Tagged: architecture

Acadia National Park: 9th Most Visited U.S. National Park in 2011 [40 PICS]

April 28th, 2012 Permalink

Acadia National Park along the rugged coastline of Maine may not be the first place that jumps to mind when thinking about America’s busiest parks, but maybe it should come to mind in the top 10 because it was the 9th most visited U.S. national park in 2011 with over 2,300,000 visitors. Acadia and Cuyahoga switched places from 2010, when Cuyahoga Valley National Park was ranked 9th in visitors. Acadia National Park protects more than 47,000 acres of lakes, ponds, woodlands, granite-domed mountains, and ocean shoreline along the coast of Maine. There are more than 140 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of historic carriage roads, and scenic park roads for drivers. Diverse wildlife, waterfalls, cliffs, stone bridges and scenic vistas can all be found on this cluster of islands that make up Acadia. Hikers, bikers, horseback riders, kayakers, climbers, bird watchers and photographers are among the nature lovers who visit Acadia National Park. [40 Photos]

Mount Desert Island, Wild gardens of Acadia NP

The largest island along the rugged coast of Maine is Mount Desert Island. A cluster of islands make up Acadia National Park. The photographer called this the ‘Wild gardens of Acadia NP.’ Photo #1 by Liz West

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44 Fantastic Photos of Beautiful Cherry Blossom & Kite Festival in DC

March 29th, 2012 Permalink

Ah beautiful cherry blossoms, kites and love is in the Spring air. It’s that time again for the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. It would be a great time to see DC since there is also a Blossom Kite Festival, previously called the Smithsonian Kite Festival. An estimated 1 million people will come to witness the events while the cherry blossoms are blooming. With the cost of gas astronomical, here are 44 fantastic photos, a tour for those of you who won’t be able to attend the Cherry Blossom Festival and Blossom Kite Festival this weekend. [44 Photos]

Cherry Blossom Festival time -- Squirrel nibbling on cherry blossoms

Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.: A squirrel nibbling on cherry blossoms. The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., commemorates the March 27, 1912, gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Ozaki of Tokyo City to DC. Photo #1 by © Fumiko Yarita via National Geographic Wallpaper

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Illegal Tour: Abandoned Amusement Park Nara Dreamland [65 PICS]

March 25th, 2012 Permalink

In Japan, an amusement park ripping off Disneyland and Coney Island opened in 1961. By 2006, the theme park closed, it was all but a ghost town. The fun part exists due to Nara Dreamland being left abandoned but not demolished. Enter urban explorers armed with cameras and exploring the Japanese ruins, or haikyo. They took all the danger and adrenaline rush to bring us on an illegal tour via their awesome captures. Yes there is security. Yes it is illegal. Yes it is an abandoned amusement park. We love these pics! [65 Photos]

Japanese knockoff of Disneyland -- Have a beer at abandoned Nara Dreamland

Built in 1961, this Japanese theme park was a Disneyland knockoff. Visitors had all but stopped coming by 2006, so the amusement park was closed. It was not demolished and became a playground for urban explorer photographers. Have a beer and enjoy this photo tour of abandoned Nara Dreamland. Photo #1 by © Bram Dauw

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Romantic Architecture? 15 Castles Built for Love

February 12th, 2012 Permalink

Love is the most powerful force that exists. In the throes of love, your feet are nowhere close to the ground but floating in the clouds. Love has inspired all types of art, poems, novels, plays, music and paintings. After Cupid shoots an arrow through the heart, some people are so inspired as to erect architecture. We’re not talking about building a Love Shack, but of big-scale and divinely romantic architecture such as castles built for love. Margaret Anderson once said, “In real love you want the other person’s good. In romantic love you want the other person.” Castles built by love seem like both. There are many examples of architecture built for love, but to celebrate Valentine’s Day we wanted to hone in on castles love built. While this amazing architecture seems like something out of a fairy tale, and a wonderfully romantic way to say I Will Always Love You, not all end with happily ever after. The irony is that almost all of these grand displays of love ended in tragedy. [15 Castles presented in 83 Photos]

Aerial view of Boldt Castle and some of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River - Castles Built for Love

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you are a bah-humbug type of person on this holiday of romance, then perhaps you can at least appreciate all this architecture that was constructed for love? As many of us can appreciate beautiful castles, perhaps even saying “I love it” there are some castles that are divinely romantic since they were built by love and to honor love. This is an aerial view of Boldt Castle and some of the Thousand Islands in the Saint Lawrence River, near Alexandria Bay, New York. George Boldt had this five-acre castle estate built out of love for his wife. He planned to give his wife Boldt Castle on Valentine’s Day 1905. As you will see in many of these castles built for love, there is a reoccurring theme of tragedy striking at the heart of love. Photo #1 by Teresa Mitchell / Howcheng

