Virtual Tourism

Virtual tourism, google maps mashup, google video

Devil's Tower, Wyoming


Devils Tower is a monolith (more technically, an igneous intrusion) or volcanic neck located near Hulett and Sundance in eastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises dramatically 1267 feet (386 m) above the surrounding terrain.

It is part of the first United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt. 1347 acres (5.45 km²) are included within the Monument's boundaries.

In recent years about 1% of the Monument's 400,000 annual visitors climb Devils Tower. The monolith is featured prominently in the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Tribes including the Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne, Kiowa, Lakota, and Shoshone have had cultural and geographical ties to the monolith long before European and early American immigrants reached Wyoming. Their names for the monolith include: Aloft on a Rock (Kiowa), Bear's House (Cheyenne, Crow), Bear's Lair (Cheyenne, Crow), Bear's Lodge (Cheyenne, Lakota), Bear's Lodge Butte (Lakota), Bear's Tipi (Arapaho, Cheyenne), Tree Rock (Kiowa), and Grizzly Bear Lodge (Lakota).

In 2005, a proposal to recognize these ties through the additional designation of the monolith as Bear Lodge National Historic Landmark met with opposition from Rep. Barbara Cubin, arguing that a "name change will harm the tourist trade and bring economic hardship to area communities"

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Notre-Dame de la Garde, Marseille


Notre-Dame de la Garde is a basilica located in Marseille, France. This ornate Neo-Byzantine church sits atop the signal hill of La Garde, the highest natural point in Marseille, being a 162 m (532 ft) limestone outcrop on the south side of the Vieux Port. As well as being a major local landmark, it is the site of a popular annual pilgrimage every August 15th (Assumption). Local inhabitants commonly refer to it as la bonne mère (the good mother).

Commissioned by Saint Charles Eugene de Mazenod, then bishop of Marseille, and designed by the architect Jacques Henri Esperandieu (1829-1874), the church was built between 1853, when the foundation stone was laid on September 11, and 1864. The site was a 13th century chapel also dedicated to Our Lady of the Guard, filled with the ex-votos of safely returned sailors. It shared space atop the hill with a 16th-century fortification established for Francois I, built in 1525, whose own salamander badge is to be found within the present basilica's north porch.

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Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone


The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world, next to those in New Zealand.

There is no doubt that many Native American peoples were aware of the Grand Prismatic Spring long before Europeans first saw it, but the first records of the Spring are from early explorers and surveyors.

In 1839, a group of fur trappers from the American Fur Company crossed the Midland Geyser Basin and made note of a "boiling lake", most likely the Grand Prismatic Spring, with a diameter of 300 feet (91 meters).

In 1870, the Washburn Party, led by General Henry D. Washburn, visited the Spring, noting a 50 foot (15 meter) geyser nearby (later named Excelsior.

The vivid colors in the spring are the result of pigmented bacteria in the microbial mats that grow around the edges of the water. The bacteria produce colors ranging through greens, yellows, oranges, and reds; the amount of color in the microbial mats depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids. In the summer, the mats tend to be orange and red, whereas in the winter the mats are usually dark green. The center of the pool is sterile because of its heat.

The deep blue color of the water in the center of the pool results from a light-absorbing overtone of the Hydroxy stretch of water. Though this effect is responsible for making all large bodies of water blue, it is particularly intense here as a result of the high purity and depth of the water in the middle of the spring.

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Macau Tower


Macau Tower, also known as Macau Sky Tower, is a tower located in Macau, a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. The tower measures 338 m (1,109 ft) in height from ground level to the highest point. An observation deck with panoramic views, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and the Skywalk X, a thrilling walking tour around the outer rim, is found at the tower's 233-metre level. It offers a great view of Macau and in more recent years has been used for bungee jumping.

On a visit to Auckland, New Zealand, Macau casino billionaire Stanley Ho Hung-Sun was so impressed by the Sky Tower in Auckland that he commissioned a similar one to be built in Macau. The tower was designed by New Zealand engineering firm Beca and Gordon Moller of Craig Craig Moller architects for Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, SARL. Construction work of the tower started in 1998, and the tower was officially opened on December 19, 2001.

The tower is one of the members of the World Federation of Great Towers.

Besides being used for observation and entertainment, the tower is also used for telecommunications and broadcasting.

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Forth Bridges, Scotland


The Forth Road Bridge is a suspension bridge in east central Scotland. The bridge, built in 1964, spans the Firth of Forth, connecting the capital city Edinburgh at South Queensferry to Fife at North Queensferry. The toll bridge replaced a centuries-old ferry service to carry vehicular traffic, cyclists, and pedestrians across the Forth; rail crossings are made by the adjacent and historic Forth Bridge.

Issues regarding the continued tolling of the bridge, and those over its deteriorating condition and proposals to have it replaced or supplemented by an additional crossing, have caused it to become something of a political football for the Scottish Parliament.

The first crossing at what is now the site of the bridge was established in the 11th century by Margaret, queen consort of King Malcolm III, who founded a ferry service to transport religious pilgrims from Edinburgh to Dunfermline Abbey and St Andrews. Its creation gave rise to the port towns which remain to this day, and the service remained in uninterrupted use as a passenger ferry for over eight hundred years. As early as the 1740s there were proposals for a road crossing at the site, although their viability was only considered following the construction of the first Forth bridge in 1890.

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Stephansdom, Vienna


The Stephansdom (Cathedral of Saint Stephen), in Vienna, Austria, is the seat of a Roman Catholic Archbishop, a beloved symbol of Vienna, and the site of many important events in Austria's national life.

The cathedral was first built as a parish church, in 1147, and rebuilt and enlarged over the centuries, with major new work concluding in 1511, although repair and restoration have continued from the beginning to the present day.

It was previously thought that the church had been built in an open field outside the city walls; but excavations for a long-awaited heating system during 2000 revealed graves that were carbon-dated to the fourth century, 8 feet (2.5 meters) below the surface. The 430 skeletons were then moved to the catacombs. Thousands of others must have been buried in the ancient cemetery of this neighbourhood, starting in Roman times; and this, instead of St. Ruprecht's Church, may be the oldest church site in Vienna.

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Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol


The Clifton Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge, spanning the Avon Gorge and linking Clifton in Bristol to Leigh Woods in North Somerset, UK. Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it is a distinctive landmark that is often used as a symbol of Bristol. It is a grade I listed building.

