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The small town of Centuripe is known for its wealth of Roman ruins and rare ancient sculptures, but a drone shot from the air has uncovered its rare shape – an uncanny resemblance to a person with arms stretched out.

Photographer and drone pilot Pio Andrea Peri noticed his hometown’s unusual shape on Google Earth and decided to use his drone to see if it was true.

He flew his drone as high as he could above the town and began taking photos.

To his surprise, it revealed the shape of a human.

But due to the limitations of his drone, Peri reportedly needed to stitch together several photos to fit in the entire village.

Aerial images show two longer stretches of buildings that resemble ‘arms’ and another two resembling ‘legs’, while a shorter fifth stretch makes up the ‘head’.

“It was a hard shot to create,” he said. “I had to use multiple shots because of the height limit of the drone.”

Peri took the snaps in 2021 and they have since resurfaced on social media with many amazed by the village’s resemblance to a person.

“There are those looking from above who see a man lying down, then there are those who see a starfish … How about you? What do you see watching Centuripe?” he asked his Instagram followers alongside one of his aerial shots.

“Wow, this town has such an incredible shape,” one person responded.

“Love this! I see a man living free with the land!” wrote another.

Meanwhile, a local thanked the photographer for his work.

“Centuripe deserved some visibility and we are honoured that a master like you gave it. Gorgeous pictures,” they wrote.

Others described the village’s shape as “crazy”, “incredible” and “cool”.

“Would love to see how the people get around. I see one road around the outer edge. Very interesting,” a Facebook user wrote.

“I’m on my way from the right arm, should be to the left arm oh I’d say in about an hour or so,” said another.

“In a country shaped like a boot, there’s a town shaped like a person,” a third added.

However, while many were amazed by Peri’s images, some accused him of doctoring them.

“The whole world was incredulous at the bizarre shape of this town. Many did not believe it was true, and they thought that I had drawn the photo on the PC,” Pio said, according to the Daily Mail.

“But when they realized the truth by searching on Google Earth many of them personally apologized for what they said to me.”

“I’m proud of the pictures and I’m happy with my results; being a self-taught person I believe a lot in what I do.”

He explained how difficult it was to create the final image.

“I overlaid about 18 shots manually in post production and it took two hours of editing. I’m very happy with the result.”

At the time, the town’s mayor invited photographer Peri to stage an exhibition of his photographs.

The ancient town of Centuripe, built on a hill about 730m above sea level, has a population of around 5000 inhabitants.

The town’s current layout and design is said to date back to the 16th century with its tiny, winding streets leading down to terraced buildings.

The picturesque alleyways are reportedly designed for animal transport.

Due to its high position, Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi called Centuripe “the balcony of Sicily”.

From the top of the town, the famous Mt Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, is visible in the distance, as are sprawling views of the surrounding countryside.

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A couple of armed guards at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex standing in front of the open door

These are five world-famous doors boasting some ‘extreme’ credentials!

NASA Vehicle Assembly Building

The world’s largest doors are reputed to be those of the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Centre, on Merritt Island, Florida. The building is the fourth largest structure in the world by volume – and actually the largest when originally completed in 1965.

Each of its four doors measure 139 metres (that’s 456 feet) high. In contrast, the Statue of Liberty is only 93 metres high, making these some extreme doors indeed! Because of their impressive stature, the doors take 45 minutes to open or close.

NASA 1 An Apollo/Saturn V facilities Test Vehicle and Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) atop a crawler-transporter move from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on the way to Pad A on May 25, 1966.
NASA's mobile launcher, atop crawler-transporter 2, begins the move into High Bay 3 at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) on Sept. 8, 2018, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mobile launcher departed Launch Pad 39B after several days of testing with the pad. This is the first time that the modified mobile launcher made the trip to the pad and the VAB. The mobile launcher will spend seven months in the VAB undergoing testing. The 380-foot-tall structure is equipped with the crew access arm and several umbilicals that will provide power, environmental control, pneumatics, communication and electrical connections to the agency's Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft. Exploration Ground Systems is preparing the ground systems necessary to launch SLS and Orion on Exploration Mission-1, missions to the Moon and on to Mars.

Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Colorado Springs

Cheyenne Mountain Complex is a military installation and nuclear bunker located in Colorado Springs at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, which hosts the activities of several squadron units.

