"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

Categories: Culture | Design and Architecture | History

Margate is an ancient town located in Kent on the shores of the English Channel. Founded in the 13th century, it attracts tourists with its architectural monuments. In general, this is an ordinary British city, of which there are dozens in the country. However, there is one attraction that sets Margate apart from other cities. This is the mysterious Shell Grotto, the origin of which scientists have not been able to explain for almost two centuries.

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

The unique grotto was accidentally discovered in 1835 by farmer James Newlove. He was digging a duck pond in his garden when his shovel fell into the underground void. The farmer asked his son Joshua to go down into the hole and see what was below. What the young man saw became one of the most significant archaeological finds of that time.

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

Below there was a grotto in the form of a winding tunnel more than 20 meters long. Its walls and ceilings were decorated with amazing ornaments made from sea shells. It is estimated that the unknown craftsman or team of craftsmen used about 4.6 million shells in their work.

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

James Newlove immediately realized that he was incredibly lucky. He equipped the entrance, hung gas lamps on the walls of the grotto and opened it for visits, of course, for a fee. A crowd of curious people, including both visitors and local residents, rushed to look at the curiosity.

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

Immediately after the opening of the Shell Grotto, heated debate began about its origin. Some believed that it was created by ancient priests, others were sure that it appeared recently and served as a refuge for a secret society. Some tried to decipher the intricate patterns on the walls and ceilings to understand the origin and purpose of the grotto. New versions appeared almost every week, but none of them were confirmed.

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

Until now, the “Shell Grotto” keeps its secret. It was studied far and wide, but they were never closer to a solution. Millions of shells from mussels, oysters and other shellfish form patterns that have no analogues in any known culture. Among them you can see lilies, sunflowers, trees, snakes, bunches of grapes, symbols of fertility, eight-pointed stars and something resembling symbols of the Sun.

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

At the end of the tunnel there is a room resembling an altar room. It is crowned by a dome that rises above the surface of the earth. Through the opening in the dome, the sun's rays penetrate inside. This room functions as a sundial, but only from March to October. On the day of the summer solstice, at exactly noon, the sun is exactly above the center of the dome. The sun's rays begin to illuminate the grotto shortly before the spring equinox and disappear only after the autumn equinox.

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

Scientists tried to determine the approximate age of the monument using radiocarbon dating, but this method did not yield results. The problem lies in the gas lamps that lit the grotto in the 19th century. Over the years, the walls have become covered with a layer of soot, which makes research difficult. There is an assumption that the age of the ornaments covering the walls exceeds 3000 years.

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

In some places the ornament is damaged due to careless installation of lighting and the explosion of a German bomb that fell near the cave during World War II. Despite these damages, the grotto is still beautiful and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year.

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

"Shell Grotto" - one of the most mysterious attractions in Great Britain

There are still many ancient mysteries in the world, the answers to which have yet to be found.

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