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18 Weird and Amazing Facts About Ancient Civilizations

13. The Aztec capital city, Tenochtitlán, was the largest city in the Americas with over 200,000 population. It was built on a man-made island connected to the shore by three causeways. It housed huge pyramids, floating gardens, aqueducts and canals. 

Tenochtitlán - Aztec Capital
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The capital city of Tenochtitlán had a huge sacred area surrounded by wall. Inside there were almost seventy buildings decorated by images of serpents. The greatest among these buildings was the Templo Mayor, named so by the Spanish, which is about 90 feet tall with two stepped pyramids on either side. The city also had three main streets, each leading to the three causeways to the shores. These causeways were surrounded by floating gardens with various shrubs, plants and trees.  The city had what are known as “calpulli” or large houses each with its own marketplace where tens of thousands of people conducted business.(1, 2)


14. The first person in history whose name we know is Kushim, an accountant from Mesopotamia from around 3200 BC.

Kushim Mesopotamia
Image Source: nationalgeographic

Through history, though there were many people whom the experts were able to identify and name, not a single person before 3200 BC could be identified by a name, making Kushim the first. Surprisingly enough, it was not a king, queen, warrior, poet or anyone of import. It was an accountant who existed 33 centuries before Christ who was recorded on a tablet found in Mesopotamia. The tablet is a record of a transaction saying  “A total of 29,086 measures of barley were received over the course of 37 months,” and was signed Kushim.(source)


15. The Indus Valley Civilization had the world’s earliest known flush toilets. Almost every home in the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro had a flush toiled connected to a sophisticated sewage system.

Indus Valley Civilization
Image Source: ancient-code

The Indus Valley Civilization had a very advanced lifestyle and valued equality among the citizens with no centralized power. Their settlements were planned near the sources of raw materials with their urban planning including the world’s first sanitation systems. All their homes had access to water from wells and proper drainage facilities. The waste water from bathing and cleaning was directed to drains lined that lined up major streets.(source)

16. Inca architecture was built to resist any level of earthquakes with the stones vibrating and falling back in right order even after a tremor. 

Inca Architecture
Image Source: key2cusco

The walls of Incan buildings were rounded in the corners and inclined on the inside. The static and dynamic steadiness of Incan walls is comparable to no other when there is seismic activity in the earth. Whether the earthquake is small or moderate, the masonry stayed stable. And during strong earthquakes, the stones used in building the walls would “dance” near their position and when the tremor passes would come back exactly to their right place.(source)


17. The ancient Persian engineers built a type of evaporative cooler called “Yakhchāl”, which could store ice even in the middle of summer. 

Yakhchal Yazd Province
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The cooler had a domed shape above the ground and a subterranean storage space. It was used to store ice and other food materials. The coolers were constructed using thick heat-resistant construction material that would insulate the storage space. Along with that the subterranean space, which was around 5,000 cubic meters, also served to enhance the cooling effect. The ice was brought from the mountains nearby in the winters. The space also often had water tunnels from the mountains and windcatchers or wind towers that would bring down the temperatures to frigid levels even during summers.(source)

18. In ancient Rome, having a big penis wasn’t seen a sign of manliness or sexual prowess. What we consider “well-endowed” was considered a sign of a barbarian or a fool. 

Ancient Roman Sculptures
Image Source: romancoins

All the sculptures and paintings of ancient Roman heroes, whether mythical, political or athletic, portrayed small and compact genitalia, similar to those of pubescent boys. Large penises were mostly used as good-luck charms and as a source for laughter which was believed to be a ward against evil. The Romans had art or mosaics of an African slave with a long dangling penis in their houses or outside private baths. Other such depictions include a hunchbacked dwarf with a penis so large he could embrace it as objects of mockery because of the distorted or rather ungraceful nature of it.(source)


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