The bridge has long had a reputation as a suicide spot. Because of this, dedicated telephones with a direct line to The Samaritans were placed beside the bridge. However, the phones have since been vandalised and there are now only wires dangling from where the phones once hung. In 1885, a 22 year old woman called Sarah Ann Henley survived a jump from the bridge when her billowing skirts acted as a parachute, and subsequently lived into her eighties.

The idea of building a bridge across the Avon Gorge originated in 1754, with a bequest in the will of Bristolian merchant William Vick, who left £1,000 invested with instructions that when the interest had accumulated to £10,000, it should be used for the purpose of building a stone bridge between Clifton Down (which was in Gloucestershire, outside the City of Bristol, until the 1830s) and Leigh Woods (then in Somerset), both of which were barely populated at the time.

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Mauna Kea, Hawaii


Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, one of five volcanic peaks that together form the island of Hawaii. It is the tallest mountain in the world when measured from base to peak, its base being some 19,678 feet (5998 m) under the surface of the Pacific Ocean. In Hawaiian, mauna kea means "white mountain", a reference to the fact that it is regularly snow- or frost-capped during the northern hemisphere winter. Its highest point, Puu Wekiu (one of numerous cinder cones on the summit), is the highest point in the state of Hawaii at 13,796 feet (4,205 m).

After hundreds of thousands of years of building itself up by volcanic activity, the mountain's height is slowly decreasing as its massive weight depresses the Pacific seafloor.

Although snow and ice occur now mostly in the period from November through March, Mauna Kea had permanent (year-round) ice caps during the Pleistocene ice ages (Woodcock et al., 1970). The summit shows evidence of four periods of glaciation over the last 200,000 years, the last ending about 11,000 years ago, when the most recent ice age finished. The dense rock at the noted adz quarry near the summit is believed to have been formed when lava erupted under a glacier.

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Chaco Canyon, New Mexico


Chaco Culture National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park and World Heritage Site which contains the densest and most exceptional concentration of large pueblos in the American Southwest. The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a relatively inaccessible valley cut by the Chaco Wash. The park preserves one of America's most fascinating cultural and historic areas.

Between 850 BC and AD 1250, Chaco Canyon was a major center of ancestral Puebloan culture. It was a hub of ceremony, trade, and administration for the prehistoric Four Corners area - unlike anything before or since. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings, and its distinctive architecture. Building construction, and creating the associated Chacoan roads, ramps, dams, and mounds, required a great deal of well organized and skillful planning, designing, resource gathering, and construction.

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The great house that features on the accompanying video is probably not the one I have tagged on the Google Map, but have a scroll around the canyon as the remains of the great houses are all around the canyon.

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Akshardham, New Delhi


Swaminarayan Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. Inaugurated in November 2005 by the President of India, Abdul Kalam, the Prime Minisiter, Manmohan Singh, and the leader of the organisation responsible for the creation of Akshardham, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, this complex has already attracted tens of thousands of visitors from all over the globe.

The main building at the centre of the complex houses an 11ft high, gilded image of Swaminarayan, a 17th century reformer whose followers believe to be an incarnation of God. The building itself is built of Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble. At 141 ft high, its impressive presence is felt from afar, and its carved details of flora, fauna, dancers, musicians and Gods covering its surfaces from top to bottom, leave most visitors in awe. Akshardham Delhi is the biggest hand carved structure in the world, today.

Akshardham Gandhinagar in the North Western state of Gujarat is the sister complex to the one in Delhi. Opened amidst great fanfare in 1992, Akshardham Gandhinagar comprises of a monument to Swaminarayan, exhibition halls, a vast colonnade, contemplative gardens, and a restaurant, much like its sister in New Delhi.

Akshardham has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world, including the likes of Bill Clinton who commented "Akshardham is not only a unique place in India but in the whole world. It is even more beautiful than what I had imagined. Taj Mahal is definitely beautiful, but this place, along with beauty, has a beautiful message."

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Cockington Green, Canberra


The idea for the multi award–winning Cockington Green was born in 1972. Upon visiting miniature villiages while on an extended family holiday in the UK, founders Doug and Brenda Sarah returned to Australia inspired and undertook a feasibility study to developing a villiage of their own. Eighteen months later, they invited other family members to participate in the project, and the rest is history.

After many years of painstaking and often frustrating work, Cockington Green was opened to the public on 3rd November 1979.

Cockington Green is characterised not only by the painstakingly accurate miniatures – built to scale by Doug and the family – but also by the care and attention put into the gardens surrounding them. The display lawns in particular, are spectacular.

The display has continually grown from a handfull of English models-villages in 1979, through to 1998 when the International Display’s first stage was unveiled.

Celebrating 25 years of operation in November 2005, Cockington Green is acknowledged as a wonderful Canberra Icon. Winning industry recognition with a National Tourism Award, being a highlight of all the years of dedication. To this day the business still remains totally family owned and operated, incorporating over four generations, with Doug & Brenda still at the helm.

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Cabazon Dinosaurs, California


Claude Bell's dinosaurs, also referred to as the Cabazon Dinosaurs, are world famous, enormous, sculptured roadside attractions located in Cabazon, California and visible to the immediate north of Interstate 10. The site features Dinny the Dinosaur, a 150-ton, larger than life-sized sculpture of an Brontosaurus and Mr. Rex, a 100-ton Tyrannosaurus Rex. Dinny and Mr. Rex are at the Cabazon exit of Interstate 10, a short distance west of Palm Springs behind the Wheel Inn diner on Seminole Drive in San Gorgonio Pass.

The Cabazon dinosaurs were built by Knott's Berry Farm sculptor Claude K. Bell (1897-1988) in the 1960s to attract customers to his Wheel Inn Cafe which opened in 1958. Dinny, completed in 1964, was created out of spare material from the construction of Interstate 10 at a cost of US$300,000 over the course of two decades until Bell's death in 1988.1 No construction company or contractors were involved in the project. In 1981, Mr. Rex was constructed nearby to Dinny. A giant slide was intended to be installed in Mr. Rex's tail, but this plan was scrapped. Dinny's paint job was reputedly done by a friend of Bell's in exchange for one dollar and a case of Dr Pepper. A third wooly mammoth sculpture and a prehistoric garden were drafted, but not completed, due to Bell's death.2

More than mere sculptures, Dinny and Mr. Rex are habitable buildings. The entrance is at the base of Dinny's tail. Bell himself once lived in Dinny's upper rooms. Structural problems and other factors have over time threatened the structures with removal.

