Sixteen of the most important major events around the world for 2016 that are worth visiting.
1 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Despite recently hosting the FIFA World Cup, naysayers will tell you that Rio, the host city for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics is not ready … it can't cope, it could never compare to Sydney. It's a familiar line rolled out in the lead-up every four years, but come August, in between watching events any visitor will no doubt be wowed by Christ the Redeemer and charmed by the local residents, known as Cariocas. Walks along the beach at Ipanema will inspire song, and checking out the bars in Lapa will incite dance. There's also the new wharf museum precinct called Porto Maravilha set to open in 2016, with the Museum of Tomorrow and the Rio Art Museum. For tickets see www.cosport.com.au
2 Field of Light, Uluru
It's a given that Uluru will serve as a spectacular backdrop for British artist Bruce Munro's Field of Light art installation, his first in Australia. Come April, 50,000 solar-powered illuminated stems will bloom as nightfalls across a remote desert area. Though Field of Light has appeared in the UK, USA and Mexico so far, this will be the largest installation attempted. Guests at Ayers Rock Resort can see the display under the sky with a dinner called A Night at Field of Light. It runs from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017. See ayersrockresort.com.au/fieldoflight
3 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, Stratford upon Avon, UK
Fans of the playwright and poet should aim to be in Stratford upon Avon for the grand procession through the streets on his birthday weekend of April 23 and 24. Shakespeare's re-imagined last home, 'New Place', will open after a lengthy transformation promising to reveal the missing story of his mature years as a successful writer. There will also be new theatrical performances at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bard of Avon's schoolroom at King Edward VI School will open for the first time to the public. See shakespeares-england.co.uk/shakespeare-2016.
4 75 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA
Next year marks 75 years since the 'date that will live in infamy', as President Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, when Japanese troops attacked the Hawaiian port of Pearl Harbor. The day will be commemorated with the Mass Band of American and Japanese musicians presenting 'A Gift of Music' in front of The USS Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor designed to inspire peace and to honour those that died. There will also be a parade and special exhibits at the Pacific Aviation Museum. See gohawaii.com/au.
5 Jubilee Year of Mercy, Rome, Italy
2016 is set to be a grande year for Rome, not only will the scaffolding finally come off the Colosseum and the Spanish Steps reopened, it's also the official Jubilee Year of Mercy. Pilgrims are expected to descend on the city with Pope Francis allowing the doors of papal basilicas, usually sealed to the public, to be opened. Called the 'Extraordinary Jubilee', it is expected to be larger than the last, held in 2000, when 25 million visited. When in Rome, stay at Domus Australia, a 32-room guesthouse that was established by the Archdiocese of Sydney. See domusaustralia.org and www.im.va
6 The Setouchi Art Festival, Japan
The islands of the Setouchi inland sea between Honshu and Shikoku play host to this innovative arts festival every three years bringing artists, architects and designers together. Over spring, summer and autumn expect contemporary and traditional installations on the 'Art Island' of Naoshima, so named because of all the galleries there. The nearby Teshima Art Museum, on the island of Teshima is a collaboration between the artist Rei Naito and the architect Ryue Nishizawa and could be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Inside Japan Tours run a 15-night self-guided 'Japan Arts Trail'. See insidejapantours.com, setouchi-artfest.jp/en/about and jnto.org.au.
7 90 years of Route 66, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
2016 might be the year to take the classic road trip across America. The celebrated Route 66, one of the oldest highways in the US, will be celebrating 90 years and the city of Flagstaff, Arizona will be hosting 66 events across the year. This part of the 'The Mother Road' still has diners and hotels dating back from the heyday of the route, when Chuck Berry sang of getting his kicks 'on the highway that's the best'. There's also national parks to explore and Native American culture to learn about at the Museum of Northern Arizona. See flagstaffarizona.org/route66
8 World Design Capital, Taipei, Taiwan
Awarded biennially to cities based on their commitment to use design as an effective tool for economic, social, and cultural development, Taipei will be celebrating 2016 as the World Design Capital. Under the theme 'Adaptive City – Design in Motion', a succession of activities in formal venues, coffee shops, train stations and even street corners will turn Taipei into an inspiring design haven. Hotels are also getting involved, W Taipei plans to launch a design-themed room package for art-loving visitors. See wdc2016.taipei/en.
