Worship of this Egyptian goddess spread from Egypt to England
Egyptians adored Isis, divine protector of the dead, for two millennia before her cult spread beyond the Nile to the rest of the Roman Emprie.Isis was loved by ancient Egyptians for her fierce devotion to her husband Osiris and her son Horus. Her cult first began to spread around the Mediterranean following the establishment of Hellenist rule in Egypt in the fourth century B.C. Then as Roman power expanded, worship of Isis went even farther afield.
In a tomb deep below the desert, Egyptologist Ramadan Hussein (left) and mummy specialist Salima Ikram (right) examine the coffin of a woman who was laid to rest inside a limestone sarcophagus weighing more than seven tons.
A priest named Ayput was interred in a stone sarcophagus carved in the shape of a human, a style known as anthropoid. The mummy’s wrapping were coated with tar or resin, giving it a dark color.
With little room to maneuver in a claustrophobic burial chamber, workers use steel jacks and clever engineering to lift the five-ton lid of a massive sarcophagus.
Undertakers running out of space to store bodies as coronavirus lockdown causes funeral backlog
Families have been unable to register deaths due to restrictions and a leading funeral director says system has been left in limbo. Services are being delayed because they cannot take place until deaths have been registered - and face-to-face registry office appointments are unavailable following the government 's COVID-19 lockdown.
Paleoradiologist Sahar Saleem (between two male technicians) uses a mobile x-ray unit to reveal secrets hidden beneath the wrappings of the mummified priest Ayput. The name is male, but the size and shape of the mummy's pelvis, as well as the roundness of its skull, suggests to Saleem that this priest might actually have been a priestess.
To reach the mummy workshop and burial chambers, archaeologists had to remove 42 tons of sand and debris from this 100-foot vertical shaft carved out of the sandstone bedrock.
A digital model created by a 3D scanner reveals the main shaft leading down to a complex of burial chambers. The most prestigious tombs were located in the deepest part, closest to the underworld.
Paintings are discovered inside the coffin of a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy after she was lifted out of it for the first time in more than a century
Conservators in Perth, Scotland have discovered paintings inside the coffin of an Egyptian mummy - known as 'Ta-Kr-Hb' - after she was lifted out of it for the first time in more than 100 years. Scottish conservators made the discovery during work to conserve Ta-Kr-Hb – pronounced ‘takerheb' – believed to be a priestess or princess from Thebes.The mummy, which is nearly 3,000 years old, was in fragile condition after being targeted by grave robbers throughout history.
Workers use a hand-cranked winch to lower tools and other gear to the mummy workshop and tombs 100 feet below. The burial complex occupied a prime location at Saqqara—within sight of the Step Pyramid of Djoser, one of Egypt’s oldest and most sacred monuments.
Archaeologists Maysa Rabeeh (left) and Mohammed Refaat (right) examine the degraded wooden coffin of a priest named Ayawet who was interred with crossed arms—a divine position usually reserved only for pharaohs.
Ramadan Hussein peers inside a stone sarcophagus in search of mummies. The team discovered more than 50.
The discovery made headlines around the world when it was first announced in July 2018: Archaeologists had unearthed an ancient Egyptian “funeral home” deep beneath the sands of Saqqara, a sprawling necropolis—city of the dead—located on the banks of the Nile less than 20 miles south of Cairo.
Coronavirus: four Egyptian women arrested after denouncing the danger in prison (relatives)
© Khaled DESOUKI Photo of a watchtower in Tora prison, in the Egyptian capital Cairo, February 11, 2020 Four human rights activists have were arrested Wednesday after demonstrating in Cairo in favor of the release of certain prisoners, fearing their contagion in prison by the coronavirus, we learned from their families. The four women demonstrated on Wednesday outside the Egyptian government building in central Cairo.
In the two years since, thorough analysis of the finds and new discoveries in a nearby shaft filled with tombs have yielded a trove of information about the business of death in ancient Egypt. For centuries, archaeology in the land of the pharaohs was focused on uncovering inscriptions and artifacts from royal tombs rather than the details of day-to-day life. Mummification workshops probably existed at necropolises all over Egypt, but many were overlooked by generations of excavators rushing to get to the tombs underneath.
Now, with the discoveries at Saqqara, that’s changing as the archaeological evidence for a vast funeral industry is unearthed and documented in detail for the first time.
“The evidence we uncovered shows the embalmers had very good business sense,” says Ramadan Hussein, an Egyptologist based at the University of Tübingen in Germany. “They were very smart about providing alternatives.”
Couldn’t afford a deluxe burial mask crafted with gold and silver? You might be offered the “white plaster and gold foil” deal instead, Hussein says.
One hurt, two arrested as 150 break lockdown rules to attend a funeral
Two men were arrested and a teenage boy was injured in a motorbike accident after about 150 people broke coronavirus social distancing rules to attend a funeral in Kent. Kent Police were warned in advance about the gathering in Sittingbourne but allowed it to go ahead because they were given "very little notice".The funeral on Thursday was attended by large numbers of motorcyclists and two men, aged 24 and 32, were arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving and driving without a licence.
Not enough cash to store your innards in jars of lustrous Egyptian alabaster? How about a nice painted clay set instead?
