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The Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, Cuba

April 14th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca (also known by the less formal title of Castillo del Morro or as San Pedro de la Roca Castle) is a fortress on the coast of the Cuban city of Santiago de Cuba. About 6 miles (10 km) southwest of the city centre, it overlooks the bay.

Initial design

It was designed in 1637 by Giovan Battista Antonelli (also known as Juan Battista Antonelli), a member of a Milanese family of military engineers, on behalf of the governor of the city, Pedro de la Roca y Borja, as a defense against raiding pirates, although an earlier, smaller, fortification had been built between 1590 and 1610. Antonelli design was adapted to the situation of the fortress on the steep sides of the promontory (the morro from which the fortress gets its name) reaching into the bay. It was constructed on a series of terraces; there were four main levels and three large bulwarks to house the artillery. Supplies would be delivered by sea and then stored in the large warehouse, which was cut directly into the rock, or transported up to the top level which housed the citadel. Construction of the citadel took 42 years, starting in 1638 and finally being completed in 1700, though work on the fortification was spasmodic. Antonelli was recalled to Cuba in 1645, shortly after the massive project was started, and other examples of his work can be seen there in the twin forts of Fuerte del Cojimar and Fuerte de Santa Doratea de Luna de Chorrera. Some of the structures from the earlier fortification were later incorporated into the main structure.

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Giza, Egypt

April 12th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Giza or Gizah is a town in Egypt on the west bank of the Nile river, some 20 km southwest of central Cairo and now part of the greater Cairo metropolis. It is the capital of the Al Jizah Governorate, and is located near the northeast border of this governorate in coordinates 29°59′00″N, 31°08′00″E. It is located right on the banks of the Nile River. Its population is 4,779,000 (1998).

Giza is most famous as the location of the Giza Plateau: the site of some of the most impressive ancient monuments in the world, including a complex of ancient Egyptian royal mortuary and sacred structures, including the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and a number of other large pyramids and temples.

Giza was once the Prime Meridian, a meridian reference point used for determining a base longitude, presumably at the site of the Great Pyramid.

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Rano Raraku Moai, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

April 7th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Rano Raraku Moai on Easter Island (Rapa Nui).

About 95% of the 887 moai known to date were carved out of compressed volcanic ash at Rano Raraku, where 394 moai still remain visible today.

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Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

April 7th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Ahu Tongariki, restored in the 1990's. Ahu Tongariki, on the south coast of Easter was the site of one of the largest of the ahu. The large flat plain below Rano Raraku provided easy access to the quarry and as a result the largest of the moai where erected here.

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Rano Raraku volcano crater, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

April 7th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Rano Raraku is a volcanic crater formed of consolidated volcanic ash, or tuff, and located on Easter Island. It is the quarry in which about 95% of the island's known monolithic sculpture (Moai) were carved.

The sides of Rano Raraku crater are high and steep except on the north and northwest, where they are much lower and gently sloping. The interior contains a freshwater lake bordered by reeds called tortora (Scripus sp.). The reeds, once believed to have been carried to the island by explorers from the South American mainland, are now known to have been naturally introduced some 30,000 years ago.

Rano Raraku is divided into 5 archaeological zones, and as of 1981 a total of 397 statues were inventoried on the interior and exterior slopes and in the exterior quarries. The interior quarries, which have been more recently mapped, will increase this statue count substantially when work is completed. Use of Rano Raraku as a quarry spanned 500-1000 years, and probably extended into the post-contact period after European discovery of the island in 1722. Rano Raraku is a visual record of statue design vocabulary and technological innovation, and is a precious and important part of the Rapanui patrimony.

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The town of Hanga Roa, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

April 7th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The town of Hanga Roa - capital of Easter Island (Rapa Nui).

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Rano Kao volcano crater, Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

April 7th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Rano Kao volcano crater on Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

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Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Egypt

April 6th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

Saint Catherine's Monastery on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of an inaccessible gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai, in Egypt is one of the oldest continuously functioning Christian monasteries. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 1884 an old handwriting fragment was found in a library in Italy, coming from a monastery that was built somewhere near the year 500. The handwriting fragment contained parts of a travel journal from "The Holy Land" and a detailed description of the Easter celebration in Jerusalem. The manuscript was written in Latin by a woman named Egeria. She visited many places around the Holy Land and Mount Sinai, where, according to the Old Testament, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.

Saint Catherine was a Christian martyr initially sentenced to death on the wheel. However, when this failed to kill her, she was beheaded. According to tradition, angels took her remains to Mount Sinai. Around the year 800, monks from the Sinai Monastery found her remains. At this time Egypt was a Muslim country so this Christian monastery in the enormous mountain passes of Sinai could use an Egyptian saint from the Early Church.

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