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Archaeology & History

Mystery surrounds island ruins in Siberia

By T.K. Randall
April 13, 2015 · Comment icon 25 comments

A satellite photograph showing the ruins of Por Bajin. Image Credit: Google Earth
A small island on a remote Siberian lake is home to stone ruins that remain shrouded in mystery.
First explored in 1891, the enigmatic ruins of Por Bajin are believed to date back around 1,300 years to between 744 and 840 AD.

It isn't clear what the buildings were, who built them or what they would have been used for. Some researchers believe that the island may have once played host to a Buddhist or Manichaean temple while others subscribe to the idea that it was the site of a summer palace during the time of the Uyghur Empire.

Others again believe that it may have been an ancient observatory or defensive fortification.
To add to the mystery there is also evidence to suggest that the inhabitants abandoned the island not long after construction was completed however there is no indication as to why.

Even the significance of the site remains a matter of debate as the lake may have formed around the structures after they were built as oppose to them being deliberately constructed on an island.

Whatever the case may be, Por Bajin is likely to remain a mystery for many years to come.

Source: News.com.au | Comments (25)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #16 Posted by theotherguy 9 years ago
Are there any structures under the water line? The monastery/fortress/whatever is, clearly entirely above the lake, but any outside buildings or maybe roads might help to identify its purpose. This is, of course, assuming the lake was lower at the point when it was built. It looks accessible enough for a raft or small boat, so I suspect a dock wouldn't be necessary. Or perhaps it was designed to be only accessible by swimming, if it was a particularly strict monastery, but that seems less likely.
Comment icon #17 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
The lake itself near the ruins doesn't look very deep. I see some stuff that looks interesting in the lake. Possible road? Possible round walled ruins?
Comment icon #18 Posted by MyOtherAccount 9 years ago
From the third News.aus.com artile pix, it looks to me like it is a real old location of Starbucks.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Gingitsune 9 years ago
I guess it was the perfect location to send the brother in law. Unfortunately, he died half way through the constrution, making the whole project pointless, so they left the location never to come back again.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Big Jim 9 years ago
Were there any native people living in the vicinity at the time of construction? It is well known that many of the first settlements of the Americas were missions established by various sects for the purpose of converting the natives. Could Buddhist missionaries have had the same motivation? Of course, any out post that far from home base and possibly in the midst of hostiles would have to function as a fort also, so the combination of Buddhist retreat and fort seems to make sense. As for the short tenure, it could have been abandoned due to the earthquakes or perhaps the mission to convert th... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by Ad hoc 9 years ago
The lake itself near the ruins doesn't look very deep. I see some stuff that looks interesting in the lake. Possible road? Possible round walled ruins? Nice one. It certainly does look like there's some stuff on the bed of that lake. In the bottom right area in the second picture also.
Comment icon #22 Posted by tomatoedrama 9 years ago
I think they left because they probably realized that being surounded by water wasn't such a good idea; especailly on a small tiny ass island. How are you supposed to account for population growth and farming?
Comment icon #23 Posted by sards 9 years ago
Or maybe the foundation structure couldn't support any more weight with all that water around
Comment icon #24 Posted by Harry_Dresden 9 years ago
I think they left because they probably realized that being surounded by water wasn't such a good idea; especailly on a small tiny ass island. How are you supposed to account for population growth and farming? I don't think that the original builders came from the area nor was the structure commissioned by a local leader... i think they choose the site to protect them from nomadic horsemen and primitive peoples. Trade and resupply is my guess. Probably a religious site or a military outpost.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Silent Trinity 9 years ago
I would say it had a military purpose, particularly if it occupied the high ground and the surrounding area did indeed flood rendering it an island. All just inquisitive speculation of course, but I am definitely interested in what they unearth there regarding its history! Great find!


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