The Unexplainable Ruins of Yanmen Shan Mountain

The Unexplainable Ruins of Yanmen Shan Mountain

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Along the side of Yanmen Shan mountain, located twenty kilometers to the east of Nanjing, China, the legendary Yangshan quarry can be found. Although it is believed to have been in use from at least the time of the Six Dynasties (220 – 589 AD), the majority of the work at Yangshan is still attributed to the wave of construction that took place after the Ming dynasty was founded in 1368 AD, when the new emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, chose nearby Nanjing to become his capital city.

As the story goes, the Emperor’s son ordered the construction of a gigantic stele in 1405 AD for the Ming Xiaoling mausoleum; which had been built for his father, by his father, and was then later completed during the reign of his son. The Yangshan mountain quarry was chosen by the city’s stone-masons. They were then said to have cut and crafted three enormous blocks from the mountain side before finally coming to the realization that the blocks they’d been cutting were far-too big. At which point, they abandoned the effort in favor of a more realistic project.

How big were these blocks that they mistakenly sized-up?

The stele that these masons did end up creating for the Emperor is 6.7 meters tall—8.78, if you include the height of the stone tortoise it’s perched on—and, altogether with the tortoise, would weigh right around 100 tons. If assembled, the stele that they were said to have mistakenly attempted would have been over eight times as tall—73 meters high—and over three-hundred and ten times its weight—31,000 tons. For reference, a typical car weighs between 1 and 1.5 tons; the largest monolith, in the ancient and modern world, is the 1,250-ton Thunder Stone moved by Russia in 1770, resembling a rough outcropping that was never carved.

The stele that was built for the Emperor’s mausoleum [credit: Vmenkov]

One part of the stele that was claimed to have been cut out for the Emperor; it is hundreds of times bigger than anything man has ever been known to have moved [credit: Vmenkov]

A Monumental Failure

If taken as the authentic history it’s presented as, this story should be alarming for a number of reasons:

What could have led the Emperor’s master masons to believe that they could transport three blocks, totaling 31,000 tons, twenty kilometers through the mountains?

How could the construction of the Emperor’s grand gift to his father have been entrusted to such a thoroughly incompetent group? Especially when considering that, overall, this was many, enormous blunders taking place over a very long period and would have involved a substantial number of people: it seems preposterous that the effort wouldn’t have been halted almost immediately, let alone being allowed to begin in the first place.

The severe differences in the size, placement, and shape of the cuts indicates that they were never meant to be placed together or even moved. If they were, they also wouldn’t have all been cut at the same time and in such disparate fashions.

Consider the long-running conflict that was being fought with the Mongols, which was soaking up much of their resources and attention, and the fact that, only years later, the country’s bankrupt treasury couldn’t even manage to find the funds to create a single print of their newly created encyclopedia. This strenuous period doesn’t exactly appear to be the time to embark on one of the most immense engineering projects known to man, a project that would have amounted to nothing more than an art piece.

Enormous cut stones at Yangshan [credit: Vmenkov]

More Than a Quarry

There hardly seems to be a need to reconcile this curious tale as a quick review of the site reveals a multitude of inclusions that would never have been made if the site was simply a quarry.

For instance, in the image above, three outcroppings of rock can be seen. These, at first, might be seen as sites to attach ropes. However, their placement quickly deflates this idea. They can only be found on some of the stones, and they’re also clustered on a single side on some of those stones. Many of the protrusions are also fully rounded and would make for poor grips for rope. Certain ones are also beneath the area where the block would have been cut.

Also, as can be seen in the same image, smooth cylindrical segments have been removed in a place that would serve no purpose if the blocks were to be removed.

It becomes even harder to accept that these blocks were ever intended to be moved when examining the patterns carved into the walls of the rooms that have been created beneath these giant masses of stone—as seen in the pictures below.

Patterns carved into the walls of the rooms that have been created beneath these giant masses of stone [credit: Vmenkov]

A Display of Entopic Phenomena?

