What happened in the picturesque town of Aix-en-Provence during World War II remains one of the darkest chapters in French history. A tile-making factory in the sleepy suburb of Les Milles would become a hellhole for thousands of Jews, whom the French collaborationist government handed over to the Nazis.
But when war broke out in 1939, the large brick building had another purpose, as an internment camp for German and Austrian expats who had been living in the South of France. And those prisoners were a very specific population—the people whom the French government feared were enemy fifth columnists and spies.
In fact they were artists.Read More
Between 1969 and 1972, 12 men, on 6 different space flights, walked on the moon, with NASA’s Project Apollo. And one of the few things that came with them? A camera.
Thousands photographs from these missions have recently been released onto the Project Apollo Archive Flickr page, presenting unseen views of these historic voyages. It's a strikingly personal look at space travel. Candid, mesmerizing and, yes, sometimes blurry, here is Atlas Obscura’s picks from this astonishing collection:
The brand-new glass walkway on Yuntai Mountain in China, which just opened last month, looks terrifying—it's transparent, so you can see all the way down to the foot of the mountain 3,543 feet below. But don't worry: the glass is bulletproof! It could never crack! It's perfectly safe!
And if you believe that, we've got a (slightly damaged) bridge to sell you.Read More
The weirdest thing about Harry’s Harbor Bazaar, in Hamburg, isn’t the maze of musty shelves holding African masks and voodoo dolls, homoerotic New Guinean figurines, or century-old shrunken heads. The weirdest thing is how familiar it all feels, how it knocks on the brain with a set of bone knuckles, like a memory from the uncomfortable past.
Harry’s has been established in Hamburg since 1954, when Harry Rosenberg converted his modest stamp-and-coin shop into a museum of exotic things handed down from an old sailors’ pub.
The collection has changed ownership, and location, several times, most recently in 2013–right now it floats in a converted crane ship in Hamburg’s Harbor City. Caro Uhde opens it every weekend for visitors. She charges five euros to wander the aisles built into the hull. The items have no information cards, because in too many cases no one can say where they’re from.Read More
In 1833, when the town of Chicago was first organized, it had a population of 200 and all the potential in the world. Early on, an investor named Charles Butler started buying up land in the area and sent his brother-in-law, William B. Ogden, to do the actual work of developing it into city lots.
As he worked, Ogden, who would become Chicago's first mayor, needed maps of the quickly growing settlement—which became a city as of 1837. Today, there are few maps of Chicago's early days, since so many were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. But recently, at an estate sale in the city's suburbs, a map collector found a collection of 39 maps connected to Ogden, including one that Crain's Chicago reports is "possibly the oldest surviving map of the fledgling city."Read More