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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El Cañuelo: the small fort that played a huge role defending Puerto Rico’s capital city

Puerto Rico is well known for its well-preserved Spanish fortifications in Old San Juan, such as El Morro, the most visited tourist attraction on the island. However, while you exploring the famous fort’s walls and enjoying the amazing view of the San Juan Bay, you may notice something else, a smaller and seemingly less impressive looking fort. Actually, it was El Morro’s most important ally in times of conflict. Fortín San Juan de la Cruz, known locally simply as El Cañuelo, was built on the west side of San Juan…

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Fort de la Chartreuse: the fort that was never used…as a fort!

The Fort de la Chartreuse is an about 150-year-old fortification that once should have been defend the Amercœur neighborhood of Liège in Belgium, but is now an abandoned big ruin that is slowly being overtaken by foliage and graffiti. Built between 1817 and 1823, the fortress rests on the grounds of a former Carthusian (Ordre des Chartreux) monastery in operation until the French Revolution, on an elevated hill in Liège, and it is part of the fortification line along the river Meuse which crosses Belgium. It was originally built by…

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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…

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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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Cripta de los Héroes: the final resting place for many of Peru’s greatest military heroes.

We are in Lima: the historic (and supposedly haunted) Cementerio Presbítero Matías Maestro is the most famous cemetery in Peru. Inaugurated in 1808, it now contains 766 mausoleums and 92 historic monuments. Among them is the Cripta de los Héroes (Crypt of the Heroes), the final resting place for many of Peru’s greatest military heroes. The Crypt was inaugurated on September 8, 1908, to house the remains of Peruvian military heroes who fought in the 19th-century War of the Pacific. During this war against Chile, the allied nations of Peru…

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