The Significance of Ramadan

The Significance of Ramadan

This month, millions of Muslims around the world will observe the month of Ramadan. It’s one of the five pillars of Islam and sees followers abstain from drinking liquids, sex and smoking and they’re expected to fast during the daylight hours.

It’s the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and Ramadan places an emphasis on charity, community, worship and faith. As it’s time of appreciation, connection to one’s faith and community, charity and prayer are also emphasised and particularly encouraged. Followers hope that it’s a month of consciousness, reflection and nourishment of the soul. When the sun goes down, they can then break their fast with a meal ‘iftar’.

The end of Ramadan is marked with Eid, a 3-day period of festivities and it’s the time to cave in to life’s culinary pleasures: great food surrounded by your family and friends. This year due to Covid-19, it is likely to be a different affair for Muslims celebrating around the world.

To all our Muslim readers, Ramadan Mubarak!

If you enjoyed this article, then check out our documentary presented by the lovely Mehreen Baig. She looks at the motivations and challenges facing the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims during their greatest month of the year. Click here to watch.

By Kaz Bosali

3,000 old ‘lost golden city’ of ancient Egypt discovered

3,000 old ‘lost golden city’ of ancient Egypt discovered

It has been dubbed the most important find since the unearthing of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the 1920s by experts. Almost a century on, we’re still uncovering hidden artefacts, treasures and in this instance a city!

Egyptology experts have said that Aten is the largest city ever to be uncovered (so far), labeled as the ‘lost golden city’ and is located close to Luxor. Among the finds are statues of Queen Tiye, the wife of Amenhotep III who ruled for almost 40 years from 1390 – 53 BCE.

Jewellery, pottery, a bakery and sewing equipment were also reportedly found, offering glimpses into the everyday life of ancient Egyptians.

This find adds to another astonishing breakthrough into our understanding of ancient Egypt. The treasures and everyday items from back then still captivate audiences today thousands of years after.

Learn more about the awe-inspiring ancient Egyptian tombs and temples along the banks of the river Nile with our Tough Boats: Egypt Down The Nile show.

Check out our Empire Builders: The Ancient Egyptians episode to travel through time and appreciate 3000 years of ancient Egyptian history through the amazing stories of ten of its most famous and spectacular buildings.

Written by Kaz Bosali

Ancient Egyptian Mummies Paraded in Cairo Spectacle

Ancient Egyptian Mummies Paraded in Cairo Spectacle

A historic parade took place in Cairo, the capital city of Egypt to relocate 22 ancient rulers to the Museum of Egyptian Civilisation under tight security.

The 22 pharoahs, 18 kings and 4 queens, were transported to their new home in the chronological order of their reign in specially made vehicles. Amongst the monarchs, included the infamous King Ramses II.

The initiative is a bid to encourage tourism in Egypt. Although we may be living in Covid times, you can still experience Egypt the virtual way!

Explore some of the most spectacular ancient Egyptian tombs and temples along the banks of the river Nile with our Tough Boats: Egypt Down The Nile show.

Check out our Empire Builders: The Ancient Egyptians episode to travel through time and appreciate 3000 years of ancient Egyptian history through the amazing stories of ten of its most famous and spectacular buildings.

Written by Kaz Bosali

Commemorating Easter

Commemorating Easter

It is Easter on Sunday 4th April.

With Easter approaching, we look at the traditions around the world and explore how different cultures celebrate this religious festival. Easter celebrations (although no doubt different this year) is observed around the world. To learn how Jerusalem, Mexico, Spain and Antigua mark the occasion, click here.

One of the prominent and best place to witness the faith and celebration of Easter is in the Holy Land of Jerusalem, one of the world’s oldest cities (some 4,000 years) and the most holy site in the world. Pre-Covid, usually on Easter Day, Christians of all ethnicity gather in Jerusalem’s Old City to follow in the footsteps of Christ. Read our article on Easter in Jerusalem here.

Everyone at Pilot wish you a Happy Easter!

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Happy St Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Celebrating will likely be different where you are due to Covid-19 and its lockdown restrictions, but as the world slowly starts to get back to normal, we are reminded of what we miss and how we would usually celebrate this occasion.