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Tian Tan Buddha, Hong Kong


The Tian Tan Buddha is a large bronze statue of the Buddha, located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong. Also known as the Giant Buddha, it is the world's tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha. The statue is located near Po Lin Monastery and symbolizes the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion. It is a major center of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and is also a popular tourist attraction.

The statue is named Tian Tan Buddha because its base is a model of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. It is one of the five large Buddha statues in China. The Giant Buddha statue sits peacefully on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar. It is surrounded by eight smaller bronze statues representing gods or immortals.

The Buddha is 34 meters high and weighs 250 tons. This, the world's tallest seated bronze Buddha, can even be seen as far away as Macau on a clear day. Visitors have to climb 268 steps in order to reach the Buddha.

The Tian Tan Buddha appears serene and dignified. His right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction. His left hand lies on his knee, signifying human happiness. The Buddha faces north, which is unique among the great Buddha statues. (All others face South.)

In addition there are 3 floors at the bottom of Buddha: The Hall of Universe, The Hall of Benevolent Merit and The Hall of Remembrance. One of the most renowned features inside is a relic of Sakyamuni, consisting of some of his alleged cremated remains. There is a huge carved bell inscribed with images of Buddhas and lections in the show room. It was designed to ring every seven minutes, 108 times a day, symbolizing the release of 108 kinds of human vexations.

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Hanalei Bay, Hawaii


Hanalei is a village in Kauai County, Hawaii. As of the 2000 Census, the village had a total population of 478. Hanalei means "lei making" in Hawaiian.

Hanalei was the backdrop of the 1958 musical film South Pacific and is referenced in "Puff, the Magic Dragon", a song by Peter Paul & Mary.

Kauai County is a county located in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It consists of the islands of Kauai, Niihau, Lehua, and Kaula.

Hawaii is the only U.S. state that is completely surrounded by water. It is one of two states that do not share a border with another U.S. state (Alaska being the other). It is the southernmost state of the United States.

In addition to possessing the southernmost point in the United States, it is the only state that lies completely in the tropics. One of two states outside the contiguous United States, it is the only state without territory on the mainland of any continent. It is also the only state that continues to grow in area because of active extrusive lava flows, most notably from Kilauea. It has more endangered species per square mile than anywhere else.

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Iguaza Falls, Brazil / Argentina


The Iguazu Falls are as large as three Niagara Falls together. Part of the falls lie in Brazil, part (including the "Garganta do Diabo", the tallest of the falls, 97 meters high) lie in Argentinia.

The waterfall system consists of about 270 falls, with heights of up to 82 meters (though the majority of the system is at a height of 64m) , along 2.7 kilometres of the Iguazu River. The Garganta del Diablo ("Devil's Throat"), a U shaped 150 meters wide and 700 meters long cliff, is the most impressive of all, and marks the border between Argentina and Brazil. Most of the falls are within Argentine territory, but from the Brazilian side (600 meters) a more panoramic view of the Garganta del Diablo is obtained. Many Islands split up the falls, including several large ones. About 900m of the 2.7km length does not have water flowing over it.

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Nazca Lines, Peru


The Nazca Lines are gigantic geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches 53 miles between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana in Peru. They were created by the Nazca culture between 200 BC and 600 AD. There are hundreds of individual figures, ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, and lizards. The Nazca lines cannot be recognized as coherent figures except from the air. Since it is presumed the Nazca people could never have seen their work from this vantage point, there has been much speculation on the builders' abilities and motivations.

The lines were first noticed in the modern era when airplanes began flying over the Peruvian desert in the 1920s. In 1927, Toribio Mejia Xespe, a Peruvian doctor and anthropologist was the first scientist to show interest in what he called these "great Incan ceremonial artifacts".

The first systematic and scientific survey of the lines began in the 1930s under the direction of Paul Kosok and Maria Reiche. Reiche took over the study in 1946 and until her death in 1998 lobbied to protect and preserve the lines. She lobbied successfully to have the lines declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Since then, improved aerial and satellite photography as well as increased interest and study of the glyphs and the surrounding desert has added to our knowledge of the site as well as the people who built it. For instance Cahuachi, a Nazca city overlooking some of the lines, was recently discovered in the surrounding hillside. It was built nearly 2,000 years ago and mysteriously abandoned 500 years later.

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Madurodam, Netherlands


Madurodam is a miniature city located in Scheveningen, The Hague in the Netherlands. It is a model of a Dutch town on a 1:25 scale, composed of typical Dutch buildings and landmarks, as are found at various locations in the country. This major Dutch tourist attraction was built in 1952 and has been visited by tens of millions of visitors since then. The miniature city was named after George Maduro, a student from Curacao who died at Dachau concentration camp in 1945 and whose parents donated the money to start the Madurodam project.

On July 2, 1952, teenaged princess Beatrix was appointed mayor of Madurodam, after which she was given a tour of her town. When Beatrix became queen of the Netherlands, she laid down this function. Today, the mayor of Madurodam is elected by a youth municipal council consisting of 25 pupils from schools in the region.

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Gateway Arch, St. Louis


The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is located in St. Louis, Missouri near the start of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was designated as a National Memorial by Executive Order 7523, on December 21, 1935, and is maintained by the National Park Service (NPS). The Gateway Arch was authorized on May 17, 1954.

The park was established to commemorate several historical events: the Louisiana Purchase, and the subsequent westward movement of American explorers and pioneers;
the establishment of the first cathedral and the first civil government west of the Mississippi River; the debate over slavery raised by the Dred Scott case.

The Arch, designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, stands 630 feet (192 m) tall, and is 630 feet (192 m) at its widest point. It is the tallest habitable structure in St. Louis (taller than One Metropolitan Square, the tallest building), and the second tallest in Missouri (behind One Kansas City Place in Kansas City). . The cross-sections of its legs are equilateral triangles, narrowing from 54 feet (16.5 m) at the base to 17 feet (5.2 m) at the top. Each wall consists of a stainless steel skin covering reinforced concrete from ground level to 300 feet (91 m) or carbon steel and rebar from 300 feet (91 m) to the peak. The interior of the Arch is hollow and contains a unique transport system leading to an observation deck at the top. The interior of the Arch also contains two emergency stairwells in the event of a need to evacuate the Arch or if a problem develops with the tram system.

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Temple Mount, Israel


The Temple Mount or Noble Sanctuary (al-haram al-Šarif ) is a hotly contested religious site in the Old City of Jerusalem.

