Top Ten Ancient Stone Monuments

Top Ten Ancient Stone Monuments

Carnac Stones1Zorats KarerNabta Playa Complex1

  1. Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

    The Giza Plateau is a plateau that is located in Giza, Egypt. The famous Giza Necropolis is located in this geographical area, which is characterized by a sandy, desert climate and terrain with little vegetation.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Pyramids, Top 100 MonumentsTop Ten Plateaus,
  2. Baalbek Temple, Lebanon
    Baalbek TempleBaalbek Temple1Baalbek Temple2Baalbek Temple3Baalbek Temple4Baalbek Temple5
           Baalbek is a town in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, altitude 1,170 m (3,840 ft), situated east of the Litani River. It is famous for its exquisitely detailed yet monumentally scaled temple ruins of the Roman period, when Baalbek, then known as Heliopolis, was one of the largest sanctuaries in the Empire. It is Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure, and it can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world, containing some of the largest and best preserved Roman ruins. Towering high above the Beqaa plain, their monumental proportions proclaimed the power and wealth of Imperial Rome. The gods worshiped here, the triad of Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus, were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are also seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design. Baalbek is home to the annual Baalbeck International Festival. The town is about 85 km (53 mi) northeast of Beirut, and about 75 km (47 mi) north of Damascus. It has a population of approximately 72,000.
    Links: Top Ten Lebanese Attractions, Temples,,
  3. King Solomon’s Temple and the Wailing Wall, Israel

           Solomon’s Temple was the temple in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount (also known as Mount Zion), before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BC. According to the Hebrew Bible, the temple was constructed under Solomon, king of the Israelites. This would date its construction to the 10th century BC, but it is possible that the temple continued an earlier Jebusite sanctuary predating the Israelite conquest of Jerusalem. During the kingdom of Judah, the temple was dedicated to Yahweh, the God of Israel and housed the Ark of the Covenant. Because of the religious sensitivities involved, and the politically volatile situation in East Jerusalem, only limited archaeological surveys of the Temple Mount have been conducted. There is no archaeological reconstruction of the temple as it stood at the time of its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar. It is plausible that the temple had been substantially remodeled, or even reconstructed in its entirety, over the period between its supposed construction under Solomon and its destruction about three centuries later. Rabbinic sources state that the First Temple stood for 410 years and, based on the 2nd century work Seder Olam Rabbah, place construction in 832 BC and destruction in 422 BC, 165 years later than secular estimates. The Western Wall is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard, and is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism outside of the Temple Mount itself. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, having been constructed around 19 BC by Herod the Great. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards. The Western Wall refers not only to the exposed section facing a large plaza in the Jewish Quarter, but also to the sections concealed behind structures running along the whole length of the Temple Mount, such as the Little Western Wall–a 25 ft (8 m) section in the Muslim Quarter. It has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries, the earliest source mentioning Jewish attachment to the site dating from the 4th century. With the rise of the Zionist movement in the early 20th century, the wall became a source of friction between the Jewish community and the Muslim religious leadership, who were worried that the wall was being used to further Jewish nationalistic claims to the Temple Mount and Jerusalem. Outbreaks of violence at the foot of the wall became commonplace and an international commission was convened in 1930 to determine the rights and claims of Muslims and Jews in connection with the wall. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the wall came under Jordanian control and Jews were barred from the site for 19 years until Israel captured the Old City in 1967.
    Links: Top Ten Israeli Attractions, Temples, Top Ten Walls,,
  4. Stonehenge, England (3,100 – 2,200 BC)
    Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county of Wiltshire, about 3.2 kilometers (2.0 mi) west of Amesbury and 13 kilometers (8.1 mi) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is composed of earthworks surrounding a circular setting of large standing stones. It is at the centre of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. Archaeologists had believed that the iconic stone monument was erected around 2,500 BC, as described in the chronology below. One recent theory, however, has suggested that the first stones were not erected until 2,400-2,200 BC, whilst another suggests that bluestones may have been erected at the site as early as 3,000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3,100 BC. The site and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 in a co-listing with Avebury Henge monument. It is a national legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage, while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust. Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. The dating of cremated remains found on the site indicate burials from as early as 3,000 BC, when the initial ditch and bank were first dug. Burials continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years.
    Links: Top Ten English Attractions,,
  5. Göbekli Tepe, Turkey
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    Göbekli Tepe is a hilltop sanctuary erected on the highest point of an elongated mountain ridge some 15 km (9.3 mi) northeast of the town of Şanlıurfa in southeastern Turkey. The site, currently undergoing excavation by German and Turkish archaeologists, was most likely erected in the 9th millennium BC. Together with Nevalı Çori, it has revolutionized understanding of the Eurasian Neolithic. When discovered, it had been deliberately filled in and buried, for reasons unknown.
    Links: Top Ten Turkish Attractions,,
  6. Moai

