Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NaBloPoMo: Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura is one of my favorite websites; it's a site that promotes collaboration and depends on a "community of explorers" to uncover interesting or otherwise overlooked aspects of travel, history, etc. By creating an account, too, one can create trips - find interesting places that you might wish to see during one's travels, and clicking the "I want to see this!" button, which adds the place to a map. (Since Ed and I are in the throes of planning a trip to Rome and Vatican City over Christmas, I've been finding some interesting places written about on Atlas Obscura, such as "Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls" and "Arciconfraternita Santa Maria Dell'Orazione e Morte" - the crypt of St. Mary of Eulogies and the Dead.)

From "Hacking the Death Zone: Ingenious DIY Escapes Across the Berlin Wall":
In the early days of the wall, tunneling underneath it was the most popular way through. Some tunnels were dug under basements; others through the sewers. A dozen people escaped through Der Seniorentunnel ("the Senior Citizens Tunnel"), which began at a chicken coop and was constructed by a group of elderly citizens led by an 81-year-old man. Another ingenious access point turned out to be in the Pankow Municipal cemetery, where students turned a well-kept gravestone into a hidden tunnel doorway. More than twenty people were able to escape through this tunnel before the Stasi discovered it and sealed it off.
a member of the state railway inspects the Wollankstra├če tunnel
(image via Peter Heinz Junge / Wikimedia)

From "A Mummy Hoax Might Be Wrapped up in a Modern Murder":
In October of 2000, Pakistani authorities heard that a Karachi resident was trying to sell a mummy on the black market for $11 million. When the police interrogated the seller, he told them he got the mummy from an Iranian man, who supposedly found it after an earthquake, and the two agreed to sell it and split the profits. The seller eventually led them to where he was storing the mummy, a region that borders Iran and Afghanistan... Scholars grew suspicious of the mummy’s authenticity when experts in ancient cuneiform examined the mummy’s breastplate and determined that someone “not well familiar with Iranian script,” had carved the inscription. This mummy hoax began to unravel after subsequent testing.

From "Museum of a Million and One Roots":
Twisting around the floor, walls, and ceilings of the Museum of a Million and One Roots in Cornimont, France are fanciful creatures of all shape and kind, seemingly organic clocks and lamps, and fantasy tableaus, all made of hardened roots collected by local artist Michel Maurice.
photo by alainalele on Flickr / creative commons

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