webzines: Atlas Obscura

atlasobscura

They may look like standard cherry tomatoes, but these tomatoes grown on the Greek island of Santorini taste very different from your regular bunch. Their flavor and texture come...

atlasobscura

Thousands of glowworms hang peacefully in this cave in Waitomo, New Zealand, forming a magnificent bioluminescent cosmos. Today, many of the tour guides that offer trips into the caves...

atlasobscura

Now famous as the "Harry Potter bridge," this impressive concrete viaduct is well known in its own right. The sight of the Hogwarts Express chugging along the Glenfinnan Viaduct is...

atlasobscura

Brothers Frederick and Maximilian Guerrero (along with business partner Kevin Hockin) opened Burgerlords in 2015, having spent the previous decade helping launch their father Andre...

atlasobscura

GIVEAWAY TIME We’ve teamed up with @jonburgerman, @normanandjules, and @awkwardfamilyphotos to share a giveaway for the young and the young at heart! We’re giving away...

atlasobscura

3-D jelly cakes are clear cakes filled with intricately detailed edible designs. The cakes likely originated in Mexico, where they are still a popular party food. Eventually, the gelatinas...

atlasobscura

The 5th-century Hanging Temple of Hengshan is one of the world’s forgotten wonders. Clinging to a crag of Hengshan mountain, in apparent defiance of gravity, it consists of 40 rooms...

atlasobscura

This huge sculpture of a hand reaches for the stars in the middle of Chile’s Atacama desert. It’s the only thing to break the monotony of the landscape for miles, a strange and...

atlasobscura

When it was built in 1923, the Millennium Biltmore was the largest hotel in the United States west of Chicago. From the palatial ballrooms crowned by massive chandeliers to tiny mosaic...

atlasobscura

The Abbey Library of Saint Gall is not only one of the oldest surviving libraries in Europe, but also one of the most beautiful. The library was built in an abbey in Saint Gallen,...

atlasobscura

In Nepal, honey hunters make dangerous vertical climbs—while enduring stings from enormous bees—to harvest “mad honey”. The honey, slightly bitter and reddish in color, has...

atlasobscura

This mirrored, kinetic sculpture of Franz Kafka was meant to represent the ever-turning pieces of the writer’s mind, and his lifelong self-doubt and depression. His face is only...

atlasobscura

The swath of marshy flora growing in the shallow waters of China's Red Beach is an eye-popping crimson. The plant is actually a form of Chenopodium (a member of the Amaranthaceae)....

atlasobscura

Every year, on December 28, townspeople in Ibi, Spain take to the streets to stage a commemorative coup. During the battle, participants throw bag after bag of flour, launch hundreds...

atlasobscura

Tucked away on top of a hill in Prague is the Strahov Monastery, the second-oldest monastery in the city. It was built in 1140 and has been rebuilt numerous times since, due to the...

atlasobscura

Just a few hours from Cairo lies a desert that will make you feel like you’ve landed on the surface of the moon. Formed by centuries of erosion and sandstorms, these unique calcium...

atlasobscura

This is the long, mind-bending view down the brick arched rows of an underground reservoir beneath London. These cathedral-like subterranean cisterns were built in the 1800s to store...

atlasobscura

When the John Rylands Library was first being filled with rare books and manuscripts in 1892, some bibliophiles were dismayed, as there was a great deal of air pollution in the heavily...

atlasobscura

Completed in 1888, Iran's Nasir ol Molk Mosque is also known as the Pink Mosque due to the pink tiles lining its interior. It’s also remarkable for the stained glass windows in its...

atlasobscura

Identifying himself as a messenger from God, Persian prophet Bahá’u’lláh founded the Bahá’í Faith in the mid 1800s. Bahá’u’lláh taught the oneness of the world’s...

atlasobscura

Jantar Mantar is the world's largest sundial, made entirely out of stone. At 73 feet tall, the gnomon of the sundial is so large it has stairs for visitors to walk up, and a small...

atlasobscura

This photo of Washington D.C.’s Union Stations was taken by D.C. explorer @pootie_ting. From his post: “At the time of its completion, Union Station was the largest train station...

atlasobscura

The Stony Island Arts Bank is a hybrid gallery, media archive, library and community center in Chicago. It’s also home to this giant, gorgeous bookshelf that’s every book lover’s...

atlasobscura

The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was meant to be a new, more humane kind of prison. Instead, it drove men insane. Known as the “separate system,” part of what made...

