Obscura Day 2017! Join our global celebration of exploration and discovery.
May 6
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The tunnels all look slightly differiently
Washington, D.C.

Capitol Building Tunnel System

Members of Congress have traveled between the buildings on Capitol Hill for a century hidden from tourists, press, and storm clouds.
38.8922, -77.0080
Interior view of the recently excavated chemical furnace in the ground floor of the University of Virginia's Rotunda
Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia’s Hidden Chemical Hearth

Hidden for 165 years inside a building designed by Thomas Jefferson are the remains of what may be America's first educational chemistry lab.
38.0357, -78.5033
William Randolph Hearst's private castle.
San Simeon, California

Hearst Castle

The unbelievably opulent home built for an infamous newspaperman.
35.6501, -121.1866
Main entrance
Washington, D.C.

Carnegie Library of Washington, D.C.

D.C.'s first central library was born out of a chance encounter with the philanthropist whose name it bears.
38.9027, -77.0229
Los Angeles, California

The Last Bookstore

This iconic LA bookshop is housed in an abandoned bank -- both symbolic and chic
34.0477, -118.2494
View of the Watergate Exxon in 2016
Washington, D.C.

Watergate Gas Station

This seemingly out-of-place gas station by the Watergate hotel was once described as the most expensive gas station in the world.
38.9004, -77.0567
San Simeon, California

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

This stretch of beach along California's central coast is a busy highway for the largest seal in the northern hemisphere.
35.6632, -121.2575
Civil War Nurses Memorial
Washington, D.C.

Civil War Nurses Memorial

A bas relief commemorates the "Nuns of the Battlefield" who cared for soldiers on both sides of the conflict.
38.9058, -77.0402
The Cuban-American Friendship Urn
Washington, D.C.

Cuban-American Friendship Urn

This classical urn harkens back to a more friendly time in Cuban-U.S. relations
38.8786, -77.0382
Temperance Fountain
Washington, D.C.

Temperance Fountain

A much-maligned monument to teetotalism.
38.8938, -77.0217
Bronze cranes atop memorial's central sculpture
Washington, D.C.

Memorial to Japanese-American Patriotism in World War II

An unassuming, powerful monument north of the U.S. Capitol bears witness to the resilience of Japanese Americans during a time of grave injustice.
38.8946, -77.0106
Summerhouse, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted - United States Capitol grounds, Washington, DC
Washington, D.C.

Summerhouse

A hidden gem on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
38.8914, -77.0106
The sculpture at the U.S. Capitol Building rotunda.
Washington, D.C.

The Portrait Monument

Rumor has it the uncarved lump behind the three famous suffragists is reserved for the first woman president.
38.8900, -77.0090
Warp Drive
Sterling, Virginia

Warp Drive

This pun was simply waiting to come to life, and one defense contractor made it so
39.0138, -77.4302
Williamsburg, Virginia

Eastern State Hospital

America's first public mental health facility
37.2685, -76.7047
USS Constitution
Boston, Massachusetts

USS Constitution

Berthed near the end of the Freedom Trail in Boston, "Old Ironsides" is the oldest US Navy warship still afloat.
42.3727, -71.0531
Scrovegni Chapel
Padua, Italy

Scrovegni Chapel

Built to repay the sins of the father, this church is home to one of the most valuable works of Western art
45.4117, 11.8791
Ether Monument. (Wikimedia Commons)
Boston, Massachusetts

Ether Monument

Statue commemorating the use of ether in anesthesia
42.3537, -71.0698
Sliding Rock
Pisgah Forest, North Carolina

Sliding Rock

Who needs fancy modern water slides when this giant North Carolina rock works just as well?
35.3115, -82.7876
London, England

Houseboats of Regents Canal

A community of artists and entrepreneurs seeks a simpler life on London's waterways
51.5162, -0.0337
Florence, Italy

Fresco of John Hawkwood

In Florence's great Duomo, a 26 foot fresco honors a mercenary famous for attacking Florence
43.7735, 11.2566
Florence, Italy

Ospedale degli Innocenti (Hospital of the Innocents)

Renaissance hospital featuring a rotating door into which unwanted babies were dropped.
43.7763, 11.2612
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
Corolla, North Carolina

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Beautiful Gothic-inspired lighthouse stands out among the run-of-the-mill striped fare on Bodies Island
36.3763, -75.8306
Jockey's Ridge
Nags Head, North Carolina

Jockey's Ridge

This shifting North Carolina sand dune is an odd little desert surrounded by oceanic forest life
35.9624, -75.6339