Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City, evokes a feeling of exotic lands and old world charms. The city is still referred to by its old name Saigon, and even physically you can see the blend of the old with the new; the city streets are lined with high-rise corporate offices amongst charming French colonial architecture, where you will find the dynamic population going about their business alongside the placid saffron-robed monks collecting alms. Although the city is bustling with international business activity, it has managed to retain its distinct Asian feel.
Located at an altitude of 44 m above sea level and situated on the banks of not one, not two, but five rivers—Zeta, Moraca, Ribnica, Cijevna and Sitnica, Podgorica is a colorful bustling town, where you can still walk along a beautiful promenade, or walk its serene parks and spend the day mingling with the colorful local population. Nearby is the well known Scadar Lake, a haven for bird watchers and nature lovers alike. In 1326 Podgorica was named after the hill Gorica, which is in the northern part of the city but it has also been called by other names in the past.
Bucharest, the capital city and industrial and commercial centre of Romania, was originally known as the Dambovita citadel. As compared to most of the other European cities, Bucharest is a relatively new city, its existence first being referred to by scholars as late as 1459. Between the two World Wars, Bucharest was called Little Paris owing to its elegant architecture, the sophistication of its elite and its wide, tree-lined boulevards. Most of the buildings and districts in the historic centre were damaged or destroyed by war, earthquakes and Nicolae Ceausescu's program of restructuring the city, but much survived.
In the Old town of Tallinn, you feel as if you have stepped into life as it were in the 14th and 15th centuries. Soaring cathedral spires and sentry towers, all connected by a labyrinth of cobblestone streets, most of Tallinn has the appearance of a medieval settlement. But don’t let that fool you. Tallinn is a major Baltic port and naval station and an important industrial center. Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, lies on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, only 70 km south of Helsinki. The well preserved old town has even been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Lisbon, or Lisboa, is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. It is also the westernmost capital in mainland Europe. With an area of only 85 sq km, it is proof that the size of a country doesn’t matter…it’s what you do with it. High economic output, standard of living, and market size makes the city one of the major financial and economic centers of the Iberian Peninsula. It is also the political center of the country.
The name of the city comes from one of its legendary founders, Kyi. One of the biggest cities in Europe, with a population of over three million, Kiev is the bustling capital of Ukraine, and as well as the country’s administrative, economic, scientific, cultural and educational center…that’s a whole lot for just one city. Kiev (as the Russians spell it), or Kyiv (as the Ukrainians spell it), is located in the north central part of the country on the shores of the Dnieper River.
The Pearl of the Black Sea, Odessa is a major seaport and the third largest city in Ukraine. What attracts hordes of visitors to this exotic Mediterranean locale is the mild climate, warm waters and sandy beaches where you can explore the city by strolling in the shady lanes, stopping to look at the beautiful pastel buildings and cozy squares that remind you of a Greek colony.