(ORDO NEWS) — Oddly enough, but officially the end of the Earth, or the end of the world, is located in Russia. Such an unusual name bears a cape on the Shikotan Island, which is part of the Kuril Islands group. Indeed, it seems to the traveler who came to a cape with such a poetic name, whose high rocks cut into the water column of the Pacific Ocean, that there is nothing further. In Soviet times, it was in this place that the nature was filmed for the film about Robinson Crusoe.
The history of the emergence of such an amazing name for the cape is interesting. It appeared, by the way, not at all in the Middle Ages, but in 1946 – thanks to the head of the Kuril complex expedition Yuri Efremov, who studied the island of Shikotan during its transfer to the Soviet side after the end of World War II. The fact is that the famous Soviet geographer was at the same time a popular poet, a member of the Writers’ Union of the RSFSR. From early childhood, Yuri Konstantinovich dreamed of being at the end of the world. He realized his dream by giving the name to the cape on the island of Shikotan. At the same time, in a number of sources one can find the opinion that Cape End of the World is the easternmost point of our country. This is a mistake, since the neighboring Cape Crab is further east.
However, a person who has visited Cape’s End of the World has no doubts about where he ended up, since the terrain here is extremely deserted. Around, as far as the eye can see, there are only moss-covered rocks, mountain streams and sparse vegetation, and from the opposite side the endless waters of the ocean are splashing, breaking against forty-meter cliffs.
Most often, travelers set out in search of the end of the world even before the beginning of the era of great geographical discoveries. Moreover, each of the peoples had its own sacred point, which is considered the edge of the world. The ancient Greeks, for example, sincerely believed that behind the Columns of Hercules, named after the legendary son of Zeus and a mortal woman, the earth’s disk ends and empty space begins. Subsequently, this place was called the Pillars of Hercules – after the Roman version of the name Hercules.
According to legend, performing one of his 12 feats, Hercules stole cows from the giant Geryon, who lived on an island, which, according to the Greeks, was the land of the world known to mankind. Moreover, there are several versions of the appearance of the Hercules, or Hercules, pillars, which, unfortunately, no longer exist today. One legend claims that Hercules personally built two steles on the north and south shores of the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Europe and Africa. According to the text of another mythological source, the famous hero, before the construction of the steles, personally pushed the mountains apart, creating the Strait of Gibraltar. The third version claims that Hercules did not build the pillars, but found them on the border of the world, beyond which people were forbidden to cross by the gods. At the same time, the Romans believed that during their existence there was an inscription made by the hand of Hercules on the steles: “There is nowhere else.”
It is noteworthy that the ancient peoples were looking for the end of the world until the beginning of the Renaissance. The cartographers of those years sincerely believed that storms constantly raged in this eerie place and terrible sea creatures are found, and sailors who dared to go there would inevitably die.
The inhabitants of Ancient China most definitely and even somewhat logically determined the end of the world. They, like other peoples, believed that the Earth was flat. At the same time, the Chinese believed that their country was limited to four conventional seas, beyond which there was nothing. The Rocky Sea was Tibet, the Sandy Sea was the Gobi Desert, the East and South Seas were the waters washing China.
End of geography
The most interesting thing is that even when humanity learned that the Earth is round and the place where the firmament touches the Earth’s surface is useless to search, the idea of the existence of the edge of the world continued to exist. Now the end of the world began to be considered the extreme points of the continents. Residents of South America believe that Cape Froward is the extreme point of the world, while in North America, Cape Prince of Wales is considered a similar place. For the population of the African continent, the edge of the world is Cape Agulhas (Agulhas), and for Australians, Cape York. It is noteworthy that in Asia there are two symbolic edges of the world at once – Cape Dezhnev and Cape Piai, and in Europe it is Cape Roca.
At the same time, it would be most correct to recognize the most distant piece of land in the World Ocean as the modern edge of the world. Such a place is the archipelago of islands in the Atlantic Ocean of Tristan da Cunha. Legally, these islands, which are home to only 272 people, are part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena. They are 2161 kilometers away from the nearest land.
Talking about the search for the end of the world in different historical eras, it would be unfair to ignore the legendary, considered mythical countries, according to legend, located there. Most often, according to legends, the inhabitants of mythical countries were beautiful, lived happily and never got sick. As a rule, in the minds of ancient people, these places were associated with a lost paradise. The most famous of these is certainly Atlantis, known from the writings of Plato. According to the ancient Greek author, Atlantis was located on a large island and personified an ideal state, where all buildings were made of pure gold, and the inhabitants, who are descendants of the god of the seas, Poseidon, are wise and beautiful. Unfortunately, after a natural cataclysm, the island went under water.
No less popular in the Middle Ages was the search for the mythical kingdom of Avalon, in which, according to legend, fairies lived. It was on this island that the famous Excalibur sword was forged, and then the legendary King Arthur found his last refuge. When this or that knight went in search of Avalon, he invariably declared that his path lies to the “end of the world.” However, since the “light” was not great for the knights of those years, they were looking for Avalon mainly on the coast of Ireland. Considering that King Arthur is buried on Glastonbury Hill in Great Britain, it is logical to assume that this particular place was both the legendary Avalon and the end of the world for the Knights of the Round Table.
At the same time, Hyperborea is more suitable than others for the role of a mythical country located at the end of the world. Its history is described in most of the sacred texts of the most ancient civilizations on Earth. This mythical land was inhabited, according to the ancient Greeks, by the descendants of the god Apollo, who regularly visited his people. Its inhabitants did not know any diseases and possessed a lot of amazing knowledge. Hyperborea was located on the archipelago of islands at the North Pole of the Earth. But, like Atlantis, this amazing country died from a natural cataclysm in time immemorial.
An equally important place among the wonderful countries at the end of the world is the semi-fairy state of Shangri-La, described in 1933 in the science fiction writer James Hilton’s novel The Lost Horizon, the literary embodiment of Shambhala, which was also the object of search for numerous travelers of the East. According to Tibetan legends, it is Shambhala that is the place at the end of the world, where superhumans, like gods, who know the secret of immortality, live. Unlike Atlantis, Hyperborea or Avalon, there are written testimonies of people who allegedly visited this mythical country, as well as ancient oriental manuscripts telling how to get there.
But, despite the huge number of geographic points, ethno parks and lost legendary places in the modern world claiming to be the end of the world, in reality it, of course, does not exist, since the Earth is round. At the same time, it should be noted that it was precisely the search for the end of the world, the desire to be the first to reach the end of the earthly firmament, that pushed many travelers of past centuries to make great geographical discoveries.
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