“We’ve been reading about this in the [ancient] texts,” Hussein says, “but now we can really contextualize the business of death.”
Related Slideshow: 100 must-see landmarks from around the world (Provided by Photo Services)
Great Sphinx of Giza in Giza, Egypt
Standing on the Giza Plateau, west of the Nile, the Great Sphinx of Giza is a limestone statue of a mythical creature — one with the body of a lion and head of a human. The face is believed to be that of Pharaoh Khafre, during whose reign (2575 B.C.-2465 B.C.) it was built; there is no proof though.
Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy
Designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city. It is 86 feet (26.3 meters) high and 161 feet (49.15 meters) wide. Legend has it that tossing a coin into the fountain guarantees a return trip to Rome. The fountain has appeared in many films, including "La Dolce Vita" (1960) and "Roman Holiday" (1953).
Death of Christophe: this reason why the singer was absent at the funeral of Johnny Hallyday
Christophe had explained why he had not been present at the funeral of his friend Johnny. © Abaca Death of Christophe: this reason why the singer was absent at the funeral of Johnny Hallyday Yesterday, Thursday, April 16, singer Christophe died at the age of 72 of a lung patient. His idol was none other than the great Elvis Presley but he also greatly admired Johnny Hallyday. They have already met on several occasions.
Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, the opera house is one of the most distinctive performing arts centers in the world. It was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and formally opened in 1973. Over eight million people visit the center every year.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany
Commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria, a reclusive king and one who, in his later years, was declared insane and deposed, the castle is one of the most popular in Europe and is visited by 1.4 million people every year. Described locally as “the castle of the fairy-tale king,” it was thrown open to the public in 1886, after Ludwig’s death.
Grand Canyon in Arizona, US
Carved by the Colorado River, this steep-sided canyon is a natural wonder. The place was traditionally inhabited by native Americans who built settlements within the canyon. You can admire the canyon's beauty from the top or choose to go rafting on the Colorado River for a closer view.
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, US
The suspension bridge over the Golden Gate Strait is 1.7 miles long (2.8 kilometers) and links San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County. An iconic symbol of San Francisco, the American Society of Civil Engineers listed it as a Wonder of the Modern World.
Dozens of decomposing bodies discovered in trucks of a funeral home
On Wednesday, New York authorities announced that they had discovered dozens of decaying bodies in trucks of a funeral home. © Craig Ruttle / AP / SIPA On Wednesday, residents of Utica Avenue in Brooklyn called the police over an increasingly foul odor. This came from two moving trucks parked outside a funeral home. When they got there, the emergency services made a macabre discovery. Inside the vehicles were dozens of rotting bodies, reports the " New York Times ".
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Not only is this iconic peak the highest in Africa, it is also a dormant volcano and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Rising 19,340 feet (5,895 meters) in the air, it is home to almost every kind of ecological system – from cultivated land to rain forest and from alpine desert to arctic summits.
Choijin Lama Temple in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
The Choijin Lama Temple complex consist of five lavishly decorated temples and, although they aren’t active places of worship today, they remain a repository of Mongolian Buddhist sculptures and paintings. The main temple features statues of Buddha Sakyamuni, Choijin Lama and Baltung Choimba (the teacher of the Bogd Khan), whose mummified remains have been placed inside the statue.
Golden Temple in Amritsar, India
Built in the early 17th century, this is the holiest place of worship for members of the Sikh community. Famed for its tolerance and openness to members of all faiths, over 100,000 visit the temple every day, and almost as many eat at a free public canteen.
Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary
This suspension bridge over the Danube River, designed by English engineer William Tierney Clark, was the first permanent bridge connecting the twin cities of Buda and Pest. At night, the illuminated structure makes for great photography moments and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Budapest.
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, US
Built to honor the 16th American president, Abraham Lincoln, this is the spot from which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech on Aug. 28, 1963. The memorial—which receives approximately six million visitors annually—is built in the form of a Greek Doric temple.
Coronavirus: New York investigation into dozens of bodies found in
trucks Up to 60 rotting bodies were found in trucks outside a Brooklyn funeral home. New York authorities are investigating a Brooklyn funeral home after police found dozens of rotting bodies stored in trucks at the entrance.
Acropolis of Athens, Greece
This ancient citadel houses the ruins of historical buildings dating back to the fifth century B.C., including the famous Parthenon. Today it is a pioneer in open-air conservation techniques, which aim to safeguard the marble sections from air pollution.
Empire State Building in New York City, New York, US
The 102-story skyscraper is a major attraction in Midtown Manhattan. Designed in the distinctive Art Deco style, it is one of the tallest buildings in the world and is considered an American cultural icon. Featured in over 250 Hollywood films, nearly 3.6 million people visit the building's observatories every year.
African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, Senegal
Measuring 160 feet (49 meters), the tallest statue in Africa was unveiled in 2010 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Senegal’s independence from France. Former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade proposed the idea for the statue, which is one-and-a-half times taller than the Statue of Liberty.
Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
Gustave Eiffel's masterpiece is one of the most-visited monuments in the world. It was finished in 1889 as the entrance arch for the World Fair in the same year and is the tallest structure in Paris. The tower offers views around the city as far as 49 miles (80 kilometers).
Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet
A Tibetan artistic and architectural marvel, this UNESCO World Heritage Site used to be the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when the 14th Dalai Lama had to flee to India. Spread over 13 stories, it has over 1,000 rooms divided into the White Palace and the Red Palace, each filled with ancient shrines, libraries, murals, stupas and tombs of previous Dalai Lamas.
Borobudur in Magelang, Indonesia
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this ninth-century Buddhist temple is the largest of its kind in the world and pre-dates the equally famous and iconic Angkor Vat in Cambodia by 300 years. It consists of a series of stacked stone platforms surrounded by 72 Buddha statues. The central platforms, which are capped by a dome, are decorated by over 500 smaller Buddha statues.
Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Widely regarded as one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, the Angkor Vat temple complex is spread across 400 square kilometers. The entire site is home to temples, reservoirs and canals and was, for quite some time, the center of the Khmer Kingdom; it was built during the reign of a Khmer king, Suryavaram II, in the 12th century.
St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
Also called the Cathedral of the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat, this unique and beautiful church was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible to celebrate his conquest of the cities of Kazan and Astrakhan and consecrated in July 1561. The central nave is 156 feet (47.5 meters) tall and is surrounded by nine smaller and separate chapels.
Kōtoku-in in Kamakura, Japan
Commonly called Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha of Kamakura), this giant copper statue of Amida-butsu (Amitabha Buddha) was declared a National Treasure by the Japanese government. Construction of the statute began in 1252 and, when it was finished, was 44 feet (13.35 meters) tall (including the platform) and weighed 121 tons. According to ancient records, it was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1498.
Batu Caves in Gombak, Malaysia
The Batu Caves are a popular Hindu shrine that houses numerous statues and sculptures. At the entrance of the complex is a 140-feet-high (42.7 meters) statue of Lord Murugan. The festival of Thaipusam is celebrated here every year.
Rock of Gibraltar
Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the monolithic limestone promontory is 1,398 feet (426 meters) high. The upper reaches of the rock are covered by a natural reserve, which is inhabited by hundreds of Barbary macaques.
Blue-domed churches in Santorini, Greece
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful (and oft-photographed) landscapes in the world, the impossibly white houses on the island of Santorini offer breathtaking views in their own right… particularly when fiery flashes of burnt amber and orange from the setting sun adds color and drama to the shot. The addition of these blue-domed churches, though, makes it an extra-special place to visit.
Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe
The Kololo tribe, which lived in the area in the 1800s, called the falls “Mosi-oa-Tunya,” or “The Smoke that Thunders,” and they were right! The spray and mist generated as the waters of the Zambezi River fall 354 feet (108 meters) can be seen from miles away. The falls from part of the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, with national parks of each country adjoining the river’s banks.
Machu Picchu in Peru
This breathtaking reminder of the Inca civilization is situated on a mountain ridge approximately 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level and was created for Emperor Pachacuti (1438-1472). The structure remained hidden from the world until 1911, when it was highlighted by American historian Hiram Bingham. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981, it was also voted on the New Seven Wonders of the World list.
Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
No trip to the Malaysian capital is complete without a visit to the tallest twin towers in the world. Designed by Argentine-American architect César Pelli, they are 1,483 feet (452 meters) tall and were opened to the public in 1999; it was the tallest in the world from 1998 to 2004, when it was overtaken by Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan. Among the most iconic of contemporary buildings, each tower weighs a reported 300,000 tons.
Angel Falls in Venezuela
The world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall drops over the edge of the Auyán-tepui mountain, in Canaima National Park, from a height of 3,212 feet (979 meters). It is named for Jimmie Angel, an American aviator who was the first to fly over the area.
Twelve Apostles in Victoria, Australia
A stunning testimony to the beauty of the natural world, the apostles are actually limestone rock stacks that were once part of the cliffs that overlook the Southern (Antarctic) Ocean. However, over a period of 20 million years, sections of the cliff were eroded to leave these stacks standing on their own, some rising to a height of 148 feet (45 meters). On a final note, despite the name, there are only eight apostles left standing; the others have been reclaimed by the sea.
Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada and New York, US
Niagara Falls is the name given to three waterfalls (Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls) that lie on the border between the two countries. Located on the Niagara river, the falls are known for their beauty and attract millions of tourists from all over the world.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was unlike anything the world had ever seen when it opened in 1997. Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, it is a modern and contemporary art museum made of titanium, limestone and glass. It showcases modern and contemporary works by artists like Richard Serra, Willem de Kooning and Jenny Holzer, and hosts parties called Art After Dark every month.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE
The largest mosque in the country – the entire complex covers an area of 12 hectares (30 acres) – it was built between 1996 and 2007. The building’s design was inspired by Persian, Mughal and Alexandrian architecture and it can accommodate up to 40,000 devotees. The carpet in the main prayer hall took almost two years to create – it weighs 35 tons and can seat 7,000 people.
Palace of Versailles, France
Situated 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) southwest of the French capital, the opulent Palace of Versailles was the seat of the French monarchy from the late 17th to 18th century. It boasts over 2,300 rooms spread across 63,154 square meters, and contains thousands of paintings and other valuable works of art.
