The world is full of mysterious places that spark our imagination and wonderment. Ancient civilizations left behind monuments and structures that add to the list of these mystical places all around the world. These places are amazing in their locations, seemingly impossible constructions and sometimes uncertain purposes. From Asia to the Americas, these mystical places should be on every traveler's must-visit list.
Machu Picchu - Peru
Hidden for 400 years until its discovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911, Machu Picchu, located on the outskirts of Cusco, Peru, is a series of city-like structures located high in the Andes mountains. Travelers can brave high altitudes and low oxygen and trek up the Inca Trail or ride a train up to the remote location. Machu Picchu was built as a royal, astronomical and religious retreat by an Incan emperor, and its preservation has been due in large part to its relatively late discovery. The "City in the Clouds" allows visitors to see the remnants of a lost civilization and view sweeping vistas of the Andes mountains.
Stonehenge - Great Britain
Stonehenge, located in the English town of Wiltshire, is not only amazing for its construction, but also for its use. Built in several stages around 2500 B.C., the circular stone monument involved lifting and moving large, heavy stones and arranging them in such a way as to be astronomically significant. Stonehenge lines up so that the midsummer sunrise and midwinter moonrise fall directly within the circle. Ancient Druids used the site for religious ceremonies and astronomical and astrological observations.
Easter Island, located 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile, contains a series of giant-headed monoliths along its coastline. These structures are called "moai," and were built by the ancient and mysterious Rapa Nui people. Little is known of these people, who have disappeared completely from the island. The island also contains evidence of a written language, which is the only written language in ancient Oceania.
The Pyramids of Giza - Egypt
The Pyramids of Giza are the last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built as burial chambers for Egyptian pharaohs, their construction required that slaves move giant stones weighing on average two and a half tons each great distances and up elaborate slopes and scaffolding. The Great Pyramids of Khufu and Cheops are the largest of the structures. They remain a monument to the opulence of the pharaohs and their belief in a rich afterlife.
The Temple of Angkor Wat - Cambodia
The Temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia represents the most elaborate architectural structure of the Khmer civilization, which ruled over much of Southeast Asia from 802 to 1431 A.D. The temple consists of five towers representing the five peaks of Mount Meru, the center of the universe, according to Hindu tradition. The walls outside the temple contain large bas-relief examples of Khmer and Hindu art.
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