guinness record books

This is the story of a lost medieval city you’ve probably never heard about. Benin City, originally known as Edo, was once the capital of a pre-colonial African empire located in what is now southern Nigeria. The Benin empire was one of the oldest and most highly developed states in west Africa, dating back to the 11th century.

The Guinness Book of Records (1974 edition) described the walls of Benin City and its surrounding kingdom as the world’s largest earthworks carried out prior to the mechanical era. According to estimates by the New Scientist’s Fred Pearce, Benin City’s walls were at one point “four times longer than the Great Wall of China, and consumed a hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of Cheops”.

Situated on a plain, Benin City was enclosed by massive walls in the south and deep ditches in the north. Beyond the city walls, numerous further walls were erected that separated the surroundings of the capital into around 500 distinct villages.

Pearce writes that these walls “extended for some 16,000 km in all, in a mosaic of more than 500 interconnected settlement boundaries. They covered 6,500 sq km and were all dug by the Edo people … They took an estimated 150 million hours of digging to construct, and are perhaps the largest single archaeological phenomenon on the planet”.

Barely any trace of these walls exist today.

Benin City was also one of the first cities to have a semblance of street lighting. Huge metal lamps, many feet high, were built and placed around the city, especially near the king’s palace. Fuelled by palm oil, their burning wicks were lit at night to provide illumination for traffic to and from the palace.

When the Portuguese first “discovered” the city in 1485, they were stunned to find this vast kingdom made of hundreds of interlocked cities and villages in the middle of the African jungle. They called it the “Great City of Benin”, at a time when there were hardly any other places in Africa the Europeans acknowledged as a city. Indeed, they classified Benin City as one of the most beautiful and best planned cities in the world.

In 1691, the Portuguese ship captain Lourenco Pinto observed: “Great Benin, where the king resides, is larger than Lisbon; all the streets run straight and as far as the eye can see. The houses are large, especially that of the king, which is richly decorated and has fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious. It is so well governed that theft is unknown and the people live in such security that they have no doors to their houses.”

In contrast, London at the same time is described by Bruce Holsinger, professor of English at the University of Virginia, as being a city of “thievery, prostitution, murder, bribery and a thriving black market made the medieval city ripe for exploitation by those with a skill for the quick blade or picking a pocket”.

African fractals

Benin City’s planning and design was done according to careful rules of symmetry, proportionality and repetition now known as fractal design. The mathematician Ron Eglash, author of African Fractals – which examines the patterns underpinning architecture, art and design in many parts of Africa – notes that the city and its surrounding villages were purposely laid out to form perfect fractals, with similar shapes repeated in the rooms of each house, and the house itself, and the clusters of houses in the village in mathematically predictable patterns.

As he puts it: “When Europeans first came to Africa, they considered the architecture very disorganised and thus primitive. It never occurred to them that the Africans might have been using a form of mathematics that they hadn’t even discovered yet.”

At the centre of the city stood the king’s court, from which extended 30 very straight, broad streets, each about 120-ft wide. These main streets, which ran at right angles to each other, had underground drainage made of a sunken impluvium with an outlet to carry away storm water. Many narrower side and intersecting streets extended off them. In the middle of the streets were turf on which animals fed.

“Houses are built alongside the streets in good order, the one close to the other,” writes the 17th-century Dutch visitor Olfert Dapper. “Adorned with gables and steps … they are usually broad with long galleries inside, especially so in the case of the houses of the nobility, and divided into many rooms which are separated by walls made of red clay, very well erected.”

Dapper adds that wealthy residents kept these walls “as shiny and smooth by washing and rubbing as any wall in Holland can be made with chalk, and they are like mirrors. The upper storeys are made of the same sort of clay. Moreover, every house is provided with a well for the supply of fresh water”.

Family houses were divided into three sections: the central part was the husband’s quarters, looking towards the road; to the left the wives’ quarters (oderie), and to the right the young men’s quarters (yekogbe).

