crabmeat, both served with the white malvasia called Giancola. Giancola is a beach on the Adriatic and the sea breezes give it its unique character. Rubino revived a 2000 year old indigenous vine called Sussumaniello producing a superb red called Torre Testa to be paired with red meat and aged cheeses. Cantine Due Palme in Cellino San Marco, is a co-operative of 1,000 growers specializing in local grape varieties like Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera and Primitivo. The Top wines Primitivo Ettamiano, Red Salice Talentino, Canonico Negroamaro, have consistently been winning awards. Taste their top wine Selvarossa with the enologyst and Winery Director Angelo Maci. Lecce is nicknamed "The Florence of the South" Because of the rich Baroque architectural monuments carved out of the local white stone. In Lecce you’ll stay at the Hotel Risorgimento, a five star Luxury Hotel in a spectacular 18th Century Palace in the heart of town . Have lunch at Atenze a landmark restaurant housed in a baroque palace with superb Apulian specialties. Go out on the town. Lecce at nite is a throbbing city in a magical setting. The original Leone de Castris was a Spanish nobleman who bought 10 thousand acres in 1665 planting olive trees and vines. The most famous is Five Roses born during World War II in discarded GI’s beer bottles when the wine became popular with U.S. top military brass. Taste the top wine of the collection: the Salice Salentino Donna Lisa. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the harbour from your Palazzo Papaleo, a 5 star hotel in a 17th Century palazzo next to the Cathedral. Walk around Otranto, a bustling sea side town with remarkable monuments from the Middle Ages. Meet the fishing boats as they unload their catch at the harbour with Chef Massimo of Vico Lopez Restaurant. You will pick the fish to eat at his restaurant that night. After this magical tour Apulia will have carved out a place in your heart forever. copyright Christinatours,LLC less

    Cooking with Zarela: The root of it all-Jicama

    Cooking with Zarela: The root of it all-Jicama

    Mexican born Zarela Martinez is one the leading U.S. restaurateurs. Her namesake restaura…moreMexican born Zarela Martinez is one the leading U.S. restaurateurs. Her namesake restaurant is a Manhattan institution and a culinary trend-setter. She has authored several acclaimed books:"Food from my heart","Food and life of Oaxaca" and "Zarela's Veracruz". Her 13 part series "Zarela, Cocina Veracruzana" is airing on PBS. She has made guest appearances on many TV shows including "Julia Child:cooking with master chefs" and " Martha Stewart". less

    10 Best: Bangkok- Cooking class

    10 Best: Bangkok- Cooking class

    The 10 Best series highlights the best things to do in the top cities around the world. …moreThe 10 Best series highlights the best things to do in the top cities around the world. From the Bangkok Marriott Pier, the Manhora cruise boat departs Monday to Friday for Thai cooking classes cruising down the Chaophraya River. The boat is a 100 year old rice barge restored for 21st century luxury cruising. Sunida is taught the art of preparing a 5 course banquet by Chef de Partie Patchareekorn Seehawat. Here we see the making of the most famous of Thai soups:the Tom Yum Talay. Hosted by Sunida Thirasak, a Bangkok native presently living in New York. less

  • 10 Best Things To Do

    10 Best: Bangkok-live with elephants

    10 Best: Bangkok-live with elephants

    Just one hour from Bangkok, in Ayutthaya is ElephantStay, a place where you can live, wo…moreJust one hour from Bangkok, in Ayutthaya is ElephantStay, a place where you can live, work and play with 90 elephants. Ewa Narkiewicz and Michelle Reedy manage this not-for-profit project which retires old elephant and gives young ones a sustainable future. The elephants at Elephantstay work in movies too taking acting roles in Oliver Stone's "Alexander. www.elephantstay.com Hosted by Sunida Thirasak a Bangkok native presently living in New York. less

