22.08.2012

Explore volcanoes on Wikimapia Pt.3

We keep exploring volcanoes from around the world with Wikimapia and today we turn your attention to North America. Most volcanoes on the continent are located along the west coast, at the subduction of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. Alaska and Hawaii contain the biggest currently active volcanoes.


General view on North America


Lets start our review from the south of the continent and see the highest volcanoes in Mexico and than move north.

The Pico de Orizaba is the highest mountain in Mexico and the third highest in North America. It rises 5,636 meters above sea level. The volcano is currently dormant but not extinct with the last eruption taking place in the 19th century. The volcano is named for the city of Orizaba, but is also known by the Aztec name of Citlaltépetl (Star Mountain). The volcano has a rich cultural value. Its lower slopes host Aztec villages, pyramids, and temples. Its image adorns Aztec hieroglyphics and colonial and modern paintings, woodcuts, and lithographs.

Pico de Orizaba

Popocatepetl is located just outside of Mexico City. It is the second largest volcano in Mexico. The volcano is curently active with strong military protection preventing access. In Nahuatl, Popocatepetl means "smoky mountain.

Popocatepetl

When speaking about volcanoes in southern part of the US, you'll certainly think about state Hawaii. Though these islands are not the part of the continent, we still want to take a look at them. The islands are located on the Pacific tectonic plate and were formed by hotspot volcanism. Two currently active volcanoes are located on the Big Island, Kilauea, and Mauna Loa.

Mauna Loa (4 169 m) is an active shield volcano, one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii. It is Earth's largest mountain, with a volume estimated at approximately 75,000 km³, although its peak is about 36 m lower than that of its neighbor, Mauna Kea. In Hawaiian, mauna loa means "long mountain". Lava eruptions from Mauna Loa are very fluid, and the volcano has extremely shallow slopes as a result. Mauna Loa is the world's largest shield volcano in terms of area covered.

Mauna Loa

Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, offers scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors' — views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. As Mauna Loa, Kilauea is situted on the territory of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which encompasses diverse environments that range from sea level to the summit of volcanoes. Over half of the park is designated wilderness and provides unusual hiking and camping opportunities. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been listed in International Biosphere Reserve and pronounced a World Heritage Site.

Kīlauea

Back to the continent part of the USA lets see the highests and most famous volcano peaks here.

Mount St. Helens is probably North America's most notorious volcano and is well known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows. Mount St. Helens most catastrophic eruption happened on May 18, 1980. It was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States.
The mountain is part of the Cascade Volcanoes and the Cascade Range (major mountain range of western North America) and is included in the Pacific Ring of Fire with 160 other active volcanoes.

Mount St. Helens

Sunset Crater is in the eastern part of the San Francisco volcanic field. Sunset Crater, one of the youngest scoria cones in the contiguous United States, began erupting between the growing seasons of 1064 and 1065 A.D. Eruptions continued in the area for many decades. Sunset Crater is Part of the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.

Sunset Crater

World-known Yellowstone caldera is very large - 72 x 55 km in diameter. The caldera overlies the Yellowstone Hotspot, which is a mantle plume and is responsible for what is probably Earth's largest concentration of hot springs and geysers that Yellowstone National Park is so famous for. The park is known for its wildlife and geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular areas in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is dominant.

Yellowstone

Mount Bona is one of the major mountains of the Saint Elias Mountains in eastern Alaska, and is the fifth highest independent peak in the United States. It is also the largest ice-covered stratovolcano.

Mount Bona

Mount Blackburn is the highest peak in the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska in the United States.The mountain is an old, eroded shield volcano. It is located in the heart of Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the country. The mountain's massif is covered almost entirely by icefields and glaciers, and is the principal source of ice for the Kennicott Glacier, which flows southeast over 32 km. Mount Blackburn is a large, dramatic peak, with great local relief and independence from higher peaks.

Mount Blackburn

Volcanic activity in Alaska is concentrated in the Aleutian Islands, an arc which stretches from westward from the Alaska Peninsula toward the Kamchatka Peninsula. The Alaskan eruption rate is about two eruptions per year. Alaska Volcano Observatory monitors activity in the Aleutian chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller ones. The islands, with their 57 volcanoes, are in the northern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Aleutian Islands

On Wikimapia almost 2 500 objects have ‘volcano’ category. Though it is a lot of data to explore, there are still many volcanoes left untagged or without a detailed description. We appreciate every contribution of our users and look forward to see more information as well. Have you ever saw a volcano yourself? Or maybe you have nice photos or any interesting information about them? Share your knowledge with Wikimapia Community, add new volcanoes on world map or improve their descriptions.

