Posts tagged asia

Letters from Jordan: Aqaba and Dead Sea, Pearls from the South!

My dear travellers and lovers of unusual trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in Jordan! Today’s post is special and a bit sentimental as this is the last travelogue in the series of posts Letters from Jordan. This post will wrap up my Jordan adventure and I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful messages and numerous questions about the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. I sincerely hope that I managed to solve all your doubts and that your next destination will be this unusual country!

For all my dear travellers and fashionistas who didn’t get to read my previous travelogues and fashion stories from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following links:

  1. The story about Amman and Jerash (travelogue)
  2. The story of Petra (travelogue)
  3. The story from Wadi Rum with Fratelli Rossetti (fashion story)
  4. The Fashionable Royal Blue adventure in Aqaba (fashion story)
  5. The story of Wadi Rum, the Moon Desert Princess (travelogue)
  6. The story of Petra with Loro Piana (fashion story)

Today I will share with you my experience in Aqaba and Dead Sea and I would like to thank the Visit Jordan for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs.

Aqaba is the only seaport in the Kingdom of Jordan, as well as the largest and most populated city in the Gulf of Aqaba. Located in the southernmost part of Jordan, Aqaba is the administrative center of Aqaba Governorate. Today, over 150,000 people live in the city. Aqaba plays a major role in the development of the Jordanian economy, through vibrant trade and tourism sectors. The port of Aqaba also serves other countries in the region. Aqaba’s ideal strategic location on the northeastern part of the Red Sea between the continents of Asia and Africa has made its port important for thousands of years.

The ancient city that was located in the area of today’s Aqaba was called Elat, adopted in Latin as Aela and in Arabic as Aila. Its strategic location and proximity to copper mines made it a regional hub for copper production and trade in the Chalcolithic period. Aela became a diocese under Byzantine rule and later became a Latin Catholic titular see after the Islamic conquest around 650 AD, when it became known as Ayla. The name Akaba appears in the Middle Ages. The Battle of Aqaba in the Great Arab Revolt, depicted in the film Lawrence of Arabia, resulted in a victory for the Arab forces over the Ottoman defenders.

Aqaba, next to Wadi Rum and Petra, is located in the famous golden Jordanian tourist triangle, which strengthened the location of the city on the world map and made it one of the main tourist attractions of the Kingdom of Jordan. The city is governed by the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, which has turned Aqaba into a low-tax, duty-free city, attracting several mega projects such as Aila Oasis, Saraya Aqaba, Marsa Zayed and the expansion of Aqaba Port. It is expected to turn the city into a major tourist center in the region. However, industrial and commercial activities remain important, due to the city’s strategic position as the only seaport in the country. The city is located just across the border from Eilat, also Israel’s only port on the Red Sea. After the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace accord, there were plans and hopes for the establishment of a cross-border tourism and economic zone, but few of these plans came to fruition.

Since I know how much you love to read interesting historical facts, I made sure to find out how the only seaport in Jordan got its name. The name of the city was anciently Elat, Ailat. The name is probably derived from the Semitic name of a tree from the genus Pistacia. Modern Eilat (founded in 1947), located about 5 km northwest of Aqaba, is also named after an ancient settlement. In the Hellenistic period it was renamed Berenice, but the original name survived, and under Roman rule it was reintroduced in the forms Aila, Aela or Haila, adopted in Byzantine Greek as Aila Aila and in Arabic as Ayla, while the Crusaders called the city Elin.

The current name of Aqaba is shortened from ʿakabat Ailah – “mountain pass of Ailah”, which was first mentioned by Idrisi in the 12th century, at a time when the settlement was mainly reduced to a military stronghold, exactly referring to the pass northeast of the settlement.

Aqaba has a number of luxury hotels, including Tala Bay Resort, that cater to those who come to have fun on the beaches as well as to dive. It also offers activities that take advantage of its desert location. Its many cafes offer mansaf and knafeh and baklava desserts. Another very popular place is the Turkish bath (Hamam) built in 306 AD, where locals and visitors come to relax after a hot and tiring day.

Aqaba has been chosen as the site of a new waterfront construction project that would renovate Aqaba with new artificial water features, new high-rise residential and commercial buildings, and more tourism services to put Aqaba on the investment map and challenge other centers of waterfront development throughout the region. Aqaba was chosen as the best Arab tourist city in 2011.

During the five-day holiday at the end of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, Jordanian and Western expatriates flock to the city with numbers reaching up to 50,000 visitors. During that time, the occupancy rate of most hotels there reaches as high as 90% and they are often fully booked.

The fact that Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan has successfully created a distinctive cuisine compared to other Jordanian cities. Main dishes include Saiadeiah, a combination of rice, fish and spices, a dish common in Arabian coastal cities. Kishnah is a famous dish that includes fish, tomatoes and onions cooked together. Bukhari dish consists of rice, meat, hummus beans, ghee and spices popular in wedding ceremonies. Treats in Aqaba include Al-Hooh, which consists of layers of pastry filled with nuts or dates that are then fried in ghee and dipped in sugar syrup. Dates and ghee, which consists of fresh dates dipped in ghee, is a simple dessert that is also commonly presented to all tourists.

The Dead Sea, also known by other names, is a salt lake bordered by Jordan on the east and Israel and the West Bank. It lies in the valley of the Jordan River, and at the same time its main tributary is the Jordan River.

The lake is located about 430 meters below sea level, which makes the shores of the Dead Sea the lowest altitude on Earth. It is 304 meters deep and is the deepest hyper-saline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2%, it is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, almost 10 times saltier than the ocean and has a density of 1.24 kg/l, making swimming akin to floating. This salinity creates a harsh environment where plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The main, northern basin of the Dead Sea is 50 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide at its widest point.

Since you know that I can’t swim, you must be wondering how I dared to enter the lake, since we know that lakes can be quite deep… After reading numerous articles in which scientists claimed that it was simply impossible that due to the salinity of the lake itself a man drowns, I decided to see for myself.

There are rules that you must follow if you want to feel the beauty and healing of this lake in a healthy way. Staying in the water is limited due to salinity.

What does it actually look like to have a Spa relaxing day on the Dead Sea? When you get to the lake you can stay in it for between 10 and 15 minutes, don’t get the area around your eyes and mouth wet because of the salt! After that, you can apply a layer of healing mud from the Dead Sea, which has many positive properties that can help people who have problems with some skin diseases. It is recommended to leave the mud on the body to dry for up to 20 minutes and after that period you can re-enter the Dead Sea to remove the mud more easily with the help of salt from the lake and take a good shower with plain water. It is recommended to do this once, maximum twice a day. If you have sensitive skin like me, my honest recommendation is to do this once a day or once every 2/3 days due to the salinity.

The interesting thing is that it was the Dead Sea that attracted visitors from the entire Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world’s first spas and supplied a wide range of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizer. Today, tourists visit the lake on its shores in Israel, Jordan and the West Bank.

The Dead Sea area has become a location for numerous health researches and a place for potential treatment of some diseases. The mineral content of the water, the low content of pollen and other allergens in the atmosphere, the reduced ultraviolet component of solar radiation and the higher atmospheric pressure at this great depth can have specific health effects. For example, people who have reduced respiratory function due to diseases such as cystic fibrosis benefit from increased atmospheric pressure.

The climate and low altitude of the region have made it a popular center for certain therapies:

Climatotherapy: A treatment that uses local climatic characteristics such as temperature, humidity, sunshine, barometric pressure and special atmospheric constituents
Heliotherapy: A treatment that uses the biological effects of solar radiation
Thalassotherapy: A treatment that uses bathing in the water of the Dead Sea

Climatotherapy at the Dead Sea can be a therapy for psoriasis by prolonged sunbathing in the area due to its location below sea level and the subsequent result that UV rays are partially blocked by the increased thickness of the atmosphere.

Patients with rhinosinusitis who received nasal irrigation with Dead Sea saline showed improved symptom relief compared to standard hypertonic saline spray in one study.

Dead Sea mud therapy has been suggested to temporarily relieve pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. According to researchers at Ben Gurion University, treatment with mineral-enriched mud packs can be used to augment conventional medical therapy.

What does relaxation and rest look like when you apply mud from the Dead Sea. The picture was taken with the permission of all family members.

In the picture above, you can see a family enjoying their vacation at the Dead Sea and what the drying period of the mud looks like when applied to the skin. Today, the Dead Sea has become an ideal tourist destination for generations because everyone wants to experience the healing properties of the Dead Sea.

A clock located at the entrance to the lake where you can track your time in the water.
This is the area for swimming in the Dead Sea at the Kempinski Ishtar Hotel Resort

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of the last special fourth travelogue about the Kingdom of Jordan where we had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the only sea port of Aqaba and the lowest point on Earth – the Dead Sea. This series of travelogues would not be possible without the selfless help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Jordanian culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

I would like to especially thank the staff of the Kempinski Aqaba and Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea hotels for their warm welcome and having me in their incredible hotels. The stay in their hotels was exceptional, where I felt the warmth of my own home! Top full service that can be expected in 5* star hotels, pleasant staff, exceptional food, I have to put a special emphasis on the sweets! 🙂

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very 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 this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Aqaba and the Dead Sea? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Jordan,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Jordan: Wadi Rum, The Moon Desert Princess…

My dear travellers and lovers of unique trips, I hope you are well and ready to continue our adventure in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Today I have a special story about Wadi Rum, Jordan’s famous thee moon desert princess.

For all my dear travellers and fashionistas who didn’t get to read my previous travelogues and fashion stories from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or want to remind yourself of some details, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following links:

  1. The story about Amman and Jerash (travelogue)
  2. The story of Petra (travelogue)
  3. The story from Wadi Rum with Fratelli Rossetti (fashion story)
  4. The Fashionable Royal Blue adventure in Aqaba (fashion story)

Today I will share with you my adventure in Wadi Rum and I would like to thank the Visit Jordan for the kind invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs.

Wadi Rum is a natural tourist attraction, a valley located in southern Jordan. Why did it get the famous nickname Moon Valley? This epithet derives from the similarity of the Wadi Rum relief terrain to that of the Moon. In 2011, UNESCO included the Wadi Rum Protectorate in the World Natural Heritage List, and in 2019, the International Astronomical Union announced at a global press conference the naming of the star (VASP-80) as “Petra” and the name of the planet orbiting it as Wadi Rum.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom in Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a desert of varied terrain with a desert climate and is located within the boundaries of the Hismi Desert, one of the most beautiful deserts in the world. Its rocky mountains are characterised by white, yellow, red and brown colours, as well as characteristic geographical formations. Wadi Rum contains a group of narrow valleys, natural arches, steep cliffs and steep roads, as well as large piles of collapsed rocks, numerous caves and thousands of carvings and inscriptions. It also includes the highest mountain peaks of the southern Levant, namely: Jabal Umm al-Dami and Jabal Rum.

The Wadi Rum desert is home to some desert plants and an exotic group of small birds such as the desert lark, in addition to reptiles and numerous small mammals. Also here you can see numerous migratory birds that travel between Africa and Eastern Europe, especially birds of prey, which can be seen in large numbers in just one day.

One of the interesting things is that many films were shot in Wadi Rum, such as “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Al-Muraikhi”, because the valley attracted filmmakers, especially science fiction films that take place on Mars due to the great similarity between the terrain of Wadi Rum Ruma and the planet Mars. Today, Wadi Rum is one of the most visited tourist areas in Jordan.

Tourism has supported the development of agriculture and urban life in the region, and tourists can engage in many activities such as hiking, hot air balloon rides, horse and camel excursions or four-wheel drive, and a camel race is held every year, which is the first event of its kind in Jordan. In addition, Wadi Rum is considered one of the best places in Jordan for star and galaxy gazing, as well as meteor shower viewing.

