The Unique Cast Iron Church of Istanbul

The Bulgarian St. Stephen Church in Istanbul, Turkey, has the detailed ornaments of an Orthodox stone church, but it’s actually made of prefabricated cast iron elements.

Sometimes referred to as ‘The Iron Church’, St. Stephen Church is considered the largest prefabricated cast iron building in the world. It consists of thousands of prefabricated pieces of cast iron, from large walls, to small, intricate decorations, all of which weigh over 500 tons. As almost the entire structure and its exquisite décor are cast out of iron, a close inspection reveals the heads of the large screws holding it together everywhere you look.

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This Arizona McDonald’s Is the Only One in the World With Blue “Golden Arches” Logo

The “Golden Arches” McDonald’s logo is one of the most recognized commercial symbols in the world, but there is one place where the arches are actually blue instead of yellow.

On the inside, the McDonald’s fast-food restaurant in Sedona, Arizona, looks just like the thousands of other McDonald’s eateries around the United States, but step outside and you’ll notice something odd. The iconic Golden Arches logo is blue instead of yellow. It’s actually the only McDonald’s in the world that doesn’t have a yellow logo, and it’s all because of the stunning natural beauty, particularly the red rock formations that surround Sedona.

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Greece’s Unique Valley of Butterflies – A Real-Life Natural Paradise

The Greek island of Rhodes is home to a special biome called Petaloudes Valley, or the Valley of Butterflies, after the millions of endemic moths that cover almost every surface during the summer months.

Located on the western side of Rhodes Island, about 10 kilometers from 10 km from the airport and 25 km from Rhodes City, Petaloudes Valley hosts the only natural forest of Oriental Sweetgum trees (Liquidambar orientalis) in Europe. It’s the scent given off by these trees that attracts an endemic subspecies of Jersey Tiger moths called Euplagia quadripunctaria rhodosensis; huge numbers of moths congregate in this small valley, covering almost every visible surface almost as a living blanket.

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The Loneliest Monk in Tibet Lives Alone in This Isolated Temple

Located on top of a small mound, on a sliver of land stretching into the serene Yamdrok Lake is Rituo Temple, the home of just one solitary monk who spends his days chanting sutras and meditating.

Rituo, which means “the stone on the mountain” in Tibetan, is often referred to as Tibet’s loneliest temple. It has a history that goes back more than 700 years, but it’s considered one of the country’s hidden gems, as few tourists venture out to visit it. That’s because it’s located in the middle of nowhere, on a thin patch of land stretching into Yamdrok, one of the three holy lakes of Tibet. But the few people who did visit it, tell stories about the peace and quiet that most of us only dream of, and about the surreal experience of taking in the amazing natural scenery from atop the solitary rock mound.

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Giant Smiley Face on Oregon Hillside Is Made Up of Trees

People Driving along Oregon Route 18 in the autumn months or early December are treated to a unique view that is sure to brighten their day – a giant smiley face looking back at them from forest-covered hillside.

Located at roughly mile 25 on Oregon Route 18, between Willamina and Grand Ronde, the now famous smiley face of Oregon makes its appearance every fall, as the color of the trees that make up its body start to change color. It is about 300 feet in diameter, and consists of two different types of conifers, one that changes color in autumn, and one that remains all year round. It has become a popular landmark in Oregon’s rural Polk County, and should continue to put smiles on people’s faces for the next 30-50 years, until the trees are ready to be harvested.

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Russian Officials Plead With Tourists to Stop Taking Selfies Next to Erupting Volcano

The Russian Emergencies Ministry was forced to issue a public warning about the mortal danger of getting to close to the crater of an erupting volcano, after photos and videos of daredevils right next to a lava filled volcano cone started showing up online.

Klyuchevskaya Sopka, an active volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula, in the Russian Far East, recently became a hotspot for adrenalin-seeking tourists, as the spectacular formation of a second volcano hole allowed them to get close enough to actually cook meat and sausages on the hot rock surrounding the erupting volcano. But while the trend may have started with funny pics and videos of sausages sizzling on a natural stove made of volcanic rock, it grew into something a lot more dangerous, with people getting close enough to the cone to film inside it, completely disregarding the lava bombs shooting out of it.

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Breiðamerkursandur – Iceland’s Stunning Diamond Beach

A black sand beach littered with huge chunks of glistening ice has become one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, and for good reason, it looks like something out of a fantasy movie.

Known as Breiðamerkursandur in Icelandic, Diamond Beach takes its name from the chunks of pristine ice scattered across the black volcanic sand and glistening like giant, uncut diamonds. It is located next to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon on the South Coast of Iceland, about six hours away from the country’s capital, Reykjavik. Although it’s not part of the popular Golden Circle Tour, Diamond Beach has become one of the country’s top tourist attractions in recent years, and looking at photos of it, it’s easy to see why.

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Controversial Trend Sees Cafés Replacing Normal Cups With Baby Bottles

Einstein Café, a popular coffee chain operating in several middle-eastern countries has come under fire for sparking a controversial trend of replacing paper cups with baby bottles.

