Here are eleven the most unusual tree alleys in the world, not in particular order: rosewood alley in Brazil, bamboo forest in Kyoto, gingko trees in Tokyo, yew tree tunnel in UK, beech tree tunnel in Northern Ireland, Tunnel of Love in Ukraine, fig tree tunnel in Australia, palm alley in Sri Lanka, cypress tunnel in US, oak alleys in US, and baobab alleys in Madagascar. Let’s start.
1. The Most Unusual Rosewood Alley in the World
Rosewood tunnel, Rua Goncalo de Carvalho street in Porto Alegre, Brazil
Rosewood – Tipuana tipu (also known as tipa and pride of Bolivia) – is a South American tree and the only member of the genus Tipuana. Growing up to thirty metres in height and twenty metres wide, rosewood is well known for its use as a shade tree.
A half-kilometer tunnel of powerful rosewoods, whose height reaches the level of the seventh floor of nearby buildings, is located in the center of the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre on the Rua Goncalo de Carvalho street.
Often called the “most beautiful street in the world”, Rua Goncalo is the half-kilometer long stretch of road covered in a dense thicket of trees that looks like a forest sprouting in the middle of the city when viewed from afar. The street itself is so densely covered with trees that it’s impossible to see the sky or get much sunshine, especially when the trees are in full-bloom.
The alley was planted in the first half of the last century, and at the beginning of XXI century, the authorities decided to cut it down for a new development. This caused massive indignation and a campaign was held on the Internet to protect “the most beautiful street in the world” – the alley received this unofficial name after it was decided to leave Rua Goncalo as a cultural heritage.
Under the arch of the giant rosewood trees, of which there are more than a hundred on this street in Porto Alegre, you can spend a whole day.
2. The Most Unusual Gingko Tree Alleys in the World
Gingko tree alleys, Tokyo, Japan
Native to China, Ginkgo biloba, commonly known as ginkgo or gingko, is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. It is a member of a very old genus, with some fossils dating back 200 million years.
Gingko trees are among the most revered in Japan. Some of these trees suffered the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. They are called “symbols of hope” or “living fossils.”
Despite its reputation as a city of tiny apartments and crowded public spaces, Tokyo is a surprisingly green city. There are parks, open public areas and botanical gardens all over Tokyo. Beautiful in any season, the gingko trees come into their full glory in autumn when the gingko tree leaves turn a hue of deep yellow and feel almost magical.
Here are 4 most popular spots to visit in Tokyo for beautiful ginkgo leaves viewing in autumn:
- Meiji-Jingu Gaien Park. Approximately, 150 Ginkgo trees are lined on this avenue for about 300 m. Even though the best viewing time is about 2 weeks from mid-November, the scenery is still enjoyable after the leaves fall down and creates gorgeous natural golden carpet.
- Showa Memorial Park: The park was established in 1983 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Emperor Showa’s reign.
- Hikarigaoka Park: A large public park located in Nerima Ward, Tokyo has a beautiful Ginkgo avenue. Over 40 Gingko trees are lined and they are all over 100 years old.
- Marunouchi: Absolutely gorgeous and sophisticated collaboration of golden gingko leaves and city view of Tokyo can be seen right in front of the Tokyo Station.
Ginkgo trees turn into golden colour gloriously during autumn, and even after leaves are falling down, the view of golden carpet is another spectacular thing.
3. The Most Unusual Yew Tree Alley in the World
Yew Tree Tunnel, Aberglasney, Wales, UK
Originally known as yew tree, Taxus baccata is a species of evergreen tree in the conifer family that is primarily grown as an ornamental. It is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree, growing 10–20 m (exceptionally up to 28 m) tall, with a trunk up to 2 m in diameter. Yew tree can reach 400 to 600 years of age. Most parts of the plant are poisonous, and consumption of the foliage can result in death.
The world’s most famous yew tree tunnel is located in Aberglasney, Wales, UK, and is now a popular tourist destination.
