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Mysterious Ancient Fortress in The Middle of a Siberian Lake Baffles Experts

Por-Bajin, which has baffled scholars for decades, is considered one of the most mysterious archaeological sites in Russia.


Por-Bajin (which also goes by the name, “Por-Bazhyn”) is considered one of the most mysterious archaeological sites in Russia.

The ancient fortress — which scholars estimate must have been constructed around 757 AD — engulfs an island in the middle of Tere-Khol Lake. It’s 2,300 meters above sea level in the mountains of southern Siberia. It’s close to the Mongolian border.

It occupies 3.5 hectares.


The awesome site is likewise considered part of the Republic of Tuva under the Russian Federation. In fact, Por-Bajin means “clay house” in the Tuvan language.

Occupying 3.5-hectares, Por-Bajin is surrounded by walls that are 10 meters tall and 12 meters wide.

It was first explored in 1891, but excavations on the site only started in 1957.


Por-Bajin’s origin has been linked to the Uyghurs, an ethnic group in  Eastern and Central Asia. However, the Uyghurs were said to be nomadic, so scholars are still trying to find out why they would build such a massive structure. Some have theorized that Por-Bajin could also have been a monastery, a summer palace, or an astronomical observatory.

The site seems to have been built using at least one other cultural influence.


There are things that don't add up here.


In a report published in The European Archaeologist in 2011, archaeologist Irina Arzhantseva noted that Por-Bajin layout was “characteristic of Chinese architecture from the T’ang Dynasty.”

Other scholars have remarked that Por-Bajin is like a scaled-down version of the imperial Forbidden City in China. However, these scholars can’t seem to explain why there are no provisions for heating systems in Por-Bajin despite the fact that temperatures there could drop dangerously low.

Buildings in the Por-Bajin complex had detailed roof tiles.


But for all the debates that archaeologists have engaged in, there are still no sure answers to the questions surrounding Por-Bajin. Who built it? What is it really for? Why was it abandoned? For now, we all just have to wait until the excavations on the site yield more clues.

Were these walls designed to keep out enemies?


Photo credit: Vera Salnitskaya

Perhaps, Russian president Vladimir Putin summed it up best when he said this about Por-Bajin: “I have been to many places, I have seen many things, but I have never seen anything of the kind.”



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Live it big like kings and queens.

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Here are 12 of most dramatic and striking citadels from around the world to see on your next trip:

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Would you dare take a thrilling swim at this pool?


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Photographer Travels To Capture The Most Beautiful Libraries In The World.

Satisfy your inner bibliophile with some of the world’s most beautiful libraries.

Libraries are powerful and open source of information, knowledge and education. They are just as important as books are to readers. The main goal is to promote reading and make it accessible to the public.

For "bibliophiles," a library is not only a place but a sanctuary where learning never stops. It opens different worlds that fill everyone with wonder and delight--from flipping pages to the towering bookshelves plus a favorite book to read.

French-born photographer Franck Bohbot has been traveling since 2011 to search for the world's most beautiful libraries. Bohbot who is based in New York has gone to different places like Paris and Tokyo for his ongoing series called House of Books. It showcased some of the most astounding, historical, unique and artsy libraries in the world, from the breathtaking architecture and interior, this work is every book lover's dream.

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