50 landmarks to visit before you die (II)
Niagara Falls at the border of Ontario ( Canada ) and New York ( USA )
Niagara Falls is by far the most famous waterfall in North America. It has been the backdrop to many honeymoons, proposals, daredevil stunts, and even key moments in the history of the United States. If you haven't heard of this falls, it's time for you to get out and start exploring the world around you!
Niagara Falls is also the largest waterfall (by volume) in North America. The falls actually consists of three separate components - Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Combined, the falls has an average discharge of a mind boggling over 7000 cubic meters per second. Over 90% of the volume is over the Horseshoe Falls.
Read the rest: http://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/eastern-us-niagara-falls.html
Angkor Wat at Cambodia
There are two great complexes of ancient temples in Southeast Asia, one at Bagan in Burma, the other at Angkor in Cambodia. The temples of Angkor, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. From Angkor the Khmer kings ruled over a vast domain that reached from Vietnam to China to the Bay of Bengal. The structures one sees at Angkor today, more than 100 stone temples in all, are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis whose other buildings - palaces, public buildings, and houses - were built of wood and have long since decayed and disappeared.
Conventional theories presume the lands where Angkor stands were chosen as a settlement site because of their strategic military position and agricultural potential. Alternative scholars, however, believe the geographical location of the Angkor complex and the arrangement of its temples was based on a planet-spanning sacred geography from archaic times. Using computer simulations, it has been shown that the ground plan of the Angkor complex – the terrestrial placement of its principal temples - mirrors the stars in the constellation of Draco at the time of spring equinox in 10,500 BC. While the date of this astronomical alignment is far earlier than any known construction at Angkor, it appears that its purpose was to architecturally mirror the heavens in order to assist in the harmonization of the earth and the stars. Both the layout of the Angkor temples and the iconographic nature of much its sculpture, particularly the asuras (‘demons’) and devas (‘deities’) are also intended to indicate the celestial phenomenon of the precession of the equinoxes and the slow transition from one astrological age to another.
Read More: http://sacredsites.com/asia/cambodia/angkor_wat.html
The Burj in Dubai
Burj Khalifa lifts the world's head proudly skywards, surpassing limits and expectations. Rising gracefully from the desert and honouring Dubai with a new glow. Burj Khalifa is at the heart of Dubai and its people; the centre for the world's finest shopping, dining and entertainment and home for the world's elite.
Bran Castle in Romania
Commonly known as Dracula 's Castle, the Bran Castle was originally a stronghold built by the Knights of Teutonic Order in 1212. The first documentary attestation of the Bran Castle is the act issued on November 19, 1377, giving the Saxons of Kronstadt (Brasov) the privilage to build the Citadel. The building started in 1378 as a defense against Turks and later became a customs post on the pass between Transylvania and Wallachia. From 1920 the castle became a royal residence until the expulsion of the royal family in 1948. Today it functions as a very attractive museum of medieval arts.
Manneke Pis in Brussels
The famous Manneken-Pis remains the emblem of the rebellious spirit of the City of Brussels. His wardrobe counts more than 800 suits. The Museum of the City of Brussels presents one hundred of these suits. A multimedia database allows the visitors to consult the whole wardrobe of the famous 'ketje'.
Manneken-Pis [plan] was at first a fountain that played an essential role in the former distribution of drinking water since the 15th century. The system was well-known in all of Europe.
Towards the end of the 17th Century, the statue became more and more important in the city life. It was also a survivor of the bombardment of Brussels in 1695. Manneken-Pis became a precious good and enjoys a ceaselessly growing glory.
During big events, we adorn him with luxurious clothes. We know that in the 18th century, Manneken-Pis was dressed at least 4 times a year. Since he lost his main function in the network of water conveyance of the City in the 19th century, Manneken-Pis gradually became an image and symbol of the Brussels folklore, the joy of the inhabitants and their capacity of self-mockery.
Mount Everest on the border of Tibet and Nepal
The highest mountain on earth is known as Qomolangma in Tibetan,Sagarmatha in Nepali, or Mt Everest in English. Mt Everest can be seen from hundreds of kilometers away and appears as a shining silver pyramid in the distance. The mountain is snow covered all year round, and has inspired artists and drawn Buddhist pilgrims for centuries. Known as a sacred mountain in Tibet, it is revered by all Tibetans. No Sherpa will lead a mountaineering group up Mt Everest without first stopping to burn incense and leave offerings to the gods to ensure that they will have a successful climb.
