Wanderlust

17 AWE-INSPIRING ANCIENT RUINS YOU MUST EXPLORE

17. The Parthenon, Greece

Dedicated to the Greek Goddess Athena, this temple was constructed in 432 BC. It is known as one of the most important surviving buildings of classical Greece and a stunning symbol of Ancient Greece.

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16. Machu Picchu, Peru

This 15th-century Inca site has been excellently preserved and the architecture and breathtaking mountains has made it one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world today. Machu Picchu is believed to have been built by Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the ninth ruler of Inca, in the mid 1400’s.

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15. Ruins of Ayutthaya, Thailand

Founded in 1350, thirty-five kings ruled the Ayutthaya kingdom during its existence. The city was attacked and razed by the Burmese army in 1767 who burned the city to the ground and forced the inhabitants to abandon the city. The city was never rebuilt in the same location and remains known today as an extensive archaeological site.

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14. The Colosseum, Italy

This famous amphitheater was commissioned around AD 70 by Emperor Vespasian as a gift to the Roman people. Once opened it had over four centuries of use! The Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Rome and a must see building.

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13. Ellora, India

These 34 monasteries and temples, extending over more than 2 km, were dug side by side in the wall of a high basalt cliff in Ellora, India. The monuments dating from A.D. 600 to 1000, brings the civilisation of ancient India to life.

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12. Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

Being the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. the Pyramids of Giza is on the top of every single persons list we have ever asked!

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11. Pompeii, Italy

The city of Pompeii was an ancient Roman town which was destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 metres of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The site was lost for about 1,500 years until its rediscovery in 1599. The objects that lay beneath the city have been well-preserved for centuries because of the lack of air and moisture. These artefacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana.

During the excavation, plaster was used to fill in the voids in the ash layers that once held human bodies. This allowed one to see the exact position the person was in when he or she died.

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10. Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia in Turkey. The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis (completed around 550 BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The temple was was completely rebuilt three times before its eventual destruction in 401 AD.

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9. Petra, Jordan

This prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra was literally carved out of sandstone cliff faces and was ‘lost’ to the Western world for hundreds of years. Petra was once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataen empire between 400 BC and 106 AD. The city sat in near ruin for centuries, until a European traveller discovered it in the 1800s, whilst disguised in Bedouin costume to infiltrate the mysterious location.

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8. Teotihuacan, Mexico

Just north of Mexico City are the mysterious Teotihuacan Pyramids, built beginning around 300 BC as the centerpiece of an enormous city. They were inexplicably abandoned centuries before the arrival of the Aztecs, who called the ancient architectural marvel the “Birthplace of the Gods.”

Neither they, nor modern archaeologists, have been able to unravel the secrets of these massive ruins, containing the third-largest pyramid in the world.

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7. Great Wall of China, China

One of the greatest wonders of the world, how can this not be on your ancient ruin bucket list? These gigantic walls stretch approx. 8,851 km (5,500 miles) from east to west of China. With a history of more than 2000 years, it was one of the most popular attractions around the world.

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6. Stonehenge, England

Stonehenge symbolises mystery, power and endurance. Its original purpose is unclear, but some have speculated that it was a temple made for the worship of ancient earth deities. It has been called an astronomical observatory for marking significant events on the prehistoric calendar. Others claim that it was a sacred site for the burial of high-ranking citizens from the societies of long ago.

Whatever it made be for it is sure a place you want to go and see with your own two eyes!

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5. Moai Statues, Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island is famous due to an array of giant 900 stone figures that date back many centuries. The statues show off the craftsmanship and engineering skills the ancient civilisation had. There is many speculation about the exact purpose of the statues, the role they played and the way they were constructed and transported.

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4. Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Burma (Myanmar). From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.

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3. Ta Prohm, Cambodia

Ta Prohm, built in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor’s most popular temples with visitors.

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2. Longmen Grottoes, China

Longmen Caves are one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art, housing tens of thousands of statues of Buddha and his disciples.

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1. Cappadocia, Turkey

Lying in south central Turkey, the moonscaped region of Cappadocia, is most famous for unique geological features called fairy chimneys. The large, cone-like formations were created over time by erosion of the relatively soft volcanic ash around them. Past cultures have dug into them to create dwellings, castles and even entire underground cities.

This is by far our number 1 ancient ruin we are dying to visit!

Sunrise in Cappadocia, Turkey, with balloons and typical fairy chimney

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Have you been lucky enough to cross any of these ancient ruins off your bucket list?

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