Focus on Archaeology

Bay of Bones archaeological site on Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

by Julie Skurdenis (part 3 of 3 on Balkans)

My husband, Paul, and I had visited Lake Ohrid on a trip to Albania in 2008. We loved what we saw then. Since Lake Ohrid is shared by both Albania and Macedonia, we decided we wanted to see the Macedonian side of the lake as well on our tour of Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro arranged by Bestway Tours & Safaris.

Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest lakes on Earth, together with Baikal in Russia and Titicaca in Bolivia and Peru...

The Patriarchate of Peć — Kosovo.

by Julie Skurdenis (part 2 of 3 on the Balkans)

The small country of Kosovo, in Eastern Europe, has seen its share of turmoil in recent years, especially since the breakup of Yugoslavia that began in the 1990s.

When Serbia emerged from the old Yugoslavia (more accurately, it “reemerged,” since Serbia once existed as an independent kingdom in the Middle Ages), Kosovo was part of this “new” Serbia, a political fact that changed in February 2008 when...

Five Roman sites in Serbia (1 of 3 on Balkan countries)

by Julie Skurdenis

Buenos Aires’ history stretches back almost 500 years. In 1536 King Carlos I of Spain sent Pedro de Mendoza to the Rio de la Plata in what is now northeastern Argentina to establish a fort. This fort was the first site of what eventually became Buenos Aires.

Forty-four years later, Juan de Garay “refounded” the city just a mile and a half from the original site, naming it Ciudad de la Santisima Trinidad y Puerto de Santa Maria de los Buenos...


by Julie Skurdenis (Second of two parts)

I traveled with my husband, Paul, on a private tour of the three Caucasus countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia in May/June 2010. Last month I wrote about the top archaeological site visited in Azerbaijan and in Georgia and selected a handful of other highlights in each country as well. Armenia remains.

In Azerbaijan, the archaeological site selected was a mountainous area riddled with caves containing petroglyphs. In Georgia it...


by Julie Skurdenis (First of two parts)

My husband, Paul, and I journeyed through the Caucasus countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia on a customized itinerary organized by Boston-based Kutrubes Travel (details will be in part two) in May-June 2010. Situated between the Black and Caspian seas, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, these three countries share the common thread of the spectacular Caucasus Mountains as well as a recent past of Soviet domination.



by Julie Skurdenis

In the Barri Gòtic, one of Barcelona’s oldest quarters, there is a lovely small square called the Plaça del Rei (King’s Square). Dark, narrow streets lead to the square, hidden away in the middle of the old quarter. Minutes away is a major thoroughfare, but you wouldn’t know it standing there surrounded by medieval stone buildings.

Barcelonans pass by, striding briskly. Tourists stroll through at a more leisurely pace, slowing down to admire the old...


Around the year AD 500, long before the Viking era began in the second half of the eighth century, a chieftain on the island of Vestvågøy, in Norway’s Lofoten Islands above the Arctic Circle, built himself a house worthy of his status.

It was an enormous longhouse, 221 feet long, with turf walls and (probably) a wood-shingled roof. It stood on a hill with a sweeping view over the countryside. It could be seen from a distance, which is one of the reasons it was built where it was. It...