What Do Dragon Ribs, Whiskey on the Rocks, and Aviation Museums Have in Common?

a magnifying glass and compass on a map
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I came across something today that looks like a really fun website to explore.

Beware – it may suck away an amazing amount of your time!

Called Atlas Obscura, the website is defined by the founders as “the world’s definitive guide to wondrous and curious places”. Think you’ve already visited everywhere, and seen everything? Take a look at Atlas Obscura before you hang up your adventure hat just yet.

In Laguna Beach, California you can find a Pirate Tower. Lalibela in Ethiopia is home to Ben Abeba, a famed restaurant that juts out over a cliff.

Dragon Ribs, Whiskey on the Rocks, and Aviation Museums are all on the map.

So is the Tonga Hut in North Hollywood, where you can get your tiki name on the wall and $1 off drinks for life if you drink all 78 cocktails in one year. You might sit next to a ghost while completing the challenge though, as one is known to haunt her favorite chair.

There are 11,000 cool points on the interactive map, which are submitted (and vetted) by a network of field agents.

a map of the world with green circles and numbers

Even more cool is that they aren’t all everyday landmarks that tourists are used to reading about (such as the Eiffel Tower, London Bridge, etc.) but those more…obscure. Click on any of the points on the map and you’ll perhaps be intrigued as I was to find things I’d never even heard about.

I tried one of my favorite countries (Italy), and zoomed in on a random green dot. It came up as the Dragon Rib of Atessa.

a map with a gate and a location pin

Perhaps some of you will know exactly what that it, but for me it was all new. Clicking on the name, it brought me to a page with more information about the famed Dragon Rib.

Supposedly, the large bone from a dragon is preserved by the people of Atessa, Italy. Curious? Here’s the story, according to Atlas Obscura.

The local legend says that Atessa was once two different villages, Ate and Tixa. The two small villages were separated by a marsh or river which was nearly impossible to cross due to the dragon that lived in there. After spending years giving tribute to the dragon in the form of food and livestock, the two villages decided to seek the help of a specialist: Leucio, Bishop of Brindisi and dragon-buster, who had already supposedly already killed a dragon in his city. The man went into the lair by himself and subdued the vile creature with only his glance and willpower, chained the monster for seven days to satisfy folks’ curiosity, then killed it. The dragon’s magical blood was used to cure diseases and to turn the marsh into fertile farmland. After this epic struggle, the two villages merged together and a church was built directly over the dragon’s lair to honor Saint Leucio.

The church stands to this day and contains one of what they claim was the dragon’s ribs. The large bone is held behind glass in a viewing case that is itself behind iron bars. The long, curved bone is believed by skeptics to be a part of a mammoth skeleton, but this has no more been verified than its belonging to a dragon.

You can browse the map easily, and there’s also a nifty function right in the menu bar called “Random Place”. Click it and you’ll be taken to a random place anywhere in the world.

a screenshot of a phone

There are destinations, stories, trips, and festivals in addition to points of interest.

Ready to do your own searching?

Here’s a link to Atlas Obscura

You can also create an account to join the community, and suggest obscure places you’ve found that other travelers might enjoy.

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