Nature and humans can create bizarre things, and there are some absolutely strange places around the world. They can make you fascinated or scared and will never vanish from your memory once you see them.

The Nazca Lines, Peru

IMG: The Nazca Lines, Peru. Murray Foubister.
4P5C6167.jpg. Flickr. Creative Commons.

The Nazca Lines are geoglyphs located in an arid coastal area of Peru that cover an estimated 450 square kilometers. Scratched on the ground, they number in the thousands and depict creatures from both the natural world and the human imagination, including animals such as the spider, hummingbird, monkey, lizard, pelican and even a killer whale. Plants, trees, flowers and oddly shaped fantastic figures, as well as geometric motifs such as wavy lines, triangles, spirals, and rectangles are also illustrated. The vast majority of the lines date from 200 BC to 500 AD, to a time when a people referred to as the Nazca inhabited the region. The earliest lines, created with piled-up stones, date as far back as 500 BC.

Badab-e Surt, Iran

IMG: Badab-e Surt, Iran. Ninara. IMG_3809. Flickr. Creative Commons.

There’s a natural wonder in Iran, called Badab-e Surt situated in Mazandaran Province in northern Iran, 95 kilometers south of the city of Sari. The site comprises of a wide range of stepped terraces made of travertine, a sedimentary rock shaped more than thousands of years by deposition of carbonate minerals dissolved in water flowing from mineral hot springs. The combination is quite beautiful—with multiple orange, red and yellow-hued pools in the form of a flowing staircase.

The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

IMG: Giant’s Causeway. Shawn Harquail, Flickr. Creative Commons.

The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It is located in County Antrim on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 and was named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides.

Spotted Lake, British Columbia, Canada

IMG: Osoyoos Spotted Lake. Marcia O’Connor Flickr. Creative Commons.

Located near the city of Osoyoos in British Columbia, Canada’s Spotted Lake draws visitors from around the world. It has a very high concentration of numerous different minerals such as magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium sulfates. It also contains extremely high concentrations of eight other minerals as well as some small doses of four others such as silver and titanium. Most of the water in the lake evaporates over the summer, leaving behind large “spots” of minerals. Depending on the mineral composition left behind, the spots will be of white, pale yellow, green or blue in color. The spots are made mainly of magnesium sulfate, which crystallizes in the summer to form harden natural “walkways” around and between the spots. During the First World War, minerals from the lake were harvested for manufacture of ammunition. Chinese laborers were said to have skimmed up to a ton a day of salts from the surface of the lake and shipped them to munitions factories in eastern Canada.

Fly Geyser, Nevada, U.S.

IMG: Fly Geyser. Travel Nevada. Flickr. Creative Commons.

A collision of human error and natural geothermal pressure in Nevada, U.S., created a rainbow-colored geologic wonder known as Fly Geyser. It appeared accidentally in 1964, after a geothermal power company drilled a test well at the site. While the groundwater in the region turned out not to be sufficiently hot to be tapped for geothermal power, it did have a temperature of more than 200 degrees. The well was either left uncapped or was improperly plugged. The scalding water has erupted from the well since then, leaving calcium carbonate deposits growing at the rate of several inches per year. The brilliant red and green coloring on the mounds is from thermophilic algae thriving in the extreme micro-climate of the geysers.

Hoia Baciu Forest, Romania

IMG: Hoia Baciu Forest. Swithun Crowe. IMGP9259. Flickr. Creative Commons.

Located in the heart of Transylvania, Romania, just outside the ancient town of Cluj-Napoca, Hoia Baciu Forest is known as the “Bermuda Triangle” of the country. The dense woodland, where multiple people have gone missing, is notorious for its paranormal activities – including UFO sightings, disembodied screams and spectral visions caught on camera. Misshapen trees grow irregularly out of the ground, while other trunks appear curiously charred. Deep in the wood is a nearly perfect circular clearing in which no plants are able to grow. Locals are convinced the forest is haunted, and might even be the home of the Devil himself.

Socotra Island, Yemen

IMG: Dragon’s Blood Tree, Socotra Island. Rod Waddington. Flickr. Creative Commons.

Situated 220 miles from mainland Yemen, Socotra Island is home to strange plants and animals uniquely adapted to the hot, harsh, windswept island which was named the most alien-looking place on Earth. Socotra has a tropical desert and semi-desert climate with an average temperature of 25°C and hardly any rain. One of the most striking of Socotra’s plants is the dragon’s blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari), which is a strange-looking, umbrella-shaped tree. Birds such as the Socotra starling, Socotra sunbird, and Socotra grosbeak are found nowhere else on Earth. There are almost no roads on the island, which is also home to a collection of caves and a number of shipwrecks.

The Hand in the Desert, Chile

IMG: La Mano del Desierto (Hand of the Desert) – The Atacama. Houston Marsh. Flickr. Creative Commons.

The Hand in the Desert (mano del desierto) was created in the early 1980’s by a Chilean Sculpture named Mario Irarrázaal. It is made out of iron and cement and sits in the middle of nowhere, the Atacama Desert, which is the driest desert in the world. The sculpture was created to signify the horrifying human rights issues that the Chileans have dealt with in the past.

Island of the Dolls, Mexico

IMG: isla de las munecas. Kevin. _MG_5082. Flickr. Creative Commons

This place is an uninhabited island in Xochimilco, Mexico. According to legend, a girl died in the canals surrounding the island, after which dolls began to wash ashore constantly. The island’s only inhabitant and caretaker then began to hang the dolls that would wash ashore in memory of the little girl.

Akodessewa Fetish Market, Togo

IMG: In the Akodessewa Fetish Market. Francisco Anzola. Flickr. Creative Commons.

Togo’s Akodessewa Fetish Market is recognized as the largest fetish market in the world, a place where Voodoo practitioner can find anything they need for their rituals. Over half of the population of Togo practices indigenous beliefs, requiring religious paraphernalia you would not find in any normal market. Shrunken heads, skulls, flesh and more can be bought in a fetish market like this. The practice of voodoo began in West Africa, before being taken to America by slaves, and in countries like Togo, Ghana, or Nigeria the religion is very much alive. Many people believe healers using animal parts and strange talismans can invoke spirits with their bizarre rituals, and solve their problems.

This article was originally written for the Panarmenian Net and republished under a creative commons license.


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