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Travel Opportunities. Toronto

Located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto has a rich history underneath a thriving city.
What You Should Do While There: Take a moment to escape the city life for a day and explore the Toronto islands. Easily hop a ferry and head to the collection of eight islands. They offer a welcoming green atmosphere beyond the cityscape that is Toronto. There are no cars on the island, so enjoy a nice stroll or bike. And while in the city, check out the St. Lawrence Market — possibly one of the best in the world.
Cost: Prices in Toronto are comparable to that of L.A. or NYC and while hotels can be pricey, they’re generally within walking distance to great city features.
Ease Of Travel: The public transportation system is extensive and very affordable. Otherwise, walking and biking will suffice.
Potential Safety Concerns: Downtown Toronto is considered pretty safe. But some sites recommend that travelers avoid straying too far from downtown into the outer neighborhoods.

#Wikimapia #wikiplaces #travelopportunities #Canada #Toronto 
Центральный Торонто - Wikimapia
Центральная часть Торонто является местом расположения многих крупных канадских копораций, банков и офиссов промышленных предприятий, а так же таких объектов как Фёст Канадиан Плэйс, Рой Томпсон Холл, башня СН Тауэр, Олд Сити Холл и Торонто Сити Холл. Город Торонто известен также как «экономический двигатель» Канады, считается одним из ведущих мегаполисов мира и имеет большой вес как в регионе, так и на государственном и международном уровне.
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Sivash Salt Lagoons in the Crimean Peninsula

The Crimean Peninsula lies between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, just south of the Ukrainian mainland, and is almost completely surrounded by water. It is connected with the Ukrainian mainland by the Isthmus of Perekop - a strip of land about 5 to 7 kilometers wide, and is separated from the Russian region of Kuban on the east by the Strait of Kerch. To the northeast is located the Arabat Spit, a narrow strip of land that separates a system of shallow salt-water lagoons named Sivash, from the Sea of Azov.
These lagoons nearly cuts the Crimean Peninsula off from the mainland, and serves as a natural border between the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Kherson Oblast that passes through Sivash. To the north, the Isthmus of Perekop separates Sivash from the Black Sea and at the same time, connects the Crimean Peninsula to the mainland.

The Sivash lagoons are extremely shallow with a mean depth of just 50 cm to 1 meter. The deepest place is only about 3 meters. The bottom is covered with silt up to 5 meters thick. Because the lagoons are so shallow, water entering Sivash from the algae-ridden Sea of Azov evaporates quickly in summer, producing a horrible stench which has earned the lagoon the name of "Rotten Sea". Over 200 million tonnes of salt is estimated to exist in Sivash. Salt harvesting is hence, a big business in Crimea.

When water levels recede in summer, numerous pinkish-white salt pans are exposed, covering dozens of square km in the region. The pink color is the result of microalgae that thrive in salty conditions and produce high levels of beta-carotene, a reddish pigment that protects it from the region's intense sunlight. The salt is collected by traders and exported to Russia, the European Union, and to Japan, where it is prized for its purported value in fighting the effects of radiation.

This satellite picture shows the variety of colors the lagoons produce owing to its varied chemical composition. You can see colors of peach, mustard, lime green, blue, blue-green, beige, and brown. Thick layers of silt coat the bottoms of the shallow marshes, which are rich enough in mineral salts to supply a local chemical plant.

#Wikimapia #wikiplaces #Crimea
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9 Amazing Geographical Facts

1. On France’s southern Mediterranean coast, Cannes, the sunny summer playground of the rich, which is sometimes incorrectly called ‘tropical’, is about 10 miles farther north than the cold American state Wisconsin.

2. Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Cape Town, and Sydney are each thousands of miles apart and are known for having unusually pleasant year-round climates, and they are all almost identical distances from the Equator.

3. The entire country of England, with over 50 million residents, is a wee bit smaller than the state of Louisiana.

4. If you combine England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, then together they are a bit smaller than the deceptively large state of Michigan.