    Luxury Wine Tour of Umbria

    Luxury Wine Tour of Umbria

    Umbria , untouched by mass tourism , has preserved the magic of its past and the richness…moreUmbria , untouched by mass tourism , has preserved the magic of its past and the richness of its tradition. Etruscans and Romans made wine here 2,500 years ago. Today on this magical Luxury wine tour you’ll meet the great winemakers continuing the great tradition, its great chefs and the great artists of its past. Your trip start in the middle of stunning vineyards outside Perugia at the luxurious Borgo Brufa resort Set in a highly panoramic position . The Goretti estate has its wine tastings in an imposing 14th Century tower , symbol of the winery. Outstanding wines are the L’Arringatore and their awarded Sagrantino grown in Montefalco. Taste the wines with a lunch al fresco with great views of Perugia. Starting from its central square with the cathedral, the Palace of the notaries and Fontana maggiore Perugia will stun you with its perfect Renaissance architecture. At the Hotel 3 Vaselle owned by the lungarotti family Multi-award Chef Domenico D’Imperio holds his Umbrian Cooking Lessons.here he show show to make classic Frascarelli with tomato sauce and basil, You’ll visit the Lungarotti winery, a pioneer in winemaking in Umbria. The winery founded in the 60’s by Giorgio Lungarotti is run today by 3 Lungarotti sisters. taste its excellent , Rubesco Riserva , The Wine museum run by the Lungarotti Foundation is a history lesson on the making and drinking of wine with a world class collection of art works ranging from ancient books to ceramics. The Sportoletti brothers own 40 acres on the hills of Spello and Assisi Taste their great Assisi rosso and taste the food prepared by mrs sportoletti or the Villa Fidelia Bianco Assisi is a dazzling city that will draw you into an enchanted time warp experience. It has managed to preserved most of its medieval buildings andUnesco declared it a World Heritage site. Frescoes by Giottos adorn the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. you’ll stay at the Roccafiore Luxury Resort Right across from beautiful todi This is a rich and comfortable rural farm house with its own winery where youll taste their Rosso Sangiovese.and a cuisine thats a blend of home made and sophistication. Cantina Peppucci is is a small family business housed in the 13th Century St Antimo Abbey in a spectacular settino and considered one of the most fascinating architectural jewels of Medieval Umbria Taste their excellent Petroro Red, Montorsolo Grechetto di Todi, Alter Ego Red. Visit Mr Todini’s winery and Taste the superb Nero della Cervara then have lunch at his resort with great views of Colli Martani. Todi is another medieval jewel. The Captain’s palace and the Prior’s Palace face the sloping main square, one of the most picturesque in Italy. Todi is regularly used as a film set. Taste the simple foods of Umbria whose ingredients and preparation have remained traditional and flavours are brought out singing with their wines to in perfect harmony. Orvieto’s wine history runs thu history from the Etruscan in 7th century bc. To the magnificent medieval cathedral from the 12th century with carvings of vines on its front Inside enjoy great frescoes by fra angelico and signorelli You’ll be staying at Locanda Palazzone, a 13th century palazzo turned luxury resort surrounded by vynyards with great views of Orvieto.. It is owned by Giovanni and Ludovico Dubini who also own the attached winery . They are the only producers who age Orvieto Taste their great food and wines like Terre Vineate, campo del Guardiano. Owned by enologist brothers Enzo and Riccardo Cotarella the Falesco estate is home to great experimentation with old vinesTop wines are. Vitiano and Ferentano. Wine was grown on the Decugnano Hills since the 13th century. Decugnano dei Barbi makes a unique sparkling wine for which they are famous and ages it in cellars exavated in the lava rock. Taste the brut Decugnano Pinot Nero and have lunch al fresco around the pool. Castello della sala owned by the antinoris is a 1000 acres estate centered on a restored Medieval Castle built in the 14th Century, The castle’s tasting room feels like Henry the VIII could come in any time. Among their top wine is Cervaro della Sala.Tasting: Cervaro della Sala, , Muffato della Sala, e Pinot Nero Sagrantino is exclusively grown in the Montefalco and Bevagna area by no more than 20 growers. Marco Capri is one of the architects of its success . In the 1970’s Caprai took an ancient dessert wine and experimenting with the vine created the first Sagrantino red. Top wine is its a warded Sagrantino Collepiano. Wines: Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano DOCG, Montefalco Rosso DOC, Grecante Grechetto Colli Martini DOC In the midst of Montefalco’s main square the enoteca Alchimista is true to its name concoting inimagined flavours out of classic umbrian recipes. In Montefalco visit the St. Francis Church and its remarkable frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli. Paolo Bea’s family roots in Montefalco go back to the 1500’s.The small, still artisanal production focuses on organic farming barring chemicals in the vinyard. Wines tasting: Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Montefalco Rosso Riserva DOC St Chiara, Rosso de Veo, , Montefalco DOC Rosso. Meet Salvatore Denaro,a chef who grows all of his own food, does not have a menu and parties every night with his patrons. A true fellinian character and an unforgettable experience. Copyright Christina Tours, LLC less

