All ancient sites offer a fascinating glimpse into how a past civilization once lived. Certain places in particular leave travelers wondering about the secrets they hold. Here, we take a look at the history behind some of the world’s most mysterious sites.
Stonehenge in England
Built thousands of years ago, this stone monument is a perfect example of prehistoric architecture. There are many origin theories behind these puzzling monoliths, which stand up to 30 feet high at certain points. One common belief is that their circular arrangement, which allows sunlight to shine through during sunrise on the winter and summer solstice, represented a type of calendar system for counting days.
Get up close to Stonehenge on a tour of England
Loch Ness in Scotland
Few sites are as shrouded in mystery as this legendary lake in the Scottish Highlands. Since the first alleged sighting of a monster in the year 565, rumors of a strange creature lurking in the depths of the lake have continued to spread. Nessie makes headlines whenever someone thinks they’ve spotted or captured a photo of her. Despite many years of research and observation at Loch Ness, no definitive proof that a monster exists has been found—do you think she’s real?
Meet Nessie on one of our Scotland tours
The Nazca Lines in Peru
As you fly high over the desert in southern Peru, you’ll see a series of lines in the landscape below creating swirls, shapes, symbols and even animals. These mysterious Nazca Lines, called geoglyphs, were created when rocks and other materials were removed from the ground. Without much erosion from the elements, these lines have stayed remarkably well preserved. While the lines have been the subject of many theories—from the wild (aliens?) to the functional (astronomical purposes?)—one one popular belief is that they were used as part of rituals to ask gods for fertility and water.
Spot the Nazca Lines on a trip to Peru
The Pyramids of Giza in Egypt
These colossal pyramids on the banks of the Nile River were constructed to house the spirits of the pharoahs that ruled ancient Egypt. The Great Pyramid, a Wonder of the Ancient World, was built as a tomb for Khufu, who ruled from 2589 to 2566 B.C. during the fourth dynasty. Inside the pyramid is a fascinating web of passageways and chambers that surround the pharoah’s burial place, which archeologists have explored to discover more about the ancient society’s belief in the afterlife. Methods used to build these manmade structures required thousands of laborers to cut, move and assemble massive blocks of stones. Along with the others in the complex, the Great Pyramid is still considered one of the world’s greatest engineering masterpieces.
Uncover more about these iconic monuments on our Egypt tour
Have you seen any of these mysterious sites on your travels?