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.
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.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Fanjingshan, also known as Mount Fanjing is a stunning mountain area located in the Wuling Mountains, in the Guizhou province of China.
The mountain site is formed by three peaks: the Mushroom Rock (2.318 m), the Old Golden Peak (2.474 m) and the spectacular Red Cloud Golden Peak (2.336 m) on whose top, onto a 100 meters high rock pinnacle, the Mile Temple and the Shijia Temple are connected by a bridge above the rift that splits the peak into two parts. Visitors can reach the two temples by the whole walking trail (8.888 steps, 5-6 hours), or by cable car and a shorter trail of about 2.300 steps. Fanjingshan is a sacred Buddhist mountain, a pilgrimage destination for thousands of worshipers every year.
The whole Wuling Mountains area has plentiful biodiversity with more than two thousand species of plants and endemic endangered animals like the grey snub-nosed monkey, the Chinese giant salamander and the forest musk deer.
Mount Fanjing can be reached from the city of Tongren by a two hours bus drive and the best period to visit it is from March to November.
The Meenakshi Temple, located in the ancient city of Madurai, is one of the most impressive Indian Hindu temples.
Rebuilt in the 14th century and renovated in the 17th century, the structure is formed by 14 gopurams (gatehouse towers) adorned with several (about a thousand) colourful sculpted pillars, celebrating the Princess Meenakshi and her marriage to Shiva.
Every evening it is represented the symbolic ceremony of the sexual union: Shiva, carried on a silver palanquin, is washed, perfumed, incensed and then taken to Parvati’s room.
The temple has been declared best Swachh Iconic Place (SIP) in India on 2017 and is one of the main Shivaism pilgrimage destinations and attracts thousands of visitors a day.
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