Obscura Day illuminates the world’s lesser known treasures
Obscura Day's Berlin graffiti tour.
On 28 April, the whole world will open its cabinet of curiosities. Obscura Day, now in its third year of existence, encourages tourists and locals to seek out the stranger (and lesser known) sides of cities and small towns.
Sponsored by Atlas Obscura, an online project profiling offbeat and unusual locations across the globe, Obscura Day started as a way to universally celebrate these spots and encourage lectures, tours and outings around them. Over the past two years, the events have attracted more than 10,000 people on every continent. This year, nearly 100 events have been organized in cities from Wellington, New Zealand to Kyonan, Japan, each with its own strange story to tell.
The Boston Athenaeum in Massachusetts will host “Bound to End Badly”, a tour of the building’s collection of rare books, maps and manuscripts, including the memoirs of a 19th-century highwayman, a book bound in his own skin (a surprisingly common fate for criminals in his day, but one actually requested by the man before his execution).
Los Angeles residents and visitors are invited to picnic at the abandoned zoo in Griffith Park, where old (supposedly haunted) animal enclosures are now outfitted with picnic tables and grills. Those in Berlin can take a walking tour of the city’s best street art, then take a graffiti workshop for their own work-of-art to take home.
Even those in cities without an official event can partake in the day’s celebrations. Organizers encourage people anywhere to “explore something wondrous” and “take lots of pictures” as a way to uncover and share hidden oddities in lesser known corners of the world.
“Obscura Day is all about getting out from behind the computer screen and off to explore something interesting and unusual near you,” said Annetta Black, one of the event’s organizers. “It is amazing the places you’ll discover in your hometown when you begin to look at it with the same sense of curiosity normally reserved for travel.”