Historical landmarks have the ability to transport us through time and space. They connect the past with the present while reinforcing our beliefs. Every historical landmark has a story, such as why or when it was built. However, some take us a step further by revealing mysterious and interesting stories that fascinate us. Here is a roundup of 9 hidden stories behind some of the world’s most famous landmarks.

1. The Parthenon Once Served as a Church and Mosque

Built almost 2,500 years ago, it is in the public domain that the Parthenon was built as a worship temple for Athena, the Greek Goddess, by Ancient Greeks. However, little do people know that during the Byzantine rule, the Parthenon was converted into a Christian Church. Later on, during the rule of the Ottoman Empire, it was converted into an Orthodox church.

In 1458, the Parthenon was converted into a mosque by the new Muslim rulers. More interestingly, the Parthenon was a storage place for gunpowder and ammunition during the Great Turkish War. It’s the same war that significantly damaged the temple, leading to the collapse of the roof and several walls.

2. The Great Wall of China Had Multiple Uses

It is commonly believed that the Great Wall of China was built for security purposes. However, research has shown that this is not the only reason. To begin with, the wall is only 6 feet tall, which isn’t tall enough to keep a serious army away. Then, it was built using bricks and earth, making it relatively easy to knock down.

After being studied for years, tunnels and structures were discovered near the entrances of the landmark. This has led historians to believe that the Great Wall of China has/had other uses, including managing migration patterns within China and imposing taxes on traders. Also, the tunnels may have been used as escape routes during invasions. Credible sources reveal there are burial sites along the Great Wall of China.

3. Paris Intellects Initially Didn’t Like the Eiffel Tower

Today, the Eiffel Tower is a symbol of love and romance in France. It has witnessed thousands of proposals, weddings, and love stories. However, this hasn’t always been the case. When it was completed in 1889, Paris-based intellects didn’t like it so much.

Famous architects, sculptors, painters, and writers signed a manifesto protesting the presence of this monument in France. They perceived it as monstrous and useless, so they called for its demolition. Fortunately, the Eiffel Tower was saved by a giant radio antenna placed at the top, enabling communication. Without it, the monument would have not survived to date.

4. The Columbia University was Once the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum

Columbia University is an Ivy League institution with a diverse student body, unlimited resources, and excellent faculties. Even though the campus is not huge, it is surrounded by decent-looking structures and gardens.

However, before 1892, the campus grounds belonged to Bloomingdale’s Insane Asylum, which housed more than 200 patients. At the time, New York was quickly converting into an urban city. Therefore, the hospital was literally out of place. There are still remnants of the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum within the campus.

5. The Taj Mahal was Built to Honor the Emperor’s Favorite Wife

Contrary to popular belief, the Taj Mahal wasn’t built for religious purposes, but to honor emperor Shah Jahan’s third and favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died in 1631, and the iconic mosque was built a year later. The construction lasted for 17 years, with thousands of masons were hired to work on this funerary monument.

6. The Serengeti is Covered by a Layer of Animal Droppings

Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is famous for hosting large wild animal migrations, including the wildebeest. The strangest thing about this UNESCO World Heritage Site is that it is covered by animal droppings, not on the surface but a few layers from the ground, explaining why the area is so fertile. In the Serengeti, there are small oases called grassy glades. Archeologists have dated these swamps to be at least 1500 years old, and they contain dung from the animals of Stone Age herders.

7. The Pyramids of Giza were Built by Skilled Workers and Not Aliens

Lately, the Pyramids of Giza have become a hot topic of debate on social media, especially regarding how they were built. One of the most common stories about them revolves around aliens. It is alleged that the celestial beings built the pyramids using advanced technology. On the contrary, there is no scientific or realistic proof of this claim.

Historians believe that the pyramids of Giza were built by skilled workers who used simple tools like rollers, sleds, and ramps. It may have taken longer for them to build the pyramids, but there was no involvement of aliens or other similar beings.

8. The Stonehenge May Have Been Built Using Pig Fat

Centuries later, how the Mesolithic hunters and gatherers would have moved the giant pieces and carefully stacked them together remains a mystery. However, researchers discovered ceramic pots with pig fat about two miles from Stonehenge. The pots were smeared with pig fat, and by the look of things, the pigs weren’t being cooked – the carcasses were found intact. Instead, the fat was used to roll down sleds, carrying the Stonehenge megaliths to their position.

9. The Statue of Liberty Served as a Lighthouse in the Beginning

Built from 1865 to 1886, the Statue of Liberty was designed to symbolize the United States’ independence and relationship with France. In fact, it was built in France and shipped to the US for assembly and installation.

However, most people don’t know that the Statue of Liberty also served as a lighthouse following its installation in 1902, intended to guide ships and sailors. Unfortunately, the landmark couldn’t serve its purpose as it ran on electricity. It became too expensive for the Lighthouse Board and was shut down on March 1, 1902.

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Last Update: June 18, 2024