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The tightest city in the world?

You probably need a bike to make your way through the streets of this city.

This is Shibam, one of the must-see cities of Yemen, situated in the middle of the desert it stands out like a skyscraper oasis surrounded by a thick, stone wall. It is indeed a sight to behold, but its beauty is not the topic of this story, its tightness, on the other hand, is. All the buildings are very slim yet, at the same time, seem to be glued to one-another, it looks like someone had a limited amount of space to build on and tried to get as many buildings in. The streets are extremely narrow and dark because of the tall buildings but they are extremely full of life, full of tourists and merchants that fit into the picture perfectly.

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The mysterious 7 Strong Men

Kind of like the statues on Easter Island aren’t they?

Manpupuner is a mysterious site in the northern Ural mountains, made out of seven rock towers bursting out of the flat plateau, also known as the “7 strong men“. Manpupuner is a very popular attraction in Russia, but not on an international level and information regarding its origin is scarce. We now however that their height and abnormal shapes make the top of these rock giants inaccessible even to experienced rock-climbers. Manpupuner is very hard to reach, it lies in a very harsh environment, but once there you’ll be able to enjoy a view unique in the whole world.

People who have visited this incredible site, say they have no cravings for water, food or rest, they just want to contemplate the 30-80 meter rock towers, where natives say spirits used to gather in ancient times.

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Discover Pamukkale – The Cotton Castle

Take this Photoshop!

As you’ve probably seen in many of my posts, I always like to congratulate Mother Nature whenever I find some of her masterpieces that exceed even the powers of the mighty god Photoshop. This time I’d like to introduce you to the amazing terraced thermal pools of Pamukkale, Turkey. One of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, Pamukkale, which means Cotton Castle in Turkish, is unique in the world, the hot turquoise waters bathing the pearl white calcium pools can’t be found anywhere else. The water from the hot springs runs off the plateau and the calcium that it contains deposits in the pool, giving the whole landscape that cotton look. That’s how Pamukkale was formed over millions of years, but as we’ve grown used to do, we humans have started to ruin everything in just a few years. Due to excessive tourism, the pools have started deteriorating and they’re currently closed to the public to preserve what’s left.

Even so, Pumakkale is a site worth visiting even if just to take some photos of the breathtaking scenery and to use the springs’ thermal waters, that are said to cure the eyes, asthma, rheumatism and more.

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World’s longest necks

Now this is what I call stretching it!

The women of the Padaung tribe in northern Thailand hold the record for the longest necks in the world. According to tribal custom, even before they reach puberty, girls must start wearing iron coils around their necks and more and more are added through the years. The Padaung women say they only feel initial discomfort, as the distance between the ear lobe and the collar bone is stretched to 10 inches, double the average.

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Dinner in the sky

And I don’t mean in heaven, just 50 meters above the ground.

If you really want to surprise your friends or business partners and want to throw a dinner that they’ll never forget, you might consider a Dinner in the Sky. All you have to do is contact the guys at Diner in the Sky.com,tell them how you’d like them to customize the table and they’ll come with their giant crane in any place on earth as long as there is a 500 square meters surface that can be secured. You can invite up to 22 people to this unbelievable dinner in the sky for a period of 8 hours. You’ll only be accompanied by a chef, waiter and an entertainer, so you’ll have the whole sky to yourself.

Quite an original service these guys are providing, I’m sure business must be good.

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Largest cigarette butt in the world

No one actually smoked this cigarette, it was created as a statement.

A 9-meter cigarette butt was dropped in the middle of Trafalgar Square, London, at the beginning of this month as a protest against the city’s burning littering problem. Ever since smoking in indoor public places was banned, Londoners have been smoking outdoors and throwing the stubs on the streets, with no concern for the environment. The Keep Britain Tidy campaign installed the giant structure to remind people that cigarette butts litter 78% of streets in all of Great Britain.

Maybe somebody should start advertising the e-cigarette more, it would solve the littering problem and keep smokers happy.

World’s biggest tree

It may not be the tallest tree in the world, but it’s is definitely the largest by volume.

General Sherman is a 2300-2700 year old sequoia tree located in the Giant Forest of the Sequoia National Park, near Visalia, California. In 2002 the volume of its trunk measured about 1487 cubic meters and it was identified as the largest in the world after a close fight with the nearby General Grant tree, after which wood volume was accepted as the determining factor. It’s not short either, it reaches 275 feet in height.

It was named after general William Tecumesh Sherman, the American Civil War leader, by naturalist James Wolverton in 1879.

Another interesting thing about the Sherman tree is that because of it’s extremely large volume it is also the largest known single organism by volume.

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Wacky World’s biggest things

What people wouldn’t do accomplish something remotely extraordinary…

I mean who would go out of their way to build the world’s largest teapot or the world’s biggest boot? Probably someone who wants to get noticed and acknowledged as a person who made something remarkable, and because they can’t be the person who comes up with the cure for cancer, they build something extremely large and funny, it’s as simple as that.

But I’m sure that they’re also very fun to make, just like everything that’s done passionately.

Swallow’s Nest Castle

A great architectural wonder built on the edge of a cliff.

