Sometimes you hear a place name and you close your eyes and you are there, all from the comforts of your armchair. The names are places of myth, fable, legend and reality and their stories are usually pretty well known. Here are 7 mystical places to whisk you away from the cares of everyday life. Grab a coffee, read on and be transported to a land far, far, away...
Table of contents:
- valley of the kings
- el dorado
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Ground zero for the Trojan War, Troy is in modern day north west Turkey. Visitors can wander around ruins of temples and the old city buildings and walls. You won’t find any hoof prints and unfortunately, girls, you wont be following in Brad Pitt’s sandalled foot steps as the film, Troy was filmed in Malta. Still if you close your eyes you can dream of men in skirts.
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One of the mystical places you can only visit in spirit is Avalon. The legend goes that King Arthur of the Round Table (of Camelot fame) is laid to rest on the enchanted Isle of Avalon where he is sleeping off the wounds he sustained fighting knights, moors and sorcerers. One day he will return wielding his mighty sword Excalibur and the Holy Grail to unite his country when it needs him most. Nowadays, Glastonbury stands on the site of Avalon. It’s a still a place of mysticism, new age hippies and free spirits visit regularly to buy crystals, consult mediums, eat vegan food or learn about crop circles. Of course, it’s also the site of the 3 day music festival.
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Today all that remains of the capital city built by magnificent Mongol, Genghis Kan is the long white walls and 108 stupas that have been incorporated into the Erdene Zuu monastery. Back in its heyday, Karakorum was the place from where Khan launched his 13th century conquering of the mass lands that became known as the Empire of the Sun.
4 Valley of the Kings
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Rather than being buried in ancient architectural enigmas that are the pyramids, Egypt’s great Pharoahs chose elaborate tombs carved into rocky hills in a valley on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Luxor. Tutankhamun’s tomb is the only one of 60 so far discovered intact but they have all yield magnificent treasures. If you believe the legends, a curse is placed on anyone who disturbs the graves.
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Another of the mystical places that it’s hard to step foot in. This enlightened land of Buddhist lore can only be found by those who have reached the appropriate karma. Although many people have searched for this fabled land aka Shangri-La in Tibet, it’s never been found. The town of Zhongdian on the Tibet-China border was renamed as Shangri-La in 2001, claiming to be the inspiration for Shambhala.
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Still the by-word for back of beyond and out of the way places, Mali in Timbuktu gained the reputation as such during the 15th century when it was a terminus of a West Africa/Mediterranean trade route. Salt caravans of camels led by Tuareg tribesmen still make the arduous journey across the Sahara but modern day Timbuktu really lacks the glamour of when it was a place where gold, slaves and ivory were traded.
7 El Dorado
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One of the mystical places that’s been the subject of many a legend is El Dorado. The legend places the fabled city of gold deep in the Amazon jungle. The Amazon rain forest is a dark and mysterious place and much of it remains cut off from the modern world but El Dorado has yet to de discovered despite the number of people who’ve set out on a quest for untold riches.
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Zanzibar, an island off the coast of an part of the African Republic of Tanzania was a powerful city state during the 12th to 15th centuries. It was an important link in the trade, sending ships containing spices, slaves, gold, ivory and precious hard woods like teak and mahogany between Africa, the Middle East and Europe. At one point it was home to the Sultan of Oman and his 100 concubines. It is also the birthplace of Freddie Mercury (RIP), the flamboyant front man of rock band Queen.
Truth or legend, these mystical places conjure up images of wonder and stories of fable just at the mere mention of their names. Maybe though, to quote a certain young lady who had just visited another of the absolute legendary but fictional mystical places, "there’s no place like home."
What’s your favourite mystical place, fictional or real?
Top Photo Credit: Digital Lady Syd
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