25 May 2010
Aldabra, the world's largest coral atoll, is in the Aldabra Group of islands in the Indian Ocean that form part of the Seychelles. Uninhabited and extremely isolated Aldabra is virtually untouched by humans, has distinctive island fauna including the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, and is designated a World Heritage Site.
Aldabra was visited by Portuguese navigators in 1511. The islands were already known to the Arabs, from whom they get their name. In the middle of the 18th century, they became dependencies of the French colony of Réunion, from where expeditions were made for the capture of the giant tortoises.
In 1810 with Mauritius, Réunion, the Seychelles and other islands, Aldabra passed into the possession of Great Britain. Réunion was returned to France, and Mauritius gained possession of Aldabra as well as the rest of the Seychelles. The previous inhabitants were emigrants from the Seychelles. Sailors landed on the atoll in the 19th century and attempted to raid the island for tortoises as food; in 1842, two ships were reported to have taken 1200 of them. By 1900, the tortoises were nearly extinct, and a crew would often have to hunt for three days to find one.
The Aldabra Atoll, along with Des Roches and Farquhar, was part of the British Indian Ocean Territory from 1965 until Seychelles independence in 1976. In the 1960s, the British considered allowing the United States to use the island as home for a military air base. After an international protest by ecologists, however, the military plans were abandoned and the wildlife habitat instead received full protection.Aldabra was designated a World Heritage Site on November 19, 1982, and is administered from Mahé by the Seychelles Island Foundation.
The abandoned settlement Picard on the southwestern tip of West Island is now home to the Research Officer, Island Manager and their rangers and staff. There is no other permanent population.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 kilometers north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. The National Park is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range on the northern coast of the island. It is bordered by St. Paul Bay to the north and the Babuyan River to the east. The City Government of Puerto Princesa has managed the National Park since 1992. It is also known as St. Paul's Subterranean River National Park, or St. Paul Underground River. The entrance to the Subterranean River is a short hike from the town of Sabang. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is one of the 28 finalists for the "New Seven Wonders of Nature" competition.
The park has a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 kilometer navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. It includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers. The lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences. Until the 2007 discovery of an underground river in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula,the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River was reputed to be the world's longest underground river.
The area also represents a habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia. It was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on December 4, 1999.
The Park has a range of forest formations representing eight of the thirteen forest types found in tropical Asia, namely forest over ultramafic soils, forest over limestone soils, montane forest, freshwater swamp forest, lowland evergreen tropical rainforest, riverine forest, beach forest, and mangrove forest. Researchers have identified more than 800 plant species from 300 genera and 100 families. These include at least 295 trees dominated by the dipterocarp type of species. In the lowland forest, large trees such as the Dao (Dracontomelon dao), Ipil (Intsia bijuga), Dita (Alstonia scholaris), Amugis (Koordersiodendrum pinnatum), and Apitong (Dipterocarpus gracilis) are common. Beach forest species include Bitaog (Calophyllum inophyllum), Pongamia pinnata, and Erynthia orientalis. Other notable plant species include Almaciga (Agathis philippinensis), Kamagong (Diospyros pulganensis) Pandan (Pandanus sp.) Anibong, and Rattan ('Calamus sp.)
Birds comprise the largest group of vertebrates found in the Park. Of the 252 bird species known to occur in Palawan, a total of 165 species of birds were recorded in the park. This represents 67% of the total birds and all of the 15 endemic bird species of Palawan. Notable species seen in the park are the Blue-naped parrot (Tanygnathus lucionensis), Tabon scrub fowl (Megapodius cumunigii), Hill myna (Gracula religiosa), Palawan hornbill (Anthracoceros marchei), White breasted sea eagle (Halitutus leucogates ).
