Chilling Historical Discoveries Captured More Than Expected
By Sarah Norman | September 20, 2023
Look closer at these rare photos that show dark and mysterious revelations thought to be lost to history, they each show a piece of the past that was once believed to be buried. The photos and stories collected here will take everything you know about history and turn it upside down, changing much of what you thought you knew about the past.
Each picture that we've included here deserves a long look. Not only because they're truly spectacular shots, but they provide stories and insight that you won't find in history books... just keep in mind that not all of these stories are suitable for young eyes.
Proceed with caution... these must-see chilling historical photos may frighten and disturb. Each of them shows more than you expect, are you ready to have your world turned upside down?
Standing high above the Atlantic Ocean on the cliffs of Tintagel, this haunting, eight foot high bronze statue of King Arthur was constructed by Welsh artist Rubin Eynon.
Rather than focus on the legend of King Arthur, the statue is meant to evoke the feeling of royalty that runs through the area, one that many people in the English countryside feel has all but disappeared from the minds of the people who live there. Eynon explained:
There was a culture of feasting here, which suggests that the people who lived here were very powerful and had connections with the late Roman and Byzantine empire. I think it’s appropriate to speak of kings.
This statue of a lonely king was such a massive undertaking for its creator that it took a helicopter to fly it to the top of the cliffs and carefully put it in its final resting place.
There's something breathtaking about seeing a person work with an animal, especially an animal with the ability to fly away and never return. To hunt with an eagle in the way that the Kazakhs do is to find a symbiotic relationship with the eagle and realize that there is no controlling it, but instead you're harnessing its power and energy.
Kazakh hunters spend years with their eagles, teaching them how to hunt and return to their owners as part of a team. One young Kazakh woman explained the nature of the relationship to the BBC:
You don't really control the eagle. You can try and make her hunt an animal - and then it's a matter of nature. What will the eagle do? Will she make it? How will you get her back afterwards?
A teenage Inuit girl walking into her family’s igloo, 1949 ❄️
The Inuit people have long called the chilly region of the American Northwest home. Long before they came into contact with westerners the Inuits lived as nomadic hunters, moving from place to place to place and setting up their ice homes wherever they could best find a place to hunt. Traveling by sleds and kayaks, they did as they pleased in order to better serve the land.
However, one year after this photo was taken almost everything about their lives changed. In 1950 the Soviet Union and Canada began butting heads over who owned the arctic home of the Inuits, an existential argument that ended with the Canadian government forcibly relocating many inuits to reservation-like communities and stripping them of their ability to hunt.
The young woman in this photograph had no idea of the calamity that was about to come down on her people. This was likely one of the last times she would be able to enter her home as a free Inuit woman.
The man in the picture is Alex Honnold, and he is performing what is called a "free solo". This photograph captures one of the riskiest and scariest moments of his free climb without any protective equipment up Half Dome in Yosemite. The climb was captured in a chilling documentary that won an academy award.
Anyone looking to cross the Visor, a monstrous roof that stretches over the Regular Northwest Face route of the Yosemite National Park has to cross the Thank God Ledge at Half Dome. It only takes about 30 seconds to get across this 35 foot ledge made of granite, but those 30 seconds can be the longest seconds of your life.
The width of the ledge varies between five to twelve inches, but that's not the scary part. The thing that vaults this ledge to nightmare status is the fact that it's 2,000 feet in the air. You can crawl across the ledge if you want, but the way most people choose to travail this minuscule path is by sliding along the rock wall with your fingers jammed into any crevice that will take you. What does it feel like to traverse the ledge? Climbing master Alex Honnold explains:
The first few steps were completely normal, as if I was walking on a narrow sidewalk in the sky. But once it narrowed I found myself inching along with my body glued to the wall, shuffling my feet and maintaining perfect posture. I could have looked down and seen my pack sitting at the base of the route, but it would have pitched me headfirst off the wall... The minute you freak out, you're screwed.
It's not Britain's first bed, but this is Britain's oldest bed. Throughout the trials and tribulations of a longstanding kingdom, this oak four poster has survived since the Elizabethan period, and it's the only surviving piece of furniture belonging to Salford’s Ordsall Hall.
Built for Sir John Radclyffe and Lady Anne Asshawe in the 1570s, the bed went missing around 1650 when the Hall changed hands. It stayed missing for nearly 300 years when it turned up in the home of a man in Whalley Range, Manchester.
No one knows how he came into possession of the bed, but it was sold off in pieces to cover his death duties. The bed was finally put back together in 1968 by Doctor Chris Douglas, a collector of medieval and Tudor furniture. Ordsall Hall bought the bed and brought it home for no less than £65,000.
