Obscura Day 2017! Join our global celebration of exploration and discovery.
May 6
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Approaching the Minecraft Death Star from the south
Washington, D.C.

Rayburn House Office Building

One critic described it as "middle Mussolini, early Ramses, and late Neiman-Marcus." Another called it an architectural "natural disaster."
38.8869, -77.0105
Senate-side tower
Washington, D.C.

Capitol Air Conditioning Towers

"Congress may voluntarily remain in session throughout the summer, in order that our Congressmen may be protected from the intolerable discomforts and dangers of the ordinary outdoor weather!”
38.8884, -77.0109
Summerhouse, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted - United States Capitol grounds, Washington, DC
Washington, D.C.

Summerhouse

A hidden gem on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
38.8914, -77.0106
Inside the dome wall.
Washington, D.C.

Inside the Capitol Dome

The walls of the iconic dome are hollow and have a secret stairway.
38.8898, -77.0090
The tunnels all look slightly differiently
Washington, D.C.

Capitol Building Tunnel System

Members of Congress have traveled between the buildings on Capitol Hill for a century hidden from tourists, press, and storm clouds.
38.8922, -77.0080
An Architect of the Capitol employee laughs next to the flag elevator.
Washington, D.C.

Capitol Flag Elevator

The Flag Office elevator goes up and down, flying American flags in bulk "over the U.S. Capitol."
38.8902, -77.0094
Columbia, Maryland

The Enchanted Forest Pine Tree Maze at Clark's Eliok Farm

A local farm's collection of unusual structures from a now defunct storybook amusement park
39.2375, -76.8755
McLean, Virginia

Patowmack Canal

The semi-reclaimed ruins of this canal were once part of an ambitious plan to reroute the mighty potomac
38.9976, -77.2541
The temple from the visitor's center.
Kensington, Maryland

Washington, D.C. Mormon Temple

The tallest Mormon temple in the world soars above the Beltway.
39.0158, -77.0645
Close-up of Herlong's head
Takoma Park, Maryland

Herlong the Carved Dragon

A benevolent, 16-foot-tall river dragon lives on a suburban lawn
38.9782, -77.0161
Statue of George Washington
Alexandria, Virginia

The George Washington Masonic National Memorial

This stately building in Alexandria, Virginia was built by Freemasons to honor one of their most famous members
38.8075, -77.0659
The Chemical Treatment Tower
Washington, D.C.

Washington Aqueduct Chemical Tower

Every drop of D.C. tap water flows through this old waterworks.
38.9376, -77.1131
Historian Bill Lebovich at 2016 Obscura Day tour of the Stones.
Washington, D.C.

The Capitol Stones

Enormous piles of historically significant stones, dumped by Congress in a forest, and abandoned for 60 years.
38.9577, -77.0510
The serene face of the Adams Memorial
Washington, D.C.

The Adams Memorial

A haunting tribute to pioneering photographer Clover Adams
38.9474, -77.0103
Brickyard structures
Washington, D.C.

United Brick Corporation Ruins

Once the supplier for noteworthy projects like the National Cathedral, this old brickworks now lies abandoned.
38.9167, -76.9673
The former columns of the U.S. Capitol date from 1829.
Washington, D.C.

National Capitol Columns

The United States Capitol's former columns still stand.
38.9104, -76.9676
The moon rock is located in the center of the red planet in the Space Window's upper half
Washington, D.C.

Space Window at the Washington National Cathedral

A tiny piece of the moon is embedded in this stained glass masterpiece
38.9311, -77.0716
Looking north
Washington, D.C.

Rockefeller Mansion in Rock Creek Park

This leafy estate is worth $18 million and is so grand it has two mailing addresses.
38.9393, -77.0461
Approximate location of the tunnel marked in yellow.
Washington, D.C.

Russian Embassy

The U.S. government's 300-foot spy tunnel under the embassy never quite delivered as promised.
38.9247, -77.0750
Outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. (ncindc/Flickr)
Washington, D.C.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Largest Roman Catholic church in North America
38.9335, -77.0007
The stairs at night
Washington, D.C.

The Exorcist Stairs

Site of the climactic scene from The Exorcist.
38.9055, -77.0702
The Rosslyn Metro escalator. (Steven Cohen/Atlas Obscura)
Arlington, Virginia

Rosslyn Metro Escalator

At 207 feet, one of the world's longest continuous escalators
38.8959, -77.0715
Washington Coliseum in 2006, seen from a MARC train.
Washington, D.C.

Washington Coliseum

A historic arena where The Beatles played their first concert in the U.S.
38.9054, -77.0024
View of the Watergate Exxon in 2016
Washington, D.C.

Watergate Gas Station

This seemingly out-of-place gas station by the Watergate hotel was once described as the most expensive gas station in the world.
38.9004, -77.0567