Tag Archives: culture

Cultural highlights in Bali you won’t want to miss

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is one of the top Cultural highlights in Bali

Photo by CC user Kostasplus on English Wikipedia

Planning a trip to Bali in the coming months? If so, you’ll be in for a treat, as there are few (if any) places on Earth that matches the culture that can be found on this Hindu-influenced isle in Indonesia.

When you are plotting out your itinerary while taking your airport transfer in Bali to your hotel, be sure to include the following attractions during the time that you spend in this special corner of Southeast Asia…

1) Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

If there is any temple in Bali that you make the time to see, make sure you slot in a visit to Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Located in the highlands of the island, this temple’s centerpiece attraction is a multi-tiered pagoda that sits along the shore of a mountain lake.

Though the area is often shrouded in cloud, it actually suits the mood here perfectly, and when does manage to break through, it will be a moment in time that you will never be able to forget.

2) Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is another temple that is held in high regard by visitors and locals alike. Situated on a rocky islet just off the south coast of Bali, non-Balinese are not allowed to enter the complex when it is accessible by a land bridge at low tide, but the views at high tide and at sunset make the lack of access an easily forgivable cultural compromise.

As the most visited cultural attraction on Bali, you will have to brace yourself for the gauntlet of trinket stalls and touts that you will have to run in order to get to the viewing area. However, don’t be dissuaded by this, as the view is worth enduring this minor inconvenience.

3) Agung Rai Museum of Art

Located in the village of Ubud, the Agung Rai Museum of Art was started by a wealthy patron of the arts bearing the same name.

Containing some of the best examples of local Balinese art and plenty of pieces from elsewhere in Indonesia in Europe, wandering around the halls of this gorgeous museum is the perfect way to escape the mid-afternoon heat and humidity that predominates in this part of the world.

Additionally, the presence of a Balinese-style garden in the courtyard is also a nice extra that makes a visit here well worth your while.

4) Attending a Tek Tok Dance

The culture of the Balinese people is a deep and enriching one. For those that want to dive in head-first, there is no better way to accomplish this than to attend the performance of a tek-tok dance.

Held four times per week in the village of Ubud, it is an elaborate performance that tells the story of an Indian Hindu epic through gaudy costumes, vivid lighting, and music done exclusively through the harmony of human voices.

Exploring the cultural attractions in Cordoba, Spain

photo by CC user James (Jim) Gordon on Flickr

Heading to Spain this summer, and looking to discover the cultural attractions in Cordoba, Spain? This article will give you a rundown of what to expect from its foremost points of interest. Check’em out below…

1) Mosque of Cordoba

Though it is presently a cathedral operating under the name Our Lady of the Assumption, the Mosque of Cordoba was the former name of this city’s most impressive structure.

After the success of the Reconquista in the 13th century, the structure was converted into a Catholic church, a denomination that it has remained loyal to ever since.

Though the altars and Christian iconography found here is very beautiful in its construction, the bones of this dazzling structure are irrevocably Moorish in their design, as you will note from the columns.

2) Alcazar de los Reyes

Serving as the palace from which the Caliphate of Cordoba ruled until the Spanish led Crusade wrested control from the Moors, Alcazar de los Reyes is a sight of splendor that reveals the breathtaking eye for design that the leaders of this civilization had back in medieval times.

Gardens, courtyards and reflecting pools are all highlights of this amazing structure … the only regret you’ll have is the fact that you can’t somehow make a deal for this choice pad (even if you had the money, the Alcazar de los Reyes is not for sale … sorry).

3) Roman Temple of Cordoba

Before the age of the Moors, the land upon which Cordoba is built was part of the territory of the Romans, widely considered to be one of the greatest empires to ever exist on the face of the Earth.

Discovered in the 1950’s during an expansion of Cordoba’s city hall, the remaining columns that marked where a Roman temple once stood were unearthed.

Dedicated to an Imperial cult, this religious structure was proof that this civilization was a bold one, spreading its influence and traditions far from the heart of its empire.

4) Calahorra Tower

If you have time, be sure to check out the Calahorra Tower before heading off to other parts of Spain. One of the last remaining gates that bound together a city wall that protected the settlement during the Moorish era, it also saw use over the years as a girls school and a prison.

Today, it is a museum which details a time when Cordoba experienced a peace where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed alongside in peace in this corner of Spain.

Experiencing the best cultural attractions in Portugal

photo by CC user Alvesgaspar on wikimedia commons

Looking to discover the best cultural attractions in Portugal on your upcoming journey to Europe? This post highlights some destinations you won’t want to miss…

1) Jeronimos Monastery

If you only have time to see one of the many cultural attractions in Portugal, make certain that you set aside a couple of hours to tour Jeronimos Monastery.

Serving as a monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome, this holy place is perhaps the best example of Late Gothic architecture in Europe.

A sprawling structure filled with countless examples of meticulously sculpted columns, arches, cloisters, and columns, fans of beautifully crafted buildings will be in heaven here.

2) Pena National Palace

When you organize a weekend trip to Lisbon, be sure to plan a quick trip out of the city centre to see the Pena National Palace. Boasting a commanding view of the city below, this federal treasure’s grandeur has earned it status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Elements of Gothic, Islamic and Renaissance architecture can be found in its many arches, iconography, and in design of its interior rooms. Don’t miss the garden either, as the fern filled forest that covers 200 hectares around the palace grounds is the perfect place to relax after touring its interior.

3) Sao Jorge Castle

Throughout Lisbon’s history, Sao Jorge Castle has stood guard over this historically important city in Europe. Taken from the Moors in the 12th century, this fortification has stood tall against threats that came afterward throughout the medieval period.

What damage occurred during sieges since then has lovingly been restored, helping it secure its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From its barbicans and towers, you’ll also get a killer view of Lisbon below, so don’t forget your camera when heading out here.

4) Biblioteca Joanina

Those that are into books will love touring the Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra. Patterned after the Baroque style of building, the inside is filled with gorgeous wood shelving, ceilings painted with care, and with over 250,000 volumes in its collection, bibliophiles will be spending more time then they planned within the walls of this institution.

5) Church of São Francisco

Located in Porto, the Church of São Francisco is noted for its Gothic and Baroque inspired design, and its richly designed interior. With richly decorated ceilings, and exquisite woodwork located within its inner sanctum, it is a worthy detour before heading down to the River Douro to go on a river cruise.