5 Towns in Europe With Crazy History


Europe has no shortage of charming towns worth a visit. However, there are some places that deserve a stop because of peculiar historical reasons. Ranging from a town built inside the crater of an asteroid, to a movie set that evolved into a town with its own postal code, the Old Continent boasts a number of small towns that have some crazy stories attached to them.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat, Ukraine

Credit: ByBatman/Shutterstock.com

This ghost town located in northern Ukraine is only meant for the bravest of visitors. It will always be remembered for the Chernobyl disaster, which wiped away a prosperous community just over thirty years ago.

In 1986, a reactor from the Chernobyl Nuclear Station, about two miles away from Pripyat, exploded and released extremely dangerous amounts of radioactive chemicals. In fact, according to The Independent400 times more radioactive material was unleashed into the air than by the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima.

Today, Pripyat is Ukraine’s most popular tourist destination. It has an eerie feel, with Soviet propaganda still on the streets and all clocks frozen to 11:55, the moment the electricity was cut just over 30 years ago.

To visit the town’s abandoned schools and amusement parks, it’s necessary to first obtain an official government pass. This is to ensure all visitors understand the risks of going into a zone which was very much affected by radiation.

Nördlingen, Germany

Nördlingen, Germany

Credit: holgs/Shutterstock.com

Tucked away near the Alps sits Nördlingen, a quaint German gem. A few decades ago, it was thought that the terrain’s unique geological structure was due to a prior volcano eruption. However, in 1960, geologist Eugene Shoemaker discovered the rocks that were in the area came from an asteroid. The giveaway was that the type of quartz found in the terrain only appears in metamorphic rocks which have gone through strong impact. Shoemaker then concluded that Nördlingen exists within an asteroid crater.

Research suggests that the asteroid hit Earth 15 million years ago. Today, visitors can still find evidence of this throughout the town. The Suavite rock used in Nördlingen’s structures is made up of glass, crystal and diamonds. Visitors can also see the entire contour of the asteroid crater, which borders Nördlingen like small hills.

Cordoba, Spain

Cordoba, Spain

Credit: Botond Horvath/Shutterstock.com

Spanish people often say that Cordoba has some magic in its air. There seems to be a unique local feeling in this town, with its history rooted in the Moorish and Christian quests for power in Spain.

One of its most visited sites is the imposing town mosque, which was taken over by the Christians in 1236, when they regained control of Cordoba. The stories told about this stunning place of worship are popular folklore in Cordoba, for it gives the southern town more mysticism.

For instance, one of the 1,300 columns inside has a crudely-drawn cross carving. Legend has it that a Christian man carved it while being imprisoned inside the mosque. He had fallen in love with a Moorish woman, who had promised to convert to Christianity and run away with him. Both were captured, and she was executed, which drove him to carve a cross onto the marble column using his own fingernail. The Moors then executed him, but never found a way to get rid of the cross, which is now protected by a small iron gate.

Through its intertwined history, Cordoba presents visitors with a cultural mix that is very much alive today.

Today’s Trivia Question

Popeye Village, Malta

Popeye Village, Malta

Credit: ZGPhotography/Shutterstock.com

It’s not often that movie sets become towns themselves. However, such is the case in Malta’s very own Popeye Village, built in 1980 for the popular musical, Popeye.

The colorful town was never intended to be kept past the movie’s release. However, locals felt that it was too beautiful to be taken down, and decided to keep Popeye Village. Though small, some locals live in this former movie set, which now has its own zip code.

Today, the seaside town receives visitors who are looking to connect with a childhood favorite. Activities include boat rides, mini golf and set tours.

The spinach-loving sailor was played by the late Robin Williams. Today, Popeye Village is considered a live tribute to his work.


Whitby, England

Whitby, England

Credit: Javen/Shutterstock.com

It’s impossible to talk about crazy European history without referencing the world’s favorite bloodsucker. Dracula’s castle and crimes are set throughout Romania, but what most travelers don’t know is that the cottages and streets that inspired author Bram Stoker are in the coastal town Whitby, England.

Whitby has a reputation for being spooky, as it’s surrounded by gravestones. In fact, when Stoker toured the gravestones he came across a few names he included in his novel, including that of Count Dracula’s first victim, Swales.

This historic town is in Yorkshire, in northern England. While English is the main language, this county has its own dialect, which Stoker also included throughout the dialogues in his novel.

While Dracula aficionados visit Whitby throughout the year, there are a special times when Whitby becomes especially popular. Thanks to the dark reputation Whitby received after Stoker’s novel was published, the town began hosting the largest goth music festival in the world. During April and October, visitors can check out women wearing 19th-century corsets and punks with pink hair and heavy eyeliner. The festival makes Whitby look like it has been ripped right out of a modern version of Stoker’s everlasting novel.

A Gospel Singer at Heart – Greg Laurie Daily Devotion – September 19

A Gospel Singer at Heart

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).

Johnny Cash would ultimately distinguish himself as one of the kings of country music, but in his heart, Johnny always was in many ways a gospel singer. (By the way, the word “gospel” means “good news.”)

And Johnny looked for opportunities to share that message whenever he could.

Contrary to the image many would have of Cash as an “outlaw,” some even believing his lyrics were autobiographical (“I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die”), Johnny Cash was a master storyteller—and the greatest of all stories is the one about Jesus Christ, who changed Johnny’s life.

Whatever Johnny Cash sang, it rang true. He had an unmatched authenticity in his voice, a timbre, a cadence that set him apart from other artists before and after him. That is one of the reasons he endures as a true American icon.

At the peak of his career, when he had his highly rated television show, he used that platform to sing songs about his faith. One standout was, “The Preacher Said, ‘Jesus Said’” complete with Billy Graham himself proclaiming soundbites from his sermons.

Johnny’s spiritual journey often resembled the path of a roller-coaster, but at its high points, he used his platform to proclaim the gospel message.

Scripture Reading:

1. And [Jesus] said to [His disciples], “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15–16 NKJV)

Have you ever shared the Good News of Jesus Christ with a friend, neighbor, coworker, or family member?

2. Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV)

You may not have the renown of Johnny Cash, but you still have a circle of influence. How can you use your platform to glorify God and share the gospel?

3. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15 NIV)

How can you prepare now for the time when someone asks you about the hope of Jesus Christ?

For more relevant and biblical teaching from Pastor Greg Laurie, go to www.harvest.org
Listen to Greg Laurie‘s daily broadcast on OnePlace.com.



Day 19 ThemePatience and Hope
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him– Job 13:15

There is perhaps no man in history, besides Jesus Christ himself, who has suffered as greatly as Job. Job’s afflictions came because of his obedience to God, yet he seemed to be utterly forsaken by God while afflicted by men and Satan.

Job completely lost his wealth, his family, and his health. His flocks were stolen, his children were killed, his wife turned against him, and his body was ravaged by disease.

If you were to look at him, after Satan was given free rein to afflict him, you would see boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head (Job 2:7), the puss of which he had to scrape off his body. He sat among ashes—probably to dry up the sweating of his boils—so he was caked with white dust from head to toe.

Yet this precious confession is uttered from those very lips: “I will trust God, even if it kills me! And I will walk faithfully before Him, even when I do not see or feel Him.”

It is no wonder that Job is set before us in the New Testament as an example of patience and faith. No matter how dark things may be for you, you can draw strength from Job’s courageous testimony, because we know that, in the end, God was faithful to deliver and bless him.

May Job’s trust in the faithfulness of God inspire you to patience and hope even in the darkest of times. Though He may seem to be slaying your every source of happiness, it is only so that you will find your greatest joy in Him.