Thursday, 31 January 2013

The 10,000 Bedroom Nazi Hotel That Was Never Used

Stretching for over three miles along the white sandy beach on Germany's Baltic Sea island of Ruegen, lies the world’s biggest hotel with 10,000 bedrooms all facing the sea. But for 70 years since it was built, no holiday maker has ever stayed there. This is hotel Prora, a massive building complex built between 1936 and 1939 by the Nazis as part of their "Strength through Joy" ("Kraft durch Freude," KdF) programme. The aim was to provide leisure activities for German workers and spread Nazi propaganda. Locals call Prora the Colossus because of its monumental structure.
Prora lies on an extensive bay between the Sassnitz and Binz regions, known as the Prorer Wiek, on the narrow heath (the Prora) which separates the lagoon of the Großer Jasmunder Bodden from the Baltic Sea. The complex consist of eight identical buildings that extend over a length of 4.5 kilometres and are roughly 150 metres from the beach. A workforce of 9,000 took three years to build it, starting in 1936, and the Nazis had long-term plans for four identical resorts, all with cinema, festival halls, swimming pools and a jetty where Strength Through Joy cruise ships would dock.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Tulisa Contostavlos – Bikini Candids in Hawaii

Millau Viaduct, France: the Tallest Bridge in the World

The Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed road-bridge that spans the valley of the river Tarn near Millau in southern France. Designed by the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster, it is the tallest bridge in the world with one mast's summit at 343.0 meters above the base of the structure. It is also the 12th highest bridge in the world, with a 270 meters drop from the bridge road to the valley below. The 2460 meters long bridge is a stunning architectural and design feat. And it is beautiful to look at as well.
The bridge was opened in 2004 to close the "missing link" on the A75 autoroute that connects Paris in the north to Perpignan in the south; the Millau Viaduct was the result of 17 years of ideas, proposals, and design that resulted in shaving 37 miles off the former route through the region. But rather than choose a mundane design that simply did the job, the French went big.
The first plans were discussed in 1987 and by October 1991 the decision was made to build a high crossing of the Tarn River. In late 2001, the first stone was laid. By spring 2002, the first piers of the Millau Viaduct were rising skywards. At the same time, the anchorage points of the deck (the abutments) were appearing. A few weeks were all it took to carry out the earthworks. Twelve months after the work began, the pier "P2" went higher than 328 feet. A year later, on December 9, 2003, the concrete work was completed on time and the record for the tallest pier in the world was set at 804 feet.
The first work on the steel deck of the bridge commenced in the summer of 2002, and on March 25, 2003, the first deck section, which was 561 feet long, was driven out into open space. Seventeen others followed suit, at an average rate of one rolling out every four weeks. And on May 28, 2004, the joining of the north and south sections of the deck took place. On 28 May 2004, at exactly 2:12 p.m., the junction--or "clavage"--of the north and south sections of the deck took place 886 feet above the River Tarn.
The rest of the bridge's construction went swiftly. Just 24 hours after the junction of the two sections, the first installation of the towers began, followed quickly by the addition of 154 stays intended to support the bridge's deck. By the end of September 2004, the deck's surface was laid. And on December 16, 2004, the first traffic crossed the Millau Viaduct.The bridge's construction cost up to €394 million, with a toll plaza 6 km north of the viaduct costing an additional €20 million. The builders, Eiffage, financed the construction in return for a concession to collect the tolls for 75 years, until 2080. However, if the concession is very profitable, the French government can assume control of the bridge in 2044.The project required about 127,000 cubic meters of concrete, 19,000 tonnes of steel for the reinforced concrete and 5,000 tonnes of pre-stressed steel for the cables and shrouds.

Mountain Cabin for € 135,000 Per Week

Developed by Pure Concept, a swiss designer-creator firm specialized in luxury properties, Chalet Brickell opened its doors in December 2011.This 12,900 square foot luxury chalet is located in the heart of Megève, a commune in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.Chalet Brickell and its guest house sleps up to 18 guest in seven bedrooms and can be booked all year round from 25,000€ to 135,000€ (no typo here!), depending on the season.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Smallest Hotel in the World

It holds the world record for ‘smallest hotel in the world’ and, when you arrive at Punta Grande, you will be forgiven for thinking you have arrived at the home of an insane fisherman with a love for very exposed locations. 

