61 Ancient Ruins around the World ...


I'm not ashamed to admit my passion for ancient ruins. They bring history to life and I love to wonder them imagining what life was like for the people who lived, worked, worshipped and played in them centuries ago. Do you? Let's indulge our mutual love for old stuff starting with a short tour of ancient ruins in Rome, Italy and then we're off around the world..

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Colosseum, Rome

Colosseum, Rome Via World's most-visited ancient ruins
One of the most recognizable ancient ruins of the world. Unmistakably a symbol of Ancient Rome. It used to hold 50,000 spectators!


Forum, Rome

Forum, Rome Via bucketlist
The forum was the center of Roman life for 1200 years.
The piazza was both marketplace and government center. The ruins of sacred temples dedicated to Saturn and the emperors Vespasian and Titus hint at the grandeur on display here two millennia ago.


Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli, Rome

Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli, Rome Via Hadrian's Villa (Tivoli, Italy) on ...
Emperor Hadrian preferred this site outside of the city rather than the palace on Palatine Hill. It was used by emperors following Hadrian as a retreat.

And now it's on to Greece.


Parthenon, Athens

Parthenon, Athens Via Partenon, Atenas
The Parthenon is a temple to Athena that stands on the Acropolis overlooking the city. It is the outstanding symbol of Ancient Greece.


Theatre of Dionysus, Athens

Theatre of Dionysus, Athens Via Experience the Acropolis and the ...
The theater named for the God of Wine is on the Acropolis below the Parthenon


Delphi, Greece

Delphi, Greece Via 10 of the World's Greatest ...
Delphi is located in central Greece, on the multiple terraces of Mount Parnassus. The site includes the Sanctuary of Apollo, the site of the ancient Oracle. Delphi was considered as the middle of the entire earth by the Ancient Greeks.


Knossos, Crete

Knossos, Crete Via Untitled
There are magnificent ancient ruins on the Greek Islands as well as the mainland. Knossos on Crete is considered the oldest city in Europe.

Let's leave Greece and go to Peru.


Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru Via 15 Amazing Sights to See ...
The 15th century Inca site is near the top of many a traveler's bucket list. It's a major trek to the estate which stands at nearly 8,000 feet above sea level.


Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru

Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru Via Spectacular Vacation Destinations, 4
The valley of the Urubamba River was a major Inca center, important for agriculture. You'll see ruins of villages and ancient cultivation areas. It's close to Machu Picchu.

After that whistle-stop tour of Peru, let's head back to Europe,


Segesta, Taormina, Sicily

Segesta, Taormina, Sicily Via Welcome to Flickr - Photo ...
Despite being in Italy, Segesta is a wonderful site of Ancient Greek ruins including the well-preserved Doric temple dating back to the 5th century.


Segesta is an ancient city located in Sicily, near the modern town of Calatafimi Segesta. It was founded by Elymian and Sicani peoples in the late Bronze Age and was an important political center in ancient times. The city's most famous feature is the well-preserved Doric temple, built around 400 BC. This temple is one of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world, and is a popular tourist destination.

The archaeological site of Segesta also includes a theater, a sacred area with altars, and the ruins of a Greek city. The city was surrounded by a wall and had a port, which was used to trade with other cities in the Mediterranean. The city was eventually abandoned in the 5th century AD, and its ruins have been preserved since then.


The Temple of Hera and Juno Lacinia, Agrigento, Sicily

The Temple of Hera and Juno Lacinia, Agrigento, Sicily Via Virtual Italy Tour of Agrigento
Agrigento was one of the major cities in the Golden Age of Ancient Greece. There are some wonderful ruins to be seen in the Valley of the Temples here.

Ready for the next leg? We're off to Mexico.


Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan

Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan Via Pyramid of the sun - ...
The terraced Pyramids of the Sun and Moon dominate the ancient plaza of this sacred city built between the first and seventh centuries. The Pyramid of the Sun is the third largest pyramid in the world.


Teotihuacan, once home to a thriving pre-Columbian civilization, remains shrouded in mystery. The Pyramid of the Sun is particularly awe-inspiring at 233 feet tall, casting imposing shadows with the sun's movements. Believed to be built over a sacred cave, this ancient structure was once the centre of a vast network of temples and avenues. Visitors can still ascend its narrow steps to the summit, where ancient peoples once gazed upon the heavens, seeking divine communion amidst the clouds. This majestic monument is a testament to the remarkable architectural prowess of its builders.