A plan of Har HaBayit (Haram al-Sharif) in 1890.It was the site of the first and second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and according to Judaism is to be the site of the third and final Temple in the time of the Messiah. It is also the site of two major Muslim religious shrines, the Dome of the Rock (c. 690) and Al-Aqsa Mosque (c. 710). It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest site in Islam. It is thus one of the most contested religious sites in the world.

According to the Talmud, it was from here that God gathered the earth that was formed into Adam (some Christians say it was Golgotha), and it was here that Adam - and later Cain, Abel, and Noah - offered sacrifices to God. According to the Bible, the place where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac was Mount Moriah, which the Talmud says was another name for the Temple Mount.

Muslim accounts also point to this as the location that Abraham was to sacrifice his son Ishmael, and the traditional location believed to be the spot ("the furthest mosque") where in 621, Mohammed briefly passed by on a miraculous journey aboard the winged steed Buraq, on his way to take a brief tour of heaven with the Archangel Gabriel.

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Governor's Island, New York


Governors Island is a 172 acre (696,000 m²) island in Upper New York Bay, approximately one half mile from the southern tip of Manhattan, of which it is legally a part, in New York City. It is separated from Brooklyn by the Buttermilk Channel.

First named by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, it was called Noten Eylant (and later in pidgin language Nutten Island) from 1611 to 1784. In 1624, Governors Island became the locus for the transformation of the New Netherland territory to a North American province of the Dutch Republic from having been a place for private commercial interests through patents issued by the States General since 1614. Being thus the birthplace of the New Netherland province, Governors Island is also the legally recognized 1624 birthplace of New York State as well as of Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware.

From 1776 to 1966 the island was a United States Army post. From 1966 to 1996 the island served as a Coast Guard station. The island's current name stems from British colonial times when the colonial assembly reserved the island for the exclusive use of New York's royal governors. The ZIP Code of Governors Island is 10004.

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Stone Mountain, Atlanta, Georgia


Stone Mountain is a granite mountain located in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. It is the world's largest exposed piece of granite and one of the largest monoliths in the world, behind Mount Augustus in Australia, and larger than Haystack Rock on the Oregon coast. Only a third of the massive rock is exposed at the time. At its summit, the elevation is 1683 feet or 513 meters AMSL.

It is well-known not only for its geological status, but also for the enormous bas-relief on its north face, the largest bas-relief in the world. Three figures of the Confederate States of America are carved there: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

The top of the mountain is a surreal landscape of bare rock and rock pools, and provides views of the surrounding area and the skyline of downtown Atlanta, often Kennesaw Mountain, and on very clear days even the Appalachian Mountains.

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Osaka Castle, Japan


Osaka Castle is a castle in Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan. Originally called Ozakajo, it is one of Japan's most famous castles, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century.

The castle is situated on a plot of land roughly one kilometer square. It is built on two raised platforms of landfill supported by sheer walls of cut rock, each overlooking a moat. The central castle building is five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and built atop a tall stone foundation to protect its occupants from sword-bearing attackers.

The castle is open to the public, and is easily accessible from Osakajo Koen Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line. It is a popular spot during festival seasons, and especially during the cherry blossom bloom, when the sprawling castle grounds are covered with food vendors and taiko drummers.

The grounds also house a museum, convention hall, and the Toyokuni Shrine dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

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Mount Fuji, Japan


Mount Fuji ( Fuji-san) is the highest mountain in Japan. It straddles the boundary of Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures just west of Tokyo, from which it can be seen on a clear day. It is located near the Pacific coast of central Honshu.

Mount Fuji is a well-known symbol of Japan and is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers.

Scientists have identified four distinct phases of volcanic activity in the formation of Mt. Fuji. The first phase, called Sen-komitake, is composed of an andesite core recently discovered deep within the mountain. Sen-komitake was followed by the "Komitake Fuji," a basalt layer believed to be formed several hundred thousand years ago. Approximately 100,000 years ago, "Old Fuji" was formed over the top of Komitake Fuji. The modern, "New Fuji" is believed to have formed over the top of Old Fuji by around 10,000 years ago.

The volcano is currently classified as active with a low risk of eruption. The last recorded eruption occurred in 1707 during the Edo period. At this time, a new crater, along with a second peak, named Hoei-zan after the era name, formed halfway down its side.

Mt. Fuji is at the place where the Eurasian Plate (or the Amurian Plate), the Okhotsk Plate, and the Philippine Plate meet. Those plates form the western part of Japan, the eastern part of Japan, and the Izu Peninsula respectively.

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Montmorency Falls, Quebec City


The Montmorency Falls are located in Quebec City. The falls, at 83 meters (272 ft.) high, are the highest in the province of Quebec and 30 m (98 ft.) higher than Niagara Falls. The falls are at the mouth of the Montmorency River where it drops over the cliff shore into the Saint Lawrence River, opposite the western end of the Ile d'Orleans. The falls were given this name in 1613 by Samuel de Champlain. He named them in honour of Henri II, duc de Montmorency, who served as viceroy of New France from 1620 until 1625.

The falls are located in a provincial park. They may be viewed from several perspectives. There are staircases that allow the visitor to observe them from different angles. A suspension bridge over the crest of falls provides access to both sides of the park as well as a spectacular view. There is also an aerial tram (cable car) that carries passengers between the base and the top of the falls. In the summer the park hosts an international fireworks competition with the falls as a backdrop.

The remnants of earthen forts built by General Wolfe are located in the eastern portion of the park. They were constructed in 1759. The landings below Quebec City were repulsed by General Montcalm at Montmorency Falls, costing the British 440 men. Ultimately a successful assault was launched when Wolfe made a surprise attack by climbing the cliffs below the Plains of Abraham.

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Pyramid of the Sun


The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest building in Teotihuacan and one of the largest in Mesoamerica. Found along the Street of the Dead, in between the Pyramid of the Moon and the Ciudadela, and in the shadow of the massive mountain Cerro Gordo, the pyramid is part of a large complex in the heart of the city.

The name Pyramid of the Sun comes from the Aztecs, who visitited the city of Teotihuacán centuries after it was abandoned; the name given to the pyramid by the Teotihuacanos is unknown. It was constructed in two phases. The first construction stage, around 100 A.D., brought the pyramid to nearly the size it is today. The second round of construction resulted in its completed size of 738 feet across and 246 feet high, making it the third largest pyramid in the world. The second phase also saw the construction of an altar atop of the pyramid, which has not survived into modern times. The Adosada platform was added to the pyramid in the early third century, at around the same time that the Ciudadela and Pyramid of the Plummed Serpent were constructed.

