In sharp contrast to the rest of Scandinavia, there is no welfare state in Svalbard, and no social benefits to collect.
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You must be able to support and take care of yourself, or you must leave for the mainland. These tax revenues are used locally for infrastructure and other necessities. For strategic reasons, the Norwegian state also provides some funds to ensure that there is a constant Norwegian presence on the archipelago. Many food items are obviously more expensive than on the mainland due to transportation costs. Fresh fruits or vegetables are not cheap.
However, if you want to buy a bottle of cognac or fine wine, doing so can sometimes be cheaper in Svalbard than elsewhere in Norway. Taxes on alcohol in Norway are so high that transporting bottles literally half-way to the North Pole can still make them cheaper than buying them in the state-run wine monopoly.
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Apart from food, the main costs of living in Svalbard will be housing expenses. There is a shortage of housing, and the price you pay for rent is quite high per square meter. On the downside, you also have months without any sunlight during the dark season. Sure, the Northern Lights are spectacular. You also have months of midnight sun during the summer. The long, cold and dark winter season will be a challenge for some people. If you can handle that, Svalbard is an exotic place to live.
It is usually not a problem to get applicants for most jobs there. Malta is one of the islands just like todays Greek Chios that was completely depopulated as a result of the first wave of islamic conquest.
The Old Town of Rhodes - Greece Is
The inhabitants either killed or enslaved. Due to its central location and its safe natural harbour for the stormy winter season it played a major role for muslims in dominating the Mediterranean Sea. It was only some years later that Malta was effectively reinhabited again. This time mostly with muslims, but who later turned to Christianity when again Europeans Normans regained control over Malta. And that is also the cause why the Maltese language or Malti like they call it basically is an arabic dialect written with Latin script.
These historical facts of course are rarely mentioned. I just wonder why it is then that their language has survived. But it appeals to the worst in human nature, so it was always going to have plenty followers. That is to say, they did what they thought their leader would like, in the hope that he would recognise their efforts and reward them afterwards. According to this understanding of Nazi-ism, Hitler was only able to articulate his dreams, and having been inspired by these visions, his followers looked inside their hearts and found the evil lurking within — and let it take them over.
Same with Islam. No Dark Ages for Europe. The world would probably be years ahead in terms of technological advancement. Quite likely we could witness a unified Christian Mediterranean region. Because the Muslim blockade of trading routes was the reason Europeans searched for another way to Asia. Well, perhaps not so more more advanced as you think. Early Christianity was not as tolerant of science or of free thought as we now picture it.
About the time the monk Gerbert was accused of sorcery because he understood the elements of geometry, the Caliph Aziz-Billah founded the university of Cairo, the greatest Mohammedan institution of learning. This was two hundred years before the organization of the university of Paris, and the lectures at the mosque of El-Azhar are said to have been attended by twelve thousand students. The splendour of Haroun-al-Raschid is still proverbial.
The tales of his gold and silver, his silks and gems, almost surpass belief, and even in his reign the mechanical arts were so advanced that he sent a clock to Charlemagne. Humboldt considered the Arabs as the founders of modern experimental science, and they were relatively skilful chemists, for they understood the composition of sulphuric and nitric acid, and of aqua regia, beside the preparation of mercury and of various oxides of metals.
As physicians they were far in advance of Europe. While the Church healed by miracles, and put experimental methods under her ban, the famous Rhazes conducted the hospitals of Bagdad, and in the tenth century wrote a work in ten books, which was printed at Venice as late as 15 Practitioners of all nations have used his treatise on small-pox and measles; he introduced mild purgatives, invented the seton, and was a remarkable anatomist.
He died in William of Tyre stated that the Frankish nobles of Syria preferred the native or Jewish doctors; and though Saladin sent his physician to Richard, Richard never thought of sending an Englishman to Saladin when afterwards attacked by illness. Even as late as the middle of the thirteenth century little advance seems to have been made in Europe, for one of the most curious phenomena of the crusades was the improvement in the health of the army of Saint Louis after it surrendered.
