Ancient Ruins Around The World

By Jack Clark 12 months ago

Machu Picchu, Peru

Image Source: Reddit
This ancient citadel was built way back in the 15th century by the Inca Empire at the height of its reign. Apparently, no one in the world (apart from its builders) knew it existed until Hiram Bingham, and American explorer, discovered it in 1911. Though no one knows its true purpose, historians believe that it was built to be some kind of royal estate or even a sacred religious site for the rulers of the Inca Empire. Amazingly, it had never been found by foreign invaders, so it was in great condition for its age when it was rediscovered.

Colosseum, Italy

Image Source: Reddit
The Colosseum in Rome is probably the most famous, if not the most recognizable, ancient structures that exists in the world today. It was built all the way back in 72AD and was used for all sorts of events; mainly gladiator battles (am I the only one picturing Russell Crowe shouting "are you not entertained?"), battle reenactments and showcasing wild animals. These events were showcased for over a century and it could hold nearly 100,000 spectators (that's more than football stadiums). The Colosseum was a true representation of the Roman Empire's power.

Great Wall Of China, China

Image Source: Reddit
Talk about a big wall - probably something Trump would be proud of...this structure spans for over 13,000 miles. It is basically the same distance as driving from California to Pennsylvania, and back, twice. Mental. Apparently construction of this wall began way back in the 7th century (before christ, that is), and the main bulk of it was built between the 14th and 17th century. It was originally meant to keep out invaders and was a strategic defensive construction, and now it is a tourist favorite. It really is a masterpiece in human innovation and craftsmanship.

Pyramids Of Giza, Egypt

Image Source: Reddit
These truly are a magnificent mystery and, to this day, scientists, archaeologists and historians don't have even the slightest of clues about how the pyramids were built. Most agree that they are around 4,500 years old, and some of the more fringe opinions believe they are much older. They were built as tombs for the deceased Egyptian pharaohs (so extra, right? What's wrong with a normal coffin?) and once held a significant amount of treasure. That was until looters and robbers got a whiff of the golden contents and stole them!

Petra, Jordan

Image Source: Reddit
Petra is an ancient city that is carved into the red cliffs in Jordan. The most famous building here is the treasury, known as Al-Khazneh, which literally looks like a temple. Petra was the capital of Jordan during the Nabataean Empire around 300 B.C, and the architecture is a melting pot of Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Nabataean influence. There's more than just the treasury to explore here; visitors can see ancient tombs, theatres, temples and even visit 'The Siq', a narrow gorge that leads you to the ancient city.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Image Source: Reddit
Found in Mexico, this is a super popular archaeological site that was built in the 9th and 12th centuries. The people who erected these magnificent buildings were the Maya civilization, and the site consists of the castle ("El Castillo"), which is a pyramid-shaped building with steps, and many view it has astronomical significance. There are also other super interesting buildings here, including the 'Temple of Warriors', 'Sacred Cenote' and the 'Great Ballcourt'. It gets pretty busy here, as tourist from all around the world flock to take in some ancient history.

Acropolis Of Athens, Greece

Image Source: Reddit
Today, the Acropolis looks a lot different to how it would have looked back in the 5th century B.C. Over the years, it as been battered by looters, war and the natural environment. In its' hay day, the Acropolis was used as the cultural and religious hub of ancient Athens. The most well-known structure in the Acropolis is the 'The Parthenon', which was a temple built in dedication to the Goddess of war and reason, Athena. Historians have described this building as "an exemplary example of classic Greek architecture".

Stonehenge, England

Image Source: Reddit
Another mysterious ancient building, Stonehenge is thought to have been built around 5,000 years ago. Historians still don't know how this was built, and they believe that many people died during its construction. Some of the stones weigh nearly 25 tons, thats basically the same weight as a garbage truck. For context, record for a deadlift is just over 1,000 lbs, and that was literally the worlds strongest man - and he nearly died doing it. How the hell did people lift these things thousands of years ago with no machinery?

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Image Source: Reddit
This is a massive temple in Cambodia that was built back in the 12th century and was dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. All throughout the temple, the walls are decorated with art, depicting stories from awesome Hindu myths, including the stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It is still a super important religious site, and has transitioned into a Buddhist temple, and follower of Buddhism all around the world visit. It was made by the Khmer empire for their King who used it as a temple and mausoleum.

Mesa Verde, USA

 
Image Source: Reddit
These cliff dwellings were built around 500 AD, and were lived in by ancestral Puebloans, a Native American people who lived all across North America. Mesa Verde is home to 'Cliff Palace', the most famous part of the cliff-dwelling that has well over 150 rooms and over 20 underground ceremonial chambers. The Mesa Verde National Park was created to help preserve this site, and gives so much insight into the social, economic and spiritual lives of the Puebloan people. Fancy a visit? You can do a guided tour around this amazing construction.

