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Giant Crystal Cave in Naica, Mexico



Cave of the Crystals or Giant Crystal Cave is a cave connected to the Naica Mine 300 metres (980 ft) below the surface in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico. The main chamber contains giant selenite crystals (gypsum, CaSO4·2 H2O), some of the largest natural crystals ever found. The cave's largest crystal found to date is 12 m (39 ft) in length, 4 m (13 ft) in diameter and 55 tons in weight. The cave is extremely hot with air temperatures reaching up to 58 °C (136 °F) with 90 to 99 percent humidity. The cave is relatively unexplored due to these factors. Without proper protection people can only endure approximately ten minutes of exposure at a time.











 
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    Zhangjiajie National Forest Park



    The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a unique national forest park located in Zhangjiajie City in northern Hunan Province in the People's Republic of China. It is one of several national parks within the Wulingyuan Scenic Area.





    In 1982 it was recognized as China's first national forest park with an area of 4,810 ha (11,900 acres). Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is part of a much larger 397.5 km2 (153.5 sq mi) Wulingyuan Scenic Area. In 1992, Wulingyuan was officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was then approved by the Ministry of Land and Resources as Zhangjiajie Sandstone Peak Forest National Geopark (3,600 km2 (1,400 sq mi)) in 2001. In 2004, Zhangjiajie Geopark was listed as a UNESCO Global Geopark.





    The most notable geographic features of the park are the pillar-like formations that are seen throughout the park. They are the result of many years of erosion. The weather is moist year round, and as a result, the foliage is very dense. Much of the erosion which forms these pillars are the result of expanding ice in the winter and the plants which grow on them. These formations are a distinct hallmark of Chinese landscape, and can be found in many ancient Chinese paintings.





    One of the park's quartz-sandstone pillars, the 1,080-metre (3,540 ft) Southern Sky Column, had been officially renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain" in honor of the eponymous film in January 2010. According to park officials, photographs from Zhangjiajie inspired the floating Hallelujah Mountains seen in the film. The film's director and production designers said that they drew inspiration for the floating rocks from mountains from around the world, including those in the Hunan province.















     
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    Katskhi Pillar In Georgia



    The Katskhi pillar (Georgian: კაცხის სვეტი, kac'xis svet'i) is a natural limestone monolith located at the village of Katskhi in western Georgian region of Imereti, near the town of Chiatura. It is approximately 40 metres (130 ft) high, and overlooks the small river valley of Katskhura, a right affluent of the Q'virila.

    The rock, with visible church ruins on its top surface of around 150 m2, has been venerated by locals as the Pillar of Life, symbolizing the True Cross, and has become surrounded by legends. It remained unclimbed by researchers and unsurveyed until 1944 and was more systematically studied from 1999 to 2009. These studies revealed the early medieval hermitage, dating from the 9th or 10th century. A Georgian inscription paleographically dated to the 13th century suggests that the hermitage was still extant at that time. Religious activity associated with the pillar started to revive in the 1990s and the monastery building had been restored within the framework of a state-funded program by 2009.

    In historical records, the Katskhi pillar is first mentioned by the 18th-century Georgian scholar Prince Vakhushti, who reports in his Geographic Description of the Kingdom of Georgia: "There is a rock within the ravine standing like a pillar, considerably high. There is a small church on the top of the rock, but nobody is able to ascend it; nor know they how to do that."















     
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    Potala Palace In Tibetan



    The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It is now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    The palace is named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of Chenresig or Avalokitesvara. Lozang Gyatso, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, started its construction in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel (died 1646), pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. It may overlay the remains of an earlier fortress, called the White or Red Palace, on the site built by Songtsen Gampo in 637.





















     
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    Krubera Cave Gerogia



    Krubera Cave is the deepest known cave on Earth. It is located in the Arabika Massif of the Gagrinsky Range of the Western Caucasus, in the Gagra district of Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia.





    he difference in the altitude of the cave's entrance and its deepest explored point is 2,197 ± 20 metres (7,208 ± 66 ft). It became the deepest-known cave in the world in 2001 when the expedition of the Ukrainian Speleological Association reached a depth of 1,710 m (5,610 ft) which exceeded the depth of the previous deepest known cave, Lamprechtsofen, in the Austrian Alps, by 80 m.



    In 2004, for the first time in the history of speleology, the Ukrainian Speleological Association expedition reached a depth greater than 2,000 m, and explored the cave to −2,080 m (−6,824 ft). Ukrainian diver Gennadiy Samokhin extended the cave by diving in the terminal sump to 46 m depth in 2007 and then to 52 m in 2012, setting successive world records of 2,191 m and 2,197 m respectively. Krubera remains the only known cave on Earth deeper than 2,000 metres.










