5 famous mysterious places historians argue their existence

The unknown distance has always attracted people. Everything mysterious, lost, and unattainable invariably attracted various dreamers, treasure seekers, and adventurers.

Legends of cities of untold wealth, hidden in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, the search for a lost paradise, and the location of the Holy Grail have all had a profound impact on human history. Find out more about the five most influential places on Earth that have never been.

1. Kingdom of Prester John

5 famous mysterious places historians argue their existence

More than five centuries ago, Europeans seriously believed that somewhere in the wilds of Africa, India, or the Far East, there a vast Christian empire ruled by a king-priest. The story first gained popularity in 1165, after the Byzantine and Roman emperors received a letter from a monarch called “Prester John.”

The letter was most likely a fake. The mysterious king claimed to be the “supreme ruler of the three Indies” and all of its seventy-two kingdoms. He described his kingdom as a land rich in gold, flowing with milk and honey. According to this ruler, the power inhabits by exotic races of giants and strange horned people. Perhaps most important in all this is that Presbyter John and his subjects were Christians.

The papal mission to find the mythical court of the mysterious presbyter John vanished without a trace, but the story of his kingdom took root among Europeans. The Christian Crusaders rejoiced greatly at the idea that some devout ruler might come to their aid in the fight against Islam. When the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan conquered parts of Persia in the early 1200s, many mistakenly attributed the attack to the forces of Presbyter John.

Later, this fabulous kingdom became an object of admiration for all travelers and explorers. The myth of a particular “ideal state” attracted and excited the minds. Marco Polo composed a very dubious story about meeting his remnants in North China, while Vasco da Gama and other Portuguese sailors searched for him in Africa and India. Although researchers eventually discovered a vast Christian civilization in Ethiopia.

There is no valid historical evidence of the existence of this Christian country under the leadership of a just leader. All documentary information is just retellings from hearsay.

In general, the utopia about the kingdom of goodness and justice has always worried people. This power never existed, let it be wishful thinking, but it was worth creating.

2. El Dorado

5 famous mysterious places historians argue their existence

Since the 16th century, all European explorers, especially the Spanish conquistadors, have been incredibly fascinated by the tales of the mythical golden city. It was located presumably in the unexplored wilds of the forests of South America.

The city arose from stories about King El Dorado (“The Golden King), who powdered his body with gold dust and threw gold and jewelry into the sacred lake during his coronation ceremony. The stories of the golden king eventually led to rumors of a magnificent golden city full of untold riches. Adventurers of various kinds have spent many years of their lives in a fruitless search for El Dorado and its fabulous treasures.

One of the most famous expeditions to El Dorado took place in 1617. English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh climbed up the Orinoco River to find it in what is now Venezuela. The mission found no trace of the legendary golden city. Raleigh himself was later executed by King James I for disobeying orders to avoid skirmishes with the Spaniards.

The mysterious mythical El Dorado continued to lure explorers, provoking colonial violence until the early 1800s. Then scientists Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland branded the city a myth after a research expedition to Latin America.

3. Hy-Brasil

5 famous mysterious places historians argue their existence
©Royal Irish Academy

Long before the first European set foot in the New World, researchers searched in vain for the mysterious island of Hy-Brasil. This ghostly atoll is said to have lurked somewhere off the west coast of Ireland. The history of this mythical island most likely dates back to some Celtic legend. Its name means “Island of the Blessed” in Gaelic, but its exact origin is unclear. Hy Brasil first began to appear on maps in the 14th century.

Usually, it depicts as a small round island, divided in two by a narrow strait. Many sailors believed in its existence until the 1800s. Hy Brasil has become a popular food for all sorts of myths and fairy tales. Some legends have described the island as a lost paradise or utopia.

Despite its fantastic reputation, Hy Brasil was widely popular with British explorers during the 15th century. One of them was the Englishman, John Cabot. He undertook several expeditions to find the legendary island.

Cabot had hoped to find it on his famous trip to the coast of Newfoundland in 1497. Documents from Cabot’s time claim that some researchers had already found Hy-Brasil before him. Others argue that these sailors could be wrong. They just inadvertently made the trip to America before Christopher Columbus.

4. Thule

5 famous mysterious places historians argue their existencem

The mysterious island of Thule, which caused a storm of enthusiasm among ancient explorers, romantic poets, and Nazi occultists, was an elusive territory. Presumably, this island locates in the icy waters of the North Atlantic near Scandinavia.

Then the Greek apprentice Pytheas claimed to have made a trip to a particular ice island outside Scotland. According to him, the sun rarely set there, and land, sea, and air mixed into a substantial jelly-like mass.

Many contemporaries of Pytheas doubted these tales, but “distant Thule” remained in the European imagination. It eventually became the symbol of the most northerly place in the known world. Researchers have identified it in various ways.

Someone considered it Iceland, someone Norway or the Shetland Islands. The island has consistently served as a recurring motif in poetry and myth. Thule is perhaps best known for the so-called Thule Society, a mysterious organization in Germany.

It was formed after the First World War and considered Thule, the ancestral home of the Aryan race. The Munich-based group numbered many future Nazis among its members, including Rudolf Hess. He later served as a deputy under Adolf Hitler.

5. St. Brendan’s Island

5 famous mysterious places historians argue their existence

Saint Brendan’s Island was the mysterious embodiment of paradise on Earth. It believes to be hidden somewhere in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The ghost island myth dates back to the Navigatio Sancti Brendani (Voyage of Saint Brendan the Abbot), the 1200-year-old Irish legend of Saint Brendan the Navigator.

As the story goes, Brendan led a team of devout sailors in the 4th century to search for the famous Promised Land. Their voyage was incredibly rich in various fabulous incidents. Legends describe battles with mysterious giants, throwing fireballs at sailors, meetings with talking birds.

After all these miraculous events, Brendan and his men landed on a fog-covered island. This lovely place was home to a mass of delicious fruit trees. The ground was covered in sparkling gems. The grateful team spent forty days exploring the island before returning to their native Ireland.

Although there is no historical evidence of Saint Brendan’s journey, the legend became incredibly popular during the medieval era. St. Brendan’s Island has even reflected on many maps of the Atlantic. Cartographers first placed it near Ireland, but it migrated to North Africa, the Canary Islands, and the Azores in subsequent years.

Sailors often claimed that they had a glimpse of the island during the Great Geographical Discovery. Even Christopher Columbus himself likely believed in its existence. However, the legend eventually faded after several search expeditions failed to find it. By the 18th century, the famous “Promised Land” exclude from most nautical charts.

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