12 Real Buildings of Mythical Folklore & Fables
During this week honoring International Folklore and Fables, we wanted to take a look at the historical connection of real buildings and places. Every wonderful story has an element of truth and history mixed with imagination. Fables often share a moral and use entertainment to learn a lesson. Folklore is a collection of beliefs and cultural traditions turned into stories passed down through generations.
Let's Travel to These 12 Buildings in Folklore & Fables:
Sometimes the connection between a fable and historical places is hard to recognize due to the passage of time. Changes in landscape, society, and traditions make it difficult to track where imagination leaves off and reality picks up. Our goal is to celebrate the locations and buildings that mark the beginning of these marvelous folktales and fables.
🌞 King Arthur’s Camelot
Folklore: "Arthur appears either as a great warrior defending Britain from human and supernatural enemies or as a magical figure of folklore, sometimes associated with the Welsh otherworld Annwn." (source)
Building: Tintagel Castle
Origin: 13th Century
Location: Cornwall, England
Fact: "The castle has a long association with legends related to King Arthur. This was first recorded in the 12th century when Geoffrey of Monmouth described Tintagel as the place of Arthur's conception in his mythological account of British history." (source)
Learn more about Tintagel Castle.
🌞 Loch Ness Monster (aka Nessie)
Fable: "The Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, is a creature in Scottish folklore that is said to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is often described as large, long-necked, and with one or more humps protruding from the water." (source)
Building: Urquhart Castle
Origin: 13th Century
Location: Highlands, Scotland
Fact: "Peter MacNab at Urquhart Castle on 29 July 1955 took a photograph that depicted two long black humps in the water. The photograph was not made public until it appeared in Constance Whyte's 1957 book on the subject." (source)
Learn more about Urquhart Castle.
🌞 The Trojan Horse
Folklore: "After the literary time of the poem, the city was destroyed when the Greeks pretended to leave after secreting a squad of soldiers in a gigantic wooden horse monument, which the Trojans brought inside the walls. In the dead of night, they exited the horse and opened the gates to the Achaeans nearby. Troy was burned and the population slaughtered." (source)
Buildings: theaters, palaces, temples
Origin: 3500 BC
Location: Troy, Turkey
Fact: "The site of Hisarlik, in northwest Turkey, has been identified as being Troy since ancient times. Archaeological research shows that it was inhabited for almost 4,000 years starting around 3000 B.C. After one city was destroyed, a new city would be built on top of it, creating a human-made mound called a "tell." (source)
Learn more about the city of Troy.
🌞 The Hobbit
Fable: "The Hobbit is set within Tolkien's fictional universe and follows the quest of home-loving Bilbo Baggins, the titular hobbit, to win a share of the treasure guarded by Smaug the dragon. Bilbo's journey takes him from light-hearted, rural surroundings into the more sinister territory." (source)
Building: shire houses
Location: New Zealand & Middle Earth
Fact: "In 1998, Sir Peter Jackson’s team of location scouts were searching for the iconic rolling hills and lush green pastures of Hobbiton™. An aerial search led them to the Alexander farm, a stunning 1,250 acre sheep farm in the heart of the Waikato. They noted the area’s striking similarity to The Shire™, as described by JRR Tolkien, and quickly realised that the Hobbits™ had found a home." (source)
Learn more about Hobbiton.
🌞 Dracula (aka Vlad the Impaler)
Fable: "The novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so that he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and of the battle between Dracula and a small group of people led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing." (source)
Building: Bran Castle
Location: Transylvania, Romania
Fact: "In 1438–1442, the castle was used in defense against the Ottoman Empire, and later became a customs post on the mountain pass between Transylvania and Wallachia. Although many castles of the time belonged to members of nobility, it has been established that Bran Castle was built almost exclusively for fortification and protection of German colonists in Transylvania. There is no proof that Vlad the Impaler spent time at Bran Castle." (source)
Learn more about Bran Castle.
