Photos Around The World Winter 2016

Lake Baikal is an ancient, massive lake in the mountainous Russian region of Siberia, north of the Mongolian border. Considered the deepest lake in the world, it’s circled by a network of hiking paths called the Great Baikal Trail. The village of Listvyanka, on its western shoreline, is a popular starting point for summertime wildlife-spotting tours, plus wintertime ice-skating and dog sledding.


With their unique shape and imposing stature, the majestic baobab trees have been an icon of Madagascar's landscape for centuries, unmovable symbols of the tropical island's luscious scenery.
Six out of the eight species of the long-lived tree are endemic to Madagascar, the island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa.
The stunning country is home to a rich ecosystem that boasts an incredible mosaic of animal and plant life evolved for tens of millions of years in complete isolation. As a result 90% of Madagascar's wildlife exists nowhere else on the planet.
In the midst of it all, the mighty baobab has stood tall for generations, its barrel-like trunk reaching a height of 18 meters.
Often described as "the upside down tree" due to its unusual shape -- the tree's branches look like roots sticking up in the air -- the baobab has sparked many legends throughout the centuries. An ancient myth goes that when the gods planted the trees, they kept walking away so they placed them upside down.

 Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization located in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala. It was the capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD. The city was located in the extreme southeast of the Mesoamerican cultural region, on the frontier with the Isthmo-Colombian cultural region, and was almost surrounded by non-Maya peoples. Discovered in 1570 by Diego García de Palacio, the Maya site of Copan is one of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization. The site is functioned as the political, civil and religious centre of the Copan Valley. It was also the political centre and cultural focus of a larger territory that covered the southeast portion of the Maya area and its periphery.

The first evidence of population in the Copan Valley dates back to 1500 B.C., but the first Maya-Cholan immigration from the Guatemalan Highlands is dated around 100 A.D. The Maya leader Yax Kuk Mo, coming from the area of Tikal (Petén), arrived in the Copan Valley in 427 A.D., and started a dynasty of 16 rulers that transformed Copan into one of the greatest Maya cities during the Classic Maya Period. The great period of Copán, paralleling that of other major Mayan cities, occurred during the Classical period, AD 300-900. Major cultural developments took place with significant achievements in mathematics, astronomy and hieroglyphic writing. The archaeological remains and imposing public squares reveal the three main stages of development, during which evolved the temples, plazas, altar complexes and ball courts that can be seen today, before the city was abandoned in the early 10th century.

The Mayan city of Copán as it exists today is composed of a main complex of ruins with several secondary complexes encircling it. The main complex consists of the Acropolis and important plazas. Among the five plazas are the Ceremonial Plaza, with an impressive stadium opening onto a mound with numerous richly sculptured monoliths and altars; the Hieroglyphic Stairway Plaza, with a monumental stairway at its eastern end that is one of the outstanding structures of Mayan culture. On the risers of this 100 m wide stairway are more than 1,800 individual glyphs which constitute the longest known Mayan inscription. The Eastern Plaza rises a considerable height above the valley floor. On its western side is a stairway sculptured with figures of jaguars originally inlaid with black obsidian.


Hungary village lakeside

The Northern Lights are formed by particles emitted by the sun during solar explosions. When these particles interact with the atmosphere in the Earth's magnetic field, energy is released, causing these peculiar luminous green streaks across the skies. Sightings are immediately improved outside populated areas, especially away from the light-pollution of the capital.

On clear winter nights, many sightseeing trips are organized around this spectacular—though fickle—natural phenomenon. The ideal location for sightings varies and excursion leaders are skilled in "hunting" the lights, finding locations where conditions are best for seeing them on any given night. There are no guarantees that you will see the aurora borealis during your stay, but in almost all cases, however, sightings are immediately improved outside populated areas, especially away from the light-pollution of the capital.

