Get off the beaten track, explore places you wouldn't have thought of, run in the desert or the lush jungle... JOOKS suggests you, wherever you are, exceptional routes! Discover with us the ghost town of Granadilla, the desert expanses of central Argentina, or Prishtina, the vibrant heart of Kosovo...
Granadilla Castle, constructed in the 13th century, is located in the eponymous ghost town. The latter belongs to the Spanish municipality of Zarza de Granadilla, a former lordship of Granada, which was an ancient fortified town of feudal origin in the northwest of the province of Cáceres. It was once an important city, capital of the region known as the Tierras de Granadilla and head of a judicial district. The fortress was founded by the Muslims in the 9th century, as it stands on a slate hill that dominates a vast area and is a mandatory passage on the Vía de la Plata, the silver route. In its most vulnerable part, to the northwest, the Almohads built the citadel. In 1160, the city was conquered by Fernando II, thus coming under Christian rule; he fortified the whole city.
Its inhabitants were expropriated in the middle of the 20th century, when it became a flood zone due to the construction of the Gabriel y Galán reservoir. Today, it is still officially classified as such, although neither the town nor the castle has ever been flooded, even when the reservoir was full. Today it is a remarkable site, protected by the government, and you will come across many campers who come to enjoy the unique atmosphere of this abandoned stronghold.
In a majestic landscape, in the middle of Argentina, stands the city of San Juan. It was founded on 13 June 1562 by the conquistador Juan Jufré de Loayza under the name of San Juan de la Frontera. Nearby, there are many tourist attractions: the Embalse and Ullum reservoirs, the Quebrada de Zonda... But also thermal springs, museums and, not to be missed, the starting point of the local wine routes.
Its province is considerable: it covers almost 90,000 km², which is slightly larger than a country like Serbia. The terrain is mountainous and interspersed with arid valleys. The city is located in the centre of the Tulum oasis, where more than 60% of the total population of the province lives. Ischigualasto, an important paleontological site with strange geoforms dating from the Triassic period, is also nearby. JOOKS offers you the opportunity to discover San Juan, but especially its surroundings, thanks to long cycling routes, in the land of alpacas and vicuñas!
In the green Belgian plains lies the small town of Soumagne, in the Pays de Herve, about fifteen kilometres from Liège and Verviers.
Along the Magne, the main stream of the municipality, you can listen to the history of this mining town, whose roots go back to prehistoric times, since traces of Neolithic occupation have been found here.
You will pass through the town of Ayeneux and its provincial domain, where you will admire the castle of Wégimont, a Renaissance building which is one of the most remarkable sites in the region.
The sometimes little-known Pristina is the capital and largest city of Kosovo, a territory with a disputed status. Located near the Goljak Mountains, a few kilometres north of the Šar Mountains and Lake Badovac, it is home to impressive monuments, such as the National Library, the Xhamia Mosque and war-related monuments like Newborn and Heroinat.
An unusual detail: the two tributaries of the Ibar that used to flow through the city, the Vellucha, which descends from the Germia hills in the east, and the Pristina, which flows west of the old city, were covered in the 1950s and late 1970s respectively, which connected them to the city's sewerage system. Pristina is therefore a city without rivers.
It also has a thousand-year-old history: inhabited since Roman times, it was chosen as the capital by the Serbian king Milutin (1282-1321) and his successors. The Ottoman occupation in 1389 after the battle of Kosovo Polje, however, prefigured its total conquest in 1454. The long period that followed marked out the future of the city. Indeed, in order to mark his authority, Sultan Mehmed II ordered the construction of the imperial mosque. As a result, most of the inhabitants converted to Islam. Through your run in Pristina, it is at the same time this Muslim culture of the heart of the Balkans, and a city modernized since the war, that you will have the pleasure to discover.
The town of Ubud, the jewel in the crown of the Indonesian island of Bali, will transport you to a mysterious and exotic past.
At the confluence of two rivers, in the vicinity of Campuhan, a Javanese priest named Rsi Markendya is said to have meditated on the site in the eighth century. At the foot of Gunung Lebah, he built a temple which later attracted many pilgrims. Thus was founded this town, which has since become a major source of many herbs and plants used in traditional medicine. The Indonesian word ubad, which means "medicine", is the origin of the name Ubud.
In the late 19th century, Ubud emerged as a political and cultural centre, the seat of the feudal lords of the Sukawati ksatriya family. They had pledged allegiance to the king of Gianyar, the most powerful of the southern Bali states. They helped to publicise the growing artistic reputation of the village.
Walter Spies, a German of Russian origin who taught art and music and had a passion for dance, is credited with launching the town's tourist industry. The place has also attracted many celebrities. Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Barbara Hutton, H. G. Wells, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, and Vicki Baum, to name but a few, have helped Ubud become the cultural centre of Bali.
With the emergence of the young artists' movement and the work of Dutch painter Arie Smit in the 1960s, Ubud was able to continue to develop as a major artistic centre in the country.
In Ubud you will find some wonderful museums, including Puri Lukisan, which houses a superb collection of art from the 1930s, the Neka Museum, which displays the extensive personal collection of Mr Neka, an art lover from Ubud, and the Agung Rai Museum.
To conclude this overview of the unusual routes available on JOOKS: if the name of Beauvais only evokes you an airport, think of making a stopover there during your next weekend in the French capital!
Indeed, its history dates back to the 1st century after the birth of Jesus Christ. In the Middle Ages, the city flourished, particularly in the textile sector, which contributed greatly to the city's economic development and growth. Here you will come across the magnificent Cathedral of St. Peter of Beauvais, an unfinished masterpiece of Gothic architecture, with the highest Gothic choir in the world - 48.50 metres! If you push open the door of the cathedral, you will admire a 19th century masterpiece by Auguste-Lucien Vérité, its superb astronomical clock.
On your way, not far from the old town, stands a medieval hospital almost without equal among its French counterparts. You will pass the old leprosarium of the maladrerie Saint-Lazare, built in the 12th century. Beauvais abounds in centuries-old monuments; as you walk around, you will contemplate a thousand years of history.
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