By Greg Keraghosian for Yahoo! Travel
Images courtesy: Atlas of True Names
Fans of Ron Burgundy and Anchorman can rejoice at the knowledge of what San Diego’s name really means: St. Heelholder.
That is, according to the Atlas of True Names, created by cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust. Part science and part entertainment, their map displays the cities, countries, oceans, and mountain ranges in their original, etymological names. So, if you live in Missouri, you actually live in the Land of the People with Dugout Canoes.
The Veronica Corningstones of the world may call foul at some of these names, which don’t take into account literal translations. San Diego does mean Saint Diego, but the authors took things a few steps further and converted Diego into the original name James, which converts to the Biblical name Jacob. And in the Bible, Jacob was born holding his twin brother Esau’s heel.
While many names are head-scratchers, others make perfect sense: India, which brought yoga to the West, is named Land of the Flow, for instance.
Hormes and Peust themselves concede that the Lord of the Rings-esque translations are not the final word in a place’s original name. “Please accept the Atlas of True Names just as an invitation to the world as a strange, romantic continent,” they say.