Over the structure the ancient Teotihuacanos finished their pyramid with lime plaster imported from surrounding areas, on which they painted brilliantly colored murals. While the pyramid has endured for centuries, the paint and plaster have not and are no longer visible. Few images are thought to have been included in the mural decorations on the sides of the pyramid. Jaguar heads and paws, stars, and snake rattles are among the few images associated with the pyramids.

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Mont Saint Michel


Mont Saint Michel is a small rocky tidal island in Normandy, roughly one kilometre from the north coast of France at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches, close to the border of Brittany, which has led to Breton claims to the mount. Originally the Couesnon formed the border between the two duchies, and every so often the river would shift its bank, leading to ownership of the mount shifting between them. The river's bed has now been fixed and Mont Saint Michel is now firmly in Norman hands.

It is home to the unusual Benedictine Abbey and steepled church (built between the 11th and 16th centuries) which occupy most of the one-kilometer-diameter clump of rocks jutting out of the waters of the English Channel. The church is crowned by a gold leaf statue of St. Michael by Emmanuel Frémiet, reaching a height of 510 feet (155 meters) above the sea.

In prehistoric times the bay had been covered by the sea, which retreated during multiple glaciations, allowing erosion to shape the coastal landscape over millions of years. Several blocks of granite or granulite emerged in the bay, having resisted the wear and tear of the ocean better than the surrounding rocks. These included the Mont-Dol, Tombelaine, Lillemer and Mont Tombe, later called Mont Saint Michel.

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Mount Everest


Mount Everest is the point of highest elevation on Earth, measured by the height of its summit above sea level. Its summit ridge marks the border between Nepal and China.

Mt. Everest has two main climbing routes, the southeast ridge from Nepal and the northeast ridge from Tibet, as well as 13 other less frequently climbed routes. Of the two main routes, the southeast ridge is technically easier and is the most frequently used route. It was the route used by Hillary and Tenzing in 1953. This was, however, a route decision dictated more by politics than by design as the Tibetan border was closed to foreigners in 1949.

Most attempts are made during April and May before the summer monsoon season. A change in the jet stream at this time of year also reduces the average wind speeds high on the mountain. While attempts are sometimes made after the monsoons in September and October, the additional snow deposited by the monsoons makes climbing even more difficult.

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Amphitheatre, Ephesus, Turkey


Beginning in the Roman Republic, Ephesus was the capital of proconsular Asia, which covered the western part of Asia Minor.

The original city of Ephesus was located on low ground, and was completely flooded by the sea. The city was rebuilt by Lysimachus, who destroyed the cities of Lebedos and Colophon in 292 BCE and relocated their inhabitants to the new city.

The city bore the title of "the first and greatest metropolis of Asia." It was distinguished for the Temple of Artemis (Diana), who had her chief shrine there, for its library, and for its theatre, which would have been capable of holding 25,000 spectators. It was, like all ancient theatres, open to the sky; it was used initially for drama, but during later Roman times gladiatorial combats were also held on its stage. The population of Ephesus has been estimated to be in the range of 400,000 to 500,000 inhabitants in the year 100 CE, making it the largest city in Roman Asia and one of the largest cities of the day. Ephesus also had several major bath complexes, built at various points while the city was under Roman rule. The city had one of the most advanced aqueduct systems in the ancient world, with multiple aqueducts of various sizes to supply different areas of the city, including 4 major aqueducts.

Although sacked by the Goths in 263 CE, Ephesus remained the most important city of the Byzantine Empire after Constantinople in the 5th and 6th centuries. However, other destructions by the Arabs in the year 700 and 716 spurred a quick decline: the city was largely abandoned when the harbor completely filled in with river silt (despite repeated dredges during the city's history), removing its access to the Aegean Sea. When the Seljuk Turks conquered it in 1090, it was a small village. After a short period of flourishing under the new rulers, it was definitively abandoned in the 15th century.

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Potala Palace, Tibet


The Potala Palace, located in Lhasa, Tibet, was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India after a failed uprising in 1959. Today the Potala Palace is a state museum of China. It is now a popular tourist attraction and an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The site was used as a meditation retreat by King Songtsen Gampo, who in 637 built the first palace there, which was incorporated into later buildings. The construction of the present palace began in 1645 under the fifth Dalai Lama Lozang Gyatso. In 1648, the Potrang Karpo (White Palace) was completed, and the Potala was used as a winter palace by the Dalai Lama from that time. The Potrang Marpo (Red Palace) was added between 1690 and 1694. Mount Putuo, the mythological abode of Bodhisattva Chenrezig (Avilokiteshvara / Kuan Yin), probably derives from the name Potala.

Built at an altitude of 3,700 m, on the side of Marpo Ri hill, the Red Mountain in the center of Lhasa Valley, Potala Palace, with its vast inward-sloping walls broken only in the upper parts by straight rows of many windows, and its flat roofs at various levels, is not unlike a fortress in appearance. At the south base of the rock is a large space enclosed by walls and gates, with great porticos on the inner side. A series of tolerably easy staircases, broken by intervals of gentle ascent, leads to the summit of the rock. The whole width of this is occupied by the palace.

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Roman Forum, Rome


The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum, although the Romans called it more often the Forum Magnum or just the Forum) was the central area around which ancient Rome developed, in which commerce, business, prostitution, cult and the administration of justice took place. Here the communal hearth was located. Sequences of remains of paving show that sediment eroded from the surrounding hills was already raising the level of the forum in early Republican times. Originally it had been marshy ground, which was drained by the Tarquins with the Cloaca Maxima. Its final travertine paving, still to be seen, dates from the reign of Augustus.

An anonymous 8th century traveler from Einsiedeln (now in Germany) reported that the Forum was already falling apart during in his time. During the Middle Ages, though the memory of the Forum Romanum persisted, its monuments were for the most part buried under debris, and its location was designated the "Campo Vaccino" or "cattle field," located between the Capitoline Hill and the Colosseum. The return of Pope Urban V from Avignon in 1367 led to an increased interest in ancient monuments, partly for their moral lesson and partly as a quarry for new buildings being undertaken in Rome after a long lapse. Artists from the late 15th century drew the ruins in the Forum, antiquaries copied inscriptions from the 16th century, and a tentative excavation was begun in the late 18th century.

A cardinal took measures to drain it again and built the Alessandrine neighborhood over it. But the excavation by Carlo Fea, who began clearing the debris from the Arch of Septimius Severus in 1803, and archaeologists under the Napoleonic regime marked the beginning of clearing the Forum, which was only fully excavated in the early 20th century.

In its current state, remains from several centuries are shown together, due to the Roman practice of building over earlier ruins.

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Montmartre, Paris


Montmartre is a hill in the north of Paris, France, in the 18th arrondissement, a part of the Right Bank, primarily known for the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on its summit. The other, older, church on the hill is Saint Pierre de Montmarte, which claims to be the location at which the Jesuit order of priests was founded. The community on the hill is also called "Montmartre".

When Napoleon III and his city planner Baron Haussmann planned to make Paris the most beautiful city in Europe, a first step was to grant large sweeps of land near the center of the city to Haussmann's friends and financial supporters. This drove the original inhabitants to the edges of the city — to the districts of Clichy, La Villette, and the hill with a view of the city, Montmartre.

Since Montmartre was outside the city limits, free of Paris taxes and no doubt also due to the fact that the local nuns made wine, the hill quickly became a popular drinking area. The area developed into a center of free-wheeling and decadent entertainment at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. In the popular cabaret the Moulin Rouge, and at Le Chat Noir, artists, singers and performers regularly appeared including Yvette Guilbert, Marcelle Lender, Aristide Bruant, La Goulue, Georges Guibourg, Mistinguett, Fréhel, Jane Avril, Damia and others.

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Sabratha, Libya


Sabratha, in the Zawia district in the northwestern corner of modern Libya, was the westernmost of the "three cities" of Tripolis. Its port was established, perhaps about 500 BCE, as a Phoenician trading-post that served as a coastal outlet for the products of the African hinterland. Sabratha became part of the short-lived Numidian Kingdom of Massinissa before being Romanized and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. The Emperor Septimus Severus was born nearby in Leptis Magna, and Sabratha reached its monumental peak during the rule of the Severans. The city was badly damaged by earthquakes during the 4th century, particularly the quake of 365 CE. It was rebuilt on a more modest scale by Byzantine governors. Within a hundred years of the Arab conquest of the maghreb, trade had shifted to other ports and Sabratha dwindled to a village.

Besides its magnificent late 3rd century theater, that retains its three-storey architectural backdrop, Sabratha has temples dedicated to Liber Pater, Serapis and Isis. There is a Christian basilica of the time of Justinian and some of the mosaic floors that enriched elite dwellings of Roman north Africa.

The archaeological site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.

Sabratha lies on the coast just west of Tripoli (Oea).

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Leptis Magna, Libya


Leptis Magna (or Lepcis Magna as it is sometimes spelled), also called Neapolis, was a prominent city of the Roman Empire. Its ruins are located in Al-Khums, Libya, 130 km east of Tripoli.

The city appears to have been founded by Phoenician colonists sometime around 1100 BC, although it did not achieve prominence until Carthage became a major power in the Mediterranean Sea in the 4th century BC. It nominally remained part of Carthage's dominions until the end of the Third Punic War in 146 BC, and then became part of the Roman Republic, although from about 200 BC onward it was for all intents and purposes an independent city.

Leptis Magna remained as such until the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius, when the city and the surrounding area were formally incorporated into the empire as part of the province of Africa. It soon became one of the leading cities of Roman Africa and a major trading post.

Leptis achieved its greatest prominence beginning in 193, when a native son, Lucius Septimius Severus, became emperor. He favored his hometown above all other provincial cities, and the buildings and wealth he lavished on it made Leptis Magna the third most-important city in Africa, rivaling Carthage and Alexandria. In 205, he and the imperial family visited the city and received great honors.

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Roman Amphitheatre, Caerleon, Wales


Caerleon, or Caerllion, is thought to have been an important town in Britain even before the Romans arrived and turned it into a major fortress. They called it Isca Silurum and housed their Second Augustan Legion there.

Caerleon has the only remains of a Roman legionary barracks to be seen anywhere in Europe. But Isca was not only a military base, it was a complete township with extensive baths and an amphitheatre - a dramatic setting still for theatre and festivals. The town's Roman Legionary Museum provides a fascinating insight into what life was like for soldier and citizen.

The Normans also left their mark on the town, building a castle beside the River Usk. Most of it was destroyed but a tower remains next to the Hanbury Arms, reputed to be Caerleon's oldest inhabited building.

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Jet d'Eau, Geneva, Switzerland


The Jet d'Eau, or water-jet, is a large fountain in Geneva, Switzerland, and is one of the city's most famous landmarks, as well as one of the largest fountains in the world. Situated at the point where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhone River, it is visible throughout the city and from the air, even when flying over Geneva at an altitude of 10 km.

Five-hundred litres of water per second are jetted to an altitude of 140 metres by two groups of pumps, operating on 2,400-V electricity with a total power of 1,000 kW. The water leaves the nozzle at a speed of 200 km/h. When it is in operation, at any given moment there are about 2,000 litres of water in the air.

The first Jet d'Eau was installed in 1886 a little bit further downstream from its present location. It was used as a safety valve for a power generator and could reach a height of about 30 metres. In 1891, its aesthetic value was recognised and it was moved to its present location to celebrate the Federal Gymnastics Festival and the 600th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation, on which occasion it was illuminated for the first time. Its maximum height was about 90 metres. The present Jet d'Eau was installed in 1951.

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Abu Simbel, Egypt


Abu Simbel is an archaeological site comprising two massive rock temples in southern Egypt on the western bank of Lake Nasser about 290 km southwest of Aswan. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments" , which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan).

The twin temples were carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors. The complex was relocated in its entirety in the 1960s to avoid being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser and remains one of Egypt's top tourist attractions.

Construction of the temple complex started in approximately 1284 BC and lasted for circa 20 years, until 1264 BC. Abu Simbel ruins were originally being found in Sudanese lands before being relocated in 1964. Known as the "Temple of Ramesses, beloved by Amun", it was one of six rock temples erected in Nubia during the long reign of Ramesses. Their purpose was to impress Egypt's southern neighbours, and also to reinforce the status of Egyptian religion in the region.

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Roman Theatre, Amman, Jordan


The Roman Theatre is the largest theatre in Jordan—with room for 6,000 spectators. Thought to have been built between AD 138 and AD 161 by the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, it is constructed into the side of the mountain and is still used for sport displays and cultural events.

