Category Archives: Places

Top 10 Most Inhospitable Places in this Planet

Top 10 Most Inhospitable Places in the World

This post is republished on behalf of Emma Stratford >Tripbase Travel – Most Inhospitable Places. Click here for the Original post.

We tend to take our surroundings for granted. You’re probably reading this in relative comfort – you don’t need to wear breathing apparatus, you’re within a few steps of a cold drink and you aren’t at the beck and call of a totalitarian regime bent on oppressing its population.

The Tripbase team have drawn up a list of the most horrendous places to live, in order from dreadful to impossible. We have nothing but respect for the hardy human beings who make their homes in the most brutal places on Earth.

1. Yakutsk, Russia


Where is it? Siberia.

What can I see there? The Lena River.

What’s so bad about it? The climate. It’s the coldest city on the planet, with temperatures regularly plunging to -50°c. Winters are long and cold, with just fifteen hours of sunshine reaching the city in the whole of December.

Does the place have history? The settlement began life as a fort in 1632, but didn’t become a proper city until Stalin’s forced labour camps precipitated rapid extraction of minerals from nearby deposits.

Does anybody live there? Yes – remarkably the city has over a quarter of a million inhabitants.

How do I get there?

By plane. There are two airports which service the city. You can also use the railway network and, if it’s the right time of year, drive a car over the frozen Lena River.

2. Grozny


Where is it? Chechen Republic, Russia

What can I see there? A crater, and one of Europe’s largest mosques which opened a few years ago.

What’s so bad about it? It has been effectively obliterated by several waves of bombing and violence. Thousands of people died and many still live in shelled-out derelict buildings without water, heating or electricity. Illegal oil drilling takes place in parts of the city, which the United Nations calls *the most destroyed city on earth*.

Does the place have history? Cossacks built this town as a military outpost in 1818. Grozny is actually Russian for *terrible*.

Does anybody live there? 271,000, some of them in squalor and some of them in rejuvenated parts of the city.

How do I get there?

With difficulty. Transport networks to and from the city are weak. The first plane to fly from Grozny left in 2009.

3. Baghdad


Where is it? Iraq

What can I see there? Baghdad Tower, Baghdad Zoo… there are plenty of reminders that this hasn’t always been a warzone.

What’s so bad about it? It’s in the middle of a conflict-ravaged country, where Westerners are prime targets for all sorts of unpleasantness. If the locals don’t get you, the Americans will – in 2003, a US tank shelled a hotel where journalists were staying, killing three of them.

Does the place have history? It was founded in the 8th Century and was the largest city in the world throughout the middle ages.

Does anybody live there? It has a population of around 6.5m people.

How do I get there?

It’s very difficult to get a visa to Iraq. It’s also fairly suicidal – the only safe area is the International Zone and you won’t be able to get in there without the right papers. Don’t expect hoteliers to be seen supporting you either, and remember that restaurants are often targeted by suicide bombers.

4. Chernobyl


Where is it? Ukraine

What can I see there? An abandoned nuclear power station and some very interesting wildlife.

What’s so bad about it? he radioactivity, the spiralling cancer rates, the deformed children, the sense of decay and the lingering reminders that some of the city’s inhabitants didn’t get out in time. The whole place is a grim reminder of the consequences of human error.

Does the place have history? The city of Chernobyl had a rich religious history, and started life as a hunting lodge in 1193.

Does anybody live there? Around five hundred people never evacuated after the disaster.

How do I get there?

Travel to the Ukraine and go on a carefully supervised tour of the vicinity. Visitors have been able to get quite close to Chernobyl and the nearby abandoned city of Pripyat, but it’s only this year that the trips have been legitimate.

5. Dallol


Where is it? The Afar region of Ethiopia

What can I see there? Pretty much a ghost town, with wrecked houses built from salt blocks.

What’s so bad about it? The perishing heat. Dallol holds the record for the highest average temperature ever recorded at an inhabited part of the globe (34°c over the course of a year).

Does the place have history? A railway ran from Dallol to Eritrea in 1918 and potash was mined in the area. Now, the area is mined for table salt instead.

Does anybody live there? A handful remain to hunt for salt, but most have abandoned Dallol for good.

How do I get there?

Dallol is one of the most remote places on Earth. Fly to Ethiopia, drive as far as you can into the desert, and then take a camel for the remainder of the long, arduous journey.

6. Norilsk


Where is it? The northernmost city in Siberia.

