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Updated: 18.06.03 - Added Champs Élysées picture,
26.12.97 - All pictures but Champs Élysées,
corrected Mt. Keirin and changed Taj Mahal picture.
This dormant volcano, Fuji, is Japan's highest mountain, as well as its most famous peak. The 3776-m (12,389-ft) high peak is on southern Honshu Island, near Tokyo, and is a popular attraction for tourists and pilgrims. Many shrines and temples are located on Fuji's slopes, and it is a frequent subject in Japanese art and literature.
Limestone Formations near Guilin, China
Spectacular limestone pinnacles rise along both sides of the Lei River in a mountainous region of southern China near the city of Guilin.
Rising 30 to 180 m (100 to 600 ft) high these karst formations provide one of China's most extraordinary views. Many Chinese painters and poets have included the unusual landscape in their works. Guilin lies in the southern uplands of China, an area characterized by green hills and mountains.
Wat Phra Kaeo, Thailand
Thailand has nearly 18,000 Buddhist temples, called wats, throughout the country. The temples provide religious sanctuaries for Thailand's Buddhists, who account for 95 percent of the population. The Wat Phra Kaeo (in English, Temple of the Emerald Buddha) stands in Bangkok and dates to 1782.
Ruins of the Temple of Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The Angkor Wat temple complex in central Cambodia, built 1112-52. Originally a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu, Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the world, rising as high as 60 m (200 ft). It is built entirely of stone, with corbeled roofs and relief friezes depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The moat surrounding the temple complex is almost 4 km (2.5 mi) in circumference.
Uluru, Northern Territory
Uluru, also called Ayers Rock, is considered to be the largest individual rock mass, or monolith, in the world. Located in central Australia, the monolith measures about 2.4 km (about 1.5 mi) long and 348 m (1142 ft) high. Rock paintings made thousands of years ago by Aboriginal artists cover the walls of many caves in Uluru.
Taj Mahal, India
The Taj Mahal, designed as a tomb for the wife of a 17th-century Mughal emperor, was constructed by about 20,000 workers from 1631 to 1648 in Agra, a city in northern India. The massive domed structure was constructed in the Indo-Islamic style, using white marble and inlaid gems. At each corner is a minaret (prayer tower), and passages from the Koran, the Muslim holy book, adorn the outside walls.
Saint Isaac's Cathedral, Saint Petersburg
The dome of Saint Isaac's Cathedral towers over the Russian city of Saint Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) and the Neva River. Commissioned in the 1800s by Czar Alexander I as a Russian Orthodox church, Saint Isaac's Cathedral served as the Museum of Atheism during most of the Communist period (1924-1991). Its religious functions restored, the cathedral is also one of Saint Petersburg's most popular tourist attractions.
Champs Élysées, Paris
The Arc de Triomphe, a triumphal arch at the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the top of the Champs Élysées Boulevard, where twelve avenues converge. Completed in 1835, it has become a central landmark of Paris and one of the best-known monuments in the Western world.
Houses of Parliament, London
The city of London, capital of Great Britain, is the seat of government. Parliament consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Built between 1840 and 1850, the neo-Gothic complex of buildings is still officially called the New Palace of Westminster. The clock tower on the eastern end contains the bell Big Ben.
Gaudí's Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
The spires of Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia (Church of the Sacred Family), each more than 100 m (more than 328 ft) tall, dominate the skyline of Barcelona, Spain. In 1891, nine years after construction started on the neo-Gothic cathedral, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí y Cornet took over as official architect and made the project a personal obsession. When Gaudí died in a trolley accident in 1926, the cathedral was left unfinished. Despite controversy over whether the cathedral should remain in its uncompleted form as a monument to the architect, construction began again in 1979, closely following Gaudí's original plan.
Parthenon on the Acropolis, Athens
The Acropolis, a fortified citadel built atop a massive limestone hill, dominates the city of Athens, Greece. The Acropolis contains some of the world's most famous structures built in the classical architectural style. These buildings include the Parthenon (a Doric temple built for Athena, the goddess of wisdom), the Propylaea, and the Erechtheum. They were constructed during the Golden Age of Athens (5th century BC) under the rule of the famous Athenian statesman Pericles.
Giza Plateau, Egypt
Giza, also Al Jìzah, city in northern Egypt, capital of Giza governorate, on the Nile River, a southwestern suburb of Cairo. An important city has been on or near this site since the time of the 4th Dynasty (circa 2680-2544 BC) of the ancient pharaohs. Famous landmarks located nearby include the Great Sphinx (2565 BC or earlier) and three of Egypt's most famous pyramids - the Great Pyramid of Khufu, or Cheops, and the Khafre and Menkaure pyramids.
Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, lies in northeastern Tanzania near the border of Kenya. The mountain has two volcanic peaks, spaced about 11 km (about 7 mi) apart, with the higher of the two rising 5895 m (19,340 ft). Farmers cultivate coffee beans and plantains on Kilimanjaro's lower slopes.
Statue of Liberty, New York Harbour
The Statue of Liberty, once one of the first sights to welcome immigrants arriving in the United States, continues to be a symbol of freedom and a favorite New York City tourist attraction. Liberty stands more than 93 m (nearly 306 ft) tall on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The statue, designed by French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, was presented to the United States as a gift from France for the first centennial of the U.S. independence from Britain.
Chichén Itzá, Mexico
Archaeologists believe that the Formative period of Mayan civilization began as early as 1500 BC, but the peak of Mayan cultural achievement came during the Classic period, AD 300 to 900. During this time, the Maya created unique art and architectural styles, made astronomical observations, and developed a system of hieroglyphs for recording significant events. Chichén Itzá was founded early in the 6th century and was one of the most important Mayan cities.
Antarctica, Arctic Circle
The fifth largest of the earth's seven continents, located almost entirely south of latitude 66"30' south (the Antarctic Circle), and surrounding the South Pole. Known for the Aurora Australis, luminous atmospheric phenomenon occurring most frequently above 60" North or South latitude, but also in other parts of the world. It is named specifically, according to its location, aurora borealis (northern lights) or aurora australis (southern lights). The term aurora polaris, polar lights, is a general name for both.
Easter Island, South Pacific
Also Rapa Nui, island in the Pacific which houses Gigantic statues and other archaeological remains of an unknown origin, which lies west of the Chilean coast and is considered part of Chile. Easter Island is of considerable archaeological importance. It is the richest site of the megaliths of the Pacific island groups and the only source of evidence of a form of writing in Polynesia.
Adapted from Microsoft® Encarta® 98 Encyclopedia. © 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.