During the campaign various epidemics had been very fatal; but when the soldiers were subjected to the sanitary regulations of the Egyptian medical staff, disease disappeared. The Arabs had a strong taste for mathematics, and were familiar with most of the discoveries which have been attributed to astronomers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
As early as spherical trigonometry was in use, and Aboul-Hassan wrote an excellent treatise on conic sections. In the Caliph El-Mamoun, having founded observatories at Bagdad and Damascus, caused a degree to be measured on the plain of Palmyra.
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By the thirteenth century the Arabic instruments werecomparatively perfect. Adams, Brooks. Kindle Edition. It was muslims who destroyed and plundered intellectual institutions like the Athenaeum in Nimes and in Constantinople. They also raided the great Monastery on the Monte Cassino and its library like in so many places. Where btw. Everything else was teached in private lessons. While the curriculum for every educated person in Western Europe consisted of the Septem artes liberales you can Google for it.
This was the cultural and artistic level of Western Europe before and during the crusades. Speaks for itself I would guess…. Generally, to refute an article or essay, you take one or several points and show that it is wrong. Or take a conclusion and show the conclusion is illogical or wrong. I was actually hoping to get someone to show the article was incorrect, since it would simplify my thinking. The real! Even though it would be more justified then with your muslims and islam. And maybe you want to think about, why it was that none of the islamic holy cities Mekka, Medina ever was the center of scholarship, the arts and science, in contrast to the holy cities of Christianity Rome, Constantinople.
The clipping came from a book written in by a highly respected historian who was the grandson of John Quincy Adams. The Crusades took place in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries. The age of enlightenment, Renaissance, and conquest of Constantinople occurred centuries afterwards. Brooke Adams was opposed to capitalism, and actually had some of the same critiques you would hear from a consultant for the Trump campaign.
But, one has to open his mind in order to encompass new ideas. The economic concepts of libertarianism and classic liberalism have deep flaws, if you are a Trump advocate. So read your books that tell you just exactly what you want to hear and nothing more. Or should there still be hope for you? Neither I nor the segment I quoted said anything about Constantinople.
Which, by the way, ceased to be a real power after , when it was conquered and sacked by the Crusaders, who wanted the riches of an allied Christian country more than they wanted to fight the Mohammadans. When I visited in , I heard that Malti was derived from Puni the Phoenicians began trading there around bc , but Wiki gives this a minor footnote.
Every country has periods in its past it wishes to forget or to present them in a better light. There are surely more vibrant stories then to be the descendant of muslim invaders and their slaves who later turned to Christianity and mixed with many other peoples who later lived on Malta and Gozo. You know Palestinians derive from the Philistines. Blacks in the US are all the descendants of African Kings. And not many French would recognize that Napoleon was just a bloodthirsty parvenu and their revolution a bloody mess without real reason.
Of course that is to read with a pinch of salt. But such black narratives do exist. And of course it sounds better then, my own black brothers have sold me into slavery to the Europeans and muslims. Ottoman Turkey in brought 30, to 40, attackers and siege supplies to Malta and lost badly. The raid helped spur the fortification push that allowed the knights and Maltese to stand off and ruin the Turks in Beautiful report, Fjordman — how I envy you your trips to Svalbard and I thank you for the wonderful picture you have drawn. I have never been any further north in Norway than the Lofoten Islands but I do know Malta very well.
John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta. Elmo are quite awesome. Thanks again, you have prompted some fond memories here. Does the Knights Hospitaller order still exist? Years ago I met a priest in Colorado who described himself as the last prior of that order which had been expelled from Malta and a Bishop in the Chaldean rite. He was an interesting man. Malta joined the European Union EU in and adopted the euro currency in He and his forces fought bravely against numerically superior Ottoman forces during the Great Siege of Malta in The fortifications in Valletta and the City of Rhodes were built by the Catholic order the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John to protect the islands against Islamic raids.
However, if you visit the Old Town of Rhodes, you will see several mosques dating back to Ottoman times. On Rhodes, Christians fought bravely against the Turks, and lost. On Malta, Christians fought bravely against the Turks, and won. Maltese is a strange dialect of Arabic, but with many Italian and English words due to historical influences. The Maltese language is the only Semitic language written with Latin characters.
Today, the people of Malta are overwhelmingly supporters of the Roman Catholic Church.