What do you do with a horse this big? You show him off of course. Brooklyn Supreme weighed around 3,200 pounds and had a girth of 10 feet, making it impossible to really do anything with him aside from turn him into a spectacle. As depressing as that sounds, Brooklyn Supreme lived a good life and enjoyed meeting children if for no other reason than to steal their snacks. One clipping about the horse reads:
Brooklyn Supreme may be 3,200 pounds of solid, magnificent horse flesh, sinew and brawn, but Brooklyn Supreme is a surprisingly gentle fellow whose greatest delight is stealing ice cream cones and goodies from unsuspecting little boys and girls.
Supreme lived for 20 good years before passing away in 1948. This large, hungry horse was truly one of a kind.
Guardians at the Gateway in Melbourne, Australia
These imposing Grecian figures are only two of the many mystical sculptures that can be found in William Ricketts Sanctuary in Mount Dandenong, Australia. Inspired by the indigenous people of his country, Ricketts used them as models for his work, a massive collection of statues that presented them as god-like stewards of the land.
As creepy as these statues may seem, Ricketts didn't want to frighten anyone. His goal in their creation was to give people a place to reflect on nature and what it means to be one with the world. He explained:
Each one of us is a transformer of Divine Power and when love finds form in sculpture and music we are richly blessed because through such we can reach God… Man is nature’s masterpiece, therefore claim your inheritance by giving her the co-operation you owe.
Taken only days before her death on August 31, 1997, this photo of Princess Diana sitting on the diving board of Mohammed Al Fayed's private yacht "Jonikal" shows the loneliness that she endured even as one of the most photographed women on the planet.
The last weeks of her life were spent doing what she always did, moving back and forth between luxury and getting her hands dirty. At the beginning of August she was in Sarajevo fighting for the removal of landmines. She visited with victims and soldiers who were keen on her success.
Following the trip to Bosnia she went to the Mediterranean with Dodi where she vacationed on his luxury yacht before flying to Paris where she spent her final days. After all of her trips to the Middle East where she put her life in danger, it's mind boggling to think that her fiery death came in Paris, a metropolitan city built on love.
An unmistakable part of the Cobb skyline, the St. Colman's Cathedral perches over the Irish coastline, offering views of the Atlantic and the Cork Harbor. Depending on where you're looking at it from you can catch the cathedral in its most fascinating habitat, standing behind a row of colorful houses.
If this photo gives you major Scooby Doo vibes you're not alone. It looks like the old haunted cathedral that holds a secret no one wants to talk about but everyone knows about, don't you think? As dramatic as the cathedral looks, it's genuinely a thing of beauty. Construction began in 1868 but it wasn't finished until 1915, with much of its funding coming Irish immigrants living in America and Australia.
Aside from its Neo-gothic visage, the most remarkable thing about this cathedral is the 47-bell carillon, the largest in Ireland, with a range of four octaves.
Make no mistake about it, war changes someone. No matter what film and television tells us, battles like World War II and Vietnam change a person, they age them, they make a soldier not only look tired, but wrung out emotionally.
Evgeny Stepanovich Kobytev was a painter with a love of landscapes who graduated from the Kyiv State Institute in Ukraine before joining the military in World War II. In 1941, he was injured in battle and put into the Khorol pit," one of the most brutal German POW camps.
The camp claimed the lives of 90,000 people, but Kobytev survived two years of torment before escaping the camp to rejoin the military. He spent the final years of the war fighting against the Germans to liberate Ukraine.
The Cave of the Crystals in Chihuahua, Mexico may be beautiful, but it can be deadly if you're not careful. Buried 984 feet below the Earth's surface, these crystals jut out of the ground, the walls, and the ceiling thanks to half a million years of uninterrupted growth.
Discovered in the year 2000, the cave can reach temperatures of 113 degrees Fahrenheit, and its humidity is often at 100 percent - if you're down in this crystal cave long enough you run the risk of fluid condensing inside your lungs and drowning you.
Explorers have to wear specially designed cooling suits in order to be in the cave for longer than 10 minutes. With the suits scientists can last in the cave for up to an hour. Even so, the cave is no longer under exploration due to massive amounts of flooding underground. That's bad for us but it's great for the crystals.
Is there a cooler hearse out there than this 1929 Cadillac? We may not like to think about what's going to happen to us when we die, but if we're lucky we'll get a final ride in one of these amazing pieces of automobile architecture.
It probably offers little in the way of reliable transportation but it would be the perfect thing to tool around in on Halloween. The 1929 Cadillac Funeral Coach is either built on a custom stretched 341 sedan or a limousine chassis but its accoutrements make it hard to discern exactly what's going on under the body without taking the whole thing apart.
This hearse runs on a Cadillac V-8, albeit one built in the late '20s, but it also has an early syncromesh transmission and its one of the first cars to be designed by Harley Earl when he was chief of design at GM, oh and it looks like it's straight out of the Addams Family.