🌞 Xanadu (aka Shangdu)
Fable: "Both Polo and Coleridge's works contributed immeasurably to the mystique of the Far East in western eyes and, in particular, to the idea of a lavish city called Xanadu. That very name came to be associated with mystery, exotica, magnificent splendor, and easy leisure." (source)
Buildings: temples, palaces, tombs
Location: Xilingol Meng, Inner Mongolia
Fact: "North of the Great Wall, the Site of Xanadu encompasses the remains of Kublai Khan’s legendary capital city, designed by the Mongol ruler’s Chinese advisor Liu Bingzhdong." (source)
Learn more about Xanadu City.
🌞 The Pied Piper
Folklore: "When the piper plays, the rats instantly follow, and he and removes them from the town. When the town mayor refuses to pay him, he steals all the town’s children by leading them away with his music by way of punishment." (source)
Building: Pied Piper's House
Origin: 1284 folklore, 1602 house
Location: Hamelin, Germany
Fact: "While the story is only a folktale, theories have suggested that the story may represent a great loss of children in the town, due to a catastrophe or mass illness, such as the plague." (source)
Learn more about The Pied Piper's House.
🌞 Snow White
Fable: "The fairy tale features such elements as the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, and the characters of the Evil Queen and the Seven Dwarfs." (source)
Building: Lohr Castle (aka Lohr am Main)
Origin: 1296 approx.
Location: Lohr am Main, Bavaria
Fact: "It was that of Maria Sophia von Erthal, a baroness who is believed to have inspired the Brothers Grimm to write Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Her restored gravestone has just gone on display at the Diocesan Museum in Bamberg, southern Germany. It was donated by a family who had rescued it." (source)
Learn more about Lohr Castle.
🌞 Ancient Greek Gods
Folklore: "Temples and monuments such as the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike were built during this time. The temples on the north of Acropolis housed earlier sects and Olympian Gods and those at the south were dedicated to the Goddess Athena and her forms such as Polias, Parthenos, Pallas, Promachos, Ergane, and Nike." (source)
Origin: approx. 495–429 BC
Location: Athens, Greece
Fact: "The Acropolis limestone dates from the upper Jurassic period, predating the underlying Athens schist by about 30 million years. The Acropolis limestone was thrust over the Athens schist by compressional tectonic forces (Plate tectonics), forming a nappe or overthrust sheet. " (source)
Learn more about Acropolis.
🌞 Robin Hood
Fable: "While King Richard I ("the Lionheart") was away on the Third Crusade, along with a great number of English noblemen, Nottingham Castle was occupied by supporters of Prince John, including the Sheriff of Nottingham. Robin Hood lived stole from the rich to give to the poor." (source)
Building: Nottingham Castle
Origin: 13th/14th century AD
Location: Sherwood Forest, England
Fact: "Nottingham Castle is a former fortified-castle in Nottingham, England. In the Middle Ages, it was a major royal fortress and occasional royal residence. In decline by the 16th century, it was largely demolished in 1651. It occupies a commanding position on a natural promontory known as "Castle Rock", with cliffs 130 feet (40 m) high to the south and west." (source).
Learn more about Nottingham Castle.
Story: "The Ramayana is one of the largest ancient epics in world literature. It consists of nearly 24,000 verses (mostly set in the Shloka/Anustubh meter). The Ramayana was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Hindu life and culture. Its most important moral influence was the importance of virtue, in the life of a citizen and in the ideals of the formation of a state or of a functioning society." (source)
Building Type: Angkor Wat Temple
Origin: 12th Century
Fact: "The inner walls of the outer gallery of Angkor Wat bear a series of large-scale scenes mainly depicting episodes from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. On the southern gallery follow the only historical scene, a procession of Suryavarman II, then the 32 hells and 37 heavens of Hinduism." (source)
Learn more about Angkor Wat.
Fable: "In Jewish folklore, a golem (/ˈɡoʊləm/ GOH-ləm) is an animated anthropomorphic being that is created entirely from inanimate matter (usually clay or mud). The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing." (source)
Building Type: Synagogue of Prague
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Fact: "It is said that the body of Golem (created by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel) lies in the attic where the genizah of Prague's community is kept. A legend is told of a Nazi agent during World War II broaching the genizah, but who perished instead." (source)
Learn more about Synagogue of Prague.
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