Statue of Liberty in New York City, New York, US
A gift from the people of France to those of the U.S., the Statue of Liberty is often portrayed as one of the world’s most iconic emblems of justice and equality. Located on Liberty Island in New York City, the sculpture is 305 feet (93 meters) high, if measured from the ground to the top of the famous torch. The statute represents Libertas, a Roman goddess, and the tablet in her left hand is inscribed – July IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776) – the date of the American declaration of independence.
Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Completed in 1958 and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in that part of the world, the mosque is named for the 28th Sultan of Brunei. It is surrounded by an artificial lagoon and the interiors have been built with Italian marble. The minaret – 170 feet (52 meters) high – is the tallest structure in the city.
Great Wall of China in China
A remarkable testament to the determination and engineering skill of its creators, the Great Wall is a stretch of stone, rock, earthen and wooden fortifications across the country’s historic border. It runs from east to west for over 12,400 miles (20,000 kilometers) and was built between the third century B.C. and 17th century A.D., to defend ancient china from Mongol raids.
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Built in the 26th century B.C., the Great Pyramids continue to baffle mankind. Conflicting scientific theories exist as to how the stones, weighing between 2.5 tons and 15 tons each, were moved to create the remarkable structures. The 481-feet (147 meters) high Khufu’s pyramid, also known as the Great Pyramid of Giza, is the oldest and largest of the pyramids.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria
Spread over an area of 34,100 square feet (3,170 square meters), this is one of the largest church buildings in the world; and the third-largest Orthodox Cathedral in Southeast Europe. At its highest, the structure is 148 feet (45 meters) high and its bells (there are 12 weighing 23 tons in all) can be heard for 10 miles (16 kilometers) around. Constructed between 1882 and 1912, it is named for a Russian prince and also honors soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-’78.
Burj Al Arab in Dubai, UAE
One of the most memorable sights in the world, the Burj Al Arab is built to resemble the sail on a ship and stands on an artificial island 920 feet (280 meters) from the shore. The fifth-tallest hotel in the world, it is also one of the most opulent and boasts two 8,396 square feet (780 square meters) Royal Suites with private cinemas, personalized (and 24K-gold) iPads and a host of other luxuries.
Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China
Named after the Tiananmen Gate (also called Gate of Heavenly Peace), this is one of the largest city squares in the world. Despite its beauty, it is best known as the site of ultimately tragic pro-democracy protests in 1989; the protests ended with troops from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) firing with automatic rifles at the gathered crowd.
Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, Iceland
Belonging to the Lutheran denomination, this church is the largest in the country. It is also one of the tallest structures in Iceland – 244 feet (74.5 meters). Construction on the building began in 1945 and finished in 1986. It is named for Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674).
Easter Island in Polynesia
Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, there are 887 massive stone statues on Easter Island. These are believed to be the work of the Rapa Nui people – the island’s Polynesian inhabitants. Today, the island belongs to Chile, who gave the remaining natives citizenship and the status of “special territory.” The statues on the island are, on average, 13 feet (four meters) tall; the largest is “Paro,” which weighs 82 tons and is 32 feet (9.8 meters) tall.
Taj Mahal in Agra, India
Hailed as an iconic symbol of love, this mausoleum (made of white marble) was commissioned by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Believed to have taken 20,000 craftsmen and 1,000 elephants nearly two decades to finish the building, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ, made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, was unveiled in 1931. Standing 98 feet (30 meters) tall (excluding a 26-feet-high (eight meters) pedestal, it is lit up spectacularly when night falls over the city.
Chichen Itza in Mexico
It is believed to be an ancient city built by the Mayans in the pre-Columbian era. It is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico and attracts around 1.2 million visitors each year.
Tiger's Nest Monastery in Paro Valley, Bhutan
Considered one of the holiest places in Bhutan, this Buddhist monastery was built in 1692. Visitors require a special permit from the Bhutanese government before attempting the trek to the monastery, which stands at an altitude of 10,200 feet (3,109 meters).
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
One of the most famous tourist sites in Vienna, this palace was built in 1743 during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Church of Our Lady before Týn in Prague, Czech Republic
The church is a famous feature of Prague's Old Town, and dates back to the 14th century. Its spires are among the finest examples of Gothic sculpture in Europe.
Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, Hungary
The largest building in Hungary was completed in 1896 to coincide with the 1000th anniversary of Hungary's foundation. It is designed in the Gothic Revival style and has survived many changes in its lifetime, including the removal of the Soviet red star on the facade in 1990.
Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, Japan
The top two stories of this Zen Buddhist temple are coated with pure gold. It is part of the wider World Heritage Site "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto," and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
Rock houses in Cappadocia, Turkey
The soft rock structures in this region were extensively tunneled to create homes and churches, and many of these are preserved to date. Although some have been converted into museums, many are still used as houses or hotels.
Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
The shrine is built on a sacred stone and a gold-plated dome was added to the original structure many years later, scholars suggest. The marble and mosaic were also added to the structure centuries later. Although it has been rebuilt over the years, the last major work was performed on it in 1035.
Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina
This waterfall system consists of 275 falls which run for 1.67 miles (2.7 kilometers). The river acts as part of the national border between Argentina and Brazil, offering spectacular views of both countries.
Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal
A popular royal residence of the Portuguese monarchy from the 15th to the 19th centuries, this beautiful medieval palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Sintra's best-known tourist attraction.
Petra in Jordan
Also known as the "Rose City" due to the color of stones from which it is carved out, Petra housed as many as 30,000 people between 300 and 100 B.C. However, it was later abandoned for unknown reasons. Its rock-cut architecture make it an unmissable sight for visitors in Jordan, and the site has featured in many Hollywood movies.
Las Lajas Sanctuary in Ipiales, Colombia
Built inside the canyon of the Guaitara river, this basilica was constructed in Gothic Revival style between 1916 and 1949. It has been a pilgrim destination since the 18th century, with many claiming to have experienced miracles at the church.
Palace of Westminster in London, UK
Since the 16th century, the palace has housed the English Parliament. Prior to this, it was used as a royal residence for four centuries. The current building was completed in 1870, replacing the fire-damaged Old Palace.
The Comb of the Wind in Gipuzkoa, Spain
These steel sculptures were designed by Eduardo Chillida and fused into the rocks over the Cantabrian Sea. Their tortured shapes offer a dramatic frame for the stormy seascape.
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
The tower began tilting during construction, probably due to poor foundation work and the soft ground on which it is built. Its (possibly fictional) association with the great thinker Galileo, coupled with its enduring beauty and famous tilt, make it one of the most well-known pieces of architecture on the planet.
Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque because of the blue tiles that adorn its interior walls. It witnessed history in 2006 when Pope Benedict XVI became only the second pope to visit a Muslim place of worship.
Florence Cathedral in Florence, Italy
Commonly called the "Duomo" (cathedral), its real name is Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower). With a dome created by legendary Brunelleschi and frescoes by Andrea del Castagno, Domenico di Michelino and others, it is an icon of the Italian Renaissance even by Florentine standards.
Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark
Regarded one of the most iconic statues symbolizing a city, the bronze and granite sculpture was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the same name. Designed by Edvard Eriksen, the 4.1-feet-tall (1.25 meters) figure was commissioned by Danish brewer Carl Jacobsen.
Windmills at Kinderdijk in Netherlands
Built around 1740, the group of 19 windmills is one of the best-known tourist sites of the country. Symbolizing water management, they help is preventing floods in the surrounding low-lying areas. The national monuments were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Loch Ness in Highland, UK
Believed to be the home of the mythical Loch Ness Monster, fondly known as Nessie, the deep, freshwater lake in Scotland is a scenic delight. Situated at an altitude of 52 feet (16 meters) above sea level, it is surrounded by charming villages of Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus.
Le Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, this famous tidal island is home to a medieval monastery built in the middle of an old village. The island has a storied history – it was partially burnt in 1203 by King Philip II, it was attacked during the Hundred Years’ War and the French War of Religion and served as a state prison from 1804 to 1863. The island is almost a perfect circle – 3,000 feet (900 meters) in circumference and is located a little over 224 miles (360 kilometers) from Paris.
Bran Castle in Romania
One of several medieval fortresses linked to the legend of Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire, Count Dracula, this picturesque location is on the border of Transylvania and Wallachia districts. Built as a wooden castle in the early 13th century by Teutonic knights, today, it is a private museum and the property of Dominic, Archduke of Austria, and Prince of Hungary, Bohemia and Turkey.
Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany
One of Germany’s most important monuments, the Gate is a symbol of the once-divided city and was the site of former U.S. President Ronald Regan’s historic words: “Mr. Gorbachev – tear down this wall.” The president was speaking to his Soviet counterpart on June 12, 1987, a few years before the Berlin was demolished. The neoclassical structure was built by command of Prussian king Frederick William II in the 18th century.
Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain
Construction of the imposing Roman Catholic church began in 1882 under architect Francisco Paula de Villar. It was taken over by Antoni Gaudí in 1883, who transformed its design with elements of Gothic and Art Nouveau. The minor basilica, which is still under construction, was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.
Uluru in Australia
Situated in the heart of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, the massive limestone rock is one of Australia’s most iconic symbols. A sacred spot to the aboriginal tribe of the area, Uluru offers breathtaking sunrise and sunset views as it appears to change colors.
Mount Fuji in Japan
Located on Honshu Island, the active volcano is situated at a height of 12,389 feet (3,776.24 meters) above sea level. Its symmetrical cone, which remains snow-capped for almost five months a year, has been an inspiration for poets, artists and photographers for centuries. Together with Mount Tate and Mount Haku, it forms the Three Holy Mountains of the nation.
Stonehenge in Wiltshire, UK
An English cultural icon, the prehistoric monument comprises a ring of standing stones — each around 13 feet high (4.1 meters). Believed to have taken around 1,500 years to erect, it is visited by nearly one million people annually. It was listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.
United States Capitol in Washington, DC, US
Often called the Capitol Building, this impressive architectural wonder is home to the U.S. Congress. Located at the eastern end of National Mall, it has over 600 rooms and is widely recognized for its massive dome. Its construction began in 1793, with a distinctive 19th century neoclassical style.
