Coral Castle, located in a city called Homestead just south of Miami, is one of the most mysterious structures in the world.
WHAT IS IT?
Just as the name implies, Coral Castle is in fact a castle made out of coral limestone. It’s made from many megalithic stones that were quarried from the ground onsite. No mortar or concrete was used to hold the rocks together and each piece fits perfectly in its place and balances on its own. But what makes this place so special is that a single 5-foot, 100 lb man, named Edward Leedskalnin, built the entire thing.
WHO BUILT IT?
Born in Latvia, Leedskalnin came to Miami in 1919 and decided to construct a monument he called “Rock Gate Park.” The castle is dedicated to his ex-fiancee who jilted him at the altar in Latvia. He was hoping that she would one day hear of his amazing accomplishment and come to America to be with him again. Alas, she never came, and Ed spent thirty or so years building Coral Castle.
Ed got all of his tools to build the structure from a local junkyard. He claimed that he knew the secrets of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Giza and used them to move these huge rocks (weighing 15 tons on average) all by himself. He claimed that by manipulating magnetism in specific locations he was able to suspend gravity temporarily.
THE ROCK GATE
One of the two 9-ton swinging doors was balanced on a tiny pie shaped stone with a rod through it that balanced on a wheel bearing from a 1918 Ford truck. It balanced so perfectly that a child push it open with the push of afinger. When the weight of the stone finally crushed the bearing in the 80’s, an engineering team from the University of Florida came to fix it. It took a construction crew and a 50 ton crane to move what Leedskalnin had done by himself with no machinery. In addition, the small stone that the huge gate was miraculously balancing on was sent to the geology lab at the University of Florida. Tests came back confirming that the it was not a meteorite, but that the origins of the stone could not be likened to anything in known geology.
Ed worked at night between the hours of 12am-6am, and didn’t allow anyone to watch him work. If anyone came through the woods surrounding the castle to try to watch him, he would simply stand on his lookout post and stare at them, saying he would continue working once they left. A group of small boys did claim to successfully sneak up on him once and said that he was moving the megalithic stones like balloons!
HOW TO GET THERE
Coral Castle is located in Homestead, FL, so the best way to get there is by renting a car for the day. There are multiple locations in South Beach just a couple blocks from the Winterhaven Hotel like Enterprise on Collins, or Sixt on Washington. The other options are to take public transportation (the slowest but least expensive) or take an Uber/Lyft (the fastest but most expensive).
- Walk over to Washington and 13th St. and catch the 120 line bus to the downtown bus terminal.
- Get off and hop on the Metrorail going to south the last stop (Dadeland South).
- Then get on the 38 line bus and get off at SW 280th St. and walk across the street to the castle.
Cost: about $5 both ways. Time: around 2 hours each way
Uber: Costs about $50 each way. Time: 40 min. each way.
Tickets at the castle are $15.
image via flickr