Employees based here work behind two extreme 25-ton doors, which can withstand a 30-megaton blast. To put that into perspective, ‘Fat Man’, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki would have to explode 1,429 times to crack the entrance. The offices there are buried 2,000 feet into the mountain’s granite – so deep that air has to be pumped inside! That air, however, is the cleanest in the world, as it is processed by a state-of-the-art system of chemical, biological, and nuclear filters.

Approach to the tunnel before the door
A couple of armed guards at Cheyenne standing in front of the open door

Bank of England gold vault

Looking like something straight out of a film set, the UK’s largest gold vault – second in the world only to the Federal Reserve in New York – stores 4,600 5152 tons of gold. The extreme, bombproof door is unlocked via a sophisticated voice recognition system, aided by multiple three-foot-long keys.

The bank won’t actually reveal how heavy the door is or how deep down the vault is buried, but it does have more floor space than London’s Tower 42, which is a 47-story building!

The open vault of Bank of England

Fort Knox

Another of the world’s most secure vault doors is at the Fort Knox bullion depository, located within the Fort Knox US army base south of Louisville in Kentucky. The depository contains over 4,000 tonnes of gold bullion inside a granite-lined vault, which is protected by an extreme, blast-proof door weighing 22 tonnes.

If that wasn’t extreme enough, no single person is entrusted enough with the entire combination required to open the vault; ten members of the depository staff must dial in different combinations, each known only to them.

Fort Knox

Casa de Nariño

Fitted to the home of the President of Colombia, as well as numerous embassies around the world, are these extreme security doors from Technoimport. These doors have been specially designed to resist attack by burglars and rival gangs.

The door is made from steel and is bulletproof (it will stop a Magnum 57 bullet), as well as unable to be cut through with cutting or welding equipment. It is also fireproof and designed to withstand explosives! The door locks in ten places and operated via a biometric fingerprint lock, which automatically checks for blood flow to ensure the finger is attached to a living human!

Casa de Nariño

JKB Ind. Doors Blog

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A high angle view of Lagos, Nigeria. MICHAEL KRAUS / EYEEM / GETTY IMAGES

The community on the water houses some of the nation’s wealthiest people, and expats, too


Banana Island, which is Nigeria’s answer to Paris’s Seventh Arrondissement, San Diego’s La Jolla, New York City’s Tribeca and Tokyo’s Shibuya and Roppongi, is a small man-made island in the Ikoyi neighborhood of Lagos.

Completed in 2000, it’s a billionaires’ paradise populated by the country’s richest and most well-known families, who savor its quiet, peaceful atmosphere far from the clamor and crowds of Lagos, the country’s largest city and financial center.

Its name comes from its distinct shape.


The 1.63-million-square-meter sand-filled island in Lagos Lagoon is a little more than 5 miles east of Tafawa Balewa Square, the commercial and ceremonial heart of Lagos. A dedicated road connects it to a network of roads near Parkview Estate. First Avenue in the north and Second Avenue in the sound merge and run around its perimeter.

Price Range

As in the rest of the country, real estate prices on Banana Island are based on the value of the land, which according to Roberta Nouboue, managing director of Madingwa Real Estate, is NGN400,000 (US$1,101 per square meter).

Ms. Nouboue said prices for detached houses, which rarely come on the market because there are not many on the island, start at NGN1 billion (US$2.75 million). The most expensive listing now on the market, NGN5 billion, is for a six-bedroom detached house on 2,600 square meters of land, she said.

She added that four-bedroom, single-family terrace/townhouses that are on average 400 square meters and are on 1,000 square meters of land generally range from NGN350 million to NGN500 million.

One current listing, she said, is for NGN750 million. That’s the price for each of the twin townhouses on 600 square meters of land.

The island also has three prominent condo developments: Ocean Parade Towers, Bella Vista Towers and Lakepoint Apartments.

“There are more apartments and terrace houses than detached single-family homes because land is so scarce and land prices are so high,” Ms. Nouboue said. “Most of them are owned by individuals and rented out to tenants who pay NGN25 million to NGN30 million annually.”

She said it’s possible to buy a unit for about NGN363 million “because value has dropped significantly in the last three years with the devaluation of the naira. It’s illegal to market real estate in anything but naira.”

Of the three condo developments, Ocean Parade is considered the most top-notch, she said, because of its many amenities, which include tennis courts, an Olympic-size pool, two gyms and children’s areas.

A six-bedroom detached mansion that recently sold for NGN5 billion (US$13,774,100).Madingwa Real Estate

Housing Stock

As originally planned, Banana Island was to be an uber-exclusive enclave of single-family detached estates divided into 535 property plots that ranged from 1,000 to 4,000 square meters. House heights were to be capped at three stories.

The first homes were built on the south side of the island, but as land prices skyrocketed through the years, high-rise condo developments were built on the north side, which also houses the area’s commercial corridor. There are three mixed-use high-rises—the Adunola, the oldest, and Lakepoint Towers and Desiderata, which were built in the last two years.

“The first houses that were built are in British and Dubai traditional styles,” Ms. Nouboue said. “They are very ostentatious and have nice gardens. The newer ones are more modern, with straight angles, and they are less elongated because they are on less land.”

Buyers have a choice of two- to four-bedroom en-suite flats, maisonettes and terrace houses, added Charles Onyenze, an associate at Knight Frank. “Typically, a very large percentage of homes are customized, while a few are large estates accommodating a number of prototype houses,” he said.

Swimming pools, Ms. Nouboue said, are quite popular. And nearly every house has a gym, she added.

Apartment buildings, Mr. Onyenze said, come fully stocked with amenities that include fitted kitchens, walk-in-wardrobes, intercom systems, security surveillance systems and standby generators.

A newly built modern-style terraced home and its twin that are each on the market for NGN750 million (US$ 2,066,115).Madingwa Real Estate

What Makes It Unique

Beauty and seclusion set Banana Island apart.

“Banana Island is a piece of heaven in the middle of noisy Lagos,” said Ms. Nouboue, adding that the island has two parks. “It offers security, tranquility and privacy. To get to the island, you have to pass through a security gate. It’s by invitation only.”

She added that because there is not much car traffic, “you can jog in peace.”

Mr. Onyenze said the island’s security network, good roads, 24/7 street lighting and proximity to the waters of Lagos Lagoon make it special.

It also offers status. “Having a presence in Banana Island is an indication of your societal class,” he said.

Luxury Amenities

Although Banana Island’s main street offers little more than a café, a barbershop and a large supermarket, chic shopping areas and restaurants on Victoria Island are only a 12-minute car ride away.

“Victoria Island is like Manhattan,” Ms. Nouboue said.

Her favorite restaurants include NOK by Alara, which serves new African cuisine; Z Kitchen, which offers succulent steaks; and R.S.V.P., which specializes in international dishes.

“R.S.V.P. is a great place to go on Friday nights,” she said. “It’s elegant, and they invite the biggest DJs in the world. They serve cocktails, and there’s a pool.”

For art, residents head to Ikoyi, which is five minutes away by car. It is home to Arthouse Contemporary, a local auction house; the Wheatbaker hotel, which holds art exhibits and art-related events; and the Nigerian National Museum, which features the best in Nigerian art.

Ikoyi also is a shopping destination. Exclusive shops include the handbag purveyor Zashadu, the high-fashion clothier named for the Nigerian designer Ejiro Amos Tafiri, and the functional/fashionable clothing designs of Grey.

Ms. Nouboue also praised Alara, the Victoria Island shop that celebrates African craft. “It’s a beautiful concept store designed by architect David Adjaye, and it has everything from fashion to furnishings,” she said.

Although Banana Island School, which enrolls boys and girls who are 1 to 5 years old, and Olive Dale Preparatory School, which is a nursery-through-primary school, are the only ones on the island, there are a variety of top-notch schools in Ikoyi.

They include Lagos Preparatory & Secondary School, a co-ed day school for students 18 months old to over 16 years; the British International School, a British curriculum secondary school for students 7 through 13 years old that offers a boarding option; and St. Saviours, a British curriculum school for children up to 6 years of age.

“Most of the schools stop at the primary level because people tend to send their children to boarding schools in the U.K. and the U.S.,” Ms. Nouboue said.

