Officials have banned access to a French mountaintop due to the fear that doomsday believers, curiosity seekers, and journalists will flood it on December 21, the supposed day of the Mayan apocalypse.
According to NBC News, the spot, Pic de Bugarach, is rumored to be one of the only safe places on the planet on December 21. On that day, a major cycle of the Maya Long Count calendar ends.
The Mayan calendar is split into several chunks, including 400-year spans called b’ak’tuns. December 21, 2012 marks the end of the 13th b’ak’tun and the beginning of a new cycle.
Scholars agree that the calendar change would not have been seen as the end of the world by the ancient Maya, but believers are still expecting something major on that day. There are many different predictions on what will happen. These are predictions ranging from a new dawn of peace and harmony to an explosive doomsday.
One online rumor is that on this day, Pic de Bugarach will open up to reveal an alien spacecraft, which will save believers nearby.
State official Eric Freysselinard said:
“We are expecting a few visionaries, a few people who believe in this end of the world, but in extremely limited numbers. We are expecting greater numbers of people who are just curious, but in numbers we cannot determine. Above all, we are expecting lots of journalists.”
In response to the expectations, officials will call in 100 police and firefighters on December 21 to seal off approaches to the mountain, Freysselinard said.
Other areas of the world are actually welcoming the doomsday attention.
In Belize, the Chaa Creek resort is trying to attract tourists with a seven-day, all-inclusive “Maya Winter Solstice” package. This package includes workshops on Maya crafts, traditional Maya garb, and names of guests inscribed into a giant slab that will be erected on December 21.
In Guatemala, the national tourism bureau is organizing a number of festivities. These festivities include a “New Dawn for Humanity” summit in Tikal, which a major ancient Maya city. Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and U2 will provide entertainment for the summit.
Mexico is also looking to take advantage of the doomsday ruckus. They will be launching a tourism campaign called “Mayan World 2012” and encouraging visitors to seek out sites in southern Mexico, where the ancient Maya once built complex cities.
In Cancun, the National Institute of Anthropology and History has opened the enormous “Museo Maya de Cancun,” a museum dedicated to Maya history.
What do you think? Will the world end on December 21?