The sinking of the Titanic, the collision of the SS Mont-Blanc, and the Hindenburg explosion are all well-known transport disasters that are always remembered and talked about. They’ve become icons, have been made into movies, and have ensured their place in history, never to be forgotten. But there are many more disasters out there that each one mattered just as much for the people involved. Each one made our world a safer place.
10 The Iolaire
On January 1, 1919, two months after the end of World War I, British sailors who’d survived the perils of both the ocean and the war were returning to their families on the Isle of Lewis and Harris, only to tragically perish within miles of reaching home.
The Iolaire (which means “eagle” in Gaelic) was built as a luxury yacht in 1881. During the war, it was equipped with guns and performed anti-submarine and patrol work. The Isle of Lewis and Harris saw a fifth of its population of 30,000 killed in World War I; the crew of the Iolaire were the lucky ones, eager to celebrate the New Year with their families.
Before anyone could celebrate, the ship struck the rocks known as the Beasts of Holm. It was only meant to carry 100 people, but there were almost 300 aboard, with only 80 life jackets and two lifeboats. It was expected to dock in Stornoway Harbour, but due to low visibility, it struck the rocks at the entrance of the harbor and quickly sank, less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) from shore. While 205 perished, 40 were saved by a brave man who improvised a rescuing implement from a rope, and 39 more were able to make it to shore on their own.
A naval inquiry was held in private on January 8, its results not being released to the public until 1970. It reached the conclusion that due to the fact that no officers survived, “No opinion can be given as to whether blame is attributable to anyone in the matter.” Numerous other inquiries, both official and unofficial, were held, none of which settled the matter. The weather wasn’t very bad, but those in charge should have taken safety precautions, like slowing down while approaching the harbor and having more lifeboats.
The site of the wreck is marked today by a pillar that reminds everyone who enters Stornoway Harbour of the cruel irony that befell those who survived the war and were so close to enjoying peace.
9 USS Akron
Following the example of the Hindenburg, the US built two helium-filled airships, each 239 meters (784 ft) long and carrying enough fuel to travel 16,900 kilometers (10,500 mi). One of them was named the USS Akron and was commissioned by the US Navy in 1931. Its mission was to provide long-distance scouting in support of fleet operations, and after a number of trials, the airship was equipped with reconnaissance aircraft and a system designed for in-flight launch and recovery of Sparrowhawk biplanes.
On a routine mission, disaster struck. During the early hours of April 4, 1933, off the coast of New Jersey, a storm began, which caused the airship to strike the water with its tail. The Akron quickly broke apart. What’s intriguing is that it carried no life jackets and only one rubber raft, which dramatically diminished the crew’s chances of survival. Of the 76 onboard, 73 drowned or died of hypothermia.
Although the weather was certainly a factor, Captain Frank McCord is also considered responsible, for flying too low and not taking into account the length of his ship when he tried to climb higher. It is also believed that the barometric altimeter failed due to low pressure caused by the storm.
Akron’s sister ship, the USS Macon, was also lost off the California coast in 1935. Fortunately, that time, only two people perished. These events prompted the US to end its rigid airship program.
8 Junyo Maru Tragedy
The Japanese are remembered for being extremely cruel to their captives during World War II, especially to prisoners of war, who were moved around the Pacific in rusted ships and used for forced labor. The problem with these ships was that they were not marked with a red cross in order to be identified as prison ships per the Geneva Convention, which made them vulnerable to being sunk by Allied aircraft or submarines. The largest maritime disaster in World War II occurred because of this.
On September 18, 1944, the Junyo Maru was torpedoed in the Indian Ocean by the British submarine HMS Tradewind, which couldn’t have known what cargo the ship was carrying. Of the 6,500 Dutch, British, American, Australian, and Japanese slave laborers and POWs onboard, 5,620 died as a result. The Junyo Maru was sailing up the west coast of Java from Batavia (now called Jakarta) to Padang, where its prisoners were to be taken to work on the Sumatra Railway.
Conditions onboard were indescribably bad. Many people were literally packed into bamboo cages like sardines. Those in charge put their life jackets on as soon as they left, whereas the POWs could only count on two lifeboats and a few rafts.
Even more tragically, the approximately 700 POWs who were pulled from the water were still taken to work in the Sumatra Railway construction camps. Only about 100 survived.
7 MV Wilhelm Gustloff Disaster
Nazi Germany designed a state-controlled leisure organization in order to show its citizens the benefits of living in a national socialist regime. Working-class Germans were taken on tours for holidays aboard the MV Wilhelm Gustloff and the program, nicknamed Strength Through Joy, became the largest tour operator in the world in the 1930s.
