Special Sub-Topic: Cities of Mystery
|Which Italian author published a book called "Invisible Cities"?|
Italo Calvino. The 1972 book "Invisible Cities" by Italo Calvino (1923-1985) contains a series of descriptions of imaginary cities as told by Marco Polo to Khublai Khan. Dino Buzzati (1906-1972) and Umberto Eco (born 1932) also wrote fantastic literature, while Cesare Pavese (1908-1950) was known for his existential realism.
|Which one of these closely related place names from the Tibetan Buddhist folklore designates a city?|
Kalapa. Kalapa is the capital of the kingdom of Agharta located within the mythical land of Shambala (alternate but incorrect spelling: Shambhala). Shangri-la is a utopian land, popularly identified with Shambala, in the 1933 novel "Lost Horizon" by James Hilton.
|Name the three holy cities of the medieval Jewish diaspora (they also happen to be considered the main European centers of ceremonial magic).|
Toledo, Spain; Krakow, Poland; Prague, Bohemia. Toledo (up to 1492), Krakow and Prague contained vibrant Jewish religious and scholarly communities. For completely unrelated reasons they were also famous - or infamous, depending on the point of view - as the teaching centers of the "black arts".
|Manoa or Omoa was the name of the capital of this rich territory in South America sought for in vain by Francisco de Orellana, Philip von Hutten and Sir Walter Raleigh. The region was named after its ruler - what was his nickname?|
Eldorado & el dorado. "El dorado" means in Spanish "the gilded one". The king of this mythical realm supposedly covered his body with golden dust.
|What is the name of a magical city hidden deep in the Altai mountains? (Hint: It means in Russian "The Land of White Waters" and has been recently popularized by the fantasy writer Liz Williams.)|
Byelovodye. Byelarus (or Byelorussia) is a country in Eastern Europe. The other two names are made up.
|What city was described by Rudyard Kipling in his short story "The City of Dreadful Night"?|
Lahore, Pakistan. Included in the 1891 collection "Life's Handicap", this story is one of the most evocative ones in Kipling's entire oeuvre. Here is a fragment: "Straight as a bar of polished steel ran the road to the City of Dreadful Night; and on either side of the road lay corpses disposed on beds in fantastic attitudes-one hundred and seventy bodies of men. Some shrouded all in white with bound-up mouths; some naked and black as ebony in the strong light; and one-that lay face upwards with dropped jaw, far away from the others-silvery white and ashen gray."
|Persian Sufi (Islamic) mystics spoke of two cities located respectively in the west and the east of Hurqalya, the supranatural "eight climate". What are their names? |
Jabarsa and Jabalqa. The "emerald cities" of Jabarsa and Jabalqa are discussed in the writings of the Iranian mystic Suhrawardi (1153/5-1191) and his followers. More information about them can be found in Henry Corbin's "Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth".
|Which one of the following places mentioned in the Arthurian legends was a city?|
Camelot. Avalon was an island, while Lyonesse was a land.
|What is the name of a town in Galilee which is going to be the birthplace of Antichrist?|
Chorazin. Chorazin as the future birthplace of Antichrist is mentioned by Sir John Mandeville in his "Travels" (1400); it was also known as the goal of a "black pilgrimage" to the magus Aleister Crowley and the horror story writer M.R. James ("Count Magnus"). Kedar is a city not far from Chorazin. Bethsaida, although mentioned by Mandeville in connection with Antichrist, is not designated as his birthplace. Megiddo is known as the location of the final battle of Armageddon.
|In his 1906 novel "The Other Side", the Czech expressionist illustrator Alfred Kubin describes a "Dream Realm" situated in Asia. What is the name of its capital?|
Pearl. Every single thing in Pearl, including the buildings, have been individually purchased, always second-hand, all over the world on specific orders of Claus Patera, its multibillionaire creator and ruler of Dream Realm. No modern technology is allowed there. Kubin, who lived through a schizophrenic episode shortly before writing this book (his only one), manages to create a truly oppressive atmosphere which matches the mood of his drawings.
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