Beechworth Cemetery and Chinese burning towers

The discovery of gold at Ballarat in 1851 sparked Victoria’s famous gold rush of the 1850s. This led to the probably most significant event in the evolution of the state of Victoria, Australia: the mass migration of people from across the globe to the region hoping to become rich. It’s believed that at the peak of the gold rush, 6,000 miners arrived in the region each week, including many Chinese nationals who converged on Beechworth seeking fortune around the late 1850s. As the population in Beechworth (then surveyed as Mayday…

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Seaman’s Memorial Tower: a tower that pays homage to local sailors who perished under the waves

The Seaman’s Memorial is a tower about 25-meters high that stands at the entrance to Conn Brown Harbor in Aransas Pass, Texas, where many commercial fishers set sail for the bays and estuaries along the South Texas coast. The tower, paid for by public donations, was dedicated on May 9, 1970, and is a permanet tribute to honor local seamen lost at Sea. A plaque that honor six Coast Guard airmen who perished when a flare was accidentally fired inside their aircraft can be found on the memorial’s walls, while…

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Le Mort Homme: a memorial to the soldiers who died in the bloody battles to control Verdun in World War I

In World War I, the battle of Verdun was a really brutal battle that lasted from February 21 to December 18, 1916. Each meters around the French city was fought over by hundreds of thousands of French and German soldiers, and more from the farthest reaches of the European empires. There was 302 days of bloodshed, and historians still argue over how many actually died, with some estimates claimed near a million, from both sides. Even after the battle, technically won by the French, the story of Verdun wasn’t over:…

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Tham Piew Cave: a tangible reminder of an atrocity that took place during a secret war.

On this day, November 24, 1968, daily life began much as it had for some time. Villagers, accustomed to bombs and rocket attacks in the region, had long sought refuge deep in the extensive limestone cave systems of eastern Laos. Along with hundreds of men, women, and children from neighboring villages, rebel Pathet Lao fighters occasionally sought refuge in the dozens of large caves throughout the region as the insurgents made their way through eastern Laos. However, if most of the caves proved to provide safe haven, Tham Piew Cave…

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Mrs. Chippy Monument at Karori Cemetery | Wellington | New Zealand |

Early polar exploration was a lonely adventure, where sailors would be stuck on their ships for months, subsisting on barely edible rations among some of the world’s most inhospitable climates. However, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1917 was made just a bit happy by the presence of the adorable ship’s cat, Mrs. Chippy. Mrs Chippy was taken on board the ship Endurance by carpenter Harry “Chippy” McNish. “Chippy” is a colloquial British term for a carpenter, and the cat acquired its name because, once aboard, it followed McNish…

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The Last Resort Bar: here serial killer Aileen Wuornos drank her last beer~

On January 9, 1991, police arrested Aileen Wuornos while she was drinking a beer at The Last Resort biker bar in Port Orange, Florida. Even though she was arrested for an outstanding warrant, a decade later she would be put to death for the murder of six men, and executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002. In any case, she murdered seven men within a period of 12 months. Her first victim was Richard Charles Mallory (51) on November 30, 1989, an electronics store owner. He was a convicted…

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#March 27, 1887: Prince Albert Memorial’s architect died on this day

Sir George Gilbert Scott (in Photo), the English architect who designed the Albert Memorial, located in London’s Hyde Park, died on this day, March 27 1878. Queen Victoria was described as an “utterly broken-hearted and crushed widow” when in 1861 her beloved husband, Prince Albert, died in their Windsor Castle at the age of 42. In his honour, she had the Albert Memorial built at a cost of £120,000 – about £10.5 million ($17 million) in today’s money. Standing 54 meters high and featuring a huge seated gilt bronze statue…

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Don’t touch the Royals: the absurd death of the Queen of Siam in the 19th Century

Life is known to have a common destiny for everyone: death. There have been, throughout history, really lot of famous people who died in the most absurd ways, and there is an entire catalog of unbelievable deaths of royal people. For istance Henry I, who was king of England from 1100 until 1135: he died a rather bizarre death, supposedly caused by a meal of lamprey eels, at the age of 67. Or another European king, Alexander of Greece, whowas just 27 when he died in 1920. He was taking…

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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,…

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Pyramidenkogel: the world’s tallest wooden observation tower.

In Carinthia, Austria, there is a mountain called Pyramidenkogel, reaching 851 metre above sea level. That’s not very tall compared to the real Alps, only about a quarter the size, but add the world’s tallest wooden tower to the top, and now you’ve got yourself a breathtaking view: from the Hohe Tauern in the north, to the picturesque lake valleys, to the neighbouring countries of Italy and Slovenia in the south. In German the mountain is called Pyramidenkogel, but in nearby Slovenia, a short 20 kilometers to the south, its…

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Scotland: the curse of the Paisley witches.

We are in Paisley, Scotland. Here, any tragic events and misfortunes in the town over the last 300 years, they say, were caused by a curse. In the middle of a busy intersection sits a largely unremarkable circle of cobblestones surrounding a steel horseshoe centered within an anonymous circular bronze plaque. A person almost certainly wouldn’t notice it if they didn’t know it was there, but this modest memorial marks the final resting place of seven people convicted and put to death on charges of witchcraft. As story goes, It…

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Hi Jolly: Quartzsite’s legend of a camel driver~

The thing most people notice right away when they enter the Quartzsite Cemetery is a stone pyramid topped by a copper camel. There’s an insteresting story behind its presence. The monument marks the grave site of a man they called Hi Jolly, who came to this country in the 1860s to act as a camel driver for the U.S. Army during an ill-fated attempt to use the animals as beasts of burden for military purposes in the deserts of the Southwest. During the mid-1800’s when much of the southwest of…

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Brno Astronomical Clock: a peculiar clock that commemorates a historic victory

In 1645, near the last stage of the Thirty Years’ War, the city of Brno became popular across Europe because it managed to thwart a siege by the previously undefeated Swedish army, numbering 30.000 soldiers and led by General Lennart Torstenson, thanks to a a very brilliant tactic. Even if the Swedes laid siege to the city for nearly three months, the citizens of Brno didn’t give up: facing a stalemate, the Swedish commanders decided to give up the siege if they wouldn’t manage to conquer the city before noon.…

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The controversial Captain Cook’s memorial, where he met his violent end.

We are on the Big Island of Hawaii, precisely at Kealakekua Bay, where an 8-meters-high obelisk looms up from the coastal forest to remember the place where British explorer Captain Cook met his violent end. The obelisk was set up as a memorial by his compatriots in 1878, on a land that, while still technically part of the United States, is owned by the British. Rising up against the sky, the tall white spire strikes a beautiful contrast against its natural surroundings: the rugged ground, the high cliffs and the…

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