Atlas Obscura

New wonders and curiosities added to the Atlas.

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Rio Shipwreck in Russia

In December 2018, the Black Sea was experiencing a pattern of various storms. The Rio cargo ship was navigating the waters when the crew encountered one of these massive storms. Calls for assistance were made to port in nearby Novorossiysk. However, due to the weather conditions, the rescue effort was unsuccessful. The only other option for the crew...

Why Longtime Alaska Residents Are Called 'Sourdoughs'

When Trisha Costello bought the Talkeetna Roadhouse 25 years ago, she was given three things: the deed, a set of keys, and a sourdough starter that the previous owner said dated back to 1902. The year-round population of Talkeetna, Alaska, hovers around 900 people, but in a normal year, Costello’s crew churns out hundreds of pounds of dense sourdough...

St. Mary's Well, Jesmond in Newcastle upon Tyne, England

St. Mary's Well is a quiet and hidden place of sanctity, right in the middle of a busy suburb of Newcastle upon Tyne. Unless visitors know exactly where to look, it's easy to miss the unassuming footpath that serves as a short-cut between The Grove and Reid Park Road. That's where visitors will see the sign for the well. The well likely named after...

Huang Kuan Statue in Edinburgh, Scotland

For the more than two million people that visit Edinburgh every year, it's an opportunity to explore the many historical sites the city has to offer. Others come for business, while some reunite with friends and family. There are also around 35,000 students who arrive in Edinburgh every year to attend the half dozen universities that make up a third...

Novis Mortem Collective in Colorado Springs, Colorado

When visitors enter this shop, they are immediately greeted by the owner and the brilliant mind behind Novis Mortem Collective. Novis Mortem is a curiosity shop filled with natural history. Inside the shop is a wide selection of pinned insects such as beetles, jeweled flower mantis, bright blue butterflies, Madagascar sunset moths, and more. Within...

Januš Parulis Museum of Life and History of Hrodna in Hrodna, Belarus

The owner and curator of this private collection, Janusz Parulis amassed this amazing ensemble of everyday items now crammed into this tight space. The collection contains around 20,000 items, which are displayed haphazardly across the museum. However, this unique display adds to the museum's charm.  Parulis has a personal connection with most of...

Saving the Songs of South Korea's Female Divers

Kang Kyung-ja opens the door of her home on the island province of Jeju, South Korea, with a smile on her face. After offering me a cup of barley tea, she unfolds a piece of paper to sing me a song she’s written. Ieodo sana, ieodo sana, ieodo sanaWhere to go, where to rowAll aboard to the depths of the seaWhere my mother gave birth to me Did she know...

Brooklyn's Putrid, Beloved Gowanus Canal Has Been a Horror for Centuries

In the late 19th century, life along the shore of Brooklyn’s fetid Gowanus Canal was the stuff of nightmares. The stench emanating from the 1.8-mile-long slash of stagnant water was awful enough to penetrate people’s dreams. Take Stephen Mooney. In 1889, the unwelcome smell shook him from sleep, and compelled him to shut his window and air his grievances. ...

Temple of Mithras, Carrawburgh in Northumberland, England

Today, these small ruins are all that can be seen of the Carrawburgh Roman Fort.  Mithraism was a Roman religion inspired by the god Mithras, who was originally a Persian warrior god. As the legend goes, Mithras had captured and killed a sacred bull in a cave. Mithraic temples often envoke a gloomy, cave-like atmosphere. The cult of Mithras placed...

Granger Stage Station in Granger, Wyoming

For pioneers who traveled along the path of the Pony Express, the Overland Stage Trail, or the Oregon Trail, a stop in the tiny town of Granger, Wyoming was a must. Granger Station, also known as the Old South Bend Station, was originally built in 1850. It served as a way station for travelers as they made their way over the high plains.  Mark Twain...

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