Category: architecture

Hill of Crosses: Lithuanian Landmark, Story of Hope, Defiance, Faith & Freedom [PICS]

March 27th, 2015 Permalink

Nearly 185 years ago, Lithuanians placed the first crosses on this hill which has become a sacred pilgrimage site. After researching the Hill of Crosses, we’d like to tell you the story of the people and site as it’s become a symbol of hope, of religious perseverance, of faith and even of freedom for Lithuanian people. [65 Photos]

Hill of Crosses on a sunny day

Hill of Crosses on a sunny day in Lithuania. Some estimates say there are 100,000 crosses on this hill, but that seems like a low estimate for this pilgrimage site that is packed with crosses, statues, carvings, rosaries and other offerings and mementos. Photo #1 by Expectmohr

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Tunnel of Love in Many Romantic Flavors [35 PICS]

February 12th, 2015 Permalink

If you have love on the brain, then everything can tie back to love; the reality of a place can be tinted by a whimsical and romantic notion that makes a tunnel into a tunnel of love. It was curious to see places that actually are real tunnels of love and what photographers tagged as “tunnel of love.” So tap into your inner romantic, let your imagination run wild and let your heart “see” what the photographers saw. Happy Valentine’s Day! [35 Photos, 3 Videos]

Tunnel of love aka green mile Kleven train tunnel

Again and again people see “tunnels of love” that a less imaginative person, or one not in love, might see only as a tunnel of some sort. However, the leafy green arches over a railway track in Ukraine make up a real Tunnel of Love. Photo #1 by Livincool

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Romantic Worldwide Phenomenon of Love Locks [50 PICS]

February 5th, 2015 Permalink

Sometimes when two people are in love and believe in happily ever after, they memorialize that commitment with a padlock, a “love lock” that is; together you lock it, then throw away the key as a symbol of a “forever together until the end of time” love. Some folks love the romantic gesture, while others regard love locks as vandalizing architecture and infrastructure. No matter how many thousands are removed, thousands upon thousands of lovers continue the phenomenon of love locks all over the world. [50 Photos]

Institut de France and love padlocks in November 2014

Institut de France in Paris at night with love padlocks covering both sides of Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge…before the romantic gesture was banned and the railings were replaced with glass. Love locks can be found all around the world such as Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Servia, Solvenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the USA. Photo #1 by Xynn Tii

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Thrill Seekers: Virtual Ride on Highest Ranked Roller Coasters in 2015 [PICS, VIDEOS]

January 31st, 2015 Permalink

What do you like best about roller coasters? Are your favorites the tallest, fastest, longest, steepest or most loops? Is it wooden or steel, based on various track layouts, train types or the mechanics that run it? Or is it all about the thrill? Roller coasters are ranked by height, speed, length and inversions in the Roller Coaster Database, and there are other rankings for steepness, as well as thrill seekers voting for their favorite adrenaline rush roller coaster. Although amusement parks compete to build the tallest, fastest, and longest rides, those records rarely last long before another park beats that record. Here are the Inverted, Wing Coaster, Flying, Suspended, Stand Up, Sit Down and 4th Dimension roller coaster world record holders for 2015. Buckle up and take a virtual ride on the highest ranked roller coasters in the world. [71 Photos & 23 POV Videos]

Roller coaster at night

Thrill seekers have traveled thousands of miles to ride thousands of roller coasters. Although amusement parks compete to build the tallest, fastest, and longest rides, those records rarely last long before another park builds a roller coaster that beats that record. Photo #1 by James Loesch

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60 Awesome Examples of Tilt-Shift Photography to Make Marvelous Miniature Worlds

August 6th, 2014 Permalink

One of the reasons photographers use tilt-shift is to make life-size locations look like photos of miniature scale models. Tilt-shift photography is not only used for miniature faking, but these miniatures reminded us of the song “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” So let’s do some virtual globe hopping to view amazing miniature worlds in which city-scapes appear like toy cities. [60 Photos]

St. Peter's, Vatican City in tilt shift

St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City in tilt shift. This type of “tilt-shift photography” can be done either by tilting the camera lens to distort the plane of focus and shifting the lens to distort the perspective, or via software. Photo #1 by Ondablv

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Abandoned Asylum: Horrors of Forest Haven [44 PICS]