The mystery about the name of this desert, as well as the real reason why Wadi Rum was called by this name is still unknown. There is a belief that the name “Rum” was taken from the Koran. Many today believe from an old legend that Wadi Rum was called “Aram” or “Iram” in ancient times, which means shapes and designs on stones (such as inscriptions). While some historians have mentioned that the region got its name from the leader of the Assyrians, who invaded the southern region of the Levant in the eighth century BC.

By examining certain writings, scientists have come to the knowledge that Wadi Rum was inhabited several thousand years ago and that these people struggled to survive in the harsh environment. These people were hunters, shepherds, farmers and traders. The Nabateans also once inhabited the area of Wadi Rum, leaving behind many monuments and inscriptions, including a temple known today as the “Nabatean Temple”.

Research and found inscriptions indicate that the first human settlement in Wadi Rum dates back to the Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, and that the area was full of springs, a temperate climate and abundant groundwater. Many civilizations and nations have thrived in Wadi Rum due to its prominent geographical location between the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant, such as the Edomites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Nabateans and others.

Perhaps the Roman historian Ptolemy first mentioned Wadi Rum, which he named (Aramoa) in his list of cities located in Arabia Felix, indicating that the valley was part of a regional trade network. Archaeologists have largely considered the isolated site to be connected to the Nabatean economic centers of Petra and Isla. In the 1990s, two scientists from the University of Victoria led a project to survey the valley and restore its antiquities, and studies revealed the existence of a palace complex and a bath complex belonging to the Nabateans located on a small hill next to the eastern side of Jebel Rum. Scientists have hypothesized that the complex complex of villas built in this arid environment was built to impress travellers passing through the area.

The inhabitants of the valley joined the forces of the Great Arab Revolt led by King Faisal and fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia during the Great Arab Revolt of 1916 against the Turkish and German armies. Perhaps the credit for the fame of Wadi Rum belongs to Lawrence of Arabia, who crossed it several times during the war and then settled there. The Mountain of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom is located in Wadi Rum.

All the inhabitants living in and around Wadi Rum today are Bedouin, and until recently they lived a Bedouin life, relying on raising their own goats and camels. Although some of them live in modern cement houses today, they still maintain Bedouin customs and Arab dress traditions. Knitting goat hair tents all summer. They are hospitable people and are largely responsible for the development of Wadi Rum as a tourist destination, and many tourists find that sharing food or drinking coffee with the Bedouins is one of the best memories of their lives.

Visitors to Wadi Rum usually have the opportunity to see very few animals as most desert creatures are active at night and avoid sunlight during the day. The number of these animals has decreased dramatically over time, but there are still a large number of interesting birds, insects, reptiles and some desert plants.

Trees are rare in Wadi Rum, except for the acacia trees, which are characterized by flat tops and scattered thorny branches. A small number of low, woody shrubs spread across the desert. These plants are an important source of food for goats and camels, especially in the summer months when all other succulent desert plants are drying up. In Wadi Rum, certain types of plants grow in nature that are adapted to the harsh climatic conditions of the desert areas, such as al-Mughira, al-Rumm, al-Ghadi, al-Tarfa and al-Baitran trees.

Tourism activity in Wadi Rum began in 1984, when a British climbing team led by Tony Howard requested permission from the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism to explore the possibilities of hiking in Wadi Rum and its surroundings. The attempt succeeded with the help of the Bedouins and the support of the ministry. Since then, Bedouins belonging to the prominent Al-Huwaitat tribe in the area have collaborated to organize tourism, investing the proceeds in building houses and schools and buying buses to connect the area with the cities of Aqaba and Wadi Musa. In the mid-90s, there was a boom in tourism that is still active today.

Wadi Rum is full of tourist camps that replace hotels, because it is a nature reserve where hotels are not allowed. Tourism promotion of this area began in the late eighties, after a movie (Lawrence of Arabia) was shot there in the sixties. Today, tourism has become a source of income for many residents who work in it as guides or other jobs.

The Jordanian Ministry of Tourism counts Wadi Rum as part of the Golden Tourism Triangle, which includes Wadi Rum, Petra and Aqaba. Tourist activities in this area include camping and trips between the mountains on horses and camels or using four-wheel vehicles, and hiking is also practiced there. The visitor can spend the night in camps that provide food and other services. When you come to Wadi Rum, you have the opportunity to enjoy countless possibilities and to experience a different way of life at least for a moment.

Some of the activities: hiking, watching camel races, hot air balloon rides, star gazing, 4 wheel drive motorbikes, camel and horse riding and enjoying local Bedouin cuisine.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of this third special travelogue from the Kingdom of Jordan about the moon desert princess Wadi Rum, which would not have been possible without help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and the beauty of Jordanian culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very 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 this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about Wadi Rum? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Wadi Rum,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Jordan: Petra, the Ancient City of Secrets…

My dear travellers and lovers of unique journeys, I hope you are doing great and ready to continue our Jordanian adventure! Today we continue our adventure and together we visit one of the most mysterious ancient cities in the world that still keeps its secrets in stone – Petra.

If by any chance you didn’t get to read the first travelogue from Jordan on the Mr.M blog or you want to remember some details from magical Amman and Jerash, take a few minutes of your time and visit the post on the following link.

Today I will share with you my impressions of ancient Petra and I would like to thank the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan for the invitation and the amazing experience to get to know Jordanian culture and customs better.

Petra, originally known to its inhabitants as Raqmu, is located near the mountains of Jabal Al-Madbah, in a basin surrounded by mountains that form the eastern part of the Arabah Valley that stretches from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Scientists have come to some knowledge that the area around today’s Petra has been inhabited since 7000 BC, and the Nabateans may have settled in what would become the capital of their kingdom as early as the 4th century BC. Archaeological work has revealed only evidence of the presence of the Nabateans dating back to the second century BC, when Petra became their capital.

Who were the Nabateans? The Nabateans were nomadic Arabs who contributed to the development of Peter through their investments. The convenient geographical location and proximity to the incense trade routes allowed Petra to become a major regional trade center.

The trading business provided the Nabataeans with an extraordinary income and Petra became the center of their wealth. The Nabateans were accustomed to living in barren deserts, unlike their enemies, and were able to repel attacks by taking advantage of the area’s mountainous terrain. They were especially skilled in rainwater harvesting, agriculture and stone-cutting. Petra saw its heyday in the 1st century AD, when its famous Al-Khazneh building – believed to be the mausoleum of the Nabataean king Areta IV – was built, a time when the population of Petra reached an incredible 20,000 inhabitants for that time.

Although the Nabatean Kingdom became a state under the administration of the Roman Empire in the first century BC, it did not lose its independence until 106 AD. Petra fell into the hands of the Romans, who annexed Nabatea and renamed it Arabia Petraea. The importance of Petra declined as sea trade routes appeared, and after an earthquake in 363 it destroyed many buildings. In the Byzantine era, several Christian churches were built, but the city continued to decline, and by the early Islamic era it was abandoned, but a small number of nomads were present. Petra was forgotten and unknown to the public until it was rediscovered by Johann Ludwig Burkhard in 1812.

To approach the Petra city, one must pass through a 1.2 kilometer long gorge called the Siq, which leads directly to Khazneh. Known for its stone-carved architecture and plumbing system, Petra is also called the “City of Roses” because of the color of the stone from which the entire city is carved. UNESCO described this world heritage in 1985 as “one of the most precious cultural assets of human cultural heritage”. At the beginning of the 21st century, more precisely in 2007, Al-Khazneh was declared one of the new 7 wonders of the world. Petra is a symbol of Jordan, as well as the most visited tourist attraction of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Statistics maintained by the Ministry of Tourism show that the number of tourists who visited Petra peaked in 2019, when there were over a million tourists. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the number of tourists dropped, but again in 2021, Petra had almost 300,000 visitors, which is an impressive figure if we consider the problems in tourism caused by the pandemic itself.

As you walk to Petra, stop by the souvenir shop where you will have the opportunity to learn more about Petra from the locals and get to know the history and culture of this ancient city. Souvenirs are very interesting, so take a few minutes of your time when visiting Petra and experience this city in a completely different way. There is only one souvenir shop, so you are sure to find this interesting place!

One of the interesting things Petra is known for is its Hellenistic architecture. The facades of the tombs at Petra show this type of architecture and also provide information on the different types of cultures with which the Nabataeans traded. Most of them contain information about the type of burials in niches carved into the stone.

Perhaps the most significant resemblance to the Hellenistic style comes with its treasury, which is 24 meters wide and 37 meters high and recalls the architecture of Alexandria. The facade of the Treasury has a broken pediment with a central tholos inside, and two obelisks appear to be forming in the rock at the top. Near the bottom of the Treasury are the twin Greek gods Castor and Pollux, who protect travelers on their journeys. Near the top of the Treasury, symbols of two victories can be seen in the form of a female figure on a tholos. This female figure is believed to be Isis-Tyche, Isis being an Egyptian goddess and Tyche the Greek goddess of fortune.

Al-Khazneh means “Treasury” in Arabic, the name derives from the legend of an ornamental stone urn high up on the second level, which is in reality solid sandstone.

There are several legends associated with the Treasury, but one legend says that an Egyptian pharaoh and part of his army escaped the closing of the Red Sea, magically created Al-Khazneh as a safe place for their treasury, and continued their search for Moses. This led to the name Khazneh el-Far’oun, “Treasury of the Pharaoh”.

Swiss researcher Johann Ludwig Burkhardt wrote about another local legend that “ancient pharaonic treasures” were hidden in the urn. The urn shows significant bullet damage, which the Jordanian government attributes to the Bedouins who believed in the legend.

Al-Khazneh was originally built as a mausoleum and crypt in the early 1st century AD during the reign of Areta IV Philopatris. Many of the building’s architectural details have eroded over the two thousand years since it was carved and sculpted from the cliff. The sculptures are believed to be of various mythological figures associated with the afterlife. At the top are the figures of four eagles that would take away souls. The figures on the upper level are dancing Amazons with double axes. The entrance is surrounded by statues of the twins Castor and Pollux who lived partly on Olympus and partly in the underworld.

Another excellent example of Hellenistic architecture presented in Petra is the monastery, which is the largest monument of Petra and another building carved into the rocks of Petra. The monastery shows more Nabataean touches while at the same time incorporating elements of Greek architecture. Its only source of light is the entrance, which is 8 meters high. Outside the monastery is a large area, which was specially leveled for religious purposes. Earlier, in the Byzantine period, this was a place for Christian worship, but now it is a holy place for pilgrims.

At the end of a narrow gorge, the Siq, is the most complex ruin of Petra, popularly known as Al-Khazneh (“the treasury”), carved into the sandstone cliff. Although it remains in a remarkably well-preserved state, the face of the structure is pockmarked with hundreds of bullet holes made by local Bedouin tribes who hoped to dislodge the riches rumored to have once been hidden within. Not far from the Treasury, at the foot of the mountain called En-Nair, is a huge theatre, placed so that the greatest number of tombs can be seen. At the point where the valley opens into the plain, the site of the city is revealed with striking effect.

During construction, the theater was cut into the hillside and into several tombs. The rectangular gaps in the seats are still visible. It is surrounded on almost three sides by pink mountain walls, divided into groups by deep cracks and covered with mounds cut into the rock in the form of towers. It is believed that the theater can host around 8,500 people. Performances that the audience could attend here were poetry and drama readings. Gladiator fights were also held here and are thought to have attracted the largest crowds, although no gladiator was able to gain momentum or fame due to the high death rate that came with it. The theater was one of many buildings in Petra that suffered significant damage in the Galilee earthquake of 363 AD.

