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What Are the Most Important Historical Sites in the World?

You already know big name destinations like the Great Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Great Barrier Reef, Machu Pichu, and the Taj Mahal. But these lesser-known treasures are also worth the trip.

Cueva de las Manos, Rio Pinturas

This cave in Santa Cruz, Argentina, may be the world’s oldest art gallery. Neolithic paintings and drawings of hunting scenes date back 13,000 years. The big draw, though, is the haunting stenciled silhouettes of human hands on the rock wall. The ancient Patagonians pressed their left hands against the rock and sprayed painted them by blowing into a bone pipe. Spray paint has been around longer than you think!

Petra, Jordan

Wedged in a canyon between the Dead Sea and Red Sea, a handful of 6th century BC buildings are carved into a rosy sandstone cliff. An artificial oasis, Petra was the capital of the Navataean Empire for 500 years until the Romans took over. It was recently named one of the seven new wonders of the world.

Prehistoric Alp Pile Dwellings

To the untrained eye, these look like sticks poking out of the mud. But they’re actually the remains of the oldest settlements in Europe. What’s left of 111 Bronze Age stilt houses can still be found across Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, and Switzerland. The stilts—called piles—have been waterlogged and preserved by creeping wetlands and lakeshores, giving an amazing look at early European society.

Old City of Salamanca

If you need to study up on your European architecture, ditch the books and head North of Madrid to Salamanca, Spain. The city is dotted with ancient-yet-still-functional architecture. Reaching back as far as 2000 years, you’ll find every style from the pages of your old art history textbook—including Moorish, Renaissance, Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque. The buildings are most stunning near Salamanca University. Founded in 1134, it’s the third oldest university in the world.

Flint Mines of Spiennes

6000 years ago, Neolithic people in Belgium started digging their way out of the Stone Age. They dug a labyrinth of flint mines—the largest and earliest mines on the Continent. The flint harvested was knapped into axes and adzes, which were used to build Europe’s earliest huts, establishing the first settled communities. This is where the Bronze Age began!

Calakmul

Calakmul was a Mayan superpower. It was the capital of the Snake Kingdom and was a major player in Mesoamerica for more than 12 centuries. Home to nearly 7000 ancient structures—including a remarkable pyramid—the architecture is the best preserved in Mexico. You’ll just have to hike far off the beaten path to get there.

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© 2017 USPS
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Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

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Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at Lenstore.co.uk have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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