5. France is about 30% larger than the state of California.

6. Madrid, with summers so blazing hot that most people take a long break from work every afternoon, is about 10 miles farther north than the cold Salt Lake City, Utah.

7. Rome, which is located in the center of Italy, is located at the exact same latitude as Chicago.

8. Tehran, Iran, with its scorching summers, is located on the exact same latitude as relatively mild Tokyo, Japan.

9. Scientists recently discovered that Florida and Hudson Bay in Canada are getting about 1 inch closer every 36 years. Pass the sun cream, eh?

#Wikimapia #wikiplaces #interestingfacts
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Wikimapia Cityguide: Top 10 Must See Attractions In Amsterdam

1. Canal Tours
Walk or cruise down the Grachtengordel Canals, created in the 17th century and one of the urban wonders of the world.

2. Rijkmuseum
See the Dutch Golden Age treasures of this world-class museum which includes Rembrandt's masterpiece "Night Watch."

3. Van Gogh Museum
See the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of Van Gogh art, including the artist's self-portrait in his museum.

4. Anne Frank Museum
Go on a deeply moving tour of Anne Frank's hiding place, and learn more about the heart-breaking WWII story.

5. Stedelijk Museum
Ever since it opened its modern wing in 2012, this museum of modern and contemporary art became one of the city's most visited attractions, with a collection that includes works by Andy Warhol, Matisse, Pollock, and many more.

6. Red Lights District It's not what it used to be, but the city's notorious district is still a sight to be seen. Explore it on a guided tour.

7. Leidseplein
Join locals and tourists at the outdoor cafes and restaurants of this lively square, the city's nightlife center.

8. Markets
Browse through the Albert Cuyp street market (said to be the largest in Europe) and then go smell the flowers at the famous Bloemenmarkt flower market by a canal.

9. Dam Square
The city's main square is always the stage for different activities and events, and the royal palace facing it is often open to the public.

10. Rembrandt’s House Museum
See what Rembrandt's life was like at the house where he lived for two decades, and see some of his etchings.

#Wikimapia #wikiplaces #Amterdam
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Awesome Facts About Australia

1. Australia is as wide as the distance between London to Moscow.

2. The biggest property in Australia is bigger than Belgium.

3. More than 85% of Australians live within 50km of the coast. 

4. In 1880, Melbourne was the richest city in the world. 

5. Australia was the second country in the world to allow women to vote (New Zealand was first).

6. Each week, 70 tourists overstay their visas.

7. Former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke set a world record for sculling 2.5 pints of beer in 11 seconds. Hawke later suggested that this was the reason for his great political success.

8. The world’s oldest fossil, which is about 3.4 billion years old, was found in Australia.

9. Australia is very sparsely populated: The UK has 248.25 persons per square kilometre, while Australia has only 2.66 persons per square kilometre. 

10. Australia’s first police force was made up of the most well-behaved convicts. 

11. Australia has the highest electricity prices in the world. 

12. There were over one million feral camels in outback Australia, until the government launched the $19m Feral Camel Management Program, which aims to keep the pest problem under control. 

13. Australian airline Qantas once powered an interstate flight with cooking oil. 

14. Per capita, Australians spend more money on gambling than any other nation.

15. Australia is home to the longest fence in the world. It is 5,614 km long, and was originally built to keep dingoes away from fertile land. 

16. Australia was one of the founding members of the United Nations. 

17. Before humans, Australia was home to megafauna: three metre tall kangaroos, seven metre long goannas, horse-sized ducks, and a marsupial lion the size of a leopard. 

18. If you visited one new beach in Australia every day, it would take over 27 years to see them all. 

19. Melbourne has the world’s largest Greek population outside of Athens. 

20. The Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest living structure. 

21. And it has it’s own postbox!

22. The male platypus has strong enough venom to kill a small dog. 

23. And when the platypus was first sent to England, it was believed the Australians had played a joke by sewing the bill of a duck onto a rat.

