Hong Kong

Hong Kong officially Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the southern coast of China at the Pearl River Estuary and the South China Sea. Hong Kong is known for its skyline and deep natural harbour. It has a land area of 1104 km2 and shares its northern border with Guangdong Province of Mainland China. With around 7.2 million inhabitants of various nationalities, Hong Kong is one of the world’s most densely populated metropolises.
After the First Opium War (1839–42), Hong Kong became a British colony with the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island, followed by Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and a 99-year lease of the New Territories from 1898. Hong Kong remained under continuous British control for about a century until the Second World War, when Japan occupied the colony from December 1941 to August 1945. British control resumed in 1945 following the Surrender of Japan. In the 1980s, negotiations between the United Kingdom and China resulted in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which provided for the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong on 30 June 1997. The territory became a special administrative region of China with a high degree of autonomy on 1 July 1997 under the principle of one country, two systems. Disputes over the perceived misapplication of this principle have contributed to popular protests, including the 2014 Umbrella Revolution.
In the late 1970s, Hong Kong became a major entrepôt in Asia-Pacific. The territory has developed into a major global trade hub and financial centre. The 44th-largest economy in the world, Hong Kong ranks top 10 in GDP (PPP) per capita, but also has the most severe income inequality among advanced economies. Hong Kong is one of the three most important financial centres alongside New York and London, and the world’s number one tourist destination city. The territory has been named the freest market economy. The service economy, characterised by free trade and low taxation, has been regarded as one of the world’s most laissez-faire economic policies, and the currency, the Hong Kong dollar, is the 13th most traded currency in the world.
The Hong Kong Basic Law is its quasi-constitution which empowers the region to develop relations and make agreements directly with foreign states and regions, as well as international organizations, in a broad range of appropriate fields. It is an independent member of APEC, the IMF, WTO, FIFA and International Olympic Committee among others.
Limited land created a dense infrastructure and the territory became a centre of modern architecture, and has a larger number of highrises than any other city in the world. Hong Kong has a highly developed public transportation network covering 90 per cent of the population, the highest in the world, and relies on mass transit by road or rail. Air pollution remains a serious problem. Loose emissions standards have resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates. Nevertheless, residents of Hong Kong (sometimes referred to as Hongkongers) enjoy one of the longest life expectancies in the world.

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Disneyland

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Ocean Park

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Po Lin Monastery

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The Peak Tram

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sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck

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Big Buddha

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Singapore

Singapore officially the Republic of Singapore, and often referred to as the Lion City, the Garden City, and the Red Dot, is a global city in Southeast Asia and the world’s only island city-state. It lies one degree (137 km) north of the equator, at the southernmost tip of continental Asia and peninsular Malaysia, with Indonesia’s Riau Islands to the south. Singapore’s territory consists of the diamond-shaped main island and 62 islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23% (130 km2), and its greening policy has covered the densely populated island with tropical flora, parks and gardens.
The islands were settled from the second century AD by a series of local empires. In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles founded modern Singapore as a trading post of the East India Company; after the company collapsed, the islands were ceded to Britain and became part of its Straits Settlements in 1826. During World War II, Singapore was occupied by Japan. It gained independence from Britain in 1963, by uniting with other former British territories to form Malaysia, but was expelled two years later over ideological differences. After early years of turbulence, and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation developed rapidly as an Asian Tiger economy, based on external trade and its human capital.
Singapore’s ethnic composition is 76.2% Chinese, with significant minorities of Malays which make up 15% and Indians which make up 7.4% of the population. Singapore is a global commerce, finance and transport hub. Its standings include: “easiest place to do business” (World Bank) for ten consecutive years, most “technology-ready” nation (WEF), top “International meetings city” (UIA), city with “best investment potential” (BERI), 2nd-most competitive country (WEF), 3rd-largest foreign exchange centre, 4th-largest financial centre, 3rd-largest oil refining and trading centre and one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s. Singapore’s best known global brands include Singapore Airlines and Changi Airport, both amongst the most-awarded in their industry; SIA is also rated by Fortune surveys as Asia’s “most admired company”. For the past decade, it has been the only Asian country with the top AAA sovereign rating from all major credit rating agencies, including S&P, Moody’s and Fitch.
Singapore ranks high on its national social policies, leading Asia and 11th globally, on the Human Development Index (UN), notably on key measures of education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, housing. Although income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes, and the country has one of the highest per capita incomes, with low taxes. The cosmopolitan nation is home to 5.5 million residents, 38% of whom are permanent residents and other foreign nationals. Its cultural diversity is reflected in its extensive “hawker” cuisine and major ethnic festivals—Chinese, Malay, Indian, Western—which are all national holidays. In 2015, Lonely Planet and The New York Times listed Singapore as their top and 6th best world destination to visit respectively.

