Acqua Alta Floods Venice
Spotlight See more photos of the flooding of San Marco Square by visiting the Piazza San Marco location page.
In many parts of Venice, Italy, including the famous San Marco Square, tourists and Venetians are being forced to wade through knee-high waters.
Flooding is common in November and December, the most active months for high water. Today’s level reached a peak of 55 inches (140 centimeters), but was below the 63 inches (160 centimeters) recorded four years ago in the worst flooding in decades. Sea bed barriers that would help to protect Venice from high tides have been in the works for years but will not be operational until 2014.
The United Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifa (برج خليفة)
Sunday, December 2 was the National Day of the United Arab Emirates, honoring the UAE’s formal independence from the United Kingdom and the eventual unification of the seven emirates in 1971. To celebrate, we’re highlighting photos of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world and one of the country’s most stunning sights.
The Burj Khalifa is in Dubai’s business district, and stands 829.8 meters (2,722 feet) tall. It took 6 years and $1.5 billion to construct, and houses the world’s highest nightclub (on the 144th floor), the world’s highest restaurant (122nd floor), the world’s fastest elevators (64km/h or 40mph), and, on New Year’s, the world’s highest display of fireworks. It’s named after the UAE’s President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his support of the tower, and was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, which also designed the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago and the new One World Trade Center in New York City.
Thailand Celebrates Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง) and Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง)
Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง), one of Thailand’s most beautiful annual festivals, is in full swing. Thai celebrants, as well as some Laotians and Burmese, pay homage to the goddess of waters in November each year to coincide with the full moon of the twelfth lunar.
The name Loi Krathong means floating cup of leaf, and describes one of the festival’s biggest events. Participants release small rafts, or ‘krathong’, decorated with flowers and topped by a flickering candle into the waterways of Thailand as a way to seek forgiveness for past sins.
Perhaps the most photogenic part of Loi Krathong is the Lanna (northern Thai) festival Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง) that coincides with it. Thousands of floating lanterns, or khom loi (โคมลอย), are launched into the air in unison, lighting up the sky. The khom loi are made from a thin fabric, such as rice paper, and have a candle in the center which, when lit, creates enough hot air inside the lantern to lift the khom loi into the sky. The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations take place in Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the Lanna Kingdom.