Tonina, Chiapas

Tonina, Chiapas Via Tonina
One of the major ancient ruins of the Mayan people of Central America. The site features a number of pyramid-temples and a large plaza for the ball game loved by the Mayans.



Tulum Via Untitled
One of the most famous Mayan sites enjoys a fabulous location on the Caribbean coast of Mexico.


The Temple of Inscriptions, Palenque

The Temple of Inscriptions, Palenque Via Misty View Of The Temple ...
This temple has been significant in the study of the ancient Maya thanks to the extraordinary hieroglyphic text found on the Inscription Tablets.


Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá Via Chichen Itza -- World Heritage ...
The incredible Temple of Kukulcan has been designated one of the 7 New Wonders of the World.


Also known as El Castillo, this mesmerizing pyramid dominates the ancient city of Chichén Itzá, a testament to the sophisticated astronomical and architectural capabilities of the Maya people. Twice a year, during the spring and fall equinoxes, the setting sun casts a shadow on the pyramid that creates the illusion of a serpent slithering down the steps. This event attracts thousands of visitors who come to marvel at the snake-like shadow, symbolizing Kukulcan, the feathered serpent god, descending from the heavens. The site's fusion of natural phenomena and human ingenuity is a spectacle not to be missed.


Monte Albán,Valley of Oaxaca

Monte Albán,Valley of Oaxaca Via oaxaca_5

These ruins are of the Zapotec people - a civilization that dates back more than 2,500 years.

Time to leave the Mayans behind and head back over the Atlantic to Italy.


Pompeii, Italy

Pompeii, Italy Via Pompei
The ruins of Pompeii are truly an incredible sight. I visited them a few times when I lived in Naples and still could visit many times more to take it all in.


Pompeii is an ancient city located in southern Italy, near the modern city of Naples. It was originally founded in the 7th century BC by the native Oscan people, and was later conquered by the Romans in the 4th century BC. In 79 AD, the city was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, burying it and its inhabitants under a thick layer of ash and pumice.

The ruins of Pompeii are among the most impressive and well-preserved examples of Roman history. The city was preserved almost perfectly by the volcanic eruption, and the ruins of its buildings, streets, and monuments are still visible today. The city's walls, public baths, temples, and other structures remain largely intact, while much of the city's art and artifacts have been recovered and are now on display in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.



Pompeii Via Discover Pompeii On Our Virtual ...
Amazing details of the houses and lives of the people of Pompeii - the town buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD - can still be seen.



Pompeii Via A View Over Pompeii Toward ...
This shows the scale of the town that was destroyed.

And while we're in Europe ...


Roman Amphitheatre, Pula, Croatia

Roman Amphitheatre, Pula, Croatia Via Gone by Sale Now On
This is one of the biggest Roman amphitheaters outside of Italy. It is extremely well preserved and is used for summer film festivals.


Temple of Romae and Augustus, Pula

Temple of Romae and Augustus, Pula Via Traveling

The Temple of Augustus is the only remaining structure from the original Roman forum in Pula.

Next stop, Jordan


Petra, Jordan

Petra, Jordan Via 50 Of The Most Beautiful ...
The Rose City is an amazing place of stone cut architecture. Particularly impressive are the El Khazneh (the Treasury) as seen above and the water conduit systems.

Time to board the flight for the next stop on our tour of the world's ancient ruins - Belize.


Petra is a historical and archaeological city located in the southern Jordanian governorate of Ma'an. It is believed to have been settled as early as 312 BCE, and was the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom from the 4th century BCE until 106 CE. The city is renowned for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system, and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. The most famous structure in Petra is the El Khazneh (the Treasury), which is carved out of the sandstone cliffs and stands at over 40 meters tall. Other notable structures include the Monastery, the Lion Triclinium, and the Royal Tombs. Visitors to Petra can explore the city's many ancient monuments, or take a camel ride through the desert.


Lamanai, Belize

Lamanai, Belize Via Belize 16
The Mayan Civilization stretched a long way across Central America. Like all other countries of the region, Belize has impressive ruins, like this one - the Mask Temple, which stands near the High Temple and Temple of the Jaguar in what was once a large city, .



Xunantunichit Via Maiden of the Rock: Xunantunich ...
XunantunichIt was a Mayan civic ceremonial center in the Late and Classic periods in the Belize Valley region. The name means "stone woman" which is why the main temple is often called the "Maiden of the Rock."

