The Largest Cemetery in The World

Wadi us-Salaam, which literally means the Valley of Peace, is an Islamic cemetery located in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq. The cemetery covers an area of 1485.5 acres and contains millions of bodies, making it one of the strongest contender for the title of the largest graveyard on earth. Najaf itself is one of Iraq's biggest cities, with a population of nearly 600,000. But the adjoining city of the dead holds the remains of millions, stretching for up to 10km along the valley. Wadi Al-Salam cemetery is also the only cemetery in the world where the process of burial is still continuing to day since more than 1,400 years.

The graveyard holds importance in Shiite belief as it has been said that the souls of all faithful men and women shall be moved there, no matter where their bodies have been buried. Many prophets, kings, princes and Sultans lie in this cemetery including that of Prophet Hud, Prophet Saleh, and Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, as well as the remains of the prince of faithfuls, Ali Ibn Abi Talib.

Wadi Al-Salam cemetery contains graves built with baked bricks and plaster and it rises at different levels. Among the tombstones are the room-size family crypts built by the wealthy, often topped by domes. There are also underground burial vaults that can be get down by ladder. Graves from the 1930s and 1940s have their own style, soaring up 10 feet with rounded tops so that people would see them over their neighbors.

During the Iraq war in 2003, heavily-armed fighters of the Iraqi militia frequently used the cemetery to hide and ambush approaching enemy units. The Americans cannot get into the area, because it's full of winding lanes and underground mausoleums. The local gunmen who knew their way around would hit and then run and hide inside the many tombs.

When the rebels took refuge in the narrow spaces among the crowded tombs the Iraqi army ruthlessly bulldozed its way through the graves of its fellow soldiers. To this day, piles of wrecked cages from the graves remain stacked on the roadsides.

The violence that has overwhelmed Iraq since 2003 has lead to a massive expansion of the graveyard, swelling it by 40 percent to about three square miles. The cemetery has grown every year since 2004, first with the clashes against American forces, then the sectarian wars of 2006-2007 when Shiites and Sunnis were killing each other at a murderous rate, and finally in the 2008 battles with the Iraqi army. In recent years, though, its growth has slowed.


If Other Planets Close to Earth as the Moon

What if a celestial body like Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system, was as close to the Earth as our moon? Would it fill the night sky? Illustrator and author Ron Miller sought to answer the question using the reference photograph (first picture below).

It’s important to note that this is strictly a visual exercise. If a planet like Jupiter were actually as close to Earth as the Moon, its immense gravitation would wreak havoc on our planet. So for the gallery below, please temporarily suspend your disbelief and just imagine how amazing it would be to see a planet like Saturn in such incredible detail.

For reference, the Moon is about 386,243 km (240,000 miles) from Earth and has a diameter of approximately 3,476 km (2,160 miles). The Earth’s diameter is 12,742 km (7,918 miles)


Diameter 6,792 km |4,220 miles

Diameter 12,104 km | 7,521 miles

Diameter 49,244 km | 30,599 miles

Diameter 50,724 km | 31,518 miles

Diameter 116,464 km | 72,367 miles

Diameter 139,822 km | 86,881 miles


Tam Coc, Vietnam

Tam Coc is located about 90 km from the city of Ninh Binh, and is considered one of Vietnam's most spectacular sights. Tam Coc means “three caves” – which are Hang Ca (the first), Hang Giua (the second) and Hang Cuoi (the smallest). A visit to Tam Coc basically consist of a three hour boat ride along the twists and turns of the Ngo Dong river beginning at the village of Van Lam and proceeding through a scenic landscape dominated by rice fields and karst towers. Undoubtedly, the most impressive of Tam Coc are the rice fields and when at its best, they are bright green with yellow, that extends all the way from the water’s edge to the foot of the rock formations.

The route also includes floating through the three natural caves, the largest of which is 125 meters long with its ceiling about 2 meters high above the water. The boats are typically rowed by one or two local women who also carry embroidered good for selling. The otherwise peace and harmony of the place can be overshadowed by the pushy vendors.


