Landmark of Lore

"Stonehenge
'Tis a magic place
Where the moon doth rise
With a dragon's face"
Spinal Tap, "Stonehenge"

Looking for a weapon out of legend? The headquarters of an Ancient Tradition? An interdimensional portal? Relics of a lost civilization? The Ancient Astronauts' spaceship? A site of untold mystic power? If they're not in the writer's capital city or hometown, they'll be here, at a Landmark of Lore.

These are the places where people are eager to believe almost anything could be found, so many tales swirl around them. Mostly they are either places rich in history, which have been the centre of stories for centuries, or places remote enough that the audience knows little about them.

Sometimes these locations will be turned into a Weaponized Landmark. Compare Ruins for Ruins' Sake, Temple of Doom, Circle of Standing Stones, which may overlap. Probably the result of Small Reference Pools and as such is the Sister Trope to Public Domain Artifact. A Landmark of Lore is often the subject of Alternate Landmark History.

Examples include

  • Angkor Wat - A genuine lost temple, deep in remote jungle
  • Area 51 - What is the U.S. government hiding in the Nevada desert?—shroud recently (in 2013) lifted slightly- was confirmed as the test base for both the U-2 spy plane and OXCART surveillance aircraft in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • The Bermuda Triangle - Mysterious area where ships and planes disappear.
  • Easter Island - Remote, with enigmatic statues.
  • El Dorado - Fabled land of gold.
    • Other "cities of gold", such as Akator, Cibola and the City of the Caesars have also been used.
  • The Forbidden City of Beijing - Not actually mystical, but come on! It's forbidden, how can you not want to go see it?
  • The Great Pyramid of Giza - Famous Egyptian landmark with a number of astronomically significant features. Last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to still survive.
    • There are two pyramids at the Giza Necropolis that occur often, the Pyramid of Khufu (formerly largest, by 2 feet) and the Pyramid of Khephren (currently the largest and best preserved one). Regardless of which one it's in, the film will never show the sprawl of Giza—the world's second-largest suburb after Yokohama.
  • Machu Picchu - An Incan city in the mountains of Peru, abandoned centuries ago.
  • Nazca, Peru - Landing strip for the Ancient Astronauts.
  • Shangri-La - Home of mysterious monks.
  • Stonehenge - Ascribed all sorts of mystic powers, usually completely ignoring all the other stone circles around Europe.
  • Uluru (a.k.a. Ayer's Rock) in central Australia.

Notable appearances in media:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In one episode of Sgt. Frog, Keroro and Fuyuki learn that the Great Pyramid of Giza, Stonehenge, Machu Picchu and Easter Island were all built by aliens... but as tourist traps. The Pyramid was a haunted house, Stonehenge was a giant solar-powered camp stove, Machu Picchu was the site of a roller coaster, and Easter Island is a giant whack-a-mole game.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, the Nazca Lines are where powerful monsters known as "Earthbound Immortals" sleep - and then they're awoken.

     Comic Strips 
  • Long-dormant aliens burst out of the ground in one Dan Dare comic. British comic? Landmark of Lore? Where else but Stonehenge? (Which, in the future, has been surrounded by development. That doesn't entirely make sense.)

    Film 
  • A certain important giant man was found in the Arctic ice in Transformers. In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, an ancient alien doomsday device was located in the pyramids at Giza.
  • In National Treasure, the treasure hunters found a clue in the Arctic ice. After that, the cast were led up and down the east coast of the United States, stopping at Washington, Philadelphia and finally New York, where the great big treasure was finally found.
  • Troll 2 features "The Stonehenge Stone", which apparently has the power to create goblins and to kill people. How exactly a massive rock was transported from Stonehenge to a small church in Midwest America without anyone noticing it missing is never explained.
  • The Mummy Trilogy

    Live Action TV 
  • In Stargate SG-1, the Stargate itself was located inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Until it was taken out into the desert and buried, that is.
    • Alien technology acquired off-world is analyzed at Area 51.
    • The Stargate team is based out of Cheyenne Mountain, which is a close relative of Area 51.
    • Also, the pyramids were actually landing platforms for alien spacecraft.
  • In Doctor Who, buried under Stonehenge is the Pandorica, the ultimate prison. The justification is that it is really old and really important so the ones who made it put some markers there so they could remember where they put it. Oh, and the whole thing is a trap for the Doctor designed to appeal to his curiosity.
  • The Goodies:
    • They are less than impressed by this great British achievement.
      Bill: Stonehenge, what a great waste of money that was. TWO THOUSAND YEARS IT'S BEEN THERE! Still doesn't fly.
    • After expressing skepticism that there's anything unusual about Stonehenge, Graeme fails to notice there's a UFO behind him that's using it as a fuel station.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Places of Mystery, by Alison Brooks and Phil Masters, is a collection of such locations, discussed for gaming use.
  • The trope appears in Scion: great landmarks like Stonehenge or the Statue of Liberty are called Touchstones, and allow someone to go from the landmark to a place in the Overworld, and then from there to any other point that resonates with that same place. For instance, one could go from Stonehenge in England to the Great Henge, and then go from the Great Henge to Carhenge. Why Carhenge? Because it's the funniest replica of Stonehenge,note  and it's mentioned explicitly in the book's description of Touchstones.

    Video Games 
  • Earthbound had the alien servants of the Big Bad build an Elaborate Underground Base beneath Stonehenge for apparently no reason.
  • The old Lucasarts game Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, heavily steeped in Ancient Astronauts material, feature all sorts of landmarks that are more than they seem.
  • Illusion of Gaia had several mythical locations as special landmarks in the game - the Nazca lines, the Great Wall, Angkor Wat and even the Tower of Babel.
  • Shining Force II had an ancient spaceship that had the same outline as the Nazca painting.
  • The Omega Stone is essentially a World Tour of these things.
  • Golden Sun features its own take on historic landmarks, including the wind-themed dungeon of Air's Rock in the continent of Osenia, ancient ruins in a South American analogue hiding The Power of the Sun, the ruined and overgrown city of Ankhol Wat, the Apojee Islands and their water-spewing moai (although differently-elemental-themed moai appear in other locations), the Endless Wall (not as an ancient structure, it gets built sometime in the thirty years separating the second and third games)... While stone circles appear and almost always have something useful in the middle that's Invisible to Normals, they're nowhere near the size of Stonehenge.

    Western Animation 

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LandmarkofLore