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Landmark of Lore

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'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. A Sister Trope to Public Domain Artifact and Public Domain Character — in essence, this can also be thought of as Public Domain Location. A Landmark of Lore is often the subject of Alternate Landmark History. The Seven Wonders of the World are a related idea, and anything named on the lists of those seven can show up as a Landmark of Lore.

Examples include

  • Angkor Wat — A genuine lost temple, deep in remote jungle.
  • Atlantis — A city believed to be somewhere beneath the ocean waves.
  • Area 51 — What is the U.S. government hiding in the Nevada desert?—shroud lifted slightly in 2013— 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.
  • El Dorado — The 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 Garden of Eden — the fabled site of creation and birthplace of life in Abrahamic religions.
  • 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 two 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.
  • Rapa Nui — Remote, with enigmatic statues.
  • Shangri-La — Home of mysterious monks.
  • StonehengeAscribed all sorts of mystic powers, usually completely ignoring all the other stone circles around Europe.
  • Tokyo Tower — A modern example. Because Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe.
  • Uluru (a.k.a. Ayers Rock) in central Australia.
  • King Solomon's Mines - In The Bible, King Solomon was said to control some extremely valuable mines, and during the 19th Century, European colonial powers hoped to find them in Darkest Aftricanote . Often linked to the actual ruins of Great Zimbabwe, although it is now known that those were built by native Africans (specifically, the ancestors of the Shona people) during the Middle Ages.

Notable appearances in media:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sgt. Frog: In one episode, 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.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: The Nazca Lines are where powerful monsters known as "Earthbound Immortals" sleep - and then they're awoken.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold has Machu Picchu, although it was never directly stated as such in the show. Also the Nazca lines, which in this universe are the pre-determined autopilot routes for the Golden Condor.

    Comic Books 

     Comic Strips 
  • Dan Dare: Long-dormant aliens burst out of the ground in one 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.)

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Transformers: A certain important giant man was found in the Arctic ice. In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, an ancient alien doomsday device was located in the pyramids at Giza.
  • 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.
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch: The villains' Cassette Futurism / Magitek scheme is powered by a stolen piece of Stonehenge.
    We had a devil of a time getting it here! You wouldn't believe how we did it!
  • The Mummy Trilogy:

  • American Gods and its TV adaptation explains that landmarks and tourist attractions are often built by people who are drawn to the pieces of land due to them emanating certain powers that people are unconsciously attracted to. One such landmark is the House on the Rock, a real world tourist attraction in Wisconsin, where Mr. Wednesday has invited the Old Gods to in order to discuss their plans.

    Live Action TV 
  • 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.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Hall of Lore in Numenor is a castle situated on an isolated promontory, that contains an ancient library of tomes and scrolls.
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS Places of Mystery, by Alison Brooks and Phil Masters, is a collection of such locations, discussed for gaming use.
  • 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 (1994) had the alien servants of the Big Bad build an Elaborate Underground Base beneath Stonehenge for apparently no reason.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Metaphobia features the ruins of Persepolis on its cover. You get to the place to find some clues about an Ancient Conspiracy.

    Western Animation