Why is this here?
Many people visit historic places because they want to see firsthand where an important event took place or where an often-told narrative was played out. The allure of these legendary sightseeing spots has everything to do with the historical facts that surround them.
But even in the modern age, the origins of a number of sites, both modern and ancient, remain a mystery. Experts and enthusiasts have provided theories about these strange places, but there is nothing concrete to satisfy the innate human desire to know the answer to the question: “Why is this here?”
These odd sites can be attractive because of their lack of historical context. Some tourists come to soak in the atmosphere and relish the sense of mystery that surrounds these places, while others want to concoct their own theories about the site’s origin or to create their own fantastical narrative.
Here are some well-known structures that are still shrouded in mystery. (Text: Josh Lew)
Editor’s note: This gallery has been updated since it was originally published in May 2014.