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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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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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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