They are devout Christians who are proud of having beaten back Muslim invaders. And they will say this — in Arabic. It is a must-see for any visitor. I also found it interesting to see an exhibition where locals had created many nativity scenes with the baby Jesus. This was obviously something they took very seriously. The Megalithic Temples of Malta are impressive constructions for such small islands. Some of them are older than the Egyptian pyramids. The first ones from around BC predate the foundation of the ancient Egyptian state. They were built at the same time as the Sumerians developed a written language in Mesopotamia.
The National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta gives a good overview of these developments. I visited two of these megalithic temple complexes, Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. Both are located on the main island of Malta. The neighboring island of Gozo also harbors some of these very ancient stone temples. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to visit Gozo in December The Azure Window was a famous limestone natural arch on Gozo.
On March 8, , it collapsed after a heavy storm. I had missed my one chance of seeing it. During a taxi ride outside Valletta, I noticed some African and Middle Eastern asylum seekers in the small town of Marsa. Apparently, there was a reception center there. Most of them were young men. They were not tourists, like me, but they did not seem to be working, either.
I asked the taxi driver about this. He commented that if you talked to them, many of these immigrants freely stated that they simply want a better life for themselves by migrating to Europe. While that may be an understandable urge, I pointed that out that Africa will grow by more than one billion people in the coming 30 years, twice the population of the entire European Union.
The global population growth in just a couple of days is enough to overwhelm a small nation like Malta, with less than half a million inhabitants. I also commented to the Maltese taxi driver that the euro currency and perhaps the EU itself may collapse within a generation. Interestingly, he did not disagree with me in this view. You will probably see more veiled Muslim women in Oslo or Stockholm in far northern Europe than you do in Valletta. However, I did see some of them.
The Maltese people have suffered many Jihad attacks and slave raids by Muslims, as have other Europeans. They have fought fiercely and bravely for centuries to keep Muslim out of their lands. Now they are members of the EU. While Malta has received some migrants, most of the boat migrants in the Mediterranean have bypassed these southern islands. In late and early , the bulk of the migration waves from Africa to Europe went via Libya to Italy. Some Western humanitarian organizations have essentially aided human traffickers and acted as taxis for illegal immigrants.
Svalbard is a Norwegian-controlled archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. The largest island is Spitsbergen. Almost all the human inhabitants live there. It has a major impact on the climate in parts of northwestern Europe, including Svalbard. Its climate is Arctic, but Spitsbergen enjoys significantly higher temperatures than places at the same latitude in Russia or Canada. If you visit in the winter, as I did, Malta can be slightly chilly and windy. Even in mid-winter, however, Valletta, Malta is usually warmer than Longyearbyen , Svalbard is in mid-summer. When I visited in May , the temperature in Longyearbyen hovered around minus 5 degrees Celsius 23F.
It rarely gets higher than 15 degrees above 59F during the summer. The most striking contrast between Malta and Svalbard is population. The population density of Svalbard is about 0. The population density of Malta is more than thirty thousand times greater than this. Svalbard is substantially larger than Denmark excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands , but has fewer than three thousand inhabitants.
Much of Svalbard is covered by glaciers. It looks a little bit like northern Europe may have done during the last Ice Age. I took a direct flight from Oslo to Longyearbyen with the airline Norwegian. The trip lasted nearly three hours, making it probably the longest domestic flight in Europe, at least outside of Russia.
In the summer, its harbor is usually ice-free and can be visited by ships. It is a modern community of families with a university campus, a newspaper, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, shops, museums, kindergartens, a church and various cultural activities. He started coal mining there in The second-largest settlement in Svalbard is the mining community Barentsburg, located 40 km to the south-west of Longyearbyen.
A few settlements are farther north in Canada or Greenland, but these are populated by rotating groups of researchers or military personnel. There are families with children living on Svalbard, with schools operating in both Longyearbyen and Barentsburg. Svalbard is Norway in some ways. It has Norwegian telephone numbers and postal addresses and uses Norwegian kroner for commercial transactions. Yet it is not quite like the mainland.
For instance, Norway is a member of the Schengen Area. Svalbard is not.
