Conspiracy theories, odd history, unexplained events, mysterious places, and similar things intrigue me. Even my fantasy adventure series, The Gemstone Chronicles, is based on the legendary magical and mystical properties of gemstones. In an earlier post, I talked about two of my favorites conspiracy theories – the Philadelphia Experiment and the Knights Templar. And I admit to a guilty pleasure of watching Ancient Aliens on the History Channel (I mean, who isn’t intrigued by Giorgio’s haircut?). Remember my posts on The Georgia Guidestones? That is a neat mysterious place not far from my home!
Today, however, I want to talk about a couple of mysterious places around the globe. I don’t mean places like Stonehenge, the Carnac stones, Mayan temples, or Machu Pichu. Nope, I want to go for the really mysterious places!
I want to start our mysterious journey with a discussion of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey. What makes this a mysterious place? Well, according to our oft-cited friends at Wikipedia, Gobekli Tepe is thought to be 12,000 years old! Put into perspective, the site is twice as old as Stonehenge and 7,000 years older than the Pyramids at Giza.
OK, so the place is old, but what makes it so mysterious? Well, consider that most scientists believe that humankind, at that point in history, were hunter-gatherers and lived in small nomadic bands that moved around in search of food. Yet, the amount of tools found at the site would indicate a workforce of, perhaps, hundreds. And, given the conventional wisdom that there weren’t any wheels or beasts of burden, how did the builders move blocks of limestone weighing up to 16 tons hundreds of feet? Interestingly enough, there isn’t much evidence of habitation (trash, cooking fires, bones of animals, etc.) at Gobekli Tepe, which leads to the question of what purpose the site served. Could it have been a religious site – at a time when religion wasn’t thought to exist? Here is a picture of the Gobekli Tepe site.
Carvings and depictions of animals, scorpions, and other creatures decorate some of the pillars at Gobekli Tepe. Again, consider this was during a time when cave drawings were being made, but not so much sculpture. And who built Gobekli Tepe? No clue on that one, but it does cast a mysterious shadow over what is now considered the oldest monument building in the world! Below is one of the pillars from the site. Note the animal carving.
Gobekli Tepe was abandoned about 10,000 years ago, but instead of simply leaving, the site was carefully filled in (which accounts for its amazing preservation). Archaeologists estimate that only about 5% of the site has been excavated, so there may be many more surprises as it’s uncovered!
The next mysterious site we will visit is Baalbek in Lebanon. Baalbek is a site that has multiple layers of construction. The Roman City of Heliopolis sits on the top level and has some of the best Roman ruins remaining in Lebanon. The picture below is the Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek.
The second level of construction is Phoenician. Baal was the Phoenician Sky-God and Baalbek appears to have been an important pilgrimage site for the worshipers of the deity. Alexander conquered the city 334 BCE, and then the Romans did it again almost 300 years later.
All that is interesting, but what makes this a mysterious place? How about the Baalbek Trilithon? What is the trilithon? It’s three massive stones that are part of the foundation of the Temple of Jupiter. The stones, placed about 40 feet above ground, weigh about 1000 tons each. Below is a picture of the trilithon. They are the massive stones outlined in green. Compare them to the surrounding stones and you see just how large they are.
The next picture is a megalith from the nearby quarry that was, for whatever reason, not completed. With a person (not me) in the picture, it gives an idea of the enormous scale of the megaliths!
This is what makes this a mysterious place. Not one to believe in aliens, and not discounting the ingenuity of ancient people, it does make me wonder how on earth they moved stones like this. Even with today’s technology moving the stone would be difficult. I can only marvel that 2000 plus years ago people moved it!
What do you think of these mysterious places? How do you think the people of the day in Gobekli Tepe and Baalbek accomplished these engineering feats? Leave me a comment and let me know!
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