The Line: Saudi Arabia’s controversial 170-Km-Long linear city of the future

In early 2021 Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman unveiled the concept of a futuristic urban development called The Line which, in short, consists of a linear, 170-km-long city without roads of cars and built around nature. During the presentation of his project, back in January, he described the future smart city as a direct response to growing challenges like human congestion, pollution, traffic and outdated infrastructure. Linking the coast of the Red Sea with the mountains and upper valleys of the north-west of Saudi Arabia, The Line will…

Read More

Fukushima disaster: what happened 10 years ago at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Exactly ten years ago, on a Friday afternoon, March 11, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan struck off the country’s eastern coast. The 9.0-magnitude quake was so forceful it shifted the Earth off its axis, triggered a tsunami which swept over the main island of Honshu, killing more than 18,000 people and wiping entire towns off the map. At the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture (on the country’s east coast, about 220km north-east of the capital Tokyo), the gigantic wave surged…

Read More

Qiyi City Forest Garden: the “Vertical Forest” in Chinese residential complex that becomes a mosquito-infested jungle

The Qiyi City Forest Garden residential complex in Chengdu, China, was supposed to be a green paradise for its residents…however, two years on, the pictoresque vertical forest concept has turned literally into a nightmare. Back in 2018, the idea of living among dozens of exotic plants proved very exciting for the people of Chengdu, one of China’s most polluted cities, and in fact by April of 2020 all 826 units in the complex had been sold. Apparently, a dream: each unit had up to 20 types of plants growing on…

Read More

When London burned: 1666’s Great Fire

Thomas Farriner was a baker who served King Charles II, supplied bread to the Royal Navy, and lived in Pudding Lane, London. All regular, until he went to bed on the night of September 1, 1666 leaving the fire that heated his oven still burning. As a result, in the early hours of the following morning, sparks from the fire caused flames that soon engulfed the entire house. Farriner, sometimes spelt Faryner or Farynor, escaped with his family by climbing through an upstairs window, but his maidservant, Rose, died in…

Read More

Hyder: the easternmost town in Alaska that can only be accessed from Canada.

The town of Hyder, Alaska, is both the geographically easternmost town in Alaska, as well as the southernmost town in Alaska that can be reached by car. However, one cannot drive to Hyder from the rest of Alaska. The reason? Hyder is what is called an “inaccessible district”. In other words, an inaccessible district can be define as “parts of the territory of one country that can be approached conveniently – in particular by wheeled traffic – only through the territory of another country.” And, believe it or not, there…

Read More

Yangzhou Zhongshuge: this Chinese library’s interior is designed to look like an infinite tunnel of books

We are in Yangzhou. The Chinese city is known for its graceful arched bridges, proximity to the Yangtze River and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Architects kept these local features in mind while designing Zhongshuge Yangzhou, a new bookstore that features something unique, and a real dream for every reader: black mirrored floors shimmer beneath arched shelves that stretch to the ceiling, creating an optical illusion that turns an ordinary, rectangular room into a cylindrical never-ending tunnel of books. A zig-zagging gap prevents the top of the shelves from touching. When…

Read More

The colonial era ghosts that still haunt the streets of Yorktown, the landmark village of the American Revolution

It is said that the town of Yorktown is haunted. From Cornwallis’ Cave on the banks of the York River, to Crawford Road, the town is a magnet for urban legends and ghost stories.Strange enough, Cornwallis’ Cave, despite its name, not proven to be linked to the General Cornwallis, leader of the ill-fated British Troops at Yorktown during the American Revolution. Some say British troops did shelter in the cave from the incessant bombardment of Colonial and French artillery, while others claim that it was the citizens of Yorktown themselves…

