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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

Visit the Quieter Side of the Caribbean

 Let’s get away from the crowds and find a vacation spot that is just as beautiful and affordable while we visit the quieter side of the Caribbean.

 

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Summer vacation is around the corner and now is the time to start planning your beach trip. If you are thinking Caribbean then you most likely are looking into Cancun, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, the three most popular destinations. These places are awesome, cheap and beautiful but also the busiest, so maybe a quieter destination ids for you.   Let’s get away from the crowds and find a vacation spot that is just as beautiful and affordable while we visit the quieter side of the Caribbean.

 

Costa Rica

If surf is your goal then Costa Rica is your paradise. Considered the best surfing in the world, with warm waters and consistent breaks all year long, Costa Rica needs to be on your list if you like water activities. Costa Rica straddles both coasts with the Caribbean side being the calmer side with smaller waves and thicker jungles. The Caribbean side is generally cheaper than the Pacific side and much more laid back.

 

Honduras

Honduras isn’t on most people’s lists because the city of San Pedro Sula is currently the murder capital of the world but its well over an hour away from the beaches. This beautiful country sits right on the Caribbean Sea and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches around. Check out Roatan, the largest island off the coast and a major vacation hub. You can fly direct from major US cities like Houston, so no need to worry about the crime riddled central cities.

 

Panama

Nobody thinks of Panama when booking Caribbean vacations but that is their fault. This Central American country boast some of the region’s most secluded private islands and luxurious retreats. Find the above water villas you’ve been searching for with unspoiled marine life just waiting to be explored. Panama has some awesome wildlife and plenty of sanctuaries you can explore and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Panama also has a rich history so you can see some really cool ruins.

 

Trinidad and Tobago

Tourists still under utilize the only actual Caribbean islands on this list, Trinidad and Tobago.   The country isn’t focused on tourism like the other Caribbean nations so they don’t offer as much variety of resorts as the other islands. Trinidad is the business island and Tobago is the pleasure center of the two, so I advise you stay on Tobago. These islands have those authentic laid back vibes you’ve been searching for.

 

Belize

If you want the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the region than look no further than the Barrier reef off the coast of Belize. The largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere is full of marine life and intense coral reefs. Belize also has some radical Mayan ruins you can check out that are located deep in the lush rainforests. There are plenty of guided hikes and activities to keep you entertained and more than enough sandy beaches to relax on. Belize is nestled between Mexico and Guatemala, so it’s easy to get to and affordable.

Try one of these less traveled paths and your vacation will be filled with chill Caribbean vibes.

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Destinations

Luxurious Private Island Escapes

Steer clear of all the tourists, long lines and other common vacation annoyances and instead party like a rock star on your own private island.

 

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We’ve all dreamt of being marooned on a desert island filled with coconuts and privacy, but we all can’t be Robinson Crusoe. Being trapped on a desert island is actually a nightmare, but what isn’t, is staying on one of these luxury private island resorts. Steer clear of all the tourists, long lines and other common vacation annoyances and instead party like a rock star on your own private island.

 

The Meridian Club

This ultimate all-inclusive resort will show you what luxury is really all about as you bask in the beautiful Caribbean sun in Turks & Caicos. The Meridian Club offers everything a regular all-inclusive would offer but they do it with sophistication and class. You won’t need cash because it’s a cashless experience, in fact you won’t need anything when you cruise around the archipelago. Just be prepared to smile, a lot. You can stay here for as little as $900 per night, which in the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty affordable.

 

Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

The Renaissance Aruba isn’t your typical private island resort, because it’s not on a private island at all. Instead, this luxury resort has its own private island you can book and enjoy some truly quiet time. The 40-acre private island has two separate sides, a family and adult side. You can feed flamingos, hang in hammocks, drink tropical beverages or check out the nude beach. You can get a room for around $175 a night, so jump on that.

 

Necker Island

The ultimate in private resorts is Necker Island, owned by billionaire Richard Branson and used by the super elite. This destination has it all and you and 33 of your closest amigos can stay here for only $80,000 a night. Sounds affordable… for a prince. Recently former President Obama recently stayed here and was seen frolicking with Branson in the ocean. What is paradise worth, well apparently it’s around 80k, but not to worry, I’ve found some more affordable options as well.

