This article was originally published on Kueez
Sometimes we forget there's so much more to the world than the standard tourist attractions and historic sites we tend to see people visit on social media. From ancient villages to discoveries that give a new glimpse into humankind's story, there are plenty of rarely seen and even strange places all around the globe. And you don't need to hop on a plane to get a glimpse of these beauties - we've got you covered with beautiful photos of these unique destinations and one-of-a-kind finds.
This Beautiful Korean Folk Village Is Frozen in Time
The photo below shows a traditional 'Folk Village' located at the Southwestern end of the Korean Peninsula. More specifically, in the Jeollanam-Do region, not far from Sunch'eon. Aside from its stunning beauty, the village is unique because of its people's way of life. The homes are the town's original structure, made with straw roofs and clay rooms. About 100 households still reside here, primarily farmers who continue living according to the area's traditional lifestyle.
It's a big go-to destination for Korean parents who want to show their kids what life was like in the past - and it's not hard to see why it's a popular place to visit.
These 20,000-Year-Old Armadillos Weighed About 2 Tons Each
What the earth can preserve in the ground beneath our feet never ceases to amaze us. Here, we're looking at a family of giant armadillos, said to be an astonishing 20,000 years old. Discovered by an Argentine farmer, these beauties were found buried near a river. Interestingly, all these creatures were looking in the same direction, so experts reckon these armadillos were all traveling towards the same thing. Which makes us curious as to what they were looking at - or what they were running away from.
Astonishingly, the largest of these beasts was the equivalent of a Volkswagen Beetle and was predicted to weigh as much as two tons! That's the equivalent of a small elephant!
How Japan Makes Wood Without Chopping Down Trees
The first thing we thought when seeing this photo was, "Wow!" What's pictured here is the Japanese method for producing wood without chopping down forests. They've been using this practice for seven centuries! First established in the 14th century, this technique is officially known as the 'daisugi' technique. The basic premise is that trees are pruned, a bit like massive bonsai trees, rather than chopping them down completely. When this technique is applied to cedar trees, the end result looks like this.
Cedar trees produce astonishingly uniform chunks of wood, making them fantastic for construction projects. As you can see in the photo, it looks like cedar trees are growing out of the base of another tree - how cool is that?
Ireland's Redhead Convention Happens Every Year
No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. The photo below shows red-headed people only. This is an actual event that happens every year, and if this doesn't show how weird and wonderful the world is, then we don't know what will. We love that one of the rarest hair colors has its very own festival dedicated to it: The Redhead Festival in Dublin, Ireland, where tons of people gather together, united by the one thing they all have in common.
Apparently, this yearly tradition has been going on for around a decade. During the event, they present several awards, including "Best Ginger Awards," "The most freckles per square inch," "Best Wannabe Redhead," and "The world's greatest ginger beard." How cool is that?!
A 200-Year-Old Bridge That Was Built Without Any Nails
Have you ever seen such an extraordinary wooden bridge? This 200-year-old bridge can be found in the village of Gulli in the Tabasaran region of Dagestan, Russia. And the most astounding thing about it was that it was constructed without using a single nail - what a feat! How did the local residents create such a robust structure two centuries ago without nails? The idea is mind-boggling.
If you're looking at this picture and thinking, "This bridge looks massive," - you would be right. This beauty measures a whopping 10 meters high and apparently can still withstand the weight of a car!
This Tibetan Monastery's 60-Meter Long Library Holds 84,000 Secret Manuscripts
Here is a photo of the gorgeous Sakya monastery located in Tibet. More specifically, we're looking at a secret library in the sanctuary. These books were discovered behind a massive wall spanning 60 meters long and 10 meters high. The one-of-a-kind library boasts over 84,000 manuscripts, including a text dubbed 'The History Of Mankind,' over 1000 years old! Just look at the gorgeous architecture and how the scripts are neatly stacked.
Could you imagine how long it would take to read all of this content? What stories do these texts hold? We can't even imagine it.