           Moai, or mo‘ai, are monolithic human figures carved from rock on the Polynesian island of Easter Island between the years 1250 and 1500. Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island’s perimeter. Almost all moai have overly large heads three-fifths the size of their bodies. The moai are chiefly the living faces (aringa ora) of deified ancestors (aringa ora ata tepuna). The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island, but most would be cast down during later conflicts between clans. The 887 statues’ production and transportation is considered a remarkable creative and physical feat. The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was almost 10 m (33 ft) high and weighed 82 tons; the heaviest erected was a shorter but squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tons; and one unfinished sculpture, if completed, would have been approximately 21 m (69 ft) tall with a weight of about 270 tons.
    Links: Top Ten Easter Island Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 Oceanic SculpturesTop Ten Underwater Sculptures,,
  7. Carnac Stones, France
    Carnac StonesCarnac Stones1Carnac Stones2Carnac Stones3
    The Carnac stones are an exceptionally dense collection of megalithic sites around the French village of Carnac, in Brittany, consisting of alignments, dolmens, tumuli and single menhirs. The more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones were hewn from local rock and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany, and are the largest such collection in the world. Local tradition claims that the reason they stand in such perfectly straight lines is that they are a Roman legion turned to stone by Merlin or Saint Cornelius – Brittany has its own local versions of the Arthurian cycle. A Christian legend associated with the stones held that they were pagan soldiers in pursuit of Pope Cornelius when he turned them to stone. Most of the stones are within the Breton village of Carnac, but some to the east are within La Trinité-sur-Mer. The stones were erected at some stage during the Neolithic period, probably around 3,300 BC, but some may date to as old as 4,500 BC. In recent centuries, many of the sites have been neglected, with reports of dolmens being used as sheep shelters, chicken sheds or even ovens. Even more commonly, stones have been removed to make way for roads, or as building materials. The continuing management of the sites remains a controversial topic.
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions,,
  8. Great Wall of China (220-206 BC)
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           The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by the Xiongnu from the north and rebuilt and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century. Since the 5th century BC, several walls have been built that were referred to as the Great Wall. One of the most famous is the wall built between 220–206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains; the majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. The most comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has recently concluded that the entire Great Wall, with all of its branches, stretches for 8,851.8 km (5,500.3 mi). This is made up of 6,259.6 km (3,889.5 mi) of sections of actual wall, 359.7 km (223.5 mi) of trenches and 2,232.5 km (1,387.2 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions,
  9. Sacsayhuaman (Saqsaywaman), Peru
           Sacsayhuamán (also known as Saksaq Waman, Sacsahuaman) is a walled complex near the old city of Cusco, at an altitude of 3,701 m. or 12,000 feet. The site is part of the City of Cuzco, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983. It was built by the prehistoric indigenous people of the Killke culture about 1100 AD. They were superseded by the Inca, who occupied and expanded the complex beginning about 1200 AD. Some scholars believe the walls were a form of fortification. Others believe the complex was built specifically to represent the head of a puma, the effigy shape which Sacsayhuamán together with Cuzco forms when seen from above. There is much unknown about how the walls were constructed. The stones are so closely spaced that a single piece of paper will not fit between many of the stones. This precision, combined with the rounded corners of the limestone blocks, the variety of their interlocking shapes, and the way the walls lean inward, is thought to have helped the ruins survive devastating earthquakes in Cuzco. The longest of three walls is about 400 meters. They are about 6 meters tall. The estimated volume of stone is over 6,000 cubic m. Estimates for the weight of the largest limestone block vary from 128 tonnes to almost 200 tonnes.
    Links: Top Ten Peruvian Attractions,,
