Five Fascinating Micronations, Part I

There are microstates, and then there are micronations. While a microstate is an internationally recognised sovereign entity (e.g., Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City), micronations are a bit fuzzier in their definition (as Micronation Central states it, ‘a micronation is any entity which purports to be or has the appearance of being a sovereign state but…

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Recursive National Flags

The are plenty of flags to be found with other flags on them. Just look at how many flags use the flag of the United Kingdom in their canton, or most naval ensigns, for that matter. Few flags, however, actually display themselves. Because many countries put their coat-of-arms on their national flags, and some of…

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Google Sightseeing: San Marino

The latest Basement Geographer article for Google Sightseeing takes a look at the newly-released Street View imagery for San Marino.  Surrounded entirely by central Italy in the Apennine mountains about 10 km (6 mi) from the Adriatic coast, San Marino is one of the smallest countries in world at a mere 61 km2 (24 sq mi).  It is also…

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Google Sightseeing: Dubious Deserts

Over at Google Sightseeing, it’s one of the biggest weeks on the calendar as this week marks the fifth annual Desert Week.  With a nod to our look at the Carcross Desert a few weeks ago, The Basement Geographer’s contribution to this year edition is a tour of a few more of the world’s-deserts-that-aren’t-actually-deserts.  As…

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The Vajont Dam Disaster

Five decades ago, one of the deadliest dam breaches in history taught engineers a tragic lesson about constructing hydroelectric dams in geologically-unstable regions. At 261.6 m (862 ft) in height, the thin concrete arch Vajont Dam, on the Vajont River in the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia a few dozen metres above its border with…

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Same Name, Other Side of the Border (Part IV: Southern and Eastern Europe)

Tyrol (Austria/Italy) How the German-speaking province of South Tyrol (German/Ladin Südtirol; Italian Alto Adige or Sudtirolo) came to be part of Italy rather than part of Austria like the rest of Tyrol is a consequence of the result of World War I.  Between 1140 and 1919, the land that comprises the modern Austrian state of…

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Google Sightseeing: Napoleon in Exile

For TBG‘s latest article over at the almighty Google Sightseeing, we take a look at the various residences that played host to the deposed emperor Napoleon during his two exiles: the Italian island of Elba, which contained him for all of 300 days, and the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where…

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Fuji Speedway and Abandoned Oval Motor Circuits of Europe

My latest article over at Google Sightseeing (which you can view here) takes a look at Japan’s Fuji Speedway, which was visited by the Google Street View team during a weekend of racing action. Street View not only captured imagery directly from the main speedway circuit but also of the two karting circuits in the…

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Google Sightseeing: Landslide!

History shows us that you can build all the dams and retaining walls you want, but when the side of a mountain collapses above you, the mountain always wins.  The world is covered in the deep scars of major landslides and landslips.  In my latest article at Google Sightseeing, we look at a few of…

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Craco: The Ghost on the Hill

At first glance, driving through the little village of Craco could seem like driving through any other pretty hillside village in Italy’s Basilicata region. That is, if you drive in from the northwest. Should you approach Craco from the other direction, however, you’ll see that it’s anything but ordinary: Source: Idéfix, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Craco0001.jpg. Licensed under the Creative Commons…

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