The Legends Behind Natural Wonders

Nowadays, the various sciences can explain even the weirdest of natural phenomena. Before that however, our ancestors had to come up with wild and wonderful reasons for how strange objects appeared in their landscape. Some of the most spectacular of these sights have been looked into by to discover the fantastical legends behind their creation.

In central Turkey for example, the towering rock formations which look like giant stone mushrooms are called Fairy Chimneys, due to the belief of earlier inhabitants that they could only have been formed by living creatures. Which in this case happened to be mythical underground fairies!

The creative tendencies of surreal beings were also what inspired the naming of Northern Ireland’s most iconic sight. As legend has it, two great giants, Finn McCool of Ireland and Benandonner of Scotland, wanted to settle their differences. Finn tore up pieces of the coastline and formed them into perfectly placed hexagonal pillars to build a huge bridge, the remnants of which are what are known today as the Giant’s Causeway.

The work of giants also lies behind the otherworldly salt flats in Potosi, Bolivia. Heartbroken at losing her husband to another giant, the great Tunupa cried enough tears to create a massive lake. When this dried it had left behind more than 4,000 square miles of salt covered earth, the largest such example in the world.

There is also a sadness in the legends behind The Moeraki Boulders in New Zealand and The Sleeping Ute in Colorado, USA. The former was said to be from a tribe which had been shipwrecked and lost at sea, with their storage vessels washing ashore and being immortalized in stone. The latter is supposedly a great warrior lying down, with his arms crossed, after being mortally wounded in a battle against the forces of evil.

Animals too are attributed with legendary natural wonders. In Socotra, off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula grows the Dragon’s Blood Tree, which was created by the blood of a dragon who died fighting an elephant. Much further north in Iceland, Asbyrgi Canyon, was believed to have been the work of Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir leaving behind a hoof-print.

While the scientific explanations for these amazing sights may be interesting in themselves, nothing will top the fantastic mythical legends created in bygone ages to explain these natural wonders.

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