This Roman Bathhouse Is Still Functional After 2,000 Years
Next, we're looking at an authentic Roman Bathhouse constructed by Emperor Vespasian. This beautiful bathhouse, located in Khenchela, Algeria, is still used by the locals, even after a staggering 2,000 years. Not only is this ancient architecture astonishingly well preserved, but it's also fully functional. For example, this bathhouse still generates abundant hot water that fills the open-air baths. We also love that this site is nestled among the luscious forests of the Aurès Mountains.
Given its ancient roots and overall magnificence, it's no wonder this bathhouse is now classified as a protected national historical heritage site. This particular bathhouse is called Hammam Essalihine, meaning the "bath of the righteous" or the "thermal baths of Flavius."
Ancient Greek Mosaics Discovered in Zeugma, Turkey
We can only imagine that Professor Kutalmış Görkay (of The University Of Ankara in Turkey) and his archeological team were thrilled when they uncovered these ancient Greek mosaics. This masterpiece was unearthed in the Turkish city of Zeugma, which is close to the Syrian border. Fun fact: due to nearby flooding, this excavation project was sped up for fear of the water destroying ancient artifacts. Luckily, this beauty was successfully preserved.
More excavations press on in the hopes of locating new relics. These particular glass mosaics date as far back as the second century BCE. We can't help but wonder who the people depicted in the scene are. But it's possible we'll never know.
These Ancient Daggers Were Made From Crystal
Yes, you read correctly; the daggers pictured here are made of crystal rock. A few years back, a team of professional archaeologists excavated the megalithic tomb of Montelirio Tholos in Spain. During their time there, they uncovered these mesmerizing daggers. According to experts, these relics are some of the most technically sophisticated artifacts ever to be discovered. Professionals say it would have taken immense skill to carve such a knife.
These daggers are said to be around 5,000 years old and are 8.5 inches long. As beautiful as this find is, we can't help but shudder to think what it was used for!
Take a Second Look - Those Aren't Real Fish
We love that this fish pond mosaic created by Gary Drostle looks 3D. The shadow effect under the fish is clever, and the spherical ripples heighten this artwork's depth and 3D effect. It's hands down the most life-like mosaic we've ever seen. In fact, we thought these were real fish at first! Unsurprisingly, Gary is an award-winning artist who specializes in murals and mosaics. This particular masterpiece was created for a small public garden in Croydon, Surrey, UK.
This piece dates back to 1996 and is made of vitreous ceramic tesserae. It's nothing short of stunning - we can't help but think it would make an excellent design for the bottom of a swimming pool!
People Still Live in This 2,000-Year Old Isolated Village
Wae Rebo is one of the last remaining ancient villages in the world. It's incredibly isolated, high in the jungle-strewn mountains off Flores Island, Indonesia. This settlement sits at an astonishing altitude of 4,200 feet and for nearly 2,000 years has been occupied by the Manggaraian people. As you can see, there are eight traditional conical thatched homes. We love that this picture captures the mist circling the homes, giving the village a somewhat mystical vibe.
The occupants have planted crops like coffee, vanilla, and cinnamon on the land surrounding this village. The villagers then sell these goods at their local market, around 15 kilometers away.
French Medieval House From 1509 Is Straight Out of a Fairytale
How gorgeous is this medieval house? This beautiful cottage is nestled in the French village of Argentan and dates back to 1509. With that in mind, its condition is incredible! It looks like the kind of house pulled straight out of a fairytale. Does it get much more idyllic than this? We think not. However, we did some digging, and some say that this house wasn't actually constructed in 1509.
Some sources say it was built in 1955 to replicate a 16th-century property because, sadly, most of Argentan was destroyed during WW2. Either way, this property is still a work of art!
Warship Retrieved After 333 Years at the Bottom of the Ocean
This Vasa warship sank around Stockholm during its inaugural journey in 1628. After over three centuries (333 years) below the ocean's depths, this vessel was recovered. Fast forward to today, and you can see this beauty in the flesh in Stockholm. It's said to be one of the best-preserved 17th-century ships in the world - and judging by this snap, we can well believe it! The craftsmanship is nothing short of sublime.
