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The most intriguing ancient mysteries that remain unsolved

When it comes to ancient mysteries, few are more intriguing than those that remain unsolved. For centuries, researchers and historians have been trying to piece together the secrets behind these ancient enigmas, but many of them still remain a mystery today.

What makes these mysteries so captivating is the fact that they deal with some of the most puzzling aspects of our history. Each one of them has the potential to rewrite everything we thought we knew about the past. These mysteries are the stuff of legends, and they continue to fascinate us all. So if you’re curious to know more, then keep reading.

Hanging gardens of Babylon

Hanging gardens of Babylon
A representation of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the fabled gardens which possibly adorned the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, built by its greatest king Nebuchadnezzar II (r. 605-562 BCE). By Ferdinand Knab, 1886 CE. © World History Encyclopaedia

The legendary Babylonian Gardens, located in modern-day Iraq, are described by ancient writers. Although it’s unclear when these gardens were created, some ancient writers were so awestruck by them that they referred to them as a “wonder of the world.” The Hanging Gardens had plants grown above the ground, and the trees’ roots were located on an upper terrace as opposed to the ground, according to Philo of Byzantium, who wrote this around 250 B.C.

There are no traces of a garden that fits this description that has been discovered so far by archaeologists who have excavated Babylon. Do the hanging gardens exist? Archaeologists are left to wonder. The gardens were suggested to be in the Assyrian city of Nineveh in a book by Stephanie Dalley, an Oxford researcher, in 2013. Given the damage caused by war and looting in both Nineveh and Babylon over the past 20 years, it seems unlikely that this mystery will ever be fully solved.

Cleopatra’s tomb

The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra (1885), by Lawrence Alma-Tadema
The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra (1885), by Lawrence Alma-Tadema © Wikimedia Commons

According to historical accounts, Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony were interred in the same tomb following their deaths in 30 BC. The tomb was described as a “lofty and beautiful” monument by the historian Plutarch (AD 45–120) and contained treasures made of ivory, ebony, pearls, emeralds, silver, and gold. The tomb was situated close to a temple dedicated to the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis.

The tomb’s whereabouts are still unknown. At a location now known as Taposiris Magna, which has several tombs dating to the time when Cleopatra VII ruled Egypt, excavations were carried out by Zahi Hawass, the former antiquities minister of Egypt, in 2010. Hawass reported in several news releases that while there were many exciting archaeological finds, Cleopatra VII’s tomb was not one of them. According to archaeologists, even if Cleopatra’s tomb is still around today, it might have been heavily looted and is now difficult to identify.


Thonis-Heracleion slate
The stele found during underwater excavations at the site of Thonis-Heracleion is inscribed with the Decree of Saïs. The text is a parallel to that inscribed on another stele found further up the Nile at Naucratis at the turn of last century and informs about royal benefactions to temples and aspects of trade and taxation systems. The stele of Heracleion (1.90m) had been ordered by Pharaoh Nectanebo I (378-362 BC). © Flickr

Thonis-Heracleion, a port city in ancient Egypt, was the entryway to the Mediterranean until it was lost to time thousands of years ago. A group of divers didn’t come across some ancient artefacts until the early 2000s. The Egyptian coast eventually revealed an entire city with bridges, 16-foot statues, animal skeletons, and other historical marvels that had been submerged. Archaeologists believe that before AD 800, a tsunami, an earthquake, and rising sea levels combined to cause the soil to liquefy to the point where it could sink completely, even though they are uncertain of how an entire city ended up in the Mediterranean Sea.

Nazca Lines

One of the Nazca lines shows a giant figured bird.
The Condor, one of many figures of the Nazca Lines in Peru. © Wikimedia Commons

The Peruvian Nazca people carved 12 to 15 inches out of rust-coloured rock between AD 1 and 700, exposing the lighter-coloured stone beneath deeper layers. Massive images of humans, animals, plants, and geometric shapes were created as a result, which is best seen from an aeroplane. Researchers can’t agree on some of the more plausible theories, but some ridiculous theories claim the carvings are related to aliens or prehistoric astronauts. Recent theories contend that the Nazca Lines were used to beg the gods for rain, contrary to what initial scholars claimed about their relationship to astronomy.

The lost city of Atlantis

Illustration of underwater ruins of the lost city of Atlantis based on the legends. © Shutterstock

The Greek philosopher Plato described a mythical land called Atlantis that supposedly existed in the Atlantic Ocean and had once conquered much of Europe and Africa in his writings from the fourth century BC. In the tale, Atlantis is retaliated against by the ancient Athenians, and the conflict results in Atlantis’ submergence beneath the waves.

Some have theorized that the legend may have been partially inspired by actual events that took place in Greek history, even though no serious scholar believes this story to be true. One hypothesis is that the Minoan civilization influenced the legend of Atlantis, or as it is now known, which existed on the island of Crete until roughly 1400 B.C. Thera, a volcano in Greece, erupted, causing significant damage to Minoan settlements despite Crete being in the Mediterranean rather than the Atlantic.

Some people believe that Atlantis was a real city that was destroyed by a natural disaster. Others think it’s nothing more than a myth. But either way, the legend of Atlantis has captured our imaginations for generations.

Gobekli Tepe – a 7000 years old city

Göbekli Tepe, a Neolithic archaeological site near the city of Şanlıurfa in Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. © Wikimedia Commons

Stone Henge is 500 years older than the great pyramids and 4,500 years older than Stonehenge. Amazing, but try to picture a city that is 7,000 years older! Around the time of the last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago, the Gobekli Tepe archaeological site in modern-day Turkey was constructed. Every presumption that people had to be settled farmers before they could build cities has been disproven by this fact. It has been suggested that Gobekli Tepe might even be the location of the Garden of Eden because it was constructed so early in human history.

The incredible site was constructed before the wheel, fabric, iron tools, fire, ceramics, and herds were invented. Thus, is it possible that the Garden of Eden is referred to in the Book of Genesis? The Bible claims that Adam and Eve were exiled and not permitted to return, so they could not construct anything later. However, the Bible does not mention constructions in the Garden. However, given its extreme age, Gobekli Tepe must be the oldest human site to date.


Many ancient mysteries remain unsolved to this day. Some of these mysteries are more well-known than others, but all are intriguing. Although we may never know the answers to some of these mysteries, that doesn’t stop us from wondering about them.