The Petra swimming pool and garden complex is a series of buildings in the city center. It was originally said to be a market area, but detailed excavations at the site have allowed scientists to come to the conclusion that it was actually a complex Nabatean garden, which included a large pool, an island pavilion and a complex hydraulic system.

In front of the Petra pool and garden complex is a colonnaded street, which is among the few artifacts of Petra that are constructed rather than natural. This street once held a semicircular nymphaeum, now in ruins due to flash floods, and once held a single Petra tree. This was meant to be a symbol of the peaceful atmosphere that the Nabateans were able to build in Petra. When the Romans took control of the city, the colonnaded street was narrowed to make a side walk.

Petra is a place at the crossroads of natural and cultural heritage that forms a unique cultural landscape. Since the rediscovery of Petra by Johann Ludwig Burkhard aka Sheikh Ibrahim in 1812, the cultural heritage has attracted a large number of interested people who share an interest in the ancient history and culture of the Nabataeans, such as travelers, pilgrims, painters and scientists.

However, it was not until the end of the 19th century that archaeological researchers systematically approached the ruins. Since then, regular archaeological excavations and research into the Nabatean culture are part of today’s UNESCO world cultural heritage. Through excavations in the Archaeological Park of Petra, an increasing number of Nabataean cultural heritage is exposed to environmental impact. The large number of discoveries and the exposure of structures require numerous conservation measures respecting the interrelationship between the natural landscape and the cultural heritage, as this connection in particular is a central challenge at the UNECSO World Heritage Site.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of this second special travelogue about the ancient city of Petra, which would not have been possible without the help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in cooperation with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Jordanian culture and traditions. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very 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 this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about an ancient Petra? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Petra,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

SHARE THIS POST

Letters from Jordan: Amman and Jerash, Jewels of the Middle East you will love!

My dear travellers and lovers of unique trips, welcome to another new adventure on the Mr.M blog. Today we officially start a new series of travelogues about an exotic oriental country that is not known much about and therefore represents an unexplored gem of Western Asia – Jordan.

In today’s post, we will enjoy the beauty of two cities together: Amman, the capital of Jordan, and Jerash, an ancient city. Before starting today’s post, I would like to thank the National Tourism Board of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan – Visit Jordan for the warm invitation and the amazing experience to get to know the Jordanian culture and customs.

The view from my hotel room

As you are used to, I will first introduce you to some basic information about the country we are visiting. Jordan, the official name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a country in Western Asia. It is located at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe in the Levant region, on the east bank of the Jordan River. Jordan is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and east, Iraq to the northeast, Syria to the north and the Palestinian West Bank, Israel and the Dead Sea to the west. It has a coastline of less than 30 kilometers on the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea in the southwest. The Gulf of Aqaba separates Jordan from Egypt. Amman is the capital and largest city of Jordan, as well as its economic, political and cultural center.

Today’s Jordan has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic era. Three stable kingdoms appeared there at the end of the Bronze Age: Ammon, Moab and Edom. The later empires that arose were: the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, the Nabatean Kingdom, the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Rashidun, Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates and the Ottoman Empire.

After the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in 1916 during World War I, the Ottoman Empire was divided by Britain and France. The Emirate of Transjordan was founded in 1921 by Hashemite, then Emir Abdullah I, and the Emirate became a British protectorate. In the mid-20th century, Jordan became an independent state officially known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, but was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1949. Jordan is one of the founders of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The sovereign state is a constitutional monarchy, but the king has broad executive and legislative powers.

Jordan is a semi-arid country, covering an area of 89,342 km2, with a population of 10 million, making it the eleventh most populous Arab country. The dominant majority, or about 95% of the country’s population, are Sunni Muslims, with a predominantly Arab Christian minority. Jordan has been repeatedly referred to as an “oasis of stability” in the turbulent Middle East region. The country remained largely unscathed by the violence that gripped the region after the 2010 Arab Spring. Interesting information that Jordan has accepted refugees from several neighboring countries in conflict since the middle of the 20th century. An estimated 2.1 million Palestinian and 1.4 million Syrian refugees are present in Jordan. The kingdom is also a haven for thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing persecution by the Islamic State.

The graffiti you can see on the left represents the equality of men and women, this is considered a modern piece of Street Art.

Jordan has a high human development index, ranking 102nd, and is considered an upper-middle-income economy. Jordan’s economy, one of the smallest in the region, is attractive to foreign investors based on its skilled workforce. The country is a major tourist destination, which also attracts medical tourism due to its well-developed health sector.

Amman is the capital and at the same time the largest economic, political and cultural city of Jordan with slightly more than 4 million inhabitants. , Amman is the largest city in the Levant region, the fifth largest city in the Arab world and the ninth largest metropolitan area in the Middle East.

Some of the first official evidence of settlement in the area of present-day Amman dates back to the 8th millennium BC, at the Neolithic site known as Ain Ghazal, where the world’s oldest human-shaped statues were discovered. During the Iron Age, the city was known as Rabath Ammon and served as the capital of the Ammon Kingdom. In the 3rd century BC, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, rebuilt the city and renamed it “Philadelphia”, making it a regional center of Hellenistic culture. Under Roman rule, Philadelphia was one of the ten Greco-Roman cities of the Decapolis before being ruled directly as part of the province of Arabia Petraea.

The Rashidun Caliphate conquered the city from the Byzantines in the 7th century AD, restored its ancient Semitic name and called it Amman. During the Middle Ages, the city alternated between periods of destruction and abandonment and periods of relative prosperity as the center of the Balka region. Amman was largely abandoned from the 15th century until the end of the 19th century, when the Ottoman authorities began to settle the Circassians.

The first municipal council of Amman was established at the beginning of the 20th century. Amman witnessed rapid growth after being declared the capital of Transjordan in 1921, receiving migrants from various Jordanian and Levantine cities, and after several successive waves of refugees: Palestinians in 1948 and 1967; Iraqis in 1990 and 2003 and Syrians in 2011. It was originally built on seven hills, but now extends over 19 hills combining 22 areas, administered by the Greater Amman Municipality. The areas of Amman are named after the hills (Jabal) or the valleys (Wadi) they occupy, such as Jabal Lwaybde and Wadi Abdun. Eastern Amman is predominantly filled with historical sites that often host cultural activities, while western Amman is more modern and serves as the economic center of the city.

Over a million tourists visited Amman in 2018, officially making it the 89th most visited city in the world and the 12th most visited Arab city. Amman has a relatively fast growing economy and is ranked as a Beta-Global City by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Moreover, it has been declared one of the best cities in the Middle East and North Africa according to economic, labor, environmental and socio-cultural factors. The city is among the most popular locations in the Arab world for multinational corporations to open their regional offices, alongside Doha and Dubai.

Roman Forum and Theater

Amman is considered one of the most liberal cities in the Arab world. The city has become one of the most popular destinations for expats and students who want to live, study or work in the Middle East or the Arab world in general. The city’s culinary scene has changed from shawarma and falafel stands to include many popular international restaurants and fast food joints such as Asian restaurants, French bistros and Italian trattorias. The city has become famous for its fine dining scene among Western expats and tourists from the Persian Gulf.

The famous market located very close to the center of Amman

Souk Jara is one of the most famous outdoor markets managed by the Jabal Amman Residents Association (JARA). Large shopping malls were built during the 2000s in Amman, including Mecca Mall, Abdoun Mall, City Mall, Al-Baraka Mall, Taj Mall, Zara Mall, Avenue Mall and Abdali Mall in Al Abdali. Wakalat Street is the first pedestrian zone in Amman and famous fashion brands can be found here. The Sweifieh area is considered the main shopping district of Amman.

Nightclubs, music bars and shisha lounges are present all over Amman, changing the old image of the city as the conservative capital of the kingdom. This burgeoning new nightlife scene has been shaped by Jordan’s younger generations. In addition to a wide range of places to party, drink and dance in the company of the city’s rich entertainment, Amman hosts numerous cultural entertainment events, including the annual Amman Summer Festival. Souk Yara is Jordan’s weekly flea market event that takes place every Friday during the summer.

Local cuisine is considered a fusion of several cuisines in the region. It is known as the food of the Levant – an ancient word for the area bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Peninsula. But the food here is not just the sum of its calories. However, the real street food scene in the city makes Amman cuisine recognizable in the world.

Central streets of Amman

Many events take place in Amman, including events sponsored by Red Bull Soundclash and the Soapbox Race, the second part of the Jerash Festival, the Al-Balad Music Festival, the Amman Marathon, the Made in Jordan Festival, the Amman Book Festival and the New Think Festival. Venues for such cultural events often include the Roman Theater and Odeon Theater in the city center, Ras al Ain Hangar, King Hussein Business Park, Rainbow Theater and Shams Theatre, Royal Film Commission, Shoman Libraries and Darat al Funun, and the Royal Cultural Center in City Sports . In addition to major events and institutional planning, scholars highlight tactical urbanism as a key element of the city’s cultural fabric.

Downtown Amman

What is important to visit in Amman? When you came to the capital of Jordan, I think you should visit the Roman amphitheater that was built in the second century BC. Also, the Roman Theater is located in a place that is still the heart of the old part of Amman. A large part of the theater has been renovated, so many events are held there. In the immediate vicinity on the hill is the Citadel, from which you can enjoy the view of the city and the old part of the city.

Citadel

The Citadel was once the acropolis of the ancient city, of course even today visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the preserved ruins. One of the ruins is the Temple of Hercules, built in honor of Marcus Aurelius. The temple had four Corinthian columns, of which unfortunately only two survive today. Also on the Citadel you will find the remains of a Byzantine church from the 6th century, as well as numerous monuments that marked the beginning of Arab rule.

The Citadel has a long history of occupation by many great civilizations. Evidence of habitation has been found since the Neolithic, and the hill was fortified during the Bronze Age. The hill became the capital of the Kingdom of Amon sometime after 1200 BC. Later it came under the rule of empires such as the Neo-Assyrian Empire (8th century BC), the Neo-Babylonian Empire (6th century BC), the Ptolemies, the Seleucids (3rd century BC), the Romans (1st century BC), Byzantines (3rd century AD) and Umayyads (7th century AD). After the Umayyads, there was a period of decline and for most of the time until 1878, the former city became an abandoned pile of ruins used only sporadically by Bedouins and seasonal farmers. Despite this gap, the Amman Citadel is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world.

Most of the ruins still visible at the site date from the Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad periods. The main remains on the site are the Temple of Hercules, the Byzantine church and the Umayyad palace. The Archaeological Museum of Jordan was built on the hill in 1951. Although the fortification walls enclose the heart of the site, the ancient periods of occupation covered large areas.

The historic buildings, tombs, arches, walls and steps have no modern boundaries, and therefore there is significant archaeological potential at this site, as well as in the surrounding lands, as well as throughout Amman. Archaeologists have worked on the site since the 1920s, including Italian, British, French, Spanish and Jordanian projects, but much of the Citadel remains unexcavated.

The Jordan Archaeological Museum is located in the Amman Citadel. It was built in the middle of the 20th century and presents artifacts from archaeological sites in Jordan, dating from prehistoric times to the 15th century. The collections are arranged in chronological order and include objects from everyday life such as flint, glass, metal and pottery, as well as more artistic objects such as jewelry and statues. The museum also contains a collection of coins.

The museum previously housed some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, including the only copper scroll, which is now on display in the newly established Jordan Museum, along with the Ain Ghazal statues, which are among the oldest statues ever made by human civilization.

Jerash is a city in northern Jordan. The city is the administrative center of Jerash province and has a little more than 50,000 inhabitants. The first evidence of settlement in Jerash is found at the Neolithic site known as Tal Abu Sowan, where rare human remains dating back to 7500 BC have been discovered. Jerash flourished during the Greek and Roman periods until the middle of the eighth century. However, in 1120, Zahir ad-Din Toghtekin, the atabeg of Damascus, ordered a garrison of forty men to build a fort at an unknown site in the ruins of the ancient city, probably the highest point of the city walls in the north-eastern hills. It was captured in 1121 by Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, and then completely destroyed. Then the crusaders immediately left Jerash and retreated to Saqib.