There are also some 30 mammal species that have been recorded (Madulid, 1998). Most often observed in the forest canopy and along the shoreline feeding during low tide is the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis), the only primate found in the area. Other mammal species in the Park are the Bearded pig (Sus barbatus), Bearcat (Arctictis binturong), Palawan stink badger (Mydaus marchei) and the Palawan porcupine (Hystrix pumilus)
19 species of reptiles have been identified, eight of which are endemic (Madulid, 1998). Common species in the area include large predators like the Common reticulated python (Phython reticulatus), the Monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) and the green crested lizard (Bronchocoela cristatella). Amphibian fauna include ten species. The Philippine woodland frog (Rana acanthi) is the most dominant and frequently encountered. One species, Barbourula busuangensis, endemic to Palawan was also observed in the area.
Notable are the nine species of bats, two species of swiftlets and whip spider (Stygophrynus sp.) found in the cave, and the Sea cow (Dugong dugon) and the Hawksbill sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) that feed in the coastal area of the Park.
The Chocolate Hills placed Bohol on the tourist map long before the beautiful white beaches of the island became major tourist destinations. The most famous and signature tourist attraction of Bohol, it is a prime tourist destination in the Philippines.This is because the Chocolate Hills are incomparable and is one of the country's most spectacular sceneries. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who admits that she is the No. 1 tourist of Bohol for having visited the province so many times, said: "Bohol is a major tourist province. The fame of the Chocolate Hills is not only known in the country but worldwide." The national government has chosen the Chocolate Hills as one of its "flagship tourist destinations".
Of the 1,247 hills, two have been developed into resorts for tourism. The original resort is located in Carmen, Bohol located in Barangay Buenos Aires, only a few minutes drive from downtown Carmen. The resort in Carmen is called Chocolate Hills Complex. The more recent one in Sagbayan is called Sagbayan Peak.
The original viewing station of the Chocolate Hills is a government-owned and operated resort called "Chocolate Hills Complex" located in Carmen, Bohol, about 55 kilometres (34 mi) from Tagbilaran City and about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the town proper of Carmen, Bohol.
The Chocolate Hills Complex has a restaurant, hostel with swimming pool and an observation deck where one could view and even count the hills at the view deck 210 feet (64 m) above the ground. There are a total of 214 steps leading to the observation or view deck. Here one can view the landscape that is covered with more than a thousand Chocolate Hills.The Chocolate Hills Complex is composed of two hills developed into a resort. An observation deck on the higher hill offers a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding area.
The other way to view the Chocolate Hills is at "Sagbayan Peak", a mountain resort in Sagbayan town, about 75 kilometres (47 mi) northwest of Tagbilaran City. Viewing is made from the deck of an elevated ridge that provides an unobstructed view of the Chocolate Hills as well as the sea off Cebu City. This is only 18 kilometres (11 mi) from the Chocolate Hills complex in neighboring Carmen town.
Sagbayan Peak is a 5-hectare (12-acre) mountaintop resort and recreation center. Its viewing deck offers a 360-degree perspective of the Chocolate Hills plus the blue sea that separates Bohol and Cebu.The peak now has a restaurant and a children’s park with Bugs Bunny, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and various other Toontown figures.Aside from the function hall and viewing deck, a hotel, swimming pool, driving range, a butterfly dome and a tarsier sanctuary are planned. A 100-hectare (250-acre) golf course is also planned
Patria Aurora Roa, tourism director for Central Visayas, was happy to see the latest addition to Bohol's tourist attractions. This was echoed by Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado, who said: "The Sagbayan Peak is a welcome note for Bohol tourism."
