Bahai News - Historical places, famous faces Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Historical places, famous faces

Major events mark 2001 as a banner year for travel

By DIANE SLAWYCH
If you thought 2000 was a banner year in tourism, have a look at what's in store for 2001. Major events in Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean and the U.S. are taking place this year. And they're all built around major anniversaries of famous people and important places.

ISRAEL: One of the most significant events in Baha'i history takes place in Israel next month with the official opening of 19 terraced gardens, adorning the face of Mount Carmel in the city of Haifa. Ten years in the making, the terraces surround the Shrine of Bab, the prophet of the Baha'i faith who died in 1850 as a martyr in Iran. Nine terraces lie below the Shrine and nine rise above it reaching a height of 225 metres.

Close to 5,000 people from around the world, including 3,300 Baha'i faithful will celebrate atop the mountain when the terraces open on May 22. An oratorio and a symphony have been commissioned for the event. The gardens will be open daily (free of charge). For details call 416-964-3784.

CURACAO: While Israel celebrates the Baha'i faith, Curacao turns its attention to the Jewish faith. In the city of Willemstad, the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest continually worshipped-in Jewish temple in the New World, celebrates its 350th anniversary this year. The Curacao Tourist Board has announced Jewish Heritage Tour Packages from April 22-September 15.

Rates start at US$295 per night which includes accommodation, breakfast and a tour with stops at the Synagogue, the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum, which contains an original Torah scroll brought to Curacao in 1659, the Mongui Maduro Library which houses a collection of works on the history of the Jewish community in Curacao; and the Scharloo neighbourhood of Willemstad whose mansions were once home to Jewish settlers. For further information, call Arza World Travel at 1-800-223-7406 or 1-800-3CURACAO or visit www.curacao-tourism.com

SWITZERLAND: This year, Switzerland marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Johanna Spyri, the author of the classic children's book Heidi, with special events and tours.

One package trip, "Heidi's Switzerland," covers the eastern and southern part of the country with overnight stays in Bad Ragaz, Davos, St. Moritz, Lugano and Zurich. The six-day trip, which includes train travel and five nights accommodation, costs $698 Cdn. For details visit www.raileurope.com/canada/rail/passes/heidi_switzerland.htm. Another package trip called "Heidi's Trail" includes two nights accommodation, three meals, train travel and admission to two museums, costs $268 Cdn adult, $140 children under 16. Valid until Oct 28.

Three Swiss museums are staging Heidi exhibits, including the Museum Strauhof in Zurich which presents "Heidi: The Career of a Personality" from May 18 to August 5. Several Heidi-themed walking paths have also been created. One covers the Maienfeld area, where Spyri often walked and got her inspiration. For further information call toll free 011-800-100-200-30 or visit www.MySwitzerland.com or the Heidi home page, when it becomes operational next month: www.MyHeidi.ch.

NEW ORLEANS, USA: Scholars and fans of Louis Armstrong gather in New Orleans from all over the world this summer to celebrate the centennial of the great music legend's birth. The four-day celebration includes a music festival, walking tours of Armstrong's old neighbourhoods, a club crawl, jazz mass and second-line parade.

The main event is the Louis Armstrong Centennial Conference, August 2-4, at the Old Mint in the French Quarter, New Orleans, with seminars on Armstrong's inventiveness, discussions on the history of second-lines and jazz funerals, and memories of those who knew or were influenced by Armstrong. You can attend individual sessions for US$20, or the full conference for US$50 if booked before July 2. The price rises to US$75 after July 2.

On Sunday August 5 the Louisiana Office of Tourism and the Louisiana State Museum are sponsoring the first annual Satchmo Summerfest, with music, food and fun in and around the Old Mint. For details visit www.satchmo.com www.neworleanscvb. com or call 504-522-5730 for details.

ST. LOUIS, USA: Another music legend, Miles Davis, is being celebrated this year. The jazz great who grew up in East St. Louis and died in 1991, would have been 75 this year.

Opening May 13 is a nine-month long special exhibition on Davis' life, including rare footage, audio tours and photographs at the Missouri History Museum. And from May 24-28, the East St. Louis waterfront will stage the Miles Davis Arts Festival featuring local and national musicians. For festival details call 618-857-6808 or for museum information call 314-746-4599.


©Copyright 2001, Canoe

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