The Danakil Depression: The Most Hellish Place on Earth

The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is one of the lowest, hottest places on Earth. Geographically, it is part of the African Rift which extends from the African rift lakes of Malawi and Tanganyika, up through the Red Sea and into the Dead Sea of Jordan and Israel.

Politically, it is part of the Afar region, which has suffered from separatist violence in the past.

Ecologically, it is an extreme desert located below sea level, with temperatures which reach 50°C (122°F) on a regular basis.

To top it all off, it is also home to a volcano with one of the largest, open pits of exposed magma in the world.

Despite all of this, however, people live in the Danakil Depression and manage to eek out of living in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet Earth.

This is what I saw.

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Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex

Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex

From the World Heritage inscription for the Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex: The Plantin-Moretus House-Workshops-Museum Complex is the only surviving printing workshop and publishing house in the world dating back to the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Situated in Antwerp, one of the three leading cities of early European printing along with Paris and Venice, it is associated …

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The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier

From the World Heritage inscription for The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier: Chosen from the work of Le Corbusier, the 17 sites comprising this transnational serial property are spread over seven countries and are a testimonial to the invention of a new architectural language that made a break with the past. They were built over …

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Stoclet House

Stoclet House UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brussels

From the World Heritage inscription for the Stoclet House: The Stoclet House is an outstanding testimony to the creative genius of the Wiener Werkstätte. It was designed and built in Brussels from 1905 to 1911 by one of the founders of the movement, the Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann, of whose work it is the masterpiece. …

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Flemish Beguinages

Flemish Beguinages UNESCO World Heritage Site, Belgium

From the World Heritage inscription for the Flemish Beguinages: The Flemish béguinages are a series of 13 sites in the Flanders Region of Belgium. They bear extraordinary witness to the cultural tradition of the Beguines that developed in north-western Europe in the Middle Ages. These Beguines were either unmarried or widowed women who entered into …

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Belfries of Belgium and France

Belfries of Belgium and France

From the World Heritage inscription for the Belfries of Belgium and France: High towers built in the heart of urban areas, often dominating the principal square, the belfries are essential elements in the organization and representation of the towns to which they belong. The site inscribed on the World Heritage List comprises 33 belfries located …

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Van Nellefabriek

Van Nellefabriek UNESCO World Heritage Site, Netherlands

From the World Heritage inscription: Designed and built in the 1920s, the Van Nellefabriek demonstrates an extremely accomplished industrial architecture. It comprises a complex of buildings consisting of several factories aligned along the perspective of a large internal roadway, and close to several means of transport (canals, roads, railway lines). Supported on an internal structure …

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Mistaken Point

Mistaken Point UNESCO World Heritage Site, Canada

From the World Heritage inscription: This fossil site is located at the south-eastern tip of the island of Newfoundland, in eastern Canada. It consists of a narrow, 17 km-long strip of rugged coastal cliffs. Of deep marine origin, these cliffs date to the Ediacaran Period (580-560 million years ago), representing the oldest known assemblages of …

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