    10 Best: Berlin- Neue Galerie

    10 Best: Berlin- Neue Galerie

    10 Best series highlights the best things to do in the top cities around the world. …more10 Best series highlights the best things to do in the top cities around the world. Designed by Mis Van Der Rohe and combing the collections of East and West Germany after re=unification, this Museum house some of the most impressive works of XXthe Century masters from Cubism, Bauhaus, Expressionism and Surrealism. Hosted by Julia Grimpe, a theater and TV star who resides in Berlin. less

  • Great Hotels Of The World

    Luxury Wine Tour of Piedmont

    Luxury Wine Tour of Piedmont

    The area in Piedmont called Langhe Roero has given the world the gift of truffles, the Ne…moreThe area in Piedmont called Langhe Roero has given the world the gift of truffles, the Nebbiolo grape, from which Barolo and Barbaresco come from and a dazzling cuisine that is both aristocratic and simple. On this luxury wine tour among castles and vineyards you’ll meet the makers of these great wines and the chefs working their luscious cuisine in some of the most charming medieval towns in Italy. Your trip starts at the Villa Tiboldi, luxuriously renovated Villa and Farmhouse surrounded by Nebbiolo and Arneis vineyards with views that go on forever. The estate produces its own excellent Arneis Malvira. Alba has a beautiful Cathedral from the XIth Century and a rich historic center. However Alba’s heart beats to the tune of the truffle. Renato Agnello, truffle hunter of of 60 years leads a walk through the woods with his dog Diana, looking for truffles. Tartufi Morra is a truffle emporium Established in 1930 working with all the truffle hunters in the area. It has the ultimate selection of everything truffles from chocolate to oils The restaurant Piazza Duomo owned by the Ceretto winemaking family is a shocking pink space with frescoes by Francesco Clemente .The avantguarde cuisine of Chef Enrico Crippa has earned the restaurant a one Michelin star. This is a café and pastry shop created by chef Luca Mentersino uses no sugar, milk or flour. Everything is made with substitute. So go ahead and splurge. Katja and Ivan Rivetti are the third generation of Rivetti making barbaresco here. Tops wines are Bricco Barbaresco and Bricco de Neveis. Housed in a sprawling and movie-set-like 18th century castle owned by the Stupino brothers, the winery focuses on specialty wines. In the 70’s the Stupino’s cloned an old variety of Arneis vine producing a remarkable sparkling Pinot Noir. Among their wide range of wines they produce a top Barbaresco Riserva Santo Stefano. The restaurant La Ciau del Tornavento in Treiso sits on top of sprawling vineyards is owned by chef Maurilio Garola. It. The Chef has consistently received one Michelin star for his ground breaking dishes such as “ Plin de Seirass”, ravioli stuffed with ricotta and served in an actual nest made out of hay. The fortified Castle erected in the XIth Century on top of a hill once belonged to Count Camillo Benso of Cavour, one of the architects of the Unification of Italy. The castle has a very large Enoteca representing the best of Piedmont wines and grappas. Barolo is a charming medieval town surrounded by wineries. Therefore opening a corkscrew museum was a no brainer for Paolo Annoni who was once a pharmacist but abandoned his old profession to pursue his obsession. Over the years he has travelled the world and auction houses searching for the most unusual corkscrews, collecting 1,300 rare ones . Barolo was first created by the Marchesi Falletti in the middle of the 19th century around the village of Barolo. A bottle of the first Barolo, "Cannubbio 1859” is on permanent display, while vintages from 1938 on are available to collectors. The Enoteca has the most complete collection of Barolo in the world with 35.000 bottles of Barolo and the yearly addition of 400 bottles. Giant 19 century chestnut barrels