Virtual Tourism

Virtual tourism, google maps mashup, google video

Roman Theatre, Jerash



Jerash, known in ancient times as Gerasa, is considered one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East. It was a city of the Decapolis.

Recent excavations show that Jerash was inhabited during the Bronze Age and Iron Age (3200 BC - 1200 BC. After the Roman conquest in 63 BC, Jerash and the land surrounding it were annexed by the Roman province of Syria, and later joined the Decapolis cities. In AD 90, Jerash was absorbed into the Roman province of Arabia, which included the city of Philadelphia (modern day Amman). The Romans ensured security and peace in this area which enabled its people to devote their efforts and time to economic development and building activity.

In the second half of the first century AD, the city of Jerash achieved great prosperity. In AD 106, the Emperor Trajan constructed roads throughout the provinces and more trade came to Jerash. The Emperor Hadrian visited Jerash in AD 129-130. A remarkable Latin inscription records a religious dedication set up by members of the imperial mounted bodyguard "wintering" there. The Triumphal Arch (or Arch of Hadrian) was built to celebrate his visit.

The city finally reached a size of about 800,000 square metres within its walls. The Persian invasion in AD 614 caused the rapid decline of Jerash. However, the city continued to flourish during the Umayyad Period, as shown by recent excavations. In AD 746, a major earthquake destroyed much of Jerash and its surroundings. During the period of the Crusades, some of the monuments were converted to fortresses including the Temple of Artemis. Small settlements continued in Jerash during the Ayyubid, Mameluk and Ottoman periods, and in 1878, Circassians settled in the town after immigrating from their homeland in the Caucausus. Excavation and restoration of Jerash has been almost continuous since the 1920s.

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Teatro Greco, Taormina


The remains of the teatro greco, the "Greek theatre" in Taormina, are not actually Greek, as the theatre was rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century BC on the site of the original theatre. With a diameter of 109 metres (after an expansion in the 2nd century), this theatre is the second largest of its kind in Sicily; it is frequently used for operatic and theatrical performances and for concerts.

Taormina is a town on the island of Sicily in Italy, and in ancient times was a Greek colony, dating from about 400 BC, which submitted to Roman authority in 212 BC during the Second Punic War.

Taormina is in the Province of Messina, together with the beautiful Aeolian Islands and the ancient city of Milazzo. It can be reached via highways (autostradas) from Messina to the North and Catania to the South. Taormina has been a very popular destination with tourists since the 19th century. It has beautiful beaches (accessible via a Funicular) by the Ionian sea, which is remarkably warm and has a high salt content.

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Apollo Bridge, Bratislavia


The Most Apollo (literally the Apollo Bridge, mostly referred to as Bridge Apollo; its provisional name during construction being Most Kosicka after the street leading to it) in Bratislava is a road bridge over the Danube in the capital of Slovakia.

The bridge was opened to the public on September 5, 2005. It is named after the oil refinery "Apollo" situated on the left river bank in this area before WWII, whose modern successor is the Slovnaft company. Curved lines, inclination of both arches, and virtual absence of right angles make the geometric shape of the bridge very sophisticated.

In an unprecedented manoeuvre , the 5,240-ton steel structure spanning 231 meters was rotated and turned across the river from its construction site on the left bank into its final position on a pillar 40 meters from the right bank. This is what the accompanying video shows. The Apollo Bridge became the only European project named one of five finalists for the 2006 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award (OPAL Award) by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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Gateshead Millennium Bridge


The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a foot and cycle bridge spanning the River Tyne in England between Gateshead on the south bank, and Newcastle upon Tyne on the north bank. The award-winning structure was conceived by architects Wilkinson Eyre, with structural engineers Gifford and Partners.

The bridge was lifted into place in one piece by the Asian Hercules II, one of the world's largest floating cranes, on 20 November 2000. It was opened to the public on 17 September 2001. The bridge, which cost £22m to build, was part funded by the Millennium Commission and European Regional Development Fund.

Already acclaimed worldwide for its physical and aesthetic beauty, it has fast become a significant tourist attraction in its own right.

Huge hydraulic rams, one on each side, tilt the bridge back on special pivots to allow small ships and boats to pass underneath. Its appearance during this manoeuvre has led to it being nicknamed the Blinking Eye Bridge.

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National Palace Museum, Taiwan


The National Palace Museum is an art gallery and museum in Taipei City, Taiwan, Republic of China containing artifacts of ancient China. It should not be confused with the Palace Museum (note the absence of the word "National"), which is the Forbidden City in Beijing. Both institutions derive from the same original institution, which was split in two as a result of the Chinese Civil War. The National Palace Museum in Taipei holds one of the largest collection of Chinese artifacts and artwork in the world.

The National Palace Museum was established in Beijing on October 10, 1925, shortly after the expulsion of Puyi, the last emperor of China, from the Forbidden City by warlord Feng Yu-hsiang. The articles in the museum consisted of the valuables of the former Imperial family and were moved from place to place in the 1930s and 1940s to prevent them from falling into the hands of the invading Imperial Japanese Army.

During the final years of the Chinese Civil War, the museum collections were moved, under the orders of Chiang Kai-shek, from Beijing's Forbidden City to Taiwan. This removal has always been controversial with many in Mainland China viewing this as looting while some in Taiwan arguing that had the art not been moved to Taiwan in the 1940s, much would have been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. With the victory of the Communists, the National Palace Museum was split into two (the part on the mainland, like all other such institutions, lost its "National" designation). The part on the mainland is centered on the Forbidden City.

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Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taiwan


The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a memorial located in Taipei City, Republic of China for the late President Chiang Kai-shek. It shares the grounds of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park with the National Concert Hall and National Theater and is one of the city's defining landmarks.

After Chiang Kai-shek's death on April 5, 1975, the Executive Yuan established a Funeral Committee to build a Memorial Hall to commemorate him. The design of architect Yang Cho-Cheng was chosen in a competition and groundbreaking took place on October 31, 1976, the 90th anniversary of Chiang's birth. The CKS Memorial was officially opened on April 5, 1980, the fifth anniversary of Chiang Kai-shek's death.

