Legends of lost worlds and mythical cities

All around the globe legends abound of mythical cities, lands and islands that have been lost for some reason. Some, such as the mythical cities of El Dorado and Shambala are lost in jungles or impenetrable mountains.

Depiction of Thule – Public Domain

Others such as Lyonness, Cantre’r Gwaelod, or Atlantis, were drowned by the seas. Others such as Thule were rumored to exist on the edge of the ancient world their locations disputed, or like the legendary island of Antillia, also known as the Isle of Seven Cities, faded from view when approached by ships. Still others just could not be rediscovered or were located in inaccessible places like Agartha said to be located at the Earth’s core.  Read more

The Welsh legend of Mereid of Cantre’r Gwaelod

Cantre’r Gwaelod was a legendary land situated in Cardigan Bay, Wales, that became flooded by the sea drowning many of its inhabitants and forcing survivors to seek new homes further inland.  There are many different legends which give an account of how this deluge happened and this work looks at the one which casts the blame on a maiden named Mereid, who was responsible for maintaining a sacred well which fed the spirit of a goddess into the land.

Submerged forest, Borth, Ceredigion, Wales – By Richerman – CC BY-SA 3.0

Few people survived the catastrophe that Mereid had let loose.  Seithennin was drowned along with most other inhabitants of the land.  Her father, Gwyddno and his sons survived and a few other people  made it to high ground.  Their descendants scratched out a living among the rugged hills and valleys further inland to the new shoreline. Today, sometimes remnants of the fair land of Cantre’r Gwaelod are sometimes seen at low tides such as the submerged forest near Ynyslas, near Borth, invoking distant memories of a lost land taken by the sea.  Read more Continue reading

The Welsh legend of the sunken realm of Cantre’r Gwaelod

According to Welsh legend, Cantre’r Gwaelod was land inhabited by humans that became flooded by the sea through human neglect and folly. It was situated in what is now an area of sea in Cardigan Bay, Wales. There are many different versions of this legend which attempt to explain how a once rich and fertile land succumbed to the sea. There are also similar versions that exist in the British Isles referring to different locations. Another famous one originating outside of Britain comes from Brittany, France concerning the once beautiful city of Ys and of course there was Atlantis.

Gwyddno Garahir of Cantre’r Gwaelod

The ruler of the land was Gwyddno Garahir. In Welsh legend there are many rulers named Gwyddno but this one was said to be the sire of Elffin ap Gwyddno, who was the foster father of Taliesin the legendary Welsh bard.  Gwyddno Garahir, or Gwyddno Long-Shanks in English, was also reputed to be the keeper of one of the Thirteen Treasures of Island Britain which was said to be a magic basket which caused any food placed in it to multiply one hundred times. His main fortress was Caer Wyddno or Fort of Gwyddno and said to be situated to the northwest of the modern seaside town of Aberystwyth. According to this version around 600 AD a great storm blew out of the south west one night forcing the tide against the sea walls of the dyke.  Read more Continue reading

The legend of the drowned town beneath Lake Bala in Wales

Llyn Tegid is the Welsh name for Lake Bala in Gwynned which is the largest lake in Wales. It is nearly four miles long and covers 1,084 acres and is up to 136 feet deep. Although it is 529 feet above sea level it is situated in a rift valley lying northeast to southwest sloping down to meet the sea at Tywyn. The River Dee flows through the lake which is part of the river’s regulation system. Legend says the waters of the Dee never mix with the waters of the lake, though this has not been confirmed. The modern town of Bala is situated on the northern banks of the lake.

Like other Welsh deluge legends such as Tyno Helig and Cantre’r Gwaelod there is the legendary submerged town of old Bala unLder the waters. This legend differs because Lake Tegid is a freshwater inland lake while the kingdoms of Tyno Helig and Cantre’r Gwaelod were located under what is now sea. Nevertheless, all three were the victims of a catastrophic deluge and they do have some common factors. This work will focus on Lake Bala. and discuss the two different legends which tell how the old Bala town was flooded and the lake was created.  Read more Continue reading