SPECIAL EDITION Travel Foreign Attractions
Publication date: 2001-04-02
Haifa's Fabulous Gardens
There are 19 ascending garden terraces, intricately planted with flowers, topiary, blossoming bushes and lawns and connected with stone staircases, reaching two-thirds of a mile up the side of Mount Carmel. Halfway up is the golden-domed Shrine of the Bab, and at the summit, the site where 3000 years ago the prophet Elijah fought the 400 priests of Baal.
These are the new Baha'i Gardens in Haifa, Israel, opening May 22 with Baha'i faithful from around the world witnessing their inuaguration.
Under development since 1987, the gardens cost more that $250 million and involved about 2,500 construction workers and gardeners.
They were designed by Fariburz Sahba, known for his plan of the Baha'i Lotus Temple in India. Terraces in his Haifa design represent nine concentric circles seeming to emanate from the Shrine of the Bab, which houses the grave of the Bab, Siyyid Ali-Muhammad, martyr of the Baha'i faith. "The Shrine of the Bab is envisaged as a precious gem, for which the terraces provide the setting, like a golden ring for a precious diamond," the designer says.
For more information:
Israel Ministry of Tourism - 1 (888) 77-ISRAEL; http://www.goisrael.com
History Written in Stone
Two large stones etched with runes, still standing in the Danish village of Jelling after more than a thousand years, proclaim crucial events in the nation's history: King Gorm's conquest of the land called Denmark and its shift from pagan Viking society to Christianity under leadership of his son, Harald Bluetooth.
One of these stones, in replica, currently is touring the United States as part of the ``Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga'' exhibit.
But now the originals have their own museum, Kongernes Jelling (Royal Jelling), in this southeast Jutland town. It's devoted to the runestones and their significance to art, architecture, history, and the Danish royal family. The museum site includes the stones, the adjacent Jelling Kirke (Jelling Church) where King Gorm was said to be buried, and two Viking-era burial mounds.
For more information:
Kongernes Jelling - http://www.kongernesjelling.dk
Celebrating Germany's Romanesque Past
Recalling the power and glory of its Romanesque Era, Germany is staging a series of events this year focusing on cathedrals, castles, and culture of a millenium ago.
The Germans were masters of building medieval and gothic cathedrals, churches and monasteries, and many of the surviving properties have been spruced up for the celebration year. One is the multiple-towered St. George Cathedral in Limburg, restored to its original state, including furnishings. Cologne is home to a dozen churches from the Romanesque period, and St. George Basilica in Oberzell has huge wall paintings and illustrations created by monks under the patronage of Emperor Henry II.
Events include the Rheingau Music Festival, running from June to September, with performances in venues like the Church of St. Aegidius at the Eberbach monstery in Mittelheim and the former monastery church at Johannisberg. Music events also are scheduled from July at historic castles, stately homes, churches and squares throughout Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt in a ``Concerts Along the Romanesque Route'' series.
For historical perspective, there is an exhibition, ``The Center of Europe around the Year 1000: Germans, Slavs, Hungarians and the Latin Western World,'' showcasing treasures from churches and museums. It will be at the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin May 29-Sept. 2 and at the Reiss-Museum in Mannheim Oct. 7-Jan. 27.
German National Tourist Office - (212) 661-7200; http://www.germany-tourism.de
It's Really Green
It's the world's largest island, where you can hike, camp, fish, go boating, horseback riding, or sledding, and watch extraordinary wildlife.
Down Under? Up Over is a better description of Greenland, more aptly named than you might think, despite the fact that much of its landmass is covered by ice.
Most of the towns in this Arctic zone country are found around its perimeter, especially South Greenland, and during its short summer season the valleys and mountains are carpeted in green, accented with colorful flowers. But visitors need only turn to look in another direction to see ice: towering icebergs, glacier tongues and inland ice, in many colors and much of it frozen for 500 to 100,000 years.
Despite the Arctic climate, it's dry and comfortable for outdoor activities, including watching for whales and other animals or witnessing the midnight sun for about five months of the spring-summer season.
Greenland Tourism - 299 32 28 88; http://www.visitgreenland.com
©Copyright 2001, The Associated Press News Service