Some scientists believe the sixth mass extinction has already begun, so what better way to celebrate our impending doom than by visiting the actual place cited in the Bible as Armageddon itself? Currently an archaeological site in northern Israel, the ancient city of Megiddo is believed to have been inhabited for about six millennia from around 7000 BCE, and is named in the New Testament as the location for the epic final battle between the forces of good and evil.
According to the Book of Revelation, the terminal showdown is due to occur when “demonic spirits” visit “the kings of the whole world… to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty… at the place that in Hebrew is called Harmagedon.” Though the spelling of the place was later changed to Armageddon, most scholars agree that the word derives from "Har Megiddo" – meaning "Mount Megiddo" – which was among the most important cities of the ancient world.
Located on the Via Maris – the principal land route linking Egypt with Mesopotamia – Megiddo held enormous importance as both a military and trading outpost since Neolithic times. Highly coveted due to its strategic position, the city was repeatedly attacked and fought over throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages, which may explain why it was selected as the battleground for the conclusive conflict.
Among the epic skirmishes to have taken place at Megiddo was a famous war between the Egyptian army of Pharaoh Thutmose III and a Canaanite coalition in the 15th century BCE, which resulted in Egypt taking control of a vast swathe of the eastern Mediterranean. Another battle almost a millennium later saw Pharaoh Necho II conquer the Kingdom of Judea, while a key encounter during World War I resulted in the defeat of the Ottoman army at Megiddo in 1918.
As waves of occupants rebuilt the city upon the ruins of their predecessors over thousands of years, Megiddo was eventually transformed into an enormous "tel", or mound. Initial excavations at Tel Megiddo were carried out between 1925 and 1929, revealing an incredible sequence of civilizations that stretched all the way back to the end of the Stone Age.
Working their way through the various strata, archaeologists discovered lavish palaces, enormous temples, and ancient fortifications, including a series of gated walls that may have been constructed during the reign of King Solomon. The site even boasted a secret underground tunnel that brought water into the fortified city from a nearby spring, allowing residents to survive when under siege.
The discoveries made during the excavation of Tel Megiddo – and the incredible history they tell – are famously recounted in fictionalized form in James Michener’s bestselling novel, The Source. Today, the archaeological zone forms part of the Megiddo National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination.
Just make sure not to visit on the same day as those demonic spirits.