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CULTURAL

Faded Footprints is our new illustrative series that remembers beautiful and thriving destinations that no longer exist.

by Walid Haji

In our new illustrative series Faded Footprints we look back at bygone tourist destinations.

Whether due to man’s interference or natural disasters, these once beautiful and thriving attractions are now extinct.

The illustrations serve as a stark reminder to appreciate the wonderful locations and landmarks available to explore around the world while we still can, and to do everything we can to help conserve these attractions. Many of our current popular tourist attractions are at risk of soon too becoming extinct, and we hope that our Faded Footprints series will not only remind us of these lost places but also urge us to protect and cherish the wonderful attractions around the world that are currently endangered.

The iconic Taj Mahal is one such tourist attraction which is currently at risk of extinction. The majestic building is almost 400 years old and signs of age are beginning to show. The influx of tourists to the mausoleum each year is impacting on the marble walls and floors, while acid rain and car pollution is causing the exterior of the building to lose its glow. Meanwhile, the building’s wooden foundations are struggling to cope under the falling water levels of the polluted Yamuna River.

The famous Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is another legendary attraction which is struggling to cope in today’s society, due to pollution and climate change. Between 1912 and 2011 it is estimated that 85% of the mountain’s glacial ice disappeared. It is estimated that by 2033 the Kibo summit’s striking snowy cap will have disappeared entirely.

As we look back on some of the world’s most wonderful lost locations in our Faded Footprints series we urge tourists to do what they can to help preserve the world’s natural and manmade wonders.

Have a look below at our Faded Footprints series and find out more about these once-loved places that no longer exist.

Boeung Kak Lake, Cambodia

Until ten years ago, Boeung Kak in Cambodia was covered by the largest urban lake in Phnom Penh. Then, in 2007, the Cambodian government leased the land to Shukaku Inc., a deal which will last for 99 years. This lease has resulted in the lake being filled with sand in order for the company to build complexes on the land.

Mukurob (Finger of God), Namibia

The Mukurob, also known as ‘Finger of God’, was a sandstone rock formation which developed in the Namib desert near Asab. The Mukurob was unique due to its base, which at just 3m long and 1.5m wide was narrower than the mass of rock it supported.

The structure collapsed in 1988 – to this day it is not known exactly what caused the demise of the rock but some suggest a rainstorm that occurred the week before weakened the pillar, while another study shows that an earthquake in Armenia affected Namibia on the night the structure collapsed.

Palmyra, Syria

The ancient city of Palmyra in Syria was a casualty of ISIS, who completely destroyed the area in 2015. Ancient monuments abolished by ISIS included the Temple of Baalshamin, the cella of the Temple of Bel, the Tower of Elahbel and the Arch of Triumph.

The city was believed to date back to 7500BC and was a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Following the destruction by ISIS reconstruction has begun on the ancient city to restore the site.

Azure Window, Malta

Malta’s Azure Window is the most recently extinct attraction in our Faded Footprints series. The rocky arch stood proudly in Malta’s Dwerja Bay until earlier this year.

The natural limestone formation was one of Malta’s major tourist attractions and also featured in many international films and media productions. The arch collapsed in March 2017 following a bout of stormy weather.

Love Locks Bridge, Paris

It was once a tradition for love-struck tourists in Paris to attach an initialled padlock to the Pont des Arts Bridge. The globally-recognised tradition earned the bridge the name of Love Locks Bridge and tourists from around the world would flock to the bridge to attach a padlock signifying their everlasting love.

However, in 2012 criticisms started to arise stating that the weight of the padlocks was a strain on the bridge. In 2015 the padlock-laden metal grids were removed from the bridge to be replaced by plexiglass which provides better views of the river, and nowhere to attach padlocks.

Guaria Falls, Brazil

The stunning Guaria Falls in Brazil was once one of the world’s greatest waterfalls. The natural wonder attracted tourists in their mass to the Upper Parana River at the Brazil-Paraguay border to marvel at the incredible falls. The Guira’s flow rate was among the greatest of any waterfalls at that time.

The Guaria Falls were destroyed in 1982 when they were drowned by an impoundment of the Itaipu Dam reservoir – a large-scale hydroelectric project to create an artificial lake.

Chacaltaya Glacier, Bolivia

The Chacaltaya Glacier was the world’s highest ski resort, and once a bucket list mainstay.

The Bolivian glacier was thought to be 18,000 years old when the 5,300m summit melted to just a few patches of ice in 2009.

Scientists first noticed that rising temperatures resulting from climate change was causing the glacier to melt in the 1990s. They predicted the glacier would survive until 2015 but it melted at a much faster rate than anticipated.

Jonah’s Tomb, Iraq

Jonah’s Tomb was another tragedy of ISIS, when the terrorist group planted explosives in the area in July 2014. The tomb was situated atop a mound which was home to a site of devotion for Jewish people, a Christian church and a 12th century mosque.

The tomb was one of Iraq’s most iconic monuments and was celebrated by Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, along with other faiths, in spite of religious difference. The tomb was a popular tourist destination and for the local people of Iraq it served as a symbol of Iraq’s interconnected diverse religious groups – making its eradication tragic.

The Jeffrey Pine, Yosemite National Park, California

The Jeffrey Pine was most famous to many for its role in the photography of both Ansel Adams and Carleton Watkins.

The centuries-old tree collapsed in 2003, but it had actually died many years earlier during a drought in 1977. It was in fact surprising that the tree managed to stay upright for another 25 years.

The Sentinel Dome where the Jeffrey Pine tree grew is still available to visit in California’s Yosemite National Park. The Jeffrey Pine tree species is native to North America and is most commonly found in California.

Old Man of the Mountain, White Mountains, New Hampshire

The face-shaped outcropping of rock on the White Mountains, which was known as the Old Man of the Mountain was so famous that it was quoted by US politician Daniel Webster as being a sign from God. He said, “…in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”

The notorious rocky formation is also featured as the landmark on the state’s quarter coin.

Now, that’s the only place you’ll find the old man, as the outcropping slid off the mountain in 2003. The collapse occurred following years of freezing and thawing on the rock area. The demise of the formation saddened the local community so much so that flowers were left at the base of the cliff as tribute.

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