All aboard for Cambodia.


Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat Via Angor Watt, Cambodia.
The largest religious site in the world, Angkor Wat is a huge collection of Buddhist temples. It is one of the most impressive construction sites anywhere in the world.


Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple There are so many features to view when you visit Angkor Wat. It's jaw-droppingly awesome and totally amazing.

From South East Asia to Northern Europe next, for a look at some Viking ruins.


Lindholm Høje, Denmark

Lindholm Høje, Denmark Via Daring Denmark: Fjords and firewater ...
This impressive Viking burial site has areas that date back to the 5th century while other parts are as recent as the 11th century. The site was also once home to a village, as the location is an important river crossing point.


Fyrkat, Hobro

Via Travel And See The World: ...
This ring bastion dates to 980AD and controlled a trade route between Aalborg and Aarhuis.

Now it's time to head south again, to the Indian Ocean.


Fyrkat, located in Hobro, Denmark, is an ancient ring bastion that dates back to 980 AD. It was strategically built to control a trade route between Aalborg and Aarhuis. This well-preserved ruin is a testament to the advanced engineering and military tactics of the Vikings. It is also believed to have served as a royal residence for King Harald Bluetooth. Today, visitors can explore the site and learn about its history through guided tours. Fyrkat is just one of the many ancient ruins around the world that offer a glimpse into the past and the cultures that once thrived there.


Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka Via Follow The Gifts Of Life
Anuradhapura was one of the three ancient capitals of Sri Lanka and the center of Theravada Buddhism. One of the eight World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world with estimates putting its origins back in the 10th century BCE.

Ready for a quick hop to Thailand?


Sukhothai, Thailand

Sukhothai, Thailand Via Sukhothai Ruins
Sukhothai means "Dawn of Happiness" in English and the ruins (known as the Historical Park) of the ancient city are huge and include Buddha figures, palace buildings and temples.

Now to the country many of you will have been waiting for.


The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt

The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt Via fantasticviewpoint.com
One of the original and now only remaining Seven Ancient Wonders of the World and the symbol of Egypt. The three Pyramids which are tombs for the Pharaohs have stood for 4,500 years and are guarded by the giant Sphinx.


Cleopatra’s Kingdom, Alexandria

Cleopatra’s Kingdom, Alexandria Via The Amazing Sunken Cities Of ...
in 1998, work started on excavating the royal quarters of Cleopatra's Kingdom, once lost underwater for 1600 years.


Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple Via galenfrysinger.com
Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes. Luxor Temple is just one of six at this site. Four are on the right bank of the Nile and Luxor and Karnak are on the left bank.


Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple Via Christmas Holidays in Egypt | ...
The scale and complexity of the Karnak Temple is an incredible thing to behold. It is one of the world's greatest and most visited tourist attractions and is the second largest religious site in the world, after Angkor Wat.

Next, we're off to a country where the number of ancient ruins might surprise you.


Tetrapylon Gate Aphrodisias, Turkey

Tetrapylon Gate Aphrodisias, Turkey Via Wanderlust
The monumental gateway stands on the way to the ruined Temple of Aphrodite, after whom the town was named.


Hadrian's Gate, Antalya

Hadrian's Gate, Antalya Via hadrians gate | GloHoliday
Emperor Hadrian visited Antalya in AD130. Legend says the Queen of Sheba passed through the gate on her way to visit King Solomon.


The Hercules Gate, Ephesus

The Hercules Gate, Ephesus Via The Hercules Gate, Ephesus, Turkey.
Ephesus is one of the most incredible sites of classic Greek architecture and was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. It is also one of the places where Apostle Paul preached and Mary, Mother of God lived her final days nearby.



Ephesus Via Ephesus - Wikipedia, the free ...
Ruins at Ephesus include the Library of Celsus, the temples dedicated to Artemis and Hadrian, the Hercules Gate (in previous point), terraced houses which give a good indication of how people lived and a theater.


Mount Nemrut

Mount Nemrut Via Mountain of the Gods
A number of large statues are erected around what is believed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BCE.