Pompeii, Italy

Image Source: Reddit
We all know the tragic story of Pompeii, and there's even been songs written about it. Historians reckon that, before it was engulfed in volcanic flames, Pompeii was home to around 20,000 people and was rich with culture, architecture and trade. Amazingly (not for the people of Pompeii), the eruption of Mount Vesuvius somehow preserved the city in great detail, and it gives an amazing insight into what life was like during the Roman empire. Weirdly, you can even see the remains of people, who were preserved by the eruption.

Ephesus, Turkey

Image Source: Reddit
Found in Turkey, Ephesus was an ancient Greek and Roman port city that was full of trade and culture, and provided plenty of education. Apparently, it was built all the way back in 10th century B.C, and is possibly the most well-preserved ancient sites on the planet. It is also one of the most important religious sites in the world, as early Christian communities worshipped here. Some even believe that Apostle Paul, the influential Christian missionary and theologian, lived and preached here.

Tikal, Guatemala

Image Source: Reddit
Tikal is another ancient Mayan city that was believed to be home to nearly 60,000 people. There are a boat-load of temples, pyramids and palaces here that, to this day, still stand tall. It is surrounded by jungle terrain, and is a super cool place to visit. What is really interesting about Tikal, among other Mayan sites, is that they all seem to align with Astronomical events somehow. Coincidence? Probably not, it shows that the Mayans somehow had a great understanding of our night sky, even without all the modern-day fancy technological equipment we have now.

The Parthenon, Greece

Image Source: Reddit
We've got to bring this one back because it really is just that cool. As we know already, it was built in dedication to the Goddess Athena, but what we haven't mentioned is that it is filled with amazing marble sculptures that have art featuring mythological and historical scenes. The Parthenon has seen many historical sights, and has been used as a temple, a church, a mosque, and was also used as a place to store ammo during wars. It also has optical illusions in that the columns lean slightly inwards, which, when viewed from a distance, looks like straight lines.

Teotihuacan, Mexico

Image Source: Reddit
Located about 30 miles to the North of Mexico City, Teotihuacan was inhabited by a diverse populations of people between 1-7th century A.D. It was abandoned in the 7th century, and was later rediscovered by the Aztecs, who gave it its name meaning 'the place where the gods were created'. No one today knows why the city was abandoned and research is still ongoing. The architecture here is huge and super impressive, and still amazes archaeologists to this day. It is also home to one of the largest Pyramids in the worlds.

Borobudur, Indonesia

Image Source: Reddit
Located in Java, Borobudur is an amazing ancient Buddhist temple. It was built back in 8th and 9th centuries and, well, it's pretty big - the largest Buddhist temple still standing today in fact. However, this monolithic temple was lost for centuries, buried in vegetation and volcanic ash, but it was finally rediscovered in the 19th century and, because of its religious and cultural importance, restoration work is continually carried out on it to make sure that it remains in tact. Many Buddhists make their way here to worship and appreciate the construction.

The Roman Forum, Italy

Image Source: Reddit
Back in Roman times, these ruins (what we now call 'The Roman Forum') were the centre of all things politics, religion and culture. It stands as an open-air museum that anyone can visit - it's pretty cool that you can go and stand where famous historical figures would have stood and given speeches. It is believed that the Romans also used the forum as a social gathering location, where there were plenty of things to do: trade in the markets, spend money in shops and drink the day away in taverns. The cremation of Julius Caesar was also held here.

Karnak Temple Complex, Egypt

Image Source: Reddit
A truly beautiful and fascinating ancient Egyptian temple found in Luxor. The entire temple was apparently built so the Egyptian people could worship one of their gods, Amun. An entire temple for one god? Crazy, there were literally 1000's of gods that the ancient Egyptians worshipped, Amun must have felt pretty special. The Amun-Ra temple is hidden away within the complex, and it was apparently the most important temple that the ancient culture built. Apparently, there were 100s of ceremonies and festivals that took place here.

The Great Sphinx, Egypt

Image Source: Reddit
We've got loads of Egyptian ruins here. I know, I know, the whole article can't be about Egypt BUT there are SO many ancient ruins in Egypt that we can't ignore them. Plus, they're all awesome, just like the Great Sphinx. Apparently, it was built in 2,500 BC, and was said to be in honor of the then Pharaoh, Khafre. Must have been a pretty important guy to have this built for him, or maybe he just ordered it to be built. Either way, this half lion, half human sculpture is massively impressive and must have taken years and years to build.

The Alhambra, Spain

Image Source: Reddit
This thing isn't just a palace, it is literally a fortress! It was built back in the 9th century, but was continuously upgraded up until the 13th century. It was the place of residence for Muslim rulers when Islamic rule was in charge of the Iberian peninsula. There is a boat-load of islamic art and architecture and is truly a stunning place to visit. People are in awe of this place and it has been an inspiration to many modern-day historians and architects. Apparently, it is the most famous Islamic architecture in the world.