24. Before 1902, it was illegal to swim at the beach during the day. 

25. Australia has 3.3x more sheep than people. 

#Wikimapia #wikiplaces #Australia #funfacts
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7 Real Game Of Thrones Filming Locations

Game Of Thrones is everyone’s favourite TV show right now, and a trip to Westeros is probably high on your list of must do’s!
But Westeros isn’t real – so how will you get there?
Well you can get pretty close by visiting some of the Game Of Thrones filming locations. These are scattered throughout Europe, so this is going to be a pretty big trip.
High on your list should be Northern Ireland – you’ll be able to check off a number of locations in a relatively small area. A lot of interiors are shot at Belfast’s Paint Hall Studio – unfortunately this isn’t open to the public.

1. Site of the Dothraki Wedding in Season 1 - Gozo, Malta

Gozo, Malta's smaller sister island, was the setting for the Dothraki Wedding in the show's first season between protagonist Daenerys Targaryen and the Dothraki king Khal Drogo. The island's Azure Window, a natural rock arch on the sea, was the spectacular backdrop to the scene.
Part of the reason why Game of Thrones moved production from Malta in its second season was due to controversy over damage to the Azure Window and its ecosystem caused by the show's contractors. But that aside, rest assured that the Azure Window is still very much a treat for visitors.

2. Winterfell – Doune Castle, Scotland

We haven’t seen Winterfell in season three, but it was an important location early on in the show’s run. The Castle Ward estate in Northern Ireland, just south of Belfast, was used as Winterfell’s courtyard. Plus the grounds were used as the campsite of the Lannister army. The estate is open to the public. But that wasn’t the only castle used as Winterfell. Doune Castle in Scotland was also used as Winterfell in the very first episode of Game Of Thrones. Winterfell’s distinctive towers were most likely created with CGI, meaning you won’t be able to visit those anywhere in the world.

3. The Wall – Magheramorne, Northern Ireland

There’s no actual wall, and most of what we see at Castle Black is created with digital effects. Sorry. But filming is around a disused quarry in Magheramorne in Northern Ireland. Most of the snow and ice is added in post-production.

4. Pyke And The Iron Islands – Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland

Ballintoy Harbour in Northern Ireland stood in for Pyke and the Iron Islands in season two. Back when we still kind of like Theon, we saw him arriving at the harbour and getting all creepy with a girl who turned out to be his sister. Well the real place doesn’t look too different from what we saw on our screens.

5. King’s Landing – Dubrovnik, Croatia

Malta served as King’s Landing in season one, but from season two onwards filming changed to Dubrovnik in Croatia. You’ll recognise the orange roofs from some of the establishing shots we’ve seen of King’s Landing. The old streets of the city have been featured in several scenes. The city’s incredible walls were used for the Battle of Blackwater sequence. The park Trsteno Arboretum was used for a series of scenes involving the Tyrell ladies and Sansa Stark. You can even do a Game Of Thrones walking tour of the city.

6. Behind The Wall – Iceland

You’ll need to travel to Iceland to go behind the wall! Scenes featuring the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings have been shot in locations like Vatnajökull national park, the shores of Lake Mývatn, Svínafellsjökull and the heathland of Höfðabrekkuheiði. One of the most memorable locations is the cave where Jon Snow and Ygritte get it on – well you can definitely visit that place. It’s called Grjótagjá and is in the Lake Mývatn area.

7. Following Daenerys - Morocco

Daenerys has been travelling to some pretty incredible places, and to see some of them you need to go to Morocco. She got her unsullied soldiers from the city of Astapor – in reality, the coastal town of Essaouira. The crew also take advantage of Morocco’s Atlas Studios, which is apparently the world’s largest film studio. You can take a tour of this place, which has been used on several occasions for Game Of Thrones and other films and TV shows.

#Wikimapia #wikiplaces #GameOfThrones
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Strangest-looking Buildings in The World
Ready for a new portion of weird but awesome architectural masterpieces? These ones will positively amaze you.