Activities on Svalbard are regulated by the unique Svalbard Treaty from Yet commercial activities on the islands should be equally open to all countries that have signed the agreement. I was told that the last country to sign the Svalbard Treaty was North Korea. Does that mean that North Koreans can start coal mining or running dog sled tours for Chinese tourists there tomorrow? Technically yes, they can. However, they must respect Norwegian law, they cannot use their own national currency there and, most importantly, they cannot set up any military base there.
Svalbard is a demilitarized zone. Barentsburg is populated by Russians and Ukrainians. They seem to get along well there, despite tensions in the Ukraine. The relationship between Russians and Norwegians has been good for years, even during the Cold War. Barentsburg has a statue of Lenin dating back to Soviet times. More people have snowmobiles than cars in these settlements. There are only a few kilometers of roads where you can drive a car. If you want to travel between Longyearbyen and Barentsburg, you use snowmobile, ship or helicopter. Coal is still mined in Longyearbyen and Barentsburg, yet on a smaller scale than before.
Most of the coal is exported. Some of it is used in local coal power plants to generate electricity for the settlements. Tourism and research have become increasingly important to sustain and employ the people living in Svalbard. Svalbard has two species of land mammals : The Arctic fox and the Svalbard reindeer.
Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
The polar bear spends most of its time on the ice and is thus considered a marine mammal. The small, short-legged Svalbard reindeer is a unique local breed. They have few natural enemies and are therefore not shy. I think in we had 15, visits and that is on par with big European cities. Yes, we were the most successful in the whole of Greece, equal with big cities in France and Holland, Germany and England. Apart from the big five, we also organise one-off exhibitions. Last year we had the Bernard Rottiers exhibition and this year in May we have a big exhibition about a Swedish doctor who lived here in the s and wrote a book about Rhodes which was supposed to be the biggest book ever written about Rhodes.
He sent it to his publisher in Berlin but it was never published, so it has been lying in a drawer for over years and we are putting it back into the spotlight. This exhibition will be held in the Castellania which is nice because it is rarely opened for the public. JT: As a non-profit organisation, how do you go about funding all these cultural events?
EB: If you look at our budgets they are extremely small. The whole of the Open Doors event is organised for something like 2, to 3, Euro. We try to be as efficient as possible with the limited means we have, and we have achieved a lot, but in order to grow, we need more. The Peripheria Rhodes Prefecture support us now, but we started five years ago by going door to door, shop to shop asking people please help us and they would give us 50 Euro!
JT: Do you have any favourite areas on the island or favourite periods of history here? EB: Um — no, for me I think they are all equally interesting. Apart from the obvious period of the Hospitaller Knights the Old Town , the classical period is fascinating because Rhodes was such an important island then. You need a little bit more imagination maybe to find it but once you do it is totally fascinating.
And also the Jewish heritage is interesting. There was a big Jewish community living here for hundreds of years — the biggest one in the Aegean after Smyrna and Thessaloniki. Also, the Ottoman period because it Rhodes was the capital of an Ottoman province and you can see that from the Pashas here, the Beys, they built nice mosques and glamorous public buildings — so it is equally interesting. You know, if you want to go and see a nice Turkish town sometimes it is better to go to Rhodes because it is better preserved here than it is there!
And of course, the Italian heritage is amazing. The Ottoman Empire was very weak at this moment so the Italians carved out some parts for themselves in Libya and the Dodecanese, and they wanted to make these into the gemstone of their small and short-lived empire. And also the modern-Greek period is interesting and the Byzantine also. There is this tremendous cultural-historical heritage here in every period, in every religion, and that makes the island unique.
So I think for me everything is equally interesting. I do indeed recommend that people start discovering this and look a little bit further than the obvious stuff. JT: Are there historical attractions on neighbouring islands in the Dodecanese that you think are worth visiting? EB: Yes, Rhodes is the capital of the archipelago with very interesting islands. Symi of course, with its cultural and architectural interest, is unique; there is nothing like it. When you first arrive in the harbour of Symi it is amazing — there is nothing in Europe that equals the beauty of Symi.
And this whole interesting history of the sponge and the traders, the merchant marines and the Greeks, and you find here also classical remains. Then Nissyros with its volcano, and Kastelorizo is amazing. You can easily take Rhodes as a starting point and then go to all these islands. Why do you think this is?