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El Ateneo Grand Splendid - Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Ateneo in Buenos Aires Argentina - Atlas Obscura Destinations in Argentina

Throughout its life as a performing arts theater, a cinema, and a bookstore, the Grand Splendid has retained its original frescoed ceilings, ornate theater boxes, elegant rounded balconies, detailed trimmings, and plush red stage curtains. The interior of the building, which was constructed in 1919, is as stunning today as when it was first envisioned by architects Pero and Torres Armengol. Currently a bookstore, the Grand Splendid offers more than just standard store fare: Mostly in Spanish, the titles in the store are varied and can be enjoyed while listening to piano music played from the very stage where Argentinean tango stars once performed.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry for El Ateno Grand Splendid


Marwari Horses - Rajasthan, India

Marwari Horses in Rajasthan, India - Atlas Obscura Curious Animal Life

Renowned for their bravery in battle and recognized by ears that curve into a perfect arch, the Marwari Horses of India were once the exclusive steeds of the Rajput rulers. Named for Marwar, their original breeding place in the state of Rajasthan, the horses were believed to be divine and superior to even the most royal of people. As one of the world’s oldest horse breeds, the origins of the Marwari horses are hard to pin down, but they are believed to have been bred with the Turkmenian horses of Alexander’s army. Hundreds of years of selective breeding developed a horse ideal for war on the arid terrain.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry on Rajasthan’s Marwari Horses


Fordlandia - Igrape Acu, Brazil

Fordlandia in Igrape Acu, Brazil - Atlas Obscura Blog - Best of Recent Entries

Ford employees from America were relocated to Fordlandia, six million acres along the Amazon River complete with a power plant, modern hospital, library, hotel, and thousands of little white clapboard houses, after it was established in the 1920s. Selling thousands of cars at the time, Ford needed massive amounts of rubber to make tires and thought building a colony in the rainforest was the best idea. It proved wildly unsuccessful. Drought, malaria, and riots resulted in the loss of millions of Ford’s dollars. Some of the structures still remain and are used for Amazon tours even though Ford retired from the rubber industry in 1945.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry on Fordlandia in Igrape Acu, Brazil


Neft Daslari - Baku, Azerbaijan

Neft Daslari - Azerbaijan - Atlas Obscura Best of Recent Atlas Entries

An industrial settlement 100 miles off the coast of Baku, Neft Daslari is a complete town on the sea and was the first operating offshore oil platform anywhere in the world. What began as a single path out over the water in 1959 slowly grew into a full city over the years as paths and platforms were built on the back of ships submerged into the sea to serve as a foundation for the expanding structure. When the 60th anniversary of Neft Daslari was celebrated in 2009, it was announced that the city had produced more than 170 million tons of oil.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry for Azerbaijan’s Neft Daslari


Vulcan - Vulcan, Canada

Vulcan Canada - Best of Atlas Obscura - Live Long and Prosper in Vulcan Canada

Midway between the cities of Calgary and Lethbridge, Vulcan has become a popular tourist destination because it shares a name with the homeworld of the Vulcans, characters from the Star Trek movies and television shows. In addition to a Star Trek-themed tourist information center, attractions include “Spock’s Bar,” and the “Scrapbook Cafe,” which only serves food and beverages with Star Trek names. A replica of the starship Enterprise sits outside of the tourist center and the writing on the display’s pedestal is in alien languages from the television shows. Vulcan’s annual Star Trek convention - VulCON: Spock Days/Galaxyfest - attracts hundreds of fans from all over the world.

Complete Atlas Obscura entry featuring Vulcan, Canada