1. Capital Gate — Abu Dhabi, UAE
One of the tallest buildings in the city, the Capital Gate has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s furthest leaning man-made tower.” The building leans 18 degrees, four times more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

2. Svalbard Global Seed Vault — Longyearbyen, Norway
With blast-proof doors, airlocks, and motion sensors, the Global Seed Vault has been designed to contain millions of varieties of seeds to allow for the replanting and growth of various crops in the case of any major global disasters.

3. The Piano House — Anhui, China
The name is self-explanatory - the building is shaped like a giant piano with a grand glass violin for an entrance. The open top of the piano serves as a canopy for the home’s roof terrace.

4. Turning Torso — Malmö, Sweden
Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the Turning Torso is the tallest residential building in all of Sweden. From the bottom to the top, the building twists a full 90 degrees.

5. Kunsthaus — Graz, Austria
The Kunsthaus is a contemporary art museum with a “biomorphic” shape that stands out against the traditional architecture of the surrounding buildings.

6. Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center — Baku, Azerbaijan
Designed by world-famous architect Zaha Hadid, this recent construction has been described as a real-world implementation of the principles behind the Möbius Strip.

7. Ontario College of Art and Design — Toronto, Canada
This “table-top” addition to the Ontario College of Art and Design sits over 25 meters above the ground. It received the “Award of Excellence” from the Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Awards, the highest architectural honor bestowed by the city of Toronto.

8. Kansas City Library — Kansas City, Missouri, USA
The Kansas City Library contains a unique “Community Bookshelf” wall on its exterior, designed to showcase the spines of 22 books suggested by the citizens of Kansas City.
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11 Awesome Facts About St. Patrick's Day

Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.

11. March 17th is when Patrick died.
Saint Patrick is a saint of the Catholic Church, and his holy day is the day of his death, and subsequent entrance to heaven, rather than the day of his physical birth. After spending most of his adult life converting the pagans of Ireland to Christianity, St. Patrick went to his reward on March 17, 461 AD. 

10. St. Patrick wasn't Irish.
St. Patrick wasn't Irish, and he wasn't born in Ireland. Patrick's parents were Roman citizens living in modern-day England, or more precisely in Scotland or Wales (scholars cannot agree on which). He was born in 385 AD. By that time, most Romans were Christians and the Christian religion was spreading rapidly across Europe.

9. St. Patrick was a slave.
At the age of 16, Patrick had the misfortune of being kidnapped by Irish raiders who took him away and sold him as a slave. He spent several years in Ireland herding sheep and learning about the people there. At the age of 22, he managed to escape. He made his way to a monastery in England where he spent 12 years growing closer to God.

8. St. Patrick used the shamrock to preach about the trinity.
Many claim the shamrock represents faith, hope, and love, or any number of other things but it was actually used by Patrick to teach the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and how three things, the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit could be separate entities, yet one in the same. Obviously, the pagan rulers of Ireland found Patrick to be convincing because they quickly converted to Christianity.

7. Legend says St. Patrick drove all the snakes from Ireland.

According to legend, St. Patrick drove all the snakes, or in some translations, "toads," out of Ireland. In reality, this probably did not occur, as there is no evidence that snakes have ever existed in Ireland, the climate being too cool for them to thrive. Despite that, scholars suggest that the term "snakes" may be figurative and refer to pagan religious beliefs and practices rather than reptiles or amphibians. 

6. Patrick's color is blue. 

The original color associated with St. Patrick is blue, not green as commonly believed. In several artworks depicting the saint, he is shown wearing blue vestments. King Henry VIII used the Irish harp in gold on a blue flag to represent the country. Since that time, and possibly before, blue has been a popular color to represent the country on flags, coats-of-arms, and even sports jerseys.

Green was associated with the country later, presumably because of the greenness of the countryside, which is so because Ireland receives plentiful rainfall. Today, the country is also referred to as the "Emerald Isle."

