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Hierapolis – World Heritage site in Western Turkey



Hierapolis is a World Heritage Site in Western Turkey and a major tourist attraction with a two-thousand-year-old mystery, only solved by modern technology. The town stands on five hundred feet high white cliffs and definitely has the wow factor. In 150 BC the Romans took over control of the area from Greek settlers and proceeded to build an amphitheatre and gymnasium, these amenities being a traditional part of Roman life. They didn’t stop there though. They built a Sanctuary for Apollo and a statute of Pluto, the God of the Underworld together with his hound Severus. Why Pluto, when there were so many gods to choose from? The reason for this was because the Romans felt that at Hierapolis, they had an entrance to the underworld.
The evidence for this was a portal in the rock, which became known as the Plutonium, into which birds fell from the sky and by dying ,entered the underworld. Hierapolis was deemed to be a mysterious and holy place. With modern technology, Scientists have refuted this by finding that the presence of the spring water here, gave off carbon dioxide. This gas, toxic to living creatures rose in the air, killing the birds and any other animal that succumbed to it. There was indeed something in the water!
The Romans did not have the technology to discover this, and so Pluto the God of Death was served in the Plutonium by priests, who accepted annual sacrifices to the God. Cattle presented at the entrance to the portal duly died, but the priests were unaffected. 
As the priests were standing, they initially inhaled less of the poisonous vapours from the water, 
than the cattle.  An eye witness to the proceedings noted that the priests held their breath, so they knew that there was something to be avoided., although they didn’t know what. These events were watched by an audience, who sat at a distance from the proceedings where the air was less contaminated.
The priests known as Galli priests would perform their own ritual before the crowd, dressing up in women’s clothing, scourging themselves and sometimes self-castrating!
While these religious observances were part of society, the town developed its economy as a centre of textile manufacture. 
The many Stone Monuments, which have survived for two millennia are the tombs of rich merchants, who would part with a year’s salary to build them. Hierapolis contains one of the largest surviving cemeteries of the Roman world, with many artifacts being found and on display in the museum.
The trade grew up due to the calcium carbonate deposits in the spring water which were good for fixing dye in woollen fabric, which the merchants would then take to Rome. Hierapolis, a town with a population of twelve thousand people, also developed a spa industry, with the water used for drinking and bathing, as it is today.
Unlike any other town Hierapolis is built on a subterranean fault and in 60 AD a massive earthquake destroyed the town, but the Romans rebuilt it! Maybe it was the call of religion that was the reason. The name Hierapolis means Holy City having as the Romans believed, direct access to the underworld.
There was also the beauty of the place, vast white mineral deposits of calcium carbonate creating an otherworldly atmosphere and the very fertile farmland in the valley. However, the writing was on the wall for the ancient gods. Initially Christians were persecuted throughout the Roman empire.  Phillip the Apostle came to Hierapolis and among his healing and preaching activities, annoyed a Roman official by converting his wife to Christianity. Phillip was duly executed in 80 AD. 
The tide was turned in favour of Christianity when Constantine conceived it to be in his best interests to adopt the faith as the religion of the Roman empire. Later in the time of Justinian, in the fifth century AD, the entrance to the Plutonium was blocked up and the statute of Apollo knocked down. (I do feel a bit sorry for Apollo)  After further earthquakes, in the seventh and fourteenth centuries the Romans finally abandoned the town. 
Hierapolis has become a place of Christian pilgrimage to Phillip, whose tomb is thought to have been discovered and is revered.
 The beauty of Hierapolis remains and if you are thinking of a visit, I hope that this brief description of its history will encourage you to do so.

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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Douglas Corrigan, the man who flew to Ireland by mistake or maybe not…



We still don’t know if Douglas Corrigan intended to fly to Ireland or ended up there by mistake. We know that he became famous for a while and was even nicknames “Wrong Way”. But his story is still fascinating.  Another of his claims to fame was that he was one of the builders involved in the Spirit of St Louis, Charles Lindbergh’s place. He was born in Texas in 1907 and died in 1995. This story takes back to the romantic days of early aviation. 

