Located near the village of Shiyan Beicun in Zhejiang province, China, lies the Longyou caves – an extensive, magnificent and rare ancient underground world considered in China as ‘the ninth wonder of the ancient world’.
The Longyou grottoes, which are thought to date back at least 2,000 years, represent one of the largest underground excavations of ancient times and are an enduring mystery that have perplexed experts from every discipline that has examined them.
Scientists from around the world in the fields of archaeology, architecture, engineering, and geology have absolutely no idea how they were built, by whom, and why.
First discovered in 1992 by a local villager, 36 grottoes have now been discovered covering a massive 30,000 square metres. Carved into solid siltstone, each grotto descends around 30 metres underground and contains stone rooms, bridges, gutters and pools.
There are pillars evenly distributed throughout the caves which are supporting the ceiling, and the walls, ceiling and stone columns are uniformly decorated with chisel marks in a series of parallel lines.
Only one of the caves has been opened for tourism, chosen because of the stone carvings found inside which depict a horse, fish and bird. The Longyou caves truly are an enigma and here we will explore ten mysteries that are still unexplained despite more than two decades of research.
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