Gnomesville: an unusual roadside community of thousands of garden gnomes

In the Ferguson Valley of country Western Australia there lives a thriving community of gnomes, in a gnome village called Gnomesville. And no. I’m not joking. Garden gnomes are a classic symbol of kitschy yard decorations around the world, but most people are content to have just a couple of the little creatures living in their yards. But Gnomesville, a collection of thousands of the weird little statuettes set up on a roundabout, is definitely something different. The community of silent gnomes actually began as a whimsical protest some 20…

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C.Y. O’Connor Horse and Rider

Charles Yelverton O’Connor (11 January 1843 – 10 March 1902) was an Irish-born engineer who found his greatest achievements in Australia, before tragically committed suicide. His life has been commemorated in monuments across Australia, but his death is remembered by a bronze horse and rider who peek out of the waves off the coast of the beach where he died. Born at Gravelmount, Castletown, Meath, Ireland, in 1865 he migrated to New Zealand, where he worked initially on the locating and survey of a route for the first dray and…

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‘Imaginary Elephants’: the sculptures created by a 17th-century artist who had never seen an elephant.

We are in Japan. The Tōshōgu Shrine complex of Nikkō is popular for its architectural and sculptural beauty, including the Three Wise Monkeys and the “Sleeping Cat”. Another among its hundreds of sculptures is commonly referred to as “Sōzō-no-Zō”, literally the “Imaginary Elephants.” The sculpture is located on the gable of the Kamijinko (Upper Sacred Storehouse or God’s Storehouse), where a pair of strange-looking animals grin with crescent-shaped eyes. The sculpture on the left is green and white, while the other is black and both are complete with golden tusks.…

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‘Nemuri-Neko’: is the Sleeping Cat asleep, or just pretending?

We are in Japan. As we already know, Tōshōgu Shrine, the burial place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, is the most popular tourist attraction in Nikkō. Of course, It’s popular for its elaborate architecture, but also for its carved details, including the three wise monkeys and others. One of the most notable carvings is the Nemuri-neko, or the Sleeping Cat, at the entrance to the okumiya (rear shrine) where Tokugawa Ieyasu’s remains are housed. The carving is attributed to Hidari Jingorō, a legendary 17th-century artist who…

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Cereseto castle and its secrets

Cereseto is about 50 kilometres east of Turin and about 30 kilometres northwest of Alessandria, Northern Italy. Probably established around 500–600 AD. and mentioned in records of the Bishop of Asti from around 957 AD., it is perched on a hill, and is dominated by its castle. The town was the property of the Graseverto family of Asti, who probably built the first castle around 900–1000 AD, but completely demolished in 1600. It was 1910 when the financier Riccardo Gualino and his wife launched construction of a new castle with…

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Cabo da Roca: the most westerly point of mainland Europe.

We are in Portugal. The diverse heritage and stunning architecture make it a must-see for history lovers, while its very good cuisine is a foodie’s dream and the coastline attracts surfers and beach-goers from all over the world. If you’re planning a break to this fantastic country, don’t forget to stand on the Most Western Point in Europe Okay, technically just continental Europe, but that’s still pretty cool. To do this, you’ll need to head to Cabo da Roca, in the municipality of Sintra. The beautiful coastal trail offers stunning…

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Kanmangafuchi Abyss and the mystery of Jizō statues

Nikko is one of the most popular day trips from Tokyo, and for more than a good reason: it’s got gorgeous shrines, tons of history, and is situated in a really beautiful nature. But besides all the standard stuff you’d see in a trip to Nikko, Kanmangafuchi Abyss (憾満ヶ淵) is probably the most interesting. The area practically untouched by tourists boasts beautiful ravince, rows of shrines, and also a row of stone Jizō statues. How many? Nobody knows for sure, because apparently each time you count them, you end up…

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Parkland Walk: a walk along an abandoned railway line