Tubbataha is located in the Sulu Sea, 98 nautical miles (181 km) southeast of Puerto Princesa City in the Palawan Province. The reef is made up of two coral atolls divided by an eight-kilometer (5 miles) wide channel. The South Atoll, the smaller of the two is five kilometers in length and three kilometers in width; while the North Atoll, the larger of the two is 16 kilometers (10 miles) long and five kilometers (3 miles) wide.(Knipp 22) Each reef has a single small islet that protrudes from the water. The atolls are separated by a deep channel 8 km (5 miles) wide. There are no permanent inhabitants of the islets or reefs. Fishermen visit the area seasonally, establishing shelters on the islets. The park is visited by tourists, particularly divers. Trips to Tubbattaha from mid-March to mid-June are all vessel-based; the park is about twelve hours by boat from Puerto Princesa City. Tubbataha is considered as the best dive site in the Philippines and the diving dedicated ships that operate during the "Tubbataha Season" are usually booked years in advance especially during the Asian holidays of Easter and "Golden Week". Tubbataha has become a popular site for seasoned sports divers because of its coral "walls" where the shallow coral reef abruptly ends giving way to great depths. These "walls" are not only wonderful diving spots but they are also wonderful habitats for many colonies of fish. There are giant jacks, hammerhead sharks, barracudas, manta rays, palm-sized Moorish idols, [parrot fishes], and moray eels living in the sanctuary. Tubbataha is even home to the hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) which are endangered species. (Knipp 24) Ecology Over 1000 species inhabit in the reef; many are already considered as endangered. Animal species found include manta rays, lionfish, tortoise, clownfish, and sharks. Vivid corals cover more than two-thirds of the area and the waters around the reef are places of refuge for numerous marine lives. The seemingly diverse ecosystem of this sanctuary rivals the Great Barrier Reef – having 350 coral species and 500 fish species. (Knipp 22, 24) In June 2009 an outbreak of the crown-of-thorns starfish was observed, possibly affecting the ecological functioning of this relatively pristine coral reef. Aside from being a marine sanctuary, Tubbataha is also renowned for being a bird sanctuary. A lighthouse islet, at the southern tip of the South Atoll, supports a large number of seabirds which nest there. Around the Tubbataha, there are tens of thousands of masked red-foot boobies, terns, and frigate birds resting during their annual migrations. To minimize any external intrusions, the Philippine Coast Guard maintains a small monitoring station on one of the many permanent sand bars.(Knipp 24)
The runway is only accessible from the north, due to the nearby hills at the south end.Tioman Island (locally known as Gunung Daik Bercabang Tiga) is a small island located 32 km off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the state of Pahang, and is some 39 km long and 12 km wide. It has eight main villages, the largest and most populous being Kampung Tekek in the north. The densely forested island is sparsely inhabited, and is surrounded by numerous coral reefs, making it a popular scuba diving spot. There are also a lot of resorts and chalets around the island.
Its beaches were depicted in the 1958 movie, South Pacific as Bali Hai. In the 1970s, TIME Magazine selected Tioman as one of the world's most beautiful islands.
Apart from its diverse marine life, the inland rainforest area, encompassing approximately 12,383 hectares, in Tioman is a strictly enforced nature reserve. There are several protected species of mammals on the island, including the Binturong, Long-tailed Macaque, Slow Loris, Black Giant Squirrel, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Mouse deer, Brush-tailed Porcupine, and Common Palm Civet, from a total of 45 species of mammals and 138 species of birds, including the majestic Frigatebird. Moreover, Tioman has species that are endemic to its shores. The soft-shelled turtle and the Tioman walking catfish are both unique and can be seen on rainforest walks.
The island is served by ferries from the Malaysian mainland, and a propeller plane service by Berjaya Air from the Seletar Airport in Singapore and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Kuala Lumpur.
Tioman has been used for thousands of years by fishermen as an important navigation point and a source of fresh water and wood. During the past thousand years, it has played host to Chinese, Arab, and European trading ships, and often porcelain shards can be found on beaches around the island.
The Statue of Liberty officially titled Liberty Enlightening the World, dedicated on October 28, 1886, is a monument commemorating the centennial of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence, given to the United States by the people of France to represent the friendship between the two countries established during the American Revolution.It represents a woman wearing a stola, a radiant crown and sandals, trampling a broken chain, carrying a torch in her raised right hand and a tabula ansata, where the date of the Declaration of Independence JULY IV MDCCLXXVI is inscribed, in her left arm. Standing on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, it welcomes visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans traveling by ship. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi sculpted the statue and obtained a U.S. patent for its structure. Maurice Koechlin—chief engineer of Gustave Eiffel's engineering company and designer of the Eiffel Tower—engineered the internal structure. The pedestal was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was responsible for the choice of copper in the statue's construction, and for the adoption of the repoussé technique, where a malleable metal is hammered on the reverse side.
