Five clues for determining the biblical and spiritual meaning of countries, cities, towns, streets, and other places in dreams.
If you are interested in dreams, sooner or later you will want to know what certain places mean.
Why is your dream set in a certain city, state or country? Or why are you trying to get to a certain place? These things are intriguing – and usually in the dream for a reason!
This article explores how to work out what places might mean without needing a dream dictionary, with real dream examples and infographic.
I approach dream interpretation from a biblical perspective. My belief is that our dreams can come from God, and understanding them is best understood within the context of an ongoing relationship with Him.
- Introducing places in dreams
- Clues for identifying the meaning of a place
- Real dream example: Australia
Firstly, if you have just come across this post and are new to dream interpretation, it is worth mentioning that dreams are symbolic in nature. You might find it helpful to read the following articles: Understand your dreams: A bible-based introduction to dream language and Beginner’s guide to biblical dream interpretation.
Secondly, remember that dreams are personal, so the meanings that I suggest may not apply to your specific dream. But please feel free to use my ideas as a springboard to thinking and praying about dreams yourself. Don’t take my ideas as gospel, but rather let them help you start to think metaphorically.
Introducing places in dreams
Dreams are normally symbolic, and are like parables or illustrations that contain messages about our life. Countries, towns and other places are mostly symbolic too.
Some people have a greater proportion of literal dreams, and it is possible a place could be literal in a dream. This is more likely if we are observing (not involved in the action), or for prophetic intercessor types.
I also know of people who have dreamed of a literal place, for example somewhere God has called them to go to or move to – and they have subsequently found the place in real life. So that does happen, but it is relatively rare in my experience.
So, if we start by assuming the place in our dream is symbolic, then we will at least explore all the possibilities – and it’s usually true.
This article is focusing on what a place could mean symbolically.
Places as the setting of a dream
When a place is mentioned in a dream, it is often a vital clue for discovering what area of life the dream is about. That means that places in dreams are very important and shouldn’t be ignored – particularly if they seem random.
Sometimes the dream is simply set in a place, for example we are on holiday there, or we just know we are in that place or visiting that place.
In those instances, that place is the setting of the dream, and could represent the area of life (i.e. real-life context) that the dream is about. You can read more about that here: How to identify what area of life your dream is about.
The place in our dream often represents the real-life context.
Places as part of a journey
Sometimes, we are trying to get to a place, escaping from a place, or travelling through a place. In those instances, the dream is about our life journey and things we are trying to attain or leave behind, or things we are going through (or will go through).
In each of those scenarios, the place is being used symbolically to represent the area of life it is about.
See Dream symbols: Cars and other vehicles for more about journeys in dreams.
Clues for identifying the meaning of a place
This section contains 5 clues that can be explored, with the Holy Spirit’s help, for determining what the place could represent – with some ideas plus real examples that have appeared in dreams.
This part of the interpretation process may involve some online research; often, what we discover ties up with the dream and what is going on in our life – even when we did not know the information beforehand. This is one of the factors that points to dreams coming from an external source, i.e., God!
Some general tips in addition to these clues are:
- Consider whether the place seems positive or negative in your dream and how you feel about it – as this will help you link it to real life.
- Crossmatch dreams that mention the same place, as they probably link up.
I have written a general guide for understanding dream symbols, and this article builds on that. You can find it here: 10 simple clues for understanding dream symbols.
1. What does the place name mean?
It’s worth doing some research into the meaning of the place name. Doing an online search for “place etymology” will often provide that information. Wikipedia entries for places sometimes have a section on name etymology.
Sometimes the name meaning is obvious and literal:
- I dreamed I was walking up Hope Street, which was quite literally about having hope!
- United Kingdom: Could literally be about unity in God’s Kingdom.
Sometimes we must dig a little deeper to find the meaning:
- France: France means “realm of the Franks”. The name frank is related to the English word “free” (Wikipedia). Therefore, I have found that France represents freedom, or being free, in my dreams.
