Almost every culture or religion in the world describes the existence of some sort of underworld or hell. These descriptions are often unusual in the way sinners are dealt with and even how sinning is defined. While each is unique in its own way, there are elements that are strikingly common across many cultures and religions.
Niflheim is a rather bizarre form of hell found in Norse and Germanic cultures. Rather than being a fiery pit, it’s a freezing landscape, ruled by Hel and located next to the Shore of Corpses, where Nidhogg resides. Nidhogg is, of course, a giant snake that feeds on the dead.
Of the nine worlds in Norse mythology, Niflheim is said to be the deepest and darkest of them all, and the myths claim that the Earth was created when the icy Niflheim and fiery world of Muspelheim combined. The realm is home to the wicked and also serves as an anchor for the Yggdrasill—the World Tree that holds up the universe. Hel became the mistress of the dead after being banished from Asgard, as she was the daughter of Loki. The souls brought to Niflheim by Hel’s messenger Hermodr are kept in constant pain.