20.08.2012

Places of nuclear weapon tests on Wikimapia

Volcano explosions, tectonic plates splitting, climate changes, tsunami - all these nature forces are changing the face of our planet, they make some islands rise from the Ocean bottom and other disappear. In 20th century mankind has created nuclear weapon that can be compared in power to nature itself. As any other great discovery or invention, nuclear weapon has brought much prosperity to people (e.g., nuclear energy), as well as lot of tragedy. But the fact is undeniable: the beginning of Nuclear Era has made the contemporary World as it is now. As any other invention the nuclear bomb needed testing to give an idea of what the actual size and effects of an atomic explosion would be. When filtering places on Wikimapia through 'nuclear testing area' category, you can learn the history of nuclear weapon tests and see their huge tracks on the Earth.




The first nuclear weapon was detonated as a test by the United States at the Trinity site, 48 km southeast of Socorro on what is now White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. It was a test of an implosion-design plutonium bomb, the same type of weapon later dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only two events of nuclear weapons usage in war to date. The detonation was equivalent to the explosion of around 20 kilotons of TNT, and is usually credited as the beginning of the Atomic Age. The crater left from the explosion is approximately 900 m wide.

Trinity Test Site

Bikini Atoll is a coral island in the Micronesian Islands in Pacific Ocean. As part of the Pacific Proving Grounds it was the site of more than 20 nuclear weapons tests between 1946 and 1958, including the first test of a practical dry fuel hydrogen bomb in 1952 and Castle Bravo detonation, the first test of a practical hydrogen bomb, in 1954, wich was the largest nuclear explosion ever set off by the United States. Castle Bravo appeared to be much more powerful than predicted, and created widespread radioactive contamination. Even today, in 2012, eating fruits grown here for a long period of time without having taken remedial measures, might result in radiation doses higher than internationally agreed safety levels.

Bikini Atoll

The Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS) was the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons. The first Soviet bomb, Operation First Lightning (nicknamed Joe One by the Americans) was conducted in 1949 from a tower at the Semipalatinsk Test Site.

Explosion of Joe One

Tsar Bomba (Russian: Царь-бомба; "Emperor Bomb") is the nickname for the AN602 hydrogen bomb, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated in human history. This attempt was successful, as it was one of the cleanest (relative to its yield) atomic bombs ever detonated. Only one bomb of this type was ever built and it was tested on October 30, 1961, in Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

Explosion of Tsar Bomba

Operation Hurricane was the test of the first British atomic device on 3 October 1952. A plutonium implosion device was detonated in the lagoon between the Montebello Islands, Western Australia.

the Montebello Islands

There were 210 French nuclear tests from 1960 until 1996. 17 of them were done in the Algerian Sahara between 1960 and 1966, starting in the middle of the Algerian War. 193 were carried out in French Polynesia. Gerboise Bleue ("blue jerboa") was the name of the first French nuclear test. It was an atomic bomb detonated in the middle of the Algerian Sahara desert on 13 February 1960.

Algerian Sahara

Lop Nur Nuclear Weapons Test Base is where the first Chinese nuclear bomb test, codenamed "596", was tested in 1964. Until 1996, 45 nuclear tests were conducted here.

Lop Nur Nuclear Weapons Test Base

"Smiling Buddha" was the codename given to the Republic of India's first nuclear test explosion that took place at the long-constructed Indian Army base, Pokhran Test Range at Pokhran municipality, Rajasthan state on 18 May 1974. It was also the first confirmed nuclear test by a nation outside the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The Indian government, however, declared that it was not going to make nuclear weapons even though it had acquired the capacity to do so. It claimed that the Pokhran explosion was an effort to harness atomic energy for peaceful purposes and to make India self-reliant in nuclear technology, but subsequently, India conducted five more nuclear tests on 11 May and 13 May 1998

Pokhran Test Range

Chagai-I is the name given to the five underground nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan on 28 May 1998. The tests were performed in a secret Chagai weapon-testing laboratories, located in the Chagai District of the Baluchistan Province of Pakistan.
The Chagai-I is considered a milestone in the history of Pakistan that was conducted in a direct response to India's second nuclear tests, Operation Shakti, on 11 and 13 May 1998. Nuclear weapon testings of both states resulted in a variety of economic sanctions on each other by number of major powers, particularly the United States and Japan. With the performance of the simultaneous atomic testing of the five nuclear devices, Pakistan, thus became the seventh nuclear power in the world to successfully develop and publicly test nuclear weapons, despite the international fury.

