Day out Bordeaux: Vauban’s military trilogy

Once an orphan living in poverty, later an engineering genius with a prestigious career. A familiar story, perhaps. Yet that doesn’t diminish its power to inspire. That is also the story of Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban: military engineer, advisor to Roi Soleil Louis XIV, France’s [...]

World at a Glance: The Bellinzona castles

In my World Heritage quest, I've seen a lot of military architecture lately. Not something I thought I'd be particularly excited about, but I've found these sites surprisingly interesting, including the three Bellinzona castles. Quite a few of these engineering feats are now on my [...]

Christiansfeld: history and honey cakes

One of the latest sites to be added to UNESCOs World Heritage list is Christiansfeld, a Moravian Christian settlement on the Jutland peninsula in Denmark. Seeing as it's just down the street (more or less), I decide to make a day of it. An hour [...]

Day out Sofia: Rila Monastery

Last week, I told you about a wee church - but a very special church - on the outskirts of Sofia. Well, I decided to remain in Bulgaria just a bit longer. This week, I thought I'd take you along to another treasure. Today, we're going [...]

World at a Glance: The Magic of Boyana

Inside this unassuming building in a woodland park just outside the Bulgarian capital is an absolute treasure. This, you see, is Boyanska tsărkva, or Boyana Church of St. Nicholas and St. Pantaleimon. It's actually a bit bigger than it looks here, comprising three buildings, in an interesting [...]

What makes us human? Thoughts on prehistoric cave art.

Last summer, I spent time in Bordeaux and the surrounding wine districts with my mum and sister. A highlight in the area was the ancient cave art in the nearby Vézère Valley. There are many excellent caves to visit in the valley. Having studied archaeology, [...]

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