The memorial is situated in a park covering 240,000 square metres in Zhongzheng District. Its main gateway, the Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness, borders Chung Shan South Road to the west. To the north is the Gate of Great Loyalty bordering Hsin Yi Road and to the south is the Gate of Great Piety bordering Ai Kuo East Road.

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The Three Graces, Liverpool


The Pier Head is the historic location of Liverpool's landing stages and a trio of landmarks known as the 'Three Graces': Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building.

Originally, the Prince's Landing Stage was situated at the Pier Head to serve the trans-Atlantic liner service. It was opened in the later nineteenth century, and scrapped in 1972.

Only a few months after this stage was opened in 1972 (replacing the Prince's Landing Stage), it had to be refloated, after sinking in freak weather conditions. Similar conditions, and an extremely low tide on 2nd of March 2006, caused it sink again, probably because one of its girder's air pockets ruptured. This time it was destroyed, and a permanent replacement is not expected until late 2007. The Mersey Ferries operate from a floating landing stage adjacent to the Pier Head, owned by Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. Ferries travel to Woodside in Birkenhead & Seacombe in Wallasey.

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Congresso Nacional, Brasilia


Since the 1960s, the National Congress has had its seat in Brasilia. Like most of the official buildings in the city, it was designed by Oscar Niemeyer following the style of the Brazilian modern architecture.

The semisphere is the seat of the Senate, and the semisphere is the seat of the Chamber of the Deputies. Between them there are two towers of offices. The Congess also occupies other surrounding buildings, some of them interconnected by a tunnel.

The building is located in the middle of the Monumental axis, the city main street. In front of it there's a large lawn, where demonstrations take place. At the back of it, there are the Praca dos Tres Poderes, where the Palacio da Alvorada and the Palace of the Justice lie.

Brazil's bicameral National Congress (Portuguese: Congresso Nacional) consists of a Senate (the upper house) and a Chamber of Deputies (the lower house).

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Shoeshone Falls, Idaho


Shoshone Falls is a waterfall on the Snake River located approximately five miles east of Twin Falls, Idaho. Sometimes called the "Niagara of the West," Shoshone Falls is 212 feet (64.7 meters) high and flows over a rim 900 feet (274 meters) wide.

A park overlooking the waterfall is owned and operated by the City of Twin Falls. Shoshone Falls is best viewed in the spring as irrigation of the Snake River often significantly diminishes water levels in the summer and autumn.

Twin Falls is the county seat and largest city of Twin Falls County, IdahoGR6. As of the 2000 census Twin Falls population was 34,469 (2003 estimate: 36,742).

Twin Falls is the largest city of Idaho's Magic Valley region and the seventh largest in the state. As the largest city in a 100-mile (166-kilometer) radius, Twin Falls serves as a regional commercial center for both south-central Idaho and northeastern Nevada.

Twin Falls is the principal city of the Twin Falls, ID Micropolitan Statistical Area - the state's largest - which officially includes Jerome and Twin Falls Counties. The resort community of Jackpot, Nevada, in Elko County is unofficially considered part of the greater Twin Falls area.

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Vernal Falls, Yosemite Nat'l Park


Vernal Fall is a large waterfall on the Merced River just downstream of Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park, USA.

It is 317 feet (97 m) high. It is accessible via the Mist Trail, which climbs close enough to the fall so that hikers must travel through the fall's mist. It is also clearly visible from Glacier Point.

The waterfall runs all year long, although by the end of summer, it is substantially reduced in volume and can split into multiple falls.

The original name of the fall was Yan-o-pah ("little cloud") The fall was named "Vernal" by Lafayette Bunnell, a member of the Mariposa Brigade in 1851. Apparently, the fall reminded Bunnell of springtime.

Hikers will start at the trailhead in Yosemite Valley. This is one of the shortest (1.3 Miles) and most popular trails in Yosemite. The trail is mostly shaded and is progressive in incline until you reach the base of the waterfall where mist sprays onto the hikers. Depending on the time of the year hikers can be totally drenched by the time they pass the mist from the waterfall. The final 15 minutes of the trail is a very steep climb up rocks to the top of the waterfall. Once atop the falls there is a pool of stagnate water that allows many people to swim and lounge. Again, depending on the time of the year this pool will have a stronger current and may be deeper. There is also a 20 degree slope of rock with flowing water that allows people to slide into the pool (if current is too strong this is not safe).

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Villa d'Este, Tivoli


The Villa d'Este is a villa situated at Tivoli, near Rome. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, it is a masterpiece of Italian architecture and especially garden design. The chief painter of the ambitious internal decoration was Livio Agresti from Forlì.

The Villa d'Este was commissioned by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este, son of Alfonso I d'Este and Lucrezia Borgia and grandson of Pope Alexander VI. He had been appointed Governor of Tivoli by Pope Julius III, with the gift of the villa, which had entirely reconstructed to plans of Pirro Ligorio under the direction of the Ferrarese architect Alberto Galvani. From 1550 until his death in 1572, when the villa was nearing completion, he created a palatial setting surrounded by a fabulous terraced garden in the late-Renaissance mannerist style, which took full advantage of the dramatic slope but required innovations in bringing a sufficient water supply, which was employed in cascades, water tanks, troughs and pools, water jets and fountains, giochi d'acqua.

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Little Venice, London


I took a stroll today down the canal from Camden Town, through Regents Park and London Zoo to Little Venice. It is a great walk and I spent my journey dreaming about buying and living on one of the barges in this beautiful part of London. But that's not going to happen, so instead I decided to add it to this satellite image collection.

Little Venice is an area of central London, situated north-west of Paddington station. Its name arises from the canal junction at its centre, formed by the western end of the Regent's Canal and the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal.

The area is one of London's prime residential areas, and it is also known for its shops and restaurants. It is possible to take canal tours from Little Venice eastwards around Regent's Park, past London Zoo and on towards Camden Town.

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Itsukushima Shrine


Itsukushima Shrine (Japanese: Itsukushima Jinja) is a Shinto shrine on Itsukushima Island in the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Japanese government has designated several buildings and possessions as national treasures.

