100 Greatest Wonders in the World eBook Release 1.0 (July, 2013) - Mike Kaplan © Touropia.com All rights reserved All text within this eBook, is subject to the copyright of touropia.com Image credits appear on the lower right side of each photo Front cover: The Treasury at Petra

www.touropia.com

2

Foreword
The earliest lists of travel wonders were made more than 2,000 years ago by ancient Hellenic tourists. The idea of creating a list of architectural wonders arose following Alexander  the  Great’s  conquest  of  much  of  the  known  world  in  the  4th  century  BC,  whi ch gave Greek travelers access to the great monuments of the Egyptians, Persians, and Babylonians. The  Greek  writers  didn’t  refer  to  these  monuments  as  “Wonders”  but  rather  as  “top  sights”   or   “things   to   be   seen”   (theamata).   Each   person   had   his   own   version of a Seven Wonders list. Some lists contain such ancient wonders as the Walls of Babylon and the Palace of Cyrus, King of Persia. The most famous lists of are those of Antipater of Sidon and Philon of Byzantium, both created in the 2nd century BC. Except for the Great Pyramid of Giza the wonders on that list no longer exist. They were destroyed by earthquakes, fires and in one case by an angry mob. Many lists of wonders have been made since than. In this eBook  we’ve  tried   to capture the 100 world’s  most  unique  and  wonderful  destinations.  Besides  man -made  structures  we’ve   also  included  nature’s  top  destinations  as  we  think  those  are  just  as  important  and  amazing   as those created by man. With so many beautiful places on earth, a list of the greatest wonders in the world is unlikely to create a consensus. Albeit subjective, this is our version of the greatest wonders of what we think represent the best of what the world has to offer. The Touropia Team

www.touropia.com

3

Paro Valley. It is built around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave. According to a legend Guru Rinpoche flew to this location from Tibet on the back of a tigress and Taktsang was consecrated to tame the Tiger demon. but these have since been painstakingly restored to their former glory. In 1998 a tragic fire destroyed most of the original buildings.   and is the unofficial symbol of Bhutan.000 feet (900 meter) cliff.touropia.com 4 . It is about 2-3 hour. totally up-hill hike from the parking lot to the monastery. Bhutan Taktsang Dzong Situated on the edge of a 3. www. where custom holds that Guru Rinpoche meditated in the 8th century. the ruler of Bhutan from 680 to 694. the Taktsang Monastery or Tiger’s   Nest   creates   an   impressive   sight. Photo by: Kartläsarn #100 The first monastery was not constructed until 1692 at the order of Tenzin Rabgye.

Called the EdgeWalk.Toronto. Thrill-seekers can walk on and around the roof of the main pod of the tower at 1.33 meters) tall was the tallest structure in the world for over 30 years until it was surpassed in height by the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai. It remains the tallest free-standing structure in the Americas attracting more than two million international visitors per year.4 feet (553. Photo by: Scarleth White #99 Visitors can look out from behind glass windows or go to an outside observing area to look through a metal screen.touropia.com 5 . handsfree walk. The attraction is closed throughout the winter season and during periods of electrical storms and high winds. Visitors are tethered to an overhead rail system and walk around the edge of the CN Tower's main pod above the 360 Restaurant.815. The communication tower was built from 1973 to 1976 by the railway   company   “Canadian   National”   and standing 1. www.0 feet (356 m). Canada CN Tower Located in the heart of Downtown Toronto.168. it is the world's highest full-circle. the CN Tower is   Canada’s   most   recognizable icon.

www. monuments and art works. the most popular attraction in the valley. Kathmandu Valley comprises the three chief cities of Bhaktapur. and the Swayambhunath Stupa. the region is famous for its magnificent palaces.touropia. Patan and Kathmandu in addition to hundreds of smaller villages. Photo by: neiljs #98 Spectacular sites not to be missed in Kathmandu Valley include the Bouddhanath Stupa.Nepal Kathmandu Valley Located at the base of the Himalayan Mountains in central Nepal. the Pashupatinath Temple is one of the world's most sacred Hindu shrines. The soaring Dharahara tower offers breathtaking views of the valley while the Garden of Dreams is a historical garden complex complete with sunken flower gardens. which is one of the oldest of its kind in Nepal. Additionally. architecture. Originally inhabited by the Newars and ruled by the Malla kings between the 12th and 18th centuries. pagodas and stupas that give testimony to the superb artistic skill of the Newars. Kathmandu Valley covers a region of ancient cities rife with historic temples. water works and artistic features. ponds.com 6 .

and are famous for their beaches. The Rock Islands are also home to the highest concentration of marine lakes anywhere in the world. One of these lakes is the famous Jellyfish Lake. isolated bodies of seawater separated from the ocean by land barriers. blue lagoons and the peculiar shapes of many of the islands. Many of them display unique mushroom-like shapes.com 7 . The aesthetic beauty of the Rock Islands are heightened by the turquoise lagoons surrounded by a complex reef system Photo by: LuxTonnerre #97 featuring over 385 coral species and different types of habitat. a body of seawater with millions of golden jellyfish with very weak stingers where snorkelers can safely swim.touropia.Palau Rock Islands The Rock Islands are ancient relics of coral reefs that surfaced to form the 445 islands   in   Palau’s   Southern   Lagoon. www.   The   islands are for the most part uninhabited.

The mud of the Dead Sea contain many minerals and is believed to have medicinal and therapeutic benefits. All the shallow waters of the southern end of the sea have been drained and are now salt flats. Another popular activity is for visitors to cover their bodies with the dark mud from the shores. one can float with ease in the Dead Sea and it is in fact nearly impossible to sink. the Dead Sea has been rapidly shrinking because of diversion of incoming water from the Jordan River to the north. It is also the world's second saltiest body of water.378 feet (420 meters) below sea level.touropia. Due to the hypersalination of the water. at 1.com 8 . it is 8. and Jordan to the east.Israel/Jordan Dead Sea The Dead Sea is a salt lake between Israel and the West Bank to the west.6 times saltier than the ocean and 9 times saltier than the Mediterranean Sea. Its salinity prevents the existence of any life forms   in   the   lake. Photo by: Christian Haugen #96 A popular activity by visitors is to have their picture taken while reading a newspaper and floating on the surface of the water. It is said to be the lowest point on Earth. www. In recent decades. With 30 percent salinity. after Lake Asal in Djibouti.   hence   the   name   “Dead   Sea”.

Lighthouse Reef is probably the best known of these atolls due to the Great Blue Hole that can be found near its center. the Great Blue Hole offers divers interesting observations of limestone Photo by: Belize Tourism Board #95 formations that mold its walls. www. as the array of bizarre stalactites and limestone formations become more complex and intense. including giant groupers. and several types of reef sharks such as the Caribbean reef shark and the Blacktip shark. nurse sharks.touropia. The deeper one dives into the Blue Hole. The most popular dive site in all of Belize. Divers can also see several species of fish.com 9 . the fourth atoll lies just north in Mexican waters.Belize Barrier Reef Great Blue Hole Three of the four atolls in the western hemisphere can be found in Belizian waters. the clearer the water and the more breathtaking the scenery.

www. The frequent rains in Milford Sound enhance the beauty of the place by creating hundreds of Photo by: lwtt93 #94 waterfalls that cascade down the steep cliffs and remain even days after the rains stops. Other ways of exploring the Sound and nearby area are by canoeing and walking the Milford Track. Surrounded on both sides by steep. seals and New Zealand glow worms. penguins.touropia. imposing cliffs and lush rainforest. Situated within the Fiordland National Park on South Island. Most scenic tours of Milford Sound involve a bus ride through the breathtaking landscape or a boat cruise into the Sound.com 10 . Tourists also have the option of flight tours to admire the majestic mountains. New Zealand Milford Sound Attracting nearly one million visitors annually. A visit to the Sound offer views of spectacular scenery and wildlife such as dolphins. Milford Sound is one of New Zealand's most popular tourist destinations. The Elephant and The Lion. this awe-inspiring natural wonder is more accurately a fjord than a sound because it was formed by melting glaciers. alpine lakes and rugged coastline from the air. an old Aboriginal trail that offers amazing scenery.Fiordland. the Sound features several majestic peaks named for animals and objects that they resemble such as Mitre Peak.

The Sigiriya rock is a hardened magma plug from an extinct and long-eroded volcano. including defensive structures. and gardens. t is the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka. During his reign (477 to 495). www. After this period. palaces. similar to the Devils Tower in Wyoming.Sri Lanka Sigiriya Rock Sigiriya is a spectacular 1214 foot (370 meter)   high   ‘Lion   rock’   fortress   overlooking   the   green jungle surroundings. After his death Sigiriya was turned back into a Buddhist monastery.com 11 . From about the 5h century BC it was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery and later turned into a rock fortress by King Kasyapa. no records are found on Sigiriya until 300 years later when it was used briefly as an outpost of the Kingdom of Kandy. Most of the elaborate constructions on the rock summit and around it. Photo by: Amila Tennakoon #93 Sigiriya was developed into a complex city and fortress. date back to this period. which lasted until the 13th or 14th century.touropia.

France Chartres Cathedral The majestic Chartres Cathedral is an extraordinary example of medieval Gothic architecture. No direct light enters the Cathedral. after a fire in 1194. the fine sculptures from the mid-12th century. all the warm glow comes through the spectacular red and blue ancient stained glass windows. and. the large nave that is the widest of any in France at 52 feet (16 meters). the elaborate carvings on the doorways. soaring Photo by: Francisco Gonzalez #92 columns.com 12 . it took 26 years to reconstruct this masterpiece of a church. the north portal with its more than 700 figures and the tower with views of the surroundings as well as buttresses and gargoyles make this a marvel. Still in remarkable condition. www. Part of it was built in 1145.touropia.

Most notable of these are Shirdor Medrese. or Islamic schools. mosaics and art works. www. As a result of the city's long and eventful history. which linked China to the West. Gur Emir Mausoleum. Samarkand is an important cultural crossroad due to its central location on the Silk Road. Registan Ensemble. Other monuments of significant interest include the Tomb of the Hebrew Prophet Daniel. it is teeming in historic sites that include complexes of mausoleums. is also surrounded by impressive architecture of these historic mosques and medreses. Islamic schools and mosques known for Photo by: Allan Grey #91 their glazed tilework. serving as a chief center for Islamic study.touropia.Uzbekistan Samarkand Uzbekistan's second-largest and most famous city. BibiKhanym Mosque and Shakhi-Zinda Ensemble. the city developed significantly during the Temurid period between the 14th and 15th centuries. The city square.com 13 . Ulugbek's Observatory and Afrosiab. an excavated archaeological site of an ancient city. While evidence of human settlement here dates back to 1500 BC.

