Cityscopes: Focus on Barcelona

Cityscopes: Focus on Barcelona

Cityscopes - Focus on Barcelona

Beautiful Barcelona—Spain’s second most populated city and the capital of the country’s autonomous community Catalonia. Barcelona’s prime location on the Mediterranean coast has made it a sought-after spot over the last 2,000 years, notably by the Romans, whose grid plan remains today in the city’s historical center, the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). The area was then conquered by the Visigoths, the Arabs, and Charlemagne’s son Louis the Pious in quick succession, before a marriage merged the County of Barcelona with Aragon.

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Cityscopes: Focus on Urbino

Cityscopes: Focus on Urbino

Cityscopes - Focus on Urbino

Though Italian cities such as Rome, Florence, and Venice seem to receive the majority of travelers’ attention—and deservedly so—the country is home to many special towns full of medieval history, picturesque views, and unforgettable experiences. Urbino, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one such place—a walled-in Renaissance town nestled against twin hills in the Marche region of central Italy.

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Cityscopes: Focus on Bangkok

Cityscopes: Focus on Bangkok

Cityscopes: Focus on Bangkok

Bangkok, known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, was first settled in the 15th century as a village and trading post on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. It has since grown into not just the named capital of Thailand but also its political, economic, cultural, and spiritual center. More than 12 percent of the country’s population calls the city of Bangkok home, with another 14 million people residing in the surrounding metropolitan region. Their culture, cuisine, and well-preserved landmarks draw international visitors, making Bangkok one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

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Cityscopes: Focus on Prague

Cityscopes: Focus on Prague

Cityscopes: Focus on Prague

According to legend, in the 8th century CE, a Czech duchess and prophetess named Libuše stood on a rocky cliff overlooking the Vltava River and ordered the building of a castle and town “whose glory will touch the stars.” That town was to be called Praha, also known as Prague. By the year 800, a fort fortified with wooden buildings had been constructed—buildings that now make up two-thirds of the stunning Prague Castle.

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Cityscopes: Focus on San Juan Capistrano

Cityscopes: Focus on San Juan Capistrano

Cityscopes: Focus on San Juan Capistrano

When sailor and writer Richard Henry Dana Jr. visited Southern California in the 1830s, he described San Juan Capistrano as, “the only romantic spot in California.” Author Johnston McCulley was so inspired by the surroundings he set his first Zorro novella, 1919’s “The Curse of Capistrano” (which later became the novel “The Mark of Zorro”), amid the town and its surrounding California countryside. Nearly 200 years later, the birthplace of Orange County still draws visitors to admire its beauty and explore its history.

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