This all ended when World War II began. In 1945, the Wilhelm Gustloff became part of Operation Hannibal, the German evacuation of over one million civilians and military personnel due to the advancing Red Army in Prussia. Over 10,000 people, 4,000 of whom were children, were crammed onto the ship, all of them desperate to reach safety in the West. The ship was only meant to carry 1,800 people.
The Wilhelm Gustloff set off on January 30, 1945, against the advice of military commander Wilhelm Zahn, who said it was best to sail close to shore and with no lights. Instead, Captain Friedrich Petersen decided to go for deep water. He later learned of a German minesweeper convoy which was heading their way and decided to turn on the navigation lights in order to avoid a collision in the dark. This would soon prove to be a fatal decision. The Gustloff was carrying anti-aircraft guns and military personnel but wasn’t marked as a hospital ship, which would have protected her. Soviet submarine S-13 needed no second invitation to torpedo the shiny target three times.
Ample rescue efforts were made, which saved approximately 1,230 people. Over 9,000 perished in the cold waters of the Baltic Sea, the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking.
6 Gillingham Bus Disaster
On the evening of December 4, 1951, 52 Royal Marine cadets, boys between 10 and 13 years old, were marching from a barrack in Gillingham, Kent, to one in Chatham to watch a box tournament. Their military uniforms were dark clothes and had nothing on them to make the cadets visible. The entrance to the Chatham Royal Naval Dockyard had a malfunctioning light, which made it impossible for the driver of an approaching double-decker bus to see the boys. He plunged right through them before stopping.
The driver, John Samson, had 40 years of experience behind the wheel, but inexplicably for the foggy weather, he didn’t have his headlights on. He claimed to have been traveling at no more than 32 kilometers per hour (20 mph). According to the only adult who was with the boys, Lieutenant Clarence Carter, Samson was going at least twice as fast.
Regardless of the bus’s speed, 17 boys died on the spot, with seven more sent to the hospital. Never before had there been such a tragic loss of life on British streets, and the victims were given a grand military funeral at Rochester Cathedral. Thousands of locals attended. The incident was ruled an accident despite the driver not turning on the headlights or braking until he was a few meters away. Samson was later fined £20 and had his right to drive revoked for three years.
Every such disaster is followed by improvements in order to prevent further loss of life. This time, it was decided that British military marchers will wear rear-facing red lights at night.
5 Harrow Wealdstone Rail Crash
October 8, 1952, is remembered by Londoners as the day of the worst peacetime rail crash in the UK. It was only exceeded by the Gretna Green disaster during World War I in 1915, when 227 Scottish soldiers headed for the front perished. The Harrow Wealdstone rail crash involved three trains—a local passenger train from Tring, a Perth night express, which was running late because of foggy conditions, and an express train from Euston.
The driver of the Perth train passed a distant yellow signal, which means “caution,” without slowing, possibly because he couldn’t see it due to the weather. He also passed a later semaphore, which indicated “stop.” He only hit the brakes when it was already too late. Meanwhile, the train from Tring was waiting at the Harrow Wealdstone Station for its passengers to embark. The Perth train impacted at approximately 80 kilometers per hour (50 mph). The disaster wouldn’t stop there. The fast-moving express from Euston approaching on a different line hit the debris from the initial impact and derailed.
In total, 16 carriages were destroyed, 13 of which were compressed into a pile only 41 meters (134 ft) long, 16 meters (52 ft) wide, and 9 meters (30 ft) tall. The human casualties would total 112 (102 immediately after the accident and 10 more later at the hospital), and 340 were injured.
Although the exact causes and persons responsible were hard to determine, it is believed that a combination of fog, misread signals, and out-of-date equipment caused the horrific crash. All the equipment was working, and the drivers were experienced men; all they needed was an updated system to back them up. The accident sped up the process of introducing the Automated Warning System of the British Railways. The system works by giving a driver who passes a caution or danger signal automated feedback, whether he saw the signal or not, and automatically applying the brakes.
4 USS Thresher Sinking
The USS Thresher was the first in a new fleet of nuclear-powered attack submarine. It was commissioned in 1961 and went through numerous sea trials to test its new technological systems. As if foreshadowing the disaster that was to strike later on, these trials were interrupted by the failure of the generator while the reactor was shut down, which caused the temperature in the hull to spike, prompting an evacuation. Another setback occurred when the Thresher was hit by a tug and needed extensive repairs.
On April 10, 1963, the sub was conducting drills in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Cod, when it suddenly plunged to the seafloor and broke apart. All 129 passengers were killed—96 sailors, 16 officers, and 17 civilians. During the investigation into the accident, a leak in one of the joints in the engine room was discovered, which caused a short circuit in the electrical system and made it impossible to resurface the Thresher. The sub had no other choice but to sink and implode due to increasing water pressure.
The disaster mobilized the US Navy to put more effort into SUBSAFE, a program designed to rigorously control the quality of nuclear submarine construction.