Read More

Everything you need to know about New Orleans’ Cities of the Dead~

There is no shortage of spooky graveyards in America, especially in the South and, it seems, when it comes to burying the dead no city does it better, and with more extravagance, than New Orleans. With row after row of above-ground tombs, New Orleans cemeteries are often referred to as “Cities of the Dead.” Burying the dead in a city that is below sea level and prone to flooding is no easy task. The dead prefer to stay dry and if not kept that way will make their displeasure known…

Read More

The images of a Venice free of tourists transformed by COVID-19

In addition to being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, either with the snow, or with the high water, or during its magnificent carnival (and did you know that seen from above, its shape resembles that of a swan?), Venice is one of the full-of-tourist places in the Italy, maybe in Europe. Thousands of people flock to its narrow streets every day, up to the splendid Piazza San Marco, strictly passing through the Rialto Bridge, as the piercing chatter of tourists, in all the languages of the…

Read More

Quarantine in Milan: here’s what it’s like in a coronavirus red zone.

First Easter and Easter Monday. Then, Italy’s Liberation Day on April 25, a national Italian holiday commemorating the end of Nazi occupation during World War II and the victory of the Resistance in Italy, and May 1, international workers’ day. In any case, the “quarantine” in Milan and not only, facing the Coronavirus emergency, continues. The emergency has imposed restrictions all over Italy and, as a result, the cities have completely emptied. These are the squares and streets of Milan on a day in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic. Deserted…

Read More

A forest of pillars, recalling the Holocaust: the controversial Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin

In the 15 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of the nation, Germany has struggled to come to terms with its Nazi past. Nowhere has that been more evident than in the restored capital, where a vast rebuilding effort has transformed the once-ravaged city center. Probably Berlin’s signature monument is the Brandenburg Gate, a 20-meters-tall and 12-collumned triumphal arch topped by a life-sized bronze quadriga. The gate was built in the late 18th century, and opens onto the Unter den Linden. During the Cold War,…

Read More

Paris through a Nazi’s lens: Propaganda pictures of Occupied France in 1940’s

André Zucca (1897-1973) was a French photographer and Nazi collaborator, popular thanks to his work with the German propaganda magazine Signal. Born in 1897 in Paris, son of an Italian tailor, André spent part of his youth in the United States before returning to France in 1915. After the outbreak of World War I he enlisted in the French army, where he was wounded and decorated with the Croix de Guerre, and after the conflict he became a photographer. Much later, during the 1930s, he made several reports in countries…

Read More

A splendid collection of rare color Photos of Paris taken about 100 Years Ago

For most of us are normal to see historical photographs in black and white, due to the diffusion of monochrome films during the early years of photographic technique. The color images, however, were almost contextual to the invention of photography itself, and it was only the difficulty of creating the supports capable of resuming the different colors that changed over the years, making the spread of colour photograph more and more common. Tired of the endless series of black and white photos that were popular in that days, French banker…

Read More

Metelkova: the alternative cultural center in Ljubljana

If you ask any local in Ljubljana, they will point you in the right direction, 5 minutes from the city centre of Slovenia’s capital city. The area now known as Metelkova (full name in Slovene: Avtonomni kulturni centre Metelkova mesto, “Metelkova City Autonomous Cultural Centre”) was once a military barracks, but you would never know it by its state today, covered in a psychedelic cacophony of colorful street art, graffiti, and every kind of punk rock visuals. Originally commissioned by the Austro-Hungarian army back in 1882 and completed in 1911,…

Read More

Panam Nagar: a ghost town of Sonargaon – Bangladesh.

