Top Ten Wonders of the Natural World

Top Ten Wonders of the Natural World

81

       Planet Earth is home to some of the most breathtaking and serene natural beauty, which we must continue to appreciate and be stewards of if we hope to enjoy its magnificence for generations to come.

  1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia



           The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 km (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square km (133,000 sq mi). The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia. The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. This reef supports a wide diversity of life, and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. CNN labeled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, Top Ten Reefs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Barrier_Reef,
  2. Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

           The Amazon Rainforest is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. This basin encompasses 7 million square km (1.7 billion acres), of which five and a half million square km (1.4 billion acres) are covered by the rainforest. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, Colombian Amazon with 10%, and with minor amounts in, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and France (French Guiana). States or departments in four nations bear the name Amazonas after it. The Amazon represents over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Top Ten ForestsTop Ten RainforestsTop 100 Birds, Top Ten RiversTop Ten Waterfalls, Top Ten Frogs/Toadshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Rainforest,
  3. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

           The Serengeti National Park is a large national park in Serengeti area, Tanzania. It is most famous for its annual migration of over one and a half million white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra. Serengeti National Park is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, Top Ten Tanzanian Attractions,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serengeti_National_Park,
  4. Galápagos Islands National Park, Ecuador

           The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean, 972 km (525 mi) west of continental Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands and its surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a biological marine reserve. The islands are geologically young and famed for their vast number of endemic species, which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle. His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. The first crude navigation chart of the islands was done by the buccaneer Ambrose Cowley in 1684. He named the individual islands after some of his fellow pirates or after the English noblemen who helped the privateer’s cause. More recently, the Ecuadorian government gave most of the islands Spanish names. While the Spanish names are official, many users (especially ecological researchers) continue to use the older English names, particularly as those were the names used when Charles Darwin visited.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten South American National Parks, Top Ten Ecuadoran Attractions, Top Ten Islands,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_Islands,
  5. Aurora Borealis
    83715Northern Lights62
           Auroras, sometimes called the northern and southern polar lights or aurorae, are natural light displays in the sky, usually observed at night, particularly in the polar regions. They typically occur in the ionosphere. In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the aurora borealis, named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora and the Greek name for north wind, Boreas, by Pierre Gassendi in 1621. The aurora borealis is also called the northern polar lights, as it is only visible in the sky from the Northern Hemisphere, with the chance of visibility increasing with proximity to the North Magnetic Pole. Auroras seen near the magnetic pole may be high overhead, but from further away, they illuminate the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red, as if the sun were rising from an unusual direction. The Aurora Borealis most often occurs near the equinoxes. The northern lights have had a number of names throughout history. The Cree call this phenomenon the “Dance of the Spirits.” In the Middle Ages the auroras have been called a sign from God. Its southern counterpart, the aurora australis or the southern polar lights, has similar properties, but is only visible from high southern latitudes in Antarctica, South America, or Australasia. Auroras can be spotted throughout the world and on other planets. It is most visible closer to the poles due to the longer periods of darkness and the magnetic field.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora_Borealis,
  6. Cave of the Crystals, Mexico
    123
    Cave of the Crystals or Giant Crystal Cave is a cave connected to the Naica Mine 300 m (980 ft) below the surface in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico. The main chamber contains giant selenite crystals (gypsum, CaSO4·2 H2O), some of the largest natural crystals ever found. The cave’s largest crystal found to date is 12 m (39 ft) in length, 4 m (13 ft) in diameter and 55 tons in weight. The cave is extremely hot with air temperatures reaching up to 58 °C (136 °F) with 90% to 99% humidity. The cave is relatively unexplored due to these factors. Without proper protection people can only endure approximately ten minutes of exposure at a time. A group of scientists known as the Naica Project have been heavily involved in researching these caverns.
    Links: Top Ten Mexican Attractions, Top Ten Caves, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_of_the_Crystals,
  7. Grand Canyon, USA and Copper Canyon, Mexico
    The Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon1The Grand Canyon2The Grand Canyon3Copper CanyonCopper Canyon1
           The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River in the United States in the state of Arizona. It is largely contained within the Grand Canyon National Park, one of the first national parks in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6.4 to 29 km) and attains a depth of over a mile (1.83 km) (6000 feet). Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists, recent evidence suggests the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to the point we see it as today. Before European immigration, the area was inhabited by Native Americans who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon (“Ongtupqa” in Hopi language) a holy site and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.
    Links: Top Ten US Attractions, Top Ten Mexican Attractions, Top Ten Canyons, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canyon,
  8. The Sahara Desert
    12119584376
    The Sahara, Arabic for ‘the Great Desert,’ is the world’s hottest desert, and the 3rd largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. At over 9,400,000 square km (3,600,000 sq mi), it covers most of North Africa, making it almost as large as China or the US. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean. To the south, it is delimited by the Sahel, a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna that composes the northern region of central and western Sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the sand dunes can reach 180 m (590 ft) in height.
    Links: Top Ten Deserts, Top Ten Oases, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara_desert,
  9. Mount Everest, Tibet and Nepal
    Mount EverestMount Everest1Mount Everest2Mount Everest3Mount Everest4Mount Everest5Mount Everest6
           Mount Everest, also known as Qomolangma Peak, Chajamlungma (Limbu), Zhumulangma Peak or Mount Chomolungma, is the highest mountain on Earth above sea level, and the highest point on the Earth’s continental crust, as measured by the height above sea level of its summit, 8,848 meters (29,029 ft). The mountain, which is part of the Himalaya range in Asia, is located on the border between Sagarmatha Zone, Nepal and Tibet, China. In 1856, the Great Trigonometric Survey of India established the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29,002 ft (8,840 m). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon recommendation of Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India at the time. Chomolungma had been in common use by Tibetans for centuries, but Waugh was unable to propose an established local name because Nepal and Tibet were closed to foreigners.
    Links: Top Ten Tibetan Attractions, Top Ten Nepali Attractions, Top Ten Mountains,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Everest,
  10. Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

           Rio de Janeiro is the 2nd largest city of Brazil, and the 3rd largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th largest in the Americas and 26th in the world. The city was the capital of Brazil for nearly two centuries, from 1763 to 1815 during the Portuguese colonial era, 1815 to 1821 as the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, and 1822 to 1960 as an independent nation. Rio is nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa or “Marvelous City.” Rio de Janeiro represents the 2nd largest GDP in the country (and 30th largest in the world in 2008), estimated at about R$ 343 billion (IBGE/2008) (nearly US$ 201 billion), and is the headquarters of two major Brazilian companies, Petrobras and Vale, and major oil companies and telephony in Brazil, besides the largest conglomerate of media and communications companies in Latin America, the Globo Organizations. The home of many universities and institutes, it is the 2nd largest center of research and development in Brazil, accounting for 17% of national scientific production according to 2005 data. Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in the southern hemisphere and is known for its natural settings, carnival celebrations, samba, Bossa Nova, balneario beaches such as Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon. Some of the most famous landmarks in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer (‘Cristo Redentor’) atop Corcovado mountain, named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; Sugarloaf mountain (Pão de Açúcar) with its cable car; the Sambódromo, a permanent grandstand-lined parade avenue which is used during Carnival; and Maracanã Stadium, one of the world’s largest football stadiums. The 2016 Summer Olympics will take place in Rio de Janeiro, which will mark the first time a South American city hosts the event. Rio’s Maracanã Stadium will also host the final match for 2014 FIFA World Cup. Rio de Janeiro will also host World Youth Day in 2013.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Cities, Top Ten South American Cities, Sculptures, Top 100 South American SculpturesTop Ten Carnival CelebrationsBeachesTop Ten South American BeachesTop Ten TheatersTop Ten ArenasTop Ten Soccer Stadiumshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_de_Janeiro,
  11. Jeita Grotto, Lebanon
    1462375
           The Jeita Grotto is a system of two separate, but interconnected, karstic limestone caves spanning an overall length of nearly 9 km (5.6 mi). The caves are situated in the Nahr al-Kalb valley within the locality of Jeita, 18 km (11 mi) north of the Lebanese capital Beirut. Though inhabited in prehistoric times, the lower cave was not rediscovered until 1836 by Reverend William Thomson; it can only be visited by boat since it channels an underground river that provides fresh drinking water to more than a million Lebanese. In 1958, Lebanese speleologists discovered the upper galleries 60 m (200 ft.) above the lower cave which have been accommodated with an access tunnel and a series of walkways to enable tourists safe access without disturbing the natural landscape. The upper galleries house the world’s largest known stalactite. The galleries are composed of a series of chambers the largest of which peaks at a height of 120 m (390 ft). Aside from being a Lebanese national symbol and a top tourist destination, the Jeita grotto plays an important social, economic and cultural role and is a finalist in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition.
    Links: Top Ten Lebanese Attractions, Top Ten Caves, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeita_Grotto,
  12. Komodo National Park, Indonesia
    The Komodo National Park is a national park in Indonesia located within the Lesser Sunda Islands in the border region between the provinces of East Nusa Tenggara and West Nusa Tenggara. The park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Padar and Rincah, and 26 smaller ones, with a total area of 1,733 km² (603 km² of it land). The national park was founded in 1980 in order to protect the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard. Later it was dedicated to protecting other species.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten Squids/Octopuses, Top Ten Lizards, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Komodo_National_Park,
  13. Mount Roraima, Guyana, Brazil and Venezuela
    152436
    Mount Roraima is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateau in South America. First described by the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in 1596, its 31 km2 summit area is defended on all sides by tall cliffs rising 400 m (1,300 ft). The mountain also serves as the triple border point of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. Mount Roraima lies on the Guiana Shield in the southeastern corner of Venezuela’s 30,000 square km (12,000 sq mi) Canaima National Park forming the highest peak of Guyana’s Highland Range. The tabletop mountains of the park are considered some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, dating back to some two billion years ago in the Precambrian. The highest point in Guyana and the highest point of the Brazilian state of Roraima lie on the plateau, but Venezuela and Brazil have higher mountains elsewhere. The mountain’s highest point is Maverick Rock, 2,810 m (9,219 ft), at the south end of the plateau and wholly within Venezuela.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Top Ten Venezuelan Attractions, Top Ten Guyanese Attractions, Top Ten PlateausTop Ten Mountains,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Roraima,
  14. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia

           The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is a waterfall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are some of the largest in the world.
    Links: Top Ten Waterfalls, Top Ten Zimbabwean Attractions, Top Ten Zambian Attractions,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Falls,
  15. Richat Structure, Mauritania