3 MV Derbyshire Sinking
The MV Derbyshire is the largest British bulk carrier lost at sea. Built in 1976, it was a majestic ship built in 1976 at 281 meters (922 ft) in length, 44 meters (144 ft) in width, and 24 meters (79 ft) in depth. It had been in service for only four years when it set sail toward its doom on July 11, 1980, carrying 150,000 tons of ore.
On September 9 or 10, Typhoon Orchid struck the Derbyshire in the East China Sea, just as the ship was approaching its destination. At the time, it was carrying 44 people, all of whom perished during the journey from Canada to Japan, where the ship was meant to transport its cargo.
What sets this disaster apart from others is that the ship seemed to be lost forever, with initial searches for the wreckage turning up nothing. The absence of any mayday call or distress signal beforehand was also intriguing to the families of those lost. A formal investigation was conducted seven years later in 1987. It concluded that no structural or other failures were to blame; the weather conditions were responsible.
The grieving families were not convinced, and they decided to from the Derbyshire Families Association (DFA) to work together toward the truth. They managed to raise enough funds to finally find what remained of the Derbyshire in 1994, lying on the seabed more than 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) down in the abyss. DFA members continued to push for a number of investigations, which resulted in increased ship safety over the years. While the 1970s were plagued by bulk carrier sinkings, with 17 lost each year. The numbers are much lower today.
2 Bihar Train Accident
Were it not for the British rule over India, which aimed to improve the transport system among other things, the Bihar train accident would have never happened. On June 6, 1981, a train with around 1,000 passengers crowed into nine coaches was traveling through the Indian state of Bihar, 400 kilometers (250 mi) away from Calcutta. It was the monsoon season in India, which meant that heavy rains made the tracks slippery, and the river below was swollen.
It is believed the tragedy that followed was caused by the driver, who saw a cow along the tracks and braked hard. Cows are sacred animals in the Hindu religion, and he was a devout follower. Due to the rain, the tracks were too slippery, and the wheels failed to grip, causing the carriages to plunge into the Baghmati River below, sinking fast. Rescue efforts were hours away, and by the time they arrived, almost 600 people had died, and another 300 remain missing.
1 Ufa Train Explosion
The 1980s were difficult times for Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who was trying to hold together the Soviet Union and maintain the Communist Party’s commanding role. At the same time, a series of disasters couldn’t hide the fact that the country’s infrastructure was old and dangerous. One of these disasters happened on June 4, 1989.
Two Russian passenger trains with hundreds of people onboard were passing one another near the city of Ufa, close to the Ural Mountains, when they met an extremely flammable cloud of gas leaking from a nearby pipeline. Sparks released by their passing blew both trains to pieces. Seven carriages were reduced to dust, while 37 more were destroyed, along with the engines. More than 500 people perished, many of whom were children returning from a holiday on the Black Sea. The force of the explosion was estimated to be similar to 10 kilotons of TNT, which nearly equaled that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The fireball formed was 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) long and destroyed all trees in a 4-kilometer (2.4 mi) radius.
The pipeline going along the rail lines was full of propane, butane, and hydrocarbons, and the pressure within was high enough to keep it in a liquid state. On the morning of June 4, a drop in pressure was observed, but instead of checking it out, the people in charge increased the pressure. Consequently, clouds of heavier-than-air propane formed and left the pipe, traveling along the rails. All they needed was a spark.
As with many disasters, the Ufa train explosion happened because finishing something quickly at minimal cost was more important than long-term consequences. The pipeline had more than 50 leaks in three years, and the Soviet Ministry of Petroleum didn’t want to admit their negligence. Worse, railway traffic controllers didn’t have the authority to halt trains on the Trans-Siberian railway, even if they smelled gas.
Teo loves animals, chocolate, and constantly finding out more about this magnificent and diverse world.
10 Secret Rooms Inside The World’s Most Famous Landmarks
Millions of people travel across the world to experience the beauty, grandeur, and heritage of some of the planet’s most popular landmarks. However, there is often more than meets the eye to many historic attractions, things most tourists will never realize are there. For example, many famous landmarks house hidden spaces you may not notice at first glance.
Here are ten secret places inside the world’s most famous landmarks. Some of them can be visited by those with sufficient funds or the right connections. Others are entirely off-limits.
10 Mount Rushmore
South Dakota, US
Mount Rushmore is easily one of the most recognizable landmarks in the United States, as it depicts four of the arguably most famous presidents in US history: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Yet, many people might not be aware that behind the chiseled sculpture of Abraham Lincoln is a hidden room, which is known as the Hall of Records. The secret room is roughly lined up with Lincoln’s forehead, and it contains text from some of America’s most important documents.