Residents also are attracted to the high-tech infrastructure on the island that’s not available in the rest of the country. Banana Island’s electrical and water systems are underground, there’s a central sewage system and treatment plant as well as street lighting and satellite telecommunications networks.

Who Lives There

In addition to Nigeria’s wealthiest people, Banana Island draws a variety of ex-pats from the United States, Britain, Lebanon, India and France. They work for multinationals as well as the mega mobile-network operator Etisalat Nigeria; Airtel Nigeria, the provider of prepaid, postpaid mobile and 4G services; Ford Foundation Nigeria, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance human welfare; and the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi & Co., which all have headquarters there.

“A big set of people are tenants in the high-rises,” Ms. Nouboue said. “Most of the owners of single-family homes live here full time, but they also have houses in the U.K. or the U.S..”

The island is ideal for families, she said, adding that the residents are well established and around 45 years old.

Notable Residents

Mike Adenuga, the billionaire owner of Globacom, the country’s second largest telecom operator and of the oil exploration firm Conoil, lives on the island, according to Ms. Nouboue and published reports.

So, according to published reports, does Iyabo Obasanjo, daughter of the former president Olusegun Obasanjo; Sayyu Dantata, son of Alhassan Dantata, who, when he died in 1955 was one of the wealthiest men in West Africa; Kola Abiola, the son of the businessman/politician MKO Abiola; identical twins Peter and Paul Okoye, aka P-Square, the Nigerian R&B duo; and Nigerian mega-blogger Linda Ikeji.


When Banana Island was built nearly two decades ago, there was no other luxury spot like it in Nigeria, but it now has competition.

Ms. Nouboue said that Eko Atlantic City, a 10-district, 10-square-kilometer luxury high-rise community being constructed on Victoria Island on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, has created a sea change in the Banana Island market even though only the first buildings have been completed.

“It looks more like Miami, and the ex-pats are starting to like it more,” she said, adding that the project is due to be completed in about 15 years. “As Banana Island did in the beginning, it restricts the types of homes that can be built. Built on a beach, it has water views and roads like those in the U.S. It has not impacted the prices in Banana Island significantly, though the fact that there are more options in the luxury market has definitely reduced the high and fast increase of prices that we could have noticed a decade ago.”

Ms. Nouboue said that the prices at Eko are higher than those at Banana Island, adding that it’s not unusual for a flat to be listed for NGN1billion.

“Banana Island is all about location,” she said. “It offers easier access to the mainland, and it’s closer to the airport. But the habits of people change. Everyone wants smaller homes because their kids leave and more people are selling their mansions to live in three-bedroom flats, where they don’t have to worry about maintenance and using a generator for electricity.”

Mr. Onyenze remains convinced that the “real estate market looks promising in the future, as there are visible signs of massive development in progress.”

He conceded that prices have dropped about 30%, but said that “the economy will improve. It will not be slowed down in perpetuity.”

He said Banana Island’s exclusivity always will remain attractive to “the highest echelon of the society.”

Mr. Onyenze conceded that prices have dropped about 30% in the last three-and-a-half years because of a combination of factors, including the devaluation of the naira, decreased prices for crude oil, inflation, high interest rates, job cuts and divestment by multinational organizations from the Nigerian economy.

But he said that he’s optimistic that “the economy will improve. It will not be slowed down in perpetuity.”

He pointed to recent reports by the National Bureau of Statistics that indicated that the non-oil sector, which includes construction and real estate, grew by 2.05%,  and that the Nigerian recession ended in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Given all these factors, he said Banana Island’s exclusivity always will remain attractive to “the highest echelon of the society.”


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The Launch Control Center at Oscar-Zero located 5 stories below ground was protected by a blast door only operable from the inside.

A manually-powered hydraulic system moved massive pins in or out of the holes seen along the door frame. Once locked, it was thought the blast door could withstand up to 1,000 pounds per square inch overpressure – meaning Minuteman Launch Control Centers were some of the toughest nuclear bunkers ever built by the United States.

The door weighs approximately 8 tons and was open and shut by muscle power alone. In comparison, the door weighs approximately the same as an African elephant or nearly as much as a Tyrannosaurus Rex (also, 1,000 bowling balls or 40,000 Hamsters).

Now You Know!

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