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Halabja Town in Iraq Halabja is a Kurdish village, about 250 km north of Baghdad, and only a stone's throw away from the Iranian border. Near the end of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980's, local guerilla fighters (known as Peshmerga) liberated the village from Saddam's forces with the help of the Iranians. Saddam fought back. After days of shelling with artillery, what happened on March 16th, 1988 could never have been thought of except in the mind of a mad man. ©Birawar najm |2011

Tell el-Amarna revealed The ancient site of Tell el-Amarna extends across several square kilometres of desert on the edge of the River Nile about 200 miles south of Memphis/Cairo and 250 miles north of Thebes/Luxor. Comprising monumental buildings, waterfront facilities, industrial areas, residential suburbs, and edge-of-town cemeteries, the site represents a complete ancient city of New Kingdom date (c.1550-1069 BC), preserved beneath a thin covering of desert sand.

The sensitively-named Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum opened for business in 1864, the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America, possibly second in the world after the Kremlin. It was designed following the Kirkbride plan to house 250 lost souls, and reached its peak in the 1950's with 2,400 inmates--err--patients. Changes in attitudes forced its closure in 1994, devastating the local economy of Weston, West Virginia but it is now open for tours. Photo by Jeff Milsteen.

"In 1938, Harvey Fite (1903-1976), one of the founders of the Bard College Fine Arts Department, purchased an abandoned quarry (reportedly for $250) in the town of Saugerties, NY, in Ulster County, about 100 miles north of New York City. Over a period of 37 years he created the monumental world-acclaimed 6 ½-acre bluestone sculpture now known as Opus 40. Constructed using dry-key stone techniques adapted from the Mayans, Opus 40 is made from millions of pieces of indigenous bluestone..."