Engraved a centimeter or more, and sometimes deeper than an inch, these patterns appear to have been worked into the interior surfaces of these structures much in the same way that entoptic phenomena was incorporated into some of the oldest cave art sites in the world. Entoptic phenomena, in an archaeological context, are patterns that naturally occur within the eye or brain which are then used as a motif for art when their occurrence in a normal human’s experience is greatly increased due to that person undergoing an altered state of consciousness; in other words, our ancient ancestors used to put themselves into altered states of consciousness—typically, through the use of naturally occurring psychedelic compounds—and they would then carve or paint entoptic phenomena, among other things, inside of caves and on rock faces. If the engravings at this site are truly indicative of entoptic phenomena, this realization might help to place the site into a much deeper period of antiquity as the other examples of entoptic phenomena in cave art typically receive dates on the order of tens of thousands of years old. [For more on this, look to the work of David Lewis-Williams]

To be clear, these long, engraved patterns of lines are certainly not the aftermath of the stone in these openings simply being removed—at least not by any tools or techniques attributed to ancient man; though many, particularly along the side walls, do resemble what remains after a pass by a modern heavy excavator. So why would the workers, said to be quarrying these blocks, go through the trouble? The designs appear artistic, similar to what might be found in a ritual space. Additionally, and strangely enough, they don’t appear to have been made by a basic chisel.

A Staggering Amount of Rock Moved

One particularly bizarre aspect of the site is just how much stone appears to have been moved. Looking at the spaces between the major blocks and the surrounding mountains, it looks as if millions of tons of rock has been removed. The region is known to have been a quarry for some time, though this explanation would hardly seem to account for the staggering amount of rock that appears to have been moved. In addition, if the site was used to quarry rock then take it elsewhere, it was done so in a very bizarre fashion; as if there was a contrived effort to leave behind towering, flat walls—this isn’t found at any other ancient quarry.

A more reasonable explanation would seem to be that whoever initially worked at this site did so to create the structures found at the site. It’d be an immense project, though not entirely without precedent. The Longyou caves , which are a few hundred miles away, are considered to be one of the ancient world’s biggest engineering projects, though no one can determine who made them or why. A similar amount of stone would have been displaced in the area around Yanmen Shan. As well, the Longyou caves have very similar patterns of engraved lines like those seen in the images above.

This image gives an indication of just how much rock was carved and moved [credit: Vmenkov]

If the site really is the ruins of some incredibly ancient culture, there’s a possibility that they might have lessened their work load by using rubble-masonry stonework and rammed-earth building techniques to shape different parts of the area. The techniques are rather simple—rubble-masonry, for instance, is the process of mixing small rocks with cement then using that material to fill in wooden frames to make walls or blocks—and would have been employed in an adding-subtracting manner; as the workers would break apart certain areas of rock, they’d use the rubble to fill in other areas of the site: piecing together giant stone creations while they carved out others.

Left: Examples of the Rammed Earth Method. Right: Example of the Rubble Masonry Method

Unanswered Mystery

There’s more to this site than it being a simple quarry. However, its original purpose is tough to discern. What is known is that at least some material has been taken from this site; so it’s likely that those operations would have taken apart any smaller stone structures as well as removing anything that might be considered valuable or precious—such as what might be found in a temple.

Further shrouding the site in mystery is the intense level of secrecy China maintains in regards to some of its strangest ancient ruins. Many sites are completely restricted, and in general, it’s almost impossible to gain permission to dig at or research any historical site.

Even more frustrating, as well as bizarre, is that the existence of certain megalithic sites is simply denied. For instance, the hundreds of pyramids that cover China’s landscape weren’t acknowledged until more recent times; and, at first, these structures were downplayed as a handful of small Han-era burial mounds. To this day, the areas with the largest and most interesting structures are off limits. A few well-known burial mounds are available to the public, and it’s explained that any other pyramid-like structures that exist are just like the ones that can be seen.

Also, interesting to note is that the Chinese government has since gone out of their way to cover some of these pyramids with a fast-growing species of conifer, seemingly for the purpose of masking their presence from aerial photography while also degrading their structure.

The ruins at Yangshan [credit: Vmenkov ]

A beautifully precise scoop taken for no apparent reason out of a large rock [credit: Baike]

As is the case with most of our world’s oldest existing works of art and architecture, this creation seems to belong to a disparate culture that embodied a way of life radically different than our own. And, just like other ancient megalithic sites, it would seem its builders utilized techniques that have long since been lost; a body of techniques that likely arose from an entirely different tree of engineering which allowed for the working and movement of enormous stones to be a far more practical endeavor.

