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Biltmore Estate is a historic house museum and tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House, the main residence, is a Châteauesque-style mansion built for George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States, at 178,926 square feet (16,622.8 m2) of floor space (135,280 square feet of living area). Still owned by George Vanderbilt's descendants, it remains one of the most prominent examples of Gilded Age mansions.
In the 1880s, at the height of the Gilded Age, George Washington Vanderbilt II began to make regular visits with his mother, Maria Louisa Kissam Vanderbilt, to the Asheville area. He loved the scenery and climate so much that he decided to build his own summer house in the area, which he called his "little mountain escape". His older brothers and sisters had built luxurious summer houses in places such as Newport, Rhode Island, and Hyde Park, New York.
Vanderbilt named his estate Biltmore, combining De Bilt (his ancestors' place of origin in the Netherlands) with more (mōr, Anglo-Saxon for "moor", an open, rolling land). Vanderbilt bought almost 700 parcels of land, including over 50 farms and at least five cemeteries; a portion of the estate was once the community of Shiloh. A spokesperson for the estate said in 2017 that archives show much of the land "was in very poor condition, and many of the farmers and other landowners were glad to sell."
Construction of the house began in 1889. In order to facilitate such a large project, a woodworking factory and brick kiln, which produced 32,000 bricks a day, were built onsite, and a three-mile railroad spur was constructed to bring materials to the building site. Construction on the main house required the labor of about 1,000 workers and 60 stonemasons. Vanderbilt went on extensive trips overseas to purchase decor as construction on the house was in progress. He returned to North Carolina with thousands of furnishings for his newly built home including tapestries, hundreds of carpets, prints, linens, and decorative objects, all dating between the 15th century and the late 19th century. Among the few American-made items were the more practical oak drop-front desk, rocking chairs, a walnut grand piano, bronze candlesticks and a wicker wastebasket.
George Vanderbilt opened his estate on Christmas Eve of 1895 to invited family and friends from across the country, who were encouraged to enjoy leisure and country pursuits. Notable guests to the estate over the years included author Edith Wharton, novelist Henry James, ambassadors Joseph Hodges Choate and Larz Anderson, and U.S. presidents.
Who was George Washington Vanderbilt II?
George Washington Vanderbilt II (November 14, 1862 – March 6, 1914) was an art collector and member of the prominent Vanderbilt family, which made a huge fortune through steamboats, railroads, and various business enterprises. He built Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned home in the United States.
Bletchley Park is an English country house and estate in Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire) that became the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. The mansion was constructed during the years following 1883 for the financier and politician Sir Herbert Leon in the Victorian Gothic, Tudor, and Dutch Baroque styles, on the site of older buildings of the same name.
During World War II, the estate housed the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. Some of the more notable codebreakers included Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander, Bill Tutte, Joan Clarke, and Stuart Milner-Barry. The nature of the work there was secret until many years after the war.
According to the official historian of British Intelligence, the "Ultra" intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain. The team at Bletchley Park devised automatic machinery to help with decryption, culminating in the development of Colossus, the world's first programmable digital electronic computer. At its peak, nearly 10,000 personnel were working at Bletchley and its outstations. About three-quarters of them were women. Codebreaking operations at Bletchley Park came to an end in 1946 and all information about the wartime operations was classified until the mid-1970s.
Bletchley Park is open to the public and houses interpretive exhibits and rebuilt huts as they would have appeared during their wartime operations. The separate National Museum of Computing, which includes a working replica Bombe machine and a rebuilt Colossus computer, is housed in Block H on the site.
Location: Colorado, United States
Elevation: 14,115 feet (4,302 m)
Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in North America. The ultra-prominent 14,115-foot (4,302.31 m) fourteener is located in Pike National Forest, 12 miles (19 km) west of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. The mountain is named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike (though he was unable to reach the summit). The summit is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude.
Location: Colorado, United States
Top elevation: 11,570 ft (3,527 m)
Base elevation: 8,120 feet (2,470 m)
Vertical: 3,450 feet (1,050 m)
Skiable area: 5,317 acres (21.52 km2)
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.
Originally known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.
The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the British royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds. A German bomb destroyed the palace chapel during the Second World War; the Queen's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.
The original early-19th-century interior designs, many of which survive, include widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle Époque cream and gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House. The palace has 775 rooms, and the garden is the largest private garden in London. The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring.
St Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick's Cathedral is a Catholic cathedral in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. It is the seat of the Archbishop of New York as well as a parish church. The cathedral occupies a city block bounded by Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, 50th Street, and 51st Street, directly across from Rockefeller Center. Designed by James Renwick Jr., it is the largest Gothic Revival Catholic cathedral in North America.
The cathedral was constructed starting in 1858 to accommodate the growing Archdiocese of New York and to replace St. Patrick's Old Cathedral. Work was halted in the early 1860s during the American Civil War; the cathedral was completed in 1878 and dedicated on May 25, 1879. The archbishop's house and rectory were added in the early 1880s, both by James Renwick Jr., and the spires were added in 1888. A Lady chapel designed by Charles T. Mathews was constructed from 1901 to 1906. The cathedral was consecrated on October 5, 1910, after all its debt had been paid off. Extensive restorations of the cathedral were conducted several times, including in the 1940s, 1970s, and 2010s.
St. Patrick's Cathedral is clad in marble and has several dozen stained glass windows. It measures 332 feet (101 m) long, with a maximum width of 174 feet (53 m) at the transepts. The bronze doors that form the cathedral's main entrance on Fifth Avenue are flanked by towers with spires rising 329.5 feet (100 m). The northern tower contains nineteen bells, and the interior has two pipe organs.
The cathedral is a New York City designated landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Location: Colorado, United States
Top elevation: 12,998 feet (3,962 m)
Base elevation: 9,600 feet (2,900 m)
Vertical: 3,398 feet (1,036 m)
Skiable area: 2,908 acres (11.77 km2)
Stonehenge is a Neolithic monument located in Wiltshire, England. It is made up of a ring of standing stones, each around 13 feet high and 7 feet wide. The stones weigh more than 25 tons. Stonehenge is one of many features of this area. There are several burial mounds surrounding the site. Similar to other prehistoric monuments of the Neolithic and Bronze Age, there are many questions and quite a bit of mystery surrounding the structure.
Archeologists differ on when they believe the structure was built, some dating as far back as 3100 BC. Researchers also differ as to what Stonehenge was used for, some believing it was used as a burial ground, a place of healing, an astronomical observatory, a religious site, and even a mortuary for those who would later be buried in the area. More mystery surrounds how these prehistoric cultures would have had the technology and ability to move the massive bluestones that make up the structure. These stones would have been moved from a quarry several miles away and then lifted into place without the help of wheels and pulley systems that had not been invented yet.
Stonehenge is deeply rooted into English history and culture. In the 12th century, author Geoffrey of Monmouth included it in his The History of the Kings of Britain, a fanciful tale in which the wizard Merlin builds Stonehenge. J.M.W. Turner, one of the most famous landscape artists of the Romantic period, depicted Stonehenge in his paintings, helping to make the sight more popular. Today, more than 1.3 million people visit the site each year.
Tower of London
The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078.
The castle was used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952 (Kray twins), although that was not its primary purpose. It was a grand palace early in its history when it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.
There were several phases of expansion, mainly under kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout of the castle in the late 13th century rremains to this day.
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times, and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public record office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England.
From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II in the 17th century, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century, the Princes in the Tower were housed at the castle when they mysteriously disappeared, presumed murdered. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle, its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.
The castle was oftern used as a prison between the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Elizabeth Throckmorton, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower".
Despite its reputation as a place of torture and death, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty.
In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison and witnessed the executions of 12 men for spying. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired, and the castle reopened to the public.
Today, the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. Under the ceremonial charge of the Constable of the Tower, and operated by the Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House, the property is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site.
The India Gate (formerly known as the All India War Memorial) is a war memorial located near the Rajpath, on the eastern edge of the "ceremonial axis" of New Delhi, formerly called Kingsway. It stands as a memorial to 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died between 1914 and 1921.
13,300 servicemen's names, including some soldiers and officers from the United Kingdom, are inscribed on the gate. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the gate evokes the architectural style of the memorial arch such as the Arch of Constantine, in Rome, and is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and the Gateway of India in Mumbai.
Following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, a structure consisting of a black marble plinth with a reversed rifle, capped by a war helmet and bounded by four eternal flames, was built beneath the archway. This structure, called Amar Jawan Jyoti (Flame of the Immortal Soldier), has served since 1971 as India's tomb of the unknown soldier.
India Gate is counted amongst the largest war memorials in India and every Republic Day, the Prime Minister visits the gate to pay their tributes to the Amar Jawan Jyoti, following which the Republic Day parade starts.
Granary Burying Ground
The Granary Burying Ground is the 3rd oldest cemetery in Boston. Established in 1660, there are over 2300 grave markers and about 5000 people buried here.
Some of the people buried here include:
- John Hancock
- Paul Revere
- Samuel Adams
- Robert Treat Paine
- James Otis
- Benjamin Franklin’s parents
- The 5 victims of the Boston Massacre
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Robert Treat Paine all signed the Declaration of Independence. James Otis, an early supporter of the Patriots, coined the phrase “Taxation without Representation is tyranny.”
The Puritan Churches did not believe in religious icons or imagery. It was only when someone died when they would show their beliefs about the afterlife through carvings on the gravestones. As you look around you will still see these carvings on the stones today.
Livestock grazing on Boston Common was used to cut the grass. The headstones where later reorganized into rows during the Victorian era to make it easier to cut the grass using modern technology - the lawn mower.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California. The park was established on September 25, 1890 to protect 404,064 acres (631 sq mi; 163,519 ha; 1,635 km2) of forested mountainous terrain. Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of, and contiguous with, Kings Canyon National Park; both parks are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. UNESCO designated the areas as Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976.
The park is notable for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth by volume. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which contains five of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is connected by the Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Park's General Grant Grove, home of the General Grant tree among other giant sequoias. The park's giant sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres (316 sq mi; 81,921 ha; 819 km2) of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The parks preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement.
Fort Pillow State Historic Park
Fort Pillow State Historic Park is a state park in western Tennessee that preserves the American Civil War site of the Battle of Fort Pillow. The 1,642 acre (6.6 km²) Fort Pillow, located in Lauderdale County on the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, is rich in both historic and archaeological significance. In 1861, the Confederate army built extensive fortifications and named the site for General Gideon Johnson Pillow of Maury County. It was attacked and held by the Union Army for most of the American Civil War period except immediately after the Battle of Fort Pillow, when it was retaken by the Confederate Army.
The Battle of Fort Pillow
The Union Army attacked and captured Fort Pillow to secure its strategic location on the Mississippi River. On June 4, 1862, Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow, enabling Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee. They would hold the fort until 1864.
The Confederate States Army defeated the Union troops at the Battle of Fort Pillow (April 1864), resulting in the massacre of 229 of the 262 black Union soldiers engaged in the battle. The white Union soldiers numbered 285. Confederate and Union witness accounts attest that some 300 soldiers were gunned down by the Confederate forces. The Confederate refusal to treat these soldiers as traditional POWs infuriated the North, and led to the Union’s refusal to participate in prisoner exchanges.
An examination of regimental records showed that "less than 36 percent of the men from white units died in battle or of wounds, while the death toll for black units was 66 percent."
A Confederate wrote in a letter home that "Forrest ordered them [negroes] shot down like dogs, and the carnage continued." In addition to regimental records, contemporary accounts by troops on both sides, as well as journalists, describe it as appalling slaughter. Within about three weeks, as political controversy grew, Confederates began to dispute accounts of a massacre. Union survivors’ accounts, later supported by a federal investigation, concluded that African-American troops were massacred by Forrest’s men after surrendering. Forrest, himself, claimed that he and his troops had done nothing wrong and that the Union men were killed because Bradford had refused to surrender. Controversy over the battle continues today.
"Remember Fort Pillow!" became a battle cry among black Union soldiers for the remainder of the Civil War. While the Union casualty count for the battle does not indicate that the Confederate forces took many prisoners, Confederate records show about 200 prisoners were shipped south.
In 1866, the Union Army created a cemetery for both Confederate and Union soldiers south of the battle site. In 1867, they moved about 250 bodies of Confederate and Union soldiers from that cemetery to the Memphis National Cemetery.
One of the top attractions in Paris, the Louvre is the largest, and arguably most impressive, art museum in the world. Its collection was first established in the 16th-century, as the private collection of King Francis I. One of his works was the famous Mona Lisa painting.
The Louvre became a national art museum, opened to the public in 1793, set within a huge palace that was constructed at the site of a 12th-century fortress. It showcases works spanning from ancient civilizations to the mid-1800s in a massive 675,000-square-foot space. The most popular works, the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Winged Victory, are just three among 35,000 pieces, with all sorts of fantastic surprises to discover in room after room. Discover these and many more with the institution hosting some of most coveted treasures around the globe in its three wings, the Denon, the Sully and the Richelieu, arranged in a horseshoe shape. Tucked into the middle is a giant glass pyramid surrounded by three small pyramids known as the I.M. Pei’s Pyramide.
A 90-minute tour provides a great way to navigate the museum’s highlights, including top works and the medieval moat, with expert guides that provide fascinating insight into the palace’s history and its most impressive places. They’re offered in English multiple times daily, bringing more structure to a visit to help you get the most out of your time.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is in west-central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world.
In 1972, Mammoth Cave was unified with the even-longer system under Flint Ridge to the north to become the Mammoth–Flint Ridge Cave System. The park was established as a national park on July 1, 1941, a World Heritage Site on October 27, 1981, an international Biosphere Reserve on September 26, 1990 and an International Dark Sky Park on October 28, 2021.
The park's 52,830 acres (21,380 ha) are located primarily in Edmonson County, with small areas extending eastward into Hart and Barren counties. The Green River runs through the park, with a tributary called the Nolin River feeding into the Green just inside the park. Mammoth Cave is the world's longest known cave system with more than 420 miles (680 km) of surveyed passageways, which is nearly twice as long as the second-longest cave system, Mexico's Sac Actun underwater cave.
Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is located in White Pine County in east-central Nevada, near the Utah border. It was established in 1986.
The park gets its name from the Great Basin, the dry and mountainous region between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains. Topographically, this area is known as the Basin and Range Province. The park is located about 290 miles (470 km) north of Las Vegas and protects 77,180 acres.
The park is notable for its groves of ancient bristlecone pines, the oldest known nonclonal organisms, and for the Lehman Caves at the base of 13,063-foot (3,982 m) Wheeler Peak, as well as Wheeler Peak Glacier.
President Warren G. Harding created Lehman Caves National Monument by presidential proclamation on January 24, 1922. The monument and its surroundings was designated a national park on October 27, 1986, following the advocacy of Congressman Harry Reid.
A number of developed campsites are within the park, as well as backcountry camping opportunities. The Highland Ridge Wilderness lies adjacent to Great Basin National Park. These two protected areas provide contiguous wildlife habitat and protection to 227.8 square miles (590.0 km2) of eastern Nevada's basin lands.
Pointe du Hoc
Pointe du Hoc lies 4 mi (6.4 km) west of the center of Omaha Beach. During World War II it was the highest point between the American sector landings at Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east. The German army fortified the area with concrete casemates and gun pits. On D-Day, the United States Army Ranger Assault Group attacked and captured Pointe du Hoc after scaling the cliffs.
The assault force was carried in ten landing craft, with another two carrying supplies and four DUKW amphibious trucks carrying the 100-foot (30 m) ladders requisitioned from the London Fire Brigade. One landing craft carrying troops sank, drowning all but one of its occupants; another was swamped. One supply craft sank and the other put the stores overboard to stay afloat. German fire sank one of the DUKWs.
These initial setbacks resulted in a 40-minute delay in landing at the base of the cliffs, but British landing craft carrying the Rangers finally reached the base of the cliffs at 7:10 am with approximately half the force it started out with.
The landing craft were fitted with rocket launchers to fire grapnels and ropes up the cliffs. As the Rangers scaled the cliffs, the Allied ships USS Texas (BB-35), USS Satterlee (DD-626), USS Ellyson (DD454), and HMS Talybont (L18) provided them with fire support and ensured that the German defenders above could not fire down on the assaulting troops. The cliffs proved to be higher than the ladders could reach.
The original plans called for an additional, larger Ranger force of eight companies (Companies A and B of the 2nd Ranger Battalion and the entire 5th Ranger Battalion) to follow the first attack, if successful. Flares from the cliff tops were to signal this second wave to join the attack, but because of the delayed landing, the signal came too late, and the other Rangers landed on Omaha instead of Pointe du Hoc.
When the Rangers made it to the top at Pointe du Hoc, they had sustained 15 casualties. The force also found that their radios were ineffective. Upon reaching the fortifications, most of the Rangers learned for the first time that the main objective of the assault, the artillery battery, had been removed. The Rangers regrouped at the top of the cliffs, and a small patrol went off in search of the guns. Two different patrols found five of the six guns nearby (the sixth was being fixed elsewhere) and destroyed their firing mechanisms with thermite grenades.
Multiple copies of the Rangers orders were released in 2012 by the US National Archives, indicating that Lt. Col. Rudder had been told of the guns' removal prior to landing. His D-Day orders went beyond the taking of Pointe du Hoc and remained consistent: Land at Pointe du Hoc & Omaha Beach; advance along the coast; take the town of Grandcamp, attack the Maisy Batteries and reach the "D-Day Phase Line" (close to Osmanville) two hours before dark. The Rangers could then repel counterattacks along the Grandcamp-Vierville road, via the Isigny-Bayeux road or diagonally across open fields. They could also prevent mobile 150mm artillery getting within a 12-mile range of the beachhead.
September 11th Memorial
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum remembers the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 2,977 people, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six. The memorial is located at the World Trade Center site, the former location of the Twin Towers that were destroyed during the September 11 attacks. It is operated by a non-profit institution whose mission is to raise funds for, program, and operate the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site.
A memorial was planned in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and destruction of the World Trade Center for the victims and those involved in rescue and recovery operations. The winner of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was Israeli-American architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm. Arad worked with landscape-architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners on the design, creating a forest of swamp white oak trees with two square reflecting pools in the center marking where the Twin Towers stood. In August 2006, construction began on the memorial and museum.
A dedication ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attacks was held at the memorial on September 11, 2011, and it opened to the public the following day. The museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014, with remarks from then mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg and then President Barack Obama. Six days later, the museum opened to the public.
HMS Belfast is a Town-class light cruiser that was built for the Royal Navy. She is now permanently moored as a museum ship on the River Thames in London and is operated by the Imperial War Museum.
Construction of Belfast, the first ship in the Royal Navy to be named after the capital city of Northern Ireland and one of ten Town-class cruisers, began in December 1936. She was launched on St Patrick's Day 1938.
Commissioned in early August 1939 shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War, Belfast was initially part of the British naval blockade against Germany. In November 1939, Belfast struck a German mine and, in spite of fears that she would be scrapped, spent more than two years undergoing extensive repairs. Belfast returned to action in November 1942 with improved firepower, radar equipment, and armour.
Belfast saw action escorting Arctic convoys to the Soviet Union during 1943 and in December 1943 played an important role in the Battle of North Cape, assisting in the destruction of the German warship Scharnhorst. In June 1944, Belfast took part in Operation Overlord supporting the Normandy landings.
In June 1945, she was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet, arriving shortly before the end of the Second World War. Belfast saw further combat action in 1950–52 during the Korean War and underwent an extensive modernisation between 1956 and 1959. A number of further overseas commissions followed before she entered reserve in 1963.
In 1967, efforts were made to preserve Belfast as a museum ship. The museum opened to the public in October 1971.
The Battle of Bunker Hill
The Battle of Bunker Hill is one of the most famous battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is also known as the Battle of Breed’s Hill. During the war, the British colonies in America fought against the British Crown for their independence and the right to rule themselves. The American Revolution started in 1775 and didn’t end until 1783. The Battle of Bunker Hill took place in June of 1775, in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Today, Charlestown is part of Boston. The Battle of Bunker Hill was part of the Siege of Boston, which took place early in the Revolutionary War.
The British won the Battle of Bunker Hill but they had more casualties than the Americans. The battle showed the British that the new American Army, made up of the colonists, was much stronger than they had originally thought. Even though the Continental Army lost the Battle of Bunker Hill, the number of casualties they caused to the British Army, and the way the British Army was unable to fight back, gave the Americans a big confidence boost. General George Washington took over the command of the Continental Army two weeks later and brought with him enough cannon and heavy guns to drive the British out of Boston in March of 1776.
One of the American men who died in the Battle of Bunker Hill was General Joseph Warren. He was a doctor who was very good friends with Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. Just three days before the Battle of Bunker Hill, Joseph Warren was given the job of Major General. He died during the battle, just a few days after his 34th birthday. His death was a very sad moment for all those fighting in the American Revolution, but it helped to inspire the soldiers to fight even harder.
The British Museum is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been widely collected during the era of the British Empire. It documents the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. It was the first public national museum in the world.
The Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the Irish physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. It first opened to the public in 1759, in Montagu House, on the site of the current building. Its expansion over the following 250 years was largely a result of expanding British colonisation and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the Natural History Museum in 1881.
In 1973, the British Library Act 1972 detached the library department from the British Museum, but it continued to host the now separated British Library in the same Reading Room and building as the museum until 1997. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and as with all national museums in the UK it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions.
Its ownership of some of its most famous objects originating in other countries is disputed and remains the subject of international controversy, most notably in the case of the Elgin Marbles of Greece, and the Rosetta Stone of Egypt.
Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center, and neighborhood in the Midtown Manhattan section of New York City, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Brightly lit by numerous billboards and advertisements, it stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets, and is sometimes referred to as "the Crossroads of the World", "the Center of the Universe", "the heart of the Great White Way", and "the heart of the world".
One of the world's busiest pedestrian areas, it is also the hub of the Broadway Theater District and a major center of the world's entertainment industry. Times Square is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, many of them tourists, while over 460,000 pedestrians walk through Times Square on its busiest days.
Formerly known as Longacre Square, Times Square was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the then newly erected Times Building, now One Times Square. It is the site of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop, which began on December 31, 1907, and continues to attract over a million visitors to Times Square every year.
Times Square functions as a town square, but is not geometrically a square; it is closer in shape to a bowtie, with two triangles facing roughly north and south from 45th Street, where Seventh Avenue intersects Broadway.
The southern triangle of Times Square has no specific name, but the northern triangle is officially Duffy Square. It was dedicated in 1937 to World War I chaplain Father Francis P. Duffy of New York City's U.S. 69th Infantry Regiment and is the site of a memorial to him. There is also a statue of composer and entertainer George M. Cohan, and the TKTS ticket booth for Broadway theaters.
Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is strongly associated with the English and succeeding British royal family, and holds almost a millennium of architectural history.
The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe.
Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George's Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be "one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic" design.
Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons' War at the start of the 13th century.
Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England". Edward's core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.
Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors.
After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II's palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings.
Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge by the royal family during the Luftwaffe bombing campaigns of the Second World War and survived a fire in 1992.
It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the preferred weekend home of Queen Elizabeth II.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located in western Colorado and managed by the National Park Service. There are two primary entrances to the park: the south rim entrance is located near Montrose, while the north rim entrance is south of Crawford and is closed in the winter.
The park contains 12 miles of the 48-mile long Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. The national park itself contains the deepest and most dramatic section of the canyon, but the canyon continues upstream into Curecanti National Recreation Area and downstream into Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area.
It's called Black Canyon because parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day, according to Images of America: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. In the book, author Duane Vandenbusche states, "Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness, and dread of the Black Canyon." At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40 ft (12 m) wide at the river.
The Gunnison River drops an average of 34 feet per mile (6.4 m/km) through the entire canyon, making it the 5th steepest mountain descent in North America. By comparison, the Colorado River drops an average of 7.5 feet per mile (1.42 m/km) through the Grand Canyon.
The greatest descent of the Gunnison River occurs within the park at Chasm View dropping 240 feet per mile (45 m/km).
The extreme steepness and depth of the Black Canyon formed as the result of several geologic processes acting together. The Gunnison River is primarily responsible for carving the canyon, though several other geologic events (volcanic activity and uplifting) had to occur in order to form the canyon as it is seen today.
Saint Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in London. As the seat of the Bishop of London, the cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London.
Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. The present structure, dating from the late 17th century, was designed in the English Baroque style by Sir Christopher Wren. Its construction, completed in Wren's lifetime, was part of a major rebuilding programme in the City after the Great Fire of London. The earlier Gothic cathedral (Old St Paul's Cathedral), largely destroyed in the Great Fire, was a central focus for medieval and early modern London, including Paul's walk and St Paul's Churchyard being the site of St Paul's Cross.
The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognisable sights of London. Its dome, framed by the spires of Wren's City churches, has dominated the skyline for over 300 years. At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1963. The dome remains among the highest in the world. St Paul's is the second-largest church building in area in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral.
Services held at St Paul's have included the funerals of Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher; jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer; the launch of the Festival of Britain; and the thanksgiving services for the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees and the 80th and 90th birthdays of Queen Elizabeth II.
The cathedral is a working church with hourly prayer and daily services. The tourist entry fee at the door is £20 for adults (August 2020, cheaper online), but no charge is made to worshippers attending advertised services.
Angkor Wat, located in northwest Cambodia, is the largest religious structure in the form of a temple complex in the world by land area. At the centre of the temple stands a quincunx of four towers surrounding a central spire that rises to a height of 65 m (213 ft) above the ground. The temple has three rectangular galleries, each raised above the next. It lies within an outer wall 3.6 kilometres (2 1⁄4 miles) long and a moat more than five kilometres (three miles) long.
The temple was built at the behest of Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura (យសោធរបុរៈ, present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as the state temple for the empire. Originally constructed dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu in the early 12th century, it was converted to a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century.
Angkor Wat combines two basic plans of Khmer temple architecture: the temple-mountain and the later galleried temple. It is designed to represent Mount Meru, home of the devas in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west. Scholars are divided as to the significance of this. The temple is admired for the grandeur and harmony of its architecture, extensive bas-reliefs, and statues of Buddhas and Devas that adorn its walls.
As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists in Cambodia and around the world. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's main tourist attraction. Angkor Wat played a major role in converting Cambodia into a Buddhist nation.
Location: Colorado, United States
Top elevation: 12,170 feet (3,710 m)
Base elevation: 9,115 feet (2,778 m)
Vertical: 3,055 ft (931 m)
Skiable area: 1,547 acres (6.26 km2)
Federal Hall is a historic building at 26 Wall Street in the Financial District of Manhattan. The name refers to two structures on the site: a Federal style building completed in 1703, and the current Greek Revival–style building completed in 1842. While only the first building was officially called "Federal Hall", the current structure is operated by the National Park Service as a national memorial called the Federal Hall National Memorial.
The original building served as New York's first City Hall. It was the site where the colonial Stamp Act Congress met to draft its message to King George III claiming entitlement to the same rights as the residents of Britain and protesting "taxation without representation".
