A little bit of mystery keeps the world interesting, and there is no shortage when it comes to mysterious buildings. Sure, they may not look overly interesting or mysterious in terms of architecture and location, but the stories behind some of these buildings have left us curious, to say the least. And made us utter, “WHOA!”.
#5: the Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida.
Made from 1,100 tons of limestone boulders—bigger than those at Stonehenge—this structure, located just south of Miami, was built from 1923 to 1951 by a single man, a tiny Latvian immigrant named Edward Leedskalnin. What was the inspiration that could cause a man to spend 28 years to carve a Coral Castle from the ground up using nothing but home made tools? An homage to unrequited love? Perhaps to illustrate ancient sciences that defy gravity? Leedskalnin claimed to have known how the pyramids were build, and attempted to replicate the building methods as proof. Or maybe just sheer, raw human determination? The Coral Castle is an everlasting mystery to those who explore it.
#4: The Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Rennes-le-Château, France
Located in the small hilltop village of Languedoc in southern France, The Rennes-le-Château castle attracts thousands of visitors per year for being the centre of numerous conspiracy theories and for being the location of an alleged buried treasure discovered by 19-century priest, Bérenger Saunière. The chapel inspired the worldwide bestseller, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail from 1982, which in turn inspired The Da Vinci Code from 2003. Saunière is believed to have discovered the treasure of the Cathars, a Christian sect founded in the 11th century, inside this clue-laden house of worship. The cache of gold is rumored to have been stolen from the Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70—and possibly connected to the legends surrounding the super-secret Priory of Sion, Knights Templar, Holy Grail, and the real tomb of Jesus. Well-known French authors like Jules Verne and Maurice Leblanc are suspected of leaving clues in their novels about their knowledge of the ‘mystery’ of Rennes-le-Château.
#3: San Juan Parangaricutiro, Michoacán, Mexico
Along with the village of Parícutin, San Juan Parangaricutiro was buried beneath ash and lava in 1943 when an explosive volcano in Mexico’s remote mountain state of Michoacán began spewing lava, eventually burying the villages of San Juan Parangaricutiro and Paricutín under a coal-black layer of chunky lava. The crucifix-topped bell tower of the San Juan Parangaricutiro Church just so happened to be spared from the destructive lava, while the vacated church’s altar, at the other end of the church, is also entirely intact while the rest of the town was buried and destroyed. The tops of cathedrals in old San Juan Parangaricutiro still protrude from the volcanic deposits, and the bell tower can be seen in its entirety.
#2: Kolmanskop Diamond Camp, Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is like a scene from a scary movie. Like a no-man’s land between life and death, it is commonly referred to as ‘the land God created in anger’. The scenery is comprised of huge beached whalebones, the crumbling hulks of shipwrecks and dead plants. In 1908, a railway worker named Zacharias Lewala found a shiny stone and took it to the chief railway foreman August Stauch, who later confirmed Lewala’s find to be a large and rare diamond. The secret of the large diamond soon reached the masses and diamond seekers and adventurers settled in the area. Within a few years, thanks to the development of the area brought forth as a result of a diamond-rich land, Kolmanskop became the richest towns worldwide.
#1: Maunsell Sea Forts, North Sea, U.K.
Six miles offshore from Suffolk, England are a number of sea forts on stilts clad in rusted metal and accessible only by boat. The forts were re-occupied in the mid-1960s for pirate radio. All forts are currently abandoned except for one which is known as the Principality of Sealand. The Bates family has claimed the fort tower as their own, and self-proclaimed the fort a nation state and deemed his family to be royalty.