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The Story Behind The Largest Ghost Town In The World

The true story behind the once great city of Ani, Turkey, now the largest ghost town in the world.

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Over the years I’ve written plenty of stories ghost towns all around the world. More often than not, it’s not surprising why these towns were eventually abandoned. Usually, the town itself was only started because a mine of some kind was discovered. So when the mine runs dry, the people that live there leave in a hurry. But the story around the ghost town of Ani, Turkey is truly a spooky one.

Ani dates all the way back to the fifth century, when it was, at one point, a thriving city with a population of at least 100,000. But today, not a single person lives there. And all that remains are just that… remains. Long forgotten remains of a city forgotten. But why was it forgotten? How can a city that was once home to 100,000 people be completely left to rot? First, let’s look at the history of Ani.

Ani was comfortable situated along a number of popular trade routes in medieval times. It was even the capital of the Kingdom of Armenia when it was established in 884 AD. Thanks in large part to the thriving economy the fed off the many travelers that came through while on those very trade routes. But it saw it’s fair share of damage over the years too. Whether it was any number of natural disasters or the multiple wars that took place during its three-century life, Ani eventually became a broken and battered city.

The worst moment came when Turkish invaders took over the city. The murdered many of the people of Ani and enslaved the rest. When they had taken everything they wanted, they sold the city to the Kurdish dynasty known as the Shaddadids. But the trouble didn’t end there for the once great city. Twice Mongols invaded the city in an attempt to take it for themselves. And even though they were successful in their second attempt, somehow the city still remained.

In 1319, perhaps the final straw broke Ani’s back when the great Cathedral of Ani, a gorgeous brick building that had been standing since 1001, was destroyed by a devastating earthquake. This, along with other damage caused by the earthquake, left the city all but destroyed with only a small amount of residents remaining. From there, wars continued on, and natural disasters didn’t slow down either. By the mid-1700’s, the city’s last inhabitants finally left.

And just like that… the city was no longer a city. Only broken remains of a former marvel of civilization were left. To this day, despite efforts by both Armenia and Turkey to lay claim to the rights to Ani, the city remains the property of no one. But therein lies it’s beauty today. It is essentially open to the public! And it makes for an incredible adventure into the past for the curious traveler.

So next time you’re in the Turkey area, be sure to stop by the most amazing ghost town in all the world.

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Destinations

A UK Bar Pretends To Be A Church To Get Around Pandemic Rules

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The pandemic has made it difficult for some businesses to run, which is why this bar is getting creative by registering as a church to their customers

With everyone being in lockdown and not being able to go out, not a lot people have been able to offer up prayers to the 400 rabbit gods, and with 2020 being the hot mess that it is, a tequila joint in Nottingham, England is planning to change that and keep their business afloat, as well. 

England just got out of its second nation-wide lockdown as of December 2, and now implements a system where they have tiered restrictions. Nottingham currently sits on the highest risk, the tier 3 category, which states that businesses targeted towards hospitality will stay closed with the exception of delivery or takeout.

Church of 400 Rabbits is an Aztec-themed bar that has an extensive choice of tequila and an application to become a worship center that is currently waiting for approval from Nottingham’s registrar general.

This bar decided to mix spirits with spirituality in hopes that it can implement a loophole in the COVID-19 rules of England, which says that if you’re a church or a place of worship, groups from the same bubble or household can enter your business. 

After posting their application that will certify their bar to operate as a place of worship, Church of 400 Rabbits is now looking for devotees through their website.

People who are interested in becoming a Bunny Believer can do this for free, and with a small fee of $13, (£10), you can be ordained as a Reverend, with a t-shirt that you use as your official robes. 

James Aspell, owner of Church of 400 Rabbits isn’t too hopeful that Nottingham will consider the application, but says that it’s an attempt to show how ridiculous the tier system is and how some of the rules are contradictory.

He says that it’s difficult because the government insists on these strict rules but that there is little to no financial support. Aspell believes that even if they moved down to a tier 2, they wouldn’t be able to open without dishing out substantial meals, and adding that it’s another Scotch Egg debacle. 

For those of you that don’t know what a Scotch egg is, it’s a hard-boiled egg that is wrapped with sausage meat and breadcrumbs. After a lot of debate, it has been considered a substantial meal by Michael Gove, who came under fire when he described it as an appetizer. 

Church of 400 Rabbits isn’t the first business that tried to apply as a place of worship, as Atlantic Squash and Fitness Club also rebranded to Church of the Healthy Body to keep their gym open.

Aspell notes that the number of devotees for 400 Rabbits is multiplying rapidly, as rabbits would and has decided to donate all proceeds to a Nottingham homeless charity group. 

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Destinations

Why You Might Want To Reconsider That Upcoming Trip To Jamaica

If you were planning to go to Jamaica for your next family vacation, you might want to reconsider. 

