Atlas Obscura

New wonders and curiosities added to the Atlas.

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Museums Once Coated Native Cultural Objects in Toxic Pesticides

In 1995, elders from the Hopi Tribe traveled to the Harvard Peabody Museum to retrieve three Hopi “Friends,” or ceremonial masks. It should have been a moment for celebration: After decades of being stored in stacks or displayed for the public, many of the items would finally be going home. But during the visit, the Hopi representatives were also given...

Castello Aragonese (Aragonese Castle) in Le Castella, Italy

The area around the coast of Calabria, near the town of Isola di Capo Rizzuto, is part of the Marine Protected Area of Capo Rizzuto, the largest of its kind in Italy. On a small peninsula along this coast, this beautiful castle cannot be missed. Known now as Castello Aragonese, the structure dates back to the Greek colonization of Southern Italy,...

Farmacia dell’Ospedale Santa Maria della Scaletta in Imola, Italy

A pharmacy is usually not the first place you'd think to visit when vacationing in a new city. However, in the city of Imola, a visit to the Farmacia Comunale dell' Ospedale is like walking through a museum.  The building dates back to the 15th-century and the Farmacia dell’Ospedale was inaugurated around 1794, however, the interior has remained virtually...

The Protector of Mexico's Hidden Hives of Stingless Bees

Efrain Cab, a 34-year-old beekeeper who runs a hotline for stingless bees in need, stood in front of the wall of a hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, with a hammer in his hand. He had responded to an emergency text from 11-year-old Eugenia, who had secretly contacted Cab from her mother's phone. She wanted to save the bees her parents intended to...

Juan Manuel Fangio Statue in Monaco, Monaco

The Principality of Monaco paid tribute to the memory of Juan Manuel Fangio, a five-time Formula One world champion, with a life-sized bronze statue of the Argentine driver. It was at this location that he won races in 1950 and 1957. Fangio, also known as El Chueco, was considered one of the best Formula One car drivers in the world. The statue of...

Roppongi Hills Street Furniture in Minato City, Japan

A center of modern culture in Tokyo, the Roppongi Hills development complex is known for its collection of international public art, including a version of the famous "Maman" sculpture. Keyakizaka Street, which runs through Roppongi Hills, is also decorated with 10 pieces of public art created by 13 artists from across the world, as part of the complex's...

World's Largest Working Wooden Yo-Yo in Chico, California

Bird in Hand, a gift shop in downtown Chico, is home to the U.S. National Yo-Yo Museum as well as the largest functioning wooden yo-yo in the world. Modeled after Tom Kuhn’s No-Jive Three-in-One, the gargantuan yo-yo earned its place in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1982 as the world’s biggest working wooden yo-yo. Not even the strongest of...

Piè di Marmo (Marble Foot) in Rome, Italy

A colossal marble left foot is tucked at the end of a small alley near the Pantheon in Rome, giving the adjacent street, where it was originally found, its name: Via del Piè di Marmo (Marble Foot Way). The foot is actually four feet long, which has led archaeologists to believe that the complete statue must have been some 25 feet tall. The foot is...

Europe's New Mars Yard Is Like a Playground for Planetary Engineers

Probably never before in the history of the industry has a maker of bridge cranes—the kind that are mounted on a gantry—been asked to slow one of its machines down. There's a practical reason for that: The machines are usually used in factories and warehouses to move heavy things around and, after all, time is money. But the world of science doesn't...

Found: A Letter From Frederick Douglass, About the Need for Better Monuments

The debate over historical monuments currently roiling the United States is, in fact, nothing new. Back in 1876, none other than Frederick Douglass himself took issue with a Washington, D.C., statue of Abraham Lincoln, which activists are now lobbying to have taken down. Only now, however, do historians have proof of what Douglass thought of it when...

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