There’s always an atmosphere in the air on St Patrick’s Day: people wearing green clothing, leprechauns, overcrowded pubs and Irish bars. Whilst this year will be different, there are plenty of content you can enjoy. Read our blog here, about how to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. You’ll feel nostalgia and excitement for next year. Click here for fun facts on the background of St Patrick’s Day.

There is plenty to keep you occupied during lockdown. In the meantime, everyone at Pilot wishes you a happy St Patrick’s Day!

Written by Kaz Bosali

Locomotive 3801 Restored in Sydney

Locomotive 3801 Restored in Sydney

One of Australia’s iconic stream locomotives has reportedly been restored and train journeys relaunched across the state of New South Wales.

Check out other great steam locomotive journeys in Scotland, Austria and the USA in our series Tough Trains and Great Railway Journeys of Europe, also available on DVD.

Written by Ian Cross, edited by Kaz Bosali

Hello Spring

Hello Spring

Spring is coming in the Northern Hemisphere and the flowers are beginning to bloom.

While it’s a beautiful season everywhere, mid-March through April marks peak cherry blossom season in Japan. Watch our lovely Cherry Blossom season in Japan where we join the annual spring ritual, a unique Japanese celebration of hope and renewal.

Check out our stories and videos on Springtime in Holland, to learn more about the history behind the Dutch national colour and about the origins of the gorgeous tulip.

And of course, back to the Northern Hemisphere, don’t miss our new study guide and TV mini series, A Short History of the English Garden. Our two part documentary beautifully illustrates how the English Garden has evolved through the ages.

Written by Ian Cross, edited by Kaz Bosali

Commemorating Napoleon

Commemorating Napoleon

Written by Ian Cross, edited by Kaz Bosali

The 5th of May this year will mark the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s death on the isolated island of St Helena where he had been exiled after his defeat by the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo.

Although Napoleon remains a divisive figure, plans are underway in France to commemorate the milestone.

Much of the urban footprint of modern Paris, including thoroughfares and monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe, was the work of Napoleon. He also established the Banque de France and the civil and legal “Code Napoleon” which is still in use in France today.

But Napoleon also sewed chaos and carnage throughout Europe caused by expansionist wars.

To find out more, checkout our one hour special: Wellington Versus Napoleon: Aftermath of Waterloo

Discover more about Napoleon’s birth place here

Last Resting Place of Rome’s First Emperor Restored After 1800 Years

Last Resting Place of Rome’s First Emperor Restored After 1800 Years

Written by Ian Cross, edited by Kaz Bosali

The Roman Empire’s first Emperor, Augustus, built his mausoleum when he was only 34 years old, but it was another 40 years before he was laid to rest there.

Caesar’s adopted son and heir left many great monuments in the Eternal City and beyond, but his gigantic cylindrical mausoleum was sacked by the Visigoths in 410, fell into ruin and by the end of the 10th century was little more than an earthen mound overgrown with trees.

Declared an archaeological site by Mussolini, it has now only just been restored after a 12 year project costing more than 12 million Euros.

For further details and tickets visit mausoleodiaugusto.it

Have a read of our study guide on Rome, here

Under a Spotlight: Japan

Under a Spotlight: Japan

By Kaz Bosali

The current Emperor of Japan, Naruhito celebrated his 61st birthday on the 23rd of February. Legend says that Japan’s royal family is directly descended from Amaterasu, the Goddess of the Sun.

Generally, the Japanese emperor is the head of state but they do not have any political powers. They have duties to perform in public such as opening parliament and hosting foreign leaders during visits to the country.

Naruhito has been on the throne since 2019, and is the 126th monarch since it was founded, said to be more than 2,600 years ago. It’s monarchy is embedded in Japan’s rich history and culture.

To learn more about Japan’s history, their stunning landscapes, climate, geography, and what it’s like to travel there, click here.

During the month of February, we’re exploring Asia and showcasing Japan, as well as China, India and beyond. Check out the exclusive deals this month only here.