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If you were planning to go to Jamaica for your next family vacation, you might want to reconsider. The U.S., along with several other countries, have issued travel warnings for the famously easygoing country. This was due in large part to a recent spike in violent crimes. Most recently, and Canadian couple was murdered while vacationing in St. Thomas.

Much of the recent crime has been tied to drug trafficking and various gangs. The numbers are staggering. In 2016 alone, there were 448 aggravated assaults, 481 rapes, 1,215 shootings, and 1,350 murders. This according to the stats reported by The U.S. State Department. These frightening numbers have led local authorities to issue a state of emergency. They have also implemented a temporary curfew and increase the military presence in the more dangerous areas. The travel advisory issued by the State Department on January 10 also applies to the areas of Montego Bay, Spanish Town, and Kingston.

Other countries that have issued similar travel warnings include Canada and The U.K. They also warned their travelers to avoid similar areas with higher crime rates, and to especially be extra careful when walking around at night. The U.K. warning also included instructions to stay within their resort as much as possible, and to only use the transportation provided by their resort or by the airport.

Naturally, Jamaica is worried about the economic effect these travel warnings have, as tourism brings in a great deal of money for them. They have assured travelers that it is still a safe vacation destination, thanks to the measures they have taken to combat the spike in crime.

In an interview with The Independent, Jamaica’s minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett said, “All members of the tourism fraternity have given their full support to the [increased security] measures and are feeling that these actions are welcome to ensure the safety of Jamaica’s guests and citizens.”

It sounds like they’re doing their best to keep everyone safe, but I’d be lying if I said I’d be nervous to visit the country right now. But I will definitely be keeping an eye on Jamaica and how they handle the crime rate moving forward. Hopefully, they’re able to bring it down in the very near future.

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Disneyland Attractions That Have Been Lost In Time

Many Disneyland attractions have survived since it first opened in 1955, but others have come and gone. 

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Disneyland has brought joy to children and adults alike since it first opened in 1955. Many attractions have survived since the beginning, but others have come and gone. Here are some of the most memorable Disneyland attractions that have been lost but not forgotten. 

MIDGET AUTOPIA

This attraction only existed in Disneyland from 1957-1966. It featured miniature cars that traveled along a permanent path. The driver could control the speed using gas and brake pedals, but the steering wheel was not functional. It eventually was removed to make room for “It’s A Small World,” but it lived on for another ten years in Marceline, Missouri, the birthplace of Walt Disney himself.

 

COUNTRY BEAR JAMBOREE

One of the more classic attractions on this list, The Country Bear Jamboree survived from 1972-2001. It featured animatronic bears (and a few other forest creatures) that would perform pre-recorded songs. It was eventually removed and was replaced by “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.” 

ADVENTURES THRU INNER SPACE

An attraction ahead of its time, Adventures Thru Inner Space was a part of “Tomorrowland” and took guests on a magical tour through the atoms of a snowflake. It used an “omnimover” system that is still used in many rides to this day. It was eventually replaced by “Star Tours” in 1985.

FLYING SAUCERS

The Flying Saucers were a popular attraction within “Tomorrowland,” although they only existed from 1961-1966. Guests would sit on single-rider “saucers” that would move around in a fashion similar to how an air hockey puck moves. It also had a very exciting bumper cars element as riders could slam into each other. 

 

MONSANTO HOUSE OF THE FUTURE

Another attraction involved in the early days of “Tomorrowland,” The Monsanto House of the Future served as a glimpse into what a future house might look like. Complete with futuristic appliances. It lasted in the park from 1957-1967 and was the joint brainchild of Monsanto, M.I.T., and Walt Disney Imagineering. 

 

MINE TRAIN THROUGH NATURE’S WONDERLAND

The Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland was a ride enjoyed by Disneyland guests from 1960-1977. It served as a tour of the fictional town of Rainbow Ridge and featured multiple waterfalls over a thousand animatronic elements. It was eventually replaced by “Big Thunder Mountain.” 

 

THE PEOPLE MOVER

The aptly named “People Mover” did just that – it moved people! Another element of “Tomorrowland,” it ran from 1967-1995. It was a roughly 16-minute ride and provided riders with a scenic tour of Tomorrowland as a whole. It later served as a tour of the “World of Tron,” an attraction built in partnership with the release of the hit movie. 

 

CHICKEN OF THE SEA PIRATE SHIP AND RESTAURANT

This incredible attraction was a staple of Disneyland from 1955-1982. It featured an extensive, tuna-specific menu and was a joint venture with the tuna company, Chicken of the Sea. The company eventually removed their sponsorship and the beautiful pirate ship was turned into “Captain Hook’s Gallery” in 1969. 

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