No matter how many mysterious stories from history you hear about, there are always more to discover. Some events remain mysterious because of a lack of witnesses. Others give us facts that don’t add up. And of course, things that happened a long time ago were probably once common knowledge, but the details have been lost in time. Like the mystery of the Temple at Baalbek.
Local legend tells of how the ancient temple at Baalbek, in modern-day Lebanon, was built to hide Cain from the wrath of God, and that it became known as the Tower of Babel. Other stories claim that it was built by djinns, supernatural beings of Arabian and Islamic mythology who abandoned some of the massive stone blocks at the site when they went on strike.
Legend, lore and religion aside, who really ordered the construction of the temple at Baalbek, why it was built and how some of its vast megaliths came to be abandoned, remain unsolved mysteries. We know that it was an absolutely epic undertaking, begun 2,000 years ago and requiring the movement of stone blocks 40 times larger than those used to build Stonehenge. One, reported by the New Yorker as the largest stone block from antiquity, weighs in at a staggering 1,650 tons. The megalith itself weighs around three million pounds.
Though some suggest it was cut by the Romans (who knew Baalbek by its Greek name, Heliopolis), the reason for its immense size – and why it was ultimately abandoned – remain unsolved mysteries. German researchers labelled Baakbek as “unnecessarily large”, and it was one of the most widely photographed places of the 19th century.
The common sense answer would be that they quit building because moving those stones was too hard, but we might never know for sure. Urban Ghosts gives us ten obscure mysteries that include murders, prophesies, natural phenomena, and unknown people.
(Image credit: Ralph Ellis)