least beautiful country

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so i just heard Nihal platitudinizing with a Ukrainian refugee on the radio, "Ukraine's a beautiful country" he says, and ok sure but i pause for a minute and wonder - is there any country in the world that can't fairly be described as beautiful, for some value of beautiful, if you pick and choose which bits you think are beautiful?

and i'm pretty sure the answer is "no, that was a stupid empty thing to say" but i thought it might be interesting to see if anybody wanted to make a case for any nation state in the world being an irredeemable shithole

just to save us a few dozen jokes i'm going to make a ruling now that the UK is only psychically and culturally an irredeemable shithole

what doesn't kill me makes me Hongroe (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:02 (two months ago) link

eye of the beholder and all, but nobody i've known who's been to malta has had much good to say of its aesthetics

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:22 (two months ago) link

Saudi - I couldn’t leave the house unaccompanied, can’t be various minority groups/lgbt+ safely there, it’s like 95% desert, too hot, no drink, and the royal family have destroyed a huge percentage of ancient historical and religious sites, including many of those important to Islam. Could not pay me to spend time there.

gyac, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:23 (two months ago) link

eye of the beholder and all, but nobody i've known who's been to malta has had much good to say of its aesthetics


Is this a joke? They literally filmed most of the first series of Game of Thrones there. Way too dense ito people, but I’ve never heard anyone call it ugly.

gyac, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:23 (two months ago) link

that said for any country that isn't a minuscule haven for tax-avoiding property development there will always be a best face

or a desert hellzone lmao xp

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:24 (two months ago) link

everyone i know who's been to malta has just said 'it is so full of buildings'

maybe they're nice buildings idk

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:25 (two months ago) link

We're talking purely in terms of natural and architectural beauty here, right? If so no I don't think there is one.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:27 (two months ago) link

otoh i HAVE been to luxembourg

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:28 (two months ago) link

that said, being tiny should lose you points in the unbeautiful stakes - the real offenders, hypothetically, are those who spread their unbeauty about

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:29 (two months ago) link

Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is a country on the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It has a land area of about 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), making it the fifth-largest country in Asia, the second-largest in the Arab world, and the largest in Western Asia.

gyac, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:31 (two months ago) link

ofc, i was arguing with my own given examples, Saudi is probably a good contender if you dislike desertscapes (I think they have some nice coastal bits too?)

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:32 (two months ago) link

Ukraine is beautiful btw - went to Kyiv, Odessa and Lviv at various points prewar. It would be one of the countries we’d always look to go back to. Crossed the country and the steppes on a bus from Kyiv to Odessa, really hope to revisit some day when the war is over. People I spoke to about going there - and this was almost always fellow Western Europeans - were so snobby about it. It’s such a limiting perspective.

gyac, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:37 (two months ago) link

I've never been to Saudi Arabia, but I'd assume Mecca would qualify it at the very least

rob, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:40 (two months ago) link

I've been to Malta, nothing wrong with it.

Doodles Diamond (Tom D.), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:53 (two months ago) link

I've never been to Saudi Arabia, but I'd assume Mecca would qualify it at the very least


Please see what I said about the royal family destroying historical sites! They have been destroying sites around Mecca too!

gyac, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 13:59 (two months ago) link

I can't think of whole countries but plenty of cities. I love Toronto, I lived there for a very happy decade, but it's mostly ugly as shit in a traditional old-buildings-and-greenery sense.

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:00 (two months ago) link

there’s got to be an equivalent to nebraska or iowa or something—landlocked, flat, primarily agricultural, no big cities or bodies of water

in places all over the world, real stuff be happening (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:04 (two months ago) link

there’s got to be an equivalent to nebraska or iowa or something—landlocked, flat, primarily agricultural, no big cities or bodies of water

― in places all over the world, real stuff be happening (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:04 (two minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

am imagining paraguay and the czech republic like this. PROVE ME WRONG

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:08 (two months ago) link

Travelling through Bohemia on a train was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had travelling somewhere, so no. Especially in autumn. I didn’t want to stop looking at it.

gyac, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:12 (two months ago) link

The discussion on Saudi reminded me of this piece by a (now ex-) Motorsport journalist, where they are finding the bits of Riyadh they like while covering a mixed-gender Motorsport series.

https://hsouthwellfe.medium.com/what-its-actually-like-to-visit-riyadh-alone-for-formula-e-ce88cfc0f4cd

