Called geoglyphs, these enigmatic designs are made by removing the top, rust-colored layer of rocks and exposing the brighter white sand underneath. The why is a bit tougher to comprehend. First studied in the early s, the designs were initially suspected to be aligned with constellations or solstices, but more recent work suggests the Nasca lines point to ceremonial or ritual sites related to water and fertility.
And in addition to being visible from the air, the shapes can be seen from surrounding foothills. Built more than 4, years ago, the Pyramids at Giza are monumental tombs where ancient queens and pharaohs were buried. But how, exactly, did the Egyptians build these things?
The Great Pyramid is made of millions of precisely hewn stones weighing at least two tons each. As well, alien theorists often point to the fact that these three pyramids are in way better shape than others built centuries later never mind the amount of work that has gone into preserving them over the past several centuries. Not exactly. A huge circle of stones, some weighing as much as 50 tons, sits in the English countryside outside Salisbury. No one knows what, exactly, the meaning of Stonehenge is, but, as with all the other sites in this collection, the explanation is not aliens.
Scientists suspect that over centuries, a mix of cultures including Maya, Zapotec, and Mixtec built the city that could house more than , people. Moai dot the grassy hills of Easter Island, a Chilean territory located in the southeastern Pacific. And how did the moai end up on Easter Island? The figures average 13 feet tall and weigh 14 tons and appear to have been chiseled from the soft volcanic tuff found in the Rano Raraku quarry.
The Most Spectacular Pyramids Around the World
There, more than statues are still in various states of construction, with some completed figures awaiting transportation to their intended resting place. The reasons for carving the moai are mysterious, though they were likely sculpted for religious or ritual reasons. Shadows in the rock formation create an illusion of a human face.
Spotted by the Viking 1 orbiter in , the so-called face is nearly two miles long and is in a region called Cydonia, which separates the smooth plains of the Martian north from the more cratered terrain in the south.
Eight Awe-Inspiring Pyramids From Around the World
Turns out that what had appeared to be a face is just another boring old Martian mesa, kind of like the landforms that litter the U. Read Caption. Clouds roll over Easter Island's monolithic statues. This pyramid-tomb was later set into the Aurelian Walls, helping to ensure its preservation through the ages.
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Monte Alban was inhabited for approximately 1, years by a succession of civilisations, including the Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs and, at its peak, had a population of around 25, people. It has a small on-site museum showing some of the finds from the excavations.
One of a handful of surviving Mesopotamian ziggurats and a crucial entry on any list of pyramids of the world, Tchogha Zanbil forms part of the remains of the ancient city of Dur Untash, the holy capital of the Elamite Kingdom. The undeniable focal point of the ruins of Tchogha Zanbil is one of the greatest - if not in fact the greatest - ziggurats to have been built in Mesopotamia. Originally a temple dedicated to the deity Inshushinak, it developed to become the ornate pyramid-like structure - ziggurat - that stands today, although at 25 metres high it is now just a shadow of its former self having once risen to 60 metres.
One of several remarkable Hindu temples built by the leaders of the Chola Empire, the Brihadisvara temple has a quite spectacular central pyramid structure. Built from to during the reign of Rajaraja I, the temple was constructed in honour of the Hindu deity Shiva. Dahshur was once home to eleven Ancient Egyptian pyramids, of which few have survived.
Unlike the more popular Giza and Saqqara, Dahshur has not become a tourist hotspot, despite its ancient attractions, including the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid.
Built by the pharaoh Sneferu, founder of the Fourth Dynasty and father of Khufu, the Red Pyramid is one of Dahshur's most famous residents and the second oldest pyramid ever built. In fact, it is thought that this was where Sneferu himself was buried. While some examples are accepted by all to be pyramids in the classic sense, others are the subject of debate. Admittedly less impressive than nearby Giza, the Abusir Pyramids belonged to the Fifth Dynasty pharaohs and, to their advantage, are far quieter to visit.
Abydos is an important Ancient Egyptian site which contains a wealth of tombs, temples and other archaeological remains including the famous Temple of Seti I. The pyramid of Acatitlan is an impressive Mesoamerican archaeological site in the modern town of Santa Cecilia on the outskirts of Mexico City. Dominated by several adobe pyramids made of sand and clay, Cahuachi is an ancient site of the Nazca civilization in Peru and perhaps mark some of the lesser-known pyramids of the world.
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Calakmul is a remote and incredible Maya site in Campeche, Mexico, containing the remains of a vast and once-powerful ancient city. An Aztec archaeological site near Toluca in Mexico, Calixtlahuaca is known for its vast pyramid-like temples. Chacchoben in Mexico is a Maya archaeological and includes some impressive ancient pyramid temples. A lesser known entry on the list of world pyramids, Dos Pilas was a major Maya city.
The largest surviving structure is an impressive pyramid which rises 20m, while a number of other pyramids survive at the site. The vast main pyramid at Ek Balam is over 30m high, making it a remarkable example of Maya engineering and one of the most impressive pyramids in the world. El Brujo is an early Chimu archaeological site in Peru. An awe inspiring collection of ancient pyramids can be seen at El Tajin in Mexico, particularly the Pyramid of the Niches, an incredibly impressive six-stepped pyramid which would once have been crowned with a temple.
1. A Pyramid in the Heart of Rome, Italy
Though not a pyramid in the classic sense, some argue that American pre-colonial burial mounds such as the Emerald Mound and Monks Mound should be classified as step pyramids and included in lists of pyramids of the world. Polonnaruwa was once the capital of Ceylon modern Sri Lanka and contains the impressive - if slightly hidden away - ancient step pyramid Sathmahal Prasada.
Really more of an obelisk than a pyramid, the Roman Pyramid of Vienne makes it into the list of pyramids of the world due to its name, which seems to have stuck through the ages. With numerous intricately decorated stone buildings and the magnificence of its pyramid-like entrance hall, the Sun Temple of Konark is a popular tourist attraction and has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Templo Mayor was a holy temple built in the step-pyramid style in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, whose ruins can now be seen in modern day Mexico City.
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The site of Tenayuca is nestled right in the heart of the modern municipality of Tlalnepantla de Baz in Greater Mexico City and consists of a vast Mesoamerican pyramid structure. Tenochtitlan was the Aztec capital and was famed for its enormous pyramids. Sadly, it was mostly destroyed by the Spanish in the 16th century and little evidence remains. The Moche Temples are two ancient adobe pyramid temples in Peru, known as the temples of the Sun and the Moon.
One of many religious structures to feature on the list of world pyramids. Tikal in Guatemala was a major Maya site and contains five magnificent pyramids, the largest being an amazing ft tall. Tiwanaku, Bolivia, was the capital of a pre-Inca civilisation.
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One of its most famous structures is the Akapana, which would once have been a pyramid, but has since been significantly eroded. Uxmal was a Maya city in Mexico which contains a series of stunning ceremonial pyramids - the most celebrated of which is the Pyramid of the Soothsayer. Uxmal is considered unique among pyramids of the world because of its unusual elliptical base. Hidden away far from the husstle and busstle of the main tourist track is the archeaological site of Yaxchilan, containing the ruins of this once-powerful Maya city.