San Marino is the third smallest country in the world with a crazy history to boot. This is one of the world’s best hiding spots because it was not found through war and conquest. But because a man was running away from prosecution.
Sometimes called ‘the most serene republic’ is true to its name. The country managed to avoid almost every major war in the past millennia simply because of its size.
Other countries, especially their neighbor involved in big battles did not find them threatening in any way. Hence, they were mostly left alone in peace. In essence, they managed to keep their sovereignty tight in their grip based on their founder’s last words.
“I leave you free from both men.” – Saint Marinus
They are completely landlocked in Italy with the size of 61 sq-km, making them the third smallest country after Vatican City and Monaco. They are divided into nine municipalities with the capital, The City of San Marino in the hillside. The capital only has a population of 4,000 people.
It is the oldest sovereign in the world with the oldest constitution and the smallest republic. As a landlocked nation, it means they have no seaports. In order to get there, travelers need to fly to the closest airport in Italy. They do have one small airport in Torraccia but it is for private planes only. But commercial flights have to go through Rimini at Federico Fellini International Airport.
San Marino was named after its founder, Saint Marinus. He was a stonemason from Rab, Dalmatia. Historically, the Roman emperor used to actively hunt and kill Christian. In order to avoid, prosecution, Saint Marinus escaped to Rimini. His life was peaceful by the seaside land until some women approached him and claimed him to be their estranged husband.
This caused him to go to the mountain which is now the capital of the country. He met Lady Felicita, who originally owns the land. She asked him to heal her son. Because of his success, the mountain was given to him and from there he built a monastery. Many Christians who heard of the safe haven went there for protection. And the monastery eventually becomes a fort.
Saint Marinus’s last words are what drives the people to maintain their independence. And it worked. That principle managed to prevent them from being absorbed into Italy. They survived Mussolini’s regime and major wars. They are very proud of that achievement. Despite most of them are descendants of Italians and still maintained many Italian cultures, they do not appreciate being called Italian. It shows their absolute pride in their identity as Sammarinese.
Although, they have the worst football team in the world. They only have won one game since their foundation in 1990.
Despite being a small country, it still has everything they need. The country thrives on tourism and sales of quirky items. Although, the items are mostly illegal outside the country like weapons. They even have museums and attractions related to werewolves, vampires, and witches.
The good news for shoppers, the tax in San Marino is half less than in Italy. It is also a tax haven for foreign brands since they have lots of factories here for manufacturing.
Interestingly, they are one of the rare countries that have no debt. Which is in line with their principles of staying independent. The number of tourists visiting the country is around 3.2 million people every year which is significantly higher than their population of 34,000.
They also have the highest rate of car ownership to the point there are more cars than people thanks to their population. Despite the small lands but they still have interesting natural landscapes like grasslands, creeks, and rivers. But also interesting fauna like the adorable least weasel.
Maybe once travel is lifted, you can go to this elusive country and escape as Saint Marinus did.
Source: Geography Now
OMG! This Place Is Asia’s Most Scariest Place And It Is Located In Penang
Who would have thought that a mysterious place in Malaysia like this ever existed! Just by the sound of the name could have given many people goosebumps, let alone if you yourself set foot there. Bukit Hantu is known as the scariest place in Asia. This place was originally a fort to defend Penang, but this fort became the property of Japan during the Second World War. This is where they carry out beheadings and torture of soldiers and victims.
In the past, Japanese forces detained and tortured prisoners of war to gather information for the smooth running of Japanese occupation in Malaysia. As a result, many spirits interfere and haunted the place. Now, it has become the War Museum which is said to be the scariest mysterious place in Malaysia. The Penang War Museum is dedicated to all who died to protect their country.
Now, a leisurely walk at the Penang War Museum will rekindle the imagination of what happened before. Although the original cannons no longer exist, you can imagine how British, Malaysian, and Sikh troops used to be on guard against enemy attacks from the sea. From Canon Firing Bay, views of the Straits of Malacca are clearly visible.