have been reconditioned to age outstanding Barolo like the Barolo Cannubi or various Barolo Riserva. Locanda nel Borgo Antico is set in an hamlet outside Barolo. In this elegant restaurant Chef Camia prepares his signature traditional classic dishes which have earned him a Michelin star. In little more than thirty years, the Ceretto brothers created a 300 acres network of small independent estates producing some outstanding labels. They have sponsored major art projects like the Clemente frescos for their restaurant, the Sol Lewitt Chapel among the vineyards and for their winery in the town of Castiglione Falletto they have created their futuristic wine-tasting glass cube. Top wines are Bricco Rocche, Brunate and Prapo’. You will stay in the Hotel Villa Beccaris an 18th century palazzo surrounded by vineyards near the historic town of Monforte DAlba. 3 Burlotto sisters run the Castle which their grandfather bought from the first King of Italy. The family restored and maintains the original frescos and furniture. Here cooking lesson in classic Piedmontese dishes are conducted. The winery has some of the oldest vintages in the region dating back from 1850. Top wines are Verduno Basadone, Barbaresco Rabaja’ and the Dolcetto D’Alba Campot. A truly royal lunch is served in the castle courtyard. Pietro Ratti runs the business founded by his father in the 60’s. Today this state of the arts winery produces an outstanding Barolo Marcenasco. In the medieval town of La Morra on top of a hillside sits an old castle, now the restaurant Belvedere with spectacular views of the Barolo hills all the way to the alps. The Bovio family that owns it produces an outstanding Barolo. Copyright Christina Tours, LLC less

    Tuscany Luxury Wine Tour Part 1

    Tuscany Luxury Wine Tour Part 1

    Castello di Tornano in the heart of Chianti (Gaiole in Chianti) makes an outstanding wine…moreCastello di Tornano in the heart of Chianti (Gaiole in Chianti) makes an outstanding wine from the vineyards surrounding it. The complex was a medieval castle from the 10th century, lavishly restored. The Ricasoli family of Castello di Brolio dates back to the 7th Century. An ancestor of the current owner Francesco, Bettino Ricasoli, was prime Minister of Italy in the 19th Century and invented the Chianti formula. The winery is the oldest in Italy. Badia a Coltibuono once an Abbey from the 11th century is now a charming hotel, restaurant, winery and cooking school run by the Stucchi Prinetti family dedicated to the preservation of the oldest traditions of the Chianti region. Poggio Antico in Montalcino is the highest elevation winery growing Brunello. An excellent Restaurant run by Chef Roberto Minnetti is on the premises preparing dishes steeped in Tuscan history. Castello Banfi at Sant’Agelo Scalo is owned by the Mariani family dedicated to producing superior wines on their large 6,000 acres estate, marked by technological innovation. An old farm complex in nearby Collupino serves as residence for guests of the Banfi winery. Montepulciano is a Medieval Renaissance town on top of a mountain in the province of Siena known for its “Nobile wine” only produced here. Valdipiatta, an awarded winery, produces the vino Nobile from Prugnolo and Lanaiolo grapes. The owner Mr Caporali runs a wine school educating visitors about wine varieties and growing techniques. He also runs Il Grifon D’Oro, a trendy restaurant and Il Poliziano, an historic cafe in the center of town. Contucci is the oldest wine cellar in Montepulciano holding tastings since Renaissance times. It is located in the main piazza overlooking Palazzo Comunale. Avignonesi is a combination of 4 estates growing awarded wines. It is also a farmhouse growing its own products for its kitchen and its store. The open farm kitchen serves local specialties. Relais San Bruno is an elegant boutique Hotel set among an olive grove and fruit orchard under the walls of Montepulciano. less

