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Ten More Global Anniversary Celebrations in 2009

Bermuda, Vilnius and Tel Aviv are just a few destinations marking major celebrations this year. And special anniversaries are sometimes the perfect reason to go traveling.
  1. 60th Anniversary of Modern China

    On October 1, 2009, the planned grand parade in Tiananmen Square will show off China's military muscle, showcasing some of the country's newest weaponry on its National Day. The pageantry will mark six decades of Communist Party rule but on a less salubrious note, this year also marks a number of disastrous anniversaries for the Chinese government. June 4th marks the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, then it is also the 50th anniversary of a famine that killed tens of millions of Chinese people during Mao Zedong's rule. March 17th is the 50th anniversary of the exiling of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and July 22 is the 10th anniversary of the banning of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

  2. 100th Anniversary of the City of Tel Aviv

    In April, Israel's largest, most prosperous and populated city will celebrate its centennial and, for the next eight months, the cultural capital will come alive with a series of events, activities and celebrations. Signature events include an extravagant open-air concert in Rabin Square (April 4); "The Big Stage" international dance festival (May 14 to June 2); "Revealing the Hidden City," a historic exhibit in 11 locations (May); an international theatre festival (May); "Old Tel Aviv - White Nights," a nostalgic festival saluting Old Tel Aviv and the "White City" of Yafo (June); an open-air festival for teenagers (August); a tribute flower carpet in Rabin Square (September); "The Green Park," a city-wide eco-festival for families, the inauguration of the "Green Route" and the Centennial Bicycle Celebration (October); "The Centennial Art Project," dozens of art shows and installations (November); the opening of a new museum of the City's history and festive closing events (December). For a full listing of events check out the website at

  3. 1000th Anniversary of Lithuania

    It's not that often that you get to share a country's 1000th anniversary celebration -- yes, that is 1,000, not 100. Lithuania is celebrating its millennium in 2009 and the reopening of the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in Vilnius on July 6, 2009, is one of the highlights of the Lithuanian Millennium Celebrations. The city of Vilnius is leading the celebrations and has been named this year's European capital of culture (a title it is sharing with Linz, Austria). Key events in Vilnius, the medieval town of Kernave and the port city of Klaipeda include the 8th World Lithuanians Sport Games (June 25 to 28); the Millennium Song Festival of Lithuania (July 1 to 6); the Vytis (Lithuania's official coast of arms) History and Art Exhibition (July 4 to December 31); the 11th International Festival of Experimental Archaeology Days in Kernave (July 4 to 6); Lithuania's first international Opera Festival (June to July); the Europeade Festival (July 22 to 26); and The Tall Ships' Races Baltic 2009 in Klaip?da (July 31 to August 3). For more information visit the website at

  4. 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

    David Hasselhoff aside, the images of people dancing and cheering as the Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago is one of the most poignant and moving moment of the late 20th century. Germany is planning events throughout the year, but the main celebration will be a three-day "Festival of Freedom" at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin from November 7 to 9, culminating in a multimedia recreation of the wall coming down. The anniversary itself will be marked with a three-day festival at the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Germany's postwar division and then of its unification. In other commemorations this year, the annual Berlin Film Festival (February) plans to screen a series called After Winter Comes Spring, with 15 films made in the last decade of the Cold War that seem to foreshadow its end. Beginning in May, an open-air exhibit on Alexanderplatz, a major square in what was East Berlin, will recall the peaceful protests throughout East Germany that helped undermine the communist government in 1989. For more information visit

  5. 100th Anniversary of the First Successful Expedition to the North Pole

    A hundred years ago, intrepid adventurers Robert Peary and Matthew Henson reached the North Pole with the assistance of their ice pilot Bob Bartlett -- a huge feat then and still today. Newfoundland and Labrador will honor Bob Bartlett with the "Celebrating Bartlett 2009 Festival" There will be a year-long series of events, sailing excursions and flotillas, exhibitions, dramatic presentations and lectures -- all commemorating the voyage with Peary and Henson as well as a lifetime of Arctic exploration. Beginning in May, a series of Heritage Fairs will highlight Arctic exploration and for five weeks in July and August, The Marine Institute in St. John's will offer a simulation of Captain Bartlett's historic Polar expedition on his ship, the Roosevelt. Beginning July 7, 2009, tours of the Institute -- with North America's most comprehensive marine simulation capabilities -- will be free to the public. Visitors can virtually "sail" the Arctic, complete with the sensation of hitting and maneuvering around icebergs. The historic Arctic schooner Bowdoin, which made 26 voyages to the Arctic Circle will visit 12 ports in Newfoundland and Labrador and Bartlett's hometown of Brigus, a picturesque port near St. John's, will celebrate with three days of sailing, entertainment, theatrical performances and special events from July 10 to 13. Visit and for more details.

