Six Wonders of the Ancient World - United Hub
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Six wonders of the ancient world

By The Hub team, September 27, 2016

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.

Derinkuyu, Turkey

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."

Baalbek, Lebanon

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.

Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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