What’s a Moon Gate and Why Are There So Many on Bermuda?

moon gate

Bermuda has long had a reputation for the strange, thanks entirely to the centuries old myth of the Triangle. Yes, I said myth because it’s merely yet another conspiracy theory borne of a few strange incidents. One oddity I discovered while visiting the island though is very real and at first even more perplexing than the fabled geometric phenomenon.

After I checked in to the Fairmont Princess Hotel, I walked out to the promenade facing the harbor. It was a beautiful day and dozens of boaters were out enjoying the weather. But there in front of me on the cusp of the property was what looked just like a Stargate.

If you’re a fan of the movie and ensuing TV series like I am, then you know that a Stargate is a large circle structure through which people transport themselves through space. My imagination went wild and my immature self began to wonder if interstellar travel had first arrived on Bermuda. As I later learned, these gates are found throughout the island but sadly for me are not a gateway to new planets and encounters with aliens.

Originally of Chinese design, moon gates were brought to Bermuda in the late 19th century thanks to the British fascination with Asian culture. In China the gates were meant to serve as ornamental and luxurious doorways to homes and gardens, but in Bermuda they’re mostly freestanding. They’ve also taken on a different meaning altogether on the island as a local told me. She said that it’s good luck for newlyweds to walk through the gates after getting married. No matter the origin or the tales associated with them though, the moon gates do have an undeniable elegance to them.

These odd gates quickly became a favorite sight of mine on the island, I found them everywhere from prominent spots to the most unlikely of locations. I also grew to love them, not because I secretly hoped they would light up when I walked through them but because of their odd history. It’s that unusual quirkiness that makes Bermuda so special, that separates it from other island destinations. They seem to shout out to  new arrivals that Bermuda isn’t your normal place, in every positive sense of the word imaginable.

What are some quirky sights you’ve found on your travels?

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

13 thoughts on “What’s a Moon Gate and Why Are There So Many on Bermuda?”

  1. I’m also a huge fan of Stargate, so that was my exact reaction too, when I saw your pictures! They do look lovely, and the idea that they might (at least secretly) be gateways to other planets certainly adds to the excitement!

  2. Kristin @ KEEN Digital Summit

    I did a road trip of the entire US a couple years ago, so way too many quirky things to mention (Carhenge being my favorite!). I’m jealous of your Bermuda trip, as I’m dying to go there myself.

  3. I know about the Bermuda Triangle. But that’s about it. I don’t hear much about it on travel blogs. It’s pretty cool the things that are incorporated in history. It makes Bermuda even more interesting :)

  4. There is a pyramidconstruction found on the bottom of the ocean in the Bermuda triangle. They know these ‘produce’ a big change in magnetisme on waterflows, boatmeasure equipment and so on.

  5. Matt as a Bermudian I’m glad that you enjoyed our island and found the moon gates so fascinating. Although they may not transport you to distant planets, it does allow you to mingle with aliens as we are considered by the U.S. Immigration department. So in a way you have encountered aliens in your travels :). (Hope you find the humor or humour in my sarcasm). Nevertheless, I’m glad that you enjoyed the “Rock” and hope you are able to visit again.

    1. Matt,
      My mom, who’s from Bermuda, told me that her father built the first one on the island. I’m sure it wasn’t his design because he was a young stone mason at the time. His name was Manual DeCosta. We still have many relative on the island. I’m not sure where the first one is because it is now on private property but at that time it was a park. It’s great to see stories of beautiful Bermuda

  6. I’ve been to Bermuda several times and the moongates are one of my favorite thing about the island (in addition to the water, the colors, the white roofs, etc). My least favorite thing about Bermuda is riding on the “wrong” side of the road on a motor bike. And riding on the “wrong” side of the road in a Rotary, what we here in NJ call a circle and others may call a Roundabout.

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