Shoes on the Danube: Budapest’s Moving Holocaust Memorial

Shoes on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary (Image: Dennis Jarvis. Shoes on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary)

Few places in Europe were left untouched by the events of World War Two. Sitting along the shores of the River Danube in Budapest is one of the most haunting memorials to the events of those dark times. In 1944 and 1945, the Hungarian government was run by the fascist Arrow Cross Party. The party was briefly suppressed by the Hungarian prime minister at the outset of the war, but ultimately rose to power with the support of Nazi Germany.

Shoes on the Danube (Image: Dennis Jarvis)

In the winter of 1944 and 1945, thousands of Jewish civilians �“ and those people who were simply suspected of collaboration �“ were executed on the banks of the Danube. The Arrow Cross Party forced their victims to kneel at the edge of the river, letting the water wash the bodies away after countless victims were gunned down.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

In 2005, sculptors and artists Gyula Pauer and Can Togay crafted a memorial to these innocents on the banks of the Danube in Budapest. The website Visit Budapest paid a visit to this most moving of tributes.

Shoes on the Danube: a haunting and poignant holocaust memorial in Budapest, Hungary. (Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Sixty pairs of 1940s-era shoes of all styles were cast out of iron, facing the river where so many died at the hands of the Arrow Cross Party.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Flowers and wreaths are occasionally laid in remembrance of those who died there. Haunting and powerful, the Shoes on the Danube are a poignant and chilling reminder of those dark times.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Read Next: Unusual Monuments: 10 Poignant Memorials Around the World

Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies

Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker's Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies(Images: Urban Ghosts. Star Wars podracer movie prop from The Phantom Menace)

For many, the first instalment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy might not have been George Lucas’ finest offering, but that doesn’t mean that Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace wasn’t without its visual high points. One stand-out sequence was the podrace, in which the young Anakin Skywalker takes his already-impressive talents to the desert arena.

Podracer prop from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

From Wikipedia: “To research for the podrace vehicles, the visual effects crew visited a jet aircraft junkyard outside Phoenix, Arizona and scavenged four Boeing 747 engines. Life-sized replicas of the engines were built and sent to Tunisia to provide reference in the film. Except for Jake Lloyd inside a hydraulically controlled cockpit and a few practical podracer models, the entire podracing scene—which the effects crew designed to be as “out of this world” as possible—is computer-generated.”

The craft shown in these images is one of those practical podracer models, a full-scale example that presumably appeared in the movie. It’s on display at Wings Over the Rockies aviation museum in Denver, Colorado, whose other rare exhibits include a B-1A Lancer bomber (of which only four were built and only two survive).

In addition to the podracer, a 3/4 scale replica of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope stands nearby. The “real” New Hope X-Wing is, unfortunately, understood to have been scrapped after filming wrapped.

Read Also:

7 Full-Scale Aircraft Replicas Used as Movie Props

10 Iconic Movie Prop Cars and Motorcycles of Film & Television

The post Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies

Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker's Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies (Images: Urban Ghosts. Star Wars podracer movie prop from The Phantom Menace)

For many, the first instalment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy might not have been George Lucas’ finest offering, but that doesn’t mean that Star Wars: Episode I �“ The Phantom Menace wasn’t without its visual high points. One stand-out sequence was the podrace, in which the young Anakin Skywalker takes his already-impressive talents to the desert arena.

Podracer prop from Star Wars: Episode I �“ The Phantom Menace

From Wikipedia: “To research for the podrace vehicles, the visual effects crew visited a jet aircraft junkyard outside Phoenix, Arizona and scavenged four Boeing 747 engines. Life-sized replicas of the engines were built and sent to Tunisia to provide reference in the film. Except for Jake Lloyd inside a hydraulically controlled cockpit and a few practical podracer models, the entire podracing scene�”which the effects crew designed to be as “out of this world” as possible�”is computer-generated.”

