Cartagena's historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and contains some of the best preserved examples of 18th century military architecture in the Caribbean. The city's walls were built with slave labor.

Where The World has been in 2021 — the year in pictures

From migrants in Greece, to the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, to rebuilding Lebanon and Haiti, our correspondents from around the globe bring you images of the important stories of 2021.

The World

Cartagena's historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and contains some of the best preserved examples of 18th century military architecture in the Caribbean. The city's walls were built with slave labor.

Manuel Rueda/The World

The COVID-19 pandemic may have restricted global travel for yet another year. But you don't need to book a plane ticket to see spectacular images taken by The World's correspondents. 

Deployed or stationed around the globe, our correspondents have captured moments from some of the most important stories of 2021.

Afghanistan

Shirin Jaafari was in Afghanistan just two weeks before it fell to Taliban control for a second time since the 1990s. She captured the tense atmosphere across the nation in the days preceding the takeover, just as US troops finalized their withdrawal from the country.

Ghand Agha, an Afghan soldier manning a check point near Herat city in western Afghanistan,

Ghand Agha, an Afghan soldier manning a check point near Herat city in western Afghanistan, July 28, 2021. 

Credit:

Shirin Jaafari/The World

A fruit seller in Kabul, Afghanistan

A fruit seller in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 21, 2021.

Credit:

Shirin Jaafari/The World

Greece

The migrant crisis has left millions of people displaced around the world. And it's taken a toll on the mental health of refugees. Children are especially vulnerable after experiencing violence and war in their home countries before embarking on dangerous journeys. Lydia Emmanouilidou reported on efforts to heal some of those traumas.

Angeliki Stroumbou is an art therapist with Medical Volunteers International on the Greek island of Lesbos.

Angeliki Stroumbou is an art therapist with Medical Volunteers International on the Greek island of Lesbos.

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Lydia Emmanouilidou/The World

For one of their projects, children were asked to draw two worlds: the reality they live in today and an imaginary world they would like for themselves, and then connect the two with a bridge.

Medical Volunteers International (MVI) runs mental health programs for refugees on Lesbos, Greeece, including for children. For one of its children's programs, participants were asked to draw two worlds: the reality they live in today and an imaginary world they would like for themselves, and then connect the two with a bridge.

Credit:

Lydia Emmanouilidou/The World 

Haiti

Haiti has witnessed successive crises this year, starting with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July. That was followed by a devastating earthquake a month later; the kidnapping of a missionary group from the US, amid numerous gang murders and kidnappings of the local population; foiled migration attempts to flee to the US and other countries to escape the violence; and a gas tanker explosion that killed dozens of people earlier this month. Monica Campbell traveled to Haiti to bring back a glimpse of the situation.

In Pestel, Haiti, on the country's southern peninsula, Jean-Robert Leger, front, stands in a boat that is a bit smaller than the one he has attempted to sail in to the United States, along with many other migrants aboard.

In Pestel, Haiti, on the country's southern peninsula, Jean-Robert Leger, front, stands in a boat that is a bit smaller than the one he has attempted to sail in to the United States, along with many other migrants aboard. He has yet to succeed in touching US soil. He said that he will attempt another at-sea migration this year, pressured to earn dollars after his family's home was crushed in an August earthquake in Haiti.

Credit:

Monica Campbell/The World 

Mackenson Rémy, a popular reporter, is a fixture in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. All sorts of people call him, from business executives to politicians, interested in hearing about the traffic situation as the city wakes up.

Mackenson Rémy, a popular reporter, is a fixture in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. All sorts of people call him, from business executives to politicians, interested in hearing about the traffic situation as the city wakes up. 

Credit:

Monica Campbell/The World 

Lebanon

Another country in crisis this year was Lebanon. A year after an explosion at Beirut's port left about 200 people dead and 7,000 others wounded, the country is struggling to rebuild. The pandemic and a crumbling economy has also created devastating food and electricity shortages. Shirin Jaafari brought us the latest from people on the ground.

Workers prepare meals at the Matbakh El Kell Community Kitchen in Beirut.

Workers prepare meals at the Matbakh El Kell Community Kitchen in Beirut. The Kitchen was set up in response to the August 4th Beirut port explosion and it now serves 2500 free meals a day to those in need.