atlasobscura

No one ever engineered a holloway - erosion by human and animal traffic molded the land into tunneled roads. It’s hard to date them, but most are thought to go back to Roman times...

atlasobscura

Here are all the rectangles in Grand Central Station, by filmmaker @derrickbelcham. At least 750,000 people visit the station each day, and it can be hard to see past the buzz of tourists...

atlasobscura

No one knows who placed the first of the hundreds of rusted anchors along the sand dunes of Praia do Barril Beach, but locals continued adding the gnarled weights to honor the small...

atlasobscura

This abandoned fishing settlement may well be the greenest village in the world, as nearly every building is overgrown with ivy and other lush vegetation. Houtouwan, situated about...

atlasobscura

Hidden in a natural limestone cave in the Dominican Republic, the small group of subterranean lakes known collectively as Los Tres Ojos (The Three Eyes) are home to some truly stunning...

atlasobscura

This sprawling, multi-colored housing development in Angola was funded by Chinese oil and is now almost completely empty. While the ambitious project seemed like a good idea at the...

atlasobscura

What's the loneliest place you've ever visited? Carved into a massive boulder in the middle of empty desert, Qasr al-Farid, or “The Lonely Castle,” is a stunning ancient structure...

atlasobscura

This historic, palatial theater is now one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. Argentina’s El Ateneo Grand Splendid retained its original frescoed ceilings, ornate theater...

atlasobscura

Over centuries, lava flows cooled slowly in Iceland’s frosty air, forming the striking crystals that frame Svartifoss Waterfall. Turned a striking black color over time, the cliffs...

atlasobscura

Walking through the California Redwood Forest in East Warburton, Australia is like entering a dream. Thousands of California Redwoods stand tall, planted far from their native homeland,...

atlasobscura

Thanks to flooding from the surrounding marshes, the lovely Crypt of San Francesco is now an underground goldfish pond. Despite the flooding, the crypt remains in strikingly good condition...

atlasobscura

Entire cities in Turkey have been carved into ancient volcanic rock formations. Some of the cities go as far as 11 stories deep underground, with dozens of miles of tunnels connecting...

atlasobscura

We’re loving this shot by @berlinstagram of a row of homes in London’s exclusive Knightsbridge district. Funny enough, the area was known for centuries as a common haunt of highwaymen...

atlasobscura

This vertigo-inducing stairway is part of Quinta da Regaleira, an eccentrically decorated palace in Sintra, Portugal. Constructed in the early 1900s, the ornate building is full of...

atlasobscura

Sitting just inside the hidden mouth of an Italian mountain cave, this isolated mountain temple is known as the “Refuge of Sinners,” and acted as a pilgrimage site for those seeking...

atlasobscura

When life hands you lemons, head to Menton, France. It’s a gorgeous place year-round, but it’s also home to the annual Fête du Citron, or “Lemon Festival.” Once a year the...

atlasobscura

Tianmen or “Heavenly Gate” mountain is not for the faint of heart. Named for the enormous rock archway at its entrance, it’s also home to the Tianmen Skywalk, a terrifying glass...

atlasobscura

Funded by John D. Rockefeller, The Cleveland Arcade is one of the earliest, and most beautiful, shopping arcades in America. The five-story arcade sits beneath a 300-foot-long glass...

atlasobscura

This plane is Bruce Campbell’s home. (Note: Not the Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead fame.) Buried deep within 10 acres of woods just outside Portland, Oregon, the retired Boeing 727...

atlasobscura

Known as Dead Vlei or “dead marsh”, this forest frozen in time sits among the tallest dunes in the world – some reach 1,312 feet high, almost as tall as the Empire State Building. It...

atlasobscura

Photographer Eleonora Costi spent the last four years tracking down and photographing Italy’s abandoned villas. “Once you start researching, you realize that there is a whole world...

atlasobscura

What to do when you have 43 20-foot-tall busts of nearly every U.S. president and nowhere to put them? This was the problem that Howard Hankins found himself facing in 2010, after...

atlasobscura

Nestled in an almost unbelievably lush forest canyon in Chile, the hot spring spa known as Termas Geometricas is a stunning maze of red planks that wind through the trees like something...

atlasobscura

Just a short hike from Route 89 near Page, Arizona is one of America’s great natural wonders- Horsehoe Bend. Swirling around a 1,000-foot-high pedestal, the Colorado River bends in...

atlasobscura

The forest surrounding Mount Koya, a sacred mountain and temple complex founded by the monk Kobo Daishi, serves as a huge cemetery. So huge, in fact, that Okunoin Cemetery is the largest...

