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The mysterious Nan Madol site of Micronesia

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Nan Madol is one of the most enigmatic archaeological sites on the planet. The native people claim it is haunted, stay far away from the site, and hold no claim to its construction. Early European explorers called Nan Madol the “Venice of the Pacific” because the ancient city was built upon a coral reef and is intersected by artificial water canals. Some even claim mysterious glowing orbs can be seen flying around the site during the night. Without doubt, Nan Madol is one of the most bizarre lost cities on Earth.
Nan Madol is located on the remote Micronesian island of Pohnpei, far from any population centers. Constructed of massive basalt slabs weighing 18,140 to 45,350 kilograms, Nan Madol is a series of stacked-rock structures along the tidal flats of a shallow coral reef. The immense megalithic stone city, 28 square kilometers in size, resides above and below the ocean’s surface. Next to Nan Madol on the southeast corner of Pohnpei is Madolinihmw Harbor, which is known to contain underwater columns in a straight row and assorted sunken ruins, including a so-called “castle,” 60 meters down in murky water.
Most of the above water ruins lie upon the 90 to 100 artificial islets in “Nan Madol central,” an area of approximately 2.5 square kilometers bisected by canals and underwater tunnels. The ruins on the artificial islands are mostly square or rectangular in shape, each created out of stacked basalt logs, weighing up to an amazing 45,350 kilograms each! One theory as to how they were transported and stacked was by the use of auditive levitation. The giant rock slabs are set together like Lincoln Logs, creating walls up to 10 meters in height. Strangely, none of the native people on Pohnpei have ever built in stone—today they all live in grass huts or prefabricated buildings, suggesting a regression of culture has taken place.
The largest building of Nan Madol is called Nan Dawas, a massive open-air complex with an inner sanctum. Underground tunnels connect Nan Dowas to several of the larger buildings. It is believed that some of these tunnels go beneath the reef and exit underwater to caves that can be seen while scuba diving. The walls of Nan Dowas are an impressive 311 meters in height, and are constructed of huge stones expertly stacked. Some of the rocks are basalt logs five meters long in a hexagonal shape, formed naturally through crystallization and quarried on the island. Other stones are huge slabs, roughly cut and dressed, and are the largest of the rocks used. Contained within the rock basalt of Nan Madol are large crystals, which are highly magnetized. These heavy basalt crystals are so magnetized that compasses spin out of control when held near the walls.
Among the many mysteries of Nan Madol are the strange mineral findings. During the Japanese occupation preceding World War II, Japanese divers discovered platinum coffins near the underwater stone vaults, pillars and monoliths in Madolinihmw Harbor, called the “City of the Gods.” Among the recorded Japanese exports of Pohnpei were copra, vanilla, sago, mother of pearl and platinum. Strangely, the rock on Pohnpei Island and surrounding islands contains no trace of platinum. Further adding mystery, the Japanese divers reported the source of the platinum were watertight tombs containing very large human bones. Every so often a person will find a massive human-like bone in the jungle surrounding the site. Giant people of a highly advanced civilization? Magnetized basalt chambers surrounded by waterways? Could this be evidence of a very old, sunken continent in the Pacific?
Getting to Nan Madol
Nan Madol is located on the southeast side of Pohnpei island that practically connects to Temwen Island, which lies about 16,000 km (9,920 miles) northeast of New Guinea. Pohnpei is the capital of the independent Federated States of Micronesia, and flights arrive daily from the U.S. territory of Guam and other Pacific Rim countries. Pohnpei is part of the Caroline Island chain, and the nearest island with a sizable population is Guam. The Federated States of Micronesia incorporates the Caroline Islands, and additional island groups. Other famous sites in Micronesia include: a 5-foot andesite stone head and aligned standing stones on Babeldaob Island in Palau; massive standing latte pillars 18 feet (5.5m) with capstones on the island of Tinian; the Palau island terraces, some resembling step pyramids replete with exotic “crowns” and “brims” on their summits; and massive walls at Lele on the island of Kosrae. Truk Lagoon on Truk Island is where an entire Japanese fleet sunk in the shallow waters of the central lagoon. The battle of Truk Lagoon has been described as America’s surprise attack answer to Pearl Harbor, and today is one of the most famous scuba dive locations in the Pacific. Truk Lagoon is not too far from Feefen, where mysterious underwater archaeological ruins have been reported.
Excerpted from "Sacred Places Around the World: 108 Destinations" by Brad Olsen, released by CCC Publishing.



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