The shrine dates back to the 6th century, and has been in its present form since 1168 when funds were provided by the warlord Taira no Kiyomori. The shrine's construction, consisting of pier-like structures built over the bay, is due to the holy status that the island once commanded. Commoners were historically not allowed to set foot on the island, and had to approach by boat, entering through the gate that appears to float. Beside the shrine is a noh stage.

The dramatic gate (torii) of Itsukushima Shrine is one of Japan's most popular tourist attractions, and the view of the gate in front of the island's Mount Misen is classified as one of the Three Views of Japan (along with the sand bar Amanohashidate, and Matsushima Bay). The gate has existed since 1168, though the current gate dates back to 1875. The gate, built of camphor wood, is about 16 metres high and was built in a four-legged, (yotsu-ashi) style to provide additional stability.

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Himeji Castle


Himeji Castle is a Japanese castle located in Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture. It is one of the oldest surviving structures from medieval Japan, and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Japanese National Cultural Treasure. Along with Matsumoto Castle and Kumamoto Castle, it is one of Japan's "Three Famous Castles", and is the most visited castle in Japan. It is occasionally known as Hakurojo or Shirasagijo ("White Heron Castle") because of its brilliant white exterior.

Himeji Castle frequently appears on Japanese television. Edo Castle (the present Kokyo) does not have a keep, so when a fictional show such as Abarem Shogun needs a magnificent substitute, the producers turn to Himeji.

Himeji serves as an excellent example of the prototypical Japanese castle, containing many of the defensive and architectural features most associated with Japanese castles. The tall stone foundations, whitewash walls, and organization of the buildings within the complex are standard elements of any Japanese castle, and the site also features many other examples of typical castle design, including gun emplacements and stone-dropping holes. The current keep dates from 1601.

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Nijo Castle, Kyoto


Nijo Castle is located in Kyoto, Japan. The castle consists of two concentric rings of fortifications, the Ninomaru Palace, the Honmaru Palace, various support buildings and several gardens. The surface area of the castle is 275 000 square meters, of which 8000 square meters is occupied by buildings.

In 1601 Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of Tokugawa Shogunate ordered all the feudal lords in Western Japan to contribute to the construction of the Nijo Castle. The construction was completed during the reign of Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1626. It was built as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns.

In 1788 the Inner Palace was destroyed by a city-wide fire. The site remained empty until 1862.

In 1867 the Ninomaru Palace was the stage for the declaration by Tokugawa Yoshinobu, returning the authority to the Imperial Court. Next year the Imperial Cabinet was installed in the castle. In 1939 the palace was donated to the city of Kyoto and opened to the public the following year.

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Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon


The Santa Justa Lift (Portuguese: Elevador de Santa Justa), also called Carmo Lift (Elevador do Carmo), is a lift in the city of Lisbon at Santa Justa Street. It links the downtown street with the Carmo Square, located uphill.

The Santa Justa Lift was designed by Raul Mesnier de Ponsard, an engineer born in Oporto to French parents. Construction began in 1900 and was finished in 1902.

The lift is totally made of iron, being one of the most representative examples of this type of architecture in Portugal. The metallic structure was made by a company based in the Junqueira neighbourhood. The lift is totally decorated in neogothic style, with each storey having a different pattern.

It is 45 meters high and has two booths, with wooden interiors, allowing 24 people each. The last storey is reached by helicoidal staircases and has a terrace that offers a wonderful view of Lisbon Castle, Rossio Square and the Baixa neighbourhood. Nowadays it is a popular tourist attraction of the city.

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Praca do Comercio, Lisbon


The Praca do Comercio (Square of Commerce) or Terreiro do Paco (Palace Square), is the site of the former Riberia Palace.

The Ribeira Palace (Portuguese: Paco da Ribeira) was a royal palace in Lisbon for over 200 years. It became the royal residence of the Kings of Portugal in 1511, when Manuel I moved there from the Castelo de Sao Jorge. The palace, and its library of over 70,000 volumes, was destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

Just of the Praca do Comercio is the beautiful facade of the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Velha. The church is notable as one of the last remnants of the manueline style in the city. The present church is the result of a reconstruction carried out after the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, when most buildings of the city were destroyed in the quake and the tsunami that followed.

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Altun Ha, Belize


Altun Ha is the name given to the ruins of an ancient Maya city in Belize, located in the Belize District about 30 miles (50 km) north of Belize City and about 6 miles (10 km) west of the shore of the Caribbean Sea.

"Altun Ha" is a modern name in the Maya language, coined by translating the name of the nearby village of Rockstone Pond. The ancient name is at present unknown.

The largest of Altun Ha's temple-pyramids, the "Temple of the Masonry Altars", is 54 feet (16 m) high. A drawing of this structure is the logo of Belize's leading brand of beer, "Belikin".

The site covers an area of about 5 miles (8 km) square. The central square mile of the site has remains of some 500 structures.

Archeological investigations show that Altun Ha was occupied by 200 BC. The bulk of construction was from the Maya Classic era, c. 200 to 900 AD, when the site may have had a population of about 10,000 people. About 900 there was some looting of elite tombs of the site, which some think is suggestive of a revolt against the site's rulers. The site remained populated for about another century after that, but with no new major ceremonial or elite architecture built during that time. After this the population dwindled, with a moderate surge of reoccupation in the 12th century before declining again to a small agricultural village.

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Montreal Biosphere


The Biosphere is a geodesic dome on Ile Sainte-Helene in Montreal, Canada. The building was the United States pavilion for the 1967 World Exhibition Expo 67.

The spherical structure's architect was Richard Buckminster Fuller. The building originally formed an enclosed structure of steel and acrylic cells, 76 meters (250 feet) in diameter and 62 meters (200 feet) high. A complex system of shades was used to control the internal temperature.

The architects for the interior exhibition space were from Golden Metak Productions. Visitors had access to four large theme platforms divided into seven levels. The building included a 37-meter-long escalator, the longest ever built at the time.

A fire burned away the building's acrylic bubble in 1976, but the steel latticework remained.

An Environment Canada museum was built in the Biosphere in 1995. The new museum is a set of enclosed buildings designed by Eric Gauthier, inside the original steel skeleton. The objective of the facility is to educate the Canadian public about climate change, water as well as the St-Lawrence Great Lakes ecosystem.

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Durbar Square, Kathmandu


The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square also surrounds quadrangles revealing courtyards and temples.