May 2nd, 2014 Permalink

Once upon a time, the story of Forest Haven was happy and hopeful because the state-of-the-art D.C. Training School would help developmentally and mentally handicapped children and adults learn skills to help them survive in the real world instead of being institutionalized. That was 1925; the Forest Haven facilities grew to a compound with over 22 buildings spread over 250 acres. By 1991, the story of Forest Haven was a heartbreaking horror story as hundreds of residents died of abuse and neglect before the U.S. Justice Department forced the District of Columbia institution closed. “What we have here are quiet little murders,” explained a Justice Department expert witness in a 1994 article. “They’re killed one day at a time because people don’t pay attention and then no one finds out the real cause of death.” Before everything was said and done, Forest Haven ended up being one of the worst cases of criminal institutional abuse that the U.S. has ever seen. Oh the sickeningly sad stories the walls would tell you if only they could. Now, over 20 years later, this is the abandoned Forest Haven asylum. [44 Photos]

Left behind luggage at abandoned Forest Haven asylum

Left behind luggage at abandoned Forest Haven asylum. Like this luggage, patient records and sensitive information were all left behind. This place seems like the saddest version of Hotel California because mentally disabled children and adults were checked in, but could only check out by dying. Forest Haven history is dark and demented, full of epic abuses, criminal neglect and atrocities like rape. As we look at the abandoned asylum, let’s listen as if the walls could to talk about some the horrors of Forest Haven. Photo #1 by © Darryl Moran Photography

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45 Sizzling Snaps & Pictures of the Year: Smoking Hot Photo Contest in the Commons

April 17th, 2014 Permalink

A decade ago, there were not tons of terrific photos to choose from in the Commons, but photographers have really stepped up by licensing their photos so people can share them along with knowledge. While you may or may not agree with the 12 Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year winners, most everyone could agree the competition was smoking hot. Categories like animals, plants, people, panoramas, nature, space, architecture and even miscellaneous objects give us a chance to go globe hopping as we celebrate these 45 sizzling snaps. Congratulations winners and thank you to all photographers who make the Commons a fountain of beautiful knowledge! Why don’t you consider uploading your photos to the Commons and maybe we’ll see you listed as a winner next year? [45 Photos]

Wikimedia Picture of the Year 2013 winner, tungsten filament burning with a flame in the light bulb

1st place winner in the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2013 Contest. The photo description states, “The glass bulb of the lightbulb has been opened, causing the inert gas inside to escape. When turned on, the tungsten filament burns with a flame, due to oxygen entering the light bulb. The light bulb was screwed into a socket, which was replaced with the lamp base using image processing.” Photo #1 by Stefan Krause, Germany

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Sacred Valley of the Incas: Salt, Stones & Secrets [42 PICS]

March 20th, 2014 Permalink

When you think about the Incas, does Machu Picchu come to mind? While that might be where your destination starts or ends in Peru, there is so much more to see in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, or El Valle Sagrado de los Incas. Look up along the Urubamba River and Valley to see Andes Mountain peaks stretching to a height of 20,000 feet. It is over these steep hillsides that the Incas managed to move massive stones without the help of the wheel. They had no iron tools to cut the stones, but still the pieces fit together so tightly that not even a knife blade can slide between them. The “how’s” are part of the secrets to which we might never know the answers. Huge circular terraces at Moray were thought to be where Incas conducted experimental agriculture. Carved into the mountains are also thousands of small salt ponds, Salineras de Maras, or Inca salt pans. All of this is located in the Peruvian Andes, with Cusco on one end and Machu Picchu on the other; this is the heartland of the Inca Empire. This is the Sacred Valley of the Incas. [42 PICS]

Las Salineras, Inca salt ponds

Inca salt ponds, Sacred Valley in Peru. The photographer wrote, “Indians mined salt slopes of the valley from pre-Inca times. Today, 700 to 800 families owning some 3600 basins are organized as a cooperative. The total annual production varies between 160 and 200 tons.” Photo #1 by David (Wanaku)

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6 National Parks of Ireland: Castles, Cliffs, Green Mossy Landscapes [38 PICS]

March 16th, 2014 Permalink

We’ve looked at Ireland Now and Then (100 years ago), but to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s a look the six national parks of the Republic of Ireland. Killarney National Park was first, and Ballycroy was the last to be established. The Burren National Park is the smallest and Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest in Ireland. There are also Connemara and Glenveagh as well as landscapes with castles, karst, cliffs, waterfalls and green mossy forests. [38 Photos]

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 5km from Connemara National Park

