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10 Magnificent Wonders of the World

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Great Wall of China 1907

Many lists depicting the Wonders of the World have been compiled over the
ages.  They are used to catalogue the most spectacular man-made
constructions and natural monuments in the world.  The Seven Wonders of
the Ancient World is the first known published list of wonders.  It is a
collection of remarkable man-made creations of classical antiquity.  Over the
years, many similar articles have been developed.  In 2007, a popularity poll
was conducted in order to select the New Seven Wonders of the World.  I
will be examining some of the most mysterious and beautiful places on the
planet.  Anyone of these landmarks would be a magical place to visit. 

10. The Sleeping Giant

Location: Sibley Peninsula, Ontario, Canada  

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The Sleeping Giant is a formation of mesas and sills on Sibley Peninsula
which resembles a giant lying on its back when viewed from the West to
Northwest section of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.  As you move
southward along the shoreline toward Squaw Bay, the Sleeping Giant starts
to separate into various sections.  Most distinctly, in the view from the cliffs
at Squaw Bay, the Giant appears to have an "Adam's Apple.”  The formation
is part of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.  Its dramatic steep cliffs are
among the highest in Ontario (250 m).

An Ojibway legend identifies the giant as Nanabijou, who was turned to stone
when the secret location of a rich silver mine now known as Silver Islet was
disclosed to the white men.  Silver Islet was the first silver mine in Ontario.
From 1870 to 1886, 3.25 million dollars worth of silver was extracted from
Silver Islet.  The Sleeping Giant was voted number one on a list of Seven
Wonders of Canada, with a total of 177,305 votes, beating the Bay of Fundy
and Niagara Falls by almost 90 000 votes.  If you are in this area of the
world you have to be sure to visit the legend of The Sleeping Giant.  On a
similar note, the Island of the Sleeping Giant is located In Western Ireland
off of the Dingle Peninsula. 

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Ireland's Giant

9. Valley of Geysers

Location: Kamchatka Peninsula

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The Valley of Geysers is the only geyser field in Eurasia and the second
largest concentration of geysers in the world.  Yellowstone National Park in
northwestern Wyoming contains the greatest number of geysers in the
world.  A geyser is a spring characterized by an intermittent discharge of
water ejected turbulently and accompanied by a vapor phase (steam).  The
formation of a geyser is due to a particular hydrogeological condition, which
exists in only a few places on Earth.  The Valley of Geysers contains a six
km long basin with approximately ninety geysers and many hot springs.  It is
situated on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, predominantly
on the left bank of the ever-deepening Geysernaya River.

The "pulsating" geysers of Kamchatka were discovered by a local scientist,
Tatyana Ustinova, in 1941.  She published her findings fourteen years later,
but there was little exploration of the area until 1972.  A systematic survey
was undertaken in the mid-1970s, and an automatic monitoring system was
introduced in 1990. Over thirty geysers were given names.  The Valley of
Geysers is one of the few places on the planet where you can watch the
heat of the Earth’s core bubble through the surface.  In the 1980s, the area
was promoted across the USSR as one of the tourist magnets of
Kamchatka and the Russian Far East.  Foreign tourists were allowed into the
valley in 1991.  However, the site is difficult to reach, with helicopters
providing the only feasible means of transport. 

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Sadly, the Valley of Geysers was devastated by a mudslide on June 3, 2007.
A large portion of the World Heritage site was buried by millions of cubic
meters of mud, rock, and water.  Many feared the Valley had been destroyed
forever.  The World Heritage Organization expressed deep concern over the
issue.  Releasing a statement saying "This is tragic for humankind, in that we
have lost one of the great natural wonders of the world.”  The extent of
permanent damage is not yet clear, but may predict it to be much less than
originally feared.  In the years since the accident, waters have receded,
exposing some of the submerged geysers.  Velikan Geyser, one of the
field's largest, was not buried in the slide and is still active. 

8. Easter Island

Location: Southeastern Pacific Ocean

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Easter Island is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the
southeastern most point of the Polynesian triangle.  It is a small, hilly, and
treeless island of volcanic origin.  Easter Island is officially a special territory
of Chile, annexed in 1888.  It is widely famous for its 887 extant monumental
statues, called moai, created by the early Rapanui people.  The island
received its current name, Easter Island, from the Dutch sea captain Jacob
Roggeveen, who was the first European to visit the island on April 5, 1722.  It
has been determined that original inhabitants of the island were of
Polynesian stock (DNA extracts from skeletons have confirmed this).
Publications suggest that the ancient people most likely came from the
Marquesas or Society islands, and arrived as early as 318 AD.

