We live in this age of highly technologically advanced world with google maps, street view and weather forecasts to help us wander places. But there are places we only heard tales about. Tales of those fabled cities, lost Islands, phantom kingdoms and realms that exist alongside our own. These are the places we can only imagine because we have never seen them.
Legends, myths and tales of old travelers are our only legacy from these ancient places located somewhere deep in the unexplored reaches of the globe. Well many of them are said to have entrances in the real world, making it possible to at least stand on the exact location of some amazing places. So why don’t you grab your compass, reading glasses and imagination for a journey to such amazing places. Here are some sites that are caught in my imagination more tightly than on any map.
Hidden behind vine-draped trees deep in the jungle of South America gleams a dazzling kingdom of gold. Or so the story goes as we have seen in a Disney movie by the same name. El Dorado (“The Golden One”) has its origin in present-day Equador. It’s a mythical city of immeasurable gold riches.
Originally El Dorado (the golden man), was the term used by the Spanish Empire to describe a mythical tribal chief (zipa) of the Muisca native people of Colombia, who powdered his body with gold dust and tossed jewels and submerged in Lake Guatavita as part of a initiation rite. Since then, the legends surrounding El Dorado changed over time, as it went from being a man, to a city, to a kingdom, and then finally an empire.
Through the centuries, many expeditions were organized, many gold seekers vanished only to never come back. Many fateful expeditions were first and last. European explorers and conquistadors were bewitched by tales of a mythical city of gold so much that they went to explore the veiled city of gold. In 1969, in a cave near an old Muisca settlement, a 7-inch (18cm) long golden raft was discovered. It’s called the “gold raft of El Dorado” and until today “The Muisca Raft” is considered the symbol of El Dorado.
In medieval mythology, it is a land of plenty where want does not exist. It’s a utopian mythological city where in a parody of paradise, idleness and gluttony were the principal occupations. Those fortunate enough to gain entry would find everything they could possibly want, especially when it came to food. The land where the houses were made of barley sugar and cakes, the streets were paved with pastry, and the shops supplied goods for nothing, where the weather is always mild, the wine flows freely, sex is readily available, and all people enjoy eternal youth. In order to get there, you were told to head to North Hommelen, a city near northern France, and look for the gallows where they will find a massive mountain of porridge of which they must eat through the mountain to get to the city.
A city located in Brittany, France was supposedly built below sea level, and destroyed when the Devil destroyed the dam protecting it. As for the legend, Celtic Princess Dahut asked her dad, King Gradlon, to build her a city by the sea as she loved the sea. To protect it from the high waves, the king built a dyke around it with a gate that was opened for ships during low tide. The one key that opened the gate was held by the king. Dahut, however organized orgies and had different lovers killed afterward. Eventually a demon outwitted her, persuaded her to steal the key while his father is asleep, and opened the gate. Ys flooded, and everyone drowned including Dahut except Gradlon. The ruined city lies beneath the bay at Douarnenez, now a popular beach town in Brittany.
Shangri-La is a mystical and harmonious valley enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. It originated in a 1933 novel called “Lost Horizon” by James Hilton. It’s an ideal valley where people living were almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan living happily isolated from the outside world.
Also known as legendary Island of Apple trees, Avalon is believed to be the final resting place of King Arthur. It is the place where King Arthur is taken after fighting Mordred at the Battle of Camlann to recover from his wounds. Traditions claimed that Arthur had never died, instead he would inexorably return to lead his people against their enemies as and when his people needed him. It’s also where his sword Excalibur was forged.