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Atlas Obscura

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Discover the world's strange and wondrous side. Tag us or use #atlasobscura for a chance to be featured!

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A look at the model used by Heatherwick Studio while designing the stunning atrium of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. The museum opened in 2017 and is a can’t miss spot when visiting Cape Town. 📸: Photo regrammed from @architizer.

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Earlier this week, the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program posted this picture of an unfortunate young seal with an eel in its nose. About two years ago, another seal was found with about four inches of eel hanging out of its nostril. Both times the nose eels were removed with a “slow, steady pull”, but researchers aren’t quite sure why this keeps happening. Is it the monk seal equivalent of snorting milk up your nose? An accident that happens when seals are nosing around for food? A foolish trend, like tide pod swallowing? You be the judge. 📸: Photo via NOAA/Brittany Dolan

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Throwback Thursday to a place that no longer exists. Nara Dreamland was an abandoned Japanese amusement park modeled after Disneyland. After it closed in 2006 it had a second life as a popular spot for urban explorers for over a decade, but was finally demolished in 2017. 📸: Photo regrammed from @tokio_kid

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Iran’s stunning Vakil Mosque, built between 1751 and 1773, features an expansive outdoor prayer hall ornamented with spiral columns, brick-patterned arches, and floral tiles. 📸: Regrammed from @kitkat_ch.

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Book and Bed Tokyo lets you sleep inside a bookshelf. Their capsule beds are surrounded by books and magazines, with pages from manga hanging from the ceiling. They call themselves an “accommodation bookshop,” and want to foster the coziness that a bookshop creates and the experience of falling asleep as you read. 📸: Photo regrammed from @mikimelina.

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200K FOLLOWERS?! Wow. In the last five years, we’ve shared more than 2,000 posts of foods and places all over the world. Atlas Obscura has always been a crowdsourced project, built by our global community of explorers. To everyone who has been featured on our feed, commented with hot tips or hot takes, DMed us with travel suggestions, told us stories about your adventures and family traditions: Thank you. All 200,000 of you. What a joy to have found such a kind, collaborative, infinitely inspirational online community. Onward! 📸: The photos and videos in this clip were all featured previously in our feed, and are regrammed from the following extremely talented adventurers: @anniepwanderlust @rurichester @jack_anstey @uwo @st3phan3 @holler4adventure @iamtravelr @raphaelsandoz @phil_torres @daventuree @girleatworld @ritesh_pinkman @handsomerobinson @chefpower @shainblumphotography @andrew.studer @m1kelb1kel

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The Scola Tower is part of a defensive system along the Ligurian coast of Italy built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The tower was built to accommodate eight people and ten cannons. (It seems strange to us that it would hold more cannons than people, since it takes more than one person to man a cannon - does anyone have any guesses/know the reason why?) The tower was damaged in 1800 during a battle of the Napoleonic Wars, and was left in a state of total neglect until the 1970s, when it was restored. 📸: Photo regrammed from @harimaolee 🙌

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We partnered with @Chase Sapphire and the New York Transit Museum to take cardmembers on the journey of a lifetime via the MTA. From East New York to Manhattan, we swing danced, sang along to disco tunes, and vogued on vintage train cars en route to our final destination: an after party at artist Willem de Kooning's former loft. 📸: Photos by @bessadler and @jamessprankle.

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A horned marsupial frog was spotted in Ecuador for the first time in over a decade! And not only that, it was found by the folks of @tropicalherping, including @luksth, who is helping lead our photography trip to the Ecuadorian Amazon next year! We’ll spend the seven-day journey encountering a dizzying array of wild creatures like this sweet little dude. Learn what life is like as a tropical biologist, experience a living lesson on the realities of conservation, and visit with a local indigenous community. Check out the link in our bio for info on how to join us! On a more somber note: the frog is in danger of becoming extinct, as the area where it lives (the Ecuadorian Chocó) has lost nearly 98% of its original vegetation cover and is facing the highest rate of deforestation in the country. Consider visiting savethechoco.com and making a donation to @save_the_choco to help protect this species and many more. 📸: Photo by @sebastiandido and @luksth.

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Dye pools from Fez, Morocco to add a little color to your day. 📸: Photo regrammed from @immigrant_travels.

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The Blind Whino building in Washington D.C. is an immediately recognizable landmark. Built in 1886, the building served as a cornerstone of the neighborhood’s social fabric, and was home to the Friendship Baptist Congregation for almost a century. In the mid-20th century, the building narrowly survived the city’s attempts to bulldoze it, but closed its doors in 2001. Eventually, the building developers commissioned Atlanta-based painter HENSE to enliven the facade. Today, the newly renamed Blind Whino is a social hub once again, serving as an art gallery, community garden, and events space. 📸: Photo regrammed from intrepid explorer @dccitygirl.

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Looking for a twist on a Thanksgiving classic? Try Mormon funeral potatoes. This casserole-like dish hits all the marks of classic comfort food: shredded or cubed potatoes, cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup, sour cream, butter, and grated cheddar cheese, all topped with a crunchy layer of corn flakes. But that’s just the basic recipe; there are many variations, including versions with bacon, jalapeños, potato chips, or gruyère.  Funeral potatoes aren’t just for those in mourning. Mormons also serve it at church potlucks and alongside ham for Christmas and Easter. In fact, when Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics, it not only honored the world’s greatest athletes; it also honored its treasured dish. Commemorative 2002 Winter Olympics pins proudly feature funeral potatoes. 📸: Photo regrammed from @foodiecrush.