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The Independent Culture

Architecture nuts and those who are just plain nosey will be salivating during September as this year's an Heritage Days programme once again throws open doors normally closed to the public. 's biggest "exhibition" kicks off in Stockholm on 5 September, with many of the 44 countries taking part in the event choosing a theme for their open days: Croatia (21-22 Sept) has opted for "Damaged and demolished heritage - postwar reconstruction" and Italy (19 Sept) "Historical gardens". Buildings include Le Corbusier's concrete La Tourette monastery just outside Lyon in France and Victor Horta's beautiful Art Nouveau Hotel van Eetvelde in Brussels (both 19-20 Sept).

Various locations around . Details from national tourist offices, or the an Heritage Days website at http://culture.coe. fr/Jep 5 Sept-9 Oct


The conductor Zubin Mehta is fast building a reputation for performing opera in unusual venues, including the Amphitheatre at Caesarea in Israel (Fidelio) and the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Tosca). His latest venture is a spectacular production of Puccini's Turandot (above) in Beijing's Forbidden City - the locale which inspired the opera - staged by the Oscar- nominated film director Zhang Yimou and planned by the international festival Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. The eight performances will take place in front of the People's Cultural Palace.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China (00 86 10 6402 3624/5) 5-13 Sept


The Italian Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an accomplished architect as well as sculptor, most notably designing Rome's St Peter's Square. This exhibition celebrates his 400th anniversary and focuses on his sculptures, which are full of emotion and delicately finished. The show, in the restored Galleria Borghese, includes the Rape of Persephone, Apollo and Daphne and David About to Strike Goliath. This is sure to be a very popular exhibition, so book early.

Galleria Borghese, Piazzale Scipione Borghese 5, Rome (00 39 06 32 810) to 20 Sept (closed Monday)

San Francisco

Set up as an "experiment in radical self-expression", the annual temporary art community that is Burning Man continues to draw crowds. Now in its 14th year, the event has become as much of an institution as a creative free-for-all in the 40C heat of an American desert can be. Burning Man is an environmentally-friendly organisation and insists that you bring your own water, food and shelter, and that you "Leave No Trace" when you depart.

Black Rock Desert, Nevada (hotline: 00 1 650 985 7471; after 1 Sept: 00 1 415 561 9377) 31 Aug - 7 Sept, $100