“Tree of Life” Grows on Salt Island in the Middle of the Dead Sea

A tree seemingly growing out of a pristine white salt island in the heart of the Dead Sea isn’t something you’d expect to see when visiting the world’s saltiest body of water, and yet that’s exactly the sight you’re treated to near the beach of Ein Bokek.

With a salt concentration over 10 times that of the ocean, the Dead Sea is incapable of sustaining any plant or animal life, so come there’s a tree growing there, and on an island made of salt, of all places? Within swimming distance of the beach in Ein Bokek, an Israeli resort near Arad, lies the iconic Dead Sea Salt Island, a surreal natural formation made of dazzling white salt and surrounded by turquoise water. At its center are a pool of shallow, inviting water, and a tree that has no place being there. And yet…

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Villagers Hand-Carve 1.2Km Mountain Tunnel to Connect Their Home to the Outside World

The Guoliang Tunnel connecting the clifftop village of Guoliang, in China’s Henan province, to the outside world was carved by hand using basic tools like chisels and hammers, and is now referred to as the eight wonder of the world.

For centuries, the people of Guoliang, a small Chinese village perched atop a cliff in the Taihang Mountains, were virtually cut off from the outside world. The only way in and out of the village was the “Sky Ladder,” 720 steps carved into the mountains during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). This made it extremely hard to get things in and out of the village, so most of the 300 or so inhabitants considered moving away in search of a better, easier life. However, everything changed in 1972, when the village council decided to carve a tunnel through the mountains to finally connect Guoliang to the outside world.

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Mount Thor – The World’s Tallest Vertical Rockface

Named after the Nordic god of Thunder, Mount Thor is the world’s tallest vertical rockface, which also makes it one of the most difficult rock formations to climb.

A part of the Auyuittuq National Park, on northern Canada’s remote Baffin Island, Mount Thor isn’t the park’s tallest peak, but it is definitely the most intimidating, especially when viewed from the west. It’s a 4,101-foot rock face, which makes it the longest vertical drop on the planet. But really, Mount Thor is steeper than vertical, as it is 105 degrees, making it more of an overhang. Many have tried scaling this monster overt he years, but dozens of rock climbers failed, until an American finally reached the summit in 1985, at the end of a grueling 33-day climb.

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Guatemalan Entrepreneur Uses Live Volcano as His Own Pizza Oven

An amateur chef in Guatemala has become famous for turning the country’s Pacaya volcano into a pop-up pizzeria that serves fresh volcanically-baked pizza to tourists.

Mario David García Mansilla grew up in the shadow of Pacaya, one of Guatemala’s most active volcanos, and although he loved his home enough to know he never wanted to leave, he never imagined he would one day use the volcano as a pizza oven. Today, his now popular Pizza Pacaya has become one of highlights of visiting the active volcano, with tourists paying a premium to have Mansilla cook his delicious pies right on the smoldering volcanic rock, right next to flowing rivers of lava.

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Abandoned Building Mysteriously Shows Up on El Salvador Beach

A mysterious ruined villa was recently discovered on a beach in Costa del Sol, El Salvador, leaving tourists scratching their heads at how it got there.

One of the last things you would expect to find washed up on a tropical beach is a concrete villa, and yet that’s exactly the kind of bizarre attraction that beachgoers at the picturesque La Puntilla Beach are treated to these days. It’s unclear how the abandoned home ended up on the popular beach, but it seems to have been there a while, as it is covered up with what appears like recent graffiti. One of the most popular theories is that the villa was the victim of a powerful hurricane that his El Salvador over two decades ago.

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The Florida Goblet – A Eucalyptus Plantation With a Very Unique Shape

The South American country of Uruguay is home to a unique eucalyptus plantation with a very distinct shape that can only by admired from high above.

Up until a few years ago, few people even knew that the Florida Goblet existed. It wasn’t until Google Earth became a thing that people discovered its unusual shape. To some, it looks like a goblet with a crown on top of it, while others see a chandelier, but the thing that everyone can agree on it its massive size. The plantation measures about 500 meters long by 235 wide and the lines that make up the top and bottom of the design are around 13-meters-wide. It’s so large that from the ground, you could never tell it has this peculiar shape.

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Cono de Arita – Argentina’s Mysterious Natural Pyramid

The Salar de Arizaro, Argentina’s second largest salt flat, is home to one of the world’s most mysterious natural formations – Cono de Arita, a 200-meter-tall conical pyramid that’s so perfectly shaped that it appears man-made.

In fact, all through the early twentieth century, everyone was convinced that Cono de Arita, like the actual pyramids of Egypt, had been built my man. However, scientific research has since showed that this imposing formation is actually the tip of a small volcano that lacked the power to burst through the Earth’s curst and spew lava or develop a crater. Today it is considered the most perfect natural cone in the world.

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Burj Al Babas – Turkey’s Famous Ghost Town of Fairytale Castles

Burj Al Babas is an abandoned housing development in Turkey, which consists of hundreds of miniature Disney-like chateaus stretching out almost as far as the eye can see.