    Morocco: Scenic Voyage magical Tour

    Morocco: Scenic Voyage magical Tour

    Morocco is only 10 miles from Spain and its 3 main gateways Casablanca, Tangiers and Marr…moreMorocco is only 10 miles from Spain and its 3 main gateways Casablanca, Tangiers and Marrakech. Low cost airlines connect them with 2 to 3 hours flights to major European capitals. Casablanca is a bustling metropolis. Its must-see site is the spectacular King Hasan Mosque built right on the Atlantic coast and the second largest in the world after Mecca. The next stop is Rabat, the present capital of Morocco. Plenty to see. Not to be missed is the great Mohammed V Mausoleum with the Hassan Tower. The Medina with its Andalusian blue walls. The Atlantic beaches are wide and pristine. In 1500 bc The Phoenicians used Asilah it as trading port. the Portuguese came in the 15th century and staid for 300 years leaving military fortification. Its position on the Atlantic makes it a great fishing port. Tangier is an international city on the northern tip of Morocco in direct view of Spain. It has access to both Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, and is a major cruiseship port. After A circle of writers, artists and Hollywood stars converged to Tangiers after WWII and a made it a fashionable spot. The world came to watch the action from its sidewalk cafes in the medina. Among the luxury hotels in Tangiers is the 5 star Movenpick on the Mediterranean side with luxurious amenities and superb Moroccan cuisine. Moroccan cuisine is very diverse with influences from Berber, Mediterranean and Arab cuisines. Cape Spartel faces the strait of Gilbratar and is considered the northernmost point of the African continent. The Hercules grotto nearby fill up at high tide. The entrance of this mythical place has the shape of an upside map of Africa. Further east on the mediterranean a and Cabo Negro and Martil, cities of endless beaches facing the pristine waters of the Mediterranean. Chefchaouen.is surrounded for miles by olive groves is This is also one of the busiest mountain markets town. The Andalousian architecture of white and blue houses can be found in the kasbah and its gardens, at the center of the medina. This is also a dying and weaving center. The famous djellaba, the long garment worn by the men and women of North Africa, was created here. We stop at the Holy City Of Moulay Idriss where the founder of Islam is buried. His tomb is a pilgrimage site for Muslims. Close by is the beautifully preserved archaeological site of the Roman city of Volubilis. From here on to the Imperial City of Meknes. Sultan Moulay spared no expense in creating this jewel of a city, building 40 kilometers of walls, an artificial lake and Bab Mansour, the grandest of all gates in Morocco on the big square which rivals Marrakech with its theatrical events. Fez, was the first Imperial City built in 790 A.D. by Moulay Idriss II. This is the world last surviving Medieval city with great monuments and a sprawling a Medina with the oldest tanneries in the world. Fez is also known for great shopping in its bustling souks. Great accommodations can be found in the Riads, old historic Moroccan homes converted to Hotels. Fez is the home of Scenic Voyages one of the premier travel agencies in Morocco serving all travel from Europe and the US . The drive to the Sahara is 300 miles over the dramatic Atlas Mountains. Here great Moroccan specialties like tagine and cous cous can be tasted in restaurants along the mountains. Erfoud is the beginning of the Sahara. Great empty spaces populated by camels with occasional encampments of nomadic people. A four wheel drive is necessary to get to the the sand dunes of Merzouga. Overnight in a Berber Bivouac sleeping under the stars in the desert. sunrise comes while gliding on camelback on the golden sands of the Sahara . This is truly Spectacular. And a big surprise is the luxurious Breakfast at the bivouac. We drive to Zagora in the Dra Valley at the edge of the desert surrounded by oasis and Casbahs like Tifoultoute, ancient fortified towns still inhabited today Ouarzazate has the sprawling and impressive Atlas Film Studios where Gladiator and Kundun were filmed. In Marrakech a visit to the monumental Saadian Tombs is a must. The great Mosque needs to be seen. And then the Medina has some of the best shopping anywhere.. But the big story is in Djemaa Elfna, a grand open theater with storytellers, fire eaters, snake-charmers and endless open-air restaurants. Food stalls display the great variety of dishes of Moroccan cuisine. Taroudant is an ancient city in the south with the feel of an old market town. Local women grind a nut with healing properties called argan used to make cosmetic creams. Taroudant with its rug weaving and crafts tradition is a great shopping stop. Agadir is a resort town on the southern Atlantic with beaches that go on forever and endless luxury hotels. It is also one of the busiest fishing ports in North Africa, Next stop Essaouira, an 800 year old Atlantic port with a massive fort and charming café’s and restaurants. El Jadida with beautiful Atlantic beaches was a Portuguese settlement from the 15th to the 18th century and it is heavily surrounded by fortified walls. Last stop back in Casablanca. This hectic city slows down on the week-end and this is the last chance to experience the relaxed Moroccan way of life before returning home. Air travel courtesy of Royal Air Morocco Travel co-ordination courtesy of the Moroccan Tourist Board Morocco is a great and safe destination for students, families and meeting planners. www.scenicvoyage.com/ less

