Less famous than the Egyptian pyramids but not less fascinating, those burial monuments belong to the ancient kingdom of Kush, a rival to Egyptian settled from 2500 BC in the Nubian Valley (modern Sudan) to AD 350, when the kingdom of Axum invaded and conquered the capital Meroë and ended the Kushite dominance.
Compared to the Egyptians, they are more recent (built a thousand years after), smaller (the highest is less than 30 meters, Giza’s is 139 meters), and with steeper sides. There are around 200 pyramids in the Nubian Valley, more than in Egypt.
Meroë, located 240 kilometers north of Khartoum, is the biggest and best-preserved sacred area, where 30 kings, eight queens, and three princes are buried.
Although relatively unknown (the last group of pyramids was discovered between 2009 and 2012), the Nubian pyramids are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011.
Mammatus clouds are striking cloud formations mostly composed of ice with unusual shape due to protrusions hanging from the bottom of the clouds, formed by sinking cold air. They can extend for hundreds of kilometers and stay visible in the sky for up to a few hours, usually before or after a storm, bringing often rain, hail, or snow, depending on the temperature of the atmosphere.
They are usually associated with cumulonimbus, which is indicative of heavy storms, but they may also be formed from cirrus and altostratus clouds, or even volcanic ash clouds.
Constructed in 1743 after the ‘Black Spring’ famine by John Glin for the Government of Irelandon commission by local landlady Katherine Conolly, the Wonderful Barn is a spectacular corkscrew-shaped grain store built to avoid shortage of grain in case of another famine period. Its construction gave employment to the impoverished local people. The building, located in Leixlip, County Kildare, is 22,25 meters high and there are 94 limestone steps to the top from the 11 meters-diameter base. Since 2006 the Wonderful Barn is placed on the World Monuments List of 100 Most Endangered Monuments.
The Lena Pillars are a Unesco World Heritage site with stunning rock pinnacles formed in the Cambrian period alongside the river Lena, around 200 kilometers south from the Siberian city of Yakutsk, known as the coldest city in the world.
The pillars are up to 300 meters high and the area is an important archaeological site, with loads of Cambrian fossils and ancient human rock paintings.
The gigantic blue whale is the biggest animal on earth: up to 30 meters long and 150-170 tons of weight (like about 2000 men!). Its tongue can have the same weight as an elephant and its heartbeat can be detected from more than three kilometers.
The blue whale name comes from the underwater colour, although his body is actually grayish-blue. His diet mainly consists of krill, small crustaceans of which a blue whale can eat up to 4 tons every day (about two million of them!).
According to recent scientific studies, the life expectancy of a blue whale is up to 70-90 years and can be determined by the layers of their earwax.
The blue whales emit a particular vocalization sound that permits them to hear each other: the low-frequency sounds may travel up to more than 1500 km underwater.
Light pillars are beams of light formed by an optical phenomenon created by the reflection of light from flat hexagonal ice crystals horizontally suspended in the atmosphere.
Different shape and colour depend on the source of light, which can be natural (sun, moon) or artificial (streetlights), on the position of the crystals: the higher they are, the taller the pillars are, and on the number and dimensions of the crystals: the larger and more numerous they are, the more pronounced is the effect. Due to the low temperature required, this effect is typical of arctic regions.
Located in the central Italian region of Marche, about one hour drive west of the city of Ancona, this gorgeous temple designed by the Italian architect Giuseppe Valadier in 1828 was originally a refugee for Christian pilgrims.
The temple is at the entrance of the Frasassi caves complex, whose Abisso Ancona is one of the biggest cave chambers in the world, 180 meters long and 200 meters tall, enough to accommodate the Milan Cathedral.
Beside the temple stands the Sanctuary of Santa Maria Infra Saxa, built in 1029 and completely carved into the rock.
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