A Blast From The Past: Episode 25

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bFrom the archives of Amusing Planet.

Island Of The Dolls: Mexico’s Creepiest Place

The Island Of The Dolls (Isla de las Muñecas), located in the vast network of canals that lies to the south of Mexico City, near Xochimilco is one of the creepiest tourist attraction in Mexico. Here, among the branches and dead trees hang hundreds of old, mutilated dolls.

island of dolls

Dafen Oil Painting Village: Where Fake Art is Business

China is well known for fakery of all kinds, be it consumer electronics, clothing, pharmaceuticals, DVDs, food and everything in between. And there is particularly one type of fakery that is actually thriving in business with a market that spreads from New York to Tokyo – Art.

Dafen is a small village in the suburb of Buji, in Longgang District of Shenzhen whose sole purpose is to mass produce replicas of western art to be sold to shops, restaurants, hotels, galleries, and tasteless consumers across the world. The village boasts over 5,000 artists working in 600+ galleries who churn out over 5 million paintings each year.


Monowi: The Town With Population of One

Monowi is a village in Nebraska, United States, whose only remaining resident is a 77-year old woman named Elsie Eiler. Eiler lives in a mobile home a half-block from the only business left in Monowi, a dark, wood-paneled tavern, thick with smoke  which Eiler runs. She also runs the town library, a tiny building jammed with 5,000 books left behind by her late husband who was a devoted reader. Elise is also the mayor of Monowi.


Giant Trees At the Cambodian Temple of Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm is a temple at Angkor, Cambodia, built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Located approximately one kilometer east of Angkor Thom and on the southern edge of the East Baray near Tonle Bati, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found. Huge trees, reminiscent of ancient redwoods and oaks, are blended into the walls, and rocks hugging the giant roots gives the temple a surreal appearance. The photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors.


The Postman Who Built a Palace With Stones Collected Over 33 Years

The story begins in 1879. Joseph-Ferdinand Cheval (1836 - 1924) , then 43 years old, had been working as a rural mail carrier in the southeast of France for 12 years. Because his daily routine involved walking about 20 miles (32km), mostly in solitude, he did a lot of daydreaming. One day he tripped over a small limestone rock. Astonished by its shape and form, he took the stone home. Soon he started to collect stones during his walks to deliver letters and brought them home in his pockets. Collecting stones became an addiction. When his wife became tired of mending his pockets, he changed the mode of transportation and took a basked with him, and later when the stones became bigger he took a wheelbarrow.


Wunderland Kalkar: Nuclear Power Plant Turned Amusement Park

In Kalkar in 1972, construction was started on the SNR-300, the first fast breeder nuclear reactor in Germany. The reactor was designed to use plutonium as fuel and be cooled by sodium, and was to output 327 megawatts of energy. It was still a very new technology at the time, but the German government was determined to limit energy import and, as the uranium supply in Germany was limited, a breeder facility to use the limited resources efficiently was required.


The Many Constumes of Manneken Pis

At the corner of Rue de l'Étuve/Stoofstraat and Rue du Chêne/Eikstraat in the heart of Brussels, is a famous landmark – the Manneken Pis. It is a small bronze statue of a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. Although there are many similar and sculptures all around the world, thousands of tourists flock each day to take a photo of this particular one. Part of the reason why people visit this little figure so frequently is its enormous wardrobe of costumes.


Artistic Stockholm Subway System

The Stockholm subway system is said to be the longest art exhibition in the world - 110 kilometers in length. Traveling by subway is like traveling through an exciting story that extends from the artistic pioneers of the 1950s to the art experiments of today. Over 90 of the 100 subway stations in Stockholm have been decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs by over 150 artists. It’s a part of a long tradition of public art for public transport.


Slauerhoffbrug, The Flying Drawbridge

Slauerhoffbrug also known as the 'Flying Drawbridge', is a fully automatic bascule bridge located in the city of Leeuwarden in Netherlands. The bridge uses two extending arms to actually lift a section of the road up and out of the way to let boats through underneath. The tail bridge can quickly and efficiently be raised and lowered from one pylon (instead of hinges). This quickly allows water traffic to pass while only briefly stalling road traffic. Pretty unusual design.


Cincinnati's Abandoned Subway

Unknown to many Cincinnatians, sprawling under their feet is a vast network of abandoned and derelict subway tunnels – in fact, the United States’ largest abandoned subway tunnel. Construction of the Cincinnati subway began sometime around 1917, however, just 11 days earlier the United States entered World War I and construction was halted. By 1925 construction slowed to a stop before even half of the proposed 16 mile line was completed. Seven miles between Cincinnati's central business district and the industrial suburb of Norwood were tunneled, bridged, or graded, but no track was laid and no subway cars were ordered. No passengers ever rode between the six stations that were built.


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