The craft shown in these images is one of those practical podracer models, a full-scale example that presumably appeared in the movie. It’s on display at Wings Over the Rockies aviation museum in Denver, Colorado, whose other rare exhibits include a B-1A Lancer bomber (of which only four were built and only two survive).

In addition to the podracer, a 3/4 scale replica of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope stands nearby. The “real” New Hope X-Wing is, unfortunately, understood to have been scrapped after filming wrapped.

Read Also:

7 Full-Scale Aircraft Replicas Used as Movie Props

10 Iconic Movie Prop Cars and Motorcycles of Film & Television

Scotland’s Mysterious Garden of Cosmic Speculation

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Dumfries, Scotland.(Image: Flexdream. The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Scotland)

Some gardens are functional while others are merely decorative, but Charles Jencks’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation is a green-space on a whole different level. Private for all but one day a year, the 30-acre garden lies just a few miles north of Dumfries on the grounds of Portrack House, in the western part of the Southern Uplands.

Charles Jencks at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation(Image: Colin Hattersley. Charles Jencks at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation)

Pay it a visit on that day, and you’ll uncover an incredible study in cosmology, the universe, and all the things that we know, deep down, are much, much bigger than us.

(Image: John Lord)

Jencks, an American architectural theorist, landscape architect and designer, started building the garden in 1989, and incorporated concepts from biology and maths to philosophy and cosmology.

The Universal Cascade.(Image: John Lord)

A central feature of the Garden of Cosmic Speculation is the Universe Cascade, a series of steps that take visitors on a figurative journey through the billions of years since the universe’s creation.

Charles Jencks' Garden of Cosmic Speculation in the grounds of Portrack House, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.(Image: John Lord)

Elsewhere, a red spiral bridge links Heaven and Hell, while another area is reminiscent of mankind’s six senses (including intuition). But the garden also symbolises a higher calling in its practical purpose.

(Image: John Lord)

On that one day of the year that it’s open, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation helps to raise funds for the Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres, which Charles Jencks co-founded.

(Image: John Lord)

Named after Jencks’ wife Maggie, who lost her fight against cancer in 1995, the centres provide support for those battling the illness, and Maggie’s legacy lives on in the important work that the care centre’s do across the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

(Image: John Lord)

Read Next: The Geddes Family’s Tiny West Port Garden, Edinburgh

The post Scotland’s Mysterious Garden of Cosmic Speculation appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Scotland’s Mysterious Garden of Cosmic Speculation

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation in Dumfries, Scotland. (Image: Flexdream. The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Scotland)

Some gardens are functional while others are merely decorative, but Charles Jencks’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation is a green-space on a whole different level. Private for all but one day a year, the 30-acre garden lies just a few miles north of Dumfries on the grounds of Portrack House, in the western part of the Southern Uplands.

Charles Jencks at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation (Image: Colin Hattersley. Charles Jencks at the Garden of Cosmic Speculation)

Pay it a visit on that day, and you’ll uncover an incredible study in cosmology, the universe, and all the things that we know, deep down, are much, much bigger than us.

(Image: John Lord)

Jencks, an American architectural theorist, landscape architect and designer, started building the garden in 1989, and incorporated concepts from biology and maths to philosophy and cosmology.

The Universal Cascade. (Image: John Lord)

A central feature of the Garden of Cosmic Speculation is the Universe Cascade, a series of steps that take visitors on a figurative journey through the billions of years since the universe’s creation.

Charles Jencks' Garden of Cosmic Speculation in the grounds of Portrack House, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. (Image: John Lord)

Elsewhere, a red spiral bridge links Heaven and Hell, while another area is reminiscent of mankind’s six senses (including intuition). But the garden also symbolises a higher calling in its practical purpose.

(Image: John Lord)

On that one day of the year that it’s open, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation helps to raise funds for the Maggie�™s Cancer Care Centres, which Charles Jencks co-founded.

