All around the world you can see ancient sites that have survived the test of time. Here are some of the most mysterious.
Mysterious structures from antiquity are found all over the world. Centuries-old structures whose origins are unknown, and buildings whose functions are unclear, continue to stump scientists and historians alike, even today. Skyscanner has selected the 10 most mysterious structures in the world, which ones have you visited?
1. Stonehenge – Wiltshire, England
Perhaps the world’s most famous mysterious structure is Stonehenge. People have been trying to unravel the mystery behind the building since medieval times. It is now believed that the building dates back to 2500 BC. Who built it, what it was and how it was constructed remain completely unclear. The lack of known history around this building is what sparks most of the wild origin tales, most notably that aliens helped humans to build it.
2. Nazca lines – Peru
In the Nazca Desert in Peru can be seen giant drawings. The drawings were made by the Nazca Indians and have been well preserved, the Nazca lines are dated at 200 BC to 700 AD. The amazing thing about these drawings is the enormous size, with some lines being nearly 600 feet long. The size of the Nazca lines still stumps scientists as to how they were drawn, or what the point of them was.
3. Porta Alchemica – Rome
Located near Piazza Vittorio, the center of Rome, are the ruins of the house of a Roman marquis. There you can find Porta Alchemica, or the Magic Portal, believed to have the recipe for turning metal into gold. The Marquis Massimiliano Palombara built the monument in his home in the 17th century after receiving the recipe to turn metal into gold from a mysterious alchemist. Palombara could not decipher the recipe and carved it in the list of his front door. It still remains there today.
4. Easter Island Statues
The Moai statues, better known as the Easter Island heads, are gigantic stone sculptures thirty feet tall and seventy tons each. They were built between 1250 and 1500 A.D., made by the first inhabitants of the island. There are thought to be 887 statues, with 394 still intact. The biggest mystery surrounding the giant pictures is how they were made and transported to the island, thousands of miles off the coast of the mainland.
5. Newgrange – Ireland
Newgrange is a giant prehistoric monument and tomb in County Meath, Ireland. It was built around 3100 BC, making it older than both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids. The construction of the passage and tomb is special, and remains completely waterproof. It remains a mystery who built Newgrand, a well as why they chose the circular design.
6. Sphynx – Egypt
One of the most recognizable statues in the world is the Great Sphinx of Giza. The giant statue, which measures 241 feet long and 66 feet high, is carved from a single block of stone. Despite extensive study of the giant cat, not much is known about the structure. It is believed it was built around 2500 BC for the pharaoh Khafra, who built the Second Pyramid in Giza.
7. Saksaywaman, Peru
Located not too far from the famous Inca city of Machu Picchu and Cuzco is Saksaywaman. The citadel is made from giant boulders held together without any mortar. In order to build the walls, it is believed the rocks were cut from quarries and dragged to the site with special ropes, sometimes being dragged by hundreds of men at a time.
Other than the large zigzagging wall, the site is also home to numerous catacombs. Both the structure and the purpose of the zigzagging walls are a mystery.
8. Skara Brae – Orkney, Scotland
This Celtic village was founded in 3200 BC, which makes the village older than the pyramids in Egypt. The cottages are buried beneath a mountain near the village Skerrabra Orkney, and are over four centuries old. The first houses were discovered after a storm in 1850. The entire settlement later came to light. Because the village is virtually intact it gives a wealth of information about the ancient Neolithic times.
9. Yaxchilan – Chiapas, Mexico
Yaxchila was once one of the most important Mayan cities, though it is now overgrown by jungle. It is believed that there was once a suspension bridge more than 300 feet long, used to cross the Usumacinta River during flooding season. If it existed, it would be the longest known bridge of the ancient world.