Saint Michel d’Aiguilhe:
Location: Le Puy-en-Velay, France
Constructed in 969 on top of a volcanic plug…
This Catholic chapel can only be entered by scaling the 268 steps carved into the rock.
Built without the aid of modern machinery, it is a marvel of human capability.
Son Doong Cave:
Location: Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
The largest known cave passage in the world by volume.
How big is it? 5.6 mi long, 660 ft tall, & 490 ft wide.
Per an article in Conde Naste Traveler, an entire New York block – including skyscrapers – could fit inside.
Location: Zhangye, China
Named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009, the array of colors is a pretty cool natural phenomenon.
Millions of years of sandstone deposits, weathering, & shifts in tectonic plates have resulted in these breathtaking visuals.
Psychedelic Salt Mines:
Location: Yekaterinburg, Russia
Accessible with a government permit, the long & winding tunnels of this abandoned salt mine are a sight to behold.
The patterned swirls are caused by natural layers of the mineral carnallite embedded throughout the rock.
Location: Sintra, Portugal
Found on the picturesque Quinta da Regaleria estate, lies a pair of wells known as the “initiation wells.”
Spiraling deep into the earth, these inverted towers once served as part of the initiation ceremonies for the Knights Templar.
Santa Maria dell’Isola Monastery:
Location: Tropea, Italy
Perched on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea – the “Coast of the Gods” – sits this 4th-century church.
Rumored to have been founded by Hercules himself, the exact date of construction & who is responsible remains unclear.
Location: Darvaza, Turkmenistan
“The door to hell” formed when the ground collapsed during an attempt by Soviet engineers to drill for oil.
Fearing the gas would leak, they lit a fire expecting it would burn off in a few weeks.
~50 years later, it’s still going