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10 Unusual Places From Around the World

6. Mexico’s Cave of the Crystals is known for its giant selenite crystals. Some of these giant crystals are the largest specimens found on Earth, and they make this cave look otherworldly.

Cave of Crystals
The massive giant crystals were discovered in 2000 after water was pumped out of the cave by a mining company. Image credit: Penn State University via science.howstuffworks

Cave of the Crystals, also known as the “Giant Crystal Cave,” might remind you of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, but it’s far from fictional. Located in Chihuahua, Mexico, and connected to the Naica Mine, this unique cave is a sight to behold!

The chamber within the cave holds some of the largest natural crystals ever found on Earth. The largest one towers to over 37 feet and has an estimated mass of 12 tons.

The cave was discovered in 2000 but has remained relatively unexplored because of the extreme conditions inside. The cave is extremely hot and air temperatures reach up to 136 °F and humidity levels hover around 90% to 99%.

Going inside without proper protection can be risky, and people can endure being exposed for only around ten minutes at a time. In 2015, the mine became flooded, and the cave is once more filled with mineral-rich water that helps the crystals grow. (1, 2)

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7. Situated in the Czech Republic, Houska Castle is one of the best-preserved Gothic castles in the world. Besides being known for its spectacular architecture, the castle is also famous for the folklore surrounding it. It is said that the medieval fortress covers one of the gateways to Hell and that it was built to trap demons.

Houska Castle
Houska Castle is an early Gothic castle. Image credit: Shutterstock

When talking about noteworthy Gothic castles, you have to mention Houska Castle that is located 29 miles north of Prague in the Czech Republic.

Famous for its Gothic chapel, knight’s drawing-room, and the green chamber filled with late-Gothic paintings, the medieval fortress is one of the world’s best-preserved Gothic castles.

Houska Castle
Image credit: rudnitskaya_anna/Shutterstock

Built during the latter half of the 13th century, the Houska Castle was peculiar because it was not near any water body, it was not strategically important, and it did not seem to have anyone living in it. So, you might ask, why was this random castle built? Well, if you believe local legend and folklore, the true purpose of the castle was to trap demons!

Allegedly, a gateway to hell had opened at the location, and the castle was built around that portal to the underworld.

Legend has it that the chapel was positioned right above the hole to keep demons and evil monsters from reaching the rest of the world. It is also said that the gateway to hell is so deep that no one can see its bottom and that anyone who tried to enter the dark depths faced demonic human-animal hybrids.

Locals also claim that automobiles do not start when they are near the castle and strange and bleeding beasts still lurk in the shadows of this place. (1, 2)

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8. Situated on the border of Colombia and Panama, the Darién Gap can be best described as a lawless wilderness. It is one of the most dangerous jungles in the world, and anything from deadly snakes to antigovernment guerrillas can kill you if you cross their path.

Darién Gap
Darién Gap is a break across the North and South American continents within Central America, consisting of a large watershed, forest and mountains. Image credit: Shutterstock

The break between the North and South American continents is called the Darién Gap. Made up of a large forest, watershed, and mountains, it is one of the most notorious jungles in the world. Deadly creatures, armed guerillas, and drug traffickers occupy this place and cover the border between Colombia and Panama.

There are no roads here, mainly because of the high cost of development and the environmental impact it might pose. Some even say that the Darién Gap is a natural barrier that prevents diseases and drugs from flowing freely into the US and North America.

You may not want to visit this place because it is teeming with all sorts of dangers. The threats range from highly venomous fer-de-lance pit vipers, Brazilian wandering spiders, black scorpions, ticks, and botflies to Cold War bombs, spiked chunga palm trees, dirty water, jungle heat, FARC armed guerillas, and drug traffickers. (1, 2)

9. The Norwegian town of Rjukan spends half of the year in the shadow that is cast by a mountain range and low-lying Sun. In 2013, the town installed a system of mirrors to deflect sunlight and illuminate the town square.

Rjukan Norway
In winter, the town square of Rjukan, Norway, is illuminated by sunlight reflected from three computer-controlled mirrors on a mountain overlooking the town. Image credit: Kyrre Lien for The New York Times via NYTimes

Norway’s historic industrialized town, Rjukan, is only two and half hours away from the capital Oslo. Famous for its agricultural innovation, the town has many noteworthy qualities. However, the most interesting quality is perhaps the fact that the town’s residents spend half of the year in darkness!

That is because the town sits in a valley that goes from east to west. The flanking mountains have towering heights. On top of that, the sun has a low placement in the winter. Because of this combination, the town stays in the shadow of the mountain throughout the winter.

To fix this, the town installed mirrors that would deflect the sunlight and light up the town square. (1, 2)

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10. In 2009, scientists discovered the calmest place on Earth. Situated in Antarctica on top of a vast icy plateau, the place is called Ridge A. The atmosphere at the site is absolutely still, and there is almost no wind or falling snow.

Ridge A
Ridge A. Image credit: SnowSwan via Wikimedia

Ridge A, located 13,300 feet high up on the Antarctic Plateau, has been dubbed as the “calmest place on Earth.” The atmosphere at this vast icy plateau is so still that even the stars don’t twinkle as there is no turbulence in to distort the starlight.

The weather of the area is also calm with a few clouds, barely any wind, and no falling snow. The air of this place is 100 times drier than the Sahara, and in the winter, the temperature drops to -70 °C. That makes Ridge A the coldest and the driest place in the world! (1, 2)

Also read: Top Thirteen Deepest Places on Earth!

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