10 Most Amazing Ancient Ruins In The World
10. Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is known worldwide as one of the most impressive archaeological achievements of all time. However, it wasn’t all built at once; different parts of ancient China constructed different sections of walls which were then combined by Qin Shi Huang, the first official Chinese emperor. After this, dynasties continued to combine and expand the wall into the one that we know and love today.
The granddaddy of all ancient ruins, Stonehenge holds a special place in the human imagination. Made sometime between four to five thousand years ago, Stonehenge is an icon of prehistoric English history. It is made of a number of large standing stones, each of which weighs some 25 tons. How did prehistoric humans make this structure, and why would they do it in the first place?
8. Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is one of the most revered archaeological sites in the world. Built high above sea level atop the Andes mountain range, it stands as a testament to the intelligence and ingenuity of the Inca Empire or perhaps the people that came before them. To date, it’s the most sought-after spot in Peru, and it also earned a spot among the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Bagan is an ancient city in Myanmar(formerly Burma) that’s been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason; between the 9th and 13th centuries, Bagan served as the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan. At its peak, around the 12th century it housed almost 10,000 elaborate Buddhist structures, such as shrines, temples, and pagodas. Sadly, most of these have gone into decay over the past 1000 years.
6. Terracotta Army
When Chinese workmen were building a well in 1974, they came upon a shocking discovery; they had uncovered the remnants of thousands of ancient terracotta soldiers buried under the ground. This accidental discovery is recognized as one of the greatest discoveries of modern times. These now famous figures are located in Shaanxi, a city in Xi’an, China, and they were built for the first Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang around the 3rd century BC.
5. Ta Prohm
The Ta Prohm Temple is nestled deep inside of the Cambodian jungle, and it has the wear and tear to attest to it. However, that’s ultimately what gives this unique temple its charm. It was made in 1186 AD by the great Khmer Empire, which lasted into the 1400s, and was originally intended as a Buddhist monastery/school.
4. Pyramids of Giza
I can’t talk about ancient ruins without throwing some love to the pyramids in Giza; they’re some of the most enigmatic ruins on the planet! Due to their popularity, it might seem like we know all there is to know about them, but these pyramids are still shrouded in mystique. While we do know that they were intended to serve as tombs for Egyptian emperors, we’re still not quite sure how these gigantic structures were built.
In 79 AD, the great volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted and left destruction in its wake. In particular, it annihilated one of the greatest Roman cities in the world, Pompeii. However, this led to one of the great contradictions of history; even though the volcanic eruption eliminated all life from Pompeii, the cooling ash preserved everything as well, which means that the city remained perfectly frozen in time after it met its fate.
2. Ellora Caves
The Ellora Caves are much more than your average caves; inside, there is a lush array of temples and sanctified areas with intricate associated artwork. The caves themselves are located outside of Aurangabad, a city in Maharashtra, India. They were built with a particular religious purpose in mind; Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists all worked together to carve the space out, and there are temples for each religion.
Some millennia ago, nomads sculpted an entire city completely into the side of a giant cliff! Not only is this an impressive feat in its own right, but it’s incredible to think that nomads accomplished this before the development of contemporary tools. Petra is situated in between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea in the country of Jordan, so it probably won’t be the only thing you see if you decide to travel to its location.