Move aside Stonehenge, Machu Picchu. From the ancient relics of India to underwater ruins in Japan, from a giant stone slab in Georgia to an underwater Stonehenge, the mysterious ancient monuments in this list have baffled scientists and archeologists for centuries. They are also some of the lesser known mysterious ancient monuments, that can make your imagination run wild!
10. Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kerala, India
This Hindu temple in South India, dedicated to the Lord Vishnu, is not as ancient as some of the others on this list of ancient monuments. And at first glance, this medieval temple doesn’t seem all that different from other Hindu temples in South India, with a towering, multi-storied structure and ornate decorations. But there lies a mystery deep within the temple recesses.
Six secret vaults in the temple, which were opened in 2011 by a committee entrusted by the Supreme Court of India, were revealed to contain diamond jewelry, golden idols, weapons, bags of gold coins and other riches. Vault B, however, has a large iron door with ornate snakes guarding it – and there is no visible way to open the doors! The tradition is that the door can only be opened with the help of sacred chants by highly erudite sadhus, or Hindu mendicants, who know exactly what they are doing. So far, no such sadhu has come forward and the vault remains sealed!
Whether or not this is true, the story and the potential treasure in the unopened vault captures the imaginations of people around the world.
9. Yonaguni Monument, Yonaguni, Japan
The ancient, underwater ‘pyramid’ or rock formation off the coast of Yonaguni in Japan’s Ryukyu Islands is more than 10,000 years old. That makes it one of the most ancient monuments of the world. This eerie, underwater remains of what looks like a city has stone columns, platforms, pillars with sharp edges, parallel faces and so on. Some scientists say they have identified drawings of animals and people in the rocks. Divers and researchers can freely explore this lesser known example of Japan’s mysterious ancient monuments. Is this Japan’s lost Atlantis? The remains of the legendary civilization of Mu, that is said to have vanished under the waves?
8. Giant Stone Spheres, Costa Rica
The Disquis Delta of Costa Rica is dotted with some perfectly spherical giant balls of magma stone that are now called Las Bolas. Archeologists who have studied the rocks say that the people who cared them, did so with the help of small stones. It was probably not an easy thing to do! But the people of the ancient Pre-Colombian civilizations that made the rocks may have used it to point the way to important locations. Or the giant spheres may have been used for astronomy. No one knows, and the Chibchan people aren’t around to explain!
7. Sayhuite Monolith, Peru
If the scientists are right, the ancient Incas worshipped water in the part of Peru where the Sayhuite Monolith was found. This large rock is like a modern-day architectural model or a 3-D city plan. Except that this mysterious rock sculpture is carved with big cats, frogs, reptiles, ponds, tunnels, irrigation channels and other features on Andesite stone. It’s impossible that the Incas could have carved andesite with the tools they had at their disposal. This is one of the ancient monuments of the world that have scientists scratching their heads for years.
6. Gobekli Tepe, Turkey
Gobekli Tepe means ‘Potbelly Hill’ in Turkish. This site on the edge of Mesopotamia is around 12000 years old, older than Stonehenge. What’s mysterious about this stunning example of ancient monuments of the world is that there are circles of megaliths, some carved with vultures, scorpions, lions and foxes, at a time when prehistoric people couldn’t possibly have had pottery or metal tools for carving. Why didn’t we know of this before? Because experts had thought this site was a grave site. Who built them? Why?
5.The Ancient Rock Ship of Iwafune, Japan
The Matsuda no Iwafune deserves to be on this list of ancient monuments because it really does’nt give us any answers. The Rock Ship sits on a steep hill slope near a town called Asuka. While you can make a guesstimate about the purpose of some of the mysterious ancient monuments on this list, the purpose of the Rock Ship is obscure. What could the solid granite sphere with two holes carved through actually be? No one knows who built them or when.
4. Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, England
This list of ancient monuments will be incomplete without any standing stones in it! The standing stones around the village of Avebury aren’t as famous as Stonehenge, probably because there aren’t that many stones here. This is what makes Avebury less touristy than Stonehenge and more peaceful. But the site is not any less amazing, because it was built nearly five thousand years ago, and it may have taken as may as 1.5 million man-hours to build the bank, make the ditch and place the megaliths. Why it was built, and how, are still a mystery.
3. Blythe Intaglios, Blythe, California
The Mojave Desert near the Californian city of Blythe has giant human figures etched into the ground. One of the figures is more than 170 feet long, and it’s hard to tell what they are unless you see them from the air. That’s what happened when a pilot spotted the figures in 1930, and America’s Nazca Lines were discovered. Why were these giant drawings made between 450 and 2000 years ago? Were they signals to some eye in the sky? No on knows.
2. The Great Serpent Mound, Hillsboro, Ohio
If you look at this mound from the air, you’ll see the shadow of what looks like a giant serpent. It is 1300 feet long and looks like it is swallowing an egg. No one knows why the mound was built. For burial? For astronomy? The only thing archeologists agree on is that it was built by some Pre-Columbian people.
1. Teotihuacan, Mexico City
This giant ruin of palaces and pyramids is visited by millions of visitors. But there are chilling facts about what looks like just another Aztec site. It’s not. The Aztecs didn’t build it. They discovered it after it had been abandoned for 500 years. No one knows how the compound was built, who built them. The eeriest thing about it is the skeletons found buried in one of the pyramids. There a lot of mysteries about this 2000 year old site, and not all of the answers may be pleasant when we find them!
Did you enjoy this list of ancient monuments? Did you discover something new or found something to feed your imagination? And if you have any ancient monuments of the world to share with us, please do so below.