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Hawa Mahal - the “Palace of Winds”, Jaipur, India

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

Hawa Mahal, or the "Palace of Winds", is a palace in Jaipur, India. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Usta. It forms part of the City Palace and extends the Zenana or women's chambers, the chambers of the harem. Its original intention was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.

It has five stories and is constructed of red and pink sandstone, highlighted with white quick lime. The side facing the street outside the palace complex has 953 small windows, and the breeze (hawa) which circulates through these windows gives the palace its name, and keeps it cool even in hot months.

The entrance opens onto a courtyard with a double-storied building on three sides, and one on the eastern wing with three more stories, which is just one room wide. There are no stairs to reach the upper floors, only ramps.

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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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The Island of Ometepe, Nicaragua

May 29th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The Island of Ometepe was formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. Its name derives from the Nahuatl words Ome = two and Tepetl = mountain, meaning two mountains. The Volcanoes, Concepción and Maderas, are joined by a low isthmus to form one island, giving it the form of an hourglass. Ometepe has an area of 276 km². It is 31 km long and 5 to 10 km wide. The island has a population of 35,000, and an economy based on livestock, agriculture, and tourism. Plantains are the major crop.

Volcan Concepción (once named Ometepe volcano) is the northwest half of the island. Concepción is a symmetrical cone, and is still considered an active volcano (Baker, 2006). Concepción volcano rose in the early Holocene Epoch and, through continual eruptions, now reaches an altitude of 1 610 m. It is the world's highest lake island. This volcano is considered the most perfectly formed volcano cone in Central America. The volcano went through a long quiet period, but on 8 December 1880 Concepción came back to life. This eruption was extensive, and the volcano remained active for a year. More eruptions followed in 1883, 1889, 1902, 1907, and 1924. The most recent eruption was in 1957. This eruption was extremely violent; however few of the island's inhabitants heeded the order from the government in Managua to evacuate the island. Tourists visiting this volcano are accompanied by noisy howler monkeys and green parrots.

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Largest drain hole in the world (The Morning Glory Spillway, Monticello Dam), California, USA

May 27th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places
 

The Morning Glory Spillway and Monticello Dam is a dam in Napa County in California.

The dam is notable for its classic, uncontrolled "glory hole" spillway with a rate of 48,400 cubic feet per second (1370 m³/s) and a diameter at the lip of 72 feet (22 m). The eerie appearance of the spillway in operation attracts visitors, and when the spillway is dry the outlet downstream is popular with skateboarders (although using the spillway for this purpose is illegal).

Random photos tagged with Monticello Dam

[Source: Wikipedia]

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Baldwin Street - world’s steepest street, New Zealand

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

Baldwin Street, in a quiet suburban part of New Zealand's southern city of Dunedin, is reputed to be the world's steepest street. It is located in the suburb of North East Valley, 3.5 kilometres northeast of Dunedin's city centre.

A short straight street of some 350 metres length, Baldwin Street runs east from the valley of the Lindsay Creek up the side of Signal Hill. Its lower reaches are of only moderate steepness, and the surface is asphalt, but the upper reaches of this cul-de-sac are far steeper, and surfaced in concrete, for ease of maintenance (tar seal would flow down the slope on a warm day) and for safety in Dunedin's frosty winters. At its maximum, the slope of Baldwin Street is approximately 1:2.86 (19° or 35%) - that is, for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the elevation rises by 1 metre.

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Manoppello, a church which contains what is believed to be Veronica’s Veil, Italy

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

Manoppello is a comune in Abruzzo, in Pescara Province, Italy. It is famous for having a church which contains what is believed to be Veronica's Veil, a two thousand-year-old Catholic relic.

Veronica's Veil, known in Italian as the Volto Santo or Holy Face (but not to be confused with the carved crucifix Volto Santo of Lucca) is a legendary Christian relic. The faithful believe that Veronica from Jerusalem encountered Jesus along the Via Dolorosa on the way to Calvary. When she paused to wipe the sweat (Latin suda) off his face with her veil, his image was imprinted on the cloth. The event is commemorated by one of the Stations of the Cross. According to legend, Veronica later traveled to Rome to present the cloth to the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Legend has it that it had miraculous properties, being able to quench thirst, restore blindness, and sometimes even raise the dead.

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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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Yellowstone National Park, Montana, USA

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

Yellowstone National Park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone. Yellowstone became the world's first national park on March 1, 1872. Located mostly in the U.S. state of Wyoming, the park extends into Montana and Idaho. The park is known for its wildlife and geothermal features; the Old Faithful Geyser is one of the most popular features in the park.

More than 1,000 sites of historical significance have been discovered. Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years. The region was bypassed during the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 1800s. Aside from visits by mountain men during the next early to mid-1800s, organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s. The U.S. Army was commissioned to oversee the park just after its establishment. In 1917, administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which had been created the previous year. Hundreds of structures have been built and are protected for their architectural and historical significance.

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