Mount Everest in Nepal
The world’s highest mountain is situated at an altitude of 29,029 feet (8,848 meters) in the Mahalangur Himal range of the Himalayas. Since its first ascent by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary in 1953, it has attracted hundreds of mountaineers from across the world.
Colosseum in Rome, Italy
Commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in 72 A.D., the oval amphitheater is built of concrete and sand. For four centuries, it was used for gladiator battles, chariot races, executions and reenactments of mythological dramas. While two-thirds of it has been destroyed, it remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy.
Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland
One of the most famous natural attractions of Ireland, the cliffs reach about 702 feet (214 meters) over the Atlantic Ocean at their highest point. On a clear day, visitors can view the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, the Twelve Pins and the Maumturks mountain ranges.
Swiss Alps in Switzerland
From high peaks to green valleys, clear lakes to snowy slopes, the Swiss Alps remains one of nature’s pristine beauties. Covering about 65 percent of the country, it comprises high mountains such as Dufourspitze, Dom, Weisshorn and Matterhorn.
Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland
As magical as the world of “Harry Potter” movies wherein it was featured, this single-track railway viaduct is located at the top of Loch Shiel in the West Highlands. Built in 1898 and overlooking the Glenfinnan Monument, the track features 21 semicircular spans of 50 feet (15 meters) each.
Kiev Pechersk Lavra in Kiev, Ukraine
The historic Orthodox Christian monastery was founded as a cave convent in 1051. It is made of several monuments including bell towers, cathedrals, fortification walls and underground caves. The gold-domed churches make for a spectacular sight for all visitors.
Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India
Easily one of the more recognizable buildings of the Indian capital’s skyline, the temple was designed by Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba and opened to the public in December 1986. Although nominally a place of worship for people of the Bahá’í faith, the temple is open to all religions and cultures. It has several distinctions to its name, including that of the first city temple to use solar power. Spread over 26 acres ,with pools and gardens, it is regarded as one of the most-visited sites in the world.
The Louvre in Paris, France
The world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in its own right, the museum is housed inside a palace of the same name; the building was initially built as a fortress between the 12th and 13th centuries. It was converted to a museum in August 1793, with a little over 500 pieces on display.
Today, it houses nearly 40,000 objects from the dawn of humanity to the 21st century and receives over eight million visitors every year. A must¬-see for anybody visiting Paris, the Louvre is an expansive site, spread across 782,910 square feet (72,375 square meters) and is a vibrant social and cultural center.
St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City
Officially known as the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, the Renaissance-era church was designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Believed to be the burial site of St. Peter, who was one of Jesus’s apostles, it is regarded as one of the holiest sites for Catholics.
Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and opened to the public in 1852, this is one of the oldest and largest museums in the world. It houses over 2.5 million works of artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso. Over four million people visit the museum every year, which is spread across several buildings, including the Menshikov Palace and the Winter Palace.
Skellig Islands in County Kerry, Ireland
Located on the Iveragh Peninsula in Ireland, the islands comprise two steep and rocky islets called Little Skellig and Skellig Michael. The former, closed to the public, is home to the country’s largest gannet colony. Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a sixth century Christian monastery perched 525 feet (160 meters) above sea level.
Lake Hillier in Middle Island, Australia
This pink (it really is pink!)-colored lake is part of the Recherche Archipelago Nature Reserve that is famous for a recreational walking trail that circles the shoreline. Although scientists are still not sure why the lake is the color it is, they believe it could be because of a certain kind of microalgae. The lake was first discovered in 1802 by a Matthew Flinders and is only 1,968 feet (600 meters) long.
The Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand
The boulders date back millions of years and can be found on Koekohe Beach, between the towns of Moeraki and Hampden. They measure 9.8 feet (three meters) in diameter and make for a spectacular sight, viewed either at sunrise or sunset, with the waves crashing over them.
Peleș Castle in Sinaia, Romania
Commissioned in 1873, this stunning example of German new-Renaissance architecture is widely regarded as one of the beautiful in Europe. It served as the summer residence of the Romanian royal family till 1947 and its 160 rooms are filled with exquisite pieces of art. In fact, some of the furniture in the Music Room was reportedly a gift to King Carol 1 by the Maharaja of Kapurtala in India. The castle was featured in the movie “The Brothers Bloom” (2009).
Nan Lian Garden in Diamond Hill, Hong Kong
Although the park and its garden were only established in 1934, it has drawn from the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D. – 907 A.D.) for design inspirations. The nunnery is home to Buddhist relics and lotus ponds. The garden, which covers 8.6 acres (3.5 hectares), has been painstakingly designed to keep to the specifications of the era and also has a vegetarian restaurant.
Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa
One of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the iconic landmark is the country's most photographed attraction. The mountain is also home to thousands of endemic species of plants and flowers, along with the Cape floral kingdom.
Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain
The public park system comprising gardens and architectonic elements is located on Carmel Hill. Spanish entrepreneur Eusebi Güell gave this private commission to architect Antoni Gaudí in the early 1900s. The city then bought the estate in 1922 and it was officially opened as a public park four years later. In 1984, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site.
Gardens by the Bay in Singapore
Situated near the Marina Reservoir, it offers breathtaking views of the waterfront promenade and the city’s skyline. It was constructed on 250 acres (101 hectares) of reclaimed land and has three waterfront gardens - Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. Choreographed light and sound shows are offered in the evenings.