Dollhouses of the 17th century are fascinating in their level of detail but they're also extremely creepy. In many cases these dollhouses were designed to look like the homes were they were kept, which is kind of cool but also years of horror movies have trained us to think that something like that spells certain doom for anyone in the house.
Known as the "Baby House," these replicas of the owner's home were designed to be just that, a "baby" version of a house that showed off the wealth of the owner rather than to be played with by a child. It wasn't until the 19th century that dollhouses became a thing of play, when the industrial revolution made it possible to have mass produced toys and miniatures.
Most people who are visiting Lake Como are likely doing so because of the glacial waters and dramatic scenery. None of the visitors are expecting have a run in with a creepy ghost. Or at the very least a creepy ghost sculpture.
Carved out of wood and placed at the Vezio Castle overlooking Lake Como, the ghost is just one of the fascinating things about this castle. Standing since the Iron Age, it's home to a small falconry, an olive garden (not the restaurant, a literal garden of olives), and you can even check out the dungeons. It's likely that there are at least a few more ghosts hiding down there than you'd think.
If you ever find yourself face to face with a polar bear the best thing you can do is run. These big boys make no bones about chomping up a person for lunch, and they really don't have any problem making you into mince meat, just look at the size of their paws when compared to a human hand, it's massive.
A polar bear's claws measure up to about 11.81 inches across and their thick claws measure up to about two inches in length. Along with their papillae (the black footpads on the bottom of their paws) they have the perfect instruments for grabbing and holding their prey. Basically, if they grab a hold of you you're not going anywhere.
Claude Monet found Giverny to be not only beautiful, that's clear to anyone who sees it, but he found it to be entrancing and inspirational when he saw it through a train window as he passed through Normandy. Located on the right bank of the Seine, the village is one of the most picturesque... and painted places on Earth.
In 1890, Money purchased a house and some land in the village and started growing the gardens that inspired so many other impressionist painters to travel to this small French village to paint the same lily pads that Monet found so much inspiration within.
Looking at this photo it's easy to see how Monet fell in love with this view. Take note of the lily pads behind him and the way the sunlight dances across the water, that's like a painting all to itself.
Okay we'll say it, this elevator is terrifying. Stretching to 1,070 feet tall, the elevator stands above the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the Hunan Province of China making it not only the world’s tallest outdoor elevator, but also one of the breathtaking visuals of the eastern world.
The elevator opened in 2002, but construction began in 1999 with carving into the quartz sandstone cliff face along with tunnels and shafts to accommodate the three glass-faced double-deck elevators.
Each car can hold up to 50 passengers and can carry a capacity of 4,900 kilograms. Aside from the crazy heights that this elevator can reach, it's also standing on a an earthquake prone area, which is the last place you want to be when you're 1,000 feet in the air.
Freddie Mercury may look triumphant in this shot from one of Queen's final shows, but it's chilling to think that he'd be dead only three years later. The Magic Tour took place on in summer 1986 in order to support the album "A Kind Of Magic," and months after the tour ended Mercury was diagnoses with AIDS.
Aside from pulling back on his live dates, Mercury's appearance changed from the vivacious and strutting singer to that of a gaunt man slowly inching towards death. Sadly, Mercury was never open about his illness, he felt that the more people knew about what he was going through the more his friends and family would be hounded by the press. According to guitarist Brian May, Mercury wanted to keep recording until the final moments of his life. He told The Telegraph:
He just kept saying. 'Write me more. Write me stuff. I want to just sing this and do it and when I am gone you can finish it off.' He had no fear, really.
A shaft of sunlight entering the east side-room of the inner sanctuary of Amon-Ra in the Temple of King Ramses III ☀️
Developed during the Middle Kingdom (2055-1650 B.C.E.), the temple complex of Karnak was the principal religious center of the god Amun-Re in Thebes and its still one of the largest religious complexes in the world. While it's dedicated to Amon-Ra, it's also held as the precinct of the gods Mut and Montu.
This temple is a huge, massive area that grew from a fairly modest piece of construction. Eventually it grew to have as many as twenty temples and chapels, earning the name "The Most Select of Places.” The community of priests who lived in the sanctuary enjoyed a sacred lake, kitchens, and workshops for the production of religious accoutrements.
No longer featuring the bright paint of its original construction. The structure now stands idle as a sandstone temple in the desert, silent and beautiful.
Bats have a bad reputation as creatures that live to drink blood and get tangled up in our hair, but in reality these creatures just want to hang out (literally) and eat insects, especially the little goblin bat.
Native to Cuba, these tiny bats spend most of their days in coconut trees and hunting insects with a variety of calls based on bio sonar. Their entire body is only 2.8 inches in length, they're covered in hair, and they have about 28 teeth. This lineage of bat is near threatened because of their small area of population, and the lacking quality of its habitat. At the moment a small group of bat friendly folks are doing their best to save these creepy little animals.