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Merlion

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Singapore Flyer

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Marina Bay Sands Sky park

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Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo, Singapore

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Cloud Forest

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National Orchid Garden

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Singapore Apartment Complex Top Building

The best new building in the world

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S.E.A. Aquarium

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Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo – officially Tokyo Metropolis is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan and is both the capital and largest city of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world. It is the seat of the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese government. Tokyo is in the Kantō region on the southeastern side of the main island Honshu and includes the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands. Formerly known as Edo, it has been the de facto seat of government since 1603 when Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu made the city his headquarters. It officially became the capital after Emperor Meiji moved his seat to the city from the old capital of Kyoto in 1868; at that time Edo was renamed Tokyo. Tokyo Metropolis was formed in 1943 from the merger of the former Tokyo Prefecture and the city of Tokyo.
Tokyo is often referred to as a city, but is officially known and governed as a “metropolitan prefecture”, which differs from and combines elements of both a city and a prefecture, a characteristic unique to Tokyo. The Tokyo metropolitan government administers the 23 Special Wards of Tokyo (each governed as an individual city), which cover the area that was formerly the City of Tokyo before it merged and became the subsequent metropolitan prefecture in 1943. The metropolitan government also administers 39 municipalities in the western part of the prefecture and the two outlying island chains. The population of the special wards is over 9 million people, with the total population of the prefecture exceeding 13 million. The prefecture is part of the world’s most populous metropolitan area with upwards of 37.8 million people and the world’s largest urban agglomeration economy. The city hosts 51 of the Fortune Global 500 companies, the highest number of any city in the world. Tokyo ranked third in the International Financial Centres Development IndexEdit. The city is also home to various television networks like Fuji TV, Tokyo MX, TV Tokyo, TV Asahi, Nippon Television, NHK and the Tokyo Broadcasting System.
Tokyo ranked third in the Global Economic Power Index and fourth in the Global Cities Index. The city is considered an alpha+ world city—as listed by the GaWC’s 2008 inventory and in 2014, Tokyo was ranked first in the “Best overall experience” category of TripAdvisor’s World City Survey (the city also ranked first in the following categories: “Helpfulness of locals”, “Nightlife”, “Shopping”, “Local public transportation” and “Cleanliness of streets”). In 2015, Tokyo was ranked as the 11th most expensive city for expatriates, according to the Mercer consulting firm and also the world’s 11th most expensive city, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s cost-of-living survey. In 2015 Tokyo was named the Most Liveable City in the world by the magazine Monocle. The Michelin Guide has awarded Tokyo by far the most Michelin stars of any city in the world. Tokyo ranked first in the world in the Safe Cities Index. The 2016 edition of QS Best Student Cities ranked Tokyo as the 3rd-best city in the world to be a university student. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics, the 1979 G-7 summit, the 1986 G-7 summit, and the 1993 G-7 summit, and will host the 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Summer Paralympics.

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Meiji Jingu

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Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan

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Chidorigafuchi

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Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo, Japan

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Tokyo City View Observation Deck (Roppongi Hills Mori Tower)

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Mount Fuji view from Tokyo

Mount Fuji view from Tokyo, Japan

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London, England

London is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south eastern part of the island of Great Britain, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. It was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium. London’s ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1.12-square-mile (2.9 km2) medieval boundaries and in 2011 had a resident population of 7,375, making it the smallest city in England. Since at least the 19th century, the term London has also referred to the metropolis developed around this core. The bulk of this conurbation forms Greater London, a region of England governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The conurbation also covers two English counties: the small district of the City of London and the county of Greater London. The latter constitutes the vast majority of London, though historically it was split between Middlesex (a now abolished county), Essex, Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire.
London is a leading global city with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism, and transport all contributing to its prominence. It is one of the world’s leading financial centres and has the fifth-or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world depending on measurement. London is a world cultural capital. It is the world’s most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the world’s largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic.[28] London is one of the world’s leading investment destinations, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London’s 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe and a 2014 report placed it first in the world university rankings. According to the report London also ranks first in the world in software, multimedia development and design, and shares first position in technology readiness. In 2012, London became the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times.
London has a diverse range of peoples and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken within Greater London. The Office for National Statistics estimated its mid-2014 population to be 8,538,689, the largest of any municipality in the European Union and accounting for 12.5 percent of the UK population. London’s urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants according to the 2011 census. The city’s metropolitan area is one of the most populous in Europe with 13,879,757 inhabitants, while the Greater London Authority states the population of the city-region (covering a large part of the south east) as 22.7 million. London was the world’s most populous city from around 1831 to 1925.
London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church; and the historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich marks the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and GMT). Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, British Library and 40 West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.

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Big Ben

Big Ben, London, England

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Palace of Westminster

Palace of Westminster, London, England

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Westminster Abbey

Stitched Panorama

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Royal Observatory, Greenwich

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Buckingham Palace

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Tower Bridge

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Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square, London, England

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The Shard

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National Gallery

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St. James’s Park

St James's Park Lake – East from the Blue Bridge - 2012-10-06

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Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum, London, England

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British Museum

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Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi commonly known by its former name Tiflis and often mispronounced as Tiblisi, is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Kura River with a population of roughly 1.5 million inhabitants. Founded in the 5th century by the monarch of Georgia’s ancient precursor Kingdom of Iberia, Tbilisi has since served, with intermissions, as the capital of various Georgian kingdoms and republics. Under the Russian rule, from 1801 to 1917 Tiflis was the seat of the Imperial Viceroy governing both sides of the entire Caucasus.
Located on the southeastern edge of Europe, Tbilisi’s proximity to lucrative east-west trade routes often made the city a point of contention between various rival empires throughout history and the city’s location to this day ensures its position as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Tbilisi’s varied history is reflected in its architecture, which is a mix of medieval, classical, and Soviet structures.
Historically, Tbilisi has been home to people of diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, though it is overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox Christian. Notable tourist destinations include cathedrals like Sameba and Sioni, classical Freedom Square and Rustaveli Avenue, medieval Narikala Fortress, pseudo-Moorish Opera Theater, and the Georgian National Museum.

