The Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali

Located in Mali, the Great Mosque of Djenné is the largest mud brick building in the world. Construction began in the 13th century but the site fell into disrepair in subsequent eras. The edifice that stands today dates back to 1907 when French town administrators demanded it to be rebuilt. Made made from sun-baked mud bricks, which are coated with mud plaster for a smooth finish, the nine feet tall mosque is considered one of the most famous landmarks in Africa.

The Blue Mosque, Turkey

While its official title is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, this stunning example of Islamic architecture known as the Blue Mosque calls Istanbul home. Construction began in 1609 under the rule of Sultan Ahmed I, and was complete in 1616. It gets its nickname from the glistening blue tiles that adorn the interior walls; and design-wise, the mosque borrows elements from the Byzantine era. The magnificent structure is also replete with six minarets, eight domes, blue paint, stained glass windows, a mihrab – made from finely carved and sculpted marble - and over 20,000 handmade tiles.

Mezquita-Catedral, Spain

This hybrid mosque and cathedral is located in Cordoba, Andalusia and dates back to 600 AD. The site began as a pagan temple before being temporarily converted into a Christian church, then a mosque and finally into a Roman Catholic church. Despite its hand-changing history, the building is one of the most accomplished works of Islamic architecture. The Islamic elements are noticeable in the building’s layout and interiors, which are heavily modeled after popular mosques of the past. The most striking features are the arcaded hall adorned with 856 columns – made of jasper, onyx, marble and granite – and also the red and white double arches that extend to the ceiling. There are also inscriptions on the walls as well as wooden screens, mosaics and colored glass windows.

The Hagia Sophia, Turkey

Frequently considered one of the greatest buildings in the world, that doesn’t spare the Hagia Sophia from a history filled with even greater chaos. First built as a Byzantine Church by Constantine the Great in the 4th century, the building was soon destroyed, but only to be rebuilt, savaged and desecrated by the Crusaders in 1204. Following this spate of violent attaches, Hagia Sophia was converted into an imperial mosque, modeled on the 1453 Ottoman mosque structure by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. As a result of the conflicting history, the Hagia Sophia is a combination of Byzantine and Islamic architecture. The Islamic characteristics are evident in the minaret, calligraphic roundels (with Islamic text) and a mihrab. Today the building is used as a museum.

The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

Located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock is a stunning shrine that has been standing since 691 CE. Of particular significance is the sacred stone upon which the shrine stands. It is believed that the stone was the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. The actual dome itself is no less marvelous. A splendor of mathematical proportions (all the main dimensions are the same length as the diameter of the center circle), the golden dome sit upon a moon and the building is replete with colorful tiling, a marble exterior, inscribed Arabic verses and arched wall and mosaic-filled interiors.

New York City From Central Park

New York City From Central Park
The collision of the urban and the pastoral has never been more appealing than from this view of New York City from Central Park.

Tibet’s Potala Palace

Named after Mount Potalaka, the Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising.

The Haunting Ruins Of Detroit Ballroom Detroit Ruins Photo

Ballroom Detroit Ruins Photo

As the global recession has swallowed the United States in its seemingly bottomless stomach, one of the first cities to crumble was Detroit. To document this tragic decline, French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain took to the Motor City and came back with some of the most hauntingly beautiful and compelling images of the recession to date.

Haunting Library Photo Detroit

Detroit Station Haunting Ruins Photo

Haunting Theater Ruins Photo Detroit

Haunting Ruins Detroit Police Station Photo

Haunting Photos Ruins Detroit House

Haunting Ruins Photos Detroit Biology Classroom

Haunting Ruins Photo Detroit Court

The Wondrous Waterfall Of Seljalandsfoss

Wondrous Waterfall Of Seljalandsfoss Iceland Photograph

Standing at over 200 feet tall (60 meters), Seljalandsfoss is one of Icelands most famous waterfalls due to its natural, picturesque beauty.

The Seven Most Iconic Surrealist Paintings

Founded by Andre Breton in the early 1920s and emphatically explained in his Manifestoes of Surrealism, Surrealism is often considered both a cultural and revolutionary art movement. The form dedicated itself to depicting the subconscious and as such many critics regard Surrealism as a substantial divergence from traditional art movements.

By stripping ordinary objects of their normal function, Surrealist artists aimed to expose psychological truth and as a result created abstract images in order to evoke empathy from the viewer. Highly individualized, the movement relied heavily on the element of the unexpected, borrowed from various Dadaist techniques and eventually came to represent the alienation many experienced in the wake of a war stricken world.

The Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali

Dalis Surrealist Persistance Of Memory

Undoubtedly the most famous Surrealist painting in history, The Persistence of Memory is Salvador Dali’s iconic ode to time. The dripping clocks reflect the inner workings of Dali’s subconscious and convey a simple (albeit complexly delivered) message: time as we know it is meaningless.

Metamorphosis of Narcissus, Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalis Surrealist Metamorphosis Of Narcissus

Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus depicts the tale of Greek figure Narcissus, the egotistical man who pined for his reflection in a pool of water. In this painting Narcissus is seen sitting in a pool with two other Narcissus-like figures hidden in the landscape.

The Son of Man, Rene Magritte

Surrealist Magrittes The Son Of Man Painting

Rene Magritte painted The Son of Man as a self-portrait with the hope of conveying important messages about the individual. In regard to the painting, Magritte stated that “Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.”

