Tucked away near the bottom of Switzerland’s Areuse Gorge is a nearly fantastical little bridge that looks straight out of a storybook.
Of course the Saut de Brot, as it is known, is very real, and absolutely gorgeous.
The lush Areuse Gorge in the region of Brot-Dessous in Switzerland was carved over millennia by what is now the Areuse river.
The waters still rush along the bottom of the beautiful natural fissure, between tall walls of stone.
The gorge is a popular nature spot for hikers who can traverse the trail that hugs the rocky cliffs.
However, maybe the most stunning feature is the small bridge that was built to span the Areuse between the canyon walls.
Known as the Saut de Brot, the bridge is a simple stone arch that is not overly dramatic in its construction, but is nonetheless singular enough to create an almost fantastical scene like something out of a Tolkien novel or a fairytale.
Greenery grows above and around the bridge giving it an even more hidden and secluded feel, even with other hikers and visitors milling around.
The actual origins of the bridge are unclear, although it seems like a recent edition despite, the stone construction.
It was obviously not built by elves, but it almost seems like it could have been.
Mount Hua is located near the southeast corner of the Ordos Loop section of the Yellow River basin, south of the Wei River valley, at the eastern end of the Qin Mountains, in southern Shaanxi province.
It is part of the Qin Mountains, which divides not only northern and southern Shaanxi, but also China.
Traditionally, only the giant plateau with its summits to the south of the peak Wuyun Feng (五雲峰, Five Cloud Summit) was called Taihua Shan (太華山, Great Flower Mountain).
It could only be accessed through the ridge known as Canglong Ling (蒼龍嶺, Dark Dragon Ridge) until a second trail was built in the 1980s to go around Canglong Ling. Three peaks were identified with respective summits: the East, South, and West peaks.
The East peak consists of four summits. The highest summit is Zhaoyang Feng (朝陽峰, Facing Yang Summit, i.e. the summit facing the sun).
Its elevation is reported to be 2096.2 meters and its name is often used as the name for the whole East Peak. To the east of Zhaoyang Feng is Shilou Feng (石樓峰, Stone Tower Summit), to the south is Botai Feng (博臺峰, Broad Terrace Summit) and to the west is Yunű Feng (玉女峰, Jade Maiden Summit).
Today, Yunű Feng considered its own peak, most central on the mountain.
The South peak consists of three summits. The highest summit is Luoyan Feng (落雁峰, Landing Goose Summit), with an elevation of 2154.9 meters. To the east is Songgui Feng (松檜峰, Pines and Junipers Summit), and to the west is Xiaozi Feng (孝子峰, Filial Son Summit).
The West peak has only one summit and it is known as Lianhua Feng (蓮花峰) or Furong Feng (芙蓉峰), both meaning Lotus Flower Summit. The elevation is 2082.6 meters.
With the development of new trail to Hua Shan in the 3rd through 5th century along the Hua Shan Gorge, the peak immediately to the north of Canglong Ling, Yuntai Feng (雲臺峰, Cloud Terrace Peak), was identified as the North peak.
It is the lowest of the five peaks with an elevation of 1614.9 meters.
As early as the 2nd century BCE, there was a Daoist temple known as the Shrine of the Western Peak located at its base.
Daoists believed that in the mountain lives the god of the underworld. The temple at the foot of the mountain was often used for spirit mediums to contact the god and his underlings.
Unlike Taishan, which became a popular place of pilgrimage, Huashan, because of the inaccessibility of its summits, only received Imperial and local pilgrims, and was not well visited by pilgrims from the rest of China. Huashan was also an important place for immortality seekers, as many herbal Chinese medicines are grown and powerful drugs were reputed to be found there.
Kou Qianzhi (365–448), the founder of the Northern Celestial Masters received revelations there, as did Chen Tuan (920–989), who spent the last part of his life in hermitage on the west peak. In the 1230s, all the temples on the mountain came under control of the Daoist Quanzhen School.
