Wonder Is Everywhere: Return of the Crooked House, World's Oldest Bread, and More From Around the Web

Wonder is everywhere. That’s why, every other week, Atlas Obscura drags you down some of the rabbit holes we encounter as we search for our unusual stories. We highlight surprising finds, great writing, and inspiring stories from some of our favorite publications.


by Pablo Correa, Knowable Magazine

When the government of Colombia and the guerillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ended almost a half century of war in 2016, the country’s forests began to disappear at an alarming rate. What will replace the deadly “gunpoint conservation” that had inadvertently protected this vital ecological link between the Andes Mountains and the Amazon lowlands?

by Katherine Latham, BBC

Rebuilding the 32-year-old Rothera airstrip on Adelaide Island in Antarctica—an “air bridge” to the rest of the world—requires a team of meteorologists and specially trained “penguin movers.”

by Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia, Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, Ang Dolma Sherpa, and Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, Sapiens

Prayer flags are an ever-present sight in Nepal, Bhutan, India, Mongolia, and Tibetan cultural areas of China. But since the 1970s, these ritual objects have been made from synthetic fibers that take centuries to decompose. This group of scholars and activists are reintroducing traditional—and more sustainable—fabrics to the region.


by Catherine Duncan, Smithsonian Magazine

Astonished scientists reported seeing a gray whale in the waters off Nantucket, Massachusetts. “I didn’t want to say out loud what it was, because it seemed crazy,” said one researcher. The species had been considered extinct in the Atlantic Ocean for the last 200 years.

by Abdullah Dogan, Anadolu Agency

In about 6600 B.C., a baker put dough into an oven in Çatalhöyük in what is today southern Turkey. Now, 8,600 years later, researchers have taken the wheat, barley, and pea seed loaf out of the oven—still unbaked. Radiocarbon tests suggest it could be the oldest known evidence of bread.


by Al Jazeera

More than a decade after construction on the controversial project began, Algeria has officially inaugurated the Grand Mosque of Algiers. Known locally as Djamaa El-Djazair, the complex claims the title of the largest mosque outside of Saudi Arabia, and features the world’s tallest minaret, at 869 feet. The previous record holder was the Hassan II Mosque, which stands 700 feet tall above Casablanca.

by Caitlyn Kim, CPR News

The United States’ newest historic site in the National Park System is the Amache National Historic Site in southeast Colorado. The site commemorates Camp Amache, also known as the Granada Relocation Center, which was one of 10 concentration camps for people of Japanese descent during World War II.

by Pan Pylas, Associated Press

The Crooked House pub in the village of Himley in central England was a quirky local landmark for centuries, known for living up to its name, before it was gutted by fire and unceremoniously demolished. Now the local government has ordered the pub rebuilt—with the same off-kilter appearance that made it famous.

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