National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, New York, US
The memorial and museum were designed and built to honor the nearly 3,000 people who were killed across two terrorist strikes in the U.S. – the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the February 1993 bombing at the former. The memorial consists of two one-acres pools lined with bronze panels that bear the names of the victims. The museum documents and explores the impact of the September 2011 attacks. A collection of archives, artifacts and multimedia displays tell the story of what happened that fateful day.
Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
The largest and oldest national park in the country, the area was declared as such on April 8, 1949, and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. It is famous for a system of 16 large lakes whose waters cascade into one another. The waters then combine to create the majestic Sastavci Falls and go on to form the Korana River. The ideal spot to explore nature and go on long treks and walks, the park is only 87 miles (140 kilometers) from the Croatian capital of Zagreb.
Suomenlinna in Helsinki, Finland
Spread over six islands off the coast of the city, this is a majestic and historic sea fortress that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally built by the Swedish in the 18th century (for protection against Russian forces), it fell to Alexander I, Emperor of Russia, in 1808, who extended and reinforced the site. It remained unconquered during the Crimean War and eventually became part of an independent Finland in 1917.
Skansen in Stockholm, Sweden
Regarded as the world’s largest open-air museum (it was the country’s first), this is a must-visit, one-stop shop to experience the range of Swedish culture and lifestyle. Exhibits include a zoo and a replica of a 19th century town that showcases the lives and times of local craftsmen and villagers.
Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra, Portugal
This ornamental 20th century palace was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has a wonderfully detailed Gothic facade, enchanting gardens and hidden tunnels. According to legend, these gardens were designed to represent mystical symbols and ancient secret orders; there are references to the Knights Templar and the Freemasons around the grounds.
Prague Castle in Czech Republic
Believed to have been built in the late ninth century by a prince of the Premyslid dynasty, the castle holds a Guinness record for being the largest coherent castle complex in the world; it is spread over 753,473 square feet (70,000 square meters). A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it features several interesting architectural details, including Romanesque and Gothic bits.
Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria
Situated between 6,890 feet and 8,202 feet (2,100 meters and 2,500 meters) above sea level, this is a collection of seven picturesque local lakes – The Tear, The Eye, The Kidney (pictured), The Twin, The Trefoil, Fish Lake and The Lower Lake – that are among the most visited sites of natural beauty in the country. The lakes are only a short drive from the capital city of Sofia and offer scenic views and hikes, among other activities.
Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow, Russia
The final resting place of Vladimir Lenin, the Father of the Russian Revolution, this is an impressive structure built to resemble pyramid and with red, grey and black granite. Located in the iconic Red Square, the mausoleum is a stone’s throw from the State Kremlin Palace and close to the Moskva River. It is also believed to have two underground floors, including a private area for VIPs.
Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, US
Created by American sculptor and artist Gutzon Borglum, this is one of the most iconic political monuments in the U.S. Built between 1927 and 1941, it features the faces of four U.S. Presidents – George Washington (1732-1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) – carved into the granite mountainside. The mountain is 5,725 feet (1,745 meters) high.
Natural History Museum in London, England
The museum opened to the public in April 1881. It was constructed to house the collection of a doctor, Sir Hans Sloane, whose extensive collection of natural history specimens and cultural artifacts were sold to the British Parliament, on his death. Francis Fowke, who designed the Royal Albert Hall, was first charged with building the museum. However, after his unexpected death, Alfred Waterhouse took over. The result is a beautiful structure that incorporates several Romanesque elements.
Magic Kingdom in Bay Lake, Florida, US
The self-professed “most magical place on Earth,” this is one of the most famous theme parks in the world. Easily identified by the Cinderella Castle, this is a theme park located inside the Walt Disney World Resort. It opened in October 1971 and has hosted millions of visitors over the years; over 20 million visited in 2017 alone. The park is divided into sections, including Fantasyland and Tomorrowland and contains a host of attractions based on popular franchises like Aladdin and the Pirates of the Caribbean.
An unexpected discovery
Hussein began working at Saqqara in 2016, searching for tombs dating to around 600 B.C. and hidden deep underground. The deep shafts had been largely ignored by earlier Egyptologists, who often focused on burials from older periods in Egyptian history. His team’s work is profiled in a new, four-part National Geographic series, Kingdom of the Mummies, which premiers in the U.S. Tuesday May 12. While probing an area last examined in the late 1800s, Hussein and his team discovered a shaft carved into the bedrock that was filled with sand and debris.
After removing 42 tons of fill, the archaeologists arrived at the bottom of the 40-foot shaft and found a roomy, high-ceilinged chamber. It, too, was choked with sand and boulders that had to be removed. Among the rubble were thousands of broken pieces of pottery, each of which had to be carefully documented and conserved. The painstaking excavation took months.
When at last the chamber was empty, the team was surprised to discover that it wasn’t a tomb. The room had a raised, table-like area and shallow channels cut into the bedrock along the base of one wall. In one corner, a barrel-sized bowl was filled with charcoal, ash, and dark sand. An older tunnel—part of a network of passages that honeycomb the rock beneath Saqqara—moved cool air through the space.