- Sunderland: The name Sunderland probably derived from ‘land’ which was ‘sundered’ or separated (chroniclelive.co.uk). Therefore, it has been used in my dreams to mean separation or division.
If the place is a person’s name, look up the meaning of the name, for example in The Name Book by Dorothy Astoria. Roads and streets are often named after a person:
- Florence: This place in Italy is also a girl’s name, meaning flourishing or prosperous.
- St Lucia: This name comes from “Lucy”, which means light. So, it might represent a place filled with God’s light, us shining God’s light, the light of God’s word, or revelation and understanding (‘seeing the light’).
This webpage gives the literal translation of the name of each country in the form of a map, which is interesting reading:
Mapped: The Literal Translation of Every Country’s Name
2. Is the place name a wordplay?
Wordplays are common in dreams, and this is particularly true for place names. They could be plain and easy to spot (such as directions – which are explained further in Dream symbols: North, south, east, west, up, down).
- South Africa: The word ‘south’ might be the important thing. In my dreams, this symbolises natural things (south) rather than heavenly things (north).
- Ashford: In my dreams this is a wordplay for ‘ashes’, which means embracing the cross (dying to something), so that something new can arise out of the ashes.
- Iceland: In my dreams this links to ‘ice’ and represents a religious environment.
The wordplay could be a little more cryptic and might even link to a joke or a phrase we use:
- Korea: I dreamed I was on a journey and had to change flights in Korea. This dream was about a career change (Korea=’career’).
- Sicily: God used Sicily to speak to me, linked to a joke I know, and it meant don’t be so silly (Sicily=’so silly’).
3. What is the place commonly known for?
Sometimes places have a common associations, or things they are known for. It might be something we already know (and comes to mind as soon as we think of the place), or we might have to do a little more online searching.
For example, it could be known for:
- A phrase or nickname
- An animal
- A significant landmark
- It’s physical features or geographical location
Searching for “What is place known for” will often provide some clues.
The flag of a nation might feature in a dream. Plus, flag designs are sometimes chosen to say something about the country. If this is relevant to your dream, think about any symbols on the flag, and the meaning of the colours.
Phrases or nicknames of places
This might be a nickname or any phrase associated with the place:
- Chicago: Chicago is known as the “windy city”. Wind can symbolise the Holy Spirit, so could represent a time when the Holy Spirit is stirring things up.
- Canada: In their national anthem, Canada is described as ‘The True North, strong and free”. So, in my dreams Canada is linked to the heavenly realms (see north).
Animals associated with places
Sometimes animals are associated with nations and cities.
In these cases, the meaning or character of the animal could provide a clue to the what the place is associated with (although mostly it’s the other way round, and the animal is used in a dream to represent the country!!). See Dream symbols: Animals if this is relevant to the place:
- USA: The eagle is associated with the USA. An eagle can represent the prophetic (eagles see a long way and rise in the spirit), so the USA could represent the prophetic in a dream.
- Russia: Russia is sometimes associated with the bear. In dreams, in a negative context, a bear can symbolise unexpected aggression; plus, Russia has the redemptive gift of ruler. It was once used in my dream to represent a difficult and unpredictable leadership situation.
Further interest: Arthur Burke at theSLG.com has a pdf on the redemptive gifts of some nations. If that’s something you are into, it might be relevant in your dream.
Tip: A sports team linked to a city or country can give a clue to what is associated with it, whether that is represented by an animal or other characteristic, e.g. The Springboks for the South African rugby team, and The Three Lions for the UK football team.
Some places have significant landmarks. If that’s the case, the landmark will probably feature in the dream in some way to alert us, and that could be the reason the place appears in the dream.
- Paris: Paris is known as ‘the city of love’, but also for the iconic Eifel Tower, which could be a wordplay for ‘eye full’, as in a high level of spiritual sight.
- San Francisco: This city name comes from “Francis”, which means “free” (like France, above). But it also has the Golden Gate bridge, which could represent a divine transition (gold=divine or testing, bridge=transition). Putting it together, it could be a time of transition and/or testing that will bring freedom.
