Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pyramids of The Ancient World

The pyramids are certainly some of the most mesmerizing historical structures in recorded history. The fact that makes pyramids a unique attraction among the history freaks and travelers is that these structures were made in the period when there was no luxury of machines and technology support.

A pyramid is a solid structure with square shaped base and the four sides in the form of an equilateral triangle. These geometrical structures are highly stable and are primarily made of masonry or stone. These fascinating edifices were built in assorted complexities, types and sizes in the bygone eras. The different parts of the world constructed pyramids due to different reasons. The history of China and Egypt tells that these structures were made as the tombs and monuments revered to the emperors and leaders of the country. The Indians and Americans built pyramids as their religious shrines. Moreover, some of these edifices were the abode to burial chambers also. Thus, pyramids have their mark on most of the ancient cultures in the world.

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Reversing Falls of Saint John

The Reversing Falls are a series of rapids on the Saint John River located just west of downtown of Saint John, in New Brunswick, in Canada. Here the river runs through a narrow gorge before emptying into the Bay of Fundy. The tremendous rise and fall of the tides of the Bay of Fundy causes the “falls” to reverse direction of flow with each incoming tide.

The Bay of Fundy is subjected to one of the highest tides in the world where the difference in water level between high tide and low tide can reach up to 48 feet (14 meters). In Saint John, the bay tides rise 28 feet. When the tide is low, the full flow of the river thunders through a narrow gorge and empties into the bay. An underwater ledge, 36 feet below the surface causes the water in the river to tumble downward in a series of rapids and whirlpools.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Karl Marx-Hof: The Kilometer Long Residential Building

The world’s longest residential building, Karl Marx-Hof, is located in the neighbourhood of Heiligenstadt in the Austrian capital city of Vienna. Built between 1927 and 1930 by city planner Karl Ehn, the colossal building is 1,100 meters long – a length spanned by four tram stops and interspersed by several tunnels that had to be incorporated into the design to allow the continuation of city streets and traffic flow. It was one of the approximately 400 new municipal apartment complexes, called Gemeindebauten, built by the Social Democrats to provide housing to the thousands of families rendered homeless after the First World War.

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Dargavs, The City of The Dead

Located on the edge of the village of Dargavs, in the republic of North Ossetia–Alania, in Russia, is an ancient cemetery or necropolis. It is often called “city of the dead”, although the name is not unique to Dargavs, since the word “necropolis” itself literally means "city of the dead" in Ancient Greek. Dargavs is impressive because of the large number of mausoleums and the absolutely stunning scenery. The cemetery is located on the slope of a hill overlooking the verdant Fiagdon River valley, with several cliffs and 4,000 meters peaks looming above.

The cemetery has almost 100 ancient stone crypts where people that lived in the valley buried their loved ones along with clothes and belongings. The tombs are shaped like huts with curved roofs going inwards in steps with a pointed peak at the top, typical of Nakh architecture. Some of these crypts are 2 to 4 stories high.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

El Salvador, A Mining Town Shaped Like A Roman Helmet

Located at an elevation of more than 2,400 meters in the foothills of the Andes and in the middle of the Atacama Desert, the town of El Salvador was built solely to serve as office and residence for those working on the copper mines. The town came into being as a result of discovery of the ore in 1954, when the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, concerned about declining reserves in its Potrerillos mine, sent prospectors in search of a new source. Due to its remote location, the company had to build El Salvador as a self-contained and self-sustaining town complete with housing, schools, stores, water, electrical plants and even a railway.

Satellite images of El Salvador shows the town to be shaped like a Roman helmet. The legend goes that when an executive of Anaconda Mining Company travelled to the proposed town site with his son, the boy had with him his beloved toy - a Roman helmet, which he lost in the desert. Years later once the city was built, the boy was flown over the town and his father said “Remember the toy helmet you lost as a young boy, look down son, there it is.”

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Lucy the Elephant

Lucy the Elephant is a six-story elephant-shaped building located along the beach in Josephine Harron Park in Margate, New Jersey. Lucy can be called the world's largest elephant, and the only one in America designated as a National Historic Landmark. Built in 1881, by the eccentric real estate developer James Lafferty, Lucy served - at different times - as a hotel, restaurant, office, cottage and briefly as a tavern, until unruly drunks nearly burned her down. It currently serves as a tourist attraction. Visitors enter through a spiral staircase in her left rear leg that goes through her insides all the way up to the howdah on her back, providing a spectacular 360° view of the surrounding shore area.

Lafferty built Lucy so that he could take real estate customers up the narrow spiral staircase to the howdah, where he could point out real estate parcels available for sale. To do this, he first obtained a patent from the U.S. Patent Office in 1881 that gave him the exclusive right to make, use or sell animal-shaped buildings for 17 years.

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Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard

Near the port city of Chittagong in Bangladesh, lies one of the largest ship-breaking yards in the world. It stretches for 18 km along the coast on the Bay of Bengal where more than 200,000 Bangladeshis break down up to 100 ships a year. Working under hazardous conditions, workers rip apart ships with their bare hands and a blowtorch to assist, dissecting the ship bolt by bolt, rivet by rivet. Every piece of metal worth salvaging is carried on to waiting trucks in the shoreline to be carried away to furnaces where it will be melted down and fashioned into steel rods. The steel accounts for half of all the steel in Bangladesh.

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Superkilen, A Public Park in Copenhagen With Artifacts From 60 Countries

Superkilen is a public park in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, Denmark. Designed by the arts group Superflex with the collaboration of BIG architects and a German landscape architecture firm called Topotek1, the park is considered one of the most ethnically diverse and socially challenged neighborhoods in the Danish capital. Filled with objects from around the globe, it is designed as a kind of world exposition for the local inhabitants, covering over 60 nationalities, who have been able to contribute their own ideas and artifacts to the project.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Champagne Pool, New Zealand

Champagne Pool is a hot spring located within the Waiotapu geothermal area in the North Island of New Zealand. The name Champagne Pool is derived from the constant efflux of carbon dioxide gas, similar to a glass of bubbling champagne. The vibrant colors come from a rich deposition of minerals and silicate. The silicate structures around the edge of the pool is teeming with microbial life.

The hot spring was formed 900 years ago by a hydrothermal eruption, resulting in a crater 65 m in diameter and 62 m deep. Colored waters percolate up from underground full of carbon dioxide which forms bubbles near the surface where the water temperature is 74°C. At the edges of the pools the silica is lined with bright orange from antimony rich deposits that solidify out of the cooler water. Mercury, thallium, gold and silver are also deposited in the rocks.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Double Tree of Casorzo

Between Grana and Casorzo in Piemonte, Italy, a very unique tree grows. Known as the “double tree of Casorzo” or Bialbero de Casorzo in Italian, it is a mulberry tree on top of which a cherry tree grows. The cherry tree rises well above the mulberry tree on which it stands. The strange tree is also known as Grana Double Tree.

Nobody knows for sure how this happened; probably some bird dropped a seed on top of the mulberry which then grew roots through the hollow trunk of the host tree to reach the soil. While trees growing parasitically over another tree is not unusual, but they normally do not reach the size and lifespan as seen in this particular example, as there is not enough humus and space available where they grow. Large “double-trees”, also called Epiphytes, like the Bialbero de Casorzo are a rarity.

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