In Norse Mythology, Niflheim is the land of mists, ice, and shadows, is the lowest of the nine worlds, and is the location of Helheim. It is the place where people who die of old age and diseases or are evil go after death and is impregnable. Ruled by Hel, the goddess of death, it is surrounded by high walls and strong gates and not even Balder could return from there without Hel's permission. Garm guards the gates and prevents the dead from leaving and the living from entering. It is connected to Helheim and Nastrond, the shore of corpses.

In the beginning, the universe was composed of two parts: Muspelheim and Niflheim. In between the two parts of the cosmos was the void Ginnungagap. The fires of Muspelheim melted the ice of Niflheim and a sea formed in the void, from which Ymir sprung.

The first root of Yggdrasil formed in Niflheim and the spring of Hvergelmir bubbled forth and became the source of the primitive rivers.

At Ragnarok, the layers of the world will come crashing down when Yggdrasil falls and Garm will flee in terror. After Ragnarok, a hall will be built here for the punishment of philanderers, oath breakers, and murderers.


Sources:
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/n/niflheim.html
http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa083199.htm
http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_mythology
http://www.rebecca.sutton.care4free.net/norsori.html

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