            This weird bull’s eye feature spans 50km of desert in the Mauritanian Sahara. The structure has been something of a puzzle for geologists ever since it was first spotted from space, as the surrounding area is largely featureless. It’s now thought it was caused by uplift and erosion rather than a meteorite impact.
    Links: Top Ten Rock Formations, Top Ten Mauritanian Attractions, http://www.insidehoops.com/forum/showthread.php?t=142190,
  16. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
    Ha Long BayHa Long Bay1Ha Long Bay2Ha Long Bay3Ha Long Bay4Ha Long Bay5Ha Long Bay6
    Hạ Long Bay (“Descending Dragon Bay”) is a popular travel destination, located in Quảng Ninh province, Vietnam. Administratively, the bay belongs to Hạ Long City, Cẩm Phả town, and part of Van Don district. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. Hạ Long Bay is a center of a larger zone which includes Bái Tử Long bay to the northeast, and Cát Bà islands to the southwest. These larger zones share similar geological, geographical, geomorphological, climate and cultural characters. Hạ Long Bay has an area of around 1,553 squarekm, including 1,960 islets, most of which are limestone. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. Hạ Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species. Historical research surveys have shown the presence of prehistorical human beings in this area tens of thousands years ago. The successive ancient cultures are the Soi Nhụ culture around 18,000-7,000 BC, the Cái Bèo culture 7,000-5,000 BC and the Hạ Long culture 5,000-3,500 years ago. Hạ Long Bay also marked important events in the history of Vietnam with many artifacts found in Bài Thơ Mout, Đầu Gỗ Cave, Bãi Cháy. 500 years ago, Nguyen Trai praised the beauty of Hạ Long Bay in his verse Lộ nhập Vân Đồn, in which he called it “rock wonder in the sky.” In 1962, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam listed Hạ Long Bay in the National Relics and Landscapes publication.
    Links: Top Ten Vietnamese Attractions, Top Ten Bays, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ha_Long_Bay,
  17. Polar Ice Caps, Fox Glacier, New Zealand and Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
    dabc213adc
           Earth’s North Pole is covered by floating pack ice (sea ice) over the Arctic Ocean. Portions of the ice that don’t melt seasonally can get very thick, up to 3–4 meters thick over large areas, with ridges up to 20 meters thick. One-year ice is usually about a meter thick. The area covered by sea ice ranges between 9 and 12 million km². In addition, the Greenland ice sheet covers about 1.71 million km² and contains about 2.6 million km³ of ice. While the International Panel on Climate Change 2001 report predicted that the North polar ice cap would last to 2100 in spite of global warming caused by climate change, the dramatic reduction in the size of the ice cap during the northern summer of 2007 has led some scientists to estimate that there will be no ice at the North Pole by 2030 with devastating effects on the environment. Other scientists such as Wieslaw Maslowski, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, estimate that there will be no summer ice by as soon as 2013. He argues that this projection is already too conservative as his dataset did not include the minima of 2005 and 2007.
    Links: Top Ten Argentinian Attractions, Top Ten New Zealand Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_ice_caps,
  18. Iguazú National Park and Falls, Brazil and Argentina

           The Iguazú National Park is a national park of Argentina, located in Iguazú, in the north of the province of Misiones, Argentine Mesopotamia. It has an area of 550 square km (212 sq mi).
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten South American National Parks, Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Top Ten Argentinian Attractions, Top Ten Waterfalls,  Animals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguaz%C3%BA_National_Park,
  19. Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, Australia

    Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park is located in the Northern Territory of Australia, 1,431 km south of Darwin by road and 440 km south-west of Alice Springs along the Stuart and Lasseter Highways. The park covers 2,010 square km and includes the features it is named after, Uluru/Ayers Rock and, 40 km to its west, Kata Tjuta/Mount Olga and is serviced by flights from most Australian capital cities. Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies 335 km (208 mi) south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs; 450 km (280 mi) by road. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Uluru is sacred to the Aṉangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. The area around the formation is home to a plethora of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten Oceanic National Parks, Top Ten Rock Formations, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uluru-Kata_Tjuta_National_Park,
  20. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Palawan, Philippines
    Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National ParkPuerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park1Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park2Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park3Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park4Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park5
    The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 km (31 mi) north of the city center 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.
    Links: Top Ten Philippine Attractions, National Parks, Top Ten Caves,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puerto_Princesa_Subterranean_River_National_Park,
  21. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
    Cliffs of MoherCliffs of Moher1Cliffs of Moher2Cliffs of Moher3Cliffs of Moher4Cliffs of Moher5
    The Cliffs of Moher are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. They rise 120 m (390 ft.) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head, and reach their maximum height of 214 m (702 ft.) just north of O’Brien’s Tower, 8 km to the north. The cliffs receive almost one million visitors a year. O’Brien’s Tower is a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O’Brien to impress female visitors. From the cliffs and from atop the watchtower, visitors can see the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Maumturks and Twelve Pins mountain ranges to the north in County Galway, and Loop Head to the south.
    Links: Top Ten Irish Attractions, Top Ten Towers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliffs_of_Moher,
  22. Links: Top Ten Wonders of Space, Top Ten Ancient Wonders, Top Ten Medieval Wonders, Top Ten Modern Wonders, http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/play/natural-wonder-bucket-list-50-spectacular-places-see-639593,