The Helmet of Miltiades, the Greek general who fought and defeated the Persians in the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C ⚔️
Discovered in the ruins of the temple of Zeus, the Helmet of Miltiades isn't simply the discovery of an ancient warrior's effects, it's the finding of a long lost symbol of the military might of Ancient Greece.
Lost at the battle of Marathon, this helmet is one of the few things that can be accurately tied to Miltiades, a thoughtful and brutal warrior whose tactics helped the Greeks defeat the Persians at this monumental battle. It was Militiades' idea to attack the Persians head on before meeting them at they attempted to sail around Cape Sounion and attack from the west.
Following his decisive win over the Persians, Militiades left this helmet as an offering to Zeus. The inscription inside reads:
ΜΙΛΤΙΑΔΕΣ ΑΝΕ[Θ]ΕΚΕΝ [Τ]ΟΙ ΔΙ (Miltiades dedicates this helmet to Zeus).
Ballerina fountains designed by artist Malgorzata Chodakowska in Poland
These stunning, lonely statues stand in an infinite quatrieme deviant, never to move or dance away from this, their final resting place. Designed by Małgorzata Chodakowska, the Prima Ballerinas are completely bronze, but with the addition of bountiful amounts of water it's as if they're moving all on their own.
Chodakowska's sculptures use water in strange ways that provide a kind of motion to the bronze statues that give them an almost human-like presence. When asked about what she wants to bring to the world with the combination of bronze and water she explained:
My fountains spread the pure joy of life, combining the element of water with the raw material – bronze.
There's such little beauty in our world today that it's important to find it where we can... even if we have to make our way to the Netherlands. Lisse can be found on the country's west end where you can see this river flowing between two flower fields near Haarlem and Leiden.
Known for it's gorgeous flowers, tulips especially, the Lisse is the center of the Netherlands’ bulb-growing district, and aside from just being absolutely gorgeous it's host to the State Bulb School and Laboratory, and it's where the country holds its annual flower exhibition from March to May every year.
At one point people lived where these flowers were, but all but one estate was removed in order to pump up flower cultivation.
Hawa Mahal palace in Jaipur, India is built from red and pink sandstone
Known as the Palace of Winds, this hauntingly astounding palace keeps silent watch over Jaipur, India. With 953 windows, no matter where you are in this jaw dropping estate you'll have a great view. Initially constructed with this many portholes to the outside world in order to make it easier for the ladies of the royal court to watch people on the street and eavesdrop on tasty drama without anyone noticing them behind their gossamer latticework.
Built in 1799 for Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the part of the building that we can see in the photo is basically a screened in front porch for the building. It may look massive, but the rooms behind these windows are fairly shallow.
With its gorgeous sandstone exterior, the palace goes perfect with “The Pink City," Jaipur.
Sure, we've all seen rainbows, but this is an incredibly rare photo of a rainbow accompanied by a rain shaft, which is a meteorological miracle in that we rarely see them in our everyday lives.
Basically, a rain shaft is a localized column of precipitation. It doesn't have to be found in heavy rain, and as you can see from this photo these shafts are more often than not totally localized. They're often found with microbursts, or small columns of intense and localized sinking air that take up less than 2.5 miles in circumference.
According to NASA's George Huffman, it's rare to find rain shafts with microbursts, and it's even more rare to find those two things with a rainbow attached. He explained:
The rain shaft […] is any rain event, no matter how modest or foreboding, that can be seen stretching from the cloud to the ground... Just as you don’t have a microburst with every rain shaft, you don’t necessarily have an identifiable rain shaft with every microburst. The really interesting dynamics of microbursts are a bit rare, and frequently not present in flooding rains.
Imagine renovating your home and coming across a beautiful Renaissance facade hidden beneath a wall. That has to be a strange feeling. As wild as it must have been, it likely wasn't a total surprise thanks to entirety of the city of Úbeda, Spain being covered in Renaissance architecture. But still, you never expect to find this kind of thing in your home.
Thanks to the extensive patronage of castillian aristocratic families, Úbeda became one of the most architecturally interesting cities in the country. Its dense Renaissance buildings create an imposing sight even for people who live in the city. It's as if people in the early 20th century felt that there was of this architecture that it was okay to cover up in cheap sparkle and drywall.
Luckily for this guy he found an amazing facade during his renovation. As of today Úbeda has 48 monuments, and more of another hundred of buildings of interest, almost all of them of Renaissance style.
Before the Titanic plunged into the Atlantic it looked to be an incredibly nice time on the water. Barring the horrific events that occurred of 1912, the menu aboard this ocean liner is fascinating.
We already know that the class disparity on board the Titanic was clear, but nothing making it more obvious than the menu. As you can see, third class was served some basic staples: oatmeal, "rice soup," and roast beef among other things. The jump to first class is extreme to say the least.
