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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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Location Feature, dinosaurs, cabazon, cabazon dinosaurs, Instagram, Architecture,

The Cabazon Dinosaurs: A Surprise in the Desert

For more photos of Dinny and Mr. Rex, explore the Cabazon Dinosaurs location page.

For any adventurous road-tripper making the 157-kilometer (97.5-mile) drive between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California, there are three surefire signs that you’re on your way: vast expanses of desert, fields of industrial windmills—and dinosaurs.

Dinny the Dinosaur and her companion, Mr. Rex, tower over the horizon of Cabazon, California. The pair were created by sculptor Claude K. Belle as a roadside wonder to attract customers to his Wheel Inn Restaurant located beneath their feet. Belle led the project without the help of external companies, opting instead to work with a few friends to complete his vision.

Dinny, an Apatosaurus, came first in 1981, built from salvaged interstate materials over the course of 11 years. In all, she measures 46 meters (150 feet) in length and stretches 14 meters (45 feet) into the sky. Mr. Rex, who is slightly taller at 20 meters (65 feet) came next in 1986. Made from concrete and steel, both dinosaurs weigh more than 100 tons each.

In addition to their photogenic exteriors, the dinos were designed as hollow structures that visitors can explore. Dinny’s belly contains a gift shop and adventurous Instagrammers can scale Mr. Rex for a shot of the desert horizon through the Tyrannosaurus’s mouth.

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Architecture, churches, ethiopia, Location Feature, Instagram,

Uncovering the Rock Churches of Lalibela in Northern Ethiopia

To view more photos and videos of the rock churches of northern Ethiopia, browse the #Lalibela hashtag and location page.

Nine hundred years ago, workers set out to construct a new holy city in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. Instead of building from the ground up, they began chiseling down into the red volcanic rock. Believed to be built with the assistance of angels working through the night, the 11 rock-hewn churches of Lalibela were carved into giant blocks of sandstone and connected through a series of tunnels, ceremonial passageways, drainage ditches and caves.

Today, Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s most holy cities and carries the nickname of “New Jerusalem.” It has been a pilgrimage site for Christians for centuries and continues to be a destination for worship and daily devotion for the priests, monks and orthodox Christians who comprise the town’s population. Tourists from around the world now also trek to Lalibela to marvel at its stunning architectural accomplishments. Though all of the original churches are still in active use, many of the structures are considered to be in critical condition as a result of water damage and seismic activity. UNESCO declared Lalibela a world-heritage site in 1978 and has organized support to restore the monuments. A number of the churches are now protected under temporary light-weight shelters.

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Instagram, Location Feature, sand dunes, brazil, sandboarding, buggy rides,

Going Fast and Furious on Brazil’s Genipabu Sand Dunes

To see more photos and videos from the sand dunes, browse the #dunasdegenipabu hashtag and explore the Dunas de Genipabu location page.

Giant sand dunes attract adventurers from all over the world to the Brazilian beach of Genipabu. Those visiting Genipabu can explore on camelback, sandboard down the slopes to the lagoon below or—most popularly—zigzag through the sands in a thrilling buggy ride.”I’m fascinated by the dunes,” says Romanian Instagrammer Anamaria Pirea (@smochinaverde), a teacher working in Recife. “However varied the landscape is in Romania, we don’t have anything like that back home.”

"As much as I’ve enjoyed the beach for the last 10 months in Brazil, I have to admit that I miss winter sports—and sandboarding is pretty close to snowboarding. I especially enjoyed landing in the lagoon after sliding down the dune. I felt like I was a kid again.”

Anamaria spent four entire days just exploring the sand dunes. “After four days in Natal, I have no idea what the city looks like,” she says. “Most buggy drivers are friendly and flexible and will personalize your tour according to what you’re looking for. My friend and I went for the adventurous kind of driver who drove like crazy all over the dunes even jumping into the lagoon, and also avoided the touristy spots.” She advises fellow visitors to charge their mobile cameras before they make the trip. “The location is perfect for taking photos,” she says, “You can really experiment with optical illusions, especially with the backdrop of a clear blue sky and puffy clouds here and there.”

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nature, new zealand, Location Feature, Instagram, landscape, waiotapu,

Exploring New Zealand’s Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland

To see more photos and videos from the reserve, browse the #waiotapu hashtag and explore the Waiotapu Thermal Springs Wonderland location page.

On New Zealand’s North Island, an active geothermic reserve houses hot springs of multiple colors and extraordinary volcanic formations. The reserve’s name, Wai-O-Tapu, or “sacred waters,” comes from the indigenous Māori language and alludes to the area’s unique geologic offerings. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a tourist center within the reserve that provides visitors with a taste of the distinctive geologic attractions. Some of the popular landmarks include colorful pools of water created from mixtures of minerals and bubbling carbon dioxide, erupting mud pools and a geyser that shoots out boiling water every morning. The conservation area was formerly the largest mud volcano in the country until its crown eroded in the early 90s, leaving the steaming springs and fizzling silts that continue to attract local and visiting Instagrammers alike.