  6. 500th Anniversary of Henry VIII's Accession to the Throne

    Hollywood has long had a fascination with depicting Henry VIII and his many wives thus making him perhaps the best known of England's historic monarchs. Sites associated with this despotic English king are staging special programs in 2009 as are other British institutions. The Tower of London (where Henry famously had two of his wives beheaded) is holding a Dressed to Kill exhibition from April 1 to October 31 featuring displays of Henry VIII's armor and weapons. At Hampton Court Palace on May 1 and 2, Rick Wakeman of the rock group Yes will perform an extended version of his classic 1972 album, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. To mark the 500th anniversary, a special exhibition will be shown at Windsor Castle, the monarch's one-time home and final resting place, bringing together prints, books, paintings, drawings, miniatures and manuscripts from the Royal Collection and archives of St George's Chapel. Visitors can also tour Hever Castle -- where Henry courted Anne Boleyn and Leeds Castle- where he rebuilt the royal apartments. For more information visit and

  7. 400th Anniversary of Bermuda

    Four centuries ago, a ship named the Sea Venture was wrecked off the coast of a beautiful island. The crew made it ashore and Bermuda has been continuously inhabited since. Signature events this year include the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge (June 11 to 15) when tall ships from around the world race; the reenactment of the Sea Venture incident (July 8 to 11); Somers Day with tours of the Sea Venture wreck (July 28); the Cup Match Cricket Festival (July 30 and 31); and the Christmas Boat Parade (December 12). Visit the island before April 1 and Bermuda Tourism ( will give you $200-$400 in lodging credits, plus a coupon booklet for further savings.

  8. 200th Anniversary of the Death of Joseph Haydn

    Austria is commemorating composer Joseph Haydn's life in this, the 200th anniversary of his death. The country (especially the cities of Vienna and Eisenstadt -- where he lived for 30 years), is hosting an entire year's worth of musical and artistic tributes. Vienna alone has 1,500 events planned to celebrate its famous son, the man regarded as the father of classical symphonies and musical quartets, having composed over 1,200 pieces of music. The Haydn Masses, featuring the Vienna Boys' Choir will be performed at the Hofburg Imperial Palace on selected Sundays through June 21. Other musical highlights include Musikverein's 45 Haydn concerts in the first half of 2009; 50 Haydn works from all genres at Wiener Konzerthaus during the summer; Mozart House in Vienna will present eight concerts titled "Mozart, Haydn and Contemporaries;" Haus der Musik will offer free Haydn concerts every Saturday afternoon in June, July and August; The Baroque Maria Treu Cathedral, where Haydn used to play the organ, will stage 25 Haydn evenings; and Imperial Dinner Train ( will musical-culinary train trips every Wednesday from April 22 to October 7, 2009, between Vienna and Eisenstadt with a reception and guided tour of Esterházy Palace. Visitors to Eisenstadt can take a walk back in time on the new Haydn Trail which also features the composer's music at original performance venues. For more information on these and other signature events of the year, visit

  9. 200th Anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe

    The famed poet and short story author Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. He grew up in Richmond, VA and died 40 years later in Baltimore. On this, the 200th anniversary of his birth, the cities of Baltimore and Richmond and have planned a series of commemorative events. Baltimore's "Nevermore 2009" ( will feature several presentations by actor John Astin (The Addams Family); the Poe inspired Art of Darkness exhibition at the Baltimore Museum; there's a performance of Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher being put on among the gravestones Westminster Graveyard, plus exhibitions and musical tributes. In Richmond, "Poe Revealed" includes everything from cemetery tours to art exhibitions workshops to concerts. A full listing of Richmond's events throughout the year is available at For other Baltimore events, you can also visit

  10. 50th Anniversary of Fidel Castro's Revolutionary Government

    While many Cuban exiles will see this as anything but a cause for celebration, Havana is marking 50 years since the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. The "festivities" began on January 1 and will continue, albeit on a low key scale throughout the year. The Havana Jazz Festival (February 14 to 17) is always a draw attracting artists from around the world often performing without remuneration. The Havana Biennial, now in its 25th year features dozens of local artists who exhibit their works over a two-month period (March and April) in the Cuban capital. Look out for more political themes this year at the galleries and public arts venue sites in Havana's old colonial center. Havana Carnival is held during the month of August and is a combination of parades, street parties, colorful costumes, dancing and traditional music. Although U.S. citizens are still technically banned from visiting Cuba (well, from spending money in Cuba), perhaps changes are afoot under the new administration.