Top Ten Wonders of the Modern World

Top Ten Wonders of the Modern World

Burj Khalifa1Golden Gate Bridge1Sydney Opera House

  1. Hubble Telescope

    The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope that was carried into orbit by a space shuttle in April 1990. It is named after the American astronomer Edwin Hubble. Although not the first space telescope, Hubble is one of the largest and most versatile, and is well-known as both a vital research tool and a public relations boon for astronomy. The HST is a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency and is one of NASA’s Great Observatories, along with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Space telescopes were proposed as early as 1923. Hubble was funded in the 1970’s, with a proposed launch in 1983, but the project was beset by technical delays, budget problems and the Challenger disaster. When finally launched in 1990, scientists found that the main mirror had been ground incorrectly, severely compromising the telescope’s capabilities. However, after a servicing mission in 1993, the telescope was restored to its intended quality. Hubble’s orbit outside the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere allows it to take extremely sharp images with almost no background light. Hubble’s Ultra Deep Field image, for instance, is the most detailed visible-light image ever made of the universe’s most distant objects. Many Hubble observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as accurately determining the rate of expansion of the universe. Hubble is the only telescope ever designed to be serviced in space by astronauts. Four servicing missions were performed from 1993–2002, but the 5th was canceled on safety grounds following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. However, after spirited public discussion, NASA administrator Mike Griffin approved one final servicing mission, completed in 2009. The telescope is now expected to function until at least 2014, when its ‘successor,’ the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is due to be launched.
    Links: The Universe, Top Ten Wonders of Space, Top Ten Hubble Photographs, Top Ten Telescopes, Top Ten Personal Telescopeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Telescope,
  2. CERN, Switzerland
    CERNCERN1CERN2CERN3CERN4CERN5CERN6CERN7CERN8
    The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border. Established in 1954, the organization has 20 European member states. The term CERN is also used to refer to the laboratory itself, which employs just under 2,400 full-time employees, as well as some 7,931 scientists and engineers representing 608 universities and research facilities and 113 nationalities. CERN’s main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research. Numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN by international collaborations to make use of them. It is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web. The main site at Meyrin also has a large computer center containing very powerful data-processing facilities primarily for experimental data analysis and, because of the need to make them available to researchers elsewhere, has historically been a major wide area networking hub. The CERN sites, as an international facility, are officially under neither Swiss nor French jurisdiction. Member states’ contributions to CERN for the year 2008 totaled CHF 1 billion (approximately € 664 million).
    Links: Top Ten Swiss Attractions, Science, Top 100 PeopleTop 100 ScientistsTop Ten Physicists, Top Ten LaboratoriesSculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cern,
  3. Network of Worldwide Underground Cities/Bases
    Network of Worldwide Underground CitiesBasesNetwork of Worldwide Underground CitiesBases1Network of Worldwide Underground CitiesBases2 Network of Worldwide Underground CitiesBases3Network of Worldwide Underground CitiesBases4Network of Worldwide Underground CitiesBases5Network of Worldwide Underground CitiesBases6
    Located all over the world, citizens tax money has been spent on creating these deep underground bases/cities for the past few decades dating back to at least the 1950’s. They are created by among other ways, by underground nuclear blasts, as well as by advanced tunneling devices, which can dig an estimated 7 miles an hour, leaving behind a hard glasslike structure that can support itself with further reinforcements. These tunneling machines are further used to connect these underground facilities, creating a massive underground base/city network.
    Links: Top Ten Military Bases,
    Videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEDAE_9v4h0,
  4. Channel Tunnel, England and France
    Channel TunnelChannel Tunnel2
    The Channel Tunnel is a 50.5 km-long rail tunnel beneath the English Channel at the Straits of Dover. It connects Dover, Kent in England with Calais, northern France. The undersea section of the tunnel is unsurpassed in length in the world. A proposal for a Channel tunnel was first put forward by a French engineer in 1802. In 1881, a first attempt was made at boring a tunnel from the English side; the work was halted after 800 m for political reasons. Again in 1922, English workers started boring a tunnel, and advanced 120 m before it too was halted for political reasons. The most recent attempt was begun in 1987, and the tunnel was officially opened in 1994. At completion it was estimated that the project cost around $18 billion. It has been operating at a significant loss since its opening, despite trips by over 7 million passengers per year on the Eurostar train, and over 3 million vehicles per year.
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions, Top Ten English Attractions, Top Ten Tunnels, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_Tunnel,
  5. Burj Khalifa, UAE
    Burj KhalifaBurj Khalifa1Burj Khalifa2Burj Khalifa3
    Burj Khalifa, known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and the tallest man-made structure ever built, at 828 m (2,717 ft). Construction began on 21 September 2004 and was completed on 1 October 2009, with the official opening occurring on 4 January 2010. The building is part of the 2 square km (490-acre) flagship development called Downtown Burj Khalifa at the “First Interchange” along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai’s main business district. The tower’s architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago. Adrian Smith, who started his own firm in 2006, was the chief architect and Bill Baker was the chief structural engineer for the project. The primary contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea, who also built the Taipei 101 and Petronas Twin Towers. Under UAE law, the Contractor and the Engineer of Record, Hyder Consulting, is jointly and severally liable for the performance of Burj Khalifa. The total cost for the Burj Khalifa project was about $1.5 billion (US); and for the entire new “Downtown Dubai,” $20 billion (US). Office space goes for $4,000 per sq ft (over $43,000 (US) per square m) and that the Armani Residences were selling for $3,500 (US) per square ft (over $37,500 (US) per square m). With Dubai itself mired in a deep financial crisis that forced it to seek repeated billion-dollar bailouts from its oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi, the opening ceremony and surprise renaming of the tower to Burj Khalifa, after UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has been viewed by observers as an “attempt to boost confidence in Dubai by showing who is backing Dubai.”
    Links: Top Ten UAE Attractions, Architecture, Architecture by Type/Use, Top Ten Towers, Top 100 Buildings, Top Ten Tallest Buildings, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Khalifa,
  6. Panama Canal (1880-1914)
    Panama CanalPanama Canal1Panama Canal2
    The Panama Canal is a 77 km (48 mi) ship canal that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Annual traffic has risen from about 1,000 ships in the canal’s early days to 14,702 vessels in 2008, displacing a total 309.6 million Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the canal had an enormous impact on shipping between the two oceans, replacing the long and treacherous route via the Drake Passage and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of South America. A ship sailing from New York to San Francisco via the canal travels 9,500 km (5,900 mi), well under half the 22,500 km (14,000 mi) route around Cape Horn. The concept of a canal near Panama dates to the early 16th century. The first attempt to construct a canal began in 1880 under French leadership, but was abandoned after 21,900 workers died, largely from disease (particularly malaria and yellow fever) and landslides. The United States launched a second effort, incurring a further 5,600 deaths but succeeding in opening the canal in 1914. The US controlled the canal and the Canal Zone surrounding it until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for the transition of control to Panama. From 1979 to 1999 the canal was under joint US-Panamanian administration and from 31 December 1999 command of the waterway was assumed by the Panama Canal Authority, an agency of the Panamanian government. While the Pacific Ocean is west of the isthmus and the Atlantic to the east, the 8 to 10 hour journey through the canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic is one from southeast to northwest. This is a result of the isthmus’s “curving back on itself” in the region of the canal.
    Links: Top Ten Panamanian Attractions, Top Ten Canalshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panama_Canal,
  7. Sydney Opera House, Australia
    Sydney Opera HouseSydney Opera House2Sydney Opera House3
    Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre on Bennelong Point in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, who, in 2003, received the Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honor. The citation stated: “There is no doubt that the Sydney Opera House is his masterpiece. It is one of the great iconic buildings of the 20th century, an image of great beauty that has become known throughout the world, a symbol for not only a city, but a whole country and continent.” Currently, it is the most recently constructed World Heritage Site to be designated as such, sharing this distinction with such ancient landmarks as Stonehenge and the Giza Necropolis. It is one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centers in the world. Sydney Opera House is situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbor, close to the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Contrary to its name, the building houses six venues. The two largest venues, the Opera Theatre and Concert Hall, are housed in the two larger sets of shells. Three smaller theatres, the Drama Theatre, Playhouse and Studio are situated on the western side of the building, and the Utzon Room on the eastern side. The award winning Guillaume at Bennelong restaurant occupies the smaller set of shells. As one of the busiest performing arts centers in the world, providing over 1,500 performances each year attended by some 1.2 million people, Sydney Opera House promotes and supports many performing arts companies including the four key resident companies Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Theatre Company and Sydney Symphony. Sydney Opera House also presents more than 700 of its own performances annually that offer an eclectic mix of artistic and cultural activities for all ages from the educational to the experimental. It is also one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, with more than 7 million people visiting the site each year.
    Links: Top Ten Australian Attractions, Architecture, Architecture by Type/Use, Top Ten Architectural Works by Jørn Utzon, Top Ten Opera Houses, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Opera_House,
  8. CN Tower, Canada
    CN TowerCN Tower2CN Tower3
    The CN Tower, located in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is a communications and observation tower standing 553.3 m (1,815 ft) tall. It surpassed the height of the Ostankino Tower while still under construction in 1975, becoming the tallest free-standing structure on land in the world for the next 31 years. On September 12, 2007 the CN Tower was surpassed in height by Burj Khalifa. It remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, the signature icon of Toronto’s skyline and a symbol of Canada, attracting more than two million international visitors annually. Though Burj Khalifa is the tallest free-standing structure, the CN Tower remains the world’s tallest tower, according the Guinness Book of World Records 2010, although the Guangzhou TV & Sightseeing Tower surpassed the height of the CN Tower in 2009. CN originally referred to Canadian National, the railway company that built the tower. Following the railway’s decision to divest non-core freight railway assets, prior to the company’s privatization in 1995 it transferred the tower to the Canada Lands Company, a federal Crown corporation responsible for real estate development.
    Links: Top Ten Canadian Attractions, Architecture, Top Ten Towers, Top 100 Buildings, Top Ten Tallest Buildings, Cities, Top Ten Cities, Top Ten North American Citieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CN_Tower,
  9. Empire State Building, New York, USA (1931)
    Empire State BuildingEmpire State Building1Empire State Building2
    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. 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 4th tallest freestanding structure in the Americas. The Empire State building is currently undergoing a $120 million renovation in an effort to transform the building into a more energy efficient and eco-friendly structure.
    Links: Top Ten US Attractions, Architecture, Top Ten Towers, Top 100 Buildings, Top Ten Tallest Buildings, Top Ten Works of Art by Andy Warhol, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_State_Building,
  10. Dubai World Islands and Palm Island, UAE
    Dubai World Islands and Palm IslandDubai World Islands and Palm Island1Dubai World Islands and Palm Island2
    The World is an artificial archipelago of various small islands constructed in the rough shape of a map of the landmasses of the Earth, located 4 km (2.5 mi) off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The World islands are composed mainly of sand dredged from Dubai’s shallow coastal waters, and are one of several artificial island developments in Dubai. The World’s developer is Nakheel Properties, and the project was originally conceived by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. The Palm Islands are artificial islands in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on which major commercial and residential infrastructure will be constructed. They are being constructed by Nakheel Properties, a property developer in the United Arab Emirates, who hired Belgian and Dutch dredging and marine contractor Jan De Nul and Van Oord, some of the world’s specialists in land reclamation. The islands are the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira. Each settlement will be in the shape of a palm tree, topped with a crescent, and will have a large number of residential, leisure and entertainment centers. The Palm Islands are located off the coast of The United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf and will add 520 kilometers of beaches to the city of Dubai. The first two islands will comprise approximately 100 million cubic meters of rock and sand. Palm Deira will be composed of approximately 1 billion cubic meters of rock and sand. All materials will be quarried in the UAE. Among the three islands there will be over 100 luxury hotels, exclusive residential beach side villas and apartments, marinas, water theme parks, restaurants, shopping malls, sports facilities and health spas.
    Links: Top Ten UAE Attractions, Islands, Top Ten Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_(archipelago)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_Islands,
  11. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA
    Golden Gate BridgeGolden Gate Bridge1Golden Gate Bridge3Golden Gate Bridge4
    The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. As part of both US Route 101 and California State Route 1, it connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed during the year 1937, and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California. Since its completion, the span length has been surpassed by eight other bridges. It still has the second longest suspension bridge main span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. In 1999, it was ranked 5th on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.
    Links: Top Ten US AttractionsTop Ten Bridges, Top Ten American Architectural Works, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Gate_Bridge,
  12. Itaipu Dam, Brazil and Paraguay
    Itaipu DamItaipu Dam1Itaipu Dam2Itaipu Dam3
    The Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The name “Itaipu” was taken from an isle that existed near the construction site. In the Guarani language, Itaipu means “the sound of a stone.” The American composer Philip Glass has also written a symphonic cantata named Itaipu, in honour of the structure. The dam is second only to the Three Gorges Dam in its generating capacity. It is a bi-national undertaking run by Brazil and Paraguay at the Paraná River on the border section between the two countries, 15 km (9.3 mi) north of the Friendship Bridge. The project ranges from Foz do Iguaçu, in Brazil and Ciudad del Este in Paraguay, in the south to Guaíra and Salto del Guaíra in the north. The installed generation capacity of the plant is 14 GW, with 20 generating units providing 700 MW each. In 2008 the plant generated a record 94.68 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), supplying 90% of the energy consumed by Paraguay and 19% of that consumed by Brazil.
    Links: Top Ten Brazilian Attractions, Top Ten Paraguayan Attractions, Top Ten Emerging Energy Technologies, Top Ten Dams, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itaipu_Dam,
  13. Delta Works, The Netherlands
    Delta WorksDelta Works1Delta Works2
    The Delta Works are a series of constructions built between 1950 and 1997 in the southwest of the Netherlands to protect a large area of land around the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta from the sea. The works consist of dams, sluices, locks, dikes and storm surge barriers. The aim of the project was to shorten the Dutch coastline, thus reducing the number of dikes that had to be raised.
    Links: Top Ten Dutch Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Works,
  14. The Millau Viaduct, France

    The Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the valley of the river Tarn near Millau in southern France. Designed by the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, it is the tallest bridge in the world with one mast’s summit at 343.0 m (1,125 ft) above the base of the structure. It is the 12th highest bridge deck in the world, being 270 m (890 ft) between the road deck and the ground below. Millau Viaduct is part of the A75-A71 autoroute axis from Paris to Montpellier. Construction cost was approximately €400 million. It was formally inaugurated on 14 December 2004, and opened to traffic on the 16th. The bridge has been consistently ranked as one of the great engineering achievements of all time. The bridge received the 2006 International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Outstanding Structure Award.
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions, Architecture, Top Ten Bridges, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millau_viaduct,
  15. Ithaa Restaurant at the Hilton Maldives Resort & Spa (First All-Glass Undersea Restaurant)

    Ithaa, which means mother-of-pearl in Dhivehi, is the very first undersea restaurant in the world located 5 m (16 ft) below sea level at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in Alif Dhaal Atoll in the Republic of Maldives. The 5×9 m (16×30 ft) mostly acrylic structure has a capacity of 14 people and is encased in R-Cast acrylic with a transparent roof offering a 270° panoramic underwater view. The restaurant was designed and constructed by M.J. Murphy Ltd., a design consultancy based in New Zealand, and was opened on April 15, 2005. Food served in the restaurant has evolved over the years and is now best described as contemporary European with Asian influences. Ithaa’s entrance is a spiral staircase in a thatched pavilion at the end of a jetty. The tsunami which followed the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake topped at 0.31 m (1 ft 0 in) below the staircase entrance, and caused no damage to the restaurant. In April 2010, to celebrate the restaurant’s 5th anniversary, it was made possible to sleep in Ithaa for the night if the restaurant is not booked for dinner. The restaurant is also used for private parties and weddings.
    Links: Hotels, Top 100 Hotels, Islands, Top Ten Islands, Restaurants, Top 100 Restaurants
  16. Links: Monuments and Wonders, Top 100 Monuments, Top Ten Wonders of Space, Top Ten Ancient Wonders, Top Ten Medieval Wonders, Top Ten Natural Wonders,

Top Ten Wonders of Space

Top Ten Wonders of Space

ConsciousnessOneness3

       Space, the next frontier, is a very mysterious, beautiful and at times overwhelming place in which we have come to exist.

