Posts in Travel

Letter from the Middle East: Dubai, the Center of Modern Oriental Luxury…

My dear travellers, how are you today? Today is the perfect day to start a new adventure, so this rainy Tuesday is perfect time for a new post! Journeys are truly gift to a gloomy everyday life and one has the opportunity to have fun and at least for a few days forget about daily problems. When it comes to travel it doesn’t matter the destination, the most important thing is that the person doesn’t go alone and to make a good plan of the program of the trip where everyone will have fun and have a nice relax.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the flydubai airline and the Dubai Tourist Board (Visit Dubai), which made it possible for my photographer and I to experience the beauty and charm of a center of modern oriental luxury such as Dubai.

When the flydubai airline began operating in 2009, the goal was to connect with their passengers and transport them to as many destinations as possible daily. Today, flydubai flies to more than 90 destinations and is constantly adding new destinations to their “sky” network.

Over 70 million travelers have given their trust and with flydubai they have visited the largest and most famous city in the United Arab Emirates – Dubai, making them the second largest carrier in UAE. The vision and support of the Dubai government created new opportunities for travel, tourism and commerce and improved connectivity by increasing access to Dubai and connecting with the rest of the world.

With increasing demand and an daily-expanding sky network, flidubai has added a number of new destinations in its offer. Having already opened routes to Africa, Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia, the goal is not only to expand the network of destinations, but to make the route as efficient as possible, with more regular flights, direct flights and new aircraft with which will make every trip unforgettable.

Flydubai Business Class offers a more comfortable, relaxed and completely new flying experience. At the airport, you will have benefit from faster check-in and priority airport services, including a special check-in desk, boarding and bus service. You can also relax before your trip in the business lounge at Terminal 2 Dubai International Airport, and if your flight departs from Terminal 3, you can use one of the many Emirates business class lounges, of course, and the ability to enjoy lounges at airports around of the world using the affiliate networks of the airlines to which flydubai belongs.

On the board, you will be able to enjoy the personalized, professional and superior service of crew members who are in the service of business-class passengers. Choose a delicious meal from the menu where you can find specialties from a variety of international cuisines. My recommendation is to try Arabic cuisine specialties and I am sure you will enjoy the undiscovered flavours so far!

The flight from Belgrade to Dubai takes about 6 hours on average and I believe that your flight will be comfortable and fun, whether you choose to travel economy or business class with flydubai. Friendly staff, landscapes you’ll encounter along the way and who knows, you might meet someone on the flight.

I was able to meet an interesting lady in her late years who is visiting her daughter in Dubai. I have learned so many interesting things about this quaint modern city and received first-hand recommendations what I should not miss in Dubai!

Dubai is the most populated city in the United Arab Emirates and the capital of Dubai. Located in the eastern Arabian Peninsula on the Persian Gulf coast, Dubai has occupied the central business center of Western Asia. It is also the world’s premier transportation hub for travelers and goods. Oil revenues helped accelerate the development of the city, which was already a major trading hub.

Today, less than 5% of the Emirates’ revenue comes from oil. Research from the Center for Regional and International Trade shows that, since the early 20th century, Dubai’s economy has largely relied on revenues from trade, tourism, aviation, real estate and financial services.

The history of human settlement in the area where the United Arab Emirates is now located is unusual and very complex. A large number of historical records point to the closely related trade links between the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia civilizations.

Archeological sites in the emirate of Dubai, especially in Al-Ashoosh, Al Sufouh, and extremely rich sites from Saruk Al Hadid, show settlement through the periods of Ubaid and Hafit, the Umm Al Nar and Wadi Suk periods, and the three Iron Age in the UAE.

This part was known to the Sumerians as Magan and was a source of metal ores, especially copper and bronze. The area was covered with sand about 5,000 years ago as the coast receded inland, becoming part of what is now the city’s coastline. The great find is pre-Islamic pottery found in the present-day city of Dubai, dating from the third and fourth centuries.

Before the introduction of Islam in the area, people in this region worshiped Bajir (or Bajar). Following the spread of Islam in the region, the Umayyad Caliph of the Eastern Islamic world invaded Southeast Arabia and expelled the Sassans. Excavations at the Dubai Museum in the Al-Jumairah region (Jumeirah) have found several artifacts from the Umaiyad period. The Venetian pearl dealer Gasparo Balbi visited this city in 1580 and mentioned Dubai (Dibei) which was significant at that time because of the pearl trade.

Dubai is thought to have been established as a fishing village in the early 18th century and by 1822 it had acquired the status of a city of between 700 and 800 members of the Bani Ias tribe and was subject to the rule of Sheikh Tahnun bin Shakhbut of Abua Dhabi . However, in 1833, after a tribal altercation, members of the Al Bu Falasah tribe separated from Abu Dhabi and settled in Dubai.

The Abu Dhabi exodus was led by Obeid bin Saeed and Maktoum bin Butti, who also became supreme authorities in Dubai until Obeid died in 1836, leaving Maktum in a bid to establish a new Maktoum dynasty.

Dubai signed the General Maritime Treaty of 1820 and together with other countries, following the British criminal expedition against Ras Al Khaimah of 1819, which also led to the bombing of the Gulf coastal communities. This led to a permanent maritime truce of 1853. Dubai, like its neighbors, also signed an exclusivity agreement in which the United Kingdom assumed responsibility for the security of the emirates in 1892.

Throughout the 1970s, Dubai continued to develop thanks to oil and trade revenue, even as an influx of immigrants fleeing the Lebanese civil war. Border disputes between the emirates continued after the formation of the UAE. In 1979, a formal compromise was reached that ended all disagreements. Jebel Ali Harbor was established in 1979 and JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) was built around the port in 1985 to allow foreign companies unrestricted imports of labor and capital.

Dubai Airport and the aerospace industry also continued to grow at a high rate of speed. Unfortunately for the 1990 Gulf War, Dubai experienced a major negative financial effect as major investors withdrew their money and chain stores closed their stores, but afterwards the city recovered in a changing political climate and managed to overcome all political and financial problems.

Later in the 1990s, many foreign trade communities – first from Kuwait, during the Gulf War, and later from Bahrain, in times of Shia unrest – moved their business to Dubai. The city had bases for filling up Allied forces in the Jebel Ali Free Zone during the Gulf War. The massive rise in oil prices after the Gulf War encouraged Dubai to continue to focus on free trade and tourism.

The number of tourist attractions and activities has increased significantly in recent years. There are many more options now than before, because all the activities were part of many hotel chains because the city did not have tourist attractions. Just the opening of the large Dubai Mall and the construction of the heart of the city (Dubai Downtown) have helped to expand the number of tourist attractions that make Dubai one of the most recognized in the world today.

The most striking attractions that have certainly changed the look of the city are the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain.

Burj Khalifa is known as the tallest building in the world. Visitors can take a special elevator to the 124th floor, which is known as the most beautiful vantage point from which Dubai can be seen in the palm of your hand. The Dubai Fountain, on the other hand, is the largest music fountain in the world that you can always visit for free, and it is part of the Dubai Mall.

Of course, besides the fountain at Dubai Mall, you can enjoy the winter magic at the spacious ice rink, aquarium and KidZania which is designed as a modern children’s playroom, believe me you have never had such a chance to see in your life. Honest to not be 27 years old, I would go play there all day long without break!

Bastakiya is known as a neighborhood marked in all travel guides and magazines as the old part of Dubai with a soul in which to keep the old city spirit and heritage. It was built at the end of the 19th century thanks to the Persian merchants who were attached to Dubai because of the easy and easy way to trade, and this is why this part of the city is named after the city of Bastak located in the south of Iran.

Many renovated buildings in this part of the city today still have special air conditioning systems called “Wind Towers” which was an interesting concept for the air conditioning of homes and commercial buildings. Today, most of the buildings in this part of the city are privately owned – homes and there are buildings of great cultural and social importance such as:

  1. Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Center
  2. The Museum of Dubai
  3. Arabian Tea House (formerly Basta Artistic Cafe)
  4. Majlis Gallery where works by local and international artists can be found.
  5. Ostra Gallery where you can find works of contemporary modern art and sculpture

Exactly 7 years ago, in February 2013, the Dubai Miracle Garden, a 72,000-meter flower garden, opened as part of the Dubailand complex. It is the largest flower garden in the world. The garden has a total of 45 million species of flowers maintained through a special irrigation system that uses wastewater that has been treated and plants are irrigated using a drip irrigation system.

During the summer from late May to September, when temperatures can be extremely high, with an average temperature of around 40 degrees, the garden is closed to the public.

Seeing the garden in full bloom with its 150 million flowers arranged in colorful bows, patterns and the myriad of shapes it forms is truly a magnificent experience for all your senses. Dubai Miracle Garden won two Guinness World Records for the largest vertical garden in 2013 and the largest flower sculpture in the world, shaping the shape of the 2016 Airbus A380.

The distinctive sculpture in this park is a masterpiece 18 meters high and is also the first Disney flower display in the Middle East and is made of almost 100,000 plants and flowers and weighs almost 35 tons. Every year, Dubai Miracle Garden changes its look and shows visitors a whole new concept and design experience. This unusual garden is visited by more than 1.5 million visitors a year.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of the special blog post from Dubai. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Dubai Tourist Board – Visit Dubai and flydubai for this incredible adventure and Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home. Also I would like to say huge thank you for this great adventure.

This time, flydubai recognized the quality of my work and they wanted to be part of this amazing project. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of Middle East in a completely different way.

How do you like this story about this oriental luxury centre of the Middle East called Dubai? Have you maybe had a chance to visit United Arab Emirates? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Visit Dubai and flydubai airline company. I would like to say thank you to Four Seasons Hotel DIFC for having me. This trip was an extraordinary experience for me!

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Laos: Buddhism is the Heart, where all People can find Peace…

My dear travellers, how are you today? Today I was just thinking about the passing of time and how some moments in life last much shorter than we thought. In today’s post, I will do my best to explain to you some of the basics of Buddhism and to evoke the beauty of the temples I had the opportunity to see in Laos.

Today is the day we will say goodbye to Laos on my blog and this is officially my last Lao “letter” which I will share with you. It was a memorable adventure that would not have been possible without the selfless support of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of PDR Lao and airline company Qatar Airways. This way, I would like to thank them heartily for this extraordinary experience that has allowed me to get to know a whole new culture.

Buddhism (Buddha Śãsana – Buddha’s Teaching) is the fourth largest religion in the world with over 520 million followers, known as Buddhists. If we look at this figure from a global point of view, it is over 7% of the total population on the planet. Buddhism itself encompasses different traditions, beliefs, and spiritual practices that are largely based on the original teachings attributed to the Buddha and the resulting interpreted philosophies.

That Luang (Great Stupa) is the symbol of Lao and an icon of Buddhism in Laos.

It originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BC, and spread throughout much of Asia. The two major existing schools of Buddhism which were recognized are: Theravada (the oldest preserved school of Buddhism) and Mahayana (Sanskrit: the “The Great Vehicle”). There is also a third school of Vajrayana Buddhism (Tantric Buddhism).

Buddhism spread throughout the 45 years of the Buddha’s teaching and centuries after his death, spread across the Indian subcontinent and then into Central, South, East and Southeast Asia. Although Buddhism is often perceived as an apolitical religion, it has always exercised significant political influence in the countries in which it is present. It is often stated that the history of Buddhism, unlike other religions, knows no exile, inquisitions, religious wars, hunting heretics and burning people and books in the name of defending dogma. In the early 20th century, Buddhism arrived in Europe and America.

Most Buddhist schools share the goal of overcoming suffering, the cycle of death and rebirth, either by attaining Nirvana or by Buddhahood. Buddhist schools differ in showing the right path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicality assigned to different Buddhist texts, and their specific teachings and belief practices. Widely accepted beliefs include finding hope and refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangi, respect for moral principles, monasticism, meditation and cultivation of Paramit (perfection or virtue).

That Luang temple during Boun Pha That Luang Festival in Vientiane, Laos

Buddhists have the highest part of population (approximate figures expressed in millions) in: China (including Tibet) (102), Japan (89.5), Thailand (55.5), Vietnam (50), Myanmar (41.6), Sri Lanka ( 12.5), South Korea (10.9), Taiwan (9.2), Cambodia (9.1) and India (7). In some Southeast Asian countries, Buddhism is still a state religion.

Buddhism today can be divided into three major branches: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Of the total population of 524 million Buddhists, it is estimated that 56 percent of Mahayana followers, 38 percent of Theravadas, and 6 percent of Tantric or Tibetan Buddhism.

Wat Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang

How did Buddhism come about? Who is responsible for the emergence of this present-day world religion? I will do my best to provide you with as always, comprehensive and specific answers. Siddhartha Gautama was a wise and traveling teacher who lived in the territory of present-day northern India and Nepal. In Buddhist life, the Buddha becomes the mythical prototype of the “divine man” in accordance with Hindu tradition, which has many features in common with idealized perfect beings in other religions.