Chagai weapon-testing laboratories

In 2006 North Korea announced its intention to conduct a test, and in doing so became the first nation to give warning of its first nuclear test. This test provoked International condemnation and aggravates conflict between North Korea goverment and United Nations Security Council. Nevertheless, three years later, on 25 May 2009 the second underground detonation of a nuclear device conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Though, there is no official information, where exactly the tests took place, they were confirmed by seismic measurements.

Places of North Korea tests

By marking such places, Wikimapia users make the map data more valuable not only for geogrphical purposes, but closely connected with history, politics and natural sciences. Though we all hope that there will be no more places on Earth like these anymore, we on Wikimapia are glad to know that our project can give coverage on such serious topics, thanks to users contributions. We appreciate their efforts a lot and encourage Wikimapia community members to pay more attention to the places of such a high significance for all mankind and participate in improving Wikimapia map.

09.08.2012

Cheese tourism with Wikimapia

The week is warm and summer wind calls up nice thoughts, so today we want to draw your attention to something really nice and beloved for most people - cheese! Does Wikimapia, a map, can have something in common with food, you may ask? And the answer is totally YES. Let’s have a cheese tour on Wikimapia around the world!
As you may know, there are some most famous and popular cheese types. They differ in taste, age and what not else. And they have their names after towns, where they were firstly produced. All best cheese is made in small mostly European villages, surrounded by green fields and lovely cows. When looking on these bucolic places you almost hear the sounds of a shepherd reed.

cheese.jpg


The biggest exporter of cheese, by monetary value, is France. That’s a really cheese country - the motherland of famous Roquefort, Camembert, Brie.

Roquefort-sur-Soulzon (Occitan: Ròcafòrt) is a commune in the Aveyron department in southern France.
It is located on the Causse du Larzac and is famous for its ewe's milk Roquefort cheese. Much of the activity in the commune is centred around the production and distribution of the cheese. A visitor centre illustrates the process of making Roquefort cheese and offers guests a chance to sample and purchase the product.

Roquefort-sur-Soulzon

Camembert is most famous as the place where camembert cheese originated. It has been called "The largest small village in France" because the area of the commune itself is out of proportion to the center of the village which consists of the Cheese Museum (in the shape of a Camembert cheese), the Town Hall (Mairie), the Church of St Anne, the Ferme Président (a museum), Beamoncel (the house where Marie Harel, the creator of camembert cheese lived) and 3 other small houses. The rest of the commune is scattered over 2500 acres.

Camembert

Brie is a historic region of France most famous for its dairy products, especially Brie cheese. The Brie forms a plateau with few eminences, varying in altitude between 300 and 650 feet. Its scenery is varied by forests. There are now many varieties of Brie made all over the world, including plain Brie, herbed varieties, double and triple Brie and versions of Brie made with other types of milk. Indeed, although Brie is a French cheese, it is possible to obtain Somerset and Wisconsin Brie. Despite the variety of Bries, the French government officially certifies only two types of cheese to be sold under that name: Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun.
Brie de Meaux, manufactured at the town of Meaux since the 8th century, it was originally known as the "King's Cheese", or, after the French Revolution, the "King of Cheeses," and was enjoyed by the peasantry and nobility alike. It was granted the protection of Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) status in 1980, and it is produced primarily in the eastern part of the Parisian basin.

Meaux

Italy is another cheesy state. Cheese is an essential ingredient in famous Italian pizzas and pastas and other dishes. Italians have an eye for cheese, thats why their “formaggio” types soooo delicious!