Ferrari World Theme Park, UAE

Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi is the world’s largest and the only Ferrari branded indoor theme park that sits at the center of a 2,500 hectare Yas island. Typical of UAE, the island is entirely dedicated to leisure, entertainment and lifestyle, and Ferrari World is its central attraction. Opened in 2010, the park features more than 20 Ferrari inspired rides and attractions, in addition to a wide variety of Italian delicacies and shopping malls, and is reportedly a must-visit for all Ferrari enthusiasts.

However, one of the theme park’s iconic attraction can only be experienced from the air – the enormous roof inspired by the classic double curve side profile of the Ferrari GT body, spanning 200,000 sq meters and carrying the largest Ferrari logo ever created. The theme park, measuring 86,000 sq meter is located under this 50 meter high roof. The perimeter of the roof is more than 2 km in length. More than 12,370 tonnes of steel has been used to support this roof. At the center, there is a 100 meter glazed funnel. The Ferrari logo that adorns the roof of the building measures 65 meters across.

Due to the shape of the island and the position of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in close proximity to the airport, the building was conceived as a very simple 'ground hugging' form, peeling up from the landscape in flowing lines like a red sand dune. The visually distinctive form and shape crowns the Yas Marina Circuit and due to its location, the sleek shape and beauty of the building can be experienced by anyone driving past or flying over the Island.

Among the various rides and attractions inside include the world’s fastest roller coaster that accelerates from 0 to 100 km/hr in less than 5 seconds and attains a dizzying speed of 240 km/hr. The enormous funnel that you see in the center of the roof houses the “G-Force”, another attraction where passengers are strapped into Ferrari-styled seats and blasted through the roof to a height of 62m with the same g-forces an F1 driver feels at high speed on the track. It propels the passengers out of the park, taking them to heights from where they get eagle-eye panoramic view of Yas Island before plunging back to earth.

Elsewhere, a huge reproduction of the Maranello factory displays the entire manufacturing sequence starting from the design stage and going up to the finished product, several 3D and 4D shows and other entertainment park usual.


Tepuis of Venezuela

Tepuis are flat table-top mountains found in the Guayana Highlands of South America, especially in Venezuela. In the language of the Pemon people who live in the Gran Sabana, Tepui means ‘House of the Gods’ due to their height.

Tepuis tend to be found as isolated entities rather than in connected ranges, which makes them host to hundreds of endemic plant and animal species, some of which are found only on one tepui. Towering over the surrounding forest, the tepuis have almost sheer vertical flanks, and many rise as much as 1,000 meters above the surrounding jungle. The tallest of them are over 3,000 meters tall. The nearly vertical escarpments and dense rainforest bed on which these tepuis or mesa lie make them inaccessible by foot. Only three of the Gran Sabana's mountains can be reached by foot, among which the 2,180m-high Roraima is the most accessible.

Tepuis are the remains of a large sandstone plateau that once covered the granite basement complex between the north border of the Amazon Basin and the Orinoco, between the Atlantic coast and the Rio Negro, during the Precambrian period. Over millions of years, the plateaus were eroded and all that were left were isolated flat-headed tepuis. Although the tepuis looks quite barren, the summit is teeming with life.

The high altitude of tepuis causes them to have a different climate from the ground forest. The top is often cooler with frequent rainfall, while the bases of the mountains have a tropical, warm and humid climate. Many extraordinary plants have adapted to the environment to form species unique to the tepui.

Some 9,400 species of higher plants have been recorded from the Venezuelan Guayana, of which 2322 are registered from the tepuis. Approximately one-third of the species occur nowhere else in the world.

There are 115 such tabletop mountains in the Gran Sabana region in the south-east of Venezuela where the highest concentration of tepuis are found. The most famous among them is Mount Roraima. Roraima, was unexplored until 1884. Today, the plateaued summit is a popular destination for backpackers and home to small waterfalls, natural quartz-lined pools and Punto Triple, the point at which the borders of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana meet. Mount Roraima is said to have inspired the Scottish author Arthur Conan Doyle to write his novel The Lost World.

The other famous tepui is Auyantepui, home to Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world. Auyantepui is also the largest of the tepuis with a surface area of 700 km².