Impressively, this ship is said to comprise as much as 98 percent of its original parts, which is mind-boggling when you consider how long it spent underwater!
The World's Deepest Step-Well Is a Sight to Behold
Have you ever seen such an impressive and intricate step-well? We certainly hadn't! This particular step-well is located In Rajasthan, India, and is called Raniji ki Baori, which translates as the "Queen's step-well." It earns its name not only thanks to its incredible size and fantastic architecture but because it was also built by medieval queen Rani Nathavati Ji in 1699. The well is still visited today, with some locals even swimming in it.
It's a whopping 150-meters deep and was designed so that there are places to worship on each floor. Beauty aside, we can't help but think that your legs would get a good workout if you climbed from top to bottom!
These Bright and Beautiful Structures Are a Taiwanese Cemetery
It's hard to believe that a place so inextricably linked with death could be so beautiful. However, this stunning cemetery in Taiwan indeed manages to achieve that. Just look at the bright colors that decorate these tributes - blues, reds, and golds. It seems a fitting way to celebrate the joy of someone's life. It must be comforting for the families of the deceased to know their loved ones are at rest in a place of such beauty.
Even the roof carvings are intricate. One thing is clear: a lot of time, effort, and craftsmanship was put into creating a beautiful place to honor the dead, and we love that!
A Baptism Basin From the 400s CE
Pictured here are some immaculately preserved ancient Roman ruins. More specifically, this is a photo of the baptism basin in the Basilica of St. Vitale, Sbeitla in Tunisia. We love the gorgeous mosaic and the colors and patterns that decorate this relic. Its survival is a testament to the superior craftsmanship that went into this work of art. That said, we also love some of the silly things people who visited the site have said about it.
One person likened the back of the baptism pool to that of an old, comfy-looking sofa chair - and now we can't unsee it! Another says the mosaic reminds them of snake's skin. Thoughts?
This Magnificent Italian Sculpture Was Created During the Second Century CE
Just look at the impeccable detailing on the Column of Marcus Aurelius, located in Rome, Italy. This stunning relic dates as far back as the second century. The specific subsection of the column snapped here seems to focus on military history and stories. We can see tons of soldiers wearing armor and carrying shields. If you look closely, you can also spot a few horses dragging intricate carriages behind them.
Then if you take a quick peek towards the bottom of the picture, you'll see what appears to be boats lining the waves. Given all the military references, we can only assume these are warships.
Rio De Janeiro's Botanical Park Is Over 200 Years Old
Wow- just wow. That's all we could say when we first saw this fantastic snap of this botanical park. This wonder is located in Rio De Janeiro and was founded in 1808. It is considered one of the best botanical gardens in the world. Just look at how tall those trees are! The way these tower over the person pictured in the photo makes humans look tiny in perspective, and the mountainous backdrop only adds to this spectacle!
All in all, this place looks truly breathtaking. But, we can't help but think it would be a tad eerie after the sun goes down. Who knows what might be lurking in the woods?
One Of The Largest Pre-Roman Mosaics Ever Unearthed
Just look at the whopping size of this pre-Roman mosaic. The person hosing down the artwork helps provide some perspective on just how big it is! So, we're not surprised that this is one of the most extensive pre-Roman mosaics ever to be unearthed. This intricate, complex pattern is said to have been explicitly designed to showcase the power of The Kingdom of Macedonia and can be found in the Palace of Aigai.
Interestingly, Aigai was the Macedonian empire's first capital city. We can't believe its condition considering it was created sometime between 350-340 BCE. That's well over 2,000 years ago!
Brazil's Royal Library Was Named the Most Beautiful in the World
This has to be the library to end all libraries, right? Pictured here is a snapshot of the Portuguese Royal Library in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. This is nothing short of a book-lovers paradise. It makes us wonder whether anyone has ever counted all the books lining these exquisite shelves. Also, how long would it take to read all this content? We can only imagine that it would take decades!
This magnificent library was founded in 1837, and the Brazilian Emperor Pedro II laid the building's first stone on June 10, 1880. Then, in 1900 the building became public.
Humans Dug These Caves Inside Natural Rocks for Wine Conservation
What we're looking at here are cave cellars dug into the landscape of Pietragalla, a town in the province of Potenza in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. Interestingly, these are still used today to conserve wine. Apparently, you can reach these quirky caves via the alleys of the medieval village. Further still, you can continue climbing to the highest point of Pietragalla, where the church (San Nicola di Bari) and the castle, Palazzo Ducale, sit.
It sounds like this Italian town would be an incredible place to visit! That said, we still can't work out whether it's moss or grass lining the cellars - either way, they're still wonderful!
This Roman Mosaic Was Unexpectedly Uncovered in Croatia
Could you imagine being the construction worker tasked with maintaining the pipes, gas lines, or whatever else, and then you start digging the pavement only to find a nearly immaculately preserved Roman mosaic? We bet that doesn't happen every day! Interestingly, this underground artwork has only recently been unearthed in the Old Town of Hvar, Croatia. Just look at the beautiful colors used to create this masterpiece. We love the geometric shapes and pretty floral motifs.
Experts suggest that this mosaic dates back to the 2nd century CE. That makes this work of art a staggering 2,400 years old! It's hard to believe, considering it's in practically pristine condition!
The Terracotta Army Built in 209 BCE
Pictured here is the Terracotta Army. As its name so aptly suggests, it's a massive collection of terracotta warriors. More specifically, these statues depict Qin Shi Huang's army, the first emperor of China. Amazingly this is actually a form of funerary art. It's estimated that this terracotta army was buried around 210–209 BCE with the emperor, with the idea being that these warriors would protect the emperor during his afterlife.
These beauties were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in Lintong County, outside Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. Could you imagine just going about your everyday business to stumble across these ancient figures?!
The World's Oldest Carpet Was Found Frozen in the Altai Mountains
No, you're not looking at a rug purchased from an old flea market. Instead, pictured here is one of the world's oldest intact carpets. Known as the Pazyryk rug, and given that it's supposed to be as old as 2,500 years old (somewhere between the third and fourth centuries BCE), it is in incredible condition! This carpet was found frozen in a kurgan amidst the Altai Mountains in Central Asia.
The pile and the base of the carpet are made entirely of wool. Down the middle of the rug, we can see a ribbon pattern, and the border boasts beautiful deer.
Staircase Designed by Leonardo Da Vinci Is More Than Meets the Eye
In this image, we see a beautiful staircase located in Chambord Castle in France. Leonardo Da Vince, a legend of high renaissance art, meticulously designed this masterpiece. It was built in 1516, only a few years before the inventor and artist's passing. Although you can't tell from this picture, this gorgeous Chambord staircase has two spirals that intertwine. However, from the outside, it looks like just one structure. Pretty neat, right?
That way, two people can use the staircase simultaneously without bumping into each other! Apparently, when two people use each staircase, they can see one another through window openings. However, they'll never cross paths!
An Eerie yet Stunning Medusa Sculpture From 2nd Century CE
Although we recognize the intricacy and attention to detail in this statue of Medusa, we couldn't help but gasp at the creepiness of this masterpiece. It's shocking, terrifying, and incredibly moving. In fact, if we stare at it for too long, we can't help but cringe! This work of art depicts pure horror! Impressively, it dates back to the second century CE and can be found at Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli, in Italy.
This villa has earned the prestige of becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It comprises tons of ruins and other archaeological treasures, such as the magnificent statue pictured in the photo.
Mysore Palace in India's "City of Palaces"
If you enjoy incredible architecture and masterful artistry, the inside of Mysore Palace certainly won't disappoint. Located in India, in the heart of the city, Mysore, this is one of the largest palaces in India. When you combine this fact with its astonishing beauty, it's no wonder this is one of the most visited monuments in India. Just look at the intricate detailing painted on the ceilings, walls, and columns.
We also love the bright colors, more specifically, the golds, turquoise, and reds. The painting is so decadent and bold, and the carving of the columns is sublime. Certainly fit for royalty!
Ancient Tombs Carved Into Natural Rock Formations in Turkey
These gorgeous Lycian rock tombs can be found in the ancient city of Myra in Antalya, Turkey. A quick internet surf tells us that St. Paul is believed to have visited this ancient city and that during the fourth century, St. Nicholas was its bishop. Who was, yes, you guessed it - the guy who triggered the legend of Santa Claus! We think these tombs meticulously carved into the vertical cliff surfaces are nothing short of astonishing.
Given these tombs' structural integrity and beauty, it's safe to say these ruins have truly stood the test of time. These remains are around 2,500 years old!
France's Oldest House Has Been Around for 7 Centuries
Pictured here is one of the oldest houses in France. This gorgeous property can be found in Aveyron. Experts believe it's a whopping 700 years old, built sometime during the 13th or 14th centuries. Fun fact: The ground floor of this home is smaller than the upstairs. This was relatively common back then because property owners only paid taxes on occupied land. As such, having a smaller 'base level' was a shrewd money-saving technique!
This quaint two-story house is called “Maison de Jeanne,” aptly named after its last owner, Jeanne. The property boasts half-timbered walls, partially constructed out of cob.
French Kings Resided Here Until the 14th Century
It's no secret that there are endless religious sites and temples around the world, all with their own beauty. But this one certainly stands out with its colorful aesthetic and beautiful arches. Called the Sainte-Chapelle, this chapel is located in the Medieval Palais De La Cite in Paris. Up until the 1300s, French kings called this place their home. Today, it is conserved and protected by a police station that was built around it.
There are so many beautiful things to look at. From the windows to the floors and the enchanting candles, it's hard to stop staring at this gorgeous photo.
A Statue Of King Arthur That's Like No Other
This is a photo of a beautiful statue depicting King Arthur that was created by the talented Rubin Eynon. This piece is located on the grounds of an ancient Cornish castle, Tintagel. We love that this statue is called 'Gallos,' which means 'power' in Cornish. The location of this masterpiece is fitting, considering that legend has it that Tintagel was where King Arthur was conceived and born. It's apparently 8-foot tall and made out of bronze.
In the background, you can see the gorgeous Atlantic Coast of Cornwall amidst the rocky headland. It's nothing short of breathtaking. This really seems like the perfect place for legend, architecture, and history to fuse together!
The German Crown Prince Fled Here When Soviet Forces Invaded in 1945
Hohenzollern Castle looks like something out of an old Disney movie. It's so pretty we think it may even put Disney Land's castle to shame! This historical castle is where the Hohenzollern dynasty lived. It's situated 50 kilometers south of Stuttgart, at the periphery of the Swabian Alb in Germany. A quick internet surf tells us that thousands of people from all over the world come to marvel at this gorgeous place!
Apparently, earthquakes in 1970 and 1978 caused much damage to the castle, and the finances for its preservation are fuelled by the admission fees the family charge visitors.
This Home Was Constructed From Four Boulders
This remarkable cottage can be found in Celorico De Basto, Northern Portugal. Aptly named the Casa Do Penedo (which translates to be 'House Of The Rock'). This beauty was built out of four massive boulders. These act as this extraordinary property's foundations, walls, and ceilings. You would be forgiven for thinking this home was centuries old, but apparently, it was constructed as late as 1972! How neat is that?!
After scouring the internet, we found the property was initially used as a holiday destination (could you imagine stumbling across this on Airbnb?!). However, now the cottage serves as a museum of relics and photos.
Gorgeous Detailed Architecture in India's Ancient Temple
Architecture doesn't get much more impressive than this! What we're looking at here is an ancient sun temple located in Modhera, India. It was constructed way back in 1026 CE. Do you ever look at historic buildings and wonder how they managed to create such incredible statures without the modern equipment we have today? We can only imagine the hours, labor, and attention to detail it would take to pull off a feat like this!
Fun fact: Rumor has it that the temple was explicitly designed so that every equinox, the first ray of the sun, always strikes a diamond on the head of the Sun God.
Breath-Taking Arch in Rouen, the Capital of Normandy, France
When it comes to arches, they don't come much prettier than this! This arch can be found under the Gros-Horloge (which translates to 'Great Clock'), a 14th-century astronomical clock in Rouen, Normandy, France. Just look at the elaborate carvings; in front and center of the arch, we see Rouen's coat of arms. This features the lamb of God set against a somewhat faded red background (which incidentally is the color of Normandy).
Two angels hold the coat of arms. Then, if we take a closer look under the arch, we see a depiction of Christ as the good shepherd. The craftsmanship is nothing short of astonishing!
Cambodia's Seven-Headed Snake Statue
This magnificent albeit terrifying statue of a seven-headed snake is located in front of one of the largest temple complexes in the world, Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It's known as the Naga stone statue and was built by the Hindu King Suryavarman II. Apparently, this seven-headed serpent is supposed to represent power, water, and fertility. One commenter on the original post likened the statue to a peacock's tail, and now that we've heard that, we can't unsee it!
As intricate and impressive as these carvings are, we can't help but find them a tad alarming if we stare at them for too long! Their sharp, pointy teeth don't look too friendly.
The Remains of a Druid Temple in England
We can't help but think this druid temple has a ghostly feel. The mist and the fog certainly lend an eerie feeling to this spot. These particular stones can be found in Yorkshire, England. But, although named the druid temple, apparently, it's not an authentic relic. Instead, it's actually a nineteenth-century folly. This stone circle was clearly influenced by ancient monuments dotted around the UK, most famously Stonehenge.
Although this site was built only around 200 years ago, there have been local whisperings of Devil worship, ghostly appearances, and other mystic practices attached to this stone circle.
This Uzbekistan Fortress From the 1400s Saw Many Historic Moments
It doesn't get much better than this when it comes to unique castle architecture. Pictured here are the city walls of the Ark Of Bukhara in Uzbekistan. Despite being around 1,500 years old, this part of the fortress sits proudly - looking as beautiful as ever! Apparently, this remarkable building is Uzbekistan's oldest structure and is often described as a "town within a town." It's said that people occupied the castle as late as the 1920s.
Fast forward to today, and about 80% of the site is in ruins, but a few royal quarters remain and are now home to museums. Interestingly, the ark sits on a 20-meter-high artificial hill.
An 800 Year-Old Packhorse Bridge in the United Kingdom
Here is something you don't see every day - an 800-year-old packhorse bridge. This beauty is located in Wycoller, Lancashire, England. It looks like something pulled out of a fairy tale! The wear on these stones is fantastic; it really helps you imagine the people and horses that have used this bridge over the centuries. And believe it or not, this bridge remains completely stable to this day! Interestingly, the stones used to create this bridge run its entire width.
This part of the world was heavily bombed during world war two, which makes the survival of this beautiful bridge even more remarkable! Side note: Wouldn't the banks of this ford make for a lovely picnic?
Versailles's Hall Of Mirrors Creates Quite the Optical Illusion
You've probably heard of or seen pictures of the Hall of Mirrors located in the palace of Versailles, France. It's world-famous and for a good reason. Just look at the incredible architecture, chandeliers, and remarkable paintings on the ceilings! Everywhere you look, this room has something unique to marvel at. The Hall of Mirrors is a whopping 73 meters long and is said to be a tribute to France's 'political, economic and artistic success.'
Interestingly, this room has been the site of some monumentally historical events. Most notably, the signing of the Treaty of Versailles (28 June 1919) and the proclamation of the German Empire.