Vår vakre verden – Amerika
Our world is made up of many unique, magical and beautiful places. Over the course of millions of years, nature has formed the landscape we know today. Humans have settled and improved the landscape with magnificent architecture and beautiful art. In this article we’ll take a look at some examples of this from America. These are ten of the most special places on the continent.
1. The Statue of Liberty | The United States
The world-famous Statue of Liberty welcomes you to New York Harbor. It is perhaps one of the most famous symbols of the United States. The best view can be experienced by catching a free ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island. On the Hudson River youre will be treated to spectacular views of New York City and the fabulous Statue of Liberty.
If you want to see the statue close up, take the ferry to Liberty Island. Included in your ticket is access to the lower part of the statue, or you can pay for an upgrade to go all the way up to the top of the viewing platform, which is in the crown of the statue. The statue is 92 metres high. From the entrance, there are 403 steps up to the head, where there is only space for 12 people. The statue is also a lighthouse.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France and was uncovered in 1886. It was created by the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, and engineer Gustave Eiffel was responsible for its construction. In her right hand, the Statue of Liberty holds a torch. This is a symbol of freedom that lights up the world. In her left hand, she holds a roll, which symbolises the law on which a society must be built. All people are born equal, and everyone has the right to a good life and freedom.
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2. Machu Picchu | Peru
Machu Picchu is a historic site in Peru. The old Inca ruins rise in all their glory at an height of 2,350 metres and the site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The city was completely unknown to the West until the 20th century when it was discovered by Yale professor Hiram Bingham.
The Inca Indians ruled over a huge area in South America from the beginning of the 15th century until the Spanish won in 1532. The Incas had no written language, but were still able to communicate across a large land area. They didn’t have much to give when the Spanish won over them. Today, only ruins remain of the impressive and magnificent city.
Today, the site is a world-famous archaeological labyrinth. Tourists flock in their thousands to see the Sacred Valley. To get there you have to walk through a forest, subtropical jungle, fantastic mountain scenery, and across areas prepared by the Incas themselves. The trip is an experience in itself.
Did you know…?
According to new research, Machu Picchu may be older than first thought. This means that people lived in the area several decades earlier than archaeologists previously assumed.
3. Niagara Falls | North America
Niagara Falls marks the border between the United States and Canada. The giant waterfall is actually made up of three different waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls sits on the border between the United States and Canada, while American Falls and the much smaller Bridal Veil Falls lie within the US.
Thousands of tourists flock to the famous waterfall. They are looking to take pictures of themselves next to the foaming water. It’s no surprise that visitor numbers are highest during the summer. Goat Island has an impressive view of the falls and can be reached by either car or by foot, via a bridge over American Falls.
About 2,400 cubic metres of water flows down Horseshoe Falls – the largest of the three waterfalls – every second. One cubic metre of water is the same as 1,000 litres!
4. Galápagos Islands | Equador
The volcanic group of islands “Las Islas Encantadas” (“the enchanted islands”) lies almost 1,000 kilometres west of Ecuador in South America. In the Galapagos Islands, a completely unique animal and plant life has developed. When biologist Charles Darwin visited in 1835, he was amazed, and this is where he lay the foundations for his theory of evolution. Life on the islands had been able to develop completely undisturbed for millions of years.
Many of the creatures on the Galapagos Islands are only found here, and since they have developed in a predator-free environment, they don’t care about visits from humans. Rare tropical penguins, marine iguanas and birds with bright blue feet are just some of the exciting species that thrive here.
The most fascinating creature found here, however, is the enormous elephant tortoise which the islands are named after. Galapagos is the Spanish word for turtle. The elephant tortoise can live to be more than 100 years old.
It’s exciting to think that these islands were formed through a series of volcanic outbursts several million years ago. Today the area is like paradise. Crystal clear water, blue skies and as many as 2,900 marine species make the island very popular amongst divers. Due to the islands being so close to the equator, the climate remains unchanged for most of the year. The temperature only varies from 21 to 30 degrees Celsius, so you can visit at any time of the year.
5. Mount Rushmore | The United States
Mount Rushmore is perhaps the most fantastic monument in America. The magnificent piece is located in Black Hills in South Dakota. 400 people worked for 14 years to carve the 18-metre-high faces of the four presidents.
Sculptor Gutzon Borglum got the demanding job of honouring some of the great men of the United States: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
A large part of the American indigenous people see the Black Hills as sacred land, and consider the sculptures to be theft of their land. For them, the damage has already been done, although with natural erosion, the six-metre-long presidential noses will disappear in 2.4 million years. So this attraction will be around for many more generations.