Credit:

Shirin Jaafari/The World

Forty-two-year-old Adnan Ziwani has been selling fruits on carts in Beirut for the past two decades. Just three months ago, he sold about 220 pounds of grapes a day. Today, he says, he’s lucky if he sells 77 pounds.

Forty-two-year-old Adnan Ziwani has been selling fruits on carts in Beirut for the past two decades. Just three months ago, he sold about 220 pounds of grapes a day. Today, he says, he’s lucky if he sells 77 pounds.

Credit:

Shirin Jaafari/The World

Sudan

Protests have rocked Sudan this year after the military grabbed power in a coup in October. The nation has seen many changes since the overthrow of longtime President Omar al-Bashir. Halima Gikandi has traveled to the country multiple times to bring us various aspects of life in Sudan.

A large crowd od people are shown outside of the tan-colored Grand Mosque with a man selling beaded jewelry in the nearground.

A vendor sells his wares outside of the Grand Mosque in Khartoum, Sudan.

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Mohamed Noureldin Abdallah/The World

Kenya

Based in Nairobi, Halima Gikandi also brought us the the story of Kenya launching its first-ever national wildlife census.

A large elephant among green trees and green grass

An elephant at Amboseli National Park in Kenya, May 24, 2021.

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Halima Gikandi/The World

Ghana

Ghana has made strides in development, from feeding the hungry to providing safety and sanitation through the implementation of proper access to toilets. But the country's agriculture industry has also been struggling as warming global temperatures have begun hindering food production. Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman brought us those stories.

The Food for All Africa team dishes out meals into packs to distribute to people in need.

The Food for All Africa team dishes out meals into packs to distribute to people in need. It's a group run by Chef Elijah Amoo Addo, who has been collecting discarded food from suppliers, farmers and restaurants to feed Ghana’s poor people since 2012.

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Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

Yaa Asantewaa laments how farmers in Ghana and across Africa have been affected by climate change, which has led to a scarcity of vegetables that now have to be sold at higher costs.

Yaa Asantewaa laments how farmers in Ghana and across Africa have been affected by climate change, which has led to a scarcity of vegetables that now have to be sold at higher costs.

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Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World

China

Putting aside geopolitics for a moment, Rebecca Kanthor brought us some lighthearted stories from China this year — from mermaid schools to savory ice cream flavors!

Instructor Rachel Wang takes photos of student Christina Bao under the water.

Instructor Rachel Wang takes photos of student Christina Bao under the water.

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Rebecca Kanthor/The World

Customers buy ice cream at Gelato Dal Cuore in Shanghai, China.

Customers buy ice cream at Gelato Dal Cuore in Shanghai, China.

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Rebecca Kanthor/The World

Turkey

Meanwhile, Turkey is trying to preserve its cultural traditions. Durrie Bouscaren reported on specialty cheese made of sheep’s milk and wild herbs, as well as the country's ancient practice of raising pigeons.

A cheese producer who gave just his first name, Islam, sits with 150 kilograms of Van Otlu Peyniri.

A cheese producer who gave just his first name, Islam, sits with 150 kilograms of Van Otlu Peyniri, a special regional cheese made with raw sheep’s milk and wild herbs. He says his flock of four hundred made enough milk for this much cheese in just a couple of days. 

Credit:

Durrie Bouscaren/The World 

A pigeon stands on a table outside

Pigeons are fast growers; these little fliers are just three weeks old. They stay close to the roost, but will soon fly with the rest of the flock. 

Credit:

Durrie Bouscaren/The World 

Colombia

And from Colombia, Manuel Rueda shared the story of a deportee from Florida who now exports specialty coffee to the United States to start conversations about the US immigration system. He also brought us the story of a tour guide trying to reclaim the country's Black heritage.

Mauricio Zuñiga checks out a batch of coffee beans that are being dried up at the Immaculada farm near Cali, Colombia, on May 27, 2021.

Mauricio Zuñiga checks out a batch of coffee beans that are being dried up at the Immaculada farm near Cali, Colombia, May 27, 2021.

Credit:

Manuel Rueda/The World

Tourists check out Getsemani. The neighborhood had a reputation from crime until recently, but investors have bought homes there and turned them into restaurants and boutique hotels.

Tourists check out Getsemani. The Colombian neighborhood had a reputation from crime until recently, but investors have bought homes there and turned them into restaurants and boutique hotels.

Credit:

Manuel Rueda/The World