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Here’s How The Forbidden City Survived 200 Earthquakes

Proof of the genius of traditional Chinese architecture.

The Forbidden City, which is the Chinese imperial palace that started way back from the Ming Dynasty, is one of the most important ancient structures in the world. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. For almost 500 years, The Forbidden City was home to Chinese emperors and their households and was the political center of the country.

Renovations are in progress in preserving the Forbidden City, but considering how OLD the site is, it’s indeed beyond remarkable how the structures within survived the natural elements, most especially earthquakes.

In its 600 years of existence, The Forbidden City has survived 200 devastating earthquakes, including what is considered the deadliest of the 20th century.

Source: Moheet.com

Naturally, people like us in the modern world are curious as to what the Chinese did to make this possible.

What kind of architectural sorcery did the Chinese use to create an earthquake-proof structure?

This video shows us how modern-day carpenters and engineers figured out the secret to the Forbidden City’s stability. Using traditional carpentry techniques, specialist carpenters they built a replica of the palace that is a fifth of the original size. The engineers built the structure on a shake table to simulate earthquake.

They took note of the brackets called dougong, which was used to support the beams and columns of the palace. These hold the key to the stability of the building and instrumental in holding the intricate parts of the structure.

After the replica was finished, they tested the strength of the structure by subjecting it to a series of simulated quakes. They started on a 9.0 magnitude scale, then beyond 9.5, which is the largest recorded quake in history. To give you an idea how monstrous that magnitude is, its energy is equivalent to the effect of 2 billion tonnes of TNT.

After much shaking, the structure was still standing at magnitude 10.1. The carpenters and engineers involved in the project could only marvel at the proof of the genius of traditional Chinese architecture.

Watch the video to see the amazing results:

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History

Stunning Photographs Reveal Sunken Luxurious Roman City Lost for 1,700 Years

The sunken city of Baiae is like Las Vegas in ancient times.

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The ancient city of Baiae in Rome is being compared to Las Vegas, in which it was a blooming area frequented by the nation’s rich and famous personalities. Baiae was once a popular resort where the elites and emperors expend their wealth and enjoy lavish parties. But 1,700 years ago, this grand city lost its vibrancy after nature took a lash at it and made it disappear beneath the waves.

Fast forward to many thousand years later, the site was rediscovered by an expedition team and it was found that most of the statues and mosaics have been beautifully preserved. Italian photographer Antonio Busiello captured stunning images of the old prosperous city, giving people a glimpse of what the luxurious playground was like in ancient Rome.

The sunken city of Baiae is found in the Gulf of Naples, Italy.

Baiae was once a spot frequented by the rich and famous of Ancient Rome.

Personalities like Julius Caesar, Nero, Pompey the Great, Marius, and Hadrian used to visit the city…

Before volcanic activity caused it to retreat below the waters.

Scientists have discovered that the villas in the area were made from the finest white marble.

Much of Baiae was lost to the waves as volcanic activity resulted in the entire city being submerged underwater into the Gulf of Naples of today. In 2014, the south of Naples experienced heavy flooding that caused landslides, which then exposed portions of the old Baiae.

Continuous landslides in 2014 exposed the hidden sunken city.

Recently, divers were allowed to explore the sunken site to take photos.

A team of divers discovered numerous ruins and Roman monuments.

Busiello said diving here is like "a dive into history."

Busiello, who lives in Naples, managed to photograph Baiae and found that mosaics and statues remain well-preserved across centuries. The 45-year-old said that the city was considered as one of Rome’s most important cities.

“The beautiful mosaics, and the villas and temples that have reemerged or are still underwater show the opulence and wealth of this area.It was considered one of the most important Roman cities for centuries. Pliny the Younger used to live here and from here, across the gulf, he witnessed and described the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum.”

The gorgeous town once had cobbled streets, statues, mosaics, and spas. Julius Caesar and Emperor Nero’s luxurious villas were found here as well. The site was also a place where temples dedicated to Venus, Diana and Mercury were erected.

Baiae was left untouched for centuries and because of that, it has become a sanctuary for sea creatures.

Pisoni and Protiro villas are visible on site.

Intricate mosaic designs and residential rooms can also be seen.

Divers have also found many treasures still intact.

Historians claim that the city is synonymous to wickedness and luxury.

Following the discovery of the drowned city, scientists from Italy’s University of Calabria and Spanish researcher, Mónica Alvarez de Buergo, worked together to analyze one of Baiae villa’s most valuable elements: the white marble. The team took the plunge to determine the type of material used for the construction of the beautiful villas that remain intact today.

The analyses were published in Applied Surface Science journal and it confirmed that the marble came from quarries in Italy, Turkey, and Greece.

Watch the video below to see the team’s exploration of the sunken city of Baiae.

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Man Discovers Ancient Tomb When He Tries to Fix Toilet in His Property

At first, Faggiano kept the discovery secret, even from his wife.

Eight years ago, Lucian Faggiano bought a building at 56 Via Ascanio Grandi in Lecce, Puglia in Italy and planned to open a trattoria, an eatery that is somewhere between a restaurant and a fast food joint. The 60-year old Faggiano worked on renovations right away after purchasing the building. The toilet was blocked, so he and his two sons decided to dig a trench to solve the problem.