It all started with Einstein Café, a dessert chain with branches in countries like the UAE, Kuwait or Bahrein. One day, allegedly inspired by pictures of trendy-looking bottles shared on social media, it changed the paper cups it usually served its drinks in with plastic baby bottle complete with transparent silicone teats. No one expected the change to have a huge impact on the business, but according to company management, everyone wanted to try the new bottles, even calling to book tables in advance.

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Controversial Hotel That Offers 24/7 View of Captive Polar Bears Draws Criticism

The Polar Bear Hotel, part of the Harbin Polarland theme park in Heilongjiang, China, opened its gates this week to full bookings and criticism from animal lovers, after it was reported that all the rooms offer guests round the clock viewing of a polar bear enclosure.

Marketed as the world’s first “polar bear hotel”, the newest attraction at Harbin Polarland was jointly designed by famous Russian designer Kozylenko Natalia Yefremovna and Japanese theme park designer Shuji Miyajima. It’s built around a small polar bear enclosure, allowing guests to look at two captive polar bears both from the ground floor and from any of the 21 rooms available. The concept has attracted a lot of attention, both from people willing to pay a premium to book a room, and from animal activists who accused the establishment of profiting from the animal’s misery.

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Airparks – The Residential Coummunities Where Planes Are as Common as Cars

Airparks, or fly-in communities, are residential neighborhoods designed specifically for people who own their own light airplanes and want to keep them parked in their driveways.

Apparently, there are around 650 airparks around the world, not exactly a small number, so why do so few people know they exist? Well, it may have something to do that most of us can’t afford out own personal airplane, let alone a house design to accommodate it. Living in one of these fly-in communities isn’t cheap. For example, the only available home in California’s Cameron Airpark Estates, one of the world’s nicest airparks, is currently listed on Zillow for $1.5 million. But that’s the price you pay for living in a place where light airplanes are as common, if not more so, than cars.

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Dubai’s Love Lake – Two Hearts in the Middle of the Desert

Love Lake, a heart-shaped, man-made lake located in the desert near Dubai, is probably one of the most impressive attractions for romantic couples visiting the Middle-East.

From its iconic palm-shaped island, to skyscrapers like the Burj Khalifa, Dubai has no shortage of world-renowned attractions, but there is a lot more to discover in the desert around the most populated city in the UAE. One such hidden gems is the man-made Love Lake, technically two intertwined heart-shaped lakes situated near the Al Qudra Oasis. Measuring a whopping 550,000 square meters, this stunning tourist attraction is even visible from space.

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Island in Middle of German Lake Is the Perfect Pandemic Retreat

Wilhelmstein Island, an artificial island on Lake Steinhude in the Hanover region of northwestern Germany, looks like the perfect place to isolate yourself during a pandemic.

The story of Wilhelmstein Island began in 1761, when Count Wilhelm von Schaumburg-Lippe, ruler of the County of Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg and an important military commander in the Seven Years’ War, ordered the construction of a military fortress in the middle of Steinhude Meer, the largest lake in northern Germany. The military defensive complex originally consisted of 16 islands built on large foundations of stone transported to the middle of the lake by local fishermen in their boats. A star shaped fortress was built in the middle of the main island, and later a military college designed to train the leaders of the next generation.

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The Famous House in the Middle of the Loire River

Known as La maison dans la Loire (the House in the Loire), the three-storey building looks like the victim of a flood that once swept it away, but appearances can be deceiving…

Walking along the river Loire, near the town of Lavau-sur-Loire, just a stone throw away from Nantes, you’re bound to spot a rather unusual sight – a tilted building located right in the middle of the river. You’d think it was brutally swept away by some catastrophic flood, but it was actually placed there deliberately by a company that specializes in salvaging wrecks, at the request of a French artist. Today, the House in the Loire is one of the highlights of river cruises on the Loire.

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Man Spends $15,500 on “Love Island” to Win Back Ex-Girlfriend, Gets Shot Down

A Chinese man who spent a small fortune as well as a lot of time and effort turning a small wasteland into a pink paradise in order to impress his ex-girlfriend, has received a clot of compassion online, after failing to win back his old fling.

It’s fair to say that Xiao Xu, a young man from Hetou Village, in China’s Guangdong province, went above an beyond to win back the heart of his ex-girlfriend. Over the course of a month, he spent around 100,000 yuan ($15,500) turning a small patch of wasteland rising up from a lake near his village into a fairytale Love Island complete with fake cherry blossom trees, swings, river rock arrangements, and more. He even convinced some locals to give him a hand and turn this place into the ultimate love letter to his former partner. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way he had hoped…

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These Two Islands Are Just 2.4 Miles Apart, But Have a 21-Hour Time Difference

The Diomedes, two small islands in the Bearing Sea are famous as one of the few places where you can travel back in time, sort of…

The international date line is an imaginary line that runs through the middle of the Pacific Ocean, marking the difference between calendar dates. Crossing the line from east to west, you would need to set your clock forward by a day, while crossing from west to east, you would set it back by a day. The international dateline runs from the North to the South pole, but it isn’t straight; instead it zig-zags, taking into account various political borders. It just so happens to pass right between the Diomedes Islands, in the Bering Sea, making it possible to (sort of) travel through time just by traversing a distance of only 2.4 miles (3.8 km).

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