Wander Lord

Interesting on art, nature, people, history

Category Archive: Countries and cities

Potala Palace – residence of the Dalai Lama

Potala Palace - residence of the Dalai Lama

Potala Palace – residence of the Dalai Lama

The ancient city of Lhasa, which in Tibetan means “Land of the Gods”, is located 3700 meters above sea level. It is also called the “City of the Sun”, which shines all year round in the mountainous Tibet. The residence of the Dalai Lama – the Potala Palace is at the top of Red Mountain. “Dalai” means “sea of wisdom” in Mongolian, “Lama” means “Principal Monk” in Tibetan, and “Potala” is “the place of Buddha’s habitat.”
In 1950 Lhasa became a part of the Tibet Autonomous Region. According to some scientists it was founded 1400 years ago on the caravan trade routes from China to India and Nepal. The climate here is milder than in other parts of Tibet. In the fertile valley between the mountains, farmers grew wheat, beans, vegetables, raised mountain yaks, sheep and goats.
The founder of the Tibetan Empire king Songtsen Gampo ordered to build the first Potala Palace in the 630s. Local farmers and wage workers had to cut down trees and deliver them to the top of a steep mountain. The palace was built of wood, and according to religious tradition it had 999 rooms (only the supreme deity could have 1000 rooms). In the VIII century the lightning hit the first palace and it was burned down. It could be restored, but internecine war completed the destruction.
More »

Angkor Wat – the biggest temple

Angkor Wat – the biggest temple

Angkor Wat – the biggest temple

Angkor Wat is a large temple in Cambodia. Its outer walls and a moat are around the area of almost two square kilometers. This area is surrounded by dense forests. Here is a temple complex dedicated to Vishnu, the amazing construction of Hindu architecture.
The discoverer of this abandoned in the deep jungle surprising sanctuary was a French naturalist and geographer Henri Mouhot. During his travels in the countries of the Indian Peninsula, he was in Cambodia, where he heard stories of the lost forest city with temple buildings and stone images of gods. He learned about beautiful and extraordinary architecture of the temple, murals, which depicted gods, mythical figures, military scenes and stages of construction.
The Frenchman did not believe it. Similar stories he had heard during his travels in South India, but did not find anything. He heard the similar stories again and again. So, Henry decided to go into the jungle with several native people to check the information. They traveled by horses, elephants, and then on foot. It was an exhausting trip.
More »

Botswana – Jewel of the Kalahari

Botswana - Jewel of the Kalahari

Botswana – Jewel of the Kalahari

Botswana is located in southern Africa. Its area is 600,370 square kilometers. It is bordered by Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, and Zambia.
Gaborone is its capital city. The official language is English, but most people speak Setswana.
The Kalahari Desert covers most of the south and west (500,000 square km). It is known as the “thirstland”, because it has some grass and trees.
The Okavango River, which flows in from Namibia, is in the northwest. It ends in Botswana instead of flowing into the ocean that’s why it is called “the river that never finds the sea”. It is the largest inland delta system in the world and provides a habitat for African mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
More »

Alaska – largest American state

Alaska – largest American state

Alaska – largest American state

Alaska is the largest state in the USA. Its area is 1,717,854 square kilometers. It is nicknamed the Last Frontier or Land of the Midnight Sun and includes rugged coastlines, massive glaciers, and the tallest mountains in North America. Juneau is the capital of the state, but Anchorage is the largest city. Alaska is not connected to the other 48 states of the mainland United States.
The Yukon is Alaska’s largest river. Two mountain chains—the Alaska Range and the Aleutian Range—curve along Alaska’s southern coast. The highest point in North America is Mount McKinley, in the Alaska Range, which rises to a height of 6,194 meters.
Native Alaskans, Eskimo (Inuit), Aleut, and American Indians, make up about one sixth of the population. Common nationalities among the rest of the people include Russian, Filipino, Japanese, and Chinese.
Alaska’s economy is based on oil, tourism, and fishing.
More »

Andorra – one of the smallest countries

Andorra - one of the smallest countries

Andorra – one of the smallest countries

Andorra is one of the smallest European countries in the world. Its area is 464 square kilometers (about two-and-one-half times the size of Washington, D.C.). Andorra lies in the southern Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France. The Valira River runs through its valleys.
Andorra has a temperate climate, but winters are severe because of the high elevation. Snow completely fills the northern valleys for several months. Coma Pedrosa Peak (2,946 m) is the highest point.
Its official name is Principality of Andorra. Form of government is parliamentary co-principality. It was governed jointly by the republic of France and by the Bishop of Urgell, a small town a few miles to the south in Spain. However, since 1993 the country has been entirely sovereign and self-ruling. Andorra has been a member of the European Union since 1990, uses the euro, and became a full member of the United Nations in 1994.
More »

Brazil – Half of South America

Brazil - Half of South America

Brazil – Half of South America

Brazil is the largest country in South America which covers nearly half of the continent. It took its name from brazilwood and is the world’s largest tropical country. The capital of Brazil is Brasília (Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil until 1960). Brazil shares borders with every South American nation except Ecuador and Chile.
Brazil’s population is a mix of several different ethnic groups: Native American, European, African, and Asian peoples. Most Brazilians speak Portuguese. Roman Catholicism is the main religion.
Brazil is one of the world’s top producers of oranges and coffee. Farmers also grow sugarcane, soybeans, corn, cassava, rice, bananas, tomatoes, and many other crops.
In 1500 the navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral claimed the land for Portugal. The country was a colony of Portugal for more than 300 years. In 1822 Dom Pedro declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal and became emperor of the new nation. In 1889 Brazil became a federal republic with an elected government.
More »

Peru – Land of the Inca

Peru - Land of the Inca

Peru – Land of the Inca

Peru is a large South American country. It is the third largest country in South America; only Brazil and Argentina are larger. In the west it has a long coastline on the Pacific Ocean. Many of Peru’s major cities are located on a narrow strip of flat land along the coast. Lima is the capital of the country. Peru shares borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile.
About half of the population is American Indian. Mestizos, or people with both Indian and European roots, make up about a third of the population. There are also small groups of Japanese, Chinese, and others.
Roman Catholicism is the country’s main religion.
Around AD 1200 the Inca formed the city of Cuzco in what is now Peru. Their great empire was destroyed when Spanish soldiers seized the land in the 1530s. Millions of Inca died. In 1821 a general from Argentina captured Lima and declared Peru independent from Spain. From 1879 to 1883 Peru fought a war with Chile. Alberto Fujimori became president in 1990.
More »