Everyone knows about the existence of mysterious pyramids in Egypt, but not everyone knows that a huge labyrinth is hidden under them. The secrets stored there are able to reveal the secrets of not only Egyptian civilization, but of all mankind.
This ancient Egyptian labyrinth was located near Birket-Karun Lake, west of the Nile River, 80 kilometers south of the modern city of Cairo. It was built back in 2300 BC and was a building surrounded by a high wall, where there were fifteen hundred ground and as many underground rooms.
The total area of the maze was 70 thousand square meters. Visitors were not allowed to inspect the underground labyrinth premises; there were tombs for pharaohs and crocodiles – sacred animals in Egypt. Above the entrance to the Egyptian labyrinth, the following words were inscribed:
“Madness or death is what the weak or the vicious find here, only the strong and good find life and immortality here”
Many frivolous entered this door and did not leave it. This is the abyss that brings back only the brave in spirit. The complex system of corridors, courtyards and rooms in the maze was so confusing that without a guide, an outsider could never find a way or a way out of it. The labyrinth was plunged into absolute darkness, and when some doors were opened, they made a terrible sound, similar to peals of thunder or the roar of a thousand lions.
Before the great holidays, mystery rituals were held in the labyrinth and sacrifices were made, including human sacrifices. So the ancient Egyptians showed their respect to the god Sebek – a huge crocodile. In ancient manuscripts, information has been preserved that crocodiles, which reached 30 meters in length, actually lived in the maze.
The Egyptian labyrinth is an unusually large structure – the dimensions of its base are 305 x 244 meters. The Greeks admired this maze more than any other Egyptian building, with the exception of the pyramids. In antiquity it was called the “labyrinth”, and it served as a model for the labyrinth in Crete.
With the exception of a few columns, it is now completely destroyed. Everything that we know about it is based on ancient evidence, as well as on the results of excavations carried out by Sir Flinders Petri, who attempted to reconstruct this building. The earliest mention belongs to the Greek historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus (about 484-430 BC), he mentions in his History that Egypt is divided into twelve administrative districts ruled by twelve rulers, and then gives his own impressions of this building :
“And so they decided to leave a common monument, and having decided this, they erected a labyrinth a little higher than Lake Meridov, near the so-called Crocodile City. I saw this maze inside: it is beyond any description. After all, if all the walls and great constructions erected by the Hellenes were assembled, then in general it would turn out that they spent less labor and money than this labyrinth alone.
Meanwhile, the temples in Ephesus and on Samos are very remarkable. Of course, the pyramids are huge structures and each of them is worth in size many of the creations of Hellenic building art combined, although they are also great. However, the labyrinth is larger than these pyramids. It has twenty courtyards with gates one on the other, with six facing north and six facing south, adjacent to each other.
Outside, around them there is a single wall. Inside this wall there are chambers of two genera: some underground, others above the earth, number 3000, namely 1500 of each. I myself had to go through the elevated chambers and examine them, and I speak of them as an eyewitness. I know about the underground chambers only from stories: the Egyptian caretakers never wanted to show them to me, saying that there are tombs of the kings who built this labyrinth, as well as the tombs of sacred crocodiles.
Therefore, I speak of the lower chambers only by hearsay. The upper chambers that I had to see surpass all the creations of human hands. The passage through the chambers and the winding passages through the courtyards, being very confusing, cause a feeling of endless amazement: from the courtyards you go to the chambers, from the chambers to galleries with colonnades, then again to the chambers and from there back to the courtyards.
There are stone roofs everywhere, as well as walls, and these walls are covered with many relief images. Each courtyard is surrounded by columns of carefully fitted pieces of white stone. And on the corner at the end of the labyrinth a pyramid was erected with a height of 40 orgies (240 feet), with huge figures carved on it. An underground passage leads to the pyramid. ”
Manetho, the high priest of Egypt from Heliopolis, who wrote in Greek, notes in his work, preserved in fragments, dating from the III century BC. e. and dedicated to the history and religion of the ancient Egyptians, that the creator of the labyrinth was the fourth pharaoh of the XII dynasty, Amenemhat III, whom he calls Laharez, Lampares or Labaris, and about which he writes:
“He ruled for eight years. In the Arsinoi nome, he built himself a tomb – a maze with many rooms.”