The designer of the famous political monument, Gutzon Borglum, originally wanted the room to serve as a vault for a selection of US documents. In fact, his vision was to install an 240-meter (800 ft) stairway that would lead to the grand hall, which would measure 24 meters by 30 meters (80 ft x 100 ft) and would be directly behind the US presidents’ sculpted faces. Inside the hall would be busts of great Americans from history, as well as a list of US contributions to industry, science, and the arts. Tragically, Borglum’s vision was halted due to his death in 1941. However, in 1998, monument officials chose to make Borglum’s dream a reality by maintaining records from American history in the secret hall.
9 The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in the world, which is why the city of Paris welcomes millions of tourists year after year. You might, however, be surprised to learn that the historic landmark features a secret apartment. Those who are lucky enough to visit the top of the structure will not only absorb the mesmerizing views of the French capital, but they might also enjoy a glimpse inside the secret apartment and office, which has only recently been opened to the public.
Gustave Eiffel, the structure’s engineer, built a private apartment for himself inside the landmark in 1889, and only he had access to this hidden room throughout his lifetime. In fact, many Parisians offered to rent the apartment for one night only, but he always refused, wanting to keep the space all to himself and the occasional guest. Visitors can now finally take a step inside the private apartment, which has been restored to its original condition. They can also view mannequins of Gustave, his daughter, and Thomas Edison, who he regularly entertained at the apartment.
8 Waldorf Astoria
New York City, US
The Waldorf Astoria is deemed one of the most luxurious hotels in New York. While many more modern hotels have emerged over the ensuing decades, it has continued to welcome every sitting US president, from Hoover to Obama. Many people might, however, be unaware that there is a secret train station located below the hotel, as the secluded platform was introduced to help President Franklin D. Roosevelt to inconspicuously travel from the presidential suite to Hyde Park, which was his childhood home. Track 61 was an integral mode of transportation during World War II, as the president’s private railway car could pull up inside the station, and he could take an elevator to gain direct access to the hotel. It is also believed that FDR used the train to hide his paralysis from the public.
The platform remains in use today, and it can be reached within minutes from JFK Airport. The Secret Service has been sworn to secrecy regarding some of its features. While the platform is still in working order, FDR’s custom locomotive now sits abandoned under the hotel.
7 The Statue Of Liberty
New York City, US
Millions of people visit the Statue of Liberty every year, with many tourists stepping inside the structure’s crown to enjoy beautiful views of New York City. Yet, many people might be unaware that it is possible to climb higher within the structure. Until June 30, 1916, tourists were able to enter a room located inside the Statue of Liberty’s torch, which offered breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
However, access was denied to the public when the pier between Jersey City and Black Tom Island was blown up by German agents. Sadly, the explosion ripped through various buildings nearby, which caused serious or fatal injuries for hundreds of people. Debris from the explosion became embedded within the Statue of Liberty’s arm, which made the route to the panoramic room unsafe for the public. The arm was repaired, but only National Park Service staff can enter the torch, and they must climb a narrow 12-meter (40 ft) ladder to gain access to the torch and maintain the floodlights.
6 Leonardo Da Vinci Statue
Travelers are welcomed into Rome by the Leonardo da Vinci statue located at Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci Airport. Yet, there is more to the structure than you might realize at first glance. Despite the 18-meter (60 ft) bronze statue being unveiled in 1960, the hidden hatch located halfway up the structure was not found until its renovation in 2006.
Workers found two parchments inside the statue. One parchment detailed the area’s history in classical Latin, while the other listed the attendees from the opening ceremony. It is believed both the hatch and parchments were the brainchild of Assen Peikov, the Bulgarian artist who won the competition to design the work of art.
Anaheim, California, US
You will not find a drop of alcohol in Disneyland unless you step inside the exclusive Club 33. It would be easy to walk past the club, as it sits behind an unmarked door in New Orleans Square. It was originally created as a place for Walt Disney to entertain his guests and business associates. Unfortunately, he died five months before Club 33 was officially opened.
Only those who become a member can now step inside the club, which offers both a restaurant and jazz lounge, known as Le Salon Nouveau, as well as access to the 1901 Lounge in California Adventure. Membership is not cheap; depending on the level of membership, the initiation fee reportedly costs between $25,000 and $100,000, followed by a $12,500 to $30,000 annual fee. The waiting list is reportedly years long.
4 Niagara Falls
New York, US
Niagara Falls is the umbrella name of the three waterfalls located along the international border between the state of New York and the province Ontario. Located a stone’s throw away from Niagara Falls is Devil’s Hole State Park, which many people visit to experience the beauty of the waterfalls. A cave inside the park was given the nickname “the Cave of the Evil Spirit” by the Seneca due to their belief that an evil spirit was trapped inside. It was believed that only warriors who were ready for battle would enter the cave.
