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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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Photography, landscape, science, travel, Turkey, pamukkale, hot springs, Location Feature, Instagram,

A Look Inside Turkey’s Hierapolis-Pamukkale “Cotton Palace”

For more photos and videos from Pamukkale, browse the #Pamukkale hashtag and explore the Pamukkale Traventleri location page.

In Turkey’s southwest province of Denizli, white pools cover the landscape around a tiny cliffside village called Pamukkale, meaning “Cotton Palace” in Turkish. As calcium carbonate deposits flow down from hot springs above, the sediment collects in the lower limestone pools and shapes their snowy appearance. People have bathed in the Hierapolis-Pamukkale pools since 200 BCE when the ancient city of Hierapolis was erected near the top of the terrace to provide proximity to the spring and its restorative benefits. Today, local and visiting Instagrammers alike make the trek to partake in the ancient traditions and share the view of the valley below.

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photography, comic art, comics, charlie brown, peanuts, snoopy, charles schulz, location feature, charles schulz museum, instagram,

Celebrating Charlie Brown’s Birthday at the Charles M. Schulz Museum

For more photos and videos of Charlie, Snoopy and the gang, explore the Charles M. Schulz Museum location page.

Charlie Brown turned 64 this week, and the Charles M. Schulz Museum (@schulzmuseum) in Santa Rosa, California is the place where some of Snoopy’s greatest misadventures were drawn by the beloved illustrator. The museum sits on same property where Charles Schulz spent almost 30 years before he passed away in 2000.

"With comics in particular, the focus is often on telling stories about stories,” says Corry Kanzenberg, the museum’s curator, about its gallery spaces. "Our main exhibition right now is ‘Social Commentary’, which highlights topical issues in Peanuts.”

There are also nearly 100 original comic strips on display at the museum at any time—and this does not include the thousands of images used in the campus’ iconic mosaic, which depicts Charlie Brown running to kick a football held up by Lucy.

"He exercised a subtle balance of simplicity and depth in Peanuts,” says Corry. “Schulz’s comic strips resonate with fans through their uniquely funny approach to the human condition.”

Unfortunately, in all 17,887 comic strips created by Schulz, poor Charlie Brown was never successful in kicking that football.

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Photography, Art, street art, graffiti, latin america, mexico city, Location Feature, User Feature,

Treasure Hunting in Mexico City with @lanzgg

For more photos of Jacinta’s street treasures, follow @lanzgg on Instagram.

“This city is a place full of life, loud noises and big smiles. It is saturated with colors and flavors,” explains Mexico City Instagrammer Jacinta Lanz (@lanzgg). Though Jacinta is originally from Dayton, Ohio, she moved to Mexico City as a young child and has found artistic inspiration in her adopted country ever since. “I’m on the lookout for color, decay and people. When I find all of those things together, I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Places that look forgotten, old, dirty or even ugly often become treasures for me. I find something extraordinary, in the everyday ordinary.”

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Instagram, Photography, Location Feature, azerbaijan, baku, Architecture, zaha hadid, heydar aliyev center,

A Sweeping Symbol of Modernity in Azerbaijan

For more photos and videos from The Heydar Aliyev Center, explore the Heydar Aliyev Center location page.

The Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan resembles a cresting wave—there are no straight lines on the structure’s curved, white surface. Constructed by British architect Zaha Hadid in 2012, the center’s unique shape is a symbol of modernity in the city of Baku, reflecting the present and the future in progress. Heydar Aliyev stands primarily as a venue for art exhibitions, and its stunning landscape is also popular backdrop for visiting and local Instagrammers alike.

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Photography, events, Japan, fireworks, fire festival 2014, Location Feature, current event, Instagram,

Igniting Handheld Fireworks at Summer Festivals in Japan

For more photos and videos of the handheld fireworks, browse the 手筒花火 hashtag.

Brave men of central Japan ignite handheld fireworks, bringing exciting showers of flames to local summer fire festivals. These cylindrical, handheld pyrotechnics called tezutsu-hanabi (手筒花火) originated in Toyohashi during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and continue in modern-day Japan with events such as the 19th annual Fire Festival (炎の祭典) this Saturday. To make these fireworks, craftsmen stuff black powder into bamboo trunks casted with thick ropes. Once lit, the cylinders spray sparks of fire until the explosives finish with a loud blast.

Shinto festivals traditionally used fireworks to protect people from evil spirits and bad fortune, and they now make up an essential summertime activity in Japan. The handheld fireworks are still crafted to present as offerings to local shrines until they are fired on festival day. Only a handful of summer events in central Japan feature this type of firework, and the thrilling displays of men inside downpours of sparks offer local and visiting Instagrammers a chance to capture some of the most spectacular moments of the summer.

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Instagram, Location Feature, festival no.6, festivalnumbersix, wales, portmeirion, clough williams-ellis, Photography, Architecture, nature,

Artists in Touch with Their Surroundings at Portmeirion’s Festival No.6

To view more photos and videos from Portmeirion’s Festival No.6, explore the Portmeirion location page, browse the #fn6 hashtag and follow @festivalnumber6 on Instagram.