Amman itself resembles Rome, as it is situated on seven hills, the city was therefore a favorite place for Roman soldiers and officials.

Amman, sometimes spelled Ammann, is the capital of the Kingdom of Jordan, a city of more than 1.6 million inhabitants (2000), is the administrative capital and commercial centre of Jordan. It is the capital city of Amman Governorate.

Throughout history, Amman has been inhabited by several civilizations. The first civilization on record is during the Neolithic period, around 6500 BC, when archaeological discoveries in 'Ain Ghazal, located in eastern Amman, showed evidence of not only a settled life but also the growth of artistic work, which suggests that a well-developed civilization inhabited the city at that time.

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Petra, Jordan


Petra (from "petra", rock in Greek; Arabic: al-Bitra) is an archaeological site in Jordan, lying in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Wadi Araba, the great valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock.

The descriptions of Strabo, Pliny the Elder, and other writers identify Petra as the capital of the Nabataeans , Arabic speaking Semetics, and the centre of their caravan trade. Walled in by towering rocks and watered by a perennial stream, Petra not only possessed the advantages of a fortress but controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Bosra and Damascus in the north, to Aqaba and Leuce Come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf.

Recent excavations have demonstrated that it was the ability of the Nabateans to control the water supply that led to the rise of the desert city, in effect, creating an artificial oasis. The area is visited by flash floods and archaeological evidence demonstrates the Nabateans controlled these floods by the use of dams, cisterns and water conduits. Thus, stored water could be employed even during prolonged periods of drought, and the city prospered from the sale of same.

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Wadi Rum, Jordan


Wadi Rum is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in south west Jordan. It is the largest wadi in Jordan.

It has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times with many cultures—including the Nabateans—leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti and temples. Currently several Bedouin tribes inhabit the area.

Wadi Rum is probably best known to many people because of its connection with the British officer T.E. Lawrence, who was based here during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18.

The area is now also one of Jordan's important tourist destinations, and one that continues to attract an increasing number of foreign tourists. Popular activities in the desert environment include camping under the stars (as is the tradition of the local bedouin), the riding of Arab horses, and hiking and rock-climbing amongst the massive rock formations. The influx of tourists to this once isolated area has substantially increased the financial fortunes of the local bedouin, and it is not uncommon to see locals wielding mobile phones and driving relatively expensive four-wheel drive vehicles.

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La Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador


The Mitad del Mundo (Spanish for Middle of the World) is a tract of land owned by the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, Ecuador. It is located in the San Antonio parish of the canton of Quito, 10 km north of the city of Quito.

The grounds contain the Museo Etnográfico Mitad del Mundo, a museum about the indigenous ethnography of Ecuador whose building serves at the same time as a 30-meter-tall monumemt which marks one of the points where the equator goes through the country. The pyramidal monument, with each side facing a cardinal direction, is topped by a 4.5 meter diameter, 5-ton globe. Inside the monument is the small museum with exhibits of elements of indigenous Ecuadorian culture, such as clothing, ethnic groups, and activities. A small town surrounding the monument fuctions as the tourist center, replicating a colonial Spanish town and called "Ciudad Mitad del Mundo" (Middle of the World City).

The area in the north of the province had been the object of a number of studies attempting to determine the exact location of the equator, with the first result being obtained in the early 1700s by Charles Marie de La Condamine. At the end of the 18th century, General Charles Perrier, from the French Academy of Sciences, was sent to lead a mission to verify that result. Later, in 1936, with the support of the French American Committee, an Ecuadorian geographer named Dr. Luis Tufiño built a 10 meter monument in San Antonio de Pichincha. In 1979, the monument was moved 7 km to the west, to the town of Calacalí. Today, a new and much larger monument stands in San Antonio de Pichincha, after being constructed between 1979 and 1982. It is made of iron and cement and covered with cut and polished andesite stones.

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Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens


The Parthenon was a temple of Athena, built in the 5th century BC on the Acropolis of Athens. It is the best-known remaining building of Ancient Greece, and has been praised as the finest achievement of Greek architecture. Its decorative sculpture is considered one of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy, and it is regarded as one of the world's greatest cultural monuments.

The name of the Parthenon likely derives from the monumental cult statue of Athena Parthenos housed in the eastern room of the building. This statue was sculpted in ivory and gold by Phidias; Athena's epithet parthenos ("virgin") refers to the goddess's unmarried and virginal status.

The Parthenon replaced an older temple of Athena that had been destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon was used as a treasury, and for a time served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later became the Athenian Empire.

In the 6th century AD the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin; after the Turkish conquest, it was converted into a mosque. In 1687 AD, a Turkish ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by a Venetian cannonball; the resulting explosion severely damaged the Parthenon and its sculptures. In the 19th century AD, Lord Elgin removed some of the surviving sculptures and took them to England. These sculptures, now known as the Elgin Marbles, are on display in the British Museum. An ongoing dispute concerns whether the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece.

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Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver


The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a simple suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River in the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The current bridge is 136 metres long and 70 metres above the river. It is part of a private facility, with a charge for admission, and draws over 800,000 visitors a year. North Shore residents often go to the nearby Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge instead, as there is no admission fee.


In 1888, George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and land developer, arrived in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. As City Park Commissioner he was one of the people to set aside Stanley Park as a recreational area. He also bought and sold farm land in the Okanagan, founding the city of Vernon. Mackay purchased 24 square kilometres of dense forest on either side of Capilano River and built a cabin on the very edge of the canyon wall. Assisted by two local natives and a team of horses, Mackay suspended a hemp rope and cedar plank bridge across the river. Natives called it the "laughing bridge" because of the noise it made when wind blew through the canyon. The bridge and Mackay's cabin became a popular destination. After his death, the hemp rope bridge was replaced by a wire cable bridge in 1903.

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Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver

Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Ayutthaya


Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a buddhist temple in the city of Ayutthaya, Thailand. It is one of Ayutthaya's most beautiful temples and a major tourist attraction.

Construction of the temple began in 1630 at the request of King Prasatthong for the memorial of his mother's resident in that area. The temple's name literally means the Temple of long reign and glorious era. It was designed in Khmer style which popular in that time.