Easter Island is one of the world's most isolated inhabited islands.  The
history of the Island is rich and controversial.  Its inhabitants have endured
famines, epidemics, civil war, slave raids, colonialism, and a strange
deforestation.  Easter Island’s most famous features are its enormous stone
statues called moai, at least 288 of which once stood upon massive stone
platforms called ahu.  There are some 250 of these ahu platforms spaced
approximately one half mile apart to create an almost unbroken line around
the perimeter of the island.  Another 600 moai statues, in various stages of
completion, are scattered over Easter Island.  

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Nearly all the moai are carved from the hard stone of the Rano Raraku
volcano, although some of the statues are made of basalt.  The moai have
overly large heads, three-fifths the size of their bodies.  The tallest moai
erected, called Paro, is almost 10 metres (33 ft) high and weighs 75 tonnes.
The heaviest erected statue is a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki,
weighing 86 tons.  One of the unfinished sculptures, if completed, would
have been approximately 21 metres (69 ft) tall with a weight of about 270
tons.  Easter Island’s statues are known for their large, broad noses and
strong chins, along with rectangle-shaped ears and deep eye slits.  The
statues have arms that are carved in bas relief and rest against the body in
various positions.  They also contain hands and long slender fingers that
rest along the crests of the hips.  Except for one kneeling moai, the statues
do not have legs.

Easter Island was treeless by the time the Europeans first visited.  Pollen
analysis has established that the island was almost totally forested until 1200
CE.  The tree pollen disappeared from the record by 1650, and the moai
stopped being made around that time.  The statues' production and
transportation is considered a remarkable intellectual, creative, and
mysterious feat.  It has been hypothesized that the islanders used the trees
to drag the artifacts across the countryside on sleds and rollers.  Scholars
are unable to explain the meaning and use of the moai statues.  They may
have been created for religious or territorial purposes.  You can visit the
ancient artifacts.  However, Easter Island is one of the world’s most famous
yet least visited archaeological sites.  

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7. Kali Gandaki Gorge

Location: Nepal

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The Kali Gandaki Gorge is located in the Himalayas in Nepal.  It is the
deepest gorge in the world.  The upper part of the gorge is called Thak
Khola after the local Thakali people.  The gorge separates major peaks
Dhaulagiri (8167 m) to the west and Annapurna (8091 m) to the east.
According to the difference between the river elevation and these peaks,
this is the world's deepest gorge. The Gandaki River runs at elevations
between 1300 and 2600 metres, which is 5500 to 6800 metres lower than
the mountain peaks.  The Gandaki River is subsequently older than the
Himalayas.

The Kali Gandaki Gorge rises along the Tibet border and flows south through
the ancient kingdom of Mustang.  The gorge begins at Kagbeni and
continues southwards past Jomsom, Marpha and Tukuche to the deepest
part of the gorge in the area of Lete.  It then broadens past Dana and
Tatopani towards Beni.  The Kali Gandaki gorge has been used as a trade
route between India and Tibet for centuries.  Today, it is part of a popular
trekking route from Pokhara to Muktinath, part of the Annapurna Circuit. The
gorge is located within the Annapurna Conservation Area.  When you are
visiting this incredible section of the Himalayas, don’t forget to tour the Kali
Gandaki Gorge.

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6. Lechuguilla Cave

Location: New Mexico, United States

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Lechuguilla Cave is the fifth longest cave known to exist in the world, and the
deepest in the continental United States.  The cave is named for Agave
lechuguilla, a plant found near its entrance.  It is located in Carlsbad Caverns
National Park, New Mexico.  One would not think that such an expansive
cave system would exist under the desert.  Lechuguilla Cave was not fully
discovered until 1986.  To date, 126 miles (203 km) of the cave has been
charted.  It reaches a massive depth of 1,604 feet (489 m).

The first scientific investigation of the cave system baffled researchers.
Many geological formations in Lechuguilla are unique to this cave and are
not found anywhere else in the world.  Geologists have discovered large
amounts of gypsum, lemon-yellow sulfur deposits, and a strange variety of
rare geological shapes.  The cave is in pristine condition with an abnormally
small amount of life.