Photo by: Brad Hammonds #90 Today. The city's Old Town is packed with historic landmarks such as the Astronomical Clock and gorgeous churches like the Church of Our Lady before Týn. the city became the capital of Czechoslovakia after World War I. cultural and political center in Central Europe. www. Outside the historic district are must-see sites like the beautiful Charles Bridge and the huge Prague Castle. fine dining and energetic atmosphere.touropia. Prague became the capital of the Czech Republic. Prague was founded in the 9th century and has served over the centuries as the seat of Holy Roman Emperors as well as an important economic. medieval architecture. Prague is a magical city of stunning cathedrals. Following Czechoslovakia's 1993 division into two separate countries. making it one of the most visited cities in Europe.com 14 . Playing important roles in the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years' War.Czech Republic Prague Old City One of Europe's most beautiful cities. vibrant culture.

com 15 . lemon tree gardens. tourists will find enticing villages such as Sorrento.Italy Amalfi Coast Situated in Italy's southwestern region of Campania. craggy cliffs. www. Stretching 30 miles along the southern side of the Sorrento Peninsula. the Amalfi Coast is prized for its picturesque coastline that features shimmering bays. Photo by: Abdulsalam Haykal #89 multicolored villas and ritzy resorts. a combination of historic architecture and modern resorts. One of the most romantic and posh towns along the Amalfi Coast is Positano with its beautiful pebbled beaches. the Amalfi Coast is known for its extraordinary beauty. pastel houses and scenic mountains. All along the Amalfi Coast. restaurants and shops.touropia.

The extremely dry. windless. that they were recognized as figures. lizards and human figures. monkeys. There is also an observation tower along the Pan-American highway with a view of three of the figures. Created between 200 BC and 700 AD the giant figures range from simple lines to stylized spiders. and constant climate of the Nazca Desert has preserved the lines well. revealing the lighter-colored soil below. The lines were created on such a large scale that it wasn’t until the 1920s.touropia. Photo by: Dennis Jarvis #88 when Peruvian airlines started to fly from Lima to Arequipa. llamas. www. They were created by removing surface stones.Peru Nazca Lines The Nazca Lines are located between the towns of Nazca and Palpa along the northern Pacific coast. fish. Hotels and tour agents in Nazca offer round flights in a Cessna to view the lines.com 16 .

but the current structure is about a century old. the Djenné Mosque is built in Sudanese style and located in Mali. Mali Great Mosque The largest mud building in the world. The   city’s   colorful   and   varied   outdoor   market is put on at the foot of this mosque and is a must-visit.com 17 . Djenné was at one time. The entire Photo by: qiv #87 community of Djenné takes an active role in the mosque's maintenance via a unique annual festival. The first mosque on the site was built around the 13th century.touropia. but has the primary objective of repairing the damage inflicted on the mosque in the past year from rain errosion and cracks caused by changes in temperature and humidity.Djenné. www. The mosque is situated in the city of Djenné on the flood plain of the Bani River. ancient Timbuktu’s   sister   city. It has timbers jutting out for support and to make the annual replastering easier. This includes music and food.

com 18 .   www.Thailand Ko Phi Phi Ko Phi Phi is a small archipelago in the Krabi Province in Southern Thailand. Ko Phi Phi Don is the largest island of the group. and is the only island with permanent inhabitants while the smaller Ko Phi Phi Leh is famous as the filming location for the 2000   movie   “The   Beach”. and services are back with building regulations in place to limit the height of new hotels and other buildings to preserve  the  island’s  stunning  views. when   nearly   all   of   the   island’s   infrastructure was destroyed. Redevelopment has.touropia. been swift.  Ko Phi Phi was severely hit by the Photo by: Mike Behnken #86 Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. however.

Photo by: Procsilas Moscas #85 Comprised of beautiful old architecture and courtyards of orange." attracting famous celebrities such as The Beatles. leather. red sandstone walls. www. storytellers. At the heart of the Marrakesh is the Medina. palm. During the 1960s.touropia. lavish palaces and Koranic schools were built of which much can still be seen today. The focal point of the Medina is Djemaa El-Fna. Marrakesh today is still one of Africa's most popular tourist destinations.Morocco Marrakesh Old City One of the largest cities in Morocco. pottery. buzzing with snake charmers. the main square. Marrakesh was founded in the 11th century by the Almoravides. museums. magicians and stalls selling the likes of carpets. Yves Saint Laurent and the Rolling Stones. Marrakesh was formerly one of the country's imperial cities. philosophy and culture. hookahs and spices.com 19 . Marrakesh was known as a "hippie mecca. enticing food stalls and colorful souks. religion. a Berber dynasty who turned the city into an important center of commerce. musicians. acrobats. Under Almoravide rule. or markets. apricot and olive trees. a labyrinth of old walls and narrow passageways packed with historic sites.

which gives it its distinctive appearance and English name. In the 19th century.com 20 . It’s   a   stunning   temple.touropia. symbolizing the openness of the Sikhs towards all people and religions. excited to be at a place that they usually only see on television. it was built at a lower level than the surrounding land so that devotees would have to go down steps to enter it. Some of the architectural features of the Golden Temple were intended to be symbolic of Photo by: Guilhem Vellut #84 the Sikh worldview. India Harmandir Sahib The Harmandir Sahib. instead of one entrance. Maharaja Ranjit Singh covered the upper floors of the temple with gold. Sri Harimandir Sahib has four entrances. In addition. www. Instead of the normal custom of building a temple on high land. better known as the Golden Temple is the main attraction in Amritsar.Amritsar. and the most important religious place to the Sikhs.   and   always   full   of   thousands of pilgrims from all over India. Construction of the famous temple was begun by Guru Ram Dast in the 16th century and completed by his successor Guru Arjan.

The volcano is currently classified as active with a low risk of eruption. 30% of whom are foreigners.000 people climb Mount Fuji every year. an estimated 200.com 21 .touropia. t is one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains" along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku. The volcano’s   exceptionally   symmetrical   cone   is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs. The last recorded eruption was in 1708. The ascent can take anywhere between three and eight hours while the descent can take from two to five hours. Photo by: Daniel Foster #83 A popular destination.776 meters). while climbing from October to May is strongly discouraged because of the severe cold weather. www.388 feet (3. The mostpopular period for to hike up the mountain is from July to August. as well as visited by sightseers and climbers.Japan Mount Fuji Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan at 12.

cheetah.000 large mammals in and around the delta are not year round residents. The waters arrives at the delta in March and rising to the peak months of July and August. between January and February. lion.Botswana Okavango Delta The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the world’s   great   inland   waterways. Species include elephant. rhinoceros and zebra.touropia. The Okavango delta is famous for its wide variety of wildlife. hippopotamus. The delta is created from the rains that fill the Okavango River during the rainy season. It is formed where the Okavango River empties onto a basin in the Kalahari Desert. www. The majority of the estimated 200. Most of the water is lost to evaporation and Photo by: Joachim Huber #82 transpiration instead of draining into the sea. crocodile. giraffe.com 22 . They leave with the summer rains and make their way back as winter approaches.

second only to Aksum. and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country.Davey Lalibela   is   one   of   Ethiopia’s   holiest cities. The Church of St. This rural town is known around the world for its monolithic churches which play an important part in the history of rock-cut architecture. which stands in an artificial trench. most are thought to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries by a medieval Ethiopian civilization. and there is a small baptismal pool outside the church. Ethiopia Rock-Hewn #81 Churches Photo by: A. www. Though the dating of the churches is not well established.Lalibela. The dimensions of the complex are 82 feet by 82 feet by 98 feet (25x25x30 meters). George is the most well known and last built of the eleven churches.touropia.com 23 .

Iran is regarded as one of the masterpieces of Persian Architecture. Iran Shah Mosque The Shah Mosque (or Imam Mosque) in Isfahan. The Safavids dynasty initiated a renaissance in Persian dome Photo by: Scarto #80 building and the dome of the Shah Mosque would become the tallest in Isfahan reaching a height of 74 feet (53 meters). www. as they would on the interior. The distinct feature of this and other Persian domes was the colorful tiles.Isfahan.touropia.com 24 . with which they covered the exterior of their domes. Its construction began in 1611. and its splendor is mainly due to the beauty of its seven color mosaic tiles and calligraphic inscriptions.

rivers. bison. Covering miles of forests. Banff National Park remains more than 93 percent untouched. but also one of the nation's largest and most visited national parks. mountains. Banff National Park's large concentration of wildlife includes mammals like black bears. Canada Banff Located in the province of Alberta. which passes through the park. grizzly bears.Rocky Mountains.com 25 . lakes. glaciers and a few small towns. the Banff National Park is not only Canada's first national park. The mountains of the Valley of the Ten Peaks near the crystal clear Moraine Lake are known for providing scenic vistas. www. moose and wolves. The park's breathtaking scenery and wildlife draw Photo by: Satoru Kikuchi #79 many tourists every year along the TransCanada Highway.touropia.

483 feet (452 meter) it's just over halfway up the tower itself. The visitors' Photo by: Leandro Ciuffo #78 entrance is located at the lower ground floor of Dubai Mall. Although the observation deck is called At the Top.com 26 . Already dominating the Dubai skyline. There is an outdoor observation deck on the 124th floor. Still it is he third-highest observation deck in the world. www. at 2.touropia. UAE Burj Khalifa Until recently called Burj Dubai.Dubai.722 feet (828 meters) and 160 floors the Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest structure by a long shot. at 1. the newly opened tower houses nine hotels and a Las Vegasinspired fountain system.

This magnificent palace was first constructed in 1624 as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII and then later expanded to become the residence of the French Royal Family.com 27 . flowers and pathways. the Chateau Versailles draws more than 3 million visitors annually. In Photo by: Moyan Brenn #77 the   Queen’s   bedchamber. www.France Versailles As one of the most famous Chateaus in France. A must-see   is   the   palace’s   250-acre formal gardens. a corridor lined with seventeen mirrored arches. which are designed in a geometrical pattern of trees. The   palace’s   many   stunning   features include the Hall of Mirrors.touropia. the Grand Apartment of King Louis XVI is a sight to behold.   visitors   can   view a hidden door through which Marie Antionette fled during the March on Versailles. With its seven salons and painted ceilings.

Varanasi has been an important center of learning for ages as well as a chief pilgrimage destination for many Hindus. The best way to see the ghats is by taking a morning boat ride at sunrise. are the ghats. The most famous sites of the city however.com 28 . where many people gather to bathe. It is Photo by: Nico Crisafulli #76 nicknamed the "City of Temples" because of its thousands of temples.000 years. Varanasi is one of the world's oldest living cities. Varanasi is regarded as a sacred city among Hindus. Yoga. The oldest and main ghat is the Dashashwamedh Ghat.touropia. Varanasi offers sights and experiences unknown anywhere else in the world. the series of embankment steps leading down to the Ganges River.India Varanasi With a history dating back to more than 3. www. and that bathing in the River Ganges cleanses one's sins. Jains and Buddhists because it is believed that dying here releases a person's soul from the cycle of reincarnation. Located in North India on the banks of the River Ganges. The Manikarnika Ghat is a burning ghat where Hindu cremations and rituals of death anniversaries are frequently held. shaves and massages are some other activities here.

Researchers today believe that the ancient city had a population of about 20. brothels. Within the architecture of Pompeii's ancient buildings. the Basilica and the Forum Granary Market. which contains a large number of artifacts and plaster casts of people and dogs that died during the catastrophe. Excavation of Pompeii began in 1748. and the site is yet to be totally unearthed.700 years after the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Some of the most significant structures include the Amphitheatre. Vesuvius. Conquered by the Romans in 80 BC. www. mythological characters and hunting scenes.com 29 . bakeries. Visitors can walk along the ancient streets to see the remains of shops. the Temple of Apollo.Italy Pompeii One of Italy's most visited tourist destinations. Pompeii is a famous Roman city which was buried under several feet of volcanic ash for nearly 1.000 died from the catastrophe. bars.touropia. Pompeii developed into an important passage for goods that arrived by sea and had to be sent toward Rome. there is a large number of art works and frescoes depicting erotica. baths and residential homes as well as buildings that served as commercial and religious centers.000 of which 2. A tour of Pompeii offers a fascinating insight into the everyday life of the Photo by: Carlo Mirante #75 ancient Roman world. the Forum.