The square is presently known as Hanuman Dhoka, a name derived from the statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, near the entrance of the palace. The preference for the construction of royal palaces at this site dates back to as early as the Licchavi period in the third century. Even though the present palaces and temples have undergone repeated and extensive renovations and nothing physical remains from that period, names like Gunapo and Gupo, which are the names referred to the palaces in the square in early scriptures, imply that the palaces were built by Gunakamadev, a king ruling late in the tenth century.

When Kathmandu City became independent under the rule of King Ratna Malla (1484-1520) the palaces in the square became the royal palaces for its Malla kings. When Prithvi Narayan Shah invaded the Kathmandu Valley in 1769, he also favored the Kathmandu Durbar Square for his palace. Other subsequent Shah kings continued to rule from the square until 1896 when they moved to the Narayan Hiti Palace. However, the square is still the center of important royal events like the coronation of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah in 1975 and King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah in 2001.

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Okayama Castle


Okayama Castle (Okayama-jo) is a castle in the city of Okayama in Okayama Prefecture in Japan.

It is popularly known as Crow Castle (U-jo), so named because unlike every other castle in the country (except Matsumoto's, which shares the nickname) it has been painted a striking black, only a few protruding bits and the occasional lucky fish-gargoyle ( kinshachi) gilded.

It was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in 1966.

Okayama is the capital city of Okayama Prefecture in the Chugoku region of Japan. The city was founded on June 1, 1889.

The city is known as the site of the Korakuen Garden and the striking black Okayama Castle.

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Sears Tower, Chicago


The Sears Tower is a skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois, and the tallest building in the United States. Commissioned by Sears, Roebuck and Company, it was designed by chief architect Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Khan of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill.

Construction commenced in August 1970 and the building reached its maximum height on May 3, 1973. When completed, the Sears Tower had overtaken the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City as the world's tallest building. The tower has 108 stories (the building owners claim 110, but this includes the main roof and the roof of the elevator penthouse). The distance to the upper roof is 1,450 feet, 7 inches (442 m), measured from the east entrance. In February 1982, two television antennas were added to the structure, bringing its total height to 1,707 feet (520 m). The western antenna was later extended to 1,729 feet (527 m) on June 5, 2000 to improve reception of local NBC station WMAQ-TV. In the process it surpassed the height of the antenna on 1 World Trade Center.

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Pompeii


Pompeii is a ruined Roman city near modern Naples in the Italian region of Campania, in the territory of the commune of Pompei. It was destroyed during a catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. The volcano buried the city under many feet of ash and it was lost for 1,600 years before its accidental rediscovery. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire. Today, it is one of Italy's leading tourist attractions and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Although most of the archeological digs at the site only extend down to the street level of the 79 AD volcanic event, deeper digs in older parts of Pompeii and core samples of nearby drillings have exposed layers of jumbled sediment that suggest that the city had suffered from the volcano and other seismic events before then. Three sheets of sediment have been found on top of the lava bedrock that lies below the city and, mixed in with the sediment, archeologists have found bits of animal bone, pottery shards and bits of plants.

Using carbon dating, the oldest layer has been placed as 8th-6th century BC, about the time that the city was founded. The other two layers are separated from the other layers by well developed soil layers or Roman pavement and were laid down in the 4th century BC and 2nd century BC. The theory behind the layers of jumbled sediment is large landslides, perhaps triggered by extended rainfall. (Senatore, et al., 2004)

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Circus Maximus, Rome


The Circus Maximus (Latin for largest arena, in Italian Circo Massimo) is an ancient arena and mass entertainment venue located in Rome.

Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, the location was first utilised for public games and entertainment by the Etruscan kings of Rome. Certainly, the first games of the Ludi Romani (Roman Games) were staged at the location by Tarquinius Priscus, the first Etruscan ruler of Rome.

Somewhat later, the Circus was the site of public games and festivals influenced by the Greeks in the 2nd century BC. Meeting the demands of the Roman citizenry for mass public entertainment on a lavish scale, Julius Caesar expanded the Circus around 50 BC, after which the track measured approximately 600 metres (1,968 ft) in length, 225 metres (738 ft) in breadth and could accommodate an estimated 250,000 spectators (many more, perhaps an equal number again, could view the games by standing, crowding and lining the adjoining hills).

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Alcazar, Segovia


An alcazar is a Spanish castle, from the Arabic word al qasr meaning palace or fortress, from the Latin castellum "fortress" (ultimately from castrum "watchpost"). Many cities in Spain have an alcazar.

In the Alcazar of Segovia, Queen Isabella of Castile married King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Built in the 12th century. During the Middle Ages, the Alcazar of Segovia was the favourite residence of kings of Castile, and almost each king added new parts to the building, transforming the original fortress into a courtier residence and prolonging the construction of the castle till the 16th century, when king Philip II added the conical spires and the slate roofs.

A fire in 1862 destroyed part of the roofs, but they were restored in the very same style they were built 300 years ago. It is known that Walt Disney was inspired by the Alcazar of Segovia to create his famous Cinderella Castle.

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Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia


Salar de Uyuni is with its 4,085 square miles (10,582 square km) the world's largest salt flat. It is located in the Departmento of Potosi in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, 3650 meters high. The major minerals found in the salar are halite and gypsum.

Some 40,000 years ago, the area was part of Lake Minchin, a giant prehistoric lake. When the lake dried, it left behind two modern lakes, Poopo and Uru Uru, and two major salt deserts, Salar de Coipasa and the larger Uyuni. Uyuni is roughly 25 times the size of the better-known Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States.

Salar de Uyuni is estimated to contain 10 billion tons of salt of which less than 25,000 tons is extracted annually. Every November, Salar de Uyuni is also the breeding grounds for three breeds of South American flamingos - Chilean, James's and Andean. It is also a significant tourist destination: highlights include a salt hotel and several so-called islands.

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Baalbeck Temple


Baalbek is a town in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, altitude 3,850 ft (1,170 m), situated east of the Litani River. It is famous for its exquisitely detailed but monumentally scaled temple ruins of the Roman period, when Baalbek, known as Heliopolis was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Empire. It is located about 200 km east of Beirut.

