Ancient Pyramids of Bosnia? Many Are Believers


Oct. 29, 2006 — -- Egypt has pyramids, China has a wall and Greece has the Parthenon -- all evidence of ancient and great civilizations.

Ever heard of ancient Bosnians?

Probably not. But some are seeing pyramids towering above a drab Bosnian town -- perhaps pyramids bigger than the Egyptians built.

Tourists are flocking to buy trinkets, to eat pyramid pizza and pyramid cake, and stay at the local hotel, re-named the Pyramid of the Sun.

"Last year here, we had 20,000 tourists in the whole summer," Davor Pekic, owner of the Pyramid of the Sun, said through a translator. "This year, we had that many tourists on one day."

These are tourists who brave the mine fields left behind after the country's civil war because they believe that the Bosnian structures are pyramids.

"Yes," one tourist said about the pyramids' authenticity. "I think 100 percent."

"I come from Slovenia, seven hours traveling, to see these in the Bosnia," another tourist said. "Why not?"

Why not? Because there shouldn't be pyramids in Europe. While the ancient Egyptians were building their pyramids, apparently their European counterparts were living in caves.

"In this age in Bosnia, in Europe, we had prehistoric civilization," said Enver Imamovic, former director of the National Museum of Bosnia. "No houses."

So who claims these are pyramids? Bosnia's very own "raider of the lost ark," Semir Osmanagic.

"This is the biggest civilizational complex ever built on the face of the planet," he said.

Osmanagic is a businessman and part-time archaeologist who left Bosnia for Texas 15 years ago to make his fortune in the oil industry. On a trip back home, something caught his eye.

"The first thing I noticed was the peculiar shape of that hill," he said. "It had the perfect shape, the perfect geometry of the pyramid."

So he got workers to start digging. What they found was a structure they believe may be an ancient pyramid -- a pyramid bigger than the famous pyramids of Egypt.

The Egyptian government sent an expert to Bosnia take a look. His verdict: Keep digging. Something here is man-made, he said, but it is something very primitive that can't possibly be compared to the Great Khufu Pyramid.

"Until recently the Khufu Pyramid in Egypt was considered the biggest pyramid in the world," Osmanagic said. "All of a sudden, we have a couple of pyramids much bigger."

The day ABC News visited there were senior citizens from Sarajevo, a rather elderly-looking youth group from Kazakhstan and a gaggle of Slovenian insurance brokers.

Many academics dismiss Semir, who has yet to find any tools or organic relics, as a "pyramidiot" or a man obsessed with the Indiana Jones trilogy.

At a local souvenir stand a visitor can buy a t-shirt with Harrison Ford on the front, or with Osmanagic on the front, or one that says, in Bosnian, "forget about the country that doesn't have the pyramids."

Osmanagic has raised a lot of money, some of it from the Bosnian government.

"April 1 we had zero Bosnian mark[s] on our account," he said. "And archaeology is very expensive."

Are the Bosnian discoveries really pyramids? Apparently they line up with the points on a compass.

"The north side, which we are standing at now, is perfectly aligned with Northern Star on the sky," Osmanagic said.

According to Osmanagic, if you connect the tops of all three pyramids -- the Pyramid of the Moon, the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Dragon -- they form a perfect equilateral triangle. Apparently, thermal imaging shows man-made structures in the valley that he claims are made of ancient concrete blocks.

"If you've found stone blocks built by man," Osmanagic said, "then it will be obvious for everyone that this is a huge man-made structure in the shape of the pyramid. Equals: Pyramid."

Osmanagic's focus is now the site's tunnels -- or natural caves, depending on your perspective.

"We will have very exciting archaeological winter in front of us," he said.

What does he think he will find at the end of the tunnel that leads to the center of the valley?

"It's kind of a secret," he said. "But I think that's probably one of the keys to the mystery of the Bosnian pyramids."

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