The Devil’s Hole Massacre was a battle that took place between the Seneca and British soldiers in 1763. After the Seneca won the battle, they warned the British of the cave to prevent them from trespassing on the land. There is also a superstition that anyone who steals a rock from the cave will experience bad luck.
3 Empire State Building
New York City, US
The Empire State Building has been a tourist hot spot for nearly a century, as visitors have been enjoying the New York skyline since 1931. While most people can view the city from the observation deck on the 86th floor and the top deck on the 102nd floor, you might be surprised to learn that some visitors can experience an even better view on the private 103rd floor.
The secret deck offers only a knee-high ledge with a low railing, and visitors need to take a series of escalators to reach it. The elevator ride alone will be a unique experience, as visitors will pass the inner workings of the building on their journey up to the secret floor. It is an experience often only available to VIP guests, such as celebrities and dignitaries. For example, Taylor Swift had the pleasure of experiencing the VIP observation deck back in 2014.
The Colosseum welcomes four million tourists annually, who visit the landmark to view the Flavian Amphitheatre, which dates back to AD 80. Yet, many people might not realize that there is a network of (now exposed) underground tunnels below street level, called the Hypogeum, which were used to house various animals, such as lions and bears, which were then lifted into the gladiator arena via a pulley.
The maze was hailed as a superb archaeological discovery when it was initially uncovered. The Hypogeum is now open to the public, but tours are limited to a maximum of 25 people each time. Archaeologists have, however, criticized the tours, as they believe they could put the structure at risk.
1 Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square might be well-regarded for its remarkable architecture and beautiful fountains, but it also features a hidden room you could easily miss. The public square is the home of Britain’s smallest police station, which is located on the southeast corner of Trafalgar Square.
The tiny station was built in 1926 to serve as a watch post, as the square was often the location of many protests, riots, and marches. It therefore only offers enough space for one police officer or two prisoners. The box is no longer in use by the police and is now simply used as a broom closet for Westminster Council cleaners.
Elisabeth Sedgwick is An English freelance writer. You can view her growing portfolio at clippings.me/elisabethsedgwick.
10 Famous Unfinished Landmarks From Around The World
It can takes years and years of hard work, along with millions of dollars, to complete a building, landmark, or monument. Despite all that effort, sometimes, landmarks are left unfinished. The reasons can include lack of manpower, lack of funds, or even the deaths of those involved with the construction.
Some of the world’s unfinished landmarks are beautiful just the way they were left, and they deserve a visit. What is can be just as good as what was supposed to be. Here are ten famous unfinished landmarks from around the world.
10 Crazy Horse Memorial
When most people think of a gigantic mountain carving in South Dakota, they think of the famous Mount Rushmore. But there is another carving in the mountains of South Dakota that will dwarf Mount Rushmore—if it is ever completed. High in the Black Hills of South Dakota sits the Crazy Horse Memorial.
The project was started in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, and he worked on it until he died in 1982. Chief Henry Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Chief and invited him to carve a memorial honoring all native North Americans. The carving is supposed to be a representation of the Lakota leader Crazy Horse.
By the 1990s, Crazy Horse’s head had begun to emerge from the Black Hills. Most of the time spent carving so far has been on the head, which stands at 22 stories tall. Over the last seven decades, crews have blasted and hauled millions of tons of rock from the site. The entire carving will be more than 64 stories tall, and Crazy Horse’s eyes alone are 5 meters (17 ft) wide. Money from the project comes from admission fees and donations only, and it could take another several years just to finish carving his arm.
9 Mingun Pahtodawgyi
In the small town of Mingun, which lies in the Sagaing region in Northwestern Burma, you will find Mingun Pahtodawgyi. King Bodawpaya wanted to build the largest pagoda in the world. The gigantic construction process began in 1790, but the project was never completed.
King Bodawpaya acquired thousands of prisoners and slaves during his war campaigns, and he used them for the construction of this large project. The construction process started taking a toll on the state’s finances, and people created a prophecy which stated that the kingdom would perish as soon as the pagoda was completed. Variations of the prophecy also said that the king would also perish with the kingdom.
The unfinished pagoda is 50 meters (164 ft) high, which is one third of the proposed height, and its base is about 42 square meters (450 ft2). Huge cracks can be seen on Mingun Pahtodawgyi because of an earthquake in 1839. It is known as one of the largest piles of stone and brickwork in the world.
8 Hassan Tower
The Hassan Tower, also known as Tour Hassan, is a massive minaret in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The project, ordered by Yaqub al-Mansur in the 12th century, was supposed to be the tallest minaret in the world, and the mosque it was to be part of would have been the largest. Construction of the project came to an end, though, four years after the death of al-Mansur.
The huge mosque was going to be the centerpiece of the new capital and a celebration of the sultan’s victory over the Spanish Christians. The tower currently stands at 44 meters (144 ft) high, which is just over half of the intended height. There are about 200 columns scattered across the marble floor that indicate just how large the mosque would have been if finished—it would have been able to hold 20,000 worshipers at once. In 2012, the Hassan Tower was granted World Heritage Status.
