Modern-Day Noah’s Ark: French Village Offers Refuge from Apocalypse
Only residents of Bugarach, a tiny French village at the foot of the Pyrenees, are supposed to survive the end of the world when the Mayan calendar ends on December 21. According to New Agers, the local mountain has magical powers as a gate between different worlds. With the supposed apocalypse just months away, the mayor of Bugarach fears that his town will be overrun with visitors.
Anyone who wants to see the birthplace of a new civilization has to travel to what seems like the end of the world. At the foot of the French Pyrenees, among twiggy bushes and dusty rocks, lies Bugarach. Just getting there alone is torture. A traveller must endure narrow, winding roads, offering little protection from the ravines below. All of a sudden, 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from the destination, the pop song “Blow My Whistle” disappears from the radio and is replaced by a quiz show for housewives. The station is called “Nostalgia.”
There are many reasons why the village, population 200, is a popular travel destination these days. Some come to go hiking, others to relax. And some come for a reason that lies completely beyond the earthly sphere. This year on December 21 the ancient Mayan calendar ends, and so end-of-the-world hysterics are once again obsessed with the idea of making it to the other side of the apocalypse.
They believe that Bugarach is special because, according to the calculations, the village is supposed to be saved from the hellfire — at least that’s the story in Internet forums on the topic, which have selected the spot as a modern-day Noah’s Ark.
The village has its local 1,230 meter-high mountain, Pic de Bugarach, to thank for the attention. In the mountain, according to the conspiracy theorists, are slumbering extra-terrestrials, who will come to life on December 21. For them, Bugarach is actually a garage for UFOs, because they believe alien spaceships are parked in caves in the mountain. The aliens will rescue the chosen few — that is, anyone in the town — from the apocalypse. To prove their theories, hikers film their supposed encounters with the extra-terrestrials and post them on the Internet