Škocjan Caves

Škocjan Caves is a cave system in Slovenia. Due to its exceptional significance, Škocjan Caves was entered on UNESCO’s list of natural and cultural world heritage sites in 1986. International scientific circles have thus acknowledged the importance of the caves as one of the natural treasures of planet Earth. Ranking among the most important caves in the world, Škocjan Caves represents the most significant underground phenomena both on the Karst Plateau and in Slovenia. Following independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Slovenia committed itself to protecting the Škocjan Caves area and established Škocjan Caves Regional Park and its managing authority, the Škocjan Caves Park Public Service Agency. One of the largest known underground canyons in the world Examples of natural beauty with great aesthetic value Due to particular microclimatic conditions, a special ecosystem has developed The area has great cultural and historical significance as it has been inhabited since the prehistoric times A typical example of contact karst Škocjan Caves represents the most significant underground phenomena in both the Karst region and Slovenia.

Škocjan Caves was entered on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance on 18 May 1999. Together with the underground stream of the Reka River, they represent one of the longest karst underground wetlands in Europe. Explored length of caves is 6,200 m, caves have formed in 300 m thick layer of Cretaceous and Paleocene limestone; the Reka River disappears underground at Big Collapse Doline into Škocjan Caves and flows underground for 34 km surfacing near Monfalcone where it contributes one third of the flow of the Timavo River, which flows 2 kilometers from the Timavo Springs to the Adriatic Sea. The view of the big river in the rainy season, as it disappears underground at the bottom of Big Collapse Doline, 160 m below the surface, is both majestic and frightening; the exceptional volume of the underground canyon is what distinguishes Škocjan Caves from other caves and places it among the most famous underground features in the world. The river flowing through the underground canyon turns northwest before the Cerkvenik Bridge and continues its course along Hanke's Channel.

This underground channel is 3.5 km long, 10 to 60 m wide and over 140 m high. At some points, it expands into huge underground chambers; the largest of these is Martel's Chamber with a volume of 2.2 million cubic m and it is considered the largest discovered underground chamber in Europe and one of the largest in the world. The canyon of such dimensions ends with a small siphon: one that cannot deal with the enormous volume of water that pours into the cave after heavy rainfall, causing major flooding, during which water levels can rise by more than one hundred metres; the first written sources on Škocjan Caves originate in the era of Antiquity by Posidonius of Apamea and they are marked on the oldest published maps of this part of the world. The fact that the French painter Louis-François Cassas was commissioned to paint some landscape pieces proves that in the 18th century the caves were considered one of the most important natural features in the Trieste hinterland, his paintings testify that.

The Carniolan scholar Johann Weikhard von Valvasor described the sink of the Reka River and its underground flow in 1689. In order to supply Trieste with drinking water, an attempt was made to follow the underground course of the Reka River; the deep shafts in the Karst were explored as well as Škocjan Caves. The systematic exploration of Škocjan Caves began with a speleology expedition in 1884. Explorers reached the banks of Mrtvo jezero in 1890; the last major achievement was the discovery of Silent Cave in 1904, when some local men climbed the sixty-metre wall of Müller Hall. The next important event took place in nearly 100 years after the discovery of Dead Lake. Slovenian divers managed to swim through the siphon Ledeni dihnik and discovered over 200 m of new cave passages. From time immemorial, people have been attracted to the gorge where the Reka River disappears underground as well as the cave entrances; the Reka River sinks under a rocky wall. Škocjan Caves Regional Park is archaeologically rich.

A valuable archaeological find in Fly Cave indicates the influence of Greek civilization, where a cave temple was located after the end of the Bronze Age and in the Iron Age. This region was one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in Europe, three thousand years ago in the Mediterranean, where it was of important cult significance in connection with the afterlife and communication with ancestral spirits, it is difficult to establish when tourism in Škocjan Caves commenced. According to some sources, in 1819, the county councilor Matej Tominc ordered that steps be built to the bottom of Big Collapse Doline. According to other sources, the steps were only renovated. A visitors' book was introduced 1 January 1819; this date is considered the beginning of modern tourism in Škocjan Caves. In recent years, Škocjan Caves has had around 100,000 visitors per year; the first part of the Caves—Marinič Cave and Mahorčič Cave with Little Collapse Dolin

Islands Disappear

Islands Disappear is Said the Whale's second full-length album. It was released on October 13, 2009. Music videos for some of the songs are available on YouTube. Like their first album many of the songs reference places in Vancouver, British Columbia. Chart wrote, in a positive review of the album, "We all know Said The Whale have what it takes to make a raucous pop album, but they've instead opted for substance over flare; that chosen direction has them drifting toward New Pornographers territory—crafting songs that start change direction gradually mutate into singalong choruses." All songs written by Worcester. Ben Worcester - guitar, vocals Tyler Bancroft - guitar, vocals Peter Carruthers - bass, vocals Spencer Schoening - drums Jaycelyn Brown - keyboards Howard Redekopp - producer, mixer


