Tour the ruins that inspired Lovecraft's R'lyeh (video + pics)

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Apr 29, 2019, 8:10 AM EDT (Updated)

Last month, we told you about 12 bizarre real-life places that are stranger than science fiction. But there's another real-life locale so bizarre it inspired one of the strangest fictional places—the city of R'lyeh in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos.

The complex of Nan Madol, constructed on artificial islets off the coast of the remote Pohnpei island, was built somewhere during the 12th to 13th centuries and was the ceremonial seat of power of the Saudeleur dynasty. But by the time the first Europeans arrived, early in the 19th century, Nan Madol had been abandoned.

Lovecraft used the mythology of the ruins—according to local legend, the stones had been moved into place by magic—to create his fictional sunken city of R'lyeh.

The writer described R'lyeh as follows:

"The nightmare corpse-city of R'lyeh ... was built in measureless eons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars. There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults ... until the end."

Luckily, you can check the place out in the pics and video below without taking the risk of actually running into any of those loathsome shapes.

(via Atlas Obscura)

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