Passengers at the top of the ship's hierarchy were served roast beef, mutton chops, and Chicken a la Maryland for lunch, and if that wasn't what they were into they could always hit the buffet for veal, ham, and an assortment of fish and cheese. If nothing else this should remind you that you should splurge on first class.
The gharial isn't just a wild looking, endangered alligator, it's a carnivorous reptile that weighs more than 2,000 pounds at a length of over 12 feet. This is one seriously scary animal.
Living in the clear freshwater river systems of Asia, these animals rarely leave the water and only do so to warm themselves in the sun or make their nests. The bump on this gharial's nose is what's referred to as a "mud pot" by the Hindi people. Males use the mud pot to blow water and make mating calls during the dry season.
Rather than chase after their prey, the gharial use their long, thin snouts to detect vibrations in the water. When they feel something get close they snap and gulp down their dinner.
There's something nice about taking an afternoon to yourself and reading a book. It's calming, soothing, and if you're reading the right ting then your entire day can just slip away. Now if you were having that kind of afternoon on a bench shaped like a book then you're playing a whole new ball game.
These benches weren't installed by some kind of rogue librarian, but instead they were built and placed by the OverHertz company, a collective that designs and sells designer book benches throughout Bulgaria. Each book is different, which means that it's possible to read something new every day while you're hanging out in the park in Bulgaria.
The Crazy Horse Memorial has been under construction since 1948 in the Black Hills of South Dakota and is the world's largest mountain carving ⛰️ ⚒️
Located in the heart of the Black Hills in South Dakota, this memorial presents the Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, looking towards to his tribal land. Commissioned by Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, this memorial has been in progress since 1948, and it's still a long way from being finished.
The final product is supposed to show Crazy Horse on top of a steed pointing towards South Dakota, and when it's finished it's meant to be the centerpiece of a a Native educational and cultural center, to include a satellite campus of the University of South Dakota.
As cool as this monument is, it's faced some controversy. Elaine Quiver, a descendant of one of Crazy Horse has stated that Standing Bear had no right to begin construction on the monument without first seeking her family's approval. She told Voice of America News:
They don't respect our culture because we didn't give permission for someone to carve the sacred Black Hills where our burial grounds are. They were there for us to enjoy and they were there for us to pray. But it wasn't meant to be carved into images, which is very wrong for all of us. The more I think about it, the more it's a desecration of our Indian culture. Not just Crazy Horse, but all of us.
Here's a different perspective on just how immense the Great Pyramid of Giza is! ⚒️ ⛏️
It's hard to really understand the immensity of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Even when you're looking at it through a photo it doesn't make much sense, but it's the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex in the Cairo area. Not only is it one of the seven wonders, but it's the largest of the seven wonders and the only one that's still largely intact.
Standing at 481 feet high, the Giza pyramid was commissioned by Pharaoh Khufu. Made by human hands, it's genuinely astounding that people were able to build this thing so high. That kind of human ingenuity is likely why so many people think that the Ancient Egyptians had extra terrestrial help. Egyptologists Bob Brier and Hoyt Hobbs offer some explanation on how this structure was completed:
Building pyramids posed special problems of both organization and engineering. Constructing the Great Pyramid of the pharaoh Khufu, for example, required that more than two million blocks weighing from two to more than sixty tons be formed into a structure covering two football fields and rising in a perfect pyramidal shape 480 feet into the sky. Its construction involved vast numbers of workers which, in turn, presented complex logistical problems concerning food, shelter, and organization.
Referred to as one of the most romantic vehicles in history, the interior of this 1926 Rolls Royce Phantom 1 is seriously one of a kind. Not only is it fully upholstered with some seriously gorgeous handiwork, but the interior paneling looks like something that you'd find inside a bedroom from the early Edwardian era.
Commissioned Clarence Gasque for his wife Maude, this palace on wheels doesn't just have amazing interior upholstery, it also features space for artwork and a cabinet for drinks.
Gasque purchased the initial version of the car for £1,600 and spending an extra £5,000 on the whole project. Rather than just freestyle the whole thing he had Craftsmen from Aubusson, France model the interior on a sedan chair owned by Marie Antoinette.
For '80s kids, The Dark Crystal is one of those touchstones that there's no getting over. Directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, the film was marketed as a family film, but it's super dark and follows Jen, the last surviving member of the Gelflings as he goes out in search of a shard of the dark crystal in order to put the universe back in balance.
Not just a children's film, this movie deals with loss and sadness in a very real way, something that Henson was so good at injecting into his work. Inspired by the art of Leonard B. Lubin, Henson set out to create a story that people would get in they gut even if they didn't understand it intellectually. Screenwriter David Odell explains:
The spiritual kernel of The Dark Crystal is heavily influenced by Seth. I've always felt that the idea of perfect beings split into a good mystic part and an evil materialistic part which are reunited after a long separation is Jim's response to the teachings of that book. Jim admitted that he didn't understand the book himself, and that everyone would understand it—or not understand it—in their own way. But he thought it opened up a whole different way of looking at reality, which I think was one of his goals in the making of The Dark Crystal.