Gorgonzola is a comune in the province of Milan, part of Lombardy, northern Italy. Once a rural community, and famous for the cheese which bears its name. The well known Gorgonzola cheese made with goat's milk is firm and salty. It is claimed by the residents to have originated in Gorgonzola in 879, although other towns claim the origins too. Whatever the real town of Gorgonzola cheese is, it is certainly a 100% Italian product. Under Italian law, Gorgonzola enjoys Protected Geographical Status. Termed DOC in Italy, this means that it can only be produced in the provinces of Novara, Bergamo, Brescia, Como, Cremona, Cuneo, Lecco, Lodi, Milan, Pavia, Varese,Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli, as well as a number of comuni in the area of Casale Monferrato (province of Alessandria).

Gorgonzola

Parmigiano-Reggiano (also known in English as Parmesan), is a hard, granular cheese, cooked but not pressed, named after the producing areas near Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna (all in Emilia-Romagna), and Mantova (in Lombardia), Italy. Under Italian law, only cheese produced in these provinces may be labelled "Parmigiano-Reggiano", while European law classifies the name as a protected designation of origin.

Parma

Netherlands is country of tulips, painters, canals, weed legalization and CHEESE!

Gouda (population 71,797 in 2004) is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Gouda, which was granted city rights in 1272, is famous for its Gouda cheese, which is still traded on its cheese market, held each Thursday, smoking pipes and its 15th century city hall.
The town takes its name from the Van der Goude family, who built a fortified castle alongside the banks of the Gouwe River, from which the family took its name.

Gouda cheese market

Edam is a city in the Dutch province of Noord-Holland. Edam is famous as the original source of the cheese with the same name.
The cheese market was the primarily boost of the economy of Edam in the 16th century. On the 16th of April in 1526 Emperor Charles V gave Edam the right to have a market every week. In 1594 this right was given for eternity by Prince Willem I as a sign of appreciation for the good collaboration during the siege of Alkmaar.
After the right to have a market Edam held commercial cheese markets till 1922. The cheese was brought to the market by local farmers with little boats. When the cheese was lifted out of the boat it was carried to the market by cheese carriers. At the market the cheese was shown to the merchants. After being tested for their quality the price was settled by haggling until there was an agreement about the price. After that the cheese was brought to a warehouse where it was kept until the quality was at its best.
Since 1989, the cheese market in Edam has been revived as a re-enactment for tourists. It is held each July and August on each Wednesday from 10:30 to 12:30.

Edam

Switzerland citizens make irreproachable clocks, secure bank accounts, best chocolate ever and just perfect cheese called Gruyères.

Gruyères is a town in the district of Gruyère in the canton of Fribourg in Switzerland. Its German name is Greyerz.
The medieval town is an important tourist location in the upper valley of the Saane river, and gives its name to the well-known cheese. In this town, a trackless train is the only vehicle allowed on its pedestrianised streets.
Gruyères has a population (as of December 2010) of 1,789. Formerly, the focus was on trading cheese and small and big animals. There were several mills and sawmills and since 18th century a gun powder factory. Until the beginning of the 20th century, straw-twisting was also rather important. Agriculture is still specialized in milk production and cattle-breeding. It delivers raw materials for the cheese production and meat treating. Most important is the famous Gruyère cheese.
Gruyère cheese is an important factor in supporting the tourist trade in the region. A major tourist attraction is the medieval town of Gruyères with its castle, containing a regional museum and an arts museum. There are cultural activities in the castle (concerts, theater). There is a cheese factory in Pringy which is open to visitors. Nearby is Mont Moléson, a mountain suitable for climbing, or for the less athletic there is a cablecar to the summit which was rebuilt in 1998. The resort town Moléson-Village caters for both summer and winter tourism. There are also H. R. Giger Museum and bar.

Gruyères

There is only one famous type of cheese from England, but what a taste it has!

Cheddar is a village in the district of Sedgemoor in Somerset, England, situated on the edge of the Mendip Hills 14.5 km northwest of Wells. Cheddar is noted for its nearby Gorge, the hymn Rock of Ages and its cheese. Cheddar Gorge on the edge of the village contains a number of caves, which provided the ideal humidity and constant temperature for maturing the cheese. Cheddar cheese traditionally had to be made within 48 km of Wells Cathedral. Cheddar has been produced since at least the 12th century.

Cheddar

‘Cheese’ and ‘fromage’ categories on Wikimapia include 270 places today. Mostly they designate cheese shops or places where the cheese is produced, so every fromage connoisseur could find, where to buy the best cheese in his area. If you like cheese as much as we do or just know something that has no mark on Wikimapia yet - share you knowledge with others!

