Rising with the morning mist, a whooper swan tries its wings along the shallows of the Oulanka River.
The park is a nesting ground for more than a hundred bird species.
Candle spruces stand frozen before a backdrop of the northern lights, shimmering above one of Finland's best loved national parks.
In the desert north of Damascus, the monastery of Deir Mar Musa dates from the sixth century,
when hundreds of churches and monasteries dotted the region.
Today its monks say they are "witnesses for peace," fostering Muslim-Christian dialogue.
The only community in the West Bank that remains completely Christian is At Tayyibah, and three churches tend its 1,300 souls.
The remains of El Khader (above), a cross-shaped church built sometime between the fourth and seventh centuries and rebuilt by
12th-century crusaders, still stand on the outskirts of the town.
For nearly a millennium after Christ, such Christian villages dominated the rocky hilltops of Palestine, declared holy ground by the
emperor Constantine after his conversion to Christianity in 312.