According to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, the only constant in life is change. Every day the world around us becomes different in a million different ways: a tree grows a new leaf, a new baby is born, a giant suspended aquarium bursts in the middle of the night. All of that change means there are always new things to see and stories to tell. This past year, Atlas Obscura’s community of explorers has shared the stories of more than 1,500 places from every corner of the world.
Some of these wonders can be found in the middle of densely-populated cities, while others are located on remote islands and mountaintops. Our editors picked 22 of the most fascinating and inspiring places that crossed our desks this year, from the New York movie theater that makes a French philosopher’s favorite banana bread to a beach in the Maldives that is constantly disappearing and being rebuilt. We can’t wait to see what wonders next year holds!