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..
1 Colosseum, Rome
One of the most recognizable ancient ruins of the world. Unmistakably a symbol of Ancient Rome. It used to hold 50,000 spectators!
2 Forum, Rome
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.
3 Hadrian's Villa, Tivoli, Rome
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.
4 Parthenon, Athens
The Parthenon is a temple to Athena that stands on the Acropolis overlooking the city. It is the outstanding symbol of Ancient Greece.
5 Theatre of Dionysus, Athens
The theater named for the God of Wine is on the Acropolis below the Parthenon
6 Delphi, Greece
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.
7 Knossos, Crete
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.
8 Machu Picchu, Peru
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.
9 Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru
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,
10 Segesta, Taormina, Sicily
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.
11 The Temple of Hera and Juno Lacinia, Agrigento, Sicily
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.
12 Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan
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.
13 Tonina, Chiapas
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.
One of the most famous Mayan sites enjoys a fabulous location on the Caribbean coast of Mexico.
15 The Temple of Inscriptions, Palenque
This temple has been significant in the study of the ancient Maya thanks to the extraordinary hieroglyphic text found on the Inscription Tablets.
16 Chichén Itzá
The incredible Temple of Kukulcan has been designated one of the 7 New Wonders of the World.
17 Monte Albán,Valley of Oaxaca
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.
18 Pompeii, Italy
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.
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.
This shows the scale of the town that was destroyed.
And while we're in Europe ...
21 Roman Amphitheatre, Pula, Croatia
This is one of the biggest Roman amphitheaters outside of Italy. It is extremely well preserved and is used for summer film festivals.
22 Temple of Romae and Augustus, Pula
The Temple of Augustus is the only remaining structure from the original Roman forum in Pula.
Next stop, Jordan
23 Petra, Jordan
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.
24 Lamanai, Belize
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 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.
26 Angkor Wat
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.
27 Bayon Temple
From South East Asia to Northern Europe next, for a look at some Viking ruins.
28 Lindholm Høje, Denmark
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.
29 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.
30 Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
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?
31 Sukhothai, Thailand
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.
32 The Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
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.
33 Cleopatra’s Kingdom, Alexandria
in 1998, work started on excavating the royal quarters of Cleopatra's Kingdom, once lost underwater for 1600 years.
34 Luxor Temple
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.
35 Karnak Temple
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.
36 Tetrapylon Gate Aphrodisias, Turkey
The monumental gateway stands on the way to the ruined Temple of Aphrodite, after whom the town was named.
37 Hadrian's Gate, Antalya
Emperor Hadrian visited Antalya in AD130. Legend says the Queen of Sheba passed through the gate on her way to visit King Solomon.
38 The Hercules Gate, Ephesus
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.
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.
40 Mount Nemrut
A number of large statues are erected around what is believed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BCE.
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.
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.
43 Roman Theater, Verona
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
44 Stonehenge, UK
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.
45 Hadrian’s Wall, United Kingdom
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.
46 Jesús De Tavarangue, Paraguay
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.
47 The Temple of the Masks, Tikal, Guatemala
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.
48 Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
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.
49 Kumbhalgarh Fort
The wall of the fort is the second longest continuous wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China.
50 Kailashnath Temple, Maharashtra
The amazing thing about rock-cut temples is that they are the only "buildings" built top downwards.
51 Ajanta Caves
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?
52 Sabratha, Libya
Sabratha was a Phoenician trading post.
53 Moai, Anakena Beach, Easter Island, Chile
The Easter Island heads which all face out to sea are another of the great enigmas of the ancient world.
54 Caeseara, Israel
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.
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.
56 The Mogao Caves
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. .
57 The Terracotta Army
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.
58 Fengxian Grotto. Longmen Caves
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.
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
60 White House Ruins, Canyon De Chelly, Arizona
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.
61 Montezuma Castle, Arizona
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.
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