The statue is made of a sheathing of pure copper, hung on a framework of steel with the exception of the flame of the torch, which is coated in gold leaf (originally made of copper and later altered to hold glass panes). It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal with a foundation in the shape of an irregular eleven-pointed star. The statue is 151 ft (46 m) tall, but with the pedestal and foundation, it is 305 ft (93 m) tall.
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world, and of the United States. For many years it was one of the first glimpses of the United States for millions of immigrants and visitors after ocean voyages from around the world.
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark Art Deco skyscraper in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. Its name is derived from the nickname for the state of New York, The Empire State. It stood as the world's tallest building for more than forty years, from its completion in 1931 until construction of the World Trade Center's North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, the Empire State Building once again became the tallest building in New York City and New York State.
The Empire State Building has been named by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. The building and its street floor interior are designated landmarks of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and confirmed by the New York City Board of Estimate.It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.In 2007, it was ranked number one on the List of America's Favorite Architecture according to the AIA. The building is owned and managed by W&H Properties.
The Empire State Building is the third tallest skyscraper in the Americas (after the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and Trump International Hotel and Tower both in Chicago), and the 15th tallest in the world. It is also the fourth tallest freestanding structure in the Americas. The Empire State building is currently undergoing a $550 million renovation, with $120 million to be utilized in an effort to transform the building into a more energy efficient and eco-friendly structure
The Eiffel Tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris that has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower, which is the tallest building in Paris is the single most visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch for the 1889 World's Fair.
The tower stands 324 m (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-story building. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world from its completion until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Not including broadcast antennas, it is the second-tallest structure in France after the 2004 Millau Viaduct.
The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift to the first and second levels. The walk to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by lift. Both the first and second levels feature restaurants.
The tower has become the most prominent symbol of both Paris and France, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.
The structure was built between 1887 and 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World's Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Three hundred workers joined together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron (a very pure form of structural iron), using two and a half million rivets, in a structural design by Maurice Koechlin. The co-architects of the Eiffel Tower were Emile Nouguier, Maurice Koechlin and Stephen Sauvestre.The risk of accident was great as, unlike modern skyscrapers, the tower is an open frame without any intermediate floors except the two platforms. However, because Eiffel took safety precautions, including the use of movable stagings, guard-rails and screens, only one man died. The tower was inaugurated on 31 March 1889, and opened on 6 May.
The tower was much criticised by the public when it was built, with many calling it an eyesore. Newspapers of the day were filled with angry letters from the arts community of Paris. One is quoted extensively in William Watson's US Government Printing Office publication of 1892 Paris Universal Exposition: Civil Engineering, Public Works, and Architecture: “And during twenty years we shall see, stretching over the entire city, still thrilling with the genius of so many centuries, we shall see stretching out like a black blot the odious shadow of the odious column built up of riveted iron plates.”Signers of this letter included Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, Charles Gounod, Charles Garnier, Jean-Léon Gérôme, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, and Alexandre Dumas.
Novelist Guy de Maupassant—who claimed to hate the tower supposedly ate lunch in the Tower's restaurant every day. When asked why, he answered that it was the one place in Paris where one could not see the structure. Today, the Tower is widely considered to be a striking piece of structural art.
One of the great Hollywood movie clichés is that the view from a Parisian window always includes the tower. In reality, since zoning restrictions limit the height of most buildings in Paris to 7 stories, only a very few of the taller buildings have a clear view of the tower.