What can I see there? An absence of trees due to relentless pollution.

What’s so bad about it? The pollution. The area is home to nickel ore smelting, and produces 1% of the whole planet’s sulphur dioxide emissions. There are no trees living within 48km of one of the main smelters, due partly to toxic rain from the four million tons of metals and poisons released into the air every year.

Does the place have history? Founded in 1920, but rose to prominence as the centre of the Norillag labour camp in 1935. It was host to the Norilsk uprising, the first significant revolt in a gulag.

Does anybody live there? 175,300 people call Norilsk home.

How do I get there?

Get a visa from the Russian embassy and fly to Moscow. From there, travel across land.

7. Darfur


Where is it? Sudan

What can I see there? A vast, geologically diverse landscape about the size of Spain.

What’s so bad about it? Relentless conflict spanning more than half a century has resulted in enormous loss of life and millions of refugees. Since 2003 alone, more than 300,000 civilians have been killed and nearly 3m people have been ‘displaced’ – that is, their homes burned down by the Janjaweed. The refugee camps are among the most dangerous places on Earth in terms of rape and physical violence.

Does the place have history? It’s an ancient land but has never supported a very large population. During the First World War, the British Empire incorporated it into Sudan. That’s probably where the problems started.

Does anybody live there? There were 6m people living in Darfur in 2004 – how many are still alive is unknown.

How do I get there?

You’ll need to be working for an NGO of some sort, or possibly the UN. Travel in this region is dangerous, time-consuming and uncomfortable.

8. Azerbijan


Where is it? Azerbijan

What can I see there? There are some memorials to people who lost their lives in the race riots here.

What’s so bad about it? It’s the most polluted place on Earth. It was the hub of Soviet industry and petrochemical research, and has the health problems to prove it – cancer rates are 50% higher than average here, and birth defects are commonplace.

Does the place have history? The Soviets started building industry here in 1935.

Does anybody live there? 312,000

How do I get there?

It’s not a good idea and there’s no a great deal to see, but travel there is possible by air.

9. *Giant Crystal Cave*


Where is it? About 300 metres below Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico

What can I see there? Enormous (and beautiful) selenite crystals, the largest of which is a 55 ton, 11m by 4m behemoth.

What’s so bad about it? Nearby magma flows result in an air temperature of 50°c, but humidity of more than 90% makes it around 100°c in practical terms and means you need a multi-layered protective suit to spend time in this cave system. Heat stroke and death await you if you dawdle with the suit, and without it you’d be lucky to last a minute without it. Additionally, some of the crystals are razor sharp so there is strong risk of impalement.

Does the place have history? It was discovered in 2000 by accident. Miners were trying to protect the shafts from flooding.

Does anybody live there? Absolutely not.

How do I get there?

It’s privately owned but visitors have been allowed in the past.

10. Vozrozhdeniya Island


Where is it? In the Aral Sea, an area drained by mismanaged Soviet irrigation plans. The island is now a sort of peninsular, shared by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

What can I see there? An abandoned settlement in an arid, lifeless landscape. The drying of the Aral Sea (arguably the worst environmental disaster in the history of humankind) left countless boats high and dry. Their skeletal remains are visible in the middle of what is now a desert.

What’s so bad about it? It was the site of Soviet biowarfare experiments. The whole area is contaminated with anthrax, smallpox and bubonic plague. Local rodents are thought to have picked up some super-resilient strains of these diseases.

Does the place have history? The laboratory was established in 1948. At its height, the facility housed 1,500 people.

Does anybody live there? Not anymore. The site was completely abandoned in 1992.

How do I get there?




 A view of the 190-metre-tall, 54-floor Turning Torso apartment tower in Malmo, Sweden, on Saturday. Offering a stupendous view over the Oresund Sound between Sweden and Denmark, the building turns 90 degrees around its own axis. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava got the idea for the tower from observing the human body in motion.

For more info click here

            Signe The Guest Book




Drunk Bar

This is one of the hotels beautiful and strange enough … Many people called the name of the bar the drunk bar or the drunk building – Suggests that the design of some strange…..Drunk Bar




If you concentrate, you will notice that the shadow is the black and the white color is the camel it self
Skilled photo from top 

10 Wonders of the New China

10 Wonders of the New China

It’s a hotbed of innovative architecture, from diaphanous theaters to buildings heated and cooled by water

International Design

China’s current building boom is doing more than sucking up the world’s supply of steel — it’s creating a stage for some of today’s boldest architecture and engineering. Take a tour of the 10 of the most intriguing examples.