Daily street life in Benin City might have consisted of large crowds going though even larger streets, with people colourfully dressed – some in white, others in yellow, blue or green – and the city captains acting as judges to resolve lawsuits, moderating debates in the numerous galleries, and arbitrating petty conflicts in the markets.

The early foreign explorers’ descriptions of Benin City portrayed it as a place free of crime and hunger, with large streets and houses kept clean; a city filled with courteous, honest people, and run by a centralised and highly sophisticated bureaucracy.

The city was split into 11 divisions, each a smaller replication of the king’s court, comprising a sprawling series of compounds containing accommodation, workshops and public buildings – interconnected by innumerable doors and passageways, all richly decorated with the art that made Benin famous. The city was literally covered in it.

The exterior walls of the courts and compounds were decorated with horizontal ridge designs (agben) and clay carvings portraying animals, warriors and other symbols of power – the carvings would create contrasting patterns in the strong sunlight. Natural objects (pebbles or pieces of mica) were also pressed into the wet clay, while in the palaces, pillars were covered with bronze plaques illustrating the victories and deeds of former kings and nobles.

At the height of its greatness in the 12th century – well before the start of the European Renaissance – the kings and nobles of Benin City patronised craftsmen and lavished them with gifts and wealth, in return for their depiction of the kings’ and dignitaries’ great exploits in intricate bronze sculptures.

“These works from Benin are equal to the very finest examples of European casting technique,” wrote Professor Felix von Luschan, formerly of the Berlin Ethnological Museum. “Benvenuto Celini could not have cast them better, nor could anyone else before or after him. Technically, these bronzes represent the very highest possible achievement.”

What impressed the first visiting Europeans most was the wealth, artistic beauty and magnificence of the city. Immediately European nations saw the opportunity to develop trade with the wealthy kingdom, importing ivory, palm oil and pepper – and exporting guns. At the beginning of the 16th century, word quickly spread around Europe about the beautiful African city, and new visitors flocked in from all parts of Europe, with ever glowing testimonies, recorded in numerous voyage notes and illustrations.
Lost world
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Now, however, the great Benin City is lost to history. Its decline began in the 15th century, sparked by internal conflicts linked to the increasing European intrusion and slavery trade at the borders of the Benin empire.

Then in 1897, the city was destroyed by British soldiers – looted, blown up and burnt to the ground. My great grandparents were among the many who fled following the sacking of the city; they were members of the elite corps of the king’s doctors.

Nowadays, while a modern Benin City has risen on the same plain, the ruins of its former, grander namesake are not mentioned in any tourist guidebook to the area. They have not been preserved, nor has a miniature city or touristic replica been made to keep alive the memory of this great ancient city.

A house composed of a courtyard in Obasagbon, known as Chief Enogie Aikoriogie’s house – probably built in the second half of the 19th century – is considered the only vestige that survives from Benin City. The house possesses features that match the horizontally fluted walls, pillars, central impluvium and carved decorations observed in the architecture of ancient Benin.

Curious tourists visiting Edo state in Nigeria are often shown places that might once have been part of the ancient city – but its walls and moats are nowhere to be seen. Perhaps a section of the great city wall, one of the world’s largest man-made monuments, now lies bruised and battered, neglected and forgotten in the Nigerian bush.

A discontented Nigerian puts it this way: “Imagine if this monument was in England, USA, Germany, Canada or India? It would be the most visited place on earth, and a tourist mecca for millions of the world’s people. A money-spinner worth countless billions in annual tourist revenue.”

Instead, if you wish to get a glimpse into the glorious past of the ancient Benin kingdom – and a better understanding of this groundbreaking city – you are better off visiting the Benin Bronze Sculptures section of the British Museum in central London.

