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The Story Behind The Largest Ghost Town In The World

The true story behind the once great city of Ani, Turkey, now the largest ghost town in the world.

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Over the years I’ve written plenty of stories ghost towns all around the world. More often than not, it’s not surprising why these towns were eventually abandoned. Usually, the town itself was only started because a mine of some kind was discovered. So when the mine runs dry, the people that live there leave in a hurry. But the story around the ghost town of Ani, Turkey is truly a spooky one.

Ani dates all the way back to the fifth century, when it was, at one point, a thriving city with a population of at least 100,000. But today, not a single person lives there. And all that remains are just that… remains. Long forgotten remains of a city forgotten. But why was it forgotten? How can a city that was once home to 100,000 people be completely left to rot? First, let’s look at the history of Ani.

Ani was comfortable situated along a number of popular trade routes in medieval times. It was even the capital of the Kingdom of Armenia when it was established in 884 AD. Thanks in large part to the thriving economy the fed off the many travelers that came through while on those very trade routes. But it saw it’s fair share of damage over the years too. Whether it was any number of natural disasters or the multiple wars that took place during its three-century life, Ani eventually became a broken and battered city.

The worst moment came when Turkish invaders took over the city. The murdered many of the people of Ani and enslaved the rest. When they had taken everything they wanted, they sold the city to the Kurdish dynasty known as the Shaddadids. But the trouble didn’t end there for the once great city. Twice Mongols invaded the city in an attempt to take it for themselves. And even though they were successful in their second attempt, somehow the city still remained.

In 1319, perhaps the final straw broke Ani’s back when the great Cathedral of Ani, a gorgeous brick building that had been standing since 1001, was destroyed by a devastating earthquake. This, along with other damage caused by the earthquake, left the city all but destroyed with only a small amount of residents remaining. From there, wars continued on, and natural disasters didn’t slow down either. By the mid-1700’s, the city’s last inhabitants finally left.

And just like that… the city was no longer a city. Only broken remains of a former marvel of civilization were left. To this day, despite efforts by both Armenia and Turkey to lay claim to the rights to Ani, the city remains the property of no one. But therein lies it’s beauty today. It is essentially open to the public! And it makes for an incredible adventure into the past for the curious traveler.

So next time you’re in the Turkey area, be sure to stop by the most amazing ghost town in all the world.

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Destinations

How to Vacation During the Coronavirus

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The coronavirus may seem to be a big hurdle if you’re planning a vacation, but it’s not impossible.

Still, the best place to have a vacation is in your home, but if you still plan to travel, try to avoid unnecessary contact with people outside of your household and be aware of the risks.

So here are the rules:

Know the Rules on Where You are Going

Knowing the rules keeps you informed if places are closed or not; it also helps you prepare more for where you are going.

Avoid Places with Rising or High Confirmed Cases of Covid-19

The coronavirus is highly contagious and takes weeks for symptoms to show. So the more significant the rise of known cases, the higher the chance that they’re people who are roaming about that are infected.

Get Tested

Getting tested for Covid-19 before and after you’re going to travel because you might already be a carrier. When someone is visiting, get them tested too.

Try to be Extra Cautious When You Fly

Social distancing is difficult when flying since you are within 6 feet with each other therefore you need to take all precautions like wearing a mask except when drinking or eating, washing hands, and also consider your transport to and from the airport since public transportation will put you in more risk of getting the virus.

Avoid Crowded Areas

If you see a flock of people stay away. Beaches, malls, restaurants, and bars tend to have a lot of people, so be wary of those. You can lower your risk by trying to dine outside of the restaurant and practicing proper social distancing.

Don’t Travel with anyone Who is Sick

If you have anyone with symptoms of the virus, leave them at home. If you’ve been in contact with anyone who’s recently found to have the virus get tested. You do not want to spread the virus in any way. So if you or anyone in your household shows symptoms, please stay at home.

Bring a Face Mask

By now, you probably know how vital wearing face masks are on how they prevent the spread of the virus. Packing more than one for yourself and your kids is preferred, or you could buy those washable ones that have more layers that prevent more particles that you eject from talking, sneezing, and coughing.

Minimize Contact with People Not in Your Immediate Group

The more people you come in contact with, the higher the risk of you getting the virus. It’s best to be with people from your household for now. Remember to social distance by following the markings on the ground when going into lines. Always wear a mask and wash your hands.

Dine Outside

If you know you’ll be eating into a lot of restaurants, try to call ahead or ask if you could dine outside. Eating outside lowers the risk of getting the coronavirus since it’s being dispersed by the airflow rather than being collected in a single spot indoors. 

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Destinations

Safe Travel Spots For Travel Currently

  

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International travel broadens the mind and brings people closer together. That’s why it’s an ideal option for parents that want to give their children a life-changing experience. But, you have to be careful. There are plenty of places in the world that aren’t safe for family vacations. That’s why we put together this list of international destinations that are great and safe options for the whole family.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand is known for being a beautiful and friendly country. And Auckland is its crown jewel in that department. The abundant wildlife alone makes it worth the visit. But other major attractions include Frodo’s home from the “Lord Of The Rings” series, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It truly makes for a safe and fun trip for the whole family!

