Tuesday, November 10, 2009

5 Incredible Lost Treasures We Will Probably Never See Again

Some people travel around the world for most of their lives, hoping to find legendary treasures and fulfill all their lives’ dreams. But unlike what we see in movies, most treasure-hunters never find anything significant. Here are 5 of the world’s most sought-after treasures:

Montezuma’s treasure

In the summer of 1520, the famous conquistador Hernando Cortes managed to fatally wound Montezuma, emperor of the Aztecs. Thinking he had won the war, Cortes asked his men to gather all of Montezuma’s riches, and attempted to leave South America with it. The angry Aztecs caught up with the Spanish near the capital of Tenochtitlan and engaged them in battle. After the battle, Lake Texcoco was full of dead conquistadors and Montezuma’s jewels.

Cortes and a few of his men escaped the Aztec’s wrath and returned a year later to take their revenge and find Montezuma’s treasure once more. Having learned about Cortes’ return, the Aztecs hid the treasure somewhere around Lake Texcoco. It is believed Montezuma’s treasure remains hidden near Mexico City, but no one knows the exact location.

One of Mexico’s former presidents even ordered the lake to be drained, but the treasure was never found.

Black-Beard’s treasure

Edward Teach, known by most as Black Beard the pirate, was a corsair for just 2 years, at the end of the 18th century, a time known as the Golden Age of Piracy. However, during this short period, he managed to gather a sizable treasure, consisting of gold, silver and jewels.

Unfortunately he never had the chance to enjoy his wealth, as he was decapitated by an English officer, in 1718. Before his death, Black Beard admitted burying his loot, but he never revealed its location. Treasure-hunters searched for the treasure on the islands of the Caribbean and in the caves on the Cayman Islands, but their searches came up empty handed.

At one point, a diver claimed he found one of Black Beard’s ships, the Queen Ann’s Revenge, but his treasure was not on board.

The Amber Room

The people, who saw it before it was lost, called it the eighth wonder of the world. We’re talking about a three square meters room with four beautifully sculpted amber panels as walls, gold-frame mirrors and four Florentine mosaics. The amber was studded with jewels and the room itself housed one of the most beautiful collections of Russian and Prussian art. It was created for King Frederic I of Prussia, but was given to Peter the Great of Russia, as a gift.

During World War II, when Hitler attacked Saint Petersburg, the Russians tried to move the amber room, but the walls were cracking, so they decided to cover it with wallpaper. Unfortunately, they failed and the Nazis found the prized treasure and took it with them to Konigsberg Castle, where it remained until the end of the war.

When Konigsberg Castle was inspected, the room was nowhere to be found. Some say the Russians destroyed the amber room when they bombarded the castle or when Konigsberg burned, soon after it surrendered, while others say that it is buried in a bunker somewhere.

The Ark of the Covenant

To the old Israelis, the Ark of the Covenant was the most sacred thing on Earth. It was said the precious chest was created by God himself, from acacia wood, plated with pure gold. The chest featured a lid with two gold cherubim looking at each other. It contained many holy relics, including the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments.

The Ark of the Covenant was housed in the Temple of Solomon, in Jerusalem, the capital of Judea. In the year 600 BC, the city was attacked and conquered by the Babylonians, after a conflict that claimed the lives of over one million people. 17 years later, when the Israelis reclaimed Jerusalem, the Ark of the Covenant was gone. The Babylonians may have destroyed the priceless artifact, but some believe it was taken by God, for protection.

The Treasure of the Pharaohs

When the tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered, in 1922, archeologists were amazed by the riches buried with the pharaoh. It took scientists years to examine all the jewels, but when they discovered all the other tombs in the Valley of the Kings, they realized they were all empty. Grave-robbers surely worked their magic on the burial places, before archeologists discovered them, but it would be impossible for a few petty thieves to transport all those riches.

Some historians believe the pharaohs’ tombs were raided during the twelfth Egyptian dynasty, when a certain Heribor was in charge of re-burials, during which time he had the opportunity to take whatever he wanted from the tombs. Many believe that when Heribor’s burial place will finally be unearthed, the lost treasures of the pharaohs will finally be revealed.

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