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Old Town

Old Town, Tbilisi, Georgia

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Old Town_1_Tbilisi, Georgia

Aerial Ropeway

Aerial Ropeway, Tbilisi, Georgia

View of the city from the cable car

Tbilisi, Georgia

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Narikala fortress

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Monument of King Vakhtang Gorgasali in the courtyard of the Metekhi Church

Monument of King Vakhtang Gorgasali in the courtyard of the Metekhi Church,Tbilisi, Georgia

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Tsminda Sameba Cathedral

Tsminda Sameba Cathedral, Tbilisi, Georgia

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Turtle lake

Turtle lake, Tbilisi, Georgia

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Luxembourg Garden, Paris, France

The Jardin du Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Garden, located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, was created beginning in 1612 by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, for a new residence she constructed, the Luxembourg Palace. The garden today is owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace. It covers 23 hectares and is known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds, the model sailboats on its circular basin, and for the picturesque Medici Fountain, built in 1620.The garden is largely devoted to a green parterre of gravel and lawn populated with statues and centred on a large octagonal basin of water, with a central jet of water; in it children sail model boats. The garden is famed for its calm atmosphere. Surrounding the bassin on the raised balustraded terraces are a series of statues of former French queens, saints and copies after the Antique. In the southwest corner, there is an orchard of apple and pear trees and the théâtre des marionnettes (puppet theatre). The gardens include a large fenced-in playground for young children and their parents and a vintage carousel. In addition, free musical performances are presented in a gazebo on the grounds and there is a small cafe restaurant nearby, under the trees, with both indoor and outdoor seating from which many people enjoy the music over a glass of wine. The orangerie displays art, photography and sculptures.
The central axis of the garden is extended, beyond its wrought iron grill and gates opening to rue Auguste Comte, by the central esplanade of the rue de l’Observatoire, officially the Jardin Marco Polo, where sculptures of the four Times of Day alternate with columns and culminate at the southern end with the 1874 “Fountain of the Observatory”, also known as the “Fontaine des Quatre-Parties-du-Monde” or the “Carpeaux Fountain”, for its sculptures by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. It was installed as part of the development of the avenue de l’Observatoire by Gabriel Davioud in 1867.
The bronze fountain represents the work of four sculptors: Louis Vuillemot carved the garlands and festoons around the pedestal, Pierre Legrain carved the armillary with interior globe and zodiac band; the animalier Emmanuel Fremiet designed the eight horses, marine turtles and spouting fish. Most importantly Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux sculpted the four nude women supporting the globe, representing the Four Continents of classical iconography.

Open hours for the Luxembourg Garden depend on the month: opening between 7:30 and 8:15 am; closing at dusk between 4:45 and 9:45 pm.

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Luxembourg Garden, Paris, France

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Mexico City

Mexico City, or the City of Mexico is the capital of Mexico. As an “alpha” global city, Mexico City is one of the most important financial centers in the Americas. It is located in the Valley of Mexico (Valle de México), a large valley in the high plateaus at the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 metres (7,350 ft). The city consists of sixteen municipalities.
The 2009 estimated population for the city proper was approximately 8.84 million people, with a land area of 1,485 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the most recent definition agreed upon by the federal and state governments, the Greater Mexico City population is 21.2 million people, making it the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere, the tenth-largest agglomeration, and the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world.
The Greater Mexico City has a gross domestic product (GDP) of US$411 billion in 2011, making Mexico City urban agglomeration one of the economically largest metropolitan areas in the world. The city was responsible for generating 15.8% of Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product and the metropolitan area accounted for about 22% of total national GDP. As a stand-alone country, in 2013, Mexico City would be the fifth-largest economy in Latin America—five times as large as Costa Rica’s and about the same size as Peru’s.
Mexico’s capital is both the oldest capital city in the Americas and one of two founded by Amerindians (Native Americans), the other being Quito. The city was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, which was almost completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan, and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards. In 1524, the municipality of Mexico City was established, known as México Tenochtitlán and as of 1585 it was officially known as Ciudad de México (Mexico City). Mexico City served as the political, administrative and financial center of a major part of the Spanish colonial empire. After independence from Spain was achieved, the Federal District was created in 1824.
After years of demanding greater political autonomy, residents were given the right to directly elect a Head of Government and the representatives of the unicameral Legislative Assembly by popular vote in 1997. Ever since, the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) has controlled both of them. In recent years, the local government has passed a wave of liberal policies, such as abortion on request, a limited form of euthanasia, no-fault divorce, and same-sex marriage. On January 29, 2016, it ceased to be called the Federal District and is now in transition to become the country’s 32nd federal entity, giving it a level of autonomy comparable to that of a state. Because of a clause in the Mexican Constitution, however, as the seat of the powers of the Union, it can never become a state, lest the capital of the country be relocated elsewhere.

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Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral

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Park Chapultepek, Mexico City

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Procida, Italy

Procida is one of the Flegrean Islands off the coast of Naples in southern Italy. The island is between Cape Miseno and the island of Ischia. With its tiny satellite island of Vivara, it is a comune of the Metropolitan City of Naples, in the region of Campania. It is very densely populated with its about ten thousand people on a mere 4 km2 (hence more than 2000 people per km2).
The island derives its name from the Latin name Prochyta. Προχύτη/Prochýtē means ‘poured out’ in Greek . According to another theory, Prochyta comes from the Greek verb prokeitai, meaning ‘it lies forth’, because of the appearance of the island seen from the sea.Procida is located between Capo Miseno and the island of Ischia. It is less than 4.1 square kilometres (1.6 sq mi). Its coastlines, very jagged, are 16 km (9.9 mi). The Terra Murata hill is the highest point on the island (91 metres (299 ft)).
Geologically, Procida was created by the eruption of four volcanoes, now dormant and submerged.