Eiffel had a permit for the tower to stand for 20 years; it was to be dismantled in 1909, when its ownership would revert to the City of Paris. The City had planned to tear it down (part of the original contest rules for designing a tower was that it could be easily demolished) but as the tower proved valuable for communication purposes, it was allowed to remain after the expiry of the permit. The military used it to dispatch Parisian taxis to the front line during the First Battle of the Marne.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Italian: Torre pendente di Pisa) or simply the Tower of Pisa (La Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa's Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) after the Cathedral and the Baptistry. Although intended to stand vertically, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after the onset of construction in 1173 due to a poorly laid foundation and loose substrate that has allowed the foundation to shift direction. The tower currently leans to the southwest. The height of the tower is 55.86 m (183.27 ft) from the ground on the lowest side and 56.70 m (186.02 ft) on the highest side. The width of the walls at the base is 4.09 m (13.42 ft) and at the top 2.48 m (8.14 ft). Its weight is estimated at 14,500 metric tons (16,000 short tons). The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the seventh floor has two fewer steps on the north-facing staircase. Prior to restoration work performed between 1990 and 2001, the tower leaned at an angle of 5.5 degrees, but the tower now leans at about 3.99 degrees. This means that the top of the tower is 3.9 metres (12 ft 10 in) from where it would stand if the tower were perfectly vertical.
This lighthouse was built around 280 BC and was around 134 m in height. This was built in the city of Alexandria.
The light house had a good mirror which can reflect the sun light to a very long distance. Mythical stories used to say that this mirror was used to burn the enemy ships.
The Macedonian conqueror, Alexander during his successful reign, had tried establishing approximately 17 cities in the name of Alexandria. The only one survived long was the one in Egypt. That too even this city was not completely built by Alexander. The completion of the construction of this city was achieved by his commander Ptolemy I Soter.
Ptolemy connected Alexandria to the Pharos island by a bridge. It was realized that the sailing in this coastal region is very dangerous. That is why he decided to build a light house. This project was initiated during Ptolemy's reign in 290 BC and completed after his death by his son Ptolemy Philadelphus. Sostratus who lived in the same time as Euclid, was the architect. This used to remain in the harbor for centuries. This wonder of the world also depicted in the Roman coins that time.
The writings of the Arab conquerors are very good source of information about this lighthouse. The new rulers moved the capital to the Cairo. So this place had lost its importance. Three earthquakes stuck in various periods (around AD 956, AD 1303 and AD 1323 ) have damaged the lighthouse significantly. The during AD 1480 the Egyptian Mamelouk Sultan, has built a medieval fort at the same place. That was the end to the story of the light house.
There are some more tales to the light house. Sostratus after he completed the lighthouse wanted his name to be carved on the light house. This was not allowed by Ptolemy II Philadelphus. Ptolemy II wanted his name to be carved on the structure. But what Sostratus did is he first carved his name underneath, put plasters on it and then carved Ptolemy II's name. After some years, the plasters worn out and his name has come out to be known to all.
The design of the lighthouse was unlike the modern slim lighthouse towers. This was built in 3 stages, each built on top of the lower.
This lighthouse was so popular that the word Pharos came into French, Spanish and Italian to mean lighthouse.
Babylon was a city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers (55 mi) south of Baghdad. All that remains of the original ancient famed city of Babylon today is a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris in the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in Iraq. Although it has been reconstructed, historical resources inform us that Babylon was at first a small town, that had sprung up by the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. The town flourished and attained prominence and political repute with the rise of the First Babylonian Dynasty. It was the "holy city" of Babylonia by approximately 2300 BC, and the seat of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 612 to 539 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The earliest source to mention Babylon may be a dated tablet of the reign of Sargon of Akkad. The so-called "Weidner Chronicle" states that it was Sargon himself who built Babylon "in front of Akkad". Another chronicle likewise states that Sargon "dug up the dirt of the pit of Babylon, and made a counterpart of Babylon next to Agade. More recently, some researchers have stated that those sources may refer to Sargon II of the Neo-Assyrian Empire rather than Sargon of Akkad.