Just  a little reminder

Yuzuru Hanyu is:

- Junior world and GPF champion

- Senior World champion, 2x world silver medalist and a world bronze medalist

-  Olympic champion  

- 4X consecutive GPF champion (the first man to do so), GPF silver medalist

- 4x National champion,

- 10x GP medalist

- 3x 4CC silver medalist

- in the Guinness book of world record ;-)

- the first skater in history to successfully land a Quad Loop (Ritberger) in  a competition

- asthmatic

- at the age of 22 already a living legend

Yuzuru Hanyu has broken  world records 10 times, he is the holder of the highest score in short program, long program and combined score, he is the first man to have broken the 100-point barrier in the short program, the 200-point  barrier in Long program and  the 300-point barrier in the combined total score.

Let’s see if the overhyped youngsters can come even close to these results LOL

Shout-out to this dog for having a long-ass tail

In fact, it is the world’s longest dog tail, according to the Guinness Book Of World Records. The Irish wolfhound’s name is Keon, which means “courageous warrior,” none of which really matters because just look at that goddamn tail. The 30-inch long leviathan of fur whips around like a separate animal surgically fused to the dog, like some sort of real-life sphinx. Perhaps no shot in the video above is as stunning as the one in which the crazily proportioned dog catches a piece of bread in mid-air, his tail flailing wildly behind him in a manner that could swipe a grown man’s feet out from under him. Even when shot from the front, the tail is visible. The fucking thing moves with a mind of its own.

And so we say: Good for you, courageous warrior, dog with long-ass tail. In other eras you might treated as a demon or a visitor from another dimension. In ours, you are a world-record holder.

Today In History

‘Diana Ross, actress, legendary solo singer, and lead singer for the Supremes, was born in Detroit, MI, on this date March 26, 1944. In 1993, the Guinness Book of Records awarded her its Lifetime Achievement Award and title of “most successful female vocalist of all time.”’

(photo: Diana Ross)

- CARTER Magazine

Shakuntala Devi (1929-2013) was an Indian mental calculator, and achieved the popular name of “human computer” and an entry in the Guinness World Book of Records for her remarkable calculating abilities. She achieved this in 1980, when she was able to multiply two randomly-chosen 13-digit numbers in 28 seconds.

Her father discovered her ability at the age of three, and she continued to exhibit an impressive power of memorising numbers and doing mathematical operations even if she received no formal education. She revealed some of her strategies in a book entitled Figuring: The Joy of Numbers. She also wrote a book called The World of Homosexuals, the first study of homosexuality in India, which advocated for tolerance and the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships.

Madam C.J. Walker born Sarah Breedlove (December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) in Delta, Louisiana. Walker was an African-American businesswoman, hair care entrepreneur, tycoon and philanthropist. Her fortune was made by developing and marketing a hugely successful line of beauty and hair products for black women, under the company she founded Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. The Guinness Book of Records cites Walker as the first female, black or white, who became a millionaire by her own achievements.

2

Chris Walton,

47, holds the title for the world’s longest fingernails after she stopped clipping them in 1993. Walton’s bizarre nails curl in all directions, yet the mother and grandmother cooks and cleans, and can even play the piano and use a computer. Her amazing dedication to her nails was officially recognized by the 2012 edition of the Guinness Records Book.

(Source)

Massive gold coin worth millions stolen from German museum

Berlin police say thieves broke into the German capital’s Bode Museum and made off with a massive 100-kilogram (221-pound) gold coin worth millions.

Spokesman Stefen Petersen said thieves apparently entered through a through a window about 3:30 a.m. Monday, broke into a cabinet where the “Big Maple Leaf” coin was kept, and escaped with it before police arrived.

A ladder was found by nearby railway tracks.

The three-centimeter (1.18-inch) thick coin, with a diameter of 53 centimeters (20.9 inches), has a face value of $1 million. By weight alone, however, it would be worth almost $4.5 million at market prices.