Ruins of Pingcheng City

Ruins of Pingcheng City is located at the northern area of Datong. In the past, Ruins of Pingcheng City is the capital city of the early Northern Wei Dynasty from 398 to 494. The excavation of Ruins of Pingcheng City has great values in studying the city&rsquos layout of Northern Wei Dynasty and the ancient Chinese etiquette. In 1988, Ruins of Pingcheng City was selected as the National Key Cultural Relics Protection Unit.

History of Ruins of Pingcheng City
More than 1,500 years ago, Tuoba family from Xianbei nationality became the emperor royalty, and then moved the capital to Pingcheng City. They established their capital here, which lasted for 96 years. There were more than 60 large buildings such as the Palace of Astronomy, Tianhua Palace, Ziji Palace, East Palace, West Palace, and Wanshou Palace. After Northern Wei Dynasty emperors&rsquo reign period, the population of the capital reached to 1 million.

In 494, Emperor Xiaowen moved the capital to Luoyang. In 524, the city was almost destroyed during the uprising of the northern people. In 1372 of Ming Dynasty, General Xu Da built the Datong City on the basis of the outer city of Ruins of Pingcheng City. The southern city walls were completely built by Xu Da. The north, west and north sides were thickened with bricks on the original outer city walls.

Features of Ruins of Pingcheng City
Ruins of Pingcheng City lies near the Datong Great Wall by Fangshan Mountain. Pingcheng City was divided into three parts: palace area, outer city and outer city walls. The perimeter of the palace area is 4 kilometers. The perimeter of the outer city is 10 kilometers, which had 12 gates in total. Inside the outer city, there are about 100 pavilions and temples. The perimeter of the outer city walls reaches 16 kilometers. The whole city has very orderly layout, which formed the checkerboard-shaped architectural pattern.

The Ming Hall was the important part of Royal Building complex of Northern Wei Dynasty. Locating at the south part of the city, it has an area of about 70,000 square meters. The Ming Hall has a round roof with a square body. The Lingtai Pavilion on the top of the hall was used to observe the sky. The Tai room, the main hall, and the distribution rooms were built below the pavilion. These rooms were used to handle the political affairs, sacrifice and worship the honorable ancestors.

The site of grain cellar located 150 meters northeast of the Ruins of Pingcheng City. There were more than 50 pillar stones and 5 round grain cellar ruins on the rammed earth pavilion. The grain cellar is round, with a diameter of 10 meters and a depth of 4 meters.

Roman dodecahedron

These ancient objects were typically made from bronze with some even being found made out of stone. Roman dodecahedrons are made from five sides, with each corner covered in a round shape. The objects were first discovered 200 years ago, but no one is any closer to working out why they were made in the first place.

As if that wasn’t enough, they have been found all across the world from Switzerland to Great Britain. Some guess they were used to hold candles while others believe they were to help determine when to harvest crops. Sadly, it looks as though we may never have a definitive answer to the riddle.

Roman dodecahedron

These ancient objects were typically made from bronze with some even being found made out of stone. Roman dodecahedrons are made from five sides, with each corner covered in a round shape.

The objects were first discovered 200 years ago, but no one is any closer to working out why they were made in the first place.

As if that wasn’t enough, they have been found all across the world from Switzerland to Great Britain. Some guess they were used to hold candles while others believe they were to help determine when to harvest crops. Sadly, it looks as though we may never have a definitive answer to the riddle.

The Unexplainable Ruins of Yanmen Shan Mountain - History

The ancient city wall of Shuozhou is an earlier and more complete existing city wall in Shanxi. It is now a cultural relics protection unit in Shanxi Province. The ancient city wall of Shuozhou can be traced back to the city of Tianmayi, Qinmeng, and the Northern Qi Dynasty built it on its foundation and used it for future generations. In the Ming Dynasty, due to the lack of soldiers and the wide city, it was built on the basis of the previous dynasty.