Some scholars, including linguist I.J. Gelb, have suggested that the name Babil is an echo of an earlier city name. According to Ranajit Pal, this city was in the East. Herzfeld wrote about Bawer in Iran, which was allegedly founded by Jamshid; the name Babil could be an echo of Bawer. David Rohl holds that the original Babylon is to be identified with Eridu. The Bible in Genesis 10 indicates that Nimrod was the original founder of Babel (Babylon). Joan Oates claims in her book Babylon that the rendering "Gateway of the gods" is no longer accepted by modern scholars.
Over the years, the power and population of Babylon waned. From around the 20th century BC, it was occupied by Amorites, nomadic tribes from the west who were Semitic speakers like the Akkadians, but did not practice agriculture like them, preferring to herd sheep.
The Chinese were already familiar with the techniques of wall-building by the time of the Spring and Autumn Period, which began around the 8th century BC. During the Warring States Period from the 5th century BC to 221 BC, the states of Qi, Yan and Zhao all constructed extensive fortifications to defend their own borders. Built to withstand the attack of small arms such as swords and spears, these walls were made mostly by stamping earth and gravel between board frames. Qin Shi Huang conquered all opposing states and unified China in 221 BC, establishing the Qin Dynasty. Intending to impose centralized rule and prevent the resurgence of feudal lords, he ordered the destruction of the wall sections that divided his empire along the former state borders. To protect the empire against intrusions by the Xiongnu people from the north, he ordered the building of a new wall to connect the remaining fortifications along the empire's new northern frontier. Transporting the large quantity of materials required for construction was difficult, so builders always tried to use local resources. Stones from the mountains were used over mountain ranges, while rammed earth was used for construction in the plains. There are no surviving historical records indicating the exact length and course of the Qin Dynasty walls. Most of the ancient walls have eroded away over the centuries, and very few sections remain today. Later, the Han, Sui, Northern and Jin dynasties all repaired, rebuilt, or expanded sections of the Great Wall at great cost to defend themselves against northern invaders.
The Great Wall concept was revived again during the Ming Dynasty following the Ming army's defeat by the Oirats in the Battle of Tumu in 1449. The Ming had failed to gain a clear upper-hand over the Manchurian and Mongolian tribes after successive battles, and the long-drawn conflict was taking a toll on the empire. The Ming adopted a new strategy to keep the nomadic tribes out by constructing walls along the northern border of China. Acknowledging the Mongol control established in the Ordos Desert, the wall followed the desert's southern edge instead of incorporating the bend of the Huang He.
Unlike the earlier Qin fortifications, the Ming construction was stronger and more elaborate due to the use of bricks and stone instead of rammed earth. As Mongol raids continued periodically over the years, the Ming devoted considerable resources to repair and reinforce the walls. Sections near the Ming capital of Beijing were especially strong.
During the 1440s–1460s, the Ming also built a so-called "Liaodong Wall". Similar in function to the Great Wall (whose extension, in a sense, it was), but more basic in construction, the Liaodong Wall enclosed the agricultural heartland of the Liaodong province, protecting it against potential incursions by Jurched-Mongol Oriyanghan from the northwest and the Jianzhou Jurchens from the north. While stones and tiles were used in some parts of the Liaodong Wall, most of it was in fact simply an earth dike with moats on both sides.
Towards the end of the Ming Dynasty, the Great Wall helped defend the empire against the Manchu invasions that began around 1600. Under the military command of Yuan Chonghuan, the Ming army held off the Manchus at the heavily fortified Shanhaiguan pass, preventing the Manchus from entering the Chinese heartland. The Manchus were finally able to cross the Great Wall in 1644, when the gates at Shanhaiguan were opened by Wu Sangui, a Ming border general who disliked the activities of rulers of the Shun Dynasty. The Manchus quickly seized Beijing, and defeated the newly founded Shun Dynasty and remaining Ming resistance, to establish the Qing Dynasty.
In 2009, an additional 290 kilometres (180 miles) of previously undetected portions of the wall, built during the Ming Dynasty, were discovered. The newly discovered sections range from the Hushan mountains in the northern Liaoning province to Jiayuguan in western Gansu province. The sections had been submerged over time by sandstorms that moved across the arid region.
