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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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It’s almost mint milk season! Every March, Central New York shelves are stocked with glass bottles of green dairy in preparation for Saint Patrick’s Day. Byrne Dairy, a producer based in Syracuse, has been making the mint milk since 1976, and while green beer abounds every Saint Patrick’s Day, mint milk is a festively-hued holiday treat that can be enjoyed by all ages.

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On Rue Duperré in Paris’s Pigalle neighborhood is a shockingly colorful collaboration between fashion brand Pigalle and art direction firm Ill-Studio. The basketball court is open to the public, and you can visit from 10 AM to 8 PM on most days. 📸: Photo regrammed from @mission_wanderlust.

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Sa Conca, the house built under a rock in Italy’s Monte Ortobene. Would you feel cozy or claustrophobic? 📸: Photo by @birgitlohmann via @designboom

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On the Oregon coast there is a natural hole called Thor’s Well that looks as though someone pulled the plug on the sea. According to researchers, the Well probably started out as a sea cave dug out by the waves, before the roof eventually collapsed and created openings at the bottom and top through which the ocean sprays. The site is most spectacular at high tide, or during storms when water washes violently over the rocks and funnels into the hole. During these sudden torrents, unsuspecting visitors to the site run the risk of being swept right into the maelstrom. 📸: Photo regrammed from @stevenacr.es.

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Some stunning shots of the abandoned Hungarian power station used as a filming location in 2017’s Blade Runner 2049. Or as @forgottenheritage put it, “real life snakes and ladders”. The stairs were famously used in the orphanage scenes when Ryan Gosling is looking for clues to his past. 📸: Photos by explorer and AO pal @forgottenheritage.

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A gorgeous colossus of any oyster served with a side of history from @chefdanbarber: “A fat, four year old oyster and an ode to what oysters used to be. Before beef, oysters took center stage. Cheap (and delicious) sources of protein, oysters were featured as the main act of the meal: oyster pie, Oysters Pompadour, oyster stews and so forth. They were raised to be BIG and MEATY—descriptions from early settlers in New York say shells were nearly a foot in length. By the mid 20th century, meat was cheap. Oyster patties were replaced with beef patties and the demand for oysters diminished. Bite-sized and delicate became all the rage and then the norm. But Widow’s Hole Oyster Farm in Greenport Harbor (once New York’s oyster capital) is keeping them in the water for up to 4 years, like the one pictured here—something you never see in the oyster world anymore. And let’s not forget that oysters are filter feeders—they clean the waters they grow in—so that makes 4 years of filtering clean water and a nod to what’s possible for the future.”

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📚 GIVEAWAY TIME 📚 We’re starting an Atlas Obscura book club, and we want YOU to join! The first book we’ll be reading is Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine’s "Last Chance to See", which follows the authors as they travel the world, trying to search out a handful of species on the edge of extinction. Comment below tagging two of your reading buddies, and you’ll be entered to win a copy. Check out the link in our bio for more info on how to join in!

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Legend says if Ecuador’s Basílica del Voto Nacional is ever officially completed, the world will come to an end. 📸: Photo regrammed from @sather.meg.

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This is a mirrored shot of Blocul Rotund, or “the Round Building,” a housing project in Bucharest, Romania, built in the 1970s. As @raidenbucharest described it, it’s “the closest you'll get to some Hong Kong vibes in Bucharest.” 📸: Photo regrammed from AO favorite @raidenbucharest.

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This is “Pabellon ()”, a sculpture designed and constructed to look like a crater in memory of the earthquake that struck central Mexico in September 2017. After being exhibited at Mextropoli 2018, all the parts used to make it were donated to help reconstruction of houses in Xochimilco, serving those people "whose craters still feel and live." 📸: Photos regrammed from @architizer.

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Another stunning stepwell from @victorialautman, author of “The Vanishing Stepwells of India.” While the hanging vines may be picture perfect, they’re slowly destroying the early 12th-century Batris Kotha stepwell in Kapadvanj, Gujarat. From Lautman: “Squashed in by tall buildings on three sides, its masonry blocks looted, the water filled with trash, this marvelous structure still hasn’t called it quits after 900 years.”

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Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom and numerous other magical castles were all inspired by a real castle: Neuschwanstein Castle, the awe-inspiring retreat of the “fairy-tale king,” Ludwig II of Bavaria. Commissioned by the king in homage to Richard Wagner, the fantastical castle was designed by theatrical set designer Christian Jank. 📷: Photo regrammed from @sennarelax.