It was supposed to be a bustling holiday retreat for the world’s super-rich, a neighborhood of castle-inspired villas spread around in a picturesque valley, near the the historic village of Mudurnu, in northwestern Turkey. Instead, today Burj Al Babas is one of the world’s largest ghost towns, featuring hundreds of unfinished villas, some of which have already started to deteriorate. It’s a story of big ambitions, sky-high property prices and economic woes that ultimately spelled the end of the dream that was Burj Al Babas.

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The Only On and Off This Island Is by Industrial Crane

Minami-daitojima, a small Japanese island surrounded by raised coral reef, has no beaches or docks, so the only way for people or boats to make it on the island is to be flung through the air by large industrial cranes.

A round uplifted coral island in the Okinawa archipelago, Minami-daitojima, aka Daito Island, has been using cranes to get people and small boats on and off for the last 50 years. Because of the coral reefs surrounding it, ships can only moor up to 4 to 6 meters away, so this method is the safest and fastest to reach or leave the island. Boats are secures with straps and chains, while people have to get in an elevator-like cage, fasten the door and then get flung through the air by an industrial crane on the island. The experience has been described both as “terrifying” and as “fun” as an amusement park ride.

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The Well of Barhout – Yemen’s Mysterious Well of Hell

In the arid wastes of eastern Yemen lies a fascinating natural wonder called the Well of Barhout. Shrouded in mystery and folklore, this large hole in the ground said to be the most hated spot on Earth to God.

Located in the eponymous valley, Barhout Well is 30 meters wide and thought to be anywhere between 100 and 250 meters deep. The depth is just pure estimation, as no one has been down to the bottom of it, and considering the chilling legends and stories surrounding it, I doubt any of the locals would attempt a decent. Not even Yemeni scientists and explorers have been able to reach the bottom, as the low oxygen and strange odors emanating from the well forced them back to the surface.

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Parigala – Azerbaijan’s Mysterious Fairy Castle

At the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains in northwest Azerbaijan, lies Parigala, one of the world’s most impressive archeological mysteries. Carved into the nearly vertical face of a rock cliff, the centuries-old structure remains a mystery that hardly anyone knows anything about.

The idea that an amazing site like Parigala (literally ‘Fairy Castle’ in Azerbaijani) is one of Azerbaijan’s lesser-known archeological treasures baffles the mind. That has to do both with the country’s still underdeveloped tourism industry, and the fact that you need to go off the beaten path to reach Parigala. That fits the general theme of the place, which is inaccessibility, but still, hopping into a four-wheel drive vehicle to navigate the narrow tracks leading up to it,  then climbing up a very slippery slope to a steep, leaf-covered and forested hillside just to reach the cliff it’s carved into, is definitely not for everyone.

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Toyoni – Japan’s Naturally Heart-Shaped Lake

Surrounded by lush forest on all sides and untouched by human civilization, the heart-shaped Lake Toyoni is a hidden gem among Japan’s many tourism attractions.

Up until a few years ago, Lake Toyoni was virtually unknown to most Japanese, but a popular television commercial featuring an aerial view of the heart-shaped natural wonder turned it into a popular tourist spot virtually overnight. The internet is full of digitally-altered heart-shaped lakes, but Toyoni is one of the few, if not the only one, in the world that actually has this shape, so when people learned that it was real, they flocked to the island of Hokkaido to see the natural wonder for themselves.

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Muscle Girls – A Unique Fitness-Themed Bar Staffed by Female Weight-Training Enthusiasts

Muscle Girls is a Tokyo-based women’s gym that doubles as a fitness-themed bar staffed by a group of young, muscular women.

Japan is famous for its plethora of themed bars and cafes, from black cat cafes to cafes dedicated to women’s thighs, but Muscle Girls is the country’s first and only bar dedicated to female weightlifting. Founded by a young fitness enthusiast who goes by the name of Eri Muscle, Muscle Girls started out as a women’s gym, but recently transitioned into the entertainment industry, opening its own unique bar as well as a popular YouTube channel. Photos and videos of the venue started going viral earlier this year, mainly because of its staff, which is made up exclusively of muscular, fitness-loving girls.

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This Florida Pub Is Decorated With Nearly Two Million Dollars in Cash

McGuire’s Irish Pub is a popular restaurant and local landmark in Pensacola, Florida, famous for having an estimated two million dollars in cash hanging from the ceiling.

The history of McGuire’s Irish Pub’s unique decoration can be traced back to 1977, when Martin McGuire and his wife, Molly opened the opened the business. He tended the bar while Molly waited tables, and when she made her first $1 tip, she celebrated by writing the date on it and tacking it to the back bar for good luck. Little did she know that this was the start of a longstanding tradition that is still being respected by patrons of the pub. The very next day after that first bill was tacked to the bar, people started adding to the collection, and they’ve been doing it ever since.

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2D Cafe Makes You Feel Like You’re Inside a Black and White Coloring Book

BW Kafe is an unusual-looking cafe with venues in Moscow and Sankt Petersburg which look like the setting of A-ha’s famous “Take on Me” video.

BW Kafe first made international headlines last year, when photos of the Sankt Petersburg branch went viral online. Designed by Russian artist Anfisa Toshina, the interior of the cafe looks sketched with charcoal on a piece of white paper, creating the illusion that you are the only 3D “object” in a two-dimensional world. It’s a pretty nice trick, but one that might seem oddly familiar if you’ve been on the internet sometime in the last two years…

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