Jerash was then abandoned until the Ottomans reappeared until the beginning of Ottoman rule in the early 16th century. However, archaeologists have found some evidence – a small Mamluk hamlet in the northwest quarter that indicates that Jerash was resettled before the Ottoman era. The ancient city was gradually discovered through a series of excavations that began in 1925 and continue to this day.

Today, Jerash is home to one of the best-preserved Greco-Roman cities, earning it the nickname “Pompeii of the East.” Approximately 330,000 visitors The Jerash Festival is held here, one of the leading cultural events in the Middle East that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.

The Jerash archaeological site has two museums where archaeological materials and relevant information about the site and its rich history are displayed. The Jerash Archaeological Museum, which is the older of the two museums, is located on top of a hill known as “Camp Hill” east of Cardo and overlooks the Oval Plaza (circular square). The small museum contains a chronological display of artifacts found in and around Jerash from prehistory to Islamic times.

The museum displays a unique group of small statues of a group identified as Muses of the Olympic Pantheon that were discovered in Jerash in 2016. The statues, which are of Roman date, were found in a fragmentary state and have been partially restored. The museum also contains a well-preserved late 4th to 5th century lead sarcophagus featuring Christian and pagan symbolism. The museum also has numerous sculptures, altars and mosaics on display outside.

The Jerash Visitor Center serves as a recent archaeological museum and presents the site of Jerash in a thematic approach focusing on the evolution and development of the city of Jerash over time, as well as the economy, technology, religion and daily life. The center also displays further sculptures discovered in Jerash in 2016, including restored statues of Zeus and Aphrodite, as well as a marble head thought to represent the Roman empress Julia Domna.

I would like to share with you another interesting fact about this amazing place. The legendary Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed for the first time in Jordan at the Oval Forum, the archaeological site of Jerash. The concert was held on September 18, 2017 organized by Friends of Jordan Festivals.

Mr. Bocelli is an international classical crossover tenor and has attracted many music lovers with the beauty of classical music. His performances were attended by many eminent figures from the world of politics, art and religious leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. This was a magnificent event that the people of Jordan still remember today.

Jerash has developed dramatically with the growing importance of the tourism industry in the city. Jerash is now the second most popular tourist attraction in Jordan, after the ruins of Petra. On the western side of the city, which contained most of the representative buildings, the ruins have been carefully preserved and spared from encroachment, and the modern city stretches east of the river that once divided ancient Jerash in two.

My dear travellers, we have come to the end of this first special post about the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Jordan Tourism Board – Visit Jordan in collaboration with local partners who allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of Jordanian culture. and traditions. Of course, as always, I tried my best to convey to you my impressions of this unusual experience from Jordan.

Time always flies when a person is having a good time! A person is rich in soul if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad that I always manage to find partners of my projects who help me to discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis of COVID-19.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to cooperate with companies that are the very 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 this unusual country in Western Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like my story about the Amman and Jerash? Have you had the chance to visit Jordan so far?

If you have any question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write me below in the comments. Of course, as always, you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT ME page. See you at the same place in a few days, with some new story!

With love from Amman,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Visit Jordan, as well as other local partners. This post is my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Sri Lanka: Kandyan Dance, a Unique Example of Sinhalese Culture…

My dear travelers and lovers of unusual journeys, welcome to another new adventure on the Mr.M blog. Today we continue our story about Sri Lanka and today we will learn more about Sinhalese culture together. Before I start today’s post I would like to thank the Sri Lankan Tourism Board for this amazing experience and for having the opportunity to continue my adventure on my favorite dream island!

If by any chance you missed any of my previous posts, take the opportunity to visit some of the previous stories at the following links:

  1. The Story about Colombo (Travelogue): LINK
  2. Unforgettable Fashion Safari in Sri Lanka: LINK
  3. My Safari Experience in Sri Lanka (Travelogue): LINK
  4. Sigiriya: The Magic of the Lost Kingdom (Travelogue): LINK
  5. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic (Travelogue): LINK

Who are the Sinhalese people?

The Sinhalese are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group of Sri Lankan descent. In history, they were known as Hela people. They make up about 75% of Sri Lanka’s population and have more than 15 million members community. Sinhalese ethnic identity is based on language, cultural heritage and nationality. Sinhalese speak Sinhala, an isolated Indo-Aryan language, and are predominantly Theravada Buddhists, although a minority of Sinhalese follow branches of Christianity and other religions.

Since 1815, they have been largely divided into two groups of peoples: the “Sinhalese of the Upper Lands” who inhabit the central mountain regions and the “Sinhalese of the Lower Lands” in the coastal regions, although both groups speak the same language. customs.

Sinhalese culture is unique, dating back more than 2,600 years and nurtured by Theravada Buddhism. The main features of Sinhalese culture are sculptures, fine arts, literature, dance, poetry and a wide range of traditional folk beliefs and numerous rituals. Ancient Sinhalese stone sculpture and inscriptions are known around the world and are a major attraction in modern tourism.

Sigiriya is known for its frescoes, which we wrote about in one of the previous posts. Interesting information from historical writings is that the workers sang their lives in folk songs to accompany their work and tell the story of their lives. Ideally, these songs consisted of four lines and in the composition of these songs, special attention was paid to the rhyming patterns. Buddhist festivals are interspersed with unique music that uses traditional Sinhalese instruments. Older rituals such as tovils (exorcism) continue to delight audiences today and have often praised and invoked the good powers of the Buddha and the gods to cast out demons.

The performing arts (dance) of Sinhalese can be categorized into several groups:

  1. Kandyan dance consists of 18 Vannam (dance routines) that depict the behaviors of various animals such as elephant, eagle, cobra, peacock, monkey and rabbit. These dance routines can be seen at the annual Perahara competition in Sri Dalada Malagawa Kandy.
  2. Pahatharata dance has a different significant style of dance that is used to cure diseases and spiritualize (spiritual enlightenment). The main feature of these dances is that the players wear masks that represent different gods and demons. Elements like fire and water are used to show people and bless their hopes.
  3. Sabaragamuwa dances also have a unique and significant dance style that is there to entertain the masses.

Folk music and dances differ significantly depending on the cast of Sinhalese. These dances are extremely popular among boys and girls who are brought up from an early age to nurture and preserve their culture. These types of art are performed during special events such as the Sinhalese New Year.

Kandyan dance encompasses various dance forms and routines that are popular and original in an area called Kandy, located in the Central Hills region, known as Udarata in Sri Lanka, which have also spread to other parts of the country today. This is an example of Sinhalese culture in Sri Lanka.

Let’s find out together which are some of the dances in Kandian dance, some of the many dances are: Ves dance, Naiyandi dance, Udarata dance, Pahatharata dance, Weeramunda Kankariya dance and Vannam.

Ves Dance

According to one well-known legend, the origin of Ves dance lies in a dance ritual known as Kohomba kankariya (named after the deity Kohomba), which is also known as Kohomba yak kankariya or simply kankariya. Masters of traditional dance believe that originally the king of a place called “Malaya Rata” and his two brothers performed the first Kohomba Kankariya. Some believe that this “Malaya Rata” was located in India.

According to legend, three shamans came to the island as a result of a trick of the god Shakra to cure King Panduwasdev, who was suffering from a mysterious unusual disease. It is said that the king suffers from a recurring dream in which the leopard directed its tongue towards the king, which is believed to be like the black magic of Kuweni, the first wife of King Vijaya. After performing Kohomba Kankariya, the disease disappeared, and many natives adopted the dance.

It was originally performed by dancers who were identified as a special caste under the feudal system of Kandyan. They were associated with the Temple of the Tooth and played a significant role in the Dalada Perahera (procession) held by the temple each year. The popularity of the dance weakened as support for dancers from the Kandyan Kings ceased during the British period. It is now revived and adapted for the stage and is the primary cultural export of Sri Lanka.

Ves dance, the most popular, originated from an ancient purification ritual, Kohomba iakuma or Kohomba kankariya. The dance was conciliatory, never secular, and was performed only by men. The intricate costume of Vesa, especially the head covering, is considered sacred and is believed to belong to the deity Kohombi. Only before the end of the 19th century, Vesa dancers were invited for the first time to perform in front of the Kankari Temple at the annual Kandy Peraher Festival. Today, the richly costumed Wes dancers represent the embodiment of Candian dance, which emphasizes the true and true culture of Sri Lanka.

Naiyandi Dance

Dancers in Naiyandi costume perform during the initial preparations for the Kohomba Kankari festival, during the lighting of lamps and the preparation of food for demons. The dancer wears a white cloth and a white turban, pearl ornaments on his chest, a belt, rows of pearls around his neck, silver chains, brass straps, ankle boots and jingles; just like the costume of Ves dancers except for the forehead. This is a graceful dance, which is also performed in the temples of Maha Visnu (Vishnu) and Kataragama Devales on festive occasions.

Udarata Dance

The percussive dance is a very prestigious and unusual show. The name of this dance comes from the word “udarata” – a small lacquered hand drum in the shape of an hourglass, about 18-20 cm high, which is believed to have been given to humans by the gods.

It is believed that the two skins of the drum were given by the god Iswara, and the sound by Visnu; The instrument is said to have been constructed according to the instructions of the Sacra and to have been played in the heavenly palace of the gods. It is a very difficult instrument to play. The dancer sings as he plays, tightening the strings to get variations in pitch.

Pahatharata Dance

The Patharata is an instrument dedicated to the goddess Pattina. It resembles a tambourine (without skin) and has small cymbals attached at intervals around its circumference. The dance is said to have originated in the days of Prince Siddhartha, who became a Buddha. The gods were believed to use this instrument to celebrate victories in war, and Sinhalese kings used Patharata dancers to celebrate victories on the battlefield.

The costume is similar to the costume of Udarata dancer, but the Patharata dancer does not wear a jacket with pearls and she replaced the silk handkerchief at the waist for the complex folds of the Udarata dancer.

Weeramunda Kankariya Dance

Weeramunda Kankariya and Kande Deviyan Pidima (evening ritual for the god of the mountain) can be identified as ceremonial dances rooted in the folk beliefs of the Kandyan Dewa people.

Vannam (Dance styles)

Originally, Vannam was a form of recitation. Most Vannam describe the behavior of animals such as elephants, monkeys, rabbits, peacocks, roosters, snakes and others. Later, the dancers used vannam as a background for their performance. There are 18 vannam in the Kandyan dance form. Traditionally, a dancer would have to learn to perform all these vannames before getting a Ves costume. The most famous among them are hanuma vannama (monkey), taste vannama (eagle) and gajaga vannama (elephant).

The word vannam comes from the Sinhala word varnana (descriptive praise). Ancient Sinhalese texts refer to a significant number of baths that were only sung, later adapted to solo dances, each of which expressed a dominant idea. Historical writings reveal that the king of Kandiana, Sri Veeraparakrama Narendrasinghe, gave a significant impetus to dance and music.

It is believed that coffee (poetry sung with music) was composed for eighteen major baths by an old sage named Ganithalankara, with the selfless help of a Buddhist priest from a temple in Kandy. Vannam is inspired by nature, history, legend, folk religion, folk art and sacred tradition, and each is composed and interpreted in a certain mood (rasaia) or expression of feelings. Eighteen classic baths are:

Gajaga Wannama (elephant), Thuranga Wannama (horse), Mayura Wannama (peacock), Ukkussa Wannama (eagle), Vyrodi Wannama (precious stones) Hanuma Wannama (monkey), Savula Wannama (rooster), Sinharaja Wannama (lion, lion king) , Nayyadi Wannama (cobra), as well as many others.