  1. Energetic Unity (God, Godhead, Oneness, Brahma, Yahweh, Allah, etc.)
    OnenessOneness1Oneness2Oneness3
    Everyone’s opinion of the oneness of all things is unique to their particular journey and as such is one of the most wonderful aspects of our collective experience.
    Links: Spiritual Teachers, Top 100 Spiritual Teachers, Top Ten Personifications of God,
  2. Consciousness (Inner Space)
    ConsciousnessConsciousness1Consciousness2Consciousness3Consciousness4
           Consciousness is a term that has been used to refer to a variety of aspects of the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined, at one time or another, as: subjective experience; awareness; the ability to experience feelings; wakefulness; having a sense of selfhood; or as the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty of definition, many philosophers believe that there is a basic underlying intuition about consciousness that is shared by nearly all people. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: “Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.” In philosophy, consciousness is often said to imply four characteristics: subjectivity, change, continuity, and selectivity. Philosopher Franz Brentano has also suggested intentionality or aboutness (that consciousness is about something); however, there is no consensus on whether intentionality is a requirement for consciousness. Issues of practical concern in the philosophy of consciousness include whether consciousness can ever be explained mechanistically; whether non-human consciousness exists and if so how it can be recognized; at what point in fetal development consciousness begins; and whether it may ever be possible for computers to achieve a conscious state. At one time consciousness was viewed with skepticism by many scientists and considered within the domain of philosophers and theologians, but in recent years it has been an increasingly significant topic of scientific research. In psychology and neuroscience, the focus of most research is on understanding what it means biologically and psychologically for information to be present in consciousness, that is, on determining the neural and psychological correlates of consciousness. Issues of interest include phenomena such as subliminal perception, blindsight, denial of impairment, and altered states of consciousness produced by psychoactive drugs or spiritual or meditative techniques.
    Links: Spiritual Teachers, Top 100 Spiritual Teachers, Buddhists, The Pineal Gland, Sun Gazing, DMT and Om, Alex Gray Paintings,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness,
  3. Infinity

           Infinity is a concept in many fields, most predominantly mathematics and physics, that refers to a quantity without bound or end. People have developed various ideas throughout history about the nature of infinity. The word comes from the Latin infinitas or “unboundedness.” In mathematics, “infinity” is often treated as if it were a number (i.e., it counts or measures things: “an infinite number of terms”) but it is not the same sort of number as the real numbers. In number systems incorporating infinitesimals, the reciprocal of an infinitesimal is an infinite number, i.e. a number greater than any real number. Georg Cantor formalized many ideas related to infinity and infinite sets during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the theory he developed, there are infinite sets of different sizes (called cardinalities). For example, the set of integers is countably infinite, while the set of real numbers is uncountably infinite.
    Links: Top Ten Mathematicians, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity,
  4. Multiple Dimensions (Parallel Dimensions)

           In physics, three dimensions of space and one of time is the accepted norm. There are theories that try to unify different forces and such—these theories require more dimensions. Superstring theory, M-theory and Bosonic string theory respectively posit that physical space has 10, 11 and 26 dimensions. These extra dimensions are said to be spatial. However, we perceive only three spatial dimensions and, to date, no experimental or observational evidence is available to confirm the existence of these extra dimensions. A possible explanation that has been suggested is that space acts as if it were “curled up” in the extra dimensions on a subatomic scale, possibly at the quark/string level of scale or below. An analysis of results from the Large Hadron Collider in December 2010 severely constrains theories with large extra dimensions. Other physical theories that have introduced extra dimensions of space are: Kaluza–Klein theory introduces extra dimensions to explain the fundamental forces other than gravity (originally only electromagnetism); Large extra dimension and the Randall–Sundrum model attempt to explain the weakness of gravity. This is also a feature of brane cosmology; and Universal extra dimension.
    Links: Top Ten Scientific Theories, Top 100 Scientistshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimensionality#Additional_dimensions,
  5. Anti-Matter
    Anti-Matter
           In particle physics, antimatter is the extension of the concept of the antiparticle to matter, where antimatter is composed of antiparticles in the same way that normal matter is composed of particles. For example, an antielectron (a positron, an electron with a positive charge) and an antiproton (a proton with a negative charge) could form an antihydrogen atom in the same way that an electron and a proton form a normal matter hydrogen atom. Furthermore, mixing matter and antimatter would lead to the annihilation of both in the same way that mixing antiparticles and particles does, thus giving rise to high-energy photons (gamma rays) or other particle–antiparticle pairs. There is considerable speculation as to why the observable universe is apparently almost entirely matter, whether there exists other places that are almost entirely antimatter instead and what might be possible if antimatter could be harnessed, but at this time the apparent asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe is one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics. The process by which this asymmetry between particles and antiparticles developed is called baryogenesis.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimatter,
  6. Exoplanets/Extraterrestrial Life
    ExoplanetsExtraterrestrial LifeExoplanetsExtraterrestrial Life1ExoplanetsExtraterrestrial Life2
           An exoplanet is a planet beyond our Solar System, orbiting a star other than our Sun. So far we have discovered 353 exoplanets with new discoveries happening each year. Currently Gliese 581 d, the fourth planet of the red dwarf star Gliese 581 (approximately 20 light years from Earth), appears to be the best example yet discovered of a possible terrestrial exoplanet that orbits within the habitable zone surrounding its star.
    Links: ET’s, Extraterrestrial Civilizations, Top Ten Exoplanets, Top Ten Exoplanets Believed to be Inhabited, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exoplanets,
  7. Black Holes
    Schwarzschild black hole
           A black hole is a region of spacetime from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is a mathematically defined surface called an event horizon that marks the point of no return. The hole is called “black” because it absorbs all the light that hits the horizon, reflecting nothing, just like a perfect black body in thermodynamics. Quantum field theory in curved spacetime predicts that event horizons emit radiation like a black body with a finite temperature. This temperature is inversely proportional to the mass of the black hole, making it difficult to observe this radiation for black holes of stellar mass or greater. Objects whose gravity fields are too strong for light to escape were first considered in the 18th century by John Michell and Pierre-Simon Laplace. The first modern solution of general relativity that would characterize a black hole was found by Karl Schwarzschild in 1916, although its interpretation as a region of space from which nothing can escape was first published by David Finkelstein in 1958. The discovery of neutron stars sparked interest in gravitationally collapsed compact objects as a possible astrophysical reality. Black holes of stellar mass are expected to form when very massive stars collapse at the end of their life cycle. After a black hole has formed it can continue to grow by absorbing mass from its surroundings. By absorbing other stars and merging with other black holes, supermassive black holes of millions of solar masses may form. There is general consensus that supermassive black holes exist in the centers of most galaxies. Astronomers have identified numerous stellar black hole candidates in binary systems, and established that the core of our Milky Way galaxy contains a supermassive black hole of about 4.3 million solar masses.
    Links: Top Ten Black Holeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole,
  8. Dark Matter
    Dark MatterDark Matter1
            In astronomy and cosmology, dark matter is hypothetical matter that is undetectable by its emitted radiation, but whose presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter. Dark matter is postulated to explain the flat rotation curves of spiral galaxies and other evidence of “missing mass” in the universe. According to present observations of structures larger than galaxies, as well as Big Bang cosmology, dark matter and dark energy account for the vast majority of the mass in the observable universe. The observed phenomena which imply the presence of dark matter include the rotational speeds of galaxies, orbital velocities of galaxies in clusters, gravitational lensing of background objects by galaxy clusters such as the Bullet Cluster, and the temperature distribution of hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Dark matter also plays a central role in structure formation and galaxy evolution, and has measurable effects on the anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background. All these lines of evidence suggest that galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and the universe as a whole contain far more matter than that which interacts with electromagnetic radiation: the remainder is frequently called the “dark matter component,” even though there is a small amount of baryonic dark matter.
    Links: Top Ten Galaxies, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter,
  9. Galactic Cannibalism
    Galactic CannibalismGalactic Cannibalism1
            Galactic cannibalism refers to the process by which a large galaxy, through tidal gravitational interactions with a companion, merges with that companion, resulting in a larger, often irregular galaxy. The most common result of the gravitational merger of two or more galaxies is an irregular galaxy of one form or another, although elliptical galaxies may also result. It has been suggested that galactic cannibalism is currently occurring between the Milky Way and the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Streams of gravitationally-attracted hydrogen arcing from these dwarf galaxies to the Milky Way is taken as evidence for this theory. Colliding galaxies are common in galaxy evolution. Due to the extremely tenuous distribution of matter in galaxies, these are not collisions in the normal sense of the word, but rather gravitational interaction. Colliding may lead to merging. This occurs when two galaxies collide and do not have enough momentum to continue traveling after the collision. Instead, they fall back into each other and eventually merge after many passes through each other, forming one galaxy. If one of the colliding galaxies is much larger than the other, it will remain largely intact after the merger; that is, the larger galaxy will look much the same while the smaller galaxy will be stripped apart and become part of the larger galaxy. Through-passes are less disruptive of galaxy shapes than mergers in that both galaxies largely retain their material and shape after the pass.
    Links: Top Ten Galaxies, Top Ten Galaxy Clustershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactic_cannibalism,
  10. Quasars