  10. Zorats Karer, Karahundj (Armenian Stonehenge)
    Zorats KarerZorats Karer1Zorats Karer2Zorats Karer3
    Zorats Karer is an archaeological site near the city of Sisian in the Syunik province of Armenia.
    Links: Top Ten Armenian Attractions,,
  11. Nabta Playa Complex, Egypt and Sudan (9,560 BC)
    Nabta Playa Complex1Nabta Playa Complex2
    The Nabta Playa is an internally drained basin that served as an important ceremonial center for nomadic tribes during the early part of 9,560 BC. Located 62 miles west of Abu Simbel some 60 miles west of the Nile near the Egyptian-Sudanese border. Nabta contains a number of standing and toppled megaliths. They include flat, tomb-like stone structures and a small stone circle that predates Stonehenge (2,600 BC) and other similar prehistoric sites by 1,000’s of years.
    Links: Top Ten Egyptian Attractions, Top Ten Sudanese Attractions,,
  12. Adam’s Calendar, South Africa (73,000 BC)
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    The Johan Heine Stone Calendar (affectionately called Adam’s Calendar) has been dated by astronomer Bill Hollenbach to be around 75,000 years, based on the movement of the peoples in southern Africa and the emergence of rock art during that period. But it could in fact be even older, dating back to the dawn of Homo sapiens some 250,000 years ago. The carved edge can be clearly seen, resulting in a sharp edge to cast a clear shadow on the flat calendar rock. The wider monolith became the calendar on which days and weeks were marked as the movement of the sun stretched perfectly from one edge to the other, left to right, and than back again.
    Links: Top Ten South African Attractions,,
    Products: Adam’s Calendar by Michael Tellinger (Book),
  13. Near Eastern Stonehenge, Israel
    Near Eastern StonehengeNear Eastern Stonehenge1
    Links: Top Ten Israeli Attractions,
  14. Heart of Neolithic Orkney, Scotland
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           Heart of Neolithic Orkney refers to a group of Neolithic monuments found on the Mainland, one of the islands of Orkney, Scotland. The site of patrimony currently consists of four sites: Maeshowe – a unique chambered cairn and passage grave, aligned so that its central chamber is illuminated on the winter solstice. It was looted by Vikings who left one of the largest collections of runic inscriptions in the world. Standing Stones of Stenness – the four remaining megaliths of a henge, the largest of which is 6 m (19 ft.) high. Ring of Brodgar – a stone circle 104 m in diameter, originally composed of 60 stones set within a circular ditch up to 3 m deep and 10 m wide, forming a henge monument. It has been estimated that the structure took 80,000 man-hours to construct. Skara Brae – a cluster of ten houses making up Northern Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village. Ness of Brodgar is an archaeological site between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness that has provided evidence of housing, decorated stone slabs, a massive stone wall with foundations, and a large building described as a Neolithic “cathedral.”
    Links: Top Ten Scottish Attractions,,
  15. Tenere Desert Rock Circle, Niger
    Tenere Desert Rock Circle
    Located at coordinates 18° 6’0.06″N 11°34’10.51″E, lies a stone circle 60 ft. in diameter. A mile away in each cardinal direction lies a stone arrow pointing away from the circle. There are also short lines in-between the arrows, which taken together form a broken square around the circle. This very intriguing stone structure lies in the heart of Niger near the ancient town of Fachi.
    Links: Top Ten Nigerien Attractions,
  16. Miami Stone Circle
    Miami Stone Circle
    Links: Top Ten US Attractions,
  17. Stonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake Michigan
    Stonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake MichiganStonehenge Beneath the Waters of Lake Michigan1
    Links: Top Ten US Attractions,
  18. Bonus: Coral Castle
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    Coral Castle is a stone structure created by the Latvian American eccentric Edward Leedskalnin north of the city of Homestead, Florida in Miami-Dade County at the intersection of US 1 (South Dixie Highway) and Southwest 157th Ave. The structure comprises numerous megalithic stones (mostly limestone formed from coral), each weighing several tons. It was constructed under mysterious circumstances and according to constructor Edward Leedskalnin was built with the same technology that the Egyptians built the pyramids with. LIt currently serves as a privately-operated tourist attraction.
    Links: Pyramids, Top Ten Pyramids,,
  19. Links: Monuments and Wonders, Top 100 Monuments, Architecture, Architecture by Type/Use,