This Is Not a Pipe, Rene Magritte

Surrealist Magrittes This Is Not A Pipe Painting

In order to highlight Magritte’s belief that art was not reality but a mere representation of it, Magritte painted the well known and philosophically provocative “This Is Not a Pipe” portrait. In the work, Magritte did in fact paint a pipe however sought to relay to the viewer that the pipe wasn’t actually a pipe but rather an image of the real thing. Magritte’s painting holds true to the surrealist style as it strips signs and symbols of their original meaning.

The Red Tower, Giorgio de Chirico

Surrealist Chiricos The Red Tower Painting

Even though he worked as a painter prior to Surrealism’s inception, the works of Greek painter Giorgio de Chirico’s had a great and lasting influence on the surrealist movement. In fact, Surrealism’s most salient proponents like Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Yves Tanguy all acknowledged Chirico’s impact on their own work, particularly regarding Chirico’s use of color and composition to reflect brooding moods. The Red Tower was his first painting.

The Elephant Celebes, Max Ernst

Surrealist Max Ernsts The Elephant Celebes Painting

This 1921 painting is among the most famous of Ernst’s earlier works and heavily mimics the style of Giorgio de Chirico.

Reply to Red, Yves Tanguy

Surrealist Yves Tanguys Reply To Red Painting

Yves Tanguy’s paintings exemplify more nonrepresentational surrealism and show vast, abstract landscapes yet utilize a minimal amount of colors.

Eight Of The World’s Most Incredible Rock Formations

12 Apostles, Australia

Incredible Rock Formation Australias 12 Apostles Picture

Scattered along the scenic Great Ocean Road in Australia, the 12 Apostles formation is the result of the Southern Ocean’s harsh weather conditions eroding the existing landscape. Beginning 10 to 20 million years ago, the constant erosion of the limestone cliffs caused caves to form within them. These caves eventually became arches and ultimately collapsed into the isolated stacks of rock seen today.

An Evening View Of Australias 12 Apostles

Hazy Sunlight At Australias 12 Apostles

Dusk At Australias 12 Apostles Formation

Arches National Park, USA

Arches National Park Rock Formation

Created from 300 million year old salt bed deposits, Arches National Park in Utah is home to over 2,000 beautifully crafted arches. As the salt beds shifted over the years, the superior rock layers began to create domes that were further molded by rain, ice and wind. The result? The magnificent arches you see today.

Formations At Americas Arches National Park

Incredible Rock Formations Arches National Park Formations From Below

A View From The Formations At Arches National Park

Stone Forest, China

Chinas Stone Forest Formations

The Stone Forest in China is an amazing sea of towering stone pinnacles that are believed to be over 270 million years old. Some speculate that the area was once an ocean floor and that today’s stone structures are actually the rocky results of millions of years of flowing water.

A View Of Chinas Stone Forest

Chinese Rock Formations In The Stone Forest

An Aerial View Of Chinas Stone Forest

White Desert, Egypt

Egypts Rock Formations In The White Desert

Situated north of the Farafra Oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt, the White Desert is populated with chalk rock formations that have formed following occasional sandstorms.

Rock Formations At The White Desert

The Pale Rock Formations In The White Desert

Rock Formations At The White Desert In Egypt

Three Rondavels, South Africa

Rock Formations In South Africas Three Rondavels

Located in Blyde Canyon in South Africa, the Three Rondavels are named for their resemblance to the rondavels — or huts — of Africa. Over time the harder and superficial rock layers eroded more slowly than the underlying softer layers, which resulted in this unique South African rock formation. As a fun piece of trivia, the Three Rondavels are thought to have inspired the setting in J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Incredible Rock Formations South Africas Rock Formations At The Three Rondavels

South African Three Rondavel Rock Formations

Rock Formations At South Africas Three Rondavels

Devils Tower, USA

Devils Tower Rock Formation

Also known as Bears Lodge, Devils Tower is America’s first national monument and a sacred site to many Native Americans. Devil’s Tower was formed approximately 60 million years ago during a volcanic eruption, when the molten lava released during the eruption eventually cooled and soon shaped the basalt columns.

Impressive Devils Tower Rock Formation

Incredible Rock Formation American Devils Tower Rock Formation

Queen’s Head, Taiwan

Taiwanese Queens Head Rock Formation

Located in Yehlia Geopark, Taiwan, the Queen’s Head is a curious stone monument that has been sculpted by wind and sea erosion. However, the Queen’s Head is only one of the many uniquely shaped (and named) stone moments in the region, with others including the Fairy’s Shoe, Candle, Stone Heart, Bean Curd, and the Dragon Head.

Queens Head Rock Formation At Night

Queens Head Rock Formation In Taiwan

Taiwans Queens Head Rock Formation

Mesa Arch, USA

Sunrise At The Mesa Arch In Utah

Calling Utah’s Canyonlands National Park home, Mesa Arch is a stone’s throw away from The Arches National Park (pun intended). The arch is located right on the rim of a plateau and beautifully frames the canyon landscape below it.

Utahs Mesa Arch Rock Formation

Rock Formations At Utahs Mesa Arch

Sunset At Utahs Mesa Arch Rock Formation

Worlds Most Incredible Rock Formations Utahs Mesa Arch