Scientists have determined that the cave was formed by speleogenesis and
sulfuric acid dissolution. The sulfuric acid is believed to be derived from
hydrogen sulfide which migrated from nearby oil deposits.  Thus, this cavern
apparently formed from the bottom up.  Rare bacteria are believed to occur
in the cave.  These bacteria feed on the sulfur, iron, and manganese minerals
and may assist in enlarging the cave and determining the shapes of some
unusual speleothems.  Other studies indicate that some microbes may have
medicinal qualities that are beneficial to humans. 

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Inside of Lechuguilla there are several standing pools of clear water.  Many
lakes have been identified and named.  The largest is Lake Castrovalva.
The water is reported to be so clear that researchers didn’t see many pools
until they made a splash.  The cave reportedly contains many mysterious
tunnels and chambers.  Lechuguilla Cave lies beneath a park wilderness
area.  However, it appears that the cave's passages may extend out of the
park into adjacent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land.  

A major threat to the cave is proposed gas and oil drilling in the area.
Access to the cave is limited to approved scientific researchers, survey and
exploration teams, and National Park Service management-related trips.
However, Lechuguilla Cave can be seen in the BBC documentary series
Planet Earth.  It was featured in the episode titled Caves. 

5. Serengeti National Park

Location: Serengeti Area, Tanzania

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The Serengeti National Park is a large national park in the Serengeti area of
Tanzania.  The park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the
world.  The area is regarded for its natural beauty and scientific value.  It
houses more than two million wildebeest, half a million Thomson's gazelle,
and a quarter of a million zebra.  The park has the greatest concentration of
plains game in Africa.  It is most famous for the annual migration of over
one million and a half white bearded wildebeest and 200,000 zebra. 

The name Serengeti comes from the Maasai language and appropriately
means an “extended place.”  The National Park has an area of 12,950 square
kilometers and is as big as Northern Ireland, its ecosystem, which includes
the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Maswa Game Reserve, and the
Maasai Mara Game reserve (in Kenya), is roughly the size of Kuwait. 

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The Serengeti is a mysterious land, with unidentified natural and animalistic
phenomenon.  The park offers the most complex and least disturbed
ecosystem on earth.  A unique combination of diverse habitats enables the
park to support more than 30 species of large herbivores and nearly 500
species of birds.  Its landscape, originally formed by volcanic activity, has
been sculptured by the action of wind, rain and sun.

The park varies from open grass plains in the south, savannah with scattered
acacia trees in the centre, hilly, wooded, grassland in the north, to extensive
woodland and black clay plains to the west.  Small rivers, lakes, and swamps
are scattered over the land.  The southeast portion of the park contains the
great volcanic massifs and craters of the Ngorongoro Highlands.  Each
specific area of the Serengeti has its own particular atmosphere and wildlife. 

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As well as the migration of ungulates, the Serengeti is well known for its
healthy stock of other resident wildlife, particularly the lion, leopard, elephant,
Black Rhinoceros, and American Buffalo.  The park also supports the
cheetah, gazelle, topi, eland, waterbuck, hyena, baboon, impala, African wild
dog, and giraffe.  The Serengeti is Tanzania's oldest national park and
remains the flagship of the country’s tourism industry, providing a major
draw to the Northern Safari Circuit.

4. Nan Madol

Location: Federated States of Micronesia

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Nan Madol is a ruined city that lies off the eastern shore of the island of
Pohnpei, in the Federated States of Micronesia.  The city was the capital of
the Saudeleur dynasty.  The first organized government of Pohnpei was the
Saudeleur Dynasty, which ruled from around 500 to 1450 AD.  Nan Madol
consists of a series of small artificial islands linked by a network of canals.
It is the only ancient city ever built atop a coral reef.  Nan Madol’s ruins
contain extremely large and heavy stones and columns.  It is a wonder how
the ancient people managed to transport this material.  The origin of the
stones of Nan Madol is a mystery.  However, a short sea dive between the
island and the quarries shows a trail of dropped stones. 

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The city’s population almost certainly exceeded 1,000 people.  Madol Powe,
the mortuary sector, contains 58 islets in the northeastern area of Nan
Madol.  Most of these islets were once occupied by the dwellings of priests,
although some served a special purpose.  Food preparation took place on
Usennamw, canoe construction on Dapahu, and coconut oil preparation on
Peinering.

High walls surrounding tombs are located on Peinkitel, Karian, and
Lemenkou, but the crowning achievement is the royal mortuary islet of
Nandauwas, where walls of 18 to 25 feet (7.6 m) high surround a central
tomb enclosure within the main courtyard.  Supposedly there is an escape
tunnel beginning at the center of Nan Madol and boring down through the
reef to exit into the ocean.  Scuba divers continue to look for this "secret"
route, but a complete tunnel has yet to be discovered. 