What was supposed to take around a week to accomplish led to years of waiting for his beloved trattoria to open, thanks to a remarkable discovery on his property.

Faggiano and his sons uncovered an ancient stone floor covering a Messapian burial tomb while they were trying to find the toilet plumbing.

Further digging through cracks and holes led them to a Roman grain storage room and the remains of a convent that belonged to the Franciscans.

At first, Faggiano kept the discovery secret, even from his wife. He was afraid that the completion of his trattoria would be delayed if word got out. But investigators soon found out about it and informed Faggiano that digging on his trattoria must cease without officials recording the contents of the site.

Digging resumed after a year when proper officials have been assigned to the project.

The Faggianos were interested in finding out the history involved beneath his building but they would have to shoulder the cost of the dig.

In fact, they had to rent out some of the rooms to fund it. However, they reached the point that they almost gave up on endeavor.

So instead, they turned the building into a museum and opened it to visitors.

So what made the building so special? Going back to history, the town of Lecce, which was called Sybar, was taken over by the Romans in around 300 BCE. When the Romans fell from power, Lecce was invaded during the Gothic Wars and was eventually retaken by the Romans to be ruled for 500 years.

Around 11th century AD, Lecce was conquered by the Normans and became valued for its being near the trade routes. In 1463, the city was annexed by Charles V. Years after, the plague invaded the city, killing thousands.


Giovanni Giangreco, one of the dig’s officials, remarked:

“The Faggiano house has layers that are representative of almost all of the city’s history.

“From the Messapians to the Romans, from the medieval to the Byzantine time.”

Aside from tombs, the site revealed Roman pottery, jewelry, and wall carvings believed to have been created by the Knights of the Templar.

As for Mr. Faggiano, he still plans to go ahead with his restaurant business, but he’s scouting for a less troublesome location.

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History

Remembering Doña Paz, The Deadliest Shipwreck In History Worse Than The Titanic

In remembrance of its 30th anniversary. May all the victims rest in peace.

Many people think that the sinking of the Titanic is the worst maritime disaster, but there is a disaster worse than the popular shipwreck. The Philippines will be forever haunted by the tragedy of MV Doña Paz that recorded over 4,000 fatalities.

It will be 30 years since MV Doña Paz burned in the Philippine waters. On the unfortunate day of December 20, 1987, five days before Christmas, the passenger ferry collided with oil tanker MT Vector carrying 8,000 barrels of gasoline and kerosene that left an estimated death toll of 4,386 people and only 24 survivors.

MV Doña Paz is overloaded with more than 4,386 people.

MV Doña Paz was heading to Philippine capital, Manila, from the island of Leyte. It has a registered capacity of 1,518 passengers but on that fateful night, the vessel is overcrowded with more people than its normal capacity. According to the families of the victims and few survivors, the ship is jampacked with families going to Manila for the holidays. The official list reflected names a little more than 1,000 but more than 4,000 families rushed to the office of Sulpicio Lines.

Due to overloading, there is no space to stretch oneself. At around 11:30pm of December 20, 1987, the passengers sensed the collision. It caused a fire on the oil tanker that quickly spread to MV Doña Paz and the sea. Many passengers got burned in what people call “hell in sea”. Some people jumped overboard to escape the burning ship but the oil has spread to the sea and caught fire.

The tragedy is the worst maritime tragedy after World War II.

Upon investigation, the two ships have many faults that contributed to the tragedy. First, the alleged overloading made it harder for the passenger ferry to steer and avoid the collision. Aside from being overloaded, it was later found out that the MV Doña Paz has no radio and that the life-jackets were locked away making the tragedy even worse. The absence of radio failed the two ships to communicate with each other. The locked life jackets also lessened the chance for the passengers to survive the sea.

There were also allegations that the ship’s captain is partying that night and an apprentice is manning the wheel. Sulpicio Lines denied all allegations and claimed that they abide by the rules set by the Philippine Coast Guard before the voyage.

The tragedy happened days before Christmas.

The investigators found that the Vector’s operator and owner, Francisco Soriano and Vector Shipping Corp, had no license to operate the vessel, it was unseaworthy and that the crew was unqualified to run the tanker. It is traversing the sea illegally. The captain of MT Vector admitted that the steering wheel of the oil tanker is defective and difficult to maneuver.

For days, rescuers combed the sea littered with bloated corpses of the passengers. Many bodies were not found and their families mourned without a body.

This is not the first time that the vessel suffered a tragedy. When it was bought by Sulpicio Lines, it was named Don Sulpicio. On June 5, 1979, the vessel caught fire while on its way to Manila from Cebu with no fatality. The ship was refurbished by Sulpicio Lines and returned as Doña Paz.

Relatives of the victims and missing people plagued Sulpicio Lines.

Up to this day, survivors and families of the victims are still reminded of the grief-stricken tragedy. The trauma brought by the incident is not easy to forget. The few survivors have burns to forever remember the tragic shipwreck.

Families of the victims received $4,000 compensation, but many families of those not listed in the masterlist did not receive a single penny from Sulpicio Lines.

Watch the documentary of the worst peacetime maritime disaster.

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