           A quasi-stellar radio source (quasar) is a powerfully energetic and distant galaxy with an active galactic nucleus. Quasars were first identified as being high redshift sources of electromagnetic energy, including radio waves and visible light, that were point-like, similar to stars, rather than extended sources similar to galaxies. While there was initially some controversy over the nature of these objects, as recently as the early 1980s, there was no clear consensus as to their nature, there is now a scientific consensus that a quasar is a compact region 10-10,000 times the Schwarzschild radius of the central super massive black hole of a galaxy, powered by its accretion disc.
    Links: Sacred Geometry, Top Ten Quasarshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasars,
  11. Gravitational Waves
    Gravitational WavesGravitational Waves1
           In physics, a gravitational wave is a fluctuation in the curvature of spacetime which propagates as a wave, traveling outward from the source. Predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the waves transport energy known as gravitational radiation. Sources of gravitational waves include binary star systems composed of white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes. Although gravitational radiation has not yet been directly detected, it has been indirectly shown to exist. This was the basis for the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded for measurements of the Hulse-Taylor binary system. Various gravitational wave detectors exist.
    Links: Top Ten Antigravity Craft, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_wave,
  12. Vacuum Energy
    Vacuum Energy
           Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space even when devoid of matter (known as free space). The vacuum energy is deduced from the concept of virtual particles, which are themselves derived from the energy-time uncertainty principle. Its effects can be observed in various phenomena (such as spontaneous emission, the Casimir effect, the van der Waals bonds, or the Lamb shift), and it is thought to have consequences for the behavior of the Universe on cosmological scales.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy,
  13. Mini-Black Holes
    Mini-Black Holes
           Micro black holes are tiny hypothetical black holes, also called quantum mechanical black holes or mini black holes, for which quantum mechanical effects play an important role. It is possible that such quantum primordial black holes were created in the high-density environment of the early universe (or big bang), or possibly through subsequent phase transitions. They might be observed by astrophysicists in the near future, through the particles they are expected to emit by Hawking radiation. Some theories involving additional space dimensions predict that micro black holes could be formed at an energy as low as the TeV range, which will be available in particle accelerators such as the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). Popular concerns have then been raised over end-of-the-world scenarios. However, such quantum black holes would instantly evaporate, either totally or leaving only a very weakly interacting residue. Beside the theoretical arguments, we can notice that the cosmic rays bombarding the Earth do not produce any damage, although they reach center of mass energies in the range of hundreds of TeV.
    Links: Top Ten Back Holes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini_black_holes,
  14. Neutrinos
    Neutrinos
           Neutrinos are elementary particles that often travel close to the speed of light, lack an electric charge, are able to pass through ordinary matter almost undisturbed and are thus extremely difficult to detect. Neutrinos have a minuscule, but nonzero mass. Neutrinos are created as a result of certain types of radioactive decay or nuclear reactions such as those that take place in the Sun, in nuclear reactors, or when cosmic rays hit atoms. There are three types, or “flavors,” of neutrinos: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos; each type also has an antimatter partner, called an antineutrino. Electron neutrinos or antineutrinos are generated whenever neutrons change into protons or vice versa, the two forms of beta decay. Interactions involving neutrinos are generally mediated by the weak force. Most neutrinos passing through the Earth emanate from the Sun, and more than 50 trillion solar electron neutrinos pass through the human body every second.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrinos,
  15. Cosmic Microwave Background
    Cosmic Microwave Background
           Outer Space as we commonly think of it is filled with a cosmic microwave background, which is a form of electromagnetic radiation that fills the universe. The CMB’s discovery in 1964 by radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson was the culmination of work initiated in the 1940’s, and earned them the 1978 Nobel Prize. The CMBR is well explained by the Big Bang model – when the universe was young, before the formation of stars and planets, it was smaller, much hotter, and filled with a uniform glow from its white-hot fog of hydrogen plasma. According to the model, the radiation from the sky we measure today comes from a spherical surface called the surface of last scattering. As the universe expanded, both the plasma and the radiation filling it grew cooler. When the universe cooled enough, stable atoms could form. These atoms could no longer absorb the thermal radiation, and the universe became transparent instead of being an opaque fog. The photons that were around at that time have been propagating ever since, though growing fainter and less energetic, since the exact same photons fill a larger and larger universe. This is the source for the term relic radiation, another name for the CMBR.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background_radiation,
  16. Monuments and Structures on Mars
    Monuments and Structures on MarsMonuments and Structures on Mars1Monuments and Structures on Mars2
    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Destinations on Mars, Top Ten Chrononauts,
  17. Links: The Universe, Top Ten Mysteries of Space, Top Ten Natural Wonders of the World, Top Ten Ancient Wonders, Top Ten Medieval Wonders, Top Ten Modern Wonders,

To Infinity and Beyond!

Top Ten Wonders of the Medieval World

Top Ten Wonders of the Medieval World

The ColiseumGreat Wall of China

  1. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (360 AD)
    Hagia SophiaHagia Sophia2Hagia Sophia3
    Hagia Sophia, from the Greek for “Holy Wisdom” is a former Orthodox patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its dedication in 360 until 1453, it served as the cathedral of Constantinople except between 1204 and 1261, when it was the cathedral of the Latin empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1934, when it was secularized; it was opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. Famous in particular for its massive dome, it is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and to have “changed the history of architecture.” It was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years, until the completion of the Seville Cathedral in 1520. The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 AD on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian and was in fact the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site. The previous two had both been destroyed by riots. It was designed by Isidore of Miletus, a physicist, and Anthemius of Tralles, a mathematician. The church contained a large collection of holy relics and featured, among other things, a 15 m (49 foot) silver iconostasis. It was the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the religious focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years. It was the church in which Cardinal Humbert in 1054 marched up to the altar and excommunicated Michael I Cerularius, which is commonly considered the start of the Great Schism. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks and Sultan Mehmed II ordered the building to be converted into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis and sacrificial vessels were removed, and many of the mosaics were eventually plastered over. The Islamic features, such as the mihrab, the minbar, and the four minarets outside, were added over the course of its history under the Ottomans.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagia_Sophia,
  2. The Coliseum, Italy (70-80 AD)
    The ColiseumThe Coliseum3File:Jean-Leon Gerome Pollice Verso.jpgThe Coliseum2
    The Colosseum originally the Flavian Amphitheatre is an elliptical amphitheatre in the center of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started between 70 and 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus, with further modifications being made during Domitian’s reign (81–96). The name “Amphitheatrum Flavium” derives from both Vespasian’s and Titus’s family name (Flavius, from the gens Flavia). Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. As well as the gladiatorial games, other public spectacles were held there, such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry and a Christian shrine. Although in the 21st century it stays partially ruined because of damage caused by devastating earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and its breakthrough achievements in earthquake engineering. It is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions and still has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torch lit “Way of the Cross” procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Top Ten Coliseums, Top Ten Arenas/StadiumsTop Ten Gladiators, Top Ten Paintings by Jean-Léon Gérôme,
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum,
  3. Great Wall of China (220-206 BC)
    Great Wall of ChinaGreat Wall of China1Great Wall of China2Great Wall of China3
    The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by the Xiongnu from the north and rebuilt and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century. Since the 5th century BC, several walls have been built that were referred to as the Great Wall. One of the most famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains; the majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. The most comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has recently concluded that the entire Great Wall, with all of its branches, stretches for 8,851.8 km (5,500.3 mi). This is made up of 6,259.6 km (3,889.5 mi) of sections of actual wall, 359.7 km (223.5 mi) of trenches and 2,232.5 km (1,387.2 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese AttractionsTop Ten Walls, Top Ten Asian Monumentshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China,
  4. Qin Shi Huangdi’s Terra Cotta Army, China (210 BC)
    Qin Shi Huangdi’s Terra Cotta ArmyQin Shi Huangdi’s Terra Cotta Army1Qin Shi Huangdi’s Terra Cotta Army2
    The Terracotta Army is the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang the First Emperor of China. The terracotta figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers near Xi’an, Shaanxi province, China near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. The figures vary in height (183–195 cm, 6 ft–6 ft 5 in), according to their role, the tallest being the generals. The figures include warriors, chariots, horses, officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried in the pits. Many archaeologists believe that there are many pits still waiting to be discovered.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 Sculptures, Top 100 Asian Sculptureshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_cotta_army,
  5. Taj Mahal, India (1632-1653 AD)
    Taj MahalTaj Mahal1Taj Mahal2213
    The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in Agra, India, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Indian and Islamic architectural styles. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.” While the white domed marble mausoleum is its most familiar component, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures. Building began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, and employed thousands of artisans and craftsmen. The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision including Abd ul-Karim Ma’mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer.
    Links: Top Ten Indian Attractions, Top Ten Mausoleumshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taj_mahal,
  6. Machu Picchu, Peru (1400 AD)

    Machu Picchu (Quechua: Machu Pikchu, “Old Peak,” is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas,” it is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World. The Incas started building the estate around 1400 AD, but it was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction.
    Links: Top Ten South American Attractions, Top Ten Peruvian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machu_Picchu,
  7. Cairo Citadel, Egypt (1176-1183 AD)
    Cairo CitadelCairo Citadel1Cairo Citadel2
    The Saladin Citadel of Cairo is a fortification in Cairo, Egypt. The location, part of the Muqattam Hill near the center of Cairo, was once famous for its fresh breeze and grand views of the city, and was fortified by the Ayyubid ruler Salah al-Din (Saladin) between 1176 and 1183 AD, to protect it from the Crusaders. Only a few years after defeating the Fatimid Caliphate, Saladin set out to build a wall that would surround both Cairo and Fustat. Saladin is recorded as saying, “With a wall I will make the two cities [Cairo and Fustat] into a unique whole, so that one army may defend them both; and I believe it good to encircle them with a single wall from the bank of the Nile to the bank of the Nile.” The Citadel would be the centerpiece of the wall. Built on a promontory beneath the Muqattam Hills, a setting that made it difficult to attack, the efficacy of the Citadel’s location is further demonstrated by the fact that it remained the heart of Egyptian government until the 19th century. The citadel stopped being the seat of government when Egypt’s ruler, Khedive Ismail, moved to his newly built Abdin Palace in the Ismailiya neighborhood in the 1860’s.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Top Ten Warriors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_Citadel,
  8. Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, Egypt (2nd – 4th Century AD)
    Catacombs of Kom el ShoqafaCatacombs of Kom el Shoqafa2Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa3
    The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, meaning ‘Mound of shards’ or ‘Potsherds,’ is a historical archaeological site located in Alexandria, Egypt. The necropolis consists of a series of Alexandrian tombs, statues and archaeological objects of the Pharaonic funeral cult with Hellenistic and early Imperial Roman influences. Due to the time period, many of the features of the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa merge Roman, Greek and Egyptian cultural points; some statues are Egyptian in style, yet bear Roman clothes and hair style whilst other features share a similar style. A circular staircase, which was often used to transport deceased bodies down the middle of it, leads down into the tombs that were tunneled into the bedrock during the age of the Antonine emperors (2nd century AD). The facility was then used as a burial chamber from the 2nd century to the 4th century, before being rediscovered in 1900 when a donkey accidentally fell into the access shaft. To date, three sarcophagi have been found, along with other human and animal remains which were added later. It is believed that the catacombs were only intended for a single family, but it is unclear why the site was expanded in order to house numerous other individuals. One of the more gruesome features of the catacombs is the so called Hall of Caracalla. According to tradition, this is a mass burial chamber for the humans and animals massacred by order of the Emperor Caracalla.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Top Ten Tombshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catacombs_of_Kom_el_Shoqafa,
  9. Ely Cathedral, England
    Ely CathedralEly Cathedral1Ely Cathedral2
    Ely Cathedral, or The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely, is the principal church of the Diocese of Ely, in Cambridgeshire, England, and the seat of the Bishop of Ely. It is known locally as “the ship of the Fens,” because of its prominent shape that towers above the surrounding flat and watery landscape.
    Links: Top Ten English Attractions, Top Ten Cathedrals, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ely_Cathedral,
  10. Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy (1173 AD)
    Leaning Tower of Pisa2Leaning Tower of Pisa1
    The Leaning Tower of 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. The tower has 296 or 294 steps; the 7th 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 m (12 ft 10 in) from where it would stand if the tower were perfectly vertical.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Top Ten Towers, Top Ten Squares, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa,
  11. Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, China (15th Century AD)
    Porcelain Tower of NanjingPorcelain Tower of Nanjing1Porcelain Tower of Nanjing2
    The Porcelain Tower (or Porcelain Pagoda) of Nanjing, also known as Bao’ensi (meaning “Temple of Gratitude”; is a historical site located on the south bank of the Yangtze in Nanjing, China. It was a pagoda constructed in the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty, but was mostly destroyed in the 19th century during the course of the Taiping rebellion. The tower is now under reconstruction.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, Temples, Top Ten Asian TemplesTop Ten Pagodas, Top Ten Towers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porcelain_Tower_of_Nanjing,
  12. Cluny Abbey, France (910 AD)
    Cluny Abbey1Cluny AbbeyCluny Abbey2Cluny Abbey3
    Cluny Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Cluny, department of Saône-et-Loire, France and was built in the Romanesque style. It was founded in 910 by William I, Count of Auvergne, who installed Abbot Berno and placed the abbey under the immediate authority of Pope Sergius III. The abbey and its constellation of dependencies soon came to exemplify the kind of religious life that was at the heart of 11th century piety. The town of Cluny, in the modern department of Saône-et-Loire in the region of Bourgogne, in east-central France, near Mâcon, grew round the former abbey, founded in a forested hunting reserve. The Benedictine order was a keystone to the stability that European society achieved in the 11th century and partly owing to the stricter adherence to a reformed Benedictine rule, Cluny became the acknowledged leader of western monasticism from the later 10th century. A sequence of highly competent abbots of Cluny were statesmen on an international stage. The monastery of Cluny itself became the grandest, most prestigious and best endowed monastic institution in Europe. The height of Cluniac influence was from the second half of the 10th century through the early 12th. The abbey was sacked and mostly destroyed in 1790 during the French Revolution and only a small part of the original remains.
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions, Top Ten Abbeyshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluny_Abbey,
  13. Links: Monuments and Wonders, Top 100 Monuments, Architecture, Top Ten Wonders of Space, Top Ten Ancient Wonders, Top Ten Modern Wonders, Top Ten Natural Wonders,