Although originally only men were allowed to train as dancers, there are now several schools that also train women in Kandyan dances. However, there is no definite Wes costume for women, and many dancers have adapted the men’s costume in different ways. There are currently only a few performances of Kohomba Kankariya for many social, economic and political reasons. The dance in its traditional form is still performed every year at Dalada Perhahera in Kandy.

Kandyan dance was adapted for the stage by Citrasena Diaz in the 1970s. In several ballets he choreographed, he used the movements and characteristics of Kandyan dance. In a way, its popularity has also helped reduce the caste barriers that surround dance and made it more enjoyable for urban, contemporary audiences. Many contemporary modern dancers in Sri Lanka have borrowed the Kandyan form of dance in their work.

Dear travelers, we have come to the end of this special post about the Sinhalese culture and wonderful Kandyan dances which would not be possible without the selfless help of the Sri Lankan Tourism Board in cooperation with local partners to feel the spirit and beauty of the Sri Lankan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual experience in Sri Lanka.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

I am honoured 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 amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual island country in South Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my experience with Kandyan dances? Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka before? Share with me your experiences, I am would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story from Sri Lanka!

Warm greetings from Sri Lanka,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Sri Lankan Tourism Board. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Sri Lanka: All the Secrets of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy…

Dear my travelers and lovers of extraordinary journeys welcome to the new post on Mr.M blog! Today we continue our adventure in magical Sri Lanka and discover some interesting facts about the The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. Before I start today’s post I would like to thank the Sri Lankan Tourism Board for this amazing experience and for having the opportunity to continue my adventure on my favorite dream island!

If by any chance you missed any of my previous posts, take the opportunity to visit some of the previous stories at the following links:

  1. The Story about Colombo (Travelogue): LINK
  2. Unforgettable Fashion Safari in Sri Lanka: LINK
  3. My Safari Experience in Sri Lanka (Travelogue): LINK
  4. Sigiriya: The Magic of the Lost Kingdom (Travelogue): LINK

Travel is one of the best non-formal ways of education. When you travel, you have the opportunity to come into direct touch with new cultures and religions, so you have the opportunity to expand your knowledge and interests. Travels are memories that no one can take away from you, every trip is unique and each of us should fill our passport pages with destinations that would ennoble the soul because the interests of each individual are different, and therefore the destinations we choose.

Before heading to a new and unusual destination, we must keep in mind that we should not build prejudices and that it is best to go and enjoy the beauty of diversity without thinking too much. Every culture brings with it some special rituals and customs, every nation has its own beliefs that each of us should respect.

The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic or Sri Dalada Maligawa, better known as the Glorious Tooth Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Kandy in Sri Lanka. It is located in the complex of the royal palace of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the Buddha’s tooth. From time immemorial, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic runs the state. The relic has historically been held by Sinhalese kings. The Temple of the Tooth is a World Heritage Site mainly because of the temple and the relic.

The monks from two special chapters, the chapter of Malwathu and the chapter of Asgiri, perform daily worship in the inner chamber of the temple. Rituals are performed three times a day: at dawn, at noon and in the evening. On Wednesday, the relics are symbolically bathed with a herbal preparation of fragrant water and fragrant flowers called Nanumura Mangallaya, it is believed that this holy water contains healing powers and is distributed to those present.

There is an interesting legend, in which way a relic like the Buddha’s tooth came to Sri Lanka. After the Maha parinirvana of Gautama Buddha, according to legend, the relic of the tooth was preserved in Kalinga and smuggled to the island by Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha, on the instructions of her father, King Guhasiva. Hemamali hid the relic in her hair on the way to the island. They landed on the island of Lankapatana during the reign of Sirimeghavana of Anuradhapura and handed over the relic of the tooth.

The king preserved it in Meghagiri Vihara (present-day Isurumuniya) in Anuradhapura. Keeping the relics has been the responsibility of the monarch ever since, so over the years keeping the relics has become a symbol of the right to rule the island. Therefore, the ruling monarchs built temples of relics of teeth quite close to their royal residences, as was the case in the time of the Kingdom of Anuradhapura, the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa and the Kingdom of Dambadeniya. During the era of the Kingdom of Gampola, the relic was placed in Niyamgampaja Vihari.

Poems about messengers such as Hamsa, Gira and Selalihini state that the temple of the relics of the tooth was located in the city of Sri Jayavardenpura Kota when the Kingdom of Kota was established there. During the reign of Darmapala of Kote, the relic was moved and hidden in Delgamuwa Vihara, Ratnapura, in a grinding stone.

It was brought to Kandy by Hirpitiye Diyawadana Rala and Devanagala Rathanalankara Thera. King Vimaladharmasuriya I built a two-story building to deposit the relics of the tooth and the building is now gone. Later, at the beginning of the 17th century, when the Portuguese kingdom invaded Kandy, it was taken to Meda Mahanuwara in Dumbara.

The Buddha’s Tooth was found during the time of Rajasinha II and there are historical records that the relic was returned to the original building or it is unconfirmed that a new temple was built. Today’s temple of the Buddha’s Tooth was built by Vira Narendra Sinha.

The octagonal Paththirippuva and the moat were added during the reign of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. The royal architect Devendra Moolacharia is credited with building Paththiripuva. Originally, the king used it for recreational activities, and later it was assigned to the relic of teeth, and now it houses the temple library.

The description of the architecture of this Buddhist temple is also interesting. The brick wall that stretches along the moat and Lake Bogambara is known as the wall of water waves. The holes in this wall are made to light coconut oil lamps. The main entrance gate above the moat is called Mahavahalkada. At the foot of the Mahavahalkada steps is the sandakada pahana (moonstone) which is carved in the Kandian architectural style.

Mahavahalkada was completely destroyed in a bomb blast in 1998 and rebuilt along with Sandakada Pahan with other stone carvings. Elephants are depicted in stone on both sides of the entrance. Makara Torana and two stone guards were placed at the top of the stairs. The chamber of the drummer Hevisi is located in front of the main shrine. The two floors of the main shrine are known as “Palle malaia” (lower floor) and “Udu malaia” (upper floor) or “Veda hitina maligava”. The door of the Veda Hitana Maligawa is ivory carvings. The real chamber where the relic of the tooth is kept is known as “Handun kunama”.

The golden canopy over the main shrine and the golden fence surrounding the temple complex were built in 1987 by then-Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadas. The relic of the tooth is wrapped in seven golden coffins engraved with precious stones. The relic of the Buddha’s Tooth is forbidden to paint, but it is a divine sight when you see the way in which such a shrine is kept.

Within this complex there is also the Royal Palace, an open hall for the audience. Vimaladharmasuriia I from Kandy built the Royal Palace in Kandy. The Royal Palace is located north of the temple. The Royal Palace is also known as “Maligawa”. There were three Vahalkadas and a wall almost 2.5 m high which was used as the main entrance. The part of the palace facing Natha Devale is the oldest.

During the beginning of the British period, it was used by government agent Sir John D’Oyley, the 1st Baronet from Kandy. D’Oili’s heirs continued to use it as their official residence. Today it is preserved as an archeological museum. Ulpen Ge and Queens Palace are connected palace buildings.

The audience hall or magul maduva is the place where the kings of Kandy kept their court. It was completed during the reign of Sri Vikrama Rajasinha. The carvings of the wooden pillars that support the wooden roof are an example of wood carving from the Kandy period. Sri Rajadhi Rajasinha from Kandy built this hall in 1783. The hall was renovated to receive Albert Edward, Prince of Wales in 1872.

The audience hall was the place where the Candian Convention was drawn up, where the convention was read to the people and where the conference on the convention was held on March 2, 1815. That space was later used to raise Kandy Kachcheri and Kandy Supreme Court. Today it is used for state ceremonies and is kept within the Department of Archeology.

Dear travelers, we have come to the end of this special post about the most famous symbol of Sri Lanka – The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which would not be possible without the selfless help of the Sri Lankan Tourism Board in cooperation with local partners to feel the spirit and beauty of the Sri Lankan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual experience in Sri Lanka.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

I am honoured 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 amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual island country in South Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my experience in The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic? Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka before? Share with me your experiences, I am would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story from Sri Lanka!

Warm greetings from Sri Lanka,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Sri Lankan Tourism Board. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Sri Lanka: Sigiriya, the Magic of the Lost Kingdom…

My dear travelers and lovers of unusual adventures, welcome to the new adventure on the Mr.M blog! Today’s letter will be dedicated to one of the most famous landmarks of Sri Lanka – Sigiriya. Before I start today’s post I would like to thank the National Tourism Board of Sri Lanka for this amazing experience and for having the opportunity to continue my adventure on my favorite dream island!

The name Sigiriya itself means “Lion’s Rock” and is a symbol of this unusual island country. There is no tourist who came to Sri Lanka without visiting the famous rock that is on the UNESCO list of cultural sites of World Heritage in Asia and Oceania. What is the story that is passed down through the generations, from generation to generation?

Sigiriya used to be a kingdom at the “top of the world”, which was later turned into a Buddhist monastery. This historic landmark, a former fortification, is located in the northern part of the Matadalle District near the city of Dambulla in the Central Province. It is a place of exceptional historical and archeological significance, dominated by a massive pillar of rock about 180 meters high.

According to ancient Sri Lankan history, this area was a large forest, and after storms and landslides it became a hill and King Kashyapa chose it as the ideal place for his new capital. Legend has it that on top of this unusual scene, the king built his palace and decorated its walls with colorful frescoes. He made a gate in the shape of a huge lion on a small plateau of this rock. The name of this place comes from this word structure: “Sinhagiri” – Lion’s Rock (Lion’s City).

The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Today, Sigiriya is proudly on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning of the city.

As you are used to, today I will do my best to tell you some historical interesting facts and facts related to this unusual rock. According to some historical writings, it is believed that the area around Sigiriya has been inhabited since prehistoric times. There is ample concrete evidence that many shelters and caves nearby were inhabited by Buddhist monks and ascetics as early as the 3rd century BC. The earliest evidence of human settlement in Sigiriya is the shelter in the rocks of Aligala, which is located east of the Sigiriya rock, which indicates that this area was occupied almost five thousand years ago during the Mesolithic period.

Buddhist monastic settlements were founded during the 3rd century BC on the western and northern slopes of the hills sprinkled with boulders that surround the Sigiriya rock. During this period, several stone shelters – caves were created. These shelters are made under large boulders, with carved edges around the cave entrances. Inscriptions on the rocks are carved near the edges of many shelters, recording the donations of the shelter to the Buddhist monastic order as residences. They are believed to have originated between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD.

How did King Kashyapa come to Sigiriya? Kashyapa I, the king’s son from his non-royal wife in 477 AD, took the throne from King Dhatusena, after a coup with the help of Moggallana, the king’s nephew and army commander. The real heir, Moggallana, fearing for his life, fled to southern India.

Frightened by the attack of Moggallana, Kashyapa moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the safer Sigiriya. During the reign of King Kashyapa (from 477 to 495 AD), Sigiriya developed into a complex city and fortress. Most of the complex structures on and around the rock, including defensive structures, palaces and gardens, date from this period.

Cūḷavaṃsa describes King Kashyapa as the son of King Dhatusena. Cūḷavaṃsa or Chulavamsa (Pala: “Little Chronicle”) is a historical record, written in Pali, about the monarchs of Sri Lanka. Kashyapa killed his father by walling him up alive, and then usurped the throne that rightfully belonged to his half-brother Moggallani, Dhatusena’s son from the real queen. Moggallana fled to India to avoid being killed by Kashyapa, but swore revenge.

