Big Wind: the most powerful firetruck ever built

What to you get if you combine an old Soviet tank with two Soviet jet engines and a lot of water? The Big Wind, a fire truck capable of stopping oil well fires all by itself! It was February 1991, near the end of the Gulf War, when the retreating Iraqi army set over 700 Kuwaiti oil wells on fire, thus creating the desert into an almost apocalyptic landscape. Up to six million barrels of oil burned every day for 30 weeks, sending flames as high as 90 meters into…

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

Menlo Castle: an Irish abandoned castle claimed by nature

We are in Ireland, just outside of Galway City on the banks of the River Corrib that flows through the city into Galway Bay. This mysterious abandoned castle is visible right from across the river from the National University of Ireland, Galway and it is so thoroughly overgrown with vegetation it is almost disappearing into the scenery. The 16th-century castle, not by chance known also “Blake Castle”, was the ancestral home of the Blake family, English nobles that inhabited the Menlo estate from 1569 up until a fire destroyed the…

Read More

Newman’s Nursery Ruins

Nestled in a valley on top of a hill there are the suggestive ruins of a 19th-century plant nursery. Founded by Carl and Margaretha Newman in 1854, Newman’s Nursery was once home to rare and exotic varieties of flowers, trees, fruits, and vegetables, as well as the family’s 17 children. Yes, really 17! By the 1880s, the nursery had become a huge success and was considered a prime showpiece of the area: at its peak, it covered 500 acres, with 90 acres of fruit trees including 500,000 apples, cherries, and…

Read More