Discover the world's strange and wondrous side. Tag us or use #atlasobscura for a chance to be featured!
The historic bazaar in Kashan is full of winding passageways, concealed yards, tombs, and small mosques, all interspersed among stores selling vibrant goods. Though the bazaar’s caravanserai and its stunning kaleidoscope domed roof only date to 1868, it's believed the bazaar first began under the Seljuq dynasty, which was founded in the 10th century. 📸: Photo regrammed from @harimaolee
Atop a hill in the small town of Podgarić, towers a monument commissioned by Tito, Yugoslavia’s long-time dictator, in 1967. Tito commissioned a number of similar monuments to World War II sites throughout Yugoslavia. A nearby plaque reads “Here are buried 900 soldiers from the wider area of Moslavine who sacrificed their lives for the freedom and independence of our nation during the National Liberation Struggle from 1941 to 1945.” 📸: Photo regrammed from @suspiciousminds
This once-thriving hotel in the Swiss Alps couldn't compete with climate change. Hotel Belvédère, nestled in the Furka Pass of the Swiss Alps, was once the perfect spot for travelers looking to explore the Rhône Glacier. But as the glacier receded, so did its number of visitors. While it once hosted party-goers and adventurers, and even the likes of Pope John XXIII and Sean Connery (it makes a brief appearance in Goldfinger!), the serene little spot is now closed indefinitely. 📸: Photo regrammed from @hebenj
We’re incredibly excited to introduce our new 2020 trips to incredible locations around the world. Join us as we journey to the source of the Nile, explore hidden workshops tucked into the dark alleys of Naples, or spend a night camped beside the massive crater in the Turkmenistan desert that’s been on fire for 40 years. Find out how to join us at the link in our bio.
An enormous dragon scales the walls of the 17-story Wat Samphran Temple, which is rarely featured in guidebooks and is considerably removed from the typical tourist track. Travelers who’ve happened upon the temple in their journeys have described an interior in mild disrepair but filled with stunning statues and shrines, including a giant bronze Buddha. The dragon itself is reportedly hollow, and visitors are able to walk some sections of it, though other parts of the temple remain closed to the public. 📸: Photo regrammed from @berlinstagram.
The Hammetschwand Elevator on the exposed rock face of Switzerland’s Mt. Bürgenstock is the tallest outdoor elevator in Europe, and rockets passengers on a dizzyingly precarious ride 3,700 feet above sea level to the top of a mountain. 📸: Photo by Julia Leijola (@leijola)
For fifteen years Minister Horace Burgess has been adding to his tree house, which is now five stories high with more than 80 rooms. As he tells the story, in 1993 he was praying when god told him, “If you build a tree house, I’ll see that you never run out of material.” Inspired by this vision of god, the quiet minister set out to build the largest treehouse in the world. He has long since surpassed that goal. Located just outside of Crossville, Tennessee, the 97-foot-tall tree house and church is supported by a still-living 80-foot-tall white oak tree with a 12-foot diameter base, relying on six other oaks for support. 📸: Photo regrammed from @vinnyohcutezo .
This 40-meter-tall bearded stone face overlooking the Danube River in Romania looks like something straight from Middle Earth. The national identity of modern Romania is still firmly rooted in its ancient Dacian heritage, and the sculpture is a portrait of Decebal, the last king of Dacia. At 40 meters, it is the tallest rock sculpture in Europe and took 10 years (from 1994 to 2004) for a team of 12 sculptors to complete. 📸: Photo by Cristian Bortes
This gorgeous photo via @raidenbucharest shows the calm before the storm on the rusty roof of the Old Stock Exchange in Bucharest Old Town.
Built right into a vertical cliff face on Italy’s Mount Baldo, the Santuario Madonna della Corona (Sanctuary of the Lady of the Crown) looks as though it is nearly suspended in mid-air. The church sits on a thin rock shelf that can only be reached by a thin path, and was originally a hermitage where holy men could come for silent reflection, completely removed from the rest of the world. 📸: Photo regrammed from @chrisroams
Slovenia’s Škocjan Caves seem to have sprung directly from the mind of a fantasy author. Often referred to as the “Underground Grand Canyon,” the Eastern European cave system features one of the largest subterranean chambers in the world. The biggest room in the limestone cave network, known as “Martel’s Chamber,” is a gaping canyon which was formed by the underground flow of the Reka river, which still rushes along the bottom of the chasm. 📸: Photos regrammed from @abiinman.
The Fragas do Eume natural park is 9,000 hectares of protected woodland in the Coruña province of Galicia, Spain. Its crowning jewel is the enchanting old-growth forest (or “fraga” in Galician) that lines the banks of the River Eume, from which the park gets its name. All kinds of flora and fauna live peacefully in this verdant landscape, including endangered species. 📸: Photo by David Cornejo.