There are some places in the world that have the power to captivate people over many decades. Some locations become shrouded in mystery; crimes are left unsolved, strange disappearances go unexplained, different geographical locations, climatic conditions and even seasons offer the widest variety of natural wonders.
Lake Retba, Senegal
Lake Retba or Lac Rose is located in the north of the Cap Vert peninsula of Senegal. It got its name due to the Dunaliella salina algae making its water look like strawberry milk shake. Pink color is clearly visible during the dry season. The water in Lake Retba constantly changes hues, but the most stunning pink shade appears during the dry season. During windy weather and during the short wet season, the lake’s colour is not strikingly pink due to the rain, which dilutes the salinity. The salt-loving micro-organism Dunaliella salina, combined with high a mineral concentration and the intensity of the summer sun, are the producers of the cotton candy-colored water. With the salt levels reaching up to 40%, the lake can sometimes take a more sinister shade, appearing blood red, a much less comforting place for your imagination to go when gazing out upon the surreal view.
Jiuzhaigou Valley, China
Five-Color Pond is one of the smallest but the most amazing water basins in Jiuzhaigou lakes. Despite the shallowness, it has a breathtaking colored underwater landscape and some of the brightest and clearest waters in the area. As the legend goes, the Goddess Semo used to wash her hair here and the God Dage brought her water every day.
Far, far away from the country’s super cities of the east is this pristine oasis in the Sichuan province, eight to 10 hours from Chengdu. Five Flower Lake (pictured) is one of its main drawcards with ancient algae-covered trunks layering the crystal-clear lake floor, which owes its translucency to the high concentration of natural calcium carbonate.
Jiuzhaigou (or Jiuzhai) translates to ‘Nine Villages Valley’ after the nine Tibetan villages in the Minshan mountain range, seven of which are still populated today. Incredibly, the bottoms of most lakes in the area are visible, no matter the depth of the water.
Sailing Stones of death valley, California.
Sailing stones, sliding rocks, and moving rocks all refer to a geological phenomenon where rocks move in long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention.
They have been recorded and studied in a number of places around Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, where the number and length of travel grooves are notable. The force behind their movement is not confirmed and is the subject of research. Some stones make linear turns others make oval turns while others create a wavy shape on their tracks. No one has ever seen them move and nobody knows the speed they move with. The mysterious sailing stones of Death Valley turn while they are sliding through the flat leveled valley and this leaves different tracks behind them. Some stones move further than others over two to five years.
Ice Cave in Skaftafell, Iceland
This cave in the glacier appeared as a result of glacial mill. The rain and melt water on the glacier’s surface are forming streams that flow into the crevices. The streams melt holes in the glacier forming long ice caves with intricate walls and ceilings. Cold wind finishes the job and we can observe a momentary marvel ready to collapse at any time. Due to the constant glacier movement one can hear a scaring cracking sound inside the cave. The incipient crevices let the indirect daylight into the tunnel and we can observe its mysterious play on ice bubbles.
They look amazingly beautiful from the inside. This particular cave is located on the frozen lagoon of the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell, Iceland. The centuries old ice coming down the slopes of Öræfajökull via Svínafellsjökull glacier has metamorphosed into highly pressurized glacier ice that contains almost no air bubbles. The lack of air means that it absorbs almost all visible light, apart from the blue fraction which is then visible to the naked eye. However, this blue ice can be seen only under certain circumstances. It can be seen in winter after long periods of rain when the surface layer of the glacier has been washed away. It can be seen in ice-caves like this one and on floating icebergs that have recently rolled over.
Humberstone and LaNoria, Chile
In 1872, these two towns in the Chilean desert were kept alive by the busy saltpeter miners and work was plentiful. Sadly everything collapsed during the Great Depression and as business declined the town of Humberstone and the town of LaNoria were left abandoned. By 1960 there was nobody left around.