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Windermere lake, England

Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. It is a ribbon lake formed in a glacial trough after the retreat of ice at the start of the current interglacial period. It has been one of the country’s most popular places for holidays and summer homes since the arrival of the Kendal and Windermere Railway branch line in 1847. Historically forming part of the border between Lancashire and Westmorland, it is now within the county of Cumbria and the Lake District National Park.
Windermere is long and narrow, like many other ribbon lakes. It was formed 13,000 years ago during the last major ice age by two glaciers, one from the Troutbeck valley and the other from the Fairfield Horseshoe. When the glaciers melted the lake filled with the meltwater, which was held in by moraine (rock material) deposited by the glaciers.
There is debate as to whether the stretch of water between Newby Bridge and Lakeside at the southern end of the lake should be considered part of Windermere, or a navigable stretch of the River Leven. This affects the stated length of the lake, which is 18.08 kilometers (11.23 mi) long if measured from the bridge at Newby Bridge, or 16.9 kilometers if measured from Lakeside. The lake varies in width up to a maximum of 1.49 kilometers, and covers an area of 14.73 square kilometers. With a maximum depth of 66.7 meters and an elevation above sea level of 39 meters, the lowest point of the lake bed is well below sea level.

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Lofoten, Norway

Lofoten is an archipelago and a traditional district in the county of Nordland, Norway. Lofoten is known for a distinctive scenery with dramatic mountains and peaks, open sea and sheltered bays, beaches and untouched lands. Though lying within the Arctic Circle, the archipelago experiences one of the world’s largest elevated temperature anomalies relative to its high latitude.

“There is evidence of human settlement extending back at least 11,000 yrs in Lofoten, and the earliest archaeological sites … are only about 5,500 yrs old, at the transition from the early to late Stone Age.” Iron Age agriculture, livestock, and significant human habitation can be traced back to ~250 BCE.

The town of Vågan (Norse Vágar) is the first known town formation in northern Norway. It existed in the early Viking Age, maybe earlier, and was located on the southern coast on eastern Lofoten, near today’s village Kabelvåg in Vågan municipality. However, the Lofotr Viking Museum with the reconstructed 83-meter-long longhouse is located near Borg on Vestvågøy, which has many archeological finds from the Iron Age and Viking Age.

The islands have for more than 1,000 years been the centre of great cod fisheries, especially in winter, when the cod migrates south from the Barents Sea and gathers in Lofoten to spawn. Bergen in southwestern Norway was for a long time the hub for further export south to different parts of Europe, particularly so when trade was controlled by the Hanseatic League. In the lowland areas, particularly Vestvågøy, agriculture plays a significant role, as it has done since the Bronze Age.

Lofotr was originally the name of the island of Vestvågøy only. Later it became the name of the chain of islands. The chain of islands with its pointed peaks looks like a lynx foot from the mainland. In Norwegian, it is always a singular. Another name one might come across, is “Lofotveggen” or the Lofoten wall. The archipelago looks like a closed wall when seen from elevated points around Bodø or when arriving from the sea, some 100 km long, and 800-1,000 m high.

The Lofoten Islands are characterised by their mountains and peaks, sheltered inlets, stretches of seashore and large virgin areas. The highest mountain in Lofoten is Higravstinden (1,161 m / 3,800 ft) in Austvågøy; the Møysalen National Park just northeast of Lofoten has mountains reaching 1,262 meters. The famous Moskstraumen (Malstrøm) system of tidal eddies is located in western Lofoten, and is indeed the root of the term maelstrom.

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Rock sculpture of Decebalus

The rock sculpture of Decebalus is a 40-m high carving in rock of the face of Decebalus, the last king of Dacia, who fought against the Roman emperors Domitian and Trajan to preserve the independence of his country, which corresponded to modern Romania. The sculpture was made between 1994 and 2004, on a rocky outcrop on the river Danube, at the Iron Gates, which form the border between Romania and Serbia. It is located near the city of Orşova in Romania.
It is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe.

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My Trip to Cuba

Hey, I am organizing a great trip to Cuba. We will dance, sing and experience this beautiful country.

I hope you will join!!
Ramon

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, Kassel, Germany

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is a unique landscape park in Kassel, Germany. Art historian Georg Dehio (1850–1932), inspirator of the modern discipline of historic preservation, described the park as “possibly the most grandiose combination of landscape and architecture that the Baroque dared anywhere”.
The area of the park is 2.4 square kilometres (590 acres), making it the largest European hillside park, and second largest park on a mountain slope in the world. Construction of the Bergpark, or “mountain park”, began in 1696 at the behest of the Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel and took about 150 years.

