This May Be The Last Year To See Lenin’s Tomb

Lenin’s Tomb, the place in Moscow where the father of the Communist Revolution lies embalmed, waxen and puffy behind glass, is endangered. As Russians move further away from Communism, a majority – 56 percent – thinks that Lenin should be buried. Members of the administration of Vladimir Putin, who was just elected to a third term as President of Russia, have also voiced concerns about the aging tourist attraction.

“A body should be interred in the earth,” said culture minister Vladimir Medinsky speaking on a radio show in Moscow this week. Medinsky suggested that Lenin could be buried in a state funeral observing, “all fitting state rituals, distinctions and a military salute in a suitable place” by 2013. On the other hand, the Red Square mausoleum where Lenin lies perpetually in state will remain. “It must remain. It would be possible to turn it into a museum of Soviet history that would be very well visited and could have expensive tickets,” said Medinsky. Russia’s remaining communists are against this move, of course.

Whether Lenin will be buried soon remains to be seen. But there is one component of this burial controversy that must have Lenin turning in his grave even before he is six feet under. Apparently, more than 2,000 Russians have already placed bets on the fate of Lenin’s corpse.

[Photo Flickr/wordcat57]

‘Star Wars’ Fans Rally To Save Iconic Set In Tunisia

Every single “Star Wars” movie, save “The Empire Strikes Back,” uses the desert landscape and dusty villages of Tunisia as backdrops for the planet of Tatooine, the place where Luke Skywalker grew up. Specifically, Luke lived until the age of 19 at the Lars Homestead, the fictional name for a very real building that was, until recently, in danger of collapse.

To the rescue was neither Luke Skywalker nor George Lucas, but Mark Dermul, an avid “Star Wars” fan from Belgium who has been leading “Star Wars” tours of Tunisia since 2001. On a trip to Tunisia in 2010, Dermul discovered that the rounded hut that served as the exterior of the Lars Homestead in the film was in a state of disrepair. Dermul then set up the Save the Lars Homestead Project, working with the Tunisian Tourist Office and Tunisian government to secure the proper permissions to restore this movie landmark.Save Lars raised $10,000 in 10 months and almost didn’t get realized because of the Arab Spring. At the end of May 2012, however, Dermul and his band of “pioneers” traveled to Tunisia, where they patched and re-plastered the Lars Homestead over the course of several days.

The Lars Homestead in a state of disrepair.

The Lars Homestead after restoration.

In the film, the Lars Homestead is located on the Great Chott Salt Flat, which is in reality Chott el Jerid, a salt flat in southwestern Tunisia. If you want to attempt a visit to the Lars Homestead, the “Star Wars” Wiki, or Wookieepedia, provides directions:

The location is a bit hard to find. From Nefta, take the road to Algeria (but do not enter!). Look for the 26 kilometer marker. If the weather permits, you should even be able to see the set from the main road. It’s only about 900 meters from the marker. However, be mindful of the trails you follow to get there. The surface may be difficult, especially when it has rained. A four-wheel drive shouldn’t have a problem, though. When you drive up to the set, you’ll get a rather eerie feeling, as it is only a small set, but so very pivotal in the saga. And there it is, in the middle of nowhere…”

[Photos Wookieepedia/Save Lars]

Play Mini-Golf Inside A DC Museum This Summer

Are you visiting Washington, D.C., this summer and looking for fun family activities? The National Building Museum (NBM), D.C.’s museum dedicated to architecture, engineering and design, will offer a 12-hole mini-golf course under its 159-foot-high vaulted ceiling.

From July 4 through Labor Day (September 3), visitors can play Museum Golf among holes with building-related themes. NBM enlisted the help of area design and architecture firms to construct holes inspired by actual buildings, bridges, landscapes, or monuments, including the White House and Eiffel Tower, as well as more fantastical ones, the likes of which will remain a secret until the NBM’s course opens in July.

A round of mini-golf will cost $3 with museum admission or membership, or $5 without admission. While you’re there, make sure you check out NBM’s LEGO exhibit, which also closes at summer’s end.

[Photo Flickr/mikethecat]

National Geographic Magazine As An ‘Instrument Of Doom’

It wasn’t long ago when you could visit the attic or basement of most any home in America and find stacks of yellow-spined back-issues of The National Geographic Magazine. Thanks (or no thanks) to digital advances, that scene isn’t as common today.

While there are still avid collectors of the esteemed magazine dedicated to history, science, nature, geography, travel and learning, there are far fewer than in 1974 when a science satire magazine, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, suggested that the sheer weight of all these collected periodicals would lead to the apocalypse.

In the March 1974 issue of The Journal of Irreproducible Results, George H. Kaub wrote the following:

This continent is in the gravest danger of following legendary Atlantis to the bottom of the sea. No natural disaster, no overpowering compounding of pollutions or cataclysmic nuclear war will cause the end. Instead, a seemingly innocent monster created by man, nurtured by man, however as yet unheeded by man, will doom this continent to the watery grave of oblivion.

But there is yet time to save ourselves if this warning is heeded.

PUBLICATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE MUST BE IMMEDIATELY STOPPED AT ALL COSTS! This beautiful, educational, erudite, and thoroughly appreciated publication is the heretofore unrecognized instrument of doom which must be erased if we as a country or continent will survive. It is NOT TOO LATE if this warning is heeded!

With his tongue firmly in cheek, Kaub warned of “earthquakes, hurricanes, mud slides, fire, famine, and atomic war all rolled into one” due to the fact that “no copies have been discarded or destroyed since the beginning of publication.”

You can read Kaub’s original letter as well as the equally funny rebuttals from National Geographic readers on The Journal of Irreproducible Results website.

[Photo Flickr/roberthuffstutter]

Photo Of The Day: Horseshoe Bend

The very best travel photos should trigger two desires. First, they should inspire the viewer to want to travel to the place that is the subject of the image. And, second, they should instill in the viewer a curiosity about the art and craft of photography.

Today’s photo of the day satisfies both of these criteria. Oilfighter used his Canon 5D Mark II DSLR to photograph sunset at Horseshoe Bend, the famous spot within the Grand Canyon where the Colorado River bends. In his description of the photo, Oilfighter tells us a brief story of why he decided to photograph Horseshoe Bend on that day. Additionally, he provides info on the lens and filter he used, thereby giving a welcome photography lesson to accompany this marvelous shot.

Share your best travel images with us by adding them to the Gadling Flickr photo pool for a future Photo of the Day.