We are in Sonargaon, about 30 km southeast of Dhaka, along the Meghna River, Bangladesh. As early as the 14th century, Sonargaon was the ancient capital of Bangladesh, or more accurately, it was the capital of Isa Khan’s Bengali empire. The cotton textile industry and trading were always a part of life and livelihood of Bengali people besides agriculture. In its heyday, Panam Nagar was home to a prosperous community of Hindu merchants that turned the medieval Bengali capital into a thriving textile trading hub around 19th century. They built…

Read More

Vyborg: Once Finland’s 2nd most influential city, now only a small provincial town somewhere in Russia

In Vyborg, Russia, time seems to have stopped. The city has a long history behind it that the ruins of its past never cease to pass down. Once Finland’s second most influential city, Vyborg is now only a small provincial town somewhere deep in Russia, about 30 km from the border with Finland and 138 km West of Saint Petersburg, one of Europe’s largest megapolis. According to locals, the city has been damaged the most in recent years than it was devastated during the Soviet period. About 1km east of…

Read More

The sunken city of Pavlopetri: the oldest submerged city in the Mediterranean

Pavlopetri, in Greek: Παυλοπέτρι, is an anonymous village opposite the island of Elafonisos, on whose beach, in 1967, an exceptionally important discovery was made for world archeology: an ancient submerged city, whose topography was remained almost completely visible after 5,000 years of history. Mapped one year later by by a team of archaeologists from Cambridge, the ancient city, underwater off the coast of southern Laconia in Peloponnese, was called by the modern name for the islet and beach, Pavlopetri, (“Paul’s and Peter’s”, or “Paul’s stone”), apparently named for the two…

Read More

Shakespeare Ghost Town – New Mexico

This small New Mexico town has gone by many names, and only acquired its present one in 1879 at the beginning of its second mining boom. Old timers called it Mexican Springs, back when it served as a relay station on the Army Mail line, while for a few years after the Civil War it was called Grant. In 1870, some of the prospectors hanging around this little station discovered samples of very rich silver ore in the surrounding hills and they went hunting for financing to develop their new…

Read More

The altered traffic signs of Edinburgh, Scotland

We are in Einburgh, Scotland. Scattered around the city center are a number of traffic signs that have been given new life through amusing graffiti stickers. A keen eye but not only may spot a sumo wrestler, a spilled glass of wine, or a cat, but are just a few of the nearly two dozen total altered traffic signs. They are the work of French artist Clet Abraham, 52, who hand-draws the designs, prints them onto sticker paper and goes out at night to place them. Clet first began placing…

Read More

Bueren Mountain: in Liege the stairs that will take your breath away!

Cutting down a steep slope right in the heart of the Belgian city of Liège, Bueren Mountain is not in fact a mountain, but a long staircase that can literally take your breath away by the time you get to the top. It is lit with 3000 candles for the “Nocturne des Coteaux de la Citadelle” on the first Saturday of October, and covered with flowers for the “Bueren en fleur”. The long staircase was built between 1875 and 1880 to remember the 600 Franchimontois, who were 600 men from…

Read More

Prague: the magnificent European capital cobbled with Jewish gravestones

Prague is one of the most touristic cities in Europe. It is a large UNESCO World Heritage site, full of fairytale towers, ornate statues and art nouveau façades. The beauties of its historical and cultural heritage arouse the imagination and evoke its millenary history in the heart of the Holy Roman Empire and of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, in the midst of all this beauty, there are stories that people probably would rather forget. Despite its 3.5 million tourists a year, Prague has a history of pain, suffering and genocide…

Read More

1950s Berlin: Photographs of a destroyed city

Berlin, 1956. About ten years have passed since the end of the Second World War, and Germany was at the beginning of a reconstruction, first architectural and then political, which would have lasted decades. Berlin was the capital of the German Democratic Republic (DDR), a city divided into two blocs between the West and the East, which from August 13, 1961, will also be physically divided by the Berlin Wall. While in the West began what was called the “Wirtschaftswunder”, the German economic miracle at the base of the flourishing…

Read More

It’s Great To Be Alive! An unintentionally funny safety booklet from the 1950s

According to this 1950s Police Safety League booklet there is life threatening danger at every corner for the teen and pre-teen! Looking at these scanned images from the guide It’s Great To Be Alive!, two things are absolut obvious: kids from the 1950s were terrible bicycle riders and they also did a lot of stupid, dangerous things. So, just in the 1950s, was created a comic book to tell kids what hideous fates could befall them if they took risks and failed to spot danger signs. This little booklet didn’t…

