There are 36 continents on each Crown of the Gods World. When a new World first opens, newly joining players land on Continent 22 (the center-most continent).
As additional new players land on Continent 22, and time passes, Continent 23 will then open. From this time, new players joining the game will land on this most newly opened continent, Continent 23.
As more new players land in-game, and time passes, new continents will continue to open, in a criss-cross shape beginning in the center of the World and expanding outwards, with new players to the game always landing on the most newly opened continent.
Existing players will only be able to settle cities on opened continents. Continents that are still closed cannot be settled.
Shrines activating are not affected by the continent being closed, however. For more information on shrine activations, see the Shrines page.