Exploring the ruins of an old location where complex and intriguing cultures previously flourished before dying away is simply amazing. Several cultural and religious sites across the world have either survived the test of time or have been unearthed, and they now stand as famous monuments for travelers to admire. From century-old temples in Greece to pre-Columbian towns in Mexico, these are the ten most intriguing archaeological sites and mythical ruins that you should see.
STONEHENGE, UNITED KINGDOM
Stonehenge, an ancient landmark with a 4,500-year history, has many diverse meanings to people today. Its ring of standing stones is an engineering marvel, and constructing it would have been a massive effort from hundreds of well-organized individuals utilizing only basic tools and technology. We don’t know what the remains were built for. It serves no apparent practical function. Because it could not have been guarded and could not have been lived in, there must have been a spiritual purpose for Neolithic and Bronze Age people to invest so much time and effort in its construction. It’s been argued that Stonehenge has been a burial cemetery from its inception.
THE GREAT WALL, CHINA
The Great Wall is a magnificent example of ancient defensive engineering. Its meandering course takes in some magnificent scenery as it passes through rough terrain and steep mountains. With a total length of more than 20,000 kilometers, the wall was constantly erected on the northern frontier of the nation from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD as the main military defense project of successive Chinese Empires (12,000 mi). The Great Wall of China starts in Hebei province’s Shanhaiguan and finishes in Gansu province’s Jiayuguan. Walls, horse paths, watchtowers, and wall shelters make up the majority of the structure, which also contains many magnificent fortifications and passes.
MOAI STATUES EASTER ISLAND, CHILE
The huge megaliths known as Moai sculptures may be seen on Chile’s Easter Island, which is located in the Pacific Ocean. The people of this island, also known as Rapa Nui, erected the moai between 1400 and 1650 ZD. There are about 1000 sculptures, weighing up to 86 tons and standing up to 10 meters (33 feet) tall, though the average is around half that. The volcano Rano Raraku provided 95 percent of the moais. This area was chosen because it has a lot of stuff, which is compacted volcanic ash that is simple to carve. After all, the indigenous didn’t have any metal to cut with and only used stone tools (the so-called Toki). Moai sculptures were erected to commemorate the deaths of chieftains and other significant individuals. A popular theory is that the moai sculptures were built by aliens.
GIZA PYRAMIDS, EGYPT
The Great Pyramids of Giza are Egypt’s most famous archaeological landmark, located just outside of Cairo on the esplanade known as the Giza Plateau. Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure constructed all three of Giza’s famous pyramids and their intricate burial complexes during a frenetic era of building from about 2550 to 2490 BC. In the afterlife, Egypt’s pharaohs were supposed to become gods. They erected temples to the gods and massive pyramid tombs for themselves to prepare for the next world, which was stocked with everything a king would need to direct and support himself in the next world. Each pyramid is part of a bigger complex that includes a palace, temples, solar boat pits, and other attractions. The site also features the ruins of some minor temples and villages that are critical to understanding ancient Egyptian life in this region.
Petra, commonly known as the Rose-Red City, is a world-famous archaeological site and Jordan’s most popular tourist destination. It is unknown when Petra was founded, but it began to thrive as the capital of the Nabataean Empire in the first century BC, which became wealthy via commerce in frankincense, myrrh, and spices. Petra was eventually conquered by the Roman Empire and thrived until the 4th century AD when a major earthquake devastated much of the city. The earthquake, along with changes in trade routes, eventually led to the city’s demise, and it was finally abandoned. After a Swiss explorer called Johannes Burckhardt found Petra in 1812, the site began to draw visitors, which it still does today.
ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA
Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Monument, is Asia’s most famous ancient site and the main lure for many knowledgeable travelers from across the world visiting the Kingdom of Cambodia. Angkor was formerly at the heart of the powerful Khmer kingdom (9th to 15th centuries) and developed to become the biggest known pre-industrial metropolis, encompassing an area roughly comparable to that of modern-day Paris. The Khmer king was seen to have a divine role, and each king was required to build an appropriate temple to consecrate the symbolic link between ruler and god. The complex has hundreds of renowned temples, notably Angkor Wat (with its world-famous silhouette, which is best seen at sunrise). Bayon (renowned for the smiling, peaceful figures carved onto massive buildings) and Ta Prohm (a magnificent temple ruin engulfed by the jungle).
MACHU PICCHU, PERU
Many people wonder why Machu Picchu is so significant. The Citadel of Machu Picchu is the most visited tourist spot in Peru and one of the most visited in the world. Machu Picchu is a Quechua term that combines the words Machu, which means old or ancient, and Picchu, which means mountain; hence, Machu Picchu translates as Old Mountain. Machu Picchu is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, which encourages greater travel in the region. Tourists of various countries come to Peru to learn about the Inca legacy and, of course, to explore Machu Picchu, also known as the Lost City of the Incas.