     
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    Tuscan Landscape



    A building emerges from the early morning fog in Belvedere farm in San Quirico d'Orcia, Tuscany, Italy. The beautiful pictures were taken by Alberto Di Donato who has a huge passion for the Tuscan landscape and is inspired by the Renaissance artists who painted the same landscapes.



    A building emerges from the early morning fog in Belvedere farm in San Quirico d'Orcia, Tuscany, Italy.
     
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    View the Northern Lights in a floating glass snowflake hotel


    Dutch and Norwegian experts collaborated on the project, which will have 86 bedrooms in a luxury hotel only accessible by boat



    Watching the Northern Lights glistening on the sky’s natural canvas may be on your bucket list already, but be prepared to up the ante.

    A Netherlands-based developer is creating a floating, snowflaked-shaped glass hotel from which guests can stare in awe at the Aurora Borealis from their beds.

    The project, which began in 2008, is called Krystall and will be getting underway again after the financial crisis rendered it postponed.

    Eighty-six luxury rooms will be encased within a glass structure alongside conference rooms and a spa, all of which is only accessible by boat, to ensure its five-star status.

    The stationary hotel will be installed near Tromso in northern Norway reportedly between fjords, with work to commence mid-2015 and an estimated opening projected for late 2016.

    It will be constructed, in pieces, in dry docks, the architect said, before being assembled on location.

    Explaining the physics and design of the hotel, Koen Olthuis, Dutch architect and founder of Waterstudio, a specialist in floating structures, said: “The floating [base] is very big and because of that also very stable. You will not notice any movement.

    “Different to any vessel this hotel is floating real estate and will not move. The shape provides most of the stability but additional technology with dampers, springs and cables is used to take away any acceleration.

    “Same look and feel as a land based hotel but then on the most beautiful spot on the water. The hotel is not connected to land so all the logistics will be provided by boats.”

    According to Mr Olthuis, who wouldn’t reveal the actual cost of the project, the budget is 15 per cent more than it would have been if it were built on land.



    He said that a crucial caveat to the hotel’s construction was for its creation to be “scarless” on the pristine environment surrounding it.

    “We call it a scarless development. If you take it away after hundred years or so it will not leave any physical footprint. That is the only way to bring developments to such a precious and beautiful marine environment in Norway or Maldives.”

    Waterstudio is working in collaboration with Mr Olthuis’s other firm, Dutch Docklands, undertaking a number of ambitious projects including 80-million sq feet of floating developments in the Maldives in a joint venture with the Indian Ocean nation.

    “Our joint venture projects with the Maldivian Government and the Ocean Flower in particular have taken all our attention the last years,” Mr Olthuis said.

    “Now that the construction of the 185 floating villas for the Maldives has started we restarted the paused project [Krystall] in our portfolio.”

    It is hoped that the hotel will be “self-supporting and sustainable” using top of the range technology in an area close to an international airport, helping to buoy the “growing eco-tourism market.”

    “Dutch Docklands has learned to live with the water instead of fighting it,” the firm states. “Floating houses are common in the Netherlands but we took that technology abroad and scale it up in size.”

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    The South China Karst

    The South China Karst, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2007, spans the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan. It is noted for its karst features and landscapes as well as rich biodiversity. The site comprises three clusters: Libo Karst, Shilin Karst and Wulong Karst. UNESCO describes the South China Karst as “unrivalled in terms of the diversity of its karst features and landscapes”. It contains the most significant types of karst landforms, including tower karst, pinnacle karst and cone karst formations, along with other spectacular characteristics such as natural bridges, gorges and large cave systems.













     
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    How well do you know the world? Play Geoguessr to find out!

    Think you’re a geography expert? Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s Geoguessr – the game that proves how well you know the world! First, move around using your mouse and figure out where you are. Then click on the map in the lower right hand corner to place your marker (zoom in to increase your accuracy). When you’re sure, click the “make a guess” button, and find out how close you were! Once you’ve mastered the basics, set a time limit or challenge a friend. The world’s a huge place – get exploring!

    Editor's Note: The game is supported in IE9, Firefox and Chrome. IE8 and earlier is not supported.
     
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    Wat Rong Khun Temple In Chiang Rai Thailand Part II



    Wat Rong Khun (Thai: วัดร่องขุ่น), more well-known among foreigners as the White Temple, is a contemporary unconventional Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. It was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat in 1997.





    On 5 May 2014 at 18:08 (local time), the temple was heavily damaged by the earthquake in Mae Lao that struck the province. It was closed indefinitely. Chalermchai said on 6 May that he would demolish the whole temple and would not rebuild it.





