A view of the Yueyaquan Crescent Lake, near the city of Dunhuang in China’s northwestern Gansu province, on May 12, 2013. (Ed Jones / AFP - Getty Images via Oasis on China’s ancient Silk Road now draws tourists not traders - PhotoBlog)
Blue Pond, The Snowstorm in May - In Hokkaido, it was an uncommon thing but it snowed in May of this year. A lot of tourists dislike snow in the spring. This place has a view drawing tourists from around the world. All are nature’s tints. Biei in Hokkaido, Japan. (Kent Shiraishi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)# (via National Geographic Traveler Magazine: 2013 Photo Contest - The Big Picture - Boston.com)
Meteora Monasteries - Meteora - Greece
The Orthodox church has always had a knack for picking spectacular locations for its sacred buildings, and Meteora is no exception. In the foothills of the Pindus mountains, above the central Greek plains of Thessaly, a series of geological wonders stick out from the ground. The name Meteora means “suspended in the air” or “suspended rocks” and it is appropriate. Wind, water and the harsh temperatures have carved out a series of gigantic sandstone pillars, some of them hundreds of meters high.
The first hermit monks appeared in this area as early as the 11th century, however the monastery complex only began to flourish after the Ottoman conquest of Byzantine empire in 1453. Due to persecution and concern about the Ottomans, orthodox monks were sought refuge in increasingly remote locations. What better place to establish a monastery than in, as Meteora is sometimes translated, “the heavens above.”
To gain access to the monastery one originally had to climb a series of ladders tied together or be dragged up via a large net. According to the monks the ropes were only replaced “when the Lord let them break.”
So how are they accessed now? Keep reading…
July every year, in the Bac Son Valley, plots are alternated for the use of rice crops.
Photographed July 01, 2012, Bac Son, Lang Son, Vietnam
(via Photo of the Day | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine)
This is amazing!
Source: Boing Boing
Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia
Photograph by Heiko Meyer, laif/Redux
Earth and sky are indistinguishable on the Salar de Uyuni, a vast salt flat in southwest Bolivia. A great lake covered this area 16,000 years ago. When it dried up, it left a 4,000-square-mile basin of salt, the world’s largest such deposit. It’s also one of Earth’s flattest places—relief varies by less than 16 inches.