After the American Revolution, in 1785, the building served as meeting place for the Congress of the Confederation, the nation's first central government under the Articles of Confederation. With the establishment of the United States federal government in 1789, it was renamed Federal Hall, as it hosted the 1st Congress and was the place where George Washington was sworn in as the nation’s first president. It was demolished in 1812.
The current structure, one of the best surviving examples of Greek Revival architecture in New York City, was built as the U.S. Custom House for the Port of New York. Later it served as a sub-Treasury building. The current national memorial commemorates the historic events that occurred at the previous structure. The building was designated a city landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1966.
Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park is about 68 miles (109 km) west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. The park preserves Fort Jefferson and the seven Dry Tortugas islands, the westernmost and most isolated of the Florida Keys. The archipelago's coral reefs are the least disturbed of the Florida Keys reefs.
The park is noted for abundant sea life, tropical bird breeding grounds, colorful coral reefs, and legends of shipwrecks and sunken treasures.
The park's centerpiece is Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress. Fort Jefferson is the largest brick masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere, and is composed of more than 16 million bricks. Among the United States forts it is exceeded in size only by Fort Monroe, Virginia, and Fort Adams, Rhode Island.
Dry Tortugas is unique in its combination of a largely undisturbed tropical ecosystem with significant historic artifacts. The park is accessible only by seaplane or boat and has averaged about 63,000 visitors annually in the period from 2008 to 2017.
Activities include snorkeling, picnicking, birdwatching, camping, scuba diving, saltwater fishing and kayaking. Overnight camping is limited to 8 primitive campsites at the Garden Key campground — located just south of Fort Jefferson.
Dry Tortugas National Park is part of the Everglades & Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve, established by UNESCO in 1976 under its Man and the Biosphere Programme.
The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate George Washington, once commander-in-chief of the Continental Army (1775–1784) in the American Revolutionary War and the first President of the United States (1789–1797).
Located almost due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial, the monument, made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, is both the world's tallest mostly stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk. It stands 554 feet 7 11⁄32 inches (169.046 m) tall according to the U.S. National Geodetic Survey (measured 2013–14) or 555 feet 5 1⁄8 inches (169.294 m) tall, according to the National Park Service (measured 1884). It is the tallest monumental column in the world if all are measured above their pedestrian entrances. Overtaking the Cologne Cathedral, it was the tallest structure in the world between 1884 and 1889, after which it was overtaken by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Construction of the presidential memorial began in 1848 and was halted for a period of 23 years, from 1854 to 1877 due to a lack of funds, a struggle for control over the Washington National Monument Society, and the American Civil War. Although the stone structure was completed in 1884, internal ironwork, the knoll, and installation of memorial stones were not completed until 1888. A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet (46 m) up, shows where construction was halted and later resumed with marble from a different source.
The interior is occupied by iron stairs that spiral up the walls, with an elevator in the center, each supported by four iron columns, which do not support the stone structure. The stairs contain fifty sections, most on the north and south walls, with many long landings stretching between them along the east and west walls. These landings allowed many inscribed memorial stones of various materials and sizes to be easily viewed while the stairs were accessible (until 1976).
The pyramidion has eight observation windows, two per side, and eight red aircraft warning lights, two per side. Two aluminum lightning rods, connected via the elevator support columns to ground water, protect the monument.
The monument's present foundation is 37 feet (11.3 m) thick, consisting of half of its original bluestone gneiss rubble encased in concrete. At the northeast corner of the foundation, 21 feet (6.4 m) below ground, is the marble cornerstone, including a zinc case filled with memorabilia.
Fifty American flags fly on a large circle of poles centered on the monument. An earthquake in 2011 slightly damaged the monument, and it was closed until 2014.
Barcelona is famous for its grand architecture, which includes some impressive works by Antonio Gaudi, including Park Guell. Commissioned by Eusebi Güell who wanted to create a stylish park for the city’s aristocracy, his idea was to have his friend Gaudi convert plots of land he’d purchased in 1899 into an English-inspired garden city. Gaudi commenced the work in November of 1900, devoting himself to building the walls, entrance pavilion, roads, viaducts and the main entrance stairs, among other features. Following Güell’s death in 1918, the land was sold to city hall to be transformed into a public park, which opened the year Gaudi died in 1926. Since then, it’s become one of Barcelona’s most important points of interest.
Walking through Park Guell feels like a stroll through a real-life fairytale with its remarkable stone structures, wavy shapes that look like flowing lava, covered pathways with columns shaped like trees, and fantastical buildings with lots of colored glass and ceramic mosaics. From the entrance is the Dragon Stairway, an icon of the park with the famous dragon sculpture separating its three sections. Along it are other symbols, like a snake and the emblem of Catalonia. The last few steps hold a Greek-theater shaped bench, designed to take advantage of summer shade and winter sun. At the top of the park is a terraced area for enjoying a jaw-dropping view of the park with the magnificent city serving as the backdrop.
Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of Edinburgh from its position on the Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued at times to be a royal residence until 1633.
From the 15th century, the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half.
As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1,100-year history, giving it a claim to having been "the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world".
Few of the present buildings pre-date the Lang Siege of the 16th century when the medieval defences were largely destroyed by artillery bombardment. The most notable exceptions are St Margaret's Chapel from the early 12th century, which is regarded as the oldest building in Edinburgh, the Royal Palace, and the early 16th-century Great Hall, although the interiors have been altered from the mid-Victorian period onwards. The castle also houses the Scottish regalia, known as the Honours of Scotland, and is the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland.
The British Army is still responsible for some parts of the castle, although its presence is now largely ceremonial and administrative. Some of the castle buildings house regimental museums which contribute to its presentation as a tourist attraction.
The Parthenon is a former temple on the Athenian Acropolis, dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patroness. Construction started in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although decoration of the building continued until 432 BC.
It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, democracy and Western civilization, and one of the world's greatest cultural monuments. To the Athenians who built it, the Parthenon, and other Periclean monuments of the Acropolis, were seen as a celebration of Hellenic victory over the Persian invaders and as a thanksgiving to the gods for that victory.
The Parthenon itself replaced an older temple of Athena, which historians call the Pre-Parthenon or Older Parthenon, that was demolished in the Persian invasion of 480 BC. Like most Greek temples, the Parthenon served a practical purpose as the city treasury. For a time, it served as the treasury of the Delian League, which later on became the Athenian Empire. In the final decade of the 6th century AD, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
After the Ottoman conquest, the Parthenon was turned into a mosque in the early 1460s. On 26 September 1687, an Ottoman ammunition dump inside the building was ignited by Venetian bombardment during a siege of the Acropolis. The resulting explosion severely damaged it and its sculptures.
Since 1975, numerous large-scale restoration projects have been undertaken; the latest was finished in 2020.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located east of El Paso, Texas. The mountain range includes Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,751 feet (2,667 m), and El Capitan used as a landmark by travelers on the route later followed by the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line. The ruins of a stagecoach station stand near the Pine Springs visitor center. The restored Frijole Ranch contains a small museum of local history and is the trailhead for Smith Spring.
The park covers 86,367 acres in the same mountain range as Carlsbad Caverns National Park, about 25 miles (40 km) to the north in New Mexico. The Guadalupe Peak Trail winds through pinyon pine and Douglas-fir forests as it ascends over 3,000 feet (910 m) to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, with views of El Capitan and the Chihuahuan Desert.
The McKittrick Canyon trail leads to a stone cabin built in the early 1930s as the vacation home of Wallace Pratt, a petroleum geologist who donated the land. Dog Canyon, on the northern park boundary at the Texas-New Mexico State line, is accessed via Carlsbad, New Mexico or Dell City, Texas. Camping is available at the Pine Springs campground and at Dog Canyon. A public corral for livestock is available by reservation. The park observes Mountain Time.
The Gypsum sand dunes lie on the west side of the park near Dell City. A rough four-wheel drive road leads to the Williams Ranch.
The Burj Khalifa, known as the Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration in 2010, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft, just over half a mile) and a roof height (excluding antenna, but including a 244 m spire) of 828 m (2,717 ft), the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in 2009 (preceded by Taipei 101).
Construction of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004, with the exterior completed five years later in 2009. The primary structure is reinforced concrete. The building was opened in 2010 as part of a new development called Downtown Dubai. It is designed to be the centrepiece of large-scale, mixed-use development.
The decision to construct the building is based on the government's decision to diversify from an oil-based economy, and for Dubai to gain international recognition. The building was originally named Burj Dubai but was renamed in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The building broke numerous height records, including its designation as the tallest building in the world.
Burj Khalifa was designed by Adrian Smith, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, whose firm designed the Willis Tower and One World Trade Center. Hyder Consulting was chosen to be the supervising engineer with NORR Group Consultants International Limited chosen to supervise the architecture of the project.
The design comes from the Islamic architecture of the region, such as in the Great Mosque of Samarra. The Y-shaped tripartite floor geometry is designed to optimize residential and hotel space. A buttressed central core and wings are used to support the height of the building. Although this design was derived from Tower Palace III, the Burj Khalifa's central core houses all vertical transportation with the exception of egress stairs within each of the wings. The structure also features a cladding system which is designed to withstand Dubai's hot summer temperatures. It contains a total of 57 elevators and 8 escalators.
At a certain point in the architectural and engineering process, the original Emaar developers experienced financial problems, and required more money and economic funding. Sheikh Khalifa, the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, granted monetary aid and funding, hence resulting in the changing of the name to "Burj Khalifa".
The Burj Khalifa has 163 floors. It has an observation deck on the 124th floor.
The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain is a Roman Catholic Church and Basilica that is mostly unfinished. A Basilica is a large building used in ancient Rome as a court of law, or a building similar to a Roman basilica but used as a Christian Church with special privileges granted by the Catholic Pope. The Sagrada Familia is an active construction site and has been in the process of being built since 1882. There are many reasons why the Sagrada has been under construction for so long, including the Spanish Civil War, being funded only by private donations, and continual changes to the design and structure. Even by 2010, the building was only half way completed. It is estimated that the building structure will be completed in 2026 and the decorations by 2032.
One of the most interesting parts of being in constant construction is being able to view the distinct differences in weathering and aging of the façade. You can see where new stonework has been added to the weather stained older sections. The styling of the building is both Gothic and Art Nouveau in its design and is unlike many of the other structures in Barcelona. One of the most interesting pieces in the Sagrada is the 1,492 pipe organ that was installed in 2010. Because the church is so big, additional organs will have to be installed to fill the space with music. These organs will be able to be play separately or together, with a combined 8,000 pipes.
Today, you can visit the completed portions of the structure. These areas include the Nave, the Crypt, the Museum, the Gift Shop, and two of the towers (Passion and Nativity). Although the original structure was completely funded by private patron donations, today the construction of the church is paid for by ticket sales to the site.
Ford's Theatre is a theater located in Washington, D.C., which opened in August 1863.
It is famous for being the site of the assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. After being shot in the head, the fatally wounded 56-year-old Lincoln was carried across the street to the Petersen House, where he died the next morning.
The theater was later used as a warehouse and office building, and in 1893 part of it collapsed, causing 22 deaths. It was renovated and re-opened as a theater in 1968. During the 2000s, it was renovated again, opening on February 12, 2009, in commemoration of the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. A related Center for Education and Leadership museum experience opened February 12, 2012, next to Petersen House.
The Petersen House and the theater are preserved together as Ford's Theatre National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service.
Prague Castle is a castle complex built in the 9th century. It is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept within a hidden room inside it.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 square metres (750,000 square feet), at about 570 metres (1,870 feet) in length and an average of about 130 metres (430 feet) wide. The castle is among the most visited tourist attractions in Prague attracting over 1.8 million visitors annually.
The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot monument in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Clad in stainless steel and built in the form of a weighted catenary arch, it is the world's tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and Missouri's tallest accessible building. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, and officially dedicated to "the American people," the Arch, commonly referred to as "The Gateway to the West" is the centerpiece of Gateway Arch National Park and has become an internationally recognized symbol of St. Louis, as well as a popular tourist destination.
The Arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947; construction began on February 12, 1963 and was completed on October 28, 1965 at an overall cost of $13 million. The monument opened to the public on June 10, 1967.
North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park is located in the state of Washington. It consists of a northern and southern section, split by the Skagit River that flows through the reservoirs of Ross Lake National Recreation Area.
North Cascades National Park features the rugged mountain peaks of the North Cascades Range, the most expansive glacial system in the contiguous United States, the headwaters of numerous waterways, and vast forests with the highest degree of flora biodiversity of any American national park.
The region was first settled by Paleo-Indian Native Americans. When European American explorers arrived, it was inhabited by the Skagit tribes. By the early 19th century, the region was visited by fur trappers and several British and American companies competed for control over the fur trade.
After the Canada–United States border was set at the 49th parallel in 1846, explorers came to chart potential routes through the mountains for roads and railroads. Limited mining and logging occurred from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. The first significant human impact in the region occurred in the 1920s when several dams were built in the Skagit River valley to generate hydroelectric power. Environmentalists then campaigned to preserve the remaining wilderness, ending on October 2, 1968, with the designation of North Cascades National Park.
Heavy snows and a high risk of avalanches due to the steep terrain, especially on the western slopes, severely limit visitation in the winter.
Most of the plant and animal species native to the park region are still found there, though climate change and pollutants from industrialized areas to the west pose risks to the environment. The park has one of the earliest and longest lasting research programs dedicated to studying climate change, primarily through examining the effects of glacial retreat.
Caernarfon Castle is a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, north-west Wales cared for by Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environment service. It was a motte-and-bailey castle from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began to replace it with the current stone structure. The Edwardian town and castle acted as the administrative centre of north Wales, and as a result the defences were built on a grand scale. There was a deliberate link with Caernarfon's Roman past, and the Roman fort of Segontium is nearby.
While the castle was under construction, town walls were built around Caernarfon. The work cost between £20,000 and £25,000 from the start until the work ended in 1330. Although the castle appears mostly complete from the outside, the interior buildings no longer survive and many of the building plans were never finished.
The town and castle were sacked in 1294 when Madog ap Llywelyn led a rebellion against the English. Caernarfon was recaptured the following year. During the Glyndŵr Rising of 1400–1415, the castle was besieged. When the Tudor dynasty ascended to the English throne in 1485, tensions between the Welsh and English began to diminish and castles were considered less important. As a result, Caernarfon Castle was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Despite its dilapidated condition, during the English Civil War Caernarfon Castle was held by Royalists, and was besieged three times by Parliamentarian forces. This was the last time the castle was used in war.
The castle was neglected until the 19th century when the state funded repairs. The castle was used for the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1911 and again in 1969. It is part of the World Heritage Site "Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd".
Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site was established in Topeka, Kansas, on October 26, 1992, by the United States Congress to commemorate the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Brown v. Board of Education aimed at ending racial segregation in public schools. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and, as such, violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees all citizens "equal protection of the laws."
The National Historic Site consists of the Monroe Elementary School, one of the four segregated elementary schools for African American children in Topeka, and the adjacent grounds.
The story of Monroe Elementary begins long before the Brown decision. In 1855, John Ritchie, an abolitionist, bought 160 acres (65 ha) from Jacob Chase in Topeka, Kansas. After the Civil War a number of newly freed African Americans came to Topeka and built homes on this land. Due to the sizable African American population, the school board decided to establish a school for black children in the neighborhood. "Ritchie's Addition" became the site of Monroe School. After Ritchie's death in 1887, the land was purchased by the Topeka Board of Education to build a school for African American children.
The current building is actually the third Monroe school to sit on the corner of Fifteenth and Monroe streets. The first school was located in a small rented building used from 1868 until a permanent structure was erected in 1874. The current building was constructed in 1926 immediately south of the old school. It was one of many schools in Topeka designed by the prominent Topeka architect Thomas W. Williamson between 1920 and 1935. His firm, Williamson and Co., was hired by the Topeka Board of Education to design a series of progressive schools. Monroe Elementary School is a two-story brick and limestone building in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. The building was made with some of the best materials and the most modern technology of the time.
In the Brown case, the legal opinion was not that the schools for black children in Kansas were qualitatively worse in construction, books, etc. than the schools for white children. Instead, the opinion was that school segregation by itself was an unfair detriment to the education of black children. The holding that "separate" by itself was unconstitutional was what made Brown the landmark case in school desegregation.
Washington National Cathedral
The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, commonly known as Washington National Cathedral, is an American cathedral of the Episcopal Church. The structure is of Neo-Gothic design closely modeled on English Gothic style of the late fourteenth century. It is the second-largest church building in the United States, and the fourth-tallest structure in Washington, D.C. Over 270,000 people visit the structure annually.
The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, under the first seven Bishops of Washington, erected the cathedral under a charter passed by the United States Congress on January 6, 1893. Construction began on September 29, 1907, when the foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and a crowd of more than 20,000, and ended 83 years later when the "final finial" was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990.
The Spainish Steps climb from its base at Piazza di Spagna to the church at the top, the Trinita dei Monti. Altogether, there are 135 steps.
Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi were the architects who built the stairway from 1723 to 1725. They were chosen because they won the right in a contest in 1717. The idea for the project was originally birthed in the 1580’s by Pope Gregory Xlll. It never came to pass until Sanctis and Specchi made it happen over 140 years later.
Piazza di Spagna at the base contains the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Longboat), built in 1627 to 1629. Legend has it that Pope Urban Vlll arranged for the fountain to be installed when he was inspired by a longboat after the Tiber flood.
On the right corner of the stairs is the house where John Keats, an English poet lived before he died in 1821. The former cardinal Lorenzo Cybo de Mari’s palace is a short ways on down.
At the stairway’s top ramp is the Pincian Hill where the Villa Medici is. A manger scene is displayed there at Christmastime.
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is located in the Navajo and Apache counties of northeastern Arizona. Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the park covers about 346 square miles (900 square kilometers), encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. The site was declared a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962.
Averaging about 5,400 feet (1,600 m) in elevation, the park has a dry windy climate with temperatures that vary from summer highs of about 100 °F (38 °C) to winter lows well below freezing. More than 400 species of plants, dominated by grasses such as bunchgrass, blue grama, and sacaton, are found in the park. Fauna include larger animals such as pronghorns, coyotes, and bobcats, many smaller animals, such as deer mice, snakes, lizards, seven kinds of amphibians, and more than 200 species of birds, some of which are permanent residents and many of which are migratory.
The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic Epoch, about 225 million years ago. The sediments containing the fossil logs are part of the widespread and colorful Chinle Formation, from which the Painted Desert gets its name. Beginning about 60 million years ago, the Colorado Plateau was pushed upward by tectonic forces and exposed to increased erosion. All of the park's rock layers above the Chinle, except geologically recent ones found in parts of the park, have been removed by wind and water. In addition to petrified logs, fossils found in the park have included Late Triassic ferns, cycads, ginkgoes, and many other plants as well as fauna including giant reptiles called phytosaurs, large amphibians, and early dinosaurs. Paleontologists have been unearthing and studying the park's fossils since the early 20th century.
The park's earliest human inhabitants arrived at least 8,000 years ago. By about 2,000 years ago, they were growing corn in the area and shortly thereafter building pit houses in what would become the park. Later inhabitants built above-ground dwellings called pueblos. Although a changing climate caused the last of the park's pueblos to be abandoned by about 1400 CE, more than 600 archeological sites, including petroglyphs, have been discovered in the park.
Temple of Hephaestus
The Temple of Hephaestus or Hephaisteion is a well-preserved Greek temple; it remains standing largely intact. It is a Doric peripteral temple, and is located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill.
Construction started in 449 BC, and some scholars believe the building was not completed for three decades as funds and workers were redirected towards the Parthenon. The western frieze was completed between 445–440 BC, while the eastern frieze, the western pediment and several changes in the building's interior are dated by scholars to 435–430 BC. The temple was officially inaugurated in 416–415 BC.
From the 7th century until 1834, it served as the Greek Orthodox church of Saint George Akamates.
Hephaestus was the patron god of metal working, craftsmanship, and fire.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore
The third largest church in Italy, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore has been a symbol of grandeur in Florence ever since its completion. The Italian Gothic building was finished in the 15th century, built on the site of a 7th-century church – the remains of that very church can be viewed in its crypt.
It stands tall over the city as its third and last cathedral, dedicated to the Virgin of the Flower in 1412. The first stone of the façade was laid in 1296. It was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio who worked on the cathedral for six years, through 1302. The magnificent Renaissance dome that dominates the building was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Gazing at the structure today, note the basilica’s exterior with its marble panels in varying shades of pink and green, a white border and a more recent elaborate Gothic Revival façade that dates to the 1800s.
The interior holds very significant works of art, including impressive frescoes painted by Andrea del Castagno in 1456 and Paolo Ucello in 1436. Ucello also frescoed a clock on the inside wall with its four heads of saints. One of the most popular things to do in Florence is to climb to the top of the dome where you’ll be surrounded by lavish frescoes while taking in an awe-inspiring vista of the city’s endless red roofs.
It took over 140 years to complete the cathedral. The domed rooftop was the biggest challenge to complete as the technology to build it didn't exist in 1293 when it was designed. They started bulding the cathedral anway and the roof was left open until Fillipo Brunelleschi came up with the final design over 120 years later.
The cathedral was under construction for 80 years before Fillipo Brunelleschi was born.
The city of Florence held a competition to find a design for the domed roof. It was during this compeition where Brunelleschi won with the help of his sculptor friend Donatello. Brunelleschi had not built anything before coming up with his design.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, known as Sacré-Coeur, is the second most visited monument in the city. Sacré-Coeur sits on the summit of Montemarte, the highest point in the city. From here, you can see all of Paris. The view from the top of the dome is second only to the Eiffel Tower.
Sacré-Coeur was built between 1875 and 1914 by the architect Paul Abadie. Before its construction, this area had already been used as a place of worship for hundreds of years. The druids of ancient Gaul erected temples dedicated to Mercury and Mars. Later the Romans would build their own temples. The L'Eglise Saint-Pierre, was built nearby in the 12th century. It was destroyed during the French Revolution in 1789.
The Franco-Prussian War and the "Commune" Revolution in 1871 were two bloody battles between France and Germany and the Vatican. The French people built Sacré-Coeur as a symbol of penance for the violence they had caused. Unforunately this did not end the violence. Sacré-Coeur was completed in 1914, the same year World War I began.
The bell in Sacré-Coeur is called "Savoyarde". It was cast in the Alps in the commune of Quintal, near Annecy. It took 21 horses to deliver the bell to the top of the hill in 1895. It is one of the largest (3 meter diameter) and heaviest (19 tons) bells in the world. It can be heard from 10km away.
The white stone used to build the basilica is the same used for the Arc de Triomphe and the Alexandre III bridge. When the stone gets wet it releases calcite which cleans the stone and helps it keep its white color.
The two equestrian statues on the front of the basilica represnt Joan of Arc and King Saint Louis.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is located in West Texas, bordering Mexico. The park has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States, and was named after a large bend in the Rio Grande/Río Bravo. The park protects more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. Additional park activities include scenic drives, programs led by Big Bend park rangers, and stargazing.
The area has a rich cultural history, from archeological sites dating back nearly 10,000 years to more recent pioneers, ranchers, and miners. The Chisos Mountains are located in the park, and are the only mountain range in the United States to be fully contained within the boundary of a national park. Geological features in the park include sea fossils and dinosaur bones, as well as volcanic dikes.
The park encompasses an area of 801,163 acres (1,251.8 sq mi; 3,242.2 km2), entirely within Brewster County. For more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km), the Rio Grande/Río Bravo forms the boundary between Mexico and the United States, and Big Bend National Park administers approximately 118 miles (190 km) along that boundary.
Because the Rio Grande serves as an international boundary, the park faces unusual constraints while administering and enforcing park rules, regulations, and policies. In accordance with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the park's territory extends only to the center of the deepest river channel as the river flowed in 1848. The rest of the channel and the land south of it lies within Mexican territory. The park is bordered by the protected areas of Cañón de Santa Elena and Maderas del Carmen in Mexico.
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.
Its name, which comes from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to several historic structures but most often: the Old Palace, a medieval building-complex largely destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the New Palace that stands today. The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and, for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. Committees appointed by both houses manage the building and report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and to the Lord Speaker.
The first royal palace constructed on the site dated from the 11th century, and Westminster became the primary residence of the Kings of England until fire destroyed the royal apartments in 1512. The remainder of Westminster continued to serve as the home of the Parliament of England, which had met there since the 13th century, and also as the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall. In 1834 an even greater fire ravaged the heavily rebuilt Houses of Parliament, and the only significant medieval structures to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, and the Jewel Tower.
After the fire, a competition was held for the reconstruction of the Palace. The architect Charles Barry won with a design for new buildings in the Gothic Revival style, inspired by the English Perpendicular Gothic style of the 14th–16th centuries. The remains of the Old Palace (except the Jewel Tower) were incorporated into its replacement, which contains over 1,100 rooms organised around two series of courtyards. Part of the New Palace's land was reclaimed from the River Thames, which is the setting of its nearly 300-metre long (980 ft) façade, called the River Front.
Construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects. Work on the interior decoration continued well into the 20th century. Major conservation work has taken place since then to reverse the effects of London's air pollution, and extensive repairs followed the Second World War, including the reconstruction of the Commons Chamber following its bombing in 1941.
The Palace is one of the centres of political life in the United Kingdom. The Elizabeth Tower, often referred to by the name of its main bell, Big Ben, has become an iconic landmark of London. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia called the new palace "a dream in stone". The Palace of Westminster has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is a United States national park located in the State of Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula. The park has four regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west-side temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier east side. Within the park there are three distinct ecosystems, including subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, temperate forest, and the rugged Pacific coast.
President Theodore Roosevelt originally designated the park as Mount Olympus National Monument on March 2, 1909. The monument was re-designated a national park by Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt on June 29, 1938. In 1976, Olympic National Park was designated by UNESCO as an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 as a World Heritage Site. In 1988, Congress designated 95 percent of the park as the Olympic Wilderness.
The park provides habitat for many species (like the Roosevelt elk) that are native only to the Pacific Northwest coast. As a result, scientists have declared it a biological reserve and study its unique species to better understand how plants and animals evolve. The park is home to black bears and black-tailed deer. The park also has a noteworthy cougar population, numbering about 150. Mountain goats were accidentally introduced into the park in the 1920s and have caused much damage on the native flora. The NPS has activated management plans to control the goats. The park contains an estimated 366,000 acres (572 sq mi; 1,480 km2) of old-growth forests.
Prior to the influx of European settlers, Olympic's human population consisted of Native Americans, whose use of the peninsula was thought to have consisted mainly of fishing and hunting. However, recent reviews are pointing to much more extensive tribal use of especially the subalpine meadows. Most if not all Pacific Northwest indigenous cultures were adversely affected by European diseases (often decimated) and other factors. Large numbers of cultural sites are now identified in the Olympic mountains, and important artifacts have been found.
When settlers began to appear, logging became a fast growing industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Public dissent against logging began to take hold in the 1920s, when people got their first glimpses of the clear-cut hillsides. This period saw an explosion of people's interest in the outdoors; with the growing use of the automobile, people took to touring previously remote places like the Olympic Peninsula.
