Plaza Mayor, Salamanca, Spain

The Plaza Mayor is in the heart of Salamanca, Spain, and is the most characteristic monument of the city. It is an urban space built as a Castilian Big Square, trapezoidal, which, with the time, became the center of social life of the city; cultural festivals and religious ceremonies are held there regularly. It was built in Baroque style between 1729 and 1756; Andrew II De Salamanca City decided to build it to reward the loyalty of the city during the War of Spanish Succession. It has galleries with arches in the center, medallions on arches, bearing the likeness of famous people such as the Catholic Monarchs, Christopher Columbus, Miguel de Cervantes among others. You can also observe the coat of arms on the arches of the great arches in the balconies and other architectural elements.

Tips

The square is the perfect place to go for a walk, to meet with friends and share a coffee or a drink in a local around there.

Christmas Market in Longueuil, Longueuil, Quebec

The Christmas Market in Longueuil is in its 10th edition. Like every year, it will be at St. Mark Park on St. Charles Street in Old Longueuil. The market makes us remember a small village of yesteryear, where 66 exhibitors booths, seem small illuminated houses. Here you will find producers and artisans from all over the province. It is an ideal place to visit with friends or family to buy your gifts for Christmas Eve. There are several activities such as the Small train of the North, workshops for children, the sale of Christmas trees, singing, music, dance, humor, and more. Of course Santa Claus is present to receive your children who will love to talk to him while you take photos. An appointment not to be missed, go in large numbers !!!

Tips

The market takes place from December, 2nd  to December, 22nd 2016. It is open from 11h to 20h everyday except on Sundays when it closes at 18.00.
The Old Longueuil joins this event so enjoy for a little walk around the market, to have something in a restaurant or cafe. The houses are also embellished.
You can go to Longueuil metro station and take a bus from there (there are 4 lines) or walk twenty minutes as the park is 1.7 km from the metro station.

Basilica of the Nativity, Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine

The Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine, built in the fourth century (327-333) by the Roman Emperor Constantine 1st, is one of the oldest churches in the world, built on the presumed site of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The current basilica was rebuilt in its present form in 565 by Emperor Justinian who erected a larger building by extending the nave and adding transepts. It suffered several conservation issues and changes through the years and also many restorations but its current state needs immediate handling and catering. Currently, it is administered jointly by the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem (which has the main part of the basilica and also the altar of the Nativity in the cave), the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church (who owns the silver star beneath the altar of the Nativity). The fanatical rivalry on the spatial and temporal control of the sanctuary because of the conflicts erupt in the most serious solemn ceremonies involving the simultaneous participation of several churches. In the Place of the Nativity, you find the bell tower of the Armenian monastery in the foreground and the bell tower of the Greek Orthodox monastery in the background. The basilica is part of a large monumental complex that covers almost 12,000 square feet which includes the Latin monasteries (north), Greek Orthodox (southeast, the cemetery along the south aisle of the basilica), Armenian (south- west) and St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic church with chapels and hotels nearby to accommodate the pilgrims. The current basilica architectural ensemble is a combination of two churches and a crypt – the grotto of the Nativity – where Jesus was born, according to tradition. It includes just a gateway, the Door of Humility, which originally was much larger but it has been reduced along the years. The key to the door is in the hands of the Orthodox that open at dawn and close twenty minutes before sunset. The church plan is that of a classical Roman basilica. Inside there are pink limestone of Bethlehem, white marble, many frescoes, Byzantine mosaics, eternal hanging lamps, details that also show various different religions and cultures that have passed through the years. The stairs on either side of the sanctuary provide access to the Grotto by irregular steps.

 
Tips

Believers gather on Christmas Eve in Manger Square to sing Christmas carols until midnight mass but it takes place at different dates according to the beliefs.
In one of the columns inside, you’ll find four holes in a cross where visitors have the habit of placing their fingers because according to the belief, Mary laid her hand so the wishes from their prayers to the Virgin, could be realized.