This isn’t the first time Urban Ghosts has featured the forgotten Chateau de Noisy, venturing beyond the foreboding Gothic facade to scenes of dereliction and decay within.
But this haunting series of photographs by urban explorer Tom Blackwell beautifully captures the atmosphere of the abandoned building in Belgium’s province de Namur.
Like many fine buildings that have fallen victim to decay, the 19th century neo-Gothic chateau also known as Miranda Castle has borne witness to a colourful and tumultuous history.
Visiting the Shah Cheragh mosque in Shiraz, Iran can be a sombre and, for lack of a better word, religious experience, yet the interior of the central temple looks as though a disco ball exploded, covering nearly every surface with glittering shards of glass and mirror.
The site began as a funereal monument with a mythic past.
As the story goes, around 900 CE a wanderer caught site of a mysterious light shining off in the distance and went to investigate. He found a luminous grave that, when excavated, was found to hold the armored corpse of an important Muslim figure.
Thus the site became a popular pilgrimage site for Shia Muslims, and a domed tomb structure was created to house the grave.
The site was improved and expanded over the centuries with religious schools and other facilities being added to the complex.
In the 14th century the site’s signature mirrorball decoration was ordered at the behest of Queen Tash Khātūn who wanted the mosque intensify any light a thousand times over, the name “Shah Cheragh” roughly translating to “King of the Light” in Persian.
Despite being damaged by human hands and natural disasters over the centuries, the mosque has been maintained and repaired and shines brightly even today.
The increasingly sprawling site is still an extremely important pilgrimage location for Shia Muslims, however visitors of any faith are likely to marvel at the sheer beauty of this glassy wonder.
The Great Basin Bristlecone Pines, or Pinus longaeva, is a long-living species of tree found in the higher mountains of the southwest United States. Bristlecone pines grow in isolated groves in the arid mountain regions of six western states of America, but the oldest are found in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of California.
These trees have a remarkable ability to survive in extremely harsh and challenging environment. In fact, they are believed to be the some of oldest living organisms in the world, with lifespans in excess of 5,000 years.
Bristlecone pines grow just below the tree line, between 5,000 and 10,000 feet of elevation. At these great heights, the wind blows almost constantly and the temperatures can dip to well below zero.
The soil is dry receiving less than a foot of rainfall a year. Because of these extreme conditions, the trees grow very slowly, and in some years don’t even add a ring of growth. Even the tree’s needles, which grow in bunches of five, can remain green for forty years.
Read the full article via Bristlecone Pines – The Oldest Trees on Earth | Amusing Planet.
Something quite special dwells beneath the surface of New Zealand and these images prove that the country is just as beautiful below ground as it is above!
The Waitomo area is famous for it’s limestone caves and within these caves are one of the most magical insects in the world, the glowworm.
Glow worms emit a phosphorescent glow that light up the cave and create a surreal environment.
Over the past year I have been back and forth to Waitomo’s Ruakuri Cave to master the art of photographing these magnificent little creatures – it’s been quite the experience!
When the headlamps are out and all you can see are the glowworms, you can’t help but feel like you’ve stepped into James Cameron’s Avatar Pandora, it’s just unreal!
Photographing glow worms is very similar to shooting the night sky, however the exposure time can be much longer.
These images in particular range between 30 seconds and 6 minutes exposures.
To achieve the shots, it required me to submerge myself and my tripod in cold water for up to 6-8 hours a day – it was totally worth it!
More info: shaunjeffersphotography.com
Image Credit: Photograph by Chris Gin
Sunrise lights up Cathedral Cove, an iconic spot near Hahei, New Zealand.
The natural tunnel is part of the Te Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve on the Coromandel Peninsula.
It also served as a portal to Narnia in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
This photo and caption were submitted to the 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.
Two sphinxes stand above the tomb entrance, which was located in August. One of the heads was found in October. HCM/Polaris
Large stone sphinxes, women sculpted in marble, intricate mosaics and multicolored frescoes awaited archaeologists in August when they entered the largest tomb ever found in Greece.
The scale of the tomb, which dates to the fourth century B.C., suggests it may belong to Roxane, wife of Alexander the Great, or their son, also called Alexander.
Both were killed by political rivals after the death of the Macedonian conqueror in 323 B.C.
The burial complex, which doesn’t appear to be looted, was found outside the ancient Macedonian city of Amphipolis in 2012, but its entrance wasn’t located until August.
Throughout autumn, stunning new finds emerged almost daily, including a large floor mosaic depicting Pluto’s abduction of Persephone.
Large stone sphinxes, women sculpted in marble, intricate mosaics and multicolored frescoes awaited archaeologists when they entered the largest tomb ever found in Greece.
The burial complex dates back to the fourth century B.C. and was found outside the ancient Macedonian city of Amphipolis in 2012, but its entrance wasn’t located until August 2014.
Since then, the tomb has provided stunning new finds seemingly on a daily basis.
Read further via Archaeologists Explore Largest-Ever Greek Tomb | DiscoverMagazine.com.
With its foreboding 5m-high walls enclosing a nearly 6-hectare site, the old convict-era prison still dominates present-day Fremantle, Western Australia with its tales of adventure and hardship living on in the city’s imagination.
In 2010 its cultural status was recognised, along with that of 10 other penal buildings, as part of the Australian Convict Sites entry on the Unesco World Heritage list.
The first convicts were made to build their own prison, constructing it from beautiful pale limestone dug out of the hill on which it was built.
From 1855 to 1991, 350,000 people were incarcerated here, although the highest numbers held at any one time were 1200 men and 58 women.
Of those, 43 men and one woman were executed on site, the last of which was serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke in 1964.