7 Cathedral Of St. John The Divine
One of the largest churches in the world is an unfinished masterpiece. A guide to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine from 1921 proposed that it may take 700 years to complete the building due to the true Gothic building methods and the lack of a wealthy backing.
Right Reverend Horatio Potter helped start the movement to have the cathedral built, but he passed away in 1887, before any construction was started. His nephew, Henry Codman Potter, began to solicit financial support for the construction of the cathedral, and a 13-acre site was eventually purchased. The cornerstone was laid in 1892, the first service was held in 1899, and ground was broken for the nave in 1916.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. It is currently over a century old, and it will continue to be constructed over the coming decades. There is no timetable for when it will reach its completion because funding is currently being prioritized to serve the community in various ways.
6 Ta Keo
Ta Keo is a temple-mountain located in the ancient city of Angkor, and it contains five sanctuary towers arranged in a pyramid. It could have been one of the greatest temples ever constructed, and one of the largest, but it was never completed. Even though it is unfinished, the structure is large enough to see from afar. The main temple is five tiers high, and the final pyramid rises 14 meters (46 ft) higher than the second terrace. The five large towers are arranged to form a quincunx, and the outer walls are surrounded by a moat.
The large landmark is constructed from sandstone, and the reason for it not being completed is unknown. Recovered inscriptions suggest that construction was halted after lightning struck the temple, which is considered an evil omen. Some experts believe that the child king Jayavarman V struggled to maintain his throne, causing construction to never be finished. Even unfinished, the temple is a magnificent sight to see.
5 Pyramid Of Neferefre
The ancient Egyptian pharaoh Neferefre built a pyramid in the necropolis of Abusir. He died before the pyramid was completed, and it was soon converted into a mastaba and mortuary temple. The pyramid started with a large base approximately the size of the Pyramid of Sahure. Builders dug a pit in the middle of the base where the burial chamber would be located.
An entrance corridor was constructed on the north side, and a trench led from the entrance to the pit. Few remains were found of the pharaoh’s body, and they indicated that he died at the early age of 22 or 23. Only one step of the core of the pyramid was completed, giving it the shape of a mastaba. The mortuary temple was completed in three phases, and it consisted of an open vestibule and three chambers.
4 National Monument Of Scotland
The National Monument of Scotland sits high up on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Instead of being a national treasure as was hoped, it is often referred to as “Scotland’s shame” instead due to the amount of unfinished construction. The monument was going to be a memorial to Scottish soldiers and sailors who died in the Napoleonic Wars, but it was never completed.
The foundations for the monument were laid in 1824, but construction came to a quick halt in 1829, when the money provided by public subscription ran out. There have been several attempts to finish the large monument, but it still remains very much unfinished. A completed version of the National Monument would have resembled the Parthenon in Athens, but the current structure only features 12 pillars.
3 La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia, which was inspired by nature and faith, has been under construction since 1882. The basilica is currently 70-percent completed, and they are working on building the six central towers. After more than 130 years of construction, the site could be less than a decade away from reaching completion.
The total construction cost of the large Roman Catholic church located in Barcelona is almost impossible to figure, but the annual budget now is around $27 million and is paid by entrance fees and private donations. The tallest new tower will rise to 172 meters (564 ft), making it one of the tallest religious structures in Europe. The structure is on track to be finished by 2026, but some extra time could be needed for decorative elements.
2 Bara Kaman
Bara Kaman is the unfinished mausoleum of Ali Adil Shah II, who was the eighth and second-to-last king of the Adil Shah dynasty in Bijapur (also known as Vijayapura) in India. The goal was to build a mausoleum more beautiful and large than anyone had ever seen. Bara Kaman means “12 arches” in English, and the building was supposed to consist of 12 arches built horizontally and vertically surrounding the tomb of Ali Adil Shah II.
Construction on the mausoleum began in 1672, but it was never completed. Ali Adil Shah was murdered by his own father before the work could be finished. It is said that once the mausoleum was completed, the shadow would haved touched Gol Gumbaz. Ali’s father did not want Bara Kaman to take away from Gol Gumbaz, so he killed his son to prevent him from completing the project.
The Archaeological Survey of India now takes care of the property. The garden in front is well-maintained, and visitors can enjoy the architectural skill of the arches and pillars that make the monument.
1 Ryugyong Hotel
The Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea should have been opened in 1989, but the structure was never completed. At that time, it would have been the seventh-largest skyscraper and the tallest hotel in the world. Construction of the large hotel began in 1987, but an economic depression halted work. The hotel was supposed to consist of 3,000 rooms, seven revolving restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, and lounges.
