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Around the world: our most unusual routes

Get off the beaten track, explore places you'd never thought of, run in the desert or the lush jungle... Wherever you are, JOOKS suggests exceptional routes! Discover with us the ghost town of Granadilla, the desert expanses of central Argentina, or Pristina, the vibrant heart of Kosovo...



Granadilla


Granadilla Castle, dating back to the 13th century, sits enthroned in the eponymous ghost village. 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 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 overlooking a vast expanse of land and is a key point on the Vía de la Plata, the silver route. The Almohads built the citadel in the most vulnerable part of the town, to the north-west. In 1160, the city was conquered by Fernando II, who fortified the entire town and brought it under Christian rule.


Its inhabitants were expropriated in the mid-twentieth century, when it became a flood zone due to the construction of the Gabriel y Galán reservoir. Today, it remains officially classified as such, although neither the town nor the castle have ever been flooded, even when the reservoir was full. Today, it's a remarkable site, protected by the government; you'll come across many campers who come to enjoy the unparalleled ambience of this abandoned stronghold.


Courir ou marcher avec JOOKS dans les rues désertes de Granadilla : une expérience inoubliable !
Running through the deserted streets of Granadilla: an unforgettable experience!

San Juan


In a majestic landscape, right in the middle of Argentina, stands the city of San Juan. Ranked among the country's top ten urban centers, it was founded on June 13, 1562 by the conquistador Juan Jufré de Loayza under the name of San Juan de la Frontera. Nearby are a number of tourist attractions: the Embalse and Ullum reservoirs, the Quebrada de Zonda... There are also thermal springs, museums and, not to be missed, the starting point for the local wine routes.


Découvrez à vélo les paysages majestueux de l'Argentine avec les parcours JOOKS à San Juan !
Discover Argentina's majestic landscapes by bike!

Its province is considerable: it covers almost 90,000 km², slightly larger than a country like Serbia. The terrain is mountainous, interspersed with arid valleys. The city lies at the center of the Tulum oasis, and is home to over 60% of the province's total population. Also nearby is Ischigualasto, an important paleontological site with strange geoforms dating from the Triassic period. JOOKS invites you to discover San Juan and the surrounding area on long cycle routes, in the land of alpacas and vicuñas!



Soumagne


In the green Belgian plains lies the small town of Soumagne, in the Pays de Herve region, some 15 km from Liège and Verviers.


Along the Magne, the commune's main stream, you can listen to the history of this mining town, whose roots go back to prehistoric times, as traces of Neolithic occupation have been found here. You'll pass through the town of Ayeneux and its provincial estate, where you'll admire the Château de Wégimont, a Renaissance edifice that is one of the region's most remarkable landmarks.



La ville minière de Soumagne recèle des trésors insoupçonnés dans les creux de la Magne ...
The mining town of Soumagne hides unsuspected treasures in the hollows of the Magne...

Pristina


Little-known Pristina is the capital and largest city of Kosovo, a territory with a disputed status. Situated near the Goljak mountains, a few kilometers north of the Šar mountains and Lake Badovac, it is home to impressive monuments such as the national library, the Xhamia mosque and war memorials such as Newborn and Heroinat.


Admirez la bibliothèque nationale du Kosovo lors de votre balade dans Pristina !
Admire the National Library of Kosovo as you stroll through Pristina!

An unusual detail: the two tributaries of the Ibar that used to flow through the city - the Vellucha, which descends from the Germia hills to the east, and the Pristina, which flows to the west of the old town - were covered over in the 1950s and the late 1970s respectively, linking them to the city's sewage system. Pristina is therefore a city without rivers.


It also boasts a history stretching back thousands of years: 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 set the course for the city's future. Indeed, to mark his authority, Sultan Mehmed II ordered the construction of the Imperial Mosque. As a result, most of the town's inhabitants converted to Islam. During your run through Pristina, you'll have the pleasure of discovering both this Muslim culture in the heart of the Balkans, and a city modernized since the war.



Ubud


A jewel on the Indonesian island of Bali, the town of Ubud will transport you to a past as mysterious as it is exotic.


At the confluence of two rivers near Campuhan, a Javanese priest named Rsi Markendya is said to have meditated here in the eighth century. At the foot of Gunung Lebah, he built a temple that later attracted numerous 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, meaning "medicine", is the origin of Ubud's name.


In the late 19th century, Ubud established itself as a political and cultural center, seat of the feudal lords of the Sukawati ksatriya family. They had sworn allegiance to the king of Gianyar, the most powerful of the southern Bali states. They contributed to the village's growing artistic reputation.


Entre arts et temples, la mystérieuse ville d'Ubud vous livre ses secrets lors de votre run.
Between art and temples, the mysterious town of Ubud reveals its secrets during your run.

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, helped Ubud become Bali's cultural center. With the emergence of the young artists' movement and the work of Dutch painter Arie Smit in the 1960s, Ubud has continued to develop as one of the country's major artistic centers.

Ubud is home to a number of magnificent museums, including Puri Lukisan, which houses a superb collection of artworks from the 1930s, the Neka Museum, which displays the extensive personal collection of Ubud art lover Mr. Neka, and the Agung Rai Museum.


Beauvais


To conclude this overview of the unusual routes available on JOOKS: if the name Beauvais only conjures up an airport in your mind, consider a trip there during your next weekend in the French capital!


Indeed, its history dates back to the 1st century AD. In the Middle Ages, the town flourished, particularly in the textile sector, which made a major contribution to the town's development and economic growth. You'll come across the magnificent Cathedral Saint-Pierre de Beauvais, an unfinished masterpiece of Gothic architecture, with the highest Gothic choir in the world - 48.50 meters! If you push open the cathedral door, you'll admire a 19th-century masterpiece by Auguste-Lucien Vérité, its superb astronomical clock.


L'immense cathédrale inachevée de Beauvais vous surplombe de toute la hauteur de son choeur gothique.
Beauvais's immense, unfinished cathedral towers over you from the height of its Gothic choir.

On your way, not far from the old town, stands a medieval hospital almost without equal among its French counterparts. You'll also pass the former leprosarium of the maladrerie Saint-Lazare, built in the 12th century. Beauvais is brimming with centuries-old monuments, and as you stroll through it, you'll contemplate a thousand years of history.



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