The Shell Grotto, an English tourist attraction in Margate Kent, is a 70-foot underground passageway, decorated with around 4 million seashells. According to the story, in 1835 James Newlove lowered his son Joshua into a hole in the ground that had appeared during the digging of a duck pond. When he came out, he told his father about this underground tunnel covered entirely in seashell mosaics. He had discovered the Shell Grotto.
In truth, a number of different stories about the discovery have been told and may not have involved duck ponds and small boys. However he discovered it, James Newlove clearly saw the potential of his find. He installed gas lamps to light the passageway and three years later opened it to the public, coming as a surprise to the locals , as the place had never been marked on any maps, and nobody knew about its existence.
Debate of its origins has raged ever since the first paying customers descended the chalk stairway. Everything from an ancient temple, to a meeting place for a secret sect to a wealthy family’s “folly”. At first glance the Grotto’s design adds to the confusion, with shells creating swirling patterns and symbols. There are any number of interpretations, trees of life, phalluses, gods, goddesses and something that looks very like an altar. However, there’s only one fact about the Grotto that is indisputable, that it is a unique work of art that should be preserved, whatever its origins.
Despite the multiple theories going around, no one has been able to solve the mystery of the Shell Grotto. Today, shell mosaics once again cover the entire 2000 square feet of the grotto and a team of conservationists is making sure this unique tourist attraction will be around to amaze and astonish visitors for years to come.
Originally built as a public bathhouse in the 19th century, Les Bains-Douches would eventually be reborn as one of the hottest night clubs in Paris known simply as Les Bains, a destination for celebrities including Mick Jagger, Johnny Depp and Andy Warhol.
After some second rate re-construction in 2010, the building was closed down and considered a safety hazard. Buildings in France are rarely torn down, so it will however be gutted and be completely rebuilt on the interior. The owner Jean-Pierre Marois, turned the building over to 50 street artists who have been working since January to turn the building into an extensive display of artwork.
Unfortunately the former nightclub is closed to the public, but photographers were allowed in to shoot many of the artworks in progress. Shown here is just a small selection, go to Les Bains “One Day One Artist” to see more of what was captured.
Absinthe with it’s natural green color has been referred to as the Green Fairy. This anise-flavoured spirit is made from the flowers and leaves of wormwood, green anise, sweet fennel and other herbs, and because of it’s high alcohol level is normally diluted with water. With a slightly bitter taste, it is often poured into a glass of water over a sugar cube on a perforated spoon, some of which were elaborately designed for this purpose.
Absinthe was said to be both a narcotic and an aphrodisiac. It was adopted by the bohemian Parisian culture of authors and artists who claimed that it stimulated creativity. Absinthe’s legends caused it to be banned in most of Europe and North America. It took nearly a century before it’s reputation could be restored. In 1988, France lifted its ban on absinthe, but it wasn’t marketed under its real name again until 1998. Studies have proven that the ingredients have never been hallucinogenic, but it’s effects were due to the fact that it is 140 proof. Absinthe doesn’t come cheap, priced at about seventy dollars a bottle. Absinthe’s long past is the stuff of legend whether true or not.
Anytime you lose someone you love you want one more conversation, one more chance to make up for when you thought they would be there forever. You can go the rest of your whole life collecting days, but nothing can change the one you wish you had back. Losing someone you love changes your life for ever. There will always be new people, but the gap never closes. You never really stop missing someone you just learn to live around the gaping hole of where they used to be.
In 1974, a group of farmers digging a well after a winter drought in northwest China, unearthed fragments of a clay figure, that would turn out to be one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of modern times. They didn’t know it at the time, but the bronze arrowheads and pieces of pottery the farmers were going to sell in their village were part of a legend. Found near the unexcavated tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, the self proclaimed first emperor of China, an underground army of life-size terra cotta soldiers and horses, was found, hidden for more than 2,000 years.
Fast forward to 1995. In Katy Texas, the construction of the Forbidden Gardens was announced. The army was replicated in one-third scale on 80 acres of former rice land outside Houston. Six thousand soldiers stand ready on a stretch of land about the size of a football field. When it was first under development, it was considered to be a 20-year project that would include a hotel, a 60-foot pagoda, a system of colored ponds, a waterway with boat rides and a Chinese-themed water park. The clay used to make the terra-cotta soldiers was said to come from the Chinese province that produced the originals, and the tiny palaces were built of Chinese wood.
The museum closed in 2011 to make way for a new section of a controversial ring road. With the Grand Parkway slated to cut right through it, the 80 acres was about to become very valuable freeway frontage. The soldiers could not be moved being permanantly afixed to their bases. It’s not feasible to save the Forbidden City. It will probably be destroyed because the liability is too great to leave it there.
Based on the fairy tales of famous writers like Hans Christian Andersen, Russian artist Svetlana Kolosova paints works of art on the palm of her hand.
Svetlana Kolosova has always has always appreciated the arts, but taking care of her children and running a household left her little time to concentrate on her passion. Without the time to work on detailed oil paintings, she replaced oil paint for watercolors and inspired by the stories she had read to her children, she started painting fairy tale-inspired artworks on the most convenient canvas she could think of – her left palm. Except through photography these images are short lived. As of yet no original palm paintings have been sold.
Goussainville-Vieux Pays was at one time a quiet little farming village, 12.5 miles from Paris. In the center is a historic renaissance church. By the 1970s, this once quiet suburban towns ambience took an irreversable turn.
Unfortunately for the town, it was under the direct flightpath of the new Charles de Gaulle Airport. They were now so close to the country’s largest airport in Roissy that the noise from the planes became intolerable. Residents of the village saw their neighbors and friends abandon their homes one after another.
The airport authorities, responsible for almost 150 properties in the village being deserted, were required to buy the abandoned houses as well as look after them. It had not been taken into account that the Renaissance church, Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul was recorded as an historic monument. Not having the option to demolish the buildings, they were walled up and left to decay. Even the 14th century church began to deteriorate so badly that in 2010, years after abandonment, local authorities finally agreed to begin efforts to restore it.