Neuschwanstein Castle was never built for defense purposes as most castles. Ludwig became obsessed in a project to build a castle that materialized his romantic fantasies. without ever seeing the completion of his beloved castle. this castle was created as a fanciful retreat for a man dubbed the "fairy-tale king. When the banks threatened to seize his property. this fairy-tale castle served as the inspiration behind Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle. However. After losing complete sovereignty of his kingdom. Ludwig reacted irrationally. Neuschwanstein Castle.touropia. is also one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations." King Ludwig II of Bavaria had a reputation for abiding in Photo by: Rob Faulkner #74 daydreams instead of reality. Instead.Germany Neuschwanstein The most photographed building in Germany. Ludwig was found drowned in a lake. www. He was completely captivated by a German legend surrounding the Swan Knight. Constructed in the late 1800s.com 30 . Shortly thereafter. causing the government to declare him mad. the project drained Ludwig of his finances. Nestled among the breathtaking beauty of the Bavarian Alps near the town of Fussen.

One of the most popular is the Maid of the Mist boat tour that brings visitors close enough to feel the spray from the plunging cascades. There are several ways to experience Niagara Falls. The magnificent beauty and enormous volume of Niagara Falls attracts millions every year from all over the world. The Ontario Photo by: Montse PB #73 side of the Falls is called Horseshoe Falls and offers the best views and most attractions.touropia.Canada/USA Niagara Falls Niagara Falls is a series of three awe-inspiring waterfalls situated on the border of Canada's Ontario and the United States' New York. Visitors can also walk along a boardwalk beside the rapids or enjoy a cable car ride overhead." Niagara Falls in recent years has also developed as a popular destination for family and adventure vacations. www. Although it is often called the "Honeymoon Capital of the World.com 31 .

com 32 . multi-storey Photo by: Kunal Mukherjee #72 buildings carved into the mountain face. The 34 Buddhist. Ellora represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. and other rooms. sleeping quarters. and covers an area double the size of the Parthenon in Athens. is the unrivaled centerpiece of Ellora. was carved out of one single rock. This gargantuan structure. Hindu and Jain rock cut temples and monasteries were built between the 5th century and 10th century. designed to recall Mount Kailash.touropia. The Buddhist caves were the earliest structures and consist mostly of large. The Kailasa Temple. kitchens. including living quarters. www.India Ellora Caves The Ellora Caves are located 19 miles (30 km) from the city of Aurangabad in India.

they illuminate the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red. even if you are in the best areas. The lights often appear as flickering curtains following the earth's magnetic field and can change within seconds or glow unchanging for hours.touropia.com 33 . The Aurora Borealis is caused by charged particles ejected from the sun during large solar explosions. most often in fluorescent green. they are led Photo by: Dan Nordal #71 towards a circle around the magnetic North Pole. Just remember to wrap up warmly. Iceland and Northern Norway and the northernmost areas of Sweden and Finland. The energy which is then released is the northern lights. There is no guarantee to see the Northern Lights though. northern parts of Canada. When the particles meet the Earth's magnetic shield. The area with the highest probability to see the Northern Lights covers most of Alaska. Naturally. but from farther away. surreal color. the longer you stay in the north the better the odds. the southern half of Greenland. as well as the western half of the Russian north. Auroras seen near the magnetic pole may be high overhead. www. as if the Sun were rising from an unusual direction.Auroral Zone Northern Lights The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon that can paint the night sky with unearthly. where they interact with the upper layers of the atmosphere.

Out of faith and sheer determination." and this phrase aptly describes the spectacular cliffs that rise more than 1. baskets and ladders. Photo by: Takeaway #70 Dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries. these monasteries were built by monks who had been living in nearby caves. it took years for the monks to transport their religious materials up the cliffs by way of ropes. What makes these cliffs even more inspiring are the historic monasteries perched along the summits.200 feet (365 meters) into the air overlooking the villages of Kalambaka and Kastraki in the north central mainland of Greece.com 34 . seeking spiritual isolation and freedom from religious persecution.Greece Meteora The Greek word meteora means "suspended in the air. www.touropia.

The valley contains 63 tombs and chambers. and the public ones are closed periodically for restoration work. This is to minimize time in the tombs and prevent the crowds from damaging the surfaces of the decoration. The fabulous riches of the tomb are no longer in it.Egypt Valley of the Kings The Valley of the Kings is a valley in Egypt where. www. Most of the tombs are not open to the public. ranging in size from a simple pit to a complex tomb with over 120 chambers. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Tour guides are no longer allowed to lecture inside the tombs and visitors are expected to proceed quietly and in single file through the tombs. for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC.com 35 . tombs were constructed for the kings and privileged nobles of the New Kingdom.touropia. Only the famous tomb of Photo by: dalbera #69 Tutankhamun was spared from the worst of the tomb depredations. but have been removed to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. All of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity.

most of these are found on the island of La Digue. one of the world's most beautiful beaches due to the large pink granite rocks studding the coastline. A few high end ones.Indian Ocean Seychelles Islands The Republic of Seychelles is a scenic archipelago of 115 islands located northeast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.touropia. affordable self-catering facilities and Photo by: Didier Baertschiger #68 guesthouses. the Seychelles has plenty of quaint. www. coupled with sandy beaches and palms. have their own private islands. On top of ultra-luxurious options. And a vast living world lies just below the turquoise waters. The Seychelles is also a top spot to watch birds and giant tortoises in their natural habitat.com 36 . like the North Island. It claims some of the most beautiful beaches and scenery in the world and is associated with luxury and elegance. Most resorts can be found on the main islands of Mahe and Praslin. This island is also home to L'Anse Source D'Argent. beckoning divers of all levels.

Entry to the third courtyard was strictly regulated and off-limits to outsiders. Turkey Topkapi Palace For almost four centuries.touropia. the first courtyard is where elite palace soldiers stood guard. Important artifacts include the jewel-encrusted Topkapi dagger and the 86-carat   Spoonmaker’s   Diamond.Istanbul. The palace is also home to venerated Islamic relics. The second courtyard is a lush green space encompassed by the former imperial harem and the Tower of Justice as well as a hospital and kitchens. porcelain. tortoise shell inlays and exquisite blue-and-white Iznik tiles. www. jewelry and other treasures of the Ottoman Empire. the palace became a museum that exhibits an extensive collection of art. Known as the Tulip Garden. Sultan Mehmed II started work on the palace shortly after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and lived here until his death in 1481. Suleiman the Magnificent constructed the entry gate. which prepared thousands of meals each day. The fourth courtyard   served   as   the   sultan’s   inner   sanctum.   Photo by: Ivan Mlinaric #67 The Ottoman palace has four primary courtyards and several outbuildings. the opulent Topkapi Palace served as the official residence of the sultans who ruled the Ottoman Empire. Known as the Janissaries Court. including the Prophet  Mohammed’s  sword  and  cloak. In 1924.com 37 . the buildings are adorned with mother-ofpearl.

of the surrounding cathedral and piazza complex known as Campo dei Miracoli. the famous landmark is the campanile. A fine example of Romanesque architecture. the tower began to tilt Photo by: echiner1 #66 due to an unstable foundation of soft ground and was left alone for almost a century. When the construction resumed the engineers built higher floors with one side taller than the other to compensate for the tilt and the tower was finally finished in the 2nd half of the 14th century. www. it has been stabilized by cement injections in the 1920s.com 38 . Just two years after the initial construction. While the tower now leans at about 4 degrees. or Field of Miracles. the Leaning Tower of Pisa is known worldwide for its tilting position.Pisa. Located in the city of Pisa. Since 2001. or bell tower. the tower was constructed in three stages over a period of 200 years beginning in 1173. Italy Leaning Tower One of Italy's most popular and photographed buildings. the famous tower is again open   to   those   wishing   to   climb   it’s   296   steps to the top.touropia.

red kangaroo and the Woma python. call the rock Uluru and regard it as a sacred site. Located within the UluruKata Tjuta National Park of the Northern Territory. The area around Ayers Rock is home to a number of species of wildlife including lizards. emus. Photo by: rumpleteaser #65 Steeped in Aboriginal legends. www. violet and red. One of the rock's peculiarities is that it changes colors dramatically at sunset from terra cotta to blue. Ayers Rock is also one of Australia's iconic landmarks.touropia. the rock formation features caves containing ancient carvings and paintings.Australia Ayers Rock/Uluru One of the world's largest monoliths. Although climbing Ayers Rock is permitted and popular among many tourists. known as Anangu. this large sandstone formation stands more than 1.100 feet (340 meters) high with a circumference of five miles (9 km). bush turkeys. The local Aboriginal tribe.com 39 . this activity is sometimes forbidden during times of bad weather and when the local indigenous tribe performs traditional ceremonies and rituals.

www.   the   Lascaux Caves are a cave complex in southwestern France decorated with some of the most impressive and famous cave paintings in the world.com 40 .000 years old. Most of the cave paintings are situated quite a distance away from the entrance and must have been created with the aid of candles.2 meters) long.France Lascaux Nicknamed   “the   prehistoric   Sistine   Chapel”. the largest animal discovered so far in any cave in Europe. horses and deers are depicted. Due to the damage resulting from too many people visiting the caves. the Lascaux paintings have been permanently closed to the public.touropia. One of the bulls is 17 feet (5. The French government has built Lascaux II near the site where tourists can see a copy of the original cave. The most famous cave painting is The Great Hall of the Bulls Photo by: Christine McIntosh #64 where bulls. The Lascaux paintings are estimated to be 17.

Under Ivan III. Those who enjoy the performing arts will want to consider attending a ballet or concert at the State Kremlin Palace. However. the largest bombard by caliber in the world. It is conveniently located in downtown Moscow and dominates the skyline of Russia’s   largest   city. the Tsar Bell. and the Tsar Cannon. The Kremlin's outer walls were built in the late 1400s. Completed in 1961.touropia. It has been used as a fort. are among the remaining items from that era.com 41 . it is the only modern building in the Kremlin. better known as Ivan the Great. and was extensively remodeled. The Kremlin has also served as the religious center of the country.   The   Kremlin   serves   as the   residence   for   the   country’s   president. Joseph Stalin removed many of the relics from the tsarist regimes. and this fact is made clear by its sheer size. Russia Kremlin The Moscow Kremlin is one of   Russia’s   most   popular   tourist attractions.   Three   of   the   Kremlin’s   cathedrals date to his reign.Moscow. The Ivan the Great Bell Tower was built in 1508. and there is a tremendous number of preserved churches and cathedrals here. the world's largest bell. the Kremlin became the center of a unified Russian state. www. It is Photo by: Lori Branham #63 the tallest tower at the Kremlin with a height of 266 feet (81 meters).