Siddhartha Gautama was born about 560 B.C. n. e. in the small republic of Shakya, in present-day Nepal, at a time when it was one of the hubs of intellectual and spiritual activity. Siddharth’s father was a member of the council of the Saky Republic, and he described himself as a Kshatriya, a member of the ruling caste. However, Siddhartha left the palace and became a beggar named Gautama. As he left the two teachers who taught him something akin to yoga philosophy and practice, he joined, along with five other students, the cruel torment of the body.

Realizing the futility of such ruthless asceticism, he began to preach moderation as a middle ground. After awakening (liberation), he first went to Varanasi to give his first word on the four noble truths to the five beggars he lives with during his six years of ascetic life; it is known as the “Word of the Dharma Point Initiation.” After hearing it and believing it, they set up their first followers. Following the initial proposals, the cultivated community grew spectacularly, attracting priests, kings, and ascetics. For the next 45 years, the Buddha was proposed throughout Northeast India. Indian Buddhism, along with other growing ascetic movements, was chosen by a self-serving and stratified Hindu society.

After the Buddha’s death, his successor became Mahakashyapa, not the faithful disciple and secretary Ananda, who had been in the direct service of the Awakened for twenty years, had no free time to use meditation to become Arhat (Holy).

What are the basic principles of Buddhism?

The four noble truths are the fundamental concept of Buddhism. It is through their understanding that Shakyamuni Buddha (as the Buddhist founder, Siddhartha Gautama is often called) experienced awakening and nirvana. In this sense, the aspiration and effort to understand the four noble truths, not only at the intellectual level but, above all, at the intuitive level, the so-called. by direct knowledge, they are the essence of Buddhist teaching. It is thought that this was the topic of the first sermon the Buddha delivered after he had awakened.

The four noble truths are:

    1) The Noble Truth of Suffering – there is suffering in the lives of all beings.
    2) The Noble Truth About the Origin of Suffering – There is a Cause of Suffering, which are attachment and desire (pali: tanha – desire, thirst) that arise from ignorance (avidya)
   3) The Noble Truth About Cessation of Suffering – There is a Way to Overcome Suffering by Dropping and Eradicating Attachment and Desire
   4) The Noble Truth of the Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering – there is a way to eliminate attachment and desire, which is the eightfold noble path

When referring to the four noble truths, the Buddha is often compared to the physician because the truths are exposed according to the ancient Indian medical model:

    1. There is a disease (diagnosis)
    2. There is a cause of the disease (analysis of the factors that lead to the disease)
    3. There is a way to cure the disease (finding out the prognosis and the existence or absence of a way to eliminate the cause of the disease)
    4. Prescribing a cure or a way to cure the disease

This approach to the problem is one of the key features in the discussion of Buddhism in relation to other religions. Namely, this avoids metaphysical speculation and the need to believe in what is being exhibited. In each of the four noble truths, references are made to phenomena and concepts that are wholly within the realm of each person’s experience, which enables him or her to make judgments about the truthfulness or untruthfulness of the subject matter of the discussion.

Moreover, in Buddhist writings, the Buddha precisely insists on this, empirical, approach and non-reliance on blind belief in his words. The Buddhist is expected not to accept all of the above merely on the basis of faith in truth, but to insist on actively re-examining learning through personal experience and analysis of that experience, since, according to the Buddha, it is the only way to reach true knowledge and thus liberation from suffering.

A temple located within the Haw Kham Royal Complex in Luang Prabang, Laos.

It should be pointed out, however, that it would be wrong to say that religion has no role in Buddhism. On the contrary, the term shrada is an essential element of Buddhist teaching. This term is roughly translated as faith, though it encompasses confidence, perseverance, modesty and perseverance. Although the Buddha opposes blind beliefs based on authority, tradition, and the like, there remains a need for a certain amount of faith in Buddhist teaching. In principle, shrada is the result of deep reflection and accumulated experience.

In the context of the four noble truths, this is primarily about the fourth – the belief that the eightfold noble path really leads to the destruction of attachment and desire. The only proof of the effectiveness of the Noble eightfold path and Buddhist teaching as a whole is the attainment of nirvana by Shakyamuni Buddha later, arhat (one who is worthy; a person who attained awakening and nirvana but not independently, as in the case of Buddhas, but the next Buddha’s teaching) .

Since there is no way to objectively and directly verify that these individuals have truly achieved their relief from suffering, it remains for us to accept this possibility as true on the basis of trust. Although in different Buddhist schools the degree and objects of faith, or trust, differ, we can say that faith in the truth of the eightfold noble path is common to all schools. In this way, faith in Buddhism plays the role of a person’s initiator on the path to awakening and nirvana.

Wat Mai Suvannaphumaham or Wat Mai (New Monastery) Buddhist Temple in Luang Prabang.

The noble eightfold path to the teachings of Gautama Buddha is the path that leads to the cessation of suffering (dukkha) in human life. Essentially a practical guide to living, based on ethical and meditative discipline, the Noble Eightfold Path is the fourth member of a group of four noble truths that shaped and initiated the development of the later Buddhist tradition.

As the name implies, there are eight elements of the noble eightfold path, and they are divided into three basic categories:

    Wisdom

    1. Right view
    2. Right intention

    Moral virtues

    3. Right speech
    4. Right action
    5. Right livelihood

    Meditation

    6. Right effort
    7. Right mindfulness
    8. Right concentration


In each of these parts of the noble eightfold path, the word “right” is a translation of the word samyañc (sanskrit) or sammā (pali), which signifies completeness, harmony, and also carries the meaning “perfect” or “ideal.”

Although parts of the path are numbered, this does not mean that they are a linear series of steps that one must take one at a time to advance toward enlightenment; instead, they should be developed more or less simultaneously, as much as individual abilities allow, because progress in one direction facilitates the development of other qualities, so that they complement and support each other.

In Buddhist symbolism, the noble eightfold path is often represented by the Dharmachakra, whose eight spiders represent the eight elements of the path.

Three Jewels

The three jewels are the three main features of Buddhism, that is, three things in which every Buddhist can find refuge. Therefore, they are also known as three jewels. That are:

    Buddha (The Awakened)
    Dharma (The Practice)
    Sangha (The Community)

Five rules of morality

There are five moral principles in Buddhist religion that every follower must adhere to, namely:

    1. Don’t kill or hurt other living things,
    2. Don’t steal,
    3. Don’t abuse sexual pleasure
    4. Don’t misuse speech (don’t lying)
    5. Do not consume alcohol, drugs or other substances that disturb consciousness.

Meditation

Buddhist meditation is a series of techniques that develop awareness, concentration, calmness and insight. Buddhists practice meditation as part of the path to enlightenment and nirvana.

According to Buddhist understanding, meditation represents an activity in which one seeks to overcome discursive thinking, to destroy or prevent adverse mental states, and to initiate or establish favorable mental states. The essence of Buddhist meditation lies in the collection of mindfulness and awareness, mindfulness and observation.

What are the basic branches and schools of Buddhism?

There are two basic currents in Buddhism, Theravada and Mahayana. Both are based on earlier traditions, so it is difficult to pinpoint their origin. It was previously thought that the first Theravada school was based on canonical texts that fairly faithfully reflected the original Buddha’s teaching, while the Mahayana was derived from much later material. Today, science thinks this is not true. Vajrayana Buddhism is sometimes considered a third group, while some consider it only part of the Mahayana tradition.

Mahayana has developed as a group of schools that can be classified into two major cultural and linguistic categories: Tibet-Mongolian and Sino-Japanese. Theravada Buddhism was more consistent; it expanded without significant change from India to Sri Lanka, and from there to Southeast Asia.

Buddhism in Laos

In Laos, Buddhists make up the majority of the population. Buddhism practiced in Laos is a traditional Theravada school. Lao-Buddhism is a unique part of Theravada Buddhism and is at the root of ethnic Lao culture. Buddhism in Laos is often closely tied to animist beliefs and belief in ancestral spirits, especially in rural areas.

However, Laos is a multiethnic country with a high proportion of non-Buddhist minorities who adhere to religions that are often substantiated by symbols of “animism” but which may also significantly overlap with Buddhism, or at least contain Buddhist elements arising from intercultural contact.

Sai Bat (Morning Alms) procession

Laotian Buddhists are very devout and in the past almost every Lao man, even for a short period of time, joined a Buddhist monastery or temple. Some men also falter for the rest of their lives. As the changes that bring with it the 21st century and the innovations of modern life, this practice is currently undergoing major changes. Most people give food to the monks in order to earn merit and improve their karma.

The temples of Laos were once considered “Universities” for monks. Lao monks are highly respected and valued in Lao communities. Based on Laotian Buddhism, Laos women learn that they can only get nirvana after being born as men.

Pha That Luang, Wat Sisakhet, Wat Xieng Thong and That Dam are the most famous Buddhist shrines in Laos. Lao-Buddhism is also known for the Buddha figures performing unique Lao creations or movements, such as a rain call and a uniquely striking Lao pose, such as depicting a Buddha lying down and welcoming death, after which he would attain Nirvana.

During the colonial era, Henry Parmentier conducted a major exploration of Lao art and architecture, which continues to be crucial to the unique culture of this part of Southeast Asia before the destruction that took place in the 1960s and 1970s.

Sai Bat (Morning Alms)

Sai Bat (Morning Alms) is a longstanding tradition of Lao Buddhist culture. Respecting this tradition, locals make daily contributions to monks throughout Luang Prabang. Starting in the early morning around 05:30 the monks take to the streets of Luang Prabang and in their special bowls “Bat” collect food from locals.

The tradition has also extended to tourists, so in addition to locals, tourists are also trying to uphold the Lao tradition and culture. It was an honor for me to be a part of this truly fascinating custom.

The most important thing is to honor this ritual in silence and to contribute to giving alms only if it means more to you than a meal and you must do so with great respect. If you do not wish to give your food, be at a suitable distance and be careful not to disturb the monastic procession or those participating in the procession. Basic rules for contributing and participating in the Sai Bat procession:

1) To make your contribution, you need to buy sticky rice at a local market earlier that morning or from people who prepare daily for rice sales at places along the route where the procession of monks is held.

2) Try not to be too close to the monks when photographing, and the camera flash can be very disturbing and uncomfortable for the monks and the parade participants who contribute.

3) Wear appropriate wardrobe: shoulders, chest and legs should be covered.

4) Do not make physical contact with the monks and try to be at least 5 meters away from the monks if you are observing the ceremony. If you participate in the ceremony you may be close to a monk, but there is no conversation.

5) Please note that large buses are banned in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang and are extremely disturbing in this context. If you are coming from another city, you can reach a certain area in the city and then you can reach by foot or by car.

6) Never follow the procession in the car, as this will put you above the monks, which in Laos shows great disrespect.

7) The most important thing is participating in the alms giving ceremony, protecting the dignity and beauty of this decades-long tradition.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end of the last blog post from special series of post from my Lao adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism of Lao DPR and Qatar Airways for this incredible adventure and MyLaoHome Hotel & Spa for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home. Also I would like to say huge thank you for this great adventure.

This time, Qatar Airways recognized the quality of my work and they wanted to be part of this amazing project. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of Asia in a completely different way.

How do you like this story about Buddhism and Lao longstanding custom Sai Bat? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Laos? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story and we will enjoy in the beauties of Middle East! We are going to Dubai, place where all Emirates greet! See you next week in United Arab Emirates!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of PDR Lao and Qatar Airways airline company. I would like to say thank you to MyLaoHome Hotel & Spa and Tours for having me. This trip was an extraordinary experience for me!

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Laos: Luang Prabang, the Historical Cradle of Lao Kings…

My dear travellers, how are you today? Are you ready for a new adventure? Last week, you had the opportunity to see how looks like an unusual elephant shelter in Laos. Additionally, you have had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Luang Prabang’s nature, if you haven’t arrived to read my previous post or you might want to remind of some interesting details, you can do so now by clicking this LINK.

Wat Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang

Today we continue our adventure in Luang Prabang and I will do my best to give you tips on what to visit in this city and to fill your time in the best possible way if you decide to visit this unusual country in Southeast Asia.

Before I begin, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of Lao for the invitation, as well as Qatar Airways for a wonderful collaboration.

King’s Funeral Chapel at Wat Xieng Thong Temple

Luang Prabang, literally translated as “the image of the Royal Buddha”, is a city in north-central Laos, consisting of 58 neighboring villages, 33 of which are UNESCO-listed as Luang Prabang World Heritage Sites.

It was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995 because of the unique and “extraordinarily” well-preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage and mix of rural and urban parts of the city that survived for centuries, including French colonial influences during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Funeral royal chariot with the remains of King Sisavang Wong

The city center is located on four major thoroughfares and is located on a peninsula at the mouth of the Nam Khan River and the Mekong River. Luang Prabang is known for its numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries. The most famous of these is the Wat Xieng Thong Temple you see in the pictures. Every morning, hundreds of monks from various monasteries walk the streets of Luang Prabang collecting alms.

