To list the world’s most interesting places, I first had to figure out what interests me. While researching, I found myself drawn to uniquely odd places. I found way too many to include and narrowing the list was a chore in itself.
Roopkund is a glacial lake located in the Uttarakhand state of India. It is also known as Mystery Lake because of what is found in the lake. During one month after the snow thaws, there are hundreds of skeletons visible in the crystal clear water of the lake. When the skeletons were first discovered, they were believed to be the remains of Japanese troops that passed through this area around World War I. After testing the remains, it was determined that the remains date back to the 9th century CE. Scientists determined that 70% of the remains have an affinity with Iran. The other 30% are local. It is believed the remains are of a caravan from Iran that died in a hail storm. However, there is no definite proof that there were trade routes through this area dating back that far.
Located in Copan in Western Honduras, is the largest single text in the world. It is the Hieroglyphic Staircase of Copan. These Mayan hieroglyphics are nearly 30 meters high and consist of almost 2,000 hieroglyphs. It was originally commissioned by the 14th governor of Copan and completed around 755 CE. It is the history of the Mayan kings that ruled this area, their births, deaths and the events that defined each one’s reign.
Known as the “Salem of Europe,” Triora, Italy was the location of the last witch trials of Italy. The year 1587 was plagued with bad weather and poor crops that lead to famine in the region. Locals felt that is must have been witchcraft that caused the problems. There were 30 local residents accused and tortured during this time and the actions in Triora triggered witch hunts in neighboring countries. These trials continued in Italy for two years. Today, the town displays this morbid time period everywhere you look. They have dedicated a museum that displays the torture and paraphernalia used during the trials. Many descendants of those accused still reside in the town and signs of witchcraft being practiced today are displayed everywhere. There are three yearly festivals that take place in Triora dedicated to witchcraft.
India’s best kept secret is Mahabat Maqbara located in Junagadin. This palace mausoleum complex is an odd sight to see. It is the mausoleum of Wazir Bahachuddinbhi Hasainbha who was one of the chief nobles in the court of Nawab Mahabat Khan II of Junagadin. Construction took place from 1878-1892 and the oddity consists of elaborate carvings, spiral staircases, fine arches and “onion dome” roofing.
Socotra takes the number one spot on my list of interesting places. It has been labeled “the most alien looking place on the planet.” It is one of three extraterrestrial destinations worldwide. It is home to many unique species of plants and animals, none of which resemble anything else on the planet. It is believed that the reason for the huge number of endemic species is due to the island being one of the most isolated locations on the planet. From giant centipedes to bizarre insects, everywhere you go on this island is like walking on another planet. The Dragon’s Blood tree is undeniably the most unusual, alien-looking sight on the island. The tree is umbrella shaped and has red sap that resembles blood. You can find this island 240 km east of the Horn of Africa if you want to experience the unique and unusual environment.