9 Kumbh Mela, Haridwar, Haridwar, India
A Hindu religious festival held every three years for three months, this pilgrimage can attract up to 100 million worshippers. The Kumbh Mela holds that gods and demons struggled over a pitcher (known as a kumbh) containing the drink of immortality. Drops of the sacred nectar from the gods spilled out onto four locations on the Ganges with Haridwar being one. Worshippers, including naked sages covered in cow dung ashes, go there to cleanse sins and bless the future. Crooked Compass is running a tour in February. See crooked-compass.com/kumbh-mela-india.html.
10 50th anniversary of Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam
August 18, 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the most well-known Australian engagements of the Vietnam War, the Battle of Long Tan where 108 Anzacs fought against a Viet Cong force 15 times larger. There are a number of Vietnam tours that have been set up, including Battlefields Tours' 10-day commemorative expedition led by Gary McKay, who served as a platoon leader in Vietnam and was awarded the Military Cross during Australia's last battle of the war. See battlefields.com.au/index.php/tours/78
11 100 years of Indy 500, Indianapolis, USA
For the whole month of May the city of Indianapolis will be celebrating the 100th running of the Indy 500. Known as the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing', the Indy 500 is where the world's best open-wheel drivers vie for the coveted Borg-Warner trophy. Held on May 29, it's the world's largest single-day spectator sporting event. In between celebrations you can take a track tour and also see past glories at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. See visitindy.com.
12 UEFA Euro Cup, France
France will play host to the European Cup in 2016, the quadrennial football championship. The usual 16-team format is being expanded into 24 teams, with countries competing in stadiums in Paris (including the Stade de France), Marseille, Saint Etienne and Toulouse as well as and four newly constructed stadiums in Lille, Lyon, Nice and Bordeaux. In Paris a fan zone will be set up on the Champ de Mars lawns under the Eiffel Tower and in Saint-Denis giant screens will be placed near the Basilica of Saint-Denis. The tournament runs from June 10 to July 10. See www.uefa.com/uefaeuro-finals/hosts/france/city=2470
13 Glow, Santa Monica, California, USA
In September, the golden sands of California's Santa Monica Beach will play host to the triennial Glow festival, the first all-night free arts event in the United States to emphasise the commissioning of new work. Expect light projections, and interactive art installations as well as music performances along the beach, at Palisades Park and on the pier. There are also 120 museums, art galleries, public art displays to discover in the area. See glowsantamonica.org.
14 Arctic Winter Games, Greenland
Winter sports lovers should head to Nuuk (population 17,000) this coming March for the Arctic Winter Games, set to be the largest event ever held in Greenland. This is no ordinary winter sports carnival, in among skiing and snow-shoeing there will be futsal, badminton, wrestling and table tennis competitions. If you plan to visit, expect sub-zero temperatures but sunshine. There's a chance of also spotting the aurora borealis while there. See awg2016.org.
15 Easter Rising, Dublin, Ireland
2016 marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, one of the defining moments of the struggle for Irish independence. The rising saw days of fighting on the streets of Dublin with hundreds of casualties. Those who lost their lives will be honoured with commemorations in Dublin including a wreath laying at Dublin Castle on Easter Sunday, and a ceremony in the Garden of Remembrance. There will be a street parade and the Easter Rising Centenary Visitor Facility will be opened at the General Post Office. discoverireland.ie/Whats-On/easter-rising-centenary/510660
16 Lenné landscape architect anniversary, Berlin, Germany
It's a double anniversary in Berlin for celebrated landscape architect Peter Joseph Lenné. 2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the transformation of the UNESCO Heritage-listed Glienicke Landscape Park designed for Prince Carl of Prussia and 150th anniversary of death of the famous horticultural artist. On January 23 there will be a matinee event at Glienicke Palace with more events to be announced throughout the year. You can download the newly expanded Lenne app for a walking guide that highlights his work. See visitberlin.de/en/event/12-31-2016/lenne-2016