07.08.2012

Top 10 most magnificent tombs of the world on Wikimapia

The high and mighties, whose deeds become legendary and heritage stays immortal, meet the Death itself, that actually should be neutral and equal for everyone, not as usual as other people. Their bodies die and rest in peace in burial vaults, made by the best architects, surrounded with amazing decorations and works of art. Sometimes those tombs are so massive, that may even be visible from the sattelite. There are ‘tomb’ and ‘masoleum‘ categories on Wikimapia that include more than 2400 places today. Let's see the most famous and majestic of them and check if they need any edition or data adding.

First, that may accure to you when speaking about tombs is the famous Giza Necropolis, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. This ancient Egyptian complex consists of the Great Pyramid of Giza (tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu or Cheops), the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, the Great Sphinx statue and several other smaller satellite pyramids.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only surviving member of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Needless to say, it is an amazing work of engineer, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest of the ancient Egyptian pyramids. Originally standing 146.6 m high, it is now 138.8 m high due to erosion, trophy hunting, and vandalism. Thousands years after the pyramids were built they still admire attention and attcract millions of tourists as one if the most mysterious places in the world.

Giza Necropolis

Another great burial vault is Taj Mahal in the city of Agra, India, ordered to build by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. In 1631, Shah Jahan, the emperor was grief-stricken when his beloved third wife died during the birth of their fourteenth child, Gauhara Begum. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632, one year after her death. The court chronicles of Shah Jahan's grief illustrate the love story traditionally thought of as an inspiration for Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal is considered to be the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Islamic, Indian and Persian architectural styles.

Taj Mahal

The Mausoleum of Hadrian, usually known as the Castel Sant'Angelo, is a towering cylindrical building in Rome, Vatican city, initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. The tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian was erected on the right bank of the Tiber, between 135 and 139. Originally the mausoleum was a decorated cylinder, with a garden top and golden quadriga. Hadrian's ashes were placed here a year after his death in Baiae in 138, together with those of his wife Sabina, and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in 138. Following this, the remains of succeeding emperors were also placed here, the last recorded deposition being Caracalla in 217.

The Mausoleum of Hadrian

Tomb of Cyrus the Great in Iran, Pasargadae, in the area of ancient Persia, is believed to be the tomb of one of the most notable king of Persia – King Cyrus the Great. It is today an archeological site and one of only five of Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Cyrus the Great, or Cyrus II of Persia, was a Persian Shahenshah (or Emperor), who founded of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty. This empire thence expanded under his rule, as Cyrus eventually conquered the majority of Southwest Asia as well as much of Central Asia, from Egypt and the Hellespont to the Indus River in the east, to create the most expansive nation the world had seen up until that era.
The Mausoleum is said to be the oldest base-isolated structure in the world, meaning it is resilient to seismic hazards.

Tomb of Cyrus the Great in Iran

Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang and nearby pit of the Terracotta Warriors, buried with the First Emperor of Qin, are famous from all over the world. Emperor Qin Shi Huang believed that these terracotta army would enable him to rule another empire in the afterlife. Both mausoleum and the army are a unique architectural ensemble whose layout echoes the urban plan of the capital, Xianyang, with the Imperial Palace enclosed by the walls of the city, themselves encircled by other walls. The mausoleum is also associated with an event of universal significance: the first unification of the Chinese territory in a centralized state created by an absolute monarch, in 221 BC.
Terracota Army consists of about 8,000 life-like and life-sized statues of soldiers with their horses, chariots and weapons. Looks like Qin Shi Huangdi might really have become the Emperor of the afterlife with such magnificent troops.

Terracotta Warriors

The lords of the ancient world were not the only, whose ashes rest in peace in a glorious burial vaults. Revolution leaders of the Contemporary history, who inspired the masses and managed to dethrone the governments, are also buried unusual.

Lenin’s Tomb on Red Square, Moscow, Russia is probably the most discrepant place in our list. It serves as the final resting place for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Lenin's preserved body has been on public display here since his death in 1924. And disputes about that fact are still happening from time to time.
Aleksey Shchusev's granite structure incorporates some elements from ancient mausoleums, such as the Tomb of Cyrus the Great.