    On May 7 morning after an engineering expert team inspected and confirmed that all building structures in the temple were unharmed by the quake, Chalermchai announced that he would rebuild the temple back to its original beauty in two years and promised to devote his life for the work. He also announced that the temple area will be open to visitors on May 8 afternoon. The gallery building will be open in a few days. But for some buildings, visitors will be allowed only to take pictures from outside.











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    Y40 Deep Joy – the World's Deepest Pool

    Y-40 is projected by Architect Emanuele Boaretto and supported by the “Boaretto Group Hotel and Resort”. The name Y-40 is inspired by mathematical symbols. “Y” is the ordinate axis of the Cartesian system and “–40” means the world's record depth or our pool- that is 40 meters underground. Y-40 is filled with thermal spa water. 4300 cubic meters maintained at a temperature of 32-34°C. The pool is 40 meters deep with a surface area measuring 21x18m. It has various intermediate depths and caves for technical scuba diving.



    A drawing showing the depth of the Y40 Deep Joy, the worlds deepest pool. The design is harmonious with the surrounding countryside.



    The Y-40 Deep Joy is the worlds deepest pool. Located in the Euganean Hills of Italy, it was designed by architect Emanuele Boaretto and is a part of the Millipini Hotel.



    In addition to being the world's deepest pool, the Deep Joy is filled with thermal spa water which is heated to 32 degrees C.



    The lobby outside of the Deep Joy. The pool was opened to the public for the first time on June 5, 2014.



    The 40 meter (or 120ft) deep pool has an underground bridge at -5m for those who want to stay dry.





    The various levels and caves make it ideal of technical scuba diving, for which lessons are offered at the Terme Milleprini Hotel.
     
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    [h=1]"CHASING ICE" captures largest glacier calving ever filmed - OFFICIAL VIDEO[/h]
     
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    The Kingdom of Ice in Romania


    A church made entirely from ice is seen during the night at Balea Lac resort in the Fagaras mountains January 29, 2015.


    A group of priests of various congregations arrive for the inauguration of a church made entirely from ice at Balea Lac resort in the Fagaras mountains January 29, 2015.


    Franciscan monk Iulian Misariu prays during the inaugural mass for a church made entirely from ice at Balea Lac resort in the Fagaras mountains January 29, 2015.







     
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    Cavern of Pont-d'Arc



    A view shows the Cavern of Pont-d'Arc project site during a press visit in Vallon Pont d'Arc April 8, 2015. The Cavern of Pont-d'Arc project is a replica of the pre-historic Decorated Cave of Pont-d'Arc known as Grotte Chauvet, in Vallon Pont-d'Arc in the Ardeche region, containing the world's earliest known art which was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The facsimile cavern, which condenses some 8000m² of the original site into 3000m², will display faithful reproductions of paintings and engravings and will be inaugurated on April 10 and will open to the public on April 25.



    A visitor takes pictures of a replica of pre-historic animals drawings seen on a wall during a press visit of the Cavern of Pont-d'Arc project site in Vallon Pont d'Arc April 8, 2015.



    A replica of pre-historic engravings showing a horse and an owl are seen on wall during a press visit at the site of the Cavern of Pont-d'Arc project in Vallon Pont d'Arc April 8, 2015.



    A replica of pre-historic drawings showing horses, rhinoceros and aurochs is seen on a wall during a press visit at the site of the Cavern of Pont-d'Arc project in Vallon Pont d'Arc April 8, 2015.



    A visitor looks at a replica of pre-historic animals drawings on a wall during a press visit at the site of the Cavern of Pont-d'Arc project in Vallon Pont d'Arc April 8, 2015.





















     
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    Tham Khoun Cave, an Incredible Hidden Cave in Laos



    Floating on clear deep water and reflections near the cave entrance. Visitors can either bring their own kayaks or rent boats from the local community to paddle deep inside the cave and marvel at its wonders on March 2015 at Tham Khoun Ex, Laos. Tham Khoun Xe, commonly known as the Xe Bang Fai River Cave, in Laos, has over 15km of passages filled with awe-inspiring views and wide expanses of water. Photographer, John Spies, 59, captured scenes from the entrances of the huge underground river passages, intricate cave formations and views from a passage high above the water. The cave is formed by the Xe Bang Fai river, a major tributary of the Mekong and in the dry season can be traversed using inflatable kayaks.



    Massive formations abound in a newly discovered fossil section of the cave, 50 meters above the river level. This section, encrusted with delicate formations and not yet open to tourists, is one of several higher passages that lead to jungle shrouded entrances on March 2015 at Tham Khoun Ex, Laos.






















     
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