(Image: John Lord)

Named after Jencks’ wife Maggie, who lost her fight against cancer in 1995, the centres provide support for those battling the illness, and Maggie’s legacy lives on in the important work that the care centre’s do across the United Kingdom and Hong Kong.

(Image: John Lord)

Read Next: The Geddes Family�™s Tiny West Port Garden, Edinburgh

Arizona: Adaptive Reuse at Centre of Tucson Redevelopment

Tucson, Arizona is at heart of an adaptive reuse project to create business space while ensuring sustainable development and historic preservation. (Image: Zereshk. Dowtown Tucson, Arizona skyline)

The city of Tucson, Arizona has embarked on an exciting project which, in our opinion, cities everywhere should take notice of. The adaptive reuse initiative aims to repurpose abandoned and vacant buildings in the city in a bid to get businesses into existing structures. The move will advantage developers, agents and business owners through the waiving of some fees, while ensuring sustainable development and the preservation of Tucson’s historic buildings.

According to Marana News: “The 24-month pilot program, focused on the adaptive reuse of existing buildings, uses existing code relief tools. Both during and after, the program assesses the effectiveness of the projects and whether additional code changes or other tools are needed. Metrics of success include number of jobs created, city revenues generated and reuse or recycling of materials.”

Tucson's restored Fox Tucson Theatre in the city's downtown. (Image: Google Street View. The restored Fox Tucson Theatre in downtown Tucson)

City of Tucson Historic Preservation Officer Jonathan Mabry told the newspaper that the adaptive reuse project would achieve historic preservation – by breathing new life into neglected older structures – and create sustainability through the recycling of whole buildings.

Mabry said: “This program will make it easier to get new businesses into old buildings,” adding that he expected the pilot project to kick off other adaptive reuse projects across the city. All being well, the ‘Adaptive Reuse Program’ will save developers time and money while boosting the economy through job creation and a proliferation of construction projects.

(Image: US Dept of Interior. Tucson Courthouse in 1898)

Marana News reports: The “Older, Smaller, Better in Tucson” study by the Preservation Green Lab in 2016 found the measurable benefits of urban fabric composed predominately by older buildings or mixed-vintage buildings to include real estate performance, higher densities of businesses and jobs, higher rates of startups and locally owned businesses, more inclusive business activity that is more diverse, and more resilient during economic downturns.”

We’re big fans of adaptive reuse at Urban Ghosts, both from an environmental and sustainability perspective, but also because of the emphasis the process places on historic preservation. Not only does the repurposing of heritage buildings anchor a city to its past while maintaining positive modern development, it also makes urban areas more interesting, as buildings that have played an important role in the community’s history are not simply swept aside.

You can find out more about Local First Arizona, which has worked hard over the past decade to advocate adaptive reuse, sustainability and localism, here.

Dilapidated Shepherd’s Huts in the Cotswolds

(Image: John Shortland)

They may look rather mundane, but these old shepherd’s huts are interesting given the increasing popularity of such items in the UK as home offices, summer houses, and even comfortable holiday accommodation. Shepherd’s huts can be surprisingly luxurious, so much so that I quite fancy one myself one day! If you’re planning to refurbish a dilapidated hut in the future, you may find this website inspiring. The above photograph by John Shortland was taken almost a decade ago near Charlbury in the Cotswolds. Hopefully these too have been restored.

The post Dilapidated Shepherd’s Huts in the Cotswolds appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Dilapidated Shepherd’s Huts in the Cotswolds

(Image: John Shortland)

They may look rather mundane, but these old shepherd’s huts are interesting given the increasing popularity of such items in the UK as home offices, summer houses, and even comfortable holiday accommodation. Shepherd’s huts can be surprisingly luxurious, so much so that I quite fancy one myself one day! If you’re planning to refurbish a dilapidated hut in the future, you may find this website inspiring. The above photograph by John Shortland was taken almost a decade ago near Charlbury in the Cotswolds. Hopefully these too have been restored.