Read the rest: http://www.chinaodysseytours.com/Tibet/mt-everest.html
Mecca in Saudi Arabia
Mecca (Makkah in Arabic) is the center of the Islamic world and the birthplace of both the Prophet Muhammad and the religion he founded. Located in the Sirat Mountains of central Saudi Arabia and 45 miles inland from the Red Sea port of Jidda (Jeddah), ancient Mecca was an oasis on the old caravan trade route that linked the Mediterranean world with South Arabia, East Africa, and South Asia. By Roman and Byzantine times it had developed into an important trade and religious center, and was known as Macoraba. The sacred land in which Mecca and Medina are located, known as the Hijaz, is the western region of the Arabian peninsula, a narrow tract of land about 875 miles long east of the Red Sea with the Tropic of Cancer running through its center. The land is called Hijaz, meaning barrier, because its backbone, the Sarat Mountains consist of volcanic peaks and natural depressions creating a stark and rugged environment dominated by intense sunlight and little rain fal
want more? http://www.sacredsites.com/middle_east/saudi_arabia/mecca.html
Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
The Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) in Berlin is one of the first landmarks that comes to mind when thinking of Germany. The Brandenburg Gate is the national symbol of the country, and German history was made here – many different times.
The Brandenburg Gate became infamous in the Cold War, when it was the sad symbol for the division of Berlin and Germany: The Gate stood between East and West Germany, becoming part of the impenetrable Berlin Wall. It was here, where Ronald Reagan said his moving words:
"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
In 1989, a peaceful revolution ended the Cold War: The Berlin Wall fell, and East and West Germany were reunited when the Brandenburg Gate opened, becoming the symbol of a new Germany.
St Peters at Vatican City
Here's a map in case you want to visit it: http://saintpetersbasilica.org/vaticancity-map.htm
Mont St Michel in France
Mont-Saint-Michel is a 1-ha (3-acre) rocky islet topped by a famous Gothic abbey, 1.6 km (1 mi) off the coast of Normandy in northwest France in the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel in the English Channel. The island, located 5 km (3 mi) from the shore during the Middle Ages, is now surrounded by water only two times a month. Its one cobblestone street climbs in three spirals from a great granite base to the towering Benedictine abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, an architectural masterpiece built in the 13th century, replacing the original abbey, which was founded in 708 by Saint Aubert, bishop of Avranches, but destroyed by King Philip II of France in 1203.
Its fortifications enabled the islet to withstand repeated English assaults during the Hundred Years' War. The abbey served as a prison during Napoleon I's reign. Restored after 1863, and connected to the mainland by a causeway (completed 1875), the abbey is preserved as a national historical monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of France's great tourist attractions. The abbey is celebrated in Henry Adam's classic study of medieval Christianity, Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1913).
On the other side of the English Channel, off the coast of Cornwall, in England, is Saint Michael's Mount, the site of a priory (later a castle) that belonged to the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey in the Middle Ages.
Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
The mountain itself was originally named after Charles E. Rushmore, a New York lawyer investigating mining claims in the Black Hills in 1885. Gutzon Borglum chose this mountain due to its height (5700' above sea level), the soft grainy consistency of the granite, and the fact that it catches the sun for the greatest part of the day. The presidents were selected on the basis of what each symbolized. George Washington represents the struggle for independence, Thomas Jefferson the idea of government by the people. Abraham Lincoln for his ideas on equality and the permanent union of the states, and Theodore Roosevelt for the 20th century role of the United States in world affairs. The carving of Mt. Rushmore actually began on August 10, 1927, and spanned a length of 14 years. Only about six and a half years were spent actually carving the mountain, with the rest of the time being spent on weather delays and Borglum's greatest enemy - the lack of funding. The total cost of the project was $900,000. Work continued on the project until the death of Gutzon Borglum in 1941. No carving has been done on the mountain since that time and none is planned in the future.
Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe
The Victoria Falls constitutes one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. The Local people call it "Mosi-oa-Tunya" -- the smoke that thunders and the Falls are remarkable.
There is a magic about them manifested in the towering column of spray when the river is high, the thunder of the falling water, the terrifying abyss and tranquil lagoons upstream in which hippo and deadly crocodiles lurk.
The Victoria falls is 1 708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world. It drops between 90m and 107m into the Zambezi Gorge and an average of 550,000 cubic metres of water plummet over the edge every minute.
Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria falls inspires visitors as much today as it did David Livingstone in the 1860's. The falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks and a World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive commercialisation.
The Grand Canyon in Arizona
Grand Canyon attracts the attention of the world for many reasons, but perhaps its greatest significance lies in the geologic record preserved and exposed here. The rocks at Grand Canyon are not inherently unique. Similar rocks are found throughout the world. What is unique about the geologic record at Grand Canyon is the variety of rocks present, the clarity with which they are exposed, and the complex geologic story they tell.
Two separate geologic stories exist at Grand Canyon. The older story is the one revealed in the thick sequence of rocks exposed in the walls of the canyon. These rocks provide a remarkable record of the Paleozoic Era (550-250 million years ago). Scattered remnants of Precambrian rocks as old as 2000 million years can also be found at the bottom of the canyon. The story these rocks tell is far older than the canyon itself. Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks (250 million years old to the present) are largely missing at Grand Canyon. They have either been worn away or were never deposited.
Read More: http://grandcanyon.com/grand-canyon-geology.html
Nevado Mismi in Peru ( source of the Amazon River )
The Amazon begins high in the Peruvian Andes as a thin sheet of crystal water flowing down the side of a rock wall. By the time its journey ends in the Atlantic Ocean some 6,275 km away, it has become the world’s largest river by volume, and possibly the longest.
The serene mountain lake on the pictures, Laguna Lauricocha, is only a few km away from the source of the Amazon river. It is situated in the department of Junín in the Cordillera Huayhuash. The river Marañon feeds this lake. After Laguna Lauricocha, the Marañon flows on northwards for hundreds of kilometres through mountains and canyons, and then eastwards into the Amazon basin. There, near the jungle town Nauta, the Marañon is joined by another big river coming from the south: the Ucayali. At this point both rivers confluence and continue into Peru's eastern lowlands and Brazil under the name Amazon. The Times Atlas of the World, edition 1996, pinpoints the place near Laguna Lauricocha as the main source of the Amazon. At least that was the opinion of leading geologists in 1996...
Auschwitz in Poland
All over the world, Auschwitz has become a symbol of terror, genocide, and the Holocaust. It was established by Germans in 1940, in the suburbs of Oswiecim, a Polish city that was annexed to the Third Reich by the Nazis. Its name was changed to Auschwitz, which also became the name of Konzentrationslager Auschwitz.
The direct reason for the establishment of the camp was the fact that mass arrests of Poles were increasing beyond the capacity of existing "local" prisons. Initially, Auschwitz was to be one more concentration camp of the type that the Nazis had been setting up since the early 1930s. It functioned in this role throughout its existence, even when, beginning in 1942, it also became the largest of the death camps.
Read the rest: http://en.auschwitz.org/h/
The Great Buddha of Kamakura in Tokyo
The Great Buddha or Daibutsu in Japanese was constructed in 1252 A.D. It was originally housed in a building but it was destroyed by a tidal wave in 1498. The Buddha is 13.35 meters tall and weighs 121 tonnes, making it the second largest Buddha in Japan. The largets statue being Todaiji Temple in Nara.
Neptune and the Palace of Versailles in France
The Park of Versailles spreads over more than 800 hectares and it is completely fenced. Other than the palace itself, it encloses several famous sites that add to the renown of Versailles : the Orangerie, the Grand Canal, the French gardens, the fountains, and the Estate of Marie-Antoinette with the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon. This huge park with its gardens, bosquets, caves and fountains should not be missed while visiting Versailles. It was set up from 1661 to 1700 by the master gardener Le Nôtre. The Park of Versailles is considered as the model of French gardens. It is adorned with statues of marble, bronze, or lead, fountains in play and the myth of Apollo is a reference.
Cape of Good Hope in South Africa
Cape Point has a long and colourful history, largely due to the search for a sea route to the East, instigated by Prince Henry the Navigator.
Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias was the first to round the Cape Peninsula in 1488. He named it the "Cape of Storms", for the notoriously bad weather, which can blow up quickly. A decade later, Vasco da Gama navigated the same
route and sailed up the coast of Africa, successfully opening a new trading route for Europe with India and the Far East. An explorer named John II of Portugal later renames is as the "Cape of Good Hope" because of the great optimism engendered by the opening of this new sea route to India and the East.