5. The Shamrock is not the symbol of Ireland. 
The shamrock is a popular Irish symbol, but it is not the symbol of Ireland. As early as the medieval period, the harp has appeared on Irish gravestones and manuscripts. However, it is certain that the harp was popular in Irish legend and culture even well before that period. 

Since the medieval period, the harp has represented the nation. King Henry VIII used the harp on coins as early as 1534. Later, the harp was used on Irish flags and Irish coats of arms. The harp was also used as a symbol of the Irish people during their long struggle for freedom. Starting in 1642 the harp appeared on flags during rebellions against English rule. When Ireland became an independent country in 1921, it adopted the harp as the national symbol. 

4. There are more Irish in the USA than Ireland.
Well, sort of. An estimated 34 million Americans have Irish ancestry. Some are pure-blood Irish, meaning they or their parents came from Ireland, but many more have mixed ancestry today. By contrast, there are 4.2 million people living in Ireland. This peculiarity has a lot to do with the troubled history of Ireland. During the potato famine in Ireland, millions of Irish left the country for the US. This diaspora of Irish continued throughout much of the 19th century. Great numbers of Irish immigrants filled factories, served as railroad laborers --and even joined the military, sometimes immediately upon stepping foot on American soil! During the US Civil War, entire regiments of troops were comprised exclusively of Irish immigrants. It wasn't until the economic boom of the 1990s that more Irish stayed in their native country than traveled abroad searching for better opportunities. 

3. St. Patrick's Day in the US has a strong political history.
In the mid 19th century, the Irish faced discrimination much like that faced by African Americans. In a few rare instances, prejudice against the Irish was even more fierce! The Irish were culturally unique, Catholic, and because of deplorable conditions in Ireland, flooded into the US in large numbers. They were perceived as a potentially disloyal and were treated harshly. To combat this, the American Irish began to organize themselves politically. By the end of the 19th century, St. Patrick's Day was a large holiday for the Irish and an occasion for them to demonstrate their collective political and social might. While the political emphasis has faded along with the discrimination, the holiday remains ever popular as an opportunity for festivity regardless of one's cultural background.

2. St. Patrick's was a dry holiday in Ireland until 1970.
Aside from the color green, the activity most associated with St. Patrick's Day is drinking. However, Irish law, from 1903 to 1970, declared St. Patrick's Day a religious observance for the entire country meaning that all pubs were shut down for the day. That meant no beer, not even the green kind, for public celebrants. The law was overturned in 1970, when St. Patrick's was reclassified as a national holiday - allowing the taps to flow freely once again.

1. Your odds of finding a four-leaf clover are:
About 1 in 10,000.
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The Most Quiet and Picturesque Villages of Europe

Europe is home to some of the world's most enchanting villages; small, rustic towns where time seems to slow down and travelers can explore narrow streets, ancient buildings, and farm-fresh country taverns to really soak up the local flavor. Europe is also home to some of the most unusual villages found anywhere on Earth, many of them packed into impossible nooks and crannies or perched high upon treacherous rocky cliffs, locations once used for surveying the surrounding lands and protection from attacks. Some of them are below.

1. Riomaggiore, Italy
Riomaggiore is the easternmost village of Italy's fabled Cinque Terre, a UNESCO-recognized stretch of coast whose five colorful cliff villages have helped make the region one of the most iconic in the country. Luckily, Riomaggiore has escaped some of the natural catastrophes of neighboring town of Vernazza and is still intact in all its charmingly precarious glory. Make sure to also check out the Via dell'Amore ("Lovers' Road"), a breathtaking coastal walkway connecting the five villages, which begins in Riomaggiore. 

2. Rocamadour, France
Rocamadour is, in many travelers' opinions, one of the top destinations of all of France, not surprising, given the village's jaw-dropping location against a massive cliff wall over the Alzhou River. Rocamadour, however, doesn't owe its fame to just its striking setting; it's been a place of pilgrimage for centuries, with devotees flocking to see the legendary Black Madonna of Rocamadour, and, more recently, with curious foodies eager to try the village's famous goat cheese. 