Under Qing rule, China's borders extended beyond the walls and Mongolia was annexed into the empire, so construction and repairs on the Great Wall were discontinued.
The Temple of Artemis, also known less precisely as Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to a goddess Greeks identified as Artemis that was completed, in its most famous phase, around 550 BC at Ephesus. Though the monument was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only foundations and sculptural fragments of the temple remain. There were previous temples on its site, where evidence of a sanctuary dates as early as the Bronze Age. The whole temple was made of marble except for the roof.
The temple antedated the Ionic immigration by many years. Callimachus, in his Hymn to Artemis, attributed the origin of the temenos at Ephesus to the Amazons, whose worship he imagines already centered upon an image. In the seventh century the old temple was destroyed by a flood. The construction of the "new" temple, which was to become known as one of the wonders of the ancient world, began around 550 BC. It was a 120-year project, initially designed and built by the Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes, at the expense of Croesus of Lydia.
It was described by Antipater of Sidon, who compiled the list of the Seven Wonders:
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. It is believed the pyramid was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu and constructed over a 20-year period concluding around 2560 BC. The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years. Originally the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure. Some of the casing stones that once covered the structure can still be seen around the base. There have been varying scientific and alternative theories about the Great Pyramid's construction techniques. Most accepted construction hypotheses are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry and dragging and lifting them into place. There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. The so-called Queen's Chamber and King's Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure. The Great Pyramid of Giza is the main part of a complex setting of buildings that included two mortuary temples in honor of Khufu (one close to the pyramid and one near the Nile), three smaller pyramids for Khufu's wives, an even smaller "satellite" pyramid, a raised causeway connecting the two temples, and small mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramid for nobles.
21 May 2010
The name 'Dead Sea' is actually a kinder, gentler translation from the Hebrew name 'Yam ha Maved', which means, 'Killer Sea'. The surface of the Dead Sea is over 1,300 feet below sea level. The very bottom of the sea, in the deepest part, is over 2,300 feet below sea level. The Dead Sea has some of the most saline water on earth; as much as 35% of the water is dissolved salts! The Dead Sea is completely landlocked and it gets saltier with increasing depth. The surface, fed by the River Jordan, is the least saline. Down to about 130 feet (40 meters), the seawater comprises about 300 grams of salt per kilogram of seawater. That's about ten times the salinity of the oceans. Below 300 feet, though, the sea has 332 grams of salt per kilogram of seawater and is saturated. Salt precipitates out and piles up on the bottom of the sea.
There are no fish or any kind of swimming, squirming creatures living in or near the water. There are, however, several types of bacteria and one type of algae that have adapted to harsh life in the waters of the Dead Sea. What you'll see on the shores of the Sea is white, crystals of salt covering EVERYTHING. And this is no ordinary table salt, either. The salts found in the Dead Sea are mineral salts, just like you find in the oceans of the world, only in extreme concentrations. The water in the Dead Sea is deadly to most living things. Fish accidentally swimming into the waters from one of the several freshwater streams that feed the Sea are killed instantly, their bodies quickly coated with a preserving layer of salt crystals and then tossed onto shore by the wind and waves. Brutal!
The guy to the left is actually floating in the Dead Sea. "But, hey, I thought you said the Dead Sea was DEADLY!" Not to us. Humans are remarkably adaptable. We can swim in the Dead Sea, just like we can swim in the ocean. Well, people don't really "swim" in the Dead Sea - they just "hang out". That's what's so cool about the Dead Sea. Because of the extremely high concentration of dissolved mineral salts in the water its density is way more than that of plain fresh water. What this means is our bodies are more buoyant in the Dead Sea - so you bob like a cork. In fact, people are so buoyant in this water, it makes it kinda tough to actually swim. Most people like to just kick back in the water and read. It almost looks as though this guy is sitting on an air mattress that has sunk below the surface, but he's not. He's really just floating, without having to hold is feet in that position! If you think this is easy, try floating like this in a freshwater swimming pool.