By Unknown photographer –, Public Domain,

In the summer of 1938, Douglas Corrigan had landed in Dublin Ireland after a 28-hour flight from New York. Despite the grand achievement in the early days of solo transoceanic aviation, the pilot claims that he wasn’t supposed to travel to Europe. He actually filed to fly to Long […]

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In the summer of 1938, Douglas Corrigan had landed in Dublin Ireland after a 28-hour flight from New York. Despite the grand achievement in the early days of solo transoceanic aviation, the pilot claims that he wasn’t supposed to travel to Europe. He actually filed to fly to Long Beach, California! H

At the age of 31, Corrigan flew out to New York City from Long Beach. The pilot filed to return back to Southern California on July 17th, 1938, but during that foggy morning, he headed east from the 4,200-foot (1,300 m) runway of Floyd Bennett Field, flew into the mist, and vanished for over 28 hours. Nonetheless, he eventually appeared in Dublin, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

When explaining the situation to officials, Corrigan said that he left New York en route to California but had then gotten mixed up in the clouds and haze. He also shared that he had an issue with his compass. Overall, the airman expressed that he noticed the error after flying for approximately 26 hours. However, there is good reason to believe that this transatlantic hop wasn’t actually a mistake.

Importantly, Corrigan, a man of Irish descent, in 1935, applied to the federal government for permission to make a direct trip from New York to Ireland, which was turned down. Officials felt that the aircraft was not in the right shape to make this transatlantic hop. He then made several modifications and additions over the next few years but was continuously denied. Despite not being approved for transatlantic flight, the government did certify the plane for cross-country trips.

Moreover, the U.S Centennial of Flight Commission highlights that Corrigan grew frustrated with the bureaucracy by 1937 and flew to New York late at night after authorities had gone home. He would then have filled his tanks and set flight for Ireland. Unfortunately, there were several mechanical issues while heading to the East Coast and he lost his window of safe flying weather. Therefore, he decided to fly back west.


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The best UK attractions according to Tripadvisor



There are notable surprises in this list compiled by Tripadvisor users, for example you don’t find the great museums in London but we have museums in other places and two football stadiums. In first and second place we have two fairly predictable London attractions the Tower of London and Tower Bridge which are also close together although they don’t have much in common other than the name and proximity. The Tower dates back to 1100 and the bridge to 1800.

In third place we have Arthur’s Seat, the hill located in Edinburgh. Not only is this a nice walk, but once you get to the top you will have a nice view of the whole city. In fourth place we have Etihad Stadium, the Manchester United stadium. You can visit it when there are no matches, they organize a guided tour.

Arthur’s Seat

In fifth place we have Anfield Stadium, a practically sacred place for Liverpool fans. When there are no matches, the stadium is open for guided tours. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum ranks sixth, it is Scotland’s most visited free attraction. It has 22 themed galleries displaying over 8000 objects of international importance. Birmingham Back to Back is in seventh place, back to back houses were heavily used during the industrial revolution. Not really hygienic or comfortable and they don’t make us envy those times. The museum is a very informative blast from the past. Crumlin Road Gaol is in eighth place. An old Belfast prison closed in 1996 and reopened as a museum. There are guided tours of the prison and you can discover the story when women and children were held within its walls and of the political segregation of republican and unionist prisoners. In ninth place we have the magnificent National Railway Museum in York. Home to iconic locomotives and an unrivaled collection of engineering works, the museum celebrates the railroad’s past, present and future. What’s more, free. In tenth place we have the Churchill War Rooms which are located in London. Surprised? What did you expect to see in the top ten tourist attractions in the UK?

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The strange Egyptian house in Penzance in Cornwall



In all parts of the world there are always weird things to see and Cornwall is certainly no exception. If you go to Penzance, try to pass by the strange Egyptian house. It was built on Chapel Street by Plymouth architect John Foulston around 1835. At this time everything Egyptian was in fashion. In London at Piccadilly they had built the Egyptian Hall at the same time and the province tried to adapt to trends.

Photo: Jhsteel / CC BY-SA

It was a Plymouth bookseller who wanted this house, his name was John Lavin and he had a passion for maps and travel guides but he also traded minerals. He had then bought two properties here, which were in fact two cottages but he wanted to stand out so he had the two buildings join together with a single facade.

In addition to transforming the architecture of the two buildings, he also built a small mineral museum inside. The house still exists now and houses three apartments, it is a listed building. The interesting thing is that it is a precursor of the Art Deco that conquered the world a century later.

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