Situated on a rocky outcrop in the island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, you might get a bit lonely as it is far way away from the island’s only town and sparse 10,000 strong population. The facilities in your room are limited to a hair dryer… and… well… a hair dryer. Much of the wood has been salvaged from shipwrecks which is eco-friendly and a bit creepy. One room even has a little balcony for you to hang your fishing rod out of. Unique touches and little bits of seafaring paraphernalia decorate the interior and the downstairs dining room has a tree root protruding from the ceiling because, I suppose, when you live on a rock in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, things get a bit weird. Indeed, Tom Hank’s imaginary football friend from the film ‘Cast Away’, Wilson, has apparently visited this remote hotel. But reports have yet to be confirmed.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Epiphany in Moscow. 2013

Epiphany is one of the twelve major Orthodox holidays. It is celebrated in honor of baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Traditionally Russians plunge into сonsecrated ice cold water.

Awesome Home Inside an Old Water Tower

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Very Cozy Italian Towns

Surely everyone wants to be in a cozy place where it is peace and quiet, and you can hear only the noise of seagulls and waves. And in the evening it is cool to go to a local restaurant for a wine tasting. Have a look at these cozy toamns of Italia and pick your favourite. 


The Incredible Magdeburg Water Bridge in Germany

The Magdeburg Water Bridge is a navigable aqueduct in Germany that connects the Elbe-Havel Canal to the Mittelland Canal, and allows ships to cross over the Elbe River. At 918 meters, it is the longest navigable aqueduct in the world.The Elbe-Havel and Mittelland canals had previously met near Magdeburg but on opposite sides of the Elbe. Ships moving between the two had to make a 12-kilometer detour, descending from the Mittelland Canal through the Rothensee boat lift into the Elbe, then sailing downstream on the river, before entering the Elbe-Havel Canal through Niegripp lock. Low water levels in the Elbe often prevented fully laden canal barges from making this crossing, requiring time-consuming off-loading of cargo.Construction of the water link was started as early as in the 1930s but due to the World War 2 and subsequent division of Germany the work remained suspended till 1997. The aqueduct was finally completed and opened to the public in 2003.

Friday, 18 January 2013

“Bridge to Nowhere” in Whanganui National Park, New Zealand

One of the most visited attractions in Whanganui National Park, New Zealand, is the “Bridge to Nowhere” -  an abandoned and isolated concrete bridge spanning the Mangapurua Stream in the middle of the rainforest. With no roads leading to it, the bridge looks ridiculously out of place. It is accessible only by jet boat or kayak, followed by a 40 minute hike along maintained bush trails.
The bridge was built across the deep Mangapurua Gorge to provide access to an area where the government was opening up land in 1917 for pioneering farmers, mainly soldiers who had returned from World War I. The intention was to build roads to it later, but the area proved to be so remote and unsuitable for farming that the venture failed and the farms reverted to native bush.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

China Opens World's Longest Sea Bridge

The Qingdao Haiwan Bridge, connecting the city of Qingdao in Eastern China's Shandong province with the suburban Huangdao District across the waters of the northern part of Jiaozhou Bay, is the longest bridge over water. The 42.5 kilometer bridge is more than 4 kilometers longer than its previous record holder - a bridge over water is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana. The six-lane bridge is expected to carry over 30,000 cars a day and will cut the commute between the city of Qingdao and the sprawling suburb of Huangdao by between 20 and 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Titlis Cliff Walk: Europe's Highest Suspension Bridge Opens

Europe’s highest suspension bridge has opened to the public at Engelberg, Switzerland – a popular ski destination. The 100-meter long Titlis Cliff Walk is built along a section of Mount Titlis to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of a cableway which joined the towns of Engelberg and Gerschnialp in January 1913.

Hanging approximately 3,000 meters above sea level, the bridge offers views that extend as far as 500 meters down "into the abyss of the south wall" on days with good visibility. Getting to the bridge itself is a journey and passes through an underground tunnel. The bridge took four months to build and cost 1.5 million Swiss francs (US$1.6 million).

Mount Titlis is located in the Urner Alps of Switzerland and located on the border between Obwalden and Berne in Switzerland. It is already famous for its revolving cable car, which is the world's first. The cablecar connects Engelberg to the summit of the mountain. The last part of the cable car goes above the glacier and its possible to see an illuminated glacier cave from the entrance within the cable car station.