The Medieval House of Aberglasney was owned for ten generations of a family which by tradition could trace its origins to Elystan Glodrydd. The Yew Tunnel is thought to have been planted by the Dyer Family, the owners of the Aberglasney estate in Wales, back in the 18th century. When the trees grew, their crowns bent towards each other and formed a wide arch. Over time, the branches have become so intertwined that today it is difficult to calculate how many individual trees have merged into this unique natural structure.
This glorious fusion of thick tree trunks will live for centuries if looked after properly. Taxus baccata can be old or merely look old – and often defy dating. Experts had been fooled into thinking the half dozen or so that make up Aberglasney’s Yew Tunnel were over 1,000 years old. In 1999 dendrochronology put the trees at just a quarter of that age.
The Victorians in particular were fascinated by these strange trees and their magnificent shaping and many visitors to the house came to admire the Tunnel. It was maintained constantly throughout the 18th century and beyond, until the 1950’s. Then the tunnel was abandoned and practically destroyed. It took 9 years to restore this natural corridor to its former glory.
The house is also said to be haunted by the ghost of Thomas Phillips, the house’s 19th century owner.
4. The Most Unusual Beech Tree Alley in the World
Beech Tree Tunnel, Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
This mysterious tunnel seems to have come off the cover of a book. In the 1770s, James Stuart lined the road with beech trees to impress visitors on the approach to their home, Gracehill House. Over time, the tree’s upper branches expanded and grew together, forming the picturesque and haunting natural cathedral that now known as The Dark Hedges.
This tunnel of writhing limbs, pictured at the top of the page, a landmark so Gothic in atmosphere that it has served as a location for the Game of Thrones.
The quaint but picturesque tall tree alley is one of the most-photographed locations in Northern Ireland. Bright sunlight, thick fog, golden sunsets, and even snowstorms draw photographers to capture this strange tunnel in all of its glory.
There is also a legend about a certain “Gray Lady” – the ghost of a maid living in the tunnel, who lived in a nearby mansion and died under mysterious circumstances.
5. The Most Unusual Bamboo Alley in the World
Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto is a magical city. It sounds sugar-coated but it’s true. With 400 shrines and 1,600 Buddhist temples it’s difficult for a tourist to choose what is a must to visit. But one stunning phenomenon you can’t miss: Bamboo Forest and a 500 m passage in it.
On the outskirts of Kyoto, in Arashiyama Park, a bamboo forest called Sagano has stood as a wall since the 14th century. The Ministry of Culture of Japan has declared Arashiyama “a place of scenic landscape.”
The evergreen grove is laced with pedestrian paths like a cobweb. Sagano Forest itself is very popular, and in addition, there are famous temples and Shinto shrines next to it.
When the wind rises in the forest, a majestic rumble arises. A few years ago, the Ministry of Environment included the Sagano Bamboo Forest on its list of “100 Soundscapes of Japan” — a selection of noises intended to encourage locals to stop and enjoy nature’s music.
What makes the bamboo forest so special? Maybe its orderly vertical lines? It’s easy to admire the beauty of the nature, but the thing is, this beauty is a product of meticulous care taken by human being. A bamboo passage is an example of perfect collaboration between the nature and people.
If you’ve ever clicked on a rundown of “places to see before you die” or a list of the most beautiful forests in the world, chances are you’ve seen a photo of Sagano Bamboo Forest. But no picture can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this sprawling bamboo grove – the whole thing has a palpable sense of otherness that is quite unlike that of any normal forest we know of.
6. Tunnel of love, Klevan, Ukraine
The Tunnel of Love is a section of a private railway used by a woodworking plant located near the town of Klevan in western Ukraine. The whole line is about 6.4 km long and about 4.9 km is covered by forest, within which this tunnel stretches anywhere from 3 to said 4.9 km, depending on how individuals count it.
The railway tracks through the tree tunnel make for a lovely stroll for couples and singles alike. The romantic setting earned this stretch of track its nickname, the “Tunnel of Love.” It’s also called the Green Mile Tunnel, for the bright leafy branches that arch over the railway.
The tunnel is at its lushest during the spring and summer when the trees are at the peak of their leafiness, but the colourful foliage of fall and snow-covered branches of winter make for captivating sights as well.
According to legend, couples need to drive or walk through this tunnel and make a wish. If their love is strong and pure enough, the desire will come true.
