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Our tour of Greece begins with one of its most recognizable landmarks - the iconic windmills of Mykonos. Windmills used to be a defining feature of the Greek landscape - you could find hundreds of them dotting the various islands. Today, only a handful remain - and the ones in the best condition can be found on the island of Mykonos. Built back in the 16th century, they once harassed the powerful northern wind into grinding wheat. While no longer operational, they still serve as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. We continue to tour the islands - this time, stopping in Crete and visiting its famous ruins of Knossos. Called "Europe's oldest city" - people once settled here as far back as 7000 BCE. The first major palaces were built back in 1900 BCE and became one of the greatest sights in the Mediterranean - it was far more complex and flamboyant than any of the other palaces in the region. Around 1700 BCE, massive earthquakes struck the region - initially destroying the palace. Over the next couple hundred years, the palace was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times, due to volcanoes, more earthquakes, and invaders - and was ultimately abandoned around 1375 BCE. While much of it remains in ruins today - there's still plenty to do and explore, making it another popular tourist destination. We head to the mainland where we'll visit Greece's most famous landmark - the Parthenon. Part religious temple (dedicated to the goddess Athena) and part treasury - this iconic structure was built between 447 and 432 BCE and stands high over Athens, at the top of its monumental Acropolis. While the structure was in decent condition for many centuries - a Venetian siege back in 1687 caused much of the damage you see today, as nearly 700 cannonballs were launched into its famous columns. We head further north, into the incredible landscapes of Meteora. Since the early 14th century, the local monks have been building monasteries high up on these steep rocks - there's really no other place like it on Earth. While most would associate Greece with the sea and sunny days - its not uncommon to see snow here, as the mountains will essentially block out gusts from the sea, causing massive temperature swings. No matter what time of the year you visit though - Meteora will still take your breath away. We head back into the Aegean Sea to visit one of Greece's most beautiful islands - Santorini. A massive volcano blew the top off of this island back in 1646 BCE - drastically changing the look of the island and turning it into one of the most unique destinations in all of the Mediterranean Sea. Today, beautiful white villas flank the steep cliff sides - and the views from the top make for an unforgettable trip. We head back south - making sure to stop at one of the most stunning ruins in all of Greece, the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion - located just south of Athens. The Ancient Greeks picked the perfect spot to honor their God of the Sea - the views of the ocean from here are absolutely incredible. Built back in 440 BCE, it was never fully completed - but still served as an important place of worship for many decades. Our last stop is one of Greece's most beautiful and stunning destinations - Navagio Beach, located on the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea. Back in 1980, the freightliner MV Panagiotis crashed into the beach after a night of stormy conditions - and it's been abandoned ever since, giving the beach its famous nickname of "Shipwreck Beach". Between the crystal clear water, pristine sand, and towering limestone cliffs - its a perfect place to spend the day. Note: To make the Navagio Beach scene, instead of using a cliff mod - I ended up creating my own BAT to get the best result. If anyone is interested in the model and wants to try their hand with it - feel free to PM me Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! -korver --- Previous Update: "Tour of Africa: North Africa" Big thanks to @_Michael, @Toby Ferrian, @redfox85, @CorinaMarie, @raynev1, @bladeberkman, @Odainsaker, @bobolee, @RandyE, @scotttbarry, @Manuel-ito, @Tonraq, @MushyMushy,@kingofsimcity, @TMTS, @Elenphor, @Jonas_Chaves, @RobertLM78, @Marushine, @mrsmartman, @Namiko, & @mike_oxlong for all the likes!
The tour continues as we venture into North Africa, and our first destination is the ancient royal capital city of Fez, Morocco. In the heart of Fez's medina (an ancient walled city, without streets) you can find the stunning Chouara Tannery, one of Africa's most unique wonders. For nearly a thousand years, the locals have been tanning and dying their hides here - if you can get past the pungent odor (its suggested to hold mint leaves near your nose while visiting) it's a destination that you won't want to miss. After an extended trek through the Sahara Desert - we find ourselves at the shores of one of Africa's disappearing wonders, the once great Lake Chad. Climate change and overuse by the locals have turned much of the lake bone dry, and its estimated that the lake is only about 1/20 of the size it once was back in the 1960's. While much of the lake is long gone - there's still a number of small communities dotting the receding shorelines, with the locals adapting to the changes and making the best of what they have. We venture back out into the Sahara - and for anyone traveling in these parts, its vital to know where the closest oasis is. Water is a precious resource here - and it could be hundreds of miles before you find the next closest source. After traveling east through the seemingly endless Sahara Desert - we finally reach the Red Sea. This salty, hot sea is some to some of the most unique animals and underwater flora in the world, and the coral reefs here are quite amazing. While other coral reefs around the world are slowly dying due to climate change - the ones here are unique in the fact that they don't bleach and are extraordinarily resistant to rising temperatures. We travel into Egypt - and no visit is complete without a trip to the legendary Nile River. The world's longest river runs through the heart of the country, providing farmers much needed water and making this one of the most populated regions in all of North Africa. Riverboats run for much of the rivers length here, making it an excellent way to get up close views of the surrounding villages and archeological sites. The tour wraps up with one of the most famous landmarks in world and the only remaining wonder of the ancient world - The Pyramids of Giza. These unmistakable structures were built by the rulers of ancient Egypt back in 3000 BCE - primarily as tombs for pharaohs and queens. Despite the fact that their sparkling white limestone exterior is long gone, as well as many of the surrounding structures - they've stood the test of time like few structures on the face of the planet. Be sure to visit at night - the entire complex comes to life as the pyramids are lit up - an unforgettable sight. Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! -korver --- Previous Update: "Tour of Africa: West Africa" Big thanks to @_Michael, @RobertLM78, @scotttbarry, @Ceafus 88, @MushyMushy, @CorinaMarie, @Jonas_Chaves, @bobolee, @Odainsaker, @RandyE, @Manuel-ito, @mike_oxlong, @bladeberkman, @sucram17, @TMTS, @TekindusT, @Toby Ferrian, @redfox85, @metarvo, @mrsmartman, @SC4L0ver, @MAW, @Marushine, & @Golhbul for all the likes!
Our tour resumes in West Africa - and for anyone traveling across this landscape, you'll find countless mud and thatched roof huts dotting the land for as far as the eye can see. The ones we see here in Rural Congo are simple, yet beautiful - they've been a staple for the locals for thousands of years, and for good reason. They're easy and efficient to build - and they withstand the elements fairly well. We travel further west through Nigeria and into Benin, but from this point forward, the only transportation option is by boat. We've entered one of the many swampy lagoons that dot the shoreline, and with a little help from the locals, we'll soon find one of the most unique destinations in all of Africa. We've made it to Ganvie, Benin - called the "Venice of Africa", there's really nothing else like it in the world. When translated into English, Ganvie literally means "we survived" - a reminder of events that happened hundreds of years ago. The Tofinu people that lived in the area needed a way to escape the slave trade - so they moved to stilt houses on top of the surrounding Lake Nokoué. It was their only option - and they were finally able to find peace here. West Africa is known particularly well for its beautiful beaches and scenery - and few can compare to the ones you might find on the coastlines of Ghana. With their natural beauty and an occasional shipwreck or two like the ones found in Fete - these beaches have attracted countless tourists from across the globe. As we make our way further west through the dense jungle, its a common sight to see local markets dot the landscape in countries such as Guinea. Just about everything imaginable is sold here - livestock, poultry, yams, sweet potatoes, and of course, lots and lots of green bananas. We take a look around, picking up a couple pieces of authentic African clothing as well - a beautiful reminder of our tour. Although elephants have been hunted to the point of near extinction in West Africa due to the demand for their ivory tusks, there's still a number of places to find them if you look hard enough. Niokolo-Koba National Park in Senegal is one of the best remaining spots, and jungle safaris are one of the most popular tourist attractions. Move slowly, though - you never know when a wild chimpanzee might dart across the road in front of you.. Our last stop is one of the most historically important cities in all of West Africa - Timbuktu. This desert city was once a great trading post for goods traveling from West to North Africa - back in the 1300s, you might have even seen the legendary Mansa Musa (emperor of the Kingdom of Mali) pass through these streets with his caravan. Musa himself played a pivotal role in this history of Timbuktu - with a net worth of over $400 billion, he built mosques wherever he went. This included the great Djinguereber Mosque back in 1327, among others - all of which would be turned into universities and helped to turn Timbuktu into a great educational city as well. When you walk through these streets, you really feel like your stepping back in time - not much has changed over the years, and its truly a one of a kind experience. Don't forget to comment, like, and follow True Earth if you haven't already! -korver --- Previous Update: "Tour of Africa: Central Africa" Big thanks to @nRVOUS, @bladeberkman, @RobertLM78, @CorinaMarie, @matias93, @Manuel-ito, @Andrey km, @RandyE, @Odainsaker, @MushyMushy, @tariely, @bobolee, @Toby Ferrian, @_Michael, @TMTS, @mrsmartman, @mike_oxlong, @SC4L0ver, @juliok92012, @Marushine, @Jonas_Chaves, @MAW, @Ceafus 88, @raynev1, & @Urban Constanta for all the likes!