Designed by architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the 1920s, Portmeirion is a tiny village built in Italianate style on the coast of North Wales, UK. In 2012, this magical setting gave birth to Festival No.6 (@festivalnumber6)—an immersive arts and culture festival paying respect to Sir Clough’s vision for development at one with nature.

“The village comes alive over the weekend,” says festival organizer Luke Bainbridge, who strives to reflect the spirit of Portmeirion in the line up. “Buildings like the Central Piazza and Portmeirion Town Hall all become weird and wonderful venues and settings, and the magical estuary of River Dwyryd is also a really popular site to Instagram.”

Impromptu performances are known to happen throughout the weekend to create an experience truly grounded in its surroundings. “Festival No.6 is about so much more than music. It still all revolves around Portmeirion.”

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photography, art, sculpture, Balazs Gardi, Jessica Rose Yurasek, Black Rock City, Burning Man, Location Feature, Nevada, Instagram,

Radical Self-Expression at the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City

To view more photos and videos from Black Rock City, explore the Burning Man location page, browse the #BM2014 hashtag and follow @missjessrose on Instagram.

“It’s way more than you can imagine,” says Jessica Rose Yurasek (@missjessrose), describing Black Rock City, the site of the annual Burning Man festival. Each year, a global tribe of artists, makers and performers converge in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, birthing a pop-up city of more than 60,000 “Burners” and their acts of radical self-expression.

In contrast to an inhospitable physical terrain, which ranges from scorching heat to torrential rain, Jessica sees Black Rock City as an inspirational place of generosity and creativity. The weeklong gathering culminates with the burning of a towering wooden effigy known at “the Man,” and then disperses, taking care to leave no trace in the desert.

“If we as humanity can build this,” she says, “then I have hope for our future.”

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Photography, Instagram, Location Feature, landscape, ghost city, russia,

Exploring “Ghost City” (город-призрак) in Seredinkovo, Russia

For more bizarre and beautiful photos from “Ghost City” in Seredinkovo, explore the Город Призрак location page.

Old taverns, abandoned docks and ghost ships are all part of “Ghost City” (город-призрак), a park located in the small town of Seredinkovo in the Russian countryside. The park premises were originally constructed as a Russian movie set in 2010, and were designed to look like an 18th-century European city. Now open to the public, the former film set allows visitors to explore the “city” and dress up in period costumes. With replicas of prisons, gallows, hotels, cemeteries, a fort and more, the park offers opportunities to capture time-worn landscapes for visitors and Instagrammers alike.

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photography, sherlock, bbc sherlock, sherlock holmes, benedict cumberbatch, martin freeman, 221B, emmys, location feature, instagram,

A Photographic Tour of Sherlock’s London

For a deeper view into London’s most popular landmarks and buildings, check out the #londonsights hashtag on Instagram. To follow “Sherlock” at the 2014 Emmys, browse the #Emmys hashtag.

To fans of the novels and the BBC series, the locations featured in the Sherlock Holmes stories are almost as iconic as the characters themselves.

The most famous of all is 221B Baker Street, the home of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Although London’s official Holmes museum now bears that number, the address was completely fictional when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published the first “Sherlock” novel in 1887—building numbers on Baker Street did not yet extend that high. The flat shown on the British television show is actually located on the much-quieter North Gower Street, near Euston station.

Next door to Sherlock’s imaginary home is Speedy’s Cafe, a frequent filming spot for actors Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) and Martin Freeman (Watson). Speedy’s is a real restaurant and a destination site for super-fans—they even have a Sherlock-themed wrap on the menu. Another notable filming location for the television series is St. Bart’s Hospital in Smithfield, the oldest hospital in Europe and backdrop for Sherlock’s final showdown with arch-nemesis Moriarty.

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Photography, Architecture, Art, history, india, hindu temple, meenakshi amman, Location Feature, Instagram,

Exploring the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, India

For more photos and videos from the temple, browse the #Meenakshi hashtag and explore the Meenakshi Amman Temple location page.

In the center of Madurai, the oldest city in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu, the Meenakshi Amman Temple stands as a mythological and architectural symbol of the region. Initially founded in ancient times and rebuilt to reflect urban planning methods around the 17th century, the Hindu temple is dedicated to the legendary Goddess Meenakshi and her husband Lord Sundareswara (also known as Parvati and Shiva).

The 18 hectare (45 acre) temple complex consists of 12 pyramid-shaped gopurams, or traditional gateway towers, which measure as tall as 50 meters (164 feet) in height. These towers are erected along the outer and inner walls of the temple and are decorated with thousands of carved figures from roof to the floor, each representing gods, demons, heroes and animals appearing in Hindu myths. Other attractions of the premises include shrines for Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, magnificent hallways and the Golden Lotus Temple tank. The temple is home to around 50 priests and a number of annual Hindu festivals, making it an active place of worship as well as a major tourist attraction of Southern India.