The train passes here three times a day, hurry up to buy your ticket!
7. The Most Unusual Fig Tree Alley in the World
Fig Tree Tunnel, Grafton, Australia
The Jacarandas or cherry blossoms may get all the glory but this garden city has got more than one tree up its sleeve! This magnificent avenue of giant fig trees is a National Trust listed site. They form an arch of impressive proportions about 30 metres above the asphalt, making it a lovely cool spot to wander and wonder.
Fig Street Avenue in Grafton, as the name suggests, is magnificently lined with giant fig trees. All year round, this magnificent avenue of 17 giant fig trees delivers a stunning display that should not be missed.
Take a walk or a bike ride through the shaded archway and you’ll have the feeling like never before. Make sure you bring your camera: you’ll definitely want to show the pictures to your friends back home.
8. The Most Unusual Palm Alley in the World
Palm alley in Sri Lanka’s Heartland
Once home to royal courts and temples hundreds of years ago, with the British arrival, the gardens were turned to botanical gardens in the early seventeenth century. Today, the Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya, which is situated about 5.5 km to the west from the city of Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, attracts 2 million visitors annually. Some travel websites have claimed this is the “best botanical garden in the whole of Asia.” Walking through the stunning palm alley is undoubtedly a special feeling and worth jotting down on the “to do” list of things when visiting Sri Lanka.
9. The Most Unusual Cypress Alley in the World
Cypress Tunnel, Inverness, CA, USA
Photographer’s love, the tunnel of Monterey cypress trees on the Point Reyes Peninsula is the most impressive spot to admire the grander of cypress trees. Two rows of towering Monterey Cypress trees form a long dark corridor. Cypress tree can reach a height of 30m (even 40m) and a trunk diameter of 60cm. The drive planted in around 1930 with Monterey cypress trees, leads to an old building that houses the historic radio station.
10. The Most Unusual Oak Alleys in the World
The oak is a common symbol of strength and endurance and has been chosen as the national tree of many countries. Several oak trees, such as the Royal Oak in Britain and the Charter Oak in the United States, are of great historical or cultural importance. But nothing is more impressive that tunnels created by these tree giants.
Oak Alley Plantation, Vacherie, United States
The Oak Alley Plantation is a historic site located on the west bank of the Mississippi River. “Oak Alley” is named for its distinguishing visual feature, an alley (actually, a tunnel) about 240m long created by a double row of southern live oak trees that were planted in the early 18th century — long before the present house was built. It’s a corridor that runs between the home and the River. The property was designated a National Historic Landmark for its architecture and landscaping, and for the agricultural innovation of grafting pecan trees, performed there in 1846–47 by an enslaved gardener.
If this tunnel looks familiar, it may be because you’ve seen it in a movie. Some of the movies shot here include Interview with a Vampire, Primary Colors, Django Unchained and segments of True Detective.
Oak tunnel, Savannah, United States
Draped in Spanish moss, this historic town radiates southern charm. A coastal city in Georgia, Savannah, is known for its historic district is filled with cobblestoned squares and breathtaking streets tunneled by towering live oaks covered with Spanish moss.
11. The Most Unusual Baobab Alley in the World
Baobab alleys, Madagascar
There are a few baobab alleys in Madagascar. The areas of a dozen most impressive baobabs present a landscape of a rare elegance and beauty. The ideal place to admire the baobab trees is in Morondava. But it can also be seen in Majunga and Tulear, as well as in the parks of Anakarafantsika, Vohibisa, et Kirindy Mitea.
It is said that the peculiar shape of the baobab is due to the fact that it would have been planted upside down, the roots toward the sky.
The baobab – the bottle tree
“Sanctuary of nature” and “ecological jewel”, are the adjectives that qualify the natural wealth of Madagascar. There are eight species on earth and six of them are endemic to Madagascar. The baobab constitutes an important reserve of water which allows it to tolerate extreme climatic conditions. Because of its trunk filled with water, the baobab is also called “bottle tree”.
Most of the baobabs are more than 800 years old, a legacy of the dense forests that have flourished on the island a long time ago. The baobab trunk measures, for some species, up to 9 meters diameter and 30 meters high.
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