19th century Bible archaeologists wanted to connect Baalbek to the "Baalgad" mentioned in Joshua 11:17, but the assertion has not been taken up in modern times. In fact, this minor Phoenician city, named for the "Lord (Baal) of the Beqaa valley" lacked enough commercial or strategic importance to rate a mention in Assyrian or Egyptian records so far uncovered, according to Hélène Sader, professor of archaeology at the American University of Beirut.

Nevertheless, it must have been the site of an oracle from earliest times, for oracles are not lightly founded. It retained its religious function during Roman times, when the sanctuary of the Heliopolitan Jupiter-Baal was a pilgrimage site. Trajan's biographer records that the Emperor consulted the oracle there. Trajan inquired of the Heliopolitan Jupiter whether he would return alive from his wars against the Parthians. In reply, the god presented him with a vine shoot cut into pieces. Theodosius Macrobius, a Latin grammarian of the 5th century AD, mentioned Zeus Heliopolitanus and the temple, a place of oracular divination.

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25th of April Bridge, Lisbon


The Tagus River Bridge or 25th of April Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril) in Lisbon, Portugal, was built by the American Bridge Company, which won an international bid for its project and construction, associated with US Steel and some Portuguese firms.

The bridge opened to the Lisbon public on August 6, 1966, six months ahead of time, after two years of construction, for $32 million. It was originally named Salazar Bridge (after the then prime minister/dictator of Portugal, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar), but, after the Carnation Revolution, in 1974, the bridge was renamed the 25 April Bridge (Portuguese: Ponte 25 de Abril), the day when the revolution occurred. In an emblematic picture of the revolution, captured on film, populars removed the big "Salazar" brass sign and painted "25 April" in its place.

Its total length is 2,277 m, the main span measuring 1,013 m (17th largest suspension bridge in the world). The upper platform, situated 70 meters above water) started with 4 car lanes, two in each direction, with a dividing rail; this rail was removed and a fifth reversible lane was created; finally, the side walls were extended and reinforced to make way for the present six lanes.

Since 1999, the lower platform embodies a railroad line connecting Lisbon to the south, for which the bridge underwent extensive structural reinforcements, namely a second suspension cable, placed above the original. The train had been part of the initial project but it had been dropped and the initial structure was lightened.

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Wawel, Krakow


Wawel is the name of a lime hillock situated on the left bank of the Vistula in Krakow, Poland, at an altitude of 228 metres above sea level. This is a symbolic place of great significance for Polish people. The Royal Castle and the Cathedral are situated on the Hill. Polish Royalty and many distinguished Poles are interred in the Cathedral and royal coronations took place there.

The history of the medieval Wawel is deeply intertwined with the history of the Polish lands and Polish royal dynasties during the Middle Ages. The political and dynastic tensions that led to the final ascendence of Krakow as the royal seat are complex, but for most of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Wawel was the seat of national government. As the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth formed and grew, Wawel became the seat of one of Europe's most important states. This status was only lost when the capital was moved to Warsaw in the 17th century. When Poland lost its political independence during the period of the partitions, Wawel became a symbol of the lost nation; demonstrations and meetings combined contemporary political action with a claim for the significance of the once-powerful state, taking on nationalist overtones.

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Luxembourg Palace, Paris


The Palais du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Palace) in the VIe arrondissement of Paris, north of the Luxembourg Garden, is where the French Senate meets.

The palace was originally built for Marie de Medici, mother of king Louis XIII of France on the site of an old townhouse owned by the Duc de Piney-Luxembourg. Her architect was Salomon de Brosse. Louis commissioned the artists Nicolas Poussin and Philippe de Champaigne to decorate the Palace. However, by the time the palace had been finished, Marie de Medici had been banished.

It was inherited by Marie's granddaughter, Anne, Duchess of Montpensier. The palace was not used until it was owned by Louis XVI's brother, the Comte de Provence. During the French Revolution, it was the centre of the French Directory and later the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte when he was First Consul of France

In the 19th century the palace was extensively remodelled, with a new garden facade by Alphonse de Gisors (1836-1841), and a cycle of paintings (1845-1847) by Eugene Delacroix that was added to the library.

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Temple, Salt Lake City


The Salt Lake Temple is the sixth completed (of more than 120) and best-known temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the sixth temple built by the church overall, and the fourth operating temple built since the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois.

Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, the location for the temple was first marked by Brigham Young, the church's president and prophet at the time, on July 28, 1847, just four days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley. The temple site was dedicated on February 14, 1853. Groundbreaking ceremonies were presided by Brigham Young, who laid the cornerstone; construction officially began on April 6 of that year. Oxen transported granite from Little Cottonwood Canyon twenty miles southeast of the temple site. When construction was finally completed, LDS President Wilford Woodruff dedicated the temple on April 6, 1893, after exactly forty years.

The Salt Lake Temple is the centerpiece of the 10 acre Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although there are currently no public tours inside the temple (because it is considered sacred by the church and its members, a temple recommend is required), the temple grounds are open to the public and are a popular tourist attraction. Due to its location at church headquarters and its historical significance, it is patronized much by Latter-day Saints from many parts of the world.

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Independence Square, Kiev


Maidan Nezalezhnosti (lliterally: Independence Square) is the main square of Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine, located on the Khreschatyk Street. "Maidan" is originally a Persian word which means square.

Maidan Nezalezhnosti was completely rebuilt in 2002. The old look of the square with its many fountains was replaced by a new, more modernist look with bronze compositions featuring the statues of legendary founders of Kiev Kiy, Schek, Horiv and Lybid, folklore hero Cossack Mamay, the city's protector Archangel Michael, Beregynia and glass domes. A mostly underground shopping mall, the Globe, was built under Maidan Nezalezhnosti, part of a huge new underground market complex built under the city centre.

The biggest protests of the Ukraine without Kuchma campaign and the Orange Revolution took place in this square. Maidan Nezalezhnosti received global media coverage in late 2004 during the Orange Revolution, as hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in the square and pitched tents for several weeks, enduring the cold and snow.