Between 60 and 57 years BC. e. Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily temporarily lived in Egypt. In his Historical Library, he claims that the Egyptian labyrinth is in good condition.
“After the death of this ruler, the Egyptians became independent again and elevated to the throne a compatriot ruler, Mendes, whom some call Marrus. He did not conduct any military operations, but built for himself a tomb, known as the Labyrinth.
This Labyrinth is notable not only for its size, but for the cunning and mastery of the internal device, which cannot be reproduced. For when a person enters this Labyrinth, he cannot find the way back, and he needs the help of an experienced guide, to whom the device of the building is known thoroughly.
Some also say that Daedalus, who visited Egypt and admired this wonderful creation, built a similar labyrinth for the Cretan king Minos, in which was kept, as the myth says, a monster named Minotaur. However, the Cretan labyrinth no longer exists, it is possible that some of the rulers razed it to the ground, while the Egyptian labyrinth stood in complete inviolability to our time. “
Diodorus did not see this building, he only gathered together the data available to him. When describing the Egyptian labyrinth, he used two sources and was unable to recognize that both of them tell about the same building. Soon after compiling his first description, he begins to consider these building as a common monument to the twelve nomarchs of Egypt:
“For two years there was no ruler in Egypt, and riots and murders began among the people, then the twelve most important leaders united in a holy union. They gathered for a council in Memphis and concluded an agreement on mutual fidelity and friendship and proclaimed themselves rulers.
They ruled in accordance with their oaths and promises, maintained mutual consent for fifteen years, after which they decided to build a common tomb for themselves. Their plan was that, as in life, they cherished a cordial arrangement for each other, they were given equal honors, and after the death their bodies should rest in one place, and the monument erected on their orders should symbolize the glory and power of those buried there.
This was to surpass the creations of their predecessors. And so, choosing a place for their monument near Lake Meridov in Libya, they built a tomb of magnificent stone in the shape of a square, however, in size, each side of it was equal to one court. Descendants could never surpass the mastery of carved ornaments and any other work.
A hall surrounded by columns was built behind the fence, forty on each side, the roof of the courtyard was made of solid stone, hollowed out from the inside and decorated with elaborate and multi-colored paintings. The courtyard was also adorned with magnificent picturesque images of the places where each of the rulers was from, as well as the temples and shrines there.
On the whole, it is known about these rulers that the scale of their plans for the construction of their tomb was so great – both in terms of its size and cost – that if they were not overthrown before the construction was completed, their creation would remain unsurpassed. And after these rulers reigned in Egypt for fifteen years, it so happened that the rule passed to one person … “
Unlike Diodorus, the Greek geographer and historian Strabo of Amasa (about 64 BC – 24 AD) gives a description based on personal impressions. In 25 BC e. he, as part of the retinue of the Prefect of Egypt, Guy Cornelius Gallus, traveled to Egypt, about which he described in detail in his “Geography”:
“In addition, in this nome there is a labyrinth – a structure that can be compared with the pyramids – and next to it is the tomb of the king, the builder of the labyrinth. Near the first entrance to the canal, after going forward 30 or 40 courts, we will reach a flat area in the form of a trapezoid, where the village is located, as well as a large palace, consisting of many palace rooms, numbering as many as in the old days there were nomes, because there are so many halls which are surrounded by adjacent colonnades, all these colonnades are located in one row and along one wall, which is similar to a long wall with halls in front of it, and the paths leading to them are directly opposite to the wall.
Before the entrances to the halls there are many long covered vaults with winding paths between them, so that without a guide no outsider can find either an entrance or an exit. It is surprising that the roof of each dormitory consists of one stone and that the covered vaults in width are likewise covered with slabs of solid stone of extremely large size, without any admixture of wood anywhere or any other substance.