The pyramid-shaped hotel has yet to host a guest, but construction may soon resume on the 105-story building. There have been various times throughout the years where work was done on the hotel, but it has yet to open. There have been recent pictures showing cranes and construction vehicles outside the building, which may prove that construction will restart. The Ryugyong Hotel would be one of the most amazing places to visit if it ever sees a completion date.
I’m just another bearded guy trying to write my way through life.
Top 10 Record-Breaking Water Park Attractions
Summer means days of sun, swim, and fun. Families all over the world migrate to water parks to combine all three, hopefully avoiding danger. Whether they’re local pools or extreme waterslides, water-based attractions provide no shortage of excitement and entertainment. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) reports that in the US alone, these parks directly contribute over $50 billion to the economy annually and provide jobs to upwards of 2.3 million people.
Despite nearly all water parks providing a family-friendly atmosphere, there is no doubt that these enjoyable summer destinations also provide attractions to satisfy even the most hardened thrill-seekers. These extreme rides have been known to cause injury or even death. The following list is sure to intensify your thirst for water adventure (pun intended) while also providing relief from the soaring temperatures and scorching sun of the summer season.
10 World’s Tallest Waterslide
Measuring a staggering 51.4 meters (168.6 ft) tall, the dangerous Guinness World Record–holding Verruckt waterslide translates from the German language to “crazy” or “insane.” The waterslide, located at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kansas, was announced late 2012. The ride, delayed by construction complications, eventually opened to the masses at the end of July 2014. The ride was designed by the co-owner of the water park, Jeff Henry, to accommodate three people in an adventure that plummets 17 stories downward at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour (60 mph). The spectacular slide is taller than both Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty (not counting the base). The controversial design features hundreds of steps to reach the top.
In a gruesome incident which took place in August 2016, Caleb Schwab, son of Republican state representative Scott Schwab, suffered a “fatal neck injury” while riding Verruckt and died immediately. His death shocked the community and ultimately resulted in the (still) planned demolition of the slide. The Associated Press suggests that Kansas “is known for its light regulation of amusement park rides.” Unfortunately, it appears the slide was too extreme and resulted in catastrophe.
9 World’s Longest Waterslide
Located at Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey, the world’s longest waterslide measures 602 meters (1,975 ft) long, which equates to over one-third of a mile! The unnamed waterslide is composed of 20 sections, each 30 meters (100 ft) long. The primary material of the slide is polyvinyl chloride, which is also used to make the bounce houses that children enjoy. You guessed it: That means that this slide is inflatable. It takes over two hours to fill with air, utilizes approximately 3,800 liters (1,000 gal) of water per hour, and offers rides that can last up to 90 seconds.
The slide was certified by Guinness World Records in 2015 as the longest waterslide, but it was not open to the public. The ride hadn’t established a weight limit, so its potential for danger was relatively unknown. Another factor was the “lengthy process” of state certification. However, a select few employees were allowed to take their turn on the record-setting ride.
8 World’s Longest Water Coaster
It’s not just a slide; it’s a water coaster! Mammoth, located at Holiday World Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana, is constructed of a combination of slides as well as a conveyor belt, allowing riders to have a similar experience to a roller coaster, while being drenched in water. The ride, which opened May 2012, dethroned its record-holding predecessor, Wildebeest, which is located at the same water park. Mammoth’s unparalleled twists, turns, and rises total a length of 537 meters (1,763 ft.)
The coaster is designed for rafts of up to six people, situated to face inward, ensuring that families can enjoy the record-setting fun together. These brave Mammoth riders will experience six drops along the coaster’s track. Spinning down the winding path, which overlooks the rest of the expansive Holiday World Splashin’ Safari water park, may be the optimal ride for the ultimate thrill-seeker.
7 World’s Tallest Water Coaster
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island’s water coaster, MASSIV, lives up to its name. The depth-defying attraction, located in Galveston, Texas, is perched 24.9 meters (81.6 ft) in the sky and was created to mark the site’s tenth anniversary. The water coaster consists of several uphill climbs and a compensating triple drop near the end. The ride has been certified by Guinness World Records as the tallest water coaster.
Although riders simply enjoy the waterslide for its thrill, there was no lack of exacting science that went into its creation. Schlitterbahn’s lead designer, Emily Colombo, remarked on how balancing “g-forces, ride dynamics, and velocities” was vital to yielding a successful ride. The coaster is sure to be enjoyed by all, due to its variation in speed and vigor. The park’s general manager commented that this versatility is “something we are always looking for in our attractions.”
6 World’s Longest Lazy River
Providing some respite for thrill-seekers and Heaven for relaxers, the lazy river at BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas, is just shy of 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) long. This earns it the title of longest lazy river in the world. The lazy river offers parts drenched in sun and parts covered in shade, catering to all riders’ preferences.