Lenin’s Tomb

The Che Guevara Mausoleum (Mausoleo Che Guevara) is a memorial in Santa Clara, Cuba. It houses the remains of executed Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara and twenty-nine of his fellow combatants killed in 1967 during Guevara's attempt to spur an armed uprising in Bolivia. The full area which contains a bronze 22 foot statue of Che is referred to as the Ernesto Guevara Sculptural Complex. Guevara was laid to rest with full military honors on 17 October 1997 after his exhumed remains were discovered in Bolivia and returned to Cuba. At the site, there is a museum dedicated to Guevara's life and an eternal flame lit by Fidel Castro in Che's memory.

The Che Guevara Mausoleum

Most part of burial vaults of great people are still not as massive as previous examples, or, at least, their tombs are grouped in one special and magnificent place. Like Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey is a mainly Gothic church, on the scale of a cathedral, in Westminster, London. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English, later British and later still (and currently) monarchs of the Commonwealth realms. Honouring individuals with Burials and Memorials in Westminster Abbey has a long tradition. Henry III rebuilt Westminster Abbey in honour of the Royal Saint Edward the Confessor whose relics were placed in a burial vault in front of the High Altar. Henry III himself was interred nearby in a superb chest tomb with effigial monument. Many of the Plantagenet kings of England, their wives and other relatives, most Kings and Queens of England From the time of Edward the Confessor until the death of George II were buried in the Abbey as well. Since the Middle Ages, aristocrats (the first one was Geoffrey Chaucer), poets, writers and musicians were buried or memorialised around Chaucer in what became known as Poets' Corner. In this part of the chapel you may find tombs of W. H. Auden, William Blake, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, Charles d***, John Dryden, George Eliot, T. S. Eliot, and many other dignified man. Subsequently it became one of Britain's most significant honours to be buried or commemorated here. The practice of burying national figures in the Abbey began under Oliver Cromwell with the burial of Admiral Robert Blake in 1657. The practice spread to include generals, admirals, politicians, doctors and scientists such as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. In the floor just inside the great west door, in the centre of the nave, is the tomb of The Unknown Warrior, an unidentified British soldier killed on a European battlefield during the First World War.

Westminster Abbey

Père-Lachaise Cemetery is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France and one of the most famous and most-visited in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually to the graves of those who have enhanced French life over the past 200 years. Here are the tombs of Molière, Frédéric Chopin, Honoré de Balzac, Amedeo Modigliani, Guillaume Apollinaire, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Jim Morrison and many other great man. It is also the site of five Great War memorials. The gravesites at Père Lachaise range from a simple, unadorned headstone to towering monuments and even elaborate mini chapels dedicated to the memory of a well-known person or family.

Père-Lachaise Cemetery

Sedlec Ossuary does not actually fit to our list, as you won't find any great man relics here. Though the place is so unusual, that we can not leave it unnoticed, speaking about most amazing burial vaults. This small Roman Catholic chapel is located in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora, Czech Republic. What is amazing about it is that the ossuary contains approximately 40,000-70,000 human skeletons which have been artistically arranged to form decorations and furnishings for the chapel. The history of church and ossuary is also unusual. You may read the details in its description on Wikimapia.

Sedlec Ossuary

Such evidences of grandeur as magnificent tombs immortalize the memory of those, whose bodies rest there. We on Wikimapia are interested in tagging such places a lot, since those burial vaults have a great value as works of art and information sources. We are pleased to see, that thanks to our users lots of such historical memorials are already tagged on Wikimapia, and we encourage you to pay more attention to the places of such a high significance for all mankind. By adding more information of better quality to these popular place descriptions you improve Wikimapia data a lot. Tagging places of such importance you create something more than a regular Wikimapia tag, you are involved in discovering and immortalizing those memorials in web space. So you might be the one, who'll help others to learn more about the World and choose what places to visit. And that is what your project about - helping people to explore the world!

03.08.2012

Wikimapia July news

In spite of sweet summer days and charming weather, we on Wikimapia continue to improve the project for you. Here are the latest news on Wikimapia for July.

The access to the road pages expanded! Now the road interactivity is available on New Wikimapia. See the details on forum thread.


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Wikimapia rapidly improves. Every day a lot of interesting places appears on the map and new features are released. Subscribe on Wikimapia Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest changes and take part in discussions.


Translation of the official Wikimapia Documentation has started. See the details in this topic and help translating Docs on your language.


