Though the Mayans never really predicted that the world would end on Friday, some New Agers are convinced that humanity's demise is indeed imminent. Or at least that it's a good excuse for a party.
Believers are being drawn to spots where they think their chances of survival will be better, and accompanying them are the curious, the party-lovers and people wanting to make some money.
Here are some of the world's key doomsday destinations and other places marked by fear and fascination.FRANCE
According to one rumor, a rocky mountain in the French Pyrenees will be the sole place on earth to escape destruction. A giant UFO and aliens are said to be waiting under the mountain, ready to burst through and spirit those nearby to safety. But here is bad news for those seeking salvation: French gendarmes, some on horseback, are blocking outsiders from reaching the Bugarach peak and its village of some 200 people.
One believer, Ludovic Broquet, a 30-year-old plumber, made his way to the mountain after a year of preparation, hoping to find a "gateway, the vortex that will open up here (at) the end of the world."RUSSIA
For $1,500, a museum is offering salvation from the world's end in former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's underground bunker in central Moscow — with a 50 percent refund if nothing happens.
The bunker, located 65 meters (210 feet) below ground, was designed to withstand a nuclear attack. Now home to a small museum, it has an independent electricity supply, water and food — but no more room, because the museum has already sold out all 1,000 tickets.BRITAIN
Hundreds of people have already converged on Stonehenge for an "End of the World" party that coincides with the Winter Solstice.
End-of-days parties will be held across London on Friday. One event billed as a "last supper club" is offering a three-course meal served inside of an "ark."TURKEY
A small Turkish village known for its wines, Sirince, has also been touted as the only place after Bugarach that would escape the world's end. But on Thursday there were more journalists and security officials present there than cultists — to the great disappointment of local restaurateurs and souvenir shop owners.
Nobody was quite sure where Sirince's alleged powers to survive the Mayan doomsday come from, but the idyllic village in western Turkey is close to an area where the Virgin Mary is believed to have lived her final days, and some New Agers reportedly believe the region has a positive aura.ITALY
Another spot said to be spared: Cisternino, in southern Italy, plans a big party Friday with hot-air balloons and music in the main piazza.UNITED STATES
For some, doomsday will be a chance for mockery.
Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, producer and host of the History Channel's "Ancient Aliens" program, is throwing a party in New Orleans on Friday where he will descend onstage in a mock spaceship. Tsoukalos is a leading proponent of the idea that ancient myths arose from visits by alien astronauts, an idea rejected by many mainstream researchers. Still, Tsoukalos scoffs at the idea that the world will come to an end Friday.more