The world is full of breathtaking places, but how much do we really know about the monuments and ruins that tourists flock to every year? There are a handful of historical monuments that have done nothing but puzzle archaeologists since they were first discovered. While they're truly wonderful, it's very difficult to pinpoint their origins and historical purposes. However, despite this, hundreds of thousands of people travel to see these mysterious monuments every year. I have collected ten of the most glorious, but puzzling monuments for you to enjoy:
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1. Newgrange, Ireland
Newgrange is an amazing Stone Age monument in Boyne Valley, County Meath. It is believed to have been created about 5,200 years ago, making it older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza. While there has been much debate as to the purpose of this monument, it's very clear that it was an incredible feat of construction. Was it used for farming purposes, spiritual purposes, or both? We will probably never know, but it's still a site to behold.
2. The Temple of Baalbek, Lebanon
Baalbek, Lebanon is home to the world's largest known megalithic block. Believed to have been constructed by the Roman Empire as the Temple of Jupiter, it remains a mystery as to how these massive stones were transported and arranged. We can speculate all we like, but it will remain a mystery forever.
3. Dolmens of North Caucasus, Russia
"Dolmen" is a French word that when translated literally means "tomb," but there is absolutely no evidence that proves that this is what these ancient stone structures were used for. The construction of this historical site is impressive as well as mysterious. The stones are shaped into 90-degree angles with seams so tight that not even a knife blade could slide through.
4. Moai of Easter Island
Located off the coast of Chile, Easter Island is best known for its giant stone statues called Moai. There have been 900 of these wonderfully-carved human figures that are believed to have moved around the island between 1250 and 1500 AD. While their purpose is not fully understood, their transportation and production is the most mind-boggling part.
5. Lost City of Petra
This stunning structure is carved out of solid rock. Believed to have been constructed around 400 BC, it remained hidden from explorers for many years. The mysterious lost city is now one of the New7Wonders of the World. Petra has even attracted the attention of Hollywood - scenes from Indian Jones were filmed here.
6. Stone Spheres, Costa Rica
It is believed that there are 300 of these polished spheres. While they vary in size, some have weighed in at a staggering 16 tons. Nobody knows the purpose of these stones, but they are definitely worth a visit.
7. The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
With the head of a human and the body of a lion, the Great Sphinx is 238 feet long and 66 feet tall. It is one of the world's oldest statues, as well as one of its most puzzling. There has been much debate over who built it and what their purpose was in doing so.
8. Stonehenge, England
Stonehenge is one of the most popular and puzzling prehistoric monuments in the world. nobody knows how these massive rocks were transported, or what its purpose was. However, that definitely hasn't stopped it from becoming one of Great Britain's most iconic sites.
9. Tikal, Guatemala
Tikal is a ruined ancient Mayan city. While it is the most well-understood Mayan city, it's still a bit of mystery. Like many of the aforementioned monuments, the greatest mystery is how such a massive stone construction could have been fashioned without modern machinery.
10. Timbuktu, Mali
Most of us associate Timbuktu with the idea that is a place that is far away. Some people don't even realize that it's a real place steeped in mysterious history. Located in the Republic of Mali, Timbuktu was once a thriving center of culture and trade. However, a history of invasion has eliminated many of the city's monuments, leaving just a few to peak our curiosity.