Physical features or geographical location
The physical geography of the place might also be relevant if that seems to be thing that it is well known for.
- Venice: Venice is known for being a city built on waterways, so might be about being founded on the Holy Spirit (water).
Note, this might also be a personal meaning, for example if the place is in a certain direction relative to our location.
4. Does the place have a biblical meaning?
Sometimes the place name can be linked to people in the bible or a bible book (in a wordplay sense). If that happens, think about what that bible book or person is best known for:
- Romania: I dreamed of going to Romania, and this was linked to the book of Romans. This was about faith in Christ vs works/legalism, which is what I associate with that book.
- Philippines: This could be linked to the name Philip (which means lover of horses, so can be about power/authority). But it also sounds like the bible book of Philippians, which for me represents humility (Philippians 2) – so putting the two together it represented servant leadership in my dream.
- Solomon islands: Solomon means peaceful so could be about being at peace, but King Solomon is also known for his wisdom, so this could be about either.
If the place existed in bible times and is mentioned in the bible, that could be relevant, so we could do some bible research on what it was associated with:
- Israel: In the bible it was the promised land, so could symbolise our own promised land, or spiritual inheritance.
- Egypt: in the bible it represented slavery, sin and bondage, or going to sources other than God for help.
- Greece: In the bible, Greece (e.g. Athens) was linked to intellect, ideas and understanding. It has been used in my dreams to represent strongholds of the mind (e.g. The Acropolis).
5. Does the place have a personal association?
And finally, many of the places in our dreams are ones that are personal to us. They could be places we have lived, places near us, or places we visit regularly.
In addition to the other ideas above, here are some personal things to think about:
- It is somewhere we live or have lived?
- Is the place positive or negative for us?
- Is it a regular destination of ours?
- What do we do when we go there?
- Do we know people who live there?
- What direction is it relative to us?
A place we live (or have lived) is likely to represent our own life or identity in some way.
The capital city of the country we live in can represent something big or important in our lives, or the main issue. It can also represent leadership or spiritual government – if the national government is based there.
Also, consider what direction the place is, relative to our current location. Sometimes if we are seeing the place on a map, or talking about going in a certain direction, that direction might be relevant. (See Dream symbols: North, south, east, west, up, down).
Trying to get home in a dream
Trying to get to our own home – or back to the town/place where we live – is extremely common in dreams. This is usually about trying to find our true calling or destiny.
In practical terms, this would be about trying to find the right thing to do in the situation (or area of life) that the dream is about.
See also: Dream symbols: Houses and other buildings.
Cultural place associations
In addition, some places have associations or nicknames that only people in our own location or culture would know or understand:
- USA: From UK, where I live, many people emigrated to America for a new life, a ‘new world’. So, in my dreams, it can symbolise my God-given destiny.
Real dream example: Australia
I had several dreams about going to Australia and then this final one of being in a hotel in Australia:
I dreamed my husband and I were staying in Australia. Our room had big windows, and we were looking out and talking about visiting Sydney Harbour and the Opera House the next day. It was bright daylight and I thought how I liked the Australians’ writing.
Working through the 5 clues, this was the process for determining what Australia meant in these dreams:
- The name meaning: Australia means ‘southern’. Metaphorically speaking, south might mean getting further away from heavenly things, or from where we should be.
- Associations: Australia is linked to the kangaroo, but this didn’t feature in my dream. However, the Sydney Opera House and harbour bridge did feature and seemed important. When I think of Australia, I think of the phrase ‘no worries’, and an easy-going attitude.
- Wordplay: I was struck by the Au part of the name, as it is the chemical symbol for gold. It suggested to me a time of testing and refining, as that’s what gold can mean.
- Biblical meaning: Australia doesn’t feature in the bible, nor does its name remind me of anything in the bible, other than ‘south’ and ‘gold’ as previously discussed.