No matter the ancient nature of many towns and laces across the world, they often change or modernize in ways that strips them of their originality, but Bradford-On-Avon has managed to stave off much of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Traced back to Roman origins, Bradford is the sleeper of a picturesque town featuring cafes, river walks, hidden stairways, and unexpected alleyways, but at the city's center there's a river that snakes through the town. It wasn't initially a beautiful little hamster, in the 17th century it was home to 30 wool mills, making it home to England's 17th-century textile industry.
Today, Bradford-on-Avon is an amazing tourist destination that offers the delights of the old world with the ease of the new.
Trekking through Edinburgh, the small, hill covered capital of Scotland dates back to the Romans, and its been rebuilt and fortified since the end of the 1st century AD, making it one of the oldest sites on the planet.
Built on an extinct volcano, what's now known as "Arthur's Seat" first erupted 350 million years ago. While it no longer threatens to explode in a torrential downpour of flames and magma, the spot does offer one of the most magnificent views of the Scottish highlands.
Even when the city isn't gloomy, its many hills and former volcanic areas turn the city into a visual feast for travelers and townies alike.
This medieval castle situated in the hills of Germany is one of the few ancient castles that remains in its family line. Burg Eltz was commissioned in the 9th and 10th centuries, and at the time it was mostly small manor houses. Construction didn't actually begin until the 11th century and it wasn't even finished in a way that's recognizable to us today until around 1540.
Even after hundreds of years of construction, the Eltz family has continued to add onto the castle and keep up with its construction to maintain the medieval beauty that you can still see today.
The building is now open to the public from April to October, although the Kempenich branch of the family continues to use one third of the estate as a personal space, wouldn't you if you had a castle all to yourself?
Tibet is known for its beautiful mountain ranges and exquisite vistas. As hard as it is to comprehend, many of the people of Tibet opt to live on the side of the vast mountain ranges, mostly because that's what they've been doing for hundreds of years.
There's no traffic to speak of, no smog, and nothing that screams of the western world. It's truly a place of its own. Imagine making your way into Tibet and finding one of these areas on the side of a mountain. How they build like this? Are their homes always just a little off kilter? Do they notice or is that just the way things are?
It's hard to imagine something like this existing in America, but could you do it if you had to?
This gorgeous and imposing library within the Neues Rathaus in Munich brings to mind fantasies of losing oneself in a library for hours on end with nothing to do but read a good book.
Built in 1905, the walls in this intricately designed reading room stand nearly 32 feet high and they're decorated with gilded wrought-iron touches at every conceivable angle. With a spiral staircase leading to a second floor, it's no wonder that travelers from across the world have sought out this spot for photos since its been open to the public.
Once the personal library for the mayor, it's now the Munich legal library, but you can seek it out yourself by visiting the city's new Town Hall.
Imposing, yet beautiful Carlowrie Castle in Edinburgh looks like something out of a fairytale. Commissioned by Scottish wine merchant and Provost of Leith Thomas Hutchison in 1852, the castle remained in the family line for 130 years.
Unfortunately, Thomas never saw his castle come to fruition. He passed away in the same year that the ground was struck for its construction. Completed by his son Robert, the castle was home to Isobel Wylie Hutchison, an arctic explorer and botanist.
After losing both of her brothers and father in quick succession, the young Hutchinson took it upon herself to travel the world while learning languages and collecting plant samples for the Royal Botanic Gardens. It's through her fantastic life that the Carlowrie Estate is covered in so many rare and unusual species of greenery. When she passed away in 1982 the Hutchinson line ended and the castle went on the market.
If you had a long road trip in front of you in the mid-century there was one car that made sure you could get some shut eye in a fairly normal position - the Nash Statesman. It was a fairly popular car on its own, but one of the most fascinating features was the Statesman's ability to turn into a bed in under three minutes.
The only thing a passenger had to do was pull off to some desolate stretch of road, lift the back of the rear seat, and roll the seat cushion forward on its tracks. A mattress would then fold down into the space previously occupied by the cushion, and bingo bango you've got yourself a bed.
Long before SUVs or affordable RVs, these cars really were the top of the line for the traveler who wanted to forgo the motel experience.
Here's a library inside of an abandoned 19th century Victorian mansion
There's something inherently creepy about old victorian homes. Maybe it's the odd angles or the imposing architecture. Or it could be that whenever they start to fall apart they look just like a haunted house from any number of horror movies.
This abandoned library is no different, but it's easy to see how with a little (okay a lot) of elbow grease and a little bit of TLC it would be the perfect place to sir and read after a long day at the office. Although, the roof needs a little bit of work and it's probably haunted so you'll have to get someone in to take care of that.
