The Hells of Beppu
On the east coast of the island Kyushu in Japan resides a small city of Beppu. It has only 123.000 residents, but is often visited by tourists from all over the globe. What pulls them to this place are the colorful geothermal formations – 8 hot springs called The Hells of Beppu. Every hot spring looks different and the names are given based on the colors of the boiling water and atmosphere. You cannot take a dip in these springs, as they are too hot (thus the name Hells), but you can eat some vegetables, eggs and pudding that have been cooked in them. The Eight Hells include:
Umi Jigoku – Sea Hell
It got its name for the cobalt blue color of the big pond, and is probably the most impressive hot spring out of all 8 Hells. Big cobalt pond is steaming hot, but in the smaller pond nearby you can see many beautiful water lilies being grown. In the garden surrounding the ponds you can find a feet onsen, where you can relax and dip your feet.
Oniishibozu Jigoku – Shaven Monk’s Head Hell
This hell is home to boiling gray mud pots. Bubbles emerging in the mud resemble the shaven head of a monk, thus the name. You can dip your feet in the feet onsen and enjoy the calming sound and sight of mud bubbles.
Shiraike Jigoku – White Pond Hell
The name was given for the white, milky look of the steaming waters.
Kamado Jigoku – Cooking Pot Hell
This part of the attraction includes multiple different ponds – cobalt blue and bloody red one, boiling mud, and if you want to rest your feet, you can dip them in the foot onsen. Don’t forget to order some food too!
Oniyama Jigoku – Monster Mountain Hell
Behind the pond filled with boiling clear water, sits a stone statue of the devil. The statue is surrounded by steel cages that are home to 100 crocodiles that regularly enjoy the warmth of the hot waters.
Yama Jigoku – Mountain Hell
The biggest attraction in this part of Hell is the pond that releases big clouds of steam all the time. Besides that, various animals can be seen in the vicinity – monkeys, flamingos, a big hippo and other mammals.
Chinoike Jigoku – Blood Pond Hell
One of the oldest hot springs in the country, known for its blood red boiling water – caused by the high content of aluminum and iron oxides.
Tatsumaki Jigoku – Spout Hell
Next door neighbor of Blood Pond Hell, this place is a house of one of the few geysers in Japan. Its eruption lasts 6-10 minutes and the interval period is very short – just between 30 and 40 minutes. A stone plate was placed to prevent the geyser from reaching its full height of 50 meters, so people could safely enjoy the view on the Spout Hell.
Stone spheres of Costa Rica
On the Isla del Caño and on the Diquis Delta in Costa Rica there is an assortment of over three hundred stone spheres known for their creative name Las Bolas (The Balls).
These spheres are attributed to the extinct pre-Columbian indigenous culture of Diquis. Diquis made the spheres from different types of stone – gabbro and limestone. The spheres are believed to have been first created around the year 600 CE, with most of them being made after the 9th century. The culture which created them has disappeared after the Spanish conquistadors.
There are multiple theories about the making of the spheres and their use, some suggesting that they are from the lost city of Atlantis, while local legends say that the natives knew about a magic potion that made the rocks softer and more susceptible to processing. Current accepted theory is that the spheres are made by hammering natural boulders with other rocks and polishing them with sand, and their use was decorative.
The Borobudur Temple
Borobudur is a Buddhist temple in Indonesia, made in 9th century during the reign of Sailendra Dynasty. The monument represents a shrine to Buddha and place for Buddhist pilgrimage. It is decorated with over 500 Buddha statues and over 2500 relief panels.
Borobudur was abandoned following the 14th century conversion to Islam of the Javanese. After that it was forgotten – until the beginning of the 19th century when Sir Thomas Raffles, British ruler of Java at that time, found it with the help of natives. Since that, Borobudur has been preserved through several restorations, biggest one being done between 1975 and 1982 by UNESCO and the Indonesian government.
Nan Madol was a city built on water almost one millennia ago. No one has been living there for some time but the city still stands today, talking about the great engineering knowledge of the Pohnpeian people who built it.
Situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this city was built in 8th and 9th century on 100 artificial islands connected by a network of canals. It was built as a residence of nobles, priests and commoners that served them. Saudeleur dynasty, which ruled this area at that time, gathered all the chiefs to organize them and to keep an eye on potential rivals by requiring them to live in the city instead of their districts.
Until this day, it is not fully known how Nan Madol was built. It’s a mysterious abandoned place now, inspiring many writers and musicians with its look. Best known example of Nan Madol serving as an inspiration was in the descriptions of the city of R’lyeh in the Cthulhu Mythos written by H.P. Lovecraft.
Ancient rock fortress located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka is one of the best examples of ancient urban planning. This fortress was made by King Kasyapa between 477 and 495 CE to be his new capital. Sigiriya is really one of the craziest examples of ancients taking a feature of the landscape and making it into a fortified structure.
The palace was built on the top of a massive, 200 meter tall column of rock, complete with colorful wall paintings that can still be seen today. On a small plateau halfway up the side of this monolithic natural structure, sits a gateway in a form of a lion. That’s how the whole place got its name, as Sigiriya means the Lion Rock.
The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the death of the King Kasyapa and the structure was used by Buddhists as a monastery until the 14th century.