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Mount Nemrut, Turkey

Nemrut or Nemrud (Turkish: Nemrut Dağı) is a 2,134 m high mountain in southeastern Turkey, notable for the summit where a number of large statues are erected around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BC.
The name is a relatively modern one, dating back to the Middle Ages. In Armenian legend, Hayk defeated the Biblical king Nimrod (equated with Bel) and buried him in these mountains. The conquering Arabs gave many ancient ruins they encountered the name Nimrud, including the famous Assyrian capital.
The mountain lies 40 km (25 mi) north of Kahta, near Adıyaman. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues 8–9 m high of himself, two lions, two eagles and various Greek, Armenian, and Iranian gods, such as Vahagn-Hercules, Aramazd-Zeus or Oromasdes (associated with the Iranian god Ahura Mazda), Bakht-Tyche, and Mihr-Apollo-Mithras. These statues were once seated, with names of each god inscribed on them. The heads of the statues have at some stage been removed from their bodies, and they are now scattered throughout the site.
The pattern of damage to the heads (notably to noses) suggests that they were deliberately damaged as a result of iconoclasm. The statues have not been restored to their original positions. The site also preserves stone slabs with bas-relief figures that are thought to have formed a large frieze. These slabs display the ancestors of Antiochus, who included Armenian, Greek and Persians.
The same statues and ancestors found throughout the site can also be found on the tumulus at the site, which is 49 m tall and 152 m in diameter. It is possible that the tumulus was build to protect a tomb from tomb-robbers since any excavation would quickly fill with loose rock. The statues appear to have Greek-style facial features, but Armenian clothing and hair-styling.
The western terrace contains a large slab with a lion, showing the arrangement of stars and the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Mars on 7 July 62 BC. This may be an indication of when construction began on this monument. The eastern portion is well preserved, being composed of several layers of rock, and a path following the base of the mountain is evidence of a walled passageway linking the eastern and western terraces. Possible uses for this site is thought to have included religious ceremonies, due to the astronomical and religious nature of the monument.
The arrangement of such statues is known by the term hierothesion. Similar arrangements have been found at Arsameia on Nymphaios at the hierothesion of the father of Antiochus, Mithridates I Callinicus.

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Rhine Falls, Switzerland

The Rhine Falls is the largest plain waterfall in Europe. The falls are located on the High Rhine between the municipalities of Neuhausen am Rheinfall and Laufen-Uhwiesen, near the town of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland, between the cantons of Schaffhausen and Zürich. They are 150 m wide and 23 m high. In the winter months, the average water flow is 250 m³/s, while in the summer, the average water flow is 700 m³/s. The highest flow ever measured was 1,250 m³/s in 1965; and the lowest, 95 m³/s in 1921.
The Rhine Falls were formed in the last ice age, approximately 14,000 to 17,000 years ago, by erosion-resistant rocks narrowing the riverbed. The first glacial advances created today’s landforms approximately 500,000 years ago. Up to the end of the Wolstonian Stage approximately 132,000 years ago, the Rhine flowed westwards from Schaffhausen past Klettgau. This earlier riverbed later filled up with gravel.
About 132,000 years ago the course of the river changed southwards at Schaffhausen and formed a new channel, which also filled up with gravel. Part of the Rhine today includes this ancient riverbed.
During the Würm glaciation, the Rhine was pushed far to the south to its present course, over a hard Late Jurassic limestone bed. As the river flowed over both the hard limestone and the easily eroded gravel from previous glaciations, the current waterfall formed about 14,000 to 17,000 years ago. The Rheinfallfelsen, a large rock, is the remnant of the original limestone cliff flanking the former channel. The rock has eroded very little over the years because relatively little sediment comes down the Rhine from Lake Constance.
The nearest community is Neuhausen am Rheinfall, where tourists can also view the Wörth Castle. Boat trips can be taken up the Rhine to the falls and the Rheinfallfelsen. There are also viewing platforms with a spectacular view of the falls built on both sides of the Rhine. These are reached via steep and narrow stairs (access by fee on the Schloss Laufen side). Guided tours of various lengths start from Schloss Laufen on the Zürich side of the falls – a youth hostel is also located in Schloss Laufen. Various restaurants are located in Schloss Laufen, Schloss Wörth and the Rheinfall park.
The Rhine Falls are easily accessible by car, bicycle and public transport (SBB railway station “Neuhausen am Rheinfall” on the northern side of the falls and SBB railway station “Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall” on the southern banks of the river). Large pay-parking lots are located on both sides of the falls.

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Ebenalp, Appenzell Alps, Switzerland

The Ebenalp (1,640 m) is the northernmost summit of the Appenzell Alps. The mountain is a popular hiking destination and has been accessible by cable car from Wasserauen since 1955. Ebenalp attracts up to 200,000 visitors each year.
From the high plateau of the cable car station visitors have a panoramic view of the rolling hills of Appenzell. Impressive trails start at the station and lead to a network of mountain huts. These hiking routes lead to popular sites such as Säntis and Seealpsee. The nearby Wildkirchli hut can be reached by hiking through a cave.

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Blautopf, Germany

The Blautopf (German for Blue Pot; “blau” means blue, “topf” means pot) is a spring that serves as the source of the river Blau in the karst landscape on the Swabian Jura’s southern edge, in Southern Germany. It is located in the city of Blaubeuren, approximately 16 km (9.9 mi) west of Ulm. It forms the drain for the Blau cave system and feeds the river Blau, which after 14.5 km (9.0 mi), flows into the river Danube in the city of Ulm. Because of its high water pressure, the spring has developed a funnel-like shape, which at its deepest point has a depth of 21 metres (69 ft). The water’s peculiarly blue color, varying in intensity due to weather and flow, is the result of chemical properties of limestone densely distributed in the water.
The Blautopf is a spring in a Karst environment. One characteristic of a Karst environment is that water, which drains quickly through the limestone in one area, surfaces in another. Karst environments only have subterranean drainage, and there are no bodies of water above ground. Therefore, the size of the Blautopf depends greatly on the level of rainfall, though it never entirely dries out. The Blautopf is the second largest spring in Germany, after the Aachtopf.
Over millennia, subterranean water has created a huge system of caves in the area. Prominent examples are the Blauhöhle (Blau-cave), discovered by Jochen Hasenmayer in 1985, and the Apokalypse (Apocalypse), discovered on 23 September 2006 by Jochen Malmann and Andreas Kücha, members of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Blautopf, a club dedicated to the exploration of the Blautopf’s cave system. While the Blauhöhle is completely filled with water for a length of about 1500 metres (approximately 4935 ft), the Apokalypse is dry; because of its dimensions—170 metres long, 50 metres wide, 50 metres high—it is a special feature of the region.

