Current Shows

Mountain Worlds: The Lands • The People • The Heritage

Tuesdays 10:00 to 11:30 AM Online Class from May 9 to June 13, 2023 - Simon Fraser Universitty

Learn about of our planet’s iconic mountain ranges, which have instilled a we and inspired exploration for millennia. Explore the magnificent landscapes from the Swiss Alps to the Pamir, Hindu Kush and Karakoram Mountains, from the Tibetan High Plateau to the Altiplano, from the arid mountains of Yemen to the Canadian Rocky Mountains and from the Caucasus to the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

Discover a host of unique cultures that inhabit the mountains of the world. Mountain people are often isolated from flat landers and from one another by language and topography. Transportation in the mountains is difficult because often roads, when they exist, are afflicted by landslides, washouts, or avalanches. Farmers in the mountains often adopt similar survival strategies, such as building agricultural terraces in the Himalayas, the Andes, or the Philippines.

To register, please click here.


Mountains of Europe

We start in the Central Alps of Switzerland and then head to the Caucasus Mountains, where we will explore Georgia’s Upper Svaneti and Ushguli, Europe’s highest inhabited place. In Armenia we will look at ancient Armenian Monasteries. We conclude this section with a multi-image presentation featuring the People of the Caucasus.

Mountains of the Middle East and East Africa

We explore the Jabal Haraz Mountain in Yemen. We then head to the Ethiopian Highlands, where we will see beautiful rock-hewn churches in the Tigray region and Lalibela and see the wildlife in Simien Mountains National Park. Our journey concludes with a ride on an ancient train in Eritrea.

Mountains of Central Asia

We start in the Tian Shan - Pamir ranges in China, where we will visit the Sunday Bazaar in Kashgar. We then proceed to the Hindu Kush, where we will see the Kalash people in Chitral, Pakistan and the remains of the Bamiyan Buddhas and the beautiful lakes of Band-e-Amir in Afghanistan. Returning to Pakistan we will travel along the Karakoram Highway and visit the legendary Hunza Valley, Chilas, Skardu and Gilgit. We conclude our visit with a moving multi-image presentation highlighting the People of the Hindu Kush & Karakoram.

The Himalayas

The Himalayas offer some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world, and the sheer scale of the high-altitude valleys, mountains, and lakes in which human habitation is but a speck on the landscape is humbling. We start in the Indian Himalayas, exploring the Vale of Kashmir, which the Mughlas aptly called ‘Paradise on Earth’. We then head to Lahaul & Spiti and Ladakh that cross that mighty barrier to the Tibetan plateau. In Nepal we will glimpse at the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara and Mount Everest. Tibet offers some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world, including the most amazing monasteries and temples in Shigatse, Gyantse and Lhasa. We then explore Bhutan, the last surviving Mahayana Buddhist Kingdom. Returning to India we discover Darjeeling, the former kingdom of Sikkim and rarely visited Arunachal Pradesh. We conclude our visit to the Himalayas with wonderful multi-image video showcasing the People of the Himalayas.

Mountains of Southeast Asia & the South Pacific

We shall see the amazing rice terraces in Banaue and the magnificent Mayon Volcano in the Philippines. In Indonesia we see Mount Bromo at sunrise and the Baliem Valley on the island of New Guinea. We shall look in awe at New Zealand’s spectacular Southern Alps.

Mountains of North America

We take a look at the beauty of the Canadian Rockies and visit the Sierra Madre ranges in Mexico, where we will visit the ghost town of Real de Catorce, the World Heritage Cities of Zacatecas and Guanajuato and the Monasteries on the Slopes of Popocatepetl.

The Andes

We explore the length of the Andes from Colombia to Argentina. In this section of the course we will see the Colombia’s Paramo landscapes and the remarkable archaeological sites of Tierradentro and San Agustin. In Ecuador we visit Quito, colourful indigenous markets, the Avenue of the Volcanoes, amazing cloud forests and take are ride on the Tren Crucero. We will discover the first Andean Civilizations in Chavin and Tiwanaku and explore Peru’s majestic Huascaran National Park, see condors in the Colca Canyon, Cusco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and Machu Picchu. We travel on the Qapac Nan Inca roads and stop at the last remaining Inca bridge in Q'eswachaka. We then head to the Altiplano, a vast plateau, as high and remote as Tibet, where we look at Lake Titicaca. In Bolivia we explore La Paz, the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat and see lakes speckled pink with flamingoes, grazing llamas, alpacas and vicuñas and the geysers of Sol de la Mañana and El Tatio. See magnificent adobe churches and explore the wealth of Potosi and Sucre. In Chile we see remote mining settlements and the World’s largest observatory in Paranal. In Argentina we travel on the legendary Ruta 40 and visit Humahuaca, the Calchaquies Valleys and Cafayate and see Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak of the Americas. We then head to Patagonia to see Nahuel Huapi National Park, the Patagonian channels and the glacial landscapes of Laguna San Rafael, Lago Argentino, Torres del Paine, Tierra del Fuego, and Cape Horn. Our Andean journey concludes with a colourful multi-image video featuring several Andean festivals and the People of the Andes.

Learning objectives

By the end of this course, you should be able to:
• Outline our planet most important mountain ranges.
• Identify different kinds of mountain habitat around the globe.
• Get insights and information useful to visitors to these places

To register, please click here.