Lake Natron: A Deadly Body of Water Where Lesser Flamingos Thrive

Lesser flamingos at Lake Natron, Tanzania (Image: Christoph Strässler. Lesser flamingos at Lake Natron, Tanzania)

Tanzania’s Lake Natron is like hell on earth. Its waters are incredibly salty, with a pH similar to that of ammonia. Taking a swim would be nothing short of insanity, and the animals that do venture close enough to the lake to die along its shores can become almost calcified. Factor in the lake’s nightmarish red colour �“ a product of the cyanobacteria that flourishes there �“ and you have a location that looks like something out of a ghastly dream.

Photographer Nick Brandt, who documented the lake in his haunting series titled The Calcified, told Smithsonian Magazine: “It was amazing. I saw entire flocks of dead birds all washed ashore together, lemming-like.” He added: “You�™d literally get, say, a hundred finches washed ashore in a 50-yard stretch.”

Lake Natron, Tanzania (Image: NASA)

But there’s more to Lake Natron, which lies in Tanzania’s northern Arusha Region, than meets the eye. Every year it serves as the breeding ground of about 75 percent of the world’s lesser flamingos. The cyanobacteria, called spirulina, makes up a major part of the flamingos’ diet, and also gives them their distinctive pink colour.

What’s more, since the water birds are practically immune to the unusually caustic waters, they’re able to wade through shallows and leave potential predators behind. According to the Mother Nature Network, somewhere in the region of 2.5 million lesser flamingos converge on Lake Natron every year.

Ol Doinyo Lengai from Lake Natron (Image: Clem23. Ol Doinyo Lengai from Lake Natron)

Unfortunately, mankind might now be infringing on this incredible spectacle. Even though the species is considered �œnear threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, plans have been made to build industrial plants that will harvest the salt lake’s unique natural resources.

While those plans have been defeated, it’s unclear for how long. As MNN reported in October 2016: “Despite this victory, the flamingos remain in a precarious position as the forces of climate change and human encroachment loom.”

Lesser flamingos in Tanzania (Image: Charles J Sharp. Lesser flamingos in Tanzania)

“About 32 percent of Tanzania’s land is protected (the average for developing countries is just 13 percent), but Lake Natron’s only designation is that of a “Wetland of International Importance” �” a title that holds no enforceable policy power.”

Read Next: Skeleton Lake: The Terrifying Fate of India�™s Ancient Pilgrims

The Historic Ghost Town of Cairo, Illinois

Abandoned buildings in Cairo, Illinois (Image: Photolitherland. Abandoned buildings in Cairo, Illinois)

Cairo, Illinois was once a bustling city. Situated near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, the settlement symbolised hope and safety for countless people. But today, many of its historic buildings are boarded up. According to Roadtrippers, this near ghost town has been an unfortunate victim of circumstance.

Abandoned buildings in downtown Cairo, Illinois, a ghost town of its former self.

(Images: hickory hardscrabble; MuZemike)

Cairo’s rapid decline is partially due to the reduction in riverboat traffic over the decades. When its prime location at the confluence of the rivers was no longer as important, the city itself was no longer as viable. But there’s a darker side to Cairo’s history, too, that’s bound up in racial tension and violence.

(Images: MuZemike; hickory hardscrabble)

At the end of the 19th century, the settlement became something of an destination for those fleeing the slavery of the south. But when they arrived, former slaves found the reality of the northern city wasn’t entirely what they’d imagined. Lynchings were common, and racial violence, protests and other conflicts increased in frequency.

(Image: Drowsy; MuZemike)

At its peak in 1920 Cairo, Illinois was home to more than 15,000 people. Today, less than 3,000 live in the town. Work is now underway to not only save and restore the abandoned buildings that make up much of Cairo’s historic downtown, but also to revitalise the city more broadly.

(Images: MuZemike 1, 2)

Read Next: Aesthetic Decay in Val-Jalbert Ghost Town, Quebec