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Le Palais Idéal, France

Ferdinand Cheval was a French postman who spent thirty-three years of his life building Le Palais idéal (the “Ideal Palace”) in Hauterives. The Palace is regarded as an extraordinary example of naïve art architecture.
Cheval began the building in April 1879. For the next thirty-three years, Cheval picked up stones during his daily mail round and carried them home to build the Palais idéal. He spent the first twenty years building the outer walls. At first, he carried the stones in his pockets, then switched to a basket. Eventually, he used a wheelbarrow. He often worked at night, by the light of an oil lamp.
The Palais is a mix of different styles with inspirations from Christianity to Hinduism. Cheval bound the stones together with lime, mortar and cement.

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Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart, Germany

The Mercedes-Benz Museum is an automobile museum in Stuttgart, Germany. It covers the history of the Mercedes-Benz brand and the brands associated with it. Stuttgart is home to the Mercedes-Benz brand and the international headquarters of Daimler AG.
The current building, which stands directly outside the main gate of the Daimler factory in Stuttgart, was designed by UN Studio. It is based on a unique cloverleaf concept using three overlapping circles with the center removed to form a triangular atrium recalling the shape of a Wankel engine. The building was completed and opened on 19 May 2006. Architecture and exhibition concept are closely interwoven, as exhibition designer HG Merz was commissioned already before the architecture competition in 2001.
The museum contains more than 160 vehicles, some dating back to the very earliest days of the motor engine. The vehicles are maintained by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center of Fellbach. Previously, the museum was housed in a dedicated building within the factory complex and visitors had in recent decades been transported from the main gate by a secured shuttle.

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Predjama Castle, Slovenia

Predjama Castle is a Renaissance castle built within a cave mouth in south-central Slovenia, in the historical region of Inner Carniola. It is located in the village of Predjama, approximately 11 kilometres from the town of Postojna and 9 kilometres from Postojna Cave.
The castle was first mentioned in the year 1274 with the German name Luegg, when the Patriarch of Aquileia built the castle in Gothic style. The castle was built under a natural rocky arch high in the stone wall to make access to it difficult. It was later acquired and expanded by the Luegg noble family, also known as the Knights of Adelsberg.
The castle became known as the seat of Knight Erazem Lueger (or Luegger), owner of the castle in the 15th century and a renowned robber baron. He was the son of the Imperial Governor of Trieste, Nikolaj Lueger. According to legend, Erazem came into conflict with the Habsburg establishment, when he killed the commander of the Imperial army Marshall Pappencheim, who had offended the honour of Erazem’s deceased friend, Andrej Baumkircher of Vipava. Fleeing from the revenge of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, Erazem settled in the family fortress of Predjama. He allied himself with the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus and began to attack Habsburg estates and towns in Carniola. Thus enraged, the Austrian leader commissioned the governor of Trieste, Andrej Ravbar, to capture and kill Erazem. This is when the impregnability of Predjama Castle was tested.
For a year and a day, Erazem was besieged in his fortress. But to the dismay of his adversaries, he continued to survive and taunt the attacking soldiers by pelting them with cherries. They could not understand how he was obtaining supplies. As far as they knew, there was only one way in and out of both the valley and castle; but the Erazem knew better. Unbeknownst to the soldiers, Erazem knew of a secret tunnel leading from the castle, which allowed him to travel to the nearby village of Vipava and collect supplies, including hoards of fresh cherries when in season.
But it seemed that the soldiers were to have the last laugh. With the strategic placement of a candle, a servant of Erazem was bribed to reveal when his master was in attendance at that place where the elusive knight and even the noblest of men needed to go after consuming lots of cherries and wine: the outhouse. Unfortunately for Erazem, the toilet, situated on the top floor and at the very edge of the castle, was the one place that was not impregnable. When the moment came, the candle was placed there by the treacherous servant. A single cannonball was launched, and Erazem was literally caught with his trousers down.

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Rayavadee Resort, Krabi, Thailand

Rayavadee’s setting at the heart of a stunning peninsula on the edge of Krabi National Marine Park blends lush foliage, limestone cliffs, three beaches and the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea, offering visitors an unforgettable holiday experience that combines natural beauty with the resort’s unique brand of understated luxury.
The resort has 98 enchanting two-story pavilions, some with private gardens, hydro-pools and jacuzzis and 4 beachfront villas spread over 26 acres of coconut groves. Its award winning architecture and tropical landscapes were inspired by the atmosphere of a southern Thai village, while the pavilions’ spacious interiors and décor provide unsurpassed comfort for highly discerning guests.
Krabi province is located on the Andaman coast 800 kilometers south of Bangkok and is blessed with picturesque fishing villages, sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters. Just a two-hour drive from Phuket International Airport, Krabi still feels a world apart from the crowded beaches and resorts of its more famous island neighbour. The recent opening of Krabi International Airport with numerous daily flights from Bangkok have made access to the area’s resorts easy and straightforward.

