The world is full of myths and legends, which is one of the reasons it is so fascinating to travel. These fantastical tales add a charisma and iconic status to those places they exist in, and though exciting and shocking to believe, they also make you wonder, which of these myths are actually real?
One of the best known myths is that you can see The Great Wall of China from space. Big as the Great Wall may be, the world is bigger, and astronauts such as Chris Hadfield have clarified that it is in fact not visible from space. While this revelation may very slightly lessen the Great Wall’s awe-inspiring wonder, It is unlikely many of us would ever have the chance to see it from space anyway. Until we start doing escorted holidays to Mars, that is (in which case we probably will not be so concerned with Earth anyway).
The Great Wall of China
Saint Basil’s Cathedral is another striking landmark, located within the red square of Russia’s capital Moscow. Bright colouring and bold patterns create surreal dimensions, making this building appear like something from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
The myth behind it is that it was built under the orders of Ivan the Terrible, who after its completion blinded the architect so that he could never again build anything else so fantastical. Seems a bit drastic, does it not? Right. This too is false, as in fact records from a quarter of a century later show that the same architect was hired to build an extension on the cathedral. Makes it seem a little less possible.
St Basil’s Cathedral
Troy is a legend that most will be familiar with. Located in Turkey, it is where the legendary Trojan War of Greek mythology took place. The truth has been debated over the years, and is still to this day left undecided. There is certainly some evidence to suggest fragments of truth through ruins of sieges that have been discovered while the extent of the sources that tell of this tale also would seem to suggest that there is some truth at the myths core.
If you visit Troy today you will find a Trojan Horse that you can climb inside, which creates a nice balance between the stories and reality of what happened here, enhancing what has been left behind with the excitement of a narrative.
Trojan Horse at Troy
One far more romantic myth is set in a part of Marmaris, Turkey, where Marc Anthony and Cleopatra would meet to romance. The legend has it that Marc had sand from Egypt shipped over to create a beach that would make Cleopatra feel more comfortable. Since then bits of white sand have been found on what has become famously known as Cleopatra Island, which fit the sand type of Egypt and therefore supports this tale.
This has never been proven, but reminds of the fascination such stories of the past can cast over parts of the world. Cleopatra Island exists today as a wonderfully romantic and relaxing escape, with beauty as grandiose as Marc Anthony’s gestures of love, and for this reason, perhaps some myths are better left unresolved.
Myths and legends may inspire us to travel, but many are (sadly) a little less based in truth than we would like to believe. Do you have a favourite travel myth? If so let us know on Facebook.