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Yellow Crane Tower, Wuhan


This video of Yellow Crane Tower is taken from the The First Chang River Bridge in Wuhan built over the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang). The bridge was built in 1957, carrying the railroad directly across the river between Snake Hill and Turtle Hill. Before this bridge was built it could take up to an entire day to barge railcars across. Including its approaches, it is 5,511 feet (1680 m) long, and it accommodates both a double-track railway on a lower deck and a four lane roadway above.

On one side of the bridge can be seen the Wuhan TV Tower beyond Turtle Hill and its temple. On the other side of the bridge (and featured in the opening seconds of this video) can be sen the Yellow Crane Tower. The Yellow Crane Tower (aka. Huanghelou), is modern in structure but ancient in lore and legend. The original tower is presumed to have been first built in approximate 220 AD. The tower has been destroyed and reconstructed numerous times, was burned last in 1884. Complete reconstruction took place in 1981. The reconstruction utilized modern materials and even includes an elevator, yet in outward appearance and detail is true in spirit to the traditional design of the tower through the centuries.

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Auckland Harbour


Waitemata Harbour is the main access by sea to Auckland, New Zealand. It connects the city and port to the Hauraki Gulf, and thus to the Pacific Ocean, and is sheltered from Pacific storms by the bulks of Rangitoto Island and Waiheke Island.

For this reason it is often referred to as Auckland Harbour, despite the fact that it is only one of two harbours surrounding the city. The Waitemata forms the north and east coasts of Auckland isthmus. It is matched on the south and west by the shallower waters of Manukau Harbour.

The harbour is an arm of the Hauraki Gulf, extending west for eighteen kilometres from the end of the Rangitoto Channel. Its entrance is between North head, in the suburb of Devonport, and Bastion Point in the south.

The westernmost ends of the harbour extend past Whenuapai in the northwest, and to Te Atatu in the west, as well as forming the estuarial arm known as the Whau River in the southwest.

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Aspendos, Turkey


Aspendos is an ancient Greco-Roman city in Antalya province of Turkey. It is located 4 kilometers (2.5 mi) north of Serik.

The town dates back to the 5th century BC. The theatre, which was built in 155, was periodically repaired by the Seljuks who used it as a caravansaray. Aspendos was built by the Aspendosian architect Zenon, in Marcus Aurelius' time.

Aspendos is known for having the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. With diameter of 96 meters (315 ft), the theatre provided seating for 7,000.

In order to keep with Hellenistic traditions, a small part of the theatre was built so that it leaned against the hill where the Citadel (Acropolis) stood, while the remainder was built on vaulted arches. The high stage served to seemingly isolate the audience from the rest of the world. The scaenae frons or backdrop, has remained intact. The 8.1 meter (27 ft) sloping reflective wooden ceiling over the stage has been lost over time. Post holes for 58 masts are found in the upper level of the theater. These masts supported a valerium or awning that could be pulled over the audience to provide shade.

Still used today for concerts, festivals and grease wrestling events, the theatre's galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all testify to the architect's success.

Nearby stand the remains of a basilica, agora, nymphaeum and 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) of Roman aqueduct.

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Leon Cathedral


Santa Maria de Leon Cathedral, also called The House of Light is situated in the city of Leon in north-west Spain. It was built on the site of a previous Roman hot baths of the 2nd century which, 800 years later, the emblematic king Ordono II converted into a palace. Its doors, its impressive rose window, the choir (one of the oldest in the country) and the delicacy of some figures, like the venerated Virgen Blanca presiding over the constant traffic of visitors, are some of the not-to-be-missed features of this cathedral.

The Leon Cathedral, dedicated to Santa Maria de la Regla, was declared of Cultural Interest in 1844. It is known as the Pulchra Leonina and it is a masterpiece of the Gothic style dominating the mid 13th century, by master architect Enrique. In the late 16th century it was virtually finished. It was erected on the site of Roman hot baths dating from the 2nd century, which were converted into a royal castle by king Ordono II in the 10th century.

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Catedral de Palma de Mallorca


Palma is the major city and port in the island of Majorca and capital city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the south coast of the island on the Bay of Palma. As of the 2005 census, the population of the city of Palma proper was 375,773, and the population of the entire urban area was estimated to be 474,035, ranking as the 12th-largest urban area of Spain. Almost half of the total population of Majorca live in Palma.

The archipelago of Cabrera, though widely separated from Palma proper, is administratively considered part of the municipality. Its airport, Son Sant Joan, is one of the busiest in Europe.

The Marivent Palace was offered by the city to the then Prince Juan Carlos I of Spain. The royals have since spent their summer holidays in Palma.

Palma (Palmaria) was founded by the Romans upon the remains of a Talayot settlement which is believed to have strong ties with the sea. It was later the object of several Vandal sacks during the Fall of Rome, to be later conquered by the Bizantine, then the Arabs (who called it Medina Mayurqa), and finally by James I of Aragon.

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Dubrovnik Harbour


Dubrovnik is an old city on the Adriatic Sea coast in the extreme south of Croatia, at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist resorts, a seaport and the center of the Dubrovnik–Neretva county. Its population was 43,770 in 2001 and 49,728 in 1991. in 2001 the absolute majority of its citizens describe themselves as Croats with 88.39% (2001 census). Dubrovnik is nicknamed "Pearl of the Adriatic".

The city of Dubrovnik was based on maritime trade. In the Middle Ages, as the Republic of Ragusa, it became the only eastern Adriatic city-state to rival Venice. Supported by its wealth and skilled diplomacy, the city achieved a remarkable level of development during the 15th and 16th centuries. Dubrovnik was one of the centers of the development of the Croatian language and literature, home to many notable poets, playwrights, painters, mathematicians, physicists and other scholars.

Dubrovnik was founded by joining two small towns: Laus, a town on a small island off the southern Dalmatian coast, which provided shelter for the Italic refugees from the nearby city of Epidaurum (today Cavtat); and Dubrava, a settlement of Slavic immigrants at the foot of the forested Srd hill.

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Piazza del Popolo, Rome


The Piazza del Popolo is one of the most famous places, especially for foreigners, in Rome. The name in Italian means "piazza of the people", but historically it derives from the poplars (pioppo) after which the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, to the north of the square, takes its name.