However, the Northern Lights are sometimes visible from within the city, and on many cold winter nights news spread quickly between locals around town, who implore each other to go out for a look at our local wonder. The Icelandic Met Service provides a daily Northern Lights forecast, which will further improve your chances of catching this wonderful display of nature.

A curious fox kit in Southern Estonia waited until its mother left for food before emerging from its den to observe the neighborhood.

Hundreds of tiny star-like bioluminescent phytoplankton shining brightly near the shore were captured in a breathtaking photo of the ocean with glowing plankton near Larak Iran.
Plankton that can glow in the dark are considered "bioluminous" and could give off a blue, green, red or orange glow. Bioluminescence comes from “bio,” meaning life, and “lumin,” meaning light.
Bioluminescent plankton don’t glow all of the time since it takes energy to create the chemicals that allow them to glow.
 CROATIA - Within the boundaries of this heavily forested national park, 16 crystalline lakes tumble into each other via a series of waterfalls and cascades. The mineral-rich waters carve through the rock, depositing tufa in continually changing formations. Clouds of butterflies drift above the 18km of wooden footbridges and pathways which snake around the edges and under and across the rumbling water.
It takes upwards of six hours to explore the lakes on foot, or you can slice two hours off by taking advantage of the park's free boats and buses (departing every 30 minutes from April to October). From Entrance 2, catch the bus to the top of the upper lakes and wander back down to the shore of Kozjak , the park's largest lake (about 4km in length). A boat will whisk you from here to the lower lakes, where the circuit culminates in the aptly named Veliki Slap , the tallest waterfall in Croatia (78m). The path then climbs steeply (offering great views and photo opportunities) to a bus stop, where you can grab a lift back to Entrance 2.
If you've got limited time, the upper lake section can be completed in two hours. The lower section takes about three, although we recommend that you start with the bus ride and end with the boat to save yourself a climb.
Rowboats can be hired from the shores of Lake Kozjak near Entrance 2 (50KN per hour). Note: swimming is not permitted in any of the lakes.
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/croatia/plitvice-lakes-national-park/sights/parks-gardens/plitvice-lakes-national-park#ixzz42innVina
 
Jutting diagonally into the sky from the old port of Rio de Janeiro is an other-worldly edifice that looks like a cross between a solar-powered dinosaur and a giant air conditioning unit.
The Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) must already rank as one of the world’s most extraordinary buildings. It may soon also become known for one of the planet’s most powerful arguments for sustainability. Mixing science and art, the 230m reais (£40m/$59m) institution devotes itself to a topic that is divisive and often depressing: the need for change if mankind is to avoid climate disaster, environmental degradation and social collapse. For Mayor Eduardo Paes – who will inaugurate the building at a ceremony with President Dilma Rousseff – the museum is the most striking example yet of the regeneration and gentrification of Rio’s port district. Ten years ago this was one of the city’s poorest and most crime-ridden areas. Today it is in the midst of a vast redevelopment that should make it one of the most desirable areas in Rio. The overhead expressway – the Perimetral – has been demolished, new plazas have opened up, the poor have been driven out and the wealthy corporate residents, including Trump Tower developers, are being invited in.
To attract them, a new Museum of Art was completed here two years ago. It is impressive, but the Museum of Tomorrow is on another scale altogether.
The structure – which was supposed to have opened before last year’s World Cup – looks set to be one of Rio’s most famous tourist sights. With solar spines that bristle above and a fan-like skylight below, it is designed to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Catalan architect Santiago Calatrava says he was inspired by the bromeliads in Rio’s Botanical Gardens. Inside, however, the whitewashed curves are more reminiscent of the 1960s concrete modernism of Oscar Niemeyer.
Funded by the Rio city government with support from sponsors, the building attempts to set new standards of sustainability in the municipality. Compared with conventional buildings, designers say it uses 40% less energy (including the 9% of its power it derives from the sun), and the cooling system taps deep water from nearby Guanabara Bay. Museum of Tomorrow is in Rio de Janeiro’s old port district.