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Aerial survey of the Bosnian Pyramids - The Pyramid of the Sun

TAG: pyramids Bosnia, Bosnian pyramids, Visoko Civilization, pyramids, archeology, Pyramid of the Sun

Abstract - People find it difficult to understand how the main pyramids of the Civilization of Visoko are formed, as we expect pyramids to have precise geometric shapes, similar to the Great Pyramid in Egypt or the pyramids of Teotihuacan in Mexico. However, the pyramids in Visoko differ from these classical formations. The Internet shows more or less the same photographs, taken from the same favorable angle drawing a parallel with the most famous pyramids all over the world. Certainly these do not help those who would like to analyise them further. For this reason we rented a small plane to perform a reconnaissance of these extraordinary structures from the sky to gain a better understanding of their design. We will begin to examine the greatest: the Pyramid of the Sun.


Fig. 1 - The Pyramid of the Sun (left) is situated at the end of a 3 kilometers long (approx) hill formation. The image is taken from the highway that leads to Visoko


Some people have tried to encourage the belief that the Visoko pyramids in Bosnia are similar to the Egyptian pyramids with similar faces or with steps on faces such as those found in Central America. This would certainly make it an attractive toursist destination increasing the number of visitors to Bosnia. We have seen some unreal reconstructions of this idea as a kind of hybrid, as if the originality of the Bosnian pyramids has something to hide, like a relation of which we are ashamed.

However this is a big mistake.

In fact, the most extraordinary pyramid, the Pyramid of the Sun, is a perfect asymmetrical pyramid on only two or three sides with a rectangular base; it is part of a much longer hill formation almost three kilometers in length, that runs along its west side.

Some people say that because it has unequal sides, it is not a true pyramid. This asymmetric figure is one of the main symbols of this ancient civilization of Visoko, which remodeled the hill.

For this reason we rent a small propeller plane, a Cessna 172 single engine with a variable pitch propeller, four-high wing, produced since 1950, is a long, lightweight, reliable, popular light aircraft produced in greater amount  than any other aircraft ever built.

We took off from a small airport with a grass runway a few miles from Visoko, in some minutes we were above the pyramid with cameras and video cameras in high resolution.


Fig. 2 - Our Cessna 172


Only from the sky can the extent of the entire complex be understood. Moreover, the most famous pictures have always been taken from the North side to highlight the pyramidal surface, so as to raise a greater interest.


Fig. 3 - This is an earlier photographic survey of the Pyramid of the Sun.
The pyramid has only two sides (North and East) which look like a classic pyramid shape. On the western side is attached the structure that includes the entrance to the Ravne tunnels. In the south the pyramidal structure is lost in the hills behind


Fig. 4 - The Pyramid of the Sun, as seen during the flight over the highway. The complex part of the west face is evident


We must not forget the scout hole dug on the corner of the North and West side, (unfortunately now abandoned and starting to deteriorate), which perfectly highlights the corner of the pyramid.

Flying in from the North to the Pyramid of the Sun (also known as Visoćica hill), the triangular edge of the pyramid front is visable along with the plateau linked to the West façade.

Guides from the Foundation of the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun say this elongated structure was created by the citizens of Visoko, who for centuries deposited filling material here during the building of the city. This information is a little odd. In fact, the structure near the Pyramid of the Sun has gigantic dimensions, for which a justification for the existence of this kind appears highly unlikely.

A much more credible theory is that the elongated structure was shaped by nature and the pyramid only rested on it. On the other side of this structure the Ravne tunnels represent the air conditioning system for the middle and base of this structure.

We do not know what is inside the pyramid. After three years of digging (we are in 2010) the Foundation of the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun has managed to excavate only 400 meters of material from the 2.5km long Ravne Labyrinth tunnels. We can assume that the entire system of Ravne tunnels is filled with soil and dry stone walls.

Ultimately the Pyramid of the Sun appears to set against this elongated structure located to the West, and surrounded by natural hills to the South, as seen from the next image plane.


Fig. 5 - Now it is easy to distinguish the part of the west side of the pyramid, the rectangular structure which is connected to to the "plateau"


The shape of the pyramid became clearer after turning to the left of the plateau.


Fig. 6 - The west front side of the Pyramid of the Sun with the rectangular structure at approximately 2/3 of its height and leaning against the plateau. The edge between the North and West façade is clearly visible


The dimensions of the elongated structure are remarkable, the image below which was taken from the fields on the north side of this pyramid extension, helps us to understand the  proportions.


Fig. 7 - Image taken from the elongated sides of the structure placed on the Pyramid of the Sun. The summit is indicated by the arm of the first person in the group


From the plateau where the elongated structure sits, it is easy to see the medieval fortress on the summit.


Fig. 8 - This image was taken from the plateau placed to the west of the Pyramid of the Sun, the he ruins of the medieval fortress on the summit of the pyramid are visible


When continuing the turn to encircle the top of the pyramid, the ruins of the medieval fortress (with its central circular tower) becomes visible. It is possible to distinguish the existing internal walls within the completely destroyed surrounding walls.


Fig. 9 - These are the ruins of the fortress that was built on top of the Pyramid of the Sun.  Sophisticated radio wave ground systems, found the remains of two entrances on the summit that had been demolished (according to the tradition by myths, this is something the Ottomans did)


Local tradition says that the fortress was accessed by using one of two entrances to the tunnels below the pyramid. Further, just before the fort was conquered by the Ottomans, the Queen of Bosnia managed to escape with her most trusted knights through these tunnels. Some say they came out of a tunnel behind Turkish lines others however, report that they never came out of them.