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is about 6km (10 minutes) from Connemara National Park. For St. Patrick’s Day, let’s look upon the green beauty of Ireland and scenic landscapes found in the 6 National Parks of Ireland: Ballycroy, Connemara, Glenveagh, Killarney, The Burren and Wicklow Mountains National Park. Photo #1 by Dennis Wilkinson

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Crimea Landscapes: Natural Wonders & Ancient Ruins [38 PICS]

March 6th, 2014 Permalink

The Swallow’s Nest castle high on the cliff above the beautiful Black Sea has become an icon for Crimea, Ukraine. But the Crimea you hear about now involves the Ukraine crisis. While we hope for a peaceful resolution, Crimea lawmakers voted in favor of leaving Ukraine for Russia, as Russia already has the Black Sea peninsula under its control. In 10 days, citizens of Crimea must choose: Stay in Ukraine or join Russia. The crisis in Ukraine made us remember Gagra, the resort paradise turned to ruins, aka the abandoned Russian Riviera. We became curious about what else does Crimea look like, besides a castle? Here are some of what we found; here are amazing natural wonders in Crimea, gorgeous landscapes and seascapes, places with so many caves that they are known as cave towns, as well an ancient ruins that go back to medieval times. [38 Photos]

Swallow's Nest castle high on the cliff above the beautiful Black Sea has become an icon for Crimea, Ukraine crisis, Russia

Although the Swallow’s Nest castle high on the cliff above the beautiful Black Sea has become an icon for Crimea, Crimea is so much more than a castle or resorts along the Black Sea. Here are some of Crimea’s amazing natural wonders and ancient ruins. Photo #1 by Fr Maxim Massalitin

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Waverly Hills Sanatorium: 1 of the Scariest Abandoned Hospitals in America

October 24th, 2013 Permalink

This former tuberculosis hospital has been called one of the most terrifying, most haunted, places in America. At least 6,000 people died there, many taken out through a ‘death chute’ tunnel, and Waverly Hills reached urban legend ghost status. Built in 1926, the massive Gothic architecture housed TB patients suffering from the “White Plague” with no antibiotic cure on the horizon. It closed in 1962, then became a facility for the elderly, but was shut down for patient abuse by Kentucky state officials in 1982. Here’s a ‘spooky USA’ armchair visit to a place of history and mystery, Waverly Hills Sanatorium. [66 Photos, 6 Videos]

Patients of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Patients of Waverly Hills Sanatorium. You’re looking at it, the most modern, most advanced and well-equipped tuberculosis hospital at the time…in 1926. There had been a horrible outbreak, the “White Plague,” sweeping across America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s been said that thousands afflicted with tuberculosis checked in, but some never checked out. And nowadays this abandoned hospital is known as “one of the most terrifying places in America.” Photo #1 by The Owl / University of Louisville Libraries

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From Beach Resort Paradise to Rotting Ruins: Crumbling Mediterranean Ghost Town

September 13th, 2013 Permalink

Imagine yourself on an island in the Mediterranean with beautiful white sand beaches, warm weather, fantastic places to shop, fine dining, and modern luxurious hotels that are frequented by the vacationing rich and famous. Then boom, the island is invaded and you must flee for your life from that slice of paradise. From tourist hotspot to ghost town, it’s a No Man’s Land with ruins that are rotting away. This happened: the island is Cyprus, the year was 1974, and the area was known as Varosha, a section of Famagusta. The crumbling vacation resort is a “forbidden zone” that has been stuck in time and slowly decaying for nearly 40 years. Sure, you could cross the “Buffer Zone” to see what that moment in time looked like when people fled and Varosha was abandoned, but if caught . . . trespassers will be shot on the spot. [36 Photos]

Varosha is a beach paradise and crumbling vacation resort where trespassers will be shot

Varosha in Cyprus is a both a beautiful beach paradise and a crumbling vacation resort where trespassers will be shot. Wait, what? You read it right. The photographer explained, “Perhaps the most haunting and downright weird tourist attraction on Cyprus, the abandoned Maras district (known in Greek as the ‘Varosia’) really is a sight worth seeing. The Varosia is a lingering reminder of the relatively recent year of 1974, when the Turkish invasion took place and this whole area was barricaded off with barbed wire, becoming something of a no-man’s land. The beach and crumbing high-rise tower blocks remain unused and make the Varosia area of Famagusta appear rather like a ghost town, with just a tiny portion of this former leading beach resort being still occupied.” You can see both in the “postcard” above. Photo #1 by bass_nroll

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