Top Ten Wonders of the Ancient World

Top Ten Wonders of the Ancient World

Ziggurat of Ur1The Pyramids of Giza and the SphinxThe Hanging Gardens of Babylon

  1. The Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, Egypt


            One of the most mysterious cultures of all time, Egypt holds some of the premier creations of art and architecture in the world. The centerpiece of the Egyptian landscape, including the three pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, are the most recognizable and powerful symbols of the ancient world today and remarkably enough are the only wonders of the ancient world that still exist; a tribute to the builders and architects of these great monuments. Many have speculated on the building of these massive monuments and have even alluded to extraterrestrial builders, but whatever the case may be, the site of the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx remain as the most powerful and mystical place on Earth.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Pyramids, Top Ten Pyramids, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramids_of_Giza,
  2. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Iraq (600 BC)
    The Hanging Gardens of BabylonThe Hanging Gardens of Babylon1The Hanging Gardens of Babylon3
            The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis, near present-day Al Hillah, Babil in Iraq, are considered to be one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. They were built by the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar II around 600 BC. He is reported to have constructed the gardens to please his sick wife, Amytis of Media, who longed for the trees and fragrant plants of her homeland Persia. The gardens were destroyed by several earthquakes after the 2nd century BC.
    Links: Top Ten Iraqi Attractions, Relieves and Petroglyphs, Top Ten Gardens, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging_Gardens_of_Babylon,
  3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Greece (550 BC)
    Temple of Artemis at EphesusTemple of Artemis at Ephesus1Temple of Artemis at Ephesus2Temple of Artemis at Ephesus3
           The Temple of Artemis, also known less precisely as Temple of Diana, was a Greek temple dedicated to Artemis completed, in its most famous phase, around 550 BC at Ephesus (in present-day Turkey). 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 new 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: I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labor of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, “Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.”
    Links: Top Ten Greek Attractions, Temples, Top Ten Temples, Top Ten Sculptures by Scopas, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Artemis,
  4. Ziggurat of Ur, Iraq
    Ziggurat of UrZiggurat of Ur1Ziggurat of Ur2
            The Ziggurat of Ur (É.TEMEN.NÍ.GÙR meaning “house whose foundation creates terror”) is a Neo-Sumerian ziggurat which was located in the city of Ur near Nasiriyah in the present-day Dhi Qar Province, Iraq. The Middle Bronze Age (21st century BC) structure had crumbled by Neo-Babylonian times (6th century BC) and a restoration of the ziggurat was built under king Nabonidus. Its remains were excavated in the 1920’s to 1930’s by Sir Leonard Woolley. They were encased by a partial reconstruction of the facade and the monumental staircase by Saddam Hussein during the 1980’s.
    Links: Top Ten Zigguratshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ziggurat_of_Ur,
  5. Baalbeck, Lebanon
    BaalbeckBaalbeck1Baalbeck2
            The greatest of the three temples was sacred to Jupiter Baal, (“Heliopolitan Zeus”), identified here with the sun, and was constructed during the first century AD. At the time it was the largest temple in the empire. With it were associated a temple to Venus and a lesser temple in honor of Bacchus (though it was traditionally referred to as the “Temple of the Sun” by Neoclassical visitors, who saw it as the best preserved Roman temple in the world, it is surrounded by 42 columns nearly 20 meters in height). Thus three Eastern deities were worshiped in Roman guise: thundering Jove, the god of storms, stood in for Baal-Hadad, Venus for ‘Ashtart (known in English as Astarte) and Bacchus for Anatolian Dionysus. The original number of Jupiter columns was 54 columns. In the early 20th century an earthquake reduced the 9 remaining columns to 6. The architrave blocks weigh up to 60 tons each, and the corner blocks over 100 tons, all of them raised to a height of ca. 19 m (62.34 ft.) above the ground. This was thought to have been done using Roman cranes. Roman cranes were not capable of lifting stones this heavy; however, by combining multiple cranes they may have been able to lift them to this height. If necessary they may have used the cranes to lever one side up a little at a time and use shims to hold it while they did the other side.
    Links: Top Ten Lebanese Attractions, Temples, Top Ten Temples, Top Ten European Temples, Top Ten Greek Temples, Top Ten Megaliths, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baalbeck,
  6. Statue of Zeus at Olympia (432 BC)
    Statue of Zeus at OlympiaStatue of Zeus at Olympia1
           The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was made by the Greek sculptor Phidias on the site where it was erected in the Temple of Zeus, Olympia, Greece.
    Links: Top Ten Greek Attractions, Top Ten Greek Gods, Sculptures, Top 100 Sculptures, Top Ten Sculptures by Phidias, Top Ten Sculptures that No Longer Existhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Zeus_at_Olympia,
  7. Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, Turkey (353 – 350 BC)
    Mausoleum of Maussollos at HalicarnassusMausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus1
            The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus or Tomb of Mausolus was a tomb built between 353 and 350 BC at Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey) for Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire, and Artemisia II of Caria, his wife and sister. The structure was designed by the Greek architects Satyros and Pythis. It stood approximately 45 meters (135 ft) in height, and each of the four sides was adorned with sculptural reliefs created by each one of four Greek sculptors, Leochares, Bryaxis, Scopas of Paros and Timotheus. The finished structure was considered to be such an aesthetic triumph that Antipater of Sidon identified it as one of his Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The word mausoleum has since come to be used generically for any grand tomb.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions, Top Ten Mausoleumshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mausoleum_of_Maussollos,
  8. Colossus of Rhodes, Greece (292 – 280 BC)
    Colossus of RhodesColossus of Rhodes1Colossus of Rhodes2Colossus of Rhodes3
           The Colossus of Rhodes was a statue of the Greek god Helios, erected in the city of Rhodes on the Greek island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos between 292 and 280 BC. It is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Before its destruction, the Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 m (107 ft) high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world.
    Links: Top Ten Greek Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 Sculptures, Top Ten Sculptures that No Longer Existhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_of_Rhodes,
  9. Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt (280 – 247 BC)
    Lighthouse of AlexandriaLighthouse of Alexandria2Lighthouse of Alexandria3
           The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was a tower built between 280 and 247 BC on the island of Pharos at Alexandria, Egypt. Its purpose was to guide sailors into the harbor at night time. With a height variously estimated at between 393 and 450 ft (120 and 140 m), it was for many centuries among the tallest manmade structures on Earth.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Top Ten Lighthouses, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lighthouse_of_Alexandria,
  10. Stonehenge, England (3,100 – 2,200 BC)
    StonehengeStonehenge1Stonehenge2
           Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 km (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 km (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It is at the center of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists had believed that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2,500 BC, as described in the chronology below. One recent theory, however, has suggested that the first stones were not erected until 2,400-2,200 BC, whilst another suggests that bluestones may have been erected at the site as early as 3,000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3,100 BC. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 in a co-listing with Avebury Henge monument. It is a national legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage, while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust. Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. The dating of cremated remains found on the site indicate burials from as early as 3,000 BC, when the initial ditch and bank were first dug. Burials continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years.
    Links: Top Ten English Attractions, Top Ten Ancient Stone Monuments, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehendge,
  11. Ishtar Gate, Babylon, Iraq (575 BC)
    Ishtar GateIshtar Gate1Ishtar Gate2Ishtar Gate3
           The Ishtar Gate was the 8th gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. Dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the Gate was constructed of blue glazed tiles with alternating rows of bas-relief sirrush (dragons) and aurochs. The roof and doors of the gate were of cedar, according to the dedication plaque. Through the gate ran the Processional Way which was lined with walls covered in lions on glazed bricks (about 120 of them). Statues of the deities were paraded through the gate and down the Processional Way each year during the New Year’s celebration.
    Links: Top Ten Iraqi Attractions, Top Ten Gates, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishtar_Gate,
  12. Makomati, South Africa
    MakomatiMakomati1Makomati2
            These mysterious ancient ruins consist of dwellings, forts, temples roads, irrigation systems and agricultural terraces that cover thousands of square km. It is our estimate that more stone went into building these features than went into building all of the Egyptian pyramids. It is an archaeologist’s dream that will unveil even greater and more mysterious secrets in years to come. There is an overwhelming consensus by scholars, academics and even mystics that southern Africa is the cradle of humankind and that this is where the first humans walked the Earth before migrating to the distant corners of our planet. Through the study of mitochondrial DNA in females, geneticists found evidence that points to a time when the first humans suddenly appeared on Earth, reigniting the ongoing debate about the ‘missing link’. Their calculation show that the common ancestor to all humans appeared somewhere between 180,000 and 360,000 years ago. She was affectionately called Mitochondrial Eve. But the first signs of human intelligence and consciousness only appeared around 75,000 years ago, when the Khoisan people of southern Africa, sometimes also referred to as Bushmen, started leaving behind an array of spectacular cave paintings all over this part of the continent. Finely crafted beads and bracelet fragments found in a cave at Blombos in the Western Cape, South Africa, show that these early humans had already developed a feel for the arts and crafts around 80,000 years ago. Until recently, this was the only real link we had to the cradle of humankind in southern Africa and its earliest inhabitants.
    Links: Top Ten South African Attractions, Top Ten Ancient Stone Monuments, http://www.makomati.org/,
  13. Links: Top Ten Wonders of Space, Top Ten Medieval Wonders, Top Ten Modern Wonders, Top Ten Natural Wonders,

Top Ten Walls

Top Ten Walls

The Wailing Wall2Sacsayhuaman3Great Wall of ChinaThe Berlin Wall2

Walls were meant to be broken.

