Surrealism – an artistic movement initiated in the 1920s – seeks to understand and resolve the dichotomy between dreams and reality. Surrealist artists let their unconscious run free by painting bizarre, illogical landscapes and creatures. These scenes draw upon unexpected juxtapositions and elements of surprise to expand the definition of reality.
[Surrealism aims to] resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality into an absolute reality, a super-reality — André Breton, 1924
But we don’t need to step inside an art gallery to experience surrealism. “Mother Nature” herself is a surrealist, creating landscapes that seem to blur the line between dreams and reality, rationality and irrationality.
Here, we share four of the most unusual landscapes from around the world. These wonders have become increasingly popular tourists destinations, precisely because they let the imagination run wild.
This scorching stretch of neon greens and yellows claims the record for the highest average annual temperature in the world at 34.4°C. This surreal landscape, dipping 116m below sea level, was shaped over time by volcanic hydrothermal deposits. Molten rock from the Dallol volcano pushed dissolved salt to the surface through groundwater, which then burned under the heat of the African sun. Credit: Andrea Dell Agostino
Zhangye Danxia landform, China
This incredible “rainbow cake” mountain range is the result of the repeated layering and compression of red sandstone and other minerals over the course of 24 million years. Over time, Mother Nature’s elements – strong winds and rain – beat down on the mountains, carving unique valleys and ridges into the colourful rock. In 2009, the area was voted one of the six most beautiful landforms in China. Credit: thecitrusreport.com
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Even the name “Giant’s Causeway” calls to mind the fantastical. This world famous UNESCO site is known for its polygonal columns of layered basalt hopping away from the green coast and into the sea. Although this strange landscape was likely formed by a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago, some say it was carved into the coast by a mysterious giant. Credit: ©Travel Addicts. Used with permission.
Lake Natron, Tanzania
This bizarre red lake near Tanzania’s border with Kenya is known as a ‘salt and soda’ lake because of its heavy sodium level. The lake’s high pH value causes the water to take on a lava-like colour and appearance. Despite its rare chemical balance, the lake is home to salt marshes, freshwater wetlands and an array of birds, such as flamingos. Credit: visitnature.com
Did we miss your favourite surreal landscape? Share it with us in the comments below!
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After living in three countries and travelling to sixteen, Victoria is continuing to feed her travel addiction by exploring Europe's incredible cultural and historical diversity as much as she possibly can. Vic enjoys capturing and sharing her adventures through writing, photography, and videography.