What attracts you to a place? It’s probably the picture-perfect scenery. Or is it the people? Some go on an adventure to experience difficult culture. Are you one of them?
Our decision to visit a certain place is brought about by different things. Sometimes, it’s the tourist attractions; others, it’s the food or the people. But there are places on earth whose main asset is not in what the locals can offer—it’s how the place is called.
5 Places with the Most Attention-Grabbing Name
Most towns and cities are named after a piece of its past that helped shape the place’s present. While it is the case for some of the places on this list, some are just named the way they were for no apparent reason. Here are places with the most attention-grabbing name you’ve probably never heard of.
1. Disappointment Island
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Sounds like your life story, doesn’t it? But there’s more to Disappointment Island than its, well, disappointing name.
Located in New Zealand, Disappointment is one of the uninhabited islands in the archipelagic Auckland Islands. It’s home to what could possibly be the entire population of white-capped albatrosses.
As to why it is called the Disappointment Island remains unknown, but some stories have it that it was named by English whaler and sailor Abraham Bristow. In 1806, Bristow found himself on the main island of Auckland Island. As he was looking for a place perfect for building settlement, Bristow wound up on the Disappointment Island. Unfortunately, the place offered nothing but an area for whaling. It was not at all conducive for leaving, leading Bristow to name the island the way it has been known by for centuries now.
2. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
With a year-round population of 6,000, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, sounds like a good enough place to live for those looking to get away from the busy and noisy metro life. Basically a resort area, Truth or Consequences has state parks, hiking trails, healing springs, and more.
Unlike the places on this list, Truth or Consequences wasn’t always Truth or Consequences. When it was first settled during the early 1880s, it was called Hot Springs. This was because of the impressive number of hot mineral springs in the area that tourists traveled for to enjoy a therapeutic dip.
But in 1950, the town got a name change after the popular NBC Radio program Truth or Consequences wanted to find a town that was willing to have their place named after the show. Ralph Edwards, the show’s host, told his staff, “I wish that some town in the United States liked and respected our show so much that it would like to change its name to ‘Truth or Consequences.”
After hearing about Edwards’s idea, the former Hot Springs, hoping that it would give their area the popularity boost it needed and to prevent people from confusing it with Hot Springs, Arkansas, Hot Springs, California, and Hot Springs, Montana, thought of taking the deal. A city election was held, and the town’s named was changed.
3. Mistake Island
Nothing’s more tragic than being labeled a mistake, but it looks like it’s worked just fine for Mistake Island.
A small 30-acre island in the state of Maine, Mistake Island is a rather mysterious one. You’d think it has a lot in it that would probably explain why it was named so, but the area has nothing but a few houses, some vegetation, and one lighthouse. So far, nobody has a good enough explanation why it was tagged a Mistake besides the rumor that its name is probably a corruption of the word moosabec, an Abenaki Indian word that means moose head.
4. Boring, Oregon
If you think your life’s way too boring, think about Boring, Oregon, which was never even given a chance to prove it is otherwise because it’s just called that way. But if you’re planning to visit this city, worry not, it’s really not that . . . boring.
There’s a lot to do in Boring, Oregon; perhaps it’s the people’s way of telling everybody that you shouldn’t judge a place by its name. This unincorporated community boasts local farms that you can visit and probably do some harvesting. There’s the Springwater Trail too that offers a good course for biking, and then there’s the Cazadero, which hikers travel for an exciting adventure. Along the trail you will wildflowers, huckleberries, and blackberries. So you know, it’s really not that boring in Boring, Oregon.
Boring was named after William Harrison Boring, a rather ordinary man who just happened to begin farming in the area some centuries ago. He later donated land to provide enough space for the community’s first schoolhouses. William’s fourth-generation descendant still lives in Boring, Oregon.
Boring, Oregon, is often paired with Dull, Scotland, a village in Perth and Kinross that seemingly advocates blandness too. The place has a single street of houses and, as of 2012, has a population of 84.
5. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales
When you look up Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, one of the first things you will see is a website dedicated to teaching people how to pronounce the village’s name. You can’t blame the Internet, here’s another one of those places with the most attention-grabbing name that when you first hear it, you’ll immediately want to know its history.
Speaking of history, there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’s. But perhaps the most important thing is the meaning behind its name. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, which you can actually (legally) shorten to Llanfair PG, means “Parish [church] of [St.] Mary (Llanfair) [in] Hollow (pwll) of the White Hazel [township] (gwyn gyll) near (go ger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrn drobwll) [and] the parish [church] of [St.] Tysilio (Llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo[f] goch).”
It has a population of approximately 3107. It houses several historic sites including the Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, the Bryn Celli Ddu, and the St. Tysilio’s Church. While it’s no longer the longest place name in the world, a title snatched by a hill in New Zealand called Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch remains one of the hardest to pronounce—British weatherman Liam Dutton once made news for simply pronouncing it right in 2015—and you know, that’s still something.
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