  • World Heritage Sites

    10 Best: Bangkok- Ancient city of Ayutthaya

    10 Best: Bangkok- Ancient city of Ayutthaya

    50 miles North of Bangkok lies the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the Thai capital for 417 ye…more50 miles North of Bangkok lies the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the Thai capital for 417 years. Founded in 1350 by King U-Thong it was ruled by 33 kings before being destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. Auytthaya covering more than 2.5 square kilometers was one of South East Asia most prosperous cities trading with Europeans and leaving behind a most amazing architectural legacy. In 1991 Unesco declared it a World Heritage Site. Hosted by Sunida Thirasak, born in Bangkok and now living in New York. less

    The Dead Sea

    The Dead Sea

    The Dead Sea also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and I…moreThe Dead Sea also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 377 m (1,237 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 33.7% salinity, it is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water. . It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River. The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Biblically, it was a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets. The Dead Sea seawater has a density of 1.240 kg/L, which makes swimming similar to floating. The Dead Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. less

    Istanbul

    Istanbul

    Istanbul biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Her…moreIstanbul biggest draw remains its historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sultan Ahmed Mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior. It was built from 1609 to 1616, during the rule of Ahmed I. Like many other mosques, it also comprises a tomb of the founder, a madrasah and a hospice. At its lower levels and at every pier, the interior of the mosque is lined with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles in more than fifty different tulip designs. Dolmabahçe Palace, located in the Beşiktaş district on the European coastline of the Bosphorus strait, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, Hagia Sophia is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, and now a museum. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the Greek Patriarchal cathedral of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931, when it was secularized. It was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. Topkapi Palace was the Sultan's residence during Ottoman's times. Construction began in 1459, ordered by Sultan Mehmed II, the conqueror of Byzantine Constantinople. The palace complex consists of four main courtyards and many smaller buildings. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people, The Spice Bazaar, or Egyptian Bazaar is one of the largest bazaars in the city. Located in Fatih, in the neighborhood of Eminönü and is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar. The building itself is part of the külliye of Yeni Mosque, and rents from the shops within was intended to help pay for the upkeep of the mosque. The structure was designed by the chief court architect Koca Kasım Ağa, but completed by architect Mustafa in 1660. less