Enter the World of Mythological Maps - Atlas Obscura

Denver, Colorado

Enter the World of Mythological Maps

From mythical islands to legendary kingdoms, imaginary mountains to nonexistent rivers, join us to explore cartography myths!

For 15th-century explorers, gaining an understanding of the geography of the world was a slow process. First-hand discoveries were hampered by imperfect means of travel and navigation, and the often rugged lands that explorers discovered. Geographers had to depend on a mix of first-hand accounts, reports from natives, and even the occasional wild rumor. 

Join Atlas Obscura and Christopher W. Lane as we explore the geographic myths of the American Southeast. These include mythical islands, legendary kingdoms, imaginary mountains, and a number of non-existent bodies of water. Though now all correctly erased from the map, these geographic myths were once believed and had an influence on explorers and travelers in their time.

Given these limitations, it is impressive how well geographers were able to do. As printed maps made their appearance in the 16th century, much progress was made in the mapping of the world. Understandably, there were also many mistakes.

One type of mistake, called a “cartographic myth,” is of particular interest, for these are geographic features which appear on maps but not on the earth—kingdoms where none ever were, lakes and rivers where there is but dry land. We will explore some of the more interesting and influential cartography myths.

Christopher W. Lane is the owner of The Philadelphia Print Shop West, purveyor of antique prints, maps and related books.With Donald H. Cresswell, he founded The Philadelphia Print Shop in Philadelphia in 1982. In 2010, Mr. Lane moved to Denver to open The Philadelphia Print Shop West, which has become one of the largest and most respected print and map shops in the world.

Mr. Lane has widely lectured widely on antique prints and maps for the last three decades, at symposiums, conferences, antique and map fairs, and at various local and national institutions, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, Denver Public Library and the University of Colorado.  Ever since 1997, Mr. Lane has been the regular print and map expert for PBS’s Antiques Roadshow.


  • Please arrive 15 minutes early for a prompt check-in time.
  • Appropriate for ages 15+.
  • Parking is primarily on the street.
  • Event will run rain or shine.


Email Crystal Lohman at crystal.lohman@atlasobscura.com.

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