Trevi Fountain in Rome
The Fontana di Trevi - or Trevi Fountain in English -is a fountain in Rome, Italy. It is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and the most beautiful in the world.
A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome.
The fountain is worldwide famous but many people do not know the history and the secrets hidden behind its construction. It is time to do justice to this extraordinary masterpiece of Italian art.
Petra in Jordan
The giant red mountains and vast mausoleums of a departed race have nothing in common with modern civilization, and ask nothing of it except to be appreciated at their true value - as one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man.
Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place. It has to be seen to be believed.
Read the rest: http://visitjordan.com/Default.aspx?tabid=63
Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
The Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece, is one of Barcelona's most popular tourist attractions. Construction on this church will continue for at least several more decades, but it has already become Barcelona's most important landmark.
The idea for the construction of a new church was launched by a devout organisation whose goal was to bring an end to the de-christianisation of the Barcelonese, which had started with the industrialization and increasing wealth of the city. The organisation purchased a plot of land in the new Eixample district in 1877. The architect Francisco de Paula del Villar designed a neo gothic church and led the construction which started in 1882.
North Cape in Norway
The North Cape (Norway) is northern Scandinavia's most popular travel destination - and for good reason. The North Cape is a monumental natural experience, along with breathtaking views, unusual climatic conditions, the dramatic cliff itself and the fact that one is standing at Europe's northern end.
The North Cape is a 1,000 ft (307 meters) high cliff which is generally referred to as the northernmost point of Europe. A quarter of a million tourists visit the North Cape each summer, making it one of Norway's top travel destinations. It is located in the region of Finnmark, also called the Norwegian Lapland.
Chichen Itza in Mexico
Chichen Itza which means “at the mouth of the well of Itza “, is the 2nd most visited archeological site of Mexico today. The Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen-Itza which known as “El Castillo” (the castle), is one of the new seven wonders of the world elected in 07.07.2007. It is exactly 24 m. high considering the upper platform. Apart from the Kukulkan Pyramid, in Chichen Itza there many other archaeological sites to visit, all carrying traces from Mayan Culture in many ways.
Chichen-Itza, now including one of the new 7 wonders of the world; the Kukulkan Pyramid, is located in the Peninsula of Yucatan, in the Yucatan State; Mexico, between Valladolid and Merida and is just120 km from Merida
Inukshuk in Canada
The mysterious stone figures known as inuksuit can be found throughout the circumpolar world. Inukshuk, the singular of inuksuit, means "in the likeness of a human" in the Inuit language. They are monuments made of unworked stones that are used by the Inuit for communication and survival. The traditional meaning of the inukshuk is "Someone was here" or "You are on the right path."
The Inuit make inuksuit in different forms for a variety of purposes: as navigation or directional aids, to mark a place of respect or memorial for a beloved person, or to indicate migration routes or places where fish can be found. Other similar stone structures were objects of veneration, signifying places of power or the abode of spirits. Although most inuksuit appear singly, sometimes they are arranged in sequences spanning great distances or are grouped to mark a specific place.
Lascaux in France
In the painted caves of western Europe, namely in France and Spain, we witness the earliest unequivocal evidence of the human capacity to interpret and give meaning to our surroundings. Through these early achievements in representation and abstraction, we see a newfound mastery of the environment and a revolutionary accomplishment in the intellectual development of humankind.
The painted walls of the interconnected series of caves in Lascaux in southwestern France are among the most impressive and well-known artistic creations of Paleolithic humans. Although there is one human image (painted representations of humans are very rare in Paleolithic art; sculpted human forms are more common), most of the paintings depict animals found in the surrounding landscape, such as horses, bison, mammoths, ibex, aurochs, deer, lions, bears, and wolves. The depicted animals comprise both species that would have been hunted and eaten (such as deer and bison) as well as those that were feared predators (such as lions, bears, and wolves). No vegetation or illustration of the environment is portrayed around the animals, who are represented in profile and often standing in an alert and energetic stance. Their vitality is achieved by the broad, rhythmic outlines around areas of soft color. The animals are typically shown in a twisted perspective, with the heads depicted in profile but the pair of horns or antlers rendered frontally visible. (In contrast, a strictly optical profile would show only one horn or antler.) The intended result may have been to imbue the images with more visual power and magical properties. The combination of profile and frontal perspectives is an artistic idiom also observed in ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian art.
Table Mountain in South Africa
Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town in South Africa, and is featured in the flag of Cape Town and other local government insignia. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
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