  1. Great Wall of China (220-206 BC)
    Great Wall of ChinaGreat Wall of China1Great Wall of China2Great Wall of China3
    The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by the Xiongnu from the north and rebuilt and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century. Since the 5th century BC, several walls have been built that were referred to as the Great Wall. One of the most famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains; the majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. The most comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has recently concluded that the entire Great Wall, with all of its branches, stretches for 8,851.8 km (5,500.3 mi). This is made up of 6,259.6 km (3,889.5 mi) of sections of actual wall, 359.7 km (223.5 mi) of trenches and 2,232.5 km (1,387.2 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China,
  2. The Berlin Wall, Germany
    The Berlin Wall2The Berlin Wall24The Berlin Wall13
    The Berlin Wall was a concrete barrier built by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) that completely enclosed the city of West Berlin, separating it from East Germany. The Wall included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) that contained anti-vehicle trenches, “fakir beds” and other defenses. The separate and much longer Inner German border demarcated the border between East and West Germany. Both borders came to symbolize the Iron Curtain between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc. Before the Wall’s erection, 3.5 million East Germans had avoided Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin. From West Berlin, emigrants could travel to West Germany and other Western European countries. During its existence from 1961 to 1989, the Wall stopped almost all such emigration and separated the GDR from West Berlin for more than a quarter of a century. After its erection, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the wall, with estimates of the resulting death toll varying between around 100 and 200. The Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the “Anti-Fascist Protection Wall” by the communist GDR authorities, implying that neighboring West Germany had not been fully de-Nazified. The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the “Wall of Shame,” a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt while condemning the wall’s restriction on freedom of movement. In 1989, there were a radical series of Eastern Bloc political changes associated with the liberalization of the Bloc’s authoritarian systems. After several weeks of local civil unrest following the erosion of political power of the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary, the East German government announced on November 9, 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, a euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of the rest. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification.
    Links: Top Ten German Attractions, Cities, Top Ten European Citieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Berlin_Wall,
  3. The Wailing Wall, Israel
    The Wailing WallThe Wailing Wall1The Wailing Wall2
    The Western Wall, sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall or simply the Kotel, and as al-Buraaq Wall in Arabic, is an important Jewish religious site located in the Old City of Jerusalem. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, being constructed around 19 BC by Herod the Great. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards.
    Links: Top Ten Israeli Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wailing_Wall,
  4. Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman), Peru
    Sacsayhuaman3Sacsayhuaman1Sacsayhuaman2
    Sacsayhuamán (also known as Saksaq Waman, Sacsahuaman) is a walled complex near the old city of Cusco, at an altitude of 3,701 m. or 12,000 feet. The site is part of the City of Cuzco, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983. It was built by the prehistoric indigenous people of the Killke culture about 1100 AD. They were superseded by the Inca, who occupied and expanded the complex beginning about 1200 AD. Some scholars believe the walls were a form of fortification. Others believe the complex was built specifically to represent the head of a puma, the effigy shape which Sacsayhuamán together with Cuzco forms when seen from above. There is much unknown about how the walls were constructed. The stones are so closely spaced that a single piece of paper will not fit between many of the stones. This precision, combined with the rounded corners of the limestone blocks, the variety of their interlocking shapes, and the way the walls lean inward, is thought to have helped the ruins survive devastating earthquakes in Cuzco. The longest of three walls is about 400 meters. They are about 6 meters tall. The estimated volume of stone is over 6,000 cubic meters. Estimates for the weight of the largest limestone block vary from 128 tonnes to almost 200 tonnes.
    Links: Top Ten Peruvian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacsayhuaman,
  5. West Bank Barrier
    West Bank Barrier1West Bank Barrier2West Bank Barrier6West Bank Barrier5West Bank Barrier3West Bank Barrier4
    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Israeli Attractions, Top 100 Works of Street Art, Top Ten Works of Art by Banksy,
  6. Lennon’s Wall, Prague, Czech Republic
    Lennon’s WallLennon’s Wall1Lennon’s Wall2
    The Lennon Wall or John Lennon Wall, is a wall in Prague, Czech Republic. Once a normal wall, since the 1980’s it has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs. In 1988, the wall was a source of irritation for the communist regime of Gustáv Husák. Young Czechs would write grievances on the wall and in a report of the time this led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge. The movement these students followed was described ironically as “Lennonism” and Czech authorities described these people variously as alcoholics, mentally deranged, sociopathic and agents of Western capitalism. The wall continuously undergoes change and the original portrait of Lennon is long lost under layers of new paint. Even when the wall was repainted by some authorities, on the 2nd day it was again full of poems and flowers. Today, the wall represents a symbol of youth ideals such as love and peace. The wall is owned by the Knights of the Maltese Cross, who allowed the graffiti to continue on the wall and is located at Velkopřevorské náměstí (Grand Priory Square), Malá Strana.
    Links: Top Ten John Lennon Songs, Top Ten Beatles Songs, Top 100 Songs, Top 100 Rock Songs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lennon_Wall,
  7. The Wall
    File:TheWallImmersion.jpg
    The Wall is the 11th  studio album by the English progressive rock group Pink Floyd. Released as a double album on 30 November 1979, it was subsequently performed live with elaborate theatrical effects, and adapted into a feature film, Pink Floyd—The Wall. As with the band’s previous three LPs, The Wall is a concept album and deals largely with themes of abandonment and personal isolation. It was first conceived during their 1977 In the Flesh Tour, when bassist and lyricist Roger Waters’s frustration with the spectators’ perceived boorishness became so acute that he imagined building a wall between the performers and audience. The album is a rock opera that centers on Pink, a character Waters modeled after himself, with some aspects based on the band’s original leader, Syd Barrett. Pink’s life experiences begin with the loss of his father during WWII, and continue with ridicule and abuse from his schoolteachers, an overprotective mother and finally, the breakdown of his marriage. All contribute to his eventual self-imposed isolation from society, represented by a metaphorical wall. The Wall features a notably harsher and more theatrical style than Pink Floyd’s previous releases. Keyboardist Richard Wright left the band during the album’s production but remained as a salaried musician, performing with Pink Floyd during The Wall Tour. Commercially successful upon its release, the album was one of the bestselling of 1980, and as of 1999, it had sold over 23 million RIAA certified units (11.5 million albums) in the US.
    Links: Music, Top Ten Pink Floyd Songs, Top 100 Albumshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_wall,
  8. Great Wall of Gorgan
    Great Wall of GorganGreat Wall of Gorgan1
    The Great Wall of Gorgan is a series of ancient defensive fortifications located near Gorgan in the Golestān Province of northeastern Iran, at the southeastern part of the Caspian Sea. The wall is located at a geographic narrowing between the Caspian Sea and the mountains of northeastern Iran, one of several Caspian Gates at the eastern part of a region known in antiquity as Hyrcania, on the nomadic route from the northern steppes to the Iranian heartland, and the wall is believed to have protected the Sassanian Empire to the south from the peoples to the north. It is 195 km long and 6 to 10 m wide, and features over 30 fortresses spaced at intervals of between 10 and 50 km. It is surpassed only by the Great Wall of China as the longest defensive wall in existence. It is also known as The Red Snake among archaeologists due to the color of its bricks, and as the Gorgan Defence Wall, Anushirvân Barrier, Firuz Barrier and Qazal Al’an, Sadd-i-Iskandar (Persian for dam or barrier of Alexander), as Alexander the Great is said to have passed through the Caspian Gates on his hasty march to Hyrcania and the east.
    Links: Top Ten Iranian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_Gorgan,
  9. Hadrian’s Wall, England (122 AD)
    Hadrian’s Wall
    Hadrian’s Wall, which stretches over 73 miles in Northern England, has been called by some as the most important monument built by the Romans in Britain. With construction beginning in 122, to prevent raids on Roman Britain by the Pictish tribes (ancient inhabitants of Scotland) to the north, to improve economic stability and provide peaceful conditions in Britain and to mark physically the frontier of the Empire.
    Links: Top Ten English Attractionshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadrian%27s_Wall,
  10. Links: Monuments and Wonders, Top 100 Monuments, Architecture, Architecture by Type/Use,

Top Ten Ancient Stone Monuments

Top Ten Ancient Stone Monuments

Carnac Stones1Zorats KarerNabta Playa Complex1

  1. Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt


    The Giza Plateau is a plateau that is located in Giza, Egypt. The famous Giza Necropolis is located in this geographical area, which is characterized by a sandy, desert climate and terrain with little vegetation.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Pyramids, Top 100 MonumentsTop Ten Plateaushttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giza_Plateau,
  2. Baalbek Temple, Lebanon
    Baalbek TempleBaalbek Temple1Baalbek Temple2Baalbek Temple3Baalbek Temple4Baalbek Temple5
           Baalbek is a town in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, altitude 1,170 m (3,840 ft), situated east of the Litani River. It is famous for its exquisitely detailed yet monumentally scaled temple ruins of the Roman period, when Baalbek, then known as Heliopolis, was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Empire. It is Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure, and it can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world, containing some of the largest and best preserved Roman ruins. Towering high above the Beqaa plain, their monumental proportions proclaimed the power and wealth of Imperial Rome. The gods worshiped here, the triad of Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus, were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are also seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design. Baalbek is home to the annual Baalbeck International Festival. The town is about 85 km (53 mi) northeast of Beirut, and about 75 km (47 mi) north of Damascus. It has a population of approximately 72,000.
    Links: Top Ten Lebanese Attractions, Temples, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baalbek,
  3. King Solomon’s Temple and the Wailing Wall, Israel

