From the Olmec Heads in Mexico to the Devil Heads in Czech Republic and to the mysterious faces of Bayon Temple in Cambodia, there are numerous stunning stone-carved faces around the world.
Here are five of them, some very recognisable statues, some may be less familiar, but equally impressive.
1 – Nemrut Dağ, Turkey
Crowning one of the highest peaks of the Eastern Taurus mountain range in south-east Turkey, Nemrut Dağ is the Hierotheseion (temple-tomb and house of the gods) built by the late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) as a monument to himself. The Hierotheseion of Antiochos I is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. Its complex design and colossal scale combined to create a project unequalled in the ancient world. Workers sculpted the ambitious mortuary complex using fragments of local limestone, but despite its scale, many centuries passed before it was rediscovered in 1881 by German surveyor Charles Sester.
2 – The Devil Heads, Czech Republic
Some people call it the “Czech Mount Rushmore”, and it can be reached in the northern part of the Czech Republic. These forest horrors have been created by Vaclav Levy in the mid 1800s and ever since then they are known to locals as Certovy Hlavy or “The Devil heads”. Nearby, another of Levý’s works called Klácelka features animal reliefs and scenes inspired by the fables of Czech poet and philosopher František Klácel.
3 – Bayon Temple, Cambodia
Dating from the 12th century, Bayon Temple is the spectacular central temple of the ancient city of Angkor Thom. The complex is located just to the north of the famous Angkor Wat. Built around 1190 AD by King Jayavarman VII, Bayon is a Buddhisttemple but it incorporates elements of Hindu cosmology. Some experts believe that the carvings show the king under the guise of Avalokiteś-vara, a famous bodhisattva who, according to Buddhist beliefs, had the capacity to reach nirvana.
4 – Decebalus Rex, Romania
Standing on the banks of the Danube River at an impressive 180 feet in height, with a 23-foot nose and 14-foot eyes to match, the monument to Decebalus, the king of the Dacians, is visible from a great distance. It took 10 years to carve the statue and even though it looks like it is as old as the ruler of Dacia it self it is pretty new to this world (sculptured from 1994 till 2004) – Twelve sculptors worked on it. The entire project was proposed and funded by one of the wealthiest Romanians ever lived, businessman Iosif Constantin Drăgan (1917 – 2008), it is believed that daragan spent one million u.s dollars over this project.
5 – Olmec Heads, Mexico
Nobody knows for sure what caused the Olmec people of Mesoamerica to vanish sometime around 300 B.C., but they did leave behind multiple reminders of their existence carved into stone—or, more specifically, volcanic basalt. The huge proportions of the heads suggests that they (The people represented by the heads) were important people, and their association with the Olmec culture at around (800-600 BC) places them long before the Maya, Inca or Columbus’s arrival in America. The stone heads have been found at the three most significant Olmecs sites in Mexico (La Venta, San Lorenzo and Tres Zapotez). They were carved from huge basalt boulders, some quarried in the Tuxtlas Mountains; some from the basalt of Cerro Cintepec; others from basalt found on San Martin Volcano.