Ayutthaya (full name Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, also spelled "Ayudhya") city is the capital of Ayutthaya province in Thailand. The city was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong and became capital of his kingdom. The king came to escape a smallpox outbreak in Lop Buri. Often referred as the Ayutthaya kingdom or Siam. Ayutthaya was named after the city of Ayodhya in India, the birthplace of Rama in the Ramayana (Thai, Ramakien). In 1767 the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, and the ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya historical park, which is recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was refounded a few kilometers to the east.


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Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich


The Nymphenburg Palace (German: Schloss Nymphenburg) is a Baroque palace in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by the electoral couple Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy to Agostino Barelli in 1664 after the birth of their son Maximilian II Emanuel.

Starting in 1701, the heir to the Bavarian throne, Max Emmanuel, conducted a systematic extension of the palace. Two pavilions were added each in the south and north of Barelli's palace by Enrico Zucalli and Antonio Viscardi. Later, the south section of the palace was further extended to form the court stables. As a balance, the orangerie was added to the north. Finally, a grand circle with baroque mansions (the Schlossrondell) was erected under Emperor Charles VII Albert.

For a long time, the palace was the summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria. King Max I Joseph died there in 1825, and king Ludwig II was born there in 1845.

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Victor Emmanuel II Monument


Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II (Monument of Victor Emmanuel II) or Altare della Patria (Altar of the Nation) or "Il Vittoriano" is a monument located in Rome, Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. The monument was designed and built by Giuseppe Sacconi between 1895 and 1911 to honour Victor Emmanuel, the first king of unified Italy.

The monument is built of pure white marble and features majestic stairways, tall corinthian columns, fountains, a huge equestrian statue of Victor Emmanuel and two statues of goddess Victoria riding on quadrigas. The monument holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame, built under the statue of Italy after World War I. The base of the structure also houses the museum of Italian Reunification.

The monument is controversial. Its construction destroyed a large area of Capitoline Hill housing a Medieval neighbourhood. The building itself is often regarded as pompous and too large. It is clearly visible to most of the city of Rome despite being boxy in general shape and lacking a dome or a tower. The monument is also glaringly white, making it highly conspicuous amidst the generally brownish buildings surrounding it, and its stacked, crowded nature has lended it several derogatory nicknames, among them "the wedding cake" and "the typewriter."

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Bank of England


The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom, sometimes known as "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" or "The Old Lady". It performs all the functions of a central bank -- to maintain price stability, and subject to that, to support the economic policy of Her Majesty's Government (Bank of England Act 1998) in order to promote economic growth.

In pursuing its goal of maintaining a stable and efficient financial framework, the Bank has two core purposes;

Core Purpose 1 - Monetary Stability. Monetary stability means stable prices and confidence in the currency. Stable prices are defined by the Government's inflation target, which the Bank seeks to meet through the decisions on interest rates taken by the Monetary Policy Committee.
Core Purpose 2 - Financial Stability. Financial stability entails detecting and reducing threats to the financial system as a whole. Such threats are detected through the Bank’s surveillance and market intelligence functions. They are reduced by financial and other operations, at home and abroad, including, in exceptional circumstances, by acting as the lender of last resort.

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Verona Arena


The Verona Arena (Arena di Verona) is a Roman amphitheatre in Verona, Italy, which is famous for the opera performances given there. It is one of the best preserved structures of its kind.

The building was built in AD 30 on a site which at the time was outside of the city walls. The ludii (shows and games) staged there were so famous that spectators came from many other (sometimes very distant) places. The amphitheatre could host more than 30,000 spectators.

The round façade was originally in white and pink limestone from Valpolicella, but after a major earthquake in 1117, which almost completely destroyed the outer ring, except the so-called "Ala", the Arena was used as a quarry for other buildings. The first interventions to recover its functionality as a theatre were started during the Renaissance.

Thanks to its outstanding acoustics, the building lends itself to musical performances, the practice of which began in 1913. Nowadays, four productions are mounted each year between June and August.

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Verona Roman Theatre


The Roman theatre in Verona was built in the 1st century BC, but through the ages fell into disuse and was eventually built upon to provide housing. In the 18th century, however, Andrea Monga, a wealthy Veronese, bought all the houses that over time had been built over the theatre, demolished them, and saved the monument.

Verona itself is an ancient town, episcopal see and province in the Veneto, Northern Italy. The ancient town, and the centre of the modern city, are in a loop of the Adige River near Lake Garda. Verona, or Veronia, was a city of the Euganei, who were obliged to cede it to the Cenomani (550 b.C.). With the conquest of the Valley of the Po the Veronese territory became Roman (about 300 B.C.). Verona became a Roman colonia in 89 b.C., and then a municipium in 49 b.C.; Verona had the franchise in 59.

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Regensburg Dom


The Regensburg Dom (Cathedral) is a very interesting example of pure German Gothic and counts as the main work of Gothic architecture in Bavaria. It was founded in 1275, and completed in 1634, with the exception of the towers, which were finished in 1869. The interior contains numerous interesting monuments, including one of Peter Vischers' masterpieces. Adjoining the cloisters are two chapels of earlier date than the cathedral itself, one of which, known as the old cathedral, goes back perhaps to the 8th century.

The first settlements in Regensburg date to the Stone Ages. The Celtic name Radasbona was the oldest name given to a settlement near the present city. Around AD 90 the Romans built a small "cohort-fort" in what would now be the suburbs.

From about 530 to the first half of the 13th century, it was the capital of Bavaria. In 1135-1146 a bridge across the Danube, the Steinerne Brücke, was built. This stone bridge opened major international trade routes between Northern Europe and Venice, and this started Regensburg's golden age as city of wealthy trading families. Regensburg became the cultural center of southern Germany and was celebrated for its gold work and fabrics

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Luxor Temple


Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the River Nile in the city today known as Luxor (ancient Thebes).

Known in the Egyptian language as ipet resyt, or "the southern harem", the temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Chons and was, during the New Kingdom, the focus of the annual Opet Festival, in which a cult statue of Amun was paraded down the Nile from nearby Karnak Temple (ipet-isut) to stay there for a while, with his consort Mut, in a celebration of fertility – whence its name.

Construction work on the temple began during the reign of Amenhotep III in the 14th century BC. Horemheb and Tutankhamun added columns, statues, and friezes – and Akhenaten had earlier obliterated his father's cartouches and installed a shrine to the Aten – but the only major expansion effort took place under Ramesses II some 100 years after the first stones were put in place. Luxor is thus unique among the main Egyptian temple complexes in having only two pharaohs leave their mark on its architectural structure.

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