The Piazza lies inside the northern gate of the Aurelian Walls, once the Porta Flaminia of Ancient Rome. This was the starting point of the Via Flaminia, the road to Ariminum (modern Rimini) and the most important route to the north. The layout of the piazza today was designed in neoclassical style between 1811 and 1822 by the architect Giuseppe Valadier, who demolished some buildings to form two semicircles, reminiscent of Bernini's plan for St. Peter's Square, replacing the original cramped trapezoidal square centred on the Via Flaminia.

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Piazza Pretoria, Palermo


The Piazza Pretoria was planned in the 16th century near the Quattro Canti as a place for a fountain by Francesco Camilliani, the Fontana Pretoria.

The Quattro Canti is a small place at the crossing of the ancient main roads (now: Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda) dividing the town into its quarters. The palaces at the corner have diagonal baroque facades so that the place has an almost octogonal form.

Palermo (Palermo in Italian, Palermu, Palemmu, Paliermu or Paliemmu in Sicilian) is the principal city and administrative seat of the autonomous region of Sicily, Italy as well as the capital of the Province of Palermo. Inhabitants of Palermo in Italian are referred to as Palermitani or poetically Panormiti.

Palermo was founded in the 8th century BC by Phoenician tradesmen around a natural harbour on the north-western coast of Sicily. The Phoenician name for the city may have been Ziz, but Greeks called it Panormus, meaning all-port, because of its fine natural harbour. It should be noted however that the city was never a Greek city-state, but was later part of the Greek speaking Eastern Roman Empire . Palermo is widely considered to be the most conquered city in the world, as shown in the following article.

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Ollantaytambo, Peru


Ollantaytambo is a town in southern Peru, located in the district of Ollantaytambo, province of Urubamba, Cusco region. It is approximately 60 km to the northwest of the city of Cusco, situated at an altitude of 2792 meters above sea level.

Ollantaytambo, which means something like "Storehouse of my Lord," is thought to be the only remaining example of pre-Columbian urban planning. The buildings and courtyards as well as the narrow lanes have their original form. The straight, narrow streets today form fifteen square blocks, or canchas, which contain one entrance to a central quadrangle which is surrounded by houses. A number of fine colonial houses are constructed on finely-worked Inca walls of dark pink rock. The original Inca settlement constituted an administrative, religious, agricultural and military complex.

On a hillside overlooking the town is a monumental Incan complex, commonly referred to as a fortaleza (fortress) due to its extraordinary walls. It was in fact a tambo, or inn for the Inca or his nobles while traveling on official business, and was strategically located to dominate the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It was here where Manco Inca retreated to in order to amass his armies after the fall of Cusco to the Spanish conquistadores.

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Duomo di Milano


The Duomo di Milano is one of the most famous buildings in Europe. It is a particularly large and elaborate Gothic Cathedral (Duomo ) on the main square in the center of the city of Milan, Italy. Milan's Duomo is the second largest Roman Catholic cathedral: only the cathedral of Seville is larger (as is Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, which is not a cathedral). It is 157 meters long and a total of 40,000 people can fit comfortably within. The great windows of the choir were reputed to be the largest in the world.

The street plan of Milan, with streets either radiating from the Duomo or circling it, reveals that the Duomo occupies the most important site in Roman Mediolanum, that of the public basilica facing the forum. Saint Ambrose's 'New Basilica' was built on this site at the beginning of the 5th century, with an adjoining basilica added in 836. When fire damaged both buildings in 1075, they were rebuilt as the Duomo.

In 1386 the archbishop, Antonio da Saluzzo, began the new project, in a rayonnant Late Gothic style that is more characteristic of France than Italy. This coincided with the archbishop's cousin Gian Galeazzo Visconti's accession to power in Milan, and was meant as a form of reward to the noble and working classes which had been suppressed by his tyrannical Visconti predecessor Barnabo. Before the actual work began, three main buildings were demolished: the palace of the Archbishop, the Ordinari Palace and the Baptistry of 'St. Stephen at the Spring', while the old church of Sta. Maria Maggiore was exploited as a stone quarry.

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Castello Sforzesco, Milan


Castello Sforzesco (English: Sforza Castle) is a castle in Milan, Italy that now houses an art gallery. Original construction on the site began in the 14th century. In 1450, Francesco Sforza began reconstruction of the castle, and it was further modified by later generations. It currently houses an art collection which incldes Michelangelo's last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà, and Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Trivulzianus manuscript.

Milan is the main city of northern Italy, and is located in the plains of Lombardy. The city proper has about 1,308,500 inhabitants (2004), but the population of the urban area (La Grande Milano, Greater Milan) is 4,280,820 people (2006 estimate).

Calculated within European terms, Milan's metropolitan area covers an area similar to that of Paris with a population of more than 7 million people. Milan's so-called Citta Regione (City Region) claims more than 9.4 million inhabitants. The Città Regione area is comparable to the Combined Statistical Areas (CSAs) of the United States.

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Vigeland Park, Oslo


Vigeland Sculpture Park is a park located in the district of Oslo called Frogner, west of the city centre, in the centre of the large Frognerparken, which belongs to the Frogner Manor.

Probably the most famous park in Norway, it was created by sculptor Gustav Vigeland between the years 1907 and 1942. Most of the sculptures date from the years 1926 to 1942.

The park has as its theme what could be called the "Human Condition." Most of the statues depict people engaging in various typically human persuits, such as running, wrestling, dancing, hugging, holding hands and so on. However, Vigeland occasionally included some statues that are more abstract, and to some degree defy understanding. Such as the "Man attacked by Babies" statue, which shows an adult male, fighting off a horde of tiny babies.

One of the main attractions to the park is The Monolith, (Monolitten). At over 14 meters tall, the column is covered with entwined human bodies and is carved out of a single block of stone.

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Casa Loma, Toronto


Casa Loma (literally House on the Hill) is a Toronto tourist attraction and the former home of financier Sir Henry Mill Pellatt and is located on Austin Terrace, at the south end of Spadina Road on an escarpment above Davenport Road. Davenport runs along the bottom of the escarpment which was the shoreline of Lake Iroquois, the predecessor of Lake Ontario. Casa Loma affords views down the escarpment and Spadina Avenue into the heart of Toronto.

