~ MamakTalk ~: Rock Art

2015年12月15日 星期二

Rock Art



Over the millennia, the powerful forces of nature have carved great rock formations that continue to evolve and astound us today.

Words: Keeta Brennan

METEORA
GREECE

From The Magazine,Hit List,Travel 3Sixty,AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Rock Art,Meteora,Greece

IMAGE: 123RF

Believed to be over 60 million years old, Meteora, meaning ‘suspended in the air’ in Greek, is a stunning example of nature and man-made architecture melded together. Towering over the town of Kalambaka in Central Greece, these sandstone formations house six Greek Orthodox monasteries. Meteora is said to have been first inhabited in the 11th century by hermit monks, who chose to dwell here because of the solitude it provided. In the 11th and 12th centuries, more monasteries were built as the monastic community grew, and between the 14th and 16th centuries, Meteora housed more than 20 monasteries, of which only six remain today. For hundreds of years, Meteora was difficult to access, with monks relying on rope ladders and their faith to get them up and down safely. In the 1920s, steps were carved into the rocks, making Meteora more accessible. Today, the inhabitants of the monasteries are few, and the site is a major tourist attraction. www.visitgreece.gr

HA LONG BAY
VIETNAM

From The Magazine,Hit List,Travel 3Sixty,AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Rock Art,Ha Long Bay,Vietnam

IMAGE: GETTY

Situated in northeast Vietnam, about 165 kilometres from Hanoi, Ha Long Bay is renowned for its pristine waters, breathtaking natural beauty and of course, its magnificent limestone rock formations. Ha Long Bay spans more than 1,500 square kilometres and is made up of over 1,600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabitable, making it still largely unmarred by development. The name Ha Long Bay derives from Vinh Ha Long, which means ‘descending dragon bay’ in the Sino-Vietnamese language. The rock formations here are a classic example of karst topography, with erosion causing the limestone rocks to form natural pillars, caves and arches over time. Towering rock formations covered in tropical rainforest stand imposingly against the blue skies over the bay, while submerged limestone caves and crevices also serve as shelters for the area’s teeming sea life. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, Ha Long Bay is one of Vietnam’s prime natural wonders and will continue to astound and amaze visitors for generations to come. www.vietnamtourism.com

GIANT’S CAUSEWAY
NORTHERN IRELAND

From The Magazine,Hit List,Travel 3Sixty,AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Rock Art,Giant's Causeway,North Antrim,Northern Ireland

IMAGE: 123RF

County Antrim, located in the northeast of Ireland, is one of Northern Ireland’s six counties and home to the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Ireland’s premier natural wonders. Millions of years ago, County Antrim was a hotbed of volcanic activity and Giant’s Causeway, made up of 40,000 interconnecting basalt columns, is the by-product of an ancient volcanic eruption. Most of the basalt rocks, formed from cooled lava, are hexagonal in shape and stacked so neatly that they look man-made, adding to the uniqueness of this all-natural creation. The tallest column of rocks stands at approximately 40 feet, and the step-like pillars gradually get lower and lower from this point until they disappear into the sea. Over time, some of the rocks have been worn out or become detached from the main structure, taking on their own unique shapes. Amongst the most notable is the large free-standing curved boot-shaped rock known as the Giant’s Boot and a cluster of tall rock pillars aptly known as Chimney Stacks. Another great highlight of Giant’s Causeway is its fantastic on-site visitor centre, which has informative exhibits showcasing the science and mythology of this rare wonder. www.discovernorthernireland.com

SEE ALSODude, Where’s Da Nang?

BALANCING ROCK
CANADA

From The Magazine,Hit List,Travel 3Sixty,AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Balancing Rock,Canada

IMAGE: INMAGINE

The Balancing Rock in the town of Digby in southwestern Nova Scotia is a 30-foot narrow, vertical column of basalt rock that rests atop another rock. Although it appears to be balancing, it is actually connected to the base by a stem. The Balancing Rock is the byproduct of the erosion of the cliff face, which has caused the column to become completely removed from the cliff , giving it the illusion of perching precariously over the edge of another rock, ready to plunge into the ocean below. It is believed that the Balancing Rock has stood in its current position for over 200 years. A 2.5-kilometre trail and 235-step staircase leading down to the viewing platform may be a challenge to some, but it hasn’t deterred many, as the Balancing Rock is one of the most photographed sites in the area. www.novascotia.com

DEER CAVE
MALAYSIA

From The Magazine,Hit List,Travel 3Sixty,AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Deer Cave,Mulu National Park,Sarawak,Borneo,Malaysia

IMAGE: GETTY

Situated within the Mulu National Park in Sarawak, the Deer Cave, so named by the indigenous people as it is commonly used as shelter by deer, is unique for many reasons. It has the largest cave passage in the world, stretching over two kilometres in length and about 90 metres in height. The winding cave passage leads to an area known as The Garden of Eden, where a natural opening in the cave roof has allowed sunlight and rain to come through, creating a lush garden of vegetation and trees. The garden is made even more spectacular with a resplendent waterfall and tall limestone walls. Made up almost entirely of limestone, the cave is believed to have formed around 20 million years ago. With constant erosion from rivers and rain, the limestones have been shaped into a unique karst landscape with sinkholes and interesting formations – one of which bears a striking resemblance to the profile of former US President, Abraham Lincoln. www.tourism.gov.my