Indonesia Komodo Island Komodo Island is part of the Komodo National Park. Komodo dragons have been known to attack humans. Komodo dragons eat mostly carcass of dead animals.but they are formidable predators and will also hunt prey including birds. Although attacks are very rare. The Komodo   Dragon   is   the   world’s   largest   living reptile and can reach 10 feet (3 Photo by: Yusmar Yahaya #62 meters) or more in length and weigh over 150lb (70kg). As a result of their size.touropia. a national park in Indonesia located within the Lesser Sunda Islands. these lizards dominate the island ecosystems in which they live. and 26 smaller ones. and mammals. The park also includes the islands Padar and Rincah.com 42 . The island is particularly notable as the natural habitat of the Komodo dragon and consequently named after the island. www.

After a flooding in 2008 several buidlings collapsed because their foundation was compromised by the flood waters. Many. The mud buildings have to be maintained and frequently renovated by the inhabitants in order to protected them from rain and erosion. Photo by: Jialiang Gao #61 While Shibam itself dates back to the third century AD. have been rebuilt numerous times in the last few centuries.Yemen Shibam Nicknamed   the   “Manhatten   of   the   desert”. though. most of the city's houses originate from the 16th century. eventually leading to their collapse. were built to protect the citizens from Bedouin raids. The tower houses. Іt  wаs   аlsо   the   target   оf   аn   Al   Qaeda   attack   іn   2009.com 43 . some 16 stories tall and up to 100 feet (30 meters high) and made out of mud bricks.touropia.   Shibam is a town in Yemen featuring unique high rise apartment buildings. www.

the inside of the building is what sets it apart from other Mosques in the city. they agreed to leave the Moorish architecture in place. However. they consecrated the building as a Christian church. recycled from the Roman temple that previously stood at the site. the Mosque looks similar to many other buildings of the time.touropia.Spain Mezquita of Cordoba The Mezquita (Spanish for “Mosque”)   of   Cordoba   is   a   fascinating building famous for the forest of pillars and arches inside the main hall.293 columns. Sculptured pillars. made from onyx. It was built on the spot where a 6th-century Visigothic church had once stood. Photo by: Procsilas Moscas #60 With such a varied past. During the 1520s. they actually built a church within the mosque. However. the Christians took Cordoba from the Moors. In the 13th century. One of the most unique design elements is the use of red and white double-tiered arches within the building. it is no wonder that the Mezquita of Cordoba is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain.com 44 . granite and jasper. there were 1. www. At this time. support these arches. marble. Originally. Construction on the mosque began in 784 AD after the Moors captured Cordoba. From the outside. but only 856 remain today. It is unique in that it has undergone several religious changes over time.

The highest point on Table Mountain is 3.086 meters) above sea level. There is a cableway that Photo by: Jim Sher #59 takes passengers to the top of the mountain with views overlooking Cape Town.   It’s   main   feature   is   a   level   plateau approximately 2 miles (3 kilometers) from side to side. He climbed the mighty mountain in 1503 and  named  it  ‘Table  Mountain’. António de Saldanha was the first European to land in Table Bay. www. South Africa Table Mountain Table Mountain is a flattopped mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town in South   Africa. surrounded by steep cliffs.touropia.Cape Town.563 feet (1. and the Atlantic seaboard to the west and south. Table Bay and Robben Island to the north.com 45 .

Stonehenge was produced by a culture that left no written records so many aspects of Stonehenge remain subject to debate. www.touropia.com 46 . Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones in south west England. but many scholars believe the monument was used as a ceremonial or religious center. The gigantic stones may have come from a quarry. It is not known for certain what purpose Stonehenge served. Evidence indicate that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2500 Photo by: Natesh Ramasamy #58 BC while the last known construction at Stonehenge was about 1600 BC. around 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Stonehenge on the Marlborough Downs.England Stonehenge One of the most famous sites in the world.

While it contains the world's highest Photo by: Jim Trodel #57 concentration of skyscrapers and one of the highest population densities. mountain views and beaches. www. Located off China's southeastern coast. Hong Kong is a glittering. world-class commercial center where Chinese culture.com 47 . Hong Kong also offers plenty of green spaces. Some of the must-see attractions include the famous Victoria Harbour.China Hong Kong Cityscape Nicknamed the Oriental Pearl. Hong Kong's highest peak which offers aweinspiring views of the harbour. Hong Kong is one of Asia's most traveled destinations thanks to its spectacular natural beauty and man-made marvels.touropia. which is a spectacular sight at night with all the dazzling skyscrapers and The Peak. British colonial influences and modern day high-technology blend together.

The more open terrain also allows more light for better photo opportunities than in Bwindi. Bwindi is home to about half of all mountain gorillas. Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.touropia. In Rwanda the Mountain Gorillas can be found in Virunga National Park.com 48 . There are two populations. The other is found in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The park encompasses six volcanoes. northwestern Rwanda and eastern Congo. One is found in an extinct volcanic region called the Virunga Range along the borders of Rwanda. With less than 900 mountain gorillas left in the world. There are two parks in Uganda. www.Rwanda/Uganda Mountain Gorillas The mountain gorilla is the world’s  most  endangered  ape   found only in small portions of protected forests in southwestern Uganda. seeing them in the wild is something only a few people will ever have the chance to experience. The park covers a mountainous region of extremely dense rainforest. Visitors can also get to see chimpanzees as well as some spectacular bird life. Tracking gorillas in Virunga is slightly less strenuous than at Bwindi since the gorillas move around a little less. the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Photo by: Philip Kromer #56 Bwindi Impenetrable National Park where travelers are able to go gorilla tracking.

the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River. The complex was relocated in its entirety in the 1960s to avoid their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser.com 49 . the temples fell into disuse and eventually became covered by sand until they were rediscovered in 1813 by Swiss explorer Jean Louis Burkhart. www. Archaeologists have concluded that the immense size of the statues was intended to scare potential enemies approaching Egypt's southern region. as Photo by: Olaf Tausch #55 they travelled down the Nile from out of Africa.Egypt Abu Simbel Abu Simbel is an archaeological site comprising two massive temples in southern Egypt on the western bank of Lake Nasser. The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses The Great in the 13th century BC. as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari.touropia. With the passage of time.

the bridge took seven years to build. the span length has been surpassed by eight other bridges but it remains one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Strauss. USA Golden Gate Bridge The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate. and was completed in 1937. whose statue graces the southern observation deck.San Francisco. The masterwork of architect Joseph B. Since its completion. www. the strait between San Francisco and Marin County to the north.com 50 .touropia. The famed redorange color of the bridge was specifically chosen to make the bridge more easily visible through the thick fog that frequently shrouds the bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge Photo by: Bob Dass #54 span in the world when it was completed.

www. Auyantepui.Venezuela Angel Falls Angel Falls or Salto Ángel is the   world’s   highest   waterfall.208 feet (978 meter) from a cleft near the summit of Auyantepui. The falls themselves were named after pilot Jimmie Angel who Photo by: Erik Kristensen #53 accidentally discovered the falls in 1933. Angel crashed his small plane on top of Auyantepui. It took him and his crew 11 days to descend the mountain. The most visited tepui in Venezuela.touropia. Angel falls are styll located in an isolated jungle region of Venezuela. which means “Devil’s  Mountain”  in  the  language  of  the   native Pemon people. in the Canaima National Park and the only access is by air. During a return trip in 1937.com 51 .   dropping a total of 3.

Tourists can ride the elevator to see incredible views of the city or dine in one of the two fine restaurants that are situated within the tower.Paris. www.touropia. Since   it’s   construction   more   than   200. With a height of 984 feet (300 meters) it was the tallest tower in the world until 1930.000. France Eiffel Tower The Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Paris and France and one of the most famous landmarks in the world.000 people have visited the Eiffel Tower making it the most visited paid monument in the world. The tower was built by Gustave Eiffel as the entrance arch for the International Exhibition of Paris of 1889. when the Chrysler Photo by: NonOmnisMoriar #52 Building in New York was completed.com 52 .

The primary activity on the Maldives is scuba diving and snorkeling. The word atoll actually comes from the the Dhivehi (a language spoken  on  the  Maldives)  word  “atholhu”. meaning that water clarity is excellent and underwater life is abundant. even a few wrecks. you can find it in the Maldives.touropia.   With the highest point above sea level being around 6 feet (2 meters). the Photo by: Nattu #51 Robinson Crusoe life style is everywhere you look. The atolls are all coral reefs hundreds of miles away from any major landmass. sharks.com 53 . Manta rays. you name it.Indian Ocean Maldives Atolls The tiny country of the Maldives in the middle of the Indian Ocean is made up of about 1.200 tiny coral islands grouped into 26 atolls. www.

making it one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities of the world. The Old City is the main attraction with its numerous historic and religious landmarks. www. In spite of time and warfare. Some of the most important sites include the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Jerusalem's many historic sites Photo by: israeltourism #50 remain well preserved. Christianity and Islam. modern day high-rise buildings and medieval neighborhoods. Located high in the Judean Mountains. Jerusalem is a remarkable blend of 1st century structures. the Wailing Wall. Over the centuries. the Dome of the Rock and the AlAqsa Mosque. Jerusalem was formerly inhabited by the Jebusite tribe until King David of the Israelites captured it 3.Israel/Palestine Jerusalem Old City Regarded as a holy city to the three major religions of Judaism. attacked and captured numerous times by opposing religious and political powers.com 54 . Divided into several districts.touropia. Jerusalem is one of the world's oldest cities.000 years ago and made it his capital city. the city has been besieged. the Temple Mount.

dressing rooms and more. venues. the Sydney Theatre Company and The Australian Ballet. the Sydney Opera House was designed and built by architect.com 55 . to reflect the image of a huge sailing ship. featuring distinctive roof shells that resemble billowing sails. Attending a performance is not required to experience the full splendor of the Sydney Opera House.touropia. Jørn Utzon.Australia Sydney Opera House One of Australia's famous landmarks. What's more. backstage. located in Sydney's Central Business District and surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Sydney Harbour and the Royal Botanic Gardens. www. Regarded as a 20th century architectural masterpiece.500 performances each year. Sydney Opera House is home to four prominent companies including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Daily tours are available where visitors can explore the halls. The structure is 600 feet long and 394 feet wide (183 by 120 meters) at its widest point. Opera Photo by: Pavel #49 Australia. Visited by several million people annually. this stunning structure houses multiple venues that together host more than 1. the Sydney Opera House is one of the world's most prestigious performing arts centers.

The Salar contains large amounts of sodium.com 56 . It also holds about 40% of the world's lithium reserves which is a vital component of many electric batteries. www. Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world. which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within 3 feet (one meter) over the entire area of the Salar. It is covered by a few feet of salt crust. The reflection of the blue sky creates an even more Photo by: Kris Krug #48 surreal landscape. potassium and magnesium. The expanse of salt creates an unending white landscape during the dry season.touropia. The Salar also serves as the major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano and is a major breeding ground for several species of pink flamingos during the rainy season. but the area is most breathtaking in the rainy season when it is covered in water.Bolivia Salar de Uyuni Located in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia. although some tourists insist on seeing the salt.

www. Tikal is perhaps the most breathtaking of all the Mayan sites. Tikal contains 6 very large temple pyramids. Between ca. The largest.com 57 .touropia. Restored buildings are scattered around the area while many more ruined buildings are still hidden by the jungle. Tikal was the largest Mayan city with an estimated Photo by: Piers Canadas #47 population between 100. Climbing to the top of one of these ancient Mayan temples offers a great experience with beautiful panoramic views from above the tree tops.Guatemala Tikal Situated in the lowland rainforest of northern Guatemala. 200 to 900 AD.000 and 200. Templepyramid IV.000 inhabitants. is some 230 feet (72 meters) high and was finished around 720 AD.

