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Elancourt – Miniature France

Elancourt lies just 30 km from the center of Paris and if you ever visit France, it’s a trip worth taking.

It’s here, at Elancourt, where you can see a big part of France‘s culture and history…in miniature. There are over 5 hectares of land covered with typical French landscapes, complete with castles, mansions, ponds, courts, pastures, all built at a scale of 1:30.

There are over 160 miniature French monuments from all over the country, 60,000 miniature people, over 20,000 small trees, 5 rivers and 2 hectars of water. A visit in miniature France gives an overview of all important regions of the country, so it spares you a very long, expensive tour.

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Photo Credits

Ryugyong – World’s Largest Deserted Hotel

Who knew North Korea had the second largest hotel in the world? Too bad it’s deserted.

Ryugyong Hotel was one of Kim Jong Il‘s plans of really putting North Korea on the World Map. He thought the best way to do that would be to build the world’s largest structure. The Koreans started buillding Ryugyong in 1987 but ceased construction in 1992 due to serious financial difficulties. The country never recovered from its financial crisis so the work on Ryugyong never picked up, until 2008 when the government decided to resume work on their giant super-structure.

With North Korea‘s tourism at an absolute low, Ryugyong Hotel will probably be nothing more than a really large building, although Kim Jong Il has tried to convince the world that his huge hotel is a success by faking images and spreading them in the media.

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The Leaf Chapel

Standard churches don’t usually look like this, but then again, Leaf Chapel isn’t an ordinary church. Designed by Klein-Dytham Architecture, at the special request of a Japanese hotel-owner, the Leaf Chapel is located inside a very popular resort in the Japanese Alps.

Its unusual design was cleverly thought through, because this chapel is as as much a business as it is a sacred place. People of all faiths come here to get married so the Leaf Chapel had to have an ecumenical design, with no identifying iconographies.

 Risonare mountain resort has become even more popular after the addition of the 550-square foot Leaf Chapel.

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A Sandwich Can Kill You!

This is the motto of Buns and Guns Restaurant in Beirut, Lebanon.

“They accuse us of terrorism, so let’s serve terrorist bread, why not?” says Mr. Ibrahim, the owner of Buns and Guns. The restaurant looks like a military post, with sand-bags to protect the clients, sounds of machine-guns and bombs instead of music and illustrations of different weapons all around.

Set up in a Hezbollah-controlled area of Beirut, Buns and Guns started attracting customers on the first day it opened and foods like “terrorist bread, rocket propelled grenade, Dragunov, Kalashnikov, Viper or B52” are becoming more and more popular.

Mr. Ibrahim says the only way a Buns and Guns sandwich can kill somebody is by its generous size.

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Cape Stolbchaty

It seems almost impossible to believe that nature itself created the “stone organs” of Cape Stolbchaty, on Kunashir Island. But this indeed the result of volcanic activity at its finest. This natural wonder is formed out of thousands of rock columns that sometimes, under the pressure of the elements come tumbling down, breaking to pieces and forming piles that resemble firewood.

If you find the volcanic formations of Cape Stolbchaty interesting, you might want to check out The Giant’s Causeway and Garni Gorge

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Q1 Tower – World’s Tallest Residential Building

Set in Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, the Q1 Tower is the tallest residential building in Australia and the world.

Q1 Tower has a roof height of 275 meters that only make it the second tallest residential building in Australia, after Eureka Tower, in Melbourne. But Q1 also has a long metal spire set up on the roof, which makes the total height of the building go up to 322.5 meters.

The Q1 Tower was inspired by the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch and the Sidney Operahouse and it was named in honor of Australia’s 1920s Olympic sculling team. Q1 also means Queensland Number One and it will not be holding the title of world’s tallest residential building for much longer, a taller D1 Tower is being built in Dubai and it is scheduled for completion in 2009

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Travelodge – Europe’s First Container Hotel

Travelodge Hotel just opened in London, England and although it might not look like anything special, it’s much different than ordinary hotels for the simple reason that it’s made out of containers. That’s right, those large metal boxes container-ships carry around. This is a first for Europe, but in China container-hotels are common, especially in Shanghai.

