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The Traffic Light Tree of London

The Sculpture imitates the natural landscape of the adjacent London Plane Trees, while the changing pattern of the lights reveals and reflect the never ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activitiesThis  is how artist Pierre Vivant described his work of art, when he completed it in 1998.

The Traffic Light Tree can be found on the traffic control roundabout, at the junctions of Heron Quay Bank, Marsh Wall and Wesferry Road.

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Fly-by Beach

Juliana Airport, in the Antilles, has one of the shortest airstrips in the world and, in order to land, planes have to descend down to 10-20 meters above the heads of relaxing tourists on Maho beach. The landing strip is just over 2,000 meters-long, barely enough for large jets to complete their landings.

At the moment the only company flying weekly to Juliana Airport is Corsairfly. Iknow it looks pretty scary and dangerous but so far no incidents have been reported. Maybe just some bleeding ears every once in a while from the sound of the engines.

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The Floating Chrismas Tree of Rio de Janeiro

A floating Christmas Tree has been set up in Rio de Janeiro every Christmas for the last 12 years. This year the Brazilian city held the record for the highest floating Christmas Tree, over 85 meters long and 530 tons heavy. It was built on a metal structure, filled with bright lights and fireworks and set to float on Lake Lagoa. On Christmas people could witness an impressive display of fireworks from the tree.

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Harbin Ice Sculpture Festival 2008

The artists that gather every year, in the Chinese city of Harbin, to create icy masterpieces, have really outdone themselves in 2008. For the 25th edition of the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpting Festival, over 2,000 ice sculputures were revealed to the audience, spread-out over a surface of over 400 square meters.

Over 140 thousand cubic meters of ice and over 100 cubic meters of snow were used to create the freezing works of art. Check ou the pics from Harbin Festival 2008:

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Lalibela

 If you’re planning to travel to Africa, you might consider visiting the Ethiopian city of Lalibela, where you can find the only rock-hewn monolithic churches in the world. Built between the 12th and 13th century, the town of Lalibela was meant to be the new Jerusalem, after the Holy City fell to the Muslims, in 1181.

The 13 churches are either carved in vertical cliffs, in natural caves or right into the ground and separated by trenches. They were all hand-carved by the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and the technical details are studying material even for modern architects. The churches of Lalibela are all connected through tunnels and the trench system transports the water to the nearby River Jordan. Anyone who knows the heavy rains that fall in Ethiopia, can appreciate this evacuation system.

All the religious structures of Lalibela are named after buildings in Jerusalem.

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Hunterville Huntaway Festival

Hunterville is a village in New Zealand, established in 1884 by George Hunter and that according to the 2006 Census has a population of only 440. But that doesn’t stop it from gathering huge crowds from all over the island for the unique Huntaway Festival.

The Huntaway is a fun festival featuring contests like the Dog Braking Contest, pig yarding, speed shearing and the main attraction, The Shemozzle. This a special obstacle race for men or women  and their dogs, across steep hills, slipery slopes and disgusting food-stops that include sheep eyes, worms, bugs and raw meat, just to name a few.The obstacles of the Shemozzle are evealed to the contestants only 3 minutes before the race so no one can say they are really prepared.

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Day of the Dead 2008

Known as Dia de los Muertos in Mexico and the Mexican-populated areas of the US, this holiday dates back to the times of the Aztecs, when they celebrated Mictecacihuatl (The Lady of the Dead).  The celebration of Day of the Dead focuses on remembering and honoring friends and relatives that have died.

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated every year on November 1st and 2nd, during which time it is believed the spirits of the dead return to visit the living. People buy toys and traditional sweets for the dead children and different alcoholic drinks for the deceased adults. They build shrines on the tombs and plce the trets there so the dead can consume the spirit of the foods. Even though they are eventually consumed by the living, the foods are believed to have no nutritional value.

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Chocolate Hills of The Philippines

Located on the island of Bohol, in the Philippines, lies a special attraction called The Chocolate Hills. It consists of 1268 cone-like hills spread over 50 square kilometers. The hills are green until the end of the dry season and then become chocolate brown, hence the name Chocolate Hills.

These limestone hills have a height between 30m and 120m and they are mainly concentrated in the center of Bohol Island. there are many theories of they were formed,  some say they are the results of coral deposits rising, while others say they were shaped by erosion and strong winds.

Legend says The Chocolate Hills are the rocks thrown by two giants that competed in a rock throwing chalenge to prove which one was stronger. They threw large boulders for several days after which they became friends and left the island together leaving the rocks as proof of their competition.

