"A trip to Paris, for instance, can reveal the historical fact that Leonardo da Vinci, was once requested by one of the Ottoman Sultans to design a bridge on the Bosporus Strait linking Asia and Europe," the Country Manager of Indonesia's Kuoni Global Travel Services, Arief Hidayat, said here on Tuesday night.
This showed the close relationship between the Islamic world and Europe at the time. "It also gives us an insight into people-to-people relations, and strengthens tolerance among different faiths," explained Arief.
Some accounts mentioned that Da Vinci designed the bridge in 1502. If only Sultan Bajazet II had accepted Da Vinci`s design, the bridge would have been built across the Golden Horn bay in Istanbul -- it would have been the longest at that time, at 346 metres.
Arief said on tours managed by Kuoni Global Travel to Western and Eastern Europe, Muslim travellers could observe Islamic values. For example, Kuoni Global Travel always ensured that every restaurant visited by the tourists served halal foods certified by local authorities. And, the travel schedules were tailored to the prayer time so that Muslims could still worship in mosques even while they were in Muslim-minority countries.
"We have Muslim ambassadors to conduct a preliminary survey to ensure every restaurant provides halal-certified food, and find the location of mosques that are convenient for tourists, so that they will not be late to perform the worship," said Arief.
He added that Kuoni also provided tourists access to Muslim communities in European countries so that they could see Muslims` harmonious life amidst people of different faiths.