It is believed that there is a grain of truth in every tale. Whether you are a fan of myths and legends or want to follow the same footsteps as Indiana Jones, when it comes real-life destinations with a mythologic pedigree, the following places should be on the top of your list!
#1. Andromeda’s Rock – Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient coastal city found in Israel and a large cluster of raven black rocks can be found beyond its sea wall. A story associated with this rock comes from the Bible. According to the legend, the rock was founded after the flood by one of Noah’s sons called Japheth and it was believed that Noah was buried under this rock.
Another myth comes from Greek mythology which explains why the rock was named after the goddess Andromeda. Andromeda was the daughter of the king Cepheus and his wife Cassiopeia. However, Cassiopeia’s boasting about her daughter’s exquisite beauty provoked Poseidon, the God of the Sea, to punish arrogant human beings by sending a deluge and sea monster to destroy the country. As a result, after consulting with the country’s residents, the King decided to chain his daughter to a rock by the sea and offer her as a sacrifice to appease Poseidon’s wrath. Luckily, the beautiful maiden was saved by Perseus, son of Zeus, who killed the monster and later got married to her.
If you have a wild imagination, you can visit Andromeda’s Rock and picture the chained princess Andromeda being saved by Perseus.
#2. Yomi-no-Kuni – Japan
Do you want to know the meaning of the Japanese words Yomi-no-Kuni? The land of the dead!
Shinto, also called kami-no-michi, is the indigenous faith of Japanese people and the oldest religion of Japan. According to its lore, Yomi-no-Kuni, is the realm of the dead. It is believed that once a person steps in the Yomi, it is impossible to return to the land of the living.
This place is similar to the Underworld in Greek mythology where the dead goes in the afterlife. However, it cannot be described as a hell since deceased souls do not go there in retribution for their sins. Instead they all carry a gloomy and dark existence regardless of their past deeds.
The place is said to be ruled by Izanami-no-Mikoto, the goddess of both creation and destruction and Japan’s mother deity. Its entrance is located in Izumo province in the eastern part of the Chūgoku region’s Shimane. According to popular mythology, it was Izanagi-no-Mikoto, Izanami’s brother and husband, that sealed it with a massive boulder to separate the lands of the living and dead.
Despite being aware of the dangers lurking in Yomi-no-Kuni, if you want to visit the place still, remember that there will be no return ticket!
#3. Lake Guatavita – Columbia
Lake Guatavita is a beautiful natural reserve located to the north-east of Bogota, in Columbia. It consists of an almost perfectly circular lake surrounded with a lush countryside landscape. However, you might be wondering what kind of myth is behind this eye-pleasing lake.
In the Dreamworks’ famous movie “The Road to El Dorado”, what were Miguel and Tulio looking for? The legendary city of gold!
Here’s how the story of the lake goes: In Spanish, El Dorado means “the golden one.” However, with time, the legend changed from being a man to a city and then finally to a golden empire. It was believed that the lake was a sacred one where Muisca, indigenous people from Colombia, would perform holy rituals.
A Muisca Chief would anoint himself with oil and gold dust and then plunge himself in the lake to wash off the gold. Afterwards, precious offerings such as gold, silver and emerald ornaments were thrown in the lake. These precious trinkets were not seen as material wealth, but rather religious offerings offered to gods.
However, when the Spanish colonisers heard about the ritual and the lake, they were driven by their insatiable greed for wealth and there began the infamous quest for the legendary golden empire. Unfortunately, as the 300-years quest never led to any fruitful results, both El Dorado and the precious jewels hidden in the lake Guatavita were dismissed as only a myth.
If you believe that you alone can discover the golden empire like Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas, then why don’t you give it a try?
Did these travelling destinations inspire you? If you know other real mythical places, don’t forget to share them in the comment section below!