Discovering Secret Valleys and Rock Houses: An Enchanting Encounter with Nature

If you’re looking to visit the stunning village of Civita di Bagnoregio in central Italy, be prepared to cross a footbridge from the nearby town of Bagnoregio. According to Martin, the village is perched on a precarious crag made of clay and tuff, which is susceptible to erosion. This has earned Civita di Bagnoregio the nickname of “The Dying City”.

Martin shares that the city of Leptis Magna has an interesting history, as it was established by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BCE and later became a part of the Roman Empire after the defeat of Carthage in 146 BCE. Notably, the Roman emperor Septimius Severus was born in the city and oversaw a significant building project there. This included the construction of a triumphal arch, which can be seen in the picture above. The arch was built to commemorate his visit to Africa in 203 CE.

In China, there’s a sacred mountain called Mount Sanqing that got its name from its three summits: Yujing, Yushui, and Yuhua. These three peaks represent the Taoist trinity and the three most influential gods in their pantheon. According to Martin, the mountain is also home to a variety of rare plants like the Chinese Douglas fir and numerous vibrant rhododendrons.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, USA is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America, reaching a height of 230m (750ft). According to Martin, the formation of these dunes occurred over millions of years. Sediment from the nearby mountains was carried into lakes on the valley floor, which later dried up due to a warmer climate. As a result, the exposed sand was blown by the prevailing southwesterly winds, forming the magnificent sand dunes we see today.

In the beautiful destination of Aung Mingalar, located in the stunning Inle Lake region of Myanmar, a fascinating revelation has been uncovered. According to a recently published book, Myanmar is home to an extensive range of stupas. These stupas are bell-shaped, tiered structures (similar to the ones depicted in the accompanying image) that are generally referred to as pagodas. They are used to house sacred relics, including those associated with the Buddha and arhats (enlightened people). Interestingly, the book notes that there are more than 1,479 stupas in Myanmar that exceed an impressive 8.2m in height.

The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is home to the IK Kil Cenote, which holds significant cultural and historical value. According to a book, the Maƴa people considered this cenote as sacred and used it for offering sacrifices to their rain god, Chaac. A cenote is a natural sinkhole formed due to the collapse of limestone bedrock, which reveals groundwater. The author points out that the Yucatan Peninsula has around 6,000 cenotes, many of which are perfect for swimming and scuba diving activities.

Martin describes the breathtaking aboriginal artwork found in Carnarvon Gorge, Australia. He emphasizes that this location holds great significance to the Bidjara, Karingbal, and Kara Kara peoples, whose rich history is reflected in the rock art on the sandstone walls. The book further explains that the predominant form of artwork in the gorge is stencil art, where ochre pigment is blown over an object held against the wall, such as a hand, boomerang, shield, or axe. The oldest sites in the gorge have been in use for more than 3,000 years, making it a truly remarkable and significant cultural site.

According to Martin, Reine, a fishing village situated on the island of Moskenesoƴa in the Lofoten Archipelago of Norway, is a must-visit destination. Despite being located above the Arctic Circle, the islands experience moderate winter temperatures as a result of being warmed by the North Atlantic Current. Additionally, the Lofoten Islands have recently gained popularity as a surfing spot, with Unstad Beach on Vestvagoƴ being a favorite among surfers.

Burney Falls, located in California, USA, is a majestic sight and has been deemed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by former President Theodore Roosevelt. According to Martin’s book, the falls are best viewed between April and October when they are fed by snowmelt from Burney Creek, a tributary of the Pit River. Despite the icy temperature, the plunge pool is a popular spot for catch-and-release fly-fishing, with rainbow, brown, and brook trout swimming in its waters.

In Cochem, Germany, lies a charming town beside the Moselle river. Martin describes it as picturesque and notable for its ancient castle that dates back to the 11th century. The castle’s history is quite fascinating – French troops destroyed it during the Nine Years War in 1689. However, a wealthy businessman bought and rebuilt it in Gothic Revival style in 1868.

Located in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, GUR-E-ΑMIR was once one of the largest cities in Asia during the 14th century. This was due to its strategic location on the Silk Road between China and Europe. The city was then made the capital by Timur, the Turco-Mongol conqueror. Eventually, the site became the final resting place for Timur’s family. The mausoleum, named Gur-e-Αmir or ‘Tomb for the King,’ is an iconic structure in Central Asian architecture. In fact, it served as an inspiration for many other tombs, including the Taj Mahal, which was built by Shah Jahan, one of Timur’s descendants.

The book describes the TRΑNSFΑGΑRΑSΑN HIGHWΑY in Romania, which is closed due to snow from late October to June. This road has winding turns and reaches a height of 2,042m (6,699ft) in the Fagarasș Mountains, providing access to the beautiful glacier lake of Balea. According to the book, this road was constructed by military personnel during the reign of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu between 1970 to 1974. Unfortunately, the book also highlights that the number of deaths during construction was estimated to be 40.

The Lencois Maranhenses National Park in Brazil is a breathtaking destination, according to Martin. During the rainy season, the valleys between the sand dunes of this massive desert become flooded with rainwater. The water is unable to drain due to the impermeable bedrock, resulting in interconnected lakes. These lakes serve as a habitat for various species, including the wolf fish or trahira, that burrows into the wet mud and remains dormant during the dry season. This information has been sourced from Natural Wonders and the picture is credited to Pinterest.

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