FX Excursions

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Design Your Destination with an Architectural Tour

by Debra Bokur

Oct 24, 2019

Andrius Aleksandravicius | Dreamstime.com


Trips that allow travelers to explore building and design themes around the world are the specialty of Architectural Adventures, a travel program offered by The American Institute of Architects. A total of 16 destinations will be on offer in 2020 — each one an immersive adventure led by a design professional or experienced architect.


Here’s a sampling to inspire you:


Japan’s Allure in Spring: A Journey to the Land of the Rising Sun (April 8–20, 2020) takes in Tokyo’s contemporary architecture, minimalist design in Hakone, the traditional thatched-roof dwellings of Shirakawa-Go Gassho-zukuri Village, the opulent shogun residence of Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto and architectural walking tours in the Omotesando/Aoyama and Ginza districts.


Andres Kurg, Professor of Architectural History and Visual Culture at the Institute of Art History, Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn, Leads Baltic Capitals: Witness a World Transformed (Sept. 1–14, 2020), during which highlights include Toompea Castle in Estonia, the 15th-century Trakai Castle on an island in Lake Galve, Peter and Paul Church, Riga’s St. Mary’s Cathedral and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Vilnius. The tour also makes time to stroll the cobblestone streets of Riga’s Old Town to admire its blend of Romanticism, Gothic, Mannerism, Baroque, Eclectic and Modernism structures.


Both past and present are explored during Treasures of Peru: From Machu Picchu to Lake Titicaca (May 11–21, 2020). Machu Picchu, also called the Lost City of the Incas, and the baffling stone burial towers known as chullpas overlooking Lake Umayo at Sillustani are part of the itinerary. Participants will also visit the Moorish-influenced colonial mansion Palacio Torre Tagle, the temple and fortress ruins of Ollantaytambo, and the Church of Santo Domingo, constructed atop the foundations of the Incan Temple of the Sun, called Koricancha.


Sillustani, Ancient burial ground with Chullpas, cylindrical funerary towers built by a pre-Incan people near Lake Umayo, Peru. Photo: Amadeustx | Dreamstime.com


Egypt’s Evolution in Spring: From Ancient Wonders to Modern Innovation (March 15–27, 2020) offers travelers the opportunity to explore the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Temple of Amun. The journey also encompasses the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Abu Simbel temples, the Aswan High Dam, Saladin Citadel, the Horus Temple of Edfu and the mortuary ruins and temple in Deir el-Bahari.


During the Through Portugal & Northern Spain in Fall (Oct. 18–Nov. 3, 2020) expedition, travelers will journey to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Lisbon’s Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, explore Porto, tour the 13th-century León Cathedral and view Antoni Gaudí’s Modernist Casa Botines. The tour also includes Bilbao’s medieval Old Town and the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, along with a visit to Barcelona’s 22@ District, one of Europe’s most significant urban regeneration projects featuring buildings designed by Jean Nouvel.


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