Archeology Travel

Five Mysterious Stone Portraits Around The World

Stunning Stone Portraits Around The World

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.

Nemrut Dağ, Turkey

Stunning Stone Portraits Around The World

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.

The Devil Heads, Czech Republic

Stunning Stone Portraits Around The World

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.

Bayon Temple, Cambodia

Stunning Stone Portraits Around The World

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.

Decebalus Rex, Romania

Stunning Stone Portraits Around The World

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.

Olmec Heads, Mexico

Stunning Stone Portraits Around The World

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.

source: smithsonianmag

Five Mysterious Stone Portraits Around The World
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