Through stories, we hear amazing tales of the Gods of the past. Some controlled water, air, earth, and just about everything else. These stunning locations are true to their namesakes, representing the power and beauty of the Gods.
1. Dikteon Cave (The Cave of Zeus):
Located on the slopes of Mount Ida on the island of Crete, Greece, the Dikteon Cave has only one entrance and is filled with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. The cave has deeps roots in antiquity and was a respected place of worship because it is believed that the titan Rhea hid the infant Zeus in this very cave to protect him from his father, Cronus, who intended to swallow him along with the rest of his children. Yikes!
2. Pluto’s Gate:
This toxic cave is a very recent find. Located in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis in modern-day Pamukkale, Turkey. The opening was filled with lethal mephitic vapors that would quickly kill animals. Back in the day, small birds were given to to pilgrims to test the deadly effects of the caves. Only high priests were permitted to stand in front of the cave, who were hallucinated (duh!) by the deadly vapors, would sacrifice bulls to Pluto, leading them into the cave and then dragging out their dead corpses. I wonder what PETA has to say about this.
3. Thor’s Well:
This is one of the only Godly locations that you can find stateside. Along the Cape Perpetua coastline in Oregon, where there are 26 miles of interconnected hiking trails in old growth forests. Thor’s well is one of the salt-water fountains along the cape that is driven by the power of the ocean tide. At peak times, the well can spit out giant streams of water. I feel like this should be named after Neptune, but it’s still pretty epic.
4. The Boreal Forest:
This GIANT, beautiful forest covers most of inland Canada, Alaska, most of Sweden, Finland and inland Norway, much of Russia, and northern parts of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Japan. Woah that was a mouthful. This forest represents 29% of the world’s forest cover. The forest, itself, is named after Boreas, one of the Anemoi (the Greek Gods of the winds). Boreas is the Greek God of the north cold winds and the bringer of winter. When Athens was threatened by Xerxes, people prayed to Boreas, who caused winds to sink 400 Persian ships. Now that is one powerful, cold God. Maybe Game of Thrones should say “Boreas is coming.”
5. The Cave of Hercules:
This popular cave is located near Tangier in Cape Spartel, not far away from the summer palace of the King of Morocco. The cave has two openings, one to the sea and one to the land. The cave is quite significant, as it is believed that Hercules stayed and slept in the cave before doing his 11th labor (trying to snag golden apples from the Hesperides Garden.) Talk about a nap with a view!
6. Grotte di Nettuno (Neptune’s Grotto):
This beautiful grotto near Alghero on the island of Sardinia, Italy, was found by fisherman in the late 18th century who aptly named it after the Roman God of the Sea: Neptune. The cave has incredibly calm waters and is filled with passages of lit stalactite and stalagmite formations. Neptune, who’s famous brothers are Neptune and Pluto, is also known for being for having a terrible temper which manifest themselves in hurricanes and earthquakes. Like I said, the cave is calm. For now.
7. The Garden of the Gods:
Here’s another stateside site. This public park in Colorado Springs was designated a national nature landmark in 1971. Rufus Gable gave this beautiful area its name when he said in 1859, “why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.” I wonder when the assemble and how to get an invite.
8. God’s Window:
This amazing view in Mpumalanga, South Africa is a famous highlight along the Panorama Route. This point features astonishing views of South Africa’s Lowveld, waterfalls, and mountaintops. It’s more of a view than a window, but I def wouldn’t mind waking up to this picture-perfect sight.
9. Goõafoss (Waterfall of the Gods):
This waterfall is located in the Mývatn district of North-Central Iceland at the beginning of the Sprengisandur highland road. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 40 feet over a width of 100 feet. The famous waterfall gained its godly name around the year 1000, when the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After his conversion it is said that upon returning from the Alþingi, Þorgeir threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall. I am sure the Norse gods weren’t all that pleased about that.
10. The South Gate to Heaven:
Mount Taishan in China has a ton of amazing sites and offerings. Mount Tai is one of the “Five Great Mountains” in this enormous geological park. I feel like you could spend your life there just scoping things out like the Naitian Gate, Heavenly Street, Yueguan Peak, the Bixia Temple, the Confucius Temple, the North Arching Stone, the Carved Cliff of Tang Dynasty, and the Jade Emperor Peak. The above picture is unbelievably stunning and definitely has earned the name of the “South Gate to Heaven.” I mean, just look at it.
11. The Door to Hell:
I saved the scariest for last. This natural gas field in Derweze, Ahal Province, Turkmenistan is a natural gas fire started by Soviet engineers in 1971. The Soviets sought out this location as a potential oil field site. They set up a drilling rig and a camp nearby. The engineers were pretty pleased with their find until the ground beneath them collapsed and swallowed the rig and camp into a wide crater filled with fire. It has been burning since then and emits a terrible sulfur oder. Sounds like someone or something was displeased with the idea of someone using that land. It’s been burning ever since.