The foundation of Atlas Obscura is contributed by intrepid users around the world, out exploring the places no one else is noticing, or delving into history that’s been all but forgotten. Here we are highlighting five of our favorite recent additions to the Atlas. Have a place we’ve missed? Create an account and become a part of our community.
CROSSNESS PUMPING STATION
photograph by Amanda Slater/Flickr
Victorian London had far outgrown its sewage system, and in 1858 a hideous incident known as the Great Stink brought a wretched stench to the streets. In order to combat the smells, the city overhauled its infrastructure for dealing with human waste. Thus the gorgeous Crossness Pumping Station was born. Added to the site by Atlas Obscura user jhope, the station completed in 1865 has stunning ironwork around its four giant steam pumps.
Cape Perpetua, Oregon
photograph by Bill Young/Flickr
The incredible sight of Thor’s Well, added to Atlas Obscura by user DCrane Photo, appears as an abyss that is pulling in the ocean like a black hole. However, all is not as it seems, and it’s really a 20-foot-deep hole in the Oregon shoreline rock that creates a perpetual waterfall.
FLOODED CRYPT OF SAN FRANCESCO
photograph by Terry Clinton/Flickr
The crypt below San Francesco in Ravenna, Italy, contributed by user Nikel, was constructed between the 9th and 10th centuries, and over time the marshes in the area have gradually retaken the ground. Now a steady level of seawater covers the mosaic floors in the burial chamber, while goldfish and sometimes even ducks swim below the vaulted ceilings. Visitors now have a tradition of tossing in coins to this curious wishing well of the dead.
WORLD’S FIRST RESIDENTIAL TELEPHONE LINE
photograph by Magicpiano/Wikimedia
The very first telephone number was set up in 1877 in the Charles Williams, Jr. House on Arlington Street in Somerville, Massachusetts, added to Atlas Obscura by user tmzinn. Naturally, the number was “1” and it dialed Williams’ office, which was “2.” Williams was a businessman and manufacturer of communications supplies, eager to get on the edge of telephone technology and promote it to the world.
OLD SARAJEVO CLOCK TOWER
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
photograph by Aaron Austin-Glen
Visitors to the Old Clock Tower in Sarajevo, added to the site with lovely photographs by Aaron Austin-Glen, may think it is keeping the wrong hour. But they just aren’t on its time. Dating to the 17th century, this is believed to be the world’s only lunar clock, keeping time to the movement of the moon and the sun. This was so worshipers at the neighboring mosque could coordinate their prayers. It’s still kept accurate every three days even if it’s not so spiritually necessary, by the same clock keeper who was worked on it since the 1960s.
Thanks to our intrepid users for uncovering these wondrous places, and we look forward to more! Help us show how incredible and curious the world is by adding your own discoveries.