The Terracotta Army, China

Image Source: Reddit
This isn't the oldest ancient ruin of the list, but it's still pretty darn old. It was only discovered just under 50 years ago, but it was apparently built around 3rd century BC. That's crazy, it was hidden for nearly 2,000 years! Maybe it was playing the longest game of hide and seek ever? This was built for the first emperor of China and the nearly 8,000-strong clay army were built to portray his real-life imperial guard in the afterlife. The level of skill and craftsmanship 2,000 years ago is astonishing.

The Temple Of Hatshepsut, Egypt

Image Source: Reddit
There wasn't many female Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt, but Queen Hatshepsut definitely made quite the impact on the Ancient Egyptians. In fact, she had an entire temple built in her honor. This temple is considered a complete masterpiece when it comes to Egyptian architecture, which is quite the compliment when you consider the various other amazing ruins found in Egypt. It was built during the 15th century BC and has amazingly remained in tact. This thing is literally 3,500 years old. Talk about ageing well!

Delphi, Greece

Image Source: Reddit
This place is pretty darn cool. According to Greek mythology, Delphi was considered the centre of the world and was inhabited by the god of prophecy, Apollo. People travelled from all over the world to visit as their was a priestess who resided here who apparently spoke with the god Apollo and relayed his messages through her. It also hosted its own version of the Greek games, the Delphic games, with athletic and music events and even art contests. All of which were held in honor of Apollo. Apparently, it dates back to around 4,000 BC.

Palmyra, Syria

Image Source: Science.org
This place has unfortunately suffered a lot of destruction due to the ongoing troubles in Syria, and has been taken over by certain militant groups. However, it is still an awe-inspiring ancient city that shows off architectural influence from both the Romans and Persians. Back in its day, 1st century to be exact, it was a VERY wealthy city and it flourished with business and culture. Inside the city, you can see the remains of a Roman Theatre along with loads of other cool sculptures and buildings.

The Temple Of Artemis, Turkey

Image Source: Reddit
This one sounds familiar - we're going back to Ephesus. Remember, the ancient Greek city in modern-day Turkey? Well, within the realms of Ephesus, you'll find and ancient temple called Artemis, and it is one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Ancient World'. It was the largest temple of its time, and stood nearly 60 feet tall (that's like 3 or 4 giraffes). It played an important social and religious role in the city and people travelled from all over the world to visit. Interestingly, it has been built and destroyed 3 times, and has never been reconstructed since.

The Valley Of Kings, Egypt

Image Source: Reddit
I know, back to Egypt we go. It's worth it though. The Valley Of Kings is one of the most fascinating ancient structures in the world. As the name would suggest, it was built for the Pharaohs of Egypt as their final resting place, and hosts the tombs of Tutankhamun and Hatshepsut (slay, queen). Luckily, it hasn't been plagued by looters as it was chosen based on its secluded location. It is near the Nile river in Luxor and it was used between 16th century and 11th century BC.

The Great Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe

Image Source: Reddit
It was an ancient city that was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe between the 11th and 15th century. Apparently, it was where those that were in power would reside, and was the hub of the trade network in Zimbabwe. They traded mostly in gold and ivory and, until its downfall a few hundred years ago, was a very wealthy city. Historians don't know exactly why the Kingdom of Zimbabwe broke down, and they have been debating each other on it for years. Visitors can expect massive stone sculptures and impressively high walls, along with a massive stone conical tower.

Tulum, Mexico

Image Source: Reddit
Okay, the Mayans are also mentioned a lot but give us a break, they built some seriously awesome structures. Interestingly, it is the only Mayan structure that overlooks the ocean, and it would have played an important part in trading as it had great connections to sea and land. It is also one of only a few Mayan cities that have protective walls in their structure. Because of this, historians also believe that this may have been used as a defence strategy. Fancy seeing some ancient ruins but also fancy a day on the beach? Look no further than Tulum.

The Moai Of Easter Island, Chile

Image Source: Reddit
These impressive stone statues are nearly 30 feet tall, and there's a lot of them. They are believed to have been built by the early inhabitants of Easter Island and the Rapa Nui people think that they represent the dead, and provide a spiritual connection between the living and the dead. Mother nature has unfortunately helped to ruin some of these statues and some have been blown down or destroyed. There are now plenty of people who help with the restoration of these amazing pieces of architecture, so people can still visit and appreciate them.

The Palace Of Knossos, Greece

Image Source: Reddit
Back to Greece we go, and this time to the Palace of Knossos, which is apparently aroud 9,000 years old! According to historians, Neolithic people first lived here, but Knossos has seen a great number of different cultures and people live here. Knossos is also where the (according to mythology, of course) Minotaur roamed in its labyrinth, the scary bull-like creature. The palace features a plethora of rooms and corridors, and people marvel at the architectural complexity that is soaked into the design of the palace.