Dresden’s Massive Tobacco Mosque – A Story of Deception

The German city of Dresden is famous for the Baroque architecture that runs along the banks of the Elbe River, but there is one exception that stands out like a sore thumb – the iconic Yenidze building, aka the ‘tobacco mosque’.

Featuring clear oriental architectural elements of mosques and the famous Alhambra Palace of Granada, the Yenidze has been towering over Dresden’s Friedrichstadt neighborhood for over a century. At 62 meters (203 ft) tall, featuring 600 windows of various styles, and boasting an impressive glass dome, it would be one of the largest mosques in the world, but despite its appearance, the Yenidze is not, and has never been a mosque. For most of its existence, the Yenidze has operated as a tobacco factory and its unusual design was chosen both as homage to the Oriental origin of the tobacco processed here, but also a clever way to vend the rules on architectural restrictions in Dresden’s city center.

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The World’s Largest Roundabout Has a Circumference of 3.4 Kilometers

The Putrajaya Roundabout in the administrative capital of Malaysia holds the Guinness record for the world’s largest roundabout. It measures 3.4km in circumference and features 15 entry/exit points.

Located in the heart of Putrajaya, the administrative capital of Malaysia, the Persiaran Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Roundabout, aka Putrajaya Roundabout, is one of the most unusual attractions in the Southeast Asian country. It was designed by renowned Malaysian architect Hijjas Kasturi and inaugurated in 2003. A feat of modern infrastructure engineering, the world’s largest roundabout is built around Istana Melawati, the second-largest palace of Malaysia’s Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Putra Perdana Landmark, and a luxurious five-star hotel. It is also the main access point to Putrajaya’s major attractions, including the prime minister’s green-domed office complex and the city’s enormous mosque.

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Kingsley Lake – The World’s Most Circular Lake

Lakes come in all shapes and sizes, but when it comes to roundness, you won’t find a more naturally-occurring body of water than Florida’s Kingsley Lake, aka Silver Dollar Lake.

Kingsley Lake is a popular summer destination in Florida’s Clay County, as well as one of the best bass fisheries in the entire state, but few know that what truly makes this place special is its unusually round shape. The thing is, you can only truly see how round the lake is from high above, which is why its nickname, Silver Lake, was actually coined by airplane pilots flying over it. It’s important to note that Kingsley Lake is not a man-made body of water, but a naturally occurring one which reportedly formed as a sinkhole.

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Famous Apartment Building Is Located in the Middle of a Busy Overpass

‘Number 28 on Yongxing Jie’ is an unusual attraction in Guangzhou, China which consists of an eight-storey apartment building surrounded by a busy overpass.

The story of ‘Number 28 on Yongxing Jie’ can be traced back to the year 2008, when a number of buildings in the Haizhu District of Guangzhou were scheduled for demolition in order to make room for a new road. While most of the residents reached an agreement with developers and decided to sell their homes and relocate, three residents of a now-famous yellow apartment building drove a harder bargain, refusing to abandon their homes unless their demands were met. In the end, developers decided to abandon negotiations and instead build an overpass around the building. Today, the story of the ‘encircled’ building is known as Guangzhou’s most tenacious holdout against infrastructure developers.

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This UK Farm Is Located in the Middle of a Motorway

Stott Hall Farm is the only farm in the world built right in the middle of a busy motorway, with crash barriers and a fence around it to keep livestock in and out-of-control vehicles out.

The M62 motorway connecting the cities of Liverpool and Hull in Northern England is famous for having an inhabited farm right in the middle of its roadways in Calderdale.  The unique farm is one of the ten best-known sights on the UK motorway network, and there are various stories and myths about its existence, the most popular of which claim that the motorway was split because the owners, Ken and Beth Wild, refused to sell. These stories would have you believe that Stott Hall Farm is essentially a ‘nail house’ the likes of which we’ve featured several times in the past. However, the reality of this infrastructural oddity is very different.

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Mmabatho – Probably the World’s Weirdest-Looking Stadium

South Africa’s Mmabatho Stadium is famous for its unusual design, which features elevated stands that don’t actually face the pitch but other stands.

Built in 1981, during the apartheid era, Mmabatho Stadium is often cited as an example of impractical architectural design. It was commissioned by Lucas Mangope’s government which ruled the Bophuthatswana Bantusan and designed by Israeli architect Israel Goodovitch and engineer Ben Abraham. They came up with an unconventional concept that went against pretty much every basic principle of stadium design, and not in a good way. However, authorities apparently loved the idea and went ahead with the construction. After it was inaugurated, it didn’t take long for people to realize that its weirdly elevated stands didn’t offer the best view of the action on the pitch and actually required them to turn their heads to the side in order to watch the match.

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The World’s Largest Hot Pot Restaurant Occupies Half a Hill, Can Serve Up to 5,800 People

The Chinese city of Chongqing is home to the world’s largest hot pot restaurant, a massive eatery that covers an entire hillside, features nearly 900 tables and can seat around 5,800 people at a time.

Chongqing is famous for its hot pot. There are literally tens of thousands of restaurants specializing in the hot, spicy dish to choose from, but if you’re looking for the most impressive one, look no further than Pipa Yuan (枇杷园), a giant eatery terraced on a large hill. Located in the Nan’an district, on the outskirts of Chongqing, covers an area of ​​3,300 square meters, and most diners require directions to locate their reserved table among the hundreds of tables available. Pipa Yuan had long been praised as the largest hot pot restaurant in the world, but last year Guinness Records made the title official.

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The Picturesque Polish Village Where All 6,000 Inhabitants Live on the Same Street

Sułoszowa, a Polish village of around 6,000 people located in the Olkuska Upland, less than 30 km northwest of Kraków, has been dubbed ‘Little Tuscany’ because of its unusual layout.