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Saint-Malo, France

Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.
Traditionally with an independent streak, Saint-Malo was in the past notorious for piracy. Today it is a major tourist destination, with many ancient, attractive buildings.
Saint-Malo during the Middle Ages was a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance River, controlling not only the estuary but the open sea beyond. The promontory fort of Aleth, south of the modern centre in what is now the Saint-Servan district, commanded approaches to the Rance even before the Romans, but modern Saint-Malo traces its origins to a monastic settlement founded by Saint Aaron and Saint Brendan early in the 6th century. Its name is derived from a man said to have been a follower of Brendan, Saint Malo or Maclou.
St. Malo is the setting of Marie de France’s poem “Laustic”, an 11th-century love story. Saint-Malo had a tradition of asserting its autonomy in dealings with the French authorities and even with the local Breton authorities. From 1590–1593, Saint-Malo declared itself to be an independent republic, taking the motto “not French, not Breton, but Malouins”.
Saint-Malo became notorious as the home of the corsairs, French privateers and sometimes pirates. In the 19th century this “piratical” notoriety was portrayed in Jean Richepin’s play Le flibustier and in César Cui’s eponymous opera. The corsairs of Saint-Malo not only forced English ships passing up the Channel to pay tribute, but also brought wealth from further afield. Jacques Cartier, who sailed the Saint Lawrence River and visited the sites of Quebec City and Montreal – and is thus credited as the discoverer of Canada, lived in and sailed from Saint-Malo, as did the first colonists to settle the Falklands – hence the islands’ French name Îles Malouines, which gave rise to the Spanish name Islas Malvinas. In 1758 the Raid on St Malo saw a British expedition land intending to capture the town. However the British made no attempt on St Malo, and instead occupied the nearby town of St Servan where they destroyed 30 privateers before departing.
In World War II, during fighting in late August and early September 1944, the historic walled city of Saint-Malo was almost totally destroyed by U.S. shelling and bombing plus British naval gunfire. Saint-Malo was rebuilt over a 12-year period from 1948-1960.
The commune of Saint-Servan was merged, together with Paramé, and became the commune of Saint-Malo in 1967.
Saint-Malo was the site of an Anglo-French summit in 1998 which led to a significant agreement regarding European defence policy.

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Saint-Malo, France

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Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome, Italy

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as Castel Sant’Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The Castel was once the tallest building in Rome.

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Castello Maniace, Syracuse, Sicily

The Castello Maniace is a citadel and castle in Syracuse, Sicily. It is situated at the far point of the Ortygia island promintary, where it was constructed between 1232 and 1240 by the Emperor Frederick II. It bears the name of George Maniakes, the Byzantine general who besieged and took the city in 1038. Originally, one could only enter the castle over a bridge spanning a moat (now filled). A notable feature of the castle is the decorated portal. Today the castle is open to public and is a local tourist attraction in Syracuse.

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Castello Maniace, Syracuse, Sicily

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Ortigia Castle (Castello Maniace, Castle Maniace), Syracuse (Siracusa), UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sicily, Italy, Europe

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Buen Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain

The Buen Retiro Park is the one of the largest parks of the city of Madrid, Spain. The park belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, when it became a public park.The Buen Retiro Park is a large and popular 1.4 km2 (350 acres) park at the edge of the city center, very close to the Puerta de Alcalá and not far from the Prado Museum. A magnificent park, filled with beautiful sculpture and monuments, galleries, a peaceful lake and host to a variety of events, it is one of Madrid’s premier attractions. The park is entirely surrounded by the present-day city.

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Buen Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain

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Setenil de las Bodegas, Cádiz, Spain

Setenil de las Bodegas is a town in the province of Cádiz, Spain, famous for its dwellings built into rock overhangs above the Rio Trejo. According to the 2005 census, the city has a population of 3,016 inhabitants.This small town (pueblo) is located 157 kilometres (98 mi) northeast of Cadiz. It has a distinctive setting along a narrow river gorge. The town extends along the course of the Rio Trejo with some houses being built into the rock walls of the gorge itself, created by enlarging natural caves or overhangs and adding an external wall.
Modern Setenil evolved from a fortified Moorish town that occupied a bluff overlooking a sharp bend in the Rio Trejo northwest of Ronda. The castle dates from at least the Almohad period in the 12th century. However, the site was certainly occupied during the Roman invasion of the region in the 1st century AD. Setenil was once believed to be the successor of the Roman town of Laccipo, but it was subsequently proved that Laccipo became the town of Casares in Malaga. Given the evidence of other nearby cave-dwelling societies, such as those at the Cueva de la Pileta west of Ronda, where habitation has been tracked back more than 25,000 years, it is possible that Setenil was occupied much much earlier. Most evidence of this would have been erased by continuous habitation.

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Düsseldorf, Germany

Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and centre of the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region with a population of 11 million people.
Düsseldorf is an international business and financial centre and renowned for its fashion and trade fairs. Located within the Blue Banana, the city is headquarters to five Fortune Global 500 and several DAX companies. Messe Düsseldorf claims to organise nearly one fifth of all world‘s premier trade shows.
Culturally, Düsseldorf is known for its academy of fine arts (Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, e.g. Joseph Beuys, Emanuel Leutze, August Macke, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Andreas Gursky), its pioneering influence on electronic/experimental music (Kraftwerk) and its relatively large Japanese community. As a city by the river Rhine, Düsseldorf is a stronghold for Rhenish Carnival celebrations. Every year in July more than 4.5 million people visit the city’s Largest Fair on the Rhine funfair.
As the sixth most populous city in Germany by population within city limits and a Larger Urban Zone population of 1.5 million, Mercer’s 2012 Quality of Living survey ranked Düsseldorf sixth city in the world.