We’ve re-started the Wikimapia blog aimed to encourage our contributors and share most amusing places and latest news on Wikimapia with you. Several articles, that you may find interesting, are already posted there.


Another minor but nevertheless useful edit on Wikimapia interface is my "My location" button. It allows to jump back to where you are at the moment no matter how far you’ve surfed through the map. The button is available on New Wikimapia and works in browsers with geolocation support.


[url=http://wikimapia.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=74&t=9969]A procedure of Advanced User proposal and promotion has been released. As a result new Advanced Users have appeared. Their duties are to edit the map and help users, so, please contact AUs, if you have any questions.


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Wikimapia Community expanding every day! Here is some stats for the last month:

- 297674 new places were added on Wikimapia
- 26 292 new users joined Wikimapia community

31.07.2012

Wikimapia official Documentation translation

Seems like a proper time for Wikimapia Documentation translation has come. As Wikimapia is a collaborative project, anyone can participate in translating the Docs into his/her language, but certainly the biggest part of work will lay on Documentors shoulders.

All translations will have such link - wikimapia.org/docs/Main_Page/fr (or your language ISO abbreviation), that should be created by Documentors. Until a full translation to any language will be completed, a user will see the English version of Docs, where he/she will be offered to contribute to the process of translating. After the translation is done, a user will be forwarded to the Docs page according to his interface language.

If you are a regular user, this is what you should do: first, inform a Documentor that you are going to help with translation (There also will be a link to Documentors list on Docs page - http://wikimapia.org/#lat=55.7522&lon=3 ... w_badge=26), then create a draft page on wikimapia.org/wiki and write your translation there. After you’ve finished, contact a Documentor again, so he/she could check it and move your work on official translation page of Docs.

Documentors duty is to create pages for translation, watch the procces of translating, help users and translate the Docs themselves, if they wish to do that.

Please remember that Wikimapia develops rapidly and some information in Docs might change in short time. So we all should be attentive to the changes in Docs and keep the translations up to date.

26.07.2012

Explore volcanoes on Wikimapia Pt.2

Today we continue exploring volcanoes from around the world with Wikimapia. African continent has drawn our attention this time. Most African volcanoes resulted from hotspots or the rifting in Earth crust, or a combination of both reasons.


The East African Rift

The East African rift, one of the world's most dramatic extensional structures, has produced the continent's highest and lowest volcanoes, ranging from the massive Kilimanjaro to vents in Ethiopia's Danakil Depression that lie below sea level. The East African Rift is an active continental rift zone in eastern Africa that appears to be a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary. The rift is a narrow zone in which the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two smaller tectonic plates. If you switch on “volcano” category and watch East Africa you’ll notice the contour of the rift right away as the red marks that show volcanoes will be grouped in the eastern part of the continent in a line.

The highest mountain in Africa is Kilimanjaro - the dormant volcano from Tanzania with three volcanic cones. Its highest peak Unuru is 5,895 metres above the sea level. There is a permanent snow pack on the peak. The second peak Mawenzi (height 5.354 m.) its located on the righ of Uhuru. Estimated to be 12 sq km in 1900, the ice cap on the highest point in Africa is now only 2 sq km. One of the most visible signs of global warming, the snows of Kilimanjaro have dwindled some 80 percent in little more than a century. Ice has also thinned significantly, leading scientists to believe the famous sight could be gone by 2020. Now that is something to think about.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Cameroon is an active volcano in Cameroon near the Gulf of Guinea. It is just a bit lower than Kilimanjaro and is 4,**** m high. More than 100 small cinder cones, occur on the flanks and surrounding lowlands of the volcano. A large satellitic peak, Etinde (also known as Little Cameroon), is located on the southern flank near the coast. Historical activity, the most frequent of west African volcanoes, was first observed in the 5th century BC by the Carthaginian navigator Hannon. During historical time, moderate explosive and effusive eruptions have occurred from both summit and flank vents. Eruption in 1922 produced a lava flow that reached the Atlantic coast, and a lava flow from a 1999 eruption stopped only 200 m from the sea.

