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This year on the Festival of Lights, may we shine & sparkle from within!

Why you should visit Vatican City

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We all agree there are plenty of reasons why one should visit Vatican City, here are some usual & unusual ones:

  • It is the smallest country in the world by area (only 0.44 sq. km.) and population (less than 1000). For me, that kind of superlative is reason enough to go someplace, don’t you agree?
  • It is right next to or rather surrounded on all sides by the lovely Rome, which makes it both easy to and silly not to visit if you are already in Rome. Everybody should go to Rome, but more about that in other posts 😉
  • If you enjoy watching people and observing crowds, this is your heaven. Disregarding the size of this tiny nation millions of tourists from around the globe flock here – the Vatican Museum alone welcomes about 1.5 million each year.
  • Even if you are not a religious person keen on a pilgrimage to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, you’d want to take a look at the great works of art by giants like Michelangelo, Bernini, Botticelli and other Renaissance artists housed within and upon the walls of the vast St. Peter’s Basilica, Apostolic Palace and Sistine Chapel. There is no joy like spending hours walking through immense collections of  art, sculpture and history, is there?
  • Vatican City is also unique in that it is the only country that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in entirety. Incidentally, neighboring (or surrounding) Italy is the country with the most number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the current number being 53. Obviously, all that art and history that makes it a valuable center worth conserving for posterity to observe, enjoy & learn from.

Have you been to Vatican City? What were your reasons to visit?

New & Improved -> Menu

Sunny District just updated its top menu, do check it out! “Where’s She Going” still holds its own page. What’s new are the dropdown menus so that my travel checklist is now categorized a little bit better, based on continent. So far Sunny District has been in Asia, Australia and Europe. While building the menu, I gave myself a little refresher course in Geography. Since some of my entries could be perceived as incorrect, I feel obliged to share my logic here 🙂

  • By landmass, 95% of Turkey lies in Asia and the remaining 5% in Europe, so I’ve placed Turkey under Asia on my list.
  • Until as late as 1997 Hong Kong used to be a colony of the United Kingdom but was then handed over to China. Similarly Macau (posts coming soon!) used to be a Portuguese colony & was handed over at the same time. Both Hong Kong & Macao are set retain their own currency, administrative & legal systems for at least 50 years hence i.e. till 2047. It seems alright to treat these as special cases, so you’ll find them as separate entries on my list here.
  • Monaco and Vatican City have their own entry as they are recognized ministates / microstates, not to be confused with micronations like Christiania!
  • You’ll find England on the list, after I decided that this was the right name to use, given the complicated nomenclature used in that region 😉 You see, UK, short for The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or simply United Kingdom, is a sovereign state made up of four countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Which makes Ireland and Northern Ireland two separate countries. Great Britain on the other hand, consists of the big landmass made up of  England, Scotland, Wales. And the British Isles includes all of the above i.e. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland, plus several other islands counting over 6000 in numbers. This link explains it quite well.
  • Australia is, well, complicated. Is it a country or a continent? What are the other countries, if it’s a continent? And what is Oceania made of? All in all, I’ve only been to the main island by the same name, so for now I’ll keep it together as a single entry. If, or rather when, I visit more around that part of the world, I’ll fix that category, too.

So that’s that! Hope you like the new details & enjoy travelling with me 🙂

 

Photo Challenge : Window

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Mehrangarh Fort is one of the largest forts in India. It looms over the city of Jodhpur, in the state of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is a beautiful city with royal forts, beautiful lakes and gardens, bustling bazaars and a hearty appetite for delicious food. This city is also famously called the Blue City on account of a majority of houses in the older part of town being whitewashed in a blueish hue. The best ways to see proof of this are to either amble along the streets at ground level or hike up to the Mehrangarh Fort and enjoy a bird’s eye view from the ramparts. By the way, Jodhpur is Mr.A’s birthplace & childhood home, enough reason to be all the more special for me 🙂

This post, however, zooms in on a distinct attribute of many forts and palaces in India , a special kind of window that you see in the pictures, called the jharokha. It is a typical feature of Indo-Islamic architecture which is at once an enclosed balcony as well as a window. It served various purposes – beautifying the building facade with its intricate designs, pillars, and mini-roofs; providing a screen against the outer world through covered lattices; providing ventilation as well as shade against sun and rain.

P.S. I posted another picture clicked at the Fort in a previous entry to the Weekly Photo Challenge, when we talked about an ephemeral moment caught on camera.

Check out more from the Weekly Photo Challenge at Sunny District!