Mount Nemrut is a 2,150-meter high mountain located in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. It is home to an ancient archaeological site, the summit of which is crowned by a large tumulus, or artificial mound, built during the late Hellenistic period in the 1st century BCE. The tumulus is surrounded by a number of large statues, believed to be of a royal tomb. The site is believed to have been built by King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene, a kingdom founded in the early 2nd century BCE, and it is considered one of the most impressive ancient sites in the world. The statues and reliefs on the site are believed to represent a combination of Greek, Armenian, and Persian gods, and are a testament to the cultural syncretism of the ancient Near East.



Via 500px.com
Pergamum is an ancient Hellenistic cultural center whose acropolis rises 800 feet above the valley and includes marble temples to Athena and Trajan, a Greek theater, and a library.


Pergamum, located in modern-day Turkey, was once a thriving city that served as the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon. It was known for its rich cultural and architectural heritage, with impressive structures such as the Altar of Zeus and the Great Library of Pergamum. The library was said to have held over 200,000 scrolls, making it the second-largest in the ancient world after the Library of Alexandria. Pergamum was also a center for medicine and was home to the famous physician Galen. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of this ancient city and marvel at its grandeur and significance in history.



Troy Via UW-Madison archaeologists to mount new ...
Sadly, the remains of Troy are not as magnificent as the story we all know so well. Immortalized in Homer’s The Iliad, the city was destroyed around 1183 BCE. Today the site is marked by a 30 feet wooden horse statue.

Time to leave Turkey for a short hop across the Mediterranean.


Roman Theater, Verona

Roman Theater, Verona Via City of Verona - UNESCO ...
The theater in Verona - the city of Romeo and Juliet - is used to stage opera and concerts.

And after that quick stopover, please join me in my home


Stonehenge, UK

Stonehenge, UK Via Stonehenge Photos -- National Geographic
This mysterious circle of prehistoric megaliths was erected 6,000 years ago and scientists are still baffled how the huge stones were transported to the site from Wales.


Hadrian’s Wall, United Kingdom

Hadrian’s Wall, United Kingdom Via flickr.com
Built by the Romans to keep control of the border between England and Scotland.

Now for a quick stop in the Americas before heading off to India.


Jesús De Tavarangue, Paraguay

Jesús De Tavarangue, Paraguay Via 12 of the World's Most ...
We've seen ruins of ancient civilizations so far, so I thought it would be interesting to see something Christian. These are the best preserved Jesuit Reductions in South America.


Jesús De Tavarangue is located in Paraguay and is one of the best preserved Jesuit Reductions in South America. It was built in the 17th century by Jesuit missionaries and was part of a larger network of settlements known as the Reductions. These settlements were intended to be self-sustaining, and the Jesuits worked to convert local indigenous populations to Christianity. The ruins at Jesús De Tavarangue consist of a large church, a convent, and a number of other buildings, all of which have been well preserved despite their age. The ruins are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the history of the Jesuits and their mission in South America.


The Temple of the Masks, Tikal, Guatemala

The Temple of the Masks, Tikal, Guatemala Via National Geographic Travel
The ancient city includes the remains of temples that tower over 230 feet high, large royal palaces, a number of smaller pyramids and buildings used as palaces, residences, and administrative buildings and platforms and inscribed stone monuments

Hold on tight, we off to India.


Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

Ellora Caves, Maharashtra Via India Travel Information: India’s favorite ...
Representing a period of intra-religious harmony in India, the 34 Ellora Caves include Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock temples. They were excavated between the 5th and 10th century.


Kumbhalgarh Fort

Kumbhalgarh Fort Via Kumbhalgarh – The Great Wall ...
The wall of the fort is the second longest continuous wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China.


Kailashnath Temple, Maharashtra

Kailashnath Temple, Maharashtra Via Rock-solid dwellings carved from cliffs
The amazing thing about rock-cut temples is that they are the only "buildings" built top downwards.


The Kailashnath Temple is located in Ellora, Maharashtra, India. It is one of the largest rock-cut temples in the world, and was built between 600 and 1000 CE. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, and is carved out of a single piece of rock. It is the largest monolithic structure in the world, and is renowned for its intricate sculptures and carvings. The temple is also known for its intricate detailing, including its intricate pillars, carvings of gods and goddesses, and its various chambers. The temple is a popular tourist destination, and is a great example of ancient Indian architecture.


Ajanta Caves

Ajanta Caves Via Top sights in India | ...
Ajanta Caves are not too far from the Ellora Caves, but unlike those multi-denominational temples, Ajanta is purely Buddhist. The carvings are generally agreed to be amongst the finest in the world.