Mount Cameroon

Mount Elgon is a huge, ancient, and eroded stratovolcano which sits astride the Uganda-Kenya border. Although not the tallest of the isolated volcanoes of East Africa, it is among the largest in volume, rising up from a base over 80 km in diameter on the plains at about 1200 m elevation. Elgon is topped by a caldera about 8 km in diameter, with several high points over 4000 m along the rim. Elgon is noted for its unique Afro-alpine trees and plants, and for the many caves in its mid-elevation slopes, where elephants and other large animals can often be found eating mineral salts. These caves are not lava tubes, since Elgon has few suitable lava flows, but are instead eroded from the volcanic tuff (welded ash flows) which make up the bulk of Elgon's volume (digging by elephants may also contribute to the enlargement of the caves).

Mount Elgon

In Africa except the already familiar to us but none the less striking volcanoes you can find some volcanic places that you couldn’t ever see in Europe. And I’m speaking about lava lakes.

In Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park, mount Nyiragongo is situated. Nyiragongo volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Africa. Its main crater is about two km wide and usually contains a lava lake. The crater presently has two distinct cooled lava benches within the crater walls - one at about 3175 m and a lower one at about 2975 m. Nyiragongo's lava lake has at times been the most voluminous known lava lake in recent history. The depth of the lava lake varies considerably. A maximum elevation of the lava lake was recorded at about 3250 m prior to the January 1977 eruption, lake depth of about 600 m. Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira volcanoes are together responsible for 40% of Africa's historical volcanic eruptions. On the satellite photo you may even see the smoke from the lava lake rising high.

Mount Nyiragongo Lava Lake

Erta Ale ("smoking mountain" in Afar) is an active shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia. It is the most active volcano in the country. Erta Ale is 613 metres tall, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century. It is known locally and in lore as a "gateway to hell". Erta Ale is located in the Afar Depression, a desert area spanning the border with Eritrea, and the volcano itself is surrounded completely by an area below sea level. On this satellite picture you can even see the result of overflowing lava - long black lava traces.

Erta Ale

The next volcano disproves the stereotype that volcanoes are always high mountains.
The Danakil depression is one of the world's most extraordinary places, where giant tectonic forces rip the Earth crust apart. Active volcanoes, deep depression and infinite salt deposits are the result. The Danakil is one of the most hostile and fascinating places, but also home to one of the richest salt deposits. For thousands of years the salt has been being faught over here, exploited and exported. It is ruled over by the proud tribe of the Afar. Up to today, this work is being done as in biblical times. The craters of Danakil are the lowest known subaerial volcanoes. The most recent of these craters, Dallol, lies 48 m below sea level and was formed during an eruption in 1926. Colorful hot brine springs are found in the Dallol area.

Dallol

Another interesting natural volcanic phenomena is a volcanic field. A volcanic field is an area of the Earth's crust that is prone to localized volcanic activity, it usually contains 10 to 100 volcanoes and is usually in clusters. Lava flows may also occur. A volcanic field is probably a perfect place for filming a movie about the Moon. Natural decorations are ready and waiting for a brave film director for thousands years!

Jabal Meidub Volcanic Field is situated in western Sudan. Basaltic scoria cones are scattered throughout the field, their lavas have produced a broad lava plateau. The youngest dated eruptions about 5000 years ago produced a tuff ring and a lava flow. But this is only the one of many volcanic fields in Africa. Here is Mega Basalt Vulcanic field, straddling the Ethiopia-Kenya border. These two neighbor volcanic fields are also very picturesque.

Jabal Meidub Volcanic Field

Unfortunately, the largest part of the amazing volcanoes is hard to visit. You either need to be an experienced mountaineer or find a save guide and be prepared physically for a long journey in desert. But gladly that doesn't mean, that just a "man of mould" will never enjoy the beauty of African volcanoes.
Volcanoes National Park, which is situated in northwestern Rwanda, is a perfect place for inquisitive tourists! On the territory of the Volcanoes National Park the very rare, and endangered species of mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) are living on the slopes of the vulcanoes. Moreover, there are some picturesque lakes and caves to visit.
Just not far from Volcanoes National Park is The Virunga National Park, formerly named Albert National Park, which a tourist can also visit. Although the volcanoes in national parks are not the biggest, they are probably much more suitable for tourism.

Volcanoes National Park

As you may see, Africa is a continent, that is full of volcanoes. All, that are mentioned in this article, are already marked on Wikimapia, but their description will be certainly improved, if you find them and add more photos and information. But even a larger part of volcanoes are left unknown and await their turn to be revealed to Wikimapia Community.