The Basilica Cistern in Istanbul is an underground underwater forest of 336 huge marble columns. It was built in the 6th century CE, but parts are much older – because they were scavenged from other buildings, sometimes with original sculptures intact.
A highway goes directly through the Gate Tower Building in Osaka, Japan; a monorail line goes directly through an apartment block in Chongqing, China.
The pig toilet was once a key sanitation building in rural China, Korea, and India. It was ruthlessly efficient, combining a toilet for people with a sty for pigs.
On a sidewalk in New York City is a triangle mosaic about 70cm wide. It is perhaps the smallest parcel of private land in the city, and it exists entirely because of spite.
Andrea Bocelli’s Teatro del Silenzio only hosts one concert a year; every other day, the open-air theatre is silent.
A Bangladeshi engineer named Fazlur Rahman Khan revolutionised the design of skyscrapers by modelling them on bamboo tubes.
Wadi al-Salaam, the Valley of Peace, in Iraq is the largest cemetery in the world; more than five million people are buried there.
The Mimizuka monument in Kyoto, Japan, is full of Korean noses. It is a hanazuka, a nose tomb.
Almost the entire population of Whittier, Alaska, lives in a single building.
The Salt Cathedral lies 200 metres below the surface of Zipaquirá, Colombia.
Walter E. Scott performed in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, scammed thousands of dollars with a fake gold mine, set a cross-country train speed record, and claimed to be building a castle in the midst of Death Valley.
The Cloaca Maxima in Rome is one of the world’s first sewer systems. It still works today, and with good reason: it has its own goddess.
Imagine an elevator with no doors that never stops: this is the paternoster lift.
The pyramid of Amanishakheto stood for nearly two thousand years, until an Italian looter blew it up.
The Tiger Hill Pagoda in Suzhou, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, leans to one side by several degrees.
The Church of One Tree in Santa Rosa, California, was built in 1873 out of a single giant redwood tree.