 

Affordable Islands

Pelican Beach Resort

Actually sitting on top of the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere is the Pelican Beach Resort in Belize. This resort has the best location possible for underwater exploration as it literally rests on a lush coral reef system with some of the best dive spots around.   For under $300 for two guests a night you can stay on this semi-private island with meals included, sounds like a deal to me. Highlights include the guided nighttime snorkeling tours where you’ll get to see the ocean like you’ve never seen before.

 

Nangyuan Island Dive Resort

This group of three tiny islands in the Gulf of Thailand is one of the best spots on Earth for underwater exploration.  These three islands are actually linked by pure white sandbars so all three are accessible by foot. For as little as $100 USD a night you can have your own private little island to call your own. The snorkeling and scuba diving here is incredible with sea caves, whales sharks and sea turtles to keep you entertained and mesmerized. This tropical location has 15 unique dive sites so you won’t get bored and your mind will be overloaded with stimulus.

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Destinations

Best Shows in Las Vegas

Vegas has all the gambling, shopping and eating you could handle and that doesn’t even include the countless shows you could see, but which are the best?

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Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world for a reason, there are more things to do here than anywhere else in the world. Vegas has all the gambling, shopping and eating you could handle and that doesn’t even include the countless shows you could see, but which are the best?  While rebranding the city as a family destination, Las Vegas still boils down to what hotel has the best casino, restaurants and shows. I chose my favorite shows for you to see in Vegas and why, so check it out and see some shows next time you are there.

 

All Shook Up

The King is alive in All Shook Up at Planet Hollywood in this awesome tribute show. Travis Allen is the master impersonator who perfectly embodies Elvis Presley in his voice, demeanor and stage presence. If you can handle the annoying screams of women lusting after Allen, then this show is great.

 

Blue Man Group

If you haven’t seen this sensory overload of a show then you need to fix that. The Blue Man Group is the ultimate in Vegas shows because it stimulates all the senses. Now at its new home at the Luxor in a specifically designed theater, just for their unique show, the Blue Boys are back and better than ever. Check out their show and scratch it off your list.

 

The Beatles: Love

The music of the Beatles mixed with the absurdity of a Cirque du Soleil show and you have the formula for an awesome evening. Head on over to The Mirage and checkout “Love” even if you aren’t a Beatles fan. It’s a true Vegas style show with tons of glitz and glamour and all your favorite classics from The Beatles.

  

Absinthe

Cruise on over to Caesars Palace and check out Absinthe, the seductive variety show is half Cirque-du-Soleil acrobatics and half brash comedy show with a dash of burlesque mixed in for sexuality. The show is meant to induce a form of hallucinations indicative of an Absinthe trip.   Seeing this show is like drinking the funky green drink, so be prepared for a crazy time at this adult only show.

 

Penn & Teller

What’s a trip to Vegas without some magic? A boring trip is what. You have to see Penn & teller because it’s an awesome show and you deserve to laugh after you lost all your money at blackjack. The kings of comedy magic will split your sides and make you wonder, “How the heck did they do that?”

 

Purple Reign

No trip to Vegas is complete without hitting the outskirt hotels for some real deals and possibly the best cover band in the world. Purple Reign is the Prince tribute show at the Westgate that will make you believe that Prince is still walking the Earth.

 

O

See Cirque du Soleil in a gigantic pool with acrobatics and synchronized swimming, yep, check that off your bucket list. The Bellagio is home to the famous fountains and O, the most impressive Cirque show to date. This show is so over-the-top that it could only happen in Vegas and at the Bellagio. If you want to see a Cirque show, this is the one to see first. Romantic and beautiful, it will pull at your heartstrings and stimulate your brain.

 

Le Reve

Le Reve is the Wynn’s answer to O, and it may even be better. This show strays away from a story and focuses more on the incredible skill of its performers. You won’t believe what you see in this aquatic master class in acrobatics and performance.

 

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