Image Credit: Photograph by Julian Walter, National Geographic Your Shot
Namibia, on Africa’s southwest coast, is a large country with a harsh landscape.
The towering and constantly shifting dunes of the Namib Desert, shown here in this aerial photo submitted by Your Shot member Julian Walter, run right to the Atlantic Ocean and can reach up to a thousand feet high.
This picture, taken at Zimanga game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, using an in-camera multiple exposure, with the first lit for the buffaloes and the second focused on the stars with a spectacular result.
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.
British-born Gertrude Bell, also referred to as the female Lawrence of Arabia, was an adventurer, spy, archaeologist and powerful political force who travelled into the uncharted Arabian desert and was recruited by British Military Intelligence to help reshape the Middle East after World War I.
She drew the borders of Iraq, helped install its first king and established the Baghdad Museum of Antiquities which was infamously looted during the 2003 American invasion.
A true visionary, she advocated for Iraqi self-rule and openly criticized colonial policy.
Gertrude Bell images, courtesy of the Gertrude Bell Archives, Newcastle University
Gertrude Bell was astonishingly accomplished.
She was one of the most powerful women in the British Empire in the early twentieth century, yet she has been overlooked in much of the history written about this period.
As the first female British intelligence Officer and adviser on Arabian affairs to the British government,
Bell helped shape the geopolitical map of the world as it changed dramatically after World War I.
She was the only woman with a diplomatic role at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and the only woman invited by Winston Churchill to the Cairo Conference in 1921.