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Graphic Guide to Arctic Firsts

Arctic Firsts (designed by Michelle Enemark) (click to view larger)Robert Peary and Frederick Cook battled it out to be first at the North Pole, but that wasn't the end for intrepid expeditions to the...

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Andrée Balloon Crash: A Photographic Journey through the Most Surreal Arctic...

The Andreée expedition balloon crash (via Tekniska museet)Few images are more strange and haunting than those discovered on some frozen film in 1930. They reveal the mysterious fate of the S. A. Andrée...

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Vintage Films from Pole to Pole

Herbert George Ponting documenting Antarctica in 1912 (via National Library NZ)There is something so magical and evocative about a vintage film —the strange voice overs, the flickering black and white...

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Curious Fact of the Week: The Macabre Humor of Romania's Merry Cemetery

Romania's Merry Cemetery is deceptively named.True, the wooden crosses of the small cemetery of Săpânţa are vibrantly illustrated with cartoonish depictions of the deceased, but it's not only the best...

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A Connecticut Town's Tribute to a Bullfrog Battle

Thread City Crossing Bridge (via Wikimedia)Drive through tiny Willimantic in Eastern Connecticut, and you may notice an amphibian obsession. Many local businesses are named after frogs, or feature...

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The Plight of Preservation: Why Historic Listing Doesn't Mean a Place Is Saved

Bands in the Astrodome (via Wikimedia)Last week the Houston Astrodome was added to the National Register of Historic Places, but that doesn't mean it's clearing of the looming wrecking ball. In fact,...

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Apocalypse Now?: Seven Places That Could Destroy the World

Simulated data modeled for the CMS particle detector at CERN (via CERN)We live in an age when the apocalypse has become passé. From street preachers with placards to ancient Mayan prophecies, the...

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Relics of the World's Fair: Montreal

Expo 67 postcard (via Joe Wolf)After visiting Paris, Chicago, Barcelona, and New York City, Atlas Obscura's tour of World's Fair relics stops next in Montreal, Canada, which only hosted one fair — but...

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Photo of the Week: Relaxing Roman Replicas

In the Photo of the Week feature, we highlight an exceptionally amazing photograph submitted by an Atlas Obscura user. This week we're spotlighting a picture from user Journeylism who snapped this...

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The Frost Fair: When the River Thames Froze Over Into London's Most...

George Thompson, "A view of the river Thames" (1814) (© Museum of London), showing the last Frost FairFrom about 1550 to 1850, the world was in what scientists have deemed a "Little Ice Age." The...

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Curious Fact of the Week: Saint Valentine, Patron Saint of Lovers, Bee...

Saint Valentine's holy name may now be inextricably linked to pastel hearts and Hallmark cards, but he's the patron saint of much more than love. Bee keepers, plague victims, and epilepsy sufferers...

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Death and the Year of the Horse at the Hsi Lai Temple and Buddhist Columbarium

The Year of the Horse being celebrated at the Hsi Lai TempleTo celebrate the Chinese New Year and usher in the Year of the Horse, the Los Angeles Obscura Society headed east of LA to the suburbs of the...

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Society Adventures: Masonic Mysteries and Historic Cocktails at the the Grand...

A glamorous guest pondering the grandeur of the New York Masonic Lodge (photograph by Steven Acres)Ever fascinated by the impenetrable Freemasons, the New York Obscura Society recently delved into the...

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Sarira: Buddhist Human Pearls

Buddhist relics from His Holiness Supreme Patriarch of Thailand in Wat Khung Taphao (photograph by Tevaprapas Makklay)Human beings as a whole are obsessed with leaving behind a legacy. And our...

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Relics of the World's Fair: St. Louis

Louisiana Purchase Festival Hall (via Wikimedia)After visiting Paris, Chicago, Barcelona, New York City, and Montreal, Atlas Obscura's tour of World's Fair relics stops in St. Louis, Missouri.  The...

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A First Look at the Stunning Restoration of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank in...

Dome of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank (photograph by Mitch Waxman)A long-languishing icon of Brooklyn architecture has been meticulously restored, and Atlas Obscura got the first public tour of the...

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Love in the Time of Irony: A Neon Heart Beats on in a Home for NYC Wanderers

Anthony Pisano's doorstep, February 2014 (all photographs by the author unless indicated)There is something so alluring about 102 E 7th Street in Manhattan’s East Village that even in the dead of...

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Bury My Heart Apart from Me: The History of Heart Burial

Drawing of a vessel in the shape of a heart held by a hand from the 16th century (via Wellcome Library)Just as you might give a heart-shaped card to a loved one to show your affection, European royalty...

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Photographing a World without People

Child-sized gas masks in an elementary school, Pripyat, Chernobyl zone of exclusion (all photographs by Oleg Mastruko)Journalist Oleg Mastruko has spent eight years searching for the eerie edges of...

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Soap on a Bone: How Corpse Wax Forms

The Soap Man at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (photograph by Dave Hunt, via Smithsonian Institution)For this edition of Morbid Monday, our series on the historical macabre, we...

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