IRELAND

Ireland is every kid’s dream. Who hasn’t fantasized about being a king or queen in a castle?! Well, Ireland has enough castles for 10 family vacations. And you can even take your kids to the pub! It’s common practice there so it’s perfectly safe. Plus it’s a great way to experience the local culture. Personally, I can’t wait to visit Ireland.

 

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND

Iceland is just about as safe as it gets, making the top ten on both the Global Peace Index and the World Economic Forum’s lists for safety and security. This is due in large part to its incredibly low crime rate. But there’s much more to take in when visiting Reykjavik, including the Sage Museum, natural thermal baths, and tiny Icelandic horses. Who doesn’t love tiny horses?!

MAURITIUS

Mauritius is another country that was ranked highly on the Global Peace Index for safety and security and is the highest of the African countries on the list. This is due mostly to its distance from the rest of the African continent, which is known for not being safe. It is also this distance that makes it the island getaway vacation that families dream of. Be sure to check out the aquarium and snorkel around the reefs while you’re there!

 

THIMPHU

Tucked away in the Himalayan mountains, Bhutan is a country lost in time. They just added their first traffic lights a few years ago! But they’re also the second-ranked Asian country on the Global Peace Index list of safe and secure countries. So it’s bound to be a peaceful and educational trip for you and your family. Be sure to check out Buddha Dordenma, the largest Buddha statue in the world. 

SINGAPORE

Singapore is easily the smallest place on this list, measuring it at just 50 square miles. But it has more than enough fun for the family. Not to mention it’s all the way up at #6 on the World Economic Forum’s list of safe and secure countries! Top attractions include an abundant aviary, nighttime wildlife tours, and an indoor snow park. Definitely worth seeing before the kids head off to college. 


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Destinations

International Traveling On A Budget During Covid

  

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Most people wish they took more vacations. I know I do. But traveling is so darn expensive! How am I supposed to be able to afford a trip anywhere, let alone somewhere out of the country? Well have no fear, Jetlaggin is here! Check these five international destinations that are much cheaper than you think.

MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

Medellin is an affordable travel destination in Colombia as it’s actually its third major behind Cartagena and Bogota. The weather is perfect nearly all year long, and ever since the days of Pablo Escobar, the city has put a strong focus on rebuilding the city and attracting a new batch of young, hip, cosmopolitan inhabitants. This means plenty of beautiful museums and art galleries. Hotels only cost around $70 a night, and meals shouldn’t cost much more than $15. These low prices allow for two people to enjoy five days in Medellin for around just $800.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO

Some people are wary of traveling to Mexico these days. But it’s capital, Mexico City, is still a beautiful vacation destination that you can enjoy on the cheap. Whether it’s hotels, restaurants, or the many art and cultural attractions that can be found throughout the city, there are surprisingly affordable options for just about everything. Just be smart and explore your options. It’s not hard to find a hotel room for a hundred bucks a night, and you can easily live off delicious street food for your whole trip. Not to mention the public transportation system in the city is cheap and extremely accessible. You could easily take a two-person, seven-day vacation to Mexico City for around $1,000.

BARCELONA, SPAIN

Barcelona is a truly beautiful city in a beautiful country. But you’ll have to be careful when attempting to pull off an affordable trip there, as the city is flooded with tourists in the summer. Hotel rates are on the higher side, averaging around $150 per night. But there are so many things to be enjoyed in Barcelona for free, particularly the beaches. As for meals, as long as you stay away from the Gothic Quarter and Las Ramblas area, you should be able to find plenty of cheap eating options. You could enjoy a lovely four day, two-person vacation to Barcelona for around $1,100-$1,300.

SOUTHERN VIETNAM

Vietnam still has a slightly negative connotation around it these days, but make no mistake, it is a fascinating country that is ideal for a cheap vacation. Flights will be your biggest expense, as they don’t exactly run cheap. But if you’re ok living off street food for most of your trip and taking a lot of public transportation, once you’re there you don’t have to spend all that much money. Some of the best attractions revolve around exploring, including the Cu Chi Tunnels used during the Vietnam War, the city of Can Tho off the Mekong Delta, and the Cai Rang Floating Market. You can pull off a two-person, five-day vacation to Vietnam for around $1,400.

QUITO, ECUADOR

Quito is one of the often forgotten gems of South America. It offers incredible outdoor and hiking activities, historic relics and architecture from thousands of years ago, and a bustling urban area with a great nightlife scene. Also be sure to take in the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, the Museo de la Ciudad, and the Museo Casa del Alabado. And if you have enough time, head out of the city to check out the Cotopaxi National Park for some of the best scenery around. A whole week-long, two-person vacation would cost just around $2,000.


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