Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Poland: Highway to ‘Hel’ journey banned after religious groups object to ‘Satanic’ 666 bus route | World News

It looks like any other bus - but religious groups say the route number 666 is "Satanic stupidity". Pic: REUTERS / MICHAL DOBRASA/PKS GDYNIA

Tourists taking the highway to Hel will no longer be able travel on bus route 666 after religious groups said the reference to “the number of the beast” – viewed by some as a harmless joke – was “Satanic stupidity”.

The seaside resort in Poland is popular with holidaymakers for its remote beaches and forest trails – a far cry from the fiery pit of eternal damnation evoked by its name.

The 22 mile-long (35km) Hel peninsula in northern Poland is said to be one of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of the Baltic coast.

Locals have long seen the funny side of the name with the bus route, referencing the number of the beast, viewed by many as a “harmless joke”.

But transport operator PKS Gdynia has decided to change the name of the route to 669 after being bombarded with complaints from Christian groups and individuals for almost 10 years.

Spokesperson Marcin Szwaczyk said: “The management board buckled under the weight of letters and requests that were sent to us, maybe not in large numbers, but cyclically for many years with a request to change the line number.”

Catholic publication Fronda branded the use of the number 666 as “Satanic stupidity” in 2018.

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The bus - seen travelling through the village of Jurata in 2016 - will now be known as route 669 Pic: Reuters / Michal Dobrasa/PKS Gdynia/Handout
The bus – seen travelling through the village of Jurata in 2016 – will now be known as route 669. Pic: Reuters/Michal Dobrasa/PKS Gdynia/Handout

The group wrote in an article: “Hell is the negation of humanity. It is eternal death and suffering. You can only laugh at this reality if you simply don’t understand what it is.”

The new 669 bus service is due to begin running on 24 June.

However, Mr Szwaczyk said route 666 could return if passengers demand it.

“If in fact the response is large and strong enough to restore the line 666, it seems to me that we will listen to our passengers and change this number,” he said.

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