Best of the Week – 2010.08.24
It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s time to collect the best and brightest new additions to the Atlas from the previous week! As always, don’t forget to submit your favorite places for inclusion in next week’s round-up!
WADI AL-HITAN - Egypt
Recently featured in National Geographic, Wadi Al-Hitan is a section of desert in Egypt that is filled with whale fossils. The hundreds of bones found in the area since 1902 provide a rare and valuable snapshot of whales in the final stages of losing their hind limbs and transitioning to a marine existence. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, the Valley of the Whales is so remote that it receives only 1,000 visitors each year. Still, it is an invaluable place for paleontologists who have used the fossils as the strongest proof yet of evolution.
Visit the complete Atlas Obscura entry on Wadi Al-Hitan
MONUMENT TO HUMANITY - Kars, Turkey
This 100-foot-tall structure of two figures standing erect with arms outstretched as if to seal a deal in handshake sits unfinished as opposition to the monument, which was meant as a peace gesture from Turkey to Armenia, prevailed. Called the “Hand of Friendship,” the hand that was meant to complete the monument and join the two figures, each representing one of the aforementioned countries, sits in gravel at the base. Divided for generations by a dispute over genocide in the early 20th century, relations between Turkey and Armenia have always been difficult.
Visit the complete Atlas Obscura entry on Turkey’s Monument to Humanity
UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE CENTER - Scottsboro, Alabama, United States
Ever wonder what happens to unclaimed baggage? It ends up in Scottsboro, Alabama, at the Unclaimed Baggage Center, where more than 7,000 new items are added daily. What started as a part-time business in 1970 has expanded to occupy an entire city block. Items range from the mundane (clothing, cameras, jewelry, sporting goods) to the obscure (a guidance system for a F16 fighter jet, a live rattle snake, a complete parachute). Featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Late Show with David Letterman, more than one million people visit the store every year.
View the complete Atlas Obscura entry on Alabama’s Unclaimed Baggage Center
BUSOJARAS - Mohacs, Hungary
In the small Hungarian town of Mohacs, the townspeople dress as horned monsters once a year and wander the village spilling spiced wine and making a racket. Busojaras is a celebration and affirmation of life for the ethnic Croatian minority population living in Mohacs. It dates back to 1526 when, as legend has it, villagers dressed up as the horned monsters to scare away the invading Turkish army. Lasting for about one week, Busojaras is made up of numerous traditional music performances, buso parades, and costumed folk dancing. Between scheduled events, everyone drinks, usually to excess.
View the complete Atlas Obscura entry on Busojaras
GROWING POWER - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
This internationally recognized urban farm in the heart of the Midwest will astonish any visitor. Tucked into a poor neighborhood in Milwaukee, Growing Power offers fresh produce year-round to the surrounding community. But they don’t just drive it in: Growing Power uses a complex aquaponics system where plants filter water for fish, who then fertilize the plants in return, to grow all of their own food. In addition, the farm creates tons of compost and soil each year with the help of food waste and worms. They also teach workshops on how to build your own fish tank system.
View the complete Atlas Obscura entry on Milwaukee’s Growing Power
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