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The Great Pyramids of Giza

These Mysterious Travel Sites Have Inspired Explorers for Centuries

Some travel to make discoveries. Others travel because they have already discovered something. Many travel to marvel at the discoveries that those who came before uncovered. And sometimes, we have the rare opportunity to travel in pursuit of answers to questions and mysteries that have burned through time and continue to elude even the most seasoned experts. This final category is where you might find yourself if your next Crystal journey takes you to one of the mysterious sites on our list below.

In the 21st century, we have the benefit of time and technologies that have led us to discern some of history’s most curious happenings. And yet even with today’s advances and the tireless dedication of archaeologists around the world, some things remain puzzling. These types of mysteries will add intrigue to any global journey, captivating the curiosity of even the savviest travelers. Here are some of the world’s greatest remaining mysteries for your travel list.

The intricate carvings in the facade of the Petra Monastery still astound archaeologists.

The “Lost” City of Petra. Well, okay, it’s been found. However, the remaining mysteries of this Rose City still run deep. It’s “rose” moniker was earned for the vibrant red, white and pink sandstone cliffs into which the intricate Jordanian city was carved around 400 B.C., when it was the capital of the Nabataean empire and a major trading center. It lost its prominence when the Romans took over in 106 A.D., and slowly fell into decay. Earthquakes aided in its “hiding” beneath shifted ground, making it completely unknown to the western world for many hundreds of years. In the early 19th century some European explorers disguised as Bedouins (the only recent residents of Petra at that time) made their way in to discover some of the city’s secrets. Since then, about 15 percent of Petra’s remarkable architecture has been uncovered, leaving many mysteries still buried, waiting to be discovered.

Explore Petra from Aqaba, Jordan on a variety of captivating sailings aboard Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Esprit.

Knossos Palace on Crete, Greece
Knossos Palace on Crete, Greece, is the site of extensive restoration efforts and archaeological study into the Minoan culture.

The Minoans. Ancient Greece is said to be the cradle of civilization, the beginnings of democracy and so many other foundations of modern society. But the Greeks were not the original thriving culture on those famed isles including Santorini and Crete. The Minoans paved the way during the Bronze Age, from about 3000 B.C. to 1100 B.C. Most of the Minoan people’s way of life is a mystery, down to the exact reason and way they vanished from earth. Some say that Thera, the volcano that formed Santorini’s crescent shape with its eruption, is to blame for the demise of the Minoans, but there is controversy there due to a discrepancy of a couple of centuries. Either way, it has become apparent that the Minoans were one of the most established and progressive of the Aegean civilizations, with sophisticated architecture and elaborate frescoes on walls throughout the lost city. One of the most prominent mysteries of this elusive culture is its language. Archaeologists have attributed one of the most aesthetically intricate and beautiful hieroglyphic written languages to the Minoans, but no one has yet been able to decipher it. Not a single word.

Walk the path of the Minoans on Crete and Santorini with Crystal Esprit’s Adriatic sailings and Crystal Serenity’s Mediterranean sailings exploring the Greek Isles.

Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu, in sunset light, with the iconic Sphinx.

The Great Pyramid of Giza. One of the only remaining mysteries of the ancient world, this marvel of engineering is estimated to have been completed around 2540 B.C. It was built as the tomb of Egyptian King “Khufu,” although why it was built has not sparked quite the intrigue as how it was built and why it was built the way it was. Archaeologists have learned enough over centuries about the construction of other pyramids to understand the structure and uber-progressive engineering prowess of the ancient Egyptians (implemented by tens of thousands of slaves over decades), but the Great Pyramid is another story. It is perfectly designed to align with the cardinal points of north, south, east and west, with a slightly lopsided pinnacle. This structure was achieved within one fifteenth of one degree of accuracy, with each of the two surrounding pyramids following suit. The question as to exactly how this precision came to be is fascinating, but more so, the reason why and what this effort could represent. Such exacting standards are no accident, and yet, this mystery continues to stump world experts. Other discoveries within the pyramid, like a previously unknown sanctum, raise more questions than answers about the intricacies and secrets it holds.

Gaze at Giza’s greatest treasure on Crystal Esprit Holy Land sailings in 2019 and 2020.

Explore these mysterious sites and many others as you make your own discoveries aboard Crystal voyages throughout the world.


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