Khunzakh – Literally Living on the Edge in Dagestan

The ancient village of Khunzakh, in Dagestan, is literally perched on the edge of a deep canyon, making it one of the most awe-inspiring human settlements in the world.

Before Khabib Nurmagomedov took the MMA world by storm and became the undisputed champion of the UFC Lightweight Division, most people hadn’t even heard of Dagestan. Today, it’s almost associated with the legendary mixed martial arts master, but the Russian autonomous republic is actually home to a number of wonders that the world has yet to discover. Today, we’re featuring Khunzakh, a very old village with a very unique location – right on the edge of a 100-meter-deep canyon.

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Chichibugahama – Japan’s Instafamous Mirror Beach

Chichibugahama Beach is a popular tourist destination in Mitoyo City, Japan which rose to fame thanks to photo-sharing social media platforms like Instagram.

If you ever find ourself doubting the power of social media, just remember the story of Chichibugahama Beach. A once obscure seaside destination in Japan’s Kagawa Prefecture, this place turned into a magnet for Instagram influencers virtually overnight. It all started in 2016 when authorities in Mitoyo City organized a photo competition to boost local tourism. One of the most eye-catching entries featured two children reflected in the shallow waters of Chichibugahama, and the visual effect was so stunning that the idea of using this mirror effect as a tourist draw turned into a marketing success story.

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Ancient Wonder – The 1,600-Year-Old Iron Pillar That Refuses to Rust

The Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque complex in New Delhi is home to an ancient wonder of metal work – a 1,600-year-old iron pillar that is exceptionally resistant to rust.

The Iron Pillar of Qutub Minar, as this ancient monument is sometimes referred to, measures 7.21-meters-tall, has a diameter of 41 centimeters and weighs about 6 tons. It’s also more than a millennium and a half old, believed to have been erected during the reign of Chandragupta II, one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta Empire. And even though it has spent all that time outdoors, the Pillar of Qutub Minar shows almost no sign of rust damage. For decades, scientists and metal workers from all over the world speculated about the properties of this unusual marvel, and it wasn’t until 2003 that the mystery was finally cracked.

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Mexican Mountain Road Requires Drivers to Drive on the Wrong Side of the Road

Tackling tight curves on winding mountain roads is complicated enough as it is, but having to randomly drive on the opposite side of the road makes it confusing as well.

Mexico’s Cumbres de Acultzingo or Acultzingo Heights is a mountainous area in the country’s Veracruz State traversed by a winding road that truck drivers found notoriously hard to traverse due to its tight curves. Because large vehicles couldn’t descend through some of these curves without going on the inside lane and causing frequent accidents, someone came up with the idea of switching up the lanes in these tricky sections. These days, driving on the Serra de Acultzingo, as the road is known, you constantly have to pay attention to the road markings and drive on the wrong side when asked to.

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The Indian Town Where Human and Leopard Allegedly Live in Harmony

Bera, a small town in the Indian state of Rajasthan is famous for being the only place on Earth where humans and leopards live in perfect harmony.

India is one of the most densely-populated countries on Earth, and as humanity continues to encroach on the still-uninhabited woodlands and mountains, conflicts between leopards and humans are inevitable. In fact, with human expansion at peak levels and the number of leopards higher than they’ve been in decades, tensions between the two species are growing. But there’s one place where humans and leopards have allegedly been living in peace and harmony for at least a century. Known as “leopard country”, the town of Bera is said to contain the highest concentration of leopards on the planet.

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Panama’s El Valle de Anton – The Valley of Square Trees

A few miles north of the Panama Canal Zone lies the Valley of Square Trees, a unique tourist attraction where trees of the cottonwood family have rectangular trunks.

Unique in the entire world, this group of square-shaped cottonwood trees grows in a valley created from the ashes of a giant volcano – El Valle de Anton. Featuring hard-right angles, the trunks of the square trees have baffled tourists and scientists alike for several years. Experts from the University of Florida took saplings of the mysterious trees to see if they retain the same characteristics in a different environment, and concluded that their square shape must have something to do with conditions unique to the valley in which they grow. Evidence that the cause of this bizarre phenomenon is deep-seated is indicated by the fact that their tree rings, which represent its growth, are also square.

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Vozrozhdeniya – Probably the Deadliest Former Island on Earth

Vozrozhdeniya was once an isolated island in the Aral Sea. Today, it’s a wasteland infused with tonnes of anthrax, as well as other exotic and deadly diseases.

The Aral Sea was once the fourth-largest sea on planet Earth, but after the rivers that fed it were diverted by the Soviets to irrigate cotton fields, its waters receded and today it is nothing but a salty-sand wasteland where temperatures frequently reach 60 degrees Celsius and signs of life are scarce to non-existent. But you know what’s worse than a salt-covered wasteland – a salt-covered wasteland infused with anthrax and a plethora of other exotic diseases that the Soviet Union experimented with for years. That’s what makes Vozrozhdeniya one of the deadliest places in the world.

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This Portuguese Library Relies on Bats to Preserve Old Books and Manuscripts

The Joanina Library of the University of Coimbra Alta and Sofia is one of two Portuguese libraries to house colonies of bats as natural deterrents for bugs that would otherwise feed on old books and manuscripts.

