Posts about Local Traditions

Statue of a Buddha in China + preservation of heritage

Saving China’s Heritage


Preservation and Technology

A guest post by Brian Yin

Throughout China, with the massive increase in tourist traffic both international and domestic, there are artifacts and sacred sites that are being damaged, often irreparably so by the sheer numbers of visitors. There is always a balancing act between access and preservation: If access is too limited, sites lose their draw card, but if it is too open, then there will be a finite lifespan to them. The Terracotta Warriors in X’ian are an example of how this problem was approached decades ago – when China was just opening up. When the excavated warriors were exposed to the environment, the paint rapidly deteriorated, leaving the clay soldiers “plain earth” as we see them today. The response was to re-bury the majority of the army, to preserve it for future generations.

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Traditional Dhows in Musandam/Oman. 12 days in Oman

Twelve days in Oman – a short film


Marko Roth and his friends Lucas, Dominik and Vivi were looking for a cheap random flight to anywhere on the map and ended up in Oman, a destination they had not even heard of before. Their 12-day adventure took them crisscross through the scenic Sultanate located at the southeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula that shares its shores between the Strait of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean. They devoured every inch of the country’s beauty, climbed mountains, dove into crystal-clear waters, and conquered the hustle-bustle of Muscat, Salalah, and Musandam streets and souks.

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The terrace of Esma Sultan Palace in Istanbul.

An architectural legacy: Esma Sultan in Istanbul


The shell of a historic structure on the European coast of the Bosporus is lauded as one of Istanbul’s most exceptional venues and the distinguished guest or performers’ list includes Deep Purple, Alan Parsons, Boy George, Chris de Burgh, Elia Kazan, George Benson, actor Kevin Spacey … to name a few. But what is the mystery behind this astonishing building and its eponym?

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Singapore celebrating 50th year of independence


That Singapore is a survivor is corroborated by the fact, that even the drama of her independence happened twofold! For the first time, when released from the bondage of British colonisation in 1959. For the second, after an involuntary merger with the Federation of Malaysia was terminated following a phase of political and racial unrest. Singapore finally gained her well-deserved sovereignty in 1965.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of her reinstalled freedom, the city throws a gargantuan party lasting the entire year. Considering, that a state is made up of its people, it seems a logical consequence for Singapore to share her Golden Jubilee with her truly diverse ethnic community by inviting them to help plan and organise a series of festivities. After all it was their concerted efforts that made Singapore’s skyrocketing ascent possible. The official body guiding procedures and founded especially for that purpose, is the Singapore50 (SG50) Steering Committee. It comprises representatives from public, private and people sectors. Bearing in mind the multi-cultural denizenship Singapore’s fabric is woven from, an exciting array of vibrant events is sure to rain down on locals and visitors alike. A small choice of what is on the agenda is laid out below. The full range is here:

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A Fiaker carriage in Vienna: as typical of the city as its many coffee houses.

Austria: The science of coffee-brewing in Vienna


Coffee is not just an invigorating brew but rather a scientific field of expertise worth being explored. Barista Schools popping up the world over bear witness to the cognition that a cup of coffee is not something to be prepared in one’s stride. It is a challenge which has to be given care and devotion at least as deep as is granted to the meticulously performed Asian Tea Ceremony.

Here in Vienna, each type of coffee is honoured with its individual cryptical name. The least one can do for a treasure accidentally left by the Ottomans after their siege of Vienna in 1683. Apart from war and devastation, they had brought along with them a culinary novelty: Viennese citizens discovered a number of bags filled with precious coffee beans in an abandoned Turkish camp after the battle was over. Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, a Polish-Lithuanian nobleman, had taken hold of the bags and opened Vienna’s first coffeehouse in the same year.

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