Caerphilly Castle (Welsh: Castell Caerffili) is a medieval fortification in Caerphilly in South Wales. The castle was constructed by Gilbert de Clare in the 13th century as part of his campaign to maintain control of Glamorgan, and saw extensive fighting between Gilbert, his descendants, and the native Welsh rulers.
Surrounded by extensive artificial lakes – considered by historian Allen Brown to be "the most elaborate water defences in all Britain" – it occupies around 30 acres (12 ha) and is the largest castle in Wales and the second-largest castle in the United Kingdom after Windsor Castle.
It is famous for having introduced concentric castle defences to Britain and for its large gatehouses. Gilbert began work on the castle in 1268 following his occupation of the north of Glamorgan, with the majority of the construction occurring over the next three years at a considerable cost. The project was opposed by Gilbert's Welsh rival Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, leading to the site being burnt in 1270 and taken over by royal officials in 1271.
Despite these interruptions, Gilbert successfully completed the castle and took control of the region. The core of Caerphilly Castle, including the castle's luxurious accommodation, was built on what became a central island, surrounding by several artificial lakes, a design Gilbert probably derived from that at Kenilworth. The dams for these lakes were further fortified, and an island to the west provided additional protection. The concentric rings of walls inspired Edward I's castles in North Wales, and proved what historian Norman Pounds has termed "a turning point in the history of the castle in Britain".
The castle was attacked during the Madog ap Llywelyn revolt of 1294, the Llywelyn Bren uprising in 1316 and during the overthrow of Edward II in 1326–27. In the late 15th century, however, it fell into decline and by the 16th century the lakes had drained away and the walls were robbed of their stone. The Marquesses of Bute acquired the property in 1776 and under the third and fourth Marquesses extensive restoration took place. In 1950 the castle and grounds were given to the state and the water defences were re-flooded. In the 21st century, the Welsh heritage agency Cadw manages the site as a tourist attraction.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is an American national park located in southwestern Utah near the town of Springdale. A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile (590 km2) park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to 2,640 ft (800 m) deep. The canyon walls are reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone eroded by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The lowest point in the park is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest peak is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, the park has a unique geography and a variety of life zones that allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park's four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches.
Human habitation of the area started about 8,000 years ago with small family groups of Native Americans, one of which was the semi-nomadic Basketmaker Anasazi (c. 300 CE). Subsequently, the Virgin Anasazi culture (c. 500) and the Parowan Fremont group developed as the Basketmakers settled in permanent communities. Both groups moved away by 1300 and were replaced by the Parrusits and several other Southern Paiute subtribes. Mormons came into the area in 1858 and settled there in the early 1860s. In 1909, President William Howard Taft named the area Mukuntuweap National Monument in order to protect the canyon. In 1918, the acting director of the newly created National Park Service, Horace Albright, drafted a proposal to enlarge the existing monument and change the park's name to Zion National Monument, Zion being a term used by the Mormons. According to historian Hal Rothman: "The name change played to a prevalent bias of the time. Many believed that Spanish and Indian names would deter visitors who, if they could not pronounce the name of a place, might not bother to visit it. The new name, Zion, had greater appeal to an ethnocentric audience." On November 19, 1919, Congress redesignated the monument as Zion National Park, and the act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson. The Kolob section was proclaimed a separate Zion National Monument in 1937, but was incorporated into the national park in 1956.
The geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area includes nine formations that together represent 150 million years of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation. At various periods in that time warm, shallow seas, streams, ponds and lakes, vast deserts, and dry near-shore environments covered the area. Uplift associated with the creation of the Colorado Plateau lifted the region 10,000 feet (3,000 m) starting 13 million years ago.
Hanging Houses of Cuenca
The Hanging Houses of Cuenca are located around 85 miles east of Madrid, Spain. Also known as the Casas Colgadas, these houses literally hang off the cliffs above the River Huecar. The houses are known as “rascacielos” which means skyscrapers, and at one point they were very common along the cliffs. Today, not many remain.
The City of Cuenca was originally the capital of the Spanish province of Cuenca, and has been a city in the Iberian Peninsula since 714 AD. Although the area seems fairly uninhabitable, the city sits between the Jucar and Huecar Rivers, providing strategic access to the Iberian Peninsula. Because of this, a fortress city was built which included the Hanging Houses. Although not originally constructed with the city of Cuenca, there is evidence these homes were built as early at the 15th century thanks to some panoramic sketches of the town by artist Anton van de Wyngaerde.
The Hanging Houses were added to the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, but the most well known of the houses became a heritage site of its own in the 1980s when it became a museum dedicated to Spanish Abstract Art.
Photo by Turol Jones
The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife. The site sits within the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang.
The figures, dating from approximately the late third century BCE, were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi'an, Shaanxi, China.
The figures vary in height according to their roles, the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots and horses. Estimates from 2007 were that the three pits containing the Terracotta Army held more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which remained buried in the pits near Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum. Other terracotta non-military figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen, and musicians.
The Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
This mausoleum was constructed over 38 years, from 246 to 208 BC, and is situated underneath a 76-meter-tall tomb mound shaped like a truncated pyramid. The layout of the mausoleum is modeled on the Qin capital Xianyang, divided into inner and outer cities. The circumference of the inner city is 2.5 km (1.55 miles) and the outer is 6.3 km (3.9 miles).
The tomb is located in the southwest of the inner city and faces east. It has not yet been excavated.
Isle Royale National Park
Isle Royale National Park consists of Isle Royale and more than 400 small adjacent islands, as well as the surrounding waters of Lake Superior, in the state of Michigan. Isle Royale is 45 mi (72 km) long and 9 mi (14 km) wide, making it the fourth-largest lake island in the world.
The island is the largest natural island in Lake Superior, the second-largest island in the Great Lakes (after Manitoulin Island), the third-largest in the contiguous United States (after Long Island and Padre Island), and the 33rd-largest island in the United States.
Isle Royale National Park was established on April 3, 1940. It was then protected from development by wilderness area designation in 1976, declared a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve in 1980, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019.
The park covers 894 sq mi (2,320 km2), with 209 sq mi (540 km2) of land and 685 sq mi (1,770 km2) of surrounding waters.
The park's northern boundary lies next to the Canadian Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area along the international border.
The Kehlsteinhaus (known as the Eagle's Nest in English-speaking countries) is a Third Reich–era building erected atop the summit of the Kehlstein, a rocky outcrop that rises above Obersalzberg near the town of Berchtesgaden. It was used exclusively by members of the Nazi Party for government and social meetings. It was visited on 14 documented instances by Adolf Hitler, who disliked the location due to his fear of heights, the risk of bad weather, and the thin mountain air.
Hitler first visited on September 16, 1938, and returned to inaugurate it on April 20, 1939, his 50th birthday—though it was not intended as a birthday gift.
There are two ways to approach and enter the building: the road and the Kehlsteinhaus elevator. Hitler did not trust the elevator, continually expressed his reservations of its safety, and disliked using it; his biggest fear was that the elevator's winch mechanism on the roof would attract a lightning strike. Bormann took great pains to never mention the two serious lightning strikes that occurred during construction.
The Kehlsteinhaus lies directly above the Berghof, Hitler's summer home. In a rare diplomatic engagement, Hitler received departing French ambassador André François-Poncet on October 18, 1938, here. It was he who coined the name "Eagle's Nest" for the building while later describing the experience; this has since become a commonly used name for the Kehlsteinhaus.
A wedding reception for Eva Braun's sister Gretl was held there following her marriage to Hermann Fegelein on June 3, 1944. While Hitler more often than not left the entertaining duties to others, he believed the house presented an excellent opportunity to entertain important and impressionable guests.
The Kehlsteinhaus sits on a ridge atop the Kehlstein at 1,834 m (6,017 ft).
The building's main reception room is dominated by a fireplace of red Italian marble presented by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. It was damaged by Allied soldiers chipping off pieces to take home as souvenirs.
It took workers 13 months to build.
The Roman Forum (Foro Romano) is located in Rome, Italy. It was an open-air location in the heart of the ancient city where many events took place - including political, religious, important meetings, criminal trials, buying and selling of goods, gladiator fights, and social activities. The Forum opened about 500 BC around the time that the Roman Republic was founded.
The area is rectangular in shape and is situated between Capitoline Hill and Palatine Hill which was where many of the ancient city’s magnificent monuments and significant temples were. The Forum was beloved by the ruler Julius Caesar who took a great interest in it. During his time, it was improved and expanded. Arches, statues, basilicas, and other artistic touches and architectural buildings were added.
Over 4.5 million visitors come to see the Roman Forum each year, making it one of the most popular destinations in the country of Italy.
The Forum was in use for about 1400 years. It wasn't until the Roman Empire fell that it became abandoned. It wasn't until 1803 when it was rediscovered again.
It took over 100 years to fully excavate the Forum.
The Romans would build new structures on top of old ruins. Archeologists have been able to uncover many centuries of remains because of this.
Rome was founded by Romulus after he killed his twin brother Remus. It is believed that Romulus is buried within the Roman Forum. His grave is marked by a large piece of black marble.
The Eiffel Tower is in Paris, France. It is an iron tower and it is named for the engineer who designed it, Gustave Eiffel. Gustave Eiffel also helped to build the State of Liberty in New York City. The Eiffel Tower has become a national symbol of France and is known world-wide. When it was first built in 1889, it was the tallest structure in the world. The Eiffel Tower held that honor until the Chrysler Building was constructed in New York City 41 years later.
Even though the Eiffel Tower is today considered to be one of the most recognizable symbols of France, it was not very welcome at first. When the Tower was first proposed, a group of engineers, artists, and writers got together and wrote letters to the French Government asking them for it not to be built. They believed that the Tower would not be able to be built and stay up for long because it seemed impossible, but they also thought that it was ugly. One of the men who protested the Tower was named Guy de Maupassant. Supposedly, Guy ate lunch everyday in the dining room of the Eiffel Tower because it was only place that he could not see the Tower.
During World War II, the French government shut down the elevators that were in the Tower so that Hitler and the Germans could not use them. Adolph Hitler commanded his generals to destroy the Eiffel Tower along with the rest of Paris, but his generals disobeyed his orders.
It takes 60 tons of paint to cover the Tower, and it gets painted every seven years. It’s painted in three different colors from bottom to top, lighter at the top and darker at the bottom. Today the Eiffel Tower is the most visited monument in Paris. Almost 7 million people go to the Tower every year!
Shanghai Tower is a 128-story, 632-meter (2,073 ft)-tall megatall skyscraper in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai. It is the world's second-tallest building by height to architectural top and it shares the record (along with the Ping An Finance Center) of having the world's highest observation deck within a building or structure at 562 m. It had the world's second-fastest elevators at a top speed of 20.5 meters per second (74 km/h; 46 mph) until 2017, when it was surpassed by the Guangzhou CTF Finance Center, with its top speed of 21 meters per second (76 km/h; 47 mph).
Designed by international design firm Gensler and owned by the Shanghai Municipal Government, it is the tallest of the world's first triple-adjacent supertall buildings in Pudong, the other two being the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center. Its tiered construction, designed for high energy efficiency, provides nine separate zones divided between office, retail and leisure use.
Construction work on the tower began in November 2008 and topped out on 3 August 2013. The exterior was completed in summer 2015, and work was considered complete in September 2014. Although the building was originally scheduled to open to the public in November 2014, the actual public-use date slipped considerably. The observation deck was opened to visitors in July 2016; the period from July through September 2018 was termed a "test run" or "commissioning" period. Since April 26, 2017, the sightseeing deck on the 118th floor has been open to the public.
The Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) is a covered wooden footbridge spanning the river Reuss. Named after the nearby St. Peter's Chapel, the bridge is unique in containing a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with a larger part of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world's oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city's symbol and as one of Switzerland's main tourist attractions.
Part of the bridge complex is the octagonal 34.5 m (113 ft) tall Wasserturm, which translates to "water tower," in the sense of 'tower standing in the water.' The tower pre-dated the bridge by about 30 years. Over the centuries, the tower has been used as a prison, torture chamber, and later a municipal archive as well as a local treasury. Today, the tower is closed to the public, although it houses a local artillery association and a tourist gift shop.
The bridge itself was originally built c.1365 as part of Lucerne's fortifications. It linked the old town on the right bank of the Reuss to the new town on the left bank, securing the town from attack from the south. The bridge was initially over 270 metres (890 ft) long, although numerous shortenings over the years and river bank replenishments mean the bridge now totals only 204.7 metres (672 ft) long.
The Kapellbrücke almost burned down on 18 August 1993, destroying two thirds of its interior paintings. Shortly thereafter, the Kapellbrücke was reconstructed and again opened to the public on 14 April 1994.
Stari Most, also known as Mostar Bridge, is a rebuilt 16th-century Ottoman bridge in the city of Mostar that crosses the river Neretva and connects the two parts of the city.
As Mostar's economic and administrative importance increased with the growing presence of Ottoman rule, the precarious wooden suspension bridge over the Neretva gorge required replacement. The old bridge on the river "...was made of wood and hung on chains," wrote the Ottoman geographer Katip Çelebi, and it "...swayed so much that people crossing it did so in mortal fear".
In 1566, Mimar Hayruddin designed a new bridge, which was said to have cost 300,000 Drams (silver coins) to build. The construction project was supervised by Karagoz Mehmet Bey, Sultan Suleiman's son-in-law and the patron of Mostar's most important mosque complex, the Hadzi Mehmed Karadzozbeg Mosque. Charged under pain of death to construct a bridge of such unprecedented dimensions, Hayruddin reportedly prepared for his own funeral on the day the scaffolding was finally removed from the completed structure. Upon its completion it was the widest man-made arch in the world.
The Old Bridge stood for 427 years, until it was destroyed on 9 November 1993 by Croation paramilitary forces during the Croat–Bosniak War. Subsequently, a project was set in motion to reconstruct it; the rebuilt bridge opened on 23 July 2004.
The bridge is considered an exemplary piece of Balkan Islamic architecture.
Utah Beach was the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944 (D-Day), during World War II. It is the westernmost of the five code-named landing beaches in Normandy. Amphibious landings at Utah were undertaken by United States Army troops, with sea transport, mine sweeping, and a naval bombardment force provided by the United States Navy and Coast Guard as well as elements from the British, Dutch and other Allied navies.
The objective at Utah was to secure a beachhead on the Cotentin Peninsula, the location of important port facilities at Cherbourg. The amphibious assault, primarily by the US 4th Infantry Division and 70th Tank Battalion, was supported by airborne landings of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Division. The intention was to rapidly seal off the Cotentin Peninsula, prevent the Germans from reinforcing Cherbourg, and capture the port as quickly as possible.
Utah, along with Sword on the eastern flank, was added to the invasion plan in December 1943. These changes doubled the frontage of the invasion and necessitated a month-long delay so that additional landing craft and personnel could be assembled in England.
Allied forces attacking Utah faced two battalions of the 919th Grenadier Regiment, part of the 709th Static Infantry Division. While improvements to fortifications had been undertaken under the leadership of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel beginning in October 1943, the troops assigned to defend the area were mostly poorly equipped non-German conscripts.
D-Day at Utah began at 01:30, when the first of the airborne units arrived, tasked with securing the key crossroads at Sainte-Mère-Église and controlling the causeways through the flooded farmland behind Utah so the infantry could advance inland. While some airborne objectives were quickly met, many paratroopers landed far from their drop zones and were unable to fulfill their objectives on the first day. On the beach itself, infantry and tanks landed in four waves beginning at 06:30 and quickly secured the immediate area with minimal casualties. Meanwhile, engineers set to work clearing the area of obstacles and mines, and additional waves of reinforcements continued to arrive. At the close of D-Day, Allied forces had only captured about half of the planned area and contingents of German defenders remained, but the beachhead was secure.
The 4th Infantry Division landed 21,000 troops on Utah at the cost of only 197 casualties. Airborne troops arriving by parachute and glider added an additional 14,000 men, with 2,500 casualties. Around 700 men were lost in engineering units, 70th Tank Battalion, and seaborne vessels sunk by the enemy. German losses are unknown. Cherbourg was captured on June 26, but by this time the Germans had destroyed the port facilities, which were not brought back into full operation until September.
The Alamo is located in San Antonio, Texas. It is a Spanish mission which was built in 1718 and is the location where the Battle of the Alamo was fought between Mexican troops and Texans and Texas immigrants in 1836.
It took place over issues with the cotton industry, immigration rights, slavery, and Federalism. Mostly though, the conflict was over money. Although the battle only lasted 13 days, it was very gruesome (about 600 Mexicans and between 180-250 Texans died).
When Santa Anna and the Mexican army stormed the Alamo, the Texas army led by James Bowie and William Travis fought back valiantly, using anything they could. That is why the Alamo came to stand for courage and resistance to oppression. “Remember the Alamo” is a popular coined phrase which is said to remind people everywhere to stand up for their rights.
The Alamo was the scene for other wars before the Battle of the Alamo. In fact, 6 flags have flown over it from different nations.
Today, the Alamo is toured by visitors from all around the world. You are able to walk inside the church mission and you can stroll around the grounds too. The Long Barrack where the army officers slept can be viewed as well.
A guided tour or an audio tour are available for a small fee.
A Disney mini-series in the 1950's, Davy Crockett, was based on the life of David Crockett, a U.S. Congressman who fought and died in the battle.
The battle would provide a rallying cry for the fight for Texas independence. On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston with 800 Texans defeated Santa Anna's Mexican army of 1,500 men at San Jacinto.
Castello Sforzesco was built in 1450 by Francesco Sforza. Francesco was an Italian military leader and the Duke of Milan from 1450 until his death in 1466. When construction was complete, Francesco used it as his home.
In 1494, Francesco's son Ludovico Sforza became Lord of Milan. He, along with his wife Beatrice d'Este, would host large festivals and gatherings at the castle. Beatrice d'Este belonged to the highest class of Renaissance women and her great taste for the arts could be seen in the paintings and decorations throughout the caste. They hired many of the best artists of the time including Leonardo da Vinci, who painted the frescoed ceiling of the "Sala delle Asse."
In 1526, the Treaty of Madrid gave Spain parts of Italy. During this time, the Spanish converted the castle into a citadel (a fortress). There were about 1000 to 3000 men assigned here. The Spanish improved the fortification and expanded the length of the surrounding walls.
Most of the castle was demolished during the period of Napoleonic rule. Around this same time, both Piazza Castello and Piazza d'Armi were constructed.
When Italy united in the 19th century, the castle was no longer used by the military. It was used by the city instead. In 1880, the Via Dante was built to connect the castle with the Duomo. The central tower, Tower Filarete, was rebuilt based on 16th centrury drawings and dedicated to King Umberto I.
Allied bombings in 1943 (World War II) severely damaged the castle. After the war, it was rebuilt and used as a museum.
Before Castello Sforzesco, Castello di Porta Giova stood in this location in the 14th century. It was destroyed around 1447 leading to the construction of the new castle.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce Canyon National Park is much smaller, and sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m).
The Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon was originally designated as a national monument by President Warren G. Harding in 1923 and was redesignated as a national park by Congress in 1928. The park covers 35,835 acres (55.992 sq mi; 14,502 ha; 145.02 km2) and receives substantially fewer visitors than Zion National Park or Grand Canyon National Park, largely due to Bryce's more remote location.
The Pantheon is considered the most well-preserved and important building from ancient Rome. It is remarkable that it stands in such glory today. Initially built in 27 BC, it was dedicated to Romulus, the mythological founder of Ancient Rome and as a temple to all gods, - the word Pantheon means “honor all Gods.”
After being damaged by fire, it was rebuilt by the Romans in 125 AD, making it nearly 1,900 years old. The ancient Pantheon boasts the world’s single largest unsupported dome, measuring 142 feet in diameter and height. When the great artist Michelangelo saw this wonder for the first time, he was said to have exclaimed that it looked “more like the work of angels, not humans.”
The structure was way ahead of its time, with the exact composition of the material still unknown, although it appears structurally similar to modern concrete. All we know for certain is that it was built in a way to withstand the ravages of time and has managed to survive barbarian raids, somehow remaining intact with its majestic splendor and grand beauty throughout the centuries.
With the rise in Christianity and abandonment of pagan gods, an altar was added in 609 AD, transforming it into a Christian church. It is still a church today, hosting mass on Saturday evenings, Sunday mornings and holy days.
Old North Church
Old North Church is in the North End section of Boston, Massachusetts. It is where the famous signal known as “One if by land, two if by sea” was carried out during the American Revolutionary War. Old North Church is the oldest standing church still in Boston today, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also Boston’s most visited historic site! The church was built in 1723, and was used as an Episcopal church.
In 1775, before the American Revolution began, Boston was a hot bed of revolutionary activity. “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere” is one of the most famous opening lines of any poem in American history. It tells the story of the time just before the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, Lexington and Concord. American Patriots had stock piled ammunition in Concord and the British Army was marching towards the town to seize the ammunition and put down any hopes of rebellion. The patriot group, The Sons of Liberty, found out about the British plans and decided to try to stop them. Two members of the Sons of Liberty were asked to watch the movement of the British Army and alert the others by lighting lanterns in the church steeple- one if the British were coming by land, and two if they were coming by sea. Paul Revere and 30 other riders went through Boston to alert everyone to the British army’s movements after two lanterns were placed in the Old North Church steeple on April 8th, 1775.
The church was mostly made up of members that were loyal to the British crown. The fact that it was used by the Sons of Liberty to warn the colonists of the British Army makes the event even more amazing.
Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is one of the most important buildings in American history. It is the building where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were signed. Today it is part of Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia and is visited by more than 500,000 people each year.
Independence Hall was constructed in 1753 to be the home of the colonial Pennsylvania Legislature. For many years it was actually used as the capitol building until the capital of Pennsylvania was moved to Lancaster in 1799. During the American Revolutionary War, Independence Hall was where the Continental Congresses met to discuss the founding of a new nation as well as a new government for the former British Colonies.
On June 14th, 1775, the Second Continental Congress gathered inside of Independence Hall and voted for George Washington to be the Commander-in-Chief of the newly formed Continental Army. At the same time, the Continental Congress named Benjamin Franklin as the very first Postmaster General. A little more than a year later, the Declaration of Independence was signed which officially proclaimed that the American Colonies would be leaving the British crown. In 1787, the Constitution of the United States was drafted and adopted after the Articles of Confederation failed. The Constitution created the laws for how the United States would be governed.
Photo by Xiquinho Silva
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is located in Southeast Alaska west of Juneau. President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the area around Glacier Bay a national monument under the Antiquities Act on February 25, 1925. Subsequent to an expansion of the monument by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) enlarged the national monument by 523,000 acres on December 2, 1980, and created Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The national preserve encompasses 58,406 acres of public land to the immediate northwest of the park, protecting a portion of the Alsek River with its fish and wildlife habitats, while allowing sport hunting.
Glacier Bay became part of a binational UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, and was inscribed as a Biosphere Reserve in 1986. The National Park Service undertook an obligation to work with Hoonah and Yakutat Tlingit Native American organizations in the management of the protected area in 1994. The park and preserve cover a total of 3,223,384 acres, with 2,770,000 acres designated as a wilderness area.
Juliette Gordon Low House
The Juliette Gordon Low House was the childhood home of the founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low. It is located in the historic district of Savannah, Georgia. The home is more formally known as the Wayne-Gordon House. The house was originally built for a former Savannah mayor named James Moore Wayne. During the Civil War, James Moore Wayne was a Supreme Court Justice of the United States, and he was one of the few Southern men to remain in the American government and not leave to become members of the Confederacy. The house was constructed for him in 1818, and although no one is very sure the architect who designed it, there are many historians who believe it was William Jay. William Jay was a very famous Savannah architect who was originally from England. The style of the house fits the style that William Jay designed in, and William also received a fine for leaving construction garbage in the area at the same time the house was being built.
Juliette Gordon Low was born in the house on Halloween night in 1860 and she grew up in the beautiful house in downtown Savannah. Years later, after marrying Andrew Low and living in both Savannah and Scotland for many years, Juliette Gordon Low became a widow and started to travel the world. She met Robert Baden Powell in England, and he told her about his boy’s organization called the Boy Scouts. Juliette became friends with Robert’s sister who had founded the Girl Guides and it gave Juliette an idea. When she went back to Savannah she decided to start her own girls’ group and call it the Girl Scouts. Although only 18 girls signed up at first in 1912, now the Girl Scouts have more than 3.7 million members.
Mount Rushmore is a national memorial located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Made up of four massively large sculpted heads, it features the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each of the sculptures are more than 60 feet in height and are situated nearly 6000 feet above sea level, making it the highest government memorial in the country.
Gutzon Borglum was the lead designer and project manager at the site from 1927 to 1941 along with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum. A South Dakota historian by the name of Doane Robinson came up with the idea to make the massive carving into the Black Hills in the hopes of driving up tourism to the area. Originally, the design was to be carved into an area known as The Needles, an area of eroded granite pillars with much significance to the Native American groups living in the area. In addition, Robinson was wanting to carve American West figureheads, such as Red Cloud, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Lewis and Clark, but was overruled by Borglum who believed that the presidents would have more universal appeal to tourists.
Construction on the monument lasted until 1941, 6 months after Gutzon Borglum passed away. By this point, funding had run dry and the grand plan of carving the monuments from head to waist had to be abandoned. Mount Rushmore remains a very popular place to visit each year, just as Doane Robinson had wanted. In 2016, nearly 2.5 million people visited the national memorial.
Redwood National Park
The Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) are a group of, cooperatively managed parks, along the coast of northern California. Made up of the Redwood National Park (established 1968) and California's State Parks: Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek (dating from the 1920s), the combined RNSP contain 139,000 acres, featuring old-growth temperate rainforests.
The four parks, together, protect 45 percent of all remaining coast redwood old-growth forests. These trees are the tallest, among the oldest, and one of the most massive tree species on Earth. In addition to the redwood forests, the parks preserve other indigenous flora, fauna, grassland prairie, cultural resources, and 37 miles (60 km) of pristine coastline.
In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres of the California coast. The northern portion of that area was originally inhabited by Native Americans that were forced out off their land by gold seekers and timber harvesters. The enormous redwoods attracted timber harvesters to support the gold rush in more southern regions of California and the increased population from booming development in San Francisco and other places on the West Coast.
After many decades of unrestricted clear-cut logging, serious efforts toward conservation began. By the 1920s the work of the Save the Redwoods League, founded in 1918 to preserve remaining old-growth redwoods, resulted in the establishment of Prairie Creek, Del Norte Coast, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks among others.
Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by which time nearly 90 percent of the original redwood trees had been logged.
The ecosystem of the RNSP preserves a number of threatened animal species such as the tidewater goby, Chinook salmon, northern spotted owl, and Steller's sea lion, though it is believed that the tidewater goby is likely to have been eliminated from the park. In recognition of the rare ecosystem and cultural history found in the parks, the United Nations designated them a World Heritage Site on September 5, 1980.
Redwood trees can live for over 2200 years, reach a height of 379 ft (115 m) and have a diameter of 29 ft (9 m).
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is in New York City, on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The Statue is seen by many people to be the symbol of freedom, and as a welcoming sign to immigrants who came to the United States looking for a better life. The Statue of Liberty is a woman, holding a torch high above her head in one hand and a tablet in the other that has the date July 4th 1776 written on it in Roman Numerals. She is wearing a robe and broken chains are around her feet. She is known as Lady Liberty.