This ruin is basically a ruin. We are more to pay homage to it, to have a feel.

Although the ancient city site of Shuozhou has not been selected as a world cultural heritage, its historical value is still quite high. Here are several important historical and cultural relics in Inner Mongolia. Ordos not far away is also very good.

The ancient city of Shuozhou in Northern Qi and the city of Shuozhou in the late Yuan and early Ming dynasties, located in Shuocheng District, Shuozhou City, is one of the oldest and relatively intact ancient cities in Shanxi Province. In 1996, the Shanxi Provincial People’s Government announced that it was the third batch Provincial key cultural relics. "Shuozhou Chronicles" records that the formation of the ancient city of Shuozhou can be traced back to the late Warring States period. According to reports, "In the 32nd year of the first emperor (241 BC), General Mengtian sent 300,000 troops to attack the Xiongnu in the north. Build a city and raise horses.” The exact construction date of the ancient city wall of Shuozhou, according to "Suozhou Chronicles", was founded in the eighth year of Tianbao in the Northern Qi Dynasty (AD 557), with a circumference of nine miles and 13 meters, which was a rammed wall for the earth city. It was used in the Sui, Tang, Liao and Jin dynasties, and has a history of 1439 years. It was expanded on the site of Mayi City in the Qin and Han Dynasties. From the Yuan Dynasty to the Zheng period (1341-1368) due to defense needs, the ancient city was reduced, and the city was built in the southeast of the ancient city of Beiqi. Afterwards, construction was suspended due to the war. The Tucheng continued to be built in the third year of Hongwu in the Ming Dynasty (1370), and four brick gates were added. . "Shuozhou Chronicles" recorded: "From the Yuan Dynasty to the end of the Yuan Dynasty, the right prime minister Brothemur was stationed in Datong, so that Yao Shu was sent to guard Shuozhou, with fewer soldiers, the northwest was saved, and the southeast corner was built." The city wall is 12 meters high, the castellation height is 2 meters, the total height is 14 meters, and the circumference is 4000 meters. There are four urn cities, four turrets, 12 enemy towers, 4 gate towers, 4 smoke piers and 16 beacon towers, which are spectacular in shape. Tall and majestic, as solid as golden soup. In the 20th year of Hongwu in the Ming Dynasty (1387), the city walls were all clad with bricks, and the auxiliary facilities included a battlement, a city pond, an urn city, an enemy tower, a gate tower, a turret, a pavilion, and a bow bridge. After many repairs in successive dynasties, the city is quite majestic and is a fortress outside Yanmen Pass. In the early days of liberation, some of the city bricks were demolished due to construction needs, and during the Cultural Revolution, the city bricks were completely demolished. Except for the South City Wall, Cheng'en Gate (South City Gate), West City Wall, City Gate, and Weng City are preserved, other buildings have been destroyed. Before the renovation of the Shuozhou Old City project in 2010, the streets and layout of the city remained basically the original system. The original ancient city has been replaced by a commercial development and renovation project, and the original appearance of the ancient city has disappeared. The ancient city of Shuozhou, located outside Yanmen Pass, between the inner and outer Great Walls, connected to Inner Mongolia in the north, controlled Yanmen, Pianguan, and Ningwu in the south, and had access to the counties of Xin, Dai, and Yuanping. In ancient times, it was a border fortress. It can support Datong and resist the entire Jin Dynasty. It is a battleground for military strategists of all dynasties. Historically, the rulers of ethnic minorities such as the Huns, Turks, Huihe, Xianbei, Khitan, Jurchen, Mongolia, etc. fought off from the south to fetch Shanxi. Most of them first surrounded Shuozhou, then entered Yanmen and took Jinyang directly. In the Western Han Dynasty Han Xin Yu Mayi rebelled against the Han and surrendered to the Huns. General Zhou Bo washed the city of Mayi with blood the Han dynasty's "Mayi plot" to lure the Huns The battle Song Yangye won the fierce battle between Huanshuo and Khitan, and was captured in Chenjiagu’s defeat the Ming Dynasty’s Ida tribe attacked Shuozhou from time to time the peasant Xiongliu uprising in the Qing Dynasty took place in Shuozhou. .


