Have you heard the legend of the Greek god Hades kidnaping the goddess Persephone from Sicily and taking her to the underworld in order to marry her? Or Hercules entering the underworld in Cape Tenaron in search for his loved one who was trapped in Hell by Hades? Odysseus also entered the underworld on his trip home, but he did at the Lake Acheron in Northwest Greece. All of these legends are part of one greater legend, called simply, the Mystery of the Gates of Hell.
Through the years, people have come up with different explanations about where the entrance to Hell is, what happens in Hell, who reigns there and so on.
Dante Alighieri immortalized hell in his Divine Comedy, dividing hell into 9 circles, each filled with people committing a different sin. In Roman history, another entrance is mentioned, called Lacus Curtius.
One might think that Romans and Ancient Greeks are the ones responsible for all legends about Hell and gods and goddesses. However, you can find legends and myths about the Gates of Hell in different cultures and religions, including China, where the Taoist tradition has a long history of exploring the portal to hell. In Europe, Paris and its Catacombs are believed to be entrance to hell. In Turkmenistan, a burning natural gas fire in the middle of desert is known as the Door to Hell.
But how much of this eternal abyss of death, damnation and evil really exists? Many scientists believe Hell is our most primal fear, and that is the reason we tend to “make up stories and legends about it”. Take a look at the National Geographic documentary exploring all Gates of Hell.