atlasobscura

Designed by renowned Mexican architect Javier Senosiain, Quetzalcoatl’s Nest is an exploration of ‘organic architecture’ that takes its design inspiration from nature and aims...

atlasobscura

Named for Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, the Athenaeum was the library favored by Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, and is known by locals as "the Ath." The Providence Library Company...

atlasobscura

This jaw-dropping, century-old post office is nestled in the center of Mexico City’s bustling historic central district. Though investing the effort and money to build a literal palace...

atlasobscura

When looking at Torrevieja from above, it looks like a colossal strawberry milkshake pooled outside the the city. But the odd color of Maharloo Lake isn’t caused by a slew of unnatural...

atlasobscura

The epigraph of our book reads “The beginning of our happiness lies in the understanding that life without wonder is not worth living.” It’s a quote from Abraham Joshua Heschel,...

atlasobscura

At a distance, this enormous rock structure looks exactly like a waterfall, but as you get closer it becomes clear that it’s actually rock, a huge mineral deposit on top of a limestone...

atlasobscura

China’s Tianjin Binhai Library, built towards the end of last year, is five stories tall and has the capacity for more than 1 million books. There’s just one catch: at the moment,...

atlasobscura

Congratulations to Francesca Berrini (@artoffrancescaberrini) and Lindsey Rickert (@lindseyrickert)! We're thrilled to announce they've been selected as winners of the Fellowship of...

atlasobscura

The island of Socotra is one of the most alien-looking places on the planet. Part of an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, it is so isolated that a third of its plant life is found nowhere...

atlasobscura

On the edge of Hue city lies Ho Thuy Tien, an abandoned water park forgotten by time. Even though information on the park and its location is limited, visiting has become something...

atlasobscura

Just outside the city of Klevan in Ukraine, a nearly two-mile stretch of private railway has turned the surrounding trees into an enchanting natural tunnel. A train transporting wood...

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The massive Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was completed on Moscow’s 850th birthday, in 1997. A church in the same place was destroyed by Stalin in 1931, and for 50 years the site...

atlasobscura

One of Gaudi’s most iconic works, Casa Batlló was built to look more like the physical layers of an animal than a private residence. Built for the middle-class Batlló family who...

atlasobscura

Northern India sees torrential seasonal monsoons, and then watches the water disappear almost immediately. In the first century AD, the slippery shores of the major rivers were tamed...

atlasobscura

This bizarre guesthouse is one of the landmarks of the city of Da Lat, a mountain resort popular with local honeymooners. In the Crazy House, Antoni Gaudi meets Alice in Wonderland in...

atlasobscura

The Corinthian columns that once towered over the Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln inaugurations in 1829 and 1861 now sit in a stark, open field supporting nothing but air. Unsure...

atlasobscura

Just inland on the shore of Iceland’s black sand Sólheimasandur Beach, the rusting hulk of a crashed military plane has been slowly falling apart since the 1970s. All the passengers...

atlasobscura

Follow in the footsteps of 10th-century emperors on Kumano Kodo, an ancient pilgrimage trail that winds through the mountains of Japan’s Kii Peninsula. As an alternative to the crowds...

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The largest Art Nouveau complex in the world is a Barcelona hospital with a 600-year-long history: the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista. The 27-building complex takes up the equivalent of...

atlasobscura

GIVEAWAY TIME We’ve teamed up with @misshavishamscuriosities and @burialground to bring you a dark and gorgeous set of gifts this Valentine’s Day. For your sweet side:...

atlasobscura

At high tide the Playa de las Catedrales looks like any other bit of coast, but as the waters recede, a vista of natural arches, cliffs, and sea caves are revealed. Officially called the...

atlasobscura

In 1908 diamonds were discovered in Kolmanskop, Namibia. Almost overnight Kolmanskop became a diamond boom town, with its own ballrooms, casinos, theaters, ice factories, and hospitals,...

atlasobscura

Sunset at Mono Lake. This lake is believed to have formed 760,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest lakes in North America. In 1941, when the Los Angeles Department of Water and...

atlasobscura

This is a 1920’s New York City subway car, complete with ceiling fans and original ads from the era. It’s been out of commission for a while now, but can still be seen at the New...

atlasobscura

A series of huge, abandoned domes in Casa Grande, Arizona were built in the late 70s as part of a computer manufacturing plant. The plant was never completed, and the domes were left...

atlasobscura

The Longeat Hedge Maze in Wiltshire, England is the longest hedge maze in the world. The maze is constructed of more than 16,000 English yews and covers 1.48 acres and 1.69 miles of...