The renowned Temple of BaalJupiter. for example. Baalbek was known as Heliopolis.com 58 . the Roman goddess of love.000 years before the Romans. during Roman times.touropia. Now home to 72.000 people. Other popular sights include a finely carved temple in honor of Bacchus. It is home to the most famous ancient site in Lebanon and arguably the most important Roman ruins in the Middle East.Lebanon Baalbek Baalbek is a historical town in the Beqaa Valley. Photo by: Jan Hilgers #46 Baalbek is famous for its complex of intricately carved stone temples. some of which are the largest ever built by the Romans. the City of the Sun. and a round temple dedicated to Venus. most of whom are Shia Muslims. It's believed to be built on a site held sacred by the Canaanites some 2. located about two hours by bus from Beirut and one hour from the Syrian capital of Damascus. It features columns that stand 65 feet (20 meters) tall and a terrace created out of enormous stones. conflates the Canaanite god with the Roman god of the sky and thunder. www. the Roman god of wine.

like the domed Santa Maria del Fiore. a beautiful bridge spanning the Arno River and featuring a number of high-end jewelry shops. Some of the best places to walk include the Ponte Vecchio.touropia. the main square. stunning Photo by: Benson Kua #45 churches. Florence's hoard of art masterpieces are found all over the city. Internationally observed as the birthplace of Italian Renaissance. impacting the entire world in a number of ways culturally. is home to beautiful buildings and world famous sculptures like Cellini's Perseus with the Head of Medusa. www. The Piazza della Signoria. Florence is also known as the home of the wealthy and powerful Medici dynasty that produced several kings and popes. Florence is often described as a colossal outdoor museum because of its mass of art and architectural treasures. and internationally esteemed art galleries like the Ufizzi and Pitti Palace.com 59 .Italy Florence Cityscape The capital of Tuscany. Ammannati's Fountain of Neptune and Michelangelo's Statue of David. Walking is the best way to see the major sites in the city center. economically and politically. contained within the large numbers of museums.

touropia. they would wrap halfway around the globe.Ifugao. and compact. Lately. as more and more Ifugao tribes people are emigrating to the cities. these under-maintained rice terraces have been showing their age. that if stretched out end to end. The terraced fields were carved out by hand without modern tools by the Ifugao tribes and have been producing rice for almost 2. These terraces are so numerous.com 60 . www. Philippines Banaue Rice Terraces Situated in the heartlands of the Cordilleras mountains of the Philippines and rising to an altitude of 5000 feet (1525 meters) are the Banaue Rice Terraces. steep. They are fed by an ancient Photo by: IRRI Images #44 irrigation system from the rainforests above the fields.000 years.

Among the most famous and beautiful of these fjords is Geirangerfjord. Photo by: Suomi Star #43 A visit to Geirangerfjord offers a variety of attractions and adventures.Norway Geirangerfjord During the ice ages. which displays exhibits about the history and culture of the area.com 61 .touropia. On each side of the fjord. water from melted glaciers filled up deep valleys. Stretching for more than nine miles (15 km) long. creating a refreshing curtain in which people can actually walk behind. Jutting out from the cliff sides in seven separate cataracts. home to restaurants. the lush mountains are dotted with quaint farms. the Seven Sisters waterfall plunges more than 800 feet (250 meter) into the fjord. Geirangerfjord is a natural wonder of deep blue water surrounded by majestic cliffs and lush green mountains towering more than 3.000 meters) high.500 feet (1. lodging and the Geiranger Fjord Centre. Adding to the spectacular scenery are several stunning waterfalls and lush countryside dotted with picturesque farms. Not to be missed are the impressive waterfalls that include the Seven Sisters. located in southwestern Norway near the coastal town of Ålesund. Not far from the fjord is the town of Geiranger. www. forming the prodigies of nature that are known today as fjords.

com 62 . www. Inside the castle are exquisitely decorated rooms and lavish gardens of the royal palace. wood inlays. colonnaded galleries and an ornate fountain. An exquisite example of Alhambra's symbolism is the Court of Lions that features intricate mosaics. The well-preserved citadel is one of the finest examples of Moorish architecture and Photo by: Frank Kovalchek #42 engineering. The name is derived from Arabic words meaning the red one. vaulted ceilings. and a royal palace was added in 1333. intricate stucco and gold leaf ceilings reflect the grandeur of the period. The brickwork. such as the Hall of the Abencerrajes. The original fortress was constructed in 889. Spain Alhambra The Alhambra in Granada is the palace-fortress complex where Spanish Moors made their final stand during the Reconquista led by the Christian monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella.Granada.touropia. which describes the citadel's brilliant façade.

Built in the 8th and 9th centuries over a period of 75 years. On the top platform. Borobudur is constructed of two million volcanic block stones and consists of six rectangular terraces crowned by three circular terraces. Borobudur is decorated with a total of 504 Buddha statues and more than 2. www. Modeled like a stepped pyramid.com 63 .600 elaborately carved relief panels depicting the teachings of Buddha and everyday life in ancient Java. the temple complex was mysteriously abandoned in the 14th century and left Photo by: Jean-Marie Hullot #41 hidden for centuries under volcanic ash and jungle growth until its unearthing by the British in the 1800s. Borobudur is one of Indonesia's most popular tourist destinations as well as one of the world's most important Buddhist temples.Indonesia Borobudur A colossal temple complex dating back to the 8th century. Located in the lush Kedu Plain with a backdrop of majestic volcanoes.touropia. Borobudur is an awe-inspiring site located 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Yogyakarta in Central Java. the main dome is enclosed by 72 Buddha statues.

The historic district. Located at the southern tip of Croatia off the Adriatic Sea. defensive walls. Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. Dubrovnik presents many sightseeing treasures. Onofrio's Fountain. At night. science and education. is stuffed with many historic features such as the old.com 64 . Dubrovnik was established in the 7th century on maritime trade. www. offering Photo by: Dayou_X #40 alluring architecture and art works.touropia. With orange rooftop houses sitting in contrast to the blue sky." the old city of Dubrovnik is one of the prominent tourist destinations of the Mediterranean.Croatia Dubrovnik Old City Nicknamed the "Pearl of the Adriatic. magnificent palaces and stunning churches. A mustsee is the 15th century engineering marvel. In spite of constant territorial threats from Venice and the Ottoman Empire. cobblestone streets. Today. the Old Town is illuminated. Dubrovnik flourished in the Middle Ages as a center of literature. giving it a romantic ambiance. the Old Town. art.

Designed to resemble the Photo by: Jack Versloot #39 shape of a bonfire in full flame. the architecture is not only unique to the period in which it was built but to any subsequent period. Russia St. Basil’s Cathedral With its multicolored spires and domes of assorted shapes and sizes. Known for its various colors.touropia. Basil's Cathedral is easily one of Moscow's most recognizable icons as well as one of the world's most photographed landmarks. Located at one end of the Red Square next to the Kremlin. St.Moscow. the cathedral was built to commemorate the capture of the Tatar strongholds of Kazan and Astrakhan. shapes and geometric patterns. both Napoleon and Stalin wanted to destroy the cathedral but fortunately did not succeed. Ivan the Terrible ordered the cathedral's construction in the mid-16th century. St. St. and legend holds that Ivan put out the architect's eyes so that he would be unable to build another cathedral more glorious than St. On the lower floor. www. Basil the Blessed. Basil's. Basil's Cathedral houses nine different chapels that are all connected by a winding labyrinth of corridors and stairways.com 65 . For various reasons. Basil's Chapel contains a silver casket bearing the body of St.

com 66 . The vivid colors in the spring are the result of pigmented bacteria that grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water. hot. as well as to protect the incredible wildlife and rugged beauty of the area.000 examples of geysers and hot springs. The most famous geyser in the park is Old Faithful Geyser. grizzly bears. www.Wyoming. molten mantle rock rises towards the surface. with more than 10. hot springs. and other thermal areas. The bacteria produce colors ranging from green to red.touropia. Subsequently. It is one of the most predictable geographical features on Photo by: Jim Trodel #38 earth erupting almost every 91 minutes. deer. the park   contains   half   of   all   the   world’s   known geothermal features. Black bears. The largest hot spring in Yellowstone and the third largest in the world is the Grand Prismatic Spring. Yellowstone lies on top of a gigantic hotspot where light. elk. set aside in 1872 to preserve the vast number of geysers. In addition to all the geothermal features Yellowstone is also home to one of the finest megafauna wildlife habitats in North America. bison and wolves can all be found within the park borders. The center of the pool is sterile due to extreme heat. USA Yellowstone Yellowstone National Park was   the   world’s   first   national   park.

Italy Canals of Venice Located in northeastern Italy. Venice is often crowded and expensive but well worth visiting to see its magnificent landmarks like Saint Mark's Photo by: Tambako The Jaguar #37 Square and Basilica. and the Grand Canal is packed with fleets of decorated boats and gondolas. Every year. One of the most popular things to do is to take a gondola ride along the Grand Canal.touropia. Venice hosts one of Italy's liveliest Carnival festivals where the streets are filled with people dressed in colorful costumes and masks. www. Of the canals. Picturesque waterways and historic architecture make Venice one of the most romantic cities in the world. A popular souvenir to purchase in Venice is one of the beautifully crafted carnival masks. Venice is an archipelago of 118 islands all connected by hundreds of beautiful bridges and scenic canals. the Grand Canal is most famous and divides the city into two sections.com 67 . Doge's Palace and Rialto Bridge.

However.Turkey Cappadocia Covering a large region in Central Anatolia of Turkey. cones. Natural processes such as ancient volcanic eruptions and erosion have all sculpted these odd formations over the ages.touropia. Inhabited as early as 1800 BC. www. rock castles. thousands of years ago. Cappadocia is best known for its fairytale landscape of unusual formations resembling chimneys. mushrooms and pinnacles. churches and underground cities from the soft rock. monasteries and handicraft markets. Göreme. restaurants. Avanos. Hittites and other residents chiseled out underground tunnel Photo by: Amrit Patel #36 complexes.com 68 . Christians. fairy chimneys. sought refuge in Cappadocia's tunnels and caves. old Greek villages. Some of the caves in the region are actually hotels and cater to tourists. While much of Cappadocia is located in the province of Nevsehir. with some of them rising as much as 130 feet (40 meters) high. some of the main towns in the region are Ürgüp. Much later in the 4th century AD. seeking safety from invading Persians and Greeks. nightlife options and attractions such as museums. Many of these towns offer hotels. mankind added remarkable touches to the landscape by carving out houses. underground tunnels. Ortahisar and Mustafapasa. fleeing out of religious persecution from Rome.