In 1870, the French decided that they would pay for the statue if the Americans would build the base for the statue to stand on. The American government did not pay for the pedestal the state was supposed to stand on, so a couple of different fundraising events took place to make the money for it. 120,000 people donated, most of them giving less than 1 dollar per person.
Lady Liberty was built by a man named Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel tower in Paris, France. The Statue of Liberty came over to the United States in pieces. The head and the torch were finished first, and these two parts were shown in Philadelphia and other cities before being put together with the rest of the statue. She was unveiled and dedicated by President Grover Cleveland, who had been the governor of New York, in 1886.
The Statue of Liberty is made from copper. Because she is outside in the rain and snow, she has turned a minty green color, which is called oxidizing. It took 30 years for the outside of the statue to turn from dull brown to green. At first, the government thought that the oxidized green color was damaging the statue, so they were going to paint it. People were angry about the statue being painted, so scientists did some tests and discovered that the green color actually protected the statue. The amount of copper it took to create the Statue of Liberty could make 30 million pennies.
The statue has had some changes over the years to help keep it protected. One of the biggest changes was in 1984 when the original torch was removed and a new torch was added. The new torch is copper with gold to reflect the sun. Today, the United States government is building a new museum so that everyone can visit and learn about the Statue of Liberty and her history. You will also be able to see the original torch when the museum opens.
Old State House
The Old State House in Boston, Massachusetts, is part of the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2-and-a-half-mile long path that visits 16 different sites that were important to American History. The Old State House is the oldest public building in Boston, and today is a museum that people can go and visit to learn more about Boston’s history during the American Revolutionary War.
Built in 1713, no one is certain who designed the first version of the State House. In 1747, there was a fire in the building, so the entire inside of the building had to be rebuilt, but the bricks on the outside were undamaged. One of the original features of the building were wooden statues of a lion and a unicorn, which represented the British Crown. The Old State House had several purposes. The basement of the building was warehouses, the first floor was a Merchant’s Exchange for shopping, and the second floor was for different parts of the government. On March 5th of 1770, the Boston Massacre took place in front of the Old State House. Five colonists were shot and killed by British soldiers, and the Old State House was featured in many of the sketches of the attack, which were used to help promote the need for Independence.
On July 18th of 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read to happy crowds of people from the eastern balcony of the Old State House. The lion and the unicorn were removed from the building and burned in a big fire. Almost 200 years later, on July 11th of 1976, Queen Elizabeth II of England and her husband toured Boston and stood on the eastern balcony, where she said that "If Paul Revere and Samuel Adams could have known that a British monarch would stand on the balcony of the Old State House and be greeted with such kind words… well, I think they would have been extremely surprised!"
Livadia Palace was a summer retreat of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II, and his family in Livadiya, Crimea. The Yalta Conference was held there in 1945, when the palace housed the apartments of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and other members of the American delegation – the Soviet delegation was housed in the Yusupov Palace, and the British in the Vorontsov Palace some five miles distant. Today the palace houses a museum, but it is sometimes used for international summits.
Formerly granted to Lambros Katsonis and later a possession of the Potocki family, the Livadia estate became a summer residence of the Russian imperial family in the 1860s, when architect Ippolito Monighetti built a large palace, a small palace, and a church there. The residence was frequented by Alexander II of Russia, while his successor Alexander III used to live (and died) in the smaller palace. His son Nicholas II decided to have the larger palace demolished and replaced with a larger structure. (The smaller palace was later destroyed during World War II.)
Around 1909, Nikolay Krasnov, Yalta's most fashionable architect, responsible for the grand ducal residences in Koreiz, was engaged to prepare plans for a new imperial palace. The Tsar's diary indicates that the design was much discussed in the Imperial Family; it was decided that all four façades of the palace should look different. After 17 months of construction, the new palace was inaugurated on 11 September 1911.
After the February Revolution in 1917, Nicholas's mother, Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, fled to Livadia with some other members of the Imperial family. They were eventually rescued by the British ship HMS Marlborough, sent by the Dowager Empress's nephew, King George V.
During the Second World War, a ceremony marking the successful completion of the German Crimean Campaign (1941–1942), with the capture of Sevastopol by the German 11th Army under the command of General Erich von Manstein, and Manstein's promotion to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal), was held in the garden of Livadia Palace on July 6, 1942.
On 18 November 2017, the 123rd anniversary of Tsar Alexander III's burial, Russian president Vladimir Putin dedicated a monument to Alexander III on the grounds of the Levadia Palace. Putin said in part, "Alexander III loved Russia and believed in it, and, opening this monument today, we pay tribute to his deeds, achievements and merits, express our respect for the indissoluble history of our country, for people of all ranks and classes who honestly served the Fatherland."
Basilica di San Lorenzo
The Basilica di San Lorenzo is a large and beautiful church built outside the city walls of Florence in the year 393. It’s the burial place for the Medici family who were rich and powerful rulers in Italy.
The Basilica di San Lorenzo was the cathedral church of the city for three hundred years and was the official seat of the bishop during that time. It was also the parish church of the Medici family until the church was rebuilt years later.
Inside the Basilica di San Lorenzo is a decoration and sculpture by the famous artist, Donatello. There is also the Laurentian Library that was influenced by Michelangelo and the Old Sacristy by Bruenelleschi where church furnishings and vestments are kept. There is a cloisture of enchanting green space in the center where you can look up at the sky. In the cloisture, there is a round-arch arcade with elegant columns created by Brunelleschi’s disciple, Antonio Manetti Ciaccheri between 1457 and 1460.
In the museum area, there is a crypt belonging to Donatello and the tomb of his close friend, Cosimo di Medici. The main part of the church has gorgeous arches and columns that stretch up to the ceiling for all to admire.
The front exterior of the basilica was never completed. Michelangelo wanted it to be covered in smooth marble but today it is still made of rough stone.
Betsy Ross House
The Betsy Ross House is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is believed to be the location where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. There are many who believe and many who don't, that this is where Betsy Ross was living when she, as a seamstress and flag-maker, sewed the first American flag, usually called a Betsy Ross flag. The reason why many people believe that the current house is one that belonged to her is because her grandchildren and current descendants say it was. But, most historians believe that the actual house would have been next to the one that is here today. The traditional story told is that Betsy Ross met with George Washington and Robert Morris, a relation of hers, and they discussed the need for a new flag. Betsy Ross accepted the challenge and created the iconic early American flag. The reason why most historians do not believe that Betsy Ross was responsible for creating the first American flag is because records of her doing this did not show up in history until around the time of the Centennial, or 100th anniversary of the United States, in 1876. Her two grandsons, William J. and George Canby, wrote a letter to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870 claiming that their grandmother had made the flag herself. Many historians believe that she was one of many who helped create the flag, and that her most lasting alteration was to change the stars from having six-points to five-points.
Known as the “Birthplace of Old Glory”, the house that stands there today was in very rough shape in the 1930s. In 1937, a radio mogul named A. Atwater Kent offered a large sum of money to have the house restored so that it could be brought back to its original glory. Much of the original structure was salvaged. Workers also used parts from demolished houses from the same period for the reconstruction. In 1941, Kent offered the house to the City of Philadelphia as a present so that it could become a museum and tribute to Betsy Ross. During the United States Bicentennial in 1976, the remains of Betsy Ross and her third husband, John Claypoole, were moved to the courtyard of the house. A Bicentennial is a 200th anniversary.
Gateway Arch National Park
Gateway Arch National Park is located in St. Louis, Missouri, near the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The memorial was established to commemorate:
- the Louisiana Purchase and subsequent westward movement of American explorers and pioneers;
- the first civil government west of the Mississippi River; and
- the debate over slavery raised by the Dred Scott case.
The national park consists of the Gateway Arch, a steel catenary arch that has become the definitive icon of St. Louis; a 91-acre park along the Mississippi River on the site of the earliest buildings of the city; the Old Courthouse, a former state and federal courthouse where the Dred Scott case originated; and the 140,000 sq ft museum at the Gateway Arch.
The immediate surroundings of the Gateway Arch were initially designated the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (a national memorial) by executive order on December 21, 1935. The Gateway Arch was completed on October 28, 1965; the area surrounding it was redesignated as the "Gateway Arch National Park" (a national park) in 2018.
The area of the park is where the Battle of St. Louis took place. It was the only battle west of the Mississippi River during the American Revolutionay War.
Trevi Fountain is located in the Trevi district of Rome, Italy. Its origins date all the way back to 19 BC, when Marcus Agrippa, a Roman consul and lieutenant to Julius Caesar, commissioned an aqueduct to provide water for the baths he had built in the city. It was used to fill three fountains in Rome’s Via del Corso in the 12th century. While there were restorations and new aqueducts put in place here over the years, the fountain you see today was built in baroque style between 1732 and 1736, making it nearly 300 years old. The opulent masterpiece stands 85 feet high and is about 160 feet wide, as the city’s largest and most famous fountain.
The fountain is visually stunning, featuring a marble statue of the Roman Sea God Neptune at the center surrounded by Tritons, the messenger of the sea. Many come to toss three coins into the water as legend tells that those who do will enjoy several benefits. To enjoy them, you’ll have to turn your back to it and throw each coin with your right hand over your left shoulder. Throwing the first means you’ll get to return to Rome. The second coin leads to discovering your true love and a third means it will lead to marriage. There is an average of $3,500 worth of coins tossed in every day, and they all go to a good cause, support programs for the poor in the city.
Cattedrale di Pisa
The Cattedrale di Pisa is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. It’s the seat of the Archbishop of Pisa.
Construction began in the year 1063. Pisa had been at war with Muslims in Sicily, Italy. They used spoils of the war to pay for the new cathedral. At the same time, St. Mark’s Basilica, in Venice, was being constructed. There was a contest to see which project would be the most beautiful and luxurious.
The cathedral is absolutely breathtaking. On the outside, it is decorated with bronze objects, marble of different colors, and mosaic work.
The inside is amazing too. It has a wooden ceiling with gold leaf paint. There is also a painting inside the dome which was done in honor of the Virgin in all her glory with the saints. The famous artwork was painted by two artist, Orazio and Girolamo Riminaldi.
The cathedral has a number of important organs inside. The Serassi organ was made between 1831 and 1835. There is also an organ made by Mascioni of Cuvio in 1977.
A fire swept through the cathedral in 1595. Repairs had to be made to fix the damage.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre on Sydney Harbour. It is one of the 20th century's most famous and distinctive buildings.
Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, but completed by an Australian architectural team headed by Peter Hall, the building was formally opened on 20 October 1973. The Government of New South Wales, led by the premier, Joseph Cahill, authorised work to begin in 1958.
The building and its surroundings occupy the whole of Bennelong Point on Sydney Harbour, between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove, adjacent to the Sydney central business district and the Royal Botanic Gardens, and close by the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The building has multiple performance venues, which together host well over 1,500 performances annually, attended by more than 1.2 million people. Performances are presented by numerous artists, including three resident companies: Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
As one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, the site is visited by more than eight million people annually, and approximately 350,000 visitors take a guided tour of the building each year.
On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Seated upon a hill at the height of over 500 meters, the Salzburg Fortress' real name literally translates as High Salzburg Fortress.
The building works on this fortress started as early as the 11th century AD, however, it owes its today look to the final expansions of the 17th century, during which the last bastions were added to it.
It is the bastions, as well as the many other additions to the original fortress's plan, that make Hohensalzburg Fort one of the largest fortresses in Europe, spanning over more than 250 square meters.
Originally meant as a castle to help control the surrounding lands and protect them from invaders, the fortress also served as a prison for political prisoners, barracks and a military outpost during its long history, only to turn back into a prison during the early 20th century.
When visiting the fortress, keep in mind that the entirety of Salzburg is pedestrian-only, so if you choose to come by car, you will need to park it at a designated parking place outside the city. You can then access the fortress either on foot or, if you don't fancy the rather steep climb, use the Castle Lift.
Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloss Neuschwanstein) is a 19th-century historicist palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and in honour of Richard Wagner. Ludwig chose to pay for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds. Construction began in 1869, but was never fully completed.
The castle was intended as a private residence for the King, until he died in 1886. It was open to the public shortly after his death. Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer.
King Ludwig II only lived in the castle for 172 days.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park maintains the Harding Icefield, its outflowing glaciers, and coastal fjords and islands. The park covers an area of 669,984 acres on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska, west of the town of Seward.
The park contains the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States, and is named for the numerous fjords carved by glaciers moving down the mountains from the ice field. The field is the source of at least 38 glaciers, the largest of which is Bear Glacier. The fjords are glacial valleys that have been submerged below sea level by a combination of rising sea levels and land subsidence. Exit Glacier is a popular destination at the end of the park's only road. The remainder of the park is accessible by boat, airplane, and hiking.
Kenai Fjords National Monument was initially designated by President Jimmy Carter on December 1, 1978, using the Antiquities Act. Establishment as a national park followed the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. The park protects the icefield, a narrow fringe of forested land between the mountains and the sea, and the deeply indented coastline. The park is inhabited by a variety of mammals, including brown and black bears, moose, sea otters, harbor seals, humpback and killer whales.
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Charles Young was born into slavery in Kentucky in 1864. Charles' father Gabriel escaped slavery in 1865, crossing the Ohio River to Ridley, Ohio and enlisting in the 5th United States Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment during the American Civil War. His service earned him and his family their freedom, which was guaranteed by the 13th Amendment after the war. Charles would go on to have a military career of his own. In 1887 he graduated from West Point. From there he rose to become a Buffalo Soldier in the United States Army and become its first African-American colonel.
Charles Young was the third African American graduate of West Point, the first black U.S. national park superintendent, the first African American military attaché, and the highest ranking black officer in the United States Army until his death in 1922. He also taught military science at Wilberforce University, during which time he purchased this house, which he called "Youngsholm." The house was built in 1832, and is reported to have served as a way station on the Underground Railroad.
On March 25, 2013, under the Antiquities Act, President Barack Obama designated the house as the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, a unit of the National Park Service. Operated as a house museum with exhibits about Young and the Buffalo Soldiers, it is currently open for public visitation by appointment.
Buffalo Soldiers originally were members of the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This nickname was given to the Black Cavalry by Native American tribes who fought in the Indian Wars. The term eventually became synonymous with all of the African-American regiments formed in 1866:
- 9th Cavalry Regiment
- 10th Cavalry Regiment
- 24th Infantry Regiment
- 25th Infantry Regiment Second
- 38th Infantry Regiment
Although several African-American regiments were raised during the Civil War as part of the Union Army (including the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the many United States Colored Troops Regiments), the "Buffalo Soldiers" were established by Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army. On September 6, 2005, Mark Matthews, the oldest surviving Buffalo Soldier, died at the age of 111. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The Tower Bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London. It is a suspension bridge that was constructed between 1886 and 1894. The Bridge connects the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Southwark. The Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic symbols of London and sometimes gets confused with the London Bridge, which is more than a half a mile upstream.
In 1877 a Special Bridge or Subway Committee was formed to find a solution to the Thames River crossing problem. Over 50 designs were submitted, and ultimately a Gothic Style bridge designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette was chosen. In 1885, an Act of Parliament authorized the construction of the bridge, which took more than 8 years to complete. Five different contractors worked on the project which employed 432 construction workers. In total, the cost was $1,184,000, more than $124 million today. The then Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII and his wife opened the bridge on June 20th of 1894.
In 2008 a renovation and facelift was announced which included stripping off the red, white, and blue paint from the 1970s down to bare metal. It was a large task to ensure the stripped paint would not fall into the Thames River. During the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the 5 Olympic rings were hung from the Tower Bridge. Today, more than 40,000 people (motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians) cross the bridge each day.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries trains, cars, bicycles, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore. The view of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby Sydney Opera House is widely regarded as an iconic image of Sydney, and of Australia itself. The bridge is nicknamed "The Coathanger" because of its arch-based design.
It was designed based on the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle and opened in 1932. Todya, it is the eighth longest spanning-arch bridge in the world and the tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 m (440 ft) from top to water level. It was also the world's widest long-span bridge, at 48.8 m (160 ft) wide, until construction of the new Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver was completed in 2012.
Park Street Church
The Park Street Church was built many years after the American Revolution in 1809. Over 200 years later, it is still an active congregation.
Before the 1800's, the Old Granary stood here. It was used as a public storage for grain until rats and other pests caused it to be shut down. A new church was constructed in its place.
In 1809, 26 charter members came together to form the Trinitarium Evangelical congregation. Here, they built the largest and most recognizable building in Boston. It was so tall, that ships coming into the harbor could see the steeple as they arrived.
The Park Street Church was built in a style inspired by Christopher Wren (a famous architect in London). Its steeple was 217 feet tall, making it the tallest building in Boston until 1867 and the tallest in the United States until 1828.
In 1829, William Lloyd Garrison gave his anti slavery address from here. During his speech, he talked about why slaves should be treated as equal citizens and be given their freedom. He argued that there was no legal or religious reason for slavery. He continued to fight for the end of slavery until it was abolished by a Constitutional ammendment in 1865.
Sunday school children performed America (My Country 'Tis of Thee) for the first time here in 1831.
The Segovia Cathedral is located in the main square of the city of Segovia in Spain. It is a massively large Gothic-style Catholic Church that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was constructed in the mid-16th century, between 1525 and 1577. When it was built, its late-Gothic style was considered very outdated elsewhere in Europe. The designer, Juan Gil de Anatanon, built the church with three large vaults, a bell tower, a massive ambulatory, as well as side chapels and exquisitely designed glass windows.
The original (and first) Cathedral built in Segovia was closer to the ancient Alcazar but during the Revolt of the Comuneros in 1520-1521 the cathedral was severely damaged. The siege of the original cathedral lasted several months which led to the construction of a new cathedral of Segovia.
Photo by Graeme Churchard
Giverny is a commune in Northern France that sits on the right bank of the River Seine. A commune is a district in France. The village of Giverny is about 50 miles away from Paris and has some of the most scenic landscapes in all of France. This beauty drew many Impressionist artists from other countries to the area in the early 1900s. Giverny is most known for being the site of artist Claude Monet’s garden and home. Today, Giverny and Monet’s Gardens are a popular tourist attraction in France.
Before 1890, Claude Monet was traveling on a train towards Paris when he first saw the village of Giverny. He immediately decided he wanted to move there and had purchased his home by 1890. In the coming years, Monet set to building grand gardens and pathways that he could paint in his signature Impressionist style, including some of his most famous pieces such as The Waterlily Pond, Green Harmony (1899).
Many artists moved to Giverny in the early 1900's to be close to Monet. Noted artist Frederick Carl Frieseke spent each summer from 1906 to 1919 in a home next door to Monet, and artists Richard E Miller, Lawton Parker, Guy Rose, Edmund Greacen, and Karl Anderson became resident artists of the village. In 1910, all six of these artists were given a show at Madison Gallery in New York and the six artists became known as the “Giverny Group”.
Church of Saint George
The Church of Saint George is one of eleven rock-hewn monolithic churches in Lalibela, a city in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Originally named Roha (Warwar), the historical and religious site was named Lalibela after the King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela of the Zagwe dynasty, who commissioned its construction. He is regarded as a saint by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
The Church of Saint George was carved downwards from a type of volcanic tuff. This is the sole architectural material that was used in the structure. It has been dated to the late 12th or early 13th century AD, and thought to have been constructed during the reign of King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela, of the late Zagwe dynasty. It is among the best known and last built of the eleven churches in the Lalibela area, and has been referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". Lalibela, King of Ethiopia, sought to recreate Jerusalem, and structured the churches' landscape and religious sites in such a way as to achieve such a feat. “The churches at Lalibela are clustered in two major groups, one representing the earthly Jerusalem, and the other representing the heavenly Jerusalem. Located directly between them is a trench representing the River Jordan”. The dimensions of the trench are 25 meters by 25 meters by 30 meters, and there is a small baptismal pool outside the church, which stands in an artificial trench.
According to Ethiopian cultural history, Bete Giyorgis was built after King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela of the Zagwe dynasty had a vision in which he was instructed to construct the church; Saint George and God have both been referred to as the one who gave him the instructions.
Lalibela is a pilgrimage site for members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church; the church itself is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela".
On first approach the site appears wholly inaccessible, with sheer drops on every side and no access bridge. It is accessed via a very narrow man-made canyon, spiralling downwards, which changes to a tunnel close to the church, to further conceal its presence.
Pilgrims who died after reaching the site are placed in a simple open tomb on the outer walls.
The hollowed interior contains a simple shrine to St. George and, behind a curtain (forbidden to view apart from priests) lies a replica of the Ark of the Covenant.
Pearl Harbor is an American lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. It has been long visited by the Naval fleet of the United States, before it was acquired from the Hawaiian Kingdom by the U.S. with the signing of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is now a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet. The U.S. government first obtained exclusive use of the inlet and the right to maintain a repair and coaling station for ships here in 1887.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States (a neutral country at the time) against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, just before 08:00, on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' formal entry into World War II the next day. The Japanese military leadership referred to the attack as the Hawaii Operation and Operation AI, and as Operation Z during its planning. Japan intended the attack as a preventive action to keep the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. Over the course of seven hours there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time (18:18 GMT). The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighters, level and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. Of the eight U.S. Navy battleships present, all were damaged, with four sunk. All but USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. A total of 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 64 servicemen killed. Kazuo Sakamaki, the commanding officer of one of the submarines, was captured.
Japan announced a declaration of war on the United States later that day (December 8 in Tokyo), but the declaration was not delivered until the following day. The following day, December 8, Congress declared war on Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy each declared war on the U.S., which responded with a declaration of war against Germany and Italy. There were numerous historical precedents for the unannounced military action by Japan, but the lack of any formal warning, particularly while peace negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy". Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.
The hill where Burghausen Castle stands today was settled as early as the Bronze Age. The castle (which was founded before 1025) was transferred to the Wittelsbachs after the death of the last count of Burghausen, Gebhard II, in 1168.
With the first partition of Bavaria in 1255, Burghausen Castle became the second residence of the dukes of Lower Bavaria, the main residence being Landshut. The work on the main castle commenced in 1255 under Duke Henry XIII (1253–1290).
Under the dukes of Bavaria-Landshut (1392-1503), the fortifications were extended around the entire castle hill. Starting with Margarete of Austria, the deported wife of the despotic Duke Henry XVI (1393–1450), the castle became a stronghold for the ducal treasures. Under Duke Georg of Bavaria (1479–1503) the work was completed and Burghausen Castle became the strongest fortress of the region.
After the reunification of Bavaria in 1505 with the Landshut War of Succession the castle had military importance, and due to the threat of the Ottoman Empire it was subsequently modernised. After the Treaty of Teschen in 1779 Burghausen Castle became a border castle. During the Napoleonic Wars the castle suffered some destruction. The 'Liebenwein tower' was occupied by the painter Maximilian Liebenwein from 1899 until his death. He decorated the interior in the Art Nouveau style.
Burghausen Castle is the longest castle complex in the world (1051 m), confirmed by the Guinness World Record company.
Built in the early 7th century AD, this is the oldest as well as the most visited temple in Tokyo. It is dedicated to Kannon, the Japanese goddess of mercy.
According to legend, a statue of the Kannon was found in the Sumida River in 628 AD by two fishermen, brothers Hinokuma Hamanari and Hinokuma Takenari. The chief of their village, Hajino Nakamoto, recognized the sanctity of the statue and enshrined it by remodeling his own house into a small temple in Asakusa so that the villagers could worship Kannon.
The first temple was founded in 645 AD, which makes it the oldest temple in Tokyo. In the early years of the Tokugawa shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu designated Sensō-ji as tutelary temple of the Tokugawa clan.
The Nishinomiya Inari shrine is located within the area of Sensō-ji and a torii (a traditional Japanese gate) identifies the entry into the hallowed ground of the shrine. A bronze plaque on the gateway structure lists those who contributed to the construction of the torii, which was erected in 1727 (Kyōhō 12, 11th month).
During World War II, the temple was bombed and destroyed during an air raid on Tokyo. It was rebuilt later and is a symbol of rebirth and peace to the Japanese people. In the courtyard there is a tree that was hit by a bomb in the air raids, and it had regrown in the husk of the old tree and is a similar symbol to the temple itself.
The temple complex hosts many festivals and events, like the Sanja Matsuri. There is also a seasonal Hozuki market and Hagoita market taking place at the temple complex' premises. It is especially worth visiting in spring when the cherry trees in the gardens start blooming.
Sources: Wikipedia and Sygic.com
Solitude Mountain Resort
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 10,488ft (3,197m)
Base elevation: 7,988ft (2,435m)
Vertical: 2,494ft (760m)
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 11,068ft (3,374m)
Base elevation: 8,530ft (2,600m)
Vertical: 2,538ft (774m)
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 11,000ft (3,353m)
Base elevation: 7,760ft (2,365m)
Vertical: 3,240ft (988m)
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve
The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve protects and maintains the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. Established in 1978 as a national river and redesignated in 2020, the park and preserve stretches for 53 miles (85 km) from just downstream of Hinton to Hawks Nest State Park near Ansted.
The park is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities. New River Gorge is home to some of the country's best whitewater rafting and is also one of the most popular climbing areas on the East Coast.
President Jimmy Carter signed legislation establishing New River Gorge National River on November 10, 1978. The park was established as a unit of the national park system "for the purpose of conserving and interpreting outstanding natural, scenic, and historic values and objects in and around the New River Gorge, and preserving as a free-flowing stream an important segment of the New River in West Virginia for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations."
Flowing water is the creative force shaping the geologic features of the New River Gorge, as the river continues to sculpt the longest and deepest river gorge in the Appalachian Mountains. The river has exposed four seams of coal, considered among the best bituminous coal in the world. The smokeless New River coal once fed the boilers of the nation's trains, factories, fleets, and power plants, and its coke fueled the nation's iron furnaces.
Within the gorge is a wealth of abandoned places where people worked and lived during the late 18th and 19th centuries, supplying the coal from the New River Coalfield, and lumber that helped fuel American industry. Remnants of the park's past, hidden in the forest, tell the stories of earlier life in the Appalachian Mountains. On display are the remains of historic coal mining structures and coke ovens — such as at Nuttallburg Coal Mining Complex and Town Historic District and Kay Moor — and the historic structures and ruins of more than 50 company-owned towns.
Deer Valley Resort
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 9,570ft (2,920m)
Base elevation: 6,570ft (2,000m)
Vertical: 3,000ft (910m)
Katmai National Park
Katmai National Park and Preserve is in southwest Alaska, notable for the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and for its brown bears. The park and preserve encompass 4,093,077 acres, which is between the sizes of Connecticut and New Jersey. Most of the national park is a designated wilderness area.
The park is named after Mount Katmai, its centerpiece stratovolcano. The park is located on the Alaska Peninsula, across from Kodiak Island. It was first designated a national monument in 1918 to protect the area around the major 1912 volcanic eruption of Novarupta, which formed the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a 40-square-mile, 100-to-700-foot-deep (30 to 213 m) pyroclastic flow. The park includes as many as 18 individual volcanoes, seven of which have been active since 1900.