The thing that's really great about Victorians is that they feature a number of design features that can be found in other types of architecture. So really, if you wanted to fix something like this up there's no wrong way to do it.
If there's one type of home that always has a secret staircase it's a Victorian. These old homes were built in such a hodgepodge manner that they have odd spaces and hidden areas that are just begging to be explored. Of course, anyone placing a secret staircase or room in their home probably has an interesting reason for doing so (reasons could be anything from secret laboratory to private study).
With the multiple types of Victorians out there, the one thing that puts them all in a similar aesthetic is their edges and angles. With all of those triangles and cubes there's bound to be some space behind a wall or above a closet that's perfect for a secret hideaway. And how else are you supposed to get to a secret room than with a secret staircase? It only makes sense.
There's something about ancient masks that are incredibly imposing. Not only are the facial features stoic, but they look like they weigh about 50 pounds. These masks were worn by the cavalry of the Roman Empire during ritual tournaments known as hippika gymnasia, or "horse exercises."
These tournaments saw soldiers practicing the handling of javelins and spears as well as the riding and mounting of horses. Soldiers enacted these tournaments multiple times a year for different reasons. Sometimes they were just getting in practice, other times they were performing for foreign dignitaries.
The masks, or helmets as they were called, only covered the face with apertures for eyes. Decorated with brightly colored tunics as well as these sharp looking metal masks, the tournaments must have been fascinating to watch.
When we think of France we think of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, the city of lights, but one of the most visited places in the country is actually far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island in Normandy that was supposedly established by an Irish hermit. It was taken over by the Franks, and in the 8th century a monastic establishment was built on the island following the alleged appearance of the arcangel Michael.
Today, an abbey sits at the head of this beautiful landscape. Designed in the 11th century by William of Volpiano, the abbey has a Romanesque look to it, with the transept crossing at the top of the mount, and a series of crypts and chapels underground in order to compensate for the weight of actual building.
After hundreds of years of fortifications the building has become the awe inspiring structure that it is today.
This fascinating underground spectacle is a shot of the Luray Caverns in Virginia, an underground cave full of a variety of formations, columns, and mirrored pools.
Inside, visitors can find a myriad of specimens, but one of the most amazing pieces of human and Earthly design is the Great Stalacpipe Organan, an electrically actuated lithophone that uses rubber mallets to bang against ancient stalactites of varying size to produce musical tones.
The cavern was discovered in 1878 by five men who noticed an outcrop of limestone near a sinkhole. After digging for a few hours the men were able to squeeze through their hole and explore the cavern by candlelight. They found massive rock columns inside as well as traces of previous human occupation.
Demure and beautiful, the colors of Casa Batlló shine through the evening, but there's something haunting about this building in the center of Barcelona. Designed by Gaudí, Batlló is filled with strange loops and floor plans that don't fit what we normally think of when discussing Art Nouveau architecture.
The building is home to few straight lines, and its facade's color comes from the mosaic made up of broken ceramic tiles that cover the outer wall. Aside from the obvious beauty of this building, locals think has a secret meaning.
It's believed that the arched roof is meant to look like a dragon, and that the rounded feature to the left of the roof's center which turns into a turret is meant to represent the lance of Saint George, the patron saint of Gaudi's home in Catalonia.
David Bowie walking in New York City, 1983
When David Bowie released his '80s pop masterpiece "Let's Dance," he was a long way from the angry young man who pretended to be a rock 'n roll alien. He'd kicked drugs in Berlin and he was essentially a new man, but that didn't mean he was done challenging our expectations.
His shining, R&B tinged album was created to throw fans for a loop, but audiences were more than happy to go on a ride with the new Bowie. Even Time Magazine lauded Bowie for his change in direction:
At 36, the oldest fresh force in rock, this new Bowie seems to share few qualities with old Ziggy, the polymorphous camp extravaganza, the most gilded lily of rock’s gaudiest age. What binds these identities together is a gift that is cerebral and carnal, frequently danceable and always entertaining. His former crony Lou Reed has sung about it. Deep down inside, Bowie has a rock-’n’-roll heart...
The New York Central Railroad streamliners are truly beautiful works of early 20th century art. Designed by Henry Dreyfuss, these Art Deco trains are the height of aesthetics in realm of rail travel.
Drefyfuss was obsessed with ergonomics, and felt that every tool made to suit humans should make life and work as easy as can be. The Mercury was built to immediately remind riders and viewers of speed and efficiency. It went into service in the Great Lakes area between Cleveland and Detroit, making its first roundtrip on July 13, 1936. The Mercury trains of New York were one quarter size of the original, and born of financial failure. Dreyfuss explained:
The final designs were approved… but when they were put out for bid prices were so out of line that the project was canceled. It was a heavy blow when I received the bad news, for the trains had been a major effort for our office. I decided to take the rest of the day off, and I boarded a train for the country. En route, traveling the railroad yards of Mott Haven, I saw the answer. I got off the train, returned to New York and suggested [to the Central president] that some of the used cars in the yards might be converted.
