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Mostar: Divided City

During the Bosnian war 1992 – 1995 the historic city of Mostar found itself in the center of fights first between Bosnianak-Croation and Serbian troops and later between Muslims and Catholics. During the conflict large parts of the city were destroyed and many civilians lost their life. The destroyed bridge of Mostar especially became a well known symbol of the conflict. It was built by the Ottomans and stood here for hundreds of years connecting the Muslim and the Christian parts of the city, before being blown to pieces for unknown reasons. A couple of years ago the Mostar bridge was rebuilt, but many remnants of the war remain present in the city making it an eerie but very interesting place to visit. The wounds are heeling slowly, but still Mostar is a visible example for what can happen when once peaceful neighbours suddenly turn against each other for religious or ethnic reasons. Up until today the city remains divided.

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Land of the Vikings

With all advantages of modernity living in the far north is still full of challenges. The deep fjords and steep surrounding hills make it difficult to reach the hinterland, that’s why Norway is investing a lot of money in tunnels and bridges to connect also the most remote village to the urban centers of the country. While in summer the days are long, in winter the nights are never ending as well. But the fjords also have their advantages, that’s why people settled here already many thousand years ago and that’s also why the Vikings as a society flourished in the middle ages. First and foremost the fjord land is very fertile, even fruits and vegetables can grow here. We speak about a country which is situated as far in the north as Canada. The reason for the favorable climate is the gulf stream, which makes northern Europe unusual warm. Also the fjords were perfectly secured against intruders and allowed for remote but also secure villages. At the same time the location of these settlements made it necessary to develop ships and make them better. It is no coincidence that the Vikings were the first European people to set foot in America.

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The City of Thousand Windows: Berati

Berati is situated in southern Albania and well known for its history and architecture. Founded in the 9th century it was always a hotspot for different religions, up until today Christians and Muslims live peacefully in the town. Famous though is Berati mostly for its stone buildings, situated close alongside each other on a hillside facing the river Ishull. Visually striking are the large windows on these houses, so Berati also got the name “The City of Thousand Windows”.

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Exploring Florence

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Florence is situated right in the hart of Tuscany, Italy surrounded by the hills of the Apennines. Over the centuries its look was shaped by aristocratic families like the Medici, who not only nurished the arts and sciences in the city, but also understood the power and beauty of architecture. At sunset especially the shades and forms of the city seem to come alive and paint a living picture.

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