The Commune, Beijing

First phase completed 2002, expansion scheduled for completion in 2010
Even if the Commune didn’t sit beside that wonder of the ancient world, the Great Wall of China, it would still qualify as a wonder. The complex includes houses by 12 of Asia’s leading architects. It was conceived by married real-estate developers Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi, who gave each architect a $1 million budget. Shigeru Ban, the Japanese architect most famous for the paper houses he designed for refugees of the Kobe earthquake, designed the Furniture House, featuring the laminated plywood typically used for modular furniture, and China’s Yung Ho Chang created the Split House, which takes the idea of a boxy dwelling, slices it in half, and spreads it out like a fan.

The Commune is now operated as a boutique hotel by the Germany luxury hotel group Kempinski, which is responsible for an upcoming expansion, which will feature 21 homes (including replications of the originals). One element will remain untouched in the new development: the Commune’s private pedestrian trails, which trace untouched sections of the Great Wall.

Beijing International Airport, Beijing

Foster & Partners. Under construction, to be completed in late 2007
According to the U.S. Embassy to China, the country will be building 108 new airports between 2004 and 2009 — including what will be the world’s largest: the Beijing International Airport, designed by Foster & Partners. Set to open at the end of 2007, in time for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the airport terminal will cover more than 1 million square meters, giving it a bigger footprint than the Pentagon.

It’s designed to handle 43 million passengers a year initially and 55 million by 2015, figures that will probably push the new facility into the ranks of the top 10 busiest airports, going by the 2004 numbers from the Airports Council International. Given the scale and traffic, Foster & Partners focused on the traveler’s experience, making sure that walking distances are short, for instance.

Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai

Kohn Pederson Fox Architects. Under construction, completion scheduled for 2008
Rising in the Lujiazhui financial district in Pudong, the Shanghai World Financial Center is a tower among towers. The elegant 101-story skyscraper will be (for a moment, at least) the world’s tallest when completed in early 2008.

One of the biggest challenges of building tall is creating a structure that can withstand high winds. The architects devised an innovation solution to alleviate wind pressure by adding a rectangular cut-out at the building’s apex. Not only does the open area help reduce the building’s sway but it also will be home to the world’s highest outdoor observation deck — a 100th-floor vista that will take vertigo to new heights.

National Swimming Center, Beijing

PTW and Ove Arup. Under construction, completion scheduled for 2008
The striking exterior of the National Swimming Center, being constructed for the 2008 Olympic Games and nicknamed, the "Water Cube," is made from panels of a lightweight form of Teflon that transforms the building into an energy-efficient greenhouse-like environment. Solar energy will also be used to heat the swimming pools, which are designed to reuse double-filtered, backwashed pool water that’s usually dumped as waste.

Excess rainwater will also be collected and stored in subterranean tanks and used to fill the pools. The complex engineering system of curvy steel frames that form the structure of the bubble-like skin are based on research into the structural properties of soap bubbles by two physicists at Dublin’s Trinity College. The unique structure is designed to help the building withstand nearly any seismic disruptions.

Central Chinese Television CCTV, Beijing

OMA/Ole Scheeren and Rem Koolhaas. Under construction, scheduled for completion in 2008
The design of the new Central Chinese Television (CCTV) headquarters defies the popular conception of a skyscraper — and it broke Beijing’s building codes and required approval by a special review panel. The standard systems for engineering gravity and lateral loads in buildings didn’t apply to the CCTV building, which is formed by two leaning towers, each bent 90 degrees at the top and bottom to form a continuous loop.

The engineer’s solution is to create a structural "tube" of diagonal supports. The irregular pattern of this "diagrid" system reflects the distribution of forces across the tube’s surface. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren and engineered by Ove Arup, the new CCTV tower rethinks what a skyscraper can be

Linked Hybrid, Beijing

Steven Holl Architects; Li Hu, lead architect. Groundbreaking on December 28, 2005, scheduled for completion in 2008
Linked Hybrid, which will house 2,500 people in 700 apartments covering 1.6 million square feet, is a model for large-scale sustainable residential architecture. The site will feature one of the world’s largest geothermal cooling and heating systems, which will stabilize the temperature within the complex of eight buildings, all linked at the 20th floor by a "ring" of service establishments, like cafés and dry cleaners. A set of dual pipes pumps water from 100 meters below ground, circulating the liquid between the buildings’ concrete floors.

