For the most part people prefer myth and mystery over truth any day. Legends bring on a sense of fascination and excitement while truth brings on the reality of everyday life that is usually boring. When mentioning famous places and/or people, the legend seems unreal and brings with it a sense of wonderment. Here is a list of 10 of the most famous landmarks that are also surrounded by the world’s legends:
- The Sphinx
The Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt doesn’t have many facts surrounding it but what experts do know is that the statue is that of a lion body and the head of a man, resembling an Egyptian pharaoh. These are the only known facts of the biggest and most ancient statue in the world, everything else can be thought of as speculation. One of the most popular stories regarding the Sphinx is that of the Prince Thutmose. He prayed to the statue and claimed that one day while praying for it to take all his problems away, it came to life and uttered a loud sound. The Sphinx then told Thutmose to release it from the sand that was weighing it down. Thutmose then became the next ruler of Egypt and his problems were left behind.
- The Great Wall Of China
The Great Wall of China has many tragic romance legends surrounding it. The story of Meng Jiangnu is just one of many. She was a baby found by two couples, being extremely good friends for a long time, who decided to share the upbringing and responsibility equally. Once she became older she married a man named Fan Xiliang, who was being taken to work on the Great Wall. After an entire year of not hearing anything about her husband, Meng decided she would go looking for him. She learned he had died of exhaustion and was resting underneath the wall. After crying for 3 days straight, the wall began to crumble and collapse. She attended the burial of Xiliang and committed suicide by throwing herself into the ocean.
- Forbidden City
Simply showing up at the Forbidden City back in the 15th century would most likely result in your head being chopped off. The city itself consists of ancient buildings, palaces, and it is the largest in the entire world. Under Qing rule, nobody but emperors and servants saw the inside of the city for over 500 years. One legend says that the four watchtowers were built in the Forbidden City as the result of a dream by an emperor.
- Niagara Falls
The Maiden of the Mist legend has many different versions with one that is especially well-known. Lelawala was a girl who was offered to the gods to please them, by being thrown down the Niagara Falls. She was rescued from death by the thunder god Hinum, who gave her a lesson in defeating the monstrous snake that was inside the river. After relaying the message to her village, they declared war against the snake; this caused The Falls to be seen as it is today.
- Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain
South Africa is home to the most infamous mountain spires called Devil’s Peak. Legend has it that every time fog comes in from the ocean, it covers the peak along with Table Mountain. The fog is from a pipe-smoking pirate named Jan Van Hunks who settled in the Cape in the 1700’s. His wife didn’t like his pipe-smoking habit so when she’d seen him light it up; she would chase him out of the house.
He eventually would begin smoking on the mountain in order to smoke his pipe in peace. One day he went up to his usual spot to find a man wearing a large hat and dressed in all black; the stranger knew Van Hunks name. They began to have a smoking competition, smoking as much as they could before one got sick. The stranger became annoyed that he couldn’t out smoke Van Hunks and his hat then fell from his head; he was the devil. Van Hunks and the devil were both snatched away by the lightening. Every time fog is surrounding the peak and mountain, it is said that Van Hunks and the devil are having another smoking competition.
- Mount Etna
Located on the East coast of Sicily, Mount Etna is one of the world’s highest and most active volcanoes. In 1500 BC was the first recorded eruption, and since then it has erupted at least 200 more times. The Greek legend surrounding Mount Etna is that the eruptions are caused by a 100 head monster, resembling that of a dragon, which spews massive fire from one of its heads when angry. This monster, known as Typhon, was actually a rebellious kid banned by Zeus to live under Mount Etna. Ever since then, each time the volcano erupts, it is his anger taking the form of boiling hot lava.
- Avenue of Baobabs
Located in Madagascar is the Avenue of Baobabs, known as the “mother of the forest”, with 25 huge baobab trees that line a dirt road on the island. Found only in Madagascar, these are the largest of the Baobab trees, which have a weird looking shape, as if they were planted upside down. The legend goes that the trees had kept running away so God planted them upside down to keep them where they needed to be.
- Giant’s Causeway
Giant’s Cuaseway, located in Northern Ireland, is said to have formed due to the picking of a fight with a giant by another giant. One day one of the giants was so mad that he grabbed a handful of earth and threw it at the other. This clump of earth had landed inside of the sea, now known as the Isle of Man, and the spot where the giant grabbed the handful from is known as Lough Neagh. The other giant decided to build a causeway in order to reach the other since he could not swim. After spending so much time building it, he fell asleep because he was so tired.
- Mount Fuji
A massive volcano located in Japan, Mount Fuji is a famous landmark as well as being the source of many songs, movies, and legends. One famous legend says that a bamboo cutter had found a baby girl and took her home to his wife and they raised her as their own. The bamboo cutter began discovering that each piece of bamboo he cut, he found a gold nugget inside. He gathered the gold and the family became rich. He and his wife thought their daughter was sent to earth from the month in order to be protected from a war there.
Her main quest was to get back onto the moon, and when her own moon people came to get her, the emperor was distressed and sent his men to fight her family, only to be sent away by a blinding light. The moon princess sent the emperor a letter and immortality elixir which he refused to drink. He then wrote her a letter back, and requested his men take it to the highest peak in Japan and burn it along with the elixir, thinking it may reach the moon. Once they burned the letter and elixir on Mount Fuji, the fire they started could not be extinguished and this is how Mount Fuji became a volcano.
The legend of the face on the side of Half Dome is of an old Native woman and her husband who made the journey to a valley called Ahwahnee. The woman carried a heavy basket and when they reached the lake at the mountain, she was very thirsty. She drank so much fo the lake water that it had dried up by the time her husband reached her. Since then, there became a severe drought that affected everything. Her husband became so angry, he aimed a stick at her, and she ran away crying, with her basket in her hands still. She threw her basket behind her hoping to reach her husband, and the Great Spirit within the valley turned them both into stone.