As travelers, we seek adventure, knowledge, and cultural experiences. Visiting ancient ruins allows us to do all of these things and more. Ancient civilizations offer us a glimpse into the past, showcasing incredible feats of engineering, art, and culture that have survived the test of time. By visiting these ruins, we can learn about the people who lived there, their way of life, their beliefs, and their struggles. We can see firsthand how they created magnificent structures, some of which are still standing thousands of years later.
Visiting ancient ruins also allows us to appreciate the impact that these civilizations have had on the world we live in today. From the Pyramids of Giza to the Roman Colosseum, these structures have influenced art, architecture, and engineering for centuries. By visiting them, we can see the roots of our own civilization and how we have been shaped by those who came before us.
There are countless ancient ruins and landmarks around the world, each with its own unique history and story to tell. Here are some of the top ancient ruins to visit:
Machu Picchu, Peru: This Incan citadel is located high in the Andes Mountains and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. It was built in the 15th century and is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America. The site features a series of terraces, plazas, and temples, all built without the use of mortar. The most famous structure at Machu Picchu is the Intihuatana stone, which was used by the Incas to measure the passage of time.
Petra, Jordan: This ancient city was carved into the sandstone cliffs and was once a major trading hub. It features impressive rock-cut architecture and is one of the most well-preserved examples of an ancient city. The most famous structure at Petra is the Treasury, which is carved into a cliff face and features intricate carvings and decorations. Other notable structures include the Monastery, the Great Temple, and the Roman Theater.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia: This sprawling temple complex was built in the 12th century and was once the capital of the Khmer Empire. It features intricate carvings and artwork and is considered one of the most significant archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. The most famous structure at Angkor Wat is the central temple, which features five towers that are said to represent the peaks of Mount Meru, the home of the gods in Hindu mythology. Other notable structures include the Bayon Temple and the Terrace of the Elephants.
Colosseum, Rome: This iconic Roman amphitheater was built in 80 AD and was used for gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world and offers a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Roman Empire. The Colosseum could seat up to 50,000 people and was used for events such as animal hunts, mock sea battles, and gladiator fights. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the Colosseum and learn about the history of this iconic landmark.
Chichen Itza, Mexico: This Mayan city was once a major political and economic center and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features impressive pyramids, temples, and other structures that offer a glimpse into Mayan culture and history. The most famous structure at Chichen Itza is the Temple of Kukulcan, also known as El Castillo, which is a stepped pyramid that was used for astronomical observations. Other notable structures include the Great Ball Court, which was used for a Mesoamerican ball game, and the Temple of the Warriors, which features impressive carvings and sculptures.
Acropolis of Athens, Greece: This ancient citadel is located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city of Athens and is home to several impressive buildings and monuments. The most famous structure is the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena that was built in the 5th century BC. Other notable buildings include the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, and the Erechtheion.
Tikal, Guatemala: This ancient Mayan city was a major center of political, economic, and religious activity from the 6th century BC to the 10th century AD. It features impressive pyramids, temples, and other structures that offer insights into Mayan culture and society. The most famous structure at Tikal is Temple IV, which is the tallest structure in the city and offers stunning views of the surrounding jungle.
The Great Wall of China: This iconic landmark is the longest wall in the world, stretching over 13,000 miles through northern China. It was built over several centuries, beginning in the 7th century BC, and was used for defensive purposes. Today, visitors can explore different sections of the wall, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and countryside.
Borobudur Temple, Indonesia: This ancient Buddhist temple is located on the island of Java and is one of the largest and most impressive Buddhist monuments in the world. It was built in the 9th century and features nine stacked platforms, each adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures. The top platform features a central dome that is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues.
Teotihuacan, Mexico: This ancient Mesoamerican city was a major center of culture and religion from the 1st century BC to the 8th century AD. It features impressive pyramids, temples, and other structures that offer insights into the beliefs and practices of the Teotihuacan people. The most famous structures at Teotihuacan are the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, which are thought to have been used for religious ceremonies and astronomical observations. Other notable structures include the Temple of the Feathered Serpent and the Ciudadela, which was a large plaza used for public gatherings.
Visiting ancient ruins can be an incredible experience, but it’s important to be prepared. Here are some tips for visiting them nicely:
Research the site beforehand: Before you go, read up on the history and significance of the site. This will help you appreciate the ruins and understand their cultural and historical importance.
Wear comfortable shoes: Most ruins involve a lot of walking and climbing, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes that can handle uneven terrain.
Respect the site: Ancient ruins are fragile and can be damaged by human activity. Be sure to follow any posted rules and regulations and avoid touching or climbing on the structures.
Hire a guide: Consider hiring a local guide who can provide insight and context about the site. They can help you appreciate the ruins and understand their cultural and historical significance.
Bring water and snacks: Many ruins are located in remote areas with limited amenities. Be sure to bring water and snacks to keep yourself hydrated and fueled during your visit.