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On Nan Madol there is no fresh water and no food.  One must go inland to
gather water and grow crops.  For the Saudeleurs this was no problem,
since they were the supreme rulers the servants brought them what they
needed.  When the Saudeleurs were overthrown and the period of the
Nahnmwarkis began, the Nahnmwarkis lived at Nan Madol, but they
eventually abandon the city.  Nan Madol forms an archaeological district and
contains nearly 100 artificial islets, which showcases stone and coral fill
platforms and tidal canals.  In 1985, the ruins of Nan Madol were declared a
National Historical Landmark.  It is strange that the land is not on the World
Heritage List.

Currently, a greater effort is being made to preserve the ancient city.  You
must gain permission to visit the land and a fee is charged.  Many of the
modern Pohnpeians view the ruins as a sacred and scary place where spirits
own the night.  Today, the city is covered with jungle, but is in the process of
being preserved.  Aside from Easter Island, Nan Madol is the main
archeological site in the Oceania that is made up of huge rocks, but while
Easter Island receives 50,000 visitors each year, Nan Madol sees fewer
than 1,000.          

3. Stonehenge

Location: Wiltshire, South West England

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Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of
Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometers (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 kilometers
(8.1 mi) north of Salisbury.  Stonehenge is one of the most famous sites in
the world.  The landmark is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular
setting of large standing stones.  In archaeology, earthworks are artificial
changes in land level often known as “lumps and bumps.”  Stonehenge is at
the center of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age
monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.
Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in
2008 indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest
beginnings.  The dating of cremated remains found on the site indicated
burials from as early as 3000 BC.

Scholars believe that Stonehenge once stood as a magnificent complete
monument.  This cannot be proven, as around half of the stones that should
be present are missing, and many of the assumed stone sockets have never
been found.  One of the greatest mysteries surrounding the monument is the
transportation of the large blocks used in construction.  It has been
hypothesized that the blocks were transported by way of rafts along the
Welsh coast and up local rivers, finally to be dragged overland to the site.
Some of the massive stones weigh as much as 26 tons and the monument
was jointly constructed.

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Stonehenge was made by a culture that left no written records.  Many
aspects of the landmark remain subject to debate.  Professor Mike Parker
Pearson, head of the Stonehenge Riverside Project, has suggested that
Stonehenge was part of a ritual landscape and was joined to Durrington
Walls by their corresponding avenues and the River Avon.  Durrington Walls
is the site of a Neolithic village and henge enclosure located two miles north
east of Stonehenge in the parish of Durrington.  Parker suggests that the
area around Durrington Walls was a place of the living, whilst Stonehenge
was a domain of the dead.  A journey along the Avon to reach Stonehenge
was part of a ritual passage from life to death, to celebrate past ancestors
and the recently deceased.

Many of the remains recovered from Stonehenge show evidence of trauma
deformity, such as decapitation.  The site and its surroundings were added
to the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986.  It is a national legally
protected Scheduled Ancient Monument.  Stonehenge is owned by the
Crown and managed by English Heritage, while the surrounding land is
owned by the National Trust.  When Stonehenge first became open to the
public it was possible to walk amongst and even climb on the stones,
however this ended in 1977 when the stones were roped off as a result of
serious erosion.  Visitors are no longer permitted to touch the stones, but
are able to walk around the monument from a short distance away.

2. Machu Picchu

Location: Peru

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Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 meters (8,000 ft)
above sea level.  It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Vicalamba
Valley in Peru, which is 80 kilometers (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco.  Most
archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca
emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472).  It is often referred to as "The Lost City of
the Incas", and is perhaps the most familiar icon of the Inca World.  The
Incas started building the incredible structure around AD 1400, but it was
abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a hundred years later at the
time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.

Machu Picchu was relatively unknown to the outside world until 1911 when
the American historian Hiram Bingham published an article on the landmark.
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.  Since it was not plundered by the
Spanish when they conquered the Incas, it is especially important as a
cultural site and is considered a sacred place.  Machu Picchu is, above all
else, a place of mystery.  Historians are sure that it was built in the classical
Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls, but little is known about the cities
purpose.  It is unclear exactly when the sacred city was constructed and why
it was so hazily abandoned.  