An abandoned railway line can be a creepy place to walk alone at night with its overgrown vines, a forgotten railway infrastructure and the smell of spray paint lingering in the air. Well, where once a railroad line crossed through the wilds of London’s Haringey and Islington, a scenic 5.0 km linear green pedestrian and cycle route has taken its place and the crumbling, abandoned stations and tunnels are now home to urban legends, graffiti, and some whimsically unsettling decoration. The route of the path between Finsbury Park and Highgate…

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Gobodura Hill and the Lioness of Gobedra

We are a couple of kilometers west of the ancient city of Axum, Ethiopia, where stands the isolated hill of Gobodura, also known as Gobedra. The organizational and technological skills of the Aksumites were represented by the construction of elaborately carved stelae, monuments created in line of older African traditions and made of single pieces of local granite. They were cut out and transported from quarries located at least 4 km away (Gobedra Hill) to the location where they needed to be erected. The city is known also for an…

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Would you let yourself be tattooed by this 13-year-old girl?

Despite being just 13-years-old, Lilith Siow is already one of the most talked-about tattoo artists in Singapore. She first made international news headlines in 2019, when she attended the Culture Cartel Exhibition, in Singapore, where she showed off her steady hands and ability to work under pressure. The now 13-year-old is the daughter of Joseph Tan of Visual Orgasm Tattoo, a popular tattoo artist in Singapore with over 20 years of experience under his belt. Joseph asked her if she was interested in tattoos and picking up the skills to…

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Rusovce Mansion: a once-fairy tale mansion in Slovakia now stands in a state of disrepair.

We are in the Rusovce borough, part of Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. Surrounded by crumbling walls and Rusovsky Park, a beautiful sprawling English park, the Rusovce Mansion, english for Rusovský kaštieľ, is a decaying example of neoclassical architecture. There are records of a castle at this location dating back to 1266, but today visitors to the area will only see this once-glorious white building constructed between 1840 and 1906. The current mansion was built on the site of an older manor house from the 16th century, with a medieval structure…

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La maison dans la Loire: the sunken structure that looks like the victim of a catastrophic flood.

Known simply as “La maison dans la Loire” (literally the House in the Loire), the three-storey building looks like the victim of a flood that once swept it away, but sometimes appearances can be deceiving…. If you walk along the river Loire, near the town of Lavau-sur-Loire, just a stone throw away from Nantes, are a rather unusual sight: a tilted building located right in the middle of the river. You’d think it was brutally swept away by some catastrophic flood, or something similar, but it was actually placed there…

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Would you eat these unbelievably cute fish-shaped dumplings?

Dumplings come in all shapes and sizes, but have you ever seen any dumplings cuter than those made by Taipei-based self-taught cook Minmin Chang? The Taiwanese woman took social media by storm recently after posting photos of her adorable fish-shaped dumplings, along with detailed instructions on how to make your own. Filled with a mixture of minced pork, shrimp, water chestnut, garlic and cilantro, these realistic-looking dumplings are made by hand using simple tools like a straw, a chopstick, and a pair of scissors. But first, the food artist prepares…

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Neidhart Frescoes: a glimpse into the festive and private lives of medieval Europe

In 1979, during restoration works in an apartment near the center of Vienna, at Tuchlauben 19, a sensational find was uncovered: after removing plaster from the walls, a set of ancient frescoes were revealed. These works of art were ordered by Michel Menschein, a wealthy cloth merchant who wanted them as decorations for a private dance and banquet hall in 1407. The paintings depict songs by legendary bard Neidhart von Reuenthal (ca. 1180-1240) and tell stories of feasts, joy, and emotions experienced centuries ago. They tell of love and feasts…

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The tomb of Jules Verne: “Vers l’immortalité et l’éternelle Jeunesse”

The world-famous writer Jules Verne died of diabetes at the age of 77 on March 24, 1905, in Amiens, France, where he was buried in the Cimetière de la Madeleine. Two years after his death, a sculpture entitled “Vers l ‘Immortalité et l’ Eternelle Jeunesse” (Towards immortality and eternal youth) was named after him, positioned on top of his tomb. Designed and built by sculptor Albert Roze using the writer’s actual death mask, the statue shows the figure of Jules Verne breaking the tomb lid and gloriously emerging from his…

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Zipper Fastener Ship: the boat shaped like giant zip that looks like It’s opening the water

Japanese designer Yasuhiro Suzuki has created a unique boat shaped like a giant zipper puller that looks like it’s opening up the water when sailing. Unveiled as part of the Designart Tokyo 2020 event, the zipper puller boat, officially known as Zipper Fastener Ship, is the brainchild of Japanese designer who claims it was the result of a simple observation. He was looking down from the window of an airplane and saw a ship sailing through Tokyo Bay. The movement of the water as the boat passed created the illusion…

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Okuda San Miguel, the spanish artist that turned an old lighthouse into a vibrantly colored work of art

Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel turned a regular lighthouse in northern Spain’s Cantabria region into an eye-catching work of art. Literally inspired by the “natural wealth of the region by representing local fauna and, with its textures, the cultural diversity of a modern and open Cantabria, which is connected to the world,” he turned the Faro de Ajo lighthouse into a technicolor work, featuring more than 70 vibrant hues. His signature style comprises vibrant geometric patterns that integrate animals, skulls, and religious iconography. He started work on the 16-meter-tall lighthouse…

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Monumental Cemetery of Lecco – Italy

Inaugurated on August 6, 1882 and designed by the engineer Enrico Gattinoni, the Monumental Cemetery of Lecco represents a real open-air museum. It contains works in marble and bronze by well-known local and non-local artists, which date back also to the late nineteenth century, including Giulio Branca (1850 -1926) whose works vary between late-classicism models and other pictorial styles, Francesco Confalonieri (1850 – 1925 ) classicist and with the greatest number of works present, or Giannino Castiglioni (1884 – 1971) of which Lecco also houses the imposing monument to the…

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Centuries of history and miracles: the beautiful Laorca Cemetery

The Laorca cemetery is located in the Laorca district north of Lecco, region of Lombardy, in Northern Italy, and has developed around the caves and the ancient church of St John the Baptist (also called Chiesa ai Morti, “Church to the dead”) in Laorca. In 2011, together with Monumental Cemetery of Lecco, it was included in the “European Cemeteries Route” that is the European itinerary of monumental cemeteries. It is in fact inserted in a unique natural context, and it is a jewel of art and nature. The environment is…

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KNOxOUT, the mural in Warsaw that absorbs as much pollution as 780 Trees

Who would have though that simply painting a mural on the side of a regular building would have the same pollution-cleaning effect as planting 780 trees? Organized by the sportswear company Converse as part of their City-Forests campaign, the latest mural in Warsaw, Poland, is not only an aesthetically pleasing artwork, but also an ingenious way to tackle a hot-topic as urban pollution. Painted using photocatalytic paint with titanium dioxide, on a building that faces the busy metro station Politechnika, the ingenious mural reportedly attracts airborne pollutants before converting them…

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Katzenbalgen, the Monument to Homeless Cats

In Braunschweig, Germany, where the streets Hutfilter, Damm and Kattreppeln meet in the pedestrian zone, the most gorgeous, humorous and unconventional monument of the city has stood since 1981, the “Katzenbalgen” stele by Siegfried Neuenhausen, a former professor at the Braunschweig University of Art and one of the most outstanding personalities in Lower Saxony’s art scene. The monument is impressively large and looks like a high stele, on which a variety of bronze cats are fixed in different poses. All people who see the monument for the first time notice…

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Some fascinating facts you probably don’t know about the Day of the Dead

First: did you know that the Day of the Dead has a history older than Christmas? Historically, Jesus of Nazareth was born in the year 1 A.D., despite some the scholars argue Jesus’ birthday was closer to 5 B.C. Well, while Mary and Joseph were bickering over baby names, Mesoamerican cultures like the Maya were already about 1,000 years deep into an annual festival of death and rebirth, honoring their departed ancestors and something like the afterlife. To many indigenous Americans, death was seen as a continuance of life, a…

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Pfunds Molkerei: in Germany, the world’s most beautiful dairy shop!