The clues suggested to Hussein that the chamber had been a mummification workshop, complete with an industrial-strength incense burner, drainage channels to funnel blood, and a natural ventilation system.
“If you’re doing evisceration down there, you need air moving in to get rid of insects,” Hussein says. “You want constant movement of air when you’re dealing with cadavers.”
Over the past year, pottery experts were able to piece together the ceramic sherds, reconstructing hundreds of small bowls and jars, each one inscribed with a label.
“Every single cup or bowl has the name of the substance it held, and the days of the embalming procedure it was used,” Hussein says. “Instructions are written directly on the objects.”
Sacred rites, gritty realities
The discovery has been a boon for scholars who study ancient Egyptian burial practices, offering a unique look at the sacred rites—and gritty realities—of mummification.
While there’s ample documentation of the elaborate process in ancient sources, and even artistic depictions on the walls of Egyptian tombs, archaeological evidence has been hard to come by.
“Very few workshops devoted to the process have been properly excavated,” says Dietrich Raue, curator of the University of Leipzig’s Egyptian Museum. “That leads to a big gap in our knowledge.”
The discoveries at Saqqara are helping fill that void, says Hussein. “For the first time, we can talk about the archaeology of embalming.”
To ancient Egyptians, who believed the body had to remain intact to house the soul during the afterlife, embalming was a mixture of holy rite and medical procedure. The process was a carefully orchestrated ritual, with specific rites and prayers performed on each of the 70 days it took to turn a dead person into a mummy.
First the internal organs were removed and placed in containers archaeologists call canopic jars. Next the body was dried using special salts such as natron. Then the deceased was anointed with fragrant oils and wrapped in linens. Amulets and spells were then tucked between the folds of cloth. At last the mummy was laid to rest in a tomb furnished with provisions for the afterlife as fancy as one could afford.
The towering pyramids of the pharaohs and the glittering gold from King Tutankhamun’s tomb are familiar reminders of the lengths the richest Egyptians went to to ensure they would spend eternity in style. “It was a huge industry,” Hussein says.
But a mummy’s journey didn’t end with embalming and burial—and neither did the income stream. In addition to serving as priests and undertakers, ancient Egyptian embalmers were real-estate salesmen, too.
Perpetual care—and profits
While pharaohs and the Egyptian elite were mummified and laid to rest in elaborately decorated coffins and roomy tombs packed with grave goods, Hussein’s research shows that ancient undertakers offered discount packages to suit every budget. In today’s business jargon, they were vertically integrated, providing everything from evisceration of corpses and burials to the care and maintenance of the souls of the deceased—all for a fee, of course.
Just a few steps from the mummification workshop at Saqqara, the archaeologists uncovered a second shaft leading to a complex of six tombs. Inside those half-dozen tombs were more than 50 mummies.
At the bottom of the shaft—almost 100 feet beneath the surface, where spaces were more expensive because of their proximity to the underworld—the burials were especially elaborate and expensive. They included a woman laid to rest inside a limestone sarcophagus weighing seven and a half tons. In a nearby chamber was a woman whose face was covered with a mask made of silver and gold. It was the first such mask found in Egypt in more than half a century.
But the complex also held middle-class or working-class Egyptians interred in simple wooden coffins, or just wrapped in linen and placed in sand pits.
Using three-dimensional mapping tools, Hussein has been able to piece together how the burials were arranged. His findings confirm papyrus documents recovered from Saqqara more than a century ago suggesting that enterprising embalmers packed dozens of bodies into the burial shaft, then collected fees or exchanged parcels of land in return for the spiritual upkeep of each mummy.
Ancient Egyptian society included an entire class of priests dedicated to caring for the spirits of the dead. Their job description included maintaining tombs and praying for their departed owners. Some owned dozens of tombs, with hundreds of mummies packed into each one.
“People had to bring weekly offerings to the dead to keep them alive,” says Koen Donker van Heel, an Egyptologist at the University of Leiden who has spent years studying the legal contracts priests signed with the families of the dead. “Dead people are money. That’s basically it.”
For the first time, archaeological evidence is confirming what until now has only been guessed at based on inscriptions and millennia-old legal documents. Insights like that make the Saqqara excavation special. It’s part of a shift in Egyptology: Researchers are looking harder at details that illuminate the lives of everyday Egyptians, rather than focus on the fanciest tombs.
“Ramadan is getting a lot of information that was simply lost in the past,” says Raue, the Leipzig curator. “There was a whole infrastructure above ground that was simply removed without documentation.”
That means the future could hold more such discoveries for excavators patient enough to look. While poring over old dig reports, Hussein realized the shaft leading to the mummification workshop was located less than three feet from where French and Egyptian excavators stopped searching in 1899. The chamber and its contents were hidden by the sand they hastily shoveled aside.
“Perhaps we need to go back to the sites that were explored in the 1800s and early 1900s,” Hussein says, “and excavate them again.”
Coronavirus: New York investigation into dozens of bodies found in .
trucks Up to 60 rotting bodies were found in trucks outside a Brooklyn funeral home. New York authorities are investigating a Brooklyn funeral home after police found dozens of rotting bodies stored in trucks at the entrance.