One of the most iconic images from the country of Georgia features the Gergeti Trinity Church dwarfed by immense mountains. This 14th-century church is crowned with cone-shaped towers and is located in the heart of the Caucasus. It’s just a few kilometers from the Russian border.
For nearly 2,000 years, limestone has been extracted from quarries on the Croatian island of Brač. In the 3rd century, laborers used this dazzling white stone to build the palace of Emperor Diocletian in the city of Split. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Brač limestone was used to construct the Saint James CathedralContinue reading “Brač, Croatia: Hunting for Hercules in a Roman Quarry”
When night falls over the rugged mountains cradling Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor, it becomes very clear why the country’s native name, Crna Gora, means ‘black mountain.’ As the sun is snuffed out each night, the mountains make like a chameleon, going from steel grey to a black silhouette. Eventually, the water of the mighty bayContinue reading “Conquering Montenegro’s Kotor Fortress”
Marjan Forest Park is often referred to as the “lungs of Split, Croatia.” The park’s pine forest exhales fresh oxygen into the nearby city — which is removed, but within walking distance. Marjan (or Marjan-Park Šuma, in Croatian) has been a popular recreation spot since at least the 3rd century. Back then, Roman Emperor Diocletian (who hadContinue reading “Escaping to Marjan Hill, the ‘Lungs of Split’ Croatia”
If you spend enough time in Split, eventually the surrounding mountains will start calling you to explore, and rightfully so… Two weeks into our stay in the stunning seaside town, we met up with our local friend, Srđan, eager to retreat to the rugged mountains that so dramatically frame the metropolitan area around Croatia’s second-largest city.
Towering over the village of Oberammergau is the Kofel, a Matterhorn-shaped mountain with an elevation of 1,342 meters (4,400 feet). The name Kofel means ‘cone-shaped mountain’ in Celtic, and so hints at the tribes and peoples that once passed through this mountainous part of Germany. The Bavarians we’ve met in this picturesque town are well-versed in theContinue reading “Conquering the Kofel, Oberammergau’s Signature Mountain”
The monasteries of Meteora, Greece exhibit an impressive blend of natural and human-made beauty. Incredibly, some of these Eastern-Orthodox monasteries have crowned the tops of Meteora’s otherworldly rock formations for more than 700 years. Monks who were trying to escape persecution originally built 24 monasteries in this part of central Greece. Over the centuries, weatherContinue reading “Hiking to Greece’s Majestic Meteora Monasteries”
Ifugao tribesman carved the Batad Rice Terraces out of the Cordillera Mountains more than 2,000 years ago. Often cloaked in a mysterious fog, these magnificent rice paddies are located on the Philippine island of Luzon, about 470 km (290 miles) from Manila. Thanks to their grand scale and their amphitheater-like appearance, the terraces have beenContinue reading “Stairway to Heaven: Hiking Through the Batad Rice Terraces in the Philippines”