Ready for a quick whizz around a few other countries?


Sabratha, Libya

Sabratha, Libya Via Libya: Sabratah
Sabratha was a Phoenician trading post.


Moai, Anakena Beach, Easter Island, Chile

Moai, Anakena Beach, Easter Island, Chile Via The Mystery of Easter Island ...
The Easter Island heads which all face out to sea are another of the great enigmas of the ancient world.


Caeseara, Israel

Caeseara, Israel Via Romann
Caeseara was built by King Herod (yes him!) and served as the administrative center of Judea province. There’s lots to see but the fact you can swim next to a Roman aqueduct on a gorgeous beach is amazing.



Masada Via PALACES in the BIBLE: how ...
Another of the magnificent constructions of Herod the Great, King of Judea. The opulent three-tiered palace cascades down from the top of this natural plateau 1,300 feet above the desert. Much remains preserved thanks to the dry climate and it one of Israel's top tourist attractions.

Hold on to your hat, we're off to China.


The Mogao Caves

The Mogao Caves Via Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes
The grottoes were created by Buddhist monks and are known as the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas. The caves contain more than 2,000 sculptures and 11 acres of the cave walls have been painted. .


The Terracotta Army

The Terracotta Army Via This website is currently unavailable.
The amazing clay statues were discovered in Xi’An in 1974. It is the incredible recreation of the army of Empower Qin Shi Huang and includes generals, infantrymen, archers, chariot drivers, and other warriors, as well as 400 horses and 100 chariots. Amazingly, they are all totally unique.


Unearthed by local farmers in Shaanxi province, this vast clay army was intended to accompany the first Emperor of China into the afterlife. This awe-inspiring necropolis remained a secret for more than two millennia before its remarkable discovery. Each figure is a fascinating testament to the emperor's quest for immortality, varying in height, uniform, and hairstyle according to rank. The meticulous craftsmanship and the sheer scale of the excavation continue to captivate historians and visitors, reflecting ancient China's complex society and the emperor's formidable power.


Fengxian Grotto. Longmen Caves

Fengxian Grotto. Longmen Caves Via Photo Tour of China's Longmen ...
Another of the three famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China. The structure features Buddhas and Bodhisattvas carved into 1,350 caves and 750 niches along the limestone bank of the Yi River. Some are more than 25 feet tall, and the total number is estimated to be 110,000.



Gaochang Via Gaochang, Turfan
An oasis city along the Silk Road at the base of the Flaming Mountains and the edge of the Taklamakan Desert. It was a center of economics, politics and culture from the first century B.C. until the 14th century.

And from one great nation to another ... the USA


White House Ruins, Canyon De Chelly, Arizona

White House Ruins, Canyon De Chelly, Arizona Via White House Ruins
Native Americans have lived in this steep-walled red-rock canyon for nearly 5,000 years. The cave homes date back to 800 years ago.


Montezuma Castle, Arizona

Montezuma Castle, Arizona Via EyeKandy Handmade Jewelry
One of America’s best preserved cliff dwellings. It's a five-story, 20-room structure was built into a cave 70 feet up the cliff-face by the Ancestral Puebloan people 800 years ago

I wasn't able to capture ruins for every country or all types of ruins there are. Give a shout out for ones in your homeland or ones you've visited.

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

I almost screenshot every picture. Just beautiful!

All of them are very beautiful and amazing. There are more Than we can imagine and while we're at it I just wanna mention Buddha's birth place, his palace which is in Lumbini, Nepal.

Great article!

It's coloseum instead of coliseum and other than that, the article is pretty fascinating!:)


This was a wonderful educational article! I hope AWT will feature more articles like this!

I was so surprised to see some from my home in Arizona it's crazy to think that this world has been around for so long. I love this article its a good travel map for those adventurist a out there !

#26 Angkor Wat was originally a massive Hindu Temple, but due to change of religious customs, the Temple was later converted into a Buddhist Temple. The amazing bas-reliefs on the walls of Angkor Wat like, the churning of the Ocean are all based on great Hindu epics. The point is Angkor is a marvel of Temple architecture. Let's think it that way.

Surprised to see my host country Denmark. Sadly, there is no mention of anything majestic in Africa - Egypt doesn't count. And btw, I found myself reading the article with a British accent. 😂😂

Absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much

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