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:15 (two months ago) link

thought somewhere like the malvinas-falklands might be promising but a) not really a country b) some pictures look kind of dramatic nice c) a lot of sea is almost always at least interesting

woof, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:16 (two months ago) link

Australia seems like a dystopic hellscape to me. Floods, temperatures exceeding 50C, deadly insects, aboriginal genocide, worst wildfires in modern history, offshore concentration camps and vile expats like Lynton Crosby and Nick Cave. lol I'm probably doing this wrong.

calzino, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:35 (two months ago) link

For me I think it's probably Dubai. You can get the desert in Saudi or other places around the middle East but Dubai comes with fairly hideous looking buildings.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:36 (two months ago) link

Though actually it might not be a country?

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:37 (two months ago) link

We'll throw in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah for free!

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:39 (two months ago) link

My brother lives in Dubai with his Dutch wife. He offered to pay for my mum to have a holiday there and she said are you really that keen to kill me off now!

calzino, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:41 (two months ago) link

Lol

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:42 (two months ago) link

i think i could argue that deserts - of sand or grass or ice or whatever - have a kind of beauty, at least to enough people. but it's a reasonably solid case for Saudi being the worst so far

what doesn't kill me makes me Hongroe (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:44 (two months ago) link

so tbh i'm sure the answer is "everywhere has some beauty" but the title says "least" so it's fair to run with it

what doesn't kill me makes me Hongroe (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:45 (two months ago) link

we haven't had a staunch defence of Paraguay yet, in your FACE Paraguay

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:45 (two months ago) link

Lol I have actually been to Asuncion. From my recollection it's fine.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 14:51 (two months ago) link

The discussion on Saudi reminded me of this piece by a (now ex-) Motorsport journalist, where they are finding the bits of Riyadh they like while covering a mixed-gender Motorsport series.

https://hsouthwellfe.medium.com/what-its-actually-like-to-visit-riyadh-alone-for-formula-e-ce88cfc0f4cd🕸
The discussion on Saudi reminded me of this piece by a (now ex-) Motorsport journalist, where they are finding the bits of Riyadh they like while covering a mixed-gender Motorsport series.

https://hsouthwellfe.medium.com/what-its-actually-like-to-visit-riyadh-alone-for-formula-e-ce88cfc0f4cd🕸


I feel like the key point of this piece was when the teenagers were like “why the fuck would you come here”, but I read that and nearly passed out so tl;dr me
https://c.tenor.com/c_XPwp0MNmsAAAAd/jose-mourinho-i-prefer-not-to-speak.gif

gyac, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:00 (two months ago) link

UAE is not great, and I would never go there again, but I liked going to the Louvre there and also they had the best Indian food I’ve ever had in my life. (The husband says this too, and he is much better travelled).

gyac, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:03 (two months ago) link

I've never been to Saudi Arabia, but I'd assume Mecca would qualify it at the very least


I've been to paradise, but I’ve never been to Me
cca

butt-mooning is a polysemous word, hoss! (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:06 (two months ago) link

Please see what I said about the royal family destroying historical sites! They have been destroying sites around Mecca too!

― gyac, Tuesday, May 17, 2022 9:59 AM (one hour ago)

yikes, I missed the link in your original post -- that photo of Mecca is shocking

rob, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:06 (two months ago) link

The North of France looks boring as hell from the windows of Eurostar.

Doodles Diamond (Tom D.), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:10 (two months ago) link

it does have very pretty towns though, much like Belgium

Critique of the Goth Programme (Neil S), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:11 (two months ago) link

I've been to 48 countries, all had beautiful parts, only exception I can think of is Monaco, just a load of luxury yachts and nothing to see, the f1 circuit was fun to see but not beautiful.

Portrait Of A Dissolvi Ng Drea M (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:23 (two months ago) link

Gibraltar?

Chuck_Tatum, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:27 (two months ago) link

Started thinking that Nauru might be in contention but getting into the phosphate cantilevers now.

woof, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:36 (two months ago) link

the way monaco is set against the coastline and the surrounding hills is pretty picturesque, though it doesn't have the beauty of many european coastal towns and cities, true.

in places all over the world, real stuff be happening (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:53 (two months ago) link

it was overcast and drizzling when I went there. probably didn't help.