           Solomon’s Temple was the temple in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount (also known as Mount Zion), before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BC. According to the Hebrew Bible, the temple was constructed under Solomon, king of the Israelites. This would date its construction to the 10th century BC, but it is possible that the temple continued an earlier Jebusite sanctuary predating the Israelite conquest of Jerusalem. During the kingdom of Judah, the temple was dedicated to Yahweh, the God of Israel and housed the Ark of the Covenant. Because of the religious sensitivities involved, and the politically volatile situation in East Jerusalem, only limited archaeological surveys of the Temple Mount have been conducted. There is no archaeological reconstruction of the temple as it stood at the time of its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. It is plausible that the temple had been substantially remodeled, or even reconstructed in its entirety, over the period between its supposed construction under Solomon and its destruction about three centuries later. Rabbinic sources state that the First Temple stood for 410 years and, based on the 2nd century work Seder Olam Rabbah, place construction in 832 BC and destruction in 422 BC, 165 years later than secular estimates. The Western Wall is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard, and is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism outside of the Temple Mount itself. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, having been constructed around 19 BC by Herod the Great. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards. The Western Wall refers not only to the exposed section facing a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, but also to the sections concealed behind structures running along the whole length of the Temple Mount, such as the Little Western Wall–a 25 ft (8 m) section in the Muslim Quarter. It has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries, the earliest source mentioning Jewish attachment to the site dating from the 4th century. With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish community and the Muslim religious leadership, who were worried that the wall was being used to further Jewish nationalistic claims to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Outbreaks of violence at the foot of the wall became commonplace and an international commission was convened in 1930 to determine the rights and claims of Muslims and Jews in connection with the wall. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the wall came under Jordanian control and Jews were barred from the site for 19 years until Israel captured the Old City in 1967.
    Links: Top Ten Israeli Attractions, Temples, Top Ten Wallshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Solomon%27s_Temple, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wailing_wall,
  4. Stonehenge, England (3,100 – 2,200 BC)
    StonehengeStonehenge1Stonehenge2
    Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometers (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It is at the centre of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists had believed that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2,500 BC, as described in the chronology below. One recent theory, however, has suggested that the first stones were not erected until 2,400-2,200 BC, whilst another suggests that bluestones may have been erected at the site as early as 3,000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3,100 BC. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 in a co-listing with Avebury Henge monument. It is a national legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage, while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust. Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. The dating of cremated remains found on the site indicate burials from as early as 3,000 BC, when the initial ditch and bank were first dug. Burials continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years.
    Links: Top Ten English Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehendge,
  5. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey
    Göbekli Tepe1Göbekli Tepe2Göbekli Tepe3Göbekli Tepe4Göbekli Tepe5
    Göbekli Tepe is a hilltop sanctuary erected on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge some 15 km (9.3 mi) northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa in southeastern Turkey. The site, currently undergoing excavation by German and Turkish archaeologists, was most likely erected in the 9th millennium BC. Together with Nevalı Çori, it has revolutionized understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic. When discovered, it had been deliberately filled in and buried, for reasons unknown.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe,
  6. Moai

           Moai, or mo‘ai, are monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Polynesian island of Easter Island between the years 1250 and 1500. Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island’s perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-fifths the size of their bodies. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna). The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island, but most would be cast down during later conflicts between clans. The 887 statues’ production and transportation is considered a remarkable creative and physical feat. The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 m (33 ft) high and weighed 82 tons; the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tons; and one unfinished sculpture, if completed, would have been approximately 21 m (69 ft) tall with a weight of about 270 tons.
    Links: Top Ten Easter Island Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 Oceanic SculpturesTop Ten Underwater Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moai,
  7. Carnac Stones, France
    Carnac StonesCarnac Stones1Carnac Stones2Carnac Stones3
    The Carnac stones are an exceptionally dense collection of megalithic sites around the French village of Carnac, in Brittany, consisting of alignments, dolmens, tumuli and single menhirs. The more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones were hewn from local rock and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany, and are the largest such collection in the world. Local tradition claims that the reason they stand in such perfectly straight lines is that they are a Roman legion turned to stone by Merlin or Saint Cornelius – Brittany has its own local versions of the Arthurian cycle. A Christian legend associated with the stones held that they were pagan soldiers in pursuit of Pope Cornelius when he turned them to stone. Most of the stones are within the Breton village of Carnac, but some to the east are within La Trinité-sur-Mer. The stones were erected at some stage during the Neolithic period, probably around 3,300 BC, but some may date to as old as 4,500 BC. In recent centuries, many of the sites have been neglected, with reports of dolmens being used as sheep shelters, chicken sheds or even ovens. Even more commonly, stones have been removed to make way for roads, or as building materials. The continuing management of the sites remains a controversial topic.
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnac_stones,
  8. Great Wall of China (220-206 BC)
    Great Wall of ChinaGreat Wall of China1Great Wall of China2Great Wall of China3
           The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by the Xiongnu from the north and rebuilt and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century. Since the 5th century BC, several walls have been built that were referred to as the Great Wall. One of the most famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains; the majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. The most comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has recently concluded that the entire Great Wall, with all of its branches, stretches for 8,851.8 km (5,500.3 mi). This is made up of 6,259.6 km (3,889.5 mi) of sections of actual wall, 359.7 km (223.5 mi) of trenches and 2,232.5 km (1,387.2 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractionshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_China,
  9. Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman), Peru
    Sacsayhuaman3Sacsayhuaman1Sacsayhuaman2
           Sacsayhuamán (also known as Saksaq Waman, Sacsahuaman) is a walled complex near the old city of Cusco, at an altitude of 3,701 m. or 12,000 feet. The site is part of the City of Cuzco, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983. It was built by the prehistoric indigenous people of the Killke culture about 1100 AD. They were superseded by the Inca, who occupied and expanded the complex beginning about 1200 AD. Some scholars believe the walls were a form of fortification. Others believe the complex was built specifically to represent the head of a puma, the effigy shape which Sacsayhuamán together with Cuzco forms when seen from above. There is much unknown about how the walls were constructed. The stones are so closely spaced that a single piece of paper will not fit between many of the stones. This precision, combined with the rounded corners of the limestone blocks, the variety of their interlocking shapes, and the way the walls lean inward, is thought to have helped the ruins survive devastating earthquakes in Cuzco. The longest of three walls is about 400 meters. They are about 6 meters tall. The estimated volume of stone is over 6,000 cubic m. Estimates for the weight of the largest limestone block vary from 128 tonnes to almost 200 tonnes.
    Links: Top Ten Peruvian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacsayhuaman,
  10. Zorats Karer, Karahundj (Armenian Stonehenge)
    Zorats KarerZorats Karer1Zorats Karer2Zorats Karer3
    Zorats Karer is an archaeological site near the city of Sisian in the Syunik province of Armenia.
    Links: Top Ten Armenian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorats_Karer,
  11. Nabta Playa Complex, Egypt and Sudan (9,560 BC)
    Nabta Playa Complex1Nabta Playa Complex2
    The Nabta Playa is an internally drained basin that served as an important ceremonial center for nomadic tribes during the early part of 9,560 BC. Located 62 miles west of Abu Simbel some 60 miles west of the Nile near the Egyptian-Sudanese border. Nabta contains a number of standing and toppled megaliths. They include flat, tomb-like stone structures and a small stone circle that predates Stonehenge (2,600 BC) and other similar prehistoric sites by 1,000’s of years.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Top Ten Sudanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabta_Playa,
  12. Adam’s Calendar, South Africa (73,000 BC)
    Adam’s CalendarAdam’s Calendar1Adam’s Calendar2Adam’s Calendar3
    The Johan Heine Stone Calendar (affectionately called Adam’s Calendar) has been dated by astronomer Bill Hollenbach to be around 75,000 years, based on the movement of the peoples in southern Africa and the emergence of rock art during that period. But it could in fact be even older, dating back to the dawn of Homo sapiens some 250,000 years ago. The carved edge can be clearly seen, resulting in a sharp edge to cast a clear shadow on the flat calendar rock. The wider monolith became the calendar on which days and weeks were marked as the movement of the sun stretched perfectly from one edge to the other, left to right, and than back again.
    Links: Top Ten South African Attractions, http://www.makomati.org/pages/the-ruins.php,
    Products: Adam’s Calendar by Michael Tellinger (Book),
  13. Near Eastern Stonehenge, Israel
    Near Eastern StonehengeNear Eastern Stonehenge1
    Description:
    Links: Top Ten Israeli Attractions,
  14. Heart of Neolithic Orkney, Scotland
    314Les pierres dressées de Stennessmaeshowe1b5789
           Heart of Neolithic Orkney refers to a group of Neolithic monuments found on the Mainland, one of the islands of Orkney, Scotland. The site of patrimony currently consists of four sites: Maeshowe – a unique chambered cairn and passage grave, aligned so that its central chamber is illuminated on the winter solstice. It was looted by Vikings who left one of the largest collections of runic inscriptions in the world. Standing Stones of Stenness – the four remaining megaliths of a henge, the largest of which is 6 m (19 ft.) high. Ring of Brodgar – a stone circle 104 m in diameter, originally composed of 60 stones set within a circular ditch up to 3 m deep and 10 m wide, forming a henge monument. It has been estimated that the structure took 80,000 man-hours to construct. Skara Brae – a cluster of ten houses making up Northern Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village. Ness of Brodgar is an archaeological site between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness that has provided evidence of housing, decorated stone slabs, a massive stone wall with foundations, and a large building described as a Neolithic “cathedral.”
    Links: Top Ten Scottish Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_Neolithic_Orkney,
  15. Tenere Desert Rock Circle, Niger
    Tenere Desert Rock Circle
    Located at coordinates 18° 6’0.06″N 11°34’10.51″E, lies a stone circle 60 ft. in diameter. A mile away in each cardinal direction lies a stone arrow pointing away from the circle. There are also short lines in-between the arrows, which taken together form a broken square around the circle. This very intriguing stone structure lies in the heart of Niger near the ancient town of Fachi.
    Links: Top Ten Nigerien Attractions,
  16. Miami Stone Circle
    Miami Stone Circle
    Description:
    Links: Top Ten US Attractions,
  17. Stonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake Michigan
    Stonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake MichiganStonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake Michigan1
    Description:
    Links: Top Ten US Attractionshttp://bldgblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/stonehenge-beneath-waters-of-lake.html,
  18. Bonus: Coral Castle
    Coral CastleCoral Castle1Coral Castle2
    Coral Castle is a stone structure created by the Latvian American eccentric Edward Leedskalnin north of the city of Homestead, Florida in Miami-Dade County at the intersection of US 1 (South Dixie Highway) and Southwest 157th Ave. The structure comprises numerous megalithic stones (mostly limestone formed from coral), each weighing several tons. It was constructed under mysterious circumstances and according to constructor Edward Leedskalnin was built with the same technology that the Egyptians built the pyramids with. LIt currently serves as a privately-operated tourist attraction.
    Links: Pyramids, Top Ten Pyramids, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral_Castle,
  19. Links: Monuments and Wonders, Top 100 Monuments, Architecture, Architecture by Type/Use,

Monuments and Wonders

Monuments and Wonders

7MP34512