Imagine walking into one of most adorned room at Versailles…to buy a piece of cheese. Maybe it sound unlikely, but that’s the feeling you get when you step into the Pfunds Molkerei, officially know as “Schönster Milchladen der Welt”, or the most beautiful dairy shop in the world, according to 1998 Guinness Records. Located at Bautzner Straße 79, in Dresden, Germany, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the beautiful German city, with over 500,000 tourists stopping by every year. Of course, that’s fairly unusual for a…

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Hands of madness: Italino and his grave at Staglieno Monumental Cemetery

Among the Italian cemeteries, the Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, is one of the most fascinating, full of mysteries and secrets, with its statues that follow one another and those tombstones that tell ancient stories. Coming to the highest part of the Monumental Cemetery, you might come across a particular statue, different from all the others. Is that of a child of about 5 years old, running carefree behind his circle, while two hands of madness are about to grab him from behind and seal his fate. It was the year 1925,…

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Kek Lapis Sarawak: the Malaysia’s most complex dessert

Kek Lapis Sarawak is a traditional Malaysian cake famous both for its intricate kaleidoscopic appearance and the grueling process required to make it. Kek translates as “cake” and Lapis means “layers” in Bahasa Malaysia, Malaysia’s national language. Inspired by the spit cakes that Dutch colonists used to enjoy, it was born in Malaysia’s Sarawak state, located on the northwestern coast of Borneo, sometime in the 1970’s. It’s basically a much more complex version of kek lapis Betawi, or lapis legit, that incorporates spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and star…

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Buried at 2,000 meters high: the inaccessible sarcophagi of Karajia in Peru

Between the steep gorges of the Andes and the immense rainforests of the Amazonas region in Peru, there are surprising historical sites that document the history of the Chachapoya people, who had to surrender to the Incas, just a few years before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The premiere scene from the legendary film “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”, Indiana Jones searches the booby-trapped ruins of a Chachapoyan temple for a golden idol. Probably this is a Hollywood classic scene, but the history behind the…

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30 fabulous cakes that look like paradise islands

If Covid-19 pandemic has made vacationing in a tropical island paradise a lot harder this year, you can satisfy your craving for tropical destinations (as well as your sweet tooth) with some ultra-realistic cakes! Incredible but true, some cake masters are so skilled that they can recreate a tropical island setting using regular baking ingredients, food coloring and jelly. Looking at some of these elaborate cakes, it’s hard to believe that they are 100% percent edible, including foamy waves, marine wildlife and even the sand! “When baking this cake, the…

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The bizarre fame of Victor Noir, the man who boasts the “Sexiest” tomb in Père-Lachaise cemetery

The Cemetery of Père-Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris. Many famous people are buried there and Jim Morrison, Molière, Frederic Chopin, Théodore Géricault are just a few names. The grave of Oscar Wilde is very popular and his female fans have smothered the tomb with kisses leaving red lipstick marks all over. Many female visitors, after assaulting the grave of the famous Irish writer, move over to the adjacent plot for their next target, the tomb that probably gained worldwide fame for the most unusual reasons. The one of…

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Around the world in pandemic Street Art

Throughout the ages, artists have taken their messages to public spaces, from Pompeii’s walls in Roman times to New York City’s subway cars in the 1980s. Driven by the current pandemic and its unique and unusual aesthetic, made of knobby viruses, face masks and messages of solidarity, creatives around the world have continued to express themselves publicly. During lockdown, cities and not only were studded with love for healthcare workers, cynicism for politicians, frustration at the crisis, or simple encouragement. We have collected some of these messages, depicted in street…

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Bangkok’s “David Beckham Temple”: one of the world’s weirdest religious buildings

Bangkok’s temples are truly a wonder to visit, but after a few days of battling the crowds, the appeal of gilded Buddha statues may start to lose interest. Thus, when you’ve visited the major attractions, why don’t go to Wat Pariwat, a one-of-a-kind temple down the Chao Phraya River? Wat Pariwat gets its famous nickname, “David Beckham Temple”, from a gold-plated statue of the English former football player holding up a statue of Buddha. But that’s just one of the unexpected characters you’re bound to notice visiting this unusual holy…

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