Six wonders of the ancient world
When it comes to ancient wonders, there's more to explore than Petra, Angkor Wat and the Coliseum. So to uncover a few structures that aren't typically on the tourist trail, we turned to question-and-answer site Quora, where users have been sharing their opinions on some of the most impressive ancient structures in the world. What made the list? Among others: a network of ancient Micronesian floating islands, an underground Anatolian city carved entirely of volcanic rock and a prehistoric Phoenician site comprised of monumental stone blocks so large, it remains a mystery how they were cut and moved.
Underneath the small town of Derinkuyu, 750km southeast of Istanbul in Cappadocia's Nevsehir province, lies the largest system of caverns ever built by hand – Derinkuyu – Turkey's underground city, which shares a name with its more conventional, above-ground counterpart.
This ancient Anatolian wonder has all the trappings of a well-developed municipal centre, with schools, stables and churches – but rather than rising from the ground, Derinkuyu's meeting places are carved from soft volcanic rock 60m to 85m beneath the surface.
Built between the 7th and 8th Century BC, the underground complex was built to defend against attacks from marauding armies. Though it was intended as a temporary shelter, its amenities were impressive: some 600 above-ground doors from which someone can enter the underground city from, 15,000 ventilation ducts to provide fresh air, as well as multiple wineries, cellars and a complex network of passages, tunnels, and corridors.
“It was large enough to shelter around 20,000 people with their livestock and food stores," Quora user Trishla Prasad wrote.
Considering its age, the underground city is in excellent condition and is accessible today via numerous tours. Travellers should be advised, however, that exploring the complex involves a lot of stairs.
Nan Madol, Federated States of Micronesia
Built around 1200, the mysterious floating Micronesian city of Nan Madol comprises a series of man-made basalt islets separated by a network of canals. Located on Pohnpei, more than 3,600km east of the Philippines in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it's no surprise that the site is fairly unknown.
“[Nan Madol] was apparently the residential complex of the island elite and each islet served a specific purpose, such as canoe building, cooking, caring for the sick, and was probably roofed over with timber and palm thatch," said Terry Newman, who has visited the site twice. “It is a crude and primitive Angkor Wat overgrown by the jungle, but no less mind blowing in a place with no history of permanent structures, let alone architecture."
Located in eastern Lebanon's Beqaa Valley, the well-preserved ancient site of Baalbek was settled some 9,000 years ago, eventually attracting a series of ancient peoples, including Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. It was used primarily as a religious site, with monumental temples devoted to gods such as Bacchus, Venus and Jupiter.
“The Temple of Bacchus alone is bigger than the Parthenon in Greece," wrote Quora user Ella Ryan. “The neighbouring Temple of Jupiter has only five of its 54 Corinthian columns still standing, but at 22m tall and two metres in girth, they are jaw-droppingly enormous and are said to be the largest in the world."
At the foundation of Jupiter's temple is a trio of megaliths, some of the biggest individual building blocks in the world. How each block was cut and moved into place is still somewhat of a mystery, but some say they were positioned into place by Roman cranes (primitive devices consisting of a winch, a rope and a block with pulleys).
Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland
Newgrange's massive, rounded dome rises from the emerald plains of Ireland's County Meath like a grass-topped UFO. Constructed more than 5,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period around 3,200BC, this ancient site is storied in Irish folklore and considered one of the most important megalithic structures in Europe.
The structure itself is a huge grass-topped mound made of alternate layers of earth and stone. At 76m across, 12m high and covering 4,500sqm of ground, the Unesco World Heritage site is ringed with a facade of white quartz stone, added during a reconstruction in the 1970s. Inside is a chambered passage that stretches for 19m, ending with three small chambers thought to be ancient burial sites.
This ancient structure's secret: it's a remarkably accurate time-telling device, wrote Elle Land. The structure is aligned with the rising sun and its chambers are flooded with light during the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice (occurring on 21 December this year). “As the sun rises higher… the whole room becomes dramatically illuminated," Land said. “The intent of its builders was undoubtedly to mark the beginning of the New Year."
Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Maharashtra, India
About 30km northwest from the city of Aurangabad, India's Ellora Caves are considered the pinnacle of Indian rock-cut architecture. The site's 34 caves were carved from the stone face of the Charanandri hills between the 6th and 9th Century.
The caves are most valued for their ancient paintings and sculptures, considered masterpieces of Buddhist art that are considered the beginning of classical Indian art. The Archaeological Survey of India calls them “the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting". The Ellora site is also home to the impressive Kailasa Temple, which is carved from a single rock. “Its sheer size and architectural finesse completely stuns anyone," said Hamid Shah.
About 100km northeast are the Ajanta Caves, a spectacle dubbed “one of the great wonders of the ancient world" by British historian William Dalrymple. The formidable caverns were cut into cliffs between the 2nd and 7th Century to house Buddhist temples, shrines, prayer halls and dormitories.
“Over the years, due to time and negligence, most of [the cave's] mural paintings have peeled off but you can see its former glory from the ones which have survived and been preserved," Shah wrote. “It is still a beauty even after 1,500 years."
This article was written by Husna Haq from BBC and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.
When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.
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I want them to look no further than United Airlines.
That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.
They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.
That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.
We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.
We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.
We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.
As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.
Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.
They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.
Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.
Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.
Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.
But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.
We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.
It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.
On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.
Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.
"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.
"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."
Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.
The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.
Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.
Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.
Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.
"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."
When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.
For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.
Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.
That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.
"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."
The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.
About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.
"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."
When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.
"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."
On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.
"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."
For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.