Did you know…?
A model of Mount Rushmore has been built from 1.5 million Lego bricks in Legoland.
6. Rio de Janeiro | Brasil
Locals call the city Maravilhosa which means ‘the magnificent city’, and it’s not hard to understand why. Rio de Janeiro is considered to be the pulse of Brazil. In the city you’ll find many white beaches, and in the background, like beautiful scenery, mountains that stretch right up to the sky. Perhaps the biggest attraction for tourists is the famous Copacabana Beach – a four-kilometre-long paradise. This is a place where it is easy to forget that you are in a city of millions of people.
A trip to Rio is not complete without a journey on the cable car up to Sugarloaf Mountain, also known as Pão de Açúca. This charming mountain towers 396 metres above sea level, giving panoramic views of the city of Guanabara Bay and the endless blue of the Atlantic Ocean. Music, samba and dancing can be found everywhere in the city, and it’s not unusual to see people dancing in the streets. The biggest party of the year takes place each February and is known as the Rio Carnival.
The magnificent and characteristic statue of Christ is found on the peak of Corcovado mountain. The statue stands 710 metres above sea level, and it is impossible to imagine a trip to Rio without a visit to the fantastic mountain top. Getting there is quite a task in itself: after a 20-minute train ride you have to climb more than 220 steps to get to the foot of the famous statue. But it is definitely worth the effort as you get to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
7. Grand Canyon | The United States
The majestic Grand Canyon has been created by the Colorado River, and gives a unique display of 40 layers of the earth’s crust. One of the characteristic parts is all the different shades of red, yellow and orange. The valley is almost 450 kilometres long, and 29 kilometres wide in some places. At the West Rim you’ll find Skywalk – a viewing platform with a glass bottom which juts out over the wide canyon and gives a dizzying panoramic view.
In the summer the sun is cruel, but there are small oases with streams and trees where you can find shade. Much of the park is closed in the winter, but some places look like they have been taken straight from a Christmas card with the snow covering the landscape. The Colorado River also contains a small network of quiet rivers, limestone cliffs, secluded ruins and cactus gardens. The experiences are all lined up and waiting for you!
For a true experience of the Grand Canyon, you should see it both up close and from the air. We recommend a trip by plane or helicopter, as then you then get to see Monument Valley, Rainbow Bridge and Lake Powell with its eroded sandstone cliffs.
8. The rainforest | South America
Nothing can prepare you for the sights that you’ll see when flying over the Amazon rainforest, or all the incredible animals that live there. It’s enough to take anyone’s breath away. The world’s largest rainforest covers an area of 5.5 million square kilometres, and stretches across nine different countries in South America.
The rainforest is home to 30,000 plant species, 1,800 fish species, 1,300 bird species, 311 mammal species and 165 different amphibian species. Examples of amphibians are frogs and salamanders. Other animals you may see are emperor tamarins, yellow-winged rays, jaguars, crocodiles, wild boars and dolphins.
9. Las Vegas | The United States
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) says that Las Vegas is the brightest area on earth when viewed from space. Las Vegas is like no other place in the world. The six-mile road Las Vegas Boulevard is known as ‘The Strip’, and is like a glamorous theme park. A visit to Las Vegas wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the signature ‘Vegas’ sign.
Vegas truly is a world of glitter and glamour. With more than 40 million tourists every year, the city lives up to its reputation as the gaming and entertainment capital of the world. Some of the world’s best artists regularly perform in Vegas. You can find food from different cultures, anything from pizza to sushi, tacos and steak. Vegas is also known for its buffets, and with dozens of buffets, it really is hard to choose. You can also shop in style in the expensive brand stores, or feel like royalty in one of the many spas.
10. Volcán Arenal | Costa Rica
The Arenal Volcano, which is located in the north western part of Costa Rica, is one of the country’s most visited destinations. Until not long ago, the 1,670-metre-high volcano was registered as Costa Rica’s most active volcano, with about 41 outbursts a day. Although the volcano’s activity has now been lowered to the occasional cloud of smoke, and some shaking of the ground, both the volcano and the jungle that surround it are both very much alive.
The cone-shaped volcano dominates the fertile land around Volcán Arenal National Park. Although you are unable to climb the volcano itself, there are many opportunities to see the old lava flow and the wildlife in the area. The good news for bird enthusiasts is that over 50 percent of Costa Rica’s birdlife can be found in the National Park, making it a bird watcher’s paradise.
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