A globe-trotting tour of (nearly) every place featured on the Atlas Obscura Podcast; a short, daily celebration of the wondrous, unexpected, and strange.Less
In Turkmenistan's expansive Karakum Desert, there is a 230-foot wide hole that has been on fire for more than 50 years. Its glow can be seen for miles around, and locals know the crater as "The Gates of Hell."
Though it’s been more than 50 years since anything was mined here, it doesn't seem right to call it "abandoned." The Widow Jane has had a remarkably diverse career since shutting down as a cement mine in 1970. Aside from being a popular hiking and biking destination, it has been a mushroom farm, trout nursery, supplier of whisky water, performance venue, and a recording studio.
In August 1952, a torrential flood swept through the English seaside town of Lynmouth, killing 34 people and causing massive property damage. The disaster got locals wondering about government conspiracies, weather control, and if human beings could actually, truly for real, make it rain.
Built in 1923, Seljavallalaug may be the oldest swimming pool in Iceland. The 82-foot-long pool is built right into the rocks, in a shallow valley created by a pair of verdant, craggy hills.
In 1959, a squirrel monkey named Miss Baker became the first primate to travel to space and return to tell the tale. After she passed away in 1984 she was buried in a grave outside of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, where she given a proper headstone next to her first husband, a monkey named Big George. Visitors often leave bananas at the memorial.
With millions of flammable particulates floating in the air, flour mills are essentially powder kegs. And on May 2, 1878, the Washburn A Mill blew. Today on the site of the disaster the ruins of a later mill still stand, braced with steel. The Mill City Museum and Mill Ruins Park honor those lost as well as the progress that flour milling brought to Minneapolis.
Deep in the forests of northeastern India, these centuries-old bridges are not built—they are grown. These root bridges come in all shapes and sizes, and have been known to grow as long as 170 feet. Most have just a single span, but some notable bridges have more, arranged side-by-side or stacked one over the other.
An abandoned Russian mining village literally frozen in time. This outpost on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is estimated to remain as it is for at least 500 years, thanks to the Arctic climate.
This graveyard in Barre, Vermont—the "Granite Capital of the World"—pays tribute to the stone cutters and artisans who are now buried amongst the sculptures they created while they lived.
In the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, a rapidly disappearing glacier holds the key to a forgotten species, a century-old entomological mystery, and … an opera?