It is the famous Monk Parade, which I will detail and introduce to you in a future post. One of the major city attractions is Mount Phou Si, a large steep hill that is 150 meters high. There is also a steep staircase leading to the Wat Chom Si Temple with a beautiful view of the city and both rivers.

Buddha figures found in the King’s Funeral Chapel at Wat Xieng Thong Temple

The city was formerly the capital of the Luang Prabang Kingdom of the same name. It was also known by the ancient name of Xieng Thong. It was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos until the 1975 takeover of Pathet Lao. The city is part of Luang Prabang district in Luang Prabang province and is the main and administrative center of the province. It is located about 300 km north of the capital Vientiane.

Currently, the total population of Luang Prabang District is over 400,000, while the city itself has a population of around 56,000 and the UNESCO protected site is home to around 24,000 people.

Wat Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang

Muang Sua was the old name of Luang Prabang after the conquest of the Thai prince, Khun Lo in 698 AD. Khun Lo donated the city to his father, Khun Borom, who is associated with the Lao legend of the creation of the world. A legend that the people of Laos share with Shan and other nations in the region. Khun Lo founded a dynasty in which fifteen rulers ruled over independent Muang Su for nearly a century.

In the second half of the 8th century, Nan-Chao often became involved in the affairs of the principalities of the Mekong Middle Valley, resulting in the occupation of Muang Su in 709 AD. The dates of the occupation are unknown, but the occupation probably ended well before the expansion of the Khmer Empire in the north of Indravarman I (r. 877–89) and extended to the territory of Sipsong Panna in the upper Mekong.

Meanwhile, the Kmers established a new headquarters in Ksai Fong near Vientiane, and Champa expanded again in southern Laos, retaining its presence on the Mekong shores until 1070. Chanthaphanit, the local ruler of Xai Fong, moved north to Muang Sua and was accepted peacefully as ruler after the departure of Nan-Chao Administrator.

Chanthaphanit and his son reigned for a long time, during which the city became known as Xieng Dong Xieng Thong.

The dynasty eventually became embroiled in several principalities. Khun Chuang, the ruler who expanded his territory as a result of the war actions of these principalities and ruled from 1128 to 1170. Khun Chuang, the ruler of a dynasty that ruled over the territory and reinstated the 7th-century Siamese administrative system.

Luang Prabang was also involved in many various modern historical events during World War II and was occupied by several forces during the war (France, Thailand, Imperial Japan and China). Initially, the French controlled the city, but lost it to the Thai forces after the Franco-Thai War of 1940-1941. years.

On the early morning of March 9, 1945, the nationalist group declared Laos once more independent, with Luang Prabang as its capital, but on April 7, 1945, two battalions of Japanese troops occupied the city.

The Japanese tried to force Sisavang Wong (King of Luang Phrabang) to declare Lao independence, but on April 8 he simply declared an end to Laos’ status as a French protectorate. The king then secretly sent Prince Kindavong to represent Laos with the Allied forces and Sisavang Vatthan as representative of Japan.

 Try a class or simply have lunch at the Silk Road Café

Following the surrender of Japan to the Allies, the free French forces were sent to reconquer Laos and enter Luang Prabang, at which time the king assured the French that Laos remained a French colonial protectorate. In September, Chinese nationalist forces arrived to receive the surrender of the remaining Japanese forces.

In April and May 1946, the French attempted to conquer Laos by means of paramilitary forces to capture Vientiane and Luang Prabang and drive Phetsarath and the Lao Issar ministers from Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

During the First Indochina War, Viet Minh and Pathet Lao attempted to occupy the city several times in 1953 and 1954, but were stopped before French forces could overtake it.

During the Laotian Civil War in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, a secret US air base was located in Luang Prabang and was the scene of great fighting. Luang Prabang remained the royal capital until 1975, when the communist forces of Pathet Lao seized power with the support of North Vietnam and dissolved the ancient monarchy.

Luang Prabang has many natural beauties and historical monuments that are really worth a visit. Among the natural tourist attractions are Kuang Si Waterfalls, Tat Sae Waterfalls and Pak Ou Caves. Located in the city center, Phou Si enjoys sweeping views of the city and river systems, and is a popular place to watch the sunset over the Mekong River.

At the end of Luang Prabang’s Main Street is a night market where t-shirts, bracelets and other souvenirs are on sale at the stands.

Royal PalaceHaw Kham National Museum

The Haw Kham – Royal Palace Museum and Wat Xieng Thong Temple are the most famous historical sites. Every morning, at sunrise, the procession of monks in the procession through the streets accepting the alms offered by the locals, an event very popular with tourists.

Mountain biking is quite common and people often cycle around the city or waterfalls during the day. Down the Mekong River, there is one interesting spot which is about a 15 minute boat ride from Ban Chan (a pottery village).

A temple located within the Haw Kham Royal Complex

Kuang Si Waterfall is a three-level waterfall, located about 30 kilometers from Luang Prabang. These waterfalls are a popular tourist spot in Luang Prabang. They are accessed by a specially designated path leading to the waterfalls themselves. The water flows into the turquoise blue “pool” before continuing downstream.

Entrance to the nature reserve where Kuang Si Waterfall is located

Tickets are paid, but all for the purpose of maintaining cleanliness and preserving the natural environment. Most pools are open for swimming (although at least one is closed as a sacred place).

There is also a bear shelter in the park – Tat Kuang Si. Here you can find Asian black bears known as “moon” bears are an endangered species. Although East Asian culture is believed, the millennial practice of traditional medicine has proven problematic for the bear population in this region of the region.

Tat Kuang Si – Rescue Reserve and Shelter for Asian Black “Moon” Bears

Laos is still a developing country, so adequate medical care is difficult or practically impossible to reach outside cities such as Luang Prabang or Vientiane. Most people in the more rural parts of the country are forced to rely (for lack of education and medicine) on traditional medical practices, and many come from traditional Chinese medicine or ancient Lao shamanism.

In Lao traditional medicine, bears are believed to contain certain magical properties, so they are considered to be some kind of miraculous medicine. Across the country, these rare and endangered species of bears are being captured by hunters, forced to live in tiny cages and given milk because of their medicinal properties. This type of bear was also brought to China, which unfortunately helps to stimulate the “industry”.

A breathtaking natural oasis. I encourage you to take the time to enjoy nature and dive into one of the many waterfall pools.

For the true adventurer, you can take one mini-tour walk for three hours through a minority ethnic village and forest before ending at the very top of the waterfall, enjoying magnificent views of the waterfalls.

If you decide to spend one afternoon freshening up at Kuang Si Waterfall, be sure that you gonna make a right decision. Just bring your swimsuit with you and that’s it, you can enjoy divine waterfalls.

After visiting this beautiful waterfall, it’s time for Mr.M to move on! Luang Prabang is still the most visited city in Laos today. 90 percent of the country’s people work in agriculture, and rice accounts for 80 percent of Laos’ agricultural production. This is an unexplored destination that has yet to be massively explored.

Some of the specific characteristics that make Laos unusual are the religions, cultures and traditions that persist. Surrounded by mountains, Luang Prabang is located at 700 meters above sea level at the mouth of the Nam Khan and Mekong Rivers.

Old Luang Prabang’s city charm is made up of over 2000 monks living in 33 gilded Buddhist temples and monasteries. This city is rich in beautiful landscapes, sustainable programs for achieving a better life for the local community, rich in culture and local villas that have been renovated and revived to operate as a special type of “boutique” type of hotels.

Wat Mai Suvannaphumaham or Wat Mai (New Monastery) is one of the largest and most beautiful temples in Luang Prabang. Its central location (in front of the night market and next to the Royal Palace) makes it one of the most visited temples of this ancient royal city.

This temple was built by King Anourout in the late eighteenth century, and expanded in the 19th century. Its restoration, during the reign of King Manthatourat (1817-1836), was given the name known today to everyone – the “New Monastery”.

Wat Mai Suvannaphumaham or Wat Mai (New Monastery) Buddhist Temple

This temple is very important to the Lao people in Luang Prabang. After the Chinese destroyed the city in the last half of the 19th century, it served as a temple to the royal family and was also for a long time obscured by Phra Bang, which is a mystical emblem in this country. It was also the residence of the highest Lao Buddhist dignitary, Pra Sangkharat.

Wat Mai (New Monastery) is one of the largest, most picturesque and most photographed temples in Luang Prabang. Located close to the popular Sisavangvong Street Night Market and affiliated with the National Royal Palace Museum, it is important for both its religious and the aesthetic beauty of the city.

The temple, founded by King Anourout (Anurat, born 1795-1817), perhaps 1796/7, dates mainly from the 19th century. The rebuilding of the timber structure probably began in 1821 or 1822 during the reign of King Manthatourat. Work on the sim, library and other supporting buildings lasted until the 1890s.

Many other structures date from the 20th century. Major restorations were made in 1943 and 1962, as well as in recent times. The wooden sim is built in traditional Luang Prabang style with additional motifs on either side.

The monastery has special significance for a number of reasons. It served as a temple to the royal family and was for a long time the residence of Pra Sangkharat, the highest Laotian Buddhist dignity.

As a result of the raids of the Chinese who ravaged much of the city in 1887 (Wat was spared, perhaps because of its beauty), Wat Mai became the warehouse of the city palladium, Prabang. In 1947, the golden statue was moved to the royal palace, today it is the Royal Palace Museum.

During the Pi Mai, Laotian New Year in mid-April, a ceremonial washing of the Buddha figure takes place over three days and the opportunity for worshipers to pay their respects.

After visiting the Wat Mai Temple we had to hurry as we were in a hurry to make a special cruise on the Mekong River. For all those travelers who do not have time to travel on a long cruise to Thailand or other provinces. The best way to experience the Mekong in a few hours would be a cruise where you can enjoy the Mekong River at sunset.

Mekong River CruiseKhopfa Sunset Cruise

Enjoy a relaxed and carefree time with Khopfa Sunset Cruise, enjoying the light breeze on your face and the warm sunshine. As you float towards the ever-growing rivers and mountains, the orange glow slowly fades in the background of the Mekong River. You don’t mind having coffee, tea or some refreshing drinks and some snacks along the way to make your mini cruise perfect.

I had the opportunity to finish my day in Luang Prabang with wine and a light dinner and I don’t think I could have imagined a better end to an exciting day in far-away Laos.

The next morning I started aboard again and embarked on a half day cruise. Mr.M set out to visit the most unusual temple in Pak Ou Cave. I have to admit that I woke up cheerfully that morning, it was all nice until I realized that the night before I did not put the appliance to charge. Fortunately I always carry more spare batteries, so some of them are charged.

Near Pak Ou Cave (mouth of the Ou River), Tham Ting (lower cave) and Tham Theung (upper cave) are caves overlooking the Mekong River, 25 km north of Luang Prabang. It is a group of two caves on the west side of the Mekong River, about two hours upstream from the city center, no matter what the distance, this is a great tourist attraction and believe me it is worth setting aside 4 hours of your time to visit this sacred place.

Pak Ou cave with Buddha sculptures (outside)

The caves are known for their miniature Buddha sculptures. Hundreds of very small and mostly damaged wooden Buddhist figures were placed over wall shelves. The figures occupy many different positions, including meditation, teaching, peace, rain and leaning (nirvana).

Pak Ou cave with Buddha sculptures (inside)

Before the caves were discovered by people from the region and tourists, during the Laotian New Year, the believers came to bathe in the caves in the hope of receiving a blessing in the coming year. Now that the caves have become a famous tourist attraction, visitors here have the opportunity to see something new and unusual.

There also was one interesting four-legged furry friend…

The cat looks a little angry in this picture, I think she was more thoughtful. I realized that a few seconds after taking the photo, because it called (meow call) for me and set me up for a round of good pampering. Luckily I had enough time to play!

By the end of the day I was enjoying the beauty of the Mekong River and went to bed early as I needed extra energy for the next day as it had to get up very early. The next morning Mr.M was obliged to get up at four o’clock in the morning as every day the “Monk Parade” began at 5:20 it was necessary to prepare food for the monks.

Together with the staff at MyLaoHome, I prepared food for the monks and was ready to go. I will explain more about the procession of the Monks in the next post that will be dedicated to Buddhism, temples in Laos, as well as the procession of the Monks themselves, where they gather food every day.

After the Monk Parade, a team from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of Lao, together with a representative of MyLaoHome hotel and a tour operator specialized travel agency, took me to the famous morning street market.

This market starts from the early morning hours, just before 6am and lasts until 9am, sometimes until 10am. Unusual little center hawks become street counters where you can always find different types of food items from fresh fruits and vegetables to the most varied types of meat and fish. Everything is fresh and the Lao people respect this tradition and even tourists have become customers.

In addition to the food and drink at this market, you can find clothing and toys, so everything can be found here, as our people would say from needle to locomotive. I have to admit that I was most impressed by their temperament and cordiality.

