11. Abraj Al-Bait is a group of a seven skyscraper hotels’ complex right opposite Masjid Al Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The complex is home to Saudi Arabia’s tallest building, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower (604 meters) with the largest clock face in the world.
Just a few meters away from the world’s largest mosque, the Great Mosque of Mecca, is the building complex that houses the world’s largest clock face. Famously known as Abraj Al Bait, the complex is a group of seven skyscraper hotels that are owned by the government.
The tallest building in the complex, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, is the tallest in Saudi Arabia at 601 meters (1972 feet). Built atop the ruins of an 18th-century Ottoman citadel, Ajyad Fortress, the structure is the fifth largest in the world. The clock face covers the top four floors of the tower and has a museum. (1, 2)
12. With an area of 362,744 square feet and futuristic architecture, the Tianjin Binhai Library is at once intimidating and awe-inspiring. The five-storied structure houses over 1.2 million books.
Designed by Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute and Dutch architects MVRDV, this spectacular library was created in three years. It is the architecture of the library that makes it unique.
The bookshelves are placed in a terraced format from floor to ceiling. There is a luminous sphere in the center that doubles up as an auditorium for 110 people at a time.
The library’s curves and angles are designed to enhance different aspects of walking, reading, meeting, and more. Together, these patterns with the spherical auditorium give the library an eye-like appearance. (1, 2)
13. Heaven’s Gate Mountain or Tianmen Shan is located within the Tianmen Mountain National Park in the Hunan Province of China. The place is known for a 30-meter wide hole between the two peaks that acts as a doorway, giving it the name of Heaven’s Door.
From afar, Tianmen Shan does look like a door leading to heaven. The 420-foot-high and 100-foot-wide opening is a natural, water-eroded hole. It is the highest hole of its kind in the world. The door is always covered with fogs and clouds, giving it an otherworldly appearance. To reach “heaven,” one needs to climb 999 steps.
Besides this, the place is also known for remarkable attractions including:
- Niney-nine bends in the road leading up to Tianmen Shan;
- The Walk of Faith, a famous glass skywalk on the west side of Tianmen mountain;
- The longest cable car ride (30 minutes and seven kilometers) in the world. (1, 2)
14. Mirny Mine, or Mir Mine, is a 525-meter-deep kimberlite diamond mine that is 1,200 meters in diameter. Situated in the Siberian region of eastern Russia, the mine is one of the most massive excavated holes.
It was 1955 when a group of Russian geologists discovered kimberlite traces by chance. Kimberlite is often associated with the formation and occurrence of diamonds. Within just two years of the discovery, the excavation started. Although open-pit mining was discontinued in 2001, Mir Mine now operates as an underground one.
Today, the mine is over 1,722 feet (525 meters) deep and 3,900 feet (1.25 kilometers) wide. The airspace above the mine pit is banned for helicopters because of the alleged suspicion that a downward draft of air may suck them in. However, it has never been proved credibly. (1, 2)
15. The Cliffs of Moher, lining the coast of County Clare in Ireland, are the country’s most visited tourist site. Stretching along the Atlantic for over eight kilometers, the cliffs reach a height of 214 meters.
Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way tourism trail’s signature point and its most visited tourist spot are the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs are named after the demolished promontory fort of Mothar, or Moher, meaning “ruin of fort” in old Gaelic. The site is now home to Moher Tower, a signaling post on the west coast.
The Cliffs of Moher stretch for about eight kilometers along Ireland’s west coast over the Atlantic. At their highest point, the cliffs reach a height of 214 meters.
Such is their awe-inspiring views and dramatic presence that the cliffs have been a famous filming location including that of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The Cliffs fall under the Special Protected Area (SPA) and are home to a wide range of flora and fauna. (1, 2)