The travel and tourism industry, unarguably, is one of the most affected sectors since the onset of COVID-19. With borders sealed, cities brought to a standstill and all transportation stationary, it is difficult to imagine when one can fly across continents again. As we remain locked in our houses, the mind still wanders to places on the bucket list. Here’s something to cheer up the traveller inside each one of us:
Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand
Founded in 1350, the city of Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. The remains, characterised by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, now give an idea of its past splendour. The Tourism Authority of Thailand, in an effort to reach out to the world, has created virtual tours and videos of sought-after destinations in the country such as Ayutthaya Historical Park, Ayutthaya (Central Thailand) and Mahanakhon Skywalk (highest rooftop in Bangkok) along with drone videos of Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui, Chonburi and Phang Nga. Ayutthaya Historical Park covers the ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya in Thailand’s Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. Here’s the link: http://virtualhistoricalpark.finearts.go.th/sukhothai/360/sukhothai.html and http://virtualhistoricalpark.finearts.go.th/ayutthaya/360/watratchaburana.html
A thematic light art show called the Luminale was to be held in Frankfurt in March. The venues including the city’s major sights, such as the Römer and the Alte Oper (Old Opera House), as well as such lesser-known, hidden places as the Fishermen’s Vault on the River Main were to be lit up to make this years biennial. Due to the Covid-19 situation, Luminale 2020 had to be cancelled shortly before the opening, even as the projects were already set up. Incidentally, many of the participating artists had already documented their works during mounting or final rehearsals. Now, #Luminaledigital offers a glimpse of the event from the comfort of homes. For a virtual tour of Frankfurt immersed in the illusion of lights, visit https://www.luminale.de/en/startseite
Washington, DC Cherry Blossom
Nothing signifies the arrival of spring in the American capital quite like the blooming of the cherry blossom trees. During the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the most popular place to visit the cherry blossom trees is at the Tidal Basin, which provides great photo ops near the Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC, and celebrates the friendship between the United States and Japan. The National Cherry Blossom Festival announced a new #BloomCam (https://nationalmall.org/bloomcam) to allow people to virtually monitor DC’s famous budding cherry blossom trees along the Tidal Basin in real time as they bloom.
Kutna Hora, Czech Republic
The city of Kutná Hora is, as the name suggests, associated with the mining (kutání in Czech) of silver. In 1142, the first Cistercian monastery in the Czech lands was established in the nearby village of Sedlec and at the end of the 13th century, the original mining settlement of Cuthna antiqua – Old Kutna – soon became a wealthy royal city. Kutná Hora is considered to be the treasure-house of the land whose wealth gave strength to the expansion of the Kingdom of Bohemia. Its history and uniqueness were recognised in 1995 when the city was inscribed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage List. The Czech Republic is offering a panoramic virtual tour of the city through the link https://en.czech-unesco.org/kutna-hora/virtual-tour/#page_start