When we modern folks visit a beautiful natural site, the experience may evoke a sense of peace, a feeling of awe, or just the need to snap a million photos.
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For our ancient forebears, though, these places were so much more. Throughout history, civilizations all over the globe have attached spiritual or religious importance to natural spots that played key roles in their respective cultures.
From the mythological homes of powerhouse gods like Zeus and Shiva to the serene spot where the mortal Buddha achieved enlightenment, these are the places of legends. Some are still used for age-old rituals, others have been lost to time, but all crackle with a special energy and, if you're lucky, just a little bit of leftover magic.
Mount Parnassus, Greece
Towering above Delphi in central Greece, this limestone mountain looms large in Greek mythology. In addition to being sacred to the god Apollo, who often visited the nearby Oracle at Delphi, the mountain was thought to be the residence of the Muses and, as a result, the home of poetry and song.
The three Corycian Nymphs, each of whom was romanced by a major god, were born of springs located on Parnassus, and the mountain was also the setting for many minor myths. Today, the only sacred activity takes place on the slopes: The mountain is topped by two popular skiing centers, and is dotted with scenic hiking trails.
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