Vatican City

St Peter's Basilica
It may be the center of the Catholic world, but visitors do not have to be religious to appreciate the magnificent architecture and art works contained within St. Peter's Basilica. Located on Vatican Hill in Rome, St. Peter's Basilica is a dominating structure that was built over a period of more than a hundred years by some of Italy's greatest artists including Michelangelo and Bernini. Although the original church was built in 349 AD, the current basilica was constructed in the 16th century to replace the former due to deterioration. Catholic tradition says that the present day St. Peter's Basilica is built upon the tomb site where Peter, an apostle of Jesus

Photo by: Doc Searls

#35

Christ, was buried in 64 AD. The church building itself is impressive, sporting the world's tallest dome, which dominates Rome's skyline. Able to hold 60,000 people, St. Peter's Basilica contains several niches and chapels including the Chapel of the Pieta, which houses Michelangelo's statue of the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ in her lap. One of the biggest draws of the church is its lavish interior of marble features, gilding and outstanding art works that consist of paintings, sculptures, mosaics and reliefs. The basilica is fronted by St. Peter's Square, a vast plaza designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, featuring decorative fountains, massive colonnades and a 4,000-year old Egyptian obelisk.

www.touropia.com

69

Xi’an,  China

Terracotta Army
The Mausoleum of the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC), who successfully defeated all rival states and unified China, is located near the city of Xi’an.   The   tomb   of   the   emperor   has   not   been excavated yet but his buried terracotta army unearthed nearby has already become one of the most popular attractions in China. It is estimated that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over 8,000 soldiers, 130

Photo by: Pedro Szekely

#34

chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses, the majority of which are still buried. The figures are life-like and lifesized. The colored lacquer finish, individual facial features, and actual weapons that were used in manufacturing these figures created a realistic appearance. Although the weapons were stolen and the coloring has faded greatly, their existence serves as a testament to the amount of labor and skill involved in their construction.

www.touropia.com

70

Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater is the world's largest unbroken caldera. It is formed from a volcano erupting two to three million years ago which has collapsed and formed a crater. The crater is about 2,000 feet (600 meters) deep and its floor covers 100 square miles (260 square kilometers). The steep sides of the crater have become a natural enclosure for a wide variety of

Photo by: Stig Nygaard

#33

wild animals. The crater is home to over 30,000 animals including elephants, lions, cheetahs, wildebeests and buffaloes. It is also presently one of the most likely areas in Africa to see the endangered Black Rhino. Local Maasai people are permitted to bring cattle to graze in the crater but are required to leave at the end of each day.

www.touropia.com

71

www.000 other buildings and 8. the last Photo by: Bridget Coila #32 Emperor of China.touropia. Surrounded by a 26-foot (8 meter) high wall with several gates. a wide moat and royal gardens. Situated in the heart of Beijing near the Tiananmen Square. the complex covers a huge rectangle and consists of 90 palaces and halls with courtyards. 24 emperors reigned over the country for almost 5 centuries from the Forbidden City until the abdication of Puyi. nearly 1.700 rooms. this enormous palace was constructed in the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty and served until 1911 as the imperial residence of emperors and their families as well as the center of Chinese political and ceremonial functions.Beijing.com 72 . the palace was formerly named the Forbidden City because entrance to it was strictly prohibited unless approved by the emperor due to its religious significance as the Heavenly Emperor's earthly residence. the Forbidden City is the world's largest palace complex. China Forbidden City Attracting 8 million visitors annually. Known today as the Palace Museum. In total.

French Polynesia

Bora Bora
One of the most beautiful and photographed islands in the South Pacific Ocean, Bora Bora is part of the archipelago of the Society Islands belonging to French Polynesia. About 20 miles (32 km) wide, the island consists of a mainland that is surrounded by several small islets famously known today for their tourists resorts of thatched-roof bungalows and long wooden boardwalks stretching out over a clear blue lagoon. Dominating the center of the island are the emerald green peaks of Mt. Otemanu and Mt. Pahia.

Photo by: K5 Boardshop

#31

First occupied by Polynesians in the 4th century and visited by explorers like James Cook in 1770, Bora Bora later became a French colony in 1842. During World War II, the island served as a military base for the United States. Today, Bora Bora is a popular tourist destination for many, including honeymooners and adventurers. With its beautiful beaches like Matira Beach, barrier reefs and hundreds of multicolored marine species, Bora Bora is an excellent place to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, diving, deep sea fishing, boating and other water activities.

www.touropia.com

73

Lhasa, Tibet/China

Potala Palace
Situated on Marpo Ri hill, 430 feet (130 meters) above the Lhasa valley, the Potala Palace rises a further 560 feet (170 meters) and is the greatest monumental structure in all of Tibet. As the winter palace of the Dalai Lama from the 7th century the complex symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The construction of the present palace began in 1645 during the reign of the fifth Dalai Lama and by 1648 the Potrang Karpo, or White Palace, was completed. The Potrang Marpo, or Red Palace, was added between 1690 and 1694. The Potala Palace remained the

Photo by: Will De Freitas

#30

residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India, after the Chinese invasion in 1959. T oday, the Potala Palace is a museum. The White Palace contains the main ceremonial hall with the throne of the Dalai Lama, and his private rooms and audience hall are on the uppermost level. The palace contains 698 murals, almost 10,000 painted scrolls, numerous sculptures as well as a large collection of important historical documents. To the west and higher up the mountain the Red Palace contains the golden burial stupas of past Dalai Lamas.

www.touropia.com

74

New York City, USA

Manhattan
One of the most densely populated communities in the world, Manhattan also contains one of the world's greatest concentrations of famous attractions. It may be the smallest of New York City's five   boroughs,   but   it’s   what   people   most   often think of when they picture New York. A small island, Manhattan is probably best known for its dazzling skyline and cityscape consisting of numerous skyscrapers. The borough is made up of several neighborhoods and districts that are all filled with fabulous landmarks, shopping venues, restaurants and

Photo by: nosha

#29

entertainment venues. Some of Manhattan's most famous attractions include the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, the Rockefeller Center and the site of the World Trade Center. Manhattan is also home to some of the most distinguished museums and art galleries in the world such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the American Museum of Natural History. Additionally, Manhattan's Theater District is world known with its collection of Broadway theaters and other entertainment venues.

www.touropia.com

75

com 76 . stupas and other ruins once stood here. The others were left in disrepair and eventually succumbed to time and the elements. Some are well maintained while others are overgrown with grass and weeds. was built in 1091. Four Buddhas are housed here and they represent the four Buddhas that have achieved Nirvana. The fifth one has not yet appeared. formerly known as Burma. Bagan’s   holiest   temple.   the   Ananda   Temple. but only focused on the largest temples. living among the temples. wealthy rulers commissioned the building of thousands of temples. www. This golden age came to an end in 1287 when the Mongols invaded the Kingdom after refusing to pay tribute to Kublai Khan. Other notable temples include the Shwesandaw Temple. The city became a pilgrimage site.000 temples. the small village was forcibly moved to a nearby area and was renamed New Bagan. During the 11th to the 13th centuries. where visitors gather to watch the Bagan sunset. and nearly 2. also known as the Sunset Temple. pagodas. In 1998. Bagan quickly declined as a political center and only a Photo by: Marc Veraart #28 small group of people.200 remain today. Approximately 13. remained.Burma Bagan The city of Bagan lies on the shore of the Ayeyarwady River in central Myanmar. Bagan was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th to the 13th century.touropia.

removing or plastering over many Christian relics and replacing them with Islamic features. Hagia Sophia is the Greek term for Holy Wisdom and refers to Jesus Christ. and the Republic of Turkey reopened it as a museum in 1935. making many repairs and restorations necessary. the church suffered damage from earthquakes. except for about 60 years in the 1200s when it served as a Roman Catholic cathedral. www. the structure was an Eastern Orthodox church until 1453.touropia. Turkey Hagia Sophia Located in Istanbul. The building closed in 1931. the Hagia Sophia is a masterwork of Roman engineering. with its massive dome (102 feet or 31 meters in diameter) that covers what was for over 1000 years the largest enclosed space in the world. but it remains a beautiful building that some people call the world's eighth wonder. on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. In 1453.com 77 . fires and riots. Constructed between 532 and 537. Photo by: Arild Vågen #27 Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople and converted the edifice into a mosque. Through the years.Istanbul.

The Temple of Karnak actually consists of three main Egyptian temples.5 Photo by: Son of Groucho #26 miles (2. few attractions in Egypt tour are more impressive than Karnak.000 sq ft (5. and represents the combined achievement of many generations of Egyptian builders. One of most famous structures of Karnak is the Hypostyle Hall. most of the work on Karnak was done by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (1570-1100 BC). a hall area of 50. and several outer temples located about 1. www.Luxor.touropia.5 kilometers) north of Luxor. It is the largest ancient religious site in the world.000 m2) with 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows. It took millennia to build and enhance the massive Karnak Temple. smaller enclosed temples. Egypt Karnak Although badly ruined. However.com 78 .

there are many different nationalities and languages in the region but Arabic is most widely spoken. It has one of the harshest climates in the world. rocky plateaus. Because of this. Most of the people living in the Sahara do not live in cities. large sand dunes (called ergs) form only a minor part of the Sahara.7 cm) of rain per year on average. with very little sand. it may rain only twice a week and Photo by: bachmont not rain again for years. averaging 86°F (30°C) and often over 100°F (37. Most of the desert consists of largely barren. Not surprisingly the Sahara is not lush in vegetation. hard. Contrary to popular belief.com 79 . Heat loss is rapid after dark and from December to February freezing temperatures are not uncommon during the night. almost equal in size to the United Stated. www. Daytime temperatures are high. the Sahara is the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctica. Most of the Sahara receives less than 5 inch (12.touropia. Instead they are nomads that move from region to region throughout the desert. except in the Nile Valley and at a few oases. Even   in   the   Sahara’s   wettest   areas.North Africa Sahara Desert Covering most of Northern Africa.5°C) while the prevailing north-easterly wind often causes sand storms and dust devils.

7 kilometers) and a height of 360 feet (108 meters). the Scottish explorer was the first European to view Victoria Falls in 1855. Photo by: Philipp Schäufele #24 The falls are formed as the full width of the Zambezi river plummets in a single vertical drop into a gorge. David Livingstone.touropia.com 80 . He named his discovery in honour of Queen Victoria but the indigenous name. although it is neither the highest nor the widest.   In   combined height and width Victoria Falls is  rivaled  only  by  South  America’s  Iguazu   Falls. www. Victoria Falls is often called the largest waterfall in the world. It has a width of 1 mile ( 1. roughly twice the height of North   America’s   Niagara   Falls.Zambia/Zimbabwe Victoria Falls The Victoria Falls (indigenous name: Mosi-oa-Tunya meaning   “The   Smoke   That   Thunders”)   are   located   on   the   border   between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Mosi-oa-Tunya continues in common usage as well.