On the other hand, as an economist and a person who has been in the business of marketing and marketing for years, I can tell you that they are sweet and good traders, so far as pricing is concerned. At the market it is important to sell the goods as soon as possible while still fresh, so a deal is always possible!

Since I was interesting to the locals, they were cordial so they offered me their specialties for free. I can tell you that “street food” is interesting to them and you won’t go wrong if you decide to taste some of the more unusual dishes. I’m sure you’ll find your favorite dish quickly!

After my visit to this unusual market, I had enough time to pack my suitcase and get ready for my flight home. Everything that is beautiful has its end, so is travel. That shouldn’t worry us, because it’s always the right time for a new adventure!

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end post from special series of post from my Lao adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism of Lao DPR and Qatar Airways for this incredible adventure and MyLaoHome Hotel & Spa for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home. Also I would like to say huge thank you for this great adventure.

This time, Qatar Airways recognized the quality of my work and they wanted to be part of this amazing project. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the top of the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this incredible adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of Asia in a completely different way.

How do you like this story about Luang Prabang? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Laos? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story from Laos and we will continue our adventure in Laos, where I will show you the most beautiful temples in Laos and TAK BAT, which is in Lao culture very important.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of PDR Lao and Qatar Airways airline company. I would like to say thank you to MyLaoHome Hotel & Spa and Tours for having me. This trip was an extraordinary experience for me!

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Laos: That Luang – The Festival of Love and Sharing…

My dear travellers, how are you today? We have reached the end of December, counting the days until the famous New Year’s Eve with the hope that the new year will bring us many beautiful things and moments to remember. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all my readers, the biggest and most joyful holiday – Christmas.

Christmas is a holiday that teaches us special values, where spiritual advancement is to put man first and not things. Holidays teach us that this is the perfect time to forgive, start some new beautiful things, and to come together and help one another.

Since Christmas and New Year’s holidays are a time of giving, I decided to give you something valuable – the knowledge. The saying “knowledge is power” has been said and repeated so many times that we can accurately predict in what situations people will take advantage of this sentence. Man learns while is still alive, and yet we are social beings who are curious and each of us has the will and desire to expand our knowledge in certain areas.

In my previous post you had the opportunity to get know little better with the capital of the smallest country in Southeast Asia, the People’s Republic of Laos – Vientiane. You were introduced to the culture and customs, but also learned the reason for my visit to this distant and unusual country. Before I begin today’s post, I would like to thank the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of Laos and Qatar Airways for this exceptional experience.

Last time we started the story of the That Luange – “Great Stupa” and the “Boun That Luang Festival“. Boun Pha That Luang is the most significant religious event in Vientiane as well as in the entire People’s Republic of Lao. It is held for three to seven days during the full moon every 12th lunar month (November, but sometimes it’s the end of October).

The festival begins with a colorful parade of local Lao people with wax candles and flowers (Phasat Pheung), which opens the festival the evening before the official start at Wat Simeuang (Wat Si Muang) Buddhist Temple. The procession continues the following afternoon from Wat Simeuang Temple to Pha That Luang (Great Stupa). People carry flowers, candles, incense and wax castles decorated with flowers and banknotes.

The “wax castles” are not really castles, but a tall decorated yellow “trees”, with wax petals, further decorated with gold papers and banknotes.

During this religious event, people like to wear the best what they have in their wardrobe for this parade, and there is a famous parade of men and women dressed in various Lao costumes with multicolored ethno details, dancing and playing traditional music and songs as they approach the Grand Stupa.

“Wax castles” have been an integral part of the Lao people’s lifestyle for many years, and bringing one of them to the Great Stupa during the That Luang Festival can spiritually contribute to improving the state of mind and body.

As I wrote in a previous post during That Luang Festival, monks and people from across Laos gather to celebrate this holiday with a three-day religious ceremony, followed by week-long festivities, during the day and night as well.

Every morning (especially on the last day of the festival, when these photos you see in this post were made) a large mass of people gather at dawn in the front of That Luang – the “Great Stupa” to give alms to hundreds of monks who come here from all over the country and to worship homage to the Great Stupa. The afternoon is reserved for an esplanade gathering for Ti Khee’s traditional game, played with a ball and a long curved stick, it is look like a game of hockey.

As the Festival approaches to the period of full moon, people from all over Laos will gather around That Luang to join in on the last candle parade. It is a truly amazing event, you will see the procession pictures later in this post.

Many members of the Lao community who are otherwise living abroad return to visit their families in Laos during the That Luang Festival. I would also recommend anyone planning to visit the country to come this time of the year. For those interested in Lao culture, it is a good opportunity to get to know their culture by observing religious events and observing some customs. The weather is also nice and warm, and Vientiane is more lively and colourful at this time of the year.

This holiday brings together all generations from the youngest one who are interested in touching absolutely everything, a little few years older teenagers who came with their friends, to those more mature generations who have been celebrating this great Buddhist holiday for years with great joy in their hearts.

During this whole trip, the time difference of +6 hours was only on my mind, and I kept thinking about what my family is doing in that moment. Specifically, on this last day of the festival, I was thinking: “It is an honor for these people when they can get up at three, four o’clock in the morning and get ready for the holiday parade!”. You cannot understand their dedication and strength of their will when it comes to the That Luang holiday. In fact, those 7 days they do not go to sleep because the holiday lasts for the program is designed on a 24/7 system. It is quite interesting!

During the ritual of giving alms within the temple and on the way out, everyone is sitting quietly on the mats and listening to prayers. Some people pour water on the earth and ask Ngama Thorani (the goddess of Earth) to tell the spirits of her relatives to come and receive their gifts, while others release the birds from the cage to receive “greater merit.”

Everyone is trying to enter the Grand Stupa when the formal part of the ceremony is over to give alms to the alms, light candles and incense and pray for happiness. The last day is reserved for a traditional outing, when people eat cooked chicken, rice and noodles with their friends and family.

I was able, with the little help of a team from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, to enter the Grand Stupa a little before the others so that I could show you some of the customs practiced by the locals during the That Luang Festival. Along the way, I also participated in giving alms and gifts.

When you enter the Great Stupa – That Luang, you can find monks to give your gifts and contributions. If you are wondering if there is any order of giving and who has the advantage of the monks in taking gifts and donations, it is all individual and depends on the goodwill of the local population.

Perhaps a small preference is given to young monks, novice monks who are very sympathetic and because of their decision to join the monastic ranks of the temple in such a way, they count people’s sympathies. There is a rule that the youngest members of the temple must be nine years of age in order to be eligible to attend a Buddhist school and become Buddhist monks.

It is very difficult to enter the Grand Stupa in the early morning hours, those selected who manage to enter feel a great kind of pride and strive to respect the customs that religion allowed to them. One of the customs is a walk three times around That Luang stupa for happiness and health.

Since I had the opportunity to sit in the courtyard of the Great Stupa by the afternoon, I had the impression of seeing all the same people, however, they are changing and new ones are coming who want to do their “duty” for a better tomorrow.

Being almost two meters tall, it is not difficult at all to spot this red jacket, so many people approached me asking me to take a picture. At the end I just squatted and people came to take pictures with me with joy.

Lao people, regardless of age, are big fans of social media, so when they heard that I was a blogger who came from Europe to promote Laos they wanted to take some pictures with me. This was very nice and unusual for me, so I tried to meet almost all interested people and set aside time for little photo shoot.

It was time for lunch and a short break, so we decided to go to the restaurant and after that I rest for a while. After a couple of hours, we returned to the Grand Stupa again to attend the closing ceremony of That Luang Festival with a monk parade and a candlelight ritual.

The closing ceremony of That Luang Festival itself has a special festive tone. The locals carry special bouquets with flowers and candles to enter the “procession of light”. The procession is led by monks and they tour several circles around the Grand Stupa. Of course, on the last day there is an accompanying music program and special games organized as part of the festival.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end post from special series of post from my Lao adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism of Lao DPR and Qatar Airways for this incredible adventure and Crown Plaza Vientiane and Landmark Mekong Riverside hotels for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home. Also I would like to say huge thank you for this great adventure.

How do you like this story about That Luang Festival? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Laos? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story from Laos and we will discover together why Laos is called as “The land of 1000 Elephants”.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of PDR Lao and Qatar Airways airline company. I would like to say thank you to Crown Plaza Vientiane and Landmark Mekong Riverside hotels for having me. This trip was an extraordinary experience for me! I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Laos: Vientiane, the Lost Treasure of the riverside of Mekong

My dear travellers, how are you today? I don’t know if you were surprised with this unusual “spring” time in the middle of December. Hopefully the climate will balance here in Europe because I don’t think this is natural. .

I would like to pass it on the subject of my today’s post and I will finally and officially “send” my first letter from Laos! A few months ago when I was invited to visit this smallest country in Southeast Asia, I was thrilled because I love to learn about a completely different culture and religion that is not so close to us from Europe – Buddhism. A team from the marketing promotion department of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of Laos invited me to visit their lovely country and feel the beauties of the Asia.

During our e-conversation, I found out that I was the first blogger in the world to visit the People’s Republic of Laos in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism of Laos and their local partners. Later, the world airline Qatar Airways became involved in this project, which enabled little Marko to go the way of the East. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the realization of this project: the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of Laos, Qatar Airways, and other local partners that I will mention in some of the following posts.

My room view in Crown Plaza Vientiane Hotel, isn’t it just great?

The purpose of this FAM trip is to get to know the People’s Republic of Laos through the prisms of culture and religion. Laos is a socialist country and the only country in Southeast Asia that does not have access to the ocean. Located in the heart of the Indochina Peninsula and borders Myanmar (Burma) and China in the northwest, Vietnam in the east, Cambodia in the southeast and Thailand on the west and southwest side.

Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the bank of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1573 due to the fear of the Burmese invasion, but was later looted and completely overthrown in 1827 by Siamese (Thailand). Vientiane was the administrative capital during French colonial rule, and due to recent economic growth, it is now the economic center of Laos. The city has more than one million inhabitants.

Vientiane is known as the home of the most important national monument in Laos: That Luang, which is a famous symbol of Laos and an icon of Buddhism. Other notable Buddhist temples can be found here, such as Haw Phra Kaew, which housed the Emerald Buddha figure earlier.

The name of the city comes from Pali, the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism. Although the original meaning of the name of the city is “sandalwood city” (sandalwood – a powerful ancient tree), as ancient Laos inscriptions show (pictographically written, unlike the modern Lao language, which is written phonetically), in modern Lao, the meaning of the name Vientiane is ambiguous. Many, if not most, Laos people claim that the name of the city means “city of the moon”, while many also claim that the name of the city means “sandalwood city” because the words are spelled similarly and pronounced in the same way as in modern Lao language.

Most academic and historical sources in Laos actually support this claim, reinforced by the city’s Thai and Khmer names, and both retain the etymological spelling, which indicates the persistence of the exact meaning of “sandalwood city”.

On the picture which you can see above, you have the opportunity to see the greatest shrine in the Buddhist world – Pha That Luang (the Great Stupa) is a large Buddhist pillar encased in real gold and is located in the heart of the city. Since its inception, it is believed to have originated in the 3rd century, the stupa has undergone several major reconstructions, mostly in the 1930s, due to foreign invasions of the colonial powers in this area. That Luang is considered the most important national monument in Laos and a national symbol.

The architecture of this feast influences Lao culture and identity and thus became a symbol of Lao nationalism. The stupa today consists of three levels, each depicting part of the Buddhist doctrine. The first level is 67 meters by 226 feet (68 meters); the other is 47 feet long by 157 feet long; and the third level is 98 feet (29 meters) along each side. From ground level to the top, Pha That Luang is 44 meters high.

Only the top of the stupa is covered with real gold, the rest of the stupa is painted gold. The area around Pha That Luang has now been officially closed to prevent traffic.

What is the main reason for my visit to Laos? By the invitation of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of Laos, I came to attend the celebration of the largest Buddhist holiday – “Boun That Luang“, the largest religious holiday held in Vientiane for three days to seven days during full moon periods, on each 12th lunar month – November.

Monks and people from all over Laos are gathering to celebrate this holiday with a three-day religious ceremony, followed by week-long festivities, both during the day and at night. The procession of believers begins at Wat Si Muang in the city center and continues at the That Luang stupa to offer the monks their gifts (“offerings”) to collect enough merit for rebirth and a better life.

The religious part of this holiday implies that people, carrying flowers, bank notes, food and candles as a side dish, circle around That Luang three times in honor of the Buddha. Folk and other popular troupes and plays add to the significance of this festival.

In the next post, I will explain in more detail some of the customs that the Lao people observe during this holiday. It is extremely interesting and completely different from what we do in Europe and the Balkan region. This is one of the basic reasons why I love my job. I am always able to meet some new and unusual cultures and thus have the opportunity to expand my knowledge of particular cultures and religions.

The mentality of the Lao people is very similar to ours in Serbia, they are extremely hospitable and treat the guest as a member of their family. Their culture is different, as is the way they dress. In the picture above, you have the opportunity to see what a young girl who is going to celebrate with her husband at the That Luang Festival looks like.

They are extremely caring and willing to help tourists. I dropped a small amount of money in a huge crowd and one kid ran after me a few yards to back my money.

My view from Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel… It was magical!

During my visit to Vientiane, I went to the That Luang Festival several times at different times of the day so that I had complete insight into how the cultural program was held during the festival. Of course, during my little breaks I enjoyed the view from the terrace of my hotel room which had exceptional views of the Mekong River.

Of course, a team from the Ministry of Tourism did their best to arrange for me a tour of their most famous Buddhist temples, which you will have the opportunity to see in the pictures that follow this post later. Can you imagine how many Buddhist temples one of the smallest countries in Southeast Asia can have, like Laos? Please note that this country has a population of just under 4 million…

There are hundreds of temples in Laos that pay homage to Buddha and monks and nuns. These great places are reason enough to come and visit Laos. They say that they are the only countries in the world that have so many temples that they can devote to one of the many temples each day of the year. Isn’t it just interesting?

One of the most famous Buddhist temples in Vientiane is Wat Si Saket. The temple was built in 1818 by order of King Anouvong (Sethathirath V.) Si was derived from the Sanskrit title of honor of Sri, prefixed to the name of Wat Saket in Bangkok, and renamed by the contemporary of Anouvong, King Rama I.

Wat Si Saket is built in Siamese style of Buddhist architecture, with a surrounding terrace and a five-storey roof instead of the classical Lao style. This may have remained safe, since the Siamese armies that ravaged Vientiane after the Anouvong rebellion in 1827 used the facility as their headquarters and accommodation.

This temple is considered to be the oldest temple that still exists in Vientiane. The French colonial government rebuilt Wat Si Saket in 1924 and again in 1930. The Wat Si Saket Temple contains a cloister wall with more than 2,000 ceramic, silver, gold and wooden Buddha paintings. There is also a museum within this complex.

There are over 10,000 Buddha sculptures of various sizes and styles in this temple. The temple also has wonderful architecture and layout, with a history dating back to 1818. Most of these statues were made between the 16th and 18th centuries. You can also find a wooden snake-shaped trough used during the Lao New Year celebration (you can see in the photo above).

If you decide to visit the temple during the early hours of the morning, you will surely find many locals praying, giving their contribution (“merit offer”) and offering food to the monks. I will write about this in more detail in the following posts that I have prepared for you.

I was fascinated by the architecture of this temple, primarily because for the first time I came into contact with the culture of the Far East and this is something completely different from watching a show. This trip allowed me to learn something new about Buddhism as one of the world’s largest religions and to feel what it was like to live in Laos.

Not far from this temple is another Haw Phra Kaew Buddhist temple (now it is converted to the museum). The temple was built in 1565 for the purpose of guarding the Emerald Buddha, this temple has been rebuilt several times. The Haw Phra Kaew Temple was built in 1565-1566. after King Setthathirath, after moving the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. The temple was built on the foundations of the royal palace to house the figure of the Emerald Buddha, which Setthathirath brought from Chiang Mai, then the capital of Lanna, to Luang Prabang.

The temple was used as Setthathirath’s personal place of worship, and therefore there were no resident monks in this temple unlike other temples in Laos. The Emerald Buddha remained in the temple for over 200 years, but in 1779 Vientiane was conquered by Siamese General Chao Phraia Chakri (who founded the current Thai Chakri Dynasty), the figure was taken to Thonburi and the temple destroyed.

The Buddha figure is currently located in Wat Phra Kaev, Bangkok and is considered a treasure of Thailand. The temple was rebuilt in 1816 by King Anouvong, and instead of the lost Emerald Buddha, they decided to create a new Buddha figure. However, the temple was again destroyed in 1828, when King Anouvong rebelled against Siam in an attempt to regain complete independence and Vientiane was razed to the ground.

The temple was rebuilt with the help of the French between 1936 and 1942 during the colonial period of French Indochina. The remaining remains of the foundations of the old temple were used as the basis for restoration; although they followed the blueprint for the construction of the old temple, the rebuilt temple is more reminiscent of a 19th-century ubosot or sim in Bangkok. For several decades, in the 1970s, the temple was transformed from a place of worship into a museum. The Government of the People’s Republic of Laos rebuilt this temple in 1993.

My dear travellers, once again we have come to the end post from special series of post from my Lao adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism of Lao DPR and Qatar Airways for this incredible adventure and Crown Plaza Vientiane and Landmark Mekong Riverside hotels for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home. Also I would like to say huge thank you for this great adventure.

Patuxay Monument (Victory Arch)

How do you like this story about Vientiane? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Laos? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story from Vientiane, but we will find out more about That Luang Festival.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of PDR Lao and Qatar Airways airline company. I would like to say thank you to Crown Plaza Vientiane and Landmark Mekong Riverside hotels for having me. This trip was an extraordinary experience for me! I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Georgia: Feel the Magic of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi…

My dear fashionistas and travellers welcome to the new post on the Mr.M blog. Today, as I promised you last week, I am writing more details about the biggest fashion event in Eastern Europe – Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Tbilisi is Georgia’s leading fashion event, offering an international platform for designers from the region to connect with the media and customers. The event in itself enhances both the domestic awareness of domestic fashion and the global presence of Georgian design, while highlighting the culture and sophisticated glamor that solidifies Tbilisi as a style capital where the East meets the West.

As the latest addition to the Societe Anonimousme Foundation to its global portfolio of leading events and initiatives, significant resources are being invested in Georgia’s fashion future, through world stages, digital and social campaigns, and a team comprised of eminent fashion industry professionals.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Tbilisi provides a platform for making the most of opportunities in the fashion industry as well as forging relationships in the media. The promotion of creativity and innovation has always been important to Mercedes-Benz. The combination of Mercedes-Benz and fashion makes one perfect harmony, and this form of collaboration between the auto industry and the fashion industry is of the utmost importance and is partly the secret of their global success.

The main focus of Mercedes-Benz’s fashion commitment is to offer designers an international platform that enables them to present themselves in the best possible way to the market. The primary goal is to promote designers and talented people and also promote Georgia through art and fashion. To show that in addition to rich history and culture, Georgia has a lot to offer from a fashion point of view to Europe as well as to the world.

I have to admit that Bojana and I were amazed at the amount of creativity that the Georgian creators possess, as well as their great wish to collaborate. As we were their special international guests, we had the opportunity to meet many of the prominent fashion names who “make” the fashion sky in Georgia. Realization of the shows is high, it can be compared to the shows in Milan, and an additional dose of creativity by the creators themselves proves that Georgian fashion will soon overshadow some well-known world fashion companies from Europe and the world.

At almost every Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week fashion show in Tbilisi you could see the editors of famous fashion magazines in the first row, I even had the opportunity to see some of my friends from Germany, so Bojana and I were not alone or lost in the world of fashion in the far, far away Tbilisi.

When you get an invitation to visit Fashion Week, it’s not just a pure looking of the top models wearing some fashionable pieces made by certain designers, it’s something much more. That feeling of having a chance to take a peek into the fashion world and get inspired for some of your own fashion ventures in the future can go a long way to any influencer. We, the influencers, are just “heralds” of some of the new fashion trends, and we can only get this inspiration from Fashion Weeks or with the help of fashion magazines.

If you used to wonder how looks like one ordinary day at Fashion Week, now you have the opportunity to hear some interesting details firsthand. Every Fashion Week is a special event and it is not true that only the shows held in the “fashion capitals” are only important such as: Milan, Paris, London or New York.

Outfit:

Sweater: Givenchy

Trousers: Cavalli Class

Sneakers: Loriblu

So far I had the opportunity to attend on fashion events in Berlin, Moscow, Valletta (Malta), Milan, Paris and Ljubljana, when I received an invitation to visit Fashion Week in Tbilisi, I immediately said to myself: “Marko, it’s certainly interesting there because Georgia is known for some specific motifs that can be seen on their traditional costume as it is the heart of the Caucasus! ”

When you are somehow involved in the work of the fashion industry, the first and basic golden rule is that there are no boundaries in the fashion world. The fashion world is specific and it is a playground for “children” who have a little more creativity than the rest of the population and should not be underestimated, but should be supported, just a little time and goodwill is enough, nothing more!

Each Fashion Week carries certain values and each one has something specific that will remain in your memory, just as it is with me where I learned something new at each Fashion Week that I did not know before.

You never know who you might meet there, you might like some fashion editor who will compliment your style and ask you what you are doing. In most cases, editors are pretty interested in hearing your story, even if you’re an influencer. An editor of a well-known fashion magazine working in Italy, who was sitting behind me, wanted to get in touch with me, so she tried to tap me on the shoulder, but during my conversation with Bojana I didn’t notice at first moment.

After two, three minutes she tried again and apologized for disturbing me, but she just wanted to compliment my outfit combination and was interested in the coat brand I was wearing that day.

It’s great when you have the opportunity to combine work and pleasure like I did with Fashion and Travel. Maybe my job is stressful sometimes, of course like all other jobs in this world and in our influencers we have some periods of ups and downs, but I have to admit that this is a job that helped me find myself and meet wonderful people who would not otherwise I would have a chance to meet.

It is not only our job to just look good and make selfies, but we also have a certain amount of responsibility (at least in my case) to present destinations and events in the best possible way, both because of my readers who are accustomed to my reports from different parts of the world, and because of me alone because I find myself disappointing that little Mark who sits somewhere in the back of my heart and having some high expectations, which is the worst thing a person can do for itself.

That is why I always try my best to fill in every post with useful information that can mean all travellers and fashionistas who would like to know more, and have no opportunity to read it elsewhere. I sincerely hope you enjoyed my post today and that through these few pictures you could see what an ordinary day at Fashion Week looks like in the eyes of a very average guy who was fortunate enough to work an unusual job of the 21st century – influenser.

My dear fashionistas, once again we have come to the end post from special series of post from my Georgian adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Turkish Airlines and National Georgian Tourism Administration for this incredible adventure and Iota Hotel for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home. Also I would like to say huge thank you to organizers of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi for kind invitation.

How do you like this story about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi? Have you visited Georgia before? See you next week with another interesting story from Tbilisi and I will show you one interesting entertaining themed park in Tbilisi which was so inspirational for me to make one interesting fashion outfit post.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Turkish Airlines and National Georgian Tourism Administration. I would like to say thank you to Iota Hotel for having us. Our days were fulfilled with special fashion adventures with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi and this was an extraordinary experience for me! I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Georgia: My Story about ancient Tbilisi…

My dear travellers, how are you today? After a sunny & sandy adventure in far-off Africa, little Marko continued his journey to the crossroads of East and West. Georgia, a country slightly “attached” on the map of Europe, but when you go there you realize that Europe has never even been there. On this trip, I had a slightly different company and I spent some fun time with my friend Bojana Rmandic, who says for herself that she is a sociologist who has found happiness in the profession of the 21st century – influencer.

Bojana and I are pure evidence that real friendships on Instagram can exist and that distance barriers do not present the problem of keeping in touch and occasional opportunity to visit some interesting destinations together with the help of our mutual friend Turkish Airlines, which this time also helped us and once again made our dreams come true and let’s us visit the heart of the Caucasus.

After a few hours’ journey and a short visit to Istanbul, we reached our desired destination – Tbilisi. The flights went by so fast because of our interesting chit-chat we were not even aware of how long the time had really passed… After the passport control and the take-over of our luggage, we were welcomed by our hosts – organizers of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Tbilisi. Yes, this is exactly the reason of our visit to Georgia, because we were invited as international influencers to attend a magnificent fashion event such as MBFW Tbilisi.

As you are accustomed to by now, this time you will hear from me some general information about the destination. Although Georgia has a population of almost 4 million, it is a country with a turbulent history that will intrigue all adventurers looking for adventure. Currently, there are no direct flights from Serbia and the countries of the former EX-YU to this country that once belonged to the Soviet Union.

Important information is that you do not need a visa to enter the territory of Georgia if you have a Serbian passport or some of the countries in the region (BiH, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Croatia). Georgia is a truly unusual country and when you land in Tbilisi you will feel that you have landed in a completely different, unusual space. Before you book your flight ticket to Tbilisi please check do you need a Visa. If you need a Visa for Russia, you probably need also a Visa for Georgia.

Surely one of the first questions that pops into your mind right now is: Why travel to Georgia? What is so special about seeing it? We, the people of the Balkans, consider ourselves to be the best hosts and welcome our guests with kindness and warmth. That all stands out and is something that sets us apart from other nations, but the Georgians ( or Kartvelians is the proper name for the inhabitants of the Caucasian state of Georgia) have advanced it and given us our a real homework to do.

They are quite similar to our mentality and are a very cordial and cheerful people. Their standard of living is very similar to ours, if not lower, since we noticed at their prices in the markets that supplies are significantly cheaper than ours. In addition, talking to a couple of locals, we learned that their average salary is about 200-250 euros, which places Georgia among the countries with low average earnings (like Serbia).

