Secrets of the stone dungeons

(ORDO NEWS) — Several years ago, during the reconstruction of a building on Bolotny Island in Moscow, a skeleton chained to the wall was found in the basement wall. His age dates back to the late Middle Ages. At the same time, the building was residential until recently! I wonder how many unsolved secrets are still hidden in the basements of old houses, castles or fortresses? Historians say: there are many!

Sphinx lives here

In May 2019, Italian archaeologists accidentally discovered a secret room under the palace of Emperor Nero in Rome, into which no one entered – it’s scary to think – 2 thousand years! Historians carried out their work on the Olympic Hill, examining the remains of the former Golden House of the legendary Roman emperor. One of the scientists noticed that a stone had collapsed in the wall of the room being restored and a small hole was visible, behind which a void gaped. Deciding to check what is on the other side, the archaeologists widened the hole and entered the walled up hall.

The walls were painted with unusual frescoes. On them, ancient painters depicted centaurs, warriors, strange birds and even the mythological sea animal of the hippocampus – a horse with a fish tail. But most of all scientists were struck by the age of the room. The examination showed that it was walled up for almost 2 thousand years – from 64 AD. It turned out to be the only place of the burned down palace of the emperor, which has been preserved in its original form. But at the time of Nero’s heyday, his palace was one of the largest in the world, had 300 rooms and was second only to the Forbidden City in Beijing. After the palace died in the fire, the main attractions of present-day Rome were erected in its place: the Colosseum, the Arc de Triomphe of Titus and the Basilica of Maxentius.

The secret place found was given a beautiful name – the Sphinx room. Since the find dates back to the Greek rule of Rome in Egypt, its painting will allow scientists to learn about the influence of one culture on another.

Syrian cache

In early February 2019, researchers working in Krak des Chevaliers, located in the province of Homs in Syria, discovered a strange secret room in the fortress wall that dates back to the early 11th century. Originally, this fortification, located at an altitude of 650 meters4 above sea level, belonged to the Emir of Aleppo. However, already at the beginning of the XII century, the fortress came under the rule of the crusaders. The knights liked the Krak de Chevalier mainly due to the presence of high walls, whose thickness reached 30 meters! In 2006, the fortress was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and in 2013 it was ruled by terrorists.

The researchers were able to get there again only in 2014. Restoration work began, during which an amazing find was made: while clearing the corridor, scientists noticed a hole in the wall. After it was expanded, the eyes of archaeologists were presented with a fairly large room with a stove and several wells. It was obvious that it had been walled up in the days of the Knights-Crusaders. According to the prospectors, there was either a laundry or wine brewing. The hiding of the room happened during the capture of the fortress by the Mamluk Turks in 1271. The question arises: why hide the room in which they washed clothes or brewed wine? Obviously, it’s not that simple. What if the treasures of the knights, which they wanted to hide from the invaders, will be found in the wells or hiding places? …

Stone “rumor”

Russia is also rich in secret rooms, accidentally discovered in famous historical sites. During research work in 2017, a secret room was discovered in the capital Kitaygorodsky wall in the very center of the capital. It is believed that the find belongs to the 16th century, since the construction of the Kitaygorodsky wall dates back to the 1530s. A secret room was found at the site of the alleged location of the Theological Tower of Kitai-Gorod. According to historians, this is the so-called “rumor”, which was often used in Russian medieval fortresses.

At that distant time, such rooms within the walls allowed the defenders of the fortress to eavesdrop on what the enemies were talking about, besieging the fortification. “Rumors” were built in such a way that a special acoustic effect was created inside them, which made it possible to hear everything that was happening outside the fortress wall. Here they could hide jewelry or important persons during a siege. In particular, it is believed that there are many such secret rooms in the fortress wall of the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery, where, according to assumptions, part of the library and the treasury of Ivan the Terrible is hidden.

Immured mistress

In the United States, there is a museum-estate of the third president of the country, Thomas Jefferson. This man went down in US history as the author of the US Declaration of Independence, as well as as the owner of numerous hobbies. He even created the plan of his house according to his own project. Initially, the structure, which today flaunts on the back of the two-dollar bill, provided 14 rooms, but then large-scale changes were made to the plan. At the same time, the house was equipped with a mass of unusual technical devices. For example, his weather vane was connected to a special plate at the entrance porch, and in order to determine the direction of the wind, there was no need to look up, lifting his head.

On the back of the estate there was a clock with only one hour hand: Thomas Jefferson believed that this was enough for the workers of the estate to determine the time. Behind the fireplace, a bottle lift was constructed to the wine cellar. And there were many such tricks. However, the main secret of the house was revealed only during its next restoration in 2017.

A secret room of 4 square meters was accidentally discovered in the building, adjacent to Thomas Jefferson’s bedroom. It remained closed for several decades. According to American historians, the third president of the United States forcibly kept the black slave girl Sally Hemings, his mistress, in a secret cell. It is believed that the unfortunate woman gave birth to several children from Thomas Jefferson. Today the room is attached to the museum complex and anyone can visit it.

Amazing discoveries and discoveries are being made all over the world. It is possible that in the homes of our readers living in ancient Russian cities, cellars and walls keep their secrets and riddles …

Plague and mold

It is not always worth it to irresponsibly open secret rooms accidentally discovered. The fact is that they may not contain ancient frescoes or treasures, but a deadly infection. A few years ago, a resident of Suffolk County in the UK discovered a mysterious hole on his lawn. Extending it, the young man saw a bolt with an ancient iron ring. Anticipating the shine of the treasures, the owner of the site raised the lid, under which there was a deep well, lined with brick … Further research with the participation of historians showed that this is a toilet room, which is about a hundred years old. And the causative agents of the bubonic plague, the outbreaks of which have been observed in Great Britain more than once in the past, could well have survived there. Fortunately, the well turned out to be harmless.

The example of an American married couple who bought a huge mansion at a low price is also typical. In search of a catch, the couple searched the house and found a secret room. It contained a note from the former owner of the building, in which he announced that the building was affected by poisonous mold, which made his wife sick. The new owners thought it best to move out of the dangerous place.

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