While it doesn’t vary greatly from other lazy rivers, what it lacks in uniqueness, it makes up in sheer size. The river is adult- and kid-friendly and guaranteed to satisfy the need for summer refreshment, especially given the sizzling temperatures Texas can see during the season.
5 World’s Largest Outdoor Wave Pool
The first non-US destination on the list is Siam Park City (a water park, not a city) in the Khan Na Yao district of Bangkok, Thailand. Not only is it Asia’s largest water park, but it certifiably possesses the world’s largest wave pool, according to Guinness World Records. The wave pool is an astounding 13,600 square meters (146,400 ft2) and a destination for young children and adult thrill-seekers alike. The pool has the potential to generate waves up to 1.5 meters (5 ft) high but is controlled not to exceed 60 centimeters (24 in) to ensure the safety of all patrons.
Despite the countermeasures in place, wave pools still pose a safety threat, especially to children. When children enter a wave pool to a depth above their height, the constant flow of water and uneven conditions make it the perfect storm for drowning. But for most, this wave pool can be a great compromise between the flowing waters of a lazy river and the rushing rapids of a water coaster.
4 World’s Largest Indoor Wave Pool
Shifting back across the globe to the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the World Waterpark, which features the world’s largest indoor wave pool, called Blue Thunder. Blue Thunder possess four active wave bays, each containing two panels powered by a 1,500-horsepower hydraulic implement. There are two additional wave bays that have been deactivated, a consequence of overwhelming injury due to the excessive intensity of the waves! When all panels were enabled, the waves were too high and rough for even the most experienced swimmers.
With the seemingly endless rush of water feet above a swimmer’s head, the outcome is never promising. Thus, Blue Thunder today generates waves of 1.5 to 1.8 meters (5–6 ft), utilizing only the inner wave bays. The pool can hold a whopping 12.3 million liters (3.2 million gal) of water. Blue Thunder is also frequently used after hours for private surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and other related endeavors. The waves are then adjusted accordingly to become more intense.
3 World’s Longest Tube Waterslide
What is located in Erding, Germany, is 356.3 meters (1,169 ft) long, and ensures enjoyment along the way? The Magic-Eye at Galaxy Erding water park, of course. This ride is the longest inner tube waterslide in the entire world, as certified by Guinness World Records in November 2010. No recent attempts have been able to surpass the legendary length of Magic-Eye. The waterslide opened May 2007 and was built by Klarer Freizeitanlagen AG, Switzerland, a world-renowned leader in waterslide construction.
Magic-Eye’s record-setting length is complemented by its 22-meter (72 ft) height. The tube slide features a distinct interior distinguished by continuous seemingly glowing lines that create an unmatched viewing experience while riding. The design can be overwhelming to some patrons due to its strobe-style effect, which could arguably be potentially fatal if someone with epilepsy were to ride the waterslide alone.
2 The United States’ Largest Outdoor Water Park
Noah’s Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, is the United States’ largest outdoor water park, totaling 70 acres. Although the park doesn’t possess any record-setting attractions of their own accord, the 51 rides work together, marking Noah’s Ark as the crown jewel of Wisconsin Dells, dubbed the “water park capital of the world.” Despite the town’s small population, it contains 28 water parks, with Noah’s Ark undoubtedly the focal point.
Thrill-seekers can enjoy rides that, for example, offer a near-vertical drop in which the floor gives out beneath riders or a 400-meter-long (1,300 ft) water coaster that showcases unexpected turns and bumps. On the other end of the spectrum, those in search of a more relaxed day at Noah’s Ark Water Park can enjoy a ride on the lazy river or a dip in the wave pool, which alternates wave functionality on and off every ten minutes.
Some of the more extreme rides have been known to malfunction. For instance, it is not uncommon for riders to get stuck on the Scorpion, in which they actually do a loop (similar to a roller coaster). This goes to demonstrate the truly risky nature of water entertainment. Although the weather of Wisconsin fluctuates from sweltering in the summer to freezing in the winter, Wisconsin Dells also provides an abundance of indoor water parks that will fulfill aquatic adrenaline-chasers’ desires year-round.
1 World’s Largest Indoor Water Park
Rounding out the list, we’re headed back to Germany to the sprawling Tropical Islands Resort, located in Krausnick, a bit southeast from the capital, Berlin. This jaw-dropping indoor water park utilizes more than 16 acres of land and can accommodate up to 6,000 guests at any given time.
The luxurious Tropical Islands Resort serves patrons of all ages, featuring paddling areas and proportionate waterslides for youth as well as bigger attractions and a Bali-inspired lagoon, perfect for adults seeking both adventure and relaxation. Tropical Islands Resort is climate-controlled and topped with a glass roof, allowing everyone to immerse themselves in the sunshine, regardless of the varying temperatures, all year long.
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