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Abandoned NSA Listening Station on Devil’s Mountain, Berlin

August 22nd, 2011 Permalink

Once upon a time, or during the Cold War, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) built a man-made mountain of rubble over the top of an underground Nazi technical college in Berlin. This massive hill was called Devil’s Mountain, or Teufelsberg in German. It was on Devil’s Mountain where the NSA built one of the largest and highly classified Listening Stations in the world to eavesdrop and spy, intercepting Soviet, East German and other countries’ communications. This NSA Listening Station of Radar Domes on “The Hill,” was rumored to be a part of the global ECHELON intelligence gathering network. Other rumors include tunnels beneath the spy complex and yet others suggesting that by 1954, 1,200 calls could be recorded simultaneously, filling up more than 50,000 reel tapes, so that hundreds of tape recorders were installed, the better to hear and record you with my dears. The station continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall. Yet after the station was closed, abandoned, and the equipment removed, the derelict buildings and radar domes still remained. This was too much temptation to urban explorers, especially since the elevation of Teufelsberg is 377 feet, and the former NSA Listening Station is over 262 feet high, offering the best views overlooking Berlin. Here’s a urban exploration look at Devil’s Mountain; the once highly classified, now highly vandalized NSA radar domes at Teufelsberg. On this trail of spies during this armchair tour of abandoned NSA listening station in Berlin, remember a little intelligence motto: In God we trust; all others we monitor. [44 photos]

Teufelsberg towers, abandoned NSA spy station in Berlin

Abandoned NSA spy station: The elevation of Teufelsberg is 377 feet (115 m) but the hill north of Berlin, Germany’s, Grunewald forest was artificially created by the Allies after WWII. The Allies built Devil’s Mountain from about 400,000 buildings that were reduced to rubble during the 20 years after Berlin was rebuilt. The Teufelsberg Towers stand over 262 feet (80 meters) tall. The former U.S. listening station which sits atop Devil’s Mountain was referred to as “The Hill” by American soldiers, spooks and their Allies. Photo #1 by Matt Biddulph

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Abandoned Russian Riviera: Resort Paradise to Ruins [46 PICS]

June 21st, 2011 Permalink

Once upon a time, in a subtropical climate on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, there were glorious scenic wonders like beautiful beaches, lush wooded mountains, and buildings of grandeur at a resort paradise known as the Russian Riviera. But a bloody war erupted in Gagra and countless thousands were murdered, an extermination of the Georgian people. Gagra became a war-torn paradise resort in ruins. Now this “Russian Riviera” is an abandoned ghost town. [46 Photos]

Abandoned Gagry Beach - Paradise Gagra Resort to Ruins

Abandoned beach at paradise Gagra in Russia, resort to ruins. After several centuries of wars, in the late 1800s, the town was “discovered” by a member of the Russian royalty. Prince Peter of Oldenburg saw the potential of the subtropical climate and built Gagra into a resort on the Black Sea. He added a park with tropical trees and even imported parrots and monkeys to give it an exotic feel. It’s the warmest city on the Black Sea coast and beautiful beaches stretch on for miles. Like any posh resort in a warm location, both the beach and the surrounding mountains added to its charm and made Gagra a popular tourist destination. During World War II, it served as a health resort in Imperial Russia during the days of the Soviet Union for the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers. From then onward, Gagra grew in popularity and reputation into the “Russian Riviera.” Photo #1 by Svetlana Grechkina

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Beautiful Borobudur: “Pathway to Enlightenment” in 40 Photos

May 9th, 2011 Permalink

On the island of Java, Indonesia, stands a mountain of a thousand statues which is shrouded in mystery and surrounded by volcanoes. Borobudur, an ancient Buddhist stupa and temple complex, was abandoned for centuries, but no one knows why. In fact, it was forgotten for so long that it was hidden beneath volcanic ash and overgrown by thick jungle for hundreds of years. But now beautiful Borobudur is hugely popular Buddhist monument in central Java. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We love these pics of Borobudur! [40 Photos]

Mt. Merapi erupts from Borobudur horizon

On the island of Java, Indonesia, stands a mountain of a thousand statues. Borobudur is surrounded by volcanoes such as in this photo of Mt. Merapi erupting from the Borobudur horizon. Borobudur shrouded in mystery. In 1814, 200 men set out to search for this legendary mountain near the small village of Boro. For six weeks, they slashed through wickedly thick vegetation and then cleared away tons of volcanic ash. Hidden beneath the debris, they uncovered strange figures carved in stone and they discovered thousands of them! This is beautiful Borobudur. Photo #1 by ctsnow

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Power of the Storm: 44 Ferocious Waves Attacking Lighthouses