3. Hallstatt, Austria
The town of Hallstatt looks like the kind of Austrian town that the Sound of Music might have been set in. On a beautiful forested mountain, next to a perfectly blue lake, filled with charming 19th century houses, the town is a perfect vision of cheer. Hallstatt was the site of an early Iron Age culture from 800 to 400 BC, which is known as the Hallstatt Era. It is considered to be the oldest still-inhabited village in Europe.
In addition to its ancient history, Hallstatt is spectacularly picturesque, due to its location on a narrow rocky west bank of the Hallstätter See with the sheer rising mountains behind it. Considered by some to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, Hallstatt is sometimes called "the pearl of Austria".

4. Giethoorn, The Netherlands
Giethoorn, the region's highlight, is a town with no streets, only canals, walking paths and bike trails (inevitably it's tagged the 'Dutch Venice'). Contrary to most Dutch geography, Giethoorn is built on water crossed by a few bits of land, and farmers even used to move their cows around in row boats filled with hay. This is a sentimental place for the Dutch as it was the setting for Fanfare, a popular, funny 1958 film about the local folk, and one of the first to dissect the Dutch psyche.
Hugely popular in summer, at other times it has an almost mystical charm as you wander its idiosyncratic waterways.

5. Juzcar, Spain
Juzcar is a small town and municipality in the autonomous province of Andalusia, 113 km away from the city of Malaga and 25 km from Ronda. Once a traditional White Towns of Andalusia with whitewashed buildings, the picturesque hamlet changed its look in the summer of 2011, when it was chosen by Sony Pictures as the setting for the premiere of their new film “The Smurfs 3D". As a part of the campaign to promote the movie, Sony came up with an innovative idea to paint the whole village blue. That summer a team of 20 painters painted Júzcar's 175 buildings including the church, the town hall and gravestones. On July 23, ten days before the film hit movie theaters, the new "Smurf Town" hosted the special premiere with great fanfare. After the promotion was over, Sony arrived at Júzcar to once again repaint the village white, the way it has always been, only to be refused by the village folk. The media exposure had such a positive effect on the village’s economy that the residents decided to keep the change permanent. An overwhelming 141 residents voted in favor to 33 against, that their homes should stay painted entirely in the unique hue.

6. Bled, Slovenia
This small Alpine town in northwestern Slovenia rings the shore of Lake Bled, whose glacial blue waters surround a tiny island and its small Baroque church. After a two-hour stroll around the lake, hike to the medieval hilltop castle for panoramic views or recharge with a slice of the local specialty: kremšnita, a sugar-topped pastry filled with cream and custard that has been served for decades at the Hotel Park.

7. Reine, Norway
North of the Arctic Circle, Reine is a pretty fishing village in the Lofoten archipelago, an area of starkly beautiful Nordic wilderness, where sapphire bays punctuate fjords and mountains. Many of the bright red fishermen’s cabins (called rorbuer) have been converted into comfortable cottages for visitors that offer direct access to the Norwegian Sea. Settle in for a front-row view of the night sky and its mesmerizing entertainment, from summer’s midnight sun to winter’s northern lights.

8. Colmar, France
French and German influences commingle in this well-preserved Alsatian village, where local bakeries sell both croissants and kugelhopf, and restaurants specialize in foie gras and sauerkraut (or choucroute). A range of architectural styles, from German Gothic to French Neo-Baroque, can be spotted in the old town, which was spared destruction during World War II—thanks in part to the historical beauty of its cobblestoned lanes, quiet canals, and half-timbered houses.

9. Bibury, England
The hilly Cotswold region is a designated “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” in southwestern England, and one of its loveliest villages is Bibury, where verdant meadows abut ancient stone cottages with steep pitched roofs. The River Coln, which bisects the village, teems with trout, but the most scenic area is Arlington Row, a lane of sepia-hued cottages built in the 17th century to house weavers from the nearby Arlington Mill.

#Wikimapia #wikiplaces #villages #travel #Europe
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