Read More

History, Haunting and Secrets of Seattle’s Pike Place Market~

The Pike Place Market in Seattle is, of course, a good place to shop, but also the most haunted place in Seattle, if not throughout the Washington state. The upstairs of Pike Place Market in Seattle bustles with tourists buying fresh produce and crafts, but the downstairs is something stranger: its walls are filled with shops that seem to belong to another time. Its story started when rumors of price fixing began to circulate and, as a result, eight farmers determined to cut out greedy middleman and sell their wares…

Read More

‘A Bella Mbriana: a love legend along the narrow streets of Naples

The history of Naples is full of legends and myths, which are lost between truth and fantasy, between streets and alleys, between lights and shadows. The love legend of ‘A Bella Mbriana is one of these and, along with the Munaciello, one of the most popular. Unlike the Munaciello she is the good spirit of the house, depicted many times as a beautiful woman well dressed in white. A myth, a legend, which tends to disappear among the new generation, yet very rooted in popular belief. Even the popular Neapolitan…

Read More

A revolutionary war Sugar House prison window in downtown Manhattan

Hidden away on a wall of the New York City Police Department Headquarters there is a mysterious window. It is embedded in the wall, and made of an ancient brick which doesn’t match the ones surrounding it, and it is set with a row of ominous, rusted iron bars. It is thought that this is the remains of a terrible prison dating back to the Revolutionary War that stood on the same site: the infamously brutal Sugar House Prison. Now hundreds of New Yorkers pass it daily, hurrying to and…

Read More

Grand Hotel Bolivar is thought to be one of the most haunted places in Lima, Peru.

We are in Lima: here, the Gran Hotel Bolivar was opened in 1924 in the hope of modernizing the city as a place to house dignitaries visiting the Peruvian capital. During the subsequent half-century, it was the hotel of choice in Lima for Hollywood stars, in addition to acclaimed authors and rock legends. However, then began its slow decline, along with rumors of an interesting paranormal activity. Back in its heyday, the Gran Hotel Bolivar was an unique place to stay in Lima. Built by government request on state property…

Read More

The cyanometer that measure the blueness of the sky in Ljubljana centre

Cyanometers have been color-coding the sky since the late 18th century, however Martin Bricelj Baraga’s sculpture adds a really modern twist. Located in the center of Ljubljana, Slovenia, the monolithic structure blends art and science, measuring the blueness of the sky looking really stunning. Not only does cyanometer periodically capture images of the sky and measure them against the 53-shade color wheel toward the top of the structure, it uses the data to imitate it, changing color to blend in with the sky. Day and night, cloudy or bright, its…

Read More

Legends and origins of “O’ Munaciello”, the Neapolitan sprite.

A Neapolitan proverb reads: “O munaciello: a chi arricchisce e a chi appezzentisce“, which means something like “The munaciello or enriches or sends into poverty“. The munaciello, literally “little monk” in Neapolitan dialect, is a legendary sprite of Neapolitan folklore: a spirit of both beneficial and spiteful nature, it is usually represented as a deformed boy or a person of short stature, dressed in a monk’s habit and silver buckles on shoes. The Munaciello manifests itself to the inhabitants of the house with gestures that express sympathy or dislike depending…

Read More

Szimpla Kert: Budapest ruin pub that offer peep into the past.

Try to imagine: on a chilly night, young party-goers gather inside a two-storey former factory in the heart of Budapest’s entertainment district, where old computer monitors displaying psychedelic patterns line the walls in one room and in another, two guys sit in a bathtub cut in half. On the wall there is a note: “Sorry for your broken leg Rob!”, while on a wall, someone has taken a more serious approach, with a reference to a Dave Matthews Band song lyric: “Here are we on this starry night and I…

Read More