Sir Henry commissioned Canadian architect E.J. Lennox to design Casa Loma with construction beginning in 1911, starting with the massive stables a few hundred feet north of the main building. The stables were used as a construction site for the castle, some of the machinery still remaining in the rooms under the stables. The house cost approximately $3.5 million and took a team of 300 workers three years to build from start to finish. Upon completion in 1914, at 98 rooms, it was the largest private residence in Canada. Notable amenities included an elevator, an oven large enough to cook a steer, two vertical passages for pipe organs, two secret passages in Sir Henry's ground-floor office and three bowling alleys. Many of the rooms were left unfinished, and today serve as a small museum for the Queen's Own Rifles, of which Pellat was the Honourary Colonel.

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Place De La Comedie, Montpellier


Montpellier is a city in the south of France. It is the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, as well as the prefecture (administrative capital) of the Herault departement. Population of the city (commune) of Montpellier at the 1999 census was 225,392 inhabitants, whereas the whole metropolitan area (in French: aire urbaine) had a population of 459,916 inhabitants in 1999. As of February 2004 estimates, the population of the city of Montpellier reached 244,700 inhabitants, meaning a 1.7% population growth per year between 1999 and 2004.

The city is situated on hilly ground 10 km (6 miles) inland from the Mediterranean coast, on the River Lez. The name of the city, originally Monspessulanus, is said to have stood for mont pele (the naked hill, because the vegetation was poor), or le mont de la colline (the mount of the hill); an alternative theory is that it was named for the hill of Monte Pestelario.

Montpellier is one of the few cities in France without a (Gallo-)Roman background. In the Early Middle Ages the nearby episcopal town of Maguelone was the major settlement in the area, but raids by pirates encouraged settlement a little further inland. Montpellier, first mentioned in a document of 985, was founded under a local feudal dynasty, the Guillem counts of Toulouse, who joined together two hamlets, built a castle and walls around the settlement.

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Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires


La Casa Rosada (Spanish for "the Pink House"), officially known as the Casa de Gobierno ("Government House"), is the official seat of the executive branch of the government of Argentina. (When not working at the Casa Rosada, the president resides in a compound in Olivos, Buenos Aires.)

The Casa Rosada was built in the location which, since the foundation of the city of Buenos Aires, the top political institutions of Argentina resided. The current Swedish-style building, however, dates back only to 1873. Constructed in the late 19th century over the foundations of an earlier Customs House, Post Office, and fortress, it stands at the eastern end of the Plaza de Mayo. Its balcony, which faces this large square, has served as a podium by many figures, including Eva Perón, who rallied the descamisados there, and Pope John Paul II, who visited Buenos Aires in 1998. Madonna sang her filmed rendition of the song "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina," for the movie Evita, from this balcony.

The building is painted a light pink colour (and a darker pink colour on the side facing the plaza, after a recent repainting). Dubbed "Casa Rosada" by President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, it is said that this president chose this colour scheme in order to defuse political tension by fusing the red and white colours of the country's opposing political parties. An alternative explanation points to the fact that the original paint used contained cow blood to prevent damage from humidity.

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Doma Square, Riga


Riga , the capital of Latvia, is situated on the Baltic Sea coast on the mouth of the River Daugava. Riga is the largest city in the Baltic states and serves as a major cultural, educational, political, financial, commercial and industrial center in the Baltics.

The Historic Centre of Riga has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city is particularly notable for its extensive Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) architecture, comparable in significance only with Vienna, Saint Petersburg and Barcelona.

Riga is located at the site of an ancient settlement of the Livs, an ancient Finnic tribe, at the junction of the Daugava and Ridzene (Latvian: Ridzene) rivers. The Ridzene was originally known as the Riga River, at one point forming a natural harbor called the Riga Lake, neither of which exist today [1]. Some believe that the name of the river gave Riga its name.

The Doma Cathedral is considered the largest church in the Baltic states, built near the Western Dvina river in Riga, Latvia. Built in the 13th century, it was modified several times along its history. It has a magnificent organ that dates from 1844.

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Santa Barbara Castle, Alicante


Alicante (Castillian Spanish) or Alacant (Valencian Catalan) is the capital of the province of Alicante and of the comarca of the Alacantí, in the southern part of the Valencian community, Spain, a historic Mediterranean port. The population of the city of Alicante proper was 319,380, estimated as of 2005, of the entire urban area, 427,217. Population of the metropolitan area (including Elche and satellite towns) was 711,215 as of 2005 estimates, ranking as the eighth-largest metropolitan area of Spain.

Alicante is one of the fastest-growing cities in Spain. Its economy is based upon tourism in the beaches from Costa Blanca coast, wine production, services and administration. It exports wine, olive oil, and fruit, and has light industries, including food-processing, leather, textiles, and pottery. Turrones (torrons in Catalan) —a honey and almond nougat—is a food specialty of Alicante.

The city has regular ferry services to the Balearic Islands, and an international airport is nearby. It is strongly fortified, with a spacious harbor. Amongst the most notable features of the city is its castle, the "Castillo de Santa Barbara", which sits high above the city upon a cliff. The most important festival, the Bonfires of Saint John, takes place at the time of the summer solstice, and they are declared of international touristic interest. Another well-known festival is Moros y Cristianos in any quarter of the city, such as Altozano or Saint Blas.

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Sky Tower, Auckland


The Sky Tower is a tower located on the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets in the central business district of Auckland, New Zealand. It is 328 metres tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast, making it the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere. Interestingly the architect publicly disassociated himself from the design. It is the 12th tallest member of the World Federation of Great Towers. The landmark is part of the SKYCITY Auckland casino complex, owned and operated by SKYCITY Entertainment Group.

As well as entertainment, the tower is used for telecommunications and broadcasting with the Auckland Peering Exchange (APE) being located on Level 48. A group of radio broadcasters share an FM transmitter here too, and television companies TV3 and C4 have a secondary transmitter here, their primary one being at Waiatarua. The upper portion of the tower contains two revolving restaurants and various observation decks. The tower attracts over 600,000 visitors a year.

The tower also features the SkyJump, a 192-metre cable-controlled base jump from the observation deck of the tower.

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