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The Inca people were an extremely intelligent civilization.  One reason they chose
to build at the site was precisely because it was so inaccessible.  Invaders had no
hope of approaching up the steep canyon walls or down the backdrop of ridges,
where only one narrow pass was created over the mountains to the city.  It remains
a mystery how the Inca people managed to hall all of the building materials up the
one narrow and steep pathway.  Machu Picchu is now the most visited
archeological site in all of South America.  Modern visitors wanting a visceral
taste of Machu Picchu's beauty can hike 20 minutes past the city to a sheer granite
cliff face.  Public access beyond this point is prohibited.  From here the trail
threads its way down across the cliff face of a narrow ledge.

Halfway across, stretched over thin air, is a large gap spanned by a few logs that
Inca guards once slid back and forth as a "drawbridge" to control access.  If an
invading army spotted the structure they stood no chance of overtaking it.  How
did a civilization with no iron tools and no wheel manage to chisel and move huge
15-ton blocks along the Andean ridge?  Historians suggest that Machu Picchu was
more than a citadel or fortress.  Its alignment with sacred Inca mountains, rivers,
and astronomical points suggests agreement with celestial and terrestrial deities.
In January 2010 heavy rain caused flooding which buried or washed away roads
and railways leading to Machu Picchu, trapping over 2,000 tourists.  No one was
injured and all people were evacuated.  The landmark has been closed, but it
should reopen to tourists by April 1, 2010.

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1. Great Pyramid of Giza

Location: Giza, Egypt

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The Great Pyramid of Giza, as the name suggests, is a pyramid situated in
the Giza Necropolis of Egypt.  It is the largest of the three pyramids in the
Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt.  Historians believe
the pyramid was built as a tomb for fourth dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu
(Cheops in Greek) and was constructed over a 20 year period concluding
around 2551 BC.  The Great Pyramid was the tallest man-made structure in
the world for over 3,800 years. 

It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one
that survives substantially intact.  The creation of this magnificent pyramid
remains one of the greatest mysteries of the world.  The pyramid has
undergone extensive erosion and damage over the centuries.  Originally, the
Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer
surface, and what is seen today is the underlying core structure.

The total mass of the pyramid is estimated at 5.9 million tonnes.  The
volume, including an internal hillock, is believed to be roughly 2,500,000 cubic
meters.  Based on these estimates, building this structure in 20 years would
involve installing approximately 800 tonnes of stone every day.  The Great
Pyramid also consists of more than 2.3 million limestone blocks.  The
Egyptians obtained the majority of the limestone blocks from a nearby
quarry.  The official story is that the limestone used for the casing was
quarried across the river.  Many of the blocks weighed approximately 25 to
80 tonnes and were transported more than 500 miles away from Aswan. 

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Besides the strange large stones, one of the greatest mysteries of the
pyramid is the precise architectural cutting that was used.  Traditionally,
ancient Egyptians cut stone blocks by hammering wedges into the stone
which were then soaked with water.  The wedges expanded, causing the
rock to crack.  Once they were cut, the stones were apparently carried by
boat either up or down the Nile River to the pyramid.  At completion, the
Great Pyramid was surfaced by white casing stones.

The stones were slant-faced, but flat-topped, and were made of highly
polished white limestone.  The stones were carefully cut to what is
approximately a face slope with a seked of 5 1/2 palms to give the required
overall dimensions.  It seems strange that this precision architectural work
was completed with a hammering wedge. 

Another mystery of the pyramid is how the ancient Egyptians planned its
precise mathematical construction.  There are three known chambers inside
the Great Pyramid.  The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which
the pyramid was built and was unfinished.  The chemical composition of the
mortar used to build the Great Pyramid of Giza is known, but it cannot be
re-produced using present techniques.  The temperature inside the pyramid
remains constant at 68 degrees F, the same as earth’s internal temperature.

Today, tourists enter the Great Pyramid via the Robbers' Tunnel dug by
workmen employed by Caliph al-Ma'mun around AD 820. The tunnel is cut
straight through the masonry of the pyramid for approximately 90 degrees,
and then turns sharply left to encounter the blocking stones in the Ascending
Passage.  Unable to remove these stones, the workmen tunnelled up beside
them through the softer limestone of the Pyramid until they reached the
Ascending Passage.  In recent years entrance to the pyramid has been
restricted to groups of 100 in the morning and afternoon.  Tickets are highly
prized and hard to find.  Photography inside the pyramid is strictly forbidden. 

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Karthik - May 19, 2010
Its nice ....gud c u happy to post ...
well ... I loved it...anyways I bow my head down for this.

Sameer Bantawa - September 1, 2010

It’s nice to visit a web site that has got a lot of knowledge about the world.

Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted February 25, 2010