A first wall was started at the end of the Warring States Period in Zhao State under ruler Wuling . During the time of the Southern and Northern Dynasties , the pass became one of the "Three Passes of the Northern Frontier" ( Beiting sanguan ). The pass fortress was built under the Tang as a defensive castle against the nomads. During the Yuan Dynasty , the pass became less and less used and the fortress fell into disrepair.

In the Ming Dynasty , the wall section was restored under Hongwu in 1374 and the fortress was moved five kilometers to the north. Major repairs to the wall and the fortress were carried out under Wanli and Tongzhi in 1587 and 1867.


The pass was used since antiquity. During the Han dynasty it was under the jurisdiction of a micro-state called Juandu ( 捐毒国 ). During the Tang dynasty, the region came under Tang control as part of Anxi Protectorate [2]

Russia and China first established a port of entry at the Torugart Pass in 1881. In 1906, Russia's Sino-Russian Transport Bank financed the construction of the road from the pass to Kashgar for 20 million rubles. In 1952, the Torugart Pass replaced the Irkeshtam Pass, which lies some 165 km (103 mi) southwest, as the primary overland link between Xinjiang and the then-Soviet Kyrgyz Republic. The pass was closed in 1969 due to the Sino-Soviet Split and reopened again in 1983. In 1995, the Torugart Port of Entry was relocated to a lower elevation (2,000m), closer to Kashgar, some 57 km (35 mi) away.

The pass is open to all nationalities but clearance requires careful arrangement of transportation. [3]

A China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway going through Torugard Pass has been in the works that would connect Kashgar and the Ferghana Valley since 2012. [4] However, the Kyrgyz section of the rail has been stalled due to financial and technical issues. [5]

6 of the Most Baffling Unsolved Mysteries…

The Mary Celeste is arguably the most famous seagoing mystery. In early December 1872 the vessel was found adrift and abandoned by British craft Dei Gratia – Latin for “By the Grace of God”. Was such grace involved in the crew’s disappearance?

Supposed to be on board were Captain Benjamin Briggs and family, together with 8 seagoing men. The Mary Celeste had been on the waves just shy of a month. A lifeboat was missing. The sails were up and the boat was a few hundred miles east of the Azores. Provisions were left behind.

Did the situation point to something beyond human comprehension? writes about the ship’s background: “Originally christened Amazon, it was given a new name after a series of mishaps (including the sudden illness and death of its first captain and a collision with another ship in the English Channel).” Some believe a sea monster was involved!

12 years later it was beached as part of an insurance scam. The book has long been closed, but as Reader’s Digest writes, “Commentators generally agree that to precipitate the abandonment of a seaworthy ship, some extraordinary and alarming circumstance must have arisen.”

5.Tunguska Blast

Meteor that blasted millions of trees in Siberia only ‘grazed’ Earth

Most people’s knowledge of the 1908 Tunguska Blast is a throwaway line from Ray Stantz in ‘Ghostbusters’ (quoted there as happening in 1909). Yet this was no scriptwriter’s invention! An epic explosion occurred that decimated a 770 square mile section of forest in Siberia.

Reader’s Digest writes: “The phenomenon… has been classified by scientists as the largest ‘impact event’ (which means a recordable impact between two astronomical objects, such as an asteroid and the earth) in recorded history.” Sounds incredible. One slight snag however… nobody saw it. Or indeed heard it.

The absence of a crater is also puzzling, leading experts to speculate an object fell from the sky and blew up over the woods before impact. An imperfect solution to a truly unexpected problem…

4.Sleeping Sickness

It isn’t the most well known of afflictions, but “encephalitis lethargica” strikes dread into the heart of experts. The mysterious condition is rare these days, but between 1916 and 1930 there was an outbreak that spread from Europe. Half a million were apparently affected. Approx a third are said to have perished.

So what did it do? Neurology Live notes there wasn’t “a unified diagnosis” at first. The site goes on to describe the symptoms, such as “Strange neuropsychiatric behaviors and an overwhelming lethargic sleepiness, which induced a coma like state, as well as muscle rigidity”.