Swallow’s Nest is an ornamental castle built in Yalta, Crimea peninsula, Ukraine, built between 1911-1912 by Russian architect Leonid Sherwood. It lies on the 130foot-high Aurora Cliff, overlooking the Black Sea. Over time it has been a restaurant, a reading club headquarters and, lately, a very popular tourist attraction. In 1927 it survived a strong earthquake (between 6 and 7 on the Richter scale) with only a few decorative elements falling in the sea, but the cliff itself developed a huge crack, so access to the Swallow’s Nest was restricted for almost 40 years. In 1968 the castle was renovated and a monolithic concrete plate console was used to strengthen the cliff.

I love the way it looks, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable visiting a place that looks like it could fall into the see any second.

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Shilin-The Stone Forest

Shilin is a wonderful place that you must visit if you ever have the chance…

Because as an old Chinese saying goes ” If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time” and I couldn’t agree more. Shilin is an intricate krafts formation in the south-west of China, one of Yunnan province’s most popular tourist attraction. The tall rocks, that seem to be bursting out of the ground, reach heights of 30 meters and their numbers really create the illusion that you’re looking at a petrified forest.

There are many local legends inspired by this incredible place, but the most famous one says the gods created this huge stone labyrinth for lovers to get lost in and be together. Scientists say this 2,670 square kilometers area used to be a sea and when the waters pulled back some 270 million years ago, these formation emerged and the surrounding elements eroded.

Who knew huge limestone rocks could be so beautiful…

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Color-painted human skulls

That’s right, in this Austrian town, when you can’t bury bones, you paint them.

Hallstatt is a very small town in Austria with a very interesting ossuary, definitely the town’s biggest tourist attraction. The story behind it goes like this: Back in the 16th century, Hallstatt’s small cemetery had reached its limit and the people there had to come up with a solution. So people who died were only buried in the cemetery for 10-12 years, after which their bones were dugg up, bleached in the sunlight for a few months, then painted with the person’s name, dates of birth and death and some decorations and, finally placed in the ossuary.

The city is much smaller now and most of the people are cremated anyway, but this practice still take place on request, the latest of the 1200 skulls dates back to 1997. In the old days all the bones were placed in the ossuary, but these days its getting pretty crowded in there so only the skulls are allowed.

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The Tiger Temple

A place where tourists can pet tigers just like they do their cats, here’s something you don’t see every day.

The Tiger Temple, or Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua is Theravada Buddhist forest temple, in Thailand. It has been a sanctuary for many endangered animals for quite some time now, including several tigers. It was founded in 1994 as a forest monastery, where animals could find sanctuary and in 1999 they received their first tiger cub, which died soon after. But they kept receiving tiger cubs from the villagers who probably encountered them wondering through the forest after their mothers were killed by poachers.

The Tiger Temple has raised money over the years and can now accommodate 12 mature tigers and 4 cubs. they live in cages and once a day they are taken to a nearby quarry, where they can roam freely. Tourists may watch from 10 meters distance and sometimes they are allowed to pet these magnificent creatures. Only one serious attack took place in the history of the temple.

The priests at the Tiger Temple are now gathering funds to build a larger facility and create an almost natural environment for the animals, so they can one day be let out into the wild where they belong.

In case you’re wondering, yes this is the place featured on Animal Planet.

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Bottle-wall houses

If you’re a big beer fan, don’t throw away the bottles, build yourself a house instead.

Yet another example that with a god imagination you can build anything out of anything. The first bottle house was built in 1902 by William F. Peck, in Tonopah, Nevada, using approximately 10,000 beer bottles; the house was later demolished in 1980. Tom Kelly built himself a bottle house in 1905, in Rhyolite, Nevada, using 51,000 bottles masoned with adobe. He reportedly used bottles because other materials were hard to come by in that area.

There are quite a few bottle houses in the world today, but most of them have been built specifically as tourist attractions or simply as artworks.

Oasis of the Americas

Yet another place I’d like to visit at least once in my lifetime.

Sadly I might not get the opportunity, and not because I may not be able to reach it, but just because it may not be there for long. This extraordinary place is in danger, the underground river that supplies the water for Huacachina Oasis is now being plundered by the people of the neighboring city of Ika. It’s not specifically their fault, global warming is affecting water supplies everywhere, so it’s humanity’s fault, shame on us!

It’s a shame that a place that over the centuries has sheltered countless travelers, preventing them from finding their end in the sun-scorched desert dunes that surrounds it. Quite an unfitting end for such a unique location, that is just beginning to attract tourists from all over the world.

So if you have the chance, go to Peru and visit Huacachina Oasis, who knows if you’ll ever get the chance again…

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Real upside-down house

With an upside-down interior and everything!

If you’re ever in Poland, you might want to go see one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions, in the village of Szymbark. Designedby Polish businessman and philanthropist Daniel Czapiewski, the house manages to draw in huge crowds every day. This project was meant to be a statement about the Comunist era and also about the current stet of the world. everything is upside-down and it’s up to mankind to fix it.

What’s even more unusual is that all of the interior is also upside-down and it took the workers 114 days to complete it, instead of the normal three weeks, because they needed frequent breaks to recover from getting disoriented by the weird angles of the house. Visitors also often complain about mild sickness and dizziness after just a few minutes spent in the house.

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