The first day in Tbilisi was spent exploring the city and “cruising” the central streets where Bojana and I already had the opportunity to see some fashion accessories that would help us complete our fashion combinations that we had specially prepared for Fashion Week in Tbilisi. The first impressions are that Tbilisi is a city with interesting architecture, since they were part of the USSR Union, one can see the direct influence of imperial Russia on local architecture. I was impressed by the fact that Georgians are extremely proud of their history and Orthodoxy, so they built a large number of places of worship – Orthodox churches.

Also on the streets we saw a variety of night street markets that we just had to visit. On the street counters we saw many interesting things and there is almost no salesman who did not call us to look at his counter and make sure the quality of the product. I have to be honest and admit that Bojana and I stuck to cheeses and sweets the most! 🙈

The first day ended in the best way possible with a full bag of cheeses that we didn’t know what to do with, so we bought some buns that thank God kept fresh and ate all the cheeses with the orange juice. Bojana is a big fan of cheeses, while I leads the way in “love for sweets”.

The next day, we began cheerfully with songs from our music playlists that we faithfully store on our phones, so that hits from ’90-es others could be heard, which some would say “just evergreen songs please”! After listening to all our songs for the good morning, we were able to go and have some breakfast, since we had already consumed a lot of energy from waving our hands and singing for our “mini-concerts”.

The first breakfast at our hotel was exceptional! Our Hotel – The Iota Hotel that hosted us during our fashion adventure in Tbilisi is a hotel that almost all tourists who have previously stayed in it rated it with the highest ratings because of 3 things that adorn this hotel. This hotel supports the local community and takes all the necessary supplies and products from local farmers and small producers, which is truly commendable! The other thing is the interior of the hotel, which is modern and minimalist with elements of nature.

In the second picture above, you can see their “green” wall, which nurtures more people every day, so that we tourists can take an amazing photos everyday next to it. To top it off as one of the most important thing that is essential to every traveler, this hotel is located in the heart of the city not far from Liberty Square and the main street of Rustaveli, which is the heart of Tbilisi.

Since Bojana and I worked together to help the hotel “reduce” its food supply, we could move on to new working victories. We decided to visit Rustaveli Street before the fashion shows and visit some of the sights. Of course, first of all, there was one good photo as proof that I was going somewhere like all the normal world and that besides jeans I could sort myself out to be elegant, but since it lasted for a while…

After some time because of the modern façade of the Museum of Georgian Fine Arts, which houses a rich private collection of classical and modern fine art by a famous local millionaire, we decided to visit it. Admission to the museum is 15 GEL (local currency is Lari and about 1 Euro is about 3,27 Georgian Lari).

I am sure I would not overdo it if by any chance I would write that this is one of the best art museums in the world. The collection is comprehensive and extensive, stemming from the founders’ private collection. The museum displays over 3500 works created by over 100 Georgian artists.

The collection spans some 70 years of the artistic period and each exhibit room is dedicated to a different artist. If you are an art lover this is definitely the place to go. Upon entering the museum you will notice an interesting staircase that is made of glass, since I have a fear of everything, plus I watched the Ruby famous Mexican soap opera multiple times I chose to go by lift while Bojana was much “braver” than me!

How did this museum actually come about? George (Gia) Jokhtaberidze and Manana Shevardnadze began collecting artwork in the 1990s. After successful entrepreneurial endeavours, Mr. Jokhtaberidze began to buy works of art as a great art lover.

On one occasion during his visit to the gallery, workers packed an image that needed to be sent overseas for some very cheap, ridiculous cost. Soon Mr. Jokhtaberidze realized that the work would be lost forever if it were so scattered throughout the world without proper collection and adequate exhibition. Since most of the artwork was created during the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain, art was not yet well known in Georgia. That’s how the mission came about: collecting, restoring and preserving Georgian art. Initially, the mission did not include the idea of building a brand new museum building, the idea was to collect and donate all the art to state museums.

However, due to the collapse of the USSR and the ensuing economic and civil turmoil, state museums were in a difficult situation and unable to store all the artwork. After collecting various works of art for 23 years and managing the largest telecommunications company in Georgia, Mr. Jokhtaberidze saw an opportunity to buy a property outside the Georgia Parliament building. The opportunity quickly turned into reality and a plan was created to build a complex of buildings that would become the Georgia Museum of Fine Arts and the Art House.

After a two-hour visit to this amazing museum, we continued our sightseeing tour of Tbilisi. During our walk down the central street of the capital of Georgia, we came across many cheerful faces who gave us directions on how to get to location where Fashion Week was held. In addition to people, we also had the opportunity to meet our four-legged furry friends who found their shelter on the garden benches of central restaurants.

Georgians are otherwise big animal rights supporters and all stray dogs are registered and chipped (if you zoom in on the previous image you will see a yellow chip with the code on the right ear of the dog). You can see the center’s special “pet stations” for abandoned dogs and cats, which people employed by city services, as well as the local population, daily clean and put fresh food and drinking water for abandoned animals.

Since we decided to take a heroic walk of a few minutes, in about twenty minutes we were at our destination and we officially arrived at our first show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Tbilisi (MBFWT) is a Georgian fashion week sponsored by the Mercedes-Benz Group that takes place every year in the Georgian capital – Tbilisi. The Committee for the organization of Fashion Week in Tbilisi was established in 2015. During the fashion week, other cultural and artistic events such as the ARTGeorgia Art Exhibition and the BENEKST International Fashion Design Contest take place simultaneously.

I promise you that one of the following blog posts will be dedicated exclusively to Fashion Week in Tbilisi where you will find out more information about this fashion event that was noticed in a short time by the most eminent people in the fashion industry.

After the shows, we decided it was best to buy something to eat and get ready for bed because Georgian National Tourism Administration (GNTA) prepared for us an interesting plan and program for the next day.

The next morning I was officially the most happiest person at the hotel since I slept well and fully prepared for breakfast and to continue with the plan and program prepared by our friends from the Georgian National Tourism Administration in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism of Georgia.

The plan was to tour the old part of the city and go to Sololaki Hill, where the “Mother of Georgia” is located, which with great pride is jealously guarding her beloved Tbilisi.

After a few minutes drive from our hotel we reached the Old Town. I do not know if by any chance you are aware of the fact that Tbilisi is one of the oldest cities in the part of the world that lies in the southern Caucasus. Due to its favorable position, it was difficult to conquer because of the great powers, but throughout history Georgians have suffered a lot.

The only light at the end of the tunnel was Kartlis Deda, also known as Mother of Georgia, who is one of Tbilisi’s symbols today. A statue of a woman who symbolizes the spirit of a Tbilisi residents and this wonderful land located at the crossroads of East and West. The colossal statue, 22m high, represents a woman dressed in traditional Georgian costume: in her left hand is a glass of wine, as a symbol of hearty welcome to anyone with an open and pure heart who comes to town, and in her right hand, a sword is prepared, for those with some bad intentions except to be appreciated guests…

The Sololaki Hill where this landmark is located you can reach by a special cable car. The price is symbolic so that anyone who decides to embark on the journey of Georgia and visit Tbilisi should visit the old part of the city and feel the Great Spirit of Georgians who are still faithfully cherished today.

Our mood was at the highest level and our Balkan spirit was fully prepared to meet Georgian ones. The cable car ride takes a few minutes, just enough time to enjoy the view and get it recorded with your phone or camera. It is only when you reach the top of the Sololaki Hills that you really realize how big Tbilisi really is, despite its size, managed to retain its charm and the soul of the Caucasus, which carries with it a long history.

After this wonderful view from the viewpoint, we were led by a marked trail where we met many tourists returning on the cable car. A few minutes later a symbol of Tbilisi – Mother of Georgia just appeared in front of us. It was wonderful experience for us to see something like that.

We stayed there for a while, enough for Bojana and I to create adequate content for you which you gonna see next weeks on the blog. Only during the half hour we spent next to the symbol of the city did we see the large number of tourists coming to visit Tbilisi.

After we finished visiting the old part of town, a team of people from the Tourist Administration took us out for tea and to try some local sweet treats. Believe me, if I knew I was going to try some sweets I would fly over that hill without a cable car!

As we were in a hurry for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi shows, our sweet break was a little shorter than planned, so we hurried to the hotel for a quick fix. Believe me, it is harder than you can imagine!

Another day filled with interesting fashion shows, we saw some new fashion creations that were a real refreshment in the fashion scene. We could also conclude from the facial expressions of some of the leading editors of fashion magazines that this year has been extremely inspiring for Georgian fashion designers. I can’t wait to show you some of wonderful designers which I captured during fashion shows of the most famous Georgian fashion designers.

We spent the next couple of days mostly at fashion events, so we didn’t have much time to do some tours of the city, but we managed to capture two more free days that we decided to spend on exploring the beauty of Tbilisi.

One fashion designer told us that he found his inspiration for a new collection at a local amusement park. Bojana and I just looked at him and he gave us the smile and let us see for ourselves the extraordinary beauty of the amusement park located at the highest point in Tbilisi.

Welcome to Mtatsminda Park, a famous theme park located on the top of Mtatsminda Mountain, overlooking Tbilisi. The park has carousels, slides, roller skates, funiculars and a large wheel on the edge of the mountain, offering a magnificent view of the city. This park also helped to make us some interesting photos for our fashion outfit posts.

This amusement park completely brought me back to those carefree childhood days, when I had no need to worry about everyday irrelevant things but just aimed to have fun, enjoy the cotton candy and think about what next ride I would embark on. Today is a little different instead of rides in amusement park, I got into the most complicated theme park called LIFE and every day I have some rides that can change the course of my further work, but well everything is safe while you have an invisible belt that protects you from an unplanned fall .

Do you want to hear the story how this park was established? The park was founded by the Soviet government in the 1930s and was once designated the third most visited public park in the USSR. The late Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili along with his wife, Inna Gudavadze, began transforming the park into a 21st century theme park. Badri owned the park as a charity project, with numerous commercial properties in Georgia, including the Rustavi Steel Plant, Borjomi Water Company and Imedi TV.

Patarkatsishvili became a real opponent of the National Movement Party in 2007 and as a result was no longer a favorite person of President Mikhail Saakashvili, and in November 2007, his assets, including Mtatsminda Park and Imedi TV Station, were seized by the government, claiming that the company was “more times violated “the terms of the contract and failed to pay the lease fee.

Lawyers of Patarkatsishvili’s family immediately denied the allegations, saying they were “unfounded”. Following Patarkacishville’s death at his home in England in February 2008, his widow, Inna Gudavadze, began an international arbitration proceeding against the Georgian government, claiming Mtatsminda Park, along with the rest of Georgian ownership, was misappropriated by the government. On October 29, 2008, Inna Gudavadze hosted a press conference in Tbilisi advertising for Mtatsminda Park, as well as TV station Imedi were “Badri’s Personal Projects for Georgia and the Georgian People”. In July 2011, the Patarkatishvili family reached a year with the government that saw Mtatsminda Park return to Inna, and the family was swapped for those who exempted all claims of ownership through Imedi TV.

Following the presidency of Michael Saakashvili, Imedi Television also returned Inne and her family in October 2012 under a new government. In July 2014, the Georgia prosecution launched a criminal investigation against former President Mikhail Saakashvili and official member groups for their roles in the illegal expropriation of Georgian property owned by the Patarkasishvili family.

My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end post from special series of post from my Georgian adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Turkish Airlines and National Georgian Tourism Administration for this incredible adventure and Iota Hotel for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home. Also I would like to say huge thank you to organizers of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi for kind invitation.

How do you like this story about Tbilisi? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Georgia? I would like to share with me your experience! See you next week with another interesting story from Tbilisi, but we will explore this amazing city through some different “fashion” angle.

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Turkish Airlines and National Georgian Tourism Administration. I would like to say thank you to Iota Hotel for having us. Our days were fulfilled with special fashion adventures with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi and this was an extraordinary experience for me! I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Egypt: Hurghada, heaven Saphir of Red Sea…

My dear travellers, how are you today? I’m sure these cold last days of November didn’t spoil your mood. Slowly but surely we are entering the festive month and starting to count down the last days of 2019. It is strange that at the beginning of each year, those 365 days seem too long, but as we can see time is flying so fast.

Today is the time to write my last post, the last letter from Egypt. We will end this special series of posts from Egypt at an Egyptian resort that is well known to all of us – Hurghada. Yes, it is one of the destinations that you can always find in the offers of almost all travel agencies, because a lot of people from Europe, especially from Germany are flying to the beaches of the Red Sea in Hurghada.

When the team of the Egyptian Tourism Authority organized our trip and the whole program was done literally today for the next day, I received an e-mail, do I want to go to the Valley of the Kings or do I want to go on a mini vacation in Hurghada? After a brief “constructive talk” with my photographer, we decided that perhaps because of the variety of content, I would also visit a well-known resort not to be a full educational trip.

When I told my mom that I was traveling to Hurghada, she said that I was a real Serb, because every Serb in his life had to visit Hurghada at least once… Mom is always ready for a joke, even if it is especially inspired by me.