In 1998, the management committee of Huashan agreed to turn over most of the mountain’s temples to the China Daoist Association. This was done to help protect the environment, as the presence of taoists and nuns deters poachers and loggers.
Before the Niagara river plunges along the Canada–United States border to create the mesmerizing Niagara Falls, it cuts a 11 km long gorge through the hard dolomite rocks of the Niagara Escarpment.
This gorge has been a popular scene for sightseers ever since Niagara welcomed its first tourists more than a hundred years ago.
Back then, the gorge was home to another attraction—a narrow-gauge railroad running along the shoreline at the bottom of the gorge.The Niagara Gorge Railroad was the dream of Civil War veteran Captain John M. Brinker, who was one of Buffalo’s foremost citizens.
It was Captain Brinker’s idea to build an electric rail road through the Niagara Gorge. His proposal was at first met with incredulity, but his earnestness compelled attention. It was, however, not an original idea.
Prior to Captain Brinker, the Niagara Falls and Whirlpool Company made a half hearted attempt to construct a railroad within the Niagara gorge, but legal obstacles prevented the company from executing the plan.
The Tuberculosis Pavilion (Photograph by Christopher Payne).
by Rachel Nuwer
In the heart of New York City lies an abandoned island. Although it is clearly visible to commuters on the Bronx’s I-278 or passengers flying into La Guardia airport, few people are even aware of its existence.
If anything, they have only heard that the infamous Typhoid Mary spent her final years confined to a mysterious island, situated somewhere within view of the city skyline. But even that sometimes seems the stuff of rumor.
Until 1885, the 20-acre spot of land—called North Brother Island—was uninhabited, just as it is today.
That year saw the construction of the Riverside Hospital, a facility designed to quarantine smallpox patients.
Workers and patients traveled there by ferry from 138th Street in the Bronx (for many of the latter, it was a one-way trip), and the facility eventually expanded to serve as a quarantine center for people suffering from a variety of communicable diseases.
By the 1930s, however, other hospitals had sprouted up in New York, and public health advances lessened the need to quarantine large numbers of individuals.
In the 1940s, North Brother Island was transformed into a housing center for war veterans and their families. But by 1951, most of them—fed up with the need to take a ferry to and from home—had chosen to live elsewhere.
For the last decade of its brief period of human habitation, the island became a drug rehabilitation center for heroin addicts.
Mere decades ago, North Brother Island was a well-manicured urban development like any other. Judging from aerial photos taken in the 1950s, the wildest things there were a few shade trees.
In those years, North Brother Island was covered by ordinary roads, lawns and buildings, including the towering Tuberculosis Pavilion built in the Art Modern style.
Kilmainham Gaol was a working and silent prison that housed men, women, and children, and was in operation from from 1787 until 1924.
The youngest child imprisoned at Kilmainham was believed to have been just seven years old. In the years of the harshest famines, people would intentionally break the law to enter the Gaol, in the hope that they would be fed while incarcerated, which led to severe overcrowding.
Women and children were forced to sleep on the floor in the corridors with no blankets while men were squeezed into cells that held up to five people at a time.
Kilmainham Gaol became notorious for its rebel prisoners. Irish Nationalists were sent in great numbers to the prison and almost every Irish Republican leader had been housed within its walls at one time or another, during its years of operation.
Many were executed there as well.
In 1916, during an event called the Easter Rising, Irish republican rebels took over the General Post Office and other locations in the heart of Dublin to protest being ruled by the British.
They held their positions for six days before surrendering. When they did surrender, the leaders were sent to Kilmainham Gaol.
Once there, they were tried in secret, found guilty, and executed by firing squad in the yard.
All seven signatories on the Proclamation of Independence were shot at Kilmainham, including one who had just been married in the prison chapel and another who had to be tied to a chair due to his injuries.
But the executions, intended to quell the nationalist uprising, had the opposite effect.
A movement that had before been the interest of only a few gained momentum and strength as word spread about these martyr-like executions, eventually leading to independence for the majority of Ireland just a few years later.