There is good reason why the locals refuse to ever walk through these towns and that is due to the many rumours that during nightfall the dead walk the streets. There are urban legends that the people who lived in the town had never left and they went to their graves early without means to support themselves throughout the economic downfall.
You could dismiss these rumours as nonsense ghost stories that are passed down through generations; but the most mysterious part of these two towns is that the majority of the graves are hauntingly open and the bodies are exposed. Many believe the dead walk in the night as their peaceful sleep has been disturbed by grave robbers. Even in broad daylight people have said they can hear voices, whistling and children’s voices.
Hotel del Salto, Columbia
Tequendama Falls is a 515ft tall waterfall that attracts thousands of tourists a year. Many flock to the locations to admire the stunning natural surroundings just 30km southwest of Bogatá, the capital city of Columbia. With so many heading to the area it is no wonder Hotel del Salto, positioned overlooking the entire valley, was such a success. Since 1928 they welcomed many travellers who were blown away by the breathtaking view.
Then the hotel abruptly closed it’s doors in the early 1990’s and the location became something of a local legend. There had been a rise in suicides surrounding it’s closure and some claim that the area is cursed which forced the hotel owners to abandon their business and run for safety.
Mys Aniva Lighthouse, Russia
Mys Aniva Lighthouse, also known as the Cape Aniva, was built in 1939 just off the coast of the island Sakhalin. The island belonged to Russia in 1875, then became property of Japan in 1905 before Russia claimed it back after World War II. It is incredibly hard to get to so in 1945 the Russian’s had an idea where they supposedly replaced the diesel-operated engines with a radioisotope thermoelectric generator and adapted the mercury-assisted pendulum system. (It’s all complicated science but it basically means the lighthouse would now run by itself).
Apparently, the tampering with the lighthouse caused it to turn radioactive and urban explorers have claimed there are many signs in the building which warn of this. Others believe the location is still in use as a government hideaway where they can interrogate prisoners of war. Further rumours came to light that the building is haunted by the ghosts of those who were lost out at sea; their souls would be attracted to the lighthouse and they became trapped at the building too scared to go back into the water. Creepy.
Ancient City of Petra
The ancient city of Petra, Jordan is an architectural masterpiece. Built into the side of a rock cliff, Petra was carved as early as 312 BC. Deep within the deserts of Jordan lies the ancient city of Petra. Through a narrow gorge it emerges into view, revealing awe-inspiring monuments cut into the surrounding cliffs. What is this astonishing city? Who built it, and why?
Two thousand years ago, Petra stood at a crossroads of the ancient Near East.
Camel caravans passed through, loaded with spices, textiles and incense from distant regions–and through such commerce, the city flourished. Its people, the Nabataeans, harnessed precious water, enabling the population to soar to perhaps 20,000.
The Nabataeans also erected monumental tombs, memorializing their kings and leaders. But over time political control changed, and so did trade routes. Eventually the city fell silent, forgotten by the outside world.
Petra was names a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was unknown to the western world until 1812.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Neuschwanstein, a nineteenth-century castle in southern Germany is the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. This German retreat is visited regularly during summer months as a symbol of refuge and peace. The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most popular tourist destination in Europe. The Neuschwanstein Castle really looks like a fairytale castle. Neuschwanstein is a castle of the paradox. It was built in the 19th century in Bavaria, in a time when castles no longer had strategical and defensive purposes.
While Neuschwanstein’s look is that of a medieval castle, it was equiped inside with state of the art technology at that time. For example on every floor of the castle there were toilets with automatic flushing system, as well as an air heating system for the whole castle. Water was supplied by a nearby spring situated at only 200 meters above the castle.
Neuschwanstein’s positioning is also a fairytale one. It is located in the Alps in Bavaria, Germany, in a magnificent landscape, on the top of a hill. Neuschwanstein overlooks the Hohenschwangau valley. If you come to visit this castle, you will be amazed by the extremely beautiful landscape that surrounds it.