The result: The water-circulation system serves as a giant radiator in the winter and cooling system in the summer. It has no boilers to supply heat, no electric air conditioners to supply cool. The apartments also feature gray-water recycling — a process that’s just starting to catch on in Beijing in much smaller buildings — to filter waste water from kitchen sinks and wash basins back into toilets.

Dongtan Eco City, Dongtan

Masterplan by Arup, for the Shanghai Industrial Investment Corp. In planning stages, first phase to be completed in 2010
Developed by the Shanghai Industrial investment Corp., Dongtan Eco City, roughly the size of Manhattan, will be the world’s first fully sustainable cosmopolis when completed in 2040. Like Manhattan, it’s situated on an island — the third-largest in China. Located on the Yangtze River, Dongtan is within close proximity of the bustle of Shanghai.

By the time the Shanghai Expo trade fair opens in 2010, the city’s first phase should be completed, and 50,000 residents will call Dongtan home-sweet-sustainable-home. The goals to be accomplished in the next five years: systems for water purification, waste management, and renewable energy. An infrastructure of roads will connect the former agricultural land with Shanghai.

Olympic Stadium, Beijing

Herzog & de Meuron. Under construction, to be completed in 2008
Sports stadiums have long followed the enduring design of one of the original wonders of the world, Rome’s Coliseum. Herzog & de Meuron’s National Stadium in Beijing is an attempt to rethink the classic sports-arena layout for more ecologically correct times.

The Swiss architects (of Tate Modern fame) wanted to provide natural ventilation for the 91,000-seat structure — perhaps the largest "eco-friendly" sports stadium designed to date. To achieve this, they set out to create a building that could function without a strictly enclosed shell, yet also provide constant shelter for the audience and athletes alike.

To solve these design problems, they looked to nature for inspiration. The stadium’s outer grid resembles a bird’s nest constructed of delicately placed branches and twigs. Each discrete space within the facility, from restrooms to restaurants, is constructed as an independent unit within the outer lattice — making it possible to encase the entire complex with an open grid that allows for natural air circulation. The architects also incorporated a layer of translucent membrane to fill any gaps in the lacy exterior.

Donghai Bridge, Shanghai/Yangshan Island

China Zhongtie Major Bridge Engineering Group, Shanghai # 2 Engineering Co., Shanghai Urban Construction Group. Officially opened in December, 2005
A key phase in the development of the world’s largest deep-sea port was completed when China’s first cross-sea bridge — the 20-mile, six-lane Donghai Bridge — was officially opened in December, 2005. Stretching across the East China Sea, the graceful cable-stay structure connects Shanghai to Yangshan Island, set to become China’s first free-trade port (and the world’s largest container port) upon its completion in 2010.

To provide a safer driving route in the typhoons and high waves known to hit the region, Donghai Bridge is designed in an S-shape. The structure, reported by Shanghai Daily to have cost $1.2 billion, will hold its title of China’s — and one of the world’s — longest over-sea bridge for only a couple of years, though. In 2008, the nearby 22-mile Hangzhou Bay Transoceanic Bridge, which also begins (or ends, depending on your journey) in Shanghai, will earn the superlative.

National Grand Theater, Beijing

Paul Andreu and ADP. Under construction, to be completed in 2008
Located near Tiananmen Square, the 490,485-square-foot glass-and-titanium National Grand Theater, scheduled to open in 2008, seems to float above a man-made lake. Intended to stand out amid the Chinese capital’s bustling streets and ancient buildings, the structure has garnered criticism among Bejing’s citizens for clashing with classic landmarks like the Monument to the People’s Heroes (dedicated to revolutionary martyrs), the vast home of the National People’s Congress, or Tiananmen Gate itself (the Gate of Heavenly Peace).

French architect Paul Andreu is no stranger to controversy — or to innovative forms. A generation ago, in 1974, his untraditional design for Terminal 1 of Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport was criticized for its unusual curves, yet Andreu’s groundbreaking, futuristic building later was seen to distinguish de Gaulle from more generic European and international air hubs. (The same airport’s Terminal 2E, also designed by Andreu, gained attention in 2004 when it collapsed, tragically killing four people.)

Beijing’s daring National Grand Theater is as much a spectacle as the productions that will be staged inside in the 2,416-seat opera house, the 2,017-seat concert hall, and the 1,040-seat theater. At night, the semi-transparent skin will give passersby a glimpse at the performance inside one of three auditoriums, a feature that highlights the building’s public nature.