SEE ALSO: Mukah Kaul Festival: A Journey to Melanau Heartland

WHITE DESERT
EGYPT

From The Magazine,Hit List,Travel 3Sixty,AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Egypt,Libyan Desert,White Desert National Park

IMAGE: CORBIS

The White Desert is a gleaming chalk-filled landscape located within the Farafra Depression, the second largest depression in western Egypt. Known in Arabic as Sahara el-Beyda, the vast desert was once a sea bed teeming with marine life and corals, but today, it has become a wonderland of dazzling calcium rock formations. The outer, more accessible part of the desert is known as the Old Desert. Here, mushroom-shaped chalk rocks stand scattered across the expanse, owing their shape to years and years of erosion from both sand and wind. Farther into in the desert is the White House, an enclosure of rocks that is surrounded by chalk-white grounds. The innermost part of the desert is known as the New Desert and is only accessible by 4WD vehicles or on camel. Here, the rock formations become larger and more unique, and are said to resemble a number of things including dancing men, an eagle’s head and trees. Visitors are not allowed to touch the rocks, as years of harsh erosion have made them fragile and unsafe. Their shapes almost seem to change as the light shifts, and right at dusk, they take on a surreal pinkish hue. www.egypt.travel

TWELVE APOSTLES
AUSTRALIA

From The Magazine,Hit List,Travel 3Sixty,AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Twelve Apostles,Golden Sand,Brilliant Blue Sky and Sea

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Along the scenic route known as The Great Ocean Road that runs along the southeastern coast between the towns of Torquay and Allansford in the state of Victoria, stands the mesmerising Twelve Apostles. The limestone rock formations, standing majestically along the Southern Ocean, are located off the shore of the town of Port Campbell. More than 10 million years ago, the formations were originally limestone cliffs positioned off the mainland. Over time, erosion turned the cliffs into arches and finally into the rock formations they are today. Originally, there were nine formations but further erosion caused one of the formations to collapse in 2005, leaving only eight of these natural beauties still standing. The site was christened Twelve Apostles for tourism purposes, with its original name The Sow and Piglets being decidedly less touristy. Every year, strong winds and stormy ocean waters cause the pillars to erode around two centimetres, and this means that the eight formations left standing may not last for much longer. There are four viewing platforms connected by timber boardwalks from which you can take in the glorious sights of the Twelve Apostles and the sweeping blue ocean. Every year, over one million tourists flock here mostly to view the Twelve Apostles during sunrise and sunset, when the formations are particularly spectacular. www.australia.com

NANYA ROCK FORMATIONS
TAIWAN

From The Magazine,Hit List,Travel 3Sixty,AirAsia,Inflight Magazine,Nanya Rock,Taiwan,Asia

IMAGE: INMAGINE

Along the scenic coastal highway of Nanya in northeast Taiwan is a beautiful garden of rock formations known as the Nanya Rock Formation. The area is unmarked and there are no signboards, meaning that would-be visitors must keep their eyes peeled for a large rock in the shape of an ice cream cone along the highway, or risk missing it completely. Nanya Rock Formations is a vast area of beautiful wave-shaped and cylindrical rocks with sweeping patterns like waves across its surface. The sandstone rocks took on their unique forms due to erosion caused over thousands of years by the ocean waters surrounding them. More interestingly, the oxidation of iron ore from within the ridges of the stones has given them lovely striped patterns and varying earth-coloured tones. Because of their patterns and colour, the rocks look different depending on the light, giving them a timeless, evolving beauty. As they continue to erode, the patterns and shapes of the rocks are sure to change and evolve as well. eng.taiwan.net.tw


NATURE’S ART

KANNESTEINEN ROCK
Norway

The mushroom-shaped Kannesteinen Rock stands majestically on the bay of Kvalheimsvika, situated far west on the island of Vågsøy. The rock is about three feet in height, with a flat surface that can hold around three people at a time, making it a perfect spot to take photos. www.visitnorway.com

THE IMMORTAL BRIDGE IN MOUNT TAI
China

Among the five Sacred Mountains of Taoism, Mount Tai is the third tallest, and is associated with dawn, birth and renewal. Its most striking feature is the Immortal Bridge, believed to be at least 12,000 years old. The bridge is made up of three meticulously arranged rocks, which sit perfectly balanced without gaps, making them a wonder to behold. www.chinatourism.ch

HOODOOS
United States

Some 88 kilometres northeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Here, the Tent Rocks, also known as Hoodoos, dot the horizon, rising up to 90 feet high! These natural formations of sedimentary and volcanic rock resemble minarets and towers, which are capped with chimney-like peaks. www.newmexico.org

KHAO TA PU
Thailand

Made famous by the James Bond films The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974 and Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997, Khao Ta Pu or James Bond Island is a large limestone rock that rises 20 metres from the Andaman Sea and is believed to be 280 million years old. www.tourismthailand.org

 

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