The Egyptian Tourism Authority made sure that my mini vacation was organized in the best possible way, so my photographer and I had the opportunity to spend some time relaxing at one of the most beautiful hotels in Hurghada – Steigenberger ALDAU Beach Hotel.

This hotel is a true “haven” of sophisticated luxury located in the center of the new part of Hurghada on the shores of the Red Sea. A hedonistic paradise that will satisfy the demands of even the most demanding visitors pervades this one, located on the azure blue shore of the Red Sea. My mind finally rested a bit in the greenery of landscaped gardens, the Red Sea Aqua Marine and the red coral reefs. This award-winning hotel combines high-end luxury with superior service.

Within the Steigenberger hotel chain in addition to the ALDAU Beach Hotel, there are three other hotels in the immediate vicinity, namely Steigenberger Aqua Magic, Steigenberger Pure Lifestyle and Steigenberger Makadi hotels.

The Aldau Beach Hotel where I stayed, Aqua Magic and Pure Lifestyle hotels are reserved for all water sports enthusiasts, while Makadi is a golf hotel. My vacation was filled with many adventures and as a person who has traveled half the world I can say that the Steigenberger Aldau hotel has fulfilled all my expectations. Although I was not demanding, neither did the person who requested anything on the trips, the staff at the hotel did some additional things that I really did not expect.

Upon arrival, we were hungry, so my photographer and I went out for lunch and when we came to the room we had something to see. All the clothes were refreshed, ironed, the shoes polished and everything was in place… Even the suitcases were taken care of, I think my poor suitcase finally got polished and looked even better than when I took it out of the store. An hour before dinner ends, we get a call that dinner time is ending and we can dine in the room or choose from a couple of restaurants located within the resort, depending on the cuisine we like.

I have to admit that I got lost in the list of the mentioned international cuisines and that, as boisterous as it was, I chose the first restaurant I saw from the terrace, since my brain could not understand all the above options in an hour…

The hotel staff will make you feel at home, honestly at home I have to iron and to take care of myself so that I would easily move to Hurghada to live in this resort because each of us would love to be so beautifully pampered and attentive and not to worry about the little things that otherwise preoccupy our daily lives.

When you are finished resting from your leisure time ie. reluctant or what some would say from a vacation getaway you can enjoy some interesting activities within the hotel such as scuba diving, water scooter rides, fitness, or you can take a stroll through the Promenade which houses countless souvenir shops, supermarkets, pharmacies and other shops that can make your holiday easier.

Since I am a devilish person, I used to stroll at the time of day when all normal people are on the beach or having an afternoon break, I earned a sunstroke so almost all the time I was partly in a wobbly mood somewhere between a female PMS time and a period cold, so because I managed to cut out the best holiday scenarios for myself but i managed to relieve it for a while because i was taking pain pills purely so that i don’t miss such a nice vacation.

I am one of those people who do not know how to act on vacation because I sleep with the camera and constantly have the need to take pictures and write and record audios so that I have a reminder of what to write afterwards.

How to manage in Hurghada? You have two options: crazy and normal one. The crazy option is to walk to the center 10 to 15 kilometers away or to be guided by reason and to choose the normal option and take a taxi to the center. You must always do your best to develop the bargaining skill and bargain, otherwise taxi drivers will, as in other countries, will sweep you of your feet. The first and basic rule is to first make the deal about the price of the ride and then to accept the ride. I say this as a note because many tourists just say the destination without first being informed about the price of the trip…

I tested my physical limits, so in the evening I walked about 4-5 kilometers and back to the hotel and was a regular visitor to the Promenade because I found new companions – Camels that their owners brought to the Promenade for tourists (they charge for making photos with them, no camel riding). Some would say that pure exploitation of living beings in this case are the camels, but this is a little different. Camels are clean and healthy, beautifully nourished, well-groomed and are used only for making photos and do not use them as a transportation. In a way this is kind of in my opinion a symbiosis and everyone has some benefit so it is a mutual pleasure.

My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our fourth special post and at the same time last post from series of post from my Egyptian adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Egyptian Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and Steigenberger ALDAU Beach Hotel their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this story about Hurghada? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Egypt? I would like to share with me your experience! See you soon on some other interesting destination!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Egyptian Tourism Authority. I would like to say thank you to Steigenberger ALDAU Beach Hotel for having us. The flights were like on the magic carpet thanks to Austrian Airlines and EgyptAir. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Egypt: Alexandria, the City of great Charm…

Dear adventurers, welcome to my blog. I hope you have successfully completed all your commitments and that the preparation for a good weekend fun can begin! Today we continue our adventure in Egypt, after Cairo and Giza it is time to introduce to you the cradle of Hellenism and the amanet of Alexander the Great – Alexandria!

There are few cities in the world with such a magnificent, long and interesting history as Alexandria has. This interesting city, which lies on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, was founded by Alexander the Great, dating back to 331 BCE, and is named after him. But long before the arrival of Alexander the Great, the famous Greek poet Homer wrote with great enthusiasm about this part of Africa in his Odyssey, most notably the island of Pharos.

The only remnants of the prehistoric harbor, which Homer also mentions, were found on the shores of Pharos Island. Opposite this island, on the mainland of Egypt, was a small village, fortified exactly where Pompey’s pillar stands today. As ancient Egyptian civilization developed mainly along the Nile River, very little is known about Pharos Island.

In the 4th century BC Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, came to Egypt. When he came to Memphis, the Egyptians greeted him with enthusiasm, because they despised the authority of the Persians. Alexander the Great was extremely young and at the age of 25, already was a celebrated conqueror, who began his long journey through Greece, Asia Minor and Syria, defeating and with great ease defeating all the Greek and Persian forces got in the way. He had plans for a much longer trip to Persia, Central Asia and India.

But first he had to visit the oasis of Siva and consult with the prophecy of Ammon. On his way to the oasis, Alexander the Great watched with admiration the landscape between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Mareotis, as well as the nearby island. He ordered the establishment of a city to be the capital of the region. This location was ideal because it was located “in the middle” of Greater Greece, opposite the Mediterranean Sea, and the rest of Egypt. At that time, the Nile was connected to the Red Sea by a single channel, so Alexandria could also serve as a gateway to the Indian Ocean.

The city plan was made by the Greek architect Dinokrates, and the exterior walls of the city were marked by Alexander the Great himself. Thus, on April 7, 331 BC, the new capital of Egypt, Alexandria, emerged. The city was named after Alexander the Great, although he immediately left the city and did not see any of the buildings erected there. However, when he died, Alexander the Great was returned to Alexandria and buried there. After Alexander the Great’s death, none of his successors appeared to inherit the united kingdom.

Before taking the city tour, my photographer and I, along with a team from the Egyptian Tourism Authority, settled into a hotel. I just got those two hours to freshen up and make sure I could start exploring Alexandria. As you can see my first impressions of the hotel are wonderful because I got a beautiful room overlooking the sea…

Today, Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt and a major economic center, extending about 32 km along the Mediterranean coast, in the north-central part of the country. Its altitude in the Nile Delta makes it very vulnerable and sensitive to the very rise in sea level. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural gas and oil pipelines from the Suez Canal. Alexandria has also become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Egypt today.

Since the late 18th century, Alexandria has become a major hub for the international shipping industry and one of the most important trading hubs in the world because it has profited from the light land link between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton.

Born in Hellenism, Alexandria was virtually nothing from one of the largest, if not the largest, cities in the world. During the first three Ptolemies, the city transformed from the sand of the Mediterranean coasts into the world’s largest scientific and intellectual Mecca. Of the heritage of Ptolemy, many sights remain: the lighthouse on Pharos, one of the wonders of the old world; a large library; Heptastadion; the temple of the god Serapis; numerous palaces…

It is well known that in Egypt at that time everything was not just “honey and milk”. Apart from the earliest period, taxes in Egypt were highest in the Old World. The Royal Palace was the center of royal intrigues and family scandals, including homicides. But it must still be said that the first three Ptolemies marked the golden age of Alexander’s city.

In the photo above, you can see the Pompey’s Pillar, the Roman triumphal pillar in Alexandria, the largest of its kind built outside the imperial capitals of Rome and Constantinople. The only known free-standing building structure in Roman Egypt. Pompey’s pole is one of the largest ancient monoliths and one of the largest monolithic columns ever erected.

Someone might think that Pompey’s Pillar is the only notable landmark in the archaeological site. It certainly looks like it, but the reality is a little different. Aside from the two sphinxes that guard the pillar, the rest of the area looks like a little more than just a ruin.

As you move away from Pompey’s Pillar and continue down the marked path, you will notice that the discarded wooden boards lead the way back to the pillar itself. It seems odd, but if you follow it you will see a small partially hidden path. Here you will find the “Daughter of the Library of Alexandria” and the Serapeum Temple.

The daughter of the Library of Alexandria was a small extension of the main library in Alexandria. Over 7000 files are preserved here. Today you can explore the interior of the remains of the library and it’s probably not as impressive as one might imagine. If you are a fan of Egyptian history, like me, visiting this library will only bring you unparalleled happiness and joy because you have learned something new!

Serapeum Temple is probably one of the most magnificent buildings in the Pompey Pillar archeological complex. Today you could walk past it without noticing it! The temple is located right next to the “Daughter of the Library of Alexandria”. Today you can still find a replica of the bull statue where the original was originally placed. This landmark was most destroyed during the attacks of Christians during their struggles aimed at eradicating paganism. Only Pompey’s pillar, two sphinxes and the remains of the daughter of the Library of Alexandria and the Serapeum Temple are left.

After visiting this archaeological site, we continued our tour of Alexandria and the famous modern version of the Library of Alexandria – Bibliotheca Alexandrina, since the previous one we can only imagine and magnify in our imagination was completely destroyed in a great fire.

The Alexandrina Library is the main library and cultural center located on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria. It is also the only memory of the Library of Alexandria lost in ancient times and an attempt to recreate some of the splendor that represented this center of study and erudition. The idea of reviving the old library dates back to 1974, when the board that set up the University of Alexandria selected land for its new library. Construction work began in 1995 and after about $ 220 million was spent, the complex officially opened in October 2002.

Today’s modern library has shelves for nearly eight million books, with the library’s main reading room occupying an area of nearly 20,000 square meters. The newly opened complex also houses a conference center, specialized libraries for old maps, multimedia, four museums, four art galleries for temporary exhibitions, 15 permanent exhibitions, a planetarium and a manuscript restoration laboratory.

The reading of the scripture is fully adapted for the disabled (visually impaired, blind and deaf people) and also wheelchair-bound people can enjoy this modern cultural complex without any problems.

You can see interesting permanent exhibitions and exhibitions on Egyptian history at the Museum, located within the new modern complex of the Library of Alexandria. You can always learn something new and get the opportunity to learn something new about the culture and lifestyle of peoples in Ancient Egypt.

The dimensions of this complex are really impressive, the library has a shelf space of eight million books with a main reading room covering 20,000 square meters (220,000 square meters of the entire complex) at eleven cascading levels.

The complex also houses a conference center, specialized libraries for maps, multimedia, a special center for the blind and visually impaired, a center for young people and children together with libraries, four museums, four art galleries for temporary exhibitions, 15 permanent exhibitions, a planetarium and a restoration laboratory. of the manuscript.

The architecture of the library is equally striking. The main reading room is located below the roof with glass panels over 30 meters high, sloping toward the sea like an umbrella. The walls are of gray Aswan granite, with carved figures from 120 different scriptures. The collection housed in the Alexandrina Library is donated from almost every corner of the globe. The Spanish donated documents detailing their period of Moor rule. The French also made their contribution, donating to the library documentation relating to the construction of the Suez Canal like many others.

The most interesting museum in this complex is the Sadat Museum. Older generations who were interested in the political scene in the world must have once heard from Anwar Sadat, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The Sadat Museum is the first museum in Alexandria dedicated to the late President Anwar Sadat. Located on an area of 260 square meters. The museum is part of an effort to document the history of modern Egypt. Before entering the museum, visitors have the opportunity to watch a show about President Sadat. It is also available to watch 12 hours of video content donated by Egyptian national television. These recordings include numerous speeches by President Sadat, an account of all the documents on the Egyptian-Israeli peace process and the October War, and a collection of recordings never aired in Egypt or the Arab world.

This museum also exhibits a collection of Sadat’s personal belongings, such as his radio, desk, and his personal library, which contains a collection of very rare books that have been donated to him by many influential people and other politicians. In addition, visitors will find a large number of Sadat’s portraits along with a collection of Arab swords, memorial shields, his personal stick, pipe and special national costume that he wore whenever he visited his hometown, Mit Abul Kom, located in northern Egypt.

The museum contains numerous decorations and honors bestowed in Egypt and other countries on President Sadat at various stages of his life, along with numerous gold, silver, bronze and copper decorations that he and Mrs. Jehan Sadat received as a gift.