The museum says the coin is in the Guinness Book of Records for its purity of 999.99/1000 gold. It has a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on one side and maple leaves on the other.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/27/massive-gold-coin-worth-millions-stolen-from-german-museum.html

They call it “The Hummus Wars.”

Lebanon accused the Israeli people of trying to steal hummus and make it their national dish, explains Ronit Vered, a food journalist with the newspaper Haaretz in Tel Aviv. And so hummus became a symbol, she tells us, “a symbol of all the tension in the Middle East.”

The war began over a 4,532-pound plate of hummus.

In 2009, Fadi Abboud — the minister of tourism ­­— led Lebanon to break the world record for making the largest tub of hummus in the world. At the time, Abboud was also chairman of the Lebanese Industrialists Association. “A group of us just came from a food exhibition in France. There they were telling us that hummus is an Israeli traditional dish,” he says. “I mean, the world now thinks that Israel invented hummus.”

Abboud could not let that stand. “I thought the best way to tell the world that the hummus is Lebanese is to break the Guinness Book of Records.”

Give Chickpeas A Chance: Why Hummus Unites, And Divides, The Mideast

Photo: Ramzi Haidar/AFP/Getty Images
Caption: Lebanese chefs celebrate in Beirut after setting a new Guinness record for what was then the biggest tub of hummus in the world — weighing over 2 tons — in October 2009. 

KNOWING YOUR PARTNER CAN POTENTIALLY MAKE WRITING TOGETHER A LOT EASIER. REPOST. DON’T REBLOG.

– BASICS.
•  NAME: Ve
•   PRONOUNS:  She/her
•   SEXUALITY:  gay af
•   TAKEN OR SINGLE: single

– THREE FACTS.

1) I work at a haunted house/factory really that has been in the Guinness World Record books 3 times for being the longest indoor haunt
2: I have six tattoos and nine piercings 
3: I really like my hair played with and cuddles (because idk what else to put im a potato) 

– EXPERIENCE.
•   HOW LONG (MONTHS / YEARS?): 5 or 6 years??? somewhere between that
•   PLATFORMS YOU’VE USED:  tumblr, skype, facebook and i think kik once or twice when i still had that
•   BEST EXPERIENCE:  Honestly all the love and support I’ve got since making Pandora and bring back my Bellatrix

– MUSE PREFERENCES.
•   FEMALE OR MALE:  either
•   FLUFF, ANGST OR SMUT: GIMME ALL OF IT
•   PLOTS OR MEMES:  bothhhhh
•   LONG OR SHORT REPLIES:  either… depends on the thread and how much i word vomit tbh XD
•   BEST TIME TO WRITE:  Evenings
•   ARE YOU LIKE YOUR MUSE(S):  Ummm… I’d like to be like Pandora. All happy and positive but I’m not. I’ve got the hippie bit though… tbh im lowkey nuts like bellatrix though and I’m not just saying that. I just don’t kill people… obviously XD

TAGGED BY: @narcissamilfoy
TAGGING: @protectivexmother @minervashogwarts @damagedfawn @xdahliawallacex

Elephant armour from India. 17th century. Composed of 5,840 plates, weighing 118kg, it’s largest animal armour in the world.

This fabulous 17th century armour is composed of 5,840 plates and weighs 118kg, some plates are missing and originally the total number would be 8,439 and weigh 159kg! The tusk swords that accompany this armour (not on display) weigh in at 10kg.

It is the only animal armour of this scale on public display and recently entered the Guinness Book of Records as the largest animal armour in the world.

These kids just broke a very Harry Potterish World Record!

WORLD BOOK DAY - Children at Tanbridge House School in Horsham, UK celebrated the World Book Day in a twitch of a wand, as they successfully broke the world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Harry Potter.

The school administration was anticipating about 250 of its pupils to dress up like Harry Potter to break the record, but they managed to surpass the number when they gathered 512 participants.

Photos c/o Guinness World Records | More updates at @thebookmania