Initially designated because of its volcanic history, the monument was left undeveloped and largely unvisited until the 1950s. The monument and surrounding lands became appreciated for their wide variety of wildlife, including an abundance of sockeye salmon and the brown bears that feed upon them. After a series of boundary expansions, the present national park and preserve were established in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park is one of three national parks in Iceland. It encompasses all of Vatnajökull glacier and extensive surrounding areas. These include the national parks previously existing at Skaftafell in the southwest and Jökulsárgljúfur in the north.
What makes Vatnajökull National Park unique is its great variety of landscape features, created by the combined forces of rivers, glacial ice, and volcanic and geothermal activity.
Vatnajökull is Europe's largest glacier outside the arctic, with a surface area of 8,100 km2. Generally measuring 400–600 m in thickness and at the most 950 m, the glacial ice conceals a number of mountains, valleys and plateaus. It even hides some active central volcanoes, of which Bárðarbunga is the largest and Grímsvötn the most active.
While the icecap rises at its highest to over 2,000 m above sea level, the glacier base reaches its lowest point 300 m below sea level. Nowhere in Iceland, with the exception of Mýrdalsjökull glacier, does more precipitation fall or more water drain to the sea than on the south side of Vatnajökull. In fact, so much water is currently stored in Vatnajökull that the Icelandic river with the greatest flow, Ölfusá, would need over 200 years to carry this quantity of water to sea.
On 5 July 2019, Vatnajökull National Park was inscribed as a World Heritage Site.
Mehrangarh, located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is one of the largest forts in India. Built in around 1459 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards. A winding road leads to and from the city below. The imprints of the impact of cannonballs fired by attacking armies of Jaipur can still be seen on the second gate. To the left of the fort is the chhatri of Kirat Singh Soda, a soldier who fell on the spot defending Mehrangarh.
There are seven gates, which include Jayapol (meaning 'victory gate'), built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. There is also a Fattehpol (also meaning 'victory gate'), which commemorates Maharaja Ajit Singhji victory over Mughals.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park is located in central Garland County, Arkansas. Hot Springs Reservation was initially created by an act of the United States Congress on April 20, 1832 to be preserved for future recreation. Established before the concept of a national park existed, it was the first time that land had been set aside by the federal government to preserve its use as an area for recreation.
The hot spring water has been popularly believed for centuries to possess medicinal properties, and was a subject of legend among several Native American tribes. Following federal protection in 1832, the city developed into a successful spa town.
The area was established as a national park on March 4, 1921. Until the redesignation of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial as Gateway Arch National Park in 2018, Hot Springs was the smallest national park by area in the United States. Since Hot Springs National Park is the oldest park maintained by the National Park Service, it was the first to receive its own US quarter in April 2010 as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters coin series.
The hot springs flow from the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain, part of the Ouachita Mountain range. In the park, the hot springs have not been preserved in their unaltered state as natural surface phenomena. They have been managed to conserve the production of uncontaminated hot water for public use. The mountains within the park are also managed within this conservation philosophy to preserve the hydrological system that feeds the springs.
The park includes portions of downtown Hot Springs, making it one of the most accessible national parks. There are numerous hiking trails and camping areas. Bathing in spring water is available in approved facilities at extra cost. The entire Bathhouse Row area is designated as a National Historic Landmark District; it contains the grandest collection of bathhouses of its kind in North America, including many outstanding examples of Gilded Age architecture.
The row's Fordyce Bathhouse serves as the park's visitor center; the Buckstaff and Quapaw are the only facilities in 2015 still operating as bathhouses. Other buildings of the row are being restored or are used for other purposes.
The Appian Way is an ancient road built in 312 BC by Appius Claudius Caecus for the purpose of transporting military supplies. It is called the “Queen of Roads” because it has lasted so long.
The Ancient Appian Way was Rome’s gateway to the East before modern streets and highways were built. It was a straight line to the important town of Capua and then stretched for 400 miles to Brindisi where Roman ships sailed to Egypt and Greece.
The road was very advanced for its time. Huge paving blocks made of basalt form the sturdy base. There’s a strip where animal-powered vehicles traveled and elevated sidewalks for people to walk.
Many famous men walked on the street, like Julius Caesar and St. Peter of the Bible. Now, the first 10 miles of the road is preserved as a regional park called Parco dell’ Appia Antica. There are Roman monuments along the roadway and a church where St. Peter had a vision of Jesus.
The road can be accessed by bike, on foot, and parts of it by car.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park is an American national park located in the state of Maine, southwest of Bar Harbor. The park preserves about half of Mount Desert Island, many adjacent smaller islands, and part of the Schoodic Peninsula on the coast of Maine. Acadia was initially designated Sieur de Monts National Monument by proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. Sieur de Monts was renamed and redesignated Lafayette National Park by Congress in 1919—the first national park in the United States east of the Mississippi River and the only one in the Northeastern United States. The park was renamed Acadia National Park in 1929. More than 3.4 million people visited the park in 2019.
Native Americans of the Algonquian nations have inhabited the area called Acadia for at least 12,000 years. They traded furs for European goods when French, English, and Dutch ships began arriving in the early 17th century. The Wabanaki Confederacy has held an annual Native American Festival in Bar Harbor since 1989. Samuel de Champlain named the island Isle des Monts Deserts (Island of Barren Mountains) in 1604. The island was granted to Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac by Louis XIV of France in 1688, then ceded to England in 1713. Summer visitors, nicknamed rusticators, arrived in 1855, followed by wealthy families, nicknamed cottagers as their large houses were quaintly called cottages. Charles Eliot is credited with the idea for the park. George B. Dorr, the "Father of Acadia National Park," along with Eliot's father Charles W. Eliot, supported the idea through donations of land, and advocacy at the state and federal levels. John D. Rockefeller Jr. financed the construction of carriage roads from 1915 to 1940. A wildfire in 1947 burned much of the park and destroyed 237 houses, including 67 of the millionaires’ cottages.
The park includes mountains, an ocean coastline, coniferous and deciduous woodlands, lakes, ponds, and wetlands encompassing a total of 49,075 acres (76.7 sq mi; 198.6 km2) as of 2017. Key sites on Mount Desert Island include Cadillac Mountain—the tallest mountain on the eastern coastline and one of the first places in the United States where one can watch the sunrise—a rocky coast featuring Thunder Hole where waves crash loudly into a crevasse around high tides, a sandy swimming beach called Sand Beach, and numerous lakes and ponds. Jordan Pond features the glacially rounded North and South Bubbles (rôche moutonnées) at its northern end, while Echo Lake has the only freshwater swimming beach in the park. Somes Sound is a five-mile (8 km) long fjard formed during a glacial period that reshaped the entire island to its present form, including the U-shaped valleys containing the many ponds and lakes. The Bass Harbor Head Light is situated above a steep, rocky headland on the southwest coast—the only lighthouse on the island.
The park protects the habitats of 37 mammalian species including black bears, moose and white-tailed deer, seven reptilian species including milk snakes and snapping turtles, eleven amphibian species including wood frogs and spotted salamanders, 33 fish species including rainbow smelt and brook trout, and as many as 331 birds including various species of raptors, songbirds and waterfowl. In 1991, peregrine falcons had a successful nesting in Acadia for the first time since 1956. Falcon chicks are often banded to study migration, habitat use, and longevity. Some trails may be closed in spring and early summer to avoid disturbance to falcon nesting areas.
Recreational activities from spring through autumn include car and bus touring along the park's paved loop road; hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding on carriage roads (motor vehicles are prohibited); rock climbing; kayaking and canoeing on lakes and ponds; swimming at Sand Beach and Echo Lake; sea kayaking and guided boat tours on the ocean; and various ranger-led programs. Winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Two campgrounds are located on Mount Desert Island, another campground is on the Schoodic Peninsula, and five lean-to sites are on Isle au Haut. The main visitor center is at Hulls Cove, northwest of Bar Harbor.
The Paul Revere House
The Paul Revere House is located in Boston, Massachusetts, and was the home of silversmith and Patriot Paul Revere. The house was built in 1680 and is the oldest house in downtown Boston. Paul Revere was not the first man to live in the house, but he purchased the home in 1770 and lived there with his wife Sarah and their children, and then his second wife Rachel after Sarah died, and their children.
Paul Revere is an American Patriot who was a member of the secretive group known as the Sons of Liberty. He is most well-known for his Midnight Ride on horseback just before the battles of Lexington and Concord at the start of the American Revolutionary War. Because Revere was a silversmith, he used his metalworking skills to make engravings and other pieces with political themes that backed the American cause.
Paul Revere sold his house in 1800 and it changed hands several times. The bottom half of the house was turned into stores and has been everything from a candy shop, to a bank, to a cigar factory, to a vegetable business. It wasn’t until 1902 that Paul Revere’s great grandson bought the house so that it could be restored and turned into a museum. The doors to the museum opened in 1908 and was one of the very first house museums in the United States.
Photo by Nick S.
Great Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States, with parts in Tennessee and North Carolina. The park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The park contains some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, including Clingmans Dome, Mount Guyot, and Mount Le Conte. The border between the two states runs northeast to southwest through the center of the park. The Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park on its route from Georgia to Maine. With 12.5 million visitors in 2019, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.
The park encompasses 522,419 acres (816.28 sq mi; 211,415.47 ha; 2,114.15 km2), making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. The main park entrances are located along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) in the town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina, and in Townsend, Tennessee. The park is internationally recognized for its mountains, waterfalls, biodiversity, and spruce-fir forests. In addition, the park also preserves multiple historical structures that were part of communities occupied by early settlers of the area.
The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934 and officially dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The Great Smoky Mountains was the first national park whose land and other costs were paid for in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds. The park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and an International Biosphere Reserve in 1988.
As the most visited national park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park anchors a large tourism industry based in Sevier County, Tennessee adjacent to the park. Major attractions include Dollywood, the second most visited tourist attraction in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg, and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Tourism to the park contributes an estimated $2.5 billion annually into the local economy.
The Royal Observatory, or the Old Royal Observatory, is located in Greenwich along the River Thames. The Observatory is famous for sitting along the Prime Meridian, giving its name to Greenwich Mean Time (also known as Universal Time). For years, the Observatory has played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and is currently number 000 (first on the list) among the International Astronomical Union.
Commissioned in 1675 by King Charles III, the first stone was laid on August 10th and was completed the follwoing year. John Flamsteed was the first Astronomer Royal, and thus the main house is often known as Flamsteed House in reference to him. By 1767, the Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne had begun the publication of the Nautical Almanac based on the observations he made at the Observatory. This was the first almanac that had data dedicated to the determination of longitude at sea.
The Royal Observatory has a brass strip that runs through the courtyard. This brass strip was put in place in the 1960’s to mark the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian is used around the world for mapping and timekeeping. It was important for helping ships to navigate their positions at sea.
If you look at the top of the observatory you will notice a large red ball. This ball helped mariners to synchronize their clocks before heading out to sea. Each day, at exactly 1pm, the ball would be dropped. Ships in port could see the ball dropping and they would align their clocks to match Greenwich Mean Time.
Today the Royal Greenwich Observatory is located in Cambridge and the Greenwich site has been converted into part of the National Maritime Museum and has been incorporated into the Royal Museums Greenwich. The Museum features a new planetarium as well as the Annie Maunder Astrographic Telescope, which is a cluster of four separate instruments.
Mount Vernon is an American landmark and former plantation of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and his wife, Martha Washington. The estate is on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Alexandria, across from Prince George's County, Maryland. The Washington family had owned land in the area since 1674. Around 1734, they embarked on an expansion of the estate that continued under George Washington, who began leasing the estate in 1754 but did not become its sole owner until 1761.
The mansion was built of wood in a loose Palladian style; the original house was built by George Washington's father Augustine, around 1734. George Washington expanded the house twice, once in the late 1750s and again in the 1770s. It remained Washington's home for the rest of his life. Following his death in 1799, under the ownership of several successive generations of the family, the estate progressively declined as revenues were insufficient to maintain it adequately. In 1858, the house's historical importance was recognized and it was saved from ruin by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association; this philanthropic organization acquired it together with part of the Washington property estate. Escaping the damage suffered by many plantation houses during the American Civil War, Mount Vernon was restored.
Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is still owned and maintained in trust by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and is open every day of the year. Allowing the public to see the estate is not an innovation, but part of an over 200-year-old tradition started by George Washington himself. In 1794 he wrote: "I have no objection to any sober or orderly person's gratifying their curiosity in viewing the buildings, Gardens, &ca. about Mount Vernon."
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is located approximately 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Denver International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The eastern and western slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the park's northwestern region. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra.
The Rocky Mountain National Park Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson on January 26, 1915, establishing the park boundaries and protecting the area for future generations. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the main automobile route, Trail Ridge Road, in the 1930s. In 1976, UNESCO designated the park as one of the first World Biosphere Reserves. In 2018, more than 4.5 million recreational visitors entered the park. The park is one of the most visited in the National Park System, ranking as the third most visited national park in 2015. In 2019, the park saw record attendance yet again with 4,678,804 visitors, a 44% increase since 2012.
The park has a total of five visitor centers with park headquarters located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center—a National Historic Landmark designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West. National Forest lands surround the park including Roosevelt National Forest to the north and east, Routt National Forest to the north and west, and Arapaho National Forest to the west and south, with the Indian Peaks Wilderness area located directly south of the park.
Palazzo Vecchio is the town hall of Florence, Italy. “Palazzo Vecchio” is Italian. It means “Old Palace” in English.
Palazzo Vecchio is a beautiful building that overlooks the gallery of statues. From here, you can see the Piazza della Signoria, an “L” shaped square that holds the statue that Michelangelo created of David.
The people who lived in Florence had the idea to build the palace in 1299. They wanted it to be the symbol of power for their city. They placed it right above the ruins of the Uberti Ghibelline towers where they had a very important victory over the Guelph faction.
The Palazzo Vecchio is built on top of an ancient Roman theater that was once part of the Roman colony of Florentia. You can purchase tickets to view the underground ruins.
Inside the Palazzo, there are many famous paintings. A microcosm in the palace keeps art and history safe for visitors to enjoy. A massive hall named Salone dei Cinquecento was built in 1494. It has paneled ceilings and walls decorated with frescoes, gold, and large statues. Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti painted the two large murals on the walls. Unfortunately, the work of these great artists was never completed.
Leonardo da Vinci started painting the Battle of Anghiari. Michelangelo Buonarroti painted the Battle of Cascina.
Michelangelo never finished the painting because he was called by Pope Julius II to Rome to paint the Sistine Chapel.
Da Vinici's work was destroyed in the process of painting the wall. He was experimenting with different painting processes which mixed wax with the paint pigments. In an attempt to speed up the drying time, he used a coal fire to heat the room. The heat from the fire melted the wax off the walls ruining the painting.
Mission San Diego de Alcala
Mission San Diego de Alcala was founded on July 16, 1769 by a Spanish friar named Junípero Serra. It was the first of twenty one missions to be started in California with the goal of spreading Christianity in the region.
Prior to the Spanish arrival, the Kumeyaay people had lived here for 12,000 years. The first Spanish ships arrived in 1542. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo named the bay San Miguel in honor of the saint's feast day. It would later be renamed San Diego when another Spanish explorer, Sebastián Vizcaíno, arrived in 1602.
The missions were used to settle areas of California for Spain to ensure that Russia did not control the territory. The Spanish colonization threatened the Kumeyaay people and on November 4, 1775 they raided the mission. It was set on fire and burned to the ground.
Father Serra led the rebuilding of the church. Eventually the Spanish and Kumeyaay people would work together to harvest the land. Many even converted to catholicism.
After the Mexican-American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo made the San Diego area a United States territory.
Today, the mission still serves as an active parish. Much of the history of this area and artifacts can be found in the mission's museum.
In 1976, Mission San Diego de Alcalá was named a basilica. This is a special priveledge that can only be given by the pope.
The current church is the fifth to be built on this site.
Location: Colorado, United States
Top elevation: 12,313ft (3,753m)
Base elevation: 9,712ft (2,960m)
Vertical: 2,601ft (793m)
Charles Bridge is a medieval stone arch bridge that crosses the Vltava (Moldau) river. Its construction started in 1357 under King Charles IV, and finished in the early 15th century. The bridge replaced the old Judith Bridge built 1158–1172 that had been badly damaged by a flood in 1342. This new bridge was originally called Stone Bridge (Kamenný most) or Prague Bridge (Pražský most), but has been referred to as "Charles Bridge" since 1870.
As the only means of crossing the river Vltava until 1841, Charles Bridge was the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas. This land connection made Prague important as a trade route between Eastern and Western Europe.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the bridge is 516 metres (1,693 ft) long and nearly 10 metres (33 ft) wide, following the example of the Stone Bridge in Regensburg, it was built as a bow bridge with 16 arches shielded by ice guards. It is protected by three bridge towers, two on the Lesser Quarter side (including the Malá Strana Bridge Tower) and one on the Old Town side, the Old Town Bridge Tower. The bridge is decorated by a continuous alley of 30 statues and statuaries, most of them baroque-style, originally erected around 1700, but now all have been replaced by replicas.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park is an American national park in northwestern Wyoming. At approximately 310,000 acres (480 sq mi; 130,000 ha; 1,300 km2), the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long (64 km) Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service-managed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding national forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18,000,000-acre (7,300,000 ha) Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the world's largest intact mid-latitude temperate ecosystems.
The human history of the Grand Teton region dates back at least 11,000 years, when the first nomadic hunter-gatherer Paleo-Indians began migrating into the region during warmer months pursuing food and supplies. In the early 19th century, the first white explorers encountered the eastern Shoshone natives. Between 1810 and 1840, the region attracted fur trading companies that vied for control of the lucrative beaver pelt trade. U.S. Government expeditions to the region commenced in the mid-19th century as an offshoot of exploration in Yellowstone, with the first permanent white settlers in Jackson Hole arriving in the 1880s.
Efforts to preserve the region as a national park began in the late 19th century, and in 1929 Grand Teton National Park was established, protecting the Teton Range's major peaks. The valley of Jackson Hole remained in private ownership until the 1930s, when conservationists led by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. began purchasing land in Jackson Hole to be added to the existing national park. Against public opinion and with repeated Congressional efforts to repeal the measures, much of Jackson Hole was set aside for protection as Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943. The monument was abolished in 1950 and most of the monument land was added to Grand Teton National Park.
Grand Teton National Park is named for Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. The naming of the mountains is attributed to early 19th-century French-speaking trappers—les trois tétons (the three teats) was later anglicized and shortened to Tetons. At 13,775 feet (4,199 m), Grand Teton abruptly rises more than 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above Jackson Hole, almost 850 feet (260 m) higher than Mount Owen, the second-highest summit in the range. The park has numerous lakes, including 15-mile-long (24 km) Jackson Lake as well as streams of varying length and the upper main stem of the Snake River. Though in a state of recession, a dozen small glaciers persist at the higher elevations near the highest peaks in the range. Some of the rocks in the park are the oldest found in any American national park and have been dated at nearly 2.7 billion years.
Grand Teton National Park is an almost pristine ecosystem and the same species of flora and fauna that have existed since prehistoric times can still be found there. More than 1,000 species of vascular plants, dozens of species of mammals, 300 species of birds, more than a dozen fish species and a few species of reptiles and amphibians inhabit the park. Due to various changes in the ecosystem, some of them human-induced, efforts have been made to provide enhanced protection to some species of native fish and the increasingly threatened whitebark pine.
Grand Teton National Park is a popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, fishing and other forms of recreation. There are more than 1,000 drive-in campsites and over 200 miles (320 km) of hiking trails that provide access to backcountry camping areas. Noted for world-renowned trout fishing, the park is one of the few places to catch Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is in the Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. The primary attraction of the park is the show cave, Carlsbad Cavern. Visitors to the cave can hike in on their own via the natural entrance or take an elevator from the visitor center.
Carlsbad Cavern includes a large limestone chamber, named simply the Big Room, which is almost 4,000 feet (1,220 m) long, 625 feet (191 m) wide, and 255 feet (78 m) high at its highest point. The Big Room is the largest chamber in North America and the thirty-first largest in the world. Approximately two thirds of the park has been set aside as a wilderness area, helping to ensure no future changes will be made to the habitat.
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. People often use the name to refer to the clock and the clock tower. The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located was originally the Clock Tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom.
The tower was designed by Augustus Pugin in a neo-Gothic style. When completed in 1859, its clock was the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. The tower stands 316 feet (96 m) tall, and the climb from ground level to the belfry is 334 steps. Dials of the clock are 22.5 feet (6.9 m) in diameter. All four nations of the UK are represented on the tower in shields featuring a rose for England, thistle for Scotland, shamrock for Northern Ireland, and leek for Wales. On 31 May 2009, celebrations were held to mark the tower's 150th anniversary.
Big Ben is the largest of the tower's five bells and weighs 13.5 long tons (13.7 tonnes; 15.1 short tons). It was the largest bell in the United Kingdom for 23 years. The origin of the bell's nickname is open to question; it may be named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw its installation, or heavyweight boxing champion Benjamin Caunt. Four quarter bells chime at 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour and just before Big Ben tolls on the hour. The clock uses its original Victorian mechanism, but an electric motor can be used as a backup.
The tower is a British cultural icon recognised all over the world. It is one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom and parliamentary democracy, and it is often used in the establishing shot of films set in London. The clock tower has been part of a Grade I listed building since 1970 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
On 21 August 2017, a four-year schedule of renovation works began on the tower. Modifications will include adding a lift, re-glazing and repainting the clock dials, upgrading lighting and repairing roof tiles among other improvements. With a few exceptions, such as New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday, the bells are to be silent until the work is completed in 2022.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California, east of Los Angeles and San Bernardino, near Palm Springs. It is named for the Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) native to the Mojave Desert. Originally declared a national monument in 1936, Joshua Tree was redesignated as a national park in 1994 when the U.S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act. Encompassing a total of 790,636 acres (1,235.4 sq mi; 3,199.6 km2) – slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island – the park includes 429,690 acres (671.4 sq mi; 1,738.9 km2) of designated wilderness. Straddling San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert. The Little San Bernardino Mountains traverse the southwest edge of the park.
The earliest known residents of the land in and around what later became Joshua Tree National Park were the people of the Pinto Culture, who lived and hunted here between 8000 and 4000 BCE. Their stone tools and spear points, discovered in the Pinto Basin in the 1930s, suggest that they hunted game and gathered seasonal plants. Later residents included the Serrano, the Cahuilla, and the Chemehuevi peoples. All three lived at times in small villages in or near water, particularly the Oasis of Mara in what non-aboriginals later called Twentynine Palms. They were hunter-gatherers who subsisted largely on plant foods supplemented by small game, amphibians, and reptiles while using other plants for making medicines, bows and arrows, baskets, and other articles of daily life. A fourth group, the Mojaves, used the local resources as they traveled along trails between the Colorado River and the Pacific coast. Today, small numbers of all four peoples live in the region near the park; the Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians, descendants of the Chemehuevi, own a reservation in Twentynine Palms.
The park's oldest rocks, Pinto gneiss among them, are 1.7 billion years old. They are exposed in places on the park's surface in the Cottonwood, Pinto, and Eagle Mountains. Much later, from 250 to 75 million years ago, tectonic plate movements forced volcanic material toward the surface at this location and formed granite. Erosion eventually exposed the harder rocks, gneiss and granite, in the uplands and reduced the softer rocks to debris that filled the canyons and basins between the ranges. The rock formations of Joshua Tree National Park owe their shape partly to groundwater, which eroded the corners and edges of blocks of stone, and to flash floods, which left piles of rounded boulders.
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters).
The canyon and adjacent rim are contained within Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Indian Reservation, the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery.
Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While some aspects about the history of incision of the canyon are debated by geologists, several recent studies support the hypothesis that the Colorado River established its course through the area about 5 to 6 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River has driven the down-cutting of the tributaries and retreat of the cliffs, simultaneously deepening and widening the canyon.
For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.
Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a tidal island and mainland commune in Normandy, France.
The island lies about one kilometre (0.6 miles) off the country's north-western coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches and is 7 hectares (17 acres) in area.
As of 2017, the island has a population of 30.
The commune's position—on an island just a few hundred metres from land—made it accessible at low tide to the many pilgrims to its abbey, but defensible as an incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned would-be assailants. The island remained unconquered during the Hundred Years' War; a small garrison fended off a full attack by the English in 1433. Louis XI recognised the reverse benefits of its natural defence and turned it into a prison. The abbey was used regularly as a prison during the Ancien Régime. During the German occupation of France in World War II, soldiers used St. Auburn church as a lookout post.
Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. It is visited by more than 3 million people each year. Over 60 buildings within the commune are protected in France as monuments historiques.
The Yongji Bridge of Chengyang (simplified Chinese: 程阳永济桥; traditional Chinese: 程陽永濟橋), also called the Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge, is a bridge in Sanjiang County, of Guangxi, China.
Chengyang Bridge is a special covered bridge or lángqiáo, and one of several Fengyu bridges in the local Dong Minority region. It was built in 1912 and used to link to local villages along the Linxi River. The bridge is mostly made out of wood, with stone piers and a roof covered in tile. It has 5 pavilions, 19 verandas, and 3 floors. It features lifelike carvings and paintings throughout the structure.
Despite being made mainly from wood, no nails or rivets are used to hold it together.
Its name "wind and rain bridge" comes from its ability to protect people walking across it from the elements.
Elfreth's Alley is named after Jeremiah Elfreth, an 18th-century blacksmith and property owner. Among the alley's residents were tradesmen and their families, including shipwrights, silver and pewter smiths, glassblowers, and furniture builders.
In the 1770s, one-third of the households were headed by women. The Georgian and Federal-style houses and cobblestone pavement of the alley were common in Philadelphia during this time. The houses are typically small, and many are uniquely Philadelphian Trinity houses.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, industry began to change the street. Perhaps the first change was a stove factory that took its place in a row of residential houses in 1868. Eventually, factories surrounded Elfreth's Alley. The city's waterfront was only a few blocks away. Industry changed more than the architecture; successive waves of immigrants, lured by the nearby jobs, moved onto the street. In 1900, the neighborhood was overwhelmingly Irish.
In 1934, the Elfreth's Alley Association (EAA) was founded to preserve the alley's historic structures while interpreting the street's history. The EAA helped save the street from demolition, and also lobbied the city to restore the alley's name to "Elfreth's Alley"; it had been designated as the 100 block of Cherry Street years before as part of a street-name simplification program.
- The streets houses date back to 1703.
- There are 32 houses on the street that were built between 1703 and 1836.
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Elevation: 6,288.3 ft (1,916.7 m)
Mount Washington, called Agiocochook by some Native American tribes, is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288.2 ft (1,916.6 m) and the most topographically prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River. It is located in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains.