atlasobscura

There are millions of temples in India, but only one prominent temple dedicated to Brahma, the Hindu creator god. There are numerous legends to account for the strange fact that Brahma...

atlasobscura

These giant hands in Venice’s Grand Canal are a sculpture calling attention to climate change in the centuries-old city it threatens. According to some scientists, the Mediterranean...

atlasobscura

The Heidelberg funicular ran for the first time in 1890, worked on a water ballast system, and could accommodate up to 50 passengers on each of its journeys. : Photo by Hubert...

atlasobscura

Swipe to see what this bowling alley looks like now. This week’s throwback Thursday is courtesy of photographer and explorer @pablomaurer. He shares, “The Homowack Lodge now sits...

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Once one of the most iconic landmarks of Bosnia and the old Yugoslav federation, the Old Bridge of Mostar was destroyed by Croatian armed forces in 1993. After the end of the Bosnian...

atlasobscura

Woolwich Town Hall is one of London’s hidden gems. Built in 1903, it’s a beautiful example of Edwardian Baroque architecture, and is open to the public. Stained-glass windows throughout...

atlasobscura

In a small village deep in the High Atlas mountains lies Tin Mal Mosque, abandoned for centuries and partially restored in the 1990s. : Photo by Jerzy Strzelecki

atlasobscura

The Atlantic Road, known as Atlanterhavsveien in Norwegian, is about the most scenic highway imaginable. The curvy road dips and arches over the brutal waves of the Norwegian Sea that...

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Ukraine's eerily abandoned Pripyat Amusement Park was only open one day: April 27, 1986, as entertainment for those preparing to evacuate the Ukrainian city following the April 26 Chernobyl...

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Burg Eltz is a Medieval family castle overlooking the Elzbach river, left intact and much as it was hundreds of years ago. Completed between 1490-1540, the 80-room castle is still occupied...

atlasobscura

Located among the lush natural ravines of Naucalpan, Mexico, Quetzalcoatl’s Nest is a fantastical snake-shaped structure that includes ten separate apartments spread over 16,500 square...

atlasobscura

This stained-glass masterpiece in the Chicago Cultural Center is the largest Tiffany dome in existence, with 10,000 square feet of mosaic and over 30,000 individual panes of glass....

atlasobscura

The Hassan II Mosque claims the title of largest minaret in the world. Topped with a laser that shines east towards Mecca, the minaret is 700-feet tall, towering above the Atlantic...

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An enormous dragon scales the walls of the 17-story Wat Samphran Temple, which is rarely featured in guidebooks and is considerably removed from the typical tourist track. Travelers...

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Fingal's Cave is unlike any other cave in the world. 72 feet tall and 270 feet deep, it's formed by hexagonal columns of basalt shaped in neat six-sided pillars (the same material that...

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The gorgeous reading room of Cuypers Library houses the oldest and largest art history collection in the Netherlands. The 19th-century library, which has recently been restored, has...

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The “Monster Building” is one of the most photographed spots in Hong Kong. It’s not actually a single building, but a complex composed of five connecting buildings- Oceanic Mansion,...

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Isolated atop this Balinese sea crag is a lovely Hindu temple that is said to be guarded by snakes. The constant pounding of the currents against the base of Tanah Lot have created...

atlasobscura

Commissioned in 1860 by the knight of the local town, this delicately arched bridge is known as the Rakotzbrücke, and was specifically built to create a circle when reflected in the...

atlasobscura

Twice a day a speeding train passes through this residential neighborhood in the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Shops are shut down, children safely ushered indoors, and bikes pulled to the...

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The city of Baia catered to the recreational whims of the rich and powerful among the Roman elite. Some of antiquity’s most powerful figures such as Nero, Cicero, and Caesar were...

atlasobscura

Ponte Dei Sospiri, or the Bridge of Sighs, was built in Italy in 1600. The bridge was used to lead prisoners from examining rooms to their cells in the Prigioni, and the view from the...

atlasobscura

A gorgeous shot of rice terraces in Indonesia by Bali-based photographer @sutarahady! Indonesia is a beautiful country full of fascinating spots - from the abandoned Ghost Palace Hotel...

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Construction of Barcelona's iconic (but controversial) Sagrada Família church is expected to be completed in 2026—a century after the death of its architect. When complete, the...

atlasobscura

The Palace of Fine Arts is the last remaining relic of San Francisco's glittering 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. Although saved from the destruction of the rest of the fair, the building...