As unusual as having a colony of Common pipistrelle bats living behind the bookshelves of one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, the curators of this historical marvel swear that the flying rodents provide an indispensable service – they feast on bugs that would otherwise damage or feed on old books. And with some of these ancient manuscripts being virtually priceless, it’s no wonder that the bats are regarded as helpful guardians.

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Areia Prata – Brazil’s Radioactive Beach

The Areia Preta beach in the Brazilian city of Guarapari is famous for its black sand which has external radiation levels of almost 400 times the normal background radiation recorded in the US.

Brazil has hundreds of miles of beaches, but none are quite like “Praia Da Areia Preta”, in Guarapari. The sand in this region, particularly the black sand, contains moderate quantities of monazite, a phosphate mineral rich in several rare-earth elements, including uranium and thorium. Research has shown that background radiation on Areia Preta can reach 175 mSv per year, or 20 μSv/h, while some spots, particularly those with lost of black sand, have radiation levels of up to 55 μSv/h. To put that into perspective, the average radiation exposure level across the United States is about 0.34 μSv/h, while an X-ray gives people a one-time exposure to about 100 μSv.

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China’s Famous ‘Strange Slope’ Appears to Defy Gravity

Strange Slope is a natural tourist attraction in China’s Liaoning Province, where a strange phenomenon causes things to roll uphill and prevents them from rolling downhill.

Located at the foot of Maoshan Mountain, near the city of Shenyang, the Strange Slope scenic area is considered one of the eight natural wonders of Liaoning Province. It was discovered in 1990, when, local stories say, a police officer stopped his car in the area and, taking his foot off the brake, noticed his vehicle slowly rolled uphill, all the way to the top. Word of the bizarre phenomenon spread like wildfire, and before long, people from all over the country, and even from abroad, were coming to see the gravity-defying slope in person. Authorities cleaned the place up, created separate lanes for bikes and cars, and Strange Slope became one of the most popular scenic areas in Liaoning.

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Kjeragbolten – A Photo-Friendly Boulder Wedged Over a 3,228-Foot Deep Abyss

Kjeragbolten is one of the most instagrammable places in Norway. It’s an ancient boulder wedged in a crevasse by the edge of Kjerag mountain, in Lysefjord.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen photos of people standing on this giant boulder wedged in-between two stone walls, above this seemingly bottomless abyss. Well, technically, the abyss is 984 meters or 3,228 feet deep, so in terms of chances of survival in case of a fall, it might as well be bottomless. However, despite its dramatic appearance, Kjeragbolten is relatively easy to access on foot without any special equipment, making it one of the hottest tourist spots in Norway.

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Russian Businessman Builds Fairytale Castle in the Middle of a Lake

Chateau Erken, in the Russian Federation’s Kabardino-Balkaria autonomous republic, looks like an extremely well-preserved medieval castle, but in reality, this architectural wonder is just over a decade old.

Located in the vineyard-dominated countryside of Kabardino-Balkaria, Chateau Erken is a tourist attraction unlike any other in Russia. Not only does it mimic the fortress-like design of European medieval castles, but its location in the middle of a man-made lake full of fish and wild birds is just as impressive. People from all over the country come to this rural area in Southern Russia to see Chateau Erken in person. Photos and videos of this amazing castle have been doing the rounds on social media for years, but some people still can’t believe it exists and that it was built not by a king, but by a legendary businessman.

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The Crooked Bush of Saskatchewan – An Intriguing Botanical Anomaly

Saskatchewan’s Crooked Bush, a small grove of aspen trees that grew in a very unusual way, is a botanical oddity that has fascinated both tourists and scientists for years.

Aspen trees don’t usually grow crooked. Like most other threes, they grow straight up, towards the sun, but not the specimens that make up the Crooked Bush. Located near Hafford, in Canada’s Saskatchewan province, this anomaly is the world’s only known crooked aspen tree grove. The strange appearance of the trees was first observed in the 1940s and it has since attracted thousands of tourists to this place. The advent of the internet only made the Crooked Bush more popular and there is now even a wooden walkway that visitors can use to avoid stepping on new growth.

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Centuripe – A Small Italian Town Shaped Like a Person

Centuripe, a small town tucked in the hills of Sicily, is known as “the balcony of Sicily” for the stunning views it offers across to Mount Etna, but few know that, from the air, the town itself is quite the sight.

Pio Andrea Peri, a 32-year-old local photographer, recently used his drone to capture the unique shape of Centuripe from high up in the sky. After first discovering the unusual shape of his town while looking at it on Google Earth, Peri decided to take his drone and check it out for himself. He was so surprised by what he saw on his monitor that he snapped a few photos and shared them on social media, where they went viral almost instantly. From the right angle, Centuripe looks like the silhouette of a person with their arms and legs stretched out.

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This Mexican Restaurant Serves Your Order in Just 13.5 Seconds

Karne Garibaldi, a popular restaurant in Guadalajara, holds the Guinness record for the world’s fastest food service: 13.5 seconds from order time until the food hits the table.

Usually, when visiting a popular award-winning restaurant, you expect waiting times to be on the long side, but that’s definitely not the case at Karne Garibaldi, a restaurant best known for its carne en su jugo dish and for having the world’s fastest order time. After patrons finish giving their orders to the waiters, it takes just over a dozen seconds before the plates hit their tables, which, as those who have eaten there at least once will tell you, is downright impressive. Karne Garibaldi has held the world record for the world’s fastest food service (13.5 seconds) since 1996.

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