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The Tower of David, Jerusalem, Israel

June 20th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The Tower of David is Jerusalem's "citadel", a historical and archaeological site of world importance.

This is a medieval fortress, with later additions. Its towers and ramparts offer splendid views of that part of Jerusalem where Old and New meet, and East meets West. The site of the citadel has always been the weak point in the city's defenses, compelling its rulers throughout history to fortify the site.

This important historical and archeological site was built in the First Temple Period (960–586 BC). Parts of a tower and the city wall were built by the Hasmonean (first century BC). The base of the tower was built by Herod the Great (37–34 BC).

Migdal David (The Hebrew Name) In the 2nd century BC, Jerusalem expanded to the so-called Western Hill, on which the citadel now stands. Since the site was the weak point in the city's natural defenses, its fortification was of paramount importance to all rulers of Jerusalem, each of whom built on the ruins of the earlier structures.

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The Aljafería Palace, Saragossa, Spain

June 5th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The Aljafería Palace (Spanish: Palacio de la Aljafería) is a fortified palace built during the second half of the eleventh century in Zaragoza, as the residence of the Banu Hud dynasty during the era of Al-Muqtadir and reflecting the splendor attained by the kingdom of the taifa of Zaragoza at the height of its grandeur. The palace currently contains the Cortes (regional parliament) of the autonomous community of Aragon.

The structure holds unique importance in that it is the only conserved testimony of a large building of Spanish Islamic architecture of the era of the Taifas. In conserving the magnificent example of the Caliph of Cordoba’s Mezquita (10th century), and another swan song of Moorish culture, the Alhambra (14th century), we should include in the triad of Moorish architecture the Aljaferia of Zaragoza as an example of the intervening era of independent kingdoms, before the arrival of the Almoravid dynasty in the 11th century A.D.

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The Jasna Góra Monastery, Częstochowa, Poland

June 5th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The Jasna Góra Monastery (Polish: Jasna Góra, Hungarian: Fényes Hegy, Latin: Clarus Mons, English: Bright Hill) is a Pauline Fathers monastery in the City of Częstochowa, Poland.

The monastery has been a pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years, and it contains the most important icon of the Virgin Mary in this part of Europe. The icon, depicting the Mother of God with the Christ Child, is known as Black Madonna of Częstochowa or Our Lady of Częstochowa, which is widely venerated and credited with many miracles[citation needed]. Among these, it is credited with miraculously saving the Jasna Góra monastery during a siege that took place at the time of The Deluge, a 17th century Swedish invasion, the events of which changed the course of the war. Shortly thereafter in the cathedral of Lwów, on April 1, 1656, Jan Kazimierz, the King of Poland, solemnly pronounced his vow to consecrate the country to the protection of the Mother of God and proclaimed Her the Patron and Queen of the lands in his kingdom.

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Agra Fort, Agra, India

June 1st, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Agra, India. The fort is also known as Lal Qila, Fort Rouge and Red Fort of Agra. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its much more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city.

It is the most important fort in India. The great Mughals Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb lived here, and the country was governed from here. It contained the largest state treasury and mint. It was visited by foreign ambassadors, travellers and the highest dignitaries who participated in the making of history in India.

This was originally a brick fort and the Chauhan Rajputs held it. It was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD when a Ghaznavide force captured it. Sikandar Lodi (1487-1517) was the first Sultan of Delhi who shifted to Agra and lived in the fort. He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the 2nd capital. He died in the fort in 1517 and his son, Ibrahim Lodi, held it for nine years until he was defeated and killed at Panipat in 1526. Several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period.

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Amber Fort, Jaipur, India

June 1st, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Amber Fort, located in Amber 11 km from Jaipur, Rajasthan state, India, the Meenas were the original builders of Amber, which town they consecrated to Amba, the Mother Goddess, whom they knew as `Gatta Rani' or `Queen of the Pass' [ Tod.II.282 ]. Built over the remnants of an earlier structure, the palace complex which stands to this date was commenced under the reign of Raja Man Singh, Commander in Chief of Akbar’s army and a member of the Emperor's inner circle of nine courtiers in 1592. Amber was modified by successive rulers over the next 150 years, until the Kachwahas shifted their capital to Jaipur during the time of Sawai Jai Singh II.

The structure which is today known as Amber fort was initially a palace complex within the original fort of Amber which is today known as Jaigarh Fort. Connected with Amber through fortified passages Jaigarh fort is located on a hill above the Amber complex, and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It overlooks Maotha lake, and was reputed to be the treasure vault of the Kacchwaha rulers. Today, tourist can ride up to the fort from the base of the hill on an Elephant. On the ride, you can see the beautiful sights of Jaipur, a great view of Maotha lake, and the original city walls.

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Carcassonne (a fortified French town), France

May 15th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Carcassonne (Carcassona in Occitan) is a fortified French town, in the Aude département of which it is the préfecture, in the former province of Languedoc. It is separated into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse. The folk etymology – involving a châtelaine named Carcas, a ruse ending a siege and the joyous ringing of bells ("Carcas sona") – though memorialized in a neo-Gothic sculpture of Mme Carcas on a column near the Narbonne Gate—is of modern invention. The fortress, which was thoroughly restored from 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.

First signs of settlement in the region have been dated to about 3500 BC, but the hill site of Carsac—a Celtic place-name that has been retained at other sites in the south—became an important trading place in the 6th century BC. The Volcae Tectosages fortified the oppidum.

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Bahla Fort, Oman

May 4th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Bahla Fort is one of four historic fortresses situated at the foot of the Djebel Akhdar highlands in Oman. Its walls and towers were built in the 13th and 14th centuries. To the southwest is the Friday Mosque with a 14th-century sculpted mihrab. The fort, which is part of the UN World Heritage List, has been covered with scaffolding and closed to tourists for several decades now.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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Cytadela, Warsaw, Poland

May 4th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Cytadela (Polish for Citadel) is a 19th-century fortress in Warsaw, Poland. It was built by order of Tsar Nicholas I after the suppression of the 1830 November Uprising in order to bolster imperial Russian control of the city. It served as a prison into the late 1930's.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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