Tel Aviv, Israel Webcamera

January 5, 2014

Tel Aviv is the second most populous city in Israel.

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Tel Aviv is an economic hub, home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, corporate offices and research and development centers.  It is the country’s financial capital and a major performing arts and business center.  Tel Aviv has the second-largest economy in the Middle East after Dubai, and is the 31st most expensive city in the world.  It is known as “the city that never sleeps” and a “party capital” due to its lively nightlife, dynamic atmosphere and famous 24-hour culture.

The ancient port of Jaffa changed hands many times in the course of history. Archeological excavations from 1955 to 1974 unearthed towers and gates from the Middle Bronze Age.  They also exposed sections of a packed-sandstone glacis and a massive brick wall, dating from the Late Bronze Age, as well as a temple attributed to the Sea Peoples and dwellings from the Iron Age.  The city, Jaffa, is first mentioned in letters from 1470 BC that record its conquest by Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III.

Bauhaus architecture was introduced in the 1920s and 1930s by German Jewish architects who settled in Palestine after the rise of the Nazis. Tel Aviv’s White City, around the city center, contains more than 5,000 Modernist-style buildings inspired by the Bauhaus school and Le Corbusier.

Riga, Latvia Webcamera

December 15, 2013

Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to more than one third of Latvia’s population.

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Riga was founded in 1201 and is a former Hanseatic League member. Riga’s historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, noted for its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture and 19th century wooden architecture. The river Daugava has been a trade route since antiquity, part of the Vikings’ Dvina-Dnieper navigation route to Byzantium.  The site of today’s Riga—has been recorded, as Duna Urbs, as early as the 2nd century.  It was settled by the Livs, an ancient Finnic tribe.

In 1282 Riga became a member of the Hanseatic League. The Livonian Chronicle of Henry testifies to Riga having long been a trading centre by the 12th century, referring to it as portus antiquus (ancient port), and describes dwellings and warehouses used to store mostly corn, flax, and hides.  German traders began visiting Riga, establishing a nearby outpost in 1158.

With the demise of the Livonian Order during the Livonian War, Riga for twenty years had the status of a Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire before it came under the influence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth by the Treaty of Drohiczyn, which ended the war for Riga in 1581. In 1621, during the Polish–Swedish War (1621–1625), Riga and the outlying fortress of Daugavgriva came under the rule of Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, who intervened in the Thirty Years’ War not only for political and economic gain but also in favour of German Lutheran Protestantism.

Roeser, Luxembourg Webcamera

December 2, 2013

Roeser  is a commune and small town in southern Luxembourg. It is part of the canton of Esch-sur-Alzette.

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Luxembourg  is a landlocked country in Western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. It comprises two principal regions: the Oesling in the north as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland (“good country”) in the south.  The recorded history of Luxembourg begins with the acquisition of Lucilinburhuc (today Luxembourg Castle) situated on the Bock rock by Siegfried, Count of Ardennes, in 963 through an exchange act with St. Maximin’s Abbey, Trier.

Around this fort, a town gradually developed, which became the centre of a state of great strategic value. In the 14th and early 15th centuries, three members of the House of Luxembourg reigned as Holy Roman Emperors. In the following centuries, Luxembourg’s fortress was steadily enlarged and strengthened by its successive occupants, the Bourbons, Habsburgs, Hohenzollerns and the French. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Luxembourg was disputed between Prussia and the Netherlands. The Congress of Vienna formed Luxembourg as a Grand Duchy within the German Confederation in personal union with the Netherlands, being at the same time a part of the Netherlands and ruled as one of its provinces, with a Confederate fortress manned by Prussian troops.  Luxembourg’s full independence was established by the 1839 First Treaty of London. In the same year, Luxembourg joined the Zollverein.