Friday, December 23, 2011

Top 5 of the World’s Greatest Living Rocks

5. Great Sphinx of Giza (Egypt)

A reclining lion with a human head that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile, near modern-day Cairo, is the largest monolith statue in the world. Standing 73.5 m (241 ft) long, 6 m (20 ft) wide, and 20 m (65 ft) high, the Great Sphinx of Giza is also the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians in the third millennium BCE. The Great Sphinx faces due east and houses a small temple between its paws.

4. Petra (Jordan)

Famously described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” by John William Burgon, UNESCO has described Petra as one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage. In 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage Site, and recently designated as one of the “new wonders” of the world.
Located in Arabah, Ma’an Governorate, Jordan, lying on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains, the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba is renowned for its rock-cut architecture. The Nabateans constructed it as their capital city around 100 BCE, after their decline, the site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced to the West by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.
The picturesque site was featured in various films such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.
3. Mount Rushmore (USA)

A famous monumental granite sculpture created by Gutzon Borglum, Mount Rushmore is located within the United States Presidential Memorial that represents the first 150 years of the history of the United States of America with 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of former United States presidents (left to right): George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. The entire memorial covers 1,278.45 acres (5.17 km2) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level. The memorial attracts approximately two million people annually.
2. Leshan Giant Buddha (China)

Built during the Tang Dynasty, the Leshan Giant Buddha is carved out of a cliff face that lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. The sculpture, which is seventy one meters (about 230 hundred feet) tall dwarfs the tourists that flock to see it. It is positioned so that it faces Mount Emei and stands at the meeting place of three rivers. Although the Government of China has promised a restoration program, the statue has suffered from the effects of pollution, particularly over the last twenty years. Fortunately, the statue was not damaged in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008.
1. Mahabalipuram Shore Temple (India)

Built on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Mahabalipuram (India) in the early 8th century by the Pallava King Rajasimha. The shore temple actually consists of 2 back to back shrines, one facing the east (the Bay), and the smaller one facing west.
It stands on the edge of the Bay of Bengal. At high tide, the waves sweep into its compounds. The walls and their sculptures have been battered and eroded by the winds and waves for thirteen hundred years. Yet they stand intact.
Mahabalipuram was a flourishing sea port in the times of Periplus and Ptolemy (140 AD). There is an old legend here that originally there were seven temples; of these, six have been swallowed by the sea and only one temple -the Shore Temple- remained. There are evidences of submerged structures under the waves and sporadic excavations are going on, but it is too early to say whether there really was a glorious city and six more temples which now lie submerged under the waves off the coast off Mahabalipuram.

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