That muscle rigidity was a particularly worrying feature, meaning whilst some survived the disease, they suffered greatly. “Though occasionally capable of limited speech, eye motion, and even laughter, they generally appeared as living statues” Reader’s Digest says, “totally motionless for hours, days, weeks, or years.”

Cases have been mercifully few since, but the so-called “sleeping sickness” left its mark on medical history…

3.Dyatlov Pass Incident

The tomb of the group who had died in mysterious circumstances in the northern Ural Mountains

In 1959 the bodies of 9 hikers were found over 3,000 feet up in the frozen conditions of “Dead Mountain”, Russia. An appropriate name – though the grisly discovery is known as the Dyatlov Pass incident, after the man in charge Igor Dyatlov.

He and his fellow explorers were traveling through the Ural Mountains, headed for Mount Ortorten, but never reached there.

On the night of February 2nd a snowstorm hit the site. For some reason the group’s tent was cut open from the inside, and they ventured out into the ice with no protective clothing. Hypothermia set in, part of which involves taking clothes off because the victim is fooled into thinking it’s getting hot. The first couple of victims found were in their underthings.

That’s the official explanation. However this mystery is far from resolved. Some had fractured ribs and skulls. Burnt hands. And worst of all a tongue had been removed from one of the young hikers. The group’s footprints were visible but nothing else. No sign of an attacker. Most intriguingly of all, their remaining clothes carried high levels of radiation.

What happened that extraordinary night? Files were released in the 1990s but were incomplete. So people have supplied their own theories, everything from mountain monsters to UFOs.

Another possible explanation is infrasound. Reader’s Digest explains this as when “wind interacts with the topography to create a barely audible hum that can nevertheless induce powerful feelings of nausea, panic, dread, chills, nervousness, raised heartbeat rate, and breathing difficulties.” Feelings that can also be created reading this mysterious tale…

2.Voynich Manuscript

Some pages of the manuscript fold out to show larger diagrams.

The impenetrable Voynich Manuscript looks like a movie prop. Yet for experts it’s all too real. Discovered in Rome by book expert Wilfrid Voynich from Poland, it’s a small and perfectly formed codex. Yale University host the strange and unusual item, which measures approx 20 x 16 cm and contains 240 vellum pages.

What’s on those pages? There’s the odd recognizable word, but apart from that the text is written in a highly obscure language. Not to mention plenty of eye-opening illustrations that wouldn’t look out of place in a Studio Ghibli release.

“There are floating castles, disembodied heads, flowers that bear no relation to anything you can find on Earth,” reports History Extra, adding there are “strange creatures that resemble jellyfish, and lots of naked women bathing in water.”

In 2009 it was radiocarbon dated and the vellum was found to be from the 15th century, making the codex Medieval. When Voynich acquired the manuscript there was a letter with it, stating it was the former property of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. Famous names that attempted to get to the bottom of the mystery include iconic code cracker Alan Turing.

No-one has worked out what the book actually means. A hoax hasn’t been ruled out. Though a controversial theory was suggested in recent years, deeming the manuscript a medical manual of sorts for women. The more people investigate, the curiouser it gets…

1.Flannan Isles Lighthouse

Has mystery of Flannan Isles finally been solved?

There are few things spookier than a lighthouse. And that’s just the location for an eerie mystery. 1990 saw a crew land on Eilean Mor, part of the Flannan Isles in Scotland. There they expected to find experienced keepers Thomas Marshall, James Ducat and Donald McArthur. However there was no sign of the men.

They’d seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. Inside the lighthouse, a chair was turned over. A meal was abandoned and the clock wasn’t ticking. The log book revealed the island had experienced a nasty storm, even though nothing was reported in the area. Accounts state the men were in a strange mood.

Mental Floss writes that “Superstitions and rituals—like circling the church’s ruins on your knees—were adopted by those passing through”. It adds “many considered Eilean Mor to have an indefinable aura that could not be ignored.”

A logical deduction was made, based on storm damage to Eilean More’s west landing. Were the keepers swept away whilst going about their business in rough conditions?

Naturally there are other, scarier stories concerning unnatural forces. The lack of concrete answers helps construct a powerful and mysterious narrative…

Watch the video: Unfinished Megalithic Stones in China Yangshan Quarry (July 2022).


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