ALL POSTS IN [Culture]

The Amazon (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

If there is something that should be well-known about Brazil, it is that ecotourism is taken just as seriously as soccer. Just ask Fuleco, the 2014 FIFA World Cup mascot whose name originates from “ful” for futbol and “eco” for ecology. This personable armadillo is native to Brazil, and symbolizes the importance of preserving the ecosystem, as well as a passion for soccer that is present in Brazil. The city of Manaus is a perfect marriage of the 2: the practice of street soccer and efforts to preserve the Amazon rainforest.

Manaus, the City of the Amazonas
In the 19th century, Manaus was known as the “Heart of the Amazon and City of the Forest,”  when the natural resources of the Amazon rainforest were used in creating rubber as an international export. The city instantly began to flourish, and with wealth exponentially growing, extravagant buildings were being constructed like the Amazon Theater (Teatro Amazonas). For a while, there was a strong European presence in the tropics, but the city’s economic success suffered when the Asian market discovered a way to create artificial rubber. Since then, Manaus has made a comeback.  Locals have continued to work hard to offer excellent tourism services and educational programs  to travelers interested in exploring the Amazon rainforest.
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Photo Courtesy of Thinkstock

The World Cup is a momentous occasion that sets the stage for the world’s greatest soccer athletes. Thousands of people will travel to  12 cities in Brazil to see their favorite teams play an international sport that will bring people together from all around the globe.  And there are several reasons why Fortaleza is the perfect  city to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup games.

Fortaleza, the City of “Fortalezenses”
Fortaleza is known for its people, “Fortalezenses.” Although the city on its own is aesthetically beautiful, it’s the good-humored nature of its people that automatically make it a charming destination. Fortalezenses are known for being helpful, hospitable and caring hosts to tourists. They stay active by walking around in urban parks or by the seafront.

The History of the Fortress
In case you didn’t know, Fortaleza in Portuguese translates to “fortress.” In 1649, the Dutch settled and built Fort Schoonemborch. A few years later, in 1655, the Portuguese seized the fort and renamed it Nossa Senhora da Assunção, after the patron saint of the city, the Lady of the Assumption. Visitors can visit  the beautiful fortress on Monte Marajaitiba for free. Today, the fortress is home to the Army Military Headquarters.

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Photography by Getty Images

Barcelona’s favorite son, Antonio Gaudí, never finished his reverent masterpiece, the Sagrada Familía, but that only seems to add to its allure; two million-plus visitors meander through its mystical spaces and climb its twisting staircases every year.
Daily Escapes!

Photography by Getty Images

The most memorable thing about Essaouira (pronounced “essa weera”) is the one thing you can’t see.

Daily Escapes!

Temple Bar Trad Fest, Ireland's big music bash (Photo: Love Temple Bar)

Temple Bar TradFest, Ireland’s big music bash (Photo: Love Temple Bar)

We at Travel Channel love the Irish. And just when we thought we’d exhausted our list of reasons why, here comes another big event: the annual Temple Bar TradFest. This 5-day event showcases the best in Irish song, music and dance, with the festivities underway this week in Dublin’s Temple Bar area.

Known as Dublin’s cultural quarter, Temple Bar is home to a lively mix of pubs, like the Porterhouse, as well as local cultural institutions, such as art house cinema and music venues. Added to the mix is the annual TradFest event. Since 2005 the festival has grown into one of Ireland’s biggest music and cultural festivals, showcasing more than 200 events, including dance shows, pipe bands and street performers.

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POOL/ Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images

From the stories hidden within the walls of Buckingham Palace to the brutal history behind some of the world’s most infamous castles, tonight is a night of mansions — and the rich and powerful who once resided in them.

Beginning at 9|8c, Greatest Mysteries’ Don Wildman takes us to London to uncover the secrets surrounding the most famous residence in the city: Buckingham Palace. Hear the tales of espionage, theft and attempted murder hidden behind the palace’s fortress-like walls. READ MORE

Ponta Negra Beach (Photo Courtesy of Embratur)

The city of Natal is “painted” with the same organic colors proudly displayed on the Brazilian flag: blue skies, golden-yellow sand dunes and green palm trees. During the FIFA final draw, it was announced that the USA team would be playing against Ghana in the Arena das Dunas for their first game on June 16, 2014. Even though the USA is in Group G — which is considered one of the hardest group’s in the 2014 World Cup — fans really hit the jackpot with having Natal as the perfect host city to cheer on the US team.

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Sundance Film Festival

It’s a big year for Sundance Film Festival as it celebrates its 30th birthday in Park City, UT, this week. For the last 3 decades, the next big moviemakers, critics, celebrities and film buffs  have attended this annual event every January to be wowed by the best of independent films from all over the world.

The largest independent film festival in the US, Sundance was launched in 1978 with the help of Robert Redford’s company, Sterling Van Wagenen. Over the last 30 years, Redford has played an integral part in building the festival’s momentum and his mark is seen all over town, from his famed Sundance Resort, 5,000 acres on the slopes of Mount Timpanogos in Utah’s Wasatch Range to Zoom, his cozy restaurant located on Park City’s Main Street.

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Photography by Joel Addams / Aurora Photos

Called “As-Sahara al-Kubra” in Arabic, “The Great Desert” of the Sahara stretches more than 3.6 million square miles through North Africa.
Daily Escapes!

Fans gather at Graceland to celebrate Elvis’s birthday (photo: Reuters)

Seventy-nine years ago today, in the Mississippi town of Tupelo, the future King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was born. This morning, in celebration of the life of Elvis Aaron Presley — the singer, actor and legend who turned rockabilly into a sound all his own and forever changed how we view slicked-back hair, leather pants and Hawaii’s shores – Graceland kicks off a 3-day Elvis Birthday Celebration.

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