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Petra - an archaeological site in Jordan

March 19th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Petra is an archaeological site in Jordan, lying in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Wadi Araba, the great valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock. The long-hidden site was revealed to the Western world by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812. Its famous description "a rose-red city half as old as time" is the final line of a sonnet by the minor Victorian poet John William Burgon, which won the Newdigate Prize for poetry, given at Oxford, 1845. Burgon had not actually visited Petra, which remained inaccessible to all but the most intrepid Europeans, accompanied by local guides with armed escorts, until after World War I.

Rekem is an ancient name for Petra and appears in dead sea scrolls (4Q462 for example) associated with mount Seir. Additionally, Eusebius and Jerome (Onom. sacr. 286, 71. 145, 9; 228, 55. 287, 94) assert that Rekem was the native name of Petra, apparently on the authority of Josephus

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Pyramids of Chichen Itza, Mexico

December 8th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

[Currently only low quality pictures available]

The name is often represented as Chichén Itzá in Spanish and other languages to show that both parts of the name are stressed on their final syllables. In the Yucatec Maya language (still in use in the area, and written with the Roman alphabet since the 16th century) this stress follows the normal rules of the language, and so it is written without diacritics. Both forms are attested in literature on the subject, including in scholarly works. Other references prefer to employ a more rigorous orthography, using Chich'en Itza. This form preserves the phonemeic distinction between [ ch' ] and [ ch ], since the base word ch'en meaning "well (of water)" begins with a glottalized affricate ( in IPA notation, [tʃʼ]) and not a voiceless (non-glottalized) one ([tʃ]).

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The Great Wall of China

August 14th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The Great Wall of China (Traditional Chinese: 長城; Simplified Chinese: 长城; pinyin: Chángchéng), also known in China as the Great Wall of 10,000 Li¹ (Traditional Chinese: 萬里長城; Simplified Chinese: 万里长城; pinyin: W� nlĭ Chángchéng), is an ancient Chinese fortification built from the end of the 14th century until the beginning of the 17th century, during the Ming Dynasty, in order to protect China from raids by the Mongols and Turkic tribes. It was preceded by several walls built since the 3rd century BC against the raids of nomadic tribes coming from areas now in modern day Mongolia and Manchuria.

The Wall stretches over a formidable 6,350 km (3,946 miles), from Shanhai Pass on the Bohai Gulf in the east, at the limit between China proper and Manchuria, to Lop Nur in the southeastern portion of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

The first major wall was built during the reign of the First Emperor, the main emperor of the short-lived Qin dynasty. This wall was not constructed as a single endeavor, but rather was created by the joining of several regional walls built by the Warring States. It was located much further north than the current Great Wall, and very little remains of it. A defensive wall on the northern border was built and maintained by several dynasties at different times in Chinese history. The Great Wall that can still be seen today was built during the Ming Dynasty, on a much larger scale and with longer lasting materials (solid stone used for the sides and the top of the Wall) than any wall that had been built before. The primary purpose of the wall was not to keep out people, who could scale the wall, but to insure that semi-nomadic people on the outside of the wall could not cross with their horses or return easily with stolen property.

There have been four major walls:

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Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru

July 2nd, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

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Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru

Machu Picchu (literally means "old peak"; sometimes called the "Lost City of the Incas") is a well-preserved pre-Columbian town located on a high mountain ridge, at an elevation of about 6,750 feet (2,057 m) above the Urubamba Valley in modern-day Peru. The site is probably the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire, both due to its unique location, its geological features, and its late discovery in 1911. In recent times the site has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been the subject of concerns about the damage of tourism.

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Taj Mahal, Agra, INDIA

July 2nd, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Taj Mahal, Agra, INDIA

Taj Mahal is the name of a monument located in Agra, India. It was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the son of Jahangir, as a mausoleum for his Persian wife, Arjumand Banu Begum, also known as Mumtaz-ul-Zamani. It took 23 years to complete (1630 - 1653).

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Christ the Redeemer (”Cristo Redentor” in Portuguese), Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

June 26th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Christ the Redeemer ("Cristo Redentor" in Portuguese), Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Christ the Redeemer ("Cristo Redentor" in Portuguese) is a 30-meter monument statue of Jesus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, located on Corcovado mountain. The statue stands at the top of the 710-meter mountain, a granite dome, overlooking the city. The statue has become a symbol of the city and of the warmth of the Brazilian people, who receive visitors with open arms.

The planning for the construction of the statue began in 1921, when a campaign was organized by the "Semana do Monumento" ("Monument Week"). Monetary contributions were donated from Catholics and other entities. The designs considered for the Statue of the Christ included a representation of the Christian cross, a statue with a globe in the hands, and a pedestal symbolizing the world. The form of the image of the Redeemer with opened arms was chosen.

The execution of the workmanship (from French schematics) was done by a Polish sculptor Paul Landowski.

The statue can be accessed by road or by the Corcovado Rack Railway. From the train terminus and road, the observation deck at the foot of the statue is reached by 222 steps, or by elevators and escalators.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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The Colosseum, Roma, Italy

June 26th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The Colosseum, Roma, ITALY

The Colosseum measured 48 metres high, 188 metres long, and 156 metres wide. The wooden arena floor was 86 metres by 54 metres, and covered by sand. Its elliptical shape kept the players from retreating to a corner, and allowed the spectators to be closer to the action than a circle would allow.

The Colosseum was ingeniously designed. It has been said that most spectacle venues (stadiums, and similar) have been influenced by features of the Colosseum's structure, even well into modern times. Seating (cavea) was divided into different sections. The podium, the first level of seating, was for the Roman senators, and the emperor's private, cushioned, marble box was also located on this level. Above the podium was the maenianum primum, for the other Roman aristocrats who were not in the senate. The third level, the maenianum secundum, was divided into three sections. The lower part (the immum) was for wealthy citizens, while the upper part (the summum) was for poor citizens. A third, wooden section (the maenianum secundum in legneis) was a wooden structure at the very top of the building, added by Domitian. It was standing room only, and was for lower class women.

Underneath the arena was the hypogeum (literally, "underground"), a network of tunnels and cages where gladiators and animals were held before contests began. There were also numerous trap doors in the arena floor for the various animals hidden underneath. The arena floor no longer exists, and the hypogeum walls and corridors are clearly visible in the ruins of the building. The entire base of the Colosseum was equivalent to 6 acres (160,000 m²).

A most ingenious part of the Colosseum was its cooling system. It was roofed using a canvas covered net-like structure made of ropes, with a hole in the center. This roof sloped down towards the center to catch the wind and provide a breeze for the audience. Sailors manipulated the ropes. The Colosseum also had vomitoria — passageways that open into a tier of seats from below or behind. The vomitoria of the Colosseum in Rome were designed so that the immense venue could fill in 15 minutes, and be evacuated in 5 minutes. Each entrance and exit was numbered, as was each staircase. There were 80 entrances at ground level, 76 for ordinary spectators, two for the imperial family, and two for the gladiators. The vomitoria quickly dispersed people into their seats and upon conclusion of the event disgorged them with abruptness into the surrounding streets — giving rise, presumably, to the name.

(Source: Wikipedia)