Por Bajin (or Por-Bazhyn) ruins, located on a small island in the middle of a remote lake in Siberia, between the Sayan and Altai ranges, close to the Mongolian border. It’s a very isolated area, almost completely unaffected by civilization.
The question of what was the purpose of the site remains unanswered to this day, The theories include a fortress, a palace, a monastery, and an astronomical observatory.
the island was first explored in 1891, but it wasn’t until 2007 that a proper research took place, the Siberian Times reports. They discovered a distinctive Chinese influence — from the use of certain roof tiles to the building methods, further adding to the intrigue.
The Por-Bajin Cultural Foundation, the official site for the complex, outlines some of the main questions that have yet to be answered: “Apparently, it was built at the period of the Uighur Khaganate (744-840). But it is not clear what did they build a fortress for in such a solitary place — far from big settlements and trade routes.
“It is also unclear whether Por-Bajin was a defensive structure, a Buddhist or Manichaean temple or a summer residence of Khagan. There is even a version that there was an ancient observatory in it. The architecture of the fortress also produces many questions.
“It has been unknown for long whether the structure was built on the island or the lake was formed later, around the already built fortress.”
The purpose of the structure isn’t the only thing that’s mysterious — it’s believed that it was abandoned after a short time. With no evidence that it came under attack, why did they leave? Strangely the site lacks any trace of a heating system of any kind, which in the middle of Siberia is extremely odd.
Russian president Vladimir Putin visited the island with Prince Albert of Monaco in 2007 and echoed the confusion. ‘I have been to many places, I have seen many things, but I have never seen anything of the kind,’ he said.