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design, Architecture, Location Feature, Free Spirit Spheres, instagram,

A Stay Among the Treetops in the Free Spirit Spheres

To see more photos from these unique tree houses, explore the Free Spirit Spheres location page.

Suspended among the lush trees of Vancouver Island’s rainforest are some of the world’s most unique hotel accommodations. The Free Spirit Spheres are a family of perfectly round wood and fiberglass tree houses that grant visitors a bird’s-eye view of their picturesque surroundings.

The floating pods, whose design and construction draw heavily from that of sailboats, have interiors as visually striking as their alien exteriors. Each sphere is carefully balanced between three trees and is accessible only by a rope staircase and bridge.

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Architecture, landscape, location feature, namibia, Kolmanskop,

Exploring Kolmanskop, a Ghost Town in the Namib Desert

To view more photos and videos from the ghost town in the Namib desert, browse the Kolmanskop location page.

Since its abandonment in 1954, the once-booming mining town of Kolmanskop has gradually succumbed to the sands of the Namib Desert. The small town near the coast of Namibia was built in the style of a German village following the discovery of diamonds in 1908, and at its height Kolmanskop boasted a hospital, casino and theater.

Today, the town’s decayed European architecture stands in stark contrast to its sandy surroundings, making it a picturesque destination for adventurous Instagrammers.

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Location Feature, vietnam, paradise cave,

Exploring Vietnam’s Paradise Cave (Động Thiên Đường)

For more photos and videos from Paradise Cave, browse the #ParadiseCave hashtag and explore the Động Thiên Đường (Paradise Cave) location page.

500km (310 miles) south of Hanoi in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a small portion of a beautiful cave opened in 2011 and now attracts local and visiting Instagrammers to capture what’s inside. Paradise Cave (Động Thiên Đường) is part of cave system that extends for 31km (19 miles), making it one of the longest dry caves in the world. Though originally discovered by a local in 2005, the cave was later explored in full by the British Cave Research Association. The explorers also gave the cave its name after being impressed by the extraordinary limestone formations with towering stalactites and stalagmites that they found inside.

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ruin bar, budapest, Location Feature, hungary,

Redefining Ruin in Budapest

To view more photos and videos from Budapest’s ruin pubs, browse the #Ruinpub hashtag.

Budapest’s seventh district was left war-torn and abandoned during World War II. Today, these semi-destroyed walls in the city’s Jewish quarter are bursting with activity, creativity and community in romkocsmák, or ruin pubs.

The pub Szimpla Kert opened in 2004 and pioneered a trend that has been sweeping the city for more than a decade: turning old, unused spaces into vibrant places for community to come together. Most ruin pubs are filled with mismatched and repurposed furniture, funky art installations and a lot of style. At Szimpla Kert, for example, tourists and locals alike can enjoy afternoon drinks from the seat of a stripped-down Communist-era car in an open-air garden or visit an art exhibition in this factory-turned-apartment-complex-turned-bar. At night, local DJs transform the space, blasting soundtracks through winding dance rooms.

Ruin pubs inconspicuously take the place of abandoned rooftops, apartment building and car parks, and offer concerts, theater performances, film screenings, art exhibits and community workshops—far more than local Hungarian food and drink.

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Location Feature, Japan,

Exploring Tomioka Silk Mill (富岡製糸場) in Gunma, Japan

For more photos and videos from the silk mill, browse the #富岡製糸場 hashtag and explore the 富岡製糸場 location page.

Located in Tomioka City, 110km (68 miles) northwest of Tokyo, the Tomioka Silk Mill (富岡製糸場) is one of Japan’s oldest industrial facilities. Since its founding in 1872, the mill produced some of the finest silks in the world for over a century until it ceased its operation in 1987. The mill is a government-appointed historical site open to the public, and was nominated to become a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in April.

The silk mill was once a major modernizing force as Japan began trade with the Western countries. The Japanese government commissioned French designers, engineers and instructors to staff the mill, and the facility was filled with equipment from France as well. Women across Japan were also recruited to work at the mill under fixed working hours with food and medical benefits—a highly advanced labor environment for the time.

Even after 140 years, the entire facility including the silk reeling factory, cocoon warehouses and workers’ dormitories are well preserved, adding a historical and aesthetic value to the site that attracts both local and visiting Instagrammers alike.

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Location Feature, peter iredale, shipwreck, oregon,

Exploring the Remains of the Peter Iredale Shipwreck

For more photos and videos from the shipwreck, explore the Peter Iredale Shipwreck location page.

Along the coast of Oregon, the iron skeleton of a 100-year old shipwreck attracts local and visiting Instagrammers to explore its remains.

In 1906, a sudden storm drove the Peter Iredale shipping vessel aground near Fort Stevens, Oregon, as it made its way along the Pacific coast. The ship measured 87 meters (285 feet) in length and boasted four masts and steel plating along its iron frame. Though three of its masts snapped upon impact, the crew suffered no fatalities.

The remains of the ship have stood as a popular tourist attraction ever since the wreck, though much of the remnants have eroded or have been sold for scrap over the last century. Today, only the iron hull still stands, a reminder of times past mired in the sands.