One of the most important pieces of life on the island of Crete is the olive. It not only provides a massive amount of income from imports, but it also ties directly to their way of life, and East Cretan mythology. The olive is a part of the island's tradition, its religion, and it even influences their social life. It makes sense that they would adore this ancient tree, it ties them back to their ancestors.
This ancient European olive tree (the translation of its botanical name) is 16 feet in diameter at its thickest point, and based off of its annual rings it's believed that the tree was planted in the period between 1350-1100BC.
To further add to the tree's ancient status, it's in the center of four ancient archaeological settlements: Vrontos, Plai tou Kastrou, Azoria Acropolis and Kavousi, which dates back to A.D. 4700.
The first thing you notice when you visit the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg is its immense size. If this staircase is any indication then the rest of the building has to be immense in size. From 1732 to 1917 the palace was the home of every emperor of Russia, and as such it was constructed to reflect the might and power of Imperial Russia.
The building itself is 705 feet long and it stands 98 feet high. Aside from its 1,886 doors, 1,945 windows, and 1,500 rooms, the building has 117 staircases, each of them as ornate as the one in this photo.
The interior of the palace today is nothing like its original inside. After a fire in 1837, the interior was redesigned as more of Rococo building as was popular in the 19th century. The staircase in this photo is one of the few parts of the palace to hold onto the original 18th century style.
Okay, so while Indian Motorcycles never mass produced a lawnmower for individual use, one DIY builder has imagined what it would look like if they did. Using a two-stroke engine from a snow blower, the body is built out of an old smoker and it features fenders and tail lights to give it a vintage look.
From the paint job to the fenders, this lawnmower looks like something that could have existed in 1951, but unfortunately that's not the case. Modeled after a classic Indian motorcycle, this imaginative design is crafty enough to confuse a lot of people online. Dubbed "Lil' Scrapper," this miracle of DIY design is a great addition to any landscaping project.
File clerks on their electric elevator desks in Prague, 1937 ⌨️
The offices of the Central Social Institution of Prague once held the largest vertical letter file in the world, made from floor to ceiling cabinets that covered more than 4,000 square feet, and containing over 3,000 drawers that were 10 feet long.
It didn't make sense to climb a ladder to find a specific file, that would take too much time. Instead, clerks used electric powered elevator desks that went up and down, or left and right all with the push of a button. It wasn't just the desks that were powered, the drawers were surging with electricity and were opened with a set of controls similar to that of the desks.
Before the desks, the CSI employed 400 workers, by 1937 there were only 20 people working in the office.
Anyone visiting Carlsberg Brewery in Copenhagen, Denmark, will definitely notice the massive granite elephants standing guard outside the building, they'll also notice the huge swastikas carved into their bodies. Yikes, obviously.
Built in 1901, Elephant Gate was just a part of the Carlsberg Brewhouse started by Carl Jacobson to compete with his father's brewery, confusingly named, wait for it, Carlsberg Brewery. At the time the swastika was believed to be a symbol of good luck and prosperity so the young Jacobson had his elephants emblazoned with the symbol.
By the time 1940 rolled around the symbol had a much darker meaning, and even though the brewery is closed, the elephants remain. Each of them bear the initials of one of Jacobson's four then-living children. As of 2008 beer no longer flows from the facility behind the gates, but the city wants to hold on to this strange piece of history.
That may look like a normal carpet (albeit a very large, normal carpet), but in actuality it's a carpet created from 500,000 dahlia and begonia flowers. This display of flora decadence happens every two years at the Grand-Place in Brussels.
Put together by more than one hundred volunteers, the carpet is 252 feet long and 78 feet wide, and somehow it only takes about four hours to put together (at least that's what the official Brussels website claims).
In 2018, the year this photo was taken, the theme of the carpet was "Mexico," which explains the southwestern style readily apparent in this aerial shot.
The Circular Cottage in Blaise Hamlet, Bristol was built in 1811 by the same architect who designed Buckingham Palace
Designed by John Nash, the same architect who designed Buckingham Palace, the Circular Cottage is one of the most stunning pieces of early 19th century architecture still standing. The whole area looks like something out of a fairy tale, but this house especially feels like it's going to have a group of hobbits calling it home.
Blaise Hamlet is home to a bevy of storybook cottages, most of them more than 200 years old. The picturesque homes were built to house the etired employees of wealthy merchant and banker, John Hartford, who owned Blaise Castle House in nearby Henbury, England.
Each cottage has its own unique style, but each of them would make a cozy escape for anyone trying to avoid to hustle and bustle of regular life.