Every day our community of travelers and writers unearths fascinating places from the hidden corners of the world and adds them to the Atlas, helping to build our collaborative database of over 9,000 hidden wonders. And while each and every place is worth a wander off the beaten path, some stand above the fray as particularly extraordinary. These seven unusual locales are some of the most curious and enticing places we came across this week.
Once an indicator of social class, the color blue has come to define this city on the edge of the Thar Desert. A sea of boxy indigo houses stretches for more than 10 kilometers (six miles) along the historic walled old city. A blue pigment coating on a house used to indicate that a Brahmin—the priests of the Indian caste system—dwelled there, but over time the color became a badge of identity for non-Brahmins, too.
Mormon temples are known for their splendor and beauty, and few rival the temple in Washington, D.C. It is the third-largest Mormon temple in the world by square footage, as well as being the tallest. Located adjacent to the Capital Beltway, the massive temple is well known to the thousands of drivers who pass by on their daily commute, its towering spires looking like something from another world.
The approach to the Eshima Ohashi bridge may give drivers a sense of trepidation. From afar, the almost vertical climb and descent are of rollercoaster proportions. The bridge is about a mile wide and at 44 meters (144 feet) tall, one of the highest in its class of bridge in the world, with a rigid frame structure. The view from either end of the bridge amplifies the actual incline, hence the rollercoaster nickname. It looks terrifyingly high.
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Walking past Sunshine Laundromat, one might assume that unless they had a load of dirty laundry to do there would be no reason to wander inside. They would be mistaken. As you pass a few classic pinball machines and go through the row of washing machines you notice a strange stack of washing machines at the very back of the laundromat. Come closer and you realize that through those back washing machine doors it’s not laundry that you see but another world. A world of pinball.
VARBERG S, SWEDEN
For decades, hundreds of engraved stones covered in moss were lying around in this forest just waiting to be discovered. They were engraved in the late 1800s by Alfred Bexell, a landowner and member of Parliament—why he did this is unknown until this day. So far over 600 names of famous writers, philosophers, scientists, politicians and statesmen been identified in the carvings, as well as more than 180 aphorisms, sayings, quotes from literature and pieces of Bexell’s own thoughts. It’s a sort of petrous journal.
ALDEN, NEW YORK
The last holdout of the Confederacy was, surprisingly, a town in New York on the Canadian border. Today’s Town Liners have no idea why their forefathers sided with the Southern States in the Civil War one fateful day in 1861. What’s even more curious is that it took the town until 1945 to rejoin the Union.
PALMYRA, NEW YORK
If you’ve seen the Broadway musical Book of Mormon, you’ll be at least somewhat familiar with the story of Joseph Smith’s golden plates. It’s a story so significant to the Mormon faith it’s reenacted every July on a huge stage set up at the spot where it’s believed to have taken place: this New York hillside not far off I-90.