When an earthquake shook Lisbon in 1755, the shock waves could be felt as far away as Loch Ness.
More than 25 per cent of the world’s forests are in Siberia.
Over 800 different languages are spoken in Papua New Guinea.
Every day, 8.5 million tons of water evaporate from the Dead Sea.
The shoreline of the Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth. If the Empire State Building were situated on the shore of the Dead Sea , only the top of its mast would actually be above sea level.
Bird droppings are the chief export of the Pacific island of Nauru.
Nauru is the only country in the world with no official capital. Its government offices are all in the Yaren District but no single place has been declared the capital.
The first municipal dump in the world was in Athens, around 500 BC.
New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote, in 1893.
The Nullarbor Plain of Australia covers 10,000 square miles without a single tree.
In the Falkland Islands , there are 350 sheep for every person.
The city of Istanbul straddles two continents – Europe and Asia.
Tonga once issued a postage stamp in the shape of a banana.
Roads on the Pacific island of Guam are made with coral. Guam has no sand, all the “sand” on the beaches being ground coral. So this coral sand is used for mixing concrete rather than going to the expense of importing real sand from other countries.
Only around 35 per cent of Iraqi women are literate.
The St Gotthard road tunnel under the Swiss Alps is almost twice as long as the height of Mt Everest.
There are twice as many kangaroos in Australia as people.
Bath water in Australia flows around the plug-gole in an anti-cloaackwise direction.
Mount Everest is 1ft higher than it was in 1900.
There is a law still on the books in Milan which requires citizens to smile at all times in public or risk a hefty fine. Exemptions include visiting patients in hospital or attending funerals.
The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.
Australia is the fifth largest country in the world but its population is smaller than that of Seiul, the capital of South Korea.
More capital cities begin with B than any other letter.
Every Swiss citizen is required by law to have access to a bomb shelter.
There is only one tractor in the entire country of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean.
As recently as 1974, more people went to East Germany for their holidays than to Greece.
The average depth of the North Sea is only 180 ft. The average depth of the Pacific is nearly 14,000ft.
An undersea river, the Cromwell Current, flows eastwards beneath the Pacific for 4000 miles along the equator. It is 190 miles wide and is 1300 ft deep in places. Its volume is 1,000 times that of the Mississippi.
The Berlin bunker where Hitler committed suicide is now a car park.
The principality of Monaco is smaller than New York City ’s Central Park.
India has a Bill of Rights for cows.
There are more post offices in India than anywhere else in the world.
You don’t have to pay to past letter in Andorra.
There are 158 verses in the Greek national anthem.
A gold nugget found in Australia in 1869 weighed over 150lb – as much as a grown man.
Internet access in Burma is restricted by anti-modem laws. Illegal possession of a modem can lead to a prison term.
The Canary Islands were named after dogs, not birds. In Roman times, the islands were known for the wild dogs which roamed there. The Latin word for “dog” is “canis” and so they were christened the Canary Islands. When explorers visited the islands in the 16 th century, they brought home pretty little singing birds which they had found there and which they duly named “canaries”.
A church in the Czech republic houses a chandelier made of human bones.
An estimated 120 million cubic feet of snow fell in an avalanche in the Italian Alps in 1885.
In Bhutan , all citizens become a year older on new year’s Day.
Six million years ago, the Mediterranean was a desert. But then the Atlantic Ocean burst through the strip of land connecting Europe and Africa to form the new sea.
There are nearly 850 different dialects in India. Of the population of over 850 million, only around 160 million understand Hindi.
The first letter of every continent’s name is the sames as the last – Africa , America , Antartica, Asia , Australasia and Europe.
The only two countries, whose names start with an “A” but don’t end with an “A” are Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.
There are more Maltese people in Melbourne , Australia , than there are in Malta.
In Bangladesh , pupils as young as 15 can be jailed for cheating in exams.
The smallest island in the world to have country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia. The main island measures just 1.75 sq miles.
New Zealand has more pipe bands per head than any other country in the world.
There are no turkeys in Turkey.
As a result of movement in the Continental plates, Iceland is getting bigger each year. And it’s estimated than in a million years’ time, the Atlantic will be 25 miles wider than it is today.
Until 1984 Belgians had to choose their children’s names from an official list of 1500 drawn up in the days on Napoleon.
The Maldives has the highest marriage rate per head in the world.
In most countries, if you nod your head it mean “yes”. But in Bulgaria and Albania it means “no”.
Estonia has more accidents per head than any other country.
New Zealand ins the only country which has every climate in the world.
In Turkey the colour if mourning is violet, not black.
There is a place in Norway called A… one in Japan called O … and one in France called Y.
There is also a town in Norway called Hell … and one is Newfoundland called Dildo.
Canada banned national beauty contests in 1992, saying they were degrading to women.
No woman or female animal is permitted to set foot on Mount Athos in Macedonian Greece.
Women in Iceland don’t change their surname when they get married.
The people of Liechtenstein once held a referendum to decide where a public toilet should be situated.
Chasing a chicken through town naked used to be the punishment for a Frenchwoman who had committed adultery.
For 2000 years, the distance a cow’s moo travelled was used as a unit of measurement in India.
There are no rivers in Saudi Arabia.