Bruges, Belgium: Northern Europe’s Medieval Cultural Hub

History of Bruges Bruges is a small city located in the Flanders region of Northwestern Belgium. The city’s origins date all the way back to medieval times, with the name ‘brugj’ appearing for the first time in the ninth century.  Often referred to as ‘the Venice of the North’, Bruges has always been closely connected to the ocean, even through its physical foundations. The city is known for its intricate network of canals, which merge several streams into a single river known as ‘The Reie’ into the North Sea. In the early Middle Ages, these networks allowed Bruges to develop … Continue reading Bruges, Belgium: Northern Europe’s Medieval Cultural Hub

The Sami People: History, Culture, and Contemporary Issues

Who are the Sami? What is their History? The Sami are the oldest indigenous ethnic group in Europe, dispersed throughout areas in Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. They are the descendants of nomadic peoples who had inhabited northern Scandinavia for thousands of years. Today, the total population of the Sami ranges from around 80,000 to 100,000, the majority of whom live in Norway. The Sami have traditionally built their livelihood through fishing, hunting, and reindeer herding throughout the Arctic. They are most notably recognized for their close relationship with reindeer, an animal that continues to hold importance within their culture. … Continue reading The Sami People: History, Culture, and Contemporary Issues

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The Epic of Gilgamesh: An Ancient Mesopotamean Text and the World’s Oldest Epic Literature

What is The Epic of Gilgamesh? The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient Mesopotamian poem, written in the Akkadian language in the Mesopotamian city-state of Uruk. It is widely regarded to be the oldest piece of epic world literature on … Continue reading The Epic of Gilgamesh: An Ancient Mesopotamean Text and the World’s Oldest Epic Literature