The ancient world is full of wonders that the modern age cannot compete with. The beauty of modern buildings has its grace, but when we focus on the old structures, our mind gets bamboozled as they are so extraordinary and unique. A lot of methods and technologies which were used to create these ancient temples, palaces, and cities, remained rather obscure.
So, let us check out five fascinating ancient structures around the world which have been the subject of many movies, documentaries, and studies.
1 – Derinkuyu- The old underground City
In the Cappadocia region of Turkey there is a town called Derinkuyu; and beneath Derinkuyu there is a city, vast and deep, of ancient design, preserved to this day. The mystery of who built it and why remains, although scholars have their theories.
It is 11 levels, according to National Geographic, descending about 280 feet, with an area of a little over 4 miles squared (10.4 kilometers squared).
It includes chambers for various daily activities, including temples, tombs, shops, living quarters, and even livestock pens. It has 15,000 air shafts, and enough room to comfortably hold approximately 20,000 people.
Despite numerous theories have been suggested by archeologists nobody nows who exactly built this city and why.
2 – Hypogeum of Hal-Saflieni
The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni in Malta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is believed to be the oldest prehistoric underground temple in the world. The subterranean structure is shrouded in mystery, from the discovery of elongated skulls to stories of paranormal phenomena. But the characteristic that has been attracting experts from around the globe is the unique acoustic properties found within the underground chambers of the Hypogeum.
Despite the plethora of research on the acoustic properties of the Oracle Room, there remain just as many questions as answers.
3 – The ancient Marib Dam
The Great Dam of Ma’rib certainly dates back to about the 8th century BCE and is considered the oldest known dam in the world, being counted as one of the most wonderful feats of engineering in the ancient world. The date of the first construction of the Dam at Ma’rib goes back to somewhere between 1750 and 1700 BC. The Sabaens managed all this before the existence of concrete, and their dam stood for over 1,000 years. In comparison, modern dams built with our advanced technology last for around 50 years. The Great Dam of Marib was about 2,000 feet long, and while it stood, it converted ancient Yemen into a fertile oasis, what was then known as the kingdom of Sheba.
4 – Puma Punku, the stone city
Puma Punku is the name of a large temple complex located near Tiwanaku, in Bolivia, and is part of a larger archaeological site known as Tiahuanacu. The temple’s origin is a mystery, but based on carbon dating of organic material found on site, archeologists believe the complex may have been built by the Tiwanaku empire – one of the most important civilization prior to the Inca Empire – that flourished between 300 and 1000 AD.
The most intriguing thing about Puma Punku is the stonework. The stones are of mammoth proportion. The largest of these blocks is 25.6 feet long, 17 feet wide and 3.5 feet thick, and is estimated to weigh 131 metric tons. Due to their size, the method by which they were transported to Puma Punku and perfectly cut has been main topic of interest since the temple’s discovery.
5 – Gobekli Tepe
The recently (1995) discovered monolith at Gobekli Tepe is clearly the worlds biggest mystery. When found, it appeared to have been deliberately buried in sand, for reasons that still remain unknown.
What’s even stranger is that carbon dating estimates the site to be over 12,000 years old!
The precision carving used during the construction is completely unexplainable. So far just 5% of this incredible site has been excavated. Situated at the northwest edge of Mesopotamia in Southeastern Turkey, Gobekli Tepe is a tell; that is, an ancient manmade hill built from the accumulated layers of millennia of building atop the ruins of those who came before. At the lowest level, its most significant construction dates back to 10,000-11,000 BC, a period that predates the introduction of writing, metal tools and the wheel in the region by 6,000 years.
featured image © Illustration of Stuart Jackson Carter