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Neuer Zollhof,Düsseldorf, Germany

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Amazing & Unusual Statues Of The World

The Monument of an anonymous passerby, Wroclaw, Poland

THE MONUMENT OF AN ANONYMOUS PASSERBY, WROCLAW, POLAND

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People Of The River By Chong Fah Cheong, Singapore

People Of The River By Chong Fah Cheong, Singapore

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A Crocodile Eating a Capitalist, Brooklyn, New York

A Crocodile Eating a Capitalist, Brooklyn, New York

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Expansion by Paige Bradley, New York, USA

Expansion by Paige Bradley, New York, USA

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Die Badende (The Bather), Hamburg, Germany

Die Badende (The Bather), Hamburg, Germany

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Black Ghost, Klaipeda, Lithuania

Black Ghost, Klaipeda, Lithuania

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Man At Work, Bratislava, Slovakia

Man At Work, Bratislava, Slovakia

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De Vaartkapoen, Brussels, Belgium

De Vaartkapoen, Brussels, Belgium

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The Paparazzi, Bratislava, Slovakia

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Violinist Bursting from the Floor, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Violinist Bursting from the Floor, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Franz Kafka Monument, Prague, Czech Republic

Franz Kafka Monument, Prague, Czech Republic

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Freedom sculpture By Zenos Frudakis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Freedom sculpture By Zenos Frudakis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Corporate Head, Ernst & Young Building, Los Angeles, California

Corporate Head, Ernst & Young Building, Los Angeles, California

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Great Depression Bread Line Statue, New Jersey, USA

Great Depression Bread Line Statue, New Jersey, USA

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Statue of St. Wenceslas riding a dead horse, Prague, Czech Republic

Statue of St. Wenceslas riding a dead horse, Prague, Czech Republic

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Statue of a Man Sawing a Branch, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Statue of a Man Sawing a Branch, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Searching for Utopia, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Searching for Utopia, Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Charles La Trobe Statue, Melbourne, Australia

Charles La Trobe Statue, Melbourne, Australia

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Giant Woman Lying in a Photo Booth, London, England

Giant Woman Lying in a Photo Booth, London, England

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God father on the arch of heaven, Stockholm, Sweden

God father on the arch of heaven, Stockholm, Sweden

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Le Passe-Muraille, or Man in the Wall, Paris, France

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Les Voyageurs, Marseilles, France

Les Voyageurs, Marseilles, France

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London Ink’s Man Swimming Statue, England

London Ink’s Man Swimming Statue, England

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Man Hanging Out, Prague, Czech Republic

Man Hanging Out, Prague, Czech Republic

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Man in the Water, Stockholm, Sweden

Man in the Water, Stockholm, Sweden

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Metalmorphosis, Charlotte, North Carolina

Metalmorphosis, Charlotte, North Carolina

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Sinking Building Outside State Library

Sinking Building Outside State Library

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A Scene From The World War With Real-Size Statues, Eceabat, Turkey

A Scene From The World War With Real-Size Statues, Eceabat, Turkey

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The Awakening, Washington D.C., USA

The Awakening, Washington D.C., USA

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The Shoes On The Danube Bank by Can Togay & Gyula Pauer, Budapest, Hungary

The Shoes On The Danube Bank by Can Togay & Gyula Pauer, Budapest, Hungary

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The Knotted Gun, Turtle Bay, New York, USA

The Knotted Gun, Turtle Bay, New York, USA

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The Headington Shark, Oxford, UK

The Headington Shark, Oxford, UK

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The Giant Hand, Atacama Desert, Chile

The Giant Hand, Atacama Desert, Chile

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Spider, Tate Modern, London, UK

Spider, Tate Modern, London, UK

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Space Cow, Stockholm, Sweden

Space Cow, Stockholm, Sweden

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Le Pouce Monument, Paris, France

Le Pouce Monument, Paris, France

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Kelpies, Grangemouth, UK

Kelpies, Grangemouth, UK

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Iguana Park, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Iguana Park, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Hippo Sculptures, Taipei, Taiwan

Hippo Sculptures, Taipei, Taiwan

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Hanging Rhino, Potsdam, Germany

Hanging Rhino, Potsdam, Germany

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Flying Fish Statue, Portland, Oregon, USA

Flying Fish Statue, Portland, Oregon, USA

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Cattle Drive, Dallas, Texas, USA

Cattle Drive, Dallas, Texas, USA

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A Day Out, Adelaide, Australia

A Day Out, Adelaide, Australia

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Hallerbos – Blue Forest, Belgium

The Hallerbos is a forest in Belgium, covering an area of 552 ha (1,360 acres). It is mostly situated in the municipality of Halle, in Flemish Brabant and has also a little part in Walloon Brabant.
The forest is known in the region for its bluebell carpet which covers the forest floor for a few weeks each spring, attracting many visitors.

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Alcázar of Segovia, Segovia, Spain

The Alcázar of Segovia is a castle, located in the old city of Segovia, Spain. Rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of two rivers near the Guadarrama mountains, it is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape – like the bow of a ship. The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then. It is currently used as a museum and a military archives building.

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Alcázar de Segovia (Segovia Castle), Spain

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