One that should not be missed is the underground tunnel section. The tunnel is even connected to the sea, serving as underground access to submarines. The existing underground tunnels are also very narrow and can only be passed on to all fours.
Did You Know? Stones From Mosque Was Used To Build The Well-Known A’Famosa
The famous A’Famosa was built soon after the Portuguese captured Malacca in the year 1511. Bringing the meaning of ‘The Famous’, the Portuguese used forced labor to build the city that serves as a temporary camp to repel the attacks of the Malays. It took five months to build, many of the forced laborers used to build the city died as a result of hot weather and food shortages.
The construction of Kota A Famosa under the direction of Alfonso de Albuquerque became a symbol of the resistance of the people of Melaka at that time to force them to build a defensive city once they took control of the city of Melaka. The city was later destroyed by the British on 10 August 1807.
Little do people know that the material used to build this iconic historical monument of this city is by using stone mosques and also the tomb of the Malays. This is evidenced by the particular discovery of a letter from a man named Giovanni da Empoli (1483-1517) to his father in Italy. Giovanni da Empoli was a merchant who at the age of a dozen had left Lisbon according to the navy of Alfonso de Albuquerque traveling to Southeast Asia (April 6, 1503). Born in Florence, he has the ability to speak many languages. Early 16th century. Portugal actively expanded its influence by conquering maritime routes to Southeast Asia conquered Goa in 1510 and Melaka in 1511.
Being in Melaka for six months since 28 June 1511, Giovanni and the other crew were forced to engage in the conquest under Alfonso despite having no background as a soldier. Throughout his adventures, Giovanni has written two letters to his father in Florence who are 10 years away. In the letter, he recounts the events he witnessed himself during the year 1511.
Among the contents of the letter revealed:
“We prepared a stone [fort] that we built by renovating the houses of the ‘Moors’, their mosques and other buildings.
We built it up with great difficulty by bearing the stones on our backs, and each of us became a manual laborer, a builder and a stonemason.
The situation is very difficult: We built the city with our weapons under the scorching sun that is hard to describe. The only food available is rice (…)
No one escaped a terrible fever, in which the corpse lay in the captain’s residence for two or three days (…)
I fell ill from October, and for fifty days I had a severe and prolonged fever until I lost my mind”.
Saudi Arabia Releases Amazing Close-Up Images of Hajar Aswad In Makkah
Authorities in Saudi Arabia released new specially processed images of the Hajar Aswad in the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosque took over a thousand photographs of the Black Stone and the shrine of Ibrahim. Using Fox Stack Panorama technology, it combines images with varying degrees of clarity to produce a single accurate high-resolution picture of the Hajar Aswad
Sultan bin Ati Al-Qurashi, the undersecretary-general for the Projects and Engineering Studies Agency at the presidency said that the authority was interested in using the latest imaging techniques because of the Black Stone’s importance to Muslims. With a whopping 49,000-megapixel, the images were taken over seven hours and required a week to edit. It is the first time the artifact is shown in such great detail.
The reddish-black, the oval-shaped stone is 30 cm in diameter and is located in the southeast corner of the Kaaba.
The few remaining pieces of the Hajar al Aswad (Black Stone) pic.twitter.com/ni57cZ7L3S
— Haramain Sharifain (@hsharifain) May 4, 2021
Positioned 1.5 meters above the ground inside a pure silver frame, it is the starting and finishing point of the circumambulation or tawaf.
” It is an advanced technique used for the first time in building a model that greatly simulates the shape and size of the shrine of our Prophet Ibrahim,” Al-Qurashi added.
The Projects and Engineering Studies Agency is building a virtual exhibition to display all these works in a 3D model that is considered an exact replica of the archaeological collection, and will include 123 different pieces from the Two Holy Mosques Architecture Museum.’
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