Here you can see an interesting collection of President Sadat’s civilian and military suits, the most important of which is the military suit soaked in blood he wore on the day of the October 6, 1981 assassination.

One day was fulfilled and we learned a lot about interesting things about ancient and modern Egypt. Alexandria is a big city and you cannot visit all the sights in just one day. My recommendation is to set aside for Alexandria 2 to 3 days, if you can and more because you will be able to find out more.

Citadel of Qaitbay is a 15th-century defensive fortress located on the Mediterranean coast in Alexandria. It was built in 1477 by Sultan Al-Ashraf Sef al Din Din Qa’it Bay. Qaitbay Fortress in Alexandria is considered one of the most important strongholds of defense, not only in Egypt but along the Mediterranean coast. It formed an important part of the fortification system of Alexandria in the 15th century.

This citadel is located at the entrance to the eastern port at the eastern point of Pharos Island. It was erected in the exact spot of the famous Alexandria Lighthouse, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The lighthouse continued to operate until the time of the Arab conquest, then several disasters occurred and the shape of the lighthouse changed to some extent. The reconstruction began in the period of Ahmed Ibn Tulun. During the 11th century there was an earthquake that damaged the octagonal part.

The foundation survived the impact, but could only serve as a tower, and a small mosque was built at the top. In the 14th century a very devastating earthquake occurred and the entire building was completely destroyed.

Sultan Qaitbay traveled to Alexandria, along with several other Mameluke princes, to visit the site of the old lighthouse and during this visit ordered the construction of the Citadel. In the month of Shaban, Sultan Qaytbey traveled to Alexandria again when construction was completed. He secured the fort with a brave legion of soldiers and various weapons. He also, as Ibn Aias mentioned, dedicated several vakufs from which he financed construction work as well as the salaries of soldiers. During the Mameluke period, and because of its strategic position, the Citadel was well maintained by all the rulers who came after Sultan Qaitbay.

The citadel was neglected for some time, until 1904 when the upper part of the fort was rebuilt by the Ministry of Defense. King Farouk wanted to turn the Citadel into a royal holiday home, so he ordered a speedy reconstruction. Following the 1952 revolution, Egyptian naval troops converted the building into a Maritime Museum. The largest restoration work dates back to 1984, when the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities made ambitious plans to rebuild the fort.

My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our third special post from series of post from my Egyptian adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Egyptian Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and Mediterranean Azur Hotel their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

How do you like this story about Egypt? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Alexandria? I would like to share with me your experience! See you soon on some other interesting destination!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Egyptian Tourism Authority. I would like to say thank you to Mediterranean Azur Hotel for having us. The flights were like on the magic carpet thanks to Austrian Airlines. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Egypt: Lost Kingdom somewhere between priceless Treasures of Egyptian Museum in Cairo…

My dear travellers, how are you today? I sincerely hope you are well and ready for another new story from far away Africa. In a previous post, you had the opportunity to get to know the capital of Egypt – Cairo and the suburbs of Giza, where the only remaining world wonders of the ancient world are located – The Pyramids.

If you have not been able to read my previous post from Egypt, now is the perfect moment just to take a few minutes to enjoy the beauty of Cairo and the Pyramids as today’s post will be a continuation of my previous story from Cairo. Specifically, when I saw that according to the plan and program of visits to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, I thought it would be enough to round out with one post just to make the full story of Cairo.

Before I begin my today’s post, I would like to thank the Egyptian Tourism Authority once again for their cordial invitation. It was a great pleasure for me to get to know Egypt and to get the opportunity to bring the cradle of civilization to all my dear readers and adventurers who love to read my travel stories.

After visiting the museum, my photographer and I realized that there would be a lot more material and we decided that it might be best to dedicate a special post to this treasury. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is located in the heart of the city close to famous hotel chains. A person from the Egyptian Tourism Authority told us that due to the crowds, we could see if there was a possibility of early entry into the museum.

When we came to the museum, I could see for myself the river of people waiting to buy tickets and enter the museum. I must admit that I was pleased to see people interested in the history of the ancient great Egyptian Kingdom.

The exhibition of the museum is divided into several epochs and from the very entrance to the museum your story through history begins with the oldest royal dynasties that ruled Egypt during their history dating back to just over 4500 years BC.

The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known as the Egyptian Museum or Museum in Cairo, is home to one of the largest collections of ancient Egyptian antiquities. Under one roof you can find about 120,000 items, most of the items are on display, while a smaller part is kept in special sections of the museum, which is closed to the public. The museum building was built in 1901 by the Italian construction company Garozzo-Zaffarani according to the design of French architect Marcel Dourgnon.

This museum is one of the largest museums in Africa. It is believed that with the opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum in 2020, the new museum will be the largest museum in the world. If I’m lucky enough, we may be reading some news about Cairo’s new museum next year at this time on Mr.M blog, wish me luck! 🙂

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo contains many important parts of the history of ancient Egypt. It houses the world’s largest collection of ancient pharaohs. The Egyptian government established a museum that was built long ago in 1835 near the Ezbekeyah Garden and later moved to the Cairo Citadel. A little later in 1855, the Egyptian government donated all the artifacts to Duke Maximilian of Austria. These objects are currently in the Museum of the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna.

When I captured this photo above, the first thing on my mind was: “Sorry Klimt, but the first Kiss was made in Egypt!”. Let’s continue with our story… The new museum was founded on Boulaq in 1858 in a former warehouse, following the founding of the new Department of Antiquities under the administration of Auguste Mariette. The building was located on the bank of the Nile River, and in 1878 suffered significant damage during the Nile flood. In 1891, all collections of objects were moved to the former royal palace, in the Giza Cairo district.

There, all the exhibits remained there until 1902, when they were last moved to the present museum in Tahrir Square, built by the Italian company Giuseppe Garozzo and Francesco Zaffrani according to the project of French architect Marcel Dourgnon.

15 years ago, the museum received the first female general director of Egyptian Museum – Wafaa El Saddik. During the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the museum was demolished and two mummies destroyed. After repairing the damage, the workers at the museum realized that several important artifacts were damaged during the invasion of the museum. When they completed the final list of items, about 50 objects were missing. Fortunately, so far, in cooperation with the authorities, the museum has been able to locate and reclaim 25 items. The museum and certain items were restored and were set up in 2013 in an exhibition titled Damaged and Renovated.

Among the exhibited artifacts are two statues of King Tutankhamun, made of cedar wood with gilding, a statue of King Akhenaten, a statue of Ushabti belonging to Nubian kings, a mummy of a child and a small polychrome glass vase.

During this visit I learned a lot of interesting things and memorized some interesting stories that I will share with you today. For example, in the previous picture and in the picture before it, you see statues with a male character. It was women! In ancient Egypt, women who claimed to be rulers had to prove to the people that they were strong enough and able to carry out politics and govern Egypt in a wise way. The sculptures you see are related to an earlier period of the great Egyptian Empire, long before the Cleopatra we all know a lot about.

Its predecessors had to pave the way for women in politics and it was much more difficult because their sculptures initially had a male character to be respected and appreciated by the people and recognised as powerful rulers.

Do you remember the Great Cheops Pyramid from your previous post? It is the largest pyramid in Giza built for himself for the afterlife by the famous Pharaoh Khufu, who was the second pharaoh of the fourth dynasty of the old kingdom.

My guide, who helped me better understand the history of ancient Egypt, asked: “Marko, are you ready to see the largest statue of Pharaoh of Cheops ?!”. I briefly answered “yes” and nodded significantly and wondered if I would be able to make a good photo as some statues were so large that I struggled to capture them… However, we came into the room and the guide showed with a smile a statue of the great King of Khufu that can fit in a slightly larger pocket of a jacket or coat… This is for now the only and largest figure of Pharaoh of Cheops that archaeologists have been able to find. (picture above)

This statue showed that over time the position of women in the society of ancient Egypt changed. The woman has become a strong and stable pillar of the family! Here is a slim and healthy woman who, despite everything, stayed with her husband.

There are various interpretations of the male figure, perhaps the husband was ill from birth or was injured and he is smaller than the woman. If you look a little better, he has two children instead of legs, which in some way completely compensate for his lack, and with a strong wife, their life goes on without any problems. After a long period, this is the first figure where the female character is smiling and firmly holding the man with much love. Such figures have not been made before in ancient Egypt…

Family happiness was also recorded in the royal family. You can see here one Pharaoh spending time with his wife and children. Usually in royal portraits spouses are not close and showed not the slightest kind of affection and kindness. This was the first portrait of the royal family where all members in everyday life can be seen. The direction of the history of Ancient Egypt is changing and we are slowly coming to the new dynasties that ruled Egypt.

Now we come to an interesting part of the exibition of this museum. I’m sure we all remembered some details about the history of Egypt and how the Egyptians were devout had their gods and believed in the afterlife. Since then, social classes were expressed, depending on which one you belong to depend on your ability to adequately prepare for life after death.

Let’s start with the richer ones. The couple from the court who were otherwise ancestors of the famous Pharaoh Tutankhamun, more precisely Yuya was his great-grandfather, while Thuya was his great-grandmother. They lived during the period of the 18th New Kingdom dynasty. At the Egyptian Museum in Cairo you can see their remains, as well as the remains of other pharaohs whose tombs were found in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.

Until the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, Yuya’s and Thuya’s tomb was one of the most spectacular ever found in the Valley of the Kings, despite Iuia not even being a Pharaoh. Although the burial place was looted in ancient times, many items that were not considered worthy of looting by the robbers remained. Both mummies are largely intact and were in amazing and preserved condition. Their faces have been particularly distorted by the process of mummification and provide remarkable insight into the real and natural appearance of the deceased while alive.

Yuya and his wife were buried in the Valley of the Kings, where James Kuibell discovered their tomb in 1905. Although robbers broke into the tomb, perhaps upset because Kuibell had already found most of the funeral equipment and two mummies that were virtually untouched. As Egyptologist Cyril Aldred noted: Although the tomb was ruptured in ancient times, the funeral repository was largely intact, there was no doubt about the identity of the pair found among the cut canvases inside their tombs.

As they were a couple who lived in the court and the ancestors of the famous Tutankhamun, they are the best example of what the preparation of the wealthier social class in Egypt looked like. Due to administrative problems and the large crowds in the museum, it was necessary to vacate the room in order to make the photos of Tutankhamun’s treasures, but because of the large number of visitors it was not possible at that moment with all the goodwill of the Ministry of Antiquities and the Ministry of Tourism of which I was a guest. and because of our plan and program, I was unable to return before the museum closed and failed to make the photos.

The problem is that otherwise Tutankhamun’s treasure should not be photographed, except for special media delegations when the room is vacated because of the value of the items, it is not possible to make photos in groups, but solely individually and under supervision.

A statue that was found in the Tutankhamun tomb that was a form of protection for the tomb itself. Just over 5,000 items were found in the tomb, including a solid gold casket, an obituary face mask weighing about 11 pounds, thrones, archery bows, trumpets, a lotus chalice, food, wine, sandals and linen linen.

Recent analysis shows that the dagger found in the tomb had an iron blade made of meteorite. The study of artifacts of the time, including other artifacts from Tutankhamun’s tomb, could provide valuable information on metalworking technology throughout the Mediterranean at that time.

The history of ancient Egypt was turbulent and was marked by many personalities who made their stories to keep the stories of Egypt alive and to be the works that the world will forever talk about. They were advanced in their time, they had faith and their beliefs that led them to the goal.

Today, all these exhibits are part of history and have their own story and attract people all over the world to come to Cairo. The “star of the day” was the God of the underworld and the mummification of Anubis. It was hard to come by, you can see for yourself how many people were waiting just to be able to make photo of Anubis. I’m also sure you may have remembered that all the people who were mummifying wore the Anubis mask on their face during the process.

In the picture above you can see what a mummy of a young female person looked like during the Roman Empire time in Egypt. New details are present and pictures of the deceased are inserted. The mummification technique and the making of the casket have changed significantly. It is believed that this young woman was from a wealthy family by the way the coffin was made.

An example of a New Kingdom death mask in Egypt. It is made for a young male person.

My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our special post from series of post from my Egyptian adventure. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Egyptian Tourism Authority for this incredible adventure and Conrad Cairo Hotel and Marriott Mena House Hotel for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.

I also would like to say huge thank you to employees of the Egyptian Museum and my wonderful guide who did his best to make story about Egyptian history more closer to my readers.

How do you like this story about Egypt? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Cairo and Giza and to enjoy in the beauty of the incredible pyramids? I would like to share with me your experience! See you soon on some other interesting destination!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

Best,
Mr.M

This post was sponsored by Egyptian Tourism Authority. I would like to say thank you to Conrad Cairo Hotel by Hilton and Marriott Mena House for having us. The flights were like on the magic carpet thanks to Austrian Airlines. I also thank my friends from Sony who made it possible to enjoy in these beautiful photos made with the Sony Alpha 7r Mark II camera with Sony FE 24-70 mm lense from special G Master series of professional lenses.
SHARE THIS POST