The mountain is notorious for its erratic weather. On the afternoon of April 12, 1934, the Mount Washington Observatory recorded a windspeed of 231 miles per hour (372 km/h) at the summit, the world record from 1934 until 1996. Mount Washington still holds the record for highest measured wind speed not associated with a tornado or tropical cyclone.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway ascends the western slope of the mountain, and the Mount Washington Auto Road climbs to the summit from the east. The mountain is visited by hikers, and the Appalachian Trail crosses the summit. Other common activities include glider flying, backcountry skiing, and annual cycle and running races such as the Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb and Road Race.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is an American national park in the western Sierra Nevada of Central California, bounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. The park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 748,436 acres (1,169 sq mi; 3,029 km2) and sits in four counties: centered in Tuolumne and Mariposa, extending north and east to Mono and south to Madera County. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness.
On average, about four million people visit Yosemite each year, and most spend the majority of their time in the seven square miles (18 km2) of Yosemite Valley. The park set a visitation record in 2016, surpassing five million visitors for the first time in its history. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development, ultimately leading to President Abraham Lincoln's signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864. John Muir led a successful movement to have Congress establish a larger national park by 1890, one which encompassed the valley and its surrounding mountains and forests, paving the way for the National Park System.
Yosemite is one of the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada, and the park supports a diversity of plants and animals. The park has an elevation range from 2,127 to 13,114 feet (648 to 3,997 m) and contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral and oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of California's 7,000 plant species, about 50% occur in the Sierra Nevada and more than 20% are within Yosemite. The park contains suitable habitat for more than 160 rare plants, with rare local geologic formations and unique soils characterizing the restricted ranges many of these plants occupy.
The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granitic rocks and remnants of older rock. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in the formation of deep, narrow canyons. About one million years ago, snow and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet (1,200 m) during the early glacial episode. The downslope movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors to its scenic vistas today.
Location: Utah, United States
Top elevation: 10,026 ft (3,056 m)
Base elevation: 6,900 ft (2,100 m)
Vertical: 3,200 ft (980 m)
Skiable area: 7,300 acres (11.4 sq mi; 29.5 km2)
The Space Needle is an observation tower located in Seattle, Washington. It is one of the main landmarks of the city, as well as the majority of the Pacific Northwest. The Space Needle was constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair at the Seattle Center, which drew more than 2.3 million visitors to the Emerald City. Today, the structure is one of the tallest buildings west of the Mississippi River at 605 feet tall, and around 20,000 people use the elevator each day to get a bird’s eye view of the city. The elevators travel at 10 miles per hour and take around 41 seconds to go from top to bottom.
Designed to withstand a variety of different weather patterns, the Space Needle has 25 lightning rods, can endure an earthquake up to a 9.0 magnitude, and withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour. The observation deck at the top of the Needle sits at 520 feet above the city and features a restaurant called the SkyCity which rotates. You can see the downtown Seattle skyline, as well as surrounding islands, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and mountain peaks such as Mount Rainier and Mount Baker.
In August of 2018, the Space Needle unveiled its most recent addition, the first and only revolving glass floor in the world. At 500 feet above the ground, 50 stories up, “The Loupe” offers a 360 degree view of the city below. Ten layers of tightly bonded glass ensures that no cracks or accidents happen.
Prince Edward Island National Park
Prince Edward Island National Park is located in the province of Prince Edward Island. Situated along the island's north shore, fronting the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the park measures approximately 60 km (37 mi) in length and ranges from several hundred metres to several kilometres in width.
Established in 1937, the park's mandate includes the protection of many broad sand beaches, sand dunes and both freshwater wetlands and saltmarshes. The park's protected beaches provide nesting habitat for the endangered piping plover; the park has been designated a Canadian Important Bird Area.
An extension was added to the park in 1998 when an extensive sand dune system in Greenwich was transferred from the provincial government to Parks Canada. The Prince Edward Island National Park also includes Green Gables, which was the childhood inspiration for the Anne of Green Gables novels by author Lucy Maud Montgomery, as well as Dalvay-by-the-Sea, a Victorian era mansion currently operated as an inn.
In 1999, the Canadian Nature Federation identified Prince Edward Island National Park as being the most endangered in the national park system, based on human impact. The park also experiences severe coastal erosion as a result of winter storms and its vulnerable shoreline.
Part of the Jezero crater on Mars was informally named after the park.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is an American national park that preserves and reclaims the rural landscape along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio.
The 32,572-acre (50.9 sq mi; 131.8 km2) park is administered by the National Park Service, but within its boundaries are areas independently managed as county parks or as public or private businesses. Cuyahoga Valley was originally designated as a National Recreation Area in 1974, then redesignated as a national park 26 years later in 2000, and remains the only national park that originated as a national recreation area.
Cuyahoga Valley is the only national park in the state of Ohio and one of three in the Great Lakes Basin, with Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior and Indiana Dunes National Park bordering Lake Michigan. Cuyahoga Valley also differs from the other national parks in America in that it is adjacent to two large urban areas and it includes a dense road network, small towns, four reservations of the Cleveland Metroparks, eleven parks of the Summit Metro Parks, and public and private attractions.
No Native American tribes currently have federal recognition in Ohio; however, the former inhabitants of the Cuyahoga Valley were Native Americans. The Wyandot, Iroquois, Ottawa, Objibwe, Munsee, Potawatomi, Miami, Catawba, and Shawnee all lived in or traversed this area, but the Lenapé Nation, also known as the Lenape’wàk or Delaware Nation, are considered "the Grandfathers" of many Native Nations of the upper Ohio River Valley. They had a democratic and egalitarian sociopolitical structure where leaders (sachem) consulted elders who advocated for the expectations of the people before decisions were made. The Lenapé were actively involved in long-distance trade networks and were highly skilled at creating goods and art such as pottery, stone weaponry, clothing, and baskets. Wars, coercive treaties, and legislative changes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries resulted in Lenapé movement both west and south from their geographic origins in present-day New York City, the lower Hudson Valley, eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and northern Delaware, through the Ohio River Valley and Cuyahoga Valley, to current residencies primarily in Oklahoma and Ontario, Canada.
The name Cuyahoga is believed to mean "crooked river" from the Mohawk name Cayagaga. However, the Mohawk were never in the region alongside Settlers, so this is highly unlikely.
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is located in British Columbia, Canada, which is made up of three separate regions: Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail. Its Pacific Coast Mountains are characterized by rugged coasts and temperate rainforests.
Widespread vegetation found in the park includes western hemlock, Sitka spruce, western red-cedar, deer fern and sword fern. Animal species vary from marine and intertidal species, such as humpback whales and ochre sea star, to land mammals, such as Vancouver Island wolves.
For recreational purposes, Long Beach is used for surfing and windsurfing, the Broken Group for sea kayaking, and the West Coast Trail for hiking, as well as camping in all areas and scuba diving in the winter months in the Long Beach and Broken Group areas.
The park was established in1970 and was added to the National Parks Act in 2000. It is classified as a "park reserve" based on an accepted claim of certain rights to the area by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council.
Hohe Tauern National Park
Hohe Tauern National Park is about 1,834 square kilometres (708 sq mi) in area, making it the largest of Austria's seven national parks as well as the largest nature reserve in the Alps. It is divided into a core zone of 1,198 square kilometres (463 sq mi) where agricultural use is prohibited, and a fringe zone of 638 square kilometres (246 sq mi) used for forestry and alpine-meadow farming. Five special nature sanctuaries are protected from any human disturbance.
The park includes the Pasterze, the longest glacier in Austria, and numerous other glaciers, the Krimml Waterfalls, several glacial valleys, tundra areas and forests. Among the flora of the Alps, Swiss Pines grow along the tree line with Saxifraga plants growing at elevations up to about 2,800 m (9,200 ft).
The fauna includes chamois, Alpine ibex and red deer, as well as griffon vulture and the golden eagle. The formerly extinct bearded vulture and the Alpine marmot have been successfully reintroduced.
The park was established in a 1971 declaration signed by the participating states at Heiligenblut. It took until 1981, when the first parts around Großglockner and Hochschober in Carinthia were put under protection.
Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. The archaeological site is located in Tinúm Municipality, Yucatán State, Mexico.
Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the Northern Maya Lowlands from the Late Classic (c. AD 600–900) through the Terminal Classic (c. AD 800–900) and into the early portion of the Postclassic period (c. AD 900–1200). The site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles, reminiscent of styles seen in central Mexico and of the Puuc and Chenes styles of the Northern Maya lowlands. The presence of central Mexican styles was once thought to have been representative of direct migration or even conquest from central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations view the presence of these non-Maya styles more as the result of cultural diffusion.
Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, referred to in later Mesoamerican literature. The city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa was built in 1173 and completed many years later in 1392. It took over 200 years to build because of wars and, at times, a lack of money.
Four architects and engineers were responsible for building it. The Leaning Tower of Pisa got its name because of how much it leans. It started tilting to one side during its construction due to the soft ground it is built on. The city’s name Pisa even translates to mean “marshy land”.
Throughout its construction, the builders tried to straighten it but their attempts failed. The ground was just too soft. It is believed that the only reason it didn’t topple over during construction was because the building delays gave it a chance to settle. Some of the other tall buildings nearby lean too.
The tower is about 60 meters tall and has 296 steps going up to the top. It was one of the first circular buildings of its time. It weighs 15,000 tons. There are seven bells In the tower that are rung for different occasions.
Construction of the tower was stopped for almost 100 years due to war.
The tower used to lean more than it does today. Restoration work was completed in 2001 that adjusted the towers lean from 5.5 degrees to just under 4 degrees.
The tower was built as a free standing bell tower for the nearby cathedral.
Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park protects a mountainous area located east of the Salinas Valley in Central California, about 80 miles (130 km) southeast of San Jose. The park's namesakes are the eroded leftovers of the western half of an extinct volcano. The volcano has moved 200 miles (320 km) from its original location on the San Andreas Fault. Pinnacles is managed by the National Park Service and the majority of the park is protected as wilderness.
The national park is divided by the rock formations into East and West Divisions, connected only by foot trails. The east side has shade and water, the west has high walls. The rock formations provide for spectacular pinnacles that attract rock climbers. The park features unusual talus caves that house at least 13 species of bats. Pinnacles is most often visited in spring or fall because of the intense heat during the summer. Park lands are prime habitat for prairie falcons, and are a release site for California condors that have been hatched in captivity.
Pinnacles was originally established as a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and was redesignated as a national park in 2013.
Aqueduct of Segovia
The Aqueduct of Segovia is located in Segovia, Spain, and is one of the best preserved elevated Roman aqueducts still remaining in the world today. It is so important to the culture of Segovia that the aqueduct is featured on the city’s Coat of Arms.
Although it is hard to pinpoint the actual date of inscription for the aqueduct, or the date it was constructed, it is assumed that it was built sometime in the 1st century AD, when the Emperors Domitian, Nerva, and Trajan were rulers of Rome. The reason no one is able to date the aqueduct is because the original date inscription was located in the top portion that has now mostly crumbled with age. Each of the three tallest arches along the top of the aqueduct would have displayed large bronze letters to indicate the name of the builder and when it was constructed. Two of the original niches are still visible.
The original purpose of the Aqueduct of Segovia was to transport water from the Rio Frio into the city of Segovia. First the water was gathered in a tank known as the Big House, or El Caseron, and then it flowed towards a large water tower to be distributed through the city. Thirty-six semi-circular arches had to be rebuilt during the 15th century after being destroyed by the Moors in the 1000s. Amazingly, the granite blocks fit together so precisely that they did not require mortar to hold them together.
Photo by Eric Titcombe
The Shwedagon Pagoda also known as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda is a gilded stupa located in Yangon, Myanmar.
The Shwedagon is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar, as it is believed to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas of the present kalpa. These relics include the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Koṇāgamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa, and eight strands of hair from the head of Gautama.
Built on the 51-metre (167 ft) high Singuttara Hill, the 112 m (367 ft) tall pagoda stands 170 m (560 ft) above sea level dominating the Yangon skyline. Yangon's zoning regulations cap the maximum height of buildings to 127 metres (417 feet) above sea level (75% of the pagoda's sea level height) to ensure the Shwedagon's prominence in the city's skyline.
According to tradition, the Shwedagon Pagoda was constructed more than 2,500 years ago, which would make it the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world. The story goes that two merchant brothers Tapussa and Bhallika met the Gautama Buddha during his lifetime and received eight strands of the Buddha's hairs. The brothers presented the eight strands of hair to King Okkalapa of Dagon who enshrined the strands along with some relics of the three preceding Buddhas of the Gautama Buddha in a stupa on the Singuttara Hill in present-day Myanmar.
The first mention of the pagoda in the royal chronicles dates to 1362-63 CE (724 ME) when King Binnya U of Martaban–Hanthawaddy raised the pagoda to 18 m (59 ft). The Shwedagon Pagoda Inscriptions from the reign of King Dhammazedi of Hanthawaddy (r. 1471–1492), shows a list of repairs of the pagoda going back to 1436. In particular, Queen Shin Saw Pu (r. 1454–1471) raised its height to 40 m (130 ft), and gilded the new structure. By the beginning of the 16th century, Shwedagon Pagoda had become the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma.
A series of earthquakes during the following centuries caused damage. The worst damage was caused by a 1768 earthquake that brought down the top of the stupa, but King Hsinbyushin in 1775 raised it to its current height of 99 m (325 ft).
The Shwedagon Pagoda Festival, which is the largest pagoda festival in the country, begins during the new moon of the month of Tabaung in the traditional Burmese calendar and continues until the full moon.
Carpenter's Historic Hall
Carpenter’s Hall is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in an area known today as the U.S. Historic District. Not only is the house important on its own, it also is part of the reason the area of Philadelphia is considered to be so historic. The Carpenter’s House started construction in 1770 and wasn’t finished for five years. It was built to be the Meeting Hall for the Carpenter’s Company of the City and County of Philadelphia, which is the oldest craft guild in the United States. A guild is a group of workers who all do the same job who come together to work towards a common goal. But, Carpenter’s Hall was also the location of the First Continental Congress in 1774, where British Colonial citizens first met to discuss the potential of becoming an independent nation.
The First Continental Congress met in Carpenter’s Hall starting on September 5th in 1774 until October 26th of 1774. The reason the group could not meet in Independence Hall at the time was because more moderate members of the Pennsylvania colonial government were meeting. It was in Carpenter’s Hall that the First Continental Congress decided to bar the import of slaves to the colonies, and to discontinue the slave trade within the colonies. During the Revolutionary War, Carpenter’s Hall was used as a hospital by both British and American soldiers, and weapons and equipment were stored in the basement. After the war, in 1791, the first floor of the building was used as the First Bank of the United States under Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton.
Today, Carpenter’s Hall is one of the many historic sites that make up Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.
16th Street Baptist Church
The 16th Street Baptist Church was organized as the First Colored Baptist Church of Birmingham in 1873. It was the first black church to organize in Birmingham, which was founded just two years before. The first meetings were held in a small building at 12th Street and Fourth Avenue North. A site was soon acquired on 3rd Avenue North between 19th and 20th Street for a dedicated building. In 1880, the church sold that property and built a new church on the present site on 16th Street and 6th Avenue North. The new brick building was completed in 1884 under the supervision of its pastor, William R. Pettiford, but in 1908, the city condemned the structure and ordered it to be demolished. Pettiford was pastor from 1883 to 1904.
The present building, a "modified Romanesque and Byzantine design" by the prominent black architect Wallace Rayfield, was constructed in 1911 by the local black contractor T.C. Windham. The cost of construction was $26,000.
As one of the primary institutions in the black community, the 16th Street Baptist Church has hosted prominent visitors throughout its history. W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary McLeod Bethune, Paul Robeson and Ralph Bunche all spoke at the church during the first part of the 20th century.
Civil Rights Era
During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the 16th Street Baptist Church served as an organizational headquarters, site of mass meetings and rallying point for African Americans protesting widespread institutionalized racism in the South. The reverends Fred Shuttlesworth, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)) leader Martin Luther King Jr., and SCLC leader James Bevel, who initiated the Children's Crusade and taught the students nonviolence, were frequent speakers at the church and led the movement.
On Sunday, September 15, 1963, Thomas Blanton, Bobby Frank Cherry and Robert Edward Chambliss, members of the Ku Klux Klan, planted 19 sticks of dynamite outside the basement of the church. At 10:22 a.m., they exploded, killing four young girls - Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair. Twenty-two other victims suffered injuries. They were there preparing for the church's "Youth Day". A funeral for three of the four victims was attended by more than 8,000 mourners, white and black, but no city officials.
This was one of a string of more than 45 bombings within the decade. The neighborhood of Dynamite Hill was the most-frequently targeted area during this time. The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church increased Federal involvement in Alabama. President Johnson passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act the following year; and in 1965 the Voting Rights Act was passed, making literacy tests and poll taxes illegal.
Following the bombing, more than $300,000 in unsolicited gifts were received by the church and repairs were begun immediately. The church reopened on June 7, 1964. A stained glass window depicting a black Jesus, designed by John Petts, was donated by citizens of Wales and installed in the front window, facing south.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in northwestern Montana, on the Canada–United States border, adjacent to the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1 million acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges (sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains), over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem," a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2).
The region that became Glacier National Park was first inhabited by Native Americans. Upon the arrival of European explorers, it was dominated by the Blackfeet in the east and the Flathead in the western regions. Under pressure, the Blackfeet ceded the mountainous parts of their treaty lands in 1895 to the federal government; it later became part of the park. Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places. By 1932 work was completed on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, which provided greater accessibility for automobiles into the heart of the park.
The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. Known as the Lewis Overthrust, these sedimentary rocks are considered to have some of the finest examples of early life fossils on Earth. The current shapes of the Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges and positioning and size of the lakes show the telltale evidence of massive glacial action, which carved out the valleys and lakes. Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century during the late Little Ice Age, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the active glaciers may disappear by 2030 if current climate patterns persist.
Glacier National Park has almost all its original native plant and animal species. Large mammals such as grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats, as well as rare or endangered species like wolverines and Canadian lynxes, inhabit the park. Hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species, and a few reptiles and amphibian species have been documented. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra. The easternmost forests of western red cedar and hemlock grow in the southwest portion of the park. Forest fires are common in the park. There has been a fire every year of the park's existence except 1964. 64 fires occurred in 1936, the most on record. In 2003, six fires burned approximately 136,000 acres (550 km2), more than 13% of the park.
Lake Clark National Park
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is in southwest Alaska, about 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Anchorage. The park was first proclaimed a national monument in 1978, then established as a national park and preserve in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
The park includes many streams and lakes vital to the Bristol Bay salmon fishery, including its namesake Lake Clark. The park protects rainforests along the coastline of Cook Inlet, alpine tundra, glaciers, glacial lakes, major salmon-bearing rivers, and two volcanoes, Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna.
Mount Redoubt is active, erupting in 1989 and 2009. The wide variety of ecosystems in the park mean that virtually all major Alaskan animals, terrestrial and marine, may be seen in and around the park. Salmon, particularly sockeye salmon, play a major role in the ecosystem and the local economy. Large populations of brown bears are attracted to feed on the spawning salmon in the Kijik River and at Silver Salmon Creek. Bear watching is a common activity in the park.
No roads lead to the park which can only be reached by boat or small aircraft, typically floatplanes. The major settled area in the park and preserve is Port Alsworth on Lake Clark. Five other settlements are near the park, populated mainly by Dena'ina natives. Prior to the park's establishment, isolated cabins were scattered around the region, the most well-known belonging to Richard Proenneke, whose films documenting his solitary life at Twin Lakes were made into Alone in the Wilderness in 2003.
Lake Clark was proclaimed a national monument by President Jimmy Carter using the Antiquities Act on December 1, 1978. Lake Clark's status was changed to national park and preserve in 1980 by Congress, and about two-thirds was designated wilderness. While both sport and subsistence hunting are permitted in the national preserve lands, only subsistence hunting by local residents is permitted within the national park.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is located on the island of Hawaii. The park encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive shield volcano. The park provides scientists with insight into the development of the Hawaiian Islands and access for studies of volcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes, glimpses of rare flora and fauna, and a view into the traditional Hawaiian culture connected to these landscapes.
The park was originally established on August 1, 1916 as Hawaii National Park, which was then split into this park and Haleakalā National Park. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987. In 2012, the park was depicted on the 14th quarter of the America the Beautiful Quarters series.
On May 11, 2018, the park was closed to the public in the Kīlauea volcano summit area, including the visitor center and park headquarters, due to explosions and toxic ash clouds from Halemaʻumaʻu, as well as earthquakes and road damage. Portions of the park, including the visitor center, reopened to the public on September 22, 2018. As of 2020, most of the park is open; however, some road segments and trails as well as the Jaggar Museum of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory remain closed to visitors.
Eruptive activity, ground collapses and explosions in the park ceased in early August of 2018, and the lull in eruptive activity at Kīlauea continued until an eruption on December 20, 2020, at the Halemaʻumaʻu crater.
Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park, founded in 1949, is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Croatia. In 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, due to its outstanding and picturesque series of tufa lakes and caves, connected by waterfalls.
The park is famous for its lakes arranged in cascades. Sixteen lakes can be seen from the surface. These lakes are fed by several small rivers and underground rivers.
The lakes are all interconnected and follow the water flow. They are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae, and bacteria. The sensitive travertine barriers are the result of an interplay between water, air and plants. The encrusted plants and bacteria accumulate on top of each other, forming barriers which grow at the rate of about 1 cm (0.4 in) per year.
The 16 lakes are separated into an upper and lower cluster formed by runoff from the mountains, descending from an altitude of 636 to 503 m (2,087 to 1,650 ft) over a distance of about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi). The lakes collectively cover an area of about 0.77 square miles, the water exiting from the lowest lake forming the Korana River.
The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
Hagia Sophia is a Late Antique place of worship in Istanbul, designed by the Greek architects Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. Built in 537, it was the largest Christian church of the eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire) and the largest Eastern Orthodox Church, except during the Latin Empire from 1204 to 1261, when it temporarily became a Roman Catholic cathedral.
Built by the eastern Roman emperor Justinian I as the Christian cathedral of Constantinople between 532 and 537, the church was then the world's largest interior space and among the first to employ a fully pendentive dome (a circular dome over a square room). It is considered the highest example of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture".
The present building was the third church of the same name to occupy the site, as the prior one had been destroyed in the Nika riots. It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.
It was the religious and spiritual centre of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years. It was here that Patriarch Michael I Cerularius was banned from the church by Humbert of Silva Candida, the envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054. This act is often considered the start of the East–West Schism, a split between the Western and Eastern churches.
In 1204, Hagia Sophia was converted during the Fourth Crusade into a Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire, before being returned to the Eastern Orthodox Church upon the restoration of the Byzantine Empire in 1261. The doge of Venice who led the Fourth Crusade and the 1204 Sack of Constantinople, Enrico Dandolo, was buried in the church.
After the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, it was converted to a mosque by Mehmed the Conqueror and became the principal mosque of Istanbul until the 1616 construction of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
Islamic architectural additions included four minarets, a minbar and a mihrab. The Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other religious buildings including the Hagia Sophia in Thessaloniki, Panagia Ekatontapiliani, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex.
The complex remained a mosque until 1931, when it was closed to the public for four years. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum and the building became one of Turkey's most visited tourist attractions.
In July 2020, the Council of State reversed the 1934 decision to establish the museum, and the Hagia Sophia was reclassified as a mosque. The 1934 decree was ruled to be unlawful under both Ottoman and Turkish law.
Virgin Islands National Park
The Virgin Islands National Park is preserves about 60% of the land area of Saint John in the United States Virgin Islands, as well as more than 5,500 acres of adjacent ocean, and nearly all of Hassel Island, just off the Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas harbor.
The park is well known for scuba diving and snorkeling, and has miles of hiking trails through the tropical rainforest.
Cruz Bay is the gateway port to the park, as well as the visitor center location.
Two category 5 hurricanes impacted the Virgin Islands in September 2017, Irma and Maria. The park received 112,287 visitors in 2018, after having received 304,408 visitors in 2017, and an average of more than 450,000 visitors per year in the preceding ten-year period from 2007 to 2016. The park was reopened in December 2017 with all roads, trails and beaches declared accessible to visitors.
In 1956, Laurance Rockefeller donated most of the island of St. John to the National Park Service protecting the land from future development.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is in northeastern California. The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world and the southernmost volcano in the Cascade Range. Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found—plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and stratovolcano.
The source of heat for the volcanism in the Lassen area is caused by the Gorda Plate diving below the North American Plate off the Northern California coast. The area surrounding Lassen Peak is still active with boiling mud pots, fumaroles, and hot springs.
Lassen Volcanic National Park started as two separate national monuments designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907: Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument. Starting in May 1914 and lasting until 1917, a series of minor to major eruptions occurred on Lassen. Because of the eruptive activity and the area's stark volcanic beauty, Lassen Peak, Cinder Cone, and the area surrounding were established as a National Park on August 9, 1916.
Mount Shasta can be seen from the park. At 14,179 feet, the volcano is the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range (Mount Rainer in Washington is about 30 feet taller) and the fifth-highest in California.
The Warsaw Uprising, which broke out on 1 August 1944 and lasted until 2 October 1944, was one of the most important and devastating events in the history of Warsaw and Poland. Up to 90% of Warsaw's buildings were destroyed during the hostilities and the destruction of the city carried out by the Germans after the uprising.
It was organised by the Polish resistance movement that had fought for Poland's independence during World War II. Joseph Stalin had purposefully stopped the Soviet advance through Polish territory just short of Warsaw immediately after the outbreak of the uprising, and he not only refused to aid the insurgents but also refused to allow planes of the western allies to land and refuel on Soviet-held territory to ensure that very limited supplies could be delivered to Warsaw.
As a result, the uprising was brutally crushed by the Germans over a period of 63 days while the Soviets watched. After the uprising, the Germans expelled the entire population from the city and spent the whole of October, November and December 1944 in looting Warsaw and destroying whatever was still standing while the Soviets continued to do nothing to intervene. They entered the ruins of the abandoned city in January 1945 after they had waited for the Germans to leave.
As a result, the significance of the uprising was downplayed for many years after the war, and the Home Army and the wartime Polish government-in-exile were condemned by communist propaganda. Such political factors made official memorialisation of the Warsaw Uprising impossible for decades, and subsequent debates about the form and location of the monument further delayed the project.
Poland's communist government gave permission to construct the monument on 12 April 1988. It was unveiled on 1 August 1989, the 45th anniversary of the Uprising. The monument was designed by sculptor Wincenty Kućma and architect Jacek Budyn.
The monument was visited by German president Roman Herzog on 1994, who paid tribute to the Poles and gave a speech about German shame in context of Nazi Germany's crimes during the Second World War in Poland. Herzog apologized to the Poles during his speech about war crimes.
Kobuk Valley National Park
Kobuk Valley National Park is in the Arctic region of northwestern Alaska, located about 25 miles (40 km) north of the Arctic Circle. The park was designated in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act to preserve the 100 ft (30 m) high Great Kobuk Sand Dunes and the surrounding area which includes caribou migration routes.
Park visitors must bring all their own gear for backcountry camping, hiking, backpacking, boating, and dog sledding. No designated trails or roads exist in the park, which at 1,750,716 acres, is slightly larger than the state of Delaware. Kobuk Valley is one of eight national parks in Alaska, the state with the second most national parks, surpassed only by California which has nine. The park is managed by the National Park Service.
