The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Community News Network

December 20, 2012

5 best places to watch the world end

(Continued)

LONDON —

The visions of a 19th-century German nun provided the road map for the discovery, on the summit of a local mountain called the Bulbul Dagi (Mount Nightingale), of the House of the Virgin Mary. This, the supposed site of Mary's Assumption into heaven, has become a site of pilgrimage for Christians and Muslims alike. Although it never received the Vatican's official stamp of approval, three popes have been to the House of the Virgin: Current Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2006, and his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, also visited the nearby Panaya Kapulu (Doorway to the Virgin) and beatified the nun who "found" the house in the early 19th century. Her name, Anne Catherine Emmerich, will sound familiar to fans of the apocalypse: Her namesake, the director Roland Emmerich, is best known for disaster movies such as "Independence Day," "Godzilla," "The Day After Tomorrow" — and "2012."

Hotel bookings in Sirince are up, as some speculate that proximity to the location of Mary's assumption will protect them from destruction, or at least enable them to follow her path all the way up to capital-H Heaven. With the business flair typical of Turkish entrepreneurs, local wine producers have produced a special "vintage of the Apocalypse." (Take a few bottles as you descend into your bomb/wine cellar.)

3. Another mountain drawing in survivalists with its alleged magic is Mount Rtanj, about 130 miles southwest of Belgrade, in the Serbian part of the Carpathians. The Serbian peak is curiously pyramid-shaped, which — inevitably — has invited claims of alien involvement, not least by science-fiction guru Arthur C. Clarke, who once claimed the mountain's powerful energy field made it the "navel of the world."

Should the world not have ended on Dec. 22 and you're stranded on the flanks of Mount Rtanj with lots of unexpected time on your hands, you're in luck: Two local traditions might help you wile the days away. Legend has it that Rtanj once housed a castle that contained a golden treasure. A St. George's Chapel on the mountain was blown up a few decades ago by treasure hunters, but no gold has yet been found. Another legend tells of the aphrodisiacal qualities of a local herb, used to brew "invigorating" tea.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014