Tears welled up in Alexey Melnikov’s eyes as a spaceship carrying three astronauts lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome several hours before dawn. The Russian-born, London-based computer programmer had wanted to see the breathtaking spectacle since he was a boy.
First, Russians are told that they will have to alter their eating habits thanks to a non-importation ukaz issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin covering Western food products. Now they are catching grief in a Black Sea resort for the way they look.
After nightfall in Bukhara, floodlights illuminate the madrassas, mosques, and century-old buildings surrounding the Lyabi Khauz water reservoir, bathing the structures in neon colors of green, yellow, blue and red.
Mongolia’s sweeping steppe and nomadic heritage attract tens of thousands of tourists from around the world each summer. Come winter, though, popular tourist spots are eerily deserted; tour operators have traditionally hibernated. But some are starting to ask: ‘are we missing an opportunity?’
Grappling with widespread poverty and the need for cash to finance multi-faceted reforms, President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration in Georgia is pumping up gambling as a revenue solution. For now, though, foreign investors don’t like the odds of success.
On a recent, cool March morning in a village near Bishkek, 20 Austrian tourists boarded an aging helicopter for the 30-minute flight to 4,000-meter-high peaks. Over the course of a week, they each pay over $4,800 for 12 hours of flight time in the Kyrgyz Air Force Mi-8MTV, giving them access to some of the world’s best heli-skiing.
As Armenia’s summer vacation season winds down, one country, Turkey, will be missing from many of the usual travel tales. With Armenia’s attempts to reconcile with Turkey now at a standstill, Armenian tourists this summer largely bucked the trend of recent years and gave Turkey’s sun-drenched beaches a miss.
The German city of Essen, representing the wider Ruhrgebiet region, is one of Europe’s capitals of culture in 2010. The EU-sanctioned designation is enabling Germany to showcase the social and economic transformation of an area that just a few decades ago threatened to become a Rust Belt.
At the top of a craggy mountain in the Altai range, a man raises his fist to reveal a golden eagle with a six-foot wingspan. The eagle spies its mark in the valley below and bolts into the air. Within seconds, the bird slams into its target, dust billowing.