Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Atlas Obscura

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders is a compendium of some of the most interesting and some of the least well known places on earth. I adore this book by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras & Ella Morton. It's page after page of unique locations, maps and photos from Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, Canada, the United States and Latin America.

Just to illustrate how varied this book is, I selected five pages to highlight an entry from, each entry one hundred pages apart. 

On page five I read about the real Chained Books of Hereford Cathedral that reminded me of the same chained volumes in the Marvel movie Dr. Strange. 

On page one hundred and five I learned about Necropants - apparently it was the not so equivalent of the organ donor card in 17th century Iceland. If a person gave their permission before death, a friend could dig up the body and make a pair of pants with the skin. Um. That's pretty gross.

One two hundred and five I learned about a former human slave market on Bunce Island in Sierra Leone. From 1668 to 1807 it served as a "warehouse" for people. When Britain's parliament abolished the slave trade in 1807, the island stopped being a clearing house for this atrocity. The book says the site is now it's overgrown and wild.

On page 305 I read about Prada Marfa - a "site specific sculpture" in the middle of nowhere in Texas where there is a fake Prada shop filled with real merchandise. None of the products are for sale and the store doesn't open. It's meant to be art. 

One page 405 I read about Chan Chan, a Peruvian sand castle built in 850 CE. It'e the world's largest adobe city. It has a complete irrigation system built underground.

What a interesting reference book for the curious adventurer. 

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