Having risen to a roof of small height, since the labyrinth is one-level, you can see a stone plain consisting of stones of the same large size; from here, going down to the halls again, one can notice that they are arranged in a row and rest on 27 columns, their walls are also made of stones of no lesser size.
At the end of this building, which occupies more space than the court, a tomb is placed – a quadrangular pyramid, each side of which is about a plegra in width with equal height.
The name of the buried there is Imandes. It is said that such a number of halls was built by virtue of the custom to gather here from all the nomes according to the significance of each, together with their priests and priestesses for sacrifices, gifts to the gods and for legal proceedings on important matters. Each room was assigned a hall dedicated to it. ”
A little further, in the 38th chapter, Strabo gives a description of his trip to the sacred crocodiles of Arsinoe (Crocodilopolis). This place is located next to the labyrinth, so we can assume that he also saw the labyrinth. Pliny the Elder (23 / 24-79 AD) in his “Natural History” provides the most detailed description of the labyrinth.
“Let’s say about the labyrinths, perhaps the most outlandish creation of human wastefulness, but not fictitious, as they might think. There still exists in Egypt in Heracleopolis nome the one that was first created, it is reported, 3600 years ago, by King Petesuh or Titoes, although Herodotus says that the whole structure was created by 12 kings, the last of which was Psammetich.
Its purpose is interpreted differently: according to Demotel, it was the royal palace of Moterida, according to Likey – the tomb of Merida, according to the interpretation of many, it was built as a sanctuary of the Sun, which is most likely.
In any case, there is no doubt that Daedalus borrowed from here a sample of the labyrinth that he created in Crete, but reproduced only its one-hundredth part, which contains the rotation of the paths and the intricate passages back and forth, not like the ones we see at the pavilions or in field games of men, containing many thousands of walking steps, and with many built-in doors for fraudulent moves and return to the same wanderings.
It was the second labyrinth after the Egyptian one, the third was on Lemnos, the fourth in Italy, all covered with ashlar vaults. In the Egyptian, the entrance and columns are made of stone from Paros, the rest is made of blocks of syenite – pink and red granite, which can hardly be destroyed even in centuries, even with the assistance of the Heracles.
It is impossible to describe in detail the location of this building and each part separately, since it is divided into regions, as well as prefectures, which are called nomes, and 21 names are allocated as many as the vast premises. In addition, it has temples of all the gods of Egypt, and in addition, Nemesis in 40 edicules of closed chapels of the memorial churches concluded many pyramids of forty girths, each occupying six arrays of 0.024 hectares at the base.
Tired of walking, they fell into that famous intricate trap of roads. Not only that, here the second floors are high on the slopes, and the descending ninety-step porticos. Inside – columns of porphyrite stone, images of gods, statues of kings, monstrous figures. Some rooms are designed so that when the doors are opened, a terrible thunder is heard inside.
Beyond the wall of the labyrinth there are other huge structures – they are called the colonnade pteron. From there, underground passages are dug, leading to other underground rooms. Something was restored there by only one Ceremonial, an eunuch of King Nekteb [Nektaneba I], 500 years before Alexander the Great.
It is also reported that during the construction of ashlar stone vaults, the supports were made of back trunks [Egyptian acacia] boiled in oil. ”
Description of the Roman geographer Pomponius Mela, who in 43 AD e. set forth in his essay “On the Situation of the Earth”, consisting of three books, the accepted in Rome views on the known world:
“The labyrinth built by Psammetikh covers one thousand three hundred halls and twelve palaces with one continuous wall. Its walls and roof are marble. The maze has only one entrance.
Inside it there are countless twisting passages. All of them are directed in different directions and communicate with each other. In the corridors of the labyrinth there are porticos that are pairwise similar to each other. Corridors go around each other. This creates a lot of confusion, but you can figure it out.
