World famous Landmarks | Sunday Observer

World famous Landmarks

Big Ben

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and often extended to refer to the clock and the clock tower.

The tower is officially known as Elizabeth Tower, renamed to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012. The tower holds the second largest four-faced chiming clock in the world (after Minneapolis City Hall.) The tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of the United Kingdom and is often in the establishing shot of films set in London.

The bottom 61.0 m of the tower’s structure consists of brickwork with sand coloured Anston limestone cladding. The remainder of the tower’s height is a framed spire of cast iron. The tower is founded on a 15.2 m square raft, made of 3.0 m thick concrete, at a depth of 4.0 m below ground level. The four clock dials are 54.9 m above ground. The interior volume of the tower is 4,650 cubic metres.

The clock dials are set in an iron frame 7.0 m in diameter, supporting 312 pieces of opal glass, rather like a stained-glass window. The main bell, officially known as the Great Bell but better known as Big Ben, is the largest bell in the tower and part of the Great Clock of Westminster.

In 2008 a survey of 2,000 people found that the tower was the most popular landmark in the United Kingdom.

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Newgrange

Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, about one kilometre north of the River Boyne. It was built during the Neolithic period around 3000 BC to 2500 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian Pyramids.

The site consists of a large circular mound with a stone passageway and interior chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front and is ringed by engraved kerbstones. It is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Newgrange monument primarily consists of a large mound, built of alternating layers of earth and stones, with grass growing on top and a reconstructed facade of flattish white quartz stones studded at intervals with large rounded cobbles covering part of the circumference. The mound is 76 metres across and 12 metres high, and covers 4,500 square metres of ground. Within the mound is a chambered passage, which can be accessed by an entrance on the southeastern side of the monument.

The passage stretches for 19 metres, or about a third of the way into the centre of the structure.

Newgrange contains various examples of abstract Neolithic rock art carved onto it which provide decoration. These carvings fit into ten categories, five of which are curvilinear (circles, spirals, arcs, serpentiniforms and dot-in-circles) and the other five of which are rectilinear (chevrons, lozenges, radials, parallel lines and offsets).

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Mount Eden

Maungawhau / Mount Eden is a scoria cone in the Mount Eden suburb of Auckland, New Zealand.

The cone is a dormant volcano and its summit, at 196 metres above sea level, is the highest natural point on the Auckland isthmus. The majestic bowl-like crater is 50 metres deep. The volcano erupted from three craters 28,000 years ago, with the last eruptions from the southern crater filling the northern craters.

The western face of the hill was extensively quarried. This is the site of a large ecological restoration project run by volunteers.

Maungawhau / Mount Eden attracts many tourists, as it is the highest natural point in Auckland, and provides good views in all directions over the city.

Maungawhau means the ‘Mountain of the whau tree (Entelea arborescens)’ in Māori. ‘Mount Eden’ honours George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland. The crater is called Te Ipu-a-Mataaho (the bowl of Mataaho); Mataaho was a deity said to live in the crater and to be the guardian of the secrets hidden in the earth.

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North Cape

North Cape is a cape on the northern coast of the Island of Magerøya in Northern Norway. The cape is in Nordkapp Municipality in Finnmark county, Norway.

The European route E69 highway has its northern terminus at North Cape, since it is a popular tourist attraction. The cape includes a 307-metre high cliff with a large flat plateau on top where visitors can stand and watch the midnight sun or the views of the Barents Sea to the north.

The steep cliff of North Cape is often referred to as the northernmost point of Europe, about 2,102.3 kilometres from the North Pole. However, the neighbouring Knivskjellodden point, just to the west actually extends 1,457 metres further to the north.

Regardless, both of these points are situated on an island, which technically means the northernmost point of mainland Europe is in fact located at Cape Nordkinn (Kinnarodden) which lies about 5.7 kilometres further south and about 70 kilometres to the east. That point is located near the village of Mehamn on the Nordkinn Peninsula.

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Windmills

The windmills at Kinderdijk are a group of 19 monumental windmills in the Alblasserwaard polder, in the province of South Holland, Netherlands.

Most of the mills are part of the village of Kinderdijk in the Municipality of Molenwaard, and one mill, De Blokker, is part of the Municipality of Alblasserdam. Built in 1738 and 1740, to keep water out of the polder, it is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands and one of the best-known Dutch tourist sites. The mills are listed as national monuments and the entire area is a protected village view since 1993. They have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

Kinderdijk lies in the Alblasserwaard, at the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers. In Alblasserwaard, problems with water became more and more apparent in the 13th century.

Large canals, called “weteringen”, were dug to get rid of the excess water in the polders.

After a few centuries, an additional way to keep the polders dry was required. It was decided to build a series of windmills, with a limited capacity to bridge water level differences, but just able to pump water into a reservoir at an intermediate level between the soil in the polder and the river; the reservoir could be pumped out into the river by other windmills whenever the river level was low enough; the river level has both seasonal and tidal variations.

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The Great Sphinx

The Great Sphinx of Giza (The Terrifying One), commonly referred to as the Sphinx of Giza or just Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion’s body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt.

The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the face of the Pharaoh Khafra. It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 metres long, 19.3 metres wide, and 20.22 m high. It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558–2532 BC).

The Sphinx is a monolith carved down into the bedrock of the plateau which also served as the quarry for the pyramids and other monuments in the area. Because of its geological history, the nummulitic limestone of the area consists of layers of widely differing quality offering unequal resistance to erosion, mostly due to wind and windblown sand, which explains the uneven degradation of the body of the Sphinx. The floor of the Sphinx depression and lowest part of the body including the legs is solid, hard rock. Above this, the body of the lion up to its neck is a heterogeneous zone with friable layers that have suffered considerable disintegration.

The one-metre-wide nose on the face is missing. Examination of the Sphinx’s face shows that long rods or chisels were hammered into the nose, one down from the bridge and one beneath the nostril, and then used to pry the nose off towards the south.

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