Located about 80 miles (130 km) east of Hanoi in northern Vietnam. some of the larger islands such as Cat Ba offer restaurants. Boat cruises are the best way to experience the natural wonder of Ha Long Bay.com 81 . this otherworldly bay features more than 2. The names of these islands reflect the unusual shapes they resemble such as Voi Islet (elephant). Other islands feature lakes.000 jungle-covered islands pitted with intriguing caves. Although most of the islands are uninhabited. boat tours can vary from day trips to multiple-night journeys. hotels and attractions like beaches and historic sites.touropia. Photo by: Jean-Marc Astesana #23 Mai Nha Islet (roof) and Ga Choi Islet (fighting cock). Ha Long Bay resembles a scene from a fantasy story. grottoes. With hundreds of boats ranging from traditional Chinese junks to luxury cruisers. www. kayaking and cave-exploring. coral and grottoes that are ideal for swimming. Ranging between 160 and 300 feet (50 and 90 meters) high. sinkholes and lakes. many of the islands and outcrops have been sculpted over the centuries by natural processes into fantastic formations.Vietnam Ha Long Bay With its aqua-green water and cluster of limestone rocky outcrops rising from the water like sea dragons.

The terraces contain a total of 52 panels. Chichen Itza is the most developed of the many Mayan ruins and can get crowded. also referred to as El Castillo (the castle in Spanish). But the combination of grant scale monuments and the mysterious precise astronomical calculation in the buildings make Chichen Itza truly amazing.com 82 .  Each  of  El  Castillo’s  four   sides has 91 steps which. This is somewhat ironic because its most famous structures do not have a typical Classic Mayan architecture but show strong influences from other civilizations from Central Mexico.Mexico Chichen Itza Chichen Itza is the most famous of all the great Mayan cities. www. The most famous landmark of Chichen Itza is the 99 feet (30 m) high Temple of Kukulkan. when added together and including the temple Photo by: Brian Snelson #22 platform . equals the 365 days of the solar year. The temple contains many references to the important Mayan  calendar.touropia. Each of the nine terraces are divided in two. symbolizing the number of months in the Maya calendar. which makes 18. referring to the 52-year cycle when both the solar and religious calendars converge.

dances. Ubud is the island's art and cultural center while the towns of Sanur and Seminyak offer many fabulous beachside resorts. coral reefs. the island is always buzzing with performances of traditional Balinese music. With each of these temples hosting festivals at various times of the years. and the crystal clear water. Dive shops are located all over the island. honeymoons and for total relaxation of mind. The island is dotted with tens of thousands of Hindu temples varying in size. known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant shopping and nightlife. Photo by: Miek Schenk #21 While Bali encompasses several regions and cities. some of the main tourist destinations include Kuta.touropia. shape and architectural design. Bali's Hindu culture is among its greatest attractions.com 83 .Indonesia Bali Often described as a paradise for its volcanic mountains. body and spirit. In addition to remarkable culture and world-class diving and surfing. Bali is one of the 17. www. Bali is where many people come for weddings. Bali first became popular in the 1970s as a top surfing and diving destination. costumes and rituals. green rice terraces and sandy white beaches. colorful marine creatures and sunken ships all present excellent diving and snorkeling adventures.000 islands that comprise the archipelago of Indonesia in Southeast Asia.

renowned for its vibrant parades.Brazil Rio de Janeiro Views There is no destination on earth more animated and exciting than Rio de Janeiro. Carnival festival and stunning views. music. Rio is also home to one of the world's largest Carnival celebrations. Rio de Janeiro is situated on one of the world's largest harbors surrounded by natural attractions that include the Sugarloaf and Corcovado mountains and famous beaches like Photo by: mark goble #20 Copacabana and Ipanema.touropia. costumes. The city's iconic landmark is the enormous Christ the Redeemer statue sitting atop Corcovado mountain. Located in southeastern Brazil.com 84 . one of the world's largest urban forests. Within this sprawling metropolis is Tijuca National Park. Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city of South America due to its famous mountains. fireworks and street parties. teeming in native flora and fauna. www. dancing. landmarks. beaches.

to thank her for protecting the city during the Persian Wars. a church. In the fifth century BC.   The   most famous of these is the Parthenon. Its main function was to protect and shelter the statue of Athena. It is a lasting symbol of ancient Greece and many consider it the most important surviving building from that time.  the  Parthenon  is  one  of  the  world’s   most popular visitor sites and it attracts millions of tourists each year.500 years. the Greek statesman Pericles coordinated the construction of this   site’s   many   historic   buildings. created from gold and ivory by the sculptor Pheidias. The Parthenon was built to honor the goddess Athena Parthenos. www.   Although   it’s   most important function was as a temple. the Acropolis is located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens in Greece.touropia. Greece Acropolis Consisting of several ancient buildings. which has existed at the top of the Acropolis for almost 2. nearly 40 feet (12 meters) tall. Today. the patron of Athens. a mosque and a fortress during its long history. Clevenger #19 BC under the guidance of Pericles. the Parthenon also served as a treasury. The construction of this monument began in 447 BC and ended in approximately 438 Photo by: Adam L.com 85 .Athens.

mostly between circa 1250 AD and 1500 AD. Most would be cast down during later conflicts between clans.289 miles (2. as a result of overpopulation. was Photo by: Arian Zwegers #18 almost 33 feet (10 meters) high and weighed 75 tons. who encountered it on Easter Sunday 1722. deforestation and exploitation of an extremely isolated island with limited natural resources.075 km) to the west while the nearest continental point lies more than 2. Its closest inhabited neighbor is Pitcairn Island. The statues were still standing when Roggeveen visited the island but by James Cook's visit in 1774 many were reported toppled.000 miles (3. The island is famous for its monolithic stone statues. By that time the civilization of Easter Island was already in a drastic decline. The name "Easter Island" was given by the island's first European visitor.com 86 . called Paro. 1.Polynesia/Chile Easter Island Easter Island is one of the most isolated places in the world. Today about 50 moai have been re-erected www. The tallest moai erected. the moai were also regarded as the embodiment of powerful living or former chiefs.500km) to the east in central Chile. called moai.touropia. the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen. The statues were carved by the Polynesian colonizers of the island. In addition to representing deceased ancestors.

Everest has two main climbing routes. Southeast is the most frequently-used route because it is generally considered safer and has easier access. Everest.600 feet (5. It is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to succesful ascent Mt.029 feet (8. Mt. At Everest Base Camp.380 m) on the south side of Everest in Nepal. acclimatizing to the altitude before they begin their ascent to the summit. the highest mountain in the world attracts climbers of all levels. the southeast ridge from Nepal and the north ridge from Tibet.com 87 . climbers will often spend 4 to 8 weeks. Today. People who die during the climb are typically left Photo by: Joe Hastings #17 behind and it is not uncommon to find corpses near the standard climbing routes. weather and wind. The ascent via the southeast ridge begins with a trek to Base Camp at 17. In 1953.848 meters). Mount Everest still has many inherent dangers such as altitude sickness.Nepal/China Mount Everest At 29. Although other eightthousanders such as K2 are much more difficult to climb. www.touropia.

Shah Jahan was deposed by his son Aurangzeb and put under house arrest at nearby Agra Fort. India Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal is an immense mausoleum of white marble. built between 1632 and 1653 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife.Agra.   the   monument   is actually an integrated complex of Photo by: Dennis Jarvis #16 structures.com 88 . Soon after the Taj Mahal's completion. Besides the white domed marble mausoleum it includes several other beautiful buildings.   Called   “a   teardrop   on   the   cheek   of   eternity”. and one of the great sites of the   world’s   heritage.touropia. The Taj is one of the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tombs in the world. one of the masterpieces of Mughal architecture. Aurangzeb buried him in the mausoleum next to his wife. reflecting pools. and extensive ornamental gardens with flowering trees and bushes. www. Upon Shah Jahan's death in 1666.

000 gladiators were killed. www. It consists of a series of underground tunnels used to house animals and slaves. Today little remains of the original arena floor. The Colosseum was capable of holding some 50. Its construction was started by emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty in 72 AD and was finished by his son Titus in 80 AD. but the hypogeum is still clearly visible.000 of animals and 2. Italy Colosseum The Colosseum is the largest and most famous amphitheater ever built in the Roman Empire. Spectators were protected from the rain and heat of the sun by sail. spectacles were held for 100 days in which 5.s called the   “velarium”.touropia.000 spectators who could enter Photo by: Paul McCoubrie #15 the building through no less than 80 entrances.Rome. During the   Colosseum’s   opening   ceremonies. The arena was comprised of a wooden floor covered by sand (the Latin word for sand is harena) covering an elaborate underground structure called the hypogeum.com 89 .   around   the   top   of   the   attic.

it is technically a desert (the largest on earth) with very little precipitation. on average.com 90 . broken by only a handful of scientific bases and a population of scientists numbering only a few thousand.touropia. Generally they must brave rough sea crossings aboard ice-strengthened vessels. driest. blue whales. Antarctica is accessible only during the austral summer season from November to March. Scarcely touched by humans. Antarctica is colder than the Arctic because much of the continent is more than 2 miles (3 kilometers) above sea level.Antarctic Circle Antarctica Antarctica. and because the Arctic Ocean covers the north polar zone   transferring   the   ocean’s   relative   warmth through the icepack. and seals. Although about 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice. but those who do are rewarded with beautiful scenery and unique wildlife. Sea life of Photo by: Antarctica Bound #14 Antarctica include penguins. orcas. the frozen land boasts breathtaking scenery. www. and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. is the coldest. and windiest continent on the planet. For tourists. during which sea ice melts enough to allow access.

A tour to these smoking islands offers views of steaming lava flows. While Santorini consists of numerous villages. www. tourists can reach these villages by way of a cable car or opt for a mule ride. A tour to these smoking islands offers views of steaming lava flows. Part of the Cyclades group. Hundreds of zigzagging steps ascend and wind through these villages of cobblestone lanes and whitewashed houses with blue- Photo by: Pedro Szekely #13 domed roofs.touropia. From the seaport. Venetian castles. Additionally.com 91 . the island is home to two of the youngest volcanic islands in the Eastern Mediterranean. Nea and Palia. The sunset views from Oia are regarded among the most stunning in the world. Santorini may be one of the more expensive islands but definitely one of the most picturesque. Santorini is well-loved for its cliff-hanging villages. scenic wine country and legendary sunsets. the most famous are Fira and Oia. Nea and Palia. which cling to cliff sides overlooking the turquoise sea. the island is home to two of the youngest volcanic islands in the Eastern Mediterranean.Greece Santorini One of the most popular destinations in Greece. Additionally.

In fact. From the base to the tip of the highest   tower   it’s   669 feet (213 meters) of breathtaking stone reliefs in the elaborate Khmer style. It name means “City   Temple”   and   it   is   considered   to   be   the largest religious structure in the world. as familiar as Angkor Wat itself.com 92 . The Bayon temple features a Poto by: kianjin #12 sea of over 200 massive stone faces looking in all direction.Cambodia Angkor Angkor is a vast temple complex featuring the magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire. It has become a symbol of Cambodia. from the 9th to the 15th century AD. These include the famous Angkor Wat temple and the Bayon temple at Angkor Thom. The Angkor Wat temple is the most magnificent and largest of all the monuments at Angkor. the last great capital of the Khmer empire. During   it’s   long   history   Angkor went through many changes in religion converting between Hinduism to Buddhism several times. appearing on its national flag. and it is one of the prime tourist attractions in Southeast Asia. an instantly recognizable image of Angkor. www.touropia. Each face has an enigmatic smile. many people assume that the faces are an integral part of Angkor Wat but it stands in fact at the center of Angkor Thom.

