In an age where everything seems to have been explored and there is nothing new to be found, we celebrate a different way of looking at the world. If you're searching for miniature cities, glass flowers, books bound in human skin, gigantic flaming holes in the ground, bone churches, balancing pagodas, or homes built entirely out of paper, the Atlas Obscura is where you'll find them.
Atlas Obscura is a collaborative project. We depend on our far-flung community of explorers (like you!) to help us discover amazing, hidden spots, and share them with the world. If you know of a curious place that's not already in the Atlas, let us know.
There is plenty out there to discover, so let's start looking!
Josh's work as a science journalist has taken him around the world in search of curious subjects. His first book, Moonwalking with Einstein, about how he became the United States Memory Champion, was an international bestseller published in 31 languages.
In 2009, Josh teamed up with Dylan Thuras to create an online resource for people who know that the smallest museum in town is usually the best—especially if it's only open on Tuesdays.
In 2008, while reporting a story for National Geographic magazine in the northern Republic of Congo, I encountered a group of "naive" chimpanzees, who had never seen a human before. Instead of running away, they called all over all their buddies to gawk at us. Who were these hairless apes traipsing around the forest? They cautiously crept closer and closer until they were nearly on top of us. Perhaps humans aren't the only species with a sense of wonder.
Dylan's pursuit of the unusual began as a teenager exploring abandoned buildings in the mid-west and eventually took him and his wife Michelle to Budapest for a year, to exploring Eastern Europe's obscure and wondrous locales.
After co-producing an evening of wonders with Joshua Foer, the two began hatching plans for their next big project. Creating a way for curious travelers to find the hidden wonders of the world seemed like a heck of a lot of fun, and the Atlas Obscura was born.
In 2007 while in Italy, my wife Michelle and I visited a church in Bologna, Italy. It was large, baroque, and totally empty. As we left we noticed a strange little side door and a buzzer on the wall. We rang it, and the door slid open as if by magic. Admitted to this back room, and still totally alone, we found ourselves face to face with St. Catharine of Bologna, a 500 year old relic/mummy seated in a golden throne and surrounded by the bones of other dead saints. It's always worth investigating the strange little door.
Field Agents are the on-the-ground core of the Obscura Society scheming with us to come up with local adventures and working to make them happen. We are looking for organized, enthusiastic locals armed with a list of strange and wonderful places near them, and the desire to take a bunch of like minded curious strangers out with you to investigate.