He raised an army in India with the intention of returning and re-occupying the throne of Sri Lanka, which he considered his right. Anticipating the inevitable return of Moggallana, Kashyapa reportedly built his palace on top of Sigiriya as a fortress and palace for enjoyment. Moggallana finally arrived, declared war and defeated Kashyapa in 495. During the battle, Kashyapa’s army abandoned him and he committed suicide with his sword.

Cūḷavaṃsa and a legend passed down for generations say that the fighting elephant on which Kashyapa was sitting changed course to take a strategic advantage, but the army misinterpreted the movement as if the king had decided to withdraw, leading the army to abandon it altogether. It is said that, because he was too proud to surrender, he took the sword off his belt, cut his throat, proudly raised his sword, put it in its scabbard and fell dead. Moggallana returned the capital to Anuradhapura, turning Sigiriya into a Buddhist monastery complex, which survived until the 13th or 14th century.

After this period, no records of Sigiriya were found until the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was briefly used as an outpost of the Kingdom of Kandy.

There are other legends where King Dhatusena has the main role of the builder of Sigiriya, and Kashyapa finished the work in honor of his father. Other stories describe Kashyapa as the playboy king, with Sigiriya as his palace of pleasure. Even Kashyapa’s final destiny is uncertain. In some versions, he is killed by the poison given to him by the concubine, while in the official “braver” version, he heroically cuts his own throat when he deserted in his last battle. There is some research that has come to some evidence that this place is the work of a Buddhist community, without a military function. This location may have been important in the competition between the Buddhist traditions of Mahayana and Theravada in ancient Sri Lanka.

Professor Senarath Paranavithana’s book “The Story of Sigiriya” says that King Dhatusena listened to the advice of the Persian Nestorian priest Mag Brahman on the construction of his palace in Sigiriya. According to Paranavithana, during this period over seventy-five ships carrying Murundi soldiers from Mangalore arrived in Sri Lanka and landed in Chilaw to protect King Dathusena.

In the middle of the 19th century, Major Jonathan Forbes of the 78th Highlanders of the British Army, while returning on his horse from a trip to Pollonnuruwa, came across “the forest-covered peak of Sigiriya”. Sigiriya was in the special center of attention of the antiquarian because of the unusual precious objects, and later also the archaeologists. The first archeological works in Sigiriya began at the end of the 19th century on a smaller scale. H.C.P. Bell was the first archaeologist to conduct extensive research on Sigiriya. The Cultural Triangle project, launched by the Sri Lankan government, focused on Sigiriya in 1982. As part of this project, archeological works on the entire city began for the first time. A lion’s head was sculpted above his feet and paws near the entrance, but unfortunately his head collapsed many years ago.

Sigiriya consists of an ancient citadel built by King Kashyapa during the 5th century. The Sigiriya site contains the ruins of the upper palace located on the flat top of the rock, the middle level terrace which includes the Lion’s Gate and the wall of mirrors with its frescoes, the lower palaces hold the slope below the rocks. The moats, walls and gardens of the palace stretched several hundred meters from the foot of the rock. The site was both a palace and a fortress. The upper palace at the top of the rock includes cisterns that are cut into the rock itself.

Sigiriya is considered to be one of the most important urban sites of the first millennium, and the plan of this impressive site is considered to be very elaborate and imaginative. The plan combined the concepts of symmetry and asymmetry to intentionally connect the geometric and natural forms of the man-made environment. On the west side of the rock is a park for royal families, set on a symmetrical plane. This park contains water retention structures, including sophisticated surface / underground hydraulic systems, some of which still operate today.

To the south of the rock is an artificial reservoir; these were largely used from the former capital of the dry zone of Sri Lanka. There are five gates at the entrances. It is believed that the more complex western gate was exclusively reserved for royal families.

There is one part of the rock that is painted with beautiful frescoes which unfortunately cannot be photographed, there are guards who keep the frescoes and making photos is not allowed, the frescoes are amazing and really worth visiting and enjoying the beauty of art made by man almost 5,000 years ago… Frescoes cover larger part of the western side of the rock, an area about 140 meters long and 40 meters high. However, a large part of the frescoes was lost forever and a small part remained, which can be seen today during a tour of Sigiriya during the descent from the rock.

After the great symbol of Sri Lanka, I would like to present you an amazing camp in nature where you can stay during your visit of this magical island. Situated among rolling hills, lush greenery and exceptional nature, the Wild Glamping Knuckles offers a completely different experience of atypical luxury camping in the central plateau of Sri Lanka.

With ten highly designed luxury tents ideally positioned amid the misty hills, the campsite allows guests to indulge in the beauties of nature while enjoying the modern comforts of camping. There is no internet or network telephone signal, so all you have to do is enjoy nature and the fantastic specialties prepared by the staff of this hotel from products that they grow or procure from local farms.

This unusual camp belongs to the group of hotels Theme Resorts & Spas, where you will always receive a special personalized exceptional service with a welcome smile. During my stay, I had a feeling of adrenaline because I had the opportunity to stay in tents, which I have not practiced for years.

In this luxury camp located in the Knuckles mountain range in Sri Lanka, there is an idyllic place where you can find refuge among the beautiful hills of the Central Province. The picturesque and secluded surroundings of Wild Glamping Knuckles offer its guests the opportunity to experience the adventure of the Knuckles mountain range and the surrounding wild flora and fauna, while enjoying the harsh and cold climate and the serenity of the rainforest and mountains.

Dear adventurers, we have come to the end of this special post about the most famous symbol of Sri Lanka – Sigiriya (Lion Rock) and an unusual camp, which would not be possible without the selfless help of the Sri Lankan Tourism Board in cooperation with local partners like Wild Glamping Knuckles. to feel the spirit and beauty of the Knuckles mountain range and Sri Lankan culture and tradition. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual experience in Sri Lanka.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

I am honoured 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 amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual island country in South Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my experience in Sigiriya and Wild Glamping Knuckles? Have you maybe had the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka before? Share with me your experiences, I am would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story from Sri Lanka!

Warm greetings from Sri Lanka,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Sri Lankan Tourism Board and Wild Glamping Knuckles camp which is a member of Theme Resorts and Spas group. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Sri Lanka: The Beauty of the Safari Experience in Hurulu Eco Park!

Dear my travelers, welcome to the new post on Mr.M blog! Today may be April 1st, but I don’t have an April Fool’s joke for you, but that’s why I’ve prepared a new story and I’m taking you on a new adventure! Today we continue our tour of Sri Lanka and I am very excited to share pictures from the safari experience with you. During the trip, when I shared my Instagram stories, a lot of people sent me emails and messages with questions regarding the safari experience in Sri Lanka. What a safari really looks like on this unusual island and what can really be expected, I will try to convey to you in today’s post. Before I start today’s post I would like to thank the Sri Lankan Tourism Board for this amazing experience and for having the opportunity to continue my adventure on my favorite dream island in South Asia!

If by any chance you did not manage to read my first letter from Sri Lanka or you want to remind yourself of some interesting details, take the opportunity to get acquainted with the jewel of Sri Lanka – Colombo and see what you can visit in this unusual city! You can read my previous story at the following link.

I am sure that many of you are wondering what the safari, wildlife and national parks of Sri Lanka really look like, so I think now it’s the perfect time to describe this amazing experience to you!

Sri Lanka is an island country that is rich in diversity of geographical relief forms with extremely rich flora and fauna. Sri Lanka is a true paradise for all nature and animal lovers. There are 26 national parks and over 500 protected areas on this small island, which together cover about 27% of Sri Lanka’s area. The modest size of Sri Lanka allows you to experience all these little natural wonders in a relatively short period of time.

Before embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, consider whether you would like to go back to a bygone era, where architecture was still earthy, food more “organic”, surrounded by many species of birds and diverse trees. Would it be interesting to go back to an era when animals lived with humans with mutual trust?

If you want to feel the spirit of those times at least for a while, my sincere advice is to stay during your vacation in Sri Lanka at Cinnamon Lodge Habarana, a hotel surrounded by over 2000 trees, which are home to various animals such as serpent eagles, kingfishers and monkeys. This is an interesting coexistence of life, so if you still want to be in direct contact with nature and add a little color that will enhance your vacation, consider staying in this hotel, which will become your “distant exotic home” for at least a few days, the lifetime experience which you will remember for a long time.

Today I will share with you some of the useful tips which national parks you could visit in Sri Lanka and with great pleasure see some of your favorite animals or just simply enjoy the unreal landscapes and the beauty and scents of unusual exotic plants. If you want to see certain animals you can visit the following national parks:

Leopards: Yala National Park, Wilpattu National Park.
Elephants: Udawalawa National Park, Minneriya / Kaudulla National Park, Wasgamuwa National Park and Hurulu Eco Park.
Bears and Sloths: Wilpattu National Park
Exotic bird species: Bundala National Park, Kumana National Park, Gal Oya National Park.
If you want to enjoy amazing landscapes: Horton Plains National Park, Gal Oya National Park.

Hurulu Eco Park is the smallest of all three national parks in the vicinity of Habarana and Polonnaruwa. The animals here are not fenced with electric wire, so it is possible for animals to move within these three national parks (Minneriya, Kaudulla and Hurulu Eco Park).

This eco park is located in the north central province of Sri Lanka, which is reserved for all adventurers who are truly in search of Sri Lankan culture and heritage, but you can also enjoy the unrealistically beautiful landscapes and wildlife of Sri Lanka and the advanced ecosystem with various animal species. Just outside Habarana is the Hurulu Eco Park, on the edge of the Hurulu Forest Reserve.

There are many protected areas near Hurulu Eco Park, such as the strict Ritigila Nature Reserve and Wasgamuwa National Park. This reserve serves as a natural habitat for Sri Lankan elephants, and tourists can enjoy a jeep safari organized to admire these giant mammals up close. Visitors also have the opportunity to see other endemic (local) animals such as the Sri Lankan leopard and various exotic species of birds from the jungle.

There is a dry period of three to six months, from April to September, but a visit excluding these months will be promising. With a special jungle corridor connecting Hurulu Eco Park with two other major national parks nearby (Minneriya and Kaudulla), elephant herds can always move freely between these three places, so the chances of seeing elephants are great for all fans of these giant mammal.

The average annual temperature in this reserve is around 27 to 28 ° C. This area receives 1600 mm of precipitation per year, the extremely dry season of three to six months lasts from April to May to September. The altitude of this area ranges between 90 m and 150 m above sea level.

What does the migration of elephants between Minneria, Kaudula and Hurulu Eco Park look like?

There are three national parks in this region of Sri Lanka. These are Minneriya National Park, Kaudulla National Park and Hurulu Eco Park. All three parks are extremely popular with locals and tourists around the world because of their large herds of elephants.

Generally, every year from July to September, large groups of elephants are in the Minneriya National Park, and then migrate to the Kaudulla National Park during October to November due to heavy rains and the filling of the lake. Shortly afterwards, the elephants set off for Hurulu Eco Park as their last part of migration during December and January.

What does a visit to Hurulu Eco Park look like? You can choose between morning and evening safaris depending on your preferences and desires.

Before entering the park, meet your experienced safari tour driver in front of your hotel or in front of the agreed place and set off on a 2.5-hour tour of the park in special safari jeeps.

You will have an amzing opportunity to see elephants enjoying their natural habitat in the tall grass and forest. Of course, during the visit, you will see a variety of wild animals in the park, including grey langers, purple-faced leaf monkeys and various exotic bird species.

When the tour of the park is over, the driver will return you to the hotel or to the agreed original place of departure. Everything is extremely easy and simple, everything is tailored to your needs and you just need to enjoy and indulge in the beauties of nature. Of course, don’t forget to recharge the batteries of your cameras and mobile phones, because these are the moments you just need to capture!

The evening was slowly starting to fall, the elephants were extremely nice and willing to pose, I enjoyed this visit, but the time for dinner was approaching and little Marko just wanted to see which cakes will be on the menu! I left Hurula Eco Park with a smile on my face and great hope and desire that I will soon return and enjoy the beauty of the safari in this exotic island country!

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this special post about the Sri Lankan safari in Hurulu Eco Park, which would not have been possible without the help of the Sri Lankan Tourism Board in cooperation with local partners such as Cinnamon Lodge Habarana Hotel. They made it possible for me to feel the beauty of Habarana and Sri Lankan culture, tradition and amzing wildlife. Of course, as always, I tried to share with you my impressions of this unusual experience in Sri Lanka.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

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 amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual island country in South Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about my safari experience in Hurulu Eco Park? Have you maybe had the opportunity to be on safari? Share with me your experiences, I am would be glad to hear!

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story from Sri Lanka!

Warm greetings from Habarana,

Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Sri Lankan Tourism Board and Cinnamon Lodge Habarana Hotel. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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Letters from Sri Lanka: Colombo, an Exotic Metropolis on the other Side of the World…

My dear travelers, today is the perfect time to delight you with new travelogues in the “Travel Letters” section that you have all loved during the 7 years of the Mr.M blog. The past 2 years have been very difficult and uncertain for many industries, but one of the industries that lost the most during the pandemic is tourism. Things are slowly returning to the normal, the old life we all know well continues and we have the opportunity to do the activities we love once again.

Just one email from my friends from the Ministry of Tourism of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka was enough to get out of the comfort and fear zone due to the current health situation and go to my favorite dream island that I had the opportunity to visit for the first time in 2018. If by any chance you want to remind yourself what my first adventure in Sri Lanka looked like, you can visit this link where you can find all the travel stories that accompanied my first visit to this exotic country.

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is an island country in South Asia. If we look at its geographical position, the island is located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of the Bay of Bengal and southeast of the Arabian Sea, and is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Manar and the Palk Strait.

An interesting fact is that Sri Lanka shares a maritime border with India and the Maldives. There is one fact that few people know about, and that is that Sri Jaiavardenepura Kotte is the legislative capital of Sri Lanka, while Colombo is the largest city on the island and also a financial, political and cultural center.

The members of the team, which consists of people from the Ministry of Tourism and the National Tourist Board of Sri Lanka, really made a real effort to devise a travel itinerary and program that will inspire every traveler to spend their vacation in this distant exotic destination. When you come to Sri Lanka, you realize that all the roads lead from Colombo to further unusual places on the island, so that’s how I started my adventure.

My best travel buddy during my adventures around the world – Bric’s

Colombo is the largest commercial city on the island, the city center of Colombo alone has a population of almost 6 million people. This metropolis is the financial center of the island and the main tourist destination. Colombo is on the west coast of the island and next to the Greater Colombo area which includes Sri Jayavardenpura Kote, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka and Dehivala-Mount Lavinia.

Many people often call Colombo the capital because Sri Jaiavardenepura Kotte is located within the urban / suburban area of Colombo. Colombo is a unique, bustling and vibrant city with a mix of modern life, colonial buildings and historical monuments.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the manager and staff of the The Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo, who really did their best to make me feel at home. This nation is known as one of the best hosts and due to its cordiality and exceptional hospitality they are at the very top in the tourism industry.

My first day in Sri Lanka began with a tour of Colombo with the selfless help of Mrs. Rajini de Silva Mendis, who is the founder of the largest travel agency Ebert Silva Holidays in Sri Lanka. The members of her team made an effort to fulfill my plan and program and to spend an exceptional day in Colombo. Let’s (re)discover the beauties of this exceptional city together!

If we take a good look at the geographical relief of Colombo, we can conclude that it is an unusual mixture of land and water. The city has many canals and in the heart of the city is Lake Beira. The lake is one of the most prominent sights of Colombo and colonists have used it for centuries to defend the city. Today, this lake is becoming a local tourist attraction, where various public events are held every day, such as regattas and theater performances on the shores of the lake. The northern and northeastern borders of the city of Colombo are “drawn” by the river Kelani, which meets the Indian Ocean in the part of the city known as Modera.

Now we come to the favorite part that interests all true adventurers… What to visit if the road leads you to Colombo?

Galle Face Green city promenade is located in the heart of the city along the coast of the Indian Ocean and this locality is equally interesting to tourists and residents, believe me, it never leaves you indifferent. Galle Face Hotel is a historical landmark on the southern edge of this promenade.

The Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo. The architecture of the temple shows an eclectic mix of architecture from Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and China.

Viharamahadevi Park (formerly Victoria Park) is an urban park located next to the Colombo National Museum and the City Hall. It is the oldest and largest park in Colombo and has a large Buddha statue.

As part of the Government of Sri Lanka’s Urban Regeneration Program, many old sites and buildings have been converted into modern public spaces for recreation and shopping. The program also includes Independence Memorial Square, Floating Pettah Market and the Old Dutch Hospital and many other sites.

Now we will go together on an interesting and detailed tour of the National Museum of Colombo. The Colombo National Museum, better known as the National Museum of Sri Lanka, is one of the two museums in Colombo. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. The museum contains many rich collections of great national importance to Sri Lanka, such as the royal regalia of the country, including the throne and crown of Monarch Kandy, as well as many other exhibits that can “tell” you an unusual story of ancient Sri Lanka.

The Colombo Museum, as the museum was originally called, was founded on January 1, 1877. Its founder was Sir William Henry Gregory, then British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The Royal Asian Society was instrumental in informing Gregory of his appointment as governor in 1872 on the need for a public museum, with many problems, and approval to build and open a museum was obtained by the legislature in record time.

Architect James George Smitter, who was in charge of designing the museum’s plan, was able to prepare projects for a completely new structure in the Italian style. The construction of the building was completed in 1876, and the museum started working the following year.

In January 1877, Governor Gregory declared the Colombo Museum open, in the presence of a large number of guests.

In the period between 1877 and 1999, the museum authorities undertook numerous efforts to exhibit exclusively the cultural and natural heritage of the country. Over the years, several new wings have been added to the museum and everything has been added from time to time. The museum received the status of a national museum during the period of P. E. P. Deraniiagal. He opened branches of museums in Jaffna, Kandy and Ratnapura, and a full-fledged department of the National Museum was founded in 1942. In the end, nine branches were opened, and a new school science program and a mobile museum service were also opened.

The museum has a copy of the Tara statue, three-quarters of the life-size Tara statue currently housed in the British Museum. Numerous royal jewels and the throne of the last King Kandy, which was returned to Sri Lanka by the British government, are also in the museum’s collection. The ground floor exhibition galleries are arranged in chronological historical order, and the exhibitions on the first floor are divided thematically.

The library was also founded on January 1, 1877. The State Oriental Library was incorporated into the library of the National Museum of Colombo and served as the core of the collection by collecting local publications for the past 130 years. The library functioned as the unofficial national library of Sri Lanka and became the first official library on the island. From the very beginning, special attention was paid to the creation of a collection related to Sri Lanka, Orientation and Natural Sciences.

One of the important facts is that in 1982, Dr. Thelma Gunawardena became the first woman director of the Colombo National Museum. She performed her function of the director of the museum in the period from 1982 to 1994.

From 1972 to 1991, prof. Pandula Andagama was the head of the Department of Anthropology and the assistant director of the National Museum. During his tenure, he established an anthropological deposit in the National Museum. He also organized numerous temporary exhibitions at the National Museum.

The National Museum is maintained by the Department of National Museums and while Portuguese buildings are perhaps less noticeable in Colombo, there are still plenty of Dutch and British buildings. The National Museum is visited by students, local and foreign tourists, numerous researchers and world media. Sri Lanka has a long history and this museum is a testament to their proud history.

The National Museum is the largest museum in Sri Lanka and contains collections of great cultural significance. These collections are also a good source for detailed research, especially for people studying history because they provide useful information.

The Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo because it is a mixture of modern architecture and cultural heritage. Located on Beira Lake, it was built in the late 19th century. The architecture of the temple shows an extraordinary mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese architecture.

This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is located not far from the calm waters of Lake Beira on land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of wetland. It has the main characteristics of Vihara (temple), Cetiia (Pagada), Bodhitree, Vihara Mandiraia, Seema malaka (monk gathering hall) and Relic. In addition, the premises include a museum, library, residential hall, three-story Pirivena, educational halls and a charity hall.

Today, Gangaramaya serves as a place of Buddhist worship and a center of learning. The temple is involved in Buddhist social assistance, including nursing homes, vocational schools and orphanages. The temple is uniquely attractive and tolerant towards members of many different religions. He was instrumental in establishing the Buddhist Temple on Staten Island (USA), the Buddhist Center in New York, and the Buddhist Center in Tanzania, thus helping to propagate the Dhamma in other countries.

Seema Malaka is a Buddhist temple in Colombo, which is mainly used for meditation and rest, and not for worship. Located in Lake Beira, the temple was originally built in the late 19th century. Seema Malaka is part of the Gangaramaja temple and is located a few hundred meters east of it.

The original structure slowly sank into the water in the 1970s. in 1976, but in 1976, Sri Lankan architect Jeffrey Bawa was invited to redesign and build the temple, which we have the opportunity to see today.

The temple was built on three special platforms that hold the temple above the water and are connected to the mainland and to each other by pontoon bridges. The main roof of the temple is covered with blue tiles, and the temple is made of collected spindles and handrails in wooden finishes. The architecture of the building is reminiscent of the Kandy era.

All three platforms have a large number of seated Buddha statues depicting various sages. On the main (central) platform there is a shelter made of wooden meditation boards. On one of the side platforms is the Bodhi tree which was grown from a branch of the Jaia Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura. The four corners of the side platform have small shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Kataragama deviyo and Ganesha. At the entrance to the temple there is a sanctuary dedicated to Guanyin, and in the temple complex there is another statue of Guanyin.

Lotus Tower, also known as Colombo Lotus Tower is a tower that is 350 m high. Many consider it a modern symbol of Colombo and the whole of Sri Lanka. The lotus tower is used for communication, observation and other leisure activities. According to media reports, the construction of the tower cost over 100 million dollars.

The design of this building is inspired by the lotus flower. The lotus symbolizes the purity of Sri Lankan culture and is also considered to symbolize the flourishing development of the country. The base of the tower is inspired by the lotus throne and will also be formed by two inverted trapezoids. It is planned that the color of the tower will be alternately pink and light yellow with a smooth transition – an effect that is achieved by special coating of glass.

The view from the top is amazing and as I found out there are plans to open a luxury rotating restaurant that will have the best panorama of the city in the palm of your hand. Who knows, watching this karma of mine, I might find myself in magical Colombo again in 4 years!

Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil also known as Kapikaawatha Shivan Temple was built in the 17th century by a group of Indian Chetti traders known as “Thiruvilanga Nakarathar” who moved to Sri Lanka for business. Sri Kailawasanathan Swami Devasthanam Kovil Temple is one of the city’s most visited attractions. No tickets are required to visit this place. It is good to visit this Hindu temple during the morning hours due to less crowds.

This area is a good place for meditation because it is a special oasis filled with peace and tranquility. If you are lucky, you can attend a Hindu Tamil wedding in this temple. Indian Hindu tourists come to this temple to participate in the Poojas Temple and to receive a blessing from the temple priests.

What other interesting sights can you see in Colombo?

The two towers of the World Trade Center were once the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Before they were completed in 1997, the neighboring tower of the Bank of Ceylon was the tallest building and the most prominent city landmark.

Before the skyscrapers were built, it was the Old Parliament building that stood magnificently in Fort County with the Old Columbus Lighthouse nearby. Another important landmark is the Independence Hall on Independence Square in the Cinnamon Fields.