The city's most famous attractions are its pyramids. The second round of construction resulted in its completed size of 225 meters (733 feet) across and 75 meters (246 feet) high.000 residents at one time.D. It measures over 110 feet (34 meters) tall and provides an excellent view. The Pyramid of the Moon is Photo by: ZeroOne #11 located in the northern outskirts of Teotihuacan. The first construction stage. Seven centuries after the demise of the Teotihuacán empire the pyramids were honored and utilized by the Aztecs and became a place of pilgrimage.com 93 . The larger Pyramid of the Sun is near the city's center. It was constructed on top of a cave and positioned so that the sun would rise over its peak. and was abandoned within 50 years. the city went into decline after 650 A. www. around 100 AD brought the pyramid to nearly the size it is today. Although it experienced a period of economic prosperity. The pyramid was constructed in two phases.Mexico Teotihuacan Teotihuacan is an ancient city in central Mexico that had up to 150.touropia. Today. tourists from around the world visit this part of Mexico to see what remains of Teotihuacan.

marine turtles. the Reef is now one of the world's most diverse and complex ecosystems. Mission Beach and Cooktown also offer cruise operations. the Reef Photo by: Sarah Ackerman #10 today is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.900 coral reefs and hundreds of islands and cays. It is home to a remarkable array of marine life including 1500 fish species. The town of Cairns is regarded as the main gateway to the Reef. www. Port Douglas.Australia Great Barrier Reef One of the globe's top destinations for underwater explorers and scuba divers is the world's largest barrier reef system. Yeppoon. famously known as the Great Barrier Reef. 360 corals and thousands of mollusks in addition to various species of whales. dolphins. While always known and used by the Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Australian peoples. which breed among the small islands. sea snakes and birds. Formed by millions of living organisms over a period of millions of years.touropia. but other towns such as Townsville. The best way to explore the Reef is by one of the numerous boat cruises that run along the northern coast of Queensland. the Great Barrier Reef encompasses a huge area of more than 2. Located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Australia's state of Queensland.com 94 .

the South Rim features many historic sites such as the El Tovar Hotel. Also in the South Rim is the Grand Canyon Village where many tourists can find ample lodging. this massive natural wonder was carved by the Colorado River over a period of several million years and now measures 277 miles (446 km) long. Managed and protected by the Grand Canyon National Park. The Canyon is divided by two main sections.6 km) deep and up to 18 miles (29 km) wide. over a mile (1.touropia. Grand Canyon Railway Depot and the Desert View Watchtower. wildlife viewing. the Grand Canyon is contained within the national park as well as within the Hualapai and Photo by: photophilde #9 Havasupai Indian Reservations.Arizona. It is not the deepest or the longest canyon in the world but the overwhelming size and colorful landscape offers visitor vistas that are hard to match. Aweinspiring landscapes. historic sites and adventurous activities are just a few of the reasons that make the Grand Canyon one of the world's most famous natural wonders. the popular South Rim and the remote North Rim. USA Grand Canyon Attracting millions of visitors every year. the Grand Canyon is one of the great tourist attractions in the United States.com 95 . Located in northern Arizona. www. As the most accessible part for tourists.

Located in the desert in southern Jordan.   the   fabled   “rose   red   city. Over two hundred years later in 363 AD. A tour of Petra today involves walking through the entrance known as the Siq. Other significant ruins include the 7.0000-seat Roman Theatre. the Royal Tombs. Even today. the Roman Empire took control of Petra. Petra later was abandoned and remained forgotten until a Swiss explorer by the name of Johann Ludwig Burckhardt encountered it in 1812.com 96 . After the Siq is the magnificent Treasury. this ancient site is noted for its sophisticated water management system and marvelous architecture carved from sandstone cliff faces. In 106 AD.Jordan Petra Petra.touropia. the water Photo by: Pir6mon #8 management system was nearly destroyed after a catastrophic earthquake. which was actually not a treasury but probably a temple or a royal tomb.   half  as  old  as  time”  is  one  of  the   world most fascinating archaeological sites comprising what remains of an ancient capital city once ruled by the Nabataean kingdom from the 6th century BC. a huge canyon bordered with the facades of assorted tombs. meandering canyon noted for its odd sandstone patterns and carvings in the rock walls. which is a long. www. Because of its location on a major trade route. Petra was a leading center of commerce where spices. incense and Chinese silks were once traded. the enormity and grandeur of the city's ruins bespeaks its wealth and importance. The Monastery and the Street of Facades.

touropia. toucans. spotted jaguars. monkeys. the waterfalls are divided by Photo by: Rodrigo Soldon #7 numerous islands. www. Iguazu Falls is a series of magnificent waterfalls located on the Iguazu River. While some of the cascades rush over ledges. Estimated in number between 275 and 300. straddling the border between Brazil and Argentina. The falls in and of themselves are a breathtaking spectacle. butterflies and vivid blooms of begonias and wild orchids. creating dazzling sprays of mist and rainbows. narrow gorge called the Devil's Throat. macaws. but their beauty is all the more enhanced by the surrounding lush forest teeming in exotic wildlife like parrots.Brazil/Argentina Iguazu Falls One of the world's most stunning natural wonders. others plummet straight down into a long. This chain of voluminous cataracts varies between 200 to 269 feet (60 to 82 meters) in height and extends for more than a mile along a crescent-shaped cliff before plunging over a plateau with thunderous roars.com 97 .

As the largest tropical rainforest it has has an unparalleled biodiversity. One in ten known species in the world live in the Photo by: CIAT #6 Amazon Rainforest. Ecuador. about 1. Among the most dangerous animals are the black caiman. approximately 2. and stretches into Peru. jaguar and anaconda. Bolivia. and smaller parts in some other South American countries.5 million species of insects. In the river. while piranha are known for their voracious appetite for meat.South America Amazon Rainforest Home to 40% of the planets remaining rainforest. 4. This includes about 2.000 species of plants. The Amazon is mostly contained within Brazil.000 species of fishes.touropia. electric eels can produce an electric shock that can stun or kill a human. the Amazon is the largest and most species-rich tropical rainforest in the world. www.200 species of birds and some 400 species of mammals.com 98 .

www. giant tortoises. lava lizards. red-footed and blue-footed boobies. Fernandina has a large variety of wildlife from flightless cormorants to marine iguanas. Wolf and Darwin Islands are considered two of the world's best diving destinations. Some of the most visited include Santa Cruz. the Galapagos Islands are a remote but beautiful archipelago of 19 islands lying on the equator some 600 miles (1. the Galapagos Islands are a popular tourist destination. colorful Christmas iguanas and the Galapagos Penguin.touropia. which is home to giant tortoises. frigatebirds.000 km) west of the South American country. Ecuador. the Galapagos Photo by: blinking idiot #5 Islands served as a penal colony in the early 20th century until being declared a national park in 1959. Some of these unusual species include marine iguanas. sea lions. Isabela is the largest of the islands with many volcano trails while Plaza Sur has a large colony of sea lions. Claimed by Ecuador and visited by Darwin in the early 1800s. Isolated from the continental mainland. these islands are home to unique wildlife not found anywhere else in the world. lava tubes and the Charles Darwin Research Center. Today.Pacific Ocean/Ecuador Galapagos Islands The inspiration behind Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. dolphins and whales. fur seals.com 99 .

There are many tour companies that take groups by hiking and by train. officially discovered it in 1911. The journey to Machu Picchu offers spectacular scenery. Hiram Bingham.Peru Machu Picchu One of the most beautiful and impressive ancient sites in the world. fountains and baths in addition to agricultural terraces and evidence of an irrigation system. The   “Lost   City   of   the   Incas”   is   invisible   from below and completely selfcontained. www. Machu Picchu was rediscovered in 1911 after it lay hidden for centuries above the Urubamba Valley. Many of these companies operate from Cusco.touropia. surrounded by agricultural terraces and watered by natural springs. Although locals have always been aware of the site. visitors can explore the area and see for themselves the well-preserved buildings that include houses. While many theories abound concerning the site's purposes and amazing feat of Photo by: Pedro Szekely #4 construction. the world didn't know about it until the American explorer. temples. Machu Picchu can only be accessed by hiking along the Inca Trail or by train from the town of Poroy.com 100 .

rebuilt.3 miles (8. The majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty (13681644 AD). www. Sections near the Ming capital of Beijing were especially strong.851. stretches for 5.500. One of the most famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China but little of that wall remains. and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire from the attacks of various tribes. the Ming construction was stronger and Photo by: Severin Stalder #3 more elaborate due to the use of bricks and stone instead of rammed earth. with all of its branches.com 101 .touropia. About 25. the Ming devoted considerable resources to repair and reinforce the walls.China Great Wall of China The Great Wall of China built.000 watchtowers were to constructed on the wall.8 kilometers). As Mongol raids continued periodically over the years. The most comprehensive archaeological survey has recently concluded that the entire Great Wall. Unlike the earlier fortifications. Several walls have been built that were referred to as the Great Wall.

www. At the beginning of the year there is plenty of grass available for the animals in the south eastern part of the Serengeti ecosystem. usually arriving in December to their breeding grounds and the cycle begins again. The migration pattern is determined by the availability of grazing. the Photo by: Harvey Barrison #2 wildebeest give birth to approximately half a million calves over a period of 3 weeks. From Grumeti. During their trip.com 102 . Huge crocodiles are waiting for the hesitant wildebeest to stumble at the crossing.Tanzania/Kenya Serengeti Migration The Serengeti Migration is one of the largest mass movement of land mammals on the planet. Thompson's gazelle. One million wildebeest and 200. the wildebeest and zebra head north. The Great Migration is probably   Africa’s   greatest safari spectacle and one of the most breathtaking events in the animal kingdom. arriving on the Kenyan border in July. eland and impala.touropia. As the rains end the animals normally head north-west to the Western Corridor of the Serengeti and its Grumeti River. Around this time. With the start of the short rains in Nobember the migration starts moving south again.000 zebra make a 300 miles (500 kilometer) round trip from the Southern Serengeti in Tanzania to the northern edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. the wildebeests and zebras are accompanied by Grant's gazelle.

although nearby   Khafre’s   Pyramid   appears to be larger as it is build at a higher elevation.Egypt Giza Pyramids The Giza necropolis. his second reigning son Khafre. are the iconic image of Egypt. Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Khafre. The pyramids. Over 2 million blocks of stone were used to construct the pyramid.touropia. At a height of 204 feet (61 meters) the Pyramid of Menkaure is the smallest of the three great pyramids. together with the Sphinx at the base of the Giza plateau. The most distinctive feature  of  Khafre’s  Pyramid  is  the  topmost   layer of smooth stones that are the only remaining casing stones on a Giza Pyramid. and his grandson Menkaure. www. situated in the immediate vicinity of the southwestern suburbs of Cairo is probably the most famous ancient site in the world. during a 20 year period concluding around 2560 BC. They were built over the span of three generations – by Khufu. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the oldest and sole remnant of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. causeways and temples. Along with these major monuments are a number of smaller satellite structures. The pyramid is an aweinspiring 455 feet (139 meters) high Photo by: Tommy Wong #1 making it the largest pyramid in Egypt. known as queen pyramids.com 103 . The Great Sphinx lies on the east side of the complex.

touropia.com 104 .www.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful