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Colca Canyon and Valley of the Volcanoes

Colca Canyon in the Peruvian Andes, looks like it was cut with a giant knife. This is the deepest gorge in the world. White snow-capped peaks, often hidden in the clouds grow 3.2 km above the valley floor. Colca river, wild and muddy in the rainy season, winds its way among the extinct volcanoes scattered along the valley floor.

Over the mountains Colca canyon extends 64-mile Valley of Volcanoes, where there are 86 volcanic cones. Some of them reach a height of almost 300 m.

Some grow out of fields at the basis of other accumulated a solidified lava. some cones grow cacti, others are completely bare. Between the volcanoes and the Valley is filled with boulders Pacufikiem, hot, sandy ravine, called the Toro Muerto.

Colca Canyon – Colca canyon in Arequipa region in Peru. It is located about 100 km northwest of the city of Arequipa.

Canyon, whose walls rise from left to over 3200 m above river level, while the right – at 4200 m, according to some sources, considered the deepest canyon on earth, (which is two times deeper than the Grand Canyon in the U.S.). The canyon has a length of 120 kilometers. The difference in level between the inlet (3050 m asl) and the outlet (950 m) is 2100 m. The bottom of the canyon like a lunar landscape, covered with boulders and devoid of any vegetation.

The first canoe was crossing the canyon in 1981. This is what the Poles: Andrew Pietowski (expedition leader) and Peter Chmieliński – kayakers, George Majcherczyk – pontoon captain Jacek Bogucki – filmmaker, Zbigniew Bzdak – photographer from Cracow AGH kayak club “Bystrze” during the expedition canoe Canoandes ’79, was inscribed in 1984 year to the Guinness Book of Records. Participants of the expedition gave the Colca Canyon in a few names, then approved by the Geographical Institute of Peru, such as waterfalls John Paul II, Poles and Canyon Chocolate Canyon. Participants of the expedition but failed to penetrate the upper part of the canyon about 20 km long, called Cruz del Condor. Rio Colca River rapidly breaking down on the rocks of the upper section is where the water level is too low, so it was not possible at this point use a kayak or pontoon.

In August 2008, another Polish expedition, organized by members of the Academic Gliwice Touring Club “Vatra”, traveled part of the canyon from the bridge linking the Madrigal-Pinchollo to bivouac in front of a waterfall Polonia. Discovered hot springs (named after the club Watra AKT) and the waterfall Polonia. At the same time, the same part of the canyon has come a group of Polish-American-Peruvian Colca Condor 2008 under the leadership of George Majcherczyk.

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Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza – pre-Columbian city founded by the Maya on the Yucatan peninsula (Mexico) around 450 a year. Preserved monuments in the southern and western parts are associated with the Mayan culture, while in the north – with the culture of the Toltecs.


The biggest development is dated to the X-XI century. In the thirteenth century, the city lost its importance, and the fifteenth was abandoned. Excavations conducted since 1924 have revealed the remains of many monuments. Its name is derived from two sacred tanks, with which it was founded (the name means Sources Chichén Itzá Itzá People). These tanks are called cenote served from the fifth century as a place of sacrifice – the Mayans threw ritually broken items.

The first buildings at Chichen Itza was built around 700 (in the classical period of art development of the Maya). They present the typical features of Mayan architecture – they are low buildings constructed of stone with smooth walls. The largest buildings were erected during the Toltec influence. Formed at that time: the largest areas of Mesoamerica pitch ullamalitzli (150 m), El Castillo – Cuculcan temple (Temple Castle), the Temple of Warriors (Templo de los Guerreros), a group of Temple of a Thousand Columns, and Jaguar.

  • Temple of the Warrior – are visible in the clear influence of Toltec art. It uses the pillars built in the shape of feathered serpents and warriors as well as sculptures półleżących called Chac Mool form. Characteristic of Mayan art is applied to the virtual vaults inside the premises. Images of the Maya rain god, Chac, have been used as decoration of the walls.
  • El Castillo – temple called the Castle, the Temple Cuculcan, the equivalent of Quetzalcoatl. It was built on a pyramid composed of nine stepped terraces. Stairs lead to the top of the pyramid with four sides, each course is 91 degrees (364 degrees total), 365 degree (ie number of days of the solar year) is the entrance to the temple. At the bottom of the stairs carved images of feathered serpent heads guarding the entrance to the temple.
  • El Caracol – snail which is a round tower with a height of 12 m and 6.7 m in diameter built on two terraces. Placed inside the spiral staircase leading to the upper chamber. Its windows were placed radially. Hence the assumption to use the tower for astronomical observations.

In 1988 the archaeological site of Chichen Itza inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and July 7, 2007 the building was declared one of the seven new wonders of the world.

Chichen Itza is located in the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. It is a ruined, overgrown vegetation, the city that the late nineteenth century amateur archaeologist discovered, Amerikanin Edward Herbert Thompson.

The city was built at the beginning of our era by the Maya. Its name comes from the times of pre-Columbian and Mayan language Itzá is at the source. The largest rise occurred from about 450 until the tenth century, when they conquered the Toltecs. This led to the penetration kultyry Mayan Toltec culture.

The city was covered road, which was 300 meters long and 6 feet wide, lined with red bricks. At the end there is a natural cavity of depth 40 meters and 60 meters in diameter, which probably acted as the sacrificial pit. During the great drought thrown to her maidens to appease the rain god. At the bottom were found large quantities of items of gold, jade and clay.

The Mayans built in huge stone buildings, temples, palaces, galleries with colonnades. One such building is the Temple of the Warrior, which is also clearly visible influence Toltec art. The pillars built in the shape of feathered serpents, warriors, and there are a half-lying sculptures Chac Mool form called. The city also built a step pyramid complex of the nine terraces on which the summit is a temple.

In Chichen Itza is a divine feathered serpent statue with a huge mouth and a tail pointing to the sky, and also erected two stone terraces on the dome, which probably served as an astronomical observatory.

Another building is Tzompantli – platform skulls. It is built on a rectangular plan with sides 60 meters to 12 meters. The red stone walls of the building were decorated with four rows of skulls, which probably represent the severed heads of prisoners who were imprisoned in Tzompantli.

The city also has several pitches ritual ball games. The game consisted of just moving the ball through the stone ring. The length of the pitch reaches up to 150 meters.

Mammoth Cave

Location: Kentucky, USA
Creation Date: 1941
Area: 214 sq km
Length of trails: 19 km, total: 320 km
Visitors per year: 1 880 126 (2004)
Headquarters: State of Kentucky

The world’s largest cave system is located within the United States, located in Mammoth Cave National Park in the state of Kentucky, 144 km south of the city Louiville. Europeans came to these caves for the first time in 1799. In 1972 speleologists studying these areas have shown that corridors in three mountain ranges: Flint, Mammoth Cave and Toohey combine to form a system of at least 560 km.

The caves were formed by water that dissolved under a layer of limestone occurring hard rock. Zdumiewajca collection of stalactites and stalagmites and curtains creates a solid limestone waterfalls and delicate flowers look like crystals.

Echo River, flowing 110 m below the surface, provides shelter for fish, lobsters and shrimp. Living organisms adapt to their environment – the animals chewing on the river, into which no sunlight reaches, are devoid of eyes and color.

Mammoth Cave National Park – covers an area of ​​the world’s longest cave. Park (area 214 km ²) located in the central part of the state of Kentucky, about 160 miles south of Louisville. Park visited annually by nearly 2 million tourists. In 1981 he became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mammoth Cave is sometimes referred to as one of the wonders of the Western Hemisphere. Located in the hills band made up mainly of limestone. Over millions of years of local streams acidified water permeated through the porous scale digging himself in her hallway. Tourists can choose from several routes with a total of 19 km of corridors on five levels. The lowest is 110 m below the surface of the ground. In the cave there are several lakes, rivers and waterfalls. The largest river is the Echo River 6-18 mi wide at 1,5-8 m deep, live in the eyeless cave fish. Cave fauna is complemented by several species of bats, crayfish and many insects.

The first white men who discovered the cave, the local settlers were appearing on the site in the late eighteenth century, however, footprints, Muni, simple tools and torches butts prove that they knew and lived in the cave era of pre-Columbian Indians. The first one concerning the great cave, from the year 1798.

During the war with the British in 1812 the cave was mined nitrate required for the manufacture of gunpowder. In the early nineteenth century, Mammoth Cave was the only known North American site of nitrate. Mining ceased shortly after the war, and in 1816 the cave has become a popular place for visitors. Walls and Mammoth Cave formations are very colorful and take on fantastic shapes.

Within the national park there are three cave systems: Mammoth Cave System, Crystal Cave System Flint Ridge system inside and Joppa Ridge System. In 1972 it became clear that there is a connection to Mammoth and Crystal Caves, which creates the world’s longest system of ways: over 587 km.


Badlands, badlandy (in English literally bad land) – upland areas, mainly in the dry climate zone and semi-dry, with poor vegetation. They are characterized by strong fragmentation (especially in the edge portion) through a network of deep ravines, formed by a process of periodic flushing during heavy rains. Rainwater erosion activity within the substrate poorly scementowanego also leads to the formation of various isolated forms of land – island mountains, needles, mountains and other witnesses. Bleakness of this land, unfavorable surface, poor accessibility, et al. decide on the limited capabilities of their management.

An example of badlands is the southwestern part of the state of South Dakota, where a large proportion of such areas are protected within the Badlands National Park, as well as in North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

This land of jagged mountain ranges, deep gorges, narrow, flat ended hills and desert, which seems to stretch endlessly, very aptly named – Badlands (Badlands). Both the Sioux and Europeans gave to this area in their respective languages ​​of the same name. It lies in south-western Dakota and northwestern Nebraska (USA). There is extremely hot.

Badlands plateau began to form about 80 million years ago. This area was the bottom of shallow sea with an area of ​​15 500 km ².

Uplift that about 65 million years ago formed the Rocky Mountains, also increased the this area. Water, flowing, washed off the top layer of soil and some rocks. Preces erosion continues – Vampire Peak peak is reduced by 15 cm per year.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon is one of the greatest natural wonders on earth. Stand on the edge and admire the stunning magnitude and beauty of this unforgettable experience. The length of the canyon is 443 km and its width ranges from 200 m to 29 km. Maximum depth of the canyon (in the granite gorge) is 1.6 km.

Grand Canyon cut out from the plateau found located in the northwestern part of Arizona, who was once the bottom of an ancient ocean. Two rivers, ancient and Hualapo Colorado, broke through the plateau and merged to form present-day Colorado River.

At the same time, about 60 million years ago, as a result of crustal movements plateau shifted upward. Flowing rapidly (at speeds up to 32 km per hour.) Colorado River canyon sides rinsed, boring deep trough.

The layers of rock canyon is recorded geological history of this region. The youngest rocks on the top count 225 million years. Tena bottom – over 2 billion years. All the geological layers contain fossils of marine animals, trees and dinosaurs.

Grand Canyon – the turn of the Colorado River in Arizona in the U.S. by the Colorado Plateau, consisting mainly of slate Yishnu, as well as slate, limestone, sandstone and granite intrusions. The canyon is full of geological cross-section of the Proterozoic (Precambrian era) after the Triassic (Mesozoic Era). Each series of rock layers has a different hue. Sedimentary rocks rich in fossils of the canyon, from primitive algae to trees, sea shells from the remains of dinosaurs. Canyon formation time is estimated at about 10 million years. Canyon began to emerge first in the western part of the current course, 17 million years ago, while the eastern end amounted to 5-6 million years ago. In the next million years, took the plunge indentation and deepening of the river canyon, while preserving its length. His “architect” was the Colorado River, formed the canyon as the Colorado Plateau to rise. Prior to the construction in 1963, Glen Canyon dam river canyon carried by 500,000 tonnes of sludge per day and is currently only 80,000 tons. At present, the Grand Canyon is 349 km long and the deepest site (Granite Gorge – Granite Gorge) in 2133 m depth. The width varies from about 800 m (under the viewpoint Toroweap the North Rim – North Rim) to 29 km at its widest point. This is the biggest breakthrough of the river in the world (though not the deepest). The deepest canyon on earth is Cotahuasi canyon in Peru. The largest and deepest canyon in Europe is a breakthrough of the river Tara in Montenegro.
This area is a National Park – Grand Canyon National Park.

Skywalk observation platform

March 28, 2007 has been the grand opening of the glass bridge over the western part of the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon West). This “highest balcony” in the world. It is situated at an altitude of 1219 meters above the ground. The opening attraction for the audience held a few days later. For 29.5 USD / person (03.2009) (and approximately 30USD for purchase tourist route) interested have the opportunity to enjoy the opening abyss beneath them the Grand Canyon, separated from her only a transparent glass pane. Glass Skywalk observation deck is considered a miracle of engineering, cost $ 30 million and has a horseshoe-shaped projecting more than 20 meters from the edge of a cliff that drops straight down to a depth of 1220 meters. Located 144 km in a straight line to the west of Grand Canyon National Park, visited every year by 4.1 million tourists in areas Hualapai Indian Reservation in Arizona. The platform must not take pictures (cameras and mobile phones are transferred to the deposit). Photos are executed only by persons authorized and available for a fee.

Skywalk was designed by architects MRJ Architects and their design solution address the business Lochsa Engineering. Glass, which brought a horseshoe glass taken from the German plants, specializing in the manufacture of structural glass for unique building projects worldwide. According to architect Mark Johnson, Skywalk at the same time able to carry 120 people and can withstand winds in the Canyon at 160 km per hour. The platform also features a cushioning system that did not fell the vibrations caused by the displacement of people.


Death Valley

Death Valley – the area of ​​outflow of depression in the Mojave Desert in southern California. The lowest point is 86 m below sea level, acting in the greatest depression in the Western Hemisphere. Depression was formed in the Tertiary Rift Valley. Valley surrounded by huge mountain range with its highest peak Panamint Telescope Peak 3368 m and Amargosa mountain range. Tropical climate, dry, with rainfall not exceeding 50 mm per year (in some years no rain at all). The driest place America and one of the hottest places on Earth where 10 July 1913 the temperature reached 56.7 ° C (134 ° F). This is a record heat for North America. Rivers are periodic (Salt Creek, Furnace Creek). Slightly salty lake called Badwater has a very unusual fauna.

In 1933 he was proclaimed a national monument to the USA, and in 1994 a national park.

  • Area – 8374 km ²
  • Length – 225 km
  • Width – from 8 to 25 km
  • The lowest point – 86 m below sea level, Badwater pond bottom

Death Valley is a deep strip of desert stretching to the south-eastern California (USA). This is the hottest and most dry area in North America, and its lowest point (82 m bsl) is the largest reduction in the Americas. Rocks, with sparkling in the sunlight like a rainbow minerals make this area is stunningly beautiful. Its age is estimated at one million years.

50 thousand. years ago, this area was flooded with waters of Lake Manly. About 3 thousand. years ago in Death Valley was still a shallow lake. When the water evaporated from it, the bottom layer of salt remained, creating a visible crust today. Even when the area will drop a little rain, the water evaporates, the solution is absorbed into the soil.