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Bottle Temple in Thailand

Wat Pa Maha Kaew Temple is the only temple in the world build out of glass bottles and bottle caps. It all began in 1984 when the Buddhist monks started gathering bottles to decorate their shelters. The lovely bottle art-work they created attracted more and more visitors that began donating bottles, until there were enough to build an entire building.

Translated as “Temple of Million BottlesWat Pa Maha Kaew is located  in Siasaket province, about 370 miles northeast of Thailand’s capital city, Bangkok. There are approximately 1,5 millionglass bottles incorporated in the temple complex,that includes glass shelters, crematorium and even glass toilets.

The bottles make for a surprisingly easy to maintain building material, they let the light in and they don’t fade. The monks are still collecting glass bottles to build even more structures at Wat Pa Maha Kaew.

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The Largest Mosque in Europe

Ahmad Kadyrov Mosque, has been opened in Chechnya‘s capital city, Grozny. Named after Chechnya’s first president, the Heart of Chechnya, as some refer to the mosque, is one of the largest Islamic places of worship in the world and the largest mosque in Europe.

Ahmad Kadyrov Mosque was inaugurated last Friday in North Caucasus, during a ceremony attended by officials from 28 different countries. The mosque‘s minarets reach 60 meters in height and it can host over 10,000 worshipers. It is part of a 14 ha. islamic center, complete with a religious library, islamic administration center and an islamic institute.

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Tomato Fight in China

Inspired by La Tomatina Festival in Bunol, Spain, about 10,000 people of Dongguan, southern Guangdong province, China, organized their own tomato fight on October 19. Over 15 tons of tomatoes were used in this over-sized food fight and this led to a huge controversy both online and in the national media. People were baffled when they saw so much good food go to waste for a few hours of entertainent, in a country where some people are still starving.

That’s a good point if you ask me, why wate food when you can’t afford to eat?

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The Ring of Brodgar

A place just as mysterious as the much more popular Stonehenge, The Ring of Brodgar is located in the outskirts of Orkney, Scotland. One of the many rock circles across Britain, The Ring of Brodgar is the third largest of them all, with 27 stone monoliths ranging from 2.1 to a maximum of 4.1 meters in height.

It was one of the first ceremonial places in the British Isles and it was first recorded in the 16 century, in one of Jo Ben‘s writings. The exact date of the site is unknown and there hasn’t been any digging inside the stone circle to determine its age, but it is believed it dates back to 2500 BC.

There were originally 60 stones in the Ring of Brodgar but only 27 still stand tall today. the last research was conducted here back in the 70s.

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Gobekli Tepe – The Turkish Stonehenge

The title isn’t actually doing Gobekli Tepe justice since the Turkish archaeological site is 7,000 years older than Stonehenge.

Located 35 miles north of Turkey‘s border with Syria, Gobekli Tepe consists of 20 T-shaped stone towers, carved with drawings of snakes, scorpions, lions, boars, foxes and other animals. The amazing thing about them is they date back to 9,500 BC, 5,500 years before the first cities of Mesopotamia and 7,000 years before the circle of Stonehenge. Scientists say that back then humans hadn’t even discovered pottery or domesticated wheat. They lived in villages, had no agriculture and only relied on hunting to survive.

Gobekli Tepe changes everything archaeologists discovered so far and it is considered the most important archaeological find in recent history. Klaus Schmidt, the man who first discovered Gobekli Tepe says the carvings might be the first human representation of gods.

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The Asphalt Lake of Trinidad

It may look as uninteresting as an empty parking-lot but it is much more than that…it’s a natural asphalt lake.

The Pitch Lake, as it is frequently called is a “lake” covering about 40ha with a reported depth of about 75 meters. Instead of  water, the Pitch Lake is filled with…pitch. Although it hasn’t been carefully studied, scientists say it lies at the intersection of two faults, which allows oil to be pushed up. Its lighter elements simply evaporate in the atmosphere and leave only the asphalt.

It was discovered back in 1595 by Sir Watler Raleigh and it has fascinated the scientific world ever since. It attracts about 20,000 tourists every year but some simply find it too boring. Asphalt from The Pitch Lake is mined for asphalt that is then exported all-over the world as high-quality road-construction material.

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Setenil de las Bodegas – living under a rock

That’s literally what some of the inhabitants of Setenil de las Bodegas feel like, because part of this small Spanish town is covered by a large cliff. And this big piece of stone looks like it could come tumbling down on tens of houses if an earthquake happens in the area.

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