Portrait Of A Dissolvi Ng Drea M (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 15:55 (two months ago) link

Qatar, UAE, Australia, Saudi, Russia, Angola are places I've visited that definitely didn't impress, in terms of natural surroundings.

paulhw, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 20:32 (two months ago) link

Miami for sure.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 20:40 (two months ago) link

Gary indiana

does the great barrier reef count for australia? australia also has perth and sydney harbor

in places all over the world, real stuff be happening (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 20:42 (two months ago) link

also kangaroo island, and pretty coastline along victoria and south australia

in places all over the world, real stuff be happening (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 20:43 (two months ago) link

yeah, parts of Australia are pretty stunning (northern rain forests, the desert, etc.)

Andy the Grasshopper, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 20:46 (two months ago) link

Never having visited....Turkmenistan? Seems to be lacking the stunning mountain vistas of the other 'Stans, more flat scrubby brush land

Andy the Grasshopper, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 20:50 (two months ago) link

Also have to say I saw some astounding bits of Russia, though mostly it was a week of watching identical clumps of silver birch trees go past the train window.

Portrait Of A Dissolvi Ng Drea M (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:06 (two months ago) link

looking at a map and botswana looks like it's landlocked, mostly plain/desert, and lack of major freshwater formations

in places all over the world, real stuff be happening (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:09 (two months ago) link

lol

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:11 (two months ago) link

Turkmenistan is home to the famous Mouth of Hell crater.

https://d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1385303/derweze-crater-turkmenistan.jpg

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:11 (two months ago) link

Turkmenistan:

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7309/9108833722_9017b0a2b8_o.jpg

Of course every nation will have highlights... we have to take those into account

Andy the Grasshopper, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:20 (two months ago) link

NV said "irredeemable" - so we are looking for the place with the least highlights, surely.

Portrait Of A Dissolvi Ng Drea M (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:24 (two months ago) link

Biggest area to highlights ratio imo

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:25 (two months ago) link

The best thing about this thread is going to be the refutations though. Someone sell us Paraguay! And Bangladesh

imago, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:27 (two months ago) link

I think the natural world is generally pretty lovely, so man-made scars, pollution and rusting abandoned machinery will definitely work in the candidate's favor

Andy the Grasshopper, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:29 (two months ago) link

The Micronesian country of Nauru might be a contender.. the entire island was brutally mined for phosphate:

https://images.theconversation.com/files/130519/original/image-20160714-12383-1iqzv3j.jpg

https://www.amusingplanet.com/2015/06/nauru-island-country-destroyed-by.html

Andy the Grasshopper, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:38 (two months ago) link

is there any country in the world that can't fairly be described as beautiful

i think the answer to this is pretty obviously "no" tbh. in my aesthetic opinion the beauty exists to the extent that the land isn't overwhelmed by some kind of nationalist project, and i don't think any country-size piece of land exists that doesn't have land like this. by this definition somewhere very small and artificial like the vatican might be ugliest which idk. like, i find those photographs of big industrial projects, dams, that sort of thing, to be extremely ugly. i don't think any land exists that doesn't have its own character that somehow escapes what all of that does with and does to it.

xp definitely areas that have been scarred by mass extraction. atolls that have been nuclear testing sites. that sort of thing.

the cat needs to start paying for its own cbd (map), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:39 (two months ago) link

capitalism is awesome at turning some of the most beautiful places in the world into the ugliest.

the cat needs to start paying for its own cbd (map), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:43 (two months ago) link

Everyone needs a thneed.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:45 (two months ago) link

Everybody needs an atoll for to pilfer

butt-mooning is a polysemous word, hoss! (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:52 (two months ago) link

clown me all you want but you know deep down in your soul i'm right ;)

the cat needs to start paying for its own cbd (map), Tuesday, 17 May 2022 21:55 (two months ago) link

Gibraltar isn’t the prettiest of Mediterranean towns but does has the Levante which is pretty spectacular.

Some classic Levante cloud action over the Rock of #Gibraltar this morning.
When moist easterly winds (Levante) hit the Rock, the air is forced to rise and cool rapidly, forming this area of cloud. pic.twitter.com/WOcTSWKyn7

— Met Office Gibraltar (@MetOGibraltar) April 29, 2022

Dan Worsley, Tuesday, 17 May 2022 22:32 (two months ago) link


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