Other local traditions state that some Turkish soldiers tried to climb through these passages in search of treasure and riches, but they were unable to return. Others however, say people heard them screaming before disappearing. It seems certain that the Turks blew up these entrances, so that nobody could get lost again. These entrances were discovered by a ground radar system (as used in oil drilling) that found they were totally collapsed and no longer possible to access them.

It is difficult to carry out further excavations without causing damage to the fortress, this now seems highly unlikely as this is a symbol of identity for the whole of Bosnia.

If we continue the flight around the pyramid in a counterclockwise direction, we can see the South side that melts into the hills. There is no distinct corner here, and no distinct edge between the West face and East face of the pyramid.


Fig. 10 - View from the South face of the Pyramid of the Sun, showing the edge between the West face and South side


The South face is lost partly to the plateau, partly to the hills on that side and partly to the ‘Pyramid of Love’ (whose existence has yet to be proven, but attracts many tourists who go there for marriage).
The South face is not even visible from satellite images or from the plane.


Fig. 11 - Satellite image of the Pyramid of the Sun (or Visoćica Hill).  
The south face is not well-defined


Flying over the pyramid in a counterclockwise direction, the South-East corner appears; a hump between the middle third and upper third is visible.


Fig. 12 - View over the South -West corner of the Pyramid of the Sun


Fig. 13 - To the left of the South face and in the center the top plate of the Pyramid of Love. On the right is the hill into which the South face melts


To avoid getting lost in the references and cardinal points, we will take a look at a high altitude  picture showing the three visible corners of the pyramid.


Fig. 14 - High altitude view of the Pyramid of the Sun in relation to the orientation with the cardinal points, deflected by about 3 ° E. This image is not an SBRG production it is easy to find it on the Internet (Amer Smailbegovic, 2005)


Returning to the South-East corner, with the ‘hump’ clearly visible in the view to the Pyramid of the Sun (in Bosnian language: Piramida Sunca) from the Pyramid of the Moon (in Bosnian language: Piramida Mjeseca) positioned in front of it.



Fig. 15 - Image taken from the Pyramid of the Moon: the Pyramid of the Sun is on the right the ‘hump’ is clearly visible on the south-east corner, while the North-East corner is very regular. On the left is the Pyramid of Love, behind the two pyramids there are natural and untouched hills



Many people are debating whether the Pyramid of the Sun has a South face, (a very weak argument also used by skeptics), the fact that this may not exist does not eradicate the other faces.

I am not aware of any surveys carried out on this side of the pyramid, the aerial view seems to indicate this has not been the case.

Continuing to fly over the pyramid in a counterclockwise direction, we see the east face (unfortunately in shadow due to the sunsetting at the hour of our exploration flight) with a winding road climbing up to the pyramid plateau.


Fig. 16 - The East face completely in shadow at sunset during our flight

Unfortunately it was not possible to view the east face of the Pyramid of the Sun in detail however, we were able to clearly see the small ‘hump’ two-thirds of the way up the South-East corner. At the foot of the east face, is the town of Visoko.


Fig. 17 - The east face from another angle, with the North East edge beginning to appear


The edge between the East face and the North (the longest of all) precedes the appearance of the North face, the most impressive.


Fig. 18 - The North face with all its grandeur begins to appear


Fig. 19 - In this image (taken form a three-quarter view) the North face is visible with the South-East corner with its hump


To understand how long the North-Eastern edge of the pyramid is, this black and white image (from the internet), highlights this corner using a yellow dotted line.


Fig. 20 - The North-East corner is certainly longer than that of the edge of North-West


The difference in length between the two corners of the north face (considered the main face of the Pyramid of the Sun), is the reason why much of the symbolism of the Civilization of Visoko features a constant asymmetric two-dimensional image of a pyramid. This symbolism with a flat summit is found almost everywhere on the stećći (monumental stones of Bosnia) found throughout Bosnia and beyond.


Fig. 21 - An aerial photo of the Pyramid of the Sun, overlooking the town of Visoko in the sunset light of August 22nd, 2010


It is worth highlighting the lack of drainage of a well-preserved forest on the sides of the pyramid (eg North and East), and almost nonexistent drainage on the South and West sides,  damaged by past human intervention. An example of such interventions are the trenches dug for defense by various armies on the South side. This is also the reason why the south face is the most affected, when considering the Pyramid of the Sun as a remodeled hill.

The lack of streams and rivers on the faces of the pyramid is due to drainage provided by the builders inside of the pyramid itself, which would provide rain-water or from melting snow.

I have shown with a few photographs (of the dozens taken) multiple steps of the different faces of the Pyramid of the Sun. I'm sure some skeptical people will say that I am swapping
the pyramids with all-natural hill.

In conclusion, I consider the Pyramid of the Sun to be a natural hill, remodeled by someone along time ago. We can find similar examples all over the world, without these dimensions.

Until someone enters the heart of the hill/pyramid we will not know with any certainty if this hill was reshaped by man.

Paolo Debertolis - September 4, 2010


 Video taken from the airplane in the exploration of the Pyramid of the Sun from the sky here.




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