The saung is an arched harp used in traditional Burmese music. The saung is regarded as a national musical instrument of Burma; the saung is unique in that it is a ancient harp tradition and is said to be the only surviving harp in Asia. The Burmese harp is classified as an arched horizontal harp since the resonator body is more horizontal as opposed to the Western harp, which has a vertical resonator; the main parts of the harp are the body, the long curved neck, carved out of the root of a tree, a string bar running down the center of the top of the body. The top of the resonator body is covered with a stretched deer hide lacquered in red with four small circular sound holes; the standard dimensions of the saung are 80×16×16 centimetres. The neck terminates in a decorated representation of the bo tree leaf; the whole of the harp body is decorated with pieces of mica, glass and red and black lacquer. The stand is decorated; the ends of the strings on the harp is decorated with red cotton tassels.

The saung's strings are made of nylon. The thirteen to sixteen strings of the harp angle upwards from the string bar to the string bindings on the lower part of the curved arch of the neck. Traditionally, tuning was accomplished by adjusting the string bindings. Constructed harps have machine heads or tuning pegs to make tuning easier; the traditional silk strings have been supplanted by nylon strings, but silk-stringed harps can still be seen. A full-sized harp has a body of about 80 cm long, 16 cm wide, 16 cm deep, the arch rises about 60 cm from the body. Smaller harps have been made for smaller players; the harp is played by sitting on the floor with the body in the lap, the arch on the left. The strings are plucked with the right hand fingers from the outside; the left hand is used to dampen the strings to produce staccato notes. Stopped tones are produced by using left thumbnail to press against the string from the inside to increase its tension; the Burmese harp is a ancient instrument. The saung may have been introduced as early as 500 AD from southeastern India, based on archaeological evidence, namely in the form of Burmese temple reliefs that depict a long-necked harp similar to depictions found in Bengal.

The earliest archaeological evidence of the harp is at the Bawbawgyi temple of the Sri Ksetra kingdom of the Pyu people, near present-day Pyay. At that site, there is a sculptured decoration where the arched harp with about five strings appears in a scene where musicians and a dancer are depicted; this site has been dated to the early eighth century. Contemporary Chinese chronicles from the same period cite Pyu musicians playing the arched harp; the harp has survived continuously since that time, has been mentioned in many chronicles and texts. The current Burmese word for the harp "saung" has been recorded in Bagan temples, as well as in pictorial representations; the earliest song-poem texts in Burmese date to the early 14th century, although the music has not survived. It is conjectured that this song-poem was harp music since text refers to the siege of Myinzaing, "Myinzaing" is one of the classical tunings and musical forms in use today; the harp benefited from the cultural renaissance of the Konbaung era.

When the Burmese king Hsinbyushin sacked Ayuthaya, he brought back with him many Siamese courtiers. The captured Siamese actors and musicians fueled new experiments in harp music; the most significant innovator was the talented courtier Myawaddy Mingyi U Sa, who adapted repertoires of Siamese music into Burmese, rewrote the Siamese Ramayana, called Ramakien, into the Burmese Enaung-zat, composed harp music for it, developed a whole new genre of harp music called "Yodaya". U Sa was responsible for increasing the number of harp strings from seven to thirteen, such that the notes spanned two and a half octaves, from C3 to F5; the last Konbaung court harpist, Maung Maung Gyi, added the 14th string. Ba Than, a post-independence harpist, created a 16-string saung. In the 18th century the instrument was introduced to Qing dynasty China, becoming known as zonggaoji; until the 1800s, the Burmese harp and its music was used only for chamber music within the royal court, where it held status as the most prized of the court instruments.

Since it has become popular with the general population, but is still played only in more intimate chamber settings. The harp is accompanied by a singer, or more the singer is accompanied by the harp, with the harp adapting to the singer, who controls the time with a bell and clapper to indicate the music tempo; the Burmese classical music scale is tuned differently from the Western scale, has been said to be derived from the descending cycle of fifths. This is only true, traditionally, the harp is tuned differently for the four major different modes of Burmese classical music. Due to the overriding influence of Western music, many harpists tune to the Western diatonic scale, since fewer and fewer singers feel comfortable with the traditional tunings. Burmese music has not been written down with notation, only the text of the songs are recorded, the rendition of the music has been passed down through the generations from teacher to student; the last and most well known harpist of the court was U Maung Maung Gyi, given a post at King Mindon's court at the young age of thirte