- Personal meaning: I have never been to Australia, and don’t have any personal links there. However, I live in UK, and Australia is known here for being the other side of the world. We joke about it being upside down and call it ‘the land down under’. I felt this could symbolise a time when everything would seem topsy turvy, or upside down from how it should be.
After considering and praying through all those potential meanings, the final one resonated the most with me. I was going through a time when everything felt wrong; it all seemed the opposite of how it should be.
But the dream carried an encouragement. The bright daylight indicated God was in it, and a hotel is a temporary place. The bridge suggested a time of transition, and the Opera House suggested finding my ‘new song’ or message during that time. This would happen the following year (the next day in the dream).
In the end, various aspects of the 5 clues seemed to link up to give the interpretation:
I was about to go through a testing time where everything would seem topsy turvy and further from my God-given destiny. But it would only be for a time, and God would use it to transition me into the next season and find my ‘new song’. I should embrace that time, relax, not worry, and enjoy writing!
This meaning links up with what subsequently happened in real life.
We have seen how places are important in dreams, as they often provide the setting – and link to the real-life context.
There are so many countries and cities – plus many places local to each individual dreamer – that it would be impossible to cover them all. My aim, rather than making a dream dictionary of places, has been to provide 5 clues to help the interpretation process. These were:
- What does the place name mean?
- Is the place name a wordplay?
- What is the place commonly known for?
- Does the place have a biblical meaning?
- Does the place have a personal association?
The chances are we can quickly narrow down the options. Something will probably stand out about the place and what happened there in the dream.
Once we start to identify what certain places mean in our dreams, we can start to build our own personal dream dictionary. If we do this regularly, as time goes by it will really help speed up the process.
Some closing thoughts:
- Places in a dream could represent any number of things. The above pointers should give you a good starting point.
- I believe that only God can tell you what a particular place means in a specific dream, so you can try praying through the dream.
- Consider the atmosphere of the dream, and whether the place is being used in a positive or negative sense.
- In addition to the meanings that I have shared, remember that it could mean something personal or culturally significant to you, that isn’t mentioned here.
And finally… have fun investigating the places in your dreams! If this article has helped you interpret a dream, please leave a comment!
Follow this blog
I hope you found this article helpful. If you want to know more, do subscribe to emails to receive regular dream interpretation tips.
The purpose of this blog is to provide biblical foundations for interpreting dreams and encourage others to make their own dream journey. I am primarily a writer and bible teacher – who loves dreams, and I hope you will be inspired to learn to interpret your own dreams.
It is not currently my aim to routinely engage in dream interpretations or provide training, except through writing blog posts. You can read my most up to date position on interpreting dreams here: Requests for dream interpretations.
Pay it forward
If you have benefited from my articles and/or my help with dream interpretation and would like to show your appreciation, please consider paying it forward to help me continue the work and bless others.
Thank you very much for your support!
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Jennifer Needham disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.
Beginner’s guide to biblical dream interpretation
How to get started interpreting your dreams – in the context of a relationship with God.
How to spiritually prepare for dreaming – with bible verses and bedtime affirmations
Bible verses, prayers, actions and affirmations for preparing you to receive dreams from God.
Biblical meaning of colours in dreams
The spiritual symbolism of red, orange, brown, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple, black, white, grey, gold, and silver – in dreams.
- Dream symbols: Sun, wind, rain, storms, and other types of weather
- Why you don’t need a prophetic gift to interpret dreams
- Dream symbols: Gardens, plants, and flowers – and what they mean
- How dreams can help with renewing the mind
- Meeting God in your dreams
2 thoughts on “Dream symbols: Countries, cities, streets, and other places”
Hi Jenny, thanks for this post.
Some months back, I had a dream where I was in the twin towers in America, I was walking on the corridor when I met a classmate and we embraced, this was on the 16th floor. I have frequently dreamt about this classmate.
When I woke up from the dream, I reflected on it and what stood out is the date September 11 as that’s what the twin towers are most known for. I wonder if there are other details I may have missed.
Thanks for sharing Ify, I have your email so I’ll message you privately. Jenny.
LikeLiked by 1 person