Since no roads lead into the park, visitors arrive via chartered air taxi from Nome, Bettles, or Kotzebue. Flights are available year-round, but are weather dependent. The park is one of the least-visited American national parks, along with others inaccessible by road, including the neighboring Gates of the Arctic, Isle Royale in the middle of Lake Superior, the Dry Tortugas at the end of the Florida Keys, as well as Katmai and Lake Clark in southern Alaska.
Nuremberg Castle is a group of medieval fortified buildings on a sandstone ridge dominating the historical center of Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany.
The castle, together with the city walls, is considered to be one of Europe's most formidable medieval fortifications. It represented the power and importance of the Holy Roman Empire and the outstanding role of the Imperial City of Nuremberg.
In the Middle Ages, German kings (respectively Holy Roman Emperors after their coronation by the Pope) did not have a capital, but voyaged from one of their castles (Kaiserpfalz or Imperial castle) to the next. Thus, the castle at Nürnberg became an important imperial castle, and in the following centuries, all German kings and emperors stayed at the castle, most of whom on several occasions.
Nuremberg Castle comprises three sections: the Imperial castle (Kaiserburg), the former Burgraves' castle (Burggrafenburg), and the buildings erected by the Imperial City at the eastern site (Reichsstädtische Bauten).
The first fortified buildings appear to have been erected around 1000. Thereafter, three major construction periods may be distinguished:
- the castle built under the Salian kings respectively Holy Roman Emperors (1027–1125);
- a new castle built under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254);
- reconstruction of the Palas as well as various modifications and additions in the late medieval centuries.
The castle lost its importance after the Thirty Years' War (1618 to 1648). In the 19th century with its general interest in the medieval period, some modifications were added. During the Nazi period, in preparation of the Nuremberg party rally in 1936, it was "returned to its original state." A few years later, during World War II and its air raids in 1944/1945, a large part of the castle was laid in ruins. It took some thirty years to complete the rebuilding and restoration to its present state.
Alcazar of Segovia
The Alcazar of Segovia translates to the Fortress of Segovia. It is located in Segovia, Spain. The Alcazar of Segovia is one of the most recognizable castles in Spain because it is distinctly shaped like the bow of a ship, breaking from the side of a rocky crag at the intersection of two rivers in the Guadarrama mountains.
Like many different fortifications in Spain, the Alcazar began as a Roman Fort but little of the original structure remains. The Moors also used the space as a fort until around 1120 when it was rebuilt from wood and was used by King Alfonso VIII as their primary residence.
Although the Alcazar was originally built as a fortress, it has since served as a royal palace, a state prison, an Artillery College, and a military academy. Most recently, the Alcazar has served as the Museum of the Royal College of Artillery. In pop culture, many will recognize the castle as being the French home of Sir Lancelot in the 1967 musical film Camelot.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park encompasses part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The park is long and narrow, with the Shenandoah River and its broad valley to the west, and the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont to the east.
Skyline Drive is the main park road, generally traversing near the ridgeline of the mountains. Almost 40% of the land area—79,579 acres (124.3 sq mi; 322.0 km2)—has been designated as wilderness and is protected as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The highest peak is Hawksbill Mountain at 4,051 feet (1,235 m).
B. Free Franklin Post Office
The B. Free Franklin Post Office and Museum is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the only colonial-themed post office still operated by the United States Postal Service. That’s because it is the oldest and original Post Office in the United States and founded by Benjamin Franklin when he served as Postmaster General. There are many strange things about this post office. It is the only one in the country that does not wave an American Flag because when the B. Free Franklin first opened they did not have a flag waving. The B. Free Franklin Post Office also does not have a Zip Code and it has many rules for those who work there! The post clerks who work in the B. Free Franklin Post Office have to wear Colonial-style clothing, and they aren’t allowed to use ballpoint pens. Instead, they have to use quills in inkwells.
The postmark "B. Free Franklin" is from when Ben Franklin was still the Postmaster General. Instead of using stamps, people wrote their names in the top corner of the envelopes. The people who received the letters at the time paid for the postage and not those who sent them. Ben Franklin used to sign his envelopes as B. Free Franklin as a way to protest British rule over the colonies.
If you go inside the B. Free Franklin Post Office today you will see may postal artifacts, including figurines and photographs.
Carcassonne is a French fortified city in the region of Occitanie. It has a population of about 50,000 people.
Inhabited since the Neolithic period, Carcassonne is located in the plain of the Aude between historic trade routes, linking the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea and the Massif Central to the Pyrénées. Its strategic importance was quickly recognized by the Romans, who occupied its hilltop until the demise of the Western Roman Empire.
In the fifth century, it was taken over by the Visigoths, who founded the city. Within three centuries, it briefly came under the Islamic rule. Its strategic location led successive rulers to expand its fortifications until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.
Its citadel, known as the Cité de Carcassonne, is a medieval fortress dating back to the Gallo-Roman period and restored by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1853. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. Consequently, Carcassonne relies heavily on tourism but also counts manufacturing and winemaking as some of its other key economic industries.
The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed on 7 November 1659, and ended the 1635 to 1659 Franco-Spanish war.
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact.
Egyptologists conclude that the pyramid was built as a tomb for the Fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu and estimate that it was built in the 26th century BC during a period of around 27 years.
Initially standing at 146.5 metres (481 feet), the Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years. Throughout history the majority of the smooth white limestone casing was removed, which lowered the pyramid's height to the present 138.5 metres (454.4 ft). What is seen today is the underlying core structure. The base was measured to be about 230.3 metres (755.6 ft) square, giving a volume of roughly 2.6 million cubic metres (92 million cubic feet), which includes an internal hillock.
The Great Pyramid was built by quarrying an estimated 2.3 million large blocks weighing 6 million tonnes total. The majority of stones are not uniform in size or shape and are only roughly dressed. The outside layers were bound together by mortar. Primarily local limestone from the Giza Plateau was used. Other blocks were imported by boat down the Nile: White limestone from Tura for the casing, and granite blocks from Aswan, weighing up to 80 tonnes, for the King's Chamber structure.
There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest was cut into the bedrock, upon which the pyramid was built, but remained unfinished. The so-called Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber, that contains a granite sarcophagus, are higher up, within the pyramid structure. Khufu's vizier, Hemiunu (also called Hemon), is believed by some to be the architect of the Great Pyramid. Many varying scientific and alternative hypotheses attempt to explain the exact construction techniques.
The funerary complex around the pyramid consisted of two mortuary temples connected by a causeway (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), tombs for the immediate family and court of Khufu, including three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite pyramid" and five buried solar barges.
Castillo de San Marcos
The Castillo de San Marcos (Spanish for "St. Mark's Castle") is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States; it is located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida. The Castillo was designed by the Spanish engineer Ignacio Daza, with construction beginning in 1672, 107 years after the city's founding by Spanish Admiral and conquistador Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. The fort's construction was ordered by Governor Francisco de la Guerra y de la Vega after a raid by the English privateer Robert Searles in 1668 that destroyed much of St. Augustine and damaged the existing wooden fort. Work proceeded under the administration of Guerra's successor, Manuel de Cendoya in 1671, and the first coquina stones were laid in 1672. The construction of the core of the current fortress was completed in 1695, though it would undergo many alterations and renovations over the centuries.
When Britain gained control of Florida in 1763 pursuant to the Treaty of Paris, St. Augustine became the capital of British East Florida, and the fort was renamed Fort St. Mark until the Peace of Paris (1783) when Florida was transferred back to Spain and the fort's original name restored. In 1819, Spain signed the Adams–Onís Treaty which ceded Florida to the United States in 1821; consequently the fort was designated a United States Army base and renamed Fort Marion, in honor of American Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion. The fort was declared a National Monument in 1924, and after 251 years of continuous military possession, was deactivated in 1933. The 20.48-acre (8.29 ha) site was subsequently turned over to the United States National Park Service. In 1942 the original name, Castillo de San Marcos, was restored by an Act of Congress.
Castillo de San Marcos was attacked several times and twice besieged: first by English colonial forces led by Carolina Colony Governor James Moore in 1702, and then by English Georgia colonial Governor James Oglethorpe in 1740, but was never taken by force. However, possession of the fort has changed six times, all peaceful, among four different governments: Spain, 1695–1763 and 1783–1821, Kingdom of Great Britain, 1763–1783, and the United States of America, 1821–date (during 1861–1865, under control of the Confederate States of America).
Under United States control the fort was used as a military prison to incarcerate members of Native American tribes starting with the Seminole—including the famous war chief, Osceola, in the Second Seminole War—and members of western tribes, including Geronimo's band of Chiricahua Apache. The Native American art form known as Ledger Art had its origins at the fort during the imprisonment of members of the Plains tribes such as Howling Wolf of the southern Cheyenne.
Ownership of the Castillo was transferred to the National Park Service in 1933, and it has been a popular tourist destination since then.
The Colosseum or Coliseum is a large oval amphitheater in the city of Rome, Italy. The structure is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and was built between 70 and 80 AD under the Roman emperor Vespasian and finished under Emperor Titus. More modifications were made to the Colosseum between 81 and 96 AD under Emperor Domitian. Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian are known as the Flavian Dynasty, hence the name Flavian Amphitheatre. Many historians believe the name Colosseum came from the colossal statue of Nero that was nearby. Successors of Nero altered the statue to look more like Helios, or Apollo, the Sun God. Despite having links to the pagan religion of the Romans, the statue remained standing throughout much of the religiously intolerant Middle Ages.
The Colosseum is huge, and was estimated to have been able to hold between 50,000 and 80,000 people when it was still active. The space was used for battles between gladiators, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and even as a large stage to put on Classical mythology plays. When the Roman Empire fell, the Colosseum fell into disuse, but found different purposes during the Medieval era. The marble was removed and used in other buildings in Rome including St Peter’s Basilica. The Colosseum was used for everything from housing, various workshops, a fortress, a Christian shrine, and even a zoo.
Despite its condition, the Colosseum remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome with thousands of people visiting each year. Starting in 2011, a private company was contracted by the Italian government to restore the Colosseum, costing 25 million euros. The first stage was to clean and restore the exterior with the second stage being to replace the floors to be used to provide more extensive guided tours.
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is located in Washington state. The park was established on March 2, 1899, as the fifth national park in the United States, preserving 236,381 acres (369.3 sq mi; 956.6 km2) including all of Mount Rainier, a 14,411-foot (4,392 m) stratovolcano.
The mountain rises abruptly from the surrounding land with elevations in the park ranging from 1,600 feet to over 14,000 feet (490–4,300 m). The highest point in the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier is surrounded by valleys, waterfalls, subalpine meadows, and 91,000 acres (142.2 sq mi; 368.3 km2) of old-growth forest. More than 25 glaciers descend the flanks of the volcano, which is often shrouded in clouds that dump enormous amounts of rain and snow.
Mount Rainier is circled by the Wonderland Trail and is covered by glaciers and snowfields totaling about 35 square miles (91 km2). Carbon Glacier is the largest glacier by volume in the contiguous United States, while Emmons Glacier is the largest glacier by area. Mount Rainier is a popular peak for mountaineering with some 10,000 attempts per year with approximately 50% making it to the summit.
Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park is in northern Minnesota near the city of International Falls. It was established in 1975. The park's name commemorates the voyageurs—French-Canadian fur traders who were the first European settlers to frequently travel through the area. Notable for its outstanding water resources, the park is popular with canoeists, kayakers, other boaters, and fishermen.
The Kabetogama Peninsula, which lies entirely within the park, makes up most of its land area and is accessible only by boat. To the east of the park lies the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The park has several boat ramps and visitor centers on its periphery, though the main body of the park is only accessible by boat or, in the winter, by snowmobile, ski, or snowshoe.
Gates of the Arctic National Park
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve protects portions of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska. The park is the northernmost national park in the United States, situated entirely north of the Arctic Circle. The park is the second largest in the U.S. at 8,472,506 acres, slightly larger in area than Belgium.
Gates of the Arctic was initially designated as a national monument on December 1, 1978, before being redesignated as a national park and preserve upon passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. A large part of the park has additional protection as the Gates of the Arctic Wilderness which covers 7,167,192 acres. The wilderness area adjoins the Noatak Wilderness. Together, they form the largest contiguous wilderness in the United States.
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, at Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama, commemorates the contributions of African-American airmen in World War II. Moton Field was the site of primary flight training for the pioneering pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, and is now operated by the National Park Service to interpret their history and achievements. It was constructed in 1941 as a new training base. The field was named after former Tuskegee Institute principal Robert Russa Moton, who died the previous year.
Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. military. Civil rights organizations and the black press exerted pressure that resulted in the formation of an all African-American pursuit squadron based in Tuskegee, Alabama, in 1941. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
"Tuskegee Airmen" refers to all who were involved in the so-called "Tuskegee Experiment," the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air.
The military selected Tuskegee Institute to train pilots because of its commitment to aeronautical training. Tuskegee had the facilities, and engineering and technical instructors, as well as a climate for year-round flying. The first Civilian Pilot Training Program students completed their instruction in May 1940. The Tuskegee program was then expanded and became the center for African-American aviation during World War II.
The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. They proved conclusively that African Americans could fly and maintain sophisticated combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen's achievements, together with the men and women who supported them, paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military.
Victor Emmanuel II National Monument
The Victor Emmanuel II National Monument, also known as the Mole del Vittoriano or simply Vittoriano, is a large national monument built between 1885 and 1935 to honor Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy. It stands in the centre of ancient Rome and is connected to the modern one by the streets that radiate from Piazza Venezia
From an architectural perspective, it was designed as a modern forum, an agora (public space) on three levels are connected by stairways and dominated by a portico surrounded by columns.
The monument is dedicated to King Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy who carried out the complex process of unifying and liberating Italy from foreign countries. For this reason, the Vittoriano is considered one of the national symbols of Italy.
The monument preserves the Altar of the Fatherland (Altare della Patria), first an altar of the goddess Rome, then also a shrine of the Italian Unknown Soldier. It gets its name from its importance as a national symbol.
The Victor Emmanuel II National Monument sits on the Capitoline Hill (one of Seven Hills of Rome), in the center of ancient Rome.
The design is a neoclassical interpretation of the Roman Forum.
The Arles Amphitheatre (French: Arènes d'Arles) is a Roman amphitheatre in the southern French town of Arles. It is probably the most prominent tourist attraction from the city which thrived in Ancient Rome. The towers jutting out from the top are medieval add-ons.
Built in 90 AD, the amphitheatre held over 20,000 spectators of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles. Lately, it draws smaller crowds for bullfighting during the Feria d'Arles as well as plays and concerts in summer.
The building measures 136 m (446 ft) in length and 109 m (358 ft) wide, and features 120 arches. It has an oval arena surrounded by terraces, arcades on two levels (60 in all), bleachers, a system of galleries, drainage system in many corridors of access and staircases for a quick exit from the crowd. It was obviously inspired by the Colosseum in Rome (in 72-80), being built slightly later (in 90).
The amphitheatre was not expected to receive 25,000 spectators, the architect was therefore forced to reduce the size and replace the dual system of galleries outside the Colosseum by a single annular gallery. This difference is explained by the conformation of the land. This "temple" of the games housed gladiators and hunting scenes for more than four centuries.
With the fall of the Western Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheatre became a shelter for the population and was transformed into a fortress with four towers (the southern tower is not restored).
The structure encircled more than 200 houses, becoming a real town, with its public square built in the centre of the arena and two chapels, one in the centre of the building, and another one at the base of the west tower. This new residential role continued until the late 18th century.
In 1825, through the initiative of the writer Prosper Mérimée, a push was made to make the amphitheatre a national historical monument. In 1826, expropriation began of the houses built within the building, which ended by 1830 when the first event was organized in the arena – a race of the bulls to celebrate the taking of Algiers.
Booker T Washington National Monument
The Booker T. Washington National Monument is a National Monument near Hardy, Franklin County, Virginia. It preserves portions of the 207-acre (0.90 km²) tobacco farm on which educator and leader Booker T. Washington was born into slavery on April 5, 1856. It provides interpretation of Washington's life and achievements, as well as interpretation of 1850s slavery and farming through the use of buildings, gardens, crafts and animals.
Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an American educator, author, orator, and adviser to multiple presidents of the United States. Between 1890 and 1915, Washington was the dominant leader in the African American community and of the contemporary black elite. Washington was from the last generation of black American leaders born into slavery and became the leading voice of the former slaves and their descendants. They were newly oppressed in the South by disenfranchisement and the Jim Crow discriminatory laws enacted in the post-Reconstruction Southern states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Washington was a key proponent of African-American businesses and one of the founders of the National Negro Business League. His base was the Tuskegee Institute, a historically black college he founded in Tuskegee, Alabama. As lynchings in the South reached a peak in 1895, Washington gave a speech, known as the "Atlanta compromise", which brought him national fame. He called for black progress through education and entrepreneurship, rather than trying to challenge directly the Jim Crow segregation and the disenfranchisement of black voters in the South.
Washington mobilized a nationwide coalition of middle-class blacks, church leaders, and white philanthropists and politicians, with a long-term goal of building the community's economic strength and pride by a focus on self-help and schooling. With his own contributions to the black community, Washington was a supporter of racial uplift, but secretly he also supported court challenges to segregation and to restrictions on voter registration.
Black activists in the North, led by W. E. B. Du Bois, at first supported the Atlanta compromise, but later disagreed and opted to set up the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to work for political change. They tried with limited success to challenge Washington's political machine for leadership in the black community, but built wider networks among white allies in the North.
Washington mastered the nuances of the political arena in the late 19th century, which enabled him to manipulate the media, raise money, develop strategy, network, push, reward friends, and distribute funds, while punishing those who opposed his plans for uplifting blacks. His long-term goal was to end the disenfranchisement of the vast majority of African Americans, who then still lived in the South. His legacy has been very controversial to the civil rights community, of which he was an important leader before 1915. After his death, he came under heavy criticism for accommodationism to white supremacy. However, a more balanced view of his very wide range of activities has appeared since the late 20th century. As of 2010, the most recent studies, "defend and celebrate his accomplishments, legacy, and leadership".
Central Park is an urban park in New York City located between the Upper West and Upper East Sides of Manhattan. It is the fifth-largest park in the city by area, covering 843 acres (341 ha). It is the most visited urban park in the United States, with an estimated 42 million visitors annually as of 2016, and is the most filmed location in the world.
Following proposals for a large park in Manhattan during the 1840s, it was approved in 1853 to cover 778 acres (315 ha). In 1857, landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition for the park with their "Greensward Plan". Construction began the same year. Existing structures in the area, including a majority-Black settlement named Seneca Village, were seized and torn down to build the park.
The park's first areas were opened to the public in late 1858. Additional land at the northern end of Central Park was purchased in 1859, and the park was completed in 1876. After a period of decline in the early 20th century, New York City parks commissioner Robert Moses started a program to clean up Central Park in the 1930s. The Central Park Conservancy, created in 1980 to combat further deterioration in the late 20th century, refurbished many parts of the park starting in the 1980s.
Main attractions include landscapes such as the Ramble and Lake, Hallett Nature Sanctuary, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, and Sheep Meadow; amusement attractions such as Wollman Rink, Central Park Carousel, and the Central Park Zoo; formal spaces such as the Central Park Mall and Bethesda Terrace; and the Delacorte Theater. The biologically diverse ecosystem has several hundred species of flora and fauna. Recreational activities include carriage-horse and bicycle tours, bicycling, sports facilities, and concerts and events such as Shakespeare in the Park.
Its size and cultural position make it a model for the world's urban parks. Its influence earned Central Park the designations of National Historic Landmark in 1963 and of New York City scenic landmark in 1974.
Located in the Vatican Palace, the Sistine Chapel is a large 15th-century chapel where the Pope lives, and in which popes are chosen and crowned. One of the main attractions of the Vatican City, it serves as the pope’s own chapel, used for important ceremonies and masses, but it’s perhaps most famous for its remarkable fresco paintings by Renaissance artist Michelangelo. The ceiling is one of Michelangelo’s most famous works, created between 1508 and 1512, with the painter working from a high platform with his arms stretched over his head, brush in hand. When entering the chapel, you can almost see him working while he wipes sweat from his eyes, toiling year after year often in intense heat, breathing in the terrible smell from the wet plaster used to create the masterpiece he never really wanted to paint in the first place. The artist considered himself more of a sculptor, with no experience painting frescoes – in fact, it’s been said that when he painted, he essentially painted sculpture on his surfaces. As you gaze up at the chapel ceiling, it’s easy to see this was the case, with his monumental figures embodying both beauty and strength.
In 1509, Michelangelo described the physical toll the project took to his friend Giovanni da Pistoia. In a poem he wrote about his spine being “knotted” from bending himself over and that his stomach was “squashed” under his skin.
The Rialto Bridge (Italian: Ponte di Rialto; Venetian: Ponte de Rialto) is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal. Connecting the sestieri (districts) of San Marco and San Polo, it has been rebuilt several times and is now a significant tourist attraction in the city.
The first dry crossing of the Grand Canal was a pontoon bridge built in 1181 by Nicolò Barattieri. It was called the Ponte della Moneta, presumably because of the mint that stood near its eastern entrance.
The development and importance of the Rialto market on the eastern bank increased traffic on the floating bridge, so it was replaced in 1255 by a wooden bridge. This structure had two ramps meeting at a movable central section, that could be raised to allow the passage of tall ships. The connection with the market eventually led to a change of name for the bridge. During the first half of the 15th century, two rows of shops were built along the sides of the bridge. The rents brought an income to the State Treasury, which helped maintain the bridge.
Maintenance was vital for the timber bridge. It was partly burnt in the revolt led by Bajamonte Tiepolo in 1310. In 1444, it collapsed under the weight of a crowd rushing to see the marriage of the Marquis of Ferrara and it collapsed again in 1524.
The idea of rebuilding the bridge in stone was first proposed in 1503. Several projects were considered over the following decades. In 1551, the authorities requested proposals for the renewal of the Rialto Bridge, among other things. Plans were offered by famous architects, such as Jacopo Sansovino, Palladio and Vignola, but all involved a Classical approach with several arches, which was judged inappropriate to the situation. Michelangelo also was considered as designer of the bridge.
The present stone bridge, a single span designed by Antonio da Ponte, began to be constructed in 1588 and was completed in 1591. It is similar to the wooden bridge it succeeded. Two ramps lead up to a central portico. On either side of the portico, the covered ramps carry rows of shops. The engineering of the bridge was considered so audacious that architect Vincenzo Scamozzi predicted future ruin. The bridge has defied its critics to become one of the architectural icons of Venice.
Today, the bridge is one of the top tourist attractions in Venice.
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park is located in northwestern Indiana managed by the National Park Service. It was authorized by Congress in 1966 as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and was redesignated as the nation's 61st national park on February 15, 2019.
Evidence suggests that the area was a seasonal hunting ground for early Native Americans. The earliest evidence of permanent camps was the occupation of the Ohio valley by the Hopewell culture. Five groups of mounds have been documented in the dunes area.
Beginning in the 1500s, European exploration and trade introduced more changes in the area. Entire populations of Native Americans began moving westward, while others sought to dominate large geographic trading areas. The dunes became a middle point on a journey from the east or the west.
It wasn't until the 19th century that native villages once again were scattered through the area, but this was soon followed by European settlement. Joseph Bailly was the earliest recorded settler in the dunes. He moved here from trading villages around Niles, Michigan. Soon he was joined by a series of other settlers and the communities in the dunes began to develop. They included Chesterton, Porter, Tremont, and the Town of the Pines.
City West was one of several "ghost towns" situated in the dunes. Planned as a rival to Chicago, it was partly built in 1837 but failed that summer, during a national economic panic. The remains of the town, partly carted off to be used as lumber, were located near where the pavilion in the state park now stands, until a forest fire in the 1850s destroyed what was left.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park straddles the California–Nevada border, east of the Sierra Nevada. The park occupies area between the arid Great Basin and Mojave deserts, protecting the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and its diverse environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons and mountains.
Death Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous United States, as well as the hottest, driest and lowest of all the national parks in the United States. It contains Badwater Basin, the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. More than 93% of the park is a designated wilderness area. The park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment including creosote bush, Joshua tree, bighorn sheep, coyote, and the Death Valley pupfish, a survivor from much wetter times.
A series of Native American groups inhabited the area from as early as 7000 BC, most recently the Timbisha around 1000 AD who migrated between winter camps in the valleys and summer grounds in the mountains. A group of European Americans, trapped in the valley in 1849 while looking for a shortcut to the gold fields of California, gave the valley its name, even though only one of their group died there.
Several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mine gold and silver. The only long-term profitable ore to be mined was borax, which was transported out of the valley with twenty-mule teams. Tourism expanded in the 1920s when resorts were built around Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek. Death Valley National Monument was declared in 1933 and the park was substantially expanded and became a national park in 1994.
Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge built in the first century AD to carry water over 50 km (31 mi) to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). It crosses the river Gardon near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard in southern France. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all Roman aqueduct bridges, as well as one of the best preserved. It was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites in 1985 because of its historical importance.
The bridge has three tiers of arches, stands 48.8 m (160 ft) high, and descends a mere 2.5 centimetres (1 in) while the whole aqueduct descends in height by only 12.6 m (41 ft) over its entire length, indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve using simple technology.
The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 40,000 m3 (8,800,000 imp gal) of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It may have been in use as late as the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but a lack of maintenance after the 4th century led to clogging by mineral deposits and debris that eventually stopped the flow of water.
After the Roman Empire collapsed and the aqueduct fell into disuse, the Pont du Gard remained largely intact due to the importance of its secondary function as a toll bridge. For centuries the local lords and bishops were responsible for its upkeep, in exchange for the right to levy tolls on travellers using it to cross the river. Over time, some of its stone blocks were looted, and serious damage was inflicted on it in the 17th century. It attracted increasing attention starting in the 18th century, and became an important tourist destination. It underwent a series of renovations between the 18th and 21st centuries, commissioned by the local authorities and the French state, which culminated in 2000 with the opening of a new visitor centre and the removal of traffic and buildings from the bridge and the area immediately around it. Today it is one of France's most popular tourist attractions, and has attracted the attention of a succession of literary and artistic visitors.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is located in southern Oregon. Established in 1902, Crater Lake is the fifth-oldest national park in the United States and the only national park in Oregon. The park encompasses the caldera of Crater Lake, a remnant of Mount Mazama, a destroyed volcano, and the surrounding hills and forests.
The lake is 1,949 feet (594 m) deep at its deepest point, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States, the second-deepest in North America and the ninth-deepest in the world. The impressive average depth of this volcanic lake is due to the nearly symmetrical 4,000-foot-deep (1,200 m) caldera formed 7,700 years ago during the violent climactic eruptions and subsequent collapse of Mount Mazama and the relatively moist climate that is typical of the Cascade Range.
The caldera rim ranges in elevation from 7,000 to 8,000 feet (2,100 to 2,400 m). The United States Geological Survey benchmark elevation of the lake surface is 6,178 feet (1,883 m). Crater Lake has no streams flowing into or out of it. All the water that enters the lake is eventually lost from evaporation or leaking into the ground. The lake's water commonly has a striking blue hue, and the lake is refilled entirely from direct precipitation in the form of snow and rain.
