Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kamchatka Showplaces

The Kamchatka peninsula bristles with places of dizzying beauty, but unfortunately there is just one place – and it is the Valley of Geysers – known for those people who haven’t been to the peninsula that can be considered as one of the most beautiful lands in the whole Russia. There is one unique place that is being as good as the other nature sights of Kamchatka region and located not far from the before-mentioned Valley of Geysers, and this place is caldera of Uzon volcano. Today we will tell you about it.

Uzon caldera is the thing that was left from a huge volcano destroyed by the series of volcanic explosions that took place approximately 40,000 years ago. The height of the former volcano was about 3000 meters (10,000 feet), that’s what volcanologists say. At present, the caldera looks like a flat-bottomed punchbowl, 10 kilometers (6,5 miles) in diameter. These steep edges 200-900 meters high (650-3000 feet) are half-destroyed walls of the ancient volcano.

But what’s really tempts tourists from all over the world to come there are hydrothermal activity developments: hot pools, boiling mud pools, hot wells and mud volcanoes. Moreover, all these things are found side by side with opulent vegetation and seaweeds of extraordinary colors.

This lake has a weird name – Chloride lake. It is forbidden to swim in there.

Hot wells have such a remarkable coloring because of bacteria colonies and peculiar seaweeds that are able to live in hot water.

This is a pulsating hot spring. And again it has such a coloring because of mineral deposits and different bacteria.

These are so-called mud pools. Mud boils in there and sometimes bubbles crop up there because of gas contained.

One of the thermal fields with steam outlets. By the way, soil at the thermal fields is always snowless and well-heated so that it is covered with a thick layer of greenery year-round.

Water in some lakes is harmless for man so you can swim in there and enjoy hot water with plenty of minerals.

Due to its shape such a discharge of hot water is often called as kettle.

All the routes at the caldera are fitted out with timber flooring. One wrong step – and you are already burnt out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hadrian's Wall

...Hadrian had a protective, fortified wall built all the way across Roman Britain...

Hadrian was born on January 24, 76 A.D. He died on July 10, 138, having been emperor since 117. During this time he worked on reforms and consolidated the Roman provinces. For eleven years Hadrian toured his empire.

Not all was peaceful. When he tried to build a temple to Jupiter on the site of Solomon's temple, the Jews revolted in a war lasting three years. His relations with the Christians were generally not confrontational, but during Hadrian's stay in Greece (123-127) he was initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries, according to Eusebius, and then, with new-found pagan zeal, persecuted local Christians.

It is claimed Trajan, his adoptive father, had not wanted Hadrian to succeed him, but was thwarted by his wife, Plotina, who covered up her husband's death until she could make sure of Hadrian's acceptance by the senate. After Hadrian became emperor, suspicious circumstance surrounded the assassination of leading military figures from Trajan's reign. Hadrian denied involvement.

Mementos of Hadrian's reign persist in the form of coins and the many building projects he undertook. Most famous is the wall across Britain that was named Hadrian's Wall after him. Hadrian's Wall was built, beginning in 122, to keep Roman Britain safe from hostile attacks from the Picts. It was the northernmost boundary of the Roman empire until early in the fifth century.

The wall, stretching from the North Sea to the Irish Sea (from the Tyne to the Solway), was 80 Roman miles (about 73 modern miles) long, 8-10 feet wide, and 15 feet high. In addition to the wall, the Romans built a system of small forts called milecastles (housing garrisons of up to 60 men) every Roman mile along its entire length, with towers every 1/3 mile. Sixteen larger forts holding from 500 to 1000 troops were built into the wall, with large gates on the north face. To the south of the wall the Romans dug a wide ditch, (vallum), with six foot high earth banks.

Today many of the stones have been carted away and recycled into other buildings, but the wall is still there for people to explore and walk along, although this is discouraged.

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