April 25th, 2011 Permalink

When you don’t live close to a coastline or a major body of water, seeing the waves when you visit is exciting. But there are times when the waves turn into churning monsters of nature that attack man-made objects like lighthouses. Those exciting huge waves are then terrifyingly ferocious. Yet some people are held spellbound by nature’s fury. And some are amazingly brave and talented photographers who capture that perfect split second to share with us. Lighthouses are found worldwide, marking dangerous coastlines and lighting the way to safe harbor. Can you imagine being inside a lighthouse while nature is doing her stormy best to chew it up and destroy it with punishing waves? In this collection of fantastic photos, it’s nature vs man-made lighthouses and landmarks. It’s a struggle; the power of the storm’s ferocious waves are attacking the architecture of man. Which do you think will win? We love these pics! [44 Photos]

Stormy weather and rough seas at Roker Lighthouse © Gail Johnson

The photographer described this awesome shot as, “Stormy weather and rough seas at Roker Lighthouse.” Photo #1 by © Gail Johnson

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Devoured By The Desert: Creepy Kolmanskop Ghost Town (21 PICS)

March 31st, 2011 Permalink

There is a slowly sinking city in the desert of southern Namibia, Africa, a ghost town called Kolmanskop. In the 1900s, diamonds were discovered just sitting upon the sand, waiting to be found, so people from all over the world with diamond fever flocked from the port of Lüderitz to the once desolated lonely desert. Kolmanskop became a mining town, but after the First World War when diamonds sales dropped, the sand-clearing squad failed to show up. That was the beginning of the end; Kolmanskop turned into a ghost town being buried by sand and trapped in time. The TV show Destination Truth visited this ghost town since it is highly rumored to be haunted. They were not disappointed, having captured EVPs of ghosts whispering, seeing shadows, hearing footsteps, and having the fluff scared of out them in Kolmanskop. [21 pictures]


In Namibia, Africa, not too far from the port city of Lüderitz, the ghost town Kolmanskop is slowly sinking, being buried by sand to be trapped in time. Photo #1 by Michiel Van Balen

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Ireland Now and Then (100 yrs ago) – Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (17 PICS)

March 13th, 2011 Permalink

Before St. Patrick’s Day last year, the Library of Congress asked for, and posted, more than 100 color photochroms of Ireland taken between 1890 – 1900. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day this year, here’s a look at some of those same spots in Ireland as captured in pictures over a hundred years ago, then again today. This post is sprinkled with a generous dose of Irish sayings and blessings to bless your little Irish heart and every other Irish part. Even if you’re not Irish, blessings never hurt anyone. [17 Pictures]

Many people have seen photos of the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge in Ireland, but the Library of Congress took an interesting approach. Before St. Patrick’s Day last year, it asked for and posted more than 100 photochroms of Ireland taken between 1890 – 1900. Here’s a look at some of those same spots over a hundred years ago, then again today. ~ As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction. Photo #1 by Shiraz Chakera

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21 Stunning & Superbly Serene Chinese Gardens

March 4th, 2011 Permalink

China has population of around 1,331,460,000 people, but for such a crowded place, it offers many gorgeous and peaceful gardens. There is nothing left to chance in the design of Chinese gardens. They are meant to reflect a painting or a poem, to be a place of spiritual utopia to connect with nature and a person’s inner heart. Chinese gardens are socially and culturally important. They serve multiple purposes as an extension of the house, used for retreat, for festivity, for study of poetry, and for romance. Looking at the pictures, we feel peaceful. So relax and take a virtual tour through a few stunning and superbly serene Chinese gardens. We love these pics! [21 pictures]

Hupao (Dreaming of the Tiger) Spring in Hangzhou, China

“Dreaming of the Tiger” – Hupao Spring in Hangzhou, China. Chinese gardens are built not planted to be a solitary place or to be a place for “social contemplation of nature.” Chinese gardens are culturally important, serving as a semi-public extension of the house, meant for retreat, for festivity, for study of poetry, or even for romance. Photo #1 by Sh1019

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Petra: “Rose-Red City Half As Old As Time” (22 pics)

March 2nd, 2011 Permalink

Petra, “a rose-red city half as old as time,” is one of the world’s most famous rock-cut architectural sites. It was half-built, half-carved into the rocks and is surrounded by mountains dotted with passages and gorges. This ancient fortress is now in ruins and reportedly haunted with centuries worth of ghosts. Petra, Jordan, is situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, and inhabited since prehistoric times. In 1985, UNESCO designated Petra as a World Heritage Site. Petra is definitely on our bucketlist. We love these pics! [22 Photos]

Petra by Candlelight

Petra, Jordan, by Candlelight. If the gorgeous rock colors are dazzling during the day, imagine more than 1,500 candles flickering in the ancient city, through the Siq to the Treasury where Bedouin music is playing. Photo #1 by Paul Stocker

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