The Atlas of Legendary Places

By James Harpur & Jennifer Westwood


Where physical beauty combines with legend, myth and history it creates an atmosphere that defies rational explanation or strict analysis. Such enchanted places have long been the inspiration for poets and painters, pilgrims and scholars.

They have provided the natural backdrop for architects through the ages, and have an inherent magnetism that continues to draw travellers from far and wide.

The Atlas of Legendary Places is a celebration of this earthly heritage, and charts a worldwide journey through rich and varied territory, beginning where legend, myth and reality meet. These are the eternal realms, such as the Garden of Eden, Camelot and Avalon, which cannot now be seen, but which have for centuries motivated explorers, writers and artists.

The natural beauty of settings as varied as those of Hawaii’s Haleakala Crater, Japan’s Mount Fuji and India’s River Ganges are commemorated here as timeless landscapes, places where gods n such environs human endeavour has created sacred wonders – the tomb of Tutankhamun cut from the Valley of the Kings, the Maya city of Tikal in the heart of the Guatemalan jungle and Ohio’s Serpent Mound created by ancestors of the North American Indians.

Man-made beauty and monuments are the stuff of legend also, from the Taj Mahal, mausoleum of a beloved wife, to the Forbidden City, a palatial complex constructed according to mystic principles, and Elsinore, the castle of Hamlet. And legendary places can embody the triumph of human courage over adversity, as witnessed in the rebuilding of Coventry’s blitzed cathedral, a symbol of forgiveness over hatred and revenge.

Magnificent illustrations, photographs, paintings and engravings, plus evocative descriptions, traveller’s tales and artists’ views make this a book to treasure.

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