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Bashkir Stonehenge
December 16, 2014 16:18


The Megalithic complex near the village of Akhunovo is willingly called “Bashkir Stonehenge” and “the oldest observatory in Europe”.

It sounds magnificent, although the actual scale is much more modest: Akhunovo menhirs are several low granite stones, vertically sticking out from the ground in the open field. The former “circle structure” of the construction can no longer be seen today. In fact, a menhir is a separate megalith unit – a roughly processed stone vertically set into the ground. They resemble stelae and represent the first man-made structures known to historians.

It is a mystery who built them; the exact purpose of the construction is unknown. It could be anything - cult, memorial, astronomical. The possibility of using Ahunovo menhirs for observation celestial bodies was confirmed by the scientists who have studied the complex: the stones are placed so that they can serve as sundials and an astronomical calendar. As a result, Ahunovo menhirs have become an important point on the route of seekers of mysteries and “places of power”.

Some popularity is added by a piquant moment: they say that the central menhir had a clear phallic shape, so there’s a belief that the stones help in healing of female infertility and male impotence. However, according to a scientific description, there were originally two central menhirs, and today the conditional central one hardly stands out among all other crumbled stones neither in form nor in position. The fact is that the mysterious stones attracted not only peaceful esoterics and archaeologists. In October 2005 five menhirs were destroyed by unknown vandals.

At that, the vandals performed their own simple ritual: left the cross laid out of stone pieces on the ground and drew a pentagram. There are five menhirs left now.


It is believed that the Bashkir menhirs (sacred stones) were opened by an Akhunovo aboriginal, a romantic regional historian Zhavdat Talgatovich Aitov. “Opened” is a relative term in this case, because menhirs always stood on this arable local land. Everyone saw them and treated them with care and respect, as an old sanctuary. Menhirs were preserved even when stones for collective farms were collected in the neighborhood.

But scientists did not pay any special attention to these ancient stones. Aitov states that he tried to solve the mystery of the stones as a child, knowing about their special sacred meaning from his grandmother who went to this place in order to pray. He even conducted independent excavations, without any scientific technique, by impromptu means - a round-point shovel. In 1996 he extracted a “shaman sign” - a bronze medallion with a cross in a circle - out of the ground. Then he began to address to different organizations and prove that the monument was worthy of study. He met no understanding. Local residents, historians and even archaeologists from Ufa joked and told he was crazy. Finally, in 1996, the ethnographic expedition of the Chelyabinsk State University came to Akhunovo and confirmed the version of Aitov concerning the antiquity and man-made origin of the monument. Their report said that 8 menhirs, forming a circle, make it possible to observe astronomical phenomena. The expedition left, taking the findings with themselves, and esoteric pilgrims became attracted to Akhunovo. The second expedition in 2003, a specialized archaeological one this time, explored the complex in more detail.


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Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Bashkiria     

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