Travelodge has 120 rooms, but you can relax, they look nothing like the inside of a container. They are ecquiped with all the facilities you can find in any normal hotel room and if the hotel is able dismantled, the containers can be use for shiping. This is what experts call an ecological building

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Crown Fountain – A Wet Wonder

Designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, the Crown Fountain is one of Chicago‘s most popular landmarks. It’s made out of a black granite pool placed between two glass towers and it is covered with LEDs depicting faces of the residents of Chicago and natural sceneries. It is 50 meters high and when it was built, in 2004, it cost around 17 million dollars.

In the warm season the Crown Fountain provides entertainment especially for the children of the city who love getting soaked by the water coming out through two nozzles, that makes it seem like the face on the tower is spitting  it out. Crown Fountain is extremely popular among the residents of Chicago that come here to relax, enjoy themselves and have their pictures taken in hope that their face might end up on the fountain.

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A Strange Fountain

A new landmark found its way on the map of Chicago and it may make people call it The Shitty City instead of The Windy City.

Installed in front of a residence in Augusta, The Shit Fountain was created by Jerzy S. Kenar, an artist internationally known for his religious sculptures, who has had enough of people not picking up their dogs doo-doo of the streets. So he decided to make a monument for the dogs and created a bronze sculpture that perfectly resembles dog crap.

Most people received The Shit Fountain warmly but their have been people who disapprove of such a display in their neighborhood.

The Garni Gorge

Much like the Giant’s Causeway, the Garny Gorge is made out of a high number of basalt columns. It’s an absolute must-see if you find yourself in Armenia. It’s a wonderful canyon shaped by the ever-flowing river Goght river. Atop the basalt walls of the gorge the famous 1st century Garni temple can be seen.

Garni Gorge offers its visitors an incredible view and makes them feel like they’re in a fantasy place.

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Giant’s Causeway

Giant’s Causeway is one of the most beautiful places in Northern Ireland and one of the four wonders of Great Britain. A result of volcanic eruption, Giant’s Causeway is made out of about 40,000 interlocked basalt columns. Almost all the columns have a hexagonal shape withe the highest one standing at 12 meters in length.

The legend of this place says the famous Irish giant Finn McCool built the causeway to reach Scotland and fight Benandonner, his Scotish counterpart. he fell asleep before reaching his destination and when the much larger Benandonner saw he was waiting in vain, he crossed the bridge to confront McCool. To ptotect the Irish giant, his wife Oonagh covered him with a blanket to make him seem like an infant. When Benandonner laid eyes on the disguised Finn he thought to himself that if that’s the child, the father must be colossal and fled to Scotland destroying the causeway so he wouldn’t be chased by Finn McCool.

Wether you like legends or believe in cold facts, Giant’s Causeway is quite a sight and shouldn’t be missed if travelling to Ireland.

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The Red Lake of Bolivia

Bolivia has quite a number of salt lakes but one of the most amazing ones is the Red Lake, also known as the Laguna Colorada. Like the name suggests it has a reddish color given by an astronomical number of micro-organisms that live in its waters and by the salt crust. Laguna Colorada is an unforgetable sight especially if you’re lucky enough to spot the rare flamingos that like to spend their time here.

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The Giant Flower Carpet of Brussels

Once every two years, the Grand Place, a central market in Brussles, Belgium becomes one of the largest flower gardens in the world. This year people could admire a beautiful flower carpet between the 14th and 17th of August, for those of you that missed it, there’s always two years from now.

The flower carpet of Grand Place has a different model every time and it’s made out of roughly 700,000 begonias. This is definitely one of the must see- attractions of Brussels.

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The amazing well of Chand Baori

Built back in the 10th century, the incredible well of Chand Baori, India was a practical solution to the water problem in the area. The arid climate forced the locals to dig deep for a dependable water source, one that would last throughout an entire year. Chand Baori well is 30 meters deep, it has 13 floors and 3,500 steps. Legends say that ghosts build it in one night and that it has so many steps to make it impossible for someone to retrieve a coin once it’s been dropped in the well.

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Celebrity Solstice – Largest Premium Criuse Ship Ever Built

One of the most luxurious cruise liners ever built, the Celebrity Solstice is also the largest luxury cruise ship to hit the water. It offers its passengers 11 decks to explore on which they can find anything their hearts desire. the Celebrity Solstice is without exaggeration a floating city.

Don’t think I’ll ever have the opportunity to experience a ride on the Celebrity Solstice but I envy the ones that do. What can I say, another expensive toy for rich people, yay!

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