A Walkway Over Water in China

The Shiziguan scenic area, in Xuan'en County of central China's Hubei Province, has unveiled a new floating walkway over a brilliantly blue meandering river. The wooden walkway runs through the middle of the river, and extends for 500 meters following the course of the river as it twists and turns through the lush green landscape. The floating walkway allows visitors to see a part of a valley that was previously accessible only by rowing boat. The walkway opened to public last Sunday.

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Murals From Trash by Bordalo II

Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo, known in the art world as Bordalo II, uses trash as his medium which he recycles into amazing street installation. Bordalo uses urban materials discarded by the city such as old car bumpers, worn down rubber tires, tangles of electrical cable and all sorts of plastic, and rearranges them into shapes representing the silhouettes of huge animals. He then spray paints over the entire thing to give them details.

Bordalo says his goal is to increase awareness of pollution and environmental degradation, which is affecting the habitat of the very animals he creates.

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Markthal: Rotterdam’s Beautiful Food Market

At Rotterdam’s historic Binnenrotte Square, next to Blaak Station, is an eleven-stories-tall arched building that huddles over an immense food market on the ground floor. The arched building is also habitable and contains over two hundred apartments, with each unit equipped with either a window looking out into the market or a glass square in the floor so residents can look down into the bustling venue below. The exterior facade of the building is clad in grey natural stone, the same is used for the surrounding public space. But the ends are closed with glass panels to keep rain and the cold out. The vaulted ceiling of the market is adorned with gigantic murals of fruits, vegetables, and flowers, that some have likened to the Sistine Chapel.

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Photo credit: Ossip Van Duivenbode

The Altamura Man

In 1993, a team of speleologist probing a karst borehole in the Altamura Murgia region, near the Italian city of Altamura, stumbled upon a near-complete skeleton of an archaic hominid, one of the many species of the family Hominidae belonging to the genus Homo, that walked the earth before modern human beings evolved. Usually, specimens such as this are removed and relocated to a lab or museum so that they can be studied. But when researchers tried to remove the skeleton, they found it had become embedded in the rock. Droplets of calcified limestone, that dripped from the cave’s ceiling for thousands of years, had not only fused the skeleton to the cave walls but had also formed a thick layer over the bones giving the “Altamura Man” a ghoulish appearance.

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Photo credit: www.ancient-origins.net

Paiva Walkways in Arouca

The Pavia Walkways are an 8-km-long route of wooden walkways and staircases that cling to the mountain side along Paiva river in Arouca municipality, Aveiro, Portugal. Features of the walkways include a winding staircase that leads to the top of a huge hill, providing a panoramic view of the terrain, and an extremely narrow wooden bridge that spans across the river surrounded by soaring cliffs and abundant natural vegetation. The route starts from the river beach Areinho and terminates at another beach Espiunca. A third river beach, the Vau, is located midway. As the walkway continues along the topography, hikers are bestowed with sweeping views of waterfalls, quartz crystal deposits, exotic fauna and flora, and the river below.

The ‘Paiva Walkways‘ was opened in July 2015, but a devastating wildfire in September damaged more than 600 meters of wooden walkways. After some months of restoration, the walkways reopened to the public.

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Photo credit: Nelson Garrido

A Blast From The Past: Episode 16

A collection of interesting articles from the archives that you may have missed.

The Secret Life of the Harvest Mice

Photographers Jean-Louis Klein and Marie-Luce Hubert, both from the Alsace, France, spent the year snapping the elusive harvest mice in a project that ended with their release into the wild. Laying patiently in meadows and reed beds, the pair were able to capture the fascinating images. A stunning and rare insight into the secret tiny lives of adorable harvest mice is revealed in incredible pictures captured painstakingly over 12 months.

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Woodberry Wetlands: A Nature Reserve in The Heart of London

An old reservoir in the boroughs of Hackney, in north east London, has been transformed into a nature reserve. Called Woodberry Wetlands, this 7-acre site of reed-fringed ponds, dykes and scrapes was created out of an early 19th century reservoir in Stoke Newington, and is located just ten minutes’ walk away from the Manor House tube station.

The East Reservoir was constructed in 1833 to meet the growing demands for drinking water in suburban London. The water was brought in from the chalk streams of Hertfordshire via the New River through the wooded village of Stoke Newington. Prior to the building of the reservoirs, the Woodberry Down —as it was called then— was rolling grass meadows where cattle grazed, and small woodlands where wild boar lived. Soon after its construction, large Victorian and Edwardian mansions went up overlooking the reservoir, and Woodberry Down became a luxurious extension of the city.

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Photo credit: Rob Stothard/Getty Images

The Dance of Zalongo

Above the village of Kamarina, near Preveza, Greece, is the historic cliffs of Mount Zalongo. It was here in 1803, during the Souliote War, some fifty to sixty Souliot women, along with their children committed mass suicide in order to avoid being captured and enslaved by the soldiers of the Ottoman ruler Ali Pasha. According to the legend, the women defiantly danced and sang as one by one they threw their children off the cliff and then followed immediately after. The incident became known as the Dance of Zalongo.

The Souliotes were originally refugees from the Greek village of Paramythia who escaped the Ottomans and settled in the remote mountainous areas of Epirus, where they enjoyed an autonomous status. Attracted by the privileges of autonomy, immigrants from elsewhere assimilated with the Souliotes and they grew in strength and number until they were powerful enough to successfully resist Ottoman rule. The Souliotes didn’t pay taxes to the empire, instead, they demanded tribute from the Turks of the area. At the height of its power, in the second half of the 18th century, they dominated over 60 villages in the region.

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The Monument of Zalongo honoring the women who chose death over disgrace and misery. Photo credit: Harry Gouvas/Wikimedia

Murud-Janjira Fort, India

The Murud-Janjira Fort is situated on an oval-shaped rocky island in the Arabian Sea, near the coastal town of Murud, 165 km south of Mumbai, India. Once the stronghold of the Abyssinian Siddis, who played an important role in the history of Mumbai, later in the 17th century, Janjira is considered one of the strongest marine forts in India, and the only unconquered one along India’s western coast. The fort was famous for its three gigantic cannons, weighing over 22 tons each, that were feared for their incredible shooting range.

The word Janjira is a corruption of the Arabic word “Jazeera”, which means an island. Murud is a Marathi word for the Siddis, an ethnic group originating from Abyssinia, a historical nation in modern day Ethiopia. So Murud-Janjira essentially means “island of the Siddis”.

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Photo credit: srrindia.org

The Toxic Town of Times Beach, Missouri

The former town of Times Beach, in Missouri, United States, about 27 km southwest of St. Louis, was founded as part of a strange marketing program. In 1925, a newspaper called the St. Louis Star-Times secured this large tract of land along the Meremec River, and started selling off plots measuring 20 foot by 100 foot in size. For just $67.50, which is about $900 today accounting for inflation, a purchaser could secure a plot along with a 6-month subscription to the newspaper. The plots sold off alright, but the town never became the booming resort the newspaper had hoped for. The Great Depression followed by gasoline rationing during World War II instead turned Times Beach into a community of lower-middle-class families. Around 2,000 people lived here until their forced evacuation in 1985.

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Photo credit: NPR.org