The Doge's Palace is a palace built in Venetian Gothic style, and one of the main landmarks of the city of Venice. The palace was the residence of the Doge of Venice, the supreme authority of the former Republic. It was built in 1340 and extended and modified in the following centuries. It became a museum in 1923 and is one of the 11 museums run by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.
In 810, Doge Agnello Participazio moved the seat of government from the island of Malamocco to the area of the present-day Rialto, when it was decided a palatium duci (Latin for "ducal palace") should be built. However, no trace remains of that 9th-century building as the palace was partially destroyed in the 10th century by a fire.
Reconstruction works were undertaken by Doge Sebastiano Ziani (1172–1178). A great reformer, he would drastically change the entire layout of the St. Mark's Square. The new palace was built out of fortresses, one façade to the Piazzetta, the other overlooking the St. Mark's Basin. Although only few traces remain of that palace, some Byzantine-Venetian architecture characteristics can still be seen at the ground floor, with the wall base in Istrian stone and some herring-bone pattern brick paving.
Political changes in the mid-13th century led to the need to re-think the palace's structure due to the increase in the number of the Great Council's members. The new Gothic palace's constructions started around 1340, focusing mostly on the side of the building facing the lagoon.
The oldest part of the palace is the wing overlooking the lagoon, the corners of which are decorated with 14th-century sculptures, thought to be by Filippo Calendario and various Lombard artists such as Matteo Raverti and Antonio Bregno. The ground floor arcade and the loggia above are decorated with 14th- and 15th-century capitals, some of which were replaced with copies during the 19th century.
Bridge of Sighs
A corridor leads over the Bridge of Sighs, built in 1614 to link the Doge's Palace to the structure intended to house the New Prisons. Enclosed and covered on all sides, the bridge contains two separate corridors that run next to each other. Both corridors are linked to the service staircase that leads from the ground floor cells of the Pozzi to the roof cells of the Piombi.
The famous name of the bridge dates from the Romantic period and was supposed to refer to the sighs of prisoners who, passing from the courtroom to the cell in which they would serve their sentence, took a last look at freedom as they glimpsed the lagoon and San Giorgio through the small windows.
In the mid-16th century, it was decided to build a new structure on the other side of the canal to the side of the palace which would house prisons and the chambers of the magistrates known as the Notte al Criminal. Ultimately linked to the palace by the Bridge of Sighs, the building was intended to improve the conditions for prisoners with larger and more light-filled and airy cells.
Christ Church was founded in 1695 by members of the Church of England, who built a small wooden church on the site. In 1700, Evan Evans travelled from Wales to become their rector.
When the congregation outgrew the original building twenty years after its construction, they decided to erect a new church, the most extravagant in the colonies. The main body of the church was constructed between 1727 and 1744, and the steeple was added in 1754, making it the tallest building in the future United States of America, at 196 feet (60 m).
Christ Church is considered one of the nation's most beautiful surviving 18th-century structures, a monument to colonial craftsmanship and a handsome example of Georgian architecture. Modeled on the work in London of Christopher Wren, it features a symmetrical, classical façade with arched windows and a simple yet elegant interior with fluted columns and wooden pews. Although the architect of the church is unknown, its construction was supervised by John Kearsley, a physician, who was likely also responsible for the design, possibly with John Harrison. The church was rebuilt in 1777 by Robert Smith, and the interior was altered in 1883 by Thomas Ustick Walter.
The baptismal font in which William Penn was baptized is still in use at Christ Church; it was sent to Philadelphia in 1697 from All Hallows-by-the-Tower in London. Another baptismal font and the communion table were crafted by Philadelphia cabinetmaker Jonathan Gostelowe, who served on the vestry in the 1790s.
Christ Church's congregation included 15 signers of the Declaration of Independence. American Revolutionary War leaders who attended Christ Church include George Washington, Robert Morris, Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross. Brass plaques mark the pews where these individuals once sat.
At the convening of the First Continental Congress in September 1774, Rector Jacob Duché was summoned to Carpenters' Hall to lead the opening prayers. During the war, the Reverend William White (1748–1836), rector of Christ Church, served as Chaplain to both the Continental Congress and the United States Senate.
The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II after the temporary restoration of order during the Batavian Revolution. One of the best-known landmarks of Germany, it was built on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, which used to be capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg.
It is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin within Mitte, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building, which houses the German parliament (Bundestag). The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, a boulevard of linden trees which led directly to the royal City Palace of the Prussian monarchs.
Throughout its existence, the Brandenburg Gate was often a site for major historical events and is today considered not only as a symbol of the tumultuous history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace.
After Germany's surrender and the end of the war, the governments of East Berlin and West Berlin restored it in a joint effort. The gate was located in the Soviet occupation zone, directly next to the border to the British occupation zone, which later became the border between East and West Berlin.
Vehicles and pedestrians could travel freely through the gate until the day after construction began on the Berlin Wall on Barbed Wire Sunday, 13 August 1961. West Berliners gathered on the western side of the gate to demonstrate against the Berlin Wall, among them West Berlin's mayor, Willy Brandt, who had returned from a federal election campaign tour in West Germany earlier the same day. The wall passed directly by the western side of the gate, which was closed throughout the Berlin Wall period.
When the Revolutions of 1989 occurred and the wall was demolished, the gate symbolized freedom and the desire to unify the city of Berlin. Thousands of people gathered at the wall to celebrate its fall on 9 November 1989. On 22 December 1989, the Brandenburg Gate border crossing was reopened when Helmut Kohl, the West German chancellor, walked through to be greeted by Hans Modrow, the East German prime minister. Demolition of the rest of the wall around the area took place the following year.
Christ Church Burial Ground
Christ Church Burial Ground is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is an early-American cemetery that is also the final resting ground of Benjamin Franklin and his wife, Deborah. Christ Church cemetery belongs to Christ Church, an Episcopal church, located in downtown Philadelphia. Christ Church was founded in 1695 and in the time before and during the American Revolutionary War was the church where many famous participants of the war effort practiced their faith, including George Washington.
Another prominent name in American history buried in Christ Church burial ground is Benjamin Rush. Not only was Benjamin Rush a signer of Declaration of Independence, he is also considered to be the father of American Psychiatry”. In 1773, Dr. Rush also founded Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Also buried there is Commodore William Bainbridge, who became very well known during the War of 1812 as the captain of “Old Ironsides”, the USS Constitution.
Today Christ Church is available for visitors to Philadelphia to go and see for a small fee. The burial site of Benjamin Franklin is visible from the street. One of the most popular things to do when visiting Benjamin Franklin’s grave site is to leave pennies.
Photo by angela n.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story tall skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, in New York City. Constructed between 1930 and 1931, the structure cost more than $40 million dollars to construct, which today would amount to more than $534 million dollars.
It is one of the most famous pieces of Art Deco architecture in the United States, joining the Chrysler Building, in Chicago, as one of the most recognized Art Deco styled structures. The Empire State Building was the tallest man-made structure in the world from 1931 until 1970 when it was surpassed by the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Until the construction of the Empire State Building, the plot of land was owned by the Astor family, and on the site was constructed the Waldorf-Astoria which was remained open until the 1920s when it was sold to Bethlehem Engineering Corporation. Eventually, the building was sold to Empire State Incorporation, which was a combination of influential New Yorkers, including members of the du Pont family, and Al Smith, a former governor of New York. Together, they designed a 50-story structure which eventually increased to 102-stories. During construction, more than 4 stories were added per week. It took just 13 months of total construction time to finish. President Herbert Hoover officially opened the building to the public, illuminating the building’s iconic lighting.
In 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber, piloted by Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith Jr, crashed into the side of the Empire State Building between the 79th and 80th floors. Flying through thick fog, the pilot did not see the skyscraper. Unfortunately, fourteen people were killed. Betty Lou Oliver, an elevator operator, survived falling 75 stories inside of the elevator, which still today stands as the longest survived elevator fall recorded.
It tooks just 20 months design, plan, and construct the Empire State Building.
The tower on top of the skyscraper was originally designed for airships to dock and drop off passengers.
St Mark's Basilica
The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, commonly known as St Mark's Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. It is the most famous of the city's churches and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. It lies at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace. Originally it was the chapel of the Doge, and has been the city's cathedral only since 1807, when it became the seat of the Patriarch of Venice.
The building's structure dates back to the later part of the 11th century, and the most likely influence on its architecture and design is the Hagia Sophia. Much work has gone toward embellishing this, and the famous main façade has an ornamented roofline that is mostly Gothic. The gold ground mosaics that now cover almost all the upper areas of the interior took centuries to complete. In the 13th century the external height of the domes was greatly increased by hollow drums raised on a wooden framework and covered with metal; the original ones are shallower, as can be seen on the inside. This change makes the domes visible from the piazza.
Many of its rich artifacts and relics were plundered from Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade in 1204 CE, including many artifacts from the Hagia Sophia. The famous Madonna Nicopeia, also known as the icon of the Virgin Nicopeia, was looted from the Monastery of Stoudios and was one of the city's most precious icons, carried into battle by various Byzantine emperors. The icon was brought to Venice by Enrico Dandolo (d. 1205 CE) and the altar of the Virgin Nicopeia remains in St. Mark's Basilica until today. To the Venetians, the icon was a symbol that God had transferred His blessing from Constantinople to Venice by military conquest.
For its opulent design, gold ground mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building has been known by the nickname Chiesa d'Oro (Church of gold).
Haleakalā National Park
Haleakalā National Park is located on the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii. Named after Haleakalā, a dormant volcano within its boundaries, the park covers an area of 33,265 acres (52.0 sq mi; 134.6 km2). The land was designated a national park in 1976 and its boundaries expanded in 2005.
The main feature of the park is Haleakalā Crater which, despite its name, is geologically an erosional valley. It is 6.99 miles (11.25 km) across, 2.0 mi (3.2 km) wide, and 2,600 ft (790 m) deep. The interior of the crater is dotted by numerous volcanic features, including large cinder cones. Two main trails lead into the crater from the summit area: the Halemau'u and Sliding Sands trails.
Visitors frequently come to the summit of the volcano to watch the sunrise and/or sunset. One attraction of the park is Hosmer's Grove, a unique forest of trees including deodar (Cedrus deodara) from the Himalayas, sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) from Japan, eucalyptus from Australia, and several species from North America (pine, spruce, cypress, fir, and others). Native plants and trees are also present in the forest but are not common due to the little light available (because of the taller alien trees).
The park is known for its volcanic features, its long scenic drive with numerous overlooks, and the unusually clear views of the night sky. Haleakalā is one of the best places in the United States for amateur astronomy, and binoculars and telescopes are available for rent from many local merchants.
Nēnē (Hawaiian geese) can also be seen in their natural habitat in Haleakalā Crater. Although nēnē died out entirely in the park, in 1946 they were re-introduced with the help of the Boy Scouts, who carried young birds into the crater in their backpacks.
The President's House in Philadelphia was the third U.S. Presidential Mansion. George Washington occupied it from November 27, 1790, to March 10, 1797; and John Adams occupied it from March 21, 1797, to May 30, 1800.
The house was located one block north of the Pennsylvania Statehouse (now Independence Hall), and was built by widow Mary Masters about 1767. During the 1777-1778 British occupation of Philadelphia, it was headquarters for General Sir William Howe and the British Army. The British abandoned the city in June 1778, and the house became headquarters for Military Governor Benedict Arnold.
Philadelphia served as the temporary national capital from 1790 to 1800, while Washington, D.C. was under construction. The house was owned by Revolutionary War financier Robert Morris in 1790, who gave it up for President Washington's use. Washington brought nine enslaved Africans from Mount Vernon to work in his presidential household.
The house also served as the executive mansion for President John Adams. Adams moved to the District of Columbia and into the not-yet-completed White House on November 1, 1800.
Confusion over the exact location of the Philadelphia President's House led to its surviving walls being unknowingly demolished in 1951. Advocacy by historians and African American groups resulted in the 2010 commemoration of the site.
Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park is in southern Florida, south of Miami. The park preserves Biscayne Bay and its offshore barrier reefs. Ninety-five percent of the park is water, and the shore of the bay is the location of an extensive mangrove forest.
The park covers 172,971 acres and includes Elliott Key, the park's largest island and northernmost of the true Florida Keys, formed from fossilized coral reef. The islands farther north in the park are transitional islands of coral and sand. The offshore portion of the park includes the northernmost region of the Florida Reef, one of the largest coral reefs in the world.
Biscayne National Park protects four distinct ecosystems: the shoreline mangrove swamp, the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay, the coral limestone keys and the offshore Florida Reef. The shoreline swamps of the mainland and island margins provide a nursery for larval and juvenile fish, molluscs and crustaceans. The bay waters harbor immature and adult fish, seagrass beds, sponges, soft corals, and manatees. The keys are covered with tropical vegetation including endangered cacti and palms, and their beaches provide nesting grounds for endangered sea turtles.
Offshore reefs and waters harbor more than 200 species of fish, pelagic birds, whales and hard corals. Sixteen endangered species including Schaus' swallowtail butterflies, smalltooth sawfish, manatees, and green and hawksbill sea turtles may be observed in the park. Biscayne also has a small population of threatened American crocodiles and a few American alligators.
The people of the Glades culture inhabited the Biscayne Bay region as early as 10,000 years ago before rising sea levels filled the bay. The Tequesta people occupied the islands and shoreline from about 4,000 years before the present to the 16th century, when the Spanish took possession of Florida. Reefs claimed ships from Spanish times through the 20th century, with more than 40 documented wrecks within the park's boundaries. While the park's islands were farmed during the 19th and early 20th centuries, their rocky soil and periodic hurricanes made agriculture difficult to sustain.
Originally proposed for inclusion in Everglades National Park, Biscayne Bay was removed from the proposed park to ensure Everglades' establishment. The area remained undeveloped until the 1960s, when a series of proposals were made to develop the keys in the manner of Miami Beach, and to construct a deepwater seaport for bulk cargo, along with refinery and petrochemical facilities on the mainland shore of Biscayne Bay. A backlash against development led to the 1968 designation of Biscayne National Monument. The preserved area was expanded by its 1980 re-designation as Biscayne National Park. The park is heavily used by boaters, and apart from the park's visitor center on the mainland and a jetty at Black Point Marina, its land and sea areas are accessible only by boat.
Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom's most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and a burial site for English and, later, British monarchs.
The building itself was a Benedictine monastic church until the monastery was dissolved in 1539. Between 1540 and 1556, the abbey had the status of a cathedral. Since 1560, the building is no longer an abbey or a cathedral, having instead the status of a Church of England "Royal Peculiar"—a church responsible directly to the sovereign.
According to a tradition first reported by Sulcard in about 1080, a church was founded at the site (then known as Thorn Ey) in the seventh century at the time of Mellitus, a Bishop of London. Construction of the present church began in 1245 on the orders of King Henry III.
Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs have occurred in Westminster Abbey. Sixteen royal weddings have occurred at the Abbey since 1100.
The Abbey is the burial site of more than 3300 persons, usually of prominence in British history: at least 16 monarchs, 8 Prime Ministers, poets laureate, actors, scientists, military leaders, and the Unknown Warrior. As such, Westminster Abbey is sometimes described as "Britain's Valhalla", after the iconic hall of the chosen heroes in Norse mythology.
Abraj Al Bait
The Abraj Al-Bait is a government-owned complex of seven skyscraper hotels in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Opened in 2012, these towers are part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project that aims to modernize the city in catering to its pilgrims. The central hotel tower, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, has the world's largest clock face and is the third-tallest building and fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. The clock tower contains the Clock Tower Museum that occupies the top four floors of the tower.
The building complex is metres away from the world's largest mosque and Islam's most sacred site, the Great Mosque of Mecca.
The developer and contractor of the complex is the Saudi Binladin Group, the Kingdom's largest construction company. It is the world's second most expensive building, with the total cost of construction totalling US$15 billion, the first being the Great Mosque of Mecca. The complex was built after the demolition of the Ajyad Fortress, the 18th-century Ottoman citadel on top of a hill overlooking the Grand Mosque. The destruction of the historically significant site in 2002 by the Saudi government sparked international outcry and a strong response from Turkey.
The tower is 601 meters tall and has 120 floors.
The roof of the clocks is 450 m (1,480 ft) above the ground, making them the world's most elevated architectural clocks.
A 151-metre-tall (495 ft) spire has been added on top of the clock giving it a total height of 601 m (1,972 ft). Behind the clock faces there is an astronomy exhibition. In the spire base and the glass-covered floors (The Jewel) there is a scientific center which is used to sight the moon in the beginnings of the Islamic months, and to operate an atomic clock which controls the tower clocks.
Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor
The Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, or the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is a Roman Catholic Church built on the summit of Mount Tibidabo. Although the Church is of Neo Gothic design, it is a relatively new church, opened and completed in 1961.
The Catholic Church decided that they wanted to build a church on the summit of Mount Tibidabo at the end of the 1800s because the Catholic diocese had heard a rumor that a Protestant church and a casino was going to open there. In 1886, Saint John Bosco was given the area of land and groundbreaking took place in 1902. The construction of the massive church took place in stages, with the crypts being built first from 1903 to 1911, and then the main part of the church from 1915 to 1951. Finally, the towers were added and finally finished in 1961.
On the top of the church is a massive statue of Jesus Christ made from bronze and standing 23 feet tall. This was the second statue of Jesus that was placed on the top of the Sagrat Cor. The first was placed in 1935, but was destroyed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. The one you see today was placed when the church doors opened in 1961.
The Vatican is located in Rome, but it’s an independent state governed as an absolute monarch with the pope as the head of what is the world’s smallest country. Encircled with a two-mile border, it has its own militia to protect the pope, as well as 800 full-time citizens and temporary residents.
Covering just over 100 acres, it’s only about one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York City. The name Vatican City was taken from Vatican Hill, first used in the Lateran Treaty which was signed in 1929 to establish the modern city-state.
Within the Vatican are a number of cultural and religious sites, including the stunning St. Peter’s Basilica that was built upon an earlier 4th-century church, completed in 1626 after 120 years of construction. It also hosts the Vatican Museums, a massive complex of museums and galleries showcasing elaborate frescoes, paintings, sculptures, classical antiquities and tapestries, as well as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The chapel is famous for its frescoes which include works by Botticelli, Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, along with the ceiling and Last Judgment by Michelangelo.
The Vatican is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site, added in 1984. It remains the only one that is made up of an entire state. It prints its own stamps, mints its own euros, issues passports, and has its own anthem and flag. There is no taxation as souvenir sales, stamps and museum admission fees generate the Vatican’s revenue.
Belém Tower, officially the Tower of Saint Vincent, is a 16th-century fortification located in Lisbon that served as a point for Portuguese explorers to board their ships and as a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon.
It was built during the height of the Portuguese Renaissance, and is an example of the Portuguese Manueline style. The structure was built from lioz limestone and is composed of a bastion (part of the structure that angles out from the main wall) and a 30-metre (98.4 ft), four-storey tower.
Since 1983, the tower has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is often portrayed as a symbol of Europe's Age of Discoveries.
It has incorrectly been stated that the tower was built in the middle of the Tagus and now sits near the shore because the river was redirected after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In fact, the tower was built on a small island in the Tagus river near the Lisbon shore.
Wind Cave National Park
Wind Cave National Park is located 10 miles (16 km) north of the town of Hot Springs in western South Dakota. Established on January 3, 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, it was the seventh national park and the first cave to be designated a national park anywhere in the world.
The cave is notable for its calcite formations known as boxwork, as well as its frostwork. Approximately 95 percent of the world's discovered boxwork formations are found in Wind Cave. The cave is recognized as the densest cave system in the world, with the greatest passage volume per cubic mile. Wind Cave is the seventh longest cave in the world with 154.2 miles (248.16 km) of explored cave passageways (as of 2021) and the third longest cave in the United States.
Above ground, the park includes the largest remaining natural mixed-grass prairie in the United States.
Ellis Island is a federally-owned island in New York Harbor that was the busiest immigrant inspection station in the United States. From 1892 to 1924, nearly 12 million immigrants arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey were processed there under federal law. Today, it is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and is accessible to the public only by ferry. The north side of the island is the site of the main building, now a national museum of immigration. The south side of the island, including the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, is open to the public only through guided tours.
In the 19th century, Ellis Island was the site of Fort Gibson and later became a naval magazine. The first inspection station opened in 1892 and was destroyed by fire in 1897. The second station opened in 1900 and housed facilities for medical quarantines and processing immigrants. After 1924, Ellis Island was used primarily as a detention center for migrants. During both World War I and World War II, its facilities were also used by the US military to detain prisoners-of-war. After the immigration station's closure, the buildings languished for several years until they were partially reopened in 1976. The main building and adjacent structures were completely renovated in 1990.
Denali National Park
Denali National Park and Preserve, formerly known as Mount McKinley National Park, is located in Interior Alaska. It is centered on Denali, the highest mountain in North America at 20,310 feet (6,190 m). The park and contiguous preserve encompass 6,045,153 acres which is larger than the state of New Hampshire.
On December 2, 1980, 2,146,580-acre Denali Wilderness was established within the park. Denali's landscape is a mix of forest at the lowest elevations, including deciduous taiga, with tundra at middle elevations, and glaciers, snow, and bare rock at the highest elevations. The longest glacier is the Kahiltna Glacier.
Wintertime activities include dog sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
The oldest bridge in Florence, Ponte Vecchio opened in 1345 and countless visitors continue to cross it today. A timeless symbol of the city, the original Roman crossing stood here as the only bridge over the Arno River until 1218, with the current bridge rebuilt following a flood. While we know that the bridge was constructed as part of a system of defense, it’s a mystery as to who designed it, though evidence points to Dominican friars, who had an excellent sense of harmony, proportion and use of numbers.
It’s easy to imagine the early residents of Florence bustling about Ponte Vecchio, with shops here since the 13th century, from fishmongers and tanners to butchers. The latter once tossed foul-smelling waste right into the river, causing a stench that led Ferdinand I to decree in 1583 that only jewelers and goldsmiths could have shops on the bridge.
Remarkably, Ponte Vecchio is Florence’s only bridge that managed to survive World War II, with all the others bombed and destroyed. Today, it’s a lively spot packed with tourists. By arriving just before dawn, you can enjoy serene magical views of the river and a colorful sunrise without the crowds. After dark, the shops’ wooden shutters create a look of wooden chests and suitcases that make it especially inviting for an evening stroll. Another perspective can be enjoyed underneath, through the occasional concert, theater presentations and boat rides.
Benito Mussolini changed the three windows in the center of the bridge to one large window in 1939 so Adolf Hitler could admire the view during his visit. This may have saved the bridge from demolition during World War II. When the Germans retreated, they destroyed all the nearby bridges. Ponte Vecchio was not destroyed. Instead, only the buildings at the ends were knocked down to block the path of Allied forces.
The bronze statue found on the bridge is of Benvenuto Cellini. He was a master goldsmith and artist from Florence. The statue was put up in 1901 to celebrate his 400th birthday.
Pegasus Bridge, originally called the Bénouville Bridge after the neighbouring village, is a road crossing over the Caen Canal, between Caen and Ouistreham in Normandy. The original bridge, built in 1934, is now a war memorial and is the centrepiece of the Memorial Pegasus museum at nearby Ranville. It was replaced in 1994 by a modern design which, like the old one, is a bascule bridge.
On the night of 5 June 1944, a force of 181 men, led by Major John Howard, took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton in Dorset, southern England in six Horsa gliders to capture Pegasus Bridge, and "Horsa Bridge", a few hundred yards to the east, over the Orne River. The force was composed of D Company (reinforced with two platoons of B Company) and men of the Glider Pilot Regiment. The object of this action was to prevent German armour from crossing the bridges and attacking the eastern flank of the landings at Sword Beach.
Five of the gliders landed as close as 47 yards from their objectives just after midnight. The attackers poured out of their battered gliders, completely surprising the German defenders, and took the bridges within 10 minutes. They lost two men in the process, Lieutenant Den Brotheridge and Lance corporal Fred Greenhalgh.
One glider landed at the bridge over the River Dives, some 7 miles off. Most of the soldiers in this glider moved through German lines towards the village of Ranville where they eventually re-joined the British forces. They were reinforced at 03.00hrs by Lieutenant Colonel Pine-Coffin's 7th Parachute Battalion, and linked up with the beach landing forces with the arrival of Lord Lovat's Commandos.
Later in 1944, the Bénouville Bridge was renamed Pegasus Bridge in honour of the operation. The name is derived from the shoulder emblem worn by the British Parachute Regiment which depicts Bellerophon riding the flying horse Pegasus.
John Frost Bridge
John Frost Bridge is the road bridge over the Lower Rhine at Arnhem, in the Netherlands. The bridge is named after Major-General John Dutton Frost who commanded the British forces that reached and defended the bridge during the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. The bridge was featured in the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, although the IJssel bridge in Deventer was used for the film.
Operation Market Garden
In September 1944 the Allies launched Operation Market Garden. The road bridge across the Lower Rhine should have been the final objective of the operation, and its capture was tasked to the British 1st Airborne Division. Unexpected German resistance in Arnhem meant that only a small force of some 740 men were able to reach the northern end of the bridge, commanded by Lt-Colonel John Frost.
On the night of the 17 September the British attempted to take the southern end of the bridge, using a flame thrower to destroy German positions in the bridge's towers. This accidentally ignited an ammunition store and the fresh paint on the bridge caught fire, illuminating the area for most of the night and forcing the British to abandon their attempt.
The German forces in Arnhem eventually overwhelmed Frost's men, although this took several days. They had however succeeded in closing the bridge to German armour for about four days, twice as long as a whole division was expected to hold the bridge. The rest of the division held out at nearby Oosterbeek until 25 September before being evacuated across the river.
Although the bridge survived the battle, it was bombed and destroyed by B-26 Marauders of the 344th Bomb Group on 7 October 1944 to prevent the Germans from using it to send reinforcements south of the river.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge in California that connects San Francisco and Marin County. The Bridge takes drivers over a mile-wide strait that connects the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. A strait is a narrow body of water that connects two larger bodies of water. The Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937 and was the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world.
Before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, the quickest way to get from one side to the other was by boat. There was a ferry boat that operated starting in 1820 to take travelers from San Francisco to Marin County. Although many people in the area asked for a bridge to be built, engineers believed that one could never be constructed because the winds there are very strong, and the strait had strong currents and tides which would make construction very hard. It wasn’t until 1933 that construction began using a design by an architect named Irving Morrow. Construction took four years, and unfortunately, 11 men died while the bridge was being built. Building bridges was a very dangerous job. On February 17, 1937, a worker’s platform collapsed and the net below it failed. There was a total of 31 men working on the platform, and 19 of them were caught in the net. Sadly, 12 of them fell into the icy water of the strait and 10 of them passed away.
Today, around 110,000 cars drive over the bridge every day. Walkways were built on the bridge when it first opened, so people can walk or bicycle across it. The Golden Gate Bridge has been named one of the Modern Wonder of the World and is one of the most photographed sites in California.
Arches National Park