Airbnb's Newest Listing: The Great Wall of China

Airbnb
Airbnb

Update: On August 9, Airbnb announced that the giveaway had been canceled. The company said in a statement, "While there was an agreement in place that was the basis for the announcement of this event, in light of recent feedback, we have respectfully made the decision to not move forward with this contest."

While traveling, do you prefer to rent rooms that are old and rustic with a great view? Then head on over to the Great Wall of China. As spotted by Business Insider, Airbnb is giving away a one-night stay in a centuries-old tower along one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World (and yes, flights are included).

Four winners will have the chance to camp out in a historic tower overlooking the rolling hills of Yanqing, just beyond Beijing's city center. During the trip, which is scheduled for September 3 through September 9, 2018, guests will be treated to a gourmet Chinese meal and classical music at sunset.

The next morning, they'll be taken on a sunrise hike through the surrounding countryside, all while learning about the history and heritage of the Great Wall. After that, they can try their hand at some traditional Chinese activities, like seal-engraving and calligraphy. Airbnb says the contest is part of an effort to promote tourism in China and preserve the Great Wall, parts of which have fallen into disrepair.

As part of the package, which is valued at about $4400 per person, transportation and accommodations in other Beijing locations will also be included.

To enter, you’ll have to write a short prompt about “why it is more important now than ever to break down barriers between cultures and how you want to build new connections.” The contest is open to citizens of the U.S., UK, and nine other countries. Be sure to submit your entry via Airbnb’s listing page for the Great Wall by August 11 for your chance to win.

[h/t Business Insider]

Climate Change Is Threatening Nearly All UNESCO Sites Around the Mediterranean

iStock.com/tunart
iStock.com/tunart

The Mediterranean is home to some of the world's most famous cultural wonders, with 49 UNESCO-recognized world heritage sites in the region in total. Now, the organization warns that all but two of these sites are threatened by flooding and erosion linked to climate change, Artnet News reports.

For a recent study, published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of researchers looked at how various possible outcomes of rising sea levels could impact the Mediterranean coast between now and 2100. They found that even if global temperatures rise just 2°C (about 3.6°F) above pre-industrial numbers, the area's most treasured sites will still be at risk.

The places most vulnerable to rising sea levels include the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia, the Renaissance city of Ferrara, and the city of Venice. When it comes to erosion, Tyre in Lebanon, the archaeological sites of Tárraco in Spain, and the Ephesus in Turkey face the most pressing danger.

A handful of world heritage sites along the Mediterranean Sea, like the Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna and the Cathedral of St. James, could potentially be relocated as an extreme final option. Only two sites on the list—Medina of Tunis and Xanthos-Letoon—would be safe from the flooding and erosion spurred by climate change.

Rising global temperatures are on track to reshape coasts, not just in the Mediterranean, but around the world. In addition to historic sites, homes and airports are also under threat.

[h/t Artnet News]

Today is National Necktie Day in Croatia—Birthplace of the Necktie

Srdjan Stevanovic, Getty Images
Srdjan Stevanovic, Getty Images

If you're wearing a necktie to work today, you can thank (or blame) the Croatians for this stylish invention. The necktie's predecessor, a short knotted garment called the cravat, is a source of pride in this Western Balkan nation—so much so that they celebrate Cravat Day each year on October 18.

It's unclear when exactly the necktie was invented, but Croatian soldiers wore red cravats as part of their uniform during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). According to The Atlantic, Croatian mercenaries carried it to Western Europe that same century, and the French borrowed the idea and dubbed it the cravate. It became even more stylish when Louis XIV of France started wearing a lace cravat in 1646 at the tender age of 7, according to The Dubrovnik Times. The English eventually helped spread the accessory around the world, and it morphed into the elongated form we're most familiar with today.

In 1997, a nonprofit organization called the Academia Cravatica was founded to promote the cravat as a symbol of Croatian ingenuity. "By spreading the truth about the cravat, we improve Croatia's image in the international public," the organization states. "The fact that Croats invented the Cravat makes us proud to be Croats." (According to Time Out, Croatia also invented the first MP3 player, the zeppelin, the parachute, and fingerprint identification.)

The cravat is also tied up with national identity. The words Croat and cravat are etymologically linked, and were once different spellings of the same word. One sample sentence by David Hume in 1752 reads, "The troops are filled with Cravates and Tartars, Hussars, and Cossacs."

The holiday isn't normally a big to-do, but the county's capital city, Zagreb, occasionally gets pretty festive. In 2003, when the holiday first debuted in Croatia, the Academia Cravatica wrapped an oversized red necktie around Pula Arena, a Roman amphitheater. It took two years to prepare and five days to install—and at 2650 feet long, it ended up being the largest necktie in the world, as recognized by Guinness World Records.

Cravat Day was formally declared a holiday by Croatian Parliament in 2008, and it's been a hallmark of Croatian culture ever since. A few events were planned in Zagreb today, including a march featuring the "city's famous Cravat Regiment." So if you happen to be in the Croatian capital, now you know why more than 50 historic statues are looking dapper in their red cravats.

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