Crescent Lake in Dunhuang China

Crescent lake also called Yueyaquan in Chinese is a beautiful crescent-shaped lake located 6 km south of the Dunhuang city in the arms of the Echoing-Sand Dune. The Crescent Lake's water is so pure and clear that it looks like an emerald jewel in the sand. Along the side of the Crescent Lake is a pagoda in traditional Han Chinese architecture. A street lined with souvenir stalls leads up from the entrance to the complex. Many tourists ride camels here, organized by the complex operators, to get to the summit of the sand dunes.
The lake has been in existence for at least two thousands, but for the last few decades it has been gradually disappearing. According to measurement made in 1960, the average depth of the lake was 4 to 5 meters, with maximum depth 7.5 meters. In the early 1990s, the area of the lake had shrunken to only 1.37-acre (5,500 m2) with average depth of 0.9 meter (maximum 1.3 meter). Crescent Lake has dropped more than 25 feet in the last three decades while the underground water table elsewhere in the area has fallen by as much as 35 feet.
In 2006, the local government with help of the central government started to fill the lake and restore its depth; its depth and size have been growing yearly since then.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Potala Palace in Tibet

The Potala Palace is located in Lhasa, Tibet. It is named after Mount Potalaka and was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It stands as a symbol of Tibetan Buddhism, built on the Red Mountain at an altitude of 3,700 meters.Lozang Gyatso, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, started the construction of the Potala Palace in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers, onchog Chophel (d. 1646), pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. It may overlay the remains of an earlier fortress, called the White or Red Palace, on the site built by Songtsen Gampo in 637.

Today, the Potala Palace is a museum and was recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Below you will find some beautiful photographs of this incredible palace along with additional facts and figures. Enjoy!The building measures 400 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m. thick, and 5 m. (more than 16 ft) thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes.Thirteen stories of buildings – containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues – soar 117 metres (384 ft) on top of Marpo Ri, the “Red Hill”, rising more than 300 m (about 1,000 ft) in total above the valley floor.

This central member of Potala is called the “red palace” from its crimson colour, which distinguishes it from the rest. It contains the principal halls and chapels and shrines of past Dalai Lamas.The White Palace or Potrang Karpo is the part of the Potala Palace that makes up the living quarters of the Dalai Lama. The first White Palace was built during the lifetime of the Fifth Dalai Lama and he and his government moved into it in 1649. It then was extended to its size today by the thirteenth Dalai Lama in the early twentieth century. The palace was for secular uses and contained the living quarters, offices, the seminary and the printing house.
The yellow building at the side of the White Palace in the courtyard between the main palaces houses giant banners embroidered with holy symbols which hung across the south face of the Potala during New Year festivals.The number of visitors to the palace was restricted to 1,600 a day, with opening hours reduced to six hours daily to avoid over-crowding from 1 May 2003. Visits to the structure’s roof was banned after restoration works were completed in 2006 to avoid further structural damage. Visitorship quotas were raised to 2,300 daily to accommodate a 30% increase in visitorship since the opening of the Qingzang railway into Lhasa on 1 July 2006, but the quota is often reached by mid-morning.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Old Dragon’s Head: Where The Great Wall of China Meets the Sea

The Great Wall of China is one of the most amazing piece of architecture and the most ambitious building project ever attempted in the history of mankind. Construction of this formidable defensive structure, built to ward off invasion and to protect the Chinese Empire, goes back by more than two thousand years to the the 7th century BC during the Chunqiu period. Especially famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains. Since then, the Great Wall has on and off been rebuilt, maintained and fortified. Construction continued up to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), when the Great Wall became the world's largest military structure.

One of the more interesting places to visit The Great Wall is where it meets the Bohai Sea near Shanghaiguan in Qinhuangdao City about 300 kilometers east of Beijing. Shanhaiguan or Shanhai Pass is one of the major passes of the Great Wall of China located south of Yan Mountain, and north of the Bohai Sea. The Wall extends 5 kilometers north of Shanhai Pass where it juts into the sea. This is where The Wall starts (or ends depending on how you look at it) and from here it stretches to Lop Lake in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia – a length of approximately 8,850 km.

Hanging temple in mount hengshan, China

Located in a canyon at the foot of the Mountain Heng in the province of Shanxi, China, the Hanging Temple or Hanging Monastery is a rare piece of architecture. The temple is built into the cliff side about 75 meter above the ground, and stands propped up by hidden rocks corridor and wooden beams inserted into the mountain. Over 40 halls, cabinets and pavilions within an area of 152.5 square meters are connected each other by corridors, bridges and boardwalks. They are evenly distributed and well balanced in height. Inside the temple are more than 80 bronze cast statues, iron cast statues, and clay sculptured statues and stone carvings banded down from different dynasties.
According to, the temple was build to avoid the terrible flood, and use the mountain as protection from rain, snow and sunshine.
The Hanging Temple is one of the main tourist attractions and historical sites in the Datong area. Built more than 1,500 years ago, this temple is notable not only for its location on a sheer precipice but also because it includes Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian elements.

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