The authors of antiquity do not propose any single, consistent definition of this outstanding structure. However, since in Egypt of the time of the pharaohs, only shrines and structures dedicated to the cult of the dead (tombs and funerary churches) were built of stone, then all of their other buildings, including palaces, were built of wood and clay bricks, which means that the maze could not be a palace, administrative center or monument (provided that Herodotus, speaking of “a monument” does not mean “a tomb, which is quite possible).
On the other hand, since the pharaohs of the XII dynasty built pyramids as tombs, the temple remains the only possible destination for the “labyrinth”. According to a very plausible explanation given by Alan B. Lloyd, it probably served as the funeral temple for Amenemhet III, who was buried in a pyramid nearby, as well as a temple dedicated to some gods.
The answer to the question of how this “labyrinth” got its name remains unconvincing. Attempts have been made to derive this term from the Egyptian words “al lopa-rohun, laperohunt” or “ro-per-ro-henet”, meaning “entrance to the temple by the lake”.
But there is no phonetic correspondence between these words and the word “labyrinth”, and nothing similar was found in Egyptian texts either. It has also been suggested that the throne name of Amenemhat III, Lamares, whose Hellenized version sounds like “Labaris,” comes from the name of the temple of Labaris.
This probability cannot be ruled out, but this does not explain the essence of the phenomenon. Moreover, a valid argument against such an interpretation is the fact that Herodotus, the author of the earliest written source, does not mention Amenemhat III and his throne names. He does not mention how the structure was called “Amenemhet lives” by the Egyptians. He simply talks about the “maze”, not considering it necessary to explain what it is.
To describe a huge, awe-inspiring, skillfully executed stone structure, he uses the Greek term, as if this term expresses a certain general meaning, concept. It is this kind of description that is given in all other written sources, and only later authors mention the danger of getting lost.
Therefore, we can conclude that the term “labyrinth” in this case is used metaphorically, it serves as the name for a certain building, an outstanding structure made of stone. M. Budimir, resorting to historical and linguistic argumentation, came to a similar conclusion, interpreting the labyrinth as a term meaning “building of large size.”
The German Jesuit and scholar Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), known to his contemporaries as Doctor centum artium, tried to reconstruct the Egyptian “labyrinth” based on ancient descriptions.
In the center of the figure is a labyrinth, which Kircher may have modeled after Roman mosaics. Around are images symbolizing the twelve nomes – administrative units of Ancient Egypt described by Herodotus. This drawing, engraved on copper (50 X 41 cm), is placed in the book The Tower of Babel, or Archontology (Turris Babel, Sive Archontologia, Amsterdam, 1679).
In 2008, a group of researchers from Belgium and Egypt began exploring objects hidden underground, hoping to find and solve the mystery of the mysterious underground complex of ancient civilization.
The Belgian-Egyptian expedition, armed with scientific instruments, and technology that allows you to look into the secret of the premises hidden under the sand, was able to confirm the presence of an underground temple near the pyramid of Amenemkhet III. Without a doubt, the expedition led by Petri led one of the most incredible discoveries in the history of Egypt out of the darkness of oblivion, shedding light on the greatest discovery. But if you think that the discovery took place, and you do not know about it, then you will be mistaken with the conclusion.
This significant discovery was hidden from society, and no one could understand why this happened. The results of the expedition, a publication in the scientific journal NRIAG, research findings, a public lecture at the University of Ghent – all this was “frozen” because the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, banned all reports of the find, allegedly because of the imposed sanctions of the Egyptian service security protecting an ancient monument.
Louis de Cordier, and other expedition researchers patiently waited for an answer to the excavations in the maze area for several years, with the hope of recognizing the find and the desire to make it public, but unfortunately this did not happen.
But even if the researchers confirmed the existence of the underground complex, excavations should still be carried out in order to explore the incredible conclusion of scientists. After all, it is believed that the treasures of the underground labyrinth can give answers to the countless historical secrets of ancient Egyptian civilization, as well as give new knowledge about the history of mankind and other civilizations.
The question here is only one, why did this undeniably incredible historical discovery fall under the oppression of “silence”?