The village of Sułoszowa has been around for many years, but it only recently started attracting international attention after bird’s eye photos and videos went viral on social media. Millions of people around the world were mesmerized by the unusual layout of the rural settlement – hundreds of houses on either side of a singular street, snaking through multi-colored agricultural fields as far as the eye can see. Every one of the 5.819 inhabitants – according to a 2017 census – lives on the same street, which stretches for over 9 kilometers.

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The Red River of Cusco – A Fascinating Natural Phenomenon

Every year, visitors of Peru’s Vilcanota mountain range are treated to a unique natural phenomenon, a river running blood red through the pristine rocky valleys of Cusco.

Located approximately 100 kilometers from the city of Cusco, near the well-known Palcoyo Rainbow Mountain, the red river is known as Palquella Pucamayu by the locals. It only runs red for about 5 kilometers before mixing with other streams and small rivers in the area, at which point the color becomes diluted, losing its unique hue. The best time to see the red river in person is during the rainy season (December – April), because the color of the water is directly influenced by the level of precipitation. For most of the year, Palquella Pucamayu is a muddy-brown color, but during the rainy season, large quantities of soil rich in iron oxide are carried down from mountains and color the water bright red.

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Hotel EastLink – Getting a Room Here Is Literally Impossible

Located alongside a motorway outside of Melbourne, in Australia’s Victoria state, lies Hotel EastLink. At least what looks like a high-rise hotel, because in reality, it’s just an unusual sculpture.

Designed by local artist Callum Morton, the Hotel EastLink was unveiled in 2007, and it has been confusing motorists ever since. It’s not as large as a high-rise hotel –  20 meters tall, 12m wide, and 5m thick – but driving past it at high speed for the first time, it’s really hard to tell, so it’s no wonder that people actually look it up online and actually call in for reservations. To make it even more confusing, at night, some of the windows are lit up, which makes it seem like some of the rooms are occupied. But there are no rooms, and the building itself can’t be entered, because the whole thing is a sculpture designed purely for ornamental purposes.

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China’s Impressive ‘River Highway’ Lets Motorists Drive Through the Middle of a River

A mountainous river valley in China’s Hubei province is home to one of the Asian country’s most impressive pieces of infrastructure – a highway bridge that runs through the middle of a river.

Finalized in 2015, China’s ‘river highway’ is widely regarded as an infrastructural wonder.  Designed to link the town of Gufuzhen in Xingshan county to the main highway running between Shanghai and Chengdu in southwestern China, this unique suspended highway doesn’t make much sense at first glance. Why have a massive bridge built in the middle of the Xiangxi River, when you could just have it run alongside it, on land? In fact, there was already a road running along the river, which meant it could obviously be done, so why not build the highway that way? Well, apparently, Chinese engineers decided that a suspended highway running along the middle of the river was not only cheaper to build, but more efficient.

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The World’s Largest Department Store Is the Most Popular Tourist Attraction in Sweden

Covering an area as big as five football fields and selling over 100,000 products in 25 different departments, Gekås Ullared is not only the largest department store in the world, but Sweden’s most popular tourist attraction by a large margin.

Ullared, a small, unassuming town in the south of Sweden is home to about 800 people, according to the country’s most recent census. It’s really not the most beautiful place to visit in the Scandinavian country, and yet thousands of people from all over the world flock to Ullared every single day. It’s all because of Gekås Ullared the world-famous department store founded in 1963 by entrepreneur Göran Karlsson, which currently holds the record for the largest department store in the world. It has a total of 2,000 employees and can accommodate up to 5,500 shoppers at the same time.

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Monte Kali – The World’s Largest Artificial Salt Mountain

The town of Herringen, in central Germany, is home to a heap of sodium chloride (table salt) so massive that it has come to be known as Monte Kali. It is the world’s largest artificial salt mountain.

The origin of Monte Kali can be traced back to the year 1976, when potash salt started being extracted from mines around the town of Hessen. Back then, potash was used to make products like soap and glass, but today it is an important ingredient in several fertilizers, synthetic rubber, and even some medicines, so extraction intensified over the last few decades. The problem with potash is that mining it generates a lot of sodium chloride as a byproduct, so you need somewhere to store it. The company operating the mines started dumping all this salt a few miles from Herringen, and over the years it created a giant salt mountain locals named Monte Kali or Kalimanjaro (puns for Kalisalz, the German word for ‘potash’).

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Fat Cat Becomes Polish City’s Top Rated Tourist Attraction

With a nearly perfect 4.9/5.0 stars out of thousands of Google reviews, Gacek, an overweight black-and-white street cat, is the top-rated tourist attraction in the Polish city of Szczecin.

Szczecin, a medieval city in northwestern Poland, close to the border with Germany, has plenty to offer visitors. The Pomeranian Duke’s Castle and Kasprowicza Park are two of its most popular tourist attractions, but when it comes to online reviews, both pale in comparison with the city’s top-rated attraction, a fat cat named Gacek. The tuxedo cat rose to fame in 2020, after local news site wSzczecinie featured the feline in a video that subsequently went viral on social media, and people have been showering Gacek with positive reviews ever since.

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Italy’s Famous Upside-Down Fig Tree

The ancient ruins of Baiae, near the modern city of Bacoli, in Italy are home to a botanical oddity known as the upside-down fig tree.

Looking at the tenacious tree growing out of the ceiling of an ancient Roman archway, it’s easy to see why it’s called the upside-down tree. It is literally inverted, growing toward the ground, which is quite rare. No one knows exactly how the fig tree ended up there, or how long it has been growing for, but one thing is for sure –  despite its bizarre location, the fig tree if Baia is growing stronger every year, and sometimes it even bears fruit.

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