Even before the parliament was built, some claim that sailors approaching the port recognized the Colombo Mosque as the Mosque of Ul-Alfar. The mosque is still one of the most visited tourist places in Colombo.

Another landmark is the Church of St. Paul in Milagiriya, one of the oldest churches in Sri Lanka, first built by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the British in 1848. The Cargills & Millers building in Fortu is also a protected building of historical significance.

Galle Face Green is the largest and most elegant city promenade. Surrounded by coconut trees and along the coast, this mile-long part of the heart of the city is a constant hive of activities. The greenery is especially busy on Fridays and Saturdays. In the evening, it hosts families and children who play sports and kite flying, lovers who hug under umbrellas and health lovers on evening walks. There are numerous small food stalls and a small part of the beach. Green often hosts international and local concerts and performances, such as the World Drum Festival.

The cannons that were once placed on the ramparts of the old fortress of Colombo were placed for respect and prestige on Green, giving the city a colonial spirit. The colonial-style Galle Face Hotel, known as the Asian Emerald on the Green since 1864, is located near the Galle Face Green. The hotel has hosted guests such as the British royal family and other royal guests and celebrities from the worlds of politics and film.

My dear travelers, we have come to the end of this special post about the jewel of Sri Lanka – Colombo, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Ministry of Tourism of Sri Lanka in cooperation with local partners such as Ebert Silva Holidays and The Kingsbury Hotel. Colombo and Sri Lankan cultures and traditions. Of course, as always, I tried to share my impressions of this unusual city in Sri Lanka.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global health crisis COVID-19.

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 amazing adventure and for allowing me to experience the beauty of this unusual island country in South Asia in a completely different way.

How did you like this story of mine about Colombo? Have you had the opportunity to visit this city in Sri Lanka so far?

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via email or social networks, all addresses can be found on the CONTACT page. See you in the same place in a couple of days, with a new story from Sri Lanka!

Warm greetings from Colombo,

Mr.M

In the next post, I will share with you my impressions from the safari!

This post is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism of Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Tourism Board, The Kingsbury Hotel, Ebert Silva Holidays and Bric’s brand. This post presents my personal and honest review of the destination experience.

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My Side of the World: Sonja Lapatanov

My dear adventurers, how are you today? After the first special blog post – an interview with Ms. Vesna Jugović de Vinca, I received a lot of emails and messages on social networks with suggestions whose “side of the world” you would like to see on my blog. I admit that I received a lot of interesting proposals, but one name stood out in particular – Sonja Lapatanov.

Sonja Lapatanov

She is one of the most famous ballet artist, choreographer and adventurer. Sonja Lapatanov, a world traveler who has traveled over 100 countries around the world. She has written several exceptional travel books (In Serbian language, these titles are just translated): In the lap of the Himalayas, Paradise Islands, Mama Africa, Mundo Maya, The Milky Way of the Ocean, The Green Continent. This tireless creative and adventurous soul took advantage of the days of quarantine and is just finishing her new book, which should soon be on our favourite shelves in bookstores all over Serbia and Balkan.

Algeria: Miraculous formations in the Sahara

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Sonja for her time and for being able to share with us the memories of her amazing journeys. This interview will be really special and will be divided into two parts. Let’s go on a trip around the world with our famous world traveler Sonja Lapatanov!

Algeria: Among carpets and pillows

1. You are raised in a medical family and I’m sure you’ve been surrounded by white coats since childhood. How did you resist that phenomenon and become a ballerina?

Sonja Lapatanov: Medicine and white coats were a family tradition and an integral part of my life. I was surrounded by doctors, books in the field of medicine, stethoscopes, pressure gauges, beakers, surgical instruments, various bottles and patients, because my grandfather had an office in the house, until the then government banned private practice. It was logical for me to continue the family tradition and for dermatovenerology to be my specialty.

Southern Ethiopia: In the village of Konso people

In the house where we lived, Russian emigrants gathered. Among them was Mr. Bogdanovski. I was a restless child, so he suggested to my parents that he take me to the ballet school “Lujo Davičo”, where my indomitable temperament would be curbed through physical engagement. That’s how it started!

Pakistan: Famous Pakistani trucks

2. You have an interesting combination of Russian-German origin. What led you more in life: Russian poetics or German pragmatism?

Sonja Lapatanov: It depended on the situation. But it was not always easy to choose the east, or the west, which constantly intersect in my being. In childhood and early youth, the Russian soul was more dominant, and as life inevitably progressed, the German Prussian heritage prevailed.

Libya, Sahara: the magical desert Mandara lakes

3. What was your first association with Belgrade in the late fifties and sixties of the 20th century? Can you make a parallel between Belgrade then and now?

Sonja Lapatanov: In the “Age of the Crown”, when nature may have warned humanity for the last time that it has had enough of oppression over our planet, my Belgrade from the years you mention has returned to me. Unfortunately, only briefly. As soon as the state of emergency was lifted, hygienic and sanitary measures gave way, and ugly habits took over the city again. Traces of negligence and arrogance are already visible in some parts of the city; discarded protective masks and gloves and various waste.

South Africa: Cape of Good Hope

At the moment, at least in my area, Belgrade is beautiful, peaceful, quiet, safe, dignified, educated, full of greenery and birds that sing and chirp again. The streets are clean for now, spared thousands of thrown cigarette butts rolling down the street, chewing gum stuck to the sidewalk, body secretions from the nose and throat, trampled dog feces… Belgrade was like that until the end of the eighties, and then everything went down the hill. Since then, I have not made any kind of parallels!

Guatemala: Tikal, archaeological site

4. You were educated in Moscow and New York. What made a bigger impression on you as a ballerina, and what as a girl who comes from Eastern Europe, towards whom there are still numerous prejudices?

Sonja Lapatanov: Common to both metropolises was and is, the supreme art of the game; classical ballet on one side and musical, jazz and modern ballet on the other. Both sides left strong impressions, because it could not have been otherwise. After gaining impressive knowledge and vast experience and an internship at the Bolshoi Theater, I achieved my goal; to professionally improve and be the best.

Galapagos, Isabella Island: A little gossip with a sea lioness

As for prejudices, they are not in the art. We speak a universal body language, which everyone understands, and as a worldly woman, who does not have two relatives of the same nationality, I belong to the East and the West, as well as the North and the South.

Guatemala: Life in Chichiikastenango

5. You are considered to have set new standards in the field of choreography and stage movement. Were you aware of that then or did it become clear to you much later?

Sonja Lapatanov: Everything was clear to me from the beginning! After professional training, in the Russia and the USA, I dedicated myself to pedagogical and choreographic work, as well as the stage movement, developing into a creator of a special and original style, recognisable in countless theater performances and other types of stage performances.

Zimbabwe: Knox dance in front of the Queen and the King

I expertly incorporated steps and dance into the fabric of the play, contributing to the fact that in contemporary theater, stage movement and choreography become an important element of the director’s concept and the plays themselves. Based on my work in 1996, the Sterija Award for Choreography and Stage Movement was established, which I am especially proud of. For my creative work, I have received excellent feedback from the audience and critics, and I have won numerous significant professional and social recognitions and awards.

Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls

6. You are one of the first, if not the first, choreographer who went beyond the strict boundaries of theater and collaborated with the great music stars of the former Yugoslavia. Such a move is not always viewed favorably by your colleagues. How did that collaboration come about and how did you experience it?

Sonja Lapatanov: Older colleagues also collaborated with the music stars of Yugoslavia before me, and that was then called show business. At the time when it was called a spotlight stage, I got into that story, at the invitation of the manager, or the artists themselves. The mention of the star stage is mostly identified with the gallery of all kinds of naked singers on the front pages of the “yellow press magazines”, which unhappily defined the show business as something that implies vulgarity.

Ladakh: Little break on Pangong Lake

Many of them didn’t like those words, while the “show business” expression is much more acceptable. People from cultural circles are especially sensitive to the star stage, who perceive the term as something third-class, as evil and upside down. In essence, pop and show business have the same meaning and identical frameworks in which they operate. My collaboration with pop artists has always been at an enviable level, because how could it be otherwise with Zdravko Colic, Bebi Dol, Brena, Ana Bekuta, Dragana Mirkovic, Rambo Amadeus, Goran Bregovic, Alen Islamovic, Zorica Kondza, Biljana Ristic, Suzana Mancic , Bane Mojicevic, Stevan Andjelkovic, Marija Serifovic…

Ladakh: On the Changla pass

There were some people who were not kind to me because they could not enter to my team of players, those who accompanied the singers and some colleagues who later reluctantly accepted to do choreographies with newly arrived singers and future stars of the same “stage”. For my players, that cooperation was a solid source of income, they had a long service and health insurance. We were all satisfied with that cooperation.

Grenada island: Spice and fruit sellers

7. Due to the nature of their work, ballerinas “retire” extremely early by the usual standards. How did you experience that? Did traveling serve you as a new life challenge?

Sonja Lapatanov: I was not very shaken, because even then I was actively involved in pedagogical work, choreography and stage movement for theater performances in Belgrade and throughout Yugoslavia. I worked a lot, as many as 12 shows a year, sometimes two at the same time, say; one in Subotica and the other in Nis. Home in Belgrade, I just came to change my wardrobe! There was work, creativity was at its peak, as was inflation! From signing a contract, to paying a fee, hyperinflation would eat everything up! It was the highest inflation recorded in Serbia and one of the highest in the history of mankind.

Cambodia: Fields of Death

Product prices grew very fast, even in just a few hours the Yugoslavian Dinar (currency which was used in those times) became just a piece of paper. The exchange rate of the brand jumped every day. More and more money was printed and the new banknotes had more and more zeros. The shops were empty, and for a jar of cucumbers, 2,100 dinars had to be set aside, and for two liters of milk, or 200 grams of mustard, as much as 500 billion dinars! Terrible!

Southern Ethiopia: Members of the Mursi tribe

Thanatos and Eros, those compounds of opposites in life, life and death, happiness and sorrow, pain and enjoyment… destruction and creativity, which sustained me then and thank him! Traveling is my eternal life challenge. My ancestors migrated from one end of the world to the other, which is characteristic of the human race, including me.

Libya: Qasr Al-Haj

8. When did you feel that travel had become more than an adventure and had become your second occupation?

Sonja Lapatanov: From the moment when I started with writing books.

Libya, Sahara: The Finger of Allah

9. You have visited almost all countries of the world. What encouraged you to visit countries that go beyond the tourist framework and which most people never intend to visit?

Sonja Lapatanov: There is an answer in your question. I was encouraged by the fact that the countries I like to visit go beyond the tourist framework and that a small number of people intend to remind them!

Southern Ethiopia: Houses of the Dorze people

10. You say for yourself that you are an adrenaline addict and that your favorite destinations are in Asia and Africa. Which trip caused the greatest adrenaline?

Sonja Lapatanov: That’s right, I am a curious, adrenaline junkie and adventurer eager for knowledge. I constantly need to improve my being spiritually and intellectually. In that sense, I need changes. And it doesn’t hold my place! Many situations caused euphoria, some brought tears, some fear, some sighs and admiration… in Africa Sudan, Tanzania and Namibia, in Asia Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan…

Oman: In a desert oasis

My dear travellers, I hope you like my new post in column on the blog “My side of the world” and that you enjoyed it with my guest today. We will continue our trip around the world in a few days with our Sonja Lapatanov.

I would recommend you to take a look at the other pictures that dear Sonja set aside in the